Yesterday, the AP reported that the FBI put Joanne Chesimard — a.k.a. Assata Shakur — on its Most Wanted Terrorists list, and announced a reward of $2 million for anyone whose information leads to her capture. After being found guilty, along with two other members of the violent Black Liberation Army, of murdering a New Jersey state trooper forty years ago to the day, Chesimard fled to Cuba. The revolutionary regime of Fidel Castro granted her asylum, and honored her not as a murderer and thug but as a fellow revolutionary freedom fighter.
“She continues to flaunt her freedom in the face of this horrific crime,” State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes said at a news conference yesterday. Fuentes called the case “an open wound” for troopers in New Jersey and around the nation. The shooting of trooper Werner Foerster during a routine traffic stop, in which Shakur and her comrades quickly started firing at the police, led to Foerster’s death and the injury of his partner.
The BLA was responsible in the ’70s and ’80s for the deaths of over 12 police officers.
They considered such actions as revolutionary acts against occupiers of the ghetto, and not as illegal, but as a response to acts of war instigated on the black community by the imperialist U.S. government. Hence, when they shot police they were acting as soldiers opposed to the U.S. that was making war against them.
While in Cuba, Chesimard has often been brought by Cuban authorities to meet with gullible revolutionary tourists, who still travel there as political pilgrims seeking to see what life in paradise is like. And in our country, black radicals still treat her as a hero.
A few years back, the rapper known as “Common” released a song praising her action. The rapper’s version of events differs significantly from that portrayed in the Newark Division of the FBI’s official press release.
While “Common” says Chesimard was lying in a puddle of blood gasping for breath, “shot twice wit her hands up/police questioned but shot before she answered,” the FBI report reveals the truth, which accords with the philosophy of the group and the proud boasts of other BLA prisoners about how they regularly sought to kill police. The report tells us the following:
On May 2, 1973, Chesimard and two accomplices were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike by Troopers James Harper and Werner Foerster for a motor vehicle violation. All three subjects possessed fictitious identification, and, unbeknownst to the troopers, all three were armed with semi-automatic handguns. From the front passenger seat, Chesimard fired the first shot, wounding Trooper James Harper in the shoulder. As Harper moved for cover, Chesimard exited the car and continued to fire at both troopers until she was wounded by Harper’s return fire.
The rear seat passenger, James Coston, also fired at the troopers and was mortally wounded by Trooper Harper. Trooper Werner Foerster was engaged in a hand-to-hand combat with the vehicle’s driver, Clark Squire. Foerster was severely wounded in his right arm and abdomen and then executed with his own service weapon on the roadside. Chesimard’s jammed handgun was found at Foerster’s side.
Special Agent Aaron T. Ford, head of the FBI Newark Division, is certainly correct when he states that “Joanne Chesimard is a domestic terrorist who murdered a law enforcement officer execution-style.”
It is no surprise that the Left, or sections of it, still defend Chesimard/Shakur. It is another thing, however, to read the New York Times story that appears on the top news page of the paper’s website.
One has to only compare the AP story with that appearing in what once was called “the paper of record.” Times writer Christopher Maag refers to the FBI and law enforcement officials as advancing “their side of that debate.”
What debate? A jury found Chesimard guilty. She was later broken out of prison by left-wing radicals and black terrorists in her group.
The story then continues to explain that she “has proclaimed her innocence and called herself the victim of a racist judicial system.” Remember that all convicted leftist figures, from Alger Hiss to the Rosenbergs, always swore they were innocent. The Times story then writes that the FBI ran the notorious COINTELPRO program, which it says “used legal and illegal surveillance in an attempt to discredit mostly leftist political organizations in the 1960s and early ’70s.”
Of course, the Times does not explain that COINTELPRO had nothing to do with the shootout in which Chesimard killed officer Foerster, who was shot in cold blood when the car the group was riding in was stopped for a broken tail light.
Does reporter Maag really want us to believe that the police broke the light when they got in their car, and were waiting for them on the highway? If so, how did they know where they would even drive after they got in their car? And why were they carrying guns, which they took out and began shooting after being stopped?
The story also says Chesimard could not have fired the gun that killed Foerster, because she herself was hit during the first round of gunfire. It is more than possible that even if that was the case, she still could have managed to use the gun to kill the officer. The story then quotes one of her radical lawyers, who of course states that there is “no evidence” that she was the one who murdered Foerster.
He goes on to note that the FBI announcement is only meant to “inflame the public.”
What should inflame the public is that the New York Times used a news report to try to cast doubt regarding Chesimard/Shakur’s guilt, and to make it appear that perhaps she was being tried for her radical views and not for her terrorist action. It is, perhaps, what we can now expect from a once-great newspaper. Rather than issue a report — like even the AP and other newspapers did — it offered an editorial in the guise of a news story.
As for Cuba returning her, or a good Samaritan in Cuba telling the FBI what safe house she resides in, good luck. Cuba has yet to free the imprisoned American Alan Gross, and Raul Castro is not about to hand over Chesimard/Shakur to U.S. authorities. The regime needs to trumpet its fading revolutionary credentials, as more and more people have come to know about the true state of affairs in a failing economy whose people are more and more unafraid to openly protest.
It is good, however, for all of us to be reminded that in our recent past, homegrown communist revolutionaries have done real damage, and have escaped from justice. This is the real world, not the fantasy world portrayed by Robert Redford in his dreadful The Company You Keep.
Kudos to the FBI for putting Chesimard/Shakur on its Most Wanted Terrorists list. This is an act that makes her the first woman to achieve that honor. That is, indeed, an honor she is most deserving of.