Ever Heard of the Cuban 5? When We Look Like the Bad Guys...
by Steven C. Clemons
Sept. 6, 2007
Reprinted from The Washington Note
All I'd need to write here is Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib or Haditha to make the case that America has lost its moral credibility in much of the world. It's tough to make a case against other thugs in the world when we deploy unaccountable thuggery of our own.
But despite that, I think that it's important to continue to fight for what is right and just -- particularly in the cases that are unpleasant.
Did Larry Craig -- someone who really doesn't deserve much support from this blogger -- get screwed by the cops in Minneapolis? Probably so. We all know what constitutes genuinely lewd conduct vs. what is just hitting on someone. But let's leave that for another day.
Another case when weighing justice gets tougher is when national security, foreigners, and fears of espionage are involved. This is in fact the case of five Cuban nationals charged with spying for their government and currently in prison for trying to infiltrate groups in the US who might attack Cuba or Cubans.
I've begun to look into this case as more and more media around the world are kicking the tires of this bizarre legal case in which five men -- who seem rather ordinary to tell you the truth -- have received some of the heaviest prison penalties in the intel business and yet -- didn't seem to have discovered any national secrets and as best as I can tell were not spying on the US government.
I need to learn more about this -- and as readers of this blog know -- I think that US-Cuba relations are important to change gears on -- as a move on this front could appear a harbinger of healthier American engagement in Latin America but also more enlightened US global engagement as well. It would symbolize the peripheralization of interest-group driven foreign policy cabals and finally bury Cold War era deals that have no place in the 21st century.
I'm going to go hear the Cuban 5's attorney, Leonard Weinglass -- who is mentioned in the CNN story above -- make his case. It should be useful and interesting to those who are interested in how real or not the charges against these Cuban nationals are -- and whether there ought to be a difference when people are caught spying on dangerous NGOs or spying on the Pentagon.
The info for the meeting is:
FOREIGN POLICY, POLITICS AND THE LAW: THE CASE OF THE CUBAN FIVE
You are cordially invited to hear noted civil rights lawyer and activist, LEONARD WEINGLASS, speak about this highly controversial case
SEPTEMBER 12, 2007
HOWARD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, MOOT COURT ROOM
2900 VAN NESS STREET, NW WASHINGTON, D.C. 20008
I'm not the organizer of this meeting -- but I find the subject very interesting because it may be the cases involving citizens from Cuba, Iran, Syria, and elsewhere when it is most important to show how "justice" in a fair and impartial legal system is supposed to work.
I have a hunch that some in the Cuban-American community have been more than comfortable with subverting a just legal process to achieve unfair convictions. . .but as I said, I want to learn more.
Someone I know in the military establishment, however, shared with me a bit of information that may very well be classified.
He said that in the many simulations he had been involved with in planning war exercises dealing with Cuba, the simulation called for US military forces to repel attacks from Floridians aimed at Cuba.
That information makes one think that whatever the Cuban Five may have been doing for the Cuban government, fears in Havana were shared by many planning combat exercises in the Pentagon.