How Did This Guy Become a Homeland Security Overlord?
The Curious Career of Peter King
William Norman Grigg
Recently by William Norman Grigg: The
Conscience of a Killer
In the person
of Congressman Peter King (R-New York), the incoming chairman of
the House Homeland Security Committee, the abstraction called "hypocrisy"
has acquired tangible human form. After spending decades canvassing
his fellow Irish-American Catholics to raise money for terrorists
in Northern Ireland, King has promised to conduct a
wide-ranging investigation of American Muslim congregations and
cultural organizations in search of people providing "material
support" for Islamic terrorism.
"We have to
break through this politically correct nonsense which keeps us from
debating and discussing what I think is one of the most vitally
important issues in this country," King
insists. "We are under siege by Muslim terrorists and yet there
are Muslim leaders in this country who do not cooperate with law
also demanded that the WikiLeaks whistleblower organization be designated
a terrorist organization. He insists that the group provided
"material support" to terrorism by publishing hundreds of thousands
of pages' worth of previously classified documents, many
of them describing criminal acts and institutionalized corruption
on the part of policy-makers in the U.S. government. It's
reasonable to suspect that King's antipathy toward WikiLeaks is
inspired, at least in part, by personal concerns.
documents made public by WikiLeaks is one that could be of particular
interest to King a February 2010 CIA "Red Cell Special Memorandum"
an "out-of-the-box" analysis examining "what it would mean
for the US to be seen ... as an incubator and 'exporter of terrorism.'"
For example: "Some Irish-Americans have long
provided financial aid and material support for violent efforts
to compel the United Kingdom to relinquish control of Northern Ireland....
The US-based Irish Northern Aid Committee (NORAID), founded in the
late 1960s, provided the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA)
with money that was frequently used for arms purchases."
was designated by the Justice Department as an arm of the IRA more
than thirty years ago. King, whose Long Island district has
a large and well-organized Irish-American constituency, was one
of the group's most effective fundraisers and one of the IRA's staunchest
"We must pledge
ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment
are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the
streets of Belfast and Derry," King declared during a 1982 rally
on behalf of the IRA in Nassau County. The "Provos" heartily reciprocated
visits to Ireland, Mr. King would often stay with well-known leaders
of the IRA, and he socialized in IRA drinking haunts," recalled
Irish journalist Ed Moloney, author of the definitive
Secret History of the IRA, in a
2005 New York Sun profile written after King's tardy
and reluctant break with the group. "At one of such clubs, the Felons,
membership was limited to IRA veterans who had served time in jail."
honorable and decent men from Northern Ireland and elsewhere
have become familiar with the inside of a prison cell. But the
ex-convicts with whom King socialized during his visits to Ireland
generally weren't innocent political prisoners.
as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee from 2005 until
the Republicans lost their majority in the 2006 mid-term election.
During his last stint in that post, King used his influence to intervene
on behalf of Malachy
In 1981, McAllister
served as an armed lookout during an ambush of an English policeman
outside a pub in Northern Ireland. The victim, it must be said,
was a member of the Royal
Ulster Constabulary, a paramilitary occupation force that became
for beating and otherwise mistreating innocent people. McAllister
served three years in a British prison for his role in the ambush.
In 1988, after
McAllister was released from prison, he narrowly escaped being killed
by a Loyalist paramilitary gang that opened fire on his family's
home in Belfast. The McAllisters fled to Canada and in 1996 and
settled in Wallington, New York. Seven years later the McAllisters'
home came under armed siege once again this time by agents
of the Department of Homeland Security, who carried out a 5 a.m.
raid to enforce a deportation order. The family was to be expelled
on account of what the agency called McAllister's "terrorist activities"
a quarter-century ago.
A stay was
issued while the deportation order was examined in the courts. King
used the interval to lobby Homeland Security Commissar Michael Chertoff.
In a letter to Chertoff, King insisted that McAllister's family
would likely be murdered if they were sent back to Northern Ireland.
like many Catholics in Ulster, endured inexcusable treatment at
the hands of British occupation forces and Loyalist thugs.
He admits to committing the acts for which he was incarcerated,
but describes himself as a combatant in a civil war, rather than
a terrorist. That distinction is difficult to defend in light of
the fact that McAllister was a member of the Irish National Republican
Army (INRA) the military wing of the Irish Republican Socialist
merits of the Irish Republican cause, the INRA was not created merely
to obtain independence for Northern Ireland, or to defend the rights
of an abused minority. The group, which
budded off from the "official" IRA in 1974, was a tiny, ultra-violent
Leninist cell within the IRSP. While the Party specialized in political
agitation, the INRA carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings,
extortion, and other forms of "direct action" that frequently targeted
likely that some of the money raised by Peter King on behalf of
NORAID wound up funding the INRA's rampage. The group also received
financial aid and training from Libya and the PLO.
objective has never been merely to reclaim Ulster from England:
It is committed to the unification
of all 32 counties of Ireland in a socialist "worker's republic"
of the kind that has been such an unqualified blessing in Eastern
Europe and elsewhere.
Like other "liberation" movements of a similar vintage, the INRA
cynically invested its Leninist political agenda with religious
language and symbolism.
cadres and supporters saw the group's terrorist campaign as, literally,
a holy war. And Peter King, the once and future chairman of
the House Homeland Security Committee, gave eager and unapologetic
material support to that terrorist jihad.
backstory, his unqualified support for open-ended war abroad and
authoritarian measures at home has made him a favorite of Fox News
and other elements of the War Party's media apparatus. Commentator
Jim Kouri, a vice president of the National Association of Chiefs
of Police, commends
King for his support for "those on the frontline of the war on terrorism,"
which supposedly offers a favorable contrast to the record of "`useful
idiots' ... such as Rep. John Conyers, who actually supports
Fifth-Column Islamic groups against his own nation."
didn't Conyers spend decades raising money for terrorists allied
with Libya and the PLO, and then use his political clout on behalf
of a would-be cop-killer who belonged to a Leninist criminal gang?
No, wait a second: That was King, not Conyers.
in the recent mid-term congressional election tried, without success,
to make an issue of the incumbent's support for Irish terrorism.
Some of King's supporters attempted to dismiss the matter by pointing
out that the IRA and its offshoots have never been a threat to the
United States. Of course, the same is true of
Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Islamic terrorist groups that
have long considered
themselves to be comrades
with the IRA in the
struggle for global "liberation."
of the Homeland Security Committee, King will be the tribune of
and growing "anti-Sharia" constituency, which is composed of
people who insist that every
mosque should be treated as a jihadist recruitment center and weapons
depot. From that perspective as articulated
by Frank Gaffney, its most forceful exponent anybody
who believes in and practices the religion of Islam should be presumptively
regarded as guilty of sedition.
Sharon Davies points out that the unfolding "anti-Sharia" campaign
updates and transposes a very similar crusade from a century ago:
"In the early
1900s, many Americans were genuinely frightened by the perceived
religious threat of the Roman Catholic Church and the suspected
imperialistic intentions of its leader, the Pope. He was plotting
the overthrow of the United States, warned the feature, to `make
America Catholic.' His foot soldiers, tens of thousands of Catholic
men who called themselves the Knights of Columbus, were busily stockpiling
arms and ammunition in the basements of their churches, all in preparation
for the day when their papist leader would give the signal for the
violent insurrection to begin."
Fear of a Papist
Holy War was propagated by widely read and hugely influential anti-Catholic
publications, promoted by a revived Ku Klux Klan, and coalesced
into state "convent inspection laws" permitting warrantless searches
of monasteries, chapels, and rectories. Peter King's career almost
seems like a perverse attempt to validate the work of those early
20th Century anti-Catholic bigots.
and 2005, about 1,800 people in Ireland were killed by IRA bombers
and gunmen; the equivalent death toll in the United States would
be 360,000 people. During that generation-long onslaught, the
IRA "made the car-bomb the modern terrorist weapon du jour and perfected
the manufacture of fertilizer-based home-made explosives of the
sort now routinely used by jihadists," observes historian Moloney.
King "owes his political career almost entirely to the ties he forged"
with the people who carried out that bloody campaign, Moloney concludes.
King's very first act after being elected to his congressional seat
"was to jump on a plane to Belfast for a rousing celebration in
the Felon's Club."
great fortune, there's a crime," wrote Balzac. It's tempting to
say the same of political careers, but this isn't strictly true:
Crime is integral to politics. After all, politics is the business
of managing the State, which as Murray Rothbard pointed out is nothing
but organized banditry.
apparently isn't equipped with either a conscience or a sense of
irony, so he isn't likely to appreciate the fact that his political
career perfectly encapsulates the process through which petty thugs
are transmuted into "statesmen."
Norman Grigg [send him mail]
publishes the Pro
Libertate blog and hosts the Pro
Libertate radio program.
© 2011 William Norman Grigg
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