Monday, September 17, 2007


"I believe I'm going to die doing the things I was born to do. I believe I'm going to die high off the people. I believe I'm going to die a revolutionary in the international revolutionary proletarian struggle."--Fred Hampton, 1969.

The photo to the left of this sentence is of Fred Hampton. He was poised to be the Illinois head of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, a youthful and charismatic speaker that only comes-around each generation (if that). For this reason, and because he was Black, he was targeted by the FBI for "neutralization." At that time, Black Americans were so profoundly harassed by police brutality and lawless vigilante racists that they had to form such groups, first in the South, later in Oakland, then spreading throughout the continental United States. The BPP grew at a geometric-pace, alarming racists in the power-structure of America. In-response, racist FBI director J. Edgar Hoover began using tactics formerly utilized against the Left (all illegal) towards the Black Power movement.

The umbrella-term for this program that included Latino rights groups, environmentalists, Boy Scout troops (not making-this-up), unions, gay rights groups, churches, feminists, the anti-war movement, private-citizens, rock groups, communists, socialists, the KKK, the John Birch Society, civil rights activists, writers, university professors, movie stars and celebrities, PTA groups, the American Indian Movement, SCLC, SNCC, CORE, and many-many others, was called "COINTELPRO" ( a shortening of "counterintelligence program"). People actually died, and the programs were viewed as counterinsurgency within the culture of the FBI. However, it wasn't all Hoover's fault. None of this could have happened without the direction and/or approval of the executive branch. Congress also looked other way.

Today's news about misdeeds by the FBI under the Patriot Act are nothing-new with the FBI, the Executive branch, or congressional-inaction on such unconstitutional activities. Don't expect it to end without a lot of pressure on the politicos. But the program against Black liberation movements began under Lyndon Johnson's administration in-reaction to the civil rights movement and the rioting that began to peak in Black communities in 1965 at Watts, and culminated in the riots of 1967 in Detroit, and the rioting that was nationwide after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Under Nixon, COINTELPRO accelerated and culminated in such assassinations as that of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, both up-and-coming leaders of the Illinois chapter of the Panthers. COINTELPRO existed across both Republican and Democratic administrations, and was nationwide in its scope. All of it was illegal. The passage of the Patriot Act was a bald-attempt by Congress and the executive branch at making such activities legal.

What did the FBI do to counter the BPP? Like the Tsarist Okhrana, they infiltrated the Illinois BPP chapter in Chicago with numerous criminal informants. Nearly all the provovateurs had violent criminal records. As with most informants, they were offered a deal: give us information on the Panther hierarchy, cause mayhem and disruption within their ranks and the Black communities where the BPP is based, or go to jail. The FBI had no-problem in finding informants, and one William O'Neal was their lynchpin in undermining the leadership of Fred Hampton, the Chicago chapter leader who was poised for the role of Illinois-BPP head. It's thought that O'Neal was psychopathic, and part of the design of using him was to discredit the Panthers through the crimes of such provocateurs, an old anti-labor tactic:

Informant William O'Neal infiltrated the Chicago Panther chapter, rising to become chief of security for Illinois party leader Fred Hampton. It was O'Neal who drew the floor plans for the police raid of Dec. 4, 1969, in which Chicago cops killed Hampton and Mark Clark. While security chief for the Chicago Panthers, O'Neal "also devised an 'electric' chair that members were told would be used for traitors and informers," according to a 1982 New York Times article. After his work with the FBI, O'Neal was an informant for a Chicago cop who was charged with killing a drug dealer. It turns out that in the latter case, O'Neal snitched first and snitched best. (Baltimore Sun, 10.28.2006)

O'Neal's behavior was typical of FBI informants during the late-1960s, early-1970s. It's thought that he slipped a drug (possibly a barbiturate) into a drink of Hampton's the night of the raid. The Chicago and Illinois State Police unit shot 99-times through the walls of Hampton's and Clark's apartment (with none fired at the police by the victims), and it was hoped that Hampton could be shot-to-death in his bed while asleep. O'Neal had provided the floor plan of the apartment to the FBI, who then-in-turn, provided it to the tactical unit's raiders. The FBI's role is that of the orchestrator of the crime, making it a criminal conspiracy. O'Neal committed suicide in early-1990s, throwing himself into the path of an oncoming-car in traffic, so he must have had a conscience.

It was at 4 a.m. on December 4th, 1969 that the gangster raid commenced. Shooting through the walls with a Thompson .45 machine-gun, and several other high-caliber weapons, Hampton was wounded in his sleep, while Clark awakened and grabbed his shotgun. His death-grip from being wounded discharged the weapon, and was this later misrepresented as evidence that "the Panthers shot first," a bald-lie. This exchange was heard by Deborah Johnson--Fred Hampton's pregnant girlfriend--after the police unit entered the apartment:

That's Fred Hampton...Is he dead?

Bring him out.

He's barely alive he'll make it. [at this point, two-shots fired from a gun were heard by those present]

He's good and dead now.

An autopsy found that Hampton had received two shots to-the-head, both point-blank. Johnson was also wounded in the raid, and heard the exchange along with Harold Bell, the other Panther survivor. Noting the behavior of Illinois State Police, the Chicago DA's office, and the Chicago Police, it's clear whose word should be trusted on this exchange. The current temporary social order we all inhabit was constructed in-part on the corpses of people like Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Such orders cannot last, they are built on lies and murder.

Fred Hampton was not an advocate of going out and shooting-down cops unprovoked. This is a lie propagated by the same racist forces that murdered him--he was for self-defense. If you were illegally attacked by the police, you would also be in-your-right to shoot back. He and the Illinois BPP created Free Breakfast for Children programs, educational programs, gang-truces in Chicago, and the coining of the concept and term "Rainbow Coalition" that is still used by Rev. Jesse Jackson today. This was because municipal, state, and federal authorities would not do these things. Instead, by murdering Hampton and Clark, they allowed Jeff Fort's Blackstone Rangers (aka Black P. Stones, and even Blackstone nation) gang to sell drugs in Chicago for many-years afterwards, with Fort basically running his own little kingdom from a limo.

Fred Hampton never hurt anyone, and was only attempting to help Blacks in Illinois--and specifically--the ghettos of Chicago at a time when Blacks were being attacked by violent racist cops. Fred Hampton was 21 when he was assassinated by America's Gestapo. Don't expect it to change unless we all demand it vociferously. It's time to mothball the FBI and our intelligence community, and to the begin creating law enforcement and information-gathering institutions who really do have the interests of the public in-mind--not that of unaccountable power and wealth.
Murdering someone like Fred Hampton is a way for elites to send all of us a message that is an illusion: engage in the same activism, and you're next. They would have their work cut-out for them nowadays, times have changed, and so has information technology. They're not poised for widespread slaughter, and the assassinations of men like Hampton are meant as a psychological weapon for intimidation. It's a lie too many swallow because doing nothing is easier. That's complicity.

"The Black Messiah Murders" (film site) :

(revised 09.17.2007)