COINTELPRO Killed The Movement

2We know the government has gangs starting with the police and those identified by alphabets: CIA, IRS, FBI, and so on! I speak on this because there is a new movement and I would suggest they beware of the government. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act some of the secrecy that surrounded these agencies have been revealed. Yes, times have changed but did things change behind the walls of these groups. One of these alphabet groups in particular viewed Dr. Martin Luther King as the “most dangerous man in America”.

This group, the FBI, had a secret program known as COINTELPRO, short for Counterintelligence Program, used to disrupt the activities of supposed Communist Party in the United States. In the 1960s, it was expanded to include a number of other domestic groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Socialist Workers Party, and the Black Panther Party. However, their activities had a devastating effect on all black groups working for Civil Rights or black empowerment to include many black leaders.

COINTELPRO was discovered in March 1971 when secret files were removed from an FBI offices and released to the news media. Freedom of Information requests, lawsuits, and former agents’ public confessions deepened the exposure until a major scandal loomed. To control the damage and re-establish government legitimacy in the wake of Vietnam and Watergate. Congress and the courts compelled the FBI to reveal part of what it had done and to promise it would not do it again.

This is/was how it worked. The FBI secretly instructed its field offices to propose schemes to misdirect, discredit, disrupt and otherwise neutralize specific individuals and groups. Close coordination with local police and prosecutors was encouraged. Final authority rested with top FBI officials in Washington, who demanded assurance “there is no possibility of embarrassment to the Bureau.” More than 2000 individual actions were officially approved. The documents reveal three types of methods:

  1. Infiltration: Agents and informers did not merely spy on political activists. Their main function was to discredit and disrupt. Various means to this end are analyzed below.
  2. Other forms of deception: The FBI and police also waged psychological warfare from the outside–through bogus publications, forged correspondence, anonymous letters and telephone calls, and similar forms of deceit.
  3. Harassment, intimidation and violence: Eviction, job loss, break-ins, vandalism, grand jury subpoenas, false arrests, frame- ups, and physical violence were threatened, instigated or directly employed, in an effort to frighten activists and disrupt their movements. Government agents either concealed their involvement or fabricated a legal pretext. In the case of the Black and Native American movements, these assaults–including outright political assassinations–were so extensive and vicious that they amounted to terrorism on the part of the government.

After his initial success, Hoover unleashed his agents against a wide range of political groups. The most prominent targets were civil rights organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the more radical groups; such as the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, and the Socialist Workers party. Another target was the nation’s oldest white hate group, the Ku Klux Klan. However, Hoover was far less enthusiastic about pursuing the Klan and did so chiefly because of political pressure in spite of the Klan’s highly publicized murders of civil rights workers.

It was discovered that at least twenty documented burglaries of the offices of the SCLC, an organization headed by Dr. King, who Hoover detested calling him “one of the most reprehensible … individuals on the American scene today.” He urged his agents to use “imaginative and aggressive tactics” against King and the SCLC. To this end, agents bugged King’s hotel rooms; tape-recorded his infidelities, and mailed a recording, along with a note urging King to commit suicide, to the civil rights leader’s wife.

The COINTELPRO operation against the radical Black Panther Party, which Hoover considered a Black Nationalist hate group tried to pit the party’s leaders against each other while also fomenting violence between the Panthers and an urban gang. In at least one instance, FBI activities did lead to violence. In 1969, an FBI informant’s tip culminated in a police raid that killed Illinois Panther chairman Fred Hampton and others. More than a decade later, the federal government agreed to pay restitution to the victims’ survivors, and a federal judge sanctioned the bureau for covering up the facts in the case.

The government feared an uprising from black or the rise of a “Mau Mau” [Black revolutionary army] in America and the beginning of a true black revolution. This program was intended to prevent the RISE OF A “MESSIAH” who could unify, and electrify the militant Black Nationalist movement.  Malcolm X might have been such a “messiah;” he is the martyr of the movement today. Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael, and Elijah Muhammad all aspire to this position, although Elijah Muhammad was less of a threat because of his age. However, it is widely believed COINTELPRO was behind the assassination of Malcolm X, and it is not known the extent of the activities or exactly how many people.

The goal was to prevent respectability by discrediting leaders in three separate segments of the community. You must discredit those groups and individuals to, first, the responsible Negro community. Second, they must be discredited to the white community, both the responsible community and to “liberals” who have vestiges of sympathy for militant Black Nationalist [sic] simply because they are Negroes. Third, these groups must be discredited in the eyes of Negro radicals, the followers of the movement.

Finally, and more significant was to prevent the long-range GROWTH of militant black organizations, especially among youth. COINTELPRO was the instrument used to kill the movement! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

About Thought Provoking Perspectives

Welcome to Thought Provoking Perspectives a blog designed to be a potent source of empowering knowledge to broaden the information base with those who share my passion for the written word and the empowerment of thought. View all posts by Thought Provoking Perspectives

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