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The FBI’s Forgotten Criminal Record

By James Bovard | Future of Freedom | August 2017 edition

President Trump’s firing of FBI chief James Comey on May 9 spurred much of the media and many Democrats to rally around America’s most powerful domestic federal agency. But the FBI has a long record of both deceit and incompetence. Five years ago, Americans learned that the FBI was teaching its agents that “the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others.” This has practically been the Bureau’s motif since its creation in 1908.

The bureau was small potatoes until Woodrow Wilson dragged the United States into World War I. In one fell swoop, the number of dangerous Americans increased by perhaps twentyfold. The Espionage Act of 1917 made it easy to jail anyone who criticized the war or the government. In September 1918, the bureau, working with local police and private vigilantes, seized more than 50,000 suspected draft dodgers off the streets and out of the restaurants of New York, Newark, and Jersey City. The Justice Department was disgraced when the vast majority of young men who had been arrested turned out to be innocent.

In January 1920, J. Edgar Hoover — the 25-year-old chief of the bureau’s Radical Division — was the point man for the “Palmer Raids.” Nearly 10,000 suspected Reds and radicals were seized. The bureau carefully avoided keeping an accurate count of detainees (a similar pattern of negligence occurred with the roundups after the 9/11 attacks). Attorney General Mitchell Palmer sought to use the massive roundups to propel his presidential candidacy. The operation took a drubbing, however, after an insolent judge demanded that the Justice Department provide evidence for why people had been arrested. Federal judge George Anderson complained that the government had created a “spy system” that “destroys trust and confidence and propagates hate. A mob is a mob whether made up of government officials acting under instructions from the Department of Justice, or of criminals, loafers, and the vicious classes.”

After the debacle of the Palmer raids, the bureau devoted its attention to the nation’s real enemies: the U.S. Congress. The bureau targeted “senators whom the Attorney General saw as threats to America. The Bureau was breaking into their offices and homes, intercepting their mail, and tapping their telephones,” as Tim Weiner recounted in his 2012 book Enemies: The History of the FBI. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was illegally targeted because the bureau feared he might support diplomatic recognition of Soviet Russia.

Hoover, who ran the FBI from 1924 until his death in 1972, built a revered agency that utterly intimidated official Washington. The FBI tapped the home telephone of a Supreme Court clerk, and at least one Supreme Court Justice feared the FBI had bugged the conference room where justices privately discussed cases. In 1945, President Harry Truman wrote in his diary, “We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction…. This must stop.” But Truman did not have the gumption to pull in the reins.

The bureau’s power soared after Congress passed the Internal Security Act of 1950, authorizing massive crackdowns on suspected subversives. Hoover compiled a list of more than 20,000 “potentially or actually dangerous” Americans who could be seized and locked away at the president’s command. Hoover specified that “the hearing procedure [for detentions] will not be bound by the rules of evidence.” “Congress secretly financed the creation of six of these [detention] camps in the 1950s,” noted Weiner. (When rumors began circulating in the 1990s that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was building detention camps, government officials and much of the media scoffed that such a thing could never occur in this nation.)

From 1956 through 1971, the FBI’s COINTELPRO program conducted thousands of covert operations to incite street warfare between violent groups, to get people fired, to portray innocent people as government informants, and to cripple or destroy left-wing, black, communist, white racist, and anti-war organizations. FBI agents also busied themselves forging “poison pen” letters to wreck activists’ marriages. The FBI set up a Ghetto Informant Program that continued after COINTELPRO and that had 7,402 informants, including proprietors of candy stores and barbershops, as of September 1972. The informants served as “listening posts” “to identify extremists passing through or locating in the ghetto area, to identify purveyors of extremist literature,” and to keep an eye on “Afro-American type bookstores” (including obtaining the names of the bookstores’ “clientele”).

The FBI let no corner of American life escape its vigilance; it even worked to expose and discredit “communists who are secretly operating in legitimate organizations and employments, such as the Young Men’s Christian Association and Boy Scouts,” as a 1976 Senate report noted. The FBI took a shotgun approach to target and harass protesters partly because of its “belief that dissident speech and association should be prevented because they were incipient steps toward the possible ultimate commission of an act which might be criminal,” the Senate report observed. That report characterized COINTELPRO as “a secret war against those citizens [the FBI] considers threats to the established order.” COINTELPRO was exposed only after a handful of activists burglarized an FBI office in a Philadelphia suburb, seized FBI files, and leaked the damning documents to the media. The revelations were briefly shocking but faded into the Washington Memory Hole.

FBI haughtiness was showcased on national television on April 19, 1993, when its agents used 54-ton tanks to smash into the Branch Davidians’ sprawling, ramshackle home near Waco, Texas. The tanks intentionally collapsed 25 percent of the building on top of the huddled residents. After the FBI pumped the building full of CS gas (banned for use on enemy soldiers by a chemical-weapons treaty), a fire ignited that left 80 children, women, and men dead. The FBI swore it was not to blame for the conflagration. However, FBI agents had stopped firetrucks from a local fire department far from the burning building, claiming it was not safe to allow them any closer because the Davidians might shoot people dousing a fire that was killing them. Six years after the assault, news leaked that the FBI had fired incendiary tear-gas cartridges into the Davidians’ home prior to the fire’s erupting. Attorney General Janet Reno, furious over the FBI’s deceit on this key issue, sent U.S. marshals to raid FBI headquarters to search for more Waco evidence. From start to finish, the FBI brazenly lied about what it did at Waco — with one exception. On the day after the Waco fire, FBI on-scene commander Larry Potts explained the rationale for the FBI’s final assault: “These people  had thumbed their nose at law enforcement.”

Terrorism

FBI counterterrorism spending soared in the mid to late 1990s. But the FBI dismally failed to connect the dots on suspicious foreigners engaged in domestic aviation training prior to the 9/11 attacks. Though Congress had deluged the FBI with almost $2 billion to upgrade its computers, many FBI agents had ancient machines incapable of searching the web. One FBI agent observed that the bureau ethos is that “real men don’t type…. The computer revolution just passed us by.” The FBI’s pre–9/11 blunders “contributed to the United States becoming, in effect, a sanctuary for radical terrorists,” according to a 2002 congressional investigation. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft groused that “the safest place in the world for a terrorist to be is inside the United States; as long as they don’t do something that trips them up against our laws, they can do pretty much all they want.” Sen. Richard Shelby in 2002 derided “the FBI’s dismal recent history of disorganization and institutional incompetence in its national security work.” (The FBI also lost track of a key informant at the heart of the cabal that detonated a truck bomb beneath the World Trade Center in 1993.)

The FBI has long relied on entrapment to boost its arrest statistics and publicity bombardments. The FBI Academy taught agents that subjects of FBI investigations “have forfeited their right to the truth.” After 9/11, this doctrine helped the agency to entrap legions of patsies who made the FBI appear to be protecting the nation. Trevor Aaronson, author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism, estimated that only about 1 percent of the 500 people charged with international terrorism offenses in the decade after 9/11 were bona fide threats. Thirty times as many were induced by the FBI to behave in ways that prompted their arrest.

In the Liberty City 7 case in Florida, FBI informants planted the notion of blowing up government buildings. In one case, a federal judge concluded that the government “came up with the crime, provided the means, and removed all relevant obstacles” in order to make a “terrorist” out of a man “whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in scope.”

The FBI’s informant program extended far beyond Muslims. The FBI bankrolled a right-wing New Jersey blogger and radio host for five years prior to his 2009 arrest for threatening federal judges. We have no idea how many bloggers, talk-show hosts, or activists the FBI is currently financing.

The FBI’s power has rarely been effectively curbed by either Congress or federal courts. In 1971, House Majority Leader Hale Boggs declared that the FBI’s power terrified Capitol Hill: “Our very fear of speaking out [against the FBI] … has watered the roots and hastened the growth of a vine of tyranny…. Our society cannot survive a planned and programmed fear of its own government bureaus and agencies.” Boggs vindicated a 1924 American Civil Liberties Union report warning that the FBI had become “a secret police system of a political character” — a charge that supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would have cheered last year.

The FBI has always used its “good guy” image to keep a lid on its crimes. The controversy swirling about Comey’s firing should spur the American people, media, and Congress to take the FBI off its pedestal and place it where it belongs — under the law. It is time to cease venerating a federal agency whose abuses have perennially menaced Americans’ constitutional rights. Otherwise, the FBI’s vast power and pervasive secrecy guarantee that more FBI scandals are just around the bend.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

FBI Rigged Investigation of Black Panthers, Newly Released Docs Reveal

Sputnik – 03.03.2017

Newly-released FBI files reveal that authorities tampered with an investigation into a police officer’s death in the 1970s, resulting in a Black Panther leader dying in prison for a crime he did not commit.

In 1970, Mondo Even we Langa (formerly David Rice) was one of 17 people arrested in connection with a bombing that killed Omaha police officer Larry Minard, eventually serving a life sentence for the murder.

At the time, Mondo was deputy of information for Omaha’s National Committee to Combat Fascism, an affiliate group of the Black Panther Party, and unbeknownst to him, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had placed him on a secret detention list and ordered agents to neutralize him.

Nearly 50 years after his conviction, heavily-redacted documents show that the agency called off a search for Minard’s killer just days before his funeral, and canceled the testing of the call that lured the officer to his death, which indicated 15-year-old Duane Peak as a lead suspect.

The San Francisco Bayview quotes one of the documents saying, “Special Agents of the FBI in conjunction with members of the Omaha Police Department arrested [Duane Peak].” and “Captain [Hartford] advised that the Police Department was in the process of obtaining a search warrant … and that he would advise the FBI as to the results.” Another section read,”Captain [Hartford] requested our assistance in interviewing [REDACTED] for any information he may have regarding the bomb slaying.”

Although the documents indicate deep cooperation between the FBI and Omaha police, officials testified that the agency had no involvement in the investigation.

In 1982, New Jersey Congressman Richard Roe requested an FBI report on the investigation. Two weeks later Roger Young, assistant director in charge at the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, replied to Roe claiming, “The investigation of these two individuals was conducted by the Omaha Police Department and the trial was held in state District Court, not in a federal court. … I am, therefore, not in a position to furnish you a report.”

Some documents are missing from the files, and Mondo’s co-defendant and former NCCF chair, Edward Poindexter, remains imprisoned in a maximum-security facility.

The “Omaha Two,” as Poindexter and Mondo have been referred to, appear to be the targets of Hoover’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO), a wide-ranging effort to infiltrate, disrupt, and neutralize many activist groups of the period. Many Black Panthers and other radical activists were monitored, set up for crimes they did not commit, railroaded into prison and assassinated, as a result of the program.

In 1969, the ‘Panther 21’ were indicted on conspiracy charges in New York for allegedly plotting to bomb police stations and assassinate police officers. The hotly-contested eight-month trial resulted in all 21 Panthers being acquitted, thanks, in no small part, to the work of one the defendants, Afeni Shakur, mother of late rapper Tupac Shakur.

That same year, informant William O’Neal provided Chicago police with the floor plan to Chicago Panther leader Fred Hampton’s house. Police raided Hampton’s house in the wee hours of the early morning, killing him in his sleep. They later claimed that Panthers opened fire on them.

Mondo died in prison in March 2016.

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Excavating America’s Forgotten History of Political Repression

A review of Brad Schreiber’s Revolution’s End

By Kara Dellacioppa | Dissident Voice | October 28, 2016

America is a Haunted House.

– Peter Levenda, author of Sinister Forces

There is probably no other historical era more misunderstood by Americans than the 1960s and 1970s. From the political assassinations of major political figures and political assassinations of ordinary civil rights and antiwar activists to the emergence of government secret intelligence programs designed to monitor and ultimately crush dissent in the United States, most Americans remain vaguely, if at all, aware of how this hidden history impacts our lives today. And this lack of awareness has unfortunately allowed for these same forces to deal some crushing blows to our “democracy.”

The American public learned of the FBI’s Cointelpro and the CIA’s Operation CHAOS and MKUltra through the Senate Hearings on government intelligence abuses led by Senator Frank Church in 1975 as well as through the work of independent journalists after the break-in of FBI offices in Media Pennsylvania in 1971.1 These government and journalistic investigations brought to light an array of systematic abuses of government authority against Americans, partially illuminating the covert and ruthless attacks against the movements of the era.

The Johnson administration’s failure to deliver on its promises of genuine and meaningful civil rights reforms led to a series of urban riots beginning in Harlem in 1964 and were followed by those in Watts, Detroit and Newark as well as in a host of other cities across the country. These riots terrified the establishment and prompted the government to create programs designed to federalize local police departments rather than address the underlying social problems that gave way to the riots in the first place.2 Through the Law Enforcement Assistance Act of 1965 and the subsequent Omnibus Safe Streets Crime bill signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) was created as a mechanism to launch an unprecedented “War on Crime.”3 The purpose of the LEAA was ostensibly “violence prevention. ” The LEAA funded the creation and training of SWAT teams in Los Angeles in order to destroy the Black Panther Party and other perceived political threats. The LEAA funded “anti-violence” research in prisons and hospitals and worked alongside the CIA’s MK ULTRA program engaging in such delightful activities as drug experimentation, surgical, and chemical lobotomies on prisoners and psychiatric patients. LEAA funds also went into the school system and developed testing of young black children to “predict” whether or not these children would become violent in the future.4 (For more information of how the LEAA funded projects in schools that led to the psychiatric drugging of Black and poor children, please see the work of psychiatrist Peter Breggin).

The other widely misunderstood factor in the development of America’s police state is the relationship between the deepening of America’s involvement in a genocidal enterprise called the Vietnam War and the growth and over-determination of the American National Security State on political life in the US. While it is a fact that the United States lost the Vietnam war, the lessons learned by the military/intelligence establishment were employed in future counter-insurgency campaigns in El Salvador and Iraq and in the United States as well.5

revendThis is where Brad Schreiber’s Revolution’s End: The Patty Hearst Kidnapping, Mind Control, and the Secret History of Donald DeFreeze and the SLA comes in. Revolution’s End is a careful examination of the relationships among various government intelligence, police and prison agencies that colluded to create a synthetic terror group called the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). Their assassination of Oakland School Superintendent Marcus Foster and subsequent kidnapping of heiress and closet revolutionary Patricia Campbell Hearst dominated the news cycle for years. While other researchers of the shadow state have examined the SLA and the Patty Hearst trial in depth such as Paul Krassner and Mae Brussell, Schreiber’s exposure of government involvement in the creation of the SLA is nothing short of explosive.

Schreiber was handed a folder full of documents from Dick Russell, the legendary journalist and author of The Man Who Knew Too Much. These documents came from private investigators working on Patricia Hearst’s defense team including the private detective and former Las Vegas police officer Lake Headley who was hired by Dr. L.S. Wolfe, father of slain SLA member Willie Wolfe. Schreiber utilizes the contents of that file to great effect. They include startling facts such as Patti Hearst’s pre-SLA relationship with Donald Defreeze (the petty thief, turned LAPD informant, turned provocateur and fake revolutionary). Using a college friend’s student ID, Hearst was allowed to visit Defreeze in prison at the Vacaville Psychiatric Unit as a part of a project called the Black Cultural Association (BCA). BCA was ostensibly a rehabilitative project but in effect it was a behavior modification program run by Colston Westbrook, a former CIA officer who worked with Pacific Architects and Engineers, a known CIA front company that was responsible for building the prison interrogation centers (PICS) in Vietnam as part of the CIA’s deplorable Phoenix program. The Phoenix program was a covert CIA coordinated program of counter-insurgency/counter-subversion against the South Vietnam’s civilian population.6 And here lies one of Schreiber major achievements, exposing a direct link between the Vietnam pacification program as Phoenix was euphemistically coined, and America’s pacification program at home.

The BCA received many visits from a prison rights group largely associated with another shady “revolutionary” movement of the era The Venceremos Organization, a Maoist group based out of Stanford and at the time led by English Professor H. Bruce Franklin. Venceremos had originally had a Chicano leadership but this leadership was displaced in the wake of the split of the Bay Area Revolutionary Union (BARU). BARU included H. Bruce Franklin and Bob Avakian. Having formed the organization after the destruction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Franklin and Avakian split over disagreements about the role of armed struggle in the United States. Venceremos, was, along with the August 7th Guerrilla movement, the bases from which the SLA drew its white cadre. In the last few years before the dissolution of Venceremos, many of its members became involved with the United Prisoners Union (UPU) created by Popeye Jackson.7 It is within these circles that Patti Hearst becomes connected with Vacaville and Defreeze. During the visits to Vacaville, Patty Hearst was able to carry on a sexual relationship with Defreeze with the blessing of Westbrook. As Schreiber tells it, as Defreeze starts to become more unhinged as his treatments continue at the hands of the Vacaville prison authorities, he gradually changes his identity to that of Cinque, the Black revolutionary. He speaks of violence and kidnapping to Hearst. She becomes understandably unnerved and breaks off the relationship with Defreeze. Here according to Schreiber begins the plotting of revenge against Hearst. Importantly, Schreiber points out that Vacaville as a psychiatric hospital was a way station for inmates going on to serve their sentences in other facilities. The vast majority of them were passing through receiving their “treatment” and then moving on. Defreeze, in contrast, stayed at Vacaville for well over a year which was highly unusual. Defreeze’s situation even caught the attention of “thorn in the side of the CIA” Congressman Leo Ryan who investigated Defreeze’s case and the prison authorities use of mind control experiments.

Defreeze, a failed criminal, who couldn’t find consistent work to take care of his children and who had been handled by the forces of the state for a number of years was sent on a mission at the behest of Colston Westbrook, to assassinate the first Black superintendent of a public school district in the United States, Dr. Marcus Foster.

Schreiber points out that the political targeting of Marcus Foster was beyond bizarre. Foster’s assassination has never been fully explained. SLA members Russ Little and Joe Remiro were convicted of the crime but Schreiber reveals that it was Nancy Ling Perry and Patricia Soltysik along with Cinque (Defreeze) that actually riddled Foster’s body with nine cyanide tipped bullets. Schreiber speculates that the reason that Foster was targeted by Westbrook was that public schools were coming under attack for doing too well a job at educating Black and other minority children. After his election in 1966, Governor Reagan’s California launched a crusade against political activism in schools regarding them (along with the California prisons) as a breeding ground for radicalism.8

Schreiber casts Donald Defreeze in a rather compassionate light. A failed criminal, Defreeze like thousands of others, was recruited by the LAPD to become an informant and provocateur. This is the story of thousands of others who are pressured with time in prison for noncooperation. Or if they were in prison, they often were threatened with chemical or physical psychosurgery or indefinite solitary confinement. Yes, many did it for the money but as Schreiber points out Defreeze hardly earned a living from what was paid to him by the LAPD’s Criminal Conspiracy Section (CCS).

The one revelation that nearly made me fall out of my chair as I was reading it was the revelation that according to Schreiber’s research, the SLA was created within the California Department of Corrections (CDC) as an interracial prison gang that would spy on the other gangs and provide intelligence to the leadership of the CDC. There were chapters of the prison SLA at San Quentin, Vacaville, and Soledad. Inmate Robert Hyde, a long term prisoner, was pressured to become the head of the prison SLA and he was told to inform on any legal action inmates were planning against the CDC regarding abuses against prisoners. Hyde decided that becoming an informant inside the prison was a death wish so he refused. Eventually Hyde appeals to the FBI for help. At a certain point, Hyde was informed that there was to be an SLA formed outside of the prison to infiltrate dissident groups. Schreiber then discusses the effect of the assassination of George Jackson and the effect that it had on the climate inside the California prison system.

Schreiber provides many other fascinating insights into the formation and eventual destruction of the SLA. He points out that most of the left viewed the SLA with great suspicion, accusing the SLA of having been created by the CIA. So their mission to infiltrate the left was largely a failure. However, in the Bay Area, there were many in the urban poor communities that helped hide them from the police. Schreiber highlights how the SLA was able to artfully manipulate the media into broadcasting their communiques including the demand that William Randolph Hearst fund the People in Need (PIN) program. Hearst spent millions to fund this food distribution program that led to chaotic scenes of distribution workers tossing palettes of food off of truck beds to angry and hungry people.

On the fateful night of May 17th 1974 in a house in South Central Los Angeles, located, as Schreiber points out, a mere 3 miles from the epicenter of the Watts Riots, six SLA members lost their lives. Nancy Ling Perry, Camille Hall, and Patricia Soltysik died from gunshots wounds. Angela Atwood and Willie Wolfe died from smoke inhalation. Defreeze reportedly died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Schreiber goes into the serious inconsistencies of the official reports of the SLA deaths. His research shows that, in fact, the SLA members were not given a chance to come out alive. Nancy Ling Perry, it would later be shown, was shot in the back presumably as she was trying to turn herself in. He also found evidence that incendiary/explosive devices were thrown into the house by the LAPD. Given the secret origins of the SLA and Defreeze’s relationship with the LAPD and the CDC, it is very plausible that the LAPD had decided ahead of time that there would be no peaceful resolution to the standoff.

Lastly, Schreiber makes a critical point that the live television broadcast of the police shootout and bombing of the South Central Los Angeles SLA hideout was the introduction of the LAPD SWAT team to America’s night time television viewing audience. The live broadcasting of the LAPD destruction of the SLA could be seen as a terrifying prelude to our current War on Terror.

Revolution’s End is a remarkable book. However, it would have been even better if Schreiber had included some of the documents he cites. More thorough footnoting would have improved it as well. However, footnoting would have made it a less readable book. I hope that Schreiber (if he hasn’t already) made copies of the documents he possesses and donates them to a local university or library. The information age has inundated the public with information/disinformation overload. And due to increasing government restrictions with regard to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), documents like these are becoming more difficult to get your hands on and they are just too precious for any one person to keep to themselves.

Revolution’s End is a highly readable book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in unearthing the secret history of government repression in America. Schreiber had to decide where to go in-depth. His focus on the background of Defreeze and Westbrook are laudable choices as is his focus on the assassination of Dr. Marcus Foster. There are many threads of research that can and should be followed up on including Congressman Leo Ryan and his research into the mind control experiments in prisons, and the post SLA creation New World Liberation Front (NWLF) which according to Schreiber was credited with many more domestic bombings than the Weather Underground. One wonders what shadowy origins the NWLF had. Schreiber’s book is a great contribution to the study of the government repression and the shadow state. Importantly, it has the capacity to inspire people, especially young people, to learn about this history in depth and allow this history to inform their analysis of what is happening today.

  1. United States Senate. Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate, (94th Congress, Second Session, Report No. 94-755) Government Printing office; April 23, 1976.
  2. Horne, Gerald. 1997. The Fire this Time: The Watts Riots and the 1960s. De Capo Press.
  3. Thompson, Heather Ann. Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy. New York: Pantheon Book. p. 18-21.
  4. Breggin, P. R. and Breggin, G. R. (1994). The War Against Children: How the Drugs, Programs, and Theories of the Psychiatric Establishment Are Threatening America’s Children with a Medical ‘Cure’ for Violence. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  5. Valentine, Douglas. 2016. The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World. New York, NY: Clarity Press.
  6. Valentine, Douglas. 2000. The Phoenix Program. iUniverse: Lincoln, NE.
  7. For a fascinating inside look at the rise and fall of Venceremos at Stanford, see Max Crawford’s The Bad Communist, a thinly veiled “fictional” account of Crawford’s time with Venceremos at Stanford. It includes detailed of the gruesome murder of Black Panther Fred Bennett supposedly at the hands of James Carr at the Venceremos training compound in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After the book was published in 1979, Crawford exiled himself to Paris for a while to escape the heat generated after he published his book.
  8. Rosenfeld, Seth. 2012. Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power. New York: NY, Farrar, Giroux, and Strauss.

Kara Z. Dellacioppa is chair of the sociology department at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is the author of This Bridge Called Zapatismo: Building Alternative Political Cultures in Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Beyond (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009) and co-editor of Cultural Political and Resistance in the 21st Century: Community-Based Social Movements and Global Change in the Americas (Palgrave, 2011).

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Your Daddy’s COINTELPRO: Obama Brands Assata Shakur “Most Wanted Terrorist”

By Bruce A. Dixon | Black Agenda Report | May 8, 2013

Whoever imagines our first black president and his first black attorney general had little or nothing to do with naming Assata Shakur its “most wanted terrorist” list is deep in denial and delusion. “Terrorist,” as my colleague Glen Ford points out, has never been anything but a political label, applied by the authorities for their own political purposes. The international legal angle as well, with Assata Shakur receiving political asylum from the Cuban government the last 30 years, also makes her placement on that list something that Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama absolutely had to carefully consider and approve.

A lot has changed in the forty years since Assata Shakur was wounded and captured in New Jersey. The press conference announcing her capture was doubtless headed up by white police and district attorneys. Back then, black faces were pretty scarce in the top ranks of cops and prosecutors anywhere, and J. Edgar Hoover had only recently left the FBI. Last week’s announcement of the $2 million bounty on Assata’s head was anchored by a high ranking black cop, and of course, there are black faces in the offices of president and US Attorney General. People who call themselves progressives, do call that “progress,” don’t they?

The premiere federal initiative for political policing was something called COINTELPRO. COINTELPRO was a secret “counterintelligence,” as in “counter-intelligent” and/or evil multiplied by stupid federal program which for 25 years labeled thousands of civic organizations, churches, labor unions, and grassroots movements as threats to “national security.” Federal agents secretly coordinated local police and media assets in hundreds of campaigns to discredit and destroy those organizations, utilizing illegal surveillance, agents provocateur and media slander. Individual leaders and participants were harassed, falsely prosecuted and imprisoned, and sometimes murdered. COINTELPRO’s existence only came to light as a result of US Senate select committee chaired by Senator Frank Church hearings in 1975.

The good news about COINTELPRO was first, that the government of those days wasn’t bold enough, that it felt too hemmed in and prevented by the American people from openly targeting political dissidents for assassination and murder, and second, that it eventually did come to light. Government officials even had to pay token damages in a handful of cases, such as the murder of Illinois Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton, and publicly claim their official misconduct had ended.

Forty years later though, we live in the era of secret kidnappings, regular torture, ghost prisons and executive branch murder by drones or special ops teams. Today the federal Department of Homeland Security funds counter-terrorism fusion centers which openly disseminate the kind of inflammatory and fanciful disinformation to local police and security contractors about those the government wants targeted that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI agents had to come around and whisper in their ears. Now that is progress.

Forty years and change ago, the whole constellation of African American leadership wrapped its arms around the segments of the black movement that came under vicious police assault. I was a member of the Black Panther Party in Chicago in 1969 and 70, and we never had as many friends as we did when our offices were riddled with gunfire or our members murdered by police. Back then, when everyone from the Urban League and the NAACP to Operation Breadbasket and the Afro-American Patrolman’s League stood up for us. Those who’ve viewed the recently released documentary Free Angela Davis & All Political Prisoners can see the same phenomenon of four decades ago, with Rev. Ralph David Abernathy wrapping his arms around “our sister Angela Davis” when she was accused of murder in the deaths of a judge and others in California.

It’s been a week now since the $2 million dollar bounty and “most wanted terrorist” announcement. In that time, not a single nationally noted African American “leader” has raised his or her voice. Not Ben Jealous. Not a single black mayor or member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Not Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, and certainly not the presidential lap dog Al Sharpton. Sharpton has worn wires for the FBI more than once, and is credibly accused of trying to get close to people who were rumored to be close to Assata Shakur in the 1980s. Those people wisely avoided Rev. Al.

Such is the pressure of subservient conformity among the black political class that not a single African American politician, religious leader, or personage of national note has opened his or her mouth in Assata Shakur’s defense, with the solitary exception of Angela Davis, once a political prisoner and fugitive in the days before the word “terrorist” had been coined. Lockstep conformity like this is hard to shake. In their 45 minutes in an otherwise excellent Democracy Now show mostly devoted to Assata Shakur’s case, neither Shakur’s attorney Lennox Hinds nor Angela Davis could bring themselves even to hint that the president and attorney general were responsible for branding her as the nation’s “most wanted terrorist.”

Four decades have seen the flowering of elite affirmative action in the military, corporate America and in American political life. Our black political class never tires of holding their own illustrious careers up as “the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream.” But the fact is that US corporations couldn’t do business in Africa without black faces. The US couldn’t give military aid and training for a quarter century to 52 out of 54 African governments, arming all sides of every civil and international conflict in the most war torn regions of the planet, without black diplomats, black admirals and black generals. It couldn’t deploy the world’s most massive prison and police state without hundreds of thousands of black prison guards and police, some in the most senior positions and many more in line behind them.

All these are the fruits of what passes for social and racial “progress” in these United States.

This then, is the real function of corporate and elite affirmative action, and of the black political class itself. Whether it’s moving the corporate agenda of gentrification through the destruction of public housing, carrying out social security and Medicare cuts, or waging open war upon the unapproved segments of the African American movement for justice and liberation, black faces in high places have repeatedly proven themselves the more effective evil, able to blunt leftish opposition and carry out policies that white elites can only dream of without their help.

Assata Shakur is not a terrorist. She was shot with her hands in the air, and no residue from gunfire was detected on her hands or clothes or that would have been introduced as evidence at her trial. Her all white jury was instructed to convict her for simply being there, and they did just that. She was a political prisoner, and the only “crime” she can reasonably be accused of is escaping and living out her life the last three decades in Cuba. Government officials do admit that her “terrorist” activity consists of occasional writings and speeches which advocate radical change, and the example of her peaceful life and political asylum 90 miles from Florida.

If that’s all it takes to be a “terrorist,” many thousands of today’s yesterday’s and tomorrow’s black and non-black political activists inside the U.S. are “terrorists” as well. There’s a global war on terror, and now it openly includes the black liberation movement, basically everybody to the left of the established black political class. In the wake of this announcement, can there be any doubt that many more names are or will soon come up at the president’s “terror Tuesday” meetings, at which the White House boasts it considers who next to kidnap or murder? We’re all fair game now.

President Obama obviously hopes the label “terrorist” will scare present and future activists from learning what there is to know from the proud traditions of African American and other resistance to empire. He hopes to intimidate and frighten ordinary people, especially young people, into the same kind of conformity as their supposed “leaders.”

Back in 2007 and 2008, candidate Barack Obama confided to editorial boards and others a number of times that Ronald Reagan was his favorite president. We should have listened to him a lot more closely. It’s a safe guess now, that J. Edgar Hoover is his favorite cop.

Bruce A. Dixon can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

May 8, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Uncovering The Kent State Cover-Up

By LAUREL KRAUSE & MICKEY HUFF | CounterPunch | September 27, 2012

When Ohio National Guardsmen fired sixty-seven gun shots in thirteen seconds at Kent State University (KSU) on May 4, 1970, they murdered four unarmed, protesting college students and wounded nine others. For forty-two years, the United States government has held the position that Kent State was a tragic and unfortunate incident occurring at a noontime antiwar rally on an American college campus. In 2010, compelling forensic evidence emerged showing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) were the lead agencies in managing Kent State government operations, including the cover-up. At Kent State, lawful protest was pushed into the realm of massacre as the US federal government, the state of Ohio, and the Ohio National Guard (ONG) executed their plans to silence antiwar protest in America.

The new evidence threatens much more than the accuracy of accounts of the Kent State massacre in history books. As a result of this successful, ongoing Kent State government cover-up, American protesters today are at much greater risk than they realize, with no real guarantees or protections offered by the US First Amendment rights to protest and assemble. This chapter intends to expose the lies of the state in order to uncensor the “unhistory” of the Kent State massacre, while also aiming toward justice and healing, as censoring the past impacts our perspectives in the present.

The killing of protesters at Kent State changed the minds of many Americans about the role of the US in the Vietnam War. Following this massacre, there was an unparalleled national response: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed across America in a student strike of more than four million. Young people across the nation had strong suspicions the Kent State massacre was planned to subvert any further protests arising from the announcement that the already controversial war in Vietnam had expanded into Cambodia.

Yet instead of attempting to learn the truth at Kent State, the US government took complete control of the narrative in the press and ensuing lawsuits. Over the next ten years, authorities claimed there had not been a command-to-fire at Kent State, that the ONG had been under attack, and that their gunfire had been prompted by the “sound of sniper fire.” Instead of investigating Kent State, the American leadership obstructed justice, obscured accountability, tampered with evidence, and buried the truth. The result of these efforts has been a very complicated government cover-up that has remained intact for more than forty years.1

The hidden truth finally began to emerge at the fortieth anniversary of the Kent State massacre in May 2010, through the investigative journalism of John Mangels, science writer at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, whose findings supported the long-held suspicion that the four dead in Ohio were intentionally murdered at Kent State University by the US government.

Mangels commissioned forensic evidence expert Stuart Allen to professionally analyze a tape recording made from a Kent State student’s dormitory window ledge on May 4, 1970, forever capturing the crowd and battle sounds from before, during, and after the fusillade.2 For the first time since that fateful day, journalists and concerned Americans were finally able to hear the devastating soundtrack of the US government murdering Kent State students as they protested against the Vietnam War.

The cassette tape—provided to Mangels by the Yale University Library, Kent State Collection, and housed all these years in a box of evidence admitted into lawsuits led by attorney Joseph Kelner in his representation of the Kent State victims—was called the “Strubbe tape” after Terry Strubbe, the student who made the recording by placing a microphone attached to a personal recorder on his dormitory window ledge. This tape surfaced when Alan Canfora, a student protester wounded at Kent State, and researcher Bob Johnson dug through Yale library’s collection and found a CD copy of the tape recording from the day of the shootings. Paying ten dollars for a duplicate, Canfora then listened to it and immediately knew he probably held the only recording that might provide proof of an order to shoot. Three years after the tape was found, the Plain Dealer commendably hired two qualified forensic audio scientists to examine the tape.

But it is really the two pieces of groundbreaking evidence Allen uncovered that illuminate and provide a completely new perspective into the Kent State massacre.

First, Allen heard and verified the Kent State command-to-fire spoken at noon on May 4, 1970. The command-to-fire has been a point of contention, with authorities stating under oath and to media for forty years that “no order to fire was given at Kent State,” that “the Guard felt under attack from the students,” and that “the Guard reacted to sniper fire.”3 Yet Allen’s verified forensic evidence of the Kent State command-to-fire directly conflicts with guardsmen testimony that they acted in self-defense.

The government claim—that guardsmen were under attack at the time of the ONG barrage of bullets—has long been suspect, as there is nothing in photographic or video records to support the “under attack” excuse. Rather, from more than a football field away, the Kent State student protesters swore, raised their middle fingers, and threw pebbles and stones and empty tear gas canisters, mostly as a response to their campus being turned into a battlefield with over 2,000 troops and military equipment strewn across the Kent State University campus.

Then at 12:24 p.m., the ONG fired armor-piercing bullets at scattering students in a parking lot—again, from more than a football field away. Responding with armor-piercing bullets, as Kent State students held a peaceful rally and protested unarmed on their campus, was the US government’s choice of action.

The identification of the “commander” responsible for the Kent State command-to-fire on unarmed students has not yet been ascertained. This key question will be answered when American leadership decides to share the truth of what happened, especially as the Kent State battle was under US government direction. Until then, the voice ordering the command-to-fire in the Kent State Strubbe tape will remain unknown.

The other major piece of Kent State evidence identified in Allen’s analysis was the “sound of sniper fire” recorded on the tape. These sounds point to Terry Norman, FBI informant and provocateur, who was believed to have fired his low-caliber pistol four times, just seventy seconds before the command-to-fire.

Mangelswrote in the Plain Dealer, “Norman was photographing protestors that day for the FBI and carried a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson Model . . . five-shot revolver in a holster under his coat for protection. Though he denied discharging his pistol, he previously has been accused of triggering the Guard shootings by firing to warn away angry demonstrators, which the soldiers mistook for sniper fire.”4

Video footage and still photography have recorded the minutes following the “sound of sniper fire,” showing Terry Norman sprinting across the Kent State commons, meeting up with Kent Police and the ONG. In this visual evidence, Norman immediately yet casually hands off his pistol to authorities and the recipients of the pistol show no surprise as Norman hands them his gun.5

The “sound of sniper fire” is a key element of the Kent State cover-up and is also referred to by authorities in the Nation editorial, “Kent State: The Politics of Manslaughter,” from May 18, 1970:

“The murders occurred on May 4. Two days earlier, [Ohio National Guard Adjutant General] Del Corso had issued a statement that sniper fire would be met by gunfire from his men. After the massacre, Del Corso and his subordinates declared that sniper fire had triggered the fusillade.6

Yet the Kent State “sound of sniper fire” remains key, according to White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman, who noted President Richard Nixon’s reaction to Kent State in the Oval Office on May 4, 1970:

“Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman told him [of the killings] late in the afternoon. But at two o’clock Haldeman jotted on his ever-present legal pad “keep P. filled in on Kent State.” In his daily journal Haldeman expanded on the President’s reaction: “He very disturbed. Afraid his decision set it off . . . then kept after me all day for more facts. Hoping rioters had provoked the shootings—but no real evidence that they did.” Even after he had left for the day, Nixon called Haldeman back and among others issued one ringing command: “need to get out story of sniper.”7

In a May 5, 1970, article in the New York Times, President Nixon commented on violence at Kent State:

This should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy. It is my hope that this tragic and unfortunate incident will strengthen the determination of all the nation’s campuses, administrators, faculty and students alike to stand firmly for the right which exists in this country of peaceful dissent and just as strong against the resort to violence as a means of such expression.8

President Nixon’s comment regarding dissent turning to violence obfuscated and laid full blame on student protesters for creating violence at Kent State. Yet at the rally occurring on May 4th, student protester violence amounted to swearing, throwing small rocks, and volleying back tear gas canisters, while the gun-toting soldiers of the ONG declared the peace rally illegal, brutally herded the students over large distances on campus, filled the air with tear gas, and even threw rocks at students. Twenty minutes into the protest demonstration, a troop of National Guard marched up a hill away from the students, turned to face the students in unison, and fired.

The violence at Kent State came from the National Guardsmen, not protesting students. On May 4, 1970, the US government delivered its deadly message to Kent State students and the world: if you protest in America against the wars of the Pentagon and the Department of Defense, the US government will stop at nothing to silence you.

Participating American militia colluded at Kent State to organize and fight this battle against American student protesters, most of them too young to vote but old enough to fight in the Vietnam War.9 And from new evidence exposed forty years after the massacre, numerous elements point directly to the FBI and COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) as lead agencies managing the government operation of the Kent State massacre, including the cover-up, but also with a firm hand in some of the lead-up.

Prior to the announcement of the Cambodian incursion, the ONG arrived in the Kent area acting in a federalized role as the Cleveland-Akron labor wildcat strikes were winding down. The ONG continued in the federalized role at Kent State, ostensibly to protect the campus and as a reaction to the burning of a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) building. Ohio Governor James “Jim” Rhodes claimed the burning of the ROTC building on the Kent State University campus was his reason for “calling in the guard,” yet in this picture of the burning building, the ONG are clearly standing before the flames as the building burns.10

From eyewitness accounts, the burning of the ROTC building at Kent State was completed by undercover law enforcement determined to make sure it could become the symbol needed to support the Kent State war on student protest.11

According to Dr. Elaine Wellin, an eyewitness to the many events at Kent State leading up to and including May 4th, there were uniformed and plain-clothes officers potentially involved in managing the burning of the ROTC building. Wellin was in close proximity to the building just prior to the burning and saw a person with a walkie-talkie about three feet from her telling someone on the other end of the communication that they should not send down the fire truck as the ROTC building was not on fire yet.12

A memo to COINTELPRO director William C. Sullivan ordered a full investigation into the “fire bombing of the ROTC building.” But only days after the Kent State massacre, every weapon that was fired was destroyed, and all other weapons used at Kent State were gathered by top ONG officers, placed with other weapons and shipped to Europe for use by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), so no weapons used at Kent could be traced.

From these pieces of evidence, it becomes clearer that the US government coordinated this battle against student protest on the Kent State campus. Using the playbook from the Huston Plan, which refers to protesting students as the “New Left,” the US government employed provocateurs, staged incidents, and enlisted political leaders to attack and lay full blame on the students. On May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, the US government fully negated every student response as they criminalized the First Amendment rights to protest and assemble.13

The cover-up adds tremendous complexity to an already complicated event, making it nearly impossible to fairly try the Kent State massacre in the American justice system. This imposed “establishment” view that Kent State was about “civil rights”—and not about murder or attempted murder—led to a legal settlement on the basis of civil rights lost, with the US government consistently refusing to address the death of four students and the wounding of nine.14

Even more disheartening, efforts to maintain the US government cover-up at Kent State recently went into overdrive in April 2012, when President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) formally announced a refusal to open a new probe into the wrongs of Kent State, continuing the tired 1970 tactic of referring to Kent State as a civil rights matter.15

The April 2012 DOJ letters of response also included a full admission that, in 1979, after reaching the Kent State civil rights settlement, the FBI Cleveland office destroyed what they considered a key piece of evidence: the original tape recording made by Terry Strubbe on his dormitory window ledge. In a case involving homicides, the FBI’s illegal destruction of evidence exposes their belief to be “above the law,” ignoring the obvious fact that four students were killed on May 4, 1970. As the statute of limitations never lapses for murder, the FBI’s actions went against every law of evidence. The laws clearly state that evidence may not be destroyed in homicides, even when the murders are perpetrated by the US government.

The destruction of the original Strubbe tape also shows the FBI’s intention to obstruct justice: the 2012 DOJ letters on Kent State claim that, because the original Strubbe tape was intentionally destroyed, the copy examined by Allen cannot be compared to the original or authenticated. However the original Strubbe tape, destroyed by the DOJ, was never admitted into evidence.

The tape examined by Stuart Allen, however, is a one-to-one copy of the Kent State Strubbe tape admitted into evidence in Kent State legal proceedings by Joseph Kelner, the lawyer representing the victims of Kent State. Once an article has been admitted into evidence, the article is considered authentic evidentiary material.

Worse than this new smokescreen on the provenance of the Kent State Strubbe tape and FBI efforts to destroy evidence is that the DOJ has wholly ignored or refuted the tremendous body of forensic evidence work accomplished by Allen, and verified by forensic expert Tom Owen.16 If the US Department of Justice really wanted to learn the truth about what happened at Kent State and was open to understanding the new evidence, DOJ efforts would include organizing an impartial examination of Allen’s analysis and contacting him to present his examination of the Kent State Strubbe tape. None of this has happened.

Instead, those seeking justice through a reexamination of the Kent State historical record based on new evidence have been left out in the cold. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, involved in Kent State from the very beginning as a Cleveland city council person, asked important questions in a letter to the DOJ on April 24, 2012, titled, “Analysis of Audio Record of Kent State Shooting Leaves Discrepancies and Key Questions Unaddressed”:

“While I appreciate the response from the Justice Department, ultimately, they fail to examine key questions and discrepancies. It is well known that an FBI informant, Terry Norman, was on the campus. That FBI informant was carrying a gun. Eyewitnesses testified that they saw Mr. Norman brandish that weapon. Two experts in forensic audio, who have previously testified in court regarding audio forensics, found gunshots in their analysis of the audio recording. Did an FBI informant discharge a firearm at Kent State? Did an FBI informant precipitate the shootings?

Who and what events led to the violent encounter that resulted in four students dead and nine others injured? What do the FBI files show about their informant? Was he ever debriefed? Has he been questioned to compare his statement of events with new analysis? How, specifically, did the DOJ analyze the tape? How does this compare to previous analysis conducted by independent sources that reached a different conclusion? The DOJ suggested noises heard in the recording resulted from a door opening and closing. What tests were used to make that determination? Was an independent agency consulted in the process?

For more than a year, I have pushed for an analysis of the Strubbe tape because Kent State represented a tragedy of immense proportions. The Kent State shooting challenged the sensibilities of an entire generation of Americans. This issue is too important to ignore. We must demand a full explanation of the events.17

Concerned Americans may join Congressman Kucinich in demanding answers to these questions and in insisting on an independent, impartial organization—in other words, not the FBI—to get to the bottom of this.

The FBI’s cloudy involvement includes questions about Terry Norman’s relationship to the FBI, addressed in Mangels’s article, “Kent State Shootings: Does Former Informant Hold the Key to the May 4th Mystery?”:

“Whether due to miscommunication, embarrassment or an attempted cover-up, the FBI initially denied any involvement with Norman as an informant.

“Mr. Norman was not working for the FBI on May 4, 1970, nor has he ever been in any way connected with this Bureau,” director J. Edgar Hoover declared to Ohio Congressman John Ashbrook in an August 1970 letter.

Three years later, Hoover’s successor, Clarence Kelley, was forced to correct the record. The director acknowledged that the FBI had paid Norman $125 for expenses incurred when, at the bureau’s encouragement, Norman infiltrated a meeting of Nazi and white power sympathizers in Virginia a month before the Kent State shootings.18

Even more telling, Norman’s pistol disappeared from a police evidence locker and was completely retooled to make sure that the weapon—used to create the “sound of sniper fire” on May 4—would not show signs of use. Indeed, every “investigation” into Kent State shows that the FBI tampered, withheld, and destroyed evidence, bringing into question government involvement in both the premeditated and post-massacre efforts at Kent State. In examining all inquiries into Kent State, an accurate investigation has never occurred, as the groups involved in the wrongs of Kent State have been investigating themselves.19

The Kent State students never had a chance against the armed will of the US government in its aim to fight wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos back in 1970. Further, the First Amendment rights to protest and assemble have shown to be only vacuous platitudes. Forty-two years later, the Obama administration echoes the original drone of the US government denying the murder of protesters, pointing only to civil rights lost. When bullets were fired on May 4th at Kent State, US government military action against antiwar protesters on domestic soil changed from a civil rights breach to acts of murder and attempted murder.

Congressman Kucinich, in an interview with Pacifica Radio after his exchanges with DOJ by May of 2012, said,

There are some lingering questions that could change the way that history looks at what happened at Kent State. And I think that we owe it to the present generation of Americans, the generation of Americans that came of age during Kent, the students on campus, we owe it to the Guardsmen, who it was said opened fire without any provocation what so ever  … we have to get to the truth.20

As long as American leadership fails to consider killing protesters a homicidal action and not just about civil rights lost, there is little safety for American protesters today, leaving the door wide open for more needless and unnecessary bloodshed and possibly the killing of American protesters again. This forty-two-year refusal to acknowledge the death of four students relates to current US government practices toward protest and protesters in America, as witnessed at Occupy Wall Street over the past year. When will it ever become legal to protest and assemble in America again? Will American leadership cross the line to kill American protesters again?21

In a rare editorial addressing this issue, journalist Stephen Rosenfeld of AlterNet wrote,

“History never exactly repeats itself. But its currents are never far from the present. As today’s protesters and police employ bolder tactics, the Kent State and Jackson State anniversaries should remind us that deadly mistakes can and do happen. It is the government’s responsibility to wield proportionate force, not to over-arm police and place them in a position where they could panic with deadly results.22

Though forty-two years have passed, the lessons of Kent State have not yet been learned.

No More Kent States

In 2010, the United Kingdom acknowledged the wrongs of Bloody Sunday, also setting an example for the US government to learn the important lessons of protest and the First Amendment.23 In January 1972, during “Bloody Sunday,” British paratroopers shot and killed fourteen protesters; most of the demonstrators were shot in the back as they ran to save themselves.24

Thirty-eight years after the Bloody Sunday protest, British Prime Minister David Cameron apologized before Parliament, formally acknowledging the wrongful murder of protesters and apologized for the government.25 The healing in Britain has begun. Considering the striking similarity in events where protesters were murdered by the state, let’s examine the wrongs of Kent State, begin to heal this core American wound, and make a very important, humane course correction for America. When will it become legal to protest in America?

President Obama, the Department of Justice, and the US government as a whole must take a fresh look at Stuart Allen’s findings in the Kent State Strubbe tape. The new Kent State evidence is compelling, clearly showing how US covert intelligence took the lead in creating this massacre and in putting together the ensuing cover-up.

As the United States has refused to examine the new evidence or consider the plight of American protest in 2012, the Kent State Truth Tribunal formally requested the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague consider justice at Kent State.26

Who benefited the most from the murder of student protesters at Kent State? Who was really behind the Kent State massacre? There is really only one US agency that clearly benefited from killing student antiwar protesters at Kent State: the Department of Defense.

Since 1970 through 2012, the military-industrial-cyber complex strongly associated with the Department of Defense and covert US government agencies have actively promoted never-ending wars with enormous unaccounted-for budgets as they increase restrictions on American protest. These aims of the Pentagon are evidenced today in the USA PATRIOT Act, the further civil rights–limiting National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and new war technologies like CIA drones.

Probing the dark and buried questions of the Kent State massacre is only a beginning step to shine much-needed light on the United States military and to illuminate how the Pentagon has subverted American trust and safety, as it endeavors to quell domestic protest against war at any cost since at least 1970.

LAUREL KRAUSE a writer and truth seeker dedicated to raising awareness about ocean protection, safe renewable energy, and truth at Kent State. She publishes a blog on these topics at Mendo Coast Current. She is the cofounder and director of the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Before spearheading efforts for justice for her sister Allison Krause, who was killed at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, Laurel worked at technology start-ups in Silicon Valley.

MICKEY HUFF is the director of Project Censored and professor of social science and history at Diablo Valley College.  He did his graduate work in history on historical interpretations of the Kent State shootings and has been actively researching the topic more since his testimony to the Kent State Truth Tribunal in New York City in 2010.

Notes

1.         For more background on Kent State and the many conflicting interpretations, see Scott L. Bills, Kent State/May 4: Echoes Through a Decade (Kent OH: Kent State University Press, 1982). Of particular interest for background on this chapter, see Peter Davies, “The Burning Question: A Government Cover-up?,” in Kent State/May 4, 150–60. For a full account of Davies’s work, see The Truth About Kent State: A Challenge to the American Conscience (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973). For a listing of other works see Selected Bibliography on the Events of May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, http://dept.kent.edu/30yearmay4/source/bib.htm.

2.   John Mangels, “New Analysis of 40-Year-Old Recording of Kent State Shootings Reveals that Ohio Guard was Given an Order to Prepare to Fire,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), May 9, 2010, updated April 23, 2012, http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/05/new_analysis_of_40-year-old_re.html; Interview with Stuart Allen analyzing new evidence who said of the efforts, “It’s about setting history right.” See the footage “Kent State Shootings Case Remains Closed,” CNN, added April 29, 2012, http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2012/04/29/justice-department-will-not-reopen-kent-state-shootings-case.cnn.

3.         Submitted for the Congressional Record by Representative Dennis Kucinich, “Truth Emerging in Kent State Cold Case Homicide,” by Laurel Krause, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r111%3AE14DE0-0019%3A. For a brief introduction on the history and emerging historiography of the Kent State shootings, see Mickey S. Huff, “Healing Old Wounds: Public Memory, Commemoration, and Conflicts Over Historical Interpretations of the Kent State Shootings, 1977–1990,” master’s thesis, Youngstown State University, December 1999, http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi?acc_num=ysu999620326.

For the official government report, see The Report of the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest (Washington: US Government Printing Office, 1970), also known as the Scranton Commission. It should be noted that the Scranton Commission stated in their conclusion between pages 287 and 290 that the shootings were “unnecessary, unwarranted and inexcusable” but criminal wrongdoing was never established through the courts and no one was ever held accountable for the shootings. Also, it should be noted, that the interpretation that the guard was ordered to fire conflicts with Davies’s interpretation, in note 1 here, that even though he believes there was a series of cover-ups by the government, he has not attributed malice. For more on the Kent State cover-ups early on, see I. F. Stone, “Fabricated Evidence in the Kent State Killings,” New York Review of Books, December 3, 1970, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1970/dec/03/fabricated-evidence-in-the-kent-state-killings.

4.   Mangels, “Kent State Tape Indicates Altercation and Pistol Fire Preceded National Guard Shootings (audio),” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), October 8, 2010, http://www.cleveland.com/science/index.ssf/2010/10/analysis_of_kent_state_audio_t.html.

5.   Kent State Shooting 1970 [BX4510], Google Video, at 8:20 min., http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3727445416544720642.

6.   Editorial, “Kent State: The Politics of Manslaughter,” Nation, April 30, 2009 [May 18, 1970], http://www.thenation.com/article/kent-state-politics-manslaughter.

7.   Charles A. Thomas, Kenfour: Notes On An Investigation (e-book), http://speccoll.library.kent.edu/4may70/kenfour3.

8.   John Kifner, “4 Kent State Students Killed by Troops,” New York Times, May 4, 1970, http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0504.html#article.

9.   Voting age was twenty-one at this time, until the passage of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution in 1971, which lowered the voting age to eighteen, partially in response to Vietnam War protests as youth under twenty-one could be drafted without the right to vote.

10.       It should also be noted, that Rhodes was running for election the Tuesday following the Kent shootings on a law and order ticket.

11.       “My Personal Testimony ROTC Burning May 2 1970 Kent State,” YouTube, April 28, 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ppBkB4caY0&feature=youtu.be; Freedom of Information Act, FBI, Kent State Shooting, File Number 98-46479, part 7 of 8 (1970), http://vault.fbi.gov/kent-state-shooting/kent-state-shooting-part-07-of-08/view.

12.       The Project Censored Show on The Morning Mix, “May 4th and the Kent State Shootings in the 42nd Year,” Pacifica Radio, KPFA, 94.1FM, May 4, 2012 live at 8:00 a.m., archived online at http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/80293 and http://dl.dropbox.com/u/42635027/20120504-Fri0800.mp3. For Wellin on ROTC, see recording at 28:45.

Show description: The May 4th Kent State Shootings 42 Years Later: Justice Still Not Served with Congressman Dennis Kucinich commenting on the DOJ’s recent refusal to reopen the case despite new evidence of a Kent State command-to-fire and the ‘sound of sniper fire’ leading to the National Guard firing live ammunition at unarmed college students May 4, 1970; Dr. Elaine Wellin, Kent State eyewitness shares seeing undercover agents at the ROTC fire in the days before, provocateurs in staging the rallies at Kent, and at Kent State on May 4th; we’ll hear from investigator and forensic evidence expert Stuart Allen regarding his audio analysis of the Kent State Strubbe tape from May 4th revealing the command-to-fire and the ‘sound of sniper fire’ seventy seconds before; and we hear from Kent State Truth Tribunal director Laurel Krause, the sister of slain student Allison, about her efforts for justice at Kent State and recent letter to President Obama..

Also see Peter Davies’ testimony about agents provocateurs and the ROTC fire cited in note 1, “The Burning Question: A Government Cover-up?,” in Kent State/May 4, 150–60.

13.       The Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), “Volume 2: Huston Plan,” http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports_vol2.htm.

14.    Associated Press, “Kent State Settlement: Was Apology Included?,” Eugene Register-Guard, January 5, 1979, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19790105&id=xvJVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=BuIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3696,963632.

15. Mangels, “Justice Department Won’t Reopen Probe of 1970 Kent State Shootings,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), April 24, 2012, http://www.cleveland.com/science/index.ssf/2012/04/justice_department_wont_re-ope.html; and kainah, “Obama Justice Dept.: No Justice for Kent State,” Daily Kos, May 2, 2012, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/02/1086726/-Justice-Dept-No-Justice-for-Kent-State.

16.       Mangels, “New Analysis.”

17.       Letters between the Department of Justice and Representative Dennis Kucinich, archived at the Congressman’s website, April 20 and April 24 of 2012, http://kucinich.house.gov/uploadedfiles/kent_state_response_from_doj.pdf and http://kucinich.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=292306.

18.       Mangels, “Kent State Shootings: Does Former Informant Hold the Key to the May 4 Mystery?,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland), December 19, 2010, http://www.cleveland.com/science/index.ssf/2010/12/kent_state_shootings_does_form.html.

19. Freedom of Information Act, FBI.

20.       The Project Censored Show on The Morning Mix, “May 4th and the Kent State Shootings in the 42nd Year.”

21. Steven Rosenfeld, “Will a Militarized Police Force Facing Occupy Wall Street Lead to Another Kent State?,” AlterNet, May 3, 2012, http://www.alternet.org/rights/155270.

22.       Ibid.

23.       Laurel Krause, “No More Kent States,” Mendo Coast Current, April 21, 2012, http://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/13-day-for-kent-state-peace.

24.       Laurel Krause, “Unjustified, Indefensible, Wrong,” Mendo Coast Current, September 13, 2010, http://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/unjustified-indefensible-wrong.

25.       Associated Press, “Bloody Sunday Report Blames British Soldiers Fully,” USA Today, June 15, 2010, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2010-06-15-Bloody-Sunday-Ireland_N.htm; and Cameron’s direct quote from Henry McDonald, Owen Bowcott, and Hélène Mulholland, “Bloody Sunday Report: David Cameron Apologises for ‘Unjustifiable’ Shootings,” Guardian, June 15, 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jun/15/bloody-sunday-report-saville-inquiry.

26.       Laurel Krause, “To the Hague: Justice for the May 4th Kent State Massacre?,” Mendo Coast Current, May 7, 2012, http://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/may-4th-kent-state-massacre-a-call-for-truth-justice; for more on the Kent State Truth Tribunal, see www.TruthTribunal.org.

September 27, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on Uncovering The Kent State Cover-Up

A History of Repression

Cointelpro 101

By RON JACOBS  |  October 7, 2010

In recent weeks, articles have appeared in various media outlets detailing recent surveillance activities of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. According to these reports. much of this surveillance was focused on antiwar and peace groups. Then, on September 24, 2010 several homes and offices in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago and North Carolina were raided by the FBI.  Subpoenas to appear at a grand jury investigation were issued to several activists.  The reason provided for the raids was that some individuals were suspected of providing “material support to terrorists.” These raids and recent revelations have been met with protest and, in some quarters, shock-as if the United States government were somehow above such police state intimidation and practices.

On October 10, 2010 at the Mission Cultural Center of Latino Studies in San Francisco, the Freedom Archives will premier its latest documentary. Titled Cointelpro 101, this hour-long film makes it quite clear that the US government is certainly not above such practices and that, furthermore, it has a long history of them. For those who don’t know, Cointelpro was the abbreviated name for the intelligence and counterinsurgency operation waged against a multitude of organizations and individuals deemed threats to national security during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s by the FBI and other US law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Short for counterintelligence, Cointelpro involved the use of a multitude of methods up to and including murder in its crusade to neutralize any and all left opposition to the status quo in the United States. From Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Weather Underground Organization, any one considered an enemy of the US national security state because of their opposition to the US war in Vietnam or their support for the self-determination of people of color in the United States was a potential target of the Cointelpro program.

Cointelpro 101 opens with the April 1971 break-in by antiwar activists at the federal offices in Media, Pennsylvania. The activists were searching for Selective service files to destroy when they came upon files labeled Cointelpro. After a quick perusal of the file’s contents, they removed as many as they could find from the office, made copies and released them to the press. The program was unknown to the broader public at the time and the files proved a revelation to the country. Many politicians were offended and, after the 1972 discovery of the Plumbers unit run by G. Gordon Liddy under the direction of the Nixon White House and the subsequent months of Congressional hearings around Watergate, Senator Frank Church called for hearings to investigate the Cointelpro program.

As the history related in the film makes clear, Cointelpro’s stretch was broad.  Beginning in the 1950s with a focus on the Puerto Rican independence movement and continuing through the 1960s and into the 1970s when much of its focus had shifted to the black liberation, Chicano liberation and American Indian movement, the program racked up a number of assassinations, false imprisonments and ruined lives.  No government official was ever punished for actions taken under the program’s auspices. The film details this history through the artful use of still photos and moving images of the period covered. Films of police attacks and protests; still photos of revolutionary leaders and police murders graphically remind the viewer of Washington’s willingness to do whatever it takes to maintain its control. Organizers who began their political activity during the time of Cointelpro discuss the effect the program had on them and the organizations and individuals they worked with.  Indeed, several of the interviewees were themselves targets and spent years in prison (some that were false, as in the case of Geronimo ji-Jaga Pratt) or on the run. One of the interviewees, Wesley Swearingen, is a former FBI agent who was involved in Cointelpro operations in Los Angeles and elsewhere and later published a book exposing his knowledge. His recollections reveal the nature of the war the FBI was fighting.

Former Black Panther member Kathleen Cleaver states toward the end of the film that Cointelpro represented the efforts of a political police force making the decision as to what is allowed politically and what is not. Anything outside the parameters set by this force was fair game.  Nothing that was done by government officials or private groups and individuals acting on the government’s behalf was perceived as wrong or illegal. As Attorney Bob Boyle makes clear in his final statement in the film, Cointelpro is alive and well. The only difference now is that most of what was illegal for the government to do during Cointelpro’s official existence is now legal. The PATRIOT Act and other laws associated with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security have insured this.  The September 24, 2010 raids mentioned above are but the most recent proof of it.

Cointelpro 101 is a well made and appealing primer on the history of the US police state. Produced, written and directed by individuals who have themselves been the target of tactics documented in the film, it has an authenticity and immediacy that pulls the viewer in.  Although too short to cover the history in as full detail as some may desire, the film’s intelligence and conscientious presentation of the historical narrative makes it a film that the student, the citizen and the activist can all appreciate.

Ron Jacobs is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso.

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October 7, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | 2 Comments