When a terrorist is our terrorist

Recently, a 20-year-old American, Din Dona Thin, took an American Airlines flight from Miami to La Paz, Bolivia. She declared to Bolivian customs officials that she was bringing “cheese” into the country, but a search of her luggage turned up five boxes of ammunition, each box containing 100 .45-caliber bullets.

Waiting to meet Ms. Thin at the airport was Zanabria Campbell, a woman who identified herself as the wife of Col. James Campbell. Campbell, it turns out, is chief of security for the U.S. Embassy in La Paz. Exposed as a deception, the “cheese” story was cast aside for another explanation: Thin was transporting the ammunition for Col. Campbell to use for “target practice.” Since Bolivian authorities were not gullible enough to swallow this farfetched method of supplying the U.S. Embassy’s Marine Guard, the incident at the airport forced the U.S. ambassador to get involved.

Philip Goldberg, U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, stuck to the story that the ammunition was smuggled at Col. Campbell’s initiative but, the ambassador stressed, Thin didn’t know what she was doing, and it was all an “innocent and administrative mistake.”

The incident was big news in Latin America. But, except for a short five-paragraph Associated Press story, little has appeared in the U.S. media.

One could readily imagine what would happen if a young Bolivian college graduate tried to clear Customs at Miami International Airport with 500 rounds of ammunition which she declared to be “cheese.”

But the big question is why the incident in La Paz has been ignored by the U.S. media.

Thin took a direct flight on American Airlines from Miami to La Paz. She had to get 500 .45 rounds through the screeners in Miami. Were the metal detectors not working? Or did she have the cooperation of U.S. security services? One would think that a security breach this big, at a major American airport, would draw the attention of CNN, AP, Time, the Miami Herald or The New York Times if not Fox News.

How and why did the U.S. Embassy in La Paz engage Thin to deliver ammunition for “target practice”? Had she done it before? What does she do when she’s not delivering ammunition? Did she have any other purpose in going to La Paz? Any serious, independent investigative reporter would be all over this story. But sadly, none in the U.S. corporate media are pressing U.S. authorities for answers.

In all likelihood, the 500 rounds of ammunition were meant for opponents of Evo Morales, the popular socialist-oriented president of Bolivia. We know from the past that U.S. covert operations against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua and Venezuela were conducted in this fashion. The fact that U.S. Embassy personnel were at the airport when Thin arrived indicates that they were there to serve as a cover should she be — as she was — exposed.

Because the U.S. government wants to see the Bolivian government of Evo Morales fall, the U.S. corporate media remains silently complicit in the apparent terrorist-related activities of Thin and the embassy in La Paz.

Orlando Bosch is a free man in Miami despite a Justice Department report characterizing him as a terrorist and recommending that he not be granted the complete pardon the first President Bush gave him.

Luis Posada is also completely free in Miami because of the clearly deliberate criminal incompetence of Justice Department attorneys and the refusal of the Department of Homeland Security to declare Posada a terrorist.

Oliver North, who ran a terrorist network against the first Nicaragua Sandinista government, enjoys near-celebrity status as a Fox News TV personality.

Like Posada, Bosch and North, Thin seems to have joined a long line of U.S. and U.S.-backed terrorists who seek to assassinate, overthrow or destabilize governments and movements distasteful to the U.S. government.

Since they are “our terrorists,” the media dutifully remain silent.

Greg Godels and Walter Tillow are active in the Cuba solidarity movement.