My blog is not only to discuss my dog and my shopping obsession. This blog is also intended to educate people with issues that the media shies away from. The article below is an eye-opening commentary about US Politics that originally appeared on http://www.zmag.org/. Please visit this website for more eye-opening articles like the one below.
FUGITIVE TERRORIST AT LARGE May 18, 2007 By Jane Franklin
A major story about terrorism is breaking. Day by day the story is changing dramatically. On May 7, 2005, Luis Posada Carriles, one of the two most notorious terrorists in the
What was he to be tried for? Not for masterminding the explosions aboard a Cuban passenger plane that killed all 73 people aboard. Not for orchestrating the bombing campaign aimed at tourists in
Posada is a classic case of CIA blowback. As his trial date approached, federal prosecutors, worried about what he might reveal about his connections with the
Besides the danger of Posada squealing about his years as a CIA agent and confederate, he also has powerful, wealthy
But as this story develops, new voices both here in the
In the wake of 9/11, on November 26, 2001, President Bush declared, "If anybody harbors a terrorist, they're a terrorist." So how can his Administration get away with harboring this notorious terrorist? Perhaps because all those Americans who recognize the name of Paris Hilton have never even heard of Luis Posada Carriles. Radio, tv, and newspapers don't gossip about Posada's trail of serial terrorism from the
In September 2005, when Posada was being held in
The truth is that neither
The story begins on October 6, 1976, when Flight 455 landed in
Thanks to rapid work by police in
Two weeks later, representatives of the five governments involved--Cuba, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Guyana--met in Port of Spain, Trinidad, to decide where the trial of the terrorists should take place. Ricardo Alarcón, then Cuban ambassador to
The CIA and the FBI offered no help in bringing the bombers to justice. The CIA claims that it ended Posada's CIA career in early 1976 before the bombing of the passenger plane in October. In reality, their assassin was turned loose to do whatever he wanted to do, with impunity. In my history of Cuba-U.S. relations,
As Luis Posada explained to his New York Times interviewers, "`The CIA taught us everything--everything.'" He said, "`They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb, trained us in acts of sabotage.'"(5)
George H.W. Bush was the director of the CIA at that time. And years later, in 1990, at the urging of his son Jeb Bush and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the elder Bush, by then the president, released Orlando Bosch, even though in 1989 the FBI and the CIA reported that Bosch "`has repeatedly expressed and demonstrated a willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death.'"(7) Bosch walks free in
Posada was freed earlier. In 1985, with the help of a bribe paid by Jorge Mas Canosa, chair of the Cuban American National Foundation in
When the illegal aid to the "contras" was exposed, Posada simply transferred to
Posada hired Salvadorans to smuggle bombs into
On September 4, 1997, Posada's bombs caused their first fatality--an Italian, Fabio di Celma, killed in a hotel lobby. Later, when asked about di Celmo's death, Posada said, "That Italian was sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time." He said his conscience is clear and "I sleep like a baby."(10) On September 15, Cuban Interior Ministry Col. Adalberto Rabeiro, head of the team that investigated the bombings, went on nationwide television to speak in detail about the bombings and the arrest on September 4 of Salvadoran Raúl Ernesto Cruz León, who said he had been paid $4,500 per bomb. On his first trip in July, Cruz smuggled explosives in his shoes, detonators in highlighting pens, and used pocket calculators with clocks as timers. On his second trip he smuggled explosives and detonators in a small television set and used a clock radio as a timer.(11)
In 1997 and 1998, Juan Tamayo, an investigative reporter for The Miami Herald, wrote numerous articles about Posada's terrorism. Tamayo provided scoops for his readers. But the FBI and the CIA ignored that evidence because they already knew what was happening and had no intention of interfering with the terrorist they had trained like an attack dog. When plots brought to their attention forced the FBI to respond, a search could serve as a timely warning to conspirators to back off and lay low for a while. As Tamayo pointed out, the practice is "known as `admonishing' or `demobilizing' an operation."(12)
Then came the astounding New York Times interview in which Posada boasted about his career as a terrorist. An accompanying article described how Antonio Jorge (Tony) Álvarez, a Cuban-American businessman in
By doing nothing, the FBI gave the green light not only to the continuance of the bombing campaign but to the plans to assassinate Fidel Castro in Venezuela in November 1997, a plan foiled by the Coast Guard's happening to uncover evidence of the plot when they went to the aid of the would-be assassins' floundering boat on its way to Margarita Island.(14)
Now that Posada himself forced a response by surfacing in
This time perhaps they will use the evidence against terrorists instead of anti-terrorists. In 1998 the FBI also went to
But a year later, the full
Despite all the evidence, mainstream journalists and even some journalists from alternative media continue to describe Posada with euphemisms like "militant" or even "activist." NPR headlined, "U.S. Torn over How to Handle Anti-Castro Crusader."(16) An Associated Press report headlines "FBI Adds to U.S. Case Against Militant Posada" and refers to him as "a fierce Castro opponent," never mentioning "terror" or "terrorist" or "terrorism" even though the article concerns his bombing campaign.(17)
But that isn't stopping the growing understanding about precisely what is happening here.
On April 17, before Posada was released on bail, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio and presidential candidate, wrote an open letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, asking that the Justice Department extradite Posada for trial in
On April 19, Posada was released on bail. The next day The Los Angeles Times editorialized that
Speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives on May 3, Rep. Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington, pointed out that Posada is "a wanted international fugitive." He said Posada's case "shows the double standard of the Bush Administration in its so-called commitment to fight terrorism." He asked, "Why is the Bush Administration handling Carriles in this manner?" He answered, "Three letters say it all: C-I-A. Carriles was a CIA agent." He noted that Posada's lawyer said his client would talk about his CIA assignments during and after his official employment.(21)
The Miami Herald posted a letter from Margarita Morales Fernández, a Cuban-American in Miami whose father was a passenger on that plane in 1976-Luis Alfredo Morales Viego, the coach of the Cuban fencing team: "Our collective grief is reflected in the anguish of the children, parents and spouses of those who were killed that day
.We make up the Committee of the Relatives of the Victims of the Sabotage of the Cubana airliner. We have gotten together not to demand vengeance, but to demand that justice be done for us and for all victims of terrorism. I ask only what the laws of the
Since Posada was set totally free on May 8, more newspapers and more congressional members are protesting. Regarding Judge Cardone's decision, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted noted attorney José Pertierra, who represents the Venezuelan government in the extradition case: "`We're not indignant about what this judge has done; we're indignant about what the White House has done to bring out this decision.'" He said, "`I don't think they're stupid at all. The government did as little as it possibly could, as sloppily as it possibly could. This was the result the government wanted all along.'"(23)
In his Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson said that Judge Cardone's point was that "if the government really wanted to keep Posada behind bars because he was a career terrorist, prosecutors should have prosecuted him as a terrorist. Then, faster than you can say `Patriot Act,' authorities could have made him disappear into the netherworld of indefinite detention where terrorism suspects named Muhammad are kept."(24)
Odalys Pérez, the daughter of the pilot of Flight 455, warned that freeing Posada could lead to an escalation of violence against
In a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, said the American people "deserve a full accounting" of Bush's "knowledge of Luis Posada's role."(27) That Bush was George H.W. and the year was 1988. Now almost 20 years later there is no full accounting and Posada is free. But powerful forces might wish that Posada would die before he starts telling secrets again. Posada should be watching his back.
1 Ann Louise Bardach and Larry Rohter, "Key Cuba Foe Claims Exiles' Backing" and "Life in the Shadows, Trying to Bring Down Castro," The New York Times, front-page articles, July 12-13, 1998. Luis Posada Carriles, Los
2 The bombs were placed in the passenger section, one at a seat, forward of the center of the plane, and the other in the bathroom in the rear. They were not in the luggage compartment as some reports say. A special issue of the Cuban newspaper, Granma, October 19, 1980, describes in detail exactly how the locations of the bombs were determined.
3 Interview of National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcón by MSNBC producer Mary Murray, NBC News, April 29, 2005.
4 Jane Franklin, Cuba and the
5 Bardach and Rohter, "Life in the Shadows, Trying to Bring Down Castro," July 13, 1998.
7 Jeb Bush later became governor of
8 For more about these connections, see
9 The CMEA, also known as Comecon, was a trade alliance of socialist countries from 1949 until it was disbanded in February 1991. When
10 Bardach and Rohter, "Key
11 See Juan O. Tamayo, "
12 Tamayo, "Plot to Kill Castro in
13 Bardach and Rohter , "A Cuban Exile Details the `Horrendous Matter' of a Bombing Campaign," New York Times, July 12, 1998. The article provides names of Posada's collaborators in
13 For the full story of that plot, the trial, the acquittal, and the later confession of one of the plotters, see
14 See Franklin, "
15 National Public Radio, May 4, 2007; NPR.org.
16 Curt Anderson, "FBI Adds to
17 Dennis J. Kucinich, http://www.kucinich.house.gov/
18 "A Terrorist Walks,"
19 John Maxwell, "Common Sense," The
20 Jim McDermott, http://www.house.gov/mcdermott/sp070503.shtml
22 "There are no good terrorists," MiamiHerald.com, posted April 30, 2007.
23 Robert Collier, "Charges dropped for Cuban militant," San Francisco Chronicle, May 10, 2007.
24 Eugene Robinson, "Free Ride for a Likely Killer,"
25 "Slain Pilot Daughter: Jail Posada," Prensa Latina, May 9.
26 Bill Delahunt, http://www.house.gov/delahunt/posadaletter.pdf