From: The Dunn Family
Subject: Re: COINTELPRO Rides Again
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 21:25:16 -0400
NNTP-Posting-Date: 27 Jun 2002 01:24:53 GMT
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Part of COINTELPRO is assassinating dissidents. It's more than just a
small, incremental step to totalitarianism. COINTELPRO is something that
should concern all of us, because all of our lives are at stake. The
danger it poses can hardly be exxagerated.
Dan Clore wrote:
>News for Anarchists & Activists:
>COINTELPRO Specter Haunts Black America
>San Francisco Bay View, Frances M. Beal, Jun 21, 2002
>Last week's announcement by the FBI that it was propagating
>new guidelines that would extend far-reaching powers to its
>agents to monitor the internet, snoop in mosques and keep an
>eye on people everywhere from the local library to a protest
>demonstration was met with reactions within the Black
>community ranging from disbelief
That's the way it usually goes when the government does something like
this. The idea of the Federal Government doing something like this
conflicts with what people are taught in school and by their parents. If
you tell people about the killings involved, rather than just the
infiltration and spying, you confront even more disbelief.
>to anger and fear
>accompanied by calls to resist this unconstitutional
>encroachment on civil liberties and the right to dissent.
>"The Administration's continued defiance of constitutional
>safeguards seems to have no end in sight," stated the dean
>of the Black Caucus and ranking member of the House
>Judiciary Committee John Conyers, D-Mich. "Any government
>effort to institutionalize the same powers that allowed the
>FBI to wrongfully spy on the activities of civil rights
>organizations and disclose information on the private
>affairs of Martin Luther King, Jr.," he continued, "would
>constitute an embarrassing step backwards for civil
>liberties in this country."
>This concern was actually mild compared to an editorial by
>Bill Tatum, publisher and board chair of the New York
>Amsterdam News, who called the FBI "totally corrupt." He
>continued in the June 3 editorial, "Once upon a time, the
>FBI was said to have had the bad guys at the top of their
>most-wanted list. That was true, except for the bad guys who
>were rich and famous ..." Linda Burnham, director of the
>Berkeley-based Women of Color Resource Center, reminds us
>"we know from our own history how readily the government
>resorts to spying and disruption to squash legitimate
>protest and we will all live to regret the broad
>surveillance powers being assumed by the FBI."
>Clearly, if the rest of the nation has amnesia on FBI
>history, Black America does not. A Black person who lived
>through the civil rights battles of the 1960s and 1970s
>cannot help but see the revitalized specter of COINTELPRO,
>the counter-intelligence program
It's within the defninition of an intelligence program, but it's not
counterintelligence. Counterintelligence consists of spying on enemy
spying agencies; the organizations spied on under COINTELPRO aren't
> carried out by the FBI
>against all political dissent, and particularly against
>those involved in the racial justice movement. This
>disruptive and illegal activity by the FBI targeted not only
>groups like the Black Panther Party that called for a
>radical transformation of race and class relations but also
>groups like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or
>even more moderate formations like the Southern Christian
>What many of the younger Black activists may not know is
>that COINTELPRO did not just unconstitutionally collect
>information about people. It was a conscious program to
Kill, in other words.
>political dissidents. And even though covert
>operations had been employed throughout FBI history, the
>formal COINTELPRO operations conducted from 1956 to 1971
>were broadly targeted against what were perceived as radical
>political organizations. These activities included
>infiltrating African American groups and fomenting discord
>and antagonism among different groups and individuals,
>provoking marital difficulties for activists and politically
>motivated audits of IRS tax returns. Even more outrageous
>were FBI activities to instigate and suggest violent and
>illegal actions on the part of Black groups.
>Obviously, "Counterintelligence" was a misnomer for the FBI
>programs then, and today's critics fear the same is true.
>The people the FBI targeted were U.S. political dissidents
>and not foreign spies. Today, the evil threat is the
>"terrorists," and the attempt by the FBI at a power grab and
>the further consolidation of a police state apparatus within
>the United States is truly frightening.
Bush would have us believe that those of us who insist that our
government should obey they law, especially when confronted with
terrorists, side with the terrorists. He said that those who are not
with "us" are with the enemy. We should all be concerned.
>On another front, Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU's
>Washington office, warns, "There is no proof that the
>incessant seizure of new powers by Congress and the Bush
>Administration does anything to increase safety." In fact,
>the current Washington scandal is not about what the FBI or
>the CIA knew - which apparently is plenty - but the fact
>that the FBI and other security agencies refused to act on
>information because of political interference from higher
>ups rooted in the political and economic ties of the bin
>Ladens to the Bush family.
>Again, FBI history is telling. As a mechanism to "predict
>violence," COINTELPRO was a complete flop. It is estimated
>that the FBI conducted over 500,000 separate investigations
>of "subversive" persons or groups from 1960 to 1974,
>predicated on the possibility that they might try to
>overthrow the government by force. Yet, not a single
>individual or group was prosecuted under the laws
>prohibiting action to overthrow the government. Nonetheless,
>numerous individuals were imprisoned or lost their jobs or
>were otherwise maligned on unrelated or spurious charges in
>order to "neutralize" them and to prevent the spread of
>their political views.
That's because COINTELPRO had nothing to do with national security and
everything to do with tyranny.
>This sordid FBI history strongly suggests that a broad Black
>United Front in defense of democracy and against these
>emergent police state powers is as necessary to the survival
>of Black America as the broader struggle for racial justice.
>Indeed, if we don't take up this struggle, we will have lost
>the right to fight racial inequities because the demand will
>be treated as aiding and abetting terrorist activity.
This isn't just a black issue. We're all one race: The human race. This
is an issue that should concern all of us.
>Frances M. Beal is National Secretary of the Black Radical
>Black World Today
>COINTELPRO Rides Again
>By Earl Ofari Hutchinson
>Article Dated 6/7/2002
>At the same time that President Bush dumped the old 1970s
>guidelines that banned FBI spying on domestic organizations,
>he also solemnly swore to honor the Constitution and respect
>all freedoms. The new guidelines do anything but that. They
>give the FBI carte blanche authority to surveil, and plant
>agents in churches, mosques and of course, political groups.
>It will permit FBI agents to ransack the Internet to hunt
>for potential subversives. They can do all this without
>having to show probable cause of criminal wronging. This
>again gives the FBI unbridled power to determine who and
>what groups and individuals it can target.
>But in saying that giving the FBI complete freedom to spy
>won't jeopardize civil liberties, Bush either has no memory
>of why the 1970s guidelines were put in place or he truly
>believes that the war on terrorism must override the
>freedoms that he promises to respect. If the latter is the
>reason he has unleashed the FBI, Bush won't be any different
>than other recent presidents.
>Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard
>Nixon claimed that the battle to nail domestic subversives,
>i.e. Communists, Socialists,
And of course, all 3 of those Presidents were socialists themselves.
>black nationalists, Black
>Panthers and civil rights leaders, most notably Martin
>Luther King Jr., justified, bending, twisting, and
>ultimately breaking the law and violating civil liberties.
When you bend a rule, it breaks.
>They winked and nodded as FBI director J. Edgar Hoover
>launched the super-secret, and blatantly illegal
It wasn't counterintelligence.
>COINTELPRO program that targeted
>thousands of innocent Americans during the 1960s. The
>mandate of the program, spelled out in one of the stacks of
>secret documents released by Senate investigators in 1976,
>was to "disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and neutralize"
>groups and individuals the FBI considered politically
>objectionable. Those targeted in nearly all cases were not
>foreign spies, terrorists, or individuals suspected of
>The FBI patterned COINTELPRO on the methods used by its
>Counter-intelligence Division and Internal Security Sections
>during the 1940s and 1950s. The aim then was to bag spies,
>saboteurs and individuals and groups that advocated
>overthrowing the government. The arsenal of dirty tactics
>included non-court authorized wiretaps, undercover plants,
>agent provocateurs, poison pen letters, black bag jobs, and
>the compiling of secret dossiers.
>Driven by a grotesque mix of personal racism and paranoia,
>FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover kicked the program into high
>gear in the 1960s. The FBI assembled thousands of "ghetto
>informants" and hundreds of FBI agents in a deadly national
>campaign to harass and intimidate African-American groups.
>The FBI listed the individuals targeted under categories
>variously called, "Rabble Rouser Index," "Agitator Index,"
>and the "Security Index."
>The results were immediate and devastating. Thousands were
>expelled from schools, lost jobs, evicted from their homes,
>and offices, and publicly slandered. Few of these
>individuals were indicted, convicted or even accused of any
>crimes. FBI documents released in 1976 revealed that the
>agency devoted less than twenty percent of its spy
>activities to organized crime, solving bank robberies,
>murders, rapes and interstate theft. More than half of its
>spy targets were political organizations.
>Hoover gave local FBI offices wide discretion to pick and
>choose their targets, and the tactics they could use. The
>new guidelines, like the old FBI spy campaign, gives local
>agents the same wide discretion to determine what groups or
>individuals it can investigate and what tactics they can use
>to investigate them.
>With the death of Hoover in 1972 and congressional
>disclosure of the illegal program, the Justice Department
>publicly assured that COINTELPRO was a thing of the past and
>that it had implemented ironclad control over FBI
>activities. It didn't. During the 1980s, the FBI waged a
>five-year covert spy campaign against dozens of religious
>and pacifist groups and leaders that opposed American
>foreign policy in Central America.
The Federal Government did abroad what it can't do here, and in the
process revealed some of its bureaucrats' true motives.
>In the 1990s it mounted covert campaigns against civil
>rights, environmental, and Native American, anti-nuclear
>disarmament groups, and Arab-American groups. The FBI
>tactics used against these groups were an exact repeat of
>the tactics that the 1970s guidelines supposedly banned.
>Attorney-General John Ashcroft says that the FBI will not
>use its restored powers to wage war on law-abiding groups,
>or maintain illicit files and dossiers on prominent
>citizens. But FBI officials said the same thing during the
>1960s. Then, as now, those in the press, and the few liberal
>Democrats that occasionally questioned FBI abuses, had to
>accept their denials. No government agency in those days
>would dare attempt to compel the FBI to prove it didn't
>illegally spy. In the current climate of political fear, it
>remains to be seen if Congressional agencies will be any
>more diligent in their oversight of the FBI this time
They won't be unless we elect Libertarians to Federal office.
>Bush says that scrapping the old ban on FBI spying will give
>the FBI tools to defeat terrorism.
It won't do that, but it will give the FBI new tools to encourage terrorism.
>But if the past is any
>indication, the enemies of the state can be just about any
>and everyone FBI agents finger. And despite Bush's promises
>to respect the Constitution, who can or will dispute them?
>Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and columnist. Visit his
>news and opinion website: mailto:thehutchinsonreport.com He
>is the author of The Crisis in Black and Black (Middle
>Published on Monday, June 17, 2002 in the Boston Globe
>For '60s Activists, Fear of Old Abuses in New FBI Powers
>by Wayne Washington
>WASHINGTON - John Lewis remembers seeing them just on the
>periphery of the action.
>He and others would be rallying, meeting, or marching,
>pressing for civil rights deep in the American South of the
>1960s, and the FBI agents would often be there, too.
>They'd be nonparticipants, of course. But they'd be there
>just the same.
>Lewis, director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating
>Committee, wanted the agents to take a more active role,
>"stopping the discrimination and the beatings," he said.
>A few years later, Lewis learned why the G-men simply
>scribbled down names and notes while he and others were
>bitten by dogs and beaten by local police.
>"They were spying on the movement," said Lewis, now a US
>representative from Georgia.
>The spying extended to individuals as well. Tom Hayden, a
>former California state legislator who was a leader of the
>civil rights and antiwar movements during the 1960s, found
>memos calling for him to be "neutralized."
>The FBI's counterintelligence programs on civil rights
>advocates, black radicals, and pacifists - code-named
>Cointelpro - generated a backlash after they came to light
>in the early 1970s. That backlash led to restrictions on how
>agents could conduct surveillance, how long they could
>conduct it, and who could be the subject of such
>Sept. 11, however, has provided federal officials with the
>motivation for a return to domestic surveillance. New
>guidelines spelled out by the Justice Department on May 30
>make it clear that agents will be allowed to conduct "online
>research" even if their efforts are not linked to an
>established criminal investigation. Preliminary inquiries,
>which allow agents to gather evidence before a crime is
>committed, can take as long as a year, well beyond the old
>90-day limit. Special agents in charge at the field office
>level can authorize terrorism investigations that used to
>require the approval of the director or assistant director
>of the bureau.
>The new rules also allow agents to enter public places and
>events, such as religious gatherings and political events,
>to investigate possible terrorist activities.
>Justice Department officials have emphasized that the
>excesses of the past won't be repeated.
>But Lewis and others who found their names in once-secret
>FBI files aren't so sure.
>"If they start down this road, it won't be halfway," Lewis
>said. "It won't be a little bit. This is a very dangerous
>thing to do in a society such as ours."
They'll go farther down that road than they did before.
>Supporters of the new policies argue that the safety of that
The safety of society demands that COINTELPRO be abolished, along with
the FBI itself. Society is not the government, even if authoritarians
insist it is.
>depends on an FBI that can monitor some residents to
>make sure all are protected. Even before the new rules were
>announced, former FBI agent Michael Miles was calling for
>more internal scrutiny.
>"We're going to have to have an MI-5-type organization that
>just does domestic intelligence," said Miles, who was a
>counterterrorism consultant for Saudi Arabia. "We can't win
>this war without domestic intelligence." MI-5 is the British
>security intelligence system. It is similar to the CIA, but
>has more power to spy in domestic matters.
And look what's happened to the UK. It's socialist, just like just about
every two bit Third World dictatorship on Earth.
>The British and people in some other European nations are
>more comfortable with domestic surveillance than Americans
>are, a fact that terrorists are well aware of, he said.
>Germany is an example of how opportunistic terrorists are,
>"There's a reason Al Qaeda based themselves in Germany,"
>Miles said. "With the history of the Gestapo, they know
>Germany's not going to spy on them. So they've used Germany
>as a sort of base. It's frustrating."
And they know that in the process, they can provide a lame but effective
excuse for socialists to create a Gestapolike spying agency.
>However, many Americans, particularly those who have been
>the subject of domestic surveillance, find the prospect of a
>newly aggressive FBI alarming.
>Lewis recalls former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover's
>determined view, evident years later in the reams of
>documents Lewis got through the Freedom of Information Act,
>that the antiwar and civil rights movements had been
>infiltrated by communists who were using them to destabilize
>the United States.
>And now, in Attorney General John D. Ashcroft's statements
>and in the new insistence that terrorists have burrowed deep
>into American society, Lewis sees frightening parallels. "It
>is eerie," he said. "It reminds me of another period in our
>After hearing how the bureau spied on the Rev. Martin Luther
>King Jr., Lewis requested documents on the Student
>Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He got one batch on the
>organization and another on him.
>The documents tracked Lewis's movements, noted people he
>spoke to and what he did. He was outraged, he said, but not
>shocked. "We had lived with the possibility that this was
>going on," Lewis said. "I was more surprised that they spent
>all of this time doing this. I felt then and still do feel
>that it was a waste of manpower."
>Hayden shares that view.
>He obtained more than 20,000 pages of information through
>the Freedom of Information Act documenting domestic
>surveillance by both the CIA and the FBI.
>"Included were memos from Hoover ordering that I be
Murdered, in other words.
> and inviting FBI suggestions," Hayden said.
>Louis Schneider, executive secretary of the pacifist
>American Friends Service Committee from 1974 to 1980, said
>he remembers the day he got copies of the secret files the
>FBI had compiled on his organization.
>The large stacks of boxes came with a 50-page summary that
>concluded that AFSC is not a "subversive organization. It is
>a sincere pacifist organization."
>"I was amazed to see letters I had written to agencies in
>other countries" inside the boxes, Schneider said. One
>letter, addressed to an agency head in Moscow, was opened
>Hayden said he does not oppose monitoring groups that could
>do serious harm, "but my experience indicates that our
>intelligence agencies always have a political and
>ideological agenda that interferes with their ability to
>understand the sources of hatred and alienation," he said.
>That fundamental lack of understanding is part of the reason
>why the FBI has gone too far in the past, said Brian Glick,
>a lawyer who has represented civil rights era clients and
>written a book about the bureau's actions during Cointelpro.
>Glick said he believes the bureau never completely stopped
>conducting Cointelpro-like operations; they just did fewer
>on a smaller scale. But now, with old restrictions removed,
>all bets are off, he said.
>"My sense is the restrictions have operated somewhat like
>speed limits," he said. "If the speed limit is 55 miles per
>hour, we'll drive 65, 70, or even 80."