Jean Guy Allard / Granma – 2009-01-30 21:43:01
HAVANA (January 29, 2009) — The New Jersey grand jury that has been in session for three years, whose mandate is to examine evidence of international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles’ participation in the terror campaign unleashed in Havana in 1997, has now cost US taxpayers “millions of dollars,” without having reached any conclusion.
That was confirmed by investigative journalist Ann Louise Bardach in an analysis of Cuban-US relations published by The Washington Post.
Bardach is a US specialist who revealed in an article published on the website slate.com last October, how a lawyer of Posada’s accomplices confided to her that the investigation had been halted in order not to damage the ticket of McCain, the Diaz-Balart brothers and (Ileana) Ros-Lehtinen.
From confidences received from Miami FBI investigators, the reporter informed the public that the head of this federal office destroyed Luis Posada’s dossier in 2003, when the justice system in Panama, where he was found guilty of terrorism, was demanding his extradition.
According to Posada’s attorney, his dossier has been handled “at the very highest level” since his illegal entry into US territory aboard the shrimping boat Santrina, property of terrorist and arms trafficker Santiago Alvarez Fernández Magriñá, in March of 2005.
Posada entered the United States using a Guatemalan passport with his photo and the name of Manuel Enrique Castillo López, which he had supposedly obtained from the man the Miami mafia press designated his “benefactor.”
The criminal case against Posada was rejected on May 8, 2007 by Federal District Judge Kathleen Cardone, who freed him after deeming that an interpreter made an incorrect interpretation in English of the killer’s statements in Spanish, during an interview with an immigration official. It later emerged that Posada can speak English and that the use of the interpreter was a sharp move by his mafia lawyers.
The slowness of the New Jersey grand jury and the procedures invoked by the Texas Federal District Attorney’s Office in the case have been interpreted by many observers as delaying maneuvers designed to provide a false justification for the government not to extradite the former CIA agent to Venezuela, which has been demanding it since 2005.
In El Paso, Posada’s dossier was the responsibility of district attorney Michael Mullaney, closely advised by the federal district attorneys John F. De Pue, John W. Van Lonkhuyzen and Paul Ahern, special envoys from the anti-terrorist section of the Department of Justice.
Over the course of the last two years, the interminable grand jury investigation in Newark, New Jersey, had the participation of two former directors of the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF), Abel Hernández, a resident of Cliffside Park, and Oscar Rojas, who was the accountant of Arnaldo Monzón, a deceased millionaire from Fort Lee. A further three Cuban Americans linked to the CANF have been summoned to appear in court in relation to the case, described by journalist Peter J. Sampson of the local newspaper The Record, as “a murky world of terrorists and alleged killers.”
The reporter specified: “Despite portraying Posada as an admitted mastermind of terror plots and attacks, the government hasn’t formally declared him a terrorist or charged him with a crime. Such a move could prove embarrassing, observers say, because of Posada’s long CIA association.”
In 1997, the attacks ordered by Posada on hotels, restaurants, and a night club in Havana caused the death of Italian tourist Fabio di Celmo, and injured 11 other people, as well as provoking significant material damage.
It is unknown what instructions new US Attorney General Eric Holder might give when he inherits what has been described as the “hot potato.”
Holder, a 57 year-old African-American lawyer, is known for his battles against legal corruption.
The new attorney general will also have the delicate task of reviewing the dossier of the five Cuban anti-terrorists accused of “espionage” and sentenced to scandalous prison terms, merely for having infiltrated Cuban-American terrorist networks protected by the FBI in Miami.
For 10 years, the Five, currently incarcerated in five different US prisons, have been denied regular family visits (and in two cases any visits from their wives) and are exposed to serious risks in detention centers known for their high levels of violence.
This maltreatment, preceded by 17 months of detention in punishment cells in subhuman conditions, has been formally condemned by a panel of UN jurists that has unsuccessfully called for their release.
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