On Monday, one of the world’s most notorious alleged terrorists will go on trial in Texas. Not for anything related to 9/11 or Al Qaeda. But this man stands accused of masterminding terrorist actions that killed scores of innocent civilians. Yet this event is hardly generating a media blitz. Peter Kornbluh previews the trial in The Nation. Here are his opening paragraphs:
On January 10 one of the most dangerous terrorists in recent history will go on trial in a small courtroom in El Paso, Texas. This is not the venue the Obama administration has finally selected to prosecute the perpetrators of 9/11; it is where the reputed godfather of Cuban exile violence, Luis Posada Carriles, may finally face a modicum of accountability for his many crimes.
In the annals of modern justice, the Posada trial stands out as one of the most bizarre and disreputable of legal proceedings. The man identified by US intelligence reports as a mastermind of the midair destruction of a Cuban airliner—all seventy-three people on board were killed when the plane plunged into the sea off the coast of Barbados on October 6, 1976—and who publicly bragged about being behind a series of hotel bombings in Havana that killed an Italian businessman, Fabio Di Celmo, is being prosecuted for perjury and fraud, not murder and mayhem. The handling of his case during the Bush years became an international embarrassment and reflected poorly on the willingness and/or abilities of the Justice Department to prosecute crimes of terror when that terrorist was once an agent and ally of America. For the Obama administration, the verdict will carry significant implications for US credibility in the fight against terrorism, as well as for the future of US-Cuban relations.
With all the tough talk in recent years (and decades) about the US getting tough on terrorism—before and after 9/11—various administrations’ wishy-washy handling of the Posada case has offered case studies in hypocrisy. For the sad history, read the rest of Kornbluh’s piece here.