FBI warns of new threat of 'black identity extremism'

  11 October 2017    Read: 1005
FBI warns of new threat of 'black identity extremism'

The FBI has declared that “black identity extremism” is a violent threat in the US according to a leaked report, AzVision.az reports citing the Independent.

The document obtained by Foreign Policy is dated August 2017 and written by the Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit within the bureau.

It read: “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.”

The FBI wrote that “alleged police abuse” is what has “continued to feed the resurgence in ideologically motivated, violent criminal activity within the BIE movement”.

Around 750 people have been shot and killed by police thus far in 2017 and almost 170 of them were African-American.

The actual label of BIE appears to be an invented one, as Foreign Policy reported.

Michael German, a former FBI agent and now Brennan Center fellow, told the outlet: “Basically, it’s black people who scare them.”

A former senior counterterrorism and intelligence official from the Department of Homeland Security reviewed the report for the news outlet and said BIE “is a new umbrella designation that has no basis...There are civil rights and privacy issues all over this.”

The 12-page report points to the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri as well as the grand jury decision not to indict the police officer who shot the unarmed teenager as a sort of catalyst.

His death “spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence,” the report stated.

It cited six events since 2014 as evidence to support this theory.

“Even though five of these attacks occurred following controversial police shooting of African Americans by white police officers, BIE targeting of officers was not, in every incident, based on their specific race,” the report said.

The report stated that Micah Johnson, who shot at police officers during a July 2016 Black Lives Matter march in Dallas, Texas was “influenced by BIE ideology” based on journals and police statements.

The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment however issued a statement clarifying that the bureau “cannot initiate an investigation based solely on an individual’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

The timing of the report is chilling - issued on 3 August just nine days before violence erupted at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Torch-wielding white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and Ku Klux Klan members marched on the college town to protest the removal of Civil War Confederate General Robert E Lee’s statue.

They clashed with counter-protesters who said the statue was only a reminder of hundreds of years of brutal slavery and a war that sought to divide the nation

Three people died that day, two Virginia State Police officers and one counter-protester who was fatally injured when an alleged Hitler Youth member drove his car into the crowd.

Donald Trump was heavily criticised for not immediately denouncing the hate groups and though he did do so later, he maintained his conviction that “many sides” were responsible for the violence.

Activists fear that the Trump administration’s influence over the bureau is outlined in this document and that “BIE” will be used to justify arresting or prosecuting civil rights protesters.

​DeRay McKesson, a Black Lives Matter activist, was not surprised by the information in the report.

“There is a long tradition of the FBI targeting black activists” like Martin Luther King, Jr and the NAACP, he told Foreign Policy.

“This is confirmation that the work of social justice continues to threaten those in power,” he said.

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