The US has refused to extradite Luis Posada Carriles, the self-confessed terrorist, to Venezuela to face trial for the bombing of a civilian airliner which killed 73 passengers.
Many writers and critics have written of the hypocrisy of the Bush regime, which proclaims a worldwide war against terrorists and those who protect them, while simultaneously sheltering and protecting a life-long terrorist like Posada.
The implications of the US providing a safe haven to a terrorist like Posada go far beyond the issue of hypocrisy and even Posada. Wwhat is at stake is much more basic a system of power, terror networks, strategic policies and the deep structures which inform and sustain the US empire.
Posada was and is only one of a long series of terrorists who were or are instrumental agents of US destabilization campaigns. Miami is full of ex-Contras from Nicaragua, ex-paramilitary death squad leaders from Haiti, Colombia, Vietnam and El Salvador. Today Chechen terrorists, who were responsible for the murder of 323 schoolchildren and teachers in Russia are living on US stipends in Cambridge, Massachusetts. These terrorists are part of a system of power. They work for numerous US overseas secret police apparatus (CIA, DEA, DIA, NSC, SEAL etc) which engage in assassinations and sabotage to further US imperial interests.
The terrorist Posada is a symbol of the US international para-state: to extradite him means that all the current terrorists working for the US would lose confidence in their paymaster. Facing a choice between complying with international law and a bilateral extradition treaty with Venezuela or retaining the “confidence” and providing security of its terror networks, Washington has chosen the latter. Employing terrorists is a two-edged sword Posada depends on US protection and Washington depends on Posada to remain silent about his long standing ties with the US terror network. Abiding to international law puts into question the deeper structures of US imperial power, the violent face behind the façade of democratic propaganda.
Posada, the self-confessed terrorist, is not a “bad memory” he is a reminder today that torture at Abu-Ghraib, Guantanamo and the dozens of torture centers around the world are part of a world-wide US terror network: The terror network operates with thousands of agents in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Colombia, Chechnya and elsewhere, who pursue a common purpose destroying anti-imperialist movements to further US world domination. The campaign to force the US government to extradite Posada strikes a blow not only against a despicable assassin but puts on trial the international terror network of which he was an essential part and which has grown to nightmarish proportions in the past 5 years.
By granting Posada asylum, the State Department would be providing him with impunity. It is a message designed for all of its terrorist collaborators whether they be Baghdad bombers, Kurdish assassins, or Afghan narco-warlords, who murder for the empire if they are defeated by the national liberation movements, as in Cuba, they can safely emigrate to the US there will always be a sanctuary, impunity and a fat retirement pension.
JAMES PETRAS, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50 year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in brazil and argentina and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org