Thursday, May 01, 2008

Homeland Security Thinks Nelson Mandela Is A Terrorist

Although it may just be a "bureaucratic snafu" as Sen. Gregg calls it, it is ridiculous that Nobel Prize winner and human rights hero Nelson Mandela was on our terrorist-watch list. The list is in the thousands at least and anyone can be put on it at anytime. It leads to tremendous delays for travelers and is embarrassing for honest people trying to get to the United States.

From USA Today:

WASHINGTON — Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls the situation "embarrassing," and some members of Congress vow to fix it.

The requirement applies to former South African leader Mandela and other members of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC), the once-banned anti-Apartheid organization. In the 1970s and '80s, the ANC was officially designated a terrorist group by the country's ruling white minority. Other countries, including the United States, followed suit.

Because of this, Rice told a Senate committee recently, her department has to issue waivers for ANC members to travel to the USA.

It isn't simply taking someone off the list who does not deserve to be there. Another advocate for peace and acclaimed musician Cat Stevens was put on simply because he changed his name to reflect his Muslim identity. Bad bureaucracy or not, the system needs to be fixed so that these incidents cease to occur. With all the money we waste on "defense," cleaning up the list to keep the bad guys out should not be such a problem as it is for the DHS.