Controlled Dissent

Covert Operations And The Repression Of Political Dissent

Covert Operations And The Repression Of Political Dissent

by Jonathan Wilson

This essay will be covering the topic of government agency use of covert operations as a form of social control. Specifically, the focus will be on the use of covert operations that are intended to sabotage activist movements, organizations and influential individuals for the purpose of reducing or removing their ability to influence public sentiment. This essay will be using research to emphasise the point that while these actions are condoned and justified under the guise of protecting the public, catching criminals, and enforcing the law, the real purpose of these actions is purely ideological. It appears that the real goal is to protect the status quo, and suppress or discredit any people or groups that promote ideas or information that could undermine the legitimacy of the state in the eyes of the general public. This is evident in that most of the organizations and individuals targeted are not engaging in illegal behavior. Ironically it is the government agencies that are breaking the law with the tactics they use in these covert operations. But, for the most part, these agencies are able to shield themselves from public and judicial oversight through the secrecy of their actions. As sociologist Gary T Marx (1974) observes "because of the secretive nature of the actions, civil liberties appear to remain intact".

The agency that is most widely known for the planning and operations of these covert tactic in North America is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. J. Edgar Hoover was appointed the director of the Bureau of Investigations or (BoI) in 1924 after working for the General Intelligence Department (GID) where he had already honed his tactics of ideological suppression using a network of paid informers to infiltrate organizations that were deemed politically undesirable.(Churchill, Wall 1990). Once becoming director Hoover was able to expand the bureau's resources very quickly, more than tripling the number of offices and personnel by the end of the 1920's.(www.fbi.gov 2007). Hoover quickly crafted the Bureau's policy and thinking around his own beliefs, setting up a standardized training for agents.(Churchill, Wall 1990). Former agent Jack Levine who was interviewed in the book The FBI Nobody Knows (Cook 1964) said the recruits were "heavily indoctrinated with radical right wing propaganda."(pg. 3). Hoover was also very concerned about the Bureau image and would only cooperate with media who would portray them in a favorable light, essentially having newspapers regurgitating as fact the FBI assessments of itself and other matters. Any negative press was deemed un-American. By 1938 the F.B.I. had launched illegal investigations of supposed subversion in the steel, coal, fur, newspaper industries, educational institutions, organized labor, youth groups governmental affairs, and the armed forces.(Churchill, Wall 1990) Oddly enough, the Bureau neglected to investigate any of the corporations that were providing support and supplies to the Nazis during WW2. Hoover remained the Director of the F.B.I. all the way until his death in 1972. (Churchill, Wall 1990).

Oprah's "Truth" spells O B E D I E N C E (or fascism?)

America is in more trouble than I thought if the Oprah group-think barometer is any indication. On today's Oprah show entitled "Truth in America", Oprah had on New York Times columnist Frank Rich who penned a book called "The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina.” Sacred cows that were discussed were whether or not the nation was misled into a war in Iraq and Katrina. The ostensible outright manipulation of evidence and facts (i.e. LYING) for WMD's and going to war was all couched and presented with rather safe language by citing bad intelligence, bad sources, the dems knew too, fictionalities etc. However, the language police sirens internalized in Oprah's head went off like crazy when somehow Rich intimated that Bush was lying about the state of affairs during Katrina. During this exchange, Oprah began to behave erratically and fearfully as she devotedly defended the "Decider". No, No...I don't think he way lying - I think you have to say he was misinformed etc..etc.. This caught my ear because Oprah appeared frantic in getting the point in when all she had to do was let Mr. Rich get his point in and then say something like, I think we can all agree that Mr.