cj#456> U.S. Customs seizures (:<)

1996-02-02

Richard Moore

Has anyone seen anything in the press about this?

-rkm

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Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996
Sender: Aram Falsafi <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Confiscation of computers by US customs agents.

Folks,

Please call/fax the authorities listed at the bottom of this page.  Also,
if you have contacts at your local/national papers, it would be nice to
give this some worldwide publicity.

Remember that most of these computers were 8088 and 80286 machines destined
for doctors throughout Cuba.  This is not exactly a threat to the U.S. unless
you consider the good example of a functioning healthcare system in a third
world country to be a threat to the status quo.


-Aram


URGENT EMERGENCY ACTION ALERTI!              IFCO/-PASTORS FOR PEACE
January 31,1996
                       (612) 870-7121, (212) 926-5757

U.S. CUSTOMS OFFICIALS VIOLENTLY SEIZE COMPUTERS FROM CUBA CARAVAN
 Police attack volunteers; arrest fifteen people, including Rev. Lucius Walker

San Diego -- Otay Mesa Border Crossing --

U.S. Customs agents violently attacked volunteers from the Sixth US-Cuba
Friendshipment Caravan as they attempted to carry computers across the
border into Mexico. The thirty-vehicle caravan of humanitarian aid
arrived at the border early this afternoon, carrying nearly 300
computers, which were donated to form part of an on-line medical
information system which will link hospitals, clinics, and medical
schools throughout Cuba. The Friendshipment Caravan is organized by
IFCO/Pastors for Peace.


After police blocked the way of the caravan vehicles, about twenty
drivers attempted to carry computers across the border on foot.  Each of
the drivers was gang tackled by as many as eight police at a time, who
tore the computers from the driver's arms. C ustoms agents then broke
into several trucks and began confiscating computers. Caravan drivers,
who had formed a protective ring around the trucks, some sitting on top
of them, were violently dragged away from their vehicles. Several people
were injured.


Despite the commitment of the caravan drivers to nonviolent action,
there were present more than fifty police in riot gear and protective
shields.  Also present were fifteen squad cars and many uniformed and
plainclothes police from multiple law enforceme nt agencies, along with
nineteen tow trucks. Customs officials also had shut down the US-Mexican
border crossing to all vehicles and pedestrian traffic for almost the
entire day.

Police arrested fourteen men and four women, including the Rev. Lucius
Walker, Executive Director of IFCO-Pastors for Peace and Rev. George
Hill, Presbyterian pastor from Claremont, California. Those arrested,
though not yet charged, have been told they w ill spend the night in the
Federal Metropolitan Correctional Facility in San Diego.

According to unclassified federal documents, an inter-agency task force
of U.S. Customs, INS, the U.S. Attorney's office, FBI, California
Highway Patrol, Caltrans, and the San Diego Police and `Fire departments
has been planning for weeks to seize the com puters before they crossed
the border Into Mexico.  Authorities also seized 23 computers from
Canada (and therefore not subject to US regulations) which had earlier
been cleared by Customs for export.

"It is inconceivable that our government would want to deny modern
medical care to Cuban children and senior citizens," stated Rev. Lucius
Walker, Jr. "The seizure of these computers is a shameful page in U.S.
history."

Caravan volunteers are meeting tonight to consider their response to the
violence of the day.

               EMERGENCY ACTION NEEDED IMMEDIATELY AND INDEFINITELY

Call or fax these government officials. Demand that they release all the
computers which are being donated to the Cuban medical system. Demand
that they release all the caravan volunteers who have been arrested.
Demand an end to this immoral U.S. embargo of Cuba!

Sec. of Treasury Robert Rubin: tel: (202) 622-5300; fax: (202) 622-0073
Attorney General Janet Reno: tel: (202) 514-2000; fax: (202) 514-0467
Sec. of Commerce Ron Brown: tel: (202) 482-2000
President Bill Clinton tel: (202) 395-3000, 456-1414; fax: (202) 456-2461

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 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland
 •••@••.•••  | Cyberlib=http://www.internet-eireann.ie/cyberlib
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