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Rendezvous w/Death


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Gus Russo has sent out a notice to his friends and associates, giving his take on the Ultimate Sack, which supports his own theories that propagate the original cover story for the Dealey Plaza operation - that Castro was responsible. These guys are relentless and never give up.

At least we agree on the lame Ultimate Sack Keynote that C-Day is a hoax - but now we have the distinguished Wilfried Huismann's new film documentary that "They Call Me Gus" Russo helped frame, which debutes in Berlin on Jan. 4 (and in USA next week?).

It would be nice if we could get a transcript of this documenary. j

Excuse me while I choke on all this.

I'm going to email Fidel and see if he wants to resond.

BK

Gus' Report:

Ultimate Secret / My new documentary

Let me start by saying that Lamar Waldron is a friend and colleague of mine, whom I know to be a hard working and well-intentioned Kennedy researcher, two facts which alone set him apart from many. Although I have been asked, I will not critique the book in the mass media, since Lamar is a friend. (Unlike some self-appointed historians, I don’t make a habit of stabbing my colleagues in the back.) I hope his book sells well, and that it receives a fair public debate. That being said, I have to regretfully say that I have major problems with the conclusions of his new book, which I will share with this group.

By way of preface, as some of you may know, in my 1998 book Live By the Sword (LBTS) I also undertook a study of the mountainous ARRB release of Cuban related documents. (I feel fortunate to live just 20 minutes from the Archives, and I have taken good advantage of that proximity. Steve Tilley of NARA has told me that I have been, if nothing else, the most persistent visitor to the JFK Collection.) In addition, I interviewed over 1,000 individuals over 15 years, including many involved with Cuban Ops (e.g. Harry Williams, and a number of Artime’s closest aides such as Nilo Messer & Luis Arrizurietta, and Artime’s widow and daughter Judy, who provided me with additional documentation not available to the Board.)

My conclusions were: 1) that there was indeed a massive push by the Kennedys to resolve the “Cuban problem” before the fall 1964 US presidential election; 2) that massive staging camps were being funded in Central America for that purpose; 3) that things would get underway as soon as AMLASH (Cubela) succeeded in hitting Fidel, 4) that Manuel Artime’s Nicaraguan buildup was a key component, and; 5) that the Pentagon had drafted OPLANS on the assumption that there would likely be a new invasion in October 1964, IF (and this is an important IF) all the preceding points had moved to fruition. Interestingly, all of Artime’s aides that I spoke with agreed with these conclusions. I also interviewed the late Miami Station Chief Ted Shackley over three lunches in Georgetown. Shackley oversaw the CIA-funded Cuban exile ops and agreed that nothing was imminent when JFK was killed, but that anything could happen in the upcoming year.

Thus, it was with some degree of shock that I first heard from Lamar many years ago that I had missed something -- a NARA JFK doc that spoke of a December 1963 invasion with Harry Williams at the helm. Further, the operation had a CIA code name (diagraph) that I had also missed, and that Lamar could not divulge for a variety of reasons. It should be noted that there are many dozen Cuban operation-related (“AM”) diagraphs (some of my favorites were AMSTRUT, AMLEGS, AMLISP, AMSANTA, AMTORRID, and AMSLOUCH). These referred either to an exile leader, his group, or a target – Castro was AMTHUG, Artime was AMWORLD-1. Most of the exile ops were fanciful and often disastrous.

For my book, I chose to focus on what I perceived to be the most salient components of the policy – AMLASH, AMTRUNK, and the Pentagon OPLANS. I ignored the countless other “AMs”, and after speaking with Lamar, I frankly worried that I missed something important, and thus have been waiting more anxiously than most for his long gestating book. More importantly, I worried that everyone I had spoken to about the exile operations (Messer, Shackley, Williams, and untold others) had lied to me. But, as I mentioned to Lamar, anything was possible regarding witnesses, and there was certainly a possibility that I overlooked a key doc among 5 million at NARA. (According to Lamar, there was also a Mafia connection – Rosselli, etc -- that I had missed. But this caused me little concern, since I was all over organized crime for my 2002 book The Outfit, and knew that the mob, especially Rosselli, had nothing to do with Oswald or Dallas – but that’s a whole other story.)

So I waited…

Having now read a good hunk of Lamar’s book, which he graciously sent to me, I can make the following observations:

1) His key operation AMWORLD is not a new revelation; it was one of the many codes released by NARA, and seen by me, and doubtless others, in 1998 and thereafter. Just yesterday, a NARA JFK archivist assured me that these documents have been available all along and Lamar has to know it – they have “Released by CIA 1998” in bold stamp. Type in AMWORLD into the NARA JFK online search, and you get 17 hits. Archivist Martha Murphy laughed and said that that database hadn’t been updated in years.

2) I had some of these docs, and now, after a quick trip to the Archives have all of them. It is abundantly clear that they refer to Artime’s Central American operation, but have nothing to do with a December “coup,” or “C-Day” as Lamar refers to it. Interestingly, my Miami friend, Nilo Messer, is noted as an “AMWORLD representative” and Artime’s personal secretary – and yet Lamar doesn’t appear to have spoken to him about the coup. I did, over a 1999 dinner at the Hotel Intercontinental, and he said there was no coup planned for December. And he would have known.

3) The AMWORLD docs span from June 28, 1963 (inception) to Jan 3, 1965. A 2-9-64 AMWORLD memo says that the purpose of the Artime operation, like the other “AMs”, was, hopefully by late 1964, to “mount small, simple, quick in and out ops, such as low risk sabotage, abduction or assassination, release and exfil of prisoners, etc.” An undated memo defines AMWORLD thus: “This was Agency support to the Revolutionary Recovery Movement headed by Dr. Manuel Artime dedicated to bringing about the overthrow of the Castro Government. Operations against Cuba were tentatively scheduled for December 1963, but most strikes took place in November 1963.” This is a clear reference to the fact that AMWORLD was about “strikes,” not coups. A 2-9-64 AMWORLD memo says: “AMWORLD is a generally sound approach to developing the personnel and physical assets they will require for effective operations…[and] if a solid foundation for the entire program could be laid down, the payoff in the long run would be much more. However, it must be pointed out that AMWORLD will have to have successful operations before the people and support they will require are forthcoming in sufficient numbers to perform their ultimate mission.” Doesn’t sound much like a Dec 1963 coup to me. In fact, it reads like one of countless other AM docs discussing general sabotage – which is why I ignored it in 1998.

4) Re Rosselli: over the years I have spoken with many who knew Rosselli, not to mention his sister and goddaughter, all of whom find it ridiculous that he would kill JFK, or anybody. Rosselli, a former bootlegger in Joe Kennedy’s Boston crew (bet you didn’t know that), stopped being a thug after the union fights in Hollywood in the thirties. After that he was a mob dealmaker who never got his $1000 suit wrinkled. He was never even charged with a violent crime in his life. He went to prison in the forties for receiving kickbacks from the Hollywood studios for whom he had been controlling the unions, and late in life for a card cheating scam that he had only a tangential connection with.

However, in order to lay the groundwork for Rosselli as a killer of presidents, Lamar cites the murder of Las Vegas’ Gus Greenbaum, a crime for which Rosselli was never even a suspect. Greenbaum was a drug-addled manager of the Riviera, who was likely murdered by Outfit enforcer Marshall Caifano (see The Outfit, pp. 330-332). However, Lamar compounds the error by mistakenly calling Greenbaum the mayor of Las Vegas – this would be like calling John Gotti the former Governor of New York. But it serves to allow the inference that Rosselli was involved in the assassination of a “mayor,” and thus a potential killer of presidents. These are Mellenesque leaps. The reader should know that Rosselli was an admirer of JFK and even went to Florida to participate, at age 57, in Mongoose raids and help broker the Castro assassination plots during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, both free of charge; he felt it was his “patriotic duty” as he so testified and told friends (see both Rappleye’s book and my The Outfit, pp.384-393, and 426-427).

Lastly, even Rosselli’s biographers, who tried hard to get a Dallas headline from their book (Johnny knew somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody who knew Ruby, etc), had to admit the tenuous links to Dallas: "These reports are fragmentary and inconclusive, falling short of proof that John Rosselli played a part in the Kennedy assassination." (Rappleye, p.248) (There is much more I could write about the Frank Ragano contentions about Marcello’s alleged involvement, but for starters, see Posner, p. 462-463.)

OK, enough -- now for info on my new documentary:

Three years ago I was contacted by the great investigative German documentary film maker Wilfried Huismann with a proposal to work with him on a long term investigation of Mexico City and possible Cuban linkage to Dallas. I had already concluded from my previous work that this was the last great mystery, but that all roads seemed to lead to some sort of Cuban connection. I had worked with Willi before, and have more respect for him than any documentarian I’ve seen; he has more longstanding trusted sources within many of the world’s leading intelligence agencies than anyone I know. He’s won every major film European award; he alone tracked down the sole surviving terrorist from the 1972 Munich assault – AND CONVINCED HIM TO DO A FILMED INTERVIEW (for Willi’s film “Munich 1972”). Keep in mind that the vaunted Mossad has been looking for this guy for 32 years, and still can’t find him. With Willi’s counsel, the interview was re-filmed for the Academy Award winning “One Day in September.”

I knew that Willi was just the guy to pry loose the secrets of Cuban Intelligence and Mexico City, so I jumped aboard. After securing sponsorship from a consortium of international public tv networks (including WDR Germany and NHK Japan) we started work in late 2003. Over the next two years, Willi, with whom I share co-writing credit, filmed approximately 100 hours of hi-def footage in Spain, Mexico, Cuba, Austria, and the US. The press who have seen it call it “persuasive,” “shocking,” and ultimately “moving.” I believe the results are groundbreaking, and, for me at least, put the affair to rest once and for all. Open minded viewers will finally understand the last great mystery: Oswald’s motivation. The 90-minute film, “Rendezvous With Death,” debuts in Berlin on January 4, and we expect to name an American outlet later that month.

What you won’t see: Any discussion of Dealey Plaza -- Oswald did it, get over it.

What you will see:

First ever revealing interviews with:

• Former senior G-2 agent (Cuban Intel)

• Former G-2 employee who had access to the G-2’s HQ files on Oswald

• The G-2’s former HQ file archivist

• Former G-2 security officer at Cuba’s Mexico City Embassy

• A source inside the Russian Secret Service Agency FSB, with access to the “encrypted” KGB and G-2 files on Oswald (heretofore unknown in the West), located in the KGB’s Moscow HQ Archives

• The family of Pedro Gutierrez; he saw Oswald leave the Cuban compound with Cuban intel officers.

• Laurence Keenan, the FBI man sent to Mexico City by Hoover days after the assassination.

• Elena Garro de Paz, who attended a Mexico City party with Oswald and Cuban officials

New ints w/:

• Rolando Cubela (AMLASH),

• Carlos Bringuiere (voiceover),

• Silvia Duran,

• Al Haig,

• Fabian Escalante,

• Daniel Harker.

• The last, and explosive, int. with CIA’s Cuba Project executive officer, the late Sam Halpern

You will hear for the first time the CIA’s surveillance tapes of the Cuban Embassy. You will also learn of the secret “encrypted” KGB Oswald file that we gained access to, previously undiscovered by the ARRB or anyone. Among other revelations, it names the KGB officer who tipped the Cubans to Oswald’s return to the US.

We also gained access to the previously undisclosed 4,500-page Oswald file of the Mexican Secret Service, which contains surveillance, photos, and NAMES.

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To follow on James's post....so....

the fellow who Gus says has more connections to more intelligence

organizations world wide than anyone else he knows...and who

can find guys the Mossad can't is the one that did the "Marita Lorenz"

movie?

Does that mean he bought the whole Lorenz story.....wonder if he ever talked

with Fonzi?

And now he's solved the ultimate mystery of Oswald's motivation....

The mind boggles.... Larry

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Now hold on, Robert, Russo is a creep merely because he disagrees with your conclusions?

Tomorrow I will post a great quote from Benjamin Franklin, probably one of the most intelligent of our founding fathers, made at the constitutional convention, demonstrating great intellectual humility.

If it fits for Franklin, it fits for all of us.

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From Russo's letter, it is clear that the documentary does NOT finger Castro, as Bill's headnote asserts. I think the documentary is consistent with the theme of "Live By the Sword": Oswald did it because the US was trying to "get" Castro, and Oswald MAY have been encouraged by pro-Castro Cubans. Certainly any pro-Castro activist who was aware of the US efforts to kill Castro had motivation to kill JFK to protect Castro, especially if they did not have knowledge of the top-secret peace feelures.

I tend to think that Oswald was anti-Castro and involved in a US intelligence operation but IF you believe Oswald was pro-Castro then the motivation set forth by Russo makes sense. The question that arises, of course, why Oswald did not immediately take credit for the assassination and declare that he had "saved" Castro. One could argue he wanted to save his semantics for trial, but then his declaration of innocence is hard to understand.

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Now hold on, Robert, Russo is a creep merely because he disagrees with your conclusions?

Tomorrow I will post a great quote from Benjamin Franklin, probably one of the most intelligent of our founding fathers, made at the constitutional convention, demonstrating great intellectual humility.

If it fits for Franklin, it fits for all of us.

Tim,

For heaven's sake Tim, spare us that Benjamin Franklin stuff. Robert didn't call him a creep because he disagrees with him--it was you who added that. Rather, I think he was alluding to Russo's rude dismissal of anyone daring to challenge his firm belief in Oswald's guilt.

FWIW, I too think Russo is full of AMCRAP.

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From Russo's letter, it is clear that the documentary does NOT finger Castro, as Bill's headnote asserts. I think the documentary is consistent with the theme of "Live By the Sword": Oswald did it because the US was trying to "get" Castro, and Oswald MAY have been encouraged by pro-Castro Cubans. Certainly any pro-Castro activist who was aware of the US efforts to kill Castro had motivation to kill JFK to protect Castro, especially if they did not have knowledge of the top-secret peace feelures. I tend to think that Oswald was anti-Castro and involved in a US intelligence operation but IF you believe Oswald was pro-Castro then the motivation set forth by Russo makes sense. The question that arises, of course, why Oswald did not immediately take credit for the assassination and declare that he had "saved" Castro. One could argue he wanted to save his semantics for trial, but then his declaration of innocence is hard to understand.

WHAT THE HEADNOTE ASSERTS:

Did the Cubans assassinate Kennedy?By Kate Connolly in Berlin(Filed: 04/01/2006)

The Cuban secret service was behind the assassination of President John F Kennedy, according to evidence presented in a new television documentary.Rendezvous with Death, to be shown on German television on Friday, offers the most convincing evidence that Fidel Castro's regime was behind the most talked-about murder of the 20th century.

A former agent of the Cuban secret service G2 talks for the first time about how Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin, was, he claims, pointed out to the Cubans by the KGB. Oscar Marino, who fell out with the Castro regime, said the Cubans were desperate to eliminate Kennedy, an opponent of the revolution who wanted to kill Castro."You ask why we took Oswald?" he said to the German film maker Wilfried Huismann. "Oswald was a dissident: he hated his country. He possessed certain characteristics."There wasn't anyone else. You take what you can get. . . Oswald volunteered to kill Kennedy."Oswald was a Communist who spent three years in the Soviet Union and shot Kennedy in Dallas. He was killed by Jack Ruby after his arrest, leaving his motives shrouded in mystery.

Huismann spent three years persuading people to break their silence about Oswald's alleged Cuba connections. His film is based on testimony by former US, Cuban and Russian agents, KGB files and Mexican archives.One of the main witnesses is a retired FBI agent, Lawrence Keenan, now in his eighties. Keenan was sent after the assassination to trace Oswald's footsteps in Mexico.The evidence he found - linking the Cubans with the murder - prompted the FBI head, J Edgar Hoover, on the orders of President Lyndon Johnson, to withdraw Keenan after three days."This was perhaps the worst investigation the FBI was ever involved in," said Keenan."I realised that I was used. I felt ashamed. We missed a moment in history."Mexico City was considered a "Pandora's Box" by the Johnson administration, which feared a war with Cuba were the truth to be revealed to the American people."They were afraid of what will happen. They didn't want to. . . know the truth for fear it would mean we go to war. Johnson sincerely feared for his own life."

It was convenient therefore for the administration to paint Oswald as a loner. Alexander Haig, a military adviser to Kennedy and Johnson who became secretary of state in 1981, said in the film that Johnson was terrified his people would learn the truth."He [Johnson] said 'we simply must not allow the American people to believe that Fidel Castro could have killed our president'."And the reason was that there would be a Right-wing uprising in America, which would keep the Democratic party out of power for two generations." Mr Haig added: "He [Johnson] was convinced Castro killed Kennedy, and he took it to his grave."

Huismann's interviews and documents he found show the extent of the secret war, involving murder and sabotage plots, between Castro and the Kennedy brothers. Without the knowledge of Congress or the American public, John and Robert Kennedy allegedly planned eight assassination attempts on Castro, all of which failed. Huismann's explanation for the failures is a Cuban who fought alongside Castro but who later fell out with him. The film-maker claims that this man was "contracted" by Robert Kennedy to murder the "Maximo Lider", and was provided by the CIA with pistols disguised as fountain pens and powerful poison to carry out the task. But Castro always found out about the plots in advance, leading to suspicions of a double agent. The film claims that in November 1963 the Cuban took his last order from Robert Kennedy to murder Castro. The act, involving poison and the fountain pen, was to be carried out on Nov 22, the very day Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas."

Unfortunately, Castro was better than us," said a CIA agent in the film who is not identified.Marino said Oswald was recruited to the secret service organisation by the same agent who had been recruited to kill Castro, a year before the Kennedy assassination." In other words the very man Robert Kennedy recruited to kill Fidel Castro hired his brother's murderer," Huismann said. KGB files released in Moscow document a meeting between Oswald and the Cuban, who is now a retired surgeon living in Madrid. Interviewed for the film, however, he denied any connection to Oswald, calling it an "outrageous lie". Marino did not want to answer the question as to whether Castro had direct knowledge of the Oswald assassination plan. Huismann wrote his film with Gus Russo, author of the 1998 book on the Castro-JFK rivalry, Live by the Sword. 22 November 2003: The greatest murder mystery of all time.

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Although Russo's e-mail did not seem to indicate this, the reviews of the film (I have read two now) do indicate, as Bill points out, that the film posits Cuban involvement in the assassination.

It will be interesting to evaluate any new information in the book. According to one review, the filmmaker interviewed Fabian Escalante, who seemed evasive.

Tracked down by the film maker, Escalante denied he had been in Dallas and evaded questions about Cuba's alleged role. "What is truth, what are lies?" he said, smiling.

It will also be interesting to see the interview with Cubela that I understand is in the film.

See the Reuters review of :"Rendezvous with Death" here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060104/en_nm/...kennedy_film_dc

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Guest Matt Allison

I like how Russo makes Roselli appear to be only slightly less noble than Jimmy Stewart.

Cuz y'know, there's nothing unusual about a guy checking out when he's in 5 pieces stuffed in an oil drum ...

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Good Day.... Interestingly, an AOL poll that accompanies the AOL posting of the Reuters article reveals that 89% of respondents support that there was a conspiracy (27,091 votes so far)

http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.ad...S00010000000001

<QUOTE>

Cuba Paid Oswald to Kill Kennedy, New Film Says

By Mark Trevelyan, Reuters

BERLIN (Jan. 4) - Cuba lay behind the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald and its agents provided the gunman with money and support, an award-winning German director says in a new documentary film.

Wilfried Huismann spent three years researching "Rendezvous with Death," based on interviews with former Cuban secret agents, U.S. officials and a Russian intelligence source, and on research in Mexican security archives.

The film, shown to journalists in Berlin on Wednesday, says Oswald traveled to Mexico City by bus in September 1963, seven weeks before the Kennedy shooting, and met agents at the Cuban embassy there who paid him $6,500.

Oscar Marino, a former Cuban agent and a key source for the documentary, told Huismann that Oswald himself had volunteered for the assassination mission and Havana had exploited him.

"Oswald was a dissident. He hated his country...Oswald offered to kill Kennedy," Marino said in the film.

"He was so full of hate, he had the idea. We used him...He was a tool."

He said he knew with certainty that the assassination was an operation of the Cuban secret service G-2, but would not say if it was ordered by President Fidel Castro.

Oswald was shot dead by Jack Ruby two days after killing Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

The film argues Cuba wanted to eliminate Kennedy as the chief enemy of its Communist revolution, and portrays him and Castro as dueling opponents each trying to assassinate the other first.

Former CIA official Sam Halpern told Huismann: "He (Castro) beat us. He bested us. He came out on top, and we lost."

FBI PROBE ABORTED

Laurence Keenan, an officer of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who was sent to Mexico City immediately after Kennedy's death to investigate a possible Cuban connection, said he was recalled after just three days and the probe was aborted.

"This was perhaps the worst investigation the FBI was ever involved in," Keenan said. "I realized that I was used. I felt ashamed. We missed a moment in history."

Keenan, 81, said he was convinced Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, blocked further investigation because proof of a Cuban link would put him under irresistible pressure to invade the island, a year after the Cuban missile crisis had brought the United States and Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war.

"Most likely there would have been an invasion of Cuba which could have had unknown consequences for the whole world," he told journalists at the screening, saying that was why Johnson preferred to accept Oswald was "a crazed lone Marxist assassin."

Interviewed for the film, Alexander Haig, then a U.S. military adviser and later secretary of state, quoted Johnson as saying "we simply must not allow the American people to believe that Fidel Castro could have killed our president."

"And the reason was that there would be a right-wing uprising in America, which would keep the Democratic party out of power for two generations," Haig said.

He added that Robert F. Kennedy, brother of the assassinated president and attorney general in his administration, had personally ordered eight attempts on the life of Castro, who is still in power to this day.

Cuban and Russian sources interviewed in the film say the KGB alerted the Cubans to Oswald in mid-1962 after he left the Soviet Union, where he had lived for three years, and returned to the United States with his Soviet wife and their daughter.

Cuban intelligence first made contact with Oswald in November 1962, according to the film.

Huismann also unearthed a U.S. intelligence report shown to Johnson which said Cuban secret service chief Fabian Escalante flew via Mexico City to Dallas on the day of Kennedy's assassination, and back again the same day.

Tracked down by the film maker, Escalante denied he had been in Dallas and evaded questions about Cuba's alleged role. "What is truth, what are lies?" he said, smiling.

<END QUOTE>

Don Roberdeau

U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, "Big John," Plank Walker

Sooner, or later, the Truth emerges Clearly

http://members.aol.com/DRoberdeau/JFK/DP.jpg

http://members.aol.com/DRoberdeau/JFK/ROSE...NOUNCEMENT.html

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http://members.aol.com/DRoberdeau/JFK/GHOS...update2001.html

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T ogether

E veryone

A chieves

M ore

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"Brehm seemed to think the shots came from in FRONT OF or BESIDE the President." (my EMPHASIS)

----CHARLES F. BREHM, a combat gunfire experienced, United States Army Ranger, World War II and D-day veteran, quoted only minutes after the attack, and while he is still standing within Dealey Plaza ("Dallas Times Herald," 11-22-63, final edition)

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To keep in mind when evaluating anti Cuba propaganda:

Bush a Terrorist trampling on human rights using mass weapons of economic destruction and truth distortion:

______________________________________________________

Uncovering Bush Plan for Regime Change in Cuba

Cuba Now

November 11, 2004

http://www.cubanow.net/global/loader.php?c...nt=num28/02.htm

Uncovering Bush Plan for Regime Change in Cuba

By Hope Bastian ZNet

Cubanow.- I'm living in a war zone, but what I see when I look out the window of my apartment in Havana , Cuba does not resemble the pictures in the papers of the war in Iraq . No missiles have been fired here, there are no camouflaged soldiers in the streets with guns, no armored tanks roll by. The sun is still shining, the birds still sing, and the streets are alive with people busy living their lives. There are no children dying in the streets from shrapnel wounds, but there is no doubt the nation is under attack. Here the war is manifested not in body counts and car-bombings but in the constant assault of material poverty: crumbling homes and rolling black-outs. It doesn't look like a war zone, but the US government is waging a silent war here and no one is left untouched.

The war in Iraq is not the only war that the Bush Administration is involved in today and its plans for "regime change" are not limited to the Middle East . They might have caught Saddam, but there's another bearded "bad-guy" on the loose, and another nation, weak after years of US sanctions, to be "liberated". There's nothing new about the war against Cuba , which started in May of 1961, only four months after the Revolution overthrew US-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista. Forty-five years and over 600 assassination attempts later, the war against Cuba is now principally fought with weapons of economic destruction. The Bush Administration has intensified this economic war and made overthrowing the Cuban government a higher priority in this election year than in previous years.

Last October, Bush began his presidential campaign with a pledge to radical rightist elements of the Cuban-American community in South Florida to take drastic steps to strengthen the enforcement of the US embargo against Cuba . "Clearly, the Castro regime will not change by its own choice," Bush said, "But Cuba must change." In his speech, Bush announced the establishment of the Commission for the Assistance to a Free Cuba, "to plan for the happy day when Castro's regime is no more and democracy comes to the island." The Commission was asked to draw upon experts within the US government to "identify ways to hasten the arrival of that day." Bush warned that, "The transition to freedom will present many challenges to the Cuban people and to America ", and promised that, "In all that lies ahead, the Cuban people have a constant friend in the United States of America . We are confident that no matter what the dictator intends or plans, Cuba sera pronto libre" .

On May 6, 2004 , the Commission for the Assistance to a Free Cuba, chaired by Secretary of State Colin Powell, and staffed by a "dream team" of high level cabinet officials reported back to the president. They presented a 458-page report outlining concrete steps to be taken by the Bush administration to overthrow the Cuban government. As soon as the report was released, wheels were set in motion to write these recommendations into law. On June 16, 2004 , the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published a new set of regulations in the Federal Register to govern US economic relations with Cuba . (OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions that support US foreign policy and national security goals).

Much of the press coverage in the US about these new measures has focused on the ways in which they have affected Cuban families on both sides of the Florida Strait . However, the most controversial measures are contained in other new regulations. The US government has instituted new measures limiting Cuba 's ability to engage in international trade in its attempt to overthrow the Cuban government.

The Bush administration's current war for regime change in Cuba depends not on cluster bombs and depleted uranium, but on the use of a 45-year old economic embargo as a weapon to isolate Cuba . By preventing other countries from trading with Cuba , the US government hopes to make it impossible for the nation to provide for the needs of its citizens. Cuba will reach a breaking point; the people will rise up against their government and welcome the US "liberators" with open arms. At least, that's the way it is supposed to work. A full 400 pages of the 458 page "Commission for the Assistance to a Free Cuba Report" are focused on the delivery of aid by the US government to a new regime to ease the suffering caused by the crippling economic embargo. The report outlines in detail a plan for rebuilding the country in the US 's image of a model representative democracy with a free-market economy. Does the term nation building sound familiar from some other context?

When socialism ended in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union , Cuba lost its largest trading partner and fell into a deep economic depression. In the US , many hoped that Cuban socialism would follow and it was to that end that they chose that moment to tighten the embargo. In October 1992, less than a month before the US general elections, Congress passed the Torricelli Act. Foreign subsidiaries of US owned companies were prohibited from trading with Cuba . Ships that delivered goods to Cuba were prohibited from docking in US ports for six months after, forcing shipping companies to decide who they wanted to trade with: Cuba or the United States . Because a ship docking in Cuba either loses access to the US market or risks a steep fine if they dock in a US port, Cuba 's shipping costs skyrocketed.

The law also restricted remittances, prohibited economic assistance and debt forgiveness to any country conducting trade with Cuba , and increased punitive measures for anyone breaking the trade embargo or traveling to Cuba illegally.

Four years later, in another election year (1996), Congress passed the Helms-Burton Act. This Act included another series of harsh measures aimed at preventing non-US firms from trading with Cuba by punishing those who engage in commercial dealings with Cuba . Under the Helms-Burton Act, any naturalized US citizens whose Cuban property had been confiscated since the Revolution now had the right to sue, in US courts, the foreign companies or individuals who they deem have gained from investments in those properties.

It also authorized the US State Department to deny visas to the executives, majority shareholders and their families of companies that have invested in property that belonged to US companies prior to the Revolution.

Before the Helms-Burton Act, many elements of the embargo existed only as executive orders and regulations that could be modified by the president.

Helms-Burton codified the embargo requiring an act of Congress to lift the embargo. It also dictated the conditions that must exist in Cuba before the embargo would be lifted. Top on the list were the creation of a new government in Cuba that does not include Fidel or Raul Castro and proof that this new government was "substantially moving towards a market-oriented economic system based on the right to own and enjoy property".

The recent attacks by the US Treasury Department on businesses trading with Cuba show the strength of the Bush administration's commitment to "regime change" in Cuba . Perhaps these attacks also demonstrate its lack of commitment to fighting international terrorism. While the Treasury Department has 21 employees who track financial transactions with Cuba , it has only four employees responsible for tracking the funding of Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Al Qaeda operatives may remain at-large, planning future terrorist attacks, but we can all rest assured that James Sabzali, a Canadian citizen who sold resins used to purify public drinking water in Cuba, has been slapped with a $10,000 fine and a 12-month conditional sentence for his dangerous actions. To you or me, this may sound a little harsh; to the Bush administration, it is clear that an unequivocal message must be sent to the international business community that trading with Cuba is "trading with the enemy". As the well-known axiom of Bush's foreign policy clearly states, "You're either with us or against us".

One recommendation in the Commission's May report was that the US government establish a Cuban Asset Targeting Group, to investigate and identify new ways in which hard currency is moved in and out of Cuba . In May, the US Federal Reserve fined UBS AG, Switzerland 's largest bank, $100 million dollars US for allegedly sending US dollars to Cuba in violation of provisions of the embargo that prevent Cuba from trading in dollars. This action has created serious problems for Cuba by making it very difficult to deposit its dollars abroad and renew bills in circulation.

Although the Bush administration claims that, "There is a growing international consensus on the nature of the Castro regime and the need for fundamental political and economic change on the island." for thirteen straight years, the UN General Assembly has voted to condemn the US embargo against Cuba . On October 28, 2004 , the UN General Assembly voted 179 to 4 with one abstention on a resolution condemning the US economic embargo of Cuba . During these thirteen years, the margin in favor of Cuba has steadily increased. This year, only the United States , Israel , Palau and the Marshall Islands voted against a condemnation of the embargo. Is this the "coalition of the willing" who supports US policies for "regime change" in Cuba ? Just as in the current military war for "regime change" in Iraq , the US government stands alone in its economic war against Cuba , supported only by a weak coalition of "allies" who cannot refuse.

A war of attrition is being fought by the US in Cuba . The Cuban people are suffering from the cumulative effects of 45 years of economic policies designed to create the conditions for a US-assisted transition to a free-market economy. The island is blockaded, not by US battleships and destroyers, but by a collection of laws and presidential mandates that fly in the face of international law, limiting the free movement of trade and the economic sovereignty of Cuba and those who would do business with them.

(Hope Bastian is an educator working to educate US citizens about the ways that US foreign policy affects the people of Latin America ).

Cubanow © is developed by Ediciones ICAIC & Martín Luther King Jr. Memorial Center. All rights reserved ISSN-1810-3405 Programming; Ing. Indira Izquierdo Rodríguez Desing by:D.I. Alain López González

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Conveniently ignoring, of course, the ACTUAL terrorism of Fidel.

John, how many political dissidents has the Castro regime summarily executed? How many has it jailed?

Do you know? Have you read any of this documented material? See, for instance the book "Fidel, Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant".

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Tim, I do understand that state sanctioned murder does not only happen in the USA. It's deplorable wherever it happens. The death penalty wherever it exists needs to be gotten rid of.

Whether a terrorist or saboteur can be called a 'dissident' is another question. "Criminal' is more appropriate.

There is no doubt in the global community that irrespective of the wishes of a minority of wealthy and powerful US citizens that Cuban sovereignty is legitimate and Bushs et al meddling and destabilising attempts are recognised as being not good.

This article, as far as I can see, is an attempt at redressing an imbalance in perception. Others may wish to put forth counter claims. This is fine by me.

(there's an invitation to email a copy of this article to those who may be interested, rather than doing that multiple times, for study purposes a copy is placed here)

Edited by John Dolva
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Conveniently ignoring, of course, the ACTUAL terrorism of Fidel.

John, how many political dissidents has the Castro regime summarily executed? How many has it jailed?

Do you know? Have you read any of this documented material? See, for instance the book "Fidel, Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant".

Tim, regardless of ideology, just counting the corpses, who has a worse human rights policy, Fidel Castro, or the Governments we have installed in Guatemala of El Salvador?

In these countries there are few political prisoners. 250,OOO in Guatemala, a country of only 5,000,000 never made it to jail. They were cut up into little pieces with our taxes. Luckily the NYT decided to decote 7 Million Column Inches to the death of 1 Polish Priest at the time of this massacre!!!

We won the cold war because the U.S. gov is MUCH MUCH better at lying to its people than was the U.S.S.R.

Yipeeeee!

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