Remembering Fred Hampton
As the debate rages around the so-called Military Detention Act where the U.S. legislature is attempting to make it policy to lock up citizens simply for their political beliefs, its appropriate that we remember Fred Hampton. The 21 year old Chicago man was the Chairperson for the Ill Black Panther Party. He was a fearless and tireless leader who worked successfully to broker peace agreements with the the then named Blackstone Rangers and Vice Lords. Chairmen Fred's attempt was to politicize those street organizations and get them to understand their enemy wasn't eachother, but the oppressive capitalist system. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), under its infamous counterintelligence program, or COINTELPRO, targeted the Black Panther Party for destruction. Freedom of Information Act documents confirm that between 1967 and 1971, the Panther Party accounted for 233 of the 278 COINTELPRO activities. The government targeted specific individuals like Chairman Fred to disrupt his very successful political activities. Their initial attempt was to frame Fred on a trumped up charge of stealing $71 from an ice cream truck. When that ridiculous trick didn't work, they tried, through provocatuers, to set Fred up for murder. When that wasn't successful, they turned to William O'Neal, an FBI informant who was offered the choice of working for the FBI against the Panthers, or going to jail on criminal charges. O'Neal infiltrated the Panther chapter and tried a number of techniques to implicate Fred in violent and illegal activities. Being unable to lure the dedicated Hampton into any wrong doing, O'Neal followed the direction of Roy Mitchell, the Chicago FBI field office director, under the direction of Richard Held and Cartha DeLoach in the FBI national office, to provide the FBI with a diagram of Fred Hampton's bedroom. The details of what happened are widely available today, but the quick version is on December 4, 1969, at 4am, nine Chicago police raided Fred's Chicago apartment and fired 99 shots into the small apartment, woundiing several unarmed occupants and killing Mark Clark, and Fred Hampton. The Cook County Coroner's office confirmed that Hampton was actually killed by two close range execution shots which confirms the account given by the other occupants of the apartment who heard gunshots in Hampton's bedroom and officer's saying "he's good and dead now." In spite of the FBI's criminal and gangster activity to silence the voices for justice and their continued attempt to intimidate and harass those who dare speak out, we honor Chairman Fred in December by recalling the words of Black Panther Party Co-Founder Huey P. Newton at the moment of
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