Two years ago, a Cuban exile and former CIA operative named Luis Posada Carriles entered the U.S. and was promptly arrested for illegal entry.
It was not the welcome he deserved. In 1961, Posada had volunteered for the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Later, he joined the U.S. army, emerging as a 2nd Lieutenant. After retiring from the Army, he worked for the CIA, putting out Soviet-started fires throughout Latin America. Among other projects, Posada helped the Reagan administration crush communism in Nicaragua by arming and training Nicaraguan Contras. Carriles' opposition to communism earned him the hatred of Fidel Castro, and in February of 1990, a Castro-appointed death-squad ambushed Posada in Guatemala, riddling him with bullets and leaving him permanently crippled.
Let’s cut Posada some slack for his arrest upon entering the U.S. Seventy seven years old at the time, he had been out of the country for a while and didn’t realize that to beat an illegal immigration rap one has to march on May Day, bashing the U.S amidst a sea of foreign flags, while waving a Che Guevara banner. “Being America’s enemy might be dangerous. But being America's friend is fatal,” Henry Kissinger famously said. Luis Posada-Carriles seemed a shining testimonial to Kissinger’s quip.
But then, on May 9, Federal Judge Kathleen Cardone threw out the case against him. “Fraud, deceit and trickery" where among the milder terms she used to describe the Justice Department’s railroading of Posada, a 79-year-old crippled man who had already been jailed for eight years in Venezuela by a Castro-influenced regime and, now, for two more years by the nation he served in uniform.
Between his entry into the U.S. two years ago and his prompt arrest, Fidel Castro ordered that the media denounce Carriles -- or so one might think by reading the American press, where he is regularly condemned as a vicious “terrorist.” "Luis Posada Carriles is a CIA-trained terrorist who masterminded the bombing of a Cuban Airliner in 1976 that killed 73 innocent passengers when it crashed after lifting from the island of Barbados,” goes the standard media line. Even the normally reasonable Dick Morris got sucked into the media frenzy, writing that “Posada-Carriles richly deserves to face a Castro firing squad."
You will search these media stories in vain, however, for any mention that the accusations against Carriles regarding the plane bombing have already had their day in court -- and that an independent judiciary has fully exonerated Carriles of the crime. More important still, this court ruling found Posada innocent of any material or even intellectual culpability for the crime.
The evidence examined by Venezuelan judge José Moros González in 1980 to declare Posada totally innocent was so overwhelming, authoritative and conclusive that it's small wonder Castro’s propaganda apparatus has been so frantic to squash it and to lead reporters off its trail. Among this evidence was a 200-page report from the Forensic Explosives Laboratory of Britain's Royal Armament Research & Development Establishment, (ARDE) considered among the most authoritative for investigations of this kind. (This agency helped crack the July 2005 London subway bombings, for instance.)
The investigation into the Cubana Airline's explosion was commissioned and the report issued, not by right wing Cuban-American crackpots, but by the government of Barbados, the nation from where the plane had departed shortly before the explosion. The investigators and authorities from Barbados retrieved bodies, baggage and portions of the plane found at the crash site. The investigation took the British agency two months and was headed by the agency's top expert, Eric Newton, a 33-year veteran of such investigations.
The findings from the world's top investigative agency methodically demolished every item of the Castroite version of the crime--and, hence, discredited the slanders against Carriles. For instance, one version of the events held that, at Carriles' instigation, an explosive device was planted in the rear bathroom of the plane by a Venezuelan named Hernan Ricardo, who boarded the plane on its previous stop in Trinidad and de-planed in Barbados. By contrast, Carriles’ defense lawyers argued that the explosive device was planted in the baggage compartment of the plane at the instigation of a Castro double-agent named Ricardo Morales Navarette, during a stop in Guyana. The ARDE findings support the defense, determining that the explosion came from the baggage compartment of the plane. "It would have been impossible for an explosion in the plane's bathroom to cause the type of damage we found,“ concluded the ARDE report. "The explosion definitely came from the baggage compartment."
Questions about what type of device was used in the explosion led to further vindication for Carriles. According to one version, Carriles used a type of explosive device known as C-4. Defense lawyers maintained that, in fact, commercial dynamite formed the basis of the explosive device. Once again, the defense was right. The ARDE report found "no traces of any chemical found in C-4 explosives" and instead found traces of nitroglycerine, a component of commercial dynamite. It is worth noting that ARDE investigators offered to raise the entire plane from the sea’s bottom -- and were rebuffed by none other than Fidel Castro, who likely suspected that this would destroy his case against Carriles.
Finally, there is already a confession to the plane bombing of which Carriles is accused. It comes in the form of deposition in Dade County’s 11th Judicial court dated April, 5 1982—and it’s from a Castro double-agent named Ricardo Morales Navarette. Such details, of course, only serve to arouse suspicion about Luis Posada Carriles’ guilt and cast doubt on his reputation as a “terrorist.” No wonder you won’t find them mentioned by the media.