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PostCereijo, Bejucal, China and Cuba's adversary foreign intelligence (Bill Ratliff,US) (John Eipper, USA, 03/04/06 9:49 am)
Bill Ratliff sends: Cereijo, Bejucal, China and Cuba's adversary foreign intelligence
Manuel Cereijo's Cuba's adversary foreign intelligence (http://www.canf.org/2005/1in/noticias-de-Cuba/2005-ago-16-cuba's-adversary-foreign.htm), posted six or seven years prior to my writing now in mid-March 2006, but up-dated as recently as mid-2004, contains very serious and misleading mistakes. Even if the author takes it down or revises it, people who have read and filed it over those years need to understand its inaccuracies. The author argues that Cuba has a highly sophisticated intelligence network at Bejucal near Havana and that China is involved there. This is almost certainly true in some degree, making it all the more important that we find credible evidence as to the sort and degree of cooperation and what effect its product has on the interests of the United States and others. Given the current level of hysteria in some American quarters about expanding Chinese activities in Latin America, it is essential to try conscientiously to separate fact from fiction in this often murky area of intelligence investigation.
The main problem with this article is that it underlines alleged critically important cooperation and consequences by including a photograph of a truly awesome complex of radar domes with the capital letter caption: GOLF BALL-SHAPED RADAR DOMES: BEJUCAL BASE CUBA. Above and below the photograph the text says, among other things, On dry land, guards patrol high fences surrounding acres of huge golf ball-shaped radar domes. . . They are trolling a vast sea of electromagnetic signals . . . . These words, accompanied by the photo, are pretty sobering, scary stuff.
But when I visited Bejucal three years ago I saw nothing of the sort. And I saw nothing because there is no such complex of GOLF BALL-SHAPED RADAR DOMES at Bejucal and thus there are no high fences with guards patrolling them either. I have confirmed my on-the-spot visual conclusion by studying aerial photographs of the base with my colleague David Oppenheimer. We searched coordinates (22 degrees, 56' 00", 23' 30) we had found on our own (and were later given to us also by Cereijo as the location of the domes) and confirmed that there is nothing even remotely resembling that complex there. (The aerial photos are now in the Hoover Institution Archives.) In sum, the juxtaposition of the photograph of an awesome complex that isn't really there with very serious allegations, based in part on the domes that aren't really there, significantly muddies the discussion of an important issue of intelligence cooperation that must be examined on the basis of facts not fantasy.
Not entirely fantasy, for the facility in the photograph does exist, just not in Cuba. It is indeed one of the most awesome and sophisticated bases in the world, very well worth being scared of if it is operated by one's real or imagined enemies. But it is run by the United States, the Menwith Hill Station in the United Kingdom (http://www.fas.org/irp/facility/menwith.htm). Cereijo would not identify the source of the photograph but Oppenheimer found that it was taken by Duncan Campbell at about the time of Cereijo's original article, though certainly not passed on by the photographer to Cereijo. Indeed Campbell originally published the photo along with an article entitled Inside Echelon (http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/6/6929/1.html) discussing among other things the very low quality of so much analysis and reporting on international communications surveillance and how much harm that kind of analysis and reporting can do. Events in the early 21st century have simply underlined the potentially tragic consequences of decisions made on the basis of mistaken or deliberately falsified intelligence like that presented in Cereijo's article.
Plan to attend the WAIS conference on "Critical World Issues " at Stanford July 31-August 1, 2006. It will be a rare opportunity to meet other WAISers. Tell interested friends.
Ronald Hilton, Editor, 2006