Political repression in liberal “democracies”.








1st.  Civil liberties.  Question!  Are the United States, Britain, France, and other Western “democracies” genuinely committed to: freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom for political dissent, due process in the adjudication of alleged crimes, and equal justice for all?  In order to answer this question, it will be useful to review some relevant history.


2nd.  Liberal hypocrisy.  Certainly, the Western “democracies” give lip service to the ideals of: human rights, and pluralist democracy with respect for the civil liberties including the right to peacefully dissent.  However, as the following review of the relevant history will demonstrate, their actual practice manifests a hypocritical inconsistency with routine violations of those rights.  Illustrative examples, far short of a complete list, follow.  (Noted sources are listed at the ends of each section.)




1st.  Labor organization outlawed.  With capitalists needing workers to provide the labor power to operate their enterprises, and with workers needing to sell their labor power to employers in order to obtain the wherewithal to satisfy their needs, these two social classes – capitalists and workers – confront one another in struggles over division of the created value.  Naturally, as workers come to recognize that they are in a much stronger position when bargaining collectively rather than individually, they move to form organizations for collective action in dealings with their employers.  Meanwhile, capitalists, wanting to dominate and to dictate to their workers, naturally oppose and resist collective action by workers.  With wealth and productive enterprise concentrated in the possession of the capitalists, it is they who have normally and usually dominated civil government in liberal “democracies”.  Accordingly, until late in the 19th century, pluralist governments, acting at the behest of capital, commonly outlawed concerted action by workers.  Examples.

♦ Britain.  The Combination Act of 1799 prohibited labor unions and workers’ collective bargaining, and the Master and Servant Act of 1823 prohibited strikes and worker’s breaching of labor contracts.  It was not until the passage of the Trade Union Act of 1871 that labor unions obtained a legally recognized right to exist.  [1.1]

♦ Germany.  Bismarck’s Anti-Socialist law (in effect throughout Germany from 1878 until 1890) outlawed labor unions (and also socialist meetings and advocacy).  [1.2]

♦ France.  Labor organizations were often suppressed until legalization in 1884.  [1.3]

♦ US.  Until 1880 labor unions in the US were routinely prosecuted as “criminal conspiracies”.  [1.4]


2nd.  Labor rights suppressed.  Although capitalist-dominated governments eventually yielded to popular pressure and conceded the right of workers to legally associate together for the purpose of bargaining collectively with their employers, such legalization did not end repression of organized labor.  Capitalists routinely persisted, both thru their own efforts and also with state assistance to deny (in actual practice [as illustrated in subsection 3rd below]) the right of workers to deal collectively with their employers.  The tactics used by capitalists to directly crush organized labor have included:

  • defamatory propaganda against labor unions and collective bargaining by workers;
  • instituting company unions [⁑] controlled by the employer;
  • requiring employees to sign “yellow dog contracts” [⁑] in which they must promise not to join or support any collective worker action or organization;
  • firing and black-listing of labor union supporters;
  • covert interventions – with company spies, provocateurs, and/or false flag vandalism or violence (to discredit the labor union);
  • refusing to recognize the labor union or to negotiate with it;
  • using temporary or permanent replacements as strike-breakers;
  • closing facilities and moving the jobs to low-wage non-union locales.

While a few of the foregoing tactics [in the US those marked with ⁑] have been prohibited by law, capitalist employers remain largely free to use the others.  [2]


3rd.  Violent repression by private hirelings and state agents.  Capitalists, and state agencies subservient to them, have also resorted to repressive brute violence in order to crush organized labor.  Such repression: has been especially prevalent in the US, less so in Western Europe (probably) because of the legacy there of more paternalistic government.  To recount, even briefly, the many hundreds of serious episodes [3.1] of repressive violence against organized labor in the US would require at least a lengthy book.  Some of the most notorious examples follow.

♦ Molly Maguire trials (1876..78).  In the coalfields of northeastern Pennsylvania in the 1870s, mineworkers were severely exploited with: low pay, overpriced company housing and company stores, child labor, and other abuses.  Thousands of mineworkers died of on-the-job accidents due to company refusals to correct unsafe working conditions.   Such conditions impelled some 30,000 (mostly Irish immigrant) mine workers to join the Workingmen’s Benevolent Association [WBA], which demanded reforms and organized nonviolent strikes.  The mine owners, led by Franklin B Gowen, decided to crush the WBA.  He provoked a strike (by cutting wages), and then had some 28 WBA officers arrested and jailed on conspiracy charges.  Gowen also had hired the Pinkerton Agency to infiltrate and spy on WBA activists.  The Pinkerton Agency then provoked violence by covertly using vigilantes to murder WBA activists.  Although the WBA leadership remained adamant in opposition to retaliatory violence, a few of the immigrant Irish miners responded with sabotage of company property and revenge attacks (including some assassinations) on company bosses.  Pinkerton and Gowen then alleged: that the anti-company violence was perpetrated by a group of “Molly Maguires” within the Ancient Order of Hibernians [AOH] (a peaceful fraternal society to which a fraction of the mineworkers belonged), and that the violence was in furtherance of WBA objectives.  In 1876, at Gowen’s instigation, the company-owned “Coal and Iron Police” arrested 19 AOH-member mineworkers on allegations of murder.  Rigged trials, before juries already prejudiced against the Irish immigrant workers, produced guilty verdicts and death sentences.  Several were convicted on bribed testimony by a co-defendant, who was given immunity in return for his allegations despite the fact that his wife testified that he was lying.  Several others were convicted on no evidence other than the hearsay testimony of the Pinkerton spy.  One was convicted despite eye witness testimony that he was not the killer.  All 19 were executed by hanging, and the union was crushed.  [3.2]

♦ Great Railroad Strike (1877).  The state intervened to crush this first national strike in US history.  In Baltimore, National Guard troops fired on a crowd of striking workers killing 10 and wounding 25.  In Pittsburg, militiamen killed 40 strikers and wounded dozens more.  In St. Louis, the (Marxist-influenced) Workingmen’s Party and the Knights of Labor, demanding the 8-hour day and a ban on child labor, organized the first general strike in the US.  Here the strike was crushed when 3,000 federal troopers and 5,000 deputized police killed at least 18 strikers in skirmishes around the city and arrested strike leaders.  In Reading, PA, soldiers fired into a crowd of protesting strikers killing 10.  In Chicago, when violence erupted between strikers and state forces acting to suppress the strike; police, federal troops, and state militia killed some 30 workers.  In Philadelphia, some 20 to 30 workers were killed and another 30 to 70 injured.  Another 4 were killed in Scranton and 8 in Buffalo.   [3.3, 3.1]

♦ Louisiana sugar workers’ strike (1887).  When 10,000 (90% Black) workers (organized by the Knights of Labor) went on strike, national guardsmen supported by a sheriff’s posse killed around 20 in the Black village of Pattersonville.  Louisiana Militia, aided by bands of “prominent citizens”, killed at least 35, probably many more, in the town of Thibodaux.  [3.4]

♦ Strikes at Carnegie Steel works (1891 and 1892).  As a crowd of 1,000 workers, on strike against the coke works (in Morewood, PA) for higher wages and the 8-hour day, marched peacefully on the company store, National Guardsmen fired into the crowd killing 9.  When 300 Pinkerton guards attempted (1892 July) to force their way thru mass pickets during a strike against wage cuts at the steel mill (in Homestead, PA) in order to bring in strike-breakers; a gun battle ensued – death toll: 6 strikers, and 3 Pinkertons.  [3.5]

♦ Pullman strike (1894).  The Pullman Company manufactured and operated rail passenger cars.  The Company, with most of its factory workers living in the company town of Pullman, reduced wages but refused to reduce house rents.  The workers struck, and many joined the American Railway Union [ARU] led by Eugene V Debs.  ARU members began a sympathy boycott by which they refused to run trains with Pullman cars.  The strike quickly spread with 125,000 rail workers on 29 railroads (from Detroit to the west coast) participating.  The railroads began hiring strike-breakers, thereby increasing hostilities.  The federal government then intervened by obtaining a court injunction against continuation of the strike.  When the ARU ignored the injunction, US President Cleveland sent in thousands of US Marshals and 12,000 Army soldiers to crush the strike.  30 strikers were killed and 57 wounded.  Debs was convicted of defying a federal court injunction and imprisoned for 6 months during which he read Karl Marx and became a socialist.  [3.6]

♦ Latimer Massacre (1897).  During a strike by coal miners in eastern Pennsylvania, Sheriff’s deputies in Latimer fired on unarmed immigrant strikers affiliated with the United Mine Workers [UMW] union.  Most were shot in the back, 19 killed and dozens more wounded.  The sheriff and 73 deputies were tried for murder, but, notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence, the jury acquitted.  [3.7]

♦ Colorado mine war (1903..04).  From 1894, the Western Federation of Miners [WFM] had significant success in the Cripple Creek area of Colorado where they kept the hard rock mines unionized and obtained reforms such as the 8-hour day.  The WFM (in 1902) organized the mill workers in the mills which refined the ore from Cripple Creek mines.  Then the WFM spearheaded a campaign to mandate by law the 8-hour day for miners.  A popular referendum overcame bogus judicial opposition by approving the measure with 72% of the state-wide vote.  However, the governor and legislature refused to implement the law; and the mine owners and other business groups, fearful of the popular will and of the union’s political influence, then set out to destroy the WFM by violent and unlawful means.  When the mill owners fired union workers and hired strikebreakers, the union called strikes.  The anti-labor state governor then placed business leaders in control of the National Guard and sent it to take control of the affected counties.  The National Guard: dispersed union pickets, conducted warrantless searches of union members’ homes, imprisoned union officials and other critics without charge, ignored writs of habeas corpus, attempted to intimidate a district court judge, willfully violated court orders, censored the local press, and suspended the rights to assemble and to bear arms.  Union-busting agencies hired by the owners: infiltrated the union with spies and provocateurs, and conducted covert violent criminal false-flag operations for the purpose of discrediting the union.  Meanwhile, vigilante gangs directed by business leaders forcibly (and illegally) expelled union members and sympathizers from their communities.  Ultimately, the National Guard resorted to mass expulsions which then broke the union in Colorado.  [3.8]

♦ Paint Creek Mine War (1912..13).  Mineworkers in coal mines on Paint Creek and Cabin Creek (in Kanawha County, WV) went on strike demanding: (1) that their wages be raised to the industry standard; and (2) an end to a number of employer abuses including infringements of free speech and assembly rights, and company cheating on the weighing of mined coal.  The conflict remained peaceful until the operators hired a force of 300 mine guards, who: inflicted beatings and sniper attacks against strikers, forcibly evicted workers’ families from their rented houses, and brought in strikebreakers.  As armed strikers began to retaliate, and thousands of others protested at the state capital, the governor imposed martial law with a force of 1,200 state troopers which (in violation of the US Constitution): confiscated firearms, forbade assemblies, and subjected strikers to unfair trials in military courts.  The county sheriff and a group of hired guards conducted a raid firing a machine gun into a miners’ camp.  Finally, with workers families suffering and dying from hunger and exposure, the strike collapsed.   Death toll: around 50 mostly mineworkers from violence and many family members from starvation and exposure.  [3.9]

♦ Steel Strike (1919).  When the steel companies refused demands for wage increases to match inflation, their workers struck and shut down half of the industry.  Capital responded with anti-union propaganda, red-baiting, and appeals to racism (native-born versus immigrant, and white versus Black and Mexican-American).  Pro-business civil authorities prohibited mass meetings.  Pennsylvania state police clubbed picketers, dragged strikers from their homes, and jailed thousands on bogus charges.  The US Army took control of Gary, IN and imposed martial law.  Meanwhile, the companies brought in strikebreakers to operate the mills.  The strike was defeated and the union crushed as 18 strikers were killed, hundreds more seriously injured, and thousands jailed.  [3.10, 3.1]

♦ Coal strike (1920..21).  When mineworkers in West Virginia struck, the coal companies hired the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency [BFDA] to crush the United Mine Workers [UMW] union.  Violent tactics by armed BFDA agents provoked violence while the companies, using yellow-dog contracts, re-opened 80% of the mines with strikebreakers.  The state imposed martial law, but enforced it only against striking mineworkers.  Hundreds were arrested on bogus and trivial charges and held in violation of their constitutional rights, while violence by company supporters was treated with impunity.  When BFDA agents assassinated local lawman, Sid Hatfield (a revered ally of the strikers), and Logan County Sheriff’s deputies conducted an unprovoked mass shooting of union sympathizers; this provoked armed conflict at Blair Mountain between some 10,000 armed mineworkers and 1,000 lawmen supported by a private army of 2,000 in the pay of the Logan County Coal Operators Association.  Death toll: 50 to 100 mineworkers, and about 30 on the opposing side.  Following the battle 985 strikers were indicted for: murder, conspiracy to commit murder, accessory to murder, and treason.  Some were acquitted, but many others were convicted and imprisoned for years.  There were no arrests of any on the anti-union side.  The union was routed and lost 80% of its membership.  [3.11]

♦ Hanapēpē Massacre (1924).  As (mostly Filipino) sugar workers in Hawaii moved to unionize, the sugar planters induced the legislature to enact anti-labor laws (with penalties up to 10 years in prison), namely: the Criminal Syndicalism Law (1919), the Anarchistic Publications Law (1921), and the Anti-picketing Law (1923).  By 1922, deep-rooted grievances had impelled some 13,000 sugar workers to join the Filipino Higher Wage Movement.  The planters crushed the union using: paid informants, higher-paid strikebreakers, armed guards, the territorial militia, arrests of strike leaders, bribed testimony to obtain convictions, and evictions of workers’ families from their homes.  A police attack on union headquarters (in 1924 September) ended with: 16 strikers and 4 police killed, and many others wounded.  Police followed by arresting 101 strikers, of whom 60 were convicted in rigged trials and given 4-year prison sentences.  [3.12]

♦ Ford Hunger March (1932).  As a result of the Great Depression: automobile production dropped by 75%, Detroit unemployment shot up drastically, and the employers slashed wages of auto workers by over 50%.  On March 07, the (Communist-led) Detroit Unemployed Council led a crowd of about 4,000 on a march from Detroit to the suburban Dearborn offices of auto magnate, Henry Ford, to present demands including: rehiring unemployed workers, winter fuel for the unemployed, an end to racial discrimination, abolition of company spies and private police, and the right to organize unions.  Dearborn police attacked the non-violent marchers with teargas and clubs.  The crowd retaliated with stone-throwing, then regrouped and proceeded with the march.  Then as Dearborn city officials used fire engines to hose the crowd with cold water in freezing weather, police and Ford security guards fired into the crowd.  Protest leaders then called off the march.  Casualties: 5 marchers killed; many more wounded by gunfire – none of it from the marchers.  The wounded were arrested and chained to their hospital beds, but ultimately not prosecuted.  There were no arrests of police or Ford guards.  [3.13]

♦ Little Steel Strike (1937).  When several steel companies refused to accept union contracts matching those to which United States Steel (the industry giant) and some other big steel companies had agreed, the Steel Workers Organizing Committee [SWOC] of the Congress of Industrial Organizations [CIO] led strikes at three of the larger hold-outs shutting down most of their 30 mills and bringing out 67,000 of their 80,000 workers.  The 3 companies responded with: beatings of union organizers, firing of union supporters, anti-union propaganda, and use of strikebreakers.  On Memorial Day, massed Chicago police: prevented strikers from picketing at a Republic Steel mill being operated by strikebreakers, and opened fire on a peaceful march of 1,500 strikers and family members killing 10 and seriously injuring another 90.  There followed 5 months of beatings and arbitrary arrests of strikers.  At the Republic Steel mill in Youngstown (on June 19), a force of 300 police tear-gassed a peaceful crowd of picketers thereby provoking a riot which resulting in many injuries and the deaths of 2 picketers.  In Massillon, OH, local police (on July 11) attacked and destroyed the local union building, killed 2, and (with much brutality) arrested 165.  State governors called in the National Guard, which limited picketing to no more than a token presence.  Thusly was the strike defeated.  The companies then blacklisted the strikers so that they could not obtain jobs anywhere.  The practices, which the companies had used against the strikers, were later ruled to be in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (of 1935).  [3.14]


4th.  Crippling state interventions.  Governments in liberal “democracies” continue to act to tame organized labor by imposing constraints on the exercise of certain basic civil rights – free speech, freedom of assembly and protest, freedom to withhold their labor.

♦ In the US.  Crisis conditions in the US during the Great Depression created a widespread mass discontent which bolstered both: the influence of revolutionary socialist movements, and the growth of labor unions.  Consequently, outright bans and brute force repression were no longer viable options, and the state (with grudging capitalist toleration) enacted reforms which: conceded the workers’ right to act collectively, and prohibited the most egregious employer abuses.  With the passage of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 [NLRA] which deplorably did not cover (mostly Black and Hispanic) workers in the agricultural and domestic service sectors, labor unions grew rapidly in the US.  However, as soon as revolutionary sentiment and worker discontent had largely subsided in the US, capital renewed its attack on organized labor.  Capitalists and their politicians then created a Red Scare and utilized corrupt union misleaders to tame the unions by purging Communists and other militant activists from union leaderships (in the late 1940s).  They also induced the enactment of the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act (1947).  Since the 1950s labor union strength in the US has been eroded from 34.8% to 10.5% of workers.  Federal and state governments in the US currently act (with legislation [4.1], judicial rulings, and executive actions) to cripple workers’ organization and collective action with measures such as:

  • imposing various prohibitions and restrictions on the right to strike,
  • prohibiting normal union tactics such as sympathy boycotts and mass picketing;
  • mandating impediments such as free-rider privileges;
  • inducing the courts to issue strike-breaking injunctions;
  • excluding sectors of the working class (notably agricultural and domestic workers) from coverage under the laws providing for collective bargaining rights;
  • permitting employers to intervene in representation elections while denying unions ready access to the affected workers; and
  • provisions and policies enabling employers to violate worker collective bargaining rights with considerable impunity.

♦ In other “democracies”.  Meanwhile, liberal “democracies” in other advanced capitalist countries have used a more paternalistic means to tame organized labor and to obtain its acceptance of the existing capitalist social order.  Specifically, in order to obtain acquiescence to capitalist economics after the Axis War when the workers’ movements were powerful, they mandated various protections and benefits (such as maternity and paternity leave, paid sick leave, and a given minimum of paid vacation days) as well as wage gains for workers.  Simultaneously, they used these welfare mandates, at least in part, as a substitute for freedoms of action by the workers themselves.  Now, in recent decades, the governments have largely stripped away their workers’ rights to engage in collective action on grievances against their employers.  In recent years, increasingly crippled European labor organizations have been generally ineffective in resisting neoliberal attacks, not only on their union rights, but also on the previously conceded welfare provisions.  (Note: such welfare provisions have existed only for the minority of US workers to whom employers offer them pursuant to collective bargaining agreements or to avoid unionization of their workforces.)  [4.2]


Noted sources.

[1.1] Wikipedia: United Kingdom labour law (2016 May 08); Combination Act of 1799 (2016 Mar 03); Master and Servant Act (2016 Feb 25).

[1.2] Wikipedia: Anti-Socialist Laws (2015 Oct 06).

[1.3] Wikipedia: Bourse du Travail (2015 Nov 04).

[1.4] Wikipedia: Labor history of the United States (2016 May 21); Commonwealth v. Hunt (2016 Jan 14).

[2] Wikipedia: Union busting (2016 Apr 22).

[3.1] Wikipedia: List of worker deaths in United States labor disputes (2016 May 23).

[3.2] Wikipedia: Molly Maguires (2016 May 11).  Priscilla Murolo & A B Chitty: From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend (The New Press, © 2001) ~ p 105.  Richard O Boyer & Herbert M Morais: Labor’s Untold Story (UE, authors, © 1955) ~ pp 43..58.  Anthony Bimba: The Molly Maguires (International Publishers, © 1932).

[3.3] Wikipedia: Great Railroad Strike of 1877 (2016 May 22).

[3.4] Wikipedia: Thibodaux massacre (2016 May 12).

[3.5] Wikipedia: Morewood massacre (2016 Mar 27); Homestead strike (2016 May 18).

[3.6] Wikipedia: Pullman strike (2016 Apr 20).

[3.7] Wikipedia: Lattimer massacre (2016 May 12).

[3.8] Wikipedia: Colorado Labor Wars (2016 May 14).

[3.9] Wikipedia: Paint Creek – Cabin Creek strike of 1912 (2015 Sep 21).

[3.10] Wikipedia: Steel strike of 1919 (2016 May 11).

[3.11] Wikipedia: Battle of Blair Mountain (2016 May 12); Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency (2016 Jan 28); Sid Hatfield (2016 Mar 27).

[3.12] Wikipedia: Hanapepe massacre (2016 May 12).

[3.13] Wikipedia: Ford Hunger March (2016 Jan 29).

[3.14] Wikipedia: Little Steel strike (2016 May 11); Memorial Day Massacre of 1937 (2016 May 12).

[4.1] Wikipedia: Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (2016 Apr 10).

[4.2] Steve McDonnell: Foreign vs. U.S. Labor Laws (accessed 2016 May 26) @ www.smallbusiness.chron.com/foreign-vs-us-labor-laws-77421.html.  Gary White: Compare U.S. Labor Laws & European Labor Laws (ac 2016 May 26) @ http://smallbusiness.chron.com/compare-us-labor-laws-european-labor-laws-62420.html.  Elizabeth Boomer: Workers’ Rights Under Attack at Global Conference (2012 June 05) @ http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Global-Action/Workers-Rights-Under-Attack-at-Global-Conference.  Asbjørn Wahl: European Labor – Political and Ideological Crisis(Monthly Review, 2014 Jan, vol 65, issue 08): @ http://monthlyreview.org/2014/01/01/european-labor/.




1st.  Imprisonment for anti-war speech.  While the “Great War” (1914..18) raged in Europe between the Entente and the Central Powers, US capitalists sold vast quantities of war material (largely on credit) to the Entente countries.  When the War was not going well for the Entente, worried capitalists induced the US (in 1917) to enter the War on the side of the Entente, and Congress enacted the Espionage Act prohibiting any interference with the prosecution of the War including public expression of opposition to the War.  When (mostly) leftist leaders (including Eugene Debs) spoke in peaceful protest against the War, the US Department of Justice [DoJ] prosecuted and imprisoned hundreds of them under provisions of the Espionage Act.  [1]


2nd.  Palmer Raids.  Following the establishment of the revolutionary socialist state in Soviet Russia and a post-war upsurge of labor strikes and socialist ferment, many business and government leaders responded with “red scare” fear-mongering.  Then when a miniscule gang of violent anarchists carried out a wave of bombings, the US government (Congress and the DoJ) used this as pretext for repressive measures (1919..20) against the popular left movements.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI], which since its inception in 1908 has been the principal central government agency tasked with repressing unwelcome dissent, oversaw the operation which included: mass arrests (most unwarranted) of some 10,000 with some 3,500 held in indefinite detention, routine application of brutal beatings, and summary deportation of several hundreds of immigrants on suspicion of leftist sympathies.  [2]


3rd.  Cold War red scare persecutions.  With the popularity of Communist Parties in much of the world following the Axis War (1939..45) and the establishment of several new Communist-led states, worried capitalists and allied politicians in the US responded with a campaign of red-scare propaganda and anti-Communist witch-hunts.  Congress and state legislatures enacted laws such as the McCarran Internal Security Act (1950) and the Communist Control Act (1954) to nullify the free speech and free association rights of people deemed to be in sympathy with “Communism”.  Thousands of Americans (many of whom had never been more than briefly or peripherally associated with the Communist Party [CPUSA or CP]) were hounded by the state, fired from their jobs, and blacklisted from future employment in their chosen profession, thereby severely disrupting their lives.  Hundreds were imprisoned.  [3]


4th.  Smith Act prosecutions.  Between 1948 and 1957, the US DoJ indicted 144 leaders of the CPUSA on alleged violations of a provision of the Alien Registration Act of 1940 which prohibited affiliation with any group which teaches the “necessity, desirability, or propriety” of political revolution against “any government in the United States”.  Red scare hysteria was so pervasive that, despite the fact that the CPUSA constitution rejected the use of violent means to achieve a socialist state in the US, 105 were convicted in a series of group trials, and sentences of imprisonment as long as five years were imposed.  Defendants in trials after the first one had great difficulty obtaining attorneys, because: defense attorneys were jailed and some disbarred at the end of the first trial, and attorneys for later defendants were subjected to harassment and threats of reprisal from multiple sources.  Many of the defendants were also prevented from getting bail when the government barred provision of bail by their defense committee.  The US Supreme Court, after ruling on appeal (in 1951) that such convictions were valid, later (in 1957) reversed itself and recognized that these prosecutions were a violation of the civil rights of the accused.  During this period the FBI also infiltrated spies and agents provocateur into the CP to disrupt and destroy its ability to function.  By 1958 these covert state agents constituted an estimated 20% to 30% of CP membership.  [4]


Noted sources.

[1] Wikipedia: Espionage Act of 1917 (2016 May 30); American entry into World War I (2016 May 29).

[2] Wikipedia: Palmer Raids (2016 Apr 05).

[3] Wikipedia: McCarthyism (2016 May 21).

[4] Wikipedia: Smith Act trials (2016 May 04); Communist Party USA (2016 May 30); McCarthyism (2016 May 21).




1st.  Colonialism and repression in Puerto Rico.  The US: seized possession of Puerto Rico in 1898, suppressed its independence movement, and placed it under direct colonial administration by a US-appointed governor until 1949.  In 1917 the US imposed US citizenship on the Puerto Ricans (over the unanimous opposition of their popularly elected representative body) partly in order to “justify” conscripting their young men for use as soldiers in the Great War.  As a result of US colonial policy, by 1930, 40% of the arable land was owned by Domino Sugar and US banks.  US capital also owned essential infrastructure: the postal system, the coastal railroad, and the San Juan seaport.  By 1940 US capitalists had taken possession of more than 80% of the arable land.  For several decades until mass protests in the late 1990s the US military occupied other land for use as military bases and destroyed much of this with destructive bombing exercises and dumping of toxic waste.  Meanwhile, policy dictated by the US transformed the economy so that it now suffers from: lack of investment, high unemployment, low wages, and consumer prices much higher than those in the US.  Moreover, laws enacted by the elected government are subject to invalidation by the US Congress.  Policies and practices such as these provoked resistance movements seeking national independence; and state forces in both Puerto Rico and the US responded with repression.  [1.1] Examples.

♦ Ponce massacre.  In 1937, the pro-independence Nationalist Party conducted a lawful and peaceful march to protest the imprisonment of their leader (Pedro Albizu Campos).  The colonial Governor (Blanton Winship), seeking to crush the Nationalists, had ordered police to suppress the march “by all means necessary”.  Police armed with rifles and machine guns surrounded the unarmed marchers and opened fire, killing 21 and wounding some 235.  Police chased fleeing protestors and clubbed or shot them as they fled or were found hiding.  Most victims were shot in the back.  The official investigation attempted a cover-up, blaming the Nationalists and exonerating the police and governor.  An independent investigation by the Commission of Inquiry on Civil Rights in Puerto Rico found that the event was a massacre with massive civil rights violations perpetrated by the police at the behest of the Governor.  Although Governor Winship was eventually removed from office, neither he nor any of the police were ever prosecuted or reprimanded for the crime.  [1.2]

♦ Gag law.  In 1948 the colonial government, in concert with the US federal government, enacted Law 53 (aka the Gag Law) which criminalized: possession or display of the Puerto Rican flag, any advocacy or association with others in support for Puerto Rican independence, and any activity intending to undermine the authority of the colonial or US governments.  Until it was repealed as unconstitutional in 1957, Governor Luis Muñoz Marín used the law to imprison many pro-independence Puerto Ricans.  This and previous repressions of peaceful activism for national independence impelled some to resort to armed rebellion.  [1.3]

♦ Utuado murders.  When 9 nationalist rebels in Utuado surrendered during a demonstration revolt (intended to bring the issue of the island’s status before the United Nations) in 1950, local police: took the disarmed captives behind the police building, and then shot and bayoneted them killing 5 and seriously wounding the other 4.  [1.4]

♦ Cerro Maravilla murders.  In 1978 an undercover police provocateur, Alejandro González Malavé, induced two young activists (Arnaldo Darío Rosado Torres and Carlos Soto Arriví) in the Movimiento Revolucionario Armado [Armed Revolutionary Movement] to participate in a plot to sabotage communications towers located on the Cerro Maravilla [mountain] as a protest against the continued US imprisonment of several Nationalist rebels for their belligerent acts a quarter century earlier (an attempted assassination of the US President in 1950, and a shooting attack on the US Congress in 1954).  González ordered a taxi driver (at gun point) to drive the three men to the Cerro, where a force of about 10 police intercepted and fired upon them.  They all surrendered, and González identified himself as a police agent.  The police then beat the two unarmed revolutionaries and shot them to death.  The police reported the killings as a return of fire in self-defense while under fire from the victims.  When the taxi driver contradicted the police account, the colonial Department of Justice conducted a cover-up investigation which endorsed the police version of the event.  Widespread popular disapproval and complaints by the opposition parties then impelled authorities to obtain separate investigations by the FBI and by the US DoJ both of which continued the cover-up.  Renewed inquiries and new investigations (after the opposition party won control of the colonial legislature): brought forth additional witnesses, exposed the truth, and led to the convictions and imprisonment (in 1984) of 10 police for murder and/or other crimes related to the murders and subsequent obstruction of justice.  [1.5]


2nd.  Uncle Sam’s terrorists.  In 1959 January a popular revolution led by Fidel Castro ousted the corrupt and repressive US-supported Cuban regime of Fulgencio Batista.  The new government then instituted policies designed: to break Cuba’s neocolonial subjugation to US political and economic domination, and to improve the lives of the impoverished majority of the Cuban people.  Those policies included: a redistributive land reform with nationalization of land holdings of foreign (mostly US) capitalists who had owned much of the best agricultural land; programs to make education, healthcare, and housing accessible to the millions of poor Cubans who had until then lacked it; and the purging of Batista-era security personnel from the police and armed forces with trial and punishment of those who had committed the most egregious human rights abuses.  As tensions rose with the US, Cuba increasingly nationalized the US-based companies which had dominated the Cuban economy (controlling 90% of electric and telephone utilities, 50% of public service railroads, and 40% of raw sugar production).  These policies offended capitalists and rightwing political groups – both Cuban and American – who then set about to destroy the revolutionary state in Cuba.  [2.1]  Some significant specifics.

♦ CIA ops.  Beginning no later than 1959 October the US commenced a covert war by which the CIA and (US-supported) counterrevolutionary Cuban exile groups perpetrated a clandestine campaign of assassinations, bombings, aircraft hijackings (from Cuba to US), economic sabotage, economic sanctions, and so forth against Cuba.  This campaign included: the failed Bay of Pigs invasion (in 1961 April) by counterrevolutionary Cuban exiles which was organized, equipped, funded and directed by the US government; and Operation Mongoose which consisted of hundreds of covert acts of murder and economic sabotage against Cuban targets in subsequent years.  When the Cuban exile terrorists realized (after the 1962 Missile Crisis) that the US did not plan another invasion of Cuba, they began independently to attack targets in Latin America and the US, for example against air carriers and shipping companies engaged in commerce with Cuba, and against individuals (including fellow Cuban exiles) who spoke in opposition to the covert war against Cuba.  [2.2]

♦ CORU.  At some point in the 1970s, the US government began to discontinue its direct sponsorship of Cuban exile acts of violence, and began to prosecute some of the murders and other violent crimes committed against targets in the US.  However, it permitted extremist US-based Cuban exiles to continue their acts of violence against targets outside the US.  By 1976 five violent Cuban exile organizations had created the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations [CORU], under the leadership of (former CIA operatives and longtime terrorists) Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles, to coordinate their efforts.  [2.3]

♦ Letelier assassination.  In 1976 September a CORU death squad, acting at the behest of agents of the brutally repressive Pinochet regime in Chile, carried out the car-bomb assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffit in Washington, DC.  Letelier: had been a minister in the socialist government (of Chile) which had been ousted in a US-instigated and abetted coup d’etat in 1973; had then been imprisoned and tortured by the coup regime; and had subsequently obtained refuge in the US where he was an outspoken critic of the human rights abuses of the Pinochet regime.  Moffit was Letelier’s assistant at the Institute for Policy Studies where both were employed.  The CIA and the State Department had advance knowledge of the assassination plot, but took no action to stop it.  While Cuban exile murders of less prominent individuals in the US had often been treated with impunity, the Letelier assassination created such an international embarrassment that the US felt constrained to identify and prosecute the perpetrators.  Nevertheless, those who were eventually brought to trial served rather light durations of imprisonment apparently not exceeding six years.  With regard to (former CIA agent) Luis Posada Carriles, who had participated in the planning of the assassination, the US never brought charges against him.  [2.3]

♦ Bombing civilian air carriers.  In 1976 and 1977 CORU operatives: assassinated Cuban officials in Mexico and Argentina, and bombed airlines in several Caribbean countries where the air carriers flew to and from Cuba.  In accordance with a plan devised by Bosch and Posada, CORU operatives (in 1976 October) planted a bomb aboard Cubana Aviación Flight 455 which then exploded on the flight from Barbados to Jamaica killing all of the 73 (civilian) passengers and crew.  Bosch and Posada were quickly arrested and detained in Venezuela (then their base of operations) where judicial errors and other factors delayed final adjudication until 1987.  Bosch escaped conviction because of the prosecutor’s failure to obtain translation of the evidence gathered by police in Barbados.  Posada escaped prison in 1985 prior to sentencing (with assistance from the Cuban American National Foundation [CANF] – a politically influential Miami-based exile terrorist organization).  Bosch moved to the US which (in 1989) gave him a full pardon and safe haven.  After his escape from Venezuela, Posada again worked with the CIA, this time assisting its contra war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.  [2.3]

♦ Impunity for Posada.  With the end of the contra war in Nicaragua, Luis Posada Carriles resumed his terrorist activities against Cuba.  In 1997, with CANF backing, he orchestrated a wave of bombings of Havana tourist spots, one of which killed an Italian tourist and wounded eleven others.  In 2000 he was jailed and convicted in Panamá for an attempt to assassinate the visiting Fidel Castro, but the pro-US Panamanian President (Mireya Moscoso) pardoned him in 2004.  In 2005 Posada came to the US which (in defiance of international conventions) has consistently refused requests by Cuba and Venezuela for his extradition to stand trial for the bombing of Cubana Flight 455.  The US has also refused to try him in a US court for that or his other violent crimes.  [2.3]

♦ Coddling of Cuban-exile terrorists.  In 1994 and 1996 the US Congress enacted laws making it illegal: to knowingly provide material assistance for terrorist activity, or to conspire (while in US jurisdiction) to commit murder, kidnapping, or maiming abroad.  Throughout the Clinton-Gore and Bush-Cheney administrations the US invoked these anti-terrorism laws for more than 40 prosecutions, but never against Cuban exiles caught in acts of violence or conspiracy.  These exiles, if criminally charged at all, were charged only with lesser offenses such as weapons violations.  [2.3]


3rd.  Frame-up in Miami – the Cuban Five.  By 1995, bombings, assassinations, and other terrorist attacks by counterrevolutionary Cuban exile organizations based in the US had killed more than 3,000 Cubans and injured another 2,000.  Since the 1960s the US government had transitioned from active support of such terrorist activity to half-hearted prohibition, but it had been unwilling to dismantle the violent US-based Cuban exile organizations.  Cuba responded by organizing the “wasp network” of agents who infiltrated the culpable exile groups and then informed the Cuban government of planned attacks.  The wasp network successfully infiltrated: Alpha 66, CANF, F4 Commandos, and Brothers to the Rescue [BTTR].  This BTTR was openly committed to the destruction of the Communist state in Cuba, but for public relations reasons it pretended to be committed to a policy of “active nonviolence”.  Its founder and leader was José Basulto who had been: a covert operative trained by the CIA in explosives, sabotage, and other covert action skills; a participant in multiple violent CIA and exile attacks against Cuba; and a participant in the CIA-sponsored contra insurgency against Nicaragua in the 1980’s.  Subsequent events [3].

♦ Provocations.  BTTR flew small planes over the Florida Strait: to rescue Cuban rafters seeking entry into the US (which was precluded after 1995 May by the change in US migration policy which required that intercepted Cubans be sent back); and to repeatedly and willfully invade Cuban air space (sometimes to drop seditious leaflets, and other times to collect intelligence for future terrorist operations).  Cuba responded with repeated appeals and warnings that it would not tolerate a continuation of these hostile invasions of its territory.  In 1996 February, three BTTR planes approached Cuban territorial airspace, and Cuban military jets shot down two of them, killing the four exiles aboard.  The US claimed that only one actually crossed into Cuban territory and that the shoot-downs occurred over international waters; Cuba claimed that all three invaded its territory and that the shoot-downs occurred within its territorial air space.

♦ Helms-Burton and FBI perfidy.  The US Congress then responded to exile pressure by enacting the Helms-Burton Act to impose penalties on third countries trading with Cuba.  Following the wave of bombings of Havana tourist spots by Miami exiles (in 1997), the US sent an FBI team (in 1998 June) to solicit evidence which Cuba then provided pursuant to (evidently false) US promises of action to stop the terrorist acts being directed from Miami.  However, the US took no action against the terrorist groups; instead, it used the intelligence provided by Cuba to identify and arrest (in 1998 September) ten Cuban agents in the wasp network.  The FBI subjected those arrested to coercive interrogations with offers of leniency in return for their cooperation.  Five – Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, and René González – refused to be coerced into becoming informants against their country.  These (the “Cuban Five”) were brought to trial with the principal charge (against all five) being conspiracy to commit espionage against the US.  Several months after the original indictments, the prosecutor yielded to demands from the anti-Castro Miami exiles by adding the charge that the wasp leader (Gerardo Hernandez) had committed the premeditated murder of the BTTR operatives who died in the 1996 incident.

♦ The case.  In 2001 the Miami jury, in a rigged trial, convicted the five on all charges, and the judge imposed harsh sentences of imprisonment ranging from 15 years to life plus.  As to the injustice, specifics follow.

(1) Miami-area media reporters (secretly paid by the FBI) had so inflamed the local populace against the accused, and there was such hostility and intimidation from the exile community, that it was not possible to have a fair trial before a Miami jury.  Nevertheless, the courts refused repeated defense requests for a change of venue.

(2) There was no evidence that Gerardo had the requisite knowledge or intent to be guilty of murder.  Moreover, the prosecutor had requested that the murder charge be dropped for lack of factual evidence.  The judge nevertheless allowed the jury to rule on the charge, and the jury (in disregard of the judge’s instructions) pronounced Gerardo guilty.

(3) The prosecutor admitted that there was no evidence that the accused had sought or obtained US government secrets.  Nevertheless, the court allowed the jury to consider the charge of “conspiracy to commit espionage” and find the accused guilty thereof.

(4) A three-judge appellate court (in 2005) unanimously ruled that the five did not receive a fair trial and overturned the convictions.  The DoJ appealed to the 12-judge appellate court, which then (in deference to DoJ) disregarded the facts and re-instated the convictions.

♦ After events.  The US came under widespread criticism for its actions against the Cuban Five.  The critics included: the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (2005 May 25), Amnesty International, ten Nobel Prize winners, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, parliamentary bodies in some dozen countries, 110 members of the British parliament, 75 members of the European parliament, several US-based lawyers’ associations, and many other organizations and prominent individuals concerned with civil and human rights.  Two of the five were released from prison (in 2011 and 2014) upon completion of their sentences.  The remaining three were released (2014 December) in exchange for a US spy (Rolando Sarraff Trujillo) imprisoned in Cuba for actual crimes of betrayal against his country.


4th.  Extraordinary prosecution & frame-up.  Colombia has been almost continuously torn apart by civil war since 1948 when Jorge Eliécer Gaitán (the populist Liberal Party candidate for President) was assassinated by a lone gunman (possibly at the behest of the US CIA).  As a proponent of land reform with a history of advocacy for workers’ rights, Gaitán had incurred the enmity of the ruling elites and of US-based transnational capital.  At the time of his assassination he was opposing the US project for the formation of the Organization of American States as a tool for suppressing Communist influence in Latin America.  The assassination provoked armed civil conflict among political factions.  Eventually, rightwing forces gained control of the Liberal Party which then entered into a ruling coalition with the Conservative Party.  The conflict then evolved into one between:

  • the central government (controlled by the oligarch-dominated ruling coalition and relying upon police, armed forces, and right-wing paramilitaries); and
  • leftist guerrilla armies.

The latter eventually consisted mainly of:

  • the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia [FARC] which had begun as an offshoot of the Colombian Communist Party, and
  • the National Liberation Army [ELN].

Both sides in this civil war have engaged in practices which have been widely condemned as human rights violations – the FARC for ransom kidnappings and extortions; the government (and its rightwing paramilitary death squads) for brutal repression, torture, and assassinations of peasant and labor leaders and other noncombatant left-leaning activists.  The two sides have sometimes engaged in peace talks.  While a negotiated truce was in effect from 1984 until 1987, leftist groups (including the FARC) formed the Patriotic Union [UP] to seek social and political reforms thru peaceful political processes.  In the 1986 elections UP candidates achieved victories in many of the local contests.  The ruling elite became alarmed, and over the following years some 4,000 to 6,000 UP members (including its 1986 and 1990 Presidential candidates) were murdered (with near-universal impunity) by rightwing paramilitaries backed by elites.  The US has actively intervened (since 1964) with material assistance to the armed forces of the central government.  In 2004 the US targeted FARC negotiator Ricardo Palmera.  [4.1]

♦ Abduction.  Ricardo Palmera (aka Simón Trinidad) had worked as a professor of economic history and had participated in the 1986 UP election campaign.  As the death squads assassinated leftist leaders and activists with impunity, Palmera decided (in 1987) to join the FARC.  He rose to a position of leadership and served as a negotiator for the FARC during the 1998 to 2002 peace process.  He went to Quito, Ecuador (in 2004 January) to meet with James Lemoyne, a United Nations special advisor on peace processes to facilitate a prisoner exchange.  At the behest of the CIA, the Ecuadoran government arrested Palmera and turned him over to the Colombian government, which then conspired with the US (which had no charges against him at the time) to invent a case for his extradition for trial in the US.  [4.2]

♦ The case.  The US DoJ then subjected Palmera to four illegitimate trials on trumped up charges.  Specifics follow [4.2].

(1) The US misclassified FARC revolutionaries as “terrorists”; but, under international law captured participants in a revolutionary civil war are entitled to prisoner-of-war [POW] status.  By prosecuting Palmera for participation in the armed conflict, the US has violated his right to POW status.

(2) The prosecution charged complicity in hostage-taking based on the FARC’s shoot-down and capture of three US contractors on a reconnaissance mission over FARC-held territory in 2003.  Thus, the prosecution misrepresented a legitimate act of war as being a crime.

(3) Even if the capture and detention of the contractors were a crime, the US had no jurisdiction over the area where the event occurred.  Moreover, Palmera had no command authority over the relevant FARC forces or advance knowledge of their operations.

(4) The prosecution charged complicity in “narco-trafficking”, but US government sources had determined: that, although it taxed operators profiting from cocaine production, the FARC did not engage in or control Colombian drug trafficking; and that, meanwhile, many of the rightwing paramilitaries opposed to the FARC were employed by the drug traffickers.  In four trials the DoJ was unable to get a conviction on this accusation.

(5) In the first trial (2006) the jury deadlocked on all charges.  At its conclusion the judge illicitly questioned the jurors in order to obtain information to help the prosecution obtain convictions in the next trial.  Consequently, a new judge had to be found for the subsequent trials.

(6) In the second trial the jury told the judge that they were at an impasse and unable to agree upon a verdict.  The judge required them to continue deliberations until, after another four days, they agreed to a guilty verdict on one of five counts – conspiracy to hold three US citizens hostage.  However, there was no evidence of any act by Palmera that involved the capture or detention of the three US citizens.  Consequently, this conviction could only be a verdict of guilt-by-association.

(7) The third and fourth trials on narco-trafficking charges ended with deadlocked juries, and the prosecution then dismissed those charges.

(8) In 2008 Palmera was sentenced to 60 years in prison.  As of 2015, he has been held in solitary confinement with very limited access to his lawyer for nearly all of his 11 years in US detention.


Noted sources.

[1.1] Wikipedia: Independence Movement in Puerto Rico (2016 May 19); Puerto Rico (2016 May 31) ~ § 2 History.  Nelson Denis (interview): The Lost History of Puerto Rico’s Independence Movement (2015 Apr 21) @ www.motherjones.com/media/2015/04/puerto-rico-independence-albizu-campos.  Lawrence Wittner: Breaking the Grip of Militarism: The Story of Vieques (2019 Apr 28) @ https://portside.org/2019-05-09/breaking-grip-militarism-story-vieques.

[1.2] Wikipedia: Ponce massacre (2019 Mar 20).

[1.3] Wikipedia: Gag Law (Puerto Rico) (2016 Apr 15).

[1.4] Wikipedia: Utuado Uprising (2016 Apr 25).

[1.5] Wikipedia: Cerro Maravilla murders (2016 Mar 26).

[2.1] Wikipedia: Economy of Cuba (2019 Mar 15) ~ § 1.1 Before the Revolution.

[2.2] William Blum: Killing Hope, Chapter 30 – Cuba 1959 to 1980s – The Unforgivable Revolution.  Noam Chomsky: Cuba in the Crosshairs (2003) @ www.chomsky.info/books/hegemony02.htm.  Wikipedia: Bay of Pigs Invasion (2016 May 20) ~ § 1 Background; Cuban Project (2016 Mar 26).

[2.3] Wikipedia: Alpha 66 (2019 Feb 26); Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (2014 Jul 22); Assassination of Orlando Letelier (2016 May 22); Cubana de Aviación Flight 455 (2016 May 04); Orlando Bosch (2016 Jan 11); Luis Posada Carriles (2016 May 28).  Tristram Korten & Kirk Nielsen: The Coddled “terrorists” of South Florida (2008 Jan 14) @ www.salon.com/2008/01/14/cuba_2/.  Jonathan Marshall: The Earlier 9/11 Acts of Terror (2014 Sep 10) @ https://consortiumnews.com/2014/09/10/the-earlier-911-acts-of-terror/.

[3] Wikipedia: Cuban Five (2016 May 26); Brothers to the Rescue (2016 May 13); Helms-Burton Act (2016 Mar 29); Rolando Sarraff Trujillo (2016 Mar 10); José Basulto (2016 May 09).  International Committee for Peace, Justice, and Dignity for the Peoples: The Case (ac 2016 Jun 01) @ http://www.thecuban5.org/the-case/; The Untold Story of the Cuban Five (ac 2016 Jun 01) @ www.thecuban5.org/?s=untold+story.  National Committee to Free the Cuban Five: Who Are the Cuban Five? (ac 2016 Jun 01) @ www.freethefive.org.

[4.1] Wikipedia: Colombian Conflict (2016 May 14); Jorge Eliécer Gaitán (2016 May 15); Operation Pantomime (2015 Mar 27); History of FARC (2016 May 31); Patriotic Union (Colombia) (2016 Mar 27).  Satish Sekar: Tag Archives: Operation Pantomime (2011 Nov 14) @ https://fittedinmagazine.wordpress.com/tag/operation-pantomime/.

[4.2] Wikipedia: Simón Trinidad (2016 May 31).  W T Whitney: Simon Trinidad, Imprisoned, Connects with Colombian Peace Process (2015 Apr 07) @ www.counterpunch.org/2015/04/07/simon-trinidad-imprisoned-connects-with-colombian-peace-process/.




1st.  COINTELPRO.  Since the 1930s (and probably earlier) the FBI has engaged in covert and illegal operations against targeted dissident groups.  In 1956 the FBI systematized such operations in the so-called counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO) which was in effect until after the program and its illegalities were exposed in 1971.  It targeted a wide range of dissident groups as “threats to national security”.  These included “revolutionary” organizations such as: the Communist Party [CP], the Black Panther Party [BPP], the American Indian Movement [AIM], and several more.  Other targets included: Albert Einstein after he criticized the nuclear arms race; civil liberties organizations (including the National Lawyers Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union); nonviolent African-American groups (NAACP, CORE, SCLC, SNCC) seeking racial justice; African-American leaders who protested FBI inaction in cases of racist murders of African-Americans in the South; Martin Luther King Jr. to discredit him and thereby prevent unification of African-American mass protest under a single charismatic leader; nonviolent groups leading mass protests against the US war in Vietnam and prominent individuals who spoke in opposition to that war; and other nonviolent groups such as those supporting women’s rights, environmental justice, anti-imperialist struggles, et cetera.  During this same period the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA], National Security Agency [NSA], and military intelligence branches of the Department of Defence [DoD] also conducted covert cointelpro-type operations against some of the same dissident targets.  The Internal Revenue Service [IRS] was also used to harass targeted dissidents.  Although the US government pretended to have discontinued cointelpro-type operations in 1971, the FBI and other US security agencies have continued to conduct similar operations against those dissident groups which they have been able to successfully brand as “threats to national security” and fair game for repression.  [1]


2nd.  Impunity for assassins.  While the FBI policy toward its leftist targets was to work actively for their destruction, its policy vis-à-vis white hate groups was to mix passive surveillance with routine provision of impunity for violence against groups working for racial justice (which were widely regarded within the Bureau as “subversive”).  During the 1960s the FBI had agents and informants within the Ku Klux Klan.  Such agents and informants actively promoted and participated in beatings, bombings, and murders of civil rights workers; and the FBI shielded these perpetrators thereby ensuring that their crimes went unpunished.  Examples [2].

♦ The FBI informed its Klan contact, Birmingham police sergeant Thomas Cooke, of the arrival times (in 1961) for the Freedom Rider buses; and Cooke then conspired with Birmingham police chief, Eugene “Bull” Connor, to arrange opportunity for some 60 Klansmen armed with chains, pipes, and baseball bats to brutally beat the Riders without police intervention.

♦ Following the Klan bombing which (in 1963) killed four children in Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church and injured 22 others, the FBI frustrated attempts to prosecute the perpetrators by withholding crucial evidence for unknown reasons, possibly because of the suspected complicity of its informant Gary Thomas Rowe Jr.

♦ After a Klan group including local police officers in Mississippi (in 1964) murdered three civil rights workers (two of whom were white), and the event sparked widespread public outrage; it was only after President Johnson demanded serious action that the FBI investigated and brought criminal charges against the perpetrators.  During that investigation the bodies of eight previous Black murder victims (including 2 college students) were discovered in Mississippi, but these crimes resulted in no such FBI investigations.  In the case of the 3 murdered civil rights workers, Mississippi refused to prosecute the perpetrators.  The federal government subsequently indicted 18 men.  Ultimately only 7 were convicted, and none served more than 6 years in prison.

♦ When (in 1965) a group of Klansman including FBI informant, Gary Thomas Rowe Jr, murdered civil rights volunteer worker, Viola Liuzzo (a 39-year-old white housewife); the FBI shielded Rowe from prosecution and also disseminated absolutely false assertions in order to discredit Liuzzo – claiming: that she was a drug user, that her purpose in being there was to have sex with Black men, and that her husband was involved with organized crime.


3rd.  State-supported rightwing paramilitary.  In 1970 a small band of right-wing extremists including FBI informant, Howard Berry Godfrey, organized the Secret Army Organization [SAO] to fight leftist groups by covert violent methods.  This group then carried out attacks in San Diego against a number of targets.  Specifics [3].

♦ SAO break-ins and vandalism destroyed the offices of the San Diego Street Journal, which ran exposés critical of local capitalists and pieces opposing the US war in Vietnam.  Meanwhile, local police: harassed staff, conducted warrantless searches, and intimidated a prospective new landlord and local printers so that the publication had to go to distant cities to get their paper printed.  SAO members also: made numerous anonymous death threats, firebombed the car of one staffer, and conducted a drive-by shooting of another.  The FBI then shielded the participants by concealing relevant evidence including the shooter’s gun.

♦ The SAO also targeted anti-war groups including the Movement for a Democratic Military [MDM] which promoted anti-war sentiment among soldiers bound for Vietnam.

♦ The FBI approved a number of bungled SAO attempts to assassinate Peter Bohmer, a popular leftwing professor at San Diego State University.  He was the target of the drive-by shooting which seriously wounded Bohmer’s associate, Paula Tharpe.  At the instigation of the FBI, Bohmer was eventually fired by the University despite having been repeatedly absolved of all misconduct allegations against him.

♦ An SAO member (in 1972) bombed a local porn theater injuring a police officer and a deputy prosecutor.  At that point the police demanded relevant disclosures from the FBI and brought prosecutions against some SAO members.  The FBI shielded its informants but shut down the SAO operation.  Police searches uncovered huge caches of weapons and explosives, and it was eventually disclosed that the FBI thru its agent had provided 75% of the funds for their purchase.


Noted sources.

[1] Wikipedia: COINTELPRO (2016 Jun 08).  Brian Glick: COINTELPRO Revisited – Spying and Disruption (ac 2016 May 31) @ www.thirdworldtraveler.com/FBI/COINTELPRO_Revisited.html.  BlackElectorate.com (archives): Hip-Hop Fridays: COINTELPRO – The Untold American Story ~ Part 1 (2002 May 24) @ http://www.blackelectorate.com/articles.asp?ID=622; Part 2 (2002 May 31) @ http://www.blackelectorate.com/articles.asp?ID=626; Part 3 (2002 Jun 07) @ www.blackelectorate.com/articles.asp?ID=632.

[2] Wikipedia: 16th Street Baptist Church bombing (2016 Jun 08); Mississippi civil rights workers’ murders (2016 Jun 03); Viola Liuzzo (2016 Jun 05); Gary Thomas Rowe (2019 Apr 05).  Keith S Herbert: Gary Thomas Rowe Jr. (2015 Apr 07) @ www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-3379.  BlackElectorate.com (archives): Hip-Hop Fridays – COINTELPRO – The Untold American Story ~ Part 1 (2002 May 24).

[3] Wikipedia: San Diego Free Press (2015 Dec 03); COINTELPRO (2016 Jun 08).  Jeff Kaye: DHS says FBI “possibly funded” Terrorist Group (2013 Feb 21) @  evergreenrevival.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/inside-evergreen-highlight-of-peter-bohmer/.  BlackElectorate.com (archives):  Hip-Hop Fridays – COINTELPRO – The Untold American Story ~ Part 1 (2002 May 24).  Noam Chomsky: Triumphs of Democracy (1977) ~ 8th Q&A @ www.chomsky.info/books/responsibility01.htm.




1st.  Bogus kidnap case.  Robert F Williams, NAACP leader in Monroe, NC, was targeted by local police and the FBI after he organized local African-Americans for armed self-defense against racist violence (by the Ku Klux Klan and other white hate groups) against African-American civil rights activists.  State agents struck at Williams in 1961 with bogus charges of kidnapping after he had sheltered a white couple in his home during a time of violent racial conflict.  Fearing for his life and knowing that a fair trial, if any, was very unlikely, Williams sought and obtained political asylum abroad (first in Cuba and then in China).  Meanwhile, the FBI smeared Williams with defamatory accusations and pursued him with an arrest warrant.  Upon his return to the US in 1969, Williams was arrested in Michigan where he fought extradition for trial in North Carolina, which (in 1976 after 15 years of pursuit) finally dropped all charges.  [1]


2nd.  Assassination thru incitement.  After Malik el-Shabazz (aka Malcolm X) and his supporters split from the Nation of Islam [NOI] and established the Organization of Afro-American Unity (in 1964), FBI and local-police agents provocateur within NOI incited violent hostility against him on the part of its leaders and members.  The predictable result was the assassination of Malik by members of NOI in 1965 (with probable police-agent complicity).  The FBI and New York City police [NYPD] had made Malik a special target:

  • because of his prominence and real political influence as an articulate and charismatic advocate for achieving justice for African-Americans “by any means necessary” at a time when white supremacy and overt racial discrimination against African-Americans remained prevalent throughout most of the US; and
  • because of his developing international stature as a critic of the crimes of Western colonialism and imperialism against the peoples of the peripheral countries.

The investigation of the assassination (by NYPD) was decidedly careless – the crime scene was not secured for forensic analysis, and the firebombing of Malik’s house 5 days previous was never investigated.  There were also: the unusual lack of police presence at the public speaking event where the assassination occurred, and persisting questions as to the alleged participation of two of the three NOI members who were convicted of the crime.  Moreover, while important questions remain unanswered, the NYPD persists in its refusal to release its surveillance files which are relevant to the case.  [2]


3rd.  Persecution of the BPP.  The Black Panther Party [BPP], inspired by the examples of Malcolm X and Robert Williams, was organized in 1966 with a 10-point program which demanded: an end to the “robbery” of the Black community, programs to provide equality of opportunity for Black Americans, an end to racist police and judicial abuses of Blacks, and an end to the conscription of Blacks to fight imperialist wars.  The BPP soon attracted a large following; and the FBI, seeing it as a major threat, targeted it for destruction.  The Party’s leadership (especially Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver) made serious errors in doctrine (failure to grasp essential Marxist precepts) and practice (provocative rhetoric, failure to contain provocateurs, rash reactions, violent purges, etc.).  These errors ultimately contributed to its demise as the full force of state repression was activated against it.  [3]


4th.  Assassinations in Los Angeles.  The Los Angeles branch of the BPP, founded in 1968 by Bunchy Carter, began a popular “free breakfast for children” program and quickly recruited hundreds of members.  The FBI used Los Angeles police [LAPD] to harass the BPP with numerous false arrests and warrantless searches, and several members were killed by police.  Meanwhile, the (Black nationalist) Organization Us [O’Us] (led by Ron Karenga) was a rival for recruits.  FBI agents sent poison-pen letters and made anonymous death threats purporting to be from each group to the other in order to incite violent hostility between them.  At a confrontation (in 1969 January) members of O’Us shot and killed BPP leaders Bunchy Carter and John Huggins.  LAPD used the incident as pretext for mass arrests of some 75 BPP members.  In subsequent armed confrontations between the two organizations O’Us members (in 1969) killed 2 additional BPP members.  [4]


5th.  Assassination in Chicago.  Fred Hampton began his political activism as a youth organizer for the NAACP in Chicago in 1967.  After the BPP rose to prominence, Hampton was attracted to its 10-point program and joined its Chicago chapter in 1968 November.  Because he was articulate and possessed of superior organizing skills, Hampton rose within a year to become chapter leader and was selected for key leadership positions at the national level.  The chapter’s achievements, resulting primarily from his initiatives, included:

  • brokering a nonaggression pact among the city’s most powerful street gangs;
  • instituting popular community service programs (free health clinics, children’s free breakfast program, education programs, and a proposal for community supervision of the police); and
  • forging a multi-racial “revolutionary” rainbow coalition with (Appalachian white) Young Patriots, (Puerto Rican) Young Lords, (Chicano) Brown Berets, and the (Chinese-American) Red Guard Party.

The leaders of the FBI, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office [CCSAO], and the Chicago Police [CPD] viewed these developments as a dire threat, and conspired together to assassinate Fred Hampton.  At 4:45am, December 04, 1968, a CCSAO special police team, having been informed of the layout of Hampton’s apartment by an FBI infiltrator who had surreptitiously drugged Hampton the previous evening, went into Hampton’s apartment with guns blazing and, having wounded the sleeping Hampton in the assault, then executed him with two point-blank shots to the head.  Several other Panthers, sleeping in another bedroom, were wounded; and (fellow Panther) Mark Clark was killed in the first burst of police gunfire.  [5]


6th.  Frame-up in Baltimore.  Local police and the FBI targeted Marshall Edward Conway from the moment he co-founded the Baltimore chapter of the BPP (in 1968).  [6]

♦ Following night-time shoot-outs (1970 April 21) in which one police officer was killed and another critically wounded, Baltimore police identified two suspects believed to be associated with the BPP.  Police then targeted Conway and charged him with murder for the killing of the one officer and with assault on two others.

♦ Conway was convicted in a rigged trial and sentenced to life in prison.  Specifics follow.

(1) At trial Conway was denied the right to be represented by any attorney of his choice, and his court-appointed attorney had done no pre-trial investigation and had never before met with his client.

(2) The only evidence linking Conway to the shootings was the witness testimony of two police officers who claimed to have recognized him in the dark of the night during the shootings.  The first officer to finger Conway did so upon being shown two successive photo line-ups including only local BPP members and with Conway as the only individual included in both photo arrays.  The second officer then concurred with the assertion by the first.

(3) In addition to the two officers, a jailhouse snitch gave bribed testimony asserting that Conway had confessed while being compelled over his protest to share a cell with said individual who was generally known to be a snitch.

(4) Another defendant refused to testify against Conway and asserted that police had beaten him into falsely identifying Conway as a participant in the shootings.

(5) Conway, a US postal employee, was at work during the time of the shootings; and his supervisor verified this fact.  However, the jury disregarded this alibi evidence.

(Ω) After an appellate court ruled that the trial was tainted by improper instructions to the jury; prosecutors grudgingly agreed (in 2014) to Conway’s release (on parole) after nearly 44 years in prison throughout which he insisted upon his innocence.


7th.  Frame-up in Omaha.  David Rice and Edward Poindexter were Black community activists in Omaha.  They: had links to the BPP, wrote for a local alternative publication, and made an issue of police abuses and other racial injustices adversely impacting the Black community.  Although (like many other radical activists at the time) they had used incendiary rhetoric against the police such as “I believe pigs [meaning police] look very good roasting on a stick”; they had no criminal records and had conducted their political activities within the law.  Local authorities, including the police and FBI, regarded their activities as a threat and targeted them first with very close surveillance and then with elimination.  [7]

♦ On August 17, 1970, an anonymous phone call to the police emergency operator led several police officers to enter a vacant house where a suitcase bomb exploded killing one officer and injuring another.  Local police and the county prosecutor then used this murder case as an opportunity to destroy Rice and Poindexter and to suppress their political movement in Omaha.  The prosecutor alleged that Poindexter made a bomb at Rice’s house and then directed 16-year-old Duane Peake to plant it and then to make the phone call to the emergency operator.

♦ A rigged trial produced guilty verdicts and sentences of life in prison.  Specifics follow.

(1) Duane Peake’s coerced testimony was crucial to the convictions.  He had been arrested on August 28 and was then subjected to multiple interrogations during which he changed his story multiple times and only later was induced to implicate Rice and Poindexter.  At the preliminary hearing Peake recanted his allegations against Rice and Poindexter; then, after the prosecutor was granted a recess (during which he threatened and coached this witness), Peake renewed the accusations against Rice and Poindexter.

(2) The police and FBI suppressed potentially exculpatory evidence namely a tape of the call to the emergency operator.  When this tape was finally released several years later, the voice of the caller was found thru expert analysis to be very unlike that of Peake.  The appellate judge ruled this fact insufficient to void the convictions because the defendants could not actually prove that the voice was not Peake’s.

(3) Supporting evidence against the accused consisted of three sticks of dynamite which police claimed to have found in a search of Rice’s house.  The officers who executed the search could not identify which officer found the dynamite, and they gave conflicting accounts as to where in the house it was found.  Neither of the defendants’ fingerprints was on the dynamite, and an Omaha ex-police officer believes it was planted.

(4) Federal district and appeals courts eventually ruled that the search of Rice’s house was illegal and overturned his conviction because of lack of credibility in the police assertions with which the search warrant had been obtained.  However, the state of Nebraska appealed, and the Supreme Court voided the lower court decision by changed the rules to require that 4th amendment (habeas corpus) appeals go first thru the state courts.  Then the state court refused to consider the appeal on account of it being “too late”.

(5) Both Rice and Poindexter had alibi witnesses for the time of the murder, and Poindexter also had an alibi for the night he was accused of building the bomb.  Nevertheless, the nearly all-white jury (from which every potential juror who by age or race or class or economic means could have been expected to relate to the accused had been excluded) disregarded the evidence and voted to convict.

(Ω) Many observers including Amnesty International have called for the two men to be retried or released.  In 1993 the state Parole Board voted unanimously for both men to be released, but elected office-holders who constitute the Pardons Board have refused to comply.  Consequently, after 45 years Rice has died in prison (2016) and Poindexter remains in prison.


8th.  Frame-up in Los Angeles.  After serving two tours as a US soldier in the Vietnam War where he earned several service medals, Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt studied political science at UCLA.  While there he joined the local BPP chapter where he soon rose to the position of “Minister of Defense”.  The FBI was conducting covert operations to foster factional conflict within the BPP in Los Angeles and specifically targeted Pratt in January 1970.  [8]

♦ Later that year Pratt was arrested and charged with the unsolved cold-case 1968 robbery and murder of a school teacher.

♦ He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in a rigged trial.  Specifics follow.

(1) Pratt’s attorney contended that Pratt was 350 miles away (in Oakland) at the time of the murder, and the FBI (which watched him closely) withheld its knowledge of exculpatory evidence to that effect.  In fact, the FBI wiretaps for the date of the murder were destroyed or disappeared before Pratt’s defense attorneys could obtain access.

(2) Pratt’s conviction rested largely on the testimony of a police agent infiltrator of the BPP who claimed that Pratt had confessed to him.  The facts of this witness being a police informant (which he repeatedly denied in his court testimony) as well as of the FBI operations to destroy the local BPP chapter were also concealed from the defense.  Moreover, FBI moles infiltrated defense planning sessions, and the FBI monitored the phone calls of Pratt’s attorney.

(3) The prosecution also withheld the fact that the one witness to the murder had originally identified two other men as the killers.

(Ω) The conviction was overturned in 1997 on account of the prosecution’s suppression of the facts of its key witness’s relationship to the FBI and police.  Pratt was then released and he ultimately obtained (from DoJ and the city of Los Angeles) a $4.5 million settlement for false imprisonment.


9th.  Frame-up in San Francisco.  [9]

♦ In 1973 the FBI charged (prominent BPP member) Veronza Bowers, Jr with the murder of a park ranger at the Point Reyes National Seashore (near San Francisco) after unrelated state charges against him were dismissed.  The prosecution alleged: that Bowers and two other men were poaching deer when confronted by the ranger, and that Bowers then shot and killed the ranger.

♦ The trial court convicted Bowers upon no evidence other than the bribed testimony of the other two men.  Specifics follow.

(1) Those two other men were both convicted bank robbers and very likely the actual killers.  They were given immunity and one was actually paid $10,000.

(2) In court Bowers insisted upon his innocence.  His wife’s alibi testimony was dismissed as well as assertions by two relatives of the accusers that they were lying.

(3) There was no physical or other evidence against Bowers.

(Ω) Bowers was entitled to mandatory parole after 30 years, but the government has refused to release him even though he has been a model prisoner (evidently because he continues to insist upon his innocence).


10th.  Frame-up in New Jersey.  As the BPP began to crumble under the pressure of wholesale police and FBI repression, a number of Black “revolutionaries” (mostly ex-Panthers) formed a number of small loosely connected “underground” groups which came to be collectively known as the Black Liberation Army [BLA].  The actual origins of the BLA are murky and disputed.  Descriptions of its activities appear to rely heavily on hostile sources which paint the BLA in its entirety as a terrorist criminal organization.  Some of these BLA groups evidently engaged in violent aggressions such as bank robberies and attacks on police officers, which they “justified” as a war of resistance against the very real war that the police and DoJ were waging against the Black liberation movement.  However, other BLA groups probably provided refuge to state-targeted fellow activists and continued to follow the original BPP posture of nonaggression but militant armed self-defense against repressive state violence.  Because BLA groups were “underground”, the FBI and police red squads had difficulty in identifying and tracking their members.  Consequently, law enforcement often attributed armed robberies and attacks on police to the BLA without any actual evidence.  They particularly targeted militant former BPP members including Assata Shakur.  Specifics [10].

♦ Targeted.  Assata Shakur (born JoAnne Byron) was evidently targeted by the FBI and local police red squads:

  • because of her prominence as a former female leader in the Harlem branch of the BPP;
  • because of the frustration of the FBI and the New York City [NYC] prosecutor’s office when their attempts to obtain convictions in the case of the Panther 21, on bogus charges of conspiracy to bomb buildings and kill police officers, ended in acquittals on all charges in 1971; and
  • because she was the most convenient target to categorize as the leading female member of the underground BLA.

NYC police named Shakur as a suspect in a series of robberies and shootings for many of which she was never charged, and the FBI alleged that she was the “revolutionary mother hen” of a BLA cell responsible for a series of murders of NYC police officers.  The NYC media named her a suspect in nearly every local bank robbery where a woman was believed to be involved.  She was never convicted of any of these alleged crimes.

♦ Shoot-out.  In 1973 a traffic stop on the New Jersey turnpike escalated into a shoot-out between state troopers and the three BLA members (including Assata Shakur and Sundiata Acoli) who were in the stopped car.  Casualties were: troopers – one killed, one wounded; detained BLA members – one killed, two (Shakur and Acoli) wounded.  The two were arrested and charged with murder.  Even though the prosecution’s key witness (the surviving trooper) admitted to having lied in his reports immediately after the shooting and again in his testimony to the grand jury, Acoli (in 1974) was convicted of murder and sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison.  As a militant Black activist who had participated in a shoot-out where a police officer was killed, it was virtually a foregone conclusion that he and his companions would be branded as the aggressors notwithstanding that the police witness was a proven liar.

♦ Previous accusations.  Prior to Shakur’s trial on this murder charge, the government accused her of the following other violent crimes and (generally for lack of evidence) failed in every case to obtain a conviction.  In several of the cases the prosecution lacked the evidence to prosecute.

(1) 1971 April 06, armed robbery at Statler Hilton Hotel.  Case dismissed, lack of evidence.

(2) 1971 May 21, murder of two NYC police officers.  Not prosecuted.

(3) 1971 August 23, bank robbery in Queens.  The FBI alleged that a photo of the robbery showed Assata as a participant, but the jury decided to the contrary and acquitted (1976 Jan 16).

(4) 1971 December 21, hand grenade attack on NYC police.  Not prosecuted.

(5) 1972 January 26, wounding of police officer in Brooklyn.  Not prosecuted.

(6) 1972 January 28, murder of another two NYC police officers.  Not prosecuted.

(7) 1972 September 01, bank robbery in Bronx.  1st trial – hung jury.  2nd trial – testimony by prosecution’s bribed witnesses was contrary to photographic evidence, and jury acquitted (1973 Dec 28).

(8) 1972 September 14, armed robbery of church in Brooklyn.  Not prosecuted.

(9) 1972 December, 28 ransom kidnapping of bartender.  1975 December 19, acquitted.

(10) 1973 January 02, murder of a man during an armed robbery of a social club.  Case dismissed on due process grounds.

(11) 1973 January 23, ambush attacks on two police officers in Queens – Shakur was accused despite the fact that the witnesses identified the assailants as all males.  Case dismissed (1974 November) for lack of evidence.

♦ Trial.  The state of New Jersey tried Assata Shakur (in 1977) on charges related to the 1973 turnpike shoot-out and obtained her conviction as an accomplice in the “murders” of the two killed in the shoot-out and for attempted murder of the wounded trooper as well as several related assault charges. This trial was heavily rigged to ensure conviction.  Specifics follow.

(1) Jury selection was conducted in a highly prejudicial environment – the local press had published 289 articles concerning the various crimes with which Shakur had been accused.  Moreover, this jury was: all white, from a mostly white county, and included five jurors with personal relationships with state troopers.

(2) The defense was not permitted to introduce evidence of the illegalities perpetrated by state agencies under the COINTELPRO program as it targeted the Black liberation movement.

(3) The judge refused to investigate: the theft of half of the legal papers relating to Assata’s case during a burglary of the defense counsel’s office, or defense complaints that their office was bugged.

(4) The prosecutor alleged that Shakur had shot and killed her companion and then executed the second trooper with his own gun.  However, her fingerprints were not on any gun which could be connected to the event, and tests for gunpowder residue indicated that she had not fired any gun.

(5) Trooper Harper had claimed in his police reports and in his grand jury testimony: that after he had stopped the car for a broken tail light and ordered Acoli to the rear of the car; that trooper Foerster found an ammo magazine on Acoli while checking his driver’s license; that Shakur then pulled out a 9-mm pistol and shot at Harper; and that he then ran to the rear of his patrol car and shot Shakur who had by then exited the car and was shooting at him.  On cross-examination Harper admitted that he had lied in his previous statements, and: that Foerster had not produced any ammo magazine, that Shakur did not have a gun, and that she had not shot at him.

(6) Shakur testified: that Harper shot her after she had raised her arms in compliance with his demand and then shot her again in the back as she turned to avoid it, that she lay on the ground during the remainder of the shooting, that she then crawled into the backseat of the car, which Acoli then drove five miles down the road; and that she lay there until troopers arrived and dragged her out onto the road.  The prosecutor tried to explain her wounds in a way that would support his assertion that she had shot at the troopers, but expert medical testimony supported Shakur’s version that both of her arms were raised when Harper shot her, and that his second shot had paralyzed her right arm so that she was rendered incapable of using a gun to shoot back.

(7) Despite the lack of any credible evidence that Shakur had committed any violent act during the turnpike event or had planned to do so, the jury convicted on all counts.  One of the two murder counts was later dismissed as legally invalid.  The judge imposed a sentence of life in prison (plus 30 days in the county workhouse for contempt of court when she refused to stand as he entered the courtroom).

♦ Escape.  In 1979 three supporters broke Ms Shakur out of prison, and three days later 5,000 of her supporters rallied in New York City.  When the FBI issued wanted posters, her sympathizers responded by distributing posters saying “Assata Shakur is welcome here”.  She then lived as a fugitive for some years.  By 1984 Shakur had taken residence in Cuba where she has received asylum as a political refugee.  In 2005 the FBI offered a $1,000,000 reward for assistance in her capture, and in 2013 it doubled that bounty and made Assata Shakur the first woman on its list of most wanted “terrorists”.


11th.  Frame-up in Philadelphia.  Mumia Abu-Jamal (born Wesley Cook) was a Black power advocate from 1968 when (at age 14) he helped found the Philadelphia chapter of the BPP.  The FBI and local police soon targeted him for surveillance.  At the time of his arrest in 1981 Abu-Jamal was a radio reporter and also working part-time as a taxi driver.  His case [11].

♦ Incident and arrest.  Around 4:00am on 1981 December 09, white police officer Daniel Faulkner stopped a car driven by Abu-Jamal’s brother (William Cook) while Abu-Jamal was parked across the street in his taxi.  The traffic stop escalated into an argument during which Faulkner apparently struck Cook with his flashlight.  At some point, Abu-Jamal ran across the street to the site of the altercation.  Ultimately, there was gunfire resulting in the death of Faulkner and the serious wounding of Abu-Jamal.  Police then arrested Abu-Jamal, and he was subsequently charged and prosecuted for the murder of Faulkner.  The prosecution alleged: that Cook assaulted Faulkner who then attempted to subdue Cook, that Abu-Jamal then came and shot Faulkner in the back, that Faulkner then shot and wounded Abu-Jamal, and that Abu-Jamal then fired additional shots at close range killing Faulkner.

♦ Trial.  A rigged trial (in 1982) ended in a first-degree murder conviction and a death sentence.   Relevant defects in the case follow.

(1) Predetermined outcome.  Abu-Jamal contends that the trial was conducted so as to prejudice the outcome.  He was not permitted to act as his own advocate or to have the assistance of his own choice.  His court-appointed attorney never asked him for his account of the event.  He was removed from the courtroom during much of the proceeding.  The prosecution used 11 of its 14 peremptory challenges to eliminate potential Black jurors thereby ensuring a mostly white jury (10 white, 2 Black).  Moreover, a court stenographer stated (in a 2001 affidavit) that she had overheard the judge say during the time of the trial “I’m going to help them fry the nigger”.

(2) Bribed and coerced witnesses.  The key prosecution eye witnesses were bribed and/or coerced to identify Abu-Jamal as the shooter.  One (Robert Chobert) was on parole from a conviction for arson, had prior arrests for drunk driving, and was driving an unlicensed taxi at the time of the shooting; he recanted in 2001.  Another was a prostitute (Cynthia White) who had confided (in 1982 according to Yvette Williams who provided a sworn affidavit in 2002) that police had coerced her to identify Abu-Jamal as the shooter even though she had not actually seen the shooting.  Another prostitute (Veronica Jones) said that police had offered her favorable treatment if she would corroborate Cynthia White.  A police informant (Pamela Jenkins) testified at a hearing (in 1997) that police had (unsuccessfully) pressured her (in 1982) to falsely testify that she had witnessed the killing.  Jenkins also testified the she had seen Ms White in contact with police in 1997, but the prosecution responded to defense requests for White’s testimony by producing a death certificate (later proven to be fraudulent) purporting that Ms White had died in 1992.

(3) Nonexistent confession.  Two prosecution witnesses (police officer Bell and hospital security officer Priscilla Durham) testified that Abu-Jamal had confessed at the hospital where he was about to be treated for his wound.  Police officer Wakshul who accompanied Abu-Jamal to and at the hospital wrote in his original report that “the negro male made no comments”, but some months later Wakshul claimed to have remembered hearing the alleged confession.  The defense sought to examine Wakshul in court but was prevented from so doing because the judge refused a defense request for a continuance when the prosecution claimed the officer was then vacationing and unavailable.  Ms Durham’s stepbrother swore in a declaration (in 2003) that she had told him (in conversation near the end of 1983) that she never heard the alleged confession but had testified otherwise because of pressure from the police.  Moreover, the hospital doctors have asserted that Abu-Jamal was incapable of making any such statement at the time.

(4) Faulty forensics.  A prosecution forensic expert testified that characteristics of the fatal bullets were consistent with those produced by the type of .38 caliber gun which Abu-Jamal had (legally) in his possession at the scene.  A 2009 report on Forensic Sciences by the National Academy of Sciences finds that bullet and cartridge match comparisons are unreliable due to undefined match criteria and examiner subjectivity.  Moreover, no tests were made: of Abu-Jamal’s gun to determine whether it had been recently fired, or of his hands to determine whether he had recently fired a gun.  Further, the police did not preserve the crime scene, and this was extremely unusual in cases of the killing of a police officer.

(5) Rebuttal eyewitnesses.  Potential defense witnesses, who may have witnessed the shooting, refused to testify at the original trial, asserting fear of the police.  Witnesses who did testify for the defense (in 1982) had not seen the shooting.  Two eye witnesses came forward later to say that Abu-Jamal was not the shooter.  One (William Harmon) said the killer fled in a car which picked him up right after he killed Faulkner.  The other (William Singletary) identified the killer as William Cook’s passenger.  In 2001 William Cook gave an affidavit saying: that he argued with Faulkner who then struck him several times with stick or flashlight causing his face to bleed and then frisked him, that he was in his car looking for the registration demanded by Faulkner when he heard the shots, and that he did not see Faulkner shot nor who shot Abu-Jamal.  Abu-Jamal stated (in his 2001 affidavit) that during the event: he heard shouting, then saw the police vehicle, then heard gunshots, then saw his brother appearing disoriented across the street, then ran to him and was shot by the police officer, did not shoot the police officer, and did not see who did.

(6) Confessed killer.  In 1999 a man (Arnold Beverly) provided an affidavit that he and another man killed Faulkner as hit men on behalf of corrupt police officers who were angry over Faulkner’s interference in their receipt of payoffs to protect illegal vice activities.  Beverly, who was slightly wounded by an unexpected gunshot during the assassination, asserted that he had concluded afterward that, rather than those police facilitating his escape from the scene as promised, they had planned on killing him at the scene so as to close the case and preclude further investigation.  Beverly’s escape and Abu-Jamal’s unplanned appearance provided the opportunity to use Abu-Jamal as scapegoat.  When Beverly came forward with his confession, Abu-Jamal’s lead appeal attorney considered this claim unbelievable and opposed its use while other members of his team saw it as the key to a successful appeal.  The latter resigned when Abu-Jamal went along with the lead attorney.  In 2001 a new legal team petitioned for Beverly to be deposed; but, because the defense had not provided the information at the previous hearing, it was ruled inadmissible.  William Cook asserted in his 2001 affidavit that his passenger (Kenneth Freeman) at the time of the shooting had later confided to Cook that he had been involved in the pre-arranged killing of Faulkner.  Cook states that Freeman left the scene just before police arrived following the shooting; and other witnesses (Cynthia White in her original police statement and Dessie Hightower in 1982) describe a man fitting the description of Freeman or of Beverly leaving the scene at that time.  William Singletary testified (in 1995..96) that that man was William Cook’s passenger.  Three years after the Faulkner killing Freeman was found dead under suspicious circumstances.  Moreover, three FBI corruption investigations of Philadelphia police were in progress at the time of the Faulkner killing, and these resulted in some 30 police officers, some of whom were involved in Abu-Jamal’s arrest, going to prison on corruption convictions.

(Ω) Fix.  There are issues on both sides concerning the credibility of the witnesses and other evidence for the actual killing.  Moreover, there is no indisputable evidence as to who started the shooting or as to who shot Faulkner.  However, it should be evident to fair observers: that there is considerable doubt as to Abu-Jamal’s guilt, that the 1982 trial was fixed to ensure a guilty verdict, that the refusal of the prosecution and courts to provide access to potentially crucial witnesses (White and Wakshul) was a denial of due process, and that justice would require reversal of Abu-Jamal’s 1982 conviction.

♦ Appeals.  Under current rules in US courts, once convicted, one is presumed guilty.  A conviction will be overturned on appeal only if the convict can prove: (1) his/her innocence beyond any reasonable doubt; or (2) that conviction occurred only because of egregious procedural errors or willful prosecutorial misconduct (such as withholding exculpatory evidence or knowingly presenting perjured testimony).  Moreover, many judges hold a bias in favor of police and prosecutors.  Thus, Abu-Jamal’s appeals, with one exception, have been rejected by the courts.  The exception was to overturn the death sentence on account of improper jury instructions.  Abu-Jamal remains in prison without possibility of parole.  Numerous individuals and human rights organizations (including: NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International) have expressed concern over the lack of fairness and impartiality in the trial of Mumia Abu-Jamal.


Noted sources.

[1] Wikipedia: Robert F Williams (2016 May 19).

[2] Wikipedia: Malcolm X (2016 Jun 08).  Garrett Felber: Malcolm X assassination – 50 years on, mystery still clouds details of the case (2015 Feb 21) @ www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/21/malcolm-x-assassination-records-nypd-investigation.  Zaheer Ali: What Really Happened to Malcolm X (2015 Feb 17) @ www.cnn.com/2015/02/17/opinion/ali-malcolm-x-assassination-anniversary.

[3] Wikipedia: Black Panther Party (2016 Jun 01).

[4] Wikipedia: Bunchy Carter (2016 May 30).

[5] Wikipedia: Fred Hampton (2016 Jun 02).

[6] Wikipedia: Marshall “Eddie” Conway (2016 May 01).  BlackElectorate.com (archives):  Hip-Hop Fridays – COINTELPRO – The Untold American Story ~ Part 2 (2002 May 31).

[7] Wikipedia: Rice-Poindexter case (2016 May 15).  Buffalo Chip: The Real Story of the Rice/Poindexter Case (2002) @ www.freedomarchives.org/Documents/Finder/DOC510_scans/Buffalo_Chip/510.buffalo.chip.SpringFall2002.pdf.

[8] Wikipedia: Geronimo Pratt (2016 Jun 07).  Democracy Now (daily shows): Former Black Panther Leader, Geronimo Ji-Jaga Pratt, Wrongfully Imprisoned for 27 Years, Dies in Tanzania  (2011 June 06) @ https://www.democracynow.org/2011/6/6/former_black_panther_leader_and_political.

[9] Stephen Lendman: Veronza Bowers Jr – Another Victim of America’s Criminal Justice System (2009 Jul 13) @ http://www.assatashakur.org/forum/our-prisoners-war-pow/43472-please-read-who-veronza-bowers-jr.html.  United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit: Veronza Bowers Jr v. Jeffrey Keller United States Parole Commission (2011 Aug 26) @ https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-11th-circuit/1578637.html.

[10] Wikipedia: Assata Shakur (2019 Apr 03); Panther 21 (2016 May 17); Black Liberation Army (2016 May 06).  Evelyn A Williams: Statement of Facts in the New Jersey Trial of Assata Shakur (2005 Jun 25) @ http://www.assatashakur.com/facts.htm.  William Boardman: Assata Shakur, FBI’s White Whale? (2013 Jun 11) @ www.readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/17881.

[11] Wikipedia: Mumia Abu-Jamal (2016 Jun 10); Commonwealth v. Abu-Jamal (2016 Apr 18); Arnold Beverly (2016 Mar 21).  Robert Wells: A New Look at the Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal @ http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/10/01/a-new-look-at-the-framing-of-mumia-abu-jamal/.

Aktuell Declarations: Declaration of Yvette Williams (2002 Jan 28) @ http://www.mumia.de/doc/aktuell/20020227mde01en.html; Mumia’s Attorneys Charge DA With Faking Witness Death (2002 Mar 11) @ http://www.mumia.de/doc/aktuell/20020323mde02en.html; Declaration of Mumia Abu-Jamal (2001my03) @ http://www.mumia.de/doc/aktuell/20010518msi00en.html; Affidavit of Arnold R Beverly (1999je08) @ http://www.mumia.de/doc/aktuell/20010518msi02en.html; Declaration of Linn Washington (2001my03) @ http://www.mumia.de/doc/aktuell/20010518msi03en.html; Declaration of Terri Maurer-Carter (2001ag28) @ http://www.mumia.de/doc/aktuell/20010903mde02en.html; Declaration of Kenneth Pate (2003ap18) @ http://www.mumia.de/doc/aktuell/20030510mde00en.html; Supplemental Declaration of William Cook (2001ap29) @ http://www.mumia.de/doc/aktuell/20010518msi01en.html.




1st.  Militant resistance.  The US government has a long history of atrocious abuse of the indigenous nations and their peoples throughout its territory.  These abuses include: genocidal wars, ethnic cleansings, coerced assimilation with suppression of the native languages and cultures, forcing their peoples into conditions of degrading poverty, imposition of fraudulent and inequitable treaties, subjugation as subordinate nations, routine violations of treaty rights, corrupt administration of their governance, theft of their land and resources thru outright seizures and thru imposition of inequitable leases to US capitalists, and so forth.  In mid-20th century Amerindian resistance grew and produced a number of activist organizations.  The American Indian Movement [AIM] (founded in 1968) adopted a militant posture and gained nationwide prominence.  The poverty and lack of opportunity on reservations had induced many Amerindians to move to urban areas where they concentrated in urban slums and suffered the afflictions common to other disadvantaged racial minorities.  AIM responded by starting remedial projects: health programs, education and job training programs, legal rights centers, and so forth.  In 1969 AIM joined Fred Hampton’s original revolutionary Rainbow Coalition.  During the next few years AIM brought public attention to Amerindian grievances thru participation in a series of militant protest actions including: the occupation of Alcatraz (1969..71), the Thanksgiving Day occupation of the replica Mayflower (1970), the occupation of Mount Rushmore (1971), a brief occupation of Bureau of Indian Affairs [BIA] headquarters (1971), the “Trail of Broken Treaties” cross-country caravan and protest which included the occupation of the BIA offices (1972).  The FBI and DoJ decided that AIM was a “threat to national security” and set out to destroy it.  [1]


2nd.  Frame-up in Milwaukee.  As AIM activist Leonard Peltier was sitting in a Milwaukee restaurant (in 1972 November), two off duty cops picked a quarrel with him.  Then, as he was leaving, the same two cops jumped and beat Peltier.  They then arrested Peltier on a charge of attempted murder (of themselves) with what was later shown to be a nonfunctional gun.  Fearing that he would be killed or railroaded to prison on perjured police testimony, Peltier obtained release on bond and then fled.  In 1978, while in prison following his frame-up conviction for the premeditated murders of two FBI agents, he was finally brought to trial on this “attempted murder” charge.  At trial the girlfriend of one of the two cops testified that her cop friend had shown her a photo of Peltier prior to the incident and had told her that “he was going to help the FBI get a big one”.  Thus, it became clear that the entire incident had been a set-up and fraud.  The prosecution’s case then collapsed, and the jury acquitted this “notorious AIM felon”.  [2]


3rd.  Repression on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  Tribal members on the (Oglala Lakota) Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota had formed the Oglala Sioux Civil Rights Organization [OSCRO]:

  • to seek justice for Oglala victims of racist attacks in neighboring off-reservation communities where the white perpetrators were routinely given impunity or biased leniency, even in murder cases; and
  • to seek reform of tribal government then ruled by a corrupt and autocratic tribal Chairman, Dick Wilson, who engaged in blatant favoritism, with respect to jobs and other benefits, for his relatives and cronies.

In 1973 some tribal councilors brought misconduct charges against Wilson (who held the chairmanship from 1972 until 1976), and the tribal council then voted 11 to 7 to suspend him, but he managed to have his impeachment trial stopped.  Wilson had already organized his own private militia, Guardians of the Oglala Nation [GOONs], which he illegally paid with tribal funds and used to suppress his political opponents.  When several hundred Oglala gathered to protest the quashing of the impeachment trial, the BIA sent in a force of the US Marshals Service [USMS] to sustain Wilson’s position.  A few days after the foiled impeachment trial, some 200 local protestors and AIM activists occupied the remote Reservation village of Wounded Knee (site of the 1890 massacre of over 200 Lakota men, women, and children by a trigger-happy US Cavalry Regiment).  Using the action to publicize Amerindian grievances, the occupiers demanded: the removal of Wilson, and negotiations to address US violation of its treaty obligations.  USMS, FBI, and other police cordoned the area thereby creating a standoff with frequent shooting from both sides.  After 71 days the occupiers ended the occupation and withdrew.  One FBI agent, two occupiers, and one visitor had been killed; and 13 individuals wounded.  During and after the Wounded Knee siege, the Wilson regime and his GOONs intensified repression of his political opponents of whom more than 60 were killed during the following 3 years, while the Reservation’s homicide rate grew to 17 times the US average.  Meanwhile, the DoJ indicted 185 individuals for alleged crimes involving their actions in occupying Wounded Knee; these included: arson, theft, assault, and interfering with federal officers.  Numerous trials followed, the most prominent being the government’s 1974 show trial of AIM leaders, Dennis Banks and Russell Means.  This (8 ½ month) trial ended when the judge ruled that the prosecution had committed such egregious misconduct, including withholding of evidence and use of perjured witness testimony, that dismissal was the only appropriate outcome.  Nevertheless, the DoJ persisted in its persecution of AIM leaders.  [3]


4th.  Assassination by “snitch-jacketing”.  The FBI made a practice of infiltrating targeted organizations with informants and provocateurs whom it used to disrupt said organizations.  One such FBI asset, Douglas Durham, had wormed his way to become head of security for AIM.  In late-1974 Durham was exposed and subsequently expelled from AIM.  At the time, FBI and other state agencies were subjecting AIM activists and allies on the Pine Ridge Reservation to an on-going violent and often lethal repression.  AIM leaders, knowing that the DoJ was seeking (by means illegal as well as legal) to destroy them, became justifiably fearful that informants were reporting their every action to the FBI.  Meanwhile, FBI infiltrators made remarks and allegations to stoke such fears, while rumors and backbiting by individuals with personal jealousies and resentments created fertile ground for often unwarranted suspicions and accusations.  Moreover, much of the AIM leadership then succumbed to witch-hunt obsessions leading to the murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash.  Details [4].

♦ Snitch-jacketed.  Beginning in the winter of 1975 Anna Mae, who had become AIM’s most prominent and influential female leader, was repeatedly subjected (by multiple AIM activists and leaders) to suspicions and accusations of being an FBI informant.  Among her earliest accusers was Theda Nelson Clark, an aspiring rival for leadership.  The FBI twice arrested Anna Mae with others (in September and November) on weapons charges, and she bonded out of jail days after each arrest.  FBI agent David Price interrogated Anna Mae and tried to induce her to become a cooperating “witness” against other accused AIM leaders.  When she refused, he predicted that she would be dead within the year.  Thus, was Anna Mae “snitch-jacketed” as the FBI failed in its efforts to coerce her into serving as a DoJ “witness”.

♦ Murder.  In 1975 December, the aforementioned Theda Nelson Clark and two low-ranking associates: abducted Aquash, transported her to a location where multiple AIM leaders interrogated her, and subsequently murdered her at a remote location on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  Multiple AIM “witnesses”, most with probable biases and/or culpability to conceal, make conflicting allegations so that it is unclear: which AIM leaders conducted the interrogation, who gave the order to execute her, and how deeply FBI provocateurs were involved.  In any event this assassination: resulted in major recriminations within AIM, brought discredit upon its leaders, and finally contributed to the splitting and implosion of the organization.


5th.  Frame-up in Fargo.  From the start of the conflict between Dick Wilson with his supporters and his opponents (including OSCRO and AIM), the federal agencies – BIA, FBI, USMS, and DoJ – naturally sided with the Wilson regime which leased tribal lands to nearby white ranchers and politically influential American capitalists under inequitable contracts deemed unfair to reservation residents [3].  The FBI provided Wilson’s GOONs with intelligence on AIM activists and other opponents of the Wilson regime and looked away while the GOONs assaulted, terrorized, and murdered Wilson’s critics.  The FBI also perpetrated warrantless no-knock assaults on homes as it used the Pine Ridge Reservation to train its first militarized commando (i.e. SWAT) teams.  Meanwhile, the FBI and DoJ targeted AIM members and supporters for prosecution on any and every possible charge.  This hostile environment created the tension which evidently erupted into the shootout at the Jumping Bull Ranch.  The DoJ ultimately managed to pin a bogus murder charge on Leonard Peltier.  Details [5].

♦ Inceptive events.  On 1975 June 26, two FBI agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, in unmarked cars were following a red pickup truck which they believed belonged to an Oglala alleged to have stolen a pair of cowboy boots.  As they entered the Jumping Bull ranch (where several AIM members were camped) shots were fired, and a shootout then ensued between the feds and the AIM activists.  There were more than 30 people at the ranch including women, children, and other non-belligerents.  By the end of the confrontation the ranch was surrounded by some 150 armed agents (FBI, BIA, local police, and GOONs).  Which side fired first is in dispute.  Casualties: the two FBI men were wounded by fire from the AIM side and then killed execution-style by person unknown; AIM member, Joe Stuntz, was killed by a government sniper.  FBI investigators and DoJ prosecutors, embarrassed by their failures to obtain convictions of AIM leaders involved in the Wounded Knee occupation, responded by pursuing only prominent AIM members – the objective being to convict some AIM leaders on charges of having murdered the two FBI men.  For this purpose, they indicted three prominent AIM members who had participated in the shootout, namely: Leonard Peltier, Robert Robideau, and Darrelle Butler.  In September Butler and Robideau were arrested.  Peltier fled to Canada, where he was arrested and extradited to the US (1976 December).  While Peltier was not yet in custody, Robideau and Butler were tried and acquitted (1976 July, with judge McManus presiding) when their jury concluded that, with the level of violence and government intimidation on the Reservation, they could plausibly claim to have acted in self-defense during the exchange of gunfire.

♦ Trial.  Peltier was subjected to a rigged trial (in Fargo, ND in 1977) before an all-white jury which convicted him on two counts of first-degree murder.  The judge then sentenced him to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment.  The improprieties in the legal proceedings were as follows.

(1) The FBI coerced one, Myrtle Poor Bear, to allege in a signed affidavit that she had been Peltier’s girlfriend and had seen him kill the two FBI men.  In fact, she had never met Peltier and was not present at the shootout.  The FBI then used this false affidavit to obtain Peltier’s extradition from Canada.

(2) Ms Poor Bear recanted her allegations against Peltier, but the judge refused to permit the defense to present her as a witness (claiming: that she was too mentally unstable to provide competent testimony, and that exposure of the FBI’s extradition fraud would prejudice the jury against the prosecution).  The judge also refused to allow the defense to present evidence of other cases where the FBI had been rebuked for tampering with evidence and witnesses.

(3) An FBI agent changed his story by testifying at trial that the vehicle, which the two agents had pursued and whose occupant had fired at them, was Peltier’s red and white van.  In fact, the two FBI agents had identified the pursued vehicle as a red pickup truck, and it was red pickup trucks which the FBI first sought and searched after the shootout.

(4) The prosecution alleged at trial that the two FBI agents had been killed by Peltier’s AR-15 rifle.  The prosecution also asserted that Peltier’s AR-15 was the only one present, but it was later compelled to admit to the appellate judge that several other AR-15 rifles were present in the area and possibly present at the shootout.  An FBI ballistics expert testified that extractor marks on a shell casing found at the scene matched Peltier’s rifle; he also testified that a more accurate firing pin test had not been performed because of damage to Peltier’s gun.  Some years after Peltier’s conviction, a FOIA request produced documentation of a pre-trial FBI ballistics test on the firing pin which proved that the shell casing had not been fired by Peltier’s AR-15.  The DoJ had withheld this crucial exculpatory evidence from the defense during trial.

(5) No trial witness identified Peltier as the person who killed the FBI men.  And during Peltier’s appeal (in 1986), the prosecution admitted that it had no real evidence to establish who fired the fatal shots.  Nevertheless, the appellate court refused to overturn the conviction based on the prosecutor’s new assertion that the jury had found Peltier guilty of “aiding and abetting” the murders, notwithstanding that the prosecution had never actually pursued that issue at trial.  Moreover, this allegation would have applied equally to Robideau and Butler, whose jury (having heard all of the defense case) had acquitted them.

(6) Other apparent violations of Peltier’s rights to a fair trial include: the arbitrary and never-explained replacement of the judge (McManus) originally assigned to preside by another judge (Benson) more disposed to exclude evidence favorable to the defendant, an undisclosed FBI pre-trial meeting with trial judge Benson, infiltration of FBI informants into the defense team, the presentation of coerced testimony by juvenile witnesses who had been intimidated by the FBI, and the DoJ use of tactics to frighten and bias the jury by always transporting them to and from court under escort by a SWAT team.

♦ Evaluation.  Many organizations and individuals have examined the case and concluded: that the DoJ and federal courts violated Peltier’s right to a fair trial; that he was targeted and convicted for his political associations; that the government has no evidence that he committed the murders for which he was convicted, and that he should be immediately released from prison.  These include: Amnesty International, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Robert F Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, National Lawyers Guild, Center for Constitutional Rights, European parliament, Belgian parliament, Italian parliament, several Nobel Prize winners, and many other well-known advocates for human rights.


Noted sources.

[1] Wikipedia: American Indian Movement (2016 May 19).

[2] FOIA Documents – U.S. v Leonard Peltier (CR NO. C77-3003): Post-Trial Actions – Criminal (ac 2016 Jun) @ www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/LEGAL/CRIMINAL.htm.

[3] Wikipedia: Wounded Knee Incident (2016 Jun 01); Wounded Knee Massacre (2016 Jun 12); Dick Wilson (2016 Apr 22).  Wagner & Lynch PLLC: Wounded Knee – the Massacre, the Incident, & the Radical Lawyer (2013) @ http://seoklaw.com/wounded-knee-the-massacre-the-incident-the-radical-lawyer/.

[4] Wikipedia: Anna Mae Aquash (2016 May 11); American Indian Movement (2016 May 19).  News From Indian Country [NFIC]: Annie Mae Timeline (2007 Jun) @ https://indiancountrynews.net/index.php/news/investigations/286-aquash-peltier-timeline-1975-2010/2101-annie-mae-timeline-i-wounded-knee (= part 1 which includes links to parts 2, 3, & 4).  Anonymous: A Biography of Anna Mae (2016 Jun 12) @ www.dickshovel.com/bio.html.  Michael Donnelly: Killing Anna Mae Aquash, Smearing John Trudell (2006 Jan 17) @ www.counterpunch.org/2006/01/17/killing-anna-mae-aquash-smearing-john-trudell/.  BlackElectorate.com (archives): Hip-Hop Fridays – COINTELPRO – The Untold American Story ~ Part1 (2002 May 24).

[5] International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee: Facts (ac 2016 Jun) @ www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/home/facts/.  Free Leonard: Quick facts – Case of Leonard Peltier (ac 2016 Jun) @ www.freeleonard.org/case/.  Amnesty International: Cases – Leonard Peltier (ac 2016 Jun) @ www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/cases/usa-leonard-peltier.  BlackElectorate.com (archives):  Hip-Hop Fridays – COINTELPRO – The Untold American Story ~ part 2 (2002 May 31).




1st.  Criminalizing sympathy for a persecuted people.  Sami Al-Arian is a refugee Palestinian Arab.  After growing up in Kuwait and Egypt, he came to the US for his university education.  Upon earning his doctorate, Al-Arian obtained a position as professor of computer engineering at the University of South Florida [USF] (in Tampa in 1986) where he soon obtained tenure and received many awards for his academic work.  He also served as imam in a local mosque and became a prominent advocate for civil rights for Muslims and for the human rights of the Palestinian Arabs oppressed by the State of Israel.  Moreover, he expressed sympathy for the Palestinian intifada [unarmed mass resistance to the Israeli occupation] (1987..93).  For that, first American Zionists, then the US government targeted Al-Arian.  Specifics [1].

♦ Persecution.  Al-Arian contributed to the creation of World and Islamic Studies Enterprise [WISE] which facilitated educational projects including dialogue between American and Middle Eastern scholars.  Zionist individuals and organizations defamed WISE and Al-Arian with accusations of fronting for terrorists, and they began a campaign for his destruction.  This included: academic boycotts instigated by the (Zionist) Anti-Defamation League [ADL]; inducing government refusal to grant his 1994 application for US citizenship despite the fact that he met all of the requirements; a 3-year federal investigation (1995..98) which produced no charges; his repeated suspension and eventual firing by USF in defiance of mass protests by students and faculty and despite his never having committed any misconduct; and the deportation of his wife’s brother after three years in jail (1997..2000) on never-proven accusation of links to terrorism (based on “secret evidence”).  In 2000 Al-Arian co-founded the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom [NCPPF] which sought to exclude the use of secret evidence in prosecutions.

♦ Post-9/11 targeting of Muslims.

(1) In 2001 October, the DoJ created a list of some 8,000 men (permanent residents, students, etc.) from Muslim countries to be interviewed by anti-terrorism task forces; none of those interviewed were found to have links to terrorism.

(2) In 2002 September DoJ created the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System [NSEERS] requiring some 140,000 male visa-holders from Muslim countries: to be photographed and finger-printed, to be interviewed and have their financial information copied, and to comply with repetitive and confusing registration requirements.  Because of innocent mistakes, thousands were detained, or barred from re-entry, or placed in deportation proceedings.  Members of Congress reported (in 2016) that “no known terrorism convictions resulted from the program”.

(3) Another “war on terror” project was Operation Green Quest which involved raids in scores of cities against Muslim homes, businesses, charities, and other entities flagged as having ties, however remote, to suspected Muslim “terrorists”.  Records were seized and assets frozen while investigations continued in secrecy with victims deprived of redress.  Here again, no significant contribution against actual terrorism.

♦ Arrest and trial.  In 2003, after nine years of secret wire-taps of Al-Arian’s communications, the DoJ (using the 2001 Al Qaeda terror attacks as pretext for a greatly expanded persecution of Arab and Muslim dissidents) indicted him and three others on charges of racketeering for Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ] (which the State Department had designated as a terrorist organization in 1995).  The prosecution case rested upon transcripts of secret wire-taps of Al-Arian’s communications from 1994 until his arrest in 2003.  These included some phone conversations and faxes with leaders of PIJ made before such contacts became illegal in 1995.  None of these communications reflected advanced knowledge of any attacks carried out by PIJ.  Moreover, PIJ had never carried out any attacks outside of Palestine.  At trial (in 2005) the jury: acquitted two co-defendants on all counts, acquitted another on some and deadlocked on other counts, and acquitted Al-Arian on 8 of 17 counts while deadlocking (10 to 2 favoring acquittal) on the remaining 9 counts.  One of the two jurors who refused to acquit admitted that the prosecution had no real evidence but assumed guilt-by-association based on Al-Arian’s previous contacts with PIJ.

♦ DoJ perfidy .  By 2006 Al-Arian had been: deprived of his career and livelihood, held in jail (mostly in solitary) for over three years, and was facing retrial by a DoJ determined to destroy him.  In order to put an end to this suffering and reunite with his family, he agreed to a cynical plea offer by which he pled guilty to one count and agreed to be deported after completion of his sentence (which would be recommended to be at the lower end of the specified range and would thus end after another eight months).  The judge, however, with disregard for Al-Arian’s actual history, denounced him as an unrepentant terrorist and imposed the maximum sentence thereby requiring him to remain in prison for another 19 months.  The prosecutor had also given assurances that Al-Arian would not be subject to further charges and would not be required to assist the government in any manner.  However, federal prosecutors in Virginia demanded his testimony in their witch-hunt prosecution of the International Institute of Islamic Thought [IIIT], which had provided some funding for Al-Arian’s political advocacy groups including WISE and NCPPF.  FBI raids, pursuant to Operation Green Quest, in 2002 had targeted IIIT (which, in its mission statement, describes its purpose as to “promote moderation, inter-faith dialogue, and good citizenship”) and 19 other Muslim business and non-profit entities in Virginia; but ultimately no evidence of IIIT involvement with terrorism was found.  Al-Arian (who at this point was officially an unwanted alien slotted for deportation): refused to testify based on the state’s previous promise, was held in contempt, and appealed.  His appeal was rejected because the promises upon which he had relied were not included in writing in his plea agreement.  Based on his sense of the shame which would come from acting in any way which could be construed as being an informant against persecuted fellow Muslims, he persisted in his refusal to cooperate, and another 13 months were added to his sentence.  In 2014 federal prosecutors finally concluded that further prosecution of Al-Arian on contempt charges was pointless, and they began deportation proceedings.  The US deported him to Turkey in 2015 February.


2nd.  Criminalizing compassion.  After the Kuwait War (1990) the US and British governments (under President Clinton and Prime Ministers Major and Blair) had insisted upon continuing a UN-mandated sanctions regime (ultimately lasting 1990..2003) purportedly to punish Iraq for other alleged offenses but actually to punish its people for continuing to accept Saddam Hussein as their President (notwithstanding that they had little choice in that matter).  These sanctions were so restrictive that they caused an estimated half-million deaths of mostly children (for example by denying access to the means to operate systems for providing safe drinking water); and that provoked two successive UN assistant Secretaries-General (who were assigned to administer the sanctions) to resign in protest.  Various groups defied or evaded the sanctions regime, and these included some humanitarian groups in the US.  One such was Voices in the Wilderness [VIW] (now known as Voices for Creative Nonviolence), which (between 1996 and 2003) deliberately and blatantly challenged the sanctions regime by sending more than 70 delegations to Iraq to deliver food and medicine to needy Iraqis.  Another organization providing relief to poor and sick Iraqis was Help the Needy [HTN], a Muslim charity which had been founded by Doctor Rafil Dhafir in Syracuse, New York.  DoJ prosecuted both VIW and HTN, but with extremely different treatments [2].

♦ Muslim charity specifically targeted.  The FBI arrested and the DoJ indicted Doctor Dhafir and four associates (in 2003) for alleged violations of the sanctions regime.  Dhafir, who was charged with 14 counts, did not accept the DoJ contention that his actions were criminal; and he refused to accept a plea offer.  The DoJ then added another 46 counts to his indictment and began a media campaign to brand him and his associates as “terrorists”.  His fellow defendants were coerced into accepting extorted plea deals.  Dhafir was tried and convicted on all of 59 counts – sanctions violations (with related counts of money laundering, tax evasion, wire and mail fraud, and visa fraud) plus 25 counts of Medicare fraud.

♦ Trial.  This trial was rigged to produce conviction regardless of the lack of actual evidence.  Specifics follow.

(1) HTN sent nothing to Iraq except food, clothing, medicine, and money to be spent for the benefit of poor Iraqis.  None of this went to or thru the Iraqi government.

(2) The wire and mail fraud and the visa fraud allegations rested upon the presumption that the provision of food, medicine, and so forth constituted actual criminal acts.

(3) The money laundering charges rested upon prosecution claims that HTN money, which had been transferred to Jordan to facilitate purchase of aid for the Iraqi people, mostly provided financial benefit to Dhafir with little aid going to Iraqis.  Dhafir can be faulted for doing most of the HTN accounting personally (in order to minimize administrative expenses and use more of the money for the relief of needy Iraqis), and the prosecution exploited this error.  Nevertheless, the government had not investigated in Jordan or Iraq and had no actual evidence for this accusation.  Moreover, Dhafir, having no children of his own for which to provide, had actually contributed $1,400,000 of his own money to the charity, far more than he took out to cover his expenses.

(4) The tax evasion charge was based upon HTN having worked thru another non-profit organization (a common practice) rather than having its own separate tax exemption.  In fact, HTN had actually requested its own tax-exempt status, but its application had been put on hold at the instigation of the FBI.  Even if HTN’s practice were a violation, the IRS normally settles such issues with no more than a fine.

(5) Medicare fraud involves reimbursements for fictitious services to non-existent patients or for fictitious illnesses.  The prosecution did not dispute that Dhafir’s patients had received the reimbursed care; its case rested solely upon its assertion that he was not entitled to Medicare reimbursement because his claims forms for chemotherapy had been filled out incorrectly.  Moreover, Doctor Dhafir: maintained his oncology practice in underserved Rome which required an 80-mile round-trip commute, treated many cancer patients despite their lack of the means to pay, and earned much less than if he had practiced in nearby Syracuse.

(6) Dhafir was not charged with any act of terrorism, but state agents conducted a media campaign alleging that HTN and its participants were “terrorists”, and this was in a time when the 2001 Al-Qaeda attacks had provoked widespread public fear.  Moreover, the prosecution repeatedly insinuated at trial that Dhafir and HTN were connected to anti-American terrorists, and the judge barred the defense from rebutting this innuendo.  Thus, the trial was conducted in atmospherics such that Dhafir would be convicted, not based on any acts with criminal intent, but based on prejudicial emotion and guilt-by-insinuation.  The Executive Director of the ACLU of Central New York issued a statement faulting the trial for its gross lack of fairness.

(7) No action whatever was ever taken against US-based oil companies – Bay Oil and Odin Oil – for their willful profiteering violations of the sanctions.  VIW, which had given advance notice to the government of its intent to defy the sanctions law, was fined $20,000 which it refused to pay.  None of its participants (who are white American Christian peace activists) was jailed for their repeated violations of the sanctions law; and the fine was never collected.  Meanwhile, state agents intent upon bolstering their careers thru easy convictions in the “war on terror”, subjected HTN and other Muslim charities to drastically different treatment.  They were shut down; their assets were seized; their principals were accused of terrorism, imprisoned, and then coerced to make false confessions in plea deals or take their chances in rigged trials where they would face decades in prison.  Dhafir (who had been a US citizen for over 25 years) and his associates in HTN were Arab-American Muslims.  They were subjected to massive government surveillance, harassment, defamation, arrest, and prosecution for acts of charitable compassion.  150 local Muslim families were interrogated by Immigration agents and FBI agents.  Doctor Dhafir received a sentence of 22 years in prison where he remains (scheduled for release in 2022).


3rd.  More criminalizing of Muslim charities.  The Holy Land Foundation [HLF] was the largest Islamic charity in the US.  It distributed charity – food, clothing, healthcare services, et cetera – thru established local zakat [charity] committees in the Israeli-occupied territories of Palestine.  Because it provided charitable relief to victims of Israeli persecution, HLF was targeted first by Zionists and then, at their behest, by the US government [3].

♦ Islam in Palestine.  90% of Palestinian Arabs are Muslim.  Naturally, they vary widely in their devotion to religious prescriptions.  Hamas, which is a political and social force within Palestinian Muslim communities, was founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the (Islamist) Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood [MB].  It has never had the allegiance of more than a fraction of Palestinian Muslims.  Until 1989 MB (and Hamas) maintained peaceful relations with the Zionist state, and its leaders had met regularly with Israeli leaders.  Because MB was hostile to the secular and leftist Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], the Israeli state: had happily encouraged the former as a potential alternative Palestinian leadership to that of the PLO, and had refrained from interfering when MB Islamists perpetrated violent attacks against secular groups aligned with the PLO.  However, violent Israeli repression impacted all Palestinians (including Hamas adherents) in the occupied territories, and overwhelming Palestinian support for the First Intifada (1987..93) finally induced Hamas to embrace the resistance to Israeli occupation.   When Hamas responded to Israeli violence by forming a military arm to retaliate with its own violent attacks on Israelis, the Zionist state branded Hamas as a “terrorist” organization.  In 1995 the US accommodated its Israeli ally by also branding Hamas as a “terrorist” organization.

♦ Target.  Although a Hamas fundraiser (Musa Abu-Marzuk) had provided financial support at its founding (in 1989), HLF was not an affiliate of Hamas, and its activities had nothing to do with violent resistance to Zionist oppressions.  Nevertheless, Zionist groups targeted HLF with smears and demands for revocation of its tax-exemption.  HLF continued its charitable work until 2001, when the US government used the Al-Qaeda attacks as pretext for a so-called “war on terror” which became largely an attack on civil liberties with widespread targeting of (mostly innocent) Arab-American activists and US-based Islamic institutions.  One such target was HLF.  The federal government (in 2001 December): seized its assets, shut down its operations, and branded it as a “terrorist” organization.

♦ Trials.  In 2007 the DoJ brought the HLF and five of its principal officers (now known as the Holy Land Five) to trial on allegations of providing material support to a designated terrorist organization (meaning Hamas).  The jury in this trial (which included violations of the defendants’ due process rights) acquitted on some counts and deadlocked on the others.  A more egregiously rigged retrial in 2008 resulted in convictions on all remaining counts.  Specific violations of due process follow.

(1) The prosecution contended that, by providing charity to needy Palestinians thru the local charity committees which the prosecution alleged were controlled by Hamas, HLF was bolstering Hamas’ popularity and thereby providing material support for “terrorism”.  Thus, the prosecution sought conviction of the accused based upon guilt-by-association.

(2) The prosecution’s classification of the local charities as agents of “terrorism” was baseless.  The relevant facts: (1st) the local committees were independent entities devoted to charitable purposes, and their leaders included individuals with no ties to Hamas as well as those who were members or sympathizers with Hamas; (2nd) immediately after the US had listed Hamas as “terrorist”, HLF had sought advice from the federal government as to which, if any, of the charities were deemed unacceptable; (3rd) none of the charity committees was listed by the US as a terrorist organization; (4th) the US (thru its USAID program) had provided funding for many of the same local charity committees until 2006 – for five years after the HLF had been shut down; and (5th) the prosecution acknowledged that none of the funding of the charities was used for acts which the US deemed to be “terrorist”.

(3) The prosecution was permitted, over defense objections, to present two unidentified Israeli state security agents as “expert” witnesses for the purpose of tying the charity committees to Hamas.  The anonymity of these “experts” prevented effective defense cross-examination to challenge their credentials and the validity of their assertions thereby violating the defendants’ 6th Amendment rights to confront and rebut their accusers.

(4) In the retrial the only significant change in the prosecution’s presentation was its move to bolster its case by introducing additional “evidence” which consisted of untestable assertions, hearsay, and irrelevant material, all of which served only to prejudice the jury against the defendants.  The appeals court (in 2011): ruled this additional “evidence” inadmissible, then astonishingly asserted that its use did not affect the outcome, and finally refused to overturn the convictions.

(Ω) The Holy Land Five are: Ghassan Elashi, Shukri Abu-Baker, Mufid Abdulqader, Abdulrahman Odeh, and Mohammad El-Mezain.  Their prison sentences were: 65 years for each of the first two, and 15 to 20 years for the other three.


4th.  Criminalizing the dissemination of a forbidden viewpoint.  Al-Manar is a satellite television station licensed by the government of Lebanon.  It broadcasts to an audience of 10 to 15 million viewers worldwide.  It is aligned with the (popular Shia-rooted) Hezbollah political party which, like some other parties in Lebanon, has a militia aligned with it.  The Hezbollah militia (since 1982) has led the resistance to Israeli invasions and occupations of Lebanese territory and thereby incurred the enmity of the US (which is Israel’s patron and ally).  Al-Manar’s broadcast content includes: dramas, soap operas, sports, and other family entertainment, plus talk shows many of which focus on politics or religion.  Its political viewpoint is clearly anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist.  Israeli forces (in 2006) repeatedly bombed Al-Manar facilities in Beirut – acts which were in direct violation of international law.  These attacks were condemned by the International Federation of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists.  The US government has classified both Hezbollah (since 1997) and Al-Manar (since 2004) as “terrorist” organizations.  The US and a few of its allies have acted (thru bans and other obstructions) to block viewer access to Al-Manar broadcasts.  Case in point follows [4].

♦ Prosecution.  In 2006 DoJ indicted Javed Iqbal and Saleh Elahwal, who were the proprietors of a business (HDTV Corp.) which provided its viewers with satellite television transmissions from a number of Arabic-language broadcasters including Al-Manar (2005..06).  DoJ based this prosecution on its contention that, by providing the Al-Manar broadcast to interested viewers in the US, the accused were “providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization”.  Facing the very real threat (in the then-current post-9-11 political environment) that a trial would end with conviction and very long prison sentences, both Iqbal and Elahwal accepted deals by which they were each required to plead guilty to a single count in exchange for more lenient prison sentences.  Iqbal and Elahwal got 69 and 17 months respectively for exercising their free speech rights by doing business with a speaker of which the Israeli and US governments disapproved.

♦ Speech recast as crime.  Their conviction was condemned as a violation of their civil rights by representatives of the New York affiliate of the ACLU, and of Reporters Without Borders.  It required an evasion and distortion of the substance of the free speech guarantee in the US Constitution.  Specifics.

(1) Regarding Hezbollah.  It is a recognized political party in Lebanon with a broad base of popular support.  After other militias agreed to demobilize (in 1991), Hezbollah’s militia was authorized by the Lebanese government to continue as a “resistance force”.  Notwithstanding vilifying allegations by the US and some of its allies, Hezbollah was not engaged in hostile military action against the US nor seeking an opportunity to do so.  It condemns all terrorist attacks on innocent civilians such as those perpetrated by Al-Qaeda and other extreme Islamist groups.

(2) Regarding allegations of “terrorism”.  Even if there were any validity to the classification of Hezbollah’s military operations as “terrorist” acts, there is no valid basis for extending that designation to Al-Manar, since it has never been used to assist Hezbollah’s military operations.

(3) Regarding the accused doing business with Al-Manar.  HDTV Corp. accepted payment from Al-Manar for providing its broadcast to interested viewers in the US.  The accused therefore contended: that they had simply provided a medium for the dissemination of Al-Manar’s speech, and that this service was a lawful exercise of free expression.  The DoJ contended that: it was not prosecuting for the dissemination of the viewpoint and content of the broadcast, but for the provision of the rebroadcast service (which it asserted was “material support”).  In effect the DoJ: made the ludicrous argument and pretense that broadcasting of content was somehow different from dissemination of said content, and further argued that the government could outlaw serving as a broadcast medium for certain speakers without infringing the free speech rights of said broadcaster.  Both the trial and appellate courts have evaded the clear intent of Constitution’s “free speech” clause and accepted those DoJ arguments; and, on that basis, the courts “validated” the convictions.  Evidently, many judges in US courts were (and are) willfully blind to the facts: that censorship was the actual objective of the government; and that convictions in such “war-on-terror” trials, however contrived, were intended to advance the careers of DoJ prosecutors and the political fortunes of demagoguing politicians.


Noted sources.

[1] Wikipedia: Sami Al-Arian (2016 Jun 13); Sami Al-Arian indictments and trial (2016 May 28); National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (2018 Dec18).  ACLU of Massachusetts: Troubling Post-9/11 Government Operations Targeting Muslims (© 2019) @ https://privacysos.org/subsequentops/.

[2] Magda Bayoumi: About Dr.Dhafir (2005 Sep) @ www.dhafirtrial.net/about-this-site/about-dr-dhafir/.  Katherine Hughes: Anatomy of a “Terrorism” Prosecution: Dr. Rafil Dhafir and the Help the Needy Muslim Charity Case (2012 Jan 31) @ www.truthout.org/news/item/6321:anatomy-of-a-terroism-prosecution; and related links.  Katherine Hughes: Denial of Due Process to Muslims Disgraces Us All (2007 Nov 18) @ www.OpEdNews.com/articles/opedne_katherin_071118_denial_of_due_proces.htm.  Wikipedia: Sanctions against Iraq (2016 May 06); Kathy Kelly (2016 Apr 12).  Democracy Now (daily shows): Voices in the Wilderness Ordered to Pay $20K for Bringing Aid to Iraq (2005 Aug 16) @ www.democracynow.org/2005/8/16/voices_in_the_wilderness_ordered_to.

[3] Wikipedia: Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (2016 Jun 10); Hamas (2019 Apr 03) ~ § 5.1 Gaza Islamic roots and establishment of Hamas.  Maureen Clare Murphy: New evidence hoped to free Holy Land Five (2013 Nov 01) @ https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/new-evidence-hoped-free-holy-land-five.  Free the Holy Land Five: The Case (ac 2016 Jun 14) @ freedomtogive.com/holy-land-five-case/.

[4] Wikipedia: Al-Manar (2016 Mar 23); Hezbollah (2016 Jun 12) ~ § 1 History, § 5 Political activities, § 10 Targeting policy.  William K Rashbaum: Law Put to Unusual Use in Hezbollah TV Case, Some Legal Experts Say (2006 Aug 26) @ http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/26/nyregion/26hezbollah.html?_r=0.  Matthew Chayes: New Charges Possible in Hezbollah TV Case (2007 Jan 23) @ http://www.nysun.com/new-york/new-charges-possible-in-hezbollah-tv-case/47160/.  Joseph Goldstein: First Amendment Defense Is Pursued in Hezbollah TV Case (2007 Apr 09) @  http://www.nysun.com/new-york/first-amendment-defense-is-pursued-in-hezbollah/52057/.

Benjamin Weiser: A Guilty Plea in Providing Satellite TV for Hezbollah (2008 Dec 23) @  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/nyregion/24plea.html.




1st.  Germany.  In the last free election before the 1933 Nazi takeover of the German state, the Communist Party [KPD] had obtained 16.9% of the popular vote.  Hitler’s first act of political repression was to outlaw the KPD, which had become and then remained the most active and steadfast domestic party in the resistance against the Nazi regime.  Since 1956 the Federal Republic of Germany, with the approval of its Cold War allies, has outlawed the KPD (because of its sympathy with the German Democratic Republic [East Germany] and the USSR.)  [1]


2nd.  France.  While the French government and the Algerian National Liberation Front [FLN] were still at war but engaged in negotiations over terms for Algerian independence, French police perpetrated two massacres of peaceful protestors [2].

♦ The Paris Massacre of 1961.  That October 17 some 30,000 French citizens of Algerian ethnicity rallied peacefully in Paris in support of FLN demands for an end to French colonial rule of Algeria.  Under orders from Paris police chief, Maurice Papon: police obstructed the rally, shot into the crowd of peaceful protestors, detained 11,000 without charge, subjected captives to brutal beatings and other forms of torture, and murdered an estimated 200.  Another 125 were murdered by rightwing police in the weeks preceding and following the week of October 17. Many of these murder victims were drowned, by either having been beaten unconscious or having been bound before being thrown into the Seine River.  Others were beaten to death at police headquarters and other places of detention while senior officers ignored protests by rank-and-file police who objected to the brutality.  The perpetrators enforced silence thru threats of reprisal against witnesses.

♦ The Charonne Metro Station Massacre (1962 February 02).  Under orders from Papon, rightwing police violently attacked members of the leftist General Confederation of Labor who were peacefully protesting against the Algerian War and the Secret Army Organization [OAS] which was then conducting a campaign of terrorist violence to prevent the creation of an independent Algeria.  When protestors sought refuge in the stairwell entrance to the Metro Station, some of the police hurled iron grates down upon them killing nine and injuring many others.

♦ Impunity.  President Charles de Gaulle, along with his prime minister and the interior minister, actively protected the perpetrators of both massacres from being exposed or brought to justice.


3rd.  Britain.  During the Troubles in Northern Ireland (1966..98), which began with Unionist paramilitary violence against peaceful protests over rampant civil discrimination against the Catholic and largely republican minority, British state agents perpetrated egregious violations of human rights [3].

♦ Violations.  Local police and British military forces:

  • used internment [indefinite detention without charge] of hundreds of individuals on mere suspicion of possible sympathy with republican paramilitaries;
  • routinely tortured such detainees;
  • targeted (initially only, and thereafter mostly) republicans despite much of the violence being perpetrated by the Unionist paramilitaries who had initiated it; and
  • used a shoot-to-kill policy in arrests of (often unarmed) republican suspects.

♦ Collusion.  Local police and British state forces also provided most of the intelligence used by Unionist paramilitaries to find and murder dozens of mostly civilian leaders of republican sympathies.  These included lawyers who represented republican victims and defendants.  Notable examples.  Patrick Finucane, human rights lawyer for republican political prisoners, was assassinated (1989) by unionist paramilitaries acting in collusion with MI5.  Rosemary Nelson was another lawyer who had represented republicans in high-profile cases.  Members of the British state security forces: physically assaulted her (1997), subjected her to death threats, publicly designated her as a target, and provided intelligence on her to a loyalist paramilitary which then assassinated her by car-bomb (1999).  MI5 participated in the official inquiry into her assassination despite the objections of her family who feared that MI5 would suppress evidence of official culpability.  The inquiry confirmed the threats by local state agents, but no action was taken against them.


Noted sources.

[1] Wikipedia: Communist Party of Germany (2016 Jun 07).

[2] Wikipedia: Paris Massacre of 1961 (2016 Mar 13).

[3] Wikipedia: The Troubles (2016 Jun 15); Pat Finucane (2016 Jun 07); Rosemary Nelson (2019 Mar 20).




1st.  Unwarranted surveillance.  Covert spying on dissident citizens is another common practice.

♦ Files on individuals.  The US and its major allies engage (no differently than states which they have often condemned for such behavior) in covert spying on their own citizens.  Examples [1.1].

(1) The NSA monitored nearly every overseas cable sent or received by Americans from 1947 until 1975 and shared the info with other interested agencies.

(2) From 1959 the CIA began illegal domestic spying operations which eventually created files on over 7,000 Americans and 1,000 domestic groups, while providing information on another 300,000 persons to other state agencies.

(3) Between 1960 and 1974 the FBI created files on over 500,000 Americans.

(4) The US Army indexed 100,000 Americans on account of their opposition to the Vietnam War.

(5) At one point during the old War more than 26,000 Americans were listed to be interned in case of “national security emergency”.

♦ Five eyes.  The US, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have (since the 1950s) operated an espionage alliance called variously “Five Eyes” and UKUSA.  Five Eyes operates a global surveillance network (called ECHELON) which secretly intercepts massive quantities of military, diplomatic, commercial, and personal electronic communications data.  Monitored communications include those of: telecom operators (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, et al); search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, et al); financial institutions (Mastercard, VISA, Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication); and other service providers.  The Five Eyes states circumvent legal prohibitions against warrantless spying on their own citizens by outsourcing the interception of the communications of their own citizens to a Five Eyes partner which then secretly shares wanted intelligence with the targeted citizens’ own government.  The existence of many participating spy agencies was kept secret from their own countries’ citizens for more than 2 decades until exposed by investigative journalists or parliamentary committees.  These eventual exposures include: CSEC (Canada 1974), NSA (US 1975), GCHQ (Britain 1976), ASIS and DSD (Australia 1977), and GCSB (New Zealand 1980).  Moreover, the existence of the Five Eyes alliance was not publicly revealed until 2005.  The Five Eyes countries also share human and other non-electronic surveillance information on one another’s citizens.  Several allied states in Europe and Asia (Norway, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea), as well as Israel, collaborate in this intelligence sharing.  [1.2]

♦ Programs.  The US government operates dozens of programs thru which it conducts mass surveillance; and its foreign allies operate similar programs.  US examples [1.3].

(1) Main Core, originally created in 1982, is a federal government database which (without court approved search warrant) collects and stores personal and financial data (as of 2008) on some 8 million Americans whom the intelligence agencies (FBI, NSA, CIA, and others) deem (often for trivial reasons) to be “threats to national security”.  These individuals may be tracked, questioned, and/or detained in time of crisis.  Main Core remained secret until exposed in 2008.

(2) PRISM is an NSA data collection program which covertly (with the cooperation of the applicable companies) intercepts internet communications (email, VoiP, photos, videos, file transfers, etc.) throughout the US and much of the rest of the world.  Cooperators include: internet service providers, search engines, browser providers, SKYPE, social media, and so forth.  PRISM was created in 2007 as a continuation of previous covert electronic spying programs.  Although its intercepts are supposed to be limited to specific approved targets, actual operations are replete with: open access by operational personnel, little oversight, fake justifications, self-granted exceptions, etc.  Consequently, there is no effective enforcement of the nominal restriction.  The project’s existence remained secret until exposed in 2013 by NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

(3) MAINWAY is a program thru which NSA has secretly collected and stored telephone metadata (phone numbers of caller and recipient plus time, locations, and durations of calls) on the landline and cell calls routed thru the systems of the four largest telephone companies in the US.  MARINA performs the equivalent function on internet communications.  The telecom companies and internet service providers evidently also provide access to their lines so that, with secret Presidential approval, NSA can eavesdrop on calls without a judicial warrant and has used the results to order investigations of tens of thousands of Americans.

(4) The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program [MICT] photographs the outside of every piece of mail processed in the US and provides the information to state agents upon request without a warrant.  MICT was created in 2001, but not publicly revealed until 2013.

(5) Wikipedia lists more than 20 other programs thru which the US government conducts secret surveillance, most of which can and often do target Americans.

(Ω) Since 2001 the US and allied states have used terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda as pretext for an intensification of such massive surveillance of their citizens.


2nd.  “global war on terrorism”.  The US and its Western allies also used the Al Qaeda attacks of 2001 September as a pretext for an expansion of repressive policies masquerading as a so-called “global war on terrorism” [GWoT].  Components of this GWoT have included violations of international human rights law and other abuses [2].

♦ Preemptive war.  The US and British governments asserted, totally in violation of international law, a bogus “right” to wage preemptive wars (as in the Iraq War commenced in 2003).

♦ Militarism.  The US also uses the GWoT as “justification”: for expansive military spending, and for expansion of its imperial military presence (bases, alliances, training missions, etc.) in more and more foreign countries.

♦ Extraordinary rendition.  There was also the practice of “extraordinary rendition” by which the US CIA in collaboration with Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service [SIS aka MI6]: covertly abducted individuals in foreign countries, secretly transported them to “black sites” hosted by third countries, and then tortured the victims to elicit information and confessions.  The nightmarish cruelty which was inflicted upon the victims included: sedate the victim, blindfold him and cut off his clothes, administer a forced enema or insert a suppository in his anus, outfit him in a diaper and jump suit, transport to unknown location (black site), hold for years in often horrific conditions, deprive of sleep, inflict repeatedly torture, force to sign a confession, deprive of all contact with loved ones, allow no access to lawyer or court of law, allow no hope for an end to the ordeal.  The purpose of such renditions which actually began in the 1990s under US President Clinton, was to evade US and British laws mandating due process and prohibiting torture.  It was then much expanded under US President George W Bush, with 54 countries (including most European Union [EU] member states) known to have been complicit in these operations.  From 2001 until 2009 there were at least several hundreds of victims (some of whom were ultimately proven to be entirely innocent of any involvement with terrorist acts or the perpetrators thereof).  The abductees included some 100 kidnapped from EU member countries, often with the complicity of the country’s own government.  In 2009, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that US law does not allow victims of extraordinary rendition to sue the US or its personnel for torture inflicted overseas.

♦ Torture of POWs.  US forces also tortured prisoners of war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at the US base in (US-occupied) Guantanamo, Cuba.

♦ Evisceration of civil liberties.  The GWoT was also the pretext for US, Britain, and many of their allies to enact laws and policies infringing the civil liberties and due process rights of their own citizens.  Examples.  The USA Patriot Act (2001) authorizes: indefinite detentions of immigrants; secret searches of homes and businesses; National Security Letters which permit the FBI to search telephone, email, financial records, and library records without a court order; and FBI gag orders prohibiting the recipient of a National Security Letter from telling anyone else (including his/her own lawyer).  The British government eviscerated important civil liberties by authorizing and using: detention without trial, laws restricting dissident speech, and reductions in checks on police powers.


3rd.  Imperial interventions in the peripheral countries.  The liberal “democratic” regimes which govern in the US and its Western allies posture as champions: of a so-called “free world” of pluralist democracies, and of respect for human rights and civil liberties.  However, they and their client regimes have actually perpetrated and/or abetted a long litany of terrorist wars and brutal repressions which have subjected millions of people to harassment, detention, torture, and murder for no cause other than: their (actual or suspected) leftist associations or sympathies, or for simply being in the way of the bullets and bombs or other instruments of imperial aggression.  A few of the more notable examples.  [3]

♦ The routine practice of instigating, orchestrating, and/or abetting coups d’etat against popular governments (mostly democratically elected) which refused: to comply with imperial dictates (such as to outlaw law-abiding Communist Parties), or to give free reign for the exploitative abuses of transnational capital.  There have been dozens of instances beginning with Syria (1949).  Such coups were invariably followed by brutal repression (often including mass murder) of dissidents by the ensuing coup regime.

♦ Instigating and funding of rightwing insurgencies against leftist governments.  Afghanistan (1978..92) – 1 million dead, 3 million disabled, and 5 million displaced.  Nicaragua (1981..89) – the populace terrorized by “contras” with much torture, rape, and gruesome murders, and a death toll of 80,000.

♦ Harsh (sometimes murderous) economic sieges [sanctions] imposed to destabilize governments which refused to comply with imperial dictates, the effect being to punish their populations.  Against Cuba (1960..) – much economic hardship endured by the population.  Against Iraq (1991..2003) by severely restricting imports of food, medicines, and the means to purify contaminated drinking water – half a million needless deaths (mostly children).

♦ Military invasions to remove governments noncompliant with imperial dictates.  Egypt (1956) – thousands (including civilians) killed and wounded.  Cuba at Bay of Pigs (1961) – 176 defenders and some civilians killed, and others wounded.  Gabon (1964) – dozens killed and dissidents subsequently repressed with detention, torture, and murder.  Grenada (1983) – more than 400 civilians killed.  Panamá (1989) – thousands (mostly civilians) killed, thousands more wounded, 20,000 made homeless.  Iraq (1991) – at least 100,000 civilians killed.  Iraq (2003..11) – an estimated 700,000 civilians killed.

♦ Military and diplomatic support for client regimes which used brutal repression including death squads to murder tens of thousands of suspected regime opponents – at least 140,000 in Guatemala (1954..96); 20,000 disappeared and murdered in Argentina (1974..83); 4,000 murdered in Haiti (2003..06).

♦ The CIA providing lists to coup regimes as they hunted, tortured, and murdered every suspected Communist whom they could find.  Iraq (1963) – 5,000 detained, tortured, and murdered.  Indonesia (1965) – at least 500,000 murdered.  Chile (1973..76) – 3,000 disappeared or otherwise murdered.

♦ Military interventions to support client regimes against popular revolutionary insurgencies with torture and murder of suspected supporters of the resistance.  Algeria (1954..62) routine use of torture and murder by French forces.  Vietnam (1965..73) 40,000 to 80,000 mostly noncombatants tortured and murdered by US and allied operatives (in Operation Phoenix).


Noted sources.

[1.1] Wikipedia: Mass surveillance in the United States (2016 Jun 03); List of government mass surveillance projects (2016 Jun 12); Project SHAMROCK (2019 Apr 02); FBI index (2018 Nov 13).  Verne Lyon: Domestic Surveillance – The History of Operation CHAOS (1990) @ www.serendipity.li/cia/lyon.html.

[1.2] Wikipedia: Five eyes (2016 Jun 12); UKUSA Agreement (2016 Jun 15).

[1.3] Wikipedia: Main Core (2018 Mar 26); PRISM (surveillance program) (2019 Apr 23) ~ § 1 Media disclosure of PRISM, § 2 The program; MAINWAY (2019 Apr 25); MARINA (2019 Feb 08); Mail Isolation Control and Tracking (2018 Jul 12); List of government mass surveillance projects (2016 Jun 12).

[2] Wikipedia: Criticism of the War on Terror (2016 Mar 22); Extraordinary Rendition (2016 Jun 11); & related articles.  ACLU: Surveillance under the USA/Patriot Act (ac 2019 Apr) @ https://www.aclu.org/other/surveillance-under-usapatriot-act.

[3] Unpublished research by Charles Pierce, much of it based on William Blum: Killing Hope – U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (© 2004).




1st.  The state.  In class-divided social orders, government takes form as the state, to which a public service apparatus may be attached.

♦ Usage.  The state, in its naked essentials, is the organized institutional coercive apparatus which the ruling class uses as it deems necessary:

  • to enforce its laws,
  • to defend and/or expand its previous conquests,
  • to uphold the established “rights” and privileges of the dominant and favored interest groups, and above all
  • to defend and preserve the existing social order.

♦ Component agencies.  The coercive state apparatus consists of a number of agencies.

(1) Legislative bodies: make laws for the defense of the existing capitalist social order, impose taxes, and allocate public resources for all governmental operations including each of the enforcement agencies of the state.

(2) Regulatory agencies make and enforce rules governing commercial activities.

(3) Revenue agencies collect the taxes and other fees which the state imposes.

(4) Law enforcement agencies include: police, prosecutors, judiciary, jails and prisons, parole managers, etc.

(5) Agencies for preserving internal order include: militias, gendarmes, constabularies, and domestic surveillance agencies.

(6) Agencies for conducting and/or regulating foreign relations include: regular armed forces, foreign intelligence agencies, the diplomatic corps, immigration and border control agencies, et cetera.

♦ Repressive function.  A repressive internal security operation is a normal function of the state in capitalist countries.  It is used to harass, disrupt, and suppress organized political activity, including peaceful advocacy and protest: (1) by opponents of the existing social order, and/or (2) by other troublesome dissidents.  This is so, to whatever degree the dissidents are deemed to be a threat to the social order or to the ruling powers.  Under authoritarian regimes there are few constraints upon the use of such repression against unwelcome dissidents; and victims commonly number in the tens and hundreds of thousands imprisoned, tortured, and/or murdered.  Liberal “democracies” differ in that they pretend to be tolerant of peaceful dissent and to respect civil liberties and the rule of law.  However, such tolerance is typically limited to those dissidents whose activities can be easily ignored as posing no real threat: to the social order, or to any powerful interest group.  While the US and other Western states hypocritically condemn adversary countries for alleged persecutions of their “democratic” oppositions, these Western “democracies” perpetrate their own persecutions of dissidents who engage in universally legitimated but unwelcome dissent [legitimated by the United Nations under its 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights].  In actual fact, these “democracies” concoct “national security” pretexts to “justify” all manner of civil rights violations, both overt and covert, against targeted dissidents.  These violations (perpetrated by the state) include:

  • legislation criminalizing specified contents in dissent and/or branding particular dissident groups as criminal;
  • unwarranted surveillance;
  • interference with landlords, employers, service providers, and so forth in order to sabotage the ability of the targeted individual or group to conduct lawful business;
  • surreptitious theft and/or destruction of property and records;
  • dissemination of false accusations, bogus rumors, forged correspondence, false-flag flyers, and/or other such in order to defame and discredit;
  • infiltration of provocateurs who act – to disrupt, to incite naïve members and followers to commit acts of discrediting violence, and to sow dissention within and conflict between targeted groups;
  • searches and seizures without probable cause to suspect any criminal act;
  • detention without charge or on bogus pretext;
  • torture of detainees;
  • violent acts (including murder and assassination) against a targeted person or group either directly by state agents or indirectly thru use of a violent rightwing gang or a hostile rival group; and
  • prosecution in rigged trials – using: coerced confessions, false/bribed/coerced testimony, withholding of exculpatory evidence, juries predisposed to convict, and/or improper judicial rulings which prejudice the proceedings against the accused – where convictions and long-term imprisonments on trumped up allegations are actually to punish dissident opinions and/or associations despite absence of genuine proof of any actual significant criminal act.

Thus, as Friedrich Engels observed [in Introduction to ‘The Civil War in France’ (1891)] “the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression on one class by another, and indeed in the democratic republic no less than in the monarchy” [1].


2nd.  Active measures.  The capitalists, their politicians, the educators and mainstream media, and other influential establishment institutions maintain a pervasive ongoing propaganda to whitewash capitalism, discredit socialism, and vilify any organization which threatens the power and privileges of capital (especially when said organization is a proponent of social revolution).  This propaganda is often largely effective.  However, sometimes crises or other conditions arise where much of the populace no longer readily accepts that propaganda message.  When anti-capitalist critiques or socialist ideas or proponents of social revolution gain substantial popular sympathy, capitalists and their agents naturally become alarmed and turn to the state for action to remove this threat to their cherished social order.

♦ How the ruling class acts to save capitalism.  Within the confines of liberal “democracy”, the state has three options which it can use for this purpose.

(1) Selective repression.  US examples: the Palmer Raids and the criminalization of anti-capitalist social-revolutionary organizations following the Great War; and the anti-Communist witch-hunts and re-criminalization of the Communist Party from the late 1940s to late 1950s.

(2) Ameliorative reforms (not to replace capitalism, but to save it).  US example: New Deal labor rights legislation and welfare programs during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

(3) Combination of ameliorative reform and selective repression.  US example: mass surveillance plus COINTELPRO and other mostly covert repressions along with Great Society welfare programs and human rights legislation (1960s and 1970s).

♦ Defense of civil liberties.  Whenever the ruling capitalist class in a liberal “democracy” has perceived a revolutionary social justice organization as a serious threat to the social order, it looks for a national security pretext to justify repressive measures to destroy said organization.  In the US, for example, state forces (DoJ, FBI, police, etc.) found the requisite pretexts and used massive repression to destroy the Communist Party [CP], the Black Panther Party [BPP], and the American Indian Movement [AIM].  Although there may be times when it is not possible to effectively defend against such state repression, there are policies which organizations can utilize in order to avoid making themselves unnecessarily vulnerable to it.  Accordingly, revolutionary social justice organizations must: learn the lessons from the errors of past victims, and take some essential precautions.  Some such precautions (not an exhaustive list).

(1) Vetting.  The organization must carefully vet new recruits; and (insofar as possible) it must avoid being identified with provocative rhetoric, personal corruption, criminal activity, and other discrediting behaviors.

(2) Containing infiltrators, provocateurs, and other disruptors.  The organization must not permit: the snitch-jacketing and/or expulsion of a member based on unsupported assertions and/or fabricated or misconstrued “evidence”; obsessive witch-hunts in pursuit of possible infiltrators; the magnification of normal differences into internal factional strife; gossiping, rumor-mongering, personal backbiting; or any other disruption of its effective operation.

(3) Avoiding traps.  The organization, especially when targeted by the state, must be alert to the possibility that troublesome communications and/or actions are false-flag operations.

(4) Unity of purpose.  The organization must: educate its members with respect to its principles, programmatic objectives, methods, and policies; and require their adherence to same.

(5) Tactics.  While nonviolence must not be an absolute principle; it must be standing policy with exceptions generally only in situations of clearly justified self-defense.  Civil disobedience should be used, if at all, very selectively with careful consideration as to its personal and political consequences; and, if and when used, it must be carefully and appropriately targeted so as to achieve positive results without making enemies unnecessarily.

(6) Anti-imperialism.  While the organization must forcefully and consistently oppose militarism and imperialism, it must not become an agent of a foreign entity (as was the case with the CPUSA) nor allow itself to be unnecessarily so perceived.

(7) For additional precautions, see noted article by Brian Glick [2].


3rd.  Democracy?  Capitalism is incompatible with actual democracy.

♦ Presumption.  Proponents of liberal “democracy” often presume that acts of repression perpetrated by “democratic” governments are: only aberrations, and/or committed by rogue operatives.  This presumption rests upon the pretense that liberal “democracies” are actually democratic rather than politically dominated by those holding a predominance of economic power.  The reality is otherwise.

(1) The “democratic” regime in any capitalist country is one in which the people may elect the governing officials from among competing candidates and parties, but the major candidates and parties are mostly funded by, and beholden to, the capitalists.

(2) The major information media and educational institutions are administered and operated by individuals who accept and support the existing capitalist social order.

(3) Successful election campaigns, with rare exceptions, depend upon money.

(4) It is normally the moneyed interest groups which have most access to, and influence over, elected office-holders.

(5) The working people are told to passively rely upon elected politicians who pretend to be devoted to acting in their best interest.

(Ω) Thus, the capitalists rule; and, as Karl Marx observed [in The Civil War in France (1871)] the actual result of popular elections in a liberal “democracy” is the electorate “deciding once” every few years “which member of the ruling class was to misrepresent the people in” government [3].  Consequently, if democracy means rule by the people, then liberal “democracy” is not really democracy; it is plutocracy.

♦ What then is the alternative?   Democracy is real only when the majority class, the working class (with its allies), actual rules.  Such popular rule can exist only when the workers (or at least a sizable fraction thereof) are politically engaged in the governing process rather than passively relying upon politicians.  In order to achieve the power to rule, the working class (with its allies) will need to engage in struggles for social justice during which they will re-educate themselves, overcome their divisions, and embrace solidarity values.  When the working class exercises actual power in the political governance of their civil society, they will find that the concentration of economic power in the possession of the capitalist class results in practices which exploit labor and put the predatory pursuit of profit and wealth accumulation above the satisfaction of human and social needs.  With this realization, a ruling working class will naturally choose to replace this capitalism with a social order which will be designed to satisfy those human and social needs.  Consequently, those who want to preserve capitalism, will naturally tend to fear and oppose any move to replace the liberal “democratic” regime with a real democracy; and it is entirely normal for their “democratic” state to use repressive measures, as is perceived necessary, in order to preserve the existing social order.


Noted sources.

[1] Friedrich Engels: Introduction to ‘The Civil War in France’ (1891 March 18) @ https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1871/civil-war-france/index.htm (where it is split into “Introduction” and “Postscript”, the quote being in the latter).

[2] Brian Glick: COINTELPRO Revisited – Spying and Disruption (ac 2016 May 31) @ www.thirdworldtraveler.com/FBI/COINTELPRO_Revisited.html.

[3] Karl Marx: Civil War in France (Third Address, 1871 May 30) ~ § III (re Paris Commune) @ https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1871/civil-war-france/index.htm.


AUTHOR: Charles Pierce.           DATE: 2019 Jun 21 (latest update).


Charles Pierce is: a working-class retire, a past union steward and local union officer, and currently a researcher and writer on history and politics.  Other articles by Charles Pierce can be accessed at https://specter-cp.home.blog.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.