Cold War Spy Games Show the Moral Bankruptcy of the US National Security State

by | Dec 20, 2014


Rolando Sarraff Trujillo, the Cuban government official who was released from prison as part of a spy trade between the US government and Cuba, is being hailed by US officials as a hero. Of course, that’s not the view of the Cuban government, which considers Sarraff a traitor.

At the same time, former US officials Walter Kendall Myers and his spouse Gwendolyn Myers, who spied for Cuba, are considered bad people by the US government. US officials say that by sending classified information to Cuba, they betrayed their country and that that’s why they’re now jailed in a federal penitentiary.

In its story yesterday about Sarraff, the New York Times referred to the “spy vs. spy drama between the United States that played on long after the end of the Cold War and years after Cuba ceased to be a serious threat to the United States.”

Serious threat? Pray tell: When was Cuba ever any threat to the United States?

But that certainly is the notion that is ingrained in every single student in US public schools and probably most US private schools.

Let’s consider reality.

Cuba has never attacked or invaded the United States or even threatened to do so. Never.

Cuba, which US officials have long denominated an official sponsor of terrorism, has never initiated even one terrorist attack on American soil. Never.

Cuba has also never tried to assassinate any US official or private American citizen. Never.

Cuba has never imposed an economic embargo against the United States. Never.

In fact, it has always been the opposite.

The US government, operating through the CIA and CIA-trained Cuban exiles, invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in a sneak attack and without a congressional declaration of war.

The US government initiated terrorist attacks on Cuban soil.

The US government repeatedly attempted to assassinate Cuba’s president Fidel Castro.

The US government has maintained an economic embargo against Cuba for more than 50 years, which, in combination with Castro’s socialist economic programs, has been intended to squeeze the lifeblood out of the Cuban people as a way to bring “regime change” to the island.

In fact, to this day — some 25 years after the end of the Cold War, the US government is still involved in regime-change operations in Cuba, as reflected by USAID’s ZunZuneo twitter program of a few years ago, and, more recently, revelations that USAID tried to infiltrate Cuba’s hip-hop scene with the intent of inciting a revolution against the Castro regime among Cuban youth.

Cuba has never engaged in regime-change operations within the United States. Never.

What about the Cuban Missile Crisis, during which the Soviet Union installed nuclear missiles in Cuba? They were intended to deter another US military invasion of Cuba, which the Pentagon and the CIA were exhorting President Kennedy to do. If the Soviets had intended to attack the United States, they would have fired those nuclear missiles. They didn’t. Instead, as soon as President Kennedy promised to never invade Cuba, the Soviet missiles were withdrawn.

Ever since Fidel Castro assumed power as president, it has always been the US government that has been the threat to Cuba rather than the other way around.

Why Castro? The answer is simple: Castro is a communist.

Now, consider this hypothetical: It’s 1962. You walk into a political-science class at Harvard. The professor is telling his students, “I am proud to be a socialist. I believe most fervently in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, and public schooling, all of which are core programs in Fidel Castro’s communist Cuba. I also support Franklin Roosevelt’s seizure of all gold belonging to private Americans and its permanent expropriation by the US government. I also support President Truman’s nationalization of the American steel industry and I wish he had done more of that. I believe in price controls and minimum-wage laws. I have studied Marxism all my life and firmly believe that that’s the way America should continue going. I am a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA.”

At that point, you walk down to the front of the class, pull out a gun, and shoot and kill that communist professor.

At your trial, you move to dismiss the murder charge against you. The judge asks you the grounds for your motion to dismiss. You say: “We are involved in a cold war against the communists, who are coming to get us and take over our nation and run the IRS, the Interstate Highway System, and the rest of the federal government. That man was an enemy of America. He was a communist. Under the laws of war, I had the right to kill him. I was keeping America safe and secure.”

What would the judge say? He would say, “Motion to dismiss denied” and he would proceed to trial. You would be convicted of murder and be sentenced accordingly.

That’s because the state law of Massachusetts governs your conduct, just as the US Constitution is supposed to govern the conduct of the CIA and the Pentagon and the rest of the federal government.

Where in the Constitution does it authorize US officials to murder someone who happens to be a communist?

Where in the Constitution does it authorize US officials to invade and wage a war of aggression against an independent nation simply because its government is headed by a communist?

Where in the Constitution does it authorize US officials to initiate terrorist strikes within a foreign nation simply because its government is headed by a communist?

Where in the Constitution does it authorize US officials to impose an economic embargo, which is a grave infringement on freedom of travel and the economic liberty of the American people, on a foreign nation whose government is headed by a communist?

Where in the Constitution does it authorize US officials to carry out regime-change operations in foreign countries?

You will search in vain for any such constitutional authority.

For that matter, there is also no moral or religious authority for murdering a person because he happens to hold a philosophical, political, religious, or economic belief system that happens to be different from that of other people.

There is an important distinction between the people who were spying for Cuba and the people who were spying for the United States.

At worst, the people who were spying for Cuba were delivering information that concerned US aggression against Cuba, such as plans to assassinate Castro, to enforce the embargo more brutally, to initiate more terrorist strikes in Cuba, or even perhaps to invade the island again.

In fact, while we still don’t know precisely the information that the Kendalls delivered to Cuba, since US officials kept it secret as part of their plea bargain with the Kendalls, we do know what the Cuban Five were doing as part of their “spy” activities. They were in Florida not to seek out information that would lead to a Cuban invasion of the United States. Instead, their sole mission was to ferret out and report on planned acts of US terrorism against Cuba. For that, they were considered by US officials to be bad people, which is why they sent them to US federal penitentiaries to serve out long jail terms.

The decades-long saga between Cuba and the United States, including the latest spy games, only goes to show what the old decrepit Cold War national-security state apparatus has done to warp and pervert the values, principles, and consciences of the American people. Not only should the Cuban embargo be tossed into the dustbin of history, so should the entire Cold War national-security state apparatus.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.


  • Jacob G. Hornberger

    Jacob George Hornberger is an American attorney, author, and politician who was a Libertarian candidate for president in 2000 and 2020. He is the founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.