Wednesday, November 28, 2007
For instance, as she notes, the defense also gave their opening statement on Tuesday. So why does Mathis open her article with the prosecution argument? If she had wanted to hew closer to the line of 'journalistic objectivity' then she might have opened with a more neutral paragraph.
It's too bad also that she didn't report on the expert witness testimony of Dr. Bryan Bledsoe, DO, FACEP, EMT-P. Bledsoe is no Leftist "hippie", he is a co-chair of the Curriculum and Education Board for the United States Special Operations Command at MacDill AFB, FL, and an expert in emergency medicine who started out as an EMT, only later going to college and medical school. In his testimony, he completely supported Dr. Wilkerson's actions on 11/30/06 and criticized the use of ammonia but readers of the Ann Arbor News will probably never learn that.
Mathis reports, "Jeffrey Green, student building manager of the Michigan League, confirmed the prosecution's assertion that Wilkerson was inciting the crowd ..." It's too bad that Mathis chose not to quote Green. What he said was that Dr. Wilkerson incited the crowd "to remember and to record." But, alas, neither of these is illegal or as sexy as leaving readers with the false impression that the witness testified that Dr. Wilkerson was trying to incite a riot.
The News continues to soft-sell Tanter. It would be fair enough if they just left him out altogether but they continue to portray him as a fairly benign figure: "The protesters had come to the Michigan League to oppose Raymond Tanter, a professor emeritus at U-M who served on the senior staff of the National Security Council during the Reagan administration."
According to his own book, Rogue Regimes, Tanter came to the Reagan campaign via Kenneth Wollack and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and was present at the hatching of the illegal arms deal that became the Iran-Contra conspiracy, which he did not object to or report. In October, 2002, Tanter told the Michigan Daily that the coming US invasion of Iraq would be " 'an antidote' and that there would be no backlash. 'Arab people won't go crazy, Muslim people won't go crazy. They'll roll over ... ' " Vanity Fair reported that in a speech at the National Press Club in late 2005: "Tanter went as far as to suggest that the U.S. consider using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran." During his 2006 UM presentation, Tanter advocated reversing the State Department's designation of Mujahedeen-e Khalq as a "foreign terrorist organization" so that they could receive funding to expand their terror campaign in Iran and bring about a "civil war."
If it is relevant that the patient whose care Dr. Wilkerson was overseeing "regularly protests on behalf of the Palestinian cause" then why aren't the reasons people came out to protest Tanter relevant? No would one would have protested if he just been ex-professor who had served in the Reagan administration. It is his consistent advocacy for war and violence by the US and in the service of a foreign country--Israel--that provoked the protest.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Jury to decide: Did doctor act properly or interfere at protest?
Police ordered physician to step away from scene
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
BY TOM GANTERT
The Ann Arbor News
Opening arguments were to begin this morning in the case against a local physician who faces two misdemeanor criminal charges accusing her of interfering with police and paramedics at the scene of a protest.
PM: Actually, she is accused of attempting to interfere. This is no fine point but it is, apparently, too subtle for Ann Arbor News reporters who have botched it twice, now. The crime actually interfering with police is a felony and it is telling that the prosecution did not charge Dr. Wilkerson with actually doing what they say she attempted to do.
The man showed up to protest a guest lecturer, who discussed relations between the United States and Iran.
PM: Yeah, and Colin Powell was just discussing relations between the United States and Iraq when he gave his now infamous speech at the UN on February 5, 2003. In fact, the "guest lecturer," Ray Tanter, openly argued for, among other things, the US to help foment civil war in Iran.
The protester, Blaine Coleman, appeared to have fainted and was being treated by paramedics when Wilkerson, who was also involved in the protest, tried to intervene.
PM: Yesterday, Dave Gershman said he "appeared to fall unconscious." Tomorrow, expect Gantert to tell us "Coleman seemed a little drowsy." According to UM Officer West's report, West and UM Sgt. Connors "took him to the ground." I saw Coleman then and he was still conscious with two hefty cops on him as he lay face-down on the floor. He said "I can't breathe" and then lost consciousness.
Gantert, it should be noted, is not an uninterested observer. On December 12, 2006, on the front page of the local news section of the Ann Arbor News Gantert wrote an article, "Palestinian advocate's behavior at meetings spinning out of control," in which he called Coleman "a buffoon" and a "hate-monger" who "needs to be shut down." Truth be told, Gantert is so biased against Coleman that he shouldn't be covering any story related to him.
Wilkerson also has said the charges are politically motivated and only came after she filed a police brutality complaint - allegations denied by the county prosecutor's office.
PM: According to a letter from AAPD Lieutenant Mark St. Amour dated January 17, 2007, Dr. Wilkerson filed her complaint (#07-008) on January 16, 2007. According to the criminal complaint filed by the prosecutor the warrant was authorized against Dr. Wilkerson on January 23, 2007. These are public records but, apparently, the reporters at the Ann Arbor News are too lazy or complacent to walk the one block from their office to the police station or the two blocks to the county courthouse to do the research on their own.
As bad as the Ann Arbor News' coverage has been it almost looks as though it was written by fair-minded critical thinkers when compared to "Trial starts for woman charged after '06 talk" by Julie Rowe of the Michigan Daily. This is no mean feat. Rowe writes:
A trial is set to begin today for an Ann Arbor doctor charged with impeding police and emergency medical technicians after an incident last year in which protesters were arrested after disrupting a lecture in the Michigan League.
PM: See above re: the charges.
Protesters chanted "Hands off Iran" and "Tanter is a pig". Tanter said he abandoned his planned remarks in response to the interruptions and instead answered questions from audience members and protesters.
PM: I passed the protesters on the way into the room where I arrived ten minutes before Tanter began his program. At no time, did I hear anyone chant or say "Hands off Iran" and "Tanter is a pig". The latter is not even plausible for a chant outside that I may have missed although the former is. In any case, Rowe reports this as fact, it is not. Tanter departed from his planned PowerPoint presentation because neither he nor his hosts could get his computer to work.
The protesters were accusing Tanter of being a supporter of unjustified military action in Iran and the Middle East.
PM: Tanter stands condemned by his own words and any impartial person who undertakes to read a representative sample of them will see that he has long been an advocate of war and civil war in the Middle East.
Wilkerson is charged with two misdemeanors charges for attempting to assault, obstruct or resist a police officer and an emergency medical technician.
PM: Kudos for getting it right here.
According to the Diane Brown, Department of Public Safety spokeswoman, several warnings were issued to the protesters that their interruptions violated the University's policies for protest during a speech.
PM: The interruptions did not violate the policy but the police crackdown clearly did. As a local attorney related to me, the truth is that most cops and administrators probably disliked Lee Bollinger's free speech policy from the beginning. They clearly violated it last year.
"No matter how controversial a speaker is, that speaker needs to be able to speak. That's the whole point of freedom of speech," Brown said. "You can't just say 'I don't like what they've got to say.' They must be able to hold their event."
PM: Tanter was never prevented from making his presentation, except, perhaps, by technical problems. So, he winged it.
After American Movement for Israel Chair Josh Berman and other organizers issued three warnings to protesters, DPS officers attempted to remove one of the female protesters. Coleman attempted to prevent the officers from removing her. Both responded to DPS attempts to remove them by going limp.
PM: Again, Rowe simply parrots the University's and AMI's version of events. Speaking as a witness and one who did not protest that night: They did not go limp. They were both taken to the floor by police.
Brown told The Michigan Daily after the incident that this is a tactic used frequently by protesters.
PM: Brown also said only a doctor at the scene could determine if Coleman was actually unconscious and, unfortunately for partisans of the official story there happened to be a physician right there and then who has said he was unconscious. Now, in true Orwellian fashion they are trying to change the truth by turning that doctor into a criminal--a thought criminal inasmuch as she is not charged with actually doing anything, just attempting.
Though Brown would not specifically name Coleman, she disputed the claim that the man lying on the ground was badly hurt.
"One of the people who claimed he was hurt during this whole thing was supposedly laying on the ground receiving medical attention," she said. "But periodically his eye would open up."
PM: There was only one man on the floor that night and Brown wasn't there. The University Hospital emergency room report says he suffered a brain contusion and that's why the prosecution has fought like hell to exclude as evidence the medical records from that night but don't expect to read about that in News or the Daily (or Arbor Update, either).
After paramedics arrived, police removed Coleman's handcuffs and attempted to revive him. One tactic they tried was the use of ammonia inhalants.
PM: If he wasn't unconscious or badly hurt then why did he need to be revived?
In the article, Wilkerson said that she then told the paramedic: "What you're doing is punitive and has no efficacy."
PM: Actually, here is what Wilkerson said:
When the patient didn't respond to a sternal rub, one of the paramedics popped an ammonia inhalant and thrust it beneath the patient's nostrils. If you're interested in what's wrong with that, google Dr. Bryan Bledsoe, foremost authority on paramedicine, and read his article condemning this dangerous practice. That it's "just bad medicine" is sufficient to make the paramedic's actions unacceptable, but what happened next made my blood curdle. He popped a second inhalant and a third, then cupped his hands over the patient's nostrils to heighten the noxious effect. "You don't like that, do you?" he said.
At that point I issued a direct medical order for him to stop, but he ignored me. "What you're doing is punitive," I said, "and has no efficacy." Then as the patient retched, rather than rolling him onto his side to avoid the chance of his choking on his own vomit, a firefighter held his feet down and yelled, "don't spit." In thirty years of doctoring, I have never witnessed such egregious maltreatment of a patient. Again I spoke up, "this is punitive." I hoped to shame the paramedical into stopping his unethical behavior.
Monday, November 26, 2007
The Ann Arbor News has published online an article about the trial of Catherine Wilkerson, MD, which starts today, by Dave Gershman entitled "Trial to start for doctor arrested [sic] at protest police". Below find excerpts from the article in italics with my (PM) remarks interspersed.
After police removed one of the protesters, Blaine Coleman, and escorted him outside the room for repeatedly disrupting the lecture, Coleman complained he couldn't breathe and appeared to fall unconscious.
PM: Coleman was not "escorted outside the room," he was outside the room when police attacked to eject/arrest an Iranian woman, who was exercising her First Amendment rights under the University of Michigan's guidelines for "Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression." He came to the woman's assistance in the room and later in the hallway. It was in the hallway that UM police Officer West and Sgt. Connors "took him to the ground," as West's report indicates. I saw Coleman and he was still conscious then but thereafter had two hefty cops on him as he lay face-down on the floor. He said "I can't breathe" just before he lost consciousness.
A police report in the case said Wilkerson was "verbally abusive" to the police and paramedics who treated Coleman. The report stated she ... tried to push past a police officer to talk to Coleman and the paramedics. She also tried to incite a crowd, the police report stated.
PM: I didn't know verbally abusing police was a crime. In any case, there was no "verbal abuse" except telling them what to do so that they would not kill or seriously injure an unconscious man and no profanity or anything that a reasonable person would consider verbal abuse is alleged in the reports.
How does one try to "push past a police officer"? If she pushed him but failed to get past him then that would not be an attempted assault on the police officer but would be an actual assault. But Wilkerson is not charged with doing anything except attempting to assault, resist, or obstruct. These charges are almost Orwellian--"Well, you didn't actually obstruct or resist but ya tried."
As for inciting the crowd, the report of Ann Arbor Officer Kevin Warner is the only one that makes any such reference and it does not use the word "incite." The report claims, "she proceeded to elicit assistance from people in the crowd to assist her stepping forward to question the methods being utilized by medical personnel." I know "incite" is a more exciting verb but it is not supported by the police record.
The reports also make clear that supervisors from both the UM and Ann Arbor Police departments cleared Wilkerson for release after she had been forcibly detained but never handcuffed or required to produce identification. Warner's report says, "... it was determined by Sgt. CONNORS that an arrest of subject one would not be required reference this incident."
Wilkerson ... said she identified herself as a doctor ...
PM: Two, maybe three, of the police reports say the same thing and they also show that she was allowed by police to examine the man and interacted professionally with emergency medical technicans. That ended when the Huron Valley Ambulance supervisor decided to use ammonia on the unconscious man in a dangerous, inefficacious, punitive, and unprofessional manner. Dr. Wilkerson spoke out against this and shortly thereafter was attacked by Officer Warner.
She has said the charges were in retaliation for a complaint she filed with the Ann Arbor Police Department alleging police brutality.
PM: She has said that she was not charged until after she filed her brutality complaint and this is completely accurate. She informally and publicly complained about police actions towards the injured man and other protesters weeks before she filed her formal complaint. The charges were authorized against her by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Susan Junck (Junck is mentioned in three earlier posts on this blog in connection with the Avny case) on January 23, 2007, seven days after she filed her formal complaint. The retaliation was, apparently, driven by all of her First Amendment-protected free speech.
Police investigated her complaint but found no wrongdoing.
PM: Now, there's a surprise: A cop finding a cop innocent of wrongdoing against unarmed civilians. That almost never happens, right? Maybe, it's way past time for a civilian-run police review board with real authority in Ann Arbor.
Tanter ... was invited by a U-M student group and gave a talk called "Stalled international diplomacy and problematic U.S. military options for Iran."
PM: Tanter was invited by the American Movement for Israel. He is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Iran-Contra scandal (see his book Rogue Regimes) and has reportedly advocated a nuclear first strike against Iran. On the night he was at U-M he advocated funding for the Mujahedeen-e Khalq, which is designated by the US State Dept. as a "foreign terrorist organization." He also supported the illegal and unconstitutional US invasion of Iraq in 2003 which he predicted would be a cake walk.
See also: "A Pandemic of Police Brutality" by Paul Craig Roberts
Last revised: 11/27/2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Trial Begins Monday for Ann Arbor Doctor Who Criticized Police, EMT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 22, 2007
Contact: Aimee Smith, (734) 761-9901
ANN ARBOR, MI – The trial of Ann Arbor physician Catherine Wilkerson is scheduled to begin on Monday, November 26, 2007, at 1 PM in the courtroom of 15th District Court Judge Elizabeth Pollard-Hines. The trial is scheduled to continue on the 27th, 28th and 30th at 8:30 AM every day. Dr. Wilkerson is charged with two counts of allegedly attempting to "assault/resist/obstruct" police and ambulance personnel. If convicted on either count, Dr. Wilkerson faces up to a year in jail, fines, and being compelled to submit a DNA sample.
The charges stem from an incident on the campus of the University of Michigan (UM), Ann Arbor, on November 30, 2006, where Dr. Wilkerson gave directions to police and Huron Valley Ambulance personnel concerning the care and well-being of a man rendered unconscious by police. Police reports show that Dr. Wilkerson was allowed by police to examine the unconscious man. But when an ambulance supervisor used ammonia on the man in a dangerous, inefficacious, and punitive manner she spoke out not once but twice and, for her efforts, was told to leave by police. As she was complying, she was attacked and then detained by a police officer. Senior police officers on the scene determined there were no grounds for arresting her and Wilkerson was released without having been handcuffed or required to produce identification.
However, nearly two months after the incident and just seven days after she filed a police brutality complaint, she was charged by Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie's office, at the apparent request of the UM police, with two attempted felonies. On November 20, 2007, just three business days before trial is scheduled to begin and nearly a year after the incident Prosecutor Mackie's office filed a motion to add two new counts to the charges Dr. Wilkerson is facing. In a written response filed with the court, Wilkerson's attorneys, Hugh "Buck" Davis and Wilson P. Tanner, said, "This motion is suggestive of bad faith and 'piling on' for political reasons."
The Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson argues that no good purpose can be served by prosecuting a medical doctor for merely doing her duty and nonviolently exercising her First Amendment rights. On Tuesday, November 20, 2007, members of the Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson hand-delivered petitions to Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie and UM President Mary Sue Coleman bearing the names of more than 3,500 people who want them to stop this politically-driven prosecution and drop the charges now
The Committee to Defend Catherine Wilkerson's web site is defendwilkerson.org The Committee's work is supported by the National Lawyers Guild, Detroit & Michigan Chapter; Council on American Islamic Relations, Michigan Chapter; Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality; Huron Valley Greens; Green Party of Michigan; Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice; Gray Panthers of Huron Valley; Bolivarian Youth (Miami); and, the Broward (FL) AntiWar Coalition.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Michael MukaseyMichael Mukasey's nomination as US Attorney General was placed in apparent jeopardy when he refused to state in Senate confirmation hearings that the form of torture known as waterboarding was illegal under US law. His nomination was rescued by two Jewish Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Diane Feinstein and Charles Schumer, who joined with all nine Republicans in an 11-8 vote to send the nomination to the full Senate where they were joined by Joseph Lieberman, another Jew who voted against his caucus. Mukasey was confirmed by a 53-40 vote--"the narrowest margin to confirm an attorney general in more than 50 years."
President Bush's choice of former U.S. District Judge Michael Mukasey for the next attorney general took Washington by surprise. Hardly an insider ― indeed distant from the circles of power ― Mukasey had other qualities that made him the logical Bush pick: a strong record in judging terrorism cases, full support for Bush's post-9/11 U.S.A. Patriot Act and ― having first been proposed by New York Democrat Charles Schumer ― a seeming promise of easy Senate confirmation. Mukasey, 66, an Orthodox Jew, studied at New York's prestigious Ramaz School and is a member of the school's parent congregation, the tony, Modern Orthodox Kehillath Jeshurun. His years on the bench earned him a reputation for toughness both on national security issues and on white-collar criminals. Known among colleagues for his strict impartiality, Mukasey made a point of confining his Jewish involvement to household and congregation while on the bench, and he was never active in Jewish organizations beyond his synagogue. Still, critics said it was no coincidence that his hard-line stance on terrorism-related issues dovetailed closely with the hawkish worldview of his community, and defendants facing him on terrorism charges asked for a different judge ― something that wasn't true of other Jewish judges. During his Senate hearings, a dithering answer on torture cost him some support, but confirmation still seemed likely. Together with another Jewish Cabinet member, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Mukasey will be responsible for shaping America's anti-terrorism policy. He will also be in charge of rebuilding trust in the Department of Justice following the turbulent tenure of his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales.
So, what is it with Jews and torture? You could, of course, draw the same connection about Republicans and probably no one will call you a racist or a hate monger if you do. But, I mean, Alan Dershowitz is one of the world's foremost apologists for torture and the Jewish state--Israel--is one of the few, if not the only, country to formally legalize torture. Norman Finkelstein and others have documented that torture is routine in Israel and the BBC conducted a poll last year that showed that Israel has the highest level of public support for torture with more than half of Israeli Jews in favor of it.
The obvious answer to my question is Zionism and the inextricably related Judaic culture of death drives Jewish support for torture. Even the leaders of Reform Judaism movement--that bastion of liberal, religious Jews--admit: "Jewish law presents some conflicting principles that effect how Jews view torture." They continue by falsely stating that "In 1999, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that although the war on terrorism requires interrogation of suspected terrorists, torture and physical force must not be used." As Norman Finkelstein has pointed in Beyond Chutzpah (p. 165), even Alan Dershowitz, "himself acknowledged that it did not absolutely prohibit torture: '[T]he Supreme Court left open the possibility that a member of the security service who honestly believed that rough interrogation was the only means available to save lives in imminent danger could raise this defense.' " B'Tselem and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel have shown that the ruling did virtually nothing to impede the routine use of torture by agents of the Israeli government.
- " 'Ticking Bombs' Testimonies of Torture Victims in Israel" by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
- Israelis No. 1 in Supporting Torture
- Jews and Torture Update
- Rabbi Dobrusin Tortures the Truth
- Chuck Don't Need No Stinkin' Facts
- Jews and Torture Update II
Last revised: 09/03/2011
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
As another aside, Susan Junck is the same person who did authorize the totally bogus, trumped up charges against Catherine Wilkerson, MD. You can visit the web site of her defense committee at defendwilkerson.org. I also wrote about the incident that led to her being charged in the following posts:
- Police Brutalize Nonviolent Protesters at University of Michigan (video link here)
- UM Police Brutality Update
- Another Article on Police Repression at UM; Prof. Babayan Replies
- Campus Watch Targets Kathryn Babayan
- Scenes from a Cop Riot
Less than a month after the Avny incident, another assault was committed against a member of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends (JWPF). At right is the scanned image (click to enlarge) of the criminal complaint against Abraham Seligman of South Euclid , OH, for assault and battery. Seligman was in town to attend a bat mitzvah. Seligman had just returned from Israel--where they know how to take care of protesters--and, according to the "Incident Report Narrative," Seligman told police, "he could not believe people were allowed to stand around and behave as 'these folks are.' "At long last, I have finally found out what happened to old Abe. According to the court records,* Seligman was arraigned on January 8, 2007, and "stood mute." The prosecution, City Attorney Stephen Postema, was so disoriented by this stunning and novel legal manuever that he moved to dismiss the charges at the pre-trial hearing in March.
When the officers failed to behave like Israeli storm troopers Seligman, apparently, decided to take matters into his own hands and walked across the street to assault, in full view of police, a JWPF member who was videotaping him (I've seen the videotape of this incident and I hope to get it uploaded to the internet soon). Contrary to the claims of Helen Aminoff in her letter to the Ann Arbor News (11/16/2006), Seligman was not "entering a house of worship" when he committed his assault and battery against a nonviolent protester.
The video camera was present to deter BIC members and guests from cursing, assaulting, and spitting on JWPF protesters. Two witnesses told police that, before striking him, Seligman told his victim that he "was lucky the police are here because if they were not ..." According to the police report, officers heard Seligman tell his victim that "his mother is a mother of Hitler." Another witness said that before the incident Seligman told her "she needed to get her coffin ready ..."
When he was arrested, Seligman was miffed, "Officer, I don't understand what you need my name for" and then told officers they hadn't just seen what they had just seen: "I didn't hit the guy ... I didn't do anything." This, friends, is the arrogance of power and privilege speaking. The Jewish state and its supporters have gotten away with murder--literally--for so long that they sometimes think they can act with impunity in this country, too. Unfortunately, the Avny case suggests they may have some reason for believing this.
Now, I've worked in law enforcement at the federal and local levels and it is customary in such cases to, at the least, charge the defendant for court costs but the record shows that Abe Seligman walked away without ever paying the court anything for what he did. This just goes to show you that while crime may not pay, in Ann Arbor it probably won't cost you anything, either, if you're a Zionist assaulting anti-Zionists.
* If necessary, select "ANNARBOR" and then enter last name in the form on the following page.
- Assault at Beth Israel Congregation
- More Violence Against anti-Zionist Dissidents
- Beth Israel Attackers Identified; One Charged
- Eli Avny Update