Note: above image is from the “Blue Leaks”
Since Cointelpro, the program where the FBI infiltrated anti-war, environmental, and civil rights groups, revolutionary-minded people in America have had an intuitive suspicion that the state is monitoring them more closely than it appears on the surface. People have developed sometimes overly paranoid theories about the government “gangstalking” certain individuals through targeted harassment, the potential for infiltrators within movements has become common knowledge, and leftists or communists often get the vague sense that they’re “on a list” or that they’re being closely monitored.
With this week’s “Blue Leaks,” where hacked law enforcement documents have been revealed, we’ve gotten a clearer picture of how closely the state will track us and target us if we step too far out of line.
And what we’ve found out is chilling. Firstly, these leaks have made it apparent that the FBI has responded to the last month’s backlash to police brutality by working with local police departments to surveil anti-racists; not just anti-racist groups, but individuals who speak too bluntly about their distaste for white supremacist symbols and institutions. Last month, an FBI “documentary source” made a private statement saying that “on 27 May 2020, an identified Twitter account dedicated to anarchist ideology in the Long Beach, California area publicly tweeted the following statement: ‘See a Blue Lives Matter flag, destroy a Blue Lives Matter flag challenge.’” It was part of a “potential activity alert” from the Los Angeles Division of the FBI, which said that “Civil unrest in response to death of George Floyd threatens law enforcement supporters’ safety, as of May 2020.”
This is the kind of language that the FBI and its partnered local police departments are using right now: a series of terminologies that all in some way frame those who resist capitalism, imperialism, and colonialism as terrorist threats. Such language comes up in Blue Leaks correspondences from the one where the Southeast Florida FBI fusion center made a note about recent anti-imperialist tweets pertaining to Iran, to the one where an agency made a graphic about “anarchist extremists.”
This rhetoric from local fusion centers and police departments about radical groups being potential terrorist elements reflects the way that the highest levels of government, including the U.S. military, have long talked about those who oppose the capitalist state. In 2016, the U.S. Army War College predicted that in the future the military would have to participate in “contemporary Stalingrads” where the U.S. is fighting against opposition groups that potentially exist within America itself. “Joining extremist or terrorist organizations might also appear attractive as a way out,” its. report says, referring to an anticipated future where poverty and unemployment have increased. “At the very least, in the event of some kind of conflict, these young men would provide a pool of potential recruits for those opposing the United States.”
Unsurprisingly, the military has now been sent in to help the militarized police kill and maim protesters. And both local police and the FBI are carrying out the spy work needed to make this domestic war effort successful. The Blue Leaks give us hints into just how insidious and dangerous this modern version of Cointelpro is; a leaked 2017 email from a man named Alexander David Hooper observed efforts by law enforcement to use terrorism to carry out their goals for movement sabotage:
Apartment 404 is a terrorist threat working with the law enforcement…gang stalking tactics that come off as dangerous are getting old to myself and the public. 1/18/2017 8:27 P.M. at the Muni station at Fisherman’s Wharf there was a white male that resembled my style, but was committing acts of trespassing and suspicious activity, which isn’t my style. He tried to use black umbrella to hide his face. They’re still attacking the 1st…
The city of San Francisco now has several terrorist threats that were sparked by federal agents and law enforcement. The Al-Qaeda terrorist group was used as a tactic, and targeted the Transamerica building…they’re slaughtering the public, and causing mayhem among good people…the local law enforcement/feds of San Francisco, CA have been reluctant to care or be concerned about the threats that have been made on particular individuals and majorities of people.
If this sounds crazy, remember that the FBI is known to regularly manufacture terrorist threats in order to inflate the official number of terrorism plots that it “solves,” and that false flags have been a routine U.S. warfare and propaganda tactic for decades. Also remember that the U.S. has aided terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS when this has been useful for its latest regime change proxy war against Syria. U.S. intelligence actors become alarmed about “terrorism” when dealing with political opponents, yet are glad to facilitate terrorism when it fits their own goals.
This is also made apparent by a Blue Leaks email from an individual named Terry Atkins, who’s written about the psychological tactics the state uses to wear down its targets:
The goal is to identify the victim’s strengths and vulnerabilities. With that information, perpetrators begin to publicly trivialize the target. Perpetrators are often fixated on the past [mistakes of the target]…they often publicly label targets as unstable, drug addicted, or threat to society either through misinformation or the repeated conjuring of past events. The goal is alienation and isolation. The next phase includes psychological attacks through cognitive and emotional infiltration. Organized stalkers attempt to invoke self-doubt through misinformation aimed at the manipulation of memory and perception often referred to as gas-lighting. Emotional infiltration includes the befriending or consoling the attacked individual and conversely initiate emotional aggression using language and implications.
Physical attacks against property include breeches of privacy and invasion of personal space, pseudo-random acts of violence and poisonings.
Again, none of the claims made throughout these leaked communications contradict the tactics that U.S. intelligence agencies are already known to use. These agencies send spies to infiltrate activist groups. They carry out psychological operations, whether through the media or through spying practices, with the goal of manipulating people’s emotions and instilling counter-revolutionary thoughts into people’s minds. They assault, harass, and attempt to assassinate their enemies, like when the CIA tried to poison Fidel Castro’s ice cream.
All of the warfare methods that they use against their targets abroad, from strategic misinformation to espionage to terrorist attacks that get falsely blamed on the enemy, have been and will be used against the elements of American society that the state sees as a threat. If they’re willing to kill random civilians in the streets to subdue protests, they’ll employ all the tools for regime change that Steve Kangas described in his essay A Timeline of CIA Atrocities:
Propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator. The CIA trains the dictator’s security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder.
A different version of such a regime is already in place within the United States. And it aims to use all of these measures and more to crack down on dissent in the coming years. The information from the Blue Leaks only helps confirm some of people’s most frightening suspicions about what the state is capable of doing.
Namely: targeting individuals through organized harassment, monitoring people’s statements on social media and elsewhere, using false flags to incriminate or terrorize people, and psychologically manipulating people into mental breakdowns. Now that many of our subconscious fears as U.S, political radicals have been vindicated, let’s exercise more caution about who we trust and how we organize our groups.