Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fact Trumps Fiction on "Cuban Five"

Fact Trumps Fiction on "Cuban Five"
at 9:58 AM Tuesday, September 13, 2011

There seems to be an intensified effort to rewrite history regarding the
case of five Cuban spies tried and convicted by U.S. federal courts
(with no Cuban-American jurists or jurors) in 2001 -- known originally
as the "Wasp Network" (now referred to as the so-called "Cuban Five").

For years, the Castro regime has tried to make them a cause celebre (in
pursuit of their propaganda efforts) and have been recently assisted by
"sympathetic" editorial writers, universities and D.C. advocacy groups.

In sum, the Castro regime and its willing advocates want to propel the
fiction that the mission of the "Cuban Five" was simply to monitor the
activities of supposed "anti-Castro terrorists" in Miami.

That's a nice story.

Now, let's look at the facts (courtesy of the Office of the National
Counterintelligence Executive):

In 1995, after obtaining FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act)
Court approval, the FBI obtained warrants to surreptitiously search
apartments and monitor telephone communications by a group of Cubans who
were Cuban intelligence operatives. The group, through its principal
agents or illegal officers, communicated directly with the Cuban
Government about its activities and received specific missions and
taskings from the Cuban Government. The instructions were subsequently
relayed to the other members of the spy ring as appropriate.

During the searches, the FBI uncovered and read the contents of the
communications from and to the Cuban Government. This information was
concealed in hidden files on computer floppy diskettes kept in the
residences of three of the principal agents.

At Cuban Government direction, the Cuban spy ring collected and reported
information on domestic, political, and humanitarian activity of
anti-Castro organizations in the Miami-Dade county area; the operation
of US military installations; and other US Government functions,
including law enforcement activity. The spy ring also carried out tasks
in the United States as directed by the Cuban Government, which included
attempted penetration of US military installations, duplicitous
participation in and manipulation of anti-Castro organizations, and
attempted manipulation of US political institutions and government
entities through disinformation and pretended cooperation. The spy ring
received financial support from the Cuban Government to carry out its tasks.

An analysis of the communications used by the spy ring revealed that
they spoke and addressed each other and their agents as representing the
Cuban Government. They referenced decision-making "by the High Command,"
referred to individuals as "comrade," and used names and abbreviations
associated with Cuban Government organizations. Communications between
the members also referenced the "Intelligence Information Department";
"C.P." for centro principal or headquarters; "MINIT" for Ministry of
Interior—which administers the Cuban Directorate of Intelligence or DI;
and "DAAFAR," a known abbreviation for the Cuban Air Force Command. They
also used jargon and abbreviations such as "S.E.E." (Servicios
Especiales Enemigos) that refers to the FBI or CIA.

The spy ring members paid great attention to maintaining secrecy as to
their identity and mission and took elaborate steps to evade detection.
They called themselves "La Red Avispa"—The Wasp Network. They used code
names, including "Giro," "Castor," "Lorient," "Vicky," "Franklyn,"
"Allan," "Manolo," "Judith," "Mario," and "Julia." They spy ring also
used false identities, including assuming the name, date of birth, and
social security number of a deceased person. The ring is viewed as the
largest Cuban espionage operation uncovered in the United States in a

On the basis of its investigation and surveillance, the FBI had
identified three individuals as the spy ringleaders by 1998. The first
was Gerardo Hernandez who had oversight for infiltrating his subagents
into US anti-Castro groups in the Miami area. The second leader was
Ramon Labanino whose primary task was to penetrate and report on US
military installations and activity in the South Florida area, including
the Southern Command and the Boca Chica Naval Air Base in KeyWest. The
third leader was Fernando Gonzalez, who took over Labanino's
responsibilities, including meeting with subagents when Labanino was
tasked with Cuban Government missions outside the Miami area.

Hernandez and Labanino received reports from, and provided payments to,
their respective subagents and tasked their subagents based on
instructions they received from Cuba. Ricardo Villareal and Remijio Luna
also exercised managerial or supervisory functions over subagents at
times, but both men left the United States for other operational

Among the many communication topics between Hernandez and Cuba or his
subagents were:

• The infiltration of the US Southern Command headquarters in
Miami—according to Cuba, "one of the new prioritized objectives that we
have in the Miami area."

• The activities of Cuban exile groups in Miami and tactics to disrupt
those groups by, among other things, "creat(ing) animosity" between
specified groups and attempting to discredit certain individual leaders.

• The activities at the Boca Rica Naval Air Station as well as reports
on an apparent military topic identified by Cuba that "continues to be
of great importance to our comrades at DAAFAR."

• The manipulation of the media, political institutions, and public
opinion, including using anonymous or misidentified telephone calls and
letters to media and political figures.

• Specific security precautions to be undertaken to avoid detection.

You can read the entire nine-page summary here:

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