[Ppnews] Hands Off Assata Shakur Campaign

PPnews at freedomarchives.org PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon May 9 08:37:10 EDT 2005

Hands Off Assata Shakur Campaign

Saturday, May 07 2005 @ 04:17 PM PDT

The Hands Off Assata Campaign is a coming together of organizations and 
individuals who are outraged by the heightened attempts by the federal 
government, congress of the united states and the state of new jersey to 
illegally force thru kidnapping a return of Assata Shakur from Cuba to the 
plantation United States.

We know that Assata Shakur is a bona fide political exile living in the 
island nation of Cuba. She was persecuted for her political beliefs and 
tortured while in prison. We support the international human rights and 
Geneva conventions, which enabled her to seek and secure political asylum 
in Cuba, and we support the right of the Cuban people to grant it to her. 
We are shocked by the actions of new jersey and the department of justice, 
who has issued a $1 million dollar bounty on head of Assata Shakur. Doing 
such a thing is tantamount to a call to "soldiers of fortune" to kidnap and 
kill Ms. Shakur and for them to engage in international espionage against 
the sovereign nation of Cuba. We are shocked by the activities of the 
United States House of Representatives, which in September 1998 passed 
House Resolution 254, calling on the Cuban Government to extradite Assata 
Shakur. Given that there is no binding extradition treaty between Cuba and 
the United States, such a request is outside the context of international 
law. In addition, we call on the Congress of the United States to hold 
public hearings on the past and current impact of FBI's Counter 
Intelligence Program known as COINTELPRO. Given that Assata Shakur was not 
the only one politically persecuted for her political beliefs, we demand 
that a full airing take place on that program. And finally are calling on 
the United States end its hostility towards the tiny nation of Cuba by 
normalizing relations with the Island and ending the US economic blockade

Assata Shakur: Sister, Woman, Exile, Mother, Grand mother

ASSATA SHAKUR is an African woman. She is a social justice activist, a 
poet, a mother and a grandmother. She has lived in Cuba since the early 
1980s. During the heady days of the 1960s and 1970s, she found herself a 
victim of both racial profiling and political targeting. After being 
spotted on the New Jersey turnpike on May 2, 1973, (DWB) driving while 
Black, it was discovered that she and her two companions were known members 
of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. Like Martin 
Luther King, Jr. Malcolm X, Leonard Peltier and many members of the Civil 
Rights and American Indian Movements, Assata and her companions had been 
watched, their phones tapped, their families monitored, their organizations 
infiltrated, and widespread disinformation campaigns waged against them. 
They were like many activists of the day targets of the FBI's Counter 
Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO). In fact, Assata was wanted, not for 
anything she had actually done, but for a variety of crimes that government 
and state officials were trying to pin on her. This was common in the 
1970s: discredit the voice of activists by painting them as criminals, 
trumping up indictments, tying them up in courts and if possible jailing 
them. In the mid 1970s, The Church Committee of the Senate Select Committee 
to Study Government Operations and the Domestic Intelligence Subcommittee, 
headed by Senator Walter Mondale, provided incontrovertible documentation 
of a government sponsored conspiracy against the civil and human rights of 
all sorts of political activists.

THUS ON THAT DAY IN MAY, Assata was a marked woman. And after police 
stopped them, a shoot out occurred. When the smoke cleared one police 
officer, and one of Assata's companions, Zayd Shakur lay dead. Assata, shot 
in the back and dragged from the car, lay wounded. Only belatedly taken to 
the hospital, Assata was then chained to her bed, tortured and questioned 
while injured. In fact, she never received adequate medical attention even 
though she had a broken clavicle and a paralyzed arm. Nonetheless, she was 
quickly jailed, prosecuted and incarcerated over the next few years for the 
series of trumped up cases. Interestingly, in five separate trials, and 
with majority white juries, charges were dismissed because of lack of 
evidence or she was acquitted of all charges ranging from bank robbery to 
murder. As the manager of one bank said at trial - she is just not the one 
who robbed my bank. Only in the final trial in 1977, where she was charged 
with the Turnpike killings, was she found guilty. This even though forensic 
evidence taken that day showed that she had not fired a weapon. She was 
sentenced to life + 33 years in prison. In 1979, and after nearly six years 
behind bars, she escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in 
New Jersey and some time later emerged in Cuba where she applied for and 
received political asylum. Since being in Cuba, she has continued her 
college education, published an autobiography, and writes on global issues 
facing women, youth, and people of color.

DURING THE 1990S, rightist politicians and police bodies - this time in 
conjunction with conservative members of the Cuban-American community - 
reinvigorated their attempts to pursue Assata Shakur. They did this even 
though Assata has not tried to re-enter the United States and is, according 
to international law, a political exile who should be left alone. Linking 
"fear of crime" rhetoric with anti-Cuban sentiment, New Jersey governor 
Christine Todd-Whitman issued a bounty which was $100,000, on the head of 
Assata Shakur. She even went as far as to announce her bounty on Radio 
Marti, the US government radio station which beams anti-Castro propaganda 
into the Caribbean. To do such a thing put Assata in danger because it is 
tantamount to encouraging any opportunists to kidnap and/or kill her for 
pay. In addition, in 1998, Congressmen Franks and Menendez from New Jersey 
and Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart of Florida introduced and got passed - 
House Resolution 254 - which calls for the Cuban government to extradite 
Assata Shakur as a condition to normalizing US-Cuba relations. 
Interestingly, while Assata and Cuba are portrayed as "criminal", a 
terrorist bombing campaign - thought to be sponsored by ultra-rightist 
forces in the United States - has been launched against Cuba, killing and 
injuring Cuban citizens and foreign tourists alike.

Elder Steering Committee (in formation): Adjoa Aiyetoro, Baye Adofo, Vera 
Beaty, Lisa Brock, Kedar Coleman, Otis Cunningham, Beryl Fitzpatrick, 
Cheryl Harris, Robin Hayes, Rosemari Mealy, Kamaria Ngozi, Ahmed Obefemi, 
Barbara Ransby, Walter Turner, Gail Walker

Warrior Steering Committee (in formation)

Endorsers (in formation): Black Radical Congress, Global Exchange, Jericho, 
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, National Conference of Black Lawyers, 
IfCO/Pastors for Peace, Venceremos Brigade, Women's International League 
for Peace and Freedom, Prisoners Of Conscience Committee, New Black Pather 
Party, The Talking Drum Collective, FTP Movement, The Uhuru Movement, 
African People's Socialist Party

What can you do?

1) Add your organization's name to our list of endorsers/Take petitions. 
[We will have them up online very shortly.]

2) Contact your Congressperson. Demand that he/she rescind House Resolution 
#254 and ask them to support congressional hearings on COINTELPRO. You can 
use a Congressional email service to look up yuour rep's email: 

3) Download and print the soon to be released "Hands Off Assata Shakur" Flyer

4) Plan a showing of the film Eyes of the Rainbow (1997). This film 
portrays the life and current struggles of Assata Shakur. Contact HOA for 
this: [email]hoa at afrocubaweb.com[/email]

5) Visit [url]<http://www.assatashakur.org[/url>www.assatashakur.org[/url] 
for current HOA-Campaign Info.

6) Organize around The Hands Off Assata Shakur Campaign Rally and teach In 
June 4, 2005 hosted by you in your respective cities and towns

7) Send contributions: FTP Movement, P.O. Box 1720, Stone Mountain, Ga. 30086

8) Any questions, contact us at 
[url]<http://www.assatashakur.org[/url>www.assatashakur.org[/url] using the 
contact us form.

This Campaign is a on going process, be patient with us as we Agitate, 
Educate, Organize And Mobilize.. more information coming...

Special thanks to 
[url]<http://www.afrocubaweb.com[/url>www.afrocubaweb.com[/url] for cutting 
this path for us to continue.

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