Part 22: My Friend the Devil
Cleaver's legal problems were not over and were costing him many thousand dollars. John Keker was his lawyer for a time. But then came the Senator Church hearings on the role of Cointelpro or the Counter Intelligence Program of the FBI, especially with respect to the Black Liberation Movement, including the Civil Rites struggle. The Church hearings revealed how J. Edger Hoover tried to destroy the Civil Rites struggle, including Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr. In fact, the FBI had been spying on blacks, whites and other American citizens since its founding around 1914. The most recent documentary one should see is BET's American Gangstar series on J. Edger Hoover as an American Gangstar.
He had spied on Marcus Garvey and Elijah Muhammad, trying to disrupt and destroy both men's activities. With the help of jealous and envious Negroes he was able to imprison then deport Garvey. Garvey told us to look for him in the whirlwind for surely the day would come of Africa's redemption.
We know the Nation of Islam was sugar-coated with FBI agents. One such agent, John Ali, became the National Secretary of NOI. Of course there were agents who posed as Malcolm's bodyguards, helping to carry out his assassination.
And then the Panthers were well infiltrated. The most wretched example was how Fred Hampton was set up and murdered with the help of an agent posing as his body guard. And clearly the FBI and LA police were involved with the murder of Alprentice Bunchy Carter and John Huggins at the Black Student Union meeting room on the campus of UCLA. Ron Karenga's US organization was blamed for their murder. Bunchy was Cleaver's right hand man in prison and became the Los Angeles leader of the BPP. I don't recall how Cleaver felt about Bunchy's murder, but the FBI played into it to highten the rivalry between US and the Panthers. And then when Geronimo Pratt replaced Bunchy, he was set up by the FBI and the LAPD on murder charges, causing him to spend 27 years in prison, even though the FBI had phone records and other intelligence that he was in Oakland at the time of the murder. For years the BPP would not support G because of his association with Eldridge. I do know that Eldridge maintained communication with G throughout his time in prison. I was informed that another Panther sister who visited G during his imprisonment was working for the FBI. I won't reveal her name because she confessed to G upon his release and he forgave her.
After the Church hearings, Eldridge told me of his plan to help his case which involved producing a pamphlet based on the Church hearings and distributing it throughout California. He had me hire a crew of Muslims to travel from the Bay to San Diego distributing the pamphlet which I helped edit. We, which included Brother Hasan, Brother Ishmalah and I, traveled through the central valley towns dropping off pamphlets like we were Johnny Appleseed. We stopped in little towns like Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield, then Los Angeles and San Diego. Not long after this adventure, Cleaver's case was dismissed. We know the power of propaganda and though we don't know how much it may have swayed the DA to drop charges, but we are convinced it played a role, certainly it didn't hurt.