Babalú Exclusive: How to derail a spy chieftain’s propaganda operation — by Chris Simmons

We are proud to bring our readers an exclusive report from spy-catcher Lt. Col. Chris Simmons:

How to Derail a Spy Chieftain’s Propaganda Operation

By Chris Simmons

Step 1:  Know the Players – Will the Real “Nestor García” Please Stand Up?

Doctor García now works at Cuba’s Institute for International Relations (ISRI), but before his retirement, he devoted his life to spying against the United States.  Following a long and highly successful espionage tour in the US, Colonel Néstor García Iturbe took the reins of the Superior Institute of Intelligence (ISI) in approximately 1995. The ISI is Cuba’s training center for all of its civilian intelligence officers.

Colonel García was a senior officer in Havana’s primary foreign intelligence service, the Directorate of Intelligence.  In the DI, he served extensively in the elite Department known as “M-I.”  This element, known as “US Targets,” is focused against the US government and academic community.  The pinnacle of Colonel García’s intelligence career seems to have been his 14 years under diplomatic cover at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations (CMUN) [1974-1988].  According to former DI officer Juan Reyes-Alonso, García may have headed all of the DI’s CMUN-based operations during the 1980s.  For over 50 years, CMUN has served as the Havana’s primary hub for its spy operations in the United States.

Step 2:  Follow the Logic of the Scenario

Now in his early 70s and living comfortably in Havana, Colonel García has served as the regime’s informal spokesman on national security issues since 2005.  His writings regularly appear in various government publications or on his personal website, Rebelión. Often citing his commentary as personal opinion, there is – in reality – little room for sunlight between Colonel García’s opinion and the official regime position.

This scenario begs several questions, starting with why would García travel to the opposite end of the island to give this intriguing interview in the mining town of Moa, near Guantanamo province?  Why did the Cuban print media not carry the story?  Why didn’t García cross-post the interview to his website?  While a few small blogs cited the video, the storyline never got serious traction.  In fact, there is no evidence that any Cuban media outlet pushed the video, which as of this morning had received just 220 views in six months. Finally, why would such a senior ISRI official allow such an important foreign policy issue to lie dormant on the Internet, a venue not widely used in Cuba?

It seems logical that his YouTube interview regarding the trade of six convicted Cuban spies for jailed American Alan Gross was never intended for the Cuban people.

Given the DI’s vast experience in propaganda, I suspect the regime intentionally conducted this interview in a desolate secondary market and then quietly planted it on the Internet.  Known as “seeding a story,” García’s statements are clearly intended for foreign media consumption.

Had his interview been disseminated by regime media, the US response would have been immediate and visceral – “No Exchange.”  However, by seeding the video so it could eventually be found by foreign media, the spy trade discussion would originate in the US or a third nation.  Havana would then quickly distance itself from Garcia’s comments and in a masterful piece of media manipulation, offer to consider any viable terms for an exchange since the discussion started abroad.

Step 3:  Spike the Mission

Unfortunately for Havana, Colonel García is far too well known within certain US circles and its propaganda efforts far too unimaginative and predictable.  It was a decent plan and could have worked if no one had been paying attention.  I almost feel sorry for seeing the DI waste so many precious resources…..almost.

4 thoughts on “Babalú Exclusive: How to derail a spy chieftain’s propaganda operation — by Chris Simmons”

  1. I suggest swapping Professor Carlos Alvarez, his wife Elsa Prieto and Silvia “Flippity” Wilhelm for Alan Gros.

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