Little Known FBI’s Race-Based Surveillance

There have been numerous media reports about a very troubling practice by the FBI to designate Black activists as “Black Identity Extremists”, an often bogus designation which is then used to justify subjecting the said activists to all levels of surveillance–private, local, state, federal and even military surveillance in major cities like Houston, LA, Chicago, New York and others. The rationale, a bogus one, is that a “Black Identity Extremist” or BIE is more likely to attack law enforcement officers and thus needs to be placed under 24-hour surveillance.

The controversy surrounding this program, beyond its prima facie racism, centers around the ease with which a Black activist could end up in this designation. Several media reports have said that even mundane activities like organizing or attending a Black Lives Matter rally could in the eyes of the FBI qualify a Black activist as a BIE subjecting them to unjustified long-term government surveillance, the fruits of which could be used in their criminal prosecution. Needless to say, Black activists who support/sympathize with Black Lives Matter on social media (Twitter, Facebook) can also very easily be designated as BIEs. Simply put, this is a very serious problem that is yet to garner the mainstream media attention it deserves.

Yours Truly has ranted and raved about the lack of mainstream media attention surrounding this seemingly–let’s face it–racist surveillance by the FBI for quite a while now, wondering when House Democrats would take up this serious issue with the justice department.

Well, it turns out Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee (R-TX) did indeed raise this issue with then U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a House hearing on November 14, 2017. Rep Jackson-Lee asked Sessions; “My question is, as I hold up the poster dealing with the report under your jurisdiction–Black Identity Extremists. It is interesting to me that you are opposing [meant targeting] individuals who are opposing lethal force, similar to the attack on Reverend Dr Martin Luther King on Cointelpro, but there seems to be no report dealing with the tiki torch parade in Charlottesville chanting ‘Jews will not replace us’. Why is there an attack on Black activists versus any report dealing with the Alt Right and the White Nationalists?” AG Sessions responded that he was not aware of the report.

Cointelpro which Rep Jackson-Lee referenced in her questioning was a controversial and secret surveillance program the FBI deployed on Black civil rights activists in the 60s, most notably, on the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Historians agree that the primary reason the FBI ran Cointelpro on Black civil rights activists was to scare them into silence. This is precisely why when Black activists hear about “Black Identity Extremists” they are immediately reminded of stories they’ve read about Cointelpro and are justified in questioning whether the FBI has indeed reverted back to its 1960s tactic of stifling Black dissent.

Bottom line the “Black Identity Extremist” debate is one that begs for serious mainstream media attention. The mainstream media and indeed members of Congress must not remain silent as a section of the population is unjustly subjected to heightened levels of government surveillance all in an effort to stifle their first amendment compliant political speech. At moments like these, Martin Niemoller’s famous words come to mind; “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist, then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist, then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

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Police Chief says Trump Is “Last Hope For White People”

An interesting case out of New Jersey is getting a lot of attention because of a very peculiar reason. The case involves a former Bordentown Township Police Chief Frank Nucera Jr, who is on trial for a hate crime, among other charges, after he slammed a Black teenager’s face into a doorjamb during an arrest.

Because the 62 year old Nucera is charged with a hate crime, it is important for the prosecution to show that he harbors racial animus towards Blacks. It is against this backdrop that prosecutors have dug up comments attributed to him in 2016, prior to the U.S. presidential election.

Nucera, a Trump supporter, apparently said in 2016 that Trump was the “the last hope for white people.” Nucera specifically said, “I’m telling you, you know what, Donald Trump is the last hope for white people, cause Hillary (Clinton) will give it to all the minorities to get a vote…..That’s the truth! I’m telling you.”

Yours Truly will not go into the merits and demerits of the hate crime case laid out against Nucera. It is very noteworthy however that Nucera’s case yet again illustrates the fact that even in 2019, there are still people who occupy very high places in our criminal justice system who have very racist views.

The criminal justice system as we know, disproportionately affects poor people of color, especially Blacks. The racist comments Nucera made back in 2016 were probably well known by people in his department but nobody raised a finger. In other words, Nucera’s racial issues should have been addressed way before his unfortunate incident with the Black teenager. In the Washington Post article, prosecutors even allege that Nucera had a “significant history” of racist behavior and routinely referred to Blacks using the “n” word, which further proves Yours Truly’s point that people knew.

Bottom line folks, with every passing day we are being forced to confront reality and that is, there continues to be systemic racism in our criminal justice system. Our focus here, hard as it may seem, should not be to exact maximum punishment on former police chief Nucera but rather to address how someone like him with glaring racial issues even rose to become a police chief. Simply put, focus on the systemic racism in the criminal justice system rather than Nucera’s potential prison sentence.

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Florida Police Arrested 6 Yr Old Black Girl Over Tantrum At School

In one of the most outrageous cases illustrating the ease with which children of color get caught up in the criminal justice system, we now get a shocking report out of Florida that police in Orlando arrested, handcuffed, fingerprinted and took a mugshot of a 6 year old Black girl because she threw a tantrum at Lucious & Emma Nixon Elementary School where she’s a first-grader. Yeah, Orlando police charged first-grader Kaia with battery and threw her in the back of a squad car for a trip to a juvenile detention center. Absolutely outrageous!!

According to her visibly upset Grandma Meralyn Kirkland, Orlando police charged her granddaughter with battery because she got upset and kicked somebody (presumably one of her classmates). Kirkland says she tried to explain to an officer that her granddaughter had a medical condition (sleep apnea) which the family was trying to resolve but the officer was very dismissive. The officer she spoke to apparently responded saying, “I have sleep apnea and I don’t behave that way.”

Rebecca J. Kavanagh a New York City Public Defender has dug up the name of the officer who arrested little Kaia and surprise surprise, the officer, Dennis Turner, also arrested an 8 year old Black boy on the same day for an unrelated incident. Folks, it appears the school-to-prison pipeline is alive and well in Orlando, Florida.

Bottom line folks, there are a lot of problems with the criminal justice system and it may be easy for us members of the public to simply sit on the bleachers and point fingers at law enforcement for all the problems. The reality however is that these are systemic problems in the criminal justice system that sooner or later consume even well-meaning, good-natured individual officers. In other words, even though the officer mentioned above is cast in very negative light, the real problem is that he finds himself in a culture at the Orlando Police Department where it is very normal to criminally prosecute children of color for being children. While there will certainly be an effort to go after officer Dennis Turner individually, one only hopes that this troubling incident will spark a real debate about the real systemic problem which is the school-to-prison pipeline.

On a lighter note, if little Kaia can kick so hard at 6 years old as to warrant a battery charge, maybe the Miami Dolphins or Jacksonville Jaguars should keep an eye on her for a future Hall of Fame Kicker spot.

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The Cosby And Trump Drugging Disparity

Iconic Black entertainer Bill Cosby was convicted in April 2018 of 3 counts of sexual assault. Cosby’s trial, as expected, generated quite a lot of media coverage given his celebrity status as an entertainer and a role model for many Blacks. The accusations against the legendary comedian were that from the period spanning 1980 to 2004, he drugged several unsuspecting women, who he then sexually assaulted. According to several media reports, he would slip drugs into their drinks and then assault them once they had lost their faculties. This is without a doubt very troubling conduct and the public was right to be outraged at Cosby, who prior to these accusations had maintained a very clean public image.

What is becoming very disturbing however is the shocking disparity with which our criminal justice system deals with people of color as opposed to their White counterparts. We’ve all seen the troubling comparisons on social media where the Black defendants (usually poor) get outrageously harsh sentences while White defendants (usually rich) literally get away with seemingly more egregious crimes. This Tweet below is just one recent example.

It is against this backdrop of shocking disparities in our criminal justice system that people are now beginning to ask why society shunned legendary Black comedian Bill Cosby for drugging and sexually assaulting women while the current President Donald Trump, a White man, is literally getting away with even more egregious conduct. There have been numerous media reports that back in the the 1980s and 90s then businessman Trump used to host drug filled parties where he would hook up young models (as young as 15) with rich older men.

Some of the people who attended these drug-filled parties that Trump hosted described them like this to members of the media. “The girls were as young as 15…….over their heads, they had no idea, and they ended up in situations. There were always dramas because the men threw money and drugs at them to keep them enticed. It’s based on power and dominating girls who can’t push back and can be discarded. There’s always someone to pick them back up. Nobody wants to call home and say ‘Help me.’” –An Excerpt from the Daily Beast piece in the Tweet above.

There is no way anybody looking at this description of Trump’s drug-filled parties would not arrive at the conclusion that what was happening there was essentially drugging and sexual assault of minors–conduct far worse in severity than what Bill Cosby was accused of. Bill Cosby and Trump are both wealthy men of roughly the same age. The allegations leveled against Bill Cosby were from 3 decades ago, much like the troubling incidents described in Trump’s drug-filled parties. Reasonable people will agree that everything considered, Trump definitely engaged in much more egregious conduct 30 years ago than Bill Cosby because his conduct involved minors (as young as 14). He essentially facilitated the drugging and sexual abuse of young models, given these media reports.

How then can society tear down Black Bill Cosby, ruining everything he has earned all these years, while at the same time celebrating White Trump who engaged in more egregious conduct involving minors? Why is Bill Cosby now a felon and considered scum of the earth by many women (MeToo) movement while Trump is celebrated and enjoys 80% support of White Evangelicals, a lot of whom are parents to young girls? Remember even if the defense is that Trump never personally engaged in any assault of young models, these were his parties, and by all accounts he attended them and knew everything that happened in them. Therefore at the very least, he facilitated the drugging and sexual assault of minors—conduct still far worse than Cosby’s

Bottom line folks, as we approach the 2020 elections there needs to be a reckoning with Trump’s sordid past. We cannot have a situation where the mainstream media keeps dredging up many troubling incidents involving politicians that happened decades ago while totally ignoring very troubling incidents in the President’s past. Its about time the mainstream media started confronting Trump over whether he hosted parties where minors were given drugs and sexually assaulted. If this kind of behavior was enough for the mainstream media and quite frankly the MeToo movement to tear down an Iconic Black man like Bill Cosby, disillusioning millions of Black men who looked up to him, then the mainstream media and the MeToo movement need to explain to the public why it is OK for Trump to host parties where minors were drugged and sexually assaulted.

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El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto Echoes John Cornyn’s Tweet

After the deadly weekend shootings in El Paso Texas and Dayton Ohio, the President’s hateful rhetoric and especially his hardline stance on immigrants has taken center stage. A recent tweet by Senator John Cornyn(R-TX) is also getting closer scrutiny because some claim the El Paso shooter’s manifesto echoed similar anti-Hispanic sentiments as Senator Cornyn’s tweet–that Hispanics are replacing Whites in Texas.

Now we can all agree that it is unfair to pin any national tragedy on a politician’s previous public comments and Yours Truly is certainly not suggesting here that the El Paso shooter read Senator Cornyn’s tweet and then decided to open fire on Hispanic shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso. What is fair debate however is that President Trump has a well documented history of stoking racial tensions using very incendiary language that has even garnered praise from White Supremacy groups. It is also well known that Congressional Republicans like Senator Cornyn rarely push back on the President when he engages in such hateful rhetoric, the subject of Yours Truly’s recent post “GOP Complicit In Trump’s Racism”

Therefore when a hate crime against Hispanic shoppers like the one that happened in El Paso takes place, it is fair to confront Senator John Cornyn and other Republicans about their decision to remain silent even when the President engages in race-baiting speech. In Senator Cornyn’s case in particular, his tweet pointing out the fact that the Hispanic rate of migration to the state of Texas outnumbers that of Whites by a 9 to 1 margin certainly raises justifiable questions in light of the El Paso shooting. Was Senator Cornyn pushing the “White Replacement” conspiracy theory that is very popular among White Supremacy Groups worldwide?

It is well known that one of the grievances raised by hate groups and especially White Supremacists worldwide is this idea of “White Replacement”—that somehow there’s a global conspiracy to replace the White race with other ethnic groups. You’ll remember during the Charlottesville, Virginia riots, that White Supremacy advocates could be heard chanting “Jews will not replace us”. This “White Replacement” hysteria is fueling the growth of anti-immigrant political groups in Western Europe and some political pundits argue is the same hysteria currently being pushed by President Trump and his GOP with their harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric. It is therefore perfectly in order for Senator Cornyn to be questioned about the motivation behind his 9 to 1 tweet.

It also cannot be left unsaid that during a recent Congressional hearing, Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took Deputy FBI Director Michael McGarrity to task over why the FBI and other law enforcement agencies(like DHS) are not doing more to combat the rising threat of domestic terrorism posed by White Supremacy groups, a subject Yours Truly wrote about in “AOC Exposes FBI’s Terrorism Double Standard” . (AOC is always ahead of the curve folks).

Deputy Director McGarrity’s response was that there are no current laws/legal provisions that allow the FBI to vigorously go after domestic terrorists. The question then becomes, how does the same FBI and DHS currently target people they perceive to be “Black extremists” or “Black militants”? What current provisions/laws are they basing these surveillance practices on, that they are seemingly unwilling or unable to apply to White Supremacists? There have been numerous credible media reports that surveillance on “Black militants” is indeed happening as we speak in most major U.S. cities–some for reasons as mundane as anti-Trump/DHS social media posts, or even organizing,/participating in Black Lives Matter protests. Are these media reports “fake news”? These are some of the questions the public expects the mainstream media to pose to FBI and DHS brass in light of the two deadly weekend mass shootings.

Bottom line, the mainstream media fails the public miserably in the way it covers national tragedies. Specifically, the questions that need to be answered are often not answered because other incidents usually pop up and take the cameras/spotlight away. The El Paso shooting has raised two very important questions that needs to be addressed the first one being how surveillance capabilities of the FBI and DHS are being misused/abused. Are the FBI and DHS wasting surveillance resources needlessly chasing down perceived “militants” of color while totally ignoring the actual threat of domestic terrorism by White Supremacists? The second question (a no-brainer), is whether the hate-filled rhetoric emanating from President Trump and his Republican party is fueling the rise White Supremacy groups in the U.S.? These are two questions the mainstream media must seriously delve into in the aftermath of the two deadly shootings in El Paso and Dayton. The Mainstream media will likely give Trump and Senator John Cornyn a pass as they usually do with Republicans. However you can rest assured that Yours Truly, your trusted grassroots journalist, will not only hold Sen Cornyn’s feet to the fire regarding this racist tweet, but will also and make it the citadel upon which his 2020 reelection prospects fail. Stay tuned.

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GOP Complicit In Trump’s Racism

Ever since Trump descended the golden escalator at Trump Tower and declared his candidacy for the U.S. Presidency, there have been questions about whether he is a racist. Political pundits agree that Trump’s very rise to political prominence is directly tied to his clamor for former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate even though he knew full well Obama was a born in the U.S.–the racist “Birther” movement.

Since then we’ve seen his attack on Mexican immigrants calling them among other things “rapists”, his defense of White Supremacists in Charlottesville, VA with the “good people on both sides” argument, his attack on African immigrants with the “shithole countries” remark and the latest, his attack on predominantly Black Baltimore as a “rat infested” city that “no human” would want to live in.

It appears at every turn Trump shows us his openly racist tendencies but for some reason, we are not yet ready to accept what we are witnessing. Folks, when it comes to Trump’s racism, there is nothing left to see. This is a racist President who has made a conscious decision that racial divisions will benefit him electorally in 2020.

More importantly, congressional Republicans who have steadfastly stood behind this President know about his racist tendencies but have likewise made the conscious decision that Trump’s race-baiting benefits them electorally. Congressional Republicans have therefore opted to either remain silent in the face of Trump’s racist attacks, or when they do  criticize it, they do so in the vaguest of terms so as not to upset him.

It is therefore time for Democrats and indeed the mainstream media to hold these elected Republicans accountable for aiding and abetting Trump’s racism. We need to disabuse ourselves of this notion that Trump is the big bad racist over there and over here we have his loyal congressional Republicans who support him in all his other agendas but his racism. It’s about time we adopted comedian D.L. Hughley‘s stance on Republican support for Trump which is that, they support Trump because of his racism.

Bottom line as we approach the 2020 elections, Democrats need to start saying it loud and clear that Trump is pursuing a racist campaign and start calling out Republicans running for office as being complicit in his racism. Democrats cannot just sit idly by and watch Trump as he runs his racist campaign. They must make it very clear to the voters in 2020 that Republicans are complicit in Trump’s racism and therefore don’t deserve to get elected. This especially applies to vulnerable 2020 Republicans like Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner(Colorado), John Cornyn (Texas) and Martha McSally(Arizona)

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Camp Ground Manager Pulls Gun On Black Couple Picnicking

In case you missed it, a video showing a White Mississippi camp ground manager pulling a gun at a Black couple having a lakeside picnic elicited a lot of debate on social media. The camp manager apparently felt compelled to pull her gun at the couple because she believed they were there without a reservation. The Black couple did not know they needed a reservation for the lakeside picnic.

Well it turns out no reservation was needed and Kampgrounds of America(KOA), the company the gun-totting woman was working for has since fired her. Acording to KOA, the manager violated the company’s firearms policy. KOA spokesman Mike Gast said the company “does not condone the use of a firearm in any manner” on their properties.

So the manager was fired because she violated the company’s firearms policy but the question for our Weekly Viral section is–Should the camp manager also be criminally prosecuted for brandishing a firearm at an unarmed Black couple?

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