Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Canada adds Hezbollah, Snipe, to terrorist list

Two weeks ago, when Canada first set a list of banned terrorist groups, Hezbollah was notably not among them. Since then, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah was widely quoted encouraging Palestinians "to take suicide bombings worldwide." Yesterday, Hezbollah managed to make the Canadian list:

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham had argued that the social arm of Hezbollah was a legitimate charity and independent of the group's military arm.

But on Wednesday Graham changed his mind, citing media reports last week that quoted Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, urging Palestinians to expand their suicide bombings worldwide.

"It was clear from the leader's comments the other day that it was not distinguishing itself from terrorist activities," he said.

(story here)

There's only one problem with all of this: it now appears that Nasrallah never said a word of what has been attributed to him. Rather, it seems a reporter working for the Washington Times pulled the quote out of his ass, in this story.

This has left the Canadian government backpedalling like crazy, without actually lifting Hezbollah from the list. Sure enough, it seems that CSIS has evidence of Hezbollah terrorist activities. Evidence not available two weeks ago? Damn, CSIS moves fast!

I certainly don't know enough to say if this decision is wrong or right. I know that I have little faith in the foreign policy of the US, and only slightly more in the foreign policy of Israel, the only two countries besides Canada to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, so far as I've been able to discover. But I really think we should take a step back, wait for the effect of these false quotes to fade, and see what we think. Since the Minister so closely linked Canada's policy change to the 'quote', it throws the decision into doubt. Which in turn throws the list into doubt.

One person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter, I hear. But all of these terrorist lists have set standards to define differences between the two. If we start blurring this line, if we start making these lists a partisan tool, then the list will lose its ethical force. Canadians have to believe that the money they've been giving to support schools and hospitals in south Lebanon has been misappropriated into terrorist activity. Rebuild the case against Hezbollah, or drop them from the list.

No comments: