Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Luis Posada Carriles finally goes on trial - for his minor offenses - NOT for the BIG ones!
Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- For most of his 82 years, Luis Posada Carriles has endeavored with a single-minded determination to bring down the Cuban Revolution.

An anti-Castro Cuban exile and former CIA operative, Posada is accused by the Cuban government of blowing up a commercial airliner, masterminding a bombing campaign of Havana tourist attractions and attempting to assassinate Fidel Castro.

While denying that he was behind those attacks, Posada, in his rare public comments, called himself "a soldier" not opposed to using violence to force change in Cuba.

Before falling ill and stepping down as president, Fidel Castro referred to Posada as the "most dangerous terrorist in the Western hemisphere" and called for him to be bought to justice for alleged attacks that date back over 30 years.

On Monday, Posada will face trial -- but not on those charges and not in Cuba. He will be tried in the United States for lying to immigration officials.

The "case reads like one of Robert Ludlum's espionage thrillers, with all the plot twists and turns Ludlum is famous for," one of the judges who has heard the case over the last five years wrote in the court records.

Posada faces 11 counts of lying to officials about how he entered the United States in 2005 and his alleged involvement in attacks on Cuba. He faces five to eight years in prison if convicted.

For Margarita Morales, Posada's trial provides little comfort. Morales' father Luis Alfredo Morales Viego was killed in the 1976 bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight.

"It's painful to know that Posada Carriles is only being tried for lying to immigration officials," Morales said, tears in her eyes. "How long do I have to put up with him being called a liar when he's a killer, a terrorist?"

The bomb exploded shortly after Cubana Flight 455 took off from Barbados, killing all 73 passengers and crew aboard. Morales, a trainer for Cuba's national fencing team, was one of 24 team members to die in the crash.

Following the crash, Posada was arrested and tried in Venezuela where he had worked for the country's intelligence services. While awaiting trial for the airplane bombing, he escaped from jail.

Posada denied involvement in the attack. But a declassified CIA document obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University quoted Posada as saying, "we are going to hit a Cuban airplane."

Venezuela, whose president Hugo Chavez is a staunch ally of Cuba, continues to seek Posada's exradition for the airliner bombing case. So far, U.S. courts have declined to extradite Posada citing his fear of being tortured in Venezuela.

"If Posada Carriles were instead named 'Mohammed,' he would have been extradited a long time ago," said Jose Pertierra, the attorney handling Venezuela's extradition request. "There's a lot of skeletons in those closets and I am sure there's folks in Washington who don't want to see Posada Carriles get extradited because he might sing like a canary."

While Posada is not being tried for being a terrorist, he does face charges for allegedly lying about terrorism.

In 2005, Posada was arrested by Homeland Security agents after giving a press conference in Miami where he denied involvement in the airline bombing or targeting civilians in his war against the Cuban government.

Initially, he was charged with entering the United States illegally but then federal prosecutors also indicted Posada for lying to immigration officials about his alleged involvement in a series of bombings in Havana in 1997.

In 1998, Posada admitted to The New York Times that he had dispatched a group of operatives to Cuba to set off bombs in hotels and restaurants in the hopes of ruining the island's tourism industry. An Italian businessman Fabio Di Celmo was killed in one of the bombings.

''It is sad that someone is dead, but we can't stop,'' Posada told the newspaper. ''That Italian was sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Asked if he felt remorse, Posada told the paper, ''I sleep like a baby.''

Several of those operatives were captured in Cuba and implicated Posada during their trials, according to Cuban government media reports and video shown on the island of the men's testimony.

In court filings, Posada's attorneys argue that his English was too poor to understand the reporter's questions. The interviews were recorded though and are expected to be a central part of the government's case against Posada.

Fabio Di Celmo's father, Giustino, has lived in Cuba since the 1997 bombing that took his son's life. He was in his room at the Copacabana Hotel when the C-4 plastic explosives went off in the lobby where his son was.

"I never thought that a bomb had gone off," Di Celmo said in an interview. "Fifteen minutes later, I was told Fabio had been killed."

A piece of shrapnel from the bomb had gone through his son's neck.

"If the bomb went off 15 or 20 minutes later when the (hotel) restaurant was open, it would have been a bloodbath," Di Celmo said. "How do you fight ideas by murdering people?"
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Now, remind me why the 'terrorists' hate America again?
It is a travesty that he is only on charges for immigration issues. I doubt anything will come from it anyway.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Magda Hassan Wrote:Now, remind me why the 'terrorists' hate America again?
It is a travesty that he is only on charges for immigration issues. I doubt anything will come from it anyway.

He certainly doesn't have to say [but may have privately] to 'certain' former highly placed politicians and spooks [most still holding great power] that if asked on certain topics he could destroy them. So, there really only are two choices - one a slap on the hand [like expulsion to some tropical resort] or winding up suddenly having decided to commit suicide or just plain wanna be dead. :mexican:
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Peter Lemkin Wrote:He certainly doesn't have to say [but may have privately] to 'certain' former highly placed politicians and spooks [most still holding great power] that if asked on certain topics he could destroy them....
Yeah, he knows where a few of the bodies are buried and the last thing some of these highly placed individuals want is the living dead coming back to haunt them. :curtain:
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 334
By Peter Kornbluh and Erin Maskell
Posted - January 11, 2011

For more information: 202/994-7000 or

[Image: join.jpg]
[Image: lg-share-en.gif]

"Former CIA Asset Luis Posada Goes to Trial"
By Peter Kornbluh
The Nation
January 5, 2011
"Terror Accusations, but Perjury Charges"
By James C. McKinely, Jr.
New York Times
January 9, 2011
"Fidel Castro's nemesis goes on trial in Texas"
By Laura Wides-Munoz
Washington Post (Associated Press)
January 10, 2011
"Miami's Cubans Watch Their Hero Go On Trial"
By Greg Allen
National Public Radio
January 9, 2011

Washington, D.C., January 11, 2011 - As the unprecedented trial of Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles begins this week in El Paso, Texas, the National Security Archive today posted a series of CIA records covering his association with the agency in the 1960s and 1970s. CIA personnel records described Posada, using his codename, "AMCLEVE/15," as "a paid agent" at $300 a month, being utilized as a training instructor for other exile operatives, as well as an informant. "Subject is of good character, very reliable and security conscious," the CIA reported in 1965. Posada, another CIA document observed, incorrectly, was "not a typical boom and bang' type of individual."

Today's posting includes key items from Posada's CIA file, including several previously published by the Archive, and for the first time online, the indictment from Posada's previous prosecution--in Panama--on charges of trying to assassinate Fidel Castro with 200 pounds of dynamite and C-4 explosives (in Spanish).

"This explosive has the capacity to destroy any armored vehicle, buildings, steel doors, and the effects can extend for 200 meters…if a person were in the center of the explosion, even if they were in an armored car, they would not survive," as the indictment described the destructive capacity of the explosives found in Posada's possession in Panama City, where Fidel Castro was attending an Ibero-American summit in November 2000.

The judge presiding over the perjury trial of Posada has ruled that the prosecution can introduce unclassified evidence of his CIA background which might be relevant to his "state of mind" when he allegedly lied to immigration officials about his role in a series of hotel bombings in Havana in 1997. In pre-trial motions, the prosecution has introduced a short unclassified "summary" of Posada's CIA career, which is included below. Among other things, the summary (first cited last year in Tracey Eaton's informative blog, "Along the Malecon") reveals that in 1993, only four years before he instigated the hotel bombings in Havana, the CIA anonymously warned former agent and accused terrorist Luis Posada of an assassination threat on his life.
A number of the Archive's CIA documents were cited in articles in the Washington Post, and CNN coverage today on the start of the Posada trial. "The C.I.A. trained and unleashed a Frankenstein," the New York Times quoted Archive Cuba Documentation Project director Peter Kornbluh as stating. "It is long past time he be identified as a terrorist and be held accountable as a terrorist."

Posada was convicted in Panama in 2001, along with three accomplices, of endangering public safety; he was sentenced to eight years in prison. After lobbying by prominent Cuban-American politicians from Miami, Panamanian president Mireya Moscoso pardoned all four in August 2004. A fugitive from justice in Venezuela where he escaped from prison while being tried for the October 6, 1976, mid air bombing of a Cuban jetliner which killed all 73 people on board, Posada showed up in Miami in March 2005. He was arrested on May 17 of that year by the Department of Homeland Security and held in an immigration detention center in El Paso for two years, charged with immigration fraud during the Bush administration. Since mid 2007, he has been living on bail in Miami. In April 2009, the Obama Justice Department added several counts of perjury relating to Posada denials about his role in organizing a series of hotel, restaurant and discotheque bombings in 1997. Since mid 2007, he has been living on bail in Miami

According to Kornbluh, "it is poetic justice that the same U.S. Government whose secret agencies created, trained, paid and deployed Posada is finally taking steps to hold him accountable in a court of law for his terrorist crimes."

Read the Documents
Document 1: CIA, Unclassified, "Unclassified Summary of the CIA's Relationship With Luis Clemente Posada Carriles," Undated.

This unclassified summary of the relationship between Luis Posada Carriles and the CIA, which was provided to the court by the US Justice Department, says the CIA first had contact with Posada in connection with planning the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. He remained a paid agent of the CIA from 1965-1967 and again from 1968-1974. From 1974-76, Posada provided unsolicited threat reporting. (Additional documents introduced in court show that he officially severed ties with the CIA in February 1976.) According to this document, the CIA last had contact with Posada in 1993 when they anonymously contacted him in Honduras by telephone to warn him of a threat to his life. (This document was first cited last year in Tracey Eaton's informative blog, "Along the Malecon.")

Document 2: CIA, "PRQ Part II for AMCLEVE/15," September 22, 1965.

"PRQ Part II," or the second part of Posada's Personal Record Questionnaire, provides operational information. Within the text of the document, Posada is described as "strongly anti-Communist" as well as a sincere believer in democracy. The document describes Posada having a "good character," not to mention the fact that he is "very reliable, and security conscious." The CIA recommends that he be considered for a civil position in a post-Castro government in Cuba (codenamed PBRUMEN).

Document 3: CIA, Cable, "Plan of the Cuban Representation in Exile (RECE) to Blow Up a Cuban or Soviet Vessel in Veracruz, Mexico," July 1, 1965.

This CIA cable summarizes intelligence on a demolition project proposed by Jorge Mas Canosa, then the head of RECE. On the third page, a source is quoted as having informed the CIA of a payment that Mas Canosa has made to Luis Posada in order to finance a sabotage operation against ships in Mexico. Posada reportedly has "100 pounds of C-4 explosives and some detonators" and limpet mines to use in the operation.

Document 4: CIA, Memorandum, "AMCLEVE /15," July 21, 1966.

This document includes two parts-a cover letter written by Grover T. Lythcott, Posada's CIA handler, and an attached request written by Posada to accept a position on new coordinating Junta composed of several anti-Castro organizations. In the cover letter, Lythcbtt refers to Posada by his codename, AMCLEVE/I5, and discusses his previous involvement withthe Agency. He lionizes Posada, writing that his ''performance in all assigned tasks has been excellent," and urges that he be permitted to work with the combined anti-Castro exile groups. According to the document, Lythcott suggests that Posada be taken off the CIA payroll to facilitate his joining the anti-Castro militant junta, which will be led by RECE. Lythcott insists that Posada will function as an effective moderating force considering he is "acutely aware of the international implications of ill planned or over enthusiastic activities against Cuba." In an attached memo, Posada, using the name "Pete," writes that if he is on the Junta, "they will never do anything to endanger the security of this Country (like blow up Russian ships)" and volunteers to "give the Company all the intelligence that I can collect."

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

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."

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

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 7: CIA, Secret Intelligence Report, "Activities of Cuban Exile Leader Orlando Bosch During his Stay in Venezuela," October 14, 1976.

A source in Venezuela supplied the CIA with detailed intelligence on a fund raiser held for Orlando Bosch and his organization CORU after he arrived in Caracas in September 1976. The source described the dinner at the house of a Cuban exile doctor, Hildo Folgar, which included Venezuelan government officials. Bosch was said to have essentially asked for a bribe in order to refrain from acts of violence during the United Nations meeting in November 1976, which would be attended by Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez. He was also quoted as saying that his group had done a "great job" in assassinating former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier in Washington D.C. on September 21, and now was going to "try something else." A few days later, according to this intelligence report, Luis Posada Carriles was overheard to say that "we are going to hit a Cuban airplane" and "Orlando has the details."
Document 8: First Circuit Court of Panama, "Fiscalia Primera Del Primer Circuito Judicial De Panama: Vista Fiscal No. 200", September 28, 2001.
This lengthy document is the official indictment in Panama of Luis Posada Carriles and 4 others for the attempted assassination of Fidel Castro at the 10th Ibero-American Summit in November 2000. In this indictment, Posada Carriles is accused of possession of explosives, endangerment of public safety, illicit association, and falsification of documents. After traveling to Panama, according to the evidence gathered, "Luis Posada Carriles and Raul Rodriguez Hamouzova rented a red Mitsubishi Lancer at the International Airport of Tocumen, in which they transported the explosives and other devices necessary to create a bomb." (Original Spanish: "Luis Posada Carriles y Raul Rodriguez Hamouzova rentaron en el Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen de la referida empresa el vehículo marca Mitsubishi Lancer, color rojo, dentro del cual se transportaron los explosives y artefactos indicados para elaborar una bomba.") This bomb was intended to take the life of Fidel Castro; Castro was to present at the Summit on November 17th, and what Carriles had proposed to do "wasn't easy, because it occurred at the Summit, and security measures would be extreme." (Original Spanish: "lo que se proponía hacer no era fácil, porque ocurría en plena Cumbre, y las medidas de seguridad serían extremas.")

After being discovered by agents of the Explosives Division of the National Police, they ascertained that "this explosive has the capacity to destroy an armored vehicle, buildings, steel doors, and the effects of an explosive of this class and quality can extend for 200 meters." Additionally, "to a human, from a distance of 200 meters it would affect the senses, internal hemorrhages, and if the person were in the center of the explosion, even if they were in an armored car, they would not survive…the destructive capacity of this material is complete." (Original Spanish: "Este explosivo tiene la capacidad de destruir cualquier carro blindado, puede destruir edificios, puertas de acero, y que la onda expansiva de esta calidad y clase de explosive puede alcanzar hasta 200 metros…Al ser humano, sostienen, a la distancia de 200 metros le afectaría los sentidos, hemorragios internos, y si la persona estuviese en el centro de la explosion, aunque estuviese dentro de un carro blindado no sobreviviría…la capacidad destructive de este material es total.")
The indictment states that when Posada was "asked about the charges against him, including possession of explosives, possession of explosives that endanger public safety, illicit association, and falsification of documents…he expresses having fought subversion against democratic regimes along several fronts, specifically Castro-sponsored subversion." (Original Spanish: "Preguntado sobre los cargos formulados, es decir Posesión de Explosivos, Posesión de Explosivos que implica Peligro Común, Asociación Ilicita, y Falsedad de Documentos…Expresa haber combatido en distintos frentes la subversión contra regimens democráticos, quiero decir la subversión castrista.'")
Posada and his accomplices were eventually convicted of endangering public safety and sentenced to 8 years in prison. He was pardoned by Panamanian president, Mireya Moscosa, after only four years in August 2004 and lived as a fugitive in Honduras until March 2005 when he illegally entered the United States and applied for political asylum.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
The Trial of Luis Posada Carriles

January 10, 20011

Jury Selected.
With a jury of five men and seven women empaneled, opening statements in the trial for immigration fraud against Luis Posada Carriles, will be heard tomorrow. Judge Kathleen Cardone is the presiding judge.

The government attorneys will offer up the opening salvo. Prosecutor Timothy Reardon requested 60 minutes to introduce the case to the jury, and Posada Carriles' defense lawyer asked for the same block of time. After opening statements by both sides, the prosecution will begin the process of presenting evidence, including witnesses. The defense will be able to cross-examine them.

Upon the conclusion of the prosecution's case, Posada Carriles' lawyers will present their version of things and will in turn offer witnesses that the prosecutor may either challenge or question. It will be up to the jury to evaluate the evidence. The judge assured those present that this trial would take more than a month to be heard.

With the jury absent from the court so that the lawyers could discuss all the trial's preliminary proceedings, prosecutor Reardon expressed his concern to Judge Cardone that Posada Carriles' lawyer would use his initial presentation time before the jury to attack a country: specifically Cuba.

Arturo Hernández Posada Carriles' lawyer said, "the topic of Cuba is endemic in this case." He also warned that he wants to notify the jury that he will present "a plethora of evidence on the type of regime Cuba has," and that he is entitled "to prove that Cuba's regime lies and fabricates false evidence."

Hernández affirmed that the government of Cuba has a longtime prejudice against Posada Carriles. He spoke of "50 years of dictatorship and tyranny against the Cuban people" and threatened to present historical examples of "Castro's tyranny."
Reardon responded forcefully, "This is not the History Channel." He stated that the prosecution is thinking of bringing two Cuban police officers and a doctor to the court. At that very moment, Reardon turned to face Posada Carriles. He fixed his gaze on him and told him: ". . . so that they might testify about the death of that poor Italian. Remember?" he told him with his voice raised. Posada Carriles didn't look back. He didn't even blink, his blue eyes cold as ice.

Reardon warned the judge about Hernández's tactics, "This is a judicial forum, not the Miami Herald." By my side, present in the court, was Juan Tamayo, from the Miami Herald. I asked him if he planned to use these words as a headline for his dispatch tomorrow.

The judge ruled that alleged evidence against Cuba "is irrelevant to this trial," although some may be offered for purposes of impeachment. This means that attorney Arturo Hernández will not be able to refer to it in the course of his opening statement to the jury which will be limited to the actual evidence that he intends to use during his case in chief.

Hernández seemed annoyed by that decision. He asked to respond to it and to put his opinion in writing. The judge gave him until tomorrow to do it. She will hear arguments on this topic outside the presence of the jury and before opening statements.

Today's session concluded shortly after 4:00 p.m., El Paso time.

January 11, 2011
Reardon, "Art" and the Promises to the Jury

We all stood at the sound of the gavel that announced the entrance of the twelve jurors and four alternates who will decide if Posada Carriles is guilty of having lied to U.S. authorities. At 10 a.m. sharp, the jurors took their seats.

They arrived to hear the opening statements in the case that will keep them in the El Paso Federal Court until next month. Opening statements by attorneys offer a jury an idea of what the evidence will show during the course of the legal proceeding against the accused. They are like promises to the jury. It's a dangerous tactic, because if the attorney doesn't deliver the goods promised during his opening statement, the jury might think that the evidence is weaker than it really is.

In a criminal case, under United States law, the prosecution has the burden of proof. It must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the offenses charged in the indictment. This is why, in the order of presentations, the government attorneys go first.

The main prosecutor in the case is Timothy Reardon III, an elegant and sober man. With a measured voice, he greeted the jury this morning. "This is essentially a case about lies," he said. Before detailing for the jury the lies that Posada Carriles had told U.S. immigration authorities on different occasions, Reardon said, "This is the story of an extraordinary man. It's the story of how he arrived illegally in the United States and what he said after he arrived."

"Posada arrived in the United States on March 18, 2005, aboard a boat called the Santrina," said Reardon, "and requested asylum." "The evidence will show that he repeatedly lied." It will also show that "when an immigration judge asked Posada if he had solicited individuals to help set off bombs in Cuba or carry explosives to Cuba, he said no. "He lied," stated the attorney for the United States government.
An official from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) interviewed him. Posada said that he entered the United States. "A lie," said Reardon. Posada said that he had never been in Cancun. "A lie." Posada said that he had never seen the Santrina. "A lie." Posada said that he had never seen Santiago Alvarez. "A lie." That he had never seen Osvaldo Mitat. "A lie." That he had never seen José Pujol. "A lie," said Reardon emphatically.

Santiago Alvarez, Osvaldo Mitat and José Pujols were part of the crew on the Santrina. The prosecutor stated that they went to Mexico to pick up Posada Carriles in order to bring him to the United States illegally. Helping a terrorist illegally enter the United States is severely sanctioned by U.S. law.

Reardon raised a Guatemalan passport in his hands. The passport has a photo of Posada but bears another name. An alias. "You will be able to examine this passport," he said. "You will also hear from a member of the Santrina's crew who picked up Luis Posada Carriles in Mexico." Reardon was referring to Gilberto Abascal, an undercover FBI agent who will testify during the trial.

Reardon promised that the evidence would show that Posada used this passport to travel from Guatemala to Mexico through Belize, and that someone brought the passport from Miami to Guatemala for the purpose of delivering it to Posada. The prosecutor said that he has photos of the Santrina in Mexico and of Posada Carriles in a barbershop on Isla Mujeres.

"The other series of lies by Posada Carriles," said Reardon, "have to do with the bombings in Havana." Reardon told the jury that the bombs exploded between the spring and September of 1997. They were set off in the Copacabana, the Chateau Miramar and the Bodeguita del Medio. He told the jury that the explosion in the lobby of the Copacabana that killed an Italian tourist named Fabio Di Celmo.
"Posada Carriles gave an interview to the New York Times in Aruba in 1998. Why?" asked Reardon. "Because Posada felt that the bombs were not getting enough publicity. He would do anything to change things in Cuba," said the prosecutor.
Then Reardon read part of the transcript of the interview Posada had given to the New York Times in 1998, in which he admitted to being the mastermind of the 1997 bombing campaign. In response to a question from the Times journalist about the death of Di Celmo, Posada answered, "It's a shame. He was in the wrong place, at the wrong time. I sleep like a baby."

Reardon said that he would show the jury an intercepted fax, dated August 25, 1997, that has to do with four money orders from Western Union for $800. Reardon then cited Sir Walter Scott: "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" He ended, saying: "What destroys a man are not the qualities he lacks, but the ones he possesses."

Arturo Hernández, the main attorney for Luis Posada Carriles went next. He started badly. He spilled a glass of water on his clothing, his glasses, his papers and the podium: a glass that prosecutor Reardon had forgotten on the podium. After several minutes of fussing with an easel on which he wanted to place a National Geographic map in order to teach the El Paso jury where Mexico is located territory that can surely be seen from any building in the city more than two stories high Hernández began his presentation.

"Good morning. I'm 'Art' Hernández." He pronounced the H. Odd, because in Spanish the H is silent. He asked Posada Carriles to stand, so that the jury could see him. Posada, in a suit and tie, looked uncomfortably at the jury. With his mouth half open due to a bullet wound he received in the jaw in Guatemala in 1990, he moved his tongue from side to side while peering at them perplexedly.

"Luis Posada Carriles has been an ally of the United States his entire life. Always on the side of our country," said "Art" Hernández. "He is innocent, because he substantially told the truth, and because the evidence that the government will present against him is intrinsically bad evidence," he continued.

He showed the jury the map he'd brought and told them where Mexico, Guatemala and the United States are. He said that Posada Carriles had told the truth when he said that he had entered the United States through Matamoros, a Mexican border city. That he had told the truth when he stated that he had not solicited anyone to place bombs in Cuba or bring explosives to the island. That the Santrina had gone to Isla Mujeres in order to bring Posada Carriles $10,000 so that he could cross illegally into the United States via the border.

He said that although a Guatemalan passport with a photo of Posada Carriles exists, he has never had nor used that passport. Hernández spent the next half hour attacking the credibility of certain key prosecution witnesses, especially Gilberto Abascal. "He is a person with a serious mental illness," said Hernández. "He suffers from psychosis, paranoia and depression. He has been hospitalized for it."

"He is a criminal. A fraud. He says that he is disabled, but he works under the table." Ironically, Hernández portrays Abascal as a liar in order to devalue his testimony and protect his client, who is accused of being a liar. "Abascal said that he paid his taxes, but he didn't pay them," complained Hernández. Furthermore, "Abascal is a Cuban spy."

When he had finished thrashing Abascal's reputation, Hernández spoke to the jury about the other witness for the prosecution, Tony Alvarez, a Cuban who told the New York Times in 1998 about the links between Posada Carriles and other Cubans in Union City, New Jersey, who sent money to finance the 1997 bombing campaign in Cuba.

To discredit Tony Alvarez, Posada's attorney told the jury that Alvarez knows Fidel Castro personally. "He even had a romance with his daughter," he said. He also said that Alvarez had been involved in money laundering through banks in Colombia and Mexico.

The journalist who interviewed Posada Carriles in 1998 is Ann Louise Bardach. The government will bring her as one of the most important witnesses in the case. "She is prejudiced against Cuban exiles," said Hernández. "Art" vigorously told the jury that the New York Times is prejudiced in favor of Cuba. It's impossible to know what the twelve Texans on this jury were thinking about Hernández´view of the New York Times´ position regarding Cuba.

"Art" Hernández ended his presentation with a phrase from Fidel Castro. Without giving him credit. Perhaps he is unaware that it was Fidel who first said that "Luis Posada Carriles is a political hot potato for the United States government," yet it was with this phrase Posada's lawyer ended his presentation. Maybe Art's inspiration comes from a Cuban cartoon titled "The Hot Potato"
Tomorrow we will hear testimony from the first witness.

Side notes

Before the opening statements, the attorneys engaged in some minor legal skirmishes over preliminary matters. First, the attorneys defending Luis Posada Carriles tried to convince Judge Cardone that they should be allowed to tell the jury tomorrow that Cuba falsifies records, distorts evidence and fabricates witness testimony.

In the name of Posada Carriles, his attorney Rhonda Anderson said that she wanted the judge to allow her to "inform" the jury that Cuba falsified evidence during the case of the Cuban Five in order to prove that the shoot down of the Brothers to the Rescue aircraft had occurred over Cuban waters, knowing that the shoot down had occurred over international waters. "Gerardo himself said last month that the evidence had been falsified," said Anderson.

The reference is to the legal appeal that Gerardo Hernández, one of the five Cubans being held prisoner in the United States, presented on October 12, 2010. Anderson is wrong on the date and the facts. Gerardo's legal appeal was filed by his attorneys, and it does not say that Cuba falsified any evidence whatsoever. It simply says that his previous attorney, Paul McKenna, erred in concentrating his defense on the location of the planes that were shot down instead of focusing the jury's attention on the fact that Gerardo did not participate in any kind of plan to shoot down planes--neither over international nor over Cuban waters.
Anderson also said that she wanted to be able to tell the jury during opening statements that Cuba killed General Abrahantes and General Ochoa because "they knew too much." General Ochoa was convicted, she said, because Cuba had falsified evidence.

Anderson's counterpart was prosecution attorney Bridget Behling. She said that Posada's attorneys had not shown that the witnesses and documents coming from Cuba had been falsified. She said that the Cuban witnesses would testify that a bombing campaign took place against Cuba and that one of the bombs killed a person. "They would not even testify about Posada Carriles' involvement in the murder of Fabio Di Celmo or about the bombs in Havana, said Behling"
Judge Cardone did not accept Anderson's arguments. She ruled that Posada's legal team does not have the right to make this kind of argument to the jury before the government presents the evidence that it wants to use against Posada. For Cuba evidence to come in for purposes of impeachment, said the Judge, the defense will need to show a link between the government evidence and the allegations that Posada intends to raise against Cuba.

José Pertierra practices law in Washington, DC. He represents the government of Venezuela in the case to extradite Luis Posada Carriles.

Translated by Manuel Talens and Machetera. They are members of Tlaxcala, the international network of translators for linguistic diversity (

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
Published on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 by Al Jazeera English 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.

[Image: ciatrainedterrorist_carriles.jpg]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.


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
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
Good coverage and updates of the Posada trial here at the NATIONAL COMMITTEE TO FREE THE CUBAN FIVE:

1/20/11: Posada trial, Day 7 (Eng./Esp.)
1/20/11: Triunfo de la valla por los Cinco en Miami (Esp.)
1/20/11: José Pertierra: El Paso Diary, A Voice from the Past
1/20/11: Al Jazeera covers the Posada trial
1/20/11: Aliados de Posada: "todos somos autores intelectuales" (Esp.)
1/19/11: Posada trial, Day 6 (Eng./Esp.)
1/19/11: José Pertierra: El Paso Diary
[Image: redstar.gif]1/19/11: The Habeas Corpus appeal of Gerardo Hernández (Eng./Esp.)
1/18/11: Posada trial, Day 5 (Eng./Esp.)
1/17/11: Mesa Redonda discutir Posada Carriles (Esp.)
1/17/11: Las víctimas de Posada Carriles también tienen un sueño (Esp.)
1/13/11: Posada trial, Day 4 (Eng./Esp.)
1/13/11: Message from Livio di Celmo to the Posada Tribunal (Eng./Esp.)
[Image: video_icon.gif]1/13/11: RT covers the Posada case
1/13/11: Events in El Paso demand justice for the victims of Luis Posada Carriles, freedom for the Cuban Five
1/13/11: Clear Channel caves to pressure, removes Cuban Five billboard in Miami (Esp.)
1/12/11: Posada trial, Day 3 (Eng./Esp.)
1/12/11: Cuban exile decried in symbolic tribunal
1/12/11: Prosecutor: Ex-CIA agent lied about militant past
1/12/11: Simpatizantes de Posada amenazan de muerte al abogado que lo persigue (Esp.)
1/12/11: Salvadorans Demand Punishment for Posada Carriles
[Image: redstar.gif]1/12/11: Cuban Five billboard erected in Miami (Eng./Esp.)
1/11/11: Tension before opening arguments in Posada trial (Eng./Esp.)
1/10/11: Jury selection begins in trial of Luis Posada Carriles
1/7/11: If Julian Assange is a terrorist, what is Luis Posada Carriles? (Eng./Esp.)
[Image: redstar.gif]1/6/11: Former CIA Asset Luis Posada Goes to Trial
1/6/11: Author Keith Bolender interviewed about anti-Cuba terrorism on CBC Radio [Image: audio.jpg]
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
So, if convicted, he'll likely get a sentence of a few months [suspended], and be shipped out of the USA.....such justice. A mass murderer and trainer of others to do the same....slapped on the wrist for a fake passport and entering the USA illegally. What a joke. Friends in high places, has he!!!
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Peter Lemkin Wrote:So, if convicted, he'll likely get a sentence of a few months [suspended], and be shipped out of the USA.....such justice. A mass murderer and trainer of others to do the same....slapped on the wrist for a fake passport and entering the USA illegally. What a joke. Friends in high places, has he!!!

This is a joke. The man is a true terrorist who was protected by the Bush administration. Still is it seems. Charged with LIES when he blew up a damn plane?
I did not know he was on trial til I opened this thread and I assumed it was for his real crimes, finally.

The best justice money can buy. The CIA protects its killers.


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Former IMF chief Strauss-Kahn acquitted of pimping charges in French trial Drew Phipps 0 4,066 12-06-2015, 12:47 PM
Last Post: Drew Phipps
  Gary Glitter goes to prison....finally. Drew Phipps 0 2,598 27-02-2015, 10:46 PM
Last Post: Drew Phipps
  al-Libi dies [conveniently] a few days before trial on major terror charges. Peter Lemkin 0 3,086 04-01-2015, 07:09 AM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin
  Benghazi Terror suspect on a "slow boat" to the US for trial. Drew Phipps 1 2,068 18-06-2014, 03:22 PM
Last Post: Magda Hassan
  Lurid Subprime Scams Unveiled in Long-Running Fraud Trial Magda Hassan 2 2,894 15-12-2013, 02:28 PM
Last Post: Tracy Riddle
  German Neo-Nazi gang trial Jan Klimkowski 0 2,682 06-05-2013, 11:28 AM
Last Post: Jan Klimkowski
  German Govenment Sought to Bribe Judge During Eichmann Trial Magda Hassan 0 2,149 17-04-2011, 03:15 PM
Last Post: Magda Hassan
  Tom DeLay GUILTY: Jury Convicts Republican In Money Laundering Trial Myra Bronstein 3 3,169 25-11-2010, 11:07 AM
Last Post: Myra Bronstein
  Amnesty International wants Bush on trial over torture. Magda Hassan 3 3,130 11-11-2010, 06:20 PM
Last Post: Jack White
  Creech 14 Vegas Drone Trial Makes History Magda Hassan 1 2,652 16-09-2010, 06:43 AM
Last Post: Peter Lemkin

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)