[sixties-l] Fwd: COINTELPRO one definition

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Fri Aug 04 2000 - 21:46:53 CUT

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    >Friday August 04 @02:09PM
    >COINTELPRO one definition
    >By x

    <From http://www.phillyimc.org/article.pl?sid=00/08/04/199236&mode=thread>

    >COINTELPRO Defined
    >secret program to undermine the popular upsurge
    >which swept the country during the 1960s. Though
    >the name stands for "Counterintelligence Program,"
    >the targets were not enemy spies. The FBI set out
    >to eliminate "radical" political opposition inside
    >the US. When traditional modes of repression
    >(exposure, blatant harassment, and prosecution for
    >political crimes) failed to counter the growing
    >insurgency, and even helped to fuel it, the Bureau
    >took the law into its own hands and secretly used
    >fraud and force to sabotage constitutionally-
    >protected political activity. Its methods ranged
    >far beyond surveillance, and amounted to a domestic
    >version of the covert action for which the CIA has
    >become infamous throughout the world.
    >in March, 1971, when secret files were removed from
    >an FBI office and released to news media. Freedom
    >of Information requests, lawsuits, and former
    >agents' public confessions deepened the exposure
    >until a major scandal loomed. To control the damage
    >and re-establish government legitimacy in the wake
    >of Vietnam and Watergate, Congress and the courts
    >compelled the FBI to reveal part of what it had
    >done and to promise it would not do it again.
    >HOW DID IT WORK? The FBI secretly instructed its
    >field offices to propose schemes to "misdirect,
    >discredit, disrupt and otherwise neutralize
    >"specific individuals and groups. Close
    >coordination with local police and prosecutors was
    >encouraged. Final authority rested with top FBI
    >officials in Washington, who demanded assurance
    >that "there is no possibility of embarrassment to
    >the Bureau." More than 2000 individual actions were
    >officially approved. The documents reveal three
    >types of methods:
    >1. Infiltration: Agents and informers did not
    >merely spy on political activists. Their main
    >function was to discredit and disrupt. Various
    >means to this end are analyzed below.
    >2. Other forms of deception: The FBI and police
    >also waged psychological warfare from the
    >outside--through bogus publications, forged
    >correspondence, anonymous letters and telephone
    >calls, and similar forms of deceit.
    >3. Harassment, intimidation and violence: Eviction,
    >job loss, break-ins, vandalism, grand jury
    >subpoenas, false arrests, frame- ups, and physical
    >violence were threatened, instigated or directly
    >employed, in an effort to frighten activists and
    >disrupt their movements. Government agents either
    >concealed their involvement or fabricated a legal
    >pretext. In the case of the Black and Native
    >American movements, these assaults--including
    >outright political assassinations--were so
    >extensive and vicious that they amounted to
    >terrorism on the part of the government.
    >WHO WERE THE MAIN TARGETS? The most intense
    >operations were directed against the Black
    >movement, particularly the Black Panther Party.
    >This resulted from FBI and police racism, the Black
    >community's lack of material resources for fighting
    >back, and the tendency of the media--and whites in
    >general--to ignore or tolerate attacks on Black
    >groups. It also reflected government and corporate
    >fear of the Black movement because of its
    >militance, its broad domestic base and
    >international support, and its historic role in
    >galvanizing the entire Sixties' upsurge. Many other
    >activists who organized against US intervention
    >abroad or for racial, gender or class justice at
    >home also came under covert attack. The targets
    >were in no way limited to those who used physical
    >force or took up arms. Martin Luther King, David
    >Dellinger, Phillip Berrigan and other leading
    >pacifists were high on the list, as were projects
    >directly protected by the Bill of Rights, such as
    >alternative newspapers.
    >The Black Panthers came under attack at a time when
    >their work featured free food and health care and
    >community control of schools and police, and when
    >they carried guns only for deterrent and symbolic
    >purposes. It was the terrorism of the FBI and
    >police that eventually provoked the Panthers to
    >retaliate with the armed actions that later were
    >cited to justify their repression.
    >Ultimately the FBI disclosed six official
    >counterintelligence programs: Communist Party-USA
    >(1956-71); "Groups Seeking Independence for Puerto
    >Rico" (1960-71); Socialist Workers Party (1961-71);
    >"White Hate Groups" (1964-71); "Black Nationalist
    >Hate Groups" (1967-71); and "New Left" (1968-
    >71).The latter operations hit anti-war, student,
    >and feminist groups. The "Black Nationalist"
    >caption actually encompassed Martin Luther King and
    >most of the civil rights and Black Power movements.
    >The "white hate" program functioned mainly as a
    >cover for covert aid to the KKK and similar
    >right-wing vigilantes, who were given funds and
    >information, so long as they confined their attacks
    >to COINTELPRO targets. FBI documents also reveal
    >covert action against Native American, Chicano,
    >Phillipine, Arab- American, and other activists,
    >apparently without formal Counterintelligence
    >difficult to fully assess since we do not know the
    >entire scope of what was done (especially against
    >such pivotal targets as Malcolm X, Martin Luther
    >King, SNCC and SDS),and we have no generally
    >accepted analysis of the Sixties. It is
    >clear,however, that:
    >-COINTELPRO distorted the public's view of radical
    >groups in a way that helped to isolate them and to
    >legitimize open political repression.
    >-It reinforced and exacerbated the weaknesses of
    >these groups, making it very difficult for the
    >inexperienced activists of the Sixties to learn
    >from their mistakes and build solid, durable
    >-Its violent assaults and covert manipulation
    >eventually helped to push some of the most
    >committed and experienced groups to withdraw from
    >grass-roots organizing and to substitute armed
    >actions which isolated them and deprived the
    >movement of much of its leadership.
    >-COINTELPRO often convinced its victims to blame
    >themselves and each other for the problems it
    >created, leaving a legacy of cynicism and despair
    >that persists today.
    >-By operating covertly, the FBI and police were
    >able to severely weaken domestic political
    >opposition without shaking the conviction of most
    >US people that they live in a democracy, with free
    >speech and the rule of law.
    >[Source: Brian Glick-author of War at Home, South
    >End Press]

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