Protest Jon Nelson Trey White Terrell Woods
The Weather Underground • The Weather Underground (WUO) was one of the first protest groups to adopt violence as a tactic. • The group wanted to bring horrors of the Vietnam War home to ordinary Americans. • They developed their name a Bob Dylan song. It was founded in mid- 1969 by break away members of the less- violent Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). • Weatherman bombed more than thirty targets representing government, corporate, and military interests across the United States from the Capitol and the Pentagon to the Gulf Oil Company headquarters in Pittsburgh. • The group operated underground using aliases, fake IDS, and a carefully organized network of hideouts.
WUO continued • The founding members of the group were BernardineDohrn, Bill Ayers, Kathy Boudin, and Mark Rudd successfully evaded one of the largest manhunts in FBI history. • When the Vietnam War ended in 1975, the WUO lost its purpose and fell apart. Members slowly emerged from hiding to face arrest, but most avoided jail when the evidence against them was ruled inadmissible. • Some embittered left- wing activists turned to bombings, kidnapping, and murder. • Groups like the Black Liberation Army, Armed Forces of National Puerto Rican Liberation, and Symbionese Liberation Army each had their own agenda. But they shared a common goal of radical social and political change and were willing to use any means to achieve it.
The Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) • The group (SLA) joined the attack on America in 1973 as a self- proclaimed multiracial movement for social justice. • Comparing themselves to the modern day Robin Hoods, the group took money from the rich through armed robbery and distributed it to the poor. • The most infamous act was they kidnapped Patty Hearst and extorted over two million from the newspaper heiress’s family. Six SLA members later died in a bloody shootout with police, and the FBI identified and captured most of the remaining supporters. • Patty Hearst claimed she was brainwashed into participating in an armed robbery. She was arrested in 1975, convicted of bank robbery, and sent to prison. President Carter commuted her sentence after twenty- two months.
Armed Forces of National Puerto Rican Liberation (FALN) • The (FALN) terrorized Chicago and New York City from 1974 to 1983. FALN bombings and armed attacks killed at least five people and injured hundreds. The group collapsed after FBI raids in the early 1980s placed FALN leadership behind bars.
Black Liberation Army • Like the Weather Underground, the Black Liberation Army(BLA) emerged as an offshoot of a less militant organization • When infighting fragmented the Black Panther Party in 1971, a few frustrated members left to form an underground guerilla faction • For five years the BLA used violence to demand an end to racism, police harassment, and the economic exploitation of blacks in America. • The group fire-bombed police stations and ambushed police officers on duty, killing at least twenty. • Like many other radical groups of the time, the BLA financed its activities through a series of bank robberies. • By 1976, however, key members of the BLA were either in exile or in jail, and the organization disbanded
COINTELPRO • Members of the Weather Under ground, Black Liberation Army, and other radical protest groups became the focus of intense FBI scrutiny. • In confronting the new threat, the FBI adopted tactics similar to those it used against the Communist party of the United States in the 1950s. • The FBI’s secret Counterintelligence Program used measures that went beyond mere investigation-the goal was to discredit, disrupt, and destroy radical groups. • Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the FBI targeted a variety of organizations , including civil rights groups, anti-war protesters, labor movements, and the Ku Klux Klan. • FBI agents tapped phones, leaked false information, infiltrated meetings, sent anonymous letters to members’ relatives and friends, and conducted clandestine searches of homes
Investigating the Investigators • March 8, 1971 - “Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI”, an extreme leftist activist group, broke into the Bureau’s office and stole thousands of highly classified documents dealing with COINTELPRO operations. It was then spread to major media outlets though mail. Most news sources refused to publish the information, but some did, and J. Edgar Hoover was forced, in the face of intense pressure, to shut down the program. • As the COINTELPRO tactics spread, inquiries were made, and FBI agents were arrested for illegal activity. Restrictions were made, and lasted for decades, until multiple terrorist acts by the Armed Forces for National Puerto Rican Liberation convinced the FBI to broaden its authority to investigate terrorism.
The End of the Hoover Era • Because of COINTELPRO, and the consequences that surrounded it, J. Edgar Hoover’s legacy as director of the FBI became tarnished after 48 years. • Throughout this time period, the FBI grew tremendously in size and became the main opposition to domestic threats. • During his time as director, Hoover investigated soviet espionage. He was also responsible for creating files for those suspected to be communists in America, and worked to disrupt the movement. • He died in his sleep in May of 1972, while major controversey was arousing about the legality of his actions.