President Bush attends fundraisers in Miami he certainly
needs to watch out for terrorists. But no worries
- they're likely to be on the invited guest list.
Orlando Bosch and Virgilio Paz are just two prominent
Miami Cubans who were members of a US sponsored terrorist
gang active when Bush Sr was their boss as head of
the CIA.(1) Like his father
and brother Jeb, George W. Bush too is politically
associated with these unrepentant terrorists.(2)
Two other members of the gang, Luis Posada Carriles
and Guillermo Novo, are currently on trial on terrorist
charges in Panama.
than strengthen the rule of law President Bush has
systematically trashed the very norms and institutions
that uphold it. "Our terrorists" - the imperial
variety - are all right. No need to target them in
the "war on terror" which only applies to
"foreign terrorists". "Our terrorists"
harrass the current convenient enemy - formerly in
Nicaragua or Angola, always Cuba, now Venezuela -
deal in drugs to pay for the networks, and serve as
enforcers when the populations in other imperial "democracies"
get out of hand.(3)
the summer of 2001, three Irishmen were arrested in
Colombia and accused of terrorism as they left a zone
controlled by the FARC armed opposition group during
a truce period. A look at the background to their
plight exposes the US-uk coalition's hypocrisy on
terrorism. Every sign is that the three men, now in
prison in Bogota, are victims of a crude frame-up.
They insist they were on a fact finding visit carrying
video equipment so as to record material for use with
organizations promoting peace back in Ireland.
men - Niall Connolly, Martin MacAuley and James Monaghan
- are all republicans who support the Good Friday
peace agreement in Ireland. MacAuley and Monaghan
are ex-political prisoners. Both have promoted conflict
resolution work since their release from prison. Niall
Connolly is a carpenter who has worked in community
development and solidarity activities in Latin America
since the early 1990s.
they were arrested, Sinn Fein was making steady electoral
progress throughout Ireland, and the Unionist leadership
in Belfast was in trouble. At the time, the Ulster
Unionists and British government were using the issue
of disarmament to stall full implementation of the
Good Friday peace agreement. In that context, the
men's arrest was timely and convenient.
death squad and drugs kingpins - the velvet touch
the treatment of these three Irish soldarity tourists
with that accorded to Carlos Castaño, Salvatore
Mancuso and Juan Carlos Sierra, leaders of the United
Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC), notorious paramilitary
allies of the Colombian military. In 1997, the US
Attorney General accused them of arranging to ship
17 tons of cocaine to the US and Europe. But no practical
steps have been taken to arrest the three.
November 2002 it was revealed that the Colombian government
under President Uribe was in "ceasefire"
negotiations with Castaño and the AUC. Uribe
has close links to these narcotics dealing murderers.(4)
Opposition Colombian politicians see the talks with
the AUC as a preliminary to the formal integration
of the death squads into the Colombian military. This
move has the blessing of the Bush regime.
on terrorism bonanza
is just the latest corrupt and repressive Colombian
leader to receive US support since the 1960s. With
an uncooperative popular government in oil-rich Venezuela
and a voracious need to control oil resources for
its profligate world-polluting economy, the US government
has destined $98 million to help protect a Colombian
oil pipeline. A total of US$1.5 billion in military
aid has been scheduled for the period 2002-2004. Colombia
is the third-largest recipient of U.S. military aid
after Israel and Egypt.
Colombia, poverty indicators are among the worst in
Latin America. One per cent of the elite owns 55%
of the land. 15.7 million of Colombia's 44 million
inhabitants are children, 39% of them in poverty.
The latest figures from UNICEF conclude that 67% of
the total population live below the poverty line (80%
in rural areas). 11 million people live in extreme
poverty, unable even to feed themselves properly.
the country goes hungry, President Uribe plays the
"war on terrorism" card, tricking billions
of dollars of aid from United States taxpayers to
attack his domestic opponents. Similarly, as part
of the equally bogus "war on drugs" the
US has waged widespread chemical and biological warfare
against hapless rural populations - to no avail. Drug
production in Colombia has actually increased.(5)
Here, as in Iraq, oil industry insiders like Vice-President
Dick Cheney, President Bush and National Security
Adviser Condoleeza Rice unscrupulously use US military
muscle and aid to promote private business interests.
Drugs and terrorism are convenient pretexts.
US politicians are aware of the manipulation. In March
2002, US Representative Ron Paul member of the House
International Relations Committee and the Subcommittee
on the Western Hemisphere spoke against a bill authorizing
expansion of US intervention in Colombia, "I
was only made aware of the existence of this legislation
this morning, just a couple of hours before I was
expected to vote on it. There was no committee markup
of the legislation, nor was there any notice that
this legislation would appear on today's suspension
calendar.....This legislation represents a very serious
and significant shift in United States policy toward
Colombia. It sets us on a slippery slope toward unwise
military intervention in a foreign civil war that
has nothing to do with the United States."
Bogota 3 case - the facts and the spin
September 11th 2001, the case against Connolly, McAuley
and Monaghan became a small but significant component
of the US-uk spinning of "the war on terrorism".
The facts of their case are simple. They are accused
of traveling using false identity papers and training
anti-government FARC guerrillas. They admit the first
accusation but vehemently deny the second. The three
insist they used false documents because they feared
being harassed had they used their real identities
main charge is that of training FARC members in explosives
and mortar technology. Soon after their arrest, US
embassy personnel tested them and their belongings
for explosive traces. The tests used equipment requiring
special care with both calibration and with anti-contamination
procedures to produce trustworthy results. These procedures
were not followed and the tests showed positive. Subsequent
tests carried out by the Colombian authorities using
correct procedures produced opposite results.
only other evidence presented against the three is
witness testimony from two young men alleged to be
former FARC members and who were under Colombian army
"protection" . Both so-called witnesses
testified earlier this year that at different times
between 1998 and 2001 they witnessed explosives and
mortar training by the three men. But all three defendants
have solid, respectable alibi evidence that places
them outside Colombia on those dates.
technical evidence was presented in the case to justify
claims of "skills transfer" of arms technology.
There is no hard evidence against the three to contradict
their explanation of their visit to the FARC zone
at a time when the ceasefire with the government was
still in place. But they are still in prison in Bogotá
and face long sentences if convicted. They are victims
of "war on terrorism" political theatre
orchestrated through a lazy, complacent news media.
"war on terrorism" is the US government's
justification for pre-emptive military attacks it
deems necessary to promote US business and economic
interests. Some governments collaborate out of arrogance
as supporting bit-players, like the administrations
of Tony Blair in the UK and Jose Maria Aznar in Spain.
Others cave in to US pressure, like the Irish government.
This deep cynicism and hypocrisy are nothing new.
inequality in Colombia has caused forty years of bitter,
miserable conflict - a catastrophe with lessons for
everyone. The three Irishmen under arrest in Bogota
took an interest in Colombia before the "war
on terrorism" confidence trick really began.
Tony Blair's government has used the men's predicament
to deceive people about British policy in Ireland
just as he, Aznar and George Bush have lied about
Iraq. Connolly, MacAuley and Monaghan risk becoming
forgotten pawns in this cynical geo-political propaganda
Solo is an activist based in Central America and can
be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Hernando Calvo Ospina, "Pinochet,
la CIA y los terroristas cubanos", 23 de agosto
del 2003, www.rebelion.org.
Ospina's essay summarises evidence from many reliable
sources that Bosch, Novo, Paz, Posada and others
were part of the US/Chilean supported terrorist
gang - at one time authorised by Vernon Walters,
later US representative to the UN - responsible
for the following crimes among many others:
In 1974, the murder of Chilean General Carlos Prats
and his wife in Buenos Aires
* In February 1975 an attack on Chilean exiles Carlos
Altamirano and Volodia Teitelboim in Mexico.
* October 1975, in Rome, an attack against Bernardo
Leighton a Chilean dissident politician.
* March 1976. Failed murder attempt in Costa Rica
against Chilean dissident Pascal Allende.
* August 1976 after failing in a kidnap attempt
on the Cuban ambassador on Buenos Aires, the gang
kidnapped and disappeared two other Cuban diplomats.
* In September 1976, the murder of ex-Chilean Foreign
Minister Orlando Letelier and his American assistant,
Ronni Moffit in Washington.
* In October 1976 the gang bombed a civilian Cuban
airliner causing over 70 deaths.
Orlando Bosch was about to be deported from the
US in 1988. George Bush Sr. blocked it. His son
George W. Bush had Virgilio Paz freed from deportation
custody just before September 11th 2001. Florida
governor Jeb Bush relies on organizations that have
harboured and supported these terrorists - such
as the National Cuban American Foundation - to fund
his re-election campaigns. For the Posada Carriles
connection see the report by Ann Bardach. July 12-13,
1998 New York Times.
Contractors playing increasing role in U.S. drug
war. Tod Robberson DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Sunday,
27 February 2000.
Doing the United States Dirty Work. Israel and the
Colombian paramilitaries. Jeremy Bigwood. Augist
15th 2003 www.rebelion.org
US Biological Terrorism in Colombia. How Dr. Mengele
Might Wage the Drug War. Jeffrey St. Clair. Counterpunch
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