[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  
effective results."

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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