In 1972, the CIA Director Relabelled “Dissidents” As “Terrorists” So He Could Continue Spying On Them … And Nothing Has Changed

U.S. Government Labels Dissent As Terrorism

For 500 years, government spying has always aimed at crushing dissent.

Likewise, the U.S. government has long used anti-terror laws to crush dissent and protect the powers-that-be.

As Edward Snowden said:

These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.

He’s right. And see this.

Indeed, the government arbitrarily labels anyone it doesn’ t like – including American citizens – as “terrorists”.

As PrivacySOS notes (via ACLU):

[Washington Post reporter] Betty Medsger’s new book on the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, “The Burglary”, contains some relevant and largely suppressed history. In the wake of the Media, PA burglary and the subsequent newspaper articles exposing J. Edgar Hoover’s red squad surveillance programs, some CIA officers began to voice dissent internally about their own agency’s troubling domestic operations, codenamed MHCHAOS. In 1972, Medsger writes, CIA director Richard Helms

called his top aides together and said he was adamant that MHCHAOS would not be “stopped simply because some members of the organization [the CIA] do not like this activity.” He made changes in order to protect the program more now that the [dissident officers were] so determined to have it end. To the maximum extent possible, within the agency, the program and the agent then in charge of it, Richard Ober, would be identified with terrorism and not with American dissidents. The massive program would in fact have the same functions it always had, including the monitoring and destruction of the more than five hundred alternative newspapers staffs it had under surveillance. (At the same time, the FBI also monitored alternative and campus newspapers, sometimes suppressing them.)

Henceforth, Colby wrote in a memorandum after that meeting, the label “international terrorist” would replace “political dissident” as the target of the CIA’s illegal domestic operations. As part of this image transformation, Helms did what Hoover had done many times—and would do again in April 1971 to protect COINTELPRO when he thought it was about to be revealed—to minimize the possibility that secret operations would be exposed. Helms ended MHCHAOS in name, but continued it in reality with a new name: International Terrorism Group. It would be much easier for people, including people within the CIA, to accept the domestic operations if they thought they were aimed primarily at stopping terrorism rather than at stopping dissent.

It’s common to hear law enforcement officials describe non-violent activists as terrorists today.

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  • Lavrentiy Beria

    American collectivists and apparatchiks finally understand that Solzhenitsyn was not a dissident but a terrorist.

  • Tonto

    Well… Dissidents are terrorists. Dissidents generally are hellbent ideologues with an agenda, usually an obvious propaganda agenda, and quite often expressed with the attitude of an obsessive compulsive, irrational and even pathological hatred of the government. There is nothing erudite about being a dissident. Anyone can a keyboard can be a dissident today. Today, it just take a certain know-it-all attitude, and you’re in dissident business.

    I am thinking of people like Carl Herman, who thinks he has solved every problem from the recession/depression, to poverty,and income inequality by his obsessive compulsive, irrational and even pathological hatred of the government. What these dissident/terrorists fail to realize is, their little cliques have no where near the intellectual firepower of the millions of government employees that set government policy.

    But these dissident/terrorists continue to ramble on incoherently trying to incite riots, or non-violent interruptions to the steady ebb and flow of the state. If dissident/terrorists become a real nuisance, they probably should be sent off to the gulags before they actually do incite a riot…

    Certainly, the government is justified in keeping tabs on them. That only makes common sense. These dissident/terrorists with their fruitcake ideas, could get someone’s immature and altruist kid in deep trouble that could ruin their life.

    • Beowulf73

      WOW, why did they even bother to put in the bill of rights? Let’s just put everyone in chains and put them to work licking the boots of their betters……………….

    • GAguilar

      How right you are! Thank God there are a few patriots left out there in the land of terrorism.

      People who didn’t believe we’d been attacked at the Gulf of Tonkin to kick off the Vietnam War? Terrorists.

      Vietnam War veterans who returned and then turned against the war? Terrorists.

      Quakers who were against the Vietnam, Afghan and Iraq wars? Terrorists. (Don’t even ask about “pacificists.” They ought to be “pacified” alright.)

      People who didn’t believe President Bush when he told us that Saddam had WMDs and that he posed us an imminent threat? Terrorists.

      Anyone who calls our waterboarding “torture” is a terrorist, because said person isn’t fully supporting our war effort. That goes for John McCain, who has called waterboarding torture. (He doesn’t understand that when we do it, we do it for Christ and freedom and democracy, while when our enemies do it, they do it because, well, they’re terrorists.)

      The principle is simple: anyone who is not WITH America is against America, and is, therefore, a terrorist.

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  • Tony Lopez-Cisneros


  • Pvblivs

    If you will excuse my saying so, all your links seem to point to yourself. I wouldn’t put it past the government to label dissidents as “terrorists.” And I certainly wouldn’t put it past the government to zero out the bank accounts of people it doesn’t like. But I would really like to see an external source, rather than “believe what I am saying now because I said it before.”