Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday Cat Porting; Chris Hedges Interviews Lynne Stewart

We are headed out in this awful weather to take our kitty Esther to... get this... an ophthalmologist. The problem with going to a high-priced veterinarian is that they feel free to refer to high-priced specialists located far from home. But it's Stella's kitty and Stella's decision. I'm along for the ride to comfort the cat, and of course Stella.

Lynne Stewart
While I'm gone (most of the day), please read Chris Hedges's article/interview of famous civil liberties/rights activist lawyer Lynne Stewart, who is just recently out of jail after four years of a ten-year prison sentence, released because she has terminal breast cancer. Bluntly speaking, she was imprisoned for doing her job, defending her client in the face of impossible odds and in the face of the PATRIOT Act. She failed to win her case in 1995, but after the infamous 9/11/2001 that was not good enough for John Ashcroft, George W. Bush and their unsavory crew when they came into office: Stewart's client was "Omar Abdel Rahman, an Egyptian Muslim known as 'the Blind Sheikh,' who was convicted in October of that year for alleged involvement in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center."

Stewart's crime, in short, was mounting a vigorous defense of Abdel Rahman when the government was determined to put him away for life... which they did. Stewart was sentenced to 28 months. When Barack Obama was elected president, "a federal appeals court under the Barack Obama administration demanded that the district judge reconsider her sentence. She was handed a new sentence by Koeltl—10 years." Message received: the right to trial by jury no longer extends to everyone, and if our government dislikes the accused, they have no problem taking revenge on his attorney. In this case, the government even used taped conversations between Stewart and Rahman as evidence against Stewart, a practice now legal but previously considered a blatant violation of attorney-client privilege.

This is a story to make you despair for the legitimacy of the judicial system in America. And when the courts become a tool of the executive, there is no more separation of powers... and we have no nation as our founders conceived it.

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