Living and Loving the Cold War: The Wild Ride of a Canadian Diplomat and Spy Reply

Former Canadian high commissioner Bill Warden, centre, stands with his daughter, Lisa, in an arms bazaar in Darra, Pakistan, 1982. (Submitted by Lisa Warden)

From spying for the CIA and dodging the KGB, to rallying Afghan warlords, Bill Warden’s life was an adventure

(CBCNews – Canada) They don’t make careers like this anymore.

Dodging the secret police in Cold War Berlin. Cranking up the music to deafen the KGB bugs in Moscow. Spying for the CIA in Havana. Rallying Afghan warlords to thrash the Russians. Wrangling former prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s meditation session with Indira Gandhi. Faking documents to spirit a hostage out of Tehran.

Diplomacy is not designed to be a wild ride, but Bill Warden’s lasted three decades. He died in 2011, before his vivid journals were collected and published this fall by his daughter, Lisa, under the title, Diplomat, Dissident, Spook.

A sometime spy and eventual peacenik, Warden is little known to Canadians but well known to the likes of Mikhail Gorbachev, who writes a glowing forward to the book.

Roaming, off the radar, from Havana to Hong Kong, Warden relished the halcyon days of diplomacy when real spies wore fedoras and before, he says, ambassadors became trade commissioners. He watched the “Great Game” of the superpowers from the front row and didn’t mind jumping into the ring.

To all appearances, the polite Niagara Falls, Ont., kid was a dutiful member of the striped-pants set, patiently enduring the rants of Iranian mullahs or Fidel Castro.

But behind the scenes, his life was intrigue and adventure.

A typical chapter begins like this:

“Berlin, 1961. As I rounded the corner onto Unter den Linden and headed for the café, the black Wartburg sedan slid to a halt and four men in the black uniforms of the East German Security Service emerged looking as if they meant business. My back was drenched in instant perspiration.”

That’s where Bill Warden got his start, as a student in the world’s spy capital — ambling with fake nonchalance from the West to the​ Communist East, before the Berlin Wall was built. He rebuffed the CIA’s bid to recruit him and soon, RCMP officers back in Niagara Falls came to grill his father about why young Bill was spending so much time in the East.

Cockroaches and the KGB

His interest in fighting the Cold War was the reason — and he got his wish in his first Foreign Service posting: Moscow, in the tense aftermath of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

Warden was constantly tailed by KGB goons, partly because he spoke Russian — so there was a danger he might learn something.

Article continues here:  Canadian Spy in Cuba

 

 

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How Fidel Castro’s Sexy Mistress Almost Took Him Down 5

Marita Lorenz and Fidel Castro (AP)

By Stefanie Cohen, The New York Post

Marita Lorenz is the Forrest Gump of the Cold War. She was Fidel Castro’s lover and his would-be assassin. She was also seemingly involved in or present for almost every important geo-political event of that era: from the founding of communist Cuba to the Bay of Pigs invasion to the Kennedy assassination.

By all accounts, she seems to be a woman attracted to danger. But she’s rather blasé about it all. According to Lorenz: “One thing just led to another.”

Lorenz, who is now 78 and living in her son’s workspace in Brooklyn, has penned a book about her cloak-and-dagger life: “Marita: The Spy Who Loved Castro” (Pegasus Books, out Sept. 5). This is at least the sixth version of her torrid life story. There are a total of three books, including this newest one, and two movies based on her. A third movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence as Marita, is slated to for release from Sony Pictures in 2018.

“I’m honored,” says Lorenz of having the starlet portray her. “I think she will be able to capture the way I lived. I would like to meet her. I want to talk to her about my intimate feelings about my life.”

Even Lorenz’s early years were dramatic. Raised in Germany, her mother was an anti-Nazi American and her father was a German cruise ship captain. At age 6 she was thrown in Bergen Belsen concentration camp with her mom, and when she was freed, at age 7, she was raped by an American soldier who lived nearby. The early wounds seemed to make her immune to drama and danger.

When she was 19, she was aboard her father’s ship in Havana Harbor when two boats approached, filled with bearded men dressed in military uniforms. One of them caught her attention. “His face fascinated me,” she writes. This was the face of Fidel Castro, who only a month before had taken over Cuba from Fulgencio Batista in the famed 26 of July Revolution. “I will never forget the first time I beheld that penetrating stare, that beautiful face, that wicked and seductive smile,” she writes.

“I am Dr. Castro,” he said. “Fidel. I am Cuba. I have come to visit your large ship.”

The two exchanged glances, and mere moments later they embraced in her cabin below decks — the start of an affair that would change the course of her life. He called her Alemanita — “Little German Girl,” and as soon as she returned to America, he sent a private plane to collect her. She stayed in Cuba with him for seven months, in his suite at the Havana Hilton.

Feature continues here:  Fidel’s Lover

British Intelligence Alleged to Have Asked Pop Star – Actor to Spy on Fidel Castro 1

A new book has claimed that 1960s pop star Adam Faith (left) was asked to spy on Fidel Castro by MI6

Adam Faith ‘spied on Fidel Castro for MI6 and was stunned when the Cuban dictator recognised him from his 1959 first single’ 

  • Adam Faith was a singer and actor who shot to fame as a teen idol in the 1960s
  • New book claims that MI6 asked Faith to spy on Fidel Castro for Britain in 1997
  • Faith due to film BBC show in Cuba when Government allegedly approached

By Alex Matthews For Mailonline

A new book has claimed that 1960s teen idol Adam Faith was asked to spy on Fidel Castro by MI6.

The incredible claim has been made by music producer David Courtney, who was a close friend of actor and singer Faith, after the pair collaborated on one of his albums.

In his memoirs, Courtney, who also worked with stars such as Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton, claims that the Government approached his friend in 1997.

At the time Faith was due to visit Cuba to film a travelogue for the BBC.

Courtney said the spies met Faith, who died aged 62 in 2003, in the Savoy Hotel in London, reports the Sunday Times.

He claimed Faith told him: ‘They approached me and said they knew I had built up connections in Havana and asked me to do some work for them there, basically spy for them in preparation for the post-Castro era.’

The singer went on to meet Castro, who turned out to be a fan of the songs that shot Faith to fame in the sixties, Courtney alleges.

Faith admitted that he was ‘c******* himself with fear’ that the dictator was on to him.

However, instead Castro just wanted to share his love of the popstar’s work and regurgitated a line from his first number one single.

Faith said: ‘He looked up at me and said, ”I know you.” He held up a copy of my first record in his hand and said to me in broken English: ‘What Do You Want If You Don’t Want Money?’

 

 

 

 

A new book has claimed that 1960s pop star Adam Faith (left) was asked to spy on Fidel Castro by MI6

The Castros Just Want the Embargo Lifted 4

FidelTranslated by Capitol Hill Cubans

Roberto Alvarez Quinones is a Cuban journalist who spent over 25-years in Castro’s state-run Granma newspaper, as an economic commentator. He also served stints at the Cuban Central Bank and the Ministry of Foreign Trade.

By Roberto Alvarez Quinones in Diario de Cuba

The Castros do not want normalization, just the embargo lifted

The Castro brothers have always understood U.S. presidents and the intricacies of political power better than the Americans have comprehended the Cubans. In Washington they still can’t fathom why the two brothers and their military junta don’t want friendly and harmonious relations with the U.S., but rather for the embargo to be lifted, and to receive loans and tourists from the north with bulging wallets. Simple as that.

With the Venezuelan crisis deteriorating by the minute, an end to the embargo has become urgent for the Castro regime. But having politically cordial and normal relations with Washington is not in their best interest. Hence, they will do everything possible to prevent them, or to sabotage them, even if the “blockade” (a military term that has nothing to do with a unilateral trade embargo placed by one country on another) is lifted.

The dictatorial elite’s view is that “too much” rapprochement with the US would generate great internal and external trouble, as it would mean “betraying” its history as an anti-American leftist leader in Latin America. But, above all, it could undermine the regime’s Orwellian control over all of Cuban society. People on the island feel would be less fearful of demanding more freedoms if the “Empire” were a strong ally.

The gerontocracy of “historical” commanders is not prepared – nor do they want to be – to grapple in a civilized way with the political, ideological, economic, cultural and psychological “contamination” that could spring from a close relationship with the U.S. The training of the Castro regime’s nomenklatura has always been based on the opposite: visceral confrontation with the “imperialist enemy.”

Castro’s Manifest Destiny

In reaction to U.S.-made rockets fired at a farmer’s house in the Sierra Maestra by Batista dictatorship aircraft on June 5, 1958, Fidel Castro wrote a letter to Celia Sánchez setting forth the Manifest Destiny of his revolution: “When this war is over, for me a much longer and greater war shall begin: that which I will wage against them. I realize that this will be my true destiny. ”

That war did not end with the reopening of embassies in Havana and Washington. And it will not end as long as the island is ruled by Castro and the commanders who joined the anti-U.S. crusade conceived by their leader. There will be no close relationship between Cuba and the United States until there is a new “de-ideologized” political leadership on the island.

Feature continues here: Castros Despise Normalization

 

American Heroes Channel to Premiere Documentary CASTRO: THE WORLD’S MOST WATCHED MAN, 10/22 1

ahcby TV News Desk

Notorious across the globe as one of the most controversial political figures in history, Cuban ruler Fidel Castro has lived an intriguing life under THE WATCH of millions. From a young revolutionary who overthrew a corrupt dictator using a small guerilla army to being the target for assassination allegedly 600 times, the longevity of Castro’s rule and iconic nature has been nothing short of remarkable.

CASTRO: THE WORLD’S MOST WATCHED MAN, a one-hour documentary looking at the life of Fidel Castro through the eyes of the spies who have observed him for over a half-century, premieres on AHC on Thursday, October 22 at 10/9c.

Revisiting more than 50 years of history and revealing the inner forces that have shaped his leadership, CASTRO: THE WORLD’S MOST WATCHED MAN uncovers a unique perspective on Castro’s life as a notorious figure. Throughout the special, viewers are offered unprecedented access to declassified documents, intense recreations and exclusive interviews with spies, KGB agents, CIA analysts, and Cuban exiles who have tracked Castro’s movements over the years, sharing intimate details, captivating anecdotes, and psychological insight to better understand the man behind the legend.

The global programming initiative between AMERICAN HEROES CHANNEL (AHC) and Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic (DLA/USH) will also air on Discovery Networks International’s factual channels in more than 220 countries and territories this fall.

Interviewees include:

· Chris Simmons: Senior Counterintelligence Specialist at the Defence Intelligence Agency. He was a principal figure in most US Counterintelligence successes against Cuba from 1996-2004.

· Brian Latell: Former intelligence officer who began tracking Castro in 1964 for the CIA and the National Intelligence Council

· Peter Kornbluh: Director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive, an organization that monitors the work of US secret services.

· Domingo Amuchstegui: Former head of the Cuban Embassy in Guatemala.

· Nicolai Leonov: Former Senior KGB officer who knew both Fidel and Raul Castro from the earliest days of the Revolution.

· Felix Rodriguez: Former CIA officer involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion and the capture of Che Guevara. Rodriguez was born in Cuba.

Feature continues here: AHC Premiere

Discovery Announces New Fidel Castro Documentary THROUGH THE EYES OF THE SPIES 1

DiscoveryNotorious across the globe as one of the most controversial political figures in history, Cuban ruler Fidel Castro has lived an intriguing life under THE WATCH of millions. From a young revolutionary who overthrew a corrupt dictator using a small guerilla army to being the target for assassination allegedly 600 times, the longevity of Castro’s rule and iconic nature has been nothing short of remarkable. Today, Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic (DLA/USH) and AMERICAN HEROES CHANNEL (AHC) announced a global programming initiative to present CASTRO: THE WORLD’S MOST WATCHED MAN (wt) a one-hour documentary looking at the life of Fidel Castro through the eyes of the spies who have observed him for over a half-century. It will premiere on AHC in 4Q 2015 and on Discovery Networks International’s factual channels in more than 220 countries and territories this fall.

“The timely news of Cuba and the U.S. restoring relations, along with Castro’s deteriorating health conditions, opens up a momentous opportunity for us to document this iconic and unfolding story,” said Kevin Bennett, EVP and general manager of American Heroes Channel. “AHC is dedicated to telling the stories of not just heroes but all of history’s most legendary characters, and we are thrilled to partner with Discovery Latin America for a unique, international perspective on one of the world’s MOST INFAMOUS leaders.”

“Without a doubt, Fidel Castro is a controversial figure who has had an impact on generations of Cubans in and outside the island, as well as many people across Latin America,” noted Enrique R. Martinez, President and Managing Director, Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic and Canada. “This original production will deliver a unique perspective into the character of this polemic leader that is bound to spark robust discussions regarding his legacy and place in history.”

Revisiting more than 50 years of history and revealing the inner forces that have shaped his leadership, CASTRO: THE WORLD’S MOST WATCHED MAN uncovers a unique perspective on Castro’s life as a notorious figure. Throughout the special, viewers are offered unprecedented access to declassified documents, intense recreations and exclusive interviews with spies, KGB agents, CIA analysts, and Cuban exiles who have tracked Castro’s movements over the years, sharing intimate details, captivating anecdotes, and psychological insight to better understand the man behind the legend.

Interviewees include:

· Chris Simmons: Senior Counter Intelligence Specialist at the Defence Intelligence Agency. He was a principal figure in most US Counterintelligence successes against Cuba from 1996-2004.

· Brian Latell: Former intelligence officer who began tracking Castro in 1964 for the CIA and the National Intelligence Council

· Peter Kornbluh: Director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive, an organization that monitors the work of US secret services.

· Domingo Amuchástegui: Former head of the Cuban Embassy in Guatemala.

Feature continues here: Through The Eyes Of Spies

 

 

Will New Embassies Tamp Down Or Ramp Up The U.S.-Cuba Spy Game? 3

The Cuban flag was raised in Washington D.C. on Monday for the first time in 54 years. Andrew Harnik AP

The Cuban flag was raised in Washington D.C. on Monday for the first time in 54 years.
Andrew Harnik AP

By Tim Padgett, WLRN-FM

When Cuba opened its  Washington D.C.  embassy yesterday, the moment wasn’t just historic. It also felt really ironic. Historic, of course, because Cuba was raising its flag over the U.S. capital for the first time in 54 years. When the U.S. inaugurates its embassy in Havana on August 14, it will be the crowning moment in the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two Cold War enemies. But this might be a déja vu moment, too, because a big reason the U.S. and Cuba severed ties in 1961 was…embassies.

In 1960, Cuban leader Fidel Castro feared the U.S. mission in Havana was a nest of spies scheming to overthrow his communist revolution. “No [foreign] embassy rules our people!” he told the U.N. then. The U.S. was just as spooked about spies inside the Cuban embassy in Washington – especially their close ties to Russian spies. A half century later the U.S. and Cuba are finally mending fences. But what ultimately opened the door to normalizing relations? Trading spies.

SPY SWAP

As President Obama informed us on December 17 when he announced the normalization breakthrough, a U.S.-Cuban spy swap all but sealed the deal. It was a reminder that espionage is a central feature of U.S.-Cuba relations. “The United States has always been very concerned about Cuban intelligence and Cuban counterintelligence,” says Frank Mora, who heads the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University and is the former Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere. “And for the Cubans, the number one intelligence concern is the United States.” By the same token, Mora adds, “The principal goal of the new policy is to address all that mistrust that’s built up over 50 years.”

So the question is: Will the new rapprochement finally build bilateral trust – or will opening embassies, as many security analysts fear, simply give the U.S. and Cuba more opportunities to spy on each other? “It just allows the intelligence services to take their espionage to another level,” says Fred Burton, vice president of intelligence at the Stratfor intelligence consulting firm in Austin, Texas, and a former special agent with the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service. “There’s just a new playground now that has been opened.” Up to now, the U.S. and Cuba have only had “interests sections” in each other’s countries – small, tightly restricted diplomatic missions. Full-fledged embassies will probably mean a big increase in diplomatic personnel – and a much broader range of diplomatic activity and travel.

Feature continues here: Spy Game

 

 

Inside Fidel Castro’s Double Life as a Drug Kingpin 3

SanchezBy Juan Reinaldo Sanchez

For 17 years, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez served as a bodyguard to Fidel Castro. But when he became disillusioned with the Cuban dictator’s hypocrisy and tried to retire in 1994, Castro had him thrown in prison. Sanchez made 10 attempts to escape the island, finally making it to Mexico by boat, then across the Texas border in 2008. Now he reveals all in his new book, “The Double Life of Fidel Castro.” In this excerpt, Sanchez explains how he lost faith in the revolution — and “El Jefe.”

The end of 1988. A day like any other was coming to a close in Havana. In a few minutes, my life would be overturned.

Fidel had spent his afternoon reading and working in his office when he stuck his head through the door to the anteroom, where I was, to warn me that Abrantes was about to arrive.

Gen. José Abrantes, in his 50s, had been minister of the interior since 1985 after having been, notably, the commander in chief’s head of security for 20 years. Utterly loyal, he was one of the people who saw El Jefe daily.

While they met, I went to sit in my office, where the closed-circuit TV screens monitoring the garage, the elevator and the corridors were found, as well as the cupboard housing the three locks that turned on the recording mikes hidden in a false ceiling in Fidel’s office.

A moment later, the Comandante came back, opened the door again, and gave me this instruction: “Sánchez, ¡no grabes!” (“Sánchez, don’t record!”)

The interview seemed to go on forever . . . one hour went by, then two. And so, as much out of curiosity as to kill the time, I put on the listening headphones and turned Key No. 1 to hear what was being said on the other side of the wall.

Disillusioned

Their conversation centered on a Cuban lanchero (someone who smuggles drugs by boat) living in the United States, apparently conducting business with the government.

And what business! Very simply, a huge drug-trafficking transaction was being carried out at the highest echelons of the state.

Abrantes asked for Fidel’s authorization to bring this trafficker temporarily to Cuba as he wanted to have a week’s vacation in his native land, accompanied by his parents, in Santa María del Mar — a beach situated about 12 miles east of Havana where the water is turquoise and the sand as fine as flour. For this trip, explained Abrantes, the lanchero would pay $75,000 — which, at a time of economic recession, wouldn’t go amiss . . . Fidel was all for it.

Article continues here:  Sanchez

 

How Obama’s Cuba Deal Is Strengthening Its Military 1

PoliticoCastro’s Real Heirs are the Generals, and They’re Going to Make a Bundle From Normalization

By James Bruno, Politico Magazine

In the hit 1992 movie A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson’s fictional Colonel Jessup famously declares: “I eat breakfast 300 yards from 4,000 Cubans who are trained to kill me.” The Cuban officers I met never gave me that impression. As the State Department’s former representative to negotiations with Cuba’s military, I can tell you that our discussions were typically convivial and constructive. And today, President Barack Obama’s initiative to normalize relations with Havana has presented the United States with a truly mind-boggling prospect: Our most reliable partner on that long-isolated island is probably going to be the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, Cuba’s military establishment.

And soon they’re going to be making a lot of money.

The Communist Party of Cuba may constitute the country’s political leadership, but it is seen increasingly as an anachronism by the population and after Fidel Castro, 88, and Raúl Castro, 83, pass from the scene, the party may too. Cuba’s legislature, the National Assembly of People’s Power, is a rubber stamp appendage of the party and likewise held in low popular esteem. Civilian agencies have proven inept and sclerotic in managing government programs. The powerful Ministry of Interior is widely feared as the blunt instrument of oppression, but it too is likely to be swept aside eventually by the tide of change. And more than a half-century of authoritarian single-party rule has stunted civil society and held the Catholic Church in check.

This leaves the FAR. Under Raúl Castro’s leadership from 1959 until he succeeded brother Fidel as president in 2006, the now 60,000-strong military has been widely considered to be Cuba’s best managed and stablest official entity. Furthermore, it has never been called upon to fire on or suppress Cuban citizens, even during the so-called Maleconazo protests in 1994, and most observers believe the FAR would refuse any orders to do so.

For years our discussions with the FAR have focused on cooperating on practical matters: avoiding tensions along Guantánamo Naval Base’s 17-mile perimeter, collaborating on firefighting and working out arrangements for the return of Cuban citizens who were picked up at sea while trying to escape their country. In contrast with our stiff exchanges with the North Koreans at Panmunjom, these monthly encounters tend to be productive, constructive and amiable.

Read more: Politico

NBC’s Perfidy Didn’t Start with Brian Williams 1

Brian WilliamsBy Humberto Fontova, Townhall

Brian Williams recently “shocked” many Americans with his disingenuous reporting. His claims of perilous combat coverage in Iraq and dramatic Hurricane Katrina coverage in New Orleans appear bogus. After suspending him for 6 months, NBC is now investigating its top anchor, attempting to “get at the truth.” Right. Same as the Warren Commission.

But in fact, Brian Williams’ style of NBC reporting has its adherents. Take the Castro regime. A red carpet, honor-guard and a 21-gun salute (figuratively speaking) is what NBC always finds upon their frequent visits to “report” from Cuba.

Gosh? I wonder why? Maybe these quotes provide a clue:

“Much more valuable than rural recruits for our guerrilla force, were American media recruits to export our propaganda.” (Ernesto “Che” Guevara.)

“Propaganda is vital—propaganda is the heart of our struggle.” (Fidel Castro.)

“The vetting procedure starts the minute the (Cuban) regime receives your visa application. When your smiling Cuban “guides” greet you at the airport they know plenty about you, and from several angles.” (Chris Simmons, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s top Cuban spycatcher, now retired.)

“The Castro regime assigns 20 security agents to follow and monitor every foreign journalist. You play the regime’s game and practice self–censorship or you’re gone.” (Vicente Botin, reporter for Madrid’s El Pais who was booted from Cuba for taking his job title seriously.)

Nobody ever called the Castro brothers stupid. They instantly recognize an ally (or a sap)–which brings us to NBC.

During Brian Williams visit to Cuba last month, for instance, NBC introduced their frequent commentator-guest Arturo Lopez-Levy as “adjunct faculty at the NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Global Affairs.”

Feature continues here:  NBC’s Deception