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2005 Blog Entries
July ~ Entries #67 - #68

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7-16-2005, #68: Mankato Charges Fans to Watch Vikings Practice. What more surprises are in store for the new owner from his “loyal” employees?

The Strib today, 7-16-05, reports that old Vikings hands are shocked, shocked, that Mankato will now charge fans to watch Vikings training practices, a first time for Vikings fans in over 40 year (Vikings training practices no longer free to public). That is some crew over there in Winter Park. Recall our web log entry #21, of February 28, 2005, when we quote the Strib talking about the staff working behind people’s backs to work with Glen Taylor:

If the Strib stories are true, Winter Park employees can’t be trusted with company information. They knew Glen kept getting turned down. They knew Reggie was working on a bid that was designed to meet Red’s price, and yet they continued to provide “inside information” to Glenn and his people. As Weiner reported February 11, 2005, ”Taylor said that employees of the Vikings who had been working with him in sharing financial information told him they could no longer ‘help us because they’re working with the other group.’” The Winter Park crowd obviously got cold feet as they learned Red was going to accept Reggie’s bid. The question now is, who’s side will be they on with the new owner?

Then they helped get rid of a player they didn’t like, Randy Moss. In the same web log entry #21, we wrote that even though Reggie was reported in the Strib article of 2-17-05 as saying he would not trade Randy Moss, it happened anyway, as announced in six articles in the 2-24-05 Strib of a trade of Randy to Oakland. Six articles. That means many were in on it. Except the man who had bid to buy the team and said he wouldn’t trade Randy. Now the same folks are shocked at the fans being charged when, according to the Strib, they have been negotiating that very deal with Mankato. Welcome Zygi, welcome to “Minnesota nice.”
Posted 7-16-05, 10:02 p.m.

7-9-2005, #67: Why is the Pioneer Press Extorting history in its reporting of the joint FBI - St. Paul Police raid on the facilities, memory, and history of the St. Paul Inner City Youth League, distorting the record of honorable people of an honorable organization in order to once again, put us Black folk “in our place”, while the Civil rights establishment again does a “lay down” for this false interpretation of history?

In today’s (7-9-05) Pioneer Press we read an article by Mara Gottfried, entitled A new lead in officer’s 1970 slaying.

The subtitle is “St. Paul police search reported basement shooting range.”

This story causes me to have to reach out once again to offer my assistance to the Pioneer Press as I do to all our local journalists through our book, our weekly TV show, our weekly columns and our Blog entries in between these. You see, once again one of the major Twin City newspapers serves as an organ of the system against the people. This is why some people spell “press” with out the “re” and insert an “i” (and that is what I have heard from White residents).

In the past we have rarely mentioned reporters by name because we know they report to editors who have the final say and twist. But journalists have to step up so they are treated as professionals rather than serve as puppets. To be true journalists they must be independent and objective, not job dependent and subjective to meet the whims of editors and their sometime bosses at City Hall or the prosecutor’s office. Just as the line between editorials and news reporting has been greatly blured, so too has the line between story reporting by journalists and story skewing by editors.

The search Mara Gottfried writes so disingenuously about in the story linked to above, starts out with a lie: “reported basement shooting range.” Two questionable witnesses, i.e., informants, told this to the police, who probably got if from a leak in the prosecutor’s office hoping it was true. And when it found out not to be true, who is going to see the retraction, if any?

Therefore, it is really “alleged” although the Pioneer Press presents it as fact. What is discussed is that the search took place because informants claim there was a shooting range there. There was none then and there is none now. Mara does not report that she interviewed me for the story and that I categorically stated there had never been a shooting range there. But to report that would be to create doubt about the rest of the story and its real purpose, as seen in the headline, to connect Ronnie Reed and Larry Clark to the Officer Sackett killing, as a set up for the upcoming September trial. She didn’t report talking to me as the drill here is not reporting but laying a public framework of guilty for when the trial comes up before what will in all probability be an all white jury.

Mara was very specific that the warrant talked about a shooting range and a boxing ring. The boxing program was not established at the Inner City Youth League until the mid-80s. It was established by a highly respected St. Paul policeman. Yet she left it out after talking to me. Again: to not include in her story that the original claim was of a shooting range AND boxing ring shows how selective the Pi Press and its masters are being to make sure just the right “message” is sent out in advance to prospective jurors. In other words, if the “informants” were so insistent about the shooting range and boxing ring, and the boxing ring story is shown to be untrue, it could cause the slant of the material to be not accepted by a jury. This way the shooting range part of the story stands without the corresponding doubt cast by linking it to the boxing ring. The story stayed true to its purpose: not news reporting but news “spinning” to serve their goal of influencing the minds of the jury to be selected later.

Mara the reporter called me for background, inserted my words into the mouth of another, and used me to sharpen the tool (Pi Press) used to string together made up circumstantial evidence against Reed and Clark, “evidence” being presented by the system to create a public mood so that when they bring Ronnie Reed and Larry Clark to trial in September, the all white jury will know that “of course” they are guilty and be incensed enough to cry “guilty.”

We addressed this case in our column of April 6, 2005, when we raised the question of officially induced fear in our column entitled: Has the community abandoned Reed and Clark? Why have those who benefited from their activism fallen silent?

First let us be very clear: anytime a person is gunned down, for whatever reason, it is not good. Family, friends, and, most importantly, whole communities experience anger, rage, and then fear. Those guilty of such crimes should be brought to justice, no matter how long it takes, no matter how cold the case is.

But let us also be clear that conviction for the sake of conviction out of vengeance is just as wrong. Manufacturing evidence or creating “plausible” circumstances to slant “evidence” toward a pre-ordained verdict, is likewise just as heinous, and, in the Black community, what causes silence due to the fear of being corralled by the power of the state to reach back 35 years and select any Black just for being Black if it will help their case.

Finally, let me also be clear: it doesn’t matter to me whether the perps are white or Black: if guilty they need to be punished. So far, I have no seen anything in 35 years to convince me that Ronnie and Larry are guilty of this crime (again: see my above referenced column of April 6).

The press in this country has reported anger in the South that the Ku Klux Klansman who participated in the killing of the three students in the 60s has been tried and convicted. They are not angry because he is white and therefore should go free. They are angry because they still believe in the cause he fought for, Jim Crow.

The Black community would be a lot less cynical about the motives of the current activities related to Reed and Clark if the cold cases regarding Blacks who have been killed were as aggressively pursued, as is this one of Officer Sackett.

Mara Gottfried’s report of the execution of this search warrant by the FBI and St. Paul Police on the St. Paul Inner City Youth League, at 175 N. Victoria Street, on June 30th, seeking evidence of a 1960s shooting range and cache of military grade weapons (grenades, dynamite, pistols, rifles, shotguns) by “Black militants” shows an incredibly horrific lack of historical sense and common sense about the “evidence” presented, as we list by number at the end of this Blog entry.

As these charges about the Inner City Youth League are wholly and completely false, one must ask why the establishment of The Man, the media of The Man, and the Civil Rights Establishment of The Man is attempting to “seed” evidence against the St. Paul Inner City Youth League. Could it be because as idealistic young men at the time, they participated in its programs. By this logic, any organization these two were in should be raided using a search warrant.

My credentials are clear: I am one of four founders of the St. Paul Inner City Youth League, and was a security clearanced person who was a part of the California 1968 advance team for Vice President/Presidential candidate Hubert H. Humphrey. As a person close to the founders of the DFL, Nellie Stone Johnson and HHH, I pride myself on my 40 years plus record of independence, truth telling, and standing up for the Black community. For more on Nellie see my book’s Interlude 3. For more on my own record in the press, see my book’s Interlude 1. I write this not to brag but to establish the fact that my record for veracity is decades long no matter how much those opposed to my pulling the covers back over their overt and covert racism attempt to sully my good name and reputation in order to divert attention from their racism and corruption. Indeed, my book, published in late 2002, has yet to have surface one falsehood or misleading statement. This, we are told, is why the Strib, the Pi Press, and two of their Black acolyte weekly papers have refused to review the book or even report as news that it was published. We have been in constant dialogue with both the editors in Minneapolis and owners in Sacramento of the Star Tribune for three years, to no avail. They still treat us as Buckwheat.

The benefit those of us in our 60s have over reporters in their 20s is that we lived the actual history they now write about that now becomes newspaper editor directed myth. The way this has played out in the Pi Press story is why we are suspicious: is the angle to send uninformed young people who don’t know the truth to write stories they take on faith as accurate as they come from their elderly editors they naively and innocently trust, editors with an ax to grind or agenda to follow, editors who are too smart to stand in the public square and shout their historic revisionism so they send out young cannon fodder reporters to do their dirty work?

It gets worse: as the reporters check the story they also receive no help from the civil rights establishment, who either fear their jobs or fear the power of the state to make charges stick, even when false, as with the pending trial of Ronnie Read and Larry Clark regarding the shooting of Officer James Sackett 35 years ago (again, see our Column #7 of April 6, 2005), about which the Black community has maintained a dreadful silence.

The New York Times published a piece on April 18, 2005, On the Sidelines of the Most Important Civil Rights Battle Since ‘Brown’”, a piece about education. The piece discusses how the “once fiercely independent force that bedeviled politicians on both sides of the aisle and evaluated polices based on whether those policies harmed or helped the poor” is no longer independent, and instead have become, in the words of this NY Times piece, “wholly owned subsidiaries of the Democratic Party.” We see this in my book’s Chapter 14, “The Role of Minneapolis Black Organzations…Being part of the Problem.” For writing this about the NAACP and the Urban League, the NAACP expelled me. That shows how low the NAACP has sunk: expelling those who expose how they no longer have their eyes on the prize for Black Americans but only for themselves individually (see my NAACP Takes Eye Off Prize). How else can you explain NAACP leaders dining with African country heads instead of exhorting them to set their people free by getting them off the road to serfdom? And how else can you explain Jesse and Al going to Mexico to dine with Vincente Fox about being sensitive to the feelings of American Blacks when they should be exhorting him to be sensitive to his own people and to set the free by using oil money to get them off the road to serfdom rather than keep them on it?

We saw this in St. Paul recently by the “open letter” by the head of the St. Paul Department of Civil Rights, a Black man, condemning young Black men involved in gangs along with all of their family members and friends, as if, as a group, they should be rounded up and put in detention camps (see our Columns #9, 10, 12, 13, and next week’s 14) and Blog entries #51, 53-55, 60-61, 63).

This columnist and blogger remains as fiercely independent now as then, which is why the DFL doesn’t always like us and why those papers (White and Black) that are tools of the DFL have refused to review our book or even report that it was published. Their minds are already made up. They don’t want to be bothered by either facts or truth, just their own ideologies and prejudices, which they promote, and which is why some analysts believe is the reason their circulation figures are in decline: people don’t want to read their editorial views in news reports. As this practice continues, more readers faith in their truth telling and cancel their subscriptions.

The young Pioneer Press reporter Mara Gottfried claims the raid (they call it executing a search warrant) was conducted on the “word” of two informants who claim that the St. Paul Inner City Youth League was a meeting place (almost calling it a “safe house”) for Black Militants in the late 1960s. In the basement: a boxing ring and bales of hay used in the shooting range.

Nope. Nada. Nonsense. Didn’t happen.

Is this an attempt to draw a “lineage” between Black activists then and Black activists now in order to paint them all with the broad brush of current coinage for accusations, as used by the St. Paul Director of the Civil Rights Department, when, in reference to Black gangs, called them “terrorists”? Why is the DFL coming unhinged, unable to laud the liberation of the previously enslaved people of Iraq and offering only condemnation of the attempts to free the rest of the enslaved Middle East, as if to beat down a new Ismael as he cries out, “let my people go”? Why does the DFL still make every attempt to keep us in our place in the Twin Cities? See especially my chapters 7-13, on education, jobs, housing, the University, city government, and gerrymandered redistricting.

What did the FBI and police find at 174 Victoria Street? Metal fragments. Will they claim these are bullet casings? Fragments from hand grenades? Who did the FBI and police check? Are they so eager to discredit those speaking out in our Black communities that they have to make up such lies or are they just monumentally lazy in investigating what two informants say, as if “two” liars supporting each other make up one truth? Did the informants place fragments there? Did anyone else? Did the police? Can you trust what they report to us? You can see why we find it difficult to do so.

St. Paul claims it seeks to work with the Black community and make it safer, and to deal with gangs. We all want that, and Blacks want it more than Whites, as we are the ones adversely impacted by it. And yet here they are doing the opposite. So let’s help our fellow journalists, both the editors and their young, innocent (i.e., uninformed of history) and posit questions to help them in their background checking for this story, as we also note the glaring differences between then and today:

1. “Black militants” was a term coined by J. Edgar Hoover. The media loved it and used it indiscriminately. We considered ourselves progressives. This was the long detailed discussion I had with Mara who probed about the terms. Why, then, did she not only not quote me but put my words in someone else’s mouth and not talk about the difference? Was she being duplicitous with me and disingenuous, or was this done by her editors? Or both?

2. Why did the media use J. Edgar Hoover’s term then and why do editors today “couple” it today with Blacks in gangs, when the “militants” then (”progressives”) were actually trying to provide help TO and FOR the community, not randomly tear it down through the violence and drug dealing of some of today’s gangs, or those lost souls trying to find a place to belong after being pushed out of the DFL run schools and school activities (see my book, Chapter 7, on education)?

3. We were working for the community and attempting to steer youth into productive pursuits. Isn’t this a significant difference from Black gangs today that are part of the hip-hop culture, not of the culture of community development? See our Higher Hopes For Youth Than Hip Hop.

4. The building used by the Inner City Youth League was bought by Ted Hamm, of the Hamm breweries, who then gave it to the Inner City Youth League in 1967. Why isn’t the Hamm family talked to? Does this mean that this white heir of the brewery fortune was bankrolling militants (can’t you just see the paper working hard to try to use the word terrorists?)?

5. We worked with L. Howard Bennett, Under Secretary of Defense, who was selected by HHH to head his Presidential Advance Team. LHB was a good friend of Nelly Stone Johnson. Was the White House part of this Inner City Youth League “cell”?

6. You know, dear readers, that in 1968, one of the most turbulent years, there was no way that us four young Black Americans could be working that close with the Vice President without security clearances and being checked out as OK. Why isn’t this record checked? Why is it ASSUMED that we were bad guys, which any raid on the Inner City Youth League for weapons evidence during our period there has to have been assumed?

7. How is it that the words reported in the article as those of Bobby Hickman were the ones I spoke to reporter Mara Gottfried? That makes me believe that Bobby Hickman was never interviewed. Or is his a name given to Mara along with the police version of things Bobby has said (beyond what I wrote that she attributed to him) and, thus, is he part of the case they are using to get the reporter to interpret things their way?

8. Is this a new style of creative journalism? Of course. But fictional historical novels are the purview of novelists, not newspapers (with the exception of their editorial pages, of course).

9. How come there were never any complaints of loud noises or gun shots from neighbors? Hay bales won’t muffle the retort of a firearm. Watch the sequence: pull the trigger, a retort takes place, and the round hits something. But as sound is slower, it seems simultaneous. Fair enough. But the hay bale doesn’t reach back to muffle the sound of the gun. Hay bales will stop a slug. How dumb do they think people are to believe the sound of a shot will not be heard because the round hits a hay bale? The sound comes not from the bullet striking but from the bullet being fired.

10. The Pi Press reports fragments in cement but not in anything else. Shouldn’t there be strands of soundproofing material if the fragments were from that time, as no firing was ever heard? How could the sounds not be heard unless the basement was sound proofed, on ALL three surfaces: floor, ceiling, walls? Yet not one strand of sound proofing material was reported as found (will they add the strands later?).

11. As grenades are military weapons, were they U.S. grenades? If they were, why is there no record of theft from a munitions depot?

12. If these were not U.S. military weapons, who supplied them? Russians? In Minnesota?

13. Just who, 35 years later, is the real target of these conspiracy charges?

14. Remember: this is not about a calendar mistake: the affidavits especially state the 1960s, locking the informants, the police, the FBI and the prosecutors into a finite time line of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Why wasn’t this checked more thoroughly? Are we back to the “good old days” when any suspicion about a Black man is accepted as true even when false?

15. Note that in the early 1980s, a Black police officer began a boxing program at the Inner City Youth League. He was a former ranked welterweight. Was the police department then part of this cell?

16. Are our young reporters aware that well into the late 1960s, in college dorms across the upper tier of the country and across the South, students had gun racks on their dorm walls, with boxes of bullets open on the shelves (not to mention the gun racks in the back of their pickups)?

17. Are our young reporters aware of the fact that elementary school kids in the 1950s in small towns took rifles to school for instruction in gun safety after school?

18. Are our young reporters aware of the fact that elementary school kids in small towns wore hunting knives on their belts going to school?

19. Are our young reporters aware that much of the demonization of guns in this country is from a false fear by Whites in cities, not in suburbs and rural areas?

20. Is the famous image of the Black student with crossed bandoleers of bullets across his chest and a rifle in his hand after they had taken over the Cornel University building still seared in people’s minds, as it was on most front pages back in 1968? When will it be reported that these Black students, as White students had as well, taken over the building peaceably and without weapons, and that it was only after White students grabbed their guns from their gun racks and surrounded the building did guns get taken into the Black students? When will this story be told truthfully? They didn’t mind the white students having guns. It was Blacks having guns that scared them. Why?

21. When will it be told that many of the Black Panther groups in the U.S. were started by Black FBI informants in order to gather activists together in order to then raid and end them?

22. When will it be written that there were NO Black Panthers in the twin cities? In other cities? Yes. In the Twin Cities? No. We were too sophisticated to be taken in by their rhetoric (although we admired their food programs and teaching programs for little kids) and too sophisticated to be taken in by FBI plants trying to hustle us into trouble so we could be taken down.

23. When will the papers report on the Federal COINTEL program setting up Black Panther units so they could later be raided? Many took place in California. In Cincinnati, 5 or 6 young Blacks were killed and 35 sent to jail in such a raid. Innocent or not was not the issue: they had fired on the police raiding them and that was enough, even if there had been no criminal activity before. It was round up and elimination time for active young Black men, many trying to make a positive difference in their community.

24. Why not, for history’s sake, use the story of Geronimo Pratt and the attorney who successfully demonstrated his innocence, Johnny Cochran?

25. Are our young reporters aware of the fact that many Blacks don’t want to talk out of fear from another time held over to day, as they fear the government charging them with conspiracy 35 years after the fact, just “because”?

26. Is this all part of a scare campaign by anti-gun folks, using Black community activists of the 1960s as canon fodder to discourage Black community activists in the 2000s? See the scandalous “keeping them in their place” in Minneapolis as described in my chapters on education, jobs and housing (Chapters 7-9).

27. Is this all a piece of the plan to scare people so they don’t complain when police shoot those who resist being rounded up?

28. As the Twin Cities newspapers are willing to print any rumor about Blacks, about the stories we know to be true about James Sackett, that he was notorious for being a head thumper and could make drugs disappear? And why isn’t there any talk about Officer Sackett’s life prior to his joining the police force?

29. Why isn’t the angle of the need to manufacture evidence prior to the upcoming September trial explored?

30. Why isn’t the list of persons that have appeared before the Grand Jury not been reported on or listed, that was supposed to be released June 26 th ? Who was on that list?

31. Why is there no famous time line or chronology of boxes about the events and people involved? Do they fear the holes in their story will be too easily seen if they develop such a chronology?

32. How long will it take the Feds to understand that the police have been obsessed with this case, especially since they botched their efforts to manufacture evidence and testimony in 1994? Do the Feds really want to be seen as yet another group whose eyes the locals have pulled the wool over?

33. The history of the 1950s and 1960s was the history of a dream, famously expressed by Dr. Martin Luther King in his 1964 “I have a Dream” speech, which remains the Unfinished Dream, and expressed by others in my book’s Interludes 4, 6, 9, and 11. What will the papers do to address this reality? The Strib in 1990 wrote a three week series on the racism still in existence in Minneaplis (see my book’s Interlude 2). The Mpls.St.Paul Magazine wrote a similar cover story in 1990 and then wrote in 2001 that the racism still existed almost unchanged in Minneapolis (see my book’s Interlude 10). See also Interludes 8, 13, 14, and 15, and you can see why we are not sanguine about the way the Reed and Clark affair is being handled. Not that there hasn’t been progress (see my book’s Interludes 5 and 7).

34. When will the papers acknowledge the Dream that Reed and Clark believed in and fought for and were later disillusioned about? When will the papers acknowledge the Emergency that exists among our young Black Men? We can still reconcile the races as well as the generations: see our paper on reconciliation (and our site on fairness and justice). Will the papers promote reconciliation or continue promoting keeping Blacks in their place? Will they continue to assume the American Dream is not for young Black men or will they relent and open the door even to them? Will the papers continue to promote the negative status quo, “Unrest, disturbance,” which is the status quo price the Twin Cities seem willing to pay (see my book, Chapter 16)?

35. Is there an answer? Yes there is. We offer a number of “solution” papers based on our book, including one called The 7 Solutions, which sets the framework for The blocks to use to construct a table for all to sit at together. Look soon for our solutiuon paper on how to acquire assets and build wealth, as enabling all to do so will help implement “the four freedoms,” articulated in the 1-11-44 State of the Union speech, in which the freedoms of speech and of religion and the freedoms from want and from fear would be freedoms for everyone in this country and for everyone “everywhere in the world,” so that everyone would then belong to an individual ownership society rather than a collective dependency society (models for the latter have been failures, politely said, disastrous when truthfully said. Why don’t the papers discuss how Blacks are redlined out of wealth building, literally and figuratively?

36. One might think I am being cynical or negative about our justice system. No, just reflecting some harsh truths, sad truths, truths that hurt Whites as badly as Blacks. I deal with this in my ook in Chapters 3 (The Minneaplis Courts) and in Chapter 10 (how the courts were used to railroad Luther Darville as the scapegoat and let those who were really guilty go scott free). Will the papers write about this? Will the papers continue to support Life on the Mississippi’s Grandest Liberal Plantation (my book, Chapter 6) and accept my challenge of “not here, not there, not anywhere” (my book, Chapter 4)?

37. Will the papers consider my book’s Interlude 16, regarding “Calculating a better future for all,” and thus consider “the positive future possibilities” as outlined in my book’s Chapter 17, and thus, as the conclusion chapter states, “Not lose sight of the Prize of Equality’s Freedom”?

These are the questions our intrepid reporters should be asking. We are available to help answer them. As in every human space, not all Black Panthers were bad and not all cops were good.

Because of the lack of understanding of the 60s and 70s, watch this space for more commentary to enable people to understand the past role of Blacks and Whites, Feds and locals, Black Panthers and Black progressives, as these historical facts and the too often anhistorical reactions to them, have clouded the understanding of that history, and look for examples we will put forth of good people and good suggestions to create a vision for a positive Minneapolis Story.

In terms of Reed and Clark, let justice be served. If they are guilty, so be it. Bring on the gurney. But if they are innocent, as I believe, then set these life long servants of the community free. What continues to knaw at the back of my mind is the question of whether or not they can get a fair trial in light of what is written above and in light of their being represented by public defenders, as public defenders are woefully short changed in terms of time and resources to bring to a case, especially one as old and as complicated as this one (not to mention the cases i write about i my book’s Chapters 3 and 10). One would hope that the Black community in conjunction with the self-professed white civil rights advocates, will create a fund to enable a satisfactory defense and satisfactory research and investigation so that justice is truly served for both communities, White and Black.
Posted 7-9-05, 11:40 p.m.

Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” at

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