Guantanamo hunger strike involves more than half of detainees
April 22nd, 2013
01:24 PM ET

Guantanamo hunger strike involves more than half of detainees

By CNN Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughnessy

The number inmates participating in a hunger strike at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has risen sharply in the past few weeks to include more than half of those held at the military-run facility.

Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a spokesman on detainee issues for the Pentagon, said on Monday the number stood at 84, up from just over 30 less than a month ago.
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Filed under: Cuba
American jailed in Cuba sues contractor and U.S. government
Alan and Judy Gross during a vacation trip to Israel.
November 16th, 2012
05:10 PM ET

American jailed in Cuba sues contractor and U.S. government

By Jill Dougherty

An American imprisoned in Cuba, along with his wife in the United States, is suing the U.S. government and the group for which he worked, citing what they call an "abject failure to advise, train and protect him."

Alan Gross, 63, has been held in a Cuban prison since December 2009. He was arrested for bringing in banned communications equipment as part of a State Department program to spread democracy and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The Grosses claim that both the U.S. government and the contractor, Development Alternatives Inc., based in Bethesda, Maryland, "failed to disclose adequately to Mr. Gross, both before and after he began traveling to Cuba, the material risks that he faced due to his participation in the project."

The suit also charges that the State Department and DAI failed to provide him with education and training that were necessary to minimize the risk of harm to him, and should have delayed the project "until the risks subsided."
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October 15th, 2012
10:08 AM ET

A return to ground zero of the Cuban missile crisis

By Patrick Oppmann, reporting from Cuba

Fifty years ago, 15-year-old Omar Lopez knew a secret that governments around the world would have killed to learn or safeguard: Soviet troops were building hidden military installations in Cuba.

One of those installations was on the farm where his family raised chickens and pigs.

In 1962, Fidel Castro's revolution was just beginning to reshape Cuba. Thousands of Cubans had fled the country, and the year before, Castro's troops had routed a U.S.-backed invasion at the Bay of Pigs.

But little of the drama of those times reached the remote Lopez farm in western Cuba, where palm trees vastly outnumber human residents.

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Filed under: Arms Control • Cuba • Nuclear
Bank pays massive fine for dealings with Iran and Cuba
June 12th, 2012
02:33 PM ET

Bank pays massive fine for dealings with Iran and Cuba

By Charles Riley

ING Bank has agreed to pay a $619 million penalty for moving billions of dollars through the U.S. financial system at the behest of Cuban and Iranian clients, acts that violated economic sanctions.

In addition, the Dutch bank admitted to falsifying the records of New York financial institutions, according to the Manhattan District Attorney, who was joined by the Department of Justice in announcing Tuesday's settlement.

Read the whole story on CNNMoney

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Filed under: Cuba • Iran • Sanctions
Supreme Court declines fresh review of Guantanamo detainee issue
The guard tower at the front gate of "Camp Five" and "Camp Six" detention facility of the Joint Detention Group at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, January 19, 2012
June 11th, 2012
06:26 PM ET

Supreme Court declines fresh review of Guantanamo detainee issue

By Bill Mears

Appeals from seven detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba, contesting their open-ended custody, were turned aside by the Supreme Court on Monday.

Without comment, the justices refused to take a fresh look at the "habeas" petitions by the suspected foreign enemy fighters and what rights they have to make their claims in federal court.

In the so-called Boumediene ruling in 2008, the high court said "enemy combatants" held overseas in U.S. military custody have a right to a "meaningful review" of their detention in the civilian legal justice system. It would force the government to present evidence and justify keeping the prisoners indefinitely, without charges.

But a federal appeals court in Washington has since refused to order the release of any detainee filing a habeas corpus writ, in some cases rejecting such orders from lower-court judges.

According to Pentagon figures, 169 foreign men are still at the Guantanamo facility, including five "high-value" suspected terrorists from the 9/11 attacks set to go on military trial.
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Filed under: Cuba • Detainees • Gitmo
May 18th, 2012
07:13 PM ET

U.S. move on Castro angers many

Her name says its all – Castro. Mariela Castro Espin, the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro has been granted a visa to travel to the United States next week to attend an academic conference. That decision by the U.S. government has ignited a firestorm of controversy on Capitol Hill and the streets of Miami. Jill Dougherty reports.

May 8th, 2012
08:07 PM ET

Clinton on jailed American in Cuba

In an interview with CNN's Jill Dougherty, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed the Cuban government to release American Alan Gross, who has been held by the Cuban government for over two years.  Clinton spoke during a wide ranging interview during a stop in India.

Gross, spoke by telephone from his prison in Cuba with CNN's Wolf Blitzer last Friday. The call was broadcast on "The Situation Room."


Filed under: Alan Gross • Cuba
Overt about covert
January 24th, 2012
03:40 PM ET

Overt about covert

By Adam Levine

For Republican candidate Newt Gingrich, covert activity seems to be the strategy of choice when it comes to thorny national security issues. The latest target:  Cuba.

"I'm talking about using every asset available in the United States, including appropriate covert operations, to maximize the distance," Gingrich said on Monday during the NBC debate between Republican candidates. "Bring together every asset we have to minimize the survival of the dictatorship and to maximize the chance for freedom in Cuba."

It's not that covert activities are not happening in different parts of the world, but it is hardly talked about by the government as openly it seems as it is by Republican candidates running to be the next command-in-chief.

Gingrich is not shy about touting covert activities, having already said such strategies should be used against Iran and Syria. On Syria, Gingrich said last year the United States should "replace" President Bashar al-Assad and "do everything we can, indirectly and covertly - but without American forces - to help." FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Cuba • Gingrich • Iran • Paul • Romney • Santorum • Syria
Detainee "too dangerous to release"
January 9th, 2012
09:38 AM ET

Detainee "too dangerous to release"

by CNN's Tim Lister

Mahmoud Abd al Aziz is a balding 34-year-old Yemeni who has spent most of his adult life detained at Guantanamo Bay. He was one of the very first to be taken there, ten years ago this month, after being captured on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Al Aziz is one of 35 detainees who have been held at Guantanamo Bay since January 2002. Most are Yemeni; all are adjudged to represent a continuing threat to the United States. Al Aziz says he only confessed to knowing Osama bin Laden under duress; he’d gone to Kandahar to study the Koran. Prosecutors maintain others saw him at al Qaeda safehouses and a training camp.

Another Yemeni detainee, Allal Ab Aljallil abd al Rahman, said he went to Afghanistan for medical treatment; prosecutors say his name appeared on computer files recovered from al Qaeda safehouses.

He and 30 suspected al Qaeda members were detained on December 15th 2001 after they crossed into Pakistan on foot from the Tora Bora region. Most were young Yemenis who became known as the "Dirty Thirty" – and allegedly included at least several of bin Laden’s bodyguards. Sources cited in military reviews of the detainees’ cases say a "Pakistani warden told the group the best thing they could tell United States forces when interrogated was they were in Afghanistan to teach the Koran." FULL POST


Filed under: Al Qaeda • Cuba • Gitmo
Richardson to leave Cuba without seeing jailed American
September 13th, 2011
01:19 PM ET

Richardson to leave Cuba without seeing jailed American

By Sr. State Dept. Producer Elise Labott

Saying he is "disappointed and perplexed," former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said Tuesday he is leaving Cuba without any progress in seeking the release of jailed American Alan Gross.

Richardson, speaking to media in Havana, said he would be leaving Cuba Wednesday morning.

"I have exhausted all possibilities after one week to visit Alan Gross," Richardson said. "I tried all channels."

Richardson, who arrived in Havana September 7, was given the cold shoulder by the Cuban government. He was not able to see Gross, nor did he meet with Cuban leader Raul Castro. "My conclusions are that it is possible the Cuban government has made a decision not to improve relations with the United States," he said Tuesday.

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