Symbionese Liberation Army

The United Federated Forces of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) was an American left-wing terrorist organization active between 1973 and 1975 that considered itself a vanguard army. The group committed bank robberies, two murders, and other acts of violence.

Symbionese Liberation Army
Flag/banner of the Symbionese Liberation Army
New Left
LeadersDonald DeFreeze, alias "General Field Marshal Cinque"
(died in police shootout May 17, 1974, aged 30), William Harris, alias "General Teko" (captured in 1975)
HeadquartersSan Francisco and Los Angeles
Area of operationsCalifornia, United States
SizeNo more than 22
Battles and war(s)November 6, 1973: Murder of Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster
February 4, 1974: kidnapping of Patricia Hearst
April 15, 1974 Hibernia bank robbery
May 16, 1974: Mel's Sporting Goods shot up
SLA Shootout
April 21, 1975: Crocker National Bank robbery

The SLA became internationally notorious for the kidnapping of heiress Patricia Hearst, abducting the 19-year-old from Berkeley, California. Interest increased when Hearst, in audiotaped messages delivered to (and broadcast by) regional news media, announced that she had joined the SLA. Hearst later said that members of the terrorist group threatened to kill her, held her in close confinement, and sexually assaulted and brainwashed her.

As of 2017, all but one of the surviving SLA members have been released from prison.

Beliefs and symbols

"Symbionese" concept

In his manifesto "Symbionese Liberation Army Declaration of Revolutionary War & the Symbionese Program", Donald DeFreeze wrote, "The name 'symbionese' is taken from the word symbiosis and we define its meaning as a body of dissimilar bodies and organisms living in deep and loving harmony and partnership in the best interest of all within the body."[1] The political symbiosis DeFreeze describes means the unity of all left-wing struggles, feminist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, and others. DeFreeze wanted all races, genders, and ages to fight together in a left-wing united front, and to live together peacefully.[2]

Seven headed cobra

DeFreeze was the SLA's only black member. His seven-headed SLA hydra-like cobra symbol was based on the seven principles of Kwanzaa, each head representing a principle. The Swahili words for these seven principles are: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). The appearance of the symbol of the seven-headed cobra[3] on SLA publications indicates that it was copied from the ancient Sri Lankan and Indian seven-headed nāga; carved stones depicting a seven-headed cobra are commonly found near the sluices of the ancient irrigation tanks in Sri Lanka and are believed to have been placed there as guardians of the water.[4] The particular graphic of the seven-headed cobra used by the SLA may have been copied from an illustration in The Lost Continent of Mu by James Churchward.

Formation and initial activities

Prison visits and political film

The SLA formed as a result of the prison visitation programs of the radical left-wing group Venceremos Organization and a group known as the Black Cultural Association in Soledad prison. The idea of a South-American–style urban guerrilla movement, similar to the Tupamaros movement in Uruguay, combined with Régis Debray's theory of urban warfare and ideas drawn from Maoism, appealed to a number of people, including Patricia Michelle Soltysik (alias "Mizmoon").

DeFreeze escapes prison

The SLA formed after the escape from prison by Donald DeFreeze, alias "General Field Marshal Cinque". He had been serving five years to life for robbing a prostitute. DeFreeze took the name Cinque from the leader of the slave rebellion which took over the slave ship Amistad in 1839. DeFreeze escaped from Soledad State Prison on March 5, 1973, by walking away while on work duty in a boiler room located outside the perimeter fence.[5]

DeFreeze has been accused by some sources of being an informant from 1967 to 1969 for the Public Disorder Intelligence Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department.[6][7]

DeFreeze had been active in the Black Cultural Association while at the California Medical Facility, a state prison facility in Vacaville, California, where he had made contacts with members of Venceremos. He sought refuge among these contacts, and ended up at a commune known as Peking House in the San Francisco Bay Area. Venceremos associates and future SLA members Willie Wolfe and Russell Little, concerned with the potential for exposure through surveillance at the high-profile Peking House, arranged for DeFreeze to move in with their associate Patricia Michelle Soltysik in the relative anonymity of Concord, California. DeFreeze and Soltysik became lovers and began to outline the plans for founding the "Symbionese Nation".[5]

Murder of Marcus Foster

On November 6, 1973, in Oakland, California, two members of the SLA killed school superintendent Marcus Foster and badly wounded his deputy, Robert Blackburn, as the two men left an Oakland school board meeting. The hollow-point bullets used to kill Foster had been packed with cyanide.[8]

Although Foster had been the first black school superintendent in the history of Oakland, the SLA had condemned him for his supposed plan to introduce identification cards into Oakland schools, calling him "fascist". In fact, Foster had opposed the use of identification cards in his schools, and his plan was a watered-down version of other similar proposals.

On January 10, 1974, Joseph Remiro and Russell Little were arrested and charged with Foster's murder, and initially both men were convicted of murder. Both men received sentences of life imprisonment. Seven years later, on June 5, 1981, Little's conviction was overturned by the California Court of Appeal, and he was later acquitted in a retrial in Monterey County.[9] Remiro remains incarcerated in San Quentin State Prison serving his life sentence.

Little has stated: "Who actually pulled the trigger that killed Foster was Mizmoon (Soltysik). Nancy Ling Perry was supposed to shoot Blackburn, she kind of botched that and DeFreeze ended up shooting him with a shotgun."[10]

Kidnapping of Patricia Hearst

In response to the arrests of Remiro and Little, the SLA began planning their next action: the kidnapping of an important figure to negotiate the release of their imprisoned members.[11] Documents found by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at one abandoned safe house revealed that an action was planned for the "full moon of January 17". The FBI did not take any precautions, and the SLA did not act until a month later.[11] On February 4, 1974, publishing heiress Patricia Hearst, a sophomore at the University of California at Berkeley, was kidnapped from her Berkeley residence at Apartment 4, 2603 Benvenue Avenue. The kidnapping occurred less than three months after a November 1973 San Francisco Chronicle story in the "Society" section announcing the Hearst–Steven Weed betrothal (with the apartment's address given). The SLA had chosen to kidnap Hearst to increase the news coverage of the incident.[12]

The SLA issued an ultimatum to the Hearst family: that they would release Patty in exchange for the freedom of Remiro and Little. When such an arrangement proved impossible, the SLA demanded a ransom, in the form of a food distribution program. The value of food to be distributed fluctuated: on February 23 the demand was for $4 million; it peaked at $400 million. Although free food was distributed, the operation was halted when violence erupted at one of the four distribution points.[11] This happened because the crowds were much greater than expected, and people were injured as panicked workers threw boxes of food off moving trucks into the crowd. After the SLA demanded that a community coalition called the Western Addition Project Area Committee be put in charge of the food distribution, 100,000 bags of groceries were handed out at 16 locations across four counties between February 26 and the end of March.[5][13]

Conditions of the initial captivity of Patricia Hearst

The FBI was conducting an unsuccessful search, and the SLA took refuge in a number of safe houses. Hearst later claimed she was subjected to a series of ordeals while in SLA captivity that her mother would later describe as "brainwashing". The change in Hearst's politics has been attributed to Stockholm syndrome, a psychological response in which a hostage exhibits apparent loyalty to the abductor. Hearst was later examined by specialist psychologist Margaret Singer, who came to the same conclusion.

Terence Hallinan, the first attorney who represented her, was planning to argue involuntary intoxication, a side effect of which is amnesia.[6]

Hearst's attorney F. Lee Bailey used the Stockholm syndrome argument as part of the defense at trial. During Hearst's subsequent trial, her lawyer claimed that she had been confined in a closet barely large enough for her to lie down in; that her contact with the outside world was regulated by her captors; and that she was regularly threatened with execution. Hearst's lawyer contended that she had been raped by DeFreeze and Wolfe. Both died before Hearst's capture and trial.[6] The SLA claimed to be holding Hearst according to the conditions of the Geneva Conventions.[5]

Political inculcation

The SLA subjected Hearst to indoctrination in SLA ideology. In Hearst's taped recordings, used to announce demands and conditions, Hearst can first be heard extemporaneously expressing SLA ideology on day 13 of her capture.[11]

With each successive taped communiqué, Hearst voiced increasing support for the aims of the SLA. She eventually denounced her former life, her parents, and fiancé. At that point, she claimed that when the SLA had ostensibly given her the option of being released or joining the SLA, she had believed she would be killed if she turned them down. She began using the nom de guerre "Tania", after Che Guevara's associate "Tania the Guerilla".

Activities during the period of Hearst's membership

Hibernia Bank robbery

The SLA's next action was the robbery of the Hibernia Bank branch at 1450 Noriega Street, San Francisco, during which two civilians were shot.[11]

At 10:00 a.m. on April 15, 1974, SLA members burst into the bank, including Hearst holding a rifle, and the security camera footage of Hearst became an iconic image. She has denied willing involvement in the robbery in her book Every Secret Thing. The group was able to get away with over $10,000.[14] (Hearst was later sentenced to 7 years in prison for her involvement in the robbery. Her sentence was later commuted by Jimmy Carter and her crime eventually pardoned by Bill Clinton.)

Move to Los Angeles and police shootout

The SLA believed that its future depended on its ability to acquire new members and realized that, because of the killing of Marcus Foster, few if any people in the Bay Area underground wished to join them. Cinque suggested moving the organization to his former neighborhood in Los Angeles, where he had friends who they might recruit. However, they had difficulty becoming established in the new area. The SLA relied on commandeering housing and supplies in Los Angeles, and thus alienated the people who were ensuring their secrecy and protection. At this stage, the imprisoned SLA member Russell Little said that he believed the SLA had entirely lost sight of its goals and had entered into a confrontation with the police rather than a political dialogue with the public.[11]

On May 16, 1974, "Teko" and "Yolanda" (William and Emily Harris) entered Mel's Sporting Goods Store in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood, California, to shop for supplies. While Yolanda made the purchases, Teko on a whim decided to shoplift a bandolier.[5] When a security guard confronted him, Teko brandished a revolver. The guard knocked the gun out of his hand and placed a handcuff on William's left wrist. Hearst, on armed lookout from the group's van across the street, began shooting up the store's overhead sign. Everyone in the store but the Harrises took cover, and the Harrises fled the store and drove off with Hearst.

As a result of the SLA's botched shoplifting incident, the police acquired the address of the safe house from a parking ticket in the glove box of the van, which had been abandoned. The rest of the SLA fled the safe house when they saw the events on the news. The SLA took over a house occupied by Christine Johnson and Minnie Lewisin. One of the people in the house at the time was a then-17-year-old neighbor named Brenda Daniels, who was sleeping on the couch. Daniels recalls the events that day:

I went down to Minnie's every Thursday evening to play some cards and drink a little. I fell asleep early and when I woke up around two A.M. I saw four white women and three dudes—two blacks and one white. I saw guns spread out all over the floor, an' I asked them why they had guns, more than I'd ever seen in my life. They didn't answer, and, instead, the black dude asked me my name and then introduced me to everyone.

[When asked if Patty Hearst was there]

Man, how can I tell? All white women look the same to me.

Brenda Daniels[15]

The next day, an anonymous phone call to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) stated that several heavily armed people were staying at the caller's daughter's house. That afternoon, more than 400 LAPD officers, under the command of Captain Mervin King, along with the FBI, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD), California Highway Patrol (CHP), and Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), surrounded the neighborhood. The leader of a SWAT team used a bullhorn to announce, "Occupants of 1466 East 54th Street, this is the Los Angeles Police Department speaking. Come out with your hands up!" A young child walked out, along with an older man. The man stated that no one else was in the house, but the child intervened stating that several people were in the house with guns and ammo belts. After several more attempts to get anyone else to leave the house, a member of the SWAT team fired tear gas projectiles into the house. This was answered by heavy bursts of automatic gunfire, and a violent gun battle began. The police were firing semi-automatic AR-15 and AR-180 rifles. The SLA members were armed with M1 Carbines, which had been converted to fully automatic fire. Police also reported that the SLA had created homemade grenades from 35mm film canisters, and had thrown them at responding officers.

During the shootout, police continued to fire dozens of tear-gas grenades into the home, trying to flush out the SLA members. About two hours into the shootout, the house caught fire, probably due to an exploding tear gas canister. As the house began to burn, two women left from the rear of the house and one came out the front (she had come in drunk the previous night, passed out, and woken up in the middle of the siege); all were taken into custody, but were found not to be SLA members. Automatic weapons fire continued from the house. At this point, Nancy Ling Perry and Camilla Hall came out of the house. Investigators working for their parents would claim that they walked out intending to surrender and that they were unarmed but police later stated that Hall was shot in the head by police as she aimed a weapon towards them while Perry was providing covering fire.[15] After Hall's body fell to the ground, it was pulled back inside the burning house by Angela Atwood. Perry followed Hall out of the house, firing a pistol at officers as she emerged, and was shot twice. Her body remained outside the house.[16]

The rest died inside, from smoke inhalation, burns and gunshot wounds. The coroner's report concluded that Donald DeFreeze committed suicide by shooting himself in the side of the head. After the shooting stopped and the fire was extinguished, 19 firearms—including rifles, pistols, and shotguns—were recovered. Thousands of rounds had been fired out of the house by the SLA and police in response had fired several thousands of rounds into the house. This remains one of the largest police shootouts in U.S. history with a reported total of over 9,000 rounds being fired (4,000 by the SLA and 5,000 by police). Every round fired by SLA members at the police missed the officers. There were no casualties among law enforcement, firefighters, and civilians.

The SLA dead were: Nancy Ling Perry ("Fahizah"), Angela Atwood ("General Gelina"), Camilla Hall ("Gabi"), Willie Wolfe ("Kahjoh", misspelled by the media at the time as "Cujo"),[17] Donald DeFreeze ("Cinque"), and Patricia Soltysik ("Mizmoon," "Zoya"). All but one of the bodies were found huddled in a crawl space under the house, which had burned down around them.

New broadcasting technology (smaller portable cameras and more nimble and versatile mobile units that made it easier to cover unfolding news events) had recently been acquired by area TV stations, so Hearst and the Harrises were able to watch the televised siege live from their hotel room in Anaheim.

Police allegedly consulted psychics in searching for Hearst.[18][19]

Return to the Bay Area

As a result of the siege, the remaining SLA members returned to the relative safety of the San Francisco Bay Area and protection of student radical households. At this time, a number of new members gravitated towards the SLA.[11] The active participants at this time were: Bill and Emily Harris, Patty Hearst, Wendy Yoshimura, siblings Steve and Kathleen Soliah, James Kilgore (Kathleen Soliah's boyfriend) and Michael Bortin.

Crocker Bank robbery

On April 21, 1975, the remaining members of the SLA robbed the Crocker National Bank in Carmichael, California. During the robbery, bank customer Myrna Lee Opsahl, a 42-year-old mother of four children, was killed when Emily Harris discharged the shotgun she was holding, apparently by accident. Five SLA members were ultimately held accountable for the murder and robbery, but not until almost 27 years later, in early 2002.[20][21]

Capture and conviction

Patricia Hearst, after a long and highly publicized search, was captured on September 18, 1975, along with the Harrises, Steven Soliah, and Yoshimura, all rounded up in San Francisco safe houses. In Hearst's arrest affidavit she claimed that SLA members had used LSD to drug her and had forced her to take part in the bank raid. She was convicted of the Hibernia Bank robbery and sentenced to seven years in prison. US President Jimmy Carter commuted the sentence to time served after she had been in prison for 21 months. She was pardoned by President Bill Clinton.[22] The Harrises were convicted for their part in the Hearst kidnapping and spent eight years in prison.[20]

On February 26, 1976, a Los Angeles county grand jury indicted Kathleen Ann Soliah on explosives and conspiracy charges, accusing her of planting pipe bombs under two LAPD squad cars in August 1975, with the intent to kill police officers in retribution for the SLA member deaths in the May 17th shootout. The devices did not detonate.

Soliah went on the run, moving to Minnesota, and living a quiet upper middle class life under the alias Sara Jane Olson; she married a doctor and had three daughters, while managing to remain a fugitive for over 23 years.

The FBI caught up with and arrested Soliah/Olson in 1999 after a tip was received by the television show America's Most Wanted, which had twice aired her profile. In 2001, she pleaded guilty to possession of explosives with the intent to murder and was sentenced to two consecutive terms of ten years to life, although she had been told as part of a plea bargain that she would serve no more than eight years. She attempted to change her plea, claiming to the judge that she pleaded guilty only because she believed she could not receive a fair trial for bombing charges considering public sentiment after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She maintained her innocence, insisting that she personally had had nothing to do with making, possessing or placement of the pipe bombs. The judge refused her request.[23]

The Opsahl murder/Crocker bank robbery cold case was finally pursued due to new evidence brought forth through the efforts of the Los Angeles deputy district attorneys, who had prosecuted Olson. On January 16, 2002, first-degree murder charges for the killing of Myrna Opsahl were filed against Sara Jane Olson, Emily Harris, William Harris, Michael Bortin, and James Kilgore. All were living "above ground" and were immediately arrested except for Kilgore, who remained at large for nearly another year, in South Africa.

On November 7, 2002, Olson, the Harrises, and Bortin pleaded guilty to reduced second-degree murder charges. Emily Harris, now known as Emily Montague, admitted to being the one holding the murder weapon but said that the shotgun had gone off accidentally. Hearst had claimed that Montague had dismissed the murder at the time saying, "She was a bourgeois pig anyway. Her husband is a doctor." In court, Montague denied having said this and added, "I do not want [the Opsahl family] to believe that we ever considered her life insignificant."

Sentences were handed down on February 14, 2003, in Sacramento, California, for all four defendants in the Opsahl murder case. Montague was sentenced to eight years for the murder (2nd degree). Her former husband, William Harris, was sentenced to seven years, and Bortin to six years. Olson was sentenced to six years, adding two consecutively to the 14-year sentence she had already received. All sentences were the maximum allowed under their plea bargains.

On November 8, 2002, James Kilgore, who had been a fugitive since 1975, was arrested in South Africa and extradited to the United States to face federal explosives and passport fraud charges. Prosecutors alleged that a pipe bomb had been found in Kilgore's apartment in 1975 and that he had obtained a passport under a false name. He pleaded guilty to the charges in 2003.

Sara Jane Olson was expecting to receive a sentence of 5 years and 4 months, but "in stiffening Olson's sentence ..., the prison board turned to a seldom-used section of state law, allowing it to recalculate sentences for old crimes in light of new, tougher sentencing guidelines."[24] Olson was sentenced to 14 years— later reduced to 13 years—plus six years for her role in the Opsahl killing. Hearst had immunity because she was a state's witness, but as there was no trial, she never testified.

On April 26, 2004, Kilgore was sentenced to 54 months in prison for the explosives and passport fraud charges. He was the last remaining SLA member to face federal prosecution.

After serving six years of the prison sentence, Sarah Jane Olson was released on parole and reunited with her family in California on March 17, 2008.[25] But after a discovery that her release was premature because of a clerical error, an arrest warrant was issued. She was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport and notified that her right to travel out of state had been rescinded. She was returned to prison.[26]

On March 17, 2009, Sarah Olsen was released, this time correctly, after serving seven years of her 14-year sentence. She was to check in with her parole officer in Los Angeles where it would be determined if she would be allowed to serve her parole in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and three daughters. Several officials, including the Governor of Minnesota, urged that she serve her parole in California,[27] but she was finally allowed to serve her parole in Minnesota.

On May 10, 2009, James Kilgore was released from prison in California.[28]

Founding member Joseph Remiro remains incarcerated as of 2016 serving a life sentence for the murder of Marcus Foster. He is the only SLA member still in prison. He is up for parole in 2019.

Known members

Founding members

  • Russell Little (SLA pseudonym Osceola or Osi), arrested for the shooting of Marcus Foster. Little was in custody during the time when Patty Hearst was with the SLA. Little was sentenced to life in prison in April 1975, but in 1981 he was retried and acquitted of the Foster murder. He now lives in Hawaii.[10]
  • Joseph Remiro (Bo), arrested with Russell Little. Little and Remiro were the prisoners whom the SLA intended to swap for Hearst. Remiro was sentenced to life in prison in April 1975. He is serving this sentence at the California State Prison, Lancaster, California. He is the only member of the SLA still in prison.
  • Donald DeFreeze (General Field Marshal Cinque Mtume), an escaped prisoner, committed suicide during a police shootout on May 17, 1974
  • William (Willie) Wolfe (Kahjoh), killed in police shootout on May 17, 1974
  • Thero Wheeler (Bayo), left the SLA after receiving death threats from DeFreeze
  • Mary Alice Siem, left the SLA after receiving death threats from DeFreeze
  • Angela Atwood (General Gelina), killed in police shootout on May 17, 1974
  • Patricia Soltysik, alias Mizmoon Soltysik (Zoya), killed in police shootout on May 17, 1974
  • Camilla Hall (Gabi), Soltysik's lover, killed in police shootout on May 17, 1974
  • Nancy Ling Perry (Fahizah), killed in police shootout on May 17, 1974
  • Emily Harris (Yolanda), imprisoned for kidnapping and murder, paroled in February, 2007.
  • William Harris (General Teko), Emily Harris' husband, and eventual leader of the SLA, imprisoned for kidnapping and murder, paroled in September, 2006.

Later members (after the Hearst kidnapping)

  • Patty Hearst ("Tania"), kidnapped and became a member of SLA. Arrested in 1975 and imprisoned for robbery, released in 1979, pardoned in 2001.
  • Wendy Yoshimura, former member of the Revolutionary Army, a violent activist group, with her friend Willie Brandt, imprisoned for robbery and murder, later released.
  • Kathleen Ann Soliah, (alias Sara Jane Olson) a friend of Atwood. Soliah became involved when approached by the SLA after her friend's death in the May 17th shootout. She was imprisoned for explosives, robbery and murder, and was released in 2009.
  • Jim (James) Kilgore, Kathleen Soliah's boyfriend at the time, presently a research scholar at the Center for African Studies at the University of Illinois.[29]
  • Steven Soliah, Kathleen Soliah's brother.
  • Michael Bortin, married to Josephine Soliah, circa 2002.

Associates and sympathizers

  • Josephine Soliah, Kathleen Soliah's sister
  • Bonnie Jean Wilder, Seanna, Sally (a friend of Remiro's), and Bridget. All are mentioned in Hearst's book Every Secret Thing as potential members.
  • Micki and Jack Scott. Rented a farmhouse in Pennsylvania. Scott participated in the transportation of SLA members to different parts of the US, including his farmhouse. His reason for sheltering them was for writing a book on them. Scott, the sports editor for the radical magazine Ramparts, died in 2000.[30][31]

In the media

The SLA distributed photographs, news releases and radio-quality taped interviews in which they explained their past activities to the press. The Bay Area Research Collective was formed as an above-ground support group for the SLA, and distributed a mimeographed newsletter, The Dragon.[32][33] Since that time the SLA's activities have been covered in other ways in the media. These include films and television shows, such as:

  • Abduction (1975), directed by Joseph Zito (based on Black Abductors by Harrison James)
  • Tanya (1976), directed by Nate Rodgers (also known as Sex Queen of the SLA)
  • Patty (1976), directed by Robert L. Roberts
  • The Ordeal of Patty Hearst (1979) (TV)
  • Patty Hearst (1988), directed by Paul Schrader, based on Hearst's autobiography Every Secret Thing
  • Citizen Tania (1989), written and directed by artist Raymond Pettibon
  • Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2004), directed by Robert Stone (released under the alternate title Neverland: The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese Liberation Army.)
  • The Radical Story (2018) (TV); The Cable News Network ran a six part docuseries on Patty Hearst. It featured on-air statements by several former members of the SLA. The report contained several statements by Jeffrey Toobin, author of the American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst, and the report indirectly adapts Toobin's book into the report.[34][35]
  • The freeware game Liberal Crime Squad by Tarn Adams, better known as the developer of Dwarf Fortress, is a satirical game that allows the player to change policies through the methods of the SLA in order to win the game.[36]

Patti Smith's 1974 single of Jimi Hendrix's 1960s song "Hey Joe" begins with a salacious and provocative monologue about Patty Hearst and the SLA, which puts a feminist spin on the lyrics that had been written about a man who murders his adulterous wife and then flees to Mexico.

Honey, the way you play guitar makes me feel so... makes me feel so...masochistic. The way you go down low deep into the neck... and I would do anything... and I would do anything. And Patty Hearst, you standing there in front of the Symbionese Liberation Army flag with your legs spread. I was wondering: were you gettin' it every night from a black revolutionary man and his women? Or were you really dead? And now that you're on the run, what goes on in your mind? Your sisters they sit by the window. You know, your mama does sit and cry. And your daddy—well, you know what your daddy said Patty. You know what your daddy said, Patty? He said... he said... he said.... "Well, sixty days ago she was such a lovely child. Now here she is, with a gun in her hand.[37]

Thus, Smith's version effectively casts Patty Hearst in the role of Joe "with a gun in her hand"—a violent criminal rebelling against the law and all civil authority.[38] Before the fadeout, Smith sings in the voice of Hearst angrily repudiating both her privileged upbringing as well as the mainstream society which has condemned her as a spoiled, vacuous "pretty little rich girl" who became a terrorist. This particular recording was made when Patty Hearst was still a fugitive and members of the SLA were still at large.[39][40]

The 1976 film Network features a Maoist insurgent group, the Ecumenical Liberation Army. Although the film distinguishes it from the SLA, it is plainly a parody of the group and its relationship with the television business.[41][42] Over the course of the film, the ELA kidnaps an heiress and reeducates her into the group, robs a bank, and negotiates with the titular network for its own prime-time program, The Mao Tse-Tung Hour.

The Norwegian rock band Turbonegro included the seven-headed cobra symbol on the front cover of their 1998 album Apocalypse Dudes.

The episode "Inheritance" from the CBS action-drama series S.W.A.T. focuses on the group of criminals with nearly similar motives and tactics as the SLA, later identified as The Emancipators.

See also


  1. Straight Dope Science Advisory Board (May 21, 2002). "Who were the Symbionese, and were they ever liberated?". Retrieved 2007-08-18.
  2. "The Symbionese Federation and the Symbionese Liberation Army Declaration of Revolutionary War and the Symbionese Program". August 1973. Archived from the original on 2003-10-20.
  3. Melanie G. Dante (2007). "Coming of the Cobra". Archived from the original on 2003-07-25. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
  4. "Title" (PDF). The University of Peradeniya. May 2004. ISBN 955-589-067-6. Retrieved 2007-08-18. Carved stones depicting a seven-headed Cobra are commonly found near the sluices of the ancient irrigation tanks in Sri Lanka; these are believed to have been placed as guardians of the water.
  5. Toobin, Jeffrey (2016). American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0385536714.
  6. Krassner, Paul (1999-07-07). "Symbionese Liberation Army". Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  7. "Double Agent Paul Krassner". 1972-06-21. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  8. "Oakland Bullets Had Cyanide". The Washington Post. November 11, 1973. p. A2. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-18. Investigators say bullets used in the murder of Oakland's school superintendent contained cyanide. Roland Prahl, chief investigator for the Alameda County coroner's office, said Friday that five slugs recovered during the autopsy on the superintendent, Marcus Foster, had the "distinctive odor of cyanide." A coroner's report verified the presence of the poison.
  9. Around the Nation: Russell Little is Acquitted of Slaying on Coast in 1973. The New York Times. June 5, 1981. Retrieved April 30, 2008.
  10. "American Experience | Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst | Transcript". PBS. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  11. Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst, directed by Robert Stone, 2004.
  12. Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst. PBS. Retrieved on January 21, 2007.
  13. Welsh, Calvin (1974-03-25). "The Legacy of the SLA". Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  14. "Gallery: The Hibernia Bank Robbery". PBS. 2005-02-16. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
  15. Bryan, John. This Soldier Still at War. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975. ISBN 0-15-190060-4.
  16. "SLA: The shootout". Court TV. October 12, 2001. Archived from the original on 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2007-08-18. Perry and Hall exited the house, but were shot by officers who concluded they were trying to kill police rather than surrender.
  17. The Voices of Guns, p. 286.
  18. "The Reality of ESP: A Physicist's Proof of Psychic Abilities".
  19. Glenn Garvin (November 2016). "Was Patty Hearst Brainwashed?".
  20. "SLA's judgment day / '70s group plead guilty in deadly bank robbery". San Francisco Chronicle. November 8, 2002. Retrieved 2017-07-16.
  21. Sarah Brown (January 17, 2002). "America's hippy extremists". BBC. Retrieved 2007-08-18. [Hearst] Customer Myrna Opsahl was shot dead as she stood depositing church receipts, killing her instantly.
  22. Martha, Ross (31 July 2016). "Patty Hearst's wild true-crime saga revisited in 'American Heiress'". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  23. "Now ex-fugitive Olson wants to stand trial", Larry D. Hatfield, San Francisco Chronicle, November 14, 2001
  24. "Ex-SLA member gets sentence reduced in attempted bombings". Court TV. September 8, 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-09-09. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
  25. "". Archived from the original on March 30, 2008. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  26. "'Error' led to former SLA member's early release", MSN, March 23, 2008.
  27. Ex-1970s, radical set to be freed from prison
  28. "". 2009-05-10. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  29. Tarm, Michael (August 7, 2015). "U of Illinois: Officials broke email rules to hide content". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  30. Reed, Christopher (11 February 2000). "Jack Scott". Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  31. O'NEILL, ANN W. (8 February 2000). "Jack Scott, Friend to SLA, Dies". Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  32. "the dragon". The Freedom Archives. Issues 1-10 (1975 to September 1976) are available for download.
  33. "Symbionese Liberation Army: support / criticize / love them". Bolerium Books.. This commercial site offers this pamphlet for sale, dated 6/74.
  34. February 9, Glenn Garvin; 2018 (9 February 2018). "CNN's Patty Hearst Docuseries Shows Surprising Depth". Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  35. Liebman, Lisa. "There Are Still No Easy Answers in the Curious Case of Patty Hearst". HWD. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  36. "GitHub - Kamal-Sadek/Liberal-Crime-Squad: An updated version of Liberal Crime Squad". October 5, 2019. Retrieved October 10, 2019 via GitHub.
  37. "Patti Smith - Hey Joe Lyrics". Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  38. "Patti Smith Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
  39. Wurzer, Cathy. "Patti Smith adds poetry to 'Hey Joe'". Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  40. December 11th, in Music; Comments, 2014 7. "Patti Smith's Passionate Covers of Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Jefferson Airplane & Prince". Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  41. Clare, Ralph (2014). Fictions Inc.: The Corporation in Postmodern Fiction, Film, and Popular Culture. p. 83.
  42. Braunstein, Peter; Doyle, Michael William (2013). Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960's and 70's. p. 5.

Further reading

  • Boulton, David. The Making of Tania Hearst. Bergenfield, N.J.: New American Library, 1975. 224+[12] pp., ill., ports., facsim., index, 22 cm. Also published: London: New English Library, 1975.
  • Hearst, Patty, with Alvin Moscow, Patty Hearst: Her Own Story. New York: Avon, 1982. ISBN 0-380-70651-2. (Original title: Every Secret Thing.)
  • McLellan, Vin, and Paul Avery. The Voices of Guns: The Definitive and Dramatic Story of the Twenty-two-month Career of the Symbionese Liberation Army. New York: Putnam, 1977.
  • Weed, Steven, with Scott Swanton. My Search for Patty Hearst. New York: Warner, 1976. (Weed was Hearst's fiancé at the time of the kidnapping. That was the end of their relationship.)
  • King, John Brian (editor). Death to the Fascist Insect. Sacramento: Spurl Editions, 2019.
    This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.