[Pnews] FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover approved frame-up in 1970 police murder case during COINTELPRO secret war on the Black Panther Party

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 6 21:14:36 EST 2020

Director J. Edgar Hoover approved frame-up in 1970 police murder case
during COINTELPRO secret war on the Black Panther PartyMichael Richardson -
January 6, 2020
[image: Screenshot (42)]J. Edgar Hoover and his written approval to
withhold a FBI Laboratory report on the identity of a policeman’s killer in
Omaha, Nebraska in August 1970 in order to prosecute two Black Panther
leaders. (credits: White House/Federal Bureau of Investigation)

In 1919, J. Edgar Hoover, a Bureau of Investigation supervisor, received a
tip from the Bureau office in the Panama Canal Zone about Jamaican-born
Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.
Hoover, who spent World War I chasing immigrants and radicals, launched
what would become a life-long personal war against black leaders that he
considered undesirable.

Hoover wrote to his superior. “Garvey is a West-Indian negro and in
addition to his activities in endeavoring to establish the Black Star Line
Steamship Corporation he has also been particularly active among the
radical elements in New York City in agitating the negro movement.
Unfortunately however, he has not as yet violated any federal law whereby
he could be proceeded against on the grounds of being an undesirable alien,
from the point of view of deportation. It occurs to me, however, from the
attached clipping that there might be some proceeding against him for fraud
in connection with his Black Star Line propaganda.”

Hoover hired four black undercover agents and went to work penetrating
Marcus Garvey’s organization. As the investigation proceeded, Hoover began
lining up witnesses against Garvey. In 1923, on New Years Day, a key
witness was attacked and shot. Reverend J. W. H. Eason died in New Orleans
following an after-church shooting. The murdered pastor, who had split with
Garvey, was to be a leading witness in the Black Star Line mail fraud case.
According to a Bureau of Investigation source, Garvey announced the
shooting of Eason at Liberty Hall in New York just one hour after it
occurred in New Orleans.
[image: garvey mugshot]Marcus Garvey mugshot when he was at Atlanta
Penitentiary.  (credit: Jusstice Department)

Hoover suspected Garvey of ordering Eason’s murder to silence his rival.
Prosecution against Garvey was ruled out in New Orleans by local
authorities who feared the expense of such an undertaking. Although Hoover
saw Garvey imprisoned and then deported for mail fraud over his back to
Africa promotion, Hoover’s inability to see Garvey prosecuted for murder
was a source of lifelong frustration. The Garvey case shaped and influenced
Hoover’s future counterintelligence directives, he would no longer play by
the rules.

Hoover directed his attack on black America using wartime techniques honed
in World War II espionage cases and later in counterintelligence operations
against the Communist Party in the United States. The clandestine program,
code-named COINTELPRO, was nation-wide in scope with Hoover demanding
results across the country. One Midwestern city on Hoover’s watch list was
Omaha, Nebraska.

In May 1967, Hoover sent a special report on racial problems in Omaha to
President Johnson and warned of the prospects for summer rioting. “Informed
sources consider the present situation tense and rate the possibility of
racial violence “quite high” due to the ill feeling created by the past
incidents and the rapidity with which Negro youths respond to the
leadership of militant malcontents who are not associated with any civil
rights groups.”

That summer, J. Edgar Hoover launched a new counterintelligence program
against so-called Black Nationalists in a memorandum to twenty-three FBI
field offices. “The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to
expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the
activities of black nationalist, hate-type organizations and groupings,
their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters, and to counter
their propensity for violence and civil disorder. The activities of all
such groups of intelligence interest to this Bureau must be followed on a
continuous basis so we will be in a position to promptly take advantage of
all opportunities for counterintelligence and to inspire action in
instances where circumstances warrant.”

“No opportunity should be missed to exploit through counterintelligence
techniques the organizational and personal conflicts of the leadership of
the groups and where possible an effort should be made to capitalize upon
existing conflicts between competing black nationalist organizations.”

“Many individuals currently active in black nationalist organizations have
backgrounds of immorality, subversive activity, and criminal records.
Through your investigation of key agitators, you should endeavor to
establish their unsavory backgrounds.”

“All Special Agent personnel responsible for the investigation of black
nationalist, hate-type organizations and their memberships should be
alerted to our counterintelligence interest and each such investigative
Agent has a responsibility to call to the attention of the
counterintelligence coordinator suggestions and possibilities for
implementing the program. You are also cautioned that the nature of this
new endeavor is such that under no circumstances should the existence of
the program be made known outside the Bureau and appropriate within-office
security should be afforded to sensitive operations and techniques
considered under the program.”

“You are urged to take an enthusiastic and imaginative approach to this new
counterintelligence endeavor and the Bureau will be pleased to entertain
any suggestions or techniques you may recommend.”

Hoover’s secret war on black Americans was now official policy and
considerable Bureau resources were directed to the clandestine program
against unsuspecting citizens.

In March 1968, Hoover ordered Omaha added to the list of FBI field offices
engaged in COINTELPRO operations against “Black Nationalists” raising the
number of offices conducting racial counterintelligence from twenty-three
to forty-one. Hoover reminded agents, “Because of the nature of this
program each operation must be designed to protect the Bureau’s interest so
that there is no possibility of embarrassment to the Bureau.”
[image: paul young]Paul Young was Special Agent in Charge in Omaha,
Nebraska.  (credit: Official photo)

In a memorandum Hoover told Omaha Special Agent in Charge Paul Young that
often anarchists do not join organizations, even subversive ones, because
their nature is to not affiliate thus the need for vigilance.

“It should be borne in mind that even if a subject’s membership in a
subversive organization cannot be proven, his inclusion in the Security
Index may often be justified because of activities which establish his
anarchistic tendencies….It is entirely possible, therefore, that a subject
without any organizational affiliation can qualify for the Security Index
by virtue of his public pronouncements and activities which establish his
rejection of law and order and reveal him to be a potential threat to the
security of the United States.”

In July 1968, Hoover continued to press Young and other supervisors for a
crack down on radicals. “There has been a marked increase in recent months
of bombings and burnings of public buildings and other acts of terrorism
which could logically have been perpetrated by extremist elements of the
New Left.”

“I expect an immediate and aggressive response from you.”

“I have reminded you time and again that the militancy of the New Left is
escalating daily. Unless you recognize this and move in a more positive
manner to identify subversive elements responsible so that appropriate
prosecutive action, whether federally or locally initiated, can be
taken…..I am going to hold each Special Agent in Charge personally
responsible to insure that the Bureau’s responsibilities in this area are
completely met and fulfilled.”

Young responded with a proposal for a gossip campaign against the Black
Panther Party leaders. Hoover cautioned: “The utilization of your sources
and informants to spread gossip in the ghetto area concerning BPP leaders
and members must be done on a selective basis so as to preclude tracing the
origin of the gossip to the FBI. This is an effective but risky maneuver
and you must insure that your informants are not compromised.”

Meanwhile, the San Francisco FBI office informed Hoover on developments
involving Eldridge Cleaver and mentioned Cleaver’s trip to Omaha in August
1968 to establish a chapter of the Black Panthers in the Midwestern city
and a FBI effort to exploit the trip.

“Also, with Bureau concurrence, an anonymous letter was sent to BPP
Headquarters via Omaha, where [Cleaver] was in August, 1968, organizing a
new BPP branch, and where he had temporarily been detained and interviewed
by police, suggesting that the brothers in Omaha were suspicious of
[Cleaver], who had easily gotten out of jail on a local charge.”

“It is believed that the BPP is becoming sensitive to the possibility of
informers. This office will try to ascertain those Panthers who have been
arrested and who BPP thinks might start to talk. We would then formulate
some plan to cast suspicion on the man. We must bear in mind that if the
plan is successful, a gang-type murder may be the result.”

Lethal outcomes did not deter Hoover so long as the crimes could not be
traced to the FBI or its informants. Hoover saw death as a permanent way to
rid America of its domestic enemies and an acceptable counterintelligence
operational option.

In February 1969,Hoover was pleased with the San Diego FBI office and sent
the Special Agent in Charge a complimentary memorandum. The memo revealed
what Hoover expected from field offices. “You are encouraged to continue
your aggressive attacks against the leaders of the Black Panther Party.”

In August 1969, Paul Young informed Hoover of a shake up in Omaha and
introduced a new COINTELPRO target. “Although the BPP in Omaha is
considered defunct by National Headquarters, it appears that this chapter
at a future date will be reactivated possibly under the leadership of
Edward Poindexter who, according to Kansas City, recently arrived in Kansas
City, Missouri, to attend a BPP training school.”
[image: Ed Poindexter mugshot]Edward Poindexter was the leader of the
National Committee to Combat Fascism in Omaha and is currently imprisoned
at the Nebraska State Penitentiary serving a lfe without parole sentence.
(credit: Omaha Police Department)

The next month failure to submit counterintelligence proposals caused Omaha
and thirteen other FBI offices to be ordered to explain what steps had been
taken to exploit membership weaknesses of the Black Panther Party. Hoover
made it clear that he wanted results. “The participation of each office is
expected and necessary in order that the BPP organization is thoroughly

On December 4, 1969, in a FBI orchestrated pre-dawn in Chicago by a special
police squad, Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were shot to
death. Fourteen handpicked policemen, armed with twenty-seven firearms
including a Thompson submachine and shotguns, converged on Hampton’s
apartment at 4:45 a.m. The police fired a barrage into the quiet apartment
killing the two Panther leaders and wounding all of the other occupants.
[image: fred hampton]Fred Hampton was murdered in his bed by a special
police squad.  (credit: Chicago Police Department)

Four days later in Los Angeles forty men of the Special Weapons and Tactics
squad, with more than a hundred regular police as backup, raided the Black
Panther headquarters and other locations at 5:30 in the morning. The
Panthers chose to defend themselves, and for four hours they fought off
police, refusing to surrender until press and public were on the scene. Six
of them were wounded. Thirteen were arrested.

Two days after the raid in Los Angeles, Hoover was unhappy with lack of
action in Omaha and pumped up by the assassinations in Chicago and the Los
Angeles gun battle, Hoover sent Paul Young a stern memorandum. Hoover
demanded “imaginative” action and in the context of the shootings it is
apparent what Hoover had in mind.

“While the activities appear to be limited in the Omaha area, it does not
necessarily follow that effective counterintelligence measures cannot be
taken. As long as there are BPP activities, you should be giving
consideration to that type of counterintelligence measure which would best
disrupt existing activities. It would appear some type of
counterintelligence aimed at disruption of the publication and distribution
of their literature is in order. It is also assumed that of the eight to
twelve members, one or two must surely be in a position of leadership. You
should give consideration to counterintelligence measures directed against
these leaders in an effort to weaken or destroy their positions. Bureau has
noted you have not submitted any concrete counterintelligence proposals in
recent months. Evaluate your approach to this program and insure that it is
given the imaginative attention necessary to produce effective results.
Handle promptly and submit your proposals to the Bureau for approval.”

Young replied to Hoover about Ed Poindexter’s formation of the United Front
Against Fascism. “In response to referenced Bureau letter [12/10/69], the
identities of the leadership of the UFAF are known to the Omaha office.
Omaha is presently giving consideration to some type of
counter-intelligence activity aimed at disruption of the UFAF newsletter or
its distribution and counter-intelligence measures directed against the
leaders of this organization.”

At year’s end, Hoover responded to Young’s recommendation of Poindexter for
inclusion on the Agitator Index. Young had not given Hoover sufficient
reason to include Poindexter on the list. “In view of the fact that no
information is reported which shows the subject possesses a propensity for
fomenting violence, his name is not being included on the Agitator Index at
this time. The subject’s membership in and his position as an officer of
the United Front Against Fascism, the successor to the BPP in Omaha, could
qualify him for inclusion on the Security Index.”

In January 1970, Young assured Hoover that he was participating in the
COINTELPRO program and plotting against Poindexter and the UFAF. “Several
counterintelligence measures aimed against this organization are presently
under consideration and proposals for counterintelligence activities aimed
at disruption of this organization or directed against its leaders will be
submitted to the Bureau by separate communication in the very near future.”

One winter night, Ed Poindexter “let off some steam” and got drunk at a
party. Poindexter’s girlfriend had too much of something and they ended up
at the emergency room of the Douglas County Hospital. A fracas over the way
the girlfriend was being treated led to Poindexter being clubbed by a
policeman. Poindexter remembered regaining consciousness in a cell.

Word got out about Poindexter’s trouble at the hospital when bail money was
collected from the community. The FBI made note of the incident and Paul
Young had a new counterintelligence proposal for Hoover.

“Investigation by the Omaha Division has failed to find any records of
Poindexter being in either the city or county jail during the month of
February. It is believed that the money collected by Poindexter and the
UFAF was done under false pretenses. It is felt by Omaha that the UFAF
needed money and this was the ruse that they used in order to get donations
from the Black Community.”

“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 [REDACTED] and
local Negro publications and certain people in the Black Community stating
the above facts.”

Although Young’s agents could find no record of Poindexter’s arrest,
Poindexter clearly remembered waking up in jail and who bailed him out. “I
even recall the community activist who bailed me out. It was Elroy
Williams, Sr., one of the old school communists who was inactive at the
time, but still supported the party in any way he could.”
[image: Mondo mug]David Rice (later Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa) was
charged with murder and spent the rest of his life in prison A COINTELPRO
victim, Rice narrowly escaped Nebraska’s electric chair. (credit: Omaha
Police Department)E

Co-defendant David Rice (later Wopashitwe Mondo Eye we Langa) also
remembered Poindexter’s arrest. “The Hoover gang faked up a letter to
the *Omaha
Star*, claiming the donations we asked for to get Ed out of jail were
obtained falsely because Ed hadn’t been jailed. We didn’t know, at the
time, who was behind that, but the fact was Ed had been arrested and

After the anonymous letter finally gained Hoover’s approval he added
several instructions. “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.”

“Advise of any positive results obtained by means of these anonymous calls.”

At the end of July a surprise came to Poindexter when a notice appeared in *The
Black Panther* newspaper about Omaha. “The National headquarters of the
Black Panther Party would like to inform the people that the National
Committee to Combat Fascism in Omaha, Nebraska, is no longer functioning as
an organizing bureau of the Black Panther Party.”

The notice provided Paul Young with another opportunity to please Hoover. The
*Omaha World-Herald* published an article on the National Committee to
Combat Fascism reporting that the Black Panther Party severed ties with the
group. The article made reference to the suspension over a critical letter
Ed Poindexter supposedly sent to Black Panther headquarters. The Omaha
newspaper interviewed Poindexter about the matter who responded: “We had no
knowledge of the letter until recently. Our organization had nothing to do
with it.”

Young proposed an anonymous letter to David Hilliard at Black Panther
headquarters in Oakland which accused Poindexter of cooperating with
“Whiteys newspaper.” While that bogus letter was under review in Washington
waiting approval an Omaha policeman was killed in a bombing. A decision was
made the day of the murder, August 17, 1970, that Patrolman Larry Minard’s
death would be blamed on someone other than the killer. J. Edgar Hoover
would have a COINTELPRO proposal with a lethal outcome, Nebraska’s electric
[image: Minard cover photo]Patrolman Larry Minard was murdered August17,
1970. J. Edgar Hoover ordered a report on the identity of Minard’s killer
to be withheld. (credit: Omaha Police Department)

A call was made to FBI headquarters from the Omaha office hours after the
bombing. Assistant Director Charles Brennan was informed by memorandum
about the call concerning the death of Minard. “Omaha Office offered
assistance in covering out-of-state leads and FBI Laboratory facilities
offered. Omaha advised it had notified military and Secret Service, was
following closely, and alerted its racial informants in pursuit of

Brennan was also assured, “Pertinent parts will be included in teletype
summary to the White House, Vice President, Attorney General, military and
Secret Service.”

Young wasted no time in privately talking to Deputy Chief Glen Gates, who
was in charge of the police while the police chief was out of town.
According to a confidential FBI memorandum, Young and Gates discussed a
piece of crucial evidence, the recorded voice of the anonymous caller
captured by the 911 system. The search for truth was over.

Young wrote to J. Edgar Hoover. “Enclosed for the Laboratory is one copy of
a tape recording obtained from the Omaha Police Department.”

“The enclosed tape was recorded from an existing tape recording used by the
Omaha Police Department in their normal emergency telephone calls.”

“Deputy Chief [Gates] inquired into the possibility of voice analysis of
the individual making the call by the FBI Laboratory. He was advised the
matter would be considered and that if such analysis were made and if
subsequent voice patterns were transmitted for comparison, such analysis
would have to be strictly informal, as the FBI could not provide any
testimony in the matter; also, only an oral report of the results of such
examination would be made to the Police Department. [Gates] stated he
understood these terms and stated the Police Department would be extremely
appreciative of any assistance in this matter by the FBI and would not
embarrass the FBI at a later date, but would use such information for lead
purposes only.”

“It should be noted that the police community is extremely upset over this
apparent racially motivated, vicious and unnecessary murder….Any assistance
rendered along the lines mentioned above would greatly enhance the prestige
of the FBI among law enforcement representatives in this area, and I thus
strongly recommend that the request be favorably considered.”

At FBI headquarters, William Bradley, a supervisor, sent Ivan Willard
Conrad at the FBI Laboratory a memorandum advancing Young’s proposal to
withhold a written report on the 911caller’s identity.

“Omaha Office has advised that the Omaha Police Department has requested
laboratory assistance in connection with a bombing which took place in
Omaha 8/17/70. This bombing resulted in the death of one police officer and
the injuring of six other officers and is apparently directly connected
with a series of racial bombings which the Omaha Police have experienced.
The Police were lured to the bomb site by a telephonic distress call from
an unknown male.”

“The SAC, Omaha strongly recommends that the examination requested by the
Omaha Police Department be conducted.”

“If approved, the results of any examinations will be orally furnished the
Police on an informal basis through the SAC, Omaha.”

A handwritten, initialed notation by Conrad stated, “Dir advised
telephonically & said OK to do.”
[image: Ivan Conrad]FBI Laboratory Director Ivan Willard Conrad agreed to
withhold a report on the identity of Larry Minard’s killer. (credit:
Federal Bureau of Investigation)

Hoover was still on vacation when Conrad called him by phone for
instructions. Hoover conducted limited FBI business while on vacation and
was only called on important matters, however Conrad understood the
significance of letting a policeman’s killer get away with murder
necessitated making the call.

Mondo’s view was that Young’s memorandum to Hoover on the day of the
bombing and Bradley’s memo to Conrad two days later were evidence of the
conspiracy against him and Ed Poindexter. “This is pretty clear indication
of cloak and dagger stuff. We want you to do the analysis but we don’t want
you to put the results in writing. Communicate to us this way. So I suspect
that somewhere between that memo and the prior one, the decision was made
that the tape would not be part of the trial. A vital issue, a critical
[image: Mondo FBI file -- Bradley memo 8-19-70 p. 2]Secret memorandum
initialed by FBI Laboratory Director Ivan Willard Conrad authorizing the
withholding of a report on the identity of a policeman’s killer. (credit:
Federal Bureau of Investigation)

Hoover’s inner circle of Bureau top executives were on the distribution
list and all knew of the misdeed to be done in Omaha and none dissented. Three
days later, Bradley sent a second memorandum to Conrad at the FBI
Laboratory about the Minard murder.

“In referenced memorandum [8/19/70], the Director approved a request to
assist the Omaha Police Department in captioned case through the use of
voice comparison examinations by the Laboratory.”

“By telephonic communication 8/21/70, the SAC, Omaha has requested that a
Laboratory Supervisor travel to Omaha for the purpose of furnishing
technical guidance to the Omaha Police concerning the correct techniques in
obtaining known voice samples for comparison purposes and make
recommendations as to what commercially available equipment can be used in
making known voice recordings.”

“The SAC, Omaha, noted that he had been instructed by the Bureau to suggest
steps of possible assistance to the Omaha Police in solving the bombings.
He advised technical guidance of the type requested would provide maximum
immediate assistance, particularly since the existing recording of the
false “bait” complaint to the police is the most important present tangible
evidence in the possession of the police, and he recommended the Bureau
send a Laboratory representative.”
[image: 911 tape]Recording of 911 call that led to policeman’s murder. The
jury never heard the tape before convicting two Black Panther leaders for
the crime. (credit: Scott Blake)

The FBI top directorate was aware and approved of the plan to conceal the
identity of the 911 caller by withholding a formal laboratory report and
instead sending a lab technician to Omaha to direct local police. J. Edgar
Hoover put his own pen to paper and wrote “OK” on the memo followed with
his distinctive “H” initial. The anonymous 911 caller that lured a
policeman to his death would not be sought.

Edward Poindexter and David Rice (Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa) were
convicted of murder at a controversial trial without the jury ever hearing
the 911 recording. Mondo died March 2016 at the Nebraska State Penitentiary
serving a life without parole sentence. Poindexter remains imprisoned,
forty-nine years later, at the prison. Poindexter continues to maintain his

[image: Poindexter 2016 (2)]

*Excerpted from *FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two
story,* in print edition at *Amazon
and in *ebook
Portions of the book may be read free online at *NorthOmahaHistory.com
*The book is also available to patrons of the Omaha Public Library.*
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