Apr 26, 2005

Viewpoint | One of Our Own Terrorists Comes in from the Cold | By Jerry Meldon | published in The Tufts Daily April 26, 2005

“What a fix he’s in!”

I can hear it now. A Miami attorney pleads on behalf of 78-year-old Luis Posada Carriles, who four weeks ago emerged from the shadows to seek political asylum in South Florida.

“Protect him from the brutal prisons of Fidel Castro and that Venezuelan Castro wannabe Hugo Chavez [both of whom want him handed over to face murder charges]!! After what this great patriot and freedom fighter has done for the United States, he deserves the Medal of Honor, not extradition!”

Indeed, Posada has done a lot for Uncle Sam since the CIA trained him for the abortive 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of his native Cuba. In the ensuing four-plus decades, both on and off the Washington payroll, he has waged a bloody personal vendetta against the Cuban patriarch, both directly through an endless series of assassination plots, and indirectly through bombings including the 1976 sabotage of a Cuban airliner that claimed 73 innocent lives. In 1985, after bribing his way out of a Venezuelan prison where he had been incarcerated for the Cuban plane bombing, Posada took charge of the Reagan team’s contra supply operations in El Salvador.

In light of that record, and the precedents set by our current president and his father, which are itemized below, you have to admit that Posada has a case for asylum:

* In 1990, after intense lobbying by Jeb Bush – which 10 years later won votes in Miami’s Little Havana that would help swing a presidential election – George H. W. Bush Sr.’s Justice Department shut down INS proceedings to expel the most notorious of all anti-Castro bombers, Dr. Orlando Bosch – after the Cuban-born pediatrician served time in Venezuela for co-masterminding the Cubana plane crash.

* On Christmas Eve 1992, the same President Bush, then a lame duck, pardoned Iran-Contra conspirators, including former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams. In so doing, Bush Sr. salvaged both his hide and the family’s good name. Iran-Contra Special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh planned to pressure Weinberger into disavowing Bush’s claim that, while Reagan’s VP, he had been out of the Iran-Contra conspiracy loop. The pardoned Abrams, who had admitted lying to Congress, is deputy National Security Advisor under George W. Bush.

In fact, the Bush Jr. White House has been the nation’s leading employer of Iran-Contra conspirators, rehabilitated and otherwise. Recall the brief stint of Reagan’s indicted National Security Advisor Admiral John Poindexter. At Bush Jr.’s Homeland Security agency, before press exposure of his brainchild, the Total Information Awareness Project, he put fear in the hearts of privacy-cherishing Americans.

And just last week Congress rubber-stamped Bush Jr.’s nominee as National Intelligence Director John Negroponte. As Reagan’s ambassador to Honduras in the ’80s, the man whose task it will now be to reform the CIA coordinated contra actions in close collaboration with the same CIA and Honduran generals knee-deep in cocaine trafficking and death squad slayings.

So it’s understandable that Posada – who as recently as August was languishing behind bars for one of his Castro assassination plots when a lame duck Panamanian president … pardoned him – considers this a good time to hang up his grenades.

I believe Posada took the pardon as a signal that – despite what his lawyer might say – he’s not in a fix.

No, I think Posada believes the fix is in.