“This should be an excellent disruption technique”

J. Edgar Hoover ordered COINTELPRO manipulation of a policeman’s murder investigation to convict two Black Panther leaders in Omaha, Nebraska. David Rice [Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa] in a newspaper photo under arrest. Minutes after this photo was taken Rice’s hands tested clean for explosives, yet federal agents claimed dynamite particles were found in his pants pockets. The significance of the exculpatory photo was not recognized until years after the trial. (credits: Official photo/Omaha World-Herald)

This is Chapter 14 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.

Raleigh House was released from jail on a signature bond authorized by Arthur O’Leary after one night in custody. House had been held with $10,000 bail after being booked on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder. O’Leary would not comment on House’s release.i

Mondo later wrote about House. “Of course, it’s possible he was an informant. I haven’t given that much thought, he was one of four people who could have been charged.”ii

Dwight Thomas, head of the Omaha office of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division, told a reporter that tests at the ATF Laboratory provided Omaha agents “with some further specific leads” by identifying dynamite as the explosive used in the Minard bombing.iii

The ATF supervisor said that “similar explosive devices” all made with dynamite were used in bombings at Ames and Des Moines and in Omaha at the Component Concepts building and the police north assembly station.iv

J. Edgar Hoover approved Paul Young’s request to mail an anonymous letter against Ed Poindexter. Young’s bogus letter proposal was sent two days before Larry Minard’s murder while Hoover was on vacation. Hoover did not mention Young’s more recent request to withhold a laboratory report which could clear Poindexter of making the 911 call. “You are authorized to prepare and mail typewritten letter on plain bond paper as enclosed….It is suggested you include several misspellings to make the letter appear more authentic. You are also authorized to include with such letter a copy of the article entitled, “Panthers Cut Omaha Link” which appeared in the 8/14/70 edition of the “Omaha World Herald” newspaper. Take the usual security precautions to insure this letter and mailing cannot be traced to the Bureau.”

“Advise the Bureau and San Francisco of any positive results obtained by means of this letter.”v

In a redacted note, Hoover provided background information. “8/14/70 edition of the “Omaha World Herald” newspaper quoting [Poindexter] that the letter appearing in the 7/25/70 BPP newspaper was forged and that it should be up to the people of Omaha to decide whether they should be declared defunct and not BPP national headquarters. The article further quoted [Poindexter] as saying there are individuals within the Central Committee who should be purged from the ranks.”

“Omaha, as a counterintelligence measure, has proposed the preparation and mailing of a letter from…an anonymous individual, to David Hilliard….The letter indicates [Poindexter] has been telling this to “Whitey’s newspaper” in Omaha and that a copy of [Poindexter’s] remarks in an Omaha newspaper is enclosed.”

“This should be an excellent disruption technique.”vi

Meanwhile, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Omaha office, Tom Dugan, called FBI headquarters and cancelled analysis of the 911 recording. William Bradley noted the call with a handwrittten memorandum notation. Bradley’s note is the smoking gun of the FBI conspiracy. The bombing was just one week earlier and Duane Peak was still a fugitive. The later, official explanation for no test, Peak’s confession to making the phone call, is made a lie by Bradley’s note. The search for the anonymous 911 caller was called off just four days after Larry Minard was buried. The Omaha FBI office saw to it that the man who lured a policeman to his death would get away with murder.

Police identification technician Paul Klotz was assigned to vacuum the interior of the trunk of Delia Peak’s car. Klotz removed three bags of litter debris, containing paper, dust, leaves, and miscellaneous material. Klotz also filled one vacuum cleaner bag with litter and debris.vii

After logging the contents of the trunk on a report form, Klotz released the four bags to Thomas Sledge for delivery to the ATF Laboratory.viii

A Wanted Person report was completed on Mondo for “Conspiracy to commit murder & Keeping Explosives.” The FBI entered the report on the National Crime Information Center system.ix

A Wanted Person report was also made on Duane Peak. The Peak alert contained the warning, “CAUTION: Party armed and dangerous.”x

Paul Young sent a teletype message to J. Edgar Hoover about information learned from Al Pattavina, the Public Safety Director, regarding the arrest of Ed Poindexter and others. A rubber-stamp entry at the bottom of the message, added at FBI headquarters, states the White House and Attorney General had been advised of the arrests.xi

“[REDACTED] advised it appears probable that members of above group were responsible for bombing of Omaha PD substation, June eleven last, and bombing of Components Concept Corporation, July two last, both in Omaha. He advised members of his command are pursuing investigation in all three bombings.”xii

“Close liaison is being maintained with Omaha PD, and the Omaha Office has furnished and is furnishing helpful info to PD to aid them in this investigation.”xiii

The Omaha World-Herald published an editorial, “Are the Police Handcuffed?” The editorial was in response to criticism of police tactics on the Near North Side. The editorial stated no restraint had been placed on the officers involve in the Minard investigation and arrests had been carried out unhesitatingly and efficiently.”xiv

On August 25, Glen Gates and Thomas Sledge flew to Washington, D.C. Gates wrote a report after he returned to Omaha. “Thomas SLEDGE and Deputy Chief Gates took certain articles of evidence to the A.T.F.D. Laboratory in Washington, D.C. in order to get a preliminary report more quickly to enhance the investigation into the death of Officer MINARD.”xv

Eddie Bolden, Robert Cecil, and Ed Poindexter were released from jail for lack of evidence.xvi

Paul Young informed J. Edgar Hoover by teletype that agents were searching for Duane Peak and Mondo. “Omaha intitiating intensive investigation to locate and apprehend fugitives [Duane Peak] and David L. Rice.”xvii

The next day, Norma Aufrecht was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder and suspicion of being an accessory after the fact. Of the sixty people arrested during a week-long police dragnet, Aufrecht was the only white person arrested. The Omaha office notified FBI headquarters quoting Captain Bruce Hartford “that she was an acquaintance of militants and civil rights activists.”xviii

Young wrote to Hoover that besides FBI informant OM T-7, agents were using an Omaha police informant whose identity should be kept confidential. Young also wrote that the persons arrested on suspicion charges by police would get FBI attention. “Special consideration will be given to the possibility of developing informants among these indivduals.”xix

The Omaha FBI office also noted an interview with a male individual who provided three pages of information about the case. “The foregoing information was immediately furnished to the Intelligence Division of the Omaha Police Department.” The man’s name and all three pages of narrative remain redacted by FBI censors.xx

A FBI letterhead memorandum outlined the close involvement of the Bureau in the Minard murder investigation. “On a continuing basis the Omaha Division has exchanged information with the Intelligence Division of the Omaha Police Department, regularly furnishing that department information pertinent to their investigation when same can be done without compromising Omaha informants. Background information obtained by the Omaha Division of the FBI on members of the NCCF was furnished to the Omaha Police Department in order to aid in any investigative leads developed.”xxi

Ernie Chambers held a news conference to protest the actions of police. Chambers said he was told that there were two white suspects in the slaying of Minard. “The real killers are walking loose and are not even being sought after.”

Chambers said police were not trying to catch the killer, but were arresting people they don’t like. Chambers stated that several members of the National Committee to Combat Fascism had been arrested in connection with the slaying murder. Ed Poindexter was one of those crowded into the basement of the Cleaves Temple for the press conference. Chambers said the NCCF members were victims of “an attempted frame up to destroy the NCCF, to indict the entire black community, to satisfy the lynch mob spirit and blood lust of whites.”xxii

Ten days after the bombing, Mondo, in the company of Ernie Chambers, surrendered to Marvin McClarty and Pitmon Foxall at the police outreach office. A procession including Public Safety Director Al Pattavina and attorney David Herzog proceeded downtown. Because he voluntarily surrendered, Mondo was not handcuffed prior to being placed in a cell.xxiii

“I turned myself over to an African member of the Omaha Police Department. Ernie Chambers and a number of other African community leaders were there….The presence of many of these people had been prearranged as a precautionary measure against some “accident” in which a police weapon might discharge and I would wind up, like so many other Panthers across the country, dead.”xxiv

An Omaha World-Herald picture of Mondo, waiting for the elevator to take him to the jail, proved dynamite particles were not in Mondo’s pants pocket as an ATF chemist would later claim. However, the significance of the newspaper photo of Mondo, with his hands jammed in his pockets, was not recognized for years and was not raised as an issue at the trial. Mondo’s hands tested clean for dynamite moments after the photograph.xxv

Paul Young submitted a quarterly counterintelligence report to J. Edgar Hoover. Young stated the anonymous letter against Ed Poindexter had been sent to Black Panther headquarters in California.

Young did not mention the murder of Larry Minard, the arrest of members of the National Committee to Combat Fascism, or other FBI participation in his quarterly report. Young’s request to the FBI Laboratory to withhold a report on the identity of the 911 caller that lured Minard to his death was kept out of standard COINTELPRO files and buried in a confidential file.xxvi

Early the next morning, Omaha police and FBI agents surrounded a house on Bristol Street. At 2:55 a.m., police raided the house which had been under surveillance by a police cruiser for an hour, while ten police cars gathered a block away. Captain Bruce Hartford led the police squad, accompanied by FBI agents Edward O’Brien and Jim Burns. Assisting Hartford were James Perry and Jack Swanson. According to Perry, the FBI paid Donald Peak to inform on his brother. Donald ended up with accessory to murder charges being dismissed so he may have informed to avoid prosecution. Donald Peak’s informant role was confirmed by his presence with the arrest squad.

When the police rushed the house they were surprised to find two men hiding on the screened front porch. The pair were asleep when the house was raided. Duane Peak, with his head shaven bald, was in custody after six days as a fugitive. Arrested with Peak was a Marine deserter, Hardie Michael Peterson. Peterson told police his name was Charles James Johnson.xxvii

A FBI letterhead memorandum claimed credit for Peak’s arrest. “Special Agents of the FBI in conjunction with members of the Omaha Police Department arrested [Duane Peak].” FBI agents also interrogated Peterson when they learned he was the son of Maxine Summers from an informant OMT-7. Captain Harford told the FBI the police would search the Summers residence and Hartford would advise the FBI of search results.xxviii

Paul Young provided J. Edgar Hoover with the names of individuals arrested by police. Young copied the memorandum to the Racial Intelligence section and the Kansas City and Minneapolis FBI offices “because of their interest in previous bombings in the Omaha Division.”xxix

Ed Poindexter commented on the arrest. “Duane was in hiding….And he was in hiding with another kid whose role in the murder was never investigated. Now that we know for certain it was not Duane who actually made the phone call, this kid should now have a voice exemplar taken, and so should Donald Peak. But, of course, the Omaha Police Department and the Douglas County Attorney’s office couldn’t care less who really made that fatal call.”

“And they knew back in 1970 that Duane did not make the 911 call because they knew all of our voices and the voice on the 911 call was either not familiar to them, or it was and they did not care about who really made the call as long as they had Mondo and myself in custody.”xxx

Duane Peak was taken to an interrogation room on the fourth floor of police headquarters where he was questioned by Pitmon Foxall for an hour and a half. Foxall’s report documents what would be the first of a half-dozen versions of the crime. Peak’s tale had a mystery woman, a secret note with green ink, and an order to destroy evidence. “DON”T TELL ANYONE ABOUT THE NOTE. KEEP IT QUIET. A TOP SECRET.”xxxi

Peak’s purported note gave instructions to retrieve a suitcase near the incinerator in the alley behind Lothrop Drug Store. “DUANE said, that on getting the suitcase to the destination that he waited around for a while until about 2400 or 2430….DUANE adds that the note ended with instructions for DUANE “TO BURN IT” and states that he did burn this at the phone booth at 24th and Burdette; also that the note told DUANE to be at the phone booth 0200 Monday 17 August 1970 as someone was to call him….the phone rang in the booth and DUANE answered it and a woman’s voice which he didn’t recognize, and she said to DUANE to call the police and tell them that a woman was screaming in a vacant house….DUANE said he asked who the woman was and was told by the female voice “NOT TO ASK QUESTIONS”, just follow instructions. The woman told DUANE to forget that he ever saw a suitcase and hung up. DUANE said that he made the call but used a different tone of voice.”xxxii

“DUANE said that he talked to his brother PEAK, Donald first on hearing the news of the blast or explosion and as he knew that they took the suitcase up there to the location and told DONALD that he killed….that the next day he went to his sister THERESAs home…and told her that he had killed a man.”

“DUANE said that DELIA…drove him to…28th Avenue between Lake and Ohio Street, and he told her drive up in the alley, as he didn’t want anyone to see him with the suitcase…he put the suitcase on the southside of the alley and on the west side of the house near the fence….DUANE said the suitcase was kind of heavy and he was suspicious and thought about this. Estimated the weight of the suitcase about ten pounds. Stated that is was a dark grey color, and used the gestures of his hands to mark off about 26 inches high and about 30 inches wide and ten or twelve inches wide: it appeared new. Stated that it had a hole in the middle of the bottom of the suitcase about the diameter of a nickel and stated there was a four to five inch blue insulated electrical wire sticking out of the bottom. DUANE stated that after putting this suitcase down he stayed around the location from 1030 to 1230 trying to see who would pick it up. DUANE said that he didn’t take the suitcase into 2867 Ohio Street….the top men of the NCCF would not let him in on the official business, and at the time that he carried this mission out, he thought that he was doing something big, as he was under the impression they were high classed papers, and that he was rather excited about this, DUANE said that he was cleaning off his desk, and just happened on the white envelope, name written in green felt-tipped ink pen and inside instructions were written in pencil.”xxxiii

Hardie Michael Peterson was questioned by Robert Pfeffer. The police wanted to know about Peterson’s relationship with Duane Peak. “In questioning PETERSON he admitted that he is presently AWOL from the Marine Corps, and that he has been AWOL since January 1970.”

“PETERSON stated that he returned to Omaha the third week of July, 1970 and has been living with his mother, Maxine (nickname “MA-MA”) SUMMERS.”

“He also stated that he is no member of any militant or racial organization.”

“He also stated that he does not know if Duane PEAK has been staying at his mothers house…because he does not know PEAK and has never been with him.”

“I questioned him, stating that he had been arrested with PEAK this morning…he stated that, “If you have that information, why ask me?”

“Interrogation of PETERSON was then terminated.”xxxiv

Maxine Summers was arrested under orders of James Perry as an accessory after the fact. Police searched Mama Summers’ house finding a 12 gauge sawed-off shotgun with a 20-inch barrel.xxxv

Nancy Haynes was interviewed about harboring Duane Peak. “Mrs. HAYNES, Nancy…stated that Mrs. SUMMERS (who she only knew as SOUL MAMA until today) went to her mother’s house and told her she needed help and wanted to know if she would let 2 of her brothers who were in town stay at her house over night that they were en route to a funeral somewhere and that she did not have room for them as she already had another brother staying with her.”

“SUMMERS stated that she would be over to get them in the morning.”

“HAYNES stated that at 715 hrs….SUMMERS asked if the police came and got the boys and HAYNES replied “Yes”. At that time SUMMERS fell backwards off the steps, and layed on the ground kicking her feet in the air and yelling as if she was having a tandrem fit.”xxxvi

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 “Fugitive Warrants To Be Asked for 2”, Omaha World-Herald, August 25, 1970 The preferential treatment of Raliegh House and lack of prosecution for supplying the suitcase and dynamite to Duane Peak suggests House was an informant.

ii Mondo, personal letter to author, March 5, 2008. The four people mentioned by Mondo were Raleigh House, Donald Peak, Jr., Robert Cecil, and Frank Peak.

iii “Fugitive Warrants To Be Asked for 2,” Omaha World-Herald, August 25, 1970

iv “Suspect Is Freed On Signature,” Omaha World-Herald, p. 1, August 25, 1970

v J. Edgar Hoover to Paul Young memorandum, p. 1, August 24, 1970

vi J. Edgar Hoover to Paul Young memorandum, p. 2, August 24, 1970

vii OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001387, August 24, 1970. The vehicle had been used to give Duane Peak a ride to the crime scene. The suitcase bomb rode in the trunk on the short drive. Dynamite particles would later be allegedly found in the trunk debris gathered by Klotz. Unexplained by authorities was how dynamite particles would get out of the closed suitcase and mingle with debris in the car trunk, raising suspicion that the explosive particles were added after Klotz gathered the vacuumed evidence which was submitted to ATF agent Thomas Sledge.

viii OPD Property Report, Trial Record 001067, August 24, 1970

ix OPD Wanted Person form, Trial Record 001390, August 24, 1970

x OPD Wanted Person form, Trial Record 001389, August 24, 1970

xi Mondo’s FBI file, Omaha FBI to J. Edgar Hoover teletype, p. 12, August 24, 1970

xii Mondo’s FBI file, Omaha FBI to J. Edgar Hoover teletype, p. 13, August 24, 1970

xiii Mondo’s FBI file, Omaha FBI to J. Edgar Hoover teletype, p. 14, August 24, 1970

xiv “Are The Police Handcuffed” Editorial, Omaha World-Herald, August 24, 1970

xv OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001360, August 25, 1970

xvi “Lack of Evidence Frees 10 Suspects,” Omaha World-Herald, p. 1, August 26, 1970

xvii Mondo’s FBI file, Omaha FBI teletype to J. Edgar Hoover, p. 23, August 25, 1970

xviii Mondo’s FBI file, FBI letterhead memorandum, p. 15, August 28,1970

xix Mondo’s FBI file, Paul Young to J. Edgar Hoover memorandum, p. 31, August 26, 1970

xx Mondo’s FBI file, FBI letterhead memorandm, p. 37, August 26, 1970

xxi Mondo’s FBI file, FBI letterhead memorandm, p. 38, August 26, 1970

xxii “Two Murder Suspects White,” Omaha World-Herald, p. 5, August 26, 1970. In attendance were Emmet Dennis, director of the Omaha Opportunities Industrialization Center; Jack Clayter, executive director of the Urban League of Nebraska; Clarence Barbee, principal at Horace Mann Junior High School; Rodney Wead, executive director of United Methodist Community Centers; attorney Wilbur Phillips and real estate man George Thomas.

xxiii “Rice, Cecil Held On U.S. Charges,” Omaha World-Herald, August 28, 1970

xxiv Mondo, Can’t Jail the Spirit, Prison Activist Resource Center, Fourth Edition, 1998

xxv “Rice, Cecil Held On U.S. Charges,” Omaha World-Herald, August 28, 1970. In 1994, freelance writer Kietryn Zychal spotted a photo of Mondo’s hands in his pockets while examining old newspaper clippings. Zychal realized that the dynamite particles had to have been added to his pocket after Mondo surrendered and his clothing confiscated. This important detail had been missed by the defense attorneys.

xxvi Paul Young to J. Edgar Hoover memorandum, August 27, 1970, Reel 4 Black Nationalist Hate Groups, microfilm, 1978

xxvii “Peak Captured On Tip to FBI,” Omaha World-Herald, p. 1, August 28, 1970. The amount paid by the FBI to Donald Peak was likely several hundred dollars. FBI regulations in effect at the time allowed a SAC to pay $400 without additional Bureau approval. The 1971 Domestic Intelligence Division inspection report has a general discussion on informant payments in effect at the time. Assistant Director Charles Brennan commented on informants, “They are fraught with controversy and potential for embarrassment to the Bureau. Extended experience has taught us the absolute necessity for tight, effective, centralized control of these informants by SOG.” Brennan’s commentary makes it clear that Paul Young would have been personally involved in utilizing Donald Peak. Brennan stated, “The SAC remains accountable, of course, for the informant’s handling, the validity of his expenditures, and the worth of his information.” See FBI Vault, FBI Domestic Intelligence Division-HQ, Sec. 3, p. 317-318, September 9, 1971

xxviii Mondo’s FBI file, FBI letterhead memorandum, p. 16, August 28, 1970

xxix Mondo’s FBI file, Paul Young to J. Edgar Hoover, p. 25, August 28, 1970

xxx Edward Poindexter, letter to author, March 3, 2008

xxxi OPD Supplementary Report, Appeal Record P1633, August 28, 1970

xxxii OPD Supplementary Report, Appeal Record P1727, August 28, 1970

xxxiii OPD Supplementary Report, Appeal Record P1728-P1729, August 28, 1970

xxxiv OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001411, August 28, 1970 Hardie Michael Peterson was returned to the Marines and dropped from the investigation following an interrogation by the FBI.

xxxv OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001132, August 28, 1970

xxxvi OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001177, August 28,1970


Taiwan independence activist Yang Chih-yuan in fourth month of detention in People’s Republic of China

Tawianese independence activist Yang Chih-yuan denouncing communism before his arrest in the People’s Republic of China. (credit: CCTV screenshot)

Now in his fourth month of detention since his August 3 arrest in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, Yang Chih-yuan, a Taiwanese independence advocate, faces serious criminal charges for purportedly endangering the People’s Republic of China’s national security with his advocacy against the Republic of China in-exile. Yang, who has battled the two-headed “one China” for years, is a veteran political activist turned businessman. Yang’s problem was seeking his fortune in China where his political activism in Taiwan has been monitored by PRC security agents.

Yang traveled to China in January to pursue business and had stepped away from his political activism. However, the State Security Bureau was watching Yang. A Chinese media statement following his arrest said Yang “has long engaged in Taiwan independence separatist activities and is suspected of endangering national security.”

In the wake of Yang’s detention, the Mainland Affairs Council in Taiwan urged Taiwanese residents to assess the risks of visiting China given the potential risks to their personal freedom and security. The arrest was announced on state-run China Central Television, although there was no official notification as required by the Cross-Strait Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang told a news conference that “die-hard Taiwanese separatists cannot escape severe punishment under national law.”

The CCTV report accused Yang of being involved in the establishment of an “illegal organization with the goal of pushing for Taiwan to become a sovereign, independent nation, with the eventual aim of it joining the UN, among other separatist crimes.”

Yang was previously a member of the Taiwan Action Party Alliance — a pro-independence party founded by former president Chen Shui-bian that dissolved in 2020.

The Chinese newspaper Global Times is an organ for government propaganda and its report on Yang’s arrest does not bode well for the Taiwanese activist. Yang is accused of “suspicion of engaging in separatist activities and endangering national security.”

“Yang has been poisoned by thoughts of “Taiwan independence” secessionism for a long time and in 2006, when he was in middle school, he started to be engaged in secessionist activities.”

“In 2008, Yang was chosen by the Democratic Progressive Party for cultivation as he was actively involved in the “Wild Strawberries Movement,” a protest movement in the island of Taiwan in November 2008 after the visit of Chen Yunlin, chairman of the mainland’s Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits, to the island. Yang was later appointed as the head of the DPP youth league in Taichung and became an important member of the secessionist forces in the island.”

“In 2011, Yang took part in forming “Taiwanese National Party” and actively schemed a series of secessionist activities in an attempt to “build a country through referendum.” In 2019, Yang took the position as the vice chairman of “Taiwanese National Party” and clamored to push “Taiwan independence” more hastily and aggressively.”

“Yang colluded with separatist forces to support Hong Kong secessionists and incited secessionist forces to work together, which were a provocation to China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The Taiwan Affairs Office of the Chinese government has warned of punishing “die-hard Taiwan independence elements.”

“Their separatist acts and remarks are flagrant provocations against China’s national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the sanctity of law. They have also severely jeopardized the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

“Any individual or organization that…engages in activities jeopardizing national security shall be investigated…convicted and punished for secession.”

Yang, arrested for his advocacy against the ROC in Taiwan, is also seen as a threat by the PRC, highlighting the confused international status of Taiwan. Most recent news reports on the PRC escalation against the ROC for control of Taiwan gloss over the lack of sovereignty by the ROC as the central issue in the dispute.

In September, the PRC’s Taiwan Affairs Office circumvented questions on Yang’s well-being. Spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian reiterated that “Taiwan independence diehards” will be held accountable for life. Meanwhile, the ROC’s Mainland Affairs Council has requested Yang’s release but to no avail. The MAC has branded the charges against Yang as “unprecedented” and his arrest has been linked in media reports to the visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei.

Yang has been silenced behind hidden walls. However, Yang’s message from earlier days now speaks loudly, “I will never compromise on my anti-communism, you have to fight in order to be free.”

“They are meant to be scapegoats”

Edward Poindexter and David Rice [Wopashitwe Eyen Mondo we Langa] were two “scapegoats” in the August 17, 1970 death of Patrolman Larry Minard and were sentenced to life in prison. (credits: Omaha Police Department)

This is Chapter 13 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.

Margaret White and John Jerks were brought to Central Headquarters. Robert Pfeffer wrote a report. “JERKS stated that he saw Duane PEAKS, he was carrying a suitcase that he had never seen him have before. He describes the suitcase as grayish in color, about medium size.”

Jerks told the detective that Donald Peak came over and the two brothers talked together privately. “He stated that after both of them being at the NORRIS house for about 15 minutes they both came out of the NORRIS house with Duane PEAKS carrying the gray suitcase.”i

“JERKS stated that on the next day…Duane PEAKS came over to his house and told his wife, Margaret, that he’d have to lay low because the pigs were looking for him on account of the bombing that happened last night.”

“JERKS also stated that PEAKS had mentioned when they were with the Black Panthers that Duane used to talk about making bombs although he never did see any himself.”

Jack Swanson got a call from an informant with Donald Peak’s location. Swanson arrested Peak as an accessory after the fact and then had him questioned.ii

“Peak Donald stated that he did not know anything about the bombing, but admitted that his group had teased about killing the Pig, and some would point out their finger and say to him, that they knew that he did it, but that he wanted to be honest about the matter and get this off his chest, also said he would take a lie-detector test, and asked what did it comprise of, and I explained the machine to him, assuring him that if he was telling the truth, he had nothing to fear.”

“PEAK, Donald then asked me what would happen to a person, who had knowledge of bombing and told police about this, but did not have anything to do with it and I assured him, that this person would be faultless, and exonerated, and he told me, he was the person, who had the knowledge and wanted to tell me about it, as he has not slept well since gaining the knowledge.”

“Duane PEAK told him, that at exactly 0215 a “Pig” had been killed, then told him Donald, that the suitcase had contained dynamite, and about the explosion, and Donald said it sickened him, as his brother Duane did not have to tell him about the incident.”iii

“PEAK Donald also admits that he did belong to the Black Panthers, for 2-3 mos. but quit in July 1970, admits that he formerly lived at 2809 Ohio Street…but did not know, whose idea it was to plant the bomb there nor did he know who had made the phone call to the police, but stated that to his knowledge it was POINDEXTER, ED Neg male, known as head of the Organization who made the bomb, and his brother was transporting it.”iv

Theresa Peak, a sister of Duane, was arrested along with her boyfriend Raymond Britt. On the way to headquarters arresting officers had an unexpected discovery, a loaded automatic pistol inside Theresa’s purse.v

Willie Haynie, boyfriend of sister Delia Peak, was being interrogated. “HAYNIE states….he did hear PEAK, Donald, negro male, 20 years, and PEAK, Duane, laughing and talking about the bombing…both were making jokes about this incident; however, HAYNIE states that he had not as yet heard this on the news.”vi

In Washington, William Bradley sent a second memorandum to Ivan Willard Conrad at the FBI Laboratory about the Minard murder. “In referenced memorandum [8/19/70], the Director approved a request to assist the Omaha Police Department in captioned case through the use of [voice comparison examinations by the Laboratory.]”

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

“[No Bureau equipment will be used in connection with obtaining the known voice recording samples.]”

“The SAC, Omaha, noted that he had been instructed by the Bureau to suggest steps of possible assistance to the Omaha Police in solving the bombings. He advised technical guidance of the type requested would provide maximum immediate assistance, particularly since the [existing recording of the false “bait” complaint to the police is the most important present tangible evidence in the possession of the police], and he recommended the Bureau send a Laboratory representative.”

“RECOMMENDATION: That a Laboratory Supervisor travel to Omaha and furnish the Omaha Police with technical guidance in [obtaining known voice samples for comparison purposes.]”vii

Clyde Tolson was on the memorandum distribution list. Tolson did not initial the document and given his failing health and mental state it is possible Tolson did not read the memo. However, Tolson may have been independently aware of the plot to not issue a lab report as he was with Hoover on vacation when Conrad called to California.

William Sullivan’s initials are beside his name indicating his approval. The war on the Black Panthers was a priority for Sullivan and he stayed informed, following counterintelligence actions and developments closely.

John Mohr’s name was on two distribution lists, a rubber-stamped distribution list and a special typed list with his initials at the bottom of the page. Mohr’s cash incentive bonus from Hoover also suggests Mohr’s participation in the conspiracy to withhold a laboratory report.

Alex Rosen, head of the General Investigation Division read, approved, and initialed the memorandum. George Moore of the Racial Intelligence section signed on. Charles Brennan, in charge of the Domestic Intelligence Division, gave his approval and initials. The cast of the conspiracy was complete. The FBI top directorate was aware and approved of the plan to conceal the identity of the 911 caller by withholding a formal laboratory report and instead sending a lab technician to Omaha to direct local police.

J. Edgar Hoover put his own pen to paper and wrote “OK” followed with his distinctive “H” initial. The anonymous 911 caller that lured a policeman to his death would not be sought. The decision had already been made while Hoover was still on vacation that killers would get away with murder to make the case against Mondo and Ed Poindexter.

In late afternoon, police arrived at the National Committee to Combat Fascism headquarters led by Captain Bruce Hartford. Neither the police nor accompanying ATF agents had a search warrant. The police were operating on the strength of an arrest warrant for Duane Peak. The federal agents had been thwarted in a search of NCCF headquarters by the Justice Department a month earlier and had not returned to court for a warrant. The raiders were met at the door by Robert Cecil.

Hartford gave an account of the raid. “I pulled the door open and forced the hook in the lock and after someone told me, he has a gun in his hand, he has a shotgun, and we went in.”viii

“I seen the shotgun in Cecil’s hand after I entered the inside and there were rifles, numerous shells laying around in the front room and bandoleers or canvas belts and we proceeded then into the basement.”ix

Hartford described using Cecil as a human shield. “Right ahead of me when I went in the basement….Well, I figured if it was booby trapped, and it gave all this appearance, that I would sure as hell take him with me.”x

A police property report listed “Typed letter found in typewriter By Lt. James Perry on the death of Officer Larry Minard.”xi

Ed Poindexter was picked up and charged with conspiracy to commit first degree murder. When asked his occupation Poindexter replied, “Servant of the People.”xii

Francis Pane of the County Attorney’s office began a recorded interview with Donald Peak, Jr. One of the questions was if Duane Peak was glad a policeman was killed. Donald gave an ambiguous answer about his brother’s state of mind.

“He didn’t seem sad about it. I couldn’t tell, really, because sometimes I think my brother is kind of off in the head.”xiii

Meanwhile, Theresa Peak had a story to tell about her brothers. “Donald Jr. told her that Peak, Duane had put the bomb in the house, also that just one day before the funeral of Minard, Larry her brother Duane Peak was at her home and told her that he had put the bomb in the house that killed the policeman.”xiv

Delia Peak came to police headquarters and voluntarily submitted to questioning about her brother Duane. The booking officer noted Delia had a bullet scar on her right arm.xv

Delia saw a suitcase but it wasn’t gray. “That night, Sunday…Dwayne came upstairs with a green suitcase….I ask him what he had in the suitcase and he said some clothes.”xvi

The lights were on late at the Omaha FBI office where Paul Young sent J. Edgar Hoover a teletype report on the case while police prepared to search Mondo’s home. Young’s report noted the deep involvement of the FBI in the bombing investigation and collaboration between agents and the police.

“Commissioner of Public Safety [Al Pattavina] advises Bureau Agents the following individuals [REDACTED] all members of the National Committee to Combat Fascism, NCCF, as well as [REDACTED] have been arrested.”

“Close liaison being maintained OMPD and Bureau will be advised of all developments.”xvii

Meanwhile, the search for Duane Peak had now taken police to the home of Mondo who was in Kansas City at a rally for Pete O’Neal. Mondo later gave his account of the search. “Sometime in the course of the week I was asked to go to Kansas City to give a talk to raise moral and financial support and so forth for Pete O’Neal who was facing some federal gun charges. So there is a hell of an irony in this whole business. He winds up in Africa and I wind up in prison.”

“Aside from the fact that Peak was in the Party or associated with it, they had no reason to look in my house for Duane Peak. Peak was fifteen years old. He wasn’t someone I hung with.”

“People were arrested at my house. One was my brother and another a friend of ours. There was a third person, he wasn’t arrested, he took off and the police shot at him.”

“My brother knew I wasn’t home so he and the other two dudes came by the house, they saw the door open and lights on. They were waiting outside the house, they figured it was being burglarized.”

“My guess is the reason the house was open was that the cops were already there and when my brother came they got surprised so my brother and the other guy were arrested and questioned. With all that going on, it is interesting to say the least, that the police say we found dynamite in the basement next to the furnace. But they took a photograph of my basement. There is no dynamite in the photograph. But they also took a photograph of a box of dynamite in the trunk of a police cruiser. They took a photo of my basement and they claimed there is dynamite there, why not have a photo of the dynamite in the basement?”xviii

“In fact, I had guns in my house, no automatic or other illegal weapons, and contrary to reports otherwise, had no dynamite or blasting caps because I had no intention of being a willing victim of a police shoot-in. We must recall that in 1969, Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were murdered in their beds by Chicago cops. This was a police shoot-in.”xix

“My attitude is, okay, if these cops come to my house and they want to search or whatever, fine, come on in. I’ve got nothing to hide. But if it looks like it’s going to be a situation where they are going to want to, as they say, neutralize me—oh no, both of us got to shoot. That is my attitude.”xx

Jack Swanson and Robert Pfeffer swore out a joint affidavit to obtain a search warrant for Mondo’s home which Pfeffer presented to Judge Simon A. Simon. “David Rice is a known member of the National Committee to Combat Fascism, which advocates the violent killing of Police Officers. A violent killing of a Police Officer occurred, in Omaha, and arrests were made from the membership of the NCCF. We have been told in the past that RICE keeps explosives, at his residence, and also illegal weapons, which he has said should be used against Police Officers.”xxi

At 10:30 p.m., Swanson and six Omaha police officers, along with ATF agents Daley, Casper, Richard Curd and Thomas Sledge entered the dwelling. The searchers split up, concentrating on different parts of the house. Two technicians took thirty-four photographs of the house and interior but no photos of any dynamite in the house.

Richard Fuqua stated the first time he saw dynamite was downtown in police custody “This was brought to Central Station….Two photos were taken showing the dynamite….The dynamite was left with a Alcohol, Tobacco Tax Unit investigator, Daley.”xxii

The Omaha World-Herald reported that a “long, wooden box” was removed from the house.xxiii

Mondo joked about the dynamite. “It being next to the furnace—a good place to keep one’s dynamite safe and warm. I’d say that if it’s good to keep dynamite close to a furnace, it’s at least as good to maybe store blasting caps next to a stove. The strangeness goes on and on.”xxiv

Jack Swanson wrote a report shortly after midnight about the search of Mondo’s house. “When the above Homicide happened, we felt RICE was a good suspect; and still later when we made arrests of parties who were connected with the National Committee to Combat Fascism, we felt that we had enough information for a search warrant.”

“Also found in the house were two rifles, one shotgun and one pistol….Also found, four blasting caps….by Sgt. Pfeffer under a piece of furniture in the front living room.”xxv

While Jack Swanson was preparing his report, Pfeffer was taking a statement from Russell Peak, a cousin of Duane. Pfeffer questioned Russell if his cousin had anything to do with the bombing. “No I don’t think he did but yet the way he is acting now it seems he did.”xxvi

Pfeffer reported Russell’s claim that Duane knew how to build a bomb. “One day last month, when Duane Peak was telling him about how to make a bomb in a suitcase, so that it would explode; and went into details by telling Russell that dynamite could be used and that he would have a positive and negative wire wired to this, held apart by two closepins, which would be attached to a string and up through the top of the suitcase anchored to the floor. And when anyone moved the suitcase, it would trip the closepins, causing the wires to touch and set off the blasting cap, causing the explosion.”xxvii

Jack Swanson and another sergeant took the dynamite allegedly found in Mondo’s basement to a storage shed in Iowa where Swanson was also storing dynamite seized from the three men arrested in July trying to sell explosives. “Dynamite to the home of RANNEY, Joe Jr., who lives on R.R. #4 west of Council Bluffs, Iowa. RANNEY is currently storing the other dynamite we have recovered, and he is to keep all of it together, in case of future court needs.”

“The amount of recovery on 22 August was 14 sticks of DuPont Red Cross Extra Strength. Agent DALY ATT&F Division, requested that he be able remove the contents of two of the sticks, and keep the wrappers for mailing to Washington, D.C. The Dynamite delivered to RANNEY consisted of 12 full sticks of Dynamite, and the contents of two sticks in plastic bags.”xxviii

A rally at Kountze Park, attended by two hundred people, sought to raise bail money for people arrested during the police sweep of the Near North Side. Ernie Chambers spoke at the rally and was critical of police actions. “We cannot turn on our brothers when they are picked up by those thugs.”

“Those men are not guilty of what they are charged with. They are meant to be scapegoats.”xxix

A traffic stop led to the arrests of Eddie Bolden and Raleigh House. The two men were taken to police headquarters and charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.xxx

Raleigh House was allowed to make a phone call while a police jailer listened. “HOUSE asked the female party if she would call Oakland and get some of the RANGERS out here, and she replied, yes she would. HOUSE then said, “you can call You Know Who, in Chicago, and get some of them too. The female voice then replied O.K. HOUSE then told the female voice to get in touch with Huey Newton, and she replied, well he is in New Hampton now and I don’t think it would do any good. HOUSE then told the female voice to call a party by the name of HILLIARD, in Kansas City, and get him up here, and the female voice replied O.K.”

“HOUSE then told the female voice that she should contact the Black Panther Mamma, who would carry on while he was in jail.”xxxi

Mondo was returning from Kansas City when he heard on the car radio that his house had been searched and dynamite was allegedly found. “It is one thing to be intellectually aware of the fact that a person can be set-up or murdered or discredited—but quite another thing to be faced, all of a sudden, with the realization that such is not something you’re reading or hearing but that it is actually happening to you.”

“I had been in life-threatening situations, various kinds of confrontations with police that could have escalated to the point of killing and dying. But none of those situations really caused me much fear. But the knowledge that I was being set-up, that I would have to face a scenario which I would probably have no control over, scared me. I had never known such fear. And the fear proved to be justified.”xxxii

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 001308, August 22, 1970. Robert Pfeffer dictated this report rather than typing it himself, which explains the reference to Peak as Peaks. Dictation did not seem to stop the typographical errors as the rushed urgency of events and non-electric typewriters led to uncorrected typing mistakes

ii OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001307, August 22, 1970

iii OPD Supplementary Report,Trial Record 001111, August 22, 1970

iv OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001112, August 22, 1970

v OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001373, August 22, 1970

vi OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record #001128, August 22, 1970

vii Trial Transcript, Exhibit 36, Dec. 10, 1980 post-trial hearing. The defense attorneys were initially provided with a redacted copy by FBI censors. A later release provided the unredacted version quoted. Censored material is identified with brackets.

viii Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 145, March 4, 1971

ix Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 147, March 4, 1971

x Trial Transcript, Vol. 2, p. 166, March 4, 1971

xi OPD Property Report, August 22, 1970, Trial Record 001003. The record is silent on the content of the letter and it was not an issue at trial.

xii OPD Record of Arrest, Trial Record 001081, August 22, 1970

xiii Trial Transcript, Vol. 1, p. 77, citing Statement of Donald Peak, p. 17, August 22, 1970

xiv OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001139, August 22, 1970

xv. OPD Record of Arrest, Trial Record 001078, August 22, 1970

xvi OPD witness statement, Appeal Record P1743, August 22, 1970

xvii Mondo’s FBI file, Omaha teletype to J. Edgar Hoover, p. 11, August 22, 1970. Nearly a decade later Police Chief Richard Anderson would deny under oath there was any FBI involvement. Anderson either lied or was kept out of the loop by his subordinates and superior.

xviii Mondo, prison interview, September 8, 2007

xix Mondo, “Word from the inside,” Omaha Star, June 22, 2006

xx Mondo, prison interview with author, September 8, 2007

xxi Rice v. Wolff, 388 F. Supp. 185 at 208, 1974

xxii OPD Supplementary Report, Appeal Record P1739, August 23, 1970

xxiii “Youth Charged in Bomb Death,” p. 7, Omaha World-Herald, August 23, 1970

xxiv Mondo, letter to author, July 2, 2007

xxv OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001343, August 23, 1970. Jack Swanson’s new reason for searching Mondo’s house, the possible presence of explosives, should have been presented to Judge Simon A. Simon, when the search warrant was sought. Swanson also wrote there were fifteen sticks of dynamite although only fourteen made it to Central Headquarters.

xxvi OPD Witness Statement, Trial Record 001345, August 23, 1970

xxvii OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001166, August 23, 1970

xxviii OPD Supplementary Report, August 23, 1970, Trial Record 001379

xxix Party Leader Being Sought In Conspiracy,” Omaha World-Herald, p. 2, August 24, 1970

xxx OPD Record of Arrest, Trial Record 001091-001092, August 23, 1970

xxxi OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001381, August 23, 1970. Black Panther Mamma was most likely Maxine Summers who had arranged housing for Duane Peak the night of his arrest. Possibly the message to Black Panther Mamma was a coded directive regarding Peak. The existing record does not disclose if Raleigh House was ever questioned about Black Panther Mamma. Peak would later implicate House, alleging that House supplied the suitcase and dynamite for the bomb. House was never prosecuted.

xxxii Mondo, Can’t Jail the Spirit, Prison Activist Resource Center, Fourth Edition, 1998

Tsai Ing-wen thesis controversy now at Cabinet Office in United Kingdom in request to close academic fraud loophole in Freedom of Information law

Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen’s thesis controversy is making headlines on United Kingdom websites. (credits: Screenshots)

Two recent Upper Tribunal decisions regarding disclosure of verification information for the 1984 University of London PhD degree of Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen led to a request to amend the Data Protection Act to close an academic fraud loophole that thwarts transparent verification of the oral PhD “viva” examination. However, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport declined to amend the DPA announcing that the law needs no correction.

A three-year controversy around President Tsai’s PhD thesis, entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions, began in June 2019, when Tsai submitted her thesis to the London School of Economics Library, 35 years late. Compounding the tardy submission was the draft appearance of the unbound dissertation with pagination problems, footnote issues, and handwritten notations, including a question mark. Further, the LSE now admits that it doesn’t even know who approved the thesis. Tsai keeps the controversy going by refusing to release the viva report, which she has bragged was so favorable the examiners wanted to give her a double degree. The University of London, which awarded Tsai her degree, claims to know who the examiners were but won’t identify the scholars citing DPA personal data protections.

Now, the Cabinet Office has been requested to seek amendment of the Freedom of Information Act to close the fraud gateway by requiring examination disclosure in a sixteen word addition to the list of exemptions adding: “unless such information is used in the verification of qualification for advanced degrees at public universities.”

In October, Upper Tribunal Judge Edward Jacobs ruled in UA-2022-000491-GIA : “[Appellant’s] concerns and worries about the proper form of the President’s degree cannot be resolved within the FOIA scheme.”

Two days later, Upper Tribunal Judge Mark West ruled in UA-2021-000416-GIA: A FOIA request is not a vehicle for discovering everything about President Tsai’s thesis.”

The amendment proposal submitted to the Cabinet Office sets out the rationale for the change in the law. “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.”

“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 the thesis had been submitted to the Senate House Library and subsequently lost by librarians. The ongoing thesis 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.”

“In President Tsai’s case, with its tardy thesis, unknown examiners to the school she 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.”

“It is a matter of 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.”

We believe organized violence is necessary”

Patrolman Larry Minard and his self-confessed killer Duane Peak. The murder investigation identified Peak while the police sought to make a case against Edward Poindexter and David Rice.
(credits: Omaha Police Department)

This is Chapter 12 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.

The weekly edition of the black-owned Omaha Star newspaper came out with three articles that revealed the depth of racial discord in the city.

An article on a black unity seminar discussed the focus of Ed Poindexter’s attention until the Minard murder. Poindexter was a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Black Unity which organized a one-day seminar “to better organize and unify the Omaha Black community” which attracted Reverend Otis Saunders of Detroit as keynote speaker.

Saunders, author of Conflict, Chaos or Community, was at work on another book to be entitled After The Panthers and his impending arrival was an important event to Poindexter. Saunders was a bridge between the Black Panthers and church leaders. The afternoon session of the seminar featured a workshop for ministers dealing with ways to make the church “more relevant to critical community needs.” Poindexter’s role in the group was a significant breakthrough towards acceptance for the National Committee to Combat Fascism

The second article told of the forum held at the First Central Congregational Church where police brutality was aired which created a backlash of anger by police against criticism from church leaders. The headline article of the newspaper explored the controversy and included a statement of Forum organizers. “Sponsors of Friday’s Forum, during which statements of police community relations matters were made by local citizens, express their deep regret and sympathy at the tragic loss of life connected with Monday night’s bombing. As in the death of Vivian Strong, one year ago, we deplore such waste of human life.”ii

The third article put Mondo at the center of suspicion for Larry Minard’s death. A regular feature of the newspaper was a guest column. Mondo had written the commentary before the murder but the juxtaposition of events put a sharper edge on Mondo’s comments. Mondo was asked, “Do you Panthers really mean freedom by any means necessary?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, very shortly the situation in this country is going to develop into extensive armed struggle. This armed conflict is already taking place, on a small scale, even here in Omaha.”

“We believe that organized violence is necessary. But we will not take part in or encourage unorganized rioting. All it can result in, at this point in time, is mass injury and/or death to Black people. I’m of the opinion that bricks are not much of a match for guns.”iii

Governor Norbert Tiemann was at Larry Minard’s funeral, the largest in Omaha’s history. Somber policemen stood silently in a line a block long to pay last respects on what would have been Minard’s thirtieth birthday. More than three hundred policeman, members of a volunteer honor guard, crowded into the John A. Gentlemen mortuary. Most funeral attendees could not get in and they listened to the service on loudspeakers outside.

Public Safety Director Al Pattavina and Chief Richard Anderson were at the funeral. Every officer who could be spared from day shift duty was allowed to attend. Karen Minard attended but none of Larry’s five children were present.

Reverend Marvin Hall of the First Baptist Church conducted the service and said criminals compliment law enforcement officers by calling them symbols of the system. Hall called Minard a peace-keeper and said enemies of our way of life have been trying to discredit police. Hall warned of anarchists and communists, the underworld and naïve members of the clergy.

Patrolman John Tess, in a wheelchair with his wounds from the explosion still bandaged, viewed the service from a private room near the closed, flag-draped coffin. On the casket lid with the flag was Minard’s uniform, hat and his badge.

More than four hundred visitors signed the regular guest book and another four hundred policemen and other law enforcement officers signed a special book. Flowers arrived from police associations in New York, Boston, Cleveland, and Washington, D.C.

After the funeral, the honor guard took up position lining both sides of the street for two blocks where the officers stood at attention and saluted as the hearse passed on its way to the cemetery. On each side of the hearse were columns of four color guard members in berets marching with police 12-gauge shotguns. The procession of mourners to the cemetery was two miles long. Minard was given a military ceremony at Forest Lawn under an oak tree near the graves of his parents. A lone bugler played taps.i

The funeral did not stop the homicide investigation. Omaha FBI agents questioned an informant about the bombing. “OM T-7 advised that he had heard that certain members of the NCCF supposedly knew who had set the bomb at Ohio Street and that the bomber was from out of town who had been trained by the BPP for constructing bombs of this type. This information was furnished to the Intelligence Division of the Omaha Police Department.”ii

The next day, a detective questioned Tyrone Stearns, an employee of Component Concepts Corporation and wrote a report. “He stated that he has been making the Black Panther meetings. He is not a member but stated that he has been asked to join. During these meetings he stated that the members are instructed on the use of automatic weapons, rifles, and the making of dynamite bombs. He stated that at these meetings there are two white men, who are about 38 yrs old that do part of the instruction and also have a hand in the conducting of these meetings.”

“He stated that he can get me the location of 200 to 300 lbs of dynamite and Detonators caps that one of the black panthers have talked to him about.”iii

“He also stated remember this guy by the name of Luther who was caught hauling dynamite. He stated Luther is a black panther, but he didn’t tell you guys about it.”

“He also stated that the Black Panthers have numerous weapons automatic rifles, hand guns in the house that they occupy on north 24th street.”

“Concerning the COMPONENTS bombing he stated that the Wednesday after the bombing he was at the Black Panther meeting, and during this meeting it was mentioned, during the past week our operation was a success.”iv

A former member of the Black Panthers also came into Central Headquarters to make a statement. Richard Gibson had been of interest to Jack Swanson hours after the bombing until cleared by the FBI. “GIBSON claims that he was in the Black Panther Organization for 4 to 5 months in 1968, until his wife left him and went to California, and claims that he found out that certain ones in the organization was trying to use him as a “Patsy” such as not giving an accurate account of the money taken up, and pretending that the organization was an affiliate of the headquarter group in Oakland, Calif. when they were not, so he gradually got out of the organization.”i

Jack Swanson wrote a report on two men seen entering the National Committee to Combat Fascism headquarters. Swanson questioned Roger Duncan about his housemate, Donald Stirling. “This interview was conducted in regards to surveillance photos….We had taken photos of two white males going back and forth to the headquarters. Information has come in that there might possibly be two white males involved in the above offense.”

“We asked DUNCAN about his association with the NCCF and he stated the following: He and STIRLING are volunteers for the United Methodist Ministers Council; and that the reason they were going back and forth to the NCCF headquarters, was to conduct interviews with the members. He said their assignment was to investigate Police harassment, of Panthers….DUNCAN further said that he did not think the Panthers were involved.”

“DUNCAN said that in his opinion, the person who committed the crime would be one party who feels that he is alienated from society.”

“We noticed that on the inside of this house there were several draft cards pinned on the wall, and some of them had been scorched…information was given to Agent HARRIS, FBI.”ii

A reporter questioned Ed Poindexter about the failed ATF search that was now in the news. Poindexter said his group had no secrets and would not have resisted a search warrant.

Poindexter warned that if police in Omaha start shooting like the Chicago police who killed Fred Hampton and Mark Clark that his group would shoot back.iii

Back from vacation, J. Edgar Hoover gave William Sullivan a $250 “incentive award” for the time Hoover was in California. Sullivan’s duties included going along with the plan to withhold a FBI Laboratory report on the identity of Larry Minard’s killer. Hoover wrote, “You certainly deserve commendation for your exceptionally meritorious services during the period of time when I was away from Washington.”

“I am aware that my absence necessitated your shouldering additional responsibilities. Your splendid performance is appreciated.”iv

John Mohr, who oversaw communications with the FBI Laboratory, was likewise given a commendation and cash award for his actions while Hoover was on vacation. Hoover sent a personal letter to Mohr commending him and awarding $250 for the “superior manner in which you fulfilled your responsibilities.”v

In Omaha, Robert Pfeffer was told by an informant about a possible hiding place of explosives. Pfeffer checked out a tip about the home of Annie Norris, who he misunderstood to be Annie Morris. Annie told Pfeffer about a fifteen year-old friend of hers. “Duane PEAK came over to her house carrying a grey suitcase with him. She said that the suitcase was of a hard material, rough in appearance, dark grey color and had a shiny band, possibly metal around it.”i

“She stated that PEAK kept the suitcase in front of him when he sat down on the couch in the frontroom, and when she asked him what he was doing with the suitcase he told her that he was joining the Peace Corps, and was planning on leaving that evening. MORRIS stated that then Duane PEAK set the suitcase down in front of them, when he sat on the couch, when she asked him what he was doing with it she also walked over and tried to pick it up take or shake it to see what was in it, and he yelled at her telling her not to shake it and not to touch it. However, she stated that before he could stop her, she did pick up the suitcase, and it seemed quite heavy to her. She said that he hollered at her for doing this, and told her to leave it alone.”

“She stated that approximately ten minutes or so later, Donnie PEAK came over to her house, and had been drinking, both went into the kitchen, and DUANE carried the suitcase into the kitchen with him. She said that both were laughing and joking in the kitchen for about ten minutes, and then both left with DUANE carrying the suitcase. She said that the PEAKS, both DUANE and DONNIE, said on numerous occasions that they “were going to blow up the PIG Department.”ii

“MORRIS also stated that Monday evening 17 August 70 Duane PEAK was setting with her on the couch in the front room and DONNIE came to the front window and scared her, DONNIE said that at this time the Police were trying to scare the ones who did it and that DONNIE then asked DUANE, “what’s the matter boy, can’t you get any sleep?“ don let that bother you.”

“She said that the PEAKS also told her before they left that they had to lay low for a while, because the POLICE or Detectives were after them because they had a warrant for Duane PEAK’S arrest.”iii

Annie’s neighbors Margaret White and John Jerks had also seen Duane Peak and were questioned at their home. “PEAK, Dwayne was carrying a light grey Samsonite suitcase which looked like it was heavy. Mrs. White added that Dwayne never had a suitcase for his clothes because he only had a few and he throws them over his arm whenever he moves from place to place. The next day he stated that he has to lay low because they has a warrant and they are looking for him. He was also bragging about bombing the house at 2867 Ohio St.”

“Mr. Jerks and Mrs. White stated they would cooperate with Police in any way they could as long as their names are kept in confidence and as long as no white policeman comes to their door.”iv

Back at Central Headquarters, Pfeffer continued questioning Annie Norris and took a bold step letting Norris listen to a recording of the 911 call where she first identified Duane Peak’s voice.v

“However, after listening to the tape, two and three times, she stated that it sounded like Donnie PEAK, disguising his voice, or trying to do so, however she stated that she can almost be positive that it is either DONNIE or DUANE—PEAK on the tape.”i

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 001302, August 21, 1970

i OPD Supplementary Report, August 21, 1970, Trial Record 001299, Pfeffer dictated this report which explains the reference to Norris as Morris.

ii OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001300, August 21, 1970

iii OPD supplementary Report, Trial Record 001301, August 21 1970

iv OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001106, August 21, 1970

v OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001301, August 21, 1970

i OPD Supplementary Report, August 21, 1970

ii OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001294, August 21, 1970

iii “Raid Planned, Then Canceled,” Omaha World-Herald, p. 1, August 22, 1970

iv Archive.org, William C. Sullivan, Vol. 7, p. 83, August 21, 1970

v Archive.org, John P. Mohr, Vol. 5, p. 68, August 21, 1970

i “Larry Minard, Peace-Keeper Laid to Rest,” Robert Hoig, Omaha World-Herald, p. 14, August 21, 1971

ii Mondo’s FBI file, FBI letterhead memorandum, p. 41, August 26, 1970

iii OPD Supplementary Report,Trial Record 001292, August 21, 1970

iv OPD Supplementary Report,Trial Record 001293, August 21, 1970

i “Black Unity Seminar Planned,” Omaha Star, p. 1, August 20, 1970

ii “Police-Community Problems Can Be Solved,” p. 1, Omaha Star, August 20, 1970

iii “Rap On,” Omaha Star, p. 3, August 20, 1970

Minister Michelle Donelan will not seek closure of academic fraud loophole in the United Kingdom’s Data Protection Act

United Kingdom Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Michelle Donelan refuses to seek an amendment to the Data Protection Act to close an academic fraud loophole and Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen’s controversial PhD thesis. (credits: UK Parliament/Hwan Lin)

Recently appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Michelle Donelan’s staff has refused to consider an amendment to the Data Protection Act to close an academic fraud loophole in the law. Donelan, who was appointed to her post in September, is overseeing the passage of a rewrite of the United Kingdom’s Data Protection Act. However, Donelan apparently will not support a correction in the law to require public verification of University of London degrees.

Donelan was requested to consider corrective legislation in the wake of two Upper Tribunal decisions that declared the Data Protection Act overrides the Freedom of Information Act in the verification of advanced university degrees. The two Tribunal decisions concern FOIA requests from the public about the 1984 PhD award by the University of London to Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen. Tsai ignited an academic firestorm in June 2019 when she submitted her PhD thesis to the London School of Economics Library, 35 years late.

The tardy thesis, entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions, appears to be a draft document with pagination problems, footnote issues, and handwritten notations including a question mark. President Tsai refuses to release the oral examination viva report on her thesis leaving the public to wonder who approved the dissertation and when.

Donelan’s department quickly dismissed judicial commentary on the controversy. “The government considers that the existing definition of personal data works well, and so does not intend to create a new definition or change the existing understanding of what identifiers fall into the definition of personal data.”

Donelan was Minister of State for Higher and Further Education from September 2021 to July 2022 and her experience should have prepared her for the problems with the DPA/FOIA conflict of law identified by the Upper Tribunal.

Upper Tribunal Judge Edward Jacobs ruled on 18 October 2022, in UA-2022-000491-GIA: “[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, in UA-2021-000416-GIA: “A FOIA request is not a vehicle for discovering everything about President Tsai’s thesis.”

Public concern about the validity of President Tsai’s degree award has been compounded by an admission by the London School of Economics and Poltical Science, where Tsai attended school, that it does not know who the thesis examiners were. At the time that Tsai was a student, the LSE was incapable of issuing its own PhD degrees so the UL gave the degree award instead. Tsai’s academic supervisor was Michael Elliott, now deceased, who lacked a PhD degree himself. Kevin Haynes, the LSE “Head of Legal Team” told the ROC Ministry of Justice that Elliott was one of Tsai’s examiners, which is contrary to UL regulations. The LSE has since backed off Haynes’ claim with his subordinate Rachael Maguire blaming the snafu on a “hasty view” of Tsai’s student record. The current LSE position is that the school does not know who approved the thesis.

Meanwhile, the UL not only refuses to identify the two thesis examiners, but has recentlly changed the date of the degree award from February to March 1984 in its public announcement about Tsai’s diploma. Of greater public concern is the false statement the UL gave in response to a FOIA request that the Senate House Library received the thesis but it was lost by librarians. After a Tribunal examination of the UL claim and a finding it was likely inaccurate, the UL reversed itself with an admission the thesis was never received by the library.

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. 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.

The Upper Tribunal applied the DPA personal data protections to examiners on the essential question of verification of qualification of a degree award, thus voiding and negating a public and transparent verification. In President Tsai’s case, with its tardy thesis, unknown examiners to the school she 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 stautory scheme such a question by the public will not be answered, raising the spectre of academic fraud.

The next legislative step will be a request to the Cabinet Office for an amendment to the FOIA in light of Donelan’s refusal to correct the DPA to close the academic fraud loophole identified by the Upper Tribunal.

Birthday call for immediate release of ailing former Black Panther leader Ed Poindexter from Nebraska prison

Edward Poindexter in his 52nd year of imprisonment for his role as leader of a Black Panther affiliate chapter in Omaha, Nebraska. Poindexter’s bruised face is from daily dialysis treatments. (credit: Jericho)

Friends and supporters of Edward Poindexter gathered today in Omaha to call for his immediate release from the Nebraska State Penitentiary where he is serving a life sentence for the 1970 bombing murder of Patrolman Larry Minard. Poindexter was convicted at a two-week controversial trial in April 1971 for the killing of Minard despite no physical evidence linking him to the crime. The trial was marred by conflicting police testimony; perjured testimony by Duane Peak, the confessed bomber; withheld evidence from Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory; and spurious dynamite evidence from the Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms Laboratory.

Poindexter, leader of the National Committee to Combat Fascism, was a target of the infamous COINTELPRO operation directed by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in his clandestine war against the Black Panthers. Preston Love, a respected community leader, led the call for freedom on Ed Poindexter’s birthday.

“We gather here to publicly wish Ed Poindexter a happy 78th birthday, but we rush to mention that Mr. Poindexter celebrates his birthday this year, as he has for the last 52 years, behind bars. Twice as many years as he has celebrated as a free man. He was 26 years old when he went in. He has literally spent 2/3 of his life in prison. We stand today with cheers and tears for Ed Poindexter. Most of us believe that Ed Poindexter, who was convicted of a crime he did not commit, is innocent, and that his trial was rocked with inconsistencies and questionable evidence.”

“We angrily demand that Ed Poindexter be released, and that he spend not another birthday incarcerated, if he lives to that point. Ed Poindexter is very ill, he uses a wheelchair, he receives dialysis six days a week, has repeatedly been denied due process, as it relates to his potential release via parole. Ed Poindexter is a product of the 60’s, and a product of repeated, long standing, unforgiving hate, and lack of humanity on the part of those who think he should die in prison, in spite of the facts of his trial and the facts of his exemplary behavior for 50 years.”

“Ed Poindexter is not a threat to society, except for maybe he is a threat to the conscience and humanity of society. Ed Poindexter should be released. At minimum, the Pardons Board should commute his sentence to time served, and release him.”

Co-defendant David Rice [Wopashitwe Eyen Mondo we Langa] died at the prison in March 2016 while serving his life sentence. Duane Peak, the confessed killer, never served a day in prison in exchange for his testimony implicating Poindexter and Rice. The aged, ailing Poindexter continues to proclaim his innocence, but makes it clear he does not seek sympathy, he seeks justice.

Preston Love summed it up, “Let him out now.”

“OK to do”

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and his “OK” approval to withhold a FBI Laboratory test in the investigation of Omaha Patrolman Larry Minard’s bombing murder. (credits: White House/FBI)

This is Chapter 11 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.

The Omaha World Herald published an article entitled “Voiceprint In Bombing To FBI Lab” on the front page of the evening newspaper. The article quoted Deputy Police Chief Walter Devere that a recording of the fatal 911 call would aid the investigation and that police had sent a copy to the FBI Laboratory because it was a good investigative tool.i

Deputy County Attorney Arthur O’Leary was at police headquarters. O’Leary said investigators were raw in view of the fact that a fellow officer was killed and that another major homicide investigation–the Peggy Giddings case–was still under investigation.

Robert Gallagher, president of the Omaha Police Union, told a reporter the organization would press strongly for a revision of procedures because police needed to treat every call like dynamite.”ii

Sheriff Ted Janing called Central Headquarters. A police report detailed Janing’s call.

“Security Guard from the Sheriff’s Office who was at County Hospital overheard either George McCline or Lamont Mitchell state that Vivian Strong has an Uncle named BUSSY who lives near 64th Blondo or Maple. Drives a 1967 Cadillac and that he had something to do with TRIGGERING the bomb.”iii

At her home, a new widow gave a newspaper interview and spoke of her grief. Karen Minard tried for two years to get Larry to give up police work but he always told her wearing the badge was his life.

Karen explained that the two oldest children understood what happened to their father. The three younger children still didn’t know what happened and were told that Daddy was in heaven with Jesus.

Larry’s children had birthday presents waiting that he never would open. Simple things, cologne, a picture of themselves, things the kids made.iv

The Omaha City Council adopted a resolution praising Minard as a “courageous and devoted public servant” and joined Mayor Leahy in quiet expression of sorrow in a moment of silence before opening the weekly meeting.v

Organizers of the Congregational Church forum held a week before, when allegations of police harassment were made, said in a prepared statement that neither “regret and sympathy” for the death of Larry Minard nor the “retaliatory attitude of others” will solve “the present tensions in Omaha.”

Signing the statement were Reverend James Hargleroad, director of the Omaha Presbytery’s Commission on Church and Race; Reverend Jerry Elrod, director of the United Methodist Metropolitan Ministries; Reverend V. R. Schoonover, coordinator of the Greater Area Lutherans; and Harold L. Adler, director of the Anti-Defamation League. “The forum was an initial means for calling attention to the seriousness of the widening gap between much of the Omaha community and its Police Department.”vi

A wrecking crew knocked down the bombed house as soon as police investigators were finished at the scene. The partially destroyed structure, vacant for more than a year, was declared a hazard by city inspectors.vii

Paul Young sent J. Edgar Hoover a memorandum that quoted informant OM T-7 about the Omaha bombing that the NCCF did not seem to be involved.

“On August 18, 1970, OM T-7 advised that the members of the National Committee to Combat Fascism were pleased over the death of the “pig” but that their actions did not indicate that they had any knowledge of who set off the blast, and at this time seemed unaware of who could have committed the crime.”viii

Hoover, on vacation with Clyde Tolson, ordered Angela Davis added to the Ten Most Wanted list for her alleged role in the deadly Marin County Courthouse kidnapping in California that cost the life of a judge.

Back in Omaha, a police dragnet was underway. Reverend Marshall Tate was arrested outside his home in the police round-up. Ten other black residents of the Near North Side were also arrested throughout the day and evening.

Jack Swanson got a call from the FBI with more information about a white Cadillac speeding from the crime scene. “Agent HAYES, FBI, called and relayed further information on the white Cadillac he states a witness saw leaving the scene shortly after the blast.”

“HAYES says that this was supposed to a Black Vinyl/White 66 Cadillac, bearing green license plates. The witness did not [get] the number of the plates, nor the state which it was from. This auto was seen going north from Ohio, on 30th at a high rate of speed, and ran the red light at 30th and Binney Sts. It was supposed to have been occupied by one white male, and one Negro male.”ix

Swanson finished his suspect list of members and associates of the National Committee to Combat Fascism. Swanson’s list of thirty-eight names started with Mondo and included Ed Poindexter. Frank Peak, Jr. and William Peak were on the list, as was Eddie Bolden and Robert Cecil. Raleigh House and Richard Gibson were also included. Community activists Ernie Chambers and Robert “Jericho” Honore were on the list as was Luther Payne, one of the three men arrested by Swanson in July with dynamite.x

On the street, Patrolmen Gregory Thompson and Richard Scheumann stopped Willie Boykins and arrested him for no identification. The two officers had seen Boykins the night before when Boykins had called them pigs and ducked into a building. Boykins refused to tell police his name. Tempers flared and soon blows were struck. Thompson claims Boykins hit him in the face, head and chest. Scheumann hit Boykins so hard he inflicted a head laceration. After a trip to County Hospital to stop the bleeding, Boykins was arrested for assaulting an officer and held in jail overnight. When he was being booked, Boykins gave his address as the headquarters of the National Committee to Combat Fascism. Detectives questioned Boykins after his arrest and he denied assaulting a police officer. He said police struck him for no apparent reason.”xi

Council Bluffs police called Omaha with information. “At 2040 was contacted by Detective Ron O’NEIL, Council Bluffs Police Force, who has stated that he had received information….that talk around the Blue Star Food Company, is that a Negro/female, MELTON, Arvella, Neg/fem, 25….may possibly have some information concerning the death of MINARD.”xii

“O’NEIL stated that the talk around the plant was that this girl knows something about the bombing, that she knew that it was going to happen, that when it was going to happen and that she state that it was in retaliation for the STRONG girl getting killed by the Police.”

“Detective O’NEIL also indicated that he had received a flier from the Des Moines Police Division containing photographs and information about known bombers in their City, and persons who have been known to procure dynamite and he would forward a copy of this to our Homicide Section.”xiii

Just before midnight, James Perry gave a Social Security card found at the crime scene by an ATF agent to Joseph Boan to be logged. “Lt. James Perry turned over to me a Social Security card in the name of Johnnie Lee Bussby #508-56-9037 and advised me that the card was found in the debris from the house at 2869 Ohio Street scene of the bombing-homicide.”

“Checked with Juvenile Section, I.D., and also telephone directory and city directory and find no record of any link on anyone by that name. Also Telephone directory and city directory lists no other names of BUSSBY.” xiv

By the end of Tuesday, eleven more people were arrested, adding to the twenty-five persons arrested on Monday.

The next day, Human Relations Director Roger Sayers urged both the black community and the police to keep cool in the wake of the bombing. Sayers spoke with the Omaha World-Herald and said he had calls at his office and home about police harassment and unnecessary arrests.xv

At FBI headquarters, William Bradley, a supervisor in the Administrative Division, told Agent John Shimota of the request from Paul Young for assistance in the Minard killing and also that no laboratory report was to be issued. Shimota drafted a memorandum for Bradley to Ivan Willard Conrad at the FBI Laboratory.

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

“[Glen Gates] of the Omaha Police has requested [REDACTED]”

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

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

A handwritten, initialed notation by Conrad stated, “Dir advised telephonically & said OK to do.”xvii

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

Mondo’s view was that Young’s memorandum to Hoover on the day of the bombing and Bradley’s memo to Conrad two days later were evidence of the conspiracy against him and Ed Poindexter. “This is pretty clear indication of cloak and dagger stuff. We want you to do the analysis but we don’t want you to put the results in writing. Communicate to us this way. So I suspect that somewhere between that memo and the prior one, the decision was made that the tape would not be part of the trial. A vital issue, a critical issue.”xviii

Mark Felt, chief of the Inspections Division, and Hoover’s personal troubleshooter, is on the distribution list of the Bradley memo. Given the nature of the content and Felt’s job duties, it is virtually certain he was aware of the conspiracy. According to his memoir, it was Felt’s practice to not initial documents that eventually Hoover would review to reduce questions from Hoover.xix

Felt’s memoir also stated he saw all of the memoranda that went to Hoover.xx

A feature article in the Salt Lake City Tribune revealed that Felt had extensive counterintelligence experience in a four-year stint with an espionage unit during World War II. “At one time his title was superintendent of counter intelligence operations.”xxi

Although Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein relied on Felt as Deep Throat in the Watergate scandal and considered Felt to be a trustworthy source, Felt’s bold lies are well documented. Felt’s denial of the Deep Throat allegation, contained in his memoir told the world the complete opposite of the truth, as he would later admit. Felt went so far as to suggest the identity of Deep Throat, knowing the man was not the leak.xxii

Felt’s untruths extended to his wife’s death. In 1984, Audrey Felt shot herself in the head with Mark’s revolver and Felt kept the cause of death a secret, even from the couple’s daughter. To complete the deception, Felt noted Audrey’s death in her sleep from cardiac arrest in the family’s “Calendar of Events” he prepared.xxiii

Since Felt was a liar, his statements need to be viewed with skepticism. Nonetheless, Felt wrote that around the time of the Omaha bombing Hoover was getting tremendous pressure from Richard Nixon to take firm action on domestic bombings.xxiv

Assistant to the Director William Sullivan was also on the memorandum distribution list and initialed the document indicating his approval to withhold a lab report on the 911 caller’s identity. Charles Brennan, only on the job several weeks as Assistant Director in charge of the Domestic Intelligence Division, was on a special typed distribution list.

Alex Rosen, Assistant Director of the General Investigative Division, was on a rubber-stamped distribution list. George Moore’s Racial Intelligence unit stamped the memorandum indicating receipt and approval of the clandestine plan to withhold potential evidence. Hoover’s inner circle of Bureau top executives all knew of the misdeed to be done in Omaha and none dissented.

Meanwhile, detectives returned to Central Headquarters from from the Douglas County Jail where they questioned one of the three men arrested in July with stolen dynamite. “Went to County Jail and interviewed PAYNE, Luther, Jr. in regards to his arrest for possessing dynamite and for possible further information. Stated he already told the police department and FBI all he knows about the case but if he was free he could put the finger on the party or party’s responsible. Stated the dynamite found in his possession he got from back of OIC and was arrested when trying to sell it to a fence. Inferred he did this for another reason and this was that BOLDEN, Eddie who works at OIC had fired him and he wanted to get even.”xxv

Mondo was fighting for his job at GOCA and appealed for an Equal Opportunity Commission hearing. Mondo recalled he was preoccupied with lining up witnesses to get his job restored. “I believe it was a matter of days after the bombing we had the personnel hearing. McNair shows up at the hearing drunk. Somebody had to drive him home in fact. There were a bunch of people there testifying in my behalf. Anyway, needless to say, from in jail I couldn’t work for GOCA anymore.”xxvi

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 “Voiceprint In Bombing To FBI Lab,” Robert Hoig, Omaha World-Herald, p.1, August 18, 1970. Devere was apparently unaware that Deputy Chief Glen Gates had already agreed to a compromised laboratory report in the case.

ii “Voiceprint In Bombing To FBI Lab,” Robert Hoig, Omaha World-Herald, p.2, August 18, 1970

iii OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001215, August 17, 1970

iv “Minard Felt Police Were Important,” Omaha World-Herald, p. 6, August 18. 1970

v “Police Asking If Fatal Bomb Like Earlier”, Robert Hoig, Omaha World-Herald, p. 6, August 19, 1970

vi “Racial Forum’s Sponsors Voice Regret, Sympathy,” Omaha World-Herald, p. 6, August 18, 1970

vii “Police Asking If Fatal Bomb Like Earlier,” Robert Hoig, Omaha World-Herald, p. 1, August 19, 1970

viii Mondo’s FBI file, FBI letterhead memorandum, p. 33, August 26, 1970

ix OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001186, August 18, 1970. Jack Swanson misspelled Larry Minard’s last name as Menard on his report and repeated the error on two subsequent reports which suggests he did not know the slain officer well, rather than making a typing error which were common in the police reports.

x OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001222-001223, August 18,1970. Jack Swanson’s full list of NCCF members and associates was: David L. Rice, Frank Peak, Jr., William L. Peak, Eddie E. Bolden, Gary L. House, Robert E. Cecil, Rawleigh B. House, Robert Griffo, Carl W. Clemmons, Robert West, William Fletcher, Veronzo L.C. Boyers, Jr., Arthur K. Green, Eugene Davis, James A. McCary, Ray “Buddy” Kellogg, Kenneth R. Brown, Edward Brightman, Ernest W. Chambers, Michael Adams, Wesley H. Dean, Dwight E. Dean, Luther G. Payne, Levoyd Woodall, Lewis J. Davis, Edward Poindexter, Alvin F. Simmons, Jr., Allen B. Dent, Melvin Y. Strawn, Claude F. McKinney, Robert N. Honore, Timothy H. Andrews, James Boose, Richard B. Gibson, James O. Grigsby, Michael B. Maroney, George E. Parker, Jr., Willie M. Boykins aka Melvin Collins, and Robert Hatcher.

xi “Sayers Asks Police, Blacks ‘Keep Cool,” David Tishendorf, Omaha World-Herald, p. 2, August 19, 1970

xii OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001226, August 18, 1970

xiii OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001225, August 18, 1970

xiv OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001229, August 18, 1970

xv “Sayers Asks Police, Blacks ‘Keep Cool,” David Tishendorf, Omaha World-Herald, p. 2, August 19, 1970

xvi William Bradley to Ivan Willard Conrad, Post-Trial Exhibit 49, p. 1, August 19, 1970

xvii William Bradley to Ivan Willard Conrad, Post-Trial Exhibit 49, p. 2, August 19, 1970

xviii Mondo, prison interview, December 31, 2007

xix A G-Man’s Life, Mark Felt & John O’Connor, p. 126-127, 2007

xx The Director: An Oral Biography of J. Edgar Hoover, Ovid Demaris, p. 315, 1975

xxi FBI Vault, Mark Felt, Sec. 5b, p.13, September 12, 1971

xxii The FBI Pyramid From the Inside, Mark Felt, p. 226, 1979

xxiii A G-Man’s Life, Mark Felt & John O’Connor, 2006, p. 294-295, 2006

xxiv The FBI Pyramid From the Inside, Mark Felt, p. 324, 1979

xxv OPD Supplementary Report, Trial Record 001237, August 19, 1970

xxvi Mondo, prison interview, December 31, 2007

United Kingdom Upper Tribunal Judge Mark West says Freedom of Information Act ‘not a vehicle for discovering everything about President Tsai’s thesis’

Upper Tribunal Judge Mark West and Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen’s PhD thesis (credits: Corpus Christi College/Hwan Lin)

British statesman Edmund Burke once warned, “The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” Upper Tribunal Judge Mark West has failed to heed Burke’s cautionary admonition. In a non-appealable ruling, West granted the University of London unfettered control over verification of Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen’s controversial PhD degree, depriving the public of the identity of two unnamed examiners who purportedly approved Tsai’s 1983 thesis. Meanwhile, the London School of Economics and Political Science, where Tsai attended school, now admits it doesn’t even know who the examiners were or where the thesis was for thirty-five years.

The whole controversy began in June 2019 when President Tsai submitted her thesis, entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions, to the LSE Library. The tardy thesis was unbound, had pagination problems, footnote issues, and handwritten notations including a question mark. The thesis also lacked an examination statement and bore no evidence it had been examined.

The academic firestorm ignited by the tardy thesis still smoulders with periodic flare ups and has led to a criminal defamation prosecution in Taiwan and four Freedom of Information lawsuits in the United Kingdom. Additionally, the thesis controversy has been the subject of sophisticated internet misinformation campaigns in Taiwan, including a 2020 Facebook purge, and the 2022 censorship of thesis researchers at a Freedom of Information website called “What Do They Know” in the United Kingdom. Also, a Wikipedia battle in Taiwan over the thesis validity has resulted in the expulsion of at least one Wikipedia editor.

Judge West granted an oral reconsideration hearing only to permanently block the disclosure of the identity of President Tsai’s thesis examiners with a seventeen page decision. The decision explains West’s ruling.

“The Appellant attended the video hearing and presented his case with economy and moderation.”

“The Upper Tribunal has a discretion to give permission to appeal if there is a realistic prospect that the First-tier Tribunal’s decision was erroneous in law or if there is some other good reason to do so….In the exercise of its discretion the Upper Tribunal may take into account whether any arguable error of law was material to the First-tier Tribunal’s decision.”

“However, the relevant question is a narrow one. The Tribunal dismissed the appeal on the basis that the information requested was personal data for which there was no lawful basis for processing. The Tribunal found that the Appellant had a legitimate private interest and that there was a broader public interest in the legitimacy of President Tsai’s PhD, but that the disclosure of the requested information was not reasonably necessary for the purposes of that identified legitimate interest.”

“Whether a hard copy of the thesis was once delivered and subsequently lost, or never received in the first place, does not affect the question of whether it was necessary to process the data sought. A FOIA request is not a vehicle for discovering everything about President Tsai’s thesis.”

“I do not accept that s.40(3A)FOIA is not an absolute exemption from disclosure, as the Appellant argued before me at the hearing. It is quite clear from the Act that it is an absolute exemption and that it is not somehow overridden by the DPA on the basis that the processing was part of a public function relating to education and the conferral of degrees. Although the Appellant addressed me eloquently on that matter, he was unable to cite any authority in support of his submission. The furthest he could go was to assert that “The importance of public verification of qualification for President Tsai’s PhD degree requires full disclosure of the requested information and the DPA has been misapplied by the FTT as a shield against necessary disclosure” but no authority is cited for that proposition.”

“There is no identifiable error of law made out by the Appellant and the question is really as to the conclusion reached by the Tribunal on the question of reasonable necessity. I am not satisfied that the Tribunal’s conclusion on that matter cannot reasonably be explained or justified nor do I consider that its conclusion lay outside the bounds within which reasonable disagreement is possible. That I myself might, or might not, have reached a different conclusion on the evidence does not matter. What matters is whether the decision under appeal is one that no reasonable Tribunal would have reached and I am not so satisfied. I do not give permission to appeal on that basis.”

“I am wholly unpersuaded, notwithstanding the Appellant’s eloquent submissions to the contrary, that the University in this case has been lying or involved in academic fraud.”

“The Tribunal made its findings of fact and gave adequate reasons for reaching the conclusion which it did. I can see no error of law in the way in which it went about its task or in the decision which it reached or in the adequacy of the reasons which it gave for that decision. The function of the First-tier Tribunal is to assess whether the ICO’s decision notice “against which the appeal is brought is not in accordance with the law”

“There is no realistic prospect of the Appellant establishing that the First-tier Tribunal’s decision was erroneous in law or that there is some other good reason to grant permission to appeal.”

Judge West’s ruling ends a Freedom of Information litigation attempt to verify the validity of President Tsai’s PhD degree. However, Tsai’s continued refusal to release the oral examination viva report of her thesis keeps alive the question what is she hiding, thus assuring an ongoing controversy.

Upper Tribunal Judge Edward Jacobs rules Tsai Ing-wen thesis controversy ‘cannot be resolved’ by Freedom of Information law

United Kingdom Upper Tribunal Judge Edward Jacobs and the 1983 PhD thesis of Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen. Judge Jacobs refused a Freedom of Information appeal request about the thesis oral examination. (credits: Judiciary.UK/Hwan Lin)

Upper Tribunal Judge Edward Jacobs of the United Kingdom gave Republic of China in-exile President Tsai Ing-wen a pass and refused a Freedom of Information Act appeal request seeking information on the validity of her University of London PhD award. Tsai refuses to release the results of an October 16, 1983 viva examination of her thesis entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions. The thesis has been at the center of a controversy since June 2019 when Tsai submitted the thesis to the London School of Economics Library, thirty-five years late. To complicate matters, the LSE now says it does not know who the examiners were that purportedly approved the thesis in 1983.

Judge Jacobs boiled it down in a non-appealable ruling stating the FOIA was inadequate to resolve questions around the validity of President Tsai’s degree. Jacobs concluded “concerns and worries about the proper form of the President’s degree cannot be resolved within the FOIA scheme.”

Judge Jacobs laid down the law in his decision. “The first issue was whether [Appellant] was pursuing a legitimate interest in seeking the information requested. It decided that he was. It [Information Review Tribunal] took account of a number of factors relating to President Tsai’s status as a public figure, comments she had made, the absence of a copy of the thesis, and the prosecution of Dr Peng for libel after questioning the award of the degree.”

“The second issue was whether processing was necessary for the purposes of [Appellant’s] interests. Disclosing the information would amount to processing. The tribunal decided that it was not necessary to disclose more than was already known. President Tsai’s name is on the contemporaneous pass list for in 1984 and the title of her thesis was published in 1985. The University had confirmed that there was an oral examination and that it holds records of that examination. The tribunal decided that this was sufficient to satisfy the legitimate interests of [Appellant].”

“The request was for information. The important word there is ‘information’. However a request may be framed, it relates to the information rather than to the document or file or other format in which it is held. Take the simplest example of a request for a copy of a letter. In law, that is a request for the information in the letter. There is a question of the format in which the information should be conveyed to the requester, but that is a separate matter.”

“The request was made to the University of London. The important word there is ‘University’. The request was not made to any of the constituent colleges of the University and did not relate to information held by any of the colleges. In particular, the duty did not apply to the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), which was the relevant college.”

“The University’s duty, subject to any exemptions, was to provide the information it held. The important word there is ‘held’. The duty applied to information held. The University could not disclose what it did not hold. An appeal is not an opportunity to explore why some information is not held or to try to find other ways to obtain the information. The tribunal had to decide what information the University held. That is a question of fact and, provided the tribunal made its finding rationally, it is difficult to identify an error of law in a matter of fact.”

“[Appellant] has doubts and concerns about what degree President Tsai was awarded. He has explained the reasons for his doubts by reference to publicly available information from, among others, the President herself and other FOIA requests, referring to the standard procedures that should have accompanied the degree she says she holds. He asked the University for information about her degree.”

“The issues for the tribunal were: what information did the University hold and how much should be disclosed?”

“The first issue – what information the University held – was a matter of fact. The tribunal made its finding. That was all it had to decide. There might be concerns about the accuracy of the information, but FOIA does not provide a way to decide whether it was accuracy. All that mattered was what information was held. Conflicting information might cause the tribunal to check that the University held the information it claimed to have, but that is a different matter. The tribunal made its finding and I can see no error of law in the way it made that finding or in its conclusion.”

“The second issue – how much of the information should be disclosed – involved judgments in applying the exception in section 40(2) FOIA. Those judgments were made with the help of the specialist members. The Upper Tribunal must take account of that assistance when deciding whether the tribunal made an error of law in exercising the judgment.”

“This is a matter of pure judgment. The tribunal made its judgment and explained why it decided that sufficient information was available without further disclosure.”

“FOIA takes account of the possibility that information may be withheld by the various exemptions to the duty to disclose. FOIA contains a balance between disclosure and non-disclosure. It allows for the possibility that there may be a middle position in which some information can be disclosed without the details. This is what happens when the criteria for disclosure of personal data is being considered, as it was in this case.”

“FOIA provides that data should be made available to the requester in the form requested. But this is qualified by the words ‘as far as reasonably practicable’ and it is subject to the exemptions. It may be right, as a general proposition, that there can be no substitute for original data, but within FOIA there may have to be a substitute.”

“FOIA is limited to disclosing information held. It may contradict other data, but FOIA does not provide a way to decide which is correct. [Appellant] argues that the existence of the contradictions make it more necessary to see the original data. Again that may be correct as a general proposition, but disclosure and non-disclosure have to be decided within the context of FOIA and, where they overlap and interlock, the data protection regime.”

“What matters is what information is held by the public authority. The Information Commissioner and the First-tier Tribunal have no authority to deal with a challenge to the accuracy of the record.”

“The tribunal said that the evidence merely showed that the thesis was not filed correctly in the libraries in 1984. [Appellant] disagrees with that finding. Assuming that there is merit in what he says, it does not relate to what information the University holds. It is relevant, if at all, to the accuracy of those records. But that is not an issue that can be raised under FOIA. FOIA provides a means to obtain information, not a process to resolve issues of accuracy or completeness.”

“The tribunal found that, although the theses may not have been provided to the libraries rather than lost or misfiled, that did not undermine the accuracy of the information about the degree awarded. That was a matter of judgment. I can see no error of law in the conclusion or in the way it was made. It is rational, even if another panel might have come to a different conclusion, and the tribunal took account of the relevant factors. This is really a challenge to the decision on the significance to be attached to particular points. That is properly a matter within the province of the First-tier Tribunal.”

“[Appellant’s] concerns and worries about the proper form of the President’s degree cannot be resolved within the FOIA scheme. The tribunal confined itself, properly, within its jurisdiction. In doing so, it was entitled to make its findings of fact and to exercise its judgement as it did.”