Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Castro holds a rally; Posada arrested

If we could hold a rally attended by hundreds of thousands to end the Iraq War, it might indeed be the beginning of the end. Oh, Bush would take the day off and go to Camp David, Cheney would go hunting and Rumsfeld would find some paperwork to catch up on. Press reports would say that they were barely aware, if at all, of what was going on in the streets of Washington. But secretly, really, they would be peaking out from behind the curtains.

Well, that may have to wait until the draft is reinstituted. I hope sooner, but it may not be so. The true American Way is apathy.

In Cuba on the other hand they had no problem drawing the crowds. According to Anita Snow of the AP,

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans answered Fidel Castro's call to file past the American mission early Tuesday in a "March against Terrorism," demanding that the United States arrest a Cuban exile sought in a deadly airliner bombing three decades ago.

"Down with terrorism!" the 78-year-old Castro shouted in brief comments before leading the march outside the U.S. Interests Section. "Down with nazi doctrines and methods! Down with the lies!"

Wearing his traditional olive green military uniform and cap, the Cuban president walked six or seven blocks without assistance, despite an accidental fall in October that shattered his left kneecap.

Ah, the hated dictator! Can you imagine George Bush getting that close to his people?

Protesters were calling for the arrest of Castro's longtime foe, Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban exile who recently traveled to the United States, where he is seeking political asylum. Venezuela has requested the extradition of Posada in the 1976 airliner bombing that killed 73 people.

Posada denies involvement in the bombing.

Well, it's not just that.

Cuban officials — and newly released U.S. archives — also link Posada to other violent actions, some of them military, some aimed at civilians. The declassified U.S. documents indicate he was on the CIA's payroll until a few months before the 1976 bombing.

Hard to believe, isn't it? But could the CIA still be active?

During a Monday night TV appearance, Castro complained that Posada while remains free, the United States continues to fund groups dedicated to subverting his government.

"This is the empire's answer, money to foment destabilization," he said, adding, "money for terrorist acts, money for subversion."

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to leave the border open to terrorists and claims ignorance—

U.S. officials have said they are not actively seeking Posada because there are no American warrants for his arrest, and expressed doubts as recently as last week that Posada was even in the United States.

This is all very strange because Posada was just recently interviewed at his condo by reporters from the Miami Herald

In his first media interview since arriving in the United States earlier this year, Posada again denied involved in the airliner explosion in a story published Tuesday by the Miami Herald.

"They accused me of being the intellectual author of fabricating a weapon of war and of treason to the homeland. No one saw me make a bomb," Posada said Wednesday in a two-hour interview at a luxury condominium in Miami. "Sincerely, I didn't know anything about it."

But he refused to confirm or deny playing a role in a series of 1997 bombings targeting Cuban tourist sites, including one that killed a young Italian tourist. "Let's leave it to history," he told the Herald.

Posada applied for political asylum after his March arrival in Miami following an illegal trip through Central America.

Breaking news

Sometimes it just doesn't pay to talk to the press. Oscar Corral and Alfonso Chardy of the Miami Herald report

Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles was arrested by Homeland Security agents at a house in Southwest Miami-Dade County Tuesday afternoon as he prepared to leave the country, after withdrawing his asylum application to avoid an international incident between the United States and Cuba, the Herald has learned.

Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement picked up Posada as he was leaving the house where he had been staying, said his South Florida friend and benefactor, Santiago Alvarez, who was distraught.

Alvarez said the Homeland Security agents who took Posada into custody cited an interview with the exile militant published Tuesday in the Herald as the main reason for the arrest.

A Homeland Security source confirmed Posada's detention.

Posada boarded a government helicopter Tuesday afternoon, escorted by armed guards. The Blackhawk helicopter, belonging to Customs and Border protection, flew off to an undisclosed location.

This doesn't read like the usual account of a person arrested for terrorism and may not be as it appears—

The arrest also came on the day the U.S. government summoned Posada to an asylum interview in downtown Miami. But instead of appearing at the interview, Posada gave a news conference at a warehouse near Hialeah where he said he was having second thoughts about going forward with his asylum application.

Hours later, Posada's Coral Gables immigration attorney said he formally withdrew the application and that his client was thinking about leaving the country.

Posada's main South Florida benefactor, Alvarez, then suggested that Posada's departure was imminent and that he would leave just as secretly as he slipped into the country in March.

The extraordinary turn of events unfolded Tuesday, just hours after Posada finished reading a lengthy statement and answering questions during his second encounter with the media since arriving in Miami and applying for asylum -- claiming he was being persecuted by Cuban agents bent on abducting or assassinating him. His first interview was with the Herald which published it Tuesday.

The possibility Posada might leave the country would please some U.S. government officials who feared the militant's presence in the United States was an international embarrasment....

One Homeland Security official, who spoke on the condition of anonimity [sic], said recently that the Bush administration was considering the option of denying Posada asylum but offering him refuge in a third country.

Something tells me that Mr. Posada, with his CIA background, will not be suffering from overly harsh prison conditions.

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