Absender : email@example.com (PNEWS)
Betreff : HISTORY OF FBI SPYING
Datum : Mo 08.05.95, 23:52 (erhalten: 10.05.95)
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/* ---------- "#19:History of FBI spying" ---------- */
The FBI's Secret War On Political Freedom
As President Bill Clinton presses for broader powers for
the FBI, working people will find it worthwhile to examine
the real history of this secret police outfit. Below are
excerpts from Cointelpro: The FBI's Secret War on Political
Freedom, a book that documents one of the most notorious
programs of FBI spying and harassment. Much of the material
for the book was pryed out of the government as a result of a
successful suit filed by the Socialist Workers Party against
the FBI and other spy agencies that had engaged in decades of
illegal disruption activities against the party. The excerpts
are reprinted with the permission of Pathfinder. Subheads are
provided by the Militant.
BY NOAM CHOMSKY
From the evidence now available, it appears that the first
FBI disruption program (apart from the Communist Party) was
launched in August 1960 against groups advocating
independence for Puerto Rico. In October 1961, the "SWP
Disruption Program" was put into operation against the
Socialist Workers Party. The grounds offered, in a secret FBI
memorandum, were the following: the party had been "openly
espousing its line on a local and national basis through
running candidates for public office and strongly directing
and/or supporting such causes as Castro's Cuba and
integration problems-in the South."
The SWP Disruption Program, put into operation during the
Kennedy administration, reveals very clearly the FBI's
understanding of its function: to block legal political
activity that departs from orthodoxy, to disrupt opposition
to state policy, to undermine the civil rights movement.
BY NELSON BLACKSTOCK
The Cointelpro plot to disrupt socialist election
campaigns was concocted not because of any illegal activities
by the SWP, but because, as J. Edgar Hoover said, socialist
candidates were "openly" talking to people about their
ideas.One Cointelpro operation that has come to light through
the socialists' suit concerns the 1966 campaign of Judy White
for governor of New York. This was during the period when the
antiwar movement was beginning to have a major impact on the
thinking of the American people. White was a leader of the
antiwar movement. A broad layer of opponents of the
war - including many radicals who were not particularly close
to the SWP-had endorsed White as the only antiwar candidate
in the race.
Campaign supporters worked hard to get the signatures
necessary to obtain ballot status, which brought significant
amount of attention from the media.
The FBI looked for a way to sabotage this campaign. They
noticed that according to New York law, White was formally
not old enough to hold the office of governor. The FBI tried
to get this fact reported in the media in an attempt to
discredit the campaign.
According to the documents, the FBI decided to rely on the
Daily News to do the job for them, but the New York City CBS
television affiliate did it instead.As the documents show the state legislature soon passed a
law altering the election code to require that a candidate be
old enough to assume an office in order to run for it.
FBI murder of Fred Hampton
Perhaps the most shocking story concerns the assassination
of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark by Chicago police directed by
the state's attorney's office in December 1969, in a predawn
raid on a Chicago apartment. Hampton, one of the most
promising leaders of the Black Panther party-particularly
dangerous because of his opposition to violent acts or
rhetoric and his success in community organizing-was killed
in bed, perhaps drugged. Depositions in a civil suit in
Chicago reveal that the chief of Panther security and
Hampton's personal bodyguard, William O'Neal, was an FBI
infiltrator. O'Neal gave his FBI "contacting agent," Roy
Mitchell, a detailed floor plan of the apartment, which
Mitchell turned over to the state's attorney's office shortly
before the attack, along with "information" - of dubious
veracity - that there were two illegal shotguns in the
apartment. For his services, O'Neal was paid over $10,000
from January 1969 through July 1970, according to Mitchell's
affidavit.O'Neal, incidentally, continued to report to Mitchell
after the raid. He was taking part in meetings with the
Hampton family and discussions between lawyers and clients,
one of many such examples of violation of the lawyer-client
The Starsky Case
Prominent in the ranks of teachers victimized by the FBI
is Morris Starsky. In 1970 the FBI encouraged Starsky's
dismissal from his job as a professor of philosophy at
Arizona State University. The Phoenix office of the FBI sent
an anonymous letter slandering him to a faculty committee
reviewing his teaching contract.
In a memo dated May 31, 1968, the Phoenix FBI noted that
local targets for Cointelpro were "pretty obvious.- It is
apparent that New Left organizations and activities in the
Phoenix metropolitan area have received their inspiration and
leadership almost exclusively from the members of the faculty
in the Department of Philosophy at Arizona State University
(ASU), chiefly Assistant Professor MORRIS J. STARSKY."
To that description of himself, Starsky adds that he
helped organize the first antiwar teach-in at ASU; he led a
campus free-speech fight; he helped lead a successful
campaign to win campus recognition for SDS; he participated
in campus activities to support striking Tucson sanitation
workers and a union organizing drive by Chicano laundry
workers; he served as a presidential elector for the
Socialist Workers party in 1968; he helped to reestablish the
ASU chapter of the American Federation of Teachers; and he
was the faculty adviser of the Young Socialist Alliance and
the Student Mobilization Committee.
All that provoked quite a furor among right-wing state
legislators and university regents. The Faculty Committee on
Academic Freedom and Tenure (whose members received the FBI's
slanderous letters) held a hundred hours of public hearings
on whether Starsky was entitled to teach at ASU. Three
thousand students and over 250 professors signed petitions
supporting Starsky's right to academic freedom.
The committee's members were not duped by the FBI's
anonymous slanders, although they expressed surprise five
years later when they learned that "A Concerned Alumnus" was
really J. Edgar Hoover. The committee voted unanimously
against dismissing Starsky. But the regents refused to renew
his contract and he lost his job in June 1970. Starsky says
that "it's sort of like being found innocent and executed
anyway." Since ASU he has lost two teaching jobs in
California for political reasons.
Targeting a Black candidate
"A review is being conducted of Clifton DeBerry's file to
determine if there is anything derogatory in his background
which might cause embarrassment to the SWP if publicly
Those words appear in a secret FBI memorandum dated
October 17, 1963. Of the nearly 1,000 pages of Cointelpro
files released in response to the SWP suit, more concern
Clifton DeBerry than any other single individual. In 1964
DeBerry became the first Black person ever to run for
president of the United States, when he was nominated by the
SWP.In the early 1960s a Black nationalist mood was becoming
visible in the ghettos of the North, and no one better
articulated this new consciousness than Malcolm X.
"We began to make contact with Malcolm when he was still
the main spokesman for the Nation of Islam," DeBerry said.
"In late 1963 I went on a speaking tour. Malcolm was touring
at the same time, and I would go to see him whenever I
It was during a tour stop in Chicago that the FBI arranged
to have DeBerry arrested in order to create a scandal they
hoped to use to discredit him. Just as DeBerry was about to
address a socialist meeting, the Chicago police stormed into
the building, hauled him to the station, and booked him on
charges of nonsupport of his ex-wife.The FBI followed up this arrest by devoting enormous
attention to trying to get the news media to report both this
incident and DeBerry's earlier arrests for "labor trouble.-"
`Send troops to South not Vietnam'
"We of the Socialist Workers party say get all the U.S.
troops, planes, and warships out of Vietnam-North and South,"
DeBerry demanded. "If as Johnson claims their purpose is to
`protect democracy,' then send them to Mississippi and let
them do some protecting of Black Americans there."
While the FBI was secretly plotting against the Black
presidential candidate, he was publicly blasting the FBI.
After the disappearance of three civil rights workers slain
by racists in Mississippi, DeBerry exposed the bureau's
Local cops, who were involved in the murders, had held the
three in jail before they were killed. "While the three
kidnapped youths were in jail in Philadelphia, Mississippi,
their co-workers became fearful for their safety, and
telephoned the FBI in Jackson. The FBI agent-refused to help
and told the rights fighters that he wouldn't have any more
dealings with them," DeBerry said.
During this period DeBerry's relationship with Malcolm
continued to develop. "After his break with the Nation of
Islam, I used to meet with him almost every Saturday when he
was in the country. We would have discussions about
politics-often comparing notes and checking up on what each
other had been hearing about the developing nationalist
response among Blacks," DeBerry recalled.
At the suggestion of Malcolm and his collaborator, James
Shabazz, DeBerry spoke at a couple of classes at the Muslim
Mosque, Inc., which Malcolm headed.
"We were again touring at the same time, and our paths
would often crisscross. Whenever I could I would attend his
speeches. While he was too busy to make it to mine, he would
send someone over," DeBerry remembered. "We had that kind of
A few months later Malcolm would be assassinated. The
FBI's role in that event is a story that is yet to be told.
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