"Juan Miguel was never completely alone," says Pedro Porro. "He never smiled. His eyes kept shifting back and forth. It was obvious to me that he was under heavy coercion. He was always surrounded by security agents from the Cuba Interest Section (i.e. Cuban embassy) in Washington D.C. When these agents left him alone for a few seconds, attorney Gregory Craig would hover over Juan Miguel.
"The questions Dan Rather was asking Elian's father during that 60 Minutes interview were being handed to him by attorney Gregory Craig," continues Pedro Porro. "It was obvious that Craig and Rather where on very friendly terms. They were joshing and bantering back and forth, as Juan Miguel sat there petrified. Craig was stage managing the whole thing - almost like a movie director. The taping would stop and he'd walk over to Dan, hand him a little slip of paper, say something into his ear. Then Rather would read the next question into my earpiece straight from the paper."
A reminder: officially (Bill Clinton and Dan Rather crony) Gregory Craig then served as attorney for Elian's father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, who worked as a hotel doorman in a nation where the average monthly salary is $16. The high-rolling Gregory Craig worked for Washington D.C.'s elite firm, Williams & Connolly, one of America's highest-priced law firms.
Upon accepting the case at the Clinton administrations’ behest, Gregory Craig had flown to Cuba for a meeting with Fidel Castro. Craig's remuneration, we learned shortly after his return, came from a "voluntary fund" set up by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society and "administered" by the National Council of Churches. The same reporters and pundits, who routinely erupted with snide snorts midway through any statement by a Republican press secretary, reported this item with a straight face.
Gregory Craig had led the Juan Miguel/Cuban-Security entourage into the studio, then presided over the interview as a movie director. "At one point Craig stopped the taping almost like a movie director yelling, 'Cut!' I was confused for a moment, says Porro, "until Greg Craig complained that Juan Miguel's answers were not coming across from his translator with "sufficient emotion." "So Dan Rather shut everything down for a while and some of the crew drove to a drama school in New York. They hired a dramatic actor to act as a translator, and brought him back!"
Okay roll 'em!
"I probably should have walked out," says Porro. "But I'd been hired by CBS in good faith and I didn't know exactly how the interview would be edited -- how it would come across on the screen. I mighta known, but you never know these things play out until you actually see it."
"Midway through watching that 60 minutes broadcast, I felt like throwing up," said Porro. "My stomach was in a knot." His worst fears were confirmed.
Lara Logan and her 60 minutes crew got snookered by a defense-contractor con-man. They were negligent and admit it. Dan Rather and crew volunteered to help a Stalinist con-man (Fidel Castro) stage a massive farce--a veritable show-trial complete with bogus confessions and coerced testimony. They knowingly snookered the American public.
Worse, most Americans fell for the farce. In their innocence (of Communist tactics) most Americans saw the Elian tragedy as a simple custody dispute, as happen hourly in places like Omaha, Atlanta and Peoria. That’s exactly what Castro, Craig and Rather wanted, expected and got.
Worse still, unlike Lara Logan, Dan Rather and crew never came clean, never admitted guilt as secret police and propaganda assets for the kidnapping of a six year old on behalf of a Stalinist Tyrant.
So who’s the major fraud? Logan or Rather?
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.