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
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
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
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
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
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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