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COINTELPRO: Government's Playbook


What is Co-Intel Pro? Is it a "conspriracy theory" dreamt up by Black militants?
Did the American Government design programs to disrupt and discredit human rights & peace activists?
Unfortunately, the answers would all be yes...and the transcripts from The 1976 Church Commission Hearings expose the US Governments' playbook against "we the people."

COINTELPRO is an acronym for a series of FBI counterintelligence programs, designed under the direction and leadership of John Edgar Hoover, to neutralize political dissidents. Although covert operations have been employed throughout FBI history, the formal COINTELPRO's of 1956-1971 were broadly targeted against radical political organizations. In the early 1950s, the Communist Party was illegal in the United States. The Senate and House of Representatives each set up investigating committees to prosecute communists and publicly expose them. (The House Committee on Un-American Activities and the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy).

When a series of Supreme Court rulings in 1956 and 1957 challenged these committees and questioned the constitutionality of Smith Act prosecutions and Subversive Activities Control Board hearings, the FBI's response was COINTELPRO, a program designed to "neutralize" those who could no longer be prosecuted. These programs were exposed to have used illegal tactics of provocation, false accusations as well as the murder of peaceful protesters. Many violent actions between organizations happened with the provocation of, or specifically executed by, FBI agents, informants or operatives. Over the years, similar programs were created to neutralize civil rights, anti-war, and many other groups, many of which were said to be "communist front organizations."

 It could only be said best in the FBI's own words...of which we happen to have. Following is a transcript of an official FBI COINTELPRO document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.  The March 4, 1968 communique was sent out by FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover himself, just one month before the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. It specifically identified Elijah Muhammed and the Nation of Islam as primary targets of COINTELPRO, as well as Rev. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Other released FBI documents show the Bureau had infiltrators within Malcolm X's Muslim Mosque, Inc. Still others have proven the FBI had personnel in the very room when he was assassinated; one such agent actually administered mouth-to-mouth to the dying Malcolm X.

Excerpt from an FBI document:



    For maximum effectiveness of the Counterintelligence Program, and to prevent wasted effort, long-range goals are being set.

    1.  Prevent the COALITION of militant black nationalist groups.  In unity there is strength; a truism that is no less valid for all its triteness.  An effective coalition of black nationalist groups might be the first step toward a real "Mau Mau" [Black revolutionary army] in America, the beginning of a true black revolution.

    2.  Prevent the RISE OF A "MESSIAH" who could unify, and electrify, the militant black nationalist movement.  Malcolm X might have been such a "messiah;" he is the martyr of the movement today.  Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammed all aspire to this position.  Elijah Muhammed is less of a threat because of his age.  King could be a very real contender for this position should he abandon his supposed "obedience" to "white, liberal doctrines" (nonviolence) and embrace black nationalism.  Carmichael has the necessary charisma to be a real threat in this way.

    3.  Prevent VIOLENCE on the part of black nationalist groups.  This is of primary importance, and is, of course, a goal of our investigative activity; it should also be a goal of the Counterintelligence Program to pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them before they exercise their potential for violence.

    4.  Prevent militant black nationalist groups and leaders from gaining RESPECTABILITY, by discrediting them to three separate segments of the community.  The goal of discrediting black nationalists must be handled tactically in three ways.  You must discredit those groups and individuals to, first, the responsible Negro community.  Second, they must be discredited to the white community, both the responsible community and to "liberals" who have vestiges of sympathy for militant black nationalist [sic] simply because they are Negroes.  Third, these groups must be discredited in the eyes of Negro radicals, the followers of the movement.  This last area requires entirely different tactics from the first two.  Publicity about violent tendencies and radical statements merely enhances black nationalists to the last group; it adds "respectability" in a different way.

    5.  A final goal should be to prevent the long-range GROWTH of militant black organizations, especially among youth.  Specific tactics to prevent these groups from converting young people must be developed.



From John Adams' Alien and Sedition Acts to the Cold War and Joseph McCarthy, civil liberties and national security have had a delicate and troubled relationship in American history. Notorious among these is the case of the domestic surveillance program run by the FBI between 1956 and 1971 (after the censure of Joseph McCarthy by the Senate) under the name COINTELPRO (counterintelligence program). COINTELPRO was a secret FBI program designed to monitor and "neutralize" domestic groups deemed by the FBI to be a danger to national security. Such groups included anti-war groups and civil rights groups and individuals like Martin Luther King, Jr. and even Eleanor Roosevelt.

Some fear that something like COINTELPRO may again be at hand. There are undercover agents infiltrating peaceful protests in America. Pretending to be political activists, local law enforcement officials are monitoring the activities of advocacy and protest groups based on what one judge calls those organizations’ "political philosophies and conduct protected under the First Amendment." The tactic has come about as a result of the relaxation of guidelines first put into place after the COINTELPRO scandal investigation. click here for original article

Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate April 23 (under authority of the order of April 14) 1976.
Click here for the Church Commission US Senate Hearing Transcript of the FBI's Covert Action Program to Destroy the Black Panther Party

Here we provide the starter point at which to enter these archives. Welcome to [y]our country.


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