Cuba Spy Josefina Vidal Becomes Cuba’s Ambassador to Canada — 15 Years After Her Expulsion From The US For Espionage 3

Cuban Spy Josefina Vidal (in blue) as Cuba’s new Ambassador to Canada

(Courtesy:  Cuba’s Prensa Latina) The Governor General of Canada, Julie Payette, today received Josefina Vidal in solemn audience, who introduced her to the Letters accrediting her as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Cuba in this country.

During the ceremony, which took place at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the governor, Vidal had an exchange with Payette, who expressed the interest of the Government of the Greater one of the Antilles to broaden and strengthen the traditional mutually beneficial relations between the two nations and peoples, a note from the Cuban embassy here.

Before being appointed to represent the government in Havana in Ottawa, Vidal was director general of the United States in the Chancellery of the Caribbean island.

On December 17, 2014 the Cuban president Raúl Castro and his American counterpart, Barack Obama, announced the decision to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries and to move toward the normalization of bilateral ties, a process in which Josefina played a role of first order.

From 1999 to 2003 was first secretary of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington and subsequently took over as General Manager of North America of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean island, work which she did until being appointed ambassador to Canada.

Payette occupies the position since October 2017 and her functions eminently protocolary meetings as representative of the Queen Elizabeth is also preside over the inauguration of the Prime Minister, the chief judges and members of the Cabinet.

During the first 85 years of the existence of Canada only British personalities occupied that position, all with aristocratic titles, and became the first Canadian to reach the post was Vincent Massey in 1952, while the first female to head that office was Jeanne Sauvé, in 1984.

Editor’s Note:  Josefina Vidal was among 16 Cuban spies handpicked by the FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency for expulsion in 2003. The Cuban spy-diplomats were thrown out in retaliation for Havana’s targeting of US operations against Iraq. Vidal is assigned to Department M-I (US Targets) of the Directorate of Intelligence. Theoretically, Havana’s spies must retire from their spy service before they came become an ambassador.

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How a Miami playboy, a Russian Gangster and a Cuban Spy Plotted to Buy a Soviet Submarine and Sell it to a Colombian Drug Cartel Reply

Exotic car dealer Juan Almeida, left, Cuban spy Nelson ‘Tony’ Yester, center, and Russian strip club owner and former mob enforcer Ludwig ‘Tarzan’ Fainberg, right, conspired to buy a submarine and sell it to the Cali cartel of Colombia

 

  • Former mob enforcer and strip club owner Ludwig ‘Tarzan’ Fainberg,  exotic car importer Juan Almeida and Cuban immigrant Nelson ‘Tony’ Yester conspired
  • The trio planned to buy a Soviet submarine for the Cali drug cartel of Colombia for the purposes of trafficking cocaine
  • Tarzan and Tony even toured a Russian naval base and posed near a submarine with Russian military officers to show the cartel evidence the deal could be done
  • Tony told the Cali cartel that he needed money in installments to broker the deal but absconded with $10million – and remains on the run
  • Tarzan, a Russian immigrant, testified against Juan but recanted after he was deported to Israel – meaning none of the three remained behind bars
  • Tarzan, Juan and fugitive Tony – as well as members of the law enforcement task force who tracked them – agreed to be interviewed for a new documentary
  • The film is named for the task force, Operation Odessa, which was set up to monitor collaborations between Russian criminals and Colombian cartels
  • Director Tiller Russell smuggled himself into a Panamanian prison and followed Tony to an undisclosed location in Africa during the making of the film
  • Russell says he hopes the film is a ‘rock’n’roll thrill ride into the underworld, where you get a passport to a life and lifestyle and characters that you didn’t even imagine existed – much less having a ringside seat with them’

By Sheila Flynn For Dailymail.com

A large Russian man called Tarzan sits in an armchair against the backdrop of a cracked and stained wall, a pack of cigarettes, lighter and an ash tray on a table to his left, and he shrugs as he talks about a deal he tried to broker more than 20 years ago.

‘I had a friend of mine living in St. Petersburg, and I said, “Misha, tell me something,”’ Tarzan – real name Ludwig Fainberg – says in a heavy Russian accent. ‘”I know it’s gonna be a strange question. Is this possible, to buy a military submarine – used one?” And he said, “What a question! Let me check.”

‘He called me in two days and he asked me, do we want the submarine with missiles or without missiles?’ says Tarzan.

He raises his eyebrows and looks upwards to the left to emphasize just how flabbergasted he was with Misha’s counter question. But Tarzan – a seasoned wheeler-dealer, strip club owner and former mob enforcer – took it in his stride and went back to his partners with the response.

He was, after all, working with an American playboy in Miami and a fugitive Cuban spy to procure this submarine. And they were doing it on behalf of the notorious Cali drug cartel in Colombia, who planned to use the underwater vessel to smuggle cocaine undetected.

The entire situation sounds like something dreamed up for a Miami Vice-inspired action thriller, but it actually happened in the 1990s – and the trio came very close to pulling it off before one of them pocketed the cartel’s millions and went on the run.

Now the stranger-than-fiction story is brought to life in new documentary Operation Odessa, a film that’s closer to a roller-coaster ride than anything else and premieres on Showtime March 31.

Feature continues here:  Operation Odessa

 

This Traitor Belongs in Jail, Not Free in Cuba 4

Ana Montes in 1997 receives a commendation from then-CIA Director George Tenet. She was later revealed as spy for Cuba. Photo: Courtesy of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Montes spied on her own country for Castro, doing much damage, yet Obama may soon liberate her.

By Devin Nunes, Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration is reportedly in secret negotiations with Cuba that would result in the release from federal prison of one of the most damaging American spies in U.S. history. Such an extraordinary gesture would be preposterous for many reasons.

Ana Belén Montes, who is serving a 25-year sentence as part of a 2002 plea deal, was a U.S. Justice Department official with a top-secret security clearance when she was approached by Cuban intelligence agents in 1984. At the time the Cuban regime ran a pervasive spying program against the U.S., as it still does today, though then it often acted in conjunction with the Soviet Union. A devoted sympathizer of radical Latin American regimes, Ms. Montes quickly agreed to spy for Havana, thus beginning a 16-year-long betrayal of the U.S.

As prosecutors later showed, Ms. Montes took a secret trip to Cuba to meet with her new spymasters, then sought government positions with greater access to classified information that would be useful to the Castro regime. In 1985 she began working for the Defense Intelligence Agency, which specializes in military intelligence. Ms. Montes quickly rose through DIA ranks, eventually becoming the agency’s leading Cuba analyst. She was granted access to top-secret classified information that she would memorize at work and type up at home, later passing the information to her Cuban handlers.

As I conveyed in a July 12 letter to President Obama, it is difficult to overstate the damage caused by Ms. Montes’s treachery. In May 2012, Michelle Van Cleave, the former head of U.S. counterintelligence who oversaw completion of the damage assessment on Ms. Montes, told Congress that her activities likely “contributed to the death and injury of American and pro-American forces in Latin America,” and that she compromised other, broader intelligence programs.

Nevertheless, press reports indicate that the Obama administration is considering releasing Ms. Montes to the Castro regime as part of a prisoner swap for American fugitives from justice now sheltered in Cuba.

Feature continues here:  Traitor

 

 

 

‘Crazy Che’ (‘El Crazy Che’): Film Review 1

Courtesy of Metiche Films

Courtesy of Metiche Films

8:19 AM PST 11/28/2015 by Jonathan Holland, The Hollywood Reporter

An Argentinean doc about an American double agent in the 80s and 90s.

At giddying speed, Crazy Che strips back,the life and times of Bill Gaede, a driven American who during the 80s and 90s dealt in industrial espionage: first for Cuba and the Soviet Union, and then for the U.S. Anyone who’s ever suspected that the spying game is just that — an elaborate way for certain kinds of driven people to keep themselves entertained — will find their suspicions confirmed by a documentary that’s just as fast and frenzied as its distinctive hero.

Digital surveillance may mean that the days of the good old, raincoat-wearing, fast-thinking spy, of which Gaede is definitely one, are numbered, which makes Crazy Che, with its 80s cassette tapes and handicams, a bit of a nostalgic homage too. Festivals should warm to a well-put together package with no pretentions other than to properly tell a good yarn.

The original intention of directors Iacouzzi and Chehebar — whose radically different last film was about a plague of Patagonian beavers — was to shoot a doc about Argentinean scientists working abroad. But when they came across the unlikely figure of Gaede – now a physics professor working in Germany, and working on his theory of the universe – they understandably changed their minds.

In his 20s, Gaede became seduced by the high ideals of Communism and Castro, and decided to supply them with technical information about integrated circuitry produced at the large Silicon Valley company where he worked. Rarely has the manufacture of microchips been filmed as excitingly as it is here.

He was invited to Cuba to meet Castro, but that never happened — instead, the poverty he saw in Havana disillusioned him with communism. Falling in with the likes of Jose ‘Pepe’ Cohen and Roland (sic) Sarraf Trujillo (recently released from jail following the Cuban thaw and referenced by President Obama himself in one of the film’s final sequences) Gaede did an about turn and started supplying classified Cuban info to the FBI with the aim of overthrowing his former hero Castro. Gaede doesn’t seem to care much who falls, but it all ended for him with 33 months in jail.

Review continues here:  Crazy Che

 

 

 

Former Cuban Spy & Conspiracy Theorist Bill Gaede Offers His Interpretation of US-Cuba Spy Swap 8

Bill Gaede

Bill Gaede

Rolando Sarraff Trujillo

By Bill Gaede

Spy vs. Spy

The recent spy swap between the United States and Cuba puts an end to 50 years of wrangling between the two countries. Washington finally decided to smoke the peace pipe with the Castros, kiss and make up. Conservatives and anti-Castro groups are outraged, and that’s an understatement. They see it as capitulation after over 50 years of cold war with the little squirt down south.

As a token of good faith, the U.S. released the remaining three Cuban Five prisoners and Cuba paid back in kind by releasing communications spy Alan Gross. The deal also included a mysterious Cuban national who President Obama credited with helping expose Cuban spies such as the Cuban Five, Ana Belen Montes, and Kendall and Gwen Myers.

However, unlike Alan Gross who took the spotlight and gave a press conference, this agent, who came on the same plane that landed at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington D.C., was whisked away secretly to an undisclosed location. His name was ‘leaked’ to the press by an anonymous intelligence official of the United States and the story of why the spy is so important and why he was included in the swap was read off a carefully worded text by Brian P. Hale, an expert with an extensive career in dealing with the media. Everyone from the NY Times to the LA Times quickly picked up on the story quoting these sources and each other. The entire frenzy is actually a study in how information is manipulated in the U.S. and how popular opinion is formed.

To help the Obama Administration make its case, Raul Castro, the president of Cuba also remained silent on the mysterious spy that Fidel’s Revolution coughed up. The U.S. and Cuba may not agree on much, but here they had to cooperate, and that was one of the things that obviously was negotiated between the two sides: the U.S. would handle the public relations aspect of the swap and Castro would remain silent. Cuba had nothing to lose by putting their three heroes on TV shaking hands with Raul Castro any more than President Obama had anything to lose by putting Alan Gross on camera. None of these agents had to be ‘debriefed’ or checked by the doctors before appearing in front of the cameras.

The only reason people strongly suspected that the mysterious spy might be Rolando Sarraff Trujillo (a.k.a. Roly) is that his family can’t find him. Cuban prison officials told them that their son had been transferred, but not to worry about him. He was in ‘good hands’. Certainly, Roly fit most of the description made by Obama at his press conference announcing reestablishment of relations with Cuba: a Cuban intelligence officer locked up for 20 years for providing cryptographic information that led to the capture of the aforementioned spies. So who else could it be? And if in addition the Obama Administration ‘carelessly leaks’ the name through ‘unidentified official’ sources, we have the makings of what appears to be ‘disinformation’.

Ramblings continue here:  Bill Gaede

Editor’s Note: Cuba recruited Guillermo “Bill” Gaede in the mid-1980s to steal information on computer software and provide it to case officers in Mexico.  Havana, in turn, passed the information to the USSR and East Germany until the end of the Cold War. Gaede, an Argentine communist and software engineer, worked for Advanced Micro Devices, Incorporated in Sunnyvale, California from 1979-1993.  He provided Cuba with AMD specs, designs, “Blue Books,” masks, wafers, and small measuring devices. He claimed his initial motivation was his belief in communism, but this motivation waned after he repeatedly traveled to Cuba and became disillusioned. He left AMD in 1993 because of mistaken fears that the company would soon detect his misconduct. Intel then hired him and greed became his motivator. He began committing espionage for China and Iran, which paid him handsomely.

On a personal note, analysis of Bill Gaede’s current and previous writings found numerous errors, based in part on his flawed interpretation of facts and a predisposition to see conspiracies everywhere.

El Salvador President Meets with Two Cuban Spies Convicted in U.S. 1

Salvador Sanchez Ceren celebrates election results / AP

Salvador Sanchez Ceren celebrates election results / AP

  Experts concerned about his willingness to work with U.S. on anti-drug, anti-gang efforts

By Daniel Wiser, Washington Free Beacon

El Salvador’s purportedly moderate new president met this week with two Cuban spies convicted in the United States, raising questions about his willingness to work with U.S. officials on anti-gang and anti-drug efforts.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren met with the spies as well as Cuban President Raul Castro on the communist island, according to a Salvadoran news outlet. The two men, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez (no relation), were members of the “Cuban Five” that were convicted on charges of conspiracy and espionage in the United States and later released to Cuba.

The visit received scant media coverage but could be a sign that the new president will govern as more of a hardline leftist. Ceren, a former Marxist guerilla leader in El Salvador, promised to govern as a moderate before narrowly winning the presidential election in March.

The other three members of the Cuban spy ring are still serving prison terms in the United States. One of them, Gerardo Hernandez, was linked to the deaths of four Cuban exiles in 1996. The exiles were pilots in the Brothers to the Rescue group that aided thousands of Cuban rafters fleeing the island.

Roger Noriega, former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs during the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview that Sanchez Ceren’s pledge to work together with the United States as a moderate leader now appears to be “pretty hollow.”

“He’s also sort of aligning himself with a failed [Cuban] model obviously in terms of economic policy and totalitarianism, and unrelenting hostility to the United States,” Noriega said. “It bodes very ill for where he wants to take El Salvador.”

A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on Sanchez Ceren’s visit to Cuba and referred the Washington Free Beacon to the Salvadoran government. “We continue to work with the government of El Salvador on our many shared interests, including regional security,” the spokesperson said.

The direction of El Salvador’s government has important implications for U.S. security.

El Salvador is “a major transit country for illegal drugs headed to the United States from source countries in South America,” according to the State Department’s 2014 report on international narcotics control. Illicit drug shipments cost American taxpayers about $193 billion in 2007 for the health care and criminal justice systems, the latest data available.

Article continues here:  El Salvador President Meets with Convicted Cuban Spies

 

Was Baseball Star Aroldis Chapman a Cuban Spy? 2

Those are the blockbuster allegations in this suit pending before Judge Altonaga. Chapman, a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, is accused of some pretty outrageous things. According to the complaint, as summarized by Judge Altonaga:

Plaintiffs allege Chapman is liable for Curbelo Garcia and Perdomo’s prolonged arbitrary detentions and torture, not because Chapman was personally involved in detaining or torturing Plaintiffs, but because he provided the Cuban government with the false accusations in the first instance. This furnishing of false accusations, Plaintiffs allege, was part of a conspiracy between Chapman and the Cuban government that Chapman entered into on the day he met Raul Castro. (See id. ¶¶ 301–10). When Chapman agreed to the conspiracy, he became part of a pervasive “snitch network of athletes.” (Id. ¶ 216). This network included “athletes in every team in Cuba,” and was so widespread that “[t]here was a special unit of security officials that were in charge of connecting directly with the athletes to seek out reliable informants.” (Aff. of Gregorio Miguel Calleiro (“Calleiro Aff.”) ¶¶ 8–9 [ECF No. 48-5]). Athletes who voluntarily became government informants reported “suspicious” behavior to their individual handlers in the Department of State Security (“DCSE”). (Id. ¶¶ 10–12; see Am. Compl. ¶ 216). In return for providing “actionable information for the state,” the informants received benefits from the Cuban government, such as the ability to travel with a national team. (Calleiro Aff. ¶ 14). Chapman sought the opportunity to travel with the National Baseball Team as a means of defecting. (See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 218, 221).

The Court denied the motion to dismiss and the case is proceeding. Chapman is represented locally by Manny Garcia-Linares of Richman Greer.

Posted by South Florida Lawyers at 10:26 AM

Entrevista exclusiva con Chris Simmons, ex coronel de la DIA. Su percepción manipulada de Cuba 1

Percy Francisco Alvarado Godoy

Hace poco escribí un artículo titulado “Chris Simmons, de caza ‘espías’ a fabricante de historietas”, el que fue ampliamente difundido en las redes y él mismo colocó en su blog “Cuba confidencial”. Dicho artículo puede verse en mi blog, así como, por ejemplo, en (http://www.cubainformacion.tv/index.php/contrarrevolucion/45453-chris-simmons-de-caza-espias-a-fabricante-de-historietas

Ciertamente, él coloca casi todos mis trabajos en su blog y mantiene un directo seguimiento a lo que publico. Es también uno de mis seguidores en Twitter.

EN EL CITADO ARTÍCULO COMENTO SOBRE ÉL:

“Hasta ahora he considerado al teniente coronel retirado del servicio de contrainteligencia de la reserva del Ejército de Estados Unidos, Chris Simmons, como un profesional sumamente eficiente en las tareas de contraespionaje, aunque haya centrado totalmente su actividad, de manera obsesiva, contra un supuesto accionar de la inteligencia cubana en Estados Unidos.

Para él, la descarada actividad del Mossad en su patria ha sido ignorada o, al menos, no ha dedicado un minuto de su tiempo a ello. ¿Será porque su gobierno considera a Israel un aliado poco peligroso y le perdona que robe sus secretos más sensibles? ¿Es por eso que muchos de sus agentes apenas reciben penas mínimas y son expulsados simplemente del país, salvo contadas excepciones?

No le quito sus méritos, pues en la batalla de nuestros combatientes anónimos por proteger a Cuba de la agresiones maquinadas por grupos terroristas desde La Florida, la cual tiene una razón legítima de ser, Simmons ha logrado algunos resultados relevantes, aunque se ha dedicado a sobredimensionar su papel en estos eventos. En el campo profesional uno respeta al contrincante justo, eficiente y se cuida de él, no sin cierta admiración por la calidad de su desempeño. Pero hay cosas y cosas, como existen espías y “espías”, así como verdades y bulos fabricados. Siempre me ha resultado interesante conocer cómo un dedicado especialista en contraespionaje, capacitado para elaborar perfiles, determinar motivos de los agentes capturados, así como estar dotado de una alta capacidad de análisis, nunca se refirió, con honesta sinceridad, a varias cuestiones fundamentales.

● Los altosvalores humanos, la entrega, el elevado espíritu de sacrificio de nuestros agentes.

● El profundo sentimiento de solidaridad que hemos profesado hacia el pueblo norteamericano, quien cada vez se va sumando en una fuerza arrolladora a la campaña por la liberación de nuestros Cinco Héroes. ¿No ha podido dilucidar, tanto él como su presidente, que hemos luchado por defender a nuestros padres, esposas e hijos, amigos, en fin, todo nuestro pueblo, del peligro del sabotaje criminal, del atentado urdido en la sombras? ¿Desconoce él, o simplemente ignora, que los grupos terroristas anticubanos de La Florida han promovido 35 asesinatos en suelo norteamericano y han realizado centenares de atentados con bomba, deambulando con total impunidad? Nosotros, soldados anónimos de nuestro pueblo, hemos cuidado, con igual desinterés y entrega, tanto al cubano como al norteamericano. Siempre Cuba ha enviado a tiempo cualquier información al gobierno norteamericano que comprometa su seguridad. Ello lo conoce Simmons con certeza.

Leer más aquí:  http://percy-francisco.blogspot.com/2012/10/entrevista-exclusiva-con-chris-simmons.html

The View From Havana: Percy Alvarado on Colombia (in Spanish) 1

La Loba Feroz y Alvaro Uribe se oponen a la paz en Colombia

By Percy Francisco Alvarado Godoy

La reciente Declaración del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba evidencia que se ha dado un serio paso en pos de la Paz en la sufrida y desgarrada hermana República de Colombia, así como el esfuerzo desinteresado de Cuba, Venezuela y Noruega, entre otros para hacer posible esta esperanzadora oportunidad para los colombianos. Sin grandes ribetes, Cuba expuso las razones de su colaboración entre las partes en conflicto: “Como fruto de las conversaciones exploratorias celebradas en La Habana desde el 23 de febrero de 2012 y conforme han declarado las partes, se ha abierto un proceso de diálogo comprometido con la paz y con la solución del conflicto histórico en Colombia, el cual Cuba respalda, consciente de la importancia que tiene para el pueblo colombiano y de su trascendencia para América Latina y el Caribe. El Gobierno cubano continuará prestando su ayuda solidaria y sus buenos oficios a favor de este esfuerzo, en la medida en que el Gobierno de Colombia y las FARC-EP así lo soliciten.”

Tanto el presidente Juan Manuel Santos como los representantes de las FARC-EP mostraron su optimismo y la apuesta por el diálogo, por la comprensión entre las gentes, dejando a un lado recelos y viejas y dolorosas desgarraduras. Todos saben, a ciencia cierta, que tanto luto y dolor deben desaparecer. Todos saben, enteramente, que Colombia necesita urgentemente tener su oportunidad para labrar un camino seguro y próspero hacia el futuro. Todos saben, a qué negarlo, que Colombia grita de impaciencia por lograr la definitiva tranquilidad para sus ciudadanos y que terminen las grandes marginaciones sociales que dieron origen a este eternizado conflicto.

The View From Havana

Mari Carmen Aponte Confirmed as Ambassador to El Salvador Reply

By Al Kamen, Washington Post

The Senate voted 62-37 Thursday to break a GOP filibuster and confirm Obama nominee Mari Carmen Aponte to be ambassador to El Salvador.

Aponte had served as ambassador there for 15 months after President Obama gave her a temporary recess appointment to the job. But Republicans, citing concerns that her long-ago boyfriend was a Cuban spy and an op-ed she wrote last summer supporting gay rights blocked her from serving after that appointment expired at the end of last year.

Talks at that time between Senate Democrats and Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in December to break the filibuster proved fruitless, ending in bitter recriminations on both sides.

Nine Republicans voted Thursday to end the filibuster: Rubio and Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), and Scott Brown (Mass.). Rubio, Lugar, Snow, Ayotte, Murkowski and McCain voted against breaking the filibuster last time.