Punishing Lynne

[col. writ. 7/18/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

 

 

    Lynne Stewart, the activist lawyer, was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison.

 

    This outstanding lawyer, a 70 year old grandmother, who is facing the serious threat of breast cancer, was originally sentenced to 2 years and 4 months, but the federal appeals court apparently felt that wasn't enough.

 

    The same appeals courts that traditionally reverses the convictions of cops who torture or kill Black citizens, and who traditionally rely on the judgments of the trial courts, reversed Stewart's sentence as not tough enough.

 

    So much for judicial tradition.

 

    For Lynne's tradition wasn't that of the tony, tie and tails law firms of downtown Manhattan. She didn't represent the rich, the powerful, the well-heeled.

 

    She represented the poor, the oppressed, the destitute and the dispossessed; the Black, the Latino, the Arab, the damned; those whom Frantz Fanon famously called 'the wretched of the earth.'

 

    A juxtaposition: Many, many lawyers on the Office of Legal Counsel, in the White House, the CIA, and the Defense Dept. violated criminal laws, the military legal code, the Geneva Conventions, and the Convention Against Torture (CAT) [not to mention the U.S. Constitution!] to aid and abet violations of law -- for years.

 

    Guess how many of them faced trial?  Guess how many of them will in future?

 

    How many of them will ever face prison?

 

    None, None -- and none.

 

    For their crimes were on behalf of the powerful; the state; hence their immunity.

 

    Or consider what is know in international law as the 'supreme crime': wars of aggression.

 

    Iraq will be a basket case for generations, thanks to American arrogance and greed.

 

    Will anybody be brought to book for this crime, that shattered a nation, that sent millions into exile, and killed perhaps a million men, women and children?

 

    Don't hold your breath.

 

    There are still black sites, secret prisons, where tortures happen daily.  There is still extraordinary renditions - clear violations of the Convention Against Torture (CAT)

 

    But politicians are doing it - not to 'protect' the nation -- but to secure elections. Torture for votes.

 

    And a 70 year old grandmother, a lawyer, is sent to prison for 10 years - for violating a prison rule that is an unconstitutional relic of the so-called war on terror.

 

    This is what an empire in decline looks like.

 

--(c) '10 maj

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