FBI is in the process of prosecuting its first ‘Black Identity Extremist’
According to reports from Foreign Policy, the arrest of Christopher Daniels, known in Dallas as Rakem Balogun, on December 12, 2017 has resulted in the FBI’s first known prosecution of any individual suspected as being a Black Identity Extremist. The FBI Counterterrorism unit came up with this designation targeting radical Black activists last year, and it parallels their COINTELPRO program in the 1960’s that led to the death or imprisonment of Black organizers.
Friends and family say that Daniels’ surveillance is the result of his outspoken political beliefs and anti-police rhetoric. Daniels was unaware that he had been surveilled by the FBI for two years prior to them descending on his house and raiding his property. The FBI found and seized a Taurus Protector Poly .38 Special and a Norinco AK-style assault rifle, along with a copy of Negroes With Guns written by Robert F. Williams, a civil rights leader and a believer in armed resistance to racial oppression.
Daniels was formally indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm due to a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence in Tennessee in 2007, which means he cannot legally have guns on his property or his person.
Daniels’ brother Yafeuh Balogun told Foreign Policy that he believes that the FBI’s actions are indeed Cointelpro 2.0: “The [Black Identity Extremist] classification has grown from a report on paper, to a national investigation of Black Lives Matter and black gun ownership advocates… Rakem Balogun has been classified as B.I.E, we must defend him… This is a continuation of COINTELPRO in a modern-day form.”
The FBI has refused to comment on if they are actively tracking Daniels as a Black Identity Extremist, which does not assuage any concerns that the federal government is not returning to a J. Edgar Hoover era of monitoring Black activists. Activist and attorney Kamau Franklin explained, “This is obviously the first of what will be several attempts to begin to criminalize black organizing, militant black organizing in particular, and work their way down to other types of organizing.”