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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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  • Play_pratt
    We look at the life of former Black Panther, Geronimo ji-Jaga Pratt, who died in Tanzania on Thursday. In 1972, Pratt was wrongfully convicted of the murder of Caroline Olsen for which he spent 27 years in prison, eight of those in solitary confinement. He was released in 1997 after a judge vacated his conviction. The trial to win his freedom revealed that the Los Angeles Black Panther leader was a target of the FBI’s counterintelligence...
    June 06, 2011 | Story
  • Chomsky-2
    We continue our conversation with world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky. [includes rush transcript]

    Watch Part I of the Interview Democracy Uprising in the USA? here

    February 17, 2011 | Web Exclusive
  • Fbi-raid
    The FBI’s probe into antiwar activists is growing. In September, FBI agents raided the homes and offices of activists in Chicago and Minneapolis. Subpoenas that were withdrawn have been reactivated, and a new subpoena was served to a Palestinian solidarity activist in Chicago. We speak with two of the people targeted and two former FBI agents. [includes rush transcript]
    December 23, 2010 | Story
  • Wellstone
    Minnesota Public Radio has obtained the FBI record of the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, who died in a plane crash eight years ago this week. The records show the FBI first tracked Wellstone in 1970 after he was arrested at an anti-Vietnam War protest. The records might also raise new questions about the plane crash that killed Wellstone, his wife, his daughter and three staffers. The National Transportation Safety Board determined...
    October 29, 2010 | Story
  • Screenshot2014-06-20at4.03.09pm
    As the Justice Department announces it has closed nearly half of its investigations into unresolved killings from the civil rights era, we look back at the 1964 murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, the subject of the new documentary Neshoba: The Price of Freedom. Although dozens of white men are believed to have been involved in the murders and cover-up, only one man, a Baptist preacher named...
    August 13, 2010 | Story
  • Fredhampton-web2
    Today marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. On December 4, 1969, Chicago police raided Fred Hampton’s apartment and shot and killed him in his bed. He was just 21 years old. Black Panther leader Mark Clark was also killed in the raid. While authorities claimed the Panthers had opened fire on the police who were there to serve a search warrant for weapons, evidence later emerged that told a very...
    December 04, 2009 | Story
  • Dunn1
    Newly declassified documents reveal that an active member of Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance in Washington state was actually an informant for the US military. The man everyone knew as "John Jacob" was in fact John Towery, a member of the Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis. The military’s role in the spying raises questions about possibly illegal activity. The Posse Comitatus law bars...
    July 28, 2009 | Story
  • Amys_column_default_640x360_2014
    Back in the Watergate era, the Church Committee documented and exposed extraordinary abuses by the government. Of course some people tried to block its work—Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Sound familiar? We confront a similar challenge today.

    Listen to this Column

    April 29, 2009 | Columns & Articles
  • We take a look at one of the most famous special Senate investigations of government misconduct. In the mid-1970s, a US Senate committee chaired by Democratic Senator Frank Church of Idaho conducted a massive investigation of the CIA and FBI’s misuse of power at home and abroad. The multi-year investigation examined domestic spying, the CIA’s attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, the FBI and CIA’s efforts to infiltrate and...
    April 24, 2009 | Story
  • The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated forty years ago today. He was in Memphis, Tennessee to march with sanitation workers demanding a better wage. We spend the hour on his life and legacy. We hear from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was with King at the Lorraine Motel, where he was killed; Harry Belafonte, who was with Coretta Scott King at the King home in Atlanta on April 4, 1968; Dr. Vincent Harding, a close friend and...
    April 04, 2008 | Story