[sixties-l] The New York Three: History & Case Background (fwd)

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    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: The New York Three: History & Case Background

    News * Analysis * Research * Action

    - February 21, 2002 -

    2035 Boul. St-Laurent
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2X 2T3
    E-mail: solidarity@tao.ca
    Web: http://www.tao.ca/~solidarity
    - Thursday, 21 February 2002 -

    History and Case Background

    February 2002

    On May 21, 1971, two New York City police officers were fatally shot. This
    shooting occurred within the context of two major national trends: the
    growth of black revolutionary groups such as the Black Panther Party for
    Self-Defense and, later, its armed wing, the Black Liberation Army; and at
    the same time, the FBI operation under Director J. Edgar Hoover, with the
    cooperation of the Nixon administration, to destroy the leaders and
    memberships of both mainstream civil rights and militant black
    organizations. This counterintelligence operation, called COINTELPRO,
    targeted black leaders by infiltrating the Black Liberation Movement,
    framing members of the movements for crimes, and even murdering them, in
    order to get them off the streets and out of contact with the community.
    The shooting of these two police officers also came immediately after the
    infamous trial of the "Panther 21," a case in New York against 21 members
    of the BPP charged with planning "terrorist" acts. After nearly a two year
    trial all 21 defendants were acquitted.

    On May 26, 1971, only 5 days after the crime FBI Director Hoover was called
    to the White House, and in a secret meeting with President Richard Nixon,
    John Erlichman, the Domestic Advisor to the President, as well as members
    of the Watergate plumbers. They discussed this case and established the FBI
    would solve the crime under the code name NEWKILL, or New York killings. It
    is believed that in this meeting, the FBI and White House conspired to
    frame Black Panthers for the killings.

    Furthermore, on May 19, 1971, only three days before the shooting, two
    other NYPD officers were injured. Dhoruba bin Wahad (formerly Richard
    Moore), was convicted in that case and served 19 years in prison for
    attempted murder. At the time of his arrest, Dhoruba was a. ranking member
    of the Black Panther Party and a target of COINTELPRO. Eventually, in 1990,
    he was released due to a successful appeal based on information found in
    COINTELPRO documents, which detailed how evidence was manufactured and
    testimony perjured. Similar evidence has not been allowed as evidence in
    the case of the New York 3.

    Three months after the killings, on August 28, 1971, Jalil Abdul Muntaqim
    (Anthony Bottom) and Albert Nuh Washington were arrested in San Francisco
    during an armed confrontation with police. Their arrests came only one week
    after the assassination of BPP Field Marshall, George Jackson. They were
    later charged with the New York killings. Nearly two years later, Herman
    Bell was arrested in New Orleans. Also arrested and charged in the case
    were Gabriel and Francisco Torres although charges the two brothers were
    acquitted due to lack of evidence.

    The first trial, then against the New York 5 (including the Torres
    brothers), ended in a mistrial. In that trial only one vote was cast to
    convict Nuh Washington. The Torres brother were acquitted in the second
    trial. But at the end of a second trial, in 1975, the New York Three-Nuh,
    Jalil, and.Herman-were convicted of first degree murder, weapons
    possession, and conspiracy.

    The hung jury in the first trial was largely due to the jury's doubt that a
    fingerprint near the scene of the crime belonged to Herman Bell. In order
    to ensure that this piece of tampered evidence would uphold in the second
    trial, the FBI was brought in to back up the findings of the NYPD. What
    wasn't presented to the jury was that the FBI and the NYPD had different
    stories as to whether the fingerprint matched Bell or not. The defense
    argued that the print-had actually been lifted from Jalil's San Francisco
    apartment by the FBI. This is only one example of how the NYPD and FBI
    worked together to ensure a conviction in the second trial.

    All three members of the New York Three were specifically named in
    COINTELPRO documents as members of the black liberation movement who had to
    be "neutralized," These documents, and the media smear campaign enacted by
    the FBI and the White House, claimed that these community and human rights
    activists were "terrorists". This domestic program of political repression
    was revealed by a 1976 congressional committee, the Church Commission, to
    have utilized extra-legal methods to neutralize social justice movements,
    including surveillance, beatings, torture, harassment, instigating violent
    feuds between rival individuals and organizations, coercion and
    intimidation of witnesses, isolating and badjacketing influential leaders,
    as well as outright murder. In fact, a major reason that many BPP and BLA
    members were forced to go underground and arm themselves was the deadly
    FBI-instigated split in the party between factions led by Eldridge Cleaver
    and Huey P. Newton.

    Despite the media perception that the BPP were "terrorists," the main
    activities conducted by the New York Three and other members of the BPP
    were running programs designed to serve the community, such as the Free
    Breakfast program for children; health care programs, such as sickle-cell
    anemia testing and lead poisoning prevention; legal and political
    education; and anti-drug activities.

    The BPP helped tenants fight slumlords and demanded traffic lights and
    speed bumps on streets where it was unsafe for children to play. It is also
    true that the BPP were an armed group. The decision to arm BPP members
    stemmed from the need for a solution to the massive police violence that
    plagued the communities where the BPP operated. At the time, in communities
    like Oakland, CA, black youth were being blatantly murdered by police on a
    regular basis. They patrolled the community, ensuring that the police
    followed proper search and arrest procedures. They studied the law and
    informed community members about their rights. The guns involved in the BPP
    were only for Self Defense. It was for these acts that they were targeted,
    not for illegal activity. Furthermore, the BPP and the BLA actively fought
    drug dealers in the community. They viewed both the police and the drug
    dealers as enemies of the community. They chose to address this problem "by
    any means necessary."

    Clearly, the NY3 and other political prisoners are imprisoned not because
    of crimes they actually committed, but for their political activity and J.
    Edgar Hoover's racist and personal war against members of the black
    liberation and civil rights movement.

    The New York Three continue to fight for their freedom and maintain their
    innocence. Herman and Jalil are now two of the longest held political
    prisoners in the US. Each member of the NY3 has served almost 30 years. On
    April 28, 2000, Albert Nuh Washington passed away after a long, painful
    battle with liver cancer. Jalil and Herman are currently serving their

    Facts of the Case of the NY3

    Below are the shocking facts of the case of the New York 3. This case is a
    most egregious example of the failure and manipulation of the court system
    and democracy in the US, a clear picture of the activities of J. Edgar
    Hoover's FBI and subsequent results of their COINTELPRO operation to
    "neutralize" and destroy the Black Panther Party.

    * Evidence Used Against Herman Bell: Testimony of Ruben Scott, fingerprint
    found on car near the crime scene
    * Evidence Used Against Jalil Anthony Bottom: A gun in his possession at
    the time of his arrest, testimony of two women who knew the NY3,
    identification by uncertain eyewitness to the crime
    * Evidence Used Against Albert Nuh Washington: association with the Black
    Panther Party and his two co-defendants

    These facts dispute the case of the prosecution and the above listed

    Fact: The prosecution concealed an FBI ballistics report indicating that
    the gun found in Jalil's possession at the time of his arrest, which was
    introduced against him as the murder weapon, was not the gun used in the
    killings. The FBI lab found that bullets from a test firing of the gun
    taken from Jalil did not match the bullets the police had recovered from
    the crime scene and the victims' bodies. It has been learned that the NYPD
    ballistics expert committed perjury with the prosecution's knowledge and
    that the prosecutor withheld the FBI ballistics report from the defense.
    Essentially, Jalil is in prison on false evidence of having used a weapon
    that the FBI itself proved was not the murder weapon.

    Fact: Apart from Jalil's alleged possession of the murder weapon, the
    prosecution's case rested mainly on dubious identification by eyewitnesses.
    At a pretrial lineup, one such witness had "thought" Jalil "might be" one
    of the killers, while four others said he "definitely was not."

    Fact: Herman's friend and co-worker, Ruben Scott, was beaten unconscious by
    New Orleans police. Scott was tortured with an electric cattleprod and
    needles to his testicles while being interrogated by NYPD detectives who
    later promised he would not have to serve any time on a pending murder
    charge if he testified against the NY3.

    * Scott proceeded to fabricate a series of conversations and events that
    seriously incriminated Herman.
    * At his first opportunity for what he thought was a private conversation
    with an impartial official, Scott confided to the trial judge, Edward
    Greenfield, that his statements to the police were lies designed to placate
    them and stop the torture.
    * Instead of taking steps to protect Scott, the judge returned him to
    police custody and immediately notified only the prosecution of this
    conversation, and that Scott was wavering in his testimony.
    * Judge Greenfield withheld this information from the defense for 5 1/2
    crucial weeks. Meanwhile, the NYPD detectives who had been present during
    Scott's torture in New Orleans had the opportunity to persuade him to
    testify as planned.
    * Since the trial, Scott has sworn that what he told the judge was true,
    and that he lied on the witness stand because he feared for his life.

    Fact: Two women who were friends of the NY3 were jailed for nearly a year
    and a half and separated from their young children. They were repeatedly
    threatened by the prosecution and told that they would lose custody of
    their children if they refused to say what the prosecution wanted them to
    say in court. These women were eventually given monetary rewards for their
    testimony and had other criminal charges against them dismissed. When one
    of them was asked while testifying whether a deal was made for her
    testimony, she said no and the prosecution failed to correct her perjury.

    Fact: The FBI and police were unable to explain a series of irregularities
    which cast doubt on their claim that Herman's fingerprints were on a car
    parked near the scene of the crime. In the process, two police witnesses
    insisted that another print from the same car could not be identified. Late
    in the trial, however, the defense learned that the prosecutor bad, with
    the trial judge's permission, secretly altered the evidence to hide the
    fact that he and the police knew all long that this print belonged to a
    potential suspect whose existence was being concealed from the defense. The
    judge barred NY3 lawyers from informing the jury about the suspect or the
    perjury and cover-up.

    Fact: There is no evidence linking Nuh (now deceased) to these crimes other
    than his political beliefs and associations. The trial judge hid the
    inadequacy of the prosecution's case against Nuh through his instructions
    to the jury, charging that all the evidence applied equally to the

    Fact: Albert Nuh Washington was allowed to refuse legal council, even
    though Judge Greenfield never ordered the required procedure to ensure
    Nuh's competence to represent himself. If Nuh had been ensured proper legal
    council, his case probably would have been dismissed due to lack of

    Fact: The trial judge, immediately prior to charging the jury, prodded the
    prosecution into asking for a charge on conspiracy saying "Don't you mean
    that you want a conspiracy charge too?" At which time the prosecution said,
    "Oh yeah, I want to charge conspiracy too." Even though the NY3 were not
    indicted with conspiracy, the trial judge charged the jury, utilizing a
    conspiracy charge, as if the NY3 had been indicted on that charge, despite
    the fact that there was no evidence presented to support a conspiracy
    charge. Fact: The trial judge barred defense attorneys from asking the FBI
    and police witnesses about their agencies' policy of lying to discredit
    Black militants and get them convicted on false charges. He improperly
    limited other cross-examinations, ruled out testimony about violent splits
    in the Black Panther Party (which could have explained why the defendants
    had been armed), and denied the defense access to records of payments that
    the prosecution bad made to witnesses.

    Fact: When a juror reported receiving threatening phone calls, the trial
    judge refused to declare a mistrial or even ask if other jurors had similar
    experiences. Nothing was left to chance; the juror was left with the
    erroneous impression that friends of the NY3 made the threatening call, and
    voted to convict. Fact: On May 26, 1971,5 days after the crime, then FBI
    Director, J. Edgar Hoover, was called to the White House, and in a secret
    meeting with President Richard Nixon, accompanied by John Erlichman, the
    Domestic Advisor to the President and members of the Watergate plumbers
    covert operatives. They discussed this case and established the FBI would
    solve the crime under the code name NEWKILL. Tape recordings of this
    meeting are being withheld from the defense by the National Archives of the
    Nixon Library.

    Fact: The FBI discovered that a drug dealer had admitted to having the cops
    killed, stating that the intended targets were NYC Housing Authority cops
    who were dealing drugs. This information was withheld from the defense by
    the prosecution and the FBI to ensure the defense would not learn of

    Fact: The FBI learned that the bullets used in the shooting were reloads
    made by Stephen Tilden, who resided in the Bronx. This information was in
    the possession of the prosecution and withheld from the defense.

    Fact: The NYPD arrested a prostitute who claimed she knew who committed
    this crime; this witness was never brought to the attention of the defense.

    Fact: Ruben Scott's post-trial admission-that he had lied for fear of his
    life after being tortured by law enforcement officials-should have been
    sufficient basis for a new trial. But the trial judge tried to suppress the
    entire matter (including allegations by Scott that pointed to the judge's
    own misconduct in suppressing Scott's appeal to the judge) by taking no
    action on a motion for retrial for 14 months. Judge Greenfield refused to
    take any testimony or even hold a hearing, and finally denied the motion in
    an opinion which simply repeated the prosecution's distortions of fact and
    misstatements of law. The appellate court affirmed without any hearing or

    Fact: In 1983, the NY3 again submitted a petition to the trial judge to
    obtain a new trial based upon exculpatory FBI documentation that had been
    discovered via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This information had
    been in the possession of the prosecutor during the trial and had been
    withheld from the defense. By 1984, the trial judge failed to respond to
    the motion before him, and in December a motion to disqualify him from
    continuing to preside was filed because of evidence of the judge's own
    personal misconduct in the case, which makes him an interested party and
    likely witness. By October 1985, the trial judge denied both the motion for
    a new trial and the motion to disqualify himself. Four months later, the
    appellate court reaffirmed the lower court's decision without a hearing.

    Fact: Four months after the 1983 petition for a new trial was filed with
    the court, all ballistics evidence from the case was removed from the
    evidence locker and destroyed, preventing the weapon from being retested.

    Fact: All convictions were upheld on appeal without any written opinion or
    other explanation from the court. Such a procedure is virtually
    unprecedented in a case like this, which involves a severe sentence and
    substantial legal issues. When the NY3 sought review by the state's highest
    court, they were told that they had raised significant issues which merit
    serious consideration. But they were later informed, again without any
    written opinion or other explanation, that their case would not be heard.

    Fact: In 1992, the NY3 bad an evidentiary hearing in the Federal District
    Court, reviewing the issue of perjured testimony by NYPD ballistics expert
    and prosecutorial misconduct in withholding exculpatory materials
    pertaining to the extent of FBI/White House involvement in the case under
    NEWKILL. The decision of the federal district court judge was that NYPD did
    in fact commit perjury, but that the perjury was "harmless error."

    Fact: The Court of Appeals-2nd Circuit and US Supreme Court refused to hear
    the appeal of the district court ruling.

    Fact: Three stories have been published in three different books, 'Target
    Blue" by Robert Daly, "Chief' by Albert Seedman, and "Badge of the
    Assassins" by Robert Tannenbaum. None tells the truth.

    Fact: Badge of the Assassin was also made into a movie and was run as
    recently as February 2001 on BET. It has even been run in Brazil. This
    movie was undoubtedly part of the FBI's media campaign to criminalize
    political prisoners. In response to this factually inaccurate film. Paper
    Tiger Television produced a documentary, CBS v. the New York 3 in 1988.

    Fact: Assistant District Attorney Robert Tannenbaum has significantly
    profited from his conviction of the New York 3. Aside from his book and
    movie, he was rewarded with a highly desired appointment to the 1976
    congressional inquiry into John F. Kennedy's assassination. Later
    Tannenbaum moved to California where he practiced private law and
    eventually became the Mayor of Beverly Hills.

    Anthony Jalil Bottom and Herman Bell have no more legal appeals. Their only
    outlets for freedom are clemency or parole.

    Jalil Abdul Muntaqim (formerly Anthony Bottom)

    Jalil was 19 years old when he was arrested. He is a former member of the
    Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. For the last 30 years,
    Jalil has been a political prisoner, and one of the New York Three (NY3),
    in retaliation for his activism in the 1960s and early 1970s.

    Jalil was born October 18, 1951, in Oakland, CA. His early years were spent
    in San Francisco. Jalil attended high school in San Jose, CA, where he
    earned a scholarship to an advanced high school math and science program.
    He also received a summer scholarship for a San Jose State College math and
    engineering course. Jalil participated in NAACP youth organizing during the
    civil rights movement. In high school, he became a leading member of the
    Black Student Union, often touring in "speak-outs" with the BSU Chairman of
    San Jose State and City College.

    After the assassination of Dr. King, Jalil began to believe a more militant
    response to racism and injustice was necessary. He began to look towards
    the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense for leadership. After moving back
    to San Francisco from San Jose, he was recruited into the BPP by old
    elementary school friends who had since become Panthers.

    Two months shy of his 20th birthday, Jalil was captured along with Albert
    "Nuh" Washington in a midnight shoot-out with San Francisco police. When
    Jalil was arrested, he was a high school graduate and employed as a social

    While in San Quentin prison in California in 1976 before being moved to New
    York, Jalil launched the National Prisoners Campaign to Petition the United
    Nations to recognize the existence of political prisoners in the United
    States. Progressives nationwide joined this effort, and the petition was
    submitted in Geneva, Switzerland. This led to Lennox Hinds and the National
    Conference of Black Lawyers having the UN International Commission of
    Jurists tour U.S. prisons and speak with specific political prisoners. The
    International Commission of Jurists then reported that political prisoners
    did in fact exist in the United States.

    Jalil put out the call for the Jericho March on Washington in Spring 1998,
    which was answered by over 6,000 supporters demanding recognition of and
    amnesty for U.S. political prisoners. The Jericho Amnesty Movement (JAM)
    aims to gain the recognition by the U.S. government and the United Nations
    that political prisoners exist in this country, and that on the basis of
    international law, they should be granted amnesty because of the political
    nature of their cases.

    Since in New York prisons, Jalil wrote and submitted a legislative bill for
    prisoners with life sentences to receive good time off their minimum
    sentences. This bill was introduced to the NYS Assembly Committee on
    Corrections. Jalil has filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of prisoners.

    Jalil has received awards of appreciation from Jaycee's, NAACP, and Project
    Build for his active participation and leadership. After many years of
    being denied the opportunity to attend college, Jalil graduated from
    SUNY-New Paltz with a BS in Psychology and a BA in Sociology in 1994. He
    would like to pursue his Masters degree, but has not been allowed by DOCS.

    During his imprisonment, Jalil has become a father and a grandfather. He
    states, "I came to prison an expectant father and will leave prison a
    grandfather." He will appear before the New York State Parole Board in

    Jalil has worked as an educator of other inmates and practices organizing
    and advocacy whenever possible to ensure the most adequate, humane
    treatment for all people. He has been repeatedly punished for these
    activities, through physical abuse, formal discipline, and numerous prison
    transfers. Jalil is presently working to develop a National Prisoners
    Afrikan Studies Project (NPASP), a new non-profit organization dedicated to
    educating prisoners.

    Write a Letter for Jalil!

    Jalil will be going before the parole board in July 2002, and the Center
    for Community Alternatives (CCA) is currently working with Jalil to develop
    a Parole Release Plan to be submitted to the New York State Board of Parole
    within the next few months.

    One way you can help is to write a letter explaining why Jalil should be
    released, and sending it to the Center for Community Alternatives, so that
    it could be included in his parole packet.

    To be most effective we suggest that your letter address some, not
    necessarily all, the following issues:

    1. If you do know Jalil, explain in what capacity, and for how long

    2. Point out some of the qualities, and describe some of the qualities that
    Jalil has demonstrated that the parole board would appreciate:

    1. Compassion
    2. Devoted family member
    3. Teaching and mentoring others
    4. Non-violent
    5. Conflict resolution
    6. Helpful to others
    7. Participation in positive activities and programs
    8. Explain in your view there is a reasonable probability that, if
    released, he will live and remain at liberty withoutviolating the law
    9. Explain why his release is compatible with the welfare of society
    10. Explain why his release will not deprecate the seriousness of the crime
    for which he was convicted as to undermine resepect for the law

    All letters should be addressed as follows:

    "To Whom It May Concern" OR "Dear Parole Commissioners"

    Your letters should be mailed to:

    Royce L. Hawkins, JD
    Mitigation/Sentencing Specialist
    Center for Community Alternatives
    115 East Jefferson Street, Suite 300
    Syracuse, NY 13202

    Your letters should be sent to Royce as soon as possible to allow him time
    to review them all with Jalil, and put them together in the parole plan.

    Thank you for your help and cooperation. If you have any questions or
    suggestions, please contact Royce Hawkins at (315) 422-5638, ext. 220.

    Jalil and Herman can be contacted at:

    A. Jalil Bottom 77A4283, Auburn Correctional Facility, PO Box 618, 135
    State Street, Auburn, NY 13024

    Herman Bell 79C0262, Clinton Correctional Facility, PO Box 2001, Dannemora,
    NY 12929

    Hardcopies of this document can be ordered from:
    Solidarity, 2035 Boul. St-Laurent, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2X 2T3
    Or solidarity@tao.ca

    This document can be downloaded from:

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