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Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 7 Num. 39

("Quid coniuratio est?")


Shades of April Glaspie {1}: Was Castro Told He Could Shoot Down U.S. Craft? What Did the CFR Prez Tell Castro in January?
[Spotlight, 03/11/96]
Exclusive To The Spotlight
By Martin Mann

The four unarmed search-and-rescue pilots who met their death over the Florida Straits on February 24, and the Cuban MIG fighters that downed them, may have been pawns in a larger game plan set up by strategists of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

At first glance the attack appears to have been a "reckless, mindless mid-air murder," noted Dr. Alvarado Tarquin, a former Cuban foreign service officer who is now a research fellow at George Mason University.

The Cessnas of "Brothers to the Rescue," a Cuban exile group of volunteer pilots, have been flying up and down the Cuban coastline for almost 10 years, spotting -- and trying to save -- refugees adrift on rafts or inner tubes.

"Why fire on them now?" Tarquin asked.

News reports sounded similarly stymied by the savagery and timing of the incident. "The Question: Why Did Castro Do It?" asked the headline of the Wall Street Journal.

The Washington Post, noting the Cuban government's recent breakthrough successes in ending its diplomatic isolation, obtaining foreign financing and lifting its fallen economy, called the timing of the attack "perplexing."

One of the last significant American visitors to arrive in Havana for private meetings with Fidel Castro, the island's communist dictator, in recent weeks was Leslie Gelb, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and their policy aides at the CFR have maintained a secret diplomatic back-channel to communist Cuba for almost a year, well-placed sources say.

"Since 1993, Castro has become a problem, and then a threat to Wall Street," explained Casimir Menges, a veteran New York trader in Caribbean securities. "He gradually abandoned his Marxist restrictions on foreign capital, inviting European and Latin American money moguls to acquire controlling stakes in Cuba's tourism business, industrial infrastructure and even the island's natural resources, such as mining sugar and oil exploration."

Rockefeller, and his principal international affairs adviser, Kissinger, did not take this threat lightly, Wall Street sources say.

A small but potentially wealthy nation in Latin America, where the Rockefellers have played a dominant behind-the-scenes role since World War II, was being invaded by foreign competitors.

To counteract this challenge, the Rockefeller consortium set out to develop an intense relationship of its own with Cuba's communist rulers.

When Castro landed in New York City last fall to attend the UN's 50th anniversary assembly, Rockefeller assumed the role of his unofficial host.

The last communist dictator in the West found himself closeted in high-level meetings with top executives of Chase Manhattan Bank and other Rockefeller fiefdoms at the tightly guarded CFR headquarters on Park Avenue.

But the bearded strongman was not to be dissuaded from inviting European and Latin American corporations to take over such key Cuban assets as the hotel industry, the national telephone company, the rich mineral deposits in Cuba's eastern mountains, and even the newly privatized sector of banking services, says a New York economist who served as one of the CFR's advisors last year.

The only remaining threat to this rolling takeover of Cuba's economy by giant competitors of Rockefeller's own conglomerate remained a proposed congressional measure named after its Republican sponsors (Sen. Jesse Helms [R-N.C.] and Rep. Dan Burton [R-Ind.]) as the Helms-Burton bill.

Helms-Burton was designed to penalize any foreign corporation that tried to muscle in on Cuba.

"In effect, this bill is a declaration that anyone who did business with Cuba would be cut off by the United States, and suffer legal sanctions," explained Menges.

President Bill Clinton, however, engaged in his own attempts to improve relations with Cuba, threatened to veto Helms-Burton if adopted by Congress this year.

The only way to get around that hurdle was to lure Castro into some abrupt and explosive action -- something so violent and outrageous that it made U.S. reprisals inevitable.

"Castro has been complaining about the flights of the 'Brothers to the Rescue' group for years, but fear of American retaliation kept him from doing anything about them," Tarquin said.

But this year, the visit of the CFR president to Havana seems to have put the Cuban dictator's fears to rest, sources say.

"Castro learned, from this authoritative contact, that the U.S. government no longer supports -- does not even condone -- exile incursions across the Florida Straits," said Robert Maldonado, a former U.S. wire service correspondent in Havana. Castro "was persuaded the time had come to get rid of the bothersome refugee rescue patrols."

Now events followed each other in quick succession. Castro ordered the planes of "Brothers to the Rescue" blasted from the sky.

Clinton, confronting a crisis, announced that he would cut off charter flights to Cuba, restrict the movements of Castro's envoys in New York, and, most importantly, throw his support behind the passage of the Helms-Burton bill.

---------------------------<< Notes >>--------------------------- {1} April Glaspie: "On July 25, 1990... U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie assured Iraq's Saddam Hussein that the United States had no interest in its conflict with Kuwait. These assurances were interpreted by Saddam Hussein as clearance to invade Kuwait, which he did several days later. This sequence of events almost suggests that Saddam Hussein was encouraged to attack Kuwait while the United States waited to retaliate." (Defrauding America by Rodney Stich. Book may not be available in stores; phone 1-800-247-7389 to order.)

The claim that April Glaspie gave Saddam Hussein a "green light" to invade Kuwait is corroborated in Robert Parry's book, Fooling America. (New York: William Morrow & Co., Inc., 1992.)

So "Shades of April Glaspie" in the sub-header for the Spotlight article (above) suggests that Castro was subtly led to believe that any attacks by him on Brothers to the Rescue aircraft would not cause a notable U.S. government reaction.

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