Cuba's Useful Idiot
By: Humberto Fontova
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Last month Dan Rather’s new gig as host of HDNET's “Dan Rather Reports” found him, as so often during his CBS days, “reporting” from Cuba. From Dan we heard of “dramatic changes” down there, of a “remarkable transformation.” “The door (to the U.S.) is open, “explained Dan. “The best time to talk is now.”
Dan was chanting a familiar tune, one we've heard almost nonstop from the MSM's pet “Cuba Experts'” for the past 21 months.
As usual when dealing with Cuban matters, a sober look behind the carefully constructed and dutifully reported Castroite facade, shatters almost everything coming over the Mainstream Media's mics, cameras and wires. The Heritage Foundation, for instance, in its recently published Index of Economic Freedom, ranks Cuba as more economically repressive this year than before Castro's “resignation.” Under Raul Castro's nominal rule, Cuba slipped down 1.1 notches to number 155 -- where it ranks almost neck to neck with North Korea.
With Dan Rather, however, recent history shows that simple ignorance of Castroite practices wont cut it as an alibi.
Recall the Elian Gonzalez tragedy and Dan Rather's 60 Minutes interview with Elian's father, Juan Miguel. America saw an innocent, bewildered and heartsick father simply pleading to be allowed to have his motherless son accompany him back to Cuba, his cherished homeland. How could anyone oppose this? How could simple decency and common sense possibly allow for anything else?
Well, ask those wicked Miami Cubans. Their political showboating was thwarting the desperate father every step of the way, for motives to shame Ebeneezer Scrooge, Benito Mussolini, Judas Iscariot and Bruno Hauptmann (the Lindberg child kidnapper.)
"Did you cry?" the pained and frowning Dan Rather asked the "bereaved" father during the 60 Minutes drama.
"A father never runs out of tears," Juan (actually, the voice of Juan's drama school-trained translator) sniffled back to Dan. And the "60 Minutes" prime-time audience could hardly contain their own sniffles. Polls at the time showed that 70% of the American public took Juan Miguel's pleas (as transmitted by Dan Rather) to heart and sided with his wishes for Elian's return to Stalinist Cuba.
Here's what America didn't see:
"Juan Miguel Gonzalez was surrounded by Castro Security men the entire time he was in the studio with Rather.” This is an eye-witness account from Pedro Porro, who served as Dan Rather's translator during the famous interview. Dan Rather would ask the question in English into Porro's earpiece whereupon Porro would translate it into Spanish for Elian's heavily-guarded father.
“Juan Miguel was never completely alone," says Porro. "He never smiled. His eyes kept shifting back and forth. It was obvious to me that he was under heavy coercion. I probably should have walked out. But I'd been hired by CBS in good faith and I didn't know exactly how the interview would be edited -- how it would come across on the screen.”
"The questions Dan Rather was asking Elian's father during that 60 Minutes interview were being handed to him by attorney Gregory Craig,” continues Pedro Porro. Clinton crony Gregory Craig, you might recall, flush from his fame getting Bill Clinton off the Lewinsky rap, was at the time acting as Juan Miguel's (read Fidel Castro’s) attorney.
"It was obvious that Craig and Rather where on very friendly terms," says Porro. "They were joshing and bantering back and forth, as Juan Miguel sat there petrified. Craig was stage managing the whole thing -- almost like a movie director. The taping would stop and he'd walk over to Dan, hand him a little slip of paper, say something into his ear. Then Rather would read the next question into my earpiece straight from the paper.”
Midway through watching that "60 Minutes" broadcast, "I felt like throwing up," said Porro. "My stomach was in a knot." His worst fears were confirmed.
The Craig/Rather "60 Minutes" soap opera was a major hit. As polls showed, America ate it up. Craig, after all, had come to Castro highly recommended. And he performed magnificently, employing a major media outlet as aides, props and publicists for Castro's case. Fidel Castro, of course, is an old pro at this. To cap it all, at that time Craig worked for the law firm Williams & Connolly -- that also represented CBS. Gregory Craig now serves as the Obama campaign's chief advisor on Latin America.
Some of the sources featured on Rather's recent HDNET program also merit closer scrutiny. Throughout his program denouncing (however subtly) the U.S. “embargo” of Cuba and touting her dramatic “opening,” Rather interviews Phil Peters, described as a "former Reagan-Bush State dept official." (See!? See!? He's no Castro-loving pinko!) and as Vice President of the Washington D.C. based Lexington Institute, a free-market think tank (See?! See!? Again!)
Much as during the Elian episode, America (actually, the minuscule portion that views Hdnet) might have benefited from a “behind the scenes” view of Dan's source, Phil Peters, who serves as a “consultant” to a Canadian Corporation named Sherrit International. This Canada-based mining company derives much of its profits from criminal activities. Applying legal standards recognized from the code of Hammurabi to even Janet Reno's Justice Department, Sherrit qualifies as a trafficker in stolen property and an accessory to theft.
In a joint venture with Cuba's Stalinist regime, Sherrit occupies and operates the Moa nickel mining plant in Cuba's Oriente province, stolen at Soviet gunpoint from its U.S. managers and stockholders in July 1960 (when it was worth $90 million) by Castro gunmen. Here's a legal memo uncovered as part of a recent court case discovery by intrepid bloggers at Babalu Blog, and posted on their site:
From Robert L. Muse:
"Canada's Sherritt works quietly in Washington...recently it has given money to a former State Department employee, Phil Peters, to advance its interests. The money to Peters goes through contributions to the Lexington Institute, where Peters is a Vice-President. Because the Lexington Institute is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, there is no public record of Sherritt’s funding. This has allowed Peters to advise and direct the Cuba Working Group (a Congressional anti-embargo cabal) in ways beneficial to Sherritt while presenting himself to the Group as an objective think-tank scholar with a specialization in Cuba."
But Sherritt's criminality hardly stops there. Sherritt's workers are chosen and assigned by the Cuban regime who sets their wages and dictates the payment schedule. After Sherritt pays these wages (not to the workers, but to the Cuban regime) the latter dribbles .5% of the total to the workers, pocketing the rest. As dreadful as they make life for their subjects, the Red Chinese and Red Vietnamese regimes dictate nothing of the sort when hosting western companies as business partners.)
By the way, prior to the glorious revolution, which is to say, during Cuba’s unspeakable tenure as a playground for Yankee land-barons, robber-barons, playboys, gangsters,racists, fascists, and other such swinish exploiters, Moa nickel plant’s workers enjoyed the 8th highest industrial wages--not in the hemisphere--but in the world, higher than those in Britain,France and Germany. And these wages were paid in Cuban dollars, convertible, in those dark and dreadful ages,one to one with the U.S. dollar.
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