Government is defined as “the means by which state policy is enforced, as well as the mechanism for determining the policy of the state”. Oppression is defined as “the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.” If the two terms are put together, one is left with the following word and definition: Government Oppression; a policy of cruel and unjust treatment enforced by the state for the benefit of the state. Tools of government oppression, as stated from my first installment of “Will the REAL TERRORISTS please stand up?” are “biological warfare, chemical warfare, police assassinations, government cover-ups, and the enactment of laws that strip away civil liberties”. On December 4th, 1969, Chicago Police in conspiracy with the FBI enacted 3 of those above tools.
When one thinks of Chicago, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Most would say Michael Jordan, deep-dish pizza, or Wrigley Field. Ask another segment of the population and they might come up with high crime levels, engrained generational poverty, or police corruption. Rewind the clock to 1969, a time of civil unrest, where the wave of cultural liberalism crashed head on with the wave of cultural conservatism. A time when the world was divided by East vs West, Black vs White, and in this case, people vs pig. In 1956, in order to contain the burgeoning radicalization, The United States Government created the Counter Intelligence Program, more commonly known as COINTELPRO. COINTELPRO’s main objective was to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” any group or persons deemed a “threat” to the United States Government and her interests.
(Black Groups Targeted)
Tactics used by COINTELPRO operatives included wiretapping, infiltrating organizations, spying, mail tampering, falsifying evidence, and, with the case of Fred Hampton, assassination. Below is the FBI director during that period and an example of COINTELPRO literature.
(Jay Edgar Hoover)
(Native American Monitoring)
Fred Hampton was an accomplished leader before he even joined the Black Panther Party in 1968 at the age of 21. While living in Maywood, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, Hampton used his leadership abilities to bring change and peace to the community. Organizing rallies to protest issues, leading the first NCAAP youth chapter in the city, making the push for the town’s first Black pool (for which its now named in memory of him), and serving on his high school’s racial reconciliation board, Hampton was a prime target for the Black Panther Party as a member, and also to the FBI as a threat.
When Hampton became a member of the Black Panther Party, he earned the title of “Chairman Fred” and led one of the most dynamic chapters in the country. The Chicago chapter, like most chapters, led free community clinics, free breakfast programs, children schools, and political education classes.
(Black Panther Breakfast Program)
Believing in self-defense if attacked, decent education, and running free breakfast programs for impoverished children before school, Jay Edgar Hoover decided to label the Black Panther Party “the biggest internal threat to the United States”. Rhetoric like Hoover’s led to an increase in house raids, no knocks warrants, police harassment, and set ups for Black Panther Party members, all of which led to the death of Hampton on December 4th, 1969, as well as party member Mark Clark, leaving 7 critically injured (including Hampton’s pregnant wife). Hampton was just 21 years old. The police arrested the survivors and charged them with attempted murder.
Progressive Lawyer Jeff Haas and his firm the PLO (People’s Law Office) represented the victims & families. What Hass found out during the discovery and consequent trials was that the Hampton raid was not an isolated act of police aggression, but a huge, planned out, top down conspiracy beginning with top ranking FBI officials all the way down to informants and police chief in the CPD. The United States Government was targeting and killing people who did not ascribe to their beliefs, hallmark characteristics of an oppressive police state. The following picture is the actual floor plan of Hampton’s apartment made by COINTELPRO operatives.
In the end, after a decade of trials, Jeff Haas and his team won a settlement for the families, but as Fred Hampton’s mother put it, “they got away with murder”. Police assassinations, government cover-ups, and civil liberty stripping laws are not terms one would usually associate with America, but if one would merely just scratch the surface, what becomes visible is shocking. Fred Hampton was not an isolated event. COINTELPRO was not an isolated event. They were merely warm ups . . .test runs for the future. “Those who don’t know their history are bound to repeat it”. Most people are ignorant of COINTELPRO just like they are ignorant of the National Defense Authorization Act. Most people are ignorant of Fred Hampton just like they are ignorant of Mumia Abu Jamal. Ignorance is not bliss. Wake up America. WE ARE LIVING IN A POLICE STATE.