Friday, August 30, 2013

Odds and ends

·         Fidel Castro was moved to take pen to paper in yesterday’s Granma by the Russian newspaper story that suggested that Cuba bent to U.S. pressure and denied permission to NSA leaker Edward Snowden to enter Cuban territory.  Fidel doesn’t deny that Cuba said “no” to Snowden, but he says it’s a “lie” that U.S. pressure was the reason.  My hunch is that at a time when Snowden was looking for a way our of Moscow and the U.S. government wanted no government to accommodate him, Cuba judged decided for its own reasons that Snowden would be nothing but a headache.

·         Tracey Eaton notes USAID’s new on-line system for reporting grant information and posts this list of Cuba grants.  One small transaction involves Freedom House replacing “the existing travel clause in its entirety with the new travel clause.”

·         National Review on the father of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who in his youth “linked up with Castro’s guerrilla groups and supported their attempts to overthrow Batista,” and came to regret it.

·         In recently released Nixon White House tapes, our 37th President talks with his staff about the FBI investigation of the Watergate break-in, where his campaign’s burglars entered the headquarters of the Democratic Party.  He wonders why the FBI director doesn’t cooperate in steering the investigation in a way favorable to the White House (“What’s the matter with Pat Gray,” he asks).  He urges the squelching of a line of investigation involving Cuban Americans in Miami, saying the FBI should be told it would “open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again.”

·         A document on the U.S. intelligence budget leaked to the Washington Post summarizes counterintelligence priorities – Cuba is included, but so are allies and U.S. aid recipients such as Pakistan and Israel: “To further safeguard our classified networks, we continue to strengthen insider threat detection capabilities across the Community. In addition, we are investing in target surveillance and offensive CI against key targets, such as China, Russia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and Cuba.”

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