The Psychobabble Theory of Assassination

Age of Assassins: The Loners, Idealists and Fanatics Who Conspired to Change the World

Faber and Faber (2013)

Book Review

In essence this book is an encyclopedia of modern day assassinations. In addition to providing comprehensive details of more than a dozen political murders, Newton proposes a general theory of what motivates assassins. In my view, this aspect of the book is a total failure. Mainly because it largely omits compelling evidence of US intelligence/military complicity in the assassinations of Malcolm X, JFK, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and John Lennon and the attempted assassinations of Reagan, Ford, George Wallace and John Paul II.

I also have a problem with Newton’s assertion that the era of assassinations began with the Lincoln assassination. Assassination via poisoning dates back to Roman times at least.

According to Newton, the Lincoln assassination inspired the Russian Nihilist movement and their numerous assassination attempts (which were ultimately successful) against czar Alexander II.

The Nihilists, in turn, inspired the Irish nationalists and the “propaganda of the deed” (see Why Social Studies Never Made Sense in School: The History of Anarchism ) tendency of the anarchist movement. The result would be a wave of attempted and completed assassinations across Europe and in the US.

The book contains a long section on the life of US anarchist Emma Goldman and the attempted assassination oshe plotted with her lover Alexander Berkman on Henry Clay Frick (hired by Carnegie to break the steel workers union) s. Although she would later renounce violence, her huge public following (according to Newton) would inspire Leon Czolgosz to assassinate president William McKinley.

The book devotes a long chapter to the rise of Serbian nationalism, the Black Hand and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the purported cause of World War I. It devotes numerous pages to the Armenian genocide by Ottoman rulers and several assassination attempts against Roosevelt and Truman.

I found the later chapters, beginning with the assassination of John Kennedy, a big disappointment. In my view, this section of the book is pure pop psychology and psychobabble.

Newton identifies three primary motives for assassination:

1) A desire to end the suffering engendered by capitalist greed.

2) The drive for violent retribution in reaction to other killings.

3) A desire to smash the state and other authoritarian structures.

This leaves out all the lone nut assassinations – in which misfits try to murder prominent political figures for no apparent reason at all. Except for the JFK assassination (Newton acknowledges Oswald had accomplices* ). Newton seems to be a strong supporter of the lone nut theory of assassination. He blames the rise of lone nut assassins on deep seated decay and alienation in US society, which he believes is aggravated by the motion picture industry.


*Based on an acoustical recording obtained from a Dallas police microphone, the 1978 House Committee on assassinations ascertain that Oswald had to have at least one accomplice. See  https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKassassinationsC.htm

.

 

Malcolm X vs Martin Luther King

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Face to Face

Al Jazeera (2018)

Film Review

This documentary compares and contrasts the anti-racism campaigns of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X during the 1960s. It combines commentary from Black scholars and civil rights activists with vintage footage of the two leaders.

Malcolm was highly critical of King for strategies he claimed sought to win the support of white people. Malcolm frequently asked to debate him though King always refused. Malcolm opposed non-violence as a strategy, maintaining Blacks had a right to defend themselves when cops beat them up. He also disagreed with King’s focus on integration and voting rights. He believed asking Black people to trust whites was dangerous and alienated them from deep-seated feelings about the way whites treated them. Likewise he believed voting was useless so long as whites were determined to disempower Black people.

Unlike King, a Baptist preacher, Malcolm also rejected Christianity (“the religion of slavery”) were he became second in command at the Nation of Islam.

It was largely under Malcolm’s influence that African Americans became proud to be Black,  and “Negroes” began referring to themselves as Black.

The two men met only briefly in 1964 at a congressional hearing on Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Act.

Following Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination, King seemed to become much more radical, as he took up Black poverty and the Vietnam War as key issues.

 

 

The FBI War on Rap

The FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders

John Potash (2008)

Review

In the video below, author John Potash uses a slideshow format to discuss his 2008 book The FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders. The book is a compilation of years of research (based on court documents, news reports, archival photos and FOIA documents) into the FBI role in the assassination and false imprisonment of black political leaders and rock stars.

This presentation mainly focuses on the FBI assassination of Tupak Shakur in 1996, though Potash also briefly covers the FBI murder of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Fred Hampton, Huey Newton, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley and the CIA murder of Robert F Kennedy.

As background, Bishop also outlines the key strategies of Cointelpro the FBI war against the Black Panther Party.  In addition to assassinating their leaders, the FBI collaborated with police intelligence units to imprison multiple Panther leaders on false charges, as well as extensive infiltrating their groups.

The Panther 21 Trial

Both Tupac’s Black Panther parents were framed on fictitious charges in the infamous Panther 21 trial in 1971. Tupac’s mother Afeni, who handled their defense pro se, got all of them acquitted. Tupac, who had numerous Panther mentors growing up, would become president of the New African Panther Organization (NAPO) in 1989,

In 1992, he helped broker a truce between the Bloods and Crips, encouraging them to focus their anger on the white power structure. In part due to his growing fame, the FBI responded with repeated attempts to assassinate him, as well as numerous arrests on fictitious charges.

By 1995, his financial resources depleted by multiple arrests and frivolous lawsuits, Tupac was eventually framed by an FBI informant on a phony sexual assault charge. Although he was acquitted on a rape charge, he would be sentenced to four years in prison (on a $5 million bond) for “touching a woman’s buttocks without her permission.”

Death Row Records

What horrified me most about this presentation was learning about Death Row Records, a recording company run by three undercover cops from the LAPD intelligence unit. The latter used their position in the recording industry to traffic drugs (the president of Death Row was an affiliate of Freeway Ricky Ross who distributed cocaine imported to the US by the CIA Contras) and guns and to murder performers who attempted to politicize rap music.

Death Row Records was also instrumental in ending the Bloods/Crips truce by instigating a fictitious East Coast/West Coast rap war and collaborating with police “rap squads” in Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere to frame truce leaders on phony charges carrying long prison sentences. They were also instrumental in breaking up Niggas wit Attitudes (N.W.A.)

Tupac was released from prison within days of signing with Death Row, which closely censored the political content of his recordings and performances. The FBI and the undercover cops at Death Row also instigated the phony feud between Tupac and rap star Biggie Small.

After Tupac left Death Row to start his own record company, the FBI organized his assassination and planted rumors in the press that Biggie Small had ordered the drive by shooting. They subsequently murdered Biggie Small to cover up the FBI role in Tupac’s murder.

Iranian TV Profiles African American Oppression

The Façade of the American Dream

Press TV (2013)

Film Review

This is a very troubling documentary by Iranian national TV about the present plight of America’s black community. It features a variety of African American voices, ranging from educators, lawyers and doctors to community activists. There are also four Caucasian faces – an economist, two anti-racist activists and the late assassination researcher John Judge.

The documentary is divided into four parts.

Part 1 This is Why We Have the Blues mainly addresses the problem of mental enslavement that results from being forced to adopt the culture of the dominant society. It goes on to address the plight of black youth when schools deliberately conceal their history from them and the campaign of assassination and incarceration of black leaders like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, George Jackson and Medgar Evers when they successfully mobilized black people to stand up against African American oppression.

Part 2 From School House to Jail House looks on serious drawback of public school integration, which has denied black students access to black teachers and a curriculum that endows them with pride in their history and culture. This process has been aggravated by national and state mandate for high stakes testing – which one activist compares to apartheid South Africa’s Bantu education. This was a system dedicated to preparing black South Africans for menial jobs.

Part 3 Lack of Wealth, Lack of Health focuses on the lack of access to healthy food and routine medical care in inner city communities. For many African American men, the only access to a doctor or dentist is in jail or prison. The result is a significant lower African American life expectancy (on average, black men live eight fewer years on average than white men and black women six fewer years than their white counterparts).

Part 4 You Ain’t Free explores the rise of mass black incarceration in the 1970s, which one activist views as a direct response to African Americans rising up in the 1960s to demand their rights. During the mid-sixties, the US prison population was 70% Caucasian – at present that percentage is 30%. Meanwhile the total US prison population has increased from 300,000 to 2.4 million, despite a significant reduction in violent crime. All the commentators link black mass incarceration to the War on Drugs and police policies that deliberate target African American communities with arrest quotas (see The New Jim Crow).