Questions for Hillary Clinton
ON April 22, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a number of statements in which she included the issue of the downing — in a Cuban government decision in defense of national sovereignty — of two airplanes belonging to the terrorist organization Brothers to the Rescue, in 1996. These statements were made to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. Among other things, she said:
"I well remember when those two small, unarmed planes doing nothing more than dropping pamphlets were shot down by the Castro regime."
The following are questions that attorney Leonard Weinglass proposes for Clinton in relation to her comments on the downing of the Brothers to the Rescue planes.
What would the United States do if the following were true?
1. If the lead aircraft of the three airplanes involved (two were shot down) was piloted by a man who had previously committed acts of treachery and violence against the United States and had been trained by a hostile foreign government.
2. If that same pilot, according to U.S. intelligence, had recently been trained in dropping on a field not printed sheets, but handmade explosive devices, to test their effectiveness.
3. If he had publicly declared two days earlier on a radio station in his country that the flight of the three planes on that day was "on a mission" to destabilize the U.S. government.
4. If the aircraft flown that day had the same characteristics as a military aircraft used during the Vietnam War to drop small bombs on an opposing country, later remodeled and currently a Navy surplus plane recently used for that same purpose.
5. If, right before the downing, the U.S. FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) had spoken with the leader pilot by radio and warned him that he was entering a militarily protected zone and should retreat, but the warning was ignored, given that the plane continued on a course toward the U.S. capital.
6. If the three aircraft then flew over a designated open water area that the United States had closed due to army exercises and, in line with international rules and regulations, had warned all aircraft not to enter.
7. If the three pilots concerned belonged to a group of former U.S. residents who had publicly called for the overthrow by force of the U.S. government.
8. If the pamphlets previously dropped by this group of pilots had called on the U.S. people to rise up against their government.
9. If, after 25 Washington flyovers by this group of pilots during the previous 20 months, all of which were protested by the United States to the country that provided them with a base, and if, before arming its interceptor aircraft, Washington had called a high-ranking military officer to warn him that, from that moment it intended to protect its air space militarily if necessary, urged him to return home and urged the appropriate agencies to stop those flights
10. If the United States simply did all of that, but despite all its warnings, the planes continued until they were shot down.
Under such circumstances, would the United States be justified in downing the two aircraft?