What is the U.S. Government Afraid of ?

hernandez

In 2001 Gerardo Hernandez was condemned to two life sentences, one of them for conspiracy to commit murder for the shooting down of two planes of Brothers to the Rescue. Gerardo had nothing to do with the shooting down of these planes on February 24, 1996 and the U.S. Government could present no evidence to the contrary. That was a decision of the Cuban Government in defense of its sovereignty after 26 violations of Cuba’s airspace by this group.

Despite the fact that Gerardo had nothing to do with this incident, the proof of the place where the planes fell holds the key information to this unfortunate episode caused by Brothers to the Rescue. The evidence of NASA satellite images from that day could exonerate Gerardo. Well within his rights, he has requested the U.S. government to present evidence for which he was condemned by that false charge. To this day the U.S. has refused to do so.

Why is it that the U.S. government continues to hide such crucial evidence? It alleges that the aircraft fell in international waters. Cuba has reiterated with sufficient evidence before international organizations that the aircraft fell in waters within Cuban jurisdiction.

If the US government had the basis to indict Gerardo, why is it hiding the satellite images after 17 years? What is the United State governments afraid of?

Satellite Images Demand Goes to Reluctant Circuit

Friday, January 11, 2013

By MATT REYNOLDS

PASADENA, Calif. (CN) – There is no reason for the U.S. government to shield the existence of satellite images showing the Cuban government shoot down airplanes, a group told the 9th Circuit.

In 2010, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law filed a federal complaint under the Freedom of Information Act against NASA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The group wants access to any satellite pictures taken on Feb. 24, 1996, of an area near the north coast of Cuba, where Cuban MiGs shot down two aircraft flown by Cuban exiles in the group Brothers to the Rescue, killing four U.S. citizens. The center believes that such information is critical to a Habeas Corpus petition for Gerardo Hernandez, who is serving life in prison based on charges that he fed Cuba the information that led to the 1996 shooting.

Hernandez belongs to a group of Cuban men known as the Cuban Five, detained for spying on Brothers to the Rescue on American soil. After Hernandez was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, an appeals court briefly overturned the convictions against him and his compatriots. The full 11th Circuit eventually reinstated the convictions, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant certiorari.

The Center for Human Rights said confirmation of the satellite images would help it determine where the shoot-down occurred to undermine Hernandez’s conviction. But the NGA refused even to confirm or deny the existence of the records or images that the group seeks. Refusing to acknowledge the existence of an item requested under FOIA is known as a Glomar response, named after the Hughes Glomar Explorer, a ship used in a classified CIA project to raise a sunken Soviet submarine from the Pacific Ocean. Responding to the center’s lawsuit, NGA director Barry Barlow explained the reasoning behind the agency’s decision in a declaration to the court.

U. S. District Judge Margaret Morrow in Los Angeles found this explanation credible and granted the government summary judgment in 2011.

“The court holds that the NGA has met its burden of showing that it acted permissibly in determining that acknowledging the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to plaintiffs’ request might disclose sources or methods of foreign intelligence and harm national security,” Morrow wrote. Represented by its executive director, Peter Schey, the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law urged the 9th Circuit on Wednesday to revive the case. Schey said this case represents the “very first time” an intelligence agency had taken the position that it would apply a Glomar response to every Freedom of Information Act request. Confirming the existence of the images would only confirm what the world already knows: that America gathers foreign intelligence, he argued. Skeptical, Judge Margaret McKeown told Schey: “That hardly trumps the view that there’s a significant national security interest.” Schey insisted that Barlow’s declaration was inadequate, calling it a “cookie cutter” affidavit that the agency could wield to deny all future requests for satellite images under the Freedom of Information Act.

Judge Milan Smith seemed convinced by Barlow’s declaration. He noted that the plaintiffs had a mountain to climb because of lack of case law. Matters of national security are an “area of expertise” for the government, not the courts, he added. In response, Schey questioned NGA’s authority to deny the request at all. He argued that the director of national intelligence, not the NGA, must protect intelligence sources. But Justice Department attorney Thomas Byron said the agency was “authorized” to use a Glomar response. He also disputed the notion that all future requests of a similar nature would be denied using the same exemption.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski asked Bryon why it would threaten national security to confirm the existence of the images. “I’m not sure how saying that we have a picture at a particular time and place reveals anything at all,” the chief said.
Bryon stuck to the line that America’s enemies might gather information on U.S. intelligence-gathering capabilities and limitations, even if the agency did no more than confirm or deny the existence of the images. He said foreign spies could track where the satellites operate, and glean intelligence from the resolution of the image, and the angle at which a picture was taken. Kozinski pressed for an answer as to whether the agency would use an exemption to deny all Freedom of Information Act requests for images.
After some back and forth, Bryon conceded that, when it came to images taken at a certain time and place, the exemption could apply. The attorney also said that the agency was happy to provide the court with more detail in camera, but argued that such an examination should be a “last resort.”
“I’m not asking to see the pictures,” Kozinski said to chuckles from the courtroom. “I have enough trouble with the fact that you can see my house on Google maps. If you look close enough, you might see me sunbathing on the patio.”

Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez: State department of US, please grant the wives visas.

wives_without_visas_front

The Department of State is prohibiting entry, from Cuba to the US, to two of the wives of the Cuban Five. These women want to visit their husbands incarcerated in US prisons. Olga Salanueva, wife of Rene Gonzalez, and Adriana Perez, wife of Gerardo Hernandez, are law abiding and productive citizens of Cuba who simply want to visit with their respective husbands.

 SIGN THE PETITION

 

 

 

 

 

Come to support the Bolivarian Revolution

Chavez_Revolution

The opposition is calling for a demonstration against the Bolivarian Revolution this coming January 23.

The Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York is calling all progressive and revolutionary forces in the city to defend the Bolivarian Revolution this coming January 23 in front of the…

Consulate of Venezuela in New York at 11 am

Those who in April 2002 attacked the Bolivarian Revolution, deposed members of the National Assembly, kidnapped our president and murdered hundreds of Venezuelans today call themselves “defenders of national constitution.” They are saying that it is unconstitutional for Chavez’s inauguration to be postponed, with Vice President Nicolas Maduro in charge in the meantime, even though this has been approved by the supreme court. Suddenly, they are “defending” the very constitution that for years they have sought to undermine.

We asked them, Where and by whom was the dictator Carmona sworn in?
The opposition is calling for a global day against Chávez, we will demonstrate that January 23 it is a global day for Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution.

Please bring red shirts, drums and signs that say “I am Chávez/Yo soy Chávez” people all over the world are taking pictures with this message to show that they stand behind not only Chavez himself, but the revolutionary ideas and struggle that he represents – see here

Please spread the word and invite your friends, use yours networks. This is urgent! .Let us know if you will endorse the activity and we will add the name of your organization.

Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle NY, The International Action Center, Alliance for Global Justice, HondurasUSAResistencia, Cuba Solidarity New York, Latin America Solidarity Coalition, July 26th Coalition, Nicaragua Network; Stan Smith, Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban Five; US-El Salvador Sister Cities, May 1st Coalition, National Immigrant Solidarity Network, The International Concerned Family and Friend of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Colaition.

Consulado de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela en Nueva York7 East 51st Street, New York, New York 10022 between Madison and 5th avenueIn Manhattan, next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral

FREE THE CUBAN 5 AND THE PUERTO RICAN POLITICAL PRISONERS

Cuba_PR

Saturday January 5, 2013

@ 6pm (Reception) 7pm (Cultural program) Casa de las Americas
182 E. 111th St.
(Btwn. Lexington Ave. and 3rd Ave.)

Dos Alas 2013 A cultural/political evening of celebration and solidarity presented by
The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign and Casa de las Americas! Dedicated to the
FREEDOM OF THE CUBAN 5 AND THE PUERTO RICAN POLITICAL PRISONERS!

Join us as we celebrate the 54th anniversary of the Cuban revolution anniversary and the 70th Birthday of Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera!

• Keynote address by the new Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations
• Boleros: Abram Alberto
• Poetry: Bobby Gonzalez and Rafael Landron

Save the Dates: Second “5 Days of Actions for the Cuban 5″ in Washington DC May 31-June 5, 2013

International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

In the Final Declaration of the “8th Colloquium of Holguin for the freedom of the Cuban Five and against terrorism” held from November 28th to December 1st, more than 300 delegates from all over the world agreed to work on a number of actions over the coming year.

In the third point of the declaration delegates at the Colloquium approved to “support a second series of actions in Washington DC “5 days for the Cuban 5″ and that during these days, committees from all over the world will hold demonstrations in front of U.S. embassies. Also people from other countries will adapt the poster “Obama Give me Five” and post them all over their cities during these 5 days, among other activities”.

The International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuba 5 has set the dates for the actions in Washington DC from May 31st to June 5th.

Among the various activities that will take place during these days, on Saturday June 1st there will be a rally held in front of the White House to demand that Obama immediately free the Cuban 5. Also the committee is planning to organize two days of lobby in Capitol Hill as well as public meetings.

We make an appeal to the entire solidarity movement with Cuba and the Five in the U.S. and all over the world to join and support these days of actions in Washington DC.

TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT!!!

 

Cuban Foreign Minister Named to Top Party Body

By DAMIEN CAVE

Cuba has elevated its foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, to the Communist Party’s Political Bureau, where he will join a handful of other senior leaders who are a generation younger than Fidel and Raúl Castro. Mr. Rodríguez, 54, is a former military officer, law professor and ambassador to the United Nations. He became the foreign minister in 2009. Known for his command of English and his loyalty to the Castros, he delivered a speech last month to the United Nations criticizing President Obama for failing to advance United States-Cuba relations despite the president’s promise to “launch a new chapter of engagement.”

The announcement about his rise to the Political Bureau in Granma,Cuba’s state-run newspaper, did not say whether he was replacing one of the 14 current members of the Political Bureau, nor did it signal whether Mr. Rodríguez was being considered as a successor to Raúl Castro, 81. But it did describe the move as part of a generational transition, and as a necessary break from what it called a “blockade of thinking that still persists when the time comes to select and prepare young leaders.”

Cuba Shares what It Has, not what it has Left

*important* – ACN: Cuba Shares what It Has, not what is Left
Sat Dec 8, 2012 1:17 pm (PST) . Posted by:
“Walter Lippmann” walterlx
Cuba Shares what It Has, not what is Left

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 8 (ACN) Over 40 thousand Cuban professionals are currently working in 65 countries, in sectors such as health and education, as part of the island’s international cooperation based on sharing the local achievements in favor universal social development.

According to first deputy health minister Jose Angel Portal, Cuban medical cooperation has reached over 60 nations, where some 39 thousand workers are currently offering their services.

Official statistics this year say that the cooperation by Cuban doctors, nurses and other specialized personnel has allowed saving 4 million 600 thousand lives, administering 6 million surgeries and assisting 921 million patients, PL news agency reported.

The Cuban support of different countries has also allowed the setting up medical attention networks and hospitals, healthcare centers, dental clinics, rehabilitation centers outfitted with modern technology.

The Cuban Revolution, based on the principle of sharing what it has and not what it has left, offers its medical cooperation, said the official in statements to reporters this week.

Significant enough is the cooperation with Haiti, where 700 Cuban medical professionals are currently working, or with Venezuela where millions of citizens have benefited from important medical assistance programs.

Cuba has also assisted many nations in the field of education, as over 2 thousand Cubans are working in 23 countries said Education official Miriam Egea.

Up to date, the Cuban literacy methodology know as “Yes, I Can� has helped some five million 852 persons how to read and write in different parts of the world, while more than one million persons are currently taking lessons under the Cuban program, which allows students to reach elementary school level.

Thanks to the Cuban initiative, countries like Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have declared themselves free of illiteracy, while other countries have done away with illiteracy in several regions or provinces.

Haitian President Michel Martelly paid an official visit to Cuba in November. During his stay on the island he stressed “the cooperation, support and solidarity we have always received from Cuba,� where over 1 thousand 100 Haitian professionals have graduated from higher education centers.

============ ========= ========= ========= ==
WALTER LIPPMANN
Havana, Cuba
Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/CubaNews/
“Cuba – Un Paraìso bajo el bloqueo”
============ ========= ========= ========= ==

Sign the Petition

“Karen Lee Wald”

This is what I received, asking us to sign a petition on a White House website, asking the White House “to open an honest dialog with the Cuban government to secure the release of American Operative Alan Gross” I thought it was a put-on. The message read:
The White House has put this petition on its website. It asks the US government to open a dialogue with Cuba for the release of Alan Gross. Your signature is needed. http://1.usa. gov/TyOtlG

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Open an honest dialog with the Cuba government to secure the release of American operative Alan Gross
Include potential prisoner exchanges, admissions of wrong doing, drop of the embargo as incentives to bring this man home. His employer owes it to him.

When I first received an email urging me to go to the White House site to sign a petition of this nature, I thought it was a spoof or a virus or something — that it couldn’t be serious. So I asked around, and received this explanation:
It’s part of an initiative by the WH to “listen to the people”. So anyone can go there and post a petition. I think in this case it was LAWG/WOLA/ETC. Then if 25,000 sign it within an allotted amount of time, it gets bumped up to a higher level and at some point the most popular petitions get accepted and read by whoever at White House is in charge of this program. Supposedly it is a way for people to organize and be heard by the administration and for the admin to know what is important to large groups of people. Which means we need to get the largest number of people possible to sign this petition, and soon.

Here’s an explanation about how to do it:
Dear friends:

Here is how the White House Petition works. You have to open an account with them first:

1- Click on the link that goes to the petition.

http://1.usa. gov/TyOtlG

2- There is a blue square that reads “Create an account”. Click on it.
3- Fill in the blanks on the form: e-mail address, name, last name and zip code (optional).
4- Read and type the gibberish they put below [“Captcha” –used on many sites to make sure you are a real person and not a spamming machine. That’s the hard part for me because I often don’t see them in my browser. I’m not sure what you can do if you have the same problem. klw]
5- Click again on the blue square at the bottom “Create an account”.
Take a quick break and go to your e-mail inbox. You are going to have a message from them to confirm that you are in fact a real person.
6- After the first paragraph there comes a long link. Click on it and you have already set up the account with them.
7- After that you have to go back to the original petition:

http://1.usa. gov/TyOtlG

8- Click on the blue square which says “Sign in” and then fill in the blanks and you are all set. You’ll be immediately notified that your name was registered.

I know this sounds like a lot of hassle, but believe me, people who really want to see improved relations between the two countries believe this could be a very effective tool to get the Administration’ s attention, so it’s worth doing. If you can’t do it right now, don’t delete it — put it in some folder you will go back to when you have the time (I have one like that called “Activities” ) and do it. But don’t wait too long.
Thanks,

Karen

Case of Alan Gross

(Originally posted by Cuba Central)

Dear Friends,

We report on a flurry of activity concerning the case of Alan Gross, just days before the third anniversary of his arrest in Cuba, an event marked at a press conference in Washington this morning by his wife Judy Gross, understandably disconsolate, with his lawyer, Jared Genser, by her side.

Together, they said the Obama administration had failed to pursue vigorous diplomacy sufficient to secure his release.  He feels “dumped and forgotten” by the U.S. government, Mrs. Gross said, like a soldier left to die.  The lawyer’s message to the U.S. government was also direct:  “You sent him there; you have an obligation to get him out.”

In fact, they laid blame at the feet of both governments for being obstacles to the settlement of his case.  They said the Cuban government, which publicly calls for direct negotiations to address his case and the captivity of the Cuban Five, was either unable or unwilling to talk.

But they also made a special point of noting that the Obama administration had actively sought and won the release of Americans imprisoned abroad, and said the administration should pick an envoy close to President Obama, with full White House support, to go to Cuba and negotiate Alan Gross’s release.

Significantly, they called his captivity an obstacle to improvements in U.S.-Cuba relations, and urged both parties to work for his release.  In saying so, they parted company with the most ardent embargo supporters, who warn the Obama administration not to negotiate for his release.

As Senator Bob Menendez said this week in an interview with the New York Times “I’m not into negotiating for someone who is clearly a hostage of the Cuban regime.” Judy Gross correctly diagnosed the hardliner’s position as a surefire recipe for continuing his captivity for years.  “He is a pawn of these very radical right-wing Cuba haters, for lack of a better word, who don’t want to see any changes happen, even to get Alan home.”

Mrs. Gross pled for her husband’s release on humanitarian grounds, and demanded access by doctors for an independent examination of a mass on his shoulder that the family believes could be cancerous.  For its part, the Cuban government released this week the results of a biopsy conducted October 24th, and an examination by a physician who is also ordained as a Rabbi, who concluded that the growth is not cancerous.

Two weeks ago, attorneys for the Gross family filed a law suit against the U.S. government and his employer, the USAID contractor DAI, seeking $60 million in damages.  In the complaint available here, they concede that his activities were “to promote (a) successful democratic transition” in Cuba and that when he was at risk of detection by Cuban authorities, USAID failed to comply with provisions of the “Counterintelligence Manual” to save him before his arrest.

Mr. Gross knew of the dangers associated with his activities in Cuba, writing in one of the trip reports filed with his employer under the USAID contract, “In no uncertain terms, this is very risky business.”

In light of these facts, it is hard to understand why his legal representatives still argue that all he was doing in Cuba was trying to improve Internet access for the Jewish community.  This benign explanation was long ago overtaken by the facts.

Even so, it is a position that remains front and center in the U.S. State Department’s talking points.  Victoria Nuland, the department’s Spokesperson, responded to a reporter who asked about the Gross case, by saying:

But again, just to remind that this is a guy who’s been incarcerated for no reason for three years and ought to come home. Alan Gross was given a 15-year prison term simply for the supposed crime of helping the Jewish community of Cuba communicate with the outside world.

Old tropes die hard, especially when the U.S. government decides we can’t handle the truth.  This failure to concede why Mr. Gross was arrested and convicted not only contributes to the lack of movement in his case, but is especially alarming now that we know the Obama administration is doubling down on the program that led to his arrest.

As Tracey Eaton reports in Along the Malecón, the U.S. government “The U.S. government has hired a former CIA agent,” named Daniel Gabriel, “to create and manage a team of at least 10 journalists in Cuba.”  Gabriel’s Linked In profile concludes with this heartfelt endorsement:

“Dan is one of those dream clients you get once in a blue moon: totally risk tolerant, possessed of a voracious appetite for learning, and the drive to turn pontification into action.”

We could not think of a clearer case for why these programs need to end.

Defending the Cuban Revolution