In Travesty of Justice, Rasmea Odeh Found Guilty Despite History of Israeli Torture

Supporters of community activist Rasmea Odeh hold up signs. (Photo via Samidoun.ca)

Supporters of community activist Rasmea Odeh hold up signs. (Photo via Samidoun.ca)

Thanks to Mondoweiss Editors

The following statement was issued by the Rasmea Defense Committee:

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.

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The Fog that Blinded the 2014 Electorate

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by: Rick Nagin

People’s World, November 7 2014

assets/Uploads/_resampled/CroppedImage6060-Nagin2.jpgThere were local and geographical peculiarities, but when an election was as uniformly one-sided as this one was, deeper explanations are required. In the most general sense it can be said that the electorate does not yet recognize or understand that the enemy they face is right wing extremism; that this is the fundamental source of the insecurity they feel as their living standards and democratic rights are besieged. It is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who have blocked programs to create jobs, raise wages, strengthen unions, who have cut taxes on the rich and shifted the burden to working people, who have slashed funds for education, health care and local government services, who have launched an unprecedented assault on the right to vote, on the rights of women, on equality for gay people, on immigration reform and on defending humanity from a climate catastrophe.

All this begs the question as to why the people were not able perceive the mortal danger from the right. The answer to this, I believe, was the ability of the right to unleash unprecedented resources to roll out a dense fog, as thick as pea soup that covered the South, blanketed the Midwest and reached even into the far recesses of New England, a fog that terrified, blinded and paralyzed the Democrats and had them running for cover. It was the fog of racism.

The demonization of President Barack Obama and, by extension, the Democrats who "voted with him," has been building for years in the nether world of right wing hate talk radio and Fox News and was unleashed full force in this election. Since it is forbidden to mention racism in polite company, the corporate media referred to the GOP strategy as the "nationalization" of the election. Tom Cotton, GOP candidate for senator in Arkansas, avoided state issues but used Obama’s name 79 times in his televised debate with Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor.

The most notorious use of this tactic, as well as the classic capitulation of the liberal Democrats was in Kentucky where Allison Lundergan Grimes responded to Mitch McConnell’s relentless race baiting by first saying she was a "Clinton" (i.e. not an Obama) Democrat," then by protesting in a debate that "Obama is not on the ballot" and finally by refusing to say whether she had voted for Obama in the presidential election.

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A Few Quick Thoughts on the November 4th Election

By Bill Fletcher, Jr

http://billfletcherjr.com

(1) There is almost always a low turnout during a midterm election and the party which controls the White House tends to lose.  This is definitely true but should not let us off the hook.

(2) The Democratic base largely stayed home except in certain important races, such as in North Carolina.  I think that we have to face the reality that the base that would be expected to vote Democratic was dis-spirited.  It is not just the ads that the Republicans ran.  The Obama administration has not led in a progressive direction.  There are certainly some major accomplishments, but there had been great expectations by many that after the 2012 election he would come out swinging.  I never had such expectations, but many people did.  Instead the administration continued to be stuck in various crises but also was not articulating a clear direction.  The Republicans were able to make Obama out to be the problem despite certain important facts, e.g., the economy has improved; troops had been pulled out of Iraq.

(3) Though the economy has improved, the condition for the average working person has not.  Yes, unemployment is down but we are still dealing with structural unemployment that is weighing on everyone.  The damage from the foreclosure crisis is far from over.  And the rich are the ones who are benefiting from the improved economy.   To turn any of this around masses of working people need to be organized to fight for a division of the wealth.  Yes, that means building and supporting labor unions.  But when the President does not make that a clarion call–except when speaking with union members–he has no answer to the public that is asking for their share.

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