A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The habeas corpus requests for the Cuban Five unjustly imprisoned in the United States, and in particular the affidavit submitted by Martin Garbus, Gerardo's lawyer, focus on the role performed by "journalists" who, paid by the US government, created an environment of hysteria and irrational hatred that frightened the jurors until they brought in a guilty verdict despite the fact that the US Attorney did not present any evidence and -even worse- admitted they could not substantiate their main charge.
However, this is not a confrontation between the Five and their lawyers against journalism and journalists. It is really the opposite.
The operation orchestrated in Miami by the US Attorney's Office, apart from violating the Constitution and the rules of due process, was also an insult to a profession that deserves respect. It was a Miami newspaper - The Miami Herald- that first revealed the existence of the secret operation in which some of their writers took part. These, by the way, were fired, because their editor considered their actions in violation of journalistic ethics.
The author of the revelation, Oscar Corral, paid dearly for his defense of professional ethics. Instead of being awarded for his investigative reporting he was, in his own words, "subject of a campaign orchestrated to intimidate, harass and silence. It was heavy artillery fire. Some threats were very specific and mentioned my family". This made his editors move him to live in a safer place.
True journalism was also a victim of government prevarication.
But, who were the "journalists" paid by the government, and why were they hired to do what they did?
All of them, without exception, were members of -or had close links with- organizations that in Miami cultivate violence and terrorism. Some of them are themselves convicted and confessed terrorists; a few had done some previous journalism and are able to write more or less a couple of pages; others would not have passed the admission exam to any school of journalism.
They all have a long experience as provocateurs and frequently take part in radio and TV programs, characterized by their impudence and loudness, which openly promote the use of force against Cuba. All had the qualifications to be hired by Washington to carry out a clandestine operation. In other words, they were people they could trust and so were given the job and paid generously. After all, the money did not come out of their own pockets; it was taxpayers money.
It was all paid out of Radio and TV Marti budgets. These are government enterprises, financed by the federal budget which is fed from taxes and other public contributions; that is, from the money of the citizens and residents in the United States. But these, who unknowingly were paying for the covert operation, never heard about it.
For this reason, Garbus' affidavit stresses the fact that this is a matter of exceptional importance. First of all, for our Five compatriots, who will soon reach their 14th year in prison. But it is also important, and very much so, for those who are not in prison.
It is particularly important for true journalists, without quotation marks. Those who perform with honesty a profession some others corrupted and turned into an instrument to kidnap five innocent men.
In the closing lines of his affidavit, Garbus mentions the US Attorney General: "Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. was not responsible for this case when it started. But he is now."
The journalism professionals and the media outside Miami were not responsible for this crime when it was committed. But now that they know what happened, they cannot avoid their responsibility. Silence now would be complicity.