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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

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Salvatore John Ferrera

by picture of CIA agent Saturday, May. 12, 2007 at 9:36 AM

Salvatore John Ferre...
ferrera.jpg, image/jpeg, 650x407

"Ferrera made an ideal domestic CIA operative: young and hip-looking, with a working vocabulary of the Left."
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Intelligence Testing

by repost Monday, May. 14, 2007 at 6:47 AM

March/April 1998 |

Intelligence Testing

SECRETS: The CIA's War at Home, by Angus Mackenzie. University of California Press, 241 PP., $27.50

review by Stuart H. Loory
Loory is Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies at the University of Missouri School of Journalism

During the cold war, the U.S. government adopted a potpourri of regulations designed to keep its secrets as critics tried to use the First Amendment to expose government wrongdoing. The rationale was that the critics were giving aid and comfort to the communist-inspired enemies and had to be stopped. The real reason was that these critics were exposing information embarrassing to the government.

But now a compelling case can be made that all the damaging secrets were given away by the people paid to keep them. These were the years when the government tried to block publication of the Pentagon Papers, a study ordered by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara on how the nation went wrong in Vietnam, and an article in The Progressive magazine that, the government charged, violated the 1954 Atomic Energy Act by giving away secrets on how to build the H-bomb. Those two incidents, in 1971 and 1979 respectively, marked the only times the U.S. government went to court to use prior restraint to block publication. During this period the CIA tried to stop publication of books critical of the agency by former employees and the government prosecuted a Pentagon official, who also moonlighted for Jane's Defense Weekly, for giving away a photo classified secret of a Soviet aircraft carrier under construction in the U.S.S.R. An American spy satellite had taken the photo. As embarrassing as those publications might have been, they did not do one bit of damage to the nation's security.

At the same time, Aldrich Ames, a high ranking mole in the CIA, earned $2.5 million from the Soviet Union and Russia, selling secrets that resulted in the roundup and execution of several CIA agents in Moscow, and G-man Earl Edwin Pitts earned more than $200,000 selling FBI secrets to the Russians. Ames was sentenced to life in prison, Pitts to twenty-seven years. Edward Lee Howard was hired by the CIA to work in the Moscow station and instead he defected to Russia. Ronald Pelton, a National Security Agency employee, was convicted of giving away material gathered by the NSA, the nation's top secret spy satellite and electronic monitoring system. John Walker, a Navy non-commissioned officer, and his son Michael, traded away Navy secrets for cash. Jerry Whitworth, a Navy man, swapped his country's secrets for a Rolls Royce.

But all of the government's attention on security violations during the period was lavished on the Vietnam war protesters, the civil rights advocates, the whistle-blowers in the government who tried to expose waste, inefficiency, and corruption.

 Angus Mackenzie, a free-lance investigative reporter, has told an important part of the story in Secrets. Unfortunately he did not live to hold the magnificent volume in his hands. Mackenzie died on Friday, May 13, 1994, of brain cancer. He was 43. The manuscript was completed and edited by his friends.

 Mackenzie had the fire burning in his gut that goads a reporter into challenging conventional wisdom, exposing dishonesty, and highlighting moral corruption. In years of work, he pieced together the story of how the U.S. government created a vast apparatus of thought-control police, infiltrators, agents provocateur, technicians, and bureaucrats whose mission was to block the dissemination of government information to the American people.

His story starts with the domestic activities of the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1950s and '60s, when the CIA covertly financed and led the National Student Association. Those activities were illegal, since the legislation that established the agency in 1947 forbade it from carrying out operations at home. The student organization aimed to counter the international communist movement in its Moscow-dominated drive to turn students throughout the world against so-called Western imperialism. Most of that episode was exposed first in 1967 by Ramparts, the leading alternative magazine of the day. The story was picked up by the establishment press and became a sensation.

 Coupled with an earlier disclosure of how the CIA was using Michigan State University to help train anti-communist police forces overseas, the disclosures were too much for the CIA to tolerate. Its leaders formed a special unit to show that Ramparts was financed by money from overseas communists. Instead the agency discovered that the money to publish Ramparts came from its publisher, Edward Keating, a wealthy philanthropist, who was deducting his magazine's losses from his income taxes. Undeterred, the agency started a propaganda campaign against Ramparts.

Mackenzie details how the CIA's little anti-Ramparts unit metastasized into a larger organization that investigated virtually all of the alternative papers at the time. It even planted at least one agent provocateur, Salvatore John Ferrera, on the staff of the Quicksilver Times to spy on it.

 Before long the unit became known for running a program called MHCHAOS, authorized by the legendary CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton, to carry out domestic political espionage at a priority level ranking with the agency's Soviet and Chinese operations. By the time the program was exposed, by Seymour Hersh in The New York Times in December 1974, MHCHAOS had in its files dossiers on 10,000 Americans.

The Freedom of Information Act was passed in 1966, allowing Americans to compel the government to release information. Government agencies fought the act relentlessly and, as in too many cases even today, they refused to comply. But that wasn't all. The MHCHAOS group began an intergovernmental drive to sign all government employees to a contract prohibiting first the disclosure of classified information and later "classifiable" information as well.

The secrecy contracts spread out of the executive branch into the congressional branch. The contracts, which started in the Johnson administration and have continued through the Clinton administration, made it impossible to produce evidence in courts if the government said release would harm the national security.

 At its height in 1983-84, Mackenzie writes, four million government employees could have been forced to sign the contracts. A few, like former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and the famous whistle-blower A. Ernest Fitzgerald, refused to sign, and that helped to publicize the restrictions of the secrecy contracts. Presidents and other high-ranking former officials such as Henry Kissinger have generally ignored the restrictions in writing their memoirs. No action has been taken against them.

Mackenzie tells of the metamorphosis of officials like Sen. Daniel Moynihan, who at first approved of the need for strict secret-keeping measures but changed his view as he studied security classification. He became a champion of restrictions on classification (a view he still strongly holds today).

 Mackenzie's book contains some surprises. For example, he criticizes the American Civil Liberties Union and its one-time Washington office head Morton Halperin. Halperin was a Johnson administration Defense Department official who helped write the Pentagon Papers and a Nixon administration aide to Kissinger on the National Security
 Council whom Kissinger hounded out of government in the belief that Halperin leaked information about the bombing of Cambodia. Halperin helped organize the defense of Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers. Mackenzie faults Halperin for negotiating compromises in the 1980s that brought the CIA under control of the Freedom of Information Act but contained loopholes that would permit the agency to withhold information about its illegal domestic activities.

This book does not end with a whimper. Instead, Mackenzie went out with a clarion call:

"The United States is no longer the nation its citizens once thought: a place, unlike most others in the world, free from censorship and thought police, where people can say what they want, when they want to, about their government. Almost a decade after the end of the cold war, espionage is not really the issue, if it ever really was. The issue is freedom . . . . The issue is principle . . . . Until the citizens of this land aggressively defend their First Amendment rights of free speech, there is little hope that the march to censorship will be reversed. The survival of the cornerstone of the Bill of Rights is at stake."

Listen up everyone. Help to ensure that Angus Mackenzie may rest in peace.

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From: Ralph McGehee

by repost Monday, May. 14, 2007 at 8:52 PM

http://spot.acorn.net/jfkplace/03/RM/RM.dom-ops

(snip)

75-85 A photograph of CIA agent Salvatore John Ferrera when he was infiltrating the "Quicksilver Times and other news organizations in Illinois and California. He legally changed his name to Allen Vincent Carter and fled to the Southern California suburb of Costa Mesa. In 1980, Angus Mackenzie confronted him at his hideout -- and he denied he worked for CIA. Angus showed him copies of the informant reports he had sent to CIA Hqs -- he slammed the door. Mackenzie, A. (1997). Secrets: The CIA's War at Home, passim.

(snip)
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Angus Mackenzie

by R.I.P. Monday, May. 14, 2007 at 9:45 PM

Angus Mackenzie was born in 1950. He worked as an investigative journalist and had articles published in Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, Washington Post, San Francisco Examiner and the Columbia Journalism Review. During his short career he won or shared over two dozen journalism awards, including the National Magazine Award.

Mackenzie also taught at the School of Journalism at the University of California. Along with David Weir he was a co-founder of the Center for Investigative Reporting, where he managed contracts with 60 Minutes, 20/20, CNN, CBS News, ABC News, and many other outlets.

Mackenzie was particularly interested in the covert activities of the Central Intelligence Agency. Over many years he accumulated evidence of the CIA's systematic efforts to suppress and censor information. Mackenzie discovered that this covert operations originated during the Cold War as the CIA instituted programs of domestic surveillance and agent provocateur activities. This included infiltrating organizations to setting up CIA-front student groups.

Angus Mackenzie died on 13th May, 1994, of brain cancer. The manuscript he had been working on for fifteen years was completed and edited by his friends. Secrets: The CIA's War at Home, was published in 1998.

(snip) 

(1) Angus Mackenzie, Secrets: The CIA's War at Home (1998)

Congressman Clare E. Hoffman's first reaction to the National Security Act of I947 was exceedingly positive. Indeed, Hoffman, a conservative Michigan Republican who chaired the House Committee on Government Operations, agreed to introduce the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The surprise Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 had profoundly shaken American intelligence officials, and it was generally agreed that the absence of a centralized intelligence authority was at least partly to blame. Once the war was over, Army Major General Lauris Norstad and Navy Vice Admiral Forrest Sherman laid out a plan for the consolidation of command and intelligence. The Joint Chiefs of Staff would oversee military planning at the Pentagon; a National Security Council would coordinate the conduct of foreign affairs and national security matters at the White House; and, most important, a Central Intelligence Agency, independent of both the Pentagon and the White House, would function as a neutral repository of military intelligence.

Norstad and Sherman's plan was incorporated in the National Security Act, and with Hoffman's support it was expected to sail smoothly through Congress. The more Hoffman studied the legislation, however, the more it troubled him. The proposed CIA was to advise the National Security Council in matters concerning intelligence, to make recommendations for the coordination of spying, to disseminate intelligence, and to perform "other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct." Hoffman feared this open-ended authority.

Hoffman's concerns were shared by a fellow Midwestern conservative Republican, Clarence J. Brown of Ohio, who also worried about the seemingly unlimited power of the proposed director of Central Intelligence. In open hearings, Brown confronted Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, a key advocate of the plan. "I am not sure that I want to trust, unless it is just absolutely necessary, any one individual or any one group with all-out power over citizens of the United States," Brown remarked. "How far does this central intelligence agency go in its authority and scope?" He posed a hypothetical question: "Should [the CIA director] decide he wants to go into my income tax reports, I presume he could do so, could he not?"

"No, I do not assume he could," Forrestal replied.

Brown pressed on. "I am not interested in setting up here, in the United States, any particular central policy agency under any president, and I do not care what his name may be, and just allowing him to have a Gestapo of his own if he wants to have it." Forrestal argued that the CIA's authority would be "limited definitely to purposes outside this country." But when asked a key question - "Is that stated in the law?" - Forrestal was stymied: "It is not; no sir."

Without protections for domestic liberties written into the law, it was easy to imagine any number of situations in which the power of the proposed CIA or its director could go unchecked: the president could use the CIA to spy on Congress, could secretly manipulate elections, or could undermine political opponents. The greatest danger was that, once created, the CIA would be hard to contain. Should Congress try in the future to legislate a change, the president could veto such legislation and attack members of Congress for being weak on national security. Hoffman said, "If we are going to fix anything we had better do it now before we turn over any blanket authority to anyone because we can never get it back."

Admiral Sherman suggested a compromise. The CIA would not have "police, law enforcement, or internal security functions," and it would be prohibited from "investigations inside the continental limits of the United States and its possessions." Once this bargain was struck, most opposition to the CIA faded away. Little attention was given to a seemingly innocuous sentence buried in the proposal: "The Director of Central Intelligence shall be responsible for protecting sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure."

Almost no one foresaw the sweeping secrecy powers that would emanate from those few words. Almost no one had a hint that these words would be taken by courts, twenty-five years later, as congressional authorization for peacetime censorship in a nation that had been free of such censorship for nearly two hundred years. Almost no one, that is, except Hoffman, who had become convinced that the new CIA was anathema to a democracy. Although he had introduced the bill in the House, Hoffman at the end was speaking sharply but unsuccessfully against it-virtually a solitary voice in the wilderness.

In the decades that followed the passage of the I947 National Security Act, the CIA would become increasingly involved in domestic politics, abridging the First Amendment guarantees of free speech and press; it would spy on law-abiding American dissidents, tell the Internal Revenue Service to investigate political "enemies" of the Agency, and attempt to silence news reporters and news publications in order to keep the American public from learning that the I947 law was being systematically violated. Moreover, more than four million employees and contractors of the United States government would be prevented from disclosing matters of wrongdoing, large or small, because the I947 act would be interpreted as an endorsement of widespread censorship.

 

(2) Angus Mackenzie, Secrets: The CIA's War at Home (1998)

In March 1972, a typescript of an article and a related book proposal were purloined by a CIA agent from a New York publisher and forwarded to Langley. For Richard Ober, the manuscript was right out of a bad dream. A former senior CIA official, Victor Marchetti, was planning to write a book exposing CIA deceptions. Marchetti had been the executive assistant to the deputy director of Central Intelligence and had attended regular planning and intelligence meetings attended by Richard Helms. He had also been a courier for the Agency group that approves covert operations. The most carefully guarded CIA information was called Sensitive Compartmented Information, or SCI, and was distributed to officials strictly on a need-to-know basis. But his position had allowed Marchetti an overview of the Agency purposely denied to most CIA officers.

Over time, Marchetti had become troubled by the Agency's role in the overthrow of democracies on behalf of dictators and by CIA manipulation of other nations' internal policies. He saw evidence of corruption in overseas operations. Marchetti's intellectual honesty was also offended by intrigue inside CIA headquarters that disrupted the accuracy of intelligence estimates. Furthermore, the Vietnam War had disillusioned Marchetti, whose sons would soon reach draft age. And when Eagle Scouts from a troop he served as scoutmaster began dodging the draft, Marchetti began to feel his CIA job was isolating him.

Upon quitting the Agency at age thirty-nine, after a highly successful fourteen-year career, Marchetti wrote a novel called The Rope Dancer. Prior to its publication by Grosset and Dunlap in 1971, a CIA officer read a version of the manuscript at Marchetti's home, in keeping with the rules set out in the CIA secrecy contract Marchetti had signed. The CIA officer found no security breaches, and publication went forward.

What troubled Ober and Ober's immediate supervisor, Thomas Karamessines, was one particular line in the novel. Marchetti's central character is speaking with jaundiced anger about the fictional CIA: "Somebody should publicize the Agency's mistakes." Suppose Marchetti got it in his head to write about MHCHAOS? Concerned, Helms himself ordered Marchetti placed under surveillance beginning on March 23, I972.

Within days, an article written by Marchetti appeared in the April 3 Nation under the headline "CIA: The President's Loyal Tool." Marchetti wrote that the CIA was using the news media to create myths about the Agency and was fooling such influential publications as the New York Times and Newsweek. Additionally, he claimed, the CIA had continued to control youth, labor, and cultural organizations in the United States, notwithstanding the scandals triggered by the report in Ramparts. Marchetti also castigated Helms for spending too little time engaged with the intricacies of intelligence analysis, satirically calling him a "master spy" who conducted his most important weekly meetings in less than twenty minutes. Marchetti concluded: "Secrecy, like power, tends to corrupt, and it will not be easy to persuade those who rule in the United States to change their ways."

Even while MHCHAOS was surviving the Marchetti scare, the CIA inspector general, an internal cop, was the focal point of a second emergency. Worried that the inspector general might discover MHCHAOS and expose it, Helms called in Colby, Ober, and Karamessines for a meeting on December 5, I972. Helms emphasized the importance of running a cleaner, less dubious-looking operation. There was a need to proceed cautiously, he said, to avoid a showdown with "some CIA personnel." Nonetheless, Helms was adamant that MHCHAOS not be abandoned. It will not be "stopped simply because some members of the organization do not like this activity," he insisted.

Helms cautioned Ober against attending meetings of the Justice Department Intelligence Evaluation Committee, because security was lax and its role in domestic politics might lead investigative reporters to MHCHAOS. Helms had come up with a solution to the problem of CIA officers who doubted the legality of MHCHAOS. Henceforth, it would be described within the Agency as an operation against international terrorism. "To a [sic] maximum extent possible, Ober should become identified with the subject of terrorism inside the Agency as well as in the Intelligence Community," Helms ordered. Afterward, Colby sent Karamessines a summary of the meeting: "A clear priority is to be given in this general field to the subject of terrorism. This should bring about a reduction in the intensity of attention to political dissidents in the United States not apt to be involved in terrorism." The change in label was evidently intended to improve the Agency's image and cover, on the assumption that "terrorists" were more believable as a genuine threat than "dissidents."

But there was in fact to be little change in targets. MHCHAOS continued to hold radicals in its sights, specifically radical youths, Blacks, women, and antiwar militants. The label "international terrorist" was designed to replace "political dissident" as the ongoing justification for illegal domestic operations. And in the final move to clean up Ober's act, in December Helms put an end to the operation of the five-year-old MHCHAOS by formally transforming it into the International Terrorism Group-with Ober still in charge.

Only seventeen days later, Helms and Karamessines announced their resignations from the CIA. Nixon named James Schlesinger to replace Helms as director, and Schlesinger in turn replaced Karamessines with Colby as deputy director for plans. In a euphemistic change, Schlesinger and Colby renamed the Directorate for Plans as the Directorate for Operations, which was the CIA's way of saying, "Let's call domestic spying a response to terrorism."

 

(3) Angus Mackenzie, Secrets: The CIA's War at Home (1998)

The underground press was the spinal column of the antiwar movement. In California, Max Scheer had founded the Berkeley Bar/o on Friday, August I3, I965. The front page of the Barb's first issue had a report on antiwar demonstrators attempting to stop a troop train carrying soldiers to a deployment point for Vietnam. Subsequent issues contained regular reports from the front lines of the movement. Barb's staffers left their offices on Friday afternoons to hawk papers on street corners. Circulation grew to 85,000 copies a week. In Washington, D.C., the Washington Free Press distributed antiwar polemics on the streets outside the White House and the State Department. One of the Free Press editors was Frank Speltz, a white student at predominantly black Howard University. He had started the paper as a newsletter meant to carry civil rights news to nearby white campuses, but he then broadened its focus to include reporting on antiwar demonstrations. In Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Francisco, and New York, similar papers sold for twenty-five cents a copy. By I967, there were hundreds of antiwar, counterculture newspapers-some of them in towns as small as Grinnell, Iowa, and Lubbock, Texas. They had their own news service, the equivalent of an underground Associated Press. Their combined circulation would peak at seven million a month. In conjunction with the campus press, the underground press was a mighty antiwar propaganda machine.

The CIA was not alone in its mission. Ober coordinated efforts with agents of the army, the local police, and the FBI. At the US Army Intelligence Command, Ralph Stein was assigned to a similar underground newspaper desk. Stein soon figured out that antiwar publications were being financed by change collected on the street, not by the KGB or the Chinese secret service. When Stein was called from his office to brief Ober's team at CIA headquarters, he was shocked to find that the CIA officers had knowledge about the lives of underground editors so intimate that it could only have come from infiltrators. Concerned that Ober's task force was operating in violation of the I947 National Security Act, Stein returned to his office and registered an official objection with his commanders. The next thing he knew, he had been relieved of his liaison duties with the CIA.

In some respects Ober was a fugitive within his own agency, but the very illegality of MHCHAOS gave him power. Because he had been ordered to carry out an illegal mission, he had certain leverage over his bosses, as long as he kept his operation secret. Indeed, he had leverage over not only Karamessines but also CIA Director Helms, as well as anyone at the White House and the National Security Council who received his domestic intelligence reports. In time these would include Henry Kissinger and Nixon's counsel, John Dean. Ober was a man walking on the edge of a razor. As long as everything remained secret, he was not only safe but powerful: he had the ear of presidents.

With Richard Nixon in the White House, the demands on Ober for more political espionage became louder and clearer. Ober's sixty agents became the Nixon administration's primary source of intelligence about the antiwar leadership.

 

(4) Stuart H. Loory, Intelligence Testing, Columbia Journalism Review (March/April 1998)

During the cold war, the US government adopted a potpourri of regulations designed to keep its secrets as critics tried to use the First Amendment to expose government wrongdoing. The rationale was that the critics were giving aid and comfort to the communist-inspired enemies and had to be stopped. The real reason was that these critics were exposing information embarrassing to the government.

But now a compelling case can be made that all the damaging secrets were given away by the people paid to keep them. These were the years when the government tried to block publication of the Pentagon Papers, a study ordered by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara on how the nation went wrong in Vietnam, and an article in The Progressive magazine that, the government charged, violated the 1954 Atomic Energy Act by giving away secrets on how to build the H-bomb. Those two incidents, in 1971 and 1979 respectively, marked the only times the US government went to court to use prior restraint to block publication. During this period the CIA tried to stop publication of books critical of the agency by former employees and the government prosecuted a Pentagon official, who also moonlighted for Jane's Defense Weekly, for giving away a photo classified secret of a Soviet aircraft carrier under construction in the U.S.S.R. An American spy satellite had taken the photo. As embarrassing as those publications might have been, they did not do one bit of damage to the nation's security.

At the same time, Aldrich Ames, a high ranking mole in the CIA, earned $2.5 million from the Soviet Union and Russia, selling secrets that resulted in the roundup and execution of several CIA agents in Moscow, and G-man Earl Edwin Pitts earned more than $200,000 selling FBI secrets to the Russians. Ames was sentenced to life in prison, Pitts to twenty-seven years. Edward Lee Howard was hired by the CIA to work in the Moscow station and instead he defected to Russia. Ronald Pelton, a National Security Agency employee, was convicted of giving away material gathered by the NSA, the nation's top secret spy satellite and electronic monitoring system. John Walker, a Navy non-commissioned officer, and his son Michael, traded away Navy secrets for cash. Jerry Whitworth, a Navy man, swapped his country's secrets for a Rolls Royce.

But all of the government's attention on security violations during the period was lavished on the Vietnam war protesters, the civil rights advocates, the whistle-blowers in the government who tried to expose waste, inefficiency, and corruption.

Angus Mackenzie, a freelance investigative reporter, has told an important part of the story in Secrets. Unfortunately he did not live to hold the magnificent volume in his hands. Mackenzie died on Friday, May 13, 1994, of brain cancer. He was 43. The manuscript was completed and edited by his friends.

Mackenzie had the fire burning in his gut that goads a reporter into challenging conventional wisdom, exposing dishonesty, and highlighting moral corruption. In years of work, he pieced together the story of how the US government created a vast apparatus of thought-control police, infiltrators, agents provocateur, technicians, and bureaucrats whose mission was to block the dissemination of government information to the American people.

His story starts with the domestic activities of the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1950s and '60s, when the CIA covertly financed and led the National Student Association. Those activities were illegal, since the legislation that established the agency in 1947 forbade it from carrying out operations at home. The student organization aimed to counter the international communist movement in its Moscow-dominated drive to turn students throughout the world against so-called Western imperialism. Most of that episode was exposed first in 1967 by Ramparts, the leading alternative magazine of the day. The story was picked up by the establishment press and became a sensation.

Coupled with an earlier disclosure of how the CIA was using Michigan State University to help train anti-communist police forces overseas, the disclosures were too much for the CIA to tolerate. Its leaders formed a special unit to show that Ramparts was financed by money from overseas communists. Instead the agency discovered that the money to publish Ramparts came from its publisher, Edward Keating, a wealthy philanthropist, who was deducting his magazine's losses from his income taxes. Undeterred, the agency started a propaganda campaign against Ramparts.

Mackenzie details how the CIA's little anti-Ramparts unit metastasized into a larger organization that investigated virtually all of the alternative papers at the time. It even planted at least one agent provocateur, Salvatore John Ferrera, on the staff of the Quicksilver Times to spy on it.

Before long the unit became known for running a program called MHCHAOS, authorized by the legendary CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton, to carry out domestic political espionage at a priority level ranking with the agency's Soviet and Chinese operations. By the time the program was exposed, by Seymour Hersh in The New York Times in December 1974, MHCHAOS had in its files dossiers on 10,000 Americans.

The Freedom of Information Act was passed in 1966, allowing Americans to compel the government to release information. Government agencies fought the act relentlessly and, as in too many cases even today, they refused to comply. But that wasn't all. The MHCHAOS group began an intergovernmental drive to sign all government employees to a contract prohibiting first the disclosure of classified information and later "classifiable" information as well.

The secrecy contracts spread out of the executive branch into the congressional branch. The contracts, which started in the Johnson administration and have continued through the Clinton administration, made it impossible to produce evidence in courts if the government said release would harm the national security.

At its height in 1983-84, Mackenzie writes, four million government employees could have been forced to sign the contracts. A few, like former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and the famous whistle-blower A. Ernest Fitzgerald, refused to sign, and that helped to publicize the restrictions of the secrecy contracts. Presidents and other high-ranking former officials such as Henry Kissinger have generally ignored the restrictions in writing their memoirs. No action has been taken against them.

Mackenzie tells of the metamorphosis of officials like Sen. Daniel Moynihan, who at first approved of the need for strict secret-keeping measures but changed his view as he studied security classification. He became a champion of restrictions on classification (a view he still strongly holds today).

Mackenzie's book contains some surprises. For example, he criticizes the American Civil Liberties Union and its one-time Washington office head Morton Halperin. Halperin was a Johnson administration Defense Department official who helped write the Pentagon Papers and a Nixon administration aide to Kissinger on the National Security Council whom Kissinger hounded out of government in the belief that Halperin leaked information about the bombing of Cambodia. Halperin helped organize the defense of Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers. Mackenzie faults Halperin for negotiating compromises in the 1980s that brought the CIA under control of the Freedom of Information Act but contained loopholes that would permit the agency to withhold information about its illegal domestic activities.

This book does not end with a whimper. Instead, Mackenzie went out with a clarion call:

"The United States is no longer the nation its citizens once thought: a place, unlike most others in the world, free from censorship and thought police, where people can say what they want, when they want to, about their government. Almost a decade after the end of the cold war, espionage is not really the issue, if it ever really was. The issue is freedom... The issue is principle... Until the citizens of this land aggressively defend their First Amendment rights of free speech, there is little hope that the march to censorship will be reversed. The survival of the cornerstone of the Bill of Rights is at stake."

Listen up everyone. Help to ensure that Angus Mackenzie may rest in peace.

 

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"The underground press was the spinal column of the antiwar movement."

by quote of the day Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 5:27 AM

"The undergroun...
mackenzie.jpg, image/jpeg, 250x367

Help to ensure that Angus Mackenzie may rest in peace.

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Was Angus Mackenzie murdered?

by cancer as a weapon Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 6:10 AM

June 5, 1982 The Nation

C.I.A.: Carcinogen

The multi-million-dollar project of the Central Intelligence Agency to develop and test psychotropic drugs has been known for some years now, but details of its bizarre intrigues are still trickling out. Documents recently pried loose by the Freedom of Information Act show that during the height of the cold war, the C.I.A. developed cancer-causing drugs to use in assassinating political opponents so. it would appear that they died from natural causes.

A C.I.A. memorandum of February 4, 1952, reports on the carcinogenic properties of beryllium: "This is certainly the most toxic inorganic element and it produces a peculiar fibrotic tumor at the site of local application. The amount necessary to produce that tumors is a few micrograms." The document goes on to recommend a study on "the effect of inhaling small amounts of beryllium in the lungs, and other studies to evaluate the potentialities of beryllium as a covert weapon."

The memorandum also reports that the C.I.A. had laboratory facilities for "any type of medical research involving physiologically active chemical compounds," and it assured C.I.A. doctors that "human subjects would be available for work that could be carried out as legitimate medical research."

Another document, dated August 4, 1954, describes a drug called methylcholanthrene as "probably the most potent known carcinogen in the production of tumors of various types." The drug could be used as an "initiating agent" leading "to a palpable cancerous proliferation after an induction period during which the initiating agent may have been eliminated from the system."

This cancer scheme was only one of hundreds pursued by the C.I.A. during its twenty-five-year effort to develop techniques to control human behavior. Some of the more sensational aspects of this program, such as the testing of LSD on unwitting American citizens, were investigated by Congress and reported by the press in the 1970s. In The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA & Mind Control, John Marks told of other C.I.A. experiments with sensory deprivation, sleep teaching, parapsychology, subliminal perception, electronic brain stimulation and similarly arcane methods of mind control.

In addition to the cancer venture, newly, released documents also show how the C.I.A. used "anticancer" research as a cover for its behavior-alteration studies. In an experiment at Georgetown University, the agency tested anticancer drugs as knockout substances and incapacitating agents. One document indicates that a "pool of subjects" would be made available in order to evaluate "the cardiovascular and anti-carcinogenic effects of compounds." In this case, the pool of subjects consisted of terminal cancer patients who had no idea they were being used as guinea pigs in a C.I.A. drug project.

-- MARTIN A. LEE

Martin A. Lee, a freelance writer in San Francisco,is finishing a book entitled The CIA and the Acid Generation: The Secret History of LSD.

(snip)

* * * * *

(Editors note: The book was eventually published as Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain )
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It wouldn't have been the first murder by cancer.

by history buff Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 6:20 AM

November 8, 1979

Man Receives Death Sentence in 'Murder by Cancer' Case

OMAHA (AP) -- Steven Roy Harper, who prosecutors say set out to commit "the first murder by cancer" was sentenced today to die in the electric chair.

Douglas County District Court Judge James M. Murphy imposed the penalty on Harper, who was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for poisoning two persons with a cancer-causing rocket fuel additive.

Nebraska law sets the sentence for first-degree murder as either life imprisonment or death in the electric chair.

Harper was convicted Oct. 5 of murder in the deaths last year of Duane Johnson, 24, of Omaha, who married Harper's former girlfriend, and Johnson's infant nephew, Chad Shelton.

The two died within a week after consuming lemonade and milk from a two quart container in the Johnson home that had been contaminated by dimethyl nitrosamine, and anti-corrosive rocket fuel additive known to cause cancer in laboratory rats.

Prosecutors said Harper stole the lethal substance from the Eppley Institute for Cancer Research, where he worked as a lab assistant.
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Then there was Mae . . .

by history buff Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 6:33 AM

http://www.maebrussell.com/Mae%20Brussell%20Articles/Ballad%20of%20Mae%20Brussell.html

(snip)

Mae Brussell died of cancer a few years ago at the age of 66. Somehow it seemed appropriate that mourners at her funeral were discussing the possibility of a conspiracy behind her death. After all, hadn't she been in the middle of investigating satanic cults in the military? If Mae were alive, she'd be glad to show you her file on CIA experimentation with cancer. You want names of such victims? She would get out a list. "Jack Ruby... Martha Mitchell... William Casey.... " She would give you a copy of a study by Texas researcher Penn Jones showing that, of more than 100 unusual deaths of witnesses in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, 27 key witnesses died of cancer within six weeks after the death of the President.

(snip)
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NYT review

by repost Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 6:48 AM

November 2, 1997

Operation What?


A broadside against the keeping of the national secrets.

Read the First Chapter

By TIM WEINER

Two years ago, I met an F.B.I. agent with whom I shared an interest in certain Central Intelligence Agency shenanigans. He shook hands, smiled and said: ''I feel like I know you. I've done three leak investigations on you.'' Angus Mackenzie might have appreciated the moment. He was a man obsessed by the Government's legal and illegal attempts to control information.

Mackenzie was the long-haired great-grandson of the magazine publisher S. S. McClure, who gave the great muckrakers Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens their platform at the start of this century. In 1970, when Mackenzie was 19, he was arrested for selling issues of an underground newspaper he had founded, called The People's Dreadnaught. From this formative experience onward, he was like a man who pulls a loose strand from a thick sweater and keeps pulling until he has unraveled half a mile of wool.

He spent the rest of his life as a freelance muckraker, gathering information on Government secrecy and striving to finish this book. Left in draft form at his death from brain cancer three years ago, completed by his friends and family, ''Secrets'' is Mackenzie's legacy: a book obsessed. Like the man, it is an unruly piece of work, but it grabs you by the lapels and holds on.

Throughout the cold war -- and after -- the White House asserted that the President has a right to control and classify information as he sees fit. Mackenzie argues that such sovereign powers are for kings, not freely elected leaders.

''Secrets'' begins with the C.I.A.'s assault on Ramparts magazine in 1966, after that leftist journal disclosed some of the agency's secret campus programs. The C.I.A., barred by its charter from spying on Americans, quickly began sending the White House reports on the editors and writers of Ramparts.

This exercise in extralegal snooping grew into a much larger effort: prying into the unruly world of the underground press. And that grew into Operation Mhchaos, the biggest domestic spying caper in the C.I.A.'s history, aimed in essence against Vietnam War protesters. The exposure of Mhchaos during and after Watergate remains a low point in the agency's history.

Chastened but determined, the agency started going after books -- for example, censoring large swatches of ''The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence,'' by Victor Marchetti, a former C.I.A. officer, and John Marks. (This, of course, guaranteed the book's commercial success.) Then the agency refined its tactics, winning in court the right to enforce secrecy contracts with its employees.

In the 1980's, as Mackenzie explains, the Reagan Administration expanded this into a grand strategy to impose secrecy restrictions on all Government workers, on the principle that Presidents, not the people, own the information that the Government generates.

Since Mackenzie's death, the Clinton Administration has let some light into the enormous secrecy bureaucracy, but it also wants secrets kept where it sees fit. It saw nothing wrong with the C.I.A.'s destroying the career of a State Department official who blew the whistle on the agency's malfeasance in Guatemala. The White House has placed the National Security Council's records beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act. And F.B.I. agents are still conducting scores of leak investigations on reporters and their sources.

More than a quarter-century ago, around the time that Mackenzie was arrested for peddling The People's Dreadnaught, Justice Hugo L. Black of the Supreme Court wrote in the Pentagon Papers case: ''The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.'' That, simply stated, is what Angus Mackenzie is trying to say in this good old-fashioned broadside.


Tim Weiner is a correspondent in the Washington bureau of The New York Times and a co-author of ''Betrayal: The Story of Aldrich Ames, an American Spy.''
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Eye-opening tale

by Stan Flouride (aka Kevin Kearney) Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 5:29 PM
stanflouride@sbcglobal.net 415 552 8269

I just received two copies of the Quicksilver Times from 1970 and it led me to this eye-opening tale.
I was 17 when I went to work for the QT and his was my first art job and my introduction to left-wing politics. In the description of the rift in the group I, in my passionate and youthful naiveté, sided with the more radical group (made up of Maoist ex-Weather/RYM II and Stalinist PL people). We published a few more magazines, committed a few felonies, and kind of dissolved. It was not my best moment.
I learned some valuable lessons in that debacle (most importantly that without the most watchful of members the person you want least to be in charge almost always ends up on top) and always wanted to let Terry Becker know that I was wrong and he was right.
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SF Chronicle review

by repost Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 6:26 PM

The San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, October 12, 1997
Page 4

How the CIA Got Away With Domestic Spying

Court rulings backing the agency set the stage for censorship, writes reporter

REVIEWED BY, DANIEL L. WICK

SECRETS

The CIA's War at Home

By Angus Mackenzie

University of California Press; 241 pages; $27.50

--------------------------------------------------------

The late Angus Mackenzie, a longtime affiliate of San Francisco's Center for Investigative Journalism (he died of brain cancer in 1994), spent more than 15 years researching "Secrets: The CIA's War at Home.'' It represents the best account yet of the CIA's continuing attempts to manipulate and suppress information on the basis of its own narrow definitions of national security.

Forbidden by the National Security Act of 1947 from operating within the United States, the CIA nevertheless launched a domestic spying program dubbed MHCHAOS aimed at the U.S. anti- war underground press of the 1960s and 1970s. The operation was international in scope and supposedly focused on whether anti-war publications were financed by foreign, communist sources. In fact, points out Mackenzie, MHCHAOS, like the FBI's COINTELPRO, was designed to gather information on American citizens deemed by these federal agencies to be potentially subversive.

Because MHCHAOS was patently illegal, CIA officers participating in it were required to sign secrecy agreements swearing never to divulge any information about the operation. To violate a secrecy agreement was to risk federal prosecution. Mackenzie argues that such secrecy contracts became a favorite government tool, used to muzzle disclosures by ex-Agency personnel about questionable or illegal CIA activities.

One of the several secrecy agreements that the Agency eventually required its personnel to sign stipulated that any articles, books or speeches they might write that deal with intelligence activities must be preapproved by the CIA. When challenged in court that this type of contract constituted censorship and violates First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and press, the CIA, says Mackenzie, argued that this was not a censorship issue: "The United States was seeking neither to stop publication nor to censor. Rather, the United States was seeking 'specific performance' of a contract. This rather clever attempt to sidestep the obvious conflict between censorship and the First Amendment was persuasive to the judge.''

Another key ruling favoring the government arose out of the publication in 1977 of former CIA officer Frank Snepp's ``Decent Interval,'' criticizing Agency activities relating to the American withdrawal from Vietnam. Snepp refused to submit the manuscript to the CIA censors prior to publication. The Agency took Snepp to court and obtained a ruling requiring Snepp to pay all profits from the book to the government and submit future writings on intelligence for CIA prepublication review. Says Mackenzie: "This decision gave the CIA the authority to institutionalize its censorship program. It would provide the precedent for censorship to be extended to more than fifty other federal agencies.''

The chief remaining barrier to keeping details of CIA domestic espionage from the public was the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). So, in 1982, the Agency moved to create an exemption from the FOIA for counterintelligence files, such as the records of MHCHAOS. Mackenzie details how this was accomplished with the surprising cooperation of American Civil Liberties Union executives Mark Lynch and Morton Halperin. The new FOIA exemption coincided with the issuance by the Rion Directive (NSDD 84), which was designed to prohibit federal employees from leaking classified information to the press. Mackenzie maintains that the chief result of NSDD 84 has been to discourage potential government whistle blowers.

In the end, Mackenzie suggests, the pattern of censorship that began with the CIA frantically trying to keep secret its illegal domestic spying operations has spread to agencies of the federal government, creating a culture of bureaucratic secrecy that resembles the one generated by Great Britain's Official Secrets Act, but previously unknown in the United States, with its strong tradition of constitutionally protected free speech.

In Mackenzie, the United States lost prematurely one of its fiercest First Amendment defenders: "Almost a decade after the end of the Cold War,'' he writes in his conclusion, "espionage is not the issue, if it ever really was. The issue is freedom .... The issue is principle .... Until the citizens of this land aggressively defend their First Amendment rights of free speech, there is little hope that the march to censorship will be reversed. The survival of that cornerstone of the Bill of Rights is at stake.''
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The John Lennon FBI Files

by more MHCHAOS Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 6:55 PM

Jon Wiener
Gimme Some Truth
The John Lennon FBI Files

Chapter 1: Getting Started

Early in 1981, shortly after John Lennon's murder on December 8, 1980, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for any files the FBI had kept on Lennon. The FBI released some documents in May. But of the 281 pages staff said they had reviewed, they withheld 199 (more than 70 percent) in their entirety. The documents were withheld mostly under three different FOIA exemptions: protection of the privacy of others named in a document, protection of the identities of confidential sources, and "national security."1

The documents that were released included one page that had Lennon's name at the top but was otherwise blacked out under the national security exemption (see p. 170);

(snip)

The CIA released one of its Lennon documents in September 1984-a teletype dated February 8, 1972, reporting on Lennon's plan for a "caravan of entertainers who will follow U.S. primaries and raise funds for local radical groups along the way" (see p. 157). About half of it was blacked out under the national security exemption, but one word in the heading was released: "MHCHAOS."

Rosenbaum and Marmalefsky agreed that the word rang a bell, and since I was the historian, I was dispatched to the UCLA Research Library reference room. The news indices there were clear: "MHCHAOS" was a secret, illegal CIA program of surveillance of domestic political dissent, a violation of the CIA charter that had been revealed in 1976. "MH" was a CIA code indicating worldwide area of operations. The CHAOS program had been launched in August 1967, under Director Richard Helms, by James Jesus Angleton, the CIA's chief of counterintelligence, and headed by Richard Ober, a counterintelligence specialist in the Directorate of Plans, Harvard '43. Ober's tasks had already included developing CIA strategy to respond to the revelation by Ramparts magazine in February 1967 that the CIA had been secretly funding the National Student Association for fifteen years. Under the CHAOS operation, the investigation of Ramparts was expanded to cover the entire underground press and given "highest priority." To keep the illegal activity from being leaked by CIA employees, the operation was housed in the basement of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, in specially shielded vaults that blocked electronic eavesdropping.

The CIA sent Operation CHAOS domestic intelligence reports on political dissent first to President Johnson and later to Nixon, as well as to Henry Kissinger and John Dean, counsel to the president. Under Nixon, the CHAOS program was expanded to sixty agents, who, according to Angus MacKenzie, "became the Nixon administration's primary source of intelligence about the antiwar leadership."17

CIA Operation CHAOS was revealed in 1976 by Representative Bella Abzug's House Subcommittee on Government Information and Individual Rights. The CIA director at the time was George Bush, who conceded in congressional testimony that "the operation in practice resulted in some improper accumulation of material on legitimate domestic activities." He defended the agency, declaring that "only a very small fraction of reporting on the activities of American citizens in the US was done by the CIA." Abzug proposed that individuals who had been targets of Operation CHAOS be notified by the CIA and given a chance to review their dossiers. Bush replied that notification was unworkable and proposed instead that the CIA "destroy . . . all the information which was improperly collected under the so-called CHAOS program." Because of congressional insistence, Bush agreed that the FOIA would make Operation CHAOS files available under the Act.18 Thus the appearance of the CHAOS memo here (see p. 157).

(snip)

* * * * *

Continued at:

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perps

by history buff Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 9:31 PM

Thomas Hercules Karamessines:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKkaramessines.htm

(snip)

When Desmond FitzGerald died of a heart-attack in July, 1967, Karamessines was appointed Director for Plans. His deputy was Cord Meyer. Along with Richard Ober they worked on Operation MB. This included a major campaign against the left-wing press. Called MHCHAOS it targeted some 500 newspapers. CIA agents infiltrated those papers that were opposing the Vietnam War.

(snip)

* * * * *

Richard Ober:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKober.htm

(snip)

In June 1970, Richard Nixon held a meeting with J. Edgar Hoover, Richard Helms and the heads of army and navy intelligence. Nixon wanted better intelligence on “revolutionary activism”. The result was Operation Chaos. Ober was put in charge of the operation. He was given an office in the White House and worked closely with Nixon, H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman

(snip)

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thanks, 'buff'

by sd Wednesday, May. 16, 2007 at 6:18 AM

More on Operation Chaos.

Operation CHAOS

from the book

The CIAs Greatest Hits

by Mark Zepezauer

In theory, the CIA's charter prohibits it from engaging in domestic operations. In practice, that's taken about as seriously as Frank Sinatra's periodic announcements that he's retiring from show biz.

The CIA explains its massive presence on US campuses by saying that so many foreign students attend US universities, it would be a shame not to try to recruit them. The Domestic Contacts Division is needed to glean information from US tourists and businessmen returning from abroad. Then there's the Domestic Operations Division, which handles foreign interventions on US soil, like breaking into foreign embassies.

In order to do all that, the CIA has had to set up the same sort of network of phony businesses and front organizations it uses overseas. But other than that, it claims it never operates domestically.

Unfortunately, that's not true. From 1959 to at least 1974, the CIA used its domestic organizations to spy on thousands of US citizens whose only crime was disagreeing with their government's policies.

This picked up speed when J. Edgar Hoover told President Johnson that nobody would be protesting his Vietnam war policies unless they were being directed to do so by some foreign power. Johnson ordered the CIA to investigate.

In response, the CIA vastly expanded its campus surveillance program and stepped up its liaisons with local police departments. It trained special intelligence units in major cities to carry out "black bag" jobs (break-ins, wiretaps, etc.) against US "radicals."

In 1968, the CIA's various domestic programs were consolidated and expanded under the name Operation CHAOS. When Richard Nixon became president the following year, his administration drafted the Huston Plan, which called for even greater operations against "subversives," including wiretapping, break-ins, mail-opening, no-knock searches and "selective assassinations." Bureaucratic infighting tabled the plan, but much of it was implemented in other forms, not only by the CIA but also by the FBI and the Secret Service.

With the revelation of CIA and White House complicity in the Watergate break-in, light began to shine on Operation CHAOS. After a period of "reform," much of CHAOS's work was privatized, and right-wing groups and "former" CIA agents now provide the bulk of the CIA's domestic intelligence.
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Repression as State Strategy

by repost Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 5:12 AM

From the brand new A Murder of Crows #2

Reposted from Infoshop.org

Repression is a topic that is often discussed in the revolutionary milieu, but unfortunately it is a subject that is not well understood. Because of democratic baggage, repression is often understood as simply an anomalous and outrageous violation of rights. What people fail to comprehend is that repression is part of the standard operating procedure of any class society. There are those that rule and those who are ruled, and to maintain this divide, a combination of coercion and accommodation is necessary. To preserve the social structure of our society then, it is necessary to recuperate parts of social movements, and to repress the other parts. Essentially, repression is a strategy for maintaining power by capitalist ruling classes within nation-states. Thus, since it is a long-term strategy, it is always in motion and not some occasional occurrence.

When repression strikes and comrades are arrested, such as in the “green scare,” the reaction of many is to disassociate themselves from those who are being attacked by the state. Liberals, progressives, and most activists draw up official statements denouncing violence, sabotage, and illegality, all in hopes of proving to the government that they are just good citizens who like to follow the rules and who are interested in “positive” social change. This spineless response is standard for the left, and serves to flank the state’s actions. Disassociation is not only a cowardly act, but is also based on faulty logic.

The underlying premise of disassociation is that the state has reacted to a specific occurrence and that those being persecuted are responsible for bringing repression upon themselves and everyone else. Certainly there are specific acts that the state responds to, such as actions of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), but this is not where repression stems from. In actuality, repression is a long-term strategy employed by the state regardless of specific illegal acts and is an attempt to maintain the status quo by any means necessary. Repression, then, is always present in many forms. It is the police, the courts, the prison system, the proliferation of security cameras, the immigrant detention centers and the like. If anyone needs further proof that the state doesn’t merely punish people for breaking its laws, and instead represses in order to destroy its opposition, one need only take a look at recent events.

Some Recent Attacks

A well-known example of state repression within the anarchist milieu is the infiltration of various conferences, protests and even affinity groups by one particular state agent: Anna Davies. Following the arrests of Lauren Weiner, Zachary Jenson and Eric McDavid in January 2006 for conspiracy to commit several acts of sabotage, the government revealed that one of the three’s comrades was in fact in the employ of the state. What’s more is that the government funneled money to Anna to rent a house where planning allegedly took place and to pay for supplies to commit these alleged acts. When this information was revealed, comrades across the country quickly posted photographs of Anna to popular anarchist and activist sites, and within days a picture of Anna’s activity was pieced together.

Rather than simply being involved with the three people arrested in California, Davies had been actively working for the FBI as far back as 2003. She has taken part in major protests such as the Democratic National Convention in 2004, the 2004 anti-G8 Protest in Georgia, the June 2005 Organization of American States protest in Florida, and the Bio-Democracy protest in Philadelphia, also in June of 2005. Along with major convergences, Davies attended anarchist conferences and gatherings in 2005 such as Feral Visions in the Appalachian Mountains and the CrimethInc Convergence in Indiana. On various Indymedia sites she also solicited photographs and video of protests under the guise of publicity, but it should be presumed that any information sent to her was added to the FBI’s intelligence base.

So the intention behind her infiltration was not to help solve a particular case, or to investigate one specific crime. Instead, she was employed as an infiltrator to gather information about the anarchist scene in general. It should also not be surprising that the case that she is currently involved in focuses on alleged acts that were planned to occur in the future, not ones that had already occurred. Based solely on the evidence made available to the public, it is not hard to see that the FBI was facilitating these alleged crimes by renting a house for Davies and the three arrested people and funneling money via Davies for supplies. In effect, the state was justifying their existence through aiding and abetting. In the US government’s latest terror war, arrests and examples need to be made; Weiner, Jenson, and McDavid have served this purpose quite well.

In addition to the case of Anna Davies is the 2003 infiltration of direct action anti-war groups in California. In July 2006, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California released a detailed report in which they documented a variety of instances in which local police departments, along with the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center, placed officers into anti-war groups. First and foremost they infiltrated the groups in order to gather information, but more insidiously, the police hoped to steer the organizations in a direction more useful to the state. When asked why officers had been placed in the San Francisco group Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW), Captain Howard Jordan of the Oakland Police Department stated: “if you put people in there from the beginning, I think we’d be able to gather the information and maybe even direct them to do something that we want them to do.” Clearly the state’s perspective is one of infiltrating in order to undermine.

This strategy manifested itself on multiple occasions. In April of 2003, DASW organized a picket at the Port of Oakland in opposition to the war in Iraq. At least one shipping company at the Port was handling war supplies, and the group organized to shut the port down for the day. Nearly 500 demonstrators took part, splitting into smaller groups to picket the various entrances to the port. The Oakland Police Department, however, was prepared. Through surveillance, police had already gathered information about the protest, and in this instance, they also brutally attacked demonstrators with rubber bullets, tear gas, and wooden dowel shots causing scores of injuries. In response to the police crackdown, DASW organized an anti-police brutality march in May of 2003. What members of the group did not know was that they had elected police infiltrators to plan out the route for their march. No one, not even the police, could fail to see the irony of that situation. While in their report the ACLU decries the actions of the police as evidence of misconduct, these acts should more importantly be viewed as evidence of the state’s attempts to undermine and destroy opposition to it.

As shown by FBI infiltration of anarchist demonstrations and events and local police infiltration of protest groups, it is easy to see that they were not investigating crimes that had taken place, but rather they were investigating possibilities of concrete resistance, which by necessity, generally break the law. This shows that there are plenty of examples, and certainly many that we may never know about, which demonstrate that repression already exists and is underway. It is not intermittent, and does not always respond to particular violations of the law; it is a long-term strategy of the state to destroy opposition. This strategy, however, has wider implications beyond the bounds of the radical milieu and affects the exploited as a whole.

The New Repressive Strategy

Author Kristian Williams, in his book Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America, examines fundamental changes in the repressive strategy of the United States government. His main observation, which he thoroughly documents with official papers and statements, is that following the upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s, the state switched to a strategy of permanent repression, or as he calls it, counter-insurgency. Learning from their past failures, the police developed a preemptive model of repression which sought to prevent insurgency before it happened. Williams outlines two major components functioning hand in hand: militarization and community policing.

Militarization is one of the most obvious changes within police departments in the United States. In city centers across the US, police departments are well armed and equipped for urban warfare. Not only has their weaponry been upgraded in a variety of ways, but also newer and more powerful firearms are available. Armored personnel carriers (APCs), helicopters and even tanks are at their disposal, as are a multitude of so-called non-lethal weapons such as tasers, tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray, which are known to kill and permanently injure people. But it is not only the tools, but also the manner of organization and the scope of the mission that define militarization.

Organizationally, many police departments were restructured along military lines into squads and platoons, and paramilitary units were created as well. Special Weapons and Tactics units, better known as SWAT teams, are a manifestation of militarization in terms of organization, armament, and dress. Created in the late 1960s, their first missions involved raids on Black Panther Party headquarters and on the hideout of the Symbionese Liberation Army. SWAT teams were also mobilized dozens of times in relation to the activities of the American Indian Movement at Wounded Knee. Now however, SWAT teams aren’t simply used for “extreme” situations or in the case of potential shootouts; they are also used for routine patrolling in the ghettoes of many major cities. In this way, paramilitary units –equipped with machine guns— targeting people for ID checks, loitering, and even traffic violations, has become a normal part of life for the most exploited members of this society. This is but one part of the state’s counter-insurgency campaign.

Community policing is the friendly face, and perhaps the more insidious side, of the new repressive strategy. Community policing developed in response to the state’s inability to predict and control urban uprisings in the 60s and 70s and was designed, “to build a bond between the police and the public in hopes that this would increase police legitimacy, give them better access to information, intensify penetration of community life and expand the police mission.” This is not the same as infiltration because it is an overt attempt to work with civic organizations, churches, homeowners, and the general public in order to transform people into the eyes and ears of the state. Some of the tactics employed include: neighborhood watch groups, public forums, meetings with religious and civic leaders, foot and bike patrols, a focus on minor offenses, citizen volunteer opportunities, and police sponsored community activities such as Night Out Against Crime. This is how the police and the state worm their way into the social networks of various neighborhoods in order to gain legitimacy. Therefore when force is used, it is presented as being validated by “community support.”

Community policing has also expanded the role of the police from simply dealing with violations of the law to an overall focus on “public order” and “quality of life.” This is based on the Broken Windows theory which argues that small issues such as rundown property and juvenile loitering eventually contribute to an ever-growing sense of disorder in the neighborhood and consequently, to greater violations of the law. This means that rather than simply focusing on serious offences, the police also focus on many smaller crimes that supposedly lower the quality of life and eventually snowball into great social disturbances. Quality of life issues include ridding neighborhoods of graffiti, breaking up homeless encampments, and dealing with noise complaints; this focus essentially promotes a zero-tolerance approach to crime. The underlying premise is that any amount of lawbreaking, whether it is jaywalking or kids hanging out on corners, contributes to ever-greater lawlessness.

The confluence of community policing and militarization amounts to nothing less than a consistent campaign of counter-insurgency. Penetrating communities and including common people in the state apparatus, in combination with paramilitary units and a war-based conception of crime, are part of a strategic shift to preempt any major disorder or uprisings. Poor neighborhoods and districts, especially black and Latino ghettoes, which were the source of much insurgency during the 1960s and 1970s, are hit particularly hard by this preemptive strategy. Undoubtedly, since the exploited pose a permanent threat to the social order, there is a direct connection between this daily repression and the repressive activity focused specifically on radicals.

How to Deal

If we begin to understand repression as a strategy of the state that is continually in operation, then we must transform our way of dealing with it. In the US, radicals deal with it in a reactive way: first the state strikes, then we come out with posters, leaflets, statements, and attempts to raise money for our imprisoned comrades. This is of course assuming that repression is even responded to; most choose to look the other way as long as it poses no threat to themselves or their acquaintances. Unfortunately, the mentality of some is that those being targeted by the state are responsible for bringing repression upon themselves. Without simply repeating the usual principles of revolutionary solidarity, we feel the need to reaffirm that it’s important to start using our heads and thinking about what can be done outside of the usual support campaigns. Comrades in Spain, once again, have given us some examples to learn from.

On February 9, 2006, two anarchist comrades, Ruben and Ignasi, were arrested in Barcelona for an arson attack on a prison labor company and for vandalism at a bank. The anarchist response to the arrests was immense. Graffiti and propaganda covered walls in many neighborhoods in Barcelona, and dozens of acts of sabotage were carried out in solidarity with them. Individuals attacked banks and ATMs across Spain, a satellite signal antenna was destroyed in Barcelona, and the offices of real estate companies were targeted. Public demonstrations were held in support of the imprisoned comrades, and on a few occasions in Barcelona, major intersections were shut down during rush hour, as banners flew and flyers were handed out to passersby. The acts of sabotage were not random; they were an extension of pre-existing fights against gentrification and the media’s repeated efforts to label anarchists and autonomists as domestic terrorists. Thus they served to intertwine and deepen the implications of their resistance. And in their resistance, comrades in Spain employed a variety of tools: posters, graffiti, sabotage, protests, and blockades. Perhaps more importantly they demonstrated a refusal to allow the state to kidnap their comrades without repercussions.

Outside of the scope of friends and comrades being taken by the state, there is the daily repression that is ever growing. We need to get in the habit of resisting the daily indignities that are imposed upon us by this regime of repression. They will push us to see how far we will bend, to make us bow and show respect to authority. They hope to police our every move, to make simple things illegal, for the sake of constantly having a reason to interfere with our lives. This is manifesting itself in a variety of ways: the proliferation of video surveillance devices monitoring public spaces, constant harassment for identification, more aggressive policing of demonstrations, random searches, and more importantly, the racist policy of mass incarceration. All of these changes are the result of the convergence of interests between states and businesses with mutually reinforcing agendas. One of the most nefarious aspects of this growing network of control is the way in which it is normalized over time. We get used to being watched, inspected, harassed, beaten and treated like prisoners. The media is complicit in this process by continually promoting a climate of fear –fear of pedophiles, gangs, immigrants, and eco-terrorists—that serves to build democratic support for repression.

There are some precedents for struggle against the slow creep of repressive technologies. In Britain there has been widespread sabotage over the past several years of speed cameras, which seek to catch drivers violating the speed limit. Hundreds of cameras have been destroyed across the country by chainsaws, burning tires, and rifles. The recent implementation of speed cameras in Australia has produced the same reaction. Surveillance cameras, however, are more prolific and more useful to police. In many cities across the world, surveillance cameras are routinely targeted with rocks, paint, and hammers. People generally use brightly colored paints to disable the cameras and draw attention to them. Cameras are only one part of the repressive web that threatens to envelop us, but are certainly a worthy target.

Also, anarchists and other radicals in many countries have initiated projects that focus on immigrant detention. In Australia in 2002, there was a direct attack on the Woomera detention facility by hundreds of people who tore down several layers of security fences. This allowed several detainees to escape. In Greece in December of 2004, anarchists held a solidarity rally with Afghan immigrants who had been tortured by the police. There, the demonstrators attacked the police station where the torture had occurred. In Lecce, Italy, a very determined struggle against the Regina Pacis detention center has been developing over the last three years. Riots have broken out in the facility, and sabotage and arson attacks were undertaken against those who manage and profit from it. As long as capitalism exists, it will ravage large parts of the world, sending people on forced marches across deserts, oceans, and national borders; thus these revolutionary projects of immigrant solidarity are worthy of close study.

If we hope to have any impact upon repression, we need to begin refusing their commands and disobeying their orders, and start thinking about ways we can meet face-to-face with others who are facing state repression. When the state hits us, let’s hit back. After all, like the police argue, a few broken windows eventually lead to full-scale disorder.

by Kellen Kass

Reposted from Infoshop.org

A Murder of Crows
PO Box 20442
Seattle, WA 98102

From the brand new A Murder of Crows #2

>Notes>

1. We are still unsure about whether or not Anna Davies is the informant’s real name, but for the article we will use that name for the sake of simplicity.

2. At this time, both Lauren Weiner and Zachary Jenson have taken plea deals and agreed to cooperate against Eric McDavid. For more information see: www.supporteric.org

3. State of Surveillance ACLU report, p. 13. Available online: www.aclunc.org/issues/government_surveillance/the_state_of_surveillance.shtml

4. Kristian Williams. Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America. p 239

5. Williams p 237

6. Calling this strategy counter-insurgency is not in any way a hyperbole, because occupying armies in situations such as Algeria and Ireland primarily developed these strategies. While there is too much to go into here, William’s Our Enemies in Blue is an excellent resource for gaining a deeper understanding of this phenomenon.

7. For more information about the UK speed camera attacks, see http://www.speedcam.co.uk/, and for the Australian case, see “Speed Cameras: The War Begins,” available at: http://sydney.indymedia.org/node/38981

8. Also for information on anarchist activity against immigrant detention centers see “An Example of Struggle Against Deportation and Detention Centers for Immigrants” in the first issue A Murder of Crows

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The Spymaster's Tale

by repost Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 5:26 AM

by Daniel Borgström
This report is in the October 2006 issue of Z Magazine


No spy story should be taken uncritically, least of all when it comes from a spymaster who's still in the business. The spymaster in this story is Oakland's Deputy Police Chief Howard Jordan, who told the ACLU that two undercover Oakland police officers had infiltrated an antiwar demonstration at the Port of Oakland on May 12, 2003.

May 12th was the day some five hundred protesters returned to the Port of Oakland for a successful demonstration in defense of our First Amendment rights after being attacked by police five weeks earlier. On the morning of April 7th, fifty nine people including longshoremen, journalists, legal observers and peaceful protesters had been injured by police firing "less-lethal munitions." The April 7th attack received world wide attention and was even investigated by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. So, as a human rights abuser, our City of Oakland achieved a distinction generally reserved for countries such as Egypt, Israel and Guatemala.

Police records later obtained during litigation reveal that Howard Jordan was directly in charge of some of the officers who fired the "less-lethal munitions." Jordan was then a lieutenant: he was later promoted to captain, and has since become Deputy Chief. Some might call him a rising star while others still consider him a thug, but for this story I find it more appropriate to just call him Spymaster Jordan.

Jordan's espionage activities came to light last month in an ACLU report "The State Of Surveillance: Government Monitoring of Political Activity in Northern & Central California," written by Mark Schlosberg. The SF Chronicle (7/28/2006) picked up the story and published an article titled "Police spies chosen to lead war protest."

Nobody doubts the police sent spies to pose as protesters on May 12th. I was present on both April 7th and May 12th, and it was generally assumed that the police who'd attacked us in April would now be spying on us during our return to the Port in May. I remember ILWU's Jack Heyman even saying something to that effect.

The surprise was to read in the Chronicle that two undercover officers were "elected to be leaders in the May 12 demonstration an hour after meeting protesters that day."

Now that's astoundingly impressive! Think about it--those two undercover cops just walk in, unknown, and within an hour they've been elected to the leadership by the activists themselves!

Impressive, yes, but on reading that I wondered what sort of "leadership" positions they were talking about. Although I was at the demonstrations of April 7th and May 12th, I hadn't taken any part in organizing those events, so I didn't know exactly how the thing was put together. But I did have some concept of it because the following year, 2004, on the anniversary of the attack, we again held a protest at the Port, and for that event I was part of the committee that organized it. This committee was called the "Working Group:" there were about a dozen of us in it. But nobody was "elected" or even "chosen." I and the others simply showed up at the meetings and pitched in to help with the work.

As with any public event involving hundreds of people, there were literally dozens of tasks, large and small, all of which have to be done in order to prepare for the event. Most of these tasks were not very glamorous. It's probably a bit like being stage hands for a theatrical production.

So I contacted people who'd organized the May 12th, 2003 demonstration, and they confirmed my suspicions. "The use of the word 'elected' tells me that someone didn't quite do their research," Susan Quinlan wrote me in an email. Another person said, "From what they told the ACLU they don't seem to know how we operate."

"Nothing the police deputy chief says matches up with how we organized for May 12," David Solnit told me. "No one was elected to anything. All the decisions the deputy chief claimed they made were made in a general meeting."

The general meeting, called a "spokes council," was attended by eighty to a hundred people, I was told. Did the undercover agents attend and express some opinion? It was an open meeting, and it seems possible. Presumably many opinions were expressed at that meeting. A lot of people were involved in the decision-making process. It wasn't decided upon by a committee.

The deciding moment must've been at a rally at Jack London Square on April 26th. This was an event I attended and remember well. The final speaker was Sasha Wright. Sasha looked around the gathering, drew in her breath, then told us they were considering a return to the Port. "If we were to go back to the docks, how many people here would be willing to go?" she asked us. "Could I see your hands?"

It was quite like a scene from the movie High Noon, except that instead of a single guy being left to go it alone, in this real life show there were a lot of Marshal Kanes. A sizeable number, perhaps half of those present, raised their hands. Cheering followed.

That, I believe, was the deciding moment. On May 12th we returned to the Port, and this time the police didn't attack us.

A few weeks after our successful May 12th demonstration, on May 29, 2003, Jordan addressed the OPD Board of Review, expounding on the usefulness of police infiltrators. He explained that the OPD should have a unit available for such things on a long term basis.

"So if you put people in there from the beginning," Jordan told the Board, "I think we'd be able to gather the information and maybe even direct [the protesters] to do something that we want them to do. An example would be if [the protesters] wanted to march to the dock station or march to the police department. If we have our people near it we can say, 'We don't think that's a good idea, let's go somewhere else.' So those are some of the things I think we should consider for future."

Of course May 12th was an outstandingly good counter-example of such a situation--where police had infiltrated the organization, were in purported control, and protesters still marched to a place that was not to the liking of the police.

The police did not want protesters to enter the Port of Oakland. Not on that day, nor on any other day. They made that absolutely clear by firing "less-lethal munitions" on April 7th, injuring at least 59 people. The message was clear--Stay OUT of the Port!

This was also expressed later in an Oakland Tribune article by Sean Holstege (6/29/2003) which began: "A nuclear explosion, a dive-bombing aircraft, sabotage -- and mass protests -- are equal threats to the Port of Oakland, according to a classified security plan being developed by those responsible for thwarting terrorists."

Of course it seems downright silly to compare a peaceful demonstration to a nuclear explosion, but, it can be understood that someone didn't want protesters in the Port. And of course the Port was precisely where an estimated five hundred of us went on April 7th, and were determined to return to on the evening of May 12th.

Several hundred of us presented our case to the Oakland City Council and received the support of several councilmembers. Then, a committee of our group negotiated with the Oakland Police, who at first said "no" to any thought of entering the Port. The police said they'd allow us to hold our demonstration a mile away from the Port in a "protest pen." Nevertheless, a day or two before May 12th, the police relented and promised they wouldn't interfere.

Despite the reassurances of the police, there was tension in the air, and I must confess to feeling a bit fearful as we marched back into the Port with a brass band on the evening of May 12th. For an hour or two we picketed the gates we'd been driven from; then marched out and went home with a feeling of triumph. We'd stood up to police violence, defended our First Amendment rights, and won.

Spymaster Jordan stated that his undercover agents played a role in determining the route we took to the Port. Actually, there is only one logical route from our gathering place at the West Oakland BART station to the Port. That was determined decades ago by the people who designed the street, bridge and road system.

So why is Jordan making the false claim that the police had some control over this demonstration? I can only speculate on his motives. One of them must be his desire to be spymaster, but perhaps another is that the May 12th demonstration was quite humiliating to the Oakland police. Judging from remarks I saw on websites, cops from other police departments seem to have been laughing at them and calling them "pansies." It might've rankled them a bit. So, my take on this is that Deputy Chief Jordan is trying rewrite history to read something like: "The Oakland Police had it all under control."

Actually there's not much that the Oakland Police Department does seem to effectively control--certainly not street crime. This town is sometimes called the "murder capital" of California. The OPD doesn't even seem to have much control over rogue cops in its own ranks, as was illustrated by the "Riders" case.

There remains one more interesting quirk in the spymaster's story. Jordan revealed the identities of the two undercover officers, and their names were printed in the SF Chronicle. Both officers are members of the vice squad, and presumably still working in that capacity. In any case, it seems strange that Jordan would so casually give out such information, especially after having spoken as he did to the Police Board of Review on the usefulness of having a unit of police infiltrators available on a long term basis.

No undercover person likes to have his cover blown. We all remember the controversy over the outing of Valerie Plame. It does seem that that is the very worst thing that anyone could do to an undercover person.

Perhaps it was a moment of carelessness. Or maybe it was to give credibility to his story. Possibly there was some other reason.

Such name-dropping doesn't seem to be the hallmark of a first-class spymaster. As a thug in charge of a "Tango Team"--officers who fired "less-lethal munitions" at peaceful protesters--he was superlative. Maybe he's finally achieved his level of incompetence. But is that so bad? I mean, do we really want to see an OPD spymaster who knows what he's doing?

Daniel Borgström
August 13, 2006
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"Daniel Borgström"

by pointer Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 5:29 AM

See also:

A Death Threat for Daniel

My favorite infiltrator
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Indymedia and British Intelligence Services

by repost Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 6:17 AM

Following the American pattern after 9/11, the UK government has used its own alleged terrorist attacks to push towards a police state, which is not exactly a new phenomenon, as Nafeez Ahmed, for example, explains. This has involved increasing the funds allocated to 'security services' and granting them extra-judicial powers; the systematic assault on civil liberties and human rights; media-spun fear based on dubious 'terror plots'; the clamp-down on activists and the relentless attempts to infiltrate their networks. Even Indymedia, it seems, has not been spared. At least two Indymedia activists have recently been approached, in one way or another, by British intelligence services, offering them better-paid jobs.

(snip)

Of course there is nothing new about intelligence services' obsession with dissident groups and campaigns, and apparently surveillance alone is not enough. A BBC series in 2002, True Spies, documented that the 1970's saw the Special Branch infiltrating and recruiting paid agents in trade unions and left-wing organisations, including the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the National Union of Mineworkers (see also this Guardian article).

Over the years, there have been quite a few cases where people found out that one of their fellow activists or comrades was spying on them. Indeed, as a Wombles statement on the Telegraph journalist infiltration case put it: "We assume at every meeting that there are at least one journalist and one Special Branch officer."

In the run-up to the 2005 G8 summit in Scotland, an American woman, known as Anna, contacted anti-G8 medics and various IMC's claiming she wanted to get involved with the protests. She was later identified in the set-up of the Auburn Three trial and turned out to be an FBI informant/agent. According to the FBI's own affidavit, "Anna" had been involved in gathering information on 12 separate cases in the anarchist movement.

It is worth mentioning that, under the Data Protection Act 1998, everyone has the right to get hold of a copy of their photos taken by police as well as any other kind of data they might hold on you, such as your Police National Computer records. Well, in theory anyway. This process is called a Subject Access Request (see here for more information).

Indyspies

Being the 'activist hub' it is, Indymedia is surely 'kept an eye on'. Since it was established in 1999, the network has had many encounters with 'security' services, both in the UK and elsewhere in the world. From assaulting Indymedia reporters and photographers, IMC volunteers being put under surveillence, to seizing the actual servers where Indymedia sites are hosted.

On October 7, 2004, the FBI seized two Indymedia servers in London, affecting some 20 IMC websites, mainly European. Then, on 27 June, 2005, the IMC Bristol server was seized by police and one IMC volunteer arrested on suspicion of incitement to criminal damage. In both cases, it was claimed by the authorities that they were only after the IP logs because of some posts, never mind that it is Indymedia's policy not to log IP addresses. Both times, however, it was in the run-up to a major event: the first prior to the European Social Forum in London, the second one week before the G8 Summit in Scotland.

Police are also increasingly using various 'legal' devices and violence to 'remove' independent journalists from the scene of actions, where they feel their actions may be portrayed in a less flattering light (see, for example, these incidents: 1 | 2 ). And, of course, it should come as no surprise that some IMC volunteers, just like other activists, are known to have been put under surveillance.

Yet, it is not that common for dedicated IMCers to be approached directly by MI5 or Special Branch officers, trying to recruit them as spies, when they already know who they are and what they do. The two stories mentioned above [ 1 | 2 ] make you wonder: are they really that desperate? Or are we just a bunch or 'paranoid nuts'?

(snip)

To Overthrow the Government

02.02.2007 02:13

Just before this feature was published (i.e this morning), two women police officers from the local police station (I've seen them around before) paid me a 'visit'. They were basically 'concerned' about what I'd said at Coventry airport. And guess what that was? That I wanted to "overthrow the government"!! Since all I could do was laugh, they made sure my name was spelled right on their papers, checked who else was living at that address, wished me a good day and left.

IMCer

(snip)

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More Gov’t Attacks on Indymedia — Greece

by repost Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 6:28 AM

Thu 3 Oct 2002

(snip)

According to a feature on Global Indymedia, the Athens IMC has been targeted by the Greek gov’t in its “anti-terrorist summer,” a program its using to persecute leftist political activists:

By the end of September, Indymedia Athens was among the groups targetted in the witch-hunt climate, with establishment journalists contending that the “site is supporting the terrorists; therefore it must be shut down and those responsible for it arrested.” Soon later, there was an attempt by the head of the Department of Cyber Crime of the Greek national police to infiltrate the editorial group of the Athens IMC. Athens Indymedia, however, has also seen support in favor of freedom of speech.

The Athens IMC editorial collective has issued a statement, and has further coverage in English.

(snip)
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Chaos And Political Terrorism In America

by repost Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 7:46 AM

Homeland Insecurity by Douglas Valentine

Part Three

Chaos And Political Terrorism In America

The similarities between the Phoenix Program and the OHS are obvious, and with its computerized database of terrorist suspects, Phoenix is certainly the organizational model for an OHS-style counter-terror program based on "intelligence coordination and exploitation." 3

But as everyone is aware, the threat of radical Islamic terrorism is not comparable to the insurgency in Vietnam. In that case America rushed to defend a hapless ally, thousands of miles away, much as we did in Kuwait. In the present situation, the OHS has been created to defend us from terrorists on our own turf. Its counter-terror function is equivalent to that of providing internal security, in so far as the Bush Administration defines "internal security" in political terms.

Historically, and ironically, the U.S. Government considered Native Americans as our homeland's first domestic terrorists, and various methods were devised to deal with the threat, such as the distribution of blankets infected with smallpox.

Abolitionists, whether peaceful or violent like John Brown, also were regarded as terrorists, and for decades the reactionary right wing of American civilization, and its unreconstructed representatives in the government (many of whom still hold office), regarded the Ku Klux Klan as a legitimate means of countering the terror of Emancipation. Indeed, until today, the reactionary right wing still considers a "genuine" American to be an active proponent of this ideology, with its repulsive mix of racial purity, patriotism, and Christian fundamentalism, with its divine savior nailed to the cross, a symbol of the spiritual terror that enabled our Founding Fathers to rationalize slavery in the land of free and the home of brave.

Segregation persisted as unstated policy, and by the late 19th Century, organized labor had emerged as our homeland's new breed of domestic political terrorists; and after private police forces proved ineffective in eliminating the unions, the U.S. Government created the FBI to nullify the threat labor posed to its Robber Baron patrons. The FBI quickly established that foreigners (mostly Jews, Bolsheviks and immigrants with no rightful claim to America as their "homeland") were controlling the labor movement. Over the years Communists replaced Bolshevists, and eventually Civil Rights and Anti-War activists were added to the hit list of domestic terrorists--all of which brings us the FBI's notorious Counter Intelligence Program.

Created in the late 1950s, COINTELPRO was designed to neutralize "radical" political movements inside the U.S. In its attempt to provide decent Americans with "internal security," the FBI employed agent provocateurs, conducted burglaries, engaged in black propaganda (disinformation), fraud, and perhaps in the case of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and several other black leaders, outright assassination. 4

But COINTELPRO failed to neutralize America's Anti-War and Civil Rights insurgency, and by 1967, President Johnson and the FBI were sensing the presence of foreign intelligence agencies. And the mere fear that the KGB was directing the Anti-War and Civil Rights movements provided the FBI with the pretext to enlist the CIA in domestic intelligence operations. The precipitating event was a February 1967 expose in Ramparts magazine, which revealed that the CIA had suborned the leadership of the National Student Association. The exposure of this illegal CIA domestic activity prompted even moderate students to join and support radical, alternative organizations like the Students for a Democratic Society. The Anti-War movement blossomed like never before.

The Ramparts revelation, and the resulting surge in anti-establishment activities, was deemed to be a Soviet provocation, and confirmed the FBI's suspicions that foreign agitators were fueling the Anti-War and Civil Rights movements, so Johnson ordered the CIA to investigate Robert Scheer, the author of the Ramparts article. Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms gave the job to veteran CIA officer Richard Ober, a Harvard graduate (1943), World War II veteran, and member of the CIA's counter-intelligence staff. And thus came Operation Chaos--which, with its counterpart organizations in the Justice Department and White House, enabled the CIA and political ideologues to get involved in "internal security" operations such as will be conducted by the OHS. 5

Ober's Counter-Intelligence, Special Operations Group (CI/SOG), codenamed MHCHAOS, was created in August 1967, concurrent with the Phoenix Program (and for a similar purpose), and existed until March 1974. Its initial mission, ostensibly on behalf of the FBI, was to collect intelligence information on radical domestic political groups, to discover if they were being manipulated by foreign intelligence agencies.

To coordinate Chaos and COINTELPRO operations, Johnson's attorney general, Ramsay Clark, created the Interdepartmental Intelligence Unit (IDIU) within the Justice Department's Internal Security Division. Ober became the CIA's representative on the IDIU, which (like the OHS) was managed by senior members from the White House staff. In other words, from its inception, CIA intelligence information on dissidents was reported to people whose primary interest was in politics, not internal security.

Upon assuming office in January 1969, President Nixon immediately grasped the partisan political potential of the IDIU, which he moved under the Civil Rights Division. In June 1969, through his advisor on Domestic Affairs, John Dean--and Dean's youthful assistant, Tom Huston--Nixon directed Ober to engage Chaos in covert actions against dissidents. Ober was assigned a deputy and a case officer whose names remain secret until today. The deputy and the case officer moved into Ober's suite of offices in a vault in the basement at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Among the rooms was a library where files were kept and where slides of suspects and potential recruits were viewed. Several female CIA officers managed the precious, super secret Chaos files.

Central to Chaos was its super-secrecy. Assignment to CI/SOG was considered a "command performance," and security was commensurate with the responsibility. Ober, at the direction of his immediate supervisor, Counter-Intelligence Chief James Angleton, devised a communications system exclusively for Chaos cables and couriers to overseas stations. These "back-channels" by-passed the geographical division chiefs and reached right into the stations, to trusted counter-intelligence officers. In some cases Chaos by-passed the station chiefs, and corresponded directly with its unilateral assets and representatives in a country. Chaos "traffic" carried the highest security classification, was restricted only to those involved in the operation (as were Chaos files), and was inaccessible even to the CIA's top administrators, often for their own protection.

Based on names provided by the FBI (and the CIA's Offices of Security, Domestic Contacts, Foreign Resources, and Domestic Operations 6 ) the Chaos case officer in October 1969 began recruiting double agents from within the Black Power and Anti-War movements. The case officer approached only those people with "radical" credentials. Only those who proved trustworthy (some were polygraphed, others given psychological assessments) were recruited. Recruits were given a training course in the clandestine arts, supplied with the proper technical equipment and sufficient funds, sheep-dipped (meaning their records were falsified), and then sent overseas. The case officer referred to his 40-50 double agents as "dangles," because their job was to operate as a dissident normally would, and hope that a foreign intelligence agent would make an approach.

With the approval of Nixon's National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, the Pentagon joined in the counter-terror effort through a secret committee formed under the aforementioned Tom Huston, and began leveling requirements on the Chaos unit. The Pentagon was intent on tracking deserters, and gathering information on foreign nationals who were attempting to persuade American soldiers to desert from military bases in Germany. Chaos dangles were sent to North Vietnam, North Africa and Cuba, and one Chaos agent, possibly Timothy Leary, was launched against Eldridge Cleaver in Algeria.

Here it is important to remember that Bush has granted the CIA unprecedented freedom to coordinate with law enforcement and military officials, through the OHS. Previous restrictions on CIA domestic operations have been waived. As Bob Woodward reported in the 21 October Washington Post, CIA covert action is now a key element in defending America from terrorist attacks. Every day the CIA provides the Bush Administration's top national security and intelligence officials--including OHS Director Tom Ridge--with current intelligence on possible bombings, hijackings or poisonings within the U.S. But other than the anthrax outbreak, which appears to be the work of the radical right, none of the threats has materialized, and there is no way of knowing if, as the CIA is wont to do, the anthrax outbreak has been manufactured for purely political and psychological warfare reasons.

It also is likely that the CIA, on behalf of the OHS, will start sprinkling Chaos-type dangles overseas, and within the United States, to tempt terrorists into exposing themselves. It is a chilling prospect, but these dangles may exist only on paper, with the sole purpose of contriving reasons to launch counter-terror operations against opponents of Bush Administration policy. Hundreds of businesses and institutions across the country have already been placed on the CIA's watch list. According to Woodward, one Bush official said that merely being on the list "could destroy the livelihood of all those organizations without a bomb being thrown or a spore of anthrax being released."

Loss of livelihood is perhaps the heaviest psychological hammer a security agency can hold over a middle class American's head. But that's what it's come down to.

You Don't Need A Weatherman

Incidental to their role as dangles designed to entrap foreign agents, Chaos agents reported on U.S. citizens. A folder, or hard file, was created for each suspected dissident the CIA targeted. The folder contained the dissident's 201 "personality" file, as well as Situation Reports about his or her radical activities. The 201 file included every scrap of biographical information about the person, from arrest records to report cards to surreptitious photos taken of the person with other suspects. Some 7-10,000 hard files were eventually assembled.

In May 1970, Chaos chief Richard Ober starting entering the information from his index cards and hard files onto IBM cards, and compiling them in a data base codenamed HYDRA, which ultimately contained the names of some 300,000 people. HYDRA was developed at the same time as the Phoenix computer system in Vietnam. A mail intercept program codenamed HTLINGUAL also was part of the Chaos operation.

Thirty years later, far more sophisticated databases exist in the United States, and so much information is already available on every American citizen, that a computerized, national ID card system isn't required to keep track of everyone. But the on-going anthrax scare, which may be a CIA provocation, could serve as the pretext to institute, under the OHS, a mail intercept program similar to HTLINGUAL. And OHS Director Tom Ridge already has a deputy, "cyber security expert" Richard Clarke, to monitor and ultimately censor all politically incorrect Internet information.

As is well known, the paranoid Nixon Administration--whose ideology is compatible with Bush's--was ruthless in the application of its executive authority to attack its domestic political "enemies" under the aegis of national security. To this end, the Nixon Administration formed the IDIU's secret Intelligence Evaluation Committee in December 1970 under Robert Mardian, the assistant attorney general in charge of Internal Security. Mardian reported directly to Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell. A major player in Nixon's illegal political and fundraising schemes, Mitchell was sentenced for his Watergate crimes in February 1975.

Bush's right wing attorney general, John Ashcroft, will be a major player at OHS, and can be expected to play the same partisan political role for Bush as Mitchell played for Nixon. Indeed, it is evident from the records of the 1975 Report by the President's Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States that Chaos agents, at the behest of White House officials, operated domestically, illegally, and that Chaos operations were directed against non-violent dissidents, including Daniel Ellsberg, the Berrigan Brothers, Tom Hayden, and others. Many of these activists had important political connections, and by association, Left politicians came under Chaos scrutiny. The coverage was vast, and in order to advance policies he wished to keep secret from the secretaries of State and Defense, Kissinger kept close track of the most critical Chaos operations, especially agent operations that might impact his secret peace negotiations with the North Vietnamese.

One of Chaos' most important agents played a critical though undisclosed role at the May 1971 anti-war demonstrations in Washington. DC. And at least one Chaos agent may have been involved in the Watergate scandal that brought down Nixon.

Yes, by 1971 Ober and the Chaos unit were working for Nixon's secret team of political dirty tricksters, the infamous Plumbers. Master Plumber G. Gordon Liddy, a deranged former FBI agent with a penchant for eating live rats, actually leveled requirements on Ober at the Intelligence Evaluation Committee. Before Liddy and his partner in crime, CIA officer E. Howard Hunt, were imprisoned for burglarizing the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist, they directed Ober to spy on members of other government agencies, as well as on Nixon's political and bureaucratic "enemies".

Ober, who died earlier this year, is thought to have reacted negatively to this ultimate violation of the Constitution, and at least one researcher has suggested that he may have been Woodward's Deep Throat. But there's never any guarantee that any CIA officer will ever break ranks, and the threat of Nixon-style abuses loom large under the OHS and the illegitimate Bush Administration, with its fascist ideology and unprecedented, dictatorial emergency powers.

The Shell Game

Incredible power was concentrated in the Chaos office. Ober was the CIA's liaison to the National Commission on Civil Disorders and to the Ginsburg Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. He was the CIA's liaison to the protean Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, and to the Special Services units (Red Squads) of America's major metropolitan police departments. He reported directly to DCI Richard Helms (later convicted of lying to Congress about the CIA's major role in the violent coup that toppled the elected government of Chile, and resulted in the torture and murder of thousands of Leftists), and he sat on the Huston Committee, which was chaired by FBI Counter Intelligence chief William C. Sullivan (assassinated in 1977). 7

However, by mid-1972, CIA Executive Director William E. Colby was concerned that revelations of illegal CIA domestic political activities, on behalf of the Nixon Administration, might destroy the Agency. The big problem was Ober's association with rat-eater Liddy and his partner in crime, CIA officer Howard Hunt, and it is probably not a coincidence that the Chaos "case officer" was reassigned concurrently with the 17 June 1972 arrest of the five Watergate buggers. The IDIU was dissolved six months later.

By September 1973, Colby was the new Director of Central Intelligence, and had prepared a list of the CIA's "family jewels," an array of illegal domestic activities--now legal under the Bush Administration--which Colby felt should be revealed. The abuses included spying on politicians and government agencies, helping other agencies conduct domestic surveillance, and following U.S. citizens abroad. Colby blamed counter-intelligence chief James Angleton for the public relations disaster, and forced his retirement, amid much bitterness and rancor.

But Colby's "limited hangout" and scapegoating of Angleton were part of a clever shell game, and the Chaos staff continued to conduct name traces, and follow dissidents abroad, and respond to FBI and military requirements. Everything was exactly the same as before, including the ultra-secure communications system and restricted filing system, except now it was acceptable because it was done under the aegis of counter-terrorism.

Colby started the ball rolling in July 1972, when he assigned Ober a second job as Chief of the CIA's newly created International Terrorism Group (ITG). Ober told the Rockefeller Commission that his new responsibility was "setting up and running a central program" within the CIA of information on international terrorism and hijackings, and very possibly the penetration of terrorist training camps in Algeria, Cuba and other enemy states. The ITG also kept track of homeland-based black militants and white racists with international terror connections. ITG reports were, like Chaos reports, were sent to Kissinger at the National Security Council.

Ober's appointment as chief of ITG coincided with the establishment of Nixon's Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism, the first U.S. Government entity of its kind. But even after the official termination of Chaos in March 1974, the ITG continued to exist in the same suite of offices in the same vault in the CIA's basement.

In March 1974 Ober was assigned other duties and a new ITG chief (not named in the Rockefeller Commission Report) was assigned. The second ITG chief (perhaps Lawrence K. White), had no deputy or case officer, and was assisted by approximately ten female file clerks in what is described as basically an "analytical" capacity. But ITG operations still relied on the Chaos folders and computer tapes, which were maintained and updated. As of 1975, despite the recommendations of several Congressional Committees, no Chaos files had been destroyed, because the CIA could not adequately define a "dissident."

Senior CIA officer John Ryan became the third ITG chief in April 1975 and served until 1977, when he was replaced by veteran CIA officer Howard Bane.

While Chaos was evolving into the CIA's International Terrorism Group, the Phoenix Program--which did not expire with South Vietnam in April 1975--was being employed as the model for a worldwide anti-terrorism unit in the CIA's paramilitary Special Operations Division (SOD). Its main proponents, all veterans of the Phoenix Program, had climbed the corporate ladder and were in positions to turn their monster loose on all mankind.

Colby, the "father" of Phoenix and its staunchest defender before Congressional Hearings in 1970 and 1971, appointed his close friend, Evan Parker (the first Phoenix Director) as chief of the SOD in 1973. Parker awarded CIA officer Robert Wall (self-described as the "grandfather" of Phoenix, for his pioneering work on a pilot program in 1966) the first "terrorism account," and then began reorganizing the SOD to fight Communist insurgencies, using the Phoenix anti-terrorism model.8

The CIA's resident counter-terrorists found willing allies, invariably fascist military dictators, around the world, and gladly taught them how to terrorize entire nations into submission, through the arcane art of political and psychological warfare. Perhaps the CIA's greatest success, in this regard, was achieved in the midst of the Watergate scandal, under the supervision of Kissinger, Colby, and the CIA's Western Hemisphere Division chief, Theodore Shackley.

Donald Freed in Death In Washington (p 83-84) describes the CIA's covert action that resulted in the bloody right-wing military coup in Chile September 1973. Devised by the CIA's resident "black propaganda" expert, David Atlee Phillips, the plan used "classic depth psychology and behavior modification techniques to program individual Chileans toward a destiny of victims or executioners. The CIA aim was to "serialize" and atomize the Chilean people by using psychological terror to fractionate what had been growing popular unity behind (Allende's) government." Freed explains that, "Under the CIA program the middle classes had to be organized to "save freedom," the military to impose temporary controls, the workers to give up their drive for power."

The centerpiece of the CIA's Track II plan to overthrow the elected government of Chile, by terrorizing the middle class through incredible acts of violence, was the widespread publication of pictures of a man who was allegedly "quartered" by radical leftists--but who in fact was mutilated by the CIA's proxies in the Chilean secret service, DINA.

This ability to commit the most horrific acts of terror, and successfully blame them on its enemies through black propaganda, is what makes the CIA's inclusion in the OHS so dangerous. This one-two punch, in conjunction with the CIA's expertise at "provoked responses" and "false flag recruitments," also makes the CIA itself a prime suspect in the terror attacks of 11 September, and the current propaganda campaign being waged in America now, as a pretext to threaten terror against the Bush Administration's domestic political opponents, as well as to win support from the terrified middle class for the illegitimate Bush regime.

Homeland Insecurity Continued in Part Four:
The Terrorism Account Goes Underground

Douglas Valentine writes frequently for CounterPunch. He is the author of The Phoenix Program, the only comprehensive account of the CIA's torture and assassination operation in Vietnam, as well as TDY a chilling novel about the CIA and the drug trade.

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nope

by reason for hiding. Friday, May. 18, 2007 at 5:14 AM

"-do you think you are the only person bright enough-"
Not at all.
The author supports his thesis which doesn't really require the 'proof' the post in question demands.
Any other questions?
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COINTELPRO, Then and Now

by repost Friday, May. 18, 2007 at 6:59 AM

by "Allen L. Barker" <alb@[EMAIL PROTECTED] > Dec 4, 2005 at 10:22 AM

[_Public Eye Magazine_ has several articles online about COINTELPRO at
http://www.publiceye.org/liberty/Feds/cointelpro.html.
 Below are a
few excerpts from a 1978 article by Mark Ryter.  I have also included
some excepts from the article's introduction, which was written by
Noam Chomsky.

Chomsky's introduction is interesting because in it he talks about the
engineering of consent via the direct use of force, as opposed to the
use of public propaganda campaigns.  While certain people in
privileged positions may be free to speak out in America, that is
decidedly not the case for those Americans who are extrajudicially
targeted for clandestine life-destruction.  Chomsky relates the story
of one of his former students who was fired from his university job
due to FBI smear tactics, and who was also "the target of an
assassination attempt by a secret terrorist army organized, funded,
armed and directed by the FBI."

As Chomsky's example makes clear, the FBI's methods were not simply
juvenile pranks (just as the beatings, rapes, murders, and other acts
of physical and psychological torture at Abu Ghraib were much more
than just a few Iraqis forced to wear panties on their heads and
listen to Barney the Dinosaur repetitively).  This "ridicule factor,"

though, is very American.  The US has a culture of ridicule.  I call
the exploitation of this tendency in order to minimize US abuses and
further humiliate victims "the American clown suit technique."

Note that Chomsky's example also illustrates the FBI actively running
a proxy terror group, denying it, and protecting its members.  Many
victims of current cointelpro-style harassment campaigns report
suspiciously similar things.  Whether or not the FBI is actually
running and directing the current cointelpro-style harassment
operations, it definitely turns a blind eye to them.

Chomsky also points out that COINTELPRO remains little-known and that
its effects on the culture tend to be left out of historical analyses.
That is quite true, and even Chomsky himself could stand to deal more
directly with the state's covert use of violence in suppressing
dissent.  The lack of knowledge and discussion about such techniques
helps to perpetuate their use in ongoing and future cointelpro-style
operations.  Even back in 1978 Ryter pointed out that COINTELPRO did
not actually end as promised.  Mark Felt, or "Deep Throat," was later
pardoned for his COINTELPRO crimes:
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/06/02/1445253.

When John Lennon complained of being under surveillance, some people
called him paranoid.  Years later, after his death, his FBI files were
released and it was revealed that he had indeed been under
surveillance.  That is how the system is designed to operate: with
deniability.  People's lives are covertly destroyed from behind a wall
of secrecy and denials, aided by a societal taboo against
acknowledging that such things even happen.  What little information
(if any) does get released tends to represent the tip of the iceberg;
the most severe crimes remain redacted -- or else never were recorded
and filed in the first place.  The FBI actually had a "do not file"
procedure for certain cases.

The US now has far more official secrecy than could have been imagined
back in the MHCHAOS days.  But even back then, COINTELPRO (a
documented government conspiracy) only got exposed because of the
political climate and because some activists (in a commendable act of
civil disobedience) stole all the documents from the FBI's office in
Media, Pennsylvania and sent them to the media.  (See, for example,
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Democracy/Crackdown_Dissent.html

and
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/FBI/COINTELPRO_Paranoia.html.)
 Even
so, the official investigations were nothing but a limited hangout.
As mentioned before, COINTELPRO also never actually ended.  It was
renamed, trimmed back for a while, and it became more secretive.

Today's FBI has more powers, more secrecy, and greatly advanced
technology compared to 30 years ago.  The same goes for other law
enforcement and intelligence agencies.  Even Nixon did not actually
come out and essentially support the use of torture, as the current
administration has.  The Orwellian-named PATRIOT Act makes a mockery
of many of the basic protections in the Bill of Rights.  The major
media outlets are now owned by fewer billionaires than ever.  For the
time being the internet is one of the few bright spots, where a
variety of information and opinions can still be found.

Cointelpro-style operations *are* happening now.  What do you think
modern cointelpro looks like?  It is not your grandfather's
COINTELPRO, although it is a direct descendant.  For example, I'm
literally being harassed right now, in my home, by some pig using a
blatantly fake-sounding but deniable "voice-to-skull" device.  The
Army's abbreviation for such devices is "V2K," BTW.  The FBI
considered beaming the fake "voice of God" to Koresh at Waco, so they
know quite well about such technologies.  They have held classified
nonlethal weapons conferences that include far more than just
discussions of tasers.  Other credible victims all across the country
have been reporting similar abuses for years.  At the very least these
claims need to be seriously investigated rather than denied, treated
with ridicule, or dismissed via the Soviet-style abuse of psychiatry.

     "The first lesson in activism is that the person that offers to
     get the dynamite is always the FBI agent."
         -- Judi Bari

Of course it was not just the FBI which was exposed in the 70s as
having trampled the rights of American citizens.  The CIA and military
intelligence agencies were also involved.  Here is a link to excerpts
from the "Military Intelligence" chapter of the 1976 book _The Lawless
State: The Crimes of the U.S. Intelligence Agencies_ by Morton
Halperin, Jerry Berman, Robert Borosage, and Christine Marwick:

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/NSA/Military_Intelligence_LS.html.
This is a good reminder of some of the documented abuses which were
carried out domestically by military intelligence units -- especially
since the domestic role of military intelligence is being expanded
again.]


---------------------------------------------------------------


The FBI and the Engineering of consent
http://www.publiceye.org/liberty/Feds/ci-chomsky.html
 From Public Eye Magazine, Volume One, Number Two
by Noam Chomsky
March 12, 1978

It has often been observed that the United States is unusual, among
the industrial democracies, in the narrowness of the spectrum of
thought and political action, sharply skewed to the right as compared
with other societies of comparable social and economic structure.
Complex theories have been advanced to explain this intriguing
phenomenon. No doubt subtle issues are involved, but it is important
not to disregard some quite simple factors. For one thing, American
business has been engaged for many years in massive organizing
propaganda campaigns directed to what leading practitioners call "the
engineering of consent." The scale is vast and the impact - on the
media and school texts for example - quite substantial, far beyond
anything to be found in the other industrial democracies.  Another
central element in the picture is the role of the national political
police, the FBI, which for over half a century has been devoting major
efforts to engineering of consent in a more direct way: by force. The
character and scale of this enterprise is only now beginning to come
to light, and the story that is being pieced together is quite a
remarkable one.

[...]

In other cases the FBI went a few steps further. A former student of
mine, also active in the peace movement, was teaching at San Diego
State College in 1971. According to a report submitted to the church
Committee by the ACLU, the FBI provided defamatory information about
him to the college administration (and also gained access to
confidential college records). Three public hearings were held under
college auspices. He was exonerated each time, then summarily
dismissed by the chancellor of the California state college system,
Glenn Dumke, one of the numerous examples of the treachery of the
universities in those years. During this period the same student was
the target of an assassination attempt by a secret terrorist army
organized, funded, armed and directed by the FBI, which concealed
evidence of the crime and prevented prosecution of the FBI agent in
charge and the FBI infiltrator who led this organization in its
rampage of fire-bombing, shooting, and general violence and terror
aimed at the left, all with the full knowledge and cooperation of the
Bureau.

In this case, the intended victim of the FBI assassination attempt
escaped injury, though a young woman was seriously injured. Others
were not so lucky.

[...]

It is striking that the major revelations concerning FBI criminal
activities appear precisely at the time of the exposure of the
Watergate episodes, frivolous in comparison. It is interesting to
contrast the concern accorded to Watergate and to the crimes of the
national political police - which I stress again were incomparably
more violent, far-ranging and significant in their effect on the
cultural and political climate of American life. History has provided
us with a controlled experiment to determine whether Nixon's critics
were motivated by a concern for civil and human rights, or by the fact
that Nixon, like Joseph McCarthy before him, was directing his weapons
at the powerful, always an illegitimate target. The results of this
experiment are quite clear-cut and leave little doubt that the furor
over Watergate was largely an exercise in hypocrisy.

Quite generally, what Halperin et. al. correctly call "the crimes of
the U.S. intelligence agencies" have been ignored or dismissed, even
by analysts who focus on the period of the worst excesses and who are
particularly concerned with dissent, activism and its limited impact
in the United States. To cite one example, Godfrey Hodgson's much
acclaimed 500 page study American in Our Time (Doubleday, 1976) has
two trivial references to the FBI and no references at all to
COINTELPRO, though he devotes much attention to the fortunes of the
civil rights movement, the peace movement, and the American left in
general. This unwillingness to take seriously the major role in the
repressive forces of the American state is quite typical. It bears
comparison to the general reaction to the discovery that the CIA had
repeatedly attempted to murder Castro (among other) and was
responsible for poisoning of livestock and repeated terrorism directed
against Cuba, after the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion. One can
imagine the outrage had it been discovered that Castro was responsible
for anything remotely comparable. But when the victims are Cubans and
the perpetrators American planners and their agencies, it can all be
relegated to (admittedly silly) fun-and-games.

[...]


---------------------------------------------------------------


COINTELPRO: What the (Deleted) Was It?
http://www.publiceye.org/liberty/Feds/ci-ryter.html
Public Eye Magazine, vol. one, number two 1978
by Mark Ryter

[Government] documents on COINTELPRO, the FBI's grand scheme to
annihilate organized dissent, [have forced] major changes in
perspectives on America's recent political history. The 53,000 pages
in the public domain show a daily mapping of a once secret program
which played havoc with any group actively opposing American policy
through much of the Post World War II era. They reveal a program which
manipulated so many events, political processes, and national
institutions, that it must be considered one of capitalism's chief
editors over the last two decades which did everything possible to
erase Left politics from the historical record.

Though most evidence of flagrant illegality like burglary and
wiretapping has been blotted out, the 15 year COINTELPRO record is an
o'erbrimming bag of dirty tricks. Whatever it took to discredit a
group short of "embarrassing the Bureau" was fair game. Informants
told of personal and political disputes, natural in themselves, which
the FBI then inflamed with selective anonymous mailings.

[...]

Integral to COINTELPRO's virile anti-communism was its subtle yet
sophisticated propaganda operation, designed to keep the left
squabbling and the public polarized. The voluminous documents point to
an even larger amount of paper churned out by the FBI in cooperation
with right wing groups, "friendly" media contacts, and private
intelligence-gathering groups to keep the names and doings of
political people constantly suspect. Tens of thousands of anonymous
letters, some containing the worst examples of scurrilous
rumor-mongering, were also sent out to deliberately distort opinions
and, in massive effort, sabotage the opinion-making process itself.

[...]

In addition to its disruptions of the New Left, COINTELPRO continually
tried to shape public opinion, largely through the Bureau's extensive
contacts in the press. It is here where the Left's history was
literally written to the FBI's liking. As communicated in numerous
memos, offices from coast to coast cultivated "reliable" sources
throughout the print and broadcast media. On April 28, 1965, a three
page note to the Director confirmed 25 of the FBI's "friendly" sources
in the Chicago area. They include the Daily News, the Sun Times the
Joliet Herald, NBC, CBS, and WGN. By planting articles, briefing
reporters, and playing one newspaper off another, the FBI created a
new class of propaganda consumers.

[...]

Informers were copious infiltrators of many groups, doing their dirty
tricks in such high proportions to bona fide members that the commonly
cited ratio of agents to membership in the CP once reached 1 to
5.7. But the truly astounding fact is that government spies so often
achieved top positions in their penetrated groups. Informers were high
up in the Illinois CP, the Socialists Workers Party, the Black
panthers, and many New Left groups. At one point, a memo gleefully
anticipated an upsurge in derring-do at the University of Colorado
where an informer had just been elected to SDS's Steering Committee.

[...]

COINTELPRO was a war not just on dissent but on human diversity
itself. Many of the tactics used to fracture political coalitions
directly interfered with the basic process by which people of
differing backgrounds, races, and political inclinations organize
themselves. To keep its legion enemies off balance, the Bureau
constantly whispered resentment of the different and unorthodox into
the ears of college administrators, political comrades, anyone who
might use such misinformation for disruptive purposes.

[...]

The [COINTELPRO] documents are shot through with evidence of a far
reaching campaign to narrow the spectrum of though by extensively
manipulating major American institutions. Besides the communications
and educational process, the Bureau also covertly influenced labor
unions, state legislatures, office of the governor, and other federal
agencies. Though far right groups might seem to be the Bureau's
natural allies, the FBI fooled with some of them, too. In the case of
Breakthough, a group described by the Bureau as "militantly
anti-communist" was covertly re-molded to fit the FBI's designs. To
wit: "Operation Breakthrough was a plan to "take over and disrupt" the
group.

[...]

Through Operation Ridicule, the Bureau institutionalized its
pranksterism and saw an opportunity to widen the much heralded
generation gap into a chasm by portraying student activists as
youthful profligates in newspaper articles and letters to the
students' parents. But the rise of anti-establishment norms among the
young went beyond the political, presenting a special challenge to
COINTELPRO. One agent wrote:


"It is felt that the nonconformism in dress and the use of
obscenities and drugs tend to negate any attempt to hold these people
up to ridicule. The American press has been doing this with no
apparent curtailment of New Left activities. It is not felt just plain
immorality means anything to them."

[...]

COINTELPRO was nothing if not vast. In terms of its tactics arsenal,
the number of groups targeted, its manipulation of certain major
American institutions, and simple longevity of the program, COINTELPRO
has few equals in the annals of domestic secret police forces.

[...]

But COINTELPRO did not end on April 27, 1971 as the FBI promised. The
documents themselves prove it, such as the one dated a month later
which reported that the New haven Black Panthers could be arrested at
any time. Now, almost seven years later, organizations like the
Panthers and the American Indian Movement are still enmeshed in legal
wranglings with COINTELPRO overtones. The memos announcing
COINTELPRO's end also allowed for its perpetuation. The program was
discontinued, said the memo to all SACs, "to afford additional
security to our sensitive operations,. Recommendations will be
considered on an individual basis."

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The infiltration of Clamshell Alliance

by history buff Sunday, May. 20, 2007 at 7:01 AM

For a particularly disturbing example of how far deep cover agents will go to be accepted, we turn to Not In Our Backyard: The People and Events That Shaped America's Modern Environmental Movement by Marc Mowery and Tim Redmond.

January 22,1981 Manchester, New Hampshire

The moment he walked into the courtroom, Kevin Lawless knew something was odd. The latest Clamshell Alliance trial was about to begin, but for some reason, the Clamshell lawyer, Jan Schlictmann, was sitting at the defense table in silence, lips pursed, staring ahead. The local prosecutor didn't look very happy, either. And as Lawless looked around at his antinuclear colleagues, he realized someone was missing.

Lawless was one of the founders of the Greater Newburyport chapter of the Clamshell Alliance, and the small-town antinuclear group had become the center of his personal life. The other members were his closest friends. the meetings were often as much social as political. The chapter stuck together and made all its decisions by consensus; when twenty-two members had been arrested several months ago at a demonstration at the headquarters of the Public Service Company, the prime sponsor of the Seabrook nuclear power plant, all twenty-two had decided to fight the charges in court. Over the past few weeks, all twenty-two had participated in legal strategy sessions with Schlictmann.

But on the day of the trial, only twenty-one defendants had shown up in court. The man they all knew as Lucas Macdonald had suddenly disappeared.

Before Lawless could ask Schlictmann why one member was missing, judge Louis Wyman ordered the attorneys for both sides to meet with him in chambers. When they emerged about half an hour later, the judge looked out at the defendants and solemnly informed them that the charges were dismissed. He gave no further explanation.

The news that reached Jan Schlictmann early that morning was the stuff of defense lawyers' nightmares. One of the Clamshell defendants, who sat through every confidential legal strategy session, received copies of all Schlictmann's private legal memos, and knew every last detail of the case the defense would present, was really an undercover cop.

The infiltrator had reported everything he heard to the New Hampshire State Police and had shared a lot of it with the security department of the Public Service Company. Copies of some of his reports also went to the office of the state attorney general.

All of this, it turned out, had been going on for quite some time.

Lucas Macdonald, whose real name was James Nims, was assigned by the state police to infiltrate the Clamshell Alliance back in 1980. The bearded young officer took full advantage of the open atmosphere of the Newburyport Clamshell chapter. He started showing up at the regular weekly meetings, held at the local YMCA. He told everyone he lived in Hampton, a town just over the New Hampshire border. He worked at a gas station during the day, he said, and was trying to get his degree from the University of New Hampshire the Seabrook at night. He said he was worried about nuclear power, especially plant, and wanted to do something about it.

Lawless, one of the founders of the local Clamshell chapter, remembered him as a polite, respectful, working-class guy, always eager to help. He seemed like exactly the sort of person the alliance was trying to attract. Before long, Macdonald was dating a woman who was part of the Clamshell inner circle, sometimes spending nights at her place in Newburyport. He came to potluck dinners and birthday parties. Everyone accepted him into the Clamshell crowd.

But he was also taking careful notes on everything the organization did. At the annual Clamshell Congress in 1980, he even made a point of quietly walking around the parking lot outside the hall where the members were gathered, taking down every license plate number.

In May 1980, some of the Newburyport activists decided to split off from a demonstration at the plant site and try to occupy the Manchester head- quarters of the Public Service Company. The decision was made quickly, and the action was planned with less than a day's notice. The idea was to catch the company by surprise.

But when the protesters, dressed in business suits, showed up in small groups at the high-rise office building, the place was surrounded by cops. PSCO security seemed to know every move in advance. By the time the Clamshell members had assembled outside the seventh-floor office of the company president, dozens of state police and security officers were on hand. Twenty-two protesters, including Macdonald, were arrested quickly; downstairs, a booking team and a fleet of paddy wagons were waiting.

Kevin Lawless and his Newburyport friends were baffled. They were baffled even more eight months later when Macdonald didn't show up for trial.

When Schlictmann hastily explained what had happened, the confusion turned to shock. The prosecutor had learned at the last minute that one of the defendants was an undercover cop, and had informed Schlictmann and the judge. Judge Wyman agreed that the informant's presence in confidential defense strategy meetings violated every legal canon and constitutional principle on the books and deprived the defendants of a fair trial. So he had to dismiss the charges.

Lawless left the courtroom with one of his best friends, the woman who had become Lucas Macdonald's lover. She was as confused as anyone, and a bit worried, too: nobody seemed to have any idea where Macdonald had gone. Whatever had happened, she told Lawless she still cared about the man, and she wanted to talk to him.

Before they left the building, the woman happened to glance down the hallway, toward the offices of the district attorney. To her astonishment, the missing defendant was walking casually out of a prosecutor's door, and heading in her direction.

As he approached, she called out his name, the only one she knew. But James Nims walked right by, as if she didn't exist.


-- pp 269-271

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reasons for hiding

by sd Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 3:15 AM

1st
concerning squashed posts.
This is off topic from this general *infiltration* thread .
2nd
I am hiding items which are fraud, hate/insult, spam and of course, off topic.
If you wish to start another *editorial* thread or comment on any other *editorial* thread, do so.
You may wish to use this thread:
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2006/02/148353.php
or not.
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wrong

by "It was spot-on in questioning" Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 11:24 AM

no it wasn't. It was demanding 'proof'.
And as to Indymedia, if you had read it, you would have noticed the term in the title, "alternative media" and was a tutorial about infiltration. I would have brought up the zionist editor over at UC IMC but at that time felt it un necsessary.
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To reiterate, Indymedia is in the very first sentence of this post

by welp Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 1:04 PM

If you want to hang your hat on that the comment was some demand for absolute "proof," so be it. But if you take the comment in the whole, it was really more about rquesting any shred of evidence and/or even developing the idea a tiny bit before accusing IMCs of having been infiltrated. Up until that point in this thread, there was a baseless claim about Indymedia and lots of evidence/reports of decades-old infiltrations etc.

here's the comment again:

>>You've got your 40-year old history straight, buff, but...
>>by welp • Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 1:48 PM

>>You completely fail to show any evidence, or even begin to develop the idea, that Indymedia has been infiltrated in a serious and ongoing way by paid agents other than the vague and completely unsubstantiated claim in your intro.

>>"It is inconceivable that Indymedia has not been infiltrated ... by paid agents of a variety of various governments' intelligence services."

>>Not saying it hasn't happened, but just throwing out baseless accusations that it is "inconceivable" to you doesn't make it so either. Besides the baseless charges you make, you also fail to examine what it would that mean for Indymedia. What would it mean for those who rely on Indymedia? What would it mean for those who have never heard of Indymedia?

>>Why not just post your info on what is known and proven about past infiltrations without the baseless accusations against Indymedia?

>>It must be said here that one tactic sabateur/provocateur agents use is to point the finger at others in a group they have infiltrated and claim *the others* are the infiltrators, meaning the poster here could very well be the government agent trying to stir up unfounded suspicions to cast doubt amongst Indymedia volunteers and readers/reporters.

>>Simply put, either back it up with specifics or stop with the counterproductive and baseless accusations. Report what you know, not what you can *conceive* of and act like that's proof of anything.


So, in a matter of days after this horrible comment was hidden, lo and behold, IMC-related evidence of government intrusions began appearing, thereby furthering the point that this blog/thread had been lacking up unto that date any evidence of what it claimed in the very first sentence.

Still, though, I see no direct or indirect evidence of *infiltration* by *paid agents* here, or even the development of what it might mean for individual IMCs and Indymedia as a whole. A vague reference to that zionist David from UC-IMC still doesn't qualify. While it's easy to call him a zionist troll or whathaveyou, I have never seen any evidence that he is a *paid* agent. There is ample evidence of government infiltration of peace and militant direct action groups recently but not of actual infiltration of any IMCs. Again, that doesn't mean it isn't happening but any sort of specifics would be helpful. It's just one more small step to start throwing around baseless charges that this IMC or that IMC has been infiltrated without any evidence whatsoever. Then you've got IMCs ganging up on eachother without any basis beyond what posters like the one here can "conceive" of. It should be remembered that infighting is one of the main goals of those who infiltrate or spread disinfo -- it reduces the amount of productive work that anti-establishment groups can achieve when they waste time fighting over nothing.

Additionally, the number one job of actual paid agents is to spy, not to infiltrate. It would be a much more productive to discuss steps activists can take to deal with spies that may show up to open meetings or suddenly cling to various affinity groups. Discussions of known electronic surveillance techniques can be helpful. Discussions of known past and current infiltrations can be helpful, too, just not if they are thrown around willy-nilly with no basis in fact.

Really, what the orginal comment that was hidden was about was a plea to be careful with the exact words chosen when throwing around claims of infiltration. It can be highly counterproductive to stir suspicion in the wrong instances and, worse, it can make the accusor look like an infiltrator him or herself thereby leading to all-consuming said/she arguements that can destroy groups and entire movements.
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To reiterate, Indymedia is in the very first sentence of this post

by welp Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 1:04 PM

If you want to hang your hat on that the comment was some demand for absolute "proof," so be it. But if you take the comment in the whole, it was really more about rquesting any shred of evidence and/or even developing the idea a tiny bit before accusing IMCs of having been infiltrated. Up until that point in this thread, there was a baseless claim about Indymedia and lots of evidence/reports of decades-old infiltrations etc.

here's the comment again:

>>You've got your 40-year old history straight, buff, but...
>>by welp • Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 1:48 PM

>>You completely fail to show any evidence, or even begin to develop the idea, that Indymedia has been infiltrated in a serious and ongoing way by paid agents other than the vague and completely unsubstantiated claim in your intro.

>>"It is inconceivable that Indymedia has not been infiltrated ... by paid agents of a variety of various governments' intelligence services."

>>Not saying it hasn't happened, but just throwing out baseless accusations that it is "inconceivable" to you doesn't make it so either. Besides the baseless charges you make, you also fail to examine what it would that mean for Indymedia. What would it mean for those who rely on Indymedia? What would it mean for those who have never heard of Indymedia?

>>Why not just post your info on what is known and proven about past infiltrations without the baseless accusations against Indymedia?

>>It must be said here that one tactic sabateur/provocateur agents use is to point the finger at others in a group they have infiltrated and claim *the others* are the infiltrators, meaning the poster here could very well be the government agent trying to stir up unfounded suspicions to cast doubt amongst Indymedia volunteers and readers/reporters.

>>Simply put, either back it up with specifics or stop with the counterproductive and baseless accusations. Report what you know, not what you can *conceive* of and act like that's proof of anything.


So, in a matter of days after this horrible comment was hidden, lo and behold, IMC-related evidence of government intrusions began appearing, thereby furthering the point that this blog/thread had been lacking up unto that date any evidence of what it claimed in the very first sentence.

Still, though, I see no direct or indirect evidence of *infiltration* by *paid agents* here, or even the development of what it might mean for individual IMCs and Indymedia as a whole. A vague reference to that zionist David from UC-IMC still doesn't qualify. While it's easy to call him a zionist troll or whathaveyou, I have never seen any evidence that he is a *paid* agent. There is ample evidence of government infiltration of peace and militant direct action groups recently but not of actual infiltration of any IMCs. Again, that doesn't mean it isn't happening but any sort of specifics would be helpful. It's just one more small step to start throwing around baseless charges that this IMC or that IMC has been infiltrated without any evidence whatsoever. Then you've got IMCs ganging up on eachother without any basis beyond what posters like the one here can "conceive" of. It should be remembered that infighting is one of the main goals of those who infiltrate or spread disinfo -- it reduces the amount of productive work that anti-establishment groups can achieve when they waste time fighting over nothing.

Additionally, the number one job of actual paid agents is to spy, not to infiltrate. It would be a much more productive to discuss steps activists can take to deal with spies that may show up to open meetings or suddenly cling to various affinity groups. Discussions of known electronic surveillance techniques can be helpful. Discussions of known past and current infiltrations can be helpful, too, just not if they are thrown around willy-nilly with no basis in fact.

Really, what the orginal comment that was hidden was about was a plea to be careful with the exact words chosen when throwing around claims of infiltration. It can be highly counterproductive to stir suspicion in the wrong instances and, worse, it can make the accusor look like an infiltrator him or herself thereby leading to all-consuming said/she arguements that can destroy groups and entire movements.
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paid?

by where did you get that? Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 1:18 PM

Do you have to be paid to be an infiltrator?
Maybe it's for plain ideological reasons like the reason the IMC staff or I, myself is here.
And payment can come in many forms besides a pay check.
Splitting hairs, in my opinion, to little purpose.
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"where did you get that?"

by welp Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 3:17 PM

It's in the post. Paid. Government. Infiltrators. in Indymedia. That's a big accusation.

It's not splitting hairs at all to call it out and question the paid aspect. A paid government infiltrator is very different from a hobbiest like some zionist in UC. This whole post is about paid government agents. It's not about random right-wingers who just enjoy tormenting leftwing groups for the fun of it. It's about highly organized and targeted efforts to destroy leftist movements. That's how serious a paid infiltrator is. They can intermittently drop-in spy or they can become an actual member of a group and really monkeywrench.

Stirring up unfounded suspicion is a common way to monkeywrench and split former comrades. Hence my objection to such serious charges being leveled against Indymedia so casually without any supporting evidence or even developing the idea of what the ramifications would be.

Now evidence of government intrusions (server confiscations, etc) has been presented but still nothing at all to back up the paid infiltrator claim. And it still seems like moneywrenching to me.
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"welp"

by history buff Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 7:13 PM

>A paid government infiltrator is very different from a hobbiest like some zionist in UC.

Not necessarily. Sometimes, there is no difference at all between a paid agent and a voluteer, except for the pay. Consider, for example, the sayanim. While their rewards are, for the most part, not material, the sayanim nevertheless perform for the Mossad the very same services which are performed for other intelligence agencies by paid operatives. The effects of these services are precisely and exactly the same as if they had been performed in return for a paycheck, or for cash under the table.

"Very different"? I think not.

Also note, that there is no evidence whatsoever that the mole at UC-IMC is *not* being paid. Their whole operation is very suspicious. Consider, for example, their "generous" offer to be Indymedia's 501(c)(3). What better way to gain intelligence about, and exert influence over, the finances of an important segment of the alternative media? Is this the smoking gun we've been looking for? Of course not. But it is certainly food for thought, and grounds for further research.

We also know from UC-IMC's own admission, that at least some of their budget is comes from government sources.

See:

http://la.indymedia.org/news/2006/10/181399.php

Who arranged that, we wonder, and what was the quid pro quo?

Then there are the vigilantes who spy on progressive, left, and environmental organizations for ideological reasons, gratis, and then share what they have learned with various government agencies.

Consider, for example, the LaRouche crew:

http://dennisking.org/ourtown2.htm

(snip)

LaRouche will remind all and sundry that his group has been in the forefront of nuclear power defense, informing on Seabrook demonstrators to the New Hampshire State Police in 1976

(snip)

* * * * *

http://dennisking.org/teamsters.htm

(snip)

In 1977 (LaRouche disciple Larry Sherman) served as an informant for the New Hampshire State Police against the Clamshell Alliance, an antinuke group, concocting false information about alleged Clamshell plans for "terrorism" at the Seabrook, New Hampshire, construction site.

Sherman's role as an informant was revealed in a New Hampshire State Police intelligence report made public some months later by Clamshell activists. In a subsequent interview with the Concord Monitor Sherman proudly admitted his role and also described how NCLC had earlier provided the state police in three New England states with a ten-page intelligence report on a militant leftist group.

(snip)

* * * * *

"Very" different? Not really. Not at all. Au contrair.

Infiltrators must be judged on the basis of the effects of their actions, and who benefits, not on the basis of what, if anything, they were paid, or whether that payment was in the form of cash, check or something less tangible and/or traceable.

* * * * *

> see no direct or indirect evidence of *infiltration* by *paid agents* here

(1.) Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

(2.) We must never discount circumstantial evidence. They proverbial "smoking gun" is circumstantial evidence by definition.

(3.) Maybe welp is simply not observant enough, doesn't know what to look for, or only sees what (s)he wants to see.

(4.) Maybe welp has a more sinister motive for attempting to convince IMCistas not to suspect infiltration. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that attempts were made to deflect suspicion of infiltration by attacking the very inquiry that threatened to expose it.


>Stirring up unfounded suspicion is a common way to monkeywrench and split former comrades.

A far greater danger are the actual infiltrators themselves. So it behooves us to question the motives, and identity, of this "welp" person. What kind of person, we must ask, is motivated to put this much effort into convincing IMCistas not to consider the possibility that Indymedia has been infiltrated? Who, we must ask, benefits when organizations like Indymedia do nothing in the way of counter intelligence?

But more important, given the historical ubiquity of infiltration as an extraordinarily effective tactic of suppression, we must ask ourselves a far more pertinent question. What kind activists would we be if we allowed ourselves to be duped into believing that Indymedia is somehow immune? The word "naive" comes to mind. So does "incredibly stupid," and "deserving of our fate."

So I suggest that we ignore welp's transparent attempts to distract us from our study of the phenomenon of infiltration, and continue to learn what to look for, so that we may better deal with what most historically literate comrades consider to be one of the inevitable consequences of organizing effective resistance.

Are our Greek comrades to be the only IMCistas with sufficient political sophistication to be on the look out? Shall we gain nothing from the past, constantly reinvent the wheel, and learn everything the hard way? Are we really that lame?

Or shall we put to use the accumulated knowledge of generations, and in some cases centuries, of activist experience. Yes, centuries. No, I am not waxing hyperbolic. I am being 100% literal.

To see just how literal, return with us to those thrilling days of yesteryear.

The scene: Nineteenth Century Paris, when the powers that be already knew the enormous value of infiltrating and manipulating the alternative media.
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Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. (pt 1.)

by history buff Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 7:46 PM

To understand the breadth and depth of the threat with we are presented by infiltration, manipulation and provocation, we must first understand it's history. Only by understanding how long it has been going on can we hope to even guess at how good they have gotten at it. And this stuff has been going on for a very long time, indeed. Let us consider, for example the following account from Alexandre Skirda's Facing the Enemy: A History of Anarchist Organization from Proudhon to May 1968, AK Press, pp 43-46.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(snip)

. . . police involvement is crucial to the launching of the first French anarchist journal to have seen the light of day since the Commune, La Revolution sociale. The Paris prefect of police, Louis Andrieux, had made his name a decade before, by taking on Bakunin and the Lyon Communards. In his Memoirs he explains and accounts for his initiative. He opens with a startling argument that to this very day raises a lot of questions: "We know that the perpetrators of political crimes, when they remain unknown, are always agents provocateurs, and that it is always the police who are at the back of it."! Disturbed by talk of propaganda by deed and by the plot to have the Palais Bourbon (Chamber of Deputies) blown up, and briefed on the anarchists' problems in bringing out a newspaper, he seized this opening to infiltrate those circles and "place Anarchy on the payroll." As this case is a model of the genre, let us quote the juicy story of this provocation at some length:

The comrades needed a backer: but fiendish Capital was in no hurry to respond to their appeal. I shook that fiendish Capital by the shoulders and managed to convince it that it was in its interest to encourage the publication of an anarchist newspaper. One does not stamp out teachings by preventing them from springing forth, and the teachings gained nothing from being made known. Giving the anarchists their newspaper was like installing a telephone link between the plotters' back-room and the office of the prefect of police. One does not keep secrets from one's financial backer, and, day by day, I would be kept abreast of the most mysterious schemes. The Palais Bourbon would be spared: the representatives of the people could get on with their deliberations in peace. Do not think, also, that I crudely offered the encouragements of a police prefect. I sent along a well-dressed bourgeois to seek out one of the most active, most intelligent of them. My agent explained to him that, having made his fortune in the drug business, he wanted to devote a portion of his income to assisting anarchist propaganda. This bourgeois entering the lion's den aroused no suspicion among the comrades. Through him, I placed a security with the state funds and so the newspaper La Revolution sociale made its entrance.

It was a weekly publication, my generosity not stretching to the expense of a daily newspaper. Mlle. Louise Michel was the star attraction of my editorial panel. Needless to say, "the great citizen-ess" was oblivious of the part in which I had cast her, and it is not without a measure of confusion that I own up to the trap I had set for the innocence of some comrades of both sexes.

Every day, around an editorial table, the most respected representatives of the party of action would assemble: together, they would scan their international correspondence: they would consider the steps to be taken to do away with "man's exploitation of his fellow-man": the recipes that science was placing in the revolution's service were passed along. I was always represented at these councils, and if the need arose, I would put in my two pennies' worth, more than once acting as a lightning conductor.'

Instructive indeed! Note that "one of the most active and intelligent of them" was Emile Gautier, a leading light of the Paris movement at the time, a doctor of law and superb orator, but somewhat more gullible than the cobbler Jean Grave who had a better "nose" in this connection. Whenever Andrieux's agent, the Belgian Spilleux alias Serraux, turned up to put this "stroke" to Grave he at first hesitated, then made to agree under certain conditions, that is, that the paper was brought out but Serraux was soon sent packing. The "wheeler-dealer," in this instance, Andrieux, smelled a rat and concentrated instead on Gautier. The latter nonetheless was alerted by the sight of the names and addresses of French anarchist groups and their members in the columns of the paper. By then the game was obvious and that led to the demise of La Revolution sociale, after 56 issues and almost a year on the scene. The role of "lightning conductor" mentioned by Andrieux is also worth looking into: in this instance it took the form of a sham anarchist outrage. After having considered the Banque de France, the Elysée Palace, the prefecture of police, and the Interior Ministry - all of which targets were easily ruled out by Serraux, Andrieux's man - the statue of Thiers recently unveiled in Saint-Germain was chosen "as a practice run." Let us have a look at the exact circumstances, as related with easy humor by Andrieux:

The comrades set off for Saint-Germain, carrying the infernal machine: this was a sardine can packed with fulminate and carefully wrapped in a handkerchief. I was aghast to learn of this plot: I knew what time they would be setting off for Saint-Germain: I knew what time the intended crime was scheduled for. What was I to do? The act had to go through if a crackdown was to be made possible. I had no hesitation in sacrificing the liberator of the nation in order to save the Palais Bourbon. Men night fell, the comrades slipped into the darkness through the ageless trees: they followed the rue de la Républeque as far as the rue de Poissy, where the statue loomed larger and heavier than life in a little square. The pale moonlight brightened the face of the bronze old man who looked down upon the plotters with a sardonic gaze. One of them lifted the sardine can on to the plinth of the statue, between the legs of the armchair where a seated Mr. Thiers was unfolding something that must have been a geographer's map along his left thigh.

A long fuse trailed from the pedestal. One of die comrades set it alight, while his colleagues scattered revolutionary proclamations on the ground: then, as the flame began slowly to edge along the fuse, the comrades took to their heels, racing down the hill: and as they raced on across the flat ground they clambered over the railway barriers.

Upon their arrival back in Paris they impatiently awaited the news from Saint-Germain. They had not stayed to watch the spectacular destruction they had wrought they had no idea of the extent of the damage.

How disappointed they were when they learned they had, at best, rudely awakened a few peaceable inhabitants of the quiet town of Saint-Germain. The statue was untouched: the fulminate had failed to damage the bronze: a broad black stain was the only trace left by the outrage. I knew the names of the plotters: I had made the trip with them, by proxy at least: I had seen everything, heard everything.
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Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. (pt 2.)

by history buff Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 7:49 PM

According to Jean Grave, it was "two or three Southerners, recently arrived from Marseilles, men whose verbal revolutionism . . . signified their readiness to turn their hand to anything" who made the trip to plant that famous "sardine can," which caused only an "explosion of laughter." This time, we might add, for the procedure was repeated over and over again and often had unfortunate consequences. The lesson was not learned properly and there were always naive souls or imbeciles ready to be sucked into police provocations. Now, these narks have often had their defenders, as Grave stresses:

Unmasking these narks would be so easy if all comrades were prepared to use a little common sense in their reasoning. But for many of them plain common sense goes out the window where propaganda matters are concerned. They drag in a host of elements unconnected with the issue, merely complicating and muddying it. . . . if you dare to attack 'their' chap, it must be out of jealousy or because he does not see eye to eye with you.

Grave here is upbraiding those "Christian-minded" anarchists who refuse to think ill of anybody." For all that, Grave has a tendency to play down the influence of narks upon the evolution of the movement, which appears a bit paradoxical of the man who had been so disparaged in anarchist circles for flicomanie (having cops on the brain). And yet, there were notable police plants at the time: in 1882, at the time of the riots in Montceau-les-Mines, the agent provocateur Brenin was unmasked: in Lyon, center of the libertarian movement at the time, an agent of the prefecture, one Valadier, managed to infiltrate the editorial panel of the anarchist newspapers, which were in any event subject to permanent censorship harassment since a single newspaper was obliged, for instance, to change its name seven times in under two years!

Police plants have never been exclusive to anarchists, as some once attempted to have us believe - far from it! All revolutionary organizations of any importance have always been infiltrated by provocateurs and traitors. Starting with Grisel who "blew" Babeufs Conspiracy of the Equals in 1796: then even the great Blanqui, the "Old Lag" who spent 33 years of his life behind bars, was compromised by the Taschereau document, uncovered in police archives in 1848, in which he denounced Barbés and his colleagues from the abortive rising in 1839 (unless this was only a ploy on his part designed to get rid of his rivals). During the 1848 revolution, the incoming prefect of police, Caussidière, was stupefied to discover that his own deputy, Delahodde, appointed secretary of the prefecture, as well as the captain of his guards, Chenu, were agents of the police of Louis Philippe planted inside the revolutionary secret societies years before; Delahodde had even served time in prison, the better to play the stoolie among fellow inmates who could scarcely distrust such a "pure" revolutionary.

Inside the Russian revolutionary movement renegadism, treachery or provocation amounted to what might be described as an often honorable tradition. We might start by mentioning Utin, the man who slandered Bakunin and was an unconditional supporter of Marx: quickly disappointed by the lack of prospects in Europe, he sought a pardon of the Tsar and went back to Russia. Leon Tikhomirov, one of the most prominent populists, did likewise in the 1880s. Yevno Azev, the head of the Social Revolutionaries' terrorist fighting organization, was a direct agent working for the Okhrana, the tsarist secret police. The Bolshevik paper Pravda was founded in 1912 by another agent provocateur, Zhitomirsky. Furthermore, Malinovsky, leader of the Bolshevik faction in the Russian Chamber of Deputies or Duma, although "beloved" by Lenin, was another Okhrana agent and was shot as such in 1918. Thus all these agents were often well placed and as a result had a crucial influence upon their organization or the course of events. Moreover, there is no reason to be startled by this, for all is fair in war: the bourgeois state protected itself however it could.

(snip)

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And more recently, and closer to home . . .

by history buff Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 7:57 PM

http://mit.edu/thistle/www/v15/3/infiltration.html

Fresno Peace Group Infiltrated by Government Agent
By Mike Rhodes
MikeRhodes@Comcast.net

Peace Fresno was infiltrated by an agent working for the Fresno Sheriffs Department. Aaron Kilner, known by Peace Fresno activists as Aaron Stokes, attended several Peace Fresno meetings. Peace Fresno activist Nicholas DeGraff remembers him taking voluminous notes and several members say they saw him at peace vigils held at Shaw and Blackstone. He was also on the bus local anti-globalization activists took to attend the WTO ministerial-level conference on Agricultural Science and Technology demonstration in Sacramento in June 2003. Aaron Kilner died in a motorcycle accident on August 30, 2003. In his obituary in The Fresno Bee he was identified as a member of the Fresno County Sheriffs department. The obituary went on to say that he was assigned to the anti-terrorist team. Local activists believe that this anti-terrorist team is, in fact, the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) that has recently been formed in the area. When members of Peace Fresno saw the picture and read of Kilners association with law enforcement they began piecing the story together.

The infiltration by law enforcement of progressive community groups in Fresno and throughout the country has long been used to disrupt legitimate political work. This disruption occurs by sowing seeds of mistrust among members, agents often promote discord within the group, and sometimes encourage illegal or violent actions. Agent provocateurs have been know to instigate violence at demonstrations, giving the police an excuse to attack protestors.

During the 1980's the Latin American Support Committee in Fresno, who worked to end U.S. intervention in Central America, was repeatedly harassed by government agents. Undercover agents attempted to disrupt meetings by polarizing members about the use of violence and encouraging the group to raise money for weapons which were needed by Central American revolutionaries. Agents approached individual members and asked them to engage in illegal and violent activities. The local police and the FBI spent years investigating and harassing LASC without uncovering any illegal activities.

A few years ago, the Fresno Police Department and the CSUF police conspired to violate anti-sweatshop activists rights by infiltrating United Students Against Sweatshops. A police agent attended the groups meetings and monitored email messages of anti-sweatshop activists. The distorted information that this agent passed on to her superiors to justify her job greatly exaggerated the extent of a planned demonstration at a local mall. This mis-information resulted in the polices use of riot clad officers, a police helicopter, and over one hundred officers to arrest 19 peaceful protestors at the Fashion Fair mall. The presence of the informant was discovered during the course of criminal proceedings of the Gap 19. All charges against the anti-sweatshop activists were later dismissed. For more information about the case, click here. Ken Hudson, a long time activist with Peace Fresno, said that Kilner played a very quiet role in the group. Other Peace Fresno activists also remembered him as being quiet and added that he did not actively engage in political, tactical, or other discussions while attending the meetings.

According to the California Constitution, law enforcement does not have the right to investigate and infiltrate groups unless they have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. If local law enforcement and the JTTF was using Kilner to investigate Peace Fresno, one has to ask - what else are they up to? Do they have agents embedded in other community groups? Are they watching what people say at Churches and Mosques? Because of the Patriot Act, does law enforcement now believe they have the right to monitor what you do and say in your home? In your bedroom?

There have been several meetings between law enforcement and groups concerned about civil liberties, in the wake of September 11, 2001. One such meeting was held with Lt. Pat Farmer of the Fresno Police Department. Lt. Farmer told this group of community activists that there is nothing to prevent the police or JTTF members from investigating and interrogating community members. He suggested that the person being investigated might not even know he was talking to a police officer. If the person doesnt want to talk with us, they dont have to, Farmer said. At an earlier meeting, immediately after 9-11, an FBI agent told a group, of mostly immigrant rights activists, that anyone helping a group identified as a terrorist group by the United States government would be investigated as a potential terrorist. That was interpreted to mean that if you are working, for example, to support the Zapatistas in Chiapas, you might be investigated as a supporter of international terrorism. This FBI agent said that every agent in this area was now focusing on stopping the terrorist threat.

Another justification on the local war against terrorism comes from Fresno Police chief Jerry Dyer. He told community members that Fresno is a hotbed of terrorist activity and that is why the JTTF has been established in this area. He told this group that Fresno could have sleeper cells, that they are connected with illegal methamphetamine production to fund terrorist activities, and all of this is somehow related to radical Muslim extremists. While this story may seem far fetched for those of us who live in this area it was good enough to bring in millions of dollars in Federal anti-terrorism funds. The Fresno Bee printed a story about the infiltration of Peace Fresno by law enforcement in their Friday, October 3 issue (see Fresno Bee article here. ) They printed a statement from Sheriff Pierce that said:

*************************************
Detective Aaron Kilner was a member of the FCSD Anti-Terrorism unit. This unit collects, evaluates, collates, analyzes, and disseminates information on individuals, groups, and organizations suspected of criminal or terrorist activities. This information meets the stringent federal and state guidelines for intelligence gathering and civil rights protections in order to prevent crime and protect the health and safety of residents of Fresno County and the State of California. For the purpose of detecting or preventing terrorist activities, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department may visit any place and attend any event that is open to the public, on the same terms and conditions as members of the public generally. No information obtained from such visits shall be retained unless it relates to potential criminal or terrorist activities.

Peace Fresno was not and is not the subject of any investigation by the FCSD. The FCSD does not have any reports, files, rosters, or notes on Peace Fresno or its meetings.

The FCSD is dedicated to protecting the citizens of Fresno County. The department will continue to utilize legal methods for collecting, evaluating, collating, analyzing, and disseminating criminal intelligence of terrorist and organized crime organizations to accomplish its mission, while respecting the constitutional rights of all persons.

Sincerely,
RP, Sheriff

*******************************************************************

The revelation that the Sheriffs department placed an agent in Peace Fresno begs the question of what other groups are being investigated, what has happened to our civil liberties since 9-11, and how will the community respond to this attack against our civil liberties. Some activists and legal experts are claiming that state attorney general Bill Lockyers directive to California law enforcement, telling them not to collect intelligence on religious or political groups without evidence of criminal activity should be the law of the land. But, does State law override the Patriot Act?

A united community defending their Constitutional Rights to civil liberties will be the best defense against future attacks. The goal is to not only stop these current intrusions against peaceful and nonviolent groups engaged in civic participation but return the rights that were taken away with the passage of the Patriot Act. On Sunday, October 5, 2003 Peace Fresno held a press conference about this infiltration.

To find out what happens next, as Fresno progressive groups respond to this incident, read the Community Alliance magazine, P.O. Box 5077, Fresno Ca 93755 or visit them their web site.

For more information about Peace Fresno see their web site.
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The case of National Committee Against Repressive Legislation (NCARL)

by history buff Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 9:23 PM

Even more damaging than MHCHAOS itself, was the coverup. In fact, the main theme of Angus Mackenzie's book, is not the effect of MHCHAOS on the alternative media, but the effect of the coverup on government secrecy. What began as an effort to hide a blatently illegal operation by the CIA, incramentally grew into a stranglehold on whistleblowers throughout the government. Secrecy oaths spread like a rash. Ladership elements of the ACLU actively colluded with the FBI in promoting legistation which drastically narrowed FOIA parameters, and later impeded its efforts by its more honorable lawyers to shine the light of day on government monkeyshines. Gradually, it became a major effort for anyone to find out what the government was up to. Today, it is often simply impossible.

Near the end of the book, Mackenzie relates one case that sheds light on government's repression tactics. Listen to what they did to one organization. You may find some of their tactics familiar.

Remember, the organization in question is not a bunch of radical, anarchist hotheads. It's a relatively benign group of wishy-washy, liberal reformists, with extremely limited goals, no threat at all to the status quo. We can extrapolate what must happen when the government focuses its repression on groups it considers to be actual threats.

Angus Mackenzie:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Justice Department attorney assigned to take advantage of the new FOIA amendment was Richard Willard. He lost no time in using the amendment to fend off a class action lawsuit brought by, among others, Frank Wilkinson in California. Wilkinson had sued the FBI in 1980 for documents about himself and his organization, the Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee, founded in the 1960s. Members of the House Un-American Activities Committee, who had a close relationship with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, cited informers who said Wilkinson was a Communist. On that basis the FBI had amassed more than 130,000 pages of documents concerning him and his associates. Wilkinson was asking to see those files under the FOIA, but so far all he had obtained from the FBI were heavily censored copies. Richard Criley, an elder statesman among California's civil libertarians, had inspected the 130,000 pages, threading his way around the blacked-out words, and had constructed a cross-reference file. He concluded that the documents would prove that the FBI had done the following:

disrupted meetings at which Frank Wilkinson was to speak

manipulated the news media to discredit another organization founded by Wilkinson, the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation (formerly the National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee)

prepared "poison pen" letters against the group

intervened illegally in the legislative process

disrupted the organization through the use of informer/agent provocateurs

sabotaged fund-raising

According to Criley, "the entire operation of the FBI was focused on 'discrediting' and 'disrupting' the organization by illegal means and could not be considered 'law enforcement' by the furthest stretch of the imagination. Now Wilkinson, represented by attorneys from the Southern California ACLU affiliate, was petitioning the federal courts to compel release of the information that had been blacked out. Three days after Reagan signed the FOIA amendment, however, Willard invoked it to block further release of the files. He argued that the goal of the FOIA amendments was to frustrate the efforts of people like Criley "who have both the incentive and the resources to use the act systematically -- to gather, analyze, and piece together segregated bits of information obtained from agency files." He accused Criley of having already put together apparently innocuous information to reveal the identity of at least one FBI informant." "It's true," Criley said. "I did identify an informant who was dead . . . the guy was an officer of NCARL reporting to the FBI." And by authority of the new amendment, the presiding judge in the Wilkinson case ruled that the relationship of an informer to the Bureau can be kept secret in perpetuity, even after the informant's death.

-- pp153-154

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"attempts to distract us from our study of the phenomenon of infiltration"

by welp Wednesday, May. 23, 2007 at 11:22 PM

That in itself is a distraction from comments that have been made seeking clarity in the unfounded accusations made in the primary post here.

There has been no issue raised whatsoever in comments in regard to *studying* infiltration. It is indeed beneficial to publicly acknowledge what is actually known about past infiltrations.

However, there have been issues raised with tossing out UNsubstantiated claims of Indymedia infiltration by paid government informants.

To reiterate, ad infinitum, no comment made has denied the possibility of infiltration but objections were raised as to carelessly asserting it as a given with zero evidence. Additionally, suggestions were made that the ramifications of possible Indymedia infiltration be dealt with in this thread, short of any actual evidence, circumstantial or otherwise.

Finally, warnings were issued for readers to beware that a common infiltrator dirty trick is to infiltrate and then to assert that others in the targeted group are the infiltrators to incite unwarranted suspicion and to undermine the ability of the group to work together towards its anti-authoritarian purposes. Simply put, just because someone asserts that they *conceive* of paid government infiltration does not make it so, and if they make such assertions without any evidence whatsoever there is the possiblility that the accuser is actually the saboteur infiltrator.
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interesting thread

by sd Thursday, May. 24, 2007 at 5:38 AM

Yes, a common tactic is a 'bad jacket' employed by agents intent on creating strife.
It seems to me that security and effective action are at odds to each other unless criteria for operations include guide lines for mitigating the ever present danger of interested parties inflicting sabotage.
Perhaps a standard background search should be done on any 'inner party' members before allowing secure information to be disseminated as regards to critical functions or action.
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From the forest itself

by comes the handle for the axe Thursday, May. 24, 2007 at 5:47 AM

Unfortunately, the alternative media has become largely irrelevant on its own. The once vaulted IMC network now consists of a majority of feral and barely moderated sites- containing less and less news and more and more noise. Independent bloggers are doing their own investigative reporting and publishing, and are becoming the true independent spirit of the media
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Arkies and "non coordanated" response.

by sd Thursday, May. 24, 2007 at 6:03 AM

Isn't this the very problem of the anarchist movement?
They have great ideas but are unable to unify in operational principle.
Getting you folks to act together is a lot like herding frogs.
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welp (pt 2.), etc.

by history buff Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 7:33 AM

>just because someone asserts that they *conceive* of paid government infiltration does not make it so,

Welp would have you believe that it is somehow concievable that Indymedia has *not* been infiltrated. Pah-leeze. That is a patent absurdity.

All the organizations listed above, and more, many more were infiltrated. Why not Indymedia? Infiltration is ubiquitous because it is enormously successful. And that is because collectively, we have been enormously lame about the implementation, let alone the execution, of counter measures. Two undercover officers were actually elected to be leaders of demonstration an hour after meeting protesters in Oakland. It is obvious that the protesters were pathetically amateur. But professionals are not immune, either, as Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames proved conclusively. Even the much vaunted IRA once actually promoted a British agent to the position of chief of security. Imagine what lists fell into that guy's hands.

Yet welp would have you believe that it is concievable that Indymedia is somehow different, that even though all the organizations like it have, for centuries, been the the traditional targets of infiltration, Indymedia is being spared.

Pah-leeze.

Welp's position is like that of a soldier caught in an ambush, who sees his buddies lying all around him, dead and wounded, who smells the cordite hanging in the air, hears the whiz of lead in the air, but sees no blood on his own uniform, so assumes he hasn't been hit, and therefore believes his unit isn't in danger. If you wonder how long a guy like that lasts in the field, ask any combat vet.

And if you think we aren't in a war, just because we personally are not being shot at, at least not at the moment, please go find something else to do with your time. You aren't bright enough to participate in resistance to tyranny without being a danger to yourself and others. This is war. We're in it. Behave accordingly of suffer the consequences.

Athens IMC intercepted an attempt to infiltrate their collective. How many other attempts to infiltrate other local Indymedia collectives were not intercepted? For that matter, how many attempts to infiltrate Athens IMC were not intercepted?

Remember, it is a common tactic spycraft to allow the enemy to uncover an inconsequential penetration, so as to set their mind at ease, so that, thinking they are safe, they wont bother doing what it takes to uncover the successful penetration. Just because you caught one infiltrator in the act, doesn't mean he was the only one, or that, now that he's been caught, they wont send another.

In fact, it is for that very reason that elemental precepts of spy craft dictate that when an infiltrator is discovered, it is usually best to let him think he has not been discovered. When you know who the infiltrator is, you have an enormous advantage. Bust him, and they'll just send another one, and you wont know who it is. Far better to keep the one you do know about in the dark about having been discovered, isolate him from sensitive information, exclude him from potentially damaging decision making, and feed him disinformation.

But even the most basic principles of elemental spycraft seem beyond most US activists, in part because people like welp, for whatever reason, actively campaign against them. Why would anyone who truly had our best interests at heart do something like that? It's exactly like telling a young recruit, newly in country, that just because there is a war going on, he doesn't have to bother keeping his head down. At best, it is naive. At worst, it is enemy action.


>a common tactic is a 'bad jacket' employed by agents intent on creating strife.

I haven't done that. What I am doing is more like telling that new recruit that the whizzing sound he hears is not bees, and his buddies are not lying on the ground because they tripped over their own shoelaces. But it's up to him to spot the snipers and take appropriate action against them.

Which reminds me of an obscure fact about sniping that succinctly illustrates the hoary axiom that deception is the essence of war. It makes an apt metaphor.

When one employs a suppressor, it silences only the report. The round itself, being supersonic, produces a sonic boom which cannot be silenced. In Viet Nam, US snipers learned to employ this to their advantage.

Here's the scene: A Marine in a ghilly suit is ensconced in the high ground. Below him, and to his north, is a field of tall grass. On the other side is a copse of trees. There is a rustling in the grass, just out of range. Is the VC, out on patrol? To find out, the Marine puts a couple rounds over their heads. Since his weapon is suppressed, they don't hear its report. The do, however, hear the sonic boom, which sound a lot like the report of a weapon being fired. However, it sounds like it is coming, not from the high ground to their south, but from the trees to their north. They assume they are being shot at from that direction. Slowly and carefully they withdraw to the south, away from what they believe is the report of the sniper's weapon. believing they are moving out of range of the sniper. In fact, they are headed straight for him. Eventually, they get so close that he can't miss. Then they die.

Deception, it's the essence of war. If you don't believe be, ask Sun Tzu. If you haven't read Sun Tzu yet, do it now. Turn off your computer immediately, and go to your nearest neighborhood (non-chain) bookstore and buy a copy. While you're there, pick up Musashi's Book of Five Rings. Between them, they cover the conflict experience from both the perspective of the commanding general and the individual warrior. If you don't care to think like a warrior, get out of the war, quick, before you get somebody hurt.


>"non coordanated" response.
>Isn't this the very problem of the anarchist movement?

(1.) No, it is not. It is the problem of certain segments of the anarchist movement, particularly the Anglophones. They tend to be caught up in, and distracted by, fad diets, the fetishization of clothing and musical fashion, cliquishness, factionalism and such irrational and anti-human cults as primitivism and animal rights. Also, a lot of the people who claim to be anarchists, are actually just militant liberals, out campaigning for reform, just as if it were a valid substitute for revolution.

These people are overwhelming young, and simply going through a phase. Most outgrow it, either by maturing as anarchists, or (more often) by conforming to societal norms, like practicing careerism, replicating the nuclear family, and voting. They cut their hair, laser off their tats, suit up, knuckle down and fade into the vast mass of drones that make up the compliant workforce of capitalist society.

But other anarchists, mostly in other parts of the world, have displayed exceptional operational abilities. Consider, for example, the Spanish comrades, whose militia held off the fascists for three years, and would have defeated them soundly had not the so-called "free world" not blockaded their arms supplies. Even though they eventually lost the war, they did have a chance to put their economic theories into practice, by collectivising enterprises that ranged from neighborhood grocery stores, through locomotive factories, latifundias, even the telephone exchange.

French economist Gaston Leval studied these collectives first hand. He attends meetings, observed production techniques, and went over their books. As he relates in his seminal work Collectives in the Spanish Revolution, after an initial adjustment period of a month or so, in virtually every case, the cost of production went down, the rate of production went up, and the quality of both products and workers' lives improved dramatically. And all this happened in the middle of the war in which the anarchists were outnumbered, our gunned, surrounded, and repeatedly stabbed in the back by their so-called friends.

How could this be, Leval wondered. In part it was because what had been the bosses' share of the profits went to workers and their collective enterprises. In part, it wa because of the dramatic increase in efficiency that resulted from the workers themselves being in control of production. Bosses are clueless, because people only tell him what he wants to hear. As the old anarchist proverb puts it, "If you want to know how many widgets we're going to need next month, don't ask the boss. Ask the widgeteer."

(2.) Indymedia is not, and never has been, an anarchist organization. Anarchists in Indymedia are a tiny minority. Most IMCistas are "progressives," i.e., wishy-washy, liberal reformists, of no threat to the status quo.

Indymedia does practice some, though certainly not all, anarchist principles. This in no way makes Indymedia an anarchist organization. In fact, almost everyone puts into practice basic anarchist principles almost every day. Why? Because they make common sense.


>The once vaulted IMC network now consists of a majority of feral and barely moderated sites- containing less and less news and more and more noise.

This is indeed true. Indymedia publishes disinformation, forgeries, pornography, commercial advertisements, death threats and the vile, deceptive propaganda of fascists, racists, war mongers, homophobes, misogynists, colonialists, and apologists for exploitation, ecocide, and torture. It fails to practice even such basic conventions of journalism as fact checking. As a credible source of information, its credibility is nil.

It behooves us all to question why this is happening, and who is responsible. Whoever it is, they have names and addresses. Do you know what they are? Why not?

Whoever's fault it is, it's not mine. Au contrair, I've lobbied for quality control, literally for years, and apparently to no avail..

See:

http://docs.indymedia.org/view/Global/BasicEditorialPolicy

But it's somebody's fault, and we all really ought to be aware whose. It's not as obvious to some people as it is to others. But the clues can be pieced together. But you must ask the right questions. Remember the immortal words of Thomas Pynchon, “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”

First, ask yourself who benefits. "Qui bono?" as the Romans used to say.

Then examine the decision making process. Who ultimately decides network policy? Is Indymedia a truly democratic organization, in which every IMCista's voice is equal, or is the real power held by the techies? Whose decision was it, for example, to leave editorially abandoned sites like NC-IMC online, where they show up in Google searches, and where our enemies can point to the racist propaganda, lies and pornography there and use it to discredit Indymedia, IMCistas, and the Global Justice Movement in general? Whose decision was it, for example, to not come to Danbury-IMC's aid when their site was hacked? Just wondering

Or is the real power held by the financiers? Follow the money. This is a capitalist society. Money influences everything. It costs money to keep a website like this online. Where does that money come from? What strings are attached? Who pulls them?

Perhaps most important of all, who can we trust? Everyone has a price. It doesn't have to be money. It could be drugs. It could be immunity from prosecution or deportation. It could be the continued safety of a loved one. It could be the removal of bamboo slivers from under your fingernails. The list goes on. But rest assured, IMCistas are just as vulnerable to influence as anyone else. When they start dangling the baby over the BBQ, everyone cooperates.

In politics, very little is what it appears to be on its surface. Whatever else Indymedia may be, and opinions do vary, first and foremost, it is political. History has proven beyond even a shadow of a doubt that no individual involved in anything political can ever be safely assumed to be who and what they say they are. No one should ever be taken solely on their own word. This is a shame and a pity, but it is also the truth of the matter. Ignore it at all our peril.
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Who's a rat?

by pointer Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 7:33 AM

Largest online database of informers and agents:

http://www.whosarat.com/
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we are in agreement...

by sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 7:58 AM

... even if you don't agree.
The only way I can see to avoid the influence of infiltrators is, in my humble opinion, to make the moderation open and democratic, away from the control of a select group of individuals.
Don't you think so?
If not, why?
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Moderation is not the only issue.

by buff Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 8:04 AM

Hosting and tech support are equally important vulnerabilities, if not more so.

The trouble with letting the readers decide what gets hidden, is that not all of the people who read IMC are on our side. Our enemies read this site, and feed you disinformation about what should be hidden.

Ultimately, the responsibility for effective editing lies with the editors themselves. Without righteous editing, open publish just doesn't work.
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talking 'bout IMC

by sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 8:11 AM

Okay, I'm not talking about the anarchist movement in totality but the specific IMC project.
Hell, I've learned so much from these forums, it is amazing that the readership isn't even larger than it is at present in view of the problem with the dissatisfaction at large of the public, with the MS ( of sh*t )M.
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I missed your reply

by sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 8:26 AM

Okay, not all the readers are friendly. Most of them are.
That's democracy. I am still of the opinion that an open moderation system is a valid counter to a minority of enemy agents or even infiltrators.
We are the many, they are the few.
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Damnit

by sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 11:41 AM

Now I've gone off topic, all by myself.
Infiltration could be mitigated with security as to mimicing the military 'need to know' and back ground checks on critical functions and actions for key persons involved in these activities.
This is not a hobby and the results and ramifications of a mole's infiltration are deadly serious.
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"Damnit"

by b Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 2:56 PM

>not all the readers are friendly. Most of them are.

(1.) There is no way to tell since the vast, overwhelming majority are lurkers, about who we know nothing.

(2.) One guy using Tor to click moderation boxes, and changing IP each time, can appear to be thousands of people.



>That's democracy.

Democracy is when every voice in the collective is equal, and every individual carries out the collective will, freely, because they want to.



>We are the many, they are the few.

That depends on how you define "we." If you mean "workers," then yes, we are most of the planet's population. If you mean "IMCistas," alas, we are such a tiny fraction of a percent as to not be expressible with the number of zeros it takes to fill this screen from one side to another. If you mean "IMCistas with righteous, coherent politics," that's fewer still.


>Infiltration could be mitigated with security

Sometimes it can, but as the FBI, CIA and the IRA found out to their chagrin, sometimes it can't.

But that's no reason not to try as hard as possible. At the very least, the history of new people should be checked out. If they don't have a history that can be confirmed by multiple third parties, there's probably a reason. How far back do you want to check? As far as you can. I once asked an old, and very successful, drug dealer the secret of his success. He told me, "Never commit a felony with someone you haven't known for ten years."

But even that sometimes is not enough. Sometimes even old friends will flip on you. Like I said, everyone has a price. So what we need to do in addition to practicing security culture, is develop strategies, structures and process that can outlive betrayals by isolating the damage.
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those are great points

by sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 3:11 PM

The only thing that bothers me is the principle of a small insular group, and it is insular by necessity in hostile environments, determines the control of in this instance, information. Righteousness is a hard fit for such power.
I fear and distrust such control in view of the fact that nobody knows anybody as you yourself say and even oneself at times. Yeah, the net is open as you also say and if a site begins to reek, one leaves. If it is a threat, it's attacked.
LA IMC is a threat.
This model needs some tweeking for sure. If anything, it's too opaque.
Unless you forget the rather foolish past practice of publishing minutes and internal reports.
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lost my point

by sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 4:06 PM

Of course all structures of organization in a particularly hostile environment must devise processes of self correction to serve the common good.
Protecting these organizations means interfering with or confounding the enemy to the greatest possible extent, to spread them thin manpowerwise.
No one can resist the state as they occasionally demonstrate so it's up to the culture of the organization to develop its own methods of resistance to make these things as difficult as possible. I believe that minor changes in security procedures or even instituting such practices is a positive step.
Then we can talk ordnance and tactics. That being said, it's still necessary to provide a window to the client ( that's me ) of surface policies like, say, 'reason for hiding' flags.
This provides transparency for the one other guy besides me who is using multiple IPs that shows millions of hits... anyway, the transparency in process would go a long way towards readership confidence.
Is that too twisted?
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please excuse me.

by sd Friday, May. 25, 2007 at 4:15 PM

what was that ?
excuse me please
Of course all structures of organization [ that resist injustice ] in a particularly hostile environment must devise processes of self correction to serve the common good.
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We an learn from the past, or we can repeat it.

by history buff Sunday, May. 27, 2007 at 6:13 AM

>control . . . information

The editors of an IMC do not control information, or access to information. They only control which information goes out on Indymedia bandwidth. It's a political choice which information to endorse by publishing it. Publishing it is tacit approval. It puts lies on an equal footing with the truth.

Stuff that is not appropriate for an organization with righteous politics to endorse is not suppressed by being excluded from IMC bandwidth. It can still be published. The fascists, racists, misogynists, etc. can simply publish their filth somewhere else. I'm not advocating that they be censored from the internet. I'm merely advocating that if they want to spew filth, that they not be allowed to hijack IMC bandwidth to do it. Let them pay for their own bandwidth, and stop sullying Indymedia's reputation.


>I believe that minor changes in security procedures or even instituting such practices is a positive step.

Editorial policy is not the only issue. More important is who makes the decisions, not just when to hide, but what are the criteria for acceptable posts. Unless IMCistas consense upon a network wide, zero tolerance policy for disinformation, enemy propaganda, commercial advertisements and porn, Indymedia's chances of being taken seriously as a credible source of information is nil. As it is now, IMC reads more like a middle school BBS than it does like credible journalism.

Indymedia cannot be a credible source of information, and a hands off, anything goes, free-for-all, at the same time. They are mutually preclusive. Without fact checking, it's not journalism. It's fiction.


>transparency in process would go a long way towards readership confidence

I disagree. The only way for readers to be confident in IMC is for them to be able to believe what they read here. A process that does not provide content credibility will inspire no confidence, no matter how transparent it is. Even if we explain in great detail why, how and when we are lying, we're still lying. Even if we explain in great detail why, how and when we are preaching fascism, racism, misogyny, etc., we are still preaching fascism, racism, misogyny, etc. Transparency is no substitute for the truth.

There is enormous danger in fetishizing transparency. Not only does it make for vulnerability, as history has clearly demonstrated, but it distracts from what would really make for reader confidence, i.e., not having to wade through garbage to find any truth here.

I addressed this issue years ago.

See:

http://www.sbindymedia.org/newswire/display/2591/index.php

(Note the typically concerted effort to drown out the message of this thread. What does that tell us about how important our enemies consider it that IMCistas be discouraged from practicing quality control?)


>all structures of organization [ that resist injustice ] in a particularly hostile environment must devise processes of self correction to serve the common good.

Indeed. And self criticism is a crucial part of of it. So too is constant reappraisal of goals versus actual results. But most important of all, is the ability to adapt by learning from our mistakes. We learned almost immediately, for example, that without moderation, open publishing does more harm than good. If we let them, our enemies will hijack our bandwidth and use it to deceive and manipulate our readers through such time tested methods as these:

http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~alb/misc/infowarDistraction.html

It's time to change tactics. We're behaving like the Allies at Passchendaele, in July of 1917. Unwilling to learn from their mistakes at the First Battle of the Somme, in July of 1916, the Allied commanders cranked the meat grinder yet another bloody turn. A century had passed since Napoleon, but the Allied commanders were still massing their infantry and alerting the enemy before they advanced. They advanced, of course, to their doom. They gained almost nothing, and the cost in blood and treasure was enormous. And for what? There was no break through. Despite Haig's naive wishful thinking, the German army did not collapse.

It wasn't until Amiens, in August of 1918, that the Allies finally wised up, adapted their tactics to the realities of the situation, and for the first time combined extreme secrecy during their build up with the first true combined arms offensive in history. Infantry, cavalry, tanks, both heavy and light, and even bicycles fought in a coordinated effort, each supporting the other, with both strategic bombing and close tactical air support supporting the lot. It worked. The Allies broke through. The German army splintered, discipline evaporated, at some points, battle weary troops fled from the front, and for the first time in the war, entire units disintegrated, and most important, Ludendorf finally realized the game was up. It was time to ask for an armistice.

Ironically, it was Rawlinson, architect of the disaster at the the First Battle of the Somme, who devised the change in tactics. The First Battle of the Somme can be seen as an honest mistake, a case of stupidity, nothing more. But Passchendaele was a crime. There was no excuse for Passchendaele. Thousands died for nothing. Their commanders should have known better. They could have learned from the past. They didn't. Instead, they chose to repeat it. The result was the most futile waste, on the most useless front, of the stupidest war in history.

But by the time of Amiens, at least Rawlinson had finally wised up. What are we, dumber than he was? Apparently so. After seven years in the cyber-trenches of Indymedia, we have gained not a single inch that has not cost us yards of our time, credibility and bandwidth. And yet we persist in repeating our mistakes, over and over and over and over. It's a stupid, useless waste. There is no excuse.

No, Indymedia has *not* become credible alternative to the ubiquitous propaganda mill of the corporate-government complex. As journalism, it's a joke. Only fools take what they read here at face value. Is that a valid model for the new society? I think not. I think it's time to change tactics. "Adapt or die," has not become a truism for nothing.

Step one: start thinking beyond trench warfare. Abandoned the failed tactics of the past and move on.

One way to begin sorting out the infiltrators, is to see who resists. Anyone who insists that Indymedia "stay the course," and persist with tactics that are proven to fail, is a suspect. The next stage in the sorting process is to figure out which of them are merely being pig headed, and which of them are really working to promote our enemies' agendas.

And make no mistake about it, our our failure to create a credible alternative to the ubiquitous propaganda mill of the corporate-government complex serves an important part of the enemy agenda. They know better that most, how precarious their grasp on power is. They haven't the numbers to rule humanity by force. They need our continued compliance. That compliance is based on one thing and one thing alone, lies. We comply because we believe. Believe is what stupid people do instead of find out the truth for themselves. It's time to stop being stupid. Learn the truth and share it. It's our only hope.

The more people who learn the truth about our rulers and their sick, evil and destructive agenda, the fewer comply, and the weaker grows our rulers' grasp on power. The truth is our greatest weapon, but only if we wield it intelligently. Yeah, there is some truth to be found on Indymedia. But it's scarce, and to find it, readers are forced to wade through filth, lies and nonsense. Why? Because Indymedia refuses to take out the trash. How intelligent is that? How productive?
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I resist...

by sd Sunday, May. 27, 2007 at 9:46 AM

and I'm no infiltrator. I'm one ticked off dog. Not at you, although you're kind of stubborn in your self assurance and seem to brush aside my points treating them as if they must be absolute in their resolution, attaining perfection.
I resist all closed autocratic systems. Until and unless your dream of standardizing the QC ( this is entirely possible, by some kind of shared effort electronic consensus editor forums ) and a serious effort to coordinate the standards, share resources to combat problems like spam and enemy assaults, and institute even rudimentary security, even then an open process, like an open operation code is the most secure from the taint of subversion or espionage. Everyone gets to see why things are happening if they are being over run and or compromised with the actual 'reasons for hiding' hidden by their insularity. Editors don't need to argue about the selection because it's transparent, if final. Editors who make bad calls in the light of day, kinda flag themselves in view of everyone...
IMCs need process transparency because they *are* vulnerable to infiltration w/o some kind of open feed back process.
Ahhh... you'll just nit pick my ideas, expecting total and perfect solutions.
Both of us have different ideas on mole control.
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open process

by I disagree Monday, May. 28, 2007 at 5:59 AM

>an open process, like an open operation code is the most secure from the taint of subversion or espionage

If this were true. Indymedia would not be in the sad state it is today. It's not working, not even on LA-IMC.

I have no objection to having a clearly stated editorial policy, posted where everyone can read it. Au contrair. And i have no objection to editors signing off on hides, if they so choose, though frankly, I fail to see the point. Neither do I to editors being transparent to each other, or even to the collective at large. I have no objection to editors being responsible to the collective.

What I object to is leaving the editorial process up to the readers. Face it, not all the people who read this site are on our side. The buttons here are useful for bringing instances of enemy propaganda to the attention of editors who may have overlooked it. But in a world where "lobbyware" like Megaphone exists, allowing button pushers to determine what the readers can see, is simply bad politics. It is, in effect, handing over key command and control functions to the enemy.

I also object to open meetings, especially ones where first timers have an equal say. It's a recipe for disaster. Quicksilver Times proved that decades ago. (See above)

I have also begun to question the purely defensive strategy of attempting to hold down a string of virtual forts line the IMC network. They are easily attacked and even more easily maneuvered around. The internet is ideally suited to guerrilla tactics. Wouldn't we be more effective if, instead of expending our energy defending vulnerable fixed positions, we went on the offensive, with highly mobile, hit and run attacks? When up against an empire, unless you are a bigger empire, you can't win a war of attrition. Empires can be worn down, though, even by vastly inferior forces. Read War of the Flea by Robert Taber, to see what I'm talking about.
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FBI monitored peace group in Spokane, used spy

by repost Monday, May. 28, 2007 at 7:38 AM

Feds may have used informant in PJALS

Jim Camden
Staff writer
May 25, 2007

Federal agents kept track of antiwar demonstrations by the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane at least since 2002, at one point apparently getting information from a "spy" in the group as it planned a protest at a nearby military base.

The FBI gleaned information from the group's Web site, including that PJALS mentioned the launch of a new public radio station, and had other material dealing with a protest in the local office of then-U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

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Rusty Nelson, leader of the peace group and a longtime protest organizer, said he thought the surveillance was an effort to "quell dissent" and discourage participation in the political process.

But there was one positive aspect, he said: "At least somebody's looking at our Web site."

Doug Honig of the ACLU's Seattle office, which obtained and then released the reports, said the FBI was wasting its time and taxpayers' money watching PJALS, which has a long history of peaceful protests.

"The FBI shouldn't have files on people who conduct peaceful protests," Honig said.

But spokesmen for the FBI offices in Seattle and Washington, D.C., said the agency was not watching the group. It was likely watching individuals in the group, based on information it may have received that may or may not have proved true.

"No group is going to be of interest to us, except maybe al-Qaida," said Fred Gutt, a special agent in the Seattle office.

"We don't investigate groups," insisted Rich Kolko, a special agent in the bureau's Washington, D.C., office. "We investigate criminal activity."

Because the law allows the agency to remove certain information from records, including most names, it may not be possible to determine who was being watched, he said.

Neither Gutt nor Kolko was familiar with the specific records released to the ACLU. But Kolko said if the bureau receives a tip about criminal activity by someone in the group, it would be required to investigate, and even if the information was baseless, to keep a record of its investigation.

"We don't purge records. If we write something down, we keep it," Kolko said.

Among the records the agency keeps involving PJALS are:

•Notice from an unnamed "analyst" that the group had put a notice on its Web site that KYRS, or Thin Air Community Radio "is up and running at the Community Building, although the reception is not very strong."

•Several documents – including a copy of a newsletter called Peace News – deal with an April 2002 demonstration in Nethercutt's district office in the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Spokane. Eight protesters were arrested when they refused to leave after Nethercutt wouldn't speak with them. The congressman met them about a month later, and charges against all but one protester were dismissed.

•Repeated references to a former PJALS member who left the group to commit acts of civil disobedience that he suspected the organization would not tolerate. Michael Poulin, whose name is excised from the reports, loosened bolts in about 20 high-voltage transmission towers in the Northwest, which he said was a way to point out how vulnerable the towers were to terrorists. He was arrested while attempting to turn himself in, pleaded guilty to two federal counts of tampering with federal property and was sentenced to 27 months in prison in November 2003.
Continued behind password at: http://www.spokesmanreview.com/local/story.asp?ID=191488
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a few points

by sd Tuesday, May. 29, 2007 at 3:50 AM

"The internet is ideally suited to guerrilla tactics-"
Not sure what you mean but if it disseminates information across the net, the confidence of the readership is important as to its validity.

That's why IMCs are, in theory, there or here. That's why it's important to present a forum that is open to all pertinent 'news' or commentary that serves the agenda to a counterbalance to the state propaganda or window into reality; vacant from corporate news.

It is curious to me as to why the structures of the IMC network were developed as such independent, uncoordinated enterprises. Perhaps a certification by consensus of closely scrutinized sites that could act as general watch dogs with updates on other IMC operations such as assaults, problems and status reports.

The challenge as I see it with this entire project is awakening the select portions of the populations who discover these information channels because they are not satisfied with the show they are shown elsewhere.

When LA IMC does certain things like hide posts for no apparent good reason or the editorial/maintance say certain things during analytical discussions that promote disinfo or if they allow certain practices to occur, it always makes one wonder.

When this happens I always wonder if an open process, like an open debate, would discourage even established moles or gate keepers from guiding or hiding. If they, in theory, were operating. As it's always a possibility.

Somebody needs to watch the watchers.
That's about all I can add.


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points

by etc. Tuesday, Jun. 05, 2007 at 6:37 PM

>Not sure what you mean

What I mean is that one need not operate, or confine oneself, to a static base to be able to reach a mass audience. All one needs do is show up in a public venue, state one's case, and move on, i.e., hit and run. This is classic guerrillismo, updated for the cyber-age. Unlike maintaining an IMC, particularly one that has been targeted, it requires little investment in time, effort and money. All it requires is use of a computer that is connected to the internet. It doesn't even have to be the same computer every time. A case can be made that it shouldn't be.


>but if it disseminates information across the net, the confidence of the readership is important as to its validity.

It is a vast over simplification to conceive of "the" confidence of "the" readership. The readership of Indymedia, like the readership of the internet as a whole, is highly heterogeneous. No rational individual has complete confidence in even this site, let alone Indymedia as a whole. It isn't possible to be confident in a source that is so well documented as a source of disinformation. Confidence in Indymedia is about as rational as confidence in Pravda or the Weekly World News.

Reading Indymedia is like shopping for parts at Grand Auto. They keep prices low by leaving quality control up to the customer. Instead of paying the salary and benefits of professional inspectors, they find it cheaper to let you, the customer, do that job for them for free. It's cheaper to simply replace a bad purchase than it is to pay to see that none enter the store in the first place. Only fools and newbies go to Grand Auto, confident that their purchase wont have to be returned because of some flaw that a quality control inspector could, and should, have easily caught.

Some people do go back again and again, no matter how many parts they have had to return, because they think it's worth it to be able to save a buck. They're penny wise, but pound foolish. Whatever they save, is more than eaten away by the time and gasoline it takes to drive back to the store. I say this as a guy who worked as a back yard mechanic for much of my life, and so had a motive for counting those minutes and gallons. Yeah, they really do add up. I, too, was once penny wise and pound foolish, but then one day I sat down with a calculator. In the long run, you'll spend less time and money if you stay out of discount stores, and always buy quality parts from a dealer.

A case can even be made that it's bad politics to encourage anyone to have confidence in any source, especially any single source, especially one that is best known for its refusal to fact check. If we really want to make the world into a better place, we should be encouraging people to doubt rather than believe, to do their own research rather than to depend on others, and to draw their own conclusions rather than parrot somebody else's.

We are doing the Global Justice Movement serious harm by letting it be represented in cyberspace by an institution like Indymedia, whose organization is heavily infiltrated (and not just by intelligence/law enforcement, either) and whose whose bandwidth disseminates disinformation (and worse), every day of the week. How can we expect the world to believe we have a better plan for earth's future than the capitalists do, when the best we can do with our media is tell lies and promote racism, misogyny, war, etc.?


>it's important to present a forum that is open to all pertinent 'news' or commentary

Somebody needs to decide what's pertinent, and more important, what's appropriate. That is the job of the editors. Set a policy, stick to it and let the readers decide if it's what they're looking for. Ultimately, it's the readers' decision what they will read. If a website such as an IMC, or any open publishing, community based forum, has a clearly stated, and consistently applied, editorial policy that a reader doesn't agree with, he or she can simply go somewhere else.

It is not possible to have an editorial policy that everyone agrees with. It can't be done. So some other criteria must be the basis of that policy. I say, and what I have been saying al these years, and apparently to deaf ears, is that Indymedia should have a network wide set of minimum quality standards that include zero tolerance for disinformation, enemy propaganda, porn and commercial advertising. Any IMC local that does not practice these minimum quality standards, should be not allowed to use the name "Indymedia," for the same reason that farmers who use insecticide on their fields should not be allowed to label their products as "organic," i.e., it makes the word "organic" become meaningless.

I'm not saying these sites should be shut down and their producers prohibited from publishing on the internet. Everyone has a right to be heard. They don't have the right to force IMCistas to pay their way. They don't have the right to use Indymedia's name to publish material that discredits Indymedia.

Once such a network wide policy was consensed upon, it would be ridiculously easy to execute. All it would take is the will to do it and the time it would take. The problem with Indymedia is that the people with decision making powers don't have the will to do it. There is no consensus, not even for banning the most vile racist propaganda, and the most blatant commercial advertising. The people who *really* run Indymedia apparently don't object. This is at odds with the very political values they claim to be at the core of their motivation. They say one thing, but do another.

In short, Indymedia's politics are, at best, incoherent. No one can, for example, claim to be opposed to racism, simultaneously publish racist propaganda, and expect to be considered credible. Yet this is exactly what Indymedia does. Don't take my word for it. Google "indymedia kike", "indymedia nigger", or "indymedia raghead" and see for yourself. This is what Indymedia does. There's no way to deny it. There it is, for all to see. This is what the name has come to stand for. Why has this been allowed to happen? Whose decision was it? Why is the decision theirs?

It is immoral to promote racism (and colonialism, and misogyny, and homophobia, and exploitation, and ecocide, and the rest of the anti-justice, anti-human, anti-earth crap we see on IMCs across the globe) and yet, that is exactly what Indymedia does. This does not happen by chance. It is the direct result of decisions having been made by people whose value systems are at odds with those of the Global Justice Movement. How did these people wind up, not just inside Indymedia, but in postions of power? How many of them just wandered in on their own, and how many were sent, and who sent them?
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Other problems

by 222 Wednesday, Jun. 06, 2007 at 4:38 AM

In short, Indymedia's politics are, at best, incoherent. No one can, for example, claim to be opposed to racism, simultaneously publish racist propaganda, and expect to be considered credible.


Not just racist, but truth optional. The IMCs have lost credability because they are willing to adapt truth to their agenda.
The IMC's cannnot be trusted as a source of information as a result.
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one point

by sd Wednesday, Jun. 06, 2007 at 5:23 AM

you never addressed the final issue. Who watches the watchers?
Here, we all do. Like peer review. The heterogeneous readership.
As for the codification of IMCs in respect to content, I say, go for it. I always have agreed to this principle even if the prospect remains dependent upon the dreaded idea of coordination among the participants.
As for content 'truth' wise, prepackaged truth is always suspect from any source and thus the process of open analysis runs the data through processing as it should be.
I've run into autocratic editorial conduct and it left a sour feeling.
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"The IMC's cannnot be trusted"

by welp Wednesday, Jun. 06, 2007 at 6:55 AM

Irony of ironies.

The main person posting here has personally seen to the destruction of what once was one of the most vibrant IMCs in the States. Now, it has been completely dysfunctional for almost 6 months. Totally worthless in the fight for global justice. Welcome to his vision of Indymedia three-point-oh:

http://sf.indymedia.org/

His entire posse has abandoned him and he can't even get the basic technical assistance needed to keep an IMC site running, in the tech mecca of the San Francisco Bay Area even. Apparently, he has been at least as effective in destroying an IMC as any infiltrator could ever hope to be, assuming he himself is not an infiltrator.

And yet we are supposed to trust his viewpoints on the infiltration and untrustworthiness of the entire IMC network. Ironies abound.
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There they go again

by more disinformatiuon Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2007 at 6:16 AM

>The main person posting here has personally seen to the destruction of what once was one of the most vibrant IMCs in the States.

Either these people don't know what really happened, and are guessing, or they do know what really happened, and are lying. Either way, this is disinformation.

If you need to know what really happened, you already know. If you don't need to know, but you're clever enough, perhaps you can piece together the clues. Either way, you're not going to hear it from me, except to say that I have abandoned SF-IMC for what decades of personal experience and an in depth study of history have led me to believe is a very, very, very good reason.

You can see for yourselves how well the place is doing without me. But that's a separate issue.

My decision was tactical, not ideological. I abandoned SF-IMC when certain events, not all directly related to SF-IMC per se, brought aspects of the situation into focus. That is not what caused me to abandon Indymedia as a concept.

For me, the last straw was what happened when someone posted on Omaha-IMC the home address of an innocent bystander, who happens to use the same name I do, and also lives in San Francisco. The post included detailed instructions as to how best to murder this guy. It took me seven weeks of constant hassle to first even find someone capable of removing it, and and then convince him it was the right thing to do.

Seven weeks!?! That's intolerable. Seven minutes would have been too long.

I simply don't want to be part of an organization that demonstrates such callous disregard for the public.

And that's not Indymedia's only fault. It also routinely publishes disinformation, pornography, commercial advertisements and enemy propaganda. It's primary function, intentional or otherwise, is as a trojan horse, to discredit the Global Justice Movement from the inside, by portraying us as soft on racism and indifferent about the truth. This directly serves the enemy agenda.

Indymedia also fails to offer support to its members commensurate with their service to Indymedia. Has anyone from Indymedia lifted a finger to undo the hack at Danbury-IMC? Click the link and see for yourself. That's outrageous. Even the d*mn mafia takes better care of its members than that.

As far as I'm concerned, an injury to one is an injury to all. People who don't feel that way have no place in my personal life, and less of a place in the movement. Neither do those who aid and abet the enemies of Global Justice by providing them with a soapbox and megaphone.

My only regret is that I didn't wise up and leave sooner. I really should have recognized the situation for what it was long ago. But I let my hope that Indymedia could somehow be reformed cloud my judgment. Hope is a dangerous thing. Anything that clouds judgment is dangerous. There is no way we can bring about the changes in this world that want to see happen, unless we have clear heads. Clear headed analysis reveals conclusively that if Indymedia could be fixed, it would have happened by now. It can't be fixed because its basic premise is flawed.

No movement can survive that does not defend itself. No movement can survive that does not come to the support of its members when they are under attack. No movement that actively promotes the enemy agenda even deserves to survive. These are political truisms that have stood the test of time. They apply to all social justice movements. Indymedia is no different.

The incoherent, counter productive and ultimately self destructive course Indymedia has followed over the years, is no random happenstance. There are elements within Indymedia's cadre who are intentionally steering its course in directions which serve, not the agenda of Global Justice, but that of its enemies. That some of them probably mean well, is irrelevant. Others of them don't. These elements have been in place from very near the beginning. In may well turn out that, as it was in the case of the newspaper La Revolution sociale (see above), that some of them were in place before the beginning.

That an organization like Indymedia would not be targeted at all, flies in the face of centuries of history. To entertain such a notion is foolish at best. It's like knowing that all the other oceans of this world are salty, but believing that the one you are about to drink from will turn out to be sweet. It's the logic of fools.

But don't take my word for it. Don't take anybody's word for it. Don't take anybody's word for anything. Do your own research. Read history. This thread is a good place to start. That's why I put it here. Scroll back up. Review the facts. Then go look up some more on your own. There are certainly enough of them, and they're not hard to find. The search itself will enlighten you. Think them over. Add them up. Draw your own conclusions. Then act accordingly. It's not enough to know the truth. You have to do something about it.
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"Who watches the watchers?"

by not us Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2007 at 7:03 AM

We don't even know who they are. What are the moderators' names? Where is the list of which one hid which post/comment, and why? Where's the transparancy you preach? We don't see it here. Where is it?
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To Nessie

by Tia Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2007 at 7:41 AM

"For me, the last straw was what happened when someone posted on Omaha-IMC the home address of an innocent bystander, who happens to use the same name I do, and also lives in San Francisco. The post included detailed instructions as to how best to murder this guy. It took me seven weeks of constant hassle to first even find someone capable of removing it, and and then convince him it was the right thing to do. "

****
That was a despicable act (and it would have been, even if they had gotten your address right). It was wrong when it was done to me, it was wrong when it was done to gehrig, and it was wrong when it was done to you.

For what its worth I spoke to the person responsible...but I have no control over the extremists on my side of the fence any more than you have for those on your side of the fence. Some people are just comsumed by their own anger.

A while back an 80 something grandmother was involved in a campaign to bring a bombed out Israeli bus to Califorrnia. (You remember as well as I). Some very hateful people called her up at 3 in the morning to threaten her GRANDCHILDREN if she went through with the event. We all got self righteous and we obsessed about how hateful the other side was, how evil and amoral...and I have to say, I hate to see my people behaving as badly

All this "dialog", all this exchange of information, and we still don't understand each other , we still don't respect each other and we are no further towards any kind of resolution.

I think the IMC's are dying , Nessie. I think blogging has replaced them. Go to the various IMC- its the same spammed crap, over and over. Sometimes abandoning ship is the only intelligent thing to do.
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everybody watches

by sd Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2007 at 7:49 AM

Yeah, I've been hiding spam, hate/insult and adds.
You have a problem with that? Sue me.
I still would like to see a flag on the hidden posts as I have always said.
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what a tight knit little crew

by "I spoke to the person responsible" Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2007 at 12:29 PM

How convenient to know who is doing what to LA IMC...
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Tia: what a pice of work

by more Zionist bullsh*t Thursday, Jun. 14, 2007 at 8:41 AM

>it was done to me,

>it was done to gehrig,

Oh, really? Notice how she fails to cite the URLs. What does this tell us?



>I spoke to the person responsible.

How interesting. That makes Tia guilty of a serious felony. She knows the identity of a person who made a terrorist threat, and didn't turn him in. At the very least, she's an accessory after the fact. With the "terrorist enhancement," as it's called, she could get life in prison. So if she's smart, she'll turn this guy in immediately, confess her complicity, and plead to the judge for mercy, because if somebody else turns her in first, mercy is out of the question. The courts these days deal with terrorist cases quite harshly.



>we still don't understand each other

Wrong again. I understand Tia perfectly. She's a racist. 'Nuff said.


>we still don't respect each other

People who respect racists are scum.
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"I have abandoned SF-IMC"

by welp Saturday, Jun. 16, 2007 at 9:26 AM


Is there anyone left? If not, why is open publishing still turned on?

Why is the site even still there, if all it is is a dysfunctional ghost town? There are not even archives to browse through.

Why does every IMC on the planet still link to it?

http://sf.indymedia.org/

If nothing else, *that* is a black mark on IMCs worldwide. Time for IMCs to say the feeling is mutual and de-link this long dead site.


And why post to and debate on other IMCs if your hope in them was clouding your judgement? Surely you're time here is wasted, by your own admission, no?
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welp et al, etc.

by obvious pseudonym Monday, Jun. 25, 2007 at 6:58 PM

>Is there anyone left?

Ask them, not me. It's no longer any of my business, nor do I care. I don't even go to meetings anymore, and haven't for a very long time. Five or six weeks ago, I did do lunch with one of them, and we did discuss SF-IMC, among other things, but that's as far as it went. It wasn't an official meeting, in any sense of the term. SF-IMC business was not conducted. No decisions were made. I merely conveyed some information. I no longer want to go anywhere near those people, one in particular. Why, you do not need to know. But that's no reason that you can't meet with them, and ask f2f. Or, if you prefer email, the address is: sf@indymedia.org

If you're worried that such an action might result in your name being put on yet another list, or your dossier being flagged once again, you can always use Tor to set up, and then and employ, an anonymous email address at one of the usual places. All are monitored, but at least you can avoid leaving a trail.

Or maybe not. If they're already tracking you, for whatever reason, Tor wont help, because they already know the location of your computer. Maybe they even stopped by your place to make some "modifications" to it while you were out. They do things like that. "Sneak and peak," they call it these days, and it's perfectly legal. Back in the day, they were "black bag jobs," and it wasn't, at least not without a warrant. They did it anyway, but they couldn't present any evidence they gathered in court, at not without first getting a cooperative judge to backdate a warrant.

Ah, warrants. Those were the days. We even still had habeus corpus back then. Now people just "disappear." If they're lucky, the perps are employees of some sort of government, and not just a gang of psychopaths. Yeah, yeah, I know. It's a very subtle distinction, but sometimes subtleties matter, or at least that's what we hope.

And there's key stroke logging to worry about, and room bugs, and lasers bouncing off the your window pane, and all the rest of that scary stuff that only paranoids care about. And there's newer, scarier stuff almost every day. Truly, it's an age of wonders, way beyond Orwell, and fast approaching Dick.

Even tails are becoming obsolete. It was a job that required real, down to earth skills, skills you had to learn. And it took teamwork. It paid. The guys who did it well got respect. They got pats on the back and promoted. Now there's GPS in every cell phone. Who needs a common gumshoe anymore? These days, between the satellites and the cell towers, all it takes is a little geometry, and presto, you're in the cross hairs. The geometry's done by computers, of course. What isn't, these days? How long before they can put GPS on one of those RFIDs that are so small you could swallow one and not even notice?

Their tool kit sounds like sci-fi, but it isn't. And even without it, they still can rely on good, old fashioned HUMINT. Perhaps they have turned one of your so-called friends. Hey, these things happen. They happen a lot. Everybody has a price. And generally speaking, HUMINT is still better than SIGINT, even in the twenty first century, at least so far. At least that's what The Book says. But there's still a lot of century to go, isn't there? Either way, if they're already monitoring you, they don't need to use the internet to do it. It just makes their job easier, that's all.

And don't forget profiling. It's not just your interests they track, it's your social networks. No one on earth does pattern recognition like computers do. It used to take a bit of grey matter to look at a pen register record and figure out who was related to whom, how and when. They don't even use pen registers anymore. Now days they're "call detail recorders," and they're only one part of the process.

The objective analysis of social networks is a science that long predates the telephone, let alone the computer. But now it's more than just a science. It's mundane, that's how automated it has become. Between ECHELON and PROMIS, they can make flow charts that reveal more about us than we know about ourselves. And Echelon and PROMIS are old news. They're so old that even you and I know about them. It sort of makes you wonder what they are using now that we don't know about yet, doesn't it?

And remember, in these modern days of readily available surveillance technology, "they" don't even have to be working for law enforcement or an intelligence agency. "They" don't even have to "they." It could well be a sufficiently clever and motivated individual with purely idiosyncratic motivation, your neighbor, perhaps, or a vengeful ex, or maybe even one of those famous "lone nuts" we hear so much about. Cyberspace is crawling with lunatics. Sometimes they fixate. Maybe one of them has become obsessed with you. Hey, these things happen. For example, Google "nessie indymedia forgery" and see what comes up. And if it is "they," that doesn't mean they are working together. Two or more sufficiently clever and motivated individuals could have you under surveillance at the same time, and not even know about each other, at least not at first.

Surveillance has simply grown too easy not to do. It used to take considerable training and field support to do surveillance right. Now all it takes, at least to get started, is a credit card and any one of a number of readily available catalogs. It doesn't even have to be your own credit card. A sound case can be made that it shouldn't be.

But should you really be worried about the possible ramifications of contacting SF-IMC without first at least giving some thought to security? Some people feel that's a paranoid analysis. Only paranoids, they would have you believe, even think about that kind of stuff, let alone act upon it. And you don't want people to think that you're paranoid, do you? Etc.

And who knows, maybe they're right. But so what? The main thing about paranoia, is that you only have to be right once, and it all pays off. So better to err on the side of caution, I say, than to allow public opinion to dictate how well you protect yourself. In the immortal words of Richard P. Feynman, "What do you care what other people think?"

Besides, by definition, it's only paranoia if it turns out later you were wrong. Speculation beforehand is, at best, premature. And speaking of paranoia, perhaps you may find one of my other projects interesting. It's called "Paranoid Press Review," and can be found here. It is a collection of live links to reports of events that certain people would have you believe only paranoids would ever take interest in. This month, for example, we are looking at some of the new ways in which our rulers can track us like livestock, how accurate Machiavelli's assessment of mercenaries may turn out to be, why the men who killed "God's banker" still evade justice, and what the technology of lepidoptery can tell us about why Will Smith's character was running around in his underwear in Enemy of the State. If you happen to know of anything else that should be included, but I appear to have missed, feel free to inform me at: nessie@transbay.net

Just a suggestion.


>If not, why is open publishing still turned on?

Ask them, not me. I have no control over it, and no say, either. It's not my decision, and never has been. Perhaps they will show the common human courtesy of replying. Perhaps not. There is only one way to find out.


>Why is the site even still there, if all it is is a dysfunctional ghost town? There are not even archives to browse through.

>Why does every IMC on the planet still link to it?

These are *very* good questions. They certainly haven't been answered to my satisfaction. Interestingly enough, in the very discussion where I, for one, most expected to see them answered, they haven't even been asked. See for yourselves. Read the thread untitled "proposal to imc-process," which appears in two places.

IMC-tech archives:

http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-tech/2007-June/thread.html

The imc-communication Archives:

http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-communication/2007-June/thread.html

You will find that among IMC techies, there is considerable resistance to removing any dead sites, even the most egregious ones. As long as a single techie still believes that it is important that people can still have access to what was published, even the Nazi propaganda of NC-IMC and the pornography of Utah-IMC, dead site delinking is simply not going to happen. The techies will block it.

Indymedia is in no way a democratic organization. It is a creation of, by and for the techies. They have the final say because, after all, they have made themselves indispensable. You can read Nazi propaganda and see pornography on Indymedia because they want it that way. Why? Ask them. Cui bono? Ask history.


>And why post to and debate on other IMCs if your hope in them was clouding your judgment?

I'm not debating. I'm stating a case. Take it or leave it. I do have hope for a few of Indymedia's readers, especially the new ones, who just discovered this place, and don't yet realize what a cesspit of lies and enemy propaganda it has become. For the IMCistas themselves, I no longer have any. They are active members of morally bankrupt organization. It is a conscious choice on their part. They could leave. I did. They don't. 'Nuff said.

I don't have to be a member of their failed and immoral organization to make use of their bandwidth. Except that it produces less pollution, publishing on Indymedia is no different than spraying graffiti on the walls of FBI headquarters, the Interpol office, or the Israeli embassy. It's not an endorsement. It's detournement.


> Surely you're time here is wasted, by your own admission, no?

Au contrair, I've decided to put together a book. It's a far more productive use of my time than trying to reform Indymedia. That's a true waste of time. This thread is not. Eventually, it will become a chapter in that book. Thanks for your (pl.) help composing it. If you (pl.) have anything more to add, feel free. I'll check in periodically. Thanks in advance.
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Mr.

by Josh Bowers Tuesday, Jul. 17, 2007 at 11:15 AM
JBdcLaw@aol.com

In 1969 or 1970, when the Quck Silver Times stopped publishing, I bought the entire collection of all the issues published during the life of the paper. The writing is filled with passion and the artwork is beautiful. This article added a little bit more to this wonderful collection I have carried with me since my youth.
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The CIA really IS editing Wikipedia

by repost Saturday, Aug. 25, 2007 at 3:13 AM

by John Pospisil

A new data-mining service is making it possible to check anonymous Wikipedia edits, confirming that yes, the US Government is editing Wikipedia, with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) apparently making changes to entries about itself, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Richard Nixon, and Pope Benedict XVI. On a lighter note, it appears that someone at the CIA also made changes to entries about Secret societies, Fortune cookies and the Beatles.

When users make changes to Wikipedia anonymously, their IP address is logged, and this is what has allowed a computation and neural-systems graduate student at CalTech, Virgil Griffith, to create Wikpedia Scanner.

Wikipedia Scanner allows you to search anonymous Wikipedia edits by organization, location, or IP address.

To create his database Griffith downloaded the entire contents of Wikipedia, capturing the IP addresses of anonymous edits. He then matched those IP addresses to companies and organizations using IP matching services such as ARIN and IP2Location.com.

Already a number of other interesting discoveries have been made.

Both the Democrat and the Republican parties have been busy making changes to Wikipedia, as have the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US National Institute of Health.

Corporates have also been contributing, with Diebold, Amgen, Pfizer, Wal-Mart. Microsoft, Apple and Exxon Mobil all doing their bit.

And not to be left out, news agencies, including Fox News, the New York Times and Al-Jazeera, have also been participating in the Wikipedia community.

To be fair, many of the edits simply involve updating information or making corrections. For example someone at an IP address associated with the New York Times made a contribution to the entry on Louis XIV of France. And some of the edits are more than likely being made by Wikipedia buffs on their lunch break using their work computers.

But that certainly doesn't account for all the changes, as Wired's John Borland found out.

For example, Borland noted that in 2005 someone at an IP address associated with Diebold deleted paragraphs detailing concerns about the integrity of the company's voting machines and the company's fund-raising activities for George Bush. Thankfully the deletion was noticed by a legitimate Wikipedia editor at the time.

Borland also busted Wal-Mart making more subtle changes, such as changing a line that said it pays less than other retailers to saying that it pays more than twice the minimum wage.

Is it such a surprise that companies and organizations are changing entries related to their sphere of activity. Not, really, but at least now we have a tool to help keep "the bastards honest", as we say in Australia. And surely that's going to make Wikipedia even stronger.

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murder by cancer

by theMickeys Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009 at 5:17 PM
mike680@novia.net

I knew the cat. He killed himself in the joint. He was a good guy but don't fuck him, dig?
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