Arafat today, Adams tomorrow

THERE IS surely nothing so hypocritical as imperialism’s apologists condemning the violence of ‘terrorism’. Imperialism itself, not least the British variety, has been responsible for more death, destruction and vicious terror than any other force in the history of the planet. It has accumulated enough weaponry to destroy the entire world hundreds of times over and is itself almost entirely responsible for manufacturing the weapons now in the hands of those forces of whom it disapproves.

A prime example of such hypocrisy has been paraded before us this week. While John Major criticises President Clinton for agreeing to meet Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at the White House on Friday, he himself has been warmly shaking the hand of yesterday’s ‘terrorist’, Yasser Arafat. His justification? While Mr Arafat had renounced ‘terrorism’, Sinn Fein was still associated with the IRA, “a fully formed terrorist organisation”.

In fact Arafat, in his position as head of the Palestinian statelet, has access to refined and efficient weaponry to be used for terrorist purposes against his own dissidents on Israel’s behalf. John Major is providing him with sophisticated supplies for his ‘police force’. In contrast, Gerry Adams’ contention that “the IRA does not need arms since they have ceased those activities” is a pretty accurate reflection of today’s reality.

Adams was of course referring to supposed new arms that his now ‘legitimate’ fund-raising in the USA would allegedly be used to buy, not the IRA’s existing stockpile which the British government is insisting must be “decommissioned” before fully-fledged talks with Sinn Fein can begin.

But all this is part of Major’s balancing act in continuing moves to carry all parties with him in the progress towards imperialism’s ‘peace’ settlement.

Two carefully programmed announcements made this week illustrate this point. On the one hand the Five Regiment Royal Artillery is to be withdrawn early (reducing the number of British Army troops by 400 to 18,100). On the other army murderer Lee Clegg will be considered for release in June.

Jim Blackstock