US Judge Rules To Release Suspected Terrorist on 9/11Sat, September 16, 2006 - 2:51 PM
Posada is a citizen of Venezuela, where he was imprisoned pending trial for the 1976 Cuban airliner bombing. While awaiting trial in 1985, he managed to escape from prison and fled from Venezuela. Posada was recently apprehended by US officials after illegally entering the US. The US government has refused to honor an extradition treaty with Venezuela (which Venezuela has never violated), where he faces charges for his suspected role in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner. Posada is also suspected of involvement in numerous other terrorist attacks on Cuba along with other leaders of a Cuban-exile terrorist cell in Miami, "CORU (Commanders of United Revolutionary Organizations), an umbrella group for carrying out terrorist actions against Cuba as well as countries and individuals considered friendly to Cuba." None of these terrorists have been brought to justice for their heinous crimes.
One of these terrorist leaders, Orlando Bosch, was assisted by US Ambassador Otto Reich, a right-wing Cuban-American politician, in returning to the US from Venezuela in 1987, where he was also facing charges for his involvement in the Cuban airliner bombing. Bosch, who was also a former CIA operative (1962-3), was pardoned of all American terrorism charges (related to firing a bazooka at a Polish frieghter in Miami) by President and former CIA director George H.W. Bush in 1990. Bush Sr.'s pardon was issued in spite of an order from the Justice Department that he be deported. In calling for Bosch's deportation, Associate Attorney General Joe D. Whitley wrote, “For 30 years Bosch has been resolute and unwavering in his advocacy of terrorist violence. He has threatened and undertaken violent terrorist acts against numerous targets, including nations friendly toward the United States and their highest officials. He has repeatedly expressed and demonstrated a willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death. His actions have been those of a terrorist, unfettered by laws or human decency, threatening and inflicting violence without regard to the identity of his victims.”
According to Latin American politics scholar Jane Franklin,
"In February 2004 during a long television interview on Channel 22, Bosch justified the bombing of the Cuban civilian airliner and boasted about his role in eleven attempts to carry out military attacks against Cuba in the previous ten years and his three attempts to assassinate President Castro, in Chile, Nicaragua and Spain. Bosch receives ovations in Miami whenever he appears on public stages with high-ranking politicians. He is a celebrity terrorist."
A CIA document described a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser in Caracas, Venezuela, held between September 22 and October 5 , 1976, to support the activities of Orlando Bosch. Ominously, Posada was overheard mentioning a plan to "hit a Cuban airplane" several days after this event, adding "Orlando has the details." This statement by Posada was cited in an October 18, 1976 report to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger posted by the National Security Archive on May 17, 2005. In 1998, Posada explained to New York Times reporters, "The CIA taught us everything--everything." "They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb, trained us in acts of sabotage." In 2000, Posada attempted his most ambitious terrorist attack yet. According to Franklin,
"In the year 2000, President Castro attended the Ibero-American Summit meeting in Panama City. Shortly after arriving, he announced that Posada and three other Cuban-Americans were at that very moment preparing to set off a bomb that would kill not only the Cuban president but hundreds of Panamanian people, mostly students, to whom he would be speaking in a university auditorium. Thanks to Cuban intelligence agents, their exact location was given to Panama's police, who arrested them and seized their C-4 explosives, fake passports, etc."
One might wonder how Cuban intelligence agents obtained this information. The answer is that the information was acquired by Cuban agents who infiltrated the Miami-based terrorist cells. In 1998, Cuban officials recieved intelligence regarding terrorism from five agents in Miami, so they gave the info to the FBI. Instead of acting on the info to arrest the terrorists, the FBI arrested the Cuban intelligence agents on espionage charges. A Miami jury convicted the Cuban Five, and they are now serving life sentences in prison for trying to prevent acts of terrorism. Fortunately, Cuba continued its intelligence activities in Miami, and used the intel obtained to prevent the massive Panama City terrorist bombing planned by Posada. Sadly, Posada and his gang of terrorist killers were only charged with "possession of explosives, illegal association in order to commit a crime, falsification of documents, and danger to public safety." These terrorists, including Posada, were pardoned by outgoing Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso in 2004, after which Posada was caught illegally entering the US. His co-conspirators, who all have histories of terrorism and/or assassinating public officials sympathetic to Cuba, were received home in Miami with fanfare and adulation by the Cuban exile community there.
In an odd twist to the story, on September 11th, 2006 while Americans were mourning the 5th anniversary of the terrible losses that occurred in 2001, a Texas magistrate judge ruled to free Luis Posada Carriles, a suspected terrorist. This act reflects the immense hypocracy of the "war on terror" and is a crime against all victims of terrorist atrocities, especially the victims of the 1976 Cuban airliner bombing. What message does this ruling convey? Is terrorism acceptable if it is committed against Cuban citizens? Is terrorism only a crime if the target is the US or our allies?
Terrorism is a crime against humanity, regardless of the victims' nationalities, so Luis Posada Carriles should be extradited to Venezuela, where he would face justice for his terrorist atrocities (life in prison if convicted; Venezuela abolished the death penalty in 1863). To refuse Venezuela's extradition request not only violates a 1922 extradition treaty, it sends a clear message to the global community that the US supports terrorism. This is the wrong message to send in these troubled times. The US should maintain a clear position that terrorism is always a crime against humanity and that terrorists should always be brought to justice for their crimes. According to President Bush, a country that harbors terrorists is a terrorist nation. Thus, according to his logic, the US is a terrorist nation, a notion that ought to send chills down anyone's spine.
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