‘War on terrorism’ is merely a political tool
by Burt Cohen
July 10, 2007
Reprinted from SeacoastOnline
At the June 3 Democratic presdidential debate, John Edwards was right when he called the war on terrorism “a bumper sticker policy.” It’s no more than cynical, empty rhetoric.
The Bush-Cheney administration is intentionally letting a known terrorist run free. Our members of Congress can and should do something about it.
I only recently learned of Luis Posada. He’s been called the Osama bin Laden of the west. Congressman William Delahunt recently said, “The release of Mr. Luis Posada puts into question our commitment to fight terrorism.”
The story has somehow been left out of the mainstream press. Luis Posada masterminded the first terrorist attack on a civilian airplane. It was in 1976 and all 73 people on board Cubana Flight 455 were killed.
You just got a clue as to the administration’s motivation: Cubana Airlines. It’s called power politics. The reality of this little-known case displays the “war on terrorism” as merely a political tool, used to keep people in fear so more power can amass to the executive and more lucrative contracts to special weapons makers. It truly is sickening.
Here’s the story. FBI and CIA documents show that Posada did participate in the attack. He was arrested, charged, and convicted of the bombing and then somehow escaped from a Venezuelan jail in 1985. He fled to that place where so many Republican votes are: Miami.
Despite legal treaties which require our federal judicial system to yield to a extradition order from countries like Venezuela, the Bush Cheney administration chose not to do so.
On May 8, after an apparently intentionally weak case, not on terrorism but on an immigration violation, charges were dismissed and Posada was released. This despite the fact that FBI agent Thomas Rice swore in a June 2005 affidavit that “the FBI is unable to rule out the possibility that Posada Carriles poses a threat to the national security of the United States.”
Just before his release from a U.S. court, the U.S. Justice Department had urged the court to keep him in jail because he was “an unrepentant criminal and an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks.” The Bush team worked around that.
When he was released on May 8, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone reluctantly dismissed the weak charges against Posada, saying “the Government engaged in fraud, deception, and trickery.” She found the government’s tactics “grossly shocking and so outrageous as to violate the universal sense of justice.”
At the core of this confusion is the fact that Posada worked for the CIA for at least 25 years, which would put him on the agency’s payroll when he pulled off the terrorist airline bombing. Posada intended to present evidence of his CIA work as a defense in his case. Guess who was head of the CIA in 1976: George Herbert Walker Bush. A little clearer now?
The Los Angeles Times, in a recent editorial, said the release of Posada “exposed Washington to legitimate charges of hypocrisy in the war on terror.” Hundreds of prisoners are held at Guantanamo without any due process while decisions at the highest level let Posada go free.
The Cuban community in Miami is a highly sought-after political prize. Clearly politics is undermining any real war on terrorism. As of today, Posada is a free man. But it’s not over. A resolution has been introduced in congress, HR 425, which calls for certification of Posada as a terrorist and to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Our members of Congress, while they steadfastly oppose the war in Iraq do support a real war on terrorism. Citizens of New Hampshire who care about justice and fighting terrorists should contact Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter to urge their support for this upcoming resolution. Let’s get serious about fighting terrorism.
Burt Cohen is a resident of New Castle and former state senator representing Hampton.