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Posada Carriles and the Kennedy assassination

Published Jun 7, 2005 9:54 PM

The case of Luis Posada Carriles, a known terrorist whom U.S. authorities have refused to extradite to Venezuela, reaches deep into the shadowy world of CIA covert action, especially against the Cuban Revolution.

There is also mounting evidence that Posada Carriles was connected to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and was in Dallas's Dealey Plaza the day the fatal shots were fired.

Posada Carriles spent nine years in prison in Venezuela for having masterminded the mid-air bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner in 1976, killing all 73 people aboard. The CIA is known to have bribed Venezuelan prison guards to arrange his escape in 1985. That is the year that George H.W. Bush became head of the CIA. One guard, now retired, recently described these CIA efforts on Venezuelan television.

Posada Carriles was also arrested and convicted in Panama in 2000 for entering the country with the intent of killing Cuban President Fidel Castro, who was attending an Ibero-American summit meeting there. But President Mireya Moscoso, in one of her last acts in office, pardoned Posada Carriles and three other convicted terrorists after they had spent just one year in jail.

Moscoso is part of the old political establishment that was returned to power in Panama after the U.S., under the same George H.W. Bush, by then the president, invaded the country in 1989. She spent many years in Miami, where she was close to leaders of the Cuban exile community who have worked with the CIA ever since the Cuban Revolution.

Moscoso's popularity in office plummeted to the lowest of any Panamanian president, and she now faces corruption charges. She gave all 72 Panamanian legislators expensive Cartier watches and jewelry right before a vote on the government's proposed budget. Her secretary admitted to having a freezer stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash. However, this friend of the Miami exile gang says Fidel Castro is behind the corruption charges. (Dictionary of Political Figures)

Even Congress saw a conspiracy

The nexus of Cuban counter-revolutionary exiles, the CIA and organized crime figures in the Kennedy assassination has long been known. Even though the official U.S. government position remains that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin, the majority of people here and around the world don't buy it. And the one investigation of the assassination by Congress--by the House Select Committee on Assassinations--found in its final report that "President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy."

Despite all the evidence showing the involvement of right-wingers, however, especially those who held Kennedy responsible for the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the corporate media continue to deride "conspiracy theorists." They cite the Warren Commission as their authority--a commission that included former CIA Director Allen Dulles, the architect of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.

Many scholars have investigated the role of Operation 40 in the Kennedy assassination. Operation 40 was a special group inside the CIA set up with the authorization of the National Security Council right before the Bay of Pigs. Historian Arthur Schlesinger referred to it in a June 1961 memo to Richard Goodwin: "The ostensible purpose of Operation 40 was to administer liberated territories in Cuba. But the CIA agent in charge, a man known as Felix, trained the members of the group in methods of third degree interrogation, torture and general terrorism."

That man in charge was Felix Rodriguez, who in 1967 led the CIA squad that captured and then murdered Che Guevara in Bolivia. He took Che's Rolex watch and proudly displayed it to reporters afterwards. His Miami home is decorated with photos of himself and George H.W. Bush together.

Cuban view of Posada Carriles

Gen. Fabian Escalante, the former head of Cuban counter-intelligence, is author of "The Secret War: CIA Covert Operations Against Cuba, 1959-62," and "The Plot," both published by Ocean Press. In May of this year, he told interviewer Jean-Guy Allard about Posada Carriles's role in Operation 40 and the Kennedy assassination.

"Who in 1963 had the resources to assassinate Kennedy? Who had the means and who had the motives to kill the U.S. president?” asked Escalante. "CIA agents from Operation 40 who were rabidly anti-Kennedy. And among them were Orlando Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles, Antonio Veciana and Felix Rodriguez Mendigutia."

The testimony of Chauncey Holt, a self-confessed CIA operative and mob associate, backs this up. In a videotaped interview made shortly before he died, Holt identified Posada Carriles as one of the Cuban exiles who was in Dealey Plaza at the time of the Kennedy assassination.

In his interview with Allard, Escalante detailed the many CIA operations in Latin America that involved Cubans from this same group, originally trained by the CIA for the Bay of Pigs invasion. These included the coup against President Salvador Allende's government in Chile and the subsequent murder in Washington of former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier, as well as the Contra war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

Bush, Goss and Operation 40

In Escalante's view, it was the members of Operation 40 who had the training and the sharpshooting ability necessary to carry out the assassination of Kennedy. The Cuban counter-intelligence chief identified the North Americans in the group as David Morales, David Phillips, E. Howard Hunt, William Harvey, Frank Sturgis, Gerry Hemming, John Rosselli, "who was second head of the Chicago mafia at that time in '62," and Porter Goss. Goss is now head of the CIA, nominated by George W. Bush, son of the former CIA head.

In “Deadly Secrets,” authors Warren Hinkle and William Turner named Rafael 'Chi Chi' Quintero, Luis Posada Carriles, Felix Rodriguez and Frank Sturgis as members of Operation 40, under the overall control of E. Howard Hunt. Hunt and Sturgis later spent time in prison for the Watergate burglary and are believed to have been in Dallas the day Kennedy was assassinated.

The same cast of characters appears, again and again, committing acts of mayhem, murder and sabotage to keep Latin American countries under the control of U.S. corporate interests. And the same high-up political figures in the United States--with the Bush family at the top of the list--are their sponsors and protectors.

Today, the whole world is watching as the U.S. government, which has used the cry of "terrorism" to launch two bloody wars and to imprison, torture and murder untold numbers of Arab and Muslim people, tries to figure out what to do with Posada Carriles. He's a proven terrorist who has twice been sprung from jail and harbored by the invisible government of this country, the so-called "intelligence community." He is more than an embarrassment for the Bush administration.

One thing is for sure: they will never let him be questioned about his activities in an open forum where he could implicate key members of the U.S. ruling class and their political operatives.

Griswold was executive director of the Citizens' Committee of Inquiry, which carried out an independent investigation of the Kennedy assassination in the 1960s.