FBI's Bust Of Black Open Carry Advocate Predicated On An InfoWars Video Ends In Dismissed Indictment

from the making-its-terrorism-investigations-look-solidly-grounded dept

The FBI's throwback to its Martin Luther King Jr.-watching heyday has reached the first stop on its way to its eventual nadir. Deciding backlash against violence perpetrated by law enforcement officers had resulted in too many frightening African Americans organizing, the agency decided to place "Black Identity Extremists" under surveillance, claiming this made-up group would "likely" engage in violence against police officers.

So far, the agency has yet to secure a prosecution under this theory of extreme blackness. But it has managed to severely disrupt the life of at least one black male.

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.

Handcuffed and shaking in the cold wind, Balogun thought a misunderstanding must have led the FBI to his door on 12 December 2017. The father of three said he was shocked to later learn that agents investigating “domestic terrorism” had been monitoring him for years and were arresting him that day in part because of his Facebook posts criticizing police.

"Domestic terrorism" is one of the narratives the FBI trotted out during this abortive investigation and prosecution. The facts leading to Balogun's arrest are almost literally unbelievable. His surveillance is believed to be part of the FBI's recent "Black Identity Extremists" focus. Balogun (born Christopher Daniels) is a black open-carry advocate residing in Texas, where this practice is legal. He attended a protest in Austin, Texas -- one featuring black open carry advocates like himself. Apparently, the FBI decided it needed to play to edges of reality to build a case against the activist.

Daniels, a founding member of both Guerilla Mainframe and the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, groups that promote weapons training, fitness, and community service among African Americans, first came under FBI scrutiny in 2015 when he appeared in videos participating in an open-carry rally against police brutality. Footage of the demonstration aired by the right-wing conspiracy website InfoWars showed demonstrators chanting “oink oink bang bang” and “the only good pig is a pig that’s dead.”

The InfoWars video drew the FBI’s attention to Daniels’ social media accounts, according to court documents, where he published what they deemed to be comments advocating for “violence toward law enforcement.”

The FBI admitted the comments it reviewed did not actually advocate for violence against police officers, nor did they contain threats from Daniels himself. But what was the agent supposed to do? Stop looking for reasons to fulfill the FBI's "BIE" fantasy?

Nope, instead the FBI raided Balogun's house to arrest him for possession of a handgun, supposedly because it violated restrictions placed on Balogun following a misdemeanor domestic assault conviction in 2007. This bullshit charge doesn't explain why it took the FBI two years from the viewing of the video (a goddamn InfoWars video, at that) to make its move.

The court tossed the indictment -- two years and one InfoWars video in the making -- because the alleged criminal act wasn't actually a real criminal act.

The indictment was dismissed May 1, when a district court in Texas determined “domestic assault” as codified by Tennessee law does not fit the federal definition of domestic violence that would prohibit him from owning a firearm. Daniels was ultimately released from custody two days later.

But that was two days after Daniels spent six months in jail for a charge the FBI offered up because it couldn't find what it was really looking for: a "Black Identity Extremist" calling for violence against cops. The government couldn't get what it wanted, but rather than call the investigation to a halt, it kept digging around in the federal and state rule books to find anything to use against Balogun. "Rule of law" is a joke -- and so is every government official echoing this empty phrase as the FBI pursues bullshit investigations and handcrafts terrorism suspects for easy prosecutions.

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Filed Under: arrests, black identity extremists, civil liberties, civil rights, detention, fbi, open carry, rakem balogun, texas

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 11:09am

    Re: "white identity extremist"

    Back in the early 1990s, the FBI, ATF, and other federal agencies waged a scorched-earth campaign against the growing "militia movement" that sprang up partly in response to the election of Bill Clinton, a series of operations especially targeting the gun-toting white nationalists. Ruby Ridge and Waco were famous massacres that became household names among the pro-2nd-amendment "never forget" activists, but there were many more operations by the left-wing Clinton administration to destroy these right-wing groups and put the leaders in prison. The operations were largely successful, accomplishing that goal within a decade.

    One of the main (medium/long term) strategies of the FBI was to have agents infiltrate the groups, and along with turning existing members into informants through both bribery and threats, to entice someone into doing something illegal such as possessing unregistered 'NFA' firearms (a 10 year prison sentence) and by befriending them, engaging in some kind of macho fantasy talk (like admitting to wanting to kill someone) in order to get them saying these things on tape so it could be played to a jury. (a footnote: Matthew Hale, a white racist lawyer who was nailed this way, was represented by attorney Glenn Greenwald in a situation that started out with Hale being the victim of a trademark trolling operation taht stole the name of his un-trademarked organization and then sued him over it)

    The FBI's surveillance and infiltration has been so pervasive that almost every single leader of any kind of white nationalist group over the last several decades has ended up in prison for one thing or another. David Duke, Don Black, etc, they've all been to prison for often unusual charges and mundane crimes -- which is probably easy to accomplish when someone is being so closely watched.

    I suppose it's only fair play that federal authorities have finally started targeting black nationalists with the same sort of zeal that white nationalists, islamic nationalists, and other groups deemed 'enemies of the state' have been ruthlessly entrapped and hounded into prison for decades. It's seems odd though that in this particular case of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, that the FBI, with its many years of experience taking down White and Islamic Nationalists, would end up doing such a sloppy amateurish job that it almost seems more like a "shot across the bow" warning than the sort of well-planned full-scale lethal strike we've come to expect from the FBI when it takes on militant white and islamic groups.

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