The Los Angeles Times: Bring the Cuban terrorist to justice
Campaign News | Wednesday, 15 November 2006
EDITORIAL: The U.S. must not release a man accused of blowing up a Cuban jetliner
IT IS TIME TO BRING Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to justice. Dithering on the part of the U.S. is leaving the nation open to charges of hypocrisy in the war on terror - specifically, to the charge that some forms of terrorism are more acceptable than others.
The 78-year-old Posada is lionized by hard-line anti-Castro Cuban exiles in Miami. He stands accused of conspiring to blow up a Cuban airliner in 1976, causing 73 deaths. He denies involvement, but newly declassified documents place him at planning sessions for the attack.
Posada has boasted of bombing hotels in Havana that resulted in one death and 11 injuries. In 2000, a Panamanian jury convicted Posada and three other terrorists of plotting to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro, and they were jailed. Outgoing Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso, however, pardoned the four - some believe as a favor to the White House.
A naturalized Venezuelan citizen, Posada was arrested in spring 2005 for entering the U.S. illegally. An immigration judge has since blocked his deportation to stand trial in either Venezuela or Cuba because of concerns about the fairness of any proceeding in those countries. The Bush administration now faces a choice between trying Posada in this country or setting him free in February.
Letting him walk would clearly be an outrage, and trying him in a U.S. courtroom after refusing to hand him over to Venezuela would create a perception problem across Latin America. The State Department has approached a few countries to take Posada, but all have refused.
It isn't clear whether Spain is one of these nations, but the Socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero should be encouraged to resolve this impasse. Madrid is a credible interlocutor between Washington and Latin America, and Spanish courts have a recent tradition - thanks in large measure to crusading magistrate Baltasar Garzon, who pursued former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, among others - of aggressively taking on cases of universal jurisdiction.
Washington should broker a deal that allows Posada to be tried in a third country whose principled neutrality is not questioned in this case - even if it means upsetting some Cuban Americans in Miami or putting up with some embarrassing revelations about CIA activity among the exile community.
The alternative is for the U.S. insistence that nations band together to fight the war on terror to sound hypocritically self-serving.
Posada's FBI file was destroyed by the son of the man who arrested the Miami Five
Revelations by The Washington Post
BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD -Special for Granma International-
THE Washington Post has revealed a link between the case of Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban-born terrorist being held in the US on immigration charges and that of the Miami Five - the Cubans currently serving prison sentences in Miami for alleged espionage offences, but who were in fact acting against terrorist cells in the Miami area.
The newspaper has reported that an order to destroy the FBI file on Luis Posada Carriles’, kept under lock and key in the FBI’s evidence room in Miami, was given by an agent Ed Pesquera, the son of Héctor Pesquera, the former chief of the FBI in South Florida who arrested the Miami Five.
The information was revealed this Sunday by Ann Louise Bardach, the U.S. journalist who, some years ago, published an interview with Posada in which he confessed his links with the Cuban American National Foundation.
In an article entitled “Why the FBI Is Coming After Me,” the reporter recounts how Homeland Security agents turned up at her home while she was absent with a warrant to revise the documents she possessed relating to the terrorist’s case becasue their had been shredded.
Alerted to what was occurring, Bardach advised the investigators to speak to lawyers at the newspaper, who immediately intervened in the case.
The reporter had already revealed during an interview with Amy Goodman on her radio show “Democracy Now!” how the file had suddenly been thrown into the paper shredder “in 2003.”
This time, she prints additional details in which she specifies that the destruction of the dossier, which brings together a variety of original documents, took place in August of that year. The date is important: Posada was at that time in Panama, where the district attorney tried to obtain documents from U.S. authorities that certified his criminal past.
Although they were forced to cooperate fully with the Panamanian judicial system, in virtue of an agreement signed between the two countries, the U.S. embassy in Panama only handed over photocopies of obsolete declassified reports on the case.
Among the documents that were destroyed in Miami was a fax that Posada had sent to certain accomplices located in Guatemala in 1997, complaining that the U.S. media was reluctant to believe reports about the attacks he was planning to carry out in Havana.
“I had shown him a copy of that fax during my interviews with him,” revealed Bardach, recalling her meeting with Posada on the Caribbean island of Aruba.
“The fax had been intercepted by Antonio Álvarez, a Cuban exile and businessman, who shared office space with Posada in Guatemala in 1997. Alarmed, Alvarez had advised agents at the FBI’s office in Miami, but when they took no action, he sent it to the (New York) Times.”
In his fax, Posada asked his interlocutors for “all the information about (the bombing of) the discotheque in order to try to confirm it.” He then signed the name “Solo,” another one of his nicknames.
"ED PESQUERA, SON OF HÉCTOR"
Bardach reminds her readers how - according to her sources - Héctor Pesquera, then chief of the FBI’s office in Miami, showed little interest in the Posada case. “He enjoyed socializing with Miami's hard-line exile politicians, and denied agents’ requests for wiretaps on Bosch, known as the godfather of the paramilitary groups, as well as other militants suspected of ongoing criminal activity.”
According to agents, The Washington Post article says, Pesquera “shuttered investigations” into Cuban-American terrorists before retiring in December 2003.
Héctor Pesquera is the same FBI agent from Miami who, in September 1998, brought about the arrest of the five anti-terrorist fighters who were falsely accused of “espionage” and sentenced to exceptionally long jail sentences after a trial which the same investigator and mafia accomplice made sure was rigged.
Bardach then indicated that FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela confirmed to her that “the approval to dispose of the evidence was given by the case agent on Posada, who happened to be Ed Pesquera -- Hector's son.”
THE “POLITICAL” OFFICIALS DECIDE
In her article, the journalist comments that “The FBI and the Justice Department are filled with dedicated public servants, but it is the political appointees who make the final decisions. And for them, Posada may be a man who knows too much.”
Other “thorny” details appear in this case, confesses Bardach. “The Miami-Dade Police Department's liaison to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force has been a well-regarded detective named Luis Crespo Jr. -- who is the son of Luis Crespo, one of the most famous anti-Castro militants, known as El Gancho, or The Hook, because of the hand he lost to an ill-timed bomb.”
She then reveals that one of Crespo’s assistants is Detective Héctor Alfonso, whose father is another anti-Cuba terrorist by the name of Héctor Fabián. “Assigned to the MDPD intelligence unit, Alfonso's son has access to the most sensitive information on homeland defense, including on Cuban exile militants.”
“Before the government starts tampering with the Constitution's protections of the press, it needs to do some housecleaning,” concludes Bardach. “A good start would be a special prosecutor to look into who ordered the removal of the Posada evidence, and why. If it then decides that it wants to go further, it might peruse the 45 years' worth of CIA and FBI files on Posada that detail his paramilitary career. And there are a dozen or so comrades of Posada's in Miami and New Jersey who know a great deal more than I do,” writes the reporter.
Besides showing that, although informed by Álvarez, the FBI did not act when Posada led the attacks on Havana and that he sabotaged legitimate events by the Panamanian judicial system to incriminate him and his accomplices in Miami, the revelations by Ann Louise Bardach published in The Washington Post confirm the direct link between the Posada case and the arrest of the Five.
By persecuting the Cubans who had infiltrated terrorist groups, Héctor Pesquera gave cover and protection to his friends in the terrorist mafia who were financing and directing Posada, such as has been confessed by the terrorist himself and also recent statements by Antonio “Toñin” Llama.
More than ever before, with these revelations from the influential Washington daily, the innocence of the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States, whose liberation has been demanded by a panel of UN jurists, remains proven.
(Translated by Granma International)