FBI Pleads Ignorance to Surveillance of “Black Identity Extremists”

Ayanna Pressley, a freshman Representative from Massachusetts, is on the House Civil Rights and Civil Liberties subcommittee.

Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley, serves on the House Civil Rights and Civil Liberties subcommittee which investigates domestic terrorism.

By Malcolm Speaks

In early June, Ayanna Pressley, the first African-American woman to be elected to the House of Representatives from the state of Massachusetts, questioned Michael McGarrity, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division and key witness on the surveillance of  “black identity extremists” at the second hearing on white nationalism that was conducted by the House Civil Rights and Civil Liberties subcommittee.

This is a designation that was created by the FBI to describe Black political activist groups such as Black Lives Matter and others in the same tradition as the FBI‘s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) under former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. The FBI released a report this past year that coined this term and stated that police killings of African-Americans were “likely” to spur an increase in “premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement.”

However, Mr. McGarrity responded by stating that “There’s no surveillance on that activity,” according to Yahoo. “I don’t know where that information is coming from.”

Given the surge in attacks that were carried out in the name of white supremacy, some Congressional leaders have questions on why such violence isn’t considered domestic terrorism.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), asked Mr. McGarrity the following question:

“Is the white supremacy issue not a global issue?”

The assistant director responded by stating that white nationalism has been globalized and that “the United States Congress doesn’t have a statute for us to use domestic terrorism like we do on foreign terrorist organizations.”

In his opening statement, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and the subcommittee’s chairman cited Anti-Defamation League findings that between 2009 (immediately after the election of former President Barack Obama) and 2018, far-right extremists were responsible for 73 percent of murders, including the killings of police officers, while Islamic terrorists were behind only 23 percent of murders. However, the FBI’s commitment of manpower was “almost exactly backwards from what the problem would suggest.”

Rep. Raskin added that, according to the Anti-Defamation League, every one of the 50 murders committed by a domestic extremist in 2018 was tied to a far-right cause where most of them were explicitly committed in the name of white supremacy.

Case in point, Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Hasson, a white supremacist based in Maryland maintained a computer-spreadsheet hit list that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and presidential hopefuls Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris along with several network TV journalists including MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough as well as CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Van Jones. However, Lt. Hasson was arrested on drug and gun charges as opposed to domestic terrorism or even attempted murder. Then to add insult to injury, a judge planned to order his release on bail this past April.

Rep. Raskin also said that while law enforcement has managed to stop about three-fourths of all attacks by Islamic radicals since 2001, only about one-fourth of attacks by far-right extremists had been stopped during that same time period, citing the findings of a University of Maryland terrorism center. “How many far-right extremist attacks could have been prevented if we had taken that threat as seriously as we had taken the threat of Islamist fanatical extremism?” Rep. Raskin said.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan legislature, made the following telling statement:

“I’m a mother,” she said. “I want to go home to my two boys.”

Ethiopia Restores Internet Service

By Chuma Kisu

According to some estimates, internet service has been disrupted four time since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has led the nation.

According to some estimates, internet service has been disrupted four time since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed first began leading the country in 2018.

According to international reports social media users indicate that internet connectivity has been restored across Ethiopia after four days of an unexplained shutdown.

The internet rights group, NetBlocks, were among the first to report of the outage
on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

Reports are unclear as to why there was an outage. However, according to reports, there was a similar outage about the same time in in 2016 and 2017.

The government and state-run operator, Ethio Telecom, has not commented on the issue officially. Some feel this agency may be behind the outage.

On Wednesday, text messaging also suffered an outage as people widely reported an inability to transmit messages. Despite the return of connectivity, SMS remains inaccessible.

Pro-democracy activists and journalists in the country have meanwhile chastised the government for turning off the internet at a time when reforms are being rolled out by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed-led government.

One activist, Atnaf Brhane, observed that the internet had been shut down for four times in the period that Abiy has been in charge.

Presidents of the Congo and Burundi Meet

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Félix Tshisekedi (left) and Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Félix Tshisekedi (left) and Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza

By Chuma Kisu

According to international reports the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Félix Tshisekedi met with Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza during his visit to the east African nation on Friday, June 14, 2019.

During the working visit the two leaders of the neighboring nations agreed to have a peaceful co-existence. According to the Burundi Presidency, the two committed to strengthening the bonds of friendship that unite their two countries.

“The two Presidents stressed the need to strengthen regional and sub-regional integration organizations in the promotion and consolidation of peace, security, stability and sustainable development,” said Ezechiel Nibigira, Burundi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Tshisekedi and Nkurunziza agreed to subdue militias in their nations as well.

“The two presidents decided to resolutely activate the joint mechanisms to eradicate armed groups operating on Congolese territory and to monitor very closely all security issues of two neighbouring states;” said Ezechiel Nibigira, Burundi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Tshisekedi had just come from the neighboring nation of Tanzania where he had successful discussions with President John Magufuli.

The President’s visit is part of his efforts to boost the chances of his country joining the East African Community.

Ghana, A Cultural Journey

By Ni-Ammun Onyemachi Safohin Kobiona Yankah

The "Wall of Return" symbolizes Ghana's desire to have members of the African diaspora to repatriate to the continent.

The “Wall of Return” symbolizes Ghana’s desire to have members of the African diaspora to repatriate to Africa.

In March 2019, the “Year of Return,” we traveled to Ghana with the support of Dionne Ferguson of Our Good Journey Together and toured this beautiful country with John Kweku Eduafo of Authentic Ghana Tours.

We were taken to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra. Dr. Nkrumah, who became the first President of an independent Ghana, is buried there. We then visited the Dubois Centre in Accra, which was the home of the great African-American sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois after he moved to Ghana. His wife, Shirley Graham Du Bois, a venerable freedom fighter in her own right, is also buried there.

We traveled to Kumasi and visited the Centre for National Culture, the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum, and the Okomfo Anokye Sword Site. While in Kumasi we were told the story of how the Golden Stool came down from the sky onto the lap of Nana Osei Tutu I, who lodged a sword into stone and said that if someone comes for the stool, he must retrieve the sword in order to do so. Lastly, while in Kumasi, we visited a huge street market, which had approximately 11,000 vendor locations. This market has been said to be the largest open-air market in all of West Africa.

We also traveled to Lake Volta, which is man-made and was created in the construction of the Volta Dam under the personal supervision of Kwame Nkrumah. This was the only man-made lake in the world until one was constructed by China. This dam provides electric power to the nations of Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, and Ivory Coast as a measure of self-sufficiency and self-determination.

We were taken to the village of Apenyi in the Central region of Ghana, where I was formally welcomed into the village. I was given cloth & sandals that belong to the chief of the village. I was invited to sit alongside him and the queen mother along with the council of elders. Afterwards, I was invited into the chief’s home to share a drink with him & the queen mother. This was an overwhelming experience that I will never forget!

We were taken to Assin Manso “Slave River,” where as kidnaped Africans, we took our last bath in the Motherland before being forcibly taken to enslavement castles along the coast prior to sailing to the Americas and Europe. Thus we never saw our ancestral homeland again. Here, a wall of remembrance has been erected where Africans in the diaspora who return to Ghana can record their return on the wall itself. The Ghanaian government promised to engrave these recordings. An inscription was made in stone at this site, which reads, “NEVER AGAIN!“

We visited Cape Coast Enslavement Castle in Ghana, which has now been converted into a museum. Here we also saw the infamous “Door of No Return”, which was one of the last images of Africa many of our ancestors saw before sailing to the Americas and Europe. We learned that the “Door of No Return” was renamed “The Door of Return,” thus we now have returned to our Beautiful homeland.

We visited the Elmina Enslavement Castle, which is now a museum. The tour guide was very well versed in African history as well as the history of enslavement in this castle. The spirits, tears, anger, agony and dehumanization of our ancestors can still be felt there. Yet we exclaim in resounding unity with our sisters and brothers throughout the continent and all of the diaspora, NEVER AGAIN, NEVER AGAIN, NEVER AGAIN!!!