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Mr. SMITH. What was the overall purpose of blowing up the Statue of Liberty and the carrying out of the various other activities discussed with Collier? Mr. Wood. The primary purpose of course was to cause the United States embarrassment. Secondly, it would be described as gaining recognition for the Black Liberation Front as a vehicle for Mi. Collier's aims. He felt that the Black Liberation Front should be an organization to be reckoned with and that it should be able to carry out future assignments after the destruction of our national shrines. These things were to help greate a situation of guerrilla warfare in the United States. They would mobilize young Negroes who wished to fight by showing them that somebody is prepared to take positive violent action, and while Collier ...} about these things he was also attempting to recruit young people into his group who would be used for guerrilla warfare or for riot activity in the Koo. At one point, he stated that when the next riot takes place it's not gonna be something with the cops breaking heads, we're gonna have our chance to break heads. Mr. SMITH. Mr. Chairman, this concludes the interrogation of this Witness. The CHAIRMAN. Detective Wood, yesterday when Detective Hart had completed his testimony, I congratulated him for extraordinary performance of duty both as a citizen and as a police officer. I want to take this opportunity to state for the record that, in my view—and I am sure in the view of all members of this subcommittee—what I said to Detective Hart certainly applies equally to you. In penetrating, as you did, a up of ultraradical, revolutionary, hate-America types, you certainly stuck your neck out. Moreover, in my view, you certainly must have played it smart to remain in the group, apparently as a loyal member, until the right moment came to break up their shocking plot. Your action, the evidence indicates, saved some of this country's most precious monuments from destruction. For all this America is indebted to you. Like Detective Hart, you are indeed not only a credit to the New York Police Department, but to your country. Again I congratulate you and thank you for appearing before the committee, even though it meant giving up a part of your vacation to be here. Mr. Wood. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. I wish we had more like you. Mr. Wood. Thank you. The CHAIRMAN. Governor Tuck, have you any questions? Mr. TUCK. I have no questions. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Ashbrook? Mr. AsHBRook. Detective Wood, you very clearly pointed out the plans which are laid by many of these people, and in the particular case you indicated there was the ability to get the o to carry out their plans. We have heard a lot of testimony on the threats, planning the use of weapons. You even mentioned mortars here today. Central to any success in this type of plan would have to be the ability to acquire the weapons. I excluded the dynamite you have already mentioned.
Was there any indication from these people how they would acquire firearms, whether they be small or whether they would be mortar? There is no use talking about weapons, how you are going to use them, training, demonstration, if you don't have the physical ability to acquire the weapons. Was there any indication where they would get the weapons ?
Mr. Wood. Bob Collier mentioned attacking various State armories throughout the United States, not only in New York, during the particular timewell, let us say, after the “revolution” had started. Bob Collier felt that various contingents of the Black Liberation Front, north, east, south, and west, could attack various State armories and thereby acquire some of the National Guard's heavy and light firepower. Walter Bowe also made mention of attacking
or robbing various
gun stores to obtain pistols. He felt that this would be an excellent source of supply. Then, of course, we were going to buy some outright wherever we could find them.
Mr. ASHBROOK. At any of the meetings that you attended were there weapons evidenced? I assume when they talked about the use of mortar they didn't have a mortar there to demonstrate, but were there ever any weapons present at the meetings you attended !
Mr. WOOD. Yes, sir, there were weapons. Bob Collier had in his possession at the time of his arrest and during the time I met with him at his apartment, he had a carbine which could be converted into a semiautomatic weapon. I remember going over to Walter Bowe's house one night and he was showing an unidentified Negro male the use of a P-38 gun which is an extremely heavy weapon as far as a pistol is concerned.
Khaleel Sayyed intimated to me that he had in his possession various rifles. So there was a nucleus, more or less, of firepower that could, of course, be converted to illegal means at a later time.
Mr. ASHBROOK. It would be fair to say there was not any great concentration of weaponry they had available ?
Mr. Wood. No, sir; there was no stockpile at that particular time. Of course, the general consensus was that after we had completed this particular operation, of course we would be getting—we were hoping on getting formal recognition by outside groups. There was some mention of bringing contraband in from France, notably more explosives, and possibly some firearms.
Mr. ASHBROOK. Was there ever mention of bringing weapons from Cuba!
Mr. Wood. I don't remember their mentioning bringing any weapons from Cuba. Of course this was a possibility in my opinion.
Mr. ASHBROOK. A last question.
It is always hard to clearly demonstrate cause and effect. You certainly can give an opinion, however. There was talk of weapons. There was the demonstration on how they would be used. Would it be your opinion that these people, when pressed at the proper time, would use the weapons? In other words, I am saying, do you think it was idle talk or do you think they really intended to use these weapons in some kind of insurrection or riot or anything that might work to their advantage !
Mr. Wood. Yes, sir; in my opinion this was a definite possibility. As I stated previously, Mr. Collier had mentioned “wasting" various border patrol members on the way to and from Canada if need be, if we ran into any trouble.
I don't believe Walter Bowe, Sayyed, or Robert Collier would have hesitated one instant if they were ever in a predicament in which they would be forced to use these weapons. Mr. ASHBROOK. Thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. Detective Wood, was it ever suggested that you use false names or aliases?
Mr. Wood. Sir, when I first started the assignment in April, I suggested that perhaps I change my name, not really change it, but just put an addition on to it, so instead of using the name Wood, I used the name Woodall. This is the name I used and traveled under during my tenure undercover.
Mr. Tuck. Were you enrolled as a member of the organization under your own name?
Mr. Wood. No, sir. I was enrolled or I became a member under the name of Woodall.
Mr. ICHORD. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ICHORD. Detective Wood, these incidents about which you have testified occurred after the Harlem riots. To your knowledge, was there any connection of this group with the Epton group and the Progressive Labor Movement in Harlem?
Mr. Wood. Do you mean between the Black Liberation Front and the PLM
Mr. ICHORD. Yes.
Mr. Wood. Well, I remember Bob Collier mentioned he had been a member of RAM at one time. He did make mention that he thought the PLM handled the Harlem riots all wrong. He said that Bill Epton had been ineffectual. He said that actually the PLM members, rather than sitting back and wasting a very good opportunity to aid in this particular unrest, that they should have been more active. However, they simply talked and talked and no one did anything as far as actually firing weapons and starting a general uprising, something along revolutionary lines. He was quite upset with Bill Epton as to his failure to materialize these particular goals.
Mr. ICHORD. Do you know whether or not he was a participant in the Harlem riots?
Mr. Wood. In all honesty, I really couldn't say. I met Bob Collier in July and he made no mention to me at any time that he was involved. If I am not mistaken, I think Bob Collier may have been in Cuba during the time of the riots.
Mr. ICHORD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. All right. Proceed. Mr. Wood. Thank you very much, sir. The CHAIRMAN. The committee will stand in recess for 5 minutes. (A brief recess was taken.) The CHAIRMAN. The subcommittee will come to order. Proceed. Mr. SMITH. Mr. Chairman, at the time of the testimony received by this committee on October 25 and 26, Mr. Whitney M. Young, Jr., of the
National Urban League, Inc., could not appear in person. However, the committee has received a statement from Mr. Young and permission is requested to include this statement in the record following that of Mr. Asa Spaulding. The CHAIRMAN. Permission is granted to insert that statement at the point indicated. Call your next witness. Mr. SMITH. Mr. Romerstein, will you take the chair, please?
TESTIMONY OF HERBERT ROMERSTEIN–Resumed
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Romerstein, you have been sworn and this will be considered a continuation of your testimony. Mr. Roy ERSTEIN. Yes, sir. Mr. SMITH. Mr. Romerstein, yesterday you testified as to what your investigation showed as to the agitation or activities of the Communist Party, Progressive Labor, and other organizations respecting the preriot and the riot situation in Harlem in 1964. I will ask you about the postriot situation. Did your investigation indicate a continuing effort on the part of the Communist Party and the Progressive Labor Movement after the riot and, if so, how long did this last? And what are the activities of these two groups to the present date? Mr. Roy ERSTEIN. Yes, sir. The activities continued after the riot and continue to the present date. If I might, sir— The CHAIRMAN. By PLM Mr. Rom ERSTEIN. By PLM and the Communist Party, sir. If I might go back a little bit to some of the discussion yesterday and tie it in. +. Communist Party, as well as the Progressive Labor, issued extremely inflammatory publications during the riot period in 1964. This is a front page photostat of a front page of The Worker, the Communist Party's biweekly newspaper, where the main headline read: “Murphy's, Gestapo & Occupy Harlem, Beat and Kill in Hysterical Rage.” The picture on the front page is of Jesse Gray, who is wearing a bandage on his face and has said he had an altercation with the police. Mr. As HBROOK. What date is that? Mr. Row ERs'TEIN. The issue of July 21, 1964. The CHAIRMAN. This was after the riot? Mr. RoxtERSTEIN. Well, it was actually issued during the riot. That would have been a midweek edition. It would have been out Tuesday of that week, which is the 21st. The riot continued until almost the next weekend. It was during the riot that it was distributed. (Document marked “Romerstein Exhibit No. 16” appears on p. 1049.) Mr. Row ERSTEIN. To go back to the question that Governor Tuck raised yesterday concerning the relationship between the various groups, sir, we find two parallel developments. We have the Progressive Labor people who are a splinter Communist Party group, many of the leaders having come out of the Communist Party itself, setting up their own Communist organization with Chinese Communist orientation, as opposed to the official Communist Party, U.S.A., with Moscow orientation. Each one sets up its own fronts.