The Posada conundrum
by The Editors
May 14, 2007
Reprinted from The Toledo Blade
In the case of Luis Posada Carriles, the United States is once again transmitting to the world a hypocritical message: When it comes to terrorism, do as we say, not as we do.
Posada, 79, a Cuban exile with CIA ties that go back to the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, has been turned loose despite being wanted internationally for his role in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner over the Caribbean that killed 73 people and a string of Havana hotel bombings in the 1990s.
Last week,a friendly federal judge was found in Texas to scotch the government's immigration case against Posada, who has been in the U.S. illegally since 2005.
Why is such inexplicable deference being shown by the Bush Administration to a man our own Justice Department has branded "a dangerous criminal and an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots"?
The answer lies in seamy CIA history, South Florida politics, and the considerable skill Posada has shown in calling in chits earned over more than 40 years as an anti-communist enemy of Cuban President Fidel Castro and a gun-runner for contra rebels in Nicaragua during the Reagan Administration.
In Miami's Little Havana, where any enemy of Castro is automatically a friend, he's lauded as a freedom fighter. In the rest of the world, however, he's just a terrorist, and international scorn has grown over the obsequious treatment the U.S. has accorded him.
The Los Angeles Times reports that declassified CIA communications shows Posada to have been part of the "operation" in which a Cubana airliner was blown up over Barbados 31 years ago.
In addition, he has boasted publicly of masterminding the hotel bombings, which were intended to hurt Cuban tourism. One tourist was killed in a 1997 blast.
Whoever is orchestrating Posada's escape to freedom apparently is of a Cold War mind that extremism in defense of virtue is no vice, especially when Castro is the enemy.
But that view contrasts sharply with the U.S.'s hard line against terrorism elsewhere and can only expose this nation to a charge of hypocrisy that further erodes American credibility on the world stage.
Disgraceful and Wrong-headed
We live in times that are truly interesting
by The Editors
May 11, 2007
Reprinted from The Bahamas Journal
Ours is that time in world history where the greatest empire in the history of the world is seemingly beset with one challenge after the other. It is distressed within and beset from abroad. And as it tries to steady itself in an already uncertain world it finds itself challenged by some of the standards it has set for so very many others.
By way of illustration we need only reference what seems its own studied disregard for the rules it has laid down concerning terrorism.
Today we react to news coming in from the United States of America. This new information concerns the legal fate of an old terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles.
As the government put Al Capone out of business by convicting him of the nonviolent crime of tax evasion, U.S. officials had hoped to use immigration violations to neutralize a militant anti-Castro Cuban exile accused of terrorism.
The effort appears to have failed at the first hurdle in El Paso, Texas, when U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone tossed out the indictment against the 79-year-old Luis Posada Carriles on technical grounds.
In this regard, we need only reference that myriad of gyrations and maneuvers it has sought to employ in the sorry case of Luis Posada Carriles. In the latest installment of hypocrisy run amok, Posada Carriles finds himself described as a man who is free to go about his business notwithstanding the fact that he is a wanted man.
This man is wanted by both Venezuela and Cuba for crimes he committed against scores of men, women and children, some of whom were shot down out of the sky over Barbados.
Research that suggests that Posada Carriles bears direct responsibility for certain atrocities that taken together define him as a terrorist.
Information reaching us informs that the National Security Archive has posted additional documents that show that the CIA had concrete advance intelligence, as early as June 1976, on plans by Cuban exile terrorist groups to bomb a Cubana airliner.
The Archive also posted another document that shows that the FBI's attaché in Caracas had multiple contacts with one of the Venezuelans who placed the bomb on the plane, and provided him with a visa to the U.S. five days before the bombing, despite suspicions that he was engaged in terrorist activities at the direction of Luis Posada Carriles.
It is also of some interest to us that a Cuban American lawyer Jose Pertierra is currently monitoring this case from the United States of America.
He is rightly of the view that "the international community is outraged by Washington's protection of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles."
We agree with Mr. Pertierra.
We could not agree with him more when he says "Washington must detain Posada, extradite or try him for the bombing of a Cubana airliner in 1976 killing 73 innocent people on board and the assassination of an Italian tourist after the bombing of a Havana hotel in 1997."
We are also minded to agree with this attorney when he suggests that the battle to try Posada Carriles can be won because Washington's position is politically and legally unsustainable.
It is true that Posada Carriles must be tried as an assassin and not as a liar.
At this juncture it should also be pointed out that a broad based coalition of people from around the world has called on the United States of America to do the right thing.
For them this right thing would be for the United States to use the same kind of zeal it used as it sought to bring the Libyan trained terrorists to trial for the crimes they committed when they blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland.
In this regard it is most interesting to note that the Libyan government and lawyers for families of the 270 people killed when Pam Am Flight 103 was blown up over Scotland in 1988 have come to a tentative agreement on a $2.7 billion settlement, according to documents obtained by CNN.
Under the agreement, Libya would pay the $2.7 billion into an escrow account that would be released in phased segments over 10 months to a year. The families would not have access to all of the money -- about $10 million per victim -- until after U.N. and U.S. sanctions are lifted and Libya is removed from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Today nothing such seems in the offing in the instance of all those matters that implicate Luis Posada Carriles in a skein of allegations concerning acts that are clearly terrorist and most definitely murderous.
He is apparently being allowed an opportunity to live happily ever after that time when there were credible allegations that he had committed crimes against humanity.
He is living happily ever after in the United States of America.
This is a disgraceful and wrong-headed denouement to a thoroughly disgraceful situation.
Posada and US double standards
by The Editors
May 14, 2007
Reprinted from The Barbados Journal
BARBADIANS will continue to keep an eye on legal developments in the United States involving Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban exile convicted of blowing up, in 1976, a Cuban airline with 73 people on board off the coast of Barbados.
Posada's act took place at a time when the United States was not taking what terrorists were doing to regimes it did not favour as seriously as it should have.
Blowing up a Cuban airliner was easily considered a blow by "freedom fighters", by those with thinking warped enough to believe that depriving 73 innocent people in a plane of their lives would in some way bring down the communist government of Fidel Castro. Then came 9/11 and suddenly the thinking changed.
The United States is now committed to fighting terrorists and has difficulty knowing what to do with Posada who, if it did not aid and abet him in his devious, dastardly acts, at least has harboured him within its shores, knowing what he has been up to. Such encouragement would have come with Posada being a Central Intelligence Agency employee.
Last week a United States federal judge dismissed immigration charges against him, accusing the government of "fraud, deceit and trickery" in its handling of Posada's case. Cuba was quick to accuse the United States of applying double standards in its war on terror because Posada was once employed by the CIA. An official Cuban statement said: "This decision is an outrage to the Cuban people and to the nations that lost 73 of their sons and daughters in the heinous 1976 attack that blew up a civilian Cubana de Aviacion aircraft off the coast of Barbados."
The statement went on to claim that Posada's release had been concocted by the White House as compensation for him not "to reveal what he knows, not to talk about the countless secrets he keeps on his protracted period as an agent of the United States special services".
Meanwhile, the United States is adamant that it has no intention of sending Posada back to Cuba or Venezuela where he was convicted and jailed for the airliner bombing but escaped in 1985 during an appeal against his conviction. He was later jailed in Panama in 2000 for plotting the assassination of Fidel Castro but was pardoned and released four years later. There is ongoing evidence that Posada has had more than a normal share of "protection" from United States sources.
The United States Justice Department is now reported to be reviewing the decision by Judge Kathleen Cardone but we can expect more of the same. It is instructive that the judge should have accused her country of "deceit", among other things, in dealing with Posada's recent case. Those of us looking on should not continue to be deceived into believing that anything will ever be done to seriously bring Posada to justice in the United States for what he did.
This is why he will remain an embarrassment to the United States who know what it is to mourn and feel the pain caused by terrorists, especially since 9/11. The monument in St James will always be a reminder to Barbados of those 73 who died, not because they had done any harm to Posada, but because he hates Fidel Castro so much that it does not matter whom he destroys in the process.