A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 19, 2009
Enemies List

"Enemies lists” have probably always been made. An aria in Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera, The Mikado (1885), contains the lyrics:

“I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!”

On April 24, 1930, the Chicago Crime Commission released a “public enemies list” of 28 people, with Al Capone as public enemy number one. The term “public enemy” was made famous, but not “enemies list.”

President Richard Nixon began an “enemies list” in 1971, although it was officially known as an “opponents list” and a “public enemies project.” The term “enemies list” made the press by March 1973. President Barack Obama attacked the Fox News network in 2009, causing some to say that Obama created an enemies list. Although “enemies list” has been most used with American presidents since Nixon, corporations and social movements can also have enemies lists.


Wikipedia: Nixon’s Enemies List
Nixon’s Enemies List is the informal name of what started as a list of President Richard Nixon’s major political opponents compiled by Charles Colson, written by George T. Bell (assistant to Colson, special counsel to the White House), and sent in memorandum form to John Dean on September 9, 1971. The list was part of a campaign officially known as “Opponents List” and “Political Enemies Project.” The official purpose, as described by the White House Counsel’s Office, was to “screw” Nixon’s political enemies, by means of tax audits from the IRS, and by manipulating “grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, prosecution, etc.”

In a memorandum from John Dean to Lawrence Higby (August 16, 1971), Dean explained the purpose of the list succinctly:

“This memorandum addresses the matter of how we can maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in their opposition to our Administration; stated a bit more bluntly—how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies. ”

The original 20 names in Colson’s memo (and his notes accompanying them) were as follows, although a master list of Nixon political opponents and another list, with a combined total of over 30,000 names, were developed later.

Wikipedia: Public enemy
Public enemy is a term which was first widely used in the United States in the 1930s to describe individuals whose activities were seen as criminal and extremely damaging to society. However, the phrase (often spelled “publick enemy") has been used for hundreds of years to refer to pirates, outlaws, and rebels.

The term was first popularized in April 1930 by Frank J. Loesch, then chairman of the Chicago Crime Commission, in an attempt to publicly denounce Al Capone and other Chicago gangsters.

It was later appropriated by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI who used it to describe various notorious fugitives that they were pursuing throughout the 1930s. Among the criminals whom the FBI called “Public Enemies” were John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Bonnie and Clyde, Ma Barker, and Alvin Karpis.

The term was used so extensively during the 1930s that some writers call that period of the FBI’s early history the “Public Enemy Era”.

Original usage in Chicago
Frank J. Loesch first used the term “Public Enemy” in the title of a list he wrote of Chicago’s most prominent and influential gangsters.

The Public Enemies list, as printed in the Chicago Tribune on April 24, 1930, included the following:

Al Capone
Ralph Capone
Franklin Rio
Jack “Machine Gun” McGurn
Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik
George “Bugs” Moran
Joe Aiello
Edward “Spike” O’Donnell
“Polack” Joe Saltis
Myles O’Donnell

All of those listed were reputed to be gangsters or racketeers and most were bootleggers. Although all were known to be consistent law breakers (most prominently in regard to the widely broken “Prohibition” law banning alcohol) none of those named were fugitives or were actively wanted by the law. The list’s purpose was clearly to both shame those named and spur the authorities to prosecute them.

In 1933, Loesch recounted the origin and purpose of the list:

“I had the operating director [of the Chicago Crime Commission] bring before me a list of the outstanding hoodlums, known murderers, murderers which you and I know but can’t prove, and there were about one-hundred of them, and out of this list I selected twenty-eight men. I put Al Capone at the head and his brother next, and ran down the twenty-eight, every man being really an outlaw. I called them Public Enemies, and so designated them in my letter, sent to the Chief of Police, the Sheriff every law enforcing officer.

“The purpose is to keep the publicity light shining on Chicago’s most prominent, well known and notorious gangsters to the end that they may be under constant observation by the law enforcing authorities and law abiding citizens.”

Capone’s ranking at the top of the list led to his gaining the sobriquet “Public Enemy No.1”, a title he would continue to be referred to by newspapers and the authorities until his conviction on tax-evasion charges in 1931.

The term “Public Enemy” was later further popularised when Warner Bros. released the film The Public Enemy in 1931, starring James Cagney as a ruthless criminal. The film’s use of the term was clearly inspired by Loesch’s original list.

FBI use of the term
Later, after the term Public Enemy was popularised by Loesch and the 1931 movie, J. Edgar Hoover and his then fledgling FBI began to use the term widely to describe prominent criminals whom they were pursuing.

However unlike Loesch’s use of the term, the FBI’s “Public Enemies” were wanted criminals and fugitives who were already charged with crimes.

Wikispurce: The Mikado/Act I/Part Va
An aria from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado (1885—ed.). This piece is performed by Ko-Ko, Lord High Executioner of the town of Titipu, and the male chorus. Within this play this song is performed in Act One, Scene One. The words of this song are often rewritten for any given performance, and local references are sometimes inserted.

KO-KO
As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!
There’s the pestilential nuisances who write for autographs —
All people who have flabby hands and irritating laughs —
All children who are up in dates, and floor you with ‘em flat —
All persons who in shaking hands, shake hands with you like that —
And all third persons who on spoiling tête-á-têtes insist —
They’d none of ‘em be missed — they’d none of ‘em be missed!

CHORUS
He’s got ‘em on the list — he’s got ‘em on the list;
And they’ll none of ‘em be missed — they’ll none of ‘em be missed.

24 April 1930, New York (NY) Times, pg. 3:
LISTS 28 GANGSTERS AS PUBLIC ENEMIES.
Chicago Commission Names Capone, Moran, Diamond and Saltis Among Others.
POLICE TO HARASS THEM
“Hoodlum Squad” Ordered to Arrest Them on Sight in Effort to Drive Them Out.
CHICAGO, April 23.—Announcement that the Chicago Police Department will organize a “hoodlum squad” to harass gangsters was made tonight by Police. Commissioner William A. Russell, following the naming of twenty-eight men as public enemies by the Chicago Crime Commission, which asked law enforcement officials to “treat them accordingly.”

17 September 1930, Greenville (PA) Record-Argus, pg. 1, col. 8:
CHICAGO HUNTS GANGSTER ENEMIES
CAPONE TOPS LIST OF 26 POLICE SEEK
Warrants Issued for “Public Enemies” Listed by Crime Commission.
(...)
Chicago, Sept. 17—(AP)—The 6,000 members of Chicago’s police force to-day hunted the 26 “public enemies” listed by the Chicago Crime commission, with Alphonse ("Scarface") Capone, gangland overlord, the first on their list.

13 April 1951, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pt. III, pg. 1:
PUBLIC ENEMIES
LIST PROPOSED
One of the first activities of the Dallas Crime Commission should be the listing of Dallas public enemies, Commission President Alphonso Ragland Jr. proposed Thursday.

Google News Archive
1 March 1973, Kingsport (TN) Post, “‘Enemies’ list depends on who is president” by Lyn Nofziger (Copley News Service), pg. B13, col. 1:
In recent days we have seen a lot of stories by reporters who made the Nixon White House’s “enemies” list.

28 June 1973, Victoria (TX) Advocate, “Harrassment List Revealed,” pg. 10A, col. 4:
The Colson memo proposing names for the political enemies list identified the following individuals:...

OCLC WorldCat record
The Enemies List
Author: P J O’Rourke
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press ; [Emeryville, CA] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, ©1996.
Edition/Format: Book : English : 1st ed

Google Books
Safire’s Political Dictionary
By William Safire
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2008
Pg. 215, col. 2:
George Bell, an aide to presidential counsel Charles Colson, compiled a list in response to Dean’s memo (August 16, 1971—ed.), which Colson forwarded to Dean under the heading “Opponents List.” However, when Dean revealed his own memo and its answer in testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee, he renamed it an “enemies list”; the word enemies, which he had used in his original memo, carried a far more savage connotation than opponents.

Politico.com
Bill Clinton’s enemies list
By KENNETH P. VOGEL | 5/30/08 6:04 PM EST
With Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on the verge of defeat, Bill Clinton has been placing blame on enemies including a brazenly biased media that tried to suppress blue-collar votes, a powerful anti-war group that endorsed rival Barack Obama and weak-willed party leaders unable to stand up to either of these nefarious forces.

Time magazine
What Happens If You’re on Gay Rights’ ‘Enemies List’
By Alison Stateman / Los Angeles Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008

The American Spectator
Obama’s Enemies List
By Mark Hyman on 2.18.09 @ 6:07AM
After the Democratic convention, Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer warned TV stations against airing a TV ad that was embarrassing to Barack Obama. The commercial focused on the longtime relationship between Obama and Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. Bauer sent letters to the Justice Department imploring the agency to pursue criminal action against those behind the ads. It was not lost on anyone at that time that Bauer was considered a candidate to be the next U.S. Attorney-General.

TheDeal.com
Bank of America’s enemies list
Published September 30, 2009 at 2:16 PM
With the number of parties lining up to either sue, subpoena or put Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) on trial over the purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co., management at the Charlotte, N.C., institution must feel like its navigating a mine field.

Hot AIr
Rove: Obama building an enemies list
posted at 8:48 am on October 19, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
What does Fox News’ Karl Rove and Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik have in common? Both of them have called the Obama administration’s weird war on Fox News Channel “Nixonian.” In this clip, Rove — who knows a thing or two about being in a beleaguered White House — answers Terry McAuliffe’s defense of Barack Obama that a little demonization is perfectly acceptable in order to get health reform passed:...

Newsmax.com
Karl Rove: Obama Building Enemies List
Monday, October 19, 2009 2:06 PM
By: Rick Pedraza Article Font Size
President Barack Obama’s demonization of Fox News is comparable to that of the Nixon administration’s media enemies list, according to former Bush adviser Karl Rove.

Rove, appearing on Fox News Sunday, said Obama is engaging in his own version of former President Richard Nixon’s enemies list by shunning Fox News’ questions that officials in his administration don’t like.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Monday, October 19, 2009 • Permalink