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Monday, April 25, 2005

One Man's Terrorist....

The recent conviction of a young physics whiz for destroying dozens of SUVs makes one contemplate the definitions of terrorism, and more importantly, the appropriate responses to it.

A Caltech graduate student convicted of helping to firebomb scores of sport utility vehicles was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison and ordered to pay $3.5 million in restitution.

A federal judge Monday rejected William Jensen Cottrell's plea for leniency.

"There's no way I'd ever be involved in anything like this again," Cottrell said. "I won't ever even jaywalk again."

However, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner said Cottrell had engaged in domestic terrorism and "we're very, very lucky" that no one was killed in the arson attacks.


Actually, from the description of the case, it sounds more like Cottrell's campaign, however ill-considered, was specifically designed not to hurt any people. Most of the vehicles were destroyed at a dealership at night. An actual terrorist would have acted with either sheer disregard for or outright malice toward human life. Yes, he could eventually have become a Unabomber-type asshole, but that's like saying George W. Bush might have gotten a law degree if he'd stayed in Yale Law School. Hell, if your aunt had balls, she'd be your uncle.

Now, don't get me wrong. Such a destructive act deserves some punishment. But the fact is that the Justice Department and police organizations have put this "eco-terrorism" movement on a par with Islamofascist terrorism. The eco-terrorists are assholes with a radical approach to a rather obvious problem with an unclear solution -- SUVs and McMansions are simply unsustainable trends, given the cold hard facts of finite resources and living space. Their point is correct; their tactics win no admirers. Molotov cocktails are not an empirically sound argument against conspicuous consumption.

But let's compare young Cottrell's adventures with another crusader, one nearer and dearer to los corazones Arbustos.

Perhaps you recall Poppy Bush's pardon of a Cuban terrorist named Orlando Bosch.

According to the justice department in George Bush Sr's administration, Bosch had participated in more than 30 terrorist acts. He was convicted of firing a rocket into a Polish ship which was on passage to Cuba. He was also implicated in the 1976 blowing-up of a Cubana plane flying to Havana from Venezuela in which all 73 civilians on board were killed.

CIA memorandums strongly suggest, according to Bardach's book, that Bosch was one of the conspirators, and quotes the then secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, as writing that the "US government had been planning to suggest Bosch's deportation before Cubana airlines crash took place for his suspected involvement in other terrorist acts and violation of his parole".


When Heinz Kissinger ain't buying your act, you're a bad fuckin' guy.


Bosch's release, often referred to in the US media as a pardon, was the result of pressure brought by hardline Cubans in Miami, with Jeb Bush serving as their point man. Bosch now lives in Miami and remains unrepentant about his militant activities, according to Bardach.


Huh. Killed 73 people, 24 of them from Cuba's Olympic fencing team, has been involved in at least 30 other terrorist acts, and is unrepentant about any of it. Someone should tell Hauptsturmführer Coulter, who gets all Linda Lovelace on this asshole, strangely taking the imprimatur of Venezuela's hallowed judicial system that Bosch must be innocent.

More from the Guardian article:

Other Cuban exiles involved in terrorist acts, Jose Dionisio Suarez and Virgilio Paz Romero, who carried out the 1976 assassination of the Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier in Washington, have also been released by the current Bush administration.


Letelier, you'll recall, was killed by a car bomb in our nation's capital. That's right, these fuckers committed a terrorist attack in Washington, D.C., in the year of our bicentennial, and the tough-guy Bushes let the Miami Cubans push them into pardoning these bastards.

Yeah, that's tough on terror all right.

But at least we got all the crazy physics students under our thumb.

Cottrell has himself to blame, of course. His co-conspirators fled the country immediately and remain at large, so guess who takes the rap for all three of them? And he was caught because he was stupid enough to send e-mails to the LA Times discussing his role in the crimes.

Still. One guy, however misguided, commits a crime with no casualties, and gets eight years. Another guy murders 73 people in just one of his 30+ acts, and does only a little more time than that, before the President of the United States personally intervenes and not only commutes the sentence, but pardons him of the crime, as if he were an innocent man wrongfully convicted.

But we're serious about gettin' them ELF guys. We got our priorities straight.

1 comment:

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