From Cointel-Pro to Gang Injunctions to PRISM & Privatization our HKR Intv w/ Kali Akuno

Kali Akuno

Kali Akuno

Yesterday we on Hard Knock Radio we chopped it up with long time activist and freedom fighter Kali Akuno of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.. The subject at hand was the updated report MXGM had done on Police Killings… About a year ago when they started documenting Black people killed by police it was discovered that every 36 hours Law Enforcement guns down someone from our community… With the new data it was discovered that rate has increased to every 28 hours.. You can see the new report titled Operation Ghetto Storm —> HERE

In our conversation with Kali, not only does he break down the specifics of that report but he also connects the terrorism and mass surveillance the Black community has long experienced with law enforcement to what is currently going on now with the PRISM program. Kali outlines the sordid legacy of Cointel-Pro and later sweeping gang injunctions which were pioneered by former LA Police Chief Darryl Gates. He talks about what it was like growing up in LA and the impact mass surveillance (profiling) had on the Black community. For example, by the time the Rodney King Rebellions unfold in 1992, almost half of LA’s Black male population were listed on LAPD’s Gang Database. People were placed on these lists simply for living in a neighborhood. At the time many outside Black and Brown communities ignored this.. Many even suggested that the folks living in South central, Watts, Compton, East LA etc, were deserving a such treatment.  Kali noted that what had become routine in Black and Brown communities in the War on Drugs has now been tweaked and being used to Fight the War on Terror.

In our interview Kali points out that local police and the federal government have long worked together when executing their policies of containment in the hood.  What makes the war on terror so frightening is much of the intel gathering is done by private corporation who stand to make a profit.. Kali gives a thorough breakdown of how private industry has shaped the Military Industrial Complex  and the long term =effects it is having on folks both here and abroad..

This is a very thorough and insightful interview..

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Massive Domestic Spying was Wrong in the Past..It’s Wrong Today

NSA signIt’s a damn shame that with all that’s going on, the biggest news in Hip Hop this week is that rapper 2 Chainz did not get robbed while visiting San Francisco..Hell I was just in SF the other day and I didn’t get robbed either.. Why is this news? One would hope that the big news for 2 Chainz is while he was in the Bay he donated one of two chains to charity, he went to a group home to work with youth or that he’s doing a new song about Trayvon Martin or one that he addresses the NSA spying drama…

Which brings me to my next point, as we look at all this massive spying and surveillance of innocent people, we should keep a couple of things in mind.. First watch the media distraction where they are now getting. All these corporate backed news outlets have tuned into a PR firm for the government where they are doing massive spin control by getting everyone to debate whether or not Edward Snowden the man who blew the whistle on all this is a traitor or patriot. One would think and hope the main thrust would be centered around the actual situation of us being spied upon by private corporation using govt money and resources.. Snowden is the guy who gave of us the info.. He’s not the one in power and should not be the main focus. The questions should be what are private companies doing with all that data? What’s the guarantee it wont be abused or compromised?

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

The other thing to keep in mind, is since we’re talking Hip Hop news, perhaps folks should make the connection as to whats going on now with what was going down in Hip Hop a few years back New York City had a Hip Hop cop division that spent countless hours collecting dossiers on rappers and their entourages. 2Pac was being tailed, Biggie was being tailed and to this day all this intel gathering has not led to an arrest and conviction of their killers… At the time many rappers played up being surveilled as part of their whole mob/gangsta image and proof that there was bit of an edge to them…Considering the long legacy of CointelPro and how the FBI, CIA and other government agencies  spying on artists and using culture as a weapon against us, more should have been concerned and outrage then, as they should be now.

Under Cointel-Pro irreparable damage was done, not just in the Black community via the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, but also the Chicano Movement, American Indian Movement, Puerto Rican Independence Movement and the Anti-War Movements. Prior to Cointel-pro we had the McCarthy Era where major damage was done to journalists, entertainers, academics and any other thought leaders who were thought to be connected to Communism.

Like Cointel-pro many during the McCarthy Era who were 100% innocent were caught up in the wide net used by the government to battle what was actually described by some even back in those days, as a Fight Against Terror..There’s no excuse for folks who understand this history not to speak out now.. As we see a lot of this unfolding..one has got to wonder whats really going on? Maybe Hip Hop was surveilled in such a way as to get folks used to this practice so they wouldn’t sound the alarm once this spread and became a bit more Draconian.

Civil Rights Lawyer King Downing

Civil Rights Lawyer King Downing

Below is an interview we did with Civil Rights lawyer King Downing who is the founder of the Human Rights Racial Justice Center and has long dealt with the issues of privacy, unwarranted surveillance, racial profiling and over reach by the government. King is also formerly of the ACLU which is now suing Obama and the NSA for their egregious actions. In 2006 when I first met King, the ACLU was suing George Bush and his administration for spying on the American people http://www.aclu.org/national-security/aclu-sues-stop-illegal-spying-americans-saying-president-not-above-law. Sadly not much has changed, if anything the government has doubled down.

A few years ago, King and myself along with a number of scholars, law enforcement, civil rights people, artists and activists sat on two round tables put on by the ACLU that dealt with the use and abuse of government informants. Lastly King was featured in the documentary Black and Blue: Legend of a Hip Hop Cop which focused on NYPD and their Hip Hop  division which collected large numbers of dossiers on artists, most of them innocent of any wrong doing.

He breaks a lot of things down in this Hard Knock Radio interview including the fact that the surveillance of rappers went far beyond NYPD but was actually coming from Washington DC itself..He connects a lot of dots and firmly makes the case of how the invasive profiling tactics used in the failed War on Drugs that crippled many who lived in the hood and inner cities has expanded under the Patriot Act and the War on Terror. He notes that all of this is connected and in totality make up what he describes as the surveillance state….

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During our interview with King Downing I mentioned I would play/post up the excerpt of former FBI informant Darthard Perry speaking about how he and others in the bureau did massive surveillance on Black culture so as to weaken the people…This interview took place in the 1970s..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHnUFpCeGxQ

Spying NSABuilding off what we covered with King Downing, we sat down with professor of communication Christopher Simpson of American University..
Simpson is author of several books, including; BlowbackScience of Coercion and National Security Directives of the Reagan and Bush Administrations.

With respect to this spying saga Simpson noted:

“The newly public National Security Agency records about PRISM and similar operations demonstrate that metadata about electronic communication is actually more dangerous to democracy than intercepting conversations. That is because the NSA’s analysis of this information is based on mathematical formulas that use guilt by association to construct imaginary networks of people who might, or might not, have some link to political violence, espionage, or to almost any controversy involving international relations.

“Much of what was revealed last week about the National Security Agency has been publicly available for almost a decade, but denied by officials and forgotten or ignored by most big media. The information now on the public record enables any informed person to understand the basics of how these intelligence operations work and why they are dangerous.

During our Hard Knock Radio interview, Professor Simpson expounded upon these remarks.. He laid out the case how this NSA spying situation is the War on Drugs on steroids..If anyone who has dealt with the wide nets used in the War on drugs, then you can probably relate, except, this is bigger and goes a lot deeper..The way the data is being mined, folks are getting tagged and dinged falsely with very little recourse..Y’all better not get caught up in conversations about whether or not Snowden is a Patriot or Hero.. Y’all best be asking what recourse you have from this drama..

Professor Simpson also painstakingly explains how the PRISM program works. He alerts us to how the data is collected and cross referenced with criteria that is secret which in turn determines if you are a potential target for further and more penetrating surveillance..This is no joke.. Peep the interview below..
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Assata Ain’t No Terrorist.. She’s the One Who Fought Terrorists

assataSo the FBI is increasing their bounty for Assata Shakur , once known as Joanne Chesimard to $2 million and putting her the Most Wanted Terrorist list.. Making her the first female in history to be put on such a list and basically making her be on par with the likes  of Osama Bin Laden..This is beyond outrageous.

How long have some in this government been fiending for Assata?  30..35 years? Can you imagine if the FBI was this diligent about going after Wall Street Bankers who defrauded millions of people and tanked the economy or if they put $2 million dollar bounties out for war criminals who live right here in the US who purposely misled us into War where over a million lives were lost.. Yes, we are looking at you George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice etc..

If were gonna talk about Assata and say she’s a ‘cop killer‘, let’s be completely honest and put such accusations into perspective.. Everyone wants to forget that in the 60s and 70s the FBI and police declared War on the Black community and organizations that formed in the community to end oppression. The police and FBI went all out to destroy Black leaders and these organizations with undaunted impunity. The reason why you had BPP (Black Panther Party), SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) and BLA (Black Liberation Army) was because they responded to police terrorism. They were tired of seeing the police come into our communities and take them over like an ‘occupying army’, if I may quote Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale. These groups formed because they were tired of seeing police and FBI with white supremacist attitudes, assassinating, brutalizing or jailing Panthers and members of other Black Power organizations left and right for little or no reason..They were tired of seeing government forces foster the killing of Black leaders like Martin Luther King  and Malcolm X. So if we’re gonna talk about Assata, let’s talk the police and FBI murders of unarmed Fred Hampton and Mark Clark? Let’s talk about the murder of Lil Bobby Hutton. Can we say COINTEL-PRO?

fbi-cointelproLet’s talk about Cointel-pro which was a subversive counter-intelligent war tactic used by FBI head J Edgar Hoover to ‘neutralize‘  The Chicano Movement, Puerto Rican Independence Movement, Anti-War/ Free Speech Student Movement, American Indian Movement, Civil Rights Movement and of course the Black Power Movements..

Can we talk about how the FBI would send incendiary letters to different organizations in an attempt to pit Black leaders and organizations against one another with the hope of creating rifts that would lead to bloodshed? Isn’t that what happened between the Panthers and US? Did we not hear the tape of the FBI questioning Malcolm X and trying to get him to turn against the Nation of Islam? Can we talk about campaigns used by the FBI to character assassinate important leaders. No one in the Black community was off-limits from these ruthless tactics from the FBI  Not Dr Martin Luther king, Not Malcolm X, not Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.. No one..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8CSQopxEf8

Let’s talk about how this insidious Cointel-pro operation resulted in leaders being hauled off to jail on trumped-up charges. Many to this day still sit languishing for 25, 30 and even 40 years. Let’s talk about political prisoners like Herman Bell, Mutulu Shakur, Sundiata Acoli, Russell Maroon ShoaltzMumia Abu Jamal, the Angola 3, now 2,  who are not only locked up, but going on their second and third decades in solitary confinement.

Let’s talk about the vicious, tortuous persecution of the government to go after and press new charges on former Panthers like the SF 8, 30 years after the fact. let’s talk about how these men all in their 70s had to undergo a trial with former police and FBI agents who once physically tortured them 30 years ago, being the officers to serve them new warrants.  The SF 8 were all found innocent again, but it should be reminded, what they endured back in the turbulent 1960s and early 1970s was around the time that Assata Shakur and others like her hit the scene ready to push back on the overwhelming oppression. Let’s talk about the fact that wanna the goals of the FBI’s Cointel-Pro program was to prevent the rise of a charismatic Black leader and instead find someone who was safe and acceptable to lead the masses.

Assata Shakur$2 Million dollars to get Assata? Where’s the $2 million dollar bounty to go after those in government who partook in that Cointel-pro war? Perhaps those individuals should be hunted down 50 years after the fact the way we still hunt down Nazi War criminals? After all, entire communities were destroyed by this..

Do you honestly think folks like Assata woke up one day and said they wanted to go smash on brutalizing organizations like the police and FBI who out gunned them and outnumbered them? I don’t think so..

Were people like Assata down make the sacrifice to defend themselves and their community from all the firebombings and other atrocities that were routinely occurring throughout the south by KKK while police turned a blind eye or even helped? Absolutely

Can we talk about entire Black Towns destroyed by mobs of angry whites who saw our humanity as a threat.. places like Black Wall Street in Tulsa or Rosewood in Florida? Often times the police were right alongside when these horrors occurred.

Let’s talk about the countless number of unarmed Black folks murdered at alarming rates by these out of control police forces. It happened back in the 60s and 70s just as its happening now. We should not forget that as a matter of policy many police in California in in other northern cities around the US, were recruited from the south with the directive to keep Black folks in a state of fear and in check..It was a policy of containment. Let’s get a 2 million dollar bounty for those sadistic officers and the people behind those policies.

Bottom line don’t talk about any ‘wrong doings’ by Assata without underscoring state sponsored repression and the all out military and terrorist attacks on Black organizations and Black people at that time.. We can start by talking about all the people gunned down by cops during the Newark Riots, Detroit Riots or Watts Rebellion.  We can talk about folks like the late Geronimo Pratt (Jijaga) being framed and made to sit in jail for 30 years … There’s a long, long list.. Simply put, There ain’t no innocent people wearing those badge, so don’t be fooled..Is Asaata a terrorist?? Hell naw, she was fighting terrorists..

Oh by the way.. Thank you president Obama, all this bounty stuff  is happening on your watch within a division of government you control..It’s a damn shame..

On another note, I gotta wonder how Common is feeling.. It was just two weeks ago he kicked some nice lyrics about his meeting with Assata when he visited Cuba. He also said we need to get behind Obama who thus far is allowing this to go down..I wonder if he still has love for Obama in the wake of this..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egLRN2NsBgY