A Tale of Two Terrorists
By Humberto Fontova | Newsmax
Wednesday, May 25, 2005 | The mainstream media are in a tizzy. They can hardly contain their glee. They have a Cuban exile to bash, you see, one recently arrested for illegal entry into the U.S. The mainstream media hammer away daily that this man, Luis Posada Carriles, is "linked to terrorism," more specifically to the bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people in October 1976.
Posada Carriles has Venezuelan residency status. He has a long history of anti-Castro militancy, once lived in Miami and worked for the CIA. Plus he has contacts among the "Miami Mafia" (i.e., Cuban-Americans who refuse to recite the talking points on Castro/Cuba handed out by the mainstream media-Democratic National Committee axis). So yes, he'll do magnificently as a media whipping boy.
Recall that during the Elian media orgy even normally cagey pundits like Mark Steyn, John Leo and Tony Snow swallowed the Castroite spin hook, line and sinker.
Well, here we have it again. The epidemic of vituperation against this Cuban-exile "terrorist" has proved highly contagious and is crossing the aisles. Dick Morris, writing in the New York Post, says that Carriles "richly deserves to face a Castro firing squad."
I don't know if Posada Carriles is guilty of this bombing. I can't say for certain either way. But the Havana-incited media orgy against him leaves out many pertinent facts. As in the Elian case, Castro's U.S. echo chamber again chants constantly about "the rule of law." Yet they neglect to mention that Carriles has been twice acquitted of the crime. Doesn't "the rule of law" also mean protection against double jeopardy?
>From the New York Times to USA Today to the Miami Herald, all the big guns of the mainstream media want this anti-Castro "terrorist," who was recently arrested for illegal entry into the U.S., immediately deported.
While hosting "Nightline," Ted Koppel outdid himself on the Carriles case, interviewing – along with the usual Castro parrots like Anna Louise Bardach and Peter Kornbluh – the highly reliable and impartial legal expert, Ricardo Alarcon, also known as Castro's "President of the Cuban National Assembly."
Ted Koppel habitually sneers and snorts when interviewing a Republican senator. He was a veritable Vishinsky when interrogating Swiftvet John O'Neill. But Koppel's demeanor was markedly different as he addressed the propagandist for a mass-murdering Stalinist government, who broadcast from Havana demanding Posada Carriles' immediate extradition. Koppel mutated into a purring little puddycat.
"I think you're teasing me a little bit here, Mr. Alarcon," the newly amiable Koppel answered a tart comment by the Communist weasel.
An intrepid interviewer could have had a field day. "Mr. Alarcon, here you ask for the extradition of Mr. Carriles to Venezuela [read Cuba]," Koppel might have started, "yet the Cuban government itself is currently harboring 77 fugitives from U.S justice, many on the FBI's most wanted list. And unlike Mr. Carriles, who has already been acquitted twice, by independent courts, of any involvement in the plane bombing you accuse him of – and who recently passed a lie detector test on the plane bombing matter – unlike all of this, Mr. Alarcon, many of the U.S. fugitives your government harbors even as we speak have been convicted by U.S. juries of murder and terror. Yet your government has repeatedly and scornfully rebuffed every request for their return."
"Also, Mr. Alarcon, protection against double jeopardy is a legal principle that goes back to ancient Greece," Koppel might have continued. "The United States, the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of American States, the International Criminal Court and the Venezuelan government itself when it tried Mr. Carriles all uphold this principle.
"Yet now you demand that the United States become an accomplice in triple jeopardy – and at the request of Stalinists who will promptly drag him to a Stalinist show trial, then a firing squad?
"Also, Mr. Alarcon, according to our Defense Department, over 42,000 guerrillas and terrorists from three different continents – everyone from the PLO to the Tupamaros to the IRA to SWAPO to the Black Panthers – received their explosives training in Cuba from 1959-1985. The death toll from their terrorism reaches into the thousands, not to mention the death toll from your government's use of poison gas against Angolan villagers. To some people this makes your newfound concern over terrorism seem somewhat suspect, sir. Any comments on that?"
Dream on, amigos. Though all of the above is thoroughly documented and easily available to any "Nightline" producer after five minutes of research, those "gallant crusaders for truth" (as Columbia Journalism Schools hails its graduates) wouldn't DREAM of such impertinence when confronting a Communist liar (excuse my redundancy.)
"Documents link" is a constant phrase in every article on Posada Carriles. This "revelation" had Castro's parrots squirming in their seats with anticipation during the "Nightline" Posada bashfest. Even better, many of these documents are "recently declassified." Wow! You know how that plays on a headline, especially when these "documents" all "link" the Cuban exile to the blowing up of a Castro airliner.
Fine, but as I said – and as five minutes of research by "Nightline's" producers could have confirm – the implications in these documents have all had their day in court. The result was two acquittals, one by a civilian court and another by a military court. Somehow "Nightline" neglected to mention this detail.
Castro has snapped his fingers and – as usual – the mainstream media have snapped to attention. He nodded impatiently and they lined up obediently. Now they're acting dutifully on their marching orders and talking points. Castro is an old hand at this. We saw it most vividly during the Elian orgy, but it started much earlier.
Back in 1957, when the only thing he lorded over was a raggedy band of a dozen "guerrillas" (winos, wastrels and petty crooks) in Cuba's Sierra Maestra mountains, Castro was approached by some of his wealthy urban backers (they all scrambled into exile for their very lives three years later, by the way).
"What can we do?" They asked. "How can we help your glorious rebellion? We can write you some checks. We can buy you some arms. We can recruit more men. Tell us, Fidel, what can we do to help?"
"For now," answered Castro, "get me a New York Times reporter up here."
Bingo! The rest is history. They quickly complied and within weeks Castro was being equated with Robin Hood on the front page of the world's most prestigious papers. Within a year and a half he was running Cuba while being hailed as "the George Washington of Cuba!" by everyone from Jack Paar to Walter Lippmann to Ed Sullivan to Harry Truman.
(One prominent American who wasn't snookered was Vice President Richard Nixon, and one American publication that bucked the "Castro-as-democratic hero!" tide was Human Events, who outed him as a Communist terrorist from day one.)
Alas, these were voices in the wilderness.
The media spin on the twice-acquitted anti-Communist Posada versus their spin on convicted Communist terrorists also begs for scrutiny. To this task I now apply myself.
"Nightline," the New York Times, USA Today and the rest of the mainstream media cabal might be interested that I've recently "uncovered documents" that "link " last year's Presidential Medal of Freedom winner – a man they've been hymning to the high heavens for the past 20 years as hero and saint – to terrorism! But with a major difference: When these documents had their day in court, they convicted the media's hero-saint (Nelson Mandela) of terrorism. How's that!
"The preparation, manufacture and use of explosives, including 210,000 hand grenades, 48,000 anti-personnel mines, 1,500 time devices, 144 tons of ammonium nitrate, 21.6 tons of aluminum powder and a ton of black powder. 193 counts of terrorism committed between 1961 and 1963" say the documents.
But those documents come from the prosecutor on behalf of the odious Apartheid regime, some might counter (whereas Posada Carriles' trial in a Stalinist nation will be scrupulously fair, I suppose.)
In fact, South Africa was not a totalitarian country in 1964. It had a totally independent judiciary and Mandela's trial had observers from around the world. Here's the March 1964 London Observer (no bunker of right-wingers, no defender of apartheid) that covered the trial where Nelson Mandela, head of the ANC's (African National Congress') terrorist wing was convicted of terrorism. "The trial has been properly conducted," wrote correspondent Anthony Sampson (who later wrote Mandela's authorized biography). "The judge, Mr Justice Quartus de Wet, has been scrupulously fair."
Here's Amnesty International (again, no Klan of rabid right-wingers) in 1985 explaining why it refused to list the media's hero-saint as a political prisoner: "Nelson Mandela had participated in planning acts of sabotage and inciting violence, so that he could no longer fulfill the criteria for the classification of political prisoners."
"The cause of Communism is the greatest cause in the history of mankind!'" proclaimed Nelson Mandela in 1961. "There's one place where Fidel Castro stands out head and shoulders above the rest. That is in his love for human rights and liberty!" proclaimed Saint Mandela as Castro awarded him Cuba's prestigious Playa Giron Award.
When Nelson Mandela first visited the U.S. in 1990, Accuracy in Media termed the tumultuous and laudatory media coverage as "Mandela Mania." The hero of oppressed people everywhere!" (ABC); "A larger-than-life figure!" (CNN); "A virtual symbol of freedom!" ( CBS). "His name has a mystical quality!" gushed Dan Rather. "A worldwide hero!" continued Gunga Dan, who went on to compare Mandela to Mother Teresa.
Other reports compared Mandela to the pope, Jesus Christ and Moses. The New York Times devoted 23 pages for laudatory articles on Saint Mandela in one single week. Ted Koppel hosted an ABC "Town Meeting" with Mandela where every question was sugar and spice and everything nice.
Interestingly, at that very time the U.S. State Department, along with the U.S. Defense Department, both listed Mandela's ANC as a terrorist organization.
"With our necklaces we will liberate this country," crowed Winnie Mandela in April 1986 about the practice of capturing fellow South African blacks, binding them, drenching them with gasoline, putting a tire around their necks and burning them alive, a crazed mob whooping in glee as the victims writhed and shrieked in agony. Mrs. Mandela's incitement of this charming practice was actually captured on film.
Naturally, nary a one of those intrepid, fearless and cheeky Beltway reporter broached these touchy matters.
By now the former head of the ANC's terror wing has won everything from the Congressional Gold Medal (presented by Maxine Waters) to the Nobel Peace Prize. He has squares, parks and boulevards named after him everyplace from New York City to New Delhi. He has honorary degrees everyplace from the Sorbonne to Harvard. He has honorary citizenship everyplace from Greece to Canada.
Bill Clinton hailed him as "a gift to humanity!" When awarding him the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom (America's highest civilian award) in 2002, President Bush hailed Nelson Mandela as "the most revered statesman of our time."
While addressing the International Women's conference in Johannesburg a few months later, Mandela thanked President Bush with the following: "If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America! [wild and deafening applause] They don't care for human beings!"
The recent New York Times editorial urging the prompt arrest and extradition of Luis Posada Carriles is titled "A Single Standard for Terrorists."
Fine, New York Times. Then why such an editorial? Why not nominate Luis Posada Carriles for the Nobel Peace Price and the Presidential Medal of Freedom?
Posada Carriles' lawyer should instruct his client to start bashing America, to start hailing Mao and Ho Chi Minh, and to deck himself out in a Che Guevara T-shirt. Then we might get somewhere.
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