Lynne Stewart and Ralph Poynter joined Mya in the N.Y.C. studio (Ralph Schoenman was in California). Mya had interviewed Lynne behind bars, was able to conduct a nearly two hour interview.
Lynne is an attorney and in today's United States, we lock them up. Not the ones who represent Kerr McGree, not the ones who allow safety regulations to go lax and threaten the public. But the attorneys who defend clients, who take the hard cases of fighting the government in court. Those attorneys get locked behind bars.
Lynne will be 71-years-old Friday. And she is behind bars. She has health conditions. And she is behind bars.
So if you have never heard of Lynne, you might be thinking, "Hey, Ruth, the woman's behind bars. She had to have done something. What are you not telling me?"
I am sorry. I am forgetting to tell you about her crime.
Lynne Stewart was thrown behind bars for the very serious and life threatening and terrorist action of issuing a . . . press release.
Strangely, Reuters news agency was among those carrying the press release. Not trying to get them in trouble but if a press release is now terrorism, I wonder why Reuters was not prosecuted along with Lynne?
Now you may be thinking, "Ruth? A press release? That's not against the law!"
No, it is not against the law.
See, Lynne broke no law. There is an agreement with the Justice Department and she may have broken that. (May? She issued the press release. But I am saying "may" because since when does the Justice Department -- which is the prosecution -- get to determine what a defense attorney can or cannot do?)
So Lynne is thrown behind bars for the crime of breaking a guideline.
Next up, Barack Obama orders all jay walkers executed!
It would make about as much sense as putting Lynne behind bars.
Ralph Poynter: Let me once again say, why is Lynne Stewart in jail? My friends, understand that she is in jail because she can explain what happened in the landmark case very precisely, very clearly. She can make people understand the judicial role. She can make people understand in a very compelling fashion to make people listen when she speaks, she can draw the media attention to the situation. They put her in jail so that you would have Ralph Poytner who doesn't explain it nearly as well, who is very passionate, who tries to say everything in two sentences and gets it confused sometimes. So this is what we have. You have me and others explaining the situation as best they can. And they have the explainer, the person on the scene, Lynne Stewart. And they have --
Mya Shone: But Ralph, what they've done is they've taken the defender. This is the key to the persecution and prosecution of Lynne Stewart. It is the chilling effect on attorneys throughout the United States as they spread this "terror enhancement" this boogey man created, it's no longer the Red Scare it's the Terror Scare. And what you need to do is to take the vigilant, the zealous, the political attorneys such as Lynne Stewart and you have to incarcerate them if you cannot contain them and you cannot contain Lynne. And this is why the appellate judges -- Lynne and I discussed this -- how rabid they were, how angry they were that she didn't show remorse. And I said to Lynne, I asked her, why should she show remorse when she was innocent and she believes in her innocence? She may have been convicted but that was a wrongful conviction.
As you can see, I took the title of this post from Mya's remarks.
From Lynne's site, I am noting this N.Y.C. action tomorrow:
Begining at about 5:30 pm in Tom Paine Park (Foley Square)
March down Pearl Street to the Jail at 150 Park Row
“Sometime between 6:30 and 7 voices will be raised in a Progressive version of Happy Birthday for this 71 year old.(me!) Hopefully those inside will be able to join in.”
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today: