Labour Election Candidate Mark McDonald Helped Cuban Spy Overturn a Visa Ban And Come to the UK to Visit Parliament 1

A hard-Left Labour candidate helped a Cuban spy overturn a visa ban and visit Parliament after he was invited by Jeremy Corbyn (pictured)

• Barrister Mark McDonald won court battle to get intelligence officer Rene Gonzalez into Britain
• Mr McDonald is now standing in Stoke-on-Trent South after winning backing
• While a backbench MP, Mr Corbyn attended vigils in support of the jailed Cubans

By Martin Beckford For The Daily Mail

A hard-Left Labour candidate helped a Cuban spy overturn a visa ban and visit Parliament after he was invited by Jeremy Corbyn.

Barrister Mark McDonald won a court battle to get intelligence officer Rene Gonzalez into Britain on human rights grounds after Theresa May blocked him because of his conviction in the US for espionage.

He then attended the Westminster reception for Mr Gonzalez and his spy cell leader along with Mr Corbyn, who had campaigned for their release from prison in America and joined in their legal battle.

Mr McDonald is now standing in Stoke-on-Trent South after winning the backing of the Corbynite campaign group Momentum, ahead of two prominent local hopefuls.

In an article in 2016, he also dismissed widespread claims of anti-Semitism in Labour as ‘wholly without foundation’, although he admitted last night that it had since ‘become clear to me there are significant problems of anti-Semitism within the party’.

While still a backbench MP, Mr Corbyn regularly attended vigils in support of the jailed Cubans, who he finally met with the help of Mr McDonald.

The spies were part of a cell known as the ‘Wasp Network‘ who were caught by the FBI in Florida while trying to infiltrate Cuban exile groups hostile to Fidel Castro.

They were jailed in 2001 for espionage and their leader was also convicted of conspiracy to murder over the shooting down by the Cuban military of two planes belonging to an anti-Castro group, in which four pilots died.

Feature continues here: Cuban Spy’s UK Friend

The Cuban Empire 2

Ana Belen Montes

The threat few see

By Toby Westerman, Renew America

October 30, 2019

In America there is some awareness of the military threat posed by Russia and the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). There have been warnings from the U.S. military concerning the PRC’s growing challenge to the U.S. in the Pacific. Russian ballistic missile and land forces are a reality to most Americans, a legacy from the Cold War, but all perspective relating to Moscow’s strategies and tactics are lost to millions in the U.S. on account of unsubstantiated charges of some effective interference in U.S. elections and the presence of Russian “agents.” While these assertions have been made loudly and received much media attention, solid proof has been lacking.

Not only has the Russian threat become a punch line in some political and media circles, but the very real danger coming from Russia and one of its most active client states seems to be ignored. The Communist gulag state of Cuba, an ally of Moscow for more than 60 years, poses an immediate threat to the United States both as a base for spying against the U.S. as well as a military danger to nations in the Western Hemisphere friendly to the U.S.

Within the U.S., Cuban espionage has been working to guide U.S. foreign policy, gather information on the readiness of the American military, and disrupt – even to the point of murdering – Cubans opposed to the Communist regime in Cuba. The arrest in 2001 of Ana Belen Montes, a former senior analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, provided a shocking example as to how effective Cuban intelligence could be.

Montes was the “go to” person on all things relating to Cuba, and her opinions helped mold U.S. policy toward Havana. While performing her top secret duties, she also informed her Cuban handlers of all the restricted information to which she was privy as a high ranking DIA advisor. (Montes is due to be released in 2027).

Earlier, in 1998, the FBI broke a spy ring referred to as the Wasp Network (La Red Avispa). Five of the ring were tried and convicted of charges ranging from being agents of a foreign power to conspiracy to commit murder. Sentences ranged from 15 years to two life terms for one individual. The U.S. Southern Command, which had recently moved from Panama to Florida, was a major target. [It should be noted that two served their sentences and three were released as part of a de facto prisoner swap.]

The reader should also be aware that the newly released spy-thriller, “Wasp Network,” by Oliver Assayas, has little in common with the actual activities of “La Red Avispa.” An editorial note on Cuba Confidential, which carries a September 2, 2019 review of the film, states “Any similarities between this movie and the real Wasp Network are purely coincidental…the real Wasp Network played a central role in the premeditated murder of four Americans, influenced the U.S. political system at the local, state and Federal levels; spied on numerous military targets including SOUTHCOM, CENTCOM, SOCOM, NAS Key West and Barksdale Air Force Base; intimidated American media outlets, manipulated the Cuban American community, etc.”

Article continues here: The Cuban Empire

 

Cuban Spy Ring the Focus in Political Thriller ‘Wasp Network’ 1

A scene from director Olivier Assayas’ thriller, ‘Wasp Network,’ which stars Penélope Cruz.

Marie-Louise Gumuchian

VENICE, Italy (Reuters) – A ring of Cuban operatives seeking to infiltrate anti-government groups exiled in Miami in the early 1990s is the focus of French director Olivier Assayas’ “Wasp Network”, a star-studded political thriller based on a true story.

Starring Penelope Cruz, Edgar Ramirez, Gael Garcia Bernal and Wagner Moura, the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday, where it is competing with 20 others for the top Golden Lion prize.

The action begins in Havana with Cuban pilot Rene Gonzalez, played by Ramirez, flying off to the United States to defect, leaving his wife, Cruz’ Olga, and their daughter behind in the Communist state led by Fidel Castro.

While it appears at first that he wants to start a new life in Florida, he joins other exiled Cubans there as part of a ring known as the Wasp Network, a pro-Castro group.
Led by Garcia Bernal’s undercover operative Manuel Viramontez, they infiltrate Cuban-American groups that want to topple the Castro regime.

“I liked the idea of leading the audience in one direction and then twist it and then we see the other side of the game,” Assayas told a news conference.

Garcia Bernal described the key characters as “spies that are trying to stop violence”.

“There’s something very unique about this story that highlights the act of love that actually made them do this, and the people they left behind support them,” he said.

The film is based on the true story of The Cuban Five intelligence officers who were arrested in Florida in 1998, convicted of espionage and other activities and jailed, before eventually being released after lengthy jail terms as part of a prisoner swap between the two countries.

Assayas, known for “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Personal Shopper”, said shooting in Cuba was “what allowed this film to happen.”

“I thought there would be conditions, strings attached, the reality there was not. We were completely free to make the film as wanted. We were monitored to put it mildly, but there were no consequences on the film,” he said.

Article continues here: Hollywood Fiction

Editor’s Note: Any similarities between this movie and the real Wasp Network are purely coincidental. After all, the real Wasp Network played a central role in the premeditated murder of four Americans, influenced the U.S. political system at the local, state and Federal levels; spied on numerous military targets including SOUTHCOM, CENTCOM, SOCOM, NAS Key West and Barksdale Air Force Base; indimidated American media outlets, manipulated the Cuban American community, etc.  

Failed Spy Turns Politician Reply

Editor’s Note: In 2014, Fernando González-Llort became Vice President of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples, better known by its Spanish acronym ICAP. While not technically a component of the Directorate of Intelligence (DI), ICAP is an intelligence front with a long history since its creation in 1960. It consists of a large cadre of collaborators who are overseen by a small team of embedded DI officers. González-Llort is now the ICAP President and a member of Cuba’s one-party Parliament.

During his years as a spy in America, he served in the Wasp Network – the largest espionage ring ever known to have operated against the United States. This network targeted the U.S. military; U.S. politicians at the local, state and Federal level, Cuban-American exiles and played a central role in the 1996 shootdown of two Brothers to the Rescue aircraft flying a humanitarian mission in international airspace.

Below readers will find an alternative version of this failed spy’s life from India’s “The Telegraph:

 

Fernando González Llort outside the CPM central committe office in New Delhi Picture by Pheroze L Vincent

One of Cuban Five: Soldier, Spy and now a Politician

‘If big business funds you, who are you going to serve after getting elected?’

By Pheroze L. Vincent in New Delhi

From 1998 to 2014, Left groups across the world usually greeted visiting American delegations with slogans demanding the release of the Cuban Five.

The five spies had infiltrated anti-communist militias of Cuban exiles in Florida and were arrested for espionage by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1998.

The last of the five was released in December 2014 in exchange for a Cuban national in jail for spying for the US. One of them, Fernando González Llort, released in February 2014, went on to become a member of Cuba’s parliament last year. He is also president of the Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (abbreviated in Spanish as ICAP) — the island nation’s international solidarity front.

Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, González Llort, on a solidarity tour with Che Guevara’s daughter Aleida to mark 60 years of the Cuban revolution, said US President Donald Trump’s activation of Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, 1996, in addition to the existing economic blockade, was “asphyxiating the Cuban economy”, especially its famed health sector.

Article continues here: Failed Spy Turns Politician

 

 

 

Bad Math:  Tampa Newspaper Erroneously Claims Just 5 People Served in Massive Cuban Spy Network 1

By Chris Simmons

The article in yesterday’s Tampa Bay Times, “Florida’s Worst Spies,” is certain to have delighted intelligence officials in Havana. In this poorly researched feature, the Wasp Network – the largest spy ring ever known to have operated on U.S. soil, is never mentioned. Instead, the two journalists focused on five of its failed spies – the ring’s hardcore leaders whom Havana later lionized as the “Cuban Five.” In reality, the Wasp Network consisted of over 40 officers and agents, most of whom fled or made plea agreements when arrested. Led by a Cuban Military Intelligence officer, the spy ring stretched from Key West (Florida) to New York City, southwest to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana (B-52s are stationed here) and then south to Mexico City. Significantly, two military commands based in Tampa – CENTCOM and SOCOM – were major Wasp targets.

How is it possible that this paper, a self-professed winner of 12 Pulitzer Prizes, doesn’t know of key events that occurred in its own city?

 

 

 

French Director to Make Pro-Castro Film Showcasing Murderous Spies as Heroes 2

Director Olivier Assayas (Lionel Cironneau /AP/REX/Shutterstock)

‘Personal Shopper’ Director Olivier Assayas Boards Cuban Spy Thriller ‘Wasp Network’

Dave McNary, Film Reporter – Variety

Olivier Assayas, who directed Kristen Stewart’s “Personal Shopper” and “Clouds of Sils Maria,” has come on board to helm the Cuban spy thriller “Wasp Network” from his own script.

Wasp Network” is based on Fernando Morais’ book “The Last Soldiers of the Cold War.” RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira will produce alongside CG Cinema’s Charles Gillibert. RT’s Lourenço Sant’Anna and Sophie Mas will executive produce.

 Wasp Network” centers on Cuban spies in American territory during the 1990s when anti-Castro groups based in Florida carried out military attacks on Cuba, and the Cuban government struck back with the Wasp Network to infiltrate those organizations.

Assayas most recently wrote and directed “Personal Shopper,” which world premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Assayas was awarded best director. IFC Films released the film in the U.S. on March 10.

Assays also wrote and directed “Clouds of Sils Maria,” starring Stewart and Juliette Binoche. The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Stewart earned France’s César Award for best supporting actress for her role in the movie — making her the first American actress to earn the honor.

Assayas was also nominated for the Palme d’Or for “Demonlover” in 2002 and for “Les Destinées” in 2000. He received an Emmy nomination in 2011 for outstanding directing for a miniseries, movie, or dramatic special for “Carlos” starring Edgar Ramírez, still regarded by many as his finest work and the nearest in its subject – terrorist Carlos the Jackal – to “Wasp Network.”

RT Features debuted two films at the Sundance Film Festival in January — Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me by Your Name,” starring Armie Hammer, which was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics; and Geremy Jasper’s “Patti Cake$,” which was nabbed by Fox Searchlight. The company’s “The Witch” won an Independent Spirit Award for best first feature for Robert Egger. RT also produced James Schamus’ “Indignation,” Ira Sachs’ “Little Men” and Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha.”

Gillibert is a frequent collaborator to Assayas, having produced “Personal Shopper,” “Clouds of Sils Maria,” and “Summer Hours.” CG Cinema is in post-production on Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s “Kings,” starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig.

Assayas is represented by WME and Intertalent while RT Features is represented by CAA.

Editors Note: Based on information currently available about this film, it appears certain that any overlap with factual events with be purely accidental.

 

 

 

 

Obama Invites Top Communist Military-Intelligence Officials to Inspect Vital U.S. Defense Facilities 3

ObamaBy Humberto Fontova, Townhall

In 2001 a group of Castroite spies in south Florida known as the Wasp Network were convicted of charges ranging from espionage to conspiracy to commit murder (of U.S. citizens.) They were sentenced to terms ranging from 15 years to two life sentences. According to the FBI’s affidavit, the charges against these KGB-trained Communist spies included:

  • Compiling the names, home addresses, and medical files of the U.S. Southern Command’s top officers and that of hundreds of officers stationed at Boca Chica Naval Station in Key West.
  • Infiltrating the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command.

This past April, on Obama’s orders, some of the U.S. Southern Command’s top officers gave an in-depth tour of the Southern Command’s most vital facilities to some of Cuba’s top Military and Intelligence officials—probably to some of the very ones who earlier got this vital information from their WASP charges via “encrypted software, high-frequency radio transmissions and coded electronic phone messages,” as the FBI affidavit showed.

Cuba’s KGB-founded and mentored spy agency carefully trains their people to stifle guffaws, and even snickers—to maintain a poker-face through even the most hilarious provocations. Little did they dream how valuable such training would prove during the Obama administration.

Sorry, but Peter Sellers, the Marx Brothers, Maxwell Smart and Austin Powers are all somehow absent from this fascinating story. It’s all true. Here’s “just the facts ma’am” from The Miami Herald.

Oh, and never mind the convicted Cuban spies, some of whom helped murder four U.S. citizens. They’re all living like celebrities in Cuba now after Obama gifted them back to Castro in December 2014, upon commencing his smoochfest with the terror-sponsoring drug-runner who came closest to nuking the U.S.

It gets better:

Coincidently (perhaps) the vital U.S. defense facilities that Obama invited the eager Communist drug-runners to carefully inspect serve as the U.S. Defense Department’s “command center on the war on drugs.”

Coincidently, (perhaps) on top of serving as a base for terrorist group Hezbollah and probably laundering funds for Al-Qaeda as late as two years ago, the Castro-Family-Crime-Syndicate also help facilitate much of world’s cocaine smuggling. The dots are not overly difficult to connect. Let’s have a look:

*The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) attributes half the world’s cocaine supply to the Colombian Terror group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.)

*The FARC itself gives credit where credit is due, attributing their rollicking success to the Castro regime:

Feature continues here:  Fontova

 

The Stupidly Simple Spy Messages No Computer Could Decode 1

Numbers station_The Daily BeastEvery day, hour after hour, the world’s spies send top secret information you can easily listen in on.

By Shan Harris, The Daily Beast

When I was 10 years old, I found a shortwave radio in a crumbling old leather trunk where we kept family photos and other memorabilia. As I spun the dial, tinny, modulating noises, like the song of an electronic slide whistle, emanated from the radio’s small speaker. Staticky cracks and pops competed for airtime. The sounds swished and swirled, unintelligible and unremarkable. But then, emerging through the clamor, was a voice.

I might have run right over it with the dial, but the voice’s rhythmic, steady pacing caught me up short. It wasn’t a deejay. Nor a commercial. And he wasn’t singing. He was just speaking. The same line, over and over again.

“7…6…7…4…3.” Pause. “7…6…7…4…3.”

I don’t remember if those were the exact numbers. But they were numbers. A repeated sequence which had no obvious meaning, and was entirely devoid of context. To find him here, amidst the screeches and howls of the shortwave frequencies, was like coming upon a man standing in the middle of a forest, talking out loud to no one.

How long had he been here? Who was he talking to? He had that officious tone of the recorded telephone operators who chastised you for dialing a wrong number. “Please hang up, check the number, and dial again.” And the same distracting static I’d heard in those messages filled the background. I wasn’t sure if he was speaking live, or if he’d been recorded and set loose to play into the air.

But there was an urgency to his tone. And a purpose. As if he were talking to me. Imploring. Listen. Hear me now. 7…6…7…4…3. Did you get that? 7…6…7…4…3.

I was simultaneously terrified and captivated.

I never touched the radio again. My curiosity was suppressed by a feeling of dread that I had heard something not meant for me. But I never stopped thinking about it. The voice became a character I passed around with friends during late-night ghost stories. The Bell Witch. The Killer in the Back Seat. The Numbers Man.

Article continues here: Numbers Stations

 

Freed Journalist Believes Cuba’s 2003 “Black Spring” Arrests Were a Failed Attempt at a Spy Swap 1

Exiled Cuban Journalist Omar Rodríguez: “The whole detention was a “mafia action to trade us” for the Cuban spies in prison in the U.S.”

Cuban reporter and photojournalist Omar Rodríguez Saludes

Cuban reporter and photojournalist Omar Rodríguez Saludes

Cuba’s ‘Black Spring’ Still Haunts Journalists

By David Soler, Global Journalist

Years after their release, two Cuban journalists look back at lost years.

In March 2003 the world’s attention was transfixed on Iraq as the United States prepared to launch a divisive military assault on Saddam Hussein’s government. Meanwhile just 90 miles from U.S. shores, Cuban President Fidel Castro seized the opportunity to launch an assault of his own on internal critics–an offensive that drew little attention from an international community focused on the  prospect of war in the Middle East.

On April 2, as U.S. forces neared Baghdad, Cuban reporter and photojournalist Omar Rodríguez Saludes returned to his home in Havana late. There, Cuban police were waiting for him. They searched his house, finding a 2002 New York Times’ article highlighting his work as one of about 100 independent journalists working in the Communist nation. “I remember they shouted with surprise: ‘Look at this!’” says Rodríguez. “For them that was as if they found a bomb.”

Rodríguez was one of 75 journalists, human rights activists and political dissidents arrested in a sweep that became known as Cuba’s “Black Spring.” For Rodríguez and others rounded-up, the arrest was a life-changing event. All would languish in prison for years after show-trials on charges of undermining the government.  “This is following Sept. 11th, the world is focused on the U.S. intervention in Iraq,” says Ted Henken, a Latin American studies researcher at Baruch College in New York. “The suspicion is that it was done because no one was paying attention.”

Rodríguez, a former shipyard worker who loved photography, was recruited into journalism in the early 1990s by Raúl Rivero, a poet and former correspondent for Cuban state media who broke with the regime in the late 1980s and became a leader of Cuba’s fledgling independent press. Rodríguez would walk and bicycle about the countryside taking pictures “trying to show the contrast between the government’s narrative and the real destruction” of Cuba’s economy and political freedoms.

Since independent news media is banned inside Cuba and Internet access is a luxury for the rich even today, Rodríguez’s news agency, Nueva Prensa Cubana, mainly distributed his photos and reports to a U.S. audience of Cuban exiles. “Our job was to show our reality to the outside world,” he says.

Feature continues here: Was “Black Spring” A Failed Attempt at a Spy Swap?