Agent-Provocateurs in the Vietnam antiwar movement

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Fri Oct 11 07:43:36 MDT 1996


1. He "told so many lies practically all his life that I can't believe
   anything he says."

On November 27, Hoover warned the nation of a particularly
despicable plot by terrorists. A group of Catholic militants led by
Fathers Philip and Daniel Berrigan planned to "blow up underground
electrical conduits and steam pipes" in Washington, Hoover
announced. [I wonder if they were going to use some of Malecki's
leftover dynamite.] The plotters were also "concocting a scheme to
kidnap a highly placed Government official." The official, the Justice
Department later revealed, was Henry Kissinger. (Kissinger informed
Nixon that if he was kidnapped the government should "meet no
demands of the kidnappers," and that "if you should receive any
communication from me to the contrary, you should assume it was
made under duress.") Although Hoover's accusation evoked laughter in
many circles, Philip Berrigan didn't take it so lightly. "I thought
something was afoot," he recalled. In prison, Berrigan had recently
come to suspect that a fellow inmate might be passing information on
him to the government. "I got a feeling that something strange was
going on," he said, "and I had nothing more to do with him." It turned
out that the inmate, a paid FBI informant and agent provocateur, was
setting him up "in order to save his own hide," Berrigan said. "They
had threatened him with another five years for carrying contraband
into the penitentiary." Two months later, the government might
actually make the charges stick. "I had to get my mind ready for the
possibility of being in jail the rest of my life," he remembered. The
case was dropped in April 1971, but Justice later filed another
indictment against Berrigan and six others focusing on their antidraft
activities. That case ended in a mistrial (the government's cause was
not helped when the father of the only witness, the FBI informant,
remarked that his son had "told so many lies practically all his life that
I can't believe anything he says").

2. "An FBI informer, Robert Hardy, was the primary organizer of the raid."

Simultaneously, in Camden, New Jersey, twenty-eight Catholic war
resisters raided a draft board. As was later revealed at their trial, an
FBI informer, Robert Hardy, was the primary organizer of the raid.
With the bureau's assistance, he had devised a plan for the break-in; he
had also purchased tools and walkie-talkies with FBI money.
Approximately eighty FBI agents were conveniently on hand the night
of the raid to make arrests; the indictment against the raiders had been
drawn up by the Justice Department the day before. Hardy testified at
the trial that he had become involved with the original group of
protesters (which included his parish priest) in the hope of keeping
them from going too far, and that the FBI promised him they would be
stopped before actually undertaking the break-in. But, Hardy disclosed,
an FBI agent told him that "someone in the little White House" in San
Clemente wanted the crime to actually take place."

(From Tom Wells' "The War Within")

Louis Proyect



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