by Jayne Lyn Stahl
Nov. 20, 2007
Reprinted from Huffington Post
There is no place like home, or so they say. Just ask Luis Posada Carriles, and more than a thousand people from more than 80 countries, many of whom have been accused of torture, rape, and genocide, and are now taking refuge in the United States to avoid prosecution, according to the Department of Homeland Security. (McClatchy)
Recently declassified documents, obtained by the National Security Archive, show that Posada Carilles, a Cuban exile and former CIA operative, was a key figure in the bombing of a Cuban commercial airline flight in October, 1976. Yet, Posada, called the Osama bin Laden of the Western Hemisphere," spent only 6 months in an immigration detention center, is now a free man in Miami, Florida while Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber," is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of attempting to blow up a commercial airliner, in flight, with a plastic explosive in his shoe.
Mind you,this is not to suggest, for a moment, that Reid doesn't deserve life in prison, but only to ask this simple question: are all terrorists created equally, or are some terrorists more equal than others? Is torture a form of terrorism and, if so, how can we justify granting sanctuary to those who have been indicted in their own countries on charges of war crimes?
While a recent refugee to South Florida, Posada, joins the likes of two Salvoradoran generals who have been living in South Florida for nearly twenty years; former Salvodoran minister of defense, Jose Guillermo Garcia, and Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, past director of the Salvadoran National Guard. Both officers were the target of a lawsuit in federal court in West Palm Beach by an administrator of a free clinic in Washington who as a young doctor, a quarter of a century ago, cared for the poor in his native El Salvador during that country's civil war. Juan Ramogoza Arca asserts that he was seized by the Salvadoran military and, for nearly a month, subjected to such egregious, and insidious practices as electric shocks, sodomy, and waterboarding, as well as being covered by a hood containing calcium oxide. You will recall that the accused generals were part of a military supported, and financed, by the United States government.
What vexes Romagoza and two other plaintiffs who are seeking damages against the generals is that both torturers and their victims have found save haven from justice in Florida, Bush country. What enrages Senator Richard Durbin is that the U.S. has now become the dumping ground of choice for those who have committed the most heinous crimes, principally because we lack the laws necessary to prosecute them.
Ostensibly, the Neo-Con platform of law and order has failed to deliver the kind of legislation that would hold anyone who emigrates to this country, as a means of fleeing justice from their own, accountable for murder, war crimes, and human trafficking. Ironically, it is a Democratic congressman who seeks to correct this flagrant oversight on the part of the Bush regime which has, for the past half dozen years, engaged in the quixotic pseudo-quest to hunt down "terrorists," and those who pose a threat to "national security" while providing shelter for those accused of rape, as well as others, like Luis Posada Carriles, who have done nothing less than bring down a Cuban passenger flight.
Arguably, the larger question is--why is it that Jose Padilla, an American citizen, was detained and subjected to dubious "enhanced alternative" interrogation techniques for years, held for years without being charged, then convicted of plotting to kill terrorists overseas and supporting terrorists while Luis Posada Carriles who has been implicated in "top secret CIA and FBI intelligence reports" (NSA) as being the key figure in orchestrating the bombing of a civilian airliner, thirty years ago, which claimed the lives of all all its passengers and crew, is not being held, or prosecuted? This is merely further proof of this administration's policy of selective prosecution.
Notably, former attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, declined the opportunity to label Posada a "terrorist," and give him all the advantages that comes with such designation, i.e., indefinite incarceration without charge, no access to evidence against one, and access to attorney only after one has confessed. Likewise, last spring, immigration fraud charges against Posada were dismissed. My, my....can it be that Luis Posada Carriles, a man who was involved in the downing of a commercial Cuban airliner long before the USA Patriot Act was a glimmer in John Ashcroft's eyes, is being treated to star treatment because he once worked for the CIA?
Posada Carriles, who has been in this country for two and a half years, has only spent six months in detention despite having been called among "the most prolific purveyors of political violence in recent history." Is it a mere coincidence that Posada, and the Salvadoran generals accused of war crimes and atrocities, are now living the good life in Florida, a state under the umbrella of another Bush? And, more importantly, why is the Bush administration not only allowing Posada to go free, but granting him safe haven, and what does this tell us about bin Laden and his possible relationship with the CIA.
Make no mistake, the so-called war on terror is not about ideology, but expediency. If massve amounts of oil were to be found in Karachi, or nearby, President Musharraf would be hiding from American troops fearing that they would do to him they did to Saddam Hussein.
When speaking to the Federalist Society, on Friday, Republican presidential candidate, and former New York governor during 9/11, Rudy Giuliani, like George H.W. Bush before him, sought to court the conservative wing of his party by promising to appoint more conservative judges who will affirm the right to bear arms, and turn back the clock on Roe v. Wade. Giuliani said "It's this country that's going to save civilization from Islamic terrorism." That's good to know because, for the past several years, a president of his same stars and stripes has made the same claim while giving refuge to those who will someday be seen as the forefathers of terrorism.