Cuba in the Sights
by Julie Webb-Pullman
Published recently on this website was a most inappropriately-named 'Fact Sheet' issued by the United States Department of State as a press release on 31 July 2003, outlining purported Cuban espionage against the U.S. A close look reveals rather than being a 'Fact Sheet', this State Department communiqué is in fact merely the latest in a series of misinformation campaigns undertaken by successive US administrations to provide pretexts for intervention in sovereign states of strategic and/or economic value to the U.S.
The very title of the document, "Cuban Espionage Activities Against the U.S." gives us our first indication of things rotten in the State of...the State Department. "Espionage" requires that 'protected', ie non-public, information relating to national defence is sought or obtained with the intent to harm the security and/or defence interests of the target country. In true inimitable Bush style, the first paragraph shoots the foot they have firmly placed in their mouth, with a quote from Fidel Castro presumably designed to prove that Cuba's activities are anti-U.S. but which achieves the precise opposite. Consider - Castro freely and openly admits to sending Cubans to the U.S. to protect Cuban interests from counter-revolutionary forces. If the State Department considers Cuban infiltration of these forces to be 'espionage', as the first sentence suggests, then we are led to the inescapable conclusion that these counter-revolutionary forces must therefore be related to, or connected with, the national security and/or defence interests of the U.S. The implications of this are considerable, and not without foundation, as we shall soon see.
But before we go there, take a look at the second paragraph. This reveals that one of Ana Montes' cardinal sins was to reveal the names of four U.S. spies working in Cuba - puhlease! Are we seriously expected to be outraged that Cuba has spies in the U.S., but to meekly accept U.S. spies in Cuba??!! Have a closer look at this, and see where the greater justification lies for the use of covert agents to protect their national defence and security. How many attacks has Cuba launched against the U.S. (or any other country for that matter) in the last 44 years? None. How many U.S. citizens have the Cuban Government or Cuban Government-backed organisations killed or maimed in acts of aggression during this period? None. How many attacks have been launched against Cuba from U.S. soil in the same period? Literally hundreds. How many Cubans have been killed or maimed during this time? 3,478 Cuban deaths, and 2,099 Cubans maimed. Maths may not be your strong point, but hey, George W, the score is running at Cuba 0, and the U.S. 5,577 - yep, the U.S. is winning hands down! And despite your very own F.B.I characterising many of these acts as 'terrorist' acts, many of the perpetrators freely walk the streets of Miami today…hmmm, don't I recall you saying something about he who harbours a terrorist, is a terrorist?
This double standard rapidly becomes triple in the third paragraph, and leads one to wonder how many feet it takes to fill the voracious State Department maw. But last things first - the downright lie that the fliers were shot down in international airspace. This spurious claim resonates with the recent lies put about regarding Niger, Iraq and uranium - which were equally baseless. We need only go to the trial of the so-called 'spies' and look at the testimony given by the former Regional Command of the North American Air Defense (NORAD) - that when the planes were shot down they were "well within Cuban airspace" and that Cuba was within its sovereign rights to shoot them down, a fact that was NOT disputed by the prosecution or by other investigators. Pull that foot out of your mouth and retract, State Department – besides, you need to make room for the next. Consider - although he was in the U.S. at the time of the incident, the individual Gerardo Hernandez was convicted in the U.S. of conspiracy to murder - for an action undertaken by the Cuban Government, in Cuban territory and in accordance with international law, in the legitimate defence of Cuban sovereignty. His subsequent conviction has no legal precedent, and there is every expectation that if any semblance of justice prevails, this conviction will be overturned in the current appeal process - at which time another State Department retraction will be expected.
Now rewind, to the purpose and activities of the WASP network, or the case of the 'Cuban Five', as it is now known. Again, the trial transcripts reveal a quite different picture to the State Department's fiction. Review the evidence given by the U.S.'s own high ranking officials, including General Charles Wilhelm, former Commander in Chief of the Southern Command, Edward Atkeson, former Deputy Head of General Staff military intelligence, Admiral Eugene Carrol, former Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Colonel George Buckner, of NORAD, and General James R Clapper, former Defense Intelligency Agency Director, called as an expert witness by the prosecution. Their testimonies revealed that the Five posed no threat to U.S. society, that they had not sought information relevant to U.S. national security and had in fact only obtained publicly available information, and they had caused no damage to U.S. civil or military installations. The group did NOT seek to infiltrate U.S. Southern Command Headquarters, as claimed in the press release, but DID seek to infiltrate several extreme rightwing anti-Cuban terrorist organisations, and they did this with the sole aim of warning of, and frustrating, terrorist attacks on Cuba by Miami's Cuban-American mafia. These people were not 'spies' - they were anti-terrorists.
In fact, the WASP network was doing exactly the same as CIA Director George Tenet announced in the New York Times on July 17 2003 that his own organisation is doing - conducting ongoing intelligence operations in other countries to protect their own country from terrorist attacks. It is patently absurd for the U.S. to claim such a right for itself, the victim of one such attack, yet deny it to a country that has been the victim of over a hundred such plots and attacks since 1990 alone.
To add insult to injury, not only did the WASP network provide information on these terrorist groups operating in U.S. territory in violation of U.S. law to the Cuban Government, but the Cuban Government delivered voluminous dossiers of information to the F.B.I. in 1998 so it could act against them. How could this be called espionage, when they gave the information they collected to the U.S??!! One would imagine that by now there would be little room in the State Department mouth for yet another foot, but the F.B.I. managed to squeeze in yet again. Two months after receiving the dossier from the Cuban Government, rather than moving to bring the Miami terrorists to justice, the F.B.I. arrested the Cubans who had collected the information! Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark had this to say about it in October 2002: "What seems probable is that once they saw how much information was being obtained by Cuba, the F.B.I. decided to immediately close the operation before the U.S. was exposed for failing to enforce the law and the Neutrality Act which prohibits planning or proceeding with violence against another country and people from U.S. territory…this goes against the so-called war on terrorism."
Bush Links With Miami Terrorist Groups
One can only assume that by the fifth paragraph, the State Department's mouth was completely full of feet - their press release only saw fit to count the expulsions of members of the Cuban missions to the United Nations from 1983 onwards. Otherwise they would have had to acknowledge one of the 'other' September 11's - the unequivocally permanent expulsion of Cuban diplomat to the UN Mission, Felix Garcia Rodriguez, by way of MAC 10 machine gun fire when he stopped at traffic lights on 55th Street in New York in 1980. Felix Garcia was the first U.N. diplomat ever to be assassinated, but his murderer, Pedro Remón, a member of Miami-based terrorist group Omega 7, was never punished, and continued his terrorist career until recently. Despite having been left in peace by U.S. authorities, Remón was detained by Panamanian authorities, along with co-conspirator and well-known terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles - both are awaiting trial for plotting to kill Fidel Castro in Panama in 2000.
The chain continues, with links between Omega 7 and the next item in the press release, Brothers to the Rescue, not to mention Alpha 66, Commandos F4, and the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF), recipient of large chunks of National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funds for over 20 years…and these links just go on going on, all the way to George W Bush's very own doorstep. But we can't mention the Bush family and Reich, Bosch, Posada, CANF et al in the same sentence without risking a major foot-in-mouth outbreak - especially in relation to how and where George W won the Presidency….alright, if you must air the dirty linen, follow the links at the end of this article.
Demonising of Cuba
Even the most cursory coverage as I have presented here demonstrates that this State Department press release purporting to be a 'Fact Sheet' leaves out more facts than it presents, and would be better termed a 'Misinformation Sheet'. So what is its purpose? Quite simply, this press release is designed to drum up pretexts to justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba, in exactly the same way that weapons of mass destruction were used to sway international opinion on invading Iraq. It builds on the groundless characterisations by Bush of Cuba as part of the 'axis of evil', the later-retracted accusations re Cuban manufacture of biological weapons, and on Cuba's inclusion in his list of terrorist states. Cuba is widely acknowledged to never have committed terrorist acts, including by Bush's own intelligence organisations and advisers, who advised Jimmy Carter before his trip to Cuba last year that Cuba poses absolutely no threat to the U.S. or to any other country. And unlike many of the U.S.-friendly regimes in Latin America over the last 50 or so years, Cuba has never resorted to torture, disappearances, and other methods of brutal political repression. Nevertheless, Bush has upped the ante, announcing on 20 May 2002 his 'Initiative for a New Cuba’, which will lead to a "new Government", and tripling USAID funds for use in Cuba "to promote a peaceful transition to democracy". These initiatives have been underscored by media bites such as that on CNN in April "Saddam first, Syria second, Fidel Castro you're next".
Apart from historical reasons, ie that it has been official U.S. Foreign Policy since the early 1800's to annex Cuba to the U.S., and the pressure brought to bear on successive U.S. administrations by the American Cuban mafia, there are several crucial strategic benefits for the U.S. following invasion of Cuba. Consider recent events in Latin America and the Caribbean - the reluctant withdrawal in 2001 of U.S. military bases and installations from Puerto Rico, leaving no strategic U.S. military installation in the area except that in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Note the democratic election in the last few years of leftist governments committed to social and political reform, most importantly in Venezuela, but also in Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina, and the likely election of another in El Salvador and Uruguay in early 2004. Think about Venezuela's massive oil reserves, and Cuba's strategic location in relation to Venezuela. Look at the fall-out from the U.S. invasion of Iraq and their subsequent failure to politically secure Iraq's oil reserves for U.S. interests, (and Venezuela's oil reserves, and Cuba's strategic location). Check out the links between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the civil society and business organisations behind the failed coup and failed civil strike in Venezuela - and remember Cuba's strategic position. Consider again the tripling in USAID money for use in Cuba. Consider also the misuse in Havana of the U.S. interests section to foment dissent and promote dissidence to achieve regime change in Cuba, and the 15 European Union member states joining in with these most undiplomatic shenannigans since March. Recall the impending U.S. elections, which in order to win, it is now all but mandatory to have an invasion or start a war, to detract attention from the floundering U.S. economy. Consider the threat to current U.S. interests controlling most Latin American economies and resources, if the Cuban and Venezuelan experiences are allowed to spread in the region. And don't forget Venezuelan oil, and Cuba's strategic location!
It is not exaggerating to say that this press release represents an escalation of the U.S. misinformation campaign against Cuba. Nor is it exaggerating to say that Cuba faces the most serious threat to its right to self-determination and sovereignty since the triumph of its popular peoples' revolution almost 45 years ago. The implications for other sovereign Latin American states are considerable, should this campaign against Cuba gain strength, and I urge you all to denounce the State Department press release of 31 July for the inane, insane, and unbridled imperialism it is.
For some connections between the Bush family, Reich, Bosch, Posada, and CANF in general see:
For connections between the CIA, NED, USAID, and U.S. interventions in Cuba and Venezuela, see: