by Alberta Parish
I am Assata Shakur. I am a reflection of the woman who represents the liberation of all people who are being oppressed in any country through repressive government policies and laws imposed upon them. I am an instrument for change, who want to see all people in the United States and abroad free of any government policy and law designed to rob citizens of individual rights, freedom and property. Even though Assata Shakur and me are years apart in our age and I am not affiliated with any known political or religious organizations, I still believe that people should be free from government persecution due to their political or religious beliefs. According to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2013, all persons living as citizens or legal residents in the United States who are “suspected” of having associations with known terrorist organizations like the Taliban or Al-Qaeda can be denounced as an enemy combatant and detained indefinitely without trial. Even if there is mere suspicion that any persons may have participated in or planned a terrorist attack upon the United States can he be detained indefinitely without the right of habeas corpus, which requires a person to be brought before a judge and jury.
The National Defense Authorization Act does very little to protect any persons living in the United States from indefinite detention on mere suspicion of terrorist activities, real or imagined. Under the NDAA, the definition of a terrorist has been expanded to include any persons who merely express views that oppose the policies of the United States Government as they relate to the ‘War on Terror’, gun control legislation, or constitutional rights violations.
The Homeland Security Act created the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2002 for the sole purpose of preventing terrorist attacks within the United States.
The USA Patriot Act of 2001 expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, which enlarged the number of activities to which the Patriot Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.
The etymology for the word terrorism derives from the Latin terrorem, which means “great fear, dread”; terrere “fill with fear, frighten”.
Based on the etymology of the word terrorism, who has caused more fear and dread in the lives of people of color and poor people in the years before and after the formation of the United States of America in 1776 when the original thirteen American colonies announced its independence as a sovereign nation from the British Empire? The United States Government.
Even after the United States Declaration of Independence was created and finally ratified on July 4, 1776 declaring the famous passage, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, human slavery and the mass genocide of Africans continued. If the drafters of the Declaration of Independence really believed that what they had written applied to all men, they would have abolished the enslavement of Africans in 1776. However, human trafficking and slavery was abolished within these United States in 1865, which was a few years short of a hundred years after the Declaration of Independence was declared.
Under current national security provisions as well as new hate crime laws, the definition of a terrorist has been expanded to include any citizen or legal resident living in the United States who may express opinions opposing government policies such as gun control or senseless drone attacks. A person who is affiliated with a religious organization can be declared as a suspected terrorist if he/she promotes and preaches religious beliefs pertaining to biblical End Times prophecy. Even if you promote speech denouncing government policies, which restrict freedom of expression, counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies can use your speech to justify why you may be a potential threat to the security of the United States. Do you still believe your thoughts are safe now?
This is why after forty years, the United States Government has declared Assata Shakur a domestic terrorist, because the definition of domestic terrorism has been redefined and also expanded to include our revolutionary grandparents like Assata Shakur and other political activists like her. The U.S. Government is in the process of rounding up all opposition to its repressive policies, because it wants the least amount of resistance in the event that martial law is declared across this country. Our troops may be marching down a street near you if they haven’t already done so!
Assata Shakur, the aunt of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur, became a political activist during the 1960s declaring why she demanded true freedom and equal rights for all oppressed people of color and poor people then living within the United States at a time when African Americans and poor people were being systematically oppressed and persecuted under what they perceived to be racist and fascist policies imposed on them by the United States Government. Military tanks rolled down the streets in many African American communities. Military troops carrying AK-47s aimed at adults and teenagers alike were common place in black communities during the 1950s through 1970s.
Today, the threat of indefinite detention based on mere suspicion of terrorist activities or affiliations to known terrorists hangs like a dark cloud over most American-born citizens as well as immigrants who are now U.S. citizens. I’ve never had an AK-47 aimed at me during my lifetime, but I can’t guarantee that it won’t ever happen to me. The National Defense Authorization Act now guarantees our indefinite detention based on mere suspicion that you may be a suspected terrorist if you even oppose the unjust arrest, prosecution, persecution and murder of political activists such as Assata Shakur, accused of a crime that she did not commit, even as her own life hung in the balance back in 1973.
COINTELPRO, an FBI program established in the 1960’s, had moved against all political opposition in the United States including the Black Panther Party. Its sole purpose was to destroy the Black Liberation Movement and discredit all political activists in the United States. COINTELPRO had targeted leaders such as Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and other future potential leaders within the Black Panther Party. COINTELPRO with the help of local law enforcement officials gave false and misleading stories to the mainstream media accusing Assata Shakur and other political activists of crimes they did not commit. Assata and other Black Panther members were falsely declared armed and dangerous, which led to activists being murdered by police. COINTELPRO systematically persecuted political activists neutralizing many, and destroying the credibility and lives of Black Panther members and their associates with regular false arrests and imprisonment.
In 1977, Assata Shakur was wrongly convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper and unfairly sentenced to life in prison, plus 33 years by an all-white jury. While in an all-male prison, she feared for her life where she was beaten and kept in solitary confinement. Then in 1979, some of her fellow comrades helped her to escape from prison.
I wonder how many of you so-called Christians or good ole church people would do the same for one of your own sisters or brothers who was unfairly accused of crimes he or she did not commit, unfairly sentenced to life in prison where he/she was being systematically threatened and tortured due to his/her religious beliefs and affiliations? Many of you will be too busy gossiping and destroying your sister’s or brother’s character while he/she literally rots behind bars. In fact, many of you so-called Christians or church people would rather see your sister or brother unjustly enslaved in a state or federal prison before you lift a finger to help him/her escape to freedom.
After fleeing the United States and gaining political asylum in Cuba, she has gone unharmed by the Cuban government and has lived as a free woman for 33 years. Now, the FBI has placed Assata Shakur on the Most Wanted Terrorists list on the 40th anniversary of her freedom from slavery.
On Thursday, May 2, 2013, FBI Special Agent Aaron Ford had announced that Assata Shakur is now on the Most Wanted Terrorist list, and there is a $2 million dollar reward for her capture. FBI Special Agent Ford claims that “openly and freely in Cuba, she continues to maintain and promote her terrorist ideology. She provides anti-U.S. Government speeches espousing the Black Liberation Army message of revolution and terrorism.”
“Joanne Chesimard is a domestic terrorist who murdered a law enforcement officer, execution style,” announced Aaron Ford on Thursday.
As a former Black Panther member, Assata Shakur espoused political opposition to U.S. policies, which deprived predominantly people of color and poor people living within the United States of individual liberties and the right to live freely absent government persecution due to their political beliefs. Assata espoused the right to decent education for African Americans, the right to decent housing, an end to police brutality against black people, an end to the use of deadly force and violence carried out by racist government agencies that oppress people of color and poor people throughout the United States, and an end to all unjust wars especially the war in Vietnam that were perpetuated by the United States Government in order to oppress other people of color around the world.
In her own words that she’d written in a letter to Pope John Paul II in 1998, Assata Shakur stated that she has advocated and still advocates “revolutionary changes in the structure and in the principles that govern the United States.”
Assata wrote, “I advocate self-determination for my people, and for all oppressed people inside the United States. I advocate an end to capitalist exploitation, the abolition of racist policies, the eradication of sexism, and the elimination of political repression. If that is a crime, then I am totally guilty,” said Assata Shakur.
If all of the above constitutes as terrorist ideology, then many people including famous people living in the United States currently fall under the category of a domestic terrorist. This means that terrorism as defined by the United States Government has eradicated the First Amendment to the Constitution, which states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The right to be informed of the nature and cause of an accusation, the right to confront witnesses, the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, the right to a fair and speedy trial by an impartial jury, the right to not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law was denied to Assata Shakur, a black revolutionary woman who denounced all government oppression of people of color and poor people living here within the United States of America.
Because she represented revolutionary changes and she opposed government oppression of all people of color and poor people, Assata Shakur and the Black Panther Party became a target by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.
One night, Assata along with two other people were stopped in a motor vehicle by state troopers on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973 where she was shot twice – once in the back – as her hands were held up and was left on the ground to die. However, she didn’t die. Instead, Assata was taken to a hospital where she was threatened and tortured. The shooting in 1973 by state troopers on the New Jersey Turnpike is an eerie reminder of what happened during the shooting involving the Boston bombing suspects.
Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, two Chechen brothers who immigrated from Russia with their parents to the United States a decade ago, were accused by the FBI of setting off two explosives at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. The official narrative by the FBI and mainstream media is a fabricated account painting Tamerlan and his younger brother, Dzhokhar as domestic terrorists when, in reality, others were the true culprits behind those bombings at the Boston Marathon.
According to a Russian newspaper source, Tamerlan Tsarnaev had attended a CIA-sponsored program in 2012. While visiting with his parents in Dagestan, Tamerlan had attended the CIA-sponsored program at the Jamestown Foundation. He was in Dagestan for six months, according to Russian sources. If Tamerlan was placed on the government watch list as a suspected terrorist after being investigated by both FBI and CIA officials in 2011, then why did he attend a CIA program in 2012?
The FBI and local law enforcement officers also fabricated stories about Assata Shakur, and, as a result, her life was immediately put in jeopardy, which is why New Jersey state troopers started shooting at Assata and other passengers inside the motor vehicle. In her own words, Assata has professed her complete innocence for the past forty years, and has claimed that it was she who was victimized by the New Jersey judicial system and state police, which took the life of one of her friends who was in the vehicle with her.
Harriet Tubman said, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
Born a slave, Harriet Tubman later became an abolitionist and Union army spy during the American Civil War (1861-1865). She is an immortal being, because she played an intricate role in the abolition of institutionalized slavery during her lifetime. After a hundred years, we still remember Harriet Tubman, a black revolutionary woman born a slave but died a free woman in 1913.
Today, I remember Assata Shakur born a free woman on July 16, 1947 (only a few days short of Independence Day), but was later enslaved by a racist political system and forced to flee the United States in order to save her life and continue the struggle for the liberation of all oppressed peoples around the globe from a tyrannical ruling class who has used warfare, public policies, unjust laws, racial segregation, institutionalized slavery, and religious ideologies to keep much of humanity imprisoned/enslaved whether spiritually, psychologically, and/or physically.
Today, the struggle for total liberation against government oppression continues even as the constitutional principles, which have governed this nation ever since the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution was first created in 1789 and ratified in 1791 is under attack by Big Brother government.
Like George Orwell’s totalitarian society in his published 1949 novel entitled 1984, which is set in a placed called Oceania (i.e. Great Britain) in which every citizen was constantly under surveillance by television and camera-like devices called telescreens, which monitored its subjects movements, statements, actions and heartbeat. These telescreens were monitored by the Thought Police who determined if a subject had committed a thought crime. Any thought that opposed Big Brother or the policies of the Inner Party (ruling class) were prosecuted as thought crimes, and were punishable by imprisonment and death.
In George Orwell’s novel, any citizen discovered to have committed a thought crime simply disappeared from society. Sometimes, after being interrogated and tortured by Inner Party law enforcement officials, they’d be released, and would return to their homes and act as though nothing ever happened. Then suddenly, these individuals would disappear again never to be heard from. In other words, they would release these alleged thought criminals only to later kill them, because they dared to have an opinion opposing Big Brother and the Inner Party’s oppressive and repressive public policies. In Orwell’s nightmarish society, Big Brother’s face appeared on huge telescreens accompanied by the phrase “Big Brother is watching you”.
This is exactly what the United States of America is today. It represents George Orwell’s vision of a Police State in which constant surveillance now monitors every person living in the United States. From your credit card transactions to your cell phones to your flat screen HD televisions, you are being monitored and programmed by Big Brother. Every time you type a statement on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, your activities and thoughts are being monitored and recorded. They monitor your videos. Your so-called private medical records are not off limits. Law enforcement don’t need your content to access your medical history. Your bank account is not off limits either. Your therapy sessions are not off limits to the government. Every aspect of our lives are under the control of Big Brother government and its policies, which serves to repress our individual rights and the freedom that you believed you had. Good luck to all of us as we could very well see the total eradication of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and even Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution within the 21st Century. Don’t even utter a word about taking up arms to prevent that from happening, because all your opinions are now being scrutinized as possible terror threats.
I AM NOT A TERRORIST!
I just wanted to clarify myself just in case this article is construed by government officials as being anti-American. I’m actually pro-American far more than those who seek to restrict and abolish my constitutional rights to exercise freedom of speech and of the press, and also to petition my government for a redress of grievances.
Assata Shakur is pro-justice, pro-peace, pro-freedom, and pro-Bill of Rights. If this makes her a domestic terrorist, then what is her accuser (i.e. United States Government) whose policies currently serve to restrict the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the personal freedoms of those who are the governed under Government? Remember, terrorism derives from the Latin root word terrorem, which means great fear and dread. Who is causing more fear and dread in our lives? Is it Assata Shakur or the U.S. Government? I can tell you now that I don’t fear Assata but I do fear certain policies of the United States Government. I’m not a terrorist for saying this. It is simply my truth.