By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson
By an historical coincidence, both Julian Assange and Luis Posada Carriles were brought before Western courts around the same time in late 2010 and early 2011--Assange in Britain and Posada in the United States. The contrast in their treatment by the U.S.-Anglo system of justice and in their handling by the Western establishment media is enlightening.
Posada, now 82, is a self-confessed terrorist, Bay of Pigs veteran, School of the Americas graduate, and CIA operative who has been credibly placed at two meetings where the plan was hatched for the October 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed all 73 civilians aboard. He also has been implicated in numerous other terrorist acts in which people were killed or injured and property destroyed, and he played a role in the United States' arms-smuggling network in Central America that eventually came to light in the Iran-Contra investigations.
"The CIA taught us everything," Posada told the New York Times in 1998. "They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb, trained us in acts of sabotage." Posada was a star pupil. But as a longtime CIA asset and, until the past decade, the "most notorious commando in the anti-Castro underground," the U.S. justice system has never charged Posada with a crime related to terrorism or the death of civilians, even though a former FBI counterterrorism expert who investigated the Cuban airliner bombing claims that Posada was "up to his eyeballs" in its planning. Surely this is because his killings and bombings were carried out against targets of U.S. policy, and because he almost certainly would have implicated the CIA.
In fact, the U.S. justice system never charged Posada with any kind of offense until early 2007, when a federal grand jury indicted him with the ludicrously lesser charges of making false statements during his naturalization interview two years earlier. After Posada had slipped into Miami's anti-Castro Cuban-exile community in March 2005, he filed for political asylum but then quickly withdrew his application when he recognized that in the aftermath of 9/11 and Bush's "War on Terror," his past activities made him a "hot potato."
But before he could disappear again, he held a news conference in Miami, and Department of Homeland Security agents grabbed him--and ever since he has faced a series of on-again-off-again perjury charges related to his original interview.
With his current trial now underway in a U.S. District Court in El Paso, things have not moved beyond this point, leading one observer, Jose Pertierra, a Washington D.C.-based attorney who represents the Venezuelan government, which since 2005 has sought Posada's extradition to stand trial for the Cuban airliner bombing, to conclude that "all parties are waiting for a biological solution to this case."
As U.S. prosecutor Timothy Reardon told the court at the start of this trial, Posada "can do anything he wants to the Cuban regime." But he lied during his naturalization interview, and one "must play by the rules and tell the truth to become a citizen."
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