Posada goes free, the US gets exposed for its utter hypocrisy

Originally published 5/10/07:

This is nuts.  We let the biggest terrorist in this hemisphere go (excluding Bush and Cheney) scott-free.  Truly we are all about a war-on-terrorism (not).

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/89d4dbe6-fe30-11db-bdc7-000b5df10621.html

Posada ruling irks Cuba and Venezuela

By Benedict Mander in Caracas

Published: May 9 2007 14:25 | Last updated: May 9 2007 18:54

A US judge’s dismissal of charges against Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban militant, after the emergence of “overwhelming” evidence that the US government manipulated the case has incensed both Venezuela and Cuba.

The former Central Intelligence Agency operative was on trial for lying to US immigration officials about how he entered the country after fleeing a Venezuelan prison where he was awaiting trial for the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976, which killed 73 people.

 

Cuba and Venezuela, which accuse Mr Posada of terrorism, have demanded his extradition. The US has refused, saying he could face torture.

“We are indignant about the way the White House has manipulated the judicial system. It has the power to charge Posada for terrorism and to certify him as a terrorist but instead they chose to go to court arguing that he is simply a liar,” said José Pertierra, a lawyer for the Venezuelan government.

“They investigated these lies so sloppily that it is almost as though they were inviting the judge to acquit Posada so that they can blame the decision on the judiciary instead of themselves,” he said, adding that “if the US was at all serious about the war on terror”, it would extradite Mr Posada to Venezuela or prosecute him in the US, “not for lying, but for murder”.

“This case is a big embarrassment for the Bush administration,” said Geoff Thale, Cuba programme director at the Washington Office for Latin America. “They are caught between a rock and a hard place.”

On one side are the conservative Cuban Americans, to whom Mr Bush is indebted politically, owing to their decisive role in his 2000 election victory, and who want to see Mr Posada freed.

But Mr Thale said: “It will be seriously embarrassing internationally if Posada returns to a hero’s welcome in Miami.

“The US will be accused – with good reason – of hypocrisy and double standards on terrorism.”

Mr Pertierra said the US position was “untenable” and that Venezuela would continue to exert pressure on the US through multilateral institutions such as the United Nations and Organisation of American States.

Mr Pertierra hoped that the US would be forced to prosecute Mr Posada for murder.

“If not, we have the most ­dangerous terrorist in the western hemisphere getting away scot-free.”

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