Volume 21, Number 2
N.O. Dollar Day
Readers & writers
Journal of 21st Yr
2008: What's New?
Waiting for War
Iraq War Vet
Dylan & Wainwright
Charlie Wilson's War
César cuauhtémoc garcía Hernández
NYT on Kosovo
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Leonard Weinglass & the Miami Five
Those who have met veteran civil rights lawyer Leonard Weinglass cannot fail to be impressed by his unstinting commitment to social justice. The staff at the U.S. State Department of Justice must have winced when they saw his name connected to the case of the Miami Five.
Weinglass began his career in Newark, New Jersey because he wanted to represent poor African Americans against what he saw as an oppressive white administration.
Newark, which was notorious for its African American ghettos and police brutality, attracted civil rights activists including the young Tom Hayden, whom Weinglass later represented. Hayden was arrested for his role in the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations in Chicago, Illinois and became part of the Chicago 8 trial. According to Weinglass: “Tom really became my teacher. He asked me to represent him at the trial and told me it would change my life. I appreciate how patient he was in helping me understand that it wasn’t just an issue of defending the poor and the powerless, I had to become part of a larger movement that sought to change the system.”
Subsequently, Weinglass represented Angela Davis, an alleged accomplice in the murder of Judge Harold Haley in 1970. Now he has his sights firmly set on freeing the Miami Five. That choice goes a long way to explaining why, at 73, Weinglass is still committed to fighting the system. With an energy belying his age, Weinglass went on a hectic ten-day tour of the UK in December in order to mobilize international support for the five Cubans, who are currently languishing in prisons across the U.S. Weinglass reported that, “The Miami Five are suffering real deprivation in maximum security jails for the same cause I believe in and that propels me forward. They live in the most difficult conditions you could imagine, but when you meet with them you see men who are strong, energized, and principled. When you leave them you come away with the feeling ‘I can do no less’.”
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guer- rero, Fernando Gonzáles, and René Gonzáles were convicted on charges ranging from acting as unregistered agents to conspiracy to commit murder—three of them have life sentences without parole. Their “offense” is to have infiltrated terrorist cells in Miami that in the early 1990s had been orchestrating bombing campaigns against their homeland in order to smash the Cuban economy and bring about a change in government.
“By U.S. law,” Weinglass said, “no U.S. citizen can take up arms against another country. And the classic definition of terrorism is: attacks directed against civilians to change policy. The evidence provided by the Miami Five was passed on to the Cuban authorities who then invited the FBI to take action. The FBI did nothing—no arrests and no investigation. The Cubans then contacted the New York Times and gave reporters the names, addresses, and locations of the paramilitary camps. The newspaper published not a word.”
Instead, the Miami Five were arrested in September 1998 and tried in Miami.
Weinglass believes the case has to be placed in the context of U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America. “It is part of the argument that the U.S. can do whatever it wishes to another country, but if that country dares to protect itself or tries to interfere with the process—such as the Miami Five trying to stop terrorist attacks against their homeland—then the U.S. will deal with them most severely. The U.S. is using its court system to further political ends against another country.”
Three judges are currently considering an appeal. According to Weinglass, “We are at a crucial moment and we must mobilize support and fight to release these brave people.... We will prevail if we continue to struggle and build support, because in the end justice will out while the system that carries out these travesties corrodes.”
That is why Weinglass has completed a program of events—organized by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC)—which has included speeches in the UK to Members of Parliament and to the public at the House of Commons and to more than 600 delegates at the Latin America 2007 Conference. Says Weinglass, “The worst thing in the American judicial system is to be alone, but when there is an active support network, then there are always grounds for optimism. Although lawyers obviously have a role in political cases such as these, it is a limited role. We speak and write, but our words are only heard or read if there is major support for the case. That was the lesson from the Angela Davis case. The international campaign focused attention on the court and that led to her acquittal. That’s beginning to happen with the Miami Five, which is why the Cuba Solidarity Campaign’s work in building the campaign is so critically important.
In 2007 CSC held a large public vigil outside the U.S. Embassy in London to mark the Miami Five’s ninth year in jail, lobbied MPs to sign an Early Day Motion about the case (signed by 110 MPs), and successfully lobbied members of the European Parliament to sign a motion calling on U.S. authorities to grant the wives access to their husbands (signed by 24 out of 80 UK MPs).
Join the Cuba Solidarity Campaign to keep up to date on the legal case and the campaign to free the Miami Five (also called the Cuban Five). Write to the five prisoners expressing your support. Addresses available via CSC’s website: www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk.
Join the Cuba Solidarity Campaign to keep up to date on the legal case and the campaign to free the Miami Five (also called the Cuban Five).
Write to the five prisoners expressing your support. Addresses available via CSC’s website: www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk.Write to the U.S. Attorney General’s office urging a retrial: U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC 20530-0001.
Meanwhile, the case’s almost farcical twists and turns continue. A successful appeal on the grounds that Miami—notorious for its virulent anti-Castroism—was unsuitable as a venue for the trial was inexplicably overruled by a subsequent appeal. Weinglass remarked, “We were astonished. How could such a clear, unanimous verdict that described the case as ‘a perfect storm of prejudice’ be overturned?
“You cannot manufacture ‘facts’ not presented during the course of the trial, but the prosecutor said—on three occasions—that the Cubans had come to Miami in order to destroy the United States. There were 31 objections made during the summing up and 28 were sustained, the argument was completely out of bounds and driven to secure a conviction. If the appeal judges apply lawyer-like standards we will win, but the problem is that each U.S. government fears an acquittal would devastate its administration because of the 650,000 Cubans living in Miami. Politicians all look at Florida as the presidential maker and the chances of this shifting are very difficult to anticipate.”
Weinglass has met all of the Miami Five apart from Fernando, who was inexplicably shunted from one prison to another just before the two were to meet. “They are remarkable men,” says Weinglass. “When you meet them you can clearly witness what I call the Mandela Affect. Their fellow inmates and the prison guards all have tremendous respect for them. They are disciplined and none of them have committed a single violation of prison rules.”
After 9/11 the Cubans were placed in solitary confinement. They were supposed to be in solitary for a year, but were released after 30 days because of an international outcry. According to Weinglass, “Antonio had started Spanish lessons for the inmates and when he was placed in solitary, they went on strike. Whenever he was moved during his stay in solitary the areas were cleared of all people so that he could have no human contact. But the authorities will fail to break them.”
Weinglass remains confident the men will eventually be released, “but to win we must embarrass the authorities into making the right decision and we can only achieve that with mass support.”
Stephen Hallmark is manager of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.