“Obama uses Jay Z to Trap Assata Shakur”:
Shades of FBI and Al Sharpton?
-Kalonji Changa raps with Dhoruba Bin Wahad
The FTP Movement has long taken the position that Black elected officials and Congresspersons should reopen the investigation into the counterintelligence program and what it has done to Black Leadership in the Black Community. Especially in light of this recent call by the FBI to place Assata Shakur on the top terrorist lists due to the history of the FBI and their terrorism in the Black Community.
I chopped it up with former Black Panther and BLA Co-founder Dhoruba Bin Wahad about his thoughts on his comrade Assata Shakur being added to the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorist List” and the increase of her bounty to $2 Million Dollars.
Kalonji Changa: On May 2nd, the 40 year Anniversary of the case in which the New Jersey police vamped on a car occupied by Zayd Shakur, Sundiata Acoli, and Assata Shakur, in which Zayd was murdered and Sundiata and Assata were both wounded by gunfire; the FBI placed Assata on the “Most Wanted Terrorist List” and the State of New Jersey raises an already outrageous bounty from $1 Million to $2 Million dollars accusing Assata of murdering Trooper Werner Forrester. Why is this happening now?
Dhoruba Bin Wahad: Increasingly it is becoming clear that the Obama administration in preparation for its change in its Latin American policy has been using Hip-Hop millionaires as pawns to cover some of its most unsavory actions. Only a few astute old activists recognized early that Obama was using Pop-culture like Richard Nixon used Ping Pong diplomacy in opening up China to a new US diplomacy.
The recent visit of Millionaire Rap Mogul Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé to Cuba served as a cover for unofficial back-door communications to the Cuban government conveying the Obama’s intentions to modify or lift the four decade old illegal embargo/blockade of Cuba and that the presence of former Black Panther, and Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur could hinder or derail this diplomacy. Jay-Z’s delegation included a State-Department “reliable” personage who transmitted the Obama’s administration’s position. Once the Republican/Right got wind of this overture they screamed bloody murder, but could do little about it as lifting the Cuban Blockade is now crucial to the US reasserting dominance in a post Castro-Chavez Latin America as the geo-economic center for Latin American nations. So Assata is a pawn in the chess game of US imperial diplomacy.
Kalonji Changa: That’s aninteresting perspective. What’s your thought’s on the new Jay Z/ Will Smith funded film “Free Angela: And All political Prisoners”.
Dhoruba Bin Wahad: Leading up to the Jay-Z jaunt to Cuba was the release of a major film, which Jay-Z reportedly co-financed along with Will Smith, entitled “Free Angela: And All political Prisoners”. Only a few activists perceived why such a film was produced now in the final term of the Obama administration. Those who viewed it say the movie whitewashes Angela’s relationship to the anti-Black nationalist and dogmatic Communist Party USA (that refused to support BPP/BLA political prisoners during the height of COINTELPRO repression). It was the CPUSA that made Angela an international symbol of racist repression while the Ruchel Mcgee’s marinate in California Dungeons. After her acquittal on conspiracy murder charges and a (CPUSA) whirl-wind international tour to thank followers for their support, Angela along with CPUSA members formed the National Committee Against Racist and Political Repression, and set up its main office in the CP’s New York Headquarters. It was from these opportunistic beginnings that legends, fact and myths around Angela gradually assumed lives of their own resulting in the blurring of the distinction between Black feminism and revolutionary Black women. But the purpose seems served, the rewriting of the history of Black resistance to institutional violence and Police murder is once more obscured in some respects by conventional anti-sexism. Many supporters of Assata have overlooked entirely the connections between recent notoriety around Assata’s exile and a series of seemingly unrelated events.
This is because, as one of Assata’s comrades says “few people know the auspices of Assata notoriety”. Assata emerged publicly from the armed front of the Black Liberation/Human Rights movement as a target of the FBI’s “Newkill” and CHESROB investigations. Not from the center or margins of Black feminism. She was never a COINTELPRO target as such, but one focus of the governments “anti-terrorist” response to the emergence of the BLA, FALN, Weather Underground in the early seventies following the split in the BPP according to leading authorities on COINTELPRO. Using the term “terrorist” to define Assata today is nothing new, the FBI/NYPD Joint Terrorist Task Force, formed in 1970 to take up the slack left by the exposure of COINTELPRO clearly indicates this. Although the FBI is attempting to retroactively distance themselves from the state terrorism of its past, COINTELPRO actions are the major reason for identifying Assata now as a terrorist. It’s nonetheless clear that the FBI has little moral authority to label the historical targets of its illegal repression as terrorists!
We should be taking little for granted nowadays, when governments lie to their people and lead them into war and Black politicians cheerlead. It should have been instantly revelatory why the Obama’s State Department issued a “tourist visa” to Rapper Jay-Z several weeks before the FBI announced its addition of Assata to its “Ten Most Wanted International Terrorist” list. It was speculated then, by former comrades of Assata heavily involved in Pan-African/Latin American issues, that this seeming renewed attention to Assata by the Obama Justice Department was the result of national law enforcement’s push back against Obama’s plan to cut back funding for the War on Drugs in Latin America with a renewed emphasis of economic Aide and poverty reduction in the region. Such a policy shift would deprive U.S. Law enforcement of almost a Trillion dollars- money and resources currently used to wage America’s war on drugs in the Americas. So not only is Assata a sacrificial pawn (to the politics of domestic law enforcement) and in Obama’s enlightened imperialism, but her safety and continued freedom will become the litmus test for the Cuban Revolution’s principles in the coming years.
Kalonji Changa is Author of the best selling “How to Build a People’s Army” and the founder of the grassroots community organization, FTP Movement. (www.Ftpmovement.ning.com) He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @damnriotstarter