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by BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD
Saturday, May. 22, 2004 at 11:12 PM
RSF chief Robert Ménard has always denied his links with the CIA. The White House has now seen fit to inform the public that these links are an evident reality.
THE 423-page report by the Commission For Assistance to a Free Cuba – the anti-Cuban “transition” commission of George W. Bush and his buddies in Miami – states that support to NGO’s in certain third countries devoting their time to highlighting human rights abuses in Cuba as part of widespread efforts to discourage tourist travel is to be increased.
The description could not be more clear: it refers to an “NGO” from a “third country” that for several years now has been devoting its time to discouraging tourist travel to Cuba. The only thing that is missing from the report is to clearly spell out the name: Reporters sans frontières, Parisian Robert Ménard’s disinformation machine that undertakes this work on behalf of the CIA, and is widely linked to other U.S. intelligence collaborators located in Miami.
Ménard’s links with Miami have been extensively documented although only thanks to the reports in Miami’s El Nuevo Herald, in which his buddy Nancy Pérez Crespo described the supposed success of his collaboration. Later, she received him in person in that same city. There, Ménard, a reformed left-winger, had the opportunity to parade himself alongside various figures from South Florida’s extreme right, all of them widely linked to anti-Cuban terrorism.
Ménard has always denied his links with the CIA.
The White House has now seen fit to inform the public that these links are an evident reality.
The White House blunder was accompanied by the announcement of a substantial increase in the budget allocated to aid mercenary NGOs, from million up to million.
No less than an increase of million.
IN THE GOLDEN SALONS OF THE INTERCONTINENTAL
A few days ago, in a luxurious salon of Paris’ Intercontinental Hotel, 93 individuals – the most famous of “tout Paris” – came together to take part in an auction of disposable cameras that one of these individuals had used to take pictures during his private life. Undoubtedly an original idea that also managed to attract a large audience to the immense golden-walled salon.
This spectacular assembly was convened by Reporters sans Frontières and its general secretary (apparently for life) Robert Ménard.
Included in the list of participants that Ménard hastened to publish on his website, are the names of individuals who are truly respected – for their talent at least – in France and even, in the case of the most universal, in Cuba.
There were actresses Juliette Binoche, Sophie Marceau and Laetitia Casta; singers Renaud, Maxime LeForestier, Patrick Bruel and Francis Cabrel; filmmakers Claude Chabrol and Claude Zidi; fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld; and many other unquestionably celebrated names from the French capital.
The object of the event was, of course, to raise funds for the professed “work” of Reporters sans Frontières: defending press freedom. What a noble objective… which no one could refuse to endorse!
Those funds publicly raised from the auction at the Intercontinental Hotel were innocent. Some 53,000 euros, an insignificant sum, barely covering the expenditure required for three month’s rent at the RSF offices in the United States – specifically in New York and, of course, Miami.
EXTREMELY COLORFUL SPONSORS
There are other funds from much more interesting sponsors.
There are those awarded by worldwide advertising corporation Publicis, a Paris-based multinational that now controls a large proportion of the world’s advertising market. Through Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, Publicis provides free promotion services for RSF at the same level at some of their largest fee-paying clients, including none other than the U.S. Army and Mafiosi rum firm Bacardí.
There are also the funds from Vivendi, where Jean-Marie Messier reined until recently. It was discovered that he almost forced the multinational into bankruptcy by illegally investing billions of euros in the United States; money that had been siphoned off from a reserve intended to repair the aqueduct network throughout dozens of neighborhoods in France. It is Vivendi Universal Publishing Services that guarantees Ménard what he needs in terms of promotional material.
And the funds from his friend Jean-Guy Lagardère, the arms dealer who died recently, and those of Serge Dassault, another arms dealer of worldwide repute.
Robert Ménard is not afraid of contradictions. And no one in Paris – the so-called City of Light – appears capable of grabbing the spotlight, of denouncing him, of saying to his face that his defense of press freedom is a farce, a fraud, a grotesque tale that does not correspond in the slightest with what he’s actually doing.
The explanation is too simple. No one in Paris, in the world of communications, except perhaps Le Monde Diplomatique, can take the risk of clashing with Publicis. Because, very simply, the advertising giant not only provides advertising income for the whole of the press but also administers the advertising sales of many of them through a subsidiary agency on a daily basis.
And how, under such conditions, could Ménard be denied all the space that he requires to promote himself and circulate slander, lies and libelous comments that are published almost on a daily basis?
With respect to Cuba, the other face of this dangerously multi-faceted individual appears.
His relationship with Frank Calson’s Freedom House is a demonstrated fact, if only on account of his hysterical denials of it and, simultaneously, the respectable portrait he generally paints of the longstanding imperial agent.
Ménard’s links with the CIA were discovered some years ago thanks to the ridiculously “clandestine” activities that he carried out with respect to Cuba.
During a recent interview, Néstor Baguer, veteran Cuban journalist and state security agent, told me of a meeting he had on September 20, 1998 with Ménard, who came to recruit him. At that time and at the request of the Cuban State Security Services, he held the post of president of the Independent Journalists Association.
That day, Ménard mysteriously summoned him to the house of a former prisoner – an alleged “dissident” – whom he had contacted from Paris with that aim in mind.
But Ménard didn’t want to talk to Baguer in the contact’s house. He invited him to leave the house and get into the luxurious car he had rented. He sat in the back with the journalist whilst his helper Regis Borgeat drove the vehicle.
They drove around the central neighborhood of Vedado for an hour, discussing the terms that Reporters sans Frontières would offer its newest recruit.
The patented defender of press freedom employs working methods that are not exactly those you would expect from an NGO leader.
He demonstrated as much a couple of days later when Néstor Baguer was able to pick up a brand new computer from his new boss. Ménard invited him to go to Víctor Hugo Park at a specific time and wait on a park bench until they arrived.
Baguer did just that. Minutes later, Borgeat appeared with the computer in its box and left it with the journalist, disappearing as quickly as he had appeared.
A scene worthy of a John Le Carré novel. However, if the famous British novelist had nothing to do with its staging, the CIA were certainly behind the scenes because this apparently innocent performance by Ménard is from an old script that we’ve seen many times before.
VERY PARTICULAR FRIENDS
In Miami, far from the view of the Parisian court, Ménard strolls about with individuals who do not come highly recommended.
All of them have enthusiastically participated in the fund-raising campaigns for international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles and his accomplices who are currently imprisoned in Panama.
They are individuals who also led the campaign to release Orlando Bosch, the most dangerous terrorist on the continent, according to the U.S. Justice Department itself.
Their names will have to be recalled some day they succeed in unleashing a massacre in Cuba, like the one in Iraq that they have applauded.
These very particular friends begin with Armando Pérez-Castellón, owner of Radio Mambí, leader of the Cuban Unity organization and incorrigible defender of anti-Cuba terrorism, and include Ninoska Lucrecia Pérez Castellón, the diva of Mafioso radio, daughter and wife of a terrorist and a terror propagandist, who said that in the event that the Cuban Revolution was overthrown, they would need to drive a bulldozer all the way from Pinar del Río to Santiago. Another buddy is Agustin Tamargo, a commentator from The Miami Herald who demanded “three days to kill” all revolutionaries after the transition that he dreams of.
As if this were not enough, at the Parisian events that are strictly reserved for the jet set, Ménard surrounds himself with Aida Levitan, from Sanchez & Levitan – Publicis’ Florida subsidiary that takes care of the Coca-Cola and Bell South market for the Spanish-speaking market in the United States; José Valdés-Fauli, former president of the Colonial Bank South Florida, a group valued at billion; Eloy Cepero, another bank owner from Peninsula Mortgage Bankers; Santiago Morales, an industrial machinery manufacturer; and Richard O’Connell, a millionaire from Miami who now lives in Paris.
The strange world of Robert Ménard has no borders, it’s true. The latest information to come from a source close to the enigmatic guru indicates that in order to penetrate Cuba and create his business – currently in liquidation – on the island, he has turned to Marcel Maciel Degollado, the pseudo-prophet from the Legión de Cristo, a Mexican version of Opus Dei.
None of the “stars” that Ménard brought together at the Intercontinental Hotel know any of this.
It would be hard for them to know…press freedom endorsed by Publicis and Vivendi leaves no space for subversive literature.
One further detail. Just a tiny one. The Intercontinental Hotel that regularly provides its gold-painted rooms free of charge to Ménard is the property of the U.S. hotel chain of the same name – the self-proclaimed “largest worldwide” chain on the planet – with 3,500 hotels and 535,000 rooms.
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