The Left’s Love Affair With American Traitor, Ana Belen Montes 2

Convicted spy Ana Belen Montes

Convicted spy Ana Belen Montes

Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes

by W. T. Whitney, Counterpunch

The U.S. government has imprisoned Ana Belen Montes for almost 15 years. Now an international campaign on her behalf is gaining steam with committees active in Latin America, Europe, Canada, and the United States. Arrested by the FBI two weeks after September 11, 2001, and charged with conspiring to commit espionage for Cuba, this high – level analyst for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Service avoided a death sentence for treason by pleading guilty and telling all to the U. S. Justice Department.

Ana Belen Montes received no money. The former specialist in Cuban and Latin American affairs is serving a 25-year jail term.

Three petitions, accessible here, here and here, are circulating; one asks for her release, two for humane treatment. Defenders charge that in prison in Texas, Montes is isolated from the general prison population and prevented from receiving visitors, telephone calls and emails.

Advocates face an uphill battle. Documents relating to her trial and press reports then and since portray her as a U. S. citizen who took the wrong side in a U. S. war. Government officials probably despised one of their own who betrayed them. Maybe her family’s Puerto Rican origins gave rise to suspicions she sympathized with Cuba and Puerto Rico’s shared anti-colonial struggle. True or not, her fate stands as a warning for Puerto Ricans.

With U. S. war against Cuba continuing, the U.S. government likely will resist both easing up on her prison conditions and releasing her. For the new solidarity movement she is a hero, but really she’s a special kind of hero: a prisoner of war true to her cause.

There was a war. While the U. S. government shied away from military invasion after the failed Bay of Pigs venture in 1961, warlike aggression was the norm until the 1990s. At one time or another, U. S. government agents or proxy warriors carried out sabotage, armed thuggery in the Cuban hinterlands, microbiological warfare, bombings of tourist facilities, and miscellaneous terror attacks throughout the island. Few would deny that the bombing of a fully loaded Cuban passenger plane in 1976 was an act of war.

The U. S. economic blockade, engineered to deprive Cubans of goods and services essential for their survival, caused yet more distress. U. S. government leaders believed misery would induce Cubans to overthrow their government. Aggressors within the George W. Bush administration had a replacement government waiting in the wings.

Feature continues here: Left Lionizes Montes




  1. Following is what I believe about the Ana Belén Montes case. “The all-knowing, almighty, U.S. Intelligence apparatus”, with the CIA as part of its central nerve center, was rubber stamping—by allowing it to happen before their own watch, through the year 2000—everything an inconspicuous woman named Ana Belén Montes recommended, which served to directly produce the White House´s official position of the United States policy toward Cuba, during President Bill Clinton´s administration. And that official position was: “Cuba was no longer a risk factor to the U.S.” Meanwhile, the same inconspicuous woman, Ana Belén Montes, had already infiltrated and manipulated all the key and most highest sensitive intelligence prongs to generate the production of such a false—and pre-meditated—false recommendations becoming a huge U.S. intelligence SNAFU, now a part of U.S. History, meanwhile she spied for Cuba. Surely, no one can deny this. It is like something right out of a spy fiction novel.

    But all I know for sure and have evidence of, is to the fact; a full-page newspaper article was privately written, financed ($15,000) and published in June 28, 2000 by a private individual, as it appeared in the Washington Times, cornerstone to Ana Belén Montes´ discovery to be a Cuba spy and apprehension. Such newspaper article, precisely questioned, what was—in effect—an opposition to the White House official stance toward Cuba (that Cuba was no longer a risk factor) under the watch, in that year 2000, of the “almighty, all knowing, U.S. Intelligence apparatus”, which actually and regrettably should have known better that Cuba was in fact a risk factor then. It was on August 01, 2000, less than 30 working days, after the newspaper article had been published, the “higher-ups” with decision-making power at the intelligence apparatus, who had obviously seen and read the Washington DC published and privately funded ($15,000) newspaper article, which thereafter directed two intelligence officers to investigate Ana Belén Montes. They became guided by the theme of this newspaper article, which proved Cuba was a risk factor to the United States then. And it was obvious, if Ana Belén Montes was promoting the gruesome false intelligence policy that Cuba no longer represented a risk for the United States, while she was spying for Cuba and the privately funded newspaper article unknowingly of the fact she existed, but nevertheless conscious of other material factors existed as published, which stated Cuba was a risk for the U.S..

    That, in itself, was a sure starting point and lead for U.S. intelligence to probe Ana Belén Montes who formulated the policy that Cuba was no longer a risk for the United States and everyone seemed to swallow that falsehood. No one, who was anybody of substance in government, in Washington DC, would have missed that full-page newspaper article published in the Washington Times, which challenged as erroneous the policy of the President of the United States publicly and that also encouraged the President to review his policy toward Cuba which stated Cuba to be a non-risk factor to the United States. Moreover, no one of any substance in government would have missed that newspaper article, because it appeared published (by the own decision of the Washington Times), precisely, opposite to the published Presidential agenda of the day, which was detailed by time schedule, for reference.

    That is how the U.S. intelligence apparatus got on an intelligence investigation track leading to Ana Belén Montes. Meanwhile, right after the newspaper article was privately written, funded ($15,000) and published, the Clinton administration had the writer of the privately funded newspaper article indicted on a fabricated case, while others took credit for uncovering Ana Belén Montes, but who had become merely bird dogs on a hunt from the idea started from the newspaper article, which the higher-ups initiated and not the bird dog intelligence officers. The truth will come out one day, for sure, it´s matter of timing. The indictment even came under the pseudo-last name in the signature of the writer who had planted it there in the event (as the writer suspected it could have personal repercussions from the Clinton White House) he would become a targeted. It was amazing patriotism by the writer. Ironically, the writer of the privately funded and published newspaper article did the opposite of a Snowden who is a traitor and gave away secrets of the United States or the opposite of a WikiLeaks.

    The writer, instead, intended to help his government in the U.S., by publishing information to change its erroneous policy toward Cuba, for the U.S.´s own protection. But the White House, then, had other interests, such as getting back—even—after being two consecutive four year terms, into the White House, through a Senatorial candidacy, later, in New York by the first Lady who would be largely dependent on the Puerto Rican vote, crucial for a win in New York State Senatorial race. And just like the writer of the privately funded newspaper article pointed out, it occurred. This all happened during the island of Vieques fiasco, in Puerto Rico when for a whole year our Armed Forces, also at the direction of the White House, were not allowed to practice military maneuvers in Vieques which had been conducted there for over 60 years. An undisclosed source informed the writer of the newspaper article, the target investigation against him and the subsequent indictment came directly from Washington DC. In time, this will be known one day.

    Ana Belén Montes is one in a long list of other “snafus” of U.S. Intelligence. Notwithstanding, I offer you here other fourteen (14) other, equally huge, intelligence errors, which tend to purport that what people inside, “the inside”, within the intelligence apparatuses are in reliance upon, precisely, is derived many times from the “outside info”. Many times, history has proven and not on simple matters, but worse on very delicate and complex matters the CIA is not infallible. There is no grandstanding about the infallibility of the intelligence so called “inside information”. That would be a sure sign of failure to come.

    HOWEVER, THE FACTS ARE: The history of the CIA is littered with spectacular intelligence mistakes. Sometimes, the correction of one error can lead to a new error, as analysts atone for past mistakes by moving too far in the opposite direction. I have compiled a list of such huge catastrophic mistakes with the assistance of researchers at the indispensable National Security Archive, a non-profit group that has published more than half a million government documents.

    So, this is part of the public domain, make no mistake. As a disclaimer: the CIA has had some successes too, but let their public relations operation draw up that particular list. Just remember one thing the U.S. Intelligence community owes itself to the American public as I and you´re not a breed apart and with infallible powers. Many Fortune 50 companies and Japanese corporations have better industrial espionage dispositions and better management decision making powers than the U.S. intelligence community. I´m personally unimpressed by all of the B.S. that goes on. 1956 Soviet control over Eastern Europe.
    In an NIE released in January, the CIA said that Moscow would remain in full control of Eastern Europe through 1960 at least. Five months later, there were riots in Poland, followed by a revolution in Hungary in October/November that had to be put down by a Soviet invasion.

    1.) 1958 The “Missile Gap.”
    NIE 11-5-58 predicted that the Soviet Union would have 500 intercontinental missiles “sometime in 1961, or at the latest in 1962.” After the U.S. launched a spy satellite called Corona in 1960, the estimate was downgraded to 10-25 ICBMs. The Soviets actually had four ICBMS in 1961. To be fair to the CIA, this is an example of where they get it wrong, but they also thought up the technological solution, in the form of Corona.

    2.) 1961 Bay of Pigs
    President Kennedy used 1,500 Cuban exiles to try to overthrow Fidel Castro. The plan was for a CIA-trained force of exiles to seize an isolated area along Cuba’s southern coast. The invasion was a disaster. In a postmortem conducted by the CIA, inspectors “concluded that the operation’s unorthodox command structure ensured that vital information would not be properly disseminated,” and thus “the Agency’s principals had been derelict in their duty to advise the White House of the growing possibility of disaster” (CIA). Basically, the CIA knew the invasion would most likely not succeed, and didn’t inform the president. Conspiracy theorists would later posit that this is why the CIA wanted to assassinate Kennedy: He was angry and thought, “How could I have been so stupid?” to trust the people who were advising him, and he wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.” (Marquette University)

    3.) 1962 The Cuban Missile Crisis.
    On September 19, the CIA told Kennedy that the establishment of a Soviet missile force on Cuban soil was “incompatible with Soviet policy as we presently estimate it.” A month later, an Air Force U-2 took photographs of Soviet missile sites. This is another case where the CIA got it wrong, and then partially rectified the mistake. (The U-2 was a CIA program.) They still missed a hundred or so battlefield nuclear weapons on Cuba, and underestimated the number of Soviet troops on the island by a factor of three.

    4.) 1965 The Soviet ICBM buildup. The CIA missed the Soviet missile buildup, partly in response to the humiliation of the Cuban missile crisis. A subsequent CIA director, Robert Gates, later wrote that the Agency “did not foresee this massive Soviet effort to match and then surpass the United States in strategic missile numbers and capabilities — and did not understand Soviet intentions.” This seems to be a case where the Agency swung from one extreme to another. Having overestimated the Soviet missile buildup in the Fifties, they underestimated it in the Sixties.

    5.) 1972 Nixon and Watergate
    In June 1972, five people broke into the Democratic National Headquarters in order to bug their telephones. The event led all the way to the top of the food chain: Republican President Richard Nixon. Nixon resigned in disgrace, but he tried to save himself first. In what became known as the “Smoking Gun,” tapes revealed Nixon and his Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman, trying to block investigations by having the CIA falsely claim to the FBI that national security was involved. Nixon approved the plan. Click here to listen to it. The FBI initially agreed to this due to a long-standing agreement between the FBI and CIA not to uncover each other’s sources of information. Though within a couple of weeks, the FBI demanded this request in writing, and when no such formal request came, the FBI resumed its investigation into the money trail. While not a true blunder per se, the case isn’t helped by the fact that one of the burglars was an ex-CIA agent, E. Howard Hunt.

    6.) 1978 The Iranian revolution. In August 1978, CIA issued an NIE that said Iran “is not in a revolutionary or even a prerevolutionary situation.” The Shah fled Iran six months later.

    7.) 1990 Two blunders on Iraq.
    On July 31, The CIA dismissed the likelihood of an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Saddam Hussein invaded two days later. The CIA also significantly underestimated the scale of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program. As described in the book “Legacy of Ashes” by Tim Weiner, the CIA was caught completely off-guard when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Then-CIA Director Robert Gates was at a family picnic when a friend of his wife asked him, “What are you doing here?” He replied, “What are you talking about?” She said, “The invasion.” Mr. Gates asked, “What invasion?” (The Telegraph). Unfortunately, this back-and-forth lacked a lot of central intelligence.

    8.) 1991 The Collapse of the Soviet Union
    People agree the fall of the Iron Curtain was a good thing. However, the surprise of it all was a bad thing, which resulted in a costly and unnecessary U.S. defense buildup. Critics would argue that it was the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality that forced the Soviet Union to go broke and collapse. As Gregory Treverton from the RAND Corporation wrote, “In retrospect, there were signs aplenty of a sick society. Emigres arrived with tales of Soviet toasters that were as likely to catch fire as to brown bread.” Author Thomas Powers contended that most observers, including the CIA, thought, “psychologically we had a very deep investment in believing that nothing was going to happen — forever.” (CIA) Either way, for many years there was hype regarding the Soviet military threat from the intelligence community, and only after the fall of the Berlin Wall did the world get a chance to see decaying military systems up close.

    9.) 1998 The Indian bomb.
    The CIA failed to predict the testing of an Indian nuclear bomb in May 1998. The chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Richard Shelby, bemoaned “a colossal failure of our nation’s intelligence gathering.” The CIA was better prepared for the first Pakistan nuclear test a few days later. India conducted nuclear tests and the American intelligence apparatus was caught off guard. The failure could’ve led to a nuclear arms race in Southeast Asia. Richard Shelby, then-member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called it a “colossal failure.” Nuclear experts credit India with “knowing when to hide from U.S. spy satellites rather than American spies being asleep at the wheel.” Said Indian nuclear researcher G. Balachandran, “It’s not a failure of the CIA; it’s a matter of their intelligence being good, our deception better.” (Federation of American Scientists).

    10.) 1999 Iranian missiles.
    A September 1999 intelligence forecast said that Iran could test an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting U.S. territory “in the next few years.” Eight years later, Iran has made little progress toward acquiring an ICBM. In a January 2002 article for the Post, I argued that the upgrading of the Iranian and North Korean ballistic missile threat came at least partly in response to political pressure from the missile defense lobby.

    11.) 2002-2003 Iraqi weapons of Mass Destruction.
    The CIA, in NIE 2002-16HC, said that Iraq had “continued its weapons of mass destruction program,” and could build a nuclear bomb “within several months to a year” if it obtained the necessary fissile material. Evidence for such a program was never found and it subsequently turned out that a key CIA source, a defector codenamed Curveball, had lied extensively. As with the October 1962 NIE issued just prior to the Cuban missile crisis, the 2002 NIE illustrates the corrosive power of conventional wisdom. Since Iraq previously had a WMD program, the operating assumption was that it still had one. The CIA relied on a single source–an Iraqi citizen codenamed “Curve Ball” who defected in 1999 –who claimed Iraq was manufacturing mobile weapons laboratories. Even journalists are supposed to have at least two corroborating sources before going to print. The United States attacked a nation based on the veracity of one. To be fair, when CIA veteran Tyler Drum Heller appeared on “60 Minutes” in 2009, he said, “It just sticks in my craw every time I hear them say it’s an intelligence failure. It’s an intelligence failure. This was a policy failure … the idea of going after Iraq was U.S. policy. It was going to occur one way or the other.”

    12.) The Wrong Man (2003)
    In 2003, Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen in Macedonia, was grabbed off a bus and taken to a secret prison in Afghanistan as part of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program. He was held there for five months. El-Masri was suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda, but he was the wrong guy. The mix-up was due to a misunderstanding concerning his name with the real suspected terrorist, as the names are spelled the same when using Arabic script. He was released on an order from then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice when she learned of his detention. Since 2001, the CIA has captured an estimated 3,000 people and transported them around the world. The program is still in existence, although scaled back. New rules state that suspects will be treated humanely and taken only to countries that have jurisdiction over the individual.

    13.) Pizza Hut (Iran, 2011)
    This recent, shocking blunder involves more than a dozen CIA informants in the Middle East facing execution after being caught by Hezbollah. Basically, their CIA handlers were using traceable mobile phones and used the code word “pizza” when agreeing to meet at a Beirut Pizza Hut. According to the Associated Press, Hezbollah counter-intelligence detected mobile phones that “were rarely used or always from specific locations and only for a short period of time.” A former intelligence officer told ABC News that, “CIA officers ignored warnings that the operation could be compromised by using the same location for meetings with multiple assets … We were lazy and the CIA is now flying blind against Hezbollah.” (Not to mention getting these guys, in all likelihood, killed).

    14.) 9/11
    The most notable CIA blunder on the list is the catastrophe of 9/11. The seminal event of this century, it created a National Intelligence Director, a National Counterterrorism Center, gave birth to rendition, two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq), the rise of the TSA and the ubiquitous concrete barriers around skyscrapers. All because, as the 9/11 Commission noted, the intelligence community had “an overwhelming number of priorities, flat budgets, an outdated structure, and bureaucratic rivalries.” (Foreign Policy) Various autobiographies written later had their authors, of course, say they tried to sound the alarm but were ignored, (Richard Clarke, etc.).

  2. The Cuban government is intensely pursuing Ana Belen Montes for the single reason that even though she has been incarcerated since the end of last century and most of the classify information she knew is already irrelevant,there is always a chance by the Cubans to exploit the modus operandi of the organization she used to belong. The Cuban interest arouse since the Russians crisis with the west. The Castro regime want to use Montes as political propaganda to revive fallen heroes which they have none due to the defections of very relevant political figures to the West in recent years. Montes as an analyst still has pertinent information about the capacity of the US to wage war, the Russian and Cuban have knowledge of this fact and they would love to debrief Montes about her knowledge. In Synthesis the Cubans are pursuing Montes for her past knowledge of information and for political propaganda.

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