By George Gregoriou
No, its not about me. But it could have been me or any other who is critical of US policies around the world. This time is an ex-professor charged as ‘Terrorist Leader’ by a federal prosecutor in Florida. His name is Sami al-Arian, a fired Florida professor and outspoken advocate for Palestinian liberation. He is being tried under the USA Patriot Act which came into being in the post-9-11 period. Prof. Arian was monitored by the US government since 1993, taping 470,000 of his phone calls. He met President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He supported Bush’s election in 2000. He is being tried for terrorist activities.
I am not making up these facts. They were reported in The NYTimes (6/7/2005). However, I am not sure who is and who ought to be on trial. How could this professor be allowed to operate for more than a decade under government monitoring? What is the rationale for not opposing the occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel since the 1967 and 1973 wars? Where does the US government stand on this issue, of occupation? It provided billions of dollars of military and economic aid to Israel to perpetuate the occupation and seizing of Palestinian land through security zones and the creation of settlements for Jews from Eastern Europe or Jackson Heights and Brooklyn, New York.
It is difficult for a rational person to comprehend who is or ought to be on trial, the professor or the powers that be in Washington and Israel. It is true that the professor was not adversed to violence, but neither is Washington or Jerusalem. If there are any pacifists, they are not supporting the regimes in Israel or the US for being part of the occupation.
An occupation of Palestinian land by Israel, northern Cyprus by Turkey, or Iraq by the US is a violent act. So is the resistance, violence vs. violence. Occupation, in any shape or form, is unacceptable to those occupied. It cannot be gotten rid of by begging, appealing to the conscience of the world, or passing a UN resolution. Washington was not invited to Iraq. It used manufactured lies to justify the war and occupation. So did Turkey, to justify the invasion and occupation of Cyprus for three decades, with support from the Anglo-Americans. And the Israeli rationale? To create a Greater Israel, with Biblical excuses!
The Palestinian violence is directed against the Israeli occupation, not the United States. Unless Washington is so embedded in that occupation, it cannot separate itself. Maybe the Israeli and US policies are inseparable. Would this apply to the Turkish occupation in northern Cyprus or the Turkish genocide policy against the Kurds? This seems to be the case with Ibrahim Parlak, granted asylum in 1992 by the State Department, declared a terrorist in 1997 for having ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, and languishing in a Michigan jail since July 2004. Is the imperial state spreading its tentacles all over the globe, hunting enemies of ‘allied’ repressive regimes, even from bygone eras, and outsourcing its own ‘designated prisoners’ for torture abroad?
Greeks beware. Those professors, students, and ordinary men and women in the anti-junta movement from 1967 to 1974 could be next in line, to be charged with ‘terrorist activites’. The US government was monitoring the activities of the anti-junta activists. It had to, to protect its own agents (the junta) in Athens and its interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. Evidently, the USA Patriot Act had a previous life. It was ‘born again’ in the post-9-11 era and the intensified militaristic policies of the White House.
Professor, Critical Theory and Geopolitics
Department of Political Science
The Wm Paterson University, NJ 07474