Click. Lawyer: Accused Cuban was FBI informer.


Lawyer: Accused Cuban was FBI informer
By TERRY SPENCER, Associated Press

MIAMI (December 11, 2000 6:42 p.m. EST - A Cuban pilot accused of spying against the United States was in fact an FBI informer who provided evidence of cocaine smuggling by an anti-Castro group, his lawyer argued in opening statements Monday.

Rene Gonzalez, 44, is one of five men on trial on spying charges.

Gonzalez, a pilot for the Cuban exile group Brothers to the Rescue, was approached by a Florida-based paramilitary group and asked to fly cocaine from Honduras to Miami, attorney Philip Horowitz told the federal jury.

Instead, Gonzalez contacted the FBI and offered information to help convict the group's leaders, but his actions were seen as an attempt to infiltrate the agency, Horowitz said.

Gonzalez was arrested in 1998 and charged with being part of a 14-member spy ring that allegedly tried to infiltrate Florida military installations.

Five of the men have since secured plea bargains requiring them to cooperate, and four more are fugitives believed to be in Cuba.

Attorneys for four other men -- Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez -- have told the court that their clients worked for the Cuban government, but that they did not commit the crime of espionage because they did not obtain classified information.

Hernandez is also charged with passing information to the Cuban government that led to its 1996 downing of two Brothers to the Rescue planes over international waters, killing four fliers.

by Rich Cowan ©

I suspect that most of you were not surprised by the decision
of the US Supreme Court to stop the recount, given the
appointment of several conservative activists to the Court,
as noted in my email of 12/8/00 on judicial bias.

I did some fact-checking today and came up with some more info
on the Federalist Society, a nonprofit organization with a
multi-million dollar budget, initially founded in 1982 on
three college campuses (Harvard, Yale, and U of Chicago).

Some of the new facts:

1) The faculty advisor to one of the original Federalist
Society chapters was none other than Antonin Scalia, who is
now one of the most right-wing members of the Supreme Court.
(See the Washington Post, Dec. 12, 1986, p. A23).

2) Though the Society consisted only of a few student
chapters initially, it quickly attracted right-wing grants
and grew its budget to $400,000 after only 3 years.

3) The Society was intimately involved in choosing judges and
Justice Department staffers in both the 2nd term of the
Reagan-Bush Administration (1985-9) and the Bush Administration
(1989-93).  see
Pretty good for a "student" organization!

4) One of the most active Federalist Society board members
appeared on several networks today (12/10/00) on behalf of the
Bush campaign.  This was White House Counsel (Under Bush)
C. Boyden Gray. According to the web site listed above, Gray
called upon one of the Federalist Society cofounders formerly
advised by Scalia, Lee Liberman, to test the "ideological
purity" of proposed Bush judicial appointees.

Gray is one of the many heirs to the R.J. Reynolds tobacco
fortune.  He was the chair of the Washington Chapter of the
Federalist Society and he is now the chair of the board of
Citizens for a Sound Economy, a pro-business lobbying group
that is funded by tobacco and coal companies, and by Microsoft.

You can read more on C. Boyden Gray's corporate ties at:

5)  Several news commentators have implied today that the
decision was split along party lines; in fact it was
not.  The minority included Republican appointees John Paul
Stevens and David Souter.


One final comment about the initial US Supreme Court (USSC)
ruling on Dec. 4, throwing the decision back to the Florida
Supreme Court (FSC).

The USSC ruling said to the FSC that any recount had to be
based on the existing Florida recount law. Of course, the law
is a bit shaky in that it leaves the determination of the
standards used to determine a "voter's intent" up to the local
county canvassing boards.

If the FSC asked for a statewide recount under a single standard,
the USSC would likely have overruled the FSC.  They would have
simply recited the standard Federalist Society line:  that any
court action to improve upon an incomplete law is "judicial
activism", "overreaching," or "making new rules after the fact."

Instead, the FSC asked for a statewide recount under the
existing law that gave counties local autonomy.  For this, the
FSC has now been chastised by Justice Scalia and others for
ordering recounts without a common standard.  (Incredibly, the
Bush legal team is even basing its argument on civil rights
provisions of "equal protection" in the U.S. Constitution.)

Damned if you do; damned if you don't.  A classic "catch-22"

The Supreme Court could regain credibility as an arbiter seeking
a fair outcome by allowing a statewide manual recount of all the
"undervotes" under a single uniform standard.  But given all of
the prior history cited below, it seems likely that their main
objective is simply to put George W. Bush into office.

-rich cowan

[Note: The phrase "Catch-22" came into common use as a
  result of a 1961 antiwar book by Joseph Heller.  Here is an
  excerpt, from :

"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified
that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were
real and immediate was the process of a rational mind.  Orr was
crazy and could be grounded.  All he had to do was ask; and as
soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly
more missions.  Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane
if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them.  If he flew
them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to
he was sane and had to.  Yossarian was moved very deeply by the
absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a
respectful whistle.
'That's some catch, that Catch-22,' he observed.
'It's the best there is,' Doc Daneeka agreed."   ]

Organizers' Collaborative      PO Box 400897, Cambridge MA  02140