Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The terrorist we caught but won't prosecute

United States House of Representatives - May 3, 2007

Congressional Record - 110th Congress - Page H4470

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. McDermott) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, next week Luis Carriles is scheduled to stand trial for allegedly lying to immigration authorities when he entered the United States 2 years ago.

Most Americans have probably never heard of Carriles, but everyone should know the real case against him because it shows the double standard of the Bush administration and its so-called commitment to fight terrorism.

Carriles is being prosecuted for an immigration violation in America, but he has been convicted in other nations for acts of terrorism, including the downing of a commercial Cuban airliner over 30 years ago that killed 33 innocent people. He is a wanted international fugitive. The Bush administration knows this, but instead of turning Carriles over to the sovereign Governments of Cuba or Venezuela, as they have asked, we are going to get him on an immigration violation.

Why is the Bush administration handling Carilles in this way? Three letters say it all: CIA.

Carriles was a CIA agent. He was part of the Bay of Pigs debacle, and his fierce opposition to Cuban President Fidel Castro has been reported by the media.

Officially, Carriles left the CIA in the middle of 1976. That is the year that Luis Carriles was convicted in Venezuela of masterminding the downing of the Cuban airplane.

The administration won't reveal what role Carriles played as a CIA agent or what his assignments were. His shadowy connections to the United States Government almost certainly continued after he and the agency parted ways. The media has reported that Carriles helped funnel U.S. supplies to the Contra rebels attempting to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

Carriles himself has personally boasted of a role in the deadly bombings of hotels in Havana, Cuba , in the 1990s. And Carriles was also convicted in Panama in the year 2000 for a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. He was sentenced to prison, but he was later pardoned and set free.

You would think that capturing a man like this would have the administration calling a news conference to declare their success in the war on terror with a long-sought terrorist in custody. Not so. Instead, the administration is busy trying to get a court to bar him from testifying about what he did for the CIA. Carriles' lawyers have said his client will talk about that, and the assignments during and after his official employment. One of the CIA directors during the time of Carriles' connection to the agency was former President George H. W. Bush, the President's father.

The American people have a right to know what really happened in the 1970s and what role, if any, the United States played in the deadly games of Carriles. Was he a rogue agent or was he acting on CIA orders?

The Cuban Government wants him, but we are not talking to Havana as long as Castro is alive and in power. Venezuela, which has an 80-year-old extradiction treaty with the United States, has repeatedly asked for Carriles. But the President isn't talking to Venezuela, either, so those requests have been denied.

The U.S. Customs and Immigration Service says Carriles poses a significant danger to our Nation, but the U.S. Justice Department just hasn't acted.

In a recent editorial that I submit for printing in the Record, the Los Angeles Times described Luis Posada Carriles as ``the Zacarias Moussaoui of Havana and Caracas.'' The Times points out that Moussaoui is serving a life sentence without parole for his role in the 9/11 attacks, but Carriles was released on bail and is living at home in Miami, with his family, awaiting trial next week. The U.S. is holding a person convicted of major terrorist acts in other countries, but he is going to be prosecuted for an immigration infraction. That is like bringing Osama bin Laden in and trying him for a traffic ticket.

The moral compass of the Bush administration is just spinning round and round over the treatment of Posada Carriles. Next week it is going to stop on a new direction: H, for hypocrisy.

[From the LA Times, Apr. 20, 2007]

A Terrorist Walks: Luis Posada Carriles Has Boasted of Bombing Havana Hotels, Yet American Justice Lets Him Go Free

With a misguided decision upholding bail for Cuban-born terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans has done more than free a frail old man facing unremarkable immigration charges. It has exposed Washington to legitimate charges of hypocrisy in the war on terror.

By allowing Posada to go free before his May 11 trial, the court has released a known flight risk who previously escaped from a Venezuelan prison, a man who has boasted of helping set off deadly bombs in Havana hotels 10 years ago and the alleged mastermind of a 1976 bombing of a Cuban airplane that killed 73 people. Posada's employees confessed to the attack, and declassified FBI and CIA documents have shown that he attended planning sessions.

In other words, Posada is the Zacarias Moussaoui of Havana and Caracas. Moussaoui is serving a life sentence without parole in a federal prison in Colorado for conspiracy in the 9/11 attacks; Posada is free to live in Miami.

Posada, a 79-year-old Bay of Pigs veteran who served time in Panama for plotting to kill Fidel Castro, has never been charged with crimes of terrorism in U.S. courts. Instead, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement nabbed him for lying to immigration authorities after he sneaked in the country in March 2005 and held a news conference announcing his triumphant return. Both Customs and the Justice Department lobbied to keep Posada behind bars, but U.S. law enforcement has never shown a strong interest in trying him for more serious crimes. In turn, Posada's lawyer has preemptively warned that if charged, his client would likely reveal extensive collaboration with the CIA.

The United States keeps 385 suspected terrorists imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, many in isolation and all without U.S. norms of due process. Yet Posada, a confessed terrorist, is sent home with an ankle bracelet.

The United States has not been able to persuade any of seven allied nations to accept Posada. A federal judge has ruled that he can't be extradited to Cuba or Venezuela because he might be tortured. The best solution would have been for the court to refuse bail until trial while the State Department keeps searching for a third-party country that would agree to try him on terrorism charges.

Instead, Castro receives a propaganda victory gift, the White House has its moral authority undermined and the victims of Carriles' alleged crimes see justice delayed once more.

The U.S. government has done many odd things in 46 years of a largely failed Cuba policy, but letting a notorious terrorist walk stands among the most perverse yet.


JG: Since the statement of May 03 by Rep. McDermott, Luis Posada Carriles was freed by a know-nothing U.S. Judge in El Paso, Texas. The terrorist now walks free the streets of Miami, with his buddy Orlando Bosch, another known terrorist, who was granted a pardon by Daddy Bush.

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