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 "gang-stalking" 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"
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