Obama’s Back Channel to Cuba: Events Leading to Historic Breakthrough Revealed in Updated Book (in Spanish)


Washington, DC, December 18, 2015 – On the first anniversary of the historic breakthrough in U.S.-Cuban relations, the National Security Archive announced that the book,
Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana, has been released in Spanish under the title, Diplomacia Encubierta con Cuba: Historia de las Negociaciones Secretas Entre Washington y La Habana. The book was published last week in Mexico by Fondo de Cultura y Economica.

The Spanish edition follows the November publication by the University of North Carolina press of the updated, paperback edition of the book, written by Archive Cuba Documentation Project Director Peter Kornbluh and American University Professor William M. LeoGrande. The revised edition contains a comprehensive, new, 15,000 word epilogue revealing how the Obama administration and the government of Raul Castro secretly negotiated a historic detente between the two nations, and bringing the history of back channel diplomacy through to the raising of the U.S. flag over the Embassy in Havana.

According to Kornbluh, “The story of back channel diplomacy between Washington and Havana, which dates all the way back to the Kennedy era, is now complete.”

As a timely and immediately relevant history, Back Channel to Cuba has received significant acclaim. Last year, the editors at Foreign Affairs called it an “exhaustive and masterful diplomatic history” and picked it as a “best book of the year.” On November 19, 2015, in a ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin room of the Department of State, the American Academy of Diplomacy gave the book the Douglas Dillon award for best diplomatic history.

Para seguir: http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/news/20151218-Back-Channel-to-Cuba-Published-in-Spanish

SECRET CIA REPORT: Pinochet “Personally Ordered” Washington Car-Bombing

bookPInochetPRESIDENT REAGAN INFORMED THAT PINOCHET’s ROLE WAS “a blatant example of a chief of state’s direct involvement in an act of state terrorism”
National Security Archive Seeks Declassification of CIA Assessment in the Letelier-Moffitt Assassinations
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 532
Edited by Peter Kornbluh
Posted – October 9, 2015

Washington D.C., October 8, 2015 – The CIA concluded that there was “convincing evidence” that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet “personally ordered his intelligence chief to carry out the murder” of exiled critic Orlando Letelier in Washington D.C., according to a SECRET memo prepared for President Ronald Reagan in 1987. “Pinochet decided to stonewall on the US investigation to hide his involvement,” the CIA review also noted, and as part of the cover-up considered “even the elimination of his former intelligence chief,” DINA director Manuel Contreras, who had overseen the assassination plot.
The CIA intelligence review remains classified. But it was quoted in a dramatic report to President Reagan, dated on October 6, 1987, from his Secretary of State, George Shultz, as part of his efforts to convince the president to cut U.S. ties to Pinochet and press for the return of democracy in Chile. “The CIA has never before drawn and presented its conclusion that such strong evidence exists of his [Pinochet’s] leadership role in this act of terrorism,” the Secretary of State informed the President. Continuar leyendo “SECRET CIA REPORT: Pinochet “Personally Ordered” Washington Car-Bombing”

Prelude to Iguala: “Heavy-handed police tactics” used against Ayotzinapa students in 2011

U.S. Ambassador Wayne said state was “blaming victims” and “denying any responsibility
National Security Archive News Alert
Edited by Michael Evans
Posted – October 7, 2015

Washington, DC, October 7, 2015 – U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne said that “evidence of heavy-handed police tactics” was “strong and disconcerting” after a 2011 clash with student protestors from Ayotzinapa normal school left two youths and a gas station employee dead and several others wounded, according to a declassified cable from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.

Authorities in the Mexican state of Guerrero “reacted defensively and insensitively by blaming the victims and denying any responsibility” for their part in what the Embassy cable called a “chaotic student protest” in which “both police and protestors resorted to violent tactics.”

The newly-declassified cable was obtained by the National Security Archive under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and was the focus of an article published today by the award-winning team of investigative journalists at Mexico’s Aristegui Noticias.

The deadly 2011 incident against students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Normal School in Ayotzinapa came less than three years before 43 students from the university were disappeared and six others were killed after being detained by police forces in Iguala, Guerrero on the night of September 25-26, 2014. More than a year later, the federal government’s theory about what happened that night lies in ruins, and the families of the victims are no closer to knowing the fates of their loved ones.

Last month, a group of independent investigators invited by the Mexican government and appointed by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights of the Organization of American States rejected the government’s version of the 2014 case, which held that a cabal of local politicians, municipal police forces and members of a drug gang had kidnapped and killed the students before burning the bodies at a garbage dump. The group of experts said the government lacked physical evidence connecting the alleged perpetrators to the case, that security forces had tortured many of the witnesses, and that a fire in which the government claims the bodies were burned could not have happened.

(…)

http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/news/20151007-prelude-to-iguala-heavy-handed-police-tactics-against-ayotzinapa-students/

OBAMA’S SECRET DIPLOMACY WITH CUBA New Revelations

backchannelpaperbackcoverWashington D.C., August 13, 2015 – On the eve of Secretary of State John Kerry’s historic trip to Havana tomorrow to raise the American flag over the newly reopened U.S. Embassy, the National Security Archive today distributed a ground-breaking article revealing key details of the behind-the-scenes political operations and secret negotiations that have led to the normalization of diplomatic relations.

The article appears in the September issue of Mother Jones magazine and was written by Archive analyst Peter Kornbluh and American University Professor William M. LeoGrande. The article is adapted from the revised edition of their book, Back Channel To Cuba: the Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana, to be published by the University of North Carolina Press in October 2015.

Among the new revelations:

Prior to the ultra-sensitive talks conducted by the Obama White House to restore normal diplomatic relations, two of Hillary Clinton’s top aides conducted a two-year secret dialogue with Cuban Foreign Ministry officials focused on exchanging imprisoned U.S. citizen Alan Gross for the “Cuban Five” spies who were serving lengthy jail sentences in the United States.

The secret talks between White House officials and Cuban negotiators close to Raul Castro came to an impasse in June 2014 over the administration’s demand that, in addition to Gross, Cuba release a CIA asset who had passed intelligence to the U.S. in the 1990s that led to the arrest of the Cuban Five spy network. Continuar leyendo “OBAMA’S SECRET DIPLOMACY WITH CUBA New Revelations”

The Dominican Intervention 1965

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 513
Edited by David Coleman

Washington, D.C., April 28, 2015
LBJ Regretted Ordering U.S. Troops into Dominican Republic in 1965 (…) Dominican Intervention 50 Years Ago Sparked Mainly by Fear of Communists: “I Sure Don’t Want to Wake Up … and Find Out Castro’s in Charge,” President Said
New Transcripts of Key White House Tapes Clarify and Illuminate LBJ’s Personal Role in Decision-Making during the Crisis

– President Lyndon Johnson regretted sending U.S. troops into the Dominican Republic in 1965, telling aides less than a month later, “I don’t want to be an intervenor,” according to new transcripts of White House tapes published today (along with the tapes themselves) for the first time by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).
Johnson ordered U.S. Marines into Santo Domingo 50 years ago today. Three weeks later, he lamented both that the crisis had cost American lives and that it had turned out badly on the ground as well as for the United States’ – and Johnson’s own – political standing. Nevertheless, he insisted he would “do the same thing right this second.”
In conversations with aides captured on the White House taping system, Johnson expressed sharp frustrations, including with the group surrounding exiled President Juan Bosch, whom the United States was supporting. Speaking in late May 1965, Johnson told an adviser, “they have to clean themselves up, as I see it, where we can live with them. Put enough perfume on to kill the odor of killing 20 Americans and wounding 100.”
Johnson’s public explanation for sending the Marines into Santo Domingo was to rescue Americans endangered by civil war conditions in the Dominican Republic. But his main motivation, the tapes and transcripts confirm, was to prevent a Communist takeover. Basing his decision largely on assertions by the CIA and others in the U.S. government that Cuba’s Fidel Castro had been behind the recent uprising, Johnson confided to his national security advisor, “I sure don’t want to wake up … and find out Castro’s in charge.”
That intelligence, along with other information Johnson received during the crisis, turned out to be erroneous – a possibility LBJ himself worried about at the time.
The tapes, transcript and introductory material presented in this posting were provided by David Coleman, former chair of the Presidential Recordings Program at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, and a Fellow at the National Security Archive. As Coleman notes, the materials are revelatory about Johnson’s personal conduct of the crisis and his decision-making style as president. The transcripts, in several cases newly created by Coleman, are crucial to understanding the material on the tapes, which can be hard to decipher and are therefore often of limited usefulness on their own to researchers (…)
http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB513/

RELATED SITES
Telephone Conversations Collection at the LBJ Library
LBJ White House Recordings at the Miller Center, University of Virginia

For more on this context, see: Randall B. Woods, LBJ: Architect of American Ambition (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007), p.633; Alan McPherson, “Misled by Himself: What the Johnson Tapes Reveal About the Dominican Intervention of 1965,” Latin American Research Review, Vol. 38, No. 2 (June 2003): 127-46