Sunday, November 12, 2006

OTTO REICH: Funeral for a liar

BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD – Granma International staff writer –

IF lying was a life-threatening disease, Otto Reich would have been on his deathbed long ago: his latest feats of deception, along with his grotesque personality, show how an individual with a proven criminal past can continue to make headlines and manipulate the U.S. public, with the complicity of the media.

On October 26, Reich published an article on the Internet that has now become – without a doubt – the most spectacular piece of foolishness in his little-known career as a misinformation specialist.

That day, the former U.S. Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere for the Secretary of State in the Bush administration, announced with the utmost seriousness that if Fidel Castro was not dead already, he would be within a matter of hours, and that “Confirmation of the terminal illness comes from the usual sources but in a non-conventional manner.”

He added, with the tone of one who knows everything and more, that “The Cuban government has been summoning to Havana representatives of the major international media to negotiate the best seats, camera angles, and interviews with the despot’s political survivors, and to inform them of the ground rules for coverage of the state funeral.”

What follows is really mind-blowing: Reich confides to his readers the model for this funeral, coming straight out of his imagination – as sick as it is cynical: that of Pope John Paul II.

Bush’s former advisor on Latin America follows with a ridiculous description of an event that never took place.

This memorable piece of writing – which has certainly contributed to the permanent misinformation campaign carried out under the Bush Plan for Cuba – is accompanied by an indulgent note mentioning that Otto J. Reich collaborated with George W. Bush from 2001 to 2004, first as assistant secretary of state and then on the National Security Council.


His official biography, available through U.S. embassies in Latin America when he was a White House official, left out his most important exploits: how he helped Félix Rodríguez Mendigutía, the official who in the name of the CIA ordered Che to be murdered, and Luis Posada Carriles, the most dangerous terrorist on the continent, in covering up the massive drugs-for-arms trafficking that supplied the Nicaraguan Contra forces.

Reich, when he was U.S. ambassador in Caracas, Venezuela, orchestrated the entry of Posada’s accomplice, Orlando Bosch Avila, to U.S. territory.

Born accidentally in Cuba in 1945 to an Austrian father, Reich got married to the CIA at the University of North Carolina, thanks Frank Calzón, who guided his path to the White House.

After spending two years in the ranks of the U.S. Army in Panama, Reich moved to Miami in 1972, where the CIA JM/WAVE

station flourished, carrying out anti-Cuba terrorist operations. That is also where Porter Goss was stationed, who was later to become CIA director under George Bush Jr., as well as a large number of other terrorists who reappeared in the following years in a succession of crimes, from Watergate to Operation Condor.


Reich appeared in the U.S. public eye when George Bush Sr., former head of the CIA, was vice president (under Reagan). Reich was then appointed director of the Latin America Department of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where John Bolton was general counsel.

He then became chief of the so-called Office of Public Diplomacy, a CIA invention to use State Department cover for cover-up and misinformation work. He was under the orders of Colonel Oliver North.

Years later, a report from the General Accountant Office revealed to Congress the nature of the deception operations carried out by Reich in the U.S. dirty war in Nicaragua. The U.S. public then discovered how, using taxpayers money, he had fabricated a series of gross lies with the goal of misinforming both citizens and politicians.

He published news claiming that the Sandinistas were persecuting Misquito Indians, and that they had purchased a number of Mig-29 fighter planes from the Soviet Unions to prepare air attacks against the United States. He went so far as to order the fabrication of false statements attributed to the names of the Contra’s mercenary ringleaders.

Reich published announcements asking for donations for the Contra – as a way of justifying the appearance of the drug-trafficking money, raised by his cohorts in Ilopango, in the bank accounts of anti-Sandinista mercenaries in the Grand Cayman Islands and Switzerland.

With the ostentatious title of Special Counsel for Public Diplomacy of the State Department, he remained in permanent contact with Félix Rodríguez and Luis Posada, who, from the Ilopango air base in El Salvador, were directing the trafficking that was later exposed in the Coca-Contra scandal.


When the operation “blew up,” Reich was suddenly named U.S. ambassador in Caracas, Venezuela. There, he carried out the mission of taking care of the case of Orlando Bosch, who was in prison for the murderous attack on a Cubana Aviation airliner. He got Bosch a friendly ruling from a military court.

Bosch was already known as a dangerous terrorist: he had publicly admitted – in an interview published in the New York Times on May 3, 1977 – his responsibility in more than 50 attacks carried out by the CORU organization.

Bosch arrived in the United States on May 17, 1988 with a visa illegally obtained for him by Reich, despite contrary orders from State Department officials, and was immediately arrested for having violated parole years before.

In July 1990, after a campaign unleashed by Reich, Congressional candidate Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, her campaign director Jeb Bush, and their buddies in the Miami mafia, George Bush authorized – without great risk – the release of the murderous pediatrician.

In 1991 and 1992, Reich — there is no limit to his shamelessness – represented the United States in the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

In 1996, he founded RMA International, and received $600,000 from the Bacardi corporation for protecting its interests and facilitating the murderous Helms-Burton Act, signed by Bill Clinton on March 12, 1996 in the midst of the Special Period in Cuba.

In January 2002, Otto Juan Reich was chosen as assistant secretary of state, despite opposition from Congress, which refused to give its consent to such a scandalous appointment.

It is now known how, that very year, he encouraged several conspirators to carry out their unsuccessful coup d’état against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and how he led the misinformation campaign.

In 2003, forced to step down, he became a “special envoy for Western Hemisphere initiatives,” given that it allowed him to carry out other “initiatives,” such as preparing the coup against Haitian President Aristide and the creation of the presidential Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, which created the Bush Plan and its secret appendixes with plans for aggression.

Reich resigned on May 4, 2004, to be a self-employed lobbyist and dedicate himself full-time – with the complicity of media agencies that pretend to ignore his past and use him as a refernce – to his specialty: lying.

His last exclusive, however, could mark the end of what was left of his marketing value. And his political death, given that there has to be a limit to the fun, even with carte blanche from the Bush clan.