by Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
The question of the imagery registered by US satellites of the events of February 24, 1996, imagery that was unsuccessfully ordered by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for the report it was to send to the U.N. Security Council, came up again at the trial in Miami. The determination of the exact location where the incident occurred was irrelevant as far as Gerardo was concerned, since he was completely removed from the action, regardless of wherever it occurred. But it was decisive in terms of the court, since it could only have jurisdiction if the regrettable event had taken place outside Cuban territory.
In Miami the argument about the contradictory radar data was repeated. It was an expert witness for the government, a retired senior Air Force official, who let the horse out of the barn. Perhaps believing that it might be a way to resolve the dispute, he asked simply, why don’t we just look at our satellite imagery?
The defense immediately backed the idea, appropriated it and presented a motion for the judge to instruct the government to present the imagery. The prosecution stubbornly opposed the motion. Now the dispute was no longer about the location of the aerial incident but the location of the imagery that would supposedly clarify the affair. The court took the side of the government and did not grant the petition.
Considerable effort has been expended since that time to locate the imagery as famous as it is lost. The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, a respectable private institution has initiated countless efforts to obtain them, all fruitless to date. Backed by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the center has made repeated requests to the official agencies that manage US satellites. All have refused to facilitate those requests. The Center has also resorted to legal means and is currently awaiting a ruling from the State of California Court of Appeals.
A similar claim is part of the Habeas Corpus presented in the name of Gerardo Hernández Nordelo. As the reader will surely have guessed by now, in its response, the prosecution has already opposed the release of the imagery.
The United States government has proven itself rigorously consistent in its tenacious refusal to release the images taken by its own satellites. The only people to examine them, obviously, are US authorities who, at the same time, have taken it upon themselves to impede anyone else from seeing them. Neither the ICAO, the UN Security Council, the federal court, nor US civil society have been allowed to see them. Only the government. No-one else. More than 16 years have passed since they were hermetically sealed away. The satellite images were, quite simply, kidnapped, disappeared.
How can such conduct be explained? What other explanation could their possibly be besides the fact that those in the US government who have seen the images – the only ones in that privileged position – know that they prove that the incident took place within Cuban territory? It is the only way to explain the fact that the imagery should also have been condemned, put in solitary confinement and sunk in a bottomless “hole”.
Reprinted from antiterroristas.cu