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by Tom Crumpacker

"For now we see as through a glass, darkly."
--St. Paul, I Corinthians 13:12

Luis Posada Carriles as he looks today. Posada was charged in Venezuela in the 1976 Cuban jetliner bombing that killed 73 people. By delaying extradition it looks as if the Bush Administration is desperate to keep right-wing secrets.
Luis Posada's immigration case is now set for hearing before a Homeland Security judge in Texas on Aug. 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 1922 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 scores of innocent people), he still should be extradited now to Venezuela because his migration status has nothing to do with extradition for trial for his alleged crime, murdering 73 innocent Cubana flight 455 passengers in 1976.

Why not just send Posada to the extradition judge and be done with it? What's the reason for keeping him here?

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, FBI report 11/2/76 ), in custody after his Oct. 6, 1976 bombing of the Cubana civilian airliner, flight 455, Posada threatened through his co-conspirator Morales Navarette that if forced to talk, the Venezuelan government "would go down the tube" and there would be "another Watergate."

Luis Posada Carriles as he looked in 1976

George Bush Senior, 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. In 1976 CIA 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 Senior has said he was not with the CIA before being appointed director by President Ford in early 1976. Joseph McBride in an article in The Nation of July 16, 1988 wrote: "A source with close connections to the intelligence community confirmed that Bush started working for the CIA in 1960 or 1961, using his oil business for clandestine activities." There's a memo from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to the State Department dated Nov. 28, 1963 concerning information developed by the Miami FBI office about groups in Miami seeking to blame the JFK murder on the Cuban government. It says the information was orally furnished on Nov. 23 to "George Bush of the CIA." Bush Senior 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 Senior in 1990 against the strong objection of his own Justice Department, which had implicated him 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 Senior personal friend.

It's apparent that Posada could supply many of the missing pieces of the puzzles of the last 45 years.

The official versions of Watergate and JFK’s 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 book on Watergate, Staff Chief H. R. Haldeman wrote that when Nixon was caught on tape talking 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 Committee" sign. But why were there no other members of the New Orleans committee? Why did Oswald give the 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 anti-Castro Cubans often seen there? 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 an oligarchy where the important decisions are made in secret by a power elite, where the mainstream media is used to manipulate rather than inform, it's often difficult for the public to distinguish actual from virtual reality.

In the fall of 1963, JFK was not relying much on CIA intelligence or opinions regarding Cuba. Negotiations (supposedly secret) 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.

A key part of Allen Dulles's Bay of Pigs plan was "Operation 40." They were 40 CIA agents, mostly gunmen, 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 the 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 Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Watergate burglary, the bombing of Cubana flight 455, the Iran-Contra war, and Operation Condor which exterminated many South American progressives. 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 members of the 40.

In an oligarchy where the important decisions are made in secret by a power elite, where the mainstream 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 going public with his knowledge of CIA operations as a threat or extortion chip, perhaps to affect future US policy toward Cuba. This would explain why his legally required extradition is being delayed.

Tom Crumpacker, a retired lawyer and member of the Miami Coalition to End US Embargo of Cuba, writes from Austin, Texas. He may be reached at

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This story was published on July 22, 2005.

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