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COINTELPRO -- New Left (1968-1972)
NEUTRALIZING INDIVIDUAL LEADERSExposure to EmployersDISCREDITING GROUPS TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC
Use of Gossip Columnists
Use of Mystical Symbols
Anonymous Letters to LegislatorsCREATING AND EXPLOITING "SPLITS"
Use of John Birch Society
Exploiting Internal Splits
Splits with Black Power Groups
Split with SWP
Women's Liberation Movement
Our Nation is undergoing an era of disruption and violence caused to a large extent by various individuals generally connected with the New Left. Some of these activists urge revolution in America and call for the defeat of the United States in Vietnam. They continually and falsely allege police brutality and do not hesitate to utilize unlawful acts to further their so-called causes. The New Left has on many occasions viciously and scurrilously attacked the Director and the Bureau in an attempt to hamper our investigation of it and to drive us off the college campuses. With this in mind, it is our recommendation that a new Counterintelligence Program be designed to neutralize the New Left and the Key Activists. The Key Activists are those individuals who are the moving forces behind the New Left and on whom we have intensified our investigations. C.D. Brennan to W.C. Sullivan, May 9, 1968
The replies to the Bureau's request have been analyzed and it is felt that the following suggestions can for counterintelligence action can be utilized by all offices.
1. Preparation of a leaflet designed to counteract the impression that Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and other minority groups speak for the majority of students at universities. The leaflet should contain photographs of New Left leadership at the respective university. Naturally, the most obnoxious pictures should be used.
2. The instigating of or the taking advantage of personal conflicts or animosities existing between New Left leaders.
3. The creating of impressions that certain New Left leaders are informants for the Bureau or other law enforcement agencies.
4. The use of articles from student newspapers and/or the "underground press" to show the depravity of New Left leaders and members. In this connection, articles showing advocation of the use of narcotics and free sex are ideal to send to university officials, wealthy donors, members of the legislature and parents of students who are active in New Left matters.
5. Since the use of marijuana and other narcotics is widespread among members of the New Left, you should be alert to opportunities to have them arrested by local authorities on drug charges.
6. The drawing up of anonymous letters regarding individuals active in the New Left. These letters should set out their activities and should be sent to their parents, neighbors and the parents' employers.
7. Anonymous mailings should be made to university officials, members of the state legislature, Board of Regents, and to the press. Such letters could be signed "A Concerned Alumni" or "A Concerned Taxpayer." [emphasis added]
8. Whenever New Left groups engage in disruptive activities on college campuses, cooperative press contacts should be encouraged to emphasize that the disruptive elements constitute a minority of the students and do not represent the conviction of the majority. The press should demand an immediate referendum on the issue in question.
9. There is a definite hostility among SDS and other New Left groups toward the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA), and the Progressive Labor Party (PLP). This hostility should be exploited wherever possible.
10. The field was previously advised that New Left groups are attempting to open coffeehouses near military bases in order to influence members of the Armed Forces. Whereever these coffeehouses are, friendly news media should be alerted to them and their purpose. In addition, various drugs, such as marijuana, will probably be utilized by individuals running the coffeehouses or frequenting them. Local law enforcement authorities should be promptly advised whenever you receive an indication that this is being done.
11. Consider the use of cartoons, photographs, and anonymous letters which will have the effect of riduculing the New Left. Ridicule is one of the most potent weapons which we can use against it.
12. Be alert for opportunities to confuse and disrupt New Left activities by misinformation. For example, when events are planned, notification that the event has been cancelled or postponed could be sent to various individuals.Director to All Field Offices, July 5, 1968
NEUTRALIZING INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
It is believed that in attempting to expose, disrupt, and otherwise neutralize the activities of the "new left" by counterintelligence methods, the Bureau is faced with a rather unique task. Because, first, the "new left" is difficult to actually define; and second, of the complete disregard by "new left" members for moral and social laws and social amenities. It is believed that the nonconformism in dress and speech, neglect of personal cleanliness, use of obscenities (printed or uttered), publicized sexual promiscuity, experimenting with and the use of drugs, filthy clothes, shaggy hair, wearing of sandals, beads, and unusual jewelry tend to negate any attempt to hold these people up to ridicule. The American press has been doing this with no apparent effect or curtailment of "new left" activities. These individuals are apparently getting strength and more brazen in their attempts to destroy American society, as noted in the takeover recently at Columbia University, New York City, and other Universities in the U.S. It is believed therefore, that they must be destroyed or neutralized from the inside. Neutralize them in the same manner they are trying to destroy and neutralize the U.S. ... Newark believes that it might be possible to attach the stigma of informant or Government "fink" to HAYDEN because of the apparent unlimited finances at his disposal, enabling him to take numerous trips in and out of the U.S., without and job or other means of financial support. SAC, Newark to Director, May 27, 1968
Your letter of 5/27/68 fails to provide the above information, consists primarily of general observations and indicates a negative attitude. It is also noted that this letter contains proposed action against Key Activist Thomas Emmett Hayden, now residing in Chicago, but makes no mention of David Dellinger, a Key Activist of your office. Specific comment on Dellinger should have been included as instructed. Director to SAC, Newark, June 10, 1968
Exposure to Employers
At the present time the Milwaukee Office is exploring the possibility of exposing to the general public the fact that [ ] both of whom are [ ] at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, have written articles for "Kaleidoscope," an underground newspaper published in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Much of the material appearing in "Kaleidoscope" is extremely pornographic in nature. [ ] and [ ] have been associated with the [ ] faction and have been very sympathetic toward the radical and New Left element. It is believed that by exposing their connection with "Kaleidoscope" public indignation could be aroused against them and the administration of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, for permitting instructors at that school to engage in this type of activity. SAC, Milwaukee to Director, Feb. 14, 1969
Use of Gossip Columnists
It is proposed that the following letter from a fictitious person be sent to local columnists:
I was just thinking about you and remembered I still owe you a favor. So ----------- I was in Paris last week and ran into Jean Seberg, who was heavy with baby. I thought she and Romaine had gotten together again, but she confided the child belonged to [ ] of the Black Panthers, one [ ] The dear girl is getting around! Anyway, I thought you might get a scoop on the others. Be good and I'll see you soon. Love, Sol
Usual precautions would be taken by the Los Angeles Division to preclude identification of the Bureau as the source of the letter if approval is granted.SAC, Los Angeles to Director, April 27, 1970
To protect the sensitive source of information from possible compromise and to insure the success of your plan, Bureau feels it would be better to wait approximately two additional months until Seberg's pregnancy would be obvious to everyone. Director to SAC, Los Angeles, May 6, 1970
Enclosed for the Bureau is a copy of an article by Hollywood "gossip" columnist JOYCE HABER, extracted from page 12, part IV, the 5/19/70 issue of the Los Angeles Times, presumably regarding the pregnancy of JEAN SEBERG, noted movie actress, by [ ] SAC, Los Angeles to Director, June 3, 1970
Bureau authority is requested in sending the following letter from a fictitious person to ARMY ARCHERD, Hollywood "gossip" columnist for the "Daily Variety", who noted in his 6/11/70 column that JANE FONDA, noted film actress, was to be present at the 6/13/70 Black Panther Party fund faising function sponsored by CUPP in Los Angeles.SAC, Los Angeles to Director, June 17, 1970
Dear Army: I saw your article about Jane Fonda in the "Daily Variety' last Thursday and happened to be present for Vadim's "Joan of Arc's" performance for the Black Panthers Saturday night. I hadn't been confronted with this Panther phenomena before but we were searched upon entering Embassy Auditorium, encouraged in revival-like fashion to contribute to defend jailed Panther leaders and buy guns for 'the coming revolution', and led by Jane and one of the Panther chaps in a 'we will kill Richard Nixon, and any other M----- F----- who stands in our way' refrain (which was shocking to say the least!) I think Jane has gotten in over her head as the whole atmosphere had the 1930's Munich beer-hall aura. I also think my curiosity about the Panthers has been satisfied. Regards, /s/ "Morris"
The emergence of the New Left on the American Scene has produced a new phenomenon - a yen for magic. Some leaders of the New Left, its followers, the Hippies and the Yippies, wear beads and amulets. New Left youth involved in anti-Vietnam activity have adopted the Greek letter "Omega" as their symbol. Self-proclaimed yogis have established a following in the New Left movement. Their incantations are a reminder of the chant of the witch doctor. Publicity has been given to the yogis and their mutterings. The news media has referred to it as a "mystical renaissance" and has attributed its growth to the increasing use of LSD and similar drugs. Philadelphia believes the above-described conditions offer an opportunity for use in the counterintelligence field. Specifically, it is suggested that a few select top-echelon leaders of the New Left be subjected to harassment by a series of anonymous messages with a mystical connotation. ... It is believed that the periodic receipt of anonymous messages, as described above, could cause concern and mental anguish on the part of a "hand-picked" recipient or recipients. Suspicion, distrust, and disruption could follow. SAC, Philadelphia to Director, Nov. 21, 1968
In choosing a subject for such an approach, a thorough knowledge of his background and activities
is necessary. In this regard, the subject or subjects chosen should be individuals with whom we have
close contact through live informant coverage. Through these informants, we might be able to enhance
the effect of the mailings by planning "appropriate" interpretations of the symbols.
Director to SAC, Philadelphia, Dec. 4, 1968
During February, 1972, a confidential source, who has furnished reliable information in the past, advised that Lennon had contributed $75,000 to a newly organized New Left group formed to disrupt the Republican National Convention. The visas of Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, expired on February 29, 1972, and since that time Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has been attempting to deport them. Director to H. R. Haldeman, April 25, 1972
Third Narcotics District, New York Police Department advised that [ ] has been unable to make a narcotics case on the Lennons. NYPD continuing. NYO following. NY Office to Acting Director Gray, May 18, 1972
Miami should note that LENNON is reportedly a "heavy user of narcotics" known as "downers".
This information should be emphasized to local Law Enforcement Agencies covering MIREP,
with regards to subject being arrested if at all possible on possession of narcotics charge.
Local INS has very loose case in NY for deporting subject on narcotics charge involving 1968
arrest in England.
INS has stressed to Bureau that if LENNON were to be arrested in US for possession of narcotics he
would become more likely to be immediately deportable.
SAC, New York to Director, July 27, 1972
Enclosed herewith is one copy of a cartoon which appeared in the 5/7/68 issue of "The Temple News." The disruption of the "New Left" through counterintelligence activities poses problems which have not been previously present in this phase of our work. Whereas the Communist Party and similar subversive groups have hidden their indiscretions and generally shunned publicity, the New Left groups have flaunted their arrogance, immorality, lack of respect for law and order, and thrived on publicity. ... Publicity and public exposure of the New Left, however, can still be used effectively to thwart the growth of those organized groups such as SDS. ... Photographs of student "sit-ins," such as that which occurred at Columbia University, with appropriate captions, such as "Give to the College of your Choice," could be prepared and anonymously circulated among appropriate legislators, prominent alumni members, and others. [emphasis added] SAC, Philadelphia to Director, May 29, 1968
I am indeed pleased to note that you are chairing a committee to investigate the activities of dissident
student elements on our college campuses. I trust this effort will not become just another "study" but
will actually result in concrete results to rid our universities and colleges of the disruptive activities of
radicals, leftists and nihilists.
In this connection, I have taken upon myself a small project regarding the background of Professor
David Herreshoff, of the English Department at Wayne State University. ...
Very truly yours,
A Fed-up Taxpayer!
Dear Senator: I am indeed pleased to note that you are chairing a committee to investigate the activities of dissident student elements on our college campuses. I trust this effort will not become just another "study" but will actually result in concrete results to rid our universities and colleges of the disruptive activities of radicals, leftists and nihilists. In this connection, I have taken upon myself a small project regarding the background of Professor David Herreshoff, of the English Department at Wayne State University. ... Very truly yours, A Fed-up Taxpayer!
Enclosed herewith are two copies of a suggested "news-letter", designed to ridicule the inaugural activities of the National Mobilization Committee and the work of its Chairman, DAVE DELLINGER. SAC, New York to Director, Jan. 21, 1969
WHAT IS THE RATIONAL OBSERVER? It is an attempt by a small group of students, who love democracy,
to preserve democracy and who believe that evil exposed is evil eliminated.
The Rational Observer, FBI-authored, circa Oct. 1969
The following concerning the mailing of 150 pamphlets depicting certain SDS members at Princeton University (PU) as akin to apes. Most outspoken member of the Conservative Club is [ ], who is also on its committee. On occasion she distributtes pro-American anti-communist leaflets on Nassau Street, in Princeton, N.J., and is reportedly a supporter of the JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY. Newark believes that 120 of the pamphlets be sent to her in the hope that she will distribute them at the Conservative Club dinner or on the streets in vicinity of PU. SAC, Newark to Director, Sept. 19, 1968
It is not felt that a number as large as 120 should be used in this manner. It would appear that 50 would
be more realistic. It is further noted that reairtel mentions nothing of distributing the pamphlets to the
various eating and debating clubs on campus. You should consider sending some of these to the above
organizations as well as to other professional societies at Princeton. Of course, all distribution should be
sent anonymously with all measures being taken to protect the Bureau as their source.
Director to SAC, Newark, Sept. 24, 1968
Recent issues of the underground press have carried articles relating to the split which has developed within the Liberation News Service (LNS). One such article has even described a night raid which was conducted by members of the New York faction on the [ ] faction which is now located in Massachusetts. It would seem that this is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the split to further disrupt the underground press and to attack the New Left. Director to SAC, New York, Sept 9, 1968
Authority is granted to make the anonymous mailing as suggested in
referenced letter. The letter submitted as an enclosure therewith may be used for this purpose.
You must take all necessary steps to insure that the Bureau is not identified as the source of this letter.
Director to SAC, New York, Oct. 21, 1968
The letter which could possibly be initiated by an informant in the BUF in Washington, D.C., or which could be a fraudulent letter could ask the WPP, a white militant group that strongly supports the Black Panther Party (BPP), to help the BUF collect the just and modest sum of $25,000.00 from the NMC by making a direct overture to [ ], an NMC leader in Ann Arbor. ... The letter could also state that a copy is being directed to the University of Michigan student newspaper to further publicize the very just nature of the BUF request. Detroit feels that the "Michigan Daily" would be delighted to publish this type of a letter. SAC, Detroit to Director, Aug. 28, 1968
Recently [ ] an instructor at New York University, in public address called both Nixon and Humphrey "leftist bastards." As a result, he was dismissed by New York University. As a result of this action, the above groups instituted student agitation at New York University. Retel states that as a result of this agitation, New York University agreed to allow [ ] to serve as an advisor to Negro students on the campus; and while he has no official connection with New York University, he will be furnished office space. Retel further states that during the campus agitation resulting from this incident, SDS appeared to be attempting to capitalize on the [ ] controversy. This seeming grab for power would appear to offer an opportunity to drive a wedge between the New Left and the black student power advocates. This has been coordinated with Special Agent [ ] of the [ ]. Director to SAC, New York, Oct. 17, 1968
Authority is granted to mail the letter submitted as an enclosure to your airtel to selected New Left and black power organizations and individuals. This mailing is to be anonymous. In preparing this letter you are to assure that all necessary steps are taken to protect the Bureau as the source of the letter. Director to SAC, New York, Oct. 25, 1968
The referenced letter of May 1, 1969, was directed toward inhibiting the embryonic alliance formed locally recently between the Black Panther Party (BPP) and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). It was suggested that efforts be made to exploit the coalition by depicting the working relationship as an effort on the part of SDS to utilize the BPP as a mercenary group fighting a black war for white liberation. In recent weeks also the local BPP group has effected a similar coalition with the Young Lords, a near north side Puerto Rican youth gang and the Young Patriots, the latter an off-shoot [of] Jobs Or Income Now (JOIN), an SDS affiliated groups of young whites. Chicago will follow this and related developments closely and as the opportunity presents itself will submit appropriate counterintelligence suggestions. SAC, Chicago to Director, May 19, 1969
Authority is granted to instruct selected BPP informants for use in creating a rift between the BPP an d the Students for a Democratic Society. These sources should be given different arguments so that this does not look like a plan. Your selection of the sources should be of those who are in a position to influence BPP thinking. Be careful that the sources do not find themselves isolated from the BPP leadership. Director to SAC, Chicago, May 21, 1969
In the 10/10/70 issue of, "The Black Panther", there are cartoons on pages 3, 4, and 5 depicting a woman
holding a gun, a boy holding a gun and a "molotov coctail" and an elderly man holding a gun.
It is suggested the following letter, handwritten on "5 & 10" store-type paper, be sent to the BPP at 93
Summit Ave., Jersey City, NJ, BPP Headquarers:
I just read the 10/10/70 issue of your paper, particularly pages 3, 4, and 5 and was much
impressed with the people's Army. A woman, a boy and an old man. Man, you sure are tough. You're a
joke, man. You're some vanguard of the oppressed black.
With your leaders fleeing the country and "Huey the Homo" afraid to raise his voice for fear he'll
get busted again, I guess all you got left are the women, kids, and old men. The rest are so dumb they
can't be trusted with a weapon because they keep forgetting which end the bullet comes out of.
So go ahead, get high on wine and dream your alcoholic dreams of conquest. About the only successful
conquest you can accomplish is over your modest and proper (what a joke) mattress back ladies auxiliary.
If you'd have joined us last year you'd have been a lot better off. You'd have had some brainpower
behind you, but now? Big zero, with a revolving door leadership.
-- Newark SDS
Full precaution will be taken to protect the Bureau as the source of the letter, which will be written by a
Special Agent and mailed to Newark, NJ.
Dear Pussycats: I just read the 10/10/70 issue of your paper, particularly pages 3, 4, and 5 and was much impressed with the people's Army. A woman, a boy and an old man. Man, you sure are tough. You're a joke, man. You're some vanguard of the oppressed black. With your leaders fleeing the country and "Huey the Homo" afraid to raise his voice for fear he'll get busted again, I guess all you got left are the women, kids, and old men. The rest are so dumb they can't be trusted with a weapon because they keep forgetting which end the bullet comes out of. So go ahead, get high on wine and dream your alcoholic dreams of conquest. About the only successful conquest you can accomplish is over your modest and proper (what a joke) mattress back ladies auxiliary. If you'd have joined us last year you'd have been a lot better off. You'd have had some brainpower behind you, but now? Big zero, with a revolving door leadership. -- Newark SDS
Full precaution will be taken to protect the Bureau as the source of the letter, which will be written by a Special Agent and mailed to Newark, NJ.SAC, Newark to Director, Oct. 16, 1970
Referenced airtel states that the New Mobilization Committee (NMC) has decided to purge the Socialist Workers' Party (SWP) and the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA) from the antiwar demonstration to be held in San Francisco on 11/15/69 and that all affiliation with the SWP and YSA is to be dissolved. This situation seems to afford an excellent opportunity to drive a wedge between the SWP and the peace groups in the Los Angeles area. Consistent with the security of your sources, you should prepare an anonymous communication criticizing the action taken by NMC in freezing the SWP and YSA out of the forthcoming demonstration. Director to SAC, San Francisco, Nov. 3, 1969
It would appear that it would be greatly to the Bureau's advantage not to let thse two major factions in
the Atlanta anti-war movement become overly friendly and cooperative. It is, therefore, suggested that
the Bureau authorize the mailing of the following anonymous letter to DAVID SIMPSON:
... As a communist, which they say you are, you sure don't show any knowledge of communist tactics.
Why don't you check out your Trot friends on the night before your "conference," and you might find
that they are together, busy with plans as to how they will manipulate the coalition to their own
specifications -- being gracious enough to throw you a few scraps to keep you happy.
Our revolution is a long way off if we have to wait for them to do it their way -- they've been carrying
the ball for years, now it should be someone else's turn.
-- A Friend
Dear Dave, ... As a communist, which they say you are, you sure don't show any knowledge of communist tactics. Why don't you check out your Trot friends on the night before your "conference," and you might find that they are together, busy with plans as to how they will manipulate the coalition to their own specifications -- being gracious enough to throw you a few scraps to keep you happy. Our revolution is a long way off if we have to wait for them to do it their way -- they've been carrying the ball for years, now it should be someone else's turn. -- A Friend
Enclosed are two copies of a suggested "memorandum"
concerning the National Steering Committee of the New Mobilization Committee To End The War In
Vietnam (NMC), which is designed to cause splits within NMC leadership by pitting the non-Trotskyites
against radicals who are members of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). It is also designed to bring to
the fore the small number of blacks actually serving on the steering committee.
SAC, New York to Director, Feb. 3, 1970
The Bureau does not concur with your recommendations that a report on WLM activity within your division is not warranted at this time. The WLM has emerged as a loosely structured, but nevertheless nationwide feminine activist movement comprised of women with political opinions ranging from liberal to radical extremism. Interwoven with its goals for equal rights for women, is the advocation for militancy and violence in achieving these goals. ... In view of the above, it is absolutely essential that we conduct sufficient investigation to clearly establish subversive ramifications of the WLM and to determine the potential for violence presented by the various groups connected with this movement as well as any possible threat they may represent to the internal security of the United States. Director to SAC, Chicago, May 11, 1970
The youth-oriented, antiestablishment trend that, among other acts, spawned the chronic protesters
and "street people" of the 1960s, did much to jeopardize established morals and diminish long-prevailing
concepts of femininity. It also activated a more militant era of the feminist movement, stimulated by women
from numerous radical and New Left groups.
The object of this brief study is not the Women's Liberation Movement per se. Rather, the paper presents
a penetrating look at the strategy and tactics being utilized by the SWP/YSA to influence and control the
Exploitation of Women's Movement by Socialist Workers Party, circa 1970