The following sentence may come as a surprise to Western eyes that, “Miami and Washington have been among the major world centres of international terrorism from the Kennedy period until today, under any definition of terrorism”. The words were written by a Boston professor Noam Chomsky at the end of US President Ronald Reagan’s second term.
The Kennedy period referred to is viewed through rose-tinted glasses across the West, such is the level of indoctrination. In reality, President John F. Kennedy initiated the Vietnam War in early 1962 when he outright invaded the southern half of the country by sending the US Air Force to bomb en masse – the south Vietnamese had been threatening to overthrow the US-backed dictatorship of Ngo Dinh Diem.
Kennedy’s hegemonic demands during the Cuban Missile Crisis pushed the world to the brink of a nuclear war. Preceding this was his disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion in which Cuban exiles, led by the CIA, were thwarted by Fidel Castro’s forces – a humiliating setback for Kennedy. Almost immediately after, he implemented a crippling embargo on Cuba.
Further stung at this successful resistance to control over the Western hemisphere, the Kennedy administration orchestrated waves of terrorist attacks, known as “Operation Mongoose” – planned in Washington and directed from Miami. Kennedy asked his brother Robert to, “lead the top-level interagency group that oversaw Operation Mongoose… to visit the ‘terrors of the earth’ on Fidel Castro, and more prosaically, to topple him”.
Kennedy authorised the terrorist operations against Cuba in late 1961 which included bombing of industrial facilities and tourist hotspots, attacks on fishing boats, poisoning of crops and livestock, contamination of sugar exports, and so on.
The vicious assaults by the US continued for decades, including chemical and biological warfare perpetrated on Cuba. During that time the US aided, abetted and protected two of the worst international terrorists of the post-Second World War period: Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch. Both were Cuban exiles who directed their crimes against Cuba freely from Miami, with financial aid and support largely coming from Cuban-American organisations.
Posada Carriles himself, still alive today, had joined the CIA and became an active agent with them. Perhaps Posada Carriles’ single most heinous crime was his planning of the destruction of a Cuban passenger plane in 1976, with the “mastermind” Bosch providing crucial help – all 73 people aboard were killed.
Posada Carriles was further responsible for terrorist attacks in Central America, organised plots to assassinate Fidel Castro and other Cuban leaders, initiated numerous bombings against Cuban tourist industries, including hotels, was involved in drug trafficking, and so on. In one such attack in 1997 an Italian-Canadian was killed, leading Posada Carriles to say in an interview the following year that, “the Italian was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I sleep like a baby”.
Bosch, meanwhile, was responsible for numerous other terrorist acts according to the FBI – including an attack on a Polish freighter with a 57mm recoilless rifle, postal bombings directed at Cuban embassies and consulates in Latin America, the bombing of the Mexican embassy in Guatemala, the attempted assassination of the Cuban Ambassador to Argentina (Emilio Aragones) in 1975, etc.
Bosch was later granted a presidential pardon by the incoming George H. W. Bush administration in 1989, helped by lobbying from son Jeb Bush and Florida Cuban-American leaders.
Twelve years ago Bosch’s partner-in-crime, Posada Carriles, received political asylum in the US – leading to a naturally irked Fidel Castro saying, “In the middle of their [US] supposed ‘war against international terrorism’ they’ve given asylum to one of the biggest international terrorists! Are there two terrorisms? A good one and a bad one?”
An interesting question if one looks at the record, which leads on to the current stream of terrorist attacks by extremists in Europe. The atrocities, such as the one recently in Barcelona, are increasing in regularity. Through the media storm afterwards, the root causes behind these crimes are almost completely overlooked.
The rise in terrorist groups originating from the Middle East (later spreading) can be traced back to the Reagan administration of the 1980s. On the front cover of a book by Pakistani writer Eqbal Ahmad, called Terrorism: Theirs and Ours, is a photograph of the Mujahideen in Reagan’s White House.
The US not only supported the Mujahideen but actively organised them. The superpower collected the most radical and extreme individuals they could find, massed them into a trained fighting force, and sent them to battle the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. This may have lengthened the war in Afghanistan with Soviet archives suggesting the Russians wanted to exit the country in the early 1980s (not 1989, when it ended).
The US aim was to create an enemy that would harm the Russians, with the Mujahideen committing terrorist attacks inside Russia itself. Later, Clinton’s bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan in 1998 went a long way to creating Al Qaeda. It also resulted in Osama bin Laden becoming a rising symbol as the indiscriminate shelling drew more supporters to his cause.
The illegal wars the United States and Israel have conducted in the Middle East or north Africa – be it in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon or Libya – were the driving force behind the creation and rise of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, other offshoots and, the most crazed, ISIS. The wars were waged to destroy independent nationalism and protect oil resources – in that case, some people (not the majority) will turn in desperation elsewhere. That has increasingly led them towards terrorist organisations.
In fact, the US has been the world’s strongest outside backer of Islamic fundamentalism with its decades-long support of Saudi Arabia, “the most extreme fundamentalist tyranny in the world”. During two terms in office, Barack Obama provided the Saudis with over $50 billion in arms and supplies.
Obama’s international drone warfare campaign also created countless new terrorists – as people suspected of possibly being a threat some day are wiped out, along with anyone unfortunate enough to be in the surrounding area – a major breach of international law. The consequences of all this are there for everyone to see.