Donald DeFreeze: My name is Cinque and to my comrades I am known as Cin.
Donald DeFreeze: 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.
Nancy Perry: 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.
Bill Harris: Greetings to the people. This is Teko speaking.
Emily Harris: This is Yolanda speaking. Greetings of profound love to all comrades in the concentration camps of fascist America and to all the children.
Mizmoon Soltysik: This is information/intelligence unit four.
Angela Atwood: 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.
SLA chorus: Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people.
Patty Hearst: Mom, Dad, I'm with a combat unit that's armed with automatic weapons.
GUERRILLA: The Taking of Patty Hearst
a Robert Stone film
Russ Little, founding SLA member: 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 get to be an astronaut. When I got to college, I ran into a whole new world.
Mike Bortin, later SLA member: 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 see this every night and it's just like oh my God. It's like what's going on here? I was pretty militant. I helped 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 like. I know that's a weird way to sum it up but we just felt like there was no future.
Tim Findley, Investigative Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle: 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 kept accusing them of being. They actually saw themselves, if they did not admit it as such, as patriots.
Berkeley, California -- 1972
Russ Little: 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.
Mike Bortin: I think that my... the 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.
Russ Little: I was interested in the prisons actually, and when I found out that Willie and them were going, then I went.
Tim Findley: 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 of romantic bullshit as well. The idea that made black prisoners, at the time, so-called political prisoners was that they had been denied sufficient opportunity in society and had reached out to take their share.
Russ Little: 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.
March 5, 1973 -- DeFreeze escapes.
Russ Little: Willie took DeFreeze over to Mizmoon, 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.
Tim Findley: 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 of status within the so-called "revolutionaries" of actually being able to hide out an escapee, who would then prove to be something more than just and 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.
Russ Little: I know people want to make DeFreeze the leader or some kind of Manson figure something like that but that's just not my experience. It became obvious to us that you know what we were really doing that we were like forming our own little group, to be able to respond to things, to be able to do things that were illegal.
Robin Hood (feature film): 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?
Russ Little: We familiarized ourselves with weapons. We bought weapons.
Gun shop owner: They weren't militant in any way. In fact most of them had decent personalities, and nice people.
Russ Little: We didn't have some great plan. We weren't gonna like 'well 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 practiced, sure. We practiced at the gun ranges just like everybody else practiced.
Oakland, California -- November 6, 1973
Oakland Police Spokesman: Officers arrived immediately and both Mr. Blackburn and Dr. Foster, were transported to Highland Hospital in Oakland where Dr. Foster was pronounced deceased.
Tim Findley: The murder of Marcus Foster who was the School Superintendent in Oakland was one of these appalling acts that made no sense what so ever. Here was the first black school superintendent in the history of Oakland, a good man, suddenly gunned down.
Russ Little: 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.
Tim Findley: If I recall correctly I was about to leave the office one day when I stopped to check my mailbox. And here was this communiqué 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. I mean the whole thing sounded ridiculous, Symbionese Liberation Army, killing the black school superintendent. Who were these people?
Russ Little: I remember saying to DeFreeze, why? Why would you kill a black guy? Jesus Christ man, it's like 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.
Mike Bortin: The issue was ID for high school students. And the funny thing is, is everyone today that's been even mildly been associated with the SLA, just about everyone has kids and all of us want those ID's, that's the funny thing.
Two months later, Russ Little and Joe Remiro are stopped by a traffic cop. SLA weapons and propaganda are found in their possession.
Police officer: Stay away from the defendant. Stay away of the deputies. Thank you.
Reporter: 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.
Russ Little: 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.
Tim Findley: Remiro, at the time we were investigating it, we regarded him as their armorer, 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.
Police discover the SLA's Concord safehouse, abandoned and set ablaze.
Oakland police chief: 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.
Reporter: Has your investigation uncovered any evidence as to the size of this liberation army?
Oakland police chief: No. The only thing I can say is that it has grown day by day.
Russ Little Everybody saw us together all the time. I mean, after we got arrested, they were totally tied to us. You know, 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 were 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.
Tim Findley: The SLA in its formative time at that point was looking for targets. Emily Harris worked in the registrar's office at UC Berkeley, so they had a pretty fair knowledge of who was at Berkeley. And they were looking for the right one.
February 4, 1974 Berkeley, California
Walter Cronkite: There's been a big kidnapping on the West Coast. The victim is Patricia Hearst, the daughter of newspaper executive Randolph Hearst and a granddaughter of the legendary William Randolph Hearst.
Reporter: 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 fiancé, 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.
Steven Weed, Patty's fiancé: They said absolutely nothing. They were very militaristic. They had it so well planned that they needed to say almost nothing to each other.
The Hearst's are among the richest and most powerful families in the United States.
Tim Findley: The national media immediately focused on it as a kidnapping case and then understood the revolutionary aspects of it. But in effect what they did was park outside Randolph Hearst's mansion.
John Lester: It was the only place to go and so they made a story of it to some degree.
TV anchorwoman: A live report from the Hearst home in Hillsborough. John?
John Lester: 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 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?
Randolph Hearst: "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 to arrest or harm any 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."
Russ Little: We heard this stuff, we were locked down in the Adjustment Center 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 antigovernment terrorists.
Tim Findley: Now you talk about State of Siege, the movie for example. You know that's how the SLA kind of envisioned it. The kidnap was meant as a prisoner swap. They meant to frankly to grab Patricia Hearst and trade her for Russ Little and Joe Remiro.
Paul Fisher, KPFA Radio - Berkeley: 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 publicized in full which is what we're doing right now.
Russ Little: We knew they weren't about to release us because they had Patty Hearst.
Tim Findley: They realize they're not gonna get a prisoner exchange. The next best thing they can do is to, is to create some kind of enormous act. So that's the food giveaway.
The SLA demands that Randolph Hearst feed all the poor people in California as a so-called good faith gesture.
Paul Fisher: 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...
Tim Findley: 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.
Paul Fisher: General Field Marshall C-I-N, S-L-A. 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.
Patty Hearst Mom, Dad. I'm OK. 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 that 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 alright. I just hope I can get back to everybody really soon.
Anchorwoman: This is 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 word, 'in the realm of unreasonableness."
Randolph Hearst: You sounded a little tired or like you were sedated but you sounded all right and 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 is 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 that's acceptable. 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. Anyways, 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.
Tim Findley: They waited to see what Hearst would do and did very little work to try to find out what the SLA might do, or who the SLA might be.
Reporter: That ominous quiet continues at the Hearst home. And that tense, frustrating wait goes on.
John Lester: We never discussed it, as to, should we be doing this? We're you know being a mouth-piece 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?
Donald DeFreeze: Greetings to the people and fellow comrades, 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. In closing, 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.
John Lester: There was no doubt they were in control of the situation, no doubt. And no doubt that they had control, again, because they had the girl. They had Hearst. This is like uncrowned royalty.
Russ Little: They kicked off something they had no idea what the ramifications where going to be when they kidnapped her. They did exactly what I, for one, didn't want to do.
John Lester: And we were parked in front. And we started out with cars. Then we got two Winnebagos. Then we got to where some people stayed over night.
Reporter: ...more anxious about his daughter's plight.
John Lester: See this is the first time something like this has ever happened. So there are no ground rules. We got barbeque sets, wine, liquor.
John Lester: 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?
Al Bullock: Not to this fascist pig press.
Reporter: If the FBI did know, in fact, where Patty Hearst was, what exactly would you do?
Charles Bates, FBI Chief - San Francisco: Well, this would depend of 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.
Tim Findley: 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.
Dan Grove, FBI Special Agent: 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? Things like that. No idea what-so-ever. 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.
Angela Atwood, "Gelina": 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.
Russ Little: Oh, man, now the FBI came in and said, "Oh hell no, we ain't about to let these go live on national television, you can forget that."
Randolph Hearst 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.
John Lester: I told him, "you know what you're doing is giving them the satisfaction. You're putting them on a pedestal that they didn't belong."
Patty Hearst: 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. And just take care of Steve, and just hurry. Bye.
Ludlow Kramer: You know 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.'
Randolph Hearst: Arrangements have been made for $2 million to be delivered to a tax exempt charitable organization capable of making a distribution for the benefit of the poor and needy.
Ludlow Kramer: He walked out the front door and said Lud Kramer is going to handle the food distribution. And that was it.
Randolph Hearst: 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 program, the model of it has been done in the State of Washington.
Ludlow Kramer: And one of the sad parts was the number of people that they grabbed to help them that could do nothing.
Rev. Cecil Williams: 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.
Ludlow Kramer: 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.
Patty Hearst: I'm not being starved or beaten or unnecessarily frightened.
Ludlow Kramer: 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 that 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 beginning we didn't really know who we were dealing with either.
Ludlow Kramer: Four days ago we had nothing and in four days we've created the largest private volunteer organization 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 program believe the same thing. But we believe that it must be and can be an ongoing program.
John Lester: And 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.
Mike Bortin: 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 program," 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.
Woman on street: I hate to take advantage of what could happen to the young lady. But my children need food just like anybody else's kids.
Crowd: Right on! Right on!
Ludlow Kramer: We were like Robin Hood and we're coming in and we're going to feed people. And maybe this can be an ongoing program for 20 years and maybe we can do some good things and all that stuff. So sure, we didn't agree with the SLA but we knew people were hungry.
Tim Findley: What literally happens of course is that because of the lack of coordination, because just 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.
Ludlow Kramer: Three of them were going smoothly. One all hell broke lose. All of a sudden people started coming in and saying, "do you know that two people have been killed and murdered because you handled this so badly?"
Reporter: People have been hurt Mr. Kramer.
Ludlow Kramer: One Reporter and he's not badly hurt.
Ludlow Kramer: It happened so what are you going to do?
Ludlow Kramer: I'm carrying out the wishes of the family.
Evelle Younger, Attorney General State of California: In the future every crime committed in connection with the kidnapping will be prosecuted. And I'm including any persons who participated 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 they won't we'll do it
Randolph Hearst: The size of the latest demand of the SLA is far beyond my financial capability. Therefore the matter is now out of my hands.
Animated Character: You know something Robin, I was just wondering. Are we good guys or bad guys? You know, I mean, our robbing the rich to feed the poor.
Animated Character: That's a naughty word, we never rob.
Animated Character: I've been robbed.
Animated Character: Of course you've been robbed.
Patty Hearst: Mom, Dad. I've been hearing reports about the food program. 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.
Mike Bortin: 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...
Patty's fiancé Steven Weed Like I said earlier, I can see that she may be actually be having her doubts as to, you know, from her point of view it may look like we've made a mess of things.
Reporter: What is her political point of view, would you say?
Steven Weed: Previous to the last two months I would say that 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.
Patty Hearst: Mom, Dad. 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 that 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.'
Mike Bortin: All of a sudden within days, 'We Love You Tania' because that's the name she chose. And 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 just like... it was like... it was like the '49er's in '81 being all of a sudden on their way to the Superbowl. It was magical. It was just like the 'home team.' You know, 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 failure.
Russ Little: 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 know?
Reporter: You don't think she's come around to thinking their way?
Patty's sister Anne Hearst: Oh, I know Patty too well to think that she's going to come around like that. I really don't.
Reporter: But why do you think she would say those things?
Anne Hearst: 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." And like I said, she only hears one side and she just doesn't know the whole thing.
Reporter: You don't believe it?
Anne Hearst: No, I don't believe it.
Randolph Hearst: We're in more or less shock over this thing and until we know more about it we haven't anything to say.
Ludlow Kramer: 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.
Ronald Reagan, Governor of California: 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.
Tim Findley: 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.
Dan Grove: 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.
Russ Little: If I would have been there? If I would have been 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 and all this other stuff and she was pissed off at her parents...
Robin Hood: Will you come with me?
Maid Marian: To Sherwood?
Robin Hood: I have nothing to offer you but a life of hardship and danger but we'd be together.
Maid Marian: Because I love you, Robin, I'd come. Even danger would mean nothing if you were with me.
Patty Hearst: As for my ex-fiancé, the fact is, I don't care if I ever see him again. During the last few months, Steven has shown himself to be a sexist, ageist pig.
Steven Weed: Alright, I'm not in any particular right frame of mind perhaps to be talking now. I just 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 certainly 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.
Russ Little: 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 too. "Yeah, I'll go join Robin Hood."
Donald DeFreeze Combat operation: April 15th, 1974 'The Year of the Children.' Action: appropriation. One .38 Smith & Wesson revolver. Condition: good. Five rounds of 138 grain 38 caliber ammo. Number of rounds fired by Combat Forces: 7 rounds. Number of rounds lost: 5. Casualties: People's Forces - none, Enemy Forces - none, Civilians - 2. Reasons: Subject 1 - male. Subject 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 2 - male. Subject failed or did not hear order 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.
Mike Bortin: 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 so... artistic like.
Charles Bates, FBI: 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.
James Browning, DA: At this point we are simply saying we want to talk to Patricia Hearst.
Dan Grove 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. "I'm Tania. Up, up, up against the wall" And then everybody giggled because they couldn't say it. And I said, "M.F." And they said, "yeah, that's it."
Bank Guard: 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.
Patty Hearst: Greetings to the people, this is Tania. Our actions 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 Peoples Army.
San Francisco 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.
Tim Findley: They went to Los Angeles. They left a message for the FBI, Charlie, you know, and said beat you again, see you later, and took off.
Reporter: Do you assume that 'happy hunting Charles' was directed at you that was written on that wall?
Charlie Bates 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.
Russ Little: 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. Are you doing this for the police? Is the communiqué 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 you know, who are you trying to communicate with? Why would you even worry about the police? Who cares what they think? They hate you, they want to kill you.
Tim Findley: A lot of this is fantasy in their mind. I mean, they're living out a fantasy that's Peter Pan.
Mike Bortin: It was like watching a movie, and there's the gang that we want to win. You know, oh we were pulling for them so much! But it wasn't like, you know 'where do we go to join up' or anything like that.
Tim Findley: 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 tried to convince them that he knew about Los Angeles but he didn't. He was from Cleveland.
FBI Agent Sullivan: 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.
Reporter: If there had not been the lifting of a pair of sweat socks, did you have any indication that they had gone to LA?
Charles Bates: No. We had none as of that time, no.
Reporter: Mr. Bates, are you saying that you had no idea that they had moved to Los Angeles?
Charles Bates: That's right.
Reporter: That's pretty incredible, isn't it?
Charles Bates: Is it incredible?
Tim Findley: When we interviewed the people in the neighborhood where they went to, the people who they'd stayed with they were still 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.
Donald DeFreeze: 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. I'm 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 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.
DAY 103 May 17, 1974
Reporter: They are getting ready for an assault, and there's no doubt about that. Before we stop counting there's another, about five plain clothed police cars have moved in on to the corner, on Compton Avenue here. With officers with weapons, with loaded weapons. Ah now are moving right in the position where we were. So they must be getting ready. There's no doubt about that in my mind.
Police officer: Occupants of 1466 come out now! Come out with your hands up. Come out of the house and you will not be harmed. Come on out. Hands up.
Tim Findley: 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.
Reporter: That white house with the two windows that we can see there?
Police officer As far as I can determine. You've got about as close as I have.
Reporter: That's bad! That's bad!
Police Sergeant: Stay over on the other side of the street! Hey get out of there! Get out of there, they're shooting that way!
Police radio We need additional ambulances to come down because we're going to have some injuries if this keeps up.
Police officer Cover this driveway, please!
Reporter: They're moving us back. They're moving us back.
Tim Findley: 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.
Police radio: Let's listen up because we're going to need your assistance. Now we need all the 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.
Reporter: They have more ammunition than the police do which is an incredible thing, it's hard to believe. But that was the transmission. So there's no reason to believe that we're going to get lose here. We're going to be stuck; we're going to be pinned down here for a long time. We are on the scene. You can't get anybody closer that we're standing right now and not have their brains blown out...
Tim Findley: Good God! If you ever had a situation in which you 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 have won, they could have given up and made a speech right there. They had the whole world listening to them. And they decide to fight it out.
Policeman: We got one coming out!
Police radio: A black woman has just exited from the building, the barricaded building.
Policeman: David to CP, do I have permission to use fragmentation type grenades?
SWAT team: Are they white people? Back up, back up, let him talk. Are they white people? Back up. Are they white people?
Police radio: She advised that there is a black male and white females within the building. All armed, all firing.
News director: Stay put. Stay put. We have two other crews in the area.
Bystander: That house is on fire, man. What you talking about, smoke grenades?
Reporter: 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
Police Captain: Hold your fire! Everybody, hold your fire!
Reporter: 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.
Russ Little: 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. 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 realized that it must be them. And we figured, well, this is it. This is what we were afraid of and now it's happened.
Reporter: Los Angeles County Coroner, Thomas Noguchi, faced a jam-packed news conference after autopsies were completed on the bodies found in the wreckage of the SLA hideout.
John Lester: Dr. Thomas Naguchi just called the Hearst residence and talked with Mr. Hearst just a few minutes ago and he told Mr. Hearst that 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.
Holed up in a motel room near Disneyland, Patty Hearst, along with Bill and Emily Harris, watched the shootout on TV.
Russ Little: They knew that Hearst was not in that house. That was all bullshit. They knew because of the way that 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.
Dan Grove: It was quite certain that the Harris' 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.
Evelle Younger Attorney General State of California: I think if you take 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 that '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.
Patty Hearst: 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 constant struggle with bourgeois conditioning. Gabi crouched low with her ass to the ground. She practiced until her shotgun was an extension of her right and left 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 the beautiful brothers in California's concentration camps. Neither Cujo or I had ever loved an individual the way we loved each other. Our relationships 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.
Berkeley, California, 2 weeks after the shootout.
Popeye Jackson, SLA sympathizer: 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 Los Angeles 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, you know, throughout the United States of North America. It's going to take many more SLA's to come along and deal with the fascist elements in this fascist, racist country that we are confronted with as so-called American citizens.
Tim Findley: Here's the most notorious kidnap victim in the world traveling with the two best known kidnappers in the world and yet they slide into Berkeley unnoticed and are given safe refuge almost immediately.
Angela Atwood's best friend Kathy Soliah: Cinque, Willie, Camilla, Mizmoon and Fahizah were viciously attacked and murdered by 500 pigs in LA while the whole nation watched. And now the media is trying to say they were trying to escape by tunneling 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.
Crowd: Right on!
Mike Bortin: The door could have knocked with Emily or 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.
Mike Bortin, Kathy Soliah, and several others Join the SLA.
Tim Findley: 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.
Mike Bortin: 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.
Patty Hearst: 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.
Catherine Hearst, Patty's mother: 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.
Patty Hearst: Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people.
Russ Little: 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.
Russ Little and Joe Remiro are sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Marcus Foster
Police detective: 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 if they didn't cooperate that 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.
Myrna Opsahl 1932-1975
Tim Findey There was nothing left to be gained by the SLA at the point of that Carmicheal 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 it bothered them more than people realize.
Mike Bortin:. 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.
The murder of Myrna Opsahl will remain officially unsolved for the next 27 years
Mike Bortin: 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 Harris' 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, ahh... And I don't really care. I don't care.
Day 592 September 18, 1975
Charles Bates: 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.
Reporter: Here we go. This is it. That's her! Hey, Patty! Hey, Patty!
Reporter: 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."
Mike Bortin: And all these naïve radicals just hearing what they wanted to hear basically. You know, they wanted a rich person to convert to their cause. She was just, just had a mutual agenda for a little while, that's all it was as it turned out. We were all fooled.
Catherine Hearst: 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.
Reporter: 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.
Terrance Halanin: She was placed in a closet on the floor. The closet was approximately 5 to 6 feet in length and about 2 1/2 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 were 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 direct to stand about in the center 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.
Following a sensational trial, Patty Hearst is sentenced to 7 years in prison for her willing Participation in the Hibernia Bank Robbery
Tim Findley: 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.
February 1, 1979
Patty Hearst: Well, this is quite a difference from last time, and I thank you all. And 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.
After 22 months in prison, her sentence is commuted by President Carter
Patty Hearst: Thank you all so much.
Reporter: Are you going to take a vacation of any kind? Are you going to leave the area?
Patty Hearst: I am. Bye Bye.
Reporter: Where you going?
Patty Hearst: Oh, I won't tell.
Russ Little: 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 have 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 got arrested. People talk about, 'Hearst was only 19.' Hey, we were all young.
With the 1999 arrest of SLA fugitive Kathy Soliah, and the post 9- 11 crackdown on terrorism, renewed attention is focused on the forgotten crimes of the SLA
February 14, 2003 Two years after the interviews for this film were conducted
Anchorwoman: Four former Symbionese Liberation Army members accused of murdering a Carmichael woman during a bank robbery in 1975, plead guilty today.
Reporter: In court, four of the SLA members who pulled off the heist, apologized 27 years after Myrna Opsahl was killed during a bank robbery in Carmichael.
Judge: Each of these defendants entered a plea of guilty in the second degree. In addition, Mr. Harris has admitted that he was armed during the commission of the crime. This is the time and the place for judgment and sentence. When we finish today, the defendants will be remanded into custody to serve sentences in state prison.
Mike Bortin: 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 I'm sorry.
Judge: Miss Montague will be sentenced to 8 years in prison. Mr. Harris will be sentenced to 7 years in prison. Miss Olsen will be sentenced to six years in prison. Mr. Bortin will be sentenced to six years in prison.
Gaby Roslin: 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, I mean you were the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst. Your family were supremely rich. What was your childhood like? What was life like living like that?
Patty Hearst: Well, it was great. I think it was really pretty perfect.
Mike Bortin married Kathy Soliah's sister and started a small business in Oregon. He is now serving 6 years in prison for participating in the Crocker Bank robbery.
After 8 years in prison for kidnapping, Bill Harris became a respected private investigator in San Francisco. He is now serving another 7 years in prison for leading the Crocker Bank robbery.
After 8 years in prison for kidnapping, Emily Harris became a successful computer consultant in Hollywood. She is now serving another 8 years in prison for shooting Myrna Opsahl.
Joe Remiro is still serving a life sentence for the 1973 murder of Marcus Foster.
Russ Little was retried in 1981 and acquitted of the murder of Marcus Foster. He now lives in Hawaii.
Patty Hearst married her bodyguard and wrote a best-selling book about her experiences with the SLA. She received a full pardon from President Clinton in January 2001.