CULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrn” O P E N T H E FILESI” demands Nationrnof Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.rnAnd right fully so. The files in questionrninvoKe the federal government’s attemptrnto entrap Qubilah Shabazz into arneonspiracy to assassinate Farrakhan, whornhas long been accused of involvement inrnthe 1965 murder of Shabazz’s father,rnMalcolm X.rnFederal prosecutors suddenly agreedrnin May to drop the murder-eonspirac)-rncharges against Shabazz if the 34-rncar-uld woman, who has a histor ofrnsubstance abuse, would submit to twornears of pschiatrie counseling and drugrnand alcohol treatment. Sympathy forrnShabazz had nothing to do with thernprosecutors’ vyillingness to strike a deal.rnReportedly, the federal government’srncase against her stank so badly of entrapmentrnthat it decided to cut its lossesrnbefore a real scandal emerged, withrnUncle Sam in the hot seat.rn\”h does this case sound so familiar?rnThe federal government spent millionsrnof taxpayers’ dollars to entrap, tr, con-rniet. and incarcerate the mayor of D.C.,rnonl to see Marion Barry emerge fromrnthe contretemps with greater popularrnsupport than ever before. One wouldrnthink the federal government would berntoo busy with its trillion-dollar debt andrneducational system wodd famous forrnmediocrity and metal detectors to worryrnabout folks like Barry and Shabazz.rnBut this is not the case, and never hasrnbeen. Washington has always been interestedrnin stirring up trouble in the blackrncommunity, particularly among blackrnleaders, both reputable and reprehensible.rnColumnist Clarence Page has rightlyrnreminded us of the federal government’srninvolvement with the IllinoisrnBlack Panther Party in the late 1960’s.rnThe FBI informant’s contention thatrnthe Panthers were stockpiling weaponsrn(where have we heard this charge before?)rnwas the official justification for thernearK morning raid in December 1969,rnduring which Panther leaders FredrnHampton and Mark Clark were killed inrntheir beds.rnIn fact, throughout the 1960’s, Washingtonrnfeared nothing more than a unitedrnfront among black leaders. It hadrna vested interest in keeping alive thernwar between Malcolm X and ElijahrnMuhammed of the Nation of Islam, andrnbetween Martin Luther King and MalcolmrnX. Many of Malcolm X’s admirersrntoday still hold the federal governmentrnin general, and New York City in particular,rnresponsible for not providing adequaternprotection for Malcolm at thernHariem ballroom where he was shot, forrnlocal, state, and federal law enforcementrnofficials knew that an assassination planrnwas in the works.rnIndeed, “(3pcn the files!” But notrnoiiK’ on the Shabazz case. A full and fairrninvestigation of the so-called Atlantarnchild murder ease of 1982 is also in order,rnif for no other reason than to allav thernstill-lingering suspicions of many in thernblack community who believe Vane B.rnWilliams was framed and railroaded. Arnfull and fair investigation of the VincernFoster affair is overdue as well. Paul Harve”rnrecently reported that Europeanrnjournalists are staggered by the passivit-rnof the American media in pursuing thisrnstory, but such kid-glove treatment reallyrnisn’t startling at all. Only a foreigner misguidedrnabout our “adersarial” pressrncould confuse the neutered Americanrnnewshound for a bloodhound afterrnblood.rnAnd open the files on Jack Kennedyrnand Martin Luther King, Jr., and on theirrnrespective assassinations. We know thatrnboth men were far from as virtuous asrnour textbooks proclaim, and that bothrnwere philanderers who associated withrnmen and women of dubious character,rnwhether mob-related or communist. Sorncould the government’s files realK rexealrnanything shockingly new? On the otherrnhand, it has long been rumored that arnblack man was involved in the assassinationrnof King, and, as Oliver Stone has reveledrnin, everyone from Russia and thernmob to the ClA has been implicated inrnthe killing of Kennedy. Isn’t it time tornput the speculations to rest?rnA bill passed Congress in the final daysrnof the Bush administration that requiresrngoernmcnt agencies to release to thernAssassination Records Review Board allrninformation related to the shooting ofrnKennedy, and the revieyv board beganrnformal hearings in April of last year. Ofrncourse, the government agencies are allowedrnto retain any information associatedrnwith “national security,” and we knowrnhow broadly such escape clauses havernbeen interpreted in the past.rnWhat about the assaults on DavidrnKoresh and Randy Weaver, which ourrnRepublican saviours have promised tornreinvestigate? Even the Wall Street journal,rnwhich initially accepted withoutrnquestion the party line on these bloodbaths,rnhas now called for full disclosurernon the part of the federal governmentrnand branded the official investigations ofrnthe two assaults incomplete at best,rnwhitewashes at worst. President Clintonrnsavs that the Waco and Weaver cases arcrnnow irrelevant in light of the OklahomarnCity tragedy, that the bombing showsrnthe dangers inherent in not trusting thernactions and explanations of the federalrngovernment. But such sophistry won’trnwash. Only children beliexe sin can bernabsolved by increasing the pool of sinners,rnand only the intellectually dishonestrnwould contend that an event in 1995rncould either discredit or legitimate decisionsrnmade two and three years earlier,rnwhich naturally must be weighed andrnmeasured on their own terms, in thernlight of their own day.rnMore importantly, checks and balances,rnnot trust, forge the basis of our nationalrngovernment. As James Madisonrnexplained, “If men were angels, no governmentrnwould be necessary,” and “ifrnangels were to govern us, no controls onrngovernment would be necessary.” IfrnMadison were alive today and advancingrnsuch sentiments, the chief author of ourrnConstitution would be excoriated as partrnof the radical political fringe wherern”preachers of paranoia” engage in “inflammatoryrnrhetoric” with gun nuts,rnconspiracy kooks, and assorted “incitersrnof hate,” say with G. Cordon Liddy.rnIt is exactly cases like this one involvingrnQubilah Shabazz that fuel speculationrnabout governmental dirty tricks andrnthe misuse of power, and it is exactlyrnsuch cases that we should expect more ofrnif the President receives the authority tornspy further on our private lives and furtherrnrepress our personal liberties. Decent,rnlaw-abiding citizens are outragedrnby all forms of malfeasance, deception,rnand terrorism, whether instigated byrnracists and fanatics of the private sectorrnor by “jaekbooted” zealots of the federalrngovernment.rnIndeed, “Open the files!” And nowrnrather than later. For the issue is integrityrn—not of Jack Kennedy, David Koresh,rnor Qubilah Shabazz—but of a federalrngovernment that refuses to tell the truth.rn—Theodore PappasrnAUGUST 1995/5rnrnrn