Monday, 21 May 2007

Plotting Terrorist Acts is Naughty - Unless You Have a Presedential Pardon

On 30th April, the Jordanian newspaper printed the translation of a 16 page secret document that detailed a plan drawn up by "Arab and American parties" to undermine the Palestinian government and back a coup by Fatah. Apparently it was part of a proposal communicated to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (who heads Fatah) which offered the backing to get rid of the democratically elected Hamas Prime Minister.

What? The U.S. working with "arab parties" to overthrow democratically elected governments? Oh, yes, that shouldn't really take us by surprise since Seymour Hersh has already written in the New Yorker about how the U.S. government is now working with the Saudis and others to fund terrorist groups against other parties, governments and factions that it doesn't like. In Guernica, Tom Engelhardt wonders how come this frightening news made absolutely no waves in the American media and public consciousness. (As an aside, in the March issue there is an interesting interview with Stephen Kinzer about America's rather depressing tradition of "regime change".)

The man who seems to most support the plans for a coup is Deputy National Security Adviser, Elliot Abrams. Here is an article that delves into some of his activities regarding the promotion of a coup in the Palestinian territories. It also asks the rather pertinent question, is the Bush administration violating its own laws by promoting this kind of, dare I say it, terrorism?

Its not as if Mr Abrams hasn't got enough experience in the field. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges in the investigations into the Iran-Contra affair in the 80s, when the American government set up a secret program in the vice-president's office to sell weapons to Iran and use the money to fund the terrorist activities of the Contras in Nicaragua. That vice-president (George Bush I)went on to grant him and fellow conspirators a pardon during his term as president. Here is an interesting profile on the gentleman in question.

Mr Abrams has been described as the 'last neo-con standing' and certainly his hawkishness has been on full display since he re-entered the halls of power. A big believer in social and political change through the barrel of the gun, he also played a role in pushing Israel into its ill-fated mini-war with Hezbullah last year.

One gets the feeling that the neo-cons are stuck in some kind of a cold war time warp. The Iraq war was some kind of bizarre way of expurgating the ghosts of Vietnam by re-fighting the war in the middle east, only with "Islamo-fascism" cast as the evil empire instead of communism and the spectre of nuclear holocaust to be eliminated through proactive military action instead of wimpy disarmament talks. Now its time to re-live the Contra affair, except this time to come out of it smelling of roses and a wearing a congressional medal of honour instead of being sent to prison. Alas the sheer dynamic of power that chains the rest of the world to the United States means the rest of the world has been sucked into the consequences of these delusions.


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