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From: "Pedro Martori"
Subject: It would be irresponsible not remain vigilant.
charset = "koi8-r"
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002 09:39:12 -0400
NNTP-Posting-Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002 09:38:12 EDT
Organization: Bell Sympatico
Washington Debates Whether Castro Has Germ Weapons
By Mary Anastasia O'Grady
The Wall Street Journal
6 September 2002
Is Fidel Castro busy cooking up viruses in Cuban labs to share
fundamentalists? To the pro-Castro lobby in America this is
than a crackpot conspiracy.
But to some reputable intelligence experts, the case is not so
shut. It would be irresponsible to ignore some disconcerting
and not remain vigilant.
Exhibit A in the case is Castro's warm relationship with sworn
the U.S. In May the Cuban dictator went to Iran, which the U.S.
the world's most active supporter of terrorism. He was received
Ali Khamenei, who declared that "U.S. grandeur can be broken,"
it is "it will be a service rendered to mankind and even the
Not to be outdone, Castro told the Iranians, according to the
Press, that the U.S. is an "imperialist king" that "will finally
as your king was overthrown." Other AP reports said that the
as Castro calls himself, received an honorary doctorate from a
university in recognition of his struggle against the U.S. Upon
departure, he declared that he had made new friends and left
about future ties."
In July Castro sent his close confidant Rodrigo Alvarez
Cambras -- a
congressman and the head of the Cuban-Iraqi Friendship Society --
an envoy. According to BBC reports from Iraqi TV and Iraq Radio
Alvarez Cambras met with Saddam Hussein to convey a "verbal
behalf of Castro and also with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.
meetings were boilerplate Fidelismo: Down with Yankee aggression
solidarity with Iraq. During an April visit he had included
the Middle East. "Condemning the Zionist crimes against our
Palestine, Cambras described them as Nazi crimes," reported the
monitoring the Iraqi News Agency.
Exhibit B in the case by those who claim that the Cuban regime is
nefarious biological projects is testimony from U.S.
Ford, Jr. is Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research at
Department and as such deals regularly with the Central
and other U.S. intelligence bodies. On June 5, Mr. Ford told a
of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- as he told the full
on March 19 -- that the U.S. "believes that Cuba has at least a
developmental offensive biological warfare research and
Cuba has provided dual-use technology to rogue states. We are
such technology could support BW [bioweapons] programs in those
Mr. Ford said there is no "smoking gun" but also explained how
is to ascertain the truth about such efforts. "The nature of
weapons makes it difficult to procure clear incontrovertible
country is engaged in illicit biological weapons research,
weaponization and stockpiling. Cuba's sophisticated denial and
practices make our task even more difficult." He later said that,
have the facilities to do medical, biotechnological research, you
facilities to build a biological weapon, unfortunately."
Mr. Ford said "We feel very confident about saying that they're
have been working on an effort that would give them a BW --
offensive capability. And that's serious enough to tell you about
Virginia Sen. George Allen asked Mr. Ford whether the U.S.
assistance to Iran is "simply helping Tehran's public health
Ford said, "We don't know," but also requested an opportunity to
question more fully in a closed session.
The classified nature of so much of the intelligence surrounding
question may be making it harder for the Bush administration to
case. In a letter to Florida Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart on July 22,
Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International
Bolton, wrote that he raised the issue because "of numerous
have seen to a Cuban BW effort in classified CIA and DIA
There are also a number of allegations from Cuban defectors who,
State Department, have stopped short of proclaiming certainty
biological weapons program but have assigned high probabilities
Sorting out whether they are telling the truth or simply trying
new opportunities for themselves will take time and effort. But
interest of homeland defense, it would seem that their stories
There is also Ken Alibek, once the deputy director of research
production for the Soviet biological weapons program. He has
his boss back in the U.S.S.R. had been convinced that Cuba had a
program after he returned from a trip there in 1990.
The anti-embargo lobby in Washington appears to have been quite
by Mr. Bolton's May 6 speech at the Heritage Foundation, when he
publicly about the issue. Not surprisingly, there was a tone of
about whether he might have made the speech for political
favor to the Bush administration's Cuban exile constituency. But
has defended his actions, pointing out that he was only repeating
Ford had said in his March testimony.
Furthermore, in his July 22 letter, he said this: "Cuba continues
undermine U.S. national security through the use of espionage. So
question policymakers must answer is whether there is sufficient
to alert the American public and the Congress about the potential
Cuba's BW effort poses to the United States. We strongly believe
answer to that question is 'yes.' The American people deserve to
Particularly in light of the terrorist attacks of September 11,
obligated to tell the public about Cuba's BW effort. The
community has known about this threat for several years, as have
intelligence oversight committees."
Having experienced terrorism first-hand, Americans want to take
chances with tyrants who live by fomenting hatred. That shoe
Fidel Castro, even if it's not convenient for foes of the
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