Ever wondered how the FBI's COINTELPRO and other activities since 1956 where un-earthed
By normal people such as you and I )
<iframe width="640" height="360" src="
Approximately 90 minutes long
Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI
The Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI was a leftist activist group operational in the US during the early 1970s. Their only known action was breaking into a two-man Media, Pennsylvania office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and stealing over 1000 classified documents. They then mailed these documents anonymously to several US newspapers. Some news outlets refused to publish the information, as it related to ongoing operations and they contended disclosure might have threatened the lives of agents or informants.
"The complete collection of political documents ripped-off from the F.B.I. office in Media, Pa., March 8, 1971" was published for the first time as the March, 1972 issue of WIN Magazine, a journal associated with the War Resisters League. The documents revealed the COINTELPRO operation, and led to the Church Committee and the cessation of this operation by the FBI. Noam Chomsky has stated:
According to its analysis of the documents in this FBI office, 1 percent were devoted to organized crime, mostly gambling; 30 percent were "manuals, routine forms, and similar procedural matter"; 40 percent were devoted to political surveillance and the like, including two cases involving right-wing groups, ten concerning immigrants, and over 200 on left or liberal groups. Another 14 percent of the documents concerned draft resistance and "leaving the military without government permission." The remainder concerned bank robberies, murder, rape, and interstate theft.
The theft resulted in the exposure of some of the FBI's most self-incriminating documents, including several documents detailing the FBI's use of postal workers, switchboard operators, etc., in order to spy on black college students and various non-violent black activist groups.
Some forty years after their successful infiltration, some of the perpetrators decided to go public. In 2014, Betty Medsger's book The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret F.B.I. was released, which contains the burglars' description of the burglary, and revealed the identities of five of the eight burglars. Filmmaker Johanna Hamilton also made a documentary titled 1971.
More at the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens%27_Commission_to_Investigate_the_FBI
1971 (2014 film)
1971 is a 2014 American documentary film and the directorial debut of producer Johanna Hamilton, who also co-wrote the film. The film had its world premiere on 18 April 2014 at the Tribeca Film Festival and focuses on the break-in of an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania in 1971.
Hamilton was inspired to create the film after learning that Betty Medsger was working on her book The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoovers Secret FBI, which discussed the 1971 events and revealed the identities of many of the participants, who had remained anonymous up to that point.
The film focuses on the events of March 8, 1971, when eight people broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. The group, all of whom were ordinary citizens, called themselves the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI and stole every file in the office. The content in the stolen files ranged from training manuals to information about organized crime and draft resistance. Over time the group mailed the files to various newsrooms. One of the more significant elements in the stolen materials were files relating to COINTELPRO, a secret surveillance program that was run by J. Edgar Hoover.
More at the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1971_%282014_film%29
Two discussion on DU before the PBS TV premier
Have fun kids, happy learning...
...why those of us raised in the 50's and 60's have no faith in the pronouncements of the FBI. This is a good primer.
John Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895 May 2, 1972) was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigationpredecessor to the FBIin 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972 at age 77. Hoover is credited with building the FBI into a larger crime-fighting agency, and with instituting a number of modernizations to police technology, such as a centralized fingerprint file and forensic laboratories.
Late in life and after his death Hoover became a controversial figure, as evidence of his secretive abuses of power began to surface. He was found to have exceeded the jurisdiction of the FBI and have used the FBI to harass political dissenters and activists, to amass secret files on political leaders, and to collect evidence using illegal methods. Hoover consequently amassed a great deal of power and was in a position to intimidate and threaten sitting Presidents. According to biographer Kenneth Ackerman, the notion that Hoover's secret files kept presidents from firing him is a myth; however, Richard Nixon was recorded as stating in 1971 that one of the reasons he did not fire Hoover was because he was afraid of reprisals against him from Hoover.
According to President Harry S. Truman, Hoover transformed the FBI into his private secret police force; Truman stated that "we want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail. J. Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him".
John Edgar Hoover was a political animal and had a good reason to be afraid of his wrath.
Nixon, soon to be disgraced and forced to resign, was of course himself no paragon. Most presidents before him, though, had had cause to fear Hoover or been troubled by what his FBI had become. Harry S Truman wrote during his presidency: "We want no Gestapo or secret police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him."
Hoover never joined a political party and claimed he was "not political". In fact, he admitted privately, he was a staunch, lifelong supporter of the Republican party. He secretly aspired to be president and considered running against Franklin D Roosevelt, whom he thought suspiciously left-wing. Hoover publicly expressed support for Senator Joe McCarthy shortly before McCarthy claimed Truman's State Department was harbouring 200 members of the Communist party. His agents slipped file material to the senator for use in his infamous inquisition, while publicly denying doing so.
More proof that Hoover took this country into a conservative direction.
Even more serious flaws in the Hoover character and official performance have come to light:
> Instead of insulating his bureau from politically sensitive Presidents, Hoover eagerly complied with improper requests from the men in the White House for information on potential opponents. If a President failed to ask for such information, the Director often volunteered it. He tapped the telephones of Government officials on request, perused files of politicians unasked, volunteered tidbits of gossip.
> He was a petty man of towering personal hates. There was more than a tinge of racism in his vicious vendetta against Martin Luther King Jr. He had to be pushed into hiring black agents for the bureau.
> His informers, infiltrators and wiretappers delved into the activities of even the most innocuous and nonviolent civil rights and antiwar groups, trampling on the rights of citizens to express grievances against their Government. His spies within potentially dangerous extremist groups sometimes provoked more violence than they prevented.
> As an administrator, he was an erratic, unchallengeable czar, banishing agents to Siberian posts on whimsy, terrorizing them with torrents of implausible rules, insisting on conformity of thought as well as dress.
The fact that such a man could acquire and keep that kind of power raises disturbing questions not merely about the role of a national police in a democracy, but also about the political system that tolerated him for so long. The revelations show too that those political dissidents in years past who complained they were being harassed and spied upon were not so paranoid after all.
The only reason Hoover left office was due to his death. Very sad state of affairs for this country.
I remember those times as a teenager. And still we are split between those who want to expose the wrong doings and make a positive difference and those who prefer not to know because it's uncomfortable.