With a candid camera and a tape recorder hidden in his sunglass case, Alan Lipton on May 17, 2003, found himself in "a den of demons" — an auditorium packed with anti-American, pro-communist protesters organizing for mass demonstrations in New York and Philadelphia.
"This was not a fun project to do," he said. "I was completely trapped back there. Had I been exposed, I would have just charged for the door."
It was all in a day's work for the Protest Warriors.
In March of 2003, “Protest Warrior” was just Alan Lipton, Kfir Alfia, and a website. Today it has 6,000 members, coast to coast, and is still growing — after appearances on Fox News, MTV News, and the Rush Limbaugh radio show.
Their mission is simple: to confront anti-American, antiwar protesters wherever they appear — on city streets, on college and high school campuses, anywhere.
"It's become our full-time job," co-founder Kfir Alfia said. "We support ourselves by the sale of products on our website — T-shirts, stickers, mugs, and posters. I had to quit my engineering job so I could do this."
Just over a year ago, Kfir was working in San Francisco when his friend Alan Lipton, from Texas, came out to visit him.
"The left-wing ideology is so dominant in San Francisco; I was getting frustrated just living there," Kfir said. "We decided to go to one of their demonstrations just to see what it was like — and that gave us the idea for Protest Warrior. I mean, the Left had a virtual monopoly on street action. Well, what if we staged counter-demonstrations?"
They set up their website (protestwarrior.com) and watched in amazement as people all over the country flocked to it, "wanting to join up. We had no idea it would strike such a chord," Kfir said. "It's a little overwhelming, just trying to keep track of our growth."
An Answer to A.N.S.W.E.R.
Some of the biggest antiwar marches so far have been spearheaded by International A.N.S.W.E.R. ("Act Now to Stop War and End Racism").
Alan decided to infiltrate A.N.S.W.E.R. last year. He traveled to New York, rented a cheap room, and practiced the art of clandestine filmmaking.
"I also didn't shave or shampoo my hair for a few days," he said, "so I looked like the prototype hard-core commie."
The results of his investigation can be viewed on the PW website, a computer-playable video called "A.N.S.W.E.R. Infiltrated." Unaware that they were being filmed, the protesters made no effort to disguise their real agenda. In nineteen minutes of video, they reveal themselves as anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-capitalist, anti-Constitution, anti-Christian, and unabashedly, rabidly communist.
Other videos available for viewing on the website show "peace marchers" cursing at the Protest Warriors, shoving them, and destroying their signs. It is a face of the "peace movement" seldom seen on prime-time television news.
"We've gotten very interested in A.N.S.W.E.R.," Kfir said. "For instance, who's funding them? When we find out, we'll put it on our website. If some of these leftist groups had to release information about their funding sources, I think a lot of people might not want to be part of it anymore."
As Protest Warrior continues to grow in membership and media exposure, its mission may be broadened, Kfir said.
"We've concentrated on the war, so far," he said, "but the war in Iraq won't go on forever, and we plan to tackle other issues.
"We staged a counter-protest this spring in Washington, D.C., when they had that huge march for abortion. We're going to be protesting abortion more and more, and we'll probably get involved in the defense of marriage, too."
All of these issues, he said, are connected. "The antiwar groups use the Iraq War issue to attach to all the other issues they push — abortion, gay rights, socialized medicine. They're communists, anarchists, and they want to overthrow the current government of the United States.
"The news media won't cover that aspect of it, but we will."
Protest Warriors fund all their activity with their own money, plus proceeds from the sale of products on the website.
Kfir and Alan, both 30 years old, are Jewish. Most of their 6,000 members, they said, are "very religious Christians."
"It's a natural alliance," Kfir said. "We're all strongly in favor of the Judeo-Christian tradition, obviously. I suppose these are religious issues as well as political issues, but Alan and I haven't dealt with that. We've got more than enough to do just to keep up with what we have already."
In addition to the videos produced by Protest Warrior, the website features TV and radio news clips, feature stories about Protest Warrior "operations" at high schools and colleges, and upcoming demonstrations.
For the time being, Kfir and Alan are busy preparing for the Republican National Convention in New York City at the end of August — slated to be targeted for many protests by A.N.S.W.E.R. and related groups. News reports in the New York market anticipate the arrival of tens of thousands of protesters.
"We'll be ready. We'll be there," Kfir said.