Monday, May 09, 2005

C'mon Bush, are you at war with terror or not? 

A couple of days ago the LA Times reported that Luis Posada, a Cuban exile terrorist, was back in the United States and that Venezuela was seeking his extradition. The Venezuelans want to put him on trail for having blown up an airliner with more than 70 people on it when it was flying from Venezuela to Cuba. The LA Times article indicated that the U.S. didn’t seem to intent on getting this terrorist off the streets and having him face justice. In fact they indicated the U.S. government was just trying to get him to leave the country before they had to respond to the extradition request.

This story isn’t going away. Today the New York Times ran an article about it on its front page which provided some interesting new detials:

“Mr. Posada, a Cuban exile, has long been a symbol for the armed anti-Castro movement in the United States. He remains a prime suspect in the bombing of a Cuban commercial airliner that killed 73 people in 1976. He has admitted to plotting attacks that damaged tourist spots in Havana and killed an Italian visitor there in 1997. He was convicted in Panama in a 2000 bomb plot against Mr. Castro. He is no longer welcome in his old Latin America haunts.

Mr. Posada, 77, sneaked back into Florida six weeks ago in an effort to seek political asylum for having served as a cold war soldier on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1960's, his lawyer, Eduardo Soto, said at a news conference last month.

But the government of Venezuela wants to extradite and retry him for the Cuban airline bombing. Mr. Posada was involved "up to his eyeballs" in planning the attack, said Carter Cornick, a retired counterterrorism specialist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation who investigated Mr. Posada's role in that case. A newly declassified 1976 F.B.I. document places Mr. Posada, who had been a senior Venezuelan intelligence officer, at two meetings where the bombing was planned.
Mr. Posada's case could create tension between the politics of the global war on terrorism and the ghosts of the cold war on communism. If Mr. Posada has indeed illegally entered the United States, the Bush administration has three choices: granting him asylum; jailing him for illegal entry; or granting Venezuela's request for extradition.

A grant of asylum could invite charges that the Bush administration is compromising its principle that no nation should harbor suspected terrorists. But to turn Mr. Posada away could provoke political wrath in the conservative Cuban-American communities of South Florida, deep sources of support and campaign money for President Bush and his brother Jeb, the state's governor.”

These facts were already largely known. But there are some very important new details. For example, up to now U.S. authorities have claimed they didn’t really know whether or not Posada was in the U.S. Yet in todays report by the Times we have:

“Orlando Bosch, the most prominent face of the violent anti-Castro wing in Florida, said in an interview broadcast on Tuesday in Miami that he had spoken by telephone with Mr. Posada, who, "as everybody knows, is here."”

So there we have it straight from the horses mouth. And if Cuban exile leaders know he is here then clearly U.S. authorities, in spite of there ineptness, must know he is here too. So that is not up for debate.

Then we have this:

“Mr. Posada served with the C.I.A. from 1961 to 1967, according to declassified United States government records. He was scheduled to land at the Bay of Pigs, the attack on Cuba ordered by the Kennedy administration, but his mission was canceled when the invasion collapsed. He kept in close touch with the agency after leaving it and joining Venezuela's intelligence service, known by its initials as Disip, where he served as a senior officer from 1969 to 1974, according to the declassified records and retired American officials who served in Venezuela.

In 1974, after a change in government, Mr. Posada set up a detective agency in the capital, Caracas, an office through which many anti-Castro Cubans passed, according to F.B.I. records. He retained his links to Disip, a militantly anti-Castro agency in those cold war days.”

Now that the CIA employs terrorists is not news. But the Venezuelan intelligence police, DISIP? Maybe some of the opposition folks would like to explain that one. But it gets worse:

“On Sept. 21, 1976, in the heart of Washington, a car bomb killed a former foreign minister of Chile, Orlando Letelier, and an American aide, Ronni Moffitt; at the time, it was one of the worst acts of foreign terrorism on American soil. Fifteen days later, a Cubana Airlines flight with 73 people on board was blown out of the sky off the coast of Barbados in the worst terrorist attack in Cuban history.

Mr. Cornick, the F.B.I. counterterrorism specialist who worked on the Letelier case, said in an interview that both bombings were planned at a June 1976 meeting in Santo Domingo attended by, among others, Mr. Posada.

"The Cubana bomb went off, the people were killed, and there were tracks leading right back to Disip," said Mr. Cornick, who is now retired.”"

So here we have clear evidence that the pre-Chavez Venezuelan intelligence service was involved in terrorist acts. Not good!!

So here are what seem to be the incontravertable facts. Luis Posada is a terrorist guilty of carrying out various terroristic acts resulting in the deaths of scores of people. He is now in the United States. And Venezuela has requested his extradition.

Maybe I’m missing something here but I thought I heard George Bush say that we are at war with terrorism. And if we are at war with terrorism shouldn’t we be arresting terrorist and making sure they are brought to justice?

So c’mon Bush, you’re not getting off that easy. Are you against terrorism or not?


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?