Posts Tagged ‘national lawyers guild’

Nov 5th for the Cuban 5 Judge Claudia Morcom Sends a Message to Obama / Jueza Estadounidense Claudia Morcom Envía Carta a Obama

November 4, 2013

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Claudia Morcom has been actively engaged in civil rights and human rights work throughout her life, beginning with attending rallies for the Scottsboro frame-up victims in her childhood. She worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the National Lawyers Guild in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi.
Claudia Morcom was the first African American woman to work in an integrated law firm when she joined the firm of Goodman, Crockett, Eden, Robb, and Philo in the early 1960s. She was the Southern Regional Director of the National Lawyers Guild Committee for Legal Assistance from 1964-1965. In 1966, she became the Director of the Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services Program for the indigent. She became a Wayne County Circuit Court Judge in 1983. She served as a delegate to the United Nations Council on Human Rights.
Judge Claudia House Morcom worked to establish “gender and racial equality in all facets of society through her notable accomplishments in the field of law”.

November 5, 2013

Dear President Obama,

I am appealing to you as a colleague, a lawyer, a human rights activist and someone keenly conscious of the history of unjust imprisonment in our country. Specifically, I am writing this letter asking you to release the four remaining members of the so called “Cuban Five” whose only crime was to defend their country against unwarranted attacks. It is a simple act of justice that you can easily do.

The prosecution and imprisonment of the Scottsboro brothers and the outcry to free them was one of the factors that shaped my determination to become a lawyer at a very young age. It was in an era when women, particularly Black women, were seldom if ever enrolled in law schools.

As a young lawyer who organized legal defense for freedom riders in Mississippi, I saw first hand the ways in which hatred can taint our judicial system. In the years I served on the bench, I sought justice and heard all sides, especially in politically unpopular cases.

Since my retirement from the bench I have continued to advocate for human rights in our country representing the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers before the United Nations in Geneva and New York.

Because of my long term involvement with the National Lawyers Guild I have had the opportunity to interact with lawyers, law professors and students from all over the world. The U.S. has always been looked up to as a proponent for equal justice under the law and there have been many occasions where we have allowed long standing racist and sexist injustices to denigrate our aspirations for equality.

I have long been involved with the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Southern Poverty Law Center and many, many other organizations. It seems that the violation of human rights and justice unfortunately continues generation after generation.

As a lawyer, senator, professor and community organizer, you too have seen all of the inequities in our systems, at state, local and national levels.

You have a unique opportunity at this time to try to really demonstrate to young people of all races, ages and genders that the U.S. they have known in the past can’t continue to relegate so many as second class citizens.

You have an opportunity to be an example and change the course of the future. One historic act that you can do to correct a massive injustice that is not only current but historic is to open a dialogue with Cuba without preconditions. Then as has been voted by the United Nations General Assembly for 22 consecutive years, end the embargo on Cuba. Not only for the legal justification, but for the humanitarian message it will send to the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and justice loving people around the world. Critical to this historic rapprochement that only you can achieve is freeing the Cuban Five.

Sincerely,
Hon. Claudia House Morcom, retired

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Claudia Morcom ha estado envuelta toda su vida en el trabajo por los derechos civiles y los derechos humanos.
Durante temprana edad ya asistía a mitines en apoyo a las víctimas del caso Scottsboro. Ella trabajó con el Comité Coordinador de Estudiantes para la No-Violencia y el Gremio Nacional de Abogados en la década de los 1960 en Jackson, Mississippi.
Claudia Morcom fue la primera mujer afroamericana en trabajar en un bufete integral de abogados cuando se unió a la firma de Goodman, Crockett, Eden, Robb y Philo en la década de 1960. Además, fue la Directora Regional del Sur del Gremio Nacional de Abogados para la Asistencia Legal en 1964 y 1965. En 1966, pasó a ser la Directora del Programa de Servicios Legales para los Indigentes del Vecindario del Condado de Wayne. En 1983 comenzó a desempeñarse como Jueza del Tribunal de Circuito del Condado de Wayne.
También participó como delegada ante el Consejo de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos Humanos.
La Jueza Claudia House Morcom trabajó para establecer “la igualdad racial y de género en todas las facetas de la sociedad a través de sus notables logros en el campo del derecho”.

5 de Noviembre, 2013

Estimado Presidente Obama,

Estoy apelando a usted como colega, como abogado, como activista por los derechos humanos y como alguien profundamente consciente de la historia de injustos encarcelamientos en nuestro país. En concreto, le estoy escribiendo esta carta para pedirle que libere a los cuatro miembros restantes de los llamados “Cinco Cubanos” cuyo único delito fue defender a su país contra ataques injustificados. Es un simple acto de justicia que usted puede hacer fácilmente.

El procesamiento y encarcelamiento de los hermanos Scottsboro y las protestas para liberarlos fue uno de los factores que a temprana edad influyeron en mi decisión de estudiar abogacía. Eso sucedió en una época en que las mujeres, especialmente negras, raramente se inscribían en facultades de derecho.

Como joven abogada que organizó la defensa legal de los viajeros de la libertad en Mississippi, pude ver a primera mano cómo el odio puede contaminar nuestro sistema judicial. En los años que trabajé en la Corte, traté de que se hiciera justicia y oí a todas las partes, especialmente en casos políticamente impopulares.

Desde que me retiré de la Corte, he continuado abogando por los derechos humanos en nuestro país representando al Instituto por las Libertades Civiles Meiklejohn y la Asociación Internacional de Juristas Demócratas ante las Naciones Unidas en Ginebra y Nueva York.

Debido a mi larga historia de participación con el Gremio Nacional de Abogados he tenido la oportunidad de interactuar con abogados, profesores de derecho y estudiantes de todo el mundo. Estados Unidos siempre ha sido visto como un defensor de la igualdad bajo la ley y, sin embargo, ha habido muchas ocasiones donde hemos permitido durante mucho tiempo injusticias racistas y sexistas para denigrar nuestras aspiraciones por la igualdad.

Durante mucho tiempo he participado con el Centro de Estudios para la Paz y los Conflictos, la Unión de Libertades Civiles Americana, Amnistía Internacional, el Centro Legal para la Pobreza del Sur y muchas otras organizaciones. Lamentablemente parece que la violación de los derechos humanos y la justicia continúan generación tras generación.

Como abogado, senador, profesor y organizador comunitario, usted también ha visto todas las desigualdades en nuestro sistema, a nivel local, estatal y nacional.

Usted tiene una oportunidad única en este momento para tratar de demostrar realmente a los jóvenes de todas las razas, edades y géneros que los Estados Unidos que han conocido en el pasado no pueden continuar relegando a tantas personas a ciudadanos de segunda clase.

Usted tiene la oportunidad de ser un ejemplo y cambiar el curso del futuro. Un acto histórico que usted puede hacer para corregir una enorme injusticia que no sólo es actual sino histórica es abrir un diálogo con Cuba sin condiciones previas. Entonces, como ha sido decidido por la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas durante 22 años consecutivos, usted debe acabar con el embargo a Cuba. No sólo por la justificación legal, sino por el mensaje humanitario que enviará a los países de América Latina y el Caribe y a los amantes de la justicia de todo el mundo. Para lograr este acercamiento histórico que solo Ud. puede hacer posible, debe comenzar por liberar a los “Cinco Cubanos”.

Sinceramente,
Honorable ex-Jueza Claudia House Morcom

REMEMBER ON TUESDAY NOVEMBER 5TH TO CONTACT PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA TO JOIN THE WORLDWIDE DEMAND FOR THE FREEDOM OF THE CUBAN 5

DIFFERENT WAYS TO REACH THE WHITE HOUSE

By phone: 202-456-1111 (If nobody answers the phone leave a message)
If calling from outside the United States, dial first the International Area Code
+ 1 (US country code) followed by 202-456-1111

By Fax: 202-456-2461
If fax is sent from outside the United States, dial first the International Area
Code + 1 (US country code) followed by 202-456-2461

To send an e-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

To send a letter:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
United States

RECUERDE EL MARTES 5 DE NOVIEMBRE COMUNÍQUESE CON LA CASA BLANCA Y SÚMESE AL RECLAMO MUNDIAL POR LA LIBERTAD DE LOS CINCO

DIFERENTES FORMAS DE COMUNICARSE CON LA CASA BLANCA

Por teléfono: 202-456-1111 (Si no le responden, deje un mensaje en el contestador)
Si llama desde fuera de los EEUU, marque el Código Internacional del respectivo país + 1 (Código de EEUU) 202.456.1111

Por fax: +1- 202 456-2461

Por correo electrónico: president@whitehouse.gov

Por correo postal:
Presidente Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

To learn more about the Cuban 5 visit: http://www.thecuban5.org,
Para aprender sobre el caso de los 5 Cubanos visite: http://www.thecuban5.org,

U.S. Attorney Arthur Heitzer Asks Obama to “make things right” and Free the Cuban 5

September 5, 2013

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Attorney Arthur Heitzer has practiced civil rights and employment law in Milwaukee, WI since 1975, where he has repeatedly been named among the “Best Lawyers,” as well as having been listed in Who’s Who in American Law and among Super Lawyers. He is an honors graduate of both the University of Wisconsin Law School and of Marquette University, where he was elected president of the student body and helped lead a movement against institutional racism which resulted in creation of the Educational Opportunity Program in 1968, a national model for recruiting and retaining students of color. He has held leadership roles in the Wisconsin Bar Association and the National Lawyers Guild, where he chairs its Cuba Subcommittee. He has been to Cuba numerous times, as part of sister church and sister city delegations, as well as professional research projects.

September 5, 2013

Dear President Obama:

I am a Midwesterner, born and bred. Like most of the people around me, I believe in hard work and fair play. That’s why, since my first visit to Cuba right before starting law school at the University of Wisconsin in 1972, I’ve been troubled by the contrast between people of Cuba who universally seem to love and show generosity to visitors from the U.S., and our government’s policies designed since 1962 to impose “hunger and hardship” on the Cuban people.
This letter is about the Cuban Five, asking you to act promptly to free them; still incarcerated are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González, plus René González was recently freed after serving over 13 years in prison.
As a lawyer in Wisconsin, I had the opportunity visit and get to know personally one of the Five, Fernando Gonzalez, when he was held at the Oxford Federal Correctional Institution a bit north of Madison, WI. I cannot imagine a more temperate, reasoned and educated individual, and I joked that if he ever got out, he could be the Cuban ambassador to the U.S. Let me first explain a bit about his role, which I think exemplifies what the case of the Cuban Five is all about. Then I’ll show evidence that even U.S. authorities have treated them as being political prisoners.

I.
Fernando was only in the U.S. a short time before being arrested with the rest of the Cuban Five. They were all working for Cuba, to try to prevent further acts of terrorism and mass murder. Fernando in particular was attempting to monitor Orlando Bosch, who not only advocated murder of civilians for political purposes, but Bosch acted as well, most notoriously in engineering the bombing of a Cubana civilian airliner in October 1976, killing all 73 on board, including a victorious team of young fencers and medical students coming from South America. Joe D. Whitley Acting Associate Attorney General, and later the first General Counsel to the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, wrote in 1989 that “For 30 years Bosch has been resolute and unwavering in his advocacy of terrorist violence… His actions have been those of a terrorist, unfettered by laws or human decency, threatening and inflicting violence without regard to the identity of his victims.” But despite that and his illegal entry, Bosch was allowed to remain in the U.S., and without prosecution or confinement until he died in Miami in 2011. His partner in engineering the 1976 Cubana bombing, Luis Posada Carriles, still lives unfettered in Miami, where they have both been publicly honored, and your administration has failed to either try Posada for terrorism or honor an extradition request for him to face trial in Venezuela. On August 16, 2006, while Fernando and the rest of the Five were finishing their eighth year in jail, Bosch continued to publicly justify this bombing, in an interview in Barcelona’s LaVanguardia newspaper, where he also declared that “a bomb is a proof of rebelliousness, a proof of bravery.”

Contrast that with your own remarks on April 16, 2013, after the bombing of the Boston Marathon, that “Anytime bombs are used to target innocent civilians, that is an act of terrorism.” But that was Boston. Cuba claims to have lost over 3,000 of it people due to terrorism, much of it CIA inspired. The Cuban Five were sent to Miami, which the FBI had labeled as the “terrorist capital of the U.S.,” to try to prevent further deaths and mayhem.

To do this dangerous undercover work, most of the Five adopted aliases, and used false identification to match. Fernando’s alias is listed as the lead defendant in the court papers and on the appeals. Although when the U.S. media mentions this case at all, it often refers to the Five as “convicted spies,” that is not true. Their trial of over six months did not include any claims or evidence of any classified U.S. information, so none of them were ever charged with actual espionage, and only three of them were charged with “conspiracy”– supposedly, planning to do something which the evidence showed they did not actually do. For that, the judge initially gave them life sentences.

The Five all acted as agents of Cuba, and like the U.S. contractor Alan Gross now held in Cuba on a 15 years sentence, none of them registered with their host government to report their undercover work. On September 12, 2013, the four who remain in jail will begin their 16th year of imprisonment.

II.
You have gone to Miami and publicly called for “justice for Cuba’s political prisoners…” But the imprisonment of the Cuban 5 in the U.S. was clearly a political act as well.

Here are a few examples of decisions in their case which were clearly “political”:

1. The decision to arrest them in violent, pre-dawn raids on September 12, 1998, while still allowing the career terrorists whom they were monitoring to live and operate freely in the U.S.

2. The decision to charge and later try them on grounds that for nationals of other countries, such as Russia, would lead to sending them home; and the extraordinary decision by Janet Reno to add a “conspiracy to commit murder” charge against Gerardo Hernandez, prior to her return to Florida and her run for Governor.

3. The decision to force their trial to take place in Miami, rather than let it be moved even to another county in Florida. The Miami jurors in the trial expressed strong feelings against the Cuban government these defendants all admittedly worked for; and the U.S. Justice Department in another case noted that a fair trial with less direct Cuban government involvement could not be held in Miami because of such sentiments.

4. The decisions to hold each of the Five in solitary confinement/special isolation for 17 months, to seek and obtain maximum sentences unheard of in a case where no U.S. interests or secrets were compromised, as well as to consistently deny two of their wives and children visas to visit them. These have been criticized by Amnesty International, and by the relevant body of the United Nations. The trial and confinement of the Cuban Five is the only U.S. domestic criminal proceeding to be found unjust by both these bodies.

5. Although the Cuban Five have been held in separate U.S. prisons and their conduct in prison has been exemplary, every one of them was simultaneously put and held in “the hole” around the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003; they were eventually returned to their respective prison populations after a public campaign on their behalf. No justification for these simultaneous actions has ever been provided to my knowledge.

6. Despite a unanimous three-judge panel decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2005 that the Cuban Five’s conviction was the result of a “perfect storm” of hatred towards the Cuban revolution combined with intimidation, violence and threats in Miami, and prosecutorial misconduct, the Bush administration refused to accept a new trial outside of Miami, and instead pursued an unusual review by all members of that circuit, which then set aside the unanimous appellate opinion. That original court decision footnoted some of the extensive history of “exile” violence that the Five were attempting to deter.

7. The subsequent revelation that the U.S. government had paid the reporters for the Miami media who contributed to the prejudice against these Cuban agents and defendants, was a fact unknown to the defense or the judge at the time. The editor of one the influential Miami dailies that was implicated, El Nuevo Herald, then explained that serious compromise of journalistic ethics was not significant, because it was one of the paper’s founding principles to oppose the Cuban government.

Finally, and getting back to my Midwestern roots, the political nature of their imprisonment was also demonstrated by the authorities’ reaction in Oxford, WI when information about Fernando and the Cuban 5 started reaching the public. Each summer more than 10,000 Wisconsin progressives gathered just 20 miles away, in Baraboo, WI at “Fighting Bob” Fest, named after the famous “Fighting Bob” Lafollette; and for several years we worked to educate them about this case. By September 2007, hundreds of people came up to sign our petitions, under a banner with picture of Fernando and the caption “What Do You Know About Wisconsin’s Most Famous Political Prisoner?” We had a prison visit scheduled and confirmed by prison authorities to meet with Fernando that next week, but within 3 days of that gathering a prison representative called and said the visit was cancelled for no reason that could be disclosed, but it would be rescheduled. In fact, Fernando was being shipped away to Terre Haute, IND, where the case of the Five was not nearly so well known. I asked Sen. Russ Feingold to inquire as to the reason for the transfer, and was advised that the warden requested it based on alleged security concerns – even though there had never been the slightest infraction asserted against Fernando. When our government authorities act in fear of the public becoming educated, something’s not right.

So fair play is all we ask. The continued incarceration of any of the Five is not fair. When the people in the Heartland hear about this case, they agree. But it is both your job and your power to make things right, sooner rather than later.

Sincerely,
Arthur Heitzer, Attorney at Law
Milwaukee, WI

Chair, National Lawyers Guild Cuba Subcommittee

REMEMBER ON THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 5TH TO CONTACT PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA TO JOIN THE WORLDWIDE DEMAND FOR THE FREEDOM OF HE CUBAN 5

DIFFERENT WAYS TO REACH THE WHITE HOUSE
By phone: 202-456-1111 (If nobody answers the phone leave a message)
If calling from outside the United States, dial first the International Area Code
+ 1 (US country code) followed by 202-456-1111
By Fax: 202-456-2461
If fax is sent from outside the United States, dial first the International Area
Code + 1 (US country code) followed by 202-456-2461
To send an e-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

To send a letter:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
United States

SEND AN ONLINE MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
To learn more about the Cuban 5 visit: http://www.thecuban5.org
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Cuban Five forums at US Law Schools in September, October

August 23, 2013

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With the 15th anniversary of the Cuban Five’s unjust imprisonment approaching, the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five is busy organizing public events at Universities and Law Schools to reach new audiences among law students and faculty, as well as the wider university and community public.

For Friday, Sept. 13, at the University of the District of Columbia Law School, several student associations, including the Black Law Students Association, Black Men’s Law Society, Latino/a Law Student Association, National Lawyers Guild-UDC, and the Criminal Justice Society, are working with the National Committee on an important evening forum, featuring Danny Glover and Cuban Five attorney Richard Klugh.

For Thursday, Oct. 24, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, two important forums will be held at The Institute for the Study of the Americas and The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Law School. Among the panelists will be Danny Glover, Cuban Five attorney Bill Norris, and Louis Pérez Jr., ISA director and acclaimed Cuba historian.

If you are a student, faculty member or interested community activist,
contact us today if you would like to organize a similar forum!
Write to us at: info@freethefive.org or call 415-821-6545
Friday, Sept. 13, 6:00 pm at
The University of District of Columbia Law School
featuring Danny Glover and Cuban Five attorney Richard Klugh
Thursday, Oct. 24, 12 noon at
* The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Law School
featuring Danny Glover and Cuban Five attorney William Norris
Thursday, Oct. 24, 6:00 pm at
* The Institute for the Study of the Americas
featuring Danny Glover, William Norris and Louis Pérez Jr.

National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
Email: info@freethefive.org * web: http://www.freethefive.org


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