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

 

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Castro’s STASI-trained secret police sets up false twitter accounts,” says Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas 4

Humberto Fontova

Humberto Fontova

By Humberto Fontova, on BabaluBlog

From El Nuevo Herald:

“On his (genuine) Twitter account and on Youtube, Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas denounces the action of Cuban security of setting up a false twitter account for him as (@cocofariñas32) at the beginning of October.”

(His genuine twitter is @cocofarinas)

(“El opositor cubano Guillermo Fariñas denunció en su cuenta de Twitter, y en un video en You Tube, que la seguridad del estado cubano había creado una cuenta falsa a principios de octubre, @cocofariñas32, donde se mezclan Tweets reales con opiniones falsas.)

Here’s what Castro’s secret police is posting on Fariñas’ bogus twitter account:

Feature continues here: Cuban Regime’s Fake Twitter Accounts

 

Cuban Twitter — The Untold Story 2

Twitter-censor-350x350By Humberto Fontova, FrontPage magazine

It’s not often that a U.S. government agency gets caught red-handed abiding by its charter and performing its publicly-avowed and legislatively-approved duties. But last week the AP “broke” a long and breathless story from Havana that nailed the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) for just that.

In their own words, “a secret plan aimed at undermining Cuba’s communist government,” was courageously exposed by the AP’s intrepid Havana bureau.

Such is the magnitude of the scandal that a red-faced and snarling Senator Patrick Leahy is now chairing hearings on Capitol Hill where he grills USAID director Rajiv Shah on his agency’s “cockamamie!” plan.

The diabolical cloak and dagger scheme hatched in 2008 during George Bush’s term (which may account for Democratic Senator Leahy’s dudgeon) amounted to setting up a “Cuban Twitter” named ZunZuneo (Cuban slang for a hummingbird’s tweet) in order for Cuban youths to text each other without snooping by Castro’s KGB-mentored secret police.

Caught your breath back? Yes, amazingly such a scheme somehow escaped the imaginations of Ian Fleming, John Le Carré and Tom Clancy.

In sum, a brief effort was made (lasting from 2008-12 and involving 68,000 of Castro’s hapless subjects) to allow Cubans (who pre-Castro enjoyed more phones and TVs per-capita than most Europeans) to communicate with each other in the same manner as do teenagers today in such places as Sudan, Papua New Guinea and Laos.

Understandably this scheme to facilitate a tiny window of freedom for a tiny fraction of their subjects greatly alarmed Cuba’s Stalinist rulers. After all, it wasn’t easy converting a free and prosperous nation with a higher per-capita income than half of Europe, a flood of immigrants from same and the first Mercedes dealership in the Americas into a totalitarian pesthole that repels Haitians and features a glorious rebirth of communications by bongo-drum and transport by oxcart.

Well, the news was barely broken by Castro’s U.S. media allies when, as mentioned, Castro’s U.S. legislative allies picked up the signal from Havana and erupted in outrage—not against the KGB-mentored censorship by a terror-sponsor mind you. But against the U.S. attempt to foil it.  No. This is not your father’s cold war.

Senator Patrick Leahy, true to his historic role as U.S. legislative messenger for Castro’s every whim and wish, promptly denounced the program as “dumb, dumb, dumb.” “What in heaven’s name are you thinking?”‘ Leahy complained to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC about the USAID scheme. “This makes no sense at all.”

What really “makes no sense at all” is Senator Leahy’s hypocritical carping  during the hearings and to Andrea  Mitchell–who, by the way– is famous for gushing that  “Fidel Castro is old-fashioned, courtly—even paternal, a thoroughly fascinating figure!”

Feature continues here: Cuban Twitter

CFR’s Julia Sweig Continues Role as Havana Spokeswoman 3

In her story on Wednesday’s wrap-up of the second Summit of the Latin America and Caribbean Economic Community (CELAC), Portia Siegelbaum of CBS News included these offerings from Julia Sweig::

“I can’t imagine a return to the old pattern of Washington dominating the Inter-American system. I’d like to imagine that the Obama administration has the imagination and creativity and confidence to adjust to the new Latin America of foreign policy independence and vastly less deference to Washington. The White House has a choice: throw up its hands and opt for a focus on its bilateral relations with individual countries in the region, or try to accommodate the region’s new multilateralism — one that emphatically includes Cuba.”

Siegelbaum also noted Sweig’s claim that during her latest two-week visit to Cuba, she “heard a clear and explicitly stated interest in cooperation with the United States.”

Editor’s Note: For an excellent summary of the role of Cuban Intelligence Officers in forming Julia Sweig’s opinion, see Humberto Fontova’s September 2010 article, Latin-America “Expert” – or Castro Agent?

CFR’s Julia Sweig, Friend of 6 Cuban Spies, Arranged Graham’s Cuba Visit 1

Former Sen. Bob Graham of Florida was in Havana last week on a trip “arranged by Julia Sweig, a Cuba analyst and senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations” reported Juan Tamayo in yesterday’s Miami Herald. Graham, now in his late 70s, made his first trip to Cuba as part of Sweig’s “group of environmental and disaster experts.” Sweig has long and public connections with senior officials throughout Cuba’s intelligence and political arenas.

During the visit, Cuban officials told her group Havana was negotiating with foreign nations for oil exploration off the northern coast. Large deposits of crude exist in deep waters off the northern coast the visitors were assured and drilling will certainly resume at some point. Predictably, these same officials informed Graham and the others that easing the US embargo would aid in their efforts. A former Democratic governor of Florida and longtime supporter of Cuba sanctions, Havana was undoubtedly delighted when Graham suggested that a limited exemption for oil efforts was an option.

Editor’s Note: For an excellent summary of the role of Cuban Intelligence Officers in forming Julia Sweig’s opinion, see Humberto Fontova’s September 2010 article, Latin-America “Expert”– or Castro Agent?

CFR’s Julia Sweig, Admitted Friend to 6 Cuban Spies, Highlights Cuba’s “Reforms” 3

Talking to Cuba

Interviewee: Julia E. Sweig, Director for Latin American Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Interviewer: Robert McMahon, Editor, CFR.org

The Cuban government’s easing of travel restrictions this month marks another sign of its commitment to reforms and changing sentiments in Havana, says Julia Sweig, CFR’s director for Latin American Studies. Washington should seize on such moves, she says, to initiate a new dialogue and begin solving the many problems impeding normalization of ties between the countries–such as the case of detained U.S. citizen Alan Gross–and U.S. influence in the region. “There are geostrategic reasons within the region, leaving apart the bilateral relationship, why it makes a great deal of sense for a strategy of rapprochement with Cuba,” Sweig says.

Cuban authorities this month eased a fifty-year-old travel restriction by allowing Cubans to travel with just a passport, and permitting lengthy stays away. How significant is this?

This is a major step for Cuba domestically, for the Cuban economy, for Cuba in the world, and for Cubans living on and off the island. On the domestic front, this has been one of the most significant sources of unhappiness for the Cuban public, to not be able to travel freely. And what the Cuban government did when it announced this was explain that this is an attempt to bring Cuba in line with other countries. Cubans now need a visa still from the countries they want to visit, and they have to buy their plane tickets, but unlike the previous era, they won’t risk losing their property or their residence status. They can travel abroad as economic migrants, come and go, live for a while abroad in the United States, presumably, go back and invest in their businesses, have two residences–really a huge potential economic boon for the country.

In an interview with CFR.org a year ago, you said the United States now had a willing partner for normalization of ties with Havana but was failing to read the signals. Is this step one of those signals?

This step is largely a domestic, reality-based policy decision. But there are knock-on effects that Washington could conclude suggest that Havana is taking another step in building a more open society and boosting the human rights of its population. If Washington chose to take this as a sign of greater freedom granted by the government to its citizens, it could surely be digested in that way. But I don’t think pleasing Washington is the prime motivation.

How should we read Cuba’s parliamentary elections scheduled for February 3?

As another big demographic and political development: some 67 percent of the candidates for 612 spots are completely new picks, and of these, more than 70 percent were born after 1959. Women comprise 49 percent of the candidates, and Afro descendents 37 percent. Cubans will be asked to check yea or nay from this new list–so it’s not a direct competition between candidates. But if you want to understand where the successors to Fidel and Raul may come from, I’d look closely at the new group that comes in next month.

These elections also tell us something about decentralization: the municipal and provincial deputies are going to have a lot more power to tax and spend than ever before–on everything but health, education, and the military, as I understand it–while the new National Assembly may well start passing a lot more laws than before, to implement a slew of economic, legal, and governance reforms that are under way or coming down the pike. Finally, Ricardo Alarcon, who served as National Assembly president for the last nineteen years, before that as UN ambassador, and who for decades has taken the lead on U.S.-Cuban relations, will not appear on the electoral slate.

Washington continues to point to what it says is the biggest impediment, which is the case of Alan Gross, the U.S. citizen who U.S. officials said was in Cuba to help with Internet access; Cubans say he was subverting the state. He continues to languish in Cuba. How to resolve this issue?

Well, like governments resolve issues, they get in the room and they talk. And they put the issues on the table that are connected indirectly and intrinsically to that particular issue. By the way, the DAI (Developments Alternative International), which was Alan Gross’s employer, just released the contracts (PDF) between DAI and Alan Gross, and there is a lot of information in there about the equipment that Gross brought down there and reasons why he was bringing that equipment. And that will just, unfortunately, reinforce the sense that this wasn’t just benign development or benign Internet assistance.

This was part of a program funded by the U.S. government intended to destabilize the Cuban government, and the documentation really clearly shows that. And the lawsuit, now that the Gross family has filed against the State Department, also says that USAID should have trained Gross in counterintelligence. So, the way to stop this Alan Gross issue from becoming a political Frankenstein is to get in the room and settle a number of issues, including the Gross issue, including the Cuban 5 issue [five Cuban intelligence agents arrested by federal authorities in Miami in 1998 on charges of espionage], including other bilateral issues.

Some see the case of Alan Gross as playing into a narrative that the Cubans are using this case for leverage and are not genuinely interested in justice or in properly handling this case. How do you respond to that perspective?

Well, they are interested in using the case as leverage. President Obama, at the first Summit of the Americas he attended, pledged to open a new chapter in U.S.-Cuban relations and acknowledged that the embargo and U.S. policy had failed. Then he left in place the very policies he had inherited from George W. Bush. Some call them democracy promotions; some call them regime change–explicitly designed to destabilize Cuba. Which is very, very consistent with the bipartisan approach to Cuba over the last fifty years.

Story continues here: http://www.cfr.org/cuba/talking-cuba/p29879

Editor’s Note: For an excellent summary of the role of Cuban Intelligence Officers in forming Julia Sweig’s opinion, see Humberto Fontova’s September 2010 article, Latin-America “Expert”– or Castro Agent?