‘Sit This One Out’: FBI Slammed for Social Media Shoutout to Martin Luther King Jr .
After the FBI took to Twitter Monday with a message that supposedly aimed to honor “the life and work” of Martin Luther King Jr., a chorus of critics immediately prompted the bureau to “sit this one out,” indicating its history of spying on King and attempting to convince the civil rights leader to kill himself.
Each year on the national holiday devoted King, progressives slam and work to counter the whitewashed public story of a male who, particularly in the years leading up to his April 1968 assassination, passionately condemned the “evils” of capitalism, militarism, and bigotry.
The FBI, throughout both the Obama and Trump administrations, has provoked a wave of criticism for publishing shoutouts to King on social media, offered the bureau’s previous treatment of him. Monday was no various.
Author and radio host Richard “RJ” Eskow– who detailed King’s extreme vision and advocacy in a piece for the People’s Action blog site Monday– shared the FBI’s 2020 tweet dedicated to MLK along with his own interpretation.
“FBI, equated: Of all individuals we have actually wiretapped, blackmailed, and attempted to drive to their deaths through suicide, there are none we think more extremely of than Dr. King,” Eskow tweeted.
FBI, equated: Of all individuals we have wiretapped, blackmailed, and attempted to drive to their deaths through suicide, there are none we think more extremely of than Dr. King. https://t.co/rEOkwfYJjS
— Richard (RJ) Eskow (@rjeskow) January 20, 2020
Some critics revealed anger and shock. Rewire.News senior legal expert Imani Gandy wrote in reaction to the FBI, “You’ve got to be fucking joking me.”
Journalist David Corn posed “a genuine question,” asking: “Has the FBI ever said sorry to King’s household for wiretapping King, blackmailing him, and trying to get him to dedicate suicide?”
Others published an anonymous letter from 1964 that the FBI, then under the instructions of J. Edgar Hoover, sent out to King in an attempt to use proof of his extramarital affairs to compel him to eliminate himself.
Check out the letter the FBI sent MLK to attempt to convince him to eliminate himself https://t.co/YxFxHaExEZ
— Alexis Goldstein (@alexisgoldstein) January 20, 2020
The unredacted letter was published by Yale University American history teacher Beverly Gage in the New York Times in 2014.
As Vox reported in 2018:
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According to Enemies, reporter Tim Weiner’s history of the FBI, [the bureau’s domestic intelligence chief William Sullivan] “had a bundle of the King sex tapes prepared by the FBI’s lab service technicians,” and sent it together with this letter to King’s house. The bundle was opened by King’s other half.
ACLU social networks manager Emily Patterson stated on Twitter that “the FBI social networks manager continues to prove we really, actually need to do a much better task of mentor kids history in this country.”
Acknowledging the bureau’s track record of posting about MLK, Patterson included, “Do y’ all think there’s anybody over at FBI marketing who at least * tries * to get them not to do this every year?”
The official ACLU account alerted that “if we let the government whitewash history, we risk letting abuses duplicate themselves.”
Pointer: The FBI spied on Martin Luther King, Jr.– and today classifies Black civil liberties activists as “extremists.”
If we let the government whitewash history, we run the risk of letting abuses repeat themselves.https:// t.co/ CTK1mukQCf
The civil liberties group connected to a piece that Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, released in Wanderer on MLK Day in 2015– detailing “Hoover’s fixation with King,” which Crockford concluded “verged on the fanatical,” and the consequences of that fixation, including the letter.
Crawford also noted that “the FBI’s surveillance of black Americans isn’t simply history. [In 2018], we found out the FBI has been spying on black activists, labeling them ‘Black Identity Extremists.’ The feds also utilize powers acquired through national security laws like the Patriot Act to target individuals in the racially biased drug war.”
“More disturbing: The FBI that spied on King and today classifies Black civil rights activists as ‘extremists,'” Crockford continued, “is now partnering with Huge Tech to collect extraordinary monitoring powers that history has taught us will be utilized to target neighborhoods of color, religious minorities, dissidents, and immigrants.”
FBI director Christopher Wray affirmed before Congress in July 2019 that the bureau has actually stopped utilizing the term “black identity extremism.” Nevertheless, some groups and individuals on Monday shared critiques of the FBI’s existing practices along with denunciations of the bureau’s past habits.
The London-based advocacy group CAGE, which works to empower neighborhoods affected by the War on Horror, tweeted Monday that the FBI still tries “to reduce dissent” and utilizes “unclean methods that would make Edgar Hoover proud. [ is] delighted now to co-opt MLK to try to cover the above.”
CAGE also shared the FBI’s letter to King and, like lots of other critics, referenced COINTELPRO, the domestic counterintelligence program under which the FBI spied on King and many other activists and companies, consisting of the Black Panthers and protesters of the Vietnam War.
This content was originally published here.