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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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  • Fredhampton-web2
    Today marks the fortieth anniversary of the death of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. On December 4th, 1969, Chicago police raided Fred Hampton’s apartment and shot and killed him in his bed. He was just twenty-one 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...
    Dec 04, 2009 | 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...
    Aug 13, 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...
    Oct 29, 2010 | Story
  • 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 Subpoenas that were withdrawn have been reactivated, and a new subpoena was served to a Palestinian solidarity activist in Chicago.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]
    Dec 23, 2010 | 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

    Feb 17, 2011 | Web Exclusive
  • 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...
    Jun 06, 2011 | Story
  • Button_2,_opt_2
    Investigative journalist Seth Rosenfeld’s new book, "Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power," is based on more than 300,000 pages of records Rosenfeld received over three decades through five Freedom of Information lawsuits against the FBI. The book tracks how then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover ordered his agents to investigate and then disrupt the Free Speech Movement that began...
    Aug 23, 2012 | Story
  • Seth_rosenfeld-subversives-2
    Investigative journalist Seth Rosenfeld’s new book, "Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power," is based on more than 300,000 pages of records Rosenfeld received over three decades through five Freedom of Information lawsuits against the FBI. The book tracks how then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover ordered his agents to investigate and then disrupt the Free Speech Movement that began...
    Aug 24, 2012 | Story
  • Assata_shakur_2
    The FBI has added the former Black Panther Assata Shakur to its Most Wanted Terrorists list 40 years after the killing for which she was convicted. Born Joanne Chesimard, Shakur was found guilty of shooting dead a New Jersey state trooper during a gunfight in 1973. Shakur has long proclaimed her innocence and accused federal authorities of political persecution. She escaped from prison in 1979 and received political asylum in Cuba. On...
    May 03, 2013 | Story
  • Davis_and_lenox
    One day after the exiled former Black Panther Assata Shakur became the first woman named to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, we’re joined by another legendary African-American activist, Angela Davis, as well as Shakur’s longtime attorney, Lennox Hinds. Davis, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the subject of the recent film, "Free Angela and All Political Prisoners." She argues that...
    May 03, 2013 | Story