The FBI’s War on Black People

The FBI’s War on Black People

Directed by Deb Ellis and Dennis Mueller (1990)

Film Review

This 1990 documentary is based on interviews with Black Panther Party (BPP) activists who directly experienced Cointelpro. The latter was a secret FBI counterinsurgency program created and run by late FBI director J Edgar Hoover. Allegedly shut down in the mid-seventies, there is strong evidence it continues to operate under a different name.

The film begins by quoting directly from secret FBI memos (released under the Freedom of Information Act) detailing the official purpose of Cointelpro – namely to “neutralize: charismatic Black leaders capable of organizing effective resistance to the white supremacist power structure.

The film then explores the suspected Cointlpro role in the assassination of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King* and the proven Cointelpro role in the murder of Chicago BPP leader Fred Hampton. The latter was shot in his sleep by Chicago police with the help of an undercover FBI infiltrator who provided a layout of Hampton’s apartment.

The documentary also covers the less publicized FBI role in the Klan murder of southern civil rights leaders. During the sixties, again according to FOI documents, 25% of Klansmen were FBI informants or agents. Although the FBI nearly always had foreknowledge of these murders, not only did they fail to prevent them – but in many cases FBI plants pulled the trigger.

Surviving Panther members also speak bitterly about the role of FBI infiltrators in fomenting rumor campaigns and factional fighting within BPP groups and between the BPP and other activist organizations. Hoover was also directly responsible for the media’s negative portrayal of the Panthers as dangerous people who hated whites and wanted to hurt them.

In my view, the most powerful weapon Hoover deployed against the BPP was to deliberately frame and imprison their leaders on false charges.

The film contains rare footage of late political Geronimo Pratt describing attempts to frame him for one of Charles Manson’s murders before they framed him for the “Tennis Court” murder.

Pratt served 27 years until the phony charge was vacated in 1997. He died in Tanzania in 2011.**


*In 1999 the jury in a civil case brought by the King family, found the US government responsible for King’s 1968 murder. See The Truth Behind the Assassination of Martin Luther King

**See Geronimo Pratt

The 1968 Global Revolt and the Brutal 1969 Global Crackdown

1968 Global Revolt – Part 3 The Explosion

DW (2018)

Film Review

Part 3 focuses on 1969 and the extreme police and military violence directed at anti-government protests in the US, Japan, Italy and Germany.

In the US, 1969 saw the occupation of derelict University of California-Berkeley property for the formation of a People’s Park and the formation of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. The latter would be destroyed by heavy CIA/FBI infiltration and assassination and false imprisonment of many of its leaders. 1969 also saw the sidetracking of many US antiwar protestors into environmental activism, women’s and gay liberation and alternative lifestyles (the hippy peace, love and truth movement, Woodstock and communal living).

In Germany, the students rejecting bourgeois capitalist lifestyles formed the Kommune movement. The filmmakers erroneously describe the Baader-Meinhoff Gang (aka the Red Army Faction), responsible for setting fire to department stores and warehouses, as a fringe offshoot of the the Kommune movement. The Baader-Meinhoff Gang was exposed in the early 90s as a CIA/NATO-driven product of Operation Gladio.*

The filmmakers also mischaracterize Italy’s Red Brigades as a violent offshoot of the Italian antifascist movement that mobilized tens of thousands of workers and students. The Red Brigades, responsible for tens of thousands of false flag bombings and assassinations, was also created and run by Operation Gladio. The Italian government used the Red Brigades “terrorist” activities events to justify the adoption of extreme repressive measures, including the imprisonment of 30,000 antifascist activists.

Also disappointing is the filmmakers’ failure to identify the root cause of Japan’s anti-American protests (ie the CIA funding of their single party government). In his book Blowback, Chalmers Johnson compares Japan’s US-controlled post-war government to East Germany’s dictatorship. Also see CIA supported Japan’s ruling party during Cold War era

*Operation Gladio is the code name for a CIA/NATO backed paramilitary network that carried out thousands of false flag terrorist operations to justify repressive government legislation to suppress grassroots anti-capitalist organizing. It was exposed in a 1992 BBC documentary.

 

 

911 Trillions: Follow the Money

In this documentary, James Corbett approaches the mystery of 9-11 by tracing money flows rather than physical evidence – ie he identifies individuals and companies that plainly had foreknowledge of the 9-11 attacks and used it to reap windfall profits.

The three main ways people profited from 9-11 were insurance scams, insider trading and fraudulent electronic transactions. Ironically the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 9-11 Commission and FBI identified some of the same scam artists as Corbett and other private researchers. Bizarrely they declined to indict them owing to “no known ties to al Qaeda.”

Insurance Scams

Key suspects: Larry Silverstein, GMAC (the finance arm of General Motors) and real estate developers Lloyd Goldstein and Joseph Kerr. GMAC, Goldman and Kerr helped finance Silverstein purchase of the Twin towers from the New York Port Authority in July 2001. Immediately on taking possession, Silverstein doubled the insurance coverage from $1.5 billion (the buildings’ assessed value was $1.2 billion) to $3.55 billion. In addition, following the attacks, the Port Authority repaid Silverstein 80% of the original lease. In total, Silverstein netted a $4.5 billion profit from 9-11.

Insider Trading

On Sept 10 2001, the SEC identified a 90% increase in “put options”* for companies whose stocks would tank the week after 9-11:

  • United Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Morgan Stanley (one of two major tenants in Twin Towers)
  • Marsh & McLennan (one of two major tenants in Twin Towers)
  • Boeing
  • Citigroup
  • Axa
  • Merrill Lynch
  • J P Morgan
  • various reinsurers

The SEC also noted a six-fold increase in “call options” on defense contractor Raytheon (manufactured missiles subsequently used in attack on Afghanistan) in the weeks prior to the attacks.

Three of the most prominent insider traders were Mrs and Mrs Wirt D Walker III (distant relatives of George Herbert Walker Bush and business partners with Marvin Bush with links to the Carlyle Group***) and Deutsche Bank, Alex Brown Division, run by to Buzzy Krongard, former consultant to former CIA director James Woolsey Jr.

Fraudulent Electronic Transactions

Marsh & McLannan was responsible for developing Silverstream, an innovative method of paperless electronic transactions. A team of March & McLannan auditors were investigating $100 million in suspicious transactions involving AIG and Deutsche Bank. All were killed in the 9-11 attacks – their data sets conveniently destroyed. A German company Convar was able to reconstruct most of these transactions from hard drives recovered at Ground Zero.

Attack on the Pentagon

The attack on the Pentagon killed the Department of Defense team investigating the $2.3 trillion that went missing from the DOD 2000-2001 budget – and destroyed all their data.


*A put option lets the option owner sell a stock at its original price when the share price falls – pocket the difference.

**A call option lets the option owner buy a stock at its original price when a share price increases – and pocket the difference.

***Carlyle Group – a global equity management group, closely linked with George H. W. Bush and the bin Laden family.

Plutocracy III: Class War

Plutocracy III: Class War

Scott Noble (2017)

Film Review

Part 2 of Scott Noble’s Plutocracy series addresses the rise of a US manufacturing elite aristocracy far more vicious and brutal than any hereditary European aristocracy. One hundred years after America’s War of Independence, Wall Street’s robber barons were effectively controlling both state and federal government. They have done so ever since.

The Brutal Repression of Unions

Workers, organized by fledgling labor unions and worker-based political parties (covered extensively in Plutocracy Part II – see Plutocracy II Solidarity Forever), launched massive strikes to fight back against their starvation wages and working conditions. Company bosses fought worker organizing by hiring mercenary armies, such as Pinkertons, to harass, torture and kill organizers. The US was the only industrialized country to allow private corporations to form their own private armies.

It was also common for state National Guard units and federal troops to intervene in strikes and kill striking workers and their families. The documentary highlights the 1914 Ludlow massacre, in which National Guardsmen deliberately shot into and set fire to a strikers’ tent colony, killing two dozen people (including miners’ wives and children).

The film goes on to describe the rise of International Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) a revolutionary union that was the first to represent unskilled workers, women and people of color.

Using a combination of trumped up charges and government-linked vigilante groups, corporate controlled state and federal entities brutally repressed the IWW, both before and after World War I.

How Elites Used World War I to Suppress Worker Organizing

Most of the film focuses on the enormous setback in US worker organizing that occurred during World War I. In part the filmmakers blame the massive pro-war propaganda and indoctrination apparatus Woodrow Wilson created and in part the repressive measures he enacted to suppress popular opposition to the compulsory draft he introduced.

These included the 1917 Espionage Act (which was never repealed – both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden were charged under this law), the 1916 Selective Service Act (never repealed), the 1918 Sedition Act (repealed in 1920) and the 1917 Immigration Act (allowing for arrest and deportation of dissidents without due process).

In 1919, Wilson created the General Intelligence Division (GID), headed by J Edgar Hoover, who created 200,000 crossed indexed cards on 60,000 so-called “dissidents,” including NAACP and Negro Improvement Association members, pacifists, suffragettes, union leaders and progressive politicians like Robert LaFollette. Hoover took his index cards with him when the GID shut down and Roosevelt appointed him to head the Bureau of Investigation, renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935.

Links to Plutocracy II Solidarity Forever and Plutocracy I A history of Political Repression in the US

 

J Edgar Hoover: A Textbook Case in Corruption

This is an intriguing documentary about J Edgar Hoover, founding director of the FBI. It’s largely based on an official federal investigation that occurred shortly after Hoover’s death in 1972 and Anthony Summer’s 2013 book Official and Confidential: the Secret Life of J Edgar Hoover.

The film explores Hoover’s long track record of both low level and high level corruption. The former involved his routine use of FBI employees to drive him to private functions and to remodel and redecorate his home, as well as the routine use of taxpayer funds to pay for private vacations. The high level corruption involved his close association with Mob figures to fuel his (illegal) offtrack betting habit.

Hoover was notorious for his refusal to investigate or arrest organized crime bosses during his tenure of office. He consistently maintained the US had no national organized crime problem. This was the major cause of his three year battle with John and Bobby Kennedy – which ended in the JFK assassination.

The documentary also reveals how Hoover forced Kennedy to accept Lyndon Johnson as his running mate, by threatening to release surveillance tapes the FBI had made of JFK’s extramarital affairs.

Hoover undertook this type of illegal surveillance on most, if not, all major Washington political figures. He also routinely made it known to lawmakers when he had compromising files on them. These files made him virtually untouchable despite fairly wide knowledge of his own corrupt activities.

Hoover, in turn, was held in check by senior Mob figures who had photos of Hoover engaged in sexual relations with his lover and lifetime partner Clyde Tolson. Officially Hoover condemned homosexuality as a sexual perversion and banned gays from serving as FBI agents.

Hidden History: The 1992 FBI Assault on Ruby Ridge

Ruby Ridge

PBS (2017)

Film Review

In this documentary Ruby Ridge survivor Sara Weaver relates the history of the 1992 FBI assault on her home that killed her mother and her 14 year-old brother Samuel. It provides a a very different view of the incident than the mainstream media.

First and foremost the Weavers weren’t heavily armed white supremacists linked with the Aryan Nation, as claimed by the FBI and corporate media. Despite attending Aryan Nation meetings, the Weavers declined to join because they didn’t share the group’s white supremacist views.

Weaver Declines to Infiltrate the Aryan Nation

Former Green Beret and Christian fundamentalist Randy Weaver ran afoul of the US government after an undercover Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agent asked Weaver to acquire a shotgun for him. The agent claimed Weaver illegally sawed it off (at the agent’s request), an assertion Weaver has always disputed. The ATF then threatened to arrest Weaver and confiscate his property unless he agreed to infiltrate the Aryan Nation as an undercover informant. When Weaver refused, he was arrested.

Fearful (understandably) that the federal government was trying to frame him for a crime he didn’t commit, Weaver failed to appear for trial. After a two year attempt to serve a a bench warrant on the family’s isolated mountaintop home, federal marshals turned the case over to the FBI Hostage Rescue Team (ie FBI snipers).

The family tell a very different story of the assault than the FBI – with a federal jury ultimately siding with the family. According to Sara, after the FBI sniper shot the family dog, 14 year-old Samuel returned fire and killed one of the snipers. At this point, the other snipers shot and killed his mother Vicky,, whom was holding his baby sister in her arms.

The standoff continued until highly decorated former Green Beret Bo Gritz intervened and persuaded Weaver, his friend Kevin and the remaining children to surrender.

Weaver Family Receives $3.1 Million Settlement

Both Weaver and Kevin were charged and acquitted in the death of the FBI sniper. Weaver was also acquitted on the charge of illegally sawing off a shotgun. He ultimately served 18 months for failure to appear.

In 1995, the family received a $3.1 million settlement for the wrongful death of Vicky and Samuel.

Although the FBI allegedly undertook major policy changes after Ruby Ridge, they undertook a similar military-style assault in 1993 against fundamentalist Christians in Waco Texas.

 

The Demise of Academic Freedom in the US

Watchtower

Press TV (2017)

Film Review

This documentary concerns three extremely popular and effective college professors who were denied tenure and/or fired after being targeted by the Jewish Anti-Discrimination League (ADL) for their views on Palestine. Two of the professors targeted (Dr Norman Finkelstein) and Dr Joel Kovel) were accused by the ADL of being “self-hating Jews,” owing to their support for justice for Palestine. The third, Dr Joseph Massad, a Jordanian whose family fled Palestine in 1948, was accused of being an “anti-Semite” who made Jewish students uncomfortable.

None of the above accusations were ever supported by the facts. In each case, the school that employed them (DePaul, Brooklyn College and Columbia) failed to follow their own established processes. Instead they were more concerned about bad publicity interfering with their ability to fundraise.  .

In 2008 Massad, who Columbia improperly denied tenure, sought the assistance of the the ACLU for the clear violation of his First Amendment rights. With their support, he finally won tenure in 2009.

One of the most ominous aspects of these three cases is the clear monitoring/surveillance role the ADL* is playing in all US institutions of higher learning. In Finkelstein’s case, this monitoring entailed dispatching outside non-student agitators to disrupt his classes.


*The ADL has a long history of collaborating with the FBI to spy on progressive groups. In the mid-eighties they were involved in spying on a group I belonged to The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES): https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2000/12/27/12071.php