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Posts Tagged ‘COINTELPRO’

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : How Expansive is FBI Spying?

Posted by M. C. on January 21, 2020

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/january/20/how-expansive-is-fbi-spying/

Written by Ron Paul

Cato Institute Research Fellow Patrick Eddington recently filed several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to find out if the Federal Bureau of Investigation ever conducted surveillance of several organizations dealing with government policy, including my Campaign for Liberty. Based on the FBI’s response, Campaign for Liberty and other organizations, including the Cato institute and the Reason Foundation, may have been subjected to FBI surveillance or other data collection.

I say “may have been” because the FBI gave Mr. Eddington a “Glomar response” to his FOIA requests pertaining to these organizations. A Glomar response is where an agency says it can “neither confirm nor deny” involvement in a particular activity. Glomar was a salvage ship the Central Intelligence Agency used to recover a sunken Soviet submarine in the 1970s. In response to a FOIA request by Rolling Stone magazine, the CIA claimed that just confirming or denying the Glomar’s involvement in the salvage operation would somehow damage national security. A federal court agreed with the agency, giving federal bureaucrats, and even local police departments, a new way to avoid giving direct answers.

The Glomar response means these organizations may have been, and may still be, subjected to federal surveillance. As Mr. Eddington told Reason magazine, “We know for a fact that Glomar invocations have been used to conceal actual, ongoing activities, and we also know that they’re not passing out Glomars like candy.”

Protecting the right of individuals to join together in groups to influence government policy is at the very heart of the First Amendment. Therefore, the FBI subjecting such groups to surveillance can violate the constitutional rights of everyone involved with the groups.

The FBI has a long history of targeting Americans whose political beliefs and activities threaten the FBI’s power or the power of influential politicians. The then-named Bureau of Investigation participated in the crackdown on people suspected of being communists in the post-World War I “Red Scare.” The anti-communist crackdown was headed by a young agent named J. Edgar Hoover who went on to become FBI director, a position he held until his death. Hoover kept and expanded his power by using the FBI to collect blackmail material on people including politicians.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the FBI spied on supporters of the America First movement, including several Congress members. Two of the most famous examples of FBI targeting individuals based on their political activities are the harassment of Martin Luther King Jr. and the COINTELPRO program. COINTELPRO was an organized effort to spy on and actively disrupt “subversive” organizations, including antiwar groups

COINTELPRO officially ended in the 1970s. However, the FBI still targets individuals and organizations it considers “subversive,” including antiwar groups and citizen militias.

Congress must hold hearings to determine if the FBI is currently using unconstitutional methods to “monitor” any organizations based on their beliefs. Congress must then take whatever steps necessary to ensure that no Americans are ever again targeted for surveillance because of their political beliefs and activities.


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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Ann Coulter: Happy Kwanzaa! The Holiday Brought to You by the FBI

Posted by M. C. on December 26, 2019

When Karenga was asked to distinguish Kawaida, the philosophy underlying Kwanzaa, from “classical Marxism,” he essentially said that, under Kawaida, we also hate whites.

While taking the “best of early Chinese and Cuban socialism” (is that the mass murder, the imprisonment of homosexuals or the forced labor?), Karenga said Kawaida practitioners believe one’s racial identity “determines life conditions, life chances and self-understanding.”

There’s an inclusive philosophy for you!

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/12/26/ann-coulter-happy-kwanzaa-the-holiday-brought-to-you-by-the-fbi-2/

Kwanzaa, celebrated exclusively by white liberals, is a fake holiday invented in 1966 by black radical/FBI stooge Ron Karenga — aka Dr. Maulana Karenga, founder of United Slaves, the violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers. Liberals have become so mesmerized by multicultural gibberish that they have forgotten the real history of Kwanzaa and Karenga’s United Slaves.

In what was ultimately a foolish gambit, during the madness of the ’60s, the FBI encouraged the most extreme black nationalist organizations in order to discredit and split the left. The more preposterous the group, the better. (It’s the same function MSNBC serves today.)

By that criterion, Karenga’s United Slaves was perfect.

Despite modern perceptions that blend all the black activists of the ’60s, the Black Panthers did not hate whites. Although some of their most high-profile leaders were drug dealers and murderers, they did not seek armed revolution.

Those were the precepts of Karenga’s United Slaves. The United Slaves were proto-fascists, walking around in dashikis, gunning down Black Panthers and adopting invented “African” names. (I will not be shooting any Black Panthers this week because I am Kwanzaa-reform, and we are not that observant.)

It’s as if David Duke invented a holiday called “Anglika,” which he based on the philosophy of “Mein Kampf” — and clueless public schoolteachers began celebrating the made-up, racist holiday.

In the category of the-gentleman-doth-protest-too-much, back in the ’70s, Karenga was quick to criticize Nigerian newspapers that claimed that certain American black radicals were CIA operatives.

Now we know the truth: The FBI fueled the bloody rivalry between the Panthers and United Slaves. In the annals of the American ’60s, Karenga was the Father Gapon, stooge of the czarist police. Whether Karenga was a willing FBI dupe, or just a dupe, remains unclear.

But the left has forgotten the FBI’s tacit encouragement of this murderous black nationalist cult founded by the father of Kwanzaa.

In one barbarous outburst, Karenga’s United Slaves shot two Black Panthers to death on the UCLA campus: Al “Bunchy” Carter and John Huggins. Karenga himself served time — a useful stepping-stone for his current position as the chair of the Africana Studies Department at California State University at Long Beach.

(Speaking of which, the cheap labor lobby certainly was right about how the GOP could easily win over “socially conservative” minorities. Look at how California has swung decisively to the right since whites became a minority there. Good luck winning California now, Democrats!)

Back to the esteemed Cal State professor: Karenga’s invented holiday is a nutty blend of schmaltzy ’60s rhetoric, black racism and Marxism. The seven principles of Kwanzaa are the very same seven principles of the Symbionese Liberation Army, another invention of The Worst Generation.

In 1974, Patty Hearst, kidnap victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, famously posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snakehead stood for one of the SLA’s revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani. These are the exact same seven “principles” of Kwanzaa, or “Kawaida,” as Karenga calls them. (And here’s something interesting: Kawaida, Kwanzaa and Kuumba are also the only three Kardashian sisters not to have their own shows on the E! network.)

Kwanzaa praises collectivism in every possible area of life. It takes a village to raise a police snitch.

When Karenga was asked to distinguish Kawaida, the philosophy underlying Kwanzaa, from “classical Marxism,” he essentially said that, under Kawaida, we also hate whites.

While taking the “best of early Chinese and Cuban socialism” (is that the mass murder, the imprisonment of homosexuals or the forced labor?), Karenga said Kawaida practitioners believe one’s racial identity “determines life conditions, life chances and self-understanding.”

There’s an inclusive philosophy for you!

Sing to “Jingle Bells”:

Kwanzaa bells, dashikis sell
Whitey has to pay;
Burning, shooting, oh what fun
On this made-up holiday!

Kwanzaa emerged not from Africa, but from the FBI’s COINTELPRO. It is a holiday celebrated exclusively by idiot white liberals. Black people celebrate Christmas.

Merry Christmas, fellow Christians!

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One of the FBI’s Most Illegal Hoover-Era Operations: COINTELPRO — Put on Steroids by LBJ and Hoover – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on December 20, 2019

She was falsely accused of being impregnated by one of the Panthers (the white baby, whose father was Jean’s husband, diplomat Romain Gary, was stillborn); her friends said she never recovered from that experience, and continued to be harassed by the FBI until, at age 40, Jean Seberg committed suicide in Paris, in 1979

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/12/phillip-f-nelson/one-of-the-fbis-most-illegal-hoover-era-operations-cointelpro-put-on-steroids-by-lbj-and-hoover/

By

LBJ: Master of Deceit

~ Hat’s Off to William Auth, (1942-2014)
Editorial Cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer ~

COINTELPRO

Unbeknownst to the public – or, initially in the 1950s, even the higher-level officials of the Department of Justice – the FBI’s home-grown COINTELPRO (Code for “Counterintelligence Program”) created an official policy to use illegal forms of surveillance such as bugging devices and wiretapping.  By the mid-1960s, it was subsequently expanded to allow the use of other illegal tactics, solely on the whims of J. Edgar Hoover.  As will be demonstrated below, it would soon adopt the most horrid, inhumane types of torture normally associated with Hitler’s Gestapo or Stalin’s Gulag Archipelago, though these operations were mostly “sub-contracted” to local thugs for execution, as we will shortly describe.  That these highly illegal and unconstitutional acts took place under Lyndon B. Johnson’s regime should not go unnoticed, as it should be clear that his well-known propensity for micromanaging all such activities means that the order more than likely came from him, just as his calls to “Kill More Cong” ultimately resulted in Operation Phoenix and the series of atrocities against innocent Vietnamese civilians that produced the 1968 My Lai 4 Massacre that killed 504 women, children and old men.

The use of these devices under such loose methods went well beyond “legal” constraints – they even vaulted over the higher threshold of the Fourth Amendment[1] of the Constitution – and continued, essentially unnoticed and/or uncontrolled by all of Hoover’s superiors, at least until Robert F. Kennedy finally attempted to establish control, with limited success.  Hoover, it seems, had conferred unto himself, rather than the judicial system, the authority to issue “warrants” under the amendment, where it delineates the conditions under which they may be properly issued. Perhaps it was under that leap-of-logic that he had taken the liberty of renaming his office as the “Seat of Government” (S.O.G.) as a means of justifying, to himself, the arrogated gravitas of his rarified position of paramount authority.

The FBI’s secret COINTELPRO had begun in 1956, just as Martin Luther King Jr. had become a national figure as the most famed civil rights activist.  It continued to secretly grow – propelled to a Gestapo-like leviathan during the 1960s Johnson administration – until it was exposed in March, 1971 when the FBI’s field office in Media, Pennsylvania was burglarized. It was merely one of the many secrets discovered in that break-in and passed to the news media.  The burglars belonged to an activist group called the “Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI.” The burglary occurred on a night when a large part of the population was distracted due to a boxing match called “The Fight of the Century” between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali (Ali himself was one of the thousands of people targeted by the program because of his support for the anti-war movement).

Among other celebrities caught up in Hoover’s net were ex-Beatles singer John Lennon,[2] other early rock stars such as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, folk singer Pete Seeger, painter Pablo Picasso, comic actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin, comedian Lenny Bruce and poet Allen Ginsberg.  The early deaths of many of the rock musicians of the period, including Jim Morrison, were long-suspected to be related to the general paranoia suffered by many political leaders in those days. Mae Brussell had begun tracking the litany of such names in the late 60s and continued through the 1970s, stating what is now generally accepted by all: “the United States is secretly run by powerful groups that will stop at nothing to maintain control,” a statement she made which was published by the Monterey (California) Herald, Oct. 4, 1988.[3]

Still another entangled star, the child-actress Jean Seberg — “discovered” by Otto Preminger at age 17 in 1956 – was also targeted by the FBI in 1968 for her financial support of the Black Panthers. She spent a decade in turmoil over the harassment – including being repeatedly characterized as “the alleged promiscuous and sex-perverted white actress.” She was falsely accused of being impregnated by one of the Panthers (the white baby, whose father was Jean’s husband, diplomat Romain Gary, was stillborn); her friends said she never recovered from that experience, and continued to be harassed by the FBI until, at age 40, Jean Seberg committed suicide in Paris, in 1979.[4]

The FBI Sets up a Nationwide Targeting Program Aimed at Student Protestors and “The New Left” Generally, And Thomas Cahill Specifically

Among the many thousands of lesser-known people around the country who were similarly targeted was a San Antonio writer, photographer, magazine editor and anti-war protestor named Thomas Cahill. Cahill wrote the following passages to a friend, explaining his early life:[5]

  • I grew up in New Jersey where I was born in 1937. While in the Air Force in 1955, I fell in love with Texas where I was stationed awhile.  Upon discharge from the service, I studied journalism at the University of Texas in Austin and afterward got a job on a statewide magazine during which time I was assigned to photograph Pres. & Mrs. Kennedy at a Democratic Party Fundraiser in Austin the night of Nov. 22, 1963.  I had a White House press pass and a friend of Vice-Pres. Johnson was going to set-up a photo op for me.  To say this 26-year-old was “excited,” is an understatement.
  • Of course the Kennedy’s never made it to the Party-party.  And this was the second or third major trauma of my life, the first having grown up in a dysfunctional family, and the second my service time in Germany for which in January 2013 I received a 100 percent, service-connected disability pension from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  This is how I’m now able to live abroad.

In the first few years after President Kennedy was murdered on Elm Street in Dallas, Cahill watched as the country became divided by the new president’s manipulations to put it on a warpath that made no sense to him, and millions of others who were also aghast at the horrors his policies portended.  By 1967-68, most people paying minimal attention to the growing numbers of American boys killed or wounded began realizing that they had been lied to by President Johnson, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and the generals running the war, about how “successfully” his war was going.

As did so many others watching it unfold, America stumbled into a particularly senseless war and Tom Cahill’s name, as a disillusioned veteran who had begun participating in anti-war demonstrations, thus appeared in underground newspapers.  That caused his life to be abruptly turned upside down because he had unwittingly become caught up in a “perfect storm” of events colliding around him.

It was in January, 1968 when the Tet Offensive by North Vietnam taught the nation that “the light at the end of the tunnel” was, metaphorically, an out-of-control runaway train with loose cannons on the flatbeds, driven by a drunken engineer called “LBJ”.  By February, a sea-change in American attitudes toward the war began which triggered reactions throughout Washington and the nation as both sides – the “Doves and the Hawks” in the parlance of the times – solidified their positions; even CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite, generally considered to be “the most trusted man in America,” finally decided the misbegotten war was doomed to fail.  But not the President, who continued his quest to defeat the Communists, at one point telling one of his military briefers, Colonel John Downie, who had urged him to get out of Vietnam, “I cannot get out of Vietnam, John, my friends are making too much money.”[6]

The elements of the perfect storm gathering in early 1968, which would change Tom Cahill’s life forever, included these subparts:

  • During mid-1967, President Lyndon Johnson had ordered Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Richard Helms to begin spying on the anti-war movement. The exact date of the meeting is not known, but August 15, 1967 was the date of the first official CIA memo on the program. Although Helms told LBJ that such a program would be illegal, LBJ ordered him to do it anyway, and he complied, apparently in fear of losing his prestigious and well-paid job.[7]
  • The CIA delivered four reports on the anti-war movement, none of which reported any evidence of foreign involvement.  LBJ rejected the conclusions of all four of them and remained convinced that the anti-war movement was influenced or controlled by foreign governments, either China, “Hanoi” or the Soviet Union. The reports were delivered on November 15, 1967, December 22, 1967, January 5, 1968, and September 4, 1968.[8]
  • In May, 1968, clearly in an act directly related to the actions noted above, the FBI’s “intelligence” gathering program COINTELPRO – previously used by the FBI to track Martin Luther King Jr. and assorted other targeted civil rights activists and suspected communists – was extended widely, to track anti-war and civil rights protestors under a comprehensive, country-wide and highly illegal program that had already been growing in breadth and depth throughout the turbulent 1960s.  All field offices were sent a memorandum describing their responsibilities under the program, including identifying potential subjects and reporting results of their surveillance activities on a three-month interval.  The FBI memorandum describes the program thusly: General instructions are being furnished to all offices relating to the purpose and administration of this new program.  Briefly, these instructions require all offices to submit an analysis of possible counterintelligence operations on the New Left and on the Key Activists on or before 6/1/68, including any specific recommendations for action.  Thereafter, all offices will submit a 90-day status letter setting forth a summary of their accomplishments and future plans . . . “
  • In the meantime, Tom Cahill had become the publisher of Inferno, a San Antonio, Texas underground newspaper, printed in English and Spanish.  His use of this medium to express his dissenting views of the war would have made him an easy target, even for lazy FBI agents acting from their desk chairs, who were then being enlisted by FBI HQ officials to search for “new left” candidates to add to their lists of designated malcontents protesting LBJ’s war.  FBI files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), presented below, show that Cahill had been targeted by that agency’s field personnel (apparently after merely reading his reports in the Inferno) following instructions from “S.O.G.” – Hoover’s term for the “Seat of Government.”  Cahill’s reportage, unfortunately for him, appeared concurrently with that new COINTEL program, and the following additional developments occurring in the CIA and FBI.

Memorandum to William C. Sullivan 5/9/1968 Read the rest of this entry »

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The FBI’s Long History of Treating Political Dissent as Terrorism

Posted by M. C. on October 25, 2019

Like the old bureau under Palmer, today’s FBI also casts its net around a wide range of civil society and social justice groups as well as racial and religious minorities.

“What is known is that there is a persistent pattern of monitoring civil society activity,”

https://theintercept.com/2019/10/22/terrorism-fbi-political-dissent/

While terrorism in the U.S. is relatively rare, over the last decade most politically motivated violence has come at the hands of far-right extremists. Despite that reality, the FBI has devoted disproportionate resources to the surveillance of nonviolent civil society groups and protest movements, particularly on the left, using its mandate to protect national security to target scores of individuals posing no threat but opposing government policies and practices.

Since 2010, the FBI has surveilled black activists and Muslim Americans, Palestinian solidarity and peace activists, Abolish ICE protesters, Occupy Wall Street, environmentalists, Cuba and Iran normalization proponents, and protesters at the Republican National Convention. And that is just the surveillance we know of — as the civil liberties group Defending Rights & Dissent documents in a report published today. The report is a detailed catalog of known FBI First Amendment abuses and political surveillance since 2010, when the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General published the last official review of Bush-era abuses. The incidents the report references, many of which were previously covered by The Intercept, were largely exposed through public records requests by journalists, activists, and civil rights advocates. The FBI relentlessly fought those disclosures, and the documents we have were often so heavily redacted they only revealed the existence of initiatives like a “Race Paper” or an “Iron Fist” operation, both targeting racial justice activists, while giving away little detail about their content.

But the targeting of political dissent is nothing new for the FBI. In fact, one of the bureau’s first campaigns, which began a hundred years ago next month, was an abusive crackdown of politically active immigrants it viewed as disloyal potential terrorists.

On the second anniversary of Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution, law enforcement agents at the direction of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation — the FBI’s precursor — raided the Russian People’s House in New York City, where immigrants gathered to take classes, and beat and arrested everyone they found there. In the months following, local and federal police across major U.S. cities rounded up thousands of men and women, mostly foreign-born, who they accused of being subversives and Communists. The raids followed politically motivated investigations into immigrant associations, labor organizing groups, and leftist and anarchist circles.

07211v-loc-edit-1571670580

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, seen through the window of his home at in Washington, D.C., after it was bombed on June 2, 1919.

The Palmer Raids, as they came to be known, after Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, ushered in an era that tested the nation’s commitment to the civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution. One hundred years later, the FBI continues to target political dissent with a broad mandate, little oversight, and next to no transparency. The FBI continues to routinely conflate dissent with terrorism, and remains particularly fixated on leftist ideologies. Like the old bureau under Palmer, today’s FBI also casts its net around a wide range of civil society and social justice groups as well as racial and religious minorities.

“What is known is that there is a persistent pattern of monitoring civil society activity,” the report concludes, calling for strict oversight and reform of the bureau. “The FBI continuously singles out peace, racial justice, environmental, and economic justice groups for scrutiny. This is consistent with a decades-long pattern of FBI First Amendment abuses and suggests deeply seated political bias.”

After reviewing the report, a spokesperson for the FBI wrote in a statement to The Intercept that every activity the FBI conducts “must uphold the Constitution and be carried out in accordance with federal laws.” The spokesperson added that the bureau’s investigative activities “may not be based solely on the exercise of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment” and that its methods “are subject to multiple layers of oversight.” On its website, the bureau calls the Palmer Raids “certainly not a bright spot for the young Bureau” but adds that they did allow it to “gain valuable experience in terrorism investigations and intelligence work and learn important lessons about the need to protect civil liberties and constitutional rights.”

In fact, FBI violations of civil liberties and constitutional rights continued to be exposed at different points in the bureau’s history — most notably in the aftermath of the civil rights movement and in the post-9/11 years. Yet the bureau’s propensity for the policing of political dissent has remained largely unchallenged, the Defending Rights & Dissent report argues. “In the 100 years since the Palmer Raids,” asks Chip Gibbons, the report’s author, “how much has changed?”

From the Palmer Raids to 9/11

The Palmer Raids were launched on November 7, 1919, on the heels of U.S. government panic about the spread of Bolshevism and anarchism in the country’s nascent labor movement, and following a series of bombings, including one targeting Palmer’s own house. In response, police officers carrying clubs and blackjacks but no arrest warrants stormed apartments and meeting rooms, and rounded up scores of mostly Eastern European and Italian immigrants they accused of being “leftists” and “subversives.” Over several months, 10,000 people were arrested in a dozen cities, with thousands held in detention and ordered deported. While most deportation orders were ultimately invalidated, more than 500 people were forcibly removed, according to the report.

The raids swept up hundreds of people with no connection to political movements and failed to yield anyone responsible for the bombings that had justified them. The abuse resulted in the first official efforts to put a check on the powers of the Bureau of Investigation, which had been established in 1908 over Congress’s opposition. At the time, legislators had feared the bureau would become a “secret police force” used to spy on Americans and infringe on civil liberties, but when Congress adjourned, President Theodore Roosevelt proceeded to set up the bureau anyway. The raids confirmed legislators’ fears.

“It was the first real awakening of a civil liberties consciousness in the country,” said Christopher Finan, author of a book on the Palmer Raids. “Because even though we had had the First Amendment for more than 100 years at that point, and we were philosophically committed to free speech, it hadn’t actually been protected. There really were no protections that could be thrown up to protect people when the Red Scare began.”

While groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, founded months after the raids began, have won important First Amendment battles, repeated legislative efforts to limit the powers of the FBI have been short-lived. Decades after the raids, the man who masterminded them — a 24-year-old J. Edgar Hoover — went on to lead COINTELPRO, perhaps the FBI’s most infamous political policing operation. The revelation that the FBI had engaged in covert efforts to infiltrate, discredit, and sabotage the anti-war and civil rights movements of the 1960s led to a Senate investigation, a moment of national reckoning, and reforms aimed at protecting First Amendment rights from government overreach.

“Unfortunately, after 9/11 those protections were removed and so the abuse that we had was not only predictable, but predicted,” said Mike German, a former FBI agent and outspoken critic of the agency. “It’s easy for a government that is focused on addressing national security threats to quickly begin to view any threat to that government’s hold of power as a security threat, rather than a political threat.”…

The rest here

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J. Edgar Hoover: A law unto himself - CBS News

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The FBI’s Long History of Treating Political Dissent as Terrorism

Posted by M. C. on October 23, 2019

“What is known is that there is a persistent pattern of monitoring civil society activity,” the report concludes, calling for strict oversight and reform of the bureau. “The FBI continuously singles out peace, racial justice, environmental, and economic justice groups for scrutiny. This is consistent with a decades-long pattern of FBI First Amendment abuses and suggests deeply seated political bias.”

https://theintercept.com/2019/10/22/terrorism-fbi-political-dissent/

While terrorism in the U.S. is relatively rare, over the last decade most politically motivated violence has come at the hands of far-right extremists. Despite that reality, the FBI has devoted disproportionate resources to the surveillance of nonviolent civil society groups and protest movements, particularly on the left, using its mandate to protect national security to target scores of individuals posing no threat but opposing government policies and practices.

Since 2010, the FBI has surveilled black activists and Muslim Americans, Palestinian solidarity and peace activists, Abolish ICE protesters, Occupy Wall Street, environmentalists, Cuba and Iran normalization proponents, and protesters at the Republican National Convention. And that is just the surveillance we know of — as the civil liberties group Defending Rights & Dissent documents in a report published today. The report is a detailed catalog of known FBI First Amendment abuses and political surveillance since 2010, when the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General published the last official review of Bush-era abuses. The incidents the report references, many of which were previously covered by The Intercept, were largely exposed through public records requests by journalists, activists, and civil rights advocates. The FBI relentlessly fought those disclosures, and the documents we have were often so heavily redacted they only revealed the existence of initiatives like a “Race Paper” or an “Iron Fist” operation, both targeting racial justice activists, while giving away little detail about their content.

But the targeting of political dissent is nothing new for the FBI. In fact, one of the bureau’s first campaigns, which began a hundred years ago next month, was an abusive crackdown of politically active immigrants it viewed as disloyal potential terrorists.

On the second anniversary of Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution, law enforcement agents at the direction of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation — the FBI’s precursor — raided the Russian People’s House in New York City, where immigrants gathered to take classes, and beat and arrested everyone they found there. In the months following, local and federal police across major U.S. cities rounded up thousands of men and women, mostly foreign-born, who they accused of being subversives and Communists. The raids followed politically motivated investigations into immigrant associations, labor organizing groups, and leftist and anarchist circles.

The Palmer Raids, as they came to be known, after Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, ushered in an era that tested the nation’s commitment to the civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution. One hundred years later, the FBI continues to target political dissent with a broad mandate, little oversight, and next to no transparency. The FBI continues to routinely conflate dissent with terrorism, and remains particularly fixated on leftist ideologies. Like the old bureau under Palmer, today’s FBI also casts its net around a wide range of civil society and social justice groups as well as racial and religious minorities.

“What is known is that there is a persistent pattern of monitoring civil society activity,” the report concludes, calling for strict oversight and reform of the bureau. “The FBI continuously singles out peace, racial justice, environmental, and economic justice groups for scrutiny. This is consistent with a decades-long pattern of FBI First Amendment abuses and suggests deeply seated political bias.”

After reviewing the report, a spokesperson for the FBI wrote in a statement to The Intercept that every activity the FBI conducts “must uphold the Constitution and be carried out in accordance with federal laws.” The spokesperson added that the bureau’s investigative activities “may not be based solely on the exercise of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment” and that its methods “are subject to multiple layers of oversight.” On its website, the bureau calls the Palmer Raids “certainly not a bright spot for the young Bureau” but adds that they did allow it to “gain valuable experience in terrorism investigations and intelligence work and learn important lessons about the need to protect civil liberties and constitutional rights.”

In fact, FBI violations of civil liberties and constitutional rights continued to be exposed at different points in the bureau’s history — most notably in the aftermath of the civil rights movement and in the post-9/11 years…

Across the country, activists have taken note. “I think a lot of us have just become used to being surveilled by the government,” said Mustafa Jumale, policy manager with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration based in Minneapolis, where the FBI has targeted Muslims and African immigrants. “The FBI has been harassing Somalis since I was in college. As a student, they used to just come to our student association, pull people out of class, all these things.”

Jumale added that some fellow activists, and particularly those who are not citizens, have scaled back their engagement in response to the surveillance, working “behind the scenes” but avoiding protests and public statements. But others noted that surveillance won’t succeed to intimidate a social justice movement that feels as urgent as ever.

“Activists today are knowledgeable and informed about COINTELRPO and previous iterations of surveillance of activists, and people are pretty hip to it. They understand the government may be watching them,” said Myaisha Hayes, an organizer with the racial justice group Media Justice whose grandfather spent 45 years in prison over his involvement with the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. “When people are oppressed and they’re fighting for greater justice and liberation, there are very few things that are going to stop them.”

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Constitution Day 2019: The Hidden Domestic Surveillance Crisis – Just Security

Posted by M. C. on September 23, 2019

Congress should investigate…

Don’t bank on it. The FIB knows too much.

https://www.justsecurity.org/66201/constitution-day-2019-the-hidden-domestic-surveillance-crisis/

by

As we mark the 232nd anniversary of the signing of America’s governing charter in 1787, we have ample evidence that it continues to be violated by the federal officials charged with upholding it.

Last month, The Young Turks (TYT) news and talk network obtained the FBI’s 2018-2020 “Consolidated Strategy Guide,” which not only referenced the targeting of so-called “Black Identity Extremists” (BIE’s) but also those designated as engaged in “Anti-Government/Anti-Authority Extremism,” “Abortion Extremism,” or “Animal Rights/Environmental Extremism.” In a House Oversight and Reform subcommittee hearing in June, FBI Counterterrorism Division Director Michael McGarrity had admitted under questioning that the FBI could not cite a single example of a murder that could be linked to any African American activist group, including Black Lives Matter. He also claimed that the Bureau had eliminated the entire category of “Black Identity Extremists” from its lexicon. The document obtained by TYT casts doubt on McGarrity’s claim, particularly given the use of the term “Black Racially Motivated Extremists” (BRME) elsewhere in the Guide.

The Guide does not disclose the precise criteria the FBI uses to label individuals or groups as extremists or alleged threats, but it does discuss in some detail the aggressive “intelligence collection” posture the FBI took against so-called BIE’s. Page 1 of the section on BIE’s contains the following:

“The FBIHQ-led Threat Mitigation Strategy IRON FIST was implemented to mitigate the potential threat posed by the BIE movement at the national level. IRON FlST will accomplish this by identifying actionable intelligence to directly support the initiation of FBI investigations and augment current efforts directed against BlEs. IRON FIST is designed to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing threat posed by BlEs, to proactively address this priority domestic terrorism target by focusing FBI operations via enhanced intelligence collection efforts. ln addition, FBIHQ works to develop potential [confidential human sources] CHSs and conduct assessments on the current BIE CHS base. Many BlEs are convicted felons who are prohibited possessors, therefore the FBI will continue to use their prohibited possessor status as a tactic to assist in mitigating the threat for potential violence.”

Indeed, this “Threat Mitigation Strategy” is a template that the FBI is applying to other groups and individuals designated as “White Supremacy Extremists” (WSEs), as revealed on page 1 of the section on WSE’s:

“The FBIHQ-led Threat Mitigation Strategy SUPREME RENDITION was implemented to mitigate the potential threat posed by WSE movements at the national level and will accomplish this by identifying actionable intelligence to directly support the initiation of FBI investigations and augment current efforts directed against WSEs. SUPREME RENDITION is designed to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing threat posed by WSEs, to proactively address this priority domestic terrorism target by focusing FBI operations via enhanced intelligence collection efforts. ln addition, FBIHQ works to develop potential CHSs and conduct assessments on the current WSE CHS base. Noting that many WSE subjects are convicted felons and are prohibited from legally possessing firearms, the FBI is exploiting the Dark Web or Dark Net to determine whether persons with a WSE ideology are using these non-indexed “hidden” websites and domains to procure firearms, explosives, murder-for-hire, or other illegal services in furtherance of their beliefs. Also, the FBI will use their prohibited possessor status as a tactic to assist in mitigating the threat for potential violence.”

The Threat of an Ideological Test

That the FBI is using an ideological test of its own devising to determine whether a person seeking products or services on “the Dark Web” is a threat raises a host of potential constitutional issues, including whether the monitoring of a person’s online activities based on their ideology runs afoul of the First Amendment or the Brandenburg v. Ohio decision…

Earlier this year, I submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the FBI on 37 groups publicly working on immigration policy issues, some of them direct client-services organizations. Many of these FOIAs remain outstanding or are in varying stages of appeal or potential litigation. However, FBI FOIA responses received to date indicate that at least five of these groups — Chula Vista Partners in Courage, Pangea Legal Services, Immigration Hub, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), and the Transgender Law Center — may have been targeted for surveillance.

For each of the groups listed above, the FOIA appeal response I received from the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) contained the following language:

“To the extent that your request could encompass any national security or foreign intelligence records, I have determined that the FBI properly refused to confirm or deny the existence of any national security or foreign intelligence records responsive to your request because the existence or nonexistence of any such responsive records is currently and properly classified. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(1).”

In the world of FOIA, this kind of response is known as a “Glomar” — a reference to a 1981 FOIA case (Phillippi v. CIA, 655 F.2d 1325, 1327 (D.C. Cir. 1981), in which the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the CIA could refuse to confirm or deny even the very existence of information on a topic if the fact of its existence was itself deemed classified.

The 1981 case revolved around the efforts of a Rolling Stone reporter to get records of conversations between CIA Director William Colby and the heads of various news organizations that had learned about a Tom Clancy-like CIA operation to raise a sunken Soviet sub from the Pacific Ocean. The CIA’s argument, which the Court accepted, was that even the revelation of Colby’s efforts to kill the story would tip off the Soviets that the CIA might, in fact, have managed to salvage at least something from the sunken Soviet sub.

Since that 1981 D.C. appellate court decision, other federal courts have generally upheld executive branch invocations of Glomar responses to FOIA requests. In my view, those ill-considered decisions have now led to a much wider and far more dubious resort to Glomar responses by federal agencies and departments, in this case by the FBI as it relates to immigration policy activism by domestic U.S. groups.

For the five groups in question in my FOIA actions, the FBI is asserting FOIA’s “national security” or (b)(1) exemption in a Glomar context. How can the provision of legal advice, counseling or other services to immigrants represent “a threat to national security?”

A Role for Congress

Congress should investigate whether the FBI is targeting these groups in the absence of a legitimate criminal investigative predicate and is using the Glomar exception (or other dubious FOIA evasion tactics) to conceal that activity from the public and the courts…

Be seeing you

hoover

Yes son, you too can grow up to be lying scum and hate black people.

 

 

 

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Shocking Admission By FBI Veteran Shows Why The FBI Shouldn’t Exist – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on January 24, 2019

…when I first got into the FBI, one of the missions of the FBI in its counterintelligence efforts was to try and keep these people out of government.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/01/21/shocking-admission-by-fbi-veteran-shows-why-the-fbi-shouldnt-exist/

On the 18th of November, 1964, the FBI’s appallingly corrupt boss J. Edgar Hoover denounced Martin Luther King Jr. as “the most notorious liar in the country.” A few days later, a Hoover deputy named William Sullivan wrote King a letter posing as a disillusioned follower and using powerful, manipulative language to urge the civil rights leader to commit suicide before evidence of his extramarital affair became public. Enclosed was an FBI recording containing evidence of the affair.

Whenever America celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day we should remind ourselves that it is a known, undisputed fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation engineered a psyop to manipulate one of the world’s greatest minds into committing suicide. It is also worth reviewing the compelling argument for the case that the FBI was behind King’s assassination as well.

Hoover, who headed the FBI for decades, obsessively despised King on a deeply personal level. He kept files on the civil rights leader in which he’d scribble hateful comments on memos he received about King, apparently for no purpose other than his own gratification and catharsis. On a memo about King receiving the St. Francis peace medal from the Catholic Church, he wrote “This is disgusting.” On the news of King’s meeting with the pope, he scribbled, “I am amazed that the Pope gave an audience to such a degenerate.”

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The War on Populism, by C.J. Hopkins – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on January 14, 2019

http://www.unz.com/chopkins/the-war-on-populism/

Remember when the War on Terror ended and the War on Populism began? That’s OK, no one else does.

It happened in the Summer of 2016, also known as “the Summer of Fear.” The War on Terror was going splendidly. There had been a series of “terrorist attacks,” in Orlando, Nice, Würzberg, Munich, Reutlingen, Ansbach, and Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, each of them perpetrated by suddenly “self-radicalized” “lone wolf terrorists” (or “non-terrorist terrorists“) who had absolutely no connection to any type of organized terrorist groups prior to suddenly “self- radicalizing” themselves by consuming “terrorist content” on the Internet. It seemed we were entering a new and even more terrifying phase of the Global War on Terror, a phase in which anyone could be a “terrorist” and “terrorism” could mean almost anything.

This broadening of the already virtually meaningless definition of “terrorism” was transpiring just in time for Obama to hand off the reins to Hillary Clinton, who everyone knew was going to be the next president, and who was going to have to bomb the crap out of Syria in response to the non-terrorist terrorist threat. The War on Terror (or, rather, “the series of persistent targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America,” as Obama rebranded it) was going to continue, probably forever. The Brexit referendum had just taken place, but no one had really digested that yet … and then Trump won the nomination.

Like that scene in Orwell’s 1984 where the Party switches official enemies right in the middle of the Hate Week rally, the War on Terror was officially canceled and replaced by the War on Populism… Read the rest of this entry »

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A politically weaponized FBI is nothing new, but plenty dangerous | TheHill

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2018

But the Founding Fathers never intended a secret police force to be an independent fourth branch of the federal government. As James Madison warned in 1788, “Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression.”

https://thehill.com/opinion/civil-rights/392084-a-politically-weaponized-fbi-is-nothing-new-but-plenty-dangerous

BY JAMES BOVARD

The Justice Department Inspector General is expected to release on Thursday its report on alleged FBI misconduct during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump supporters and opponents are already pre-spinning the report to vindicate or undercut the president. Unfortunately, the report will not consider fundamental question of whether the FBI’s vast power and secrecy is compatible with American democracy.

According to some Republicans, the FBI’s noble history was tainted by its apparent favoritism for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Democrats have gyrated over the past 18 months, first blaming the FBI for Clinton’s loss and then exalting the FBI (along with former FBI chief and Special Counsel Robert Mueller) as the best hope to save the nation.

In reality, the FBI has been politically weaponized for almost a century. The FBI was in the forefront of the notorious Red Scare raids of 1919 and 1920. Attorney General Mitchell Palmer reportedly hoped that arresting nearly 10,000 suspected radicals and immigrants would propel his presidential campaign. Federal Judge Anderson condemned Palmer’s crackdown for creating a “spy system” that “destroys trust and confidence and propagates hate.” He said, “A mob is a mob whether made up of government officials acting under instructions from the Department of Justice, or of criminals, loafers, and the vicious classes.”

After the Palmer raids debacle, the FBI turned its attention to U.S. senators, “breaking into their offices and homes, intercepting their mail, and tapping their telephones,” as Timothy Weiner noted in his 2012 book, “Enemies: The History of the FBI”… Read the rest of this entry »

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The FBI’s Forgotten Criminal History

Posted by M. C. on December 17, 2017

“Your FIB” honing it’s skills for over a hundred years. The post forgot to mention the FBI suicide letter to ML King.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/24/the-fbis-forgotten-criminal-history/

But the FBI has a long record of both deceit and incompetence. Five years ago, Americans learned that the FBI was teaching its agents that “the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others.” This has practically been the Bureau’s motif since its creation in 1908.

hoover

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