Tag Archives: legal

Breaking News: Judge in Stratfor spying whistleblower trial refuses to recuse herself despite serious conflict of interest in Hammond case

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, who denied bail to Jeremy Hammond, a 27-year-old Chicago activist accused of hacking the private intelligence firm Stratfor to show systemic corruption by the firm, refused to recuse herself from the case despite substantial evidence showing a glaring conflict of interest. Preska failed to disclose that her husband, Thomas J Kaveler is an employee of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, a current Stratfor client and associate. Kaveler himself was among the documents leaked in the alleged whistleblower effort to uncover corruption between Stratfor, its clients and the government. Stratfor collected information on social movements, critics of corporate clients and on the Occupy movement, of which Hammond was a supporter. Preska may also have been mentioned in the Stratfor emails.

Her judgment to deny Hammond bail came in a long, prewritten statement read at his November hearing, in which she described him as more dangerous than a terrorist or a pedophile-both clearly prejudicial statements. It also shows her decision against Hammond was crafted well in advance, without regard to the evidence. Her refusal to step away from the case, clearly a violation of judicial ethics, is more troubling among revelations that the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Stratfor and local law enforcement combined to discredit and undermine the Occupy movement, according to recent FBI documents released under the Freedom of Information Act to  the “Partnership for Civil Justice” Fund.

According to the documents the FBI shared intelligence with banks, Wallstreet, Media organizations and corporations, acting as an intelligence wing for the so-called 1%. Even though the FBI acknowledged at the time that the movement was peaceful and non-violent, they continued to promote the movement as having the potential for terrorism and criminality. Interestingly, that was the narrative promoted by the corporate media.  It should be noted that there was no reported attention to the Tea Party, in which members frequently attended rallies with weapons, including a presidential rally. The FBI has a long history of infiltrating, instigating, interfering with and disrupting peaceful social and civil rights movements.

The Stratfor documents were released to WikiLeaks, an unbiased third party whose only intent is transparency and uncovering secret government corruption. Speaking from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has received asylum, WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange recalled the “232 journalists who are in jail” around the globe, including activists like Hammond and Bradley Manning. Both still have not been afforded the constitutional right of a trial. Manning has been imprisoned without trial for more than 2 years. Hammond will have been imprisoned without trial for a year this coming March.

Tune in every Sunday 9-0am only on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT for the Revolution and Beer segment as Brian Murray and I sample the beer of the week with the Our Town gang, and run down the grassroots calendar for the week. If you’re tired of talk, talk, talk radio, this is do something radio. Have a beer. Get involved.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook  at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., www.glunzbeers.com. And check out their fine beer glasswear selections  at the “Beerables” link  at the bottom of the page.  

With thanks to the good people at Louis Glunz Beer Inc, a family owned business for 125 years in Chicago. Happy Holidays! Visit them @ http://www.glunzbeers.com/Site/SeasonalBeers.aspx?hd=1

Sometimes being at any way associated with the male gender is shameful…

Sometimes being associated with the male gender is a shameful experience. Ladies, at least you have  a choice,  for the other half of the population, it can be hell being stuck in this body. It seems like that feeling is happening more and more lately, from ridiculous statements from Missouri Senate candidates, to male crafted legislation to harass and violate women’s bodies, sometimes I wish there was a reasonable way to trade in my, shall I say, male apparatus.

Here is an AP  story from Santa Ana, California that adds further weight to the damn-near overwhelming argument against male assertions of being the “dominant” sex.

“Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson said if someone doesn’t want sexual intercourse, the body “will not permit that to happen…saying a rape victim didn’t put up a fight during her assault…The case involved a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his ex-girlfriend with a heated screwdriver before committing rape, forced oral copulation, and other crimes.”

When I was twelve I got pulled into this Evangelical fright fest, in which adults outright attempted to terrify children into their cult with outlandish tales about everything from how girls cutting their hair, to sex, drinking and dancing would put us on a path to the flesh burning eternally and painfully from our bodies in the soul-crushing pits of hell. I was already very into girls at that point, something that didn’t go unnoticed when I buddied up to a cute and also stunned girl in this little shop of biblical horrors. I was told by this almost outraged, red-faced evangio-path, “you know what girls have down there? Teeth that will bite your thing right off! And you know who controls those teeth? The lord! And you can’t hide from the Lord, either of you. He’s sees all!”

Needless to say, in appreciation for my parents, I knew this guy was a little off his rocker, but it did  start souring me to organized religion, and taught me that men come to fundamentalist religion-every religion-the same way men come to sex, with this deeply internalized and barely contained sense of rage and anger that is sometimes obsessive and not  at all healthy to the women and physical partners in their life. It comes  with this weird power that some men feel they must assert like a grenade, erupting in whatever direction it can. If a man feels trapped in a box, or crushed in powerlessness there seems  that tendency to pass their powerlessness to those  he feels are weaker in the most manipulative and abusive ways. And to be clear, I am not talking about all men, but it does reside in all of us to some degree. And guys, if you deny it, you are either kidding yourself, have not analyzed deep enough or are B.S.-ing the rest of us. 

So thank you to Judge Johnson for finally confirming what medical silence, and my experience with women through the years was unable to confirm. You’ve found the female jaws of chastity. Well done, you thick-skulled, cave-man throwback, you flaw of Darwinism and anti-evolutionary exclamation point.  

More from the AP  story:

“The California Commission on Judicial Performance issued a report Thursday saying Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson’s comments were inappropriate and a breach of judicial ethics. Johnson is a former prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney’s sex crimes unit.

Johnson issued some flimsy apology, saying that he was frustrated,  but curiously did not retract, correct or amend his original  statement. But I just want to apologize on behalf of men who try, despite the male body, and a far too hormone driven mentality, to at least attempt at something akin to progressive non-gender centered thought. And to god or who ever designed things this way, any place I can turn these things in, and no, it has nothing to do with that teeth thing!

Update on American Political prisoner Jeremy Hammond

On December 3, attorneys for imprisoned activist Jeremy Hammond filed a motion in New York’s Southern District Court demanding that Judge Loretta Preska recuse herself following last week’s revelation that her husband, Thomas J Kaveler, as well as his firm, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, were among the government-named victims in the December, 2011 hack of Stratfor (to which Hammond is accused of participating).  The attorneys filed a motion for a new bail hearing.  During Hammond’s November 20 hearing Judge Preska notified Hammond that if convicted on all counts he faces 37 years-to-life in federal prison for his alleged role in the hack.

Thomas J Kaveler is an employee of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, a current Stratfor client and associate, and moreover was himself a victim of the alleged hack (Kaveler’s Stratfor issued user ID is 234103). Court reporters have confirmed to The Sparrow Project that, Judge Preska was made aware of the published connection between her husband & Stratfor and that her husband’s Stratfor-related information was published by Wikileaks, they went on to indicate that Preska was aware of the connection long before the November 22nd communique. Moreover, Preska indicated that this personal connection to the Hammond case “would not effect her ability to be impartial.”   

For your use we have published a recap of Thursday’s press conference by Hammond’s supporters on our website http://www.sparrowmedia.net/2012/12/jeremy-hammond-press-conference-video/.  We have also published statements of support from Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author Christopher Hedges, Bhopal activist Saif Ansari, and Yes Men cofounder Andy Bichlbaum each of these are also available for excerpthttp://www.sparrowmedia.net/2012/12/jeremy-hammond-press-conference-video/  

The Sparrow Project will be collecting statements of support for Jeremy Hammond and posting them for free use below. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Chris Hedges, as well as other prominent activists and journalists have joined the call for a fair trial for Jeremy Hammond. Statements of support can be emailed to info@sparrowmedia.net


Send Jeremy a letter, postcard, or even a book (needs to be mailed directly from publisher or seller like Amazon) to help brighten his day while incarcerated. Letters & books can be mailed to…

Jeremy Hammond 18729-424
Metropolitan Correctional Center
150 Park Row
New York, New York, 10007

You can make a credit card donation to Jeremy’s legal defense fund (controlled by his family) via wepay.com at THIS LINK

With this simple online tool you can donate one tweet (or Facebook post) a day to our efforts. The Sparrow Project will publish statements of support for Jeremy (like the ones below) from influential figures. Your donated posts will help us widen the audience that is exposed to this important story. Simply visit THIS LINK and click donate!

Lastly, we have published a high-resolution video for your free use in television segments, audio excerpts, or for embed on your blogs & websites.  We would love for you to tweet, embed, or share this video with your audience!  Simply visit THIS LINK http://vimeo.com/54656359 or click on the image below.  A download of the full resolution (1920 x 1080) segment for use on TV is available HERE.
If you have any questions feel free to email me or give me a call at 631.291.3010
All the best,
Andy Stepanian

Right to life, Death penalty: The power to choose who lives and who dies

This piece began as another rail against Rick Perry and the sad tale of Cameron Willingham. Accused of murdering his three children in a fire, Willingham was wrongly convicted through a combination of flawed evidence, incompetent counsel, witness bias and the arguable corruption of investigators. He was subsequently sentenced to death, an innocent man thrust into a process which, contrary to public perception, favors the process of execution over the spectre of putting to death an innocent man.

Suddenly the burden of proof is on the condemned, rather than the necessity of the State to prove its case for fear of rendering the ultimate punishment against the innocent. It creates an almost insurmountable obstacle. Given the revolutionary advances in criminal forensics in the last 20 years, from DNA analysis to precise crime scene investigative techniques, failure in death penalty cases to be absolutely sure of guilt or innocence becomes tantamount to a crime.

Cameron Willingham was wrongly executed for the deaths of his three daughters in Texas, 2009

 Conclusive evidence emerged showing that the original forensic evidence was deeply flawed and, “hardly consistent with a scientific mindset and is more characteristic of mystics and psychics,” according to a Texas Forensic Science Commission investigator. The evidence was not only rebuffed by Perry, but the investigating committee was purposelly stopped in its tracks before it could hear testimony by the investigator. Right up to the day of Willingham’s execution by lethal injection, Perry refused to consider this new evidence, embarking on a campaign to discredit the commission and perpetuating falsehoods about the condemned man.  Odd for a man who backs an anti-abortion amendment to the Constitution. 

Perry’s hypocritical views on life issues are consistent with his anti-science views, which is why choice-individual choice- is far more consistent with the Constitution, and indeed, the Bible, than the current ideology he currently panders to. The problem is that the Evangelically-hijacked Right views the Bible as law rather than faith. The ultimate flaw in that argument is that it leaves no choice but to accept all of the Bible, mandating such extremist views that a person be stoned for eating shellfish or adultery just as they would for murder. As faith the Bible becomes a guide to higher principles, ethics and morality, while understanding that it is a historical document, not a history document. As law the Bible paints a person into indefensible corners, as it has for Perry in the Willingham case. If, indeed, the Bible is law, it all must be followed. There is no room for  disagreement. As faith it becomes a guide with flexibility enough for mercy and forgiveness.

It is an absolute hypocrisy to act as a self-appointed advocate for the unborn and not advocate fully to protect any possibility of innocence for the condemned. Not only is it a hypocrisy, but it becomes a complete abrogation of their assumed responsibility by those who view the Bible as law. That assumption comes with an implicit power over life and death, which, by any moral standard, Perry abused fully in the Willingham case. In the view of the Bible-as law- what does that say for Perry, and for those who believe as strident and uncompromising as he?

The death penalty is arguable. What is not is the calculated abandonment of an innocent man on death row. Perry not only abandoned this man to unjust death for a crime that legitimate and legally sanctioned investigators proved he did not commit, but he deliberately interfered with a commission’s report that would have proved Willingham’s innocence.

That begs the question for men like Perry, as to whether or not they truly believe in  the Right to Life, or if it isn’t a political tactic. If he is true to his faith, has Perry ever once paused to consider his crime and ask forgiveness for the death of this young man? The problem with hypocrites who hide behind religion is that they tend to ask forgiveness in order to keep perpetrating the same sins, instead of seeking true forgiveness and finding greater wisdom from the inherent human weaknesses that we all suffer. Doubtful whether Perry is interested in either, and is more interested in the power and wealth that comes along with wrapping himself in the Bible in order to appear faithful.

Serbian War Crimes: Mladic arrest not the end of the story

Nothing in the Balkans is ever as it seems. Within every angle are shadows and shadows upon shadows. Two things are always for certain, the Serbs will be intransigent to a sport, and the West never quite gets their historic meddling right. Both play the other for the fool, and both are almost always proved correct.

A bit of background on the good General Mladic I think is put better from my Book, Everything for Love, about my travels in the Balkans during the break up:

“Ratko Mladich, hunted by the world for the slaughter of seven thousand men and Boys in Srebrenica, became a fugitive exile from the land he and his army coveted. Mladich grew into a soldier in a nation that threw off the Nazi occupation. He rose through the ranks of the Yugoslav National Army hoping for the glory of his forefathers. When that time came he fought battles not against a seasoned adversary, pitting wit and boldness and strategy against a worthy opponent, instead his army vanquished old men and boys without guns, murdered old women and forced desperate villagers from their homes and looted them. He lives in Belgrade, protected by paid thugs.”

Like Karadzic, he fled from the courage of his pretend convictions. There was no defiant stand to defend the indiscriminate shelling of Tuzla, Sarajevo and Gorazde, or the sniping of civilians or the execution of the 7500 men and boys now being unearthed from mass graves around Srebrenica. These weren’t the acts to protect Serbian nationhood, but criminal acts hiding the transfer of territory and wealth through the perverse prism of manufactured ethnic animosity. Instead Mladic hid behind enablers and Serbian thugs under an assumed identity. Hardly the actions of even a self-respecting zealot, but rather a criminal who knew in the end his assertions of Serbdom were facades to a crime.

But the longest legacy of all this is that the Serbian people, as complicit in those crimes as the men who fired the weapons at civilians, have reached no catharsis about those terrible acts perpetrated in their name. They believed the nationalist’s hatred and drew siege lines around reason and human decency, blinding themselves to morality in believing they were the ultimate victims.

Mladic’s arrest, like Karadzic’s, were not sudden awakenings to the cause of human rights and an understanding of the brutality inflicted upon innocents in Croatia and Bosnia and Kosovo. They were bargaining chips for reconciliation with the rest of Europe. In that way this is a cynical act that the victims of their crimes-the survivors should not find justice in. Justice may come to the man, but the Serbs would happily sweep the years of war into the dustbin of history to be forgotten, erased from their own conscience. Would we have accepted that from the Germans over the Holocaust, or the Japanese after Nanking?

To my Serbian friends, it is not about Serbia’s soul only. It is about the soul of humanity, that each time we bury the past it returns with a vengeance, and that the only way to move forward from the tragedies and crimes of our collective pasts are to confront them resolutely and humbly, where them as a scar and never forget. Only then will “Never Again,” actually mean anything.

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