'Terror' War Gets Stupider as Shakur is Added to the List
Federal authorities publicly plot encouraging bounty hunters to kidnap a fugitive black radical from a foreign country for return to prison in the U.S. to achieve long-delayed justice.
This sounds like the FBI action on May 2, 2013 in placing former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur on its “Most Wanted Terrorists” list – the first female to have that dubious distinction.
Shakur was convicted of killing a New Jersey State Trooper during a May 1973 incident on the NJ turnpike, where one of her companions was killed and another captured. Once known as JoAnne Chesimard, she escaped from a NJ prison in 1979 and was granted political asylum in Cuba in 1984 where she lives today.
While Shakur,65, occasionally criticizes racist inequities in the U.S. – comparable to that of many politicians including Barack Obama prior to this election of U.S. President – she does not actively advocate or engage in terrorism.
Yet many contend she is a ‘terrorist’ because of her armed resistance decades ago to American racism that included police brutality – a deadly offense Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decried twice in his seminal 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech. A May 10 editorial in the conservative Washington Times declared Shakur had to “pay for her crimes” suggesting Cuba send her to a cell in Guantanamo Bay – the U.S. torture prison located on land the U.S. illegally occupies in Cuba.
Although federal authorities did double the NJ state reward for the capture of Shakur to $2-million when placing her on their “Most Wanted” terrorist list exactly forty-years after that 1973 incident, the bounty hunter incident referenced above occurred before the widely condemned listing of Shakur.
In July 2012, almost a year before the Shakur listing, federal authorities discussed snatching a former Black Panther “off the street” in Portugal during a public hearing chaired by a Republican Congressman from New Jersey.
That ex-BPP member, George Wright, now 70, had escaped from a New Jersey prison in 1970 while he was serving a 15-30-year sentence for a death during a gas station robbery eight years earlier. The odyssey of Wright, who joined the BPP after fleeing prison, included escape to Algeria on a hijacked airliner, life in France, Guinea-Bissau in West Africa (where he received asylum) and then to Portugal where he married a Portuguese woman, raised a family and spent much of his life there doing charitable and humanitarian work.
In September 2011, an FBI cold-case investigation resulted in Portuguese police arresting Wright. Courts in that country, including its highest court, twice rejected U.S. extradition requests ruling that Wright (who changed his name to Jose Luis Jorge Dos Santos) was a Portuguese citizen and under Portuguese law the statute of limitation for his crime in the U.S. had expired.