US Prohibits Publication of Scientific Articles from Cuba, Iran, Libya, the Sudan
By Raisa Pages
The U.S. government publishing ban on scientific articles from Cuba, Iran, Libya or the Sudan is a violation of the principle of freedom of expression contained in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, said Dr. Agustín Lage, director of Cubas Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM).
The measure comes from a regulation issued last year by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury establishing that publishing articles from the above-mentioned countries is in violation of the embargoes imposed on them. Those who do not comply with the regulation can be fined up to $50,000 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
This absurd measure constitutes a risk for the very people of the United States, Dr. Lage said. We know that the U.S. scientific community will not permit its application and will deal with it through legal channels.
The anti-Constitutional measure goes against world science and the policy of free exchange of scientific information for the good of humanity, he stated.
We thought that humanity had left behind eras like this, which recall the times of Hitler, when only Aryan science was recognized as valid and anything else was dismissed, he said. It is a medieval and fascist measure.
Every year, the CIM publishes some 30 scientific articles in specialized magazines from a number of countries, including the United States.
U.S. scientists are very interested in the research into clinical oncology going on in the center, Dr. Lage commented. Every two years we organize a seminar on cancer immunotherapy, and a group of U.S. researchers attend. In the United States cancer is the second leading cause of death, with some half a million people dying every year from that disease. Articles on monoclonal anti-bodies for brain and throat tumors and on a vaccine for lung cancer are soon to be published in U.S. magazines, Dr. Lage reported.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which edits the prestigious scientific journal Science, the American Physics Society (APS) and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) are among the organizations that say they will not comply with the regulation, according to an article published by the British magazine Nature.
The director of the AIP, Marc Brodsky, is totally against complying with the regulation. He said, we believe we are protected by freedom of speech, Nature reported. Nature and other publications by the Nature Publishing Group have declared that they are accepting articles from the countries affected by the U.S. ban.
There is no basis whatsoever to reject publications from those countries, observed Nature editor Philip Campbell, adding that they are taking on legal advice.
In the United States, Alan Adler heads up legal and governmental issues for the Association of American Editors, which represents the majority of non-profit publications and editorial societies in the country. The government should not dedicate itself to restricting activities related to the First Amendment, he stated.
Adler affirms that the law specifically exempts information and informational material from economic embargoes, and noted that his group is looking into legal action aimed at the withdrawal of this regulation.
We believe it is wrong, both from a legal point of view and as an issue of principles, Adler said, according to an article published on the Spanish-language web site, www.periodistadigital.com.
Granma International, March 23, 2004