War Against The Panthers:
A Study Of Repression In America
HUEY P. NEWTON / Doctoral Dissertation / UC Santa Cruz ljunl980
WAR AGAINST THE PANTHERS:
A STUDY OF REPRESSION IN AMERICA
A Dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the
requirements for the degree of:
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
HISTORY OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Huey P. Newton
There has been an abundance of material to draw upon in researching and writing this
dissertation. Indeed, when a friend recently asked me how long I had been working on it,
I almost jokingly replied, "Thirteen years — since the Party was founded." ' Looking back
over that period in an effort to capture its meaning, to collapse time around certain
significant events and personalities requires an admitted arbitrariness on my part. Many
people have given or lost their lives, reputations, and financial security because of their
involvement with the Party. I cannot possibly include all of them, so I have chosen a few
in an effort to present, in C. Wright Mills' description, "biography as history."
This dissertation analyzes certain features of the Party and incidents that are significant in
its development. Some central events in the growth of the Party, from adoption of an
ideology and platform to implementation of community programs, are first described.
This is followed by a presentation of the federal government's response to the Party.
Much of the information presented herein concentrates on incidents in Oakland,
California, and government efforts to discredit or harm me. The assassination of Fred
Hampton, an important leader in Chicago, is also described in considerable detail, as are
the killings of Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter and John Huggins in Los Angeles. Supporting
evidence for a great deal of this dissertation has come from two federal civil rights
lawsuits filed by the Party: one initiated in 1976 in Washington, D.C., and still pending
against the FBI and other federal agency officials, and another which ended after a nine-
month trial in Chicago, Illinois.'*
It is logical that Oakland, California, should be the focus of hostile government actions
against the Party because it is the place where the Party was founded, and it is the center
of its organizational strength. In discussing Party leaders, including myself, and events in
which they were involved, there has been a persistent temptation to write personally and
emotionally. Individuals, with all their strengths and weaknesses, make significant
differences in the outcome of political struggles; however, their roles are too often
romanticized, clouding an understanding of the political forces propelling them into
struggle. I have tried to maintain an objectivity consistent with scholarly standards by
placing the roles of the involved personalities in proper political perspective. To aid in
this effort, I will be referred to throughout this study in the third person. This dissertation
is then, by necessity, illustrative, not exhaustive; a history in brief, not a biography of the
Black Panther Party [BPP].
What is perhaps most significant about [this study] is that it suggests how much we still
do not know. How many people's lives were ruined in countless ways by a government
intent on destroying them as representatives of an "enemy" political organization? What
"tactics" or "dirty tricks" were employed, with what results? Perhaps we shall never know
the answers to these questions, but this inquiry about the BPP and the federal government
will hopefully help us in our search for "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
1 The Black Panther Party is referred to throughout this dissertation
as "The Party," "the Panthers," and "the BPP." All [these]
terms are used interchangeably and refer to the same
2 C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination (New York:
Grove Press, 1961), p. 173.
3 On January 25, 1980 the court dismissed our lawsuit because we
refused to disclose the names and addresses of BPP
members and provide additional information concerning
criminal charges ending against certain members. We did
provide the government with the names and addresses of all
Central Committee members, i.e., the governing body of
the Party, who are publicly known. Since the purpose of
our lawsuit was to seek redress against unlawful
government actions a gains our members, we had an
obligation to protect their right of anonymity as an integral
part of [a] minority political association that seeks through
litigation to halt the government from illegally harassing its
members. This will now be resolved by an appellate court.
The Black Panther Party v. Levi, No. 76-2205, U.S. Dist.
Ct. (D.C.). See also, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 January
1980, p. 2, col. 2.
Iberia Hampton v. City of Chicago, No. 70-C-1384, U.S. Dist.
Ct. (N.D. 111., 1977). On June 2, 1980, a U.S. Supreme
Court ruling cleared the way to reopen this case.
From the point of its founding, democratic government in the United States of America
has faced the challenging need to overcome certain obstacles inherent in both its
organization and general structure before many of its basic assumptions could be
actualized. Learned and astute observers of the founding and development of American
democracy noted the threatening nature of a number of these obstacles during the early
days of the new republic. The study proposed here finds its importance and justification
in the concept that several of the original problems of American democracy have endured
with increasing ominous consequences for the full realization of democratic government
in the United States. In particular, two of the most crucial problems which have hindered
the development of truly democratic government in America are treated here:
1. class and racial cleavages, which have historically been the source of
division and bitter antagonism between sectors of American society, and
2. the inherent and longstanding distrust held by the American ruling class
of any institutionalized democracy involving the mass population.
The continuing existence of these two problems — compounded, of course, by companion
evils — has from one time to another enlarged and set in motion a debilitating dialectic
which has kept full democracy at bay, and the very fabric of American society in rather
constant peril. What is hoped for here is an examination of specific responses and events
related to the aforementioned major problems that is capable of shedding an enlightening
beacon of light on the nature and progression of maladies related to these problems and
what is thereby portended for American society in terms of present results and future
possibilities. There is, in other words, the intent to forge an analysis capable of informing
and instructing those who are devoted to and must continue to grapple with these
outstanding problems, problems in need of being resolved if ever democratic government
in America is to achieve any degree of substance consistent with its theoretical
suppositions and ideals.
The first problem in American democracy set forth here was offered the summary
justification by the Founding Fathers that it was a "limited" representative or republican
form of democracy that was best suited and most desirable for the new country's
governance.'* This intent, "limited" though it is, was mocked by the peculiar contradiction
that the populace to be served by the new government included sizeable sectors which
were not to be regarded as beneficiaries of even the most "limited" promise of
democracy. African Americans, Native Americans, and, to a lesser extent, women were
never presumed to be within the pale of either hopes or guarantees related to the practice
of democracy. This marked exclusion in the idealism of America's founders might well
be regarded as the original wellspring of dissent in America, for what is all too apparent
is the fact that democracy is a dynamic and infectious idea. It is an idea which inspires
the hope of universal inclusion. Thus, it may subsequently have been predicted that the
arbitrary, capricious, and sinister exclusion of large sectors of the American population
from the hopes inspired by the rhetoric of a fledgling democracy would give rise to the
most determined forms of human struggle imaginable, including those which resort to
force of arms, and resolve to face death before capitulation. The deliberately designed
and nurtured class and racial cleavages of American society, present from its beginning,
have fostered such extreme antagonisms during every period in the development of
This study draws upon a course of events taking place during the latter half of the
twentieth century, which exemplifies the ultimate form of struggle born of this contrived
contradiction, a contradiction which is as old as the life of the American republic itself.
The contradiction which provides much of the source material for this study would
doubtless have never existed nor reached such dastardly and volatile proportions if it
were not for the societalwide ingestion of a class — and racially-biased social philosophy,
which stemmed from the original premise of American social organization, a deeply
ingrained belief that society [is] by nature divided into superior and inferior classes and
races of people. This vision of the "natural order" of society, rationalized by those who
have a vested interest in its maintenance, has kept Americans of different classes and
races either directly engaged in social warfare, or forever poised in a position of battle.
There has been, in other words, from the very beginning of the American republic as we
know it, a systematically cultivated polarization, which has predisposed the population to
varying but continuous levels of warfare. This sinister and carefully maintained die of
social antagonism has been recast with the changing mold of each different epoch of
Always, the rulers of an order, consistent with their own interests and solely of their own
design, have employed what to them seemed to be the most optimal and efficient means
of maintaining unquestioned social and economic advantage. Clear-cut superiority in
things social and economic — by whatever means — has been a scruples-free premise of
American ruling class authority from the society's inception to the present. The initial
socioeconomic advantage, begotten by chattel slavery, was enforced by undaunted
violence and the constant threat of more violence. In other times, there has been political
repression, peonage (debt slavery), wage slavery, chicanery, and the like, but always
accompanied by the actual or threatened force of violence.
The import of the combined forces of industrialization and urbanization [has] been [a]
principal contributor in the twentieth century to the need of the American ruling class to
develop newer, less obvious, and more effective means of retaining its control of and
domination over the mass of Americans. Direct and unconcealed brute force and
violence — although clearly persisting in many quarters of society — are today less
acceptable to an increasingly sophisticated public, a public significantly remote from the
methods of social and economic control common to early America. This is not a
statement, however, that there is such increased civility that Americans can no longer
tolerate social control of the country's under classes by force of violence; rather, it is an
observation that Americans today appear to be more inclined to issue endorsement to
agents and agencies of control which carry out the task, while permitting the benefactors
of such control to retain a semidignified, clean-hands image of themselves. This attitude
is very largely responsible for the rise of the phenomenon to which systematic attention is
given in the study undertaken here: the rise in the 1960s of control tactics heavily reliant
upon infiltration, deliberate misinformation, selective harassment, and the use of the legal
system to quell broad based dissent and its leadership.
Such tactics are, of course, closely identified with the presidency and administration of
Richard M. Nixon, although many of these tactics were used prior to the Nixon years.
However, it was under the leadership of Nixon that Americans in their majority — when
they were confronted by widespread protest over both domestic and foreign policies —
issued to the government and its agencies what appeared to be blanket approval of the
squelching of dissent by means legal or illegal. This led inexorably to a vast and
pernicious campaign of no-holds-barred conspiracies and extralegal acts designed by law
enforcement agencies to "neutralize", contain, and/or destroy organizations and
individuals thought to be "enemies" of the American government (or the status quo),
merely because they dared to disagree openly with the existing order and its policies.
Such campaigns were tragically successful in too many cases for too many years before
Americans began to realize the true extent of the victimization.
It is a fundamental assertion of this study that the majority society, in its fear-provoked
zeal to maintain and assure its inequitable position in American society, flirted with and
came dangerously close to total abandonment of the particular freedom upon which all
others are ultimately dependent, the right to disagree. Moreover, it is an ancillary claim of
this study that the danger has not yet passed, for few if any of society's major problems
have been solved, and a large number of Americans seem yet inclined to believe that
special treatment and different rules can be applied to Americans who dare to disagree
without consequence for those who are in agreement with the powers and policies that be.
This [belief] is to be specifically denied, and the claim to be made is that repression of
selected sectors of mass society is extremely difficult to carry out, if not impossible,
without a resulting loss of cherished freedoms for the entire society. This premise
constitutes a seminal focal point and objective of the analysis to be undertaken.
A. The Importance of the Problem
The Black Panther Party (BPP) was formed in this country in 1966 as an organization of
Black and poor persons embracing a common ideology, identified by its proponents as
"revolutionary intercommunalism.'" Since its inception, the Party has been subject to a
variety of actions by agencies and officers of the federal government intended to destroy
it politically and financially. It is the major contention of this dissertation that this official
effort to destroy the BPP was undertaken precisely because of the Party's political
ideology, and potential for organizing a sizeable group of the country's population that
has been historically denied equal opportunity in employment, education, housing, and
other recognized basic needs. A corollary to this theory is that governmental efforts at
destruction of the Party, successful in varying degrees, were only thwarted or held in
abeyance when they reached their logical consequence: destruction of the right of dissent
for all groups, a right indispensable to the functioning of a democratic society.
The method employed to substantiate this theory is an examination of numerous
measures undertaken by the government to, in the words of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI), "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize" the
BPP.'' For the most part, records and documents of relevant government agencies
initiating and participating in this campaign of destruction against the BPP provide the
evidentiary basis for the dissertation. These records and documents, many revealed herein
publicly for the first time, have been discovered in litigation between the BPP and
government agencies, as well as through congressional investigations, scholarly studies,
and media reports. In addition, firsthand knowledge of the author as a witness or
participant to certain events, interviews with persons knowledgeable about relevant
matters, and secondary sources of information (e.g., other studies and news reports) are
used and identified. Most of the evidence of government efforts to destroy the Party
focuses on the FBI because it was the major known offender in terms of intensity and
severity of actions, but brief sections on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are also included.
The result of this study is an analysis of what happened, and still can happen, to a
dissident political organization that explicitly challenges the policies and practices of a
government intent on controlling the pace and degree of integration for a sizeable group
of persons seeking equal socioeconomic participation. Moreover, this study shows the
lengths to which, so far at least, a government can go in a constitutional democracy
before it must choose between destroying a dissident political organization, or in the
process of doing so, the very fabric of constitutional democracy.
It is the conclusion of this dissertation that the federal government was forced to suspend
temporarily its most egregious actions directed at destroying the BPP, but that these
measures pose an ever-present danger of recurrence to dissident political organizations
with perceptions of the government similar to those of the BPP.
The basic methodological approach to the problem to be examined is one requiring the
identification of a number of particular response patterns to particular forms of dissent.
The basic materials used are over 8,000 250-page volumes of recently released reports
and "intelligence" information. This information was collected by various police and
government agencies and has been used against a number of activists and dissenters who
were believed to pose a threat to the existing order. An effort is made to compare
empirical evidence accrued from the writer's own participation and observation to the
statements and recorded experiences of similarly situated participant-observers.
Objectivity is in every instance strived for, but it is in no instance guaranteed due to the
observer's proximity to much of what is found to be characteristic of those patterns most
fruitful to observe. A substantial amount of material gathered in personal interviews and
taken from sworn depositions and trial statements made under oath is used in the
construction of analyses.
As stated above, this study is presented in a historical manner. This style was chosen in
order to develop an analysis of repression by the use of chronological fact. In this way,
repression cannot be viewed as a new and unsophisticated set of tactics developed for
only an isolated group or individual.
It is germane to this study, however, that of the dissident groups which were established
in the last twenty years, the Black Panther Party was singled out for concerted, consistent,
and violent attack, harassment, and media abuse. In early 1969, then U.S. Attorney
General John Mitchell stated that the Justice Department would "wipe out the Black
Panther Party by the end of 1969." Edward V. Hanrahan, Cook County's former state
attorney in Chicago, when asked about the murder of Fred Hampton, which Hanrahan
authorized, stated that it was "justified because of the vicious activities of the Black
Panther Party. "^^
These pages do not reflect the personal pain and anguish, the resulting physical and
emotional disabilities, as well as the continual financial setbacks the writer has suffered.
However, a sensitive person can infer these things from the study. Such an overwhelming
number of incidents occurred that it is difficult to imagine that anyone living during this
period of history was not affected. The participant-observer has been shot, ambushed,
followed, and verbally and physically threatened and abused. His wife and family are
under constant surveillance and also have been attacked and threatened. In every
apartment or home in which he has lived since 1966, the premises have been burglarized,
searched, and bugged (as was his bedroom in an apartment in Oakland, California, in
1974). In addition, mail has been intercepted or received already opened. Far more
devastating are the brutal deaths of the writer's personal friends: Bobby Hutton, murdered
by the Oakland police in 1968; Alprentice Carter, murdered in Los Angeles in 1969 by
men working in association with the FBI; and George Jackson, who was murdered at San
Quentin Prison in 1971. The participant-observer has spent a total of three years (1967 —
1970) in prison, has been arrested numerous times, has spent the last thirteen years in
court (an average of two trials per year), and from 1974 to 1977 was in involuntary exile
as a protection from physical abuse and death. All of these incidents of the writer's
knowledge of repression are intended to substantiate the chronology's factual information
from a personal view. The participant-observer, in addition, is the leading and founding
member of the organization, said to be "the greatest threat to the internal security of the
country." Although it may seem that the writer is somewhat disadvantaged because of
his proximity to the events discussed in this study, it is this very proximity that gives
clarity to the specific conflict discussed. Finally, this study attempts to explain why the
beliefs of the Black Panther Party and those of the American government and its
intelligence agencies have resulted in continuing conflict.
1 The most concisely stated and meaningful assumptions of
American democracy having a direct bearing on the well-
being and future of the American people were manifested
in the first ten amendments to the Constitution, upon which
the new American government was founded. Consistent
with their importance, the new government, it is generally
agreed, may have faced ratification problems of indefinite
duration without the inclusion of the ten amendments to the
Bill of Rights. As it were, their inclusion eased and finally
assured the ratification of the new Constitution.
2 Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. George
Lawrence (New York: Harper & Row, 1966).
3 See the debate on this issue at the Constitutional Convention.
(Richard Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition and
the Men Who Made It, New York: Knopf, 1948).
4 Ibid. See also "To the Revolutionary People's Constitutional
Convention: September 5, 1970," in Huey P. Newton, To
Die for the People (New York: Random House, 1972), pp.
156 — 162. [Publisher's note — New York: Writers and
5 Hugh Davis Graham and Ted Robert Garr, eds.. The History of
Violence in America: Historical and Comparative
Perspectives (New York: Praeger, 1969).
6 See e.g., Oliver C Cox, Caste, Class, and Race: A Study in Social
Dynamics (New York Monthly Review Press, 1959).
7 See Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein, The Final Days (New
York: Simon & Shuster, 1976) for both a detailed and
general account of the use of such tactics against American
dissenters. See also U.S. Congress. House. United States
Presidents, 1969 — 1974 (Nixon). Submission of Recorded
Presidential Conversations to the Committee on the
Judiciary of the House of Representatives by President
Richard M. Nixon: April 30, 1974 (Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1974), 1308.
8 Both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson are known to have
made use of unlawful and unfair "tricks" designed to
undermine and/or deceive those in opposition to their
9 William Kornhauser, The Politics of Mass Society (Glencoe,
Illinois: Free Press, 1959).
10 For a fuller explanation of revolutionary intercommunalism, see
p. 33 — 36. See also, Newton, To Die for the People, pp.
22 — 32, and Erik H. Erikson and Huey P. Newton, In
Search of Common Ground (New York: W.W. Norton
,1973),pp. 23— 36.
1 1 FBI Memorandum from Headquarters to All Special Agents in
Charge, August 25, 1967. Hereinafter "Hqtrs" and "SAC"
will be used to refer to Headquarters and Special Agents in
12 Newsweek February 1969.
13 Time, December 12, 1969, p. 20.
14 J. Edgar Hoover, quoted in U.S. Congress. Senate. Book III:
Final Report of the Select Committee to Study
Governmental Operations with Respect to Intellisence
Activities, 94th Cong., 2nd sess.,1976 , p. 187.
II. HISTORY OF REPRESSION IN AMERICA
The use by law enforcement agencies of disinformation, under-cover agents,
provocateurs, harassment, and informants did not begin with the war against the Black
Panther Party. Repression based on race, religion, and radicalism has a long history in the
United States, and the tactics and strategies used against the BPP have been employed by
the government since the nation's founding. This chapter will briefly outline examples of
government repression and disregard for the constitutional rights of dissident groups in
America since the turn of the century.
A. The Haymarket Incident
After the Civil War, American workers, led by social revolutionaries, focused their
struggle on the eight-hour day. By 1867, six states had adopted the shorter work day and
in 1868 Congress passed the first federal law giving the eight-hour day to federal
employees. The state laws, however, did not provide for enforcement, and in 1876 the
U.S. Supreme Court nullified the federal law.^
Labor recognized that it would have to win its own battle, and by mid 1886, 250,000
industrial workers were involved in the movement. In Chicago, which had become the
center of the labor movement as well as of socialism in the United States, 400,000
workers had struck for the eight-hour day.
A mass meeting in support of the eight-hour day was held on May 3, 1886; joining in the
meeting were workers from the McCormick Harvester Machine Company, who had been
on strike since February. While August Spies of the Social Revolutionary Club was
speaking to the crowd, strikebreakers began to leave the nearby McCormick plant, and
the striking workers began to demonstrate against the scabs. "A special detail of 200
police arrived and, without warning, attacked the strikers with clubs and revolvers, killing
at least one striker, wounding five or six others, and injuring an undetermined number."
A protest meeting was called for May 4 at Haymarket Square. As the final speaker,
Samuel Fielden, addressed the small group, police suddenly began to disperse it. A
dynamite bomb was thrown. One policeman was instantly killed. Six later died; about
seventy were wounded. The police opened fire on the crowd, killing and wounding an
A nationwide wave of repression followed the Haymarket incident. Socialists and
anarchists were rounded up indiscriminately Raids were staged, homes were broken into
and searched without warrants, suspects were beaten, and "witnesses" were bribed and
coerced. Thirty-one persons were indicted; eight stood trial: August Spies, Albert
Parsons, Samuel Fielden, Michael Schwab, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, Louis Lingg,
and Oscar Neebe. Although only two of the defendants. Spies and Fielden, were at
Haymarket Square when the bomb exploded (Fielden with his wife and child), and
although the state never established any connection of the defendants with the incident,
an openly biased, handpicked jury convicted them solely on the basis of their political
ideas. Worldwide efforts to free them failed, and on November 11, 1887, Parsons, Spies,
Engel, and Fischer were hanged. Lingg had committed suicide. It was not until 1893 that
Neebe, who had been sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment, and Fielden and Schwab,
who had had their death sentences commuted, were pardoned by Governor John Peter
B. Domestic Intelligence, 1908-1936
In 1908, the attorney general under President Theodore Roosevelt created the Bureau of
Investigation within the Justice Department to fill the gap caused by congressional
prohibition of using the Secret Service for investigation and intelligence activities.
Although there was no formal Congressional authorization for the bureau, once it was
established its appropriations were regularly approved by Congress. It was not until 1916
that an amendment to the appropriations statute came to serve as an indirect
congressional authorization for bureau investigations.
During World War I, the bureau, aided by the volunteer American Protective League,
began to operate as a secret political police force. With the Justice Department, the
Bureau investigated the activities of thousands of German immigrants as well as
thousands of Americans accused of draft resistance. The 1918 "slacker raids" in New
York and New Jersey involved the "mass round-up of 50,000 persons (without warrants)
to discover draft evaders. " The Espionage and Sedition Acts were invoked, resulting in
2,000 prosecutions for "disloyal utterances and activities," aimed mainly at socialist and
labor groups critical of the government and its policies. During 1917-1918, bureau
agents raided offices of the Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World
(IWW — the Wobblies) across the country in a concentrated effort to gather evidence for a
mass trial of 166 IWW leaders.^
In late 1919, strikes spread throughout America. In Europe there were socialist- and
communist-led uprisings. Using these events as justification for increased funding for the
bureau. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer told Congress, " ... the bureau is confronted
with a very large and important task in connection with social and economic unrest . . .
and radicalism. ..." As the Bureau shifted its attention from critics of the war to the
activities of political groups, a special division on radical activities was organized.
... Instead of performing their statutory mission of tracking down and
apprehending criminals, federal directives were mounting a massive and
unfocused intelligence gathering operation involving the whole field of
left wing dissent.
Information collected by bureau agents was given to the Justice Department's General
Intelligence Division (GID), an office established by Palmer after a series of bombings in
1919. J. Edgar Hoover was appointed as head of the new division.
One of the bombings referred to above took place on June 2, 1919 near the White House.
Two anarchists were taken into custody without formal charges. One was deported and
the other, Andrea Salsedo, was held incommunicado by the bureau. A few days later,
Salsedo "fell" to his death from the fourteenth floor of the building where he had been
incarcerated. Bartolomeo Vanzetti, a comrade of Salsedo, began an investigation into the
death of his friend. Vanzetti, a Boston shoemaker, quickly came under bureau
surveillance. On June 4, he and Nicola Sacco, a fish peddler, organized a protest meeting
in Brockton, Massachusetts. On June 5, the two men were arrested on capital charges of
which they were later convicted. A nationwide legal struggle for their release was waged
for seven years without success, and Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in 1926.
The GID compiled a massive card index containing 450,000 entries on individuals,
groups, publications, and, "special circumstances," and also collected information on
"matters of an international nature" as well as "economic and industrial disturbances".
Since the only federal law enforceable in noncriminal cases was the deportation statute,
the main target of the bureau's drive was aliens and, without congressional authorization,
the Justice Department (through the GID) and the Bureau of Investigation jointly planned
and organized a nationwide drive to deport foreign radicals from the U.S.. Among the
deportees were Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. American citizens, however,
were not left out since prosecution might be possible under state or existing federal law
or under legislation "which may hereinafter be enacted." '
The drive to deport radicals culminated in the Palmer Raids of late 1919 and early 1920.
The first of these raids took place on November 7, 1919, when 450 people in eighteen
cities were arrested.''* On the night of January 2, 1920, bureau agents, along with
Immigration officials, rounded up some 10,000 persons in thirty-three cities.'^
Following the Palmer Raids, every major American city police department created
intelligence divisions. From 1919 until 1925, the Los Angeles Police Department
(LAPD) arrested 504 union organizers and political activists on charges of "criminal
syndicalism." These arrests resulted in 124 convictions, most of which were obtained
through the perjured testimony of police informants. The LAPD "Red Squad" became a
model intelligence division whose tactics were used by other police agencies across the
When Warren G. Harding took office in 1921, William J. Burns became director of the
bureau. Burns, the former head of the International Detective Agency (IDA), a company
specializing in labor spying, aided IDA in its campaign against the IWW, whose
destruction was sought by southern California businessmen and southwest copper
interests. Four days after taking office. Burns made Hoover assistant director of the
bureau. Although the Red Scare had virtually died in the United States, Burns testified
before congressional hearings that radicalism was growing in the country. As a result, the
bureau's budget rose from $2 million to $2.25 million dollars in 1923.'^
Despite the protests of such groups as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the
bureau continued its illegal activities. It increasingly relied on the use of agents and paid
informants, especially between 1921 and 1924.'^
On August 2, 1923, President Harding died in office and was succeeded by Calvin
Coolidge. And on March 28, 1924, Coolidge named Harlan Fiske Stone to succeed Harry
Daugherty as attorney general. In May, Stone asked Burns to resign as bureau director.
The new attorney general told the Senate that he opposed the repressive, lawless activities
of the bureau under Daugherty's leadership, and that he. Stone, would reorganize the
Bureau, abolishing the GID. He pledged that Justice Department agents would limit their
investigations to violations of law. '^ On December 10, 1924, Hoover was appointed
director, having convinced Stone and the previously critical ACLU that he was an
"unwilling" participant in the Palmer raids.
While the bureau's domestic political intelligence function was greatly curtailed from
1924 to 1936, efforts to gather such information were continued by state, private, and
military intelligence agencies. [In addition], the bureau retained the massive files it had
accumulated in the period from 1916 to 1924 and readily transmitted data to other
agencies to pursue.
In 1936, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) became by presidential directive "the
primary civilian charged with domestic intelligence responsibilities." Events in Europe
provided the rationale for resumption of domestic political investigations when President
Franklin Roosevelt asked the FBI to gather intelligence on "subversive" political
organizations. There still was no federal law authorizing the kind of probe Roosevelt
wanted, but Hoover cited the obscure provision of the 1916 appropriations act to launch a
new wave of FBI suppression of radicalism.
C. Post- War Domestic Intelligence
In 1938, with World War II under way in Europe, Congress created a Special Committee
to Investigate Un-American Activities and Propaganda in the United States. In 1941, the
Alien Registration Act (also known as the Smith Act) was passed. This act, which made
it a crime to teach or advocate the "duty, desirability, or propriety" of overthrowing the
American government by violence, has been described by one of the country's best-
known authorities on the law of free speech. Professor Zechariah Chafee, Jr., as the "most
drastic restriction on freedom of speech ever enacted in the United States during peace."
A closely related act, the Voorhis Act of 1941, required registration of all "subversive
organizations having foreign links and advocating the violent overthrow of the
government." These sanctions inevitably were extended to include supporters and even
latent sympathizers, facilitated by the use of wiretapping which had been authorized by
presidential directive in 1940.^^
Following the end of World War II in 1945, the arrest and deportation of radicals and
"undesirable" aliens increased. A major target of repression during the postwar years
continued to be the Communist Party; between 1918 and 1956, U.S. Senate investigations
of communism were conducted by eighteen standing committees and one select
committee, and House investigations by sixteen standing committees. In 1951, the U.S.
Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Communist Party leaders under the Smith Act.
"The Crime of the Century," in the words of Director Hoover, ^^ was the espionage case
of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were tried and convicted without any convincing
evidence of their guilt. Worldwide demonstrations and appeals failed during this period
of "spy" hysteria, and they were executed on June 19, 1953.
On July 24, 1950, a month after the outbreak of the Korean War, President Harry Truman
approved an order written by Attorney General J. Howard McGrath, which served as the
authority for FBI activities relating to espionage, sabotage, subversive activities, and
"related matters. " In the early 1950's, Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, as well
as then Congressman Richard M. Nixon of California, readily seized the opportunity to
promote the Red Scare. McCarthy conducted indiscriminate witch hunts, aided by the
FBI, and on the basis of falsified information held press conferences and congressional
hearings to expose Communists.
D. The Repression of Black America
African slaves were first brought to America in 1619. These slaves and their descendants
vehemently resisted their oppression, and for this resistance, they have suffered beatings,
torture, castration, lynching, and other forms of violence.
In 1910, two years after the FBI was founded. Jack Johnson, the first Black heavyweight
world boxing champion, became the first Black American to be hounded and harassed by
the FBI. The Mann act was passed in 1910 for the alleged purpose of preventing vice; the
legislation outlawed the transportation of women across state lines for immoral purposes.
The language of the law was deliberately vague and the prosecution of offenders appears
to have been loosened or tightened according to their importance. Reportedly, Johnson
had induced a former prostitute to give up her profession and enter into a personal
relationship with him. Their travels took them across a state border before their marriage,
and Johnson was arrested by federal authorities under the terms of the Mann Act and
sentenced to prison.
In the following years, numerous Black political leaders were harassed by the
government. Marcus Garvey, who founded the popular Universal Negro Improvement
Association in 1919, was convicted of using the mails to defraud. Garvey, who advocated
that American Blacks return to Africa, served a federal prison term and died in poverty.
Dr. W. E. B. DuBois' and Paul Robeson were singled out for harassment for their
association with the U.S. Communist Party. Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell,
chairman of the powerful House Education Committee, was forced out of office because
of his outspoken views on the oppression of American Blacks.' Malcolm X, whose
political views changed following his split with the Nation of Islam, [and who] helped to
inspire the founding of the Black Panther Party was under constant police surveillance
in the last year of his life. The two men convicted of his assassination in February 1965
have demanded a new trial on the grounds that they were framed. The Congressional
Black Caucus has called for a congressional investigation into Malcolm's death.
A main target of the FBI COINTELPRO operation during the late 1950's and early 1960's
was the civil rights movement. Among the groups singled out for persecution were the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Congress of Racial Equality
(CORE), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Deacons for Defense,
the Republic of New Africa (RNA), and the Nation of Islam. Targeted individuals
included H. "Rap" Brown, Stokely Carmichael, Elijah Muhammed, and Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr;
From December 1963 until his assassination on April 4, 1968, Dr. King was the subject
of an intensive COINTELPRO campaign. In the testimony of William Sullivan, who was
in charge of the FBI campaign against Dr. King:
No holds were barred. We have used [similar] techniques against Soviet
agents. [The same methods were] brought home against any organization
which we targeted. We did not differentiate.^^
Using its authority to investigate legitimate noncommunist groups suspected of being
infiltrated by communists, the FBI sought to discredit and destroy Dr. King and the entire
civil rights movement.
E. United Farm Workers
The United Farm Workers (UFW), founded and led by Cesar Chavez, has fought for over
a decade for decent wages and living conditions for American farm workers. The strong
opposition of business interests to the work of the UFW has made the union a constant
target of government and intelligence repression. Informants, undercover agents, and
provocateurs have continuously infiltrated the UFW in an effort to destroy the union. On
several occasions, union headquarters in California have been burglarized and files stolen
by FBI and other intelligence agents.
F. American Indian Movement
American Indians have been murdered, tortured, and isolated by the United States
government longer than any other group of people in America. After launching numerous
wars against Native Americans and forcing them from their lands in the latter part of the
nineteenth century, the government forcibly moved them to reservations operated by the
U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 1970, the American Indian Movement (AIM), a
nationwide political organization of Native Americans, was founded by Russell Means
and Dennis Banks. Means, Banks, and other Native American leaders and activists have
been a prime target of the FBI COINTELPRO campaign, a campaign which has led to
numerous false charges, imprisonment, and murder.
As the preceding pages point out, the war against the Black Panther Party was a logical
extension of ongoing police intelligence practices intensified by the explosive situation in
American cities during the last sixteen years. Not only are the tactics of infiltration,
harassment, and disinformation time-tested, but the tacticians are veterans.
1 Philip S. Foner, ed.. The Autobiographies of the Hay market
Martyrs (New York: Monad Press, 1977), pp. 1-2.
3 Ibid., p. 5.
4 Ibid., p. 10.
III. FORMATION AND PURPOSE OF THE PARTY:
WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT?
By 1966, the United States had experienced a recent series of disruptions in several of its
major urban Black population centers — Harlem, Watts, Chicago and Detroit' Numerous
organizations and leaders representing groups of Black people — e.g., SCLC (Martin
Luther King, Jr.), the Black Muslims (Elijah Muhammed and Malcolm X), CORE (James
Farmer), NAACP (Roy Wilkins) — had repeatedly articulated the causes of these riots or
urban rebellions: high unemployment, bad housing, police brutality, poor health care, and
inferior educational opportunities. Their consensus on the ills that caused or contributed
to the violent explosions in inner cities was confirmed by official investigating bodies
such as the Kerner and McCone Commissions. While all groups were generally in
agreement on the specific maladies of the society affecting Blacks, they were in
disagreement as to the best solution for ending them. The Black nationalists favored
separatism; traditional liberals, integration and passage of new legal guarantees; and
some of the more activist-oriented demanded "revolution now." Amidst this clamor for
social justice, the Black Panther Party was formed in Oakland, California, in 1966.
A. Ideology of Revolutionary Intercommunalism
The Party differed from other organizations representing Black and poor persons in
several respects. First, the Panthers embraced from the outset an explicitly socialist
ideology, which it soon named "revolutionary intercommunalism." In essence, the Party
acknowledged that it was, despite certain differences, basically socialist or Marxist
because it followed the dialectical method and sought to integrate theory and practice. As
the founder of the Panthers observed:
We are not mechanical Marxists and we are not historical materialists.
Some people think they are Marxists when they are actually following the
thoughts of Hegel. Some people think they are Marxist-Leninists but they
refuse to be creative, and are, therefore, tied to the past. They are tied to a
rhetoric that does not apply to the present set of conditions. They are tied
to a set of thoughts that approaches dogma... If we are using the method of
dialectical materialism we don't expect to find anything the same even one
minute later because "one minute later" is history. If things are in a
constant state of change, we cannot expect them to be the same. Words
used to describe old phenomena may be useless to describe the new. And
if we use the old words to describe new events we run the risk of
confusing people and misleading them into thinking that things are static.
This espousal of revolutionary intercommunalism by the BPP obviously influenced the
perception of others about it, especially, as will be shown, the federal government. Of
equal importance, however, is the effect this ideology has upon the actions of the Party
and the decisions of its leadership. Revolutionary intercommunalism provided an
important paradigm for interpreting the world, much as a belief in laissez-faire capitalism
affects the actions of corporate decision makers who embrace it. Thus, to the BPP,
government opposition to its existence was expected as partial confirmation of its raison
d' etre. On a more personal level, the BPP leadership felt toward their ideology and its
likely opponents that "truth made you a traitor as it often does in a time of scoundrels."'*
"Revolutionary intercommunalism" not only served to pit the BPP and government law
enforcement against each other in ideological struggle, [but also] it gave the Party a
perhaps unexpected asset in its struggle for survival. The popular conception of ideology,
especially one embracing terminology that seems foreign to traditional democratic
politics, is that it is rigid and doctrinaire. Yet to the BPP leadership, its ideology, despite
the sound of dogma it may have conveyed to others, served it as a pragmatic
methodology for interpreting events. A central tenet of revolutionary intercommunalism,
for example, is that "contradiction is the ruling principle of the universe," that everything
is in a constant state of transformation. Recognition of these principles gave Party leaders
an ability to grow through a self-criticism that many other radical political organizations
seemed to lack. Thus, in 1970, Newton could say of the Party:
In 1966 we called our Party a Black Nationalist Party
(BNP). We called ourselves Black Nationalists because we
thought that nationhood was the answer. Shortly after that
we decided that what was really needed was revolutionary
nationalism. That is, nationalism plus socialism. After
analyzing conditions a little more, we found that it was
impractical and even contradictory. Therefore we went to a
higher level of consciousness. We saw that in order to be
free we had to crush the ruling circle and therefore we had
to unite with the peoples of the world. So we called
ourselves Internationalists. . . We sought solidarity with
what we thought were the nations of the world.
But then what happened? We found that because
everything is in a constant state of transformation, because
of the development of technology, because of the
development of the mass media . . . and because of the fact
that the United States is no longer a nation but an empire,
nations could not exist, for they did not have the criteria for
nationhood. Their self-determination, economic
determination, and cultural determination has been
transformed by the imperialists and the ruling circle. They
were no longer nations. We found that in order to be
Internationalists we had to be also Nationalists, or at least
acknowledge nationhood. Internationalism . . . means the
interrelationship among a group of nations. But since no
nation exists, and since the United States is in fact an
empire, it is impossible for us to be Internationalists. These
transformations and phenomena require us to call ourselves
"intercommunalists" because nations have been
transformed into communities of the world. The Black
Panther Party now disclaims internationalism and supports
B. Strategy for Building Community Institutions:
The Survival Programs
A second distinguishing characteristic of the Party has been its specific strategy to
achieve revolutionary intercommunalism: the building of "survival" or community
service programs.^ The purpose of these programs is to enable people to meet their daily
needs by developing positive institutions within their communities and to organize the
communities politically around these programs. This, of course, is nothing new when one
thinks of certain minority or ethnic communities in the United States, such as the Jews or
Chinese. Historically, one way these groups have affected their rise from deprivation is
by developing communal associations, ranging from fraternal and religious bodies to
political machines. The function of these community associations or institutions has been
described by Cloward and Piven as "provid[ing] a base from which covert ethnic
solidarity evolves into the political force required to overcome various forms of class
inequality. They are therefore an important device by which the legitimate interests of
particular groups are put forward to compete with those of other groups."
Unfortunately, as Cloward and Piven concede, "the Black community" — and this was
especially true in 1966 when the Party was forming — "lack[ed] an institutional
framework in private social welfare [as well as in other institutional areas], and the
separatist agencies of other ethnic and religious communities [were] not eager to see this
deficiency overcome.... " Hence the BPP emphasized the importance of its survival
1. The Police Patrols
An early survival program focused on the issue of police brutality, which was a major
concern, nationally and in Oakland, California. Applying knowledge of California law.
Party founders Huey Newton and Bobby Scale organized police patrols to respond to
arrests of citizens that were regularly broadcast over the police officers' short-wave radio.
Several Party members equipped with a shortwave radio in a car intercepted the calls,
rushed to the scene of the arrest, and, armed with a law book, informed the person being
arrested of his constitutional rights. Party members also carried loaded weapons, publicly
displayed but not pointed toward anyone, and dressed in leather jackets and berets. The
patrol participants were careful to stand no closer than ten feet from the arrest, to stay
within the presumption that they were not interfering with the arrest.^ These initial
contacts between Panther patrols and Oakland police resulted in the arrests of Party
members and [in] considerable publicity.'*^ Media portrayals of these confrontations gave
the impression that the Panthers were primarily an armed insurrectionary group. One of
the reasons for this distorted image was astutely noted by Erik Erikson:
You have all seen the now traditional picture of young
Huey Newton like a latter day American revolutionary with
a gun in his hands, held not threateningly, but safely
pointing upward. To a man of my age, it was, not too long
ago, almost impossible to imagine black men carrying guns
openly — black vigilantes, black nightriders in automobiles,
keeping an eye on (of all things) the law. Most readers of
the news, of course, did not and do not know that according
to California law, every citizen then had the right to carry a
gun, one gun for self-defense and joint defense. But those
who created that law certainly did not envisage anybody
but white men doing so, nor did they envisage anybody but
potential lawbreakers as the ones to be patrolled vigilant
citizens in an ill-defined and frontier territory.
. . . [What the BPP did] was to show how the black man's
territory has never outlived the frontier state and is still the
land of undefined laws; and that arbitrary violence in this
territory often comes not from roving outlaws but from
those charged with the enforcement of the law. Inclined to
disregard the rights of black citizens, they break the law
under the guise of defending it. [The BPP] made of the
police, then, the symbol of uniformed and armed
lawlessness. But [it] did so by ingeniously turning the white
man's own imagery (especially dear to the American West
and the Western) around against the white world itself. And
in arming [themselves] and [their] brothers against that
world, [the BPP] emphasized a disciplined adherence to
existing law. In fact, [the BPP] patrol member traveled
equipped not only with a gun but also with a law book. The
book and the fire — it cannot escape us — what an elemental
pair of symbols this has been in revolts as far removed
from each other as that of the Germans in Luther's day and
that of the Zionists in our own.^^
The image of Blacks armed for self-defense against police brutality catapulted the Party
nationally into the public consciousness and gave an erroneous impression that it
advocated armed confrontation. Ironically, however, the single event most responsible for
projecting this violent image was itself a pristine case of a group legally petitioning the
government for redress of grievances.
The BPP learned in April 1967 of the shooting by Richmond, California police of Denzil
Dowell, a twenty-two-year-old Black. Official police accounts claim that the youth was
running from the police after they had flagged him down in a stolen car. He reportedly
jumped one fence, ran across an automobile junkyard, and was about to jump another
fence when an officer shot him. No one claimed that Denzil Dowell was armed. Since he
was shot while in the commission of a felony, the police claimed that it was justifiable
homicide. But the police account suffered from factual inconsistencies. The victim
suffered a hip injury, which made him an unlikely fence-jumper. Moreover, no oil or
debris was found on his shoes or clothes, which, had he really run through the automobile
junkyard near where he was found, would almost certainly have been present. Finally,
several people had witnessed previous threats made by the police to Denzil Dowell, who
was apparently viewed by some Richmond law enforcement personnel as a troublemaker.
When BPP members went with Denzil Dowell's family to the sheriff of Contra Costa
County to complain about the shooting, they were advised to go to the state capitol in
Sacramento and get the law changed that permitted officers to shoot at suspects fleeing
the scene of a felony. Party leaders saw this buck-passing as further confirmation of their
belief that armed citizen patrols of the police and the arming of the citizenry as
guaranteed by the Constitution were the most effective deterrents to excessive use of
Soon after the shooting of Denzil Dowell, an East Bay legislator, Don Mulford, gave the
BPP another reason to carry their grievances to the state capitol. Mulford introduced a
bill to repeal the law that permitted citizens to carry loaded weapons in public places so
long as the weapons were openly displayed. " Obviously, the law Mulford sought to
repeal was integral to the BPP's police patrols, which was why it was tagged the "Panther
Bill" in numerous media reports. Passage of Mulford's bill, which the Panthers viewed as
almost certain, would make it a crime for a citizen, not otherwise licensed, to carry a
loaded weapon in a public place, whether openly displayed or concealed. In response to
the introduction of this legislation, the BPP sent a delegation to the capitol to protest this
attempted disarming of the citizenry. The delegation carried loaded rifles and shotguns,
which they publicly displayed. They entered the state capitol, a public place, to make
their protest by delivering Executive Mandate No. l.'**
The legislature responded to this protest by promptly passing the law, which was signed
by Governor Ronald Reagan. But the gathering of armed Black men on the capitol steps
was photographed and published in newspapers and on television throughout the nation.
These photographic representations served as a stimulus for Party popularity and growth
among young Blacks, hostility by the government, and fear by much of the white
citizenry recently racked by a series of Black urban riots.
What never became clear to the public, largely because it was always deemphasized in
the media,'^ was that the armed self-defense program of the Party was just one form of
what Party leaders viewed as self-defense against oppression. The Party had always
urged self-defense against poor medical care, unemployment, slum housing, under-
representation in the political process, and other social ills that poor and oppressed people
suffer/^ The Panther means for implementing its concept of self-defense was its various
survival programs, symbolized best by the police patrols and the free breakfast program
for school children. In addition to these programs, however, the Party early initiated
health clinics providing free medical and dental service, a busing program to take
relatives of prisoners on visiting days, and an escort and transportation service for
residents of senior citizen housing projects, as well as a clothing and shoe program to
provide for more of the needs of the local community. It was these broad-based
programs, including the free food programs where thousands of bags of groceries were
given away to the poor citizens of the community, that gave the Party great appeal to
poor and Black people throughout the country. For one of the first times since the
organized slave rebellions before the Civil War, Blacks were responding to an
organization that tried to build community institutions and did so under the banner of a
political ideology that directly challenged democratic capitalism.
2. Use of Democratic Reforms by the Party
to Build Community Institutions
The Panthers, despite their explicit repudiation of democratic capitalism as a system that
was inherently incapable of permitting Black and poor people from enjoying full and
equal participation in it, did not eschew democratic means of reform, nor did they
discourage Black capitalism. To the contrary, from its very inception, the Party utilized
existing legal machinery in order to bring about social change and encouraged indigenous
Black financial enterprises. In addition to the legal police patrols already mentioned, the
Party frequently filed civil law suits seeking relief for its members, *and Black and poor
people generally, from various injustices. The Panthers also turned to the ballot box,
first by running members for mayor and city council in Oakland in 1972 and 1974, and
comings surprisingly close to victory. In 1976, Party involvement was admittedly
credited by two successful Black candidates for their elections, to the offices of Mayor of
Oakland and Supervisor of Alameda County, the first two Black persons to be elected to
these positions in Oakland's history, despite a sizeable Black population that had resided
there since World War 11.'^ Moreover, the Party incorporated some of its main survival
programs such as its Intercommunal Youth Institute and Seniors Against a Fearful
Environment (SAFE). The Youth Institute, a school for more than one hundred Party and
other children from the first through the eighth grades, was incorporated as the
Educational Opportunities Corporation. SAFE was an escort and busing program in
which young Blacks took seniors out into the community — a combination of Black and
gray power that to some extent provides both groups what they need and desire — people
power. The device of incorporation allowed both survival programs to avail themselves
of tax-deductible contributions and some limited government benefits.
The Party also advocated growth of indigenous community businesses, even though they
were capitalistic. This is because the Party recognized that Black capitalism has come to
mean to many people Black control of another one of the institutions in t thee
community. This positive quality of Black capitalism should, the Party felt, be
Since the people see Black capitalism in the community as Black control of local
institutions, this is a positive characteristic because the people can bring more direction
and focus to the activities of the capitalist. At the same time, the Black capitalist who has
the interest of the community at heart will respond to the needs of the people because this
is where his true strength lies. So far as capital [in] general is concerned, the black
capitalist merely has the status of a victim because the big capitalists have the skills,
make the loans,, and in fact control the Black capitalist. If he wants to succeed in his
enterprise, the Black capitalist must turn to the community because he depends on them
to make his profits. He needs this strong community support because he cannot become
independent of the control of the corporate capitalists who control the large monopolies.
The Black capitalist will be able to support the people by contributing to the survival
programs of the Black Panther Party. In contributing to such programs he will be able to
help build the vehicle which will eventually liberate the Black community. He will not be
able to deliver the people from their problems, but he will be able to help build the strong
political machine which will serve as a revolutionary vanguard and guide the people in
their move toward freedom.
A practical application of the Party's view toward Black capitalism and the use of legal
means of reform occurred in Oakland, California, in 1971. A group of small Black-owned
retail liquor stores and taverns asked the BPP for support in a boycott against Mayfair
Supermarkets because Mayfair purchased alcoholic beverages from companies that
excluded Black truck drivers. The BPP joined in the boycott, and within a period of days,
Mayfair ended its discriminatory practices. The Party then asked the group of Black
businessmen who had solicited Party help to make a nominal continuing contribution to
one or more survival programs. The businessmen, who had approached the Party initially
through an organization called the California State Package Store and Tavern Owners
Association (Cal-Pak), declined to contribute except via a single gift. The Party rejected
Cal-Pak's offer, stating,
... a continuing trickle of support is more important to the community
than a large, once-only hush mouth gift. We will not be paid off; we will
not be quiet. We will not go away. . . Why should the Black community
nourish a Black profiteer who has no concern for his brother? '
It was considered important to the Party's concept of building community institutions that
contributions from the Black businesses not only be continuing, but that they come from
the association representing them. This would, in the Party's view, constitute participation
through a united front and build Cal-Pak as a community institution along with the
survival programs. Since the Party had been asked for assistance in the Mayfair boycott
by representatives of Cal-Pak, it also followed logically that Cal-Pak should support the
survival programs. When Cal-Pak refused, the Party called for a boycott of the liquor
stores of the president of Cal-Pak, Bill Boyette, and picketed the two liquor stores he
owned. Five months later, Cal-Pak and the Party reached an agreement. Congressman
Ronald Dellums, who helped negotiate the settlement, announced at a press conference in
January 1972 that:
... an agreement has been reached of great importance to all of the people
in the Bay Area and, in particular, the Black population of this area. This
agreement, between the Black Panther Party and the Ad Hoc Committee
for Promotion of Black Business, officially ends the boycott of Boyette's
Liquor Stores by the Black Panther Party. . . The United Fund of the Bay
Area, Inc., sponsored and created by the Ad Hoc Committee for the
Promotion of Black Business and the Cal-Pak Liquor Dealers, has already
begun the task of collecting funds from Black businesses and individuals
for programs of special need in the Black community. Operating as a
nonprofit social vehicle for the Black community, this new organization
will make disbursements to various significant organizations in the Black
community on a regular and continuing basis. Among the programs that
will benefit are the survival programs of the Black Panther Party.
This willingness by the Party to use democratic means of reform and to support Black
capitalism was criticized by some as inconsistent with the Panther ideology of
revolutionary intercommunalism. This is partly because progressive people quite
correctly observe that "It is very clear, upon reflection, what function law serves within
any culture. It protects the culture's ideology. Under capitalism it protects property, the
men who own it and guard it." From this observation, it is only a brief inferential step to
the conclusion that, because law is a product and perpetuator of corporate interests in this
country, it cannot be a force for significant socioeconomic change. But while this
conclusion is logical in a mechanistic-sense, it is illogical, and therefore wrong, in a
According to the materialist conception of history, the
ultimately determining element in history is the production
and reproduction of real life... [I]f somebody twists this into
saying that the economic element is the only determining
one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless,
abstract, senseless phrase. The economic situation is basis,
but the various elements of the super-structure: political
forms of the class struggle . . . constitutions established by
the victorious class . . . judicial forms, had even the reflexes
of all these actual struggles in the brains of the participants
. . . also exercise their influence upon the course of the
historical struggles and in many cases preponderate in
determining their form.^^
In sum, the Panthers combined a unique blend of elements that set them apart from
traditional civil rights and minority organizations: a revolutionary ideology that argued
for the necessity of fundamental socioeconomic change, a practical series of survival
programs that served the community and fostered institutional growth and consciousness,
and a willingness to employ creative legal means within the democratic system to achieve
their ends. It was these unique elements that made the Panthers popular with many
Blacks and, at the same time, a nemesis to the federal government.
1 See, e.g., James Reston, "The Shame of the Cities," New York
Times, 24 July 1966, p. lOE, col. 5.
2 For example. Report of the National Advisory Commission on
Civil Disorders, 1968; California Governor's Commission
Los Angeles Riots, "Violence in the City — End or Beginning,"
3 Huey P. Newton, To Die for the People (New York: Random
House, 1972), pp. 25-26; see also Appendix C. [Publisher's
note — New York: Writers and Readers, 1995.]
4 Lillian Hellman, Scoundrel Time (New York: Bantam Press,
1977), p. 82.
5 Newton, To Die for the People, pp. 31-32.
6 At a seminar at Yale University in 1971, Newton was asked by a
student, "What [do] you do to relate to People on the
human level, how [do] you set yourselves up as examples
as the kind of thing you are talking about. I mean, what do
you actually do?" He answered that the Party has "a series
of survival programs — survival until the people become
more self-conscious and mature. . . These programs are
open to everyone in the community. We have health
clinics; we have a busing program for parents and relatives
and friends of prisoners who would not be able to visit the
prison. . . because they do not have the money. . . Now
these are reformist kinds of programs, but they have been
integrated into the rest of our revolutionary program. . . We
know they won't solve the problem. But because we are
interested in the People, we serve the People." (Erik H.
Erikson and Huey P. Newton, In Search of Common
Ground [New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1973], pp. 87-
88.) The Party's platform and program, originally adopted
in 1966, and amended in 1976, are reprinted in Appendices
A and B.
7 Richard A. Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, The Politics of
Turmoil (New York: Pantheon Books, 1974), p. 195.
9 Huey P. Newton, Revolutionary Suicide (New York: Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich, 1973), pp. 120- 121. [Publisher's note —
New York: Writers and Readers, 1995.]
1 1 Erickson and Newton, In Search of Common Ground, pp. 45-46.
12 A detailed account of this incident is found in the chapter
entitled "Denzil Dowell," in Newton, Revolutionary
Suicide, pp. 137-144.
13 California Penal Code, Sections 12031 and 171. c.
14 The full text of Executive Mandate No. is found in Newton, To
Die for the People, pp. 7-8.
15 To be sure, the media was often assisted in emphasizing the
violent image of the Party by the FBI and other federal
agencies. See Chapter IV.
16 Affidavit of Huey P. Newton, filed in Black Panther Party v.
Donald C Alexander, Commissioner of the Internal
Revenue Service, No. C-74-1247, U.S. Fed. Ct. (N.D. Cal.
17 'He^Nion, Revolutionary Suicide, pp. 163-170.
18 For example. Black Panther Party v. Kehoe, 42 C.A.3d 645,
117 Call. Rept. 6 (1974) (public records act suit to compel
state agency to make "public" complaints it receives from
consumers concerning abusive collection agency practices);
Black Panther Party v. Granny Goose, No. 429566,
Alameda I Superior Ct. (1972) (suit against ten major
employers in Oakland, California to compel them to
comply with California's "pay while voting" statute, which
requires employers to post notices before certain elections
informing their employees that they are entitled to up to
two hours off work with pay in order to vote).
19 A confidential IRS memorandum candidly noted that, "as early
as 1968 the Black Panther Party supported and ran
candidates. ... In 1972 the political machinery of the BPP
proved its effectiveness with a massive registration drive.
This campaign was conducted through the BPP newspaper.
. . . Success was achieved when six of the nine candidates
running on the BPP slate were elected to the board of
directors of Model Cities in Oakland. Four other Panther
members were also elected to [the] antipoverty council in
Berkeley. Two BPP officers, Bobbie [sic] Scale and Elaine
Brown, ran for the positions of Mayor and Councilwoman
of Oakland, respectively.
Although they were defeated, the BPP had attained enough votes to
demonstrate that they could be a viable force."
(Memorandum from IRS Revenue Agent Chinn to Group
Manager and District Director of San Francisco District,
No. FA-1464, December 1, 1975.)
20 The IRS noted that "although some of the [BPP] programs have
been terminated ... or cut back due to lack of funds, a
major step has been achieved through the construction of
the Community Learning Center building [i.e., HOC]. Most
of the Panther activities are now concentrated at the
Center." (Ibid., Appendix, p. iv.)
21 Hager, "Panthers, New Image — Joining the System," Los
Angeles Times, 5 December 1972, p. 1, col. 1.
22 Newton, To Die for the People, p. 106.
23 Ibid., p. 111.
24 Ronald Dellums, quoted in Newton, To Die for the People, p.
25 George Jackson, "From Dachau, Soledad Prison, California," in
Robert Lefcourt, ed.. Law Against the People (New York:
Vintage Books, 1971), p. 227.
26 Friedrich Engels, Letter to J. Bloch, quoted in William Franklin
Ash, Marxism and Moral Concepts (New York: Monthly
Review Press, 1964), p. 124. A more contemporary
revolutionary has affirmed this same principle: "Some
people think . . . that in the contradiction between the
productive forces and the relations of production, the
productive forces are the principal aspect; . . . and in the
contradiction between the economic foundation and its
super-structure, the economic foundation is the principal
aspect; and there is no change in their respective positions.
This is the view of mechanistic materialism, and not of
dialectical materialism. True, the productive forces . . . and
the economic foundation generally manifest themselves in
the principal and decisive role; whoever denies this is not a
materialist. But under certain conditions, such aspects as
relations of production theory and the superstructure in turn
must manifest themselves in the principal and decisive role,
this must also be admitted..." (Mao Tse-tung, "On
Contradiction," quoted in Ash, Marxism and Moral
Concepts, p. 124.)
IV. RESPONSE OF THE GOVERNMENT TO
THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY
A. The Administration's Propaganda War Against the Panthers:
Making the Political Criminal
Upon Richard M. Nixon's election as president in 1968, the administration addressed
itself, in the words of former White House Counsel John Dean, to the matter of how we
can maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in
their opposition to our Administration. Stated a bit more bluntly — how we can use the
available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.
A "White House Enemies List" was drawn up by officials of the Nixon administration. In
its original form, this list contained the names of only a few minority political parties or
organizations, among them the Panthers, whom the administration linked with "Hughie
[sic] Newton," and "George Wallace" of the American Independent Party. Interestingly,
though their expressed ideologies were quite opposite, both organizations shared the
common feature of having strong grassroots support and active involvement by [their]
members, in contrast to the established Democratic and Republican parties. The Enemies
List was then incorporated into a detailed plan, commonly known as the Huston Plan,
after its White House designated coordinator, Tom Charles Huston.** This plan was
approved in 1970 by the former director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, in cooperation with
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the
National Security Agency (NSA).^ It advocated blanket presidential authorization for
such practices as wiretapping, mail covers, and black-bag jobs or break-ins. Its main
purported function was to improve interagency cooperation among the major intelligence
agencies. Although this proposed plan was first approved, but allegedly later
disapproved by President Nixon because J. Edgar Hoover decided not to continue to
cooperate,' the tactics advocated had already been employed by various federal agencies,
particularly the FBI, against the Panthers.
Just why the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies focused early on the Party
as an "enemy" organization is not difficult to understand. At the start of World War II,
President Roosevelt directed the bureau to refocus its resources on priorities it had
purportedly given up in 1924 — the investigation of political organizations and
affiliations. Distinctions between foreign espionage and domestic dissident groups
became blurred during the height of the war; in fact, "vigilance and caution grew into
xenophobia and distrust of anyone who veered noticeably from the political
The Cold War followed, with President Truman's establishment of the Federal Employee
Loyalty Program. The bureau, having built up a large contingent of agents to guard the
nation's internal security, channeled them into loyalty/security investigations. Thus, the
FBI took on officially "the role of a kind of ideological security police, an arbiter of what
was inside the boundaries of legitimate political discourse and what [was] outside." In
the absence of any effective challenge to this role, the bureau continued, essentially
Not surprisingly, when the Panthers became publicly visible in 1967 and 1968, the FBI
felt justified, if not compelled, to devote their full panoply of resources to investigating
the organization. In part, this was in response to the BPP's ideology. As the chief of the
FBI's counterintelligence program admitted in describing the genesis of the program
within the bureau that concentrated on the Panthers:
We were trying first to develop intelligence so we would know what they
were doing [and] second, to contain the threat .... To stop the spread of
communism, to stop the effectiveness of the Communist Party as a vehicle
of Soviet intelligence, propaganda and agitation.
A more flamboyant assessment was provided by Edward Miller, former assistant director
of the FBI in charge of the Intelligence Division, upon his retirement in 1974:
Rome lasted for six hundred years, and we are just coming on to our two-
hundredth. That doesn't mean that we have four hundred to go. We have to
step back and look at ourselves protectively. . . . How much of this dissent
and revolution talk can we really stand in a healthy country? Revolutions
always start in a small way. ... Economic conditions are bad; the
credibility of government is low. These are the things that the home-grown
revolutionary is monitoring very closely. The FBI's attention must be
focused on these various situations. If it weren't, the Bureau wouldn't be
doing its job for the American people.... The American people don't want
to have to fool around with this kind of thing and worry about it; they
don't want to have to worry about the security of their country. . . . We
must be able to find out what stage the revolution is in.
The FBI was also aware of and disturbed by the Panther's efforts to build community
institutions. Indeed, the one survival program that seemed most laudatory — that of
providing free breakfasts to children — was pinpointed by J. Edgar Hoover as the "real
longrange threat to American society.''* The ostensible reason for this was that children
participating in the program were being propagandized, which simply meant they were
taught ideas, or an ideology, that] the FBI and Hoover disliked. Yet Hoover was not so
naive as to believe an overt ideological war was any longer sufficient to garner the
support or noninterference necessary for the bureau to destroy the Panthers. A better
rationale or cover for the public would have to be employed. This new cover for secret
police operations was, as the Huston Plan suggested, a crusade against criminals and
terrorists. Now, the administration would fight "crime," not ideologies.
This technique for destroying controversial political organizations is, of course, not new:
History should teach us . . . that in times of high emotional
excitement, minority parties and groups which advocate
extremely unpopular social or governmental innovations
will always be typed as criminal gangs and attempts will
always be made to drive them out.
Internal FBI and other police agency documents make clear this objective of pinning the
label "criminal" on the BPP and its leaders, and trying to link criminal activity to the
Party's efforts at getting support for various survival programs. A 1974 memorandum to
the director of the FBI from the special agent in charge of the San Francisco office stated
that the local FBI office
has continued to follow Newton's and his associates'
activities. "... Primarily, the . . . office has been pursuing
Hobbs Act and/or ITAR-Extortion cases on Newton and/or
his associates. Although investigations to date, including
contacts with other law enforcement agencies," . . . has
failed to develop information indicating that Newton and
his associates are extorting funds from businesses. . . . This
office is of the opinion that Newton is or has been extorting
funds from legitimate businesses. . . .
In addition to the contacts noted above [i.e., the Alcohol,
Tobacco, Tax and Firearms Section of the Department of
Justice in Oakland, California, the Oakland Police
Department, the Berkeley Police Department and various
informants], the San Francisco Office is selectively
contacting pimps and narcotics pushers in the Oakland area
in an attempt to deyelop further intelligence and positive
information concerning possible Federal violations on the
part of Newton and his associates.
This matter will continue to receive vigorous investigative
Interestingly, the bureau and others seem to feel that any contribution from a business,
whether considered legitimate or not, to the BPP survival programs could not be
voluntary; it would have to come from extortion. Despite a failure to obtain any evidence
of extortion, the bureau continued to hold the opinion that it took place and to try to
develop information for a Hobbs' Act prosecution. In 1973, for instance, the assistant
attorney general who figured prominently in the Watergate investigations, Henry E.
Peterson, wrote the acting director of the FBI regarding Newton and the BPP:
During the course of filming a movie in Oakland,
California, Harvey Bernhard [a film director], was
contacted by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale who
threatened to picket the filming site unless a $5,000
contribution was made to the Black Panther Party. We note
that Bernhard now states that while he gave $5,000 to
Newton, he does not feel that he was extorted in any way
and that he did not wish to testify.
In light of this, and considering that Max Julian [an actor in
the film], who was present when Bernhard met Newton,
cannot recall any discussion of money or picketing, there is
insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution and further
investigation is not warranted.
Extortion was not, of course, the only crime federal law enforcement agencies tried to pin
on the BPP. In his hook Agency of Fear, Epstein described how high-level intelligence
officers in the Nixon administration used a narcotics cover to expand domestic
Under the aegis of a "war on heroin," a series of new
offices were set up, by executive order, such as the Office
of National Narcotics Intelligence, which, it was hoped,
would provide the president with investigative agencies
having the potential to assume the functions of "the
Plumbers" on a far grander scale. According to the White
House scenario, these new investigative functions would be
legitimized by the need to eradicate the evil of drug
The Nixon administration's exploitation of the narcotics menace to justify expansion of
federal investigative agencies achieved extraordinary success:
Between 1968 and 1974, the federal budget for enforcing
narcotics laws rose from $3 million to more than $224
million — a seventyfold increase. And this in turn gave the
president an opportunity to create a series of highly
unorthodox federal agencies.
The utility of a narcotics cover appears in numerous internal law enforcement documents
concerning the BPP. Various agencies claim within their reports, in fact, to be
investigating narcotics use by Panther leaders, especially Huey Newton. When, for
example, Newton and some close friends took a one-week Caribbean cruise for a
vacation, the FBI sent at least one clandestine agent, who submitted the following report:
[An unidentified informant] stated that his company has recently
experienced a heavy increase in bookings aboard the "Starward" [the
cruise ship taken] by Blacks, and he suspicions [sic] that this increase is
due in part to the availability of narcotics at Porte Prince [sic] and Port
Antonio. He stated that his suspicions have been buttressed by the recent
confiscation of several pieces of luggage filled with narcotics from a
Inasmuch as reliable sources have identified Newton as a user of cocaine
and he is possibly the user of other narcotics, will alert customs personnel
to be on the lookout for narcotics in the possession of Newton and any of
his party upon their return to Miami.
Not content merely to alert Customs, the FBI noted that "the information has been
disseminated to State Department and CIA. Copies of attached being furnished to the
Department (Internal Security and General Crimes Section) and Secret Service. "^^
Indeed, in April 1973, the FBI requested that "all San Francisco agents be aware of either
the purchase or use of cocaine by Huey Newton. Any information obtained in this regard
should be immediately furnished to both the OPD [Oakland Police Department] and the
appropriate Federal Narcotics agency. " Six months later, the bureau seemed less
interested in Newton's possible use of cocaine than they were about narcotics dealers he
might have been hitting-up for contributions to community survival programs.
Source reports from contacts with various and unidentified Negro dope dealers that the
big time dope dealers in the Berkeley and Oakland area are out to get Huey Newton.
Source reports that Huey is apparently ripping off certain dealers, pimps and whores for
large amounts of money and the talk is that "they" are going to get Huey. Source was
instructed to determine some hard facts concerning these rumors and to report same
B. The Superagency Approach to Crushing Dissent
By 1973, this process of employing the narcotics and crime covers reached its climax
with the creation of a new intelligence super-agency, the Drug Enforcement Agency. At
the time of its formation, the DEA employed more than 4,000 agents and analysts —
including some fifty-three former (or detached) CIA agents and a dozen
counterintelligence experts from the military or other intelligence agencies. The DEA had
the authority "to request wiretaps and no-knock warrants, and to submit targets to the
Internal Revenue Service." With its contingent of former CIA and counterintelligence
agents, it had the talent to enter residences surreptitiously, distribute "black" (or
misleading) information, plant phony evidence, and conduct even more extreme
The origin of DEA and its intended purpose are explained by Epstein as follows:
According to [those] familiar with the plan, [G. Gordon]
Liddy proposed ... to detach agents and specialists who
could be relied upon by the White House from the BNDD
[Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs], the IRS, the
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms division, and the Bureau of
Customs. This new office would operate directly out of the
executive office of the president. The beauty of the Liddy
plan was its simplicity: it did not even need approval from
Congress. The president could create such an office by
executive decree, and order all other agencies of the
government to cooperate by supplying liaisons and agents.
Congress would not even have to appropriate funds,
according to those familiar with the Liddy plan: The Law
Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), which
was located in John Mitchell's Department of Justice, could
funnel monies via local police departments to finance these
new strike forces. The new office would have . . .
wiretappers from the BNDD; Customs agents, with their
unique "search authority"; IRS agents who could feed the
names of suspects into the IRS's target-selection committee
for a grueling audit; and CIA agents for "the more
extraordinary missions." In addition, since it would control
grants from LEAA, this new office could mobilize support
from state and local police forces in areas in which it
desired to operate.
The most important feature of the Liddy plan, however,
was that the White House agents would act under the cloak
of combating the drug menace. Since public fears were
being excited about this deadly threat to the children of
American citizens and their property, few would oppose
vigorous measures even if its agents were occasionally
caught in such excesses as placing an unauthorized wire-
tap. On the contrary, if the dread of drugs could be
maintained, the public. Congress, and the press would
probably applaud such determined actions. Krogh and the
White House strategists immediately saw the advantages to
having the new office operate its agents under the emblem
of a heroin crusade ... and Liddy's option paper, much
modified in form to remove any embarrassing illegalities,
was sent to the president with the recommendations of
Krogh and Ehrlichman.
Finally, in December 1971, the president ordered
Ehrlichman and Krogh to create the permanent White
House-controlled investigative unit envisioned in the option
paper drawn up by Liddy. The new unit was to be known as
the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement.
On January 28, 1972, the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE), the
permanent investigative force which ostensibly would operate against narcotics
traffickers, was officially created by an executive order of the President:
Since there was virtually no precedent for an agency like
the Office of Drug Abuse and Law Enforcement, [ODALE
director Myles J.] Ambrose had to proceed step by step, in
assembling his strike forces. The first step was to appoint
regional directors who would superintend and select the
federal agents and local police on each strike force in each
of the thirty-three target cities he selected. . . . Fifty other
lawyers, many of whom Ambrose knew personally, were
deployed in instantly created field offices of the new
organization. Four hundred investigators were requisitioned
from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and the
Bureau of Customs, and Ambrose requested more than a
hundred liaisons from the Internal Revenue Service, as well
as specialists from other agencies of the government. This
was all accomplished during the first thirty days of
existence of this new office, in what Ambrose himself
referred to as a "monumental feat or organization."
. .. The new strike forces had little resemblance to more
conventional law-enforcement forces. These highly
unorthodox units, which were being controlled from the
White House through the president's special consultant
Myles Ambrose, included not only trained narcotics and
customs officers but also Immigration and Naturalization
Service officers; Alcoiiol, Tobacco and Firearms control
agents; probation officers; state troopers; and local police
officers. . . . With the authority of court-authorized no-
knock warrants and wiretaps they could strike at will in any
of the target cities and against virtually anyone selected as a
target. By March 1972, the strike forces had become
There was some resistance to Law Enforcement Assistance Administration officials to
using LEAA money to finance ODALE operations. They argued that Congress never
intended for LEAA grants to be used to bypass the appropriations process:
So with White House assistance, the new office established
a series of local organizations, with such names as
"Research Associates," through which grants could be
made by LEAA. The money was then channeled back to
selected strike forces, with these organizations acting, in
effect, as money conduits.
The California conduit for these laundered funds was the Organized Crime and Criminal
Intelligence Branch (OCCIB) of the State Department of Justice, which had already been
set up in 1970 by California Attorney General Evelle Younger. A report circulated by the
OCCIB in 1972 identified among its prime targets the Black Panther Party.
The creation of a new superagency to direct the counterintelligence activities against the
BPP and other dissident groups was an indication of how badly the federal government
wanted to destroy the Panthers. The successful extent of coordination between law
enforcement agencies intent on getting the BPP is not yet clear, largely because
documents showing this direction have yet to be discovered. Still, the general method of
operation described by Epstein appears to have been employed against the Party, at least
if one focuses on just three agencies for which some documented information is
available: the FBI, IRS, and CIA.
C. FBI Declares War on Panthers:
Within one year of the formation of the Party, the FBI formed a special
counterintelligence program dubbed COINTELPRO. The purpose of this program was,
in the FBI's own words, to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize
the activities of the Black nationalists."' A specific purpose of COINTELPRO was to
prevent the rise of a "Messiah," a charismatic Black leader who might "unify and
electrify" Black people.' Martin Luther King, Jr., was named as a potential Messiah in
the FBI's own secret memorandum establishing COINTELPRO, but after the
assassination of King in 1968, the FBI shifted its focus to the Party and its leadership,
particularly Huey P. Newton.
J. Edgar Hoover, then director of the FBI, publicly stated that the Party constituted "the
greatest threat to the internal security of the country ..." of any organization.' Of the
295 documented actions taken by COINTELPRO alone to disrupt Black groups, 233 — or
79 percent~were specifically directed toward destruction of the Party.' Over $100
million of taxpayers' money was expended for COINTELPRO; over $7 million of it
allocated for 1976 alone to pay off informants and provocateurs, twice the amount
allocated in the same period by the FBI to pay organized crime informants.'''*
Indeed, while COINTELPRO ostensibly targeted five domestic organizations — which the
Bureau dubbed, the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers' Party, White Hate Groups,
Black Nationalist Hate Groups (e.g., the Panthers), and the New Left — it was Blacks, and
the Panthers in particular, who received the brunt of the damage. As the Senate Select
Committee To Study Governmental Operations found.
The White Hate COINTELPRO also used comparatively
few techniques which carried a risk of serious physical,
emotional, or economic damage to the targets, while the
Black Nationalist COINTELPRO used such techniques
The vast arsenal of techniques employed by the bureau against the BPP were tried and
tested over the years in foreign espionage. As William C. Sullivan, former assistant to the
This is a rough, tough, dirty business, and dangerous. It was
dangerous at times. No holds were barred. . . . We have
used [these techniques] against Soviet agents. They have
used [them] against us. . . . [The same methods were]
brought home against any organization against which we
were targeted. We did not differentiate. This is a rough,
Specifically, the FBI engaged in or encouraged a variety of actions intended to cause (and
in fact causing) deaths of BPP members, loss of membership and community support,
draining of revenues from the Party, false arrests of members and supporters, and
defamatory discrediting of constructive Party programs and leaders. What follows is an
illustrative highlighting of some of these unlawful actions undertaken by the bureau
against the BPP.
1. Creating Dissension Within the Panthers:
On Snitch- Jackets, Provocateurs, Bad Media, and Other Techniques
A major goal of COINTELPRO was to sow dissension within the Party. A 1970
memorandum from Headquarters to the San Francisco field office of the FBI, for
A wide variety of alleged authentic police or FBI material
could be carefully selected or prepared for furnishing to the
Panthers. Reports, blind memoranda, LHMs [letterhead
memoranda] and other alleged police or FBI documents
could be prepared pinpointing Panthers as police or FBI
informants; ridiculing or discrediting Panther leaders
through their ineptness or personal escapades; espousing
personal philosophies and promoting factionalism among
BPP members; indicating electronic coverage where none
exists; outlining fictitious plans for police raids or other
counteractions; revealing misuse or misappropriation of
Panther funds, pointing out instances of political disruptive
material and disinformation; etc. The nature of the
disruptive material and disinformation "leaked" would only
be limited by the collection ability of your sources and the
need to insure the protection of their security.
Effective implementation of this proposal could not help
but disrupt and confuse Panther activities. Even if they
were to suspect FBI or police involvement, they would be
unable to ignore factual material brought to their attention
through this channel. The operation would afford us a
continuing means to furnish the Panther leadership true
information which is to our interest that they know and
disinformation which, in their interest, they cannot ignore.
Obviously, falsely labeling people as informants in any organization carries with it a
serious potential risk to the reputation and, in some situations, safety of that person. This
is especially true if the combined counterintelligence techniques employed convince the
organization that their friends have been imprisoned or harmed because of the targeted
informant. Fully aware of this obvious fact, the bureau nonetheless rationalized the
placing of "snitch jackets" on innocent people:
You have to be able to make decisions and I am sure that labeling
somebody as an informant, that you'd want to make certain that it served a
good purpose before you did it and not do it haphazardly.... It is a serious
thing. ... As far as I am aware, in the Black extremist area, by using that
technique, no one was killed. I am sure of that.
When asked whether the absence of any deaths was the result of "luck or planning," this
same bureau official, George C. Moore, then chief of the Racial Intelligence Section,
answered, "Oh, it just happened that way, I am sure."' The certitude of Moore's assertion
is unfortunately belied by the bureau's own confidential memoranda, more than one of
which claimed that the Party murdered "members it suspected of being police
informants. "'*° Indeed, the FBI worked closely with Connecticut authorities in trying to
convict two Party leaders, Bobby Scale and Ericka Huggins, of conspiracy to murder
Alex Rackley, an alleged informant. Seale and Huggins were not convicted, but the
government's chief witness against them, the person who admittedly participated in
Rackley's killing, appears from facts disclosed during and after the trial to have been an
agent or informant. At the very least, this person's immediate enrollment in an Ivy
League institution after the murder trial, and subsequent employment by the
administration of an eastern university, raises serious questions. In any event, the use of
snitch-jackets by the bureau was widespread. The Senate Select Committee reports
several instances of this technique without any apparent follow-up as to the consequences
to the persons wrongly jacketed. Among the instances cited was one in San Diego where
a Black Panther leader was arrested by the local police with four other members of the
BPP. The others were released, but the leader remained in custody. Headquarters
authorized the field office to circulate the rumor that the leader "is the last to be released"
because "he is cooperating with and has made a deal with the Los Angeles Police
Department to furnish them information concerning the EBP." The Target of the first
proposal then received an anonymous phone call stating that his own arrest was caused
by a rival leader.
Leaders of the BPP were frequently targeted as snitches or sell-outs by the FBI in an
effort to discredit or bring harm to them, especially Huey Newton. Upon Newton's
release from prison in 1970, for instance, after a court of appeal reversed his conviction
for manslaughter in the alleged shooting of an Oakland policeman, a memorandum from
the FBI director instructed FBI field offices across the country to formulate
COINTELPRO actions directed against Newton. FBI headquarters would direct the
campaign; its contours were defined as follows:
To demythicise [sic] Newton, to hold him up to ridicule,
and to tarnish his image among BPP members can serve to
weaken BPP solidarity and disrupt its revolutionary and
violent aims. [COINTELPRO actions] should have the 3-
pronged effect of creating divisiveness among BPP
members concerning Newton, treat him in a flippant and
irreverent manner, and insinuate that he has been
cooperating with police to gain his release from prison.
Within a week, the New York FBI field office had drawn up three phony letters, which
attempted to discredit Newton. One message, to be mailed to the New York office of the
Black Panther Party by the San Francisco FBI field office, read as follows:
Brothers, I am employed by the State of California and
have been close to Huey Newton while he was in jail. Let
me warn you that this pretty nigger may very well be
working for pig Reagan. I don't know why he was set free
but I am suspicious. I got this idea because he had
privileges in jail like the trustees get. He had a lot of
privacy most prisoners don't get. I don't think all his private
meetings were for sex. I am suspicious of him.
Don't tell Newton too much if he starts asking you
questions — it may go right back to the pigs.
Power to the People
FBI headquarters regarded this anonymous letter as "excellent," but cautioned "Take
usual precautions to insure letters cannot be traced to Bureau. Advise Bureau and
interested offices of positive results achieved."
The Philadelphia FBI field office prepared and sent to Newton a fictitious Black Panther
Party directive, supposedly prepared by the Philadelphia Black Panther office, which
questioned Newton's leadership abilities; accompanying it was a cover letter purportedly
from an anonymous Party supporter accusing the Philadelphia chapter of "slandering its
leaders in private."**^ FBI headquarters, in approving this operation, noted that prior
COINTELPRO action which "anonymously advised the national headquarters that food,
clothing and drugs collected for BPP community programs were being stolen by BPP
members" had resulted in criticism of the Philadelphia chapter by the national office,
transfer of members, "and the national office has even considered closing the
Philadelphia chapter." The memorandum concluded, "we want to keep this dissension
The Los Angeles FBI office suggested that a death threat against Newton be sent to Black
Panther leader David Hilliard, purportedly from a contract killer. FBI headquarters
stopped this action, however, in the belief that if Newton were to be murdered then, the
letter might be traced to the bureau by postal authorities.'*^
When Angela Davis, then one of the FBI's ten most wanted fugitives, was arrested in
New York City in mid October 1970 and charged with conspiracy in the Marin County
Courthouse incident, the FBI falsely tried to cast Newton as the fingerman:
In view of the fact that there is suspicion in the Negro [sic] community
that DAVIS was "set up," NYO suggests that HUEY NEWTON ... be cast
in the light as "fingerman." If such a ploy could be successfully carried out
it might result in disruption in the Black Nationalist field as well as
divorcing BPP from CPUS A and Militant New Left groups. ^°
One handwritten letter was sent to Ebony magazine by the Chicago FBI field office,
"mailed from a Negro [sic] as follows:
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
As of this writing, our lovely Sister Angela languishes in jail and her
chances of freedom seem remote. She's got to pay the man, right? But the
question I put to you is: Who did the money pay?
You know and I know the pigs can't come up with a Black in a Black
community just by driving around the streets and hassling the Brothers. I
tell you that Sister Davis would still be free if her capture was left to the
federal pigs alone. Of course, it was not that way at all. There was bread —
lots of pure cash rye — put into an eager Black hand which in turn twisted
the knife of treachery in our Sister's back.
Now, the big question is who? Who was the cat who dishonored his skin
and took the 30 pieces of silver?
Some of the west coast cats are looking hard at Brother Newton. Shit, you
say, Huey would never sell out to pig country. He's a dedicated
Nationalist, leader of the Brothers and Sisters and a cat with real soul.
Maybe it's bullshit, but let's look at Huey a little closer. He gets sprung
from a stiff rap in August. The man suddenly turns kind and sets our
Brother free. In that same month Sister Angela is among the missing as the
result of a frame the pigs laid on her. What did Huey give for the sunlight
and flowers? Or better still, what did the man give sweet Huey? How
come Huey's size 12 mouth has been zippered since our Sister's bust?
Nothing, he says. Absolutely nothing. Not one appeal for justice. No TV,
no papers, no radio, no nothing. He got five grand, so the cats say. It's
enough to make a man wonder. Wouldn't be surprised if Huey didn't split
the scene soon. I, for one, will be most interested.
A Friend of Sister Angela ^^
Another handwritten letter was mailed to the Village Voice newspaper by the New York
FBI field office:
Sister Angela is in jail. Poindexter is free. Huey Newton is free. David P.
is a dumb-head and a hop-head. Forget him. But Huey is smart. Gets along
well with the MAN. The question is: Did this cat bank five big bills lately
... as a gift from the federal pigs?
The bureau did not miss any chance to further its disinformation campaign. Later, in the
fall of 1970, the San Francisco FBI field office sent an unsigned letter, purportedly from
a "white revolutionary," to Newton criticizing the Party-sponsored Revolutionary
People's Constitutional Convention: "You," the letter concluded, "must be held
responsible for this fiasco and it is due to your total incompetence for selecting stupid
lazy niggers to do the job and you and your whole party have set the revolution back five
years. " When the Howard University student newspaper printed a letter signed
"Concerned Students of Howard University," which was critical of Huey Newton and the
Party, the San Francisco FBI field office mailed Xerox copies to seventeen newspapers in
northern California; the letter had been prepared and sent to the student newspaper in the
first place by the Washington, D.C., FBI field office.^'*
When Newton's conviction for allegedly shooting a policeman was reversed in 1970, FBI
Director J. Edgar Hoover immediately requested official authorization from Attorney
General John Mitchell for "a microphone surveillance and a telephone surveillance at
apartment 25 A, 1200 Lakeshore, Oakland"^^ — Huey Newton's new residence. Hoover
considered it "likely that high-level party-conferences will be held at this location," and
he reminded Mitchell "that existing telephone surveillance on certain Black Panther
officers, all of which have been authorized by you, have provided extremely valuable
information on Black Panther Party involvement in foreign matters and plans for violent
acts against top officials of this country and foreign diplomatic personnel. "^^ (The ending
clause, clumsily tacked on the sentence, was the requisite "national security" justification
for covert action.) Hoover's request concluded with the observation that "trespass will be
involved with respect to the microphone surveillance. "
Mitchell approved the request, and San Francisco FBI agents paid the building engineer,
Roger DuClot, to accompany them in breaking into Newton's apartment to install the
microphone in the wall.
But the FBI was not content with surveillance. On November 24, 1970, the San Francisco
FBI field office proposed an additional COINTELPRO operation concerning Newton's
new apartment. The field office proposed a media campaign which would characterize
the apartment as a "luxurious lakeshore" penthouse, far more elegant than "the ghetto-like
BPP 'pads' and community centers" utilized by the Party.^^ However, the field office
agreed to refrain "presently" from leaking "this information to cooperative news sources"
because of a "pending special investigative technique [i.e., the 'bug' and wiretaps]."
Once the installation of the surveillance devices had been completed, the FBI gave the
"plush penthouse" story to one of the bureau's key media "assets," reporter Ed
Montgomery of the San Francisco Examiner.^^ Shortly, Montgomery's FBI-furnished
article was featured on the front page of the Examiner. Pleased with this quick success,
the San Francisco field office mailed copies of the feature article, anonymously, to "all
BPP offices across the United States and to three BPP contacts in Europe. "^^ Additional
copies were mailed to newspaper editors in all cities where the BPP was active.
To bolster the innuendos of lavish living and misuse of Party funds, the FBI sent a
fictitious letter from a national Black Panther Party officer to Party chapters in Baltimore,
Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, and
Washington, D.C. The message, mailed from Oakland, read in part:
Too many of your leaders have now turned this movement into something
to line their own pockets and have little regard for the man on the street
selling "The Black Panther." Ask the members of your chapter coming to
the national where the Comrade Commander and the Chief of Staff live.
Huey Newton lives miles from another nigger and you'll never find him in
If you're lucky you can see him buying drinks for white freaks in Oakland
supper clubs. ...
In addition, FBI Headquarters formulated a COINTELPRO plan to "embarrass BPP
leader Huey Newton through use of a fictitious bank account, indicating
misappropriations of BPP funds. "^"^ This plan required that:
a fictitious bank account record be created in the name of HUEY P.
NEWTON through an appropriate bank which will cooperate with the
Bureau confidentially. A photostat of a false ledger card could be prepared
and mailed to national headquarters anonymously along with an
appropriate letter condemning NEWTON. The account should show
regular sizable deposits over a period of several years and have a sizable
Beginning April 1, 1971, and for months thereafter, the FBI paid "$540 per month ... for
the rental of apartment 25B, 1200 Lakeshore, Oakland, California. "^^In this apartment,
adjacent to the one in which Newton was living, the FBI placed an undercover agent with
instructions to keep Newton under physical surveillance, as well as monitoring the
electronic eavesdropping devices. Subsequently, hardly a day passed when Newton was
not followed or observed by a plainclothes agent on all of his travels to and from the
One of the undercover agents placed in apartment 25B was Don Roberto Stinnette, who
was described (in an FBI case report on Newton) as "involved with local drug traffic. "^^
Stinnette, who professed to be on parole from a California prison, remained in the
apartment for several months while he spied on Newton, his associates, and guests.
On November 18, 1972, Newton's wife, Gwen Fountaine Newton, discovered several
men burglarizing and ransacking their apartment when she returned unexpectedly:
After leaving the apartment with Huey, I returned with Huey's niece,
Deborah, because I had forgotten something. I entered to find three men
robbing the apartment. They held me at gunpoint. Their pistols had
silencers on them. Huey's documents and other papers were strewn about
on the floor.^^
Files and records, along with clothes and heavy furniture, were taken by these men from
the apartment — a closed, supposedly secure complex with a doorman and basement
garage that could be entered only with the aid of an apartment-supplied electronic garage-
door opener. How and why did these men enter this complex, burglarize the penthouse
apartment, and leave undetected with so much stolen property? The Party believes that
the stolen records and materials were actually moved next door during the robbery to the
apartment of the FBI agent or informant. Later, when it was convenient to go unnoticed,
the materials were quietly but openly moved out in crates and boxes from an art exhibit
supposedly held in this same agent's apartment. ^^
Literally no tactic was too bizarre, unconscionable, or extreme for government
intelligence officials. On Saturday morning, February 18, 1973, at 5:30 a.m., a squad of
Oakland police officers conducted a raid on the twenty-fifth floor of Huey Newton's
apartment building. For cover, they had obtained a warrant, "authorized for night
service," for the arrest of Don Roberto Stinnette for unpaid traffic tickets. The police
team proceeded to engage in a shootout with Stinnette, who was equipped with a
semiautomatic rifle, in the hall outside Newton's apartment. Newton refused to take the
bait to open his door. Surprisingly, neither Stinnette nor police were injured. Later, the
media reported the news of gunfire at the "swank apartment . . . next door to Black
Panther leader Huey Newton's. But the press had missed what was perhaps the real
story: That the police and undercover agent had staged the entire shootout in hopes that
Newton could be drawn out of his apartment where he could be shot.
It is not difficult to divine the intended effect of these FBI actions, or just why the bureau
felt they might, through the aggregate of activity, neutralize the Party's founder. In the
words of one observer:
Do you remember what it is like to have one friend mad at you, against
you, or even an enemy, or someone out to get you as may have happened
occasionally when you were a kid? But how many of us have this baring
experience now? Occasionally someone may be after our job or
promotion, but not our life or our freedom. We cannot even imagine what
it is like to have one or all of the major investigatory agencies against us.
To have phones always tapped. To have no one able to know you without
that person also becoming a public enemy. To be watched for minute
traffic violations every time you drive to the store. To be under constant
observation. To never know who might be a paid informer or a fake next
door neighbor. And in the midst of this, to have a developing community
strained by the very pressures around you, around your friends, around a
vision of the people which is unbearable to our present society.
Fostering a Newton-Cleaver Split
In March 1970, the FBI zeroed in on Eldridge Cleaver, then in exile in Algiers after he
had been told to leave Cuba. The bureau learned that the high-strung Cleaver had
"accepted as bonafide" a fictitious letter "stating that BPP leaders in California were
seeking to undercut his influence."
For the next year, FBI field offices supplied Cleaver with a steady stream of messages
containing erroneous information about various Black Panther Party leaders and
activities, especially about Huey Newton. After his release from prison in August 1970,
Cleaver led a Black Panther Party-sponsored delegation of American activists to North
Korea and North Vietnam. After the conclusion of the tour, "the Los Angeles FBI field
office was asked to prepare an anonymous letter to Cleaver criticizing Newton for not
aggressively obtaining BPP press coverage of the BPP's sponsorship of the trip."
In December 1970, with the adoption of the Key Black Extremist program, the FBI
increased its COINTELPRO efforts to turn Cleaver against Newton. The Bureau issued
write numerous letters to Cleaver criticizing Newton for his lack of
leadership. It is felt that, if Cleaver received a sufficient number of
complaints regarding Newton it might . . . create dissension that later
could be more fully exploited.
One letter to Cleaver, written to appear as if it had come from Connie Matthews, then
Newton's personal secretary, read in part:
I know you have not been told what has been happening lately. . . . Things
around headquarters are dreadfully disorganized with the comrade
commander not making proper decisions. The newspaper is in a shambles.
No one knows who is in charge. The foreign department gets no support.
Brothers and sisters are accused of all sorts of things... .
I am disturbed because I, myself, do not know which way to turn. ... If
only you were here to inject some strength into the movement, or to give
some advice. One of two steps must be taken soon and both are drastic.
We must either get rid of the supreme commander or get rid of the disloyal
members . . . Huey is really all we have right now and we can't let him
down, regardless of how poorly he is acting, unless you feel otherwise.
More flattery came from "Algonquin J. Fuller, Youth Against War and Fascism, New
York," supposedly one of Cleaver's white admirers:
Let me tell you what has happened to our brothers in the Party since you
have left and that "Pretty Nigger Newton" in his funky clothes has been
running things... .
Brother Eldridge, to me as an outsider but one who believes in the
revolution, it seems that the Panthers need a leader in America who will
bring the Party back to the People.
Brother Newton has failed you and the Party. The Panthers do not need a
"day time revolutionary, a night time party goer and African fashion
model as a leader." They need the leadership which only you can supply.
The New York FBI field office mailed another fictitious letter to Cleaver, supposedly
from the "New York Panther 21," in order to "further aggravate the strained relationship
between Newton and Cleaver":
As you are aware, we of the Panther 21 have always been loyal to the
Party and continue to feel a close allegiance to you and the ideology of the
party which has been developed mainly through your efforts... .
We know that you have never let us down and have always inspired us
through your participation in the vanguard party. As the leading
theoretician of the party's philosophy and as brother among brother, we
urge you to make your influence felt. We think that The Rage [i.e.,
Cleaver] is the only person strong enough to pull this factionalized party
back together... .
You are our remaining hope in our struggle to fight oppression within and
without the Party.^^
By late January 1971, the bureau's COINTELPRO campaign had begun to achieve
favorable results. Cleaver was responding to the prompting of the disinformation
campaign. One bureau memorandum reported that Cleaver considered one of the
fictitious letters to contain "good information about the Party." Another COINTELPRO
report ebulliently noted that "Cleaver has never previously disclosed to BPP officials the
receipt of prior COINTELPRO letters."^''
Now was the time for the bureau to "more fully exploit" the dissension it had fostered.
FBI headquarters directed the field office to intensify the campaign against the Black
The present chaotic situation within the BPP must be
exploited and recipients must maintain the present high
level of counter-intelligence activity. You should each give
this matter priority attention and immediately furnish
Bureau recommendations . . . designated to further
aggravate the dissension within BPP leadership.
On February 2, 1971, FBI headquarters directed each of twenty-nine field offices to
submit within eight days a proposal to disrupt local Black Panther Party chapters and the
Party's national headquarters in Oakland. The bureau command believed its four-year-
long war against Huey Newton and the Black Panther Party was nearing victory. The
situation, field office supervisors were reminded, offers an exceptional opportunity to
further disrupt, aggravate and possibly neutralize this organization through counter-
intelligence. In light of above developments this program has been intensified . . . and
selected offices should ... increase measurably the pressure on the BPP and its leaders.
For three solid weeks, a barrage of anonymous letters flowed from FBI field offices in
response to the urging from FBI headquarters. The messages became more and more
vicious. On February 19, 1971, a false letter, allegedly from a Black Panther Party
member in the Bay Area, was mailed to Don Cox, Cleaver's companion in Algiers. The
letter intimated that the recent disappearance and presumed death of Black Panther leader
Fred Bennett was the result of Party factionalism.
On February 24, an urgent teletype message from the FBI director authorized the most
daring step in the campaign — a falsified message to Cleaver from a member of the Party's
Central Committee. A letter over the forged signature of Elbert "Big Man" Howard,
editor of The Black Panther newspaper, told Cleaver:
John Scale told me Huey talked to you Friday and what he had to say. I
am disgusted with things here and the fact that you are being ignored. I am
loyal to the Party and it makes me mad to learn that Huey now has to lie to
you. I am referring to his fancy apartment which he refers to as the throne.
I think you should know that he picked the place out himself, not the
Central Committee, and the high rent is from Party funds and not paid by
anyone else. Many of the others are upset about this waste of money. It is
needed for other Party work here and also in Algeria. It seems the least
Huey could do is furnish you the money and live with the rest of us. Since
Huey will lie to you about this, you can see how it is with him. You would
be amazed at what is actually happening.
I wish there was some way I could get in touch with you but in view of
Huey's orders it is not possible. You should really know what's happening
and statements made about you. I can't risk a call as it would mean certain
expulsion. You should think a great deal before sending Kathleen. If I
could talk to you I could tell you why I don't think you should.
Big Man 83
Eldridge Cleaver apparently believed the letter to be legitimate. Huey Newton telephoned
Algiers to ask Cleaver to participate in a long-distance telephone hook-up on a San
Francisco television talk show; Cleaver agreed to the plan. Three hours later, when the
TV station's call to Algiers went through, Cleaver launched into a furious criticism of the
Black Panther Party's Central Committee, and demanded that Panther Chief of Staff
David Hilliard be removed from his post, and attacked the breakfast program as
Cleaver had regained his place in the spotlight, if only for a moment. When the Central
Committee expelled him from the Black Panther Party for his behavior, Cleaver
announced that the "real" Black Panther Party would thereafter be directed from Algiers.
Like an ultra-left sorcerer's apprentice with a gift of verbal magic. Cleaver frenetically
tried to coalesce his own followers with transatlantic exhortations for immediate guerrilla
FBI officials were elated. In mid-March, FBI headquarters declared its COINTELPRO
operation aimed at "aggravating dissension" between Newton and Cleaver a success.
New instructions for the field offices were promulgated:
Since the differences between Newton and Cleaver now appear to be
irreconcilable, no further counter-intelligence activity in this regard will be
undertaken at this time and now new targets must be established.
David Halliard and Egbert "Big Man" Howard of National Headquarters
and Bob Rush of Chicago B.P. Chapter are likely future targets... .
Hilliard's key position at National Headquarters makes him an outstanding
target. Howard and Rush are also key Panther functionaries . . . making
them prime targets.
The Black Panther newspaper dated April 17, 1971, the last issue Party member Samuel
Napper was to distribute before his murder by alleged Cleaver supporters, carried Huey
Newton's assessment of the Eldridge Cleaver episode and the difficulties it had brought
upon the Party:
I had asked Eldridge Cleaver to join the Party a number of times. But he
did not join until after the confrontation with the police in front of the
office of Ramparts magazine, where the police were afraid to go for their
guns. Without my knowledge, he took this as the Revolution and the
Party. But in our basic program it was not until Point 7 that we mentioned
the gun, and this was intentional. We were trying to build a political
vehicle through which the people could express their revolutionary
desires. We recognized that no party or organization can make the
revolution, only the people can. All we could do was act as a guide to the
people, because revolution is a process, and because the process moves in
a dialectical manner .. .
When Eldridge joined the Party it was after the police confrontations,
which left him fixated with the "either-or" attitude. This was that either the
community picked up the gun with the Party or else they were cowards
and there was no place for them. . . . Sometimes there are those who
express personal problems in political terms, and if they are eloquent, then
these personal problems can sound very political. We charge Eldridge
Cleaver with this. Much of it is probably beyond his control, because it is
so personal... . Under the influence of Eldridge Cleaver the Party gave the
community no alternate for dealing with us, except by picking up the
Eldridge Cleaver influenced us to isolate ourselves from the Black
community, so that it was war between the oppressor and the Black
Panther Party, not war between the oppressor and the oppressed
2. Creating Discord Between the BPP and Other Black Groups:
Murder and Mayhem from Chicago to CaHfornia.
Chicago and Fred Hampton
The Chicago office of the FBI, under the direction of Marlin Johnson, responded
energetically to the COEMTELPRO directions from headquarters. Soon after receipt of
the memorandum instructing "recipient offices ... to submit imaginative and hard-hitting
counter-intelligence measures aimed at crippling the BPP," they began sending letters
to the leadership of a Chicago street gang called the Blackstone Rangers, or P-Stone
Nation, telling them that the Panthers wanted to take away their territory. By December
of 1968, this activity had escalated. The Chicago office reported in a memorandum to
headquarters that Jeff Fort, the head of the Rangers, had said that he would "take care of
anyone saying bad things about him. Chicago recommended that the bureau write Fort an
anonymous letter saying that several Panthers were spreading rumors about him.
By January 1970, the FBI's tactics became more straightforward. The Chicago office
suggested sending Fort a letter telling him that there was a "hit" out for him from the
Panthers.^" This effort, the FBI hoped, would occasion Fort to take retaliatory action
which would disrupt the BPP or lead to reprisals against its leadership. Fred Hampton
was then the head of the Chicago office of the Panthers. The memorandum explained
why a similar letter was not being sent to the Panthers:
Consideration has been given to a similar letter to the BPP, alleging a
Ranger plot against the BPP leadership; however, it is not felt this would
be productive, principally since the BPP at present is not believed as
violence-prone as the Rangers, to whom violent type activity — shooting,
and the like — is second nature.
The bureau's own internal memoranda make it clear that, whatever their public rhetoric,
their goal was to promote, rather than prevent, violence. Fred Hampton became a prime
target for this FBI-directed violence.
Hampton was only 18 when he became head of the Illinois chapter of the Panthers. He
was an extraordinary leader — a brilliant and charismatic speaker — with an exceptional
ability to deal with people and inspire confidence. His energy led the Chicago chapter of
the Panthers to be one of the most effective. Five different breakfast programs were
begun on Chicago's West Side, and a free medical center was begun in a neighborhood
which had an infant mortality rate more than twice that of White Chicago. Under his
direction, the Party also began a door-to-door program of health care which included
testing for sickle cell anemia and blood drives for Cook County Hospital, which served
much of the Black community. During the winter, the Party organized an emergency heat
program, which kept pressure on the landlords to repair furnaces and boilers. The
community was beginning to deal with its problems, and an atmosphere of optimism and
commitment was growmg.
Hampton was relentless; he could be found bustling around the Panther headquarters, out
in the streets talking to and organizing people, or at one of an increasing number of
speaking engagements throughout the Midwest. By the summer of 1969, he was talking
to thousands of people in the course of a month. He was becoming a national figure both
inside and outside the Party, and it was being suggested that he be brought into the
national BPP leadership.
On March 4, 1968, the Chicago office of the FBI received a memorandum advising them
to keep close track of those Black leaders on the "Rabble Rouser Index" who might be
future targets of the COINTELPRO.''^ On March 7, 1968, an airtel was sent back to
headquarters from Chicago stating that Fred Hampton was "in the RRI Sources assigned.
Liaison being maintained with Maywood Police Department."^'*
The FBI assigned an informer to Hampton; the Chicago office sent many memoranda to
headquarters on him, and his travel was closely watched. By September, headquarters
was pressing for intensified investigations into the leadership of the Party, and by this
time, Hampton was being listed in FBI memoranda as one of the BPP's leadership.
In response, the bureau introduced a new informer into the Panther leadership — William
O'Neal, who had joined the Panthers in late 1968, after being asked to do so by FBI
Special Agent Roy Martin Mitchell. ^^ Besides his role as informer, O'Neal was also the
classic agent provocateur. He at one point devised an outrageous plan to blow up City
Hall, but was soon told to forget it by the Panther leadership. His most infamous
invention, which was almost immediately dismantled, was a homemade electric chair,
which he, ironically enough, planned to use to interrogate possible infiltrators into the
During the period from 1969 to 1970, O'Neal received over $17,000 from the FBI. In
return, he provided the FBI with almost daily information concerning the activities and,
in particular, the leadership of the Party. He became chief of security for the BPP, and in
February of 1969, O'Neal became Hampton's personal bodyguard. That same month,
Mitchell wrote a memorandum asking the bureau to raise O'Neal's pay from $300 to $600
a month. And O'Neal was not alone; he was only one of several informers which the
FBI had planted in the BPP.
O'Neal's role became more prominent as the FBI became more and more aggressive in its
activities against the BPP. In June of 1969, O'Neal's reports were used as an excuse for a
raid on the Panther office in Chicago. Under the pretext of looking for a fugitive, the
police surrounded the office, almost causing a shootout. The fugitive, who later turned
out to be an FBI informer, was not found; but several Panthers were arrested, and the
office [was] ransacked.
In mid-November, FBI Agent Mitchell and informer O'Neal met.^^ O'Neal told Mitchell
that Hampton had just returned from a meeting in California with the national leadership
and that he would become BPP chief of staff if Hilliard went to jail. O'Neal also informed
Mitchell that Hampton's court date was coming up and that Hampton seemed to be
implying that he would not go to jail again and that the Party would have to survive
without his being around on a daily basis. This was an indication that Hampton might go
underground. O'Neal also reported that there might be a drastic purge in the Panther Party
in Chicago, expelling all members but Hampton and Rush. Any one of these factors
might have given the bureau a sense of urgency in moving against Hampton. And the
recent killing of two police officers by Black people may have led the FBI to believe it
could now get the police to do what it had failed to get the Rangers to do.
Mitchell apparently asked O'Neal to get him the floor plan for the apartment where Fred
was living because when the two met again on November 9, Mitchell sketched out a
diagram from O'Neal's description of the apartment, including a detail labeled "Fred's
O'Neal also told Mitchell that there were weapons in the house, but according to all FBI
documents, he said that the weapons had been legally purchased. O'Neal's deposition,
taken years later, noted that there was nothing unusual about the fact that there [were]
guns in the house. An internal bureau memorandum indicates how unexceptional this
No [word deleted] matter is being opened in the Chicago office
concerning this matter inasmuch as information indicates the weapons
were apparently legally purchased under the terms of existing Firearms
laws, possession of some is apparently rampant throughout BPP members
and apartment rent is paid with BPP funds.
Mitchell had known that the Panthers had guns, but had never asked very much about it.
However, on this occasion, Mitchell was particularly interested. He asked exactly what
guns we'^e in the house and also when Fred Hampton was usually there. O'Neal provided
a list of weapons and confirmed that Hampton both worked and lived in the apartment.
Armed with the information about the weapons, the floor plan, and the fact that Hampton
lived there, Mitchell began to peddle the raid. According to his own testimony, he met on
the night of November 19 with people from the Gang Intelligence Division of the
Chicago Police Department, and they talked about the possibility of a raid.'"'* In a
November 21 memorandum from Mitchell to Marlin Johnson, the head of the Chicago
FBI office, Mitchell communicated the floor plan of 2337 Monroe Street and informed
Johnson that he had already given this information to both the Chicago Police
Department and the state attorney's office. ^"^
By December 3, the Chicago office of the FBI was able to advise Washington that the
local authorities were "currently planning a positive course of action relative to this
information."'" In other words, when the Blackstone Rangers failed to take the bait, the
FBI enlisted the state attorney's office to carry out the job for them.
At the same time, O'Neal met with Mitchell and then wandered back over to the Panther
office and finally over to 2337 Monroe to eat dinner with Fred Hampton, Deborah
Johnson, and several others who were then in the apartment. Meanwhile, the fourteen-
man squad of the Illinois State Police, which was to carry out the raid, was being
assembled by the State Attorney's Office.
By 3:00 a.m., the police raid squad was being briefed. The floor plan, which the FBI's
Mitchell had provided, was on the board, and the search warrant which was based on FBI
informer O'Neal's information was on hand. The men were armed with machine guns and
other heavy weapons; they had been hand-picked, and they were being psychologically
prepared for a combat mission.
At 2337 Monroe Street, nine people were asleep in the four-room apartment when
suddenly the doors opened and a hail of bullets tore through the walls, the beds, and the
occupants. After nine minutes, the screams had stopped; the volleys had ended, and
silence had once again descended on the apartment, where minutes before the police had
been screaming, "We got 'em, we got 'em."'°^
Fred Hampton lay dead on a blood-soaked bed. He had barely moved from where he had
lain asleep. According to later testimony by both an FBI informant and the occupants of
the apartment, it is probable that he had been drugged. Deborah Johnson, a BPP member,
stated that he had fallen asleep while talking on the phone earlier in the evening. Maria
Fischer, an FBI and Chicago Police Department informant in the BPP, said that the FBI
asked her to drug Hampton before the raid so that he wouldn't resist. He did not resist; he
never woke up.
Mark Clark, 17 years old, was dead also. He had been seated in the living room on a
chair. He now lay on the floor. Five more people were wounded. Four others escaped
Ninety bullets had been shot into the apartment in a period of less than ten minutes.
According to the federal grand jury report, only one of those shots had been fired by a
Thirty-one of the ninety shots entered the bedroom where Hampton slept. He had been
shot four times — in an arm and a shoulder, and twice in the head. Three other people had
lain on the same bed during the nine-minute hail of bullets, yet none of them had been
hurt. Deborah Johnson, then eight months pregnant with Fred Hampton's child, has said
that minutes after the firing stopped, and after she had been taken from the bedroom to
the kitchen, she heard two single shots and then a policeman say, "Now he's good and
dead." An independent commission headed by Roy Williams and Ramsey Clark
concluded that "the probability is that Hampton was alone in the bed when shot."^^"
Immediately following the raid, a series of urgent teletypes were sent from Chicago to
Washington, D.C., which gave details of the events of December 4. The first of these
teletypes was quick to inform headquarters that the police had "positively identified
Hampton as being killed."' '' What followed were a series of almost hourly bulletins
reporting that the area was calm.
Obviously pleased with the results, Marlin Johnson sent the following memorandum to
FBI headquarters asking that William O'Neal receive a special bonus:
A detailed inventory of the weapons and also a detailed floor plan of the
apartment were furnished to local authorities. In addition, the identities of
BPP members utilizing the apartment at the above address were furnished.
This information was not available from any other source and
subsequently proved to be of tremendous value in that it subsequently
saved injury and possible death to officers participating in a raid at the
address on the morning of 12/4/69. The raid was based on the information
furnished by informant. . .. During the resistance by the BPP members at
the time of the raid ... Fred Hampton was killed. It is felt that this
information is of considerable value in consideration of a special payment
for informant requested in the Chicago letter."
On December 11, 1969, the Chicago office received the following airtel:
Authority is granted to make captioned informant special payment of $300
over and above presently authorized levels of payment for uniquely
valuable services which he rendered over the past several months.
Carter and Huggins: A Case of FBI Assassination?
The public is well aware, after the publicity given the Senate Select Committee report in
1976, of the bureau's efforts to create dissension between the BPP and other Black
groups. Besides the Blackstone Rangers in Chicago, the other principal Black group that
reportedly clashed with the Panthers in response to Bureau counterintelligence activities
was the United Slaves (US), which was founded by Ron Karenga in Los Angeles. The
impression given from official investigations is that the FBI merely took advantage of an
existing state of gang warfare between the two organizations. This was supposedly
accomplished by the sending of false death threats and derogatory cartoons in the name
of one organization to another.
There is no doubt that the bureau desired violence to occur between the two
organizations. In 1970, for instance, after four BPP members had already been killed by
alleged members of US, the special agent in charge of the Los Angeles office wrote to
The Los Angeles Division is aware of the mutually hostile feelings
harbored between the organizations and the first opportunity to capitalize
on the situation will be maximized. It is intended that US, Inc. will be
appropriately and discreetly advised of the time and location of BPP
activities in order that the two organizations might be brought together and
thus grant nature the opportunity to take her due course. ''^
To be sure, promoting violence for political reasons is a serious enough charge to be
leveled and proved against a federal agency charged by law with investigating crimes and
preventing criminal conduct. Much more serious, however, is the recently discovered
evidence suggesting that the FBI participated in the murders of two Panthers, John
Huggins and Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter, at the University of California, Los Angeles, in
1969, helped to cover up their role, and sought to pin the blame on United Slaves.
The main source for this information is a former Black informant for the FBI named
DArthard Perry, also known as Ed Riggs and, according to him, [by] the code name
"Othello" by bureau officials with whom he dealt.^^^ Perry claims that he was first
recruited into working as an informant for the FBI in 1968 after being discharged from
the army. Economic need and the treat of having his state probation revoked if he failed
to cooperate with the bureau were the principal reasons he offers for agreeing to work
with the bureau. Though he was recruited while attending Sacramento State College,
Perry reported directly to three Los Angeles FBI agents: Brandon Cleary, Will Heaton,
and Michael Quinn. He was instructed to join the Party, which he did, and initially report
on its activities. Soon, however, he was requested to assume a more active role by
stealing phone-address books of members for copying by the bureau, providing floor lay
outs of Panther offices, and even stealing the infamous coloring book draft that the Party
had scrapped, but the FBI doctored and circulated in the Party's name.
After successfully completing and receiving increasing pay for these tasks, Othello was
instructed by the FBI to assist in promoting discord between members of US and the
Party in Los Angeles. He did so by, on at least one occasion, beating up a US member to
give the impression it was sanctioned by the Party.
On January 17, 1969, Perry was instructed by Cleary and Heaton to go to Campbell Hall
at UCLA. There a debate was to occur between the Panthers and US concerning the
direction of the Black studies program on campus. Huggins and Carter were the main
representatives of the Panthers. What happened then, is best explained in Perry's words:
I arrived there in the late morning and observed many members of the
Black Panther Party and US organization present in the room as well as
other people not identified with either organization.
I observed the situation in the cafeteria — which seemed to be nothing
more than a meeting and left for a short time to go to a parking lot located
near the building. The parking lot is reached by proceeding down a
pathway, across a street and then to the parking lot.
Shortly after my arrival in the parking lot I heard shots from the direction
of Campbell Hall.
Within a few minutes I observed George Stiner, Larry Stiner, and Claude
Hubert also known as Chuchessa, jump into a 1967 or 1968 light tan or
white, four-door Chevrolet driven by Brandon Cleary of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation. I saw this car drive away from the parking lot of
Campbell Hall. I left the campus on foot and immediately went to FBI
headquarters by bus. I inquired as to the whereabouts of Brandon Cleary at
this time, and, was told he was not available. I am informed and believe
that the four-door Chevrolet described above was the property of a man
called "Jomo," a known member of the US organization, now deceased.
I recognized George Stiner, Larry Stiner, and Claude Hubert from seeing
them prior to this date on the 14th floor of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation building on several occasions in the company of Brandon
Cleary, the man I had seen drive them away from the Campbell Hall area.
I had been told to give a report within twenty-four hours of the incident to
my supervising agent. Will Heaton, on the 14th floor of the Wilshire Blvd.
Federal Bureau of Investigation building.
A few hours later, I went to the building and met with my supervising
agent. Will Heaton. While in his company, I observed George Stiner,
Larry Stiner, and Claude Hubert in the company of Brandon Cleary on the
14th floor of the Federal Bureau of Investigation building. I asked Cleary,
"what was happening" and was told that there had been a "fuck up — no
one was to be killed by 'our' people." I also learned that the car that had
been driven by Cleary was taken from the place Jomo Shambulia had
parked it and returned to the same parking space after the incident. I also
learned that it was Claude Hubert who fired the shot that killed John
Jerome Huggins and the same Claude Hubert who fired the shot that killed
Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter and not George or Larry Stiner.
Through information and belief, I have knowledge that George Stiner and
Larry Stiner were Intelligence Gatherers for the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and were working for Brandon Cleary and others when John
Jerome Huggins and Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter were murdered. I am
informed and believe that Claude Hubert was on January 17, 1969 at the
time he reportedly executed John Jerome Huggins and Alprentice
"Bunchy" Carter, an agent in the service of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, Los Angeles office. I am further informed that this same
Claude Hubert was subsequently transferred to an east coast office of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, specifically New York, New York.
The Stiner brothers, after reportedly surrendering themselves to the police, were tried and
convicted of the murders of Carter and Huggins. They were sentenced to San Quentin, a
maximum security prison. Four years later, they were, as model prisoners, transferred to
the minimum security section of the prison. They were then both allowed a conjugal visit.
At which time, they escaped and have not been heard from to this date.^^^ Hubert has also
never been apprehended.
3. Discrediting Constructive Party Programs
The FBI was most disturbed by the Panthers' survival programs providing community
service. The popular free breakfast program, in which the party provided free hot
breakfasts to children in Black communities throughout the United States, was, as already
noted, a particular thorn in the side of J. Edgar Hoover. Finding little to criticize about the
program objectively, the Bureau decided to destroy it.
The tactics employed to ruin the breakfast program illustrate the lengths to which the
bureau would go. In 1969, for instance, party leaders rejected a so-called "comic book,"
without captions or words, that was drawn by an alleged party member. It depicted police
as caricature pigs and was submitted by the member to party leaders for possible
purposes of political propaganda. After its rejection by party leaders, however, an
informant for the FBI stole one of the few drafts of this proposed publication and
delivered it to the FBI. Thereupon the FBI added captions advocating violence, printed
thousands of copies bearing the Party's name, and circulated them throughout the
country, particularly to merchants and businesses who contributed to the breakfast
program. Those who received these so-called Panther "comics" were falsely told and
led to believe by the FBI that they were given out by the Panthers to children
participating in the breakfast programs. Not surprisingly, many merchants who supported
the program withdrew from it, as did others who had lent their support.
Churches assisting the Panthers in the breakfast program were also harassed by the FBI in
order to deter them from continuing support. In San Diego, an FBI official placed
telephone calls and wrote anonymous letters to the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of the
Catholic Church in 1969 falsely claiming to be parishioners upset about the priest's
support of the breakfast program. Within one month of these calls, this priest was
transferred from the San Diego diocese to the state of New Mexico. The FBI reported in
an internal memorandum that the priest had been neutralized and that the breakfast
program in San Diego has been destroyed.
Huey Newton noted of another constructive Party program: "Our Intercommunal News
Service and weekly paper The Black Panther, have become central in the Black Panther
survival programs. " 123 The FBI apparently agreed, stating in a 1970 headquarters
memorandum to field offices, that:
The Black Panther Party newspaper is one of the most effective
propaganda operations of the BPP.
Distribution of this newspaper is increasing at a regular rate thereby
influencing a greater number individuals in the United States along the
Black extremist lines.
Each recipient submit by 6/5/70 proposed counter-intelligence measures
which will hinder the vicious propaganda being spread by the BPP.
The BPP newspaper has a circulation in excess of 100,000 and has
reached the height of 139,000. It is the voice of the BPP and if it could be
effectively hindered, it would result in helping to cripple the BPP.
Deadline being set in view of the need to receive recommendations for the
purpose of taking appropriate action expeditiously.
The San Diego field office responded by noting that, while the BPP newspaper
presumably had the same legal immunity from tax laws as other newspapers, three
California might be selectively used against The Black Panther. One was a state tax on
printing equipment; the second, a "rarely used transportation tax law"; and the third, a
law prohibiting business in a residential area.
In addition, the San Diego field office suggested spraying the newspaper printing room
with a foul-smelling chemical:
The Bureau may also wish to consider the utilization of "Skatol," which is
a chemical agent in powdered form and when applied to a particular
surface emits an extremely noxious odor rendering the premises
surrounding the point of application uninhabitable. Utilization of such a
chemical of course would be dependent upon whether an entry could be
achieved into the area which is utilized for the production of The Black
Finally, the San Diego division also thought that threats from another radical organization
against the newspaper might convince the BPP to cease publication:
Another possibility which the Bureau may wish to consider
would be the composition and mailing of numerous letters
to BPP Headquarters from various points throughout the
country on stationary [sic] containing the national emblem
of the Minutemen organization. These letters, in several
different forms, would all have the common theme of
warning the Black Panthers to cease publication or drastic
measures would be taken by the Minutemen organization.
Utilization of the Minutemen organization through
direction of informants within that group would also be a
very effective measure for the disruption of the publication
of this newspaper.
The San Francisco field office submitted an analysis of the local Black Panther printing
schedules and circulation. It discouraged disruption of nationwide distribution because
the airline which had contracted with the Panthers might lose business or face a lawsuit
and recommended instead
a vigorous inquiry by the Internal Revenue Service to have
The Black Panther report their income from the sale of over
100,000 papers each week. Perhaps the Bureau through
liaison at SOG [seat of government] could suggest such a
course of action. It is noted that Internal Revenue Service at
San Francisco is receiving copies of Black Panther Party
funds and letterhead memoranda.
It is requested that the Bureau give consideration to
discussion with Internal Revenue Service requesting
financial records and income tax return for The Black
On another occasion, however, FBI agents contacted United Airlines officials and
inquired about the rates being charged for transporting The Black Panther newspaper. A
Bureau memorandum states that the BPP was being charged "the general rate" for printed
material, but that in the future it would be forced to pay the "full legal rate allowable for
newspaper shipment." The memorandum continued:
Officials advise this increase . . . means approximately a
forty percent increase. Officials agree to determine
consignor in San Francisco and from this determine
consignees throughout the United States so that it can
impose full legal tariff. They believe the airlines are due the
differences in freight tariffs as noted above for the past six
to eight months, and are considering discussions with their
legal staff concerning suit for recovery of deficit. . . .
[T]hey estimate that in New York alone will exceed ten
thousand dollars. ^^^
In August 1970, the New York field office reported that it was considering plans
directed against (1) the production of the BPP newspaper;
(2) the distribution of that newspaper and (3) the use of
information contained in particular issues for topical
The NYO [New York Office] realizes the financial benefits
coming to the BPP through the sale of their newspaper.
Continued efforts will be made to derive logical and
practical plans to thwart this crucial BPP operation.
D. Internal Revenue Service and Selective Enforcement
of Tax Laws Against the Panthers
The first notice the Panthers had that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be
interested in their affairs was in 1969-1970, when the Committee on Internal Security of
the House of Representatives held a series of hearings about the Party. At one of these
hearings, a congressman inquired as to the tax status of the Party and what the IRS knew
about its financial affairs, specifically whether the Party filed tax returns or paid taxes.
The answer was that since the Pant hers were a political party, just as the Democrats
Republicans, they had no obligation to file returns or pay taxes. Party leaders and their
counsel believed that because political party was nowhere defined in IRS regulations, the
government had no basis for treating them differently from the major established political
parties. The government, particularly IRS, indicated no explicit disagreement with this
In fact, however, IRS was already being responsive to the concerns of the administration
and others about the Panthers. On July 18, 1968, the assistant commissioner of the IRS
directed a memorandum to officers within the agency announcing that:
A Committee is being established to coordinate activities in all
Compliance Divisions involving ideological, militant, subversive, radical,
and similar type organizations; to collect basic intelligence data; and to
insure that the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code concerning such
organizations have been complied with. It is expected that the Committee
will function indefinitely.''''^
The first meeting of this committee, called the Activist Organizations Committee, and
later ironically named the Special Services, or SS, group, emphasized its mission:
This is an extremely important and sensitive matter in which the highest
levels of government are interested and in which at least three
Congressional committees are currently conducting investigations. In
addition, the Internal Security Division, Department of Justice, and the
Federal Bureau of Investigation have files on many of these
The secretive nature of the committee was also spelled out in this organizational meeting:
... [I]ts [i.e., the SS group's] activities should be disclosed generally only
to those persons who need to know, because of its semi-secretive nature.
Indeed, action is being taken to obtain top secret clearance for the full-
time Committee's members. Our files will be protected with usual
intelligence type security. We do not want the news media to be alerted to
what we are attempting to do or how we are operating because the
disclosure of such information might embarrass the Administration or
adversely affect the Service operations in this area or those of other
Federal agencies or Congressional Committees.
In essence then, the IRS formed a covert group within the agency for the purpose of
selecting out organizations for special enforcement of the tax laws solely on the basis of
their political beliefs. While the SS group focused its investigatory and enforcement
efforts against a wide variety of organizations and individuals, it is clear that the Panthers
and its leaders were singled out for special attention.
The Party was one of the original twenty-two organizations named by the SS group on
March 25, 1969, for investigation to determine "the sources of their funds, the names of
... contributors, whether the contributions given . . . have been deducted as charitable
contributions, [and] what we [i.e., IRS] can find out generally about the funds of these
organizations."'^ An early briefing paper from the chairman of the SS group, who held a
top secret security clearance, to another government official named only the Party and
described it as a "highly structured" organization, with allegedly thousands of soldiers,
about whom the SS "identified" approximately five hundred names holding "upper-
structure positions" in the Party. ' When the SS group met on July 29, 1969, they were
"furnished several charts concerning the Black Panthers . . . and offered additional
material" by a staff member of the Senate Committee on Government Operations.
Even when the SS was formally phased-out, and its substantive operations transferred to
other divisions of IRS, the Party was singled out, to wit: "Background, status and briefing
papers on BPP investigation discussed and materials left with Mr. Willsey."
The BPP first learned that it was an overt target of the IRS in 1974 when several
administrative summonses were served on third parties seeking information about the
Party, its leaders, and contributors. One summons was served on the Bank of America in
Oakland, California, for all records, whether open or closed accounts, relating to "Huey
P. Newton, the Black Panther Party, Free Huey or Defense Fund for Huey P. Newton,
and the Huey P. Newton Campaign Account." Another was issued to W. W. Norton &
Company, Inc., in New York, for all books and records relating to the transcribed
conversation between Newton and Harvard professor Erik H. Erikson, which
conversation was published as a book entitled In Search of Common Ground; a third was
served on Playboy Enterprises, Inc., in Chicago, Illinois, demanding "all books and
records pertaining to Huey P. Newton interview conducted by Mr. Lee Lockwood ...
[including] the transcript of the interview in its whole. "''*°
The tactic of serving third parties with summonses instead of the BPP directly made it
more difficult for the Party to assert any right to privacy of the records. Indeed, there was
no legal obligation on those served with summonses even to notify the Party; it learned of
them either fortuitously or because those served communicated voluntarily with the
Party. In any event, in 1974, the BPP promptly challenged this practice of IRS in federal
district court. Though the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed without prejudice, only to
be refiled in 1976 in Washington, D.C., as part of the Party's omnibus civil rights lawsuit
against numerous federal agencies, it had the immediate effect of deterring IRS from
serving additional summonses on third parties possessing information about the Party.
In addition to the serving of summonses on third parties, IRS also audited Party leaders
and contributors. Newton, for example, received formal notice of a tax deficiency
assessment by IRS in the Alameda County jail within one week of his return to the
United States from Cuba in July 1977.''*'' In fact, while Newton was temporarily
incarcerated by Immigration authorities in Toronto, Canada, en route from exile in Cuba,
IRS considered obtaining a Canadian address for pursuit of a civil assessment action.
Discovery in the Party's federal lawsuit shows that when police and the Alameda district
attorney searched Newton's residence after he had voluntarily turned himself into the
police in connection with assault charges in 1974, the district attorney telephoned IRS
agents, who came to Newton's home and examined his personal papers and files in the
hope of finding some evidence of a tax violation. No less than four IRS agents spent
six hours in Newton's apartment with microfilm equipment, rummaging through his
personal files searching for evidence of any crime for which he might be charged. The
agents were so intent on obtaining a conviction against Newton on any grounds that they
were careful to rationalize their search in internal memoranda in the event there were
subsequent legal challenges to the admissibility of whatever evidence they might use for
It was my understanding that, if while executing a legal
search, evidence of another crime is discovered, it would be
permissible to seize it. (Note: Normally I would have
copied such discovered evidence, but inasmuch as we were
there and had been instructed by the police they did not
want it copied, we were obliged not to).
Ultimately, after expending tens of thousands of taxpayers' dollars to investigate the
Party, its leaders, and contributors, the agency concluded there was no evidence
warranting criminal charges, and the proposed civil assessment against Newton for past
tax years was settled in 1979.
When the CIA was formed in 1947, the statute creating it, the National Security Act,
provided that the agency shall have no police, subpoena, law enforcement powers, or
internal security functions."''*^ The Huston Plan, as already noted, proposed ignoring this
injunction. Though the Huston Plan was allegedly never formally adopted, it now appears
that the CIA did place operatives in the street, kept extensive files on United States
citizens, infiltrated political organizations, and pulled COINTELPRO types of stunts.
Most infamous, of course, is the CIA's admission that it provided "technical assistance"
in 1971 to its former employee, E. Howard Hunt, when he led the White House
"plumbers" in a burglary of the office of the psychiatrist who once treated Daniel
EUsberg, the man who disclosed the Pentagon papers.'"*^
In 1975, the Rockerfeller Commission investigated abuses by the CIA and concluded that
the agency exceeded its authority. The Senate Select Committee reported in 1976 that the
CIA had a program of domestic spying, which primarily consisted of mail-covers — i.e.,
opening and copying the mail of targeted political persons — and intelligence gathering on
dissidents. Neither official investigation discussed in any way what the New York Times
disclosed in 1978: The CIA "recruited American Blacks in the late 1960's and early
1970's to spy on members of the Black Panther Party, both in the United States and in
Africa."'^" Spying was not, however, solely for the purpose of gathering information
about the Party:
One longtime CIA operative with direct knowledge of the spying said,
however, that there was an additional goal in the case of the Black
Panthers living abroad: to "neutralize" them; "to try and get them in
trouble with local authorities wherever they could.
The kinds of activities engaged in by the FBI to neutralize the Party, as has been shown,
span the gamut of illegal dirty tricks, not stopping even at murder. Direct evidence of
CIA dirty tricks used against the Panthers is, however, sparse. Neither the presidential
commission nor the Senate committee revealed any information about tactics directed at
the Panthers. Perhaps this was a cover-up in complicity with the committees, or maybe
the CIA just acted as a law unto itself, unaccountable to Congress or the president in
disclosing or explaining its actions. When the New York Times asked for an explanation
of this hiatus in the government investigations, it was told by one former CIA official that
the reason the committees didn't learn about these anti-Panther activities was because
They didn't ask. We treated the Senate inquiry as an adversary proceeding.
Had they asked, we would have dug out the answers.
Undoubtedly, the CIA possessed much incriminating information to dig out. When the
BPP filed its federal civil rights lawsuit against, inter alia, the CIA in 1976, agency
officials submitted affidavits to the court suggesting the extent of its recorded activities
with respect to the Party:
Apart from cases where it is not possible to perform a record search . . .
progress has seen made in identifying .. . several thousand documents
relating ... to the Black Panther Party.
Another CIA official testified that "... certain portions [of the Party's discovery request]
can be addressed at the present time. This is being done. However, a significant
proportion of documents recovered to date bear classification markings indicating that
their contents include information which must be protected in the interests of national
Perhaps because the CIA equates national security with protection of its own image, the
documents sought will never be revealed.
"A [Rockefeller] Commission investigator acknowledged [that] the report [i.e.,
Rockefeller Commission report] did not [also] mention that between 150 and 200 CIA
domestic files on Black dissidents had been destroyed before the Commission's
inquiry. "'^^ Of those documents the CIA has admitted exist, only a couple of hundred
pages, at most, have been produced in the past four years in response to the Party's formal
litigation discovery efforts. Many of these pages are replete with extensive white-outs or
black-outs — i.e., deletion of so-called classified material — and are, therefore,
uninformative. Nonetheless, those few pages produced reveal that within the United
States, the CIA infiltrated the Party with informants and attended meetings and public
functions in order to identify Party members by taking their photographs and compiling
information on them. Overseas activities of the CIA focused on Panthers in Africa and
included one operative who became the owner of a small hotel where Party supporters
and associates lodged. The hotel's annual deficit was even made up by the CIA.
The likelihood that the truth about CIA efforts to neutralize the Party will never be fully
known is great. Aside from the admitted destruction by the CIA of files concerning the
BPP and failure to respond to civil discovery efforts, one man who had first-hand
knowledge of the operation noted, "If they i.e., CIA had gotten exposed, then it would
have been the CIA versus the Black Panthers and all Black Americans — they've had a lot
of Americans against them. The agency would have been exposed, open to attack."
1 "Dean Memorandum," Exhibit D to the original complaint filed
in Black Panther Party v. Donald C. Alexander,
Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, No. C-74-
1247 (N.D. Cal. 1974).
2 "White House Enemies List," Exhibit F, Black Panther Party v.
3 Indeed, at least one commentator has noted that the popularity of
organizations like the Panthers, and probably also the
American Independent Party, was "a result of the vacuum
of leadership among white liberals; it was a reflection of
confusion, of aimlessness, of guilt without political
purpose." Arthur Pearl, Landslide: The How and Why of
Nixon's Victory (Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press,
1973), p. 69.
4 National Security, Civil Liberties, and the Collection of
Intelligence: A Report on the Huston Plan," reported in
U.S. Congress, Senate, Book III, Final Report of the Select
Committee to Study Governmental Operations with
Respect to Intelligence Activities, 94th Cong., 2d sess.,
1976, pp. 923-986. (Hereinafter this report will simply be
referred to as "Book III: Final Report.")
5 Book III: Final Report, pp. 936-960.
6 Book III: Final Report, p. 938.
7 Book III: Final Report, pp. 957-960.
8 Stanford J. Ungar, FBI: An Uncensored Look Behind the Walls
(Boston: Little Brown, 1976), p. 123.
9 Ungar, FBI, p. 124.
10 Executive Order 9835, 12 Fed. Reg. 1935 (21 March 1947).
11 Ungar, F5/, p. 125.
12 Book IE: Final Report, p. 5.
13 Ungar, Ffi/, p. 119.
14 The New York Times, 8 September 1968, cited in Book III:
Final Report, p. 188 , and Ungar, FBI, p. 121.
15 Barenblatt v. United States, 360 U.S. 109,150 (1959) (Black, J.,
16 FBI airtel from SAC San Francisco to director FBI, February 4,
1974 (emphasis added).
17 Letter from Henry E. Peterson to Acting Director FBI, April 3,
18 Edward J. Epstein, Agency of Fear: Opiates and Political
Power in America (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1977),
20 Teletype from FBI San Francisco to director, February 16,
21 FBI "Informative Note," February 16, 1974, prepared for "J. L.
22 FBI Memorandum from Supervisor Gary L. Penrith to SAC San
Francisco, April 13, 1973.
23 FBI memorandum from Special Agent Stephen Lee Kies to
SAC San Francisco, October 11, 1973.
24 Epstein, Agency of Fear, p. 252.
25Ibid., pp. 201-202, 207.
26 Ibid., pp. 213-215.
27 Ibid., p. 214.
28 Statement and presentation of OCCIB document by Sheldon
Otis, attorney for Huey Newton, at August 15, 1977,
hearing in People v. Newton, No. 64624A and No. 65919,
Alameda Mun. Ct., Oakland, California.
29 COINTELPRO, a Bureau acronym for "counterintelligence pro-
gram," was first formally launched in 1956 against the
Communist Party, U.S.A. The Black Nationalist
COINTELPRO began in 1967 and focused on the BPP.
Book III: Final Report, pp. 15-20.
30 FBI memorandum from director, hqtrs, to all SACs, August 25,
31 FBI memorandum from director, hqtrs, to all SACs, March 4,
1968, pp. 3-4.
32 See note 14. A major reason for the FBI Director's hostility
toward the BPP was its popularity among Blacks,
particularly the young. "The most active and dangerous
Black extremist group in the United States is the Black
Panther Party (BPP). Despite its relatively small number of
hard-core members . . . the BPP is in the forefront of Black
extremist activity today. Moreover, a recent poll indicates
that approximately 25 per cent of the Black population has
a great respect for the BPP including 43 per cent of Blacks
under twenty-one years of age." J. Edgar Hoover, Special
Report, Interagency Committee on Intelligence, quoted in
affidavit of Sheldon Otis, attorney at law, filed in People v.
Newton, Nos. 64624A and 65919, Alameda Mun. Ct.,
33 Book III: Final Report, p. 188 . Estimates of federal
investigators vary, to wit: "During 1967-1971, FBI
Headquarters approved 379 proposals for COINTELPRO
actions against 'black nationalists.' These operations
utilized dangerous and unsavory techniques which gave
rise to the risk of death and often disregarded the personal
rights and dignity of the victims." (Ibid., p. 88.)
34 Book III: Final Report, p. 260.
35 Ibid., p. 16.
36 Ibid., p. 7.
37 FBI memorandum from director, hqtrs. to SAC San Francisco,
May 11, 1970.
38 Book ni: Final Report, p. 9.
40 Memorandum from FBI hqtrs. to Cincinnati field office,
February 18, 1971.
41 Interview with Donald Freed on August 25, 1979. Freed is an
author living in Los Angeles who has written, inter alia.
Agony at New Haven: The Trial of Bobby Seale and Ericka
Huggins and Executive Action (with Mark Lane and
He is a long-time supporter of the BPP who has, as a result, been
personally targeted by the FBI for COINTELPRO actions.
For instance, the FBI printed and distributed at an Oakland,
California, Conference for a United Front Against Fascism,
sponsored by the BPP, leaflets accusing Freed of "being a
possible informant." (FBI Airtel from SAC, San Francisco
to Director, July 28, 1969.) The extensive research Freed
did on the New Haven, Connecticut, prosecution of Scale
and Huggins shows that the FBI was likely instrumental in
promoting and assisting an informant who participated in
the torture-murder of BPP member Alex Rackley.
42 FBI memorandum from San Diego field office to FBI hqtrs.,
February 11, 1969; FBI memorandum from FBI hqtrs. to
San Diego field office, February 19, 1969.
43 FBI memorandum from hqtrs. to Los Angeles field office,
August 8, 1970.
44 FBI memorandum from hqtrs. to New York field office, August
46 Memorandum from FBI hqtrs. to Philadelphia field office,
August 19, 1970.
48 FBI memorandum from Los Angeles field office to FBI hqtrs.,
August 10, 1970.
49 FBI memorandum from director to SAC Los Angeles,
September 30, 1970. There was a somewhat subtle method
to the bureau's madness. The original proposal noted that
"by forwarding the letter to Hilliard ... a measure of
Hilliard's loyalty to Newton may be more properly
assessed. If Hilliard ... in fact turn[s] this letter over to
Newton, then it can be assumed that efforts to drive a
wedge between Hilliard and Newton could prove futile. If,
on the other hand, Hilliard chooses to keep the contents of
the letter to himself and fails to warn Newton of the
impending danger the letter reflects, then it . . . would be
deemed appropriate to direct further counterintelligence
efforts towards polarizing these two individuals.... If . . .
Hilliard does make Newton aware of the letter ... it may
then further add to Newton's paranoia and fear for his life
which would serve to demean his effectiveness, both as a
leader of the BPP and as a public figure. (FBI
memorandum from Los Angeles field office to FBI hqtrs.,
August 10, 1970.)
50 FBI memorandum from New York field office to hqtrs.,
October 29, 1970.
52 Ibid .
53 FBI Memorandum from hqtrs. to San Francisco field office,
December 16, 1970.
54 FBI memorandum from San Francisco field office to hqtrs.,
February 25, 1971.
55 Interview with Charles R. Garry, February 21, 1978; Mr. Garry
is an attorney in San Francisco who has represented the
Party for many years against false criminal charges. The
quotation in the text is from a memorandum dictated by
Mr. Garry upon reviewing FBI files made available to him
pursuant to court order in Dellinger v. Mitchell, Civ. Action
No. 1768-69, Fed. Dist. Ct. (D.C. 1969).
57 Ibid. •
58 Declaration of Walter W. Niles, August 30, 1977, and filed in
People V. Newton, Nos. 64624A and 65919. Niles had
overall responsibility for management of the apartment
building in which Huey Newton resided. He testified that
"the rent for apartment 25B [the one next to Newton] ...
was being paid by the FBI. ... A man named Roger M.
DuClot was the building engineer ... he was being paid as
an informant by the FBI, and ... he assisted the FBI in
installing various electronic devices in the walls of
apartment 25B.... "
59 FBI memorandum from San Francisco field office to hqtrs.,
November 24, 1970.
61 In a February 1971 report on COINTELPRO activities, the San
Francisco division described the Examiner article as one of
its "counter-intelligence activities." FBI memorandum from
San Francisco field office to hqtrs., February 25, 1971.
63 FBI memorandum from SAC San Francisco to director, FBI,
January 4, 1971.
64 FBI memorandum from SAC New Orleans to director, February
66 Interview with Charles R. Garry (see note 55).
67 FBI memorandum from Supervisor Gary L. Penrith to SAC San
Francisco, December 5, 1973.
68 Declaration of Gwen Fountaine Newton, August 7, 1977, and
filed in People v. Newton, Nos. 64624A and 65919.
69 [Don Roberto] Stinnette held an alleged art auction at his
apartment to benefit prisoners shortly before Newton's was
burglarized. He invited Newton to look at the art, most of
which was supposedly done by prisoners. While Newton
was there, Stinnette told him that he had been close" to
Eldridge Cleaver when they were both at Folsom Prison.
Since the split between the Party and Cleaver was fairly
well known at that time, Newton was puzzled as to just
why Stinnette would boast of this particular connection. In
retrospect, Newton concluded that Stinnette was, either
consciously or not, attempting to warn him of his real, non-
friendly purpose in being Newton's neighbor.
70 Oakland Tribune, 22 February 1973, p. 1. The FBI memoranda
concerning this incident and their connection with Stinette
are in themselves interesting examples of deceit and self-
deception. In one memorandum, the bureau refers to the
arrest report of the Oakland Police Department as
indicating that "officers ... arrived at the apartment of
Stinnette ... at 5:30 a.m. to serve an out-standing bench
warrant authorized for night service. After repeatedly
ringing the doorbell and waiting . . . without receiving any
response, officers inserted the pass-key into the lock and
identified themselves as 'police officers.' At that point two
shots were fired through the door at the officers from inside
the room, one at waist height and the other at chest height.
Both rounds passed through the door, but failed to hit the
officers. Officers then pushed the door open... . Stinnette
made himself visible and surrendered. . . . Officers
examined the rifle and found that an expended cartridge
was jammed in the chamber, disabling the rifle. When this
fact was called to the attention of Stinnette, he said, 'Yeah,
if it hadn't jammed I would have emptied it on you' ..."
(FBI memorandum from Special Agent Wilbert J.
Weiskirch to SAC San Francisco, February 28, 1973.)
Though this memorandum does not acknowledge an
informant relationship between the bureau and Stinnette, a
later memorandum admits that "there has been no
indication that the BPP was aware of our occupancy of the
apartment next door to Newton's. . . ." (FBI memorandum
from J. G. Deegan to W. R. Wannall, August 26, 1974.)
71 Richard Baker, Introduction to Insights and Poems by Huey P.
Newton and Ericka Huggins (San Francisco: City Lights,
1975), p. 8. The FBI was well aware of the intended effects
of its COINTELPRO efforts to get Newton. One
confidential memorandum noted that "Newton has recently
exhibited paranoid-like reactions to anyone who questions
his orders, policies, actions or otherwise displeases him.
His . . . hysterical reaction . . . has very likely been
aggravated by our present counter-intelligence activity.... It
appears Newton may be on the brink of mental collapse and
we must intensify our counter-intelligence." (FBI
memorandum from director to SACS Boston, Los Angeles,
New York, and San Francisco, January 28, 1971.)
72 FBI memorandum from hqtrs. to Legat, Paris, and San
Francisco field offices, April 10, 1970.
73 FBI memorandum from hqtrs. to Los Angeles field office,
November 3, 1970.
74 FBI memorandum from Los Angeles field office to hqtrs.,
December 3, 1970.
75 FBI memorandum from San Francisco field office to hqtrs.,
January 18, 1971.
76 FBI memorandum from hqtrs. to New York and San Francisco
field offices, February 3, 1971.
78 FBI memorandum from San Francisco field office to hqtrs.,
January iS, 1971.
80 FBI memorandum from hqtrs. to Boston, Los Angeles, New
York, and San Francisco field offices, January 28, 1971.
81 FBI memorandum from hqtrs. to twenty-nine field offices,
February 2, 1971.
82 FBI memorandum from hqtrs. to San Francisco field office,
February i9, 1971.
83 FBI memorandum from hqtrs. to San Francisco field office,
February 24, 1971.
84 Newton, Revolutionary Suicide, pp. 301-303.
85 FBI memorandum from hqtrs. to San Francisco and Chicago
field offices, March 25, 1971.
86 Newton, "On the Defection of Eldridge Cleaver from the Black
Panther Party and the Defection of the Black Panther Party
from the Black Community," April 19, 1971 (reprinted in
Newton, To Die for the People, pp. 49-51).
87 FBI memorandum from hqtrs. to fourteen field offices,
November 25, 1968.
88 FBI memorandum from Chicago field office to hqtrs.,
December 16, 1968.
90 FBI memorandum from Chicago field office to hqtrs., January
92 A generally fine treatment of Hampton's contributions to the
Chicago and national Black community is found in "A
Collective Dedication. Ten Years After the Murder of Fred
Hampton," Keep Strong, December 1979-January 1980,
93 Plaintiffs' Exhibit No. 69 and Transcript 8985 in Hampton v.
City of Chicago, No. 70-C-1384, U.S. Dist. Ct. (N.D. Ill,
95 Plaintiffs' Exhibit Nos. 16 and 17 and Transcript 6558-9, 6566
in Hampton v. Chicago, No. 70-C-1384.
96 Transcript 29186-90, 28323 in Hampton v. Chicago, No. 70-C-
97 Brief for Plaintiff-Appellants in Hampton v. Chicago, U.S. Ct.
of Appeals (7th Cir. 1978), p. 12.
98 Brief for Plaintiff- Appellants in Hampton v. Chicago, U.S. Ct.
of Appeals (7th Cir. 1978), pp. 10-11.
98 Plaintiffs' Exhibits Nos. 50, 51, 53, and 55; Transcript 6682-
6705, 6212-6215 m Hampton v. Chicago, No. 70-C-1384.
101 Plaintiffs' Exhibit No. 21; Transcript 6910-50 in Hampton v.
Chicago, No. 70-C-1384.
102 Plaintiffs' Exhibit No. 21; Transcript 22429-36, 22440 in
Hampton v. Chicago, No. 70-C-1384.
103 FBI internal memorandum by Roy M. Mitchell, agent, FBI
Chicago field office, November 21, 1969.
104 Plaintiffs' Exhibits Nos. 21 and 23; Transcript 6988-9,
Hampton v. Chicago, No. 70-C-1384.
105 FBI internal memorandum by Roy M. Mitchell, agent, FBI
Chicago field office, November 21, 1969.
106 Plaintiffs' Exhibit No. 25, Hampton v. Chicago, No. 70-C-
107 Transcript 25398, 25400, and 25406-7, Hampton v. Chicago,
108 Plaintiffs' Exhibit No. 450, Hampton v. Chicago, No. 70-C-
110 Commission of Inquiry into the Black Panthers' and the Police,
Search and Destroy (New York: Metropolitan Applied
Research Center, 1973).
111 FBI memorandum from SAC Chicago to director, December 8,
113 FBI memorandum from director to SAC Chicago, December 8,
1 14 Book III: Final Report, pp. 190-192 .
115 FBI memorandum from Los Angeles field office to hqtrs.. May
116 An article about an "Othello" was published in Penthouse
magazine in April 1980, written by Ernest Volkman. The
information in that article is consistent with affidavits filed
by Charles Garry and Fred Hiestand, members of the Bar of
the State of California, and [by] Elaine Brown, former
Chairperson of the BPP, in Black Panther Party v. Levi,
No. 76-2205, U.S. Dist. Ct. (D.C.).
118 Perry gave two affidavits, one to attorney Fred J. Hiestand and
the other to attorney Charles R. Garry. After approving
both affidavits. Perry failed to show up at the agreed-upon
time at the office of either attorney to execute his sworn
statement. He telephoned both Hiestand and Garry to tell
them that he was seeking to hide from the FBI [which was]
after him. Accordingly, the affidavit Perry had agreed to
sign for Charles R. Garry was filed in Black Panther Party
V. Levi, No. 76-2205, as an attachment to the attorney's
affidavit. It is from this document that the long textual
quotation is taken. (Interview with Fred J. Hiestand,
January 9, 1980.)
1 19 On April 11, 1977, an agent of the FBI called upon Elaine
Brown, then chairperson of the BPP, at her residence, for
the alleged "purpose of discussing the more than three-
year-old escape from prison of the accused murderers of
John Huggins and Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter. . . . The
agent identified himself as Duke Dierich . . . and ask[ed] a
series of questions about Brown's knowledge of the
whereabouts of these convicted murderers." Affidavit of
Elaine Brown, April 29, 1977, and filed in BPP v. Levi.
120 The Director of the FBI was quite explicit about the reasons
for his opposition to the BPP breakfast programs. "The
Breakfast for Children Program (BCP) has been instituted
by the BPP in several cities to provide a stable breakfast for
ghetto children. . . . The program has met with some
success and has resulted in considerable favorable publicity
for the BPP. . . . The resulting publicity tends to portray the
BPP in a favorable light and clouds the violent nature of the
group and its ultimate aim of insurrection. The BCP
promotes at least tacit support for the BPP among naive
individuals .. . and, what is more distressing, provides the
BPP with a ready audience composed of highly
impressionable youths.. . . Consequently, the BCP
represents the best and most influential activity going for
the BPP and, as such, is potentially the greatest threat to
efforts by authorities . . . to neutralize the BPP and destroy
what it stands for. " (FBI airtel from director to SACs in
twenty-seven field offices. May 15, 1969. Emphasis
121 FBI memorandum from San Diego field office to hqtrs.,
August 29, 1969.
122 FBI memoranda from San Diego field office to hqtrs.,
September 18, 1969, and October 6, 1969.
123 Newton, Revolutionary Suicide, p. 143.
124 FBI memorandum from hqtrs. to Chicago and seven other field
offices. May 15, 1970.
125 FBI memorandum from San Diego field office to hqtrs.. May
126 Ibid, p. 2.
127 Ibid, p. 3.
128 FBI memorandum from San Francisco field office to hqtrs.,
May 22, 1970.
129 FBI memorandum from New York field office to hqtrs. and
San Francisco Field office, October 11, 1969.
130 FBI memorandum from New York field office to hqtrs.,
August 19, 1970.
131 For example, U.S. Congress. House. Black Panther Party, Part
1. Hearings before the Committee on Internal Security. 91st
Cong., 2d sess., March 4-10, 1970.
132 See, e.g., Complaint, par. 3, Black Panther Party v. Alexander,
133 Memorandum from IRS Assistant Commissioner D. W. Bacon
to chief counsel and other officers, re "Activist
Organizations Committee," July 18, 1969.
134 Memorandum for file by D. O. Virdin, IRS, re "Activist
Organizations Committee," July 24, 1969, p. 1.
135 Ibid, p.3
136 Memorandum from D. W. Bacon, assistant IRS Commissioner,
National Office, to all regional commissioners, requesting
information on "Activist Organizations," March 25, 1968.
137 Memorandum from Paul H. Wright (IRS) to Leon Green,
"Briefing Paper: Activist Organizations Committee,"
August 20, 1969.
138 Memorandum for file by D. O. Virdin, IRS, re "Activist
Organizations Project," July 29, 1969.
139 Unsigned memorandum of understanding of meeting attended
by IRS officials: Messrs. Willsey, Portney, Snyder, and
Wright, Washington D.C., August 15, 1973.
140 Exhibits Nos. L, M. and to original Complaint, Black
Panther Party v. Alexander, No. C-74-1247.
142 Affidavit of Fred J. Hiestand, February 17, 1976, filed in
federal district court in Black Panther Party v. Alexander,
143 Papers on file with author and delivered to while in jail.
144 IRS Sensitive Case Report, No. 94740 182H, by Tak Fukuchi,
revenue agent, with note attached from Mary Ann Meagher
"called Jack Lahart (Justice Dept. Attorney) ... to see if he
thinks we should attempt to find a Canadian address for
Huey Newton in view of current news article that TP [i.e.,
taxpayer] is in Canada en route back to the U.S.... "
145 Handwritten notes (twenty-two pages) by IRS Agent Monty S.
Day, August 17, 1974, 2:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m..
146 Ibid., pp. 14-15.
147 50 U.S.C. Sec. 403.
148 Ungar, FBI, p. 479
150 Hersh, "CIA Reportedly Recruited Blacks for Surveillance of
Panther Party," New York Times, 17 March 1978, p. Al.
151 Ibid., p. A16, col. 3-4. Cooperation between local police
departments, the FBI and, presumably, the CIA, to disrupt
the BPP was extensive, as evidenced, inter alia, by the
official conspiracy to murder Fred Hampton. The Senate
Select Committee found that the FBI encouraged local
police to make "raids on the homes of BPP members, often
with little or no apparent evidence of violations of State or
Federal law ..." and that "BPP members . . . [were]
followed and arrested for violations of 'local Motor Vehicle
Code laws.' " ( Book III: Final Report PP. 220-221 .)
Undoubtedly, one purpose of these raids, arrests, and
prosecutions of BPP members was to force the Party to
deplete its limited financial resources on bail and lawyers.
As a former federal prosecutor observed, "Viewed from
one perspective, the Panther 21 case (N.Y.) might be seen
as a victory for the prosecution in spite of the acquittals. . . .
Almost all of the money and energy of the Panthers in New
York was diverted to the defense of this one case. The
stress which this case, together with other serious criminal
cases, put on the Party across the country, exacerbated
internal conflicts. . . . If the point of the Panther 21 trial was
to help destroy the Party, then the prosecution must be
judged a success. Judged by other, proper standards,
though, the prosecution failed. It failed ... as a symbol of
justice — as a symbol of what the criminal justice system
should be." (Peter L. Zimroth, Perversions of Justice: The
Prosecution and Acquittal of the Panthers [New York:
Viking Press, 1974], pp. 397-398.)
152 Hersh, New York Times, 17 March 1968, p. A16.
153 Affidavit of Robert A. Barteaux, chief, Information Processing
Group, Information Services Staff, Directorate for
Operations, CIA, July 5, 1977, filed in Black Panther Party
V. Levi, No. 76-2205.
154 Affidavit of Sidney D. Stembridge, deputy director of the
Office of Security of the CIA, July 5, 1977, filed in Black
Panther Party v. Levi, No. 76-2205.
155 Hersh, New York Times, 17 March 1968, p. A16.
157 Ibid. Indeed, all three domestic security operations identified
by Senate investigators appear to have focused on the
Panthers. "Project MERRIMAC [1967 to 1973] involved
the infiltration by CIA agents of . . . Black activist groups. .
. . Project RESISTANCE [1967 to 1973] was a broad effort
to obtain general background information" about radical
groups across the country. In 1969, upon the
recommendation of the official in charge of the CIA's
CHAOS program, the FBI began submitting "names of
domestic political radicals and Black militants" to the CIA
for inclusion on its mail opening "Watch List." (Book III:
Final Report, pp. 682, 573.
The foregoing actions undertaken by just three agencies of the federal government
against the Black Panther Party illustrate not only the nature and extent of tactics the
government will employ to crush dissident groups, but the seriousness with which the
Party was perceived as a potential threat to those in power. There is no dispute that the
Party suffered from more hostile and severe government acts directed against it than any
domestic political organization in the twentieth century, including the Communist Party.
While the FBI rationalized that it took these neutralizing steps against the BPP in order to
curb its violent propensities, the truth is that what the bureau felt most threatening were
survival programs providing free breakfasts to school children and other constructive
services. No single feature of the Panthers made them so feared or disliked by the
government; many organizations possessed either a revolutionary ideology, community
service, or a willingness to engage in legal struggle to achieve their goals. It was the
combination of all of these features, pitched to a group that had been historically and
systematically excluded from full participation in democratic capitalist America, that
made the Party different, and dangerously so.
Not surprisingly, many of the tactics worked, in the sense that the Party lost members,
leaders, and supporters (financial and otherwise). Reports of the BPP's demise, though,
have always been premature. Of equal importance is the claimed halt to these practices
by the government once they had been publicly exposed. The COINTELPRO was
officially terminated for security reasons in 1971, though the Bureau continues many of
the same activities under different rubrics. Instead of recanting the obvious abuses it
engaged in, the FBI, through Director Clarence Kelley, proclaimed that — "for the FBI to
have done less under the circumstances would have been an abdication of its
responsibilities to the American people."
A more apologetic tone was struck by the IRS when, on August 9, 1973, Commissioner
Donald Alexander announced that the Special Service (SS) group would be abolished. He
stated that "political or social views, 'extremist' or otherwise, are irrelevant to taxation."
Once again, however, the function of the SS group was merely transferred to the
Intelligence Division of IRS.**
The CIA responded to revelations about its unlawful domestic counterintelligence
operations by destroying documents, rationalizing its activities as necessary for national
security, and, ultimately, asking for a new charter that would, under the extraordinary
conditions supposedly existing in the 1960s, permit CIA intervention in limited
The danger inherent to democracy in any official abuse of constitutional rights of a
minority is, to be sure, always theoretically recognized:
Getting racketeers on a VA [Veterans Administration] application is like
getting civil rights workers for speeding," says Howard Glickstein, who
was in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice [under
Robert Kennedy]. This time it's the Mafioso, but next time it could be the
Black Panthers or Goldwater supporters.^
The gap between theory and practice is, however, rarely closed; witness the history of
American Indians, the Communist Party, and the Wobblies. What closed this gap, and
temporarily saved the Party from political annihilation, was the publicly revealed
expansion of some of these reprehensible tactics to traditionally accepted power groups
and their leaders. This is, as an eminent constitutional scholar has noted, an almost
The controls and apparatus necessary for the restriction of associational expression —
investigations, files, informers, constant surveillance — are incompatible with a free
society. Restriction of associational expression is likely to become, in practice, an effort
to suppress a whole social or political movement. History and experience warn us that
such attempts are usually futile and merely tend to obscure the real grievances which
society must, if it is to survive, face squarely and solve.
The veracity of the above observation is proved by the case history of the war against the
Panthers. The original White House Enemies List contained but a few names, and the SS
group within IRS began by focusing on twenty-two organizations. Both were soon added
to by the administration, and included liberals within the Republican Party as well as
leaders of labor, business, academia, and, as the Watergate break-in revealed, even the
Democratic National Headquarters. This transference of hostile and illegal government
actions from organizations which pose fundamental challenge to the prevailing order to
groups not ideologically at odds with democratic capitalism was certainly related to the
period of the 1960's. The anti-war movement coalesced, or at least intersected and
occasionally joined, with the civil rights. Black community, and student movements to
worry those who saw their role as "maintaining the existing social order, and . . .
combating those who threaten that order. Yet these circumstances are not so unique as
to defy repetition or at least the perception of [the] same by "federal law enforcement
officers [who] look upon themselves as guardians of the status quo. " Should this
happen, there is, as former Senator Sam Ervin acknowledged, "no real assurance that
these programs would not be resumed."'" That the "existing social order" will be
threatened again is certain; the real question is what will be the future results. Fear that
these agencies would in fact be far more dangerous without some constraints than those
groups and individuals they surveil has led to legislation and higher governmental
discussion about the FBI, the CIA, and other intelligence agencies fostered by them.
Revelations of extensive governmental misconduct in the Watergate affair, and
widespread charges of illegal FBI and CIA spying on Americans in violation of law,
existing charters, and the Constitution caused the U.S. Senate to establish a special Select
Committee to study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities in
1975. Prior to that time. White House administrations and the intelligence agencies had
succeeded in stopping all attempts to create congressional intelligence committees to
share oversight powers with the Appropriations and Armed Services Committee, which
had only minimal supervision over the agencies.
The task of the Senate select committee (better known as the Church Committee after its
chairman. Senator Frank Church of Idaho) was to determine "the extent, if any, to which
illegal, improper, or unethical activities were engaged in" by the intelligence agencies.
The Select Committee was also authorized to investigate specific charges of illegal
domestic surveillance by the CIA, domestic intelligence and counterintelligence
operations carried out against Americans by the FBI, and the origins and implementation
of the Huston Plan. '^
When the Select Committee issued its Final Report on April 23, 1976, it had constructed
a documented record of abuse that was far more extensive than that which was known or
even imagined when the investigation began. "We have seen segments of our
Government adopt tactics unworthy of a democracy and occasionally reminiscent of the
tactics of totalitarian regimes. Specifically criticizing the FBI COINTELPRO
operation, the Select Committee said,
... the chief investigative branch of the federal government [FBI], which
was charged by law with investigating crimes and preventing criminal
conduct, itself engaged in lawless tactics and responded to deep-seated
social problems by fomenting violence and unrest.''*
After concluding its work, the Senate Select Committee unanimously recommended that
Congress develop and enact a comprehensive intelligence charter to curb and control
intelligence activities and create a body of statutory law that would prevent future
The Committee is not satisfied with the position that mere exposure of
what has occurred in the past will prevent its recurrence. Clear legal
standards and effective oversight and controls are necessary to ensure that
domestic intelligence activity does not itself undermine the democratic
system it is intended to protect.'^
In March 1976, the Senate created a permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In
February 1978, the committee introduced S.B. 2525, the National Intelligence
Reorganization Act of 1978. In the House of Representatives, a counterpart bill, H.R.
11245, was introduced.
S.B. 2525/H.R. 11245 included many of the Church Committee recommendations, but
also contained numerous proposals at odds with those recommendations. For example,
the legislation authorized the CIA to investigate Americans overseas under a noncriminal
code of "clandestine intelligence activity." It included powers to engage in certain
COINTELPRO types of activities, including violations of law, and the use of
counterespionage to prevent violence. Although the bill established judicial warrants for
wiretapping and break-ins, it authorized judges to issue warrants for intelligence break-
ins in instances of less than probable cause to believe a crime had been or was about to be
Following strong opposition from the intelligence agencies and their supporters in
Congress, S.B. 2525/ H.R. 1 1245 died at the end of 1978 and was not reintroduced in
1979. Then, on January 23, 1980, President Carter in his State of the Union message
called for removing unwarranted restraints on the CIA. Describing the effect and
importance of Carter's remark, David Wise, coauthor of The Invisible Government and
author of The American Police State, said:
... In that brief moment, one could easily visualize the agency rising from
the ashes of intelligence reform. The CIA's timing is flawless. In the
present hawkish atmosphere in Washington, intelligence reform has
become almost a dirty word, an X-rated idea whose time has come — and
On February 8, 1980, S.B. 2284/H.R. 6588, the National Intelligence Act of 1980, was
introduced in Congress as the successor to the 1978 National Intelligence Reorganization
and Reform Act. The name change was fitting because reform has been eliminated from
major parts of the legislation. The new bill:
1 . authorized counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations directed
against Americans at home and abroad under noncriminal, broad standards;
2. permitted the use of informants and undercover agents in groups suspected of
3. authorized unspecified COINTELPRO techniques against any American
suspected of participating in secret intelligence activity or who might threaten to
engage in violent activity for political motive;
4. established court warrants for national security mail opening and physical
searches in the United States directed at Americans, under guidelines of less than
probable cause to believe a crime is involved and without requiring notice to the
person(s) or group(s) who are subjects of the search;
5. failed to provide a mechanism for citizens whose civil liberties have been violated
to seek redress.
As did its predecessor, S.B. 2284/H.R. 6588 met opposition from the intelligence
agencies, some members of Congress, and the Carter administration. Consequently, on
April 18, 1980, the Senate Intelligence Committee moved to abandon charter reform for
the CIA and immediately held legislative sessions on "an abbreviated new proposal." The
committee said it would not hold hearings on the substitute for fear that any further
debate would prevent the bill from being enacted this year.'^ The following day, April 19,
the committee agreed to drop its previous demand for prior congressional notice of all
CIA covert operations.
The shortened S.B. 2284, which was described by some in the news media as a
compromise, was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 8, 1980. The
bill established a broad congressional right to monitor the nation's intelligence activities,
focusing mainly on the oversight of the CIA. The revised S.B. 2284 provides the Senate
and House Intelligence Committees with the sole authority to oversee the intelligence
community, in effect repealing the Hughes-Ryan Amendment of 1974 that allowed eight
congressional committees to hear reports on covert activities. The bill also creates a
complex reporting procedure that requires the president to keep the two committees
"fully and currently" informed of a wide variety of activities. However, the legislation
recognizes and encourages the declaration of an inherent presidential right to avoid such
reporting in some situations.^'
Senator Edward Kennedy has introduced legislation called the FBI Charter (S.B.
1612/H.R. 5030). There is considerable debate by civil liberties groups as to whether S.B.
1612 will prevent future COINTELPRO types of actions by the FBI or whether it would,
in fact, authorize the bureau legally to carry out activities that were formerly illegal. The
1. authorizes FBI investigations of terrorism, defined as acts of violence;
2. outlaws investigations of individuals and organizations solely because of their
political or religious views;
3. permits wiretapping, mail opening, and the use of undercover agents under certain
4. permits the use of journalists, clergymen, and others as informants who, although
they cannot initiate crimes, can participate in crimes to protect their covers;
5. provides new FBI exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act, including a
statutory ban on the release of the names of FBI informants;
6. permits increased access to credit and insurance records of citizens, without
7. fails to provide a mechanism for citizens whose civil liberties have been violated
to seek redress.
Due to the current 1980 presidential election campaign, no action has yet been taken on
S.B. 1612/H.R. 5030. Lobbying efforts, however, continue (see, e.g.. Appendix D).
With the CIA unleashed and the possibility that the Kennedy bill, if enacted, will do the
same for the FBI, it would seem that the actions described in this study by government
agencies to destroy the Black Panther Party and other dissident groups may, in the future,
become entrenched in the U.S. government. Tom Wicker has noted that the new CIA
charter will more than ever make the agency into an "invisible government. Former
CIA agent Philip Agree, who is now literally a man without a country because of his
public revelations of illegal CIA activities, has uncovered the core of the problem
surrounding CIA abuses, actions that can be equally applied to the FBI and other
... the main concern is not really with the CIA, but with the people who
run the U.S. — the CIA acts as their instrument — these are the people who
run the multinational corporations, who own the banks, who control the
traditional political process, the professionals who service all of them and
the military-industrial interlock. This relatively small group of people have
a need for the CIA and what it's been doing over the years. And until
changes occur in the U.S. in terms of political power and economic
control, there will be a need for the CIA from the point of view of this
The philosopher George Santayana warned, "Those who cannot remember the past are
condemned to repeat it." If illegal government abuses as have occurred in the past against
the Black Panther Party and other dissident groups are legalized in the future, as now
seems likely, the western world will not be "safe for democracy."
1 See pp. [84-88].
2 Testimony of Clarence M. Kelley, director, FBI (U.S. Congress.
House. Committee on the Judiciary. Hearings before a
Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Constitutional Rights
[November 20, 1974] 93rd Cong., 2d sess., 1974, pp. 44-
45.) Kelley also stated his "feeling that the FBI's
counterintelligence programs had an impact on the crises of
the time and, therefore, that they helped to bring about a
favorable change in this country." Testimony of Clarence
M. Kelley, director, FBI, December 10, 1975 (U.S.
Congress, Senate. Select Committee to Study
Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence
Activities. Hearings, 94th Cong., 1st sess., 1975. Vol. 6.
FBI), pp. 283-284.
3 IRS News Release (IR-1323), August 9, 1973.
4 See p. .
5 Victor S. Navasky, Kennedy Justice (New York: Atheneum,
1971), p. 58. The reference to "getting racketeers on a VA
application" is about "the notorious Louis Gallo and his
father," who "were indicted for submitting false income
statement on a VA loan application for a home mortgage."
(Ibid., p. 57.) This book details the history of the
Department of Justice under Robert Kennedy, documenting
the vigor with which alleged organized crime figures were
prosecuted and the comparatively lackluster enforcement of
civil rights laws under the same administration.
6 See, e.g., generally Sidney Thomas Lens, Radicalism in America
(New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1969).
7 Thomas I. Emerson, The System of Freedom of Expression (New
York: Random House, 1970), pp. 432-433.
8 U.S. Congress. Senate. Select Committee to Study Governmental
Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. Final
Report: Book III. (Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off,
1976) (94th Cong., 2d sess.. Senate Rept. No. 94-755), p.
7. [ pp. 185-2231
10 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary,
Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, Political
Intelligence in the Internal Revenue Service: The Special
Service Staff A Documentary Analysis (Washington: U.S.
Govt. Print. Off, 1974) (93rd Cong., 2d session.), p. 51.
1 1 Center for National Security Studies. "The National Intelligence
Act and the Rights of Americans." First Principles:
National Security and Civil Liberties 5 (March/ April 1980):
13Ibid., p. 2.
14 Book III: Final Report, p. 75
15Ibid. p. 5.
16 "The National Intelligence Act," First Principles, p. 217 Wise,
"Free Again," Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1980.
18 "The National Intelligence Act," First Principles, p. 3
19 Washington Post, April 18,1980.
20 Ibid., April 19, 1980.
21 Charles Mohr, "Panel Backs Review Over Intelligence," New
York Times, May 9, 1980.
22 Campaign for Political Rights, Organizing Notes, 3 (June 1979):
23 Tom Wicker, "The C.I.A. Triumphant," New York Times, May
6, 1980, p. A27.
24 "Interview with Ex-CIA Agent Philip Agee," Guardian, April
30, 1980, p. 9.
THE TEN-POINT PROGRAM
1. We Want Freedom. We Want Power To Determine
The Destiny Of Our Black Community.
We believe that Black people will not be free until we are able to
determine our own destiny.
2. We Want Full Employment Of Our People.
We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to
give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if
the White American businessmen will not give full employment, then the
means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in
the community so that the people of the community can organize and
employ all of its people, and give a high standard of living.
3. We Want An End To The Robbery
By The CapitaUsts Of Our Black Community.
We believe that this racist government has robbed us, and now we are
demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and
two mules [were] promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and
mass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency,
which will be distributed to our many communities. The Germans are now
aiding the Jews in Israel for the genocide of the Jewish people. The
Germans murdered six million Jews. The American racist has taken part in
the slaughter of over fifty million Black people; therefore, we feel that this
is a modest demand that we make.
4. We Want Decent Housing Fit For Shelter Of Human Beings.
We believe that if the White landlords will not give decent housing to our Black
community, then the housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that our
community, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for its people.
5. We Want Education For Our People That Exposes
The True Nature Of This Decadent American Society.
We Want Education That Teaches Us Our True History
And Our Role In The Present-day Society.
We believe in an educational system that will give our people a knowledge of self. If a
man does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and the world, then
he has little chance to relate to anything else.
6. We Want All Black Men To Be Exempt From Military Service.
We believe that Black people should not be forced to fight in the military service to
defend a racist government that does not protect us. We will not fight and kill other
people of color in the world who, like Black people, are being victimized by the White
racist government of America. We will protect ourselves from the force and violence of
the racist police and the racist military, by whatever means necessary.
7. We Want An Immediate End To
Police Brutality And Murder Of Black People.
We believe we can end police brutality in our Black community by organizing Black self-
defense groups that are dedicated to defending our Black community from racist police
oppression and brutality. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
gives a right to bear arms. We, therefore, believe that all Black people should arm
themselves for self-defense.
8. We Want Freedom For All Black Men
Held In Federal, State, County, And City Prisons And Jails.
We believe that all Black people should be released from the many jails and prisons
because they have not received a fair and impartial trial.
9. We Want All Black People When Brought To Trial To Be Tried In
Court By A Jury Of Their Peer Group Or People From Their Black
Communities, As Defined By The Constitution Of The United States.
We believe that the courts should follow the United States Constitution so that Black
people will receive fair trials. The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States
Constitution gives a man the right to be tried by his peer group. A peer is a person from a
similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical, and racial
background. To do this the court will be forced to select a jury from the Black
community from which the Black defendant came. We have been, and are being, tried by
all-White juries that have no understanding of the "average reasoning man" of the Black
10. We Want Land, Bread, Housing, Education,
Clothing, Justice, And Peace.
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the
political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the
powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and
nature's God entitle them, a decent respect of the opinions of mankind requires that they
should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that,
whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the
people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on
such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely
to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long
established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all
experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are
sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are
accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the
same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it
is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future
THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY PROGRAM
(March 29, 1972 Platform)
1. We Want Freedom. We Want Power To Determine
The Destiny Of Our Black And Oppressed Communities.
We believe that Black and oppressed people will not be free until we are able to
determine our destinies in our own communities ourselves, by fully controlling all the
institutions which exist in our communities.
2. We Want Full Employment For Our People.
We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every person
employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the American businessmen will
not give full employment, then the technology and means of production should be taken
from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community
can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.
3. We Want An End To The Robbery By
The CapitaUsts Of Our Black And Oppressed Communities.
We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the
overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised 100
years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of Black people. We will accept
the payment in currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The
American racist has taken part in the slaughter of our fifty million Black people.
Therefore, we feel this is a modest demand that we make.
4. We Want Decent Housing, Fit For The Shelter Of Human Beings.
We believe that if the landlords will not give decent housing to our Black and oppressed
communities, then housing and the land should be made into cooperatives that the people
in our communities, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for the
5. We Want Decent Education For Our People That Exposes
True Nature Of This Decadent American Society.
We Want Education That Teaches Us Our True History
And Our Role In The Present-day Society.
We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of the self
If you do not have knowledge of yourself and your position in the society and in the
world, then you will have little chance to know anything else.
6. We Want Completely Free Health Care
For All Black And Oppressed People.
We believe that the government must provide, free of charge, for the people, health
facilities which will not only treat our illnesses, most of which have come about as a
result of our oppression, but which will also develop preventive medical programs to
guarantee our future survival. We believe that mass health education and research
programs must be developed to give all Black and oppressed people access to advanced
scientific and medical information, we may provide ourselves with proper medical
attention and care.
7. We Want An Immediate End To Police Brutality
And Murder Of Black People, Other People Of Color,
All Oppressed People Inside The United States.
We believe that the racist and fascist government of the United States uses its domestic
enforcement agencies to carry out its program of oppression against Black people, other
people of color and poor people inside the United States. We believe it is our right,
therefore, to defend ourselves against such armed forces and that all Black and oppressed
people should be armed for selfdefense of our homes and communities against these
fascist police forces.
8. We Want An Immediate End To All Wars Of Aggression.
We believe that the various conflicts which exist around the world stem directly from the
aggressive desire of the United States ruling circle and government to force its
domination upon the oppressed people of the world. We believe that if the United States
government or its lackeys do not cease these aggressive wars, it is the right of the people
to defend themselves by any means necessary against their aggressors.
9. We Want Freedom For All Black And Oppressed People Now Held
In U.S Federal, State, County, City And Military Prisons And Jails.
We Want Trials By A Jury Of Peers For All Persons Charged With
So-called Crimes Under The Laws Of This Country.
We believe that the many Black and poor oppressed people now held in United States
prisons and jails have not received fair and impartial trials under a racist and fascist
judicial system and should be free from incarceration. We believe in the ultimate
elimination of all wretched, inhuman penal institutions because the masses of men and
women imprisoned inside the United States or by the United States military are the
victims of oppressive conditions, which are the real cause of their imprisonment. We
believe that when persons are brought to trial they must be guaranteed, by the United
States, juries of their peers, attorneys of their choice, and freedom from imprisonment
while awaiting trial.
10. We Want Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice, Peace,
and People's Community Control Of Modern Technology.
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people
to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another,
and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal
station to which the laws of nature and nature's God entitle them, a decent
respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the
causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that,
whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the
people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on
such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely
to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long
established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all
experience hath shown that mankind are most disposed to suffer, while evils are
sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are
accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpation, pursuing invariably the
same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, their right, it is
their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future
...we say that this technology can solve most of the material contradictions people face,
that the material conditions exist that would allow the people of the world to develop a
culture that is essentially human and would nurture those things that would allow the
people to resolve contradictions in a way that would not cause the mutual slaughter of all
of us. The development of such a culture would be revolutionary intercommunalism.
Some communities have begun doing this. They have liberated their territories and have
established provisional governments. We recognize them, and say that these governments
represent the people of China, North Korea, the people in the liberated zones of South
Vietnam, and the people in North Vietnam.
We believe their examples should be followed that the order of the day would not be
reactionary intercommunalism (empire) but revolutionary intercommunalism. The people
of the world, that is, must seize power from the small ruling circle and expropriate the
expropriators, pull them down from their pinnacle and make them equals, and distribute
the fruits of our labor that have been denied us in some equitable way. We know that the
machinery to accomplish these tasks exists and we want access to it.
Erik H. Erickson and Huey P. Newton, In Search of Common Ground (New York: W.
W. Norton & Co., 1973), p. 31.
Intelligence Lobbying Efforts
Albuquerque, New Mexico
December 4, 1979
The Honorable Senator Frank Church
Room 204, Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Church:
As your records will disclose, I testified before your Committee, and in addition was
interrogated by members of the Committee staff. All of this allegedly related to my past
assignments, which deeply involved me in the operations of the FBI and CIA. I naturally
have followed developments since the "exposes" of your Committee and I am making
some observations which probably have come to your attention, and I am confident that
they are shared by thousands of Americans who have participated in discharging
responsibilities relating to the security of the U.S., but I doubt that you would have
received the observations from anyone whose experience closely conformed to mine. I do
not speak as an expert but as one whose day to day experiences gave me the opportunity
to observe much not available to the average officer.
One could have hoped that your examinations would have led to constructive
improvement in the capabilities of U.S. intelligence and internal security agencies to cope
with the threats in a nuclear age. I strongly emphasize "nuclear age" because that's what it
is all about and I really didn't see this as a major point of reference in your investigations.
Apparently quality and/or need of intelligence was not a priority. As you know your
Committee, with the additional outlet of the Freedom of Information Act, exposed and
exposed leading to the dissemination of volumes of sensitive intelligence; literally tearing
apart the operational effectiveness of agencies such as FBI and CIA; severely damaging
morale; destroying the absolute need of cooperation from friendly governments; and
above all providing the Soviet intelligence services with the gifts of the Century.
As I examine the foregoing I could qualify my observations by stating they are too harsh
because there have been other factors. I recognize that there have been defects in our
intelligence system just because of the glaring deficiencies in the existing law. I also
realize that we have failed in areas simply because we are not producing high quality
intelligence. However, at no time did I see evidence of your Committee's motivation to
get answers to "Why aren't we producing better intelligence, particularly in the human
intelligence field?" If my observations are harshly presented they largely stem from the
development of international events. I cite the deplorable situation in Iran. I refer to the
"Russian brigade" in Cuba. Admiral Turner, Director, CIA, is quoted as stating "in 1963
we estimated the ground combat forces which the Soviets had introduced into Cuba had
all been withdrawn. It was not until 1978 that we began to have strong suspicions that
this was no longer the case." I look at a 32 year history of CIA development and I view
the statement of Admiral Turner as being almost unbelievable. My point is that your
Committee should have spent more time looking at operational deficiencies of the
intelligence agencies with a thrust of bringing improvements leading to production of
intelligence quality which could be of immeasurable value in formulating policy and
decisions in an obviously turbulent world.
If one is shaken by the statement of Admiral Turner and if we look at Cuba and Iran, we
would be most naive if we didn't look ahead to areas where in the not too distant future
we may be faced with additional agonizing decisions. I only mention the entire Middle
East, Indonesia, Philippines [sic], Central America, South America, and possibly
outbreaks of revolutionary type of activity in Eastern Europe. By now we must
acknowledge that wherever there is a political eruption we can't separate the security of
this country from such an event, and contrary to the views of many, we can't neglect
internal threats from individuals or groups who may directly or indirectly have ties with
organizations in foreign countries, and I refer to those who are dedicated to the political.
social and economic destruction of the U.S. Let us not forget the proliferating expansion
of terrorism coupled with kidnappings and hostage black-mail. Let us not overlook the
area of those individuals who, although having noble intentions, become unwitting but
effective tools of those whose goal is to undermine if not destroy the strength of this
country. So there is no misunderstanding, I am not implying that the "unwitting" be
punished in some way. Damage from this direction can be greatly minimized by guidance
and direction from leaders such as you.
I believe you will agree that our position in the world today is such that, like never
before, we need capabilities of the highest quality to collect and analyze intelligence; to
use the products to maximum efficiency; and to protect our assets with the best
counterintelligence. So we do not forget, we are talking about survival and with survival
the protection of freedoms which we have taken for granted. This, of course, demands a
price to be paid for preserving freedom. Will the price include the maintenance of an
intelligence and internal security structure compatible with the preservation of our
freedoms and operationally adequate to assure survival in the nuclear world? This is, and
always will be, a continuing challenge but it is a goal which can be achieved. Striving for
such achievement falls heavily on shoulders such as yours.
You possibly may get the impression that I am one of those advocating a massive police
state type of operation. Of course this is ridiculous, but if we do not awaken and do the
necessary repairs, as a nation we could degenerate and permit an overwhelming
penetration, if not domination, by reactionaries who seek a dictatorial government.
Starting with your Committee and since, there has been a prevailing approach to the
alleged "sins" of the intelligence community by evaluating on a foundation or precepts of
high morality. Accepting that this was honestly motivated, it is commendable. However,
just the events of this year clearly establish that such an approach places us virtually in a
dream world. Needless to say the Soviets, Khomeni, and certainly others do not apply the
same ground rules. Do you not agree that to survive in this nuclear world our policy and
decision-making should be executed in the context of strategy? If this is accepted, I
believe you will agree that we will be lost in developing and executing strategic actions
without a continuing output of knowledge of a quality which greatly reduces the areas of
the unknowns and radically minimizes the guessing in our estimates.
When you examine the findings of your Committee, you and your associates may have
fallen into a course so often followed by inspection directed individuals or groups. There
can be a tendancy [sic] to become parasitic, i.e. feeding on the mistakes or errors of
judgement of people to the point of literally "feasting" and doing so at the expense of
destroying existing valuable assets. Do you not feel that it is time to terminate the
It is possible that when your Committee examined the operations of the FBI and CIA you
encountered individuals such as myself who were heavily influenced by past history
starting with Pearl Harbor. I do not know if anybody on your Committee staff who spent
anytime reviewing the history of Soviet penetration of U.S. government and the U.S.
society from the Twenties through the Thirties and Forties. Those were not fly-by-night
Soviet operations. The penetrations were most extensive. We probably will never know
the true extent of the damage because it was not until WWII and particularly after the
War that we developed an assessment of the Soviet activity, and there still is a question,
if we really identified all or most of the penetration. It is unfortunate that much of this has
never been revealed to the public because of restrictions applied to sensitive data. The
foregoing is being emphasized because the deterioration of our capabilities, the
restrictions imposed on agencies such as the FBI and CIA, and the wide exposure to
sensitive data from proliferating growth of Congressional oversight, all provide a
bonanza type of atmosphere for Soviet infiltration.
It is true that the years gave the U.S. Intelligence a high respect for Soviet recruitment of
agents in foreign countries; for penetration of government agencies; for very skillful
application of what we commonly refer to as "covert action"; and most importantly for
the highest capability in the history of civilization in the utilization of deception.
My message above might suggest that I, and others, may have exaggerated assessment of
Soviet capabilities. This could be true if the U.S. today possessed a reliable assessment
which, in any way, described a deterioration of Soviet intelligence; which depicted a
severe breakdown in its capabilities; which reflected a significant change leading to a
drastic minimization of direction against U.S. targets; which to any degree was
abandoning clandestinity as an atmosphere for maintaining relations with foreign
governments. I strongly doubt that in 1979 we have acceptable evidence to provide
accurate evaluation of organization, identification of agents, planning, intentions, and
decision-making. I doubt very much that we have the needed agent penetrations in
Moscow. I doubt that our sophisticated technical coverage, admittedly productive and
necessary, is producing the answers. We certainly do not have the benefit of public
"exposes" or the revelations that might be surfaced in a free society. The point is, "What
do we really know when one thinks of plans and intentions?" How can we know when it
took us until 1978 "when we began to have strong suspicions" regarding Soviet combat
forces in Cuba, 90 miles from our shores.
If there is a theme of harshness in my communication maybe it is needed, just as you
undoubtedly felt when you initiated your investigations. Only now it would appear that
there is a critical need for rebuilding. If the legislation currently being introduced to
establish a charter is the answer, you can look forward to continuing intelligence disasters
and to unmanageable internal security crises. I wish you would accept this as an appeal to
seriously examine the state of our intelligence system, not concentrating on "why certain
operations were initiated" but rather "why don't we have a far greater capability to
produce needed knowledge?" Are you satisfied that the CIA, FBI, and other agencies can
adequately provide the necessary security to this country operating under current
restrictions and guide lines? Do you believe that we can cope with our adversaries in
today's world without the knowledge which can only be acquired by a sophisticated
intelligence system? I ask if you will give consideration to assessing the issue described
above. If you are satisfied with our present state of capabilities, would you say so
publicly? If not, would you take a public stand directed toward significant improvement?
You, sir, because of your important position and responsibilities delegated to you, can
provide a valuable service to our country in these very critical times.
Sam J. Papich
SECURITY and INTELLIGENCE FUND
499 South Capitol St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20003
April 28, 1980
None of the straw-grasping that passes for decision-making in the government of the hour
is more revealing of the collapse of reasoned purpose in the pursuit of national strategic
interests than the Administration's stubborn efforts to ram down the throat of a troubled
Congress a bad charter allegedly intended to "reform" the national intelligence services.
If the defeats and humiliations to which American defense and foreign policies have been
subjected in Iran and Afghanistan, not to mention the contemptuous plucking of the
American eagle's tail feathers now in shameful progress throughout the Caribbean and
Central America, should have taught us anything, it is that no first-class nation can rightly
expect to operate reliable foreign intelligence in a fish bowl.
Yet in the face of these calamitous lessons President Carter and the strange company of
leftwingers, neo-isolationinsts and pacifists whom he stationed at the gateways into the
national security formulation processes remain unconvinced. They are determined to hold
the already gravely crippled intelligence functions, foreign and domestic, under too many
of the damaging constraints imposed on the intelligence community in part by the
President's own misguided directive of January 19, 1978, and further in part by the
reckless exposure of intelligence operations under the Freedom of Information Act and
the uncontrollable surveillance of the Congress.
The straightforward purpose of this letter is to ask for your continued support in helping
us turn the Congress back from this folly.
Accurate and timely foreign intelligence and sleepless counter-intelligence in defense of
the intelligence services themselves are crucial to the successful management of foreign
and military policies against the outer threats. Vigilant and resolute internal security is the
only sure protection against espionage, subversion, sabotage and terrorism inside our
Yet at an hour of clear and present danger all three functions have been gravely
weakened and, in certain respects, all but decimated.
Lately, there has been talk of ambitious schemes for assembling Fast Deployment
Military forces that would enable the President to project effective power into far places
in defense of imperiled American interests. But preparing such forces is going to take
time and their usefulness in a test at the far margins of power will depend acutely on
whether the intelligence will be good enough for them to be moved to the right places, in
the right numbers, at the right time. Yet a full understanding of this elementary
requirement seems not to have penetrated the inner councils of the Presidency. The Ship
of State gropes aimlessly in a fog of contradictions, but the men on the bridge are bent on
blinding their own radar, stuffing the ears of their sonar gear and calling the look-outs
down from their lofty posts.
Let it be noted in fairness, as our Fund has already done in its Winter Quarterly Situation
Report, that the President and some of his more politically sensitive lieutenants have
sensed the rising concern in the Congress over the magnitude of the Soviet threat. By way
of compromise, they have loosened somewhat the more extreme controls which they
intended to fasten on the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation when they first set out to write new charters for both agencies two years
But they are still driving hard toward their principal objectives. The new charters if
enacted in their present forms, will in fact put into law most of the stifling constraints
sought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and be the improvident, hand
wringing catalogue of the faults and failures of the intelligence service brought out in
1976 by the Senate Committee of Inquiry under the chairmanship of Senator Church of
No doubt some reform was called for. The CIA was not yet three decades old — hardly
out of the apprenticeship stage as long established foreign intelligence services measure
their experience — when Senator Church marked it as a prime target. In hindsight, the
scattered misdeeds and misjudgments which he uncovered, though embarrassing enough,
are seen to have hardly merited the sensationalism with which the press and opportunistic
politicians exploited the products of Senator Frank Church's Snake River Valley
But there's no underestimating the damage that was done and the losses. You can number
the failures in Afghanistan and Iran among the casualties [sic].
The pending prosecutions of the former senior executives in the FBI still cast a somber
shadow over the FBI's reputation. But, as we advised our members in the Winter
Situation Report, there has been some slight lightening on the otherwise dark horizon.
Thanks to your past help, echoed by the courage and foresight of a number of influential
Senators who were determined to begin to repair the harm done to the CIA and the FBI, a
bill cosponsored by Senator Moynihan (D-New York), Senator Malcolm Wallop (R-
Wyoming) and five others is now under active consideration by the upper house.
This is a badly needed first step in unshackling the CIA. If enacted, it will basically:
— Exempt the CIA from the Freedom of Information Act.
— Make it a crime to reveal the identity of Intelligence
— Repeal the Hughs-Ryan Amendment — a 1974 Law
which requires that all CIA covert operations be reported to
eight Congressional Committees.
This is a good bill. It is an essential step in restoring sanity and realism to the nation's
intelligence functions. Its fate is of vital importance to you as a citizen. Help us get it
passed by writing to your Senators, insisting that they vote for it rather than the restrictive
charter which the men around the President want.
Sound Counsel from an Experienced Source.
There is another matter that we urge upon you.
One of the most knowledgeable [sic] intelligence officers in the service of the FBI since
the onset of the Cold War is Mr. Sam Papich, who retired ten years ago. He is a founding
member of our Fund. The other day, he sent to us a copy of a letter that he had mailed to
Senator Church. The letter was sent in December. Mr. Papich waited a respectful interval
for a reply. None came. The letter went unacknowledged. Mr. Papich decided the topic
was too important to be allowed to lie fallow. He felt it was one that our membership
should be made aware of. We are honored to pass it on to you to let you decide for
yourself why Senator Church, who could act the tiger when the television cameras had
him in their sights as an aspiring Presidential candidate, found Sam Papich's letter too hot
Sam Papich served the FBI for 30 years. He was an advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff
and to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. While in the FBI he spent 1 8
years as its senior liaison officer with the CIA.
Few Americans can match Sam Papich in the breadth of his experience in both foreign
intelligence and internal security, yet if the wisdom that he passed on to the Senator from
Idaho, whose expertise in these matters is that of scourge and gadfly, was not accorded
even an acknowledgment that his letter had been received.
Good people in the CIA and the FBI, however resolute, cannot by reason of their
vulnerability in career hierarchies, hope to stand off their political overlords for long.
But Sam Papich is telling us that there is a way to preserve the integrity and quality of the
professional intelligence services.
It is to rally on the side of the professionals the support of the enlightened members of
Congress, the press and organizations like our own. People of influence who are united in
their determination to restore order, purpose, objectivity, and devotion to the intelligence
functions in their service to the Nation.
We look to you to stand with us in mobilizing support in the Senate for the passage of the
Moynihan-Wallop bill. The pressing need is to clear the way for a return to the CIA of its
now all but lost capabilities for effective political action with friendly nations.
Toward this end, we are bringing forward expert witnesses who will help articulate the
logic of that bill before the appropriate Members of Congress.
We have another collateral objective. It is to persuade the Congress to reestablish the
Senate Internal Subcommittee which was capriciously scattered into oblivion by Senator
Kennedy of Massachusetts. It was the only instrumentality in the government empowered
to conduct serious investigations into the penetration of our society by the Soviet bloc
spies, and to expose in open hearings the techniques of subversion, deception, and
disinformation being practiced in our midst by the swarms of KGB agents and their Bloc
confederates who come and go at will.
We can't do this job alone. The Intelligence Services are themselves all but muted. We
need your support — in your communities, in the press of your communities, and with the
Members of Congress who represent you.
So please help us move toward the achievement of our objectives by renewing your
membership in our Fund for 1980 if you have not already done so.
James Angleton, Chairman
Former Chief President
Counterintelligence, CIA U.S.
Robert C. Richardson, III
Brigadier General, USAF (Ret.)
Agee, Philip. Inside the Company: CIA Diary. Harmondsworth,
Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1975.
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Bimba, Anthony. The Molly Maguires. New York: International
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Boggs, James. Racism and the Class Struggle: Further Pages from
a Black Worker's Notebook. New York: Monthly Review
Chevigny, Paul. Cops and Rebels. New York: Irvington Publishers,
Clarke, John Henrik, ed. Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa.
New York: Random House, 1974.
Cloward, Richard A., and Piven, Frances Fox. The Politics of
Turmoil. New York: Pantheon Books, 1974.
Cohen, Stanley. A. Mitchell Palmer, Politician. New York:
Conlin, Joseph Robert. Bread and Roses Too, Studies of the
Wobblies. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1969
Cowan, Paul. State Secrets: Police Surveillance in America. New
York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974.
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Russell and Russell, 1958.
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Beacon Press, 1970.
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George Lawrence. New York: Harper and Row, 1966.
Donner, Frank J. Age of Surveillance The Aims and Methods of
America's Political Intelligence System. New York: Alfred
A. Knopf, 1980.
Dos Passos, John. Facing the Chair, The Story of the
Americanization of Foreignborn Workmen. New York: Da
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DuBois, W. E. B. The Autobiography ofW. E. B. DuBois. New
York: International Publishers, 1968.
Eliff, John T.. The Reform of FBI Intelligence Operations.
Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979.
Emerson, Thomas I. The System of Freedom of Expression New
York: Random House, 1970.
Epstein, Edward Jay. Agency o/Fear: Opiates and Political Power
in America. New York: G.P. Putnam Sons, 1977.
Erikson, Erik H., and Newton, Huey P. In Search of Common
Ground. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1973.
Fain, Tyrus, and Plant, Katharine. The Intelligence Community:
History, Organization and Issues. New York: R. R. Bowker
Fink, Gary M. Labor Unions. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood
Foner, Philip S., ed. The Autobiographies of the Haymarket
Martyrs. New York: Monad Press, 1977.
• The Great Labor Uprising. New York: Monad Press,
Fraenkel, Osmond K. The Sacco-Vanzetti Case. New York: Russell
and Russell, 1969.
Frazier, Howard, ed. Uncloaking the CIA. New York: Free Press,
Freed, Donald. Agony at New Haven. The Trial of Bobby Seale,
Ericka Huggins and the Black Panther Party. New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1973.
Freed, Donald, and Lane, Mark. Executive Action: Assassination of
a Head of State. Palo Alto, California: Ramparts Press,
Gilbran, Dorothy Butler. Paul Robeson, Ail-American.
Washington: New Republic Book Company, 1976.
Gillers, Stephen, and Watters, Pat, eds. Investigation the FBI.
Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, 1973.
Graham, Hugh Davis, and Garr, Ted Robert, eds. The History of
Violence in America: Historical and Comparative
Perspectives. New York: Praeger, 1969.
Gregory, Dick, and lane, Mark. Code Name Zorro": The Murder of
Martin Luther King, Jr. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice
Halberstam, David. The Best and the Brightest. New York:
Random House, 1972.
Hellman; Lillian. Scoundrel Time. New York: Bantam Press, 1977.
Hickey, Neil, and Edwin, Ed. Adam Clayton Powell and the
Politics o/Race. New York: Fleet Publishing Corporation,
Hofstadter, Richard. The American Political Tradition and the Men
Who Made It. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948.
Hougan, Jim. Spooks: The Haunting of America — The Private Use
of Secret Agents. New York: William Morrow and
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New York: Vintage Books, 1971.
Johnson, Donald. The Challenge to American Freedoms — World
War I and the Rise of the ACLU. Lexington, Kentucky:
University of Kentucky Press, 1963.
Kogan, Bernard R. The Chicago Hay market Riot, Anarchy on
Trial. Boston: D.C. Health and Company, 1959.
Kornbluh, Joyce L., ed. Rebel Voices, An I.W.W. Anthology. Ann
Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1964.
Komhauser, William. The Politics of Mass Society. Glencoe,
Illinois: Free Press, 1959.
Lens, Sidney Thomas. Radicalism in America. New York: Thomas
Y. Crowell Company, 1969.
Lowenthal, Max. The Federal Bureau of Investigation. New York:
William Sloane Associates, 1950.
Lukas, J. Anthony. Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon Years.
New York: Bantam Books, 1977.
Lyons, Eugene. The Life and Death ofSacco and Vanzetti. New
York: Da Capo Press, 1970.
Marchetti, Victor, and Marks, John D. The CIA and the Cult of
Intelligence. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974.
Mills, C. Wright. The Sociological Imagination. New York: Grove
Murray, Robert K. Red Scare. A Study in National Hysteria 1919-
1920. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1955.
Nelson, Jack, and Ostrow, Ronald J. The FBI and the Berrigans,
The Making of a Conspiracy. New York: Coward, McCann
and Geoghegan, 1977.
Navasky, Victor. Kennedy Justice. New York: Atheneum Press,
Newton, Huey P., and Huggins, Ericka. Insights and Poems. San
Francisco: City Lights Press, 1975.
• Revolutionary Suicide. New York: Harcourt Brace
Jovanovic, 1973. [ Publisher's note~New York: Writers
and Readers, 1995.]
• To Die for the People. New York: Random House, 1972.
[ Publisher's note — New York: Writers and Readers, 1995.]
Oglesby, Carl. Yankee and Cowboy War. Mission, Kansas: Sheed
Andrews and McMeel, 1976.
Pearl, Arthur. Landslide: The How and Why of Nixon's Victory.
Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, 1973.
Potter, Charles E. Days of Shame. New York: Coward-McCann,
Preston, William, Jr. Aliens and Dissenters — Federal Suppression
of Radicals, 1903^1933 New York: Harper and Row, 1966.
Sampson, Anthony. The Sovereign State ofl.T.T. New York: Stein
and Day, 1973.
Scott, Peter Dale. Assassination: Dallas and Beyond. New York:
Random House, 1976.
Ungar, Stanford J. FBI: An Uncensored Look Behind the Walls.
Boston: Little, Brown Company, 1976.
X, Malcolm. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: Grove
Weissman, Steve, ed. Big Brother and the Holdin Company. Palo
Alto, California: Ramparts Press, 1974.
Wise, David. The American Police State: The Government Against
the People. New York: Random House, 1976.
• The Invisible Government. New York: Random House,
• The Politics of Lying: Government Deception, and
Secrecy and Power. New York: Random House, 1973.
Woodward, Robert, and Bernstein, Carl. The Final Days. New
York: Simon and Schuster, 1976.
Zimroth, Peter L. Perversions of Justice: The Prosecution and
Acquittal of the Panthers. New York: Viking Press, 1974.
Articles in Journals and Magazines
Adams, J.P. "AIM and the FBI." Christian Century 92 (April 2,
1975): pp. 325-26.
• "AIM, the Church, and the FBI: The Douglas Durham
Case." Christian Century 92 (May 14, 1975): pp. 437-39.
Belknap, Michael R. "The Mechanics of Repression: J. Edgar
Hoover, the Bureau of Investigation and the Radicals 1917-
1925." Crime and Social Justice (Spring-Summer 1977), p.
Blackburn, D. "Skyhorse and Mohawk, More Than a Murder
Trial." Nation 225 (December 24, 1977): 682-86.
Campaign for Political Rights. Organizing Notes 3 (June 1979): p.
Center for National Security Studies. "The National Intelligence
Act and the Rights of Americans." First Principles:
National Security and Civil Liberties 5 (March/April 1980):
"A Collective Dedication. Ten Years After the Murder of Fred
Hampton." Keep Strong (December 1979~January 1980),
"FBI Harassment of Black Americans." Bilalian News (January
Gottlieb, Jeff, and Cohen, Jeff. "Was Fred Hampton Executed?"
Nation 223 (December 25, 1976): pp. 680-84.
Lang, Frances. "Internal Security Makes a Comeback." Ramparts
(January 1972), pp. 10-16.
McClory, Robert. "Agent Provocateurs." Chicago 28 (February
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Powers, Thomas. "The Government Is Watching." Atlantic
(October 1972), pp. 51-63.
Pyle, Christopher H. "CONUS Intelligence: The Army Watches
Civilian Politics." Washington Monthly (January 1970).
Volkman, Ernest. "Othello." Penthouse Magazine (April 1980).
Wall, Robert. "Special Agent for the FBI." New York Review of
Books (January 27, 1972), pp. 12-18.
Newspapers, News Magazines, and News Services
Black Panther Intercommunal News Service, April 3, 1976; March
12, 1977; May 14, 1978; May 15, 1978.
Los Angeles Times, December 5, 1972; March 9, 1980. Manchester
Guardian, April 30, 1980. Newsweek, February 1969.
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Superior Ct. (1972).
Black Panther Party v. Kehoe, 42 C.A. 3d 645, 117 Cal. Rept.
Black Panther Party v. Levi, No. 76"2205, U.S. Dist. Ct. (D.C.
1976) Bellinger v. Mitchell, Civ. Action No. 1768"69, Fed.
Dist. Ct. (D.C. 1967)
Hampton v. City of Chicago, No. 70"C"1384, U.S. Dist. Ct. (N.D.
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• Committee on Federal Legislation. Legislative Control of
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Commission o/Inquiry into the Black Panthers and the Police.
Search and Destroy. New York: Metropolitan Applied
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Freedom o/Information Act regarding the Black Panther
Party and its members, dating from 1967 to the present
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the Freedom o/ Information Act relating to the Black
Panther Party and its members, dating from 1967 to the
U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Internal Security. The Black
Panther Party. Its Origins and Development As Reflected
in Its Official Weekly Newspaper, The Black Panther^
Black Community News Service (91st Cong., 2d sess.,
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Richard M. Nixon: April 30, 1974. Washington:
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programs. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1975.
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on Government Information and Individual Rights. FBI
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Oversight (95th Cong., 1st & 2d sess., 1978). Washington:
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Reorganization and Reform Act of 1978. Washington:
Government Printing Office, 1978.
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