In 1998, five Cuban men were arrested by the U.S. government and tried in Miami on charges of conspiring to commit espionage on the United States. They were convicted and are still in prison today, but new information adds to the belief by many that the men were framed and belong back home in Cuba with their families.
The mission of the five men was to stop terrorism by keeping watch on Miami's ultra-right extremists to prevent their violent attacks against Cuba. When the men informed the Cuban government about a possible terrorist attack, Havana contacted Washington under the assumption that the U.S. would intervene.
Instead "The Cuban Five," as they are now known, were convicted after repeated denials by the judge to move the trial venue out of Miami - the virtual capital of anti-Cuban government sentiment in the U.S.
What the Cuban Five and their attorneys did not know during trial was that the Broadcasting Board of Governors-an official U.S. government agency - was funneling money through its Office of Cuba Broadcasting in Miami that eventually wound up in the pockets of prominent journalists who were saturating the Miami media with reports that were prejudicial to the five defendants. This took place while the government conducted its prosecution.
The Congressional Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 prohibits the U.S. government from funding activities to influence and propagandize domestic public opinion.
The presence of Miami journalists on the U.S. government payroll, who purported to report as "independent" press, goes to the heart of the unjust conviction of the Five. The Five were not only victims of a politically-motivated prosecution, but a government-funded propaganda operation as well.
A multi-year effort by the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, the civil rights legal organization the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and, most recently, Liberation newspaper, has uncovered thousands of pages of previously unreleased materials exposing this government operation.
More than 2,200 pages of contracts between Miami journalists and Radio and TV Martí (the government's propaganda outlets - released thus far to Liberation newspaper through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) petition-expose the fallacy of an independent press in Miami.
-For information about these five innocent men, http://www.freethefive.org/
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