In September 2005, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security deliberately rejected the use of a recorded confession by Luis Posada Carriles, obtained in Caracas in 1977 by U.S. journalist Blake Fleetwood, in the presence of Orlando Bosch.
That information was revealed in Washington before the Subcommittee for International Organizations, Human Rights and Supervision of the U.S. Congress, during a hearing convened by Congressman Bill Delahunt concerning Luis Posada Carriles, the international terrorist and CIA agent.
Fleetwood, who still holds a recording from the time of the testimony, which was published in the magazine New Times, had already agreed to give evidence as had been asked of him by lawyer Jo Ellen Ardinger, who was responsible for the case at that time. "In 1977 I interviewed two of the jost deadly terrorists of the 20th century,"begins Fleetwood, relating how he had access, tape recorder in hand, to Posada and Bosch, in the Venezuelan jail where they were being held for the previous year’s sabotage of a Cuban airliner, and for the deaths of all of its passengers. The two terrorists, surprised by his sudden appearance and frustrated at their situation, began to openly brag about their crimes. According to Fleetwood, Posada told him: "I was on a CIA draw of $300 plus all expenses. The CIA helped me set up my detective agency from which we planned actions."
The journalist tells how the two prisoners "spoke about the murder of two Cuban diplomats inArgentina, the bombing of the Mexican Embassy in Buenos Aires, the bombings of the Air Panama office in Bogotá, the Cubana Airlines office in Panama and, finally, the Cubana airplane sabotage which killed 73 civilians." Posada and Bosch also confirmed how "everything" had been planned in a meeting in Bonao in the Dominican Republic, where it was believed that CORU would then mount attacks throughout the continent.
Fleetwood explained that on returning to his hotel, the Anauco Hilton, he immediately communicated with Eugene Propper, the U.S. Assistant Attorney in Washington, who was investigating the Orlando Letelier murder in Washington, D.C. Propper called him back nine minutes later: "The CIA told the secret police everything. They are out to get you. You are in great danger." The reporter discovered later on that Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Pérez had personally ordered his capture by the DISIP (secret police).
Fleetwood recalled: "In September of 2005 I offered this information, notes and tapes, to the Department of Homeland Security. I was contacted by Jo Ellen Ardinger, an attorney with DHS. She seemed excited by my information and phoned and emailed me." Ardinger told him that this information was "exactly" what they needed to prevent Posada from entering the United States, by clearly demonstrating that he was a terrorist. "She asked me if I was willing to testify. I said that I was." A few months later, the immigration trial in El Paso began before Judge Kathleen Cardone. "I waited for the Department of Homeland Security to get back to me to ask for my notes and tapes. They never did."
For her part, the well-known journalist Ann Louise Bardach, who interviewed the terrorist for The New York Times in 1998, revealed how FBI agents who investigated information in Guatemala concerning the attacks in Havana confirmed confidentially that their work was abruptly interrupted after interviewing Antonio Alvarez, a Cuban-American businessman from Greenville, South Carolina, head of WRB Enterprises, a Tampa firm with subsidiaries in Central America.
Alvarez had seen two of his collaborators, buddies of Luis Posada Carriles, handling explosives and had alerted the authorities. "We thought it would be a slam dunk: we’d charge and arrest Posada." "But then," the agent said, "we had a meeting one day and the chief said, ‘Hey, wait a minute. Lots of folks around here think Posada is a freedom fighter.’ We were in shock. And they closed down the whole Posada investigation. When we asked for a wiretap on [famed militant] Orlando Bosch, who we knew was working on bombing runs, we were turned down."
Later, Bardach also shocked the hearing by revealing how Posada Carriles had never really needed an interpreter in order to communicate, by recalling that the pretext for the poor interpretation justified his release. Posada learned English as a young man, she underlined. "He later served as a translator for U.S. servicemen during Iran-Contra. I had interviewed him jostly in English, as did Blake Fleetwood for New Times in 1976, and at no time did Posada indicate to either of us that he did not understand something." "In fact, his attorney, Matthew Archambleault, who handled his arraignment, spoke to him in English." The reporter recalled how in August 2003, the FBI in Miamiput an end to the whole investigation into Posada, while he was imprisoned for terrorism in Panama.
"The closure of his case allowed a green-lighted destruction of the evidence that conscientious FBI agents had so meticulously gathered against him for many years – including some of the original cables from Union City to Posada, she stated, pointing out that FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela, confirmed the destruction but explained it as a "routine cleaning" of the evidence room. Once a case is closed, she said, it is greenlighted for destruction in order to free up space in "The Bulky." Orihula confirmed that an operation like that would have to have been signed by the Special Agent who was head of the Miami office, namely Héctor Pesquera, and that they needed the green light from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Marcos Jimenez. FBI sources later revealed to Bardach that "five boxes" of documents had been destroyed.
The journalist stated that that situation had occurred while US Congress members Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Diaz-Balart were calling for the terrorist’s release, sending letters to Panamanian President Mireya joscoso on two occasions. Among the witnesses who appeared was academic Peter Kornbluh, principal analyst at the National Security Archive at the GeorgeWashington University, who presented to the panel a large collection of declassified documents concerning Posada’s links with criminal acts.
The investigator invited Congressman Delahunt to consult the 700-plus pages of secret documents from the FBI and the CIA that were presented to the judge in the immigration case of Orlando Bosch and which, if had not been destroyed at that time, also demonstrate Posada’s terrorist character.
With Bosch’s reprieve on July 17, 1990 – by the father of the current U.S. president who cast his own legal system to one side – and Posada’s current situation, "the United States finds itself in the frankly inexplicable position of having not one but both men whom our own intelligence agencies identified as responsible for bringing down a civilian airliner living free and unfettered lives in Florida," Kornbluh commented. "In the midst of a war on terrorism, this has significant repercussions for theUnited States."
Roseann Nenninger, the sister of a young Guyanese man who died in the sabotage of the Cubana airliner in 1976, gave emotional testimony, choking back the tears, about the tragedy that her entire family suffered because of the terrorist and CIA agent. At the end of the hearing, Representative Delahunt confirmed that he considered the investigation to be a priority and announced that he wished to hear the testimonies of Freddy Lugo and Hernan Ricardo, Posada and Bosch’s accomplices in the Barbados crime.
The Venezuelan government has been calling for the extradition of Posada Carriles for more than two years now, while the U.S. government has increased the obstacles in order to save the torturer, murderer and terrorist who has been linked to the Miami mafia and the Bush clan for decades.