Angela Davis renews call for release of Ed Poindexter, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Leonard Pelteir

FBI Poster of Communist Activist Angela Davis
Angela Davis was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list (credit: Federal Bureau of Investigation)

Speaking to the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression recently, Angela Davis renewed her call to release black prisoners she says were convicted for their political beliefs, not because they were guilty. The event was a rally to welcome home fifty people from prison who had been wrongfully convicted.

Davis spoke about the need for international solidarity opposing institutionalized police violence against those engaged in political conduct around the world. Davis said, “Anti-Muslim racism, Islamophobia has to be understood as intersecting with and reinvigorating anti-Black, anti-Asian, anti-Latinos racism.”

Davis has her own history with oppression. A Communist leader, Davis was charged in August 1970 with supplying weaponry used in a fatal jailbreak attempt at the Marin County Courthouse in California. A fugitive for six months, while on the Ten Most Wanted list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Davis served eighteen months in pre-trial detention before she was acquitted in June 1972. The United Committee to Free Angela Davis grew into the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

The events in California that put Davis on the run were days before the August 17, 1970 bombing murder of Omaha Patrolman Larry Minard. The crime was pinned on the Black Panthers and Edward Poindexter and David Rice (later Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa) were convicted in April 1971. Davis spoke of the Nebraska prisoners. “Mondo we Langa died. Ed Poindexter is still in prison.”

Over the long years that have passed, Davis has made regular pilgrimages to the Nebraska State Penitentiary to visit the Omaha Two, as Poindexter and Mondo were called before Mondo’s 2016 death at the prison infirmary of respiratory failure. Davis has repeatedly called for release saying the two men were framed during COINTELPRO counterintelligence operations.

Leonard Pelteir, one of the longest held political prisoners, is still behind bars and we really need to bring Leonard home.” Peltier, a leader of the American Indian Movement, was convicted after a controversial trial for the murder of two FBI agents during a shootout at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Davis also spoke in behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther, convicted for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer. After years on Pennsylvania’s death row, Mumia is now in the regular inmate population, still serving a life sentence despite revelations of a flawed trial.

The last trip Davis made to Omaha was in 2016 to speak at a memorial service for Mondo. Davis noted that although Mondo suffered inhumane conditions he never lost his humanity.

The Omaha Two are the subject of my new book FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story which details FBI Director Hoover’s tactics to break the local Black Panthers and the manipulation of the murder trial.


Republic of China prosecutors say the Black Bear squad is a hoax to deceive donors

Roger Lin drills the Black Bear squad at Taiwan Civil Government’s heliport        (credit: Taiwan Civil Government)

The May 2018 arrest of Roger Lin and six other leaders of Taiwan Civil Government, ordered by prosecutors of the exiled Republic of China, for political fraud has brought renewed interest about the activities of TCG. One of the attention-grabbers of the group is its paramilitary Black Bear squad which trains at the heliport at TCG headquarters.

The formidable looking unit, dressed in gear suitable for Star Wars troopers, makes an exciting contribution to TCG parades, but is it really a paramilitary unit? Some say the squad are sheep posing in wolves’ clothing.

Over the years Taiwan has a history of shadowy groups at the edges of Taiwan independence activity. In the bad old days there were political hit squads from organized criminal gangs like the Bamboo Gang. Mysterious men in black shirts have long hounded pro-independence groups, one time moving against the famous Su Beng at the airport on a return to Taiwan.

Over time the groups and tactics would change. In the early 1990’s an underground Taiwan organization set up its “blue bandannas group” and did battle with police in the frequent demonstrations of that period. One example was the movement against the military general Hau Bo-tsun being appointed Premier in 1990. A rambunctious group threw a few Molotov cocktails but they never had actual uniforms.

When Chen Shui-bian was president of the Republic of China in-exile he was hounded by organized provocateurs wearing red shirts and was harassed in the courtroom at his trial during recesses by persons dressed in red.

The Black Bear squad brings a new look to old traditions and appears to mean business. Impressive at a parade, can the squad do anything besides stand at attention and march? One observer, Toby Openshaw, saw TCG’s massive June 2017 parade outside the Presidential Palace in Taipei and described the Black Bears in less than flattering terms. I actually happened to be at the indigenous protest on the day, and saw this huge parade of old dudes in storm trooper gear marching with jeeps and banners… It was pretty bizarre.”

Photos of Black Bear training sessions suggest the emphasis was on crowd control, making the squad appear more like a private police force than a paramilitary unit. Photos of individual Bears, when studied closely, reveal them to be wearing dress shirts and ties underneath all the body armor. Of course there is nothing wrong with well dressed storm troopers, but what if all the battle gear is merely to deceive TCG members into donating more money? ROC prosecutors think there is a lot wrong with the Black Bears, although the squad has not been yet singled out as fraudulent. Roger Lin and his wife Julian remain in harsh pre-trial detention, imprisoned in solitary confinement, without visitors, and denied bail. Perhaps prosecutors who sought the lockdown order were afraid if he was not kept incommunicado, Lin might order a jailbreak by the Black Bears.

Taiwan Civil Government held meeting with Washington lobbyists in wake of fraud arrests

negotiating team
Neil Hare and Shelley Hymes are presented gold lapel pins with Taiwan Civil Government logo (credit: Taiwan Civil Government)

When investigating financial crimes the rule is to follow the money. In the curious case of Taiwan Civil Government the paper trail leads from Taiwan to Washington in perhaps the most ambitious swindle ever perpetrated if you believe prosecutors of the exiled Republic of China. Roger Lin and six others were arrested in May 2018 and charged with political fraud. According to Taiwanese news reports, ROC prosecutors claim $25 million was deceptively obtained from donors by Lin, founder of TCG, with false claims of future events, including American assistance expelling the ROC from Taiwan.

Two weeks after midnight raids and arrests in Taiwan, an eighteen member delegation of Taiwan Civil Government traveled to Washington for a round of meetings and TCG sponsored media events. The first meeting was with group lobbyist Neil Hare. The president of Global Vision Communications, a registered Foreign Agent, Hare brought along sidekick Shelley Hymes, head of public relations firm Angel Enterprises. In 2017, the pair were paid over a half-million dollars for their efforts to advance TCG in the world of Washington insiders.

The meeting to assure that Hare and Hymes would not jump ship was billed as a response to “ROC oppression” and included a presentation of gold lapel pins to signify unity. Taiwanese news sources say that prosecutors are looking at an unspecified number of unnamed, unindicted Washington co-conspirators. Hare and Hymes oversaw hefty TCG spending in Washington since the election of Donald Trump in a bid to buy influence within the White House and would be on a short list of suspected co-conspirators along with several Washington attorneys.

Confused yet? The whole scenario arises from Taiwan’s seven decades of unresolved international status commonly called a strategic ambiguity. The United States installed Republic of China troops on Formosa, as Taiwan was then called, at the end of World War II. However, sovereignty of the former Japanese territory was left undermined at the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty. The ROC claims to be the legitimate government of the island but is not recognized by the United States or most of the world’s nations. The murky situation has spawned a multitude of groups in Taiwan seeking a future without the ROC in control. Taiwan Civil Government, formed in 2008, is one of the most vocal and well funded advocacy groups.

The claims of the ROC in turn lead to claims by the People’s Republic of China for control of Taiwan. Taiwan’s unresolved status has created instability in the region with both the PRC and ROC laying claim to that which neither ever had sovereignty over. President Obama was urged by the District of Columbia federal appellate court to end Taiwan’s “political purgatory” and resolve the status as expeditiously as possible. Obama never acted. President Donald Trump could be the game changer.

The election of Trump saw a sharp increase in TCG spending hosting inauguration events, POLITCO receptions, Congressional Quarterly Roll Call Live shows, a Foreign Policy think-tank luncheon, a Heritage Foundation event, The McLaughlin Group show, advertising, junkets and consultant fees. Hare’s job was to coordinate the Washington campaign and everything was go until the fraud arrests, which included Julian Lin, wife of Roger. Three days after the lapel pin presentation the TCG delegation started to feel the repercussions of the arrests. Secretary of Commerce Wilber Ross abruptly dropped out of a TCG sponsored Heritage Foundation event just minutes before the start. Elsewhere in Washington, Roll Call Live canceled a scheduled Congressional panel on Asia after two Representatives pulled out after learning of the arrests.

Hare’s new contract with TCG, for $560,000, would turn his attention away from Washington and instead work the embassies of G7 countries for international recognition. Hare claims he remains on course and will complete his 2018 duties, business as usual. Hymes is more elusive. As Hymes works as a consultant to Hare her contract with TCG is not subject to disclosure under the Foreign Agent Registration Act and details of her involvement are not available. Neither Hare or Hymes are willing to discuss the fraud arrests.

Hymes, a longtime friend of Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, was able to see Julian Lin and Conway connected in May 2017 at the POLITCO Powerlist reception, funded by TCG, which honored Conway as one of Washington’s most powerful players. Within weeks of the POLITICO session with Conway, a massive parade was staged in Taipei by TCG in an apparent effort to signal to Trump the pro-American slant to the group.

Was the United States ever going to expel the ROC? One clue might be if Roger Lin is able to gain freedom or continue to remain in strict pre-trial detention in solitary confinement, incommunicado and without bail. Innocent until proven guilty does not seem to be a concept that applies in this case as harsh punishment has already begun. If Lin really does have friends in high places, now is the time for them to act.

Correction Notice

The above content has been corrected.   Neil Hare was reported to be tardy filing a disclosure reportson spending.  Instead, Hare made a timely report and it was the Justice Department that was tardy releasing Hare’s report.  I regret the error.