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A Panther’s Trial: Another Vindication of David Horowitz By: Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, January 17, 2002


THE CURRENT Atlanta murder trial of Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, a former Black Panther, is another vindication of David Horowitz’s critical assessment of Panther criminality.

Also known as H. Rap Brown, the 58-year-old Al-Amin is accused of murdering Ricky Kinchen, a sheriff's deputy, and wounding his partner, Aldranon English, in a shootout in Atlanta in March, 2000. Kinchen and English had attempted to serve a summons to Al-Amin after he had failed to attend a court hearing on charges of driving without proof of insurance, receiving stolen goods and impersonating a police officer.

Al-Amin fled after the shooting and was placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Most Wanted List. He was captured several days later hiding in woods near a small town in Alabama. The weapon used in the fatal shooting was found nearby. English, the surviving officer, identified Al-Amin as the gunman.

A former Panther, Al-Amin has a history of violence and brushes with the law. In 1968, he was charged with inciting a riot and went underground on the eve of his trial, earning him a place on the FBI's Most Wanted List. Three years later, he was caught during a shootout in an attempted-armed robbery in New York and sentenced to five years in prison.

Al-Amin converted to Islam in jail. He moved to Atlanta in 1976 and opened a mosque. In 1995, he was arrested for shooting a drug dealer and was investigated for several homicides. No charges were laid.

The present trial not only crystallizes Al-Amin’s individual criminality; it also reminds us that the Black Panthers were ruthless thugs. David Horowitz has been stating this fact for more than two decades, but the American Left and mainstream media continue to force this issue into invisibility.

Horowitz came to the truth about the Panthers the hard way. In December 1974, the Panthers abducted and killed his friend, Betty Van Patter. An enthusiastic Leftwing radical who was working for the Panthers at the time, Horowitz had recruited Betty to keep the books of a "Learning Center" in Oakland that he had created to run a school for the children of Black Panthers.

Betty had found something wrong with the Panthers’ record books and naively went to inform Elaine Brown, the leader of the Panthers at the time. She subsequently disappeared. In January 1975, her battered body -- with her head caved in -- was found floating in San Francisco Bay.

Horowitz was devastated. He began to ask questions, but he faced only a disturbing lack of curiosity among his Leftwing associates about Betty’s death. It became obvious to him that the Panthers knew what had happened to Betty -– because they killed her. It also became obvious that his fellow progressive radicals were not interested in Betty’s murder. The sacredness of human life was not on their priority list; the ideal of what the progressive cause represented was.

In the end, Horowitz reconciled himself to the reality that the Panthers were just plain ruthless thugs who were involved in racketeering, prostitution, extortion, drug dealing and murder.

It was this realization that led to his political conversion -- a journey that he recounts in his autobiography Radical Son.

Horowitz discerned that the way the American Left absolved Panther crime was a mutated form of how socialists practiced Gulag denial. And to be sure, the Panthers always enjoyed the support of the American Left, the Democratic Party, and the mainstream media.

Till this very day, the national media still have yet to conduct a serious investigation into any Panther murders. Could this be because Panther crimes are directly connected to many political figures within the liberal establishment? Hillary Clinton, for instance, did absolutely nothing in her position of power to bring any Panther thugs to justice, let alone to set any historical facts straight. Could it be because as a law student at Yale in 1970 she organized demonstrations to exonerate Panther leaders from being tried for murder?

Is it really a mystery why prominent figures like Tom Hayden and journalists like Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer, both of whom championed the Panthers at the time, have remained silent about Panther brutality till this day?

No one has ever been charged in Betty Van Patter’s death. But many Sixties and Seventies radicals have knowledge about what happened to her. They will not come forward.

Thanks to the efforts of individuals like Horowitz, the details of Panther crimes continue to surface -- notwithstanding the blackout by the national media. Yet Horowitz has been vilified by the Left for his efforts. He has also put his life in danger.

In his last televised interview, Eldridge Cleaver, the former Black Panther leader renowned for his vehement commitment to, and participation in, violence, discussed his change of heart. In the now famous 60 Minutes program during which he admitted the brutal ruthlessness of the Panthers, he stated: "If people had listened to Huey Newton and me in the 1960s, there would have been a holocaust in this country."

The current Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin murder trial is extremely significant in this context. It reminds us of the Left’s practice of historical amnesia, and of how one man’s fight to resuscitate historical memory, a fight that has been waged at a great personal cost, has been vindicated by historical truth.


Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union and is the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. His new book is United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at jglazov@rogers.com.


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