This is unbelievable. This black activist had his life ruined after being jailed for months because of Facebook posts and an Infowars video. This is the federal government throwing a peaceful activist in jail because they don’t like his politics.
On Friday, the Guardian reported that black activist Rakem Balogun is the first to be prosecuted under a secretive U.S. effort to track so-called “black identity extremists.”
“Rakem Balogun thought he was dreaming when armed agents in tactical gear stormed his apartment. Startled awake by a large crash and officers screaming commands, he soon realized his nightmare was real, and he and his 15-year-old son were forced outside of their Dallas home, wearing only underwear.”
Balogun initially thought that it was some kind of misunderstanding that led to this aggressive FBI raid on December 12, 2017. But he soon found out that the FBI had been monitoring him for “domestic terrorism” because of some Facebook posts that he made criticizing the police.
“It’s tyranny at its finest,” said Balogun, 34. “I have not been doing anything illegal for them to have surveillance on me. I have not hurt anyone or threatened anyone.”
Balogun was released from prison this week after being locked up for five months. The U.S. attorneys who tried and failed to prosecute him denied him bail because they said he was a threat to law enforcement and an illegal gun owner.
“Balogun, who lost his home and more while incarcerated, is believed to be the first person targeted and prosecuted under a secretive US surveillance effort to track so-called “black identity extremists”. In a leaked August 2017 report from the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit, officials claimed that there had been a “resurgence in ideologically motivated, violent criminal activity” stemming from African Americans’ “perceptions of police brutality”.”
“Balogun, who was working full-time for an IT company when he was arrested, has long been an activist, co-founding Guerrilla Mainframe and the Huey P Newton Gun Club, two groups fighting police brutality and advocating for the rights of black gun owners. Some of the work included coordinating meals for the homeless, youth picnics and self-defense classes – but that’s not what interested the FBI.”
Special agent Aaron Keighley testified in court that they began monitoring Balogun after he attended a rally in Austin, Texas in March of 2015. Keighley said that the FBI learned of the protest from a video on conspiracy theorist and right-wing loon Alex Jones’ website Infowars.
A stunned Balogun said, “They’re using a conspiracy theorist video as a reason to justify their tyranny? That is a big insult.”
Keighley later admitted that they had no evidence that Balogun ever made any threat to harm police.
“In a letter Balogun wrote to the Guardian from jail, he said he felt he had been “abducted” by the FBI, a “prisoner of war on free speech and the right to bear arms”. Authorities were targeting him for promoting black-led community groups and fighting “government abuse”, he wrote, adding he was never a threat to anyone: “Violence is the method of our oppressor, our method is hard work, love and unity.””
“They were really desperate,” Balogun said. “This is pretty much like Stalin 1950 – ‘You show me the man. I show you the crime.’”
“The prosecution’s case eventually unraveled – but in the process, so did Balogun’s life.”