Friday, February 11, 2011

FBI source claims Fidel Castro was behind hotel bombings

An FBI source in Cuba's Interior Ministry claimed that the 1997 hotel bombings were the "opportunistic brain child of Fidel Castro" and "his intelligence services," according to an document filed today in the Luis Posada Carriles case (Download 18-page PDF).
The MININT source told the FBI that Castro wanted to draw attention away from the upcoming visit of Pope John Paul II in January 1998 "in light of the Pope’s influence in the dissolution of the Soviet Bloc in Eastern Europe in 1990."
Castro "feared the same might happen in Cuba and ordered the campaign of bombings to occur or to continue. Moreover, the source explained, such a campaign could be blamed on the exile community, particularly the Defendant Luis Posada Carriles and the Cuban American National Foundation, and it would serve the Regime’s time tested justification for continued repression of the Cuban people."
The purported MININT claim is found in a secret document that was declassified in January. It's among thousands of pages of documents that prosecutors dumped on the defense just before the trial, said Posada Carriles' lawyer, Arturo Hernandez.
The defense received the documents so late in the proceedings that it's been impossible for Posada Carriles to prepare an adequate defense, Hernandez said. For that and other reasons, he asked Judge Kathleen Cardone to declare a mistrial or dismiss two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice against his client.
Cardone will rule next week after prosecutors respond to the accusations.
The idea that Castro planned the hotel bombings seems far-fetched to me, but this kind of claim helps Hernandez inject doubt into Posada Carriles' role in the Havana bombings and portrays the prosecutors as deceitful and unfair.

Defense lawyers say prosecutors withheld information that could have bolstered Posada Carriles' defense. They wrote:
The Defendant submits that the withheld information directly supports the Defendant’s theory of defense and demonstrates that he did not solicit or arrange for any of the Havana bombings. Further, the Defendant submits that the withheld evidence demonstrates this key Government witness’ bias and motive to testify falsely before this jury.
The defense document filed today also gives more details about the Sept. 11 claim I wrote about on Thursday.
In the document, Hernandez said prosecutors blatantly lied about why they couldn't provide some of the discovery materials, falsely claiming that the documents were stored at the U.S. Custom's Office at World Trade Center 6 in New York City and were “likely destroyed on September 11, 2001.”
Hernandez also said the government has not fully disclosed what it knows about one of their key witnesses, Cuban Lt. Col. Roberto Hernandez Caballero.
Prosecutors say Hernandez investigated the Havana bombings.
Defense lawyers regard Hernandez as a spy, not an investigator, but haven't had time to fully investigate his background because the government just gave them much of the discovery material in January.
Arturo Hernandez wrote:
Notably, the government...made patently false and misleading representations in its November 8, 2010 letter regarding this witness -- including assertions that no files exist...
Prosecutors delivered some 2,000 pages of documents by email on Jan. 5 and Jan. 11. On Jan. 11 or 12, the defense received additional records - two secret FBI reports that had been declassified on Jan. 11.
Hernandez said he was in the midst of jury selection and opening statements and didn't review all the materials until Feb. 9.
The claims about Castro's supposed role in the bombings was in one of the FBI reports. The defense lawyers said:

Significantly, the source exonerated the Defendant and postulated that the bombings may have been orchestrated by military dissidents who were trying to foment change in Cuba - a point on all fours with the Defendant’s defense. Given the long-term posture of Mr. Posada Carriles defense to the charges in the instant indictment it is difficult to imagine a more exculpatory document.

One of the FBI documents also says that Cuban agents had planned to try to assassinate Posada Carriles. The document contains:
...evidence that the Castro Regime had undertaken a plan to assassinate the Defendant in the year 2004 (subsequent to the Defendant’s receipt of a presidential pardon from President Mireya Moscoso)... The fact of a plan to assassinate the Defendant, is not only evidence of extreme bias against the accused by the Castro Regime, an important consideration when evaluating evidence generated under the Regime’s auspices, but also it points to an institutional capacity for the disregard of both international and domestic conventions by and between nations on matters involving assassinations and violence. By comparison, the mere fabrication of bomb scenes or the disregard for the oath of a witness, would seem trivial.
Finally, Posada Carriles' lawyer complains that prosecutors failed to disclose that their Cuban witness - Hernandez Caballero - is a "Cuban intelligence agent" and has a bias against the anti-Castro militant. The defense lawyers write:
The fact is that the Government failed to disclose the status of this individual as a Cuban intelligence agent in a case involving the highest profile target of Cuban intelligence in the world and in light of the fact that they knew or should have known of the fact that Cuban agents tried to assassinate Mr. Posada in Guatemala in 1990, and again in 2004 as per the declassified FBI reports received in January 11, 2011. Clearly this fact ON ITS OWN MERITS should have been disclosed to the defense in addition to the obvious fact that he lied under oath as contained in the transcript. But, notwithstanding any breach of a discovery or Brady obligation, the Government’s conduct in calling Col. Hernandez-Caballero and proffering him as a “cop,” and a learned one at that given his educational credentials, and then failing to correct him when he compared himself to an FBI agent, compels the relief sought herein.

4 comments:

grant said...

I expect that the FBI has invented many similar claims to justify themselves and their role in such crimes.

Tracey Eaton said...

It would be interesting to see the entire FBI file on the Havana bombings. I'm sure the defense is cherry picking what it sees as most useful. That doesn't mean the information is accurate - it's just useful for their client's defense.

yacheburaska said...

On another news, the FBI claims the Earth is flat.

Tracey Eaton said...

yeah, it doesn't seem very realistic that Fidel Castro would plan those bombings, does it?