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FBI COINTELPRO Is Back, And Worse Than Ever | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on December 30, 2022

The history of the FBI provides the best guide to the abuses that may be now occurring. From 1956 to 1971, the FBI carried out “a secret war against those citizens it considers threats to the established order,” a 1976 Senate report noted. The FBI’s Operation COINTELPRO involved thousands of covert operations to incite street warfare between violent groups, to get people fired, to portray innocent people as government informants, to destroy activists’ marriages, and to cripple or destroy left-wing, black, communist, white racist, and anti-war organizations. 

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/fbi-cointelpro-is-back-and-worse-than-ever/

by Jim Bovard

fbi agent cartoon

Elon Musk has opened the floodgates to expose the FBI’s latest war on Americans’ freedom of speech. The FBI massively intervened to pressure Twitter to suppress accounts and tweets from individuals the FBI disapproved of, including parody accounts. The FBI and other federal agencies also browbeat Facebook, Instagram, and many other social media companies.

Thus far, most of the American corporate media has ignored or downplayed the story, known as the Twitter Files. Since many of the individuals who the FBI got squelched were pro-Trump, the violation of their rights is a non-issue (or a cause for quiet celebration). At this point, it is difficult to know whether the scant reaction to the Twitter Files is the result of political bias, collective amnesia, or simply a total ignorance of American history.

The history of the FBI provides the best guide to the abuses that may be now occurring. From 1956 to 1971, the FBI carried out “a secret war against those citizens it considers threats to the established order,” a 1976 Senate report noted. The FBI’s Operation COINTELPRO involved thousands of covert operations to incite street warfare between violent groups, to get people fired, to portray innocent people as government informants, to destroy activists’ marriages, and to cripple or destroy left-wing, black, communist, white racist, and anti-war organizations. The FBI let no corner of American life escape its vigilance; it even worked to expose and discredit “communists who are secretly operating in legitimate organizations and employments, such as the Young Men’s Christian Association and Boy Scouts.”

While many people are aware of how the FBI hounded Martin Luther King Jr. and pressured him to commit suicide, that was not even the tip of the iceberg of the FBI’s racial persecution. Almost any black organization could be targeted for illegal wiretaps. One black leader was monitored largely because he had “recommended the possession of firearms by members for their self-protection.” At that time, some southern police departments and sheriffs were notorious for attacking blacks who stood up for their civil rights.

The FBI office in San Diego instigated violence between the local Black Panthers and a rival black organization, US (United Slaves Inc.). Agents sent forged letters making accusations and threats to the groups purportedly from their rivals, along with crude cartoons and drawings meant to enrage the recipients. Three Black Panthers and one member of the US were killed during the time the FBI was fanning the flames. A few days after shootings in which two Panthers were wounded and one was killed, and in which the US headquarters was bombed, the FBI office reported to headquarters: “Efforts are being made to determine how this situation can be capitalized upon for the benefit of the Counterintelligence Program.” The FBI office bragged shortly thereafter: “Shootings, beatings, and a high degree of unrest continues to prevail in the ghetto area of southeast San Diego…it is felt that a substantial amount of the unrest is directly attributable to this [FBI] program.”

The FBI set up a Ghetto Informant Program that continued after COINTELPRO and that had 7,402 informants, including proprietors of candy stores and barbershops, as of September 1972. The informants served as “listening posts” “to identify extremists passing through or locating in the ghetto area, to identify purveyors of extremist literature,” and to keep an eye on “Afro-American type bookstores” (including obtaining the names of the bookstore’s “clientele”). The informants’ reports were stockpiled in the FBI’s Racial Intelligence Unit. The FBI also created a national “Rabble Rouser” Index, a “major intelligence program…to identify ‘demagogues.’”

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