Stop the frame-up of Mariano Faget!

Jose G. Perez jgperez at SPAMnetzero.net
Wed May 24 20:40:21 MDT 2000


    The trial of INS bureaucrat Mariano Faget has now been underway for more
than a week in Miami, and everything that has come out in court confirms
that the case is a politically motivated frame-up.

    Faget is the Cuban-born INS bureaucrat arrested last February on the eve
of a scheduled federal court hearing on the Elián González case. He was
accused in an internationally televised news conference of being a Cuban
government mole inside the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    The case was an obvious attempt to depict an INS riddled with Cuban
operatives, discrediting its ruling that Elián González belonged with his
father.

    In fact, Faget was not a Cuban operative, as the prosecution itself has
been forced to admit at the trial. Their theory now is that Faget was trying
to ingratiate himself with Cuban officials for commercial advantage,
although the charge is technically espionage, passing on classified
information to someone not authorized to receive it.

    This charge of having passed on government secrets is literally made up
out of whole cloth. There isn't the slightest pretense that this REALLY
happened, for the actual information Faget is accused of passing on was
false and was obviously designed NOT to be kept secret.

    That information was that a former member of the Cuban Interests Section
in the United States, as well as four other Cuban government officials, were
defecting. This was a complete fabrication. No such defection was taking
place.

    But the story was intended to alarm Faget. The former diplomat had been
the main contact between Faget and a corporation he and a lifelong friend,
New York businessman Pedro Font, had set up to do business in Cuba if and
when that became legally possible.

    Moreover, Faget's friend was scheduled to meet with the "defecting"
diplomat's successor the very same day the government gave Faget the news of
the phony defection. Faget immediately called his friend from his own office
at Miami INS headquarters to give him a heads-up, afraid that Font would
become caught in spy versus spy games between Washington and Havana.

    It is quite evident that no one in the government believed the
cock-and-bull story they fed the press about Faget and Font having been part
of a spy ring operated by the fake defector and his successor in the
interests section.

    For, obviously, if they WERE real spies, Faget and Font would have
realized that if the defection story were true, they would soon be outed,
and if it were false, that meant the FBI was on to them and they were the
targets of a sting. Either way, both could be expected to make a run for it.

    But instead of immediately moving to arrest Faget and his
co-conspirator, the government waited almost an entire week before calling
the hapless bureaucrat in for questioning. And they allowed Font, supposedly
Faget's superior in the spy ring, to travel out of the country to Communist
China of all places!

    The Miami trial has also given a good picture of the pigpen of American
criminal "justice." The FBI has gotten up and quite readily admitted that
the REAL reason they arrested and charged Faget is that he refused to become
a witness against his life-long friend and tell all sorts of lies about him.

    For the crime of being loyal to his friend and loyal to the truth, the
U.S. Government decided to do all in their power to ruin the waning years of
a man who had spent his entire life as a loyal cog in their machine.

    But in the government's admission, there is also a lie. For the
honorable agents of the U.S. government all swear on a stack of Bibles that
they had absolutely no intention of arresting Faget when they corralled him
to give him the third degree a week after the sting. He wasn't a suspect at
all, not in the slightest; they were totally astounded when he didn't join
them in framing his best friend as a Cuban spy.

    That, you see, because Faget is also accused of making false statements
to the FBI during his interrogation. That charge has been laid against
Faget --as any experienced criminal lawyer will tell you-- to give a jury an
opportunity for a compromise verdict, finding him guilty of the lesser count
of fibbing to the FBI while declaring him innocent of espionage.

    The problem is, the FBI isn't supposed to question a suspect without
giving the person clear warning that they are the target of an investigation
and that they have a right to remain silent and have a lawyer present.
That's because the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution says a person can't
be made to testify against himself, not by torture and not by this sort of
trickery. Hence the polite fiction about Faget not being a suspect, when the
FBI and INS had already invested considerable resources in mounting a sting
against him! If Faget had been a suspect, then none of the statements he
made could be used against him because he wasn't properly warned.

    There, is, of course, nothing unusual about cops perjuring themselves
during trials. They even have a name for it: "testilying." Nor is there
anything unusual in the FBI and U.S. attorneys having engaged in conduct
which, if anyone else had done it, would have been a criminal conspiracy to
suborn perjury. This is standard operating procedure for the cops, courts
and prosecutors.

    Nor is that the only government misconduct that took place in this case.
The right to cross-examination was blatantly violated: an FBI "expert" was
allowed to testify that the two Cuban diplomats involved were, in fact,
spies. No cross examination was allowed on this point. This is all the more
outrageous when you consider that one of those diplomats, Jose Imperatori,
was in the United States at the time the case broke. Ordered to leave the
country, he refused to do so voluntarily, offering instead to stay *without
diplomatic immunity* so he could testify to establish his own innocence and
that of Faget.

    The U.S. government wouldn't countenance such a thing. As soon as his
immunity expired, they gave him the bum's rush out of the country -- thus
putting him beyond the reach of a defense subpoena. The twin pillars of due
process are the right to cross-examine the witnesses against you and the
right to present witnesses in your own defense. Both have been trampled
underfoot in this case.

    It is not without irony that Mariano Faget, a life-long government
bureaucrat who never hid his antipathy for the Cuban revolution, and whose
whole business plan was to profit by its weakening or demise, has become a
victim of the system he served so loyally for so long. It is striking
confirmation of the old Wobbly slogan, "an injury to one is an injury to
all," for the methods used against Faget were those made routine in the
government's campaigns against the labor movement, against Blacks,
undocumented
workers, student radicals, and Communists, while the Mariano Fagets of this
world cheered the government on.

    But it would be a terrible mistake to cross our arms and snicker, serves
him right.

    An injury to one IS an injury to all.

    As for Mariano Faget himself, this has been a learning experience.

    In his testimony, Faget recalled what was said at a meeting with José
Imperatori in the lobby of a Miami hotel -- a meeting that was
surreptitiously taped by the FBI.

    "He asked me to come visit Cuba,'' Faget said.

    "I told him I couldn't do that because I wouldn't be safe there. We
weren't talking about anything subversive, but I told him that if we were
having this conversation in Cuba, he would be arrested and I would be
arrested for plotting to overthrow the government.

    "I told him that the only country in the world where we could have this
conversation was one with freedom and liberty like this one,'' Faget said.

    "Of course he disagreed.

    "The facts bore out that I was probably wrong and he was probably
right."


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