by Jalil Muntaqim
Rand Paul’s filibuster opposing nominee John Brennan’s CIA appointment had relevant historical significance. For instance, in terms of the U.S. drone policy and the capacity for targeted killing of U.S. citizens, it is important to know targeted killing of U.S. citizens under a secret program is not new.
On Aug. 25, 1967, J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, initiated a counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO), which reads on page 3: “You are also cautioned that the nature of this new endeavor is such that under no circumstances should the existence of this program be made known outside the Bureau, and appropriate within-office security should be afforded to sensitive operations and techniques considered under the program.”
As a result of Cointelpro, as many as 33 Black Panthers during that time were targeted for killing. The most noted were Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in Chicago. The point is the U.S. government has been involved in secret killing of U.S. citizens for decades, and many citizens who dissented and fought back to this day languish in prison. The Cointelpro practices have since been legalized under the auspices of the Patriot Act, whereby the purpose of Cointelpro as originally initiated is no longer unconstitutional.
Ergo, as the Senate Intelligence Committee proclaims astonishment that the Obama administration would engage in a secret program to use drones to target and kill U.S. citizens deemed “terrorists,” historically the U.S. government has been engaged in this practice for decades. “The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of Black nationalist, hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters, and to counter their propensity for violence and civil disobedience.”
Given the reality that drones are now being operated inside the U.S., coupled with the legalization of “neutralizing” U.S. citizens deemed “terrorists” and by virtue of the Patriot Act and the broader 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, along with the most recent U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder, suggesting drone strikes inside U.S. territories is a possibility, it would be expected progressives across the country would be alarmed.
This is especially true when considering the FBI’s March 9, 1960, Cointelpro memorandum that specifically stated: “Negro youths and moderates must be made to understand that if they succumb to revolutionary teachings, they will be dead revolutionaries.”
Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster should have been supported by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party in the Senate and progressive folks across the country. I urge all progressives to further investigate the allegations made here, and aggressively oppose the use of surveillance-spy drones and targeted killing of U.S. citizens.
Demand from your state and federal elected officials the enactment of “no drone fly zones” in each state and that local elected officials pass resolutions and proclamations in support of “no drone fly zones” in each respective city.
I am one of 25 incarcerated victims of Cointrelpro and have been in prison over 40 years.
Many readers will remember Jalil when he spent two years in San Francisco County Jail as one of the San Francisco 8 and the sacrifice he made to free them all, except for himself and Herman Bell, who had to return to prison in New York State, where they have been held for decades on Cointelpro charges. He is the author of “We Are Our Own Liberators: Selected Prison Writings” (Arissa Media Group, 2010). Send our brother some love and light: Anthony “Jalil” Bottom, 77A-4283, Attica Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 149, Attica NY 14011.