Senior Spy Specializing in Targeting Americans Assigned as Cuban Ambassador to Canada; Deputy Spy-Master Assigned as Spain’s Ambassador 2

Editor’s Note: Josefina Vidal, suspected of being a “US Targets” officer in the Director of Intelligence (DI), was expelled from the US in 2003 along with 15 other Cuban spy-diplomats. Her Deputy in the Foreign Ministry was Gustavo Machin, also a suspected US Targets officer. Machin was thrown out of the US in retaliation for the Ana Montes spy case. He later served as Cuban Ambassador to Pakistan where he is believed to have overseen Havana’s targeting of US counterterrorism operations in the region. He has now been selected to serve in Madrid as Cuba’s Ambassador. Historically, Mexico, Canada and Spain host the largest Cuban spy centers in the world (outside their three bases in the United States).  “Officially,” DI officers resign from the spy service when they become ambassadors. However, we can expect these two “retired” US Targets officers to have significant and adverse influence over the activities in their host nations. 

 

 

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Havana Claims Student Visits to U.S. Incites Subversion 4

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)

U.S. Summer Leadership Program provokes backlash from Cuban government

HAVANA (AP) –  A few months after President Barack Obama visited Cuba in March, a group of teenagers left the island for a month-long visit to the United States funded by the U.S. State Department.

The 16- to 18-year-olds spent 10 days learning about community service, followed by two-week homestays with families in Virginia, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Washington, Oregon and Missouri. There, the Cuban teens volunteered at food banks and recycling centers and read books to young children, according to the Washington-based NGO that organized the activities.

Now, four months before Obama leaves office, the Summer Leadership Program for Cuban Youth has provoked a full-blown backlash from the Cuban government, which has organized a nationwide series of campus protests over the past week denouncing the program as a tool of American subversion in language hearkening back to the height of the Cold War.

“University students condemn new Yankee manipulation,” declared a headline in red ink above the lead story in Thursday’s edition of Granma, the official Communist Party newspaper. Cuba said it complained about the program at a meeting in Washington on Friday with the U.S. diplomats negotiating normalization with Cuba.

“We insisted once again that the financing of programs aimed at provoking internal change in Cuba needs to be eliminated, which would be an essential step toward normalizing bilateral relations,” Cuba’s director-general of U.S. affairs, Josefina Vidal, said in a video posted as part of a question-and-answer session on Twitter.

For most of the last half-century, the U.S tried to push Fidel Castro’s government toward collapse or fuel its overthrow in an anti-Communist uprising. The Obama administration abandoned that goal in favor of slowly encouraging Cubans to develop lives independent of a single-party system that, despite limited reforms, controls most aspects of life on the island, from theater programming to the distribution of agricultural supplies. The Obama goal of gradual change is supported by millions of dollars in funding for non-governmental organizations that attempt to work directly with Cubans in programs similar to U.S.-funded efforts around the world.

Cuba rejects the idea of any foreign government, above all the United States, working with Cubans independently of the government and the more than 2,000 state-run organizations that it describes as Cuba’s genuine civil society. Virtually any organization operating without state approval is viewed as illegal and potentially subversive, particularly if it receives foreign aid.

Cuba says such suspicions gained credibility with the publication of reports by The Associated Press in 2014 revealing that the U.S. Agency for International Development funded clandestine programs to undermine the Cuban government, including the creation of a “Cuban Twitter” social network, the dispatch of Latin American youth to recruit activists, and attempts to coopt Cuban rappers as unknowing agents of democratic change.

Feature continues here:  Freedom is Subversive

Editor’s Note:  Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal was among 16 Cuban spy-diplomats expelled from the US in May 2003.  

 

 

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 Face of Cuban Propaganda Under “Normalization” 2

Expelled Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officers Josefina Vidal and Gustavo Machin led the Cuban delegation in yesterday’s normalization tallk in Havana. Photo: MINREX

Expelled Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officers Josefina Vidal and Gustavo Machin were center stage as they headed the Cuban delegation in yesterday’s normalization tallks in Havana. Photo: MINREX

PPPFocus.com reports Havana is adamant that “normalization would not happen as long as the economic blockade against Cuba stays on, as long as the US maintains its naval base in Guantanamo and as long as Cuba is not compensated for the economic damage caused by decades of hostility.”

Reuters reports Cuba is aggressively pushing a claim for more than $300 billion in economic damages because it understands “President Barack Obama is attempting to advance normalization as much as possible before his second and final term ends in January 2017.”  

Meanwhile, the Cuban News Agency (ACN) continues its unfettered loathing of Cuban exiles in features like “Miami Anti-Cuban Mafia Rejects Reopening of Cuban Embassy in the U.S.”

“We are going to have diplomatic relations with the United States without having ceded one iota.” — Gerardo Hernandez, Cuban spy who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison by a U.S. federal court for the murder conspiracy of Americans, thereafter commuted and released by President Obama as part of his one-sided deal with Raul Castro [Courtesy: Capitol Hill Cubans]

Officials Met With Expelled Spy-Diplomat in Havana, Asking Cuba to Open a Consulate-Spy Base in St. Petersburg 3

Two weeks after a U.S. Embassy opened in Havana, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman spent last weekend there meeting with a host of government officials

Two weeks after a U.S. Embassy opened in Havana, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman spent last weekend there meeting with a host of government officials

By Chris Simmons

Last weekend, Mayor Rick Kriseman met with Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) officials to ask them to choose St. Petersburg as the home of the first Cuban Consulate on US soil in 54 years. Expelled Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Gustavo Machin Gomez, serving under the shallowest of “covers” as the MINREX Deputy Director for American Affairs, met with the mayor for about 90 minutes. The son of a revolutionary “hero,” Gustavo Machin was declared Persona Non Grata and expelled from the US in November 2002 in retaliation for the Ana Belen Montes spy case.

Tampa philanthropist David Straz Jr., part of the mayor’s delegation, told the Tampa Tribune the trip was an “absolute success.” Straz serves on Tampa’s Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation, the pro-normalization group sponsoring the trip. “St. Petersburg City Council Chairman Charlie Gerdes, Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin and Chief of Staff Kevin King” also made the trip to Cuba.

Local officials seek to use a consulate, in part, to profit from the global coverage of our evolving US-Cuban relations. Overlooked by city officials is the intelligence threat posed by such a consulate. Tampa, just 20 minutes from St Pete, is home to the Middle East-focused US Central Command as well as US Special Operations Command — both major targets for Cuban spies. The region’s Cuban-American population, third largest in the US, is also targeted. Allowing Havana to post spy-diplomats in the area will actually drive down the cost of its spying against the US – a key concern given the regime’s service as intelligence trafficker to the world. Cuba’s targeting of US political, economic, and military secrets occurs not for defensive purposes, but because these secrets are viewed as a precious commodity to be sold or bartered globally. According to defectors and émigrés, American information is now reportedly among Havana’s top five revenue streams. Weapons shipments from China, oil from Venezuela, cash from Russia and pro-Cuba votes at the United Nations are among the rewards harvested from its espionage. As such, its time our elected officials started taking this espionage threat seriously and stopped pandering to the apartheid dictatorship in Cuba.

 

 

John Kerry Celebrates US Embassy Opening With Expelled Cuban Spies 4

John Kerry, Gustavo Machin, Josefina Vidal, Jose Ramon Cabanas By Carlie Kollath Wells, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets members of the Cuban delegation inside the newly opened embassy, at the end of a flag raising ceremony, in Havana, Cuba, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. Kerry is accompanied by Gustavo Machin, Cuba's deputy chief of North American affairs, left, Cuba's Josefina Vidal, director general of the U.S. division at Cuba's Foreign Ministry, second right, and Jose Ramon Cabanas, chief of the Cuba mission in Washington D.C., right. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco, Cubadebate)

John Kerry, Gustavo Machin, Josefina Vidal, Jose Ramon Cabanas

By Carlie Kollath Wells, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets members of the Cuban delegation inside the newly opened embassy, at the end of a flag raising ceremony, in Havana, Cuba, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. Kerry is accompanied by Gustavo Machin, Cuba’s deputy chief of North American affairs, left, Cuba’s Josefina Vidal, director general of the U.S. division at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, second right, and Jose Ramon Cabanas, chief of the Cuba mission in Washington D.C., right. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco, Cubadebate)

Editor’s Note: Cuban’s intelligence services have long perceived the US as a hapless, bumbling giant. Instances like this – Kerry with career Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officers Gustavo Machin and Josefina Vidal – reinforce Havana’s institutionalized contempt. Machin and Vidal were both thrown out of the US for engaging in espionage against the United States.

Cuban Spies Jubilant with Their Fancy New Base in Washington D.C. 1

New Cuban EmbassyHumberto Fontova, TownHall.com

Granted, Obama administration spokespersons and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) describe this week’s event differently than does this column title. Something about a “Cuban embassy” formally “opening?” in “Washington, D.C. ?” If I read these things correctly?

Nonetheless, the people actually in-the-know about these matters are cutting to the heart of the issue:

“All Cuban personnel now working in the [U.S] Interests Section [in Havana] work for Cuban State Security,” said high-ranking Cuban intelligence defector Pedro Riera Escalante. “All housing for [U.S.] officials may have microphones and other devices installed.”

“Virtually every member of Cuba’s U.N mission is an intelligence agent,” revealed Alcibiades Hidalgo, who defected to the U.S. in 2002 after serving as Raul Castro’s Chief of Staff and himself as Cuba’s ambassador to the U.N.

So you can just imagine what’s going on in Cuban Intelligence’s plush new Washington D.C. station, speaking of which:

“It (the Cuban embassy opening) is going to be a celebration on our part,” gushed Gustavo Machin, deputy director for U.S. affairs at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry. “Many Americans who have supported the Cuban Revolution will be among the 500 celebrants at the new Embassy.”

Despite the innocuous professional title the mainstream media insists on using for Gustavo Machin, he’s actually a KGB-trained Cuban spy who was burnt and booted from the U.S. back in 2003 shortly before the invasion of Iraq. He was among 14 other Cuban spies suspected of trafficking in U.S. military secrets (more on this shortly.)

The currently elated Machin was an accomplice of Castro’s master-spy Ana Belen Montes, who today serves a 25 year prison sentence after conviction in 2002 for the deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Defense Department in modern history. Machin was neck deep in the same spying as his accomplice Montes, but enjoyed “diplomatic immunity,” which saved him from prison or the electric chair.

Now he’ll probably be visiting Washington D.C. often “on business.” In fact it was Machin who conducted the recent “negotiations” with Obama’s team of crackerjack “negotiators” which led to this “diplomatic breakthrough” with Cuba. So who can blame him for celebrating?

Feature continues here: Cuban Embassy Spy Base

 

Spy-Diplomat Gustavo Machin Delighted With Opening of Cuban Embassy 15

A worker removes the Cuban Interests Section sign in Washington, D.C., on July 15, 2015, just days prior to the building being accredited as the Cuban Embassy. (Bill Gorman / AP)

A worker removes the Cuban Interests Section sign in Washington, D.C., on July 15, 2015, just days prior to the building being accredited as the Cuban Embassy.
(Bill Gorman / AP)

“It is going to be a celebration on our part,” said Gustavo Machin, deputy director for U.S. affairs at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry (Chicago Tribune). The Directorate of Intelligence (DI) spy – thrown out of the US in retaliation for the Ana Montes spy case, told reporters many Americans who have supported the Cuban Revolution will be among the 500 celebrants at the new Embassy. From Machin’s perspective, it would certainly be a Cuban spy-handler’s dream – hundreds of media, politicians, academics and Castro apologists all in one place at the same time. The DI staff embedded within the Interests Section/Embassy will certainly be working overtime – I expect they also brought in temporary help within the “30-member delegation of diplomatic, cultural and other leaders” that arrived for the Embassy opening.

Expelled Spies Continue Leadership Role in U.S.-Cuba Normalization Talks 5

Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal

Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer Josefina Vidal

U.S. and Cuba Meet for Talks to Fully Restore Diplomatic Ties

By Randal C. Archibold, New York Times

MEXICO CITY — The United States and Cuba are closer than ever to reaching an agreement to fully restore diplomatic relations and reopen embassies, officials in both countries said as negotiators met Thursday in Washington for another round of talks to iron out remaining details and discuss possible dates.

The move toward full diplomatic relations broken decades ago during the Cold War has been seen as a key step toward ending hostilities and normalizing ties with a historic opponent that once agreed to allow Soviet nuclear missiles on its soil and repelled an invasion by American-backed insurgents.

Yet progress toward full diplomatic relations has not gone as swiftly as initially hoped in December, when President Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba first committed to restoring ties in a surprise announcement.

Now, with a number of obstacles out of the way or close to it, particularly for the Cubans, the talks have reached the most optimistic point after four rounds of conversations in Havana and Washington.

“I’m trying not to sound too Pollyannaish,” said a senior State Department official, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about closed-door diplomatic matters. “But I do think we’re closer than we have been in the past, and I think my counterparts are coming up here with a desire to get this done.

“But equally,” the official added, “we have certain requirements that we need met, so we just have to see whether we can get there in this round of talks. I certainly hope so.”

Gustavo Machin, a top Cuban diplomat who has been part of his country’s delegation at the talks, told reporters in Havana on Monday, “We don’t see obstacles but rather issues to resolve and discuss.”

The governments closed their embassies after President Dwight Eisenhower broke diplomatic relations on Jan. 3, 1961, in response to a demand by Cuba’s new leader, Fidel Castro, that the American Embassy staff be significantly reduced. Mr. Castro called the embassy a spy outpost, part of an American plot to topple the Communist government he installed after the 1959 revolution.

Feature continues here:  Spies Lead Talks

Editor’s Note:  Josefina Vidal and Gustavo Machin, both undercover members of the Directorate of Intelligence (DI), are suspected of being Department M – I (US Targets) officers. The elite staff of this Department handles penetrations of the US Intelligence Community, Congress, other Federal agencies, and academia.  

Kudos to CFR and NY Daily News For Covering Governor Cuomo’s Meeting With Expelled Cuban Spies 7

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, right, talks with Cuba’s Josefina Vidal, director general of the U.S. division at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, left, and Gustavo Machin, Cuba’s deputy chief of North American affairs, center, before a meeting with Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade Rodrigo Malmierca at the Hotel Nacional in Havana, Cuba, Monday, April 20, 2015. (Ramon Espinosa/Courtesy: Reuters)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, right, talks with Cuba’s Josefina Vidal, director general of the U.S. division at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, left, and Gustavo Machin, Cuba’s deputy chief of North American affairs, center, before a meeting with Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade Rodrigo Malmierca at the Hotel Nacional in Havana, Cuba, Monday, April 20, 2015. (Ramon Espinosa/Courtesy: Reuters)

Congratulations to NY Daily News journalist Glenn Blain and Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Elliott Abrams for having the courage to highlight Cuomo’s recent meetings with senior Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officers Gustavo Machin Gomez and Josefina Vidal. Well done!