(Photo by Michael Richardson)
Mondo we Langa today.(Photo by Michael Richardson)
COINTELPRO and the Omaha Two
--An Interview with Michael Richardson
By Angola 3 News
In 2007, veteran journalist Michael Richardson began writing a series of articles for OpEdNews.com about Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, who are two Black Panther political prisoners known as the Omaha Two. Richardson argues that they were framed for the 1970 murder of a policeman as part of the FBI's notorious counterintelligence program, dubbed "COINTELPRO." This top-secret and illegal operation was a dirty war on the entire US Left, including the civil rights & Black liberation movements.
Illustrating this program's intent, a March 3, 1968 COINTELPRO memo discussed the need to stop "the beginning of a true black revolution," and to "prevent the rise of a 'messiah' who could unify, and electrify, the militant black nationalist movement" Through counterintelligence it should be possible to pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them." Another stated goal was "to prevent the long-range growth of militant black nationalist organizations, especially among youth. Specific tactics to prevent these groups from converting young people must be developed." One specific tactical approach was expressed in an April 3, 1968 communique arguing that "The Negro youth and moderates must be made to understand that if they succumb to revolutionary teaching, they will be dead revolutionaries."
In terms of scale, the FBI's war of repression against the Black liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s was greatest against the Black Panthers. Many Panthers, like Chicago leader Fred Hampton, were assassinated outright, while others were framed for murders they did not commit. A few of these Panthers, like Geronimo Ji Jaga and Dhoruba Bin Wahad, had their convictions overturned and were released, but many of the COINTELPRO survivors remain in prison today.
In addressing why the Panthers were targeted so intensely by COINTELPRO, Noam Chomsky wrote in 1973: "A top secret Special Report for the president in June 1970 gives some insight into the motivations for the actions undertaken by the government to destroy the Black Panther Party. The report describes the party as 'the most active and dangerous black extremist group in the United States.' Its 'hard core members' were estimated at 800, but 'a recent poll indicates that approximately 25 percent of the black population has a great respect for the BPP, including 43 percent of blacks under 21 years of age.' On the basis of such estimates of the potential of the party, the repressive apparatus of the state proceeded against it to ensure that it did not succeed in organizing as a substantial social or political force."
Michael Richardson is now working on a book
about the Omaha Two and an archive of his definitive OpEdNews.com
series about the case is available here.
This year, he began a new series of articles at Examiner.com, exploring
the broader history of COINTELPRO, along with a continued focus on the
Omaha Two, viewable here.