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Cablegate: Meeting with Cubans On Mission Security

VZCZCXYZ0007
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUCNDT #0090 0311547
ZNY EEEEE ZZH
R 311547Z JAN 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3638
INFO RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0250

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000090

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR IO/UNP, WHA/CCA AND DS/DSS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OFDP ASEC CU UN
SUBJECT: MEETING WITH CUBANS ON MISSION SECURITY

REF: 07 USUN 1088

1. This message is sensitive but unclassified - please
protect accordingly.

2. Following a meeting of the UN's Committee on Relations
with the Host Country called by Cuba (septel) to complain
that the host country was not taking the Cuban Mission's
security concerns seriously enough, NYC Commissioner for the
UN Marjorie Tiven called a meeting at which NYPD Deputy
Commissioner David Cohen briefed the Cubans on what the NYPD
considers an upgraded security response more in keeping with
the sort of threat faced by the Cuban Mission (and certain
unnamed other diplomatic missions) at the current time. USUN
and DS/NYFO representatives were also present.

3. Cohen emphasized that the NYPD has not in fact withdrawn
police protection from the Cuban Mission - instead "we have
changed it and made it better". A police officer sitting in
a security booth outside the mission provides "extremely
limited" coverage which "may not really be appropriate for
the times". Instead of an officer on duty around the clock,
the NYPD stated that it has put into place a security plan
consisting of four elements. (1) An unmarked car with two
plainclothes detective specifically trained to think about
protection matters will visit the Cuban Mission at least once
a day, and the detectives will check in personally with the
Mission's security officer. If the Cubans believe more than
one stop-by is necessary on any given day, it will be
arranged. Cohen added that it is possible that there had not
yet been a meaningful dialogue in this respect because the
Cubans "did not know what was going on". (2) an "Operation
Hercules" team consisting of heavily armed officers
accompanied by an intelligence officer will visit the mission
on a regular but random basis. Their purpose is to undertake
surveillance activity and show force as a deterrent. (3) a
"Critical Response Vehicle" - a marked radio car with
uniformed officers will go to the Cuban Mission several times
a day on different days of the week. USUN officers have
recently seen this vehicle parked in front of the Cuban
Mission. (4) On Deputy Commissioner Cohen's determination,
the 17th NYPD precinct will place an officer at the police
booth which remains near the corner of 38th and Lexington in
front of the Mission. Such a decision will depend on the
threat assessment at that location at any given time. If a
demonstration is planned, additional resources will be
deployed, both uniformed and plainclothesed. Cohen concluded
his presentation by arguing that the new procedures in place
were "by far stronger" as well as more costly than the
officer in the police booth, and that an extremely important
aspect of the procedures was the daily interface with the
Cuban Mission.

4. Cuban Security Officer Victor Alvarez and Legal
Officer/Host Country Coordinator Anet Pino stressed that the
Mission remained concerned at the loss of 24/7 police
coverage, but did not explicitly reject Cohen's position that
the new measures were inadequate or inappropriate for the
times. They did express concern that the guidelines for
demonstrations set forth in a USUN diplomatic note dated June
1995 - and particularly the areas into which participants in
those demonstrations would be placed - had not been followed.
The NYPD, which had signed off on the 1995 note, took the
position that it could not expect to be bound by an agreement
that is now almost 13 years old and it was up to the police
to control the location of demonstrators in accordance with
their numbers, the threat they posed to the Mission,
constitutional guarantees, the safety and security of passing
vehicles and pedestrians, and the facts and circumstances
regarding the particular demonstration.

5. Not surprisingly, the Cuban Mission asked that USUN
inform it in writing of the new security procedures to be put
in place as well as confirmation that the provisions included
in the 1995 note are no longer valid and what provisions will
replace them. After coordination with the Department, USUN
would prepare a draft, but we expect that NYC and NYPD
officials will not agree to be bound by anything.

KHALILZAD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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