On July 12th the Travel Channel ran an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” where he travels to Cuba highlighting the food, people, sights and sounds, etc. At the end he gushes: “Yes, go to Cuba!” This probably strikes most Travel Channel viewers as perfectly innocent and as professionally appropriate.
Here’s some background information mostly unknown to Travel Channel viewers:
Neck to neck with Hugo Chavez subsidies, Castro’s Stalinist regime lives off of tourism. And Cuba’s intelligence and military sector owns 80 percent of the tourist industry, as documented to Congress by retired Defense Intelligence Agency Cuba analyst, Lt. Col. Chris Simmons. Therefore, yet another Travel Channel infomercial (Zimmern visited in 2009) for Cuba was a godsend to the Stalinist nomenklatura—especially right now with their Venezuelan sugar daddy in perilous health.
Those charming, smiling hosts who escorted Bourdain around Castro’s fiefdom were all regime apparatchiks. Immediately upon applying for his Cuban visa, well before Bourdain even set foot in Cuba, Castro’s intelligence had Bourdain completely investigated and his future escorts completely briefed. The procedure started the day he applied for a Cuban visa, as also explained by Lt. Col. Christopher Simmons. That your official “guides” while visiting a Communist nation are regime apparatchiks was common knowledge even to proto-imbeciles all during the Cold War. Bourdain was born in 1956.
Mr Simmons is a Lieutenant Colonel who specialized in Cuban counterintelligence and spy-catching and recently retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency. In 25 years as a U.S. military counterintelligence officer, Lt. Col. Simmons ended the operations of 80 enemy agents, many of whom are today behind bars. He played a key role in cracking what is considered America’s most “damaging spy scandal since the end of the Cold War.” This spy scandal featured Ana Montes, awarded the “Certificate of Distinction,” and promoted by the Clinton administration to head the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Cuba division. Due partly to Lt. Col. Simmons’ investigative work, on September 20th 2001 (under Bush), Ms. Montes was arrested by the FBI as a Castro spy and accused of the same crime as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. After conviction, only a plea bargain allowed the Clinton administration’s top “Cuba expert” to escape the fate of the Rosenbergs.
“Yes, go to Cuba!” exhorted Bourdain at the end of the show. And that’s the vital matter for Cuba’s Stalinist regime – especially right now with Hugo Chavez undergoing cancer treatment. Bourdain’s visa-issuers got a fabulous return. As I write, the Travel Channel’s Bourdain page links to the Castro-regime-owned Hotel Nacional, for quick and easy reservations.
We’re told Bourdain is quite “feisty” and “spunky.” Certainly against Tea Partiers, or “marginal, very angry white people” who remind him of “George Wallace voters and the murderer of Martin Luther King.”
He also snarks against the James Beard Foundation: “An insular, elitist organization more interested in an ego-stroke than the well-being of the people it purports to honor. I’ve been loudly peeing on this organization at every opportunity for years.”
But if only he’d demonstrated 1⁄100 of his vaunted “spunk” and “feistiness” against a regime that jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin during the Great Terror, murdered more Cubans than Hitler murdered Germans during the Night of Long Knives, and craved to nuke his homeland.
It’s an old story, actually. Where have we seen this lion to lamb metamorphosis before? Try Dan Rather, Andrea Mitchell, Barbara Walters, etc. etc. They say weird things happen in the Bermuda Triangle. I say much weirder things happen in the Florida Straits. Let a mainstream media reporter confront a Republican official, and he’s a roaring, jabbing Torquemada. North of the Florida Straits and in front of Republicans, no question is too rude, irrelevant or offensive; no demeanor too haughty, combative or insolent.
But just let these identical paragons of “feistiness” cross the Florida Straits and find themselves in front of “President” Castro or any of his apparatchiks. Then they fawn and grovel.
Predictably, Bourdain snarks at travel and food-writers who “crassly commercialize” their reviews, for instance, in the “World’s 50 Best List.” “The guys who put together that list all call each other and horse trade. It’s good for business, it’s good for chefs, but I mean, no one takes it seriously. It’s not even a popularity contest, it is a list brokered by a lot of people with common interests. They’re in the business.”
Not that any conceivable “horse-trading” transpired between the Travel Channel and the Stalinist apparatchiks who issued the Travel Channel’s visas.
In a 1985 interview KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov explained his former employer’s recruitment process:
Cynical, ego-centric people who can look into your eyes with angelic expression and tell you a lie – these are the most recruitable people for us; people who lack moral principals – who are either too greedy or who suffer from exaggerated self-importance. These are the people the KGB wants and finds easiest to recruit.
Please, I don’t claim that Bourdain acts (wittingly) as a foreign agent. But for some reason Bezmenov’s description caught my eye—especially regarding the disproportionate number of Communist apologists found among celebrity ranks.