[Ppnews] "Hands Off Assata, Hand Over Posada!" Demo and Program June 3 & 4

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Fri May 20 08:38:37 EDT 2005

Hands Off Assata, Hand Over Posada!

Demo and Press Conference
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 Justice"
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
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
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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