19 April 2007

Peters Fires Back

Phil Peters is the often quoted Vice President of the Lexington Institute.

Last Month, he wrote an article in the Miami Herald about the recent allegations that Cuba had an offensive WMD program.

I took exeption to his assumptions on this blog.

Mr. Peters was kind enough to stop by and leave a comment which refutes my assumptions:

Guys, I just saw your March 21 post about an article I wrote. With all due respect, I think you missed some of my points.
Obviously Cuba was a major security problem during the Cold War.
Given Cuba’s capability in pharmaceuticals and basic science, no one can doubt Cuba’s capability to carry out a chemical or biological weapons program.
Whether Cuba has such a program is another matter altogether. What I pointed out in the article is that even after the defector Ortega gave his account, U.S. intelligence agencies downgraded their assessment and said unanimously that it was “unclear whether Cuba has an active offensive biological warfare effort now, or even had one in the past.”
If you check, I think you misstate what the defector said. He alleges that in 1992 he saw a facility where agents are being developed for military purposes. If he used the term “weaponized,” which implies delivery systems and a different stage of development, please point out where he did so.
Your assertion that I take Ana Montes at her word is ridiculous. Read the article again; the English version is below. What I point out is that the 1998 Pentagon report that everyone criticizes because of her involvement, has never been modified or updated. If Cuba posed more than a “negligible” threat, don’t you think that in six years of the Bush Administration, where no one is bashful when it comes to talking about Cuban misconduct, there would have been some kind of report to the contrary?
You know that Cubans who reach U.S. territory – whether by boat or by showing up at a U.S.-Mexico border crossing – are admitted routinely, thousands each year. There are humanitarian reasons for this policy, and one can debate whether it makes sense in terms of our overall immigration policy. But my point regarding security is this: Is it conceivable that the Bush Administration would continue this policy, post-9/11, if it believed that Cuba represented a terrorism threat?
I was not taking a dig at Bush regarding North Korea and Iran. I support the idea of using diplomacy to try to solve those cases, even though there’s no guarantee that diplomacy will work. The lack of diplomacy with Cuba tells us that the Administration probably sees no threat.
Outside of those who see all the intelligence (and, who knows, maybe not even there) there are no experts. But those of us on the outside can take clues from our own government, which does not have a casual attitude toward national security issues.
There’s a lot here that’s like the Sherlock Holmes story with the dog that did not bark. The U.S. government’s silence and inaction, especially under this Administration, is a good indication of its assessment of the Cuban threat. My bet is that to them, the number one national security threat from Cuba is potential mass migration. That, at least, is the only case where there’s visible U.S. preparation.

7 comments:

El Gusano said...

Mr. Peters:


Using the dog that did not bark metaphor, You correctly point out that the US’s “slam dunk” intelligence in Iraq was faulty. So the American bulldog was barking up the wrong tree. Not a very good watchdog.

So if the dog isn’t barking now, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have an intruder, it could just mean that you have a bad watchdog. (Which we already know because it barked up the wrong tree.)That was my points.

I think we disagree both about the dog and the armed intruder.

I apologize for misconstruing your comment about negotiations as a sarcastic dig. But, that point is well taken and insightful and I agree with it nonetheless.

Unfortunately, you are correct in saying that the US only sees Cuba as a possible threat when it comes to mass migration. Interestingly, when the Department of Homeland security recently staged the joint agency “Vigilant Sentry”, it included scenarios where a refugee came ashore infected by the Ebola virus.

Ortega has claimed in TV interviews that Cuba has biological weapons that are stockpiled and ready to use. He says that these weapons are highly contagious viruses like the plague, anthrax and botulism. If “weaponized” is not the correct term to describe these kink of biological weapons that Ortega refers to, then I stand corrected.John Bolton and Otto Reich have also tried to warn the US about Cuba’s biological weapons program, but they’re the wrong dog breed.

Val Prieto said...

The fact that this US administration or its State Department doesnt do "anything public" about Cuba doesnt mean that it doesnt take it as a threat or that noithing is being done. Thats a ridiculous argument to make.

Henry Gomez said...

Here's the problem with the "Cuba is no threat" crowd. They ignore the past.

Cuba has obtained weapons of mass destruction in the past (missile crisis), they have also built up a disproportionate conventional weapons arsenal in the past as well.

These people argue that what is in the past is in the past and point to Cuba's weakened economic state as the primary reason for the diminished threat. But they ignore the fact the the same leadership is making the decisions in Havana as during the cold war.

Just because we have a post-cold war mentality does not automatically mean that our enemies do as well. Not only that, the people that say that Cuba is not a threat because of their collapsed economy happen to also be a lot of the same people that want to lift sanctions against Cuba, ostensibly strenghtening the weak economy that keeps a potential threat at bay.

What possible evidence do we have that fidel castro has changed his thinking or his modus operandi? What makes us think that an economically viable Cuba with castro or jr. castro at the helm is going to continue to be a diminished threat?

That's like saying Charles Manson is old and he hasn't hurt anybody in 30 years so we should probably set him free.

It defies logic.

Anonymous said...

So let me understand this.


Cuba is highly dependant on their growing tourist trade, about 2 million tourist a year.


Cuba is going world wide with what human, and material, resources it has, all peaceful, to sustain itself.


The USA cuts off Cuba with a massive embargo, that the UN voted against 10 times with only 3 votes in favor of the embargo, the USA being one of the three.


France, Germany, Canada, Vietnam, China, Russia, Mexico, Venezuela to say the least are trading very well with Cuba and new trading opportunities are happening daily.


Cuba buys millions of dollars of foods from the USA, pays USA cash in advance, and expected future trade is very good to great. (foods are allowed in the Helms Burton act)


Cuba is not under any violations of international law, and the stories of human rights violations don’t pan out, or are isolated circumstance that are handeled by the Cuban courts and law enforcements, as is common in the USA.


And on goes the list


Now you want to plant the seeds that Cuba has biological Weapons of Mass Destruction, from a very shaky source, to no sources at all, that if found to be true, the possession alone of biological Weapons of Mass Destruction would destroy all that Cuba has been trying to build, for good things, over the last 40 years, at least. You don’t bomb your friends and trading buddies, nor cut yourself off from foods and material.


That is very foolish, I do not believe it, and I doubt you believe it either.


The massive propaganda that the USA puts out, and pays people to print negativity about Cuba, does not pan out. There is no indication that Cuba has developed any such weapons.


The sane thing to do is to go to Cuba and check it out. As soon as the USA stops being a bully, lying at very turn, perhaps the Cuban government will have more transparence.


Yeah right, Cuba is out to battle the world till every nation falls under Cuban dominance, over a Marxist idea that explains the relationship of human labor to manufactured products and the economy (that is common information taught in every USA high school to date)---- Yeah right---Cuba is the world’s “bad dog”---Not hardly.


I suppose it would be pointless to mention the USA, under the Helms Burton act, can sell medical supplies and drugs to Cuba. So you want me to believe that Cuba has biological weapons that the USA supplies. Sure, just a tad bit silly don’t you think?



Don

El Gusano said...

darnnit!
Don is unto us. We weren't counting on such highly intelligent yanquis.
It's bye bye to my hefty CIA stipend and back to selling churros on Okeechobee Rd!

Henry Gomez said...

Don,

I began to read that tome you wrote up until the part about human rights abuses that "don't pan out". You convinced me with that, that you are booger eating moron.

They don't pan out why? Because the Cuban government denies them? Oh well, we should have listened to Hitler or Stalin or Mao too since their abuses didn't "pan out".

Agustin Farinas said...

“Cuba is not under any violations of international law, and the stories of human rights violations don’t pan out, or are isolated circumstance that are handled by the Cuban courts and law enforcements, as is common in the USA”.

Gee Don, you don’t call incarcerating dissidents for a period of 4 years on “pre-delictive” charges without the right to counsel a human rights violation? Notice the prefix “pre”, that is to say before any crime was committed.! Not my words but the actual charges in the trial.
Or shooting 3 black citizens after a 24 hr. trial for the “crime” of wanting to leave their homeland?
Or perhaps sinking a Tug boat full of women and children in Havana’s bay either and then leaving them to drown ?
Or putting people in jail for the desire to emigrate?
Or denying a grandmother the right to visit and reunite with her grandchildren in Argentina?
What do the Government of Cuba has to do to its citizens Don, in your enlightened opinion for you to brand them as a violator of Human Rights?


“Now you want to plant the seeds that Cuba has biological Weapons of Mass Destruction, from a very shaky source, to no sources at all, that if found to be true, the possession alone of biological Weapons of Mass Destruction would destroy all that Cuba has been trying to build, for good things, over the last 40 years, at least. You don’t bomb your friends and trading buddies, nor cut yourself off from foods and material”

One of these “shaky sources” you so gingerly dismiss is Mr. Ken Alibek PHD. He is the former chief of the Biological Weapons Program in the former USSR. He testified in a hearing in Congress after he defected to the US, that he himself supervised the sharing of biological agents with Cuba and helped them with their weapon’s program.
There are countless sources that have informed us about these weapons but you seem to dismiss them all as “shaky”. Was the letter Nikita Khrushchev himself received from Castro asking for the USSR to launch their nuclear weapons to the USA in 1962 during the Missile Crisis also “shaky sources”? This is all public domain Mr. Don, or maybe you did not know about this? Or maybe you did not read Mr. Castro’s speech in Teheran a few weeks before 9-11 stating that “together Iran and Cuba could make the USA get on its knees?” Either you are very naïve (I doubt it seriously) or deliberately choose to ignore the threat.


“That is very foolish, I do not believe it, and I doubt you believe it either”.

Now who is being foolish?


“The massive propaganda that the USA puts out, and pays people to print negativity about Cuba, does not pan out. There is no indication that Cuba has developed any such weapons.”

Please refer to Ken Alibek after doing a search in Google to satisfy your curiosity..


“The sane thing to do is to go to Cuba and check it out. As soon as the USA stops being a bully, lying at very turn, perhaps the Cuban government will have more transparence”

Communists have never been known for transparency, Mr. Don. Castro has lied over and over again since 1959 when he came to the US denying he was a Communist. Maybe you should inform yourself by reading The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and get an education in “communist transparency” that may be a revelation to your feeble mind.


“Yeah right, Cuba is out to battle the world till every nation falls under Cuban dominance, over a Marxist idea that explains the relationship of human labor to manufactured products and the economy (that is common information taught in every USA high school to date)---- Yeah right---Cuba is the world’s “bad dog”---Not hardly”.

Obviously you have been in a cave for the last 40 years during the period when Cuba sent expeditions to every country except Mexico in Latin America with guerrillas to try to overthrow their government.


“I suppose it would be pointless to mention the USA, under the Helms Burton act, can sell medical supplies and drugs to Cuba. So you want me to believe that Cuba has biological weapons that the USA supplies. Sure, just a tad bit silly don’t you think?”

Communist Governments are as a rule incapable of producing anything for their populations but weapons. Cuba is no exception to that rule. Or maybe the example of North Korea is not good enough for you? Famine everywhere, people starving to death and if it was not for the United Nations help, it might even worse. But they have nuclear weapons and plenty of missiles. But hey, what is a little food compared to those rockets and nuclear weapons?.
Get a little education about Cuba and then get an informed opinion instead of making a fool of yourself by writing about matters you know very little about or very conveniently choose to ignore. May I suggest the Public Library for starters?.

Booger eating moron indeed!