"A working class hero is something to be"
I'm old enough to remember the live broadcast of the immolation of that early-seventies exercise in self-unaware provocateurship called the Symbionese Liberation Army. I was young enough to naively regard the SLA as heroic revolutionary-bandits, and was horrified by the overkill of the military-like action against them. Now, I'm old enough to consider that I was supposed to think and feel precisely that, in turn, and what I witnessed was not an heroic last stand, but rather the termination of a modestly successful experiment.
Before becoming "Cinque" and founding the SLA, Donald DeFreeze had been an uneducated and unexceptional petty criminal who, between 1967 and 1969, worked as an informer for the Public Disorder Intelligence Unit of the LAPD. He found himself incarcerated at Vacaville State Prison "at the same time the CIA was conducting mind control experiments there under MKSEARCH Subproject 3," writes Dr Colin Ross in his Bluebird: The Deliberate Creation of Multiple Personalities by Psychiatrists. "These experiments involved administration of the drug pemoline [apparently researching memory function]...under the direction of Dr James Hamilton, as confirmed in an October 18, 1978 letter from Frank Carlucci, the Deputy Director of the CIA [later Chairman of the Carlyle Group] to Congressman Leo Ryan" (later murdered in Jonestown, during the termination of another experiment).
The black prison population seems to have been deliberately targeted, and DeFreeze in particular, through the person of CIA psychological warfare expert Colston Westbrook. (Westbrook also worked with William Wolfe in Vacaville, who went on to join the SLA and died with DeFreeze.) Westbrook had been an advisor to both the Korean CIA and the South Vietnamese Special Police Branch, and may have been involved in the Phoenix Program. He was himself black, and used the cover of the Black Cultural Association to gain the trust of prisoners, visiting DeFreeze twice a week for two years in what seems to have been an exercise in behavior modification. Ross writes that it was Westbrook who gave DeFreeze his guerrilla name, "Cinque," and even designed for him the seven-headed cobra which became the symbol of the SLA.
Once Westbrook had created "Cinque" and placed in his mind the image that would come to represent his "guerilla army," DeFreeze was transferred from maximum security in Vacaville to lower security in Soledad, from which he was allowed to simply walk away.
Here's Mae Brussell, on DeFreeze's "escape" of convenience:
After two years of heavy programming, DeFreeze's mentors at Vacaville apparently decided that he was ready for the next step in the script: his "escape." DeFreeze was transferred from Vacaville to Soledad Prison, near Salinas, California, in December, 1973. Four months later, in March, 1974, DeFreeze "escaped" from Soledad. But using the word "escape" is misleading; the facts are, that DeFreeze was placed in a situation at Soledad where all he had to do was walk away from the prison.
A prisoner from Soledad has stated, "While Donald DeFreeze was here, I had a few conversations with him. I have always questioned his departure as being a simple walk-away. I didn't come in contact with him personally until his last couple of weeks here. There weren't many who would associate with him. He tried to give the impression of being super-cool, and he came across as cold. When I met him, he was working in the maintenance shop. I asked him if he was happy on his job, because if not, I might be able to find him something else. He replied that within a few days he was going to be assigned to work in the boiler room at the South Facility.
"On his first night, he was dropped off at midnight, and given a few instructions. His job was automatic; it only required an overseer. Then he was left to himself, and when an officer returned an hour later to check on him, he was gone."
DeFreeze did just the opposite of what you might expect. He phoned his pals in the Berkeley-Oakland area immediately. They housed him. He associated with his "tutors" from Vacaville, who had various part-time jobs in the Berkeley area. All of them were "underemployed" in terms of their educational background. Two of them worked in adjacent food stalls near the U.C. Berkeley campus--yet supposedly they did not know each other.
After DeFreeze's escape, the police made no attempt to contact any of the people he had spent so much time with while he was at Vacaville. This indicates police collusion.
DeFreeze escaped from Soledad in March, 1973. Patty Hearst was kidnapped one year later. During the year in between, DeFreeze tried to join Los Venceremos, offering himself as a "hit man." Venceremos turned him down. They did not trust him; they were not into killing and violence. The radical groups in the Bay area wanted nothing to do with DeFreeze.
In Bluebird, Ross describes how adept DeFreeze was at "classic techniques of thought reform, coercive persuasion, mind control [and] brainwashing" in breaking down Patty Hearst's identity:
For about forty days, Patty Hearst was kept in solitary confinement in the closet with no contact with the outside world. Besides profound sensory deprivation, she was subjected to food and sleep deprivation, sexual molestation, frequent interrogations and mock FBI raids staged by the SLA. During these she thought she might be killed at any time. Once out of the closet she was subjected to further interrogation and threats.
Out of Hearst's broken will came "Tania," a criminal accomplice, "revolutionary" and perpetrator. Hearst wasn't play-acting; her dissociative identity-confusion persisted for some time after her arrest. Despite the fact that, unlike many of America's unadmitted mind control survivors, it was as an adult that Hearst was introduced to trauma-based mind control, it took only several weeks before "Tania" was born. (Though probably because of this, she retained an integrated memory of life as Patty and as Tania.) The expert witnesses who spoke in Hearst's defense at her trial - Dr Martin Orne, Dr Margaret Singer, Dr Louis Jolyon West and Dr Robert Lifton - all testified that DeFreeze had deliberately created for her a new personality, using classic techniques, but she did not meet the full criteria for a "Manchurian Candidate" because she did not suffer from amnesia. The names of all four witnesses should be familiar to us now as MKULTRA scientists, contracted through CIA cut-outs such as the "Human Ecology Foundation." Orne, Singer and West went on to become Board Members of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, which discredits the returning memories of survivors who met the "full criteria," who may have endured trauma beginning in childhood, lasting for decades.
Patty and "Tania"
DeFreeze, as Cinque, issued "death warrants" for three people, which Hearst, in her autobiography, says created the "worst arguments" within the SLA. Interestingly, "one was for Colston Westbrook...who had worked with Cin and Cujo [SLA member William Wolfe] and others at the prison." Cinque issued a taped declaration that Westbrook was a "government agent." Perhaps out of the prison's experimental laboratory, DeFreeze had come to some understanding that he was himself an experiment.
On May 16, 1974, following up the lead of a parking ticket left in a van ditched following a failed shoplifting attempt (Patty Hearst sprayed machine fire out its window to allow her accomplices to escape), 400 police officers and FBI agents surrounded a small, stucco house in Compton. Much like Waco and the MOVE massacre, the house was soon ablaze, attributed to police tear gas canisters igniting an SLA ammunition dump. Two members were gunned down trying to exit, and four bodies were found in the ruins, including DeFreeze and Wolfe.
The Symbionese Federation and The Symbionese Liberation Army is a united and federated grouping of members of different races and people and socialistic political parties of the oppressed people of The Fascist United States of America, who have under black and minority leadership formed and joined The Symbionese Federated Republic and have agreed to struggle together in behalf of all their people and races and political parties' interest in the gaining of Freedom and Self Determination and Independence for all their people and races.
We support by Force of Arms the just struggle of all oppressed people for self determination and independence within the United States and The World. And hereby offer to all liberation movements, revolutionary workers groups, and peoples organizations our total aid and support for the struggle for freedom and justice for all people and races. We call upon all revolutionary black and other oppressed people within the Fascist United States to come together and join The Symbionese Federation and fight in the forces of The Symbionese Liberation Army.
I think important lessons can be learned from the story of the SLA, because even Vietnam and the Nixon years are beginning to look like a Paradise Lost. Before long, Americans may be reading similar communiques from similarly synthesized working class heroes. The intention will be to draw the regime's legitimate opposition towards illegitimate provocateurs. And the end will be a familiar object lesson: the terrorizing spectacle of overkill.
"If you want to be a hero, well just follow me...."