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Wednesday | April 16, 2003

First Abbas in Bahgdad, next Bosch in Miami

I've watched with some amusement the hype around the Baghdad arrest of terrorist Abu Abbas -- as though his capture somehow justifies the death of about 150 US and British troops and countless of uniformed and innocent Iraqis.

Washington savoured Wednesday the arrest of 1980s-era Palestinian terrorist Abu Abbas in Baghdad, calling it a vindication of their decision to invade Iraq.

"When we came into this the Secretary of Defence said one big concern was the nexus between this regime and terrorism. This proves the nexus was there," U.S. Navy Captain Frank Thorp told reporters at war headquarters in Qatar.

Another spokesman, Brigadier-General Vince Brooks, said the capture in Baghdad was proof of U.S. assertions that "the Iraqi regime harboured terrorists and provided safe haven for terrorists."

While quite an unsavory character, Abbas was never a Bin Laden-type figure, and had been marginalized and ineffective the past 15 years in any case. Not exactly the kind of guy you use to justify an $100 billion invasion with thousands of deaths and many thousand more wounded and maimed.

But if harboring terrorists is enough to justify an invasion, then we better fortify our borders against the impending Cuban invasion. For if providing sanctuary to terrorists warrants measures as harsh as war, look no further than Miami, where convicted terrorist Orlando Bosch has been lionized by anti-Castro wackos. Miami's Radio Progreso summarizes:

Back in 1989 Orlando Bosch, one of the two most notorious Cuban-American terrorists (the other is Luis Posada), was in prison in Florida. He had returned from Venezuela and was being held on a parole violation. The United States Justice Department ruled that Bosch should be deported because of his terrorist activities. The deportation order cited FBI and CIA reports that Bosch "has repeatedly expressed and demonstrated a willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death," including 30 acts of sabotage in the United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Panama from 1961 through 1968. In the worst charge against Bosch, 73 people were killed when a bomb blew up a Cuban passenger jet. Acting Associate Attorney General Joe Whitley wrote in his decision to deport Bosch: "The October 6, 1976, Cuban airline bombing was a CORU operation under the direction of Bosch. CORU is the name of Bosch's terrorist outfit." That bombing marked the first time that a civilian passenger jet was turned into a weapon of terrorism.

[...]

By 1989 George Bush the elder had become president. A campaign was launched to get his administration to reverse the Justice Department's decision to deport Bosch. That campaign was successful and Bosch walks free today in Miami. Among the leaders of that effort to turn the convicted terrorist into a hero were Republican Ileana Ros Lehtinen, who was running for Congress, and her campaign manager, Jeb Bush, son of the president.

Convicted terrorist Bosch is pardoned by Bush I, and is considered a hero on the streets of Miami. Bosch wrote the book on using civilian airliners as weapons of terrorism, responsible for the deaths of far more than 100 innocent civilians, yet he received the full support of Jeb Bush (surprise!), Rep. Ros Lehtinen, and just about the entire Florida GOP political establishment. And that's not all, as detailed in this March 31, 2002 op/ed piece in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (no longer available for free online):
Ros-Lehtinen has also urged the release of Valentine Hernandez, whose principal crimes were the murder of other exiles -- exiles who dared to advocate a dialogue with the Castro government. But Ros-Lehtinen thinks he should go free. And neither she nor Gov. Bush, by the way, have ever backed away from their support of Orlando Bosch.

And then there is the case of Luis Posada Carriles, who along with Bosch master-minded the 1976 bombing of the Cuban airliner. He, too, spent time in a Venezuelan prison, but escaped in 1985 and turned up in Central America working in Oliver North's secret Contra operation, along with Felix Rodriguez, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal with close ties to then Vice President Bush.

In 1998, Posada Carriles acknowledged in an interview with The New York Times that he had directed the bombing of a number of hotels in Havana the previous year which had resulted in the death of an Italian tourist. Though Posada Carriles confessed his culpability, no charges were ever filed against him in the U.S. Today, he is in prison in Panama, accused of involvement in a recent assassination plot against Fidel Castro.

Aha! An Italian tourist is murdered, and the US refused to press charges. Kind of the opposite of the Achille Lauro hijacking -- were a US citizen was killed and the Italians let Abbas free.

The Bushes have zero moral ground to stand on. They and their cronies have supported and shielded bloody terrorists that walk free in the streets of Miami, celebrated for their acts. For them to justify the lives of thousands and $100 billion for the capture of Abu Abbas is simply rank hypocrisy. Lest they suddenly develop some sort of moral compass and decide to turn Bosch and his cabal over to the Cuban government or an American tribunal to face justice for their terrorist acts. Best yet, why not send them to Guantanamo? That would be poetic justice indeed.

Posted April 16, 2003 07:10 AM | Comments (184)





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