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Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Fidel Castro, terrorism, the media, and the Cuban Five

Fidel Castro's latest column, entitled "The empire and its lies," unfortunately (unfortunate from my point of view, because it hurts his generally impeccable credibility) delves into the events of 9/11, embracing the idea that a plane did not hit the Pentagon and that the Twin Towers didn't collapse because they were hit by planes. And the bulk of the news coverage which has mentioned this column has dwelt exclusively on that aspect of the column, including such patently false statements as "No passenger that perished [at the Pentagon] has turned up, either."

There is, however, a more interesting section, in which Fidel describes how Cuban security agents helped foil an assassination plot on Ronald Reagan's life:

A highly confidential report submitted in the summer of 1984 to an agent responsible for the security of Cuban representatives in the UN warned of a possible assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan by a far-right group in North Carolina. Upon receiving it, we immediately informed US authorities. Our official suggested that we deliver the information via Robert C. Muller, head of security of the US mission to the United Nations, with whom we maintained contact to ensure the protection of Cuban delegations visiting the international organization.

The assassination was planned for an imminent date, for Reagan's visit to North Carolina, as part of his re-election campaign.

We had all of the information at our disposal. We had the names of those implicated in the plot; the day, time and place where the assassination was to take place; the types of weapons the terrorists had and where they were being kept. In addition to all this, we knew where the elements who were plotting this were meeting and had a brief account of what had been said at a meeting.
Further details about how the plot was then foiled and the plotters arrested follow, which you can read in the original. Curiously, there is an AP story datelined Havana which covers this aspect of the column, but it appears in print (as far as I can see) only in the Miami Herald of all places. Another AP story, also datelined Havana, appears in such newspapers as USA Today, and only mentions the 9/11 material, and that emphasis is true throughout the media coverage. Reuters dwells on 9/11, finally mentioning the foiled Reagan assassination in two short, final paragraphs; the Guardian gives similar weight to the stories. With the exception of the Miami Herald, every single headline I've seen emphasizes the 9/11 angle. [Update: Wolf Blitzer on CNN's "The Situation Room" predictably also honed in on the 9/11 angle while interviewing Cuban National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon]

Coincidentally, the day that Fidel Castro has informed the world of how Cuba helped foil a terrorist plot against a hostile President of the United States is also the ninth anniversary of the arrest and incarceration of the Cuban Five, five Cuban men who likewise were in the United States gathering information about terrorist plots, in order to prevent such plots from being carried out. Unfortunately for them, the President whose life they were protecting (among other targets) was Fidel Castro, and instead of honoring them for risking their lives to prevent terrorism, the United States put them in jail where they have remained ever since.

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