A recently released and redacted FBI report warns about a resurgence in ideologically motivated criminal activity by what appears to be a clandestine group. But the report isn’t referring to an increase in hate crimes being statistically linked to Donald Trump’s election. Rather, in a move frighteningly reminiscent of the FBI’s COINTELPRO activity, the report focuses on what it refers to as black identity extremists.
For the unfamiliar, the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program was instituted by J. Edgar Hoover with a stated goal to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalist” groups. The Black Panther Party, Martin Luther King Jr. and SNCC, and Ron Karenga's U.S. were primary COINTELPRO targets—with the most damning evidence coming in the form of a 1964 FBI letter warning King to kill himself.
Verbiage within the recent FBI report is particularly disturbing, with the government agency noting: “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremists perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory, lethal violence against law enforcement.”
Much like the fallacy of labeling ’60s-era black nationalists as “hate groups,” the new report makes the claim that police violence committed against unarmed black citizens is merely a “perception,” when the killings of Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, and countless other cases provide factual evidence of said police brutality. Michael Brown’s killing is specifically mentioned as an inciting incident, which further speaks to the borderline propaganda of the FBI report, given how vividly a 2015 Department of Justice report described the conditions leading up to Brown’s killing.
The FBI also apparently links a propensity for violence against members of law enforcement to the teachings of Noble Drew Ali and the Moorish Science Temple of America. There’s an entire section earmarked, “Convergence of BIE and Moorish Sovereign Citizen Ideology Very Likely Leads to Violence Against Law Enforcement Officers” that reads like Carrie Mathison’s infamous corkboard from Homeland.
If you missed the George Joseph’s July 2015 Intercept report, which used a Freedom of Information Act request to provide receipts that the Department of Homeland Security was collecting information on people participating in Black Lives Matter protests, this may come as news. But, as President Trump shrugs off the “very fine people” making America white supremacist again, the FBI would appear to be recycling some disturbing strategies from its past.