Thursday, January 13, 2011

Witness for prosecution a double agent?

Prosecutors say former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles lied about how he traveled the United States in 2005.
They contend that his friends climbed onto a shrimping boat, went to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, picked up Posada Carriles and took him to Miami.
Defense lawyer Arturo Hernandez conceded Wednesday that "Posada went to Isla Mujeres, but only to receive $10,000 from a benefactor. He then returned to Guatemala and paid a smuggler to escort him through Mexico, into Texas."
The shrimping boat was stranded for several hours after trying to make a shortcut around navigational buoys. A Mexican reporter who was worried that the boat, called the Santrina, was causing undersea marine damage rushed out to see what was going on. She didn't know that the boat might have contained Posada Carriles. But her newspaper documented the boat's arrival, with photos, and later reported that the Santrina had left for Miami.
Narco News reported that five men were on the boat when it arrived, and six left.
Hernandez apparently plans to attack the credibility of a government informant named Gilberto Abascal, 45, who was aboard the boat when it went to Mexico.
Gilberto Abascal
The Associated Press said Wednesday that Hernandez told jurors that Abascal had "received at least $150,000 to provide false information and that he had even spied for the Cuban government."
Abascal once worked as a painter for Posada Carriles supporter Santiago Alvarez, who owned the Santrina.
FBI agents interviewed Abascal after the Santrina reached Florida. Abascal "volunteered information that POSADA had not been brought into the United States on ALVAREZ' boat...," according to a March 27, 2005, FBI report.
Abascal later changed his story.

The Miami Herald reported in 2006 that Abascal was also talking to the Cubans:
A federal informant playing a critical role in a South Florida weapons case against the wealthy Miami benefactor for Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles also was sharing details about the exiles with a Cuban government official known as ''Daniel'' as far back as 2001, prosecutors have revealed.
Prosecutors also disclosed for the first time that the FBI informant, Gilberto Abascal, traveled by boat with Posada's benefactor and other friends last year to pick up the CIA-trained Posada in Mexico and bring him back to the United States illegally.
Posada Carriles was indicted on Jan. 11, 2007, and charged with naturalization fraud and knowingly making a false statement in a naturalization proceeding.
Most of those aboard the Santrina when it went to Mexico refused to testify against Posada Carriles. They were convicted of obstruction charges, served jail time and all have since been freed. Osvaldo Mitat, who received an eight-month jail sentence, criticized Abascal's testimony. In a court document, his lawyer wrote: 
The Government’s allegations are based upon the testimony of informant Gilberto Abascal, who, based upon information and belief, may have operated as a double agent for the United States and Cuban governments.
Miami's Cuban Connection reported in February 2007 that Abascal "discovered a pipe bomb attached to the bottom of his pickup truck Sunday and drove it to the Hialeah Police Department." He wasn't hurt.

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