Monday, January 16, 2012

Cuba's case against Alan Gross (Updated)

Café Fuerte went to the trouble to obtain the Cuban court decision in the case of USAID contractor Alan Gross, who is now serving his third year of a 15-year sentence.

It’s an 18-page document that begins with his business address in Maryland and ends with a list of every single item that was in his possession, right down to his Scotiabank credit card. In between it describes his activities, and it makes reference to several volumes containing hundreds of numbered pages of evidence gathered against him, much of it obtained from the computers and flash drives that Gross carried.

It amounts to Cuba’s case against Gross, as accepted and summarized by the court in its decision to convict.

The document claims that Gross started his activities in Cuba in 2004 and was involved with organizations such as the Pan American Development Foundation, which were penetrated by Cuban intelligence and whose activities became the subjects of Cuban television shows.

Apparently, the evidence in the trial included Gross’ trip reports to his employer (the USAID contractor DAI) and much more. The court describes the defense attorney’s objection to the way in which information was downloaded from Gross’ flash drives when she was not present, and notes that Gross himself authenticated “the majority” of the downloaded documents and provided information about them. Gross apparently said that one document, entitled “How to communicate securely in repressive environments” was not his.

The document notes “the sworn statement of the wife of the accused, Judith Gross, of February 23 of this year, in which she explains the situation of her family and provides details on the presentation of a lawsuit against DAI.”

It cites testimony from a communications ministry official to the effect that Gross never applied for a permit “to establish satellite communications stations.”

It also cites a statement provided to the court by an attorney for DAI who declined to provide information in the investigation, citing a non-disclosure agreement.

When I read the whole thing, I’ll post more. Readers who plow through it are welcome to contribute. Café Fuerte’s story by Ivette Leyva is here. The sentencia itself, posted by Café Fuerte, is here (pdf).

(Image: Cuba’s customs declaration.)


---See Along the Malecon for links with information on the Cuban intelligence agents who followed Gross' activities, and others'.

---A reader points out that I wrote that his I-pad was confiscated. My error. The document refers to ten I-pods.

---Credit where credit is due: A reader points out that if you click on the document's properties, it shows that it originated in the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.

---See the reader's comment on the “How to communicate securely in repressive environments” paper, which was apparently not written by Gross.


Anonymous said...

So, Alan Gross was arrested on December 3rd 2009 and they confiscated his iPad? Don't think so ;-)

Anonymous said...

Kudos to whomever noticed the PDF was prepared by OCB (which runs TV and Radio Martí).

How ironic that State Department and AID run and hide whenever information about Gross's activities on their behalf emerges, but Radio Martí scans it and sends it around.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Peters,

Is there any way to get a copy of the memorandum "How to communicate securely in repressive environments"?

It should be a highly interesting read for many Cubans.

One thing that is hard to understand is why Alan Gross took with him all that unnecessary information on his hard disk and flash drives that was used by Cuban State Security to convict him.

This certainly does not look like the behavior of a seasoned spy.

He might have been very good at his technical specialty and he gives the impression of being a highly intelligent individual and he obviously new the danger that was involved in these activities.

Doesn't it seem contradictory that he would have exhibited such a foolish behavior?

IMHO there is something fishy in all of this. Some of the narrative contained in the sentence just does not make any logical sense.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Peters,

Here is possible proof that Alan Gross could have been saying the truth when he said that "How To Communicate Securely in Repressive Environments" was not his.

I looked up this title in Google and found the following link:

The article was written by someone else and the date of the article was about six months before Adam Gross was arrested.

So it is quite possible that he copied it and took it with him.

Of course to be 100% sure this article would have to be compared with the one that was found in Alan Gross's possession.

If this would somehow lessen Alan Gross's lot, I urge the Cuban authorities to check this out.


John McAuliff said...

Now that we are getting some presumably authentic (deliberately leaked?) documents from Cuba about the trial, USAID and DAI should release all contracts with Alan and any record of briefings he received about Cuban law and practice.

Someone may need to initiate and FOIA to get it.

John McAuliff
Fund for Reconciliation and Development