Monthly Archives: November 2014

Ferguson Australia, Murder under the Red, White and by Blue

1 Deadly Nation

A Missouri grand jury has decided Darren Wilson, a white police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August, will not be charged.

The rest you know.

The police have yet again either killed a black man or allowed a non black man who did the killing to go free. What is statistically strange about today’s decision is this  – According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them. Grand Juries are a rubber stamp, Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” That is of course unless the Grand Jury is deciding to indict a police officer, rarely does it even get to that stage, then…

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Freya Newman: no conviction recorded over leak of Frances Abbott scholarship

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Judge decides not to record conviction against 21-year-old whistleblower for accessing restricted files showing details of scholarship given to prime minister’s daughter

Michael Safi
theguardian.com, Tuesday 25 November 2014 10.02 AEST

Freya Newman Freya Newman, centre, leaves the Downing Centre local court in Sydney on Tuesday morning. Photograph: Paul Miller/AAP

No conviction will be recorded against a 21-year-old whistleblower for accessing confidential files that revealed the prime minister’s daughter, Frances Abbott, received an undisclosed $60,000 scholarship.

Freya Newman, a former part-time librarian at the Whitehouse School of Design, was given a two-year good behaviour bond.

Newman appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre local court on Tuesday after pleading guilty in September to one count of unauthorised access to restricted data.

Newman accessed student records that showed Frances Abbott had attended the design school on a “managing director’s scholarship” at the recommendation of the college’s chairman and Liberal party donor, Les Taylor.

Abbott was only the second recipient of the prize, which was not advertised to other students. Whitehouse has declined to detail the application process and criteria for awarding the scholarship.

According to its website, Whitehouse “does not currently offer scholarships to gain a place”, but the college has maintained it offers a variety of scholarships and all “are discretionary and awarded on merit”.

Newman was not able to argue that the disclosure was in the public interest as Whitehouse is a private institution and falls outside public-service whistleblower protections.

The courtroom was crowded with friends and supporters who stood in the aisles and spilled out into the halls of the complex. Outside the court, activists carried signs reading, “Free Freya” and “Blessed are the truth tellers”.

Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan said the seriousness of Newman’s offence had been “at the lower end”, and that the confidential information she accessed had been neither highly secure nor highly sensitive.

No “significant harm” was caused as a result of the breach, O’Sullivan said.

She added that Newman had pleaded guilty at the earlier opportunity and resigned from the design school the day after accessing the restricted information.

Her relative emotional immaturity and lack of impulse control as a young person had “to some extent impaired” Newman’s decision-making, and media attention had had a “significant impact” on her mental health, O’Sullivan said.

“I accept that Ms Newman is remorseful,” she said. “She has very good prospect for rehabilitation.”

Nonetheless, O’Sullivan cited the “need for denunciation of Ms Newman’s conduct” and the imperative to “deter similar behaviour in future” in placing the whistleblower on a two-year good behaviour bond.

Activists outside the court cheered as Newman departed, surrounded by family and a media scrum. She made no comment.

Freya Newman To Appear For Sentencing In Sydney Tuesday Morning

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The long-running ‘Frances Abbott secret scholarship’ saga is expected to come to a head tomorrow, with the sentencing of whistleblower Freya Newman.

University student Freya Newman will face the Downing Centre Local Court tomorrow for what is expected to be the final time, after pleading guilty to accessing the student records of the prime minister’s daughter Frances Abbott earlier in the year.

In September Newman pleaded guilty to breaching Section 308(H) of the NSW Crimes Act, after using the log in details of a fellow staff member at the Whitehouse Institute of Design to retrieve Ms Abbott’s records.

The records revealed the prime minister’s daughter had paid just over $7,000 for her $68,000 degree, and received the award after just one meeting with Whitehouse Institute owner Leanne Whitehouse.

The Institute and the Prime Minister’s Office have continued to argue the secret scholarship was granted on the basis of merit, but have been contradicted by a former teacher of Ms Abbott, the school’s own website (which still reports that no scholarships are available), as well as other students at the Institute.

One fellow student described the scholarship as “beyond a joke” while one of Ms Abbott’s former teachers, Mellitios Kyriakidis said: “Even from her class I could name 10 people more deserving either for merit or financial need or both [of a scholarship].”

After helping to make the scholarship publicly known, Newman was pursued legally.

At an October hearing Newman’s lawyer, Tony Payne SC, argued that Newman had not realised her actions were illegal, and that despite decades of experience in criminal law, even he had not realised using the log in details of another staff member to access records was a criminal offence.

He submitted that Newman had been encouraged to access the records by other staff members, but that she was also motivated by a sense of injustice.

He also noted that Newman had pleaded guilty at the earliest possible date and expressed contrition, including writing a letter of apology to Ms Abbott.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott with daughter Frances and wife Margaret, at the Whitehouse Institute in December 2013.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott with daughter Frances and wife Margaret, at the Whitehouse Institute in December 2013.

Police are pushing for Newman to have a conviction recorded for the offence, but have agreed it was on the lower end of offending, effectively ruling out the possibility of a two-year jail sentence, the maximum available for a breach of 308(H).

However, police prosecutor Amin Assaad told the Court in October that although Newman had not gained “financially or personally” from her actions, recording a conviction was necessary in order to deter other potential offenders.

Frances Abbott recently spoke publicly for the first time about the incident, forgiving Newman for accessing her records but comparing the 21-year-old to a “small child”.

“To be honest, it’s just like as a small child you learn it’s not right to read someone’s diary. It’s not right to hack into anything,” Ms Abbott said.

After completing her studies Ms Abbott was given a job by the Whitehouse Institute, though a staff register revealed she was the only employee without a formal job description.

Her father, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, has still refused to update his parliamentary interests register, despite acknowledging Frances was his dependent at the time, and despite reporting numerous small benefits received by his children, including flight upgrades and tickets to free events.

Whitehouse Institute stands to benefit substantially from proposed Abbott Government reforms to higher education, with more than $800 million in public funding being released to private colleges for the first time.

* New Matilda is an independent Australian media publication. We rely predominantly on subscriptions for our survival. You can help fund us here. Or just help us by sharing this story on social media.

Anarchist Prison Rebel Needs Support

support

Prison Books Collective

blackjack-noteFrom SeanSwain.org

Blackjack Dzelajlija, in photo (bigger photo here) was sent to the super-duper-uber-mega-ultra-hyper-turbo-max because a rap verse he wrote appeared in 12 Monkey materials. He’s subjected to deprivation because the 12 Monkeys have great taste in music. If only Blackjack had falsely implicated Sean Swain, he would be at medium security now. Instead, he suffered a year of starvation and torture as Sean’s cell-mate (including this cell extraction) in the Special Manglement Unit at MANCI, and has been held in solitary at OSP since August 2013 with no end in sight, targeted for his anarchist “ideology.”

Blackjack needs reading materials and penpals. All materials must come from a publisher or distributor, softback books only. His interests include anarchist theory and Christian liberation theology (convergence of anarchism and Christianity includes Leo Tolstoy). As a rapper, he could use a rhyming dictionary. And he could also use some mail…

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Protect Freedom of Speech & Keep Mumia on the Air

mumia Overturn Senate Bill 508: defend the First Amendment rights of prisoners, journalists & all of us.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Community

This campaign will launch the Prison Radio Defense Fund to defeat PA Senate Bill 508 – signed by Governor Tom Corbett – which prohibits prisoners and those formerly incarcerated from speaking publicly. The law targets journalists, non-profits and individuals who aid prisoners in communicating to the outside world.

please got to https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/protect-freedom-of-speech-keep-mumia-on-the-air

Prisoner Letter Writing – Casey Brezik – October 2, 2014 7PM

Minnehaha Free Space

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Join us for June letter writing at the Minnehaha Free Space this Thursday, October 2 from 7-9PM. October’s featured prisoner is Casey Brezik, an accused anarchist assassin from the Kansas City area who is charged with slashing the throat of the Dean of Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley in a plot to attack the Governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, during a talk at the college. (Nixon later canceled.)

Casey is currently being held by the state of Missouri for 12 years on each of three counts – assault, and two armed criminal action charges – and seven years on a second count of assault. All sentences will run concurrently. In February 2011, the state declared him to be incapable of standing trial, which means he was forced to stay locked up in a mental institution until June of 2013 when he was sentenced to 12 years in state prison.

What is…

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Freeing Animals Is Not “Terrorism

Freeing Animals Is Not “Terrorism,” Rights Attorneys Argue

Center for Constitutional Rights Moves to Dismiss Charges Against Alleged Mink Liberators

press@ccrjustice.org

November 6, 2014, Chicago – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel at the People’s Law Office and the Federal Defender Program in Chicago filed a motion to dismiss a terrorism indictment against two animal rights activists alleged to have freed mink and foxes from fur farms. The activists were indicted under the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), which punishes causing damage or loss to a business or other institution that sells animals or animal products, or to a “person or entity having a connection to, relationship with, or transactions with an animal enterprise.” CCR attorneys argue that the AETA is unconstitutional because it makes no distinction between loss caused by criminal acts and loss caused by boycotts and other constitutionally-protected activity, and that, in any event, punishing non-violent activity as “terrorism” is an unconstitutional denial of due process.
“Releasing animals so that they can escape being killed for fur coats is a quintessential act of non­-violence,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Rachel Meeropol. “Calling such an act ‘terrorism’ shows just how outlandish terrorism rhetoric has become. Ultimately, the government is saying it is a terrorist offense to save the wrong lives.”

Kevin Johnson and Tyler Lang were indicted under the AETA in July for allegedly releasing mink and foxes from two rural Illinois fur farms. They previously faced state charges of “possession of burglary tools” after a police search during a traffic stop turned up items such as wire cutters. Both men pleaded guilty to the State charges; Mr. Lang was sentenced to 170 days in prison, and Mr. Johnson 30 months. They face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted of the AETA charges.

This week, the Supreme Court is also considering the AETA, in response to CCR’s civil challenge to the law, Blum v. Holder. Blum was file in 2011 on behalf of five longtime animal rights activists with long histories of participating in peaceful protests and advocacy efforts, who have limited or even ceased their lawful advocacy out of fear of being prosecuted as terrorists. Blum seeks to have the AETA struck down as vague and overbroad in violation of the First Amendment. The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiffs were not permitted to sue because they could not show that their prosecution under the law was “certainly impending.” In August, CCR asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, and it is scheduled for conference on November 7, 2014.

Read the motion filed today here. For more information on the fur farm raid case, visit CCR’s case page, U.S. v. Johnson.

United States v. Johnson

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Synopsis

United States v. Johnson is a federal prosecution of two animal rights activists for allegedly liberating animals from fur farms in violation of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
Status

On November 6, 2014 CCR, and co-counsel at the People’s Law Office and the Federal Defender Program in Chicago, filed a Motion to Dismiss the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act indictment of Kevin Johnson and Tyler Lang.
Description

In July of 2014 Johnson and Lang were indicted under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) for allegedly releasing mink and foxes from fur farms. They previously faced state charges of “possession of burglary tools” after a police search during a traffic stop turned up wire cutters and other similar items. Both men pleaded guilty to the State charges and served jail sentences. They are now facing up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted of the new terrorism charges.

Passed by Congress in November 2006, the AETA is aimed at suppressing speech and advocacy by criminalizing First Amendment-protected activities such as protests, boycotts, picketing and whistleblowing. It targets animal rights activists, but includes language so broad and vague it could be used to prosecute labor activists who organize a successful boycott of Wal-Mart, or union members who picket a university cafeteria.

CCR has moved to dismiss the indictment by arguing that the AETA is facially unconstitutional on overbreadth grounds because it criminalizes protected speech that causes an “animal enterprise” to lose profits or business goodwill. CCR also argues that the statute is unconstitutionally vague, because its terms are so broad as to criminalize practically every property crime that has an interstate component and is undertaken against a business, allowing for (and resulting in) arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement against animal rights activists. Finally, we are also challenging the AETA on substantive due process grounds, because it would punish as an act of “terrorism” non-violent theft of private property.

On this basis, CCR and co-counsel have asked the Court to dismiss the AETA indictment as unconstitutional.

Co-counsel on the case include Michael Deutsch of the People’s Law Office, Lillian McCartin, and Geoffrey Meyer at the Federal Defender Program in Chicago

Timeline

November 6, 2014 – CCR, and co-counsel at the People’s Law Office and the Federal Defender Program in Chicago, filed a Motion to Dismiss the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act indictment of Kevin Johnson and Tyler Lang
Attached Files

Indictment.pdf
US v Johnson Motion to Dismiss 11.6.14.pdf

Justice Ministry Declares Phuket Journalists Guilty Before Any Evidence is Given in Their Trial

PHUKET: Thailand’s Justice Ministry has declared that two Phuket journalists are guilty of criminal defamation even though the trial judge has yet to hear any evidence in the case.

The surprising ruling comes in response to a request by the journalists, Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian, to have a special fund at the ministry cover the cost of their bail.

”We now have doubts that we can get a fair trial in Thailand if we have already been declared guilty by the Justice Ministry,” Morison, who edits Phuketwan, said today.

”We were almost as shocked to hear what the Justice Ministry had to say as we were to hear that we were being sued by the Royal Thai Navy in the first place.”

In a case that has been condemned by rights groups, including the United Nations, the journalists are being sued for republishing a 41-word paragraph quoting directly from Reuters news agency. The paragraph formed part of a series of articles on the Rohingya boatpeople that won the Pulitzer for the news agency.

While the English-language version of the paragraph does not mention the Royal Thai Navy, a Thai-language translation used by Phuket police in the prosecution specifically mentions the Navy three times.

”We now have an indication directly from the Justice Ministry that we stand little chance of winning this case – even though we are not the authors of the paragraph and the ‘evidence’ has been completely distorted.”

The ruling against the application for bail was made in July but a copy of the judgement by the Rights and Liberties Protection Department, Justice Ministry, only reached the journalists this week.

Translated into English, the judgement says in part: ”The information . . . is false and untrue. The journalists must be correct and recheck their information before publishing the story to make sure there is no danger to others. The reputation of the Royal Thai Navy was damaged and made people look down on the Navy. On the evidence we have, we believe Morison and Khun Chutima did the wrong thing.”

The two journalists say they were aghast to read this judgement from the Justice Ministry when their trial in Phuket Provincial Court is not even scheduled to hear evidence until mid-July next year.

”I had expected to be treated fairly in Thailand and to have Thai justice find us innocent,” Morison said. ”This is an indication there is no hope of that happening here.”

Khun Chutima, a reporter at Phuketwan, said: ”This letter is from the Rights and Liberties Protection Department, yet they clearly have no interest in protecting my rights and liberties. This is totally unfair.

”What makes the department able to judge us, before our trial? I am deeply disappointed to see the way my country’s justice system fails to operate fairly.”

Earlier this year, the Phuket Damrungtam (Complaints) Office declined to ask investigating officers at Vichit Police Station why they had pursued the case against the journalists without first questioning the Navy officer who lodged the complaint.

Morison and Khun Chutima face lengthy jail terms as a maximum sentence if found guilty of criminal defamation and a Computer Crimes Act charge.

Morison is an Australian citizen. His passport has been seized, making him a prisoner in Thailand. He is unable to visit his ageing father, who turns 91 later this month.

Australian authorities and the country’s Bangkok ambassador have declined to ask for his passport to be returned, even though it is the property of the Australian government.

The British government recently succeeded in having the passport of one of its citizens, Andy Hall, returned. He faces similar charges to the journalists, but brought by a pineapple processor.

Morison and Khun Chutima have vowed to continue reporting the saga of the Rohingya and other boatpeople who are being abused, raped and sometimes killed in Thailand’s secret trafficking camps.

The journalists’ coverage has won awards and international acclaim.

What Others Say

United Nations

”Criminal prosecution for defamation has a chilling effect on freedom of the press,” said Ravina Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. ”International standards are clear that imprisonment is never an appropriate penalty for defamation.”

Human Rights Watch

”The Thai navy’s lawsuit is a reckless attempt to curtail journalists’ reporting on alleged human trafficking by its officers,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. ”Unless the government withdraws the case, its impact will be felt far beyond those reporting on abuses against the Rohingya – and could have a choking effect on all investigative reporting in Thailand.”

Reporters Without Borders

“It is intolerable that journalists are being prosecuted for just doing their job by relaying information of general interest that had already been made public,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Bringing charges under the controversial Computers Crimes Act in a defamation case is indicative of the critical state of freedom of information in Thailand and amounts to an attempt to gag the media. We support these journalists, who are facing a jail term, and we call for the immediate withdrawal of these proceedings.”

Committee to Protect Journalists

”Rather than shooting the messenger, the Royal Thai Navy would be better suited launching an internal investigation into the serious allegations of abuse that have been raised,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. ”This type of legal intimidation aims ultimately at discouraging media reporting on allegations of serious human rights abuses.”

Chris Lewa, director of the rights group the Arakan Project

”Thanks to the fair investigative reporting by the Phuketwan journalists, the involvement of various Thai agencies in the massive smuggling and trafficking operations of Rohingya refugees and their related miseries is no more a secret. Rights groups should unite to call on Thailand to quash these defamation charges.”

Phuketwan

”We wish the Royal Thai Navy would clear its reputation by explaining precisely what is happening to the Rohingya in the Andaman Sea and in Thailand,” Phuketwan said in a statement released in response to the charges. ”By instead using a controversial law against us, the Navy is, we believe, acting out of character.”

Bangkok Post

The action makes the navy look like a bully, and gives the impression the admirals would like to intimidate the media. Instead of defending the navy’s honor, the criminal defamation suit holds it to question. Instead of silencing the media about the story – concerning the navy’s role in the mistreatment of Rohingya boatpeople – the lawsuit repeats it, to more people and at greater length.

CNN

Morison said: “The navy’s action over one paragraph has created a perfect storm. If the navy proceeds with the case, the Rohingya issue is now tied up in their action against media under a controversial law.”

TIME

In the meantime, calmer seas mean that even more Rohingya are expected to attempt the treacherous journey in the weeks ahead. Nothing could gladden the traffickers more.

Reuters

Barb Burg, Reuters’ (former) global head of communications: ”Our story was fair and balanced and Reuters has not been accused of criminal libel.”

Bill Barnett (The Phuket Insider)

The issues which have drawn Phuketwan into this fray are profound and disturbing. There should be no need to wax over reality and respect needs to be given to those who stand up for the helpless who cannot help themselves.

Andrew Drummond (Investigative Journalist)

We should all support journalists who are doing a difficult job here
under laws which best suit a totalitarian state.

Excellence in Human Rights Reporting, Investigative Reporting awards

In 2010 the Phuketwan team shared the Society of Publishers in Asia Award for Excellence in Investigative Reporting and a second Award for Excellence in Human Rights Reporting, both with the South China Morning Post newspaper. Judges said of the Excellence in Investigative Reporting award: ”An excellent series that uncovered serious government abuses and had a material impact in correcting them. Exclusivity. Strong reporting. Hard-hitting piece with international implications.”

Of the Excellence in Human Rights Reporting award, the judges said: ”Excellent investigative work that exposed serious human rights abuses of oppressed people. Intrepid reporting of a hidden subject. This is a high-caliber series buttressed by solid on-the-ground reporting and great pictures. All militaries are challenging subjects for investigative reporters and Thailand’s is no exception. The team clearly went to great lengths to get sources, break news, and provide the details that prodded the government into action.”

source http://phuketwan.com20141112103451_1_normal

without a full and fair trial, Rasmea found guilty

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– November 10, 2014
Rasmea Defense Committee statement Contact: Hatem Abudayyeh, 773.301.4108, hatem85@yahoo.com Without a full and fair trial, Rasmea found guilty. Detention hearing at 2 PM. In a travesty of justice, Rasmea Odeh […]

Rasmea Defense Committee statement

Contact: Hatem Abudayyeh, 773.301.4108, hatem85@yahoo.com

Without a full and fair trial, Rasmea found guilty. Detention hearing at 2 PM.

In a travesty of justice, Rasmea Odeh today was found guilty of one count of Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization. For over a year, Rasmea, her supporters, and her legal team have been battling this unjust government prosecution, saying from the start that the immigration charge was nothing but a pretext to attack this icon of the Palestine liberation movement. And although there is real anger and disappointment in the jury’s verdict, it was known as early as October 27th that she would not get a full and fair trial.

On that day, Judge Gershwin Drain made a number of rulings that made her defense virtually impossible. The government’s indictment stated that she had unlawfully gained U.S. citizenship because she had allegedly answered a number of questions falsely on her visa application in 1995 and her naturalization application in 2004. She had been in this country as a lawful permanent resident for almost 20 years, and a citizen for over nine, when she was arrested on October 22nd, 2013.

The main basis for the arrest a year ago was that she had allegedly falsely answered “No” to a question asking whether she had ever been arrested or imprisoned. The government claimed that she failed to disclose that she had been convicted by the Israelis of participating in bombings in 1969. This conviction in a military court was the result of a false confession made after she was viciously tortured and raped by Israeli military authorities for weeks. There is no due process in Israeli military courts, which “convict” over 99% of Palestinians who come before them, and “evidence” from these should not be accepted in a court in the U.S.

But Judge Drain did allow the conviction in Israel to be entered into evidence; and even though he suggested that Rasmea’s assertion that she faced torture and sexual abuse at the hands of her Israeli captors was “credible,” he still ruled that it could not be brought up in the course of her trial. So her attorneys had to scrap plans to call to the stand an expert witness, clinical psychologist Dr. Mary Fabri, who has decades of experience working with torture survivors, to testify that the allegedly false answers on the immigration forms were the result of Rasmea’s chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The judge also rejected Rasmea’s selective prosecution motion, even though it was clear that the case against her grew out of the investigation of 23 anti-war and Palestinian community organizers in Chicago and Minneapolis, who were subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in 2010. Make no mistake. Rasmea came under attack by the U.S. government because she is Palestinian, and because for decades, she has organized for Palestinian liberation and self-determination, the Right of Return, and an end to U.S. funding of Israeli occupation. Palestine support work, especially the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, has made a number of recent gains, and the long arm of federal law enforcement has attempted to crack down on it, like it has on all effective and impactful movements for social justice in the history of this country. The crackdown reached Rasmea.

More than 200 people from across the Midwest, especially from Chicago, traveled to stand with her throughout the trial. They bore silent witness to her incredible testimony, for despite the judge’s rulings, she and her defense team did put the crimes of Israel on record. Her story of being exiled from the village of her birth, Lifta, in 1948; of being exiled again during the 1967 war; of experiencing the death of her sister after the raid on her home in 1969; and of being a political prisoner, one of the most famous in the history of the Palestine liberation movement—all these are stories of the crimes of apartheid Israel, crimes that continue today in the racist settler and military assaults we have seen in the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, 1948 Palestine, and the West Bank. Israel’s terrorism, and the U.S. government’s complicity, were exposed for all the world to see.

Rasmea’s honesty in the face of cross-examination from Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel was thoroughly convincing as well. She said clearly that she thought the questions on the immigration forms were being asked about her time in the U.S., because she said she had nothing to hide and did not need to lie. She had testified about her torture at the United Nations when she was released in 1979, and as her lead attorney, Michael Deutsch, said, “It was well known that she was convicted, and traded [in a prisoner exchange]. The U.S. Embassy knew it, the State Department knew it, and Immigration should have known it.” So although the government had to prove that she “knowingly lied,” it never met that burden, regardless of what the verdict says.

For over a year, the Rasmea Defense Committee has been organizing educational events, rallies, protests, and call-in days to demand that U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade and Tukel drop the charges against her. We now have more work ahead of us. Rasmea’s brilliant legal team—Deutsch, Jim Fennerty, Bill Goodman, and Dennis Cunningham—will undoubtedly file an appeal, and have strong grounds to do so, based on Judge Drain’s unjust decisions. And we will continue to support their work with our political organizing and mobilizations.

Just like our people in Palestine and across the world will never rest until every inch of historical Palestine is free, we will never rest in our defense and support of Rasmea as she moves forward to challenge this conviction. As Deutsch said in his closing statement to the jury, “It has been one of the great privileges of my long legal career to represent this extraordinary woman of great passion and dignity.” Rasmea’s story is the story of millions of Palestinians, and of millions of freedom-loving defenders of justice everywhere. Her eventual victory will be a victory for Palestine and for all the people’s movements across the world.

Today, we thank everyone who stood with Rasmea this past year, and ask you to continue fighting with us until we achieve that victory.

http://www.uspcn.org and http://www.stopfbi.net

Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Australia?

Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Australia?

18 November 2014

A conversation with Tom Calma AO and Ron Merkel QC

Join us for a broad discussion ranging from the over-imprisonment of Indigenous peoples; the need for recognition of Indigenous peoples in Australia’s Constitution; changes since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody; tackling racial discrimination; the pressing public health challenges facing Indigenous communities; and what it’s like to have advocated on these issues over the past thirty years.

Date: Tuesday 18 November 2014
Time: 5:30 – 6:30pm
Where: Allens, Level 37, 101 Collins Street, Melbourne
Cost: $25 full | $15 Concession
Light refreshments provided.

Book tickets online now >>

Tom Calma is a prominent Indigenous rights leader and the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Ron Merkel is a leading Australian human rights barrister and former Federal Court Judge who has successfully run a number of important Indigenous rights court cases.

The HRLC’s Senior Lawyer Ruth Barson who leads our Indigenous Rights work will facilitate the conversation. https://hrlrc.worldsecuresystems.com/events