Friday, May 3, 2013

  • Assata Shakur in Her Own Words: Rare Recording of Activist Named to FBI Most Wanted Terrorists List

    Assata_shakur_2

    The FBI has added the former Black Panther Assata Shakur to its Most Wanted Terrorists list 40 years after the killing for which she was convicted. Born Joanne Chesimard, Shakur was found guilty of shooting dead a New Jersey state trooper during a gunfight in 1973. Shakur has long proclaimed her innocence and accused federal authorities of political persecution. She escaped from prison in 1979 and received political asylum in Cuba. On Thursday, she became the first woman added to the FBI’s terrorist list, and the reward for her capture was doubled to $2 million. We begin our coverage by airing Shakur’s reading of an open letter she wrote to Pope John Paul II during his trip to Cuba in 1998 after the FBI asked him to urge her extradition. "As a result of being targeted by [the FBI program] COINTELPRO, I was faced with the threat of prison, underground, exile or death," Shakur said at the time. "I am not the first, nor the last, person to be victimized by the New Jersey system of 'justice.' The New Jersey State Police are infamous for their racism and brutality." Hear Shakur read the letter in full on SoundCloud. Click here to watch our interview about her case with scholar and activist Angela Davis and Lennox Hinds, her longtime attorney.

  • Angela Davis and Assata Shakur’s Lawyer Denounce FBI’s Adding of Exiled Activist to Terrorists List

    Davis_and_lenox

    One day after the exiled former Black Panther Assata Shakur became the first woman named to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, we’re joined by another legendary African-American activist, Angela Davis, as well as Shakur’s longtime attorney, Lennox Hinds. Davis, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the subject of the recent film, "Free Angela and All Political Prisoners." She argues that the FBI’s latest move, much like its initial targeting of Shakur and other Black Panthers four decades ago, is politically motivated. "It seems to me that this act incorporates or reflects the very logic of terrorism," Davis says. "I can’t help but think that it’s designed to frighten people who are involved in struggles today. Forty years ago seems like it was a long time ago. In the beginning of the 21st century, we’re still fighting around the very same issues — police violence, healthcare, education, people in prison." A professor of criminal justice at Rutgers University, Hinds has represented Shakur since 1973. "This is a political act pushed by the state of New Jersey, by some members of Congress from Miami, and with the intent of putting pressure on the Cuban government and to inflame public opinion," Hinds says. "There is no way to appeal someone being put on the terrorists list."

  • As Migrant Toll Mounts, Mexicans Urge Obama to Put Human Rights at Center of Immigration Reform

    Obama_mexico

    President Obama has traveled to Mexico for a two-day visit to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Part of their talks are focused on U.S. immigration reform. Outside the U.S. embassy in Mexico City, protesters have called on Obama to keep his promise to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws. We’re joined by Marco Castillo, an organizer with Migrant Families Popular Assembly and the Acción Migrante campaign. Citing the continued deaths of migrant workers trying to make their way north from Mexico, Castillo calls for human rights, not "border security," to be the focus of policy changes. "We’re going through a humanitarian crisis on the borders of the U.S. and Mexico," Castillo says.