A 1976 State Department memo names Posada Carriles as probable terrorist

An article published June 4 by El Nuevo Herald, under the headline “State Department Considered Posada Carriles as the Likely Author of Bombing of Cuban Airliner,” confirms what many have long suspected: that U.S. government agencies were not totally disassociated — at least by omission — from the so-called “Crime of Barbados,” a reference to the place where someone placed the bomb that destroyed Cubana Airlines’ Havana-bound Flight 455 on Oct. 6, 1976, killing all 73 people aboard.

Most of the victims were members of the Cuban youth fencing team.

According to El Herald, “a document unclassified on Wednesday [June 3] by the State Department, going back to 1976, shows concerns about CIA ties to extremist groups of Cuban exiles and considers Luis Posada Carriles as the most likely author of the bombing of a Cubana de Aviación airliner that year.”

Then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The document, signed by Harold H. Saunders, director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Investigation, and the Assistant Secretary of State for Interamerican Affairs, Harry W Shlaudeman, was sent to the then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

However, the Herald article does not say if Secretary Kissinger ordered that the investigation be continued, despite the arguments cited by the two high-ranking officials who signed the memorandum.

Despite repeated charges and evidence presented by Cuba and Venezuela, and despite the investigation of the bombing conducted by Trinidad-Tobago police, Washington has never responded officially to bids for the extradition of Posada Carriles made by Venezuela, from where Posada escaped after the crime.

The United States also has ignored its obligation to comply with the Agreement for the Repression of Illicit Acts Against Civil Aviation Security (1971) and the International Convention for the Repression of Terrorist Attacks Committed with Bombs (1997), both of which it signed, by extraditing the defendant or trying him for that crime as if it had been committed in U.S. territory.

Peter Kornbluh
Peter Kornbluh

The only legal action taken by the U.S. Justice Department against Posada Carriles was to try him for entering the country illegally and for lying to federal authorities who interviewed him in relation to this case when he denied his participation in a campaign of bombings against tourist facilities in Havana. In one of those explosions, an Italian tourist was killed.

In an interview with two reporters from The New York Times, Posada admitted being the intellectual author of the attacks but later retracted his admission.

However, Salvadoran citizens Ernesto Raúl Cruz León and Otto René Rodríguez Llere, arrested and tried as material authors of several of those attacks, identified Posada as the man who hired them as mercenaries to plant bombs in Havana.

Peter Kornbluh, chief researcher at the National Security Archive of George Washington University, has tried for years to prove Posada Carriles’ intellectual authorship of the Barbados attack. He says that the CIA has never published an internal report about a meeting with Posada Carriles at which there was talk of staging an attack against a Cuban airliner.

According to Kornbluh, the new document once again “brings up the issue of how an international terrorist like Luis Posada Carriles can live happily in Miami.”

[Click here to read related article: Verbatim: The State Department’s references to Posada Carriles.]

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