I wasn't sure whether to post the picture (below) of John Kerry “chatting” with Martin McGuinness or not. I'm not sure that it's a real issue, in and of itself, but this today at Salon convinced me (hat tip to What We Mean) that it rises to the level of evidence at least for Democrats. In Salons piece they accuse then candidate George Bush of consorting with terrorists in the person of Sami Al-Arian.
Al-Arian, according to Salon, was under investigation by the FBI before and during a time when he campaigned for Mr. Bush in Florida. Salon digs a pretty deep hole for Al-Arian and, by association, Bush. They do manage, somewhat grudgingly, to let Mr. Bush off the hook for not being able to see the future.
Finally -- a fact that Bush could not have known at the time -- Al-Arian would be arrested in Florida in February 2003 on dozens of charges, among them conspiracy to finance terrorist attacks that killed more than 100 people, including two Americans.
They don’t let him off the hook on any of the many other things they accuse him of by association, though, despite the fact that he was not yet President and could not have known. For example, how could he have known about an ongoing FBI investigation. He did not have daily security briefings yet, he was only a candidate. The very act of investigation means the facts are not yet clear.
In fact Salon themselves did not know about the things they are accusing Bush of knowing, even two full years later, as this Salon article dated January 19th , 2002 shows clearly.
The prime-time smearing of Sami Al-Arian
By pandering to anti-Arab hysteria, NBC, Fox News, Media General and Clear Channel radio disgraced themselves -- and ruined an innocent professor's life. …
In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, all four media giants, eagerly tapping into the country's mood of vengeance and fear, latched onto the Al-Arian story, fudging the facts and ignoring the most rudimentary tenets of journalism in their haste to better tell a sinister story about lurking Middle Eastern dangers here at home.
The story went national when Al-Arian was invited on the Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" show back on Sept. 26. Host Bill O'Reilly revived inflammatory charges against Al-Arian dating back, in some cases, 15 years. Those charges were that a now-defunct Islamic think tank Al-Arian founded and ran in conjunction with USF operated as a sort of home away from home for radical Palestinians and terrorists. The charges had been thoroughly investigated and rejected by USF, and an immigration judge; the FBI has been looking for years and has never filed any charges. …
But the Gulf Coast hysteria was entirely created by the media. Without the Tampa Tribune, which undertook a dubious seven-year crusade against al-Arian, there would have been no story to begin with.
This article was published two years after they insist that citizen George Bush should have known what they still do not know. They are defending the same man they are now trying to beat him with. This is a long article, five whole pages, defending Al-Arian as an innocent professor attacked by crazed right-wingers. Pretending that Bush should have known better, when they themselves are twisting the facts in order to play both sides, is hypocrisy of the lowest sort. “Latched onto the Al-Arian story, fudging the facts and ignoring the most rudimentary tenets of journalism in their haste to better tell a sinister story about lurking Middle Eastern dangers here at home,” - indeed.
All I can say is John Kerry knows full well who and what Martin McGuinness is.
(Via Bush-Cheney 2004, Spokane, Washington for Bush-Cheney)
AP Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites), D-Mass., left, speaks with Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein's chief negotiater, at a bookstore in Boston's Downtown Crossing Friday, March 12, 2004. McGuiness was in Massachusetts to speak at Harvard's JFK School of Government. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
The meeting between Kerry and McGuiness has been called a chance meeting, some have said, " he was approached by Martin McGuinness," others say that, "the senator spotted Martin McGuinness." However it really happened, it's difficult to believe in randomness in the middle of a campaign of this scope. Whatever the true nature of the meeting, the way it looks makes it impossible to overlook.
According to the Telegraph
MARTIN McGUINNESS was the commanding officer of the Provisional IRA's Derry Brigade for at least two years in the early 1970s and a key figure in the campaign of violence waged against British forces in Ulster, according to intelligence documents seen exclusively by The Telegraph. ...
During that period the Derry Brigade was regarded as one of the IRA's most destructive armed units. Security officials estimate that the terrorist group was responsible for murdering at least 30 members of the security forces, an intensive bombing campaign in Londonderry and numerous terrorist attacks.
A Northern Ireland security official told The Telegraph: "McGuinness was running the IRA in Londonderry for at least two years. He must bear responsibility for many of the atrocities that occurred during that period." ...
The new leader ruthlessly asserted his authority over the terrorist group that made the Catholic areas of Londonderry "no-go" zones for the security forces. He was in charge in January 1972 when two RUC officers were murdered on the outskirts of Londonderry just three days before the Bloody Sunday shootings.
British security officials have always claimed that Mr McGuinness fired the first shot in the Bloody Sunday violence, a claim he continues vigorously to deny.
Here for more on Bloody Sunday.