The common political agendas of the legal left and their terrorist clients, along with their hypocrisy in opposing the Patriot Act are exemplified by Lynne Stewart, the attorney for the “blind sheik” who masterminded the first World Trade Center attack. Since her indictment by the Ashcroft Justice Department, Stewart has become their martyr and icon.
Lynne Stewart is a protégé of William Kuntsler and Ramsey Clark who was the person who originally suggested that Stewart sign on as attorney for the blind sheik. Following her indictment for providing material support for sheik’s terrorist activities, Stewart — like Sami al-Arian before her — received full support from her political comrades. Her decision to aid and abet her terrorist client was defended as a civil liberties matter by the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Bar Association, the National Lawyers Guild and the Center for Constitutional Rights. She was invited by radical law professors to speak at law schools across the country including Stanford, Seattle and William Mitchell, where she addressed a “Social Justice Dinner,” sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild. These accolades encouraged leftist law students at the City University of New York to attempt to present her with the school’s Public Interest Lawyer of the Year Award at graduation ceremonies in 2003. A petition including 73 names—more than half the graduating class— was sent to administrators. But after the award was leaked to the press, CUNY law school dean Kristin Booth Glen informed students via e-mail that Stewart would not be honored. The reason given was not that she had betrayed her country or broken the law, but that the award “could lead to consequences that could be damaging.”
Stewart was a speaker at the Socialist Scholars Conference, an annual gathering of the intellectual left, where she shared a panel with Columbia professor Todd Gitlin and others. She was a featured speaker at the anti-war demonstration sponsored by United for Peace and Justice on February 15, 2003. The sentiments she expressed on these occasions were the banal and vulgar clichés of the anti-American and Communist left. As the final keynote speaker at the National Lawyers Guild National Convention in 2003, Stewart described the enemy – corporate capitalism — as “a consummate evil that unleashes its dogs of war on the helpless; an enemy motivated only by insatiable greed…In this enemy there is no love of the land or the creatures that live there, no compassion for the people. This enemy will destroy the air we breathe and the water we drink as long as the dollars keep filling up their money boxes….” The enemy was the Great Satan, the same enemy that motivated Stewart’s client to plot the destruction of the World Trade Center and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels.
Lynne Stewart’s rant reflects not only the shared anti-American agendas of Islamic jihadists and the radical left, but also the hypocrisy it displays in its complaint against the Patriot Act — that it violates First Amendment rights. In her Monthly Review interview, Stewart was asked to imagine that she was part of a revolutionary government that had “liberated” its people from the horrors of capitalism. If Stewart herself were to become part of such a government, the interviewer wanted to know, was there a point at which she would think that monitoring and controlling the counter-revolutionary adversaries of that government was acceptable? Her answer: “I don’t have any problem with Mao or Stalin or the Vietnamese leaders or certainly Fidel locking up people they see as dangerous. Because so often, dissidence has been used by the greater powers to undermine a people’s revolution.” 340 In other words, totalitarian repression – complete with firing squads and gulags — is fine for Communist states, but criminalizing acts that aid and abet terror in a democracy is not.
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