Lawyer for American Imprisoned in Cuba Argues Client Should be Able to Sue US Government 1

FILE - This undated handout photo provided by the Gross family shows Alan and Judy Gross at an unknown location. An attorney for a Gross, who has spent over four years imprisoned in Cuba, argued before a federal appeals court that his client should be allowed to sue the U.S. government over his imprisonment. (AP Photo/Gross Family, File)

FILE – This undated handout photo provided by the Gross family shows Alan and Judy Gross at an unknown location. An attorney for a Gross, who has spent over four years imprisoned in Cuba, argued before a federal appeals court that his client should be allowed to sue the U.S. government over his imprisonment. (AP Photo/Gross Family, File)

By Jessica Gresko, Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A U.S. government subcontractor who has spent over four years imprisoned in Cuba should be allowed to sue the U.S. government over lost wages and legal fees, his attorney told an appeals court Friday.

Alan Gross was working in Cuba as a government subcontractor when he was arrested in 2009. He has since lost income and racked up legal fees, his attorney Barry Buchman told the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. A lawyer for the government argued the claims are based on his detention in Cuba, making him ineligible to sue.

The panel is expected to issue a written ruling on the case at a later date.

A lower-court judge previously threw out Gross’ lawsuit against the government in 2013, saying federal law bars lawsuits against the government based on injuries suffered in foreign countries. Gross’ lawyers appealed.

Gross was detained in December 2009 while working to set up Internet access as a subcontractor for the U.S. government’s U.S. Agency for International Development, which does work promoting democracy in the communist country. It was his fifth trip to Cuba to work with Jewish communities on setting up Internet access that bypassed local censorship. Cuba considers USAID’s programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine its government, and Gross was tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

On Friday, Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson asked a lawyer for the government, Alan Burch, if USAID was still sending people to Cuba. He responded he didn’t know. A USAID spokesman did not immediately return a telephone call Friday.

The Associated Press has previously reported that USAID continued its democracy-building efforts in Cuba following Gross’ arrest, including one program to set up a “Cuban Twitter” and another to send young Latin Americans to Cuba.

“The goal is laudable, but this is a very dangerous thing to do, I think,” Henderson said of USAID sending people to Cuba.

Gross said in his lawsuit in 2012 that he wasn’t adequately trained or warned about the dangers, though he wrote in one report on his work that what he was doing was “very risky business in no uncertain terms.” A 2012 AP investigation also found he was using sensitive technology typically available only to governments.

Gross’ $60 million lawsuit blamed the U.S. government and the contractor he was working for, Maryland-based Development Alternatives Inc., for failing to appropriately prepare him. The lawsuit did not say how much each party should pay or how Gross’ attorneys arrived at the $60 million figure.

The Gross family settled with Development Alternatives Inc. for an undisclosed amount in May 2013.

Follow Jessica Gresko at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko.

Cuban Officer Held At Detention Centre Classed As Refugee 5

Major Ortelio Abrahantes

Major Ortelio Abrahantes

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter, Tribune 242 (Bahamas)

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE CUBAN military officer being held at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre has been classified as a refugee by the United Nations, according to legal counsel for the detainee yesterday.

Lawyer David Alvarez confirmed to The Tribune that he is also in talks with a US federal agency, which has requested the approval of the Bahamas government to interview his client Mayor (Major) Ortelio Abrahantes.

After more than five months at the detention centre, Mr Alvarez said his client was optimistic for a possible resolution to the “political tug of war” over his life.

“It has been very frustrating,” he said, “it seems like he’s in a political tug-of-war, and he’s caught in the cross fire of what I’m trying to do, which is save his life, and the Cuban officials. He has a lot of information, sensitive information that may be of interest.” Mr Alvarez said: “the Bahamian government is in the middle of this, I know they have a relationship with both American and Cuban officials.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday that he had “no comment on the matter.”

Mr Abrahantes is said to be an officer of Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior, who has defected with sensitive information involving operations conducted by the Cuban government.

According to reports, Mr Abrahantes was taken to the Bahamas on March 27 after a sail boat he was aboard was intercepted by the US Coast Guard.

Requests for assistance from the UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) have been successful, according to Mr Alvarez, who said the agency has submitted their recommendations to the Bahamas government.

“(UNHCR) said my client classifies as a refugee and should not be sent back to Cuba for his own safety and in compliance with international law. They are also going to start asylum proceedings.”

Calls placed to UNHCR representative for the Bahamas, Katie Tobin, were not returned up to press time.

Feature continues here: Major Abrahantes

 

Convicted Spy Makes First Official Visit 3

icapBy Arnaldo M Fernandez

The Vice President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), former spy Fernando González-Llort, arrives in Madrid tomorrow to take part in the annual festival of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE). It is the first time González-Llort has traveled abroad after his release. The agenda includes a concert organized by the State Committee to Free the Five and meetings with the Federation of Cuban Residents in Spain (FACRE) and representatives of solidarity groups.

According to Cuban Ambassador in Spain, Eugenio Martínez Enríquez, dozens of Spaniards rallied in Madrid, Valencia, Alicante, Sevilla, and Barcelona last Friday to demand the immediate release of the three Wasp Network spies still in prison.

Editor’s Note: ICAP’s intelligence collaboration with the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) dates back over three decades. It is not a DI entity per se, but is believed to be roughly 90% DI-affiliated due to a large pool of collaborators who serve the small team of ICAP-embedded DI officers.

Numbers Stations: A Bad Day to be a Cuban Spy Reply

SWLingPost-Spy-Numbers-Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Thomas, The SWLing Post

While band scanning last Sunday (September 8, 2014) I stumbled upon the Cuban numbers station HM01 on 11,530 kHz at 17:30 UTC.

It’s always intriguing to hear shortwave numbers stations, but I prefer those that stick to pure vocal number strings; HM01 has numbers with digital bursts between number sets, which is a more fatiguing listening experience.  Nonetheless, I kept it playing in the background as I tooled around the radio room Sunday afternoon, putting away supplies from my recent three week road trip.

Several times during the HM01 broadcast, I heard the audio (not the AM carrier) drop in the middle of numbers sets and digital bursts. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard hiccups on HM01 (see this post from last year, for example), so I wasn’t terribly surprised. Then, close to the top of the hour, HM01 audio dropped for a minute or so, then switched back to five-number sets with no digital bursts between; though I wasn’t copying the message, I suspected that someone in the studio intentionally, perhaps in frustration–or else accidentally–started the broadcast from the beginning again.

At this point, I started recording. The five-number sets continue for about a minute, then the carrier unexpectedly drops:

Feature continues here with audio: Cuban Numbers Station

 

Former DGI Officer Details The Life & Times of Senior Cuban Spy Alexis Frutos Weeden 1

Alexis Frutos Weeden(Courtesy: cafefuerte.com)

Alexis Frutos Weeden (Courtesy: cafefuerte.com)

By Chris Simmons

Former Dirección General De Inteligencia (DGI) officer Enrique García Diaz reports Alexis Frutos was selected for the DGI during his final year of high school. He then moved to Havana in 1976 to start his spy career. He married an Afro-Cuban woman who gave birth to two daughters during the 1980s. She was not a DGI official at that time.

During the years of the Reagan administration, the “Mexico Desk” at DGI headquarters had eight officers. Frutos Weeden was one of the best officers on this portfolio. Fellow “Desk Officers” included Yolanda Pascual, Enrique Vilavoy “Henry,” Luis Popa “Alan,” Pablo Avelino Gonzalez Diaz “Avelino,” Blas Andres Perira Luna “Ritz,” Orlando Fundora Jr “Aldo” and chief of Mexico operations Rolando Sarraf Elias “Elias.”

According to the CIA Directory of Cuban officials, Sarraf served as a Prensa Latina (PRELA) representative at the Cuban Embassy in the late 1970s. García Diaz and the CIA both noted Frutos Weeden’s assignment to Mexico City as the Commercial Attaché in the early-mid 1980s.

García Diaz said as of his 1989 defection, the DGI Centro in Mexico had 15 officers and had deeply penetrated the Mexican government, every major political party and all key societal sectors. He believes the (now) Directorate of Intelligence (DI) remains deeply rooted throughout the nation to this day.

Alexis Frutos is currently the Political Counselor at the Cuba Embassy in Venezuela, where García Diaz suspects he serves as the DI Centro Chief.

 

Exagente cubano revela infiltración, espionaje y control de Cuba en Venezuela y Latinoamérica 2

Visite http://www.canalntn24.com/ Rafael Alejandro Hernández, abogado y exagente de seguridad del estado de Cuba, habló en el programa La Tarde de NTN24 y aseguró que no está huyendo de un lugar sino “de alguien”. Hernández también hablo sobre su situación en Colombia y afirmó que no es un migrante económico, sino un “perseguido por cuestiones políticas”.

Cuba’s “Free The 5” Campaign Falters As Support Plummets 4

Convicted Spy Rene Gonzalez:  the poster child for the regime's "Free the 5" program

Convicted Spy Rene Gonzalez: the poster child for the regime’s “Free the 5″ program

By Chris Simmons

The headline in CubaSi proclaims “Tsunami of Messages for the Cuban Five Flood the White House.” However, all is not as it seems and even the false enthusiasm of Havana’s spinmeisters can no longer hide the truth. The “Cuban 5” campaign is dying.

A key facet of the “Cuban 5” propaganda operation has been to “flood” the White House with the letters and emails of support on the 5th day of every month. But a drought of supporters has reduced the “tsunami” to a small creek. Just a few thousand messages demanding the release of the three remaining Wasp Network spies arrived at the White House last Friday reported CubaSi.

Almost any well organized and motivated special interest group can generate hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of letters, postcards, and emails at the drop of a hat. In contrast, a Cuba-led program allegedly involving participants from over 40 nations only generates a few thousand emails and letters once a month. The men and women of the Directorate of Intelligence’s “Active Measures” Department (M-IX) should be rightfully embarrassed.

Editor’s Note:  Active Measures are the use of disinformation, threats, and/or violence to discredit opponents or otherwise manipulate the behavior of an individual or group. Disinformation is false or inaccurate information deliberately spread with the goal of rendering genuine information useless. 

Late Cuban Ambassador to Costa Rica Exposed as Career Spy 3

Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Leda Elvira Peña Hernández presenting her credentials as the Cuban Ambassador to Costa Rica.

Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Leda Elvira Peña Hernández presenting her credentials as the Cuban Ambassador to Costa Rica.

By Chris Simmons

Former Dirección General de Inteligencia (DGI) officer Enrique García Diaz identified Leda Elvira Peña Hernández as a career DGI officer.

Peña Hernández, the second Cuban Ambassador to Costa Rica, died on June 26. She had served as Ambassador since September 2012. A previous “diplomatic-cover” posting included Counselor at the Cuban Embassy in Italy, which began in September 2002. According to Granma, she was born in Villa Clara on September 14, 1949 and held a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Masters in Social Science. She spoke Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

García Diaz first met Peña Hernández (“Elvirita”) in January 1979 in what is now called Department M-II (Latin America) of the Directorate of Intelligence (DI). At that time, she had served as a member of the “Brazil Desk” in Havana for more than six years.

She was married to fellow M-II officer Javier Martinez Buduen (“Miguel Angel”). The couple had two children. In 1983 he was appointed commercial attaché at the Cuban Embassy in Ecuador. She accompanied him and served in the DGI Centro hidden within the Embassy. They returned to Cuba in 1986 and she became a member of the “Ecuador Desk” at DGI headquarters.

García Diaz observed that she held a reputation as a solid professional, while Buduen was respected as a dedicated worker. The husband-wife team joined the DGI in 1974.

FBI: Cuban Intelligence Aggressively Recruiting Leftist American Academics as Spies, Influence Agents 10

Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon

Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon

Sexual entrapment a common tactic

By Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon

Cuba’s communist-led intelligence services are aggressively recruiting leftist American academics and university professors as spies and influence agents, according to an internal FBI report published this week.

Cuban intelligence services “have perfected the work of placing agents, that includes aggressively targeting U.S. universities under the assumption that a percentage of students will eventually move on to positions within the U.S. government that can provide access to information of use to the [Cuban intelligence service],” the five-page unclassified FBI report says. It notes that the Cubans “devote a significant amount of resources to targeting and exploiting U.S. academia.”

“Academia has been and remains a key target of foreign intelligence services, including the [Cuban intelligence service],” the report concludes.

One recruitment method used by the Cubans is to appeal to American leftists’ ideology. “For instance, someone who is allied with communist or leftist ideology may assist the [Cuban intelligence service] because of his/her personal beliefs,” the FBI report, dated Sept. 2, said.

Others are offered lucrative business deals in Cuba in a future post-U.S. embargo environment, and are treated to extravagant, all-expense paid visits to the island.

Coercive tactics used by the Cubans include exploiting personal weaknesses and sexual entrapment, usually during visits to Cuba.

The Cubans “will actively exploit visitors to the island” and U.S. academics are targeted by a special department of the spy agency.

“This department is supported by all of the counterintelligence resources the government of Cuba can marshal on the island,” the report said. “Intelligence officers will come into contact with the academic travelers. They will stay in the same accommodations and participate in the activities arranged for the travelers. This clearly provides an opportunity to identify targets.”

In addition to collecting information and secrets, Cuban spies employ “influence operations,” the FBI said.

“The objective of these activities can range from portraying a specific image, usually positive, to attempting to sway policymakers into particular courses of action,” the report said.

Additionally, Cuban intelligence seeks to plant disinformation or propaganda through its influence agents, and can task recruits to actively disseminate the data. Once recruited, many of the agents are directed to entering fields that will provide greater information access in the future, mainly within the U.S. government and intelligence community.

Article continues here:  Cuban Targeting 

Miami Leftists Schedule Semi-Annual “Cuban 5” Protest This Saturday Reply

Cuban Spies

By Chris Simmons

The Cuban News Agency (ACN) reported that the pro-Castro Alianza Martiana Coalition has called for a car caravan this weekend. As in the past, the protestors are demanding the release of the three remaining Wasp Network spies and the arrest of anti-Castro activists. According to ACN, demonstrators “will gather at 10:30 am Saturday at the Youth Fair parking lot, on Coral Way or 24th Street and 112 Avenue in the Southwest…” Ninety minutes later, the caravan will depart. The duration and route of the protest was not announced.