The Strange Case of Luis Posada Carriles
- In October, 1976, Posada masterminded the bombing of an Air Cubana flight from
to Barbados , killing all 73 people aboard. A few days before the bombing, a reliable CIA source heard Posada say, “[w]e are going to hit a Cuban airplane.” Cuba
- In 1998, Posada proudly told a New York Times reporter that he was responsible for a string of hotel bombings in
that killed an Italian businessman and wounded 11. “It is sad someone is dead,” he admitted. “But we can’t stop.” Havana
- In 2000, Posada was convicted in
of conspiring to assassinate Fidel Castro (he had 34 pounds of C-4 in his possession when he was arrested). He was pardoned in 2004 by the outgoing Panamanian president, Mireya Moscoso. Panama
At first, the State Department questioned whether Posada was actually in the country – adding that the charges against him “may be a completely manufactured issue.” The Department of Homeland Security only took Posada into custody in Miami after he held a series of public press conferences and a number of declassified CIA documents were released about his violent past (and his cozy relationship with the CIA), creating headlines around the world.
It’s not surprising, of course, that the
Still, Posada’s case is thick with irony – not least the glaring disparity between Bush’s tough talk about harboring terrorists and his administration’s kid-gloves treatment of Posada. Even more ironic, though, is the legal authority the immigration judge cited in defense of his refusal to extradite Posada to
The CIA has regularly transferred detainees to countries in theUPDATE: A tip-of-the-hat is due to Michael Froomkin, who mentioned the case on his Discourse.net blog last month.
Middle East, including and Egypt , known to practice torture routinely. There are reportedly 100 to 150 cases of such “extraordinary renditions.” In one case, Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian in transit in Syria , was detained by New York authorities and sent to U.S. . He was released without charge from Syrian custody ten months later and has described repeated torture, often with cables and electrical cords. In another case, a Syria government-leased airplane transported two Egyptian suspects who were blindfolded, hooded, drugged, and diapered by hooded operatives, from U.S. to Sweden . There the two men were held incommunicado for five weeks and have given detailed accounts of the torture they suffered (e.g. electric shocks), including in Egypt ’s notorious Tora prison. In a third case, Mamdouh Habib, an Egyptian-born Australian in American custody, was transported from Cairo to Pakistan to Afghanistan to Egypt . Now back home in Guantánamo Bay , Habib alleges that he was tortured during his six months in Australia with beatings and electric shocks, and hung from the walls by hooks. Egypt