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COINTELPRO Never Stopped

One of the characteristics of secret government programs is that when they’re outed, the name gets changed and that’s about it. “We currently have no program by the name COINTELPRO” does not mean that the program has been anything but renamed. Today’s FBI has learned from its past mistakes, and has gotten better at hiding what it’s doing. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t still suck – but it’s slightly better. You’d think that this would be huge news: [beast]

An outlandish guerrilla militant who drove a silver Hearse to Denver-area Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 was secretly a federal informant with a sex crime conviction, a new podcast reveals.

The informant, Mickey Windecker, pushed an activist to buy a gun for him, resulting in the activist’s guilty plea on weapons charges. Other Denver-area activists accuse Windecker of inflaming otherwise-peaceful demonstrations, encouraging people to break windows, and leading marches directly into police traps. Windecker’s informant status was first reported this week on the podcast Alphabet Boys, which explores Windecker’s case and FBI involvement in the Colorado protests.

This is not an outlier. It’s the traces of the FBI’s single most effective technique. Depending on what day of the week you ask me, I might say it’s their only effective technique: they monitor the actions of radical organizations from the inside. That’s how you wind up with Gary Thomas Rowe organizing the Birmingham church bombing while he was an FBI agent embedded in the KKK. [stderr] Or Richard Aoki embedded in the Black Panthers [stderr] or Enrique Tarrio running the proud boys while an FBI informant. It just goes on and on and on and on and on and on. I suppose that it’s a good way to catch criminals: create them, then catch them. Except that the FBI doesn’t often actually get around to the “catch them” part. Unless they’re brown. Then they get machine-gunned like some throwback to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

What I’m saying here is painful because it points out that often, the right wing is correct in their conspiracy theorizing. Randy Weaver was enticed into illegally modifying firearms (with a large dollar offer from – guess who – an FBI operative) and the FBI’s ham-fisted attempt to suppress him resulted in the debacle at Ruby Ridge.

“If you post something, a story about me saying supposedly I work for the FBI, I will sue the shit out of you,” Windecker told Aaronson in a voicemail. “I will take you to court and I will break you off in court for defamation of character and slander. I have already notified my attorney about this. My previous landlord notified me and sent me these papers that you put on the old door that I used to live at, stating that I work for the FBI. I do not work for the FBI. I’ve never worked for the FBI. You get proof of me working for the FBI, then I’ll say otherwise, but there’s no proof because I didn’t work for them.”

Presented with documents and recordings that showed his work for the FBI, Windecker stopped responding to Aaronson.

Windecker made more than $20,000 working for the FBI during the summer of 2020, Aaronson reported, according to payment receipts. It is unclear whether those receipts represent the entirety of FBI payments to Windecker. It’s going to be interesting to see how the DoJ manages to lose their case against Tarrio, to protect their confidential informant. Remember: they grabbed him at the airport before Jan 6, while he was on his way, with illegal high capacity magazines he planned to sell, so he wasn’t participating in the bigger crime-fest that was to come. Think about that for a couple seconds and you’ll have to confront the fact that the FBI did, in fact know there was going to be an insurrection on the 6th, and they didn’t do nothing – they protected their informant while leaving the capitol police to face the trumpist mob.

The US tradition is, when corruption or incompetence is revealed in a federal agency, they get a big raise. Because more money will somehow help? No, because they’re doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. It’s not law enforcement – it’s suppression of dissent. Lately we’ve witnessed criminal Trump accusing the FBI of being like the Gestapo. The irony of that is that he’s got it 180 degrees backward: Himmler constructed the Gestapo along the lines of the FBI because he was impressed with their professionalism. Himmler wanted to be like Hoover.

It’s not just suppression of present-day active dissent. It’s the proactive use of manipulation and disinformation to discredit, delegitimize and marginalize both dissenting groups of people and any ideology or school of thought that might be at odds with standard white-Christian-authoritarian capitalism. It’s a very successful multi-generational campaign. : Hitler referenced Madison Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race as like a bible to him. We can credit Lutheran Christianity for Hitler’s anti-semitism, but his bizarre eugenics-like race theories were “made in America.” If you read Grant, it is quite clear that Hitler derived even the incoherence of his views from there. When I tried a critical reading of Grant I was struck by the obviousness of that, which for some reasons Americans de-emphasize. COINTELPRO (syllabic abbreviation derived from Counter Intelligence Program; 1956–1971) was a series of covert and illegal projects actively conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic American political organizations that were not in line with white supremacy.

COINTELPRO, in full Counterintelligence Program, counterintelligence program conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 1956 to 1971 to discredit and neutralize organizations considered subversive to U.S. political stability the name was changed to a new acronym.“Unclassified//For Official Use Only” (abbreviated to U//FOUO) is a handling instruction, as opposed to a true classification marking. It is used only for documents or products which contain material which is exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act. That is, U//FOUO cannot be gratuitously placed on any document simply as a means of better controlling the content.

For any document/product correctly bearing the U//FOUO handling instruction, certain safeguards must be taken. Generally speaking, the material should be treated as if it were classified CONFIDENTIAL. This means it cannot be discarded in the open trash, made available to the general public, or posted on an uncontrolled website. It can, however, be shared with individuals with a need to know the content, while still under the control of the individual possessing the document or product. For example, U//FOUO material relating to security precautions during overseas assignments may be shared with family members at home. The material should then be returned to the government office and be properly retained or destroyed. Wherever possible, U//FOUO information should not be passed over unencrypted communications lines (e.g., open phones, non-secure fax, personal e-mails). If no secure communications are available for transmission, U//FOUO material may be sent via unprotected means, with supervisory approval after risk has been assessed.

FOUO policy is documented in DoD Directive 5400.7-R, “Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Program,” dated September 4, 1998.


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