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News US spies arrested abroad vs. spies arrested in the US

  1. Jun 15, 2009 #1
    US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    We had the Roxana Saberi in Iran. She was freed because even the Iranians recognized that she did not have a fair trial. She was allowed to go home. Now, in the US we have the case of the Cuban five:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Five



    The latest news is that an appeal on a very procedural ground has been denied:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE55E3VD20090615

    So, it looks to me that the US is treating these people like Iran or North Korea was/is treating the US "spies", except that in the latter case, you at least have a reasonable chance of getting released. In the US case, the fact that the original trial happened "according to the rules", an appeal (in the sense of a re-examination of the facts of the case) is impossible.
     
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  3. Jun 15, 2009 #2
    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    Clicking though through the Wiki link I came across this UN document:
    Considering the serious nature of the changes, I am very curious to know what our government has done since then to address them. Not that I would attempt to absolve spies, but these people having been tried in the heart of the same Cuban expatriate community they were convicted of spying on seems rather absurd.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Jun 15, 2009 #3

    LowlyPion

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    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    Given the events unfolding in Iran, I'm thinking that an appeal to fairness had no weight at all. I would look to more pragmatic reasons for granting her appeal and release.
     
  5. Jun 15, 2009 #4

    mgb_phys

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    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    A bunch of UK plane-spotters went to Greece to photograph military aircraft, on a military airbase, noting down all the serial numbers, types etc and were arrested as spies.
    Usual outcry about foreigners treating Englishmen, demand to send gunboats, invade Greece. Charges eventually dropped because of diplomatic pressure. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1697862.stm

    Greek tourist takes a photograph on the London Underground, and is arrested, because a women complained her kid was in one of the pictures - won't someone think of the children.
    http://www.legalbanter.co.uk/uk-legal-legal-issues-uk/54810-photographer-held-london.html
     
  6. Jun 15, 2009 #5

    russ_watters

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    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    Those are some pretty steep charges you are levying against the US, there, without any justification that I can see.

    In the case of the reporter arrested in Iran, it is expedient to say that she was released because she didn't have a fair trial - you'd never expect the Iranians to acknowledge that the entire incident was a farce. We have no basis for any belief that she was actually a spy: it appears this is just another case of a belligerent government harassing reporters.

    The Cuban Five on the other hand, were, Cuban spies. There isn't any reasonable debate to be had about that. Whether they could have beaten prosecution for their crimes if they were tried in a different venue is an interesting question, but it is hard to argue that justice wasn't served in convicting them. They should consider themselves lucky that they weren't executed.

    In addition, the differences in fairness themselves, between the two cases, are as wide as an ocean. Whether the trial of the Cuban five was unfair due to the venue (a pretty weak violation, imo), the entire trial of Saberi was a sham, happening too fast and leaving her unable to defend herself. It has all the hallmarks of a manufactured stunt by the Iranian government.

    You are drawing up a parallel that couldn't be further from a reality.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
  7. Jun 15, 2009 #6

    russ_watters

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    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    Being a long-time photographer, she should know better than to take pictures of other people's kids without permission.
     
  8. Jun 15, 2009 #7

    mgb_phys

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    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    He was taking pictures of the tube station, I don't think he intended to photograph the kid.
    It has become a bit of a mass-hysteria in Britain - parents aren't allowed to take cameras to school soccer games, but the schools must all have CCTV - all to protect the children.
     
  9. Jun 15, 2009 #8
    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    Yea, I would have to agree with russ watters. The Cuban Five were lucky to to be caught in America where they got to put their case forward in an impartial court. The case against them was pretty solid and included charges of attempting to infiltrate US Southern Command headquarters.

    Roxana Saberi's trial was a pure sham; it was filled with hardline clerics who managed to elicit a confession from her before the trial even started through threats and torture.
     
  10. Jun 15, 2009 #9
    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    It is understandable that a mother would become suspicious of what she perceives as a lone man taking pictures of her kid. With all the cases of children being kidnapped and pedophiles around, what can you expect? It is unfortunate but part of human nature I guess.
     
  11. Jun 15, 2009 #10
    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    If you read the information about this case, it is clear that there was a terror organization operating from Florida that the US did not act against. Then the Cuban Agents did infiltrate in there which is technically "spying". There was not a shred of evidence that these agents were involved in any harmful activities, yet they were convicted of very serious charges like first degree murder and "infiltrating US Southern Command headquarters", which was simply ridiculous.

    Saberi also violated Iranian law about the way she handled certain documents. But at least the Iranians (perhaps under pressure from the US) were flexible and decided that whatever she did was not a big deal.

    Unfortunately, the US is unable to make the same determination and will stick to the fact that the convictions were procedurally correct (despite being utterly ridiculous).
     
  12. Jun 15, 2009 #11

    russ_watters

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    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    I don't know that it's a mass hysteria issue here, but I was walking in Philadelphia once last year and a Japanese tourist went to take a picture of a day care's multi-stroller (like 6 babies in a train) and the woman pushing it stopped her.

    For a soccer game, if your own kids are in it, I can't see how there can be anything wrong with it.
     
  13. Jun 15, 2009 #12

    russ_watters

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    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    I don't know how far I'm supposed to go to prove your claims, but the wiki you linked and the US state department (?) website on the Cuban Five read nothing at all like what you describe:
    http://www.america.gov/st/pubs-english/2008/June/20070712120209atlahtnevel0.7962915.html

    At face value, the charges and evidence look pretty straightforward to me.

    Do you have any credible sources that could substantiate your claims about the lack of evidence? I think you'll need to get specific about the evidence that there was being faked, because clearly there was a lot of evidence. This was your basic, classic, spy-novel type espionage.

    Heck, it even says they didn't deny what they were, so heavy the evidence against them was: they only tried to deflect the charges by saying they were acting to fight terrorism against Cuba - a claim, that even if true, by the way, is still espionage.
    Agreed, but that's not espionage.
    Flexible? No, it was more likely all part of some preorchestrated stunt. At best, they picked up on a real crime and then salivated on the opportunity to ramrod an American through a sham trial to poke a finger in our eye. Nothing about that case looks legitimate.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  14. Jun 15, 2009 #13
    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    Certain documents? Out of the question, there is no way that a foreign journalist could handle sensitive documents having only been in the country for a short time. More likely she was trying to defy her handler by presenting a balanced view of the country.

    And I guess you group all the Cuban exile groups as terror organisations do you? How convenient! Not a shred of evidence, a confident statement indeed. The intelligence agents were wiretapped by the FBI, their case was presented in court and in public. I don't know about you but I think all those tapes being held by the FBI, documents and letters etc are all evidence.
     
  15. Jun 16, 2009 #14
    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    He only said "http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/01/14/cuba/" [Broken]".
    He didn't dispute the fact that the were spying, but said "not a shred of evidence that these agents were involved in any harmful activities", which at least I am not in a position to contest. While I know the court found them guilty of first degree murder, considering their trial heart of the same Cuban expatriate community they were convicted of spying on, I can't reasonably argue that justice was served in doing so.
     
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  16. Jun 16, 2009 #15
    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    I am commenting on the fact that just because a group is exiled, it does not necessarily mean they are a terrorist organization. If the Cuban government think they are, show the evidence and pursue it through the United Nations, Interpol etc without sending intelligence agents to another country.

    Well, most of the jury were cautiously selected and again, as long as the evidence is presented in detail and the case is pursued fairly which it was, I see no reason to blame a million different factors that could have favored one side or the other.
     
  17. Jun 16, 2009 #16

    russ_watters

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    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    I guess, then, he'd have to define what he means by "harmful activities", since it seems to me that everything they were convicted of is a harmful activity, otherwise the activities wouldn't be illegal. But you're right - CI didn't object to the idea that they were spying. So I guess that means he doesn't consider spying to be inherrently harmful? That's not a hair I think needs splitting. Spying is a crime, punishable by death. Period. If there is no objection to the charge of spying, then there is nothing to argue about.

    In any case, to the specific charge of murder - according to the link I provided, it wasn't murder, but conspiracy to commit murder. And the evidence there is also pretty straightforward: intercepted communications about the attack.

    Regardless, none of this bears any resemblance to the case of Roxana Saberi.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  18. Jun 16, 2009 #17

    russ_watters

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    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    If we were to assume, for the sake of argument that everything said about Alpha 66 in that link is true and further assume for the sake of argument that the Cuban 5 did nothing else besides act against Alpha 66, it would still be espionage! Their chosen defense was the propaganda technique misdirection and they lost because misdirection is not a valid (though admittedly sometimes it works) legal defense for their crimes.

    So this is just an irrelevant diversion, along the same lines as their failed trial defense.
     
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  19. Jun 16, 2009 #18
    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    I think the double life sentence for one as opposed to the much milder sentences of the others were due to the murder charge and the military base infiltration charge. Both of which are problematic. If you take a hard line view that spying activities can justifiably lead to the death penalty, then surely one also has to take a milder view about the shooting down of the planes by Cuba.

    Even if one argues that what Cuba did was wrong because it happened in international waters, the fact that intelligence about the flights to Cuba were given in itself would not make one complicit in any "murder" by any reasonable standard.

    In this respect the case is similar to the Saberi case. You take some event that strictly speaking is illegal or it is a somewhat more serious charge that reasonably can lead to, say, ten years prison sentence. But then you blame the people for other events for which they were not responsible at all by any reasonable standard of "responsibility".

    That verdict is then only motivated because you have an enemy that you view as a "big Satan". Any action that has helped that "great Satan" in any way, makes you liable for other bad things that this "great Satan" has done.

    I can give another example of "Iranian style justice" in Florida in a case having to do with Cuba, see here:

    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-22427001_ITM



    So, the Cuban government was convicted of "rape". The fact that a plane was hijacked did not lead to any criminal charges.
     
  20. Jun 16, 2009 #19
    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    It is http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/02/us/politics/02aipac.html" [Broken]:
    In that case, they were actually passing classified information.
    This issue is that of the fairness of the trial, from http://www.reuters.com/article/domes...55E3VD20090615" [Broken]:
    How do you figure one could rightly expect an unbiased jury at the heart of the same Cuban American community which hosts http://www.un.org/documents/ga/docs/56/a56521.pdf" [Broken]?
    I saw there was communications about the staying off the flights, but what have you seen intercepted about the attack itself?
    I suppose, as she was actually charged with possessing classified information.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  21. Jun 16, 2009 #20

    russ_watters

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    Re: US "spies" arrested abroad vs. "spies" arrested in the US

    None of that has any relevance to this case. I feel the need to distill this to simple logic for you, so I'll say it again and diagram it this time. We can discard all of those ancillary charges if you want and it still doesn't change the one key, undisputed fact: (we'll call it Fact 1)

    The Cuban Five were spies.

    You can argue the pros and cons of related ancillary charges to you're blue in the face (and I have no desire to do that), but it won't change that simple, straightforward, uncontested fact.

    Now how does this relate to Roxana Saberi? We'll call this Fact 2:

    Roxana Saberi was not a spy.

    Because of the stark difference between Fact 1 and Fact 2, there is no easy way to compare the two cases. But you've tried anyway. Here's how your logic works:

    Factual premise A: The Cuban 5 were arrested, tried and convicted, but questions exist about the fairness of their trials.
    Factual premise B: Roxana Saberi was arrested, tried and convicted, but questions exist about the fairness of her trial.
    Factual result C: Roxanne Saberi was released, at least in part, due to the issue of fairness in her arrest, trial, and conviction.
    Deduced conclusion D: The Cuban 5 should be released due to the issue of fairness with her trial.

    The logic seems simple and straightforward:
    A=B
    C=D
    B yielded D
    Therefore A should yield C

    The problem is that A and B have been so oversimplified as to be completely meaningless for a comparison. In particular, Fact 1 and Fact 2 need to be included in A and B, after which it is easy to see that they are not so similar.

    In addion, this general issue of "fairness" is one that exists in any trial and every good defense attorney should raise it as part of the defense. But as it turns out, it's irrelevant anyway: as a matter of law, in order to even be granted a new trial, a defense attorney must not only prove that the trial was unfair (procedural or other errors were made), but also that the actual outcome of the case was wrong.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal

    Since the fact that the Cuban Five were spies was undisputed, there could be no possible grounds for granting an appeal of that charge, making the arguments about fairness irrelevant.
    No one in this thread (or in the media, that i've seen) is blaming the Iranians for what Saberi did. There is no blame misdirection going on from that side. Only you and the other defenders of the Cuban 5 are doing that. Sorry, you can't create your own two-sided logical fallacy. The other side has to participate in it.

    I'll not respond to the other irrelevancies at the end, there, except to point out that you put the word "rape" in quotes, yet it doesn't appear in the article, nor was the government "convicted" of anything. Be careful with your misinformation.

    It really almost seems to me like this was just a convenient way to jump into a random USA bash. So little has been said about the Saberi case: you're focusing most of your effort on lambasting the US for what you perceive was done wrong with the Cuban Five.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
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