Cornel West: Obama ‘A Global George Zimmerman’

By Melanie Arter | July 23, 2013 | 11:52 AM EDT

Dr. Cornel West, professor at Union Theological Seminary (AP Photo)

( – Dr. Cornel West on Monday said President Barack Obama “has very little moral authority” to speak about the Trayvon Martin case, because the president is “a global George Zimmerman” for trying to “rationalize the killing of innocent children” in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

“I think we have to acknowledge that President Obama has very little moral authority at this point, because we know anybody who tries to rationalize the killing of innocent peoples, a criminal—George Zimmerman is a criminal—but President Obama is a global George Zimmerman, because he tries to rationalize the killing of innocent children, 221 so far, in the name of self-defense, so that there’s actually parallels here,” West said.

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West, a professor at Union Theological Seminary, co-host of the “Smiley & West” radio show with Tavis Smiley, and author of numerous books, including one written with Smiley called “The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto,” made his comments Monday on “Democracy Now!

“So when he comes to talk about the killing of an innocent person, you say, ‘Well, wait a minute. What kind of moral authority are you bringing? You’ve got $2 million bounty on Sister Assata Shakur. She’s innocent, but you are pressing that intensely,” West said.

Assata Shakur, born Joanne Chesimard, is an escaped convict and a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, who was convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1977. She became the first woman on the FBI’s most wanted list in 2013. She is the second domestic terrorist to be added to the list.

Shakur escaped from prison in 1979 and has been living in Cuba in political asylum ever since. The FBI classified her as a domestic terrorist in 2005, and a $1 million award has been offered for her assistance in her capture.

“Will you press for the justice of Trayvon Martin in the same way you press for the prosecution of Brother Bradley Manning and Brother Edward Snowden?’ So you begin to see the hypocrisy,” West said.

Snowden is the NSA whistleblower who leaked details of the agency’s surveillance program. He is seeking asylum in Russia.

Obama gave his first speech Friday on the Martin case since Zimmerman’s acquittal, saying the slain black teen “could have been me.”

“Then he (Obama) tells stories about racial profiling. They’re moving, sentimental stories, what Brother Kendall Thomas called racial moralism, very sentimental,” West said. “But then, Ray Kelly, major candidate for Department of Homeland Security, he’s the poster child of racial profiling.”

West claimed Kelly, the former police chief of New York City, “racially profiled millions of young black and brown brothers” through the city’s controversial stop-and-frisk program, which has been challenged by the New York Civil Liberties Union as raising “serious concerns over racial profiling, illegal stops and privacy rights.”

“And, in fact, he (Obama) even says Ray Kelly expresses his values, Ray Kelly is a magnificent police commissioner. How are you going to say that when the brother is reinforcing stop and frisk? So the contradictions become so overwhelming here,” West said.

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