By Scotty Reid
Following the ludicrous announcement that the Obama administration has placed Assata Shakur on its “most wanted terrorist list”, the FBI has erected billboards in Newark, New Jersey announcing its recently increased $2 million dollar reward. However, any critically thinking person knows that these billboards are not about capturing Assata Shakur but sending a message to the rest of us. Interestingly, perhaps just a coincidence or not, Newark, New Jersey is the place where a theater co-owned by Shaquille O’Neil, recently reneged on an agreement to show a popular independent film about the life of another former member of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Is Assata Shakur in New Jersey? No, she is not and the FBI and the Obama administration know exactly where she is, in Cuba where she has lived since being granted political asylum by its government in 1979 after escaping from prison. This is not about Assata Shakur, it is about sending a message to the Black community and those that live within it who stand up to police violence, oppression and murder of residents, one of the very reasons for the formation of the Black Panthers. It is about the political repression of those who advocate on the behalf of the many political prisons being held by the United States government often in torturous conditions. It is about sending a message to anyone who would take up arms in defense of life, liberty and true freedom in a country that is home to the largest prison population in the world which the federal government and various corporations use as slave labor. It is about sending a message to those that would dare stand up and point out that the US government is the most violent entity on the planet and one that commits acts of terrorism against non-white people and nations on behalf of maintaining the American imperialist status-quo.
Why else would the U.S. government seek to name Assata Shakur as a domestic terrorist after all these decades? We are talking about a woman who was shot twice while attempting to give herself up to police who were co-operating with Federal authorities to target and assassinate or otherwise eliminate members of the Black Liberation movement just as they had done and admitted in a civil lawsuit to doing to Martin Luther King Jr.
The FBI and its corporate media wing fail to report the details of the sham case built against Assata Shakur after failing to win convictions on other trump up charges. The corporate media is failing to point out that a police officer, a state witness against Assata Shakur for the murder of another police officer, has recanted his testimony and admitted to lying on the stand. Medical personnel stated that because of nerves severed by a bullet, Assata Shakur would have been physically prevented from firing a weapon and it was also stated that her wounds indicate her hands were raised when she was shot consistent with her claim that she was giving herself up.
Just as Assata Shakur has pointed out that COINTELPRO utilized and received full cooperation from the corporate media to demonize and alienate freedom fighters from the people who supported them, corporate media today is still fulfilling that role. The concept of a free and independent press in America has always been a fraud and it remains so today.