cj#508> The End of Good & Evil


Richard Moore

Cc: Parveez Syed

Date: Sun, 17 Mar 1996
Sender: Parveez Syed <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Political rallies against Hamas = IRA?

Sunday 17 March 1996, London-UK

From: Parveez Syed
Global Media Monitoring Unit
Shanti Communications
One Stuart Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8RA1 UK
Tel: London-UK 44-0831-196693
Fax: 44-0181-665 0384
E-Mail INTERNET: •••@••.•••

Political rallies against Hamas = IRA?

The following questions and answers section from a Whitehouse's
press briefing confirms double-standards. According to the press
secretary there is a huge difference between the Christian
Catholic IRA and the Muslim Hamas, if only because they says so!

                           THE WHITE HOUSE
                    Office of the Press Secretary
                         Friday 15 March 1996
                           PRESS BRIEFING
                           BY MIKE MCCURRY
                          The Briefing Room
                              12:17 EST

[snip to IRA and Hamas]

A question to Mike McCurry:

             Q    I'd like to go back to a question that was put
to you this morning and see if you could flesh it out just a
little bit. The President has been doing a good deal discussing
of terrorism during the course of the last few days.  I'd be
very curious as to why you all would feel that the IRA should
not be treated in the general, overall terms the same as
organizations such as Hamas, Islamic Holy War, or any of the
other organizations that advocate that type of terrorism.

             MR. MCCURRY:  I need to look at law.  I think that
they may -- there are restrictions that apply to fundraising
activities by those organizations, and there may be some
similarities under our law between the fundraising restrictions
that attach to those organizations.  But I would caution against
drawing any sweeping comparisons of Northern Ireland, the
difficulties of the Troubles there.  The history is different,
the nature of the conflict is different.  The dialogue between
the parties in that case is different.  And the history of the
Middle East and particularly representation of the Palestinian
community in the territories is much different and much more
textured history, diplomatic history.

             You can very often draw false parallels by trying to
compare apples and oranges, and I don't think it's wise to do

             Q    In terms of the end result, is there a great
deal of significant difference between organizations both of
which utilize bombing of civilians?

             MR. MCCURRY:  As you clearly saw at Sharm el-Sheikh
in Egypt on Wednesday [13-03-1996], there is very intense interest
throughout the international community in discouraging the sources
of funding to those who use terror as a weapon, as a weapon
against the peace processes that could mean much in Northern
Ireland or the Middle East.  And there's some commonality in
viewing ways that the international community could come together
to restrict that type of source of funding.  And we do that --
certainly through the President's executive order, we do that with
respect to Hamas, and we've had other efforts that are aimed at
curbing support for terrorism in Northern Ireland as well.

Presented by: Shanti RTV. 17 March 1996.

Parveez Syed's direct contact details are:
One Stuart Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8RA1 UK
Tel: London-UK 44-0831-196693;
Fax/tel: 44-0181-665 0384
E-Mail INTERNET: •••@••.•••
Food for thought?: "In politics, as in the snake oil business, it
pays to have a short memory and a chameleon-like quality. That is
why the relationship between a journalist and a politician should
be like the one between a dog and a lamp-post".
But who is doing what to whom? One wonders ;-)


Dear Parveez,

        Thanks for sending in this interesting exchange, an obvious example
of a "double standard" in action.  There are some other examples which also
deserve mention, to show the variety of responses we may expect from U.S.
spokespersons and media to terrorist acts, depending on the political
context of the events...

        The Contras in Nicaragua -- These were state-funded merecenary
        terrorists, focusing their attacks on health care centers and
        schools, and avoiding combat whenever possible.  Chicken-shit
        tough guys with guns shooting women and children.  But to Washington
        they were "freedom fighters".

        Yeltsin shells his own Assembly -- While CNN showed live coverage of
        legally assembled legislators being firebombed, the commentator quipped
        that Yeltsin "doesn't really want to do this" and "he's the only
        elected one, anyway".  Did CNN realize Yeltsin was enacting an exact
        repeat of Lenin's putsch of 8 decades earlier?  I bet he wouldn't have
        gotten such a sympathetic treatment.

        Croatia's expulsion of 100,000 Serbs -- "an act opening the possibility
        to a peace settlement".  Contrasted with demonized reporting of
        every Serb action (or alleged action).

        Israel's bombardment of Beirut and cluster-bomb massacres at refugee
        camps (at least 30,000 civilian killed) -- weak protests, while a
        U.S. fleet ran cover offshore.   Media coverage mostly sympathetic to

        Iraq bombing the Kurds -- an obvious act of heinous terrorist
        war-crime genocide.  Deserving of immediate forceful intervention.

        Turkey bombing the Kurds -- a limited engagement necessary to adjust
        balance of power in the region.  Nothing to slow down Turkey's
        unification into Europe about.

        Clearly, the sponsoring of terrorist activity is part of the
standard repertoire of American covert foreign policy, and so a spectrum of
cover-phrases must be kept handy to characterize gunmen as white-hat
good-guys, or black-hat bad-guys, so we all will know whom to root for and
whom to condemn.  The "terrorism" label signifies that the U.S. opposes a
certain faction, and is never applied to a favored faction, regardless of
their behavior.

        During the years while this whole "terrorism" phenomenon has come
into being (coincidentally (;-) matching the wind-down of the Cold War),
it's been interesting to watch the shift in characterization of heroes in
Hollywood action films.

        It used to be that the good guy was slow to use violence, and was
usually a peaceable fellow when not called upon to corrall a maurading bad
guy.  John Wayne in any of his roles or television's Matt Dillon character
both spring to mind.  But starting perhaps with Dirty Harry, you get a new
generation of hate-filled, trigger-happy sociopaths, cast with white hats
instead of black, and shown to be fighting "the system" more than they're
fighting criminals.

        Judge Dredd may be the ultimate example of this genre.  The
symbolism is so transparent: Judge Dredd is obviously the unfettered NATO
strike force, the ineffective politicians are the UN & EU, and the evil
forces are the Serbs.  The release of the film was precisely timed within
the period where public sentiment was being developed for the decisive U.S.
intervention.  You can just hear the U.S. pilots boasting as they buzz
toward their targets -- "I am the law!"  (I wonder if any actually painted
"Judge Dredd" on their craft?)

        The heroic figure has become not someone who encounters and deals
with an evil doer, but rather someone who is engaged in a game with an
adversary, where the game itself is outide the law, and the hero must
display the macho savvy to make his own rules in response to the demonic
subhuman adversary.

        During this period of mythology revision, the boundary between
covert and overt intelligence operations was being simultaneously blurred,
as CIA activities became more openly discussed.  We can now read in
Newsweek that the CIA was funding Iranian terrorists at the very moment
Reagan was pounding the fulcrum and declaring that "We will never deal with
terrorists!".  It seems not much is really secret anymore, and no one seems
to give a damn anyway.

        Whether the game is playing out on the movie screen or the
television-news screen, the the public now expects to see below-the-belt
blows coming from both sides, and knows that it takes real savvy to
distinguish the good guys from the bad guys.   One of the hated drug
dealers in the first reel may turn out to be an heroic undercover cop in
the second reel.

        You can no longer tell the good guys from the bad guys from how
they behave, you can only tell "our team" from "their team" because of
their hat colors.  There's no longer "good" vs. "evil", but only "us" vs.
"them".   Whether you playing a video game or flying a night fighter, you
simply aim at the targets marked with an X.

        I'm afraid, Parveez, that you display an antiquated world view by
using the phrase "double standard".  You're trying to classify bad guys by
their behavior -- that's not hip.



    Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
     Cyberlib:  www | ftp --> ftp://ftp.iol.ie/users/rkmoore/cyberlib