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Mystery of FBI Documents Posted To US Press In 1971 Solved

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  • Paging Cold Fjord (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:00PM (#45898163)

    Come on, tell us exactly how these terrorists destroyed America 40 years ago by telling Americans they were being spied on by America.

    • Reminds me of this conversation [slashdot.org] "I don't think you can really claim unqualified totalitarianism unless there is actual repression tied into it, especially political repression". From that exchange and to nobodies surprise, the Cold Fjord account does not appear to agree that there has or is any political repression going on in the US despite evidence such as the COINTELPRO files.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by cold fjord (826450)

      Come on, tell us exactly how these terrorists destroyed America 40 years ago by telling Americans they were being spied on by America.

      They weren't terrorists engaged in violence, and they didn't destroy America. The crimes they committed were more or less breaking and entering, and theft of documents.

      The actual terrorists engaged in a campaign of violence [zombietime.com] at the time were the Weather Underground [zombietime.com]. They had a goal of violently overthrowing the US government and economic system to replace it with revolutionary communism. If you read the very bottom section of the second link, the transcript, you can see how far they were prepared to go to

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @02:19PM (#45899789)

        Come on, tell us exactly how these terrorists destroyed America 40 years ago by telling Americans they were being spied on by America.

        They weren't terrorists engaged in violence, and they didn't destroy America. The crimes they committed were more or less breaking and entering, and theft of documents.

        The actual terrorists engaged in a campaign of violence [zombietime.com] at the time were the Weather Underground [zombietime.com]. They had a goal of violently overthrowing the US government and economic system to replace it with revolutionary communism. If you read the very bottom section of the second link, the transcript, you can see how far they were prepared to go to accomplish it. I've heard numbers like that before, and you should too. [youtube.com]

        Shall we commence with the ironic moderation?

        And thus you descend from transparency into ludicrousity.

        You're attempting to twist Snowden into the role of Al-Qaeda, denying him the position alongside those long-ago whistleblowers as a defender of freedom.

        Yes, the Weathermen and the Panthers and others of their ilk were a matter of national concern and rightfully targets of FBI investigation. But the FBI was more than just the nation's domestic investigative body, it was also J. Edgar Hoover's personal fiefdom. He didn't simply lead it, he steered it to his own private benefit and the benefit of those leaders whom he wished to favor. That included absurd attempts to link public figures that he disapproved of to enemies of the State for the purposes of character assasination. Not just terrorists, no. Even the Godless Evil Communists! He also worked as a chilling effect against many organizations that were otherwise inclined to be peaceful, stirring up division and mistrust to the point where you pretty much had to be a committed radical to even consider getting invoved.

        Then, as now, what was meant to serve the public was being distorted to meet other agendas. And then, as now, the lid needed to be ripped off and the roaches exposed to the light of day.

        And somehow, we survived it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > They weren't terrorists engaged in violence, and they didn't destroy America.

        So much is clear. Handy red herring you went after, huh?

        The question is rather: did they do a service to America by disclosing (later deemed) illegal activities by its executive arm, or did they not?

        Who's the bad one in this story: FBI or the activists? (hint: the Weather Underground isn't the answer: we agree on this one).

        Hmmm. Tough question.

      • Re:Paging Cold Fjord (Score:5, Interesting)

        by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @02:24PM (#45899845)

        COINTELPRO aimed to divide and discredit the all activist movements [wikipedia.org]: "COINTELPRO tactics are still used to this day... [including] discrediting targets through psychological warfare; smearing individuals and groups using forged documents and by planting false reports in the media; harassment; wrongful imprisonment; and illegal violence, including assassination.[6][7][8]". You could even include trolling forums in that list.

        As you can see, COINTELPRO contains examples of FBI sponsored campaigns of extreme violence. How do we know that the violent elements in the Weather Underground were not yet another FBI agent provocateurs [wikipedia.org] to turn public opinion against all forms of peaceful but related activism [huffingtonpost.com]. We don't know and you cannot reasonably argue that it is not the FBI given the evidence against them - the FBI even went as far as assassination to further COINTELPROs aims.

        • FBI agents wouldn't have blown themselves up.

          Acid eating hippies on the other hand...

        • Re:Paging Cold Fjord (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ffflala (793437) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @04:54PM (#45901293)
          Agent provocateurs are fascinating to observe in person. There is a bit of an art to the practice of crowd manipulation that is similar to high-energy music concerts. Some of the tactics they use can indeed be used by other groups.

          The most obvious candidates will be those who basically shout themselves to the top of whatever scrim of noisy riffraff that they're in. I've personally never seen one then try to instigate violence or property damage. But I have seen instances where they will then use this borderline-criminal hostility to stir up anger between groups. This is basically a divide and disperse approach that pits the multiple groups involved in protests against each other, stoking factionalism between groups, even inventing imaginary rivalries. This not only weakens the crowd at its epicenter of a protest, but serves the secondary purpose of making that epicenter seem so uncomfortably volatile that a large part of the crowd --unaffiliated people, or the more-curious-than-passionate-- will basically disperse just to get away from what appears to be a bunch of loud, arguing, possibly intimidating assholes.
      • Cold shill (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        So, let's try to bring the shill back on topic. We aren't talking about the Weather Underground. I don't think that there has ever been any outrage over the FBI monitoring them.

        The better example is MLK, who clearly represented a non-violent shake up of our system. By diverting resources to focus on MLK, they endangered the whole country. These enforcers aren't here to protect us or our constitution - they only exist to protect the system. And they'll still be protecting the system as we descend into the ty

        • So, let's try to bring the shill back on topic. We aren't talking about the Weather Underground.

          The better example is MLK,...

          If we are limited to the topic in the story in the narrowest sense then neither MLK nor the Weather Underground is really up for discussion. I will note in my defense that I was directly addressing a point (who are the terrorists) in the post asking for my comment. If you don't like that then blame the AC that made that post.

          Also, I do have to say that you are very free about making broad, dubious assumptions.

          So CF, do you shill for them because they have dirt on you or are you just a nihilist who wants to watch America crumble under the iron heel?

          That is a false choice. I'm just another free citizen offering opinions in my spare time. It's

      • I've admired these folks – known only by their cheeky "Citizens Committee to Investigate the FBI" name – since I first read about them 25 years ago. Their actions made the world a better place to work for change.

        They brought to light (along with the Senate Church Committee hearings) that in the name of fighting terrorism (they used to call it "extremism") the FBI was functioning as a terrorist organization. The FBI itself used to define terrorism as using violence or breaking the law for polit

  • Hero's all (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:02PM (#45898179)

    In the words of Martin Luther King, one of the targets of COINTELPRO, "One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."

    • by operagost (62405)
      Matthew 22 containing the proof text.
  • This is a useful reminder that government can be heavy handed. The group that did this made careful plans, took a big risk, and the results are still being talked about and referenced today. It contributed to reform. COINTELPRO is regularly referenced in Slashdot discussions, relevant or not.

    Although COINTELPRO is remembered, few bother to remember the other side of the equation, which is the conduct of the radicals. There were those that went past legitimate protest, past civil disobedience, and turned

    • Criminals (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:22PM (#45898401)

      Some criminals claim to be irish, so we should unlawfully surveil, harass and frame all the irish people.

      Some criminals claim to be leftists, so we should unlawfully surveil, harass and frame all the leftist people.

      Some criminals claim to be anarchists and one guy can burn down the capitol building, so we should enact emergency laws to surveil, harass, frame, and imprison all the anarchists. ...

      Difference? Nope. The rule of law and fundamental freedoms exist for a reason.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cold fjord (826450)

        Some criminals claim to be irish, so we should unlawfully surveil, harass and frame all the irish people.

        Some criminals claim to be leftists, so we should unlawfully surveil, harass and frame all the leftist people.

        Some criminals claim to be anarchists and one guy can burn down the capitol building, so we should enact emergency laws to surveil, harass, frame, and imprison all the anarchists. ...

        Difference? Nope. The rule of law and fundamental freedoms exist for a reason.

        If you want the rule of law you actually have to enforce the law. Too many people here want the rule, but not the enforcement.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If you want the rule of law you actually have to enforce the law. Too many people here want the rule, but not the enforcement.

          You misunderstand the situation. I for example would like a functioning justice system, but if oppression is the cost for it then I don't think it is worth it. I'd rather see that a free population where some terrorism exists and some criminals go free than a situation where the freedom and the rights of the population isn't respected.
          With that in mind NSA has way overstepped their bounds and has to be shut down immediately. Yes, there will be some chaos but that is a necessary cost.
          As far as I am concerned

    • ...the conduct of the radicals.

      Well of course! That justifies everything. Nobody has any right to question the conduct of the government.

      It contributed to reform.

      LOL!

    • by the gnat (153162)

      Although COINTELPRO is remembered, few bother to remember the other side of the equation, which is the conduct of the radicals.

      Stop changing the subject. What did infiltrating peaceful antiwar groups - or attempting to blackmail MLK - have to do with the Weather Underground?

    • by s.petry (762400)

      What reform? Do you mean changing the practice to ensure that everything possible gets classified and buried deeper than previously? Do you mean the people that took over your Government also taking over the media to ensure you never see those types of messages again? You can't possibly be referring to the transparency it lead to, and you can't be referring to the people responsible for COINTELPRO going to jail because that never happened.

      Sure, some people have heard of COINTELPRO but the majority of Ame

    • by TheCarp (96830)

      > few bother to remember the other side of the equation, which is the conduct of the radicals.

      There is one really huge fucking difference between them and the Government. Care to guess what it is?

      Are radicals the ones founded upon documents promising the people to respect their rights and leave them secure in their persons and homes excepting by due process and with the authority of courts?

      How does the actions of radicals free the government of the very responsibilities that its own founding documents ba

    • by Anonymous Coward

      WTF is that Kent State link? The author of the linked article muses on the speculation that a gun-toting, paid FBI informant was the instigator of the Kent State shootings. Are you saying that FBI COINTELPRO has culpability in the Kent State massacre? If so, I think that goes way beyond "heavy handed"

      Right before it, you post a link to an article that's not really about the Weather Underground (as labeled), but is an opinion piece that attempts to smear Obama with the alleged sins of William Ayers.

      What

    • by sjames (1099)

      Funny you should mention Kent State considering that the evidence points to an FBI informant firing the first shot.

      I will agree with you that the FBI was indeed a dangerous terrorist organization under Hoover (and perhaps still).

      • FBI photographer fired the first shots into the ground. Defending himself from rampaging hippies ready to beat him down.

        • by sjames (1099)

          So said the guy who didn't want to be held responsible for several deaths. Of course if the FBI had stuck to it's charter, he wouldn't have been there.

          • As I'm sure you're aware there is a disagreement about the facts of the matter.

            Shots were fired before Kent State shootings, forensic expert says [boston.com]

            Former WKYC television reporter Fred DeBrine and sound man Joe Butano have said repeatedly that they heard a Kent State police detective open the cylinder of Norman’s gun and say: “Oh my god, he fired four times.’’ The police detective later denied making the remark, and a campus patrolman’s report said the gun was fully loaded with no smell of burnt powder.

  • ...we monitor *everyone*, so as not to incur the avoidable risk of missing anyone who may pose a social or political threat.

    • One could almost say it fits into one of the big ideas of the 60's, equal rights for everyone, now we just need to make sure the NSA and congress are as surveilled (sp) as we are.

      • by Kierthos (225954)

        Didn't the NSA just recently clam up about whether or not they were surveilling Congress?

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:38PM (#45898539) Homepage

      That's not the only reason they monitor everyone.

      If you're building up a dossier on absolutely everybody, then you can usethe information in that dossier whenever you want to.

      For example, let's say WanderCat decided to run for political office, and part of his/her platform was "Stop the NSA from spying on everyone." Now, up until now, WanderCat hasn't been interesting enough to monitor, but now, in order to protect "America" (i.e. the national security state), the NSA will want to go through everything that WanderCat has ever said or done that they know about and make sure that anything potentially embarrassing is released via a friendly journalist willing to quote the source anonymously.

      That means that the only people that can actually stop the NSA from doing what they're doing are those so squeaky-clean that they won't want to.

      • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:56PM (#45898759)
        That's why we should elect officials that can't be embarrassed. If you are selling the image of being a squeaky clean family man, you are easily blackmailed. If you are well known for making filthy porn, they can't really sling any mud at you.
      • That means that the only people that can actually stop the NSA from doing what they're doing are those so squeaky-clean that they won't want to.

        So how did the political establishment manage to make reforms in the 70s after this event? That would seem to let the air out of your theory. And why do you think people with few or no real skeletons in their closet wouldn't want to reform in the case of actual abuses?

      • The problem with digging up dirt is, you get dirty doing it. Something that Cold Fjord would do well to keep in mind.

      • by houghi (78078)

        That means that the only people that can actually stop the NSA from doing what they're doing are those so squeaky-clean that they won't want to.

        Not only they, but everybody they care about. And even if they are completely clean, you can start rumors and the media will do the rest.

      • I don't think you understand COINTELPRO's purpose - even if they are squeaky clean (or at least, clean enough you can't find sufficiently juicy dirt on them), you can still frame them, lie about them, and spread misinformation via the press.

  • by edibobb (113989) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:52PM (#45898709) Homepage
    Now the FBI blatantly spies on everybody, including political groups, and nobody cares enough to stop them. The FBI doesn't even consider law enforcement their primary job any more. Now it's "national security".
  • The interesting part that I found was this:

    It was not until years later that reporters identified the term (COINTELPRO) as referring to a secret program, carried out from 1966-71, to cultivate a culture of distrust in which dissidents feared not just the government, but also one another.

    Seems like the hatred that a lot of Americans have for Americans is so extreme, it almost seems cultivated by way of plan. I'm not aware if Snowden has released any info pertaining to this. Does anyone else know?

    • Re:Interesting part (Score:5, Interesting)

      by the gnat (153162) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @01:38PM (#45899261)

      Seems like the hatred that a lot of Americans have for Americans is so extreme, it almost seems cultivated by way of plan. I'm not aware if Snowden has released any info pertaining to this.

      I've read allegations elsewhere that the FBI has infiltrated the Occupy movement - whether these have any basis in fact, I have no idea. They've certainly infiltrated other extreme-left groups at times, but most of these are bush league affairs. However, there's scant evidence that the government ever resumed the kind of insanity that Hoover engaged in, which was really unique to Hoover. They've done no shortage of other sleazy stuff, but the combination of Watergate and revelations like the ones resulting from this burglary were pretty successful in putting the FBI out of the business of internal politics - as far as we know.

      In any case, the demonization of "the other" in American politics - or any other country - has been going on for decades if not centuries, and is usually done openly. Rush Limbaugh built his career on it, among many others. We get a somewhat blinkered view of what it was like in the past, simply because most of us weren't around to remember the vitriol, and all we get is the historical summaries. I seriously doubt that Americans hate each other any more than they did in the 1960s, or much earlier, and in some cases, such as anti-immigration activists, the modern version is considerably milder. I heartily recommend the book "Nixonland" for a more comprehensive view of what American politics were like back then; the Tea Party movement seems almost quaint in comparison.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      The timeline surround US gov interest in political groups seemed to then move to the right.
      What COINTELPRO did to the anti war and law reform groups PATCON (~Patriot-conspiracy) did on the US 'right'.
      http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/18/patriot_games [foreignpolicy.com]
      Snowden's whistleblowing helped people understand https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/08/dea-and-nsa-team-intelligence-laundering [eff.org] i.e. "Parallel construction" via a vast long term domestic spying program.
      Finally thanks to Snowden you have http:// [wikipedia.org]
  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @01:20PM (#45899029)

    And the summary willfully leaves out the reason they came forward. They came forward as a show of support for Snowden.

    • by cold fjord (826450) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @02:13PM (#45899713)

      They came forward as a show of support for Snowden.

      That appears to be false, unless you can point to something more direct.

      Burglars Who Took On F.B.I. Abandon Shadows [nytimes.com]

      Mr. Forsyth, now 63, and other members of the group can no longer be prosecuted for what happened that night, and they agreed to be interviewed before the release this week of a book written by one of the first journalists to receive the stolen documents. The author, Betty Medsger, a former reporter for The Washington Post, spent years sifting through the F.B.I.’s voluminous case file on the episode and persuaded five of the eight men and women who participated in the break-in to end their silence.

      The article and video discuss similarities, but I don't believe that either attributes the motivation as support for Snowden. It appears to be directly tied to the book coming out.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      I see no evidence that this is the case, and it directly contradicts the articles about this story.

  • by Opyros (1153335) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @01:46PM (#45899371) Journal
    "Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?"
    • All I know is I don't want to have anything to do with bombing our own airfields even if Milo is in a catch. If I can pick my troubles I don't really cotton to that. Nudge, nudge.

  • There was a interesting vignette from Fahrenheit 9/11 where a local police department "infiltrates" an anti-war group (composed of middle-aged and older activists not engaged in anything illegal except objecting to the Iraq invasion) and the undercover agent actually gets himself elected leader.

  • This story is a tribute to the enduring ability of the small actions of individuals to effect real change. What opportunities are we all missing because we've already decided that it's just too hard? Let imaginations run wilder once more!

    cheers...ank

  • by Memophage (88273) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @02:23PM (#45899837)

    "Among the grim litany of revelations was a blackmail letter F.B.I. agents had sent anonymously to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., threatening to expose his extramarital affairs if he did not commit suicide."

    From the NY Times Article [nytimes.com]

    The corollary to the "you shouldn't worry if you don't have anything to hide" argument apparently is "you'd better not ever have anything to hide or the government will use it against you".

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... you shouldn't worry if you don't have anything to hide ...

      I think the corollary involves negating the consequences: If you are hiding something, you should worry the government will use it against you.

      What people mean when they say "if you've got nothing to hide ..." is 'only criminals want privacy'. This is more insidious than 'national security' and 'think of the children' because it uses the 'tough on crime' meme to strip citizens of many rights in one brief splurge of self-righteous judgement.

    • The corollary to the "you shouldn't worry if you don't have anything to hide" argument apparently is "you'd better not ever have anything to hide or the government will use it against you".

      "And if you do not, the government will make something up for you."

  • Amerika makes China and Russia proud. I only wish I were not communist brainwashed by the likes of Reagan and other American administrations. Now you folks are just as hoodwinked over terrorist. Lies and deception for power and control. It all really means sadly self government experiment is a failure.
  • If he has a time-machine to alter birth announcements, then he has the ability to stop 1971 breaches.

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