This August we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” dream speech.  Seven years after that speech, on August 17, 1970, a young Omaha, Nebraska, policeman, Larry Minard, was killed responding to a 911 call.  Two local Black Panthers, Mondo we Langa (then known as David Rice) and Ed Poindexter, were arrested for rigging and planting the bomb that killed him.  They are still serving life sentences.  Which might be appropriate, had they actually made or planted any bombs.

            The summers of 1968, 1969, and 1970 were marked by racial tension across the United States.  A teenaged Black girl, Vivian Strong, had been shot in the back and killed by Omaha police in 1969, and Mondo and Ed were among the most successful of the new generation of Black activists who both demanded rights and worked intelligently behind the scenes to build better relations between the Black community and the police and to strengthen the Black community by providing things like school breakfast programs for poor children.  Meanwhile, the FBI’s COINTELPRO group was trying to destabilize the Panthers, American Indian Movement (AIM), La Raza, and other protest movements that were empowering the poor and minority communities in the US.  COINTELPRO brought about the death of Fred Hampton, Chicago Black Panther leader, and the imprisonment of Leonard Peltier, from AIM.  Shirley Douglas, the mother of Kiefer Sutherland, was framed and arrested California, allegedly for procuring explosives.  She was working with the Panthers on school breakfast programs.  Charges were quickly dropped, however, when the FBI realized her father was the influential and highly respected Canadian Parliamentary leader, Tommy Douglas.

            The bomb making charges leveled against Mondo and Ed were not dropped.  In their case, there was not a conspiracy but an actual crime, and a young policeman was dead.  Despite intensive Freedom of Information Act requests by Nebraskans for Justice, an ad hoc defense group for Mondo and Ed, and attempts to gain them a retrial after the tape of the crucial 911 call that led to Officer Minard’s death first disappeared and then reappeared , it is not clear what happened.  The most likely theory is that COINTELPRO hired a group of brothers to produce a bomb and call 911, hoping to frame the influential young Black Panthers for conspiracy charges.  Something went terribly awry, and the bomb went off, turning the conspiracy into an actual murder. 

            It’s hard to admit that the FBI framed and murdered innocent American citizens.  Mondo is a friend of mine, so don’t just believe me.  Look for yourself.  Check out the BBC documentary available on You-Tube in three parts at

Also look at the stories about the “Omaha Two” at

Find out about Fred Hampton at 

and Leonard Peltier at and Shirley Douglas at  

If you live in Nebraska, you have been paying taxes since 1970—or since you were born or came to Nebraska—to imprison guys Amnesty International considers to be political prisoners.  You probably want to know about that.  And if you are an American from any state, you probably want to know about that.  And if you are anywhere in the world celebrating the “I Have a Dream” speech, well, that dream isn’t going to come true while Mondo and Ed are imprisoned.  And if you believe that King was a whiner and American Blacks ought to be satisfied to live in this nation, you might learn something from the story of Mondo and Ed, too.  

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