[Ppnews] Cuban Five - Washington Paid Journalists to Spin News

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 3 10:34:44 EDT 2010

Washington Paid Journalists to Spin News against the Cuban Five


HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 3 (acn) Washington paid nearly 
$74,400 to journalists in Miami as part of a 
smear campaign against five Cuban antiterrorists 
that remain unjustly imprisoned in the United States since 1998.

The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five ­as 
Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio 
Guerrero, Ramon Labañino and Fernando Gonzalez 
are internationally known­ announced in a press conference on Wednesday that
the new evidence was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
request made 18 months ago.

“Fourteen names came back of journalists who it 
turns out were receiving covertly monies from the 
US government,” said Gloria La Riva, the coordinator of the committee.

Prensa Latina news agency reports that among 
those accepting bribes is reporter Pablo Alfonso, 
who received $58,600 for 16 articles published by El Nuevo Herald newspaper.

“This shows that the US Government was an 
accomplice to manipulating the jury by bribing 
journalists that violated the principles of 
impartiality and accuracy,” said Heidi Boghosian, 
from the US National Lawyers Guild.

She affirmed that constitutional rights were also 
violated in the process against the Cuban Five 
including the Sixth Amendment, which protects the 
defendant’s right to a fair trial.

La Riva stated that they began a campaign calling 
on US Attorney General Eric Holder to immediately 
move to remedy the situation and added that the 
only remedy can be the freeing of the Cuban Five and allowing them to go home.

She noted that the mission of the Cuban Five ­who 
were monitoring anti-Cuba extremist groups that 
were planning and carrying out terrorist attacks 
against the island­ was to save lives. “Yet they 
sit in prison while known terrorists and terror 
groups walk free in Miami,” she pointed out.

Another Look at an Old Case?


I’ve just been apprised of new developments with 
regard to the 
Five. Here is the gist:

According to a complaint in U.S. District Court 
for the District of Columbia, the U.S. Government 
violated the 
Act, by funding activities to influence public 
opinion with regard to the Cuban Five, thus 
influencing the jury pool and calling into 
question their convictions. It has long been 
known that the U.S. Broadcasting Board of 
Governors (BBG) paid supposedly independent 
journalists to write stories about Cuba and the 
Cuban Five in the Miami press during the period 
when the government arrested and prosecuted the 
Cuban Five. If the U.S. government was secretly 
paying supposedly independent journalists to 
place stories supportive of the government's 
prosecution of the Cuban Five, it is highly 
plausible that they would have affected the jury 
pool as well as the sitting jury in the case of 
the Cuban Five. This raises very serious concerns.

I’m familiar with how Secretary of Defense 
Rumsfeld used various contractors to fabricate 
stories for the Iraqi press during the early days 
of the second Iraq War. Likewise, I know about 
how in the run-up to that war, stories about 
Iraq’s WMD were placed in foreign newspapers and 
then­strangely enough­found their way back, via 
the Internet, to U.S. audiences. This, too, is a 
violation of the Smith-Mundt Act which constructs 
a legal firewall between such activities, i.e., 
the U.S. Government can officially propagandize 
foreign audiences but not the American public. My 
familiarity with these instances of government 
activity leads me to believe that what the BBG is 
alleged to have done, may indeed be the case.

The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five is 
currently the plaintiff in the committee v 
Broadcasting Board of Governors, 
Action No. 09-01713 before the U.S. District 
Court in the District of Columbia. The principal 
claim is that the U.S. public has a right to know 
about matters involving improper domestic 
propaganda as well as whether the government 
compromised the fundamental right to a fair trial 
of the Cuban Five. A petition for habeas corpus 
on behalf of one of the Five­Geraldo Hernández, 
sentenced to two life sentences plus 15 years in 
prison­is due on 14 June 2010; thus, the need for 
swift justice if these charges are accurate.

The New York Times, among other outlets 
on the story of reporters taking money from the 
US Government back in 2006, but the Committee is 
seeking to determine the identities of other 
journalists who participated in the program 
through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 
requests. The BBG, backed by the USG, is trying 
to kill any further attempts at exposure.

One of the journalists, Enrique Encinosa, is the 
man who in an interview in Miami Beach in 2005 
regarding the murder of an Italian citizen in a 
series of hotel bombings in Havana supposedly 
masterminded by Luis Posada Carriles, had this to 
say: “I personally think it’s an acceptable 
method. It’s a way of damaging the tourist 
economy. The message that one tries to get across 
is that Cuba is not a healthy pace for tourists. 
So, if Cuba is not a healthy place for tourists 
because there’s a few windows being blown out of hotels, that’s fine.”

Posted by 
Wilkerson on May 30, 2010 1:51 PM | 

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