Belfast Telegraph

Will anyone dare to remind Hillary of her double-talk?

By Eamon McCann

I see that Hillary "Drones 'R' Us" Clinton is to hit these shores again and the great and the good are queuing up to be patronised face-to-face.

The usual suspect commentators have been out and about heaping her with praise for the role in the "peace process" which she shamelessly exaggerated to the point of pure falsehood during her campaign for a presidential nomination four years ago. But then, shamelessness is a Clinton stock-in-trade.

For as long as he remained in office, she wouldn't hear a word said against Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, even as the groans of the tortured arose from his dungeons. "The partnership between the United States and Egypt is a cornerstone of stability and security in the Middle East and beyond. We look to Egypt for regional and global leadership... I really consider President and Mrs Mubarak to be friends of my family," she trilled three years ago.

But just a month after Mubarak was kicked out of office, in March last year, Reuters reported from Tahrir Square: "US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waded into crowds Wednesday at the symbolic heart of the uprising that toppled Egypt's long-time autocratic leader, urging the country's temporary leaders not to allow the revolution to fizzle or be compromised."

She reportedly hoped that people everywhere would regard the revolution as "one of the most important historic turning points in the region. The pyramids are magnificent but nowhere as magnificent as what you have already achieved."

Give her her due - when it comes to hypocrisy the woman is world class.

Clinton told us last March that "human rights are global" and were "at the heart" of Washington's approach to the world. In June she was photographed in the Ugandan capital Kampala grinning ear to ear and cuddling like it was a baby one of the new dinky drones being used to strike at "suspected al-Qaida elements" across the border.

Clinton is an enthusiast for drones. In September she swatted away questions about the numbers of civilians killed in strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia etc. "We will always maintain our right to use force against groups such as Al Qaida." And woe betide any wedding party or suchlike that happens to be in the vicinity.

She did insist that the video-gamesters directing the drones make every effort to "avoid the loss of innocent lives." The Real IRA was given short shrift, and rightly so, when it offered the same guff about the Omagh bomb.

You can bet your bottom dollar none of the peace processers smarming around her today and tomorrow will broach that sort of comparison. Instead, they will take their obedient positions and nod in approval as she insults our intelligence with blather.

In the same month, September, Clinton told a "Global Counterterrorism Forum" that it would be "short-sighted and wrong" to regard "torture, abuse, the suspension of civil liberties as acceptable ... in the name of keeping our citizens safe."

Nobody asked her then, and none will be so bold now, to ask how she squares this with the routine use of kidnap, torture and indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial.

Neither will she be called to account for her backing of Israeli assaults on Gaza. Five months ago, Clinton denounced the latest flotilla trying to break the siege of the tiny strip of land. "It's not helpful for there to be flotillas that try to provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves."

You wouldn't know where to start. The waters off Gaza are not "Israeli waters". In fact and in all morality, they are Palestinian waters. And as for the "right" of Israeli warships "to defend themselves" in an area which is not theirs to defend against unarmed craft packed to the gunwales with desperadoes like Mairead Maguire...

There is little point, either, dwelling on Clinton's recent visit to the court of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. She didn't have a dicky-bird to say about the denial of freedom of worship, of freedom of the press, of the right to form political parties, of women to play an equal role in society, or about the use of torture and arbitrary imprisonment and killing. Not a cheep out of her about any of that - but a reference to the grotesque Abdullah as "our staunch ally."

Sure, we could assemble examples of double-talk and duplicity to indict almost any leader of a major power. It's the way of the misfortunate world.

But I venture to say that there are few, if any, as morally inert as Hillary Clinton when it comes to telling the truth or defending decency.

Is there any hope, I wonder, of one, just one, of those invited to abase themselves in Belfast or Derry today or tomorrow turning her down in protest against the policies she has come to personify in the Middle East and around the world?


From Belfast Telegraph