Sunday, May 29, 2005

Posada Update VII 

I was going to write about this yesterday but fortunately I didn’t get the chance to and therefore had more time to calm down. And clearly, there is a lot to calm down from.

Over the past couple of days there was some confusion as to what Venezuela had submitted in terms of extradition requests for Posada and what the U.S. had done with the request. Conflicting rumors had Venezuela not having submitted any formal paperwork to the U.S. and while others had the U.S rejecting an extradition request outright. An article on the New York Times clarified matters:

The Justice Department on Friday rejected Venezuela's request for the arrest of a Cuban exile wanted for an airplane bombing as a preliminary to his extradition, saying it had not provided proper supporting evidence.

A State Department official said the Venezuelans were told that their request, which called for the arrest of Luis Posada Carriles to prevent his escape as a first step to extradition, did not contain sufficient information regarding the facts and circumstances of his involvement in the 1976 bombing. The midair explosion of a Cuban airliner off the coast of Barbados killed 73 people, including several Venezuelans.

"The provisional arrest request as submitted by the government was clearly inadequate," the official said. The ruling does not preclude a formal extradition request.

So what really happened is clear, if stunning. Venezuela has not yet submitted a complete extradition request but they did submit a formal request for Posada’s detention pending extradition. Sounds perfectly reasonable. After all the man is clearly a flight risk and the last thing the world needs is another terrorist on the loose.

And the U.S. government, in its wisdom, rejected this request saying there wasn’t sufficient evidence. This is such complete BS considering that it is employees of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies that have provided most of the evidence against him. To have enough evidence to get this guy off the stree the U.S. doesn’t need anything from Venezuela – they just need to read what their own newspapers, like the L.A. Times and New York Times, have written on the subject – for ease of use some salient points are here and here.

So think about the significance of this. Posada is currently in a I.N.S. cell in El Paso for nothing more than not having a visa to enter the U.S. So what the U.S. government is saying is that if Posada had his immigration paperwork in order he would be free to do as he pleased! This is simply unbelievable. Based on the evidence in the public domain there is no doubt that if this had been a terrorist attack against the U.S. he would certainly have been charged with acts of terrorism and indicted. But given U.S. double standards the he is not currently charged with any such thing.

It gets worse:

American officials have not said whether they would extradite Mr. Posada, saying that the question was a legal matter. But they have indicated they would not willingly send him to Venezuela. The fear is that Mr. Posada would wind up in Cuba, where he would be executed for a range of crimes, including an assassination attempt on Mr. Castro.

So American officials don’t want to see a terrorist brought to justice. Screwing political adverseries trumps the “war on terror”. Well, at least this episode has clarified that.


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