Media Beat, Apr. 8, 1992
By Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon

A Tale of Two Terrorists: Theirs vs. Ours

To hear the Bush administration and U.S. media tell it, there is no government conduct more reprehensible than the coddling of terrorists who've blown up civilian airliners and murdered innocent people.

The accused government is Libya. The crime is the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Unless Libya quickly surrenders two alleged plane bombers, economic sanctions will be imposed by the United Nations.

Editorials in major American newspapers have praised Bush's stance and called for aggressive U.S. action against Libya. Columnist William Safire wants more than sanctions; he has urged President Bush to take military action against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who "harbors his killer terrorists." (Safire's advice to Bush was part of a three-point plan to win re-election in November.)

The only question raised by U.S. media is whether Syria was absolved of involvement in the Lockerbie massacre as a payoff for becoming a U.S. ally against Iraq.

But a bigger issue has been totally ignored: hypocrisy.

As many journalists know, the U.S. government also has a history of protecting jet-bombing terrorists. Bush himself has played a role in coddling such terrorists. But these facts have gone unmentioned in all the coverage of Libya and Lockerbie.

The parallels are disturbing. The two accused Libyan terrorists were government officials. "Our" two terrorists -- Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles -- often worked closely with the CIA.

Their two allegedly waged a war against Western infidels. Our two killed and maimed in the fight against satanic communism, especially Cuba. All terrorists -- whether theirs or ours -- kill innocent people in the name of the great crusade.

The U.S. media have denounced their two alleged terrorists, but lately have gone mum about our two. Here's the rest of the story:

In 1990, Bush's Justice Department freed right-wing Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch from a Miami jail, even though U.S. authorities acknowledged he'd engaged in dozens of bombings -- including the 1976 bombing of a civilian Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. The plane blew up soon after taking off from Barbados en route to Jamaica and Havana.

Bosch, who was in jail for illegally entering the country, was freed after intense lobbying aimed at the White House by prominent Florida Republicans -- including Sen. Connie Mack, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the president's son, Jeb Bush. The United States has steadfastly refused to turn Bosch over to Cuba for trial.

Bosch has a long history of violence. In 1968, he was convicted of firing a bazooka at a Polish freighter in Miami harbor. In 1974, he violated his parole after being subpoenaed in a murder case and fled to Latin America. There, he and other CIA veterans formed the terrorist group CORU, which launched a bombing spree across the hemisphere, including the downing of the Cuban passenger jet.

When the Justice Department granted parole to the former parole violator two years ago, Bosch flagrantly pledged to continue meeting with Cuban militants even though this violated his parole arrangement.

Bosch's partner in crime was Luis Posada, who worked for the CIA for years in the 1960s. Posada was trained in explosives by the CIA and -- along with Bosch -- reputedly masterminded the airline bombing.

Since that bombing was perpetrated by a number of CIA veterans, the agency knew instantly that Posada, Bosch and accomplices were involved. But the CIA -- headed by Bush at the time -- did nothing to bring the men to justice.

In 1985, Posada escaped from prison in Venezuela, where he spent a decade while being prosecuted for the jet bombing. Instead of returning the escaped terrorist to justice, the United States apparently found him a job in El Salvador as one of the directors of the operation to resupply the Nicaraguan Contras.

Posada was recruited to the Contra program and supervised by longtime CIA operative Felix Rodriguez, who -- during this period -- reported regularly to Vice President Bush's office.

In 1986, when major U.S. newspapers identified Posada as being a Contra overseer in El Salvador, did the U.S. move to apprehend the terrorist still wanted in Venezuela today? No, he was allowed to disappear again.

When Bush talks tough about sanctions against Libya after protecting U.S. operatives and associates who performed similar acts, that is an exercise in hypocrisy.

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