We Must Move Beyond the ‘Patriot’ vs ‘Traitor’ Debate Around Edward Snowden

Edward SnowdenOne thing I got from this Edward Snowden interview that was shown on NBC last night, is that we best refocus our energy on engaging one another above and beyond our fancy electronic devices. While these are helpful tools and can allow us to reach large numbers of people all at once, its important not to isolate ourselves behind keyboards. It’s important not to put our self-worth and sense of well-being in algorithms we don’t understand or control. In short we should all take time out to check in with folks, make sure we’re on the same page with our neighbors and keep our communication skills sharp. A lot of things are lost in text messaging and Facebook posts.

It’s interesting to see how some have foolishly engaged in a debate about why Snowden has not ‘come home to face the music‘. What does that mean? he should come home and go to jail? Are we romanticizing and putting nobility on being locked up? Really?

About a month ago, we spoke with former political prisoner Dhoruba Bin-Wahad on Hard Knock Radio about this assertion, the legacy of domestic spying  and opposing the government for oppressing its citizens. For those who are unaware, Dhoruba spent almost 20 years behind bars and was a member of the New York Panther 21 which included Afeni Shakur, the mother of 2Pac. During our interview Dhoruba  meticulously laid out all the ways in which the government stacked the deck against him and others Panthers members fighting injustice in the 60s and 70s. He noted that many Panthers and for that matter freedom fighters from all over the world, from South Africa to Chile went into exile. Do we want folks like Asaata Shakur to come home and ‘face the music’? Are we satisfied that those who did face the music have been tortured and have been in jail for 30 and 40 years, much of it in solitary confinement? Are we satisfied with the treatment of folks like the late Geronimo Jigga Pratt, Herman Wallace and Marilyn Buck or those recently released like Lynn Stewart?  Are we satisfied with the treatment of those who are currently locked up who ‘faced the music’ from Chelsea Manning (Bradley) to Mumia to Leonard Peltier to Mutulu Shakur?

Former Political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad

Former Political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad

As Dhoruba noted, today in 2014 with the passage of the Patriot Act and other laws designed to ‘fight terror’, one who ‘faces the music‘ might not have access to a lawyer, could be held indefinitely and may have damn near all their evidence excluded from the proceedings under the guise its ‘classified’.  As we saw last night, Snowden laid out similar points. Hence one should kill the noise about ‘facing the music’ from a system that has not been about fairness and justice for most people for a very long time.

We should not get caught up in meaningless debates about whether or not Snowden is a traitor or patriot. First, there is no definitive definition for either word. They are very subjective where at the end of the day there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.  Our discussion should be about whether or not what he revealed was true and are we comfortable with that? Are we comfortable with giving up our privacy, having severe restrictions placed upon us in courts of law or law enforcement gathering up all our data and not providing us with any sort of blueprint as to how its being used?  Are we comfortable with what Snowden revealed about what is being done with our cell phones and how they are virtual microphones and cameras that can be turned on to record and evesdrop without us knowing?  That should be our discussion.

We should be asking ourselves who in the public sector and who in the private sector is a part of this data collecting and domestic spying? Are we comfortable with powerful corporations and officials having so much access?  As Snowden noted, even if you are ‘not doing anything illegal‘, the way the data is gathered and interpreted can set off alarm bells and have you under scrutiny.

fbi-cointelproWhat should be raising eyebrows is how these encroachments may play out if you politically oppose those in power. Our history via Cointel-Pro under the FBI’s J Edgar Hoover in which the Civil Rights  and Black Power movements, the Student Movements, Chicano Movements, Puerto Rican Independent Movements and Anti-War Movements were undermined, compromised and dismantled by those who opposed the political direction organizers and people involved were taking, should be harsh reminders. Back in the hey day of these movements, what was done was under the guise of protecting America from ‘Communism’. Suppressing groups was done in the name of fighting the ‘Cold War’.  Today its under the guise of protecting us from terrorism which has not fully been defined above one or two named villans,  Al-Qaeda being one of them.

We should note what Snowden was talking about with respect to Whistle-blowers. and how under President Obama, more have been prosecuted and punished than all president in the past combined.  Last year there was a conference of Black whistle-blowers in Washington DC who talked about the extreme challenges they face and how many have had to stay silent or risk freedom. We’ve had Senators like Feinstein who wanted to go extra hard on media and strip away shield protections as a way to curtail whistle-blowers .

With respect to Secretary of State John Kerry and his claims about Snowden being a coward and how he should man up and do the right thing. cowardness and one doing the right thing;  let us not forget that when Kerry did as a Senator. During his tenure, he made no ‘un-cowardly’ moves to impeach President Bush or any one in his cabinet after it was revealed they misled us into war and in doing so violated all sorts of international law. What was his excuse for not manning up there?

We should not forget that Kerry,  who is calling for folks to ‘do the right thing’ sat silently in 2000 when members of the Congressional Black Caucus appeared on the Senate floor,  damn near begging Senators to step forth and use their power to get a recount for Florida in the Presidential elections. Where was Kerry on that issue and at that moment? We should never forget.

With all that being said, understanding the nature of corporate media, one should ask hard questions and raise an eyebrow or two about how and why such revealing information being put forth by Snowden was allowed on prime time TV, when so much other information is often ignored.  Is there something else going on or is this an attempt to redirect the conversation  and eventually marginalize what Snowden is speaking about. The Patriot vs Traitor debate may be one way to take us down this road. In the mean time, pay attention to how you use your phones and computers and where you put them. Go outside,  get some sun and fresh air, talk with your neighbors and stay woke.

FBI Set to Track Down Culprits Tagging Anti-Wealth Messages In Rich Neighborhhods

Atherton graffitiSo apparently in recent days someone has been running around in affluent Atherton, Ca  which is near Palo Alto (Silicon Valley) spray painting anti-wealth message ie F– the 1%.. They just announced on NBC News that the FBI is now investigating. The reason why the FBI is investigating is because according to them ‘track all activist groups‘. Read that again.. folks and reflect…

We have all sorts of tagging all over Oakland and other cities, where businesses get hit up, homes? cars? etc.. There was a recent article talking about racial tensions in west Oakland because many doing the tagging are white and many the places getting hit up are owned by Blacks. Point being, it was and continues to be an issue but to date there have been no arrests, no FBI investigation nothing…But the FBI has got a task force to see who was spray painting anti wealth messages in Atherton?? WTF?? And now the FBI is saying ‘yep we tracking all activist groups..’ They’re not even pretending or trying to hide the fact.. I guess that’s a result of folks defending Obama over Snowden and others calling him out for domestic spying.  Now we just kinda expect and accept our tax dollars to get down like that.

An equally disturbing issue is the message FBI involvement sends which is the laws and government work for and respond to, the rich and powerful. A couple of weeks ago someone spray painted the side of a building across the street from my home. What was painted on the wall was massive in the sense that it covered the entire height of the building which stands about a good 25-30 feet.  There was no FBI involvement as to who defaced the building. In fact the building owners were told they needed to paint it over or face fines for blight…

Wonder what the FBI will say if they discover the culprit is someone who lives in Atherton and is a son or daughter of a 1%er… One also has to wonder what groups the FBI is tracking to find out who was tagging rich homes? Is this an excuse for them to do more domestic spying? Should any of us who are members of organizations avoid any and all conversations about wealth disparities lest we become suspicious to the FBI? Will the FBI be on the case if someone spray paints something bad about the poor. What if someone heads on over to a poor neighborhood and spray paint on one of the buildings  ‘Get a Job you Lazy Bums’, will the FBI be tracking groups like the Tea Party?

Here’s a suggestion.. How about the FBI track down bankers who may live in Atherton who did fraudulent foreclosures and help tank the economy? I Just Sayin’

Where Was Bloomberg’s Private NYPD Army During the Westside Hwy Biker Chase?

Bikers chase SUVBy now many have seen the video of the altercation on the Westside Highway in NYC where enraged bikers chased down a man and his family driving an SUV after he ran over one of their comrades. It’s a scene out of a movie and for many its frightening.. In watching the six-minute video, a lot of questions are raised starting with ‘Where the hell was NYPD?’

This question is asked in the backdrop of knowing how intrusive and well-resourced NYPD is said to be. Here we have a department that is 40 thousand deep in personnel. We have department that has stopped and frisked NYC residents over 5 million times. In some neighborhoods it seems like police are stopping and frisking people darn near ever 3 minutes.

We have a police department that rivals the FBI and other federal law enforcement divisions in terms of its surveillance capabilities . They make no bones about spying on American-Muslims and their organizations, which has led many to accuse NYPD of being in violation of a number of laws and to say the least over the top in its practice.

We have a department that left no stone unturned when it came to surveilling, containing and in the end bashing on the Occupy Wall street Movement.  We saw the city’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg brag that NYPD was his private army that is unmatched by any police agency in the world..

It’s with that in mind that one needs to wonder how there were no police insight on one of the city’s most heavily traveled freeways? In the video we see a chase that lasts for 6 long minutes with no law enforcement in sight. One has to ask where are all the surveillance cameras that NYPD has been using to spy on citizens? They have cameras on the floors over every housing project but none on the Westside Highway which runs along the Hudson River? Isn’t that freeway of point on entry that should be watched in case of ‘terrorist’ attacks?

Domain Awareness System

NY’s Domain Awareness System

It was just last year that NYPD bragged to the world that they had teamed up with Microsoft to set up a top-tier all-seeing state of the art, Domain/ Domestic Awareness System that does everything from read license plates to face recognition. Over 3000 cameras have been placed in lower Manhattan alone.. You can read about that system HERE and HERE.

One would think if there was anytime that these domestic spying systems would’ve been used would’ve been over the weekend when close to 60 bikers held court on a freeway and chased down the SUV, especially if the reports of them blocking off freeway entrances are true..

Take a look at the video and ask where’s Bloomberg’s Private Army?


Injured biker Edwin Mieses

Injured biker Edwin Mieses

With respect to the attack there are a number of conflicting reports.. The bikers are claiming the man in the SUV, Alexian Lien who is an executive at an internet company, bumped one of the bikers with his car. When the bikers went to help, Lien hit the gas and ran over several men including Edwin Mieses who was bent over his fallen friend helping him. Mieses had his spine severely injured and is now permanently paralyzed. His wife is calling for Lien to be arrested and charged.

The bikers are claiming that’s why they chased down Lien and his family. They didn’t want him to get away. They claim what took place was a road rage incident.

Biker chase SUVThe flip side to this story was the bikers had already been riding around swarming cars prior to getting on the freeway. Once on the freeway they had blocked off entrances and one of the drivers went and brake checked the SUV driven by Lien.  When the bike was hit from behind, bikers surrounded the vehicle and that’s when Lien whose 2-year-old daughter and wife were in the car with him hit the gas running over the bikers.

Lien was eventually caught when he exited in upper Manhattan. That’s when bikers smashed the window, dragged him out the car and beat him in front of his daughter and wife.

Eventually all that really happened will come out in the wash..Who was right and who was wrong will be sorted out. In the meantime all of us should be asking how a major freeway was shut down in the Big Apple for more than 6 minutes with a police agency notorious for conducting surveillance on everyone inspite of concerns and objections, was no where in sight?

This police agency conducts millions of stop and frisk where 90% of those detained are found to NOT be in violation of any law. Police commissioner Ray Kelly says he wants to increase Stop and Frisk, but a major incident like this jumps off and they are nowhere to be seen? Something ain’t right in Gotham


Former Panther & Political Prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad Speaks on Manning Verdict

Dhoruba Bin Wahad

Dhoruba Bin Wahad

HKR-07-30-13 Yesterday on Hard Knock Radio we spoke with former Black Panther and political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad about the verdict handed down to Private Bradley Manning.

Dhoruba who had long predicted the increase of domestic surveillance and prosecution of whistleblowers, explained that all should take note of the Manning case, because it’s a clear indication of the rising Police State..

He added that the case around Manning needs to be seen in historical terms with the FBI’s insidious Cointel-Pro operation as a centerpiece..

Dhoruba spoke about the current California prison strike, the defeat of the Amash Amendment in Congress and the recent verdict around George Zimmerman. He noted how all those scenarios are very much connected to rising police state. He also talked about the new Black punditry class that have stepped in the role of gatekeeper and how its been dangerous that they have cheer leaded and turned a blind eye to oppressive laws allowing for government intrusions and crack downs on whistle blowers.

Dhoruba also addressed the debate that was to unfold yesterday evening before the Oakland City Council as to whether or not they should accept a new domain awareness center which does face recognition and license plate reading. It’s considered one of the more intrusive surveillance systems in the country.. Dhoruba’s remarks were telling especially when you consider hours after the interview, Oakland City Council agreed with a 6-0 vote to take on the 2 million Homeland Security grant…They’re claiming they will have safeguards, but hell, they said there would be safeguards with programs like Stop and Frisk and look what’s that’s gotten us..

Below is our interview with Dhoruba

Click the link below to Listen

Click the link below to Listen

HKR-07-30-13 Dhoruba Bin Waheed..Intv on Bradley Manning

We are also including the historic Message to the Hip Hop Grassroots address Dhoruba gave in August of 2008 at the .. It was here he gave chilling details of what was sure to come once President Obama took office.. He explained the increase in domestic spying and the rising police state was part of a much larger plan staring back in 1968..for corporate interests using government to consolidate power ..This is a much hear speech, especially now that time has passed and we can compare Dhoruba’s words with what has transpired.


HKR-Message to Hip Hop Grass Roots-Dhoruba

***We just heard from Dhoruba (wed July 31 2013 ) who wanted add this additional food for thought to the interview we just did..***


The work of any revolutionary, radical, or genuine activist is not so much to get others to politically think alike; it is, as a result of analyses, to re-examine assumptions and conventional wisdom. To disrupt the habits of both oppressors and oppressed alike, to dispel ways of working and thinking that lend themselves to the exploitation of people’s daily lives by ruling elites and authoritarian institutions. To deconstruct paradigms of dysfunctional institutional power in such a fashion that ordinary people arrive at a common political resolve, a collective reassertion of their humanity.

It seems to me then, that the real political tasks before us is not reform of the institutional status quo, or even substitute Black anachronistic dogma for White supremacist cultural paradigms of control. This would be reactionary at best and opportunistic at worse.
We have arrived at the present sorry state of affairs not because there wasn’t a historiography of revolutionary African social and political practice in America, but because, more often than not so called “Black Leaders” and sectarian formations failed to engage in and deeply analyze the accumulation and utilization of power by our enemy and the socio-political “deep state” forces that support that power.

Abandoning revolutionary thinkers and activists while embracing reactionary actions and emphasizing legislative reform was subsidized by the state (“War on Poverty, Urban Renewal – the forerunner today’s gentrification of Black communities or “N…r Removal, the “War on Crime” – the opening campaign of Mass incarceration. Each Generation is therefore compelled to reinvent the same solutions to not just racism, but class exploitation as well. To insure this seemingly repetitive devotion to systems of racial dominance and rejection of radical ideas of change reactionary leadership is a prerequisite, Time and time again it has been proven that African’s in America would rather listen to and follow a demagogic politician in a silk suit than a wise person in rags.

The FBI put this precept in different words. In a COINTELPRO document circa 1968, J. Edgar Hoover, the then Director of the FBI, stated emphatically that the “Negro youth must be made to believe it is better to be accepted by white society, a sports figure, or someone who is a success rather than a revolutionary”…. Hoover understood that Perceptions can substitute for Reality. It is manufacturing of Perceptions of progress by mainstream Black leaders, the heirs of Hoover’s programs of repression, that have contributed to the vacuum we now occupy, and in which people are literally led from pillar to post by the likes of the Al Sharptons and various messianic ideologues who proposition that Being Black, Afro-centric, and culturally rebellious is sufficient. We even argue the parameters of the Perceptions of reality – who is Black enough to be called Black or what is genuinely African tradition. Totally facetious discussions when one considers the nexus between African Traditional cultures and the conditions of African people on the Continent.

Traditional Leaders in Africa today are a huge contributing factor to Africa’s disunity and major contributors to legitimizing New Age Imperialism and the comprador political class that inherited a bifurcated Decolonization process. The same holds true in racist America; establishment Black Leaders, Traditional Faith based activists, Afro-centric academia, have all contributed to White supremacy by dreaming out of season – confining a people’s national subjugation to Court litigation and rallies and morality sermons. We no longer share a collective “Freedom Dream” that gives us a common ambition, direction, and inspiration – we sponsor individuality instead, personal success over group success and legal reforms as the arbiter of sovereign thinking. Escape over confrontation is a Perception.

Getting out of the Ghetto is perceived as the first step to personal empowerment, success, while the reality is, individual African’s in America are only allowed to go as far as Black people are collectively permitted to go. Which perhaps is Why Black success is predicated on becoming as acceptable to whites (or as non-threatening to white sensibilities ) as possible and the notion of “giving back” is circumscribed by giving out Turkey’s on Thanksgiving, and encouraging individual charity – never the creation of consortiums to redirect collective surplus wealth (it is estimated that the African population spends over 55 billion dollars in consuming non-essential goods and services, i.e. on music, fashion lines, cosmetics, movies, concerts, sports etc.) this rivals the gross national product of some developing nations.

Power is not the ability to hold a rally, or proclaim broad sweeping overviews that may or may not have political utility, but to “define phenomenon and make it act in a desired fashion”. This is where power begins – to determine what goes down on the streets one must organize where people are at. Which brings me back to organized disruption of socio-political conditions of exploitation and oppression.

The idea that we must disrupt status quo power, criticize seemingly neutral and independent charitable institutions is important to understand The word “disrupt” is important because organized disruption of authoritarian infrastructures is a process – not an episode of spontaneous reactive violence, and random rebellion. The process of status quo disruption can take on many forms – each with its own utility and effectiveness. But if anyone thinks we are going to legislate white supremacy out of existence or that we can reform the NSS into a representative democratic state have only to look at the historiography of the Civil Rights/Black Liberation period of 60s and early 70s and the evolution of so called race and class politics from that period to today.

Today’s headlines of Racial injustice, nullification of Black peoples of humanity, could have well been written in 1967. Nothing fundamentally changed except the dates. AfrIcan-Americans have more political representation in municipal, state, and Federal levels than ever in history – more Black cops and soldiers in uniform than ever, and yet the conditions and dynamics of white-skin privilege remain essential unchanged. Nonetheless that does not mean “reformists” cannot be allies of a radical movement to abolish white supremacy and its political and social mechanisms of control. But it does mean reformism must be challenged every step of the way. Because it is by reducing the radical demands and pressure on status quo power to reforms and political “neutral” charities that white supremacist power retains control over the lives of people of color.

To disrupt racism, domestic colonialism of African people in the US, we must rely on principle first and foremost. Principles that constrain and neutralize meaningless reform by exposing it for what it are the basis for any strategy of anti-repression, anti-containment, and resistance to authoritarian control.

Michael Moore: Why I’m Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange

Filmmaker Michael Moore is putting his money where his mouth is and putting up bail money to help WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange post bail..it’s interesting to note the amount of negative information that has been put out about Assange, so much so that many are calling his character into question to the point its hard to know what to believe.

On one hand no one with a conscience wants to dismiss anything like the rape he’s accused of committing, at the same time we know the types of propaganda that is routinely used on folks who have stood up to our government in the past via Cointel_Pro. The Black Panthers, American Indian Movement, Chicano Movement, Anti-War Movement etc..They and so many more were victim to massive disinformation campaigns that have lasted 40 years after the fact. A lot of the dis-information  was so convincing that it led to people being killed , imprisoned and ostracized. Are we seeing that being played out before our very eyes with Julian Assange and Wikileaks?

One thing is certain, his character has become just as much of a conversation as the information he put out. And maybe that’s the plan-create enough of a distractions and doubt that we stop looking at what’s really in those documents. Even more important is noting if it’s happening to Julian Assange  and Wikileaks it can happen to any one of us should we decide to take a firm, public stand on issues that put us in opposition to those in power. That should have us all concerned. Put the words ‘top secret’, ‘national security threat’ or ‘war on terror’ around any activity or document and we seem to allow all sorts suppression without blinking an eye.

In short we better pay close attention to all aspects of Wikileaks and how things unfolds and make sure no one involved suddenly disappears.

Bradley Manning

Lastly, it seems like  hardly anyone is talking about Bradley Manning the soldier who supposedly got Assange the documents in the first place. I know the city of Berkeley, Ca is holding a city council vote tonite to see if Manning should be considered a hero, but other than that we don’t hear too much. If you notice we don’t hear too much about the court proceedings going on at Ft Hood involving Maj. Nidal Hasan who was the gun man in last years massacre.  We should be looking closely to see why we have such egregious acts being committed by our men in uniform.

-Davey D-

Why I’m Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange


Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.

Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.

We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again.

So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth. The assault on them has been over the top:

**Sen. Joe Lieberman says WikiLeaks “has violated the Espionage Act.”

**The New Yorker‘s George Packer calls Assange “super-secretive, thin-skinned, [and] megalomaniacal.”

**Sarah Palin claims he’s “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands” whom we should pursue “with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.”

**Democrat Bob Beckel (Walter Mondale’s 1984 campaign manager) said about Assange on Fox: “A dead man can’t leak stuff … there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch.”

**Republican Mary Matalin says “he’s a psychopath, a sociopath … He’s a terrorist.”

**Rep. Peter A. King calls WikiLeaks a “terrorist organization.”

And indeed they are! They exist to terrorize the liars and warmongers who have brought ruin to our nation and to others. Perhaps the next war won’t be so easy because the tables have been turned — and now it’s Big Brother who’s being watched … by us!

Julian Assange

WikiLeaks deserves our thanks for shining a huge spotlight on all this. But some in the corporate-owned press have dismissed the importance of WikiLeaks (“they’ve released little that’s new!”) or have painted them as simple anarchists (“WikiLeaks just releases everything without any editorial control!”). WikiLeaks exists, in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms, making it impossible for good journalists to do their job. There’s no time or money anymore for investigative journalism. Simply put, investors don’t want those stories exposed. They like their secrets kept … as secrets.

I ask you to imagine how much different our world would be if WikiLeaks had existed 10 years ago. Take a look at thisphoto. That’s Mr. Bush about to be handed a “secret” document on August 6th, 2001. Its heading read: “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US.” And on those pages it said the FBI had discovered “patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings.” Mr. Bush decided to ignore it and went fishing for the next four weeks.

But if that document had been leaked, how would you or I have reacted? What would Congress or the FAA have done? Was there not a greater chance that someone, somewhere would have done something if all of us knew about bin Laden’s impending attack using hijacked planes?

But back then only a few people had access to that document. Because the secret was kept, a flight school instructor in San Diego who noticed that two Saudi students took no interest in takeoffs or landings, did nothing. Had he read about the bin Laden threat in the paper, might he have called the FBI? (Please read this essay by former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, Time’s 2002 co-Person of the Year, about her belief that had WikiLeaks been around in 2001, 9/11 might have been prevented.)

Or what if the public in 2003 had been able to read “secret” memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured the CIA to give him the “facts” he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched — or rather, wouldn’t there have been calls for Cheney’s arrest?

Openness, transparency — these are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt. What if within days of August 4th, 1964 — after the Pentagon had made up the lie that our ship was attacked by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin — there had been a WikiLeaks to tell the American people that the whole thing was made up? I guess 58,000 of our soldiers (and 2 million Vietnamese) might be alive today.

Instead, secrets killed them.

For those of you who think it’s wrong to support Julian Assange because of the sexual assault allegations he’s being held for, all I ask is that you not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey. Please — never, ever believe the “official story.” And regardless of Assange’s guilt or innocence (see the strange nature of the allegations here), this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself. I have joined with filmmakers Ken Loach and John Pilger and writer Jemima Khan in putting up the bail money — and we hope the judge will accept this and grant his release today.

Might WikiLeaks cause some unintended harm to diplomatic negotiations and U.S. interests around the world? Perhaps. But that’s the price you pay when you and your government take us into a war based on a lie. Your punishment for misbehaving is that someone has to turn on all the lights in the room so that we can see what you’re up to. You simply can’t be trusted. So every cable, every email you write is now fair game. Sorry, but you brought this upon yourself. No one can hide from the truth now. No one can plot the next Big Lie if they know that they might be exposed.

And that is the best thing that WikiLeaks has done. WikiLeaks, God bless them, will save lives as a result of their actions. And any of you who join me in supporting them are committing a true act of patriotism. Period.

I stand today in absentia with Julian Assange in London and I ask the judge to grant him his release. I am willing to guarantee his return to court with the bail money I have wired to said court. I will not allow this injustice to continue unchallenged.

P.S. You can read the statement I filed today in the London court here.

P.P.S. If you’re reading this in London, please go support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks at a demonstration at 1 PM today, Tuesday the 14th, in front of the Westminster court.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Debate, Hate & Wait: How to Spot an Agent in Your Organization

Tonight (Fri Nov 26, 2010)  in San Francisco there will be an screening of an incredible documentary called ‘Cointel-Pro’ followed by a community discussion w/ children of political prisoners and Hip Hop artists Wise Intelligent, Killer priest, Casual and Digable Planets..It’s an important discussion followed by a concert.. For more info on discussion and concert click here… http://bit.ly/def2sr

In the meantime.. I want everyone to read this article about government infiltration/ domestic spying  into organizations.. The author Supreme gives a lot of insight and encourages folks to set up protocals vs going on witch hunts and having endless discussions about who is real and who isn’t..

This is important because government infiltration still goes on today and as was shown in the documentary Cointel-pro it’s not limited to militant/ Black organizations.. In fact groups like the Black Panthers were the last to get infiltrated.

In recent years we’ve seen agents touch base in peace organizations as highlighted by Michael Moore in his film on 9-11. We seen this happen in the aftermath of Katrina with Common Ground organization. The agent (Brandon Darby) who came to disrupt recovery efforts had already caused havoc among organizations in Austin , Texas.  This is important to note, because as the author Supreme points out in his article, so many groups don’t talk to one another. Some have egos and see everything as uber competitive. Others are afraid of losing funding by tipping off other operations. Others are simply ignorant to history and don’t believe our government will go that far..

More recently we here in Oakland saw this happen during the Justice 4 Oscar Grant Movement.. Sometimes its the feds other times its local police departments doing the infiltrating.  Folks need to read the article, get informed and act on principle not personality..

The most important statement in this article is as follows

Agents are no longer gathering information, unless your org. is HIGHLY proactive and doing intensive work in the community…so let’s stop this talk of  “They can come and take whatever notes they want…and I’ma teach em.”  No. Most agents now are simply working to keep orgs at a STANDSTILL. Mired in debate, hate, and wait. Read that again. DEBATE, HATE, and/or WAIT. Through these three mechanisms, they do their job QUITE effectively. “

-Davey D-


How to Spot and Agent?

by Supreme Understanding


Author Supreme Understanding

I’m sick and tired of watching good groups fail because of the wicked people who are still being sent among us. Moreso because of our failure to respond appropriately to these wicked people. I don’t blame them so much as I blame us for not doing anything about them. But we who are intelligent people should be wise enough to know that COINTELPRO still exists, both online and in real life. Yet very rarely do I hear about people being “run from among us” nowadays. So we know that they’re here, yet we continue to let them do their work? They’re not gathering info. They’re making us fall apart. And my survey says that they’re being highly successful. So if you can use this to improve your organization, please do so. If not, I’ve said my part. Here’s some qualities to look for, when you are wondering if someone is an agent provacateur:

  1. They bring confusion and chaos with them. Everytime they come around, it’s drama.
  2. They keep discussions and productivity at a stalemate. They’d rather keep debating than engaging the community you’re supposed to serve.
  3. They focus on impertinent theoretical points of contention as serious sources of conflict. It’s never about the people or the work. It’s always about some ideas, structures, philosophy, or abstract concept.
  4. They create/increase tribalism and intensify pre-existing organizational dissatisfaction. Whatever issues you had, they root them out and make them grow.
  5. They don’t have reputable sources or references for where they come from. Nobody knows them where they say they came from, or they can’t even tell you who can vouch for them. Anyone with more than 5 years of involvement in any community should have good references. Anyone with less than 5 years experiences should not be in a position to dictate or distract.
  6. Many have short bursts of vigorous activity, not long histories of continuous (documented/verifiable) growth and development. They come in, make a mess, then disappear to enjoy their plea deal, stipend, etc…or to move on to another org. Because we have little cross-organizational communication, they can sometimes do the same thing to 3 or 4 orgs in a row. So many of them are organization-hoppers.
  7. Others claim long histories, even claiming “birthrights” of some sort, as a means to establish authority. Yet these claims rarely hold up under further investigation. For example, some agents who were outed by the Church Committee had claimed to be “born into” the organizations and groups they’d later infiltrated. Oh, by the way, I’m a historical researcher. Everything in this list is based on extensive research on publicly-identified agent provocateurs, as well as the documented methods used by COINTELPRO, the CIA, the “hip hop police” etc.
  8. They have ambiguous sources of income. They may be on the payroll, but they’re posing as an independent hustler of some sort, or working in some office building you can’t visit.
  9. They came from prison or worked in the military or law enforcement in the past (or the present, if u dig deep enough). They may be working in exchange for reduced time/plea agreement/special assignment.
  10. They turn around all questions about them into attacks on the questioner. They create scapegoats, red herrings, and target people who may be onto them.
  11. They build alliances with weak-minded dissatisfied people through shared vices, financial generosity, or a sense of solidarity. Do you smoke with em and give em a free pass on their transgressions?
  12. They also “give” as a means of establishing authority and legitimacy. Some even give “knowledge” to an extent that it blurs their allegiances, making less critical-minded people believe they “must” be on the side of good, since they share so much “good information.” But even this can be a ruse. If the information does not serve to liberate people, empower the community (regular people, that is), and engender social change, then they are doing NOTHING to disturb the status quo.
  13. These people don’t tend to be primary sources either. They simply get credit by “sharing” or transmitting information and ideas created by others. Yet these people also tend to “modify” this info as well, significantly affecting the end result.
  14. They act like zealots but aren’t zealous about social change. You’ll never see them go this hard when it comes to helping regular people.
  15. They want power and control, but demonstrate no ability to use this power or control for the good of others. Once they have acquired enough authority, it’s all gonna get burned to the ground.
  16. They are masters of manipulation, but never teach others how to manipulate the system. But watch how they can twist, spin, and distort everything that comes their way. It takes TRAINING to be that good. And there are actually programs that train people on how to do this.

FYI, I’m not talking about people who are stupid and don’t know how to act right. I’m talking about people who are clear, consistent, and CONSCIOUSLY working to undermine and neutralize progress. It’s not impossible to distinguish the former from the latter. And typically, the former acts that way because they are following the lead of the latter.

Also, let’s be clear. Agents are no longer gathering information, unless your org. is HIGHLY proactive and doing intensive work in the community…so let’s stop this talk of “They can come and take whatever notes they want…and I’ma teach em.” No. Most agents now are simply working to keep orgs at a STANDSTILL. Mired in debate, hate, and wait. Read that again. DEBATE, HATE, and/or WAIT. Through these three mechanisms, they do their job QUITE effectively.

What do you do if someone has many of these characteristics? If your org has a structure for calling someone to attention and letting them know their actions are creating a disturbance, then it’s time to gather the people who can call that meeting and notify that person. Either they will (A) become belligerent and threaten physical harm, (B) respond quietly and soon disappear, or (C) continue doing the same. If they disappear, notify other orgs about them, because that person may be headed their way. If they do (A) or (C), proceed to whatever is “level 2” of your org’s protocol for dealing with serious offenders. Just know that the person is NOT someone with a misunderstanding, or someone who just doesn’t get it yet. If you are effective in explaining your concerns (as a collective) and they PERSIST, it should be clear that they are not naieve. They are acting purposefully and willfully, and it is YOUR collective failure if you allow this behavior to exist, remain, thrive, and destroy everything around it.

I’m just one man speaking, but I had to say something because it’s getting out of control in some places. I hope people will take notice and DO something. Beyond what I’ve said above, it’s important we establish some cross-cultural/cross-organizational communication. I propose that we identify, by name and picture, those individuals we run out of our groups, so that when they come to another group, we will know not to accept this person in with open arms. I’d love to some sort of online agent provocateur database (like www.whosarat.com), but that presents too much potential for abuse and misuse. In lieu of that, we should AT LEAST engage in (a) teaching awareness of the above, (b) background checks on new people coming to our groups, (c) some checks and balances for people trying to leverage power and authority, (d) an investigation and response protocol for people causing repeated disturbances, and (e) cross-organizational communication for people who have been rooted out.

Tag anyone you know who is involved with an organization/group/culture that is serious about the community, and who would benefit from this perspective.

Thank you,

Supreme Understanding

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Who Shot Ya?-The FBI Informant Civil Rights Photographer & the Murder of Dr Martin Luther King

In recent days damning information has surfaced about the role a pioneering Civil Rights photographer named Ernest C.Withers played in the murder of Dr Martin Luther King. Withers who died in 2007 had long been rumored to be an informant for J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI even though he was very popular figure in Civil Rights circles. It’s been reported that under his guise as a photographer he was reporting on King’s movement up to the moment of his assassination and in the days that followed.

Like so many organizations that were fighting for Freedom including the Black Panthers, SNCC, The Nation of Islam then known as Black Muslims, SCLC to name a few were all under constant surveillance with orders from Hoover to disrupt and discredit their operations. Hoover considered many of them to be hate groups, terrorists and communist sympathizers.

Sometimes the surveillance came from FBI agents planting listening devices, recording phone conversations and following Civil Rights leaders in cars. Other times it came from sending Black agents into key organizations where they would earn positions of high rank and trust and later report back critical information. This was all done in addition to the FBI sending letters to various leaders where they would attempt to black mail, play one-off the other, make threats or play mind games like encouraging distressed individuals to commit suicide.

Martin Luther King

The murder of Dr King is especially troubling, because it demonstrated the lengths the FBI would go to stop a movement…. I think people should pause for a second before reading on and really think about this. Again the FBI operates from the money we pay to them via our taxes. They are here to serve and protect the people.

The second point is when you’re talking about an individual like Martin Luther King, you’re talking about a man who was calling for racially harmony and non-violence. He was challenging systems of Jim Crow and overt racial discrimination that I would imagine very few would support in 2010.

On the day of his death he was working feverishly on a Poor People’s Campaign for economic justice. How much more benign could one get?  Sadly our government which to this day has buildings named after Hoover, the architect of these surveillance policies called Cointel-Pro stopped at nothing to get him. from the looks of things they got Withers to go along with the plan and several others.

Dick Gregory spoke about sinister forces at work that eventually killed Martin Luther King

Long time activist Dick Gregory spoke on the murder of Dr King and how there were all sorts of folks involved including the Black preachers in his entourage. I want folks to peep this video and pay close attention to the video he plays during his presentation. You can later on watch the rest of the lecture which is 3 or 4 parts.  After you watch pt1, I want folks to read this excellent article from Margret Kimberly of Freedom Rider/ Black Agenda Report to get better insight into Withers and the damaging role he played.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiOq85bLFnE pt1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgTaP7Ye4eM&feature=related pt2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5n9LVfpAC8&feature=related pt3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp2dEBygjt0&feature=related pt4

Also as an added piece I am including the conversation Malcolm X had with the FBI when they tried to get him to turn on the Nation of Islam. I want folks to have richer context in which to understand the depth the FBI went in trying to compromise and intimidate our leaders.


Freedom Rider: Ernest Withers the Informant

by BAR editor and senior Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley of BAR

The long and infamous history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its attacks upon black Americans in their struggles for human and civil rights are by now well-known. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover actively worked to destroy any and all black activists beginning in 1919 when he pursued the political and personal destruction of Marcus Garvey. That subversion of legal rights and the democratic process continued for decades but operated at its fullest extent in the 1950s and 1960s.

The purpose of the FBI Counter Intelligence Program, COINTELPRO was, in Hoover‘s words, to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” what Hoover called “hate groups” but which were in fact organizations fighting for full citizenship rights. The most infamous COINTELPRO action was the murder of the Black Panther Party Chicago chief Fred Hampton. An informant, William O’Neal, joined the Black Panther Party under FBI direction, served as Hampton’s bodyguard, and was then instrumental in planning his killing.

Commercial Appeal, Withers was an FBI informant who gave extensive information on King and other activists in Memphis, their movements, and their conversations. Withers reported to the FBI on the day of King’s assassination and in the days following.

Unfortunately, Withers died in 2007 without ever being confronted with the longstanding rumors of his activities. His colleagues are left to their own devices in trying to understand why he acted as he did. They are also left trying to decide how and, in some cases, whether to judge Withers for his betrayals.

“He actively sabotaged the work of others and endangered their lives, livelihoods and a movement which was bigger than any one person.”

The human response of wanting to defend someone thought to be a friend may be understandable on a personal level, but should never be acceptable politically. The charges against Withers are well documented and in all likelihood he was an informer and was paid by the FBI. This means he actively sabotaged the work of others and endangered their lives, livelihoods and a movement which was bigger than any one person, even those who may still feel a personal connection to Withers.

Whatever the justification for their activities, informants like Withers should never be forgiven and their acts should not be justified. Sadly, many of the people personally victimized by Withers are defending and rationalizing his actions. He had a large family to support, he may have been threatened, the information he gave probably did little harm, etc. Andrew Young’s comments about Withers are the worst of all. “I don’t think Dr. King would have minded him making a little money on the side.”

Andrew Young has been the king of the cringe-worthy comment for some time now, but this remark is appalling even for him. As one of King’s closest confidantes, Young should know better than anyone the damage caused by FBI’s actions against King. They tapped his phones, recorded his conversations and encouraged him to commit suicide. Because there was no timely investigation into the King assassination, we will never know if the FBI was directly involved. The fact that Withers was located in Memphis and reported on King’s activities and movements up until the very moment of his death is in and of itself suspicious. The revelation of Withers’ activity should be a reminder of the extent to which the state dedicated itself to destroying any organized effort at black empowerment.

The muted response to the Withers revelation is sad proof of the lack of study of the movement, its fall and its aftermath. If this world-changing phenomenon were considered in the light that it ought to be, there would be unified revulsion expressed about Withers and a meaningful discussion of how the movement ended. The killing of Martin Luther King meant the effective end of one of the most successful mass movements in the history of the world. It is difficult to imagine that the information Withers provided to the FBI was not in some way connected with King’s death. For that reason alone, the outrage surrounding this revelation should have been loud and clear.

“It is difficult to imagine that the information Withers provided to the FBI was not in some way connected with King’s death.”

The Withers case should not be seen through the window of the past. It is a warning to us in the present and a reminder that the police state apparatus is ever present.

J Edgar Hoover may be dead but his legacy and damning Cointel-Pro policies live on today

The Withers case should not be seen through the window of the past. It is a warning to us in the present and a reminder that the police state apparatus is ever present. Should the civil rights movement be reactivated and organizing for change become the norm once again, there will be another COINTELPRO, under a different name no doubt, but the activities will be revived and some “friends” will turn out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing.

We now have a government which gives itself the right to order the assassination of American citizens and which claims the right to order anyone arrested and incarcerated without charge or trial. Black Americans have been entrapped in dubious, false flag terror cases created out of whole cloth by the government and its informants. The past is prologue and Ernest C. Withers will not be the last person used to sabotage his own people.

An energized, well organized movement for political change is what this nation needs most. That movement should learn the history of past movements, including the errors, and the betrayals that brought so many people and organizations to premature death. Individuals brave enough to speak truth to the powerful should be able to do so without repeating past mistakes or falling prey to the snares which brought down so many in the past. Ernest Withers should be remembered as a traitor. Yes his photos are iconic but they are now tainted and cannot be rehabilitated for the sake of sentimentality. The revelations about Withers are indeed frightening and rightly cause paranoia and anger. Those feelings cannot be submerged. They should be discussed openly. If they are not, then there are more Ernest Withers’ in our future and more destroyed movements.

Commercial appeal


Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.

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