[Ppnews] FBI official in 'Omaha Two' case was media manipulator

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Dec 29 14:07:39 EST 2008

Original Content at 

December 29, 2008

FBI official in 'Omaha Two' case was master media manipulator and 
self-described liar

By Michael Richardson

William Cornelius Sullivan was the chief architect of the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation's clandestine and illegal Operation 
COINTELPRO during the tenure of director J. Edgar Hoover.  Sullivan 
was also a master at media manipulation shaping the news to the 
benefit of the Bureau.

Operation COINTELPRO was a massive, secret, nation-wide operation 
aimed at hundreds of domestic political targets.  Ordered by Hoover 
to "disrupt" the Black Panther Party and other groups by any means 
necessary, FBI agents used a wide variety of illegal and improper 
tactics.  One of the time-tested methods of eliminating the 
leadership of local Panther chapters was obtaining false convictions 
by use of withheld evidence, planted evidence, and false testimony.

Sullivan, an assistant director, was the highest-ranking FBI official 
to admit public knowledge of the 'Omaha Two' case.  Black Panthers Ed 
Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) headed the Omaha, 
Nebraska chapter and were COINTELPRO targets.  The August 17, 1970 
bombing murder of policeman Larry Minard was followed by the 
prosecution of the two Omaha activists for his death and led to their 
conviction following a controversial 1971 trial that was marred by 
withheld evidence and conflicting police testimony.

In October 1970 at a conference of United Press International, 
Sullivan falsely denied the existence of a "conspiracy" against the 
Black Panthers and tried to squelch sympathy for the 
Panthers.  Sullivan told the assembled reporters, "Panther cries of 
repression at the hands of a government 'conspiracy' receive the 
sympathy not only of adherents to totalitarian ideologies, but also 
of those willing to close their eyes to even to the violent nature of 
hoodlum 'revolutionary' acts."

Sullivan also spoke of his knowledge of Minard's death.  "On August 
12, 1970 [sic] an Omaha, Nebraska police officer was literally 
blasted to death by an explosive device placed in a suitcase in an 
abandoned residence.  The officer had been summoned by an anonymous 
telephone complaint that a woman was being beated [sic] there.  An 
individual with Panther associations has been charged with this crime."

What Sullivan didn't tell assembled reporters was that Hoover had 
already ordered critical evidence withheld from the 'Omaha Two' with 
a directive to FBI Crime Laboratory director Ivan Willard 
Conrad.  The 911 tape recording of the killer's voice had been sent 
to FBI headquarters for vocal analysis but Hoover ordered no lab 
report be issued after the testing.

Sullivan was on a special distribution list at the COINTELPRO 
directorate in FBI headquarters where he received various secret 
memos from the Omaha FBI office updating him on the status of the 
investigation and the ongoing deception about the recording of the 
killer's voice.

The jury that convicted Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa never got to 
hear the tape recording or know that Hoover had personally ordered 
evidence about the killer's identity withheld.

The Omaha World-Herald's coverage of the case was apparently 
manipulated to aid the FBI plot to keep quiet about the 911 
tape.  The newspaper initially reported on the tape's journey to 
Washington quoting acting-Chief of Police Walter J. Devere that the 
tape would be a good investigative tool.  However, the Omaha 
newspaper never followed up their lead story on the testing of the 
fatal recording and subsequent articles about the case dropped the subject.

Sullivan was fired by Hoover several months after the Omaha trial 
ended for leaking to the Justice Department information about 
unauthorized FBI wiretaps on Henry Kissinger.  Sullivan retaliated by 
writing a book, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI.  The 
autobiographical account is far from a tell-all and Sullivan's 
self-aggrandizement agenda is apparent.  However, Sullivan does make 
some remarkable admissions.

Although Sullivan is virtually silent about COINTELPRO and does not 
mention the 'Omaha Two' case at all, he boasts about his prowess 
working the news media to manipulate stories.  "Because if this 
network of field offices, and thanks to scores of contacts made and 
maintained by the special agents in charge, Hoover was able to place 
'news' stories--invented and written in the bureau, really nothing 
more than press releases, puff pieces for the FBI--in newspapers all 
over the country.  Our strength was in the small dailies and 
weeklies, with hundreds of these papers behind him."

"Of course, scores of Washington-based reporters printed stories we 
gave them too, and they usually printed them under their own 
bylines.  Some of them lived off us.  It was an easy way to make a 
living.  They were our press prostitutes."

"We also planted stories critical of some of Hoover's favorites 
targets, the CIA for instance.  And of course we placed stories about 
Hoover's congressional critics.  A negative story which appears in a 
newspaper published in a congressman's home district hurts him more 
than any article in the Washington Post."

"Letters went by the thousands to the Jaycees, the newspaper editors, 
the movers and shakers so carefully cultivated as FBI contacts by our 
agents out in the field.  These field agents were also responsible 
for reading any article or letter to the editor that mentioned the 
FBI or Hoover.  Any favorable mention of either in any newspaper in 
America meant a personal letter of thanks from Hoover."

"This public relations operation of Hoover's, this massive attempt to 
control public opinion continues to this day, and is at the very 
heart of what is wrong with the bureau.  Unless it is exposed, until 
every editor of every little weekly newspaper who ever printed an FBI 
press handout realizes how he has been used, the FBI will continue to 
do business in the same old way."

In a rare moment of candor, Sullivan confessed to his 
deceptions.  "The bureau system made liars of us all.  If you didn't 
lie, you couldn't survive."

Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, despite their protestations of 
innocence, were convicted of Minard's killing and sentenced to life 
sentences.  Incarcerated at the maximum-security Nebraska State 
Penitentiary both men continue to deny any role in the 1970 
murder.  Poindexter has a new trial request pending before the 
Nebraska Supreme Court over withheld evidence and conflicting police 
testimony.  No date for a decision has been announced.


Permission granted to reprint

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522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

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