This article should clarify further why to worry about the Patriot Act and other post-9/11 policies and practices. As I will elaborate soon, with another source, the FBI has always had as one of its root purposes the surveillance and suppression of Black radicalism.
Former Black Panthers considered terrorists under Patriot Act
Afro America News
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Group wants torture used against American citizens to cease
Undaunted by what they call "unconstitutional" methods used under the guise of the Patriot Act, three former Black Panthers are touring the country to bring awareness to their recent interrogation by anti-terrorist law enforcement.
Former Black Panthers members John Bowman, Hank Jones and Ray Boudreaux held a forum, Dec. 8, at the Washington, D.C. office of Trans-Africa. They have in common the suffering they endured in 1971 under interrogation concerning a police shooting in San Francisco.
They were indicted by a grand jury, but the court rendered a decision stating the methods used to obtain information were unlawful and the Panthers members were freed from jail.
Thirty-four years later Bowman, Jones and Boudreaux along with many Black Panthers members once again faced their interrogators from the '70s who are now serving as agents with the Anti-Terrorist Task Force, a special division formed under the Homeland Security agency to apprehend suspected terrorists.
"I was quite surprised when I opened the door to see the same two detectives involved in beating me [34 years earlier] standing there. It brought back memories that I will never forget," said Bowman, the former Panther organizer. "This is very difficult for me to discuss in public."
According to Bowman, in 1973 he was stripped naked and beaten with blunt objects, wrapped with blankets soaked in boiling hot water, shocked with electric probes in his "anus and other private parts," punched, kicked and slammed into walls by investigators. The process lasted until investigators got the murder confessions they wanted....
The detectives, Frank McCoy and Edward Erdelatz, retired members of the San Francisco Police Department, now special agents with the Federal Prosecutor's Office, Anti-Terrorist Task Force have repeatedly interrupted the lives of many former Panthers to gain notoriety with the Bush administration by targeting individuals labeled as "terrorists" who were never convicted of wrongdoing.
"Once upon a time, they called me a terrorist, too," explained Boudreaux. "To expedite something in the system, they put a 'terror' tag on it and it gets done. Terror means money. These people [government] have a budget and they are working it."...
Trans Africa President Bill Fletcher expressed the forum's concerned about the erosion of civil rights. "It is ironic that instead of having a press conference in which apologies are being offered to the individuals who were tortured and the many other victims of COINTELPRO, instead we are to call attention to the prosecution of people who were freedom fighters and continue to be."...
"We condemn the persecution transpiring against these individuals. We wish to bring it to light when the word "terrorism" is in the air," said Ron Daniels, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. ... Daniels adds that "Before former Attorney General Ashcroft left, he issued a broad ranging edict that all the cases that involved any incident where a police officer had been killed and the case had been closed be re-opened...And if these men and women can be indicted or harassed, it sends a chilling effect," said, Daniels.
(Part I is here.)
UPDATE: The SF Bay View has an article about the grand jury investigation of Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Hank Jones, and Harold Taylor and an article by John Bowman, "How the US destroyed the Black Panther Party and continues to persecute its veterans."