Assata Shakur was a member of the Black Panther Party who, like many other Black activists in the 60s and 70s, became a target of COINTELPRO. As part of the FBI’s campaign against the Black Panther Party, Assata was falsely accused of bank robberies and other crimes up and down the East Coast in the early 1970s. Her real “crime” was fighting for the liberation of Black people and other oppressed peoples from racist oppression.

After she was acquitted six different times on May 2, 1973, Assata, Sundiata Acoli and Zayd Malik Shakur were ambushed by state police on the New Jersey turnpike. A state trooper shot Assata in the arm and back as she had her hands in the air. Another trooper was killed. Zayd Malik Shakur was killed. Sundiata escaped and was later captured after a massive police manhunt.

After her arrest, Assata was shackled and chained to her hospital bed as the police guarding her shouted racist slogans, beat her with shotgun butts and threatened to kill her.

One of the state troopers admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik Shakur. But Assata was charged with the killing of Zayd–who she described as her “closest friend and comrade”–as well as with the death of the trooper. Sundiata Acoli was also charged with both deaths. No evidence linked either of them to the shooting of the state trooper. Defense testimony from several expert witnesses made it clear that Assata was not involved in the shooting. Nevertheless, in 1977 an all-white jury convicted Assata and sentenced her to life plus 33 years in prison. Sundiata was sentenced to life plus 30 years. He remains a political prisoner today.

Assata Shakur escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba, where she lives today in political exile. The United States government has offered a $1 million bounty for her capture.


Note: The bounty was recently changed to $2,000,000 USD. And since the U.S. and Cuba just agreed on easing relations NJPD has already made it expressly clear that they plan on using this as a chance to capture her and answer (or be executed) for crimes she never committed.

Who is Assata Shakur?


(by Lee Fang || @lhfang)

Documents obtained by The Intercept indicate that security staff at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota used a fake Facebook account to monitor local Black Lives Matter organizers, befriend them, and obtain their personal information and photographs without their knowledge.

Evidence of the fake Facebook account was found in a cache of files provided by the Mall of America to Bloomington officials after a large Black Lives Matter event at the mall on December 20 protesting police brutality. The files included briefs on individual organizers, with screenshots that suggest that much of the information was captured using a Facebook account for a person named “Nikki Larson.”

Metadata from some of the documents lists the software that created them as belonging to “Sam Root” at the “Mall of America.” A Facebook account for a Sam Root lists his profession as “Intelligence Analyst at Mall of America.”

The fake Larson account featured a profile photo that a Google reverse image search shows is identical to a photo associated with a woman who is Facebook friends with Root.

The account, previously found at this url, was deleted soon after The Intercept contacted the Mall of America for this story.

On December 11, as news of the planned Black Lives Matter protest began to spread, the “Nikki Larson” account was updated with a banner image of an (apocryphal) Martin Luther King Jr. quote: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” At some point, the Larson account “liked” the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Facebook group.

After the December 20 protest, the city charged 11 protesters with six different criminal misdemeanors. The city and mall are seeking over $65,000 in restitution for police and mall expenses.

Information collected from Facebook was used by the Mall of America security team to build dossiers on each activist. A document on Nekima Levy-Pounds, one of the activists charged by the city, includes screen grabs of  her Facebook account. Levy-Pounds, professor of law at the University of St. Thomas, told The Intercept that the Larson account befriended her in December.

Another dossier profiling activist Lena Gardner contains pictures, a timeline listing where to spot her in videos from the protest taken by protestors and by Mall of America security, as well as information scraped from her social media accounts. Similar documents were created for at least eight other activists.

The Larson account appears to have been created in 2009, and had 817 friends, many of whose pages showed they were involved in Minnesota political activism. The account also “liked” Facebook groups associated with Ferguson activists, the American Indian Movement Interpretive Center, Occupy Minneapolis, SumOfUs, the SEIU Minnesota State Council, and Communities United Against Police Brutality, among others.

(Read the complete article via TheIntercept  ↳ here)


8 Black Panther Party Programs That Were More Empowering Than Federal Government Programs | Atlanta BlackStar

The Breakfast Program

The free breakfast for schoolchildren program was set up in Berkeley, California, in 1968 by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. It was the first significant community program organized by the Panthers, and perhaps the most well known. By the end of 1969, free breakfast was served in 19 cities, under the sponsorship of the national headquarters and 23 local affiliates. More than 20,000 children received full free breakfast (bread, bacon, eggs, grits) before going to their elementary or junior high school.

Health Clinics

The clinics were called People’s Free Medical Centers (PFMC) and eventually were established in 13 cities across the country, from Cleveland to New Haven, Connecticut; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to Los Angeles. Women, according to sociologist Alondra Nelson, were the backbone of the effort —not surprising, considering that approximately 60 percent of Black Panther Party members were female. Some of the clinics were in storefronts, others in trailers or hastily built structures, and most did not last long. But they offered services such as testing for high blood pressure, lead poisoning, tuberculosis and diabetes; cancer detection screenings; physical exams; treatments for colds and flu; and immunization against polio, measles, rubella, and diphtheria. Nelson reports that many of the women and men involved in the PFMCs went on to become credentialed health care professionals.

Youth Institute

The Intercommunal Youth Institute was established in January 1971 by the Black Panther Party. In 1974, the name was changed to Oakland Community School. The Black Panther Party goal was to get children to learn to their highest potential and to strengthen their minds so that one day they would be successful. The school graduated its first class in June 1974. In September 1977, California Gov. Edmund “Jerry” Brown Jr. and the California Legislature gave Oakland Community School a special award for “having set the standard for the highest level of elementary education in the state.”

(Read Full Text)

Black Power Activists Accused Government of Spying, but They Weren’t Called Heroes | The Root

Whistleblower Edward Snowden is considered a hero for claiming what blacks have been shouting for decades.

Perhaps we’ve got our definitions of “hero” twisted, but I have yet to hear a convincing take on what makes Edward Snowden one. Ultimately, this cat is not the post-modern neo-geek who hacktivists and fake libertarians profess him to be. All I’m picking up is yet another middle-class Caucasian kid road-tripping the globe—putting our international reputation at risk.

Let’s wave our hands through the smoke for a moment. Not sure how Snowden ends up in the pantheon of civil rights humanitarians who risked lives, families and sanity in the name of liberty and free speech: Gandhi, King, Mandela. The list runs on. These brothers stayed put—with bruises, bullets, whip marks and jail time to prove it. Many cats all over the world, including those unnamed, continue slugging it out in the mud of oppression. Mandela hammered rocks in the hot sun for 27 years. Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest. Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai (who should have ended up as Time magazine’s Person of the Year instead of as a runner-up alongside Snowden) still walked to school despite real threats from tyrannical local Taliban. 

Yet, 51 percent of Americans—according to a recent Angus Reid Global online poll—think Snowden is “something of a hero who should be commended for letting the public know that our governments are running electronic surveillance programs that threaten people’s privacy.” But, when didn’t we know government had us under surveillance since, like, the beginning of government? What, for real, is so spectacular and fresh about this latest string of punk-hits-then-runs revelations from a distant totalitarian land?

I can’t help wondering what the reaction would be if Snowden were, instead, black. Of course, we’d see this scenario play out a bit differently. In fact, we already have. Civil rights activists, Black Panthers and even African-American members of Congress have for decades highlighted the scurrilous surveillance activities of federal agencies from the FBI to the CIA. Yet, in this episode, COINTELPRO rings no bell. We prefer skipping along in Snowden Fantasy Land, lauding him up in some mythical Dos Equis’ redux as “The Most Interesting Whiz Kid in the World.”

Just not buying it. Americans never blinked this much, never raised alarms, never got this tied up about government fuzz in the basement of the NSA snooping through the phone records when it was happening to those mentioned above. Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), for all her quirks, was lampooned and laughed out of Congress for even mentioning such things. For years, media outlets and cynical journos repeatedly gave activists of color the collective I-don’t-wanna-hear-it hand, dismissing them as “conspiracy theorists” and “fringe” crackpots with dissent agendas—even in cases when they did their due diligence.

How ironic: In our social media selfie bliss and over-sharing narcissism, we are suddenly so concerned about privacy. We weren’t all that concerned about it when the last president bullied through the Patriot Act. Few were this concerned about NSA encroachments during that long post-9/11 decade when conservatives successfully guilt-tripped and silenced everyone from the Dixie Chicks to critically thinking students in the classroom. And where was über-conservative “Birther” backer Larry Klayman—the mastermind behind this latest NSA lawsuit—when President Bush was busily reconstructing the 21st-century surveillance state? 

On many levels, the brand-new anti-NSA blowout bash has little to do with folks suddenly feeling creepy about federal agents going through their digital underwear. This has more to do with clueless college-age kids and drama-hungry pundits helping Snowden max out on his White Privilege Card. You see, surveillance states were all good when Texas was running things—but it’s (oh) such a big problem now that a black man runs our national intelligence apparatus. Just saying …


April 4, 1968: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated as he stood in solidarity with striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.

“That’s the question before you tonight. Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to my job. Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor?” The question is not, “If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?” That’s the question.“

– Martin Luther King Jr., "I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” April 3, 1968

US Gov’t Found Guilty In Conspiracy To Assassinate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Though the United States government has wrapped Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy in the American flag, waving his words to symbolize racial harmony and patriotic solidarity even as institutionalized White supremacy remains embedded in policies detrimental to the very Black community he tirelessly strived to uplift, very little is spoken of the fact that a Memphis jury found the United States government guilty of conspiring to assassinate Dr. King on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968.

After four weeks of testimony and over 70 witnesses in a civil trial in Memphis, Tennessee, twelve jurors reached a unanimous verdict on December 8, 1999 after about an hour of deliberations that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. In a press statement held the following day in Atlanta, Mrs. Coretta Scott King welcomed the verdict, saying , “There is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. And the civil court’s unanimous verdict has validated our belief.“

And then they decided only to prosecute about 20 people, which was less than 9 percent of the people whom they arrested. And when we look at who they prosecuted, you find that they were all the Black Lives Matter members who were arrested. You find that they were people that were associated with known groups and organizations that were speaking up on behalf of black lives. It was clearly targeted. People who threw bottles at police officers were not tried, were not put on trial, had no charges against them. And yet, folks who engaged in nonviolent, peaceful protest found themselves in positions in which they were actually being tried as criminals.

We found that Black Lives Matter folks had been chosen based upon surveillance that had been done, that the Los Angeles Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office have this political prosecution unit, that’s sort of informal, that started with the Occupy movement and then got bumped up with the Black Lives Matter movement, in which they gave officers overtime, carte blanche, to go through all of social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, everything they had at that time, and spend hours taking snapshots of people and then matching them with names and then following that up by following people’s social media. People’s phones were tapped. All of these different types of surveillance that we expect to be used in an anti-terrorist way were being used against Black Lives Matter movement folks.

What the unit is actually called is a cyber-unit. It’s one that isn’t talked about a lot. We were able to get information through our workings and our investigation about this cyber-unit and began to press the City Attorney’s Office through the discovery process and also using sort of the Freedom of Information Act, Public Information Act rules to get information that was being held in the cyber-unit. There’s a lot we were not able to get, because the city attorney just denied that they existed, even though we know that it did. But we were able to get enough to know and to see that this was the format in which they had engaged. Some of the photos they gave us had people’s names right above their heads. And the way that the people’s names were, were the same type of way, in terms of the printing, that we see in surveillance photos with the feds, but this was being done by LAPD.
The signs as covert FBI projects of the 20th century
  • Scorpio:COINTELPRO
  • Sagittarius:COINTELPRO
  • Capricorn:COINTELPRO
  • Aquarius:COINTELPRO
Afeni Shakur

♕ I really can’t express how distraught I am to hear that Elder Afeni has passed away. She has and properly never will be properly honored in American History as one of America’s unsung heroes. Every person born in America lives a better, more equitable life as a result of her and every Panther’s efforts during the Civil Rights Movement. 

Enjoy exercising your right to gun ownership? It was the Panthers who tested the 2nd Amendment Rights to bare arms. Relieved your children have before and after-school  programs to go while you’re at work - the Panthers are to thank. Want to push equal wages for equal effort? The Panthers were among the activists laying the groundwork for your message. Believe the media needs to be more balanced? Shocked to hear that prisons disproportionately imprison the poor and people of color? Believe capital punishment is outdated? Worry about your privacy and police harassment? Believe that every youth activist ought to have an elder to guide them? Think children are the future and family is the foundation of society? Want to know how a movement can be more inclusive of women? Working to end sexism? Want to know if there is life after gang involvement, drug abuse and domestic violence? Think alternative medicine should be more accessible and is great supplement or option to Western medicine? Want to know how Black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian people are connected and can work together? Want industrialism to slow down a bit and let the Earth heal? Support businesses owned by people of color and women? Wish Hip-Hop was more positive? Like wearing your hair natural? Think wearing the traditional garb of your ancestry is cool? Wish more people practiced the traditional religions of their Ancestors, no matter what color they are?

The Panthers, with Afeni there all along the way, worked through all these issues. Testing not only white institutional racism and governments, but themselves. The history books point out their faults, but very rarely point out their triumphs. Even today, their children are using what their parents taught them to change the world. 

It doesn’t matter who you are. You owe something that you completely take for granted to Afeni and her comrades. Even you conservatives. 

What are YOU doing to make the world a better place?

[T]o peoples struggling against American oppression [Assata Shakur] remains a prominent figure in the fight for liberation, and that’s the REAL problem. …[T]he reason that the US government is still after Assata is not because they fear that she will engage in violence or to just punish her, but rather because they fear her effects upon the oppressed, who see in her the inspiration to fight — and more importantly, the strength to win.

Born on this day…July 16, 1947

Assata Olugbala Shakur: Black Activist


Assata: An Autobiography

External image

On May 2, 1973, Black Panther Assata Shakur (aka JoAnne Chesimard) lay in a hospital, close to death, handcuffed to her bed, while local, state, and federal police attempted to question her about the shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that had claimed the life of a white state trooper. Long a target of J. Edgar Hoover’s campaign to defame, infiltrate, and criminalize Black nationalist organizations and their leaders, Shakur was incarcerated for four years prior to her conviction on flimsy evidence in 1977 as an accomplice to murder.

This intensely personal and political autobiography belies the fearsome image of JoAnne Chesimard long projected by the media and the state. With wit and candor, Assata Shakur recounts the experiences that led her to a life of activism and portrays the strengths, weaknesses, and eventual demise of Black and White revolutionary groups at the hand of government officials. The result is a signal contribution to the literature about growing up Black in America that has already taken its place alongside The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the works of Maya Angelou.

Two years after her conviction, Assata Shakur escaped from prison. She was given political asylum by Cuba, where she now resides.

In her own words:

“My name is Assata (‘she who struggles’) Olugbala (‘for the people’) Shakur (‘the thankful one’), and 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 US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984. I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it [the] ‘greatest threat to the internal security of the country’ and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.”

Photo Sources:     1     2



(by Yohuru Williams)

After Gavin Long’s attack on officers in Baton Rouge, Police Chief Carl Dabadie observed that police “are up against a force that is not playing by the rules.” I understand and share his anguish for the loss of life, but I could not help being struck by his choice of words. To what force was he alluding? On Meet the Press following the Dallas killings, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani laid the blame squarely at the feet of black lives matter. On CNN Tuesday morning, Wisconsin representative and former reality TV star Sean Duffy went a step further and suggested greater scrutiny of the black lives matter movement, which he argued is a prime instigator of violence against police.

All of this rhetoric is part of a rising chorus after the Texas and Louisiana killings, an effort to defi ne a new category in the war on extremism—so-called black-nationalist terrorism. Proponents struggle to manufacture a domestic equivalent for Al Qaeda. Efforts to link the violence against law enforcement to some mythical, larger Black Separatist movement, which has made retaliatory violence against police one of its chief aims, is weak at best and irresponsible at worst.

The Republican National Convention nonetheless built much of its opening night on Monday around this idea, with its theme of “Make America Safe Again.”Giuliani implied that the black lives matter movement has “targeted” police and put a target on their backs.” Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke even offered a black law enforcement spokesperson for the notion that the movement represents dangerous extremism.

To be clear: The black lives movement unapologetically focuses on the dignity and worth of black lives. The careless and dishonest way that Duffy, Giuliani, Clarke and others chose to frame that movement creates a context that shifts attention away from the very police practices that non-violent protestors are demonstrating against. More significantly, the possibility of legislators addressing the actions of two mass murders by doubling down on non-violent protesters may exacerbate an already tense situation, put into place more oppressive polices and procedures, and inflame police-community relations.

At the height of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation utilized its highly secret and illegal counterintelligence program to wage war on non-violent and militant black organizations alike. In the words of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, they aimed “to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalist hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters…. .”

A DIRTY TRICKS CAMPAIGN targeted non-violent stalwarts like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the wake of Dallas and Baton Rouge, lawmakers might act to apply the broad language in Section 802 of the Patriot Act that covers “domestic” terrorism to tamp down on peaceful protesters. That section finds a person engages in domestic terrorism if the act “appears to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.”  Though (iii) is fairly straight forward, there is enough space, in (i) and (ii) to justify all types of incursions on civil liberties rooted in the name of battling terrorism.

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