A War Against Terror?
Copyright © 2005 Jordan White
The US has declared that its campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq are part of an orchestrated “war against terror”. It has used this justification for these events repeatedly in the years since the invasions began.
But is this really the agenda? To stamp out “terror”?
If stamping out terror is really what the US wishes to accomplish, it is missing some very good opportunities to do so.
There are two instances that immediately come to mind.
One is the extradition of known terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. Posada, you see, was accused of being involved in the 1976 bombing of an airplane which killed 73 people. He is also alleged to have attempted to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro in 1998 and, in 1997, to have carried out a hotel bombing in Havana, in which one person died.
Posada escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985 before being tried in civil court. This year, he was apprehended in Miami for illegal entry into the US.
Venezuela would like the US to extradite Posada to stand trial for his alleged crimes.
The US refuses to return Posada, charging him only with illegal entry, a charge similar to that which is used against farm workers in California.
So why does the US continue to hold hundreds of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay who have not even been accused of specific terrorist threats, while Posada, who has at least three serious charges of terrorism levelled at him, not extradited to stand trial in Venezuela?
Possibly this is the explanation: Posada has worked with the US Central Intelligence Agency, and he has worked with the Contras in Nicaragua, when John D. Negroponte, now the head of US intelligence, was ambassador to Honduras, the base camp of the Contras. You might say that Posada is the Man Who Knows Too Much. But, hey, if we want to stamp out terrorism, shouldn’t we at least tackle this one before we deal with those men and boys we’re holding at Gitmo?
Another case in point: In June, 2005, Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan held meetings with President George W. Bush, where the subject of terrorism came up, time and time again.
In the course of the talks, Erdogan brought up the matter of the Kurdish Workers Party, known as the PKK. It seems that this group, which, incidentally, the US has labelled “terrorist”, has been fighting the Turkish government on and off since the 1990’s. It has also been accused of several bombings just this year. What did Erdogan want the US to do about the PKK? Well, it seems that this Kurdish group has bases in Iraq, and, well, he just thought that if the US was all that hot to stop terrorism, and well, as long as it was messing up Iraq anyway, wouldn’t it just welcome the opportunity to clean up these bases and spare Turkey any more of their terrorist tactics?
Why not, indeed?
Well, it seems that the US kind of, you know, likes these folks. You see, the Kurds have “helped out” with the US invasion of Iraq, since the Kurds didn’t like the leadership there, either. (After all, Saddam Hussein was quite fond of killing them.) And the US can use all the friends it can get, in Iraq and just about everywhere else.
So what does all this bode for the dispensation of justice for the folks whose loved ones were killed in the bombing of that Cuban airplane? What does it mean for folks in Havana, whose president’s life was threatened? And for those who witnessed the hotel bombing?
If it would bring them peace of mind to see Posada taken into custody and tried for these crimes, the Bush administration’s response seems to be “too bad”.
And what about the people of Turkey, who are fighting a group the US itself has labelled “terrorist”? What about their need for justice, even as they wonder if they will be the next ones bombed, or if their loved ones will be sent home in coffins?
Their peace of mind is of no concern to the US, either.
That’s because the US is not really involved in a “war against terror”.
It’s involved in building an empire, and it’s the best empire money can buy.
Thanks to: Democracy Now! Free Speech Radio, host Amy Goodman; International ANSWER Coalition; and “Washington Report on Middle East Affairs”, reported by Jon Gorvett.