Thursday, April 17, 2014


And the saddest thing is that so many have spent decades locked down in those hell-holes as a result of similar nonsensical charges!!
        -----Pete O'Neal, former leader, Kansas City Chapter, Black Panther Party, from Tanzania

This is a story that is more than forty years old, but didn't come to the light of day until this week.  

I remember when I was under investigation, under indictment, and in prison  for a bombing Conspiracy in Kansas City back in the 70s watching with a certain degree of humor the obvious competition and jealousy between various federal and state law enforcement agencies.  At the federal level it was the ATF, FBI, and even the Marshal Service who seemed to resent each other almost as much as they hated the likes of us.  Everyone wanted the glory.  Everyone wanted to be seen as THE agency.  Everyone wanted the TV program to be about them.

It seemed funny.

It wasn't though, not really.

Now, we learn that the ATF in a bid to outdo the FBI and become the big cheese in bombing cases in the summer of 1970 tried to create out of the air a giant conspiracy involving various Black Panthers from across the Midwest, from Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa.  The Midwest 22 were to be the show trial for these guys.  

It didn't happen.  

We learned about this from  research and a subsequent disclosure to the Examiner of an old case file from the ATF on April 14th of this year.  

The Midwest, like every other part of the country at the time (1970) had been the scene of numerous bombings, mostly unsolved.  ATF blamed the Black Panthers.  Amongst those targeted were Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa from Omaha (These two men, the Omaha Two, were eventually charged with an Omaha bombing and have been sitting in prison unjustly - as all the evidence shows - for more than forty years now).  Others targeted included Pete O'Neal and Tommy Robinson from Kansas City, Archie Simmons and Charles Knox from Des Moines, a sixteen year old from Minneapolis and many others.

Supposedly the case never reached an indictment because of "a trend in the judiciary...away from major complex conspiracies."  Maybe, the fact that the case was a figment of  the imagination of a bunch of agents (led by ATF goons in Omaha)  also had something to do with it.  Perhaps, the fact that by 1972 when it was decided not to prosecute the Midwest 22 too much had been made public about just how nefarious the State had been in its war on dissent. Perhaps, the Justice Department figured out they were going to spend a lot of money, get a lot of bad publicity themselves, and convict no one had something to do with it as well. We will never know.

What we do know is that many, many other fighters for Black Liberation were indicted, were jailed, and still are.  We do know that.  We also know that many were murdered.  We also know about COINTELPRO.  We also know that no one who was responsible for this massive assault upon the Panthers (and others involved in the struggle for Black Liberation, in the struggles of other people of color, and even, holy white skin privilege Batman, some white radicals and revolutionaries) has really ever faced justice themselves.  That is the crime here.

Ted Glick wrote of COINTELPRO's aims and its targets,

"COINTELPRO" was the FBI's secret program to undermine the popular upsurge which swept the country during the 1960s. Though the name stands for "Counterintelligence Program," the targets were not enemy spies. The FBI set out to eliminate "radical" political opposition inside the US. When traditional modes of repression (exposure, blatant harassment, and prosecution for political crimes) failed to counter the growing insurgency, and even helped to fuel it, the Bureau took the law into its own hands and secretly used fraud and force to sabotage constitutionally- protected political activity. Its methods ranged far beyond surveillance, and amounted to a domestic version of the covert action for which the CIA has become infamous throughout the world.

The most intense operations were directed against the Black movement, particularly the Black Panther Party. This resulted from FBI and police racism, the Black community's lack of material resources for fighting back, and the tendency of the media--and whites in general--to ignore or tolerate attacks on Black groups. It also reflected government and corporate fear of the Black movement because of its militance, its broad domestic base and international support, and its historic role in galvanizing the entire Sixties' upsurge. Many other activists who organized against US intervention abroad or for racial, gender or class justice at home also came under covert attack. The targets were in no way limited to those who used physical force or took up arms. Martin Luther King, David Dellinger, Phillip Berrigan and other leading pacifists were high on the list, as were projects directly protected by the Bill of Rights, such as alternative newspapers.

The Black Panthers came under attack at a time when their work featured free food and health care and community control of schools and police, and when they carried guns only for deterrent and symbolic purposes. It was the terrorism of the FBI and police that eventually provoked the Panthers to retaliate with the armed actions that later were cited to justify their repression.

In fact, according to a PBS documentary on Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton   of the 295 documented actions taken by COINTELPRO to disrupt Black organizations, 233 were directed against the Black Panther Party.

We learned about Cointelpro, by the way after a number of activists broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania looking for draft records and the like, and made off with loads of documents.  They discovered that amongst the documents were those  that revealed this massive abuse of power.

The following is from The Final Call.

America's War Against Black Power


( - Human rights activists are calling on the government to grant amnesty and unconditional freedom to all political prisoners incarcerated because of COINTELPRO, a secret federal law enforcement program that destroyed Black and dissident organizations in the 1960s and 1970s.

Men and women who sacrificed their lives so others could enjoy civil liberties and human rights in America are now aging and suffering failing health as they languish in prison, some for 40 years, and many in solitary confinement cells, unfit even for dogs, said their advocates.

It is imperative that those they fought for remember and fight for them, said the activists.
J. Edgar Hoover, former head of the FBI, began the covert, illegalCounterIntelligence Program in 1956 to destroy militant organizations.

The National Jericho Movement, which advocates for political prisoners inside the United States, wants emergency congressional hearings on the impact and continuing legacy of America’s domestic war against soldiers in the Black Liberation Struggle. It also wants political prisoners released and some activists want the freedom fighters compensated for their unjust suffering.

“The effort to try to expose the horrible impact of the FBI’s CounterIntelligence Program has been an ongoing thing,” said Jihad Abdulmumit, chair of the National Jericho Movement. That exposure undergirds Jericho’s push for the congressional hearings. Although Mr. Hoover announced in 1971 that COINTELPRO had ended after the anonymous Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI exposed the program, secret government operations, set-ups, stool pigeon operations and political assassinations continue today, activists warned.

“COINTELPRO by any other name is still COINTELPRO. … Homeland Security as an institution of the United States security now, the Patriot Act, the Anti-Terrorism Effective Death Penalty Act I and II—all of this now has really led up to still what we have today as a CounterIntelligence Program and the War on Terrorism,” Mr. Abdulmumit told The Final Call.
The online petition, “Jericho: Congressional Hearing on Cointelpro’s Legacy and Continuing Impact,” is part of Jericho’s attempts to educate people and have the U.S. government revisit COINTELPRO’s continuing legacy.
In this April 6, 2005 file photo, Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt speaks during funeral services for attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. at the West Angeles Cathedral in Los Angeles.
In the future, the group plans to deliver the petitions to Congressional Black Caucus members and the record of a 2011 Peoples’ Tribunal Hearings on COINTELPRO. Organizers hope the campaign will inspire Black Caucus members to speak up for political prisoners. They also hope to send 100,000 signatures to the Obama administration before he leaves office.

The Time and What Must Be Done

In the 1960s and 1970s era of COINTELPRO, and actually going back to the 1930s, Black leaders, activists and the community knew they were under attack and fought back, often through self-help and independent education campaigns, according to Mr. Abdulmumit.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad introduced a Black Self-Help Program and Economic Blueprint to promote independence through pooling resources and building businesses. He opened schools to educate Muslims and children in the Black community. The Black Panthers started a free breakfast program for children and armed self-defense programs in response to deadly police brutality. 

Today in the “age of Obama,” the lines are blurred, Mr. Abdulmumit noted. The painful question Blacks must raise is how did they, after making so much progress in conscious and collective action, let that culture slip right from their hands? he noted. 

Black leaders have become beguiled by materialism, the former slave master’s system and they’ve taken their eyes off the future, said Mr. Abdulmumit.

A plan by Senators Richard “Dick” Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) sought $30 million to arrest and imprison 18,000 so-called members of the Gangster Disciples street organization and were opposed notably by Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Father Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church on Chicago’s Southside.

“That you would marshal the forces of the federal government, and come into our community and sweep 18,000 so-called members of the Gangster Disciples—and you’ve already carved out a prison that you could put them in?  How many of you have ever sat down to think of how you can solve the problem by creating jobs and employment for the young people in the inner-cities of America, particularly Chicago and Los Angeles?” Minister Farrakhan asked.

Assata Shakur

The proposal out of Chicago absolutely speaks to the evolution of COINTELPRO, Mr. Abdulmumit argued. There is no revolutionary culture as such in the U.S. as was in the 60s and the 70s, but there is still a massive powder keg and that’s Black youth today, he said. “The effort of the government and the forces that be has always been to make sure that this powder keg mass, its consciousness is never awakened, so what’s happened is that vacuum that’s been created is the demise of a lot of these revolutionary organizations either through death or imprisonment over time.”

We want freedom

Some political prisoners targeted by COINTELPRO are more well-known than others, partly because of efforts like the FBI’s million-dollar bounty against Assata Shakur, who is exiled in Cuba. Ms. Shakur, a Black Liberation Army member, has been living in exile since 1984 after she escaped from prison in 1979. Ms. Shakur, formerly known as Joanne Chesimard was convicted of murdering a New Jersey State Trooper in 1977, but she has maintained her innocence. Her supporters have denounced the FBI’s $2 million bounty and listing her as an armed and dangerous terrorist.

The late Geronimo “ji-Jaga” Pratt, a Vietnam War veteran and high-ranking leader of the Black Panther Party, served 27 years in prison and after a long-fought legal battle forced his release in 1997. His wrongful conviction for murdering a White couple was shown to be a set-up tied to a government informant.

Imam Jamil al-Amin
There’s Jalil Muntaqim, co-founder of the Jericho Amnesty Movement, a former Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army member. He was convicted of killing two police officers in New York and has spent 42 years in prison. Supporters are pushing an online petition to Tina Stanford, chairwoman of the New York Board of Parole, seeking his parole this year. 

There’s Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin whom supporters argue was wrongfully convicted in the 2000 shooting of two Fulton County deputies, one died, in Atlanta. He is serving life in a federal Super-Max underground prison in Colorado. 

The incarceration of Imam Al-Amin, former Black Panther leader H. Rap Brown, represents COINTELPRO finally “getting their man” in a ridiculous case where someone confessed to the crime, but the FBI will not acknowledge the confession, Mr. Abdulmumit said.

Nearly six months after his 70th birthday, Russell Maroon Shoatz was recently released from solitary confinement under court order and after the involvement of United Nations Rapporteur Juan Mendez on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment and Punishment.  His release ended more than 22 consecutive years in isolation. The former Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army member was convicted of murdering a cop in Pennsylvania and sentenced to life imprisonment.

On December 7, 2011, prosecutors announced they were dropping their quest for the death penalty for Mumia Abu-Jamal, a journalist and former Black Panther, convicted in 1981 on charges of killing a police officer in Philadelphia. 
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Mr. Abu-Jamal was removed from death row after his case was taken to the Supreme Court on appeal. He’s now jailed for life without the possibility of parole, but his supporters remain vigilant in their fight for his release and exoneration.

Marshall Eddie Conway, another former Black Panther Party member, was recently released due to a faulty jury instruction after serving 44 years in prison in solitary confinement. “An error in the jury instructions is a far step away from saying that Eddie Conway is a freedom fighter, which he is in our book, and he should be released on that alone,” Mr. Abdulmumit said.

“Our position is that we should be released on the fact of we were political prisoners and victims of this counterintelligence, victims of these conditions. We are freedom fighters … just like Nelson Mandela. Just like people are celebrating him as a hero now, that’s how our political prisoners should be treated.”

Many feel that’s naïve or unachievable but it’s Jericho’s position and battle, and God knows best, he continued.

Activists say getting fighters who are dying in prison out remains paramount, especially cases based on contradictions and injustices thanks to lawyers like Bob Boyle, Soffiyah Elijah, Lynne Stewart and others. 

Herman Wallace, diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, died at age 71, less than a week after being released from prison. He was one of the Angola 3 convicted of stabbing a prison guard.  He served more than four tortuous decades in solitary confinement in a Louisiana prison, but maintained his innocence until his death. Mr. Wallace and Albert Woodfox said they were targeted for helping to set up a prison chapter of the Black Panther Party at Angola State Prison in 1971. International supporters of the Angola 3 are still fighting for Mr. Woodfox’s release.

Activist Efia Nwangaza, director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination in Greenville, S.C., feels America must not only remedy wrongs against political prisoners, but also compensate victims and survivors of government plots and targeting.

Jericho’s list includes hundreds and many are Muslims, according to Mr. Abdulmumit. It also includes Native American freedom fighter Leonard Peltier,  Oscar Lopez Rivera and other Puerto Rican nationalists, as well as some White anti-imperialists, he said.

“It’s important that we keep that challenge before the U.S. government kind of the way that the Jewish community keeps before the public the wrongs that it suffered at the hands of the Germans and its holocaust. We must be as vigilant in reminding our oppressors of the wrongs of our holocaust or Maafa as we call it.”

Unfortunately, the often apathetic response to U.S. political prisoners, the notion they must have done something wrong if they’re behind bars, is symptomatic of the pathology living under White Supremacy engenders, Ms. Nwangaza said.

But what’s worse, she continued, is most Blacks aren’t aware of COINTELPRO or the existence of political prisoners. Many are blinded by a harsh, daily economic, social and political struggle to survive, others embrace willful ignorance, she noted.

“It’s sort of like the question of reparations. As we get generations away from the actual violation of the holocaust of enslavement, the less we know about it and therefore the less we are outraged by it and the less we feel entitled to compensation for it,” Ms. Nwangaza continued.

Most aging political prisoners are enduring excessive sentences, disproportionately held in solitary confinement, suffering from severe illnesses and prisons are not responding to their needs, activists added.
There must also be an investigation into deaths that occurred during the COINTELPRO-civil rights-Black Power era, activists said.

Harry Farrell peers out from between Eldridge Cleaver and Bobby Seale in a photo that became a Black Panther poster. Photo: AP/Wide World photos

“Who killed Bobby Hutton? And whatever was done about that?” asked Ms. Nwangaza. Bobby Hutton was a teenage member of Panther Party killed in California. Likewise the 1969 killings of Chicago Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark and the relationship to the larger national campaign of the U.S. government must never be forgotten, she said. The dynamic leader Hampton and comrade Clark died in a hail of bullets fired into their West Side apartment. The Panthers were asleep, drugged by a sedative put in their drinks by an informant, activists have long charged. “While authorities claimed the Panthers had opened fire on the police who were there to serve a search warrant for weapons, evidence later emerged that told a very different story: that the FBI, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and the Chicago police conspired to assassinate Fred Hampton,” said Juan Gonzalez in a broadcast of the news program Democracy Now in 2009. The program marked the 40th anniversary of Black Panther Fred Hampton’s death.


Anonymous said...

How can I get in touch with you? I don't see an author's name on this blog. I am the person who gave the T2 conspiracy document to Michael Richardson.

Oread Daily said...

being anonymous does not help my trust level here. How can I get in touch with you, find out who you are, before I start sending out emai addresses and the like. Also, what is it you would like to contact me about?