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Congressman Peter King – Homeland Security Hypocrite?

by Aaron McCormack on February 19, 2011
The Omagh Bomb killed 29 people in 1998

“NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN PETER KING HAS A VERY SHORT MEMORY AS HE BEGINS HEARINGS ON MUSLIM AMERICANS”

When I represented the anti-sectarian Alliance Party of Northern Ireland in Washington DC in the 1990s, I had plenty of ocassions to disagree with Long Island Congressman Peter King’s support for the IRA.

In those days I would confine my arguments with American supporters of the IRA to three key points:

1. If we want to start a debate about occupation of land by force, let’s have that debate with the Cherokee, Sioux and Iroquois. The history of the movement of people across land and sea is a long and messy business – including right here in the USA.

2. If you are funding terrorists, be aware of the friends of the people you are giving the money to – for example, Colonel Gaddaffi who gladly donated weapons and explosives to the IRA also funded terrorist activities himself such as the killing of American servicemen in Berlin and the terrible PanAm attack over Lockerbie.

3. For a very long time in Ireland there may have been causes worth dying for, but not a single one worth killing for.

Peter King spent the 1980s and 1990s very enamoured with the IRA, raising money for them and becoming close friends with many of the key leaders in the movement. Men who planted bombs and shot people with machine guns in shopping streets. Killed soldiers, policemen, women, children. In fact one of King’s best buddies in the IRA went on to found the Real IRA in oppposition to the peace process and helped mastermind the cowardly attack on my own home town of Omagh on the 15th August 1998, slaughtering 29 people in the process. Those friends of Rep King also found post-ceasfire job opportunities helping other terrorist organisations around the world, such as FARC in Colombia.

By the way, Congressman King labelled as “irresponsible” Capitol Hill hearings on the nature of the relationship between the IRA and FARC in 2002.  Investigations into the links between the IRA and the PFLP and Hizbollah have also shown ample connections between the organisations.

But, we had put all of this behind us. Really.

Whether in South Africa, or Northern Ireland or anywhere else where conflicts begin to “settle”, people have to swallow a lot. Watching the men who killed your mother/father/son/daughter walk free from prison is hard for people to bear, but they do it for the greater good. If they can do it, the least the rest of us can do is move on too.

And so as the people of Ireland and the UK came to terms with peace, Peter King was “redeemed” in some people’s eyes as he did play a shuttle-diplomacy role between US politicians and the IRA leadership.  As King boasts himself in his own bio (quoting the New York Daily News) “Pete King is as knowledgeable as they come about terrorism”.

He is also proud of his “independent-streak”. But what I see now is a nasty opportunist, pandering to the Irish-American vote to begin with, and now taking populist positions that seem to be chronicly at odds with his supposed principled stand in support of “the legitimate voice of occupied Ireland”.

Could this Peter King, staunch supporter of the Provisional IRA (itself a long-time ally of the PLO) be the same Peter King who yesterday (18th February 2011) wrote to Hillary Clinton expressing his displeasure that the USA were not not going to veto a UN resolution condemning extension of Israeli settlements?

Could this be the same Peter King who is attempting to lead a McCarthyite pogrom on Muslims in the United States and said that at least 85% of Mosques in the USA were radicalised and needed to be dealt with?

Could this be the same Peter King who called Wikileaks “terrorists” when he was best buddies with people who actually blew up men, women and children?

The US approach to National Security is one of, if not THE defining policy issue of the moment. Not just for security in itself, but also because of the massive implications on spending choices.

So, in case you didn’t know, Congressman Peter King is now the Chair of the Congressional Committe on Homeland Security. It should worry any right-thinking individual that a person with such obvious difficulty in establishing their own value system is in this position.

Peter King needs to make a clear statement.  Either his support for the IRA was wrong. Or he believes that there is no contradiction in his differing stances on different types of terrorism – if this is true, he needs to explain why there is no contradiction. For example, if the IRA were a legitimate uprising against an imperialist invader who arrived in 1169, do Palestinians have the same rights to used armed force against a state that was (re)created in 1948 and that extended its borders by force in the 1960s?  If the British had held hearings about radicalisation of Irish nationalists in Northern Ireland, harboring and supporting the IRA, would Rep King have thought this was a good idea?

Politicians must be accountable to people in between elections, not just every few years at the polling booths.  We may completely disagree with a person’s point of view but they do have a right to hold it.  However, what our public representitives must not be allowed to get away with is self-evident contradiction and hypocrisy.  It is time for Peter King to tell us, in detail, where he really stands on terrorism and the conditions that nurture terrorism.

From → General, Politics, USA

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