FBI Tracks & Arrests ‘Black Identity Extremist’ and Hardly Anyone Is Talking About It
Six months after the FBI issued a report inventing from whole cloth the term Black Identity Extremists — claiming this group poses a terrorist threat to police — the first apparent case of the prosecution of a BIE has emerged. The BIE designation has created concern in the Black community that the FBI is launching a new COINTELPRO program targeting Black activists who have committed no crimes, with more arrests and prosecutions of those involved in racial justice movements to follow.
This latest chapter represents the FBI that has been familiar to Black people for decades. While the bureau only recently created the term Black Identity Extremist, its methods, tactics and orientation remain the same with regard to Black activists. The FBI has a long tradition of treating Black political movements as terrorists and enemies of the state, and a threat to national security and public safety. A conservative, white-male-dominated organization, the FBI always has taken its cues from anti-Black, right-wing propagandists.
On December 12, 2017 in Dallas, Christopher Daniels, also known as Rakem Balogun, was arrested during a raid on his home and charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm, the result of more than two years of FBI surveillance, as Foreign Policy reported. Federal agents held Daniels outside in his underwear and seized two firearms the government claims he is barred from owning due to a 2007 misdemeanor domestic assault conviction in Tennessee. Among other items FBI agents took from Daniels’ home was a copy of the book “Negroes With Guns” by civil rights activist Robert F. Williams.
Williams was the first Black leader of his era to support armed resistance to racial oppression. Following the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, Williams had revived the Monroe, North Carolina, chapter of the NAACP amid Ku Klux Klan violence. In response to assaults on Black women that were ignored by police, he organized Black workers and veterans, filed for a charter from the NRA and formed the Black Armed Guard. The group repelled Klan violence against integration and protected the Freedom Riders. Williams also internationalized the Black struggle, as he and his family lived in Cuba — where he wrote his book and produced Radio Free Dixie — and China for a number of years. “I advocated violent self-defense because I don’t really think you can have a defense against violent racists and against terrorists unless you are prepared to meet violence with violence, and my policy was to meet violence with violence,” said Williams, a forefather of the Black Power movement and the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.
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