By Charlene Muhammad CHARLENEM
Ire and outrage ensued after a report surfaced indicating the Federal Bureau of Investigation has labeled some groups and activists Black Identity Extremists who pose a violent threat to police.
In the unclassified document, entitled, “Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers,” the FBI said its judgment was based on acts of violence against police officers that were ideologically motivated.
Foreign Policy, a global news magazine, released the unclassified intelligence assessment, dated Aug. 3, 2017, and which was prepared by the FBI Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit.
Many are calling the report incredibly revealing, while noting it is also nothing new.
“The FBI defines Black Identity Extremists (BIE) as individuals who seek, wholly or in part, through unlawful acts of force or violence, in response to perceived racism or injustice in American society and some do so in furtherance of establishing a separate Black homeland or autonomous black social institutions, communities, or governing organizations within the United States,” reads the FBI assessment.
It continues, “This desire for physical or psychological separation is typically based on either a religious or political belief system, which is sometimes formed around or includes a belief in racial superiority or supremacy. The mere advocacy of political or social positions, political activism, use of strong rhetoric, or generalized philosophic embrace of violent tactics may not constitute extremism, and may be constitutionally protected,” it admitted.
Is FBI targeting Farrakhan and Nation of Islam?
“If you listen to that language, they’re talking about the Nation (of Islam),” said Dr. Ava Muhammad, attorney, author, radio personality and Nation of Islam student minister.
“And they leave themselves a door of rationality, saying merely advocating this may be constitutionally protected. But the point is they have now created a new category of enemy and that is us,” she stated.
She said the FBI’s own words identifying so-called BIEs should be concerning to all Blacks. They point to the urgency of responding properly to the directives being given by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Dr. Muhammad said.
“It’s also speaking of the Nation specifically when they say, ‘This desire for physical or psychological separation is typically based in a religious or political belief system which is sometimes formed around or includes a belief in racial superiority or supremacy,’ ” she said.
Aside from six cases of violence it said began with the Ferguson police killing Michael Brown, Jr., in St. Louis, Missouri in 2014, the document mentions people who believe in the Moorish Sovereignty Citizenship Movement are likely to converge with BIE’s to exact violence against law enforcement.
One includes the July 7, 2016 incident in which police reported Micah Johnson ambushed 11 officers and killed five during a Dallas protest against the killing of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.
“White people have such a, they’re so mentally unstable, that they perceive Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner, they perceive that as a threat to them,” said Dr. Muhammad. “That’s the mentality you’re dealing with and I don’t care if you’re the NAACP or who you are, if you’re about anything that shows self-respect, self respect to them is superiority.”
The FBI report does reference the Nation of Islam in footnotes, denoting open sources from social media posts or articles, national news stories, and the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, both staunch enemies of Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.
“This is definitely, though about us, because the reason we are all targeted is because we are offering the door out to the Black man. That’s why the aim of the world is to kill the Messenger, because the Messenger is the means of salvation for the people that Satan is trying to take away,” said Dr. Muhammad.
“We’re not in prophecy anymore. We are at the rollout of judgment. When Allah burns your whole town to a crisp, that ain’t no warning, okay … and Trump just keeps begging for more,” Dr. Muhammad added.
A war on Black protest and dissent?
The FBI assessment indicated there’d been no violence from so-called BIE’s in the last two decades.
But the bureau insisted, it’s very likely that “BIE’s perceptions of unjust treatment of African Americans and the perceived unchallenged illegitimate actions of law enforcement will inspire premeditated attacks against law enforcement over the next year.”
Congressman Bobby Rush of Chicago said the FBI report comes at a time when the country is already racially and politically divided, much of it exacerbated by President Donald Trump.
“Trump is reawakening and giving fertile ground to racism and racist ideologies. Even the FBI now has resorted to the rebirth of the worst elements of J. Edgar Hoover and the dominant era of the FBI’s racist policies, racist ideology and actual threats to the African American community with these coded words, that are drenched in symbolic language whose image and purpose and meaning was absolutely clear to all freedom loving people in America and throughout the world. And that is that there is a war on Black protestors, on Black political disrupters and engages anyone with a vision that doesn’t fit into this illogical racist viewpoint,” Rep. Rush told The Final Call.
“There is a war on Black protestors, on Black political disrupters and engages anyone with a vision that doesn’t fit into this scene and give meaning to American racist view point, then they are targeted,” he stated.
“Some of us, we lived through that era, and we recognize it. We know it when we see it. We recognize the smell of it. … And so, there’s no group of African Americans, there’s no segment of African Americans, no segment of Blacks in America that’s protected,” he continued.
During the Congressional Black Caucus meeting on Oct. 11, members determined that even the CBC, itself, is a target and can be considered a target of the FBI’s oppressive tactics and efforts to destroy any kind of unity within the Black community, added Rep. Rush.
According to the lawmaker, the CBC has sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, asking that he come before the entire CBC to explain the meaning behind the report, what he’s going to do to repudiate it, and how the FBI is going to try to improve racial relations in America, rather than trying to add fuel to the division, and destructive fire to the racial intolerance and racial antagonisms in the U.S.
“We are not in the same position that we were in the ‘60s during COINTELPRO,” said Rep. Rush about the 1960s FBI infiltration and surveillance program FBI director J. Edgar Hoover used to spy on and worked to destroy Black Power groups, civil-rights leaders and organizations, the Black Panther Party, Black Liberation Army, American Indian Movement and other progressive groups.
Today, Blacks are positioned more powerfully in Congress than under COINTELPRO, with the CBC’s 49 members of the House of Representatives, and three U.S. senators, Rep. Rush said.
“Lastly, we have some of us who’ve experienced COINTELPRO, who lived through all these last periods through this nation, who lived through J. Edgar Hoover calling the Black Panther Party the number one threat to U.S. security,” said Rep. Rush, who was a member of the Black Panther Party in Chicago.
He continued, “We have experience in Congress. We know how to organize a nation. We know what numbers to follow to push, so we intend to fully engage the FBI to repudiate this report. We are in much better positions on all levels of power, and so we’re not going to sit by and tolerate anything that speaks of a return to ‘Hooverism,’ and J. Edgar Hoover’s ‘hoodlumnism and houliganism’ of this system,” Rep. Rush concluded.
Same tactics, new name?
Damon K. Jones, New York representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, had a simple description of the FBI assessment. “Same circus, different clowns,” he said. The government views Blacks coming together a threat, he said.
“We should not be shocked when the youth come together under Black Lives Matter, when Black law enforcement speaks out against the injustice system, when Black professionals speak out against this system, and people are coming on one accord for justice for their people, that the government would not respond,” Mr. Jones stated.
He warned against believing the U.S. government won’t use tactics waged in military actions overseas on Black people at home.
Problematic for the U.S. has been athletes, paid to be silent, yet using their celebrity status to raise awareness, rappers and artists who are changing their lyrics and tones to be more culturally aware, Mr. Jones added.
As for Black law enforcement, he said, the FBI assertion that Blacks will likely target police keeps the tension going.
“When we’re out here trying to do our job to protect and serve the community and build some type of bridge between our community and law enforcement, that creates more tension and it creates more hate, which we’re trying to stop, because we love our people and we do understand we need some type of law enforcement, but we don’t want that type of law enforcement that would be oppressive of our people,” Mr. Jones told The Final Call.
“When the federal government went after Dr. King, Stokely Carmichael, the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, we all shunned away! As Black people we said, ‘oh, that’s not my problem. That’s just some radicals.’ We can’t do that this time.”
“Hey listen! I could be on the list, you understand? And I carry a gun, and we carry guns as Black law enforcement. We could be on the list as far as I know,” Mr. Jones added.
Former Black Panther Elaine Brown told The Final Call the FBI document contains new language, but it’s the same old story. It’s not a remnant of COINTELPRO, because that never went away, she said.
“The Nation was called a Black extremist group. We were called Black extremists. … I just think there’s nothing else to say about it other than what you going to do about it?” Ms. Brown asked.
“Are going to say, ‘oh the FBI is out to get us.’ Hell! They’ve been out. If you are doing something, they’re going to be after you. If you’re not, you don’t have to worry, and at this point, we don’t have a lot to worry about, because we ain’t doing but so much,” Ms. Brown stated.
“We’ve been overwhelmed, inundated with stuff about Trump, and we have been diverted from thinking about anything else,” she argued.
“You cannot turn on any television station or radio station where you won’t hear something about Trump. In the meantime, we have all these little ignorant a– TV shows on, the house wives of hooby boo, all this lil’ kind of stuff that comes on BET about absolutely nothing, and so forth and so on. What are we doing? That’s the only question I raise,” Ms. Brown said.