Truth Held Hostage

Original source: Cubadebate.cu

“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” (Luke 12:2)

To start out, from a juridical standpoint the case of the Cuban Five has run its course. We’re now moving on to something out of the ordinary, the so-called Habeas Corpus, which is an opportunity that is available only once to convicted persons after they have exhausted all appeals. Here we have to take into account that historically the chances of our comrades being freed this way are extremely remote.

However, we’re taking this step for two basic reasons.  First of all, it’s a question of principles: We have to wage this battle on every battlefield that we can, because these are five innocent men who are suffering cruel and unfair imprisonment. Second, because only in the case of judicial decisions has it become possible, even partially and in a limited manner, to break through the iron-fisted censorship that the big news media have imposed on this case.

I could have also begun this talk by saying that the present situation of the Five is identical to that which they faced thirteen years ago. There’s no news about them. They are suffering a double imprisonment: That imposed by their jailers, and that imposed by journalists.

The first thing we have to ask is why has there been such a silence in the media? Is it that Cuba, its Revolution, its problems, have been of little or no media interest?  As you well know, it is very much to the contrary. Our motherland has received and keeps on receiving incomparably more attention than any of the rest of the nations of this hemisphere. They analyze us day and night under the brightest spotlights and the most powerful magnifying glass, almost always distorting the various aspects of our reality. So, why is it that almost nothing is ever said about this particular case?  If the Five had committed some crime, if any one of them had done, or tried to do, something against the American people, does anyone have the slightest doubt that they would have become a constant theme in anti-Cuban propaganda?

The truth is that the Five are completely innocent and are quite literally and without the slightest exaggeration, heroes. The have sacrificed their lives to save ours, giving proof of supreme altruism. Here I’m not just spouting rhetoric. This truth is proven in official U.S. government documents and in its courts. The fact that their mission was to try to uncover terrorist plans against Cuba is plainly stated in numerous official documents ranging from the original indictment, to several motions by the prosecution at the beginning of the trial, throughout its development, and in the final sentences that were imposed on them. That the purpose of the U.S. government was to protect those terrorists was also acknowledged in these documents and in repeated statements by the prosecution, all of which is recorded in the court transcripts.

The big problem that we are facing is that the Empire has been able to stop this information from reaching the people. Its degree of success has been impressive. With total impunity, they have been able to take the truth hostage. I’m not talking about secret texts or classified documents. I’m talking about documents which have been and are available to anyone who goes to the official website of the Federal District Court for south Florida and looks up the case of “U.S. vs. Gerardo Hernandez et al.” But only a few specialist scholars or persons who are particularly interested in the case ever do that. The general public finds out about what happens in the court system through whatever reports the so-called “news media” care to give them. And about this trial, the longest Federal trial in the history of a nation that has, among other things, several TV channels dedicated exclusively to the courts, nothing was said outside the city of Miami. …

As I already mentioned, right now we’re involved in presenting an application for Habeas Corpus. The most difficult case is that of Gerardo, to which I’ll refer later.

But there is a common element in all their appeals, regarding the conduct of the press. While the trial was being totally ignored all around the world, in Miami the trial received strident, over-the-top coverage in the local media, promoting an atmosphere of hatred against the defendants. There were even threats and provocations against jurors, attorneys and witnesses. The judge herself repeatedly complained and asked the government to put an end to a situation that clearly violated due process norms. This was one of the factors behind the unanimous decision in 2005 by the Appeals Court panel to toss out the whole farce and order a new trial, a just decision that was later reversed under pressure from the Bush Administration.

The following year, in 2006, it came out that these Miami “journalists” were in fact being paid by the government to carry out this sleazy job. For five years now, American private groups have been demanding that the authorities reveal everything that they are still concealing about the scale of this million-dollar operation—how much was paid, to whom, and for that—in a cover-up that would be more than sufficient to declare the whole legal process against our comrades null and void.

Against Gerardo there was an additional charge, a filthy slander which is why he was sentenced to die twice in prison: They accused him of “conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.”

However, I have this document dated May 30, 2001 from the U.S. Attorney General’s office. Here they state that the accusation could not be proven, and for that reason they asked at the last moment that the charge be dropped. In spite of this, Gerardo was found guilty of a non-existent crime that could not be proven, and to top it off, for which he had not even been indicted.

But, what does it matter that this document exists if nobody talks about it?

Gerardo was falsely accused of having participated in something that he had absolutely nothing to do with: The 1966 shooting down over Cuban territorial waters of two small planes flown by a terrorist group which systematically dedicated itself to violating Cuban airspace, announcing each violation and shamelessly bragging about it in the Miami media. Independent of the fact that this document is undeniable proof of the falsehood of this accusation, there is another very important fact that illustrates the prevarication of the American authorities.

In order to claim legal jurisdiction over the incident, the United States had to prove that it had occurred outside of Cuban airspace. Cuban radars recorded the incident inside our territorial waters very close to the city of Havana. American radars show confused data, or contradict each other. An International Civil Aviation Organization investigative mission requested images taken by U.S. satellites, but Washington refused to release them. During the Miami trial the defense repeated this same request and the government once again refused. Now, Gerardo is again requesting this same information for his Habeas Corpus, and Washington is again refusing to allow anyone to see these images. This cover-up has now gone on for fifteen years, which clearly proves the fraudulent nature of the U.S. government charges. But Washington has made sure that nobody will blow the whistle on this operation, allowing them to continue their deception.

This information is key to freeing Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, Fernando González Llort and René González Sehweret. In order to win this battle we need to mobilize many people, millions of people, and deploy a truly broad-based and effective solidarity movement

Yet any even minimally objective approach to this problem must recognize that we are still very far from this goal.

It is a proven fact that the giant media corporations have imposed a total wall of silence around this case, a silence that is especially rigorous within the United States itself, where the immense majority of the population knows absolutely nothing about the case. The complete lack of reporting on this theme does not reflect any professional incompetence on the part of journalists, but rather obeys precise instructions, a political decision to silence it, made at the highest levels in Washington.

To hope that these censors will change their attitude is senseless illusion and self-deception. To blow the whistle on it over and over is right but it is not enough, because our repeated denunciations have barely had any effect at all.

But there is much, very much, that we still can and must do.

First of all, we have to objectively take into account the current extent of what we should call by its proper name: the global media tyranny.

We’re not only talking about what leading newspapers say or cover up, the big TV networks or the news agencies that decide what news will be broadcast around the world. All of them, united in enormous monopolies, control and manipulate information and their influence even extends to would-be alternatives to this global dictatorship, even to media that define themselves as revolutionary.

There are many people in this world who make an effort to speak out and to be heard with very limited resources, and who have every so often been successful in penetrating the wall of disinformation and deception. Our resources are much greater, those of the Cuban universities, their professors and their students.

Let’s be like the children of “La Colmenita” (“The Little Beehive,” a Cuban fairy-tale) and ask “What more can we do?”

A talk delivered at the Cuban University of Information Sciences (UCI), Havana, July 20, 2011.

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  • What our government has done to these five courageous and heroic men is an international disgrace! To arrest, indict and incarcerate them with all the secrecy and lies should be an eye opener to all!

    One must ask; What is it that the U.S. government fears about the Cuban Five? What is it about the truth that the U.S. fears so much? Could it be that our government was in collussion with the Miami based terrorists who brutally killed over 70 young people aboard the Cuban airliner? Could it be that our government fears that the nation will respond unfavorably to the fact that it aided these terrorists who have beaten and killed other Cuban Americans simply because they no longer wish to be associated with these criminals?

    I have long ago given up on any delusion of democracy and justice in the U.S. Democracy and justice can only come about if WE THE PEOPLE demand it and fight for it! Que viva los cinco Cubanos! Que viva Cuba libre y socialista!

    Posted by Pancho Valdez, 07/29/2011 11:33am (6 years ago)

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