The New York Times Rests Our Case

Monday, November 3, 2014
There's an old saying in Spanish: "por la boca muere el pez" ("fish die through their mouths").

Over the last two weeks, The New York Times' newest editorial writer, Ernesto Londoño, has (obsessively) written a half-dozen editorials and commentaries on U.S. policy towards Cuba.

As we've documented, these have been full of glaring contradictions, misrepresentations and omissions.

The more Londoño writes, the more desperate and shameless (and clearly uneducated) his attacks.

And today, he drove off the policy cliff.

He's penned an editorial calling for President Obama to commute the sentences of three Cuban spies (part of the "Wasp Network"), duly convicted by a federal jury in the United States, and exchange them for an American development worker, who was taken hostage by the Castro dictatorship precisely as a tool of coercion.

Like his previous editorials, which have been praised by Fidel Castro himself, today's piece is already being circulated by Cuba's embassies worldwide and the regime's state security bloggers (cyber-warriors).

After all, it's not every day that a major American newspaper echoes the ransom demands (and talking points) of a brutal, anti-American, totalitarian dictatorship. Not to mention, one considered a "state-sponsor of terrorism" by the U.S. government.

The good news is that serious policymakers know this is a highly irresponsible proposition, which would set a very dangerous precedent. It has also left quite evident the agenda and resounding inexperience of its author.

Londoño -- on behalf of The New York Times' Editorial Board -- argues that the United States should succumb to Castro's coercion, mainly for two reasons:

1. Because a unilateral and unconditional rapprochement with Castro's dictatorship merits it.

Of course, he omits that the American development worker, Alan Gross, was taken hostage just a few months after Obama's first attempt at a unilateral and unconditional rapprochement with Castro's dictatorship in 2009.

Thus, this rationale is utterly senseless (at best).

2. Due to "troubling questions" about the "fairness" of the federal trial against the Cuban spies in the Southern District of Florida.

Of course, he omits that no Cuban-American jurist or juror served in the trial.

He also omits that these Cuban spies fully enjoyed due process of law.

He also omits Operacion Escorpion ("Operation Scorpion"), the code-name used by the leader of the Cuban spy ring for the operation to shoot-down the civilian planes of the humanitarian group "Brothers to the Rescue," which resulted in the murder of three American citizens and a permanent resident of the United States.

He also omits that the primary task of the Cuban spy network was to penetrate and report on U.S. military installations and activity, including the Southern and Central Command, Ft. Bragg and the Boca Chica Naval Air Base.

And very pertinently, he also omits that the Cuban spy network was tasked with the manipulation of the media, political institutions, and public opinion, including using anonymous or misidentified telephone calls and letters to media and political figures.

Read all about these convicted Cuban spies and their mission first-hand from the Office of the U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive, right here.

However, the most fascinating irony in Londoño's desire to raise doubts about the convictions of these Cuban spies is that The New York Times, in its long-standing campaign for enemy combatants and terrorists to be tried on U.S. soil, has been the staunchest advocate of the federal court system.

In defending the 2010 verdict against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani -- the first former Guantanamo detainee to be tried in federal court -- which some argued was too faulty and lenient, The New York Times' Editorial Board poignantly wrote:

"What really makes this country strong is that it is based on laws not bluster. The federal courts have proved their ability to hold fair trials and punish the guilty. That is what we call getting the job done."

Except, apparently, when it comes to trying Cuban spies, including those who have conspired to kill Americans.

The New York Times should spare us Londoño's continuous bluster -- and instead practice what it preaches.