Those Wacky Bush Boys

Jeb Appoints Judge With Terrorist Connections


By Michael I. Niman ArtVoice 8/22/02

Remember the Florida Supreme Court?  They had a bit part in the 2000 presidential electoral coup – nothing important, however, as the election was eventually decided by the Reagan/Bush appointees on the U.S. Supreme Court.  The rest is history.  And the Florida Supreme Court has fallen into relative obscurity.  Fast forward to August of 2002.  One of the old chaps retired this spring, and the task of selecting a replacement falls on Florida Governor and Presidential brother Jeb Bush, who along with leading lady Katherine Harris, starred in the 2000 presidential coup.

Jeb’s selection is Raoul Cantero, the only finalist who is not a judge (sounds like Cheektowaga , but on a state level).  Cantero is the grandson of Cuba ’s brutal former dictator, General Batista.  Cantero’s father served granddad as an intelligence officer in Batista’s notorious Bureau for Repression of Communist Activities, who through their legacy of political torture and murder, eventually did more to incite communist revolution than to repress it.

Terrorism as “Heroism”

People can, however, break free from their families’ sleazy legacies, hence, they deserve to be judged on their own records.  Cantero, however, doesn’t fit this category.  He currently works as corporate lawyer for an outfit with longstanding connections to the notorious right wing Cuban American National Foundation, the richest and most prominent anti-Cuba lobby in America .  Cantero formally served as a lawyer for Orlando Bosch, identified by the Justice Department, the CIA and the FBI as a terrorist, who “has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death.” His terrorist attacks allegedly have taken place in Cuba and Panama , as well as on US soil both in Puerto Rico and on the mainland, where he is associated with more terrorist attacks than al Qaida.

Of course, as I have pointed out previously in this column, attorneys should not be tarred with the accusations leveled against their clients, hence, I am not condemning Cantero for defending Bosch.  Cantero, however, has done more than defend Bosch.  He also served as a spokesperson for Bosch and an advocate for Bosch’s terrorist ideology.  Cantero argued that Bosch, who along with Luis Posada, was charged with blowing up an Air Cubana jetliner, killing 73 people, was conducting a “heroic fight” against Cuba .  Al Qaida made the same argument, calling the psychotic architects of the World Trade Center bombing, heroes as well.  What Cantero and the al Qaida crowd fail to understand is that there is no heroism in killing tourists on an airliner or office workers in a skyscraper, no matter how just you feel your struggle against their governments to be.

Of course no one is appointing any al Qaida supporters to judicial positions in the United States .  This is where the double standard comes into play.  Bosch is “our” terrorist; hence he is a “freedom fighter.”  And Cantero, he supports our terrorist, hence, rather than be accurately labeled as a supporter of terrorism, he’s simply a Republican (like Jack Quinn and Joel Giambra).  And Jeb Bush, rather than being the radical wacko who appointed a terrorist supporter to the State Supreme Court, is simply the so-called president’s brother.  You gotta love Florida .

Maybe This is Embarrassing? 

The Cantero appointment is particularly problematic since Florida , home to a displaced Cuban mafia and a host of militant anti-Castro groups such as Alpha 66, is ground zero for terrorism in the United States , with Florida courts typically hearing more terrorism-related cases than any other state’s courts. Appointing a terrorist sympathizer to Florida ’s highest court promises to undermine any future legitimate legal battles against terrorists in Florida .  The appointment of Cantero also undermines the United States ’ supposed global war against terrorism by further exposing American policies as being hypocritical, and America as not serious in its battle against terrorism.  Without the pretext of fighting terrorism, the current multi-fronted war is exposed as nothing more than a war over oil and other resources.

Ironically, brother George W. sees no problems with Jeb’s appointment of Cantero. His State Department is instead busy intervening in federal court in an attempt to kill a human rights lawsuit against Exxon-Mobil Corporation.  The lawsuit, brought by The International Labor Rights Fund, charges that the oil giant acquiesced to the Indonesian military’s campaign of torture, rape and murder of native activists near their oil facility.  The rationale for killing the lawsuit, according to the Bush administration, is that it undermines the United States ’ “War on Terror.”  Get it?  Appointing terrorists to judicial positions is ok, but pursuing human rights and combating state terror undermines the fight against terrorism.  You gotta love them Bush boys.

Mad Cows & Terrorists

Back in Florida , Jeb is running for re-election after enacting a George W. style tax cut for the state’s wealthiest residents, thus plunging Florida ’s economy into a severe deficit.  Like his brother, he’s now blaming terrorists (theirs, not ours) for his government’s fiscal failures. In reality, however, his policies had already rung up a $672 million deficit before the events of 9-11 even occurred.  Jeb’s new “terrorism budget,” stuffed with pork for campaign contributors (printing contracts for family terrorism preparedness booklets, satellite tracking system for cows, etc.), promises more hardship for Floridians who have seen essential social services and public education decimated during the last four years.  And like the appointment of Cantero, his recent actions, such as cutting National Guard funding at a time Florida airports are supposedly on high alert status, seem to aid, rather than abet, terrorism. 

Jeb’s policies, like George W.’s, also seem to be driven by lunacy.  Upon closer examination, however, both brothers are more driven by their family’s incessant lust for dynastic empire at any cost.  Jeb, upon arriving in Florida , was welcomed into the anti-Castro Cuban community, where he was gifted with a partnership in a real estate firm that eventually turned him into a millionaire.  The appointment of Cantero to the State Supreme Court, while on the outset appearing insane and outrageous, is simply a business-as-usual repayment of a debt.  The integrity of Florida ’s courts may go to hell, but the Bush family bottom line will get a boost.  In a similar fashion, Jeb made a healthy profit selling his overvalued Enron stocks while Florida ’s pension system took the hardest hit in the nation when Enron collapsed. 

Recently released Bush/Cheney campaign finance documents show that the company, along with Dick Cheney’s former employer, Haliburton, also played a major role in the 2000 coup, underwriting the Bush/Cheney recount activities and lending their corporate jets to the campaign.  With their help, the Bush/Cheney campaign was able to send over 100 lawyers and hundreds of other operatives to Florida to aid the Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris’ efforts to suppress a full statewide recount. The documents were released on July 15th, which was the last day of an IRS amnesty program for late releases of such information.  If this stalling tactic was an attempt to bury the story, the Bush team needn’t have bothered, since most of the mass media ignored this story as they did most other stories pertaining to the 2000 coup. 

Of Coups and Camps

Recently published documents also show that Jeb’s role in the 2000 presidential coup was more brazen than most observers originally thought.  Al Gore lost because Florida illegally purged 57,700 voters from their election roles prior to the 2000 election.  Most of those folks were black.  Almost all of them were Democrats.  They were purged from the rolls after falsely being identified as convicted felons, who, according to Florida law, cannot vote (this is a separate story in itself – over 206,000 Black Floridians can’t vote – see   Among the purged names, were thousands of voters who received clemency from other states and could legally vote in Florida .  Jeb, however, issued a letter to county elections supervisors instructing them to purge these folks from the voter roles none-the-less.  In doing so, Jeb threw the election for his brother.  He also violated state and federal law.  Whistleblowers recently produced a paper trail, but to date Jeb has not been indicted. And with John Ashcroft running the Justice Department, there is little chance of an indictment of Jeb Bush, nor anyone else involved in the 2000 coup.     

It’s now 2002.  Coup year plus two.  Jeb is in the Florida Governor’s Mansion, not a federal penitentiary.  Terror supporter Raoul Cantero will be a Florida State Supreme Court Judge – and few in the mass media think this is outrageous.  George W. is holding court in the White House where he sealed all public records pertaining to the criminal activities of his father’s administration.  And Bush appointee, Attorney General John Ashcroft, has just this week proposed creating camps to incarcerate indefinitely, without trial, American citizens his agency unilaterally deems as “enemy combatants” in the unspecified “war” against anyone or everyone, that George W. says may go on forever. All this in the quest for cheap gas and sneakers.

 Dr. Michael I. Niman’s previous stories on the 2000 coup, black voter disenfranchisement and Bush administration business dealings and conflicts of interest are available online at articles.  Also see for excellent reporting on these subjects from the BBC and The Guardian.  As always, send fanmail to (not to be published) or hatemail to (to be published).

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