Legacy of Torture: COINTELPRO and the San Francisco 8

February 13, 2009

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Eight former Black community activists -- Black Panthers and others -- were arrested January 23, 2007 in California, New York and Florida on charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. Similar charges were thrown out after it was revealed police used torture to extract confessions when some of these same men were arrested in New Orleans in 1973.

Their arrests and torture were the product of COINTELPRO, an FBI program designed to disrupt, neutralize and destroy radical movements -- from the Black Panthers to the Young Lords to anti-war activists -- by infiltrating organizations, framing people with false criminal charges, and assassinating charismatic leaders.

Listen in to an engaging conversation with three of individuals fighting for the rights of the San Francisco 8:

Francisco Torres
Torres was one of the activists part of San Francisco 8. He was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York. A Vietnam veteran, he has been an activist since his discharge from the military in 1969, and has been active in veterans and community affairs.

Soffiyah Elijah
Elijah is a human rights lawyer and Harvard law professor. She has been working tirelessly on behalf of the San Francisco 8 for more than 5 years.

Claude Marks
Marks is the director of the Freedom Archives, producers of a film on the San Francisco 8 called Legacy of Torture. He has been actively involved in work supporting the San Francisco 8.
 

Recorded Friday, February 13, 2009 at Jane Addams Hull-House Museum.