Paul’s Perambulations

March 8, 2021

50th ANNIVERSRY OF THE FBI BREAK-IN OF THEIR MEDIA, PA OFFICE

Filed under: Peace,Politics — admin @ 6:11 pm
On March 8, 1971, citizens peacefully broke into the FBI office opposite the Media Court House and removed files that disclosed numerous criminal acts the FBI had committed under Hoover’s direction. The majority of their files were politically focused on liberal and left wing groups and draft resistance, while relatively few concerned traditional criminals who might pose a threat to human lives or livelihood (forget about Bonnie and Clyde). One notorious item was a copy of a blackmail letter that the FBI anonymously sent to Martin Luther King suggesting that he commit suicide or else the author would reveal evidence of sexual indiscretions. The documents revealed the COINTELPRO operation and led to a Senate investigation headed by Senator Church (the Church Committee) which reported as follows: “The Committee finds that the domestic activities of the intelligence community at times violated specific statutory prohibitions and infringed the constitutional rights of American citizens. The legal questions involved in intelligence programs were often not considered. On other occasions, they were intentionally disregarded in the belief that because the programs served the “national security” the law did not apply. While intelligence officers on occasion failed to disclose to their superiors programs which were illegal or of questionable legality, the Committee finds that the most serious breaches of duty were those of senior officials, who were responsible for controlling intelligence activities and generally failed to assure compliance with the law.”
COINTELPRO’S methods were to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, or otherwise neutralize” any individuals or groups (watch out, Quakers) that FBI officials deemed “subversive” by instructing FBI operatives to
1. Create a negative public image for target groups (for example through surveilling activists and then releasing negative personal information to the public)
2. Break down internal organization by creating conflicts (for example, by having agents exacerbate racial tensions, or send anonymous letters to try to create conflicts)
3. Create dissension between groups (for example, by spreading rumors that other groups were stealing money)
4. Restrict access to public resources (for example, by pressuring non-profit organizations to cut off funding or material support)
5. Restrict the ability to organize protest (for example, through agents promoting violence against police during planning and at protests)
6. Restrict the ability of individuals to participate in group activities (for example, by character assassinations, false arrests, surveillance)
FBI office was on second floor of building in picture

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