Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Obama Right To Normalize Relations With Cuba

There aren't many foreign policy decisions Barack Obama has made since becoming president with which I agree, but his decision to normalize relations with Cuba after 55 years makes more sense than any Cuban-related policy imposed by successive presidents since John F. Kennedy. The only sad part of today's announcement is that it coincided with a negotiated release of a presumed CIA agent, Alan Gross, who has been imprisoned in Cuba for the past five years. Gross had been convicted of crimes against the state after being caught distributing computer equipment while working under the cover of a USAID worker, a renowned CIA front group whose programs are barred by the Cuban government for good reason.

Under the new policy announced by Obama today, a U.S. embassy will be re-established in Havana, and the decades-old travel and commerce restrictions will be eased. Cuba agreed to release other prisoners in addition to Gross, although he was obviously the most prized release in the bunch, in exchange for the release of several Cuban spies imprisoned in the United States. Obama correctly stated that more than a half-century of isolation "has not worked." "It's time for a new approach," he said. The Washington Post says today's announcement is the product of 18 months of secret negotiations between the Obama administration and the government of Cuban President Raul Castro, brother of Fidel Castro, who outlived eleven U.S. presidents before turning control of the government over to his brother due to declining health. There is a bit of irony in Fidel's tenure, given the U.S. government's sordid, botched attempts to oust him, including several failed assassination attempts and the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion by CIA-trained and funded mercenaries.

President John F. Kennedy inherited the ill-advised policies started under President Dwight Eisenhower towards the Cuban government, which only succeeded in driving it to closely ally with the former Soviet Union and other perceived enemies of the U.S. government. Perhaps the most insane plan devised by the American military-intelligence community to oust Castro from power was Operation Northwoods, a series of false flag attacks proposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and presented to a shocked President Kennedy for approval in March 1962. That plan included: staging assassinations of Cubans living inside the U.S.; developing a fake pro-Cuban terrorist organization based in Miami; sinking a boat load of Cuban refugees (either real or simulated); faking a Cuban attack on a U.S. jetliner; and my personal favorite, blowing up a U.S. Navy ship in Cuban waters ala the U.S. Maine sinking; and blaming it all on the Cuban government.

A sane President Kennedy, who had already begun heeding his predecessor's dire warning about the growing influence of the military-industrial complex through efforts to rein in the Nazi-like figures dominating American foreign policy, summarily dismissed the plan and replaced Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for presenting Operation Northwoods to him for consideration. Kennedy had already fired CIA Director Allen Dulles and two of his deputy directors, Charles Cabell and Richard Bissell, for their botched roles in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Many serious Kennedy assassination researchers have concluded that these very individuals played a key role in the assassination of Kennedy in retaliation for his efforts to shut down their growing shadow, undemocratic government activities under the guise of protecting U.S. national security.

Ironically, President Ford appointed Gen. Lemnitzer to the Rockefeller Commission, which was tasked with determining whether the CIA had engaged in activities on American soil in violation of federal law, and whether two key figures in the Watergate scandal, E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturges, who both worked for the CIA on anti-Castro projects, had any role in the Kennedy assassination. Like the Dulles-run Warren Commission, the Rockefeller Commission found Hunt and Sturges free of any role role in the Kennedy assassination, a finding debunked by Hunt's own deathbed confession about his and the CIA's role in orchestrating Kennedy's assassination. President Ford, who participated in the Warren Commission cover-up, appointed George H.W. Bush to run the CIA after assuming the presidency following Nixon's resignation over the Watergate scandal. Bush, of course, worked for the CIA as far back as his first days upon graduating from Yale, including his first job at Dresser Industries (later merged with Halliburton) and his time running a company he co-founded, Zapata Petroleum, which provided cover for many of the CIA's activities in Cuba under one of its subsidiaries, Zapata Offshore, which operated offshore oil rigs in the Caribbean region only miles from Cuban waters.

In a sense, you can blame the CIA's obsession with overthrowing Castro by isolating Cuba all of these years for the loss of the Republic as founded and envisioned by our founding fathers. They started out trying to kill Castro and they wound up justifying the killing of our own president in the name of national security. The ends justify the means. Cuba beget the Bay of Pigs, which beget the Cuban Missile Crisis, which beget the Kennedy assassination, which beget the Vietnam War and the Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinations, and which beget Watergate. Later, the CIA gave us Iran-Contra and Al Qaeda, which beget 9/11 and the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and a seemingly endless War on Terror, which beget the legitimization of torture and killing of U.S. citizens by drone attacks and the loss of our constitutional right of privacy and protections from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Obama should do more than normalize relations with Cuba; he should dismantle the CIA, which is what President Kennedy planned to do had he gotten the chance before they blew his brains out in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963.

People on the right and left have already begun criticizing Obama's decision to normalize relations with Cuba, which should tell you something about how deeply our political system is infected by this cancer consuming our country. Sen. Dan Coats, who has become a multi-millionaire courtesy of his close ties to the military-industrial complex, naturally denounced Obama's decision. Sen. Coast said the policy is "evidence that the Obama foreign policy objective is appeasement" and "rewards the Castro regime at the expense of the Cuban people." Hey, if you care about improving the lives of average Cubans, what better way could you help them than opening up the island nation to U.S. investment and as a tourist mecca once again for Americans? On the left, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) also criticized the decision. He says Obama's actions "will invite further belligerence towards Cuba's opposition movement and the hardening of the government's dictatorial hold on its people." Go figure.


Flogger said...

What tangled Webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive. Our History in Latin America has been a very sordid one. The guiding principle always seem to be to protect the Corporations by what ever means necessary. Coups and assassinations sponsored by our Government has been a regular occurrence going back to 19th Century.

The Guiding Light of the Declaration of Independence and the Enlightenment has never shown on Latin America because of our interference.

Anonymous said...

This is really defines the story, Gary, well written. And as far as Dan Coates is concerned, he's really pi$$ed of his right wing base with his support for the Obama immigration issue.

Coates is finished after this term. He is nothing more than a corporate Quisling.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:47- I truly hope you are correct that Coats is finished.

I remember when the RINO R's brought the old coot back... I could only figure they needed him to continue (and grow?) their larceny with public funds. I watched at the State Convention when that old guy arrogantly strutted from room to room flanked by stooges.

Coats is nothing original, he's nothing profound, he's nothing much more than a little man who made millions doing the bidding for others needing an insider to make their gains look legit....