Confidential #5 – 2/17/05

Bulletin #5
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Please feel free to distribute.

1. New York Times vs. Lynne Stewart.
2. US military vs. dead journalists.
3. SF Bay Area Muslim activist Samina Faheem Sundas threatened.

4.  KPFA’s “Rip-and-Read” News Department.

5. International Women’s Day.
6. Stop military recruitment in San Francisco schools.
7. Tell Nancy Pelosi no money for war.
8. Election Rigging 101: a National Teach-In on the 2004 election.

1. New York Times vs. Lynne Stewart.

The day after the outrageous conviction of attorney Lynne Stewart, the New York Times, doing its daily duty as the mouthpiece of the corporate state, led off its front page article on the case with the declaration that Lynne had been “convicted… of aiding Islamic terrorism by smuggling messages out of jail from a terrorist client.”

But the Times article itself eventually gave the lie to this bold assertion of terrorist conspiracies. Here is the last paragraph of the article, way back on page 21: “The government never showed that any violence resulted from the defendants’ actions… The defendants were not accused of aiding terrorism in the United States.” Very nice of them to work these inconvenient facts into the article.

The main accusation against Lynne is that she issued a press release on behalf of her client. Since when is publicly issuing a press release “smuggling messages?” The Times article also opined that “Ms. Stewart sometimes appeared deaf to the vicious anti-American preachings of her client…” Now, there’s a crime worth 40 years in prison. I suspect that a goodly percentage of you reading this missive might also “appear deaf” to “anti-American preachings.”

In an op-ed in the Times, on the very same day, titled “Torture, American Style,” Bob Herbert asserts that “Any government that commits, condones, promotes or fosters torture is a malignant force in the world. And those who refuse to raise their voices against something as clearly evil as torture are enablers, if not collaborators.” Here the Times is not only “deaf” to “anti-American preachings,” but actually prints them.

Herbert cites an account of the “Special Removal Unit” that is part of the US program of “extraordinary rendition,” whereby the US kidnaps alleged “terrorists” and whisks them off to torture chambers, in places like Syria and Egypt. Lest we forget, Stewart was representing a man who was aiding the resistance to the brutal regime of Egyptian murderer and torturer Hosni Mubarak. Egypt is the second largest benefactor of US foreign aid, right after Israel. So is it Lynne who is guilty of aiding terrorism, or Bush and his cronies?

The struggle continues. Lynne is free on bail, and will be sentenced on July 15. The Lynne Stewart Defense Committee has initiated a letter writing campaign urging the judge to sentence her to probation. Click on to send a letter. Lynne is scheduled to speak in San Francisco at a Free Mumia demonstration in April, although at this point she is not allowed to travel outside of New York.

2. US military vs. dead journalists.

Not only are the neo-fascists in Washington going after the lawyers, there is new evidence that they are going after the not-so-embedded media as well. According to Rep. Barney Frank (Democrat, Massachusetts), the head of CNN’s news division, Eason Jordan, told a panel at the recent World Economic Forum that — this is the New York Sun quoting Frank — “he knew of about 12 journalists who had not only been killed by American troops, but had been targeted as a matter of policy.”

After Jordan made his comments at the World Economic Forum panel, he was surrounded by numerous European and Middle Eastern attendees at the panel, and congratulated for his “bravery and candor.” Jordan also reportedly detailed the story of an Al-Jazeera reporter who had been imprisoned in Abu Ghraib, and forced to eat his shoes. Officially, 63 journalists have been killed covering the war in Iraq. More journalists have already been killed in Iraq than in the entire Vietnam war.

In 2002, Jordan publicly accused the Israeli military of deliberately targeting CNN personnel “on numerous occasions.”

At first, CNN would not return phone calls or emails seeking comment about Jordan’s remarks. Subsequently, CNN put out a statement which asserted that Jordan was only answering a question by Rep. Frank about dead journalists and “collateral damage.” Frank denies that either he or Jordan used that phrase. Then, last Friday, Jordan was forced to quit CNN, and issued a statement claiming that “my comments on this subject in a World Economic Forum panel discussion were not as clear as they should have been. I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists…” Such is often the fate of those who tell the truth to power. (See for more info.)

3. SF Bay Area Muslim activist Samina Faheem Sundas threatened.

Samina Faheem Sundas is a courageous voice from the Muslim/South Asian community. Since 9/11, she has struggled tirelessly and righteously to denounce the round-ups, detentions, forced registrations, deportations, hate crimes and endless lies directed at the Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities.

Recently, one individual posted several e-mails on the listserve of United for Peace & Justice — rabid, hateful diatribes against Muslims and Arabs. After Samina posted a response to these diatribes, she received several very personal threats from the racist. The most chilling threat indicated that he knows where she lives. Samina runs a small family child care center out of her home.

The local authorities have been notified about this racist threat. Just as Samina has clearly expressed her determination to continue to speak out, her friends and supporters are resolved to use this attack to intensify our own efforts to speak out for her and with her. To find out about her organization, American Muslim Voice, go to There will soon be a letter posted to the website which supporters can sign.

Coincidentally, before this incident, Samina called for a Day of Solidarity Open House at her home in Palo Alto. Please join her and express your solidarity on Saturday, February 26, 2005, from Noon to 3:00 pm. RSVP to [email protected].

4.  KPFA’s “Rip-and-Read” News Department.

The following email was sent by Jeff Strahl, a KPFA listener, to KPFA News, Flashpoints, Democracy Now!, and Struggle-and-Win:

“I keep thinking after every incidence that the news department cannot sink any lower. But during Friday morning (2/4/05) news (8:30AM segment) Brian Edwards-Tiekert set a new low, referring to the Iraqi forces being trained by the US to ‘defend the country.’ A foreign occupation force is creating a puppet local military, and KPFA refers to it as a national defense force?…

“There are more than ‘words’ involved here. The terms you employ amount to nothing short of legitimating the totally illegal US invasion and occupation. Nothing objective at all about your language, if your excuse is that the News Department strives to be neutral and objective. If what I wanted was State Department rhetoric and Pentagon fantasies, I could easily go to the websites of those institutions, or turn on one of the mainstream media’s outlets like Fox or NPR. No excuses at all exist for KFPA News disseminating such lies and propaganda.”

I forwarded the message directly to Edwards-Tiekert, and asked for a response.  He wrote, “He makes a good point. I wish I had edited that language out of the story I was reading from.”

Edwards-Tiekert is a staff representative to the Local Station Board (LSB), which often receives listener comments criticizing the news department for ripping stories off the wire and reading directly from them. I still shudder to recall the KPFA morning news which began with “today the world is mourning the death of Ronald Reagan.”

One frustrated listener LSB member said recently that she has been complaining to the KPFA news department for “the last eight years, but nothing has changed… You are repeating the corporate media language word for word with no context.” High quality news cuts to the core of what Pacifica is.

The LSB has established a news committee to look at these issues. To date, however, General Manager Roy Campanella has been unable to find a liaison from the news department for the committee. No surprise, since news co-anchor Aileen Alfondary voted against the establishment of the committee, and, in an April 2004 memo, the KPFA News Department wrote, “The KPFA News staff cannot and will not delegate any degree of editorial control to an oversight committee. That would open the door for committee members to impose a political agenda on our work…”

5. International Women’s Day.

Help plan for the March 8, 2005 Bay Area International Women’s Day march organized by the sixth Global Women’s Strike, now participated in by over 60 countries. The theme of this year is women in prison, which now, sadly, may include 65-year-old lawyer Lynne Stewart.
Meet on Sunday, February 20, 11:00 am,
at Crossroads Women’s Center, 333 Valencia Street, Room 350.

6. Stop military recruitment in San Francisco schools.

In November, 63% of San Franciscans voted for Prop N, which calls for the immediate withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq. But SF high school students are still being actively recruited by the military on campus. Join with peace activists (students, teachers and parents) to speak out at the SF Board of Education meeting, February 22, 7:00 pm, at 555 Franklin Street, 2nd floor (near Golden Gate).

7. Tell Nancy Pelosi no money for war.

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi will be speaking at a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, February 23 at 10:00 am in the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Main Library at Larkin and Grove Streets, near Civic Center. She intends to speak about social security. Let’s remind her that 63% of San Franciscans voted to bring the troops home now. Money for people’s needs, not for war.

8. Election Rigging 101: a National Teach-In on the 2004 election.

With Bob Fitrakis, Ohio attorney and editor of the Columbus Free Press.
Saturday, Feb. 26th, 10am – 4pm
First Congregational Church,
2501 Harrison Street, Oakland

Butch Wing, Political Director, Rainbow Push
Larry Bensky, KPFA correspondent
Walter Riley, East Bay Votes
Gail Jonas
and stunning documentary footage of Ohio
$10 suggested donation, please bring lunch