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Mystery of FBI Documents Posted To US Press In 1971 Solved 108

AHuxley writes "A team of eight antiwar activists broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania and removed at least 1000 documents. Once removed and sorted, the bulk of the files showed FBI spying on U.S. political groups. COINTELPRO had been found. 43 years later five of the participants have come forward."
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Mystery of FBI Documents Posted To US Press In 1971 Solved

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  • 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.

  • 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 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 []

    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".

  • 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 []: "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 [] to turn public opinion against all forms of peaceful but related activism []. 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.

  • 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.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.