Assassinated by the State

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					Assassinated by the State
Salim Muwakkil
In These Times; Dec 2009; 33, 12; Docstoc
pg. 38

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Fu
Description: Distorted mainstream narrative of a key event in the history of the left and African- American politics of the late '6os. [Jeffrey Haas] reveals just how deeply the Nixon Justice Department was involved in the Chicago police raid on December 4, 1969, that killed Black Panther Party leaders [Fred Hampton] and Mark Clark. Hampton headed the Panthers' Chicago branch and Clark the Peora, III., branch.Haas also offers captivating details that add color and context to those turbulent times. He evokes the infectious spirit of change and activism that infused so many idealistic young Americans during the hallowed '6os. His accounts of growing up Jewish and middle-class in Atlanta, Ga., help locate the source of his unconventional political leanings. Haas' grandfather, for example, was an attorney for Leo Frank, a Jewish factory owner who was lynched in Georgia after being wrongly accused of murdering a teenage girl. His father was deeply involved in the civil rights movement in the South. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), an icon of that movement, wrote the eulogy for his father's funeral.The true strength of this book is Haas' meticulous reconstruction of the particulars that led to the partial victory (the plaintiffs received a $1.85 million settle- ment, although the government admitted no wrongdoing) and legal vindication of the People's Law Office. He details how the FBI, the Cook County States Attor- ney's office and the Chicago police con- spired to assassinate Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. He clearly reveals, for exam- ple, how COlNTELPRO, which sought to "neutralize" black leaders, provided motivation for the Hampton murder. The book's exhaustive account of this incident is one of the few investigations to explore the Hampton assassination. This is odd because many strands of U.S. history converge at this point. The FBI's COINTELPRO program, uncovered in 1973 by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Idaho Senator Frank Church, sought to "prevent the rise of
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