Hypocrisy in Bush’s War on Terror

The Case of Luis Posada Carriles  

by Logan Puck

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(“There’s not much difference, I would like to live in Miami too…”)

“If you harbor a terrorist, if you support a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, you are just as guilty as the terrorists.” -President George Bush, August 26, 2003

“For me, there are two classes of terrorism, one that is condemned and another that is pardoned.”      –Panamanian President Martín Torrijos

One of the main tenets of the Bush Administration’s fight against global terrorism has been targeting foreign governments known to be harboring terrorists. George W. Bush’s claims that Saddam Hussein harbored terrorists was used as one of the pretexts to invade Iraq. Nevertheless, anti-Castro Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles, a man the Justice Department recently has labeled “a dangerous criminal and an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots,” lives freely within our borders. Posada’s life is full of sordid affairs including assassination plots, civilian bombings, illegal smuggling rings and more. The Bush Administration is fully aware of Posada’s diabolical past; however, it apparently has no plans to prosecute him for his crimes, thus exhibiting the blatant double standard and hypocrisy involved in Bush’s “War on Terror.”

Luis Posada Carriles receives special treatment because the U.S. government has tacitly supported his past acts of terror. Posada served as a CIA agent from 1961 to 1967 and continued regular contact with the agency until 1976. He was trained in demolitions, a skill he later utilized with deadly results. In 1976, Posada allegedly orchestrated the bombing of Cubana Airlines flight 455 that killed 73 passengers, many of whom were teenage members of the Cuban national fencing team. It has been called “the worst terrorist attack in Cuban history.” Posada was arrested by Venezuelan authorities and placed in a minimum security prison to await trial. In 1985, Posada escaped after spending nine years in jail despite before never being formally convicted or acquitted. The details of the escape are vague, however it’s rumored that the prison guards were bribed by a member of the anti-Castro Cuban-American exile community. Afterwards, Posada immediately went to El Salvador where he began illegally supplying the Contras in Nicaragua through a program financed by the Reagan Administration.

In the 1990s, Posada spent time in Central America and the Caribbean devising attacks on the Cuban tourist industry, including a 1997 bombing of a Cuban hotel that resulted in the death of an Italian tourist. In a 1998 interview with a New York Times reporter, Posada publicly claimed responsibility for the attack and showed little remorse for the casualties involved. He has never been charged for the attack.

In 2000, Posada was arrested in Panama for plotting to explode a bomb in the University of Panama’s Conference Hall, where Fidel Castro was scheduled to speak in front of hundreds of people. Posada was charged with endangering public safety and received an eight-year sentence in April 2004. However, just four months later, Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso pardoned Posada a few days before she left office. Martín Torrijos, Moscoso’s successor criticized the pardon, declaring, “For me, there are two classes of terrorism, one that is condemned and another that is pardoned.”

In March 2005, Posada snuck into the United States in hopes of obtaining political asylum for having served as a past CIA agent. The Bush Administration decided to cast a blind eye to the situation as the State Department declared they were unaware Posada was in the country, even though Posada’s lawyer declared his arrival weeks beforehand. Two months after illegally entering the country, Posada forced the government’s hand by holding a press conference to deny the accusations directed towards him. Posada was subsequently arrested with seven counts of immigration fraud.

The Venezuelan government immediately filed multiple extradition requests for Posada so that he could be properly put to trial for the 1976 airliner bombing. According to a bilateral agreement signed in 1922, the United States is bound by law to either extradite Posada to Venezuela or try him for the same charges in the United States. Nevertheless, a judge ruled that Posada could not be extradited to Venezuela for fear that he would be tortured. No efforts were made to properly try Posada within U.S. borders either.

Instead, Posada was sentenced to go to trial for the immigration charges on May 11, 2007. The case, however, was dismissed by Judge Kathleen Cardone, who wrote in her 38- page ruling, “In addition to engaging in fraud, deceit and trickery, this court finds the government’s tactics in this case are so grossly shocking and so outrageous as to violate the universal sense of justice. As a result, this court is left with no choice but to dismiss the indictment.” Posada was hence released and currently lives freely in the United States to the outrage of citizens across the world.

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Posada’s newfound freedom completely contradicts the Bush Aadministration’s commitment to combating terrorism and sets a dangerous precedent for other nations to follow. The government’s refusal to extradite Posada or properly try him exhibits their willingness to harbor those who murder and terrorize civilians. The Bush Administration cannot expect foreign nations to prosecute or hand over suspected terrorists hiding within their borders when they blatantly flaunt international treaties and UN Security Council Resolution 1373 which “calls upon states to cooperate, particularly through bilateral and multilateral arrangements and agreements, to prevent and suppress terrorist attacks and take action against perpetrators of such acts.” The United States government must restore its credibility on in the War on Terror by prosecuting [or extraditing] Posada and bringing justice for the victims of his fatal attacks.

–Logan Puck

TAKE ACTION:

  • Write a letter to your local newspaper expressing your disgust with the U.S. government’s handling of Luis Posada Carriles and its contradictory stance towards harboring terrorists. A major reason why Posada has not been prosecuted is because most Americans have never heard of him or his case. Change will not occur until the general public is made aware of the Bush Administration’s complicity with allowing an admitted terrorist to live freely on our national soil.
  • Write a letter to your representative and or senators expressing your concern about Posada’s release and demand he either be extradited to Venezuela or be tried in the United States for his involvement in the 1976 bombing of Cubana flight 455. (It’s easy to write your representative online and write your senator online)

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5 Responses

  1. Logan, thanks for posting this. Clearly a lot of research went into it.

    I don’t think that Posada should be sent back to Venezuela at the moment considering the high probability that he would be tortured. On the other hand, the hypocrisy and injustice of allowing him to live freely here isn’t the right answer either.

    Makes me think about how powerful the anti-castro cubans in Florida are. No politician wants to rock that boat it seems, even in the name of fighting terror.

    Posada is further evidence of the shallow rhetoric that this administration has spouted in order to justify so much injustice and stupidity. Like Torrijos said, the US War on Terror is discretionary.

  2. What do you mean there is a high probability that he would be tortured in Venezuela?

    This article exposes Bush’s rhetoric on the War on Terror as complete hypocrisy. It is interesting to compare this situation to how the U.S. handled calling for the extradition if Osama bin Laden. After 9/11, Bush gave an ultimatum to Afghanistan demanding that they turn over bin Laden. Afghanistan replied by asking for evidence of his crimes (we now know that the U.S. had no clear-cut evidence linking him to the 9/11 attacks). The U.S. responded to this by invading the country.

    One can imagine the outrage if Venezuela acted in this manner.

    Bush’s rhetoric on supporting terrorism, however, is straight propaganda even aside from the blatant contradictions of the U.S. harboring terrorists like Posada.

    The War on Terror is absurd. The U.S. isn’t fighting terrorism of any kind. Even if you limit terrorism to mean terrorism committed by official U.S. enemies, America is doing nothing to combat it. As one might expect, the War on Terror does the opposite of it’s name by unleashing terror on it’s victims while inciting increased hatred and terrorism from others.

  3. […] and an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots,” lives freely within our borders. … https://proposetochangetheworld.wordpress.com/2007/11/28/there-are-two-classes-of-terrorism-one-that-… change the world […]

  4. Great post– I know I am a little late on the comment but I thought I would throw one in.

    I think “hypocrisy” may be the wrong word for describing the decision to release Posada. The Bush administration has followed a very consistent policy of not trying terrorists for their crimes. The Bush administration has engaged in a very deliberate program of decriminalized terrorism– defining it in terms of “war” rather than “crime.” We are told that terrorism poses such a severe threat to our national security, the court system cannot be trusted with the prosecution of its perpetrators. Only the executive can be trusted to determine who is a threat and who is not. The President insists that only he posesses the unfettered authority to determine who is and is not a terrorist.

    The detention of innocent individuals at Guantanamo shows why alleged terrorists need the legal system to have their interests protected. The release of Posada shows why the victims of terrorism need that same protection.

  5. thanks blake! another show of how much this administration has corroded the system of checks and balances–concentrating more and more power in the executive.

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