Each day in observing the Bush administration further implode I feel as if I am watching a sick comedy routine. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez gets caught fibbing as he explains the purge of Justice Department Attorneys; co-architect of the illegal Iraq invasion and occupation, and then World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz gets exposed in an unbelievable ethics violation, leading to his resignation; the Bush administration, in the cover of darkness, works to water down international declarations to address global warming despite significant evidence of it negative planetary impact?the list is almost endless.
To add to this sick comedy, we now have the dismissal of immigration violation charges against notorious right-wing Cuban exile (and alleged terrorist) Luis Posada Carrilles by a Texas judge due to Bush administration bungling. Posada Carrilles, as you may know, has been suspected of involvement in (if not orchestrating) the bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner killing all passengers and crew. He has boasted of his involvement in the bombing of hotels in Cuba in which at least one civilian was killed, as his contribution toward a plan of wrecking the Cuban tourist industry.
Brought up on charges centering on immigration violations rather than terrorism, Posada Carrilles seems to have a friend in the Bush administration; at least that is the way it looks given the manner in which the Administration approached this case. Contrast the Posada Carrilles case, for instance, with the very questionable case brought against alleged Muslim terrorists in Florida who supposedly plotted to attack the Sears Tower in Chicago. Caught in what can politely be called a sting operation, this hapless group was convicted in the media prior to any in depth investigation. The Bush administration held up this case to remind us of the alleged threat to our safety. What, one may ask, about the safety of Cuban civilians with Posada Carrilles walking free, Mr. Bush?
Posada Carrilles is not the victim of a sting operation but rather of his own covert activity, sometimes at the direct service of US foreign objectives?such as in the Iran/Contra scandal?other times at the service of his own militaristic ambitions against the people of Cuba. In either case, he clearly fits the Bush administration?s stated definition of a terrorist yet the Bush administration is treating him more akin to the violator of a series of unpaid parking tickets rather than as a master criminal.
More than anything else, the Posada Carrilles case demonstrates the disingenuous nature of the so-called war against terrorism. Yet it would be wrong to single out the Bush administration as the only perpetrator of such cynical activities. Whether it was the use by the US government of the UNITA guerrillas in Angola; of the Contras in Nicaragua; of the bi-partisan terrorist attacks against Cuba since 1959, the US government has repeatedly been fast and loose when it comes to holding a clear and internationally recognized standard in defining terrorists and terrorist activity.
The handling of the Posada Carrilles case also stands in marked contrast to the case of the so-called ?Cuban 5?, imprisoned in the USA for their alleged work on behalf of the Cuban government in investigating and uncovering anti-Cuban terrorist plots here in the USA. Thus, when the Cuban government provided information to the USA regarding terrorist activity directed at Cuba, the US government used this to identify alleged Cuban agents and seek their speedy imprisonment. Nevertheless, Posada Carrilles walks virtually free.
I wish that this were a comedy. Fiction could not be weirder. Reality, in this case, is both infuriating and deadly.
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a labor and international activist and writer. He is the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum and can be reached at [email protected]