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magbana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:42 AM
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STATE DEPT: Country Reports on Terrorism
below is an excerpt of the terrorism country reports for 2008 that was released april 30, 2009. after the report is an editorial by former head of US Interests Section in Cuba, Wayne Smith, challenging the notion that the US is a state sponsor of terror.

http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2008/122436.htm
Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism

Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Country Reports on Terrorism 2008

April 30, 2009

State sponsors of terrorism provide critical support to non-state terrorist groups. Without state sponsors, terrorist groups would have greater difficulty obtaining the funds, weapons, materials, and secure areas they require to plan and conduct operations. The United States will continue to insist that these countries end the support they give to terrorist groups.

Sudan continued to take significant steps towards better counterterrorism cooperation. Iran and Syria have not renounced terrorism or made efforts to act against Foreign Terrorist Organizations and routinely provided safe haven, substantial resources, and guidance to terrorist organizations. Cuba continued to publicly defend the FARC and provide safe haven to some members of terrorist organizations, though some were in Cuba in connection with peace negotiations with the Governments of Spain and Colombia.

On October 11, the United States rescinded the designation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a state sponsor of terrorism in accordance with criteria set forth in U.S. law, including a certification that the Government of North Korea had not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding six-month period and the provision by the government of assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.

State Sponsor: Implications

Designating countries that repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism as state sponsors of terrorism imposes four main sets of U.S. Government sanctions:

1. A ban on arms-related exports and sales.

2. Controls over exports of dual-use items, requiring 30-day Congressional notification for
goods or services that could significantly enhance the terrorist-list country's military
capability or ability to support terrorism.

3. Prohibitions on economic assistance.

4. Imposition of miscellaneous financial and other restrictions, including:

o Requiring the United States to oppose loans by the World Bank and other international financial institutions;

o Exception from the jurisdictional immunity in U.S. courts of state sponsor countries, and all former state sponsor countries (with the exception of Iraq), with respect to claims for money damages for personal injury or death caused by certain acts of terrorism, torture, or extrajudicial killing, or the provision of material support or resources for such acts;

o Denying companies and individuals tax credits for income earned in terrorist-list countries;

o Denial of duty-free treatment of goods exported to the United States;

o Authority to prohibit any U.S. citizen from engaging in a financial transaction with a terrorist-list government without a Treasury Department license; and

o Prohibition of Defense Department contracts above $100,000 with companies in which a state sponsor government owns or controls a significant interest.

CUBA

Although Cuba no longer actively supports armed struggle in Latin America and other parts of the world, the Cuban government continued to provide safe haven to several terrorists. Members of ETA, the FARC, and the ELN remained in Cuba during 2008, some having arrived in Cuba in connection with peace negotiations with the governments of Spain and Colombia. Cuban authorities continued to publicly defend the FARC. However, on July 6, 2008, former Cuban President Fidel Castro called on the FARC to release the hostages they were holding without preconditions. He has also condemned the FARC's mistreatment of captives and of their abduction of civilian politicians who had no role in the armed conflict.

The United States has no evidence of terrorist-related money laundering or terrorist financing activities in Cuba, although Cuba has one of the worlds most secretive and non-transparent national banking systems. Cuba has no financial intelligence unit. Cubas Law 93 Against Acts of Terrorism provides the government authority to track, block, or seize terrorist assets.

The Cuban government continued to permit some U.S. fugitives-including members of U.S. militant groups such as the Boricua Popular, or Macheteros, and the Black Liberation Army to live legally in Cuba. In keeping with its public declaration, the government has not provided safe haven to any new U.S. fugitives wanted for terrorism since 2006.

Wayne Smith: Fidel Castro Is No Osama bin Laden

Via NY Transfer News * All the News That Doesn't Fit

called "Who Is a Terrorist?" that was published in the Sun-Sentinel
on May 31, and it has a bit more punch than his earlier essay.]

The Los Angeles Times - June 16 2002
http://www.latimes.com

Op-Ed:
FIDEL CASTRO IS NO OSAMA BIN LADEN
by Wayne S. Smith

WASHINGTON -- A cornerstone of the Bush administration's Cuba policy
is that Cuba is a terrorist state with hostile intentions toward us.
Otherwise, why not engage it as we do China, Vietnam and other
nondemocratic states?

The problem is that the administration can't come up with a shred of
credible evidence to prove its point. Nor is it above using outright
fabrications. For example, the State Department has made much of a
speech given by Fidel Castro in Tehran last year in which he
supposedly said "Iran and Cuba, in cooperation with each another, can
bring America to its knees."

But as it turns out, Castro never uttered those words. Professor
Nelson Valdes of the University of New Mexico has acquired and
analyzed all the transcripts of Castro's public statements while in
Iran and can attest that there is nothing even resembling such a
quote. It is a complete fabrication. When I was in Havana this
month, Cuban foreign ministry officials confirmed that Castro
categorically denies making the statement.

The reductio ad absurdum of the effort to label Cuba "a terrorist
state" can be found in the State Department's "Overview of
State-Sponsored Terrorism," issued May 21. Cuba is again included.
Why? Well, the State Department claims Castro has "vacillated" on the
war against terrorism and has "continued to view terror as a
legitimate revolutionary tactic."

But this is patently untrue. Castro has consistently denounced
terrorism since Sept. 11, calling for its "total eradication." He
immediately condemned the attacks on the World Trade Center and
Pentagon, expressed solidarity with the American people and offered
to cooperate with all governments in the defeat of terrorism. Cuba
has signed all 12 U.N. counter-terrorism conventions and early this
year offered to sign a bilateral agreement with the U.S. providing
for joint efforts against terrorism.

The U.S. declined, thus leaving us with a rather Kafkaesque
situation: Cuba offers to cooperate with us in the war against
terrorism, the State Department refuses the offer but simultaneously
complains that Cuba won't cooperate.

The truth is that the Bush administration doesn't want to sign any
agreements with the Cubans and doesn't want to be perceived as
cooperating with them because that might offend the hard-line exiles
in Florida and lose the president's brother votes in the
gubernatorial election.

One can also conclude from State's report on state-sponsored
terrorism that no one in the department consults with other
governments. The overview claims, for example, that Cuba has provided
"some degree of safe haven and support" to members of the
Revolutionary Armed Forced of Colombia (FARC) and the National
Liberation Army (ELN).

But in April, the chairman of Colombia's joint chiefs of staff, Gen.
Fernando Tapias, told the House Committee on International Relations:
"There is no information ... that Cuba is in any way linked to
terrorist activities in Colombia. Indeed, Cuban authorities are
buttressing the peace movement.... And this is the information that
I have from the president and the commissioners."

The May 21 report also mentions Niall Connolly, one of three members
of the Irish Republican Army arrested in Colombia on suspicion of
providing explosives to the FARC guerrilla group. It notes that he
lived a number of years in Cuba. True enough. Last year, the Cuban
government said that Connolly had been the representative in Cuba of
Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA. Nothing improper in that.
According to the Cubans, Connolly had left Cuba and returned to
Ireland some time earlier. Subsequently, he turned up in Colombia.
But no evidence has been brought to light suggesting any Cuban
connection with his activities in Colombia.

Stretching even further and again ignoring evidence to the contrary,
the State Department overview suggests that Cuba may have harbored
members of a Chilean terrorist group because it had twice denied
Chilean extradition requests, claiming that the wanted persons were
not in Cuba. Omitted is that this episode was thoroughly investigated
by the Chilean government, which last February sent two Chilean
senators to Havana to look into the matter. They returned completely
satisfied with Cuban explanations and convinced that Cuba was not
harboring any Chilean terrorists.

The report also complains that Cuba is harboring some members of the
separatist Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA). There are a few Basques
living in Cuba, but Cuba is not "harboring" them. Most arrived years
ago as the result of an agreement with the then-government of Felipe
Gonzalez in Spain, which asked the Cubans to take them. A few other
Basques have subsequently traveled to Cuba, and it is true that the
current Spanish government does not consider the Gonzalez agreement
still operative. But that government has not asked for the
extradition of a single Basque. And it is noteworthy that, in April,
the head of the Basque regional government paid a state visit to
Cuba, something he would probably not have done if he thought Cuba
was "harboring Basque terrorists."

Finally, the State Department raises the issue of American fugitives
in Cuba. Yes, there are a number of them. But there is no evidence
that any are engaged in terrorist activities or any other activities
against the United States. Furthermore, there are Cuban fugitives in
the U.S., several of them terrorists with extensive FBI files. If
having fugitives from another country within your borders were
grounds for making the list of terrorist nations, the U.S. would have
to be on it as well.

If what is in the May 21 report is the best evidence the State
Department can come up with, Cuba should not be on the list at all.
Claiming that Cuba is a terrorist state undermines our credibility
where we need it most--in the struggle against real terrorists.

Policy, is former chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.]
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