Sunday, May 19, 2013

More Perspective On Assata Shakur

More on Assata Shakur comes from Linn Washington Jr, Temple University Professor of Journalism and columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and Black Agenda Report, in his weekly column in This Can't Be Happening, a website he runs with several other writers that I occasionally post articles from.

Washington writes about Shakur's trial for the alleged murder of a New Jersey state trooper, which I haven't gone into yet, where half the all-White jurors had ties to the state police, and in which the jury ignored an admission by state police that they had no evidence Shakur committed a murder, such as powder burns on her hands.

Assata Shakur after 1972 arrest and today. This Can't Be Happening graphic
Shakur and two others had been stopped for riding in a car while Black. Shakur was shot in the back by state police while her hands were in the air. One of the other riders in the car was killed and one wounded, and one of the state troopers was killed. It's not known by whom. Shakur was taken to the hospital and charged with murder, and her trial and conviction have been widely condemned.

Washington points out that Shakur writes occasionally but has never advocated terrorism, which is why, the FBI says, they put her on their most wanted terrorist list. He writes,

"Supporters of Shakur contend her terrorist listing moves dangerously beyond relentless revenge rooted in the FBI’s illegal COINTELPRO covert war to crush black civil rights and militant activists during the late 1960s and early 1970s (including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). A U.S. Senate investigating committee in 1975 blasted COINTELPRO's blatant attacks on constitutionally protected activities during an attempt by the FBI to sustain America's racist status quo.

Shakur supporters see that terror listing as another step in expanding the Terror War’s assault on domestic dissidents and erosions of civil liberties including the First Amendment right to criticize government. Supporters also see the listing as a weapon in right-wing efforts to blunt Obama Administration discussions about removing Cuba from the federal government’s list of nations allegedly involved in sponsoring terrorism."

Linn Washington Jr's column can be read here.


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