While not a radical himself, Foster sealed his fate, because as Schreiber recalls, he “…was communicating with members of the Black Panther Party.”
The possibility of a bond between this brazenly militant group and a legitimate municipal government heightened the fears of a power structure already rattled by the open display of opposition by ethnic minorities and disaffected youth.
On Nov. 6, 1973, Foster was shot and killed with cyanide-laced bullets by assailants identifying themselves as members of the previously unknown Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). This fit into the schema devised by the California power elite.
“The Reagan administration feared that the Panthers would gain influence in Oakland schools,” Schreiber says.
“… by blaming a supposed leftist group for the murder of Foster, the state hoped to incite violence, which would be the context for police and the FBI to massively sweep up Panthers and left wing radicals opposed to the administration.”
The riots never materialized, but the SLA continued as a clog within the state’s efforts to undermine the menace system. These included a proposed “Center for the Study and Reduction of Violence,” conceived by Reagan minion and counter insurgency expert William Herrmann (vetoed by a group of Bay Area mental health professionals) because the Reagan Administration wanted no oversight. Herrmann was able to oversee experiments involving behavior modification at Atascadero State Hospital (a repository for the so-called criminally insane), and especially the Vacaville Medical Facility. It was at Vacaville that the SLA was spawned, according to Schreiber.
Facilitating this was one of the most compelling figures in the annals of covert operations in the United States. An African American composite of James Bond and the Nazi mad scientist Josef Mengele, Colston Westbrook was a veteran of the Vietnam War’s Phoenix Program, a collective of CIA, and Australian, South Vietnamese, and U. S. military assigned to assassinate Viet Cong sympathizers, resulting in 20,000 to 40,000 kills, according to Schreiber.
Once back to the U. S. from Vietnam, Westbrook enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley to study linguistics, and became an activist, he recruited other students to instruct convicts at prisons in northern California as a cover for his real mission.
“Ronald Reagan’s head of counterintelligence, William Herrmann hired Colston Westbrook to create the Black Cultural Association at Vacaville,” claims Schreiber.
One of the inmates Westbrook took under his wing was a petty criminal named Donald DeFreeze, who would later take up the title “Field Marshall Cinque” who become known in his media communications as commander of the SLA.
One of the liberal college student visitors was Patty Hearst, using a borrowed I.D. card to conceal her true identity (which explains the reason behind her kidnapping). These sessions eventually segued into political discussions, and conjugal visits between DeFreeze and the female coeds.
Paradoxically, DeFreeze/Cinque was allowed to walk away from prison to lead his naive followers on a 19-month spree of criminal exposition, covering his actual job as a police agent. By May 17, 1974, the FBI and LAPD cornered DeFreeze and five of his followers in a house on 54th Street in South Los Angeles.
After a nationally televised shoot out, and the deployment of a new element of police intervention called SWAT, the house went up in flames, ignited by the heat from tear gas canisters lobbed into the structure by law enforcement. The fugitives died from either gun shoot wounds or smoke inhalation. On Sept. 18, Patty Hearst and the remnants of the SLA were captured without a shot in San Francisco’s Mission District. But, as “Revolution’s End” reveals, the loose ends to this story remain untied.
“Revolution’s End: The Patty Hearst Kidnapping, Mind Control, and the Secret History of Donald DeFreeze and the SLA,” 260 pages from Skyhorse Publishing, lists for $24.99, available on Amazon.com for $16.99.