Monday, February 21, 2005

Peter Rothberg on the Lynne Stewart verdict: "Let's do all we can to help taint this PR 'victory, and help save Stewart"

Peter Rothberg (of The Nation) has a piece on Lynne Stewart that Billy caught and e-mailed in. From Rothberg's "Help Defend Lynne Stewart:"

On February 10, a jury in New York City convicted longtime activist attorney Lynne Stewart of conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists, defrauding the government and making false statements.
as David Cole comments in the latest issue of The Nation, rather than making us safer, this conviction "illustrates how out of hand things have gotten in the 'war on terrorism'...To inflate its successes in ferreting out terrorism," Cole adds, "the Justice Department turned an administrative infraction into a terrorism conviction that, unless reversed, will likely send Stewart to prison for the rest of her life."
Stewart's transgression--violating an administrative agreement to not convey any communication between her client and the outside world, is--as Cole says, simply not a crime.

. . .
But the prosecution, intent on winning a cheap "terror" conviction for its perceived public relations value, went on a transparently politically-motivated witch-hunt, and unfortunately was able to convince a jury of its spurious claims that Stewart helped abet terrorism.
Let's do all we can to help taint this PR "victory," and help save Stewart from an unjust prison sentence. Click
here to read and circulate law professor Elaine Cassell's essay arguing that the Stewart verdict has stretched the definition of terrorism to its outer limits, click here to send a letter in support of Stewart, and click here to contribute to her legal defense fund. And follow for the latest developments in her case.

[Note, we highlighted Elaine Cassell's piece, via CounterPunch, last week. We haven't highlighted David Cole's -- I was unaware of it until I saw the link in Peter Rothberg's column -- but we'll highlight it in a moment.]