In Memory of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, formerly known as Malcolm X
Forty two years have passed since Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965. Six years later, in March 1971, it was revealed that Malcolm X, one of many Black leaders along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Black organizations like Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Students for Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party, as well as antiwar activists, were all targeted by J. Edgar Hoover's F.B.I. , under a program called COINTELPRO, the CounterIntelligence Program.
On the heels of the McCarthy Era, at the time of the so called 'Red Scare' and during the contention between the United States and the former Soviet Union, presenting itself as the so called Cold War, the CounterIntelligence Program (COINTELPRO) was born, a name given to refer collectively to a number of covert action programs.
From Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, Final Report of the Select Committee Rights to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate, April 23 ( under authority and order of April 14), 1976:
COINTELPRO: THE FBI'S COVERT ACTION PROGRAMS AGAINST AMERICAN CITIZENS
The Bureau's covert action programs were aimed at five perceived threats to domestic tranquility: the "Communist Party, USA" program (1956-71) ; the "Socialist Workers Party" program (1961-69) ; the "White Hate Group" program (1964-71) ; the "Black Nationalist-Hate Group" program (1967-71) ; and the "New Left" program (1968-71).
Many books have been written and analyses given about the so called turbulent sixties. Through the Freedom of Information Act, many documents outlining the implementation of COINTELPRO have been revealed that provide a glimpse into the machinations orchestrated against the African American community, including Malcolm X, Dr. King and many other individuals and organizations.
The main purpose of this program's eerie stated goal, as it operated within the Black community, was to, ”....prevent the rise of a Black messiah....”, for it was feared such a leader would cause a total uprising among African Americans, resulting in internal warfare.
Many tactics were employed to create dissension among these various organizations including disinformation campaigns that sought to pit one organization against the other by distributing literature and correspondence identified to be from group number one, with the literature containing inflammatory language meant to provoke group number two.
Employing insiders as informants/spies, with infiltration of F.B.I. agents as members of organizations were considered to be more benign forms of attack used during this period by the F.B.I.
It has been revealed that one of the men with Malcolm X when he was killed at the Audubon Ballroom in New York was an F.B.I. informant who came forward and was seen appearing to give CPR to Malcolm X, as he lie bleeding and dying on the stage.
On what would possibly have been Malcolm X's 82nd birthday, May 19, bear in mind that almost all of the actions employed against him, Dr. King and other individuals and groups involved in the anti Vietnam war movement, many actions that were deemed unconstitutional and illegal during the time of COINTELPRO, have now been sanctioned and approved under the newly drafted and enacted laws under the Patriot Act and the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, also known as Patriot Act II.
Happy Birthday, Malcolm.
For more on COINTELPRO, click here.