History 101: The Panther 21, Police Repression, The BLA & Cointel-Pro

Long time Freedom Fighter and former political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad penned a serious history lesson for all of us to soak up and grow on.. It covers the the case around the Panther 21, The BLA, the early merging of the FBI and local police departments and how they worked overtime to cause a split in the Black Panther Party.. Read this and read it again.. Reflect and then come back and read it again..Davey D

Former Political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad

Dhoruba Bin Wahad

In 1966, the year the BPP was founded in Oakland California the New York City Police Department commenced its own investigation of the Black Panther Party. Detective Ralph White of the New York City Police Department was directed to infiltrate the Black Panther Party and submit daily reports on the Party and its members.The NYPD regularly communicated with police departments throughout the country, sharing information on the BPP, its members and activities. The NYPD was also working with the FBI on a daily basis.

FBI Special Agent Henry Naehle

FBI Special Agent Henry Naehle

On August 29, 1968 FBI Special Agent Henry Naehle reported on his meeting with a member of an NYPD “Special Unit” investigating the BPP. SA Naehle acknowledged that the FBI’s New York Field Office (NYO) “has been working closely with BSS in exchanging information of mutual interest and to our mutual advantage.”

An FBI “Inspector’s Review” for the first quarter of 1969 shows that the NYPD, in conjunction with the FBI, had an “interview” and “arrest” program as part of their campaign to neutralize and disrupt the BPP.

The NYPD advised the FBI that these programs have severely hampered and disrupted the BPP, particularly in Brooklyn, New York, where, for a while, BPP operations were at a complete standstill and in fact have never recovered sufficiently to operate effectively. A series of FBI documents reveal a joint FBI/NYPD plan to gather information on BPP members and their supporters in late 1968.

David Brothers

David Brothers

During an unprovoked attack by off-duty members of the NYPD on BPP members attending a court appearance in Brooklyn, the briefcase of BPP leader David Brothers was stolen by the NYPD and its contents photocopied and given to the FBI. Rather than seeking to prosecute the police officers for this theft, the FBI ordered “a review of these names and telephone numbers [so that] appropriate action will be taken.”

That “appropriate action” included an effort to label Brothers and two other BPP leaders, Jorge Aponte and Robert Collier, as police informants.

On December 12, 1968, the FBI’s New York Office proposed circulating flyers warning the community of the “DANGER” posed by Brothers, Collier and Aponte. The NYO proposed that the flyers “be left in restaurants where Negroes are known to frequent (Chock Full of Nuts, etc.)”

BSS later told the FBI that its proposal was successful in that David Brothers had come under suspicion by the BPP.

An FBI memorandum dated December 2, 1968 captioned “Counterintelligence Program” lists several operations during the previous two-week period. It closes by stating that “every effort is being made in the NYO to misdirect the operations of the BPP on a daily basis.”

Dhoruba Bin Wahaad

Dhoruba Bin Wahaad

In August 1968, Dhoruba Bin Wahad, then known as Richard Dhoruba Moore, joined the BPP, and within a few months was promoted to a position of leadership. He was soon identified by the Bureau and by the NYPD as a “key agitator” and placed in the FBI’s “Security Index“, “Agitator Index,” and “Black Nationalist Photograph Album.” FBI supervisors instructed the NYO to “develop better liaison and closer working relationship with the NYCPD” in their investigation of Dhoruba Bin Wahad.

On April 2, 1969 Bin Wahad and 20 other members of the Black Panther Party were indicted on charges of conspiracy in the so-called “Panther 21” case. A NYPD memorandum notes that the Panther 21 arrests were considered a “summation” of the overt and covert investigation commenced in 1966.

In a bi-weekly report to FBI Headquarters listing several counterintelligence operations the FBI reported that to date, the NYO has conducted over 500 interviews with BPP members and sympathizers.  Additionally, arrests of BPP members have been made by Bureau Agents and the NYCPD. These interviews and arrests have helped disrupt and cripple the activities of the BPP in the NYC area. Every effort will be made to continue pressure on the BPP.


In July 1969, the NYPD sent officers to Oakland, California to monitor the Black Panther Party’s nationwide conference calling for community control of police departments. An NYPD memorandum candidly acknowledged that community control of the police, “may not be in the interests of the department.

Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein

Through its warrantless wiretaps of BPP telephones, the FBI learned that the BPP was trying to raise the $100,000 bail that had been set for Bin Wahad, whose release was considered by the BPP to be a priority over the other 20 defendants, due to his leadership role in the organization. Fundraising efforts were impeded by FBI/NYPD counterintelligence operations. For example, following a fund raiser at the home of conductor Leonard Bernstein, the FBI sent falsified letters to those in attendance in order to “thwart the aims and efforts of the BPP in their attempt to solicit money from socially prominent groups…”

Unable to raise bail, Dhoruba Bin Wahad spent the next year incarcerated. The FBI continued to target BPP community programs. For example, the FBI pressured several churches not to institute the BPP’s Free Breakfast for Children Program at their parishes. In September, 1969, an NYPD BSS representative told the FBI that the BPP was disintegrating in New York.

J Edgar Hoover

By March of 1970, the BPP had raised enough money to post bail for the most articulate leaders and chose Mr. Bin Wahad for release. The FBI ordered that he be immediately and continuously surveilled and that donors of bail money be identified. Director J Edgar Hoover reminded his New York Office that the activities of Panther 21 defendants were of “vital interest” to the “Seat of Government“.

Through their warrantless wiretaps of BPP offices and residences, the FBI became aware in May 1970 of dissatisfaction among New York BPP members, including Bin Wahad, with West Coast BPP members. A COINTELPRO operation prepared by the New Haven Field Office and submitted to the FBI’s New York Office consisted of an FBI-fabricated note wherein Bin Wahad accused BPP leader Robert Bay of being an informant. This successful operation resulted in Dhoruba Bin Wahad’s demotion within the BPP.

Aware of his disillusionment, the FBI disseminated information regarding BPP strife to the media and participated in a plan to either recruit Bin Wahad as an informant or have BPP members believe he was an agent for the FBI.


Huey Newton

Huey Newton

In August 1970, BPP leader Huey P. Newton was released from prison. A plethora of counterintelligence actions followed which sought to make Newton suspicious of fellow BPP members, particularly those, like the Bin Wahad, who were on the East Coast.

By early 1971, the plan bore fruit. On January 28, 1971, FBI Director Hoover reported that Newton had become increasingly paranoid and had expelled several loyal BPP members: Newton responds violently…The Bureau feels that this near hysterical reaction by the egotistical Newton is triggered by any criticism of his activities, policies or leadership qualities and some of this criticism undoubtedly is result of our counterintelligence projects now in operation. This operation was enormously successful, resulting in a split within the BPP with violent repercussions.

Fred Bennett (Its About Time Archives)

Fred Bennett (It’s About Time Archives)

In early January 1971, Fred Bennett, a BPP member affiliated with the New York chapter, was shot and killed, allegedly by Newton supporters. Newton came to believe that Bin Wahad was plotting to kill him. Bin Wahad, in turn, was told by Connie Matthews, Newton’s secretary, that Newton was planning to have Bin Wahad and Panther 21 co-defendants Edward Joseph and Michael Tabor killed during Newton’s upcoming East Coast speaking tour. As a result of the split and fearing for his life, Bin Wahad, along with Tabor and Joseph, were forced to flee during the Panther 21 trial.

Afeni Shakur, a Panther 21 codefendant of Bin-Wahad and pregnant with Tupac Shakur declined to go underground with her comrades. On May 13, 1971, the Panther 21, including Dhoruba Bin Wahad, were acquitted of all charges in the less than one hour of jury deliberations, following what was at that time the longest trial in New York City history.

BSS Detective Edwin Cooper begrudgingly reported to defendant Michael Codd that the case “was not proven to the jury’s satisfaction.” Alarmed and embarrassed by the acquittal, Director Hoover ordered an “intensification” of the investigations of acquitted Panther 21 members with special emphasis on those, like Bin Wahad, who had become fugitives.

On May 19, 1971, NYPD Officers Thomas Curry and Nicholas Binetti were shot on Riverside Drive in Manhattan. Two nights later, two other officers, Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini, were shot and killed in Harlem. In separate communiques delivered to the media, the Black Liberation Army claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Immediately after these shootings, the FBI initiated the investigation of these incidents, called “Newkill,” as an extension of their long-standing program against the BPP. Before any evidence had been collected, BPP members, in particular those acquitted in the Panther 21 case, were targeted as suspects.

Hoover instructed the New York Office to consider [the] possibility that both attacks may be result of revenge taken against NYC police by the Black Panther Party (BPP) as a result of its arrest of BPP members in April, 1969 [i.e. the Panther 21 case].

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon

On May 26, 1971, J. Edgar Hoover met with then President Richard Nixon who told Hoover that he wanted to make sure that the FBI did not “pull any punches in going all out in gathering information…on the situation in New York.”

Hoover informed his subordinates that Nixon’s interest and the FBI’s involvement were to be kept strictly confidential.”Newkill” was a joint FBI/NYPD operation involving total cooperation and sharing of information. The FBI made all its facilities and resources, including its laboratory, available to the NYPD. In turn, NYPD Chief of Detectives Albert Seedman, who coordinated the NYPD’s investigation, ordered his subordinates to give the FBI “all available information developed to date, as well as in future investigations.”

On June 5, 1971, Bin Wahad was arrested during a BLA raid of a Bronx after hours “social club“, a NYPD protected after-hours “social” club for local drug merchants. Seized from inside the social club was a .45 caliber machine gun.

Although the initial ballistics test on the weapon failed to link it with the Curry-Binetti shooting, the NYPD publicly declared they had seized the weapon used in May 19. The NYPD now had in custody a well-known and vocal Black Panther leader and the alleged weapon linked to a police shooting.

His prosecution and conviction would both neutralize an effective leader and justify the failed Panther 21 case. But there was no direct evidence linking Bin Wahad to the May 19th or May 22nd police shootings.

Pauline Joseph, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic first introduced to Bin-Wahad by Edward Jamal Josesph (no family relation) became the State prosecution’s star witness. Ms. Joseph first surfaced when she made a phone call to the NYPD on June 12, 1971, supplying her name and address and stating that Bin Wahad and Edward Joseph (a Panther 21 defendant who also jumped bail with Bin Wahad) were innocent of the Curry-Binetti shooting.

She told the police that Bin Wahad “did not do it, either the Riverside Drive [Curry-Binetti] shooting or the 32nd precinct [Piagentini-Jones] shooting…” The first person to arrive at Ms. Joseph’s apartment was NYPD Lieutenant Kenneth Sauer, the head of the 24th precinct detective squad.

Contrary to her subsequent testimony at trial, Ms. Joseph continued initially to state that Bin Wahad was innocent of the Curry-Binetti shooting. Later that day she was interviewed by BSS Detective Edwin Cooper. Joseph repeated that Bin Wahad was innocent. Ms. Joseph was arrested, and committed as a material witness.

For nearly two years she remained in the exclusive custody of the New York County District Attorney?s Office. She was repeatedly interviewed by state and federal authorities. Ms. Joseph, while in the custody of the District Attorney, was recruited as a “racial informant” for the FBI. She was paid for her services and housed first in a hotel and then in a furnished apartment, paid for by the District Attorney. Pauline Joseph, despite her diagnosis as a paranoid schizophrenic, became the prosecution’s star witness in the case.

Dhoruba Bin Wahad was indicted for the attempted murder of Officers Curry and Binetti on July 30, 1971. Although the NYPD and FBI continuously interviewed Ms. Joseph, and prepared written memoranda of those interviews, the Assistant District Attorney represented that, except for a one paragraph statement made on the night of her commitment and her grand jury testimony, there were no prior statements.

The text of Ms. Joseph’s initial phone call was withheld by the prosecution through two trials. No notes of memoranda of the initial, exculpatory interviews by Lieutenant Sauer and Detective Cooper were ever provided to Bin Wahad. Neither were reports of subsequent interviews during the two years she was in custody.

cointelpro stringsAfter three trials, Dhoruba Bin Wahad was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced by Justice Martinez to the maximum penalty of 25 years to life in prison. Years later, In December 1975, after learning of Congressional hearings which disclosed the FBI’s covert operations against the BPP, Dhoruba Bin Wahad filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court, charging that he had been the victim of numerous illegal and unconstitutional actions designed to “neutralize” him, including the frame-up in the Curry-Binetti case.

In 1980, after documents with Bin-Wahad’s name on them turned up in the Fred Hampton law suit against the Chicago Police Department and FBI, the FBI and NYPD were ordered by Federal Judge Mary Johnson Lowe (the first Back Woman appointed to the Federal Bench, and a former member of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund legal team that won 1954 Brown v Board of Education decision that struck down the Separate But Equal standard of segregation) to produce their massive files on Mr. Bin Wahad and the BPP, that they had claimed did not exist.

The FBI and NYPD documents revealed that Mr. Bin Wahad was indeed a target of FBI/NYPD covert operations and, for the first time, depicted the FBI’s intimate involvement in the Curry-Binetti investigation. The “Newkill” file, which was finally produced in unredacted form in 1987, after 12 years of litigation, contained numerous reports which should have been provided to Dhoruba Bin Wahad during his trial.

In a decision announced December 20, 1992, Justice Bruce Allen of the New York State Supreme Court ordered a new trial. The court exhaustively analyzed the prosecution’s circumstantial case, particularly the testimony of Pauline Joseph. The court found that the inconsistencies and omissions in the prior statements contradicted testimony “crucial to establishing the People’s theory of the case“.

The inconsistencies, said the Court “went beyond mere details” and involve “what one would expect to have been the most memorable aspects of [the night of the shooting]”.

On January 19, 1995, the District Attorney moved to dismiss the indictment, acknowledging that they could not prove their case. The indictment was dismissed. After more than 20 years in prison, Mr. Bin Wahad is at liberty today, residing in Accra, Ghana.

Assata Shakur

Assata Shakur

The COINTELPRO off-shoot “Newkill” and later “Chesrob” (an FBI acronym named after Assata Shakur, aka Joanne Chesimard) had other targets as well. Members of the Black Panther Party forced underground by Cointelpro-instigated violence were hunted down by local and federal law enforcement officials.

In the three years after the 1971 BPP split, BPP members, Harold Russsel, Woody Green, Twyman Meyers and Zayd Shakur were killed during confrontations with law enforcement. Others were captured and charged with crimes. All were tried at a time when the public (and juries) knew nothing of COINTELPRO.

During these trials, as in the trials of Dhoruba Bin Wahad and Geronimo Pratt, exculpatory evidence was withheld and other violations of the United States Constitution were committed. However, post-conviction motions on behalf of these former BPP members were unsuccessful and they remain in prison today. They include Anthony Jalil Bottom, Herman Bell, Robert Seth Hayes, Sundiata Acoli, Abdul Majid.. Two of these former BPP members died while in prison: Albert Nuh Washington in 2000 and Teddy Jah Heath in 2001. Both spent over 25 years in prison but were denied compassionate release even in their last days.

Why Racial Justice Always Hung in the Balance

Although COINTELPRO was first exposed during the Watergate period, and incomparably more serious than anything charged against Nixon, it was virtually ignored by the national press and journals of opinion. A review of these programs demonstrates the relative insignificance of the charges raised against Nixon and his associates, specifically, the charges presented in the Congressional Articles of Impeachment.

In the early 1970s, there occurred a seemingly endless series of revelations about governmental transgressions. A “credibility gap” was engendered by the federal executive branch having been caught lying too many times, too red-handedly and over too many years in its efforts to dupe the public into supporting the U.S. war in Southeast Asia.

Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg

This had reached epic proportions when Daniel Ellsberg leaked the “Pentagon Papers,” a highly secret government documentary history of official duplicity by which America had become embroiled in Indochina, and caused particularly sensitive excerpts to be published in the New York Times.

Then on March 8, 1971, a group calling itself the Citizen’s Commission to Investigate the FBI, broke into an FBI office in a small town called Media, Pennsylvania. They subjected the FBI to what the FBI has been habitually subjecting political dissidents to throughout the course of its history. That is, in Bureau parlance, a black bag job. The information they obtained was widely distributed through left and peace movement channels, and summarized the following week in the Washington Post.

An analysis of the documents in this FBI office revealed that 1 percent were devoted to organized crime, mostly gambling; 30 percent were “manuals, routine forms, and similar procedural matter”; 40 percent were devoted to political surveillance and the like, including two cases involving right-wing groups, ten concerning immigrants, and over 200 on left or liberal groups.

Another 14 percent of the documents concerned draft resistance and “leaving the military without government permission.” The remainder – only 15% – concerned bank robberies, murder, rape, and interstate theft.

Among the 34 cases [of infiltration] for which some information is available, 11 involved white campus groups, 11, predominantly white peace groups and/or economic groups; 10, black and Chicano groups; and two right-wing groups.”

Furthermore, “in two-thirds of the 34 cases considered here, the specious activists appear to have gone beyond passive information gathering to active provocation.”

One year later, the political scandal known as Watergate began to unravel, when five men were arrested for breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, located in the Watergate apartment and office complex in Washington, D.C. It was soon discovered that one of the men was employed by the Committee to Re-elect the President (CRP or CREEP) and that the break-in had been planned by two others with close ties to the White House.

In this peculiar and potentially volatile set of circumstances, a government-wide effort was undertaken to convince the public that its institutions were fundamentally sound, albeit in need of fine-tuning and a bit of housecleaning. It was immediately announced that U.S. ground forces would be withdrawn from Vietnam as rapidly as possible. Televised congressional hearings were staged to “get to the bottom of Watergate,” a spectacle which soon led to the resignations of a number of Nixon officials, the brief imprisonment of a few of them, and the eventual resignation of the president himself.

Nixon ResignsThe ousting of Richard Nixon for his misdeeds on August 9, 1974 was described in the nation’s press as “a stunning vindication of our constitutional system.” Yet the Watergate affair — allegedly the media’s finest hour — merely demonstrated their continued subservience to power and official ideology. Until the dust had settled over Watergate, there was virtually no mention of the government programs of violence and disruption or comment concerning them, and even after the Watergate affair was successfully concluded, there has been only occasional discussion.

Beginning in 1974, the Senate held hearings to investigate COINTELPRO and other intelligence agency abuses. No other congressional investigation into these types of matters has been so extensive, either before or since. The Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, commonly known as the Church committee, after Chairman Frank Church, produced a extensive series of reports entitled, “Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans,” encompassing not only COINTELPRO, but also a wide variety of other subjects, including electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, domestic CIA mail opening programs, the misuse of the IRS, the assassination of President Kennedy, covert actions abroad, assassination plots involving foreign leaders, and various topics related to military intelligence.

The Church Committee found that COINTELPRO, presumably set up to protect national security and prevent violence, actually engaged in other actions “which had no conceivable rational relationship to either national security or violent activity. The unexpressed major premise of much of COINTELPRO is that the Bureau has a role in maintaining the existing social order, and that its efforts should be aimed toward “combating those who threaten that order.”

This meant that the Bureau would take actions against individuals and organizations simply because they were critical of government policy. The Church committee report gives examples of such actions, violations of the right of free speech and association, where the FBI targeted people because they opposed U.S. foreign policy, or criticized the Chicago police actions at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Reverend Dr Martin Luther King came from a long line of Black preachers who represented Prophetic Teachings

Reverend Dr Martin Luther King

The documents assembled by the Church committee “compel the conclusion that Federal law enforcement officers looked upon themselves as guardians of the status quo” and cite the surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King Jr. as an example of this. With regard to COINTELPRO, the Church committee’s report was based, it says, on a staff study of more than 20,000 pages of Bureau documents, and included depositions of many of the Bureau agents involved in the programs.

The FBI eventually acknowledged having conducted 2,218 separate COINTELPRO actions from mid-1956 through mid-1974. These, the bureau conceded, were undertaken in conjunction with other significant illegalities: 2,305 warrantless telephone taps, 697 buggings, and the opening of 57,846 pieces of mail.

This itemization, although an indicator of the magnitude and extent of FBI criminality, was far from complete. The counterintelligence campaign against the Puerto Rican independence movement was not mentioned at all, while whole categories of operational techniques – assassinations, for example, and obtaining false convictions against key activists – were not divulged with respect to the rest. There is solid evidence that other sorts of illegality were downplayed as well.

The FBI’s quid pro quo for cooperating in this charade seems to have been that none of its agents would actually see the inside of a prison as a result of the “excesses” thereby revealed. The result was that”The Justice Department has decided not to prosecute anyone in connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 15-year campaign to disrupt the activities of suspected subversive organizations.”

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J. Stanley Pottinger

J. Stanley Pottinger, head of the Civil Rights Division, reported to the attorney general that he had found “no basis for criminal charges against any particular individuals involving particular incidents.” The director of the FBI also made clear that he saw nothing particularly serious in the revelations of the Church and Pike Committees. There is as yet no public record or evidence of any systematic investigation of these practices.

The press paid little heed to the record that was being exposed during the Watergate period and even since has generally ignored the more serious cases and failed to present anything remotely resembling an accurate picture of the full record and what it implies. The object of all this muscle-flexing was, of course, to create a perception that Congress had finally gotten tough, placing itself in a position to administer appropriate oversight of the FBI.It followed that citizens had no further reason to worry over what the Bureau was doing at that very moment, or what it might do in the future.

In 1975 the Senate Select Committee concluded that in order to complete its (re)building of the required public impression, it might be necessary to risk going beyond exploration of the Bureau’s past counterintelligence practices and explore ongoing (i.e.: ostensibly post-COINTELPRO) FBI conduct vis a vis political activists. Specifically at issue in this connection was what was even then being done to the American Indian Movement, and hearings were scheduled to begin in July. But this is where the Bureau, which had been reluctantly going along up to that point, drew the line.

The hearings never happened. Instead, they were “indefinitely postponed” in late June of 1975, at the direct request of the FBI. 133The Church committee cites the testimony of FBI director Clarence M. Kelley as indication that even after the official end of COINTELPRO, “faced with sufficient threat..

written By Dhoruba Bin Wahad

Curfews & Repression in Ferguson Represents Further Consolidation of Right-Wing Power

This is a response post from former political prisoner and Black Panther Dhoruba Bin-Wahad. He was responding to a post I had put up that was dealing with how the corporate media had capitulated to police last night and went along with the curfew and allowed themselves to be placed in Free speech zone pens. I also noted that they were allowing the focus to shift from the murder of unarmed Michael Brown to be one about curfews and debates about whether Ferguson police shot smoke or tear gas..

I also noted how the corporate media was pushing the narrative of a killer cop being a hero. I’m posting this so folks can get a sense of history as he lays out some important things for us to think about especially in the area of right wing consolidation of power and how its being manifested in Ferguson. Below are his remarks..

-Davey D-

Former Political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad

Former Political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad

We discussed this for years haven’t we? The militarization of American Law Enforcement has accompanied the Racist and corporate Right Wing consolidation of Power in America that has taken place over the last 35 years.

It started with Vietnam era Government response in the sixties to wide spread urban rebellions and civil disobedience much like the rebellion presently occurring in Ferguson MO that seemed to occur every summer.

In 1968 the government established LEAA (Law Enforcement Assistance Association) to train local police in counter-insurgency and SWAT, while supplying them with military grade equipment. This was the precursor to today’s Government programs that turn over large quantities of surplus military equipment to wannabee Special-Ops soldiers that permeate today’s Law Enforcement establishment.

There was then as now a “carrot & stick” approach to our struggle against institutional white supremacy. What many people don’t fully appreciate is that this “historical” increased Police militarization was accompanied by special laws such as the “Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act“, on the “stick” side and “War on Poverty” on the Carrot side. The latter produced many of the anti-poverty pimps who would morph into local political leaders and politicians and Black entrepreneurs.

The Black comprador class back then was created to stem the rejection of “non-violence” by Black youth and to misdirect the militant thrust of “Black Power” that gained traction with every Black youth murdered by police, or White owned business burned out of the Black community. It was these Black opportunists who called for more intensified “policing” in the Black community (to fight crime) and who justified the foundation for the mass incarceration we face today.

The sad lesson that seems to emerge from Ferguson is that Black people have been cut off from this history and are therefore susceptible to machinations of the Governor who appointed a Black cop to calm the people of Ferguson MO. The Governor’s rationale? The Black cop grew up in Ferguson! People do not see this move as a sly deception.

For over 3 decades the call for community control and decentralization of police was opposed by police unions, Black politicians afraid of Police Union, helped mislead Black people into meaningless reforms such as toothless “community complaint review boards“, police sensitivity training, and increasing minority presence on local police departments. All of which are patently meaningless reforms.

Today, despite all the Black cops on police forces around the country the institution of policing is more vicious, racist, and reactionary than ever. It’s like the slaves are running the plantation system! Of course the White media’s coverage of Police-Black community relations helped by defining the issues as questions of reform rather than institutional change.

Whenever we (old BPP/BLA, Black Radicals, and supporters of Black Political prisoners) called for referendums to decentralize police, establish residency provisions for cops patrolling our community we were completely ignored – especially by so called community activists and groups with their own self-serving agendas who didn’t want to do the work necessary to build broad coalitions dedicated to the abolition of institutional policing rather than reform of existing police departments.

On Black campuses Black students prefer to mobilize reformist events based on revisionist analysis that proclaim “the New Jim Crow” as today’s plantation system and pay Black intellectuals honorariums to pontificate on their own political cowardice.

To this day, no where in America is there an organized Black mass movement to decentralize police and Public Safety, take over their local command and control structure, and to politically confront the power of the Police Unions who politically protect and defend murderous cops and underscore racist institutional policing. Nowhere. Yet many activists, Black leaders, and all sorts of reactionary celebrities flock to Ferguson to be on the “front lines”, holding their press conferences, when in fact the front line between the people and militarized policing runs right through their own living rooms. We are bombarded with images of “looting” as if that’s significant.

Since when has stealing hair extensions and TV’s expressed anything other than the opportunism of poverty born of material consumerism and ignorance? In comparison the opportunism of many of those who came to Ferguson to project themselves as “Black leaders” is far more pernicious.

Below is an excerpt from the prophet speech Dhoruba gave at the Hip Hop Political Convention in Las Vegas in August 2008. He talked about how the election of Obama would lead to the type of repression we are seeing and experiencing now..

History 101: Black Panthers, Palestinians & The Fight to End Racist Zionism

Former Political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad

Former Political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad

We sat down and spoke w/ former political prisoner, Black Panther (Panther 21) and BLA member Dhoruba Bin Wahad who gave us an incredible in-depth history about the relationship between the Black Panther Party and the Palestinian Liberation Movement.. It’s important history that has been erased in the current conversation as there is a concerted effort by organizations like AIPAC to rewrite history and downplay the militant aspects of the Black Freedom struggles. For example many do not know that there were Palestinian Black Panthers in Palestine. Dhoruba explained that they formed because they felt organizations like the PLO were not militant enough. The breakdown on this is serious history.

Our conversation started off with Dhoruba laying down the history of how Israel formed in the first place and the mass displacement of Palestinian people. He clears up the common misperception of Palestine and Israel being in armed conflict for centuries. Its an excuse given so that people avoid looking at Israel’s human rights violations. It obscures the racist and imperialistic aspects of Zionism which is driving the current conflict. More importantly as Dhoruba points out it takes away from the reality of Israel being a ‘settler state’.

Dhoruba talks about the role colonial powers, in particular Britain and France played in issuing mandates and how they fostered a climate that eventually resulted in the current conflict we see going on now in the Middle East..

Palestinian Black PantherDhoruba detailed how and why the Black Panthers linked up with the Palestinians and the important role that the struggles in Algiers played in bringing folks together. Dhoruba explained his role as one of the liaisons between the Panthers and Palestine’s UN delegation..he also details how J Edgar Hoover and his infamous Cointel-Pro program launched a campaign with a racist name called Operation Hymie where they sent off letters to Jewish organizations asserting the Black Panthers were Nazis and Anti-Semitic. It was an attempt to demonize the Panthers and dampen the relationship and support they had from Jewish folks who did support the Panthers.

We were joined in our conversation by local activist and scholar Danea Martinez who detailed the relationship between Palestine and the Black freedom struggle in South Africa. She gave us an accurate perspective on Nelson Mandela, the ANC (African National Congress) and where and how they intersected with the Palestine struggle. She also gave us perspective on Israel displacing Palestinians in 1948 from their homeland and the formation of Apartheid in South Africa that same year.. Its remarkable and sobering history as she details Zionist Israeli’s long sordid relationship with Apartheid South Africa. Its history that many in power are trying to erase.

Both Danea and Dhoruba talked at length about Arab racism and slavery on the African continent. Dhoruba who lived in Africa for a number of years detailed the racial politics and how they play out both here in the US and abroad. He reminded folks that many of the Arabs we’re  talking about involved in slavery in places like Mali and the Sudan are actually Black. he noted they are ‘Blacker than you and me’ but in appearance but they identify as Arab. He walks us through some of the complexities around this and talks about where and how Anti-Black sentiment emerges within the Arab world. The information he breaks down in this segment is extremely insightful and gives important context to this discussion on Arab racism.

We also talk at length about the impact the cold war had on the liberation struggles in both America amongst Black people and in Palestine. We talk about the role it played in heightening racist Zionism..

We conclude the conversation with a discussion of how Israel’s policies and practices are being exported to US police departments and SWAT teams here in the US.. There is an NYPD office in Tel A Viv and many officers have taken leaves of absence to go fight for Israel’s IDF to hunt down Palestinians. This slaughter has got to stop.

Check out the full Hard Knock Radio Interview below


Update: As we are finishing up this interview we got word that Palestinian futball (soceer) legend Ahed Zaqout  was killed as a result of Israel’s relentless bombings of Gaza. We also got word that 9 members of Dr. Mona El-Farra, of the Middle East Children’s Alliance and the director of Gaza Projects Lost 9 members of her family yesterday.  You can hear her first hand accounts HERE


Former Panther & Political Prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad Speaks on Manning Verdict

Dhoruba Bin Wahad

Dhoruba Bin Wahad

HKR-07-30-13 Yesterday on Hard Knock Radio we spoke with former Black Panther and political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad about the verdict handed down to Private Bradley Manning.

Dhoruba who had long predicted the increase of domestic surveillance and prosecution of whistleblowers, explained that all should take note of the Manning case, because it’s a clear indication of the rising Police State..

He added that the case around Manning needs to be seen in historical terms with the FBI’s insidious Cointel-Pro operation as a centerpiece..

Dhoruba spoke about the current California prison strike, the defeat of the Amash Amendment in Congress and the recent verdict around George Zimmerman. He noted how all those scenarios are very much connected to rising police state. He also talked about the new Black punditry class that have stepped in the role of gatekeeper and how its been dangerous that they have cheer leaded and turned a blind eye to oppressive laws allowing for government intrusions and crack downs on whistle blowers.

Dhoruba also addressed the debate that was to unfold yesterday evening before the Oakland City Council as to whether or not they should accept a new domain awareness center which does face recognition and license plate reading. It’s considered one of the more intrusive surveillance systems in the country.. Dhoruba’s remarks were telling especially when you consider hours after the interview, Oakland City Council agreed with a 6-0 vote to take on the 2 million Homeland Security grant…They’re claiming they will have safeguards, but hell, they said there would be safeguards with programs like Stop and Frisk and look what’s that’s gotten us..

Below is our interview with Dhoruba

Click the link below to Listen

Click the link below to Listen

HKR-07-30-13 Dhoruba Bin Waheed..Intv on Bradley Manning

We are also including the historic Message to the Hip Hop Grassroots address Dhoruba gave in August of 2008 at the .. It was here he gave chilling details of what was sure to come once President Obama took office.. He explained the increase in domestic spying and the rising police state was part of a much larger plan staring back in 1968..for corporate interests using government to consolidate power ..This is a much hear speech, especially now that time has passed and we can compare Dhoruba’s words with what has transpired.


HKR-Message to Hip Hop Grass Roots-Dhoruba

***We just heard from Dhoruba (wed July 31 2013 ) who wanted add this additional food for thought to the interview we just did..***


The work of any revolutionary, radical, or genuine activist is not so much to get others to politically think alike; it is, as a result of analyses, to re-examine assumptions and conventional wisdom. To disrupt the habits of both oppressors and oppressed alike, to dispel ways of working and thinking that lend themselves to the exploitation of people’s daily lives by ruling elites and authoritarian institutions. To deconstruct paradigms of dysfunctional institutional power in such a fashion that ordinary people arrive at a common political resolve, a collective reassertion of their humanity.

It seems to me then, that the real political tasks before us is not reform of the institutional status quo, or even substitute Black anachronistic dogma for White supremacist cultural paradigms of control. This would be reactionary at best and opportunistic at worse.
We have arrived at the present sorry state of affairs not because there wasn’t a historiography of revolutionary African social and political practice in America, but because, more often than not so called “Black Leaders” and sectarian formations failed to engage in and deeply analyze the accumulation and utilization of power by our enemy and the socio-political “deep state” forces that support that power.

Abandoning revolutionary thinkers and activists while embracing reactionary actions and emphasizing legislative reform was subsidized by the state (“War on Poverty, Urban Renewal – the forerunner today’s gentrification of Black communities or “N…r Removal, the “War on Crime” – the opening campaign of Mass incarceration. Each Generation is therefore compelled to reinvent the same solutions to not just racism, but class exploitation as well. To insure this seemingly repetitive devotion to systems of racial dominance and rejection of radical ideas of change reactionary leadership is a prerequisite, Time and time again it has been proven that African’s in America would rather listen to and follow a demagogic politician in a silk suit than a wise person in rags.

The FBI put this precept in different words. In a COINTELPRO document circa 1968, J. Edgar Hoover, the then Director of the FBI, stated emphatically that the “Negro youth must be made to believe it is better to be accepted by white society, a sports figure, or someone who is a success rather than a revolutionary”…. Hoover understood that Perceptions can substitute for Reality. It is manufacturing of Perceptions of progress by mainstream Black leaders, the heirs of Hoover’s programs of repression, that have contributed to the vacuum we now occupy, and in which people are literally led from pillar to post by the likes of the Al Sharptons and various messianic ideologues who proposition that Being Black, Afro-centric, and culturally rebellious is sufficient. We even argue the parameters of the Perceptions of reality – who is Black enough to be called Black or what is genuinely African tradition. Totally facetious discussions when one considers the nexus between African Traditional cultures and the conditions of African people on the Continent.

Traditional Leaders in Africa today are a huge contributing factor to Africa’s disunity and major contributors to legitimizing New Age Imperialism and the comprador political class that inherited a bifurcated Decolonization process. The same holds true in racist America; establishment Black Leaders, Traditional Faith based activists, Afro-centric academia, have all contributed to White supremacy by dreaming out of season – confining a people’s national subjugation to Court litigation and rallies and morality sermons. We no longer share a collective “Freedom Dream” that gives us a common ambition, direction, and inspiration – we sponsor individuality instead, personal success over group success and legal reforms as the arbiter of sovereign thinking. Escape over confrontation is a Perception.

Getting out of the Ghetto is perceived as the first step to personal empowerment, success, while the reality is, individual African’s in America are only allowed to go as far as Black people are collectively permitted to go. Which perhaps is Why Black success is predicated on becoming as acceptable to whites (or as non-threatening to white sensibilities ) as possible and the notion of “giving back” is circumscribed by giving out Turkey’s on Thanksgiving, and encouraging individual charity – never the creation of consortiums to redirect collective surplus wealth (it is estimated that the African population spends over 55 billion dollars in consuming non-essential goods and services, i.e. on music, fashion lines, cosmetics, movies, concerts, sports etc.) this rivals the gross national product of some developing nations.

Power is not the ability to hold a rally, or proclaim broad sweeping overviews that may or may not have political utility, but to “define phenomenon and make it act in a desired fashion”. This is where power begins – to determine what goes down on the streets one must organize where people are at. Which brings me back to organized disruption of socio-political conditions of exploitation and oppression.

The idea that we must disrupt status quo power, criticize seemingly neutral and independent charitable institutions is important to understand The word “disrupt” is important because organized disruption of authoritarian infrastructures is a process – not an episode of spontaneous reactive violence, and random rebellion. The process of status quo disruption can take on many forms – each with its own utility and effectiveness. But if anyone thinks we are going to legislate white supremacy out of existence or that we can reform the NSS into a representative democratic state have only to look at the historiography of the Civil Rights/Black Liberation period of 60s and early 70s and the evolution of so called race and class politics from that period to today.

Today’s headlines of Racial injustice, nullification of Black peoples of humanity, could have well been written in 1967. Nothing fundamentally changed except the dates. AfrIcan-Americans have more political representation in municipal, state, and Federal levels than ever in history – more Black cops and soldiers in uniform than ever, and yet the conditions and dynamics of white-skin privilege remain essential unchanged. Nonetheless that does not mean “reformists” cannot be allies of a radical movement to abolish white supremacy and its political and social mechanisms of control. But it does mean reformism must be challenged every step of the way. Because it is by reducing the radical demands and pressure on status quo power to reforms and political “neutral” charities that white supremacist power retains control over the lives of people of color.

To disrupt racism, domestic colonialism of African people in the US, we must rely on principle first and foremost. Principles that constrain and neutralize meaningless reform by exposing it for what it are the basis for any strategy of anti-repression, anti-containment, and resistance to authoritarian control.

Dhoruba Bin Wahad: What Do We Do Now that Barack Obama is Re-Elected?

Hard Knock Radio logoIt’s always a pleasure to chop it up with author, former Black Panther and political prisoner Dhoruba bin Wahad. His political insights and analysis are always astute as he challenges us to not settle for anything less than justice for those who are oppressed.  Because of Dhoruba’s sharpness, we had to include him in our post-election series of  ‘Where Do We Do Now That Barack Obama Is Re-Elected?‘  He did not disappoint..

Below is our Hard knock Radio interview w/ Dhoruba Bin Wahad..

As you listen to the interview, here’s some background. The opening of our interview starts off with an excerpt from a landmark speech Dhoruba gave in the summer of 2008 at the National Hip Hop Political Convention in Las Vegas. We dubbed ‘A Message to the Hip Hop Grassroots‘.  Here Dhoruba talked at length about a 30 year attempt by far right forces in this country to consolidate power and dismantle gains made under the New Deal and later the Civil Rights Movementt.

Dhoruba Bin WahadDhoruba talked about the rise of a police state where the stripping of constitutional rights would seem normal to a beleaguered population. He also talked about what sort of things we could expect  slave ascends to the slave masters house including increased oppression not just from outside forces angry at a Blackening and Browning America, but also from President Obama himself and interests he represents.  Dhoruba notes that Obama is part of a larger scenario (the American Empire) where Black faces are used to get the masses to buy back into an imperialistic system versus oppose it..

Below is part of the 2008 speech  Message to the Hip Hop Grassroots.. We had the music and historic sound clips to enhance what Dhoruba was speaking about…