Sunday, September 02, 2007

Edward M. Gabriel, Piranha


There’s nothing like a few days of stalking large- and smallmouth bass, stripers, and northern pike to take my mind off of the situation in the Western Sahara. As I settled back to my desk after a relaxing fishing vacation in Maine, I came upon an August 31st article on National Interest Online by the old piranha, former American ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel, titled Inside Track: Resolving the Western Sahara Saga. Oh well, the soothing pristine calm of the Kennebec is all of a sudden a distant memory.

I will not bore you with a detailed analysis of this piece of Moroccan propaganda; there is absolutely nothing that distinguishes it from the rubbish coming out of Rabat, or from the spinmeisters at Edelman, or the poisoned pens of others who have sold out to the Moroccans such as Frederick Vreeland and Robert Holley. Let me just say that it is very much what we have come to expect from former American diplomats to Morocco who now make a pleasant living on Rabat’s payroll.

In the latest (available online) Report of the Attorney General to the Congress of the United States on the Administration of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended, for the six months ending June 30, 2006, we learn that Mr. Gabriel is somewhat of a double-dipper, as he turns up as a registered foreign agent for Morocco under both his own company, Gabriel Company, LLC, and Robert Holley’s chop shop, Moroccan-American Center for Policy, Inc.(MACP) To dispel the notion that he might have gotten a real job since that last report, Mr. Gabriel in May of this year prefaced his remarks at a Western Sahara conference at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington, DC, by divulging that he was still taking money from the Government of Morocco.

Mr. Gabriel over the last couple years has been a fixture on the Moroccan propaganda circuit showing up regularly at MACP, Edelman, and National Clergy Council events. Always seated next to his fellow Moroccan foreign agents, he struts his ambassadorial status in a lame attempt to give some stamp of legitimacy to the crass dishonesty of these propaganda shows. His article is, similarly, nothing more than propaganda aimed at influencing American public opinion to accept Morocco’s illegal occupation of the Western Sahara.

It is mindboggling that Mr. Gabriel should have the audacity to write his article in support of Morocco’s autonomy plan without divulging his relationship with the Moroccan government – especially in view of a similar stunt in the New York Times back in March by another former American ambassador to Morocco, “Fricky” Vreeland. In Vreeland’s case, the Times issued a correction three weeks later stating that he was “chairman of a solar-energy company that has had contracts with the Moroccan government” and the article “should have more fully disclosed the background of the author.” It is my hope that National Interest Online will exhibit a similar concern for transparency and journalistic ethics by adding a disclaimer to Mr. Gabriel’s article.

I am pleased to report that National Interest has amended their biographical note about Mr. Gabriel, and it now reads, "Edward M. Gabriel is a former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco and a consultant to the Moroccan government."

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:35 PM

    Everybody knows that M. Gabriel is a registred lobbyist for Morocco. You can just google his name to find it out. However, considering his paper as propaganda is a little bit superficial. In his paper, Gabriel highlights many points that are true, such as the existence of relations of allegiance between sahrawis and the Kingdom of Morocco. Such relations is clearly stated by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its decision dated October 16, 1976 :
    "With regard to Question II, "What were the legal ties between this territory and the Kingdom of Morocco and the Mauritanian entity?", the Court
    - decided by 14 votes to 2 to comply with the request for an advisory opinion;
    - was of opinion, by 14 votes to 2, that there were legal ties between this territory and the Kingdom of Morocco of the kinds indicated in the penultimate paragraph of the Advisory Opinion;
    - was of opinion, by 15 votes to 1, that there were legal ties between this territory and the Mauritanian entity of the kinds indicated in the penultimate paragraph of the Advisory Opinion ".
    The ICJ is longer than that, you can read the full decision on their website.
    In addition, the Moroccan Autonomy Plan has been welcome by many sahraouis, considering it a peaceful solution to the conflict that enables the sahraouis to self-govern themselves. It's true that the plan is not 100% bright and of course, the Polisario Front rejected the proposal before even seeing it, prefering to threaten to go back to war.

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  2. Anonymous,

    Sure you can google Gabriel to find out that he is a registered agent for Morocco, but that still does not excuse his not divulging it in his article.

    On the question of propaganda, the collection of half-truths, misinformation, and lies in Gabriel's article (not to mention the fact that he is being paid to write this stuff by Morocco) is in my opinion more than enough reason to brand it as the worst kind of propaganda. For starters, his concern for the territorial integrity of Morocco is 100% Moroccan spin since Morocco's occupation of the WS is not recognized by any country nor by the UN.

    You are the one who apparently has not read the full ICJ ruling since a full reading clearly and unambiguously shoots down Morocco's claims to sovereignty over the territory.

    Many Sahrawi may indeed welcome autonomy and the Polisario has no problem having autonomy included as a choice in a referendum -- along with independence and inclusion in Morocco. But forcing autonomy down the Sahrawi's throats is just not compatible with Western Sahara's right to self-determination.

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  3. Anonymous6:02 PM

    Chasli,

    I don't agree that Gabriel's paper is the worst kind of propaganda because here is worse :
    "w-sahara.blogspot.com/2007/09/refugee-children.html". A propaganda letter using children to gather sympathy.

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  4. Anonymous,

    I consider Gabriel's article the worst kind of propaganda because it is factually inaccurate and because the author does not divulge that he is being paid by the Moroccan government.

    I see no indications that the French Sahrawi who wrote the article in the Western Sahara Info piece is either a member of the Polisario Front or is receiving money from the Polisario. As for accuracy, I have met several children from the camps here in the US, and the article seems accurate to me.

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  5. Ah, so you were gone fishing, all that time. Well, welcome back.

    Anon: maybe one can consider it some form of modest payback for 30 years of faux Rabati government concern about the refugee children going to Cuba to work Fidel Castro's supposed Sahrawi child labor-run sugar fields and prostitution rackets, under cover of student scholarships?

    (I'm surprised they haven't claimed that Polisario is kidnapping Sahrawi kids to roll cigars too. Everyone knows that, much like in the sugar industry, a good Cohiba can only be rolled by a specially imported a North African bedouin child slave. That's why they're so expensive.)

    As for the ICJ, yes, the text you're quoting was a little bit longer. Only three sentences later comes this: "On the other hand, the Court's conclusion is that the materials and information presented to it do not establish any tie of territorial sovereignty between the territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco or the Mauritanian entity. Thus the Court has not found legal ties of such a nature as might affect the application of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) in the decolonization of Western Sahara and, in particular, of the principle of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory."

    Not as important, I suppose.

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  6. Anonymous8:45 AM

    Chasli,

    The "letter" claims to be written by a child from the Moroccan side of the Sahara. The fact that you met, in the U.S, with children born and raised in Algeria doesn't allow you to judge the conditions of children in Morocco.

    Alle,
    1. Good that you brought that subject again. I have never been in Cuba but I have seen a good documentary from a third party, neither pro-Morocco, nor pro-Polisario, which highlighted the misery of sahrawi children in Cuba, including being victims of what you mentioned as a joke but it's not : prostitution.

    2. Regarding the ICJ, thanks for bringing the second part of the decision. Here is a third one: "The materials and information presented to the Court show the existence, at the time of Spanish colonization, of legal ties of allegiance between the Sultan of Morocco and some of the tribes living in the territory of Western Sahara. They equally show the existence of rights, including some rights relating to the land, which constituted legal ties between the Mauritanian entity, as understood by the Court, and the territory of Western Sahara. On the other hand, the Court's conclusion is that the materials and information presented to it do not establish any tie of territorial sovereignty between the territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco or the Mauritanian entity. Thus the Court has not found legal ties of such a nature as might affect the application of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) in the decolonization of Western Sahara and, in particular, of the principle of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory ". Of course, you or Morocco can highlight what ever part that suits your convictions.

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  7. anon:

    1. Cuba. Yes, I'm sure it was exceptionally neutral, unlike those satanic UN investigation committees who discarded the Moroccan allegations of Sahrawis sold to Castro as slave labor as pure fabrication. (Why anyone would believe such crappy propaganda in the first place is beyond me. If Castro wants prostitutes and slave workers, does he really have to import them from the middle of the Sahara desert through a UNHCR-run scholarship program?)

    Care to tell who produced it, btw?

    2. The letter. No, it doesn't claim to be written by a child, but by an adult, or at least older child, helping out as a scout leader. Perhaps you should read it before you start foaming at the mouth.

    3. The ICJ. The operative word in that paragraph is "no", which in itself is rather unambigous. Not even Polisario denies that there were some times between Sahrawi tribes and the Sultan of Morocco -- of course there were, just as there were with other neighbouring powers. It would be truly bizarre if the ICJ had tried to claim no Sahrawi tribes had ever been influenced by the Moroccan monarchy, or vice versa.

    The question put to the Court, however, was whether these ties in regard to Morocco or Mauritania were strong enough to negate self-determination, and the answer, at the end of endless explanation, was that very explicit "no".

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  8. Anonymous11:32 AM

    A U.N investigation in Cuba ? if somebody can investigate freely in Cuba, then Castro wouldn't have been called a dictator.

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  9. I suggest you read the report to find out how they did. As a taster, it involved interviews.

    That Castro allowed the Sahrawi students to be interviewed could be either because he

    (a) is a second-rate dictator, or

    (b) they really are there as UN-monitored scholarship students, and not as part of the world's most elaborate kidnapping scheme to supply free labor for Cuban agrobusiness.

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  10. Ed Gabriel2:39 PM

    For your information, I did disclose to the National Interest my affiliation with the Kingdom of Morocco. They chose not to print the affiliation with Morocco, not me. I stand by the content of my article. Ed Gabriel

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  11. edward gabriel -- I stand by the content of my article.

    Heh. Not to mention the content of your wallet.

    Nothing wrong in writing for money, per se, but lying for money is a different matter. For someone who has been posted to Rabat as a diplomat, and presumably is not a total political naïf, to pretend to believe that the autonomy proposal is the result of "a wide-ranging discussion" in Morocco, is a bit rich.

    But hey, if it pays your rent and you can do it with a straight face, good for you.

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