History Of COINTELPRO

COINTELPRO, stands for “Counter Intelligence Program,” and it was a series of FBI programs between 1956 – 1971 trageted at disrupting Left Wing movements and groups in the United States.

The Program was conceived initially out the anti-communist sentiment that swept America in the 1950s.

However, the program was later expanded to include the Black resistance movements that rose to demand equality and Black Civil Rights in the United States in the 1960s, and is suspected of involvement in the deaths of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and destruction of the Black Panther Party.

COINTELPRO specialised in Counterintelligence tactics and operations which included utlizing informants, anonymous letters, wiretaps and causing divisions within targeted groups in order to weaken them. 

Organisations like the Nation Of Islam and the Black Panther were infiltrated and divided.

In addition, threatening anonymous letters were sent to Civil Rights leaders like Reverend Martin Luther King.

The FBI viewed civil rights organizers as the most dangerous threat at the time, and COINTELPRO operations escalated as Black Civil Rights Groups became more radicalised following the deaths of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

These activities would eventally result in the decimation of Black Left Wing Resistance Movements.

Today, its not yet clear whether COINTELPRO is targeting the Black Lives Matter Movement and other Left Wing Movements.

However, the current Mass Surveillance State that has been instituted post 9/11 would suggest that if COINTELPRO activities were still continuing, the approach would probably differ significantly from that of the past.

The mass surveillance of our era actually encourages clandestine activities like COINTELPRO on a much larger scale, but lessons can be drawn from the counterinsurgency activities of the 1950s-1970s.

In The FBI’s War On Black America, the COINTELPRO’s activities and their impact on the Black resistance movements of the 1960s-70s is explored.