Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

How the FBI spied on the civil rights movement
Memphis Commercial Appeal ^ | September 12, 2010 | Marc Perrusquia

Posted on 09/15/2010 10:11:46 AM PDT by gandalftb

Ernest Withers raised his camera. This wasn't just a murder. This was history. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood here a few hours earlier chatting with aides when a sniper squeezed off a shot from a hunting rifle. Now, as night set over Memphis, Withers was on the story.

A veteran freelancer for America's black press, Withers was known as "the original civil rights photographer," an insider who'd covered it all, from the Emmett Till murder that jump-started the movement in 1955 to the Little Rock school crisis, the integration of Ole Miss and, now, the 1968 sanitation strike that brought King to Memphis and his death.

The grief-stricken aides photographed by Withers on April 4, 1968, had no clue, but the man they invited in that night was an FBI informant -- evidence of how far the agency went to spy on private citizens in Memphis during one of the nation's most volatile periods.

The April 10, 1968, report, which identifies Withers only by his confidential informant number -- ME 338-R -- is among numerous reports reviewed by The Commercial Appeal that reveal a covert, previously unknown side of the beloved photographer who died in 2007 at age 85.

Those reports portray Withers as a prolific informant who, from at least 1968 until 1970, passed on tips and photographs detailing an insider's view of politics, business and everyday life in Memphis' black community.

As a foot soldier in J. Edgar Hoover's domestic intelligence program, Withers helped the FBI gain a front-row seat to the civil rights and anti-war movements in Memphis.

(Excerpt) Read more at commercialappeal.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: civilrights; martinlutherking
Fascinating. I always wondered how the FBI could have had such a constant, detailed and timely surveillance of the civil rights movement.
1 posted on 09/15/2010 10:11:49 AM PDT by gandalftb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

Infiltration is the only sure way to get humint.
Wait til we find out how much they have on the
Tea party.


2 posted on 09/15/2010 10:16:04 AM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

The problem was the FBI, not the spying.


3 posted on 09/15/2010 10:21:25 AM PDT by Navy Patriot (Sarah and the Conservatives will rock your world.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

“..I always wondered how the FBI could have had such a constant, detailed and timely surveillance of the civil rights movement.”

I am confident Withers was only one of a number of sources.


4 posted on 09/15/2010 10:22:23 AM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda" and its allies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Navy Patriot

“The problem was the FBI, not the spying”

what are you suggesting??


5 posted on 09/15/2010 10:24:10 AM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda" and its allies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: tet68
"Wait til we find out how much they have on the
Tea party."

True dat!

6 posted on 09/15/2010 10:27:19 AM PDT by haywoodwebb (Islam is a violent political ideology masquerading as a religion . . . Black & Humble)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

Didn’t I hear somewhere years ago that J Edgar Hoover used to personally play for LBJ lurid tapes of MLK Jr having sex with various women (other than Coretta) that were recorded via bugs implanted in hotel rooms? Imagine that, a voyeur’s club meeting in the White House.


7 posted on 09/15/2010 10:30:18 AM PDT by CardCarryingMember.VastRightWC (If my kids make a mistake in the voting booth, I don't want them punished with a community organizer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

We are a much more monitored society thn we realize. Better our FBI be in on it than to leave it to the KGB.


8 posted on 09/15/2010 10:30:49 AM PDT by Waco (From Seward to Sarah)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb
I'm sure there's no mention of the fact that this "spying" went on under the direction and order of the Bobby Kennedy Justice Dept. and the John F. Kennedy presidency.

We went thru this yesterday.

9 posted on 09/15/2010 10:33:39 AM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Navy Patriot

What “problem”?


10 posted on 09/15/2010 10:34:40 AM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

Oh, by the way, these ‘’spies’’ and ‘’informants’’ are our soldiers too, just as much as the boys in uniform. Take note that it is almost always the RATS who are trying to expose them, stab them in the back, put their lives in danger, etc.


11 posted on 09/15/2010 10:36:32 AM PDT by Waco (From Seward to Sarah)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Navy Patriot

If you really knew what was going on with MLK and his commie cohorts you wouldn’t make a statement like that.

Of course MLK’s files have been sealed, just like his comrade Ted Kennedy.

My uncle worked in Hoover’s FBI and he knew plenty.


12 posted on 09/15/2010 10:37:06 AM PDT by Ammo Republic 15
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Ammo Republic 15
If you really knew what was going on with MLK and his commie cohorts

Well, don't leave us hanging. Details, man, details.
13 posted on 09/15/2010 10:41:09 AM PDT by randomhero97 ("First you want to kill me, now you want to kiss me. Blow!" - Ash)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb
Withers helped the FBI gain a front-row seat to the civil rights and anti-war movements in Memphis.

More like two Democrat administrations gained that front-row seat.

14 posted on 09/15/2010 10:41:17 AM PDT by Dahoser (Separation of church and state? No, we need separation of media and state.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ammo Republic 15

“...My uncle worked in Hoover’s FBI and he knew plenty.”

Ditto my uncle.


15 posted on 09/15/2010 10:42:37 AM PDT by Monterrosa-24 (...even more American than a French bikini and a Russian AK-47.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: elpadre

Surveillance of operations.


16 posted on 09/15/2010 10:47:35 AM PDT by Vaduz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: randomhero97

I you are a conservative, and I’m sure you are, then I think you would probably trust the words of Senator Jesse Helms. Research his comments during the vote for the MLK Federal holiday. You can find it in the Congessional Record, Oct 3rd, 1983.

Frankly, it is quite well known of King’s communist associations...he also had associations with some of America’s worst enemies. He and the Kennedy’s worked hand in hand passing the Civil Rights Act and also the 1965 Immigration Act.


17 posted on 09/15/2010 10:51:40 AM PDT by Ammo Republic 15
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: elpadre

>>“The problem was the FBI, not the spying”
>
>what are you suggesting??

If I might make a stab at it: the basics of this ‘spying’ is simply human-intelligence. Human-Intel covers a lot of things, political polling (as an example) could be considered a form thereof. Human-Intelligence isn’t, in itself, a bad or undesirable thing; rather how it is implemented is: such as the common story of a government-agent instigating some illegal action to bust the people in that group (commonly called ‘entrapment’).

The FBI is somewhat notorious for the aforementioned entrapment-style of ‘intelligence’ which *does* do one notable thing: generate result/convictions. In the world of the justice-system/bureaucracy the only quantitative metric they have is convictions (esp as related to charges/accusations and costs via ratio).


18 posted on 09/15/2010 10:52:42 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Monterrosa-24

“Ditto my uncle”

Good chance they knew one another. My uncle’s office was just a few doors down from Hoover’s...


19 posted on 09/15/2010 10:55:54 AM PDT by Ammo Republic 15
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Ammo Republic 15
If you really knew what was going on with MLK and his commie cohorts you wouldn’t make a statement like that.

I do, and of course I would.

Of course MLK’s files have been sealed, just like his comrade Ted Kennedy.

This is Captain Obvious' department.

My uncle worked in Hoover’s FBI and he knew plenty.

I'm sure HE did, again, see the Captain.

20 posted on 09/15/2010 11:02:18 AM PDT by Navy Patriot (Sarah and the Conservatives will rock your world.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: OneWingedShark
rather how it is implemented is

Bingo! dead on.

21 posted on 09/15/2010 11:05:55 AM PDT by Navy Patriot (Sarah and the Conservatives will rock your world.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb

Here in PA, Fast Eddie Rendell just got busted for having his “Homeland Security” people compiling surveillance on Enviroweenie groups that were opposing Marcellus Shale Drilling.

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2010/09/rendell_ends_monitoring_of_opp.html

Never get between Governor Soprano and a big revenue stream, kids!


22 posted on 09/15/2010 11:06:51 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Navy Patriot

My friend, I wasn’t trying to be smart with you or anything like that.

I was just a little bit confused over you comment.


23 posted on 09/15/2010 11:08:35 AM PDT by Ammo Republic 15
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: gandalftb
No discussion on how the FBI spied would be complete without an investigation on why the FBI would be interested in spying. Did these civil rights groups get support from foreign sources? Remember, this alledgely took place during the cold war when America's enemies had in interest in stirring discontent.

I am not saying there were not reasons for discontent regarding civil rights, but if foreign powers were supporting domestic dissidents, that is a big story.

24 posted on 09/15/2010 11:21:26 AM PDT by The_Media_never_lie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ammo Republic 15
Frankly, it is quite well known of King’s communist associations...he also had associations with some of America’s worst enemies. He and the Kennedy’s worked hand in hand passing the Civil Rights Act and also the 1965 Immigration Act.

Yes, but he was a very clean, and articulate negro.

25 posted on 09/15/2010 11:27:47 AM PDT by UCANSEE2 (lame and ill-informed post)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Ammo Republic 15; Navy Patriot

POWER TO THE PEOPLE.

Odd how, when someone says that, it actually entails the exact opposite.

MLK was trying to unite the blacks to make them a powerful political force. Since he was Republican, one would assume he would ‘lead’ them that way.

The DEMS and COMMIES didn’t like that. They had him killed and put Jesse Jackson, a good commie, in his place.

End of story.


26 posted on 09/15/2010 11:42:53 AM PDT by UCANSEE2 (lame and ill-informed post)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Ammo Republic 15
The FBI, like all the alphabet agencies has political factions, and has some infiltrators from the Rat left.

There are some Constitutionalists as well, however the leftists have been able to sabotage the exposure (by the FBI) of the Communist left's infiltration into so much of American liberal institutions. This sabotage and SELECTED leaks is in violation of the law but has always been protected by Rat Presidents. Republican Presidents have been weak in prosecution or completely cooperative in appointing Rat ringer special prosecutors.

The Marxist Rats consistently want to stop ANY LEO domestic intelligence because the criminal evidence gathered would be devastating if they ever lost control of the sabotage and selective leaking from those law enforcement agencies.

Like maybe a leak by the Constitutionalists faction of the FBI.

27 posted on 09/15/2010 11:44:28 AM PDT by Navy Patriot (Sarah and the Conservatives will rock your world.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: UCANSEE2

Useful idiots always have hard line commies hanging around the.


28 posted on 09/15/2010 11:51:01 AM PDT by Navy Patriot (Sarah and the Conservatives will rock your world.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: UCANSEE2

I think we’d have been better off with the Commie King rather than the Commie Jackson!


29 posted on 09/15/2010 11:55:16 AM PDT by Ammo Republic 15
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: UCANSEE2

I think we’d have been better off with the Commie King rather than the Commie Jackson!


30 posted on 09/15/2010 11:55:19 AM PDT by Ammo Republic 15
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Navy Patriot

How true.


31 posted on 09/15/2010 11:56:51 AM PDT by Ammo Republic 15
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Ammo Republic 15

Wow!

MLK was a Communist and a Republican.


32 posted on 09/15/2010 12:27:45 PM PDT by trumandogz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Deb

Yep, the Saint Kennedys, half brothers to MLK himself, are sainted and their own treatment of MLK is always overlooked.

Historical revisions only serve The Party.


33 posted on 09/15/2010 12:50:55 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Ask yourself,where does Saudi Arabia fit on a scale of "passive" to "moderate" to "extremist" Islam?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: trumandogz

Towards the end of his life, MLK was being lured into a class war message.

He certainly wouldn’t see anything positive about a Democrat Party that raises up identity politics and then calls black republicans Uncle Toms, Aunt Jemimahs, and Sarah Palin a C*N*.


34 posted on 09/15/2010 12:53:23 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Ask yourself,where does Saudi Arabia fit on a scale of "passive" to "moderate" to "extremist" Islam?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: The_Media_never_lie
"Did these civil rights groups get support from foreign sources?"

There was foreign support. Cubans and others, Stokely Carmichael had significant foreign ties.

Check this out from the NSA archives:

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB222/family_jewels_pt2.pdf

35 posted on 09/15/2010 5:24:01 PM PDT by gandalftb (Semper fi, carry on Corporal CJ Boyd, USMC, 2/4 Echo Company)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: trumandogz
Wow!

"So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers."

MLK--1967

What an interesting viewpoint on our Vietnam Veterans, made during wartime. Imagine the pride on our faces of our servicemen as they heard this great "Republican" defending their sacrifice. I bet once your heard MLK accuse you of killing a "million Vietnamese, mostly children" then getting spit on at the airport was nothing. Thank you, MLK!

Here is the most "Republican" paragraph he ever composed, in my opinion.

"I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about "Where do we go from here," that we honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here. And one day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life's marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised. You see, my friends, when you deal with this, you begin to ask the question, "Who owns the oil?" You begin to ask the question, "Who owns the iron ore?" You begin to ask the question, "Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two-thirds water?" These are questions that must be asked."

MLK--1967

Wow! Powerful words condemning the entire capitalistic structure. He was the World's first "Republican Community Organizer." But his rhetoric is entirely different from Obama's...seriously.
36 posted on 09/15/2010 5:30:16 PM PDT by Spike Knotts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Navy Patriot
Useful idiots always have hard line commies hanging around the(m).

Rather like Obama and his 'crew'.

37 posted on 09/15/2010 8:12:25 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (lame and ill-informed post)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Ammo Republic 15
I think we’d have been better off with the Commie King rather than the Commie Jackson!

We will never know.

38 posted on 09/15/2010 8:15:15 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (lame and ill-informed post)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson