A Tale of Two Extraditions: “Dudus” Coke and Luis Posada Carriles

Posted on July 2, 2010

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In the following article, Saul Landau, provides excellent background on Coke, alleged drug kingpin from Jamaica, and Luis Posada Carriles, the perpetual Cuban exile terrorist, making the point quite clearly that, when it comes to extradition, these guys were treated very differently. 

The reason the US will never extradite Posada Carriles or try him in a US court on substantive charges is because he has more damaging information  on the US government than most CIA directors.  Posada has been working for the CIA for over 45 years.  In fact, the Cuban exiles in Miami have always been the US’ “go-to” guys” for the most vile, murderous, regime-changing operations ever conducted by the CIA.  It is assumed that Posada and the US came to an understanding years ago that if the US ever tried to conduct a serious prosecution against him, he would sing like a bird. 

Posada landed on the US’ doorstep in 2004 via a circuitous route of terrorist attacks and assassinations.  Some of you  may recall that Posada was in jail in Panama for an attempted assassination of Fidel in Panama City.  Fidel was to speak at an auditorium and Posada’s plan to use 200 pounds of explosives would certainly have killed all 2000 people who attended the speech.  In 2004, Panama’s outgoing president, Mireya Moscoso, pardoned Posada (no doubt due to a call from George W) and three other long-time Cuban-exile terrorists. Posada went on the run because Venezuela was looking for him for breaking out of jail there.

When Posada made his not so “clandestine” return to the US, he held a surreal press conference in Miami before his arrest by the FBI.  Most scoffed at the idea of holding a press conference and dismissed it as pure theatre.  But, the seasoned terrorist knew exactly what he was doing — sending a signal to the US government that he could, and would, talk unless the US played ball.  And, has it played ball over the last six years!

As for “Dudus” Coke, the US’ request for extradition was many years after his indictment begging the question “why now?”  Obviously, Coke, like Posada, knows a lot of  about CIA activities including supplying  arms to the Shower Posse and the US would just as soon he keep his mouth shut.  But, I think the real reason Coke is in the US now is that the US has strategic designs of one kind or another on Jamaica and plans to sink its talons in further.  Coke will be helpful to the US because he’s facing a lifetime in prison and will not hesistate to share information about Jamaican government officials with whom he is reported to have many connections.  Having inside information about possibly illegal activities by these officials will make it much easier for the US to have its way with the country.  Wait a while and let’s see if the US starts messing with Jamaica more than it has already.

It was at this point that I stopped last night and decided to pick up on this story today.  Good thing.  In the Caribbean news this morning, I found the following item:

 U.S. State Department Reaches Out To Jamaican Diaspora  
 
 
CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 2, 2010: The U.S. State Department is suddenly reaching out to the Jamaican Diaspora on the heels of the extradition and arraignment of accused drug lord, Christopher `Dudus` Coke.

Sources tell CaribWorldNews that U.S. State Department officials yesterday afternoon hosted a 45 minute conference call with several Jamaicans from the U.S. Diaspora to reiterate their commitment to helping the Jamaican people and working with the government there.

Julissa Reynoso, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department for Caribbean and Central American Affairs, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, was said to be among those leading the meeting which focused largely on what the U.S. and USAID is doing to help fund the fight against crime in Jamaica and the Caribbean region.

Reynoso reportedly said that the U.S. has had `confident cooperation` with Jamaican authorities and are coordinating on other security issues.

She said money from the recent Caribbean Basin Security Initiative will be used in Jamaica to focus on specific areas including rule of law, citizen safety, anti corruption in Jamaica and activities targeting out of school youth.

Meanwhile, Reynoso, sources said, dismissed an ABC news report citing a U.S. official as claiming a link between Jamaica PM Bruce Golding and Coke, insisting that the U.S. does not know the `basis of the allegation and we don`t have information to corroborate that.`
And she insisted: `We have had a good working relationship with the Jamaica government over the last month and we are confident they are working hard to bring law and order to their society.`

The deputy secretary also denied claims that the cancellation of the visas of several Jamaicans during the government`s delay in approving an extradition order for Coke, was related.

`It was coincidental,` Reynosa reportedly said, adding that visas are decided on a person to person basis.

Asked about the possibility of a U.S. ambassador to Jamaica soon, Reynoso said the process has begun and a person selected but a public announcement will be forthcoming at a later date.

The meeting came just days after President  Obama, accepted Letters of Credence from Audrey P. Marks, Jamaica`s first female Ambassador to the U.S..

During the meeting, Obama welcomed Marks to Washington and also expressed strong support for the Jamaican government and people and for the continued development of the `strong and abiding` relationship that exists between the countries. And he hailed the joint efforts to counter the growing threat of narcotics and weapons trafficking as the `hallmark` of the close relationship between the two countries.

Stay tuned!

A tale of two extraditions
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 11:42 Saul Landau
By Saul Landau

The U.S. government demanded that Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding extradite a drug dealer. When Venezuela made similar demands on Washington, for arguably the Hemisphere’s most notorious terrorist, the Justice Department brushed off the request.

Compare the recent arrest in Jamaica of “Dudus” (Christopher Coke), to stand trial in New York for drug and arms trafficking, to Washington’s response to Venezuela’s extradition petition for Luis Posada Carriles, aka the Osama bin Laden of the Western Hemisphere, for plotting the October 6, 1976, bombing of a Cuban commercial airliner over Barbados. All 73 crew members and passengers died.

Evidence abounds pointing to his culpability including declassified cables from the CIA. An October 12, 1976, CIA cable from Caracas states, “Posada was overheard to say that ‘Now we are going to hit a Cuban airplane’.”

Twenty-two years later, Posada told New York Times reporters Ann Bardach and Larry Rohter (July13, 1998) he had orchestrated a series of hotel bombings in Cuba to dissuade tourism. An Italian tourist died in one of the blasts.

Posada’s captured underlings — arrested by police after the bombs exploded — named him as the criminal author. A recent New Jersey Federal Grand Jury gathered evidence showing Posada used money and personnel from Miami to carry out the hotel bombings.

However, instead of charging him with terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder Justice invented a legal inanity and charged Posada with immigration fraud: lying to U.S. officials when he entered the United States in 2004. Since then, the Justice Department has created reasons to delay the case – perhaps as Jose Pertierra suggests, so he will die before going to trial. (http://machetera.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/waiting-for-posada-carriles-to-die/)

Compare this dallying with a bona fide terrorist to the “extradite Dudus or else” position taken with Jamaica’s government. Jamaican security forces killed some 70 residents trying to capture Dudus in his Kingston neighborhood. But Washington refuses to extradite the mass murderer Posada.

As Washington intimidated Jamaica’s government over Dudus, the drug and gun peddler, they ignored the fact that millions of U.S. citizens consume drugs imported from Jamaica, and U.S. banks launder money from the trade.

But a more sinister fact underlines the Dudus and Posada cases. Both criminals owe their careers to Washington’s 50 year war against Cuba.

In 1976, Prime Minister Michael Manley told me, during the filming of his campaign film, of an unusual invitation. In January 1976, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, vacationing at the Rockefeller estate in Jamaica, invited Manley to visit to convince him to withdraw his support of Cuban troops in Angola. (Castro had sent troops there in October 1975 at the Angolan government’s request to stop CIA and South African invasions of that newly independent African country.) Kissinger’s grimaced as Manley reiterated his backing for Castro’s Africa policies.

“He then assured me,” Manley chuckled, “I should not worry about CIA activities in Jamaica.” But, he said, some interesting “coincidences” occurred shortly after the visit.

Norman Descoteaux arrived to head the CIA station in Kingston, an expert on destabilization campaigns in South America. As journalists arrived in Kingston to cover World Bank and IMF meetings, violence exploded in Kingston’s western slums. Tourists exposed to the media accounts would have had good reason to change plans for a Jamaican vacation. Soon afterward, security forces arrested armed youth who admitted they were getting trained to attack the government. Other gunmen killed two policemen.

Manley applied “heavy manners.” He revived a special court permitting the arrest without bail of persons with unlicensed firearms and formed unarmed, community self-defense groups. The CIA learned from its “mistakes,” however.

In Manley’s 1980 campaign for re-election, the violence far exceeded the 1976 carnage. I heard the nightly roar of gunfire in Kingston streets and filmed people weeping for their dead kin outside a recently torched housing project in a pro-Manley district. Thousands died in that pre-election period. The gangs bought by Manley’s opponent, Edward Seaga, and the CIA successfully destabilized the government.

Manley lost; Seaga became prime minister and the first foreign visitor to the Reagan White House.

Dudus’ father, Lester, emerged from the violence campaigns as head of the Shower Posse (they sprayed their victims with automatic weapons) in West Kingston. Having secured a political alliance with the winner in 1980, and possessing arms from the CIA, he began dealing drugs and weapons.

So powerful had the posse become — now under Dudus, the son — that Labor Party chief and now Prime Minister Bruce Golding tried to defuse the U.S. extradition request for nine months. The State Department assured him that continued resistance would endanger U.S.-Jamaican relations (aid money) and his political career.

But Washington sneers at Venezuelan pressure just as George H. W. Bush, in 1990, derided his own Justice Department’s strong advice against pardoning Orlando Bosch, Posada’s co-conspirator in the airline bombing.
And judges play along with the charade. One magistrate, without fact or testimony, ruled against Posada’s extradition to Venezuela because Posada’s lawyer claimed Venezuela would torture him “while in custody.”

The Caribbean states (Caricom) called the 1976 Cubana airline bombing “terrorism in Caribbean airspace.” Ricky Siingh, writing in the Jamaica Observer, said, “no double standards on implementation of bilateral extradition treaties should be permitted on the part of Jamaica and the USA in the case of Christopher Coke; or that involving Venezuela and America for the extradition of Posada.”
Accusing the United States of double standards is like charging a prostitute with having sex. Indeed, U.S. behavior in the Posada case gives hypocrisy a bad name.

Hubris with Jamaica over a druggie! The stalling game played with Venezuela over a terrorist! Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a nation of law?

Saul Landau directed Michael Manley’s campaign films in 1976 and 1980.