The raid in Miami to rescue Elian

Subject: My letter to the editor in reply to Attorney Hand re: The raid in
Miami to rescue Elian
Date: Sat, 06 May 2000 21:03:00 -0500
From: Richard C Weiss <>
CC: "Robert Muchnick" <>,"Larry Hellmann"

May 6, 2000

Letter to the Editor
Opelika-Auburn News
3505 Pepperell Parkway
Opelika, AL 36801

Dear Editor:

Ben Hand's letter "Everybody should play by the rules" (O-A News, 5/6/00)
is typical of lawyer mentality. He argues that the "horrible raid" of
federal agents to rescue Elian Gonzalez infringes on the rights and
freedoms that we all enjoy" and that the federal government "must play by
the rules and by the Constitution."

Only our infamous legal system could cleverly twist logic in such a
perverse manner to justify breaking the law as an inherent right!  What
attorney Hand selectively fails to mention is that international law was
violated outright by the continued retention of Elian by his distant
relatives in the United States against the wishes of his father in Cuba.
According to the Hague treaty, which the United States itself is an
international signee, all abducted minor children must be returned to their
country of habitual residence.  Except for Elian, the United States has
uniformly followed this law in hundreds of other similar cases of
kidnapping or illegal entrance.

After a lengthy investigation by the INS, Elian's father was shown to be
fit, and he had responsibly and lovingly parented his child in their home
in Cuba.  The federal government and INS rightfully ruled that the child
should be returned to his father in Cuba.  This clearly was in keeping with
the letter of the law; it had nothing to do either with politics or the
family court system's intrusion wresting authority from the federal
government using the alibi of Elian's "best interests." The federal
government (and its agency the INS) is the only legitimate branch of
government authorized to deal with immigration policy and international

Elian's Miami relatives were acting illegally.  They were arrogantly
defying our government and using Elian as political fodder.  Furthermore, a
number of psychiatrists and other experts testified that Elian, who had
witnessed his mother's death, had been kept away from his father for
months, and who was paraded around the media like a poster child, was
suffering psychological abuse which could be permanent.  Despite
extraordinary constraint and numerous attempts of our government to
persuade the relatives to peacefully transfer Elian to his father, the
relatives refused and declared that they would physically resist any
attempt to remove him.  The United States government was well within its
authority to use force when our law was being mocked and violated.  And, it
acted responsibly by accomplishing its well-planned rescue mission in the
early morning hours to minimize any casualties (there were none).
As an attorney that deals with custody battles, Mr. Hand's statement that
if one party had done what the federal government did they would have been
in jail and charged with a multitude of crimes and lose custody rights is
entirely specious.  In that case, the parent would be taking law into his
or her own hands and using force to accomplish it.  However, in Elian's
case [international kidnapping, immigration, etc] , the federal government
IS the law.  In this case, the authority IS our government, not the Miami
relatives, their constitutional rights, or the family court system or its
appeals courts.  Is Mr. Hand suggesting that it is okay for us to defy
federal law?  Is this the message for all our citizens?

One of my most serious concerns with lawyer Hand's arguments is his
duplicitous contention that "the rights of the parent are foremost, but to
protect the constitutional rights of all parents, the government must
proceed in a legal manner."  This is nothing more than lawyers'
double-speak. This does not apply here because due process rights of those
defying federal and international law are not relevant to this case. Hand's
legal rhetoric is curiously similar to the court's "best interests of the
child " logic that helps destroy families every day in divorce court and
routinely violates the "non-custodial" parent's constitutional family
liberty and equal protection rights while giving lip service to the needs
of children to be with both parents.

I agree with Mr. Hand that we need to write our representative and senator
about this issue.  However, I would urge them to send a message to the
federal government to applaud them for courageously rescuing an abused
child from his hostages. This rightfully reinforces the fact that the needs
and rights of a child to be with his or her parent significantly outweigh
any self-serving politics or manipulations by the family court system.


Dr. Richard C. Weiss

American Patriot Friends Network

"...a net work of net workers..."

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