The Selective War on Terror

| Thu May 12, 2005 12:58 PM EDT

Luis Posada Carriles, is, apparently, a very elusive character—at least to those who don't actually want to find him. The Cuban-born Venezuelan is the prime suspect in the 1979 bombing of a Cuban passenger plane. Venezuela is currently seeking his extradition. But Carriles doesn't have time to stand trial; he's too busy applying for asylum here in the U.S. And even though Carriles' lawyer has verified that he is here in America, Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega remarked, "I don't even know that he is in the United States."

Why would the U.S. not want to pursue this suspected terrorist? Well, first off, he hates Castro. Which means Miami Cubans love him. Which likely means the President loves him too. And secondly, Carriles used to work for the CIA. Yup. Not only do declassified CIA and FBI documents reveal that Carriles worked for the U.S., they also reveal that an FBI informer "all but admitted" that Carriles was one of the two people who engineered the Cuban plane attack. In 1998, Carriles also had an interview with the New York Times in which he took responsibility for a series of hotel bombings in Havana. Judging from the dates in the documents, Carriles was no longer "working" for the U.S. government when he blew up the passenger flight or bombed hotels.

So the American government is going to send him to Venezuela stand trial, right? Well, not exactly. Apparently, they're still trying to find out whether or not Carriles is in the country, and after that, whether or not he should be granted asylum. According to the BBC, "U.S. officials say they have no evidence that Mr. Posada is in the country, and add that they would deal with an asylum application from him as they would any other." Any other? Any other terrorist who formerly worked for the CIA? But the government sure seems like it's stalling on the issue. Although if these officials are telling the truth and actually have no idea where Carriles is, that would be a disturbing comment on our ability to monitor terrorists at home. Terrorists who used to work for us, no less. You'd think we'd keep tabs on these guys.

And at the same, Congress is now ushering in ridiculous new rules that will make it that much harder for legitimate asylum seekers to enter the United States. It also seems intolerably ironic that Carriles is probably relaxing and drinking café cubano in Miami while this country is supposedly conducting a "war on terror." Last I heard, blowing up hotels and civilian aircrafts is still terrorism.

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