Friday, September 2, 2011


In Afghanistan with the Britsh Royal Marines

His Eminence is Too Tired

Friday, September 2, 2011
This week, the Ladies in White asked to meet with Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega in order to seek his intervention against the upswing in violence towards Cuba's pro-democracy movement.

Yet, when the Ladies in White arrived for the scheduled meeting, the Cardinal was a no-show.

Instead, they were received by Msgr. Ramon Suarez Polcari and spokesman Orlando Marquez -- as the Cardinal was "recuperating" from a recent trip to Spain.
In other words, the Cardinal was too tired from his visit to Madrid to meet with the Ladies in White, who'd just been brutally beaten by Castro's thugs.

So who really needed "recuperating"?
Peaceful female activists facing down constant physical repression or a Cardinal dealing with jet-lag (and perhaps too much red wine and Serrano ham)?

Of course, The Ladies in White, with the distinction that characterizes them, downplayed the Cardinal's snub.

But it's indicative of where the Cardinal's misplaced priorities lie.

Castro's Terror Smoking Gun

Thursday, September 1, 2011
From Investor's Business Daily:

Cuba's Terror Smoking Gun

For years, Cuba's apologists have debunked U.S. warnings of Havana's sponsorship of terror. It withers in the face of news that Cuba has just set up a Hezbollah base.

According to a report in Italy's respected Corriere della Sera Wednesday, three Hezbollah terrorists operating out of Mexico have left that country to establish a permanent "bridgehead" to the communist island, calling their clandestine operation "The Caribbean Dossier."

Twenty-three other terrorists from the Iran-linked terror group are expected to join the operation, which has a startup budget of more than $500,000. Corriere reported that the mission in Cuba is to provide logistical support for upcoming terrorist attacks planned in the hemisphere.

This is what "state sponsor of terrorism" means, which is how the U.S. accurately classified this odious regime since 1982, even as Cuba's leftist apologists have dismissed it, claiming Cuba is no threat.

Safely ensconced with the Castro brothers' hospitality, Hezbollah's operatives can carry out missions such as acquiring passports, recruiting informants and forging documents.

More disturbingly, they have been tasked to network with Hezbollah's other terrorist cells in Venezuela, Paraguay and Mexico, all in need of logistical support for attacks.

The Italian newspaper reported that Hezbollah might be planning a major attack against Israeli targets in the Western Hemisphere in retaliation for Israel's killing of Hezbollah's chief assassin, Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus in 2008. Mughniyeh was a Hezbollah terrorist leader implicated in the two huge attacks in Buenos Aires in the 1990s on Jewish targets — strikes that remain unpunished.

But the targets might not all be Latin American. With Hezbollah ordered to meet with, presumably in Havana, Mexico's cartel traffickers that control illegal alien routes into the U.S., it's likely terrorist attacks are in the works for America, too.

That's classic terrorist networking coming into a place before a scourge emerges.

Make no mistake, it's the Castro dictatorship that's enabling Hezbollah. More to the point, it corresponds with the fact that the Castro brothers have always opened the doors wide to terrorist operatives — from Colombia's FARC, M-19 and ELN terrorists, to Chile's leftist terrorists of the Allende era, Nicaragua's Sandinistas and Spain's ETA Basque operations.

The Castro brothers have long been champions of Hezbollah, and there are no more "professionally trained" terrorists capable of carrying out large attacks than Hezbollah operatives.

Against all this, the Cuban regime screams whenever the State Department awards it the designation of state sponsor of terror. Just last week,, a Cuban state-controlled media organ, said the U.S. used "old, unprovable arguments" in its annual Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 that gave Cuba the terror title it deserves.

What's outrageous is that the left has consistently echoed this line. Just last year, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wrote:

"Cuba poses no terror threat. Cuba is not a failed state with territories out of governmental control. The idea that a Cuban citizen could get explosive artifacts or have terror accessories of any kind in the island is simply ridiculous."

Filmmaker Michael Moore, academic Noam Chomsky, Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin and quite a few elected officials have made similar statements.

How are they going to explain away a Hezbollah base in Havana now?

More on Hezbollah's New Cuban Base

Here's an English translation of the original source story in Italy's Corriere della Sera:

Hezbollah Heads to Cuba
There are three men, one of them uses a peculiar nickname: Agave Tequilana. They belong to a division of Hezbollah, the Lebanese pro-Iranian movement, in charge of "external" operations. The three men recently moved from Mexico to Cuba with the objective of setting up an operations center on the island.

Within a few days, another 23 guerrilla fighters chosen by Talal Hamia, a high-ranking Hezbollah official in charge of clandestine operations, will join them. The move by the three men is not temporary. With the approval of Secretary Nasrallah, Hamia has decided to open a "base" in Cuba with a generous budget of more than $1.5 million, which will be called "The Caribbean Case."

The base in Cuba should not come as a surprise. For years now, Hezbollah has been operating on a regular basis in Latin America with the help of Iran. The organization has strongholds in Ciudad del Este (Paraguay) and Brazil, but the extremist organization has also set up operations on many border cities and in Venezuela. They are able to raise funds, travel freely and have lists of cell groups they can mobilize to strike an adversary whenever necessary. With assistance from Iran, Hezbollah has struck Argentina twice: the Israeli embassy, and the headquarters of a Hebrew association.

The Cuban operation will initially provide logistical support. Hezbollah members will be able to develop new contacts, obtain and produce travel documents for various South American countries, recruit informants, and develop relationships with smugglers that move merchandise and are involved in human trafficking.

Translation by Alberto de la Cruz.
Capitol Hill Cubans

 Cuba steps up attacks on dissidents, activists say

August 31, 2011|By the CNN Wire Staff
Cuba has stepped up its harassment of dissidents in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, with authorities beating, gassing and arresting protesters critical of the Communist government, human rights activists said Wednesday.
During the past five weekends, the government has strongly repressed peaceful protests in several eastern cities, said Elizardo Sanchez, the head of the island's unofficial Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation. In at least one case, in the town of Palma Soriano, forces used gas -- either pepper spray or tear gas -- against one family, Sanchez said.
Among those targeted are the Ladies in White, a group of mothers, sisters and friends of jailed dissidents who hold regular marches, said Berta Soler, one of its founding members.
"Starting on July 17, the government has been responsible for criminal, violent acts against women who only want to go to the church for Mass, to pray and ask for freedom for political prisoners," Soler told CNN.
Demonstrations in the neighborhoods of El Cobre and Palmarita Soriano were also squelched violently, he said. In all, at least 65 men and women were arrested by the country's secret police, his commission said.
In one of the most recent incidents, on Sunday morning, a group of female dissidents were beaten and detained as they headed to Mass at the Palma Soriano's cathedral, Sanchez said. In protest of this act, two dissident groups declared they would hold closed-door vigils in certain homes, he said.
On Sunday evening, one of the homes was raided by riot police, Sanchez said. The government forces mistreated the 30 people at the home and destroyed many of the home's furnishings, he said.
The Cuban government has not commented on the allegations. But Soler said she attended Sunday's protest, "and I was beaten just like them." She said she asked Cuba's Roman Catholic cardinal, Jaime Ortega, "to tell the government to stop the violent, repressive actions against the Ladies in White and also human rights activists."
"Once again, we, the Ladies in White, will continue," Soler said. "As long as there are political prisoners, we will keep fighting for them."
The ladies got a recent word of encouragement from popular Cuban singer Pablo Milanes, whose recent performance in Miami was met by protests by some exile groups. In an open letter to Miami radio commentator Edmundo Garcia, published online and excerpted in the Spanish newspaper El Nuevo Herald, Milanes called attacks on the women by pro-government demonstrators "vile" and "cowardly.''
Soler said Milanes should keep up that criticism when he's back home.
"For us, it's very good that Pablo Milanes showed solidarity or at least sensitivity to the pain that the Ladies in White and people in Cuba are suffering," she said. "It's very important that he return to Cuba and maintain it."

Libya: General elections in 20 months, CNT announced...

• International
The new authorities announced the election despite the fact that Gaddafi wants to resist
Tripoli, Libya • New Libyan authorities,  strengthened by the international financial and political support, on Friday announced general elections within 20 months ignoring the threats of Muammar Gaddafi, who wants to resist.
The representative of the National Transitional Council (CNT), a body executive of the new regime in the UK, Guma Al Gamaty, said has "established a precise road map with a period of transition  20 months, "a day after the UN and major powers decided to release 15 billion dollars to help the new Libyan to rebuild the country.
"For eight months, the direct CNT Libya before a meeting elected by the people "take power in the country to draft a Constitution, "after a year there will be elections (...)" said the representative told the BBC. As for the whereabouts of Gaddafi, Al Gamaty said that it "hides, is isolated.'s Just a matter of time before it is stopped, unless you kill him if he resists. "
The former strongman of Libya stated its intention to continue fighting. In two audio messages broadcast by the Arrai, said will launch a "guerrilla" and give totally excluded. "Prepare for a war of gangs and guerrillas, war urban, and popular resistance in each city to overcome (...) the enemy everywhere, "he said in the message released on Thursday night.
In order to reorganize the deployment of its forces, the CNT asked the provinces fighters present in the capital return home because "Tripoli is free" from August 23, when managed to take control.
However, the CNT maintains its troops in parts of country, particularly in Sirte, one of the great bastions of the loyal  Qaddafi and deposed leader's hometown, 360 miles east of  Tripoli, and one of the strategic objectives of the supporters of new regime.
But to give a chance for negotiations with the heads tribal surrender of the city CNT lasted one week ultimatum, giving a deadline of September 10 the supporters of  Gaddafi to surrender. The situation in Sirte was quiet hohy no clashes were reported.
CNT fighters assured, however, be ready to launch an offensive Bani Walid, a pro-Gaddafi southeast bastion of capital, ensuring that only the extension of the ultimatum Sirte concerns.

Libyan rebels pushing toward Gadhafi hometown

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Rebel fighters pushed closer to Moammar Gadhafi's hometown on Friday, despite the extension of a deadline for the town's surrender and negotiations with tribal leaders aimed at avoiding bloodshed.
With the capital of Tripoli firmly in their hands, the rebels are in no rush to assault the loyalist-held town of Sirte, rebel officials said, hoping the town would surrender without an attack. But the rebels are also moving their forces into position in case an assault is needed.
"Military action will be the last option, because after the fall of the capital, we are not in a hurry," said Khaled Zintani, a spokesman for the rebels in the remote mountain town of Zintan.
Tribal elders in Sirte had asked that a delegation from Zintan be sent to Sirte to help with negotiations, he said, because of a long history of bad blood with rebels from towns closer to Sirte.
Despite the extension of a Sirte surrender deadline to Sept. 10, rebel forces have not stopped advancing, said another rebel spokesman, Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga. Rebel brigades have pushed to the town of Wadi Hawarah, just 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Sirte, he said.
"The rebels at the front line are very eager to move without delay," he said. "They live in harsh conditions there in the middle of the desert, and in hot weather," he said.
Gadhafi remains a fugitive and there have been conflicting reports about his whereabouts.
Gen. Omar al-Hariri, a rebel military commander, suggested Friday that Gadhafi might either be in a suburb of Tripoli or in the town of Bani Walid, 90 miles (140 kilometers) southeast of Tripoli. But he also acknowledged that the former Libyan leader probably has hideouts elsewhere.
"We are after him and we will find him," he told The Associated Press. "He called us rats, but he is the larger rat."
The rebels have said they are concentrating their forces on three strongholds still held by Gadhafi loyalists: Sirte, Bani Walid and the southern city of Sabha.
But even with Gadhafi still on the run, rebel leaders are already trying to stabilize Libya.
A Libyan official said at least five foreign oil and gas companies have returned to the country in recent days to try to get production going again. Libya's economic future could hinge on its lucrative oil and gas sectors, whose production ground to a halt during the insurgency against Gadhafi.
Advance teams from oil and gas companies are assessing damage and trying to restart their facilities, said Aref Ali Nayed, a member of the rebel-lead government's so-called stabilization team. He spoke in Paris after talks with U.N. and other international officials.
While fighting has subsided in much of Libya, the six-month civil war between rebels and Gadhafi's forces disrupted supply lines and damaged infrastructure across the country, leaving many people facing severe shortages of food, fuel and medicine, U.N. officials said.
But despite those shortages, thousands of people gathered in Tripoli's central plaza, recently renamed Martyrs' Square, to celebrate the downfall of the Gadhafi regime.
Many of those celebrating were women, a rare sight in a country where women have long had a very limited public role. Some, though, said it was time for that to change.
"We want to get out and say what we want," said Fatima Zeidan, a 15-year-old high school student. "We want women to get out because we can't do that a lot, and to express our feelings."
Gadhafi styled himself an advocate of women's rights, creating a special force of female bodyguards and placing a handful of women in top position in the regime.
One of those female officials, Huda bin Amer, has been arrested in Tripoli, rebel spokesman Goma al-Gamaty said.
Bin Amer was particularly remembered for photographs that showed her pulling on the hanging corpse of a pilot convicted of plotting to assassinate Gadhafi, el-Gamaty said.
Before Gadhafi's fall, she was the head of the secretariat of women affairs in the Peoples' Congress.
Meanwhile, Tripoli's new military commander, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, addressed concerns Friday about his Islamist past. Belhaj is the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which fought alongside al-Qaida in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In an interview at his headquarters at Tripoli's military airport, Belhaj said he refused to join al-Qaida because he disagreed with its ideology of global jihad, or holy war, and wanted to focus on ridding Libya of Gadhafi.
He lauded the West for supporting the rebels with NATO airstrikes and diplomatic efforts. "The U.N. Security Council and the whole world stood by us in the cause and have helped us to get rid of Gadhafi," he said.
The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, known as LIFG, is not a monolithic entity, explained one U.S. official familiar with the group. Some branches have had connections with al-Qaida, while others dropped all ties to the militant group
Belhaj lead a faction that disavowed al-Qaida, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence. But U.S. officials are "watching to see whether or not this is for real, or just for show," he said.
Associated Press writers Hadeel al-Shalchi and Ben Hubbard in Tripoli and Maggie Michael in Cairo contributed reporting.

Jewish groups launch campaign to free Alan Gross...


- An influential Jewish community organization in the United States  announced Tuesday a national campaign on the internet to ask the Cuban government to release the contractor before Alan Gross September sacred celebrations.

Alan Gross and his wife and daughters. Photo.

"We are urging the immediate release of Alan grounds humanitarian. Since his imprisonment, the eldest daughter of Alan has been diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy, her 89 year-old mother suffers from inoperable cancer, and his wife Judy have undergone surgery for an undisclosed medical problem. Alan has lost about 100 pounds since his arrest, and suffers from several ailments, "the statement released by the Council on Foreign Relations Jewish Community (JCRC) in Washington.
The campaign will run in an open page for this purpose and seek signatures for a letter to Raúl Castro, the Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla and the head of diplomatic mission  Havana in Washington, Jorge Bolaños.
The INITIATIVE occurs after the Supreme Court of Cuba dismissed an appeal by the contractor, was sentenced to 15 years in prison  on charges of violating national security. Avenues were closed in the legal case and his release is reduced to a reprieve from the Cuban Council of State.
Gross, 62, was arrested in Havana on December 3 2009 when he was preparing to return to the United States after a visit  to distribute satellite phones and electronic equipment from members of the Cuban Jewish community.
The letter cites the health problems of Gross and his family, and as the financial difficulties that have been submitted.
"The family's financial burdens are becoming insurmountable due to growing medical and legal bills and loss of Alan income, "says the document. "We conclude that the Alan's case deserves a compassionate approach. We release immediate humanitarian reasons. "
The group recalled that the Holy Jewish holidays begin with Rosh Hashanah, Thursday, September 29 and considers that the release the contractor prior to this date would be "a significant gesture Humanitarian of the Cuban government. "
Congressman confident release

Rep. Sam Farr, an outspoken supporter of Fidel Castro, recently said he and other members of Congress hope to achieve Gross return on humanitarian grounds.
"I think Alan Gross is a political pawn and that his arrest is primarily to the arrests of the five Cubans, who apparently had an unfair trial in Miami and have been incarcerated in a federal prison, "Farr said, referring to Cuban agents convicted espionage in the United States.
The theme of the exchange of Gross for the five Cuban spies have been on the table repeatedly, but Washington has rejected this option.
"There are a lot of politics in the arrest of Alan Gross," the legislator.
Farr, a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee of the House Representatives, has been the sponsor of bills to allow  U.S. tourism sales and product flexibility Cuba agricultural
85 On the occasion of birthday of Fidel Castro, Farr traveled to Havana with two other California lawmakers, Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey. Lee Gross had visited before and said it could offer a perspective on your situation.
Last updated Thursday, 1 September 2011 1:55


Report: Hezbollah established a base in Cuba

The presence of extremist group in the island would end 'logistical' and seek to facilitate the implementation of attacks against Israeli targets in South America, according to the 'Corriere Della Sera.
The Lebanese militant organization Hezbollah (Party of God) established an operations center in Cuba "to expand terrorist activities and facilitate the execution of an attack Israeli targets in South America, "said the Israeli news site AuroraBased on an Italian newspaper report Corriere Della Sera.
According to Italian newspaper, which did not indicate the source of their reports, three Hezbollah members traveled to Cuba from Mexico to establish a cell on the island.
Cell 23 operations would be part elected by Talal Hami a senior member of the organization responsible for coverage operation.
The Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot said the aim of the operation is to avenge the death of Imad Mughnyeh, a leader of group allegedly responsible for numerous terrorist attacks, such as perpetrated against the Israeli Embassy and Jewish community center AMIA in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994, respectively.
The Jewish News Agency said that the Israeli embassy bombing killed 29 people and another 85 were killed in the attack on AMIA.
Imad Mughnyeh was killed out of the Iranian embassy in Damascus in 2008.
The operation, called "Record Caribbean", has a budget of one million and half dollars, according to the Corriere Della Sera.
Hezbollah would have decided to establish a base of operations in the Island logistical purposes, including data collection intelligence, networking, document forgery, and  contact with "smugglers move people and things."
According to Italian daily, long ago detected Hezbollah activity in South America, mainly Brazil, Paraguay  and Venezuela.