That's US political prisoner Lynne Stewart and she was a topic in our "Roundtable" at Third on Sunday.
Jim: Alright. Ty, anything stand out in the e-mails you read?
Ty: A number of things, actually. One is a piece we need to write about spines. The other is a number of readers noting that Ruth and C.I. addressed the latest on Lynne Stewart and it was hoped that others would as well especially now that the only radio program that regularly covered Lynne is off the air, Taking Aim.
Mike: I'll talk about this topic. Once upon a time, people appeared to care about this story -- people like Amy Goodman and others. But then, over the summer, there was a re-sentencing and we saw how little coverage there was. Workers World, Taking Aim and a few otehrs covered it. Most of what you would consider independent media ran from it. Has The Progressive written a word on Lynne Stewart in the last ten years? I don't think so. The Nation did a bad column in 2003 or 2004 by chicken s**t Georgetown professor, we know who he is, and that's really it. It's rather amazing. Lynne's not accused of killing anyone. She broke no law -- she's convicted of breaking a 'guideline' -- and she's imprisoned at her age, over 70, with a history of cancer and where's the attention? It's disgusting. I really think a lot of people were comfortable calling out the mistreatment of Lynne when Bush occupied the White House but now that Barack's in there, they just don't want to be reminded.
Marcia: I so agree with that. And I think it's a real shame and a real indictment of the left. We will get outraged about Mumia Abu Jamal but we don't have time for Lynne? I support the Free Mumia movement and I believe he's innocent. But my point here is, Lynne's not even accused of crime, not even convicted of one. There's no law on the books that anyone can point to and say, "See, Congress passed this and she broke it!" All she broke was a guideline and when she did Janet Reno and Bill Clinton didn't think it was worth pursuing. Then Bush is swept into the White House and they go after Lynne for something that took place before they were in office. Where is the outrage? My Black ass'll play the race card here, is it because she's White? I think that's part of it. I think a lot of White people on the left are very comfortable seeing the victimization of Blacks -- even when it doesn't exist -- but have a hard time seeing or admitting that they too are victims of the same system. I also think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Lynne's a woman and the left is notoriously sexist.
Ann: Marcia that's a strong point. Several but I'm thinking about the victimization. You can't be an aware Black person and not notice how Amy Goodman, et al is forever seeing Black victims -- never Black strength -- and seeing it whether it exists or not -- and 'improving' on it by ignoring many facts -- but that there is a real desire not to see the same on the part of Whites. They don't want to admit -- people like that -- how they are just as at risk in a police encounter as we are. They prefer to present themselves as the SUPER STRONG only at risk from the executive branch of the government. I also agree that it's the female thing. Lynne's got a vagina and we all know how that frightens so many lefty men. I think if Lynne offered to remove her vagina and leave it in prison if she could be freed, you'd see a huge movement of lefty men and self-hating women chanting: "Free Lynne!" I'm using hyperbole but there's truth in that. I agree with those who wrote in that Lynne is a serious issue. She's a political prisoner and if we're okay with that, then we should be silent. If we're not, then we need to speak up.
Jess: The thing about Lynne is, why the silence? The Nation? Okay, it's a crappy little magazine, accused of being a CIA front since the 60s. No real surprise that the cowardly magazine wouldn't do a damn thing. But -- and this is something several friends of C.I. were raising as the re-sentencing was approaching -- what the hell with the NLG? The NLG should have been leading on this but they were ignoring it -- and, to be clear, there were NLG members complaining about the silence -- and you have to wonder what do they think happens if it's them? "Oh, we'll be silent on Lynne, but we'll go to the mat to defend you." No, that's not how it's going to go. And I don't care if you're a little known attorney or Michael Ratner. When your ass is the next targeted by the government, you better grasp how little the organization's going to do for you.
Isaiah: I was especially put-off by Goodman's silence, Amy Goodman, when you consider that her framing of an interview she did with Lynne can basically be seen as causing the re-sentencing. I think having grand standed on the issue in columns and speeches and brought the anger of the unfair justice system back onto Lynne, it was incumbent upon Goodman to cover this in something more than a one day headline. She didn't do that. I see Goodman as nothing but an ambulance chaser. With her rhethoric, she invited all that followed and she didn't have the courage to cover it.
Jess: And Isaiah's not the only one who feels that way. Some simple statements by Lynne were inflamed by Goodman. That is something that the grown ups on the left -- there are a few of us left -- discuss.
So that's my overview of Lynne tonight. And remember that they discuss her on Law and Disorder Radio this week.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"