Friday, September 9, 2011

New York cracks down after "credible" 9/11 threat

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York police amassed a display of force on Friday including checkpoints that snarled traffic in response to intelligence about a car or truck bomb plot linked to the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Officers armed with automatic weapons were stationed at city landmarks including Wall Street, Times Square and the September 11 memorial site where the Twin Towers once stood.
U.S. officials called the threat "credible but unconfirmed" and timed to the anniversary of the hijacked plane attacks that killed 2,995 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
There was reason to believe threat may be linked to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, a U.S. official told Reuters on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
New Yorkers who have grown accustomed to bag searches at subway stations and random displays of police presence encountered increased vigilance after the threat, which prompted President Barack Obama to order a redoubling of U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
A manhunt was under way for two or three suspects, U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity. One said there could be a link to Zawahri, who took the reins of al Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed in May in a U.S. raid in Pakistan.
Near the site known as Ground Zero, where a new World Trade Center is under reconstruction and Obama will attend Sunday's commemoration, police established a checkpoint behind the historic Trinity Church, stopping vehicles, opening the cargo bays of trucks and checking drivers' licenses.
Similar checkpoints went up at Times Square, Columbus Circle on the southern edge of Central Park and outside the Macy's department store in midtown, creating traffic jams all over Manhattan.
"I think for our safety it is good," Eva Kurzawska, 57, said as she watched irritated drivers a checkpoint in midtown.
"The commute on the train this morning was horrible but it was worth it because we are being protected," said Mario Vigorigo, 42, a wireless manager from Brooklyn.
Sam Ginzburg, a senior trader at First New York Securities, said warnings of a potential attack was one factor unnerving traders before the weekend. "There is an extreme amount of negativity," he said as U.S. stocks fell on Friday.
A senior law enforcement official told Reuters police patrols and security will be stepped up beginning at 3 p.m. EDT to coincide with the evening rush hour. The operation will involve a "big show of force" which will include teams of officers armed with heavy weapons.
While the rush-hour operation had been planned some time ago, the forces and tactics deployed were increased after authorities received the intelligence threat this week.
The intelligence included possible threats of attacks targeting subways or commuter trains or possible car bomb attacks in New York or Washington, U.S. officials said.
"We have to be concerned. Terrorism is theater and this is a stage, right now probably the world's biggest stage," New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told CNN.
"We have the opening of the 9/11 memorial, the president and two former presidents here, obviously a lot of high profile public officials will be here, so we have to be concerned," Kelly said.
In addition to the vehicle checkpoints, police would assign additional officers to cover bridges and tunnels, increase bag searches in the subway system, deploy radiation detectors and employ bomb-sniffing dogs, Kelly told NY1 television.

Vice President Joseph Biden said on ABC's "Good Morning America" program on Friday morning, "We don't have the smoking gun but we do have talk about using a car bomb."
A counterterrorism official said the threat information came from Pakistan's tribal areas.
Documents discovered in Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, after he was killed in a raid in May by Navy SEALs, highlighted his persistent interest in attacking the United States around the anniversary of the 2001 attacks. But it is unclear if the plans ever evolved beyond aspiration.
(Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington; Michelle Nichols, Edward Krudy, Brian Snynder and Jennifer Marostica in New York; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Possible threat of attack by al-Qaida ...

U.S. investigates possible threat of attack by al-Qaida

Since Thursday, authorities American investigate a threat from al-Qaida to detonate a car bomb on a bridge or tunnel from New York or Washington.

By: | AP Friday, September 9, 2011 - 2:30 p.m.

Police  perform policing at the Capitol in Washington DC, USA States after corroborate the existence of a threat "credible and specific "attack the country just three days before the tenth anniversary of  of the 11-S.
Photo: EFE

The U.S. Government confirmed on Friday that al Qaeda is behind the threat "credible" but "not confirmed" of a possible attack terrorists in the country on the tenth anniversary of the 11-S, and appealed for calm to the population.
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton revealed that the network Al Qaeda is behind this new threat against the United States, during a speech in New York, where for participate in the celebrations this weekend.
The authorities have "specific information, but not credible confirmed that Al Qaeda once again seek to harm Americans and particular attack New York and Washington, "said Clinton, who was first member of the Executive point to a responsible, since met the threat Thursday
In his speech, Secretary of State stressed that the Government develop a campaign "tirelessly" against threats, and if necessary to use force that the law allows.
"We always keep our right to use force against groups as Al Qaeda that attacked us and still threaten us, "said the Secretary of State.
Counterterrorism officials investigating since Thursday threat, while police in New York and Washington said that would increase its quotas, which were reinforced in the light  intelligence of the latest information.
The police try to catch three people on their way to United States or who entered the country recently, according to the detailed information received by the Wednesday night service U.S. intelligence, officials said.
According to reports, al-Qaida intends to detonate a carry car bomb in one of two cities 10 years ago were white  attacks.
Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that it is not confirmed someone has traveled to America to participate in such a plot  even when the warning came from a credible source. "There is no certainty," said.
"What worries us most is what they define as an 'attacker alone ', a single actor, not an extremely complicated plan like the one was used to bring down the Twin Towers of the Trade World Cup, "said Biden, who appeared in three television programs on  Friday morning.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, rode the subway to assure users that the city is fully prepared to deal with any possible terrorist threat in advance anniversary of the attacks.
The police commissioner, Raymond Kelly said Thursday that Police stepped up security at bridges and tunnels, inspects vehicle checks for bombs in parking lots and increased the improperly parked vehicles towed.
For users in New York they notice a warn increased presence of security features in the two main _Grand Central railway stations and the station Pennsylvania_ Subway Times Square.
Many troops in camouflage was mobilized between  multitude of users and were very vigilant about suspicious packages  Pennsylvania Station.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the center  commercial, was also on Friday at a heightened state of alert.
The spokesman Steve Coleman said he would increase the inspections of vehicles at all crossings, police presence all facilities and baggage checks in airports and in bus terminals and train.
In Washington, the police presence was increased and the head the City Police, Cathy Lanier, said the agents work 12 hour shifts in the near future.
Lanier said the schedule changes were "part of our plan "and" maintain a sense of imprevisbilidad is essential to  the effectiveness of any security plan. "

A group of US experts led by a former top environment official has visited Cuba to gather information on the communist country's Gulf of Mexico oil exploration plans, according to state media.
William Reilly, who led the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former president George H.W. Bush and led a commission on the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf until January, was reportedly leading the US delegation.
US media reported that Reilly was traveling to Cuba Monday with other experts. "The team is not traveling to Cuba in any official capacity," a State Department official said privately.
Cuba, the Americas' only one-party communist regime, and the United States do not have full diplomatic relations. Under an economic embargo, US oil companies are shut out of potential earnings from Cuba's prospecting.
And US lawmakers -- especially from US states on the Gulf of Mexico that took a massive economic and environmental hit from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and spill -- are concerned Cuba might be unprepared or unable to take proper environmental precautions to prevent another.
A presidential commission concluded last October that a faulty cement mix in the lining of the well contributed to the BP disaster, which killed 11 workers.


U.S. Is Urged to Plan to Aid Cuba in Case of an Oil Spill

HAVANA — The United States should urgently make plans for helping Cuba in the event of an offshore oil spill as it prepares to begin exploring fields opposite Florida this year, William Reilly, the co-chairman of a commission that examined the Deepwater Horizon spill, said during a visit here.
Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
Oil spilled up crews worked in Grand Isle, La., in May 2010 in the wake of the  Deephorizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mr. Reilly, who met with Cuban officials, said they were hungry for expertise about offshore oil development and happy to get it from the United States. “It seems to me to be profoundly in the interest of the United States to ensure that, if there should be a spill in Cuban waters, all efforts are undertaken by both government and private entities in the United States to assist in responding,” he said Wednesday.
Mr. Reilly was part of a delegation organized by the Environmental Defense Fund and the International Association of Drilling Contractors, who have found common cause in pressing their message on the risks of shunning Cuba as it makes its first full-scale push into offshore drilling.
Repsol, the Spanish oil company, plans to dig at least one well using a Chinese-built rig, which is set to reach Cuba in November. A significant discovery would greatly change Cuba’s economic prospects, but the possibility has also raised concerns about potential ecological disasters.
Cuba produced about 50,000 barrels of oil a day in 2009, according to Cuban government figures, and imported 120,000 barrels more a day from Venezuela.
More Info Here in LPP FrontLine News... 

Hopes cool for freedom of American jailed in Cuba

HAVANA (AP) — Hopes that a U.S. government subcontractor jailed in Cuba might soon be freed were dashed when former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said the Cuban government refused to let him meet with the prisoner.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Richardson described 62-year-old Alan Gross as an "American hostage." He said he would not leave the island until he was allowed to see him at a military hospital where he is being held. Read More...

Why Spy for Cuba?...LPP Archive...

June 16, 2009

Why Spy for Cuba?

Analysis: The 2001 trial of five Cubans caught spying in Florida might provide some insight into the case of Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers.

While watching The News Hour on PBS the other night, I was struck by how perplexed journalists are about the possible motives of Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers, the septuagenarian Washington, D.C., couple arrested June 5 on charges they had worked as spies for Cuba for the past 30 years. “Is there anything in the indictment that tells us why this couple, this upper-middle-class — you know, he’s a great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell — why would they have done this?” The News Hour‘s Gwen Ifill asked Washington Post reporter Mary Beth Sheridan.
Sheridan replied: “I think this is a huge mystery to their colleagues, to their neighbors, to their friends. They see him, in particular, as this, you know, a son of privilege from one of Washington’s most elite families — prep school, elite universities, State Department. Apparently lovely people, rarely if ever gave any hint of anything amiss. You know, the only thing I have heard is that some people have described him as a rather idealistic guy, but others say, ‘Well, how could he have fallen for this rather rosy-eyed view of Cuba when he was such a kind of a hard-nosed analyst in so much of his work?’”
Later that evening I was on the phone with my 80-year-old mom and she brought up the news about the Myerses. “Friends of yours?” mom joshed — an inside joke playing on my objective coverage of violent Cuban exile groups over the past decade. I had to confess I didn’t know the Myerses.
They’re not the first American couple enraptured by the Cuban Revolution, despite its violence and repression over the decades. (Kendall and Gwendolyn were 20-somethings in the 1960s, after all.) Fidel Castro has many American fans who would jump at the chance to hang out with him for an evening, as the indictment alleges the Myerses did during a 1995 trip to Havana.
But while rummaging through some of my old spy articles, I stumbled over some explanations of why someone might spy for Cuba. The articles had covered a six-month federal trial in Miami in 2001 resulting in the conviction of five Cuban men for spying, or attempting to spy, on anti-Castro exile groups and U.S. military bases in Florida. (On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal on the case.)
Lawyers for those five Cuban spies had crafted a paradoxical and unprecedented defense strategy that would be a stretch any place but Miami. Yes, their clients were spying, they conceded in opening arguments, but for good reasons: to protect Cuba from incursions, bombings and assassination plots by violent members of Miami’s Cuban exile community.
“God almighty,” Axel Kleiboemer exclaimed to me over the phone from his law office in Washington, D.C., back in March 2001, after I outlined the strategy. Kleiboemer co-wrote the textbook used by the University of Virginia’s Center for National Security Law in Charlottesville. “I’m racking my memory to see if anything of this nature has ever been asserted before as a defense. I can’t think of a parallel case.”
After a few seconds of reflection, he said the closest parallel to the protect-the-homeland defense would be a “keeping the peace” claim. “Many of the people who did espionage on behalf of the former Soviet Union maintained at one point or another that they wanted to preserve the balance of power so as to prevent war, to make sure that the Soviets had access to the type of information that the United States had.”
For example Aldrich Ames, a former CIA agent now serving a life sentence for passing classified information to the Soviet Union, told a Washington Post reporter in 1994 that his motivation was money, but that he wanted to “level the playing field” for Moscow in the hopes of accelerating the end of the Cold War.
Most spies who are caught in the United States never stand trial; they tend to bargain for a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. (If they are U.S. citizens, this likely means avoiding the death penalty.) The U.S. intelligence establishment likes this arrangement because it assures that classified information won’t be divulged during an accused spy’s trial. Robert Philip Hanssen, an FBI agent arrested in Virginia in February 2001 for selling U.S. intelligence to the former Soviet Union and Russia, followed the lifesaving guilty plea tradition.
While the eyes of the nation were transfixed on the Hanssen case that year, they largely overlooked the protect-the-homeland defense that was developing in the Miami spy case, U.S. v. Hernandez et al.
It was the first time Cuban nationals accused of trying to obtain defense information for Havana had ever stood trial in a U.S. courtroom. The trial touched on the shooting down of two of three small aircraft flying toward Cuban airspace despite repeated warnings by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Havana’s foreign ministry that they risked just that fate. Pilots belonging to the anti-Castro Cuban exile group Brothers to the Rescue were flying the two Cessnas destroyed by Cuban MiGs on Feb. 24, 1996. The two pilots and two other BTTR members were killed. BTTR founder José Basulto and three others escaped in the third plane.
At the trial five years later, one line of attack used by Paul McKenna, the lawyer defending the Cuban spy ring’s leader, Gerardo Hernandez, was to elevate Brothers to the Rescue’s role in the shootdown. That wasn’t very hard since Basulto had often publicly boasted about violating Cuban airspace, including a flight over Havana in July 1995 in which he dropped leaflets urging anti-government protests. McKenna also drew from a flurry of FAA and State Department records showing that U.S. officials had warned Basulto at least seven times that Cuba was threatening to use deadly force if BTTR persisted in violating Cuban airspace.
Especially illuminating was an e-mail written by Cecelia Capestafrom Alpha 66 machine-gun attacks on Cuban resort hotels on the coast of Cayo Coco in the early 1990s to Luis Posada Carriles’ 1997 bombing campaign on hotels and restaurants in Havana.
Like Ames, the Myerses could probably make a reasonable claim they were in some way trying to keep the peace. Or, like Hernandez et al., trying to protect the national security of friends and loved ones in Cuba. Even minimally compassionate people could probably get their heads around that. But, as the five Cuban spies still doing time in U.S. prisons learned eight years ago, motives like those don’t necessarily capture the hearts and minds of an American jury, or the judges on the U.S Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. In the end, they broke U.S. laws that prohibit espionage, whatever the justification.
Another Cuba-related spy trial would certainly be entertaining political theater and educational for journalists and others in the United States. But if the Myerses are smart, they’ll avoid one and plead guilty, and spend their golden years in prison writing a book about why they spied. 

US Arrests Former Official on Cuba Spying Charges

The United States has arrested a former government official and his wife on charges of spying for Cuba.  The Justice Department says both suspects pleaded not guilty to the spying charges in a federal court in Washington on Friday. They are both being held until a detention hearing next Wednesday. The two are accused of passing top secret information to Havana over a 30-year period.

U.S. officials said they arrested Walter Kendall Myers and his wife Gwendolyn after an undercover operation in Washington. They said Walter Myers worked at the State Department for nearly 30 years, partly at the department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, before retiring in 2007.

Cuba insists that Obama can free the Group of Five

2011-09-08 13:07:00
Havana, 8 Sep (Notimex) .- The U.S. president, Barack  Obama has a "moral duty" to release the five Cuban agents  imprisoned in that country accused of espionage, said today the leader of the National Assembly of People's Power of Cuba Ricardo Alarcon.
"With his left hand grabs his pen and with a little signature resolve this incident. You do not need anything else," he said.
"He (Obama) knows that he has in his hands the solution to this issue. And  also has a moral duty to do, knows that there are five innocent who are unjustly imprisoned, "he told reporters at the  International Press Center.
Alarcon attended the screening of the documentary "What the real stand up terrorist, "the U.S. filmmaker Saul Landau on the activities of violent groups of Cuban exiles in Miami.
The leader of Parliament and former ambassador to the United United Nations said he has not seen the former governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, who is visiting the island private.
He said that he would find the message for transmission to the President of the United States.
According to reports, Richardson traveled to Havana to manage U.S. contractor release of Alan Gross, who was convicted in Cuba  15 years in prison for acts against the Cuban state.
To elaborate on the subject of The Five, as it is known worldwide  Cuban agents, Alarcon said he is waiting for the Judge to rule on petitions for habeas corpus to Gerardo Hernández and Antonio Guerrero.
He said that if there is new evidence in favor of Cubans and accused the U.S. government to refuse to release information on the alleged payment journalists from Miami to create a hostile climate  during his trial in 2001.

Cuba denies to visit Gross...

Richardson said he will remain in Cuba until it allows you to visit Gross in the military hospital where he is detained.

The former governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, said  Cuba's government rejected her application to join Alan Gross, the U.S. contractor imprisoned on the island since 2009.
Former Governor Richardson traveled to Cuba on a personal basis, as now appears to be a failed attempt to get the new release of U.S. contractor Alan Gross, 62, who celebrates 15 years in prison on the island.
Speaking to The Associated Press Richardson said  "My mission here as a private citizen is to ensure the release of Alan Gross, an American hostage. " But he said "I have been informed by the Cuban government not allow me to see Alan Gross during my visit. "
Despite the refusal of the Cuban government, the former governor and former U.S. diplomat in Cuba said it will remain until you Gross allowed to visit the military hospital where he is detained. "I  promised his wife, Judy, I would see him, "the governor said.
Following the announcement of Richardson, who extended their stay more Beyond this Saturday September 10, 2011, when he was scheduled return to the U.S., the Cuban government did not comment immediate. According to Gross's lawyer, Richardson's trip materialized at the invitation of the Cuban government.