Obviously not having learned from questionable claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Bush administration is recycling the charge uttered by the very definition of a loose cannon, John Bolton earlier this year that Cuba was developing dual use bioweapons technology and selling it to rogue states.
Here's what a Bush administration official said last year to the Washington Post on this subject:
A Bush administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Cuba has "a number of projects that are what could be dual-use things, but they're probably not. . . . It's a question more of them exciting suspicions by not being open. I don't know of any tangible stuff that shows yes, they are making anthrax [or anything else]. There is stuff we don't know about."
Here's what Assistant Secretary of State for Hemispheric Affairs said to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday:
Noriega was responding to a question from Sen. Christopher Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, who asked why Washington continued to enforce a four-decade sanctions regime against Havana.
Dodd quoted Secretary of State Colin Powell as having said Cuba did not constitute a military threat to the United States and asked: "If it is no longer a threat, why would we maintain those restrictions?"
"We continue ... to believe that Cuba has at least a limited, developmental, offensive biological weapons research and development effort and is providing dual-use biotechnology to other rogue states," said Noriega, the top U.S. diplomat for Latin America.
"There are various aspects of the sort of threat that Cuba might represent," he said, adding that this position was not inconsistent with Powell's statement.
If you read this blog regularly, you'll agree that my position regarding Cuba is clear and unambiguous: pro-democracy, pro-human rights, anti-Castro.
That being said, this really strikes me as silly. While I certainly wouldn't have put it past them when Cuba was a Soviet client state, it's worth noting the last paragraph in this story published today:
Washington, which lists Cuba along with North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iran and Sudan as states that sponsor terrorism, twice accused Castro's government last year of running a biological weapons program. Bush officials making the charges failed to produce any evidence. [my emphasis]
God, don't they ever learn?