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Will Obama sell Assata out?

May 9, 2009

by Paul Scott

Drawing of Political Exile Assata Shakur. Free Assata! Hands off Cuba!
Drawing of Political Exile Assata Shakur. Free Assata! Hands off Cuba!
Most Americans are not familiar with Assata Shakur. After all, she’s not exactly the type of Black superhero that they parade around during Black History Month. This is the type ignorance that some legislators in New Jersey hope will allow them to extradite Shakur back to the U.S. under the cover of our darkness.

Assata Shakur (JoAnne Chesimard) was involved in a 1973 shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that resulted in the deaths of fellow Black Liberation Army member Zayd Shakur and New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. Shakur was sentenced to life in prison in 1977 but was broken out of prison by her comrades in 1979. She has been living under political asylum in Cuba since 1984.

She still remains on the FBI’s Most Wanted List with a million dollar reward for any snitch willing to give her up to the FEDS. (See the FBI’s Wanted poster for Assata at http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/fugitives/dt/chesimard_jd.htm.)

However, with President Barack Obama seeking to open political channels with Cuba and ease U.S. restrictions, politicians in New Jersey have been turning up the heat on the Prez to make the Cuban government give up Shakur if they want to be in Uncle Sam’s good graces.

While the current headlines of “NJ to Press for Return of Cop Killer” would lead you to believe that Shakur is some heartless street thugstress that went around shootin’ up police stations just for kicks, the truth about the government repression by which groups like the Black Panther Party and its underground military arm, the Black Liberation Army, suffered has never really been told.

We cannot allow the media to even begin discussing Assata Shakur without putting her struggle in the context of COINTELPRO. The Counter Intelligence Program was an effort by J. Edgar Hoover’s Federal Bureau of Investigation and its associated agencies to destroy groups that dared stand against U.S. oppression.

It was under COINTELPRO that Black leadership suffered under “dirty tricks” that ranged from political assassinations (Chairman Fred Hampton) to smear campaigns which are too many to even begin to name here. Even the good Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was not immune to Hoover’s “dirty tricks.”

Could you really expect Assata Shakur to get a fair trail under such repressive policies?
According to the late civil rights attorney William Kuntsler in his book, “My Life as a Radical Lawyer,” a law enforcement agent told him that during Shakur’s trial ” a member of the New Jersey State Assembly had gone to the hotel where the jury was sequestered and talked to them about the necessity to convict.” In the book Kuntsler hints that even he underestimated the lengths that New Jersey law enforcement would go to get a conviction of Shakur.

Today, those same types of people are at it again. On April 17, New Jersey Sen. Sean King sent a letter to President Obama asking him to “delay normalizing relations with Cuba unless they agree to extradite convicted cop killer JoAnne Chesimard.” (Read the letter at http://blog.nj.com/ledgerupdates_impact/2009/04/LettertoPresObamaSenatorKean.pdf.)

Also, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram has been quoted as saying, “Obama’s move to ease sanctions against Cuba is an opportunity to bring back Joanne Chesimard.”

Now, do I think that Obama would sacrifice Assata Shakur on the alter of “Democracy” for political expediency? You’re darn right!

To appease middle class white America, President Obama will throw Shakur under the same Greyhound that he threw Rev. Jeremiah Wright. That is, if we don’t raise our voices.

There are organizations that have been fighting to keep the plight of Assata Shakur in our faces for years. See especially http://www.assatashakur.org/.

Black bloggers must start an immediate, emergency mass education campaign to tell the true story of Assata Shakur and COINTELPRO to combat the efforts of the miseducation of the mainstream media.

We must make sure that our local and national “urban” radio stations inform their listeners about this issue.

We must arm ourselves with information about Assata Shakur and COINTELPRO through websites, DVDs and books such as “Show Down” by the late Del Jones and “Racial Matters” and “Black America: The FBI Files” by Kenneth O’Reilly.

Finally, we must appeal to the Hip Hop artists who have the ears of the people to raise the issue if only for the reason of reppin’ for “Tupac’s kin folk.” (If that will motivate them to take action.)

If we do not raise this issue, loudly, Assata Shakur will be back in a U.S. prison or worse before she knows what hit her.

We owe this much to a sister who, as the rapper Common said in “A Song for Assata,” “went through all this … so we can be free.”

Paul Scott
Paul Scott
Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots Fired. He can be reached at info@nowarningshotsfired.com or (919) 451-8283. Watch “A Song for Assata” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrWxrFr7TL4.

17 thoughts on “Will Obama sell Assata out?

  1. LaToya Jones

    I know what the whites did was bad, but doesn't stooping to their level make us just as bad? She murdered a man, so she should suffer the consequences, just as a white cop should if he murders a black man. We shouldn't be against justice just because they are, we should be for it, and lead by example. MLK did that, and he is revered by all, black and white. Others didn't, and are only revered by fringe elements. Justice for all.

    Reply
  2. Hasan Muwwakkil

    Assata Shakur is a freedom fighter. The only way that anyone can oppress another is to put the oppressed under the fear of death. Tens of thousands of Black people were murdered in order for white people to bring Blacks here and put us in the oppressive condition that we are in. We have every right to fight and kill for our freedom. MLK accepted MONEY before the march on Washington. When he didn't obey the master after he was paid they killed him. Assata Shakur is a better example. If they enslave you, you have every right to kill for freedom.

    Reply
  3. Walter Lippmann

    The points in this commentary are quite well-taken, and every effort to tell the truth about sister Assata Shakur and how she came to live in exile in Cuba should be encouraged.

    There’s no good reason to assume that President Obama, who campaigned on the idea that Washington’s blockade of Cuba should be maintained, can be trusted with the fate of Assata, but Obama’s not the decisive player in this situation. Not by a long shot.

    Pressure against normalizing relations are taking many forms, including the pressure on Obama to use Assata’s presence as an exile in Cuba as an obstacle.

    However, there’s no reason to assume that the Cuban government, which wants and needs normalized relations with the United States, would sell Assata out in order to gain normal relations.

    Thank you,

    Walter Lippmann
    Los Angeles, California

    Reply
  4. Bob

    Assata Shakur IS a cold killer.
    Come one people Black. white, whatever take a step back and look at the facts. She used his gun to kill the trooper Hasan Muwwakkil what the hell are you thinking. Its people like you that make people dislike others blacks whites) YOu have some real issues.

    Reply
  5. Catherine

    Look black and white everyone here is ignorant. First of

    all LaToya! She didnt kill any cops…especially not with

    both arms up proven by the medical examiner! She was

    convicted as being an accomplice to the murders. Are you

    all that stupid? Do you think any pregnant woman would opt

    to want to kill a cop and risk the death of not only

    herself but her child??? With her arms up??? PROVEN BY HER

    WOUNDS FROM THE MEDICAL EXAMINER! So i beg of you this 1

    question? If your driving with one of your friends and they

    decide to go shooting people…should you be called an

    accoplice? for being in the wrong place? Please people

    excersise some empathy. Put yourself in that place?

    And second! which one of you were there at the jersey

    turnpke to say what she did and did not do? Which

    one of you sat on that deliberating jury in which the facts

    were presented? What gives any of you black or white the

    right to give up false information on something you

    obviously no nothing about? Research the case and find out

    the facts before you post your bullshit here please. Spare

    me and others your unintelligence and blantent lack of

    respect and ignorance for this womans situation.ALL OF YOU!

    Last but not least I am pro-life, i am in no way supportive of murder especially law inforcement. The man that fired the shots was rightfully convited…So now why after this woman was constantly subject to vanginal and anal probes like a drug dealer…and and thrown in solitary to go crazy for 2 years, beaten and mistreated. why at 62! 62 freakin years old do you still persecute and slander her name? Living away not being able to see your daughter grow up is that just like jail? spending half your life hiding? her whole adult life…for the crime she didnt commit? Or rather that they couldnt even prove that she commited? with nerves damaged through her arms and fingers?

    You wanna bring a grandma back? to throw her in jail after more than 30 years…she served a life sentence injustly already. Leave her alone…actually to date…shes more a Cuban citizen that she ever was american…having spent more than half her life in Cuba. This woman didnt always do the right thing…but then she shouldve been convicted on her crimes…not those of others. She has served more than enough with all the abuse she incurred. And as a matter of fact if u was as knowledgable about this woman as i am now at 14. She definately wouldve been my Black History Month report.

    By the by…please leave my president out of this. Allow hime to take care of our current issues within our counry financial and otherwise before you go bothering with trivial events of 30 years ago

    Reply
  6. Nate Spain

    President George Bush: male Caucasian
    Sister Queen Assata Shakur: female Black

    Violent deaths attributed to President George Bush through June, 2009: 1,100,000 (one-million, one-hundred thousand)

    Violent deaths attributed to Sister Queen Assata Shakur through today: ONE (according to all-white Jury, though medical examiners, forensics experts, etc., testifed it was “impossible” that she even HAD a weapon to shoot anyone)

    Punishment meted out to President George Bush for murdering 1,100,000 men, women, children, babies, and fetuses: NONE

    Punishment meted out to Sister Queen Assata Shakur for alledgedly murdering a police officer: Sentenced to a prison term of LIFE PLUS 33 YEARS (though she friends and followers and admirers [black and white] helped her break out of prison–she is still free).

    Current U.S. legal status of President George Bush: clear

    Current U.S. legal status of Sister Queen Assata Shakur: escaped convict; Wanted by FBI, which offers a $1 million reward for information leading to her capture; Granted political refugee status by Fidel Castro, of Cuba

    Current salary of President George Bush: $161,000/yr. (This is his ex-President salary only, not other income.)

    Current salary of Sister Queen Assata Shakur: $4,745/yr—approximately $13 a day from Cuban government

    Legacy of President George Bush: Mass murder and genocide; Destruction of U.S. Economy; Despised by world government leaders; U.S. now hated even more than it was before.

    Question: Who is the criminal??

    Reply
  7. HIHALE LORATO TSIMATSIMA

    I AM NOT AN AMERICAN BUT A SOUTH AFRICA AND WHAT I HAVE READ AND HEARD ABOUT ASSATA REMINDS ME OF APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA. IT IS PLAIN AND SIMPLE ANYONE IN HIS/HER RIGHT MIND WIIL KNOW THAT EVEN TODAY WE ARE STILL FIGHTING AGAINST WHITE SOPREMACY. WHETHER ASSATA KILLED THAT TROOPER IS OF NO IMPORANCE BUT WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THAT SHE IS BLACK AND NEEDS SUPPORT FROM AFRICANS IN AMERICA, ABROAD AND IN THE DIASPORA. TO HEAR PEOPLE SAYING THAT SHE NEEDS TO BE PUNISHED FOR WHAT OCCURED 30 YEARS AGO IS SO MANDANE AND STUPID. I BELIVE CRIMES AGAINST HUMINITY STIIL OCCURE EVEN IN THS CURRENT DESPENSATION WHICH LEADS ME TO THE FACT THAT EVERY WHITE PERSON MUST PAY FOR WHAT OCCURED 100 OF YEARS AGO WHEN WE WERE PACKED IN THE SLAVE SHIPS LIKE SARDINES AND SENT TO FOREIGN LANDS TO BECOME SLAVES. AND HERE ARE SOME PEOPLE BELIEVEING THAT WE MUST FORGIVE AND MOVE FORWARD WHEREAS THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF NATIVE AFRICANS WERE KILLED EVEN IN THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES. AFRICANS IN AFRICA ARE WITHOUT LAND BECAUSE IT IS OWNED BY WHITE RACISTS. ASSATA WAS AND STILL IS A FREEDOM FIGHTER AND WE WILL FIGHT TILL JUSTICE PREVAIL. UNTIL AFRICANS ARE FREE , BY THAT I MEAN WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY OURS IS RETURND TO US. LONG LIVE ASSATA LONG LIVE!

    Reply
  8. Kareem bin Whete

    There is a one million dollar reward for the capture of Chesimard. If I gots da chance, dat sista is goin down. back to U.S. jail. (By the way U.S. jails are more luxurious than living in Cuba on 4 thousand a year).

    Reply
  9. Gregory Dee Ali El Bey

    White folks are haters by nature so its easy for us to c y they would want so called justuce a black womahan that had the courage to stand up against her country that enslaved our ppl. For those that wanna truly c justice why dont u guys start a campaign to get ALLof the ppl thats in office out thats selling us out……BIG TIME lol I guess u got more impressing business smh self rightous to the 3rd power. Peace Gods

    Reply
  10. Joe X

    Long live Assata Shukar, You are my hero. Stay strong Sister. I love you
    Joe X – Chairman of the New Black Panther Party in Patterson, New Jersey.
    Black Power!!!, Black Power!!!, Black Power!!!
    God-damn the white Devils of America and God-damn the Complacent Niggers who served thier interest
    Joe X

    Reply
  11. Mari

    If you're trying to bring Ms. Shakur back to the U.S. in the name of "justice," make sure you find convicted child rapist Roman Polanski. Whom constantly receives awards and accolades from American's since his "exhile."

    Reply

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