Weinberg on COINTELPRO
COINTELPRO AND DIVISIVE HATE
by Bill Weinberg, World War 4 Report
The very point of the FBI's COINTELPRO strategy of the 1960s was paranoia, divisive hatred, and ultimately cannibalization of radical opposition movements in the United States. And it was grimly successful. Now that there are signs that US police agencies are reviving such tactics, it is imperative that activists learn from the mistakes of their counterparts two generations ago, and find rational, principled, humane and above all tactically astute ways to respond.
Documents released under public pressure in the program's aftermath in the 1970s revealed that COINTELPRO's stated goal was to "expose, misdirect, destroy and neutralize" the Black Panthers and other oppositional groups. The Klan was never a serious target. Apart from the Panthers, top targets were the American Indian Movement, Puerto Rican independence movement, and New Left. Bitter fruits of COINTELPRO included the police murder of scores of Black Panther leaders and adherents, most famously Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in Chicago, and the frame-ups and wrongful convictions of many others, including Geronimo Pratt and Dhoruba Bin Wahad—both of whom spent two decades in prison before their convictions were overturned. Many veteran Panthers remain in prison today.