Cannonfire - Tuesday, March 17, 2009
This post will have the greatest meaning for older people. Nevertheless, I hope that younger folk will pay attention, because this strange and complex tale from days of yore has a lesson for our own time.
Back in the 1970s, paranoia buffs (especially conspiracy queen Mae Brussell) argued that the Symbionese Liberation Army — the “Marxist” terrorist group that kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst — was a sham. It was, to use the terminology of General Kitson, a “pseudo-gang.”
(If you are unfamiliar with that phrase, go here and scroll down for the scoop on Kitson, who was a very important figure in the history of counterinsurgency.)
While I can’t go all the way with Mae, who said many loopy and wrong-headed things, I do think that her SLA conspiracy theory is more than just a theory. If you read the SLA literature carefully — and quite some time ago, I read all the books, including the transcript of Patty’s trial — you’ll see many indicators that the tale has always had a hidden side.