Noted Terrorist Indicted

The terrorist in question is Luis Posada Carriles, who at one time admitted to involvement in a 1997 Cuban bombing, and is widely associated with a 1976 airline bombing.

That would be Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban exile, suspected, arrested and once convicted (though later pardoned) in various countries for crimes that included the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner that killed 73 people; the 1997 bombings of two Havana hotels that killed an Italian tourist; and a 2000 plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. 

[snip]

Wednesday night, federal prosecutors filed a superseding 11-count indictment against the aging militant in which, for the first time, the U.S. links him to at least the 1997 bombings. It doesn’t directly charge Posada with the crime; but it accuses him of lying about his role in it, claiming he perjured himself and obstructed justice in 2005 when, while answering questions from immigration authorities, he denied involvement in the Havana attacks even though he told the New York Times in 1998 that he’d taken part in them. 

While it would be nice to see this country’s hypocrisy regarding right wing terrorists end (particularly from an Attorney General who has himself practiced that hypocrisy on behalf of Chiquita, Jeff Stein notes some caution is merited.

Normally, throwing Posada into a dark pit would be cause for joy – if the government’s conduct didn’t stink up the joint.

Posada may be as guilty as former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, once was. But a guilty verdict can’t wipe the stain off the foundation of the government’s case, no matter how it ends.

To wit, the 2005 naturalization hearing where the government maintains Posada committed perjury.  

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone was outraged by the government’s conduct in the hearing.

"This Court finds that the Government engaged in fraud, deceit, and trickery," Cardone wrote in a blistering decision dismissing the indictment in May 2007.

Indeed, the transcripts of the government’s interviews with Posada, conducted by a team of Justice Department and Homeland Security Department officials, shows that Cardone was on target.   

For starters, the Spanish language interpreter the government used at the hearing was incompetent, she found after appointing a court-certified interpreter to review the taped hearing.

[snip]

What a weirdly ironic twist, considering that Justice departments going back to the Reagan administration were soft on Posada, looking the other way while he waged his violent vendetta against Castro, oblivious to collateral damage, protected by Florida’s powerful Cuban Americans and their White House friends.

"In addition to engaging in fraud, deceit, and trickery, this Court finds the Government’s tactics in this case are so grossly shocking and so outrageous as to violate the universal sense of justice," Judge Cardone wrote.

I’ll go Stein’s irony one better.  Because, after all, Cardona’s treatment at the hands of the Homeland Security is not that unusual, neither for undocumented Latin Americans, and especially not for suspected (Islamic) terrorists. That doesn’t make it right. But it does mean that Posada’s trial might serve as an object lesson in the way Homeland Security abuses its power. 

Or, perhaps we could extradite Posada to Cuba, which stands ready to try him for the terrorist act itself, rather than lying about it through a bad translator. 

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31 replies
  1. cinnamonape says:

    I’m sure that the defense will raise these issues…but as well, I suspect that there would not be a renewed effort to prosecute him unless there was substantial physical or documentary evidence independent of the INS interrogation that has been brought to light. Or if the INS failed to present all the material facts that relate to that interview to the Courts attention (i.e. they “threw it”).

    After all, why would one challenge the Judge’s dismissal unless there was substantitive error or new evidence? It would simply bring new embarassment in the Courts.

  2. Minnesotachuck says:

    EW: In the second sentence of the second last paragraph “Posada” instead of “Cardona”, as in

    Because, after all, Cardona’sPosada’s treatment at the hands . . .

    ?

  3. JimWhite says:

    OT: I just got a teabagger autocall on my landline: It asked if I was aware of all the teaparties taking place across the country. Caller ID came up as (282) 791-0052 in Spring, TX. Reverse lookup suggests it is unlisted and I don’t want to pay the 5 bucks to get a name for that line. Anybody else getting these calls?

    • BoxTurtle says:

      It’s a call blocked number or a fake number. Meaning it’s likely an autodialer. but it’s likely one of these fellows.

      Boxturtle (Caller ID can be easily deceived. You need ANI to be sure)

  4. BoxTurtle says:

    Oh wow. A terrorist prosecution that isn’t tainted by “evidence” obtained under torture. Just deceit, fraud and trickery.

    Boxturtle (Hey, they’re even letting this guy have a TRIAL!)

  5. hackworth1 says:

    Posada Cariles was untouchable by virtue of his friendship with the Bush family. In order for Cariles to get indicted, he had to have fallen out of grace with Poppy Bush.

    Evidently, his usefulness to the Bushies had been used up, probably long ago. Such an old man now, like Pinochet was.
    This is like the Catholic hierarchy investigating the libidinous Mexican Bishop after he’s already dead.

    Sure Cariles is a murderous thug. What purpose does it serve to indict old man Cariles now? Serves as a diversion from our real problems. Poppy kicks Cariles to the curb.

  6. emptywheel says:

    Actually, if anyone were to suggest that Toobz’ prosecution were thrown, one might also argue this one was.

    Not sure how I come down on any count. But there was gross incompetence in both cases under the Bush Administration, in cases he definitely didn’t want to see be succssful.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      if anyone were to suggest that Toobz’ prosecution were thrown

      While I would never suggest that, I do wonder what the lawyers would say if they were charged with something that included significant jail time.

      With what is now known, I don’t see anything with worse penalties than fines and disbarment. Obstruction would be nice, but proving they planned to throw the case as opposed to simply being flaming incompetent would be tough.

      Boxturtle (Strategic incompetence, perhaps?)

      • freepatriot says:

        While I would never suggest that …

        You got that right pal

        crazy suggestions are MY DEPARTMENT, thank you very much

        especially when we’re casting aspersions at lawyers …

        (wink)

        an I really DID ask that question about the toobz prosecution a few daze back (or, more technically, I asked why nobody was askin)

        it’s really the same thing

        and upon further review, our terrorists ain’t terrorists, they’re freedom fighters, or somethin like that

    • fatster says:

      Any insight into why Stevens gets to walk free but Holder refuses to review Siegelman? (I posted the link to Holder’s decision re Siegelman a couple of articles earlier.)

      Many thanks for this on Posada Carilles, EW. He has been around, involved in many deep dark things for decades.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        I think the Stevens prosecution is irrecoverably botched. It looks to me as though Seigelman is guilty as charged, it’s how he was targetted that’s the main question.

        Boxturtle (It’s for sure they wouldn’t have put that much effort into a GOP Gov)

        • fatster says:

          I hope you’re wrong about Siegelman’s guilt, but I’m surely taking your viewpoint seriously as I always do. “How he was targetted” is certainly a serious issue. Leura Canary still has her job, you know. And Alabama? Hoo boy, don’t get me goin’ on Alabama.

          • james says:

            Isn’t Alabama Hell’s foyer just before you enter the Hades that is Mississippi and descend the various circles till you hit Texas?

  7. JohnLopresti says:

    There may be a thaw underway with Raul. Even Tom Goldstein is engaging in the court part of resolving the tensions over some germane international criminals with intell links.

    • hackworth1 says:

      Yes. Political posturing. An olive branch to Raul and by extension all of Latin America.

      Bushies weren’t going to do it. They were in cahoots with him.

  8. Mary says:

    9 – Whichever way something like that would go, the downside of elevation of immorality and incompetence at DOJ is that it’s a poisen that is systemic – in the end you can’t just have it kill off the hand that offends. So in the end it doesn’t really matter on a case by case basis the particularized motivations, the big picture is of systemic failure.

  9. Mary says:

    14 – He doesn’t act much interested in the Wecht case either, does he? I guess as long as you want to make sure that no CIA torturers are investigated, much less prosecuted, he’s on board with the “so you have to prosecute the snot out of a medical examiner who calls a spade a spade” approach.

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/…..17157.html
    I only look old because I spent my last two birthdays in court,” Wecht said.

  10. Mary says:

    I really don’t see that – if you take away the rehearsed witness testimony that sounds made up and which is the subject of the failure to disclose the repeated rehearsal notes – Siegelman did anything illegal. Not an expert on the case, but I don’t see it “but for” the very rehearsed witness info. fwiw.

    18 – I’m not baffled and I wish I were surprised, but I’m not. The truth is that there are some really thorny issues and problems. It would be a hugely long comment to try to deal with them all, but they are big and complex and they each generate more and more problems. But what they aren’t weighing in the balance is the damage they do to the whole system and nation by just saying “oooo, hard, let’s skip that part”

    Back to my 13 – by way of this article at TPM’s Muckraker on Obama staying the course on GITMO cases as well, you get this story to add to the violations of FISA firewalls and Posada and Batarfi and Algerian and Arar and el-Masri and Padilla and Wecht and “the US does not torture or do things like torture” Clement Sup Ct argument and Kurnaz etc. abuses of court:

    Indeed, in February, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered one government lawyer removed from the case for failing to comply with repeated orders to make the evidence available. In a court document, the judge wrote that the lawyer’s “compliance was not optional,” and added that the court “has serious concern about counsel’s ability to read and comprehend its orders.”

    More here

    “Respondent’s counsel violated all three orders,” Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote in an unusually harshly worded court document seen Wednesday.

    Kollar-Kotelly was referring to an earlier decision that a government lawyer should be removed from the case for repeatedly missing deadlines.

    “He never moved for an extension or even supplied an explanation for his conduct,” the judge wrote.

    Systemic.

    I’ve never seen anything like the complete disregard of Main Justice and the USAs offices for the courts and for their own duties. Systemic. And Obama/Holder deciding they are born again Bush/Ashcroft won’t help.

    • skdadl says:

      A related story from GTMO: A week ago, the chief of the defense counsel for the military commissions fired Lt-Cmdr Wm Kuebler, Omar Khadr’s lawyer, and there has been a battle of wills going on between them ever since. On Tuesday, the judge presiding over Khadr’s trial ordered Kuebler reinstated, but he is still locked out of his office and computer because his boss, Col Peter Masciola, has asked the judge to reconsider the opinion.

      Essentially, Kuebler claims that Masciola is very much onside with the agenda of GTMO prosecutors to have Khadr’s trial continued but in the U.S., rather than to see him repatriated to Canada, and Kuebler’s long fight to get the kid out of the trial however he can is the (unadmitted) reason Masciola claims that Kuebler is a troublesome influence.

      Me, I’m inclined to believe Kuebler, who has done heroic work for Khadr, and it seems questionable to me that Masciola should be able to fire an attorney without the client’s knowledge or consent.

      If Khadr is tried in either the U.S. or Canada, of course, it will be in defiance of international law on child soldiers. Actually, it will subvert that law. Has no one told Obama?

    • fatster says:

      “Systemic.” Yessum, that sums it up and is, I think, why daily there is an increasing sense of hopelessness about it. Thank you so much for your response and comments. I’ll always be a learner, so am grateful for all the teachers here.

  11. Mary says:

    21 – he doesn’t much care I think. I hadn’t heard about the order to reinstate. Are the non-JAG Canadian lawyers saying much one way or the other on trying to keep Kuebler?

    I guess if the case survives transfer to the US, there’s always an off chance that Iglesias (isn’t he supposed to run the show?) would address the child soldier issue, but really all Obama cares about is making sure he looks tough. He’s play acting instead of being a leader.

    • skdadl says:

      One of the Canadian lawyers (Nathan Whitling) went down to visit Khadr this week, and he expressed two concerns (or that’s all that’s been reported) — that defense counsel of Omar’s choice had been dismissed without his knowledge, and that Omar might be distressed enough by upheavals like this to begin resisting all representation.

      Whitling didn’t say anything more direct about Kuebler personally, although they have certainly worked together a lot, and we’ve had a good chance to see Kuebler here. He sure doesn’t seem a disruptive influence any time I’ve watched him or read his testimony, although the Pentagon’s mmv.

  12. fatster says:

    “Obama releases Reagan records”:

    http://www.politico.com/news/s…..21121.html

    But . . . :

    “However, there were indications that the most contested presidential records from the Reagan era might not be among the roughly 250,000 pages cleared for release by Obama.”

  13. Sara says:

    Actually, this pretty much drains the swamp, because the National Security Archive people — or any other Reagan Scholar — can now challenge specific document withholdings, and not a whole class. By withholding whole groups of files, largely because of one or two documents, W’s people were able to make it difficult to go into court and request targeted documents. National Security Archive has been quite successful gaining release of wrongly withheld documents when they can individually target them.

    • Nell says:

      Hi Sara,

      OT here, but could you respond (here if comments are closed there) to my question at the bottom of a thread from last week? Thanks in advance.

    • fatster says:

      Thanks so much. It is a relief to know that We the People might be able to get to documents despite efforts to prevent just that. Go NARA!

    • Nell says:

      OT @Sara: The comments are closed at the thread where I asked this question of you, so if you wouldn’t mind responding here it would be appreciated.

      Sara: John Kerry has just hired as his Chief Investigator for the Foreign Relations Committee Jack Blum.

      Thanks for this news, Sara; that is encouraging. How did you learn of it?

      The lack of readily available information on staff of congressional committees and members’ offices is IMO a major mechanism for shutting out grassroots lobbying and magnifying the power of insiders.

      For instance, had someone not reported the news that Kerry (or someone on the Foreign Relations committee) hired CIA torturer John Kirakou for the committee, there’d be no way of telling from the committee’s website or news releases.

      Do you have any tips on how to find out the names of House or Senate committee staff?

  14. Oval12345678akaJamesKSayre says:

    American terrorists? American imperial land-pirates?

    Somali pirates? Pretty small potatoes compared to the US imperial land-pirates, who are currently aiming their guns at thirty million Iraqis, demanding that that let US oil companies be allowed to steal their oil. We are also pointing our guns at some sixty million Afgnanis, demanding that they allow US oil companies to build pipelines across their country. And if they have the gall to resist, we bomb them, wound them, maim them, imprison them, blindfold them, torture them and kill them. We are the US Imperial Land-pirates of the 21st Century.

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