Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fact checking the AP for errors of omission on 21 US diplomats harmed in Cuba

What was left unsaid about the mystery in Cuba.

Fact checking the Associated Press for errors of omission
The Associated Press (AP) has released a remarkable article today titled "Cuba mystery grows: New details on what befell US diplomats" on what they described as the "least 21 U.S. victims in an astonishing international mystery."  The AP story then quotes Fulton Armstong, without providing any context into his background beyond "a former CIA official who served in Havana long before America re-opened an embassy there" who went on to claim that there was no "reasonable explanation" and that it was "just mystery after mystery after mystery."  This ignores a long history of harassment and violence against diplomats over the years, including during prior efforts of normalizing relations not to mention outlaw international behavior. The question that arises is how could someone who was in the CIA get the Castro regime so wrong?

What the AP forgot to mention
Fulton Armstrong, a harsh critic of U.S. pro-democracy programs suspected of leaking and spinning information to the Associated Press to compromise them was also a close confidante of Ana Belen Montes, a long time agent of  the Castro regime at the Pentagon. Mr. Armstrong has sought to undermine USAID's pro-democracy programs in Cuba and was caught red handed in 2014 fabricating information with a pro-regime spin. U.S. spy catcher Chris Simmons offered the following assessment at the time on his blog:
Armstrong is well-known for consistently minimizing Cuba’s ability to threaten U.S. interests and its continued support to terrorists. In one interview, Scott Carmichael – the senior Counterintelligence investigator for the Defense Intelligence Agency – said Montes was “on a first name basis” with the Armstrong. In fact, Montes and Armstrong confided in one another by phone into the final stages of her investigation.
There has been a decades long obsession in the U.S. establishment to cozy up to the Castro regime that achieved its first concrete achievements in 1977 during the Carter Administration, followed later on in 1993 during the Clinton Administration, and finally full normalization during the Obama Administration in 2014 despite numerous setbacks against U.S. national security. Fulton Armstrong, a former staffer to Senator John Kerry, has been an advocate for these efforts.

 The Associate Press has a pattern that stretches back years of publishing pro-Castro regime spin and self-censorship while at the same time seeking to minimize and marginalize Cuban democrats. In 2014 Yoani Sánchez  warned foreign news agencies of this practice: "Caution foreign news agencies! Your representatives in these lands are always in danger of becoming hostages, first, and then collaborators of the rulers." Sadly the Associated Press has not only been guilty of this in Cuba, but today in North Korea and and also in Nazi Germany until 1941.

Readers beware if you want to get spin free news on Cuba go elsewhere or read the AP articles with the same caution and skepticism that you read Castro regime publications.

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