Who Has What to Hide About Luis Posada Carriles?


Luis Posada’s immigration case is now set for hearing before a Homeland Security judge in Texas on August 29. On May 21 Secretary Rice indicated the Homeland case might go on for many months and his extradition would be determined on its completion. With motions and appeals and paid lawyers, this might mean years. A provision in the US-Venezuela extradition treaty says the custodial state can keep the alleged criminal until its own proceedings against him arising from crimes committed there are completed.

But surely a minor “crime” such as a traffic ticket or a failure to report to Homeland Security on entry is not what was contemplated. And even if Posada could somehow convince the Homeland judges of the validity of his spurious residency and asylum claims (that he is a US resident although he has lived abroad for 30 years; that he is entitled to asylum here although he has murdered hundreds of innocent people), he still should be extradited now to Venezuela because his migration status (whether resident or asylee) has nothing to do with extradition for trial for his alleged crime, murdering 73 people in 1976.

Posada is a Venezuelan citizen by naturalization and a Cuban citizen by birth. As a Cuban he has rights under the Cuban Adjustment Act and its “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which takes precedence over more general laws. On setting foot in US, whether legally or illegally, any Cuban can stay here and apply for residency after a year. In other words, the pending immigration cases against Posada are a farce, a way of making it appear that there’s some reason for not extraditing now.

So why not just send him to the extradition judge and be done with it? What’s the reason for keeping him here? Delay for delay’s sake? Aggravate the Venezuelan government? Weaken the US claim to be the world leader in its “war against terrorism”? None of these seem very convincing as motives, even for this Administration. According to recently declassified CIA reports (National Security Archives, Book 153), in custody after his October 6, 1976 bombing of the Cubana civilian airliner, flight 455, agent Posada threatened CIA that if forced to talk, the Venezuelan government “would go down the tube” and there would be “another Watergate.”

George Bush, Sr., CIA Director at the time of the Cubana bombing, had previously appointed Ted Shackley as his Deputy Director for Special Operations. Since Bay of Pigs, Shackley had been in charge of the JM/Wave Miami CIA station which had been training anti-Castro extremists for possible invasion, then demolitions (Posada ran the school), biological warfare and murderous incursions into Cuba. Bush, Sr., and Shackley had urged several violent US anti-Castro groups to join together under one umbrella organization called CORU. It was led by Orlando Bosch and took credit for the Letelier murders in Washington, DC in September.

Bush, Sr., has said he was not with the CIA before being appointed director by President Ford in early 1976. But there’s a memo from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to the State Department dated November 28, 1963, indicating otherwise. It concerns information developed by the Miami FBI office about groups in Miami seeking to blame the JFK murder on the Cuban government, and it says the information was orally furnished on November 23 to “George Bush of the CIA.” Bush was in Dallas then. As was another CIA operative, Chauncey Holt (now deceased), who identified Posada as being in Dealey Plaza at the time of the murder.

Other sources, among them CIA agent Marita Lorenz, placed Orlando Bosch and Guillermo Novo there. The question arises whether their presence there can be dismissed as coincidence. After all, Bosch, Posada’s accomplice in the Cuban airline bombing, was pardoned by President Bush Sr. in 1990 against the strong objection of his own Justice Department, which had implicated Bosch in more than 70 terrorist crimes. And Guillermo Novo and Posada were just last year pardoned on another bombing charge and released by the US-friendly outgoing president of Panama. Yet another anti-Castro extremist, Felix Rodriguez, who killed Ernesto Guevara and worked with Posada in the Iran-Contra supply network, has long been a Bush, Sr. personal friend.

The official versions of Watergate and JFK murder don’t make a lot of sense when one considers motivations of the supposed actors. It’s now clear that Nixon ordered the burglary of Democratic National Headquarters in 1972. But what was he looking for at such great risk? In his Staff Chief H. R. Haldeman’s book on Watergate, he says when Nixon spoke in several places on tape about the risk that a Watergate probe could “blow the whole Bay of Pigs thing,” he was actually referring to the JFK murder, not the invasion of Cuba. As Vice President in 1960 (a political protégé of Senator Prescott Bush), Nixon had supervised the preparation of the invasion. It seems odd he would confuse these events if they were unrelated. Moreover, what could be “blown” about the Bay of Pigs that was not already known?

And why did Lee Harvey Oswald kill JFK? The Warren Commission and the subsequent Congressional committees could not come up with a motive. In an effort at the time of the murder to blame the Cuban government, a photo of Oswald was spread across US newspapers showing him on a New Orleans street holding a “Fair Play for Cuba” sign. But why were there no other members of the New Orleans Fair Play for Cuba Committee? Why did Oswald give the New Orleans address of the committee as 544 Camp St., which was the side entrance for the offices of Sergio Arcacha Smith and Guy Banister, both rabid anti-Castro extremists? Why were these offices frequented by Cubans? Why did Oswald spend much of his time there? Why was Allen Dulles, the CIA Director who planned the Bay of Pigs and was subsequently fired by JFK, put on the Warren Commission? Why did CIA misinform the Commission on so many key evidentiary matters? The official answers to these questions seem to be “blowin’ in the wind.” It’s like a jigsaw puzzle with half the pieces missing.

In the fall of 1963, JFK was no longer relying on CIA intelligence or opinions regarding either Vietnam or Cuba. Negotiations were about to start between US and Cuba to possibly normalize relations. JFK’s conditions were that Cuba distance itself from the Soviet Union and stop aiding revolutionary movements in Latin America, to which Castro seemed amenable. In a private meeting several months after Bay of Pigs, General Douglas MacArthur had warned JFK: “The chickens are coming home to roost and you are living in the chicken house.”

A key part of Allen Dulles’s Bay of Pigs plan was “Operation 40.” They were forty CIA agents, mostly gun men, whose job was to kill the leading members of Cuba’s government. Some, like Posada, had previously worked in enforcement for the Batista regime. Prior to the invasion they were waiting in Dominican Republic. Their boat took off for Cuba but turned around when informed the invasion was failing. They returned to US, and unbeknownst to JFK, Operation 40 continued on. For years and decades, with some changes in names and personnel.

Many of the original names kept appearing in connection with subsequent covert, violent CIA projects, such as Operation Mongoose, Operation Phoenix, the JFK murder, the regime changes in Dominican Republic, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Watergate burglary, the bombing of Cubana flight 455, the Iran-Contra war, Operation Condor which exterminated many South American progressives, the Havana tourist hotel bombings. Names like Luis Posada, Orlando Bosch, Felix Rodriguez, E. Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis, Antonio Veciana, Guillermo Novo, Eugenio Martinez, Ricardo Morales, David Sanchez Morales, David Phillips, all original members of the forty.

In an oligarchy where the important decisions are made in secret by a power elite, where the mass media is used to manipulate rather than inform, it’s often difficult for the public to distinguish actual from virtual reality. It’s apparent that Posada could supply many of the missing pieces of the puzzles of the last 45 years. He has friends in Miami and they have brought him here to resurface after 30 years. If he needed money or a place to hide comfortably, they could easily have provided him with such in another country. What we now know about his past is enough to say that he and his friends could be using going public with his knowledge of CIA operations as a threat or extortion chip, perhaps to effect future US policy toward Cuba. This would explain why his legally required extradition is being delayed.

TOM CRUMPACKER is a lawyer who works with the Miami Coalition to End the US Embargo of Cuba. He can be reached at: Crump8@aol.com