Hillary Clinton's Splendid Speech At Yale Law Ceremony Prompts Questions

Hillary Clinton Yale Law SchoolHillary Clinton’s speech last weekend at Yale Law School was a triumph for her and the school by objective standards.

Even so, the weekend highlighted disturbing questions, some asked and some implicit.

Do novel claims of national security undermine long-accepted law protecting the public, for example? Are the media, courts and Congress adequately fulfilling their watchdog roles?

Clinton, the former secretary of state, received several standing ovations from a packed auditorium Oct. 5 as she received the school’s highest award, as shown in a photo at right courtesy of Yale Law School.

Amid encouragement from others to run in 2016 for the presidency, she delivered a compelling description of her professional odyssey. Former President Bill Clinton looked on from a front-row seat near their 1973 classmates.

"It was here that I developed a lifelong passion about children's welfare," Clinton said of her years as a student. "If you want to know the moral and economic health of a community, look at the children."

Her eloquent talk, provided below in full on video, was part of memorable weekend program focused primarily on themes of Global Constitutionalism. Included were the sub-topics freedom of expression, globalization, foreign policy, and national security. In record attendance, more than 900 alumni from around the world returned to New Haven to celebrate the occasion.

The substance of the two-day program drew heavily from recent Obama administration policy. Harold Hongju Koh, the onetime Yale Law dean who left that post to serve as Clinton's legal adviser at the State Department, advocated aggressive, innovative strategies to achieve U.S. goals.

As an alumnus enjoying my 30th reunion at the Yale Law School, I found myself grateful, as usual, for the rare educational opportunities the school had enabled.

In that same spirit, however, I feel an obligation to provide below evidence that lawyers, professors and officials, despite many successes, are not winning the ongoing fight against injustice. The examples come from widely published news reports, as well as our in-depth investigations at the Justice Integrity Project in Washington, DC.

Much work remains, including for the Obama administration.  

One theme of recent secretaries of state, including Clinton, has been a willingness to justify unilateral or allied actions to advance U.S. interests arguably outside the strict language of United Nations or congressional approvals.
Two examples occurred this month, albeit after her resignation in January. One involved a U.S. raid into Libya to capture a terror suspect. The other was a separate surprise raid into Somalia to capture or kill another suspect. The background includes also support for regime change in Libya and Syria, and for drone warfare.
During an Oct. 5 panel, Koh argued that the United States can find new legal justifications for bold, legitimate actions even when seemingly foreclosed by such traditional legal requirements as multinational or congressional approval except in instances of self-defense. Other speakers besides Koh provided eloquent, expert, and nuanced analysis of such issues.
But no matter how sophisticated, such arguments tend to avoid a more basic question: What is the true validity of law, aside from "Might Makes Right," that justifies one nation creating legal doctrine that it declines to apply to its own actions? Most cultures understand the "Golden Rule." Does it have a place in international law?
Clinton largely avoided divisive current legal issues. Instead, she focused (aptly enough for the occasion) on her personal awakening via the school, including her summer work as a student to help the start-up Children's Defense Fund founded by Yale '63 grad Marian Wright Edelman.
Bill ClrintonClinton described also how she first met her future husband. He is shown at right in my photo showing him talking with a medical doctor. She had been sitting near me during the speeches and asked the former president afterward how to work for the Clinton Foundation in its global efforts.
In awarding Hillary Clinton the university's top civic award, Law School Dean Robert C. Post '73 summarized her career. “In the four decades since she left this place, Secretary Clinton has indeed been an advocate, a practitioner, a legislator in the senate, an executive in the State Department, and a teacher to the nation and to the world," said Post.
The dean prompted a roar of approval from the crowd when he noted that some have speculated that she “might sometime soon seek to add one last elusive line to her resume.”  
Post and other speakers referenced valiant efforts by more recent students, professors and alumns to fight for justice.
Yale's Arthur Liman Program, for instance, has opposed the U.S. Bureau of Prison's (BOP) transfer of 1,100 women from its federal facility in Danbury, the only federal prison for women in the Northeastern United States. The BOP plans to transfer many of the women to Alabama in a new 1,800-bed facility in Aliceville, a town of 2,500 that is a thousand miles from New York City. Aliceville has no plane, train or long-distance bus service to accommodate visitors.
The federal plan is especially disturbing in view of the abusive conditions abounding in Alabama federal and state law enforcement, as our Project has often documented.
One example is the Bush/Rove-initiated federal prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman on corruption charges that the Obama administration has continued despite massive evidence of a frame-up. Siegelman's federal trial judge railroaded Siegelman to prison with many dubious pro-prosecution rulings. Chief Judge Mark Fuller also failed to disclose that federal authorities secretly provided his privately controlled company with $300 million in no-bid contacts. 
Beyond such systemic abuses in Alabama and Washington oversight is the oft-documented harm to families and prisoners when deprived of access to families or attorneys.
Despite these arguments, the prison bureau affirmed its cruel and counter-productive decision to close Danbury to women aside from a 200-bed low-security satellite facility.
Here are a few more examples of legal abuses or threats recently occurring or revealed:
Former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie has authored a report saying that advances in the government's ability to electronically monitor communications makes it extremely difficult for reporters to communicate safely with sources, especially regarding national security topics. A preview of his report to be presented Oct. 10 is, In Obama’s war on leaks, reporters fight back.
Separately, police in Washington last week gunned down Miriam Carey, 34, a Connecticut mother who had rammed a security barrier at the White House, injured a guard, and led police on a chase along Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol. Police shot her after her car had become temporarily immobilized on a median strip. Meanwhile, her year-old daughter child became orphaned, and pedestrians scattered. The car chase extended directly past my office on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. Details remained murky as of Oct. 9.
Execution of the unarmed suspect from automatic police weapons appears to have been excessive force, in my view, and yet another sign of an emerging police state mentality that we have chronicled a number of times, most recently our round-up in August, New Book, Viral Video Focus on Police, Prosecution, Judicial Abuses. Another sign halfway across the continent was announcement of a lawsuit by a Chicago woman, 33, strip searched and otherwise treated roughly after what videos show to be her apparent compliance during an arrest on DWI charges while driving home from a wedding.
In Alabama, blogger Roger Shuler was hit by remarkable court-handling of a defamation suit by the son of a former governor and prospective congressional candidate. A circuit judge brought out of retirement to handle this suit ordered Shuler to stop writing about the plaintiff, to expunge all previous articles, and to consent to court-ordered sealing of the case in apparent violation of U.S. Supreme Court and Alabama Supreme Court doctrines of prior restraint and open courtrooms. Details are in a column by veteran national broadcaster Peter B. Collins, Legal Schnauzer’s Roger Shuler Gets Payback for Exposing Corrupt Leaders in Alabama, and in Shuler's own account Judge In Rob Riley's Lawsuit Violates 230 years of U.S. Law To Impose Prior Restraint On Reports About Messy Affair.
For now, that's enough of a sample of dubious legal developments around the nation. My future columns will continue to probe these topics.
Even at a ceremony primarily organized to recognize the past, Hillary Clinton herself recognized the need for further action. She acknowledged the disillusion that many in the country feel over these social problems, and expressed confidence that the nation's resolve was stronger than ever.

“The chances we have to keep moving in the right direction together toward the more perfect union are even greater today than they were 40 years ago,” she said. “Yes, we have big challenges ahead of us, but we have the ability if we match it with the will to meet every challenge we face. It will take all of us working together. It will take not only leaders, but citizens who have to dare greatly and lead boldly, but that’s when we are at our best.”

Below is a video of her full talk, preceded by the award presentation by Yale's dean.


Contact the author Andrew Kreig or comment



In Memoriam: Hartford Courant  Editor Irving M. Kravsow

Irving Kravsow, city editor of the Hartford Courant and my formative first boss following college, died Oct. 11 following a long illness. A warm and apt remembrance by Courant columnist and Connecticut radio personality Colin McEnroe described him as "a titanic figure in Connecticut journalism for decades." As the following remembrances suggest, Kravsow also was a strong force for the good, both for the public and those who learned from him. Excerpted below are columns well worth reading in full about the man, his times, the way things were, and how the times should remain. The columns are by my former Courant colleagues McEnroe and Tom Condon, two of the finest (and that includes entertaining) journalists I have ever met. The Condon column is listed below as an unsigned editorial, and thus an institutional voice. The portrait is instantly recognizable, however, by its author's warmth and understanding, which comes through especially on such a worthy subject. Those columns, originally listed here, have been moved to a new location here.
-- Andrew Kreig 


Related News Coverage

Hillary Clinton's Yale Speech

Branford Eagle, Amid Buzz About Prez Run, Clinton Decries Child Poverty, Marcia Chambers, Oct. 5, 2013. It seemed that everyone at the Yale Law School reunion Saturday was talking about Hillary Rodham Clinton running for president in 2016. Except Clinton herself. She talked about children. Impoverished children in particular. Clinton, 65, was in town to receive the law school’s highest award, the Award of Merit, the same award her husband Bill Clinton received in 1993, the year he became the 42nd President of the United States. It was alumni weekend at the law school, and Hillary Clinton’s 40th class reunion. During an address at Woolsey Hall, she concentrated on the topic that guided her early law career and one to which she has returned at many points in her life: Children and the political and legal importance of taking care of them. The only open reference to her possible candidacy in 2016 (she has said she will declare one way or the other in early 2014) came from Dean Robert Post. He described how she served as a U.S. senator from New York from 2001-09 and as secretary of state from 2009 to this year. Then he added:  “When Secretary Clinton left the Obama administration earlier this year, certain pundits did speculate that she might sometime soon seek to add one last elusive line to her resume.”

Hartford Courant, Clinton Calls For Action To Battle Economic Inequality, Christopher Hoffman, Oct. 5, 2013. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mixed reminiscences of her Yale Law School days with a call to address growing economic inequality, especially as it affects children, in an address at the school Saturday afternoon. "It was here that I developed a lifelong passion about children's welfare," Clinton said, as her husband, former President Bill Clinton, looked on. "If you want to know the moral and economic health of a community, look at the children."

Yale Law School, Secretary Clinton '73 Receives Award of Merit at the Yale Law School Alumni Weekend, Staff report, Oct. 5, 2013. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ’73 addressed a packed audience of Yale Law School alumni, faculty, students, and staff Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, after receiving the prestigious Award of Merit from Dean Robert C. Post ’77. Clinton reminisced about her time as a student at Yale Law School and the moment that sparked “a lifelong passion about children’s welfare.”

Washington Post, As Hillary Clinton rakes in awards, is this her pre-campaign campaign? Philip Rucker, Oct. 15, 2013. While she weighs a presidential run, the former secretary of state has picked up at least 15 awards.

Critiques of American Foreign Policy

Al Arabiya.net, Libya says it summoned U.S. envoy over seized al-Qaeda suspect, Oct. 8, 2013. The Libyan government summoned U.S. ambassador Deborah Jones to seek clarification over the capture of an alleged al-Qaeda operative by American special forces earlier this week, the foreign ministry announced on Tuesday.

Washington Post, The Cuban Five were fighting terrorism. Why did we put them in jail? Stephen Kimber, Oct. 4, 2013. Editor's Note: Stephen Kimber teaches journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Canada, and is the author of What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five. Consider for a moment what would happen if American intelligence agents on the ground in a foreign country uncovered a major terrorist plot, with enough time to prevent it. And then consider how Americans would react if authorities in that country, rather than cooperate with us, arrested and imprisoned the U.S. agents for operating on their soil. In the spring of 1998, Cuban agents uncovered a plot to blow up an airplane filled with beach-bound tourists from Europe or Latin America.  Castro enlisted his friend, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, to carry a secret message about the plot to President Bill Clinton. The White House took the threat seriously enough that the Federal Aviation Administration warned airlines. In June of that year, FBI agents flew to Havana to meet with their Cuban counterparts. During three days in a safe house, the Cubans provided the FBI with evidence their agents had gathered on various plots, including the planned airplane attack and an ongoing campaign of bombings.

Washington Post, U.S. strikes al-Shabab and captures bomb suspect in Libya, Ernesto Londoño and Scott Wilson, Oct. 6, 2013. Navy SEALs raided the Somali home of a leader of the al-Qaeda-linked group that attacked a Kenyan mall.

Washington Post, Libya condemns U.S. raid and capture of bombing suspect, Ernesto Londoño, Oct. 6, 2013. Libyan government on Sunday condemned what it called the “kidnapping” of one of its citizens who was taken into custody outside his home in Tripoli in a highly unusual covert operation carried out by the U.S. military.

Wayne Madsen Report / WMR, The NSA empire's expanding colonies, Wayne Madsen, Oct. 2, 2013 (Subscription required. Excerpted with permission). Editor's Note: Wayne Madsen, left, is an author and former Navy intelligence office and NSA analyst. The National Security Agency, like any empire, has its own security force, its own subservient news media team, and, increasingly its own overseas colonies. For two groups of islanders, NSA's penchant for secrecy and security forced them into exile from the islands of their birth. In 1970, the United States and Britain agreed on the construction of a major U.S. military base on the British-owned Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, to include an air base, naval base, and several intelligence facilities, including an NSA signals intelligence collection site. Some 400 Diego Garcia islanders known as "Ilois," whose ancestors had worked on copra plantations since the 1700s and who maintained a church and a school on the island, were relocated to Mauritius by the British government against their wishes. Halfway around the world, in the South Atlantic, the British government is in the process of depopulating the civilian residents of Ascension Island, a British territory that is constitutionally part of the overseas territory of St. Helena. Some 700 British citizens from St. Helena, known as "Saints," live and work on the island.

National Security and The Press

Washington Post, In Obama’s war on leaks, reporters fight back, Leonard Downie Jr., Oct. 4, 2013. Leonard Downie, a former executive editor of the Washington Post, is professor of journalism at Arizona State University. This article is based on his report “The Obama Administration and the Press,” forthcoming Thursday from the Committee to Protect Journalists. Every disclosure to the press of classified information now triggers a leak investigation, said Washington Post national news editor Cameron Barr. “Investigations can be done electronically. They don’t need to compel journalists to reveal sources.” The Post’s Justice Department reporter, Sari Horwitz, said a Justice official told her that “access to e-mail, phone records and cellphones make it easier to do now.”

Eats shoots 'n leaves,

, Kirsty Wark, Oct. 3, 2013 (14:09 min. video).

Claims That Police Use Excessive Power On Streets

Miriam CareyOpEdNews, As Police Tactics Questioned, 'Threat of Terrorism' and 9/11 used to justify Miriam Carey's Death, Martin Hill, Oct. 6, 2013. Two sisters of 34-year-old dental hygienist Miriam Carey, right, appeared on Anderson Cooper's CNN 360 program Friday night, discussing the tragic shooting death of their sister. "Regardless of the reason that she was there, her life shouldn't have ended there," said Valarie Carey, a former NYPD Sergeant. When asked "Do you have questions about the reaction by law enforcement?," Carey added "Well, that's something that has to be looked into further. This is the reason why the family is here. We're here for answers in D.C." Meanwhile, CNN is running a flurry of articles justifying the shooting. Most disturbing is the fact that they use the pretext of 'heightened terrorist threats' to justify more lax standards for use of deadly force.

Grio, Family of Miriam Carey: ‘Shooting was not justified,’ William J. Wright, Oct. 5, 2013. The sisters of Miriam Carey say, “It just doesn’t seem real!”  Miriam Carey was shot to death Thursday afternoon after first trying to ram her car through a White House barricade then leading Capitol police through a high-speed chase. It ended near the Capitol in a hail of bullets. Carey’s sisters spoke with reporters in Brooklyn, New York Friday night after returning from Washington following the grim task of identifying their loved one’s body. They said they were “still very confused as to why Miriam is not alive.” They told reporters gathered in front of their Bedford Stuyvesant home the the shooting of their unarmed sister by Capitol police was “unjustified.”

Washington Post, Car in chase from White House was driving backward when officers opened fire, Peter Hermann, Oct. 8, 2013. The 34-year-old Connecticut woman who led police on a chase last week from the White House to the U.S. Capitol was driving in reverse when officers opened fire on her car, killing her near a guard house, according to a search warrant affidavit made public Tuesday.

Washington Post, Use of force in Capitol Hill shooting debated, Peter Hermann and Sari Horwitz, Oct. 4, 2013. Federal agents trying to stop the black Infiniti speeding between the White House and the U.S. Capitol fired seven shots at an unarmed driver with a toddler in the car as it rushed away from them, an uncommon tactic that occurred during a highly unusual chase. A total of at least 17 shots were fired at two locations Thursday afternoon by two law enforcement agencies — the U.S. Capitol Police and the U.S. Secret Service. The final shots, near the Hart Senate Office Building, killed 34-year-old Miriam Carey of Connecticut, who police said had tried to ram through a security barrier at the White House, knocked over a uniformed Secret Service agent, hit cruisers and breached the outer security perimeter of the Capitol grounds.

Veterans Today, Police in America: Licensed to Kill, Stephen Lendman, Oct. 6, 2013. Miriam Carey is the latest victim. She deserved to live, not die. More on her below. Incidents occur daily across America. Blacks and Latinos are most vulnerable. Police shoot innocent suspects for any reason or none all. Rarely are officers or their superiors held accountable. On average, US police kill one or two people daily. Most often, incidents go unnoticed. Violence in America is systemic. Previous articles discussed it. America glorifies wars. It does so in the name of peace. It has by far the highest homicide rate among all developed nations. It’s obsessed with owning guns. Violent films are some of the most popular. So are similar video games. Peace, stability and security are convenient illusions. Imperial wars and domestic violence crowd them out. Communities, neighborhoods, schools, work places, commercial areas and city streets are affected.

Justice Integrity Project, New Book, Viral Video Focus on Police, Prosecution, Judicial Abuses, Andrew Kreig, Aug. 2, 2013. A new book on paramilitary police tactics underscores ongoing assaults on American civil liberties. So does a video about a sexual attack in a Nevada courthouse by a court marshal, who arrested the victim while the judge failed to intervene. Rise of the Warrior Cop is the title of a book published in July by Radley Balko a columnist for the Huffington Post. He amplified the book’s themes with two recent columns on “Police Militarization” and “America's Misbehaving Prosecutors.”  A graphic example of the arrogance that some law enforcers possess even in court is a video that went viral this spring after CBS-affiliate KLAS-TV in Las Vegas exposed the treatment of a young mother who was groped and arrested.

Chicago Tribune, Woman sues LaSalle County over strip-search; 33-year-old says county jail camera system video-recorded her after DUI arrest, David Heinzmann and Juan Perez Jr., Oct. 1, 2013. Dana Holmes was drunk, naked and being recorded on video. The 33-year-old was facedown on the floor of a LaSalle County jail cell while cameras captured images of her nude body on the facility's video system. Minutes earlier, four deputies — three men and a woman — had pulled her to the ground and carried her into the cell, where they quickly and forcibly stripped Holmes and walked out with her clothes.

Justice System in Alabama

Justice Integrity Project, Siegelman Seeks Justice With New Appeal, Sept. 3, 2013. Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman challenged his imprisonment on corruption charges last week on two grounds of legal error by his trial judge. Siegelman argued that U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery erred by failing to allow evidence on whether a biased prosecutor had actually recused as claimed. Siegelman argued that U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery erred by failing to allow evidence on whether a biased prosecutor had actually recused as claimed. Also, Siegelman's appeal to the federal appeals court in Atlanta claims that Fuller wrongly increased Siegelman's prison time by citing allegations that failed to win conviction in the 2006 jury trial. Siegelman is serving a 78-month term in one of the nation's most controversial federal prosecutions of the decade.

Hartford Courant, Moving Female Inmates To Rural Alabama Still A Very Bad Idea, Editorial board, Oct. 7, 2013. The Federal Bureau of Prisons intends to resume its misguided transfer of 1,120 female inmates from its women's prison in Danbury to a new facility in the Alabama hinterlands and other locations. The bureau had suspended the transfers recently to answer questions from several U.S. senators, including Connecticut's. Last week, the bureau decided to go ahead and turn Danbury into a prison for male inmates to lessen crowding in other men's prisons. The bureau can lessen crowding without transferring female inmates from Danbury. It should permanently cancel the relocation.

Peter B. CollinsPeter B. Collins, Legal Schnauzer’s Roger Shuler Gets Payback for Exposing Corrupt Leaders in Alabama, Peter B. Collins, left, Oct. 8, 2013. Veteran fighter for justice and podcast contributor Roger Shuler returns with a surreal report of an illegal injunction, a false traffic stop, and harassment by local deputies.  Hear the full story, and how you can help Shuler at a critical time.Click here for GoDaddy deal that benefits the PBC Podcast! Shuler’s Legal Schnauzer blog has featured well-researched and sordid stories of hypocrites in Alabama: the current Attorney General, Luther Strange’s affair with Jessica Garrison (both were married, she’s since divorced); federal appeals judge Bill Pryor’s photo from a gay porn site (Pryor is married with kids, and cancelled a family vacation to Disney World when it coincided with Gay Pride Week); and Rob Riley, a power lawyer and son of former Gov. Bob Riley (who displaced Don Siegelman in the Rove-inspired 2002 election theft and railroading of Siegelman into federal prison) who reportedly had an affair with lobbyist Liberty Duke that resulted in a pregnancy and abortion. These are Alabama’s defenders of family values.

Roger ShulerLegal Schnauzer, Judge In Rob Riley's Lawsuit Violates 230 years of U.S. Law To Impose Prior Restraint On Reports About Messy Affair, Roger Shuler, right, Oct. 8, 2013. An Alabama judge's preliminary injunction in a defamation case runs counter to more than 230 years of case law on free speech in the United States. Circuit Judge Claud D. Neilson issued a ruling dated October 1, 2013, ordering me not to write about Alabama Republican Rob Riley and his affair with lobbyist Liberty Duke. Neilson also ordered me to remove all posts from Legal Schnauzer about the affair and went so far as to seal the entire file--with no apparent legal justification--and forbid any reporting on the case. Based on recent press reports and Riley's bizarre actions, it seems clear that he wants the Liberty Duke story to go away so he can pursue the U.S. House seat that Spencer Bachus is vacating. Judge Neilson apparently feels a Rob Riley candidacy is so important that it justifies trashing the U.S. and Alabama constitutions.

Al.com, Federal Bureau of Prisons report finds Gary White wrongfully punished, Charles J. Dean, Aug. 31, 2013. Imprisoned former Jefferson County Commissioner Gary White recently finished serving six months of punishment, including time in solitary confinement and suspension of visitation rights by his family, for something the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) now says he did not do. White recently was informed by the BOP that he had in fact not violated the terms of a medical furlough he received in late 2012 to visit a Memphis doctor for the purposes of assessing the status of problems with his prostate. The BOP in January charged that White while on furlough had called his wife, Judy. BOP said the call violated the terms of his furlough. A review of the furlough document by Al.com showed no prohibition regarding phone calls to have been included in the document.

Justice Integrity Project Editor's Note: The Whites are shown at right below in a family photo before his imprisonment.

Headlined in yellow below is a note the Justice Integrity Project received from Judy White, wife of a former Jefferson County Commissioner who is serving a 10-year prison sentence. A Republican, he and his wife say he was prosecuted under trumped up charges after he refused to testify falsely against former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman. Judy White -- portrayed with her husband Gary before he began his sentence three years ago -- tries to drive over 300 miles each way every weekend to see her husband. She believes the Bureau of Prisons intentionally moved him far from home as part of  law enforcement's ongoing retaliation from the political prosecution of Siegelman for events in 1999 -- and that her husband is being denied vitally needed medical treatment in ways that risk his life while he completes his 10-year sentence. She reports below on similar situations of other prisoners who are hidden from public view.

Gary and Judy WhiteLetter Following Visit to Federal Correctional Institute at Forrest City, Arkansas, Subject: Death and Torture By Judy White, Sept. 21, 2013.

A man died yesterday. A human. Our government killed him through refusing to provide medical care while obstructing his access to medical care. His name was Joe. He was from Dothan, Alabama. Rather than respond to his critical medical needs, our government forcibly moved him to a federal prison in Forrest City, Arkansas, where he became their latest victim of death by medical abuse. Surrounded by no loved ones, with no one present who cared for him to live, he had a heart event (heart attack or failure) and died. He was a prisoner. No judge sentenced him to death, yet the acts of our government carried out a death sentence as surely as if Joe had been strapped to an electric chair.

James Earl Hallford , known as Joe, was 51 years old. He had arrived at Forrest City Federal Prison about a month ago. He was looking forward to being home in Dothan in time to spend Christmas with his wife and two children. He had sought and been refused medical care for increasingly frequent and troubling symptoms of serious heart problems. Friday morning he went to medical seeking help. He was refused treatment, with no testing. Following another heart episode, at the urging of other prisoners, he returned to medical a second time Friday morning. The second time, prison employees did an EKG, told him he was fine, prescribed PAIN PILLS, and told him he could come back Tuesday if necessary. By the time lunch was over, so was Joe's life. He collapsed, with no heartbeat. No one used the defibrillator. A prison employee, Joe Crowder, performed CPR. Joe Hallford's heart started beating again, he took a breath and opened his eyes. As he was being carried out on a stretcher, his heart stopped again. He was murdered by our government through medical abuse.
Greg's mother's funeral was today. Greg was not present, nor did he have any opportunity to see his mother or be with her before she passed away. Of course, he is a prisoner, so his mother and family pay the price of being without a son, separated and denied the presence of a loved one to say goodbye for the last time or share the grief of a family in mourning.

A man -- a prisoner -- has prostate cancer, diagnosed and confirmed two years ago, yet he has had no medical treatment whatsoever, as our government has refused his pleas for cancer treatment, choosing, instead, to force him to die of a highly treatable serious disease. Again, his death penalty is not the sentence of any judge, but is being carried out by our government, through the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Forrest City, Arkansas, accountable to no one, but with the knowledge and consent of the Obama administration.

This is how our government treats prisoners and their families today. Tomorrow, it may be the poor or the elderly or anyone whose life does not have value to our government, anyone who is not producing revenue for our government. Why should anyone care? Because at some time, that will be all of us.

Al.com, Stephen Nodine asks FBI for criminal investigation of prosecutors, Baldwin sheriff in murder case, Brendan Kirby, Oct. 2, 2013. In his latest move, Nodine asks the FBI to launch a federal civil rights investigation. He accuses Newcomb of misconduct, along with Baldwin County Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack, special prosecutor David Whetstone and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. See also, Al.com, Baldwin sheriff denies Stephen Nodine's misconduct allegations in murder investigation, Brendan Kirby, Oct. 3, 2013. In his statement Thursday, Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack denied the accusations by Stephen Nodine, who is serving a two-year jail sentence for perjury and domestic violence-harassment.


Catching Our Attention On Other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Politico, Helen Thomas, JFK went on date, Andrew Glass, Oct. 5, 2013. Thomas reportedly found Kennedy to be 'too fresh,' Helen Thomas covered 10 presidents, from Eisenhower through Obama, in her time as a White House correspondent. She also went on a date with one of them, it emerged during a memorial service attended by about 500 people Saturday at the National Press Club for Thomas, who died on July 20 at age 92.  As told by Suzanne Geha, Thomas’s niece, who presided, Thomas arrived in Washington in 1942, at age 22, shortly after graduating from Detroit’s Wayne State University. United Press (later UPI) hired her in 1943. While working for UP, she went on a date with John F. Kennedy, then a young Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, whom she subsequently covered in the White House. “How did it go?” her friend asked her. “He was too fresh,” Helen reportedly replied.

Washington Post, ATF rejects agent's 'Fast and Furious' book, Sari Horwitz, Oct. 8, 2013. The  agency says a book on the botched gun operation will hurt morale inside the ATF. 

National Press Club, Panel to explore how newspaper unearthed photographer's double life as FBI informant Oct. 10, John M. Donnelly, Oct. 7, 2013.  How a mid-size city newspaper, the Memphis Commericial Appeal was able to dig up the extraordinary story of an iconic photographer covering Martin Luther King Jr. while at the same time spying on him for the FBI will be the topic of a panel discussion at the National Press Club Thursday, Oct. 10. The event is designed to bring to life how the Commercial Appeal used a precedent-setting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit -- and years of reporting -- to piece together the facts about Ernest Withers, a famous photographer of civil rights movement who was granted close access to King and other civil rights leaders in order to capture their images for posterity. At the same time, it turns out, Withers was spying on King and his colleagues for the FBI. The event has particular resonance today. It comes just weeks after the 50th anniversary King’s "I Have a Dream" speech, and on the heels of recent news about the government's sweeping domestic surveillance operations. 

Harvey SilverglateBoston Globe, For feds, there is more at stake in Tsarnaev case than just losing, Harvey Silverglate, left, Oct. 8, 2013. In a Sept. 29 editorial, the Boston Globe wrote that because “the evidence against Tsarnaev is overwhelming...prosecutors should have nothing to fear from bringing the case to trial.” On October 6, the Globe published a letter of mine in which I argue that the government doesn’t fear federal criminal jury trials because they are afraid to lose (federal criminal trials are heavily stacked against defendants), but because they want to avoid exposing to the light of day unfortunately common federal agents’ and prosecutors’ corrupt and unfair, often unlawful, practices. The recently-completed trial of James “Whitey” Bulger is a recent case-in-point. (I plan in the near future to write more about the Bulger trial, lest the commonly-accepted mirage – that it was a fair and open trial at which the truth was allowed to emerge – gain unwarranted public acceptance.)

Veterans Today, The Phone Company that Said No to NSA, Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, Oct. 7, 2013. Former US West CEO Joseph Nacchio was released from prison last week after completing a four-year insider trading sentence. He still claims the NSA framed him on the insider trading charges – after he refused to participate in their illegal phone surveillance program in 2001. US West was the only major telecommunication program that refused to spy on its customers. According to the Wall Street Journal, Nacchio feels vindicated by Edward Snowden’s recent revelations about NSA spying on Americans’ phone and email communications. Nacchio was convicted of selling US West stock based on inside information about the company’s deteriorating financial health. He denies this, claiming he believed US West’s lucrative contracts with the federal government would continue. Instead his refusal to cooperate with the NSA resulted in the wholesale cancellation of  government contracts.  See also, Wall Street Journal, Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio: Tales From a White-Collar Prison Sentence.