DEFINITION OF TERRORISM
In applying the recognition of P.P.'s, P.O.W.'s by the use of the Geneva Convention, we accept that the argument of armed conflict is a part of the process of liberation. It is this point where all parties abide by the proper standards of war/conflict we must guard against, and never allow our actions to be labeled as terroristic.
That said, we must make clear what the international definition has been pre-September 11th, and how its been distorted by the United States as it is conceived in International Instruments pre-September 11th, and post-September 11th. brings on very important challenges in definition and evolution.
The following definitions establish the minimum criteria used by the F.B.I. to determine if criminal acts should be labeled as acts of terrorism, which is not the definition under International Treaties and Laws.
Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against civilian persons or property to intimidate or coerce the government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in the furtherance of political or social objectives. The F.B.I. defines two (2) categories of terrorism in the United States:
International Terrorism which involves terrorist activity by groups or individuals who are foreign-based and/or are directed by countries or groups outside the United States or whose activities transcend national boundaries; and
Domestic Terrorism which involves groups who are based and operate entirely whithin the United States and are directed at elements of our government or population without foreign direction. There are other examples of actions...
A terrorist incident is a violent act or an act dangerous to human life in violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state, to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. (Emphasis supplied).
Q. HAS THE UNITED STATES RAISED THE STATUS OF TERRORIST TO FREEDOM FIGHTER, OR HAS THE UNITED STATES LOWERED THE STATUS OF FREEDOM FIGHTER TO THE LEVEL OF TERRORIST? A. It is submitted that in the affairs of a nation state no rule must be better established than that its laws are clear. How else can acts of wrongdoing be authenticated? This principle is universally adhered to, but within this country the determination of whether one is a terrorist or a freedom fighter is not exercised under the appropriate jurisprudence of Law, but rather by the dictates of whatever public officer is doing the talking at the moment. Such double standards are not a new concept since sufficient proof exists that the authority to mandate who was a freedom fighter and who was a terrorist dates back to the Indian Wars in this country. Whenever the Indians won a battle, the battle was reported as either a slaughter or a massacre, the highest evidence available that the "red savages" were terrorists. Nowhere in the annals of documented American history were the indigenous peoples who struggled valiantly against an invading force who sought, with the force of arms, to subdue and oppress them, recognized as freedom fighters.
Without such a rule of thumb, the right to interpose or juxtapose the two has rested upon the inquiry that presented itself at the time: the side with the most white people were freedom fighters. *(The fluctuating application of varied definitions of law applicable to captured Al Qaeda, Taliban, Domestic, and Foreign Nationals as well as the politically expedient labeling of Palestinians are revealing.) It was by this decree that the Ku Klux Klan ("K.K.K.") was never labeled as terrorists even though the acts they wreaked upon an unarmed, non-threatening black population were clearly acts of terrorism even when the acts they perpetrated were deemed to be such by the Klan themselves. The K.K.K. vocally stated that their aim was to terrorize blacks away from the voting polls.
Contrast this with, the fact that in 1964 the human rights workers and Freedom Riders who traveled south to register blacks in Mississippi to vote, actually viewed themselves as fighters for freedom, but were never considered as such. In fact, they were historically viewed as southern invaders, terrorists of a sort, that deserved to die as James Cheney, Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner did in Neshoba County, Mississippi.
This dilemma that gives rise to the truth that rightly or wrongly gives authority to individuals to name themselves no longer exists. You are either a terrorist or a freedom fighter at the discretion of the prevailing powers. Despite the terrorist definition as authored by the F.B.I., the maxim carries no real clout since there is no mandated prohibition that deters the government from inserting, at will, either the label "terrorist" or "freedom fighter" on the military intercourse as it sees fit. With no fixed boundary, the F.B.I.'s definition is simply a national ornament that can either elevate or violate the modus operandi of the principle of warfare and applicable law.
Can it be denied that the roots of terrorism made its first appearance in this country during the Civil War when Union Generals targeted the farms, homes, and factories of southern civilians? Yet President Lincoln hailed the murderers as freedom fighters. And from this point onward, the American government from the Executive Office, through all the Brass in the military, down to the Politicos and citizens have succeeded in providing verbal asylum to unjustifiable atrocities by proclaiming who wears the mantle of freedom fighter or who bears the stigma of being branded a terrorist.
It would be wholly inconsistent to brand a man/woman a terrorist if he/she straps on dynamite and detonates him/herself in a crowded cafe. Basically his/hers military role is no different than that of Sherman tank since the strategy and objective is the same.
At the moment, the P.P.P., is the prime question of the liberation movement, and in the end will be the legacy of those of us who are forward-thinking enough to grasp the complexity of the issues. I, personally, make it no great secret that the most important facet of the argument is the question of a remedy, and the legal travails of this challenge must be addressed as a two-tiered proposal consisting of both a short-term and a long-term goal.
In keeping with the short-term prospective, we should emphatically demand an immediate end to the repression, oppression, and isolation of the P.P.P.'s, P.P.'s, and P.O.W.'s. And while it may be unlikely, presently, I strongly support the long-term prospect of calling amnesty for all P.P.P's that our movement has certified. This second-tier agenda may prove to be the only one to reverse the course of repression that is so deeply ingrained in the prison/industrial complex, which is credited with being the Bully of the Justice Department.
It has been rumored in some political quarters that P.P.P.'s represent the "alterlife" of the movement, and since they served no role or active function within a formal infrastructure, they are nothing more than sympathizers. I beg to differ, and contest this distinction vehemently. P.P.P.'s are more than mere "Buddies" of the revolution and, despite the fact that they had/have no intimate contract with an organization outside, their politicization inside the prison complex is no less extraordinary than the commitment of those of us who converted on the outside. Without a doubt, P.P.P.'s are a formidable resource, and should not be mislabeled as "revolutionary imposters", or treated as second-hand members of the movement. They are legitimate as long as their loyalty is unquestionable, but with a record number of P.P.P.'s their status grows increasingly more unpredictable. A generation ago fewer P.P.P.'s were in for the long haul and were twice as likely to abandon the Struggle after release. Many of these viewed the Struggle as revolutionary Chic, and pursued it as a fad. Whereas modern day P.P.P's seem less daunted by the challenges and usually maintain a very high level of commitment throughout all periods of their confinement and even after their release.
For P.O.W.'s and Political Prisoners, the Geneva Convention's Protocol's is the Holy Grail, and the tenets of this International Instrument must be accorded to P.P.P.'s or else we will fail to boost the yield of the movements future full harvest. What really matters is that we bring our best and brightest minds to the movement, and then we protect them with all the resources at our disposal.
As long as the government is allowed to merchandise the terms "terrorist", and "freedom fighter", it will generally lower the status of a Freedom Fighter to that of a terrorist since governments are invested with ready-made punishments to deal with terrorists who are deemed to be nothing more than a modern day version of the pirates, and highway robbers of old. At the same time, America will still enjoy the privileges of the artificial exchange of status that exists between the terrorist/freedom fighter dilemma. Note the fact that in 1979 Osama bin Laden was labeled a Mujahedeen " Freedom Fighter" by the same government that now declares him a "cowardly terrorist".
Our actions have clearly been in a retaliatory nature, expropriations are legitimate aspects of armed conflicts, defensive actions on the part of our forces, and fall clearly within the purview of justifiable armed actions, and under any standard, Pre and Post, the Geneva Accord of 1949 Protocol provides that it is the responsibility of every captured prisoner of war to make an attempt to escape. Every army around the world recognizes this basic principle. P.P.P.'s, P.P.'s and P.O.W.'s in their actions dedicated to the goals of the movement and Struggle are the requirements upon which standards of "International Law" require their recognition and protection.
Our movements is second to no other movements goal. We are not clear yet of what operational definition of the term terrorism signifies in the post 9-11 era. None of the agencies; F.B.I., Home Land Defense, State Department, the new emerging International Coalition, or even the United Nations have been definitive of their meaning. For example, co-architect of the International Coalition (U.S. and Britain) of the One World Order has tactically defined and labeled Prime Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbawe as a terrorist and a terrorist state based on the actions of the veterans of war who fought against the terrorist of Rhodesia who have yet to turn over land where three(3) percent of the white population control seventy (70) percent of the land. It is a clear indication that the term terrorist being used is selectively racial and bias to us as a people.
Our movement must operate on the United Nations definition which would seem to be more objective and stable in its use.
It is my intention to provide the organization of "The Tear Down The Wall Conference" in Cuba with a working document that aides the disscussion for gathering support internationally for the release of P.P.'s, P.O.W.'s and certified P.P.P.'s in the United States. Its intention also to give our movement and international observers, an understanding of the standards we struggle with that should qualify an important aspect of our struggle, and should provide protection under "International Law" that we deem as important to the outcome of our Struggle.
It is also important to show, in my opinion, that we are not and won't be paralyzed by the latest effort to Imperialize the planet by "One World Order".
Our Struggle, and the struggle in the Middle East have clearly different objectives, and we use different tactics. We are not to dictate how they relieve their suffering.
We make a moral and spiritual evaluation so that we are guided in our acts based on our principles. We come to the conclusion that oppression and genocide, that we as a people, must be dealt with for the survival of our future, and the recognition of the sacrifices of our Ancestors and Martyrs.
These issues are being presented obviously to further the discussion on the recognition of P.P.'s and P.O.W.'s in the United States. The question of P.P.P's is very important. Clearly the debate within our movement [i.e., Black/New Afrikan Struggle] requires serious analysis and certification of all our comrades status and a clear definition of the next wave.
It is my opinion that in order for the P.P.P's question to be answered we must fully understand why and how International Law requires our (P.P.'s and P.O.W.'s) certification. From this position we will be like the Formers of the Protocol of the 1970's, who, of the National Liberation movement, were able to force the re-evaluation of the Geneva Accords to obtain recognition for ill-regular forces. We must forward the position that the prison system in America:
(A) Has become a battlefield for human rights.
(B) Is an enemy of self-determination.
(C) As well as the cornerstone for genocide in the United States
Prisons are in fact a place of struggle where International Law must accept and set standards for the proper recognition for those who struggle in that theater and accept that P.P.P.'s are a part of our Forces integral to our movement and stategy.
THE LAST WORD!
I conclude with an admonition not to overlook the threat presented by the World Trade Organization which is emerging as the world's first global movement. Upon its inception in 1994, the interests of globalization has grown by leaps and bounds, but what has gone unnoticed is that the 134 nations that comprise the W.T.O. cannot exist without a global armed force and the recent 9-11-01 event has provided the global army the pretext needed to flex its military muscle. And now that the cuckoo has been sprung from the clock of the 21st. century imperialism, time will stand still as history is interrupted by militaristic coups and palace uprisings staged and engineered courtesy by those who sponsor globalization.
Without a doubt, once the world economy is globalized the gap between the haves and have-nots will widen and the expected collateral damage will be more violent incidents such as those of 9-11-01. This reality inescapable. A massive military of global proportions will invite so-called terrorist activities as powerless people will seek to dismantle this monstrosity by any means necessary, so it would be mindless to camouflage a terrorist act. By not being more demanding the people have collectively permitted secretive organizations like the World Bank (which are all dominated by the United States) to muster the strength to move beyond congressional oversight as well as checks and balances from any legislative body. We must not grant the government the power and/or ability to skirt the responsibility of explicity defining a terrorist!
The right to struggle against oppression is as natural as breathing. We must at all costs prepare a better place for the next generation. Provide for a better state of mental and physical circumstances we experience today.
Stiff Resistance, Dr. Mutulu Shakur