Saturday, May 14, 2005

Posada in the news 

Well slowly but surely the main stream media seems to be waking up to the fact that the Bush administration is letting a known terrorist freely roam south Florida. The Christian Science Monitor had a summary of coverage up to this point.

In particular I liked the little gem they started out with:

US President George W. Bush has said on more than one occasion during the war on terrorism that "those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves."

Yes, indeed. And some people are looking very, very guilty right now.

There were some other interesting points:

But as ABCNews also points out, the case is complicated by Posada's ties to political figures in the US, including his "pre-9/11 ties to Washington" and his allies in Florida's "powerful Cuban-American" community.

The privately run, George Washington University based National Security Archives details Posada's extensive career as a CIA- and FBI-trained operative. The Archives reports that Posada had been imprisoned in Venezuela for the '76 bombing, but escaped in '85, when he went to El Salvador "where he worked, using the alias 'Ramon Medina,' on the illegal contra resupply program being run by Lt. Col. Oliver North in the Reagan National Security Council."

Why should the fact that he has historical ties to the US government, political figures and intelligence agencies have anything to do with it? After all, the U.S. trained, armed, and financed Osama Bin Laden and we didn't let that stand in the way of our hunt for him. Nor did the fact that the U.S. armed and aided Saddam Hussien for much of the 1980s get in the way of his being overthrown by the U.S. And lets not even talk about Manuel Noriega. So why should Posada be an exception? Sure, he was "our" terrorist but he is a terrorist and as Bush said "those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves."


More and more people are starting to catch on. Check out this excellent Op-Ed piece:

Time for U.S. to live up to its anti-terror rhetoric

• Cuban exile and terrorist Luis Posada Carriles should be extradited to Venezuela or be tried by an international court for his crimes.

By Martha Hill

The Bush administration has a golden opportunity to gain credibility around the world in its war on terror.

Last month, Luis Posada Carriles, 77, a Cuban exile and former CIA operative whose name is linked with violence, terror and death throughout Latin America, applied for political asylum.

In August, under pressure by a Bush administration eager to please Miami Cuban voters on the eve of the election, outgoing Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso pardoned four Cuban exiles, including Posada. They were serving time after being convicted of endangering public safety in Panama City in 2000, in connection with a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro at a summit of Latin American leaders.

Posada and the other three men had been found in a Panama hotel using Salvadoran passports with aliases. The Panamanian government seized explosives and a detailed map of the University of Panama, where Castro was to speak.

After Moscoso's pardon, three of the men, who had U.S. passports, immediately moved to Miami. It is said that Luis Posada Carriles, who is not a U.S. citizen, entered the United States illegally. But his presence has hardly been a secret. He is reportedly hiding in Miami.

The State Department will not acknowledge his presence in this country; however, Posada applied for political asylum in April, arguing that his life would be endangered if he were removed from the United States.

On May 5, challenging the United States to make good on its pledge to hunt down terrorists, Venezuela requested Posada's extradition. He is wanted in that country in connection with the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner en route to Caracas; 73 people were killed.

Acquitted twice in the case, Posada escaped prison in Caracas in 1985 while an appeal was pending.


For years, Posada has been trained in explosives and sabotage by the CIA at the notorious School of the Americas; he was part of the CIA's "Operation 40" for the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Over the years, he has collaborated with the CIA on several attempts to kill Castro. He is wanted in Cuba in connection with a series of hotel bombings in 1998 in which an Italian tourist was killed and a dozen other foreigners injured.

He was also implicated in one of the worst acts of terrorism in the United States, the 1976 Washington, D.C., car bombing that killed former Chilean government minister Orlando Letelier.

In the 1980s, Posada commanded the supply of munitions to the Nicaraguan Contras from the CIA's air base in El Salvador.

President Bush has said that any government that harbors terrorists is complicit in murder and equally guilty of terrorist crimes. Yet thousands of Cuban people have died by violent attacks perpetrated on the island by anti-Cuban paramilitary groups that operate freely in Miami.

Following Bush's reasoning, allowing Posada into the United States and entertaining an asylum request from a confessed terrorist is an open acknowledgement of complicity in terrorist acts. (And Cuban exiles would do well not to start calling Posada Carriles a "freedom fighter.")

The United States must deny Posada's political asylum request, and should arrest and deport him to Venezuela, honoring that country's extradition treaty with the United States. Or, as Cuba has suggested, Posada should be tried by a competent international tribunal.

— Martha Hill is Mailbag editor of The News-Press. She lives in Cape Coral. E-mail her at mhill@news-press.com.


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