For those of you think that our government can do no wrong, I have news for you. Our government is kind of a conspiracy in itself. They have done lots of secret and unlawful things, and not for the good of the people. (photo credit freedomarchives.org)
One such conspiracy, really a series of conspiracies, was COINTELPRO, which stands for Counter Intelligence Program.
This conspiracy was carried out by the FBI from 1956 to 1971. But there is evidence that it is still taking place, even today, in some form or fashion. It was carried on through 4 White House administrations.
What was this conspiracy? It’s goal was to surveil, infiltrate, discredit, and disrupt political organizations, mainly in the U.S.
How did they meet their goals? Tactics included using planting false reports in the media, smearing forged letters, harassment, psychological warfare, wrongful imprisonment, extralegal violence and assassination.
Why you might ask? The same response we get from them all the time (which is getting old) – “protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining social and political order.”
Please. They wanted to control outcomes and be in control. We the people aren’t stupid.
The FBI targeted groups and individuals that they deemed “subversive” and “white hate groups”.
Here is a list of some of the groups that were deemed “subversive”:
- Communist and socialist organizations
- Individuals and organizations associated with civil rights movement
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
- National Association for Advancement of Colored People
- Congress of Racial Equality
- Black nationalist groups
- American Indian Movement
- Any group labeled “New Left”, including Students for a Democratic Society and Weathermen
- All groups associated with protesting the Vietnam War
- Student Demonstrators even with no affiliation with a group
- National Lawyers Guild
- Groups and organizations associated with Women’s Rights Movement
- Notable Americans, including Albert Einstein
- Nationalist groups seeking independence for Puerto Rico, Ireland, and Cuban exile movements
- White hate groups like Ku Klux Klan and National State’s Rights Party
J. Edgar Hoover issued directives to the FBI to disrupt, expose, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of these movements and their leaders.
When the FBI’s tactics started in 1956, it soon grew to include disruption of the Communist Party, Socialist Workers Party, KKK, Nation of Islam, Black Panther Party, and all of the ‘NEW LEFT’ political movement.
Government was a bit ticked off at the Supreme Court, which had handed down rulings that limited the power of the government to offset these groups. The Supreme Court states, in several cases, that the COINTELPRO operations were exceeding statutory limits and violated constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and association.
Really? Doesn’t the government still do that today? You bet they do. (photo credit antifacistencyclopedia.com)
This program was kept secret until it was exposed in 1971 when a group of radicals, the Citizen’s Commission to Investigate the FBI broke into an FBI office in Pennsylvania and exposed the program in the media. Good for them! Some media refused to publish the information. But within the year, Hoover declared the operations of COINTELPRO were over. Yeah right.
Several lawsuits were filed against the FBI, including an NBC correspondent, Carl Stern, and numerous other groups. The Church Committee investigated in 1976. Many documents still have not been released. Many have been redacted.
Here are some quotes from the Church Committee’s report from the investigation:
Examples of surveillance, spanning all Presidents from FDR to Nixon, both legal and illegal, contained in the Church Committee report:
- President Roosevelt asked the FBI to put in its files the names of citizens sending telegrams to the White House opposing his “national defense” policy and supporting Col. Charles Lindbergh.
- President Truman received inside information on a former Roosevelt aide’s efforts to influence his appointments, labor union negotiating plans, and the publishing plans of journalists.
- President Eisenhower received reports on purely political and social contacts with foreign officials by Bernard Baruch, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, and Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.
- The Kennedy administration had the FBI wiretap a congressional staff member, three executive officials, a lobbyist, and a Washington law firm. US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy received the fruits of an FBI “tap” on Martin Luther King, Jr. and a “bug” on a Congressman, both of which yielded information of a political nature.
- President Johnson asked the FBI to conduct “name checks” of his critics and members of the staff of his 1964 opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater. He also requested purely political intelligence on his critics in the Senate, and received extensive intelligence reports on political activity at the 1964 Democratic Convention from FBI electronic surveillance.
- President Nixon authorized a program of wiretaps which produced for the White House purely political or personal information unrelated to national security, including information about a Supreme Court justice.
And here is quote on Methods:
- Infiltration: Agents and informers did not merely spy on political activists. Their main purpose was to discredit and disrupt. Their very presence served to undermine trust and scare off potential supporters. The FBI and police exploited this fear to smear genuine activists as agents.
- Psychological Warfare From the Outside: The FBI and police used a myriad of other “dirty tricks” to undermine progressive movements. They planted false media stories and published bogus leaflets and other publications in the name of targeted groups. They forged correspondence, sent anonymous letters, and made anonymous telephone calls. They spread misinformation about meetings and events, set up pseudo movement groups run by government agents, and manipulated or strong-armed parents, employers, landlords, school officials and others to cause trouble for activists.
- Harassment Through the Legal System: The FBI and police abused the legal system to harass dissidents and make them appear to be criminals. Officers of the law gave perjured testimony and presented fabricated evidence as a pretext for false arrests and wrongful imprisonment. They discriminatorily enforced tax laws and other government regulations and used conspicuous surveillance, “investigative” interviews, and grand jury subpoenas in an effort to intimidate activists and silence their supporters.
- Extralegal Force and Violence: The FBI conspired with local police departments to threaten dissidents; to conduct illegal break-ins in order to search dissident homes; and to commit vandalism, assaults, beatings and assassinations. The object was to frighten, or eliminate, dissidents and disrupt their movements.
And here is some on illegal surveillance:
Too many people have been spied upon by too many Government agencies and too much information has been collected. The Government has often undertaken the secret surveillance of citizens on the basis of their political beliefs, even when those beliefs posed no threat of violence or illegal acts on behalf of a hostile foreign power. The Government, operating primarily through secret informants, but also using other intrusive techniques such as wiretaps, microphone “bugs”, surreptitious mail opening, and break-ins, has swept in vast amounts of information about the personal lives, views, and associations of American citizens. Investigations of groups deemed potentially dangerous — and even of groups suspected of associating with potentially dangerous organizations — have continued for decades, despite the fact that those groups did not engage in unlawful activity.
Groups and individuals have been harassed and disrupted because of their political views and their lifestyles. Investigations have been based upon vague standards whose breadth made excessive collection inevitable. Unsavory and vicious tactics have been employed — including anonymous attempts to break up marriages, disrupt meetings, ostracize persons from their professions, and provoke target groups into rivalries that might result in deaths. Intelligence agencies have served the political and personal objectives of presidents and other high officials. While the agencies often committed excesses in response to pressure from high officials in the Executive branch and Congress, they also occasionally initiated improper activities and then concealed them from officials whom they had a duty to inform.
Governmental officials — including those whose principal duty is to enforce the law –have violated or ignored the law over long periods of time and have advocated and defended their right to break the law.
Wow, all that and more. That’s our government at work for you. Keeping us safe and secure. I’m so proud. I love America, and wouldn’t trade it for anything, but where do they get off thinking they can just stomp on the constitution and do illegal activities, assassinations, wrongful imprisonment, spreading false rumors and documents, and whatever just to have their way? I know not all groups have the best intentions – but that’s not the point. The point is that WE THE PEOPLE should be outraged at this. The constitution has done an incredible job for the last 235 years I think. Look at America now. We’ve done a great job. Why is our government stomping out everything they disagree with? Why are we letting them?
But officially, the program was terminated in 1971, but we all know and suspect that it didn’t end there. The Freedom of Information Act has shown documents that COINTELPRO is still active, at least in 2001 to 2006. Some groups that have been targeted after its supposed termination are Greenpeace USA, PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), Thomas Merton Center, journalist David Halberstam, and the American Indian Movement. (photo credit targetedindividualscanada.wordpress.com)
I would have never guessed our government still uses the same tactics today – no – I can’t believe it. (yes, this is sarcasm)
This is just one conspiracy that involves the government, there are more to come. So don’t be so surprised!