The FBI added Assata Shakur to its Most Wanted Terrorist List today. In addition, the state of New Jersey announced it was adding $1 million to
the FBI’s $1 million reward for her capture. Shakur becomes the first woman ever to make the list and only the second domestic terrorist to be added
to the list.
Assata Shakur, the former Joanne Chesimard, was a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. She was convicted in the May 2, 1973
killing of a New Jersey police officer during a shoot-out that left one of her fellow activists dead. She was shot twice by police during the
incident. In 1979, she managed to escape from jail. Shakur fled to Cuba where she received political asylum. She once wrote, "I am a 20th century
escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that
dominate the U.S. government’s policy towards people of color."
I am aware of how this thread is likely to get get sidetracked, I'm sure that some posters will use this thread as a platform to attack the
Black Panther Party
, the Black
as well as Socialism and Left Wing ideologies.
I would like to ask those who intend to do that to first answer:
Let's assume she is guilty and did in fact kill that police officer, does that make her a terrorist?
This particular case aside, are we comfortable allowing terrorism to be defined this way?
This is the same list that Osama bin Laden was on, are these two people equatable?
For those interested in the case and a discussion on Assata Shakur's placement on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list there's a 30 minute video
on Huffington Post Live
Personally, I think she
is innocent. The murder she was found guilty
of happened 40 years ago at the tail end of the very active phase of the Civil Rights Movement in which black power groups, socialist, communist and
other left wing groups were very heavily targeted and infiltrated by the FBI's counterintelligence program known as
, it is also widely believed that COINTELPRO carried out assassinations of members of
these groups as well as commit crimes and frame members of these groups for them.
The facts of this case are puzzling and make me redouble my question of why this woman in particular was placed on the list. This is a woman who was
heavily targeted by law enforcement during her activism, she was charged with and found innocent of or charges were dropped, many crimes... some of
which happened while she was incarcerated pending trial of other charges. The following link
some of the refutations of the case in which she was found guilty of murder, written by one of her attorney's. I'll quote a few of them.
1. The finger print analyses of every gun and every piece of ammunition found at the scene showed there were no fingerprints of Assata found on
any of them. (The official analyses admitted into evidence)
2. Neutron Activation Analysis taken immediately after Assata was taken to the hospital that night showed there was no gun power residue on her hands.
Effectively refuting the possibility that she had fired a gun. (The official analyses were admitted into evidence)
5. A surgeon testified that “it was anatomically necessary that both arms be in the air for Ms. Chesimard to have received the wounds she did.”
However, Assata was not convicted of firing the shot that killed Trooper Foerster. She was convicted as an accomplice to his murder under New
Jersey’s “aiding and abetting” statute. Under New Jersey law, if a person’s presence at the scene of a crime can be construed as “aiding and
abetting” the crime, that person can be convicted of the substantive crime itself.
She was not convicted of actually firing the bullet that killed the officer, she was convicted of murder simply because she was there. It's also
important to note that the slain officers partner recanted
his initial statements that he saw her fire the gun, while under oath during cross examination in which he admitted he lied and did not see her fire a
gun nor did he see her even in possession of one.
Assata Shakur has been living under political asylum in Cuba since 1984, other than writing a book and a letter to Pope John Paul II, she has not been
politically active, so the questions remain, why her and why now?