New Cuba-US Pact and Remaining Cuban Five Prisoners Released
Attorney Michael Ratner:
- We’ve been covering this case for years on here. They were wrongfully convicted. They had been sent into Miami to stop Miami-Cuban terrorism against Cuba.
- The U.S. in a vindictive prosecution had sentenced them for many years; in fact one of them was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to commit espionage I think.
- It’s all part of a larger picture of what’s going on.
- Cuba, in what’s not considered an exchange, of course, obviously, released Alan Gross.
- Obama within limits sounds like he’s going to open relations to a certain degree with Cuba and open an embassy in Cuba, and Cuba will open one in the United States.
- It’s amazing moment, the revolution took place in 1959, so that’s only 55 years ago approximately, the embargo has been in effect since 1961. It’s still in effect of course but this is a really major moment.
- Attorney Len Weinglass would take 1 or 2 cases at a time, work on them like a dog, whether it was Mumia or in this case the Cuban Five and put every piece, every part of his life into it.
Attorney Heidi Boghosian:
- In the U.S. we continue to see the news portraying the five as spies when like you said they were really here to uncover unlawful activities on the part of the U.S government.
- They handed over files to the FBI, they were very forthright with the information they gathered.
- We also know from our interviews with attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Gloria LaRiva that the U.S. has been paying journalists in Miami to report negatively on the case of the Cuban Five and were doing so at the time of their trial.
- One of the lawyers we used to interview on this show and a close friend of ours, Lenny Weinglass, who passed away a couple of years ago, was the main lawyer for the Cuban Five. It then became Martin Garbus who carried on the case in an extraordinary way, and I think that all of their work and all of the work of the Committee to Free the Cuban Five has led to a result that I think would have been unforeseeable 20 years ago.
Civil Forfeiture Cases Follow-Up
Michael Ratner Commends Dean of Columbia Law School Canceling Exams, Allowing Option to Protest
International Criminal Court: Possible Prosecutions from U.S. Torture in Afghanistan
Happy Birthday Chelsea Manning
ECCHR Calls for 13 CIA Agents to be Extradited to Germany
ECCHR Complaint Against Bush-Era Architects of Torture
Attorney Michael Ratner:
It’s taking the Senate Report they did on detention and going further and saying now we actually have evidence from one of the branches of government admitting that the CIA engaged in this incredibly awful program of torture.
Wolfgang Kaleck says there are about 500 CIA agents who should be quaking in their boots about traveling to Europe.
Senate Intelligence Committee Torture Report: Attorney Scott Horton
Guantanamo suicides, CIA interrogation techniques, CIA ordered physicians to violate the Hippocratic oath–these are the topics of some recent articles by returning guest attorney Scott Horton. Last month, he was on Democracy Now! to debate former CIA General Counsel John Rizzo on the question of declassifying a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report about the agency’s secret detention and interrogation programs. His book Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy will be published January 2015.
Attorney Scott Horton:
I think the results flow directly from the media coverage.
Now major publications and broadcasters that hedged using the word torture have stopped doing that. There are only a handful of media sources that won’t do it, NPR being one of them.
The media also presents roughly twice as much time devoted to people justifying the use of torture techniques to those criticizing it.
Barack Obama, who should lead the push back has gone completely silent. It’s beyond silent–he talked about how we “tortured some folks” making it very casual, and then he said the torturers were patriots.
I thought it was electrifying reading. 90 percent of it I’ve heard about before and still when you read them in this clinical, plain, highly factual style and things were developed with a continuous flow with lots of background decision-making in Washington at the top and how all this affected what happened on the ground…as a consumer of Congressional reports this probably the single most impressive Congressional oversight report I’ve ever seen.
It’s an excellent example of what the oversight committee should be doing all the time.
They’re doing this with respect to a program which was essentially or very largely wrapped up by October 2006.
We’re talking about 8 1/2 years ago.
They’re only able to do this kind of review in any depth when its historical, not when it’s real time oversight–that’s disappointing.
One thing that emerges from looking at these reports and the military reports is that there is a huge black hole which has never been fully developed and explored and that’s JSOC, it’s the military intelligence side.
That escaped review within the DOD process and it escaped review in the CIA process and its clear that there’s a huge amount there.
I certainly don’t expect prosecutions to emerge for the next couple of years in the United States, but I see a process setting in that may eventually lead to prosecutions.
On the one hand we’re seeing a dangerous deterioration in relations with Russia, it is an aggressor, which has seized territory in the heart of Europe, is waging a thinly veiled war on one of its neighbors. That is very unnerving to the major NATO powers.
On the other hand there’s never been a period in the history of the alliance when there is so much upset at the United States.
That’s come largely from the rise of the surveillance state and the role of the NSA.
I was looking at this report, and we know that in 2006, there was an internal review that led the CIA to conclude that these interrogation techniques were ineffective and the CIA internally decided to seek a large part of the authority for EIT’s and operation of black sites rescinded.
Another thing that’s very important here from this report, it tells us that Michael Hayden, George Tenant, Porter Goss and other very senior people at the CIA repeatedly intervened to block any form of punishment of people who are involved with torture and running the black sites.
That’s important because of the legal document Command Responsibility. The law says when command authority makes a decision not to prosecute and immunize people involved with torture and abuse, that results in the culpability of these crimes migrating up the chain of command.
I interviewed CIA agents who were involved in this program, and they told me they’ve all been brought out by the Office of Legal Counsel and told they may not leave the country.
That means you’ve got roughly 150 CIA agents, including many people near the top of the agency, who can’t travel right now.
Guest – Scott Horton, human rights lawyer and contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine. He graduated Texas Law School in Austin with a JD and was a partner in a large New York law firm, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. His new book is Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy.