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by Agustin Blazquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton
The documents that former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner Doris Meissner ordered to be destroyed in relation to the Elian Gonzalezís affair, contained revealing information highly embarrassing for the axis Clinton-Reno-Meissner.
During the highly publicized Elian saga, it was stated on multiple occasions by the Miami relatives of Juan Miguel Gonzalez (Elianís father) that he had told them he wanted to come to the U.S. and that he had taken action to that aim including the request for a visa at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.
According to an April 9, 2002, press release by Judicial Watch, the public interest law firm that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, copies of documents that survived Meissnerís order to destroy, show that the U.S. government knew and discussed that fact that Elianís father "had sought to leave Cuba for the United States" prior to the arrival of his son in the U.S. And "that he was being coerced by the Castro regime."
These documents confirm what those close to the tragic Elian Gonzalez affair were saying at the time the events were taking place: that the handling of the case by the Clinton Administration is mired with lies, contradictions, illegalities and blatant close cooperation between the corrupt Clinton administration and the totalitarian Castro regime. Proof has now survived the attempted cover-up.
Going back to The Drudge Reportís disclosure published on Thursday, April 20, 2000: that day, Attorney General Janet Reno, during an emotional meeting with aides in her fifth-floor conference room at the Justice Department, "discussed plans to forcibly remove Elian Gonzalez from the house of his Miami relatives. The action could come within the next 48 hours. ĎThe president wants the boy removed from the house,í" she said.
And on April 22 at 5:15 a.m., a day before the celebration of Eastern Sunday, and while the Miami family and their lawyers were being distracted on the telephone by Reno, under the false pretense of "negotiations," the raid took place as ordered by Reno 48 hours earlier.
Then, on August 15, 2000, Doris Meissner spoke at a ceremony to thank the agents that participated in the illegal raid of the house of the Cuban American family that resulted in the kidnapping of Elian Gonzalez. She said, "It is truly a privilege to be here today to honor the participants in Operation Reunion."
"I am very proud of your work and I know that every member of the INS family shares my appreciation and pride for a job well done. Our decision to conduct a tactical enforcement operation to reunite Elian Gonzalez with his father after five months of separation sparked criticism that some have sought to reignite on the occasion of this ceremony. It was my firm conviction, then and now, that we did the right thing on April 22, and we are doing it again today."
But if Meissner was so "proud" and convinced that she did the "right thing," why did she, as revealed by Judicial Watch, "give the order to destroy evidence and obstruct justice in the illegal raid that returned Elian Gonzalez to Communist Cuba that resulted in the beating and gassing of dozens of peaceful protestors by INS agents." So Meissner, like ENRONís officials, ordered the destruction of all the evidence showing her wrongdoing, Renoís and Clintonís.
Doris Meissner, along with Janet Reno - now aspiring to Floridaís Governorship - was part of this travesty of justice and their times have come.
An article titled Lawyer: INS ordered Elian files destroyed by David Cazares dated January 5, 2001 in the Sun-Sentinel said, "Miami employees of the Immigration and Naturalization Service were ordered to destroy or conceal documents and electronic mail related to the Elian Gonzalez case, according to a deposition by an attorney who represents INS workers."
Cazaresí article said, "In a deposition given last month [December, 2000] for the federal lawsuit that EliŠn's Miami relatives have filed against the U.S. government, Coral Springs [Florida] attorney Donald Appignani testified that INS employees had told him that Ďthe U.S. government could be breaking the law.í Appignani also testified that INS employees revealed an atmosphere of contempt toward Cuban Americans at the INS regional office in Miami, which could prove detrimental to the government if brought out at trial before a jury."
INS Special Agent Ricardo Ramirez blew the whistle about the climate of bigotry and intimidation at the INS Miami district offices in an article by Liz Balmaseda published by The Miami Herald on April 26, 2001, titled Agent points finger at INS. After his disclosure, Ramirez suffered harassment and retaliation by his supervisors in the INS District Office in Miami.
But the confirmation of the existence of these documents was not disclosed until April 9, 2002, at the trial of Ricardo Ramirez before the Merit Systems Protection Board in Miami. According to Judicial Watch, "an INS attorney, Diana Alvarez, produced the documents during sworn testimony in the hearing."
The documents consist of minutes of a conference call in the form of an e-mail and a handwritten statement both written by another INS attorney, Rebeca Sanchez-Roig. The statement "notes that she was ordered to destroy all documents, but retained a copy of the e-mail because she believed Meissnerís destruction orders to be improper," Judicial Watch said.
Copies of the December, 29, 1999 e-mail and statement of Sanchez-Roig were released to the public by Judicial Watch this morning, April 10, 2002, at a press conference at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay in Miami. Sanchez Roigís e-mail was addressed to Jack Penca and Rachel A. McCarthy with copies to Daniel N. Vera and Bill Gossard following a conference call on December 20, 1999, in which Doris Meissner participated.
In it, Sanchez Roig wrote, "The discussion turned to whether itís wise to establish whether [the] father [Juan Miguel Gonzalez] was speaking freely when interviewed [by INS agents] as opposed to being Ďa mouthpiece of government authority.í" She wrote that in the conference call Meissner mentioned "that a letter had been received from Roger Bernstein addressing issues of coercion and questioning voluntariness of fatherís interview" about his desire to live in the U.S.
She mentioned Elianís fatherís previous "own attemps to depart Cuba" and that it appears that after his two phone calls made "from a pay phone in Cuba" to his family in Miami to let them know that Elian was coming, "the Cuban government installed what somebody described as a speaker phone" in his house so the government officials could monitor and coach him.
Discussed during Meissnerís conference call were issues of re-scripting the questions for Elianís father for his follow-up interview in order to avoid pressing him on whether or not he was free to speak his mind. Also, to reassure Castroís government that the "U.S. government would not disclose to anyone that an additional interview would take place."
Sanchez Roig later wrote a handwritten statement about the e-mail. In it she wrote that "The Commissioner [Meissner] was very upset about having this information disseminated" to the participants via the e-mail minutes. "On December 30, 1999," Sanchez Roig wrote, "I was ordered by Doris Meissner to destroy this cc-mail message and all copies." Sanchez Roig deleted the message from her computer. She believed that she was "being asked to do something improper" and her concerns about destroying the message "were such that I felt it necessary to keep a copy of the same."
She says that other two employees, "Dan and Rachel also kept copies of the message. After this incident, we were ordered not to put anything regarding Elian Gonzalez in writing. Ordered by Meissner through David Dixon."
It is an outrage that the ultimate fate of Elian Gonzalez was in the hands of such an unscrupulous bunch of government officials responding to the self-serving interests of a shameless president, secretly dealing with the Cuban tyrant.
Mr. Blazquez is the Producer/Director of the documentaries
COVERING CUBA, COVERING CUBA 2: The New Generation & the upcoming COVERING CUBA 3: Elian
In addition he is author with Carlos Wotzkow of the book COVERING AND DISCOVERING