Stay Free! | 14 October 2002

Carrie McLaren carrie at
Sun Oct 13 21:14:48 EDT 2002

Hi, just added an article from the conspiracy issue to the site (by 
popular request):

"The Art of the FBI: Fake Letters, bad poetry, and other highlights 
from the FBI's secret war on dissent"

Also, whatever you think of Michael Moore the man, his new movie, 
Bowling for Columbine, ROCKS. It opens this week in NYC and LA and 
his distributors will decide how many theaters to put it in based on 
the first week's numbers so I hereby urge all Stay Free readers in 
the vicinity to check it out if you can. It's wickedly funny, and, I 
daresay, important.

that's all,


- - - - - - - -

The Art of the FBI

Fake Letters and Bad Poetry: Highlights from the FBI's Secret War on Dissent

Okay, so the Hollywood fantasy of an FBI agent as a cerebral, 
calculating genius is exactly that-a fantasy. These guys are more 
likely to be paper-pushing patsies, sitting behind desks and making 
their rounds by phone. But just as the typical agent is a fiction so, 
too, are his villains. For the FBI isn't only concerned with mass 
murderers, mad scientists, and tall dark men in black: they also 
routinely target the political opponents of those in power. Most of 
us like to think that our government allows pacifists, ministers, 
scholars, and young radicals to all have their say alongside the 
businesses, politicians, and wealthy people who run the country. Yet 
government agents have a deep, hidden history of spying, attacking, 
and destroying groups that don't tow the line.

Among the most egregious assaults on American democracy were carried 
out under the FBI's Counter-Intelligence Program, a.k.a. Cointelpro. 
Launched in the Cold War 1950s, Cointelpro was intended to, according 
to the FBI, "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise 
neutralize the activities of black nationalists, hate-type 
organizations and groups, their leadership, membership, and 
supporters." By the FBI's hazy definition, "hate-type organizations" 
could include just about anyone who threatened the status quo-the 
Black Panthers and Communists, of course, but also anti-Vietnam 
peaceniks, labor leaders, and Native American groups. These 
"subversives" were to be secretly investigated and their activities 

Many of the FBI's strategies are familiar to Hollywood audiences: 
tapping phones, stealing files, and hiring spies to infiltrate 
groups. But by far its most creative tactic was creating "black 
propaganda"-that is, propaganda that disguises its source. Faked 
dirty letters, poems, and satirical comic books were among the FBI's 
many devices for pitting activists against one another.

Cointelpro was officially sacked in the 1970s when Watergate made 
domestic surveillance less palatable. But Cointelpro's demise was in 
name only, for many of its strategies persist. FBI agents have been 
known, for example, to masquerade as anti-globalization protesters, 
secretly joining activist groups and later arresting them on 
conspiracy charges (ironically enough). Reclaim the Streets, an 
activist group here in New York, is currently listed on the FBI 
website as an example of a "left-wing terrorist" organization. What 
has RTS done to earn the FBI's wrath? It has thrown impromptu street 
parties, blocking off parts of the Lower East Side and literally 
dancing in the streets. (RTS formed to protest the draconian 
anti-assembly laws in New York, where-in most bars and 
restaurants-it's actually illegal to dance.) No broken windows, no 
violence, just savvy civil disobedience.

If you think we're making all of this up, you can see the evidence 
for yourself. Some of the Cointelpro files have been released under 
the Freedom of Information Act and published as is in collections 
such as Nelson Blackstock's Cointelpro and Ward Churchill & Jim 
Vander Wall's, Cointelpro Papers. Both books come heartily 
recommended. --Carrie McLaren

Black Panther Coloring Book

In the late 1960s, the Black Panthers started a Free Breakfast for 
Children program, serving thousands of black and poor kids across the 
U.S. Concerned that the program would spread anti-white propaganda, 
the FBI decided to spread their own anti-white propaganda as a 
pre-emptive strike. The bureau produced a 24-page coloring book, 
making it appear as if it had been created by the Panthers. Intending 
to gut public support for the group, the books contained inflamatory 
pictures, some of which featured young black kids shooting pigs 
dressed as policemen. The FBI sent copies of the coloring book to the 
Panthers' white contributors and to businesses that supported the 
free breakfast program, such as Safeway and Jack-In-The-Box. When 
copies of the forgery reached the Panthers' national leadership, 
Bobby Seale destroyed it, saying it "did not correctly reflect the 
ideology of the Black Panther Party." -Brian Boling

Continued, with images, at

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