By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
If the FBI wants to find Joanne Chesimard, who has just been added to the “Most Wanted Terrorists List,” it could begin by wiretapping President Obama’s friends, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, and other members of the Weather Underground. The Weather Underground helped Chesimard—a convicted cop-killer—escape from a New Jersey prison in 1979 and flee to Cuba.
Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur, was involved in the “execution style” murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. The attack on Foerster in a gun battle also took the life of Chesimard’s associate, Zayd Shakur. Ayers and Dohrn named one of their children after Zayd Shakur, who now goes under the name of “Zayd Dohrn,” and is a playwright.
The doubling of the reward from $1 million to $2 million for information leading to her capture and return to New Jersey was made on the 40th anniversary of Foerster’s brutal murder.
However, Chesimard is still today being protected by a support network of “progressive” activists, lawyers and the Cuban government.
Alluding to terrorist support networks for Chesimard in the U.S, Aaron Ford, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Newark, New Jersey, said, “We would be naïve to think there’s not some communication between her and some of those people she used to run around with today.”
Chesimard was a member of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), a group that worked with the Weather Underground. The Black Liberation Army was an outgrowth of the Black Panthers, a black militant group that described police officers as “Pigs” and called for their deaths.
Her escape to Cuba was not surprising. Former FBI informant Larry Grathwohl points out that the Weather Underground was a virtual project of the Cuban intelligence service, the DGI. His book, Bringing Down America, has been updated and republished.
However, the role of the Weather Underground in helping Chesimard go “underground” for more than four years in the U.S., and then escape to Cuba, is being conspicuously ignored in most of the stories about her being named as the first woman added to the Most Wanted Terrorists List.
Raising the stakes, Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said at Thursday’s news conference on this matter that they have “reason to believe she has established associations with other international terrorist organizations.”
Hence, it appears to be the case that Chesimard has maintained her contacts with leftists and terrorists in the United States and abroad.
Fuentes said that Chesimard “flaunts her freedom in the face of this horrific crime…In 1984, she surfaced in Cuba and was given political asylum by Fidel Castro. To this day, from her safe haven in Cuba, Chesimard has been given the pulpit to preach and profess, stirring supporters and groups to mobilize against the United States by any means necessary. As a government functionary and instrument of anti-U.S. propaganda, she has been used by the Castro regime to greet foreign delegations visiting Cuba.”
The FBI has posted videos and stories about the search for Chesimard. “This case is just as important today as it was when it happened 40 years ago,” says Mike Rinaldi, a lieutenant in the New Jersey State Police and member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Newark. “Bringing Joanne Chesimard back here to face justice is still a top priority.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, said, “I would like to commend the FBI for naming Joanne Chesimard a Most Wanted Terrorist, first woman ever to make this notorious list. In addition, I would like to applaud the New Jersey state authorities for adding additional reward money for information leading to the capture and arrest of Chesimard, bringing the total reward to $2 million.”
She said naming Chesimard as a Most Wanted Terrorist “is another reaffirmation that the Castro regime facilitates and supports terrorism and undermines U.S. interests consistently.”
At the very least, it also means that the Obama Administration cannot legally justify, under any circumstances, removing Cuba from the list of states supporting international terrorism.
The additional $1 million in reward money, which would come from the State of New Jersey’s forfeiture funds, could be an enticement to people, possibly in Cuba, to apprehend and transfer Chesimard back to the U.S. “Officials did not say whether they hope someone in Cuba will capture her and forcibly return her to the United States, but they did offer that the reward is available to anyone, in any country,” noted Ryan Hutchins of the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
Wiretaps on Chesimard’s associates in the U.S. could be justified, but are not likely, since Eric Holder, a former “black power” activist, runs Obama’s Department of Justice. He was deputy attorney general in the Clinton Administration and was involved in pardons for members of the Weather Underground. As Attorney General, he approved the early release from prison of communist terrorist Marilyn Buck, a member of the Weather Underground and Black Liberation Army involved in Chesimard’s escape from prison. The Obama/Holder Justice Department falsely claimed that Buck had repented for her terrorist ways.
Chesimard is living in Cuba, under the protection of the Castro brothers. But The New York Times once reported that she has been so open about her life in Cuba that she was once listed in the Havana telephone book under her new name, Assata Shakur.
With close connections to the “progressive” movement that worked for Obama’s election as President, Chesimard has been thumbing her nose at federal law enforcement officials who want to bring her back to the U.S. She thinks she can’t be touched. She certainly doesn’t fear a drone strike.
As we noted in a 2011 column, Chesimard gives interviews to American radicals who visit Cuba, such as the late Manning Marable, the professor of history and political science at Columbia University whose biography of Malcolm X was released after his death.
Rather than crack down on Cuba, Obama has facilitated travel to the Communist island through such venues as the Venceremos Brigades, a means by which the Castro dictatorship recruits Americans as agents of influence, trains them in guerrilla warfare tactics, and puts them in touch with international terrorists.
Bernardine Dohrn arranged Veneceremos Brigades trips to Cuba.
Chesimard has an American attorney, Soffiyah Elijah, who serves as Deputy Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School and has traveled to Cuba on many occasions, including as a member of the Venceremos Brigades.
The Director Emeritus of the Criminal Justice Institute is Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. He mentored both Michelle Obama and Barack Obama during their respective periods at Harvard.
In a move that ignited controversy among law enforcement, the White House in 2011 hosted a rapper who had performed a song praising Chesimard.
The lyrics of rapper Common’s “A Song For Assata” include:
In the Spirit of God.
In the Spirit of the Ancestors.
In the Spirit of the Black Panthers.
In the Spirit of Assata Shakur.
We make this movement towards freedom for all those who have been oppressed, and all those in the struggle.
Clues as to how to find Chesimard were on display on November 13, 2010, when a memorial tribute was held for “Comrade” Marilyn Buck in New York City after she passed away. The sponsors highlighted a Chesimard recording in praise of Buck that had been smuggled out of Communist Cuba and played at the service. Soffiyah Elijah gave the eulogy. Former members of the Weather Underground and the Puerto Rican terrorist group, FALN, showed up to praise Buck as a great freedom fighter.
Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn paid tribute to Buck in an announcement in the booklet distributed at her memorial service.
Chesimard also has supporters in the media, such as HuffPost Live anchor Marc Lamont Hill, who regularly appears on the Fox News Channel’s “O’Reilly Factor” program.
Chesimard is the most prominent communist terrorist still on the loose. But she is not the only one. Other fugitives on the FBI list include members of the May 19th Communist Organization.
Joel Gilbert, director of the film, Dreams from My Real Father, describes the May 19th Communist Organization as “an above ground support group for the Weather Underground” that was based in New York City from 1978-1985. He says Obama was “likely” a member of the group during his time at Columbia University in the early 1980’s.
The major media have consistently refused to cover the indisputable evidence of Obama’s communist connections, including a relationship with Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis, featured in the film.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].