imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Quicksilver Times: a study in the infiltration and manipulation of alternative media

by history buff Thursday, May. 10, 2007 at 2:42 AM

Some things change, some don't.

It is inconceivable that Indymedia has not been infiltrated, not just by freelance, self-serving opportunists, and amoral, social climbing careerists, but by paid agents of a variety of various governments' intelligence services. Infiltration of alternative media is nothing new. Au contrair. By now, most modern activists have an at least passing acquaintance with the FBI's Sixties era dirty tricks campaign against the anti-war and civil rights movements, called COINTELPRO. Less well known is the CIA's Operation MHCHAOS. Since it was focused on domestic targets, it was technically illegal, and as such, was heavily covered up. It features prominently in Angus Mackenzie's Secrets: The CIA's War At Home, the definitive study of the CIA's resistance to the Freedom of Information Act, and a must read for any activist who wants to stay out of trouble and still be effective. IMCistas can learn much that is useful today from the history of how alternative media was infiltrated and manipulated back in the day. So let's examine one such case, that of the Quicksilver Times. As you read the following passage from Mackenzie's book, keep in mind how much more sophisticated their techniques must be, now that they have had four decades to refine them:

* * * * *


One of Ober's top agents, who excelled at analyzing divisions between political camps, was Chicago-born Salvatore John Ferrera, a diminutive young man with black hair, black eyes, and (according to his girlfriend of the time) a frightfully nervous stomach. He was recruited by the CIA while studying political science at Loyola University in Chicago. From his studies, he developed an ability to navigate the ideological, strategic, and tactical differences of the antiwar groups in the United States and abroad. Only a few bare facts of Ferrera's story as a domestic spy have surfaced, lines here and there in scattered news reports. The full story is still classified as secret, but what is now known provides a noteworthy illustration of Ober's operation at work.

Ferrera's first assignment was to infiltrate a group of antiwar activists who were setting out to publish a tabloid newspaper in Washington, D.C. Their leader was Terrence "Terry" Becker Jr., a former college newspaper editor and former Newhouse News Service reporter. Becker was struggling to assemble the first issue of Quicksilver Times when Ferrera walked up the stairs of a recently rented white clapboard house that was to serve the group as both home and office. With Ferrera was a friend, William Blum, who introduced Ferrera to Becker. Blum was an old hand in Washington's dissident circles. He had recently resigned from the State Department and in 1967 helped found the Washington Free Press. Becker welcomed Ferrera as Blum's buddy, and Ferrera offered to help Becker with the task at hand: building frames for light tables. Once finished, they inserted the bulbs and got down to the business of pasting together the first issue of Quicksilver Times.

Ober was kept well informed about Quicksilver and hundreds of newspapers like it. According to CIA officer Louis Dube, Ober soon learned that Quicksilver was "just making it financially" and that the newspaper "was not receiving outside financial help, foreign or domestic." Again, however, despite the lack of any evidence of foreign funding, Ober kept investigating. At Quicksilver, Ferrera made himself indispensable as a writer and photographer. His articles and photographs appeared in nearly every issue, in more than thirty issues altogether. After writing one piece under his own name -- on June 16,1969, in the first issue of the paper -- he assumed a pseudonym, Sal Torey.

Ferrera made an ideal domestic CIA operative: young and hip-looking, with a working vocabulary of the Left. Born January 5, 1945, to immigrant parents who owned a Chicago restaurant/bar, Ferrera was raised in a four-story brick house on a tree-lined street, to which he would return on holidays between CIA, assignments. His appearance was reasonably modish, with a Beatles-style haircut. After earning a master's degree at Loyola University, he had moved to Washington as a doctoral candidate in political science at George Washington University. At Loyola, Ferrera had written his master's thesis on Marxism, with particular emphasis on the conflict between orthodox Marxists and the upstarts Fidel Castro, Che Guevera, and Aegis Defray, who had advocated a leap into guerrilla struggle. Ferrera had read Marx on economics, Castro on revolution, and North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap on military tactics and strategy. Probably he was more widely read in the literature of the Left than were many of the dissident writers he was spying on. Ferrera's studies also gave him a fairly astute understanding of ideological divisions within the antiwar movement, divisions that other agents would later exploit to weaken the movement.

One of Ferrera's early targets was Karl Hess. An influential conservative Republican, Hess had headed the party's platform committee in 1960 and 1964 for Barry Goldwater, but by the late 1960s he had strayed from his party into the ranks of antiwar radicalism. He was editing a libertarian-anarchist newsletter, The Libertarian, and was about to launch a new publication, Repress, intended to document the growing repression of liberty in the United States. Hess was especially interested in uncovering police espionage and surveillance. Repress was never published, but Ferrera spent quite a lot of time working on it, all the while reporting back to Ober about Hess's activities.

Ferrera also sent Ober reports on the Youth International Party, better known as the Yippies. When the U.S. Justice Department indicted Yippie leaders Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman and other antiwar activists for conspiring to cross state lines to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the Quicksilver staff got parade permits for a protest march in front of the Justice Department. The subsequent "Chicago Eight" trial turned into a major courtroom confrontation between the Nixon administration and the antiwar movement. (The case became known as the "Chicago Seven" after defendant Bobby Seale was removed and tried separately.) Ferrera befriended the defendants and interviewed their lawyers, William Kunstler and Leonard Wingless, providing the CIA with inside intelligence about the most important political trial of the era. Ferrera's pose as a newsman allowed him to ask questions, take notes, and photograph his targets, and his pose as a friend of the movement let him insinuate himself into meetings where antiwar actions and legal strategies were planned.

Ober and FBI counterintelligence chief William Sullivan employed one special agent, Samuel Popish, just to carry thousands of daily reports by hand between FBI and CIA headquarters, and at least seven FBI informants were deployed around Becker, Ferrera, and Blum at Quicksilver. New volunteers at Quicksilver's staff meetings sowed op- position to the paper's founders, which led to a shutdown of the newspaper at a critical moment. Several of the supermilitant newcomers took control of the Quicksilver office and literally hurled Becker's allies out the door and down the stairs. A white female supporter of Becker was called a white racist by the black leader among the newcomers, who threw her to the floor and hit her in the face. Becker's allies did manage to get some of their production equipment out of the building, including their homemade light tables, and moved everything to another apartment building, but publication had to be suspended just as Nixon announced the invasion of Cambodia. The answering protests were a high-water mark of the antiwar movement. College students conducted a nationwide strike at more than three hundred campuses, but Quicksilver was unable to print one word on the action.

In an FBI report about Quicksilver, since declassified, the FBI special agent in charge assured headquarters that he was continuing to use his agents to create dissension within protest groups. In his words, he was "continuing attempts to develop plans to utilize sources to promote political differences in New Left organizations." He also re- ported that he was planning to produce a newsletter to counter Quicksilver.

On May 8, 1970, Quicksilver Times resumed publishing and Salvatore Ferrera sent Ober several reports on the reconstituted newspaper commune. Terry Becker had been shaken by the earlier influx of disruptive volunteers. Because of the democratic form of Quicksilver meetings, meetings, the newcomers had each been accorded one vote and so were able to overthrow him. But now Becker was beginning to suspect this had been a government-directed coup, and he took steps to tighten his control of the paper and keep out dissenters. Becker would no longer accept people who simply showed up on his doorstep, posing as helpers. As it turned out, Ferrera also was eased out, even though Becker had no inkling that Ferrera was a CIA agent. "We collectivized at that point," Becker says. "If you worked on the paper, you had to live in the house. No outside income. If you had outside income, you pooled it. No outside jobs. The paper paid everybody's bills. We were criticized for being too closed, but it was the only way to avoid a repetition of what had happened."

Ferrera wrote that the collective was so tense and introspective he found it difficult to tolerate: "No male or female chauvinism is tolerated. Both sexes at the Quicksilver collective assist in all aspects of the commune. There is . . . plenty of sex and this causes problems." Ferrera reported that one woman was spending less time with the father of her child and more with another man. Ferrera told Ober that he could not imagine living so close to the people he was spying on, day in and day out. "He wouldn't even consider staying there," a CIA agent later reported.

- - pp 31-34

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 100 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Salvatore John Ferrera picture of CIA agent Saturday, May. 12, 2007 at 9:36 AM
Intelligence Testing repost Monday, May. 14, 2007 at 6:47 AM
From: Ralph McGehee repost Monday, May. 14, 2007 at 8:52 PM
Angus Mackenzie R.I.P. Monday, May. 14, 2007 at 9:45 PM
"The underground press was the spinal column of the antiwar movement." quote of the day Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 5:27 AM
Was Angus Mackenzie murdered? cancer as a weapon Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 6:10 AM
It wouldn't have been the first murder by cancer. history buff Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 6:20 AM
Then there was Mae . . . history buff Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 6:33 AM
NYT review repost Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 6:48 AM
Eye-opening tale Stan Flouride (aka Kevin Kearney) Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 5:29 PM
SF Chronicle review repost Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 6:26 PM
The John Lennon FBI Files more MHCHAOS Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 6:55 PM
perps history buff Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 9:31 PM
thanks, 'buff' sd Wednesday, May. 16, 2007 at 6:18 AM
Repression as State Strategy repost Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 5:12 AM
The Spymaster's Tale repost Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 5:26 AM
"Daniel Borgström" pointer Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 5:29 AM
Indymedia and British Intelligence Services repost Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 6:17 AM
More Gov’t Attacks on Indymedia — Greece repost Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 6:28 AM
Chaos And Political Terrorism In America repost Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 7:46 AM
nope reason for hiding. Friday, May. 18, 2007 at 5:14 AM
COINTELPRO, Then and Now repost Friday, May. 18, 2007 at 6:59 AM
The infiltration of Clamshell Alliance history buff Sunday, May. 20, 2007 at 7:01 AM
reasons for hiding sd Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 3:15 AM
wrong "It was spot-on in questioning" Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 11:24 AM
To reiterate, Indymedia is in the very first sentence of this post welp Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 1:04 PM
To reiterate, Indymedia is in the very first sentence of this post welp Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 1:04 PM
paid? where did you get that? Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 1:18 PM
"where did you get that?" welp Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 3:17 PM
"welp" history buff Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 7:13 PM
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. (pt 1.) history buff Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 7:46 PM
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. (pt 2.) history buff Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 7:49 PM
And more recently, and closer to home . . . history buff Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 7:57 PM
The case of National Committee Against Repressive Legislation (NCARL) history buff Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 9:23 PM
"attempts to distract us from our study of the phenomenon of infiltration" welp Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 11:22 PM
interesting thread sd Thursday, May. 24, 2007 at 5:38 AM
From the forest itself comes the handle for the axe Thursday, May. 24, 2007 at 5:47 AM
Arkies and "non coordanated" response. sd Thursday, May. 24, 2007 at 6:03 AM
welp (pt 2.), etc. history buff Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 7:33 AM
Who's a rat? pointer Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 7:33 AM
we are in agreement... sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 7:58 AM
Moderation is not the only issue. buff Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 8:04 AM
talking 'bout IMC sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 8:11 AM
I missed your reply sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 8:26 AM
Damnit sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 11:41 AM
"Damnit" b Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 2:56 PM
those are great points sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 3:11 PM
lost my point sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 4:06 PM
please excuse me. sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 4:15 PM
We an learn from the past, or we can repeat it. history buff Sunday, May. 27, 2007 at 6:13 AM
I resist... sd Sunday, May. 27, 2007 at 9:46 AM
open process I disagree Monday, May. 28, 2007 at 5:59 AM
FBI monitored peace group in Spokane, used spy repost Monday, May. 28, 2007 at 7:38 AM
a few points sd Tuesday, May. 29, 2007 at 3:50 AM
points etc. Tuesday, Jun. 05, 2007 at 6:37 PM
Other problems 222 Wednesday, Jun. 06, 2007 at 4:38 AM
one point sd Wednesday, Jun. 06, 2007 at 5:23 AM
"The IMC's cannnot be trusted" welp Wednesday, Jun. 06, 2007 at 6:55 AM
There they go again more disinformatiuon Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2007 at 6:16 AM
"Who watches the watchers?" not us Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2007 at 7:03 AM
To Nessie Tia Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2007 at 7:41 AM
everybody watches sd Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2007 at 7:49 AM
what a tight knit little crew "I spoke to the person responsible" Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2007 at 12:29 PM
Tia: what a pice of work more Zionist bullsh*t Thursday, Jun. 14, 2007 at 8:41 AM
"I have abandoned SF-IMC" welp Saturday, Jun. 16, 2007 at 9:26 AM
welp et al, etc. obvious pseudonym Monday, Jun. 25, 2007 at 6:58 PM
Mr. Josh Bowers Tuesday, Jul. 17, 2007 at 11:15 AM
The CIA really IS editing Wikipedia repost Saturday, Aug. 25, 2007 at 3:13 AM
murder by cancer theMickeys Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009 at 5:17 PM

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Doxa du lobby A25 2:03AM

Tech workers organize A24 6:24PM

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy