[News] Hands off Assata Events - Bay Area 6/3&4

News at freedomarchives.org News at freedomarchives.org
Tue May 24 13:20:02 EDT 2005

Hands Off Assata,
Hand Over Posada!
Friday, June 3rd
12 Noon
Oakland Federal Building
1301 Clay Street
Downtown Oakland
Educational Program
With Clips from "Eyes of the Rainbow" and "Posada's Victims Families Demand 
6 PM
Saturday, June 4th
411 2nd St. (Near Jack London Square)
Program Speaker Walter Turner
Hands Off Assata Campaign and KPFA's "Africa Today"
On May 2nd the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) put a $1 million 
bounty on the head of Assata Shakur and placed her on the domestic 
terrorist list under the Patriot Act. Assata is a former member of the 
Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army falsely accused of 
murdering a New Jersey State Trooper on May 2nd, 1973. In 1979 Assata 
escaped prison and was given political sanctuary in Cuba. The aim of the 
FBI's attack on Assata is to eliminate the domestic resistance of the Black 
Liberation movement, undermine the sovereignty of Cuba and Venezuela and 
set the stage for the possible invasion of these two nations. The FBI 
escalation at this time is also meant to divert attention from Luis Posada 
Carriles, an anti-Cuban terrorist wanted by Venezuela on charges of blowing 
up a Cuban airliner, who recently came to the United States seeking 
political asylum. We must defend Assata, our right to resist, and the 
sovereign rights of Cuba and Venezuela!

Organized by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the Jericho Amnesty 
Movement, Hands Off Assata Campaign, the Prisoners of Consciousness 
Committee, the Black Radical Congress, the ANSWER-SF Coalition, and the 
National Committee to Free the Cuban 5 . For more information contact MXGM 
at (510) 220-1100 or MXGMOakland at hotmail.com. Also visit 

Standing with Assata
On May 2, 2005, the United States Justice Department announced it was 
raising its bounty of $100,000 for the capture of Sister Assata Shakur to 
$1,000,000. For over two decades, Sister Assata has been living as a 
political exile in the Republic of Cuba. This is part of a long campaign to 
capture or kill Sister Assata since her escape in 1979, and part of the 
historical assault against the Black Liberation Movement.

Who is Assata Shakur?

Assata Shakur, born Joanne Deborah Byron in July 16, 1947, in Wilmington, 
North Carolina, grew up in the segregated South. When she was a college 
student in New York she decided to participate in the freedom movement of 
people of African descent against racism and white supremacy. Her thirst to 
do something for her people led her to the Black Panther Party (BPP) in New 
York City. She participated in a program teaching Black youth their culture 
and history and other service programs of the BPP. In 1969, Federal Bureau 
of Investigation (FBI) Director J. Edgar Hoover labeled the BPP "the 
greatest threat to the internal security of the country." Through its 
counter-intelligence program, COINTELPRO, the FBI and other police agencies 
waged a low-intensity war on the BPP and other Black freedom organizations. 
Activists were assassinated, incarcerated and forced into exile. When New 
York Panthers came under attack Assata went into hiding and joined the 
underground movement called the Black Liberation Army (BLA). She became one 
of the major targets of the United States government. On May 2, 1973, 
Assata and two other Panthers forced underground, Zayd Shakur and Sundiata 
Acoli were stopped by New Jersey Highway patrolmen on the New Jersey 
Turnpike. At the stop a shoot out ensued and Zayd Shakur and one of the 
highway patrolmen, Werner Foerster, were killed. In spite of that fact she 
had not fired a weapon and was paralyzed through the entire gun battle, she 
was convicted by an all-white jury in Middlesex County, New Jersey and 
sentenced to life plus sixty-five years for the death of Zayd Shakur and 
the highway patrolman. Sundiata was also convicted and given a sentence of 
life plus sixty-five years. After years of being incarcerated in male 
facilities or prison units on November 2, 1979, Assata, with the aid of the 
BLA and white friends of the Black Liberation Movement, was liberated from 
prison. In 1984, she was given political asylum in Cuba. The recent bounty 
placed on her head is only a continuation of a pursuit to re-capture her 
for over two decades. Since her escape twenty-six years ago, the FBI has 
committed an agent to her re-capture. The placing of Assata on the domestic 
terrorist list only confirms the fears of the Black liberation movement and 
human rights activists concerning George Bush's "war on terrorism." "The 
war on terrorism" is a means for the right-wing in the United States to 
eliminate its political enemies. Through vehicles like the Patriot Act, the 
"war on terrorism" gives justification for abuses of a modern day COINTELPRO.

COINTELPRO and the War on the Black Freedom movement

In the 1950s, during the Cold war, the FBI started COINTELPRO. As the Civil 
Rights Movement gained momentum Black Activists, like Martin Luther King, 
Jr., Robert F. Williams, Ella Baker, and Bayard Rustin became the primary 
targets of COINTELPRO. When the federal government did not respond to the 
demands of the nonviolent movement and also did not protect activists and 
Black communities from the violence of segregationist many activists moved 
toward Black Power and armed resistance to get human rights and freedom. 
Fearful of the assertive Black Power movement, the United States government 
used programs like COINTELPRO to destroy the Black movement.

Instead of seeking reconciliation of political conflict, the attempt to 
re-capture Assata only exacerbates political and racial conflict in the 
United States and internationally. In other countries around the world, 
including South Africa, Turkey, Morocco, Ukraine, Peru, Sierra Leone, East 
Timor, Ghana, Belgium, governments have established a review of the abuses 
of their police agencies on opposition movements in their countries as a 
gesture towards reconciliation. The United States has never sought 
reconciliation with the targets of COINTELPRO. The pursuit of Assata 
promotes more conflict in that rather than choosing an alternative dispute 
mechanism it chooses to continue the criminalization of the Black 
Liberation movement. Moreover, it encourages the mercenary invasion of a 
sovereign nation, the Republic of Cuba, and encourages global conflict. We 
oppose the sending of mercenaries and bounty hunters to apprehend Sister 
Assata Shakur. The United States government must acknowledge its abuses and 
grant amnesty to political prisoners and exiles.

As supporters of Human rights, we call for:

1) The end of the pursuit of Assata Shakur by immediately removing her name 
from the domestic terrorist list and repealing the bounty placed on her head.
2) The rejection of mercenary attacks on the sovereign nation of Cuba
3) The de-criminalization of the Black Liberation movement, particularly 
given the political nature of the conflict of the 1960s and 70s, and the 
abuses of COINTELPRO.
4) Congress to impanel an independent Truth Commission as an alternative 
dispute mechanism, to finish the mission of the Church Committee and of the 
cases of political prisoners and exiles, including Assata Shakur, Sundiata 
Acoli, Mutulu Shakur, Sekou Odinga, Kamau Sadiki and Marilyn Buck.
5) That the United States Congress implement remedies and restitution for 
the communities, organizations and individuals who were targeted and whose 
human rights were violated due to COINTELPRO.
6) The repeal of the Patriot Act.

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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