Internal FBI Documents Conflate Peaceful, Majority-Black Social Movements with Terrorism

Posted on October 27, 2017

A new report from Foreign Policy reveals that the FBI has begun characterizing police accountability and racial equality movements which are primarily comprised of African-Americans as “black identity extremists” or “BIEs” in their internal reports. According to these documents, FBI analysts assess that campaigns which focus on ending police abuse against racial minorities, such as Black Lives Matter (though the group is not explicitly named in the materials), will radicalize individuals or groups to encourage them to retaliate violently against law enforcement in the wake of future police shootings of black men and women. 

While there have been acts of violence perpetrated against police officers since the emergence of Black Lives Matter, not only have these been rare, but prominent leaders of the decentralized Black Lives Matter movement have been quick to condemn violence against law enforcement. There has also been no shift in the movement’s activity or principles which would lend any credence to the belief that Black Lives Matter, or groups aligned with it, will begin advocating violence targeting law enforcement.

More importantly, there is ample evidence showing that minority attacks on law enforcement make up a minuscule fraction of the domestic terrorism landscape in the United States. As FBI and Department of Homeland Security documents dating back to the early Obama administration and state counter-terrorism agency evaluations unequivocally prove, white supremacist, white nationalist, and other far-right movements constitute the lion’s share of extremist violence on US soil.

Seen against the backdrop of law enforcement efforts to inflate the threat posed by Antifa, and especially in light of the FBI’s long history of monitoring and persecuting progressive activists (especially racial minorities) even before  COINTELPRO, the concoction of the “black identity extremist” distinction continues the FBI’s practice of  harassing and intimidating political dissidents. In fact, this development is only one of a number of alarming moves by the federal government to suppress critical or anti-government speech, such as the ongoing, aggressive, and indiscriminate prosecution of inauguration day protesters in Washington, DC (which CCDBR has covered in the past).

You can read the full story from Foreign Policy, including copies of the obtained documents, here