Wed, 13 April 2016
“Officers of a secret police cyber-unit have been taking pictures of activists, collecting names, and then matching them with postings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media.”
The U.S. corporate media would have you believe that the movement that goes under the heading of Black Lives Matter has already gained substantial acceptance in the ruling circles of the United States, especially on the Democratic side of the electoral duopoly; that progress is evident in Hillary Clinton’s acceptance of the fact of her own white privilege, and the Democratic National Committee’s endorsement of the Black Lives Matter Network’s founders by name; and that the Movement is now transitioning into the “mainstream” with twiterist DeRay McKesson’s campaign for mayor of Baltimore.
The reality is that the U.S. National Security and Mass Black Incarcerate State is intent on breaking the back of the movement through the usual means: police repression, reinforced by more recent innovations in the technology of political control. And, just as with the Occupy Movement of a few years ago, the task of containing and neutralizing the Movement will fall to Democratic administrations in the nation’s big cities. Like Los Angeles.
LA is the center of the criminal in-justice system’s counter-offensive. A batch of six Black Lives Matter protesters face possible retrial this month, after a jury failed to convict them on misdemeanor charges for barricading an LA highway in November of 2014. The trial of three more protesters is under way for taking part in a 1,000-person strong demonstration in which a commuter train was stopped, in April of 2015. Mayor Eric Garcetti and his City Attorneys seem determined to take down the movement’s best cadres, selectively prosecuting only 20 of the 330 people arrested in the 2014 protests – all of them active members of Black Lives Matter.
“Just as with the Occupy Movement of a few years ago, the task of containing and neutralizing the Movement will fall to Democratic administrations in the nation’s big cities.”
In an interview on Democracy Now! Black Lives Matter lawyer Nana Gyamfi said officers of a secret police cyber-unit have been taking pictures of activists, collecting names, and then matching them with postings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media. Clearly, the cops are forming maps of activist social networks and gathering evidence for conspiracy charges in the future. According to Gyamfi, letters on LAPD and state Department of Justice stationary have been sent to activists’ workplaces, informing their bosses that they have been arrested for “felony conspiracy” to commit a crime.
Sounds like COINTELPRO, the FBI’s counter-intelligence program to disrupt and neutralize radical organizations, two generations ago. COINTELPRO also coexisted with Democratic Party attempts to co-opt Black movement leadership. At the same time that Dr. Martin Luther King was making visits to the White House, the Kennedy brothers and, later, President Lyndon Johnson were authorizing the FBI to spy on his activities. They sent letters urging King to kill himself – and we all know how that turned out.
Los Angeles was the city where SWAT teams were first deployed, in 1969, against the headquarters of the Black Panther Party. It looks like LA will be the point of the spear for political police repression in the 21st century.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.