Its not a secret that the liberal/progressive part of American politics has a “softer” image of terrorism than the rest of us. For example, January 2004, when then Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean was asked how we should deal with bin Laden. Dean explained we shouldn’t prejudge the issue until a jury had rendered a verdict at the end of a criminal trial. As Andrew McCarthy, who successfully prosecuted the first World Trade Center bombing case has said, rather than respond with vigorous force to protect the homeland, the liberal response was to “swaddle terrorists in the rights of American criminal defendants.”
But being soft on terrorism is the the best thing you can report about the left’s love of terrorism, over the past 40+ leftist governments (including the UN), and even leftist peace movements, have been helping terrorists achieve the goals any way they can. There would be peace in the Middle East today if liberal governments, particularly European leftists didn’t allow the gang of murderers led by Yassir Arafat to claim political legitimacy and billions in “international aid” while blowing up innocent civilians in the democratic state of Israel.
A major problem in fighting terrorism and insurgency today is the active support certain so-called “peace groups” provide to terrorist and anti-democratic movements, just as they did with the murderer Arafat in the 1970s and 80s.
This problem was highlighted in December, when a former officer of Colombia’s FARC rebels, one of the most vicious and murderous terrorist groups in the world, accused the Peace Brigades International, a human rights group monitoring Colombia’s decades-long civil war, of actively supporting the FARC terrorists. Mary O’Grady tells the story in an article in the Wall Street Journal. Although the Peace Brigades International has argued its innocence, the testimony of the former FARC officer is very plausible. If the allegations are true, the Peace Brigades International and related peace groups have the blood of many innocent civilians on their hands.
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In Latin America, most of the peace groups involved in areas of conflict have a strongly Leftist orientation, which means they are eager to make accusations against the United States and freely elected democratic governments, while maintaining relative silence about Leftist insurgents and the brutality of dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.
This behaviour of Western peace groups follows a familiar pattern. During the 1970s and 1980s, Soviet bloc intelligence agencies were heavily involved in organising and directing the Western European peace movement. After the collapse of the East German regime in 1989, Western scholars were able to examine the files of the Stasi, the East German Intelligence Service, which provided a window into the thinking of many major Western Peace groups and the eagerness with which the peace groups accepted Soviet Bloc support and espoused the Soviet line. Many of the peace groups only protested about NATO policies while ignoring Soviet actions.
In the early 1980s, at the height of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the deployment of new missiles and forces to Europe, I had a conversation with Monsignor Bruce Kent, then the General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, who told me that the threat in Europe came not from the Soviet Union, but from NATO. This was the mainstream position in the “peace movement” at the time.
Today, many European and American peace groups are again eager to denounce Western nations while giving a free pass to assorted terrorist groups and dictatorships. They are assisted by a Left-oriented and largely uncritical Western media. The Hamas and Hezbollah campaign against Israel is a good example. When the Israelis respond militarily to rockets fired at Israeli towns, a perfectly appropriate action under international law, many Western and Middle Eastern “peace groups” act as Hamas and Hezbollah mouthpieces and dutifully repeat every claim against Israel without question or verification. Peace groups and their media allies tend to portray Hamas and Hezbollah as the victims of violence, while the vicious terror campaign that Hamas and Hezbollah have carried out within their own communities to stifle any dissent is rarely noted.
The Philippines is today plagued by an insurgency by the Marxist New Peoples’ Army in Luzon. Before 2007, a major source of funding for the terrorist group was liberal European peace groups. The contributors might have thought they were supporting “social justice programmes” when they were really supporting a murderous campaign aimed at intimidating the Filipino peasants and destabilising a democratic nation. Thankfully, a 2007 law of the Philippine Congress gave the government greater authority to freeze and seize assets of groups and individuals that support the New Peoples’ Army. These laws have dealt a major blow to the New Peoples’ Army terrorists, reduced the level of violence – and saved lives.
As in the 1980s, at a time when Western and democratic nations face a threat from terrorists and dictatorships a large part of the “peace community” clearly favours the other side. In our free societies these groups have the right to espouse views inimical to democracy. However, when speech becomes material support for terrorist and insurgent groups, the line has been crossed.
The actions and financial accounts of groups such as the Peace Brigades International in Colombia, as well as a host of organisations involved with violent movements, need to be thoroughly investigated. The Philippines example demonstrates that going after the assets of sympathetic groups can reduce terrorist activity. Western nations need to consider much stronger laws to allow seizure of group assets and to allow victims of terrorism to bring civil suits against so-called “peace groups” that promote violence.