Friday, July 25, 2014

Operation Mockingbird: The CIA and Propaganda


"About a third of the whole CIA budget went to media propaganda operations... We're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars a year just for that.....close to a billion dollars are being spent every year by the United States on secret propaganda." Testimony of William Schapp to Congress1


In 1948, the United States began the Marshall Plan, an initiative to help the devastated Europe recover from the War. The CIA decided to siphon funds to create the Office of Policy Coordination, which would become the covert action branch of the Agency.2 It was under this program that Operation Mockingbird, a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at promoting the views of the CIA within the media, began. From the onset, Operation Mockingbird was one of the most sensitive of the CIA's operations, with recruitment of journalists and training of intelligence officers for propaganda purposes usually undertaken by Director Allen Dulles himself or his direct peers.3

  
It is a false belief that the CIA 'infiltrated' unwitting media institutions. The recruitment of journalists was frequently done with complicity from top management and ownership. Former CIA Director William Colby claimed during the Church Committee investigative hearings, "Lets go to the managements. They were witting." Among the organizations that would lend their help to the propaganda efforts was the New York Times, Newsweek, Associated Press, and the Miami Herald. Providing cover to CIA agents was a part of the New York Times policy, set by their late publisher, Arthur Hays Salzberger.4


The investigative committee of Frank Church, officially titled “Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities”, uncovered a lot of evidence concerning Operation Mockingbird and came to the conclusion that:


"The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets."5

Carl Bernstein, the reporter famous for his excellent investigation into the Watergate scandal, wrote that:


(Joseph) Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services—from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.”6


While a majority of Mockingbird operations were overseas, the goal was to have important, hard-hitting stories to be circulated in the American press. Relationships with major United States media institutions certainly helped with this goal. Bernstein lists The New York Times, CBS and Time inc. as the most productive relationships the agency cultivated. They also created front organizations overseas who publicly maintained an appearance of free press but privately were operated by the agency. An example of this is the Rome Daily American, which was 40% owned by the CIA for three decades.7 


Another strategy was developing relationships with major media owners who were known to harbor right-wing views, such as William Paley of CBS, and then passing on information of journalists, actors and screenwriters who harbored left-wing views. Information was also passed on to friendly congressmen such as Joseph McCarthy. These men and women would then be blacklisted from the industry. Lee J. Cobb was one such actor who was blacklisted, and recalled his experience:


When the facilities of the government of the United States are drawn on an individual it can be terrifying. The blacklist is just the opening gambit - being deprived of work. Your passport is confiscated. That's minor. But not being able to move without being tailed is something else. After a certain point it grows to implied as well as articulated threats, and people succumb. My wife did, and she was institutionalized. In 1953 the HCUA (House UnAmerican Activities Committee) did a deal with me. I was pretty much worn down. I had no money. I couldn't borrow. I had the expenses of taking care of the children. Why am I subjecting my loved ones to this? If it's worth dying for, and I am just as idealistic as the next fellow. But I decided it wasn't worth dying for, and if this gesture was the way of getting out of the penitentiary I'd do it. I had to be employable again.”8


The CIA went as far as to write scripts for Hollywood. One interesting example is the funding of the movie version of Animal Farm in 1954, a book written just less than a decade earlier by George Orwell which enjoyed large commercial success. The problem for the CIA was that Orwell was a socialist, and his book attacked both capitalism and communism. To avoid this conflict, the CIA changed the ending of the Hollywood version to portray capitalism in a more positive light.9


Domestic surveillance was also used on journalists who had published classified material. In one example, a physical surveillance post was set up at a Hilton Hotel in view of the office of Washington Post writer Michael Getler.10 The operation defied the CIA's charter, which specifically prohibits domestic spying. The operation was directed towards numerous members of the Washington press corp, and was signed off by John F. Kennedy himself, in coordination with CIA director John McCone.11



One CIA document states: “Get books published or distributed abroad without revealing any U.S. Influence, by covertly subsidizing foreign publicans or booksellers... Get books published for operational reasons, regardless of commercial viability”. The Church Committee concluded that over 1000 books were published under this directive.12



Some investigative journalists have claimed that Operation Mockingbird did not end in 1976 as the CIA claims. For example, in 1998, researcher Steve Kangas claimed that conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, who ran 'Forum World Features', a foreign news organization, was a CIA asset and used the organization to disseminate propaganda for circulation in the United States.13 Kangas ended up dead with a bullet hole in his head, in the office of Richard Scaife. It was ruled a suicide, although there were discrepancies in the police report and the autopsy.14


The Church Committee's conclusion accurately reflects the problems associated with Operation Mockingbird:


In examining the CIA’s past and present use of the U.S. media, the Committee finds two reasons for concern. The first is the potential, inherent in covert media operations, for manipulating or incidentally misleading the American public. The second is the damage to the credibility and independence of a free press which may be caused by covert relationships with the U.S. journalists and media organizations.”15

While it is deplorable for citizens of countries to be subjected to a state-owned media, at least they can be aware of the biases and filter information accordingly. We have been taught the lie from birth that the U.S. press is free from government meddling. In a situation where the manipulation is completely covert, the American public has been left unaware of the propaganda they have been ingesting for decades.


Food for Thought:


  1. Why were the owners and management of large media institutions so willing to participate in a program that violated their journalistic integrity?
  2. Has the increasingly consolidated media industry made it easier for news to be manipulated to fit 'the agenda' discussed in the One Party State?
  3. Have MK-ULTRA entrapment or mind control techniques ever been used to target the press?


1Testimony available here.
2Sallie Pasani “The CIA and the Marshall Plan,” excerpt available here.
3Rolling Stone Magazine, The CIA and the Media,” October 20, 1977
4Ibid.
6Rolling Stone Magazine, “The CIA and the Media,” October 20, 1977
9John Simkin, “Operation Mockingbird.”
10New York Times, Project Mockingbird: Spying on Reporters,” June 26, 2007
11Ibid.
13Steve Kangas, “A Timeline of CIA Atrocities.”
14John Simkin, “Steve Kangas.”

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Operation Gladio: The CIA, NATO and Terrorism

In Europe's new order, they are the spies who never quite came in from the cold, foot soldiers in an underground guerrilla network with one stated mission: To fight an enemy that most Europeans believe no longer exists.

Theirs is a tale of secret arms caches and exotic code names, of military stratagems and political intrigues.


At best, their tale is no more than a curious footnote to the cold war. The question is if, at worst, it could be the key to unsolved terrorism dating back two decades...


The focus of the inquiry is a clandestine operation code-named Gladio, created decades ago to arm and train resistance fighters in case the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies invaded.


All this week, there have been disclosures of similar organizations in virtually all Western European countries, including those that do not belong to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” New York Times1


How far would the United States go to prevent the spread of communism in Western Europe? Especially considering the constant false information provided by Reinhard Gehlen and his Organization indicating that a Soviet invasion was imminent? The answer is Operation Gladio: The CIA and NATO campaign to create, arm and fund radical right wing 'stay behind' organizations that would fight communism to the death. When the Soviet invasion never happened, these organizations created networks with politicians and within the black market, and turned their goals towards preventing the rise of leftist political movements, often resorting to terrorism to create domestic tension, causing citizens to turn towards increasingly fascist governments to provide protection. Today, this process is known as the 'Strategy of Tension'.




* * * *


Italy




It was Judge Felice Casson who first dredged up the evidence for state sponsored terrorism, while browsing the archives of the Italian military secret service.2 In a BBC documentary on Operation Gladio, Casson described the operations as an effort...

To create tension within the country to promote conservative, reactionary social and political tendencies. While this strategy was being implemented, it was necessary to protect those behind it because evidence implicating them was being discovered. Witnesses withheld information to cover right-wing extremists.”3


Casson points to a 1972 car bombing in Peteano,that killed three paramilitary police and was blamed on leftists, after which 200 Communists were immediately arrested. He found that there were no police investigations of the scene, and the official report was a forgery4. In fact, it was perpetrated by a right-wing terrorist named Vincenzo Vinciguerra5, operating under Gladio orders, who later confessed to the crime. Vinciguerra's testimony reveals that it was easy to escape and remain hidden because everyone in the Italian security apparatus shared his anti-Communist convictions.6 His testimony further revealed “a secret organisation, a super-organisation with a network of communications, arms, and explosives, and men trained to use them.”7 Years later, in prison, he would claim “I say that every single outrage that followed from 1969 fitted into a single organised matrix.”8 Nearly 2,000 people would die from political murder or acts of terrorism over this period of time. 


 
When ex-Prime Minister Andreotti finally testified in 1990, he revealed that arms and equipment were provided by the CIA and placed in 139 underground caches across the country. General Giandelio Maletti, a former head of Italian counterintelligence, in March 2001 confirmed the CIA involvement. He stated that after the Piazza Fontana bombing in 1969, pieces of a bomb were planted in a leftist editors villa in order to blame the communists. He stated:

"The CIA, following the directives of its government, wanted to create an Italian nationalism capable of halting what it saw as a slide to the left, and, for this purpose, it may have made use of right-wing terrorism.”9



* * * *



Turkey




Another Gladio hotspot was Turkey. During the Cold War, Turkey shared a third of the total borders with the Soviet bloc and maintained the largest standing army in Europe, and the second in NATO after the United States. In 1952, a stay-behind army was organized under the codename 'Counter-Guerrilla'.


On November 3 (1996), a truck crashed into a Mercedes Benz in Susurluk, ninety miles south of Istanbul, and killed three Turkish passengers: a fugitive heroin smuggler and hitman, a former high-ranking police officer, and a former "Miss Cinema." The lone survivor was a right-wing member of parliament. In the car's trunk, police found a forged passport, police identification papers, ammunition, silencers, and machine guns.

Abdullah Catli, the fugitive heroin smuggler, had escaped from a Swiss prison. The dead beauty queen, Gonca Uz, was his girlfriend.

The police officer was Huseyin Kocadag, head of a Turkish police academy and a former Istanbul deputy police chief who reportedly organized hit squads in the southeast that kill Kurdish guerrillas and their supporters.

The survivor, Sedat Bucak, a member of parliament from the conservative True Path Party, is reportedly in charge of 2,000 Kurdish mercenaries paid by the government to fight Kurdish guerrillas.

The car crash has created a sensation in Turkey and has led parliament to hold hearings on the ties linking the True Path Party, the police, and thugs like Abdullah Catli. Newspapers in Turkey are making connections between what they are calling the "state gang" and a secret paramilitary force that for decades has attacked the left...

The United States funded these stay-behind groups for decades. Even though there was no Soviet occupation, some of the groups did take up arms-- against left-wing dissidents in their own countries. Some descendants of these groups are still at it, especially in Turkey.

Abdullah Catli was one of those.

"The accident unveiled the dark liaisons within the state," former prime minister Bulent Ecevit told parliament in December. Now leader of a small opposition social-democratic party, Ecevit knows a lot about those liaisons. He first told me about them -- and the American connection -- back in 1990, when I interviewed him in his Ankara office.” - The Progressive10


Bulent Ecevit, five time Turkish prime minister, who is cited in the above quote, declared that the Taksim Square massacre was a Gladio operation, where half a million citizens had rallied. It was organized by trade unions, and the shooting lasted for 20 minutes while a thousand policemen in attendance did not intervene. About 40 people were killed, and though none of the perpetrators were caught, 500 demonstrators were detained. The massacre occurred during a broader wave of political violence.11

    

The U.S. State Department in its 1995 Human Rights report noted that:


Prominent credible human rights organizations, Kurdish leaders, and local Kurds asserted that the government acquiesces in, or even carries out, the murder of civilians... Human rights groups reported the widespread and credible belief that a Counter-Guerrilla group associated with the security forces had carried out at least some 'mystery killings'".12


American journalist Lucy Komisar, when asking U.S. officials about investigating the human rights reports, was told “That's classified.” The Turkish military would likewise block all investigations in their country.13
   

There is evidence of Gladio operatives extensively operating torture campaigns for political purposes. For example, Talhat Turhan, former Turkey General, survived torture at the hands of special forces. He was told “...I was now ‘in the hands of a Counter Guerrilla unit operating under the high command of the Army outside the constitution and the laws.’ They told me that they ‘considered me as their prisoner of war and that I was sentenced to death.”14


Much of the violence was directed at the Kurdish minority. In 1984 the Counter-Guerrillas were behind the brutal crackdown that would kill and torture thousands over the next 5 years. Among other operations, Counter-Guerrillas would dress up as PKK members (A Kurdish political party) and attacked villages, raping and executing people randomly.15 



The political violence in Turkey, with Gladio operatives responsible to at least a moderate extent, paved the way for the series of military coups that have occurred in the country. A 1996 New York Times article notes that:


evidence suggests that officially sanctioned criminality may have reached levels that few had imagined...


One of Turkey's most prominent pro-Kurdish politicians, Guven Ozata, said the car crash and its aftermath had convinced him that state-sponsored death squads were behind many of the estimated 3,500 unsolved killings that have been committed in the southeastern part of the country in the last decade. Most of the victims had been suspected of sympathizing with separatist Kurdish causes.


''These gangs have a direct link with mystery killings,'' Mr. Ozata said at a news conference. ''This is no longer a hypothesis or a guess. It is a reality acknowledged by Government officials.''


Several politicians and others who are calling for investigations into the Government's relationship with criminal gangs believe that the gangs used their official ties as cover for involvement in Turkey's lucrative heroin-smuggling trade. They suspect that senior officials were engaged in the trade or tolerated it as a way of repaying gangs that killed at their behest.” - New York Times16


The evidence of Gladio operations in Turkey reveal another important link: The collusion between paramilitary forces and drug traffickers. At the time (and to this day), Turkey served as a major hub in the smuggling of drugs into Western Europe, from the Southeast Asian 'Golden Triangle' and later the Middle East. It is likely that drugs served as a significant source of funding for these decentralized operations and was the catalyst for a bond between the state and the criminal underworld that ensured massive corruption in the country that exists to this day. After all, we know that the Gehlen Organization was involved in the black market in the area to raise extra funds for their intelligence operations. It seems that this practice spread throughout the web of 'stay-behind' armies financed and armed by the CIA and NATO. 

 


* * * *



Greece



One of the countries that suffered the most from the Cold War terrorism groups was Greece, the country with perhaps the most significant propensity for the rise of a natural leftist coalition. Former CIA agent and Gladio whistleblower Philip Agee claimed that:



The Greek-American CIA officer recruited several groups of Greek citizens for what the CIA called ‘a nucleus for rallying a citizen army against the threat of a leftist coup’ … Each of the several groups was trained and equipped to act as an autonomous guerrilla unit, capable of mobilizing and carrying on guerrilla warfare with minimal or no outside direction.”17


These groups were equipped with automatic weapons and small mountain mortars stashed in underground caches throughout the country.18

 
The group was involved with the 1967 coup, where leftists were widely reported to have large leads in the polls. As NATO orders were to prevent any type of leftist 'insurgency', the group took over the Greece Defense Ministry, rolled into Athens, took control of communications centers, Parliament, the Royal Palace, and arrested over 10,000 people, many of whom were tortured.19


* * * *


Conclusion




Although the CIA and NATO have steadfastly refused to acknowledge the existence of Gladio, giving them deniability from ever having to disclose documents related to the operation, the existence of these fascist and violent underground networks has been acknowledged by the governments of nearly every NATO country. Furthermore, official documents in German, Dutch, French and Italian confirming the network, its organization and practices have been declassified.20


Operation Gladio is not just some ancient history. Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti confirmed that the last coordination meeting he was aware of was held in 1990.21 It has to be noted that this was a period of time where terrorism was evolving, moving towards the widespread radical Islamic terror that bombards our television screens daily, just 3 years before the first World Trade Center bombing and two years after the creation of Al-Qaeda. At the same time the geopolitical strategies of the United States were moving away from Europe and towards the Middle East. Unfortunately, the available information on Operation Gladio raises more questions than it answers.


Food for Thought:


  1. Knowing that the last Gladio meeting was in 1990, can we say with any certainty that the program ever ended? 
     
  2. How many people involved with Gladio are still operating in the CIA and other agencies?

  3. Seeing that the 'Strategy of Tension' proved to be an effective tool, in what other instances has it been implemented?

  4. Is there currently a 'Gladio B' in operation in the Middle East, as former FBI agent Sybel Edmonds asserts?

  5. Are the criminal alliances that formed during Gladio in places such as Turkey still in effect today?

  6. How did the 'stay-behind' organizations affect domestic politics in ways other than terrorism?

  7. Is the ongoing assassination campaign in Iraq, discussed in the chapter 'The War on Terror is a Fraud', a part of an evolved Gladio campaign?


3Operation Gladio, a 1992 BBC production, watch it here.
4Historian Daniel Ganser, eminent Gladio researcher, in his book NATO's Secret Armies, page 3, available in PDF here. Ganser is the eminent authority on Operation Gladio and has done tremendous work in synthesizing the various evidence from nearly a dozen different languages into one source. This book is a must-read to gain a full understanding of Operation Gladio.
6Daniel Ganser, in a paper published in the Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, page 72, available in PDF here.
7Ibid.
8Ganser's NATOs Secret Armies page 8.
9Ganser's Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations page 73.
10The Progressive, Turkey´s Terrorists: A CIA Legacy Lives On,” April 1, 1997
11Ganser´s Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, page 73
12Ganser's NATO's Secret Army, page 20
13Ibid.
14Ganser´s Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, page 74
15Ganser's NATO's Secret Army, page 240
16New York Times, Scandal Links Turkish Aides to Death, Drugs and Terror”, December 10, 1996
17Len Scott, “Intelligence, Crisis and Security.” Excerpt available here.
18Ganser´s Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, page 77
19Ibid.
20Dozens of these documents are hosted here.
21Ganser's NATO's Secret Army, page 1

Monday, March 24, 2014

COINTELPRO: The FBI's Domestic War

"Between 1965 and 1975, the FBI opened more than 500,000 intelligence files on more than one million Americans, according to a Congressional report.... Among the Bureau's targets: Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam War Groups, and the underground press." - Center for Investigative Reporting1


"Purpose of counterintelligence action is to disrupt the BPP [Black Panther Party] and it is immaterial whether facts exist to substantiate the charge." - J. Edgar Hoover2


J. Edgar Hoover issued directives for COINTELPRO, a codename for Counter Intelligence Program, in 1956. The original intent was to monitor the Communist Party USA but quickly expanded its scope to infiltrate and marginalize a variety of groups such as the American Indian Movement, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and the Black Panthers, as well as targeting high profile individuals such as Martin Luther King, Jr. 


The FBI's stated motivation was "protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order."3 (Emphasis added). They used harassment, wiretapping, psychological warfare, propaganda, and assassinations among other techniques to achieve their goals.


* * * *


Fred Hampton


On December 4th, 1969, the Chicago Police Department and FBI raided an apartment housing members of the Black Panther Party. At 4:45 am, the heavily armed police stormed the apartment, killing Panther member Mark Clark immediately, who was serving a security duty. Clark fired his shotgun, the only shot fired by the Panthers that day, while the police and FBI would end up shooting over 98 times.4 Forensics and firearms experts determined that Clark's shot was fired from very near the floor, indicating that Clark had already sustained grave injuries.

 
The raid team would then assault the room of Fred Hampton, a rising leader in the Panther movement. Police would fire twice at Hampton, who was lying next to his pregnant girlfriend, hitting his shoulder. Court transcripts revealed the following conversation took place:5


"That's Fred Hampton."

"Is he dead?... Bring him out."

"He's barely alive.

"He'll make it.

Two more shots were fired, point blank at Hampton's head.

"He's good and dead now."

Fred Hampton's Bedroom: The Murder Scene

Over a dozen more Panthers residing in the apartment would be wounded, beaten, and then charged with attempted murder of police officers. The next day, the media largely defended the FBI's actions. The Chicago Tribune published photos showing holes purported to be from bullets fired by the Panthers, but forensics would later reveal these holes to have been made by nails.6


Documents released by the Freedom of Information Act include a sketch of Hampton's apartment drawn by an FBI informant, used by police and FBI in the assassination. The informant received $300 from the FBI for providing the information.7




 
Floor Plan provided by Informant




The FBI had tried other methods before resorting to assassination, including sending a bogus letter to a rival Chicago gang leader in hopes of provoking a violent retaliation which read:


Brother Jeff: I've spent some time with some Panther friends on the west side lately and I know whats been going on. The brothers that run the Panthers blame you for blocking their thing and there's supposed to be a hit out for you. I'm not a Panther, or a Ranger, just black. From what I see these Panthers are out for themselves, not black people. I think you ought to know what their (sic) up to, I know what I'd do if I was you. You might here from me again. Signed, A Black Brother You Don't Know.”8


The use of bogus letters for sabotage and attempting to provoke violence was widely used by the FBI throughout COINTELPRO. 


Why was Fred Hampton targeted? He was a rising leader in the Black Panther Party and was in the process of uniting various gang, including the Puerto Rican 'Young Lords' and the Caucasian 'Young Patriots' into a political coalition. He had the potential to drastically change the political landscape of Chicago by channeling the youth unrest that had previously been directed against other gangs and instead direct it at the political establishment to fight against police corruption and to generate socially constructive energies. 

This type of action was directly antagonistic to one of the primary directives of COINTELPRO put forth by J. Edgar Hoover himself, which read:9


1. Prevent the coalition of militant black nationalist groups.”


The same document also contained another relevant directive:10
 

Prevent the rise of a 'messiah'”


Fred Hampton had the charisma to unite large groups of young men and the attitude of social welfare and community development that had the potential to gain the support of the broader progressive community. His assassination prevented his career from escalating to these heights.


 

* * * *



Subverting the Black Panther Party



The FBI waged a wildly successful campaign against the Black Panther Party throughout the '60s and '70s. By the late '60s, the Black Panther Party was the most prominent African American political force in the United States. They advocated a 10 point socialist program for black self-determination, provided free food and healthcare to communities, fought against hard drugs, and formed legal armed street patrols to deter violence from the KKK and other antagonistic organizations. They also advocated for community control of police, schools and other institutions. Today, these points are largely ignored in favor of the racist caricature promoted by the Bureau. The operations the FBI took to subvert the Panthers is truly astounding.


For example, there is the Black Panther coloring book, created by the FBI and distributed by Bureau informants to black children in an attempt to marginalize the Party within the black community.11 It is directly related to Hoover's directive: 

 

"4. Prevent militant black nationalist groups and leaders from gaining respectability"


 
The goal was not to influence the children of these communities, but to marginalize the Panthers within the white community. The coloring book aimed to do just that, and would certainly be shocking to anyone who saw it. Once marginalized, the public would support increasingly repressive policies against the Panthers and their leadership, such as the Fred Hampton assassination.











 
To J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, it did not matter what the activities of the Black Panther Party consisted of. In 1969, an FBI special agent sent Hoover a memo detailing how his investigation of the Panthers has only turned up pacifist activities such as feeding breakfast to children.12 Hoover shot back a memo saying that the Agent's career ambitions were directly related to supplying Hoover with information supporting his view that the Panthers were "... a violence prone organization seeking to overthrow the government by revolutionary means."13


To prevent the unification of the Black Panther Party and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, popularly known as SNCC, the FBI resorted to fostering splits between the leadership of the two organizations. The FBI targeted Stokely Carmichael by using a technique known as 'bad jacket': they forged documents indicating that Carmichael was a CIA informant.14 It worked.


The FBI also had the policy of arresting Panther members for any reason, even just on suspicion of crime without evidence, for the purpose of exhausting the Party's funds to pay bonds. The Panther's attorney said in 1970:



In a period of two years — December, 1967 to December, 1969 — the Black Panther Party has expended in bail-bond premiums alone— just the premiums, that is, money that will never be returned — a sum in excess of $200,000! How many breakfasts or lunches for hungry children, how much medical attention sorely needed in the ghetto communities would that $200,000 have furnished?...In the same two-year period, twenty-eight Panthers were killed.”15

In instances where dozens of Panthers were arrested, the bond requirements were too high to pay and members sat in jail for weeks, or even months, a common COUNTELPRO tactic used against other groups as well. By 1974, the Black Panther Party had essentially collapsed under the weight of ruthless harassment.




* * * *



Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



In 1957, the FBI targeted the Southern Christian Leadership Conference as a “likely target for communist infiltration”.16 The nature of the group was entirely non-violent and focused on organizing the southern black vote. It was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and several other southern black ministers. By 1964, Dr. King had given his 'I have a dream speech' and had emerged as a preeminent civil rights leader and had also began to address social change that transcended racial issues. At this point, the FBI had marked King as a clear threat to the 'established order'. Agent William C. Sullivan committed to writing: 
 

We must mark [King] now, if we have not before, as the most dangerous Negro in the future of this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security...it maybe unrealistic to limit [our actions against King] to legalistic proofs that would stand up in court or before Congressional Committees.”17


When it was announced that King would win the Nobel Prize, the FBI compiled an audio tape consisting of various fragments of conversations from King's tapped phones, bugged offices and hotel rooms. It was purported to demonstrate that King was a sexual deviant. It was sent to King with an anonymous note stating that it would be released to the press unless he committed suicide prior to receiving the award.18 When King failed to reply, FBI Associate Director Cartha DeLoach offered the contents of the tape to various news institutions, including Newsweek, but the reporters nearly universally declined to report on the story.


Heavily redacted letter sent by the FBI to Martin Luther King, Jr.


On April 24, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated. Although public memory has largely forgotten, King was in the process of organizing the 'Poor Peoples Campaign', aimed at uniting poor people of all races to rally for social change. It is likely that if King had not died, the campaign would have been wildly successful. The campaign also represented everything that COINTELPRO had been dedicated to prevent. Although there is no complete proof that the FBI was involved with the assassination, the jury of a 1999 Memphis civil trial came to the conclusion that James Earl Ray did not kill King, and that the real culprit was 'government agencies'.19



* * * *



American Indian Movement



They [the Indians] are a conquered nation, and when you are conquered, the people you are conquered by dictate your future. This is a basic philosophy of mine. If I'm part of a conquered nation, I've got to yield to authority... [The FBI must function as] a colonial police force.” - Assistant Special Agent in Charge Norman Zigrossi20


AIM, the American Indian Movement, began in the '60s as activism focused on preventing the further depredation of Indian lands and resources. As the movement rose to prominence, the FBI marked them as an 'extremist organization' to target.21 One document released under the Freedom of Information Act advocates that: "local police put [AIM] leaders under dose scrutiny, and arrest them on every possible charge until they could no longer make bail.”22


During a presentation by members of the Congressional Black Caucus to the UN Human Rights Commissioner, it was alleged that virtually every known leader of AIM has been imprisoned in state or federal prisons, some repeatedly. Russell Means, for example, was charged with 37 counts but not one has held up in court.23 It was later revealed that the FBI had infiltrated Mean's defense team but was still unable to pin their charges against him.


In 1973, thousands of Native Americans from reservations across the West had gathered at Wounded Knee at the Pine Ridge reservation to simultaneously commemorate the 1890 massacre and protest the political corruption of tribal president Dick Wilson, who had received $62,000 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and was using it to fund a private force that suppressed opposition and often resorted to murder.24  The force designated themselves "Guardians of the Oglala Nation", abbreviated as GOONS. Attempts to impeach Wilson, who was responsible for years of political violence, had failed. The FBI considered the occupation an act of treason and began a siege of AIM members, in coordination with US Marshalls, agents from the BIA and the GOONS of Dick Wilson. Wilson bluntly declared in a speech that "AIM will die at Wounded Knee".25

 
According to Historian Rex Weyler, who obtained documents subpoenaed from the Pentagon, the U.S. Marshall Service:


...directed the employment of 17 APCs [armored personnel carriers], 130,000 rounds of M-16 ammunition, 41,000 rounds of M-40 high explosive, as well as helicopters, Phantom jets, and personnel. Military officers, supply sergeants, maintenance technicians, chemical officers, and medical teams remained on duty throughout the 71 day siege, all working in civilian clothes [to conceal their unconstitutional involvement in this "civil disorder"]”26


All of this was on site at Pine Ridge during the 71 day standoff, during which AIM demanded the removal of Wilson from office, the GOONs disbanded, and the military presence removed. By the end, hundreds of thousands of rounds were fired at AIM positions , 2 AIM members were killed, 14 seriously injured, and 8 'disappeared'. In the 36 months that proceeded the end of the Pine Ridge standoff, more than 60 AIM members died violently on or near Pine Ridge.27


The Civil Rights Commission revealed that AIM was right to feel aggrieved during the occupation of Pine Ridge: The FBI had been complicit in rigging the 1974 Pine Ridge elections against AIM members.28


* * * *




Conclusion




The Church Committee investigated COINTELPRO and concluded:

Too many people have been spied upon by too many Government agencies and too much information has been collected. The Government has often undertaken the secret surveillance of citizens on the basis of their political beliefs, even when those beliefs posed no threat of violence or illegal acts on behalf of a hostile foreign power. The Government, operating primarily through secret informants, but also using other intrusive techniques such as wiretaps, microphone "bugs", surreptitious mail opening, and break-ins, has swept in vast amounts of information about the personal lives, views, and associations of American citizens. Investigations of groups deemed potentially dangerous -- and even of groups suspected of associating with potentially dangerous organizations -- have continued for decades, despite the fact that those groups did not engage in unlawful activity...
The Constitutional system of checks and balances has not adequately controlled intelligence activities. Until recently the Executive branch has neither delineated the scope of permissible activities nor established procedures for supervising intelligence agencies. Congress has failed to exercise sufficient oversight, seldom questioning the use to which its appropriations were being put.”


Simply put, the committee's conclusions are correct but fall short. It is clear that for a period of nearly 3 decades, the FBI waged a literal domestic war on largely peaceful activists who sought to bring about social and political change. During the time of the Vietnam war, MK-ULTRA, the struggles of various civil rights movements, Watergate and other criminal acts in the executive branch, the United States drastically needed effective leaders and organizations to affect change yet the FBI successfully suppressed any serious movements that arose.


Food for thought:


  1. How responsible is COINTELPRO for the fall of the American left in the 1970's?

  2. How likely is it that other high profile assassinations similar to Fred Hampton, such as Martin Luther King Jr., actions undertake by the FBI under COINTELPRO orders?

  3. What movements are currently being subverted by the FBI today?

  4. Did J. Edgar Hoover leave a corrupt infrastructure when he retired in 1972, after 37 years of being the FBI Director?





Note: This information is also a part of my free eBook, 'Lifting the Veil: An Investigative History of the United States Pathocracy'. If you enjoy this post, please download the book by clicking this link.




2From a 1970 FBI document, available here.
3Excerpt from the Church Committee, available here page 3
4Ward Churchill, “COINTELPRO Papers,” page 140. PDF available here. A truly astounding book that draws heavily on official documents provided by the FBI. A 'must read'.
6 Chicago Tribune, The Black Panther Raid and the death of Fred Hampton,” December 4, 1969
7 “Cointelpro Papers” page 160
8“Cointelpro Papers,” page 159
9Ibid.
10The Guardian, Preventing the rise of a 'messiah',” April 4, 2008
11The Coloring Book is hosted in various places, it is available here at NotreDame.edu
13Ibid.
14“COINTELPRO Papers,” page 147
15Ibid, page 164
16“COINTELPRO Papers,” Page 116
17Ibid. Page 118
19New York Times, Memphis Jury Sees Conspiracy in Martin Luther King's Killing,” December 9, 1999
20Ward Churchill, “Agents of Repression.” Excerpt available here.
21Documents Available Here.
22“The COINTEPRO Papers,” page 280
23The Guardian, Russell Means obituary,” November 1, 2012
24A Presentation to the United Nations Human Rights Committee by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, available here.
25Ward Churchill, “Agents of Repression,” Excerpt available here.
26Weyler, Rex “Blood on the Land,” page 54
27“COINTELPRO Papers,” Page 270
28Ibid.