The New York Times has reported on the story of Alan Gross, the USAID contractor who was jailed in Cuba accused of espionage. He is now suing his employers and the USAID department for damages becasue he alleges they put him in harm's way for sending him to Cuba badly prepared for the risks he was taking.
The facts of the case as they are now emerging begin to prove what the Cuban government has been saying all along. Mr. Gross, whether he knew it or not, was part of a systematic programme to undermine the Cuban government that was conceived and financed by the US government. In other words he was a foriegn agent trying to overthrow the Cuban state. That's illegal espionage in anyone's books. Here is the NYTimes on the case:
Scott Gilbert, one of the Gross family’s lawyers, said the case could be especially damaging for the State Department and DAI if the discovery process produces more examples of unqualified and ill-prepared contractors sent to Cuba. He said the suit would draw attention to the American government’s pro-democracy effort, which Mr. Gilbert described as “flawed in conception” and “completely messed up” in execution.
You can read the main parts of the suit here (pdf).
Note carefully the following:
· The USAID programme Gross was working on derives from the so-called Helms-Burton Law of 1996 and is geared toward changing the political order in Cuba. (p.9)
· From page 20, it details Gross’ trips to Cuba, noting that in each instance he came home, he warned his employer (DAI, a USAID contractor based in Maryland) about the risks in his activity, those warnings were ignored and he was often urged by DAI to get on with the programme, he returned to Cuba, and DAI continued making money from the programme.
My fellow blogger Phil Peters of the Lexington Institute comments:
"Of course Mr. Gross was making plenty of money too, and it sort of jumps off the page that the lawsuit assigns responsibility to everyone but Mr. Gross for the trips that he himself made to Cuba, even after perceiving the dangers. It should also be noted that while Mr. Gross was issuing his warnings, he also continued his modus operandi of traveling to Cuba along with American Jewish delegations and having unwitting members of those delegations carry some of his equipment. Not a nice guy."