Paul Krassner on “The FBI and Me”
following article appeared in the Fourth of July issue of the Los Angeles
Times, subtitled by Krassner — with mock “patriotism” — as “An
American Story.” We reprint it for our readers’ information as further
evidence of the ongoing violations of political liberties by the FBI. Krassner,
who won fame as a political satirist in the 1960s, has a new book out, Sex,
Drugs and the Twinkie Murders: 40 Years of Countercultural Journalism (Loompanics,
July 5, 2001, the resident “president,” George W. Bush, nominated a new
figure to head the FBI, Robert S. Mueller III, a former Marine Corps combat
veteran in the Vietnam war, federal prosecutor, and Justice Department
July 5 New York Times article described the FBI as “an agency that has
been rocked by several scandals and embarrassments in recent years.” An
example of the “deeply embarrassing” activities of the FBI recently, said
the article, “was the revelation that F.B.I. offices across the country had
withheld investigation-related documents from the lawyers for Timothy J. McVeigh,
the Oklahoma City bomber.”
stated he was confident that, despite the FBI’s current “challenges,” his
proposed new FBI head, Mueller, would help the Bureau “remain the premier
counter-terrorism and counter-espionage” arm of the U.S. government.
[The real role of the FBI of course is not “counter-espionage,” as Krassner’s article well demonstrates. Its purpose is to serve as the POLITICAL POLICE for Corporate America. For this purpose it has used the GUISE of “counter-intelligence.” The U.S. government program carried out by the FBI and other agencies in the 1960s and '70s, which targeted the anti-Vietnam War, civil rights, Black nationalist, Chicano, American Indian, Puerto Rican, and all other movements for social change and social justice, was called COINTELPRO — short for “counter-intelligence program.” Among the “premier” accomplishments of COINTELPRO were the conditions it created in which certain events became possible — for example, the political assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.
we see from Paul Krassner’s article, although his physical
assassination did not occur; the FBI did lay the groundwork for that
high school didn’t have a baseball team, but the local American Legion post
wanted to co-sponsor a team with a local automobile dealer, so I tried out and
made the team. I was the only one who brought a shoehorn to all the games to
help put on my spiked shoes. My parents brought a pitcher of orange juice.
Every Sunday morning I became a living parody of a Norman Rockwell painting on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. I would be wearing my uniform with the American Legion logo on the front and “Universal Cars—Sales & Service” on the back, riding my bicycle on my newspaper route, with my dog Skippy in the basket.
Sinatra became my role model when I was an adolescent and he made a 10-minute
film, “The House I Live In.” The lyrics of the title song inspired my
idealism: “All races, all religions, that’s America to me...The right to
speak my mind out, that's America to me.”
wanted to be a G-man — an FBI agent
— when I grew up. I was such a patriotic
kid. But things change, and I became disillusioned.
school I had to do a report on a political candidate. I chose Vito Marcantonio,
who was running for mayor of New York. I didn’t know anything about him except
that Sinatra was supporting his campaign and sang at a fund-raiser. Marcantonio
was running on the American Federation of Labor ticket, but my teacher called
him a Communist, got very agitated, and phoned my parents.
home I learned that the Constitution didn’t guarantee the separation of
politics and culture. One of my favorite songs, “But Not For Me,” included
the phrase, “More clouds of gray than any Russian play could guarantee,” but
on the radio I heard an altered version: “More clouds of gray than any
Broadway play could guarantee.” The Cold War was on.
ahead to October 1968. An FBI agent was reading a profile of me in Life
magazine. He sat down at his typewriter, creatively trying to choose every word
so carefully that it would reek of verisimilitude, as he composed a letter to
the editor on plain stationery: “Your recent issue, which devoted three pages
to the aggrandizement of underground editor Paul Krassner, was too, too much.
You must be hard up for material.
I asking the impossible by requesting that Krassner and his ilk be left in the
sewers where they belong? That a national magazine of your fine reputation (till
now that is) would waste time and effort on the cuckoo editor of an unimportant,
smutty little rag is incomprehensible to me. Gentlemen, you must be aware that
The Realist is nothing more than blatant obscenity...To classify Krassner as
some sort of `social rebel’ is far too cute. He’s a nut, a raving,
letter was signed “Howard Rasmussen, Brooklyn College, School of General
Studies.” Before mailing the letter to the magazine, “Rasmussen” was
required to send a copy to FBI headquarters in Washington, along with a memo
requesting permission because “the Life article was favorable to Krassner.”
return memo — approved by J. Edgar Hoover’s top two assistants, Kartha DeLoach
and William Sullivan — stated: “Authority is granted to send [the] letter,
signed with a fictitious name...Krassner is the editor of The Realist and is one
of the moving forces behind the Youth International Party, commonly known as the
Yippies...This letter could, if printed by Life, call attention to the unsavory
character of Krassner.”
1969, the FBI attempt to assassinate my character escalated to a more literal
approach. I discovered this, not in the file kept by Cointelpro, the FBI’s
counterintelligence program, but as part of a separate project calculated to
cause rifts between the Jewish and black communities.
FBI produced a “WANTED” poster featuring a large swastika. In the four
square spaces of the swastika were photos of Yippie leaders Abbie Hoffman and
Jerry Rubin, SDS leader Mark Rudd, and myself. Under the headline “Lampshades!
Lampshades! Lampshades! Lampshades!” the copy referred to “the only solution
to Negro problems in America” as being “the elimination of the Jews,”
listed in the following order: “All Jews connected with the Establishment. All
Jews connected with Jews connected with the Establishment. All Jews connected
with those immediately above. All Jews except those in the Movement. All Jews in
the Movement except those who dye their skins black. All Jews. (Look out, Abbie,
Jerry, Mark and Paul!)”
flyer was approved, once again, by DeLoach and Sullivan: “Authority is granted
to prepare and distribute on an anonymous basis to selected individuals and
organizations in the New Left the leaflet submitted…Assure that all necessary
precautions are taken to protect the Bureau as the source of these leaflets
[which] suggest facetiously the elimination of these leaders [to] create further
ill feeling between the New Left and the black nationalist movement…”
if some overly militant African American had obtained that flyer and “eliminated” one of those “New Left leaders who are Jewish,” the FBI’s
bureaucratic behind would be covered: “We said it was a facetious suggestion,
a few decades later, the FBI is in disarray. And, rather than censoring song
lyrics, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has budgeted $195
million for five years of an anti-drug media campaign, including $800,000 to the
’N Sync Web site management team, Music Vision, so that the popular group will
instill in youth the notion that “mind reading, scary movies, and hand
puppets” are anti-drug measures.
However, mind reading isn't anti-drug; mind control is.
The Vietnam War evolved into the Drug War, and the military-industrial complex has become the prison-industrial complex. In the United States of Marketing, patriotism has been replaced by consumerism. Adbusters magazine is distributing American flags with the 50 stars being replaced by 50 megacorporate logos.
paradox of America is that, while the nation seethes with corruption, we still
have the freedom to expose that corruption. It's a start.