By Barry Grey:
The politics of the latest terror scare
15 August 2006
Five days after UK authorities arrested 24 British-born Muslims and announced that they and their American counterparts had thwarted a plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights from London to the US, neither the British nor the American government has produced any facts to substantiate their dire claims.
No details of the supposed plot have been provided, and no hard evidence that would justify the arrest of so many people or the imposition of chilling security measures that had wreaked havoc at airports in the US and Britain.
In the meantime, commercial flights are being turned around in mid-flight, and wild claims of new plots are hitting the newsstands.
The latest was the arrest of three Palestinian-Americans who were hauled into jail in Michigan after they purchased some 80 cell phones from a Wal-Mart store.
Local police discovered that one of them had a digital camera with an image of the Mackinac Bridge, which connects Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas.
This was sufficient to charge them with conspiring, using cell phones as detonators, to attack the bridge.
This implausible “plot” was punctured on Monday when the FBI issued a statement that none of the three were connected to any known terrorist groups, that buying cell phones was not a crime, and that the Mackinac Bridge was in no danger.
Family members explained that the three bought and sold cell phones to make a living.
The incident was, however, indicative of the atmosphere of hysteria that is being encouraged by the Bush administration. (As of this writing, moreover, the three suspects remain in jail).
See also here.
British views on this: here, and here.
US views: here.
Top British Muslim policeman: here.
John Pilger on this: here.
Terrorist plot in Florida? Here.
See also about Cuban terrorist Posada Carriles in the USA; also here.
CIA terrorist Posada Carriles acquitted in immigration trial: here.
Bombings evidence was destroyed
Posted by: “Compañero” firstname.lastname@example.org chocoano05
Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:55 pm (PST)
The Miami Herald
Posted on Sun, Nov. 12, 2006
Bombings evidence was destroyed
The FBI says it has gotten rid of evidence in the
investigation of 1997 bombings in Cuba, but has rebuilt
the case targeting exile militant Luis Posada Carriles.
BY JAY WEAVER AND ALFONSO CHARDY
A renewed federal investigation launched after Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles sneaked into the country last year posed a serious challenge at first because the FBI’s Miami office had destroyed crucial evidence in the fall of 2003.
The evidence was part of a previous investigation of bomb attacks against Cuban tourist sites in 1997. Destroyed documents included Western Union cables and money wire transfers.
A November article by Ann Louise Bardach in The Atlantic Monthly suggested the FBI destroyed the evidence to shield Posada from criminal prosecution and avoid angering the Cuban exile community where some view him as a patriot.
The FBI confirmed to The Miami Herald that some case records were destroyed, but denied there were any irregularities.
Officials portrayed the destruction as a routine administrative procedure after the U.S. attorney’s office closed the case in August 2003 because of lack of progress in the investigation.
CASE HAD BEEN CLOSED
“We routinely destroy evidence in cases that have been closed,” said FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela, noting the agency needed to make room for other records in its evidence room at the time.
She added that the FBI has been able to rebuild the body of evidence in the Cuba bombing probe, which targets Posada.
Hector Pesquera, who was special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami field office in 2003, said that any suggestion he sought to protect Posada from prosecution was “preposterous.”
Said Pesquera: “That’s not the way this office works or any other law enforcement office works for that matter.”
Guy Lewis, who served as the U.S. attorney in Miami during part of the Cuba bombing case, said such a claim was “B.S.”
© 2006 MiamiHerald.com
s it possible…?
Terrorists free, anti-terrorists in prison?
With Bush, everything is possible!
& VANESSA STOJILKOVIC
1. Is it possible that the United States protects the masterminds responsible for the bombing of an airliner?
YES. On October 6, 1976, Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles killed 73 innocent civilians, including the Cuban fencing team, by blowing up a Cuban D-C 8 in flight. Even the U.S. Department of Justice found Bosch to be “implicated in the terrorist attacks abroad”. Nevertheless, Bush Sr. granted him a green card.
Posada Carriles, a CIA employee, publicly boasted of also being responsible for several bomb attacks perpetrated in Havana between July and September ’97. Presently, he is out and about in the U.S., protected by U.S. authorities, and does not face the prospect of any trial. Washington refuses to extradite him to Venezuela which, since a long time, wants to put him on trial for his terrorist acts.
2. Is it possible that the United States fails to take any action against terrorist groups operating out of its territory?
YES. Armed Cuban organizations exiled in Miami have committed and are preparing to perpetrate still more acts aimed at sowing terror in Cuba. Specifically, when this country endeavored to develop its tourism industry at the beginning of the 1990’s, these groups launched a vast campaign of terrorist attacks to dissuade tourists from coming to the island. An Italian tourist, Fabio di Celmo, was killed; dozens of others were injured.
Since 40 years, anti-Cuban terrorism has taken the lives of more than 3,000 individuals. The protests and steps taken by Cuba have consistently fell on deaf ears. Washington continues to tolerate and even protect the activities of these groups.
3. Is it possible that the United States does not imprison the terrorists, but rather those who try to prevent attacks?
YES. Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerro, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez and René Gonzalez were arrested on September 12, 1998 in Miami (Florida). These five Cubans had been commissioned to infiltrate the anti-Castro terrorist circles and to report potential attacks being prepared. They were not assigneto spy on the U.S., but rather to keep surveillance on criminals and to inform Havana of their plans.
When their evidence was handed over to the FBI, the latter did not arrest the terrorists but instead those who informed on them! Accused of espionage and of wanting “to destroy the United States” and sentenced in all to four life sentences plus 75 ans in prison. Despite the fact that former high ranks in the military and Secret Service had testified that there had not been any espionage. They were separated and detained in high-security prisons.
4. Is it possible that the Bush administration manipulates the courts in charge of the case?
YES. To prevent a fair trial, the case was tried in Miami despite the hysteria which reigns in this city (Cuban athletes and artists are prohibited from performing there). The Miami prosecutor himself admitted acknowledged that it was impossible to guarantee to the Five a fair trial in this city.
It was precisely for this reason that, in August 2005, the Atlanta Court of Appeal repealed the sentence and ordered a new trial. An extremely rare occurrence, Bush’s Attorney General was himself on appeal and had the ruling quashed. Since, the legal battle continues…
5. Is it possible that the United States flouts penal and international law by denying visits of some spouses and children of the prisoners?
YES. Since eight years, the authorities have forbidden Adriana Perez from seeing her husband Gerardo. Olga Salanueva has not been able to enter the U.S. since 2002. As a matter of fact, she has been a victim of unlawful blackmail: They deported her in order to try to force her husband to confess. Daughter Yvette Gonzalez (8 years old) has not seen her father for eight years. A form of mental torture that is particularly ignoble.
6. Is it possible that the United States sends the protestations of the U.N. and of Amnesty International to the garbage disposal?
YES. In May 2005, the U.N.’s International Commission of arbitrary detentions held the detention of the Five to be arbitrary, illegal and contrary to the U.N.’s international conventions. Amnesty has condemned the violation of the right to visitation as well as the suspect character of the convictions. Harold Pinter, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and 110 members of the British Parliament called for respect of the right to visitation. The U.S.’s National Council of Churches wrote to Mrs. Rice to demand respect of the right to visitation, at least for humanitarian reasons. All of these protestations were thrown in the garbage can.
7. Is it possible for us to do something so that Gerardo, Rene, Ramon, Fernando and Antonio would finally be returned to their spouses and children?
YES. European governments, allies of Washington, remain silent in the face of these crimes whereas they claim to be fighting against terrorism and for civil rights. The European media hardly talk about it. And yet, it concerns the right of each country in the world to defend itself against all terrorism. Including that financed or protected by the United States.
We call on each one of you to sign the petition displayed at: http://www.freeforfive.org/home3/euro_camp/index.php?lang=fr And to bring this to the attention of the media so that they finally talk about it.
We do not accept the arbitrariness of Bush which protects terrorists and jails those who try to prevent these attacks!
CIA-trained ‘terrorist’ in US court
Chris Arsenault, Al Jazeera, 19 Jan 2011
Accused of killing 73 in an airline bombing, Luis Posada Carriles charged with immigration violations, not terrorism.
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
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.
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.”
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