From The Bust Book (Grove Press, 1969)
Don't Talk - By Any Means Necessary

Investigations by the police, the FBI, the District Attorney, and the Grand Jury are used to terrorize activists and lay the basis for prosecutions. They are designed to crush the movement, as even when the FBI questioned us about Chicago police brutality during the Democratic Convention in 1968.

You are not obliged to say anything to any investigator. If local cops are belligerent, and you are afraid to refuse outright to talk, insist on speaking to your lawyer first. The FBI may threaten you, or they may just be persistent, trying to draw you out with a "friendly" manner. They may get you into political discussions and pretend that you are winning them over as a way of getting you to talk even more. One of them may play friendly and the other tough as a way of getting you to sympathize with the friendly one and talk. You aren't required to talk to the FBI any more than the local cops - and you should clearly refuse to say anything to either one. All you should say is: "I do not want to speak to you. Talk to my lawyer".

You are "legally" required to appear before the Grand Jury when you are subpoenaed, although some people have refused to do even that. In all cases you can refuse to answer questions on the ground that your answers might tend to incriminate you. This is your right under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. In special cases (including, in New York, unlawful assembly or conspiracy to commit a felony, the prosecutor can grant "immunity." This means that what you say cannot be used against you- (maybe). If you refuse to answer in order to protect your friends, (or on principle) you may be held in contempt of court and put in jail for up to the life of that grand jury, a maximum of 18 months. At the end of that you can be subpoenaed again, although this is rarely done.

There is never anything to gain from talking, and you might do great harm. You can't persuade the cops and you can't trick them, since you never know what they're looking for, and lying to them is a crime. The only possible exception is when you're given immunity and face a jail sentence. That's a difficult choice which requires collective consideration.

One person who appeared before a Grand Jury investigating Movement activities recommends:

"Don't Talk, By Any Means Necessary":We are so reluctant to define ourselves or be de-fined as the enemy. Us? Them? For all our rhetoric as a movement, most of us have deep personal reservations about accepting that division. Pig, yes. But when we/they becomes a person talking reasonably, questioning reassuringly, smiling amiably, we hesitate. We are tempted to talk (only a little), to answer (only a few of the questions), to smile back (or even smile first). We hesitate and we are tempted out of both our strength and our weakness as a Movement. That young red-haired guy who is running errands for the U.S. attorney (you know. Harvard Law, '66) - why isn't he working for us? If only we could talk to him ... That black guy on the grand jury, he looks a little uncomfortable. If only I could get him to look me in the eye . . . The rest of the jurors, if only they would listen to how I am an ordinary American like them, how my radicalism came straight from an American experience we hold in common. I may be tieless, wearing blue jeans, carrying a book by Eldridge Cleaver, but I am as legitimate an American as they are.

But hold it, there's the weakness coming in. It is good to feel the strength that says we can reach most Americans, find ways to bridge the gap between our experience and theirs, locate their necessity for revolutionary change. But to want to be seen as legitimate, to want to be liked, is a dangerous wish. A smile, a handshake, a considered answer to a question earnestly asked may gain for us a measure of personal acceptance, a feeling that the barriers may yet come down. If we work a little harder maybe the Grand Jury will understand. Or, if not, at least we can learn what they and the U.S. attorneys think about us and our demonstrations.

Who are we kidding? We, and through us our brothers and sisters in the movements are the subjects of an investigation conducted by our enemy. There is no question that the government wants some of us behind bars.

If we can begin to fully recognize and take seriously our identity as enemies of the state, the question of how to behave before this particular Grand Jury or any other investigative agency of the local or national power structure becomes clear. Temptations to communicate with those who are after us, hesitations about appearing overly militant and thus closing some doors which might otherwise remain open, begin to disappear. One principle takes precedent in all these situations: don't talk. Tell them nothing for it will all be used against you and your brothers and sisters. Don't talk - but what tactics did we use in facing the Grand Jury investigating the demonstrations at the Democratic national convention in 1968? We were reasonably sure that we would not face eventual indictment, for Grand Juries do not customarily subpoena those they are considering for indictment. But we were worried that the most casual admission of the most innocent sounding fact would come up in court a month later as one piece in a pattern which spelled out inter-state conspiracy to riot.

"Yes, I had dinner at some point in the last year with Mr. Davis."

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I will seek to prove that Mr. Davis, did informally and covertly meet with instigators of disruption in Boston, New York, Chicago, and other cities in the months preceding . . ."

A particular ruling which applies to the privilege of taking the Fifth Amendment (which protects the witness against self-incrimination) made even more necessary our commitment to provide no pieces for a puzzle to be assembled by the prosecution. We learned that if a witness before a Grand Jury answers one question (for example, admitting his presence at a meeting), he runs the risk of automatically waiving his privilege of taking the Fifth on any subsequent question which is found to be in the same line of inquiry'such as what the meeting was about or what particular people said.

We must be prepared to use any means necessary to protect our Movement against investigations and subsequent prosecution by the enemy. In front of this Grand Jury, detailed legal knowledge and a strong, supportive movement were sufficient. With the FBI or the President's Commission on Violence, hanging up a telephone or slamming a door may do the job. (See a lawyer if you have doubts about this) The House Un-American Activities Committee is more vulnerable to public attack than a secret Grand Jury, Each situation is slightly different, and all of them are certain to be used more in the coming months and years as our Movement grows larger and more insistent.

Don't talk - by any means necessary. The black movement created the phrase "by any means necessary" to indicate their commitment to armed self-defense against the police. The white radical movement has not yet faced repression on the scale which the black movement has met. So far, all that is required of most of us is that we keep our mouths shut. This is the beginning of self-defense for our movement.