Friday, April 18, 2008

Quick and Dirty History of American Terrorism

This will be a somewhat (by my standards) brief (mercifully, considering the subject matter) article.

I will refrain from mentioning state terrorism, like the American support of General Pinochet's coup in Chile in the 1970's, or
the activities of the United Fruit Company in Latin America.

I feel silly posting even a single link to these, as (I hope?) everybody knows these events (and if not, start your google and type in "CIA Allende" and then google "United Fruit Company history").

I will concentrate on just classic terrorism here done on behalf of the American government, and consider only the modern, way past WW2 modern era.

I will use Wikipedia, for ease of use, for ease of reference and because these facts are so well known that they are beyond reproach. I will cite all my sources, and non-Wiki sources will also be used sparingly.

I encourage you, the reader, to do your own research on this subject matter - all it takes is 5 minutes, and an ability to google...

Case 1: Luis Clemente Faustino Posada Carriles

Luis Clemente Faustino Posada Carriles (born February 15, 1928) is a Cuban-born Venezuelan anti-Castro terrorist. A former CIA operative, Posada has been convicted in absentia of involvement in various terrorist attacks and plots in the Western hemisphere, including involvement in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed seventy-three people.

Yes, you read that right. A CIA operative (I snicker at the word "former" - you do not leave the service, except in death, my friends) used a bomb to kill 76 people.

On an airplane.

Classic terrorism - you don't get more "terroristy" than that.

Source: NSA archive at
The National Security Archive today posted additional documents that show that the CIA had concrete advance intelligence, as early as June 1976, on plans by Cuban exile terrorist groups to bomb a Cubana airliner. The Archive also posted another document that shows that the FBI's attache in Caracas had multiple contacts with one of the Venezuelans who placed the bomb on the plane, and provided him with a visa to the U.S. five days before the bombing, despite suspicions that he was engaged in terrorist activities at the direction of Luis Posada Carriles.

The FBI knew that Posada or one of his men was going to place a bomb on an civilian airplane... and did nothing.

There is more:

Back to NSA archives at
In 1985, Posada escaped from prison in Venezuela where he had been incarcerated after the plane bombing and remains a fugitive from justice.

He went directly to El Salvador, where he worked, using the alias "Ramon Medina," on the illegal contra resupply program being run by Lt. Col. Oliver North in the Reagan National Security Council.

Yes, the former CIA operative worked under Colonel North to supply the Contras in Honduras (Contras were anti communist Nicaraguan guerrilla force fighting the communist government in power) and smuggle drugs for these weapons when the US Congress cut the funding to the Contra program. Funny enough, he escaped from jail in Venezuela and went directly back to work for the American government.

In 1998 he was interviewed by Ann Louise Bardach for the New York Times at a secret location in Aruba, and claimed responsibility for a string of hotel bombings in Havana during which eleven people were injured and one Italian businessman was killed.

Again, classic terrorism - bombings of hotels - in Cuba. Killing an Italian citizen, no less, as well as 10 other victims.

So, Posada is a fugitive, after he escaped from Venezuelan jail?
On the run from the law for the murder of 76 people on the airplane that he planted a bomb on and more people who died in Cuba after he planted a bomb in a hotel there?

A terrorist on the run, like Osama bin Laden?

Not so fast, amigo!

In 2005, Posada was held by U.S. authorities in Texas on the charge of illegal presence on national territory before the charges were dismissed on May 8, 2007. His release on bail on April 19, 2007 had elicited angry reactions from the Cuban and Venezuelan governments. The U.S. Justice Department had urged the court to keep him in jail because he was "an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks", a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Until 19 April 2007, Carriles was being held by U.S. immigration authorities in El Paso, Texas, on charges of entering the country illegally

Luis Posada Carriles was released from jail after paying bond on April 19, 2007. The US Fifth District Court of Appeals in New Orleans rejected a Justice Department request Posada be refused bail for entering the U.S. illegally and he was escorted by Federal agents to Miami where members of the Cuban community welcomed him as a patriot

On May 8, 2007 U.S. district judge Kathleen Cardone dismissed seven counts of immigration fraud and ordered Posada's electronic bracelet removed. In a 38 page ruling Judge Cardone criticized the U.S. government's "fraud, deceit and trickery" during the interview with immigration authorities that was the basis of the charges against Posada

The United States protects terrorists which act on its behalf.
Dismissed charges. Innocent - free to walk the streets of Miami. A hero.

A convicted terrorist - but he was our terrorist!

Case 2: Michael Townley
Source: Wikipedia article on Michael Townley.

Michael Vernon Townley is an American currently living in the United States under terms of the federal witness protection program.

According to head of DINA Manuel Contreras, Michael Townley returned to Chile at the end of 1973, working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with the intent of receiving from the "Highest National Authority, in agreement with what had already been planned by the CIA... the order to act in direct, personal and exclusive form, without intermediaries, against General Carlos Prats González in Buenos Aires"

According to Contreras, Townley travelled with a false passport provided by the CIA, under the name of Kenneth Enyart. Contreras stated that Townley was aided by CIA agents, as well as Argentine and Chilean agents, and also political groups such as the Triple A and the Grupo Milicias. Manuel Contreras stated that he thought this occurred because the CIA feared that Carlos Prats would try to overthrow Pinochet's dictatorship with the help of the Argentine Army , thus leading to a war between Chile and Argentina, which would constitute "a difficult problem for the United States in the Cold War era"

DINA is Chilean secret police during the Pinochet era - think less FBI, and more Gestapo and KGB and you get the picture. So a head of DINA is actually a general of the secret police, the main guy. His allegations are serious.

The CIA provided him a false passport, which proves that this man worked for the American government and was CIA's agent. So this article does not make clear exactly how General Carlos Prats González died. Lets see how that happened.

Source: Wikipedia article on Carlos Prats.

On September 30, 1974, in Buenos Aires, he was killed along with his wife Sofia Cuthbert, outside his own apartment, by a radio-controlled car bomb, throwing debris up to the ninth storey balcony of the building across the street. Later, it was found that the assassination was planned by members of the Chilean secret police DINA, led by Michael Townley, who also carried out the Orlando Letelier assassination.

Got that?

An American citizen, Michael Townley, went to Chile on a false passport and under assumed identity, and killed a Chilean general using a car bomb.

Classic terrorism, done on behalf of the American government.

Lets move now to the Orlando Letelier assassination.

Source: Wikipedia article.

Marcos Orlando Letelier del Solar (April 13, 1932 - September 21, 1976) was a Chilean economist, political figure, diplomat and, later, US-based activist. He was assassinated in Washington, D.C. by Chilean DINA agents.

During 1973, Letelier was recalled to Chile and served successively as Minister of Foreign Affairs, then Interior Minister and finally Defense Minister. In the coup d'etat of September 11, 1973, he was the first high-ranking member of the Allende administration seized and arrested, when he arrived to his office at the Ministry of Defense. He was held for twelve months in different concentration camps suffering severe torture: first at the Tacna Regiment, then at the Military Academy; later he was sent for 8 months to a political prison in Dawson Island and from there he was transferred to the basement of the Air Force War Academy, and finally to the concentration camp of Ritoque, until international diplomatic pressure especially from Diego Arria, then Governor of the city of Caracas in Venezuela resulted in the sudden release of Letelier on the condition that he immediately leave Chile.

He was too high profile to be simply killed, like tens of thousands of people under Pinochet's rule. Or was he?

Mr. Letelier moved to Washington D.C., and here "plunged into writing, speaking and lobbying the US Congress and European governments against Augusto Pinochet's regime, and soon became the leading voice of the Chilean resistance, preventing several loans (especially from Europe) from being awarded to the military government."

So what happened next to Mr. Letelier? After all this trouble he made for general Pinochet, the dictator, mass murderer, mass torturer, and American ally?

Letelier was killed by a car bomb explosion on September 21, 1976, in Sheridan Circle, along with his American assistant, Ronni Moffitt; her husband Michael Moffitt was injured but survived. Several people were prosecuted and convicted for the murder. Among them were Michael Townley, a DINA U.S. expatriate who had once worked for the CIA (a former CIA agent - gotta laugh on that one - AG); General Manuel Contreras, former head of the DINA; and Brigadier Pedro Espinoza Bravo, also formerly of DINA. Townley was convicted in the United States in 1978; Contreras and Espinoza were convicted in Chile in 1993. General Augusto Pinochet, who died on December 10, 2006, was never brought to trial for the murders, although Townley implicated him as being responsible for them.

Again, Townley used a radio controlled bomb placed in a car.

Classic terrorism, again.

OK, so what happened to the American, Michael Townley, who used car bombs to kill two high profile targets, once in Chile, and once, brazenly, in Washington D.C.?

As part of his plea bargain, Townley received immunity from further prosecution, and was therefore not extradicted to Argentina to stand trial for the assassination attempt on Chilean general Carlos Prats and his wife.

And what was the punishment of Townley, the CIA hitman? Did he get life in prison for terrorist activities? Conspiracy to murder? Mass murder?

Well, no...

Thanks to the generous plea bargain offered by the US government, Townley served only five years of a ten year sentence and now walks freely on US streets.

No extradition.

Job well done, Citizen - America thanks you for your terrorism!

Oh, and I left one incident from Townley's terrorist career (Counterpunch again):
In 1975, Townley also confessed to the FBI ­ with immunity from prosecution--that he had arranged under DINA orders the assassination of Bernardo Leighton, a Christian Democratic leader exiled in Rome. Townley contracted with Italian fascists to shoot Leighton and his wife in their heads. They both survived, but were effectively "neutralized."

Case 3: Orlando Bosch
Source: Wikipedia article.

Orlando Bosch (also known as Orlando Bosch Avila) is a Cuban exile and former CIA-backed operative, head of CORU organization, which the FBI has described as "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization

Attorney General Dick Thornburgh called Bosch an "unrepentant terrorist.

Orlando Bosch was in contact with CIA in 1962 and 1963, as the agency itself admitted, as recorded in the National Security Archive. At this time, Bosch was the General Coordinator of the Insurrectional Movement of Revolutionary Recovery (MIRR). He was a member of the anti-Castro Operation 40.

Orlando Bosch entered Venezuela in mid-September 1976 under protection of Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez, according to the National Security Archive. A CIA document described a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser in Caracas, Venezuela, held between September 22 and October 5, 1976, to support the activities of Orlando Bosch.

I thought only presidents had fundraiser dinners, not CIA terrorists?

The informant quoted Bosch as making an offer to Venezuelan officials to forgo acts of violence in the United States when President Carlos Andres Perez visited the United Nations in November, in return for "a substantial cash contribution to [Bosch's] organization."

Extortion. This guy was a piece of work...

Bosch was also overheard stating: "Now that our organization has come out of the Letelier job looking good, we are going to try something else." Several days later, Posada was reported to have stated that "we are going to hit a Cuban airplane" and "Orlando has the details." (Both the Bosch and Posada statements were cited in an October 18, 1976 report to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger posted by the National Security Archive on May 17, 2005.)

So, Kissinger knew that a crazy, insane, terrorist anti-Castro Cuban organization was "going to hit a Cuban airplane".

We already know what happened to Flight 455, because that was the flight that the Cuban exiles planted the bomb in and we read about it in the Posada section of this article.

Lets dig into Flight 455, since this terrorist act involves both Posada and Orlando Bosch:

Investigators from Cuba, Venezuela and the United States traced the planting of the bombs to two Venezuelan passengers, Freddy Lugo and Hernán Ricardo Lozano. Both men were employed by Posada at his private detective agency based in Venezuela, and they both subsequently admitted to the crime.

We already know what happened to Posada.

What was Bosch's fate?

Bosch was jailed in Venezuela awaiting trial for his role concerning the Cubana Flight 455 bombing, but he was never convicted of these charges.

Free as a bird.

Oddly enough, that is not the end of the story.
Bosch was a busy guy, and so: "In 1968 Bosch was arrested in Florida for an attack on a Polish freighter with a 57 mm recoilless rifle and was as a result sent to prison for a ten year term"

This guy had a fucking cannon, which he fired at a polish ship.
I mean really, firing a huge cannon at a ship.

Oh, and did I mention that this happened in Miami, Florida, USA?
This story is just amazing, ain't it?

Well, this incident could NOT be ignored, and off to a Venezuelan jail Bosch went.

Interestingly, he did not go to an American jail, but a Venezuelan one. The story is a bit murky here - I assume that he ran away from America, because even the state supporter of terrorism such as the United States could not ignore firing a huge cannon at a docked ship in Miami harbor.

He was caught in Venezuela and, after some time in a jail there...

In 1987, almost a decade after the Flight 455 incident, Bosch was freed from Venezuelan charges and went to the United States, assisted by US Ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich; there, he was ultimately arrested for a parole violation.

Treated like royalty - he entered the United States with a fucking American ambassador to Venezuala at the time! Even head of states don't get this treatment!

But he was arrested here, in America, and deported as a convicted terrorist, right?

I mean, the guy was a mastermind in blowing up a passenger airplane out of the sky (classic terrorism) and in firing a 57 mm recoilless canon at a docked ship in Miami Harbor...?

Bosch was detained in the United States for six months until all charges were dropped and he was able to live in the United States freely.

That should answer your question...

Exactly how it came about was interesting also:
Although many assume he was pardoned by President Bush, this is inaccurate.

Bosch was merely released after Cuban-Americans pressured Jeb Bush to have his father intervene on Bosch's behalf.

Although many countries seek Bosch's extradition he remains free in the United States.

The political pressure to grant Bosch a pardon began during the congressional campaign run by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, herself a Cuban American, and overseen by her campaign manager Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush? The brother to 'W' Bush, our current president.

The son of George Bush, the president before Bill "the bubba" Clinton became one, and of course, George Bush used to be the head of the CIA, which, after reading this blog post, was very tight with Cuban exile groups...

So there you have it - American terrorists, who blow up airplanes, hotels, and fire a cannon at a ship docked in Miami Harbor are handled with kid gloves, and to ease their immigration woes a government employee of a rank no less than a Ambassador helped out to smooth out any immigration problems.

And then the Bush crime family, which is very, very friendly towards the Cuban exile community (after all, Jeb Bush is a governor there, and to be elected there for that post one MUST pander to ex-terrorists, and, lest we forget, George Bush was the head of the CIA, which used a lot of these Cuban exiles as hit men, torturers, and "classic" terrorists...

I hope that this post has taught you, the reader, some parts of history which is not, nor will it be, taught in an American school's history class...

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Anonymous said...

Here's a curious additon to your excellent blog, involving "Pappy" Bush.

Did he free this guy out of the kindness of his heart or was he freeing a fellow mobster and drug dealer?

And what is he up to these days? Probably making a lucrative living off the thriving Afghan opium trade.

The Bush mob makes the old Italian Mafia look like a bunch of boyscouts.

The Bush Pardons

Flash forward to the very end of Poppy's presidency, a few weeks after his Christmas Eve 1992 pardons of Weinberger and the other Iran-Contra defendants. On Jan. 18, 1993, the soon-to-be-former president signed a clemency order freeing Aslam Adam from Butner federal prison in North Carolina. A Pakistani national, Adam had by then served eight years of a 55-year sentence for smuggling $1.5 million worth of heroin into the United States. He wouldn't have been eligible for parole for another two years.

Stunning as the commutation of Adam's sentence was, even more bewildering was the lack of press interest or congressional concern about his case. It was mentioned in a single paragraph on an inside page of the Washington Post; the New York Times didn't cover it at all; and nobody except the Charlotte Observer asked why. There was no further investigation until 1994, when Eric Nadler examined the Adam matter for Rolling Stone. All that Nadler could establish for certain was that Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., a stalwart friend of the Pakistani military regime and its domestic lobbyists, had interceded on Adam's behalf with the Justice Department and prison officials.

It was worth mentioning, of course, that Bush, a former CIA director, may have had his own occult foreign policy or national security reasons for releasing Adam -- but none ever came to light. And no one in Congress or the media ever demanded that Bush explain why he had freed a narcotics trafficker. Adam was sent home to Karachi, where his mother reportedly exclaimed, "God bless Bush! God bless Bush!

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