Only fame, fortune, dozens of trips to the White House, and a Nobel Peace Prize.
History is sometimes made in the unmaking — with some of the critical facts in an appalling event being hurriedly and knowingly swept under a rug like so many pieces of broken glass. This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of such an event in the making and masking of history.
In the early evening of March 1, 1973 (like today, a Friday), eight gunmen from the Black September Organization — the same terrorist group which had created havoc six months earlier at the 1972 Munich Olympics — stormed the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum where a going-away party was being held for George Curtis Moore, second-ranking officer at the U.S. embassy in the Sudan.
Following an initial burst of gunfire, they took five hostages — a Belgian, a Saudi, a Jordanian, and two Americans — Moore and Cleo Allen Noel, Jr., the newly appointed American ambassador to the Sudan.
Twenty-six hours of intense negotiations followed between the gunmen and Sudanese authorities. The gunmen sent out a long list of provocative demands, which included the freeing from Jordanian captivity of Abu Daoud, a leader of the Black September Organization (BSO); the freeing of Sirhan Sirhan, Robert Kennedy’s killer, from a California prison; the freeing of members of the terrorist Baader-Meinhof gang held in Germany; and the freeing of “Palestinian women in prison in Israel.”
On March 2, President Nixon announced that he would not negotiate with terrorists for the release of diplomats.
Later that day, after nightfall, the terrorists executed the three westerners — Noel, Moore, and Guy Eid, chargé d’affaires at the Belgian embassy. They were lined up against a wall in the basement of the embassy and gunned down in a hail of automatic weapons fire. Reportedly, the gunmen shot first for sport — aiming at their feet and legs — before aiming to kill.
Ironically, far from condemning the PLO, Moore held strongly pro-Arab, anti-Israeli views — believing that “the Arabs had legitimate grievances and were, in general, more wronged by Israel than wrong-doing against it.” Arab terrorists have often targeted the most pro-Arab Americans — as witness the recent slaying of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.
Like the slayings of Stevens and three other Americans on the night of September 11/12, 2012, the assassination of Moore and Ambassador Noel was front-page news in the United States for a week or more.
What was missing then (as in the more recent catastrophe) was an honest account from the U.S. government of what happened.
It was not until the release of the summary portion of a long-classified U.S. State Department document in May 2006 that the real truth emerged. Written soon after the event, this document — entitled “The Seizure of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum” — reached the unambiguous conclusion:
The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and head of Fatah. Fatah representatives based in Khartoum participated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian Embassy.
Initially, the main objective of the attack appeared to be to secure the release of Fatah / BSO leader Mohammed Awadh (Abu Daoud) from Jordanian captivity. Information acquired subsequently reveals that the Fatah/BSO leaders did not expect Awadh (Daoud) to be freed, and indicates that one of the primary goals of the operation was to strike at the United States because of its efforts to achieve a Middle East peace settlement which many Arabs believe would be inimical to Palestinian interests.
… The terrorists extended their deadlines three times, but when they became convinced that their demands would not be met and after they reportedly had received orders from Fatah headquarters in Beirut, they killed the two United States officials and the Belgian chargé. Thirty-four hours later, upon receipt of orders from Yasser Arafat in Beirut to surrender, the terrorists released their other hostages unharmed and surrendered to Sudanese authorities.
The Khartoum operation again demonstrated the ability of the BSO to strike where least expected. The open participation of Fatah representatives in Khartoum in the attack provides further evidence of the Fatah / BSO relationship. The emergence of the United States as a primary Fedayeen target indicates a serious threat of further incidents similar to that of Khartoum.
Despite the certain knowledge of his guilt displayed in the long-hidden U.S. State Department document, Arafat went from strength to strength following the murders that he had ordered in Khartoum — and he did so with the tacit support of President Richard Nixon and his National Security Adviser (and soon-to-be Secretary of State) Henry Kissinger. That set the pattern for three decades to come, or until Arafat’s death on Nov. 11, 2004:
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H/T to National Review Online