Wednesday, April 11, 2007


The same judge who just stated Luis Posada Carriles is "associated with some of the most infamous events of twentieth-century, Central American politics..." is about to set him free just a few days after she ruled he should be given bond, the Miami Herald is reporting.

As Cuba's Granma reacting to the earlier ruling by the judge last week put it:

Throwing together in one sentence the "Bay of Pigs invasion, the Iran-Contra Affair, the 1976 bombing of Cubana Flight 455, the tourist bombings of 1997 in Havana, and even – according to some conspiracy theorists – the assassination of President John F. Kennedy," the judge abruptly affirms that his possible relation to those events has nothing to do with the current case.

Granma went on:

In one paragraph at least astonishing, Cardone (the judge) assesses that "the nature and circumstances of the offense" with which he is charged "weigh in favor of Defendant."

"He is not charged, in this or any indictment, with a crime of violence or other crimes which directly involve the immediate safety of the community," she writes.

Then she goes further: "The Court finds that the history and characteristics of Defendant weigh in his favor."

By coincidence (?), the decision earlier ordering Luis Posada's release on bond comes on the tenth anniversary of a wave of terrorist attacks on Cuban tourist facilities in Havana, one of which took the life of Italian Fabio Di Celmo and wounded several Cubans. Posada has boasted of planning the attacks.

Fidel Castro said after last week's ruling, "...we share the tragedy of the American people and their ethical values. The instructions for the verdict issued by Judge Kathleen Cardone, of the El Paso Federal Court last Friday, granting Luis Posada Carriles freedom on bail, could only have come from the White House."

The president of Venezuela´s National Assembly, Cilia Flores, asked female parliamentarians of the world to condemn US protection of Cuban-born terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

During a meeting with lawmakers attending the 14th World Congress of the Women´s International Democratic Federation (WIDF), Flores criticized the US court ruling that granted bail to the criminal.

The decision is the absolute responsibility by the White House, whose negligent performance in the case has brought as a consequence the Court's failure, said lawyer Jose Pertierra, who represents the Venezuela government in Posada Carriles' extradition process.

In an interview with CounterPunch Pertierra said during the whole immigration proceedings against Posada, it was obvious that the United States had an interest in appearing to do something with respect to Posada while in reality doing the minimum possible.

"I believe there is an understanding, not written, but an understanding between the government and Posada, that he will be treated well by the United States while he is in U.S. territory, in exchange for Posada not saying all that he could about the U.S. intelligence services. Keep in mind that Posada, by his own admission, is an individual who worked with the CIA since at least 1962."

She added, "Therefore, it does not surprise me that the United States is doing the minimum to maintain Posada in prison, because it is not politically wise for them to free him, but they will not extradite nor try him for murder."

In the courtroom last week amongst Posada's supporters were Ernesto Díaz Rodríguez, chief of the Alpha 66 terrorist group. Alpha 66 has a history of acts of terrorism against Cuba spanning more than 40 years.

Díaz Rodríguez subsequently commented publicly on the hearing during a Miami radio program along with Mafia lawyer Arturo Hernández Hernández, Posada’s defense attorney.

During the hearing, Hernández emphasized according to Political Afairs that Posada Carriles can count upon "important sympathizers in the Cuban exile community in Miami" who have signed petitions for him, without commenting on the presence of notorious terrorists in the campaign organized for those purposes.

The U.S. Attorney in the case "affirmed" that the United States lacks jurisdiction to try Posada for the attack on the Cubana Aviation airplane in 1976. Surprisingly, the district attorney appeared to ignore the fact that the U.S. government signed the Convention for the Repression of Illicit Acts against Civil Aviation in 1971 and the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, in effect since 2001.

A letter earlier this week from relatives of those who died thanks to terrorist acts furthered by Posada read:

If the government of the United States does not wish to try Posada Carriles as a terrorist, we demand it agree to grant the request for extradition made by the Bolivarian government of Venezuela...It is not ethical to unleash wars against terrorism, provoking the deaths of thousands of citizens in distant parts of the world while sheltering in its own territory terrorists who are self-confessed and still active.

The father of an Italian killed in the airline bombing said, ""Before me, I see blood, blood and more blood."

Dora Lidia Garzon, 75, is one of the Cuban mothers who have suffered since October 1976 when her son was killed along another 72 people on board a Cubana airliner, which was bombed in mid air off the coast of Barbados by orders of the terrorist Posada. She says that the only thing she wants to see before dying is that justice has been done in the case of Posada Carriles.

"What kind of manoeuvre by the US government will come next when Posada faces trial in May?"she sceptically asks. The Mathaba news site says she also asks if those in charge of judging Posada Carriles have children and know what losing a full of life 19-year-old son means.

"I'm outraged," said Iliana Alfonso, whose father was among those killed on the Cubana de Aviacion flight that exploded off Barbados. "In the United States, they are talking about good terrorism and bad terrorism. To me, all terrorism is bad."

The following is just in from the Miami Herald.

Posada closer to release on bond

Luis Posada Carriles Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles could be released as early as today from a jail in New Mexico near the Texas border if U.S. authorities don't take immediate action to appeal his bond or place him in immigration detention.

Posada took one step closer to moving to Miami on a $350,000 bond as he awaits trial on immigration fraud charges in a Texas federal court.

Posada's release from jail could be imminent, thanks to yet another ruling by U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone. She rejected the U.S. government's request to reconsider her recent decision on Posada's bond and to hold another hearing to reassess the sufficiency of his bail.

Justice Department lawyers argued in vain that the former CIA operative could flee the country to evade his May 11 trial if his bond is not set higher.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to say what prosecutors might do. ''We're weighing our options on whether to appeal,'' said Dean Boyd.

Posada's Miami lawyer, Arturo Hernandez, was poised to post his client's bond and seek his immediate release. ''We're going to proceed in accordance with the court's order,'' Hernandez said.

Meanwhile, an advocacy group that has condemned the 79-year-old anti-Castro militant as a ''terrorist'' said he should not be released. Instead, Free the Cuban Five -- named after a group of Cuban men convicted of being spies for Fidel Castro -- said Posada should be charged with terrorism in U.S. courts or extradited to Venezuela.

In 1985, Posada escaped from prison in Venezuela after his arrest in connection with the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. He is wanted by Venezuelan authorities.

''We demand that the U.S. government cease protecting the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles,'' Odalys Perez Rodriguez, daughter of the Cuban airliner's captain, said in a telephone press conference held by Free the Cuban Five.

''We demand that the U.S. government indict [him] as a terrorist,'' she added. ``We demand that if the U.S. government doesn't want to try [him] as a terrorist, then the U.S. government should extradite him to Venezuela.''

In addition, Posada has been accused of -- but not charged with -- masterminding tourist site bombings in Havana that killed an Italian in 1997. A federal grand jury is investigating that case.

''Luis Posada Carriles is a terrorist, and the U.S. government has refused to define him as so,'' said Livio di Celmo of Montreal, whose brother, Fabio di Celmo, was killed in one bombing attack in Havana a decade ago. ``This [release on bond] is an insult to my brother and the other victims of terrorism.''

Posada's mere presence -- and possible release -- in the United States has stirred controversy for the federal government.

The latest legal maneuvering by the Justice Department's counterterrorism lawyers reveals their tough stand to keep the controversial exile figure behind bars -- though Free the Cuban Five advocates say it's ``all show.''

In Texas, Posada faces trial on charges of lying at his naturalization hearing and on an official application about how he entered the country illegally.

If the Justice Department fails to block Posada's bond, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could step in to detain him until trial because the Cuban-born Venezuelan citizen faces a deportation order. However, an immigration judge has already ruled that he cannot be sent back to Cuba or Venezuela because he could be tortured in those countries.

Posada has claimed he came to America across the Mexico-Texas border in March 2005. Federal authorities, relying on an FBI informant, have accused Posada of arriving on a shrimp boat manned by a group of Miami exiles. The informant, Gilberto Abascal, has said he was on the vessel that brought Posada here. Posada's attorney obtained information from the U.S. government showing that Abascal had been in contact with Cuban intelligence officials.

If the judge's bond ruling stands, Posada can post the $350,000 bail and live with his wife in Miami under 24-hour house confinement, leaving only for doctors' appointments or to meet with his attorney. Family members and supporters have pledged assets to secure his bond.

Posada, described as ''frail'' by Cardone, would be subject to electronic monitoring and not be allowed to contact codefendants or witnesses.

Cardone's ruling was the first major legal victory for Posada since immigration agents detained him in May 2005 in Miami-Dade County, accusing him of being in the country illegally.

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