Discussion:
Cuba detains contractor for U.S. government
(demasiado antiguo para responder)
Barry Schier
2009-12-13 21:32:32 UTC
Permalink
CubaLosAngeles] WaPo: Cuba detains contractor for U.S.
governmentSaturday, December 12, 2009 7:18 PM
From: "Walter Lippmann" <***@earthlink.net>Add sender to
ContactsTo: "Cuba-LA" <***@yahoogroups.com>The United
States government has a "regime change" strategy toward Cuba which is
codified in the Helms-Burton law and other legislation. It's entirely
possible that this employee was working toward "regime change" in Cuba
through distributing equipment aimed for use toward that end.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the Cuban government
took notice of the activity and decided to ask the individual who was
distributing such equipment what he was doing, on behalf of whom, and
toward what end.

Wouldn't we you expect the United States government to ask anyone who
entered the United States as a paid contractor for the US government,
who was doing something like that in the United States what he or she
was up to, on behalf of whom, and toward what end?

The Cuban government responds to activities conducted by foreign
agents operating in the island according to their own timetable.
There's no reason to draw any conclusion from Cuba's official silence
after one single DAY.
===================================================================

Cuba detains contractor for U.S. government
American was handing out mobile phones, laptops to activists

By William Booth and Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, December 13, 2009



MEXICO CITY -- The Cuban government has arrested an American citizen
working on contract for the U.S. Agency for International Development
who was distributing cellphones and laptop computers to Cuban
activists, State Department officials and congressional sources said
Saturday.

The contractor, who has not been identified, works for Bethesda-based
Development Alternatives. The company said in a statement that it was
awarded a government contract last year to help USAID "support the
rule of law and human rights, political competition and consensus
building" in Cuba.

Consular officers with the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, the
capital, are seeking access to the contractor, who was arrested Dec.
5. The charges have not been made public. Under Cuban law, however, a
Cuban citizen or a foreign visitor can be arrested for nearly anything
under the claim of "dangerousness."

The detention of an American contractor working for the U.S.
government may raise tensions between the Castro brothers' communist
government in Cuba and the Obama administration, which has been taking
a "go-slow" approach to improving relations with the island.

The new U.S. policy stresses that if Cuba takes concrete steps such as
freeing political prisoners and creating more space for opposition,
the United States will reciprocate.

A senior Republican congressional aide said the American contractor
was being held in a secure facility in Havana.

"It is bizarre they're just holding him and not letting us see him at
all," said the aide, who was not authorized to speak on the record.
Attempts to reach Cuban government officials to discuss the case were
unsuccessful.

Cellphones and laptops are legal in Cuba, though they are new and
coveted commodities in a country where the average worker's wage is
$15 a month. The Cuban government granted ordinary citizens the right
to buy cellphones just last year; they are used mostly for texting,
because a 15-minute phone conversation would eat up a day's wages.

Internet use is extremely limited on the island. It is available in
expensive hotels, where foreign visitors stay, and at some government
facilities, such as universities. Cubans who want to log on often have
to give their names to the government. Access to some Web sites is
restricted.

A person familiar with the detained American's activity said he was
"working with local organizations that were trying to connect with
each other and get connected to the Internet and connect with their
affinity groups in the U.S."

The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the
delicacy of the case, said Cuban authorities were aware of the
project. "Why they picked on this situation," the person said, " is a
bit of a mystery."

Cuba has a nascent blogging community, led by the popular commentator
Yoani Sánchez, who often writes about how she and her husband are
followed and harassed by government agents because of her Web posts.
Sánchez has repeatedly applied for permission to leave the country to
accept journalism awards, so far unsuccessfully.

All so-called counterrevolutionary activities, which include mild
protests and critical writings, carry the risk of censure or arrest.
Anti-government graffiti and speech are considered serious crimes in
Cuba.

"It should come as no surprise that the Cuban regime would lock up an
American for distributing communications equipment," said Rep. Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), a Cuban American and the top Republican on the
House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The detention of an American in Cuba is rare. The handful of U.S.
citizens behind bars in Cuba are there for crimes such as drug
smuggling, said Gloria Berbena, the press officer at the U.S.
Interests Section in Havana.

"An activity that in any other open society would be legal -- giving
away free cellphones -- is in Cuba a crime," said José Miguel Vivanco,
director of the Americas program of Human Rights Watch, which recently
issued a critical report on freedoms in Cuba called "New Castro, Same
Cuba," a reference to the installation of Raúl Castro as president in
place of his ailing older brother Fidel.

Human Rights Watch highlighted 40 cases, including that of Ramón
Velásquez Toranzo, who was sentenced to three years in prison for
"dangerousness" in 2007 after setting out on a peaceful protest march
across Cuba.

Vivanco said that the accused in Cuba are often arrested, tried and
imprisoned within a day. He said that any solution to the contractor's
case would probably be political and that the Cuban government often
provokes a negative reaction in the United States just as both
countries begin to move toward more dialogue.

"Our prime concern is for the safety, well-being and quick return to
the United States of the detained individual," said the contractor's
boss, Jim Boomgard, chief executive officer of Development
Alternatives.



=========================================
WALTER LIPPMANN
Los Angeles, California
Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
"Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
=========================================
Barry Schier
2009-12-13 21:50:30 UTC
Permalink
CIA Agent Captured in Cuba

An employee of a CIA front organization that also funds opposition
groups in Venezuela was detained in Cuba last week

By Eva Golinger

Original:
http://www.chavezcode.com/2009/12/cia-agent-captured-in-cuba-employee-of.html

An article published in the December 12th edition of the New York
Times revealed the detention of a US government contract employee in
Havana this past December 5th. The employee, whose name has not yet
been disclosed, works for Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), one
of the largest US government contractors providing services to the
State Department, the Pentagon and the US Agency for International
Development (USAID). The employee was detained while distributing
cellular telephones, computers and other communications equipment to
Cuban dissident and counterrevolutionary groups that work to promote
US agenda on the Caribbean island.

Last year, the US Congress approved $40 million to "promote
transition to democracy" in Cuba. DAI was awarded the main contract,
"The Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program", with oversight
by State and USAID. The use of a chain of entities and agencies is a
mechanism employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to
channel and filter funding and strategic political support to groups
and individuals that support US agenda abroad. The pretext of
"promoting democracy" is a modern form of CIA subversion tactics,
seeking to infiltrate and penetrate civil society groups and provide
funding to encourage "regime change" in strategically important
nations, such as Venezuela, with governments unwilling to subcomb to
US dominance.

DAI IN VENEZUELA

DAI was contracted in June 2002 by USAID to manage a multimillion
dollar contract in Venezuela, just two months after the failed coup
d'etat against President Hugo Chávez. Prior to this date, USAID had
no operations in Venezuela, not even an office in the Embassy. DAI
was charged with opening the Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI),
a specialized branch of USAID that manages large quantities of liquid
funds destined for organizations and political parties favorable to
Washington in countries of strategic interest that are undergoing
political crises.

The first contract between USAID and DAI for its Venezuela operations
authorized $10 million for a two year period. DAI opened its doors in
the Wall Street of Caracas, El Rosal, in August 2002, and began to
immediately fund the same groups that just months earlier had
executed - unsuccessfully - the coup against President Chávez. The
USAID/DAI funds in Venezuela were distributed to organizations such
as Fedecámaras and the Confederación de Trabajadores Venezolanos
(CTV), two of the principal entities that had led the coup in April
2002 and that later headed another attempt to oust Chávez by imposing
an economic sabotage and oil industry strike that crippled the
nation's economy. One contract between DAI and these organizations,
dated December 2002, awarded more than $10,000 to help design radio
and television propaganda against President Chávez. During that time
period, Venezuela experienced one of the most viscious media wars in
history. Private television and radio stations, together with print
media, devoted non-stop programming to opposition propaganda for 64
days, 24 hours a day.

In February 2003, DAI began to fund a recently created group named
Súmate, led by Maria Corina Machado, one of the signators of the
"Carmona Decree", the famous dictatorial decree that dissolved all of
Venezuela's democratic institutions during the brief April 2002 coup
d'etat. Súmate soon became the principal opposition organization
directing campaigns against President Chávez, including the August
2004 recall referendum. The three main agencies from Washington
operating in Venezuela at that time, USAID, DAI and the National
Endowment for Democracy ("NED"), invested more than $9 million in the
opposition campaign to oust Chávez via recall referendum, without
success. Chávez won with a 60-40 landslide victory.

USAID, which still maintains its presence through the OTI and DAI in
Venezuela, had originally announced that it would not remain in the
country for more than a two year period. Then chief of the OTI in
Venezuela, Ronald Ulrich, publically affirmed this notion in March
2003, "This program will be finished in two years, as has happened
with similiar initiatives in other countries, the office will close
in the time period stated.Time is always of the essence".
Technically, the OTI are USAID's rapid response teams, equipped with
large amounts of liquid funds and a specialized personnel capable of
"resolving a crisis" in a way favorable to US interests. In the
document establishing the OTI's operations in Venezuela, the
intentions of those behind its creation were clear, "In recent
months, his popularity has waned and political tensions have risen
dramatically as President Chávez has implemented several
controversial reforms.The current situation augers strongly for rapid
US government engagement."

To date, the OTI still remains in Venezuela, with DAI as its
principal contractor. But now, four other entities share USAID's
multimillion dollar pie in Caracas: International Republican
Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute for International
Affairs (NDI), Freedom House, and the PanAmerican Development
Foundation (PADF). Of the 64 groups funded from 2002-2004 with
approximately $5 million annually, today the OTI funds more than 533
organizations, political parties, programs and projects, mainly in
opposition sectors, with an annual budget surpassing $7 million. Its
presence has not only remained, but has grown. Obviously this is due
to one very simple reason: the original objetive has still not been
obtained; the overthrow or removal of President Hugo Chávez.

DEVELOPMENT ALTERNATIVES INC. IS A CIA FRONT ORGANIZATION

This organization dedicated to destabilizing governments unfavorable
to US interests has now made its appearance in Cuba, with millions of
dollars destined to destroy the Cuban revolution. Ex CIA officer
Phillip Agee affirmed that DAI, USAID and NED "are instruments of the
US Embassy and behind these three organizations is the CIA." The
contract between USAID and DAI in Venezuela confirms this fact, "The
field representative will maintain close collaboration with other
embassy offices in identifying opportunities, selecting partners and
ensuring the program remains consistent with US foreign policy."
There is no doubt that "selecting partners" is another term for
"recluting agents" and "consistent with US foreign policy" means
"promoting Washington's interests", despite issues of sovereignty.
Clearly, all DAI activities are directly coordinated by the US
Embassy, a fact which negates the "private" nature of the
organization.

The detention of a DAI employee is a very important step to impede
destabilization and subversion inside Cuba. This episode also
confirms that there has been no change of policy with the Obama
Administration towards Cuba - the same tactics of espionage,
infiltration and subversion are still being actively employed against
one of Washington's oldest adversaries.

VENEZUELA SHOULD ALSO EXPELL DAI

Now that Cuba has exposed the intelligence operations that DAI was
engaging in (recluting agents, infiltrating political groups and
distributing resources destined to promote destabilization and regime
change are all intelligence activities and illegal), the Venezuelan
government should respond firmly by expelling this grave threat from
the country. DAI has now been operating in Venezuela for over seven
and a half years, feeding the conflict with more than $50 million
dollars and promoting destabilization, counterrevolution, media
warfare and sabotage.

In an ironic twist, currently in the United States five Cuban
citizens are imprisoned on charges of alleged espionage, yet their
actions in US territory were not directed towards harming US
interests. But the DAI employee detained in Cuba - working for a CIA
front company - was engaged in activities intended to directly harm
and destabilize the Cuban government. The distribution of materials
to be used for political purposes by a foreign government with the
intent of promoting regime change in a nation not favorable to US
interests is clearly a violation of sovereignty and an act of
espionage.

Development Alternatives, Inc. is one of the largest US government
contractors in the world. Currently, DAI has a $50 million contract
in Afghanistan. In Latin America, DAI is presently operating in
Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Haití, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Perú, República Dominicana and
Venezuela.

=========================================
WALTER LIPPMANN
Los Angeles, California
Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
"Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
=========================================
Post by Barry Schier
CubaLosAngeles] WaPo: Cuba detains contractor for U.S.
governmentSaturday, December 12, 2009 7:18 PM
States government has a "regime change" strategy toward Cuba which is
codified in the Helms-Burton law and other legislation. It's entirely
possible that this employee was working toward "regime change" in Cuba
through distributing equipment aimed for use toward that end.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the Cuban government
took notice of the activity and decided to ask the individual who was
distributing such equipment what he was doing, on behalf of whom, and
toward what end.
Wouldn't we you expect the United States government to ask anyone who
entered the United States as a paid contractor for the US government,
who was doing something like that in the United States what he or she
was up to, on behalf of whom, and toward what end?
The Cuban government responds to activities conducted by foreign
agents operating in the island according to their own timetable.
There's no reason to draw any conclusion from Cuba's official silence
after one single DAY.
===================================================================
Cuba detains contractor for U.S. government
American was handing out mobile phones, laptops to activists
By William Booth and Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, December 13, 2009
MEXICO CITY -- The Cuban government has arrested an American citizen
working on contract for the U.S. Agency for International Development
who was distributing cellphones and laptop computers to Cuban
activists, State Department officials and congressional sources said
Saturday.
The contractor, who has not been identified, works for Bethesda-based
Development Alternatives. The company said in a statement that it was
awarded a government contract last year to help USAID "support the
rule of law and human rights, political competition and consensus
building" in Cuba.
Consular officers with the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, the
capital, are seeking access to the contractor, who was arrested Dec.
5. The charges have not been made public. Under Cuban law, however, a
Cuban citizen or a foreign visitor can be arrested for nearly anything
under the claim of "dangerousness."
The detention of an American contractor working for the U.S.
government may raise tensions between the Castro brothers' communist
government in Cuba and the Obama administration, which has been taking
a "go-slow" approach to improving relations with the island.
The new U.S. policy stresses that if Cuba takes concrete steps such as
freeing political prisoners and creating more space for opposition,
the United States will reciprocate.
A senior Republican congressional aide said the American contractor
was being held in a secure facility in Havana.
"It is bizarre they're just holding him and not letting us see him at
all," said the aide, who was not authorized to speak on the record.
Attempts to reach Cuban government officials to discuss the case were
unsuccessful.
Cellphones and laptops are legal in Cuba, though they are new and
coveted commodities in a country where the average worker's wage is
$15 a month. The Cuban government granted ordinary citizens the right
to buy cellphones just last year; they are used mostly for texting,
because a 15-minute phone conversation would eat up a day's wages.
Internet use is extremely limited on the island. It is available in
expensive hotels, where foreign visitors stay, and at some government
facilities, such as universities. Cubans who want to log on often have
to give their names to the government. Access to some Web sites is
restricted.
A person familiar with the detained American's activity said he was
"working with local organizations that were trying to connect with
each other and get connected to the Internet and connect with their
affinity groups in the U.S."
The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the
delicacy of the case, said Cuban authorities were aware of the
project. "Why they picked on this situation," the person said, " is a
bit of a mystery."
Cuba has a nascent blogging community, led by the popular commentator
Yoani Sánchez, who often writes about how she and her husband are
followed and harassed by government agents because of her Web posts.
Sánchez has repeatedly applied for permission to leave the country to
accept journalism awards, so far unsuccessfully.
All so-called counterrevolutionary activities, which include mild
protests and critical writings, carry the risk of censure or arrest.
Anti-government graffiti and speech are considered serious crimes in
Cuba.
"It should come as no surprise that the Cuban regime would lock up an
American for distributing communications equipment," said Rep. Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), a Cuban American and the top Republican on the
House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The detention of an American in Cuba is rare. The handful of U.S.
citizens behind bars in Cuba are there for crimes such as drug
smuggling, said Gloria Berbena, the press officer at the U.S.
Interests Section in Havana.
"An activity that in any other open society would be legal -- giving
away free cellphones -- is in Cuba a crime," said José Miguel Vivanco,
director of the Americas program of Human Rights Watch, which recently
issued a critical report on freedoms in Cuba called "New Castro, Same
Cuba," a reference to the installation of Raúl Castro as president in
place of his ailing older brother Fidel.
Human Rights Watch highlighted 40 cases, including that of Ramón
Velásquez Toranzo, who was sentenced to three years in prison for
"dangerousness" in 2007 after setting out on a peaceful protest march
across Cuba.
Vivanco said that the accused in Cuba are often arrested, tried and
imprisoned within a day. He said that any solution to the contractor's
case would probably be political and that the Cuban government often
provokes a negative reaction in the United States just as both
countries begin to move toward more dialogue.
"Our prime concern is for the safety, well-being and quick return to
the United States of the detained individual," said the contractor's
boss, Jim Boomgard, chief executive officer of Development
Alternatives.
=========================================
     WALTER LIPPMANN
     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
=========================================
PL
2009-12-13 23:58:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Barry Schier
CIA Agent Captured in Cuba
An employee of a CIA front organization that also funds opposition
groups in Venezuela was detained in Cuba last week
(snip)

No proof I guess.

El Departamento de Estado niega que el 'contratista' detenido en Cuba
trabajara para Washington

El Departamento de Estado norteamericano confirmó el arresto en Cuba de
un ciudadano estadounidense que distribuía tecnología en la Isla, pero
negó que trabajara para Washington, informó la AP.

Los diplomáticos de Estados Unidos en La Habana intentaban averiguar más
datos sobre el caso, dijo el sábado Megan Mattson, portavoz del
Departamento de Estado.

Pero esa persona no es empleada del gobierno de Estados Unidos, agregó.

Mattson dijo que la diplomacia estadounidense no puede dar más detalles
sobre el arresto, incluida la identidad del detenido, por restricciones
de las leyes federales de privacidad.

El diario The New York Times informó el sábado sobre la detención, el
pasado 5 de diciembre, del ciudadano estadounidense, y dijo que este
trabajaba para Washington repartiendo teléfonos celulares, computadoras
personales y otros equipos para comunicaciones en la Isla.

La publicación citó a funcionarios estadounidenses y dijo que el
detenido era empleado de la empresa Development Alternatives, que tiene
su sede en Bethesta (Maryland) y se dedica a labores de desarrollo en
otros países.

El Departamento de Estado niega que el 'contratista' detenido en Cuba
trabajara para Washington | DIARIODECUBA (13 December 2009)
http://www.ddcuba.com/cuba/noticias/2009/el-departamento-de-estado-niega-que-el-contratista-detenido-en-cuba-trabajara-par
Fred Williams
2009-12-14 16:20:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by PL
Post by Barry Schier
CIA Agent Captured in Cuba
An employee of a CIA front organization that also funds opposition
groups in Venezuela was detained in Cuba last week
(snip)
No proof I guess.
Hi PL. Still shilling for the CIA, are you? What a shame.
What's wrong now? Those nasty Cuban people object to your destabilization
of their country? Maybe you should try to assassinate Fidel again, but no,
that never seemed to work very well did it.
--
Regards,
Fred
(remove FFFf from my email address to reply by email)
PL
2009-12-14 20:01:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Fred Williams
Post by PL
Post by Barry Schier
CIA Agent Captured in Cuba
An employee of a CIA front organization that also funds opposition
groups in Venezuela was detained in Cuba last week
(snip)
No proof I guess.
Hi PL. Still shilling for the CIA, are you?
Nope.
Never have.
Still seeing the CIA under your bed, Fred?

PL

Barry Schier
2009-12-13 21:52:39 UTC
Permalink
Here's the link to Eva Golinger's take on the man just detained in
Cuba who
was passing out cell phones and laptops:

http://www.chavezcode.com/2009/12/cia-agent-captured-in-cuba-employee-of.html

For a much more detailed look at how these things are being carried
out, you
can and should read the detailed essay by former CIA agent Philip
Agee:

COUNTERPUNCH
August 9, 2003

Terrorism and Civil Society
The Instruments of US Policy in Cuba
By PHILIP AGEE

http://www.counterpunch.org/agee08092003.html

=========================================
WALTER LIPPMANN
Los Angeles, California
Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
"Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
=========================================
Post by Barry Schier
CubaLosAngeles] WaPo: Cuba detains contractor for U.S.
governmentSaturday, December 12, 2009 7:18 PM
States government has a "regime change" strategy toward Cuba which is
codified in the Helms-Burton law and other legislation. It's entirely
possible that this employee was working toward "regime change" in Cuba
through distributing equipment aimed for use toward that end.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the Cuban government
took notice of the activity and decided to ask the individual who was
distributing such equipment what he was doing, on behalf of whom, and
toward what end.
Wouldn't we you expect the United States government to ask anyone who
entered the United States as a paid contractor for the US government,
who was doing something like that in the United States what he or she
was up to, on behalf of whom, and toward what end?
The Cuban government responds to activities conducted by foreign
agents operating in the island according to their own timetable.
There's no reason to draw any conclusion from Cuba's official silence
after one single DAY.
===================================================================
Cuba detains contractor for U.S. government
American was handing out mobile phones, laptops to activists
By William Booth and Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writers
{Previously posted / see earlier message/s}
Barry Schier
2009-12-13 21:55:09 UTC
Permalink
August 9, 2003

Terrorism and Civil Society
The Instruments of US Policy in Cuba
By PHILIP AGEE

Condemnation of Cuba was immediate, strong and practically global last
month for the imprisonment of 75 political dissidents and for the
summary execution of 3 ferry hijackers. Prominent among the critics
were past friends of Cuba of recognized international stature.

As I read the hundreds of denunciations that came through my mail, it
was easy to see how enemies of the revolution seized on those issues
to condemn Cuba for violations of human rights. They had a field day.
Deliberate or careless confusion between the political dissidents and
the hijackers, two entirely unrelated matters, was also easy because
the events happened at the same time. A Vatican publication went so
far as to describe the hijackers as dissidents when in fact they were
terrorists. But others of usual good faith toward Cuba also jumped on
the bandwagon of condemnation treating the two issues as one. The
remarks that follow address the human rights issues in both cases.

With respect to the imprisonment of 75 civil society activists, the
main victim has been history, for these people were central to current
U.S. government efforts to overthrow the Cuban government and destroy
the work of the revolution. Indeed regime change, as overthrowing
governments has come to be known, has been the continuing U.S. goal in
Cuba since the earliest days of the revolutionary government. Programs
to achieve this goal have included propaganda to denigrate the
revolution, diplomatic and commercial isolation, trade embargo,
terrorism and military support to counter-revolutionaries, the Bay of
Pigs invasion, assassination plots against Fidel Castro and other
leaders, biological and chemical warfare, and, more recently, efforts
to foment an internal political opposition masquerading as an
independent civil society.

Terrorism

Warren Hinkle and William Turner, in The Fish is Red, easily the best
book on the CIA's war against Cuba during the first 20 years of the
revolution, tell the story of the CIA's efforts to save the life of
one of their Batista Cubans. It was March 1959, less than three months
after the revolutionary movement triumphed. The Deputy Chief of the
CIA's main Batista secret police force had been captured, tried and
condemned to a firing squad. The Agency had set up the unit in 1956
and called it the Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities or
BRAC for its initials in Spanish. With CIA training, equipment and
money it became arguably the worst of Batista's torture and murder
organizations, spreading its terror across the whole of the political
opposition, not just the communists.

The Deputy Chief of BRAC, one Jose Castano Quevedo, had been trained
in the United States and was the BRAC liaison man with the CIA Station
in the U.S. Embassy. On learning of his sentence, the Agency Chief of
Station sent a journalist collaborator named Andrew St. George to Che
Guevara, then in charge of the revolutionary tribunals, to plead for
Castano's life. After hearing out St. George for much of a day, Che
told him to tell the CIA chief that Castano was going to die, if not
because he was an executioner of Batista, then because he was an agent
of the CIA. St. George headed from Che's headquarters in the Cabana
fortress to the seaside U.S. Embassy on the Malecon to deliver the
message. On hearing Che's words the CIA Chief responded solemnly,
"This is a declaration of war." Indeed, the CIA lost many more of its
Cuban agents during those early days and in the unconventional war
years that followed.

Today when I drive out 31st avenue on the way to the airport, just
before turning left at the Marianao military hospital, I pass on the
left a large, multi-storey white police station that occupies an
entire city block. The style looks like 1920's fake castle, resulting
in a kind of giant White Castle hamburger joint. High walls surround
the building on the side streets, and on top of the walls at the
corners are guard posts, now unoccupied, like those overlooking
workout yards in prisons. Next door, separated from the castle by
110th street, is a fairly large two-story green house with barred
windows and other security protection. I don't know its use today, but
before it was the dreaded BRAC Headquarters, one of the CIA's more
infamous legacies in Cuba.

The same month as the BRAC Deputy was executed, President Eisenhower,
on the 10th of March 1959, presided over a meeting of his National
Security Council at which they discussed how to replace the government
in Cuba. It was the beginning of a continuous policy of regime change
that every administration since Eisenhower has continued.

As I read of the arrests of the 75 dissidents, 44 years to the month
after the BRAC Deputy's execution, and saw the U.S. government's
outrage over their trials and sentences, one phrase from Washington
came to mind that united American reactions in 1959 with events in
2003: "Hey! Those are OUR GUYS the bastards are screwing!"

A year later I was in training at a secret CIA base in Virginia when,
in March 1960, Eisenhower signed off on the project that would become
the Bay of Pigs invasion. We were learning the tricks of the spy trade
including telephone tapping, bugging, weapons handling, martial arts,
explosives, and sabotage. That same month the CIA, in its efforts to
deny arms to Cuba prior to the coming exile invasion, blew up a French
freighter, Le Coubre, as it was unloading a shipment of weapons from
Belgium at a Havana wharf. More than 100 died in the blast and in
fighting the fire afterwards. I see the rudder and other scrap from Le
Coubre, now a monument to those who died, every time I drive along the
port avenue passing Havana's main railway station

In April the following year, two days before the Bay of Pigs invasion
started, a CIA sabotage operation burned down El Encanto, Havana's
largest department store where I had shopped on my first here visit in
1957. It was never rebuilt. Now each time I drive up Galiano in Centro
Habana on my way for a meal in Chinatown, I pass Fe del Valle Park,
the block where El Encanto stood, named for a woman killed in the
blaze.

Some who signed statements condemning Cuba for the dissidents' trials
and the executions of the hijackers know perfectly well the history of
U.S. aggression against Cuba since 1959: the murder, terrorism,
sabotage and destruction that has cost nearly 3500 lives and left more
than 2000 disabled. Those who don't know can find it in Jane
Franklin's classic historical chronology The Cuban Revolution and the
United States.

One of the best sum-ups of the U.S. terrorist war against Cuba in the
1960's came from Richard Helms, the former CIA Director, when
testifying in 1975 before the Senate Committee investigating the CIA's
attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro. In admitting to "invasions of
Cuba which we were constantly running under government aegis," he
added:

We had task forces that that were striking at Cuba constantly. We were
attempting to blow up power plants. We were attempting to ruin sugar
mills. We were attempting to do all kinds of things in this period.
This was a matter of American government policy.

During the same hearing Senator Christopher Dodd commented to Helms:

It is likely that at the very moment that President Kennedy was shot,
a CIA officer was meeting with a Cuban agent in Paris and giving him
an assassination device to use against Castro.

[Note: the officer worked for Desmond Fitzgerald, a friend of Robert
Kennedy and at the time overall chief of the CIA's operations against
Cuba, and the agent was Rolando Cubela, a Cuban army Comandante with
regular access to Fidel Castro whose CIA codename was AMLASH.]

Helms responded:

I believe it was a hypodermic syringe they had given him. It was
something called Blackleaf Number 40 and this was in response to
AMLASH's request that he be provided with some sort of a device
providing he could kill Castro....I'm sorry that he didn't give him a
pistol. It would have made the whole thing a whole lot simpler and
less exotic.

Review the history and you will find that no U.S. administration since
Eisenhower has renounced the use of state terrorism against Cuba, and
terrorism against Cuba has never stopped. True, Kennedy undertook to
Khrushchev that the U.S. would not invade Cuba, which ended the 1962
missile crisis, and his commitment was ratified by succeeding
administrations. But the Soviet Union disappeared in 1991 and the
commitment with it.

Cuban exile terrorist groups, mostly based in Miami and owing their
skills to the CIA, have continued attacks through the years. Whether
or not they have been operating on their own or under CIA direction,
U.S. authorities have tolerated them.

As recently as April 2003 the Sun-Sentinel of Ft. Lauderdale reported,
with accompanying photographs, exile guerrilla training outside Miami
by the F-4 Commandos, one of several terrorist groups currently based
there, along with remarks by the FBI spokeswoman that Cuban exile
activities in Miami are not an FBI priority. Abundant details on exile
terrorist activities can be found with a web search including their
connections with the paramilitary arm of the Cuban American National
Foundation (CANF).

Reports abound of the arrest in Panama in November 2000 of a group of
4 exile terrorists led by Luis Posada Carriles, a man with impeccable
CIA credentials. They were planning the assassination of Fidel Castro
who was there for a conference. Posada's resume includes planning the
Cubana airliner bombing in 1976 that killed all 73 people aboard;
employment by the CIA in El Salvador in 1980's re-supply operations
for the contra terrorists in Nicaragua; and organizing in 1997 10
bombings of hotels and other tourist sites in Havana, one of which
killed an Italian tourist. A year later he admitted to the New York
Times that CANF directors in Miami had financed the hotel bombings.
Through the years Posada freely traveled in and out of the United
States.

Another of the CIA's untouchable terrorists is Orlando Bosch, a
pediatrician turned terrorist. As mastermind along with Carriles of
the 1976 Cubana airliner bombing, Bosch was arrested with Carriles a
week after the bombing and spent 11 years in a Venezuelan jail
undergoing 3 trials for the crime. He was acquitted in each trial,
released in August 1987, and arrested on his return to Miami in
February 1988 for parole violation after a previous conviction for
terrorist acts. In 1989 the Justice Department ordered his deportation
as a terrorist citing FBI and CIA reports that Bosch had carried out
30 acts of sabotage from 1961 to 1968 and was involved in a plot to
kill the Cuban Ambassador to Argentina in 1975. After lobbying on
Bosch's behalf by Miami Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban
American with close ties to CANF, and by Jeb Bush, Ros-Lehtinen's
campaign manager prior to his election as governor, the elder
President Bush, who was CIA Director at the time of the Cubana
airliner bombing, ordered the Justice Department in 1990 to rescind
the deportation order. Bosch was released from custody and has freely
walked the streets of Miami ever since.

Seeing the obvious, that the U.S. government was not taking action to
stop Miami-based terrorism, the Cubans opted in the 1990's to send
their own intelligence officers to Florida under cover as exiles to
provide warnings on coming terrorist actions. There they infiltrated
some of the exile groups and were reporting back to Havana, including
information on planned illegal over-flights of Cuba by Brothers to the
Rescue.

Still, the Cuban government hoped that the U.S. could be convinced to
take action against Miami-based terrorists. So in 1998 Cuba delivered
to the FBI voluminous information they had collected on U.S.-based
terrorist activities against Cuba. But instead of taking action
against the terrorists, the FBI then arrested 10 members of a Cuban
intelligence network whose job was to infiltrate the terrorist
organizations. Later the 5 Cuban intelligence officers running the
network were tried in Miami, where conviction was guaranteed, for
conspiracy to commit espionage and for not having registered as agents
of a foreign power. They had never asked for nor received a classified
government document or classified information of any kind, yet they
were given draconian sentences, one of them two life terms. The
inhuman treatment of these unbending prisoners ordered by Washington,
designed to destroy them mentally and physically and turn them against
Cuba, sets world records for sordid, deranged punishment. Demand for
their freedom is the main political topic in Cuba today.

Most recently, in declaring an unending war against terrorism
following the September 2001 attacks by Al Qaeda and prior to the war
against Iraq, President Bush declared that no weapons in U.S.
possession are banned from use, presumably including terrorism. But
rather than starting his anti-terrorist war in Miami, where his theft
of the White House was assured and his election to a second term may
depend, he started the series of pre-emptive wars we have watched on
television, first Afghanistan and then Iraq, and now he threatens
Syria, Iran and others on his list of nations that supposedly promote
terrorism. Cuba, of course, is wrongfully on that list, but people
here take this seriously as a preliminary pretext for U.S. military
action against this country.

Civil Society and the Dissidents

Going back to the Reagan administration of the early1980's, the
decision was taken that more than terrorist operations was needed to
impose regime change in Cuba. Terrorism hadn't worked, nor had the Bay
of Pigs invasion, nor had Cuba's diplomatic isolation which gradually
ended, nor had the economic embargo. Now Cuba would be included in a
new world wide program to finance and develop non-governmental and
voluntary organizations, what was to become known as civil society,
within the context of U.S. global neo-liberal policies. The CIA and
the Agency for International Development (AID) would have key roles in
this program as well as a new organization christened in 1983 The
National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Actually the new program was not really new. Since its founding in
1947, the CIA had been deeply involved in secretly funding and
manipulating foreign non-governmental voluntary organizations. These
vast operations circled the globe and were targeted at political
parties, trade unions and businessmen's associations, youth and
student organizations, women's groups, civic organizations, religious
communities, professional, intellectual and cultural societies, and
the public information media. The network functioned at local,
national, regional and global levels. Media operations, for example,
were underway continuously in practically every country, wherein the
CIA would pay journalists to publish its materials as if they were the
journalists' own. In the Directorate of Operations at the CIA's
headquarters, these operations were coordinated with the regional
operations divisions by the International Organizations Division
(IOD), since many of the operations were regional or continental in
nature, encompassing many countries, with some even worldwide in
scope.

Over the years the CIA exerted phenomenal influence behind the scenes
in country after country, using these powerful elements of civil
society to penetrate, divide, weaken and destroy corresponding enemy
organizations on the left, and indeed to impose regime change by
toppling unwanted governments. Such was the case, among many others,
in Guyana where in 1964, culminating 10 years of efforts, the Cheddi
Jagan government was overthrown through strikes, terrorism, violence
and arson perpetrated by CIA international trade union agents. About
the same time, while I was assigned in Ecuador, our agents in civil
society, through mass demonstrations and civil unrest, provoked two
military coups in three years against elected, civilian governments.
And in Brazil in the early 1960's, the same CIA trade union operations
were brought together with other operations in civil society in
opposition to the government, and these mass actions over time
provoked the 1964 military coup against President Joao Goulart,
ushering in 20 years of unspeakably brutal political repression.

But on February 26th, 1967, the sky crashed on IOD and its global
civil society networks. At the time I was on a visit to Headquarters
in Langley, Virginia near Washington, between assignments in Ecuador
and Uruguay. That day the Washington Post published an extensive
report revealing a grand stable of foundations, some bogus, some real,
that the CIA was using to fund its global non-governmental networks.
These financial arrangements were known as "funding conduits." Along
with the foundations scores of recipient organizations were
identified, including well-known intellectual journals, trade unions,
and political think tanks. Soon journalists around the world completed
the picture with reports on the names and operations of organizations
in their countries affiliated with the network. They were the CIA's
darkest days since the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

President Johnson ordered an investigation and said such CIA
operations would end, but in fact they never did. The proof is in the
CIA's successful operations in Chile to provoke the 1973 Pinochet coup
against the elected government of Salvador Allende. Here they combined
the forces of opposition political parties, trade unions,
businessmen's groups, civic organizations, housewife's associations
and the information media to create chaos and disorder, knowing that
sooner or later the Chilean military, faithful to traditional fascist
military doctrine in Latin America, would use such unrest to justify
usurping governmental power to restore order and to stamp out the
left. The operations were almost a carbon copy of the Brazilian
destabilization and coup program ten years earlier. We all remember
the horror that followed for years afterwards in Chile.

Fast forward to now. Anyone who has watched the civil society
opposition to the Hugo Chavez government in Venezuela develop can be
certain that U.S. government agencies, the CIA included, along with
the Agency for International Development (AID) and the National
Endowment for Democracy (NED), are coordinating the destabilization
and were behind the failed coup in April 2002 as well as the failed
"civic strike" of last December-January. The International Republican
Institute (IRI) of the Republican Party even opened an office in
Caracas. See below for more on NED, AID and IRI in civil society
operations.

In order to understand how these civil society operations are run,
let's take a look at the bureaucratic side. When I entered the CIA's
training course, the first two words I learned were discipline and
control. The U.S. government was not a charitable institution, they
said, and all money must be spent for its exact, designated purpose.
The CIA operations officer that I would become is responsible for
ensuring this discipline through tight control of the money and of the
agents down the line who spend it. Orders to the agents on their
duties and obligations are to be clear and unambiguous, and the
officer must prevent personal embezzlement of money by an agent,
beyond the agent's agreed salary, by requiring receipts for all
expenses and for all payments to others. Exceptions to this rule
needed special approvals.

In the CIA, activities to penetrate and manipulate civil society are
known as Covert Action operations, and they are governed by detailed
regulations for their use. They require a request for money in a
document known as a Project Outline, if the activity is new, or a
Request for Project Renewal, if an on-going activity is to be
continued. The document originates either in a field station or in
Headquarters, and it describes a current situation; the activities to
be undertaken to improve or change the situation vis-a-vis U.S.
interests; a time-line for achieving intermediary and final goals;
risks and the flap potential (damages if revealed); and a detailed
budget with information on all participating organizations and
individuals and the amounts of money to go to each. The document also
contains a summary of the status of all agent personnel to be involved
with references to their operational security clearance procedures and
the history of their service to the Agency. All people involved are
included, from the ostensible funding agencies like officers of a
foundation, down to every intermediate and end recipient of the money.

In additional to these budget specifics, a certain amount of money
without designated recipients is included under the rubric D&TO,
standing for Developmental and Targets of Opportunity. Money from this
fund is used to finance new activities that come up during the project
approval period, but of course detailed information and security
clearances on all individuals who would receive such funding is always
required. A statement is also required on the intelligence information
by-product to be collected through the proposed operation. Thus
financial support for a political party is expected to produce
intelligence information on the internal politics of the host country.

Project Outlines and Renewals go through an approval process by
various offices such as the International Organizations Division, and
depending on their sensitivity and cost, they may require approval
outside the CIA at the Departments of State, Defense, or Labor, or by
the National Security Council or the President himself. When finally
approved the CIA's Finance Division allocates the money and the
operation begins, or continues if being renewed. The period of
approvals and renewals is usually one year.

Both the Agency for International Development and the National
Endowment for Democracy without doubt have documentation requirements
and approval processes similar to the CIA's for project funding in the
civil societies of other countries. All the people involved must
receive prior approval through an investigative process, and each
person has clearly defined tasks. An inter-agency commission
determines which of the three agencies, the CIA, AID or NED, or a
combination of them, are to carry out specific tasks in the civil
societies of specific countries and how much money each should give.
All three have obviously been working to develop an opposition civil
society in Cuba.

One should note that the high-sounding National Endowment for
Democracy has its origins in the CIA's covert action operations and
was first conceived in the wake of the disastrous revelations noted
above that began on February 26th, 1967. Two months later in April
that year, Dante Fascell, member of the House of Representatives from
Miami and a close friend of the CIA and Miami Cubans, together with
other Representatives, introduced legislation that would create an
"open" foundation to carry on what had been secret CIA funding of the
foreign civil society programs of U.S. organizations (e.g., the
National Students Association) or of foreign organizations directly
(e.g., the Congress for Cultural Freedom based in Paris).

The Fascell idea failed to prosper, however, because of the breakdown
of the bipartisan approach to foreign policy that had prevailed since
the administration of Harry Truman after World War II. Differences
since the late 1960's within and between the two parties over the war
in Southeast Asia, then in the 70's over Watergate and the loss of the
Vietnam war, and finally over revelations of assassination plots and
other operations of the CIA by Senate and House investigating
committees, prevented agreement and resulted in several years of
isolationism. Only the successes of revolutionary movements in
Ethiopia, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Grenada, Nicaragua and elsewhere
brought "cold warrior" Democrats and "internationalist" Republicans
together to establish in 1979 the American Political Foundation (APF).
The foundation's task was to study the feasibility of establishing
through legislation a government-financed foundation to subsidize
foreign operations in civil society through U.S. non-governmental
organizations.

Within APF four task forces were set up to conduct the study, one for
the Democrats, one for the Republicans, one for the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, and one for the American Federation of Labor-Congress of
Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). Together their work became known
as the Democracy Program. They consulted a vast array of domestic and
foreign organizations, and what they found most interesting were the
government-financed foundations of the main West German political
parties: the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung of the Social Democrats and the
Konrad Adenauer Stiftung of the Christian Democrats. When these
foundations were first set up in the 1950's, their task was to build a
new German democratic order, a civil society based on the Western
parliamentary model while lending their weight to repression of
communist and other left political movements.

From early on the CIA channeled money through these foundations for
non-government organizations and groups in Germany. Then in the 1960's
the foundations began supporting fraternal political parties and other
organizations abroad, and they channeled CIA money for these purposes
as well. By the 1980's the two foundations had programs going in some
60 countries and were spending about $150 million per year. And what
was most interesting, they operated in near-total secrecy.

One operation of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung shows how effective they
could be. In 1974, when the fifty-year-old fascist regime was
overthrown in Portugal, a NATO member, communists and left-wing
military officers took charge of the government. At that time the
Portuguese social democrats, known as the Socialist Party, could
hardly have numbered enough for a poker game, and they all lived in
Paris and had no following in Portugal. Thanks to at least $10 million
from the Ebert Stiftung plus funds from the CIA, the social democrats
came back to Portugal, built a party overnight, saw it mushroom, and
within a few years the Socialist Party became the governing party of
Portugal. The left was relegated to the sidelines in disarray.

Ronald Reagan was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the Democracy
Program, describing his plans in a speech before the British
Parliament in June 1982. This new program, he said, would build an
"infrastructure of democracy" around the world following the European
example of "open" support, furthering "the march of freedom and
democracy..." Of course the German programs were anything but "open,"
nor would the American programs be "open" once they began. In fact
even before Congress established the NED, Reagan set up what was
called Project Democracy in the U.S. Information Agency under
direction of the State Department. A secret Executive Order at the
time, soon leaked to the press, provided for secret CIA participation
in the program. An early grant was $170,000 for training media
officials in El Salvador and other right-wing authoritarian regimes on
how to deal with the U.S. press---the Salvadoran program to be carried
out through the Washington public relations firm that had represented
the Somoza dictatorship.

In November 1983 Dante Fascell's dream finally came true. Congress
created the National Endowment for Democracy and gave it an initial
$18.8 million for building civil society abroad during the fiscal year
ending September 30, 1984. Fascell became a member of NED's first
Board of Directors. Whereas the CIA had previously funneled money
through a complex network of "conduits," the NED would now become a
"mega-conduit" for getting U.S. government money to the same array of
non-governmental organizations that the CIA had been funding secretly.

The Cuban American National Foundation was, predictably, one of the
first beneficiaries of NED funding. From 1983 to 1988 CANF received
$390,000 for anti-Castro activities. During the same period the
separate political action committee (PAC) run by CANF directors to
fund political campaigns, gave a nearly identical amount for the
campaigns of Dante Fascell and other friendly politicians, a clear
trade-off based on funds received from NED.

Legally the NED is a private, non-profit foundation, an NGO, and it
receives a yearly appropriation from Congress. The money is channeled
through four "core foundations" established along the lines of the
four original task forces of the Democracy Program. These are the
National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (Democratic
Party); the International Republican Institute (Republican Party); the
American Center for International Labor Solidarity (AFL-CIO); and the
Center for International Private Enterprise (U.S. Chamber of
Commerce). The NED also gives money directly to "groups abroad who are
working for human rights, independent media, the rule of law, and a
wide range of civil society initiatives." [Quote from NED web site May
2003.]

The NED's non-governmental status provides the fiction that recipients
of NED money are getting "private" rather than U.S. government money.
This is important because so many countries, including both the U.S.
and Cuba, have laws relating to their citizens' being paid to carry
out activities for foreign governments. The U.S. requires an
individual or organization "subject to foreign control," i.e., who
receives money and instructions from a foreign government, to register
with the Attorney General and to file detailed activities reports,
including finances, every six months. The five Cuban intelligence
officers were convicted for failing to register under this law.

Cuba has its own laws criminalizing actions intended to jeopardize its
sovereignty or territorial integrity as well as any actions supporting
the goals of the U.S. Helms-Burton Act of 1996, i.e., by collecting
information to support the embargo or to subvert the government, or
for disseminating U.S. government information to undermine the Cuban
government.

Reagan's new programs in civil society started out with a huge success
in Poland. During the 1980's the NED and the CIA, in joint operations
with the Vatican, kept the Solidarity trade union alive and growing
when it was outlawed during the marshal law period beginning in 1981.
The program was agreed between Reagan and Pope John Paul II when
Reagan visited the Vatican in June 1982. They did it with intelligence
information, cash, fax machines, computers, printing and document
copying equipment, recorders, TVs and VCRs, supplies and equipment of
all kinds, even radio and television transmitters. The trade union
transformed itself into a political party, and in 1989, with
encouragement from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Solidarity took
control of the government. Years later, in May 2001, Senator Jesse
Helms introduced legislation to provide $100 million to duplicate in
Cuba, he said, the successes of the CIA, NED and Vatican in Poland.

Such efforts to develop an opposition civil society in Cuba had
already begun in 1985 with the early NED grants to CANF. These efforts
received a significant boost with passage in 1992 of the Cuban
Democracy Act, better known as the Torricelli Act, that promoted
support through U.S. NGO's to individuals and organizations for
programs to bring "non-violent democratic change in Cuba." A still
greater intensification came with passage in 1996 of the Cuban Liberty
and Solidarity Act, better known as the Helms-Burton Act. As a result
of these laws the NED, AID and the CIA, the latter not mentioned
publicly but undoubtedly included, intensified their coordinated
programs targeted at Cuban civil society.

One may wonder why the CIA would be needed in these programs. There
were several reasons. One reason from the beginning was the CIA's long
experience and huge stable of agents and contacts in the civil
societies of countries around the world. By joining with the CIA, NED
and AID would come on board an on-going complex of operations whose
funding they could take over while leaving the secret day-to-day
direction on the ground to CIA officers. In addition someone had to
monitor and report the effectiveness of the local recipients'
activities. NED would not have people in the field to do this, nor
would their core foundations in normal conditions. And since NED money
was ostensibly private, only the CIA had the people and techniques to
carry out discreet control in order to avoid compromising the civil
society recipients, especially if they were in opposition to their
governments. Finally, the CIA had ample funds of its own to pass
quietly when conditions required. In Cuba participation by CIA
officers under cover in the U.S. Interests Section would be
particularly useful, since NED and AID funding would go to U.S. NGO's
that would have to find discreet ways, if possible, to get equipment
and cash to recipients inside Cuba. The CIA could help with this quite
well.

Evidence of the amount of money these agencies have been spending on
their Cuba projects is fragmentary. Nothing is publicly available
about the CIA's spending, but what is easily found about the other two
is interesting. The AID web site cites $12 million spent for Cuba
programs during 1996-2001 (average per year $2 million), but for 2002
the budget jumped to $5 million plus unobligated funds of $3 million
from 2001 to total $8 million. Their 2003 budget for Cuba is $6
million showing a tripling of funds since the Bush junta seized power.
No surprise given the number of Miami Cubans Bush has appointed to
high office in his administration.

The money, according to AID, was spent "to promote a peaceful
transition to democracy in Cuba." From 1996 to 2001 they disbursed the
$12 million to 22 NGO's, all apparently based in the U.S., mostly in
Miami. By 2002 the number of front line NGO's had shrunk to 12: The
University of Miami, Center for a Free Cuba, Pan-American Development
Foundation, Florida International University, Freedom House, Grupo de
Apoyo a la Disidencia, Cuba On-Line, CubaNet, National Policy
Association, Accion Democratica Cubana, and Carta de Cuba. In
addition, the International Republican Institute of the Republican
Party received AID money for a sub-grantee, the Directorio
Revolucionario Democratico Cubano, also based in Miami.

These NGOs have a double purpose, one directed to their counterpart
groups in Cuba and one directed to the world, mainly through web
sites. Whereas on the one hand they channel funds and equipment into
Cuba, on the other they disseminate to the world the activities and
production of the groups in Cuba. Cubanet in Miami, for example,
publishes the writings of the "independent journalists" of the
Independent Press Association of Cuba based in Havana and channels
money to the writers.

Interestingly, AID claims on its web site that its "grantees are not
authorized to use grant funds to provide cash assistance to any person
or organization in Cuba." It's hard to believe that claim, but if it's
true, all those millions are only going to support the U.S.-based NGO
infrastructure, a subsidized anti-Castro cottage industry of a sort,
except for what can be delivered in Cuba in kind: computers, faxes,
copy machines, cell phones, radios, TVs and VCRs, books, magazines and
the like.

On its web site AID lists 7 purposes for the money: solidarity with
human rights activists, dissemination of the work of independent
journalists, development of independent NGOs, promoting workers'
rights, outreach to the Cuban people, planning for future assistance
to a transition government, and evaluation of the program. Anyone who
wants to see which NGOs are getting how much of the millions under
each of these programs can check out: http://www.usaid.gov/.

AID's claim that its NGO grantees can't provide cash to Cubans in
Cuba, makes one wonder about the more than $100,000 in cash that Cuban
investigators found in possession of the 75 mostly unemployed
dissidents who went on trial. A clue may be found in the AID statement
that "U.S. policy encourages U.S. NGOs and individuals to undertake
humanitarian, informational and civil society-building activities in
Cuba with private funds..." Could such "private funds" be money from
the National Endowment for Democracy?

Recall the fiction that the NED is a "private" foundation, an NGO. It
has no restrictions on its funds going for cash payments abroad, and
it just happens to fund some of the same NGO's as AID. Be assured that
this is not the result of rivalry or lack of coordination in
Washington. The reason probably is that NED funds can go for salaries
and other personal compensation to people on the ground in Cuba. There
is, after all, the rung of organizations below the U.S. NGOs in the
command and money chain, and these are the individuals and groups in
Cuba that correspond in purpose with the U.S. NGO's. They number
nearly 100 and have names [translated from Spanish] like Independent
Libraries of Cuba, All United, Society of Journalists Marquez
Sterling, Independent Press Association of Cuba, Assembly to Promote
Civil Society, and the Human Rights Party of Cuba

Each of the Cubans in these organizations will be fully identified
with assigned tasks in the AID, NED or CIA project documentation
covering the activity, probably in a classified annex, whether they
are categorized as human rights activists, independent journalists,
independent librarians, or distributors of information materials. The
money, after all, does not go to phantoms or ghosts even on the lowest
level. Nor are the U.S. NGO's given discretion to pass out money to
whatever malcontents they can find to take it. End users (final
recipients) are designated beneficiaries in writing just as the core
foundations and intermediary U.S. NGOs are.

NED's web site is conveniently out of date, showing only its Cuba
program for 2001. But it is instructive. Its funds for Cuban
activities in 2001 totaled only $765,000 if one is to believe what
they say. The money they gave to 8 NGOs in 2001 averaged about
$52,000, while a 9th NGO, the International Republican Institute (IRI)
of the Republican Party received $350,000 for the Directorio
Revolucionario Democratico Cubano, based in Miami as previously noted,
for "strengthening civil society and human rights" in Cuba. In
contrast, this NGO is to receive $2,174,462 in 2003 from AID through
the same IRI. Why would the NED be granting the lower amounts and AID
such huge amounts, both channeled through IRI? The answer, apart from
IRI's skim-off, probably is that the NED money is destined for the
pockets of people in Cuba while the AID money supports the U.S. NGO
infrastructures.

According to the Cuban Foreign Minister, Felipe Perez Roque, in a
press conference on April 7th, and Cuban security agents working
inside the dissident groups that he showed on film, the U.S. money
came to recipients in Cuba disguised as wired family remittances, in
cash mixed with the many remittances brought by couriers known as
"mules," and by payments to the Transcard debit card system in Canada
for credit to cards held by dissidents in Cuba. (The cards are good
for cash withdrawals from Cuban banks.) Although the Foreign Minister
said the Cuban Central Bank has followed carefully the flow of money
to the dissidents, he did not reveal the total amount for any given
period or specific amounts to recipient groups or individuals.

Whatever the amounts of money reaching Cuba may have been, everyone in
Cuba working in the various dissident projects knows of U.S.
government sponsorship and funding and of the purpose: regime change.
Far from being "independent" journalists, "idealistic" human rights
activists, "legitimate" advocates for change, or "Marian librarians
from River City," every one of the 75 arrested and convicted was
knowingly a participant in U.S. government operations to overthrow the
government and install a different, U.S.-favored, political, economic
and social order. They knew what they were doing was illegal, they got
caught, and they are paying the price. Anyone who thinks they are
prisoners of conscience, persecuted for their ideas or speech, or
victims of repression, simply fails to see them properly as
instruments of a U.S. government that has declared revolutionary Cuba
its enemy. They were not convicted for ideas but for paid actions on
behalf of a foreign power that has waged a 44-year war of varying
degrees of intensity against this country.

To think that the dissidents were creating an independent, free civil
society is absurd, for they were funded and controlled by a hostile
foreign power and to that degree, which was total, they were not free
or independent in the least. The civil society they wished to create
was not just your normal, garden variety civil society of Harley
freaks and Boxer breeders, but a political opposition movement
fomented openly by the U.S. government. What government in the world
would be so self-destructive as to sit by and just watch this happen?

Those interested in understanding how U.S. promotion of "independent
civil society" works in one sector, private libraries, can find an
excellent report presented in November 2002 by Rhonda L. Neugebauer,
Bibliographer, Latin American Studies, University of California,
Riverside, at the Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies,
East Los Angeles College. The report is the result of extensive
research, visits to private libraries in Cuba and interviews with
their owners, and a study of the Cuban state library system. Included
are descriptions of the U.S. NGO system backing private libraries,
their funding by AID, and the misleading information put out by this
system. Click here to see the Neugebauer report.

Foreign Minister Perez Roque in his press conference gave an example
of how several operations worked. He showed a film clip from the trial
of Oswaldo Alfonso Valdes, President of the Liberal Democratic Party
of Cuba, in which Alfonso described a meeting he had with an AID
official and Vickie Huddleston, until mid-2002 the chief of the U.S.
Interests Section in Havana, in which they discussed how to improve
the way that he was getting "resources" in order to better conceal the
U.S. government as the source. In the clip Alfonso also acknowledged
receiving money and material resources from the U.S. government via
organizations based in Miami.

Under Cuban law, being paid to execute U.S. policy toward Cuba is
illegal and in itself sufficient to convict. The largest group within
the 75, the 37 "independent journalists," were writing commentaries on
Cuba for publication outside the country using the internet for
communications. One of their organizations in Cuba was the Independent
Press Association of which the President, Nestor Baguer, was a Cuban
government security agent who testified in court. Members of his
group, he said, wrote for the website Cubanet, based in Miami, and
were paid via the Transcard debit card system in Canada except for
large amounts that were brought by courier. Cubanet by the way
received $35,000 from NED in 2001 and is to receive $833,000 from AID
in 2003. Baguer also testified that on visits to the U.S. Interests
Section, he and his colleagues received instructions on topics to
cover in their writings such as the shortage of medicines, the
treatment of patients in hospitals, and the treatment of inmates in
prisons. Generally speaking the "independent journalists" were to
place Cuba in a bad light abroad and to justify continuation of the
trade embargo.

The Foreign Minister also showed three letters dated in January and
March 2001 to Oswaldo Alfonso, the Liberal Party leader, from Carlos
Alberto Montaner, an exile journalist who lives in Madrid and is
President of the Cuban Liberal Union (member of the Liberal
International). Montaner is also a founding member of the Hispanic-
Cuban Foundation, a project of Spain's ruling conservative party.
Montaner is also closely associated with the exile cultural/political
quarterly Encuentro de la Cultura Cubana which is based in Madrid and
financed in part by NED ($80,000 in 2001).

Reading from the letters, Perez Roque revealed that each of the three
letters mentioned money included: 200 dollars, 30,000 pesetas and 200
dollars, the latter two apparently from people Montaner and Alfonso
know mutually. In the letter with the pesetas, Montaner wrote: "Very
soon two high level Spanish friends will call you to talk about
Project Varela. I suggested five names for the founding of that new
idea: Paya, Alfonso, Arcos, Raul Rivero and Tania Quintero."

Readers can draw their own conclusions on the possible foreign
influence in Project Varela. Oswaldo Paya, of course, is the dissident
honoured by the European Union with the Sakarov Human Rights Prize for
his leadership of Project Varela.

Prominent in the outrage at Cuba's action against the dissidents were
commentaries of shock over how nice things had been getting in recent
years with Fidel's mellowing and tolerance of the dissident community,
and suddenly now THIS! In actual fact May 20, 2002 was the turning
point when in speeches in Washington and Miami, Bush announced his
"Initiative for a New Cuba." Central to this "new" plan, citing Poland
as a past success, he announced increased and direct assistance to
"help build Cuban civil society," leading to a "new government" in
Cuba. I wonder. Would it be overreach to say Bush was advocating
regime change through the dissidents? The Cubans made no secret of
their interpretation.

The knell for "our guys" came with the arrival in September 2002 of a
new Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, the equivalent of
Ambassador were Cuba and the U.S. to have full diplomatic relations.
James Cason is a career State Department diplomat who has served
mostly in Latin American countries, not menacing to the eye, just a
bit overstuffed in the round face, double chinned like a Porky Pig in
his late fifties, with wide round glasses in front of half-closed
eyes. Like he's had too many two-hour lunches and not enough jogging.
Otto Reich, Cuban-American fanatic and one of the un-indicted
criminals of Iran-Contra, who was serving a limited recess appointment
(read no chance for Senate confirmation) as Bush's Assistant Secretary
of State for Latin American, gave Cason the job and apparently put an
ample load of hot sauce on his appointee's backside.

Cason swooped down on Havana like a fed from Gangbusters' central
casting with an "in your face" attitude big time. But give the guy
credit. He ran his ass off all over this island burning his dissident
friends, "our guys," and sealing their fate as he went along. His
blatant support for Washington's civil society in Cuba looked for all
the world like he was bent on getting himself PNG'd, expelled as
persona non grata in diplomatic parlance. He made a show of unity with
groups in the provinces as well as Havana; gave 24-hour passes to the
Interests Section to favorites, including Cuban penetration agents,
for free internet access and other facilities; attended meetings in
dissidents' homes where he gave the equivalent of press conferences to
foreign journalists; personally launched the youth wing of the Liberal
Party; entertained dissidents in his official residence, even hosting
an independent journalists' workshop there one Saturday. His conduct
went so far beyond accepted diplomatic protocol that you might say he
was the mother of all provocations.

But expelling Cason would have led to a new crisis with the U.S., and
the Cubans didn't take the bait. For six months they waited and
watched through their highly placed penetrations of Cason's dissident
community. Then they decided to act. They had the evidence of criminal
activities in support of Helms-Burton and in violation of other
legislation on sedition, so they finally decided to sweep away Cason's
constituency in a stroke. And there he stood in March, appropriately
like the Emperor who wore no cool. Indeed, there's been not a peep
from the man since his acolytes were picked up.

One can imagine the bitterness from prison with 75 of "our guys"
reflecting on how stupid they were to fall for Cason's grandstanding.
So now Cason and his staff, CIA and AID officers included, have to
start all over, pretty much from scratch. But hey, buddy, careful whom
you all recruit. You may be salivating tomorrow over another of
Fidel's finest. Never know, do you? Think about that when you file for
security clearances on your next generation of dissidents.

Without a doubt the Cubans weighed the price they would have to pay
with friends and foes before taking the decision to act. And they knew
they had a lot to lose. The movement in the U.S. to end the embargo
and travel ban, in Congress and on the street, would peel rubber in
reverse with all the media distortions. Cuban entrance into the
Cotonou Agreement for preferential trade and aid with the EU would
likely go back into the deep freeze, which it did. Moreover, the U.N.
Human Rights Commission was then meeting in Geneva, and the U.S. was
trying as hard as possible, with threats and bribes, to get a motion
approved condemning Cuba for human rights violations. In the end they
didn't get it, but the Cuban government was willing to take this risk
as well.

With so much at stake, the timing of the decision triggered intense
speculation. In truth the dissident community, including those
imprisoned, has never been a threat to the revolution, and Cuba could
have gone on indefinitely tolerating, penetrating and monitoring their
U.S. government-ordered activities. But the U.S. might have seen that
as weakness, and that's the last thing you want a Grendel to think.

Moreover there was an important internal political dimension to
tolerating Cason's insulting provocations because they were so widely
known here. He had gone so far beyond the pale that people in general
wondered about the government's tolerance. This too could be seen as
weakness by supporters of the revolution. So they decided to stop him
once and for all and to send a message to his remaining proteges, to
stretch the protective connotation just a bit in the Cuban context. In
1996 the government had stopped the highly visible Brothers to the
Rescue overflights by the shootdowns, largely for internal political
reasons, knowing full well the price they would pay internationally.
So also in 2003 they decided to firmly use the hook on Cason's Top Gun
stage act regardless of international opinion. As in the shootdowns,
internal Cuban politics, not international reactions, more than likely
determined the timing.

The Three Executions

The hijacking of the Havana harbor ferry, the Baragua, couldn't have
come at a worse time. It was the 7th hijacking in 7 months and came on
April 2, a day before the trials of the dissidents were to start,
making it easy for Cuba's enemies, and not a few of its friends, to
lump the two disparate events into one "wave of repression."

The ferry was no more than a flat-bottomed self-propelled barge with a
cabin, safe only for calm harbor waters, and that night there were 50-
odd people on board including children and foreign tourists. The armed
hijackers took it to sea in a highly dangerous Force 4 wind, ran it
out of fuel, and threatened by radio to start throwing hostages
overboard if they were not given enough fuel to reach Florida. The
amazing part is how the Cuban coast guard convinced the hijackers to
allow a tow of the drifting ferry to the port of Mariel where special
forces set up a trap and divers prepared for the rescue. After many
hours of standoff, it all ended in less than a minute when a French
woman suddenly dove overboard and was followed en masse by the other
hostages and the hijackers as well. The hostages were all rescued, and
the hijackers quickly arrested.

In the trial the state asked for, and received, the death penalty for
the three ringleaders of the hijacking, an action upheld by an appeals
court because it was a terrorist act of extreme gravity even though no
one was injured. Then the Council of State had to ratify or commute.
Should Cuba end their nearly three-year moratorium on executions?
Should they stir up condemnation from the world movement against the
death penalty? Should they delay their decision and let those guys
wait on death row for a while---not 15-20 years like in the States but
at least a few weeks so as not to show undue haste? Or should they
commute to life and show mercy.

Frankly, being against the death penalty, I thought a combination of
the last two would be best: wait and commute. But I didn't know that
at the time the Cuban security forces were investigating another 29
hijacking plots. From the Council of State's point of view it surely
looked like the beginning of a wave of hijackings encouraged as always
by the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act and the wet-foot, dry-foot policy
that discriminates against all non-Cuban illegal immigrants.
Particularly galling to Cuba is the hero treatment hijackers have
gotten in Florida and the fact that if a pilot flies a plane over
there willingly, he's not considered a hijacker and is guilty of no
more than misappropriation of property.

If there is one principle that Cuba has always followed, at least
since the missile crisis of 1962, it is never to give the U.S. a
pretext for military action. Another Mariel exodus or rafters crisis,
or indeed a wave of hijackings, would be just such a pretext, as Fidel
later reasoned, for imposing a U.S. naval blockade, an all-out bombing
campaign, and an outright invasion. They could avoid another Mariel or
rafters episode, but they had to stop the hijackings immediately. And
he was right. On April 25th the chief of the Cuba Bureau of the State
Department told the Chief of Cuba's Interests Section in Washington
that the United States considers any more hijackings to be a serious
threat to U.S. national security. Understanding "one more and we take
military action" would not be paranoia.

But the Council of State didn't have to wait for that news. They knew
it already. They ratified the sentences on April 10th, and they were
carried out the next morning. You can fault Cuba on the principle of
"no death penalty under any circumstances," but the fact is that Cuba
is one of more than 100 countries that have it on the books. They had
just seen what U.S. bombs and missiles had done to Baghdad, saw the
painstaking work of two generations at risk, including their centers
of science and technology, educational institutions, hospitals and
clinics, their historic cultural heritage, but most important their
people who would be killed and maimed. And they didn't confuse the
hijackers with dissidents. They were delinquents turned terrorists who
had threatened vastly more than their 50 hostages.

It came as no surprise to Cuba when, with the executions and the
sentencing of the dissidents at nearly the same time, the howling
around the world began. They seemed to be ready for it to a degree,
but you could sense a certain shock when long-time friends of the
revolution like Eduardo Galeano and Jose Saramago joined the chorus of
condemnation. They were joined by Chomsky, Zinn, Albert, Davis,
Dorfman and others, whose works are treasures in my library, who
signed the superficial statement of the Campaign for Peace and
Democracy: "We the undersigned strongly protest the current wave of
repression in Cuba...[against dissidents]...for their non-violent
political activities..." Like the dissidents are not equal to
terrorism, embargo, and psychological warfare as instruments in
Washington's unending campaign to convert Cuba into another American
vassal. Fair enough if that's what they want for Cuba. Pitiful if they
signed without thinking.

A few weeks after the executions and dissident trials, at the May Day
rally of more than a million people in Havana's Revolution Square, the
Rev. Lucius Walker, one of the most effective and committed U.S. Cuba
solidarity activists, made an elegant plea for Cuba to abolish the
death penalty. Fidel responded with appreciation, saying only that
such an action was under study. Yet less than 3 weeks later another
group of 8 armed hijackers, arrested before taking over a flight on
April 10th, were tried and sentenced. Despite convictions for
terrorism and violence, the ringleaders were sentenced to life
imprisonment and the others to terms of 20 to 30 years.

Readers will note that the important legal and human rights issue of
due process has not been addressed in these pages. Among the
criticisms of both the dissidents' and the hijackers' cases were
allegations that the defendants were railroaded without an opportunity
for adequate legal defence. The problem in addressing this issue has
not been helped by the lack of published information on the trials.
For example, I have found no public chronology in any of the 75 cases
from the moment of arrest to the opening of the trial that would
include dates and times for events such as the arrest, the
presentation of charges, and sessions spent by the defendant with a
defence lawyer in preparation for the trial. Nor have the written
charges nor the defendants' responses and pleas nor the judges'
decisions been published with the exception of the sentences. This
lack of information prevents assessment of due process.

Nevertheless the Foreign Minister went to pains to address these
criticisms in his three hour-plus press conference of April 7th,
pointing out the Spanish colonial origins of summary trial procedures
and their wide use around the world today. He also said that in the 29
trials (some trials had more than one defendant) 54 lawyers
participated of whom 44 were chosen by the defendants and 10 appointed
as public defenders by the courts, adding that several lawyers served
more than one defendant. Perhaps most important, he said that
defendants were allowed to testify before the court answering the
charges and submitting to cross-examination. He emphasized the number
of people allowed to attend the trials, mostly family members and
averaging about 100 observers per trial. Still, the lack of full
information on the prosecution and trial procedures has left the door
open for charges of lack of due process, charges that cannot be
resolved until the courts provide more details.

Epilogue

In Washington, despite the black eye that Cuba is seen to have self-
inflicted, the Congressional supporters of legislation to end or ease
the embargo and to abolish the travel ban are again moving ahead with
the introduction of new legislation for that purpose. While most
condemned the April events, they are sticking with their principles,
mostly in the belief that Americans who come to Cuba will change the
Cubans. Over the years I've seen just the opposite happen, but ending
the travel ban is certainly worthy, reasons aside.

The Bush administration, peopled as it is with hard line Cuban-
Americans, continues to ratchet up the pressure with the expulsion of
14 Cuban diplomats in Washington and New York on vague espionage
charges. Clearly a political, not a national security decision,
someone in the FBI leaked the news that the White House had apparently
told the State Department to expel Cubans, and State asked the FBI for
some names. The FBI source added that none of the Cubans was the
subject of an on-going espionage investigation. Conversely the Cuban-
American congressional representatives from Miami, Ros Lehtinen and
Diaz Balart, whine openly that Bush won't take their calls demanding a
swift end to the Cuba problem once and for all.

In Miami all those NGOs sucking at the teats of AID and NED to keep
their anti-Castro industry going, along with their comfortable life-
styles, will have to go back to their computers and draw up new plans
for civil society in Cuba. They'll have to look for ways to salvage
their counterpart fronts across the straits and for more Cubans with
few enough scruples and just enough self-destructive instincts to take
their money.

Over here in Havana, James Cason would do well to slip away on
consultations back at the State Department and quietly retire. He did,
after all, get 75 of "our guys" put away, some for quite a while, and
all the anti-Cuban propaganda dividend flowing from his service to
Reich in no way compensates. He's finished in the Foreign Service even
though he was carrying out Reich's orders, for Cason, not Reich, is
the one who'll take the fall. Then again he might just find a fat new
anti-Cuba career with one of the Miami NGOs.

At the U.S. Interests Section, State, AID and CIA officers will now
have to start beating the bushes for new blood, sending names and
background information for security clearances on people willing to
work with the Miami NGOs following in the footsteps of the 75, and the
Cuban security service will surely oblige with promising candidates as
they always have in the past.

And the rest of us?

The threat of war in Cuba from Bush and his coterie of crusaders, all
of them crazed with hubris after Iraq, is real. A military campaign
against Cuba, coinciding with the already-underway 2004 electoral
campaign, may be the only way he can hope to finally get himself
elected, even if only for his second term. And every day the economy
is working against him with no signs of improving for 2004. He knows
the economy in '92 did his father in, and he may conclude that
fulfilling his divine mission to extend U.S. military control of the
world will need a crisis very close to home.

The time to mobilize against that war is now, and not a day can be
lost.

Philip Agee is a former CIA officer and author of CIA Diary: Inside
the Company and On the Run. Agee is a founder of the Cuba travel site
Cubalinda.com.

[Although Agee has died, the policies about which he wrote about above
are very much alive. -- Barry Schier]
Post by Barry Schier
Here's the link to Eva Golinger's take on the man just detained in
Cuba who
http://www.chavezcode.com/2009/12/cia-agent-captured-in-cuba-employee...
For a much more detailed look at how these things are being carried
out, you
can and should read the detailed essay by former CIA agent Philip
COUNTERPUNCH
August 9, 2003
Terrorism and Civil Society
The Instruments of US Policy in Cuba
By PHILIP AGEE
http://www.counterpunch.org/agee08092003.html
=========================================
WALTER LIPPMANN
Los Angeles, California
Editor-in-Chief, CubaNewshttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
"Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
=========================================
Post by Barry Schier
CubaLosAngeles] WaPo: Cuba detains contractor for U.S.
governmentSaturday, December 12, 2009 7:18 PM
States government has a "regime change" strategy toward Cuba which is
codified in the Helms-Burton law and other legislation. It's entirely
possible that this employee was working toward "regime change" in Cuba
through distributing equipment aimed for use toward that end.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the Cuban government
took notice of the activity and decided to ask the individual who was
distributing such equipment what he was doing, on behalf of whom, and
toward what end.
Wouldn't we you expect the United States government to ask anyone who
entered the United States as a paid contractor for the US government,
who was doing something like that in the United States what he or she
was up to, on behalf of whom, and toward what end?
The Cuban government responds to activities conducted by foreign
agents operating in the island according to their own timetable.
There's no reason to draw any conclusion from Cuba's official silence
after one single DAY.
===================================================================
Cuba detains contractor for U.S. government
American was handing out mobile phones, laptops to activists
By William Booth and Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writers
{Previously posted / see earlier message/s}
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