COINTELPRO Topics

COINTELPRO is an acronym for the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program, which was used in the 1960s to monitor, manipulate and disrupt social and political movements in the United States. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Black Panthers, anti-Vietnam War activists, and the American Indian Movement were among the program’s targets. Democracy Now! has extensively covered COINTELPRO and its aftermath, as well as similar tactics still used against today’s generation of political activists.

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  • In 1968 Caroline Olson was murdered at a tennis court in Santa Monica. Her husband Kenneth identified several suspects from police photographs, and then years later identified Geronimo Pratt as the murderer. Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, a decorated Vietnam war veteran, a UCLA student, and member of the Black Panthers maintains his innocence despite a conviction on murder that was based on the alleged false testimony of Julius Butler, an ...
    Dec 16, 1996 | Story
  • Former Black Panther Party leader Geronimo Pratt has been
    fighting for 26 years to get a new trial. He was convicted in
    1972 of shooting teacher Caroline Olsen to death and critically
    sounding her husband during a 1968 robbery on a Santa Monica
    tennis court.

    But Geronimo Pratt has always maintained his innocence,
    saying he was at a Panther meeting in Oakland at the time of the
    murder. Pratt and his lawyers also say that he was the victim of
    an...

    Mar 14, 1997 | Story
  • Geronimo Pratt, his family and supporters have always maintained that Geronimo was targeted and framed by the FBI and the LA Police Department because of his activity in the Black Panther Party.
    Jun 11, 1997 | Story
  • Roughly 30 years ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began what it called the Counter Intelligence Program or COINTELPRO— a vast national program that aimed to destroy left-wing and progressive political organizations emerging out of the African American, Native American, and Latino communities. Also targeted were student and youth groups that challenged the Vietnam War and the economic structure of American society.
    Aug 04, 1997 | Story
  • For over 40 years, the FBI waged a campaign against Puerto Rico’s independence movement. Last month, FBI Director Louis Freeh admitted at a congressional budget hearing that his department had been involved in "egregious illegal action, maybe criminal action" by violating the civil rights of Puerto Ricans. Recently, Freeh notified Congressman Jose Serrano that virtually all files on the FBI campaign would be declassified and...
    May 24, 2000 | Story
  • Ten years ago today, on May 24, 1990, a bomb went off under the driver’s seat of Earth First! activist Judi Bari’s car in Oakland, California. Bari was nearly killed by the bomb — her pelvis literally exploded. The passenger in her car, Earth First!er Darryl Cherney was shell-shocked, but less seriously wounded. Bari and Cherney were on their way to a Redwood Summer organizing event. For months before the bombing, Judi Bari...
    May 24, 2000 | Story
  • Democracy Now! has done extensive coverage of COINTELPRO, the FBI’s counterintelligence program, particularly in terms of African Americans and the breaking up of the Black Panthers and its sympathizers throughout the 1970s. But today we’re going to take a different look at the FBI. We’re looking at what happens when culture, music and politics come together. This is the story of John Lennon and the FBI. [includes rush...
    May 25, 2000 | Story
  • On the 10th of June, 1997, amid loud cheers from his family and supporters, former Black Panther Geronimo ji-Jaga Pratt walked out of a Santa Monica, California, courtroom after a judge released him on $25,000 bail — just 12 days after reversing his 1972 murder conviction. [includes rush transcript]
    Oct 05, 2000 | Story
  • On the 19th of May, 1971, two New York City police officers were wounded in a burst of machine gunfire while standing guard outside the home of the Manhattan district attorney, Frank Hogan. Two years later, after three trials, a leader of the Black Panthers, Dhoruba Bin Wahad, was convicted of the crime by a jury that deliberated for less than one hour. He was sentenced to 25 years to life. [includes rush transcript]
    Dec 07, 2000 | Story
  • On the 19th of May, 1971, two New York City police officers were wounded in a burst of machine gunfire while standing guard outside the home of the Manhattan district attorney, Frank Hogan. Two years later, after two hung juries, a Black Panther leader, Dhoruba Bin Wahad, was convicted of the crime by a jury that deliberated for less than one hour. He was sentenced to 25 years to life. Nineteen years later, a court found that he had been...
    Dec 08, 2000 | Story