What Alan Gross was really doing in Cuba

We all know he was doing something illegal related to communications but exactly what was going on and how his work was connected to the US government has tended to be a bit non-specific. Well, Tracey Eaton did the research and published the real story in his blog. The article also details how he has effectively been disowned once he was arrested.

If you feel he is being unreasonably punished for what he did, replace Cuba with just about any other country name and think about how that country would have responded.

U.S. officials stressed the importance of secrecy during a 2008 meeting with a Maryland contractor that had been chosen to carry out a new democracy project in Cuba, according to a confidential memo (download 8-page document). The project wasn’t considered classified, however, because the U.S. Agency for International Development wanted to create the illusion of transparency.

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Gross did ... what ... exactly ?

Having read the linked piece and many others, and having read the "secret memo", the question remains, to me anyway, what actual crimes did Gross commit? What links, if anything, the alleged crime to the sentence received? The so-called "crime of working for the U.S, intelligence services" is not an identifiable violation of a named law, and in itself not a believable crime in a word court, per se. Raul Castro has admitted Gross was "not a spy". Since Cuba views sophisticated communications equipment as akin to that which might bring about regime change, and thereby criminalizes it irrespective of actual laws used sentence people, it is hard to see how what the Cuban government has done is comparable to what other countries might have done (if you replace them in the story, as indicated). A better example might be to look at what crimes Gross would have been charged with had he done the same in other locales. What would the crime have been in, say, Sweden or Singapore, Peru or the Phllippines, Guatemala or Ghana?

IMO, why would you do that?

The comparison is worthless. Who cares what would have happened to him in another country. It wasn't another country, it was Cuba.

Cuba has laws to protect its country. Foreigners should respect that and more importantly so should the United States government.

Whatever the Pawn Gross was doing, be it helping the small Cuban Jewish community improve its Internet access or otherwise...Cuba considers such programs an affront to its national security.

The charges were under a statute governing crimes against the state. As Mickey Mouse as some parts of the world feel that the charges might be, its their country and their law.

For all we know, the US sent him there to get caught.

Other countries

My point was only is response to the question posed: "If you feel he is being unreasonably punished for what he did, replace Cuba with just about any other country name and think about how that country would have responded". I agree it is an in-country matter. The only issue being the in-country legal status and if it is comparable to another. The thing is, it is so hard to find non-Cuba-apologist's who defend the legal system, etc. - even those who defend in-country rights in the face of other standards. The fact that Cuba has laws to protect its country is, on some important level, meaningless. Every country, no matter how great or lame, impressive or pathetic, moral or immoral, binding or illegal, etc., has the same exact thing. That people can point to an old dusty book and say, "...see, I am innocent, the words protect me..." is nothing to brag about. Foreigners should not, blindly, respect the laws of any country. If one believes that, then mandatory goose-stepping is, well, the next step...

I read that line before...

The goose step thing or something similar. I don't buy it

This is about Cuba, not 'any country'.

It is about a US citizen, working 'by extension' for the US government.

This is not a man 'blindly' doing anything, he knew what he was doing and weighed the risks.

It is (though)...

But, it is about "any country"; the country happens to be Cuba. While it is inconvenient for Cuba-defenders to have to deal with the fact that Cuba is a country (as opposed to some utopia, immune from logical, consistent adherence to national laws and the same per application of international laws) subject to the same principles as any other, it is what it is. If Cuba wants to create special crimes for those of who, allegedly, did this on the basis of other entities, they are entitled to do so. Any country can easily legally define almost any act or activity any way it chooses, regardless of if that "way" makes sense or not or is even legally consistent with its legal system. Legally, in any real legal system, it is irrelevant if one weighed the risks and/or worked for another government. Imagine two men: one exceeds the speed limit because he has a hooker waiting for him in Havana; the other exceeds the speed limit because he works for the U.S. government and was asked to pick up a hooker in Havana at a particular time. The former receives one sentence, the latter another. This only excludes scrutiny by those who accept whatever a country claims, regardless of how silly that clam really is.

You seem to be describing life itself....

"Its as fair as you will get it" or as you can make it.

"Legally, in any real legal system, it is irrelevant if one weighed the risks and/or worked for another government"...

Come on MJT, I know you love the theory but lets be practical shall we?

A man in the USA arguing rates with a hooker the following morning goes unnoticed.

But the "Presidents Men" get fired and ruined.

As Frank would say "Thats Life"....You're riding high in April, Shot down in May.

Codes of Conduct

"President's men" have both an official and unofficial code of conduct which governs their lives and, more importantly, their careers; the same cannot be said for people outside that circle, and that is all the difference in the world. There really isn't an analogy here, not to these people. I am unsure what sort of person, in or outside Cuba, is analogous is the sort of example you are making. The soon-t-be-released UN investigation has called on Cuba to immediately release the jailed American contractor, Gross, after determining his detention was arbitrary, and clearly violated international human-rights standards.

Then in that case...

A foreign government also has an official and unofficial code of conduct which governs their lives and the work they do or say they are doing on behalf of their people.

Poll the USA on Gross's actions and most will say he was a spook who got caught and we didn't ask him to interfere in Cuba anyway.


Maybe a poll would reveal that. Maybe not. But, then again, what would such a poll have to do with the alleged crimes committed in Cuba and the resulting sentencing? What has one to do with the other?