Tuesday, April 09, 2013

It takes a Queen . . .






Starting in the US,  Lynne Stewart is a political prisoner.  As we noted at Third yesterday, the 'change' of 2008 has brought about many political prisoners.  Lynne is an attorney, a grandmother, a breast cancer survivor.  She's in prison because --

Well why is she in prison?

We're taught you will go to prison if you break a law.  So what law did Lynne break?  She broke no law.  She broke an agreement with the Justice Dept when she gave Reuters a press release from one of her clients.  This was when Bill Clinton was president.  Then-Attorney General Janet Reno and the Justice Dept examined it and saw no law had been broken -- because there was no law -- said, "Lynne, don't do this again" and that was it.  Then the Supreme Court put Bully Boy Bush in the White House and the bully picked John Ashcroft to be the Attorney General.  For those who've forgotten, Arianna Huffington found John Ashcroft charming and used to rave -- as late as 2004 -- over his singing voice.  So if you wonder why Huffington Post never takes up Lynne's case, there you go.  Ashcroft went after Lynne.  Despite the Justice Dept having already ruled on the matter, he decided he was going to take her to trial and he would used Ground Zero as the location for the trial and he would use 9-11 as the backdrop.  The same way this lying administration linked Iraq to 9-11?  That's how they linked Lynne to 9-11. 

It's shameful and it's shameful that so few have had the courage to speak up for Lynne.  As bad as it was under Bully Boy Bush, Lynne was able to remain free on bail when he occupied the White House.  It's nearly a year after Barack Obama is sworn in as president that the Justice Dept insists Lynne go to prison while the appeals are being ruled on.  Lynne's already had breast cancer and been treated during this process.  But that doesn't matter to Barack.

No, Barack only cares about a woman's health if he's lying about his mother Stanley and using her death to try to scare up votes.  In addition, it's Barack's Justice Department that fought Judge John G. Koeltl's sentence of 28 months, forcing the judge to resentence Lynne (in July 2010) to ten years.  As Stephen Lendman has pointed out, "Obama Wants Lynne Stewart Dead" (People's Voice).  Lynne's cancer has returned.

On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include political prisoner Lynne Stewart.

Michael S. Smith:  Michael, we sorely miss our friend Lynne Stewart who's in prison serving a really unjust ten year sentence.  And, of course, as we've reminded our listeners over the last few weeks, Lynne has taken ill again.  And there's a petition for her and I know you want to talk about it and get as many active because we want to get Lynne out of prison on a compassionate release.  So tell our listeners how they can help and what the situation is now for Lynne.

Michael Ratner: Well we're going to link to how you can sign the petition.  Lynne's got Stage IV Cancer as a lot of you know.  That is, her initial cancer which was in remission when they put her in prison three years ago is now in full bloom.  It's spread to her bones.  It's spread to her legs. It's spread to her lungs.  It's spread to her lymph nodes.  And it really is fatal.  We all want to get her out and get her some better medical care that she can get.  She's in a seven person cell down in Fort Worth, Texas.  Get her up to New York, better medical care and be surrounded by her family and friends.  And in order to do that, the Bureau of Prisons, the people with the key have to make a motion to Judge Kotel to ask that she be given a compassionate release.  It's possible.  You can get that.  They don't do it very often.  But with all the friends and supporters that Lynne has, we're hopeful that we can accomplish that.  6,000 people have signed the petition so far.  And I want to read you what Lynne said in thank you to these people -- two of them were Dick Gregory and Desmond Tutu and I'll read you something that Tutu said also. But here's this from Lynne:  "I want you individually to know how grateful and happy it makes me to have your support.  It's uplifting to say the least.  And after a lifetime of organizing, it proves once again that the People can rise.  The acknowledgment of the life-political and solutions brought about by group unity and support, is important to all of us.  Equally, so is the courage to sign on to a demand for a person whom the Government has branded with the "T" word -- Terrorism.  Understanding that the attack on me is a subterfuge for an attack on all lawyers who advocate without fear of Government displeasure, with intellectual honesty guided by their knowledge and their client's desire for his or her case, I hope our effort can be a crack in the American bastion.  Thank you, Lynne."  Pete Seeger wrote her back and said, "Lynne Stewart should be out of jail."  And he signed the postcard "Old Pete Seeger" accompanied by a drawing of a banjo.  Bishop Desmond Tutu, this was his esprit de corps.  He said, "It is devastating.  Totally unbelievable.  In this democracy, the only superpower?  I am sad.  I will sign praying God's blessing on your reference. Desmond Tutu."  Let's hope Lynne gets out on compassionate release while she's still able to at least be part of her community.  And if you'll go to Law and Disorder.org, we'll put the link where you can sign the petition.  And if you'll grab a pencil, I'll give you the name and address of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons  because a well-aimed letter at him is not going to hurt.  His name is:

Charles E. Samuels Jr.
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534

Please send a letter.  Go to Law and Disorder.org -- our website -- sign the petition. We'll be updating you every week on how Lynne is doing.

We'll return to the topic of political prisoners but let's stay with radio for a moment.  On this week's Progressive Radio, Ruth Conniff fills in for Matthew Rothschild and her guest is author and activist Aruhdahti Roy.  Excerpt.

Ruth Conniff:  I want to segue to the Iraq War anniversary that we just passed.  And you were an opponent of the invasion of Iraq ten years ago and now that we've passed this anniversary, I'm curious to know what you think Americans should take away from this experience of the Iraq War?  You said recently that the psychosis of US foreign policy prevails even though George W. Bush is gone.  What did you mean by that?  And do you think that President Obama is as bad as George W. Bush from a global perspective?

Arundhati Roy:  Well from a global perspective I don't think that there's much to choose between him and Bush.  I mean President Obama has expanded the war into the sovereign territory of Pakistan and Pakistan is now being torn apart, you know?  So you have Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, now they've -- two days ago they started talking about "a game changer" in Syria because they don't know who's using chemical weapons -- though they probably supplied it to both sides.  So you have -- you have a situation where it looks like it's a psychosis which is -- You know, look at -- look at what's going on with Tony Blair says that it was one of the better decisions he made in his life and now he's getting paid $500,000 a lecture to go and talk about morality and ethical behavior and God, and so on, you know?  Bush is painting self-portraits of himself in the shower and [former US Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld is congratulating people who participated in the war -- after killing 134,000 people and the sanctions were more than a million.  So what are American citizens to do?  I think, well, perhaps it's a good question for all of us because all of us seemed to be strapped into some kind of straight jacket and the idea is that, "Are you going to again go out and vote for a Democrat or Republican or Democrats and Republicans when we know that this is what is going on?"  So until, in some way, we are able to at least -- at least not participate so enthusiastically in what these governments are doing with us.  It is the same thing in India, though people don't actually participate so enthusiastically. I mean in India the current government has actually 10% of the population voted for it in this great majority that it claims it has.  And I think more people vote for the American Idol than vote for the American president.  But the problem is that we are faced with a crisis in our idea of democracy because governments who claim to represent us, do not.  I mean, before the Iraq War, millions of people marched against it.  None of the governments in any way cared about what people really wanted.  So, to answer your question, I think the danger of somebody like Obama is that he smokes up the mirrors and a lot of the opposition just thinks "Oh, he's better than Bush!" and so then it divides the opposition -- whereas he's actually doing things in terms of foreign policy which are sometimes worse than Bush.

Since Arundhati mentioned War Hawk Tony Blair, let's move over to England for the latest on him.    Over the weekend,  Jonathan Owen (Independent) reported on a new development in the Iraq which has still not released its final report:

Hitherto unseen evidence given to the Chilcot Inquiry by British intelligence has revealed that former prime minister Tony Blair was told that Iraq had, at most, only a trivial amount of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and that Libya was in this respect a far greater threat.
Intelligence officers have disclosed that just the day before Mr Blair went to visit president George Bush in April 2002, he appeared to accept this but returned a "changed man" and subsequently ordered the production of dossiers to "find the intelligence" that he wanted to use to justify going to war.
This and other secret evidence (given in camera) to the inquiry will, The Independent on Sunday understands, be used as the basis for severe criticism of the former prime minister when the Chilcot report is published.

Press TV picks up on the report and notes Blair ordered intell to be cherry-picked to make the case.  The Daily Mirror emphasizes that "the inquiry heard that the day before Mr Blair went to see Mr Bush in the States, he appeared to accept Iraq did not pose a threat to Britain."  Jason Groves (Daily Mail)  adds, "By contrast, one senior MI6 officer said it was clear 12 months before the war that Saddam Hussein had no nuclear weapons and no significant WMD at all."  The Scottish National Party issued the following statement:

New reports in today’s Independent on Sunday reveal even more evidence of Tony Blair's dishonesty in his planning for the illegal invasion of Iraq.
According to media reports evidence given to the Chilcot inquiry by British intelligence has revealed the former Labour Prime Minister conceded Libya was more of a threat than Iraq and more likely to have weapons of mass destruction, but that following a meeting with George Bush, Blair ordered the production of the dodgy dossiers to find the evidence to go to war.
SNP Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said:
"The case against Tony Blair is mounting day by day, and we look forward to seeing the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry.
“We know the UK’s participation in the illegal invasion of Iraq was based on a massive deception by the former Labour Prime Minister and the Westminster system.
"Despite intelligence that Libya was a greater threat than Iraq Tony Blair led the UK into war with Iraq, but into business deals in the desert with Libya.
"The lives of 179 UK service personnel and many tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians were needlessly lost because of Blair’s determination to blindly back George Bush.
"The most important lesson of Iraq is that our foreign and defence should be conducted according to the rule of international law, and that is the prospect offered by an independent Scotland.
“Those who supported the illegal Iraq war can be in no doubt about their own culpability, and the Iraq war is a graphic example of why Scotland should not leave these decisions to Westminster.”

Today Tony Blair has his own unofficial statement.  Speaking at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania today, Tom Coombe (Patch) reports, Blair declared the present to be "the toughest times to be a leader."  He also issued a statement today praising Empire Thug Margaret Thatcher -- praise that should bother Labour Party members with any real memory.  Thatcher was a thug all by herself but she raised a thug as well.  In fact, her son Mark carried out her empire lust in the '00s.  You can refer to Morning Edition's January 13, 2005 report about the $563,000 fine Mark Thatcher was able to pay to escape prison in South Africa or to Michael Wines' "Thatcher's Son Pleads Guilty in Coup Plot, Avoiding Prison" (New York Times, January 14, 2005) or, months later,  to Harvey McGavin's "Thatcher is refused US visa over coup plot conviction"  (Independent):

Sir Mark Thatcher has been refused a visa to live in the United States following his conviction for involvement in the failed coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea. Sir Mark, the son of Baroness Thatcher, the former prime minister, had intended to join his wife and their two children in the US after being given a four-year suspended jail sentence and fine at his trial in January, but immigration authorities turned down his visa application, it was confirmed yesterday.
"It is quite true that my visa application has been rejected," Sir Mark said in a statement. "It was always a calculated risk when I plea-bargained in South Africa."
Sir Mark was fined £265,000 by a South African court but escaped jail as part of a deal in which he admitted to having "unwittingly" financed the attempted overthrow of the government in Equatorial Guinea.

At least she lived long enough to see her son carrying out her own empire lust be publicly disgraced around the globe.  At least there is that.



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