Wed, 15 October 2014
FBI, NSA and Cops Jointly Track “Outside Agitators”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“When the FBI makes these kinds of noises in public, you can be sure that a national counter-intelligence operation is already fully in motion.”
It has only been a little over two months since a white cop gunned down Michael Brown, whose body was left to bake in the summer sun for four hours as if to remind Brown’s friends and neighbors and the whole Black world that U.S. police can do whatever they want to a Black teenager in America in the 21st century. The word “Ferguson” now carries the accumulated weight of centuries of white violence against Black bodies, necessitating a rejuvenated movement against police impunity. Young people, especially are determined that, this time, a price will be paid for police lawlessness.
There is, however, little anticipation that any semblance of justice will be forthcoming from the grand jury that is hearing evidence against police officer Darren Wilson, whose very identity authorities attempted to hide from the public in the days after the shooting. The grand jury’s nine white and three Black members are expected to render a decision sometime in mid-November. Given the history of such legal exercises, it will be surprising, to say the least, if the officer is indicted on murder charges, and a minor miracle if he is convicted. Nevertheless, for the thousands that gathered in greater St. Louis over the past weekend, Ferguson has become a watershed historical moment, the possible beginning of a massive campaign to end police impunity and, just maybe, a real grassroots movement for genuine social transformation.
Back to the Future
The FBI and law enforcement agencies around the country also seem to think this may be a watershed moment. They, too, don’t expect a grand jury to indict Darren Wilson, especially a grand jury under the direction of a prosecutor whose policeman father was killed by a Black suspect. The FBI has joined in discussions with police chiefs as far away as New York and Los Angeles and lots of cities in between, to coordinate a response to possible civil disturbances if officer Wilson gets off scot-free, and to keep track of so-called “outside agitators” who might spread the Ferguson contagion across the country.
When the FBI makes these kinds of noises in public, you can be sure that a national counter-intelligence operation is already fully in motion – a program designed to “neutralize and destroy” any possibility of the re-emergence of a militant movement against today’s national security and mass Black incarceration state. Although many of the organizations and individuals that have traveled to Ferguson in support of the local struggle for justice may not yet be clear in their own minds about the political direction that a national movement should take, they have already been targeted as potentially dangerous “agitators” – as threats to national security. Their movements and contacts with fellow activists are being tracked, and individuals and organizations are being sorted out and categorized according to the level of threat they may represent to the state.
In the 21st century, just like in the previous one, the merest hint of a movement for justice puts the machinery of political oppression in motion.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and while you’re there, sign up for our free email notifications of new BAR issues, each Wednesday.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.