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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sonny Barger Has Notes

One of the million or so people who have been watching George Christie’s reality series on the History Channel, about what it is really like to be a Hells Angel is very well known Hells Angel Ralph “Sonny” Barger. Barger has been taking notes while he watched and he has offered to share them here.
You can decide for yourself how much Barger is holding in and what else he might have said.
1.    “Some call him ‘The Last American Outlaw.” That phrase was coined by Nick Mead as he filmed a movie about him. Since finding out the truth about him, Mead has refused to show the movie. That cost Mead about $200,000.”
2.    “George Christie says he worked for the Department of Defense. I can’t say for sure, but I only know of him working for the telephone company”
3.    “Most powerful member of HA!? In his own mind!”
4.    “He was in confinement awaiting trial for about one year. Also he did seven months on a case where he was facing two mandatory 20-year sentences and two life sentences.”
5.    “He quit because he decided to quit to make changes in his life?! He quit because someone from another charter told him if he did not quit they were going to fight! After he quit and all the evidence showed up, his status was changed to out bad. He, himself, put over 30 members out bad as informants without any paperwork.”
6.    “He talks about the club in 1968 – 70. He wasn’t even in the club until December 1976.”
7.    “He said one club rule is to ‘Stand With Your Brothers.’ Is that what he’s doing here?”
8.    “He talks about a tattoo with a dotted line that says ‘cut here.’ I’ve been around. I’ve only seen a tattoo like that once and it was not on a member.”
9.    “He says after the war ended in 1945, pilots became members of the Pissed Off Bastards Of Bloomington. In 1945, Otto Friedli (who founded that club) would have been about 14-years-old. He might have been a little older than that. Otto became president of the Berdoo charter after Bobby Zimmerman was killed in a motorcycle accident on the way home from Bass Lake in 1961, HE (George Christie) says American fighter pilots called themselves the hells angels and that’s where the name of the club came from. NO fighter pilots called themselves that in World War Two. One of American General Claire Lee Chennault’s squadrons was called Hells Angels. They were mercenaries. They were American pilots who resigned their commissions and got $500 for every Jap plane they shot down. At any rate, when the United States entered World War II they got back their commissions and reentered the Army Air Corps.”
10.    “The ex-member says he was out of the Marine Corps and working for the Department of Defense in 1966. If that was true he would not have passed a background check to become a hang around.”
11.    “He says we have to have an American bike. That’s NOT True. Some charters have that rule but not the club. In the fifties and the sixties a lot of people rode BSAs and Triumphs. There were no foreign (Japanese) bikes then. I, myself, grew up in World War Two. I buy American. I ride a Victory made in America. I drive a Chevy truck and I ride American Quarter Horses. That’s because I’m American. People ask me why I don’t ride a Harley-Davidson and I say the only reason you do is because I did in 1950.”
12.    “He says how hard it is to join the club. But I say it’s harder to get kicked out. Possibly because your brothers always want to believe and trust you even though you put out over 30 people without paperwork. Your 35-year membership proves that.”
13.    “The story about you pulling Tall Paul back into the lane sounds just like when some of us were travelling across the country. I fell asleep and Deakon (Oakland charter member Edward James “Deakon” Proudfoot) reached out and shook my shoulder. That was before this ex-member was even in the club.”
14.    “He says we have contempt for the law! We believe in law and order more than most Americans. What we do not believe in is when police act under their own authority rather than the courts. When they do that they are vigilantes. We do not have to stand for that.”
15.    “Prospect sending hamburger from Frisco? On that I will just say he is telling less than the truth.”
16.    “A prospect cutting off his own finger? I guess he saw my movie, Dead In Five Heartbeats. That was a true event involving Cisco (longtime Hells Angel Elliott S. “Cisco” Valderrama) and four fingers.”
17.    “Boots and patches. There was never a rule that members had to do what they told prospects to do. I would never ask a prospect to do something I would not. The fact he says he would not do it would have got his face beat or expelled from the club. Howe ver, boots and patches were only done at Bass Lake. We stopped going to Bass Lake ten years before he entered the club.”
18.    “I guess the one truthful thing he said was that he ‘was not a good leader.’”
19.    “Humpers fight? Says John fought a guy. So what?”
20.    “Says when a guy doesn’t make it we take his vest and bike. He may have and others may have but as a club we do not.”
21.    “He says when he got voted in, in December 1976 Betty from Berdoo made all the club patches. That’s not true. Betty made patches for Berdoo and whomever. Betty didn’t make any of the patches for Northern California or the rest of the country.”
22.    “The narration talks about the North Carolina Fiddler’s Convention in April 1976. He wasn’t a member. He didn’t become a member until that December.”
23.    “He says the clubhouse is home. The Ventura clubhouse was in his name. He took out an inflated loan on it and never made a payment. There was more money owned on that clubhouse than it was worth so the Ventura charter lost its clubhouse. Nice way to take care of your home.”
24.    “He said the Hells Angels is not a criminal organization. I guess so far he’s told the truth there.”
25.    “He says we live by a code of silence. I wonder what he lives by now. Even though we’ve had informants we still love and trust each other. Which is why he lasted 35 years.”
26.    “He says in the late 70s a member along with a woman police officer did a lot of telling. He says the man who was made a good deal to tell. Is that the reason they stopped your trial, sealed the record and gave you seven months instead of two mandatory life sentences and two 20-year mandatory sentences. Did you too got a good deal?
27.    “Everyone asks me, what do I think of the show. All of the above is a brief outline of my thoughts on episode number one and I will take a polygraph to my answers if he will take one to his statements. I hope you don’t ask me about number two.”