In August 1967, five New Yorkers were arrested on a variety of charges including plotting to kill Herbert Aptheker, who was Director of the American Institute of Marxist Studies and a member of the Communist Party National Committee. This group was also planning to bomb an antipoverty group in Bronx called Better Organization for the Mid-Bronx (BOMB).
The police seized the group's arsenal which included an antitank gun, a submachine gun, 45 rifles, 7 shotguns, 14 hand guns, 3 hand grenades, 18 sticks of dynamite, two 50-pound cans of explosive powder, 103 blasting caps, 250,000 rounds of ammunition, 12 hunting knives and a machete,
Also seized was quantity of right-wing literature, including membership cards for the John Birch Society, Minutemen pamphlets, the JBS Blue Book, and Impeach Earl Warren stickers.
The five men arrested were:
George Colitto (52yo) – owner of sporting goods store, including gun shop, at 504 E. Tremont Ave—Bronx
Martin Mikulik (26yo) – a postal employee who lost his job, was placed on probation for 5 years and ordered to get psychiatric evaluation,
Peter Psyras (37yo) – owner of 2 sandwich shops – who pleaded guilty to felonious possession of gunpowder, conspiring to make a bomb and to plant it on roof at 683 Allerton Ave-Bronx – with Aptheker as intended victim. On 2/5/68, Peter Psyras was sentenced to 2 years in prison
Warren Hoy (40yo) pleaded guilty to possession of 3 handguns without permits, and got suspended sentence and 1 yr probation. He lost his job as City Parks Dept employee.
Frank Wortmann (26yo) was permitted to withdraw guilty plea after cooperating with grand jury and his case was dismissed. He resigned his job as Transit Authority patrolman when charged in the conspiracy.
Colitto, Mikulik and Psyras were originally charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of explosives and weapons law violations. However, the original charge of attempted murder was subsequently reduced to allow each person arrested to plead guilty to lesser charges
An article in the 8/24/67 New York Times stated that at least 2 of the arrested men were John Birch Society members according to District Attorney Isidore Dollinger’s spokesman.
A Los Angeles Times article of 8/24/67, identified the two Birchers as George Colitto and Martin Mikulik.
FBI FILES ON BIRCH SOCIETY:
This report explains why J. Edgar Hoover and senior FBI officials within the Bureau’s Domestic Intelligence Division concluded in FBI memos that the JBS was “extremist" , “irrational" and “irresponsible"
CONSERVATIVE CRITICS OF ROBERT WELCH and BIRCH SOCIETY:
Contrary to claims made by the Birch Society about the alleged "left-wing" origins of JBS criticism, the most potent adverse comments about the JBS have always originated from the right-side of the political spectrum. This report presents a representative sample of such comments.
PERSONS DESCRIBED BY BIRCH SOCIETY AS “EXPERTS" ON COMMUNISM:
Two former FBI Special Agents who endorsed the Birch Society after they retired from the FBI are often cited by Birch Society members and supporters as knowledgeable, reliable, and authoritative sources of information on the communist movement.
However, their FBI personnel files reveal that senior FBI officials did not have a very high regard for their post-FBI endeavors.
In the case of Dan Smoot, just prior to his retirement from the FBI he was censured, placed on probation, and transferred to a small, insignificant field office as a disciplinary measure.
Both reports include detailed critiques of statements and assertions made by these former FBI Special Agents.
W. CLEON SKOUSEN