Monday, September 19, 2016

Charlie, the Black Muslims, and ZEBRA

"Helter Skelter" is the name of the official motive for the Tate/LaBianca murders.  They were supposed to kick off a race war in which Charlie and his Family would eventually emerge on top.  Those who believe in the "Helter Skelter" theory of motive have questioned where he got this bizarre theory.  Researchers have pointed to the Book of Revelation, Scientology, the Process Church of the Final Judgement, and the Beatles' "White Album."

But another probable influence long overlooked is the ideology of the Black Muslims, aka "The Nation of Islam(NOI)." Their apocalyptic outlook was very similar to Manson's:

    ".... the, primary beliefs of the Black Muslims... were that the black man was morally and culturally superior, and was destined to rule the earth. The sect...  preached that the white race was conceived of devils whose time to reign was coming to an end. It encouraged the reclamation of fallen blacks... through the study of their true history, through striving for economic independence, and by preparation for the Battle of Armageddon which they believed would be the final struggle between good and evil, black and white."
   From Zebra: The True Account of 179 Days of Terror in San Francisco, by author Clark Howard

"the black man was.... destined, to rule the earth"
Charlie said the blacks would emerge victorious in the race war.

"..the white race ... time to reign was coming to an end."
Charlie said the karma was turning, and that blacks would rise up.

" ...preparation for the Battle of Armageddon, which they believed would be the final struggle between... black and white."
Exactly as Charlie prophesied, while the Family hid out in those underground caverns in the desert somewhere.

And almost certainly, Charlie would have had contact with the NOI in the prisons.
The subject of the Black Muslim is brought up several times by Paul Watkins(Family member), Sandra Good(Family member) and Phil Phillips (Charlie's cell mate at McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary).

In Chapter 10 of the Paul Watkins autobiography, My Life with Charles Manson, Manson is quoted as follows: "The heavy dudes, though, are the [Black] Muslims. ...they'll be the ones who bring the shit down. Yeah, it's gonna come down hard... a full-on war."

Curiously, neither of the two standard books about the Family--Vince Bugliosi's Helter Skelter and Ed Sanders' The Family--mentions the NOI link. An oversight, or did someone not want the obvious connections to be made?

And that might be the end of it; 'it' being no more than a passing resemblance to the apocalyptic beliefs of another cult that Charlie had some slight contact with--one influence among many.  Except for one curious fact.  That (depending on how you look at it)  Helter Skelter actually DID happen, in the form of a nation-wide black-on-white homicide spree known as the ZEBRA killings, in which the suspects or perpetrators were all Black Muslims.

Specifically, Zebra refers to a series of about 20 black-on-white attacks that occurred in San Francisco from October 1973 to April 1974, leaving 15 killed and 8 wounded. It turned out the killers were a cult--the "Death Angels"--operating within the Nation of Islam mosque in San Francisco, involving about eight men. Though only four would go to prison.  Their philosophy was bizarre: to get to heaven they had to kill a certain number of whites--women and children counting for more than men--before they could earn their 'wings.' They also seemed to have been led by charismatic leaders who came out from the main NOI headquarters mosque in Chicago.

What is not well known, however, is that the spree began much earlier, when police started noticing that there were many unsolved crimes with the same MO:  one or more well-dressed and groomed black men attacking whites without any apparent motive.  Exactly how many victims there were is still disputed.

From the book "Zebra: The True Account of 179 Days of Terror in San Francisco" by Clark Howard:

"...determined to calm the fear and put a stop to the killings, Joseph Alioto held a press conference to lay out what he believed he knew about Zebra. ... he laid out a huge collection of speculative intelligence, claiming that more than eighty killings across the state going back to 1971 could be linked to Zebra, and implying that those responsible for all the crimes might be tied to the Nation of Islam."

"This was October of 1973. The California attorney general’s office had already secretly compiled a list of forty-five of those killings which had taken place in the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Long Beach, Signal Hill, Santa Barbara, Palo Alto, Pacifica, San Diego, and Los Angeles; and in the counties of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Contra Costa, Ventura, and Alameda. All the victims were white. All the known suspects in the killings had been associated with the Black Muslim movement. The killings were even then continuing throughout the state."
San Francisco Mayor Joseph L. Alioto's figure of 75 execution-style murders of White persons by Black killers in California since 1971 has been expanded to approximately 400 by adding figures for similar killings with an apparent racial motive in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Police officials who added the unsolved killings in the six Midwestern states to those in California went as far back as 1969.

There were enough clues that the spree had been planned for years:
1965 report on 'Black Muslims and the Police,' pg2of9
The Muslims claim that they will overcome without violence or torture, but there will be complete annihilation of the white man. The tentative date set for this annihilation is 1970.

Some of the other killings thought to be Zebra killings:


Oakland-Berkeley slashers
 Two black men had been randomly shooting and attacking whites with machetes in Oakland and Berkeley beginning September 14, 1970 and lasting a year.  14 separate attacks leave 15 victims dead or wounded.


According to this website,

there were at least seven people wounded or killed in the LA area in attacks that fit the Zebra profile, commencing in June of '71 and lasting for one year.


Eight blacks involved in two mass slayings of family members and others, from August to October of 1972, leaving at least nine victims dead..  They called themselves "De Mau Mau."
The killers were not themselves Muslim, but the group was founded by an ex-bodyguard to Malcolm X, Charles 37X Morris.


June 1973 to October 1974
Radical Black Muslims headquartered in Oklahoma City suspected in a series of black-on-white crimes, including at least six unsolved slayings, three shootings, two abductions and a dozen arson fires. One member arrested and convicted.


April 1974 Sacramento shotgun murders

Four young Black Muslims kill two and wound two in separate attacks.
..both (perps)Lang and Pratt "eventually expressed deep remorse to parole commissioners, telling them the killings around the state were coordinated by Muslim elders."
Pratt told the parole board: "It definitely was a racial crime..... This was constantly taught at the time. We had books on it, little pamphlets. This is what I see now as part of the brainwashing effect."

It is probably not a coincidence that the end of the killing spree more or less coincided with the natural death of the leader of the NOI, Elijah Muhammad, in early 1975.  His son, who succeeded him, quickly told his congregation to cool the anti-white rhetoric.

Certainly what was written about the NOI back in 1932, in the beginning, could just as easily have been written about the Manson Clan in 1969:

Detroit Free Press, 11-24-32
Detectives Wednesday expressed themselves as convinced that the cult had been conceived by a... religious fakir for personal gain and nurtured by a group of zealots whose reason had become unbalanced.   ...  Police believe these men are mad leaders who deluded the cult's members into homicidal tendencies.

Detroit Free Press, 11-28-32
There is a feeling of pity on our part for those who have so grievously been misled.  We offer our co-operation to help them by freeing them of their unfortunate leadership and making impossible a repetition of so horrible a crime*.  ... Detectives and others assigned to the case said that they would continue their investigation until the cult is stamped out.
*referring to a sacrificial murder committed by one of the group.

There were other curious links and similarities with the Black Muslims:

W.C. Fard Muhammad (founder of the NOI in the early 1930s)
...Fard emphasized contempt for the white race, whom he called “cavemen” or “white devils.”

So was it just coincidence that Charlie wanted his band to hide out in the caves until Helter Skelter was over?


                                                   Elijah Muhammad

Note the parallels in belief and language:
1965 report on 'Black Muslims and the Police,' pg3of9
--Elijah Muhammad: "We believe that intermarriage or race mixing should be prohibited."
--Malcolm X, on the black Muslim: "He's cleaning up the mess that white men have made."


After the 1932 murder, Fard claimed to be a divine figure in police interviews:
Master Fard Muhammad, who is still considered to be “Allah” by modern-day Nation of Islam members, was described as “suffering from delusions that he is a divinity.”

Of course Charlie also liked to imply he was Christ.


Fard preached an end-of-the-world scenario, like Manson:
Only 144,000 people would survive, and all of those would be Muslims of color, the only “true” Muslims.

(Though the NOI probably got this from the Jehovah's Witnesses, whom they have acknowledged as an influence.)


Another commonality that has intrigued me is the use of the "X" symbol by both groups.

The members of the NOI often dropped their 'slave names' and substituted an X to stand for their original, forgotten African names, for example: Malcolm X, Louis X, Clarence 13X, Joseph X Polite, Charles 37X Morris, etc.

And of course we know that Charlie and his followers burned an X into their foreheads during the trial, to show that they were "Xing"(removing) themselves out of society.

 Charlie X?

Sadie X?


Interview with Paul Crockett on Oct 3, 1969
Part 1, at the 21:00 mark:
"....So, all of these things he(Manson) .... says the black man is getting ready to blow the whole thing open, that he talks to them, that they know him, that they tell him these things...."


Crockett implies that the links between the Black Muslims and Manson was much closer than thought.  Is it evidence that Charlie, in fact, may have had contact with them after his release from prison in the spring of '67?  Or is Charlie just embellishing?


Here's Mommy, but where's Daddy's pic?

In his book, Vince Bugliosi asks Charlie at one point if he is part black, based on info from records relating to Manson's time at the National Training School for Boys, Washington, D.C. in 1951.

Helter Skelter, Vince Bugliosi, pg555
"Father: unknown. He is alleged to have been a colored cook by the name of Scott, with whom the boy's mother had been promiscuous at the time of pregnancy."

Charlie denied it, but Bugliosi had asked the wrong question.  In the US back in the '30s, 'colored' could mean anybody who had a darker skin tone, including people from Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, etc.

IF Charlie was of mixed race, he may have played this up to win the confidence of the NOI in the prisons.  Certainly by their own rules Charlie might have qualified as a brother:
The Muslims consider all non-whites to be Black Men, whatever their skin color.

There were a couple of behind-the-scenes events that occurred while Charlie was incarcerated at the McNeil Island Federal prison in Washington state from mid-1961 to mid-1966. They very well may have influenced his relationship with the Black Muslims.   The first was that the Bureau of Prisons(BOP) started adapting new tactics in their handling of hard-to-handle inmates.

McNeil Island
...the 1961 gathering titled “The Power to Change Behavior: A Symposium Presented by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons” as a key moment in the politicization of institutionalized brainwashing, behavior modification, and torture within the prison regime. The result was a national directive to experiment with these techniques, originally used against American POWs in Korea, on the black Muslim prison population.  ... these techniques constituted a prison-based, Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO)– like set of tactics that included surveillance, infiltration, and disruption. ...
     At the same time(early 60s), there were two formidable forces from the Left struggling against the decrepit conditions and racial violence inside prisons. Black Muslims and writ writers, also known as jailhouse lawyers, helped propel this shift.

Well Charlie liked to associate with the troublemakers, according to his records.  And according to the BOP the two most troublesome groups were the Black Muslims and the jailhouse lawyers--who liked to file a lot of lawsuits against the prisons and helped others file lawsuits.  One of Charlie's close associates at McNeil was Lanier “Red” Ramer, who was transferred to the much tougher prison at Marion, Ill, in 1972 for his 'writ writing.'   The point is that Charlie very well could have been caught up in this covert struggle between the prison administrators and the inmate agitators.   It would have been natural for the guards to try to recruit Charlie as an informant on these groups.  And if they succeeded in getting Charlie to snitch on the NOI in prison, they might have wanted him to do the same outside of prison.*  Is that why the cops and his probation officer ignored Charlie's criminal activities?  I've always suspected that the cops had an informant who was close to the family.  Well maybe it was Charlie himself.

*Though real evidence of any contacts between Charlie and any black person is mostly non-existent after he was released from TI in '67.  But it must also be remembered that Charlie didn't spend all of his time with the family--he reportedly kept up contact with his non-family associates during periodic visits by himself to Hollywood.

The other development was revealed by ex-NOI Malcolm X in this 1965 speech:
Malcolm X 1965 speech
"I mentioned the conspiracy between the Muslims and the right wing in this country. I know for a fact there is a conspiracy between the Muslim and the Lincoln Rockwell nazi and also the Ku Klux Klan. There is a conspiracy. ... The Ku Klux Klan made a deal, or were trying to make a deal, with Elijah Muhammad(leader of the NOI at that time)...." [Malcolm then explains that the NOI were thereafter free to operate in the south without hindrance from the Klan, and that the Klan was free to operate without interference by the Black Muslims.]

 Malcolm X

Charlie was known for his chameleon-like ability to ingratiate himself with any person or group.  Did this hidden peace treaty between the white and black segregationists filter down to the prison system, and did it pave the way for Charlie to get close to elements within the NOI? 

If ever there was a crime that warranted federal involvement, it would have been this interstate crime spree by the Black Muslims.  But in this instance, the FBI was nowhere to be found.  Though there is evidence that the feds knew what they were dealing with:
NOI also murdered whites in Oklahoma City and New York City, and an old San Francisco copper who worked the original Zebra detail told me that at the time he saw a secret FBI memo that reported that a parallel campaign was underway on the East Coast.

The investigation by the San Francisco PD was hindered, it is said, because they had no black undercovers that could have infiltrated the mosque of the NOI in that city.  But this is somewhat disingenuous, as the Black Muslims had been an intensive target of FBI surveillance for many years.
From official FBI COINTELPRO documents: A March 4, 1968 communique
sent out by J. Edgar Hoover ... specifically identified Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam as primary targets of COINTELPRO.
Amidst the urban unrest of July–August 1967, the FBI began "COINTELPRO–BLACK HATE", which focused on King and the SCLC as well as .... the Nation of Islam.

                                                        The Director, J. Edgar Hoover
On May 3, 1974 Alioto flew off to Washington to share his information on the Death Angels with (U.S.)Attorney General Saxbe ...Saxbe was very cool to Alioto. He treated the mayor as he would any other large city mayor but with little interest in the supposed nation-wide murder plot Alioto had discovered.

SF Mayor Alioto:

What can explain the lack of interest by the Feds?  Fear of being politically incorrect in that racially charged era?  Or did they want to see the violence continue to demonize black political movements?

The  Attorney General of the United States and head of the Justice Department, William B. "Bill" Saxbe

 "When people talk about Zebra, it's usually as a serial killing. That may be technically true, but the most accurate description of what Zebra was is terrorism, plain and simple."
   --Co-author Earl Sanders in "The Zebra Murders"
The machete attacks as well as the Zebra Murders were operational (FBI-COINTELPRO-CIA-Project CHAOS) criminal counterintelligence actions... to destroy, disrupt and discredit Black Nationalism and polarize the races...

But if the Zebra killings, with their obvious similarities to Helter Skelter, were part of Operation Chaos, what does that mean for our understanding of Charles Manson's murders?