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(en) COINTELPRO: The Untold American Story (WCAR)

From "Marpessa Kupendua" <nattyreb1@home.com>(by way of galupchi@pangea.org)
Date Thu, 18 Oct 2001 06:53:52 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

From: "radtimes" <resist@best.com>
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2001 12:59 AM

      COINTELPRO: The Untold American Story (WCAR)    by Paul Wolf, et. al.
>  http://www.e-venthorizon.net/human_rights/wcar_cointelpro.html

      The introductory content of Paul Wolf's white paper, with
      contributions from Robert Boyle, Bob Brown, Tom Burghardt,
      Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Kathleen Cleaver, Bruce Ellison,
      Cynthia McKinney, Nkechi Taifa, Laura Whitehorn, Nicholas
      Wilson, and Howard Zinn, as presented at the WCAR
      Conference in September 2001.

          [The following paper was presented to the 2001 WCAR in
          Durban, South Africa. A longer and annotated version of this
          document is available online: www.house.gov]


          COINTELPRO Techniques
          Murder and Assassination
          Agents Provocateurs
          The Ku Klux Klan
          The Secret Army Organization
          Snitch Jacketing
          The Subversion of the Press
          Political Prisoners
             Leonard Peltier
             Mumia Abu Jamal
             Geronimo ji Jaga Pratt
             Dhoruba Bin Wahad
             Marshall Eddie Conway
          Justice Hangs in the Balance
          Appendix: The Legacy of COINTELPRO
          The Judi Bari Bombing

          * * *

          We're here to talk about the FBI and U.S. democracy because
          here we have this peculiar situation that we live in a democratic
          country — everybody knows that, everybody says it, it's
          repeated, it's dinned into our ears a thousand times, you grow
          up, you pledge allegiance, you salute the flag, you hail
          democracy, you look at the totalitarian states, you read the
          history of tyrannies, and here is the beacon light of democracy.
          And, of course, there's some truth to that. There are things you
          can do in the United States that you can't do many other places
          without being put in jail.

          But the United States is a very complex system. It's very hard to
          describe because, yes, there are elements of democracy; there
          are things that you're grateful for, that you're not in front of the
          death squads in El Salvador. On the other hand, it's not quite a
          democracy. And one of the things that makes it not quite a
          democracy is the existence of outfits like the FBI and the CIA.
          Democracy is based on openness, and the existence of a secret
          policy, secret lists of dissident citizens, violates the spirit of

          Despite its carefully contrived image as the nation's premier
          crime fighting agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has
          always functioned primarily as America's political police. This
          role includes not only the collection of intelligence on the
          activities of political dissidents and groups, but often times,
          counterintelligence operations to thwart those activities. The
          techniques employed are easily recognized by anyone familiar
          with military psychological operations. The FBI, through the use
          of the criminal justice system, the postal system, the telephone
          system and the Internal Revenue Service, enjoys an operational
          capability surpassing even that of the CIA, which conducts
          covert actions in foreign countries without having access to
          those institutions.

          Although covert operations have been employed throughout FBI
          history, the formal COunter INTELligence PROgrams
          (COINTELPRO's) of the period 1956-1971 were the first to be
          both broadly targeted and centrally directed. According to FBI
          researcher Brian Glick, "FBI headquarters set policy, assessed
          progress, charted new directions, demanded increased
          production, and carefully monitored and controlled day-to-day
          operations. This arrangement required that national
          COINTELPRO supervisors and local FBI field offices
          communicate back and forth, at great length, concerning every
          operation. They did so quite freely, with little fear of public
          exposure. This generated a prolific trail of bureaucratic paper.
          The moment that paper trail began to surface, the FBI
          discontinued all of its formal domestic counterintelligence
          programs. It did not, however, cease its covert political activity
          against U.S. dissidents."

          Of roughly 20,000 people investigated by the FBI solely on the
          basis of their political views between 1956-1971, about 10 to
          15% were the targets of active counterintelligence measures per
          se. Taking counterintelligence in its broadest sense, to include
          spreading false information, it's estimated that about two-thirds
          were COINTELPRO targets. Most targets were never
          suspected of committing any crime.

          The nineteen sixties were a period of social change and unrest.
          Color television brought home images of jungle combat in
          Vietnam and protesters and priests burning draft cards and
          American flags. In the spring and summer months of 1964,
          1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968, massive black rebellions swept
          across almost every major US city in the Northeast, Midwest
          and California. Presidents Johnson and Nixon, and many others
          feared violent revolution and denounced the protesters.
          President Kennedy had felt the opposite: "Those who make
          peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution

          The counterculture of the sixties, and the FBI's reaction to it,
          were in many ways a product of the 1950s, the so-called "Age of
          McCarthyism." John Edgar Hoover, longtime Director of the FBI,
          was a prominent spokesman of the anti-communist paranoia of
          the era:The forces which are most anxious to weaken our
          internal security are not always easy to identify. Communists
          have been trained in deceit and secretly work toward the day
          when they hope to replace our American way of life with a
          Communist dictatorship. They utilize cleverly camouflaged
          movements, such as peace groups and civil rights groups to
          achieve their sinister purposes.

          While they as individuals are difficult to identify, the Communist
          party line is clear. Its first concern is the advancement of Soviet
          Russia and the godless Communist cause. It is important to
          learn to know the enemies of the American way of life.

          Throughout the 1960s, Hoover consistently applied this theory to
          a wide variety of groups, on occasion reprimanding agents
          unable to find "obvious" communist connections in civil rights
          and anti-war groups. During the entire COINTELPRO period, no
          links to Soviet Russia were uncovered in any of the social
          movements disrupted by the FBI.

          The commitment of the FBI to undermine and destroy popular
          movements departing from political orthodoxy has been
          extensive, and apparently proportional to the strength and
          promise of such movements, as one would expect in the case of
          the secret police organization of any state, though it is doubtful
          that there is anything comparable to this record among the
          Western industrial democracies.

          In retrospect, the COINTEPRO's of the 1960s were thoroughly
          successful in achieving their stated goals, "to expose, disrupt,
          misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" the enemies of the

          The most serious of the FBI disruption programs were those
          directed against "Black Nationalists." Agents were instructed to
          undertake actions to discredit these groups both within "the
          responsible Negro community" and to "Negro radicals," also "to
          the white community, both the responsible community and to
          `liberals' who have vestiges of sympathy for militant black
          nationalists simply because they are Negroes..."

          A March 4th, 1968 memo from J Edgar Hoover to FBI field
          offices laid out the goals of the COINTELPRO - Black Nationalist
          Hate Groups program: "to prevent the coalition of militant black
          nationalist groups;" "to prevent the rise of a messiah who could
          unify and electrify the militant black nationalist movement;" "to
          prevent violence on the part of black nationalist groups;" "to
          prevent militant black nationalist groups and leaders from gaining
          respectability;" and "to prevent the long-range growth of militant
          black nationalist organizations, especially among youth."
          Included in the program were a broad spectrum of civil rights
          and religious groups; targets included Martin Luther King,
          Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, and Elijah

          A top secret Special Report for President Nixon, dated June
          1970 gives some insight into the motivation for the actions
          undertaken by the government to destroy the Black Panther
          party. The report describes the party as "the most active and
          dangerous black extremist group in the United States." Its
          "hard-core members" were estimated at about 800, but "a recent
          poll indicates that approximately 25 per cent of the black
          population has a great respect for the BPP, including 43 per cent
          of blacks under 21 years of age." On the basis of such
          estimates of the potential of the party, counterintelligence
          operations were carried out to ensure that it did not succeed in
          organizing as a substantial social or political force.

          Another memorandum explains the motivation for the FBI
          operations against student protesters: "the movement of
          rebellious youth known as the 'New Left,' involving and
          influencing a substantial number of college students, is having a
          serious impact on contemporary society with a potential for
          serious domestic strife." The New Left has "revolutionary aims"
          and an "identification with Marxism-Leninism." It has attempted
          "to infiltrate and radicalize labor," and after failing "to subvert and
          control the mass media" has established "a large network of
          underground publications which serve the dual purpose of an
          internal communication network and an external propaganda
          organ." Its leaders have "openly stated their sympathy with the
          international communist revolutionary movements in South
          Vietnam and Cuba; and have directed others into activities which
          support these movements."

          The effectiveness of the state disruption programs is not easy to
          evaluate. Black leaders estimate the significance of the
          programs as substantial. Dr. James Turner of Cornell
          University, former president of the African Heritage Studies
          Association, assessed these programs as having "serious
          long-term consequences for black Americans," in that they "had
          created in blacks a sense of depression and hopelessness."

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             | w e b s i t e s |

             American Civil Liberties Union

             In Defense of Freedom

             U.S. Constitution

             Response to Terrorism (US Dept. of State)

             Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism (US
             Dept of State)

             National Security Institute: Counter Terrorism

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             The International Policy Institute for

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