To: Councilman Charles Barron
We applaud your historic role in the process of recognizing the political status of the many Freedom Fighters in the State of New York, and by precedent, in the Unites States of America.
The existence of a confrontation amongst the legislative bodies in the State, and potentially the Congress, that there exists Political Prisoners, and that a body of standards was needed in order to determine their status as well as a method upon which to grant such status is historic as it concerns the new African/Black Liberation Struggle.
The contemporary developmental process for this position has emerged from many quarters of our communities. The award winning film “All Power to the People” gained admiration and praises for its support of the Spirit of recognition of Political Prisoners.
Another such example was the courageous role of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, in holding hearings on the historical review of the COINTELPERO program against the Black Liberation Movement, reviewing the effects on the families and the communities of those targeted for assassination, imprisonment, and exile.
The principled self-critical withdrawal of support, and vote by Congresswoman Maxine Waters that had given support for bounty hunters and mercenaries to foray into Cuba in order to capture and return to the United States Assata Shakur, and a letter written by Congresswoman Waters to President Fidel Castro acknowledges that there do in fact exist political prisoners of the Black Liberation Struggle, and that these individuals should receive the protection against extradition for the purposes of politically motivated persecution. In fact, the United States government granted to Irish Republican Army Freedom Fighter Joe Dougherty, protection under the body of law known as the Political Offense Exception to Extradition. Protection and recognition were also granted to the Freedom Fighter Joe Dougherty by the New York City Council of which you are now an honored member by way of a bill that was sponsored by a freedom loving Black legislator.
It is said in the Bible in the Book of Leviticus, that every fifty (50) years prisoners should be freed and all debts forgiven. Clearly these are not Biblical times, but surely this period requires a process to purse objective standards for freeing captives as the result of political repression.
The conduct of low intensity warfare against the New African Liberation struggle by the COINTELPRO, and the resulting resistance by our People must come to light and resolution under a Truth and Reconciliation Commission/Tribunal in the United States.
This process will take hard work on the political, legal, and community front. Fortunately we have various examples in the international theater to draw upon and for objective law to guide us with the application and principle required to achieve our goals.
So my Brother Charles Barron, if there is such a phenomenon as Destiny, then you are standing in its epicenter, a place in history that cannot be denied. Your action in sponsoring this bill is guided by principles and not by a personal agenda, and I wholeheartedly applaud and endorse your effort to gain freedom for all of the Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War in New York State. All are true examples of Dignity and Honor.
The long-range strategies will require hard work. Nothing that is worthwhile comes easy. This resolution, as you have seen, will be hotly resisted, not on principles or moral beliefs but on the basis of the abuses of power and domination. I know you will hold the course, and I remain available for anything you feel will support this objective. I have some background in the application of the Political Offense Extradition Law.
Honorable Charles Barron, you have raised the question and the debate is on. In the post 9-11 era there are those who would suggest that all prior internal questions of conflict remain unresolved, and they will now attempt to create new international laws at a whim. We have confronted the issue head-on and in the process we will gain many allies, for it’s the right thing to do.
Dr. Mutulu Shakur 7-2K2 US Penitentiary, Atlanta
Cc: Herman Ferguson N.A.L.F. Family and Friends of Dr. Mutulu Shakur Jonathan Lubell