by Tom Lacey; this article was originally published in Partisan issue no. 21, printed September 2005.

On August 29, federal immigration judge William Abbott ruled that unless Luis Posada Carriles is granted political asylum in the U.S., he should be deported to Venezuela, where he is charged in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner, rather than returned to Cuba. As The Partisan went to press, the asylum application hearing had not been concluded.

Who is Luis Posada Carriles? He is a Cuban-born, CIA-trained explosives expert, who according to declassified reports of the State Department, the CIA and the FBI has been involved in planning and executing numerous bombings and terrorist attacks throughout the western hemisphere over the last 45 years. In a 1998 New York Times interview, Posada stated, "The CIA taught us everything. They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb, trained us in acts of sabotage."

Airliner bombing

Posada employed his CIA training in planning and carrying out the October 6, 1976 bombing of a civilian airliner, Cubana Flight 455, killing all 73 passengers on board. The private research group, National Security Archives has published a declassified State Department Intelligence memo in which an unnamed source quotes Posada as saying, "we're going to hit a Cuban airliner." Posada is now being detained in El Paso Texas on a minor illegal entry charge being brought against him by the Department of Homeland Security (DPH.)

Posada's whole career as a professional terrorist has been focused on planning and carrying out attacks against the Cuban Revolution, including an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000, and the bombing of a tourist hotel in Havana in 1997 where an Italian tourist was killed.

At the time of the airliner bombing, Posada was living in Venezuela. He and another Cuban exile named Orlando Bosch (who is at large in Florida today) built the bomb and hired two Venezuelan agents to get on the Cuban airliner and plant the bomb in the restroom of the plane. Upon questioning, one of the two bombers confessed that he planted the bomb at the direction of Posada, who had paid him for his role.

The Contra War

In 1985, while being held for trial in a Venezuelan prison for his role in the Flight 455 bombing, Posada escaped. He reappeared, in Nicaragua, back on the CIA payroll, and under the command of Col. Oliver North, playing a major role in supplying the "Contras" -- right-wing Nicaraguan terrorists being illegally supported by the Reagan administration.

Since then Posada has resurfaced several times, usually in Miami. The Venezuela government has had a standing request to the US Government for Posada's extradition under the 83 year old extradition treaty which both countries have always honored -- until now.

In spite of the fact that George W. Bush took an oath of office in January of this year to honor the laws, Constitution and treaty obligations of the U.S. government, numerous newspapers and magazines have reported talks with "unnamed administration officials" who have been quoted as saying that the US has decided that Posada will not be deported or extradited to Venezuela because of a policy not to do so to a country which "acts on behalf of Cuba." It is rumored that Posada will, instead, be extradited to the more compliant, U.S.-friendly government of El Salvador to be tried on relatively minor charges.

The Lodi defendants

While dragging its feet in the Posada case, the Federal Government is aggressively pursuing a case against members of the Muslim community in Lodi, California for allegedly attending a "terrorist training camp" in Pakistan. A father and son (both US citizens) were arrested on June 5th upon the son's return to this country from a trip to Pakistan.

In a surprise move on June 13, the immigration judge in the Posada case, Judge William Lee Abbott, has taken the unusual step of asking attorneys for both Posada and the government to be prepared to argue whether the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, which Posada has admitted preparing for and participating in, was an act of terrorism.

Will the Federal government prosecute and convict the Lodi Muslims for participation in "terrorism training" while a professional terrorist with a murderous career of some 45 years is sent to a comfortable retirement in El Salvador? Partisans of justice, not to mention peace and freedom, will be watching.

Tom Lacey is North State Chair of the Peace and Freedom Party.

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