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Julie Webb-Pullman: Silencing The LAMBS

Latin America’s Monstrous Bomber and Slaughterer freed - in case he disses the dirt on his continued ‘work’ for the CIA.

Silencing The LAMBS

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Super-judge, Bush-appointed Federal Judge Kathleen Cardone, saving the day for the CIA. This intrepid defender of the values her Attorney-General Alberto Gonzalez holds so dear, like the separation of powers between the judiciary and the executive, stunned one and all last week with her sheer audacity in dismissing immigration fraud charges against notorious terrorist Luis Posada Carriles - because transcripts of taped conversations he had with INS officials were inaccurate and unreliable! Because the interpreter wasn’t up to scratch!!

Clearly this superhero and her White House friends are far too busy fighting the “war in error” in any country with oil reserves or a gas pipeline to bother with anything so mundane as having said tapes transcribed again, or even, God forbid, just repeating the interview!! After all, the gentleman in question was only directly responsible for the deaths of 73 people on a civilian airplane he masterminded the bombing of in 1976 – the first terrorist act against a civilian airliner in the world. After all, The United Nations Security Council Resolution 60/288 - Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy Plan of Action only requires that member countries “deny safe haven and bring to justice, on the basis of the principle of extradite or prosecute, any person who supports, facilitates, participates or attempts to participate in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts...” (Annex - II, 2) and that they “ensure the apprehension and prosecution or extradition of perpetrators of terrorist acts, in accordance with the relevant provisions of national and international law, in particular human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law.” (Annex - II, 3) After all, the Montreal Convention only requires that perpetrators of attacks on civilian airliners be either extradited, or prosecuted in the State in which they are caught, as if the crime occurred there.

Not that the blowing up of the Cuban civilian airliner was Posada Carriles’ only terrorist activity – he was also responsible for a series of terrorist attacks on tourist facilities in Havana in the 1990’s, killing Italian businessman Fabio de Celmo and injuring scores more, as well as participating in attacks in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Colombia, and Panama, where he was caught in 2000, tried, found guilty and sentenced to 9 years imprisonment for endangering public safety.
(see and for more details)

All of Posada Carriles’ terrorist activities at least were known to, and often approved, if not under the auspices of various US authorities and administrations, according to since-declassified FBI documents. Despite ‘officially’ stopping work with the CIA in 1976, his links with the Nicaragua Contra operation in the 80’s and even more recent disclosures in relation to Havana bombings in 1997 suggest his relationship with the CIA has been ongoing, making him the sort of person that US immigration authorities just might consider kryptonite, not only in terms of their own immigration and criminal laws, but also taking into consideration relevant international instruments, and the much-vaunted war on terror.

Methinks Super-judge is off the planet, and all that time on Krypton has taken its toll on her powers – of reason. How else could she come up with statements of such abject stupidity as "The realm of this case is not, as some have suggested, terrorism. It is immigration fraud," as if Posada Carriles’ FBI-accorded status as one of the most dangerous terrorists in the Western Hemisphere is completely irrelevant to his desirability as an immigrant !! As if the US immigration authorities have no justification, either under US or international proscriptions, for questioning him on these aspects of his life when interviewing to make a determination regarding asylum or citizenship!! Which bit of deny safe haven and bring to justice, on the basis of the principle of extradite or prosecute, any person who supports, facilitates, participates or attempts to participate in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts... doesn’t she think is relevant to the immigration authorities in this case??!! They at least seemed to have been aware of the “serious adverse foreign policy consequences” of failing to do so.

Even if there may have been problems with the interpreter, and with the transcripts, how on earth is the protection of the public, let alone the integrity of US immigration and national and international law, furthered by dismissing the case, and setting free a known and wanted terrorist? Lesson One, potential citizens of the US – use false documents to enter the country, lie through your teeth to immigration, have a heinous criminal history preferably of terrorism, and you’re IN!! (So THAT’S where Osama Bin Laden is hiding out...)

The precedents relied on by Super-judge in throwing out Posada’s case all related to cases of fraud or tax evasion. Surely even a crumbed and deep-fried Kryptonite brain can make the qualitative distinction between a bit of local white-collar crime, and international terrorism resulting in the deaths of scores of innocent civilians in several countries, and appreciate the consequent legal and moral implications under international obligations, such as United Nations Security Council Resolution A/RES/60/288, and the Montreal Convention, not to mention the rights of the victims and their families to see the perpetrator brought to justice?

But that’s the thing about superheroes – ordinary rules, like having to extradite or prosecute terrorists, just don’t apply to them. Venezuela applied for Posada Carriles’ extradition as soon as he was detained in the US, as he is a Venezuelan citizen who escaped from jail there in 1985 whilst incarcerated for the Cuban airliner bombing. However although the El Paso immigration judge who ruled on his illegal entry in 2005 ordered Posada’s deportation, he specified that it should be to any country except Cuba or Venezuela, on the grounds that he would face torture in these countries. What evidence is there for this? None whatsoever! In fact there are no recorded violations by Cuba and only one by Venezuela under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and that related to a case that occurred before the Chavez government took power. In addition, unlike the United States, Venezuela recognises the competence of the CAT Committee under Articles 21 and 22, which enables the Committee to receive complaints from individuals and other States who claim to be victims of its violations – Venezuela is formally open to international scrutiny regarding torture, whilst the United States is not. By contrast, the US has more reservations to CAT than a CAT has lives! For example, the reservation that “the United States understands the phrase, `where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture,' as used in article 3 of the Convention, to mean `if it is more likely than not that he would be tortured' nicely sidesteps having to prove that the State concerned, in this case Venezuela, has “a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights” – which clearly Venezuela, and Cuba, do not.

Unlike the United States, Venezuela’s sole concern in this matter is to be a good world citizen and observe its obligations to national and international law by implementing its own “effective and rule of law-based national criminal justice system” to “ ensure, in accordance with our obligations under international law, that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in support of terrorist acts is brought to justice, on the basis of the principle to extradite or prosecute, with due respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” as demanded by Security Council Resolution 60/288 Annex IV, 4.

But Super-judge is a super-hero, and superheroes are always fighting on the side of right, aren’t they? Well, that’s where it seems they got their capes in a twist. There’s right and left, which is nice and simple and even quite little kids can usually figure it out, and there’s right and wrong, which is a bit more complex but even quite little kids can usually figure that out too. Where the Super-simples went wrong was thinking that the right is always right, the left is never right, so it’s all right to make the left right even if it’s wrong, but never EVER admit the right is wrong.

Super-judge understands this, even if you don’t. She knows that if the immigration fraud case proceeded to trial there was a good chance that the dirty linen of this terrorist’s continuing links with George Bush Senior and Juniors, the CIA, and all the other snot-rags colluding with successive US mis-administrations would finally be aired and their campaign of state terror would be revealed for what it was – and still is. And that just isn’t right, even if it’s not wrong.

Super-judge may have silenced the LAMBS in the immigration courts, but the Super-Democrats are stirring, and if I am not wrong, and there is so much as a spur of spine left in the US Legislature and a shred of appreciation of their obligations under international law, Posada Carriles will soon be either facing extradition to Venezuela, or prosecution in the United States criminal courts for terrorism and murder – and I’ll be right AND left!!


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