What Could a Mysterious U.S. Spy Know About the JFK Assassination? 2

A photograph of June Cobb from an August 1962 profile in Parade magazine. | Parade Magazine

John F. Kennedy buffs are awaiting the release of documents about June Cobb, a little-known CIA operative working in Cuba and Mexico around the time of the president’s assassination.

By Philip Shenon May 20, 2017

She may have been one of the bravest and best-placed American spies in the history of the Cold War, but few people outside the CIA know the mysterious story of June Cobb.

The existing information in the spy agency’s declassified files depicts Cobb as an American Mata Hari—an adventure-loving, death-defying globetrotter who moved to Cuba to work for Fidel Castro, the country’s newly installed strongman, then found herself recruited to spy for the CIA after growing disenchanted with Castro’s revolution. The era’s rampant sexism is obvious in her job evaluation reports: Cobb’s CIA handlers wrote down speculation about her sex life and her failed romance in the 1950s with an opium farmer in the jungles of South America. And the reports are filled with appraisals of Cobb’s looks, noting especially her fetching blue eyes. “Miss Cobb is not unattractive,” her CIA recruiter wrote in 1960. “She is blonde, has a slender figure, although she has a somewhat hard look, making her appear somewhat older than her 33 years.”

According to another, undated evaluation, she had a “wiry” figure but had been attractive enough to catch the Cuban dictator’s eye. Cobb, the report said, was reputedly “a former girlfriend of Castro’s.” True or not, she was close enough to get a job on the Cuban dictator’s senior staff in Havana in 1960, the perfect perch to spy for the CIA. Cobb’s agency work in Havana and later in Mexico leads us to the most puzzling aspect of her life—that she later found herself drawn deeply into the mysteries of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. After the murder, she reported to her CIA bosses that she had identified a trio of witnesses who could tie Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, to Cuban diplomats and spies in Mexico City, where Oswald had traveled just weeks before the assassination.

What did June Cobb know at the time? Historians of the Cold War—and anyone with an interest in JFK’s 1963 assassination and the possibility of Cuban involvement—are on the verge of learning much more about the extraordinary, often bizarre, sometimes tragic life of the American spy who was born Viola June Cobb, the full name that appeared on her birth certificate back home in Ponca City, Oklahoma, in 1927. The National Archives has recently acknowledged that it is preparing to release a 221-page file of long-secret CIA documents about Cobb that—for reasons the Archives says it cannot yet divulge—are somehow linked to JFK’s murder.

Feature continues here:  CIA’s Spy Tied Cubans to JFK Assassination

 

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Fox News Interviews Cuban Spy Who Became Mexico’s Foreign Minister. (Former?) Agent is Now a NYU Professor & Human Rights Watch Board Member 5

jorgeTucker Carlson Grills Former Mexican Official Who Plots to Sabotage U.S. Court System With Thousands of Deportation Cases

By Humberto Fontova, Townhall

“Yes I want to use the U.S. judicial system—the immigration courts in particular– to jam, to backlog it so perhaps President Trump will change his mind and stop this ridiculous policy– this unpleasant and hostile policy– of deporting people…” (Jorge Castañeda to Tucker Carlson, Fox News, 2/14/17.)

The “ridiculous policy” consists of President Trump’s executive orders to deport lawbreaking foreigners, mostly Mexicans.

In other words, this “unpleasant and hostile policy” consists of Trump’s fulfillment of his campaign promises and his pledge to uphold the U.S. Constitution when he was sworn in on Jan. 20.

The Mexican government itself has pledged $50 million in legal defense funds towards this jamming of U.S. courts as planned and promoted by Jorge Castañeda, who was introduced by Tucker Carlson as “Mexico’s former Foreign Minister, also a NYU professor and Board member of Human Rights Watch.”

Democrats and the mainstream media would have us gag and shudder at such fulfillments of the U.S. Constitution—because they offend the sensibilities of a former Mexican Communist Party member and spy for Cuba’s terror-sponsoring Stalinist regime.

“Whoops! What was that?” some readers ask.

Yes, amigos, I’m afraid that — either due to politeness or ignorance –Tucker Carlson scrimped on his guest Jorge Castañeda’s curriculum vitae. (We’ll flesh it out in a second.)

But firstly, from 2000-2003 Jorge Castañeda served as Mexico’s Foreign Minister. On March 2nd, 2002, 21 desperate Cuban refugee wannabes crammed into Mexico’s embassy in Havana hoping to emigrate from Castro’s Cuba to Mexico. (In prosperous, European immigrant-swamped pre-Castro Cuba, by the way, the family and friends of any Cuban seeking to immigrate to Mexico would have promptly recommended him to a psychiatrist.)

At any rate, promptly upon notice of this violation of Mexican sovereignty by immigrant wannabes, Jorge Castañeda —a man apparently scandalized by U.S. judicial procedures, especially as regards to illegal immigrants—ordered Castro’s Stalinist police to enter the embassy and drag the desperate Cubans out.

Now let’s expand a bit on Jorge Castaneda’s “credentials.” I hold here in my hands a document detailing how this very Jorge Castañeda was recruited by Cuba’s KGB-trained secret police as a spy, where he served loyally for almost five years.

Feature continues here:  Cuban Spy Jorge Castaneda

 

Special Report: State Department Watered Down Human Trafficking Report 1

human_traffickingBy Jason Szep and Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba. And in China, they found, things had grown worse.

The State Department’s senior political staff saw it differently — and they prevailed.

A Reuters examination, based on interviews with more than a dozen sources in Washington and foreign capitals, shows that the government office set up to independently grade global efforts to fight human trafficking was repeatedly overruled by senior American diplomats and pressured into inflating assessments of 14 strategically important countries in this year’s Trafficking in Persons report.

In all, analysts in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons – or J/TIP, as it’s known within the U.S. government — disagreed with U.S. diplomatic bureaus on ratings for 17 countries, the sources said.

The analysts, who are specialists in assessing efforts to combat modern slavery – such as the illegal trade in humans for forced labor or prostitution – won only three of those disputes, the worst ratio in the 15-year history of the unit, according to the sources.

As a result, not only Malaysia, Cuba and China, but countries such as India, Uzbekistan and Mexico, wound up with better grades than the State Department’s human-rights experts wanted to give them, the sources said. (Graphic looking at some of the key decisions here.

Of the three disputes J/TIP won, the most prominent was Thailand, which has faced scrutiny over forced labor at sea and the trafficking of Rohingya Muslims through its southern jungles. Diplomats had sought to upgrade it to so-called “Tier 2 Watch List” status. It remains on “Tier 3” – the rating for countries with the worst human-trafficking records.

The number of rejected recommendations suggests a degree of intervention not previously known by diplomats in a report that can lead to sanctions and is the basis for many countries’ anti-trafficking policies. This year, local embassies and other constituencies within the department were able to block some of the toughest grades.

State Department officials say the ratings are not politicized. “As is always the case, final decisions are reached only after rigorous analysis and discussion between the TIP office, relevant regional bureaus and senior State Department leaders,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in response to queries by Reuters.

Special Report continues here: Human Trafficking

 

Was Castro Regime Complicit in Human Trafficking Ring? 8

Texas Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin

Texas Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin

14-Plus Years For Cuban Ballplayer Smuggler

By Curt Anderson, AP Legal Affairs Writer

MIAMI — The convicted ringleader of a smuggling organization that brought more than 1,000 Cubans into the U.S., some of them baseball players including Texas Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin, was sentenced Monday to more than 14 years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard rejected a request for leniency by Eliezer Lazo, whom she noted was paid $22,000 a month through the scheme — not counting the percentages of any professional baseball contracts the players signed. Prosecutors say Martin paid the Lazo group $1.2 million after signing with the Rangers in 2011.

“That’s a lot of money,” Lenard said.

Lazo, 41, will begin serving the sentence after finishing an unrelated five-year prison term for money laundering in a Medicare fraud case. In the smuggling case, he pleaded guilty in August to extortion conspiracy.

The Lazo organization smuggled Cubans by boat to Mexico for $10,000 each, more for the baseball players, according to court documents. They would then usually travel to the U.S. border crossing at Laredo, Texas, and ask to be permitted to stay in the U.S.

Under the U.S. “wet foot, dry foot” policy, Cubans who reach dry land in the U.S. are generally allowed to remain while those intercepted at sea are returned to the communist island. Lazo’s attorney, William Clay, said many of Lazo’s customers were overjoyed to make it to the U.S. despite the costs.

“They had gotten what they bargained for,” Clay said.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Davidson said migrants who couldn’t pay were held for ransom by armed guards, often threatened and sometimes beaten. Although Lazo himself did not participate in any violence, Davidson said he was well aware it was going on.

“This man is not a freedom fighter,” Davidson said.

The case also provided a glimpse into how Mexican drug cartels get their cut of the migrant smuggling business. Court documents show that in the Cancun area, the Zetas cartel charges Cuban smugglers $10,000 per boat and up to $3,000 per migrant to allow them to pass through their territory and assist in paying bribes to local officials.

No evidence surfaced in the case that Martin or any of the other valuable Cuban ballplayers were mistreated. Only Martin has been identified by name in the Lazo case, but other Cuban stars such as Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig have also been smuggled through Mexico.

Read more here: Human Trafficking

 

 

Former DGI Officer Details The Life & Times of Senior Cuban Spy Alexis Frutos Weeden 1

Alexis Frutos Weeden(Courtesy: cafefuerte.com)

Alexis Frutos Weeden (Courtesy: cafefuerte.com)

By Chris Simmons

Former Dirección General De Inteligencia (DGI) officer Enrique García Diaz reports Alexis Frutos was selected for the DGI during his final year of high school. He then moved to Havana in 1976 to start his spy career. He married an Afro-Cuban woman who gave birth to two daughters during the 1980s. She was not a DGI official at that time.

During the years of the Reagan administration, the “Mexico Desk” at DGI headquarters had eight officers. Frutos Weeden was one of the best officers on this portfolio. Fellow “Desk Officers” included Yolanda Pascual, Enrique Vilavoy “Henry,” Luis Popa “Alan,” Pablo Avelino Gonzalez Diaz “Avelino,” Blas Andres Perira Luna “Ritz,” Orlando Fundora Jr “Aldo” and chief of Mexico operations Rolando Sarraf Elias “Elias.”

According to the CIA Directory of Cuban officials, Sarraf served as a Prensa Latina (PRELA) representative at the Cuban Embassy in the late 1970s. García Diaz and the CIA both noted Frutos Weeden’s assignment to Mexico City as the Commercial Attaché in the early-mid 1980s.

García Diaz said as of his 1989 defection, the DGI Centro in Mexico had 15 officers and had deeply penetrated the Mexican government, every major political party and all key societal sectors. He believes the (now) Directorate of Intelligence (DI) remains deeply rooted throughout the nation to this day.

Alexis Frutos is currently the Political Counselor at the Cuba Embassy in Venezuela, where García Diaz suspects he serves as the DI Centro Chief.

 

Former DGI Officer Identifies 17 Castro Spies 6

DGI officer and Ambassador, René Ceballo Prats

DGI officer and Ambassador, René Ceballo Prats

Cubans Involved In Peru-Based Espionage Operations During The 1970s & 1980s

By Chris Simmons

General Juan Velasco Alvarado came to power as part of a junta that overthrew the Peruvian government in October 1968. In July 1973, Velasco’s leftist government established diplomatic relations with Cuba. A declassified Cuban government cable later identified the General as one of its intelligence agents. Velasco remained in power until late August 1975 when he was deposed by General Francisco Morales Bermudez, his prime minister.

Former Dirección General De Inteligencia (DGI) officer Enrique García Diaz served on the “Peru Desk” at DGI headquarters during this period. During an interview, he explained that three other officers also worked the “desk:” Eulalia Sardain (codenamed “Mayra”), René Ceballo Prats (“Ibrahim”) and Ismael Cruz Arce (“Jose Luis”). Two additional DGI officers who worked with García Diaz on Peru issues were Juan Pedro Gonzalez (“Giraldo”) and Jose Francisco Molina Mauri (“Ivan”).

According to media reports, René Ceballo Prats later led Cuba’s Embassy in Nicaragua as chargé d’affaires starting in 2009. He now serves as Cuban Ambassador to Lebanon.

The CIA’s 1983 global directory of Cuban officials provides the names and positions of 21 Cubans posted to Havana’s Embassy in Peru.  In a review of these personnel, García Diaz identified the following nine diplomats as Cuban intelligence officers or collaborators.

Counselor Jorge Pollo Garcia (“Osvaldo”). DGI Centro chief. According to Garcia Diaz, Pollo’s espionage career began in 1961 with the Illegal Department. Pollo reportedly served briefly in Japan in 1970 before his reassignment to Chile as the Deputy Centro Chief. Following his subsequent tour in Peru, Pollo became chief of the Southern Cone “desk,” overseeing this region’s spy operations. Several years later, he led the upgrade of Cuban intelligence operations in India from a one-man “pointe” to a full-blown Centro. He may have later served in Bolivia before becoming chief of staff for Jorge Valdés-Saldaña Risquet, a member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. Media reports later cited Pollo as a Cuban diplomat in Guatemala in the early 2000s.

Consul General Ricardo Cruz Fernandez. DGI.

1st Secretary Maria Consuelo Ramiriz de Martinez. DGI.

Attaché Angel Moriaga Diaz. DGI Code Clerk.

Commercial Attaché Fidel Diez Tornes. García Diaz characterized this former colleague as the best DGI Case Officer (i.e., spy handler) in Peru.

Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Ruban Alayon Sanchez (“Lorenzo”). DGI.

Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Gustavo Carballosa (“Gaston”). DGI. According to García Diaz, Carballosa wrote the daily intelligence report for the Peruvian President.

Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Manuel Robles Sosa. America Department (DA). Europa Publications’ South America, Central America, and the Caribbean 2003 listed him as the PRELA representative in La Paz, Bolivia. Subsequent PRELA coverage seems to show him active at least through late September 2012.

Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Gerardo Torres. DGI Collaborator.

García Diaz recalled three additional intelligence officers not on the CIA list. They were:

  • Manuel Martinez Galan (“Manolo”), the husband of Maria Consuelo Ramiriz. García Diaz cited Martinez as the first DGI Centro Chief in Lima.
  • Eduardo Torres Ravelo. DGI. Open source publications referenced Torres Ravelo as a Cuban diplomat in Chile during the Allende years.
  • Prensa Latina (PRELA) Correspondent Sergio Medina (“Sergito”). DGI. García Diaz noted that Medina also served in Colombia at one point. The CIA’s 1983 roster listed Medina as one of several PRELA correspondents in Venezuela.

Enrique García Diaz defected in March 1989 while based in Ecuador. According to a March 2, 1994 feature by the Canadian Press (news agency), García Diaz had served with the DGI since 1978, handling Cuban agents in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. (Note: The Canadian Press article is available via Lexis/Nexis).

An intelligence-affiliated “diplomat” – understandably not identified by García Diaz because he served outside the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) – would be the Cuban Military Attaché, Colonel Manuel Bravo Yanez. While not every military attaché is a Case Officer (i.e., spy-handler), they are – at a minimum – overt intelligence collectors reporting to the Ministry of the Armed Forces (MINFAR).

Author’s Note: Given my knowledge of Mr. García Diaz, I have no reason to doubt the reliability of his information on this topic. In addition:

  • The status of DGI code clerk Angel Moriaga Diaz was confirmed by another highly reliable former DGI officer.
  • Declassified US government reports substantiated the DGI service of Luis Ismael Cruz Arce. This officer first served at the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City around August 1966 before being transferred to the one-diplomat Consulate in Tampico by 1970.
  • A declassified CIA report from Oct 17, 1969 identified Manuel Martinez Galan as a DGI officer. Author Jonathan Haslam also characterized Martinez as DGI, attributing his information to a London-based Cuban defector. In contrast, in 1972, internationally known newspaper columnist Jack Anderson identified Martinez, then a 1st Secretary in Santiago, as head of the DA’s Chile-based operations. A decade later, the CIA listed Martinez as a 1st Secretary at the Cuban Embassy in Moscow.

 

Aide to Cuba’s Ricardo Alarcon Sentenced to 30 Years for Spying 9

By Juan O. Tamayo, JTamayo@elNuevoHerald.com

A top aide to one of Cuba’s veteran political figures, Ricardo Alarcón, and the aide’s wife, have been convicted of spying and sentenced to 30 and 15 years in prison, according to persons close to the case.

Miguel Alvarez and Mercedes Arce, both former Cuban intelligence analysts in their 50s, were tried and convicted in December, the persons said, 22 months after they were detained in Havana for interrogation on March 3, 2012.

Alvarez was sentenced to 30 years on charges that he leaked secret information to Arce, according to the sources. Arce got the lesser sentence for allegedly using the information to write analytical reports on Cuba that she sold to private companies in Mexico.

Alvarez is the most senior Cuban official known to have been convicted of spying against the communist government in decades. At least three other Cubans are imprisoned on the island for spying, including two former Interior Ministry officials.

The Cuban government has repeatedly offered to swap U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross, imprisoned in Havana since 2009, for four Havana spies held in U.S. prisons since 1998. But it has made no mention of the spies held in Cuban prisons.

The island’s state-controlled news media, which almost never reports on politically sensitive crimes, has published nothing on the Alvarez-Arce case. Relatives also have not commented publicly, hoping their silence will lead to better treatment for the couple.

There has been no indication of the seriousness of the breach of security allegedly created by Alvarez and Arce, but the Cuban government jealously guards even routine information such as sugar harvest figures and Fidel Castro’s home address.

Alvarez was a senior advisor to Alarcón on international and political affairs when Alarcón served as president of the legislative National Assembly of People’s Power, sitting in on many of his meetings with foreign dignitaries and journalists.

Alarcón, 77, a veteran specialist on U.S. relations, headed the National Assembly for 20 years but was replaced in February of last year, 11 months after the Alvarez and Arce arrests.

He is believed to remain a member of the powerful Political Bureau of the Communist Party. Alarcón is seen in public now mostly pushing the government campaign to free the four Cuban spies in U.S. prisons.

Former Florida International University professor Carlos Alvarez (no relation to the Alarcón aide), who was convicted of spying for Havana, described Arce in his confession as one of his Cuban intelligence handlers. He and his wife, Elsa Prieto, were sentenced in 2007 to five and three years in prison, respectively.

Read more here:
Aide to Cuba’s Ricardo Alarcon Sentenced to 30 Years for Spying

Deadly Serious, the Cuban Spy Game Lives on in the Americas 2

By Jerry Brewer

If rhetoric alone was the official doctrine of world political institutions, both of the Cuban brothers that have dominated Cuban misery with iron fisted rule for 54 years, with influence and persuasion, would be kings.

As well, besides the deception and the smoke and mirrors, their spy network is the more sinister and most powerful tool in their ill-conceived repertoire and bag of tricks.

There are those who continue to insist and argue that Cuba is old news, a benign cold war relic that poses no threat to anyone. Yet the oppressed people that continue to suffer ever increasing human rights violations, by beatings, incarceration and other atrocities, valiantly try to get the word out daily to those that will pay attention.

Cuba’s authoritarian regime, and its vicious state security services, severely and perpetually restrict fundamental freedoms, repress political opponents, and aggressively violate human rights in this tired and archaic one-party communist system.

So today, one must ask, why not free the citizens of Cuba in this modern era and allow a quality of life, liberty and happiness to which they have a fundamental right?

Pressure by the world media, and never ending questions posed to Cuba’s government calling for immediate attention to human rights issues, always seem to get their attention – and the unleashing of the usual diatribes.

Marino Murillo, vice president of the Cuban Council of Ministers, an economist and former military officer, is a Politburo member and known as a reform czar. He recently stepped up to the world microphone and spewed, that during “the rest of this year and through the next the state would enact and carry through the next phase of its privatization and austerity measures, creating the most profound transformations.”

As the well informed and astute focus their eyes and ears on and through the nebulous screen of polluted political dialogue of this totalitarian dictatorship, the physical power behind the throne must be exposed once again.

Cuba’s intelligence and spy apparatus has been described as a “contingency of very well-trained, organized and financed agents.” Even the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, adopted the previous Soviet-styled Cuban intelligence service (DGI) as his model for Venezuela’s security service, known as SEBIN and G2.

Through Fidel Castro, his much admired mentor, Chavez closely relied on Cuban intelligence counterparts and advisors of the Cuban security service. The decaying and failing Cuban Revolution became Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution, and he imported the misery, violence, and human rights violations to Venezuela while holding on for dear life until death overcame him — in Cuba, as many believe.

Cuba has consistently maintained a well-organized and callous intelligence presence in Mexico, as have the Russians. Much of their activities have involved U.S. interests, including the recruiting of disloyal U.S. military, government, and private sector “specialists.” They continue this enthusiastically, on U.S. soil as well, evidenced in the Ana Belen Montes case — along with her recruiter, Marta Rita Velazquez, a graduate of Princeton University and Georgetown in Washington, D.C.

Montes would go on to lead a distinguished career at the Defense Intelligence Agency as a top Cuban analyst, winning awards, briefing the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and helping to soften U.S. policy toward Cuba until her capture.

Up until the end of 2012 there were an estimated 210,000 Cubans in Venezuela “as part of an alliance established by Hugo Chavez.” A number of agreements enabled Cubans to take part in a wide range of government plans that included national intelligence and security.

Retired Venezuelan army Major General Antonio Rivero, who was once a close advisor to Hugo Chavez, disclosed the in-depth meddling of Cuban advisors in security and defense matters in Venezuela.

In an interview with the daily newspaper El Universal, shortly before his detention, Rivero explained that he retrieved the entirety of information about Cuban meddling in Venezuela from garrisons throughout the country until 2010, when he was discharged.

And what does Cuban meddling continue to mean within this hemisphere, in itself besides the anti-democratic values?

Vociferous critics of the U.S., such as presidents Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, are a concern as they offer little to no support to their neighbors or the United States in drug and terrorism interdiction efforts.

This author has frequently spoken with Pedro Riera Escalante, who served the Castro regime in Mexico City (under the guise of a diplomat from 1986-1991), when then at least it was a major hub for espionage against the U.S. Riera was the Group Chief of Section Q-1, in charge of operations against the CIA.*

However, he eventually denounced the Fidel Castro dictatorship and was imprisoned. He called for a shift towards respect for human rights and democracy, before, during and after his sentence to prison in Cuba. His revelations of his orders from Cuba, and his actions in the secret war that has pitted Cuba versus the U.S. for decades in intelligence and espionage tradecraft, reveal a continuing process of Cuban subversion in this hemisphere.

* MexiData.info note: Pedro Riera Escalante, who had fallen under suspicion by Cuban officials, returned to Mexico using false papers. Forcibly deported by Mexican authorities in 2000, he was subsequently tried and convicted in Cuba on the false papers charges. Released after serving a three-year prison sentence, yet confined to the island, Riera was finally able to leave Cuba for Spain in December 2011.

Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia. His website is located at http://www.cjiausa.org/.

Dr. Latell’s Monstrosity 3

By Miguel Fernandez

The paperback edition of Castro’s Secrets (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, 304 pages) has encouraged its author, former CIA desk analyst Dr. Brian Latell, to lash out against Castro again through the July 31st issue of the electronic flyer The Latell Report, published by the Institute of Cuban and Cuban American Studies (ICCAS) at the University of Miami.

Under the title “Fidel Castro’s Monstrous Lies,” Dr. Latell´s latest flyer insists in Castro’s foreknowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald’s intention to kill President Kennedy. Castro would have lied on November 23, 1963, by stating “we never in our life heard of him [Oswald]” before the radio and TV audiences. Taking into account that Castro dittoed the statement in his November 27 speech at the University of Havana, Dr. Latell asserts:

• “Contrary to another of his earlier claims, Castro volunteered to Jack Childs that ‘our people in Mexico gave us the details in a full report.’ He meant that his intelligence officers there had kept him fully informed of Oswald’s visits [to Mexico City].”

• “Yet, most remarkably, Castro revealed to Childs that as Oswald was leaving the Cuban consulate in Mexico, he shouted ‘I am going to kill that bastard. I am going to kill Kennedy’.”

Since Dr. Latell uses Childs as the “more compelling” quantum of proof against Castro denial of foreknowledge of Oswald, let’s go into the facts.

Jack Childs was a trusted FBI agent who engaged with his brother Morris in the Operation SOLO (1958-77) to infiltrate the Communist Party of the United States. On May 20, 1964, Jack flew from Moscow to “the beach” [Cuba] in the SOLO Mission 15. He spent ten days there, managed to meet Castro, and reported to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover:

“Castro said ‘I was told this by my people in the Embassy exactly how he (Oswald) stalked in and walked in and ran out. That in itself was a suspicious movement, because nobody comes to an Embassy for a visa (they go to a Consulate). [Castro] stated that when Oswald was refused his visa at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City, he acted like a madman and started yelling and shouting on his way out, ‘I’m going to kill this bastard. I’m going to kill Kennedy’ [Castro]was speaking on the basis of facts given to him by his embassy personnel, who dealt with Oswald, and apparently had made a full, detailed report to Castro after President Kennedy was assassinated.” (FBI Records: The Vault – SOLO [http://vault.fbi.gov/solo], Part 63, page 59).

In order to make his point, Dr. Latell simply trimmed “after President Kennedy was assassinated” from the Jack Childs report. Thus, Dr. Latell has applied a counter-productive method: fabricating a lie for accusing Castro of being a liar.

Note: On June 17, 1964, the old sleuth Hoover summed up to Warren Commission General Counsel, James Lee Rankin, that “the information furnished by our source [Jack Childs] at this time as having come from Castro is consistent with and substantially the same as that which appears in Castro’s speech of November 27, 1963 (…) No further action is contemplated by this Bureau” (See Warren Commission Document 1359).

Feds: Medicare Millions Moved to Cuba Through Canada, Trinidad and Mexico 1

Federal court records reveal that a Florida money-laundering network moved Medicare millions to Cuba through Canada, Trinidad and, now, Mexico.

By Jay Weaver, JWeaver@MiamiHerald.com

A South Florida money-laundering network secretly transferred more than $30 million in illegal Medicare profits through a remittance firm with shell companies in not only Canada and Trinidad, but also in Mexico, according to court records filed Monday.

Evidence of the widening network into Mexico surfaced in the federal plea agreement of a one-time Miami medical equipment provider who pleaded guilty Friday to his role in the money-laundering conspiracy. Kirian Vega, 35, who owned Ozain Pharmacy in another person’s name, billed more than $600,000 in false claims to the taxpayer-funded Medicare program and received about $400,000. According to the plea agreement, Vega admitted he used a Florida check-cashing store to launder $124,000 of the tainted proceeds in 2009 through the shell companies of the offshore remittance company, Caribbean Transfers.

Court documents show that money was wired to Turismo dos Polos in Mexico, which transferred a portion — $45,000 — to another shell company, Communications Sophie, in Trinidad. That money was then sent to an unidentified travel agency in Cuba, records show. Last month, Caribbean Transfers was accused in an indictment of financing the complex money-laundering ring that moved millions in stolen Medicare money, mostly from South Florida, through shell companies in Canada and Trinidad and finally into Cuba’s banking system. That revelation came to light in the case of a now-convicted check-cashing store owner who was first believed to be at the center of the federal case. It marked the first time that investigators traced tainted Medicare proceeds to Cuba’s state-controlled bank. Caribbean Transfers appears to have played the dominant role in the unprecedented money-laundering scheme.

In October, prosecutors filed conspiracy charges against the founder of the Caribbean-based company, Jorge Emilio Perez, who is believed to be hiding in the Dominican Republic. Also charged: Vega and Felipe Ruiz, 38, one-time operator of two Miami medical equipment businesses under others’ names. Ruiz was charged with laundering at least $1.2 million through the check-cashing store and remittance company. The information about Caribbean Transfers, which prosecutors say is licensed by the Cuban government, was disclosed during Ruiz’s bond hearing last month. Ruiz, a Cuban-born U.S. citizen, was denied bail because a judge found he might flee to Cuba or another country.

In June, the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami made national headlines when prosecutors charged Oscar L. Sanchez, owner of the Naples check-cashing store, with conspiring to launder tens of millions of Medicare dollars via Canada and Trinidad into Cuba’s national bank. By late August, Sanchez, 47, had pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities and repay the U.S. government $10 million, consisting primarily of residential investment properties he acquired with his wife in Southwest Florida.

The U.S. attorney’s office has said it has no evidence that the Cuban government was part of the laundering scheme, and Cuban officials have denied any involvement. Sanchez, also a Cuban-born U.S. citizen, was indicted on the single conspiracy charge of playing a pivotal role in laundering the profits of 70 South Florida medical companies that falsely billed Medicare for $374.4 million and were paid $70.7 million.

Editor’s Note:  While there is currently no publicly available information connecting Cuban Intelligence to Medicare fraud, the techniques used by the indicted criminals mimics perfectly the procedures Havana’s five spy services have used for the past half century to create and run front companies.