By Matt Agorist
As the mainstream media praises Muhammad Ali for his boxing career and Parkinson’s while only glossing over his antiwar bravery, there are untold stories of how this amazing man changed the world.
One of these such contributions manifested through a terrible loss during Ali’s fight against the darling of the military industrial complex — Joe Frasier. Although Ali would take one of the worst beatings of his career, his fight provided cover for a burglary that would expose the FBI’s secret spying, murder plots, and COINTELPRO that would change the world forever.
On March 8, 1971, as 300 million people gathered to watch Ali’s first major fight since he was convicted in 1967 for bravely refusing to fight in the unjust Vietnam war, a group of heroic antiwar activists plotted their burglary of the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania.
The noise from the fight would provide cover to the burglars as they broke into the office to expose the FBI’s heinous crimes. The group of eight activists would successfully expose the illegal spying operations of J. Edgar Hoover and how citizens across America were subject to the FBI’s black ops — including Martin Luther King, Jr.
The group took every file in the office, and this cache would eventually lead to major congressional investigations and reform within the United States intelligence apparatus.
According to the Intercept:
The distraction of the fight helped the burglars, who called themselves the Citizens Committee to Investigate the FBI, walk away with more than 1,000 documents, including one that revealed the FBI’s secret COINTELPRO operations. These operations involved a panoply of dirty tricks that ranged from planting disinformation about antiwar activists, to planning the murder of a member of the Black Panthers, and sending innocent people to prison on the basis of false testimony by agents and informers.
Also contained within those files was the entire life history of Muhammad Ali. The FBI had data on Ali dating back to elementary school.
There was some poetic justice in Ali providing cover for the burglary. As more and more secret FBI files became public as a result of the break-in, it was revealed that the FBI had kept tabs on Ali, beginning with its investigation of his Selective Service case. Some of his phone conversations were tapped, and FBI informers gained access to, of all things, his elementary school records in Louisville (teachers said little Cassius Clay, his original name, loved art). Informers also had diligently monitored and typed, word for word, what Ali said on his appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
The eight activists who carried out the burglary of the century were never caught and they never broke their silence until over 40 years later in a book written by Betty L. Medsger, titled, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI and for a and for a documentary titled, 1971, by Johanna Hamilton.
As the world mourns the loss of this great man, it is important we don’t let the media whitewash his antiwar efforts. The fights he endured in the ring were nothing compared to the ridicule and hate he faced from the pro-war establishment class. For taking a stand against killing innocent people, Ali suffered death threats and had his business shut down by the government.
The day after the fight, Ali, being the gentleman he was, made the following statement discounting the loss of a boxing match and noting the importance of everything else.
All kinds of things set us back, but life goes on. You don’t shoot yourself. Soon this will be old news. People got lives to live, bills to pay, mouths to feed. Maybe a plane will go down with ninety people on it. Or a great man will be assassinated. That will be more important than Ali losing. I never wanted to lose, never thought I would, but the thing that matters is how you lose. I’m not crying. My friends should not cry.
Matt Agorist is the co-founder of TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared. He is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Follow @MattAgorist
First the name is Joe Frazier. Joe Frazier WAS NOT big MIC’S champ.This article libels and slanders Joe Frazier much as Ali did before the fight to build the gate. It was the worst thing Ali ever did. Shame on you for continuing to defame a great heavyweight champ!
MIC? Wonder if this author has Frazier mixed up with the very generous, principled, and kind hearted Joe Louis who donated his winnings to Naval and Army relief funds a month after the Pearl Harbor attacks. He wasn’t pro-military/war, he was concerned about the victims. He was also far more of a proactive and intelligent Libertarian-minded thinker than most give him credit.
“When he earned over $371,000 in his first two years as a professional boxer, Louis immediately helped family and friends all over the country. For example, he voluntarily paid back to the government welfare payments his stepfather had received during the Great Depression. Later, he supplied a house for an elderly Indian on property he owned. He also bought needed uniforms for a group of black army officers.
“Louis wanted private citizens to solve many of the problems that Americans were increasingly turning to government to solve. He opposed many of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs.”
Sadly, Louis was later financially crushed by the IRS. https://www.mackinac (dot) org/22
I never realized that happened on the night of an Ali fight. Thanks for this article! Great info. Ali was a man who stood up for so much and was a voice for people who had none, especially at that turbulent time. RIP.
Thanks for a great article about a great person, although it wasn’t necessary to libel Joe Frazer. The US government needs to publicly apologize to Ali for the harm they caused him because of his Free Speech and Patriot response to an illegal war. What no one has said so far is that Ali also stood up for the children of the World and went to great lengths to promote peace and end suffering. Ali was the key figure in the Children’s Peace Foundation of the early 1980’s, which galvanized Hollywood and obtained the support and endorsement of the United Nations. Ali lost most of his speech function as a result of those last fights. He turned to his own spiritual side and learned to be a better father, a better person and a world leader. Will Smith was a perfect choice for the movie, Ali.
G.O.A.T. = Greatest Of All Time/ ALI