“It was impossible for them to get a fair trial”

Former Nebraska Governor Frank Morrison, David Rice [Wopashitwe Eyen Mondo we Langa] and Edward Poindexter (credits: Omaha World-Herald)

This is Chapter 18 of FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO, and the Omaha Two story, a tale of injustice and two innocent men sentenced to life in prison because they were leaders of a Black Panthers affiliate chapter. Edward Poindexter is currently serving his life sentence at the maximum security Nebraska State Penitentiary, fifty-two years behind bars. Co-defendant Wopashitwe Eyen Mondo we Langa [David Rice] died at the prison in March 2016.

In late-October 1970, a two-day conference on the Black Panther Party was held at FBI headquarters for agent supervisors. An inspection report described the conference.

“Counterintelligence operations and techniques were thoroughly discussed with field representatives….The conference concluded counterintelligence was an effective tool and there was a definite need for counterintelligence operations to neutralize black extremist activities.”i

George Moore passed along field recommendations on updated training that came out of the conference to Charles Brennan . “Our experience over the past year and the growth of our knowledge regarding black extremist activities have resulted in utilization of increasing number of sophisticated techniques, some of have involved a number of our field offices and occasionally Legal Attaches in Canada and Europe.”

“The currently used caption for Counterintelligence Program relating to black extremists, set forth as second caption in instant memorandum, is lengthy and cumbersome. For these reasons, field supervisors recommended it be abbreviated. Recommended field be instructed to henceforth utilize the caption “COINTELPRO – Black Extremists – Racial Matters” in place of the present caption.”ii

J. Edgar Hoover approved George Moore’s recommendation to abbreviate the captions on correspondence and the FBI field offices participating in the “Black Nationalist” counterintelligence program were instructed to begin using COINTELPRO to title their memoranda.iii

On December 8, the anniversary of the raid on the Los Angeles Black Panther headquarters, leader Geronimo Pratt was arrested along with FBI informant Melvin “Cotton” Smith for murder. Smith would later be a chief witness against Pratt.iv

At year’s end, a civilian identification technician logged a color photo into the police evidence room in Omaha. “One photograph…showing Sgt. Jack Swanson and Mr. Ranney with a box containing numerous large sticks of dynamite.” James Perry and Jack Swanson, accompanied by the technician, made a visit to Swanson’s off-site dynamite depot in Iowa. A police report noted the picture was to be held as evidence in the arrest of “Poindexter & Rice.”v

[INSERT COUNTERINTELLIGENCE MEMO]

The annual inspection report of the Domestic Intelligence Division came out in January 1971. Assistant Director Mark Felt gave counterintelligence operations a brief and redacted overview. “Although it may involve harassment at times, it is for the most part much more serious and worthy of our efforts only when it inflicts actual damage on the effectiveness of the enemy.”vi

“Counterintelligence in the black extremist field is a supplement to our investigative activities that cannot be identified as a function of this Bureau because of its clandestine nature….techniques are employed to neutralize organizations and individuals involved in extremist activities that are a threat to the internal security of this country.”

“Counterintelligence operations are supervised on individual case desks as a logical adjunct of our investigative activities. In addition, one supervisor is designated coordinator to insure that operations initiated in different offices do not conflict….All communications authorizing the institution of any counterintelligence operations are routed through Assistant to the Director William C. Sullivan; no operations are initiated by the field without Bureau approval.”vii

George Moore added numbers to the report. “As a result of our investigations and informant penetration along with the cooperation with local authorities, 408 BPP members have been arrested on either Federal or local charges during 1970.”viii

On January 28, 1971, a dictabelt and transcript of the 911 recording was mailed to Paul Young from the FBI Laboratory “for return to Omaha police for trial as per instructions of ASAC [REDACTED].”ix

Reverend Foster Goodlett, grandfather of Duane Peak, was deposed by defense attorneys. Goodlett, who baptized Duane and his five siblings, did his best to keep the teen involved with the church before Duane became homeless in early 1970. “At least each Sunday I went there to pick them up for Church School and Church.”x

Goodlett first learned of Peak’s arrest when the police called to inform him. “Well, they asked me would I go down—they had taken him into custody—and talk with him.”xi

Goodlett was driven to Central Headquarters by the police and then was taken to an interview room with Duane and attorney Thomas Carey, who Goodlett had retained earlier in the week. “Well, we asked him about this matter; and, what we was concerned about, we wanted him, if he was involved in any way that he knew anything about it, to just simply tell what he knew about the matter.”

“Well, as I recall, that—he said that he delivered the suitcase, and this was it, and not knowing just what had been set up.”xii

Goodlett explained he stayed in contact with Duane by making trips to the jail in Fremont where he was being held. The police also brought Duane to the Goodlett home for counsel and prayer.xiii

Goodlett was asked if he knew his grandson was “flirting with Black Panthers.”

“It was my assumption; but he did not admit, you know, that he was, because he would come to my home at various times when we heard that he was, and then he would say that he had not connected with them; that is, to become a member.”xiv

“We didn’t think that he was the instigator of it, such a technical situation…..I couldn’t conceive for one minute that this boy was able to do that; and that’s still my position on that.”xv

Goodlett’s advice to Peak after his arrest was to cooperate with the police. Goodlett was unconcerned with Duane’s right to remain silent, the minister had both body and soul to save as young Peak faced the prospect of the electric chair. “That was my hope; that he would be able to do that; and in fact it’s still my position on the matter; whatever he knows about it, and to what extent he might be involved, just simply tell it as he know and he understands.”xvi

Telling all seemed to be Thomas Carey’s defense strategy as well as he sought a deal for Peak. Goodlett quoted what Carey said at the police station. “Well, there isn’t any need for us to talk longer, because I have told Duane it would be in his best interests to just tell what he knew about.”xvii

Goodlett told about two visits at his home from FBI Special Agent Ed O’Brien. “Well, it seems like it was before and after. Before, he came by and asked if we know anything about his whereabouts; had he contacted us in any way.”

“He had been to our home in that he asked if we found out where he was, or heard anything about his whereabouts, it would be to our best interests to let him know where he was.”xviii

“I told him that Donald said he was at this place.”xix

Former governor Frank Morrison, appointed Douglas County Public Defender in mid-January, announced he would co-counsel the defense of Ed Poindexter; however, he needed more time to prepare for trial. Morrison would later write in his memoir that justice was not be had in the case. “Racial feelings in North Omaha were rampant….It was impossible for them to get a fair trial.”

“I firmly believe that with adequate funds to investigate the case, I could have cleared both Rice and Poindexter in spite of the poisoned atmosphere created by racially inspired rhetoric.”xx

Morrison sought a continuance for the murder trial. Morrison said he could not get up to speed on the case, particularly because of Duane Peak’s conflicting statements. An extension of time was granted.xxi

In a contentious pre-trial hearing, Thomas Kenney offered clippings from the Omaha World-Herald in support of a request for change of venue. Defense attorney David Herzog argued for a move to Lincoln.xxii

Hamilton denied a change of venue and then denied Kenney’s request for a psychiatric examination of Duane Peak. Arthur O’Leary had his own comment to Herzog’s joint request for the psychiatric exam. “Then you are playing games with the Court because you are convinced in your own mind and you know as well as I do that that young man is no more nutty than you or I are.”

Herzog replied, “I am not playing games,” triggering an outburst from O’Leary.

“That is about as much shit as I have heard in a long time. You sit there and take his deposition and discuss philosophy with him for 253 pages and you want to come in here and say he is nutty.”xxiii

Hamilton denied the defense request and said it was not the role of psychiatrists to evaluate trial testimony.xxiv

J. Edgar Hoover wrote to Charles Brennan concerning the annual inspection report of the Domestic Intelligence Division. Hoover complimented Brennan on the arrests of black extremists. Careful review and analysis of your handling of racial matters indicates significant accomplishments have been made. Important increases in the quality and quantity of our informant coverage are most favorable, and highly effective arrests have been made of a large number of dangerous extremists.”xxv

In early March, Judge Donald Hamilton held a hearing on a motion to suppress evidence. Thomas Kenney explained at issue was clothing seized when Ed Poindexter and Mondo were arrested, items from a warrantless search of the National Committee to Combat Fascism headquarters, and items from the search of Mondo’s home.

Kenney called Robert Cecil to testify. Cecil stated the police broke the lock on the front door when they came in the NCCF headquarters and denied having a weapon in his hands. Cecil testified he was then handcuffed and used as a human shield while police searched the rest of the building.

Arthur O’Leary explained the police actions were because it was an emergency search. “What I am trying to get at, there were weapons, there were signs in the house indicating danger and so forth and the police were in a hurry to do what they had to do.”xxvi

O’Leary then questioned Cecil about the term “racist pig” but Cecil turned a taunt back to the prosecutor. “But we used Fascist pig. We don’t use racist pig.”xxvii

Cecil denied seeing any machine guns when attorney Patrick Green suddenly arrived in the courtroom. “Mr. Cecil is currently facing charges under the National Firearms Act in Federal Court and Judge Robinson appointed me as his counsel. I don’t know how it came about that he was called as a witness and interrogated without my being informed.”xxviii

After a recess and discussion with his attorney, Cecil claimed his Fifth Amendment privilege and his testimony ended. David Herzog called Mondo to the witness stand. Mondo briefly testified that he gave no one permission to search his house or take his clothing.

Thomas Kenney called Ed Poindexter as a witness. Poindexter testified he did not give permission for a search of NCCF headquarters nor did he voluntarily give his clothing for analysis. “No, they just told me to get out of it and there was four against me and I got out.”xxix

Jail warden Charles Terry testified that he did not give permission to an agent of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division to take Mondo’s clothing and there was no written record, contrary to jail procedure, of the clothing having been removed. Terry said that if an ATF agent had taken the clothing he would have needed inside help. “Somebody would have to have let him in the clothes room in order for him to get the clothes.”xxx

Arthur O’Leary called Jack Swanson, head of the Omaha police Intelligence Unit, who testified about the focus of his squad. “At that particular time we were primarily interested in the activities of any militant groups in Omaha who might be engaged in any types of civil disorder.”xxxi

“We started a file on the Black Panthers in August 1968.”xxxii

Swanson disclosed he had knowledge of a search warrant for the NCCF headquarters in July 1970. “I was assigned to assist alcohol tax when they served a search warrant.”xxxiii

Swanson continued working closely with ATF agents and took four of them along with seven Omaha policemen on the evening search of Mondo’s house.xxxiv

When asked about preparation of the search warrant for Mondo’s house, Swanson admitted he did not review the affidavit with his commanding officers or a prosecutor who was present at police headquarters. Swanson said the basis for his affidavit was an old tip from a source he refused to name. “I was told at one time that if there was dynamite in town and if the NCCF had it, that David Rice’s house would be one of the places they might store it.”xxxv

“It was just after the arrest of Luther Payne, which we made for possession of dynamite.”xxxvi

“I just didn’t feel that with that information we had enough at that time.”xxxvii

Captain Bruce Hartford described the search of NCCF headquarters. Hartford saw an unremarkable suitcase that Swanson had also examined. “I noticed the suitcase, yes, and I didn’t pay a particular lot of attention to it.”xxxviii

“This suitcase was not brought in.”xxxix

Robert Pfeffer testified next and he also saw the suitcase seen by Hartford and examined by Swanson. However, Pfeffer saw things not seen by the others stating, “there was a little attaché case with wires running from it and a clothespin attached to the wires.”xl

After admitting he did not bother to seize the case with wires and clothespin, Pfeffer was asked why he did not mention the clothespin in his deposition several weeks earlier. Pfeffer testified, “Yes, I did. I am sure I did.” However, despite his certainty, Pfeffer’s testimony contradicted his deposition where he did not mention a clothespin.xli

During a discussion about police reports, Herzog pointed out to the judge the unreliability of two people quoted in the reports.

“I am convinced that Donald Peak and Duane Peak, on separate occasions, although Duane is immaterial at this point, but I was convinced that Donald Peak lies.”xlii

[INSERT MEDIA FBI DOOR PHOTO]

On March 8, 1971, in Media, Pennsylvania, an eight-member burglary team of anti-war activists calling themselves the Citizen’s Commission to Investigate the FBI broke into a satellite Federal Bureau of Investigation office and obtained COINTELPRO documents that would end the clandestine program within weeks. The team had staked out a FBI office in the Philadelphia suburbs after concluding security would be too difficult to penetrate at the main office. Wearing business suits, gloves, and carrying suitcases, the team gained entry with a crowbar when lockpicking attempts failed.

The FBI investigation of the break-in would last years, use over two hundred agents, and fail to identify those responsible. Hoover suspected Daniel and Phillip Berrigan of the crime and expended considerable Bureau resources attempting to make a case against the activist brothers. The document heist was organized by William Davidson, a professor of physics at Haverford College. J ohn Raines, another burglar, explained over forty years later why he participated in the break-in. “We did it because somebody had to do it.”xliii

Ten days after the Media burglary, a representative of the FBI met with Deputy Assistant Attorney General Leon Ulman to discuss a court order prohibiting publication of stolen documents, now-dubbed the MEDBURG files.xliv

Meanwhile, Hoover, seemingly oblivious to the approaching firestorm over the stolen files, sent a letter to FBI field offices entitled “Firearms Acts” emphasizing that agents should be actively investigating firearms violations by black extremists. Hoover was competing with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division for jurisdiction over gun laws. “Agents assigned to extremist matters should thoroughly review all of the criminal statutes involving Federal gun law violations so that they would be in a position to recognize and vigorously pursue possible violations coming to their attention during extremist matters investigations.”xlv

During the third week of March, jury selection in the Minard murder trial began. Two jury panels were first selected for other trials leaving few minority faces left in the juror pool. David Herzog rose to protest. “The population of the City of Omaha is approximately 400,000 inhabitants; that the Negro population within the City of Omaha is approximately 40,000 citizens and residents; that of the number of persons called for jury service, that there are less than the proportion obtained by dividing the number of citizens in each of the general categories and the Negro population, or ten per cent, there are less than ten per cent, drastically less than ten per cent Negroes seated in the Courtroom.”xlvi

Judge Hamilton denied the motion and continued with jury selection identifying for the prospective jurors all of the prosecution staff, defense team, police officers, and possible witnesses. The last witness named was Norma Aufrecht. Although Aufrecht was listed as a potential state witness she was never called and the jury never heard her testify.xlvii

Mondo commented on the jury. “The jury wasn’t all European. There was one African on the jury. He was let on because he stated during voir dire that he had a friend on the Omaha Police Department.”xlviii

The first of the MEDBURG stolen FBI documents to go public was in the Washington Post. George Moore understood what needed to be done and recommended relaxing COINTELPRO operations. “Director authorized submission of 90-day progress letters concerning captioned program for purpose of stimulating thinking in offices where black extremist activities are concentrated. Forty-three offices are currently participating in this project.”

“Since these offices have participated significantly in this program, it is felt we can now relax our administrative procedures by eliminating the 90-day letter. We will not suffer from this discontinuance as continued participation in this program by field is followed by individual Supervisors in Racial Intelligence Section, Domestic Intelligence Division. In addition, the Inspection Division analyzes each office’s participation in this program during field office inspections.”xlix

However, Hoover was not ready to cancel COINTELPRO and instead tightened supervision of the clandestine operation by George Moore’s section in a memorandum to Special Agents in Charge ordering aggressive action. COINTELPRO was a runaway hell-bound train but Hoover ignored the warning signs and roared ahead.

“You must insure that Racial Matters Supervisor, Special Agent Coordinator for this program and Agents assigned to Racial Matters investigations are aware of continued objectives of this program and that meaningful proposals are submitted to the Bureau on a timely basis. Insure that such Supervisor and Coordinator are aggressively and enthusiastically ramrodding this program and that Agents are exercising ingenuity and initiative to accomplish this program’s objectives.”

“You must generate understanding of the objectives of this program and insure your office is participating in it on a timely basis. Extent of your office’s participation in contributing to the program’s objectives will be followed at the Bureau, and your participation will be analyzed during field office inspections.”l

FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO, & the Omaha Two story is available at Amazon and in ebook. Portions of the book may be read free online at Northomahahistory.com. Patrons of the Omaha Public Library also enjoy free access.

i Archive.org, FBI Domestic Intelligence Division-HQ, Vol. 2, p. 142, January 12, 1971

ii George Moore to Charles Brennan, October 29, 1970, Reel 4 Black Nationalist Hate Groups, microfilm, 1978

iii J. Edgar Hoover to Albany, October 30, 1970, Reel 4 Black Nationalist Hate Group, microfilm, 1978

iv Archive.org, FBI Domestic Intelligence Division-HQ, Vol. 2, p. 54-55, January 12, 1971

v OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001365, December 29, 1970

vi Archive.org, FBI Domestic Intelligence Division-HQ, Vol. 2, p. 30, January 12, 1971

vii Archive.org, FBI Domestic Intelligence Division-HQ, Vol. 2, p. 141, January 12, 1971

viii Archive.org, FBI Domestic Intelligence Division-HQ, Vol. 2, p. 57, January 12, 1971

ix Mondo’s FBI file, envelope notation, p. 2, January 28, 1971. Defense attorneys were never informed of the 911 recording return to Omaha from the FBI Laboratory.

x Foster Goodlett, Deposition, p. 6, February 1, 1971

xi Foster Goodlett, Deposition, p. 11, February 1, 1971

xii Foster Goodlett, Deposition, p. 13, February 1, 1971

xiii Foster Goodlett, Deposition, p. 19, February 1, 1971

xiv Foster Goodlett, Deposition, p. 30-31, February 1, 1971

xv Foster Goodlett, Deposition, p. 52, February 1, 1971

xvi Foster Goodlett, Deposition, p. 48, February 1, 1971

xvii Foster Goodlett, Deposition, p. 58, February 1, 1971

xviii Foster Goodlett, Deposition, p. 54, February 1, 1971

xix Foster Goodlett, Deposition, p. 56, February 1, 1971

xx My Journey Through the Twentieth Century, Frank Morrison, p. 40, 2001

xxi Judge Donald Hamilton was appointed to the bench by Morrison when he was governor.

xxii Trial Transcript, Vol. 1, p.67, February 11, 1971

xxiii Trial Transcript, Vol. 1, p.85, February 11, 1971

xxiv Trial Transcript, Vol. 1, p.94, February 11, 1971

xxv Archive.org, FBI Domestic Intelligence Division-HQ, Vol. 2, p. 265, February 12, 1971

xxvi Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p.22, March 3, 1971

xxvii Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p.24, March 3, 1971

xxviii Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 32, March 3, 1971

xxix Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 66, March 3, 1971

xxx Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 74, March 3, 1971

xxxi Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 84, March 4, 1971

xxxii Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 114, March 4, 1971

xxxiii Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 98, March 4, 1971

xxxiv Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 109, March 4, 1971

xxxv Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 130, March 4, 1971

xxxvi Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 132, March 4, 1971

xxxvii Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 133, March 4, 1971

xxxviii Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 163, March 4, 1971

xxxix Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 164, March 4, 1971

xl Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 170, March 4, 1971

xli Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 172, March 4, 1971

xlii Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 182-183, March 4, 1971

xliii John Raines, NBC interview, January 7, 2014

xliv Archive.org, William Sullivan, Vol. 7, p. 114, March 24, 1971

xlv Archive.org, FBI Domestic Intelligence Division-HQ, Vol. 3, p. 137, August 19, 1971

xlvi Trial Transcript, Vol. 1, p. 99-100, March 22, 1971

xlvii Trial Transcript, Vol. 1, p. 107, March 22, 1971. Norma Aufrecht claimed privately she gave Peak, Mondo, and a suitcase a ride a week before the bombing.

xlviii Mondo, letter to author, July 2, 2007

xlix George Moore to Charles Brennan, March 25, 1971, Reel 4 Black Nationalist Hate Groups, microfilm, 1978. Also, Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret War Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement, Ward Churchill & James Vander Wall, p. 38, 1988.

l J. Edgar Hoover memorandum, March 29, 1971, Reel 4 Black Nationalist Hate Groups, microfilm, 1978

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Information Commissioner joins University of London branding many of 159 information requests as vexatious about Tsai Ing-wen thesis as public seeks verification of her PhD degree

The Information Commissioner’s Office of the United Kingdom refuses to process Freedom of Information complaints about the PhD thesis of Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen. (credits: ICO/Hwan Lin)

The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a Determination Notice agreeing with the University of London that a Freedom of Information request is vexatious and need not be responded to. The UL has adopted two lines of defense to avoid public disclosure of information about the controversial 1983 PhD thesis of Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen. The first ploy, unheld by the Information Review Tribunal, is a personal data exemption from the Freedom of Information Act. The second ploy, when personal data is not at issue, is the allegation of vexatiousness.

Although case law requires a high standard for a claim of vexatiousness, the UL uses the excuse freely and without apparent cause. The ICO, whose mandate is to “uphold information rights in the public interest,” has abandoned its mission and readily allows the UL to thwart information requests if they have even a remote connection to President Tsai’s doctoral thesis entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions.

Although President Tsai’s thesis was to have been submitted to the UL’s Senate House Library during the 1983-84 school year, the library never received the dissertation. The thesis never saw the light of day until June 2019, when Tsai submitted an apparent draft version to the London School of Economics Library, 35 years late. At the time of Tsai’s studies at LSE the school was unable to award PhD degrees so the UL gave Tsai a degree on the strength of an oral viva examination. However, neither school, nor Tsai herself, is willing to release the viva report which purportedly approved the tardy thesis.

The mystery of the phantom thesis was compounded by the UL’s false claim the thesis had been received but lost by librarians. The UL has stepped back from that assertion after an Information Review Tribunal judge refused to credit the claim and the school now says it simply does not know why there is not a copy of the thesis in the school’s collection.

The UL’s public announcement about the missing thesis prompted a Taiwanese scholar to question the school further. The FOI request was concise, did not require disclosure of personal data, was modest in scope, and polite, offering no element of vexatiousness.

The UL denial and subsequent ICO Determination Notice have left the Taiwanese requester insulted without any answer to his questions. The ICO ruling outlines the basic facts.

The requester cited a UL public statement: “The University of London has not published this thesis as no physical copy of the thesis was received into the University from the examiners.”

“I am curious to know the meanings behind this reply, which could contribute to a comparative study of the education systems in the UK and the USA. 1. What is the reason the University of London must receive a physical copy of the thesis mentioned above from the examiners before the thesis can be published? 2. Is it true that PhD candidates that require a thesis and oral examination must have a physical copy of their thesis submitted from the examiners to the University in order to be awarded a PhD? 3. In regards to physical copy of the candidate’s thesis submitted from the examiners, is a copy of the successful thesis (a copy of the thesis’ final version revised in light of the examiner’s joint final report after oral examination) or a copy of the initial thesis submitted for the oral examination, or something else? I would be most grateful if you would reply at your earliest convenience.”

The ICO next explains its rationale: “The word “vexatious” is not defined in FOIA. However…the Commissioner’s updated guidance…is designed to protect public authorities by allowing them to refuse any requests which have the potential to cause a disproportionate or unjustified level of disruption, irritation, or distress.”

“FOIA gives individuals a greater right of access to official information in order to make bodies more transparent and accountable. As such, it is an important constitutional right.”

“However, the ICO recognises that dealing with unreasonable requests can strain resources and get in the way of delivering mainstream services or answering legitimate requests. These requests can also damage the reputation of the legislation itself.”

“The University has said that it initially responded to the request using the [vexatious] exemption…as it considered that the request formed part of a concerted campaign of similarly themed requests submitted over 2 years to both the University of London and London School of Economics, designed to further certain theories about the academic record of President Tsai Ing-Wen. It explained that dealing with these requests began to cause an unjustified level of disruption to its services and so it began refusing them from January 2022 under the exemption.”

“The University noted that in their internal review request the complainant stated that they had no interest in Tsai Ing-Wen and merely wanted to compare the UK and US education systems. The University explained that it has received many requests from people who state that their interest is not related to the Tsai Ing-Wen campaign, but who subsequently continue to ask specific questions relating to the issue of Tsai Ing-Wen.”

“The University added that it has received 159 requests relating to the thesis of Tsai Ing-Wen: 25 in 2021 and 134 in 2022. Many requests focus on trivial matters in relation to the thesis, such as questions around packing used for a PhD certificate, the alignment of pages in PhD theses and the embossing seal. 11 requests asked for information relating to the regulations or requirements around submitting a PhD within the University of London. The University explained that it initially responded to many of these requests giving information where available or not covered by other exemptions within FOIA. These responses provoked further questions and requests, some of which asked for substantially the same information, relating to this matter and the volume of requests began to overwhelm the University’s FOI service.”

“The University has made two public statements in which it sets out all information and understanding available in relation to the matter of Tsai Ing-Wen’s PhD award and has highlighted that the information it has already disclosed is available though responses to requests made via the WhatDoTheyKnow website. It added that many of the requesters refer to one another’s requests and responses sent by its FOI team when making their own request, indicating that these individuals are sharing responses to requests.”

Although the ICO accepted the UL’s reliance on the WhatDoTheyKnow website, the ICO ignored the censorship of the website by its MySociety founders and the purge of dozens of Taiwanese researchers seeking information about President Tsai’s thesis, thus reducing the website’s credibility as a public information access portal.

Next up in the ICO rationale is an apparent reference to this blog and alleged “distress” to UL staff: “The University added that, although not applicable to the complainant’s correspondence, it has received a number of aggressive and accusatory emails from requesters on this subject as well as staff names and photos appearing on a blog. This has caused distress to University staff as well as the increased volume of requests.”

“The Commissioner acknowledges that the subject matter may be of public interest.”

“He accepts that, by seeking transparency and accountability, a request will have value or serious purpose.”

Next, improper motive is attached to the requester without any proof of malicious or vexatious intent.

“The Commissioner acknowledges that the University considers that the motive of the requester is to cause undue disruption as part of a wider campaign surrounding the thesis of President Tsai Ing-Wen.”

“The Commissioner notes the University’s view that responding to the request could lead to high numbers of follow on questions from the complainant and other requesters as it has experienced this previously in late 2021 and early 2022. The University has provided examples of aggressive and harassing language used by other requesters on this subject and while this does not apply to the complainant in this case, the Commissioner understands that this is still a consideration for the University.”

“The Commissioner has reviewed the other requests regarding the thesis of Tsai Ing-Wen referenced by the University and noted the similar theme of the questions in the complainant’s request. The Commissioner also notes that the original request includes the title of Tsai Ing-Wen’s thesis and references a response from another requester so he finds it understandable that the University would connect the complainant’s request to the large volume of other requests on the same subject. This supports the argument that the request is in fact part of a wider campaign.”

“He considers that, in the circumstances of this case, this lessens the value of the request and supports the argument that the request is vexatious.”

“In reaching a decision in this case, the Commissioner has balanced the purpose and value of the request against the detrimental effect on the public authority.”

“He has also considered, in light of the nature, and degree, of the dealings between the complainant and the University, whether, at the time, the request crossed the threshold of what was reasonable.”

“In his guidance, the Commissioner recognises that dealing with unreasonable requests can strain resources and get in the way of delivering mainstream services or answering legitimate requests. These requests can also damage the reputation of the legislation itself.”

“Having balanced the purpose and value of the request against the detrimental effect on the University, the Commissioner is satisfied that the request was not an appropriate use of FOIA procedure.”

The ICO ruling, applying a blanket refusal based on vexatiousness signals a new round of litigation in the United Kingdom. Two Upper Tribunal rulings have closed off the Freedom of Information Act to specific questions about Tsai Ing-wen’s thesis, however refusals based on vexatiousness may soon clutter the Information Review Tribunal docket as the public continues its efforts to verify President Tsai’s PhD degree. Already one vexatious denial is before the Tribunal with several more cases on the horizon.

There is presently a request pending with the Prime Minister to reconsider a Cabinet Office refusal to seek amendment to the Freedom of Information Act to close the academic fraud loophole that allows secret examinations of PhD candidates in the United Kingdom.

Republic of China’s brutal White Terror era against Taiwanese was whitewashed by Central Intelligence Agency in 1955 report

Executions by the Republic of China were common in Taiwan during the White Terror era. (credit: Photographer unknown)

The Central Intelligence Agency doesn’t simply gather information, it also analyzes information, and it disseminates information. However, when it comes to Taiwan, what goes in does not necessarily reflect what comes out. Taiwan’s longstanding “strategic ambiguity” of unresolved international sovereignty sometimes turns things upside down and at the CIA that means it is time for counterintelligence or doubletalk.

As the Cold War heated up, the CIA continued to grow its station in Taiwan. In 1951, the “company” became Western Enterprises. The company was the front business for CIA operations. While peace negotiations were underway in San Francisco, two unrecognized Formosan wars were being fought.

The Republic of China was waging a war against the Taiwanese independence movement. The White Terror era of martial law was a brutal display of dictator Chiang Kai-shek’s harsh control of the island. At the same time a clandestine war was being fought against the new People’s Republic of China by the CIA and Chiang’s secret agents. Formosa was the base of operations for air drops of raiding parties into China and Tibet. In 1952, there were fifteen undercover raids from Taiwan funded by the CIA. The secret CIA raids would continue on and off for the next decade while Chaing blustered about recapturing the “mainland” home.

In 1953, the American-organized Black Bats began flying sorties using P-2s, B-17s, and B-26s for a total of 800 secret flights over China. The Black Bats flew until 1967, which were followed by high-altitude U-2 flights until 1974. During the Vietnam War, the largest CIA base outside of headquarters in Langley, Virginia, was the CIA station in Taiwan.

In January 1954, The State Department weighed in with a publication “China in the Shadow of Communism.” The State Department release contrasted “Red China” with “Free China” and was filled with pro-ROC propaganda. By December, a Mutual Defense Treaty was signed with the exiled ROC regime while no efforts to curb the human rights abuses in Taiwan were made by American authorities. Meanwhile, CIA operatives were close witnesses to the suffering of innocents at the hands of the Kuomintang regime.

President Dwight Eisenhower continued the duplicity on January 24, 1955, in a message to Congress. “Since the end of Japanese hostilities in 1945, Formosa and the Pescadores have been in the friendly hands of our loyal ally, the Republic of China.”

On April 16, 1955, the CIA issued a secret report entitled “Morale on Taiwan.” The report downplayed the many political arrests and executions. “Strong countermeasures are being enforced throughout the island.”

The report assured that Communism was being “effectively suppressed.” Of course, the Taiwanese had “some resentment” of the ROC “invaders” but their opinions were of “little importance” because the Taiwanese were “largely passive.” “On the surface the general state of Chinese Nationalist morale remains fairly good despite recent events. We have not detected Communist subversive activity of major proportions on Taiwan, and strong countermeasures are being enforced throughout the island. Nevertheless, the National Government has undergone many frustrations and disappointments during its six years on Taiwan, and adverse psychological forces are almost certainly at work beneath the surface of Nationalist society.”

“The behavior of the Nationalists would depend in large measure on specific US actions with respect to Taiwan, and on US reactions to subsequent Communist moves.”

“The people of Taiwan fall into two main categories, the Taiwanese and the Mainlanders. The former are a largely passive, non-governing element, harboring some resentment against the mainland “invaders” and their past policies, but in present circumstances generally constituting a psychological factor of little importance. Among the Mainlanders, there are four overlapping components: (a) Chiang Kai-shek and his close subordinates; (b) the military and the security forces; (c) the bureaucracy; and (d) non-official persons, including especially the intelligentsia.” “Of these components, the morale of the first two is most important, since they determine political action. Chiang Kai-shek and his close subordinates, by their deeds, their expression of resolve, and by the expectations which they can in part create, determine in large measure the spirit with which decisions are made and implemented throughout the bureaucratic and military chains of command. The military and the security forces constitute the key elements since they will largely determine the effectiveness of defense, and the likelihood of mass defection or a coup d’état. The rank-and-file bureaucracy plays a lesser role in determining morale, as do the intelligentsia, the press, and other non-official elements. Nevertheless, widespread disaffection or demoralization among these groups would tend eventually to weaken the National Government.”

“Surface moods and public utterances do not necessarily reflect the true state of Chinese Nationalist morale and willingness to resist Communist pressures and inducements. The principal factors affecting the state of mind of key groups on Taiwan appear to be the following: (a) prospects for a return to the mainland; (b) prospects for US defense of Taiwan and support of the National Government; and (c) alternatives to a Nationalist return to power on the mainland.” “All elements have been sustained by the hope that the National Government will return to the mainland. For several years, however, actual expectations appear to have been dimmed, notably among the higher civil and military echelons. There has been little assurance at any time among Chinese Nationalist officials that the US, except through involvement in a general war, would assist the Nationalists to establish a beachhead. As long as three years ago officials in private conversations would admit that, contrary to public assurances, they actually harbored little hope of ever returning to the mainland except in the event of general war. More recently, US official statements probably have increased Chinese Nationalist doubts regarding their prospects for a return to the mainland.”

“Chiang Kai-shek is the outstanding symbol of hope for return to the mainland, and the chief creator and perpetuator of this hope. Chiang has been uniquely successful in preserving a sense of unity and purpose on Taiwan. Unlike the situation on the mainland before 1949, there are few sources of independent power or influence within the regime, and politics and personal relationships revolve almost exclusively about his person. His steadfastness in personifying return to the mainland has been responsible for sustaining this objective, however remote or infeasible it might be.”

“Actions which clearly reduce the likelihood of return to the mainland will have an erosive effect on Chinese Nationalist morale. If the Chinese Nationalists on Taiwan come to believe that there could be no return to the mainland, the effect upon morale and upon Chiang Kai-shek’s personal prestige would be seriously adverse. Nevertheless, Chiang would almost certainly be able to maintain his authority. Practically speaking, however, it would be almost impossible for Taipei to acknowledge any settlement which would in fact signify that the National Government no longer had de jure claim to the mainland. While Nationalist officials and civilians no longer live out of suitcases, they have as yet made no serious accommodation to an insular existence. However, certain programs which they have undertaken would tend to facilitate adjustments to continued life on the island.”

“Among the most basic requirements for maintenance of morale on Taiwan is visible evidence of a firm US intention to defend Taiwan and to support the National Government as the legitimate government of China. The Mutual Defense Treaty has largely met the first of these requirements. But with respect to the second, apprehensions exist among the Nationalists. For example, there are doubts as to US intentions regarding the defense of the offshore islands, US attitudes toward the “two-Chinas” formula, and long-term US policy concerning recognition of the Communist regime. Top echelons on Taiwan probably view with alarm what they believe to be a US tendency to avoid direct military engagement with Communist China, and a US willingness to discuss a peaceful solution of the Taiwan Straits problem. They fear that these developments indicate an eventual abandonment by the US of support of the National Government as the legitimate government of China and perhaps even of the independent existence of the National Government itself.”

“On the surface the present general state of morale on Taiwan remains fairly good despite recent events. Aside from some pessimistic editorial comment in the Nationalist-controlled press, there have been few visible evidences of lowered morale. We nevertheless believe that this relatively satisfactory state of morale may be more apparent than real. The adverse psychological forces analyzed above, in particular the disappointments over certain US policies, are almost certainly at work beneath the surface of Nationalist society.”

“Although our intelligence on the subject is not full or conclusive, we believe that Communist subversive activity on Taiwan at the present time is not of major proportions and apparently is being effectively suppressed. The substantial threat which was posed by Communist activities on Taiwan in 1949–1950 has since been markedly reduced by vigorous Nationalist countermeasures. Nationalist knowledge and surveillance of Communist activities is believed good. Countermeasures are probably most effective in the ranks of the military, reasonably so among the civil population at large, and somewhat less effective among high officials on Taiwan.”

“The chances of Communist success in subversive activities depend not only on the general state of morale on Taiwan, but also on the manner in which Nationalist leaders maintain controls, and themselves stand firm against Communist inducements. The chief figure in the Nationalist security system is General Chiang Ching-kuo, son of the Generalissimo. Ching-kuo spent 12 years as a young man in the USSR and his wife is Russian. He is strongly disliked by many Nationalist leaders, and some of them have suggested that, in a future emergency, he might defect or might even try to deliver Taiwan to the Communists. However, Ching-kuo has had opportunity to defect before, he has acted ruthlessly against the Communists, and, most importantly, he appears to have the full trust of his father, the Generalissimo. We believe it highly unlikely that he will defect.” “Chiang is so important to the unity and determination of the Nationalist government that his death or retirement would introduce serious uncertainties into the situation on Taiwan.”

Sadly, Formosa’s unresolved international status at the end of World War II doomed the island to occupation by the Republic of China in-exile for the next seven decades up to the present day, with half of that time under harsh martial law. The ensuing “strategic ambiguity” clouding the island’s sovereignty provided the CIA with an ideal base, where there was little oversight over clandestine operations and little motive to expose the crimes of the exiled Chinese regime.

“Might be prejudicial to the police murder trial”


Omaha Deputy Chief of Police Glen Gates and the Federal Bureau of Investigation COINTELPRO memo implicating Gates in a frame up of Edward Poindexter and David Rice [Wopashitwe Eyen Mondo we Langa] by withholding a 911 recording from a jury. (credits: Nebraskans for Justice/FBI)

This is Chapter 17 of FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO, and the Omaha Two story, a tale of injustice and two innocent men sentenced to life in prison because they were leaders of a Black Panthers affiliate chapter. Edward Poindexter is currently serving his life sentence at the maximum security Nebraska State Penitentiary, fifty-two years behind bars. Co-defendant Wopashitwe Eyen Mondo we Langa [David Rice] died at the prison in March 2016.

The House Committee on Internal Security was one committee that J. Edgar Hoover kept tight control of through relationships with members of the Committee and the exchange of information with staff by FBI agents. The Committee was the successor to the infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities.i

On October 6, an Internal Security Subcommittee hearing opened that focused on “National Office Operations of the Black Panthers and activities in Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska.” Chief investigator Robert Horner was the first witness. Horner prepared a document entitled “Nationwide Survey of Black Panther Party Activities” and testified on his research of the Panthers.

“In 42 cities reported upon 4 police officers had been killed by Panther members. The killers were all arrested. 2 were convicted. 2 are awaiting trial.”ii

“We have established that known Black Panthers have been in possession of explosive and/or incendiary devices. These devices have encompassed a considerable range of variety, in some instances limited only by the ingenuity of their possessors.”

Horner said the survey had generated reports of twenty-seven active Black Panther and National Committee to Combat Fascism chapters which he considered virtually the same organization.

“Yes…the name can change from National Committee to Combat Fascism to Black Panther Party and back again, an example being here in Washington, D.C. where the group started out as the National Committee to Combat Fascism and then was upgraded to the status of a Black Panther Party group, which it is now. Whereas in Omaha, where there was a Black Panther Party group, it was downgraded for inactivity to the status of a National Committee to Combat Fascism and has since been ordered out of existence.”iii

On the other side of Congress there was a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing to “Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act” and “Assaults on Law Enforcement Officers” that called Captain Murdock Platner to testify about the Omaha bombing. Platner was accompanied by Patrolman James Sledge and armed with graphic crime scene photographs.

Senator Strom Thurmond advised Platner to “speak off the cuff” in the absence of a written statement. Platner said he was a twenty-five year veteran of the Omaha Police Department and oversaw the intelligence squad among other duties. Platner told of “hard- core militants” and an unexploded bomb at City Hall. “This was shortly after Eldridge Cleaver had been in Omaha and made a speech in which he advocated the doing away with police officers.”

According to Platner: “Wilfred Crutch Holliday, who was identified as a Black Panther from San Francisco….left Omaha shortly after this and returned to San Francisco, and has been arrested and convicted of assault on a police officer and is in the penitentiary at this time. An informant told us that Holliday appeared before 30 people and about 10 of these were Black Panthers and the rest were just people who were interested in hanging around socially, or something, and the meeting was not going very good. Nobody acted very interested, and he went outside to his car and took a shotgun out of the car and came back in and stood before these people, yelling and screaming and waving the shotgun, and saying “Let’s get whitey, let’s kill the pigs.” At this time, the term “off-the-pig” was introduced into Omaha. Prior to that, the Omaha police had not heard that.”iv

“It is known there were militants from Des Moines, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and San Francisco in Omaha.” Platner described the shooting of Vivian Strong and the rioting following her death. “In June of 1969, an officer received a call of a juvenile—juveniles— burglarizing an apartment in a housing project which is predominantly Negro. The white officer was chasing a suspect whom he had seen come from the window of this apartment. As the suspect was outrunning and about to escape into the dark, he fired one shot at this person, and the bullet struck the suspect in the back of the head, even though the suspect was 139 feet away in the dark. It turned out to be a 14-year-old Negro girl who was killed instantly.”

“Many militants from other cities came into Omaha during this time and attempted to start things. From informants, we learned that all types of assaults and ambushes were planned against officers. Some of the Black Panthers who had been in Omaha from California returned. There were others from other cities. A monitoring system was set up by the Black Panthers and they monitored all police calls, and every time a car was dispatched to an area on a call such as an accident or a fight in the street, or so on, several militants would show up. They would try to get the crowd around the people, around the officers, to do something. They started rumors.”

“This resulted in the police having to fight for their lives just to get out of the crowd or get their cars out. Violators were released, or else were taken away from the officers, and this resulted in quite a few cases having to be just forgotten about, because we were not able to find the parties again; we were not able to arrest on sight. My point is this type of operation against the police has occurred all over the United States, and this is the pattern that is followed, and it seems to me that it has to be a nationwide plan. It has been repeated, I know, in several other cities, from my conversations with other intelligence officers and from what I have read in the newspapers.”

“In August of 1969, the name of Black Panthers was dropped by the Omaha group and a group who called themselves the United Front against Fascism was organized, and Eddie Bolden was fired out of the organization at this time, and they claimed they were sending another man who had been trained in Kansas City or Des Moines and he was supposed to be a lot tougher and meaner and really would get something started. However, almost all of the same people were in this organization as had been in the Black Panthers.”v

“On November 2, 1969, a bomb was exploded at the front door of the junior high school during the night. The militants had been trying to influence the operation and discipline of this school. There was a new Negro principal that had just been appointed in this school who really intended to keep the school going; he wanted to have it a school, not have a bunch of people fighting and trouble rousing all of the time. We felt that this bomb was set off as a warning to the school board.”

“In March of 1970, the Black Panthers in San Francisco issued a statement to the press that they were denouncing the Omaha militants and that they would not have any connection with the Black Panthers anymore. This came up over a letter that was written by one of the men in the Black Panthers in Omaha to the San Francisco chapter. I do not recall offhand what it said. It had something to do with not doing what they wanted them to do. This group reorganized, then; almost all the same people, again, and they called themselves the National Committee to Combat Fascism. This is the name they use at this time. They became very active, and they met very frequently, traveled back almost weekly, Des Moines, Kansas City, and on occasion two of these people went to California to speak with members there. They started in, repeatedly, forcing confrontations with the police which then resulted in several misdemeanor arrests, which they made the most of, saying that we were persecuting these people. This was the type of thing where a Black Panther would be in a car driving alongside of a police car and point a gun at the officer and say, “You are going to die,” with a few slang words thrown in with it. We know that they were buying at this time quite a few pistols, rifles, shotguns, and ammunition. We had information, received from maybe not too confidential a source, that they possessed dynamite, that they possessed hand-grenades, and so far as we know they were trying to buy machine- guns.”

“During this time, the party members sat on the front porch of their house—they rented a house right on the main streets in the Negro district—and they would sit there with rifles across their laps, wearing pistols, a belt, on their side, and, so, they would monitor the police calls, and as the police would go by, on two or three occasions, we had shots from this area fired through a bus and shots fired at the police cars. Nobody was injured. We were unable to find out who actually fired these shots. Still they monitored all of the police calls during this time. During this time also there were several bombings in Des Moines and Kansas City, Mo. Shortly, after a bomb was exploded in a parking lot in the Des Moines Police Department.”vi

“A bomb was exploded in the North Assembly Area, which is an outlying police station….This occurred as rollcall was being held, around 11:30 that night. There were 20 police officers at this rollcall. This bomb was set off on the back side of the building, and if it had been set on the other side, it probably would have collapsed that whole part there, and no telling how many officers would have been injured. There was no officer actually severely injured, just their hearing, and some of the uniforms were dirty and what-not. This bomb was of such force that it cracked this building from end to end, clear from the back toward the front….which I heard, through informants, was done by the Black Panthers.”vii

“About the first of August, a bomb was found in an underpass in Des Moines. This is a bomb that is very simple to make. It was a toolbox and was filled, the tray to the box was filled with nuts and bolts and so on. Two or three sticks of dynamite were placed in the bottom of the toolbox, a cap was placed—a cap or a detonator was put into this dynamite. A small battery was used. The two wires ran to a clothespin, and the clothespin had a small wooden wedge put between them to keep them from making contact.”viii

“A police officer went there to pick it up, and when he opened it he pulled up the tray and the wedge was tied to the tray and he pulled the wedge out, and a sliver of wood caught in this thing and it did not explode. During this time, we were told by people from Des Moines—and by informants that we had in Omaha—that they were talking about the Omaha militants, the Des Moines and Kansas City people were, and we know they were traveling back and forth at this time, and a similar ambush of some sort was to be planned against the Omaha police. A bulletin was issued to all police officers describing the techniques used in Des Moines, asking them to be especially careful of any kind of boxes, or anything such as that that they found.”

“On the 17th of August, at about 2 in the morning, the officers received a call of a woman screaming in a vacant house at 2867 Ohio Street in Omaha. From the information we had obtained before, that some kind of a trap would be placed, officers were dispatched to answer this call, but also cover-officers were sent to cover the surrounding houses in the area to be sure that the others were not fired at out of the dark.”

“We have since arrested three black militants. They have been charged in this assault with murder. From testimony at the preliminary hearing, it is known that two of the suspects made this bomb, and it was made exactly as the one in the toolbox that was made in Des Moines. We know that these two men had been traveling back and forth to Des Moines and Kansas City and that one of them had, on occasion, been to San Francisco. This is all within 2 weeks to 2 months prior to this officer being killed.” ix

“All of the information we have indicates that these militants were taught in Des Moines or Kansas City or San Francisco about how to make an ambush, how to make the weapon, and then how to put it into practice. It is my opinion that the Omaha militants were pushed into doing something drastic in Omaha because they were trying to regain their standing in the national organization. There definitely are connections between militants in Omaha and many other cities in other States. All of the Omaha police officers have, I know, heard many times militants advocating the killing of police officers, off-the-pigs.”

“I believe that we should have had a law for this at the time when Eldridge Cleaver spoke in Omaha and was advocating the killing of police officers, or when Holliday advocated it.”

Platner alleged that militants in Omaha raised money by threatening Near North Side businesses. “Now, they went in there in Black Panther uniform, and some of them carrying bandoliers, and black jackets and caps, and so on, and I’m sure they terrorized quite a few of these merchants.”x

Platner moved on to the topic of informants. “As you probably know, informants are pretty hard to come by in this business. They know if anything happens, or their status is revealed, that they will be done away with in some form or another, either beaten unmercifully or killed. The information we get from these people, they tell us, but we are unable at anytime, have been unable to get somebody who will go to court and testify. They are in fear for their life. We did have, at one time, where we hired informants, but we could not get them to risk their lives, and we did hire people to feed us the information as they could get it. We never got anybody who was in the inner circle of this organization. We could get people to hang around and tell us what was said in the meetings, and so on, but we never could get anybody to tell us what actually happened, and getting your information third and fourth hand, you are handicapped because to get a search warrant, there has to be probable cause, and it has to be from a reliable person. I am not sure we could have found anybody we could have used in this.”

“There were probably 10 cases of this dynamite that was stolen from Des Moines and brought to the Omaha area. We were in contact with a white man who we knew was buying stolen property from these people, and we asked him to ask them about dynamite, and we thought possibly we could buy it. We did eventually buy about 60 sticks of dynamite from them. We were missing one case, which was 10 sticks and which we think was used in this bombing. But dynamite is plentiful in Omaha, and the Omaha area. There are quarries, and you can steal dynamite from almost any of these quarries.”

Strom Thurmond praised Platner for his testimony. “Thank you very much for your testimony, and we appreciate your coming here. Thank you. I think you made a fine contribution.” xi

James Sledge offered graphic pictures of Larry Minard’s charred body and the ruined house. Sledge also described the blast and his injuries. “I got lacerations, perforated eardrums, and lacerations all over my body. Here is just one of them. They are healing up now, abrasions.”xii

Thurmond accepted Sledge’s photographs prompting the committee counsel to express concern. “These pictures of the body are a little ghoulish to put in a public record.”

Examining the pictures Thurmond asked Sledge about Minard’s injuries. “It looks like his legs were blown off.”

Sledge replied with his theory about the blast. “I think he kicked the suitcase which caused the explosion.”xiii

In mid-October, William Sullivan spoke to a convention of United Press International editors and reporters at Williamsburg, Virginia. When asked about communist responsibility for racial unrest Sullivan admitted that no evidence existed of communist instigation of any of the riots that erupted in cities around the nation over the summer and instead blamed extremists.

“The vanguard of black extremism today is the Black Panther Party with its demonstrated proclivity for violence. The party was founded in 1966 ostensibly as a self-defense group against police officers. It has, however, been constantly on the offensive in keeping with its battle cry of “off the pigs”—Panther jargon for “kill the police”. According to Panther thinking, the police are the first target in the program for “liberation” of the black community and the violent destruction of white America.”xiv

The speech would prove to be the last of Sullivan’s FBI career. Hoover was furious with Sullivan and said the speech threatened the Bureau’s budget by elimination of the communist threat.xv

Sullivan’s speech included a denial of counterintelligence actions against the Black Panthers and the only public FBI mention of the bombing in Omaha. Sullivan didn’t have all of his facts correct, he was wrong on the date and number arrested.

“On August 12, 1970, an Omaha, Nebraska, police officer was literally blasted to death by an explosive device planted in a suitcase in an abandoned residence. The officer had been summoned by an anonymous telephone complaint that a woman was being beaten there. An individual with Panther associations had been charged with this crime.”xvi

The day after Sullivan’s speech, Angela Davis was arrested at a mid-Manhattan motel. Davis was unarmed and offered no resistance ending a two-month FBI search for the fugitive. Her experience led Davis to a lifelong kinship with Mondo and Ed Poindexter bringing her repeatedly to Nebraska.

In Omaha, Paul Young sent a memorandum to Hoover on the Minard murder case. Young reminded Hoover that no report from the FBI Laboratory was wanted. “In a preliminary hearing held 9/28/70 in Municipal Court, Omaha, PEAK testified that he had made the telephone call to the Omaha PD telling them that a woman was screaming in a house at 2867 Ohio Street. Police Officer LARRY MINARD was subsequently killed when a bobby trap suitcase exploded as he, with other officers, answered this call.”

“Assistant COP GLENN GATES, Omaha PD, advised that he feels that any use of tapes of this call might be prejudicial to the police murder trial against two accomplices of PEAK and, therefore, has advised that he wishes no use of this tape until after the murder trials of PEAK and the two accomplices has been completed.”

“UACB, no further efforts are being made at this time to secure additional tape recordings of the original telephone call.”xvii

The following day, the House Subcommittee to investigate the Black Panther Party opened another day of hearings. Representative William Scherle of Iowa was present. The Minard murder was big news back home and Scherle wanted to investigate the matter himself. The Omaha Police Department was scheduled. However, no FBI representative would be on hand to testify. Murdock Platner, who testified to a Senate subcommittee earlier in the month, returned to Washington to testify again. Platner read a prepared statement this time that both elaborated on and contradicted his earlier testimony.

“I will outline for you the development of the militant actions in Omaha that led up to the murder of a police officer. Eldridge Cleaver came to Omaha and spoke to about 400 people in a city park. Several Black Panthers from California were in Omaha at this time. One, Wilfred “Crutch” Holliday, stayed on in Omaha for some time. He attended Black Panther meetings and on one occasion, with 30 people in attendance, rushed out to his car and brought in a shotgun, and waving it over his head, shouted, “This is the way to handle the pigs; you should get yourself a shotgun and shoot as many as you can.”

“Cleaver’s speech that he made in the park was mainly about the revolution and violence against police officers.”xviii

“This was one of the first speeches that they had in Omaha by any known militants or especially any Black Panther. He mostly used a lot of four-letter words, cussing the Establishment and cussing the whole police department.”xix

Platner said that Holliday and Eddie Bolden were suspected of placing a bomb that did not explode outside of the Omaha City Hall. Platner noted that Holliday left Omaha shortly afterwards. Platner also mentioned again the shooting of Vivian Strong.

“The next night after the girl was killed rioting and burning started. Several businesses were burned out in the Negro area. This lasted for 3 days. During the entire week militants from other cities came to Omaha. This was established through informants and surveillance of autos with out-of-State plates that were spotted in the area….Cars from California, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado were in the area.”

“The militants obtained radios to monitor police calls. They had several people in cars with monitors, and every time a call was received by a police car in the Negro area a group of militants would show up and start interfering.”xx

“This type of action forced officers to let suspects walk away, or they were taken away from the officers in scuffles with crowds.”

“Eddie Bolden was demoted, and a man named Ed Poindexter took over. Most of the officers and members remained the same. This group still had connections with Kansas City, Des Moines, and San Francisco.”

“On June 11, 1970, a bomb was exploded against an outside wall of the North Assembly police station….This occurred at 11:30 p.m. as about 20 officers were in the building for shift change.”

“On 2 July 1970, a similar bomb was exploded in Components Concept Corporation, a Negro-operated business that made small items on Government contracts….The building was destroyed and the equipment was damaged.”xxi

Platner described the deadly blast in Omaha. “A 16-year-old Black Panther was arrested for the murder and implicated the deputy chairman, Edward Poindexter, and the deputy minister of information, David Rice, of the NCCF party, who were arrested and have been ordered to stand trial in district court for murder. Dynamite similar to that stolen from the Quick Supply in Des Moines was found in the home of one of the above. It is believed it is part of the supply from which the bombs were made.”

Platner told of the July arrests that never were reported to the public. “On July 28, 1970, three young Negroes, one who is an ex-Panther, were arrested with 41 2½-inch by 16-inch sticks of dynamite in the car. This is also similar to the dynamite taken in burglary in Des Moines of Quick Supply.”xxii

“The suspect arrested stated he had found the dynamite hidden in a room of the building rented by the Opportunities Industrial Center and that he took it to sell.”

“Investigating officers found the outline of the boxes in a storage space in the building where the suspect stated it had been.”xxiii

“David Rice was employed as a neighborhood worker until recently fired by Greater Omaha Community Action.”

“Eddie Bolden was employed as a math instructor by Opportunities Industrial Center until he resigned in September.”

Representative Scherle then asked questions about Omaha’s anti-poverty agencies and their hiring practices. Platner replied the police had not been requested to run a background check and would have recommended not hiring Mondo or Bolden. Scherle revealed he tried to influence the hiring policy of Omaha’s anti-poverty programs. “I have made numerous visits to Omaha concerning the poverty agencies, the Job Corps, and other areas that fell under the jurisdiction of our committee. I sent a letter to the OEO asking them about the hiring practices concerning these people a year in advance. They just didn’t do a thing about it.”

“I think the thing that concerns me so much is the great association of militancy with our poverty agencies. I am sure that if they were much more responsible in the people they hire I am sure there would be less damage, a better image as far as agencies are concerned. In reference to the application of Eddie Bolden, we have some names here he gave as references when he sought employment, such as Rawleigh House. Are you familiar with him?”

“Yes, sir; he is the treasurer, the original treasurer of the Black Panther Party, and he is the minister of finance in this National Committee to Combat Fascism at this time.” Platner failed to mention that Duane Peak had identified House as the supplier of the dynamite and suitcase for the bomb that killed a policeman.

Scherle continued with his tirade. “This man just made a monkey out of the program and also legitimate and responsible hiring practices.”xxiv

“I have a letter here concerning David Rice, who had written for underground newspapers, whose history was well known and he also was employed by GOCA, Greater Omaha Community Action. This had been called to their attention numerous times; nothing had been done. I had sent a letter to the OEO once again concerning this person, and finally Reverend Rudolph McNair, who is the head of the GOCA board, fired him for incompetence and being absent on the job and numerous other reasons.”

“I would like to read this letter in the record written to me by a United States attorney, District of Nebraska.”

“I bless you for your activities in turning the cold light of dawn upon those who would destroy our Country’s development. I am particularly distressed that some of these people are beneficiaries from a government that they would destroy.”

“Such a man is David L. Rice, who can be most easily identified by the enclosed clipping out of the Sun newspapers of Omaha, Nebraska, where this bum operates. As you notice, he sneers at the Constitution and its provisions but saw fit to take the Fifth Amendment when called before a Federal Grand Jury inquiring into the installation of a school designed to train young Blacks to bomb, kill and take over the Country, this using the Government he would destroy.”

“The most tragic thing is, this man is an employee of the Greater Omaha Community Action group, financed by O.E.O. money. It causes me to lose sleep to think that I am paying a portion of the salary of this American rat.”xxv

Scherle asked Platner who were “two of the Omaha militants” traveling to Des Moines and Kansas City. Platner answered, “David Rice and Edward Poindexter.”

Platner went on to falsely describe Duane Peak’s testimony at the preliminary hearing and claimed that Mondo supplied the suitcase and dynamite for the bomb instead of Raleigh House. “I can tell you this, that one of the suspects in this, Duane Peak, a 16-year-old boy who was arrested, testified in a preliminary hearing, he testified that David Rice brought a suitcase filled with dynamite to his house or to somebody’s house. I am not for sure just which place; that they removed all the dynamite from the suitcase except three sticks; made the bomb, the triggering device, and so on, and put it together; and then packed the suitcase with newspapers and that he left with this suitcase.”

“Now I am a little bit hesitant to go into the rest of this because there is a trial yet to be held. I don’t know what I should say.”xxvi

Scherle renewed his criticism of anti-poverty agency hiring practices, concluding that the Office of Economic Opportunity played a role in the murder of the Omaha policeman. “I guess Des Moines and Omaha are just as guilty as the rest of the country, that because we have not taken the time to screen and properly hire these people…we end up with a group of questionable characters, murderers in this instance, hired by tax dollars.”

“I can’t help but feel in my own mind that the OEO and the anti-poverty agencies played a very important part in the boobytrap murder of Larry Minard….I don’t know what it is going to take to force them to screen their employees more properly….Because it was not done in Omaha we have a widow.”

Platner replied. “Congressman, I for one, I would like to express my appreciation to you for having brought this out and I will say to put the heat on the people responsible and try to get something done about it. I appreciate it.”xxvii

Platner was asked about the arrests of three men in July with dynamite.

“We received information that a party that had been approached to buy dynamite. We had him buy it and he bought 19 sticks. This was the 2½ by 16-inch sticks. He came back later and said he could buy more of this dynamite. So we set up for him to buy and then were going to move in before it was delivered. We did move in and arrested three young men in a car. In their possession they had 41 sticks of this same type of dynamite.”

“This dynamite had been removed from the original box that dynamite is usually shipped in and it was in boxes from a grocery store in Omaha. So there were three or four different boxes.”xxviii

Scherle praised the police. “I want to say this about the Omaha police. I live right across the river. I think the police in Council Bluffs and Omaha, Nebraska, do a tremendous job, I know what you are faced with; I know what you have to live with. Because of this my sympathies also go out to you.”

“I can assure you that we will do whatever is possible to keep it a safe and sane Midwest. For other parts of the country I think it is too late….My compliments to you, to the chief, and all your associates; we are grateful Captain Platner, very much.”xxix

Representative Richard Preyer then chimed in praising Scherle for his “contribution to these hearings” and thanked Platner for his testimony. “Captain Platner, I want to join Mr. Scherle in congratulating you. You have provided some of the most shocking and outrageous things here and yet you have done it in a perfectly calm manner and have not let your indignation carry you away and fly off the handle. Like good police officers you have stuck very close to the evidence and not jumped way beyond it. Most of the evidence you have recited here is circumstantial evidence, but as you know through experience in the courtroom there is nothing wrong with circumstantial evidence; it can be stronger than direct evidence.”

“So this circumstantial evidence here that you have received comes on pretty strong, the only shipment of this dynamite this year, and that sort of thing, it shows you certainly have prepared your case carefully and calmly and efficiently. So I say you are an example of the kind of police officer we need in this country. You are doing a good job.”xxx

FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO, & the Omaha Two story is available at Amazon and in ebook. Portions of the book may be read free online at Northomahahistory.com. Patrons of the Omaha Public Library also enjoy free access.

i Investigating the FBI, Committee for Public Justice, John T. Elliff, p. 295, 1973

ii U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4981, October 6, 1970. Inconsistent data from the survey suggests a lack of uniform reporting by the responding local police agencies, thus it is unknown if “2 are awaiting trial” was a reference to Poindexter and Mondo.

iii U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4725, October 6, 1970

iv U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Proceedings, p. 76, October 6, 1970

v U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Proceedings, p. 77, October 6, 1970

vi U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Proceedings, p. 78, October 6, 1970

vii U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Proceedings, p. 79, October 6, 1970

viii U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Proceedings, p. 82, October 6, 1970

ix U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Proceedings, p. 83, October 6, 1970

x U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Proceedings, p. 84, October 6, 1970

xi U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Proceedings, p. 85, October 6, 1970

xii U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Proceedings, p. 86, October 6, 1970

xiii U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Proceedings, p. 90, October 6 1970

xiv U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 5060, October 12, 1970

xv Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets, Curt Gentry, p. 660, 1992

xvi U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 5060, October 12, 1970. Sullivan was off by five days and only mentioned a single arrest.

xvii Mondo’s FBI file, Paul Young to J. Edgar Hoover, p. 50, Oct. 13, 1970. UACB is Until Authorized to the Contrary by Bureau.

xviii U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4882, Oct. 14, 1970

xix U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4891, Oct. 14, 1970

xx U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4882, Oct. 14, 1970

xxi U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4883, Oct. 14, 1970

xxii U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4884, Oct. 14, 1970

xxiii U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4885, Oct. 14, 1970

xxiv U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4887, Oct. 14, 1970

xxv U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4888, Oct. 14, 1970

xxvi U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4889, Oct. 14, 1970

xxvii U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4890, Oct. 14, 1970

xxviii U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4895, Oct. 14, 1970

xxix U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4898, Oct. 14, 1970

xxx U.S. House Committee on Internal Security, Proceedings, p. 4899, Oct. 14, 1970

“Turned against those two bloods”


Confessed bomber Duane Peak and the two men he said ordered him to plant a fatal bomb, Edward Poindexter and David Rice [Wopashitwe Eyen Mondo we Langa], leaders of a Black Panther affiliate group. (credits: Omaha Police Department)

This is Chapter 16 of FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO, and the Omaha Two story, a tale of injustice and two innocent men sentenced to life in prison because they were leaders of a Black Panthers affiliate chapter. Edward Poindexter is currently serving his life sentence at the maximum security Nebraska State Penitentiary, fifty-two years behind bars. Co-defendant Wopashitwe Eyen Mondo we Langa [David Rice] died at the prison in March 2016.

Mondo was brought before Municipal Judge Paul Hickman and denied bail. Mondo, who surrendered his freedom, soon lost everything he owned.i

“I think it was shortly after my arrest the house was burned down. Originally they said there was a fire and the house burnt down. Then maybe a week or so later they said the police had determined it was an arson. They were saying maybe the landlord had the house torched for insurance or something like that.”ii

Also in Municipal Court, in a case not covered by the news media, Lamont Mitchell and Luther Payne pleaded not guilty to a charge of possession of explosive substance for the dynamite they were arrested with in July.iii

U.S. Attorney Richard Dier announced the resignation of William Gallup, consequent to the canceled ATF raid of the National Committee to Combat Fascism headquarters.iv

Gallup explained to a reporter he resigned as Assistant U.S. Attorney because he was sick of Washington telling Omaha what to do. Gallup was incensed the ATF raid was called off after he obtained a search warrant.”v

A Justice Department spokesman said the search was called off after the Department asked for information in support of a search warrant. The spokesman said there was a feeling that the search warrant was based on “questionable information.”vi

The allegation that Duane Peak had met with Ed Poindexter at the American Legion club needed to be investigated. A police report detailed the inquiry. Calvin White of the singing group Souls United said Duane Peak was in the group and arrived at the club at 9:30 p.m. “Calvin stated that he and several other boys left at 0030 hours and that Duane PEAK did not leave with him. He assumed Duane PEAK stayed at the dance hall until approximately 0140 hours. Calvin WHITE advised reporting officer that he is positive that Ed POINDEXTER was present at the dance during those hours.”vii

Lieutenant James Perry assigned three officers to interview Duane Peak where he was being held at the Dodge County Jail in Fremont. Robert Pfeffer wrote a report of the interrogation. Duane C. PEAK stated that he met Edward POINDEXTER…and he told me that he had a beautiful plan to blow up a pig.”

“Rawleigh HOUSE brought POINDEXTER to Frank PEAKS house.”

“We then, POINDEXTER, HOUSE and I, Duane PEAK, drove over to David RICE’s house…where POINDEXTER got out of the car, and HOUSE drove to his house…where he went into his house and I waited in the car. He was in the house about 15 minutes and came out carrying a gray Samsonite suitcase, which he put in the back seat of his car….He told me to take the suitcase into RICE’s house and told me to be careful, that it was very heavy. I got the suitcase and cut across the vacant lot behind RICE’s house and entered his house through the back door.”

“When I got in the kitchen POINDEXTER took the suitcase, opened it, and it was full of dynamite sticks. POINDEXTER told David RICE to go downstairs and get the case. RICE went to his basement and returned carrying a cardboard box.”viii

“This was the box that POINDEXTER said that the dynamite came out of.”

“POINDEXTER and RICE took the dynamite from the suitcase into the box, all but three sticks, which POINDEXTER left in the suitcase. RICE took the rest of the dynamite to his basement.”

“POINDEXTER punched a hole into the bottom of the suitcase with a screwdriver, David RICE helped him by holding the suitcase steady.”

“POINDEXTER asked RICE for some paper to pack into the suitcase, and RICE and I went into the frontroom and we balled up some mimeograph paper. While we were doing this POINDEXTER was making the triggering device.”

“POINDEXTER used a red railroad type battery with two springs on top. POINDEXTER said it was all set and used a tool to punch a hole in the front of a stick of dynamite and put in a metal thing with two wires attached. He then put in the paper that Rice and I balled up.”

“RICE then told us that he had to leave, but first POINDEXTER asked RICE where he could leave the suitcase and RICE didn’t want it left at his house at first, but then told POINDEXTER to leave it in the frontroom. RICE then left, it was about 2230 at this time, RICE said he had to go to a party.”ix

“On Friday…I met POINDEXTER, Mary PEAK, William PEAK, Robert CECIL, Dorothy STUBBLEFIELD…in front of the Legion Club. POINDEXTER gave me the key to the suitcase and told me to set it at the house on Ohio Street that night.”

“The key was to lock the suitcase, so the police couldn’t open it easy, if the dynamite didn’t go off. They might set it off trying to open up the suitcase.”

“On Sunday…POINDEXTER was still looking for me and he was real mad I met RICE in the front yard and told him what POINDEXTER wanted me to do.”

“Norma AUFRECHT came to the headquarters and I asked her to give me a ride to RICE’s house, which she did. I got the suitcase from RICE’s frontroom and had AUFRECHT give me a ride to Olivia NORRIS’ house….RICE was talking to someone in front of his house when we left.”x

“I think I told my brother Donald PEAK about it then, what POINDEXTER wanted me to do, and I remember him saying when he saw the little blue wire sticking out the bottom, “I see that you have some party work to deal with.”

“I walked up the alley, went through the back yard and up on the front porch and set the suitcase on the floor of the front doorway. I laid the suitcase on its side with the little blue wire sticking up. I threw the key to the suitcase behind the front door after I locked it.”

“I call the police from a phone on the corner of 24th & Burdette Str. and told the police the story POINDEXTER told me about a colored guy taking a woman into the house.”xi

During the second week in September, Thomas Sledge flew to Washington, D.C. At the ATF Laboratory, Sledge interviewed chemist Kenneth Snow about his testing for dynamite of the evidence submitted from Omaha.xii

Lamont Mitchell had a preliminary hearing for possession of explosives. Jack Swanson was the only witness. Swanson summarized the July arrest establishing probable cause to hold Mitchell for trial.xiii

Paul Young informed J. Edgar Hoover and the Kansas City FBI office that a new member of the Omaha chapter of the National Committee to Combat Fascism was in jail in St. Joseph, Missouri. The individual, whose name was redacted, was arrested after he threatened to blow up a tavern with dynamite. “He was arrested a few blocks away, but had no dynamite on his person. Part of sticks of dynamite were found in area along which subject had fled.” A Omaha police captain and lieutenant were notified by FBI agents.xiv

A month after the Ohio Street bombing, Hoover ordered Young to obtain a better quality copy of the 911 recording. “The Bureau desires a tape recording of the anonymous telephone call received by the Omaha Police Department on 8/17/70 to be used as a training and instructional aid at the Seat of Government.”

“In the communication forwarding the recording to the Bureau, you are requested to furnish the identity of the unknown caller along with any information linking him to racial extremist groups or individuals.”xv

The Omaha Municipal Court preliminary hearing for Ed Poindexter and Mondo was called to order on September 28. Both defendants asked their cases be severed and tried separately but were denied. County Attorney Donald Knowles and Arthur O’Leary represented the prosecution, Public Defender A.Q. Wolf and Thomas Kenney represented Poindexter, with David Herzog representing Mondo.

Duane Peak was called to testify. Herzog immediately objected to any testimony by Peak because he was a co-defendant, unreliable, and a minor. The judge overruled the objection stating he did not know anything about Peak. “I have no charge against this young man so I don’t know anything about him.”xvi

O’Leary asked Peak about seeing Ed Poindexter a week before the murder. Peak couldn’t remember. “I don’t think I remember seeing him.”xvii

Peak also couldn’t remember seeing Poindexter at the American Legion on the Friday before the bombing. Peak couldn’t remember giving a deposition to O’Leary a month earlier where he purportedly did remember. Nor did Peak remember giving O’Leary a statement during an interrogation a week earlier. Peak also claimed to not remember O’Leary’s trip to the jail in Fremont.

Knowles had enough and stopped the questioning. “I note, Your Honor, from looking around the Courtroom, that this witness’ lawyer is not here. I would like your permission for a continuance to the time that we can get his lawyer here. I think he should be here with him.”xviii

When the preliminary hearing resumed Donald Knowles made a statement, apparently because Peak was still not ready to cooperate with the prosecution. “I understand that the Court’s ruling was that we were allowed to withdraw the witness that was on the stand this morning due to the fact that he had taken us by surprise and we are allowed to proceed now with other witnesses.”xix

Jack Swanson testified his search of Mondo’s home revealed fourteen sticks of dynamite.

“I was given information by a party who had given reliable information in the past that David Rice had explosives in his house and the necessary elements to make a bomb.”xx

Swanson said that no one was found at or near Mondo’s house the night of the search, not mentioning the detention of Mondo’s brother Michael and a friend, or the shots fired at an unknown third person.xxi

Swanson testified he found dynamite in the basement. “In the basement against the north wall in what you would call a kind of a cut-out in the basement down there. It was a cut-away and you had to look back in there.”xxii

“The sticks were laid in the box and it was a dynamite box and they were just in there like they would have been shipped.”

Swanson said one suitcase was found at the residence but it was not seized as evidence.xxiii

Doctor Richard Wilson, a pathologist, was the next witness. The courtroom was silent as the doctor worked his way through gruesome testimony. “The most striking external finding was the fact that the head was completely disrupted and the major portion of the brain was absent. The skull was laid open with the right side of the face laid back and there was virtually nothing inside.”xxiv

“The entire chest and abdomen above the belt were covered with dirt and dust and what appeared to be fragments of wood and plaster and various objects, some of which were embedded in the skin. There were some large lacerations….There were compound fractures of both legs of the lower portions so that the bones were sticking out and the muscle extensively exposed on the lower right leg….The feet both showed fractures of the bones rather extensively.”xxv

Duane Peak returned to the witness stand, wearing sun glasses. The Omaha World-Herald reported that Peak’s hands trembled and his answers were whispers.xxvi

Peak admitted conferring with three people during the morning recess; his lawyer, his brother Donald, and his grandfather, Foster Goodlett. Objections were made against any further testimony by Peak because of the visits. The judge allowed Peak to testify. “The young man is represented by competent counsel and I don’t know what he advised him but he has been represented and he has also conferred with his grandfather, who is a minister and whom I have known for a long time and I don’t know what advice he gave him but your motion is overruled and we will see what the Defendant testifies to.”

In the morning session, the judge said Peak was a young man facing no known charges. Peak was now a “Defendant” in the case. Peak’s testimony also changed during the recess. Now Peak remembered a conversation outside NCCF headquarters with Ed Poindexter about a bomb. “He called me outside and said he wanted to show me how to make a bomb.”

Peak said Poindexter told him to meet that evening at Frank Peak’s house. “He met me there with Rollie House.”xxvii

Duane claimed that from Frank’s home he went with House and Poindexter to Mondo’s residence where Poindexter got out of the vehicle. “We went up to Rollie House’s house. Rollie brought a suitcase out from the house.”xxviii

Peak said House returned him to Mondo’s home where Peak claimed that Poindexter opened the suitcase to reveal dynamite. “Poindexter took the dynamite out of the suitcase and put it in a box.”xxix

Peak’s story about construction of the bomb changed from his earlier versions. Peak said he and Mondo assisted Poindexter. Peak also said that Poindexter wanted to plant the bomb that night but couldn’t get a ride. According to Peak, at an encounter with Poindexter about 11:00 p.m. on Friday night at the American Legion Club, Peak was instructed to deliver the bomb to Ohio Street.xxx

Peak said he retrieved the suitcase and took it to Olivia Norris’ house where he told his brother Donald to stay away from the suitcase. From there Peak took the suitcase to sister Delia’s apartment with sister Theresa giving him a ride. Peak claimed he examined the suitcase in the bathroom at Delia’s before she gave him a ride to Ohio Street.xxxi

Under cross-examination by Thomas Kenney, Peak admitted telling the police a different story when first questioned. Peak said he was threatened with the electric chair during his first interrogation.

David Herzog asked Peak about his arrest. Peak said he was taken to the police station where he met with police officers and one other person. “There was one from the FBI.”xxxii

“The FBI arrested me.”xxxiii

Peak said police twice talked to him about being executed in the electric chair. “They said I was sitting in the electric chair so I had better tell the truth.”xxxiv

“I didn’t have a chance.”xxxv

Peak admitted he had been coached about his confession by Arthur O’Leary in preparation for the hearing. Peak said his attorney was not present for the session with O’Leary. Herzog asked Peak to remove his sunglasses. Ernie Chambers was there and described the scene in an interview. “When he came back in the afternoon, his face was swollen around his eyes, he had glasses on….When Duane took his glasses off his eyes were red, you could see he had been crying, and there was an audible gasp in the courtroom.”

“His answers were scarcely audible. A young man who knew nothing about anything in the morning and suddenly gave the answers that the police, the prosecutors needed to implicate David and Ed.”xxxvi

Kenney asked for a dismissal of the charges. “Your Honor, the case that the State has presented thus far was the testimony of a 16-year-old boy who admittedly was subjected to extensive psychological coercion on the part of the Omaha Police Department and therefore is unreliable.”xxxvii

Herzog also sought a dismissal. “The witness has changed sides; has altered his story; has forgotten, claims to have forgotten some facts, and then comes back this afternoon and offers that testimony at the State’s own request and that witness has now impeached himself.”xxxviii

“The confession itself or the statement here is of an unreliable nature; obviously coerced; obviously given under fear by the statement of the witness himself. He indicates he would give the police officer or police officers anything they wanted.”xxxix

Peak’s testimony was allowed and the two NCCF leaders were bound over for trial.

The next day, Duane Peak wrote a letter from the Dodge County Jail to Olivia Norris. In the letter Peak called Norris his “Moms” and explained the preliminary hearing testimony. Peak did not show any remorse for the death of Larry Minard but did feel bad over implicating Poindexter and Mondo for possible execution.

“The Lord knows I tried but something happened which forced me to realize that I had no alternative but to say what I said. No matter what anyone says from now on I refuse to call myself a man, or anything close to a man, because I did what I did. Even though there was no other way, because they already had enough evidence to convict those other two bloods. I don’t know, maybe I sound kind of nutty but that’s just the way I feel. Or maybe I’m just trying to get somebody to say what I did was justifiable, but I know it can’t be justified. I not only turned against those two bloods, but I turned against myself and my own people. I could have denied everything and all three of us would have gone up to the chair. And then again if I denied everything one of those other bloods would have gave them a story and sent me and the other dude up. But neither one of those is the reason, I was scared a little but that’s not the reason,? I guess I’ll never know.? Now I have to wait until my actual trial before I find out whether I get the chair or life?”xl

FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO, & the Omaha Two story is available at Amazon and in ebook. Portions of the book may be read free online at Northomahahistory.com. Patrons of the Omaha Public Library also enjoy free access.

i OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001149, September 1, 1970

ii Mondo, prison interview, September 8, 2007

iii Nebraska v. Lamont Mitchell, Omaha Municipal Court, 81-14, Doc 31, #1417, September 1, 1970

iv “Gallup Quits Over Federal Halt of Raid,” Bill Billotte, Omaha World-Herald, p.1, Sept. 2, 1970

v “Gallup Quits Over Federal Halt of Raid,” Bill Billotte, Omaha World-Herald, p.1, Sept. 2, 1970

vi “Gallup Quits Over Federal Halt of Raid,” Bill Billotte, Omaha World-Herald, p.2, Sept. 2, 1970

vii OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001150, September 2, 1970

viii OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001154, September 5, 1970. Jack Swanson said the dynamite was in a wooden box. The photo of the explosive in the trunk of a police cruiser shows a cardboard box. Peak’s inconsistency on the box was never explored at trial.

ix OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001155, September 5, 1970

x OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001156, September 5, 1970

xi OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001157, September 5, 1970

xii Fred Whitehurst working notes, p. 2, January 18, 2000.

xiii Nebraska v. Lamont Mitchell, Omaha Municipal Court, 81-14, Doc 31, #1417, September 14, 1970

xiv Mondo’s FBI file, Paul Young to J. Edgar Hoover memorandum, p. 27, September 15, 1970

xv Mondo’s FBI file, J. Edgar Hoover to Paul Young memorandum, p. 5, September 17, 1970 Redactions in Mondo’s FBI file hide Young’s compliance with Hoover’s directive. Ironically, if Young obeyed orders then FBI trainees would hear the voice of the 911 caller allowed to go free by the Bureau.

xvi Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 3, September 28, 1970

xvii Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 4, September 28, 1970

xviii Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 5, September 28, 1970

xix Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 8, September 28, 1970

xx Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 12, September 28, 1970

xxi Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 13-14, September 28, 1970

xxii Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 14, September 28, 1970

xxiii Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 26, September 28, 1970 Robert Pfeffer would later contradict Swanson and claim three suitcases were found.

xxiv Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 30, September 28, 1970

xxv Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 31, September 28, 1970

xxvi “2 to Stand Trial,” Robert Hoig, p. 1, Omaha World-Herald, September 29, 1970

xxvii Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 41, September 28, 1970

xxviii Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 42, September 28, 1970

xxix Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 45, September 28, 1970

xxx Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 53, September 28, 1970

xxxi Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 59, September 28, 1970

xxxii Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 71, September 28, 1970

xxxiii Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 72, September 28, 1970

xxxiv Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 76, September 28, 1970

xxxv Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 78, September 28, 1970

xxxvi Ernie Chambers interview by author, September 4, 2010

xxxvii Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 84, September 28, 1970

xxxviii Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 86, September 28, 1970

xxxix Preliminary Hearing Transcript, p. 867 September 28, 1970

xl Duane Peak to Olivia Norris letter, p. 1, September 29, 1970

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asked to review Cabinet Office refusal to close academic fraud loophole in United Kingdom law

United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen’s controversial PhD thesis. (credits: United Kingdom/Hwan Lin)

Rishi Sunak, the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has received a request to review a Cabinet Office decision to not seek an amendment to the Freedom of Information Act to close an academic fraud loophole. The loophole is a provision in the FOIA which exempts personal data from disclosure and the Upper Tribunal has determined that examiner identity is personal data. Thesis examiners are the gatekeepers of academic integrity and they decide who gets a degree award.

Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen sparked an academic firestorm in June 2019, when she submitted her 1983 PhD thesis, entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions, with the London School of Economics Library, thirty-five years late. To make matters more suspicious, Tsai refuses to release the oral examination viva report of her thesis.

Litigation has been unsuccessful to determine who approved President Tsai’s thesis and when. Subsequent to two Upper Tribunal decisions ruling out the FOIA as a way to learn about the viva examination, requests to amend the Data Protection Act and the FOIA have been made. The Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Cabinet Office have both declined to correct the law and close the examination loophole that permits secrecy in the award of degrees. Now, Prime Minister Sunak has been asked to review the Cabinet Office refusal.

“The Cabinet Office declined to consider a proposal to amend the Freedom of Information Act to safeguard against academic fraud at public universities. The need is demonstrated by an ongoing controversy concerning Republic of China President Tsai Ing-wen. The controversy has led to a half-dozen Decision Notices by the Information Commissioner’s Office and four Tribunal cases involving use of the FOIA to resolve questions on the validity of Tsai’s degree award.”

“Two Upper Tribunal Decisions have been issued closing off the FOIA as an avenue for transparency of the degree-awarding process, thus your review of the Cabinet Office decision to not amend the law is needed.”

Proposed amendment

Section 40(2) of the FOIA: “Any information to which a request for information relates is also exempt information if— (c) unless such information is used in the verification of qualification for advanced degrees at public universities.” [Proposed amendment, in bold, adds subsection (c)]

Why the Republic of China in-exile is not a sovereign nation


The Japanese delegation in 1952 at the San Francisco Peace Treaty surrendering sovereignty of Formosa. (credit: Public domain)

There is an island in the Pacific Ocean called Formosa by its older inhabitants. Today’s generation calls the island Taiwan, while the ruling government calls it the Republic of China. The real China, the People’s Republic of China, calls the island Chinese Taipei. The United States, which used to recognize the Republic of China, now calls the island Taiwan and has incorporated it into federal law with the Taiwan Relations Act. The People’s Republic of China makes territorial claims against the island because it is under rule by the exiled Republic of China, which the PRC defeated in a civil war with the ROC in 1949.

To better understand the confusion it is necessary go back further to the close of World War II when Formosa was a Japanese territory. The United States, alone among the Allied Powers, fought the Japanese in Formosa, largely with a bombing campaign. The rules of war made the United States the principal occupying power and on August 13, 1945, General Order #1 was drafted directing ROC leader Chiang Kai-shek to oversee the surrender of the Japanese on the island. Chiang, who was still busy fighting a civil war against the revolutionary forces of Mao Tse-tung, did not land his soldiers on Formosa until October 25, 1945, courtesy the United States Navy.

The United Nations was founded the previous day. However, the hopes of many by the establishment of the United Nations were dashed in Formosa by the depravity of Chiang’s Kuomintang troops against the Japanese speaking islanders.

In 1946, General George Marshall, on a mission to rebuild a post-war world sought to mediate a truce in China between the People’s Liberation Army and the Republic of China. President Harry Truman explained the failure of the mission.

“The Marshall mission had been unable to produce results because the government of Chiang Kai-shek did not command the respect and support of the Chinese people.”

Brutality by the ROC against the Formosans continued until a spontaneous uprising on February 28, 1947 in Taipei triggered the massacre of unknown thousands that began on March 9, 1947. Three days later, President Truman announced the Truman Doctrine, a fine-sounding platitude that did not apply in Formosa where America looked away from the bloodshed it introduced to the island.

“Totalitarian regimes imposed on free peoples, by direct or indirect aggression, undermine the foundation of international peace and hence the security of the United States.”

“I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”

American, English, and Canadian observers in Taipei witnessed the horror yet no help came for the victims. On April 21, 1947, a formal memorandum was sent to the State Department by Walton Butterworth, a US representative, about the atrocities by the Chinese. However, the Cold War was heating up and the Chinese civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists led to support for Chiang’s regime.

By 1949, when the Chinese civil war ended with defeat of the Republic of China, the United States allowed Chiang and his minions to relocate to Formosa and set up a government in exile. The Central Intelligence Agency used the alliance with the ROC to set up shop in Formosa and run clandestine Asian operations from the island.

The CIA operatives were not unaware of the brutality of Chiang’s “White Terror” campaign and harsh martial law that had been imposed. In a March 14, 1949, secret CIA report entitled “Possible Developments in Taiwan” the reality on the ground was spelled out for Washington.

“The native population of Taiwan would welcome release from Chinese control but is not strong enough to stage a successful revolt.”

“There is strong sentiment in Taiwan favoring autonomy, but the situation is complicated by the conflicting interests of the native Taiwanese and the Chinese Nationalist elements. The Taiwanese bitterly resent the performance of the Nationalist administration….The Chinese rulers have exploited the native population to the limit, without regard for their welfare.”

“United States support to Taiwanese aspirations would require taking over authority from the established Nationalist regime.”

The CIA report led to planning at the State Department to overthrow Chiang Kai-shek. A State Department memorandum entitled “Spontaneous Independence Movement in Formosa” identified ROC General Sun Li-jen as the best prospect to lead a coup. General Sun had a meeting with General Douglas MacArther to discuss the plot and declined.

With hopes dashed at the State Department, the CIA took up the intrigue. By October 1949, the CIA went airborn with its own airline and was running secret missions off the island. The next month the American Counsel-General gave Chiang Kai-shek a demarche complaining about “mis-government of Formosa.” By year’s end, the CIA estimated that 1949 saw 10,000 political arrests, with a thousand executions in Taiwan. The New York Times described the White Terror period as one of “indiscriminate ferocity.”

In May 1950, the State Department revisited the overthrow of the Republic of China with both John Foster Dulles and Dean Rusk favoring a coup. The pair were overruled by President Truman. For the next twenty years the State Department and the CIA would work independently of each other in Taiwan. The State Department enjoyed the official and ceremonial role while the CIA supplied money, weapons, and training .

The outbreak of the Korean War one month later would greatly grow the operations of the CIA which increased its Taiwan station to 600 operatives. The secret air force would fly 15,000 missions to aid the war effort.

Busy with a war to fight, Truman over the span of weeks, made several policy statements about Taiwan. The first statement was on June 27, 1950, in a presidential press release.

“I have ordered the Seventh Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa. As a corollary of this action I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all air and sea operations against the mainland. The Seventh Fleet will see that this is done. The determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations.”

Truman’s next statement was on July 19, 1950, in a Message to Congress. “The present military neutralization of Formosa is without prejudice to political questions effecting the island.”

On August 27, 1950, Truman sent a letter to Ambassador Warren Austin explaining the Chinese occupation of Taiwan. “The Chinese government was asked by the Allies to take the surrender of the Japanese forces on the island. That is the reason the Chinese are there.”

The year 1950 ended with an offer by Chiang Kai-shek to send 33,000 ROC troops to Korea to help the United States. The CIA quickly advised against it with a security memorandum.

“The employment of the Chinese Nationalists would alienate other Aisan countries, which already consider the Chinese Nationalists to be reactionary, politically incompetent, and already repudiated by their own people.”

The San Francisco Peace Treaty which ended World War II with Japan, left the sovereignty of Formosa undermined. President Truman already specified to the United Nations that sovereignty could only be decided by treaty or by the United Nations.

Neither the San Francisco Peace Treaty nor the United Nations have declared sovereignty for Formosa, as President Truman spelled out, and that is why the Republic of China in-exile lacks sovereignty over Taiwan. It is World War II’s unfinished business.

This article has been edited to correct dates and add material.

“It doesn’t make any difference what the truth is”


Assistant Douglas County Attorney Arthur O’Leary told murder suspect Duane Peak that the truth did not matter during Peak’s interrogation. Peak gave authorities six different versions of the crime before he implicated Edward Poindexter and David Rice. As a payment for his testimony Peak never had to serve a day in prison despite his confession to planting a fatal bomb. (credits:
Omaha World-Herald/Court transcript/Omaha Police Dept.)

This is Chapter 15 of FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO, and the Omaha Two story, a tale of injustice and two innocent men sentenced to life in prison because they were leaders of a Black Panthers affiliate chapter. Edward Poindexter is currently serving his life sentence at the maximum security Nebraska State Penitentiary, fifty-two years behind bars. Co-defendant Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa [David Rice] died at the prison in March 2016.

At the end of August, J. Edgar Hoover sent the Los Angeles FBI office the altered diary of a Progressive Labor Party officer to use in falsely identifying the individual as a government informant. Hoover outlined the action with a memorandum. “Laboratory was requested to make forged entries in the diary. These entries were phone numbers at Army and Secret Service, which when called would identify the agency. Other notations in the diary indicate that [REDACTED] has been furnishing information to these agencies. He would thusly be branded as an informant….Documents Section of the Laboratory Division was authorized to make the necessary alterations to above diary, following which LA Office authorized to anonymously mail the altered diary to PLP headquarters in NYC.”i

Hoover’s use of the FBI Laboratory in COINTELPRO and other counterintellingence operations with falsified documents and fixed results compromised what was boasted to be the world’s best forensic laboratory. When Hoover told Ivan Conrad to withhold a report on the identity of the 911 caller in the Minard case or forge a diary entry against a Progressive Labor Party leader Hoover betrayed his own claims of objectivity and scientific integrity by the laboratory. The record of FBI Laboratory misdeeds spans decades and extended beyond the termination of the COINTELPRO program. Conrad cast a long shadow over the laboratory.

In Omaha, Captain Bruce Hartford informed the local FBI office of the arrest of Maxine Summers as an accessory after the fact. “[Captain Hartford] stated that his department had learned that [Maxine Summers] had given aid to [Duane Peak] by asking a friend of hers…if [Nancy Haynes] could board two individuals who were in Omaha to attend a rally.”ii

Arthur O’Leary deposed Duane Peak. Thomas Sledge participated in the deposition. Peak was asked about the Black Panthers. Peak said he was not a member because he was too young. After prodding from prosecutor O’Leary about membership, Peak became a defacto member. “You might as well say I was a member because they allowed me to go along to all of the regular party functions.”iii

O’Leary asked Peak about the “incident concerning Officer Larry Minard.”

“It was on a Monday before the bombing….I went down to headquarters and Poindexter said he wanted to talk to me and he took me down the street and told me what he planned on doing. He said he was going to make a bomb and that he was going to plant it in a house and have somebody call the police up there.”iv

“He didn’t say exactly what I was supposed to do. He told me on that day to be at my cousin, Frank’s house at nine o’clock….I went over there and Poindexter was there and said he was going to David Rice’s house.”v

“We went to the house and Poindexter went down in the basement and brought a suitcase up and there was a case of dynamite there and he took three sticks out and put them in the suitcase and he had a battery. I didn’t watch how he put it together but he said it was all set and he put paper around it and he shut it and he planned on doing it that night but he didn’t. I don’t know why.”

O’Leary asked Peak if Mondo witnessed construction of the bomb but did not get the answer he sought. “He didn’t see it being made. I don’t think he knows how he made it.” O’Leary pressed Peak about Mondo’s knowledge of the bomb leading Peak to reply. “David knew there was dynamite there, I am quite sure of that.”vi

Peak explained that the bomb was constructed in the kitchen while he and Mondo were in the living room. “Poindexter came out and said everything was ready and that he was going to try and get a ride.”vii

O’Leary asked Peak what Mondo said when Poindexter announced everything was ready. “David, he didn’t say anything. He left before Poindexter was finished.” O’Leary again tried to pin down Peak on Mondo’s knowledge of the bomb-making in the kitchen. “Well, I am not too sure whether he knew or not, but Poindexter did get the dynamite out of the basement.”

Peak did not know where Poindexter got the battery. Peak went on to describe the suitcase as “gray, real dark gray.” Peak was uncertain where the suitcase came from; first it was in the bedroom, then Peak changed the story saying he thought Poindexter had the suitcase with him. “He put a hole in the bottom of the suitcase and there was a blue insulated wire extending from the hole, about four inches.”viii

Peak claimed he had another rendezvous with Poindexter. “The next day.…we walked up Ohio to 30th and he spotted the house and he said, “That would be a good house right there. He walked up and he walked down the alley and looked at it.”ix

According to Peak, he and Poindexter then walked to Mondo’s house with Poindexter planning on doing the bombing that night. “We went over there and I sat on the porch and there was a police cruiser up the street and he stopped a car and David went up there to see what they were doing and I guess they decided to check David’s identification and David called Poindexter and Poindexter walked up there and when Poindexter come back, he said he wasn’t going to do it because the police officer had saw him that night.”x

Peak stated he did not see Poindexter again until Friday evening at a nightclub. Peak was a member of a singing group and sang a couple of songs as an opening act. “Friday night we had a little group meeting and we were singing down at the Legion club. I saw Poindexter down there and Poindexter told me that he wanted to have it done by Sunday and I told him I didn’t want to be involved.”

Poindexter would not take no for an answer according to Peak. “Well, you have to follow orders, and if you don’t do it, something is going to happen to you,” and he told me, he said, “You take the suitcase up to the house,” and he said he was going to show me, you know, how to trigger it off and I told him, no, I didn’t want to do it, and so he said, “Well, take it up there and just leave it,” and he said, “Make the phone call.”

Peak said he had a conversation with Mondo outside NCCF headquarters at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. “I told him that Poindexter wanted me to take the suitcase up there and I didn’t want to do it, and he said, “You might as well go on and do it.”

“He left before I did. I was waiting on a ride and he left and went home and my ride came and I went up there.”xi

O’Leary asked Peak who his ride was. “They call her Sunny but her name is Lamar something.” O’Leary attempted to identify the potential witness with a series of questions but all he got out of Peak was that Sunny’s first name was Lamar. According to Peak, Lamar took him from headquarters to Mondo’s house where Peak entered the house and spoke with Poindexter and got the suitcase. Peak told O’Leary that Lamar waited for him while he went inside for the suitcase and then she drove him with the suitcase to Olivia Norris’ home.xii

“I went into the house and Poindexter told me to get the suitcase and take it over to the house and I went and got the suitcase and brought it out and put it in the car and I went down to the Spencer projects.”xiii

Peak was at the Norris home for about twenty minutes making a phone call. When he arrived he spoke with Annie Norris about the suitcase telling her it contained clothing.xiv

O’Leary asked Peak if he was afraid carrying the suitcase around. “I was afraid the whole time.”xv

“Delia drove me up there and she dropped me off in the alley….I took the suitcase out of the trunk and walked up the alley and Delia left and I walked in the house—there is a porch there and I walked in the house and the door was already open and I put it in the living room in the middle of the floor.”xvi

“I just set it down and left.”

Peak denied triggering the bomb. O’Leary pressed for details but Peak wanted out. “I want to hurry up and get out of this, I want out of this whole thing.”xvii

O’Leary asked Peak what happened next at the vacant house. “I was only there for a few minutes. I walked in and put it in there and looked around and walked out….I set it down and it was setting straight up so I don’t think it was armed.”xviii

O,Leary then led Peak through a correction of an earlier statement that Peak was to receive a phone call. “Then when you told us you were supposed to get a phone call that wasn’t true?”

“No, I was trying at first to hide something.”xix

O’Leary told Peak to repeat the story and tried to budge Peak from his claim he left the bomb untriggered in the vacant house. “I want to go over it once again. As a practical matter, it doesn’t make any difference what the truth is concerning you at all.”xx

O’Leary’ statement that it didn’t make any difference what the truth was triggered a response from Peak’s lawyer. Thomas Carey explained that O’Leary was looking for the truth about the crime. O’Leary continued his attempt to extract information about the bomb. “It doesn’t hurt you one bit to tell me the rest, if there is any more….What I am getting at is, when you left the bomb or the dynamite there, all there was was the wire trailing out of it and you set it upright, is that correct?”xxi

“You didn’t arm it or attach it to the floor or anything like that?”

‘You realize now that it doesn’t make any difference whether you did or didn’t. That doesn’t really make one bit of difference at all at this stage of the game but I want to make sure concerning somebody else that might have been involved. Because you see what it amounts to, Duane, is that eventually you are going to have to testify about everything you said here and it isn’t going to make one bit of difference whether or not you leave out one fact of not, as far as you are concerned.”xxii

Peak had nothing to add except that he shaved his head at the home of a girlfriend, Jean Haynes. O’Leary asked Peak about the girlfriend. “Is she a colored girl?”

Peak answered yes and then said he stayed with her until going to Mamma Summers’ house. Peak claimed he went to the Summers residence seeking advice. “I wanted to talk to somebody about trying to find out how to go about turning myself in.”xxiii

It was now time to correct Peak about the identity of Lamar, the white girl Peak said had driven him around with the suitcase hours before the bombing. O’Leary provided Peak with her name. “During the time that you had a conversation with David Rice in front of the Panther headquarters on Sunday, August 16th, and that was before you went up to his house at 2816 to pick the suitcase up, there was a Norma Aufrecht there, wasn’t there?”

After Peak agreed that Norma had given him a ride, O’Leary asked about Sunny and Peak explained that Sunny and Norma were the same person. Lamar was never mentioned again.xxiv

Peak explained that he knew Aufrecht and had been to her house but he couldn’t remember where it was. Peak said that Norma had no idea what was going on.xxv

Peak said he had also told his sister Theresa and his grandfather that Poindexter made the bomb and gave the instructions. Thomas Carey asked a question. “Duane, do you have any reason to think that anybody went into that house after you left and before the police came?”xxvi

Peak avoided answering the question with a question. “Because they said the suitcase was in the doorway and I put it in the middle of the room?”

Peak was asked if he knew who bombed the Component Concepts Corporation to which he replied no. Peak was then asked if the bombing was done by the Panthers. “All I know is they blew it up.” Peak denied any knowledge of who was responsible for the bombing of the police sub-station on Ames Avenue, except that it was also the work of the Panthers.xxvii

O’Leary asked Peak if he had been threatened while in jail or heard from any of the Panthers. “My brother Donald said that when he was up in the county jail they put him in a cell next to Poindexter…and he heard Poindexter say he wasn’t going to be shit on by nobody, or something like that.”xxviii

Thomas Sledge ended the questioning by asking about the location of the hole in the suitcase to which Peak replied the hole was in the middle of the side of the suitcase when it was standing up.xxix

Glen Gates got a report from Washington that he had been waiting for almost a week. “On 31 August 70, received a report from Mr. Maynard J. PRO, Assistant Chief, Research and Methods Evaluation, A.T.F.D. Laboratory, Washington, D.C. The following conclusion:”

“1. The explosive used in the bombing was dynamite.

2. Dynamite was found in the trousers worn by Elmer CECIL.

3. Dynamite was found in the shirt worn by Edward POINDEXTER.

4. Dynamite was found in the debris from the trunk of the 1968 Plymouth, Nebraska 1-Y8940.

5. A piece of copper wire recovered from the blast area was cut by a pair of pliers found at 2816 Parker Street.” xxx

Ed Poindexter was rearrested by the Omaha police for the murder of Larry Minard, Sr.

“Mama was downstairs in the kitchen with baby Ericka in one arm, and preparing supper with the other arm. I was upstairs in the bathroom washing up when I peeped out the window to see an unmarked car cruise by. A gnawing feeling swept over me. I checked one of the other bedroom windows and saw another unmarked cop car cruise by. I knew something was definitely up.”

“Mama answered the door, and I heard her say, “If you’ve come to just arrest him, then do so. But if you have come to kill him, then you’re going to have to shoot through me and this baby first.”

“I immediately crept downstairs and plead for her to get out of the doorway. My .38 was tucked into my belt, and I was ready to use it, but not in front of her and the baby. I peered around Mama and noticed cops everywhere, thick as a swarm of black flies or gnats. Realizing that a shoot out would be an exercise in futility, I quickly stashed my weapon, and convinced Mama that I’d be okay if she’d just step out of the door way and come inside, as I’d turn myself in without incident. She did, and I kept my promise.”xxxi

FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO, & the Omaha Two story is available at Amazon and in ebook. Portions of the book may be read free online at Northomahahistory.com. Patrons of the Omaha Public Library also enjoy free access.

i FBI Vault, New Left—Los Angeles, Sec. 2, p. 51, August 31, 1970

ii Mondo’s FBI file, FBI letterhead memorandum, p. 48, September 2, 1970. Hartford’s report to the FBI was not completely accurate, Nancy Haynes actually told police that she thought the pair were brothers travelling to attend a funeral.

iii Duane Peak deposition, p. 3, August 31, 1970

iv Duane Peak deposition, p. 6, August 31, 1970

v Duane Peak deposition, p. 7, August 31, 1970

vi Duane Peak deposition, p. 8, August 31, 1970

vii Duane Peak deposition, p. 9, August 31, 1970

viii Duane Peak deposition, p. 10, August 31, 1970

ix Duane Peak deposition, p. 11, August 31, 1970

x Duane Peak deposition, p. 12, August 31, 1970

xi Duane Peak deposition, p. 15, August 31, 1970

xii Duane Peak deposition, p. 16, August 31, 1970

xiii Duane Peak deposition, p. 14, August 31, 1970

xiv Duane Peak deposition, p. 18, August 31, 1970

xv Duane Peak deposition, p. 17, August 31, 1970

xvi Duane Peak deposition, p. 19-20, August 31, 1970

xvii Duane Peak deposition, p. 20, August 31, 1970

xviii Duane Peak deposition, p. 21, August 31, 1970

xix Duane Peak deposition, p. 23, August 31, 1970

xx Duane Peak deposition, p. 25, August 31, 1970

xxi Duane Peak deposition, p. 25-26, August 31, 1970

xxii Duane Peak deposition, p. 26, August 31, 1970

xxiii Duane Peak deposition, p. 29, August 31, 1970

xxiv Duane Peak deposition, p. 31, August 31, 1970

xxv Duane Peak deposition, p. 37, August 31, 1970

xxvi Duane Peak deposition, p. 38-39, August 31, 1970

xxvii Duane Peak deposition, p. 39, August 31, 1970

xxviii Duane Peak deposition, p. 40, August 31, 1970

xxix Duane Peak deposition, p. 41, August 31, 1970

xxx OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001360, September 1, 1970

xxxi Edward Poindexter, letter to author, March 24, 2008

It is time to quit pretending an exiled Chinese government is best for Taiwan

Chaing Kai-shek postage stamps and currency are more Chinese than Taiwanese. (credits: ROC)

I started writing about Taiwan thirteen years ago. I had come across the Roger Lin vs. United States of America lawsuit seeking United States passports for the residents of Taiwan because they were “stateless” and suffered in “political purgatory” in the words of the District of Columbia U. S. Court of Appeals. I was intrigued by something I was never taught in school or read in my daily newspapers, the sad post-World War II history of Taiwan, also called Formosa, and began my own study.

I learned my Taiwan history from sources as diverse as George Kerr, author of Formosa Betrayed, and Su Beng, author of Taiwan’s 400 Year History. Other books, prodigious correspondence, deep research, and three fact-finding trips to Taiwan later I have learned a lot. The single most important thing I learned was that the Republic of China does not equal Taiwan. Despite all the confusing, common usage of the names, the ROC is an exiled Chinese government imposed on Formosa by the United States, to the deep suffering of untold thousands. Taiwan is the place of that suffering.

America’s longstanding “strategic ambiguity” over Taiwan has a name, it is called the Republic of China. The exiled ROC is the elephant in the room that diplomats don’t like to talk about. The ROC represents the unfinished Chinese civil war with the ROC constitution still laying claim to control of China. It is the reason, and the political pundits and talking heads on television will not tell you this, that China makes its territorial demands on Taiwan.

The ROC’s hero worship of Kuomingtang dictator Chiang Kai-shek with his statues shaming public spaces, the authoritarian Memorial Hall with its giant statue of Chiang and an honor guard, his image on postage stamps, currency, and portraits all serve to insult his many Taiwanese victims and irritate the Chinese regime.

It is time to listen to the Taiwanese independence movement. Take off the rose-colored glasses and view the situation from the point of view of one of Chiang’s many victims. The ROC became entrenched in Taiwan by four decades of harsh martial law. The ROC warned about Red China while imposing the White Terror. The Taiwanese were forced by the United States to accept the exiled Republic of China, while discouraged from seeking independence. The United States has opposed Taiwan independence. The People’s Republic of China opposes Taiwan independence. The Republic of China in-exile opposes Taiwan independence.

Because of the exiled Chinese government’s lack of sovereignty over Taiwan it is not in the United Nations, kept out of the World Health Organization and Interpol, and must compete in the Olympics as Chinese Taipei. It is the ROC that keeps Taiwan at risk of invasion. The strategic ambiguity worked to protect Taiwan for many years but now the unsettled sovereignty threatens the island. The time is long past to reconvene the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty and address the status of Formosa. The time has come to give free choice and self-determination to a people living under an exiled foreign government, one that has treated them harshly in the past.

Until there is resolution of Taiwan’s international status and closure is brought to the Republic of China’s occupation of Taiwan, the island will remain threatened and bring instabity to the Asian region. It is time to pull Chiang Kai-shek off his pedestal, remove the Chiang idols, and quit kowtowing before the tragic past. Let Taiwan be Taiwan, not the Republic of China.

Cabinet Office refuses to close academic fraud loophole in United Kingdom law that allows Tsai Ing-wen to keep identity of her examiners secret

The United Kingdom Cabinet Office refuses to close an academic fraud loophole in the Freedom of Information Act. (credit: Government Digital Service)

A correspondence officer for the Cabinet Office in the United Kingdom has stated that no effort to amend the Freedom of Information Act will be made to modify the personal data exclusion. The statement on behalf of the “policy team” was in response to a proposal to close an academic fraud loophole that permits Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen to keep the identity of her PhD thesis examiners secret.

“The Government considers that the existing definition of personal data works well and does not intend to create a new definition, or change the existing understanding of what identifiers fall into the definition of personal data. The Government will therefore not be amending section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act.”

The University of London, which awarded President Tsai’s degree in 1984, refuses to identify the thesis examiners upon which it based its degree award or explain what type of examination was administered. Further, the UL advanced and then withdrew a false claim Tsai’s thesis had been submitted to the Senate House Library and subsequently lost by librarians. The ongoing controversy is responsible for a criminal defamation prosecution in Taiwan, a half-dozen Decision Notices by the Information Commissioner, and thus far four Tribunal cases involving use of the Freedom of Information Act to resolve questions on the validity of Tsai’s degree award.

President Tsai started the three-year long controversy when she submitted her PhD thesis to the library of the London School of Economics and Political Science in June 2019, thirty-five years late. The LSE, where Tsai attended school, has not been able to offer any explanation for the tardy thesis and first said it did not have records of her thesis examination.

Kevin Haynes, the self-described “Head of Legal Team” at the LSE next provided names of examiners to the ROC Ministry of Justice to prosecute Taiwan talk show host Dennis Peng for criminal defamation against Tsai. This was followed by a statement from Rachael Maguire, Hayne’s subordinate, that Haynes’ information may have been erroneous based on a “hurried view” of Tsai’s student record.

Following a Tribunal ruling against the LSE ordering the school to reply to a FOI request about the examination, Louise Nadal, the LSE Board Secretary declared the LSE’s records are likely inaccurate and that the school did not know who approved the thesis back in 1983 when it was purportedly examined. The LSE was not able to issue PhD degrees back then so President Tsai was awarded a University of London degre on the strength of an oral viva examination about the thesis entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions.

Two Upper Tribunal Decisions have been issued to different litigants closing off the FOIA as an avenue to achieve transparency for UL’s degree awarding power in President Tsai’s case.

Upper Tribunal Judge Edward Jacobs ruled on 18 October 2022, [Appellant’s] concerns and worries about the proper form of the President’s degree cannot be resolved within the FOIA scheme.”

Upper Tribunal Judge Mark West ruled on 20 October 2022, “A FOIA request is not a vehicle for discovering everything about President Tsai’s thesis.”

The Upper Tribunal applied personal data protections to examiners on the essential question of verification of qualification of President Tsai’s degree award, thus voiding and negating a public and transparent verification. With a tardy thesis, unknown examiners to the school Tsai attended, and contradictory statements on receipt of the thesis by the UL, a reasonable person is entitled to ask who approved the thesis and when. Under the present scheme of personal data protection, such a question by the public will not be answered, raising a spectre of academic fraud.

Examiners are the gatekeepers of a university’s award of degrees. Examiners have a unique and critical duty in the educational process and have a front-facing responsibility and duty to protect the integrity of a degree award. It is good and prudent public policy for advanced educational degrees to be awarded in a fully transparent manner, naming the examiners who approved the award. The importance of public confidence in the intergrity of degree awards overrides any inconvenience or personal objection of either students or examiners.

The problem of verification of qualification of a PhD degree is not one limited to President Tsai’s case, it is one of a structural nature, capable of being repeated. The practice in the United Kingdom on identification of examiners is varied, Oxford University, for example, names examiners while the University of London does not identify examiners.

Thus far the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport has declined to amend the Data Protection Act to close the personal data loophole on examiners. Now the Cabinet Office has refused to amend the Freedom of Information Act to correct the gap in public disclosure of examination information leaving the public left to wonder who approved President Tsai’s thesis.

President Tsai keeps the thesis controversy alive by her continued refusal to release her oral examination viva report and ongoing efforts to imprison her most vocal critic. Dennis Peng, who is in self-exile in California, has avoided extradiction to Taiwan because President Tsai’s exiled Chinese government lacks sovereignty and thus an extradiction treaty with the United States. The campaign against Peng has recently ramped up with a refusal to renew his ROC passport in an apparent bid to obtain his deportation to Taiwan where he has been ordered arrested.