The story of the 1974 kidnap of Patty Hearst, a teenage newspaper heiress and Berkeley undergrad, which set off one of the most bizarre episodes in recent American history.
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This programme contains some strong language.
'My name is Cinque and to my comrades I am known as Cin.'
'I am a black man and a representative of black people.
'I hold the rank of General Field Marshall
'in the United Federated Forces of the Symbionese Liberation Army...'
'My name is Fahizah and I am a freedom fighter
'in an information/intelligence unit of the United Federated Forces of the Symbionese Liberation Army.'
'Greetings to the people. This is Teko speaking.'
'This is Yolanda speaking. Greetings of profound love to all comrades
in the concentration camps of Fascist America, and to all the children.'
'This is information/intelligence unit four.'
'My name is Gelina and I am a General in the Symbionese Liberation Army.'
'We have declared revolutionary war upon you, the enemy of the people.'
'Death to the Fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people.'
I'm with a...
combat unit that's armed with automatic weapons.
I grew up in Pensacola, Florida,
up on the Gulf of Mexico. It was a typical kids' life at that time.
I was born in 1949 so I was growing up in the '50's.
I grew up watching Zorro and the Swamp Fox, you know,
which was about the American Revolution.
Robin Hood, I mean all these tales of swashbucklers and people
who were fighting against the government.
I really thought that I would end up being an astronaut.
I went to the University of Florida for engineering. I thought that would be my way to be an astronaut.
When I got to college I ran into a whole new world.
The thing that you remembered growing up
was we saved the world from Hitler.
And then you turn around and we're being Hitler.
You know, you see this every night and it's like, "Oh, my God!" It's like, "What's going on here?"
There has been and continues to be opposition to the war in Vietnam on the campuses and also in the nation.
As far as this kind of activity is concerned, we expect it.
However, under no circumstances will I be affected whatever by it.
I was pretty militant.
I help shut down the college because I was a student then at UC Berkeley.
It was almost like a kid that decided that their parents were just disgusting people.
That's...I know that's a weird way to sum it up, but we just felt like there was no future.
It was way too extreme...
The difference between what was really going on
and what was bandied about in school.
I mean, we were just running rampant throughout the world, and just lying like hell about it.
And then Kent State happened
and I was shocked just like everybody else,
especially everyone on all the campuses.
Why don't you fire on us, you fucking pigs? Open fire like you did in Kent!
Then I felt like in no uncertain terms, that people like me
were being declared the enemy by the government of the United States.
I don't think that most of the young people involved who considered themselves
part of the counter-culture
saw themselves so much as revolutionaries or renegades
as people think they did, or as the establishment accused them of being.
They actually saw themselves, if they did not admit as such, as patriots.
Most everybody that I ever knew that was a radical were go-getters in high school -
I was a national science finalist,
I had a gigantic IQ and all this.
Most everybody did, you know, it was all these high achievers. We were just shocked.
It just got to the point where I felt like this thing is just totally out of control,
the country is out of control. It's being run by criminals.
It's being run by just total right-wingers who have
no respect for the constitution or anything else.
That's the way I felt when I left and went to California.
# Hari Krishna Hari Krishna, Krishna Krishna
# Hari Hari. Hari Rama... #
I didn't necessarily think that I would ever live to see a revolution.
It seemed like it was more revolutionary,
you know, in the late '60s than it was by the time I got to Berkeley.
# I'm so glad Jesus set me free... #
We were pulling out of Vietnam.
A lot of people were going, you know, "Everything's over now, we'll go back to college",
and it wasn't over at all.
The same stuff was still going on.
The same criminals were still...murderers and stuff...were still running the Government.
'Preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States.'
Preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
-So help me God.
-So help me God.
I couldn't believe it.
That Nixon got re-elected in '72.
I couldn't believe that this guy got re-elected.
I just felt like we gotta keep something going.
One of the things I did that other people got involved in was show
these films, political films about what was going on in the world.
The events in this film actually took place in a South American country.
One of the groups that I really liked, and I guess it's back to the old Robin Hood and Zorro thing,
was the Tupamaros down in Uruguay.
State of Siege - I did see that.
If you consider yourself a revolutionary, if you want
to change things, then I thought these guys got it figured out.
And Che of course, I thought he was great. He was from Bolivia, he was down in Cuba helping the Cubans.
Che! Che! Superhero to some, villain to others!
His battle cry is heard around the world - Che Lives!
Only Sharif with his dramatic force and his amazing physical likeness
to Che could play the part.
It's funny how all these things happened but that's where Willie
and I met Bill and Emily and Joe,
is at one of these films.
Willie was kind of like the catalyst.
Willie was the one that all these different people met.
Willie was like the common denominator.
Willie studied anthropology at Berkeley and it was actually through
Berkeley that he got in to going to prisons, from some class,
some anthropology class.
I think that my, and people around me that I knew,
had such total distrust of this country at that point that San Quentin, Vietnam,
it was the same thing.
I was interested in the prisons, actually,
and when I found out Willie and them were going, then I went.
So Willie came - I think Willie's the one who started it,
there were discussions about, "Well, we know there are people in prison we don't think should be there.
"What are we willing to do about that?
"Yeah, we can visit them, we can try to get people
"to donate money, we can try to find lawyers to help them and stuff.
"But what else are we willing to do?"
And there was talk about, what if somebody escaped?
What if we could help somebody escape?
So we started talking along those lines.
By then, every black prisoner in California prisons was regarded in one way or another
as a political prisoner, which had a bit of truth connected to it but a whole lot or romantic bullshit too.
The idea that made black prisoners so-called political prisoners was that they had been denied sufficient
opportunity in society and had reached out to take their share.
DeFreeze wasn't just some criminal.
I mean, he wasn't some guy who was some pimp or some dope dealer
from day one. DeFreeze had been married, he had kids, he'd worked full time.
It's just, I think he couldn't live the American Dream,
the thing you're seeing on TV, he couldn't do it just by working.
So he also became a thief.
You know, I liked the guy.
I liked him.
Willie took DeFreeze over to Mizmoon's house to hide him out.
He got transferred over to Nancy Perry's.
So DeFreeze and Nancy and Mizmoon, they were living out in Concord.
You got you're very own escaped convict?
I mean, come on, if there was status in knowing black political prisoners
there was one hell of a lot within the so-called "revolutionaries"
of actually being able to hide out an escapee,
who would then prove to be something more than just an escapee.
I think that was the beginning of it.
Probably him and Mizmoon were the two first members, I would think.
Then Russ Little, you know, knew him.
I know people want to make DeFreeze the leader
or some kind of Manson figure,
but that's just not my experience.
It became obvious to us that what we were really doing is that we were
forming our own little group, to be able to respond to things
and do things that were illegal.
This forest is wide. It can shelter and clothe and feed a band of good, determined men.
Good swordsmen, good archers, good fighters.
Are you with me? THEY CHEER
We familiarized ourselves with weapons.
We bought weapons.
They weren't militant in any way.
In fact, most of them had decent personalities, and nice people.
We didn't have some great plan.
We weren't like, "Now we'll take the South in '75 and then we'll move
"into the Midwest in '76."
We didn't think we were Mao out there with the Red Army.
We practised, sure.
We practiced at the gun ranges just like everybody else practised.
Officers arrived immediately and both Mr Blackburn and Dr Foster
were transferred to Highland Hospital in Oakland
where Dr Foster was pronounced deceased.
The murder of Marcus Foster, who was the School Superintendent in Oakland,
was one of these appalling acts that made no sense whatsoever.
Here was the first black school superintendent in the history
of Oakland, a good man, suddenly gunned down.
Who actually pulled the trigger that killed Foster was Mizmoon.
Nancy was supposed to shoot Blackburn.
She kind of botched that and DeFreeze ended up shooting him with a shotgun.
If I recall correctly I was just about to leave the office one day when I stopped to check my mailbox.
And here was this communique sent from "The Symbionese Liberation Army",
saying that they had assassinated Foster.
I remember being struck by the fact they said they used cyanide-tipped bullets.
The whole thing sounded ridiculous, Symbionese Liberation Army, killing the black school superintendent.
Who were these people?
We thought for sure it was some lunatic right-wing fringe, and we just figured
Symbionese was like, you know, white farmers in Rhodesia or something.
'My name is Fahizah and I am a freedom fighter
'in an information/intelligence unit of the United Federated Forces of the Symbionese Liberation Army.
'I try to use my mind and my imagination to uncover
'facts so that when the SLA attacks, it will be in the right place.'
I remember saying to DeFreeze, "Why?
"Why would you kill a black guy?"
Jesus Christ. man, there's black people being killed all over the place, man.
You know if you're going to kill somebody, why in the world would it be him?
And as far as DeFreeze was concerned, Foster was the front man
for some horrendous police apparatus that was set up.
The issue was ID for high-school students.
And the funny thing is everyone today that's even mildly been associated with the SLA,
just about everyone has kids and
all of us want those IDs, that's the funny thing.
Stay away from the defendant.
Stay away from the deputies.
'Remiro and Russell Little were taken into custody two nights ago
'when they exchanged shots with a Concord policeman.
'Before the day was over Joseph Remiro had been accused of the murder of Oakland schools chief
'Dr Marcus Foster.'
They found us in the van. Joe was in a shootout with the cop and everything.
As far as they're concerned, man, we're armed and dangerous revolutionaries.
Within less than 48 hours, we were in San Quentin Prison.
I mean, I'd never even been arrested before.
Remiro, at the time we were investigating it, we regarded
him as their armourer, that is someone who took care of the weapons.
And Little was more of a logistical support person.
He was close to DeFreeze and would have been,
I think, aware of whatever decision was made to kill Foster.
We found Mr Little's identification at the Southerland address in Concord that we were working on.
We've identified him by witnesses at that location.
We also found a map of the scene of the murder at the Oakland Public Schools
showing the location where Dr Foster had been killed, and the map was identified by the word "ambush"
-across the top.
-Has your investigation uncovered evidence as to the size of this liberation army?
No. The only thing I can say is that it has grown day by day.
Everybody saw us together all the time.
After we got arrested, they were totally tied to us.
At that point you only have two choices.
You could just drop out of everything and disappear
or go into hiding and try to figure out what to do next.
And that's what they did.
They had massive files on all the heads of all
the big international corporations who involved in overthrowing Chile
and everything else that was going on. They were gathering information on all of that.
They just had some massive investigative research thing going on.
The SLA in its formative time at that point was looking for targets.
Emily Harris worked in the registrars office at UC Berkeley, so they had a pretty fair
knowledge of who was at Berkeley.
And they were looking for the right one.
There's been a big kidnapping on the west coast.
The victim is Patricia Hearst, the daughter of newspaper executive Randolph Hearst
and a grand-daughter of the legendary William Randolph Hearst.
'Miss Hearst, newspaper heiress and daughter of Randolph Hearst,
managing editor of the San Francisco Examiner, is a University of California sophomore.
She screamed when the men burst in and started beating her fiance, 26-year-old Steven Weed.
The young heiress was forced into the trunk of a white car.
Her abductors, armed with pistols and a rifle,
fired a hail of bullets as they sped away followed by a second vehicle.
Police say the whole thing was carried out with commando-like precision.
They said absolutely nothing. They were very militaristic.
They had it so well planned that they needed to say nothing to each other.
The national media immediately focused on it as a kidnapping case and understood
the revolutionary aspects of it.
But in effect what they did was park outside Randolph Hearst's mansion.
It was the only place to go and so they made a story of it to a degree.
'A live report from the Hearst home in Hillsborough. John?'
So I'd get calls in the morning saying, "Who's there?"
"Well, 2's here and so is 4 and so is 5, I'm 7."
"Well, you'd better hang around."
And so no-one left, because the other was there.
We had the same questions that everybody else had.
Where is this thing gonna go? Who are these people? What do they want?
The United Federated Forces of the Symbionese Liberation Army,
armed with cyanide-loaded weapons served an arrest warrant
upon Patricia Campbell Hearst.
All communications from this court must be published in full in all newspapers
and all other forms of the media.
Failure to do so will endanger the safety of the prisoner.
Should any attempt be made by authorities to rescue the prisoner or arrest or harm SLA elements,
the prisoner is to be executed.
And in capital letters under that is, "Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people."
We heard this stuff, we were locked down in the Adjustment Centre in San Quentin,
and all this stuff hit the media and we just couldn't believe it.
The heat on us was bad enough.
After that happened, man, it was just really a nightmare.
We are now the SLA personified,
the premier anti-government terrorists.
At that point they stuck us up on Death Row in the strip cells up there
and did all kinds of shit, you know.
Put us in the gas chamber... Did everything they could think of.
But we weren't going to start changing our tune.
We figured we were dead anyway, why should we snivel our way out of it?
Do you have any feelings about your son being moved to Death Row
-at San Quentin?
-Well, I think it was very silly.
I mean under the Constitution, you're innocent until found guilty.
He hasn't even been brought to trial. So what would you say? Wouldn't you say it was a very silly thing to do?
We had read about this, watched movies about it, now we got to be in Attica,
as revolutionaries no less.
Now you talk about State Of Siege, the movie.
That's how the SLA kind of envisioned it. The kidnap was meant as a prisoner swap.
They meant, frankly, to grab Patricia Hearst and trade her for Russ Little and Joe Remiro.
What we received in the mail today
appears to me to be a seven-page statement from the SLA plus a tape recording, which purports to be
somebody from the SLA and also the voice of Patricia Hearst.
And according to the demands, which we'll outline here,
it says that all of these things must be publicised in full which is what we're doing right now.
We knew they weren't about to release us
because they had Patty Hearst.
They realised they're not gonna get a prisoner exchange.
The next best thing they can do is create some kind of enormous act.
So that's the food giveaway.
We have heard it said that Mr Hearst wants to save his daughter.
We want to save all the children and people.
Each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for four successive weeks
each person with one of the listed cards can go to publicized stores and pick up their food.
The meat, vegetables and dairy products must be of top quality
and in ample supply during all store hours...
It's as outrageous as they can think of it.
I mean, they want the supermarkets emptied and food thrown into the streets.
I mean, that's really what it amounted to.
General Field Marshall C-I-N, SLA.
And what we're going to play next as per instructions from the SLA,
is a tape recording from the SLA
which purports to contain the voice of the kidnap victim Patricia Hearst.
'I'm with a combat unit that's armed with automatic weapons.
'And these people aren't just a bunch of nuts.
'They've been really honest with me but
'they're perfectly willing to die for what they're doing.
'And I want to get out of here but the only way I'm going to is if we do it their way.
'And I just hope you'll do what they say, Dad, and just do it quickly.
'And I mean I hope that this puts you a little bit at ease
'and that you know that I really, that I really am all right.
'I just hope I can get back to everybody really soon.'
'Wednesday the 13th day of February, and of course, it's the morning after the Hearst family received
'that letter from the Symbionese Liberation Army which was full of very bizarre demands.
'This morning an FBI man said that the demand for 300 million worth of free food for people
'on welfare was, in his words, in the realm of unreasonableness.'
You sounded a little tired, or like you were sedated, but you sounded all right and I'm sure
that the people that have you are telling the truth
when they say that they're treating you under the Geneva Convention.
I just want you to know that I'm going to do everything I can to get you out of there.
It's a little frightening because the original demand is what I was afraid of from the beginning...
One that's impossible to meet.
However, in the next 24 to 48 hours I'll be trying my best to come back
with some kind of a counter offer
It's very difficult because I have no-one to negotiate with
except through a letter that generally comes two or three days later than we expect it.
Anyway, you can rest assured that
your mother and I and all the family will do everything
we can to get you out.
Tell them not to worry. Nobody's going to bust in on them or start a shoot-up.
And you take care of yourself.
They waited to see what Hearst would do and did very little work
to find out what the SLA might do, or who the SLA might be.
That ominous quiet continues at the Hearst home.
And that tense, frustrating wait goes on.
We never discussed it, as to - should we be doing this?
We're, you know, being a mouthpiece for the family, we're recording what they have to say.
We're recording what the bad guys are saying, their tapes,
we're just sort of being messengers back and forth. Are we really doing our jobs?
'Greetings to the people and fellow comrade brothers and sisters.
'My name is Cinque
'and to my comrades I am known as Cin.
'I hold the rank of General Field Marshall
'in the United Federated Forces of the Symbionese Liberation Army.
'The SLA has arrested the subject for the crimes that her mother and father
'have by their actions committed against we, the American people and the oppressed people of the world.
'Randolph A Hearst is the corporate chairman
'of the fascist media empire of the ultra-right Hearst corporation,
'which is one of the largest propaganda institutions of this present military dictatorship
'of the militarily armed corporate state that we now live under in this nation.
'The primary goal of this empire is to serve and form the necessary
'propaganda and smoke-screen to shield the American people from seeing the realities
'of the corporate dictatorship which Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford represent.
'I wish to say to Mr Hearst and Mrs Hearst, I am quite willing
'to carry out the execution of your daughter
'to save the life of starving men, women and children of every race.
'And if as you and others so naively believe
'that we will lose, let it be known that even in death we will win,
'for the very ashes of this fascist nation will mark our very graves.'
There was no doubt they were in control of the situation, no doubt.
And no doubt that they were in control, again, because they had the girl.
They had a Hearst. This is like uncrowned royalty.
They kicked off something, they had no idea of what the ramifications would be when they kidnapped her.
They did exactly what I for one didn't want to do.
And we were parked in front.
And we started out with cars. Then we got to Winnebagos.
-Then we got to where some people stayed overnight.
-..anxious about his daughter's plight.
This is the first time something like this has ever happened.
So there are no ground rules.
We got barbeque sets, wine, liquor.
Where's your microphone? I'm sorry, we're busy now.
This is one of the all-time great Nazi spies.
Al Bullock. Would you like to say a few words into the camera?
Not to this fascist pig press.
If the FBI did know where Patty Hearst was, what exactly would you do?
This would depend on the facts. We don't know where Patty Hearst is.
We're making no direct attempt
to find out, because we don't want to get Patty hurt.
At the time when Charlie was special agent in charge in San Francisco, the FBI really didn't know what to do.
They didn't have a clue about who these people were.
This was brand new and came out of nowhere, and in a lot of ways they looked in the wrong places.
These were people who were dangerous, obviously,
because they had already murdered one person
and they had set fire to a house.
How big they were? Underground support groups?
No idea whatsoever.
I mean, that's one of the reasons that the Bureau sent so many people in, was to try and approach this
as a terrorist investigation as well as a kidnap case.
The U-2 was flying sorties up over the High Sierra
looking at campsites and things like this during the initial search days.
The tapes were sent to CIA headquarters
to be listened to by blind people whose hearing is extremely acute.
And they heard things in the background that the ordinary ear would never pick up.
'Greetings to the people and comrades, sisters and brothers.
'My name is Gelina and I am a general in the Symbionese Liberation Army.
'The Symbionese War Council has determined that communication between POW Patricia Hearst and her family
'will come only after the immediate creation of the necessary mechanisms whereby Russell Little
'and Joseph Remiro can communicate via live national TV
'with the People and the SLA, concerning the full scope
'of their physical health and all the conditions of their confinement.'
Oh, man, the FBI came in and said, "Oh, hell no,
"we ain't about to let these guys go live on national TV, forget that."
I'd do everything I could to get them on the air and will.
They're the ones, as far as I'm concerned, whether Remiro and Little go on the air,
if the SLA wants them to go on the air, I'd be delighted to have them go on the air.
They may tell me something that I don't know. It may gradually become
a conduit in which we can talk to the SLA.
I told him, "You know, what you're doing is giving them a satisfaction.
"You're putting them on a pedestal they don't belong."
I am being held as a Prisoner of War
and not as anything else. I mean, I am being treated in accordance with international codes of war.
And so, I mean, Dad, you shouldn't listen
or believe what anybody else says about the way I'm being treated, this is the way I'm being treated.
And I'm not left alone, and I'm not just shoved off somewhere.
I mean, I am fine.
Also, since I am an example, and it's really important that everybody
understand that, you know, I am an example and a warning.
And because of this it's very important to the SLA that I return safely.
And so people should stop acting like I'm dead.
Mom should get out of her black dress, that doesn't help at all.
just take care of Steve,
and, well, just hurry. Bye.
You can argue that we shouldn't have dealt with the SLA.
You can argue that you shouldn't deal with radical groups.
You do all those kinds of things intellectually, until it becomes your daughter.
And after a short period of time Hearst said, "Hey, it's my daughter, we'll do whatever they want."
Arrangements have been made for 2 million
to be delivered to a tax-exempt charitable organisation
capable of making a distribution for the benefit of the poor and needy.
He walked out the front door and said, "Lud Kramer will handle the food distribution." And that was it.
Gentlemen, this is Mr Ludlow Kramer, the Secretary of State of the State of Washington. This afternoon we met
with the coalition. Now we discussed the programme,
the model of it has been done in the State of Washington.
And one of the sad parts was the number of people that they grabbed
to help them that could do nothing.
It is very apparent that SLA has now seen
fit to use us as a liaison.
We made a plea for that to happen and now we are the liaison between the Hearst family and SLA.
They hired a couple of people to analyze every word she said and what it really meant, not what she said.
And paid them a lot of money.
-I'm not being starved or beaten,
or unnecessarily frightened.
Psychics were in the house all the time. They were doing things and getting paid to do it.
But again, it was grabbing. It was a family... No matter how powerful
or great or good they may be who knew nothing about what was happening.
They had no comprehension of who they were dealing with
or how they were dealing with it, and at the start we didn't know who we were dealing with either.
Four days ago we had nothing, and in four days we've created the largest private volunteer organisation
in the history of this country.
The SLA is correct in the sense that people need funds, that people need the additional money.
We are not questioning that at all, and the 4,000 volunteers
that are working on this programme believe the same thing.
But we believe that it must be and can be an ongoing programme.
I went down there with Randy
and that was amazing.
So you had meat here, you had produce here, you had eggs here, you had bananas, whatever, whatever.
And there were just assembly lines and at the end came out the box, as if the SLA was giving the gift,
right, with their insignia, that seven-headed snake nonsense, on either side.
I am convinced that Patricia Hearst is going to be released.
I believe that.
I'm also convinced
that the peoples of this land who have gone hungry are going to be fed.
I also believe that the corporate structures,
those who head the corporations of our land,
can now see
that sometimes it takes the most extreme situation to be heard.
Even though I disagree with the tactic of kidnapping and terrorism,
people are looking like they've never looked before in America.
It was what we always wanted, in a way. It was like a dream that you didn't want to wake up from.
Because, first of all, it was instant gratification.
They say "food programme", there was a food program just like that.
There was thousands of poor black people and poor Hispanics
in line showing poverty in America,
which is what we wanted to show for years and no-one would listen.
I hate to take advantage of what could happen to the young lady.
-But my children need food just like anybody else's kids.
We were like Robin Hood, we're coming in and we're going to feed people.
And maybe this can be an ongoing program for 20 years and we can do good things, and all that stuff.
So sure, we didn't agree with the SLA, but we knew people were hungry.
What literally happens, of course, is because of the lack of coordination, because
the chaos that surrounded it all,
it almost comes off as a racist episode
in which people look like damned fools fighting over a turkey.
Three of them were going smoothly - one, all hell broke loose.
All of a sudden people started coming in and saying,
"Do you know two people have been killed and murdered because you handled this so badly?"
People have been hurt, Mr Kramer.
One reporter and he's not badly hurt.
'It happened -
'so what are you going to do?'
I'm carrying out the wishes of the family.
In the future,
every crime committed in connection with a kidnapping
will be prosecuted.
And I'm including
any persons who participate in any sort of a food distribution plan or a television set
distribution plan or any other kind of a distribution plan.
If it's done in response to extortion or kidnapping,
we'll encourage the local district attorneys to prosecute
under existing law and if they don't, we'll do it.
The size of the latest demand of the SLA is far beyond my financial capability.
Therefore, the matter is now out of my hands.
You know something Robin, I was just wondering. Are we good guys or bad guys?
You know, our robbing the rich to feed the poor.
That's a naughty word, we never rob.
-I've been robbed.
-Of course you've been robbed!
I've been hearing reports about the food programme.
So far it sounds like you and your advisors have managed to turn it into a real disaster.
You said that it was out of your hands - what you should have said was that you wash your hands of it.
It sounds like most of the food is low quality.
No-one received any beef or lamb.
Anyway, it certainly didn't sound like the kind of food our family is used to eating.
Oh, my God, what's this? The child is talking down to her rich dad.
I mean, this is what we all were doing for the last ten years.
Like I say, distilled in a moment.
It was like compressing matter, you know until it's just so...y'know.
Like I said earlier, I concede
that she may be actually having her doubts as to, you know,
from her point of view, it may look like we've made a mess of things.
-What is her political point of view?
-Previous to the last two months, I'd say she really didn't have one.
I think that by the time this is over
she's going to have some sort of a political view.
There's no way of getting around that.
Tell the poor and oppressed people of this nation what the corporate state is about to do.
Warn black and poor people that they are about to be murdered down to the last man, woman and child.
Tell the people that the energy crisis is nothing more than
a means to get public approval for a massive program to build nuclear power plants all over the nation.
Tell the people the entire corporate state is, with the aid
of this massive power supply, about to totally automate the entire industrial state
to the point that in the next five years, all that will be needed is a small class of button pushers.
Tell the people, Dad, that the removal
of expendable excess, the removal of unneeded people has already started.
I have been given the choice of one - being released in a safe area, or two - joining the forces
of the Symbionese Liberation Army
and fighting for my freedom and the freedom of all oppressed people.
I have chosen to stay and fight.
I have been given the name Tania
after a comrade who fought alongside Che in Bolivia.
It is in the spirit of Tania that I say, "patria o muerte, venceremos."
All of a sudden, within days,
"We Love You Tania" because that's the name she chose... It was like...
it was just so unreal. And that's all the media talked about.
I don't even know what to compare it with. It was like...
it was like...
it was like the '49ers in '81 being all of a sudden on their way to the Superbowl. It was magical.
It was just like the home team.
It was like the '69 New York Mets.
It was like... It was the ultimate David and Goliath.
And it was like they tell them, "We want food." They tell them, "We want better food."
This, that, and they just comply and they just folded.
And it's just a few people
and nothing ever like that had ever happened before.
Everything else was a failure.
Joe and I would read this stuff and just look at each other and like,
you know, "Is everybody stoned, what's going on over here?"
You don't think she's come round to thinking their way?
Oh, I know Patty too well to think that she's going to come
around like that, I really don't.
-But why do you think she would say those things?
-I guess she only hears one side of the story.
The whole time she's been there she's heard one side.
And maybe from where she is, she looks out and says, "What's going on?"
-She only hears one side, like I said, and she just doesn't know the whole thing.
-You don't believe it?
No, I don't believe it.
We're in more or less shock over this thing
and until we know more about it we haven't anything to say.
I think, and I don't remember all the details, but I think
that's the only time he cried.
That really broke his heart.
You had people who were telling him that she's been brainwashed.
So they had that...
rock to hold on to.
Until she walks in the door and tells them personally
that she's a member of the SLA,
common sense dictates that you have to accept that she is still
being held prisoner by the SLA.
If she is not, there's no reason in the world why she cannot come
and make this statement in person and walk back out the door, as her parents said she could.
We spoke to a lot of people who had become familiar with this phenomenon, the so-called "Stockholm Syndrome"
in which people get kidnapped and identify with their kidnappers.
The thesis of the Stockholm Syndrome is that every day your captor
lets you live, you more closely identify with that captor,
up until even sexual attraction. And to me she was a classic Stockholm Syndrome case.
If I would have been there, part of the kidnapping?
No, no, God, no. I can't imagine letting her stay.
I mean, I know her and Willie, you know, they were in love,
all this other stuff and she was pissed off at her parents...
-Will you come with me?
I have nothing to offer you but a life of hardship and danger, but we'd be together.
Because I love you, Robin, I'd come. Even danger would mean nothing if you were with me.
As for my ex-fiance, the fact is,
I don't care if I never see him again.
During the last few months, Steven has shown himself to be a sexist, ageist pig.
All right, I'm not in any particular...
right frame of mind perhaps to be talking now. I finished listening to the tape a few minutes ago.
But it seemed important to me to say some things that I'm feeling right now
and not think about them too much and screw it up.
The SLA has said that they are the instrument of the people
and yet the will of the people has been, at least lately, that,
and the will of the two captured soldiers, has been
to give Patty her freedom.
I am reconciled
to the idea that Patty must have matured a great deal in the past two months.
I just want to tell Patty that I love her as much as ever
and I think she knows that I can accept whatever she has chosen.
Even though it may be hard for me, I can accept it.
It was just like total Hollywood. But I guess the whole thing
had turned into Hollywood so why shouldn't it be Hollywood for her? "Yeah, I'll go join Robin Hood."
'Combat operation, April 15th, 1974 - The Year of the Children.
'Action - appropriation.
'One 38 Smith & Wesson revolver. Condition - good.
'Five rounds of 158 grain 38 calibre ammo.
'Number of rounds fired by Combat Forces - 7 rounds.
'Number of rounds lost - 5.
'Casualties, Peoples Forces - none, Enemy Forces - none, Civilians - two.
'Subject one - male.
'Subject one was ordered to lay on the floor face down.
'Subject refused order and jumped out the front door of the bank, therefore the subject was shot.
'Subject two - male.
'Subject failed or did not hear warning to clear the street.
'Subject was running down the street toward the bank and Combat Forces
'accordingly assumed subject was armed Enemy Force element.
'Therefore the subject was shot.'
It was Bonnie and Clyde. It was all that kind of thing that's very American, actually, at the core.
It's just that these guys were just doing it so...artistically.
The Hibernia Bank, Sunset branch,
was held up at gunpoint this morning at 9.40.
10,960 was taken in cash.
Witnesses state -
five of the bank robbers entered the bank while four remained outside.
All made a getaway in two automobiles after firing several shots from automatic weapons.
In addition, Patricia Campbell Hearst
has been named in a Federal Warrant charging her with being a material witness to the bank robbery.
At this point we are simply saying we want to talk to Patricia Hearst.
I took the tape of Patricia Hearst
in the bank robbery over to the Berkeley School for the Deaf.
And they read her lips as to what she was saying in the bank.
"Up, up, up against the wall."
And then everybody giggled because they couldn't say it.
-I said, "MF?" And they said, "Yeah!"
-If that was Patty Hearst, she had her hand on that gun.
She did have her hands on the trigger and ready to shoot anything that got in her way.
-Greetings to the people, this is Tania.
Our action of April 15th forced the Corporate State to help finance the revolution.
As for being brainwashed, the idea is ridiculous to the point of being beyond belief.
I am a soldier in the People's Army.
The FBI looked like a bunch of idiots.
You know, here they couldn't find this little band of kids.
They couldn't catch these people. They were putting out communiques.
They were forcing this stuff to be fed live, unedited,
to the whole country.
Sure, they were pissed, man.
They wanted them dead.
'To B-Team Commander and all elements of anti-aircraft forces of the SLA,
'this is Teko speaking.
'The Malcolm X Combat Unit of the Symbionese Liberation Army left
'the San Francisco Bay Area in a successful effort to break a massive pig encirclement.
'It had become clear through intelligence reports that the pigs
'were preparing to trap us on the San Francisco peninsula.
The area is very small, surrounded by water, and with limited choices
for breaking a major encirclement.
REPORTER: 'A night-time raid on this apartment house
'gave the FBI its first big break in the three-month search
'for the Symbionese Liberation Army.
'Inside the apartment, abandoned last week, agents found terrorist slogans
'signed by Field Marshall Cinque
'and also by Tania, the name taken by Patty Hearst.'
They went to Los Angeles.
They left a message for the FBI, and Charlie you know, and said, "Beat you again, see you later,"
and took off.
< Do you assume that "happy hunting, Charles" was directed at you that was written on that wall?
I don't know. I haven't seen that.
There are a lot of people named Charles, Charlie. I haven't lost any sleep over it.
DeFreeze made some mention of, like, psychological warfare against the police.
It was like trying to fake the police out.
But it seemed like he totally lost track of that.
Well, are you doing this for the police?
Is the communique for the police?
Or is it to try to explain to people what you're doing?
I mean, who is if for? They seem to have lost
sight of...who are you trying to communicate with?
Why even worry about the police? Who cares what they think? They hate you, they want to kill you.
A lot of this is fantasy in their mind. I mean, they're living out a fantasy that's Peter Pan.
It was like watching a movie,
and there's the gang that we want to win.
You know, it was... Oh, we were pulling for them so much!
But it wasn't like, "Where do we go to join up," or anything like that.
They could not carry on what they were doing in Los Angeles.
It was a different culture and they soon found that out.
DeFreeze might have convinced them that he knew about Los Angeles but he didn't. He was from Cleveland.
On the late afternoon of May 16, 1974, at Mel's Sporting Goods Store,
Englewood, California, William Harris attempted to shoplift a pair of socks.
As William and Emily Harris departed Mel's Sporting Goods,
a scuffle ensued,
after which the store employees were the target of fire
from a van parked across the street.
Patricia Hearst fired the shots at Mel's Sporting Goods.
If there had not been the lifting of a pair of sweat socks,
did you have any indication that they had gone to LA?
No. We had none as of that time, no.
Mr Bates, are you saying that you had no idea that they had moved to Los Angeles?
-That's incredible, isn't it?
-Is it incredible?
When we interviewed people who they'd stayed with, they were so stoned out on reds
they could barely keep their eyes open.
But they turned them in, too, you know. "Don't burn my house
"down for your revolution" - that was the attitude.
'Yes, you do indeed know me.
'You have always known me.
'I'm that nigger you have hunted and feared night and day.
'I'm that nigger you have killed hundreds of my people
'in a vain hope of finding.
'That nigger that is no longer just the hunted, robbed and murdered.
'I'm the nigger that hunts you now.
'Yes, you know me. You know us all.
You know me, I'm the wetback.
'You know me, I'm the wetback, gook, the broad, the servant, the spick.
'Yes, indeed you know us all, and we know you, the oppressor, murderer and robber.
'And you have hunted and robbed and exploited us all.
'Now WE are the hunters that will give you no rest.
'And we will not compromise the freedom of our children.
'Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people.'
They're getting ready for an assault, and there's no doubt about that.
Before we stop counting, there's another, about five plainclothes police cars have moved in
on to the corner, on Compton Avenue here. Officers with weapons, with loaded weapons.
Ah, now more officers are moving right in the position where we were. So they must be getting ready.
There's no doubt about that in my mind.
Occupants of 1466 come out now!
Come out with your hands up. Come out of the house and you will not be harmed. Come out! Hands up!
Maybe the people inside the house are thinking, "That's like when the San Francisco police say give up" -
it means you don't have to right away. But in LA it meant you had to right away.
-That white house with the two windows there?
-As far as I can determine. You've got as close as I have.
GUNFIRE That's bad! That's bad!
Stay over on the other side of the street!
Hey, get out of there! Get out of there, they're shooting that way!
'We need additional ambulances to come down because we're gonna have some injuries if this keeps up.'
-Cover this driveway, please!
-They're moving us back. They're moving us back.
This was right at the time when the technology changed
in television. As far as I know this was the first time something
like that that wasn't a planned event was actually carried live nationwide.
I mean, the whole world is watching this shootout.
'Listen up, because we're going to need your assistance. We need all ammo that we've got in the safe.
'We're taking automatic fire front and back from this location, they're much better armed than we are.'
They have more ammunition than the police do which is an incredible thing, it's hard to believe.
There's no reason to believe we're going to get loose here. We're going to be pinned down here a long time.
We are on the scene. You can't get closer that we're standing right now and not have your brains blown out.
Good God! If you ever had a condition, as I said before, where the left doesn't know when it's won,
if the SLA had thought about it at all, they'd won, they could have given up and made a speech there.
They had the whole world listening to them. And they decide to fight.
OK, we got one coming out!
40 David to CP, authorisation to use fragmentation type grenades?
-Are they white people?
-Back up, back up!
'She advised that there is a black male and white females within the building.
'All armed, all firing.'
RADIO: 'Stay put. Stay put. We have two other crews in the area.'
-That house is on fire, man! What, smoke grenades?
-The fire is raging. Now we've got a better vantage point
and we're trying to bring you these live pictures as they occur.
Hold your fire! Everybody, hold your fire!
'One person was brought out.
'We haven't seen anyone else come out of there.
'Of course, we're not really in a position to have seen them, but I believe they would have
'brought them around this corner and down if they had.
'And, of course, the obvious conclusion is that the Los Angeles Police
'have indeed found the nesting place of the Symbionese Liberation Army and there's not much left of it now.'
They just went in and killed everybody.
Joe and I heard the whole thing.
We couldn't see anything
where we were. We didn't have TV's or anything like that.
But we heard the whole shootout.
We kept hoping it wasn't them at first, you know.
Once we heard them firing thousands of rounds of ammunition and shooting high temperature teargas grenades
in there and setting the place on fire, eventually we realised that it must be them.
And we figured, "Well, this is it.
"This is what we were afraid of and now it's happened".
'Los Angeles County Coroner, Thomas Naguchi, faced a jam-packed news conference after autopsies
'were completed on the bodies found in the wreckage of the SLA hideout.'
'Dr Thomas Naguchi just called the Hearst residence and talked with Mr Hearst just a few minutes ago.
'He told Mr Hearst that...um...
'they have examined all of the five bodies taken from that house in Los Angeles,
'and the conclusion they have reached exactly is that Patty Hearst was not,
'I repeat, was not in that house yesterday.'
They knew that Hearst was not in that house. That was all bullshit.
They knew because of how Bill and Emily and Hearst had gotten away
and the path that they had
taken and everything, and when they had surrounded that house and put it under surveillance and all that.
They knew she wasn't there. That was all bullshit.
It was quite certain that the Harrises and Patty
had not gotten back to the residence down there.
Why there was no negotiation?
It's not by the book.
It's not by the book.
Did they start shooting from the inside out first? I don't know.
They don't teach you that in hostage negotiation courses, that's for damned sure.
I think if you took a poll in the Los Angeles area that the citizens
would not only be supportive of the way
the police handled it, my feeling is that
their feeling is one of admiration for the way the police handled it.
I know that there were some people who said, "Well, gee,
"instead of telling them to come out in five minutes they should have given them ten minutes".
Somebody else suggested they should have starved them out.
You know, these may be well meaning people
but I think they forget the setting in which the police operated.
'Greetings to the people.
'This is Tania. I want to talk about the way I knew our six murdered
'comrades because the fascist pig media have, of course,
'been painting a typically distorted picture of these beautiful sisters and brothers.
'Cinque was in a race with time, believing that every minute must
'be another step forward in the fight to save the children.
'Gelina was beautiful.
'She taught me how to fight the enemy within through her struggle
'with bourgeois conditioning.'
'Gabi crouched low with her ass to the ground.
'She practised until her shotgun was an extension of both her arms.
'Zoya, female guerrilla.
Perfect love and perfect hate 'reflected in stone cold eyes.
'Fahizah taught me to shoot first and make sure the pig is dead
'before splitting. She was wise and bad.
'Cujo was the gentlest, most beautiful man I've ever known.
'He taught me the truth as he learned it from beautiful brothers
'in California's concentration camps.
'Neither Cujo or I had ever loved an individual the way we loved each other.
'Our relationship's foundation was our commitment to the struggle and our love for the people.
'I died in that fire on 54th Street, but out of the ashes I was reborn.
'I know what I have to do.'
I want to talk about the atrocity that took place in Los Angeles.
I'm really angry, so people have to bear with me.
I'm still angry for what I saw and the things I heard that went down
in LA on Saturday afternoon.
You know, I want to deal with the beginning.
It takes the actions of SLA to feed poor people in this state,
throughout the United States of North America.
It'll take many more SLAs to come along and deal with fascist elements in this fascist, racist country
that we are confronted with as so-called American citizens.
Here's the most notorious kidnap victim in the world, travelling
with the two best known kidnappers
in the world, and yet they slide into Berkeley unnoticed and are given
safe refuge almost immediately.
Cinque, Willie, Camilla,
Mizmoon and Fahizah were viciously attacked and murdered by 500 pigs
in LA while the nation watched.
And now the media is trying to say they were trying to escape by tunnelling
under the house where they had chickened out at the last minute.
Well, I believe that Gelina and her comrades fought to the last minute.
And though I would like to have her be here with me right now, I know that she lived and she died happy.
SLA soldiers, although I know it's not necessary to say, keep fighting.
I'm with you, and we are with you.
The door could have knocked with Emily, Bill or Patty Hearst saying, "God, they're trying to kill us,
"we need help." They could have knocked on 200 doors in Berkeley and 150 would have hid them out.
We were just the ones that happened to have the door knocked.
Bill becomes the new leader of the SLA.
He's the surviving male guy, the authority figure, and he wants to be
the new General Field Marshall.
So General Teko takes over.
I'd have to say that
once I met all three of them,
I was kind of disappointed in how flat they were.
They didn't seem to be that smart.
There wasn't a fingernail of charisma among the three of them.
That was kind of dawning on me,
how middle class they all seemed.
'I renounced my class privilege when Cin and Cujo gave me the name Tania.
'And I would never choose to live the rest of my life surrounded by pigs like the Hearsts.'
I just hope everybody will remember that physically Patty is still
a kidnap victim, she was taken away against her will.
And, psychologically, she's a victim of thought control by terrorists.
And all I can do is hope and pray that God will bring her home again.
'Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people.'
To this day I can't understand why the need was felt to keep on
with this kind of militaristic fantasy.
Just end it and be done with it and good luck.
These four, as soon as they entered the bank,
announced that it was a hold-up, everyone to get down on the floor and put their faces in the rug.
And with that, a shot rang out, hitting Mrs Opsahl.
The leader of the group told everyone in the bank that,
if they didn't co-operate, they would receive the same in return.
With that, two of the individuals vaulted the counter, start scooping up the cash.
They were kicking people in the head, stepping on their faces
and just shouting profanity throughout.
There was nothing left to be gained by the SLA
at the point of that Carmichael Bank robbery, except money.
I think the killing scared the hell out of them,
not just because it would mean the police were after them more, but because
it was an immoral thing to have happened. It was not something they meant to do.
And I think that bothered them more than people realise.
I have family in the world.
I have friends in the world. I don't want to be thought of as a murderer.
I don't want to be thought of
as some fucking maniac that goes and shoots up a bank,
acting like a radical, leave a woman to die like that!
Now, if you're asking me, "Well, someone did that."
Obviously. I wasn't there.
I didn't do it. If you ask me - can I say 100% that Jim or Kathy
or Patty or the Harrises or Wendy did or did not do it, I can't say.
It looks like there's some involvement there, isn't there,
somewhere along the line? But I don't know.
They lied about me that bad.
I don't know.
I don't know. I can't honestly say on the stand...
I mean, how am I going to know who is or is not involved if I'm really not involved, you know?
But... And I don't really care.
I don't care.
At 2.25pm, less than 30 minutes ago,
we arrested Patty Hearst at 625 Morse in the Outer Mission district.
We did observe two people who looked like they could be Bill and Emily Harris,
and, as a result, the arrest was made.
Oh, boy. Here we go, here we go.
This is it. That's her! Hey, Patty!
CHEERING AND WHISTLING
'But it was Patty Hearst herself who gave a clue that she is a far different person
'now than the 19-year-old girl who was kidnapped 19 months ago.'
When asked for her occupation while being booked she told the officer, "urban guerrilla".
And all these naive radicals just hearing
what they wanted to hear, basically.
You know, they wanted a rich person to convert to their cause.
She was just, they just had a mutual agenda for a while, that's all it was as it turned out.
We were all fooled.
I don't believe Patty's legal problems are that serious.
After all, she's primarily a kidnap victim. She never went off and did anything of her own free will.
It is probably the mystery story of the 20th century.
And it finally unfolded today, one version of it, Patty Hearst's
own version of it, here at the Federal Court House in San Francisco, as the whole world watched.
It unfolded in this shocking, chilling, and deeply moving affidavit
filed by Patty Hearst herself through her attorneys.
She was placed in a closet on the floor.
The closet was approximately 5 to 6 feet in length and about 2½ or 3 feet in width.
During all this time she was in a constant state of fear and terror,
and expected at any moment to be murdered by her captors.
After an interminable length of time,
which seemed to her to be weeks,
she was released from the closet and seated with the gang of captors.
When the blindfold was removed
she felt as if she was on an LSD trip.
Everything appeared so distorted and terrible that she believed and feared she was losing her sanity.
She was put in an automobile and taken to a site,
which she now understands was a branch of the Hibernia Bank.
She was given a gun and directed to stand about in the centre of the bank counter.
Meanwhile, one of her captors, armed with a gun that was kept
pointed at her, kept an eye on her, and had told her in advance that if she made one false move
or did anything except announce her name, she would be killed instantly.
When she was taken back to her place of captivity, she was told by them that she was now guilty
of bank robbery and murder and that the FBI would shoot her on sight.
In her disordered and frightened mind, this appeared to her to be probable.
And it was so insisted upon by members of the gang that she finally came to believe it.
Her recollection of everything that transpired up to the time that she was arrested
has been as though she lived in a fog, in which she was confused,
still unable to distinguish between actuality and fantasy.
Part of the dilemma of understanding Patricia Hearst in this whole thing is that
there are so many obvious opportunities she had
to simply walk down the street, hail a cab, get in a car,
call her father, call me, anybody, and it was over.
She never did.
Well, this is quite a difference from last time, and thank you all.
I'm really happy to be going home.
And I want to thank my parents,
and my sisters, and Bernie,
and George too -
and all of the people on the committee to release me.
And this is what we worked so hard to get.
There it is. It's the commutation.
-Thank you all so much.
-Are you going to take a vacation of any kind?
-I am. Bye-bye.
-Where you going?
-Oh, I won't tell.
As far as changing the whole society goes, it was always a pipe dream.
The true communist state where everybody is a brother to everybody else and we all share everything
and, you know, everybody lives happily ever after. I mean, I would've been fine with that.
But, yeah I know I'm older now.
People, they're working, they're paying their mortgage, they're worrying about their kids, you know.
But when you're 21, 22, 23 years old...
I was 24 years old when I was arrested.
People talk about, "Hearst was only 19." Hey, we were all young.
Four former Symbionese Liberation Army members,
accused of murdering a Carmichael woman during a bank robbery in 1975, plead guilty today.
'In court, four of the SLA members who pulled off the heist,
'apologized 27 years after Myrna Opsahl was killed
'in a bank robbery in Carmichael.'
Each entered a plea of guilty of murder in the second degree.
Mr Harris admitted that he was armed during the commission of the crime.
This is the time and the place for judgment and sentence.
The defendants will be remanded into custody to serve prison sentences.
As I stated last time,
the fact that...
Mrs Opsahl was murdered unintentionally in the bank
is of no consequence to the family.
Or the fact that we beat ourselves up more than anyone could,
and really alienated ourselves from what we believed in
and ostracized ourselves.
And that's probably the saddest thing about
these kinds of cases, whether you're well intentioned or poor intentioned
or not, there's not a good result.
A woman is dead and many people suffer from those consequences.
And I can offer nothing but my apologies and...
Miss Montague will be sentenced to eight years in prison.
Mr Harris will be sentenced to seven years in prison.
Miss Olsen will be sentenced to six years in prison.
Mr Bortin will be sentenced to six years in prison.
Now my next guest went from kidnap victim to terrorist.
She was once the most wanted woman in America.
Take a seat.
It is truly remarkable to meet you because you are a part of all our history.
It's something that intrigues everybody.
Just to get an idea of why the kidnap happened, you were the grand-daughter of William Randolph Hearst.
Your family were supremely rich.
What was your childhood like?
What was life like living like that?
Well, it was great. I think it was really pretty perfect.
Subtitles by BBC Broadcast - 2005
E-mail us at [email protected]
In 1974, a teenage newspaper heiress and Berkeley undergrad was kidnapped at gunpoint from her apartment, setting off one of the most bizarre episodes in recent American history. The kidnappers, completely off the map before Patty Hearst disappeared into the San Francisco night, were a small band of young, ferociously militant political radicals, dedicated to the rights of prisoners and the working class. They called themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army. Over the course of about three years they robbed banks, senselessly killed two innocent people, instigated a firefight after attempting to shoplift a pair of socks, and, most famously, converted their hostage and victim. They also achieved an undeniable visionary manipulation of the media, inciting perhaps the first modern media frenzy.