Did Cuba Target Senator Menendez? 3

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. (Record - file photo) U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. (Record – file photo)

Fed Agent Lied About Menendez Meeting, Lawyers Say

By ABBOTT KOLOFF, staff writer | The Record

EXTRACT: Menendez’s attorneys said in court papers filed Tuesday that they anticipate disclosing “classified information” at trial about a “foreign service” that planted allegations against the senator “to discredit him for his foreign policy and national security views.” Last year, The Washington Post reported that the Central Intelligence Agency provided the Justice Department with information that the tip could have been connected to the Cuban government. Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants, has been a vocal critic of President Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.

A federal agent gave false testimony to a grand jury to make it appear that meetings about a drug reimbursement policy were focused only on helping a wealthy Florida eye doctor win a multimillion-dollar Medicare billing dispute, attorneys for Sen. Bob Menendez said in court papers filed late Thursday.

The filing was made to bolster a request to have corruption charges dropped against the New Jersey Democrat and the doctor, Salomon Melgen, and came in response to prosecutors’ saying in papers filed more than a week ago that the senator is trying to rewrite history about his advocacy for Melgen, a longtime friend.

The attorneys alleged that prosecutors gave grand jurors bad instructions about what constitutes corruption, failed to screen them for bias, leaked information that compromised the defense, and were “preoccupied with sex” by focusing on issues related to Melgen’s girlfriends and an investigation of underage prostitutes that turned out to be groundless.

Prosecutors have said they may call Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Kathleen Sebelius, the former secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, to testify about a meeting they had with Menendez.

According to Menendez’s attorneys, Sebelius has said Reid and Menendez spoke to her during the meeting about how a drug reimbursement policy “was unfair to health providers.” According to court documents, a health official told the FBI that the senators were “not there to talk about a particular case; they were there to talk about policy.”

Article continues here: Did Cuba Target Menendez?

 

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Castro’s STASI-trained secret police sets up false twitter accounts,” says Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas 4

Humberto Fontova

Humberto Fontova

By Humberto Fontova, on BabaluBlog

From El Nuevo Herald:

“On his (genuine) Twitter account and on Youtube, Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas denounces the action of Cuban security of setting up a false twitter account for him as (@cocofariñas32) at the beginning of October.”

(His genuine twitter is @cocofarinas)

(“El opositor cubano Guillermo Fariñas denunció en su cuenta de Twitter, y en un video en You Tube, que la seguridad del estado cubano había creado una cuenta falsa a principios de octubre, @cocofariñas32, donde se mezclan Tweets reales con opiniones falsas.)

Here’s what Castro’s secret police is posting on Fariñas’ bogus twitter account:

Feature continues here: Cuban Regime’s Fake Twitter Accounts

 

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. 

Cuban ‘Dissident’ Says He Was Really an Infiltrator 3

State Security collaborator Ernesto Vera

State Security collaborator Ernesto Vera

Lawyer Ernesto Vera said his main task was to attack and sow discord within two key Cuban opposition groups on the island.

By Juan O. Tamayo, JTamayo@ElNuevoHerald.com

A Cuban lawyer has confessed that he was a State Security collaborator for the four years he spent portraying himself as a dissident and harshly attacking two of the country’s most active opposition groups.

Ernesto Vera, 34, had been accused of being a collaborator last year, but his confession cast a rare spotlight on how State Security agents recruit informants and pay them thousands of dollars to discredit dissidents and generate rivalries among them.

Vera also pointed a finger at five other Cubans who in his view have been suspiciously critical of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) and the Ladies in White, the largest and most aggressive dissident groups on the communist-ruled island.

“My mission within State Security was to disparage and discredit UNPACU, especially its leader, José Daniel Ferrer, and the Ladies in White,” Vera told el Nuevo Herald by phone Wednesday from his home in the eastern city of Santiago De Cuba.

But he said he sat for a 44-minute video taped confession to Ferrer earlier this month because he was “disgusted with so many lies, the double life and faking a friendly relationship with people I hated so much.”

The two men shook hands at the end of the video.

State Security began the slow work of recruiting him as “Agent Jorge” after he was fired as a law professor at a medical school in Santiago, he said. Until then, he had been only on the periphery of dissident groups.

People who identified themselves as dissidents arranged to meet him in public places. But they were State Security agents and their meetings were videotaped — recordings then used to blackmail him into becoming an informant in 2010, Vera said. They also threatened to kill his mother and make it look like an accident unless he cooperated.

“I am ashamed to say I was a coward,” he told el Nuevo Herald, confirming that he had recorded the talk with Ferrer and written a three-page confession dated July 5 and published Tuesday by UNPACU.

“All of my attacks on José Daniel Ferrer and the Ladies in White were ordered by State Security,” he said. They were part of a one-two punch, “to discredit the dissidents and lessen the impact of the repression when it came.”

The lawyer said he falsely accused Ferrer of stealing money sent by supporters abroad and abusing his wife. He and another infiltrator also sparked the biggest schism within the Ladies in White, causing about 30 members in Santiago to break with the main group.

Vera said he wrote the attacks with information and photos provided by State Security Col. Ernesto Samper. He was paid several thousand dollars over four years so he could send his columns abroad via the Internet, which costs $6 to $10 per hour in Cuba.

Read more here: State Security agent Ernesto Vera

Editor’s Note:  For additional background, also see Cuban Dissidents Plant a Hoax to Trap Government Spies and Ladies in White Resign Over Alleged State Security Infiltrator

 

 

Daily Caller Editor Vows To Investigate ‘Bizarre Claim’ Cuban Spies Used His Site To Spread A Fake Senate Sex Scandal Reply

Sen. Robert Menendez

Sen. Robert Menendez

By Hunter Walker, Business Insider

A popular conservative news site is at the center of an alleged plot by Cuban spies to smear New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez with a fake sex scandal.

Daily Caller Editor In Chief Tucker Carlson he’s is looking into a “bizarre claim” made by an attorney for Menendez that Cuban intelligence agents may have planted false stories claiming the senator had encounters with underage prostitutes on the site.

“I guess this means Menendez no longer thinks the story is part of a racist plot against him, as he initially suggested. But Cuban intelligence? It’s a bizarre claim, and self-serving, and they’ve produced no evidence of any kind to prove it. Obviously we’re skeptical, but we’re making calls right now to see what we can dig up,” Carlson told Business Insider in an email Monday night.

According to a Washington Post story published Monday, Stephen M. Ryan, a lawyer for the Democratic lawmaker, claimed U.S. officials believe agents of the Cuban government may have attempted to damage Menendez’s reputation due to his criticism of the Castro regime and position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Ryan made his blockbuster claim in a letter to the Department of Justice calling for an investigation into a possible Cuban plot to smear the senator.

Both Ryan and Menendez office did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider about the letter. A spokesperson for the FBI field office in Miami, which was reportedly looking into the initial allegations about Menendez also did not respond.

The Post noted the Cuban government has previously been accused of smearing opponents, including Menendez, with false media reports.

Accusations Menendez employed underage prostitutes at a resort in the Dominican Republic first appeared in the Daily Caller in late 2012. The first story about the scandal was written by Matthew Boyle and featured videos of women who claimed “Menendez agreed to pay them $500 for sex acts, but in the end they each received only $100.”  Boyle, who is now a reporter for Breitbart News, did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

After Boyle’s story was published ABC reported tipsters attempted to bring the videos detailing the accusations against Menendez to other media outlets prior to the Daily Caller. Menendez’s alleged contact with the prostitutes was said to have taken place while he was traveling in the Dominican Republic with a donor, a wealthy doctor named Salomon Melgen.

The Justice Department is currently investigating whether Menendez used his office to aid Melgen’s business interests. In April, new data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services showed Melgen collected more money from Medicare in 2012 than any other doctor in the country.

According to a Dominican prosecutor, a lawyer for the woman involved in the story later claimed he was offered money to get them to lie about Menendez on tape by a man named “Carlos” who said he worked for the Daily Caller. A man named “Carlos” briefly appeared in one of the video clips showing the women being interviewed. In March of last year, a spokeswoman for the site told ABC News the Daily Caller had no connection to anyone named “Carlos.”

Editor’s Note:  Cuban Intelligence has a long history of using an intelligence technique known as “Active Measures” against U.S. politicians. Within the spy profession, Active Measures are defined as activities which use disinformation, threats, and/or violence to discredit opponents or otherwise manipulate the behavior of an individual or group.

For example, evidence presented during the trial of the Wasp Network spies revealed that the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) ordered Active Measures against no less than six U.S. political figures.

More specifically, DI headquarters ordered the Wasps to use two agents to infiltrate Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart’s reelection campaign. Once immersed in the campaign, the spy ring planned to publicize derogatory information to discredit, harass, or neutralize Congress’ Cuban-American contingent.

Additionally, Miami Herald journalist Gail Epstein Nieves reported on January 23, 2001 that Havana ordered the Wasp Network’s target list to focus on those officials who “COULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON FORMULATING POLICY TOWARD CUBA.” Furthermore, other Wasp communications referred to the three highly influential and strongly anti-Castro Congressional officers as “THE THREE PESTS”:  Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, and Senator Bob Menendez. Evidence also proved the DI planned to place one or more agents on the Congresswoman’s staff.

The Herald went on to note that other targets included state Senator Mario Diaz-Balart, Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas and Hialeah Council President Herman Echevarria. This Active Measures operation was run by Major Ramón Labañino Salazar. It was codenamed Operation Giron, after the beachhead where the Bay of Pigs invasion failed.

 

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.