Episode 170: COINTELPRO: The FBI, Legal Abuse, and Assassination

This episode of the Sofa King Podcast looks back at COINTELPRO, the illegal, anti-constitutional, often violent counter intelligence program the FBI ran from 1956-1971. It originally started as a way to counter the growth of communism in the USA, but J. Edgar Hoover very quickly expanded its mandate. This COINTELPRO was designed to spread misinformation, illegally surveil, legally harass, physically threaten, and even kill people who were seen as bad for national security.

Who did this include? The list is quite diverse and comprehensive. COINTELPRO went after commies, white supremacists (including the KKK), the Socialist Worker’s Party, The Black Panthers, The Nation of Islam, Martin Luther King, The Weatherman Underground, war protesters, feminists, the New Left, and the Young Lords. Oh, and according to some leaked documents, at least four presidents used it to gather information on political opponents and other groups they didn’t care for.

The most famous of the COINTELPRO incidents tend to involve the Black Panther Party. In particular, the feds are considered responsible for the “assassination” of Fred Hampton who ran the Chicago Black Panthers. His death is pretty blatant and horrible, involving FBI informants slipping people sleeping drugs just hours before they were shot to death. But COINTELPRO also targeted other groups such as the KKK using means that were unconstitutional and illegal.

So, why do we know about this? Because a ballsy group called the Citizen’s Commission to Investigate the FBI broke into an FBI field office in Media, Pennsylvania and stole 1000 pages of documents on COINTELPRO. These pages linked the FBI directly to deaths like Fred Hampton and dozens of other activities.

If you don’t trust the US government and think the FBI has a history of some horrible plots and illegal actions, you don’t want to miss this episode. If you think the FBI is awesome, and they’ve never done anything wrong, then A) listen to this and see if it changes your mind, or B) consider that you might just be listening to the wrong type of podcast.

Good Article on COINTELPRO: http://www.somuchthis.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/stateRepressionLvR.pdf 

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