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Posada's CIA ties uncovered in papers

Details have emerged about Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles' CIA links 40 years ago in South Florida. One revelation: his tie to the agency's Miami bureau.

BY ALFONSO CHARDY AND OSCAR CORRAL

Miami Herald

June 26, 2006

Nearly four years after the failed CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles continued to work for the spy agency, according to CIA files released to The Miami Herald.

His job: ''Training Branch Instructor'' for its Miami station, which then was responsible for intelligence-gathering missions into Cuba. He was part of the covert JMWAVE -- the code name for the CIA Miami bureau, which at the time operated within the University of Miami.

His tenure: March 26, 1965, to July 11, 1967.

The revelation of Posada's ties to the CIA's operations in Miami was contained in documents requested by The Miami Herald as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

Although some of Posada's CIA links were known previously, the CIA files released to the newspaper this month add detail about the Cuban militant's connections to America's storied and controversial spy agency.

The information comes at a time that Posada, currently detained in El Paso, Texas, is seeking approval of his U.S. citizenship application on the ground that he served the CIA and the U.S. military.

Posada, 78, has been held since immigration agents took him into custody in Miami last year after his surreptitious entry into the United States from Mexico. Posada was detained just hours after holding an ''invitation-only'' press conference at a West Miami-Dade County warehouse.

Posada has been denied asylum, although an immigration judge in El Paso prohibited the government from deporting him to Cuba or Venezuela.

Posada has been accused of blowing up a Cuban airliner in the Caribbean in 1976, bombing hotels in Cuba in 1997 and 1998, and conspiring to kill Cuban President Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000. He has denied all of the allegations.

POSADA'S CLAIM

Posada's lawyer, Eduardo Soto, told The Miami Herald on Friday that the CIA documents could help his client gain freedom because they confirm that he was a soldier and employee of the U.S. government for years.

''I believe it fortifies in some way his claim that he was not only a soldier of this country on the armed services, but served as an employee for the CIA,'' Soto said. ``That bodes well with respect to our request that he be placed at liberty.''

Posada could be freed after a hearing July 6 in El Paso, although it's unlikely, since immigration officials are adamant about keeping him locked up.

Soto said skills Posada developed while working for JMWAVE were later put to use to advance U.S. interests in Central America in the 1980s.

In 1985, after Posada fled a Venezuelan jail where he was held in connection with the 1976 airliner attack, he turned up in El Salvador, working for a covert arms-resupply network for the Nicaraguan contras overseen by then National Security Council staff member Oliver North.

Whether the newly released papers will help or hinder Posada in his quest for citizenship and freedom was unclear.

Some of the documents contain references to potentially derogatory information suggesting that the CIA severed its relationship with Posada because of his alleged association with a known mobster and suspicions that his brother had links to Cuban intelligence.

Soto said he did not believe that those references would affect his client's case. Soto denied that Posada had a relationship with a gangster or that his CIA assignments were compromised by his brother.

REQUEST DENIED

One document shows that Posada's request for a military reserve commission was denied in 1966. The document, dated April 5, 1972, said Army records showed that Posada's application for the commission was ''disapproved'' in September 1966 after an Army Intelligence Command background investigation.

Although the reasons for the denial were contained in the original document, the copy given to The Miami Herald did not include them.

Another document, undated but marked ''SECRET'' and titled Updated Biographic Data, said Posada's ''termination'' as a JMWAVE ''CI,'' or confidential informant, came on July 11, 1967.

At the bottom of the document are handwritten notes listing references to Posada's contacts with his brother Roberto and the reputed gangster -- Frank ''Lefty'' Rosenthal. Another document says Posada believes that his other brother, Raul, is an engineer who ``works for the Cuban government.''

The handwritten note about Roberto says ''suspect'' and ''Cuban I.S.,'' possibly a reference to intelligence service.

Posada, in an interview in detention in El Paso last year, said he had ''no relation'' to Rosenthal but would not elaborate and declined to discuss family connections in Cuba.

Many of the documents given to The Miami Herald were previously released by the CIA to the National Archives. Some are also available in the collection of the National Security Archive, a nongovernmental research institute and library at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Information in the documents was also shared with investigators from the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which in the 1970s reinvestigated President Kennedy's 1963 assassination. The committee probed whether organized crime, Cuban exiles or exile groups conspired to kill Kennedy.

The committee concluded that exile groups were not involved in an assassination conspiracy, but did not rule out the possible role of individual exiles.

The documents released did not show any connection between Posada and the assassination. Posada told The Miami Herald in El Paso last year that he was in Georgia on the day Kennedy was killed in Dallas.

None of the documents contained specific details about Posada's duties for JMWAVE.

Former Miami Herald Latin America editor Don Bohning, who researched JMWAVE for his recent book, The Castro Obsession, said JMWAVE directed exile attacks in Cuba until 1963 and then staged covert intelligence-gathering missions until it was deactivated in early 1968.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/14901750.htm

(Link includes a link to the CIA documents.)

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Sure,

Shackley in charge of David Morales = known Kennedy suspect

Shackley in charge of David Phillips = known Kennedy suspect

Shackley in charge of Luis Posada = unknown Kennedy suspect

Bush in charge of Shackley

Luis Posada: I was in Georgia

Bush: I don't remember

OJ: I am innocent

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Bush would not be in charge of Shackley in 1963.

I would guess that Posada by saying he was in Georgia on 11/22/63 means that he was still in the Cuban officer training program at Fort Benning. Does anyone know when he is supposed to have left that program?

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Ron this is all I could find on him with his time at Benning..

Recently declassified CIA documents show that the spy agency trained Posada in Guatemala in 1961 to participate in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, including explosives and weapons training. Posada, who rose to the rank of second lieutenant, was in the U.S. Army from March 1963 to March 1964 in Fort Benning, Ga.

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Ryan,

Thanks. I guess that means that unless Posada was given leave to go participate in an assassination, he was indeed at Fort Benning on 11/22. (Though I wonder why he would say "in Georgia," as if he were not actually at Fort Benning that day, or whether it was the Miami Herald being non-specific in quoting him.)

Ron

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See red bold text:

Posada discusses life as a federal detainee

An interview with Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles shed light on his plans if given asylum -- an angle reported Saturday. Now he talks about his U.S. detention.

By Oscar Corral And Alfonso Chardy, ocorral@herald.com. Posted on Mon, Jun. 06, 2005.

EL PASO - Luis Posada Carriles, the anti-Castro militant known for a life full of secrets and a debonair attitude, sat in an immigration courtroom surrounded by guards. He wore a red jumpsuit and a plastic ID bracelet instead of his usual expensive watch.

Posada, 77, is a federal detainee in El Paso, charged -- like thousands of other undocumented migrants -- with illegally entering the country. It's a sudden transformation from the almost mythic warrior of Cuban exile lore to illegal migrant.

Posada's situation is far from normal. He is sought by Cuba and Venezuela as an alleged terrorist, and he is being treated as a special prisoner here. He has his own room. He lives in self-imposed isolation, instead of sleeping in dormitories and sharing cafeteria meals with the other detained migrants, in part to avoid any confrontations.

A naturalized Venezuelan citizen, Posada is wanted by Venezuela in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. He was acquitted twice of that crime in Venezuela and escaped from prison in 1985 while awaiting a prosecutor's appeal.

Cuba accuses Posada of orchestrating a string of bombings in Havana in 1997, one of which killed an Italian tourist. Six people were injured in the explosions.

While his attorneys want him shipped to a Florida facility, Posada said Friday -- in his first interview with a U.S. publication since his detention -- that it might be better for him to be in Texas, away from all the talk and ''accusations'' about him swirling in Miami, as he pursues his request for asylum in the United States.

''It was more convenient for me to be outside of Miami so I don't receive all those accusations and foolishness,'' he said. "I have the right, well, it's not a right, but a privilege, that they give me asylum.''

It was a far cry from the last time Posada spoke to the media, the day he was detained in Miami-Dade County May 17. He had donned a fashionable white linen suit, dark tie and a blue tailored shirt for a news conference. He'd slipped into the United States weeks before, visiting friends in South Florida and indulging in his passion for painting. His presence caused an international stir and embarrassed U.S. security agencies.

During a Herald interview May 11, Posada sipped peach juice and soaked in the breeze from the balcony of a luxury Biscayne Bay condominium.

On Friday, Posada spoke at length about his life in custody, supposed contacts with a dissident Cuban military officer and a secret trip to Cuba that he says he made a few years ago.

Posada also claimed he had information that Fidel Castro will fall soon in a popular revolt.

The interview was monitored by a Homeland Security media spokeswoman, along with one of his attorneys, who advised Posada via speakerphone not to answer certain questions.

The storyteller and firebrand remained undaunted. He still crackled with anti-Castro rhetoric and offered no apologies for his behavior since sneaking into the country.

FEELS THREATENED

Posada said he always feels threatened because of what he called Castro's obsession with hunting him down -- though he noted that for now he feels safe in detention.

''I'm always under threat,'' he said. "But they never found me. Castro is most nervous when he doesn't know where I am.''

"Fidel Castro is a monster of malice.''

Just a few years ago, Posada claims, he sneaked into Cuba to meet with a dissident Cuban military officer. He refused to provide details other than to say that it happened in Baracoa, an old town in eastern Cuba.

''It's very delicate,'' he said.

Posada also addressed speculation in certain exile and intelligence circles that Castro is using him to harm the image of the Cuban exile community. The speculation is based on a perception that Posada's alleged exploits typically fail and help Cuba portray itself as a victim of exile terrorism. The allegations range from his allegedly meeting with Cuban spies to having a family member linked to the Cuban government.

In a 1991 interview, Posada told The Herald that two brothers and a sister had accepted jobs as professionals in communist Cuba. He said he hadn't spoken with his siblings since 1960, fearing contact would bring them harm.

FAMILY

Posada declined to discuss family connections in Cuba. He acknowledged the possibility that some of his Cuban government contacts may be spies. But he insisted that he doesn't serve the interests of the Cuban regime.

Although he wouldn't answer questions about allegations he participated in several terrorist acts, he readily rejected rumors that he was in Dallas on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

''Let me answer that,'' he told his attorney. ''I was pumping gas dressed as a lieutenant of the American Army in Fort Benning [Georgia] when that happened,'' he said. "How was I going to be in Dallas? What's going on is that they blame me for everything.''

After the 1961 failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, Posada and many exiles received U.S. military training for possible future action against Cuba. That training also was meant to defuse their anger toward Washington over the invasion's defeat.

Posada said he still hopes to return to a free Cuba. He predicts that Cuba will soon be rid of Castro.

''Fidel Castro will fall violently,'' he said, basing his assessment on what he described as secret contacts within the Cuban government. "But how will he fall? A coup? God knows what will happen. Cuba is on the verge of all of that. The people will rebel.''

PRISON ROUTINE

Ensconced inside a barracks-like compound surrounded by chain-link fences, razor wire and desert, Posada wakes up before dawn, checks his blood pressure, and eats a light breakfast of milk or juice.

He forgoes the regular offerings of sausage and eggs.

Then he prays, he said, asking God for the liberation of Cuba. On Wednesdays, he attends Mass in a chapel.

''I don't ask much for myself,'' he said of his supplications. After prayers he reads Spanish and English publications but refuses to watch television. Without painting supplies, he has not been able to pursue his hobby, which he'd like to develop into a career if released from detention. He spends a half-hour each day in a small yard. The sun has imprinted his arms with a subtle farmer's tan.

Lunch consists of hamburgers or chicken, followed by an hourlong nap. More readings and prayers follow in the afternoon, an early dinner, then bed by 9 p.m. He refers to his red jumpsuits as his "baseball player outfit.''

''There are no pastelitos here,'' Posada said longingly, referring to the Cuban pastries found almost anywhere in Miami. But he noted that immigration officials treat him well in detention.

Posada's view never varies from the guards posted outside his room.

He is allowed to make almost unlimited calls to the outside world using prepaid cards or calling collect.

''They've offered to let me join the general population if I find myself too locked up, but I prefer to be alone,'' Posada said.

"What am I going to do mingling with the rest of the population here?''

I will fight to 'lead a normal life,' Posada says

Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles said he wants U.S. asylum so he can spend his days painting, but refused to say he would give up anti-Castro violence.

By Alfonso Chardy and Oscar Corral, ocorral@herald.com. Posted on Sat, Jun. 04, 2005.

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Bush would not be in charge of Shackley in 1963.

That's what you may believe.

http://jfkmurdersolved.com/film/JFonBush.wmv

I would guess that Posada by saying he was in Georgia on 11/22/63 means that he was still in the Cuban officer training program at Fort Benning. Does anyone know when he is supposed to have left that program?

See red bold text:

Posada discusses life as a federal detainee

An interview with Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles shed light on his plans if given asylum -- an angle reported Saturday. Now he talks about his U.S. detention.

By Oscar Corral And Alfonso Chardy, ocorral@herald.com. Posted on Mon, Jun. 06, 2005.

EL PASO - Luis Posada Carriles, the anti-Castro militant known for a life full of secrets and a debonair attitude, sat in an immigration courtroom surrounded by guards. He wore a red jumpsuit and a plastic ID bracelet instead of his usual expensive watch.

Posada, 77, is a federal detainee in El Paso, charged -- like thousands of other undocumented migrants -- with illegally entering the country. It's a sudden transformation from the almost mythic warrior of Cuban exile lore to illegal migrant.

Posada's situation is far from normal. He is sought by Cuba and Venezuela as an alleged terrorist, and he is being treated as a special prisoner here. He has his own room. He lives in self-imposed isolation, instead of sleeping in dormitories and sharing cafeteria meals with the other detained migrants, in part to avoid any confrontations.

A naturalized Venezuelan citizen, Posada is wanted by Venezuela in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people. He was acquitted twice of that crime in Venezuela and escaped from prison in 1985 while awaiting a prosecutor's appeal.

Cuba accuses Posada of orchestrating a string of bombings in Havana in 1997, one of which killed an Italian tourist. Six people were injured in the explosions.

While his attorneys want him shipped to a Florida facility, Posada said Friday -- in his first interview with a U.S. publication since his detention -- that it might be better for him to be in Texas, away from all the talk and ''accusations'' about him swirling in Miami, as he pursues his request for asylum in the United States.

''It was more convenient for me to be outside of Miami so I don't receive all those accusations and foolishness,'' he said. "I have the right, well, it's not a right, but a privilege, that they give me asylum.''

It was a far cry from the last time Posada spoke to the media, the day he was detained in Miami-Dade County May 17. He had donned a fashionable white linen suit, dark tie and a blue tailored shirt for a news conference. He'd slipped into the United States weeks before, visiting friends in South Florida and indulging in his passion for painting. His presence caused an international stir and embarrassed U.S. security agencies.

During a Herald interview May 11, Posada sipped peach juice and soaked in the breeze from the balcony of a luxury Biscayne Bay condominium.

On Friday, Posada spoke at length about his life in custody, supposed contacts with a dissident Cuban military officer and a secret trip to Cuba that he says he made a few years ago.

Posada also claimed he had information that Fidel Castro will fall soon in a popular revolt.

The interview was monitored by a Homeland Security media spokeswoman, along with one of his attorneys, who advised Posada via speakerphone not to answer certain questions.

The storyteller and firebrand remained undaunted. He still crackled with anti-Castro rhetoric and offered no apologies for his behavior since sneaking into the country.

FEELS THREATENED

Posada said he always feels threatened because of what he called Castro's obsession with hunting him down -- though he noted that for now he feels safe in detention.

''I'm always under threat,'' he said. "But they never found me. Castro is most nervous when he doesn't know where I am.''

"Fidel Castro is a monster of malice.''

Just a few years ago, Posada claims, he sneaked into Cuba to meet with a dissident Cuban military officer. He refused to provide details other than to say that it happened in Baracoa, an old town in eastern Cuba.

''It's very delicate,'' he said.

Posada also addressed speculation in certain exile and intelligence circles that Castro is using him to harm the image of the Cuban exile community. The speculation is based on a perception that Posada's alleged exploits typically fail and help Cuba portray itself as a victim of exile terrorism. The allegations range from his allegedly meeting with Cuban spies to having a family member linked to the Cuban government.

In a 1991 interview, Posada told The Herald that two brothers and a sister had accepted jobs as professionals in communist Cuba. He said he hadn't spoken with his siblings since 1960, fearing contact would bring them harm.

FAMILY

Posada declined to discuss family connections in Cuba. He acknowledged the possibility that some of his Cuban government contacts may be spies. But he insisted that he doesn't serve the interests of the Cuban regime.

Although he wouldn't answer questions about allegations he participated in several terrorist acts, he readily rejected rumors that he was in Dallas on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

''Let me answer that,'' he told his attorney. ''I was pumping gas dressed as a lieutenant of the American Army in Fort Benning [Georgia] when that happened,'' he said. "How was I going to be in Dallas? What's going on is that they blame me for everything.''

After the 1961 failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, Posada and many exiles received U.S. military training for possible future action against Cuba. That training also was meant to defuse their anger toward Washington over the invasion's defeat.

Posada said he still hopes to return to a free Cuba. He predicts that Cuba will soon be rid of Castro.

''Fidel Castro will fall violently,'' he said, basing his assessment on what he described as secret contacts within the Cuban government. "But how will he fall? A coup? God knows what will happen. Cuba is on the verge of all of that. The people will rebel.''

PRISON ROUTINE

Ensconced inside a barracks-like compound surrounded by chain-link fences, razor wire and desert, Posada wakes up before dawn, checks his blood pressure, and eats a light breakfast of milk or juice.

He forgoes the regular offerings of sausage and eggs.

Then he prays, he said, asking God for the liberation of Cuba. On Wednesdays, he attends Mass in a chapel.

''I don't ask much for myself,'' he said of his supplications. After prayers he reads Spanish and English publications but refuses to watch television. Without painting supplies, he has not been able to pursue his hobby, which he'd like to develop into a career if released from detention. He spends a half-hour each day in a small yard. The sun has imprinted his arms with a subtle farmer's tan.

Lunch consists of hamburgers or chicken, followed by an hourlong nap. More readings and prayers follow in the afternoon, an early dinner, then bed by 9 p.m. He refers to his red jumpsuits as his "baseball player outfit.''

''There are no pastelitos here,'' Posada said longingly, referring to the Cuban pastries found almost anywhere in Miami. But he noted that immigration officials treat him well in detention.

Posada's view never varies from the guards posted outside his room.

He is allowed to make almost unlimited calls to the outside world using prepaid cards or calling collect.

''They've offered to let me join the general population if I find myself too locked up, but I prefer to be alone,'' Posada said.

"What am I going to do mingling with the rest of the population here?''

I will fight to 'lead a normal life,' Posada says

Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles said he wants U.S. asylum so he can spend his days painting, but refused to say he would give up anti-Castro violence.

By Alfonso Chardy and Oscar Corral, ocorral@herald.com. Posted on Sat, Jun. 04, 2005.

Edited by Mark Johansson
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