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by furrowed brow
Monday, Oct. 22, 2001 at 3:04 AM
COINTELPRO: The Untold American Story
Presented on September 1, 2001 to U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa by the members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Submitted as evidence of the US governments violations of both US and international law and, in particular, specific violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. (excerpt with link to complete report)
COINTELPRO: The Untold American Story
1) press release announcing report
2) excerpt of report (complete report is over 60 pages but worth a look)
1) press release
McKinney Raises US Government's "COINTELPRO" program with UN Human Rights Commissioner
September 2, 2001
(Durban, South Africa) Today, in a meeting with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney presented Robinson with two documents as evidence of the US governments violations of both US and international law and, in particular, specific violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The first document given to Robinson was confidential memorandum 46, written by National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski on March 17, 1978 and it details the federal government's plan to destroy functioning black leadership in the United States. This document provides a critical insight into the federal government's concern at the apparent growing influence of the African American political movement. The second document is a report entitled "Human Rights in the United States [The Unfinished Story- Current Political Prisoners- Victims of COINTELPRO]" and it was compiled by the Human Rights Research Fund, headed by Kathleen Cleaver. This document provides an overview of the counterintelligence program which, from the 1950s to the 1980s, was run in the United States against political activists and targeted organizations. The excesses of the counterintelligence program were first exposed in 1975 by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, known as the Church Committee.
"From as early as the 1950's and right up until the 1980's the US government directed the machinery of state against the African American political movement and, in so doing, effectively put an end to the civil rights movement inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King. COINTELPRO was in clear violation of the US Constitution and a wide range of US laws, as well as, in clear breach of internationally accepted standards for human rights and fundamental freedoms. That our government would turn its full resources against its own law abiding citizens is unforgivable and ranks us among those rogue nations of the world who have chosen to kill hope and sow misery in its place," stated McKinney. COINTELPRO: The Untold American Story
2) COINTELPRO: The Untold American Story
Overview and table of contents
Compilation by Paul Wolf with contributions from Robert Boyle, Bob Brown, Tom Burghardt, Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Kathleen Cleaver, Bruce Ellison, Cynthia McKinney, Nkechi Taifa, Laura Whitehorn, Nicholas Wilson, and Howard Zinn.
Presented to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa by the members of the Congressional Black Caucus attending the conference: Donna Christianson, John Conyers, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Cynthia McKinney, and Diane Watson, September 1, 2001.
We're here to talk about the FBI and U.S. democracy because here we have this peculiar situation that we live in a democratic country - everybody knows that, everybody says it, it's repeated, it's dinned into our ears a thousand times, you grow up, you pledge allegiance, you salute the flag, you hail democracy, you look at the totalitarian states, you read the history of tyrannies, and here is the beacon light of democracy. And, of course, there's some truth to that. There are things you can do in the United States that you can't do many other places without being put in jail.
But the United States is a very complex system. It's very hard to describe because, yes, there are elements of democracy; there are things that you're grateful for, that you're not in front of the death squads in El Salvador. On the other hand, it's not quite a democracy. And one of the things that makes it not quite a democracy is the existence of outfits like the FBI and the CIA. Democracy is based on openness, and the existence of a secret policy, secret lists of dissident citizens, violates the spirit of democracy.
Despite its carefully contrived image as the nation's premier crime fighting agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has always functioned primarily as America's political police. This role includes not only the collection of intelligence on the activities of political dissidents and groups, but often times, counterintelligence operations to thwart those activities. The techniques employed are easily recognized by anyone familiar with military psychological operations. The FBI, through the use of the criminal justice system, the postal system, the telephone system and the Internal Revenue Service, enjoys an operational capability surpassing even that of the CIA, which conducts covert actions in foreign countries without having access to those institutions.
Although covert operations have been employed throughout FBI history, the formal COunter INTELligence PROgrams (COINTELPRO's) of the period 1956-1971 were the first to be both broadly targeted and centrally directed. According to FBI researcher Brian Glick, "FBI headquarters set policy, assessed progress, charted new directions, demanded increased production, and carefully monitored and controlled day-to-day operations. This arrangement required that national COINTELPRO supervisors and local FBI field offices communicate back and forth, at great length, concerning every operation. They did so quite freely, with little fear of public exposure. This generated a prolific trail of bureaucratic paper. The moment that paper trail began to surface, the FBI discontinued all of its formal domestic counterintelligence programs. It did not, however, cease its covert political activity against U.S. dissidents." 1
Of roughly 20,000 people investigated by the FBI solely on the basis of their political views between 1956-1971, about 10 to 15% were the targets of active counterintelligence measures per se. Taking counterintelligence in its broadest sense, to include spreading false information, it's estimated that about two-thirds were COINTELPRO targets. Most targets were never suspected of committing any crime.
The nineteen sixties were a period of social change and unrest. Color television brought home images of jungle combat in Vietnam and protesters and priests burning draft cards and American flags. In the spring and summer months of 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968, massive black rebellions swept across almost every major US city in the Northeast, Midwest and California. 2 Presidents Johnson and Nixon, and many others feared violent revolution and denounced the protesters. President Kennedy had felt the opposite: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
The counterculture of the sixties, and the FBI's reaction to it, were in many ways a product of the 1950s, the so-called "Age of McCarthyism." John Edgar Hoover, longtime Director of the FBI, was a prominent spokesman of the anti-communist paranoia of the era:
The forces which are most anxious to weaken our internal security are not always easy to identify. Communists have been trained in deceit and secretly work toward the day when they hope to replace our American way of life with a Communist dictatorship. They utilize cleverly camouflaged movements, such as peace groups and civil rights groups to achieve their sinister purposes. While they as individuals are difficult to identify, the Communist party line is clear. Its first concern is the advancement of Soviet Russia and the godless Communist cause. It is important to learn to know the enemies of the American way of life. 3
Throughout the 1960s, Hoover consistently applied this theory to a wide variety of groups, on occasion reprimanding agents unable to find "obvious" communist connections in civil rights and anti-war groups. 4 During the entire COINTELPRO period, no links to Soviet Russia were uncovered in any of the social movements disrupted by the FBI.
The commitment of the FBI to undermine and destroy popular movements departing from political orthodoxy has been extensive, and apparently proportional to the strength and promise of such movements, as one would expect in the case of the secret police organization of any state, though it is doubtful that there is anything comparable to this record among the Western industrial democracies.
In retrospect, the COINTEPRO's of the 1960s were thoroughly successful in achieving their stated goals, "to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" the enemies of the State.
Table of Contents
Murder and Assassination
The Ku Klux Klan
The Secret Army Organization
The Subversion of the Press
Mumia Abu Jamal
Geronimo ji Jaga Pratt
Dhoruba Bin Wahad
Marshall Eddie Conway
Justice Hangs in the Balance
Appendix: The Legacy of COINTELPRO
The Judi Bari Bombing
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