Thursday, May 1, 2014

Questions About the State Department's State Sponsor of Terrorism Report on Cuba

There is no merit in loving an enemy when you forget him for a friend." - Mohandas Gandhi

Cuba remains on the list of sponsors of terrorism and based on its past and present behavior it should remain there. Additionally, North Korea that was taken off the list in October 2008 should be returned to the list. However the Bureau of Counterterrorism's country report on Cuba  released on April 30, 2014 is a bit slim. Reading it gave me a flashback of another report prepared in 1998 by the Pentagon that purported to be a Cuban threat assessment to U.S. National Security prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency in coordination with the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the National Security Agency, and the United States Southern Command Joint Intelligence Center. Three years after the report was made public its main author, Ana Belen Montes, a high ranking Defense Intelligence Analyst was arrested as a spy for the Cuban government. She had spied for the Castro regime since 1984 until her arrest in September of 2001.

Reading the Defense Intelligence report in 1998 I noted that a number of facts available in the mainstream press coverage contradicted what was in the report, and Secretary of Defense William Cohen felt that he had to point out concerns not included in the report in the text of the transmittal letter for the report:
While the assessment notes that the direct conventional threat by the Cuban military has decreased, I remain concerned about the use of Cuba as a base for intelligence activities directed against the United States, the potential threat that Cuba may pose to neighboring islands, Castro's continued dictatorship that represses the Cuban people's desire for political and economic freedom, and the potential instability that could accompany the end of his regime depending on the circumstances under which Castro departs. Although the report assesses as unlikely the near-term risk of attacks on United States citizens or residents engaged in peaceful protests in international waters or airspace, Cuban authorities have miscalculated in the past and have not expressed remorse at their killing of four peaceful protesters in February 1996. Finally, I remain concerned about Cuba's potential to develop and produce biological agents, given its biotechnology infrastructure, as well as the environmental health risks posed to the United States by potential accidents at the Juragua nuclear power facility.
In hindsight Secretary Cohen's letter offered a better analysis than the DIA report considering that the Castro regime had infitrated several layers of the U.S. government with well placed spies: Ana Belen Montes at the Defense Intelligence Agency, Rita Velazquez at the Agency for International Development, Kendall Myers at the State Department and had CIA defector Philip Agee also working for the Castros in Havana untl he died in Cuba of old age in 2008. 

Considering the importance of setting the record straight and questioning the non-reporting by the Bureau of Counter-terrorism on items that have appeared recently in the news or other public sources regarding the Castro regime that should be in the report are listed below:
1) The report states that "The Cuban government continued to harbor fugitives wanted in the United States.  The Cuban government also provided support such as housing, food ration books, and medical care for these individuals." But fails to mention that one of these fugitives Assata Shakur on her official website continues to have a copy of the book "Mini Manual of the Urban Guerrilla by Carlos Marighella" that was published into hard copy form and translated into several languages by the Castro regime with a chapter explicitly promoting terrorism. 

2) Frank Terpil, a CIA renegade, who supplied weapons and ran an international murder for hire ring for Moammar Gadhafi was first detected in Cuba in 1995 and is still there living comfortably in 2014 in his Havana home with a young girlfriend. The Libyan tyrant since the early 1980s spoke of sending out hit squads to hunt down and kill dissidents leaving abroad and continued the practice as recently as 2004.Terpil who fled to Cuba, after being sentenced to 53 years in prison for illegal arms sales, had assisted Gadhafi with these murders. According to CIA analyst Brian Latell Terpil went to work for the Cuban intelligence service.  After seeing what he did for Gadhafi what do you think he has been doing for Fidel and Raul Castro?

3) Shipment of arms smuggled from Cuba and on its way to North Korea and detected in Panama on July 15, 2013 led to a United Nations investigation that found the Castro regime violating international sanctions. According to the report in a side note "some of the ... parts could also meet the criteria defined in the list of ... technology related to ballistic missile programmes." Also reported the refusal of the Cuban government to cooperate with the investigation.

4)  The Cuban presence in Venezuela as described in wikileaks and its impact on government policies in that country including assisting FARC narcotics trafficking, providing FARC heavy weapons, and encouraging close working relationships including sharing intelligence with Middle Eastern terror sponsors: Syria and Iran that are ongoing not to mention coordinating and advising on how to terrorize nonviolent Venezuelan protesters.

5) In 2012 there were reports in the media of Cuban, Iranian and Venezuelan officials meeting in Mexico to discuss cyber attacks on U.S. soil allegedly also seeking information about nuclear power plants in the United States. Supposedly the FBI had opened an investigation into the matter, but there is no mention of this in the State Department's 2013 or the current report.
Sadly in the case of both Libya and North Korea, politics trumped truth and they were removed from the list of state sponsors. History has demonstrated that in the first case it was a decision based in blood for oil and in the second case to encourage North Korea's nuclear disarmament failed. Let us hope that while the Castro regime continues to sponsor terrorism that the facts on the ground are ignored for some perceived political expediency or economic interest.


No comments:

Post a Comment