"Bad-Jacketing": Lessons In Domestic Counter Intelligence & American Political Repression | AmericaWakieWakie
Considering this has happened to both my comrades and I, the importance of informing you all of the lengths government will go to in order to maintain its monopoly of violence and power over we citizens is paramount to each of our safety. This will be the first installment of unveiling tactics used against radicals and the greater American public.
Today we cover a tactic called “Bad-Jacketing” first employed by infiltration units of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) called COINTELPROs, an acronym for COunter INTELligence PROgram, used as means of covert, and at times illegal, projects aimed at surveying, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations (Wikipedia).
“Snitch-jacketing” or “bad-jacketing” refers to the practice of creating suspicion — through the spread of rumors, manufacture of evidence, etc. — that bona fide organizational members, usually in key positions, are FBI/police informers, guilty of such offenses as skimming organizational funds and the like. The purpose of this tactic was to “isolate and eliminate” organizational leadership; such efforts were continued — and in some instances accelerated — when it became known that the likely outcome would be extreme physical violence visited upon the “jacketed” individuals(s). Bad-jacketing was [and is] a very commonly used technique. For instance, in a COINTELPRO proposal submitted on July 10, 1968 by the SAC, New York, to the Director, it was recommended that:
“…consideration be given to convey the impression that [SNCC leader Stokely] CARMICHAEL is a CIA informer. One method of accomplishing [this] would be to have a carbon copy of informant report reportedly written by CARMICHAEL to the CIA carefully deposited in the automobile of a close Black Nationalist friend… It is hoped that when the informant report is read it will help promote distrust between CARMICHAEL and the Black Community… It is also suggested that we inform a certain percentage of reliable criminal and racial informants that “we have heard from reliable sources that CARMICHAEL is a CIA agent.” It is hoped that these informants would spread the rumor in various large Negro communities across the land.”
The proposal, which was approved the next day, also contained a report on another COINTELPRO directed at Carmichael:
“On 7/4/68, a pretext phone call was placed to the residence of STOKELY CARMICHAEL and in absence of CARMICHAEL his mother was told that a friend was calling who was fearful of the future safety of her son. It was explained to Mrs. CARMICHAEL the absolute necessity for CARMICHAEL to ‘hide-out’ inasmuch as several BPP members were out to kill him, and it was probably to be done sometime this week. Mrs. CARMICHAEL appeared shocked upon hearing the news and stated she would tell STOKELY when he came home.”
One result of Carmichael’s bad-jacketing may be detected in the statement of Black Panther Minister of Defense Huey P. Newton on September 5, 1970 that, “We… charge that Stokely Carmichael is operating as an agent of the CIA.”
While such exercises may seem on their face to be merely slimy, the more lethal implications were brought out clearly by an FBI infiltrator named Thomas E. Mosher who had penetrated the Bay Area Radical Union in 1969 and “insinuated [himself] into a relationship with the national office of the Black Panther Party.” As he later explained…, Fred Bennett, a prominent Bay Area Panther and “general in George Jackson’s People’s Army,” had been successfully bad-jacketed as a police informer at some point in mid-1969. Consquently, Bennett was executed by Jimmie Car, another ranking Panther and People’s Army commander… [A] bad-jacket operation was also under way against Carr; by early 1972, the idea had been successfully implanted in movement circles that Carr was a police agent and was skimming funds from the People’s Army. He was assassinated in his own San Francisco front yard April 6 of that year by Richard Rodriguez (a Southern California Panther) and Llyod Lamar Mims (an L.A. Panther)…”
— Ward Churchill & Jim Vander Wall | Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (1988)
Considering how easy this is for police and federal agencies to do, I do hope if ever you or one of your comrades is accused of informing/cooperating with police repression you will be vigilant of the divisive nature of such allegations and skeptical of the accusers (if known).