Black People : FBI's New Generation of Cointelpro

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by I-khan, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. I-khan

    I-khan Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Dec 27, 2005
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    FBI's New Generation of Cointelpro

    By Hank Hoffman

    Is the FBI back in the business of trying to squelch political
    dissent? An obscure paragraph in congressional testimony this past
    spring by departing FBI Director Louis Freeh has fanned fears that
    the agency is planning a surveillance and disruption effort against
    anti-globalization groups similar to Cointelpro, which focused on the
    anti-war and Black Power movements in the '60s and '70s.

    Freeh delivered his testimony on the "Threat of Terrorism to the
    United States" before the Senate Appropriations committee on May 10.
    In the section on "domestic terrorism," Freeh identified "right-wing
    extremist groups," such as the World Church of the Creator and Aryan
    Nation, as "representing a continuing terrorism threat." One of the
    two paragraphs dealing with "special-interest extremists" focused on
    the eco-sabotage of the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation
    Front. In contrast, extreme anti-abortion groups, with their record
    of murder and clinic bombings, merited only a passing mention.

    But it was the final paragraph in Freeh's assessment of "left-wing
    extremist groups" that raised eyebrows among anti-globalization
    activists: "Anarchist and extremist socialist groups – many of which,
    such as the Workers World Party, Reclaim the Streets and Carnival
    Against Capitalism – have an international presence and, at times,
    also represent a potential threat in the United States," Freeh
    said. "For example, anarchists, operating individually and in groups,
    caused much of the damage during the 1999 World Trade Organization
    ministerial meeting in Seattle."

    "These are extremely dangerous and inappropriate comments," says Mara
    Verheyden-Hilliard, co-founder of the Washington-based Partnership
    for Civil Justice. Verheyden-Hilliard is the lead attorney on a
    lawsuit against the FBI and other police agencies for civil rights
    violations during the April 2000 protests at the Washington meeting
    of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Noting that
    Freeh's remarks were made in the context of an appropriations
    hearing, she says that he "may be trying to legitimate funding for a
    government-sponsored war against the social justice movement."

    Freeh's comments do provoke serious concerns. No justification is
    offered for the naming of Workers World Party, a Marxist group, and
    Reclaim the Streets, a network founded in London in 1995 that merges
    protests and raves, as representing potential threats. Freeh
    seemingly criminalizes all anarchists based on vandalism during the
    Seattle WTO protests. "By demonizing this movement and suggesting
    these folks pose a threat," says Verheyden-Hilliard, "they justify
    declaring some form of martial law [during large demonstrations]."

    Verheyden-Hilliard notes that protests in Philadelphia, Los Angeles
    and Washington have been met with excessive police response: illegal
    arrests, intrusive surveillance, pepper spray and the employment of
    agents provocateur. Washington police traveled to Philadelphia,
    Quebec and Genoa to observe protests, while local and state police
    are cooperating with the FBI on "joint anti-terrorism task forces."
    She adds: "It appears there's been substantial funding, sending
    people all around the country."

    According to Jon Weiss of New York Reclaim the Streets, activists'
    initial response to Freeh's testimony was fear "because the
    phrase 'domestic terrorism' is usually just a packaging tool for the
    mass suspension of civil liberties."

    Weiss suspects the FBI cribbed the terrorist tag from Scotland Yard,
    based on actions that devolved into riots. Reclaim the Streets'
    actions in Britain had been nonviolent since the network's founding
    in 1995, but that changed on June 18, 1999. As part of an
    international "global street party" to protest the G8 meeting in
    Cologne, Germany, 10,000 gathered in London's financial district.
    What started as a street party ended in the trashing of several
    businesses, including a McDonald's and a bank.

    Chuck Munson, an anarchist and co-editor of Alternative Press Review,
    says the feds are grasping at "broad terms to tar and feather" the
    movement and dismisses as "demonization" the "insinuation that all
    anarchists are violent." The real violence, Munson argues, is
    perpetrated by the police. "They're the ones who bring guns, bullets,
    gas, dogs and water cannons to protests," he says, "and they use

    FBI spokesman Steven Berry would not elaborate on Freeh's reasons for
    targeting anarchists, Workers World and Reclaim the Streets beyond
    drawing attention to Seattle. But their inclusion wasn't
    random. "There are a lot of groups in the anti-globalization movement
    who have exhibited some potential to commit a terrorist incident,"
    Berry insists.

    Asked whether these groups or others are under investigation or
    subject to counterintelligence operations, Berry says, "We don't
    comment on specific investigations." Berry denies that Freeh's
    comments were a politically motivated smear. "We recognize that every
    group has the right to assemble, the right to meet, has the right to
    exist no matter how abhorrent their message is," Berry says. "The FBI
    only gets involved when there is a violation of federal law."

    Says Weiss, "If blocking a road or having a party constitutes a
    terrorist act these days, I suppose we're guilty. The FBI is trying
    to get their mind around the concept that there is a global democracy
    movement, and they don't quite understand it yet."
    Read other stories by Hank Hoffman
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  2. Mad Skillz

    Mad Skillz Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Oct 28, 2004
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