The actress is being cast a Marita Lorenz, a young German woman who had an affair with Castro. The movie “centers on Lorenz and how she met and began an affair with Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 1959 when she was 19 years old,” claims the Hollywood Reporter. “After living with Castro for a spell, Lorenz left Cuba and joined anti-communists in the U.S., where she was recruited by the CIA for an assassination mission. In 1960, she returned to Cuba to carry out the mission but, according to lore, yielded to love.”
Editor’s Note: The Publisher’s Weekly review of the book, Marita: One Woman’s Extraordinary Tale of Love and Espionage from Castro to Kennedy concluded, “Like other sensational conspiracy stories, this one presses the limits of credibility…” Similarly, Lorenz was interviewed by Castro apologist Ann Louise Bardach in 1993 for a feature in Vanity Fair. Bardach subsequently wrote: “at least half of her story is readily documented by the accounts of others and FBI memorandum, the other half lacks any corroboration, at times, flies in the face of existing evidence.”
The Tampa Tribune’s recent editorial, “Get behind consulate effort,” is an interesting read, mostly because of its total lack of understanding of US national security and Castro’s Cuba. For example, the feature claims “warnings by several former military officials that the local Cuban consulate would become a hotbed for espionage seem to us overwrought.” It then concedes that Havana undoubtedly DOES collect against MacDill Air Force Base, but proposes that a consulate would actually “make it easier to keep tabs on Cuban officials.”
It seems the Tribune is speaking out of both sides of its mouth. Just last month, it ran a story highlighting several Cuban espionage operations in the area. Now it insists adding more spies – this time based out of consulate – would make it easier to find them.
What the paper meant to say is finding spies hidden among a consulate’s diplomats is easier then finding them operating somewhere within the greater Tampa/St Pete metropolitan area. That point is true – and totally irrelevant. Operationally, the local Cuban spy networks already in play would avoid contact with any of their diplomatic facilities because of the inherent risks. These covert spies – when caught – go to jail – as did many members of Cuba’s Wasp Network, a branch of which was headquartered in Tampa. Diplomat-spies are different, as immunity precludes their arrest.
Furthermore, who will monitor these new Cuban spies? I suspect local counterintelligence entities are already busy hunting down other clandestine networks run by the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Cubans, ISIS, etc. What will local politicians say when these unmonitored Cubans are later caught conducting economic espionage against local businesses?
Havana’s acquisition of a Hellfire missile should remind everyone that US secrets are for sale around the clock. Cuba’s intelligence services would welcome the opening of a Tampa consulate – but only as a tool augmenting a very lucrative revenue stream.
The Post & Courier (Charleston, SC) A powerful U.S. air-to-ground missile whose design and electronics are a military secret has ended up in the hands of the Cuban government through a series of bizarre mishaps or deliberate theft that could be the plot for a Cold War comedy — or something much darker.
The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. officials fear that whether it got the missile by accident or design, the Cuban government has likely shared its secrets with countries like China, North Korea or Russia, and that copies could soon turn up on the international arms market.
Despite thawing U.S. relations with Cuba, the State Department has reportedly been unable to get the missile back or find out what happened to it.
According to the Journal, an unarmed version of the Hellfire air-to-ground missile, designed to kill tanks, was loaned by its manufacturer, Lockheed-Martin, to NATO for a training exercise in Spain. It was supposed to be returned by air from Madrid via Frankfurt, Germany, but its clearly marked shipping case somehow ended up going to Paris where it was loaded on an Air France flight to Havana, and there it vanished.
The FBI and U.S. intelligence agents are still trying to figure out whether the diversion of the missile to Cuba was purely accidental or a clever Cuban intelligence coup.
Article continues here: Did Cuba Steal US Missile?
ESPIONAGE was suspected after it was revealed a high-tech US missile was accidentally shipped to Cuba.
A Lockheed Martin Hellfire missile was mistakenly shipped from Europe there in 2014.
It was supposed to go from France to Florida, but ended up in the Caribbean country under suspicious circumstances.
The dummy missile is a laser-guided, air-to-surface missile that weighs about 45kg (100lb). It can be deployed from an attack helicopter such as the Apache or an unmanned drone such as the Predator.
There are worries that the advanced technology could be passed on from Cuba to US rivals such as Russia or North Korea. In the wake of North Korea’s supposed H-bomb test, US officials say that they are trying their best to retrieve the missile.
Communist Cuba experienced a diplomatic thaw with Washington in July last year after more than 50 years of hostilities. But an embargo barring US trade and travel to the Caribbean island is still in place. And Cuba, made famous by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, still has a dire human rights record.
All recruits in East Germany, Cuba, and Russia fooled agency
BY: Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon
The CIA was fooled by scores of double agents pretending to be working for the agency but secretly loyal to communist spy agencies during the Cold War and beyond, according to a former CIA analyst, operations officer, and historian.
The large-scale deception included nearly 100 fake CIA recruits in East Germany, Cuba, as well as the Soviet Union (and later Russia) who supplied false intelligence that was passed on to senior U.S. policymakers for decades.
“During the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency bucked the law of averages by recruiting double agents on an industrial scale; it was hoodwinked not a few but many times,” writes Benjamin B. Fischer, CIA’s former chief historian.
“The result was a massive but largely ignored intelligence failure,” he stated in a journal article published last week.
The failure to recognize the double agents and their disinformation designed to influence U.S. policies “wreaked havoc” on the agency, Fischer wrote in the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence.
Fischer stated that the failure to prevent the double agent deception was dismissed by the CIA as insignificant, and that congressional oversight committees also did not press the agency to reform its vetting processes.
Fischer was a career CIA officer who joined the agency in 1973 and worked in the Soviet affairs division during the Cold War. He later sued the agency in 1996, charging he was mistreated for criticizing the agency for mishandling the 1994 case of CIA officer Aldrich Ames, a counterintelligence official, who was unmasked as a long time KGB plant.
Critics have charged the agency with harboring an aversion to counterintelligence—the practice of countering foreign spies and the vetting of the legitimacy of both agents and career officers. Beginning in the 1970s, many in the CIA criticized counter-spying, which often involved questioning the loyalties of intelligence personnel, as “sickthink.”
The agency’s ability to discern false agents turned deadly in 2009 when a Jordanian recruit pretending to work for CIA killed a group of seven CIA officers and contractors in a suicide bombing at a camp in Afghanistan.
Feature continues here: CIA’s Total Failure
Stephanie Nolen — The Globe and Mail
HAVANA – The cobbled streets of Old Havana are choked with tourists these days: sweaty, sunburned tourists from the United States, most of them, who make the rounds of the small hotels in the morning to beg and plead. But it does little good: There isn’t a room – or, often, a café table or a taxi – to be had. The tourists just keep coming – arrivals are up 62 per cent this year. But the city’s limited tourist infrastructure is bursting at the seams.
“It’s a big problem,” said Omar Everleny, an economist at the Centre for the Study of the Cuban Economy in the capital. “Havana is 100 per cent full.” The U.S. visitors have seized on new freedom to visit since the United States and Cuba normalized relations a year ago this week, but they are still mostly restricted to Havana. Yet beyond the capital, in the beach resort mecca of Varadero or the keys to the north, occupancy is also near-full, and there is a huge unmet market for beachfront rooms, sailboat slips and villas. A much-heralded process of economic reform is under way in Cuba, and foreign investment laws were made significantly more favourable for investors earlier this year – and yet the level of building pales in comparison to the size of the demand, in tourism and other sectors.
That’s due in part to the U.S. embargo, which remains firmly in place despite a year of détente. The ongoing tight control of all major economic activity by the state, and the still-strangling bureaucracy, means everything happens slowly.
But many people here – both Cubans and the handful of foreigners based in the country on behalf of international firms – express surprise that Canadian companies, in particular, aren’t a bigger presence, taking advantage of the lull before the looming U.S. storm, to build on their historical edge.
“Canadian companies could and should take advantage of the fact that they can be here already and know Cuban institutions,” said Raul Rodriguez, a researcher with the Centre for Hemispheric and United States Studies at the University of Havana. “Why aren’t there more Canadian infrastructure companies, more interests, given that there are more than one million Canadian tourists?”
“There should be a Tim Hortons in Varadero,” he added.
Feature Continues Here: Canadian Businesses Avoid Cuba
By Howard Altman | Tampa Tribune Staff
TAMPA — As civic leaders from both sides of Tampa Bay jockey to host a Cuban consulate, a small group of naysayers sees a darker side to the prospect — one rooted in continuing Cold War tensions and the island nation’s reputation for superior espionage operations.
A consulate “will be Cuba’s headquarters for intelligence operations in Tampa and Florida,” says Evelio Otero, a retired Air Force colonel who served at both U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command. “It will be a spy hotbed.”
The focus for Cuban spies would be Centcom and Socom, says Jim Waurishuk, a retired Air Force colonel who served as deputy director of intelligence for Centcom.
Otero and Waurishuk belong to a small group called “No to Cuban Consulate in Tampa,” which, as its name indicates, is opposed to having an outpost of the Castro government in the Tampa area.
Otero, born in Puerto Rico to a Cuban father, was head of Centcom’s coalition intelligence center and chief of intelligence operations forward in Qatar. His father was the first voice in Telemundo and a founder of Radio Martí, broadcasting U.S.-funded information to Cuba.
Waurishuk dealt with Cuba during his military career, including a stint as the senior intelligence officer on the White House National Security Council staff focusing on the island nation. This marks his first foray into the contentious world of Cuban-American politics.
They say their “no consulate” group consists of about a dozen people pushing officials in Tampa and St. Petersburg to reject calls to host the first Cuban consulate in the U.S. since the nation embraced Communism more than five decades ago.
Their effort includes lobbying Hillsborough County commissioners to vote against a resolution supporting a Cuban consulate in Tampa, perhaps Ybor City — a launching point for Cuban revolutions that ousted the Spanish and later brought Fidel Castro to power.
The Hillsborough County resolution has yet to come up for a vote.
But the city councils in both Tampa and St. Petersburg already have adopted resolutions inviting a Cuban consulate to their communities.
Feature continues here: Cuban Spying
By Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), THE HILL
In the 12 months since President Obama publically announced his normalization effort with the communist Castro regime, the White House should have learned two painful lessons. First, the Castro brothers have not and will not change their oppressive ways. Second, the regime’s role as “intelligence trafficker to the world” ensures it will continue seeking opportunities to undermine U.S. national security.
The Cuban military and intelligence service will use this rapprochement as a pretext to expand Cuba’s espionage efforts within our borders.
One year ago, as a concession to the Castro regime, Obama made the grave mistake of releasing the last three of five incarcerated Cuban spies known as the “Cuban Five.” These five Cuban intelligence agents were arrested by federal authorities in 1998 and subsequently convicted on several counts, including failing to register as a foreign agents, using false identities, and conspiracy to commit espionage. The network’s leader, Gerardo Hernandez, was also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder for his involvement in the shoot down of two U.S. search and rescue aircraft operated by Brothers to the Rescue, which led to the murder of three U.S. citizens and one U.S. legal permanent resident.
Cuban Military Intelligence officer Hernandez, head of the espionage ring known as the Wasp Network, was convicted in 2001. Soon thereafter, the Cubans aggressively aided the San Francisco-based National Committee to Free the Cuban Five. Now, the Cuban regime and their sympathizers are taking similar actions on behalf of Ana Belen Montes. Press reports suggest Washington and Havana are thinking about another spy trade, but this time for Montes, the highest-ranking American ever convicted of spying for Fidel Castro in our history.
A senior analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, Montes was arrested on September 21, 2001, just ten days after September 11. She later pled guilty to spying and was sentenced to a 25-year prison term. The timing of her arrest was based on the fact that the U.S. government did not want a spy in the Pentagon to endanger American combatants headed to Afghanistan.
Montes had learned of military plans for our operations in Afghanistan and we did not want her to pass along that information to our adversaries. For several years during the latter half of the 1980s, she routinely provided Cuba with information on El Salvador’s Armed Forces and its embedded U.S. advisors. In a notorious March 1987 incident, a major Salvadoran base was attacked mere weeks after Montes visited it. Sixty-eight Salvadoran soldiers and their Green Beret adviser were killed during the battle. Simply put, Montes probably has the blood of one American on her hands and the U.S. didn’t want to risk the lives of untold Americans, including American service men and women.
Feature continues here: Montes – Forgotten Spy
How I Helped the Cuban Five Escape from a Cold War Prison
Behind the Unlikely Havana-Washington-Halifax Connection
By Stephen Kimber, The Coast (Halifax)
Halifax: December 17, 2014 Inside the second-floor King’s College boardroom, close to a dozen of us huddled around a meeting table, wake-up coffees in hand, listening while our university’s director of finance walked us through her PowerPoint presentation of bad news we already knew, but in far more excruciating detail than any of us wanted to know.
We were in the trough of an existential crisis, struggling with a North America-wide decline in enrolments in liberal arts and journalism, programs we specialized in. I’d spent the last year on a succession of sub-committees, ad hoc working groups and now this College Task Force “to ensure… the institution is financially sustainable on an ongoing basis.” The projections on the screen starkly showcased the crisis. “Given our expected beginning cash balance at the end of 2014-15 and those assumptions,” the school’s finance director explained, “our deficit by the end of 2015-16 will rise to—”
Hi Hey Hello…
My iPhone was ringing! Worse, the phone was in my backpack. Worst, my backpack was on a chair on the other side of the room. Embarrassed, I scrambled to find it. My ringtone was the chorus from one of my hip-hop-musician son’s songs. Why not? Samsung thought the song’s lyrics so phone-perfect they’d built a slick, Hollywood-style video around them to advertise their Galaxy 4 phone. Normally, I found a way to work that father-brag into any conversation when my phone rang. But this did not seem the time or place.
I just want to say hello.
And hear your voice. And watch you talk.
And smell the breeze as you come across.
Hi Hey Hello.
I found the phone, stole a quick glance at the screen. The call was from Alicia Jrapko, the American head of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5. I quickly pressed “Decline.”
Feature Continues Here: Kimber Claims Credit