French Director to Make Pro-Castro Film Showcasing Murderous Spies as Heroes 1

Director Olivier Assayas (Lionel Cironneau /AP/REX/Shutterstock)

‘Personal Shopper’ Director Olivier Assayas Boards Cuban Spy Thriller ‘Wasp Network’

Dave McNary, Film Reporter – Variety

Olivier Assayas, who directed Kristen Stewart’s “Personal Shopper” and “Clouds of Sils Maria,” has come on board to helm the Cuban spy thriller “Wasp Network” from his own script.

Wasp Network” is based on Fernando Morais’ book “The Last Soldiers of the Cold War.” RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira will produce alongside CG Cinema’s Charles Gillibert. RT’s Lourenço Sant’Anna and Sophie Mas will executive produce.

 Wasp Network” centers on Cuban spies in American territory during the 1990s when anti-Castro groups based in Florida carried out military attacks on Cuba, and the Cuban government struck back with the Wasp Network to infiltrate those organizations.

Assayas most recently wrote and directed “Personal Shopper,” which world premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Assayas was awarded best director. IFC Films released the film in the U.S. on March 10.

Assays also wrote and directed “Clouds of Sils Maria,” starring Stewart and Juliette Binoche. The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Stewart earned France’s César Award for best supporting actress for her role in the movie — making her the first American actress to earn the honor.

Assayas was also nominated for the Palme d’Or for “Demonlover” in 2002 and for “Les Destinées” in 2000. He received an Emmy nomination in 2011 for outstanding directing for a miniseries, movie, or dramatic special for “Carlos” starring Edgar Ramírez, still regarded by many as his finest work and the nearest in its subject – terrorist Carlos the Jackal – to “Wasp Network.”

RT Features debuted two films at the Sundance Film Festival in January — Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me by Your Name,” starring Armie Hammer, which was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics; and Geremy Jasper’s “Patti Cake$,” which was nabbed by Fox Searchlight. The company’s “The Witch” won an Independent Spirit Award for best first feature for Robert Egger. RT also produced James Schamus’ “Indignation,” Ira Sachs’ “Little Men” and Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha.”

Gillibert is a frequent collaborator to Assayas, having produced “Personal Shopper,” “Clouds of Sils Maria,” and “Summer Hours.” CG Cinema is in post-production on Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s “Kings,” starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig.

Assayas is represented by WME and Intertalent while RT Features is represented by CAA.

Editors Note: Based on information currently available about this film, it appears certain that any overlap with factual events with be purely accidental.

 

 

 

 

No Sign of Release For The Last Cuban Spy in a US Jail 1

Despite thaw in relations, Ana Belén Montes looks set to serve last nine years of quarter-century sentence

Pablo de Llano, El Pais Corresponsal en Miami

On February 28, in her cell at a maximum security prison in Fort Worth, Texas, Ana Belén Montes turned 60 years of age. Once regarded as one of the Pentagon’s top analysts and an expert on Cuba’s military, the so-called “Queen of Cuba” was arrested in 2001 when her 17-year career as Cuban spy was discovered and she was sentenced to 25 years in jail.

Despite the thaw in relations between Havana and Washington under Barack Obama, which saw three of the last Cuban spies returned home in 2014, Montes remains behind bars in a facility reserved for some of the most dangerous and mentally ill prisoners in the United States.

In 2016, a family member revealed that Montes had undergone surgery for breast cancer, although there has been no official confirmation of this.

Her release is currently scheduled for 2026, by which point she will be 69 years old.

Unlike the three prisoners released in 2014, the Cuban government has never officially campaigned for Montes’ freedom. In June 2016, Miami Spanish-language daily El Nuevo Herald reported that Cuban officials had asked after her during a meeting in the United States. A few months earlier, Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez had called for her release at a concert in Spain. The request was repeated a few days ago at one of his concerts in Puerto Rico. Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuba’s President Raúl Castro, posted a report from Venezuela’s official news agency mentioning that a campaign for Montes’ freedom had been organized in Cuba.

Writing in his blog on Montes’ birthday about her treatment by the regime, Cuban journalist Harold Cárdenas said: “The Cuban Foreign Ministry’s discretion is understandable. In contrast, the silence in the national media is shameful.”

There has been speculation that the United States and Cuba are negotiating Montes’ exchange for Assata Shakur, the Black Panther leader accused of shooting a police officer who managed to escape to Cuba in 1984, claiming political asylum. But a 2016 US State Department internal document rejects the option.

Montes is considered to be the Cuban agent who most deeply penetrated US intelligence. An analyst at the Pentagon, she was recruited by Havana in 1984, and after undergoing training, would report each night to her handlers via shortwave radio without ever having to make copies of documents, thanks to her remarkable memory.

Article continues here: Ana B Montes

Editor’s Note:  The El Pais claim that “The Cuban government has never officially campaigned for Montes’ freedom” is false. The current regime has been very public in its efforts to develop and sustain an international movement to force the U.S. to free this convicted spy. Cuba’s effort is led by Colonel (retired) Nestor Garcia Iturbe – believed to be the longest serving Castro spy to have ever operated in the United States. Additionally, Montes was not a “Cuban spy,” but rather an American citizen spying for Havana.

Havana Mobilizes For The Liberation of The Spy Ana Belen Montes 3

imagen-ana-belen-montes-facebook_cymima20170228_0004_16

Campaign image for the liberation of Ana Belen Montes. “Everyone is one country. In that ‘global country’ the principle of loving thy neighbor as much as thyself turns out top be an essential guide.”

(Courtesy:  Translating Cuba)

14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana 27 February 2017 – This Tuesday, a campaign launches in Cuba for the liberation of Ana Belén Montes, a former intelligence analyst for the United States Defense Intelligence Agency, condemned for espionage and considered a “prisoner of conscience” by the government of Havana. The initiative includes concerts, conversations, and publications on social networks with the hashtag #FreeAnaBelenMontes.

The governing party seeks to revitalize the case of the spy, who was not included on the list of prisoners pardoned by Barack Obama at the end of his term. Now, efforts are focused on “getting her released through diplomatic negotiations,” according to official sources consulted by this newspaper.

Montes was arrested in September 2001 in Washington and sentenced to 25 years in prison for espionage assisting the Havana government. Currently, after her cancer diagnosis and mastectomy, she remains imprisoned in the Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Carswell, located on a U.S. Navy Air Station in Fort Worth, Texas.

For many years, the analyst provided substantial information to the Cuban Intelligence Agency, including military data following a visit to El Salvador, which Havana passed on to the FMLN guerillas (Marabundo Martî Front for National Liberation). That information served to inform an attack on a barracks in 1987 in which 65 soldiers perished, including an American.

Feature continues here:  Havana Demands Montes’ Release

 

Cuba Awards Medal to Danny Glover 1

Glover With Convicted Spy Gerardo Hernández

Glover With Convicted Spy Gerardo Hernández

Cuba Decorates Danny Glover, Estela and Ernesto Bravo

Havana (Prensa Latina) — The Cuban State Council granted the National Medal of Friendship Thursday to documentary filmmakers Estela and Ernesto Bravo and US actor Danny Glover for their solidary support to the Cuban government and people.

In an activity held Thursday morning at the host building of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with Peoples of the World (ICAP) Cuban antiterrorist fighter and member of the Cuban Five Gerardo Hernandez stated that it is an honor to watch such a moment to decorated three great friends of Cuba with such a medal.

The decorated friends of Cuba received the medal from the hands of Jose Ramon Balaguer, member of the Secretariat of the Cuban Communist Party, and director of its International Relations Department.

Ernesto Bravo said he felt moved, since as much himself, as Estela Bravo, have strong links with Cuba, where they decided to set their lives for more than 50 years.

Estela Bravo said that in Cuba, she received several surprises, as for instance, to know Fidel Castro, and that the main reason for which she has been doing her work, is for other people to see and live all the things she had the pleasure to live.

For his part, American actor Danny Glover referred to the struggle for the return of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters, whom he recognized for their dedication to the Cuban government and people.

Also, he stressed the role of the new generations in the conduct of the future of the Cuban revolutionary project and recalled the meeting of nearly two hours held in yesterday afternoon with young Cuban at the host of the Asociación Hermanos Saíz.

‘We are here not only to support the Cuban Revolution, but also to support the values that this has taught us, he concluded.

In the event of decoration, there were different political and cultural personalities of the country as the Minister of Culture, Abel Prieto; the President of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, Miguel Barnet; and the Director of the General Direction of the United States of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Josefina Vidal.

hr/tac/lma/vdf

Editor’s Note:  ICAP’s long-term collaboration with the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) dates back over 30 years. That said, ICAP is not a DI entity per se, but is believed to be roughly 90% DI-affiliated due to a large pool of collaborators who serve the small team of ICAP-embedded DI officers.

Career Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal, expelled from the US in 2003, continues to serve under shallow cover as head of the North America portfolio in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX). She is viewed as one of Havana’s premier experts in US affairs.

 

 

 

“Soldier of Fortune” Magazine Hits New Low – Publishes Grossly Inaccurate Article Calling American Traitor Ana Montes a Heroine 5

True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba’s Master Spy True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba’s Master Spy Paperback – October 1, 2009 by Scott W. Carmichael

True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba’s Master Spy True Believer: Inside the Investigation and Capture of Ana Montes, Cuba’s Master Spy Paperback – October 1, 2009 by Scott W. Carmichael

Ana Montes: Cuban Spy: Traitor or Heroine?

Just 10 days after the attacks of 9/11, the FBI arrested a 44-year-old woman named Ana Belen Montes.

She had nothing to do with the terrorist strikes, but her arrest had everything to do with protecting the country at a time when national security was of paramount importance.

Montes, it turned out, was spying for the Cubans from inside the U.S. intelligence community itself—as a senior analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA. And she was soon to have access to classified information about America’s planned invasion of Afghanistan the following month. She had slipped under the radar for 16 years.

Montes was actually the DIA’s top Cuban analyst and was known throughout the U.S. intelligence community for her expertise. Little did anyone know how much of an expert she had become and how much she was leaking classified U.S. military information and deliberately distorting the government’s views on Cuba.

It began as a classic tale of recruitment. In 1984, Montes held a clerical job at the Department of Justice in Washington. She often spoke openly against the U.S. government’s policies towards Central America. Soon, her opinions caught the attention of Cuban “officials” who thought she’d be sympathetic to their cause. She met with them. Soon after, Montes agreed to help Cuba.

She knew she needed a job inside the intelligence community to do that, so she applied at DIA, a key producer of intelligence for the Pentagon. By the time she started work there in 1985, she was a fully recruited spy.

To escape detection, Montes never removed any documents from work, electronically or in hard copy. Instead, she kept the details in her head and went home and typed them up on her laptop. Then, she transferred the information onto encrypted disks. After receiving instructions from the Cubans in code via short-wave radio, she’d meet with her handler and turn over the disks.

During her years at DIA, security officials learned about her foreign policy views and were concerned about her access to sensitive information, but they had no reason to believe she was sharing secrets. And she had passed a polygraph.

Her downfall began in 1996, when an astute DIA colleague—acting on a gut feeling—reported to a security official that he felt Montes might be under the influence of Cuban intelligence. The official interviewed her, but she admitted nothing.

The security officer filed the interview away until four years later, when he learned that the FBI was working to uncover an unidentified Cuban agent operating in Washington. He contacted the Bureau with his suspicions. After a careful review of the facts, the FBI opened an investigation.

Through physical and electronic surveillance and covert searches, the FBI was able to build a case against Montes. Agents also wanted to identify her Cuban handler and were waiting for a face-to-face meeting between the two of them, which is why they held off arresting her for some time. However, outside events overtook the investigation—as a result of the 9/11 attacks, Montes was about to be assigned work related to U.S. war plans. The Bureau and DIA didn’t want that to happen, so she was arrested.

SOF story continues here:  Murderous Cuban Spy Ana Montes a Heroine?

 

 

Castro’s Dead, But His Spies Live On 3

castro_fidel_cuba_79831941By Sean Durns, The Hill

Although Cuban dictator Fidel Castro died on Nov. 25, 2016, the influence of the intelligence services that he created lives on. Castro, who ruled Cuba with an iron fist for five decades, created a spy apparatus whose outsized impact has extended far from the shores of the Caribbean country.

Cuba did not have a professional foreign intelligence service before Castro seized power in 1959. Under Soviet auspices, it created one in 1961. Initially called the Direccion General de Inteligencia (DGI), and later renamed the Direccion de Inteligencia (DI), Cuba’s most important intelligence agency began training its officers in Moscow in 1962. KGB tutelage proved of enormous value, both to the Castro regime and to the USSR.

The DGI quickly developed into an elite service. Brian Latell, a former CIA analyst, noted in his 2012 book Castro’s Secrets, “Many retired CIA officials stand in awe of how Cuba, a small island nation, could have built up such exceptional clandestine capabilities and run so many successful operations against American targets.” In Latell’s opinion, “Cuban intelligence…ran circles around both” the CIA and the FBI.

William Rosenau and Ralph Espach, both senior analysts at the Virginia-based think tank, the Center for Naval Analyses, concurred with Latell’s conclusion. Writing in The National Interest, both offered the judgment: “Cuban intelligence services are widely regarded as among the best in the world—a significant accomplishment, given the country’s meager financial and technological resources (“Cuba’s Spies Still Punch Above Their Weight,” Sept. 29, 2013).”

The basis for this claim seems sound.

Cuban intelligence successfully penetrated U.S. national security agencies both during the Cold War and in the years since.  Following his 1987 defection to the U.S., Florentino Aspillaga Lombard, a top official in Castro’s intelligence agencies, exposed dozens of Cuban double agents who had infiltrated various segments of American society, from the government to non-profit organizations. Many of the spies had been living in the U.S. for years.

In retaliation, Castro ordered at least two-failed assassination attempts on Aspillaga—both of them, Latell pointed out, involving people the former Cuban spy knew.

Another of the DI’s successful plants, Ana Belen Montes, spied on behalf of Cuba for sixteen years. Montes, an analyst with the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), was sentenced to a 25-year prison term in October 2002.

The damage caused by Montes was extensive. Scott Carmichael, the U.S. counterintelligence officer who helped bring Montes down, stated in his 2007 book True Believer that, among other actions, Montes divulged the existence of a secret U.S. Army base in El Salvador, resulting in an attack by Castro-friendly forces and the death of an American Green Beret. Additionally, Montes revealed U.S. assets in Cuba and, in the opinion of former U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton, may have offered significant contributions to a 1998 intelligence report that minimized the danger Cuba poses to the U.S.

Feature continues here:  Cuba’s Spies Soldier On

 

Management Lessons From the Espionage of Ana Montes 2

Credit: FBI/CSO staff illustration

Credit: FBI/CSO staff illustration

By Anthony N. Bishop

The best IT security is not enough to protect against the determined insider

The recurring media coverage of cyber attacks on the U.S. public and private sectors have undoubtedly advanced the rapid growth of IT security industry solutions for predicting, preventing, and responding to cyber threats. Reliable IT systems and infrastructure are crucial to the successful management, stability, and growth of most American companies.

A major data compromise can be damaging to profits, prestige, and strategy, not to mention disastrous to a company’s competitive edge and downright embarrassing. Add the risk of a potential Snowden insider to the threat of a cyber attack, and American businesses can hardly be blamed for perceiving computer vulnerabilities to be the biggest risk to company security and in turn focusing their risk management efforts and spending on IT security.

As companies shop for expensive IT security software packages, hire information assurance specialists, or enter into contracts with IT security firms to provide up-to-date cyber threat intelligence, they should not overlook the threats posed to company data from traditional espionage tradecraft. Not even the most robust computer security measures or the latest behavioral analytic/machine learning algorithms can defeat the insider who does not rely on a computer or the exploitation of to steal company information. In this respect, the espionage case of Ana Montes provides important lessons for every business.

MORE ON CSO: How to avoid phishing attacks

In 1984, Montes worked as a paralegal at the Department of Justice while attending Johns Hopkins University as a part-time graduate student. At the university, Montes’ outspoken views against U.S. policy in Latin America caught the attention of a fellow student who happened to be an access agent for the Cuban Intelligence Service. Identifying potential Cuban interest in Montes for the country’s clandestine war with the United States, the agent arranged to introduce her to Cuban intelligence officers in New York City. At this meeting, Montes impressed the Cuban intelligence officers with her views against U.S. foreign policy and sympathy toward the Cuban cause. It was clear to the Cubans that they had found a comrade.

Feature continues here: Lessons Learned – Ana Montes

 

Expelled Spy Josefina Vidal – Now Head of Cuban-US Relations – Accuses US of Using the Internet “To Promote Subversion” 1

Senior Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal

Senior Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal

Cuban Official Josefina Vidal Accuses US of Using the Internet “To Promote Subversion”

14ymedio, Havana, 26 August 2016 – Josefina Vidal, Director of the United States Division for Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said

Tuesday that the internet is being used from the United States as a way to promote internal subversion on the island.

“The illegal use of radio and TV against Cuba isn’t enough, they insist on using the internet as a weapon of subversion,” the diplomat complained through her Twitter account.

Vidal criticized the first conference on the free use of the internet on the island, organized by the Office of Cuban Broadcasting, which operates Radio and TV Martí. The event, which will be held in Miami on 12-13 September, will bring independent Cuban journalists together with digital innovators and individuals who are fighting for the island to open up to the World Wide Web.

In an article published by Cubadebate and shared on social networks by the diplomat, she says that the government of the United States, over the last two decades, has spent 284 million dollars to promote programs of regime change in Cuba.

Source:  Josefina Vidal Accuses US

 

 

 

U.S. Rules Out Swap of Jailed Cuban Spy Ana Belen Montes 3

Mugshot_of_DIA_s_Ana_5_1_IH64TF61_L166332774By NORA GÁMEZ TORRES, ngameztorres@elnuevoherald.com

The Obama administration “has no intention” of releasing or swapping jailed Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes, according to a letter sent by the U.S. Department of State to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The Aug. 19 letter, obtained by el Nuevo Herald, followed a number of news reports pointing to the possibility of freeing Montes — a top Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst on Cuban affairs who is serving a 25-year prison sentence — in exchange for Cuba handing over American fugitive Assata Shakur, formerly known as Joanne Chesimard.

The letter, addressed to committee chairman U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., says the State Department “want(s) to assure you that the United States government has no intention of releasing or exchanging Montes.”

Nunes had written to Obama on July 12 urging the president not to release or swap Montes, calling her “one of the most brazen traitors in U.S. history.” The State Department wrote that it was “responding on the president’s behalf.”

Montes, one of the top foreign spies captured in recent years, authored some of the key U.S. intelligence assessments on Cuba. She was arrested in 2001 and was sentenced in 2002 after she pleaded guilty to spying for Cuba throughout her 16 years at the DIA.

Montes was — and remains — unrepentant. She betrayed the public trust, the security of the United States and her oath to support and defend the constitution while remaining loyal to the Castro brothers in Havana,” Nunes wrote. “Ana Belen Montes richly deserved her 25-year prison sentence, and must serve every day of it.”

“She betrayed the public trust, the security of the United States and her oath to support and defend the constitution while remaining loyal to the Castro brothers in Havana” — U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

Montes, who is of Puerto Rican descent, declared in a 2015 interview with the blog Cayo Hueso, which supports the Cuban government, that she has not changed. “I will not be silenced. My commitment to the island cannot be ignored,” she was quoted as saying.

Nunes’ letter noted that because of her senior post at DIA, Montes has compromised every single U.S. intelligence collection program that targeted Cuba, revealed the identity of four covert U.S. intelligence agents who traveled to Cuba and provided Havana with information that could have wound up in the hands of other U.S. enemies.

“In short, Montes was one of the most damaging spies in the annals of American intelligence,” the committee chairman wrote.

Article continues here:  No Deal For Montes

 

Expelled Spy (& Cuba’s Current Director of US Relations) Condemns U.S. For Its “Hostile Policies” 6

Josefina Vidal, Director General of the U.S. division at Cuba's Foreign Ministry, gestures as she speaks with the media at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. The United States and Cuba claimed progress Friday toward ending a half-century diplomatic freeze, suggesting they could clear some of the biggest obstacles to their new relationship within weeks. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Josefina Vidal, Director General of the U.S. division at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Cuban leader: ‘It’s up to US to dismantle its hostile policies’

By Emma Johnson, The Militant, Vol 80/No. 30, August 15, 2016

“Relations between Cuba and the U.S. have been asymmetric; therefore it is up to the U.S. to dismantle hostile unilateral policies,” said Josefina Vidal, who leads Cuba’s negotiating team with Washington. “Cuba doesn’t have any comparable policies.”

Vidal, director general for U.S. affairs at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations, spoke to the Cuban Communist Party’s daily Granma on the anniversary of the reopening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington on July 20 last year, some 54 years after the U.S. government unilaterally severed diplomatic relations with Havana.

Since the 1959 deep-going social revolution in Cuba, which brought a workers and farmers government to power, Washington has used sabotage, an attempted invasion, diplomatic isolation and an unprecedented economic embargo to try to overturn the rule of the working class and its allies.

Recognizing that more than 50 years of this course had failed to accomplish its aims, President Barack Obama—and a substantial majority in the ruling class he represents—decided it was time to try something else. Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced Dec. 17, 2014, the beginning of talks to restore diplomatic relations. Simultaneously, the last of the Cuban Five, revolutionaries imprisoned by Washington for over 16 years, were released and returned home to Cuba.

Vidal said achievements of talks since then include the removal of Cuba from the State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism and the creatio

n of the Cuba-U.S. Bilateral Commission. “It was important to have a mechanism of this type to address unresolved issues, cooperation in areas of mutual interest and talks on bilateral and multilateral matters,” she said. Ten such agreements have been signed and others are currently being negotiated related to drug trafficking, search and rescue, ocean oil-spill response and meteorology.

Embargo remains in force

But the bulk of Washington’s economic embargo still remains in force, she said. Imports from the U.S. to Cuba are severely restricted, exports from Cuba to the U.S. virtually impossible and banking relations have not been normalized. Cuba can still not make financial transfers, and the U.S. government continues to impose heavy fines on banks and foreign financial entities that do business there.

The Obama administration has imposed penalties totaling more than $14 billion, “a record amount in the history of the application of the blockade against our country,” Vidal said, “on U.S. and foreign entities for their legitimate associations with Cuba.” This continues to have “an intimidating effect on U.S. and international banks. Thus far, the U.S. government has failed to issue a political statement or legal document explaining to world banks that operations with Cuba are legitimate, and that they won’t be sanctioned.”

Article continues here:  Victim Vidal

Editor’s Note:  Vidal was thrown out of the United States in May 2003 as part of a mass expulsion of 16 Cuban spies serving under diplomatic cover.