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 

Cuban Spy Communications Intercepted Yesterday 3

A shortwave radio (High Frequency) enthusiast recorded this “Numbers Station” broadcast yesterday. Thirty-two seconds into the video, you will hear distinct tones before the automated female voice begins the broadcast.

In the past, a “Numbers Station” broadcast would always consist of 150 five-number groups. Over time, Havana migrated to this hybrid broadcast, consisting of sporadic voice laced together with the digital transmission of compressed data. This evolution both lessens the possibility of errors made by the receiving spy and allows for the transfer of infinitely more information. The Cuban spy will use a cipher program to automatically decrypt and decompress the recorded digital signal.

Other recent intercepts:

October 1, 2013
Cuban Numbers Station HM01 @10715 kHz SW AM
Recorded in Hamina, Finland

September 28, 2013
Overlapping messages from the Cuban Numbers Station
Location unknown

September 26, 2013
Cuban Numbers Station HM01 @10715 kHz SW AM
Recorded in Hamina, Finland

August 31, 2013-10-24
Cuban Numbers Station HM01 @17480 kHz at 2209 UTC
Recorded in Northeast Ohio, USA

Shortwave Radio Broadcast to Deployed Cuban Spy – Recorded Late March 2013 4

HMO1 Cuba Spy Numbers 11635 khz am @0520utc

Nice four minutes of the start of HM01, a Cuban “Spy Numbers” broadcast featuring a traditional female announcer with switch to data using Winradio Excalibur pro and wire antenna. QTH is Tampa Florida and as you can hear, the signal strength is really strong.

Havana’s Smear Campaign Against Cuban Blogger Yoani Sanchez Follows Her To Brazil Reply

BY Ryan Villarreal, International Business Times

Cuba’s most prominent dissident Yoani Sanchez has described the ridicule she encountered upon her arrival in Brazil by pro-Fidel Castro leftists as an extension of Havana’s “information war” against her. Waving Cuban flags, protesters called Sanchez a “mercenary” for the U.S. government and tossed photocopied dollar bills at her she passed, flanked by her own supporters, through the Guararapes International Airport in northeastern Brazil Monday morning.

“On arrival many friends welcomed me and other people shouted insults. I wish in Cuba we could do the same. Long live freedom!” Sanchez wrote in a post on her Twitter account, which has been blocked by the Cuban government for the few Cubans that have access to the Internet. Later in the evening, more protesters showed up in the city of Bahia to picket the screening of a documentary featuring commentary from Sanchez, titled “Connection Cuba-Honduras,” forcing the event to be cancelled. Sanchez, who was in attendance, attempted to open a dialogue with her detractors but was ignored and shouted over. “They repeated a hackneyed, identical script without any intention of listening to my response,” Sanchez wrote in her latest blog entry. “They responded to orders … I could see the long arm that moves from the Revolution Square in Havana.”

The Brazilian magazine Veja first reported that the Cuban government was coordinating a local defamation campaign against Sanchez through its diplomats. “The plan to spy on and embarrass Yoani Sanchez was drafted by the Cuban government, but will run with the knowledge and support of the PT (Workers’ Party), the party activists and at least one employee of the Presidency,” wrote Veja reporter Robson Bonin. The presidential employee, Ricardo Martins Poppi, an aide to Gilberto Carvalho, chief minister in President Dilma Rousseff’s cabinet, told Veja he had attended a clandestine meeting on Feb. 6 which discussed migration policy and Sanchez’s upcoming trip.[emphasis added] “That doesn’t surprise me, it’s part of an information war,” Sanchez said in her initial response, the Miami Herald reported.

Sanchez, 37, has gained international recognition for her blog Generation Y, established in 2007 and in which she has written about her experiences living in Cuba. Her writing, which has been critical of the Cuban government at times, has gotten her blacklisted. Her blog has been blocked and she is only able to publish it through the covert help of supporters who can transfer her entries from her portable hard drive onto the Internet. In the past five years she has been denied an exit visa to leave the country over 20 times until the travel restriction was universally lifted last month. Sanchez has also reported multiple instances of harassment, intimidation and physical abuse from Cuban police and Castro supporters, though she has never been arrested. [emphasis added]

One of Sanchez’s supporters, Sebastian Arcos, a Cuban exile and Associate Director of Development at the School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University, said the Cuban government is threatened by her because she was born and raised in Cuba, a product of the education system and therefore her criticisms are rooted in the genuine experiences of a Cuban citizen. Aside from two years Sanchez spent studying in Switzerland from 2002 to 2004, she has spent the rest of her life in Cuba.

“They see her as an internal threat and she has been able to disarm them by engaging them in a civilized way,” Arcos said. “There is nothing more dangerous to a totalitarian regime than a well-educated, articulate and civilized opponent.” Arcos added that Sanchez is considered even more threatening because her writing is not overtly political. “She is not an active member of any dissident movement,” he said. “She is a human being, and she has political opinions, but her primary goal is free expression in its purest form.”

Sanchez has embarked on a three-month world tour, making her first stop in Brazil among roughly a dozen countries, including the U.S., Mexico and Spain.

Breaking News: Cuban Ambassador Makes “Off-the-Record” Appearance at “Target-Rich” University 3

Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez is currently scheduled to be at Georgetown University from noon through two p.m. to speak at the Ambassador Series, hosted by the school’s Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS). Georgetown is a longtime target of Cuban Intelligence, a fact documented by well-respected Directorate of Intelligence (DI) defector Jose Cohen in his 2002 publication, El Servicio de Inteligencia Castrista y la Comunidad Academica Norteamericana (See:
el-servicio-de-inteligencia-castrista-y-la-comunidad-academica-norteamericana). Havana regularly seeks opportunities to “spot and assess” sympathetic individuals from among Georgetown’s students to develop the next generation of “penetration” agents within the U.S. government.

CFR Hosts “Unannounced” Presentation With Chief of Cuban Interests Section 1

On Wednesday, January 25th, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington DC hosted an unpublicized presentation by the Chief of the Cuban Interests Section, Ambassador José R. Cabañas. The agenda for Havana’s Ambassador called for an update on Cuba’s economic and social model. Cabañas addressed more than 40 guests on what the Interests Section referred to as “ the process of transformation going on on the island…” (sic). The event, reportedly attended by members of the U.S. academic, political, business and media world, took the form of a dialogue, moderated by Julia Sweig, a self-professed friend of half a dozen Cuban Intelligence Officers. According to an internet posting by the Interests Section, “The well-known scholar made an introduction and posed central questions, opening the floor for the audience to address specific concerns.”

Curiously, the nearly two-hour discussion from January 25th is not listed on the CFR’s roster, Past Meetings, but was belatedly “advertised” by the Cuban Interests Section on Tuesday, January 24th: Lo mas reciente en noticias

Today in History: Cuba & Czechoslovakia Began Bilateral Intelligence Operation 1

By 1962, intelligence cooperation already existed between Cuba and Czechoslovakia. Prague’s primary assistance was aiding selected Latin Americans in their covert travels to and from Cuba. The supported groups were Latin American personnel who went to Cuba for military, political, and intelligence training. Over time, Havana also requested Prague’s help in the assessment of the participants in Havana’s training. The integration of the screening, cover support, and logistical help became known as Operation Manuel. This operation began on December 17, 1962. Collaboration continued to escalate, which prompted the respective Intelligence Chiefs to meet in March 1964 to review the scope of the relationship. The two allies agreed to increased intelligence cooperation without the need for a written agreement. As evidence of Operation Manuel’s success, Czech Intelligence assessed 636 Latin American revolutionaries in Prague by April 30, 1966.

Feds: Medicare Millions Moved to Cuba Through Canada, Trinidad and Mexico 1

Federal court records reveal that a Florida money-laundering network moved Medicare millions to Cuba through Canada, Trinidad and, now, Mexico.

By Jay Weaver, JWeaver@MiamiHerald.com

A South Florida money-laundering network secretly transferred more than $30 million in illegal Medicare profits through a remittance firm with shell companies in not only Canada and Trinidad, but also in Mexico, according to court records filed Monday.

Evidence of the widening network into Mexico surfaced in the federal plea agreement of a one-time Miami medical equipment provider who pleaded guilty Friday to his role in the money-laundering conspiracy. Kirian Vega, 35, who owned Ozain Pharmacy in another person’s name, billed more than $600,000 in false claims to the taxpayer-funded Medicare program and received about $400,000. According to the plea agreement, Vega admitted he used a Florida check-cashing store to launder $124,000 of the tainted proceeds in 2009 through the shell companies of the offshore remittance company, Caribbean Transfers.

Court documents show that money was wired to Turismo dos Polos in Mexico, which transferred a portion — $45,000 — to another shell company, Communications Sophie, in Trinidad. That money was then sent to an unidentified travel agency in Cuba, records show. Last month, Caribbean Transfers was accused in an indictment of financing the complex money-laundering ring that moved millions in stolen Medicare money, mostly from South Florida, through shell companies in Canada and Trinidad and finally into Cuba’s banking system. That revelation came to light in the case of a now-convicted check-cashing store owner who was first believed to be at the center of the federal case. It marked the first time that investigators traced tainted Medicare proceeds to Cuba’s state-controlled bank. Caribbean Transfers appears to have played the dominant role in the unprecedented money-laundering scheme.

In October, prosecutors filed conspiracy charges against the founder of the Caribbean-based company, Jorge Emilio Perez, who is believed to be hiding in the Dominican Republic. Also charged: Vega and Felipe Ruiz, 38, one-time operator of two Miami medical equipment businesses under others’ names. Ruiz was charged with laundering at least $1.2 million through the check-cashing store and remittance company. The information about Caribbean Transfers, which prosecutors say is licensed by the Cuban government, was disclosed during Ruiz’s bond hearing last month. Ruiz, a Cuban-born U.S. citizen, was denied bail because a judge found he might flee to Cuba or another country.

In June, the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami made national headlines when prosecutors charged Oscar L. Sanchez, owner of the Naples check-cashing store, with conspiring to launder tens of millions of Medicare dollars via Canada and Trinidad into Cuba’s national bank. By late August, Sanchez, 47, had pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities and repay the U.S. government $10 million, consisting primarily of residential investment properties he acquired with his wife in Southwest Florida.

The U.S. attorney’s office has said it has no evidence that the Cuban government was part of the laundering scheme, and Cuban officials have denied any involvement. Sanchez, also a Cuban-born U.S. citizen, was indicted on the single conspiracy charge of playing a pivotal role in laundering the profits of 70 South Florida medical companies that falsely billed Medicare for $374.4 million and were paid $70.7 million.

Editor’s Note:  While there is currently no publicly available information connecting Cuban Intelligence to Medicare fraud, the techniques used by the indicted criminals mimics perfectly the procedures Havana’s five spy services have used for the past half century to create and run front companies.