By TONY SEED
This article was first published in October 11, 2014 by TML Weekly and Global Research. It is of particular relevance to an understanding of the ongoing “war on terror” in the Americas, the role of successive US and Canadian governments, and Canada-Cuba relations. An expanded version with newly-researched material which will be posted in due course.
October 6 marks the 38th anniversary of the first act of terrorism against civilian aviation in the western hemisphere – the unparalleled Cubana Airlines disaster on the coastline of Barbados on October 6, 1976 – the Barbados crime. Cubana Flight 455 was hit by two C-4 explosives bombs just after the aircraft took off from the then Seawell Airport (now the Grantley Adams International Airport) in Barbados at an altitude of 18,000 feet.
Rather than crashing into the white sands of Paradise beach below and killing the vacationers, the Cubana pilot, Wilfredo Pérez Sr., courageously banked the plane away from the beach and towards the Atlantic Ocean, saving the lives of many tourists. It crashed in a ball of fire one mile north of Deep Water Bay. The crash occurred about eight kilometres short of the airport.
Cubana Flight 455 was a routine, scheduled commercial, passenger flight of no military significance. There were no survivors. All 73 passengers and five crew members aboard the plane were assassinated: 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese, and five north Koreans.
Among the dead were all 24 members of Cuba’s 1975 Olympic fencing team, as well as several sport officials of the Cuban government. The young athletes, many of whom were teenagers, had just won all the gold medals in the Central American and Caribbean Championship Games. They proudly wore their gold medals on board the aircraft.
The trail of blood leads to the U.S. – and Canada.
It is the bitterest irony that the anniversary occurs on the very day that the Harper government demands parliamentary approval to send military forces to another hemisphere to commit aggression under the pretext of opposing terrorism, while it is silent on terrorism committed in the nearby Caribbean.
It is the bitterest irony that the Harper government designates “Islamic terrorists” as the greatest threat facing mankind, when the self-confessed engineer of this great crime, Luis Posada Carilles, known as the Bin Laden of the Americas, languishes comfortably in Miami, Florida under U.S. protection.
The silence of the government and media, which talk about “blowback” and the “victims of terrorism,” has nothing to say about the destruction of an aircraft by Cuban-American terrorists that was actually owned by Air Canada, one of three Air Canada DC-8s leased to Cubana. Nor was this a unique incident. Earlier, on July 9, 1976 in Kingston, Jamaica a suitcase had exploded when it was carried to another DC-8 aircraft of Cubana de Aviación, also leased from Air Canada.
Nor that the meeting just four months earlier on June 11, 1976 that planned the terrorism, as well as the assassination of Orlando Letelier, the former Foreign Minister of Chile then resident in Washington, the capital of the U.S., took place at an exclusive resort lodge owned by Falconbridge Mines, a multinational U.S.-owned, Canadian registered corporation and the second largest nickel monopoly in the world (after INCO), in Bonao, Dominican Republic. During that meeting, more than 20 representatives of terrorist factions founded CORU, an acronym for the Coordinación de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas, headed by Orlando Bosch. This was a response to CIA director George H. Bush’s demand that the offensive against the Republic of Cuba be centrally co-ordinated under CIA direction and funding as part of Operation Condor. That same month, June 1976, Bosch is on record admitting that he sent a bomb to the Cuban embassy in Ottawa, aimed at hindering the relations between Canada and Cuba and enforcing the illegal U.S. blockade of Cuba, one of many targets attacked by Cuban-American terrorists inside and outside the territory of Canada during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
A report issued by the U.S. Acting General Attorney General Joe D. Whitley in May 1989 declared Bosch a public enemy of the United States and denied asylum to this dangerous character for the 30-odd terrorist acts committed, among them the hideous Barbados bombing. The U.S. Attorney emphasized one particular terrorist act: “In October 1976, Bosch was arrested in Venezuela in relation with the bombing committed against a Cuban civilian airliner on October 6, 1976, which killed 73 men, women and children aboard.” Nevertheless, Bosch was admitted to the U.S. at the behest of the Bush administration, where he lived and plotted until his death a couple of years ago.
The “war on terror” of the U.S. and Canadian governments is so disingenuous that they shelter and reward the terrorists they prefer, while accusing others of the crimes they commit. Earlier this year, acting as judge and jury, the Obama, Harper and allied regimes launched a hysterical offensive without any evidence to indict the Russian Federation and its president as part of their warmongering, that allegedly it was responsible directly or indirectly for the destruction of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014 over the war zone in Eastern Ukraine.Canada is a signatory of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation. Yet successive federal governments have failed to support the credible and legitimate demand to the United States made by the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela and backed by Trinidad, Barbados and Cuba, to extradite Posada Carriles for terrorist crimes committed in their sovereign countries, specifically bombing the Cuban aircraft in October 1976 and the Havana hotels in 1997, which included the murder of Fabio di Celmo, a resident of Montreal, Canada, who was visiting Cuba with his father. The collusion of the Chrétien Liberals consisted of whitewashing the latter’s murder by feigning that the innocent victim was technically an Italian national, and hence of no concern to the Government of Canada. The Trudeau Liberals declared the destruction of the Cubana Flight/Air Canada DC-8 455 in 1976 business as usual, satisfied with collecting the insurance on the loss of property of Air Canada, then a Crown corporation. The Harper government is no less an abettor and promoter of international terrorism than U.S. imperialism.
The central assumption is that the United States alone is the single state in the world that does not kill innocent civilians, is not at war with anyone, answers to a higher law above international law and the United Nations, and hence has the moral authority to accuse everyone else of criminal activity. Any people such as the Cubans or Ukrainians or Palestinians who resist this authority are “terrorists” and the agents of a foreign power or constitute an “illegitimate” government – as with the Syrian Arab Republic – to be overthrown. But this disinformation remains silent on the criminal record of the U.S. in destroying civilian airliners and even heaping the highest honours on those who pull the trigger, as it did with those who shot the missiles on July 3, 1988 that downed Iran-Air Flight 655 inside Iranian territory, killing 290 defenceless passengers and crew. Two years later George H. Bush, by this time President, awarded both the commander and the officer in charge of anti-air warfare of the USS Vincennes with the Legion of Merit for the “calm and professional atmosphere” under their command during the period of the destruction of the Iranian airliner.
The Bush and Obama administration’s policies at home and abroad have woken a sleeping and silent giant throughout this continent. And, yes: America is one continent and not two as some U.S. textbooks would have us believe.
(Photos: Cuban Embassy to Barbados, U.S. National Committee to Free the Five, AIN)
38 Years of Injustice
– Granma International, October 6, 2014 –
Thirty-eight years have passed and the Cuban people continue to demand justice. On October 6, 1976, 73 people, amongst them 11 Guyanese, 5 citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and 57 Cubans were killed on a Cubana Airlines flight.
The authors of the brutal crime walked free in the streets of Miami and the U.S., they made no secret of the fact that the CIA and the U.S. government protected them. The very same country that has launched wars across the world, supposedly against terrorism, never brought the terrorists who killed those returning home after a stopover in Barbados, to trial.
On that October 6, the nation, which since 1959 to date has been the victim of acts of terrorism orchestrated by figures such as Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosh, simply for having reclaimed its sovereignty less than 90 miles from the most powerful nation on Earth, was in mourning. Four years ago, Army General Raúl Castro stated: “Today we are here to pay tribute to the 3,478 Cubans who have died and 2,099 who have been permanently disabled by acts of terrorism perpetrated for half a century against our homeland, a total of 5,577 victims. The Martyrs of Barbados join the long list of those fallen, whom we will never forget.”
Before Raúl’s speech, it was announced that October 6, would be officially commemorated every year in Cuba as “Victims of State Terrorism Day.”
Having directly suffered the cruelty of the U.S. criminal policy, four years ago today, the Cuban government and people reaffirmed their decision to condemn and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state terrorism, wherever it occurs and whatever the reasons given by the authors.
On October 6, 2010, Raúl announced, “Our country has signed the 13 existing international agreements on such matters and strictly fulfills the commitments and obligations set out under the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. Cuba does not possess or have the intention of acquiring weapons of mass destruction of any kind and has fulfilled her obligations in accordance with the existing international regulations on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The territory of Cuba has never been used, nor will it ever be, to organize, fund, or carry out terrorist acts against any country, including the United States.”
Indignation and courage have been Cuba’s response to every single act of terrorism and death it has been subjected to. These acts, aimed at sowing panic, have instead found a people committed to further radicalizing their Revolution. That is why the words of the Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, as he bid farewell to the victims of the attack on the Cuban airplane on October 15, 1976, continue to reverberate across the world; “When an energetic and virile people cry out, injustice trembles.”
(Photos: CubaDebate, AIN)