Co-Intel, Agent Provocateurs, and
Propaganda Techniques of the US Regime.
COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program) was a series of covert and often illegal projects conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation aimed at investigating and disrupting dissident political organizations within the United States. The FBI used covert operations from its inception, however formal COINTELPRO operations took place between 1956 and 1971. The FBI motivation at the time was "protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order."
According to FBI records, 85% of COINTELPRO resources were expended on infiltrating, disrupting, marginalizing, and/or subverting groups suspected of being subversive, such as communist and socialist organizations, people suspected of building a "coalition of militant black nationalist groups" ranging from the Black Panther Party those in the non-violent civil rights movement Students for a Democratic Society, the National Lawyers Guild, almost all groups protesting the Vietnam War, and even individual student demonstrators with no group affiliations, and nationalist groups such as those seeking independence for Puerto Rico. The other 15% of COINTELPRO resources were expended to marginalize and subvert "white hate groups," including the National States' Rights Party.
The directives governing COINTELPRO were issued by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who ordered FBI agents to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" the activities of these movements and their leaders.
1. Infiltration: Agents and informers did not merely spy on political activists. Their main purpose was to discredit and disrupt by any means necessary. Sometimes these activities involved inciting militancy in a peaceful organization. This gave the regime the "justification" to use force and destroy the organization. The original Black Panther Party was infiltrated by Black men who were paid by the FBI to incite other members to violence, thus justifying a police response. This activity can also serve to undermine trust and scare off potential supporters to peaceful resistance or outreach movements.
2. Psychological Warfare From the Outside: The FBI and police used myriad other "dirty tricks" to undermine progressive movements. They planted false media stories and published bogus leaflets and other publications in the name of targeted groups. They forged correspondence, sent anonymous letters, and made anonymous telephone calls. They spread misinformation about meetings and events, set up pseudo movement groups run by government agents (including KKK and Nazi groups), and manipulated or strong-armed parents, employers, landlords, school officials and others to cause trouble for activists.
3. Harassment Through the Legal System: The FBI and police abused the legal system to harass dissidents and make them appear to be criminals. Officers of the law gave perjured testimony and presented fabricated evidence as a pretext for false arrests and wrongful imprisonment. They discriminatorily enforced tax laws and other government regulations and used conspicuous surveillance, "investigative" interviews, and grand jury subpoenas in an effort to intimidate activists and silence their supporters.
4. Extralegal Force and Violence: The FBI and police threatened, instigated, and themselves conducted break-ins, vandalism, assaults, and beatings. The object was to frighten dissidents and disrupt their movements. In the case of radical Black and Puerto Rican activists (and later Native Americans), these attacks - including political assassinations were so extensive, vicious, and calculated that they can accurately be termed a form of official "terrorism".
The FBI also conducted more than 200 "black bag jobs", which were warrantless surreptitious entries, against the targeted groups and their members.
In 1969 the FBI special agent in San Francisco wrote Hoover that his investigation of the Black Panther Party (BPP) revealed that in his city, at least, the Black nationalists were primarily feeding breakfast to children. Hoover fired back a memo implying the career ambitions of the agent were directly related to his supplying evidence to support Hoover's view that the BPP was "a violence-prone organization seeking to overthrow the Government by revolutionary means".
Hoover was willing to use false claims to attack his political enemies. In one memo he wrote: "Purpose of counterintelligence action is to disrupt the BPP and it is immaterial whether facts exist to substantiate the charge."
In one particularly controversial 1965 incident, civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo was murdered by Ku Klux Klansmen who gave chase and fired shots into her car after noticing that her passenger was a young black man; one of the Klansmen was acknowledged FBI informant Gary Thomas Rowe. Afterward COINTELPRO spread false rumors that Liuzzo was a member of the Communist Party and abandoned her children to have sexual relationships with African Americans involved in the civil rights movement. FBI informant Rowe has also been implicated in some of the most violent crimes of the 1960s civil rights era, including attacks on the Freedom Riders and the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. In another instance in San Diego the FBI financed, armed, and controlled an extreme right-wing group of former Minutemen, transforming it into a group called the Secret Army Organization which targeted groups, activists, and leaders involved in the anti-War Movement for both intimidation and violent acts.
Hoover ordered preemptive action...."to pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them before they exercise their potential for violence."
The Final report of the Church Committee concluded:
Reports that COINTELPRO tactics continue.
While COINTELPRO was officially terminated in April 1971, suspicions persist that the program's tactics continued informally. Critics have suggested that subsequent FBI actions indicate that post-COINTELPRO reforms in the agency did not succeed in ending the program's tactics. The Associated Press reported in November 2008 that documents released under the FOIA reportedly show that the FBI tracked the late Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author David Halberstam for more than two decades. A review by The Washington Post shows that Maryland activists were wrongly labeled as terrorists in state and federal databases by state police's Homeland Security and Intelligence Division from 2005 to at least early 2007.
“Counterterrorism” guidelines implemented during the Reagan administration have been described as undercutting these reforms, allowing a return to earlier tactics. Some radical groups accuse factional opponents of being FBI informants or assume the FBI is infiltrating the movement.
Several authors have accused the FBI of continuing to deploy COINTELPRO-like tactics against radical groups after the official COINTELPRO operations were ended. Several authors have suggested the American Indian Movement (AIM) has been a target of such operations.
A few authors go further and allege that the federal government intended to acquire uranium deposits on the Lakota tribe's reservation land, and that this motivated a larger government conspiracy against AIM activists on the Pine Ridge reservation. Others believe COINTELPRO continues and similar actions are being taken against activist groups. Caroline Woidat argued that with respect to Native Americans, COINTELPRO should be understood within a historical context in which "Native Americans have been viewed and have viewed the world themselves through the lens of conspiracy theory."
Other authors note that while there are conspiracy
theories related to COINTELPRO, the issue of ongoing government
surveillance and repression is nonetheless real.
An agent provocateur is a person assigned to provoke unrest, violence, debate or argument by or within a group while acting as a member of the group but covertly representing the interests of another. In general, agents provocateur seek to secretly disrupt a group's activities from within the group.
Agent provocateurs are employed to discredit a group by performing acts for which the group will be falsely accused of by the regimes propaganda arm - the press, or by leading the group into activities that they would not otherwise pursue, or by creating discord between group members. Provocateurs may encourage illegal acts, incite violence, recommend a more militant direction, spread false rumors to incite hasty and misguided actions, spread malicious rumors to undermine morale and unity, or employ other tactics to divert a group from its original purpose.
Propaganda Techniques Of The Media.
The controlled media uses a variety of techniques to influence opinions. Often these techniques rely on some element of censorship or manipulation, either omitting significant information or distorting it.
Propaganda is a specific type of message presentation, aimed at serving an agenda. Even if the message conveys true information, it may be partisan and fail to paint a complete picture. The book Propaganda And Persuasion defines propaganda as "the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist."
In the common use of the term, propaganda refers to deliberately false or misleading information that supports a political cause or interest of those in power, however propaganda can be based on truths, or lies, or a combination of both. The propagandist seeks to change the way people understand an issue or situation. What sets propaganda apart from other forms of advocacy is the willingness of the propagandist to change people's understanding through deception and confusion, rather than persuasion and understanding.
Propaganda is used by tyrannical governments to justify war, and undermine popular uprisings. In the case of war its aim is to create a hatred of the target group, dehumanize it, or both. This effort relies on creating a false image in peoples mind of the target group. This is done by using special words, avoidance of words, or by saying that the target group is responsible for certain things they never did.
Propaganda is also one of the methods used in psychological warfare. Propaganda has sometimes been classified as "white," "black" or "gray." White propaganda generally comes from an openly identified source and is not intentionally deceptive. Black propaganda pretends to be from a friendly source, but is actually from an adversary and is intended to deceive its audience. Gray propaganda falls somewhere between white and black.
Other general methods used for controlling opinions and populations:
Appeal to fear : Appeals to fear seeks to build support by instilling fear in the general population - for example Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice used the phrase "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud" when describing the reason why Americans should support a war on Iraq. Another example of fear propaganda is used regularly against Americans who are discontent with their government. The purpose in this case is not to gain the support of the people, but to contain and control them with fear in order to prevent them from supporting pro-freedom organizations. Such examples are: the government will tap your phone if you say things that they don't like, your tax return will be audited, the FBI will ask you questions, or you will be put on a terrorist watch list. On rare occasions these fears are based on reality, but if the government didn't engage in such tyrannical activities in the first place, large numbers of people would not be opposed to the regime in the second place.
Bandwagon: Bandwagon-and-inevitable-victory appeals attempt to persuade the target audience to take a course of action "everyone else is taking." "Join the crowd." This technique reinforces people's natural desire to be on the winning side instead of the right side.
Confusion/diversion: Splitting a major issue into separate components can work to resurrect failed but desired consequences, for example when one contentious element of an issue fails related or independent components of the issue serve as new justifications. For example the original goal in Iraq was the quest for WMD's but when WMD's were disproved the issue was transformed to providing "freedom and liberty" for the Iraqi people, and later on simply the idea of toppling Saddam Hussein was the desired goal.
Glittering generalities : Glittering generalities are intensely emotionally appealing words so closely associated with highly valued concepts and beliefs that they carry conviction without supporting information or reason. They appeal to such emotions as love of country, home; desire for peace, freedom, glory, honor, etc. They ask for approval without examination of the reason.
Intentional vagueness : Generalities are deliberately vague so that the audience may supply its own interpretations. The intention is to move the audience by use of undefined phrases, without analyzing their validity or attempting to determine their reasonableness or application
Isolation/control: Isolating groups can take many forms whether racial, demographic or social. Isolating groups politically can be a simple or complex process but always results in leveraged control and potential political marginalization with potential ultimate control as in a one-party state. Propaganda is an essential tool in providing the information so that a particular group of people can be isolated from the masses.
Obtain disapproval : This technique is used to get the audience to disapprove an action or idea by suggesting the idea is popular with groups hated, feared, or held in contempt by the target audience. Thus, if a group which supports a policy is led to believe that undesirable, subversive, or contemptible people also support it, the members of the group might decide to change their position. For example, if Neo-Nazi's or the Klan support gun rights, then all decent people should take the opposite opinion on these issues so as not to be agreement with Nazi's or Klansmen. The same trick is used for such subjects as the Holocaust story, Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Federal Reserve Bank, and the controllers of the media.
Transfer: This is a technique of projecting positive or negative qualities (praise or blame) of a person, entity, object, or value (an individual, group, organization, nation) to another in order to make the second more acceptable or to discredit it. For example, when the media wants to discredit a large movement or organization, they will focus on a few individuals (agents or not) that are doing something reprehensible, then play guilt by association and paint the entire movement or organization with the same brush.
Testimonial: Testimonials are quotations, in or out of context, especially cited to support or reject a given policy, action, program, or personality. The reputation or the role of the individual giving the statement is exploited. This is done in an effort to cause the target audience to identify itself with the authority or to accept the authority's opinions and beliefs as its own.
Separation: Related to isolation and control, behavioral psychologists sometimes refer to the principle of "divide and conquer". Divide and conquer is an extremely useful tool to maintain control over disparate groups and propaganda provides the information upon which separation is based.
Stereotyping or Labeling: This technique attempts to arouse prejudices in an audience by labeling the object of the propaganda campaign as something the target audience fears, hates, loathes, or finds undesirable.
Scapegoating: Assigning blame to an individual or group that isn't really responsible.
Techniques of Propaganda Transmission
Common methods for transmitting propaganda messages include news reports, government reports, historical revision, theater, books, leaflets, movies, radio , television , and posters.
Some of the most effective propaganda techniques work by misdirecting or distracting the public's attention away from important issues. It's important to read between the lines of the news and see what isn't being reported, or what is reported once, quietly, and not followed up.
In an age of information overload, distraction techniques can be effective as active propaganda. One way to test for distraction is to look for items that appear repeatedly in foreign press (from neutral and hostile countries) and that don't appear in your own. Beware of deliberately placed lies that are repeated with the hope that people will believe it if it is repeated often enough.
All propaganda techniques can be tested by asking if they target the audience to act in the best interests of the distributor of the propaganda. Propaganda presents one point of view as if it were the best or only way to look at a situation.
Sometimes propaganda can be detected by the fact that it changes before and after a critical event, whereas more honest information like medicine, science or any training manual should largely remain the same after the event as before.