US Domestic Covert Operations

From the Archive: WAR AT HOME

From: (Gary Lee)
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 1995 14:21:22 GMT
Organization: The Gloons of Tharf
Newsgroups: alt.society.anarchy

/** pn.publiceye: 23.5 **/ ** Written 7:12 pm Jan 25, 1991 by nlgclc in cdp:pn.publiceye **

The Chicano and Puerto Rican Movements: From 1972-1974,
La Raza Unida Party of Texas was plagued with repeated, unsolved COINTELPRO-style political break-ins. Former government operative Eustacio "Frank" Martinez has admitted that after the close of COINTELPRO, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) paid him to help destroy La Casa de Carnalsimo, a Chicano community anti-drug program in Los Angeles. Martinez, who had previously infiltrated the Brown Berets and the Chicano Moratorium, stated that the ATF directed him to provoke bombings and plant a drug pusher in La Casa.

In 1973, Chicano activist and lawyer Francisco "Kiko" Martinez was indicted in Colorado on trumped-up bombing charges and suspended from the bar. He was forced to leave the United States for fear of assassination by police directed to shoot him "on sight." When Martinez was eventually brought to trial in the 1980s, many of the charges against him were dropped for insufficient evidence and local juries acquitted him of others. One case ended in a mistrial when it was found that the judge had met secretly with prosecutors, police, and government witnesses to plan perjured testimony, and had conspired with the FBI to conceal video cameras in the courtroom.

Starting in 1976, the FBI manipulated the grand jury process to assault both the Chicano and Puerto Rican movements. Under the guise of investigating Las Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion National Puertorriqueo (FALN) and other Puerto Rican urban guerrillas, the Bureau harassed and disrupted a cultural center, an alternative high school, and other promising community organizing efforts in Chicago's Puerto Rican barrio and in the Chicano communities of Denver and northern New Mexico. It subpoenaed radical Puerto Rican trade union leader Federico Cintron Fiallo and key staff of the National Commission on Hispanic Affairs of the U.S. Episcopal Church to appear before federal grand juries and jailed them for refusing to cooperate. The independent labor movement in Puerto Rico and the Commission's important work in support of Puerto Rican and Chicano organizing were effectively discredited.

On July 25, 1978, an undercover agent lured two young Puerto Rican independence activists, Carlos Soto Arrive and Arnaldo Dario Rosado, to their deaths in a police ambush at Cerro Maravilla, Puerto Rico. The agent, Alexander Gonzalez Malave, worked under the direct supervision of the FBI-trained intelligence chief of the island's police force. The FBI refused to investigate when the police claimed they were merely returning gunfire initiated by the activists. Later it was proved that Soto and Dario had surrendered and were then beaten and shot dead while on their knees. Though a number of officers were found guilty of perjury in the cover-up and one was sentenced for the murder, the officials who set up the operation remain free. Gonzalez has been promoted.

On November 11, 1979, Angel Rodriguez Cristobal, popular socialist leader of the movement to stop U.S. Navy bombing practice on the inhabited Puerto Rican island of Vieques, was murdered in the U.S. penitentiary in Tallahassee, Florida. Though U.S. authorities claimed "suicide," Rodriguez Cristobal, in the second month of a six-month term for civil disobedience, had been in good spirits when seen by his lawyer hours before his death. He had been subjected to continuous threats and harassment, including forced drugging and isolation, during his confinement. Though he was said to have been found hanging by a bed sheet, there was a large gash on his forehead and blood on the floor of his cell.

The Women's, Gay, and Lesbian Movements: FBI documents show that the women's liberation movement remained a major target of covert operations throughout the 1970s. Long after the official end of COINTELPRO, the Bureau continued to infiltrate and disrupt feminist organizations, publications, and projects. Its view of the women's movement is revealed by a 1973 report listing the national women's newspaper off our backs as "ARMED AND DANGEROUS--EXTREMIST."

Covert operations also continued against lesbian and gay organizing. One former FBI informer, Earl Robert "Butch" Merritt, revealed that from October 1971 through June 1972 he received a weekly stipend to infiltrate gay publications and organizations in the District of Columbia. He was ordered to conduct break-ins, spread false rumors that certain gay activists were actually police or FBI informants, and create racial dissension between and within groups. One assignment involved calling Black groups to tell them they would not be welcome at Gay Activists Alliance and Gay Liberation Front meetings.

As in the case of the Puerto Rican and Chicano movements, criminal investigations provided a convenient pretext for escalated FBI attacks on lesbian and feminist activists in the mid-1970s. In purported pursuit of anti-war fugitives Susan Saxe and Kathy Powers, FBI agents flooded the women's communities of Boston, Philadelphia, Lexington (Kentucky), Hartford and New Haven. Their conspicuous interrogation of hundreds of politically active women, followed by highly publicized grand jury subpoenas and jailings, wreaked havoc in health collectives and other vital projects. Activists and potential supporters were scared off, and fear spread across the country, hampering women's and lesbian organizing nationally.

** End of text from cdp:pn.publiceye **

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