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Hypocrisy in the Air
Americans traditionally considered terrorism to be something awful that happened in far away countries of which they knew nothing. Things have changed. The American media has stoked up fears of threats to American wellbeing at home and abroad. The Clinton administration is said to be 'very concerned' about the threat of terrorism in recent times.
The US government has now decided to penalise any foreign company which dares to do business with Cuba, Libya or Iran. Clinton has taken it upon himself as president of what he calls the world's 'indispensable nation' to lay down the law to everyone else in how to respond to terrorism. According to Clinton, the US has the right to do whatever it sees fit against anyone it regards as less than whole-hearted in opposing so-called `state-sponsored terrorism'. Germany and France have promised to retaliate if action is taken against companies based in their countries. The British Department of Trade has merely said that `it is up to the UK and the EU to decide with whom they trade'.
America's latest stance arises from the bombing of the Dhahran airbase in Saudi Arabia in which many US servicemen died. It was carried out in retaliation for the execution by the Saudi regime of four radical Islamic activists who were accused of involvement in earlier anti-American bombings. Three of these men had received training in a mughideen camp in Afghanistan where they had been financed, armed and trained by the Americans. Was this a case of state-sponsored terrorism rebounding on the original sponsor?
Various US administrations thought nothing of supporting terrorists and insurrectionists in other parts of the world. Islamic guerillas in Afghanistan, Croatian ethnic cleansers, the Contras in Nicaragua and other gangs of killers in Central America have all received their share of Yankee gold. Israel, the modern world's leading exponent of state-sponsored terrorism, is backed by US aid and arms to the tune of some US$2bn a year. Then many Americans wonder why so many millions of folk in the Middle East hate them!
In addition, many leading American politicians were only too happy to give full support to the Provisional IRA and to give shelter to wanted Provo terrorists. In May 1980, Joe Doherty led the M60 machine gun gang who killed Captain Herbert Westmacott in an ambush just up the road from my home. He was captured, tried and sentenced for the murder, but escaped from the Crumlin Road court house and found refuge in- the United States. Here he was feted by `the great and the good' of American political life, before and' after his eventual deportation in 1992. In 1989 Doherty was made Grand Marshal of the St Patrick's Day parade in New York city.
James Smith, another IRA gunman who escaped from prison in 1983, was recently ordered to be extradited back to Ulster after a long drawn-out series of court hearings. He, like Doherty, had entered the US illegally and claimed that he would be in danger of death if he was returned to prison in Ulster. In July, Irish newspapers reported that the White House has intervened on his behalf to see if his prison sentence could be cut.
Before and during the IRA's tactical ceasefire, leading American politicians fell over themselves to hail the Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams as a great peacemaker and international statesman. The White House gave full backing to the Adams/Hume strategy for undermining Ulster - the so-called `peace process'.
Adams was welcomed into the White House and Sinn Fein was permitted to raise funds in the US for `political purposes' in Ulster and the Irish Republic. Adams and all sections of pan-Irish national chauvinism welcomed Clinton's intervention on the side of `peace'.
Clinton returned the compliment during his visit to Belfast with a carefully contrived `chance encounter' with Adams when he stopped his motorcade and nipped into McErlean's Bakery for a couple of soda farts and a cream bun. Clinton took full advantage of the sufferings of others to enhance his personal profile and used his visit to give his seal of approval to the strategy of pan-Irish national-chauvinism under the guise of disinterested `peacemaker'. Few Third Way readers can fail to have been nauseated by his hypocritical exploitation of two small children who lost their fathers at the hands of terrorist factions during the Ulster conflict.
Now that America itself has been the victim of several terrorist attacks, Clinton's tune has changed. He has muted his support for the Adams/Hume strategy in Ulster and gone all touch and macho on the issue of terrorism. The person or persons who planted the bomb at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, will be hunted down. The death penalty will be used on anyone convicted of the outrage. I wonder what he would say if the members of the Provo cell which killed two at Canary Wharf were captured, tried and sentenced to death.
There has been no sign that the leading political mouthpiece for the Atlanta bombers will be invited to the White House for coffee and invited into political talks to determine how best America can be governed with the consent of the terrorists' political constituency. Perhaps John Major should offer to help restore peace to America by inviting the perpetrators to tea in Downing Street!
The Clinton administration is not a very savoury regime. There have been questions raised about corruption, sexual impropriety, drug-smuggling and even murder during Bill Clinton's tenure as governor of Arkansas and his current stint at the White House. People who were close to him and who later crossed him have ended up dead in mysterious circumstances. Clinton has railed against a select list of so-called `terrorist states' abroad but he seems to be busy constructing one at home.
The murderous attack on the Branch Davidian community church at Waco in Texas and the siege of Ruby Ridge when federal agents deliberately shot a young boy and an unarmed woman who was carrying a child in her arms indicates the depths to which the Clinton regime will go in terrorising its own citizens. He recently abused his office by ordering the FBI to check for dirt on hundreds of his political opponents.
Clinton is using the Atlanta incident and suspicions over the fate of TWA Flight 800 to push a number of repressive laws through the American Congress that ordinarily would not have stood a chance. For example, he wants to end encryption in all Internet transmission on the totally implausible and spurious grounds that it may be used to transmit bomb-making instructions. In the hysterical atmosphere which presently grips America he might even get away with this nonsense but he really objects to a means of communication which is outside state control. It is all too reminiscent of how ownership of typewriters and photocopiers was banned by the Ceausescu regime in Romania. Where will it all end?
David KerrThis article first appeared in Third Way magazine, Autumn 1996.]
A THIRD WAY FOR ULSTER
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