Thirty-six years after Assata Shakur’s frame-up conviction for the murder of a state trooper, and 34 years after her escape from prison to Cuba, the FBI has made her the first woman placed on its list of most wanted terrorists. It also doubled the bounty for her capture, to $2 million. It’s a chilling alert that the FBI’s sinister and treacherous role in this country against political rebels is on the increase.
Black revolutionary Assata Shakur, the aunt and godmother of the late rapper Tupac Shakur, is not and never was a terrorist. Now 65 and a writer and editor, Shakur is one of the many civil rights radicals of the 1960s and ’70s who led heroic and dangerous battles against racism, police brutality, and poverty — and were mercilessly persecuted by police, railroaded in court, and discredited in the media.
Black militants, including those connected with the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army as Shakur was, were especially targeted by the FBI’s notorious COINTELPRO operation, tormented in prisons, and frequently assassinated.
The FBI’s labeling of Shakur as a terrorist shows that it is once again upping the stakes for dissent. Its menacing campaign must be answered by, among other things, a fearless defense of Assata Shakur.
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