Frank Chapman blasted the FBI for placing Asata Shakur on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorist” list. Chapman is Field Organizer and Education Director of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Shakur is a former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member. She was placed on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorist” list on May 2, 2013, 40 years after she was charged in the killing of a New Jersey State Police trooper on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973. The FBI added $1 million to New Jersey’s outstanding $1 million reward for her capture, bringing the total maximum reward to $2 million.
Shakur has been living in Cuba in political asylum ever since she escaped from prison in 1979. Lennox Hinds, her attorney of many years, stated Friday on “Democracy Now” that the wounds she suffered in the shootout that would not have allowed her to even hold a weapon, let alone fire one. Nothing she has done fits the definition of terrorism.
The FBI drive against the Black Panther Party and the BLA were part of its drive against Black leaders, which they dubbed “COINTELPRO.” Within a few years in the 1960s many Black leaders were murdered or imprisoned, entrapped or framed up by the FBI and local police, including Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in Chicago, who were murdered. .
“If Assata Shakur is a terrorist then we may all be terrorists,” Chapman declared. “Her designation as a ‘terrorist,’ is an attempt to put the ‘terrorist’ label on the Civil Rights Movement. Assata Shakur is an icon of the struggle for Black freedom. By labeling her a ‘terrorist’ they are trying to identify Black women who struggle for freedom as ‘terrorists.’
Chapman warned that the CIA could use this as a pretext for an armed incursion into Cuba or the use of drone aircraft to assassinate Shakur. People have been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries. “We can’t be indifferent to the fact the U. S. Government has declared that it has the right to execute people, including U. S. citizens, without ever being charged, tried, or convicted of anything,” Chapman said.
“Perhaps most important, they want to take the attention of the people off the real terrorists who are functioning in our country – the armed police who are terrorizing African American and Latino communities. The police are not only unable to stop the genocidal murder of Black and Brown youth, but in many cases they are in collusion with the armed gangs that perform these killings.”
“It is the highest level of hypocrisy for the Justice Department to call Assata Shakur a terrorist. They have welcomed to the United States confessed terrorists such as Luis Posada Carriles, who bombed a civilian airliner killing 73 civilians. Assata Shakur was never charged with terrorism, which is defined as the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
“Indeed, it is the United States government that could accurately be accused of terrorism in its use of assassination and violence against political opponents.”
“The CAARPR urges people to write and call the Department of Justice immediately to protest this designation, and to allow Asata Shakur to return home as a free woman,” Chapman concluded.