Sunday, August 10, 2008

re: Whitewash

From my in box:

From: Antonio de la Cova
Subject: Whitewash
Date: August 9, 2008 10:41:57 PM EDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:

Alfonso Chardy
The Miami Herald

Dear Mr. Chardy:

I have previously indicated to you factual errors and important omissions in your articles, which I described as “selective reporting and slipshod journalism.” Your latest article “Spy catcher claims four are agents for Cuba,” is another classic example of this negligence.
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/miami-dade/story/633389.html

You have narrowed down more than a decade of overt pro-Castro activism by Dr. Marifeli Perez-Stable to only one sentence describing her as a founder of “the pro-Castro Antonio Maceo Brigade.” According to public documents on a website link that I sent to you
http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/espionage/marifeli.htm Perez-Stable was also a founder of the pro-Castro Areito magazine in 1974; four years later she founded the Cuban-American Committee for Normalization of Relations with Cuba and participated with the Committee of 75 in the so-called “dialogue” with Fidel Castro; and in 1980, Pérez-Stable created the Círculo de Cultura Cubana, a Castro propaganda front that took tourists to Cuba and Sandinista Nicaragua during the 1980s. She also organized conferences that included the participation of Cuban government officials in New York City in 1979 and in Halifax, Canada, in 1989.

You also omitted from your article reference to the congressional document “The Role of Cuba in International Terrorism and Subversion,” which indicates that on March 4, 1982, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) officers Sergio Piñón and Daniel Benitez testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on security and terrorism and declared under oath that the Committee of 75, Areito magazine, and the Antonio Maceo Brigade were "sponsored and headed by the Cuban DGI" intelligence agency. Dr. Perez-Stable had a leadership role in all of these groups.

In my e-mail to you on August 1, 2008, I wrote that DGI defector “Jesús Pérez Méndez presently resides in Puerto Rico and can be reached to verify the statements in his FBI debriefing” of July 15, 1983. You apparently did not contact him, even though Pérez Méndez stated in the debriefing that DGI officials Isidro Gómez and Jesús Arboleya Cervera, both high ranking DGI officials, “placed Marifeli in charge of the Círculo de Cultura Cubana.” According to the defector, Pérez-Stable substituted Rutgers University Professor Lourdes Casal, “who was a DGI agent.” Pérez Méndez went on to say that "the annual plans of Marifeli are prepared by the DGI and ICAP” and that “she receives $100 for every tourist that travels to Cuba with the Círculo de Cultura Cubana." It is not known if Pérez-Stable has reported this income on her annual tax returns. Pérez Méndez indicated that Pérez-Stable “infiltrated” the Cuban Studies Institute directed by María Cristina Herrera, and “turned its position more favorable to Cuba.”

Lt. Col. Christopher Simmons, a U.S. Army Counterintelligence officer who for years worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency dealing with Cuban spies, has recently publicly stated that the last DGI case officer who handled Dr. Pérez-Stable “recalled meeting with her in Ottawa, Canada, in mid 1991, and she was still an active agent of Cuban intelligence.” After the case officer defected, he gave U.S. intelligence copies of his notebook detailing Pérez-Stable’s covert activities. Simmons had access to these notes. You also selectively omitted these facts from your article.

On August 1, 2008, you e-mailed me and later telephoned me to ask about the Pérez Méndez debriefing and an article that I “wrote that contained pictures of Perez-Stable.” I replied by e-mail that I was “dismayed that you were assigned to this story” because of your previous track record of "selective reporting and slipshod journalism." I responded to you with my views of the Pérez-Stable situation and concluded by saying: “I hope that the Miami Herald, which has had a credibility problem with the Cuban American community during the last half century, will do a thorough investigative report on Pérez-Stable and uphold journalistic integrity and ethics while investigating one of their own.” You replied by e-mail nine minutes later: “many thanks for your response. I am doing a story based on Simmons' interviews and I will be in touch again.” You never again contacted me and even though you mention my name in your article, you decided to omit citing my viewpoint.

In your article, you quote Dr. Pérez-Stable accusing Lt. Col. Simmons and I of using “McCarthyite tactics.” McCarthyism met its demise in the U.S. Supreme Court cases Slochower v. Board of Education (1956) and Yates v. United States (1957). I believe that a judicial court is the proper place to settle such controversies. You are also aware, but failed to report, that within the last two years, Ms. Perez-Stable has had ACLU attorney John de Leon twice threaten to sue me for slander and defamation. You apparently did not question Dr. Pérez-Stable as to why she has failed to carry out her threat. I continue to urge her to take legal action to settle this matter once and for all. Otherwise, these allegations will haunt Dr. Pérez-Stable for the rest of her life in the Cuban community, where she is being convicted in the court of public opinion due to her evasiveness about her relationship with the DGI. Cuban American academics are already circulating on the Internet opinions about her culpability, such as “The Case Against Marifeli Perez-Stable,” by Dr. Diego Trinidad, which can be read at
http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/espionage/trinidad.htm

Joe Oglesby, editor of the Herald's editorial page, defends Dr. Perez-Stable, who writes for his section, by accusing Lt. Col. Simmons and I of using “character assassination” and a “witch hunt” against her. Similar apologist phrases have been used since the days of Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs to defend those involved in Communist espionage. I also welcome Mr. Oglesby to use the courts to sustain his allegations. If he cannot get the Herald attorneys to take the case, Oglesby could appeal to the ACLU, like Dr. Pérez-Stable has done.

If Perez-Stable, Oglesby, and The Miami Herald shirk from settling this challenge in court, their silence will speak volumes. Someday, when democracy returns to Cuba, the DGI archives will be opened to researchers, as has similarly occurred in the former European Soviet bloc nations, and Perez-Stable’s espionage role will be revealed in detail. Your latest article will then be reduced to a whitewash.

Sincerely,

Dr. Antonio de la Cova

4 comments:

wondering said...

I believe Alfonso Chardy also wrote a 2/15 front-page Herald article on this year's Cuban Memorial (for documented victims of the Castro regime). Above a photo of a field of white funeral crosses in Tamiami Park, the headline read "Honoring Castro's Foes." Notice the word FOES instead of VICTIMS. In the text of the article, the memorial was said to be "honoring victims of the Castro regime", but that phrase was set off in quotation marks by itself, as if to suggest that it was the quoted opinion or position of people behind the event, but not necessarily that of the writer, or the Herald, or even the truth. Accident? Oversight? Freudian slip? One wonders.

cynic said...

Good luck with that letter, Dr. de la Cova. If the Herald actually gave a shit, this wouldn't have been an issue in the first place.

no sale said...

The Perez-Stable Herald column ran yesterday (2/14) as it normally does every two weeks. Not a word in it about the Simmons charges. Apparently, it's totally business as usual for the Herald, and it didn't even press her to discuss the matter for the public's benefit. I seriously doubt she'll do that on her own initiative, other than generically bemoaning "McCarthyite tactics" without addressing or denying specific points raised by Simmons.

This is not only completely unsatisfactory but insulting to the Cuban-American community, not that it's anything new. But I suppose we should try to look at it from what seems to be the Herald's perspective: we're just a bunch of yappy damn Chihuahuas, and our concerns are irrelevant. As long as people like Joe Oglesby are satisfied, that's all that matters.

I hope McClatchy is pleased with what the Herald is doing to shore up the company's plummeting share prices. Way to go.

no sale said...

In my comment above, the date for the latest Perez-Stable column in the Herald should have been 8/14.