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

 

Obama Invites Enemy Spies to U.S. Military Brainstorming Sessions 2

General James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence

General James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence

By Humberto Fontova, TownHall.com

This very week General James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, testified that Castro’s spies remain a serious security threat to the U.S.:

“The threat from foreign intelligence entities…is persistent, complex, and evolving. Targeting and collection of US political, military, economic, and technical information by foreign intelligence services continues unabated. Russia and China pose the greatest threat, followed by Iran and Cuba…” (General James Clapper, Washington D.C. .Feb 9, 2016.)

But two weeks ago (Jan. 26-29th) when the U.S. military’s Southern Command held its annual “Caribbean regional security conference” senior members of Castro’s KGB-trained spy agency were kindly invited to participate.

“Aw come on, Humberto,” you say!  “All nations embed spies in their diplomatic corps, for crying out loud. Let’s give Obama’s people a break on this one. How are they supposed to know which Cubans are the spies? It’s a jungle out there, amigo!”

Good point. Very true. In fact, U.S. intelligence services, regardless of the president they served, do not have an exactly stellar record with regards to Castro. To wit:

“We’ve infiltrated Castro’s guerrilla group in the Sierra Mountains. The Castro brothers and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara have no affiliations with any Communists whatsoever.” (In Nov. 1958 Havana CIA station Chief Jim Noel, was reacting to warnings from “tacky right-wing Mc Carthyite!” Cubans.)

“Nothing but refugee rumors. Nothing in Cuba presents a threat to the United States. There’s no likelihood that the Soviets or Cubans would try and install an offensive capability (nuclear missile) in Cuba.”  (JFK’s National Security Advisor Mc George Bundy on ABC’s Issues and Answers, October 14, 1962. The sneering former Harvard Dean was reacting to warnings from “tacky right-wing McCarthyite!” Cuban-exiles.)

In fact, in 1987 Cuban Intelligence Officer Florentino Aspillaga defected in Prague and revealed that every single Cuban agent (4 dozen of them) the CIA had recruited to spy on the Castro regime since 1962 was in fact double-agent controlled personally by Fidel Castro.

While not renowned for its sense of humor, the Castro regime had fun with this one. In the Havana museum known as “ Hall of Glory to Cuba’s Security Services” sits a Rolex pulsar watch personally dedicated by U.S. Sec. of State (of the time) Henry Kissinger to CIA “Agent Zafiro.”  With his dedication the U.S. Sec. of State, (Harvard A.B., summa cum laude 1950, M.A. 1952, PhD 1954) was thanking KGB-trained Cuban Nicolas Sirgado (“Agent Zafiro”) for his ten years of loyal and invaluable services to the U.S.!

Feature continues here: Spies Invited

 

The Anti-Latell Report Reply

By Arnaldo M. Fernandez, OpEdNews.com

Jim DiEugenio has coined the term Shenonism for a deceitful tactic used by former NYT investigative reporter Philip Shenon to tell his “secret history of the Kennedy assassination.” Shenon presents old things as new and conveys them to the reader as important issues that the Warren Commission (WC) should have known about.

That’s exactly what former CIA analyst Dr. Brian Latell had done in Castro’s Secrets (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, 2013) for involving Fidel Castro in the JFK death through a “conspiracy of silence[:] Fidel knew Oswald’s intentions to shoot President Kennedy and did nothing to deter the act” (page 247).

Thus, Dr. Latell supports the WC report of a lone gunman who shot a magic bullet with the oldest CIA backstop: Castro was somehow behind Oswald.

That’s exactly what Shenon did in A Cruel and Shocking Act (Henry Holt and Co., 2013). He dug up Mexican writer Elena Garro’s long-ago debunked story on Oswald at a “twist party” in Mexico City, and twisted that party into the occasion seized by Sylvia Duran, allegedly an agent of Castro’s General Directorate of Intelligence (DGI), for putting Oswald up to kill Kennedy (page 556).

The paperback edition of Castro’s Secrets (2013) changed the subtitle from The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine to Cuban Intelligence, the CIA, and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy. Dr. Latell’s purpose-built stage allowed for more JFK walking dead, like U.S. Ambassador Thomas Mann, who believed even “that the DGI used Oswald’s hotel [in Mexico City] foe intelligence purposes,” although no shred of evidence was ever found.

Latellism is the lightest version of “Castro did it” as “Castro knew it.” Such an uncommon nonsense thrives on claques of both people who cannot think logically for many reasons and people who will not think logically because they have a fanatical anti-Castro agenda. Beneath a scholarly veneer: the “indicators of Cuban regimen deception –and apparent DGI engagement with Oswald– have never been properly evaluated” (page xiii), Dr. Latell performs a media gag in six acts:

*The Oswald’s contacts with Los Angeles Cuban Consulate were overlooked by the FBI and the WC
*The CIA did not inform the WC of Luisa Calderon’s November 22,1963 phone conversation
*Cuban defector Vladimir Rodriguez-Lahera’s [AMMUG-1] knowledge that Castro had lied apparently was not shared with the WC
*Cuban consul Alfredo Mirabal-Daz’s incriminating error before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) went unnoticed
*In June 1964 FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover submitted a report that minimized and distorted the meaning of the Operation SOLO information acquired from Castro
*Cuban defector Florentino Aspillaga’s story was not publicly revealed until the initial publication of Dr. Latell’s book (2012)

The more “findings” Dr. Latell uses for tying Oswald to DGI, the lesser good reasons are left for explaining why he was missed as a security risk before the JFK assassination, unless the CIA were plotting with Castro. However, Dr. Latell’s itemized scheme is an intellectual breakthrough. It outlines how to disprove his intellectually destitute conspiracy theory:

*Oswald’s contacts with the Cuban Consulate in L.A. were irrelevant
*Calderón’s phone conversation is not a piece of evidence in any way

Article continues here: The Anti-Latell Report

This Date in History: The CIA’s Failed Cuba Program Exposed 5

          June 1987:  Florentino Aspillaga Lombard, head of the intelligence center at the Cuban Embassy in Prague, Czechoslovakia, defected to the US.  Aspillaga revealed to the CIA one of Havana’s most closely held secrets – almost every Cuban agent the CIA had recruited since 1961 was actually controlled by Cuban Intelligence.  Aspillaga told the CIA he knew this as he had previously worked for the element that targeted CIA operations in Cuba.

          According to media accounts, Aspillaga claimed that Havana had “turned” 38 of the CIA’s Cuban agents.  He explained that the CIA assets had been “dangled” before the CIA by Havana or identified and “doubled back” after their recruitment by CIA case officers.  Furthermore, this decades-long operation helped Cuba identify between 151 to 179 CIA officers.  In sum, almost everything the CIA thought it knew about Cuba was well choreographed disinformation scripted by Havana.  According to published accounts, 24 of these CIA officers were serving undercover in the US Interests Section in Havana when Aspillaga exposed Havana’s efforts.  All were quickly withdrawn.

          However, Cuba’s success cannot be attributed solely to the professionalism of its intelligence officers and agents.  According to Ernest Volkman, an acknowledged authority on intelligence issues, poor CIA tradecraft and the Agency’s amazing degree of gullibility were critical to Havana’s success

          Subsequently, another highly reliable former Cuban Intelligence officer  reported that Aspillaga actually identified 85 doubled agents.  This former Cuban officer learned of the real size of Cuba’s successful anti-CIA operations as one of the double agents lectured at the Superior Institute of Intelligence (ISI) in the 1990s.  Note:  The ISI is where Cuba trains its civilian intelligence officers.