(noon – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
Wikileaks has provided us with a question worthy of an answer.
This CIA “Red Cell” report from February 2, 2010, looks at what will happen if it is internationally understood that the United States is an exporter of terrorism; ‘Contrary to common belief, the American export of terrorism or terrorists is not a recent phenomenon, nor has it been associated only with Islamic radicals or people of Middle Eastern, African or South Asian ethnic origin. This dynamic belies the American belief that our free, open and integrated multicultural society lessens the allure of radicalism and terrorism for US citizens.’
While an interesting question, I think an even better one would be ‘what would happen if it was domestically understood that the United States is an exporter of terrorism?’
The report looks at what private Americans are doing to support terrorism. While modestly interesting, I think it overlooks the bigger picture.
America’s War With Terror
Since 2003 America has been actively engaged in an effort to destabilize the Iranian government. This is not a conspiracy theory. Congress openly voted to allocate $400 million for the effort.
To accomplish this, we have given material and financial support to such terrorist groups as the Jundallah, PJAK, and MEK, all of which have bases in American-occupied Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of the operational assets being used by the Defense Department is a right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), which is being “run” in two southern regional areas of Iran. They are Baluchistan, a Sunni stronghold, and Khuzestan, a Shia region where a series of recent attacks has left many dead and hundreds injured in the last three months.
To give you an idea just how hypocritical this “War on Terror” is, look at the guy the Bush Administration wanted as prime minister in Iraq – Iyad Allawi.
During the early 90’s, Allawai was the head of the Iraqi National Accord.
Dr. Allawi’s group, the Iraqi National Accord, used car bombs and other explosive devices smuggled into Baghdad from northern Iraq, the officials said. […]
The Iraqi government at the time claimed that the bombs, including one it said exploded in a movie theater, resulted in many civilian casualties. One former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was based in the region, Robert Baer, recalled that a bombing during that period “blew up a school bus; schoolchildren were killed.”
Dr. Allawi was a favorite of the C.I.A. and other government agencies 10 years ago…
But all of this pales in comparison to America’s long time foreign policy.
Ronald Reagan once referred to the future Taleban in Afghanistan as “freedom fighters”.
“Every country and every people has a stake in the Afghan resistance, for the freedom fighters of Afghanistan are defending principles of independence and freedom that form the basis of global security and stability.”
– Ronald Reagan on Afghanistan Day, 1982-03-10
But then Reagan also called the Contras “freedom fighters”. Of course he went a step further and called them the “moral equivalent of our founding fathers”. Now I didn’t live in the 1770’s, but I’m pretty sure our founding fathers weren’t drug traffickers like the Contras were. Nor do I think our founding fathers targeted “bridges, electric generators, but also state-owned agricultural cooperatives, rural health clinics, villages and non-combatants.”
In 1984 a CIA manual for training the Nicaraguan contras in psychological operations was leaked to the media, entitled “Psychological Operations in Guerrilla War”.
The manual recommended “selective use of violence for propagandistic effects” and to “neutralize” government officials. Nicaraguan Contras were taught to lead:
“…selective use of armed force for PSYOP [psychological operations] effect…. Carefully selected, planned targets – judges, police officials, tax collectors, etc. – may be removed for PSYOP effect in a UWOA [unconventional warfare operations area], but extensive precautions must insure that the people “concur” in such an act by thorough explanatory canvassing among the affected populace before and after conduct of the mission.”
Maybe Republicans have some different idea of our founding fathers than I do. Or maybe its a different idea of what freedom is, and why it is worth fighting for.
But Democrats don’t get a free pass on the terrorism issue either. All of these examples have an original source, and that original source is very bipartisan.
Anything goes in the Cold War
“Terrorism and violence, crimes against Cuba, have been part and parcel of U.S. policy for almost half a century.”
– Ricardo Alarcón, President of Cuba’s national assembly, 1999
Luis Posada Carriles, considered by the FBI as “the worst terrorist of the hemisphere”, currently lives freely in Miami, Florida.
The fact that he is directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians of multiple nationalities wasn’t important to Homeland Security. The State Department has denied extradition requests from Venezuela. Journalist Ann Louise Bardach, recently declared to Amy Goodman on Goodman’s radio program, Democracy Now, that the FBI had destroyed in 2002 its documents and proofs (including Western Union originals) concerning Luis Posada Carriles.
Posada was being trained by the CIA in sabotage and explosives as far back as 1961. After the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, Posada became part of Operation 40, which was headed by Richard Nixon. Operation 40 included such legendary figures as Frank Sturgis (Watergate burgler), and Orlando Bosch (who assassinated Chilean former minister Orlando Letelier, in Washington, D.C. in 1976). It’s worth noting that Bosch was pardoned of all American charges by President George H.W. Bush on July 18, 1990 at the request of his son Jeb Bush. Bosch remains free in Florida today.
The first major action by Operation 40 was to blow up the ship La Coubre in Havana Bay on March 4, 1960. A second, larger bomb was set nearby to blow up afterwards in order to kill civilians coming to rescue victims. 75 people were killed and 200 injured.
La Coubre bombing
Posada’s career took him to south america, where he got involved in cocaine trafficking. But Posada’s career peaked when he got involved with Orlando Bosch in the mid-70’s. Together they plotted the bombing of Cubana Flight 455 on October 6, 1976.
“We have an explosion aboard, we are descending immediately! … We have fire on board! We are requesting immediate landing! We have a total emergency!”
– last broadcast by captain Wilfredo Pérez Pérez, shortly before a second bomb exploded
Cubana Flight 455
All 48 passengers and 25 crew aboard the plane died: 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese, and five North Koreans. Among the dead were all 24 members of the 1975 national Cuban Fencing team that had just won all the gold medals in the Central American and Caribbean Championship; many were teenagers.
Posada was arrested in Venezuela, but escaped before the trial. Bosch was acquitted because most of the most damning evidence was gathered until after the trial was over.
“We are going to hit a Cuban airliner… Orlando has the details”
– CIA document quoting Posada dated October 12, 1976
Posada assisted in helping the Contras during the 1980’s. In 1990 he was shot by Cuban assassins while sitting in his car in Guatemala city. Richard Secord helped pay his hospital bills. Though recuperating in Honduras, the FBI believed that Posada was responsible for 41 bombings in Cuba, Posada himself admitted to planning numerous attacks against Cuba and seeking assistance from the Honduran military to aid his cause, which was not forthcoming.
In 1997 Posada was involved with a string of bombing at tourist sites in Cuba that killed an Italian tourist. In a taped interview with the New York Times, he said: “It is sad that someone is dead, but we can’t stop.”
And now he is free in America. A confessed life-long terrorist, protected by the American government.
Of course he is a far cry from being the only terrorist operating in America that targets Cubans. There have been literally dozens of bombing in America committed by Cuban exiles over the decades. Through both Democratic and Republican administrations, the government has turned a blind eye to their terrorist activity, and they continue today.
US official documents that have been recently been declassified show that, between October 1960 and April 1961, the CIA smuggled in 75 tons of explosives into Cuba during 30 clandestine air operations, and infiltrated 45 tons of weapons and explosives during 31 sea incursions. Also during that short seven-month time span, the CIA carried out 110 attacks with dynamite, planted 200 bombs, derailed six trains and burned 150 factories and 800 plantations.
Between 1959 and 1997, the United States carried out 5,780 terrorist actions against Cuba – 804 of them considered as terrorist attacks of significant magnitude, including 78 bombings against the civil population that caused thousands of victims.
Terrorist attacks against Cuba have cost 3,478 lives and have left 2,099 people permanently disabled. Between 1959 and 2003, there were 61 hijackings of planes or boats. Between 1961 and 1996, there were 58 attacks from the sea against 67 economic targets and the population.
The CIA has directed and supported over 4,000 individuals in 299 paramilitary groups. They are responsible for 549 murders and thousands of people wounded.
Quite probably the most hypocritical of the government’s actions toward Cuba happened under the Clinton Administration in 1998, when five Cuban nationals were arrested and given long jail terms for spying on the anti-Cuban terrorist groups.