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Feb. 4th Mission Against Terror

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  • Freethe5 Libertadparalos5
    The Popular Education Project to Free the Cuban 5 http://www.freethecuban5.com FreethecubanFIVE@hotmail.com Free the Cuban 5 Hotline: 718-601-4751
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 22, 2006
      The Popular Education Project to Free the Cuban 5
      Free the Cuban 5 Hotline: 718-601-4751

      To update all supporters, The Popular Education Project to Free the Cuban 5
      has a new Project email addrerss, so please update your address books:

      Download our January 2006 newsletter:


      At a critical juncture, Two weeks before the historic hearing at the 11th
      Circuit Court of Appeals...

      Saturday February 4th, 2006 1pm-Reception / 2pm-Film and Program

      Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Labor Center � Auditorium 310 W. 43rd St. (btwn.
      8th & 9th Ave.)
      Suggested Donation $5 Wheelchair accessible

      In August of 2005, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals,
      determined that the Cuban 5 didn�t get a fair trial due to the biased
      political environment in Miami and ordered a new trial.

      Federal prosecutors requested and were granted an appeal before the entire
      eleven judge panel which is scheduled for Atlanta the week of February 13th.
      Prospects for a fair trial are in jeopardy as the U.S. government
      continues to do everything in its power to illegally keep these 5 Cuban
      brothers in prison.

      At this critical time for the 5 and Cuba, the East Coast Tour of Mission
      Against Terror by Bernie Dwyer and Fr. Geoff Bottom is a significant
      opportunity to counter media disinformation and support efforts to educate
      about the case of Cuban 5 ironically imprisoned because of their activities

      1. ANALYSIS/UPDATE: Representative Cuban Mission to the United Nations
      2. Screening of Mission Against Terror
      3. Bernie Dwyer, Co-director Mission Against Terror
      4. Fr. Geoff Bottoms, British Cuba Solidarity Campaign, President UK Free
      the Cuban Five Committee

      Convener: Ministry of Solidarity with Cuba, Church of San Romero de las
      Sponsors: National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, New York Committee to
      Free the Cuban Five, Popular Education Project to Free the Cuban 5,
      Venceremos Brigade, Casa de las Am�ricas, Cuba Solidarity New York,
      IFCO/Pastors for Peace, ProLibertad Freedom Campaign, International ANSWER,
      International Action Center, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Fuerzas de
      la Revoluci�n Dominicana, Workers World Party, Frente Socialista de Puerto
      Rico � NY (list in formation).


      Cuban 5 Prisoner Endures Notorious US "Control Unit"

      Spotlight on the Control Unit at US Penitentiary, Florence, Colorado

      by Bernie Dwyer

      Antonio Guerrero - one of the five Cubans held in US prisons for defending
      their country against terrorism - has recently been released from a month in
      solitary confinement in what is known as the worst "Control Unit" in the
      United States Federal penitentiary system in Florence, Colorado. This
      article by Bernie Dwyer spotlights the prison in which Antonio is confined,
      describing the dehumanising and brutal effects of this type of imprisonment
      in a country that locks up more of its population than any other on the

      Background to Florence USP

      The control unit in Florence USP replaced Marion, Illinois, as the highest
      security federal prison in the country. Prisoners are kept in permanent
      solitary confinement, and are not even allowed to congregate for religious
      services. The cells are set up so that prisoners can't see each other, and
      can go days without seeing guards. The furniture in their cells is not
      movable, physical contact is prohibited among prisoners and during visits,
      and telephone calls are limited even more than in regular prisoners.
      Florence is located in an area whose water, soil, and air is known to be
      contaminated with dangerous radiation levels from a nearby uranium milling

      When the US Federal Bureau of Prisons closed down Alcatraz as its highest
      security prison in 1963, prisoners from Alcatraz were moved into Marion
      Prison and placed in what was known as 'lock-down'. Lockdown was used to
      control and suppress disruptive prisoners by severely restricting prisoners'
      rights. Marion was the first prison in the US to make lockdown a permanent
      condition. It combined permanent lockdown with sensory deprivation and
      special administrative measures, (rather than disciplinary) known as S.A.M.
      This means that the conditions are officially justified not as punishment
      for prisoners, but as an �administrative� measure. As there are no rules
      governing such moves prisoners are denied any due process and prison
      officials can incarcerate any prisoner in a control unit for as long as they
      choose, without giving a reason.

      On October 22, 1983, there was an isolated incident in Marion Prison that
      was to effect prison conditions until the present day. Two handcuffed
      inmates at the federal prison killed two guards in separate incidents.

      In the first, the inmate was walking down the hall, with his hands cuffed in
      front of him. He was able to suddenly turn and shove his cuffed hands into
      the cell of a friend, who quickly unlocked the cuffs with a stolen key,
      handed his friend a knife and the inmate turned around and killed the guard.
      Later that day, another inmate used the same lethal tactic.

      That was the day that special maximum security measures, known as Management
      Control Units were introduced.

      Conditions in Management Controlled Units

      According to the US Campaign to Abolish Control Unit Prisons, these
      Management Control Units are now the new model for prisons in the United
      States. Control Units go beyond the usual constraints of even maximum
      security prisons. While conditions vary from prison to prison, the goal of
      these units is always to cause spiritual, psychological, and physical
      breakdown of the prisoners. Included in the oppressive conditions are:

      * Years of isolation from both prison and outside communities while
      being housed in solitary or small group isolation (it is legal in
      the US to lock prisoners up for 23.5 hours / day).

      * denial of access to educational, religious, or work programs.

      * physical torture such as forced cell extractions, four-point
      restraint and hog-tying, caging, beating after restraint, backroom
      beatings, and set-up fights.

      * mental torture such as sensory deprivation, forced idleness,
      verbal harassment, mail tampering, disclosing confidential
      information, confessions forced under torture, and threats against
      family and visitors.

      * denial of access to medical and psychiatric care.
      Prisoners are placed in Control Units for administrative and/or
      disciplinary reasons. The classification hearings, if they occur at
      all, can only be called a "kangaroo court" at which the prisoner is
      denied due process.

      Various names are assigned to Control Units -- Adjustment Center, Security
      Housing Unit, Maximum Control Complex, Administrative Maximum (Ad-Max),
      Special Housing Unit, Violence Control Unit, Special Management Unit,
      Intensive Management Unit, etc., also known in prison parlance as the
      �Hole�. While every prison has Administrative Segregation cells (Ad-Seg)
      used for holding prisoners in short-term disciplinary or protective custody,
      Control Units are usually used for long-term punishment.

      The "Worst of the Worst"

      The isolation unit at Florence penitentiary has the reputation of being the
      most brutal. US attorney Leonard Weinglass said that he when he eventually
      succeeded in visiting his client Antonio Guerrero, he was shocked to see his
      visiting conditions and said that they were worst he had ever encountered
      even when visiting his former client, Mumia Abu Jamal on death row.

      According to prisoner rights experts, ADX-Florence is the place where the
      federal government puts its ``worst of the worst'' prisoners. Florence is
      the leader in a nationwide trend toward supermax prisons. More than half the
      inmates have murdered somebody in or out of prison. The average sentence is
      36 years.

      Antonio Guerrero was sentenced without a shred of evidence to life plus 12
      years in Florence USP, Colorado. He has the reputation within the
      institution of being a model prisoner. He is trustworthy enough to have
      special teaching duties. He is not a threat to anybody or country. As far as
      the people of Cuba are concerned Antonio was working for a better world.
      They feel that to keep him locked up is a miscarriage of justice and putting
      him in the �Hole� was a crime. We all believe that it is time he came home
      to his country and family.

      The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has ruled against the U.S.
      government in accepting, on January 6, two amicus briefs (friends of the
      court documents presented in support of one side) by the National Lawyers
      Guild, the Florida branch of the National Association of Criminal Defense
      Lawyers, and the National Association of Federal Public Defenders, presented
      in favor of five Cubans imprisoned in the United States.

      The U.S. Attorney had motioned the court to reject the two amicus briefs
      alleging that they did not offer a different perspective than that presented
      by the defense attorneys of the Five, and was a means by which to avoid the
      limited number of pages imposed on the defense in its petition to the court.
      However, on January 13, in a motion of response to the court, the U.S.
      Attorney also included an amicus brief by the Cuban-American Bar Association
      supporting its arguments. The court has yet to pronounce on this.

      The U.S. Attorney's motion to reject the defense amicus briefs was a
      surprise to the legal community by virtue of the fact that it was extremely
      unusual. It provoked a strong reaction from criminal defense attorneys who
      referred to the protection offered by the Sixth Amendment in relation to
      race, ideology, religious, ethnic and other irrational prejudices.

      The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, its Florida branch and
      the National Association of Federal Public Defenders argued in their joint
      amicus that the accused should be able to count on Constitutional guarantees
      for a fair trial.

      The importance of this resides in the fact that National Association of
      Criminal Defense Lawyers is the only organization of its kind in Miami-Dade

      For its part, the National Lawyers Guild presented its amicus on the right
      to a fair trial and the right to due process � both established by the Sixth
      Amendment - and emphasized the error of the Florida court in not authorizing
      a change of trial location as well as the inappropriate conduct of the
      prosecution during the trial.

      Once accepted by the appeals court, the two amicus now become part of the
      case file it will review. According to procedures established by the Atlanta
      court, on December 15 the defense attorneys presented documents
      corresponding to questions asked by the court. The U.S. Attorney presented
      arguments on January 13, and now the defense can respond to the latter on
      January 27. During the week of February 13, a day will be held for an oral
      presentation by both the defense and the prosecution, designed to respond to
      any concerns or questions the 12 judges may have.

      In recent comments on the legal process against the Cuban Five, the
      President of the Cuban National Assembly, Ricardo Alarc�n, underlined the
      violations that had begun from the very day of the arrest of the five men in
      1998, saying "that there should never have been a trial, let alone an
      arrest" and pointed out violations of the Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments
      of the U.S. Constitution. "In the case of the Cuban Five, the fight should
      go beyond obtaining a new trial for them, but be a battle for their
      immediate release, so they not remain in prison one more day". Alarc�n drew
      attention to the decision by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary
      Detentions, which in May of last year � after two years of analysis of the
      case � determined that the trial had been illegal. Following this on August
      9, a three-judge panel of the Atlanta appeals court declared null and void
      the original trial in the Miami federal court. Thus, eight important experts
      from two different forums have expressed their condemnation of the legal
      process against the Five and the illegal sentences imposed upon them.

      The National Assembly President stressed the need to continue fighting to
      convert the cause of the Five into an international campaign against
      injustice, and condemn their manipulated trial, demanding their immediate

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