BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD —Special for Granma International--
HECTOR Pesquera, Florida's FBI chief, had to "persuade" Attorney General Janet Reno to arrest the five Cuban patriots who had infiltrated terrorist groups and were subsequently converted into "spies," because other people in the Justice Department didn't want to touch the case. The man who devoted his time to pursuing these patriots whilst Al-Qaeda was staging the September 11 attacks in his own backyard, made this confession to a Miami journalist on announcing that he was retiring from the federal police.
Héctor Pesquera devoted his time to pursuing the five Cuban patriots whilst Al Qaeda were planning the September 11 attacks in his own backyard.
No one in Miami's "free press" took the initiative to ask Janet Reno how she allowed herself to be "persuaded" to make such an evidently bad decision.
"Everything was on the line," recalled Pesquera in an interview with Larry Lebowitz from The Miami Herald, a daily strongly linked to the right-wing Cuban-American groups dominant in the Florida metropolis. The meeting took place days before the official announcement of the retirement of this sulfurous special agent who has maintained ambiguous relations with extremist leaders in Miami.
"But you do it because you're right. Or at least you think you're right at the time,'' added the police officer enigmatically.
Pesquera's Miami appointment came in September 1998. That same month, he carried out a spectacular raid, accompanied by overtly political statements to the press, systematically awarding the detained Cubans with the title of "spies" prior to their appearance in court. A description that was taken up, completely unethically, by the Miami and national press.
A RAPID RISE
When a U.S. coastguard vessel intercepted La Esperanza yacht in Puerto Rican waters on October 27, 1997, it was suspected that the vessel was transporting drugs. Instead of narcotics, the agents who went on board found an arsenal of weapons and several suspects, all of whom were linked, in one way or another, to the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF) in Miami.
Amongst the objects found in a secret compartment were seven crates of ammunition, military uniforms, six radios, a satellite telephone, night vision glasses, and two 50-caliber assault rifles capable of reaching targets more than one mile away, according to a description given by Lieutenant Brendan Pearson of the U.S. Coast Guard Service.
Immediately recovering the file, the astute Pesquera – who sensed there was profitable business involved – directed it in such a way, with the complicity of the defendants' lawyer (a relative of his), that the individuals on board were acquitted on all the charges. The criminal expedition to assassinate the Cuban head of state on the Venezuelan island of Margarita was transformed, little by little, into an innocent "fishing" excursion, despite an initial confession by one of the suspects.
Meanwhile, Pesquera had already, and swiftly, been paid his reward. FBI chief Louis Freeh did not hesitate to offer him the much sought-after post of Special Agent in Charge in Florida, bestowing upon him almost total control of FBI operations in a heated zone of terrorists, drug-traffickers, fugitive torturers and corrupt policemen.
He arrived at his new offices on Second Avenue and 163rd St. in Miami with the evident mission of offering frustrated CANF leaders spectacular "compensation" for the humiliation suffered in Puerto Rico.
Héctor Pesquera was appointed on September 2, 1998.
At 5:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 12, his men, armed with rifles and handguns and wearing bullet-proof vests, burst into the apartments of several Cuban patriots in a spectacular operation worthy of a Hollywood movie, smashing doors and furniture and tying up "suspects" like animals, right in front of their respective families, including several children.
On September 14, the Florida media circulated the spectacular news. For the first time since the start of the Cuban Revolution – that is to say, 39 years! – a "network" of "Castro spies" had been dismantled with the arrest of several of its members.
In a press conference at FBI "headquarters", chief Pesquera basked in his glory. On the day of that media show, he became a political spokesperson. Credit for the operation was attributed to him and he boldly proclaimed: "we have been investigating the group since 1995 – check the date – that the arrest was "a significant blow to the Cuban government" and that "Castro's espionage efforts have been defeated."
And then the police spokesperson unleashed a witch-hunt: "We have done this to bring the public's attention to the situation," he affirmed, requesting people to call in with the names of "suspects".
In an analysis published some months ago, Cuban journalist Lázaro Barredo commented on how the Miami press acknowledged at the time that "many experts could not understand why the FBI had arrested individuals monitoring counter-revolutionary groups on that weekend, when it was precisely that agency which was benefiting from the information they were gathering concerning the violent actions of those groups."
A few days later during a press conference, Héctor Pesquera – recently appointed FBI chief in Miami – publicly acknowledged for the first time that the arrests had generated contradictory opinions amongst certain officials.
He then added that this case "would never have appeared before the courts" if he had not urged "Louis Freeh directly". He refrained from referring to Attorney General Janet Reno at that time.
EVERYTHING ENDS UP CONFIRMED
Pesquera's latest confession to Larry Lebowitz at The Miami Herald confirms the conspiracy inspired by the high-ranking federal police representative's terrorist friendships.
No one from the Miami "free press" took the initiative to ask Janet Reno for her version of events.
How was it that she was "persuaded" in less than 10 days to take a decision so obviously wrong that no one was "interested in touching the case"?
Speaking on behalf of U.S. President George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, U.S. under-secretary for National Security, recently revealed how the order to arrest the Cuban patriots infiltrated amongst Cuban-American terrorist groups in Miami was given by the White House in the framework of a series of measures taken to please leaders of the Miami mafia community. Rice mentioned how they had uncovered a Cuban espionage network in the United States. In a characteristic manner, she used the same deliberately disparaging descriptions used by the Miami press…at Pesquera's "suggestion".
Shortly afterwards, top official Roger Noriega took up the matter once again and offered fresh confirmation of the essentially political nature of the arrests and the rigged trial that followed…with a script edited by Pesquera and the other conspirators.
A LONG AND SUSPICIOUS CAREER
At that time, Special Agent Pesquera had clocked up 27 years service with the FBI and had had a long and rather unusual career behind him.
He worked successively in Tampa, Montevideo (Uruguay) and as supervisor of counterintelligence at the central offices in Washington.
But he had also touched on the subject of drugs many times.
In July 1996, The Washington Times (property of the Moon sect) revealed how an FBI team "led by agent Héctor Pesquera" had arrested an "well-known drug trafficker" holding 323 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of $4.2 million.
He arrived in Puerto Rico in 1992 and in 1995 occupied the leading post on the island, "specializing" in the drug trafficking gangs active in the region.
Pesquera's expert narcotics investigations and his friendships with Miami mafia leaders are, of course, not at all suspicious. Just as it is pure chance that the majority of Miami terrorists of Cuban origin have a history of links with drug trafficking.
Having recently celebrated his 57th birthday and 27 years of service, Pesquera announced his retirement. News of the decision was followed by a farewell dinner attended by more than 200 people, according to the Miami press. They did not, however, publish a list of those particular friends.
To the journalists who revealed his suspicious relationship with controversial businessman and convicted drug trafficker Camilo Padreda, Pesquera flatly denied that he had committed any errors during his time with the FBI.
He didn't want to touch on the subject of the gold watch that Padreda had helped him purchase or discuss the criminal's ineffective attempts to pull strings and secure him the Miami police chief's job.
He also declined to comment on how his bureau tried to cover up the accident that occurred in 1999 in Broward Country in which one of his investigators, David Farrell, caused the deaths of two people through drinking and reckless driving.
THE DISASTROUS FAILURE OF THE AL-QAEDA CASE
Whilst he was devoting his time to pursuing Cuban patriots infiltrating the terrorist groups tolerated by his office in Miami – an office staffed by 150 experienced detectives – he had absolutely no idea of the fact that at least 15-19 terrorists, who would subsequently go on to fly planes into the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, were training in the area in which he had overall responsibility for counterintelligence.
Mohammed Amanullah Atta, leader of the Al Qaeda cell, was a student at the Fuman Aviation school in Venice and began piloting Boeing 727 aircraft on simulators at the SimCenter in Opa-Locka.
Waleed Al-Shehri and his brother Wali lived in Daytona Beach. Wali then moved to Boston Beach as did Satam Al-Suqami. Abdulrahman Al-Omari lived in Vero Beach in the vicinity of the two other suspects, Adnan Bukhari and Amer M. Kamfar, where they studied at the Flight Safety International Academy.
Marwan Youssef Al-Shehhi, lived in Venice with Atta; Fayez Ahmed, in Delray Beach as well as Ahmed Al-Nami, Nawaf Al-Hazmi, Sabed Al-Ghamdi, Molad Al-Sheri, Hamza Al-Ghamdi and his brother Ahmed.
Ahmed Al-Haznawi was a resident of Lauderdale-by-sea with Ziad Jarrah.
Al Qaeda terrorists were all over the place!
With false passports, suspicious backgrounds and frequently strange behavior, none of them were detected by Héctor Pesquera's 150 detectives.
Nevertheless, within a matter of hours, a contingent of detectives was mobilized for the operation that took the Cuban patriots to the worst cells that he could find and initiated the continuous pressure to crush these real anti-terrorist fighters…who were indeed fulfilling their duty to counteract extremist groups.
January 9, 2004