COINTELPRO – How the FBI Sabotaged Black America, A Documentary by Gil Noble
HomeBlack ActivistsCOINTELPRO – How the FBI Sabotaged Black America, A Documentary by Gil Noble
As African Americans of all ages take to the streets in large numbers once again #blacklivesmatter to protest the police murder of Black men (and subsequent cover-up) in places like Ferguson Missouri and New York City, it is instructive to take a look back at why previous black mass movements and leaders went away. What the research shows is that the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s didn’t just go away by itself. It was intentionally destroyed by a very sophisticated counter-insurgency strategy, code name COINTELPRO, initiated at the highest levels of the US government. The most prominent of the African American leaders like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Fred Hampton, Huey P. Newton, Robert F. Williams, Max Stanford, Assata Shakur, and many other leaders of the Black Liberation Movement were either assassinated, imprisoned, or forced into exile. The organizations built and led by these leaders are either destroyed or mere shells of their former selves. However, many of these leaders are still around and should be sought out for their guidance. Doing so will help ensure that today’s movement does not suffer the same fate as those which came before.
Below is the reprinting of the actual COINTELPRO memorandum from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to FBI field offices across the US. This document can best be described as the blueprint for the destruction of the Black Liberation Movement and the black community. In the late 1960s the existence of this document was not yet known. However, many of the leaders and activists knew that they were up against very powerful forces and that the things happening to them weren’t accidental. When you read this and related documents and FBI files, and you reflect back on what really happened to Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party, H. Rap Brown, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, and many more, bells go off in your head. It all begins to make sense. In the powerful documentary seen here, former producer/host of the NYC based program Like It Is (which used to air on WABCTV in NYC), GIL Noble, goes even deeper and reveals how the strategy to neutralize and destroy Black leaders and organizations did not begin in the 1960s. The same strategy was used against African American leaders like Marcus Garvey, Queen Mother Moore, and Paul Robeson decades before. Do the research yourself.
FBI COINTELPRO Memorandum – sent out by J. Edgar Hoover to FBI field offices on March 4, 1968, one month before the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
SAC, Albany August 25, 1967
PERSONAL ATTENTION TO ALL OFFICES
[From] Director, FBI
BLACK NATIONALIST - HATE GROUPS
[...] The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to
expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or OTHERWISE NEUTRALIZE [emphasis
added] the activities of black nationalist hate-type organizations and
groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters, and
to counter their propensity for violence and civil disorder. The activities
of all such groups of intelligence interest to the Bureau must be followed
on a continuous basis so we will be in a position to promptly take advantage
of all opportunities for counterintelligence and inspire action in instances
where circumstances warrant. The pernicious background of such groups,
their duplicity, and devious maneuvers must be exposed to public scrutiny
where such publicity will have a neautralizing effect. Efforts of the
various groups to consolidate their forces or to recruit new or youthful
adherents must be frustrated. NO OPPORTUNITY SHOULD BE MISSED TO
EXPLOIT THROUGH COUNTERINTELLIGENCE TECHNIQUES THE ORGANIZATIONAL AND
PERSONAL CONFLICTS OF THE LEADERSHIPS OF THE GROUPS AND WHERE POSSIBLE AN
EFFORT SHOULD BE MADE TO CAPITALIZE UPON EXISTING CONFLICTS BETWEEN COMPETING
BLACK NATIONALIST ORGANIZATIONS. [emphasis added] When an opportunity is
apparent to disrupt or NEUTRALIZE [emphasis added] black nationalist, hate-
type organizations through the cooperation of established local news media
contacts or through such contact with sources available to the Seat of
Government [Hoover's office]*, in every instance careful attention must be
given to the proposal to insure the targetted group is disrupted, ridiculed,
or discredited through the publicity and not merely publicized...
You are also cautioned that the nature of this new endeavor is such
that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THE EXISTENCE OF THE PROGRAM BE MADE
KNOWN OUTSIDE THE BUREAU [emphasis added] and appropriate within-office
security should be afforded to sensitive operations and techniques considered
under the program.
No counterintelligence action under this program may be initiated
by the field without specific prior Bureau authorization. [Emphasis in orig.]
BLACK NATIONALIST - HATE GROUPS
RACIAL INTELLIGENCE 3/4/68
For maximum effectiveness of the Counterintelligence Program, and
to prevent wasted effort, long-range goals are being set.
1. Prevent the COALITION of militant black nationalist groups. In
unity there is strength; a truism that is no less valid for all its
triteness. An effective coalition of black nationalist groups might be the
first step toward a real "Mau Mau" [Black revolutionary army] in America,
the beginning of a true black revolution.
2. Prevent the RISE OF A "MESSIAH" who could unify, and
electrify, the militant black nationalist movement. Malcolm X might have
been such a "messiah;" he is the martyr of the movement today. Martin
Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammed all aspire to this
position. Elijah Muhammed is less of a threat because of his age. King
could be a very real contender for this position should he abandon his
supposed "obedience" to "white, liberal doctrines" (nonviolence) and embrace
black nationalism. Carmichael has the necessary charisma to be a real
threat in this way.
3. Prevent VIOLENCE on the part of black nationalist groups. This
is of primary importance, and is, of course, a goal of our investigative
activity; it should also be a goal of the Counterintelligence Program to
pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them before they
exercise their potential for violence.
4. Prevent militant black nationalist groups and leaders from
gaining RESPECTABILITY, by discrediting them to three separate segments of
the community. The goal of discrediting black nationalists must be handled
tactically in three ways. You must discredit those groups and individuals
to, first, the responsible Negro community. Second, they must be
discredited to the white community, both the responsible community and to
"liberals" who have vestiges of sympathy for militant black nationalist
[sic] simply because they are Negroes. Third, these groups must be
discredited in the eyes of Negro radicals, the followers of the movement.
This last area requires entirely different tactics from the first two.
Publicity about violent tendencies and radical statements merely enhances
black nationalists to the last group; it adds "respectability" in a different
5. A final goal should be to prevent the long-range GROWTH of
militant black organizations, especially among youth. Specific tactics to
prevent these groups from converting young people must be developed. [...]
Primary targets of the Counterintelligence Program, Black
Nationalist-Hate Groups, should be the most violent and radical groups and
their leaders. We should emphasize those leaders and organizations that
are nationwide in scope and are most capable of disrupting this country.
These targets, members, and followers of the:
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM)
NATION OF ISLAM (NOI) [emphasis added]
Offices handling these cases and those of Stokely Carmichael of
SNCC, H. Rap Brown of SNCC, Martin Luther King of SCLC, Maxwell Stanford of
RAM, and Elijah Muhammed of NOI, should be alert for counterintelligence
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