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It's interesting that just after the far-right group Third Way turn up on this list, we see that in Austria, Germany and France, the far right are actively supporting the anti-sanctions cause. It's time for all good humanitarians and anti-imperialists in this movement to decide that they'll cooperate with a lot of people to end sanctions, but not fascists. We've always got to be careful to remember the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Chris Williams * CONVICTED ARMS DEALER FUNNELS AID FROM EUROPE'S FAR RIGHT TO IRAQ by Eric Geiger, San Francisco Chronicle, May 3, 2001 St. Viet an der Glan, Austria -- Until recently, residents of this sleepy village took little notice of a portly middle-aged Arab businessman living inconspicuously on the edge of town with his family, assuming him to be a successful carpet dealer. But Austrian media, citing security authorities, identified Abdul Moneim Jebara, 60, as a convicted Iraqi arms dealer allegedly acting as Saddam Hussein's liaison with sympathetic far-rightist groups in Europe. "He calls himself a mere export and import trader, but Austrian and German security agencies see Jebara as a pivot of an alarmingly close cooperation emerging in recent months between extreme rightists in the two countries and radical Islamists," said Vienna's usually well-informed and influential newsmagazine Format. >From his hilltop bungalow sporting satellite dishes and surveillance cameras, Jebara allegedly is coordinating unspecified aid programs from a network of rightist supporters in Europe for Iraq, which is still under U.N. sanctions imposed in 1990 after its invasion of Kuwait. What seems to unite the European far rightists and the Iraqis are their common anti-Semitic and anti-American sentiments. In its latest report on the rightist scene in Germany, the Agency of the Protection of the Constitution (a sort of German FBI) said, "The American democratic system is seen by (the two groups) as an expression of cultural decadence and economic imperialism." A recent debate in Austria's parliament seemed to suggest that since settling in St. Viet (near Klagenfurt in Carinthia province) in the early 1990s, Jebara has enjoyed the protection of high-level politicians who are aware of his activities and background. "How is it possible that a man of Jebara's caliber, who is known to have close contacts to the extreme right and the Iraqi secret service and served part of a six-year sentence for arms dealing, blackmail and tax evasion in Germany, was allowed to settle in Austria?" thundered Karl Oellinger, a prominent opposition Green Party lawmaker. Austria's 15-month-old center-far-right coalition government quickly passed the buck, saying that attempts to start deportation proceedings against Jebara have always been thwarted by Carinthian authorities. Joerg Haider, founder of the far-right Freedom Party and still its driving force, is Carinthia's governor. In an interview last week, Haider insisted that provincial authorities have no power to block proceedings related to federal alien laws. He also denied media reports quoting Jebara as saying he knows Haider well: "I'm vaguely familiar with the case, but I have never met that man (Jebara) and never had any contact whatever with him. "I am being blamed for just about everything these days." Among those reportedly spearheading the effort to funnel aid to Iraq is Germany's National Democratic Party, which openly woos skinheads and sponsors annual protests marking the 1987 death in prison of Hitler deputy Rudolf Hess that often wind up in neo-Nazi violence. The party, which all German democratic parties seek to ban, recently proclaimed "strong support for the suffering Iraqis" on its Internet home page. "The so-called community of nations against Iraq is a structure held together by means of blackmail, lies, bribery, corruption and violence by the satraps of the east coast," the statement said, using a term far rightists usually apply to the U.S. Jewish community. Also regularly expressing "solidarity" with Hussein's regime is the Munich weekly Deutsche National Zeitung, circulation 130,000 (15,000 in Austria). Its owner is Bavarian millionaire publisher Gerhard Frey, leader of the German Peoples Party (DVU), a group accused of racism and anti-Semitism that won 13 percent of the 1998 vote in the eastern state of Saxony Anhalt. In an editorial, the weekly attacked the United States for keeping Iraq in a "stranglehold" and asserted that Germany spent $18.8 billion in tax money to help finance the Persian Gulf War "even though Germany was in no way threatened by Baghdad." The publication also ridiculed as "ludicrous horror stories" recent media reports that the German intelligence agency (BWD) has new evidence that Hussein has revived his nuclear weapon production and may be capable of making an atomic bomb within the next three years. Openly pitching for cash for "our Iraqi brothers" are leaflets issued by a shadowy organization calling itself "German and Austrian Patriots." The flyer's signatories include Franz Schoenhuber, 78, the former Waffen SS sergeant who co-founded the once-surging extreme rightist Republican Party, and the leader of a Salzburg-based neo-Nazi group identified only as "Richard R." Security officials say funds and commodities collected for Iraq on "humanitarian grounds" are usually channeled to Jany le Pen, the wife of Jean- Marie le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front. Running a special aid organization called "SCS -- Children of Iraq," she then arranges for the transfer to Baghdad. "The idea of helping Saddam Hussein seems to have a bizarre unifying effect on assorted extreme rightist groups . . . not only in Austria and Germany but also in the rest of Europe," said the Austrian security official. Apparently that's where Hussein's man in St. Viet comes in. In an impassioned plea for donations for Iraq published recently by the Austrian far- rightist periodical Rule, Jebara was named as "coordinator for the aid action for Iraq by German Patriots." Questioned about it by Austrian reporters in January, Jebara not only did not deny his role as "aid coordinator" but also minced no words about his admiration for Hussein and proudly showed off a wristwatch whose dial showed a portrait of the Iraqi despot. "The Iraqi people are starving, our children are starving, and Bill Clinton (then U.S. president) is much worse than Hitler," he said. "The people helping us are just ordinary young people who finally recognize what the truth is -- and besides, their ideology resembles ours." Jebara, a former resident of Munich, was sentenced in 1986 to 6 1/2 years in prison for attempting to smuggle 40 combat helicopters from Germany to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, as well as for trying to blackmail a business partner. The verdict specifically referred to Jebara's "close contacts" with high- level Iraqi government and secret service officials, including Hussein's top security officer and the chief of the national "procurement agency." According to Format, Jebara also was questioned in the court in connection with the reported participation of German firms in the construction of chemical weapon plants at Iraq's heavily guarded Samarra industrial complex. The magazine said he was accused of engineering a hostage-taking plot in Iraq to force his release from prison. Jebara has vehemently denied both allegations. Jebara was prematurely released from prison for unknown reasons in the early 1990s, and his motive for moving to Austria is also unclear. But some analysts point out that before the Gulf War, Iraq was Austria's most important trading partner in the Middle East, with Austrian exports amounting to about $400 million annually. State-owned and private companies -- such as Voest-Alpine, OMV and ELIN -- did large-scale business in the fields of manufactured goods, oil and power plant construction, respectively. "The Gulf War and the embargo ended the Austrian-Iraqi trade almost completely, and that's why it was with satisfaction that the easing of the sanctions in recent years was registered here," said the Vienna Daily Standard. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk