[Ppnews] Bogus letter by FBI in 'Omaha Two' case targeted Black Panther leader Ed Poindexter
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sun Feb 8 01:16:29 EST 2009
Original Content at
February 7, 2009
Phantom arrest and bogus letter by FBI in 'Omaha Two' case targeted
Black Panther leader Ed Poindexter
By Michael Richardson
A secret and illegal war against domestic political activists was
waged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the 1960's and 1970's
called Operation COINTELPRO. The 'no holds barred' tactics of
COINTELPRO were designed to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or
otherwise neutralize" the Black Panthers.
In Omaha, Nebraska the chief targets of the FBI clandestine operation
were Edward Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) who
headed the Omaha chapter. J. Edgar Hoover, FBI director, personally
monitored COINTELPRO actions and expressed his dissatisfaction with
the Omaha FBI office in a December 10, 1969 memorandum for inactivity
against the group.
Hoover ordered the Omaha Special-Agent-in-Charge to "give
consideration to counterintelligence measures directed against these
leaders to weaken or destroy their positions." Hoover told Omaha
agents to make up a plan. "Evaluate your approach to this program and
insure that it is given the imaginative attention necessary to produce
Political Research Associates maintain an archive of COINTELPRO
documents, obtained under Freedom of Information requests. The PRA
archives tell part of the story through heavily redacted COINTELPRO
memos censored by FBI personnel.
The Omaha FBI office responded to Hoover's order to be "imaginative"
and devised a plan to interfere with delivery of the Black Panther
newspaper after chapter members picked it up from United Airlines Air
Freight at Omaha's Eppley Airport.
On March 5, 1970, a new plan to harass the Panthers was devised
targeting party chairman Ed Poindexter. In February the group's
newsletter, edited by Mondo we Langa, had an article which said in
part, "Our department Chairman, Ed Poindexter, wishes to extend his
sincere thanks to the people in the Black Colony for their generous
donations to get him out of jail on Wednesday."
Poindexter tells the story of his arrest. "I was arrested for drunk
and disorderly. We had a little party one night to try to de-stress
and let our hair down and have some fun for a change. I had a little
bit too much to drink and my girlfriend had some kind of reaction, she
just had a fit so we rushed her to the hospital. I was standing at
the door of the emergency room and the firemen and the people in the
emergency room had her strapped down on the table. She was
hysterical. A fireman started smacking her back and forth, 'Snap to
girl'. And I snapped. I went in and busted him and knocked him down
and then I lost consciousness."
"The next thing I remember there was like four or five police officers
on my back pulling me away from the door handle. Apparently, they had
got me out of there but I was hanging on to the door handle trying to
get back in. I can remember an officer started clubbing over my wrist
to try and break my hold on the door?.The next thing I remember I was
in jail the next morning waking up."
"I had party members to raise bail to get me out of jail. It was just
a simple assault, disorderly conduct?.We posted some flyers around the
community trying to raise $100 for bail. Later on a notice had been
sent, a letter sent to the community that I wasn't arrested that
night. That it never happened and that we defrauded the community of
$100. I had Jim Carey, an attorney, look into that and he said man
there is no record of an arrest, no record of my girlfriend having
been taken into the emergency room. The whole thing was just erased
from the record. Now that is no accident. It smacks of COINTELPRO.
That is part of that Richard Nixon dirty tricks campaign to try and
discredit us in the eyes of the community."
"But I've got the records in my room, they showed up 30 years later.
I got a couple papers in my room of the arrest. I received a $50 fine
for disorderly conduct."
The COINTELPRO memos of the incident suggest that the Omaha Police may
have cooperated with the FBI and suppressed reports of the hospital
altercation. It is equally possible the FBI memos are fraudulent
since deception was at the heart of COINTELPRO tactics.
On March 5th the Omaha FBI office asked Hoover's permission to author
an anonymous letter about the incident.
"Bureau authority is requested to write an anonymous letter to Black
Panther Party Headquarters stating the above facts; also authority is
requested to make anonymous phone calls to Negro militant [NAME
REDACTED] and local Negro politicians and certain people in the Black
Community stating the above facts."
On March 17, 1970, J. Edgar Hoover requested a copy of the anonymous
letter. Further, Hoover ordered, "Furnish full identities of all
local publications and other individuals whom you request to make
anonymous phone calls to regarding this matter. Advise if calls to
individuals are to be made to a residence or place of employment."
On March 25th the Omaha FBI office submitted the proposed anonymous
letter and requested permission to send it to Black Realities, "a
local Negro publication", and Everyone Magazine, "a monthly Negro
publication published on Omaha's North Side", and the Omaha Star, "a
weekly Negro newspaper."
The anonymous letter, penned by FBI agents in Omaha against Ed
Poindexter, is located in the PRA archive of COINTELPRO documents.
"I wish to report a violation against the people by the leader of the
United Front against Fascism in Omaha, Nebraska. Ed Poindexter
claimed he was put in jail by the Pigs on Feb. 11 and he got donations
from the people to get him out of jail. I gave two bucks. Last week
while in the Pig Department i overheard a Pig laughing and telling
another Pig (Black) how the Black Panther chief Poindexter screwed the
people on the North side. The Pig said Poindexter was not in jail and
he snowed the people getting donations for his bail money. If thats
the kind of leaders you want in the panthers I don?t want to join.
Power to the Pigs if thats how you treat us fellow brothers and
sister. Right On. Former supporter of the BPP."
On April 3, 1970, Hoover authorized sending the bogus letter. "Take
the usual security precautions to insure this letter and mailing
cannot be traced to the Bureau."
"Advise the Bureau and San Francisco of any positive results obtained
by means of this letter. You are also authorized to discreetly make
anonymous local phone calls to the publishers of 'Black Realities,'
'Everyone magazine, and 'The Omaha Star,'?.Use discretion in making
these calls in insure that they cannot be traced to the bureau."
FBI dirty tricks escalated and when Omaha police officer Larry Minard
was murdered on August 17, 1970 by an ambush bomb, Ed Poindexter and
Mondo we Langa were targeted to take the blame for the crime. On
August 19th Hoover ordered Ivan Willard Conrad, FBI Crime Laboratory
director, to withhold a formal report on a voice analysis of the 911
recording of the Minard's killer luring police to a vacant house where
the lethal trap waited.
The two Panther leaders were convicted in April 1971 by a jury that
never heard the withheld 911 tape or knew anything about the FBI
duplicity and targeting of the pair under the clandestine COINTELPRO
Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa were sentenced to life imprisonment
are held at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary where
they both continue to deny any involvement in Minard's death.
Poindexter has a new trial request pending before the Nebraska Supreme
Court. No date for a decision has been announced.
Permission granted to reprint
Authors Bio: Michael Richardson is a freelance writer based in Boston.
Richardson writes about politics, law, nutrition, ethics, and music.
Richardson is also a political consultant.
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