Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Ultimate Disregard for the Rule of Law, and for the pretense of Justice: Lackey Judge drops all charge against Lifelong Terroris Posada Carriles

US judge drops charges against anti-Castro militant

MIAMI (AFP) - A US federal judge in Texas freed anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles after dropping immigration charges against the ex-CIA contractor whom Cuba and Venezuela call a terrorist.

"I am free," exclaimed Posada Carriles, 79, on Miami's Radio Mambi, shortly after the judge in El Paso dropped all seven charges linked to his sneaking into the United States and lying to immigration authorities.

"Thank God, you, all of my brothers, the people in Cuba .. for this victory," said Posada Carriles, who is accused by Cuba and Venezuela of masterminding a 1976 plane bombing that killed 73 people.

"This is a total victory, it is a victory for the Cuban-American people, for the Cuban people," his lawyer, Arturo Hernández said.

In her 38-page order, Judge Kathleen Cardone said the US government improperly obtained the seven-count criminal indictment.

She said authorities tricked Posada Carriles into giving evidence during a two-day naturalization interview, even though he was not eligible for citizenship because of a previous conviction in Panama.

"This court finds that the government engaged in fraud, deceit, and trickery when it misrepresented to defendant that the purpose of asking him such extensive questions about his means of entry into the United States, his conduct in Panama and Venezuela, and his use of various aliases and passports was merely to 'clarify the record'," Cardone wrote.

Posada Carriles was jailed in Venezuela in 1976 for allegedly masterminding the downing of a Cuban jet off Barbados.

He escaped in 1985, was sentenced to eight years in jail in Panama for a 2000 bomb plot to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro, and was pardoned four years later.

US authorities are investigating whether Posada Carriles was involved in a 1997 Havana hotel bombing that killed an Italian tourist, the Miami Herald reported last week.

Posada Carriles has not been indicted in the United States for any of the attacks, though a grand jury in New Jersey is reportedly pursuing the 1997 bombing.

The Cuban-born Venezuelan national was detained by US immigration officials in May 2005 after allegedly entering the United States illegally through Mexico.

"The realm of this case is not, as some have suggested, terrorism. It is immigration fraud," Cardone said.

"Terrorism, and the determination of whether or not to classify an individual as a terrorist, lies within the sound discretion of the executive branch. It does not lie with this court," the judge said.

Authorities in Havana and Caracas, and relatives of victims of the 1976 bombing, insist Posada Carriles should be tried as a dangerous terrorist responsible for the deaths of dozens of people.

Castro claimed on Monday an earlier decision to free Posada Carriles on bond pending what was the be the May 11 start of the trial had encouraged two army deserters to attempt to hijack a plane in Havana last week, with deadly consequences for two other soldiers.

The failed hijacking was "a result of the freeing of a terrorist monster," Castro wrote in Cuba's state-run Granma daily.

Cuba and Venezuela have both demanded Posada Carriles's extradition, but US authorities refused, saying he might be tortured, and failed to find takers when they suggested sending him to a third country.

Declassified US documents show that Posada Carriles worked for the CIA from 1965 to June 1976. He also reportedly helped the US government ferry supplies to the Contra rebels who waged a bloody campaign to topple the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

Original article posted here.

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