Margaret Kimberley: Support Assata Shakur, At Your Own Risk
Thanks to The First Black President and The First Black Attorney General, “the only people safe in speaking of or contacting Shakur are those who mean her harm.” To speak of Black liberation, its heroes and history, is a crime of terror. “Barack Obama has made manifest his predecessor’s desire to create a truly fascist machinery in this country.”
May 8 2013
The announcement that the FBI added Assat Shakur to the list of most wanted terrorists was initially mystifying, a real life example of the shock doctrine. Shakur has been a fugitive ever since 1979 and was granted asylum by Cuba in 1984. It seemed inexplicable that the government would reinitiate searching for a 65-year old woman who had already been at large for more than thirty years. Yet the FBI made a grand show of the announcement, complete with a black agent at the podium and a phalanx of New Jersey state troopers. Not only was Shaukur added to the most wanted terrorist list but the government added $1 million to the $1 million bounty already in place.
Because of Barack Obama, Assata Shakur now faces the possibility of being kidnapped or murdered by the United States government. She may be held indefinitely without being charged or tried. Not only is she in danger, but because of Obama anyone who does as little as publicly defend her may potentially face the same fate.
It is the terrorist label which puts her and her supporters at greatest risk. The Patriot Act made giving “material support to terror” a federal offense which not only is punished very harshly, but is so amorphous as to mean anything the government chooses it to mean. In the Supreme Court decision which began the material support onslaught, a group attempting to teach peaceful activism was found nonetheless guilty because they had contact with the group designated as terrorist. The justices ruled that their intentions were of no consequence.
The only people safe in speaking of or contacting Shakur are those who mean her harm, and a bounty of $2 million will increase the number of persons who fall into that category. Not only is it important to resist the government and defend Shakur but also to name the villain in this story and that person is none other than Barack Obama.
One cannot be separated from the other. It is sad to see the continued effort to excuse Obama’s crimes and let him off the hook on so many occasions, but in the case of Assata Shakur the disingenuousness is particularly dangerous. Barack Obama has made manifest his predecessor’s desire to create a truly fascist machinery in this country. He resurrected the all but dead espionage act to prosecute whistle blowers and at a rate unknown under previous administrations. George W. Bush claimed the right to imprison anyone he wanted but Obama claims the right to kill anyone he wants.
On a recent broadcast of Democracy Now Angela Davis and attorney Lennox Hinds spoke quite eloquently about Shakeur’s plight yet neither of them managed to mention the words Barack or Obama. The omission made the rest of their words meaningless. The justice department is Obama’s justice department. The FBI is his FBI and any and all of its decisions must get the green light straight from the president. If Assata Shakur or anyone else is labeled a terrorist by the United States government it is with Barack Obama’s express permission.
Assata Shakur could well end up dead at Obama’s hands like Anwar al-Awlakki and his sixteen year old son. Cuba may be attacked on the pretext of capturing Shakur. No president since John F. Kennedy has attempted an actual military assault on Cuban soil. Obama is known for his ability to go where other presidents have dared not. He killed Gaddafi and overthrew the Libyan government. Why wouldn’t he try the same with Cuba?
The significance of the renewed attack on Assata Shakur is not just of international significance. Obama is making a point about black America and those few who still dare to speak out against their nation’s domestic and international policy. Immediately after announcing the increased bounty and terrorist designation the FBI posted billboard sized wanted posters in Newark, New Jersey.
It seems a strange thing to do when Shakur is living thousands of miles away in Cuba. Of course the billboards are not meant to capture Shakur but to send a not so subtle message about the state of black liberation. Simply put, there won’t be any talk of black liberation. The Shakurs of the world who weren’t imprisoned, killed off by Cointelpro or bought off, have to be destroyed once and for all and any memory of them must be disappeared as well.
Assata Shakur will be used as a lesson to everyone else who didn’t get the memo. Obama’s election meant that any and all discussion of a black agenda will not only be ignored but will be consciously destroyed.
Time will tell if Cuba can withstand fifty years of attack from the United States and defend Assata Shakur and its right under international law to grant her asylum. The nearly forgotten Shakur has brought to our attention the imperial designs of America towards the rest of the world and why the people who have that power chose Barack Obama as their president.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.