counterintelligence program


If you’re still under the impression that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad had Malcolm X killed, you need to update your knowledge. There is NO EXCUSE for still being deceived and, even worse, continuing to spread THAT LIE, in the midst of the information age.

J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO agents were paid to divide and confuse Black people with those lies. What’s your excuse?
The Antidote to Authoritarianism
Without the open internet, Americans lose an essential tool in the fight against discriminatory mass surveillance.
By Malkia A. Cyril

The open internet, in particular, has decentralized the media and allowed black activists in a modern movement against police and state violence to bypass discriminatory media gatekeepers and reveal the extent of the state’s abuse.
When ordinary people capture shocking video footage of police officers fatally shooting black citizens, for example, it is more difficult for Americans to ignore the realities of racial injustice. Technology has always been a double-edged sword for black people in America and beyond. On the one hand, it can pose a grave threat; on the other, great opportunity.

My mother knew this better than most. She was one of thousands watched by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) counterintelligence program during the American civil rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s and 1970s. She was also editor of the Black Panther Party newspaper and an avid educator. She understood that media and technology could help black communities build democracy, but only to the degree that the technology itself was democratized.  

Right now, more than 100 million people live without adequate access to broadband, and cost is the major barrier. This divide between those who can afford adequate internet access and those who cannot leaves millions out in an analog cold. Couple this with the rise of digital policing, and online censorship, and harassment in a high-tech civil society—and you’ll see the brutal gap between the people who have access to democracy in the 21st century, and those who do not.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Enforcing the FCC’s Title II Net Neutrality rules passed in 2015, to ensure all Internet traffic is treated equally, is one step the United States must take to preserve democracy in a digital age. It is one way those who have been persistently watched using digital technologies, can watch back using those same technologies. The open internet is a powerful tool in the fight against discriminatory mass surveillance.

Yet, under the current White House administration, which is backed by powerful industry special interests, efforts to repeal these strong and hard-won rules have already begun at the hand of former Verizon lawer Ajit Pai.

Why Do I harp on COINTELPRO so much?

Because it is DIRECTLY responsible for today’s current state of political apathy among Black youth. During the 1940s, 50s, and 60s even the most “non-political” Black teen played at least some role in ORGANIZED political activity to advance the station and standing of Black people in America. Look at those Black protest photos closely; many of the people you see in them are teenagers.

If you weren’t inclined to support the NAACP you could join the Urban League. If not the UL, then perhaps CORE. If not CORE, then SNCC. If not SNCC then the BPP. If not the BPP then BLA. Or perhaps, like your parents, you were UNIA members. If not the UNIA then the NOI. Or the MST. Or the KOY. Or the SCLC. Or the RNA. Or the AIM. Or the Young Lords

THE FBI’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) disrupted destroyed or totally diluted ALL of the those pro-Black and pro-Brown political organizations, leaving a dearth of uncompromising dedicated field-tested Black leadership in their wake, which most of Black America generally and Black youth in particular suffer from today.

A lack of visionary uncompromising Black leadership. The lack of experience of working VOLUNTARILY with and for OTHER BLACK PEOPLE from different walks of life, on a cause bigger than ourselves and greater than a paycheck. The total foreignness of the concept of a Black unity independent of the politics of either the Democrat or Republican parties.

So many of the ORGANIZATIONS that Black people had created to help them combat white supremacy and Black disunity were destroyed by COINTELPRO.

Where there is no vision… the people perish.