Sunday, September 18, 2011

Patty Hearst

“Rained this morning so that I could not sow the wheat.  But I picked up a lead of stones and this afternoon I drilled in the wheat.  Ground is very wet.”

Patty Hearst yelling commands at bank customers
Hearst was born in San Francisco, California, the third of five daughters of Randolph Apperson Hearst and Catherine Wood Campbell. She grew up primarily in the wealthy San Francisco Bay Area suburb of Hillsborough. She attended Crystal Springs School for Girls in Hillsborough and the Santa Catalina School in Monterey. Among her few close friends she counted Patricia Tobin, whose family founded the Hibernia Bank, a branch of which Hearst would later aid in robbing.
On February 4, 1974, the 19-year-old Hearst was kidnapped from the Berkeley, California apartment she shared with her fiancé Steven Weed by a left-wing urban guerrilla group called the Symbionese Liberation Army. When the attempt to swap Hearst for jailed SLA members failed, the SLA demanded that the captive's family distribute $70 worth of food to every needy Californian – an operation that would cost an estimated $400 million. In response, Hearst's father arranged the immediate donation of $6 million worth of food to the poor of the Bay Area. After the distribution of food, the SLA refused to release Hearst because they deemed the food to have been of poor quality. (In a subsequent tape recording released to the press, Hearst commented that her father could have done better.) On April 3, 1974, Hearst announced on an audiotape that she had joined the SLA and assumed the name "Tania" (inspired by the nom de guerre of Haydée Tamara Bunke Bider, Che Guevara's comrade). For this reason, she is a well-known and often referenced example of a victim of Stockholm Syndrome.
On April 15, 1974, she was photographed wielding an M1 carbine while robbing the Sunset District branch of the Hibernia Bank at 1450 Noriega Street in San Francisco. Later communications from her were issued under the pseudonym Tania and asserted that she was committed to the goals of the SLA.  A warrant was issued for her arrest and in September 1975, she was arrested in a San Francisco apartment with other SLA members.
While being booked into jail, she listed her occupation as "Urban Guerilla" and asked her attorney to relay the following message: "Tell everybody that I'm smiling, that I feel free and strong and I send my greetings and love to all the sisters and brothers out there."  However, according to Hearst interviewer Margaret Singer, a noted authority on prisoner of war and other victims including Maryknoll priests released from the People's Republic of China in the 1950s, this is not unusual in such cases. Singer strongly pleaded for understanding in Hearst's behalf before, during and after the trial. Court appointed doctor Louis Jolyon West as well as interviewers Drs. Robert Jay Lifton and Martin Theodore Orne agreed. Lifton went so far as to state after a 15 hour interview with Hearst that she was a "classic case," about two weeks being needed for almost all persons undergoing that level of mind control to shuck off a good deal of the "gunk" that has filled the mind, as happened in his opinion with Hearst's case. "If (she) had reacted differently, that would have been suspect" and Hearst was "a rare phenomenon (in a first world nation)... the first and as far as I know the only victim of a political kidnapping in the United States" were direct quotes from Hearst's autobiography attributed to the doctor. Dr. West firmly asserted that while Donald "Cinque" DeFreeze and other movement members had used a rather coarse version, they did employ the classic Maoist formula for thought control; Hearst was young and apolitical enough to be at extreme risk and, in his professional experience, that it would have even broken many experienced soldiers.

Arrest photo
In her trial, which commenced on January 15, 1976 (and in her dozens of previous interviews by FBI agents Charles Bates and Lawrence Lawler—any reference to which was not allowed by the presiding judge to be included in the trial), Hearst's attorney F. Lee Bailey claimed that Hearst had been blindfolded, imprisoned in a narrow closet and physically and sexually abused. Hearst's defense claimed that her actions were the result of a concerted brainwashing program.
The prosecution countered with two experts: Dr. Joel Fort, who, unsolicited, had previously offered favorable testimony in paid service to the defense team, which was refused; and Dr. Harry L. Kozol, noted expert on brain disorders, sex offenders and high-profile mentally ill criminals. He formerly had been the long term doctor for Eugene O'Neill and evaluated the confessed Boston Strangler, Albert DeSalvo, a case defended in 1967 by Bailey. Kozol claimed Hearst was "a rebel in search of a cause" and that the robbery had been "an act of free will." During a pre-trial interview, Hearst accurately described the apartment where the SLA was captured, but neglected to mention the narrow closet where she was allegedly confined. In Kozol’s view, Hearst’s omission confirmed the prosecution’s thesis: returning the embrace of the SLA, she had ceased to be a victim. The rebel had come out of the closet. When Kozol testified, Hearst turned “the dead white color of a fish’s belly,” according to journalist Shana Alexander. "Harry never lost the spirit of the law," Dr. Harold W. Williams, then a psychiatrist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, told The New York Times in 1976, when prosecutors asked Dr. Kozol to examine Hearst. "Harry is very much in personality a lawyer."
SLA members. This was seen as complicity by the prosecution team.
Hearst was convicted of bank robbery on March 20, 1976. She was sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment, but her sentence was later commuted to seven years. Her prison term was also eventually commuted by President Jimmy Carter, and Hearst was released from prison on February 1, 1979, having served 22 months. She was granted a full pardon by President Bill Clinton on January 20, 2001.
Leesah

No comments:

Post a Comment