Statement by Ralph Schoenman in Commemoration of Lynne Stewart’s Birthday: October 8, 2013
We are celebrating today the 74th birthday of Lynne Stewart, the intrepid and internationally revered defender of the the rights of the oppressed.
Lynne Stewart languishes in Federal prison with stage four cancer advancing rapidly in her lungs, rendering her breathing precarious as she weakens daily.
These are the harsh realities. These are the cruel facts.
Lynne Stewart was falsely charged, tried and convicted of conspiring to aid” terrorism.” Her conspiracy is her person as defense counsel for a man falsely accused. The basic evidence for the innocence of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman inculpates directly the Federal Bureau of Investigation itself and the Justice Department to which it answers for the crimes imputed to the accused.
There is no more fundamental attack on the rights of citizens than enfolding an attorney within the crime imputed to her defendant for the act of defending him.
When Lynne Stewart cross-examined the Egyptian intelligence operative of Hosni Mubarak who answered to the F.B.I. in New York, it was revealed in court that the explosives used in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 were supplied and planted by the F.B.I. When Lynne Stewart sought to cross examine Emad Ali Salem about the role of his superiors in the F.B.I., Judge Michael Mukasey forbade further questioning of the witness.
Judge Mukasey, in the Alice in Wonderland world of his court room, proclaimed, “Think how dangerous it would have been had the accused supplied explosives instead of the FBI.”
The criminal conspiracy with which the people of the United States are confronted is that of Judge Mukasey, and it includes a prosecution that answers to the President of the United States and his Attorney General.
It should not surprise us that this same Judge Michael Mukasey, when nominated to be Attorney General, published an article in the Wall Street Journal advocating “a parallel system of justice in the United States” for those accused of crimes against national security. Those so accused by the State would no longer be allowed defense counsel, due process or public trials. On the contrary, Judge Mukasey, intoned, people so accused should be treated as mental patients and consigned by fiat to institutions where they would be held without public notice or access.
This is the real content of the National Defense Authorization Act of Barack Obama.
It is in the spirit of Judge and later Attorney General Michael Mukasey, that yesterday, October 7th, on the eve of Lynne’s Stewart’s 74th birthday that we celebrate today across the world, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear her Appeal.
The powerful Brief presented to the Supreme Court by her attorneys demonstrated irrefutably that Lynne Stewart’s public statements to the media and to the world regarding Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman,is speech protected absolutely by the First Amendment – the most fundamental of those freedoms secured by the first ten amendments to the U.S. constitution known as the Bill of Rights.
It should surprise none of us that when cert was filed by Lynne’s attorneys requesting the Supreme Court to hear Lynne’s Appeal, the Solicitor General, on behalf of the Justice Department of Barack Obama and Eric Holder, filed papers opposing the right of Appeal and demanding that the Supreme Court deny it.
Yesterday, a pliant Supreme Court complied.
But then, sisters and brothers, comrades and friends, who is Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States to whom Charles E. Samuels, Jr., the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, answers?
Attorney Eric Holder, partner in the high powered Washington, DC insiders’ law firm, Covington and Burling, was the legal representative of Chiquita Brands International, Inc, the heir to United Fruit, whose CEO Fernando Aguirre was compelled to admit on 60 minutes that Chiquita Brands had paid millions of dollars to right-wing death squads in Colombia, known as the AUC. Coca-Cola colluded.
The U.S. State Department lists the UAC as a terrorist organization. The Attorney General of Colombia, Mario Iguaran, described the role of Chiquita Brands and its executives as a “criminal conspiracy.” Their paramilitary death squads killed tens of thousands of peasants, union organizers and wiped out entire villages.
Eric Holder was the principal attorney for Chiquita Brands. He crafted their defense. Holder contrived the lie that the millions paid by Chiquita for the execution of peasants, students, union leaders and defenders of the poor by Chiquita’s hired death squads were to secure “protection” for Chiquita’s own employees.
No, said the Colombian Attorney General. “It was to Chiquita’s great benefit to finance the death squads within this region to allow them to conduct their extremely profitable banana-growing operations.” Preserving slave labor enforced by a reign of terror, Chiquita Brands supplied lists of those to be killed.
Attorney General Eric Holder continued to represent Chiquita Brands. He was well paid for his services as legal mouthpiece for the death squads of Colombia. The Attorney General of the United States served as terrorist in chief.
It was Attorney General Holder and his Justice Department who direct the prosecution and persecution of Lynne Stewart. This prosecution demanded a thirty year sentence for Lynne Stewart.
When Judge Koeltl sentenced Lynne Stewart to 28 months, the Justice Department appealed to the Second Circuit demanding a directive for a vastly increased sentence.
Judges of the Second Circuit who led the way in ordering Judge Koeltl to enhance Lynne’s sentence were Judge John M. Walker. Jr. and Judge Robert D. Sack.
Judge Walker is a cousin of George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.
On October 25, 2006, Judge Walker struck a traffic policeman, Dan Picacgl, in New Haven with his sports vehicle and killed him.
Judge Walker was a partner in the law firm Patterson, Belknap and Wells. He was also a partner in Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher. Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher is a global law firm with over 1,000 attorneys and 2,000 staff in18 offices throughout the world, including North and South America, Asia and the Middle East. Other partners include former Solicitor General Theodore Olson.
Judge Robert D. Sack, like Judge Walker, was a partner in both Patterson, Belknap and Wells as well as Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher.
Judge and later Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the judge in the trial of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman was also a partner in Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler as well as Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher.
Neither Judge Sack for “cop killer” Judge Walker recused themselves despite having shared partnerships with Judge Mukasey in powerful and prestigious law firms.
What of Charles E. Samuels, Jr. Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons? Director Samuels received a second recommendation for Compassionate Release for Lynne Stewart from FMS Carswell Warden Jody Upton along with the recommendation of FMS Carswell Prison Medical Staff.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons Medical experts confirmed the findings of Warden Upton and his medical staff.
Instead of instructing the Federal attorney to file a motion with Judge John Koeltl for Compassionate Release for Lynne Stewart as required by the 1984 Sentencing Act, Director Samuels referred the issue to “an independent Committee” for which there is no legal provision.
Who is Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr? Here is his testimony before the House Appropriations Committee at the time that FBOP Inspector General Michael Horowitz excoriated the Federal Bureau of Prisons for refusing to abide by the law and implement Compassionate Release.
Director Samuels responded as follows in testimony that included a section entitled “Preventing Radicalization in Federal Prisons”:
“The BOP takes very seriously the obligation to guard against the spread of terrorism and extremist ideologies…and has taken substantial steps to address this concern. BOP pursues a policy of containment…using a variety of management controls, including monitoring inmates’ social communications and restricting prisoners’ housing and movement.
“In addition, BOP monitors and records telephonic communication of inmates…and shares any relevant information with the FBI, including its National Joint Terrorism Task Force and other agencies. …BOP and FBI jointly developed the Correctional Intelligence Initiative, a national project to detect, deter and disrupt radicalization of inmates.
“Through its work, the project helps develop best practices and coordinates procedures to ensure outside extremists are universally denied access to prison populations.”
In short, the Federal Bureau of Prisons under Director Samuels has set itself up as the arbiter of political belief and expression on the part of prisoners. It has arrogated to itself the right to “disrupt radicalization” and suppress political opinion of which the FBOP and the FBI and the National Joint Terrorism Task Force “disapprove.”
There is a criminal conspiracy in the United States, sisters and brothers. It is that of those who have usurped power for that one tenth of one percent of our population that exploits and oppresses the mass of our people
It is this conspiracy that is responsible for the prosecution and persecution of Lynne Stewart. It is this apparatus that wants Lynne Stewart dead and has conspired to torment her.
The international movement to free Lynne Stewart is a cutting edge component of a life and death struggle for the emancipation of us all.
We can not persuade this criminal cabal. We can not placate them. Nor can we cater to them.
We must take this fight to free Lynne Stewart, our sister in struggle, to the oppressed everywhere.
It is central to the liberation of us all.
Happy Birthday Lynne !!
Prison walls cannot shut you out or suppress the light, compassion and love you bring to others.
Birthdays are a time to celebrate the joys and blessings, trials and victories accumulated in our short lifetime. Lynne, surely your story ranks among the most compelling and inspiring.
Through prison walls, both physical and in our minds, you come to us to remind us what humanity, citizenship and solidarity mean in these times. You tell the story of what it means to be a “defense lawyer” in a once great country, now seized by zealots, and with a populace too often crippled by fear. When others are vindictive and mean, you sparkle and bid us to be true to ourselves and to each other.
You remind us, even in your solitude and pain, that you are but one, among the many federally imprisoned, who meet every rational and humane criterion for compassionate release. You bid us to act on behalf of ALL—and even more than compassionate release… to join the struggle to oppose the death penalty.
Lynne, may our prayers and appeals bring you home to write your final chapter in the presence and warmth of family.
And may your example give the strength to speak out when others are silent, to challenge power when justice is trampled and to show compassion when and where it is needed.
Fr. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann
President of UN General Assembly, 2008-2009
Foreign Minister of Nicaragua, 1979-1990
“Lynne Stewart has cancer and is in durance vile on questionable grounds. Where is the mercy in the land of the free and the home of the brave that would nevertheless keep her locked up in a Texas jail. Deliver her from evil.” Ed Asner
I am stunned by the cruelty of the treatment being accorded you that exceeds even my negative view about how alienated state institutions deal with human suffering.
Of course, along with many friends and admirers, I had hoped that you would be free to celebrate this birthday with her family and loved ones. The protracted denial of your plea for ‘compassionate release’ has itself approached becoming a new kind of crime against humanity.
It is a source of shame that our government behaves with such extreme cruelty to someone in your condition, and exhibits its tendency toward vindictive punishment that is totally unrelated to protecting society from dangerous individuals.
It shows how illegitimate our government has become. Only a massive cry of anguish and rage from the citizenry can push the prison bureaucracy to do the only decent thing–immediately release you from the Texas prison along with an accompanying public apology.
We can only salute your courage and spiritual fortitude on this birthday, but we along with tens of thousands of others hope and pray that you will live your remaining months in freedom surrounded by those you and who love you.
warmly, Richard Falk
I and many thousands of other wish you well on your birthday. Your continued incarcertation for defending someone is a testimony to the USA’s Justice System. Happy birthday wishes, Tony Greenstein
Dear Lynne, I had hoped this birthday would not find you in prison. I, and many others, who understand the corruption of our judicial system, the evisceration of our most basic civil liberties and the cruelty of corporate capitalism, see you as one of our most courageous and important political prisoners. Your steadfast defiance and your integrity shames the state. Your voice and struggle for justice expose the state’s craven indifference to the poor and oppressed. Your indomitable spirit gives to all of us the power to continue to fight and resist. The gift we cherish most on this day comes from you. With deepest thanks, undying solidarity and profound respect, Chris Hedges
We and many thousands of others around the world are thinking of you and wishing you all the best on your birthday. We are grateful for all you’ve done in the fight for justice, and we hope you are soon free to enjoy the rest of your life with good health care and the comfort and dignity you deserve. Happy birthday!
Zachary Sklar and Sarah Plant
Oh Lynne, it’s your “birth”day! We, who are so lucky, to have met and been mentored by you, celebrate. Woman, you are so beloved. Bonnie
Bonnie Kerness, American Friends Service Committee
Free the Land, All!! We know that this week has been a trying one with the State releasing Baba Herman Wallace just in time to somehow look “compassionate”! This has raised much outcry and a stronger emphasis on releasing Baba Albert Woodfox, himself, an innocent man in the grasps of the inhumane solitary confinement!
Baba Imam Jamil Al- Amin just turned 70 last Friday, also locked up 23 hours a day in that “cage not even fit for an animal”! We have to focus harder on raising awareness about the world’s largest prison holder!!
Nana Lynne Stewart is in a dire situation as she too, sits in prison with Stage Four Cancer, again, not because of any crime committed but another intended political execution by the state! We can not let this happen! We must do all what we can for All our political prisoners!! … Fatima Mevs
Dear Comrade Lynne,
Warm wishes for your 74th birthday.
Please accept my deep feeling of solidarity with your struggle. You are a shining example of the indomitable striving for a better world, in which justice and human cooperation prevails; in which exploitation has been abolished and there are no longer any barriers of nation, race and gender.
Moshé Machover, Israeli dissident and socialist activist.
On the birthday of human rights defender Lynne Stewart this week, the best gift that the family, friends and supporters of Lynne want for her is her freedom. Lynne is respected the world over for her courageous and unflinching defence of human rights over many decades. She has fallen foul of unethical and draconian US anti-terror laws, which have been steadlily eroding civil liberties over the past 12 years. Her prolonged incarceration is nothing more than vindictive persecution by US ruling powers because of Lynne’s heroic defence work as an atorney exposing the grave violations of American civil liberties. Despite suffering from a terminal illness Lynne has been continually denied compassionate release from her wholly unjustified custodial sentence. Lynne has devoted her life for the benefit of humanity. It is the deeply heartfelt wish of many numbers of humanity around the world that Lynne Stewart be freed from her jail misery immediately. We demand Lynne Stewart be allowed to see the sun, breathe fresh air, hear the singing of birds and enjoy the love of her
Happy Birthday Lynne, keep strong and hopeful that we will overcome this torment. Finian Cunningham
On behalf of the thousands of teachers in Los Angeles, I wish you a very Happy Birthday.
While the forces of the state have not yet granting you “compassionate release”, you make take great comfort in the thousands of us who appreciate the contributions you have made to dignity and justice for all Americans.
Teachers know that an important foundation of a democratic and just society is the protection of those who hold unpopular views, their right of expression and the protection of their right to defense at trial. You have stood nobly for those principles.
Were that our government and our justice system not so venal & vindictive, you would be free to spend your all-too-short remaining time with family and loved ones.
Best wishes for a speedy release, and thank you for your lifetime of efforts on behalf of all the oppressed.
Sincerely, Marc Rich, Member, Political Action Committee of Educators, United Teachers Los Angeles
Dear Sister Lynne -
As you know better than most of us, this country imprisons more people than any other on the planet. And, although its elite is perhaps the most criminal one in the history of our species – certainly it is if simple body count is used as the measure – that elite is not among the imprisoned here. Instead, we find the domestic victims of the global empire – Black and Brown, poor and vulnerable. These are the ones chosen to fuel the ugly machine that is the prison-industrial complex.
These victims are chosen by the very appetite of the system itself – born of the genocidal theft of this continent, nourished by the enslavement of the labor that built it up, it now feeds on the remaining descendants of its primal victims, as if sating a hunger still echoing from its infancy. The identity of the true owners of what is called America can be gleaned from the faces of those who populate its prisons. Their imprisonment is the beast’s ongoing attempt to quiet a title that cannot be silenced – one resting upon stolen land and stolen labor, enabled by capital crimes that carry no statutes of limitations. Read the rest of this entry »
I urge everyone to mobilize on October 8th – the birthday of Lynne Stewart – in support of compassionate release of Lynne Stewart, who for decades made tremendous sacrifices to provide legal representation to the downtrodden and marginalized of our community. She was the only ray of hope for the hapless victims of the prison industry, oftentimes offering her legal services pro bono. Now she needs our help. Let your voices be heard. Gerald Cheves (activist)
Birthday Greetings. With love from CODEPINK to Lynne
Who was there to care when most Americans turned their backs on the poor and the weak? Lynne Stewart.
Who was there to protect those brutalized by state repression? Lynne Stewart
Who was there to defend those victimized by racism? Lynne Stewart
Who was there to uphold the ideals of justice for all, ideals that the United States is supposed to stand for? Lynne Stewart
Who was there to push our government to respect the US Constitution and international law? Lynne Stewart
Who used the courts to bring justice back into the judicial system? Lynne Stewart
Who fought fiercely to hold the powerful accountable for their misdeeds? Lynne Stewart
Who devoted her life to the collective dignity of all people, the liberation of all people, the “pursuit of happiness” for all people? Lynne Stewart
That’s why we love you, Lynne; we honor you, Lynne; and we send you birthday greetings from your sisters at CODEPINK.
A Message for Lynne Stewart on her 74th Birthday from Lou Wolf
Carswell Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas is known as one of the starkest and most punitive penal facilities in the United States. Documented media reports about Carswell point to various forms of prisoner abuse with allegations of medical malpractice, sexual abuse by prison staff, and wanton neglect of inmates.
It is apparent that Lynne’s continuing incarceration despite her medical crisis is motivated by the government’s felt need for revenge due to the fact that Lynne revealed in court that the attempted bombing of the Twin Towers in 1993 that killed 6 people and wounded over a thousand was actually an inside job involving the FBI.
The provision of compassionate release that for years was effectively kept secret by the Bureau of Prisons until Lynne’s friends and supporters uncovered it, could not apply more directly to anyone than the late Herman Wallace or Lynne Stewart.
Lynne is one of those rarest of souls who has no single part of her being that is selfish or self-interested, but who, in the midst of her own physical stress and pain, wakens each day at Carswell hoping to help another fellow human being.
The greatness of Lynne Stewart is personified in the words she wrote this week to her family and her many thousands of supporters here and around the globe: “I remain my ebullient self and face my fight and my future with optimism.”
The continued persecution and brutal imprisonment of peoples’ attorney Lynne Stewart is an astonishing, grave injustice, not only to Lynne but to all of us. When an attorney can be charged, convicted by association with alleged acts of the client and jailed as a political prisoner, simply for providing a strong legal defense , the US Constitution, judicial system, basic legal and human rights protections are effectively eviscerated and meaningless, and all professionals, indeed any and all people, are at risk of serving the same fate and tragedy.
This is also a matter of the remaining months of life for Lynne Stewart, who is declining with late stage cancer while denied compassionate release as provided by law and would have been released and benefited from advanced treatment, surgery and family care under the term of her original sentence, incredibly extended by an appeal court to 10 years, for Lynne a life and death sentence. The barbaric conditions of her confinement, including shackling during medical procedures (apparently what passes for treatment in Carswell federal prison), are beyond “cruel and unusual punishment,” a form of torture, a shame and mockery of our supposedly democratic, equitable political, justice and health care systems.
Lynne Stewart is a renowned, respected civil rights attorney (as acknowledged by the sentencing judge), who was singled out in a show trail for her professional practice as defense attorney, jailed as a political prisoner straight up, and so far effectively denied her right to process and consideration by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and court of the content and merits of her application for compassionate release. Read the rest of this entry »
From Deep in the Belly of the Beast…that is, Texas.
Now another month has passed and I am getting increasingly irritable that these jokers are so cavalier with my life and what time I have left. ( I also am getting weaker.) My application for compassionate release is moving but glacially (are there any glaciers left ? Only in the bureaucracy…) We learned that the request has left the General Counsel’s office of the Bureau of Prisons in Washington and is now being considered by an “Independent Committee” (whatever that means). From there it will ostensibly go to the Director, Mr. Samuels, for the final recommendation and request for a motion to the Judge.
As you can appreciate there is still plenty of room for slips between cup and lip. I truly understand that I, with the strong and consistent support of all 30,000+ of you, do constitute a “threat” in their small universe. That is to say that, the will of the People cannot be ignored forever. With that in mind, I want to urge everyone to come on out on
OCTOBER 8, TUESDAY, MY 74th BIRTHDAY
ORGANIZE ORGANIZE ORGANIZE ORGANIZE ORGANIZE ORGANIZE
YOU AND YOUR COMRADES, FRIENDS, ACQUAINTANCES CAN GATHER AT
If you can do this please notify Ralph of your location (917 853 9759, 518 358 2525) or email my web site. We hope this will be nationwide and we can spread the word of the senseless cruelty in the way the Bureau of Prisons administers a program that is supposed to be compassionate. I may be the “poster child” but this is done on behalf of all the prisoners who are languishing, in pain or worse, trying to go home.
Be Out there on October 8. It is already an historic day. Let’s make it More So!!! Let’s Win.
An outpouring of support is required once again to free revered attorney Lynne Stewart. She has submitted a new application for compassionate release and received word on September 6, 2013 that FMC Carswell Warden Jody R. Upton has sanctioned and forwarded her papers to the Bureau of Prisons headquarters in Washington, D.C.
With every pretext now removed, we summon Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr. to act appropriately and expeditiously: Review Lynne Stewart’s new application, again sanctioned and forwarded by Warden Upton. Instruct the federal attorney accordingly to file the requisite motion with a Federal Bureau of Prison recommendation for Lynne Stewart’s compassionate release. Judge John G. Koeltl is on the record: he will respond to the motion the moment he receives it. Read the rest of this entry »
Show Love For Lynne Stewart & All Political Prisoners Act Now!
By Larry Pinkney
International Outreach & Support Coordinator
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
19 September, 2013
“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” - Malcolm X [el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz]
“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains…Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently…Freedom is always the freedom of dissenters.” - Rosa Luxemburg
It is not enough to merely observe that the imprisoned ‘people’s lawyer’ Lynne Stewart, has for four decades vigorously and unceasingly defended the voiceless, the downtrodden, and the targeted in this nation. The story of Lynne Stewart is one of growth, resilience, great love for ordinary struggling people, and sacrifice.
Like the late great freedom fighter John Brown, Lynne Stewart transcended her color privilege and reached the liberating plateau of actualizing her, and indeed all of our, own humanity. In so doing, she incurred the formidable wrath of this war mongering, hypocritical, and massively unjust U.S. political / judicial system as carried out by its callous, sanctimonious blood sucking minions / systemic gatekeepers. Lynne Stewart consistently exposed the vile and treacherous underbelly of a nation whose ‘leaders’ have forgotten, distorted, and/or ignored the noble ideals embodied in the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »