CIA-Trained Terrorist LP Carriles

>

The CIA Taught Us Everything”

CIA-trained ‘Terrorist’ in US Court

Accused of killing 73 in an airline bombing, Luis Posada Carriles charged with immigration violations, not terrorism.

” — El Paso, Texas – Margarita Morales Fernandez couldn’t be in court to see the former CIA agent who allegedly killed her father and 72 others aboard a Cuban airplane in one of the world’s worst airline attacks before September 11, 2001.

Fernandez and hundreds other victims are carefully watching the trial of former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles in US federal court.

His 11 charges include perjury for lying to US immigration officials, but terror-related offences are not on the docket.

“It will be 34 years since the terrorist attack that killed my father, but I remember it like it was yesterday, “Fernandez told Al Jazeera in a phone interview from Havana, Cuba. “I don’t think this trial takes us closer to justice.”

Victims of terrorism

On October 6, 1976 a bomb exploded on Cubana Airlines flight 455, blowing it out of the sky and into the waters off Barbados,

killing everyone on board, including Fernandez’s father, the captain of Cuba’s national fencing team.

Posada, 82, a Cuban-born Venezuelan-citizen, was considered the mastermind— a CIA-trained explosives expert who would stop at nothing in his personal vendetta against Cuban president Fidel Castro. Planned in Venezuela, the attack killed mostly Cuban nationals.

“The terrorist activities of Posada Carriles are part of the [current US court] indictment, but they are not what he is being prosecuted for,” said José Pertierra, a Cuban-born Washington lawyer who is representing Venezuela’s interest at the trial. “He is only being prosecuted for lying about them [attacks]… to an immigration judge in a naturalisation hearing.”

Venezuela jailed Posada for the bombing, but the wily operative escaped from prison disguised as a priest and eventually fled to the US, stopping in other Latin American countries along the way where he continued his anti-Castro activities. Venezuela has repeatedly called for his extradition.

“For many years, the truth has been hidden,” Fernandez said. “But I want people to learn that there are a lot of victims of terrorism in Cuba as well as in the US and other countries.”

Fury and personal vendetta

To examine the life of Luis Posada Carriles is to re-live the worst periods of the Cold War – and beyond. Angry about Cuba’s 1959 revolution, he joined CIA Brigade 2506 in February 1961 to invade the island as part of the ill-fated attack known as the Bay of Pigs, declassified documents reveal.

While Posada himself did not fight at the Bay of Pigs, CIA officials thought he was promising and he joined US army in 1963 at their behest, training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. By 1965, he was a paid CIA operative stationed in Miami.

“The CIA taught us everything,” he told The New York Times in 1998. “They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb trained us in acts of sabotage.”

He stayed with the agency in Miami until 1967, and later became a “paid asset” in Venezuela from 1968 to 1976, according to declassified documents.

CIA- trained and well- connected

After the Cuban attack, and his escape from prison, Posada returned to the CIA’s payroll in the 1980s, supervising arms shipments to the Contras in Nicaragua as part of what became known as the Iran-Contra affair, a murky scandal where the US government funneled money from arms sales to Iran—its official enemy- to right-wing militias in Nicaragua.

His history with the CIA and other clandestine operations means that Posada “has a lot of secrets to tell and friends in high places in Washington,” Pertierra, Venezuela’s lawyer, said in an interview with Al Jazeera outside the court-house.

Cold War history and imagery loomed large during the trial. At one point, a middle-aged man wearing all black clothing, a beret, combat boots and dark glasses, who said he was a member of the Black Panther Party, the iconic 1960s black-rights militant group, walked into the court room. He left soon after, looking bored with the proceedings.

But Posada’s crimes are not just a matter for historians, as Fernandez quickly points out. “Since our father died, our family has been so sad,” she said.

His attacks continued long after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2000, a Panamanian court convicted him of attempting to kill Cuban president Fidel Castro with 200 pounds of dynamite. He was pardoned by the country’s outgoing president four years later and set free.

Confession

During an interview with the New York Times in 1998, Posada admitted to organising a series of hotel bombings in Cuba a year earlier, injuring 11 people and killing Italian businessman Fabio diCelmo. “We just wanted to make a big scandal so that the tourists don’t come anymore,” Posada told the newspaper. “The Italian was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I sleep like a baby.”

Understandably after comments like this, Posada’s attorneys wouldn’t let him speak to media during the trial. The author of the New York Times piece will be called as a witness during the case. Posada has since stated that he mis-spoke in the interview because he is not fluent in English.

Posada, 82, turned up in Miami in 2005 and gave a public news conference, angering some US officials. He claims to have arrived in Miami on a bus, after sneaking into the US by crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico. He was indicted by a Grand Jury in Texas for unlawfully entering the US in 2005, although the charges were later dismissed.

That year, Venezuela again asked for his extradition. But officials denied extradition to Venezuela or Cuba, stating that Posada could be tortured in those countries.

“The only evidence I have seen of torture in Cuba comes from the US military base at Guantanamo Bay,” Pertierra said.

Pertierra, along with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, think the claim that Posada crossed into the US through Texas is preposterous, as the illegal journey across the border is too arduous for a man in his eighties facing health problems.

“I have to ask myself, did he really cross the desert?” Gina Garrett-Jackson, a lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security, said while being questioned in the witness stand during court testimony on Tuesday.

Jackson faced cross-examination by Posada’s attorneys, who argued that she involved the Department of Justice and other branches of government in Posada’s initial immigration case in order to build a lay the groundwork for criminal charges related his to terrorist activity.

Mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks

Posada had initially presented a claim for political asylum in the US, before his legal team unilaterally withdrew that plan.

Jackson said Posada failed the requirements for political asylum in the US in 2005 due to his conviction for plotting the bombing in Panama and other mis-deeds.

In court, lawyers played audio recordings of the 2005 asylum hearing, when Jackson, who was working for the Department of Homeland Security, questioned Posada.

“This Cuba bombing campaign in 1997 was a very big event, would you agree?” Jackson asked.

“I don’t know, I have no opinion,” Posada responded.

A 2006 statement from the US Department of Justice states: “Luis Posada-Carriles is an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks … a flight risk … [and] a danger to the community.”

But the Justice Department’s view does not seem to be shared by other branches of the US government. The incriminating secrets Posada likely posses, tense relations between the US, Cuba and Venezuela and domestic political concerns—the anti-Castro Cuban population in Miami holds national electoral clout far beyond its numbers – mean that extradition or terrorism charges seem unlikely.

“This case illustrates the double face of the US war on terrorism,” Pertierra, who represents Venezuelan interests, said as court adjourned for lunch. “You can’t pick and choose which terrorists you prosecute and which ones you protect. You can’t have first class victims and second class victims; all victims must be mourned equally.

By Chris Arsenault, January 19, 2011 Al-Jazeera

>

CIA-Trained ‘Terrorist’ Luis Posada Carriles in US Court

Accused of killing 73 in an airline bombing, Luis Posada Carriles charged with immigration violations, not terrorism.

by Chris Arsenault

EL PASO, Texas – Margarita Morales Fernandez couldn’t be in court to see the former CIA agent who allegedly killed her father and 72 others aboard a Cuban airplane in one of the world’s worst airline attacks before September 11, 2001.

[In this Nov. 8, 2010, file photo Luis Posada Carriles talks to a reporter in Miami. "The CIA taught us everything," Posada told The New York Times in 1998. "They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb trained us in acts of sabotage." (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File) ]In this Nov. 8, 2010, file photo Luis Posada Carriles talks to a reporter in Miami. “The CIA taught us everything,” Posada told The New York Times in 1998. “They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb trained us in acts of sabotage.” (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

Fernandez and hundreds other victims are carefully watching the trial of former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles in US federal court.

His 11 charges include perjury for lying to US immigration officials, but terror-related offences are not on the docket.

“It will be 34 years since the terrorist attack that killed my father, but I remember it like it was yesterday, “Fernandez told Al Jazeera in a phone interview from Havana, Cuba. “I don’t think this trial takes us closer to justice.”

Victims of terrorism

On October 6, 1976 a bomb exploded on Cubana Airlines flight 455, blowing it out of the sky and into the waters off Barbados, killing everyone on board, including Fernandez’s father, the captain of Cuba’s national fencing team.

Posada, 82, a Cuban-born Venezuelan-citizen, was considered the mastermind — a CIA-trained explosives expert who would stop at nothing in his personal vendetta against Cuban president Fidel Castro. Planned in Venezuela, the attack killed mostly Cuban nationals.

“The terrorist activities of Posada Carriles are part of the [current US court] indictment, but they are not what he is being prosecuted for,” said José Pertierra, a Cuban-born Washington lawyer who is representing Venezuela’s interest at the trial. “He is only being prosecuted for lying about them [attacks]… to an immigration judge in a naturalisation hearing.”

Venezuela jailed Posada for the bombing, but the wily operative escaped from prison disguised as a priest and eventually fled to the US, stopping in other Latin American countries along the way where he continued his anti-Castro activities. Venezuela has repeatedly called for his extradition.

“For many years, the truth has been hidden,” Fernandez said. “But I want people to learn that there are a lot of victims of terrorism in Cuba as well as in the US and other countries.”

Fury and personal vendetta

To examine the life of Luis Posada Carriles is to re-live the worst periods of the Cold War — and beyond. Angry about Cuba’s 1959 revolution, he joined CIA Brigade 2506 in February 1961 to invade the island as part of the ill-fated attack known as the Bay of Pigs, declassified documents reveal.

While Posada himself did not fight at the Bay of Pigs, CIA officials thought he was promising and he joined US army in 1963 at their behest, training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. By 1965, he was a paid CIA operative stationed in Miami.

“The CIA taught us everything,” he told The New York Times in 1998. “They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb trained us in acts of sabotage.”

He stayed with the agency in Miami until 1967, and later became a “paid asset” in Venezuela from 1968 to 1976, according to declassified documents.

CIA-trained and well-connected

After the Cuban attack, and his escape from prison, Posada returned to the CIA’s payroll in the 1980s, supervising arms shipments to the Contras in Nicaragua as part of what became known as the Iran-Contra affair, a murky scandal where the US government funneled money from arms sales to Iran — its official enemy — to right-wing militias in Nicaragua.

His history with the CIA and other clandestine operations means that Posada “has a lot of secrets to tell and friends in high places in Washington,” Pertierra, Venezuela’s lawyer, said in an interview with Al Jazeera outside the court-house.

Cold War history and imagery loomed large during the trial. At one point, a middle-aged man wearing all black clothing, a beret, combat boots and dark glasses, who said he was a member of the Black Panther Party, the iconic 1960s black-rights militant group, walked into the court room. He left soon after, looking bored with the proceedings.

But Posada’s crimes are not just a matter for historians, as Fernandez quickly points out. “Since our father died, our family has been so sad,” she said.

His attacks continued long after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2000, a Panamanian court convicted him of attempting to kill Cuban president Fidel Castro with 200 pounds of dynamite. He was pardoned by the country’s outgoing president four years later and set free.

Confession

During an interview with the New York Times in 1998, Posada admitted to organising a series of hotel bombings in Cuba a year earlier, injuring 11 people and killing Italian businessman Fabio diCelmo. “We just wanted to make a big scandal so that the tourists don’t come anymore,” Posada told the newspaper. “The Italian was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I sleep like a baby.”

Understandably after comments like this, Posada’s attorneys wouldn’t let him speak to media during the trial. The author of the New York Times piece will be called as a witness during the case. Posada has since stated that he mis-spoke in the interview because he is not fluent in English.

Posada, 82, turned up in Miami in 2005 and gave a public news conference, angering some US officials. He claims to have arrived in Miami on a bus, after sneaking into the US by crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico. He was indicted by a Grand Jury in Texas for unlawfully entering the US in 2005, although the charges were later dismissed.

That year, Venezuela again asked for his extradition. But officials denied extradition to Venezuela or Cuba, stating that Posada could be tortured in those countries.

“The only evidence I have seen of torture in Cuba comes from the US military base at Guantanamo Bay,” Pertierra said.

Pertierra, along with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, think the claim that Posada crossed into the US through Texas is preposterous, as the illegal journey across the border is too arduous for a man in his eighties facing health problems.

“I have to ask myself, did he really cross the desert?” Gina Garrett-Jackson, a lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security, said while being questioned in the witness stand during court testimony on Tuesday.

Jackson faced cross-examination by Posada’s attorneys, who argued that she involved the Department of Justice and other branches of government in Posada’s initial immigration case in order to build a lay the groundwork for criminal charges related his to terrorist activity.

Mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks

Posada had initially presented a claim for political asylum in the US, before his legal team unilaterally withdrew that plan.

Jackson said Posada failed the requirements for political asylum in the US in 2005 due to his conviction for plotting the bombing in Panama and other mis-deeds.

In court, lawyers played audio recordings of the 2005 asylum hearing, when Jackson, who was working for the Department of Homeland Security, questioned Posada.

“This Cuba bombing campaign in 1997 was a very big event, would you agree?” Jackson asked.

“I don’t know, I have no opinion,” Posada responded.

A 2006 statement from the US Department of Justice states: “Luis Posada-Carriles is an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks … a flight risk … [and] a danger to the community.”

But the Justice Department’s view does not seem to be shared by other branches of the US government. The incriminating secrets Posada likely posses, tense relations between the US, Cuba and Venezuela and domestic political concerns-the anti-Castro Cuban population in Miami holds national electoral clout far beyond its numbers – mean that extradition or terrorism charges seem unlikely.

“This case illustrates the double face of the US war on terrorism,” Pertierra, who represents Venezuelan interests, said as court adjourned for lunch. “You can’t pick and choose which terrorists you prosecute and which ones you protect. You can’t have first class victims and second class victims; all victims must be mourned equally.”

Follow Chris Arsenault On Twitter: @AJEchris

>
CIA-trained ‘terrorist’ in US court
Accused of killing 73 in an airline bombing, Luis Posada Carriles charged with immigration violations, not terrorism.
Chris Arsenault Last Modified: 19 Jan 2011 14:12 GMT
Posada, 82, a Cuban-born Venezuelan citizen, was considered the mastermind of the Cubana airline bombing, and a CIA-trained explosives expert who would stop at nothing in his personal vendetta against Fidel Castro [Reuters]

El Paso, Texas – Margarita Morales Fernandez couldn’t be in court to see the former CIA agent who allegedly killed her father and 72 others aboard a Cuban airplane in one of the world’s worst airline attacks before September 11, 2001.

Fernandez and hundreds other victims are carefully watching the trial of former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles in US federal court.

His 11 charges include perjury for lying to US immigration officials, but terror-related offences are not on the docket.

“It will be 34 years since the terrorist attack that killed my father, but I remember it like it was yesterday, “Fernandez told Al Jazeera in a phone interview from Havana, Cuba. “I don’t think this trial takes us closer to justice.”

Victims of terrorism

On October 6, 1976 a bomb exploded on Cubana Airlines flight 455, blowing it out of the sky and into the waters off Barbados, killing everyone on board, including Fernandez’s father, the captain of Cuba’s national fencing team.

Posada, 82, a Cuban-born Venezuelan-citizen, was considered the mastermind— a CIA-trained explosives expert who would stop at nothing in his personal vendetta against Cuban president Fidel Castro. Planned in Venezuela, the attack killed mostly Cuban nationals.

“The terrorist activities of Posada Carriles are part of the [current US court] indictment, but they are not what he is being prosecuted for,” said José Pertierra, a Cuban-born Washington lawyer who is representing Venezuela’s interests at the trial. “He is only being prosecuted for lying about them [attacks]… to an immigration judge in a naturalisation hearing.”

Venezuela jailed Posada for the bombing, but the wily operative escaped from prison disguised as a priest and eventually fled to the US, stopping in other Latin American countries along the way where he continued his anti-Castro activities. Venezuela has repeatedly called for his extradition.

“For many years, the truth has been hidden,” Fernandez said. “But I want people to learn that there are a lot of victims of terrorism in Cuba as well as in the US and other countries.”

Fury and personal vendetta

To examine the life of Luis Posada Carriles is to re-live the worst periods of the Cold War – and beyond. Angry about Cuba’s 1959 revolution, he joined CIA Brigade 2506 in February 1961 to invade the island as part of the ill-fated attack known as the Bay of Pigs, declassified documents reveal.

While Posada himself did not fight at the Bay of Pigs, CIA officials thought he was promising and he joined US army in 1963 at their behest, training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. By 1965, he was a paid CIA operative stationed in Miami.

“The CIA taught us everything,” he told The New York Times in 1998. “They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb trained us in acts of sabotage.”

He stayed with the agency in Miami until 1967, and later became a “paid asset” in Venezuela from 1968 to 1976, according to declassified documents.

CIA- trained and well- connected

After the Cuban attack, and his escape from prison, Posada returned to the CIA’s payroll in the 1980s, supervising arms shipments to the Contras in Nicaragua as part of what became known as the Iran-Contra affair, a murky scandal where the US government funneled money from arms sales to Iran—its official enemy- to right-wing militias in Nicaragua.

His history with the CIA and other clandestine operations means that Posada “has a lot of secrets to tell and friends in high places in Washington,” Pertierra, Venezuela’s lawyer, said in an interview with Al Jazeera outside the court-house.

Cold War history and imagery loomed large during the trial. At one point, a middle-aged man wearing all black clothing, a beret, combat boots and dark glasses, who said he was a member of the Black Panther Party, the iconic 1960s black-rights militant group, walked into the court room. He left soon after, looking bored with the proceedings.

But Posada’s crimes are not just a matter for historians, as Fernandez quickly points out. “Since our father died, our family has been so sad,” she said.

His attacks continued long after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2000, a Panamanian court convicted him of attempting to kill Cuban president Fidel Castro with 200 pounds of dynamite. He was pardoned by the country’s outgoing president four years later and set free.

Confession

During an interview with The New York Times in 1998, Posada admitted to organising a series of hotel bombings in Cuba a year earlier, injuring 11 people and killing Italian businessman Fabio diCelmo. “We just wanted to make a big scandal so that the tourists don’t come anymore,” Posada told the newspaper. “The Italian was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I sleep like a baby.”

Understandably after comments like this, Posada’s attorneys wouldn’t let him speak to media during the trial. The author of the New York Times piece will be called as a witness during the case. Posada has since stated that he mis-spoke in the interview because he is not fluent in English.

Posada, 82, turned up in Miami in 2005 and gave a public news conference, angering some US officials. He claims to have arrived in Miami on a bus, after sneaking into the US by crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico. He was indicted by a Grand Jury in Texas for unlawfully entering the US in 2005, although the charges were later dismissed.

That year, Venezuela again asked for his extradition. But officials denied extradition to Venezuela or Cuba, stating that Posada could be tortured in those countries.

“The only evidence I have seen of torture in Cuba comes from the US military base at Guantanamo Bay,” Pertierra said.

Pertierra, along with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, think the claim that Posada crossed into the US through Texas is preposterous, as the illegal journey across the border is too arduous for a man in his eighties facing health problems.

“I have to ask myself, did he really cross the desert?” Gina Garrett-Jackson, a lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security, said while being questioned in the witness stand during court testimony on Tuesday.

Jackson faced cross-examination by Posada’s attorneys, who argued that she involved the Department of Justice and other branches of government in Posada’s initial immigration case in order to lay the groundwork for criminal charges related his to terrorist activity.

Mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks

Posada had initially presented a claim for political asylum in the US, before his legal team unilaterally withdrew that plan.

Jackson said Posada failed the requirements for political asylum in the US in 2005 due to his conviction for plotting the bombing in Panama and other mis-deeds.

In court, lawyers played audio recordings of the 2005 asylum hearing, when Jackson, who was working for the Department of Homeland Security, questioned Posada.

“This Cuba bombing campaign in 1997 was a very big event, would you agree?” Jackson asked.

“I don’t know, I have no opinion,” Posada responded.

A 2006 statement from the US Department of Justice states: “Luis Posada-Carriles is an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks … a flight risk … [and] a danger to the community.”

But the Justice Department’s view does not seem to be shared by other branches of the US government. The incriminating secrets Posada likely posses, tense relations between the US, Cuba and Venezuela and domestic political concerns—the anti-Castro Cuban population in Miami holds national electoral clout far beyond its numbers – mean that extradition or terrorism charges seem unlikely.

“This case illustrates the double face of the US war on terrorism,” Pertierra, who represents Venezuelan interests, said as court adjourned for lunch. “You can’t pick and choose which terrorists you prosecute and which ones you protect. You can’t have first class victims and second class victims; all victims must be mourned equally.”

Follow Chris Arsenault On Twitter: @AJEchris

>

A CIA agent, who masterminded the downing of a Cuba-bound flight in 1976 that killed 73 people, goes on trial in the U.S. this week. Stephen Kinzer, who had tickets for the flight, reports.

It was a simple whim that saved my life: I had finished reporting in Barbados quicker than anticipated and so I changed my flight to Havana, getting on an earlier plane. Two days later, a terrorist blew up the Cuba-bound flight I had been booked on.

All 73 people aboard perished.

I would have been the 74th.

Article - Kinzer PosadaCuban exile Luis Posada Carriles is seen in this 1985 photo taken in an unknown location. Credit: AP Photo

On Monday, the man believed to have masterminded this horrific attack in 1976, Luis Posada Carriles, will go on trial in El Paso, Texas. But perhaps because he spent most of his adult life working for the Central Intelligence Agency, he is not being tried for that crime.

Nor is he being judged for his apparent role as mastermind of a string of bombings in Havana, including one at a hotel that killed an Italian tourist. He is only being charged with violating immigration law and obstructing justice.

In an age when terror and terrorism are said to be the greatest global threats to civilization, this case perfectly illustrates how elastic the definition of those terms has become. Any violent act against the United States or the West is decried as terrorism, while some true terrorists are either lionized or, at worst, subject to prosecution for relatively trivial offenses.

“He worked for the CIA at a time when elder Bush was CIA director and had a special interest in Latin American issues,” said Blake Fleetwood, a journalist who has covered the case for years and once conducted a taped interview in which Posada Carriles freely admitted to terrorist crimes. “He knows so many secrets about the workings of the U.S. government that the government has been very slow to prosecute him. They’re kind of hoping he’ll die before this goes any further.”

All 73 people aboard perished. I would have been the 74th.

“Obviously someone is protecting him,” Fleetwood said. “We trained him. He’s our boy. I think he’s still a hero to some people [at CIA headquarters] in Langley. He did what we asked him to do, and we don’t leave our fallen soldiers on the battlefield. We protect them, and there’s a tremendous sense of loyalty to him. He did what we trained him to do.”

Any outcome of this trial will be an outrage. A verdict of not guilty will be another in a long string of victories for the proud assassin. He would even be able to claim victory if the jury finds him guilty, because it will mean that, at age 82, he has once again escaped direct responsibility for his crimes. He is a poster child for the hypocrisy of today’s anti-terror campaign.

Posada Carriles was born in Cuba, and like many of his generation, fled the Castro regime, resolving to do all he could to destroy it. Unlike most of his compatriots, however, he chose the route of armed violence.

He was among the dreamers who organized the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, and after its failure he began a long career in the service of the U.S. government. He was trained in sabotage and commando tactics at Fort Benning, and then joined the Florida-based CIA team charged with deposing or assassinating Fidel Castro.

After differences with the agency, reportedly over his association with drug traffickers, he relocated to Venezuela, where he quickly became chief of operations for the state intelligence agency.

It was there that he allegedly organized the bombing of Cubana Airlines Flight 455, which departed from Caracas, stopped in Barbados—where I was supposed to board—and then continued on to its doom. He was arrested and imprisoned in Venezuela, but mysteriously escaped. In the 1980s, he turned up back on the CIA payroll, working at an airport in El Salvador supervising clandestine arms shipments to the Nicaraguan Contras. His boss was another legendary CIA man, Félix Rodríguez, who directed the capture and execution of Che Guevara in Bolivia.

Later, Posada Carriles served for a time as a security adviser to the murderous government of Guatemala; allegedly involved in dozens of bombings in Central America as well as attacks on hotels in Cuba. In 2000, he was arrested in Panama with a cache of explosives he had hoped to use to kill Castro, who was visiting Panama. He was tried, convicted, and imprisoned, but in 2004 President Mireya Moscoso, a close ally of the U.S., pardoned him in her last days in office. Panama’s supreme court later declared the pardon null, and ordered that the officials who had spirited Posada Carriles out of the country be charged with abuse of authority.

The aging terrorist sought to live out his remaining years in the U.S., but many of his protectors are no longer powerful, and prosecutors began closing in on him. The FBI turned out to have shredded most of its files on the case, but his apparently illegal entry into the U.S. came back to haunt him. A congressional subcommittee and a grand jury in New Jersey tied him to various crimes.

In 2005 he was indicted by a grand jury in Texas for illegally entering the U.S., but the charge was later dismissed. Another judge rejected an attempt to extradite him to Venezuela, where Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro has called him “the bin Laden of the Americas.” The judge said there was a danger he might be tortured there. That rationale seems ironic in light of the reported American practice of sending prisoners—without trial or conviction—to Poland or Lithuania or Thailand or Egypt or Romania for the express purpose of being tortured.

Although Posada Carriles has long relied on powerful American friends, the Department of Justice recently described him as “an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks.” The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly placed him on its no-fly list, a comforting step considering that he is probably the world’s most famous plane bomber. Yet no one can say what will happen to him if he is convicted of the charges against him in Texas, which include an allegation that he obstructed an investigation of “international terrorism” and that he committed perjury by hiding his involvement in the Havana bombings when entering the U.S.

Posada Carriles is wanted on murder charges in both Cuba and Venezuela, but the U.S. is unlikely to deport him to either of those countries. Half a dozen other countries, informally approached by the U.S., have said they would refuse to accept him. He would fall into a category of his own: a terrorist no longer fully welcome in the country that sponsored him for years, but not welcome anywhere else either—except in Miami, where some militant anti-Castro activists consider him a hero.

In an interview with The New York Times several years ago, Posada Carriles was asked about the Italian tourist who was killed in one of his bombing attacks in Havana. He said it was “a freak accident, but I sleep like a baby.” Probably he would have said the same about me, had I not changed my ticket for the Cubana 455 flight.

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent. His new book is Reset: Iran, Turkey and America’s Future.

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Luis Posada Carriles: Trial of the Terrorist Who Almost Killed Me

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LUIS POSADA CARRILES
THE DECLASSIFIED RECORD

CIA and FBI Documents Detail Career in International Terrorism; Connection to U.S.

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 153

For more information contact
Peter Kornbluh –             202/994-7116

May 10, 2005

Related postings

October 5, 2006
Bombing of Cuban Jetliner 30 Years Later

June 9, 2005
The Posada File, Part II

Posada Boasted of Plans to “Hit” Cuban Plane

Update – May 18, 2005 – Documents featured on May 17, 2005 edition of ABC’s Nightline

Washington D.C. May 18, 2005 – The National Security Archive today posted additional documents that show that the CIA had concrete advance intelligence, as early as June 1976, on plans by Cuban exile terrorist groups to bomb a Cubana airliner. The Archive also posted another document that shows that the FBI’s attache in Caracas had multiple contacts with one of the Venezuelans who placed the bomb on the plane, and provided him with a visa to the U.S. five days before the bombing, despite suspicions that he was engaged in terrorist activities at the direction of Luis Posada Carriles.

Both documents were featured last night on ABC Nightline’s program on Luis Posada Carriles, who was detained in Miami yesterday by Homeland Security.

In addition, the Archive posted the first report to Secretary of State Kissinger from the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research on the bombing of Cubana flight 455. The report noted that a CIA source had overheard Posada prior to the bombing in late September 1976 stating that, “We are going to hit a Cuban airliner.” This information was apparently not passed to the CIA until after the plane went down.

There is no indication in the declassified files that indicates that the CIA alerted Cuban government authorities to the terrorist threat against Cubana planes. Still classified CIA records indicate that the informant might actually have been Posada himself who at that time was in periodic contact with both CIA and FBI agents in Venezuela.

CIA, June 22, 1976, Report, “Possible Plans of Cuban Exile Extremists to Blow Up a Cubana Airliner”

FBI, October 9, 1976, “Unknown Subjects; Suspected Bombing of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados, West Indies, October 6, 1976”

State Department, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, October 18, 1976, Memorandum, “Castro’s Allegations”


Washington D.C. May 10, 2005 – Declassified CIA and FBI records posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University identify Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles, who is apparently in Florida seeking asylum, as a former CIA agent and as one of the “engineer[s]” of the 1976 terrorist bombing of Cubana Airlines flight 455 that killed 73 passengers.

The documents include a November 1976 FBI report on the bombing cited in yesterday’s New York Times article “Case of Cuban Exile Could Test the U.S. Definition of Terrorist,” CIA trace reports covering the Agency’s recruitment of Posada in the 1960s, as well as the FBI intelligence reporting on the downing of the plane. The Archive also posted a second FBI report, dated one day after the bombing, in which a confidential source “all but admitted that Posada and [Orlando] Bosch had engineered the bombing of the airline.” In addition, the posting includes several documents relating to Bosch and his suspected role in the downing of the jetliner on October 6, 1976.

Using a false passport, Posada apparently snuck into the United States in late March and remains in hiding. His lawyer announced that Posada is asking the Bush administration for asylum because of the work he had done for the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1960s. The documents posted today includeCIA records confirming that Posada was an agent in the 1960s and early 1970s, and remained an informant in regular contact with CIA officials at least until June 1976.

In 1985, Posada escaped from prison in Venezuela where he had been incarcerated after the plane bombing and remains a fugitive from justice. He went directly to El Salvador, where he worked, using the alias “Ramon Medina,” on the illegal contra resupply program being run by Lt. Col. Oliver North in the Reagan National Security Council. In 1998 he was interviewed by Ann Louise Bardach for the New York Times at a secret location in Aruba, and claimed responsibility for a string of hotel bombings in Havana during which eleven people were injured and one Italian businessman was killed. Most recently he was imprisoned in Panama for trying to assassinate Fidel Castro in December 2000 with 33 pounds of C-4 explosives. In September 2004, he and three co-conspirators were suddenly pardoned, and Posada went to Honduras. Venezuela is now preparing to submit an official extradition request to the United States for his return.

According to Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Archive’s Cuba Documentation Project, Posada’s presence in the United States “poses a direct challenge to the Bush administration’s terrorism policy. The declassified record,” he said, “leaves no doubt that Posada has been one of the world’s most unremitting purveyors of terrorist violence.” President Bush has repeatedly stated that no nation should harbor terrorists, and all nations should work to bring individuals who advocate and employ the use of terror tactics to justice. During the Presidential campaign last year Bush stated that “I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world.” Although Posada has reportedly been in the Miami area for more than six weeks, the FBI has indicated it is not actively searching for him.


Documents
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THE CIA CONNECTION

Luis Posada Carriles had a long relationship with the CIA. In February 1961, he joined the CIA’s Brigade 2506 to invade Cuba, although the ship to which he was assigned never landed at the Bay of Pigs. While in the U.S. military between 1963 and 1965 the CIA recruited him and trained him in demolitions; he subsequently became a trainer of other paramilitary exile forces in the mid 1960s. CIA documents posted below reveal that he was terminated as an asset in July 1967, but then reinstated four months later and apparently remained an asset until 1974. The documents also show that he remained in contact with the Agency until June 1976, only three months before the plane bombing.

Document 1: CIA, October 13, 1976, Report, “Traces on Persons Involved in 6 Oct 1976 Cubana Crash.”

In the aftermath of the bombing of Cubana flight 455, the CIA ran a file check on all names associated with the terror attack. In a report to the FBI the Agency stated that it had no association with the two Venezuelans who were arrested. A section on Luis Posada Carriles was heavily redacted when the document was declassified. But the FBI retransmitted the report three days later and that version was released uncensored revealing Posada’s relations with the CIA.

Document 2: FBI, October 16, 1976, Retransmission of CIA Trace Report

In this uncensored version of the CIA trace report, the Agency admits that it “had a relationship with one person whose name has been mentioned in connection with the reported bombing,” Luis Posada Carriles. The CIA file check shows that Posada was “a former agent of CIA.” Although it doesn’t say when his employment began, it indicates he was terminated briefly in the summer of 1967 but then reinstated in the fall and continued as an asset while a high level official in the Venezuelan intelligence service, DISIP, until 1974. Even then, “occasional contact with him” continued until June 1976.

Document 3: CIA, June 1966, File search on Luis “Pozada”

In this file search the CIA states that Posada has “been of operational interest to this Agency since April 1965,” the likely date when he first became a paid CIA agent.

Document 4: FBI, July 18, 1966, “Cuba”

An informant reports to the FBI that Posada is a CIA agent and is “receiving approximately $300.00 per month from CIA.”

Document 5: CIA, April 17, 1972, Personal Record Questionnaire on Posada

This “PRQ” was compiled in 1972 at a time Posada was a high level official at the Venezuelan intelligence service, DISIP, in charge of demolitions. The CIA was beginning to have some concerns about him, based on reports that he had taken CIA explosives equipment to Venezuela, and that he had ties to a Miami mafia figure named Lefty Rosenthal. The PRQ spells out Posada’s personal background and includes his travel to various countries between 1956 and 1971. It also confirms that one of his many aliases was “Bambi Carriles.”

EARLY TERRORIST PLOTTING

During the time that Posada was on the CIA payroll in the mid-1960s, he participated in a number of plots that involved sabotage and explosives. FBI reporting recorded some of Posada’s earliest activities, including his financial ties to Jorge Mas Canosa, who would later become head of the powerful anti-Castro lobby, the Cuban American National Foundation.

Document 6: FBI, July 7, 1965, “Luis Posada Carriles”

The FBI transmits information obtained from the CIA’s Mexico station titled “Intention of Cuban Representation in Exile (RECE) to Blow up a Cuban or Soviet Vessel in Veracruz, Mexico.” The document summarizes intelligence on a payment that Jorge Mas Canosa, then the head of RECE, has made to Luis Posada to finance a sabotage operation against ships in Mexico. Posada reportedly has “100 pounds of C-4 explosives and detonators” and limpet mines to use in the operation.

Document 7: FBI, July 13, 1965, “Cuban Representation in Exile (RECE)”

A FBI cable reports on intelligence obtained from “MM T-1” (a code reference to the CIA) on a number of RECE terrorist operations, including the bombing of the Soviet library in Mexico City. The document contains information on payments from Jorge Mas Canosa to Luis Posada for an operation to bomb ships in the port of Veracruz, as well as a description of Posada and a statement he gave to the FBI in June of 1964.

Document 8: FBI, May 17, 1965, “Roberto Alejos Arzu; Luis Sierra Lopez, Neutrality Matters, Internal Security-Guatemala

The FBI links Posada to a major plot to overthrow the government of Guatemala. U.S. Customs agents force Posada and other co-conspirators to turn over a cache of weapons that are listed in this document. The weapons include napalm, 80 pounds of C-4 explosives, and 28 pounds of C-3 explosives.

BOMBING OF CUBANA FLIGHT 455

Document 9: FBI, October 7, 1976, Secret Intelligence Report, “Suspected Bombing of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados”

In one of the very first reports on the October 6, 1976, downing of Cubana Flight 455, the FBI Venezuelan bureau cables that a confidential source has identified Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch as responsible for the bombing. “The source all but admitted that Posada and Bosch had engineered the bombing of the airline,” according to the report. The report appears to indicate that the Venezuelan secret police, DISIP, were arranging for Bosch and Posada to leave Caracas, although this section of the document has been censored.

In the report, the FBI identifies two Venezuelan suspects arrested in Barbados: Freddy Lugo and Jose Vazquez Garcia. Vazquez Garcia is an alias for Hernan Ricardo Lozano. Both Ricardo and Lugo worked for Luis Posada’s private security firm in Caracas at the time of the bombing.

Document 10: FBI, November 2, 1976, Secret Intelligence Report “Bombing of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados, West Indies, October 6, 1976”

The FBI receives information from a source who has spoken with Ricardo Morales Navarrete, a Cuban exile informant working for DISIP in Caracas. Known as “Monkey” Morales, he tells the FBI source of two meetings during which plotting for the plane bombing took place: one in the Hotel Anauco Hilton in Caracas, and another in Morales room at the Hilton. Both meetings were attended by Posada Carriles. A key passage of the report quotes Morales as stating that “some people in the Venezuelan government are involved in this airplane bombing, and that if Posada Carriles talks, then Morales Navarrete and others in the Venezuelan government will ‘go down the tube.’ He said that if people start talking ‘we’ll have our own Watergate.'” Morales also states that after the plane went down, one of the men who placed the bomb aboard the jet called Orlando Bosch and reported: “A bus with 73 dogs went off a cliff and all got killed.”

Document 11: FBI, November 3, 1976, Cable, “Bombing of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados, West Indies, October 6, 1976”

The FBI reports on arrest warrants issued by a Venezuelan judge for Posada, Bosch, Freddy Lugo and Ricardo Lozano.

ORLANDO BOSCH AND ANTI-CASTRO TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS

Document 12: FBI, January 24, 1977, Secret Report, “Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU) Neutrality Matters – Cuba – (Anti-Castro)”

The FBI reports on a plot to carry out terrorist attacks that will divert attention from the prosecution of Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada in Caracas. Orders for the attacks are attributed to Orlando Garcia Vazquez, a Cuban exile who was then head of the Venezuelan intelligence service, DISIP. (Garcia Vazquez currently lives in Miami.) The report also provides some details on CORU.

Document 13: FBI, August 16, 1978, Secret Report, “Coordinacion de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas (Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations) (CORU), Neutrality Matters – Cuba – (Anti-Castro)”

This FBI report provides a comprehensive overview of CORU which the FBI describes as “an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization” headed by Orlando Bosch. The report records how CORU was created at a secret meeting in Santo Domingo on June 11, 1976, during which a series of bombing attacks were planned, including the bombing of a Cubana airliner. On page 6, the report relates in great detail how Orlando Bosch was met in Caracas on September 8, 1976, by Luis Posada and other anti-Castro exiles and a deal was struck as to what kind of activities he could organize on Venezuelan soil. The document also contains substantive details on behind-the-scene efforts in Caracas to obtain the early release of Bosch and Posada from prison.

IRAN-CONTRA AND POSADA (A.K.A. RAMON MEDINA)

Document 14: September 2, 1986, Contra re-supply document, [Distribution of Warehoused Contra Weapons and Equipment – in Spanish with English translation]

After bribing his way out of prison in Venezuela in September 1985, Posada went directly to El Salvador to work on the illicit contra resupply operations being run by Lt. Col. Oliver North. Posada assumed the name “Ramon Medina,” and worked as a deputy to another anti-Castro Cuban exile, Felix Rodriguez, who was in charge of a small airlift of arms and supplies to the contras in Southern Nicaragua. Rodriguez used the code name, Max Gomez. This document, released during the Congressional investigation into the Iran-Contra operations, records both Posada and Rodriguez obtaining supplies for contra troops from a warehouse at Illopango airbase in San Salvador.

Document 15: May 27, 1987, Testimony of Felix I. Rodriguez Before the Joint Hearings on the Iran-Contra Investigation [Excerpt]

Retired Air Force Colonel Robert C. Dutton, who supervised the contra resupply operation beginning in April 1986, identified Luis Posada as the true identity of “Ramon Medina” at his appearance before the joint hearings on the Iran-contra investigation on May 27, 1987.

Document 16: May 1987, Iran-Contra Hearings, Testimony of Robert C. Dutton, Exhibit 14, “Reorganization Plan”


http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB153/index.htm

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Luis Posada Carriles trial: Defense dealt a blow

A federal judge began questioning 130 people in the jury pool for the trial of accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

BY JUAN O. TAMAYO

JTAMAYO@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM

EL PASO, Texas — The judge in Luis Posada Carriles’ trial dealt his defense an early blow on Tuesday, the first day of court arguments, saying he will not be allowed to argue that the Cuban government often falsifies evidence.

Arturo V. Hernandez, lawyer for the man that Cuba calls a terrorist and his supporters call a freedom fighter, had planned to mention nine such cases of lying if Cuban-provided evidence was submitted at the trial.

His examples included the Miami trial of the five Cuban spies and an investigation into Cuba’s killing of four Brothers to The Rescue members in 1996.

Prosecutor Tim J. Riordan III objected strenuously and sometimes sarcastically in his counter-argument before U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone.

“This is not the History Channel . . . The regime in Cuba is not the defendant in this case,” he said. “This is not for The Miami Herald.”

Cardone said she was leaning toward accepting Riordan’s argument but gave gave Hernandez until Wednesday morning to file a written argument.

The first open-court argument in the trial, which opened Monday, erupted just minutes after the jurors were seated — seven women and five men, plus four female alternates. All but two appeared to be Hispanic.

Hernandez said he needed to lay out Cuba’s alleged lies because prosecutors plan to have three Cuban officials testify about a string of Havana bombings in 1997, and submit 6,500 documents generated by the Cuban government.

Cardone said Hernandez will have the opportunity to challenge the authenticity of the Cuban evidence, but that his nine examples of lying were “irrelevant.”

Posada is charged with lying when he denied under oath any role in the Havana bombings, lying about the way he entered the United States in 2005 and about a fake Guatemala passport.

Cardone also appeared to limit Hernandez’s ability to challenge the motivation of U.S. immigration officials who questioned Posada in El Paso in 2005 and 2006 about his U.S. entry.

Nine of the charges of lying stem from those interviews, which in 2007 Cardone ruled were designed not to consider his asylum and naturalization requests but to build a criminal case against him. Her ruling was later overturned.

Hernandez made it clear that he planned to make Cuba a central element of the trial. “On Cuba, the issue is endemic to this case,” he said.

“There is a long-existing bias of the government of Cuba against my client,” he added, referring to the 82-year-old Posada’s half-century history of anti-Castro activities that have have put him at the top of the list of Cuba’s enemies.

Hernandez appeared to be hoping to use his attacks on Cuba to cast doubt on the evidence against Posada and perhaps divert the jury’s attention from the defendant to Havana’s wrongdoings.

Riordan for his part made it clear he will try to exclude as many mentions of Cuba as possible, and focus on the strong evidence relating to Posada’s role in the Havana bombings and his immigration interviews in El Paso in 2005.

Cardone said the trial would resume Wednesday with opening arguments by the prosecution and defense.

Cardone highlighted the importance of the Posada case when she noted that she had called up 130 potential jurors — more than three times her usual jury pool of 42 — to make sure they had enough good jurors to fill the 16 seats in her courtroom.

Hernandez tried but failed to rule out any of the jurors who acknowledged having read or heard news accounts that Posada had been accused in the 1976 bombing of a civilian Cuban airliner in which 73 people were killed, saying that such as “heinous act” would affect any juror’s thinking.

Confrontations were meanwhile reported at the Camino Real Hotel, near the courthouse, where Posada and some of his lawyers have been spotted several times. It’s not clear if they are staying there.

José Pertierra, a U.S. lawyer who represents Venezuela in its attempt to extradite Carriles for a retrial on the Cubana de Aviacion bombing, said he was threatened with death when he ran into one of Posada’s supporters at the hotel Monday.

Pertierra said he would file a complaint with the FBI about the threat, which he said had been witnessed by a journalist from Telesur, a Venezuela-based network that includes Cuba.

 

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Luis Posada Carriles (anti-Castro Cuban terrorism)

From , former About.com Guide

Luis Posada CarrilesLuis Posada Carriles 

courtesy of Wikipedia

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Name :

Luis Clemente Faustino Posada Carriles; referred to most frequently as Luis Posada Carriles. Also, according to a declassified CIA file, known as “Bamby.”

Claim to notoriety:

Posada may be the world’s only former CIA operative who is wanted on charges related to international terrorism. An anti-Castro Cuban, Posada was schooled by the CIA in its infamous “School of the Americas,” reputed to be a training ground for Latin American right-wing counterinsurgency. He’s best known for having helped bring down a Cuban airlines flight in 1976 to signal his opposition to Fidel Castro’s regime, an opposition the U.S. shares. Posada sometimes plays a role in Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories.

Objectives:

Posada’s main goal is the overthrow of the Marxist Castro regime, and the removal of Fidel Castro from power.

Notable Attacks:

  • 1976: Explosion of Cubana Flight 455. Plastic explosives packed in a toothpaste tube caused the plane’s crash. All of the 73 passengers on board, including the entire Cuban Olympic fencing team, were killed. Posada is associated with the bombing in FBI and CIA documents. The bombing was carried out by two Venezuelans, one of whom worked for Posada.
  • 1997 Cuban bombings: Posada may have been involved in bombings in Cuba that led to the a number of injuries and one death.
  • 2000: Planned assassination of Fidel Castro in Panama. In 2000, Posada was arrested with 200 pounds of explosives, along with three associates.

Posada and the CIA:

Posada arrived in the United States in 1961, and joined the CIA. He attended the School of the Americas (now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), a Spanish language army training facility in Georgia. There he trained to participate in the Bay of Pigs Invasion. The Bay of Pigs was a U.S. funded effort to overthrow the Castro regime. Castro moved to Miami, Florida, and participated in a variety of CIA anti-Castro efforts, or other activities in the Caribbean. In the 1980s, Posada may have helped supply arms to right-wing Nicaraguan contras under the direction of a CIA operative.

Early Background:

Posada was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, in 1928. He studied medicine there. As a young man, Posada was galvanized by the 1959 Cuban revolution. He actively opposed the regime from its beginning, then made his way to the United States. After his stint with the CIA ended in 1967, Posada moved to Venezuela. There, he worked for the Venezuelan secret police. Later, he opened a private security firm in Venezuela.

Organizational Affiliations:

Posada was possibly associated with JURE, the Junta Revolucionaria Cubana, a leftist, but anti-Soviet and anti-Castro organization of Cuban exiles formed in 1962, aimed at the overthrow of Castro’s government. The organization was supported by the United States, but the group opposed significant involvement.

Posada is also known as a member of the Coordinate of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU). CORU was founded in the Dominican Republic in 1976, with the goal of carrying out terrorist attacks against Cuba.

Where He Is Now:

As of 2007, Posada is in detention in El Paso, New Mexico. He is being held on an immigration violation. The Bush Administration has been extremely reluctant to prosecute Posada. Both Cuba and Venezuela have requested Posada’s extradition for trial.

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Cuban ‘Terrorist’ and CIA Asset Posada Carriles Holds Press Conference and is Taken By Homeland Security, But Will the US Extradite Him to Venezuela to Face Terror Charges?

Posada03

Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles was arrested in Miami shortly after he gave a press conference. Despite having been jailed on terrorism charges in Venezuela and Panama, Carriles managed to sneak into the United States in March in order to seek political asylum. [includes rush transcript]

Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles was arrested in Miami Tuesday by immigration authorities as he was preparing to leave the country. Posada is a 77-year-old former CIA operative who has been trying to violently overthrow Fidel Castro’s government for four decades. He has been connected to the 1976 bombing of a civilian airliner that killed 73 passengers–the first act of airline terrorism in the Western hemisphere. He snuck into the United States in early March after years of living in hiding in Latin America and is seeking asylum. Hours before the arrest, Cuban President Fidel Castro led about a million Cubans in a protest march in Havana to demand that the United States act against Posada. Castro–who has accused repeatedly accused Washington of double standards in its war on terrorism–spoke to the crowd.

  • Fidel Castro, Cuban president speaking on March 17 in Havana

Posada’s arrest at a house in Southwest Miami-Dade County came on the same day the U.S. government summoned him to an asylum interview. But instead of appearing at the interview, Posada gave a news conference at an empty warehouse near Hialeah where he denied the accusations against him.

  • Luis Posada Carriles, speaking at a press conference in Miami on March 17.

After the news session, Posada’s lawyer told reporters his client had dropped his US asylum petition and had intended to leave the country. He was arrested at a house in Southwest Miami-Dade County shortly afterwards.

Both Cuba and Venezuela have called for the Bush administration to extradite him to face charges of terrorism. In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security said “As a matter of immigration law and policy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not generally remove people to Cuba, nor does ICE generally remove people to countries believed to be acting on Cuba”s behalf.” Homeland Security went on to say it has 48 hours to determine Posada’s immigration status.

In an interview in Tuesday’s Miami Herald, Posada said he was amazed the U.S. government had not been looking for him. He said “At first I hid a lot. Now I hide a lot less.” He also denied any involvement in the airliner bombing although recently declassified documents from the CIA and FBI indicate he attended at least two planning meetings for the attack. Posada refused to confirm or deny involvement in other attacks, telling the newspaper: “Let”s leave it to history.”

  • Ann Louise Bardach, award-winning journalist and Author of Cuba Confidential. She interviewed Posada in 1998 for The New York Times in one of his only in-depth interviews. She is the director of the Media Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Robert Parry, veteran investigative journalist and author of the new book “Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.” For years he worked as an investigative reporter for both the Associated Press and Newsweek magazine. His reporting led to the exposure of what is now known as the “Iran-Contra” scandal.
  • Ira Kurzban, Miami based lawyer who specializes in asylum cases. Since 1991, he has served as General Counsel for the government of Haiti.

RUSH TRANSCRIPT

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JUAN GONZALEZ: Hours before the arrest, Cuban President, Fidel Castro, led about a million Cubans in a protest march in Havana to demand that the United States act against Posada. Castro, who has accused Washington repeatedly of having double standards in its war on terrorism, spoke to the crowd.

FIDEL CASTRO: It is a march against terrorism, in favor of life, and of peace of our people and the brother people of the United states, whose ethical values we trust.

AMY GOODMAN: Posada’s arrest at a house in Southwest Miami-Dade County, came on the same day the U.S. government summoned him to an asylum interview. But instead of appearing at the interview, Posada gave a news conference at an empty warehouse near Hialeah, where he denied the accusations against him.

LUIS POSADA CARRILES: I want to emphasize that I had nothing to do with the acts mentioned, and I repudiate these abominable acts as a case of terrorism that has been used by Castro through all of the years to lie.

AMY GOODMAN: After the news session, Posada’s lawyer told reporters his client had dropped his U.S. asylum petition and had intended to leave the country. He was arrested at a house in Southwest Miami-Dade shortly afterwards.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Both Cuba and Venezuela have called for the Bush administration to extradite him to face charges of terrorism. In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security said, (quote), “As a matter of immigration law and policy, US immigration and customs enforcement does not generally remove people to Cuba, nor does it generally remove people to countries believed to be acting on Cuba’s behalf.” Homeland Security went on to say it has 48 hours to determine Posada’s immigration status. In an interview in today’sMiami Herald, Posada said he was amazed the US government had not been looking for him. He said, (quote), “At first I hid a lot, now I hide a lot less.” He also denied any involvement in the airliner bombing, although recently declassified documents from the CIA and FBI indicated he attended at least two planning meetings for the attack. Posada refused to confirm or deny involvement in other attacks, telling the newspaper, (quote), “Let’s leave it to history.”

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined right now on the telephone by Ann Louise Bardach, an award-winning journalist and author of Cuba Confidential. She interviewed Posada in 1998 for The New York Times in one of his only in-depth interviews. We’re joined in Washington, DC by veteran investigative journalist Robert Parry. He’s author of the bookSecrecy & Privileges: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq. On the line with us from Miami, we’re joined by Ira Kurzban. Ira Kurzban is a lawyer who served as general counsel for the government in Haiti. We turn first to Bob Parry, your description of Luis Posada, both your response to his arrest and what he is saying now?

ROBERT PARRY: Well, Amy, I think he’s saying what he has said for a long time, denying involvement in the ’76 airline bombing, and not being very clear about his role in other alleged terrorism acts, but he did—he has admitted previously to involvement in a 1997 bombing campaign inside Cuba, and he was arrested and prosecuted in connection with plans in 2000 to blow up a meeting that Castro was supposed to attend. And the evidence on 1976 is actually quite strong. FBI agent Carter Cornick and others have explained to journalists how much evidence there was pointing to Posada’s role both in the planning stages and in connection with the people that actually carried out the bombing.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Bob, in terms of the connection to Venezuela and Venezuela’s request to extradite him, he actually escaped, didn’t he, at one time from a prison in Venezuela, and there was some US officials suspected of involvement?

ROBERT PARRY: Right. Posada was a Venezuelan intelligence official back in the 1970s, around the time of the ’76 bombing. He was then arrested. There was a long legal proceeding, which never really quite reached a conclusion. In 1985, some Cuban Americans helped him bribe his way out of Venezuela. He then went to Central America where he was based in El Salvador, and was an important figure in the Contra re-supply operations being run by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North out of the White House. Posada was put in charge of munitions and some of the financing. He also later told the FBI in connection with that, after the Iran-Contra scandal broke, that one of his assistants, Felix Rodriguez, another Cuban American tied to the CIA, had been in constant contact or frequent contact with Vice President George Bush’s office during this Contra re-supply period.

AMY GOODMAN: Ann Louise Bardach, your response to the capture of the man you interviewed in 1998, secret location, have spent more time perhaps than any US journalist talking to Luis Posada.

ANN LOUISE BARDACH: Well, I was surprised in a sense that I had thought the plan—and I saw several—you know I had several emails from different sources close to Posada in the days before, and I thought that the grand plan would be that he gives this press conference and kind of declares his freedom, although one of the ground rules of going to the press conference was you couldn’t ask anything about the ’98 Cubana hotels situation, only the airplane situation in ’76. And then I had a tip that they were going to arrest him, but it would be more pro forma. And it seems—what I think has happened is that the Department of Homeland Security is—feels embarrassed. They feel embarrassed because they’re supposed to guarantee to US citizens that people are not slipping into this country or slipping out of this country, because they’re in charge and there should be some order. And the fact that somebody as notorious, as controversial, as famous as Luis Posada, at one point, number one on one of the fugitive lists, you know, came in without his papers, a fake passport, and was now planning on just slipping on out was just one thing they could not abide by. And so, they nailed him.

Now—now they have got themselves in a real pickle, because they can only hold him around 48 hours. They can’t give him back to Cuba without creating political problems in Miami. Nor really to Venezuela. So they need a third country. And I would imagine that that third country, based upon what Luis Posada told me, will be Salvador, because Salvador was—he has lived there probably more than any other part of the last 30 years, and he was once—he lived with a beautiful woman named Titi, who was once involved with the generals. Posada has long-standing ties with the generals, a group called ARENA, a general named Bustillo, who got kind of a bad rap during Iran-Contra because tied to the group that killed the nuns and some Jesuits. But he has a crowd there that he has worked with for many years and who are protective of him. And I think it’s fairly sure—that will probably be his best shot.

One might also say Guatemala, although Guatemala is where there was the assassination attempt on him that put 12 bullets in him. I think he’s a little weary—he told me he didn’t trust Hondurans—I mean Guatemalans, he did tell me that. So I would imagine a country like Salvador would be sort of a place that he would have a reasonable amount of security. The other possibility that could come down at any moment today is that the relatives of the Italian tourist victim could ask for an extradition order to go to Italy.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Ira Kurzban, what about this whole issue of him seeking asylum, even though now he has retracted that? What would have been the possibilities in terms of him being able to get asylum here in the United States?

ANN LOUISE BARDACH: He doesn’t have it anymore, because just for a bunch of reasons. As I said, entry with false papers, false identity, and also when you do do that, to be qualified for the Cuban, what’s called dry foot-wet foot policy, you need to immediately notify authorities and say that you are here. There’s a certain procedure. And he has already goofed up that procedure.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s ask Ira Kurzban in Miami, who is an expert in asylum law, what this means and also who gets to stay here—I mean, you have represented Haiti for many years—and who gets kicked out? Who is called a terrorist, and who is called a freedom fighter?

IRA KURZBAN: I think first of all, I don’t think Luis Posada is going anywhere. I think that he, if he wants to, can probably remain in the United States and certainly the extraordinary statement from immigration and customs enforcement yesterday, I would even say an unprecedented statement, really inviting him to apply for what are his rights under the Convention Against Torture. We have a treaty that the United States has signed called—that is called commonly among lawyers the Cat Claim. He has not given up, actually, any claim, and he certainly, if he wants to, can now claim before an immigration judge asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture claims, and he can also actually ask for a bond, believe it or not, under immigration law at this point. I think, really, in some ways, I think what Ms. Bardach said was correct. I think Immigration was embarrassed. They obviously knew they had a terrorist here for two months. He slipped into the United States. And when the Miami Herald interview came out, it was really kind of putting it in the Immigration Service’s face that not only was he here for two months, but he stated in the interview that he tricked Immigration, that he was on a bus coming into Miami from Ft. Lauderdale. They were checking his papers, and they basically let him go. So, I think it made Immigration look pretty stupid at this point. I think they had to act. I think they thought he was going to come in for his asylum interview and just arrest him at that point, which is a very common way in which they do it, when he didn’t show up, I think they felt they had to go out and get him.

JUAN GONZALEZ: But Ira, in terms of the situation with Venezuela, is there an extradition treaty between Venezuela and the United States? I don’t think there’d certainly be any claims, or at least I haven’t heard, of any that Venezuela practices torture of people that it detains or jails.

IRA KURZBAN: Right. That’s why the statement by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement was so political and so extraordinary, when they said, ICE does not remove people to countries believed to be acting on Cuba’s behalf. That’s just unheard of. It’s unheard of under extradition law. It’s unheard of under asylum law. And clearly what they were saying there, we’re not going to extradite him to Venezuela either. Now extradition is not effected by asylum. In other words, even if someone has an asylum claim, the Department of State has repeatedly taken the position that the US government is free to extradite the person, absent a provision in the extradition treaty regarding political crimes. So, whether or not Posada applies for asylum would not and should not effect whether or not the State Department seeks his extradition.

However, there is another provision, again, the Convention Against Torture provision, which allows the Secretary of State to decide not to extradite somebody to a country that they believe they would be tortured to. But they’re going to have to prove that. And I think the Secretary of State is going to have to go out on a limb and say that they believe that anybody who is extradited to Venezuela is going to be tortured. There’s clearly no evidence for that. It would clearly be a purely political move. So, I think what’s going to unfold in the next days and weeks will largely depend on Posada and what the Bush administration has agreed to do with him, because although it appears as of today that there’s some kind of enforcement action going on, I think everyone in Miami knows this is a completely politicized process, that they will do whatever the right wing Cuban community wants in Miami, and if Posada is an embarrassment to them, maybe they will work out something where he can just leave, as Miss Bardach was saying before, or if they decide that he can stay, just like Orlando Bosch stayed in Miami, another terrorist who’s living freely in Miami, that they will figure out a way first of all to give him a bond, and secondly, to quietly, ultimately grant him Convention Against Torture protection.

AMY GOODMAN: Ira Kurzban, we have less than 30 seconds, but the condition of the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Haiti, the ousted Prime Minister, Yvon Neptune, as you understand, having been the attorney for the Haitian government for so long?

IRA KURZBAN: He is in very, very bad shape. It’s ironic to me, of course, that none of this ever gets in the mainstream press in Miami or anywhere else. But he is pretty close to death at this point. And we’re just hoping that the government in Haiti, the puppet government in Haiti, will finally release him and allow him to remain in the country.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you for being with us, Ira Kurzban, Miami-based attorney. Robert Parry will stay with us to talk about the next issue, as we talk about the controversy over whether the Koran was desecrated in Guantanamo, and Ann Louise Bardach, author ofCuba Confidential, interviewed Luis Posada for The New York Times in 1998.

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Cuban-born terrorist Luis Posada Carriles’s day in court may be here

ALBOR RUIZ – NY LOCAL

Thursday, January 13th 2011, 4:00 AM

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