Dr. Kwame Nantambu

People hate America's 'arrogance of power'

Anti-terrorism laws must apply to US citizens

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
September 16, 2005
Updated: October 08, 2005

A few weeks ago, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson called on U.S. agents (albeit CIA personnel) to "take out" the democratically-elected President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.

As self-appointed/anointed prosecutor, Robertson indicted President Hugo Chavez on the charge that Venezuela was a "launching pad for communist influence and Muslim extremism." He presented no prima facie evidence to buttress his publicly televised indictment.

He just wanted Chavez assassinated by the United States. Is Rev. Pat Robertson aware of one of the Ten Commandments that states: "Thou shalt not kill." Or is Pat Robertson implying that this holy, Christian commandment does not apply to Americans?.

The fact of the matter is that United States' laws already condemn and punish Americans for making such public statements.

In fact, it is illegal for the President of the United States to call for the assassination of another Head of State. It is also unconstitutional for any US President to intervene/interfere in the internal affairs of another sovereign, independent nation-state.

Indeed, US civil rights leader, Rev. Jesse Jackson is correct to label Robertson's remark as "immoral and illegal", while former South African President Nelson Mandela warns that "no country should be allowed to take the law into their own hands."

The Bush White House has not come out and publicly condemn/denounce Robertson's statement.

As such, the questions that immediately come to the fore are: does the White House's silence suggests that it agrees with and supports, Pat Robertson's public call for President Hugo Chavez's assassination?.

Why hasn't the US Attorney General taken legal action against citizen Pat Robertson and enforce the provisions of the "USA Patriot Act"?.

Section 802 of the "USA Patriot Act" defines "domestic terrorism" as any activities that (i) "involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any State" (ii)"appear to be intended to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping" and (iii) "occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States."

In regard to the afore-mentioned, Pat Robertson's statement does indeed qualify him to be charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law by the US government for committing the obvious crime of "domestic terrorism."

President Hugo Chavez has hinted of a pending US-led invasion of Venezuela. Is Pat Robertson doing the White House's public relations job by preparing the American people for such an eventuality?.

Is it okay and/or legal for certain Americans citizens to make "terrorist statements" against foreign leaders, while it is not okay and illegal for other American citizens to do the same.

In other words, would the silent re-action by the White House and US Attorney General be the same if, Minister Louis Farrakhan, religious leader of the Nation of Islam, were to call on US agents (albeit CIA personnel) to "take out" or assassinate Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister of Israel?. The answer should be obvious.

Venezuela is a sovereign, independent nation-state and thus has the right to establish diplomatic relations with whatever other nation-state it chooses; whether the United States approves or disapproves such relations is irrelevant.

If the Bush White House contends that "peace is secured by advancing freedom" then every independent country must have "the power of freedom" to pursue/maximize its own foreign policy goals/interests.

Let us recall that in November 2001, President George Bush "defended his decision to establish military tribunals to prosecute terrorism suspects as well as the arrest and detention of hundreds of Middle Eastern men."

Apparently, President Bush did not establish these military tribunals to prosecute, arrest and detain American males. Pat Robertson is not a "terrorism suspect"; on the contrary, he is a true, bone fide terrorist. His terrorist threat against President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is loud and clear. Section 802 of the "USA Patriot Act" has proven his criminality.

The fact of the matter is that by its silence and non-reaction, the Bush administration is letting a US citizen "use the forms of liberty to destroy liberty itself." Hence, in this anti-terrorism mode, hypocrisy has replaced democracy.

At this juncture, it is apropos to refer to Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, which specifically states : "All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations." It is to be hoped that silence cum non-reaction by the Bush White House does not tantamount/translate into non-compliance with the norms/dictates of international law.

Pat Robertson's clarion call to assassinate President Hugo Chavez should answer President George Bush's initial question: "Why do people hate America and Americans?".

The truism is that people do not hate America and Americans; rather, they hate America's foreign policy toward them. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the spread of communism (which is an accepted dead economic system) and "Muslim extremism" or fundamentalism.

So while President George Bush is calling for "regime change" in certain parts of the world, people in other parts of the world are calling for foreign policy change in the United States.

Indeed, America's most staunch ally, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan contends that there is "no link between terrorist actions and Islam."

He elucidates further : "Battle against terrorism is not going to be won by the supervention of one ideology over the other; on the contrary, it will only be done by a fundamental change in policy in Washington, London and Jerusalem."

Contrary to the mistaken view of President George Bush, the international community is convinced that foreign policy is " not the only factor but was a major contributory" driving force behind the escalation and frequency of terrorist attacks.

People hate America's "arrogance of power" to the extent that America's anti-terrorism laws must also apply to American citizens. There must be no hypocrisy in the letter, spirit and application/implementation of these laws.

As such, it is no small surprise that current opinion polls reveal that 53 per cent of the American people "disapprove" of the way George Bush ,Jr. is doing his job as President of the United States while 62 per cent "disapprove" of the way he is handling "the war in Iraq."

Shem Hotep("I go in peace").

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani Labour College and University of the West Indies.

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