Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Catherine Wilkerson trial underway

1. December 2007 • Murph
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This week, Doctor Catherine Wilkerson’s trial on charges of attempting to interfere with police and emergency medical personnel began in Washtenaw County 15th District Court. The charges stem from an incident during a November 30, 2006, talk at the University of Michigan; Wilkerson attempted to intervene in police handling of protester (and AU regular) Blaine Coleman, believing that Coleman, who appeared unconscious, was in danger of asphyxiation. Wilkerson and other protesters in January filed a complaint of police brutality regarding the incident; an Ann Arbor Police investigation found the officers did not act inappropriately.

More coverage and related links at:

  1. It’s interesting that the charges only allege that Dr. Wilkerson “attempted” to assault/resist/obstruct the police and ambulance personnel, but doesn’t allege that such actually occurred. This shows that the UofM Police were acting as “thought police” when they determined the charges only a week after Wilkerson filed the police brutality complaint. The charges were not based on what Wilkerson actually did, but only on what she thought of doing, during the incident of two months prior. It would seem that Prosecutor Mackie must have noticed the seeming weakness of these charges of thoughtcrime when he tried to amend two additional counts at the late hour.

    A similar policing of thought is evident in the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, which was recently passed by the House. The bill defines “homegrown terrorism” as the “planned” or “threatened” use of force to coerce the government or the people in the promotion of “political or social objectives.” That means that no force need actually have occurred as long as the government charges that the individual or group thought about doing it. This is very similar to the “attempted” felonies Dr. Wilkerson has been charged with.

    The passage into law of US House Resolution 1955 will make prosecution of “thoughtcrimes” much easier and we won’t have to worry about troublemakers like Dr. Wilkerson any longer. Don’t you feel safer, already?

       —Michael Schils    Dec. 4 '07 - 03:52AM    #
  2. A2 doctor found not guilty in lecture fracas case – 12/4/07, The Michigan Daily

       —Michael    Dec. 4 '07 - 04:36PM    #
  3. Congratulations to those who worked hard and long to save our freedom of speech and expression.

    Since it’s not about them, I’d say that “congratulations” isn’t quite the proper sentiment. “Thanks” is in order, though. I appreciate the sacrifice of Coleman, Dr. Wilkerson, and others who gave their time and risked their personal safety to promote peace and protect our constitutional and human rights. Thanks also to those who attended the trial in order to witness it, some of whom have reported on it more objectively than the AA News reporters did.

    One lesson from this may be the recognition that Coleman and Dr. Wilkerson aren’t “protestors” (as if it were a permanent attribute) but citizens. Maybe that would help the police and the prosecutors to recognize that their actions were inappropriate and unwarranted since they may be more likely to recognize the rights of “citizens” than they are those of “protestors”. (Why they had so much trouble with recognizing the responsibilities of a physician is another question worth exploring.) Maybe the News reporters will learn that as well.

    I also appreciate Michael Schils’s comment.

       —Steve Bean    Dec. 4 '07 - 06:11PM    #
  4. This is indeed a big victory! It is especially satisfying because Wilkerson’s acquittal is a blow against the widespread use of the “resisting and obstructing” statute.

    Believe it or not, several years ago the $%^ Republicans in the Legislature made “a knowing failure to comply with a lawful command” of police or EMS personnel a felony. (See Michigan Compiled Laws 750.81d.

    This is a law-enforcement darling. Anyone who runs away from the police and doesn’t stop when told to has committed a felony under this statute. It is widely used locally as a “garbage” charge.

    Wilkerson was charged with attempted violation of this statute because an attempt to commit a felony is just a misdemeanor. I don’t buy the “thought crime” argument. The prosecutors knew that no jury would convict Wilkerson of a felony, but they hoped a jury might convict her of a misdemeanor.

       —David Cahill    Dec. 4 '07 - 07:17PM    #
  5. Steve and Michael –

    Not directly related to this case, but having to do with language, first, I’m wondering how you feel about “attempted murder”, or “assault with intent to murder”. In my understanding, “attempted” means that the person does a lot more than just think about or talk about committing a crime; they actually commit it – just not very well.

    Language like “thoughtcrime”, or, from the Counterpunch article making the rounds, “jackboot campus” and “gun-toting goons” seems to me to do a disservice to Dr. Wilkerson, and to the general idea of non-violent protest. That kind of language makes a lot of people write off the protesters as a tiny group of fringe lunatics who like to shout, rather than well-reasoned people with valid concerns.

    I think I share your concerns, but that kind of language prevents me from truly doing so. If your language is getting in the way of your message, try different language.

    (I realize that I am opening myself to verbal abuse as a “toadying jackboot apologist” or some such by making any comment less than 100% agreement – but hopefully those motivated to make such abuse will understand that it would be counterproductive…)

       —Murph    Dec. 4 '07 - 07:28PM    #
  6. Steve Bean,

    You admonish others to recognize that ‘protesters’ are first and foremost citizens, i.e. people.

    Perhaps you could extend that admonishment to yourself with respect to newspaper reporters. News articles include a byline of the person who wrote the piece. But from your comment, one might conclude these newspapers articles are written by unknown authors.

    If your comment did not rely on a generic potshot at ‘reporters’, and had instead cited specific instances of bias by a particular reporter in a particular piece of coverage of the trial, it would be more persuasive.

    If you reflexively thought of reporters as individual people, not some abstract category, you might be less inclined to take this sort of potshot in the future.

    So could you please lay out your case for bias in the News’ coverage and also contrast it with the objective reporting of Dr. Wilkerson’s supporters that you mention? I mean, I don’t doubt that News reporters are quite capable of writing with bias, even committing egregious errors of fact, and sundry other journalistic offenses. I’m just curious to know what specifically you consider to be biased in the writing and reporting of some specific News report about Dr. Wilkerson’s trial. Or perhaps your complaint (like those I found on the website above) has more to do with the amount and placement of coverage in the paper?

       —HD    Dec. 4 '07 - 07:59PM    #
  7. The American Movement for Israel instructed the police to seize protesters. The police followed those instructions. That would seem an essential element to any news story. Yet it appears nowhere in the “Ann Arbor News”.

       —On AMI orders    Dec. 4 '07 - 08:47PM    #
  8. Murph, I agree with you that using precise language is important, so I will attempt to explain my use of the term, “thoughtcrime”.

    At the incident in question, several arrests were made. Dr. Wilkerson was not arrested. So it follows that the police at the scene must not have considered the actions of Dr. Wilkerson to be a crime, else she would have been arrested. The charges were filed against Dr. Wilkerson nearly two months after the incident, one week after she filed the complaint against the police. The timing would suggest that the charges were based on something other than her actions at the lecture.

    I understand that the charges allege that Wilkerson “attempted” to impede the police and ambulance personnel. (Correct me if I’m wrong because I don’t have access to the actual text of the charges.) Again, such an impeding must not have actually occrured, else she would have been arrested at the scene. So it can only be assumed that the prosecutors delved into her motives, or the “thoughts” behind her actions, when they later determined that she “attempted” to commit a felony. This is reflected in the prosecutor’s comment that Wilkerson and Coleman “went there with an agenda; they went there to confront”. This would seem to indicate that the charges were not based on actions, but were based on the supposed motives, intentions, or “thoughts” of Dr. Wilkerson. Hence, a “thoughtcrime”.

    I will concede that the term may not be entirely applicable here because the charges were at least partially related to her actions—her repeated corrective instructions to the police were framed by the prosecutors as an attempt to impede. But this framing relies on her supposed “agenda”, and the thoughts behind her motives and intentions. (If the term “thoughtcrime” is now considered too cliche-ed or used only by fringe lunatics, then it’s probably better that I left the terms “orwellian” and “1984-ish” out of my previous post.)

    On another matter, I recall reading that the reason the ammonia inhalants were used was because the paramedic believed Coleman was “faking”, which seems consistent with the paramedic asking Coleman, “You don’t like that, do you?” while administering the ammonia inhalants.

    It’s difficult to see how—from only a cold read of the situation after arriving at the scene—the paramedic could have quickly determined that Coleman was “faking” being unconscious.

    The situation suggests that the conclusion that Coleman was “faking” had political origins, and had the purpose of justifying the punitive application of the ammonia inhalants.

    The implications of a paramedic carrying out a punitive political objective are quite disturbing and would seem to deserve further inquiry. Perhaps the ambulance equipment should be more closely inspected to make sure there are no tazers or water boards being used for extracting information from “uncooperative” patients. (Please pardon the dark fringe sarcasm.)

       —Michael Schils    Dec. 4 '07 - 10:41PM    #
  9. If your comment did not rely on a generic potshot at ‘reporters’,

    HD, I don’t see any potshot in my comment. Sounds like you’re a bit sensitive on this for some reason.

    I’ll pass on citing specifics (at least for now.) I’ll simply say that every AA News reporter’s account included misleading wording (e.g. “fainted”) and/or errors of omission (e.g., an officer on the handcuffed detainee’s back.) I’ll leave it to you to assess the coverage for yourself. You might think about the respective rights and responsibilities of citizens and journalists. I don’t get the paper, I read the stories online, so placement (or coverage in general) isn’t an issue for me (at least it wasn’t at the time of my comment.)

    Murph, I think Michael covered it pretty well. The water board reference was beyond sarcasm, though, Michael. Tasers, on the other hand—who knows?

       —Steve Bean    Dec. 5 '07 - 01:01AM    #
  10. It’s nice that Arborupdate finally broke their silence on this important “community news” story. Thanks, Murph. It’s really too bad though that it took more than year. The Ann Arbor News and the Michigan Daily first covered this more than a year ago and then again in the spring.

    I don’t buy the “thought crime” argument. The prosecutors knew that no jury would convict Wilkerson of a felony, but they hoped a jury might convict her of a misdemeanor.

    I was at the original incident, I’ve seen almost all of the police reports, covered every day of the trial, even attended a couple of the pre-trial hearings. The prosecutors didn’t bring felony charges because the police had nothing and they knew it. You would never know it from reading the Ann Arbor News or the Michigan Daily but only one witness, UM custodian Michael Lafleur, testified to any overt physical act, other than speaking, by Dr. Wilkerson. His testimony was not credible nor was it supported by any other witnesses. This trial was straight-up political from day one and the prosecution only brought charges because they thought Wilkerson would fold and cop a plea just like the other four defendants—they underestimated her grit and determination. Two of the defendants really didn’t have much of a choice but the other two had strong cases and I wish they had fought against police repression and for our free speech rights. If all five had stuck together from day one then it is conceivable that no one would have been convicted.

    It’s difficult to see how—from only a cold read of the situation after arriving at the scene—the paramedic could have quickly determined that Coleman was “faking” being unconscious.

    It was never the job of the paramedic to determine if an apparently unconscious patient with an obvious head wound—I saw it when he was turned over—was faking or not. He could wonder or think whatever he wanted to but his duty was to stabilize the patient and transport him to a hospital.

       —PeaceMonger    Dec. 5 '07 - 10:24AM    #
  11. It’s disturbing that criminal charges were brought at all in these circumstances. At least Dr. Wilkerson was found not guilty.

       —Larry Kestenbaum    Dec. 5 '07 - 11:27PM    #
  12. Michael, thanks for responding. I think I pretty much agree with you, with this: may not be entirely applicable here because the charges were at least partially related to her actions, however weakly based the charges may have been, being where I’d pause before pulling out my Orwell. If you or I were to be arrested for our discussions on the matter on this page, I’d be quite happy to call it a thought crime, and I completely agree that the “Violent Radicalization” bill is scary as heck. But I think that there’s plenty of reasonable legal context for considering motive when judging actions – the difference between “first degree murder” and “involuntary manslaughter”, for example.

    As Larry says, it’s pretty disturbing that charges were brought in this case – 3 months after the incident, and only (immediately) after Wilkerson had filed a complaint – rather than, as you note, arresting and charging her immediately. It’s vindictive and abusive.

       —Murph.    Dec. 6 '07 - 05:52PM    #
  13. Counterpunch’s December 4th article, by a veteran columnist for “The Nation”, noted the following:

    “The Ann Arbor News’s reporting, as well as that of the Michigan Daily, was disgraceful from start to finish, to a level that objective assessment can justifiably stigmatize as complicity with the police and barely concealed hostility to Wilkerson, very possibly because her political activities have included solidarity with the Palestinian cause.”

    Given the sponsor of the event, and their insistence on aggressive police action, that makes a lot of sense.

       —Counterpunch    Dec. 6 '07 - 09:17PM    #
  14. Like Murph, I find language very interesting.

    I think I share your concerns, but that kind of language prevents me from truly doing so. If your language is getting in the way of your message, try different language.

    I agree. Likewise, if language is getting in the way of your thinking, try assigning it less power (e.g., to “prevent”.)

       —Steve Bean    Dec. 6 '07 - 10:19PM    #
  15. I was attending the event where these events transpired, and have no affiliation with any of the parties. The police were not acting under any “orders from the AMI to attack peaceful protesters.” The University has a long-standing written policy to ensure that controversial speakers from all perspectives are actually allowed to speak at campus events. While I personally am sympathetic to many of the broader points the protesters were trying to make, their presentation and demeanor at the event was obnoxious (to put it mildly), and made it nearly impossible for Tanter to even present his points of view so they could be evaluated or refuted. The protestors were given several ample verbal warnings (including the reading of the above policy), and were asked several times just to allow basic civil discourse before they were asked to leave. While I am sure the protestors now feel that they were noble martyrs, there actions did nothing more that disgust observers and sway people without convictions on this topic (like myself) away from their cause.

       —M    Dec. 7 '07 - 01:57AM    #
  16. At least 3 entries, in different police reports, show American Movement for Israel functionaries instructing University of Michigan police to physically pull audience members out of the room.

    This was after the speaker was finished with his speech, and had been taking audience questions for some time.

    Until the police were thrown against audience members, it had been a normal campus event, with a normal amount of give and take.

    Certainly a partisan of Israel would feel, as “M” does, that any open criticism of Israel is “disgusting”. Based on that same feeling, the police were ordered to grab someone who had, earlier in the evening, expressed disapproval of Israeli policy.

    The police made a big point of reporting, over and over, that the American Movement for Israel gave them those orders. The only people thrown onto the floor, the only people thrown against walls, were audience members who disapproved of Israeli policy.

       —Following Orders    Dec. 7 '07 - 02:48AM    #
  17. Have another whiff, Blaine. (Oh shame on me, I am so beastly!)

       —ammonia? get off!    Dec. 7 '07 - 11:07AM    #
  18. Why would anyone protest Israel?
    Because, if protest is snuffed out, look what Israel gets to do:


    “Five reasons to bomb Iran now”

    by Michael Freund

    Click on:


    How do you feel, about 76 million Iranians dying, under Israeli nuclear bombardment?

       —Following Orders    Dec. 7 '07 - 10:50PM    #
  19. Why protest Israel?
    Because, tonight, Israel is still declaring that it might bomb Iran:


    “Israel considering strike on Iran despite US intelligence report”

    by Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
    Friday December 7, 2007
    Guardian (U.K.)

    Found here:,,2224052,00.html


    Would you stand by and watch 76 million Iranians die, for the pleasure of Israel?

       —Following Orders    Dec. 8 '07 - 03:37AM    #
  20. Innocent?

    Blaine, the ammonia must have gone to your head: your plea was guilty.

    Shame on you.

    Oh yeah, shame is for other people. So much shame for others, none left for Blaine. What a shame.

       —ammonia? get off!    Dec. 8 '07 - 04:25AM    #
  21. Harvard Law alumnus Hugh “Buck” Davis delivered a brilliant closing argument that illustrates why he is considered Detroit’s pre-eminent constitutional law litgator; he totally outclassed Margaret Connors,who was reduced to interjecting Ho Chi Minh in an attempt to bolster her sagging case;her quest for a guilty verdict was about as illusory as her ill-fated ambition to be a magistrate in the same district court. Dr. Wilkerson and Blaine Coleman,Esq. have been tireless opponents of a failed U.S. foreign policy that has resulted in the death and maiming of thousands of innocent Israelis,Palestinians and Lebanese civilians; their prosecution was ,sadly, political and the jury apparently agreed as to Dr. Wilkerson.

       —Mark Koroi    Dec. 8 '07 - 07:44AM    #
  22. This morning, while eating breakfast in downtown Ann Arbor, something really heartwarming happened. A familiar face smiled at me and said, “You guys are determined, you are great!”

    He remembered us from the boycott Israel campaign at the food coop. Then he said: “what now!”

    It is thrilling to see Ann Arbor ready for anti-war, anti-Zionist action.

    Ann Arbor has not forgotten Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq or Afghanistan. Ann Arbor stands against butchery and inhuman treatment; be it by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians or by U.M. police against peaceful anti Zionist protestors standing up against a U.S. / Israel attack on Iran.

    Thank you Ann Arbor!

       —AA ready for anti-Zionist action    Dec. 9 '07 - 12:18AM    #
  23. Let us listen to the World Health Organisation, to its chief officer for Gaza:


    “Fuel drought bringing Gaza Strip to its knees”

    December 7, 2007

    “The main pediatric hospital is critically low in fuel for its generators. All transport vehicles and most ambulance travel have also come to a halt.”


       —Following Orders    Dec. 9 '07 - 01:16AM    #
  24. When will the next campaign to boycott Israel begin, in Ann Arbor?

    To prevent City police from physically attacking peace activists, perhaps the Ann Arbor Police Department can make a policy to accept no police training in Israel.

    The Ann Arbor Police Chief, Barnett Jones, was trained in Israel, and it is documented in the “New York Times”. He called Israel “the front line”.

    Here is what the NY Times said, exactly, at:


    “...Barnett Jones, chief of the Sterling, Mich., Police Department, with 259 employees, was one of more than a dozen officials who went to Israel for training in April.

    “ ‘One would say it is the front line,’ Chief Barnett said of Israel. ‘We’re in a global war.’

    “Asked whether he had specific concerns because of the large Arab and Muslim population in the Detroit area, he responded delicately, saying: ‘The reality is we have a large population in our community that immediately become suspect, whether that is right or wrong, because of the global war…’ “

    —NY Times, July 25, 2005


       —Israeli training    Dec. 9 '07 - 01:26AM    #
  25. Here is the sign that times may be changing….


    Israeli minister ‘in fear of arrest’ cancels UK visit

    By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
    Published: 07 December 2007

    A senior Israeli minister has turned down an invitation to visit Britain because of fears he could have been arrested on war crimes charges arising from the assassination of a top Hamas military commander five years ago.

       —Zionists on the run...    Dec. 9 '07 - 01:28AM    #
  26. Let’s see if this thread will go on for another 600 posts!

    You are all so much fun to read!

       —Jared Goldberg    Dec. 11 '07 - 02:27AM    #
  27. What does this silence around Israel and its crimes tell you?

    It tells me that you are cowards!

    You are cowards for letting the genocide of Palestinians go on every minute of everyday of every year.

    You are cowards for paying for it in full and pretending you are against it.
    You are cowards for protecting the racist despicable state of Israel and its crimes with your silence and inaction.

    You are cowards!

       —Your silence and Israel's crimes    Dec. 11 '07 - 10:02PM    #
  28. I appreciate the information on the Israel connection to Barnett Jones,Ann Arbor’s Chief of Police;it was enlightening.It is also worth mentioning that the Wilkerson case was prosecuted by Margaret Connors,whose husband had been a substantial donor to the Michigan Republican Party and later got a circuit judge appointment by Governor Engler (his conduct was criticized by the organization People Against Corruption in their fascinating website). Margaret Connors’ father-in law served as president of U-M Hospital and later as a senior official of the American Hospital Association – an organization not known for liberal leanings. Brian Mackie, although nominally a Democrat, has raised the hackles of many local residents in recent years in his office’s failure to take appropriate action in cases involving allegations of police misconduct or that of elected officials. Two recent blatant examples include the sheriff’s deputy who will receive no jail time despite being charged with falsifying a police report and Mackie’s office declining to authorize charges as to District Court Judge Sylvia James in an incident involving a firearm. Mr. Mackie is going to be facing an election next year and we need to field and support a candidate who will evenhandedly enforce our criminal laws. The same applies to the local judgeship vacancies. Dr. Wilkerson had the courage to fight the conservative establishment and was acquitted;hopefully her and Mr. Davis will consider a civil suit in connection with her arrest. The prior posts are dead on right -we need action in protesting the failed U.S foreign policy as well as local officials who are responsible for these politically motivated prosecutions;mere sympathy is not enough. We owe it to the innocent victims in Gaza. Thank you.

       —Mark Koroi    Dec. 14 '07 - 10:16AM    #
  29. “Pro-palestinian group at Case hosts 1st event”

    by: Marilyn H. Karfeld

    CLEVELAND JEWISH NEWS (Cleveland, Ohio)
    December 6, 2007

    “Just before the Thanksgiving break, about 500 people gathered at Case Western Reserve University to hear speakers discuss human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza…”

       —500 for Palestine    Dec. 15 '07 - 12:56AM    #
  30. Were they really a “Pro-palestinian group” of “500 for Palestine”, or were they a group of people who oppose “human rights abuses” (or, more positively, “respect human rights”)?

    There’s a difference, and it seems to be lost on both the reporter (Karfeld, or at least the headline writer) and the commenter. A similar lack of clarity about being “anti-Israel” came through in some of the quotes in the article. Peace and human rights advocates would do well to avoid getting mixed up in that kind of negative labeling.

       —Steve Bean    Dec. 15 '07 - 02:46AM    #
  31. Yes, precision is essential, before any action is taken. Was it really 500 people for Palestinian human rights? Or 400?

    In the cited article, a student organizer was quoted:

    “Palestinians are living ‘without power, food and water,’ says Schwen, a varsity soccer player and class of 2009 president. ‘The economy (in West Bank and Gaza) is practically gone. (Palestinians) need medical treatment.’ “

    But wait— Is that precise enough, to necessitate action against Israel?

    * How many Palestinians, exactly, are living without power, food, and water?

    * How much, exactly, of the Palestinian economy is gone, and exactly how far gone?

    * How many Palestinians need medical treatment, exactly, and for what, exactly?

    * Can you even say “Palestine”, precisely, when no actual state of “Palestine” exists, exactly?


    According to Israel, everything we are discussing is “The Land of Israel”, or, in some cases, it’s territory disputed by Israel.

    So, until we can have precise answers, phrased in just the right positive tone of voice, there can be no action to boycott Israel, to compel Israel to lift the blockade against Palestine…

    ...if “Palestine” even exists, precisely.

    Thanks, Precision Man!

       —"Palestine"    Dec. 15 '07 - 03:45AM    #
  32. …to necessitate action against Israel?

    This is wording that will trigger defensiveness. To the extent that you are failing in your efforts (and you are), it’s largely because of your choice of words. To the extent that you succeed with some people (including me) it’s in spite of your choice of words. Mocking and calling your supporters names is foolish and selfish.

       —Steve Bean    Dec. 16 '07 - 12:24AM    #
  33. Are ya’ll Ann Arbor Anti-Zionist Crusaders like this in all other areas of your lives besides protesting? How do y’all maintain professions, friends, relationships?

       —M    Dec. 16 '07 - 06:44AM    #
  34. News flash! Blog spam is revealed to be a tool of the the worldwide Zionist conspiracy intended to obscure Blaine’s brilliance on Arbor Update!

    Quick! More ammonia!

       —ammonia? get off!    Dec. 16 '07 - 10:28AM    #
  35. Ahh!!! Spam-blocker failure! My eyes!!

       —M    Dec. 17 '07 - 08:54AM    #
  36. By posting rubbish on this blog, your intent is to drag this discussion in mud and discourage interested individuals from reading relevant information on racism and Zionism and actions of the racist Zionist State of Israel.

    If Zionist intentions, to silence debate on Israel and its illegal and immoral actions, are not evident from such postings (53, 54), I don’t know what is?
       —Zionism is racism    Dec. 18 '07 - 12:26AM    #
  37. ...What?

    It is not allowed to put information bout Israeli terrorism on this blog?


       —Israeli terrorism    Dec. 18 '07 - 02:20AM    #
  38. Desperate to silence the dialog about Israel and its crimes!?

    Well, it is just too late for that.

    Boycott Israel NOW!!!

       —Israeli terrorism    Dec. 18 '07 - 02:31AM    #
  39. To answer the question

    “– what are these weird posts (e.g. no. 4 on this thread) which mean nothing and how do they creep into AU? “


    They are to stifle dialog on Israeli crimes. Whoever is doing it, means to push the talk on Israel down the page…Similar weird posts also appear on other threads…

    And yes someone should clean them up…

       —Stop Israel    Dec. 18 '07 - 03:05AM    #
  40. A bit paranoid, aren’t we?

       —M    Dec. 18 '07 - 05:11AM    #
  41. Man, I’m feelin’ ‘bout to silence some “dialoge on Israeli crimes.”

    How about we get off this busstop ranting kick?

       —js    Dec. 18 '07 - 06:13AM    #
  42. BBC World News: Tuesday, 18 December 2007

    Israeli army crimes ‘unpunished’

    An Israeli human rights group (Yesh Din: Established in 2005, it is comprised of volunteers who have organized to oppose the continuing violation of Palestinian human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory) says the overwhelming majority of Israeli troops suspected of criminal offences against Palestinians are never indicted.

    Stop Israeli crimes…


       —Israeli crimes    Dec. 19 '07 - 02:16AM    #
  43. The BBC is entirely correct in its assertion, however let us not forget the failure of the U.S to pursue action against Israeli army soldiers who are implicated in homicides against American citizens in stark contrast to the British, who have done so vigorously. The deaths of Britons James Miller and Thomas Hurndall resulted in inquests by the British government that found IDF soldiers responsible for intentional killing and have aggressively pursued further legal action in those cases seek to have those responsible personnel brought to justice. Hurndall’s death had caused a manslaughter conviction and prison sentence to be imposed against an IDF sergeant, but I suspect this prosecution occurred at all in Israel was since the soldier was a Bedouin Arab that the IDF considered expendable. The British are seeking a war crimes prosecution against the soldier involved in the tragic death of Miller, who was an Emmy award-winning producer filming a documentary in Gaza when he was shot(the posthumously completed “Death in Gaza” won critical acclaim despite its release as a work-in-process).Rachel Corrie, on the other hand, while being lauded as a heroine in Britain,with songs and a theatre production on her life,was almost completely forgotten by our government. One lone U.S. House member introduced a bill calling for an investigation into her death, however this fell completely on deaf ears. Rachel’s parents have toured the world to seek justice for their daughter and even visited St. Mary’s Church in Livonia not too long ago. There was a plethora of photographs and witness statements that supported a finding of intentional killing but our government has, sadly, done zero for Rachel’s family.

       —Mark Koroi    Dec. 20 '07 - 05:44AM    #
  44. Prosecutor Connors is, today, mentioned as a judgeship candidate:

    So is that extremely eager booster of Israel, Councilmember Lowenstein. Her Israeli training should come in very handy, as she decides who will, and who will not, have the right to protest against Zionism.

    Lowenstein was seen at an event of the local Zionist federation, very vigorously demanding that the police intercede against peaceful protestors. The protestors were holding cardboard signs for Palestinian human rights.

    Was Lowenstein representing the extremely violent, racist state of Israel? Or was she acting as an Ann Arbor City Council member? Will Lowenstein get the chance, as a judge, to give orders to the Ann Arbor police, as to whom she will forcibly shut up?

       —"Palestine"    Dec. 20 '07 - 10:23PM    #
  45. We already know how a future “Judge” Lowenstein would speak of peaceful divest-from-Israel conferences. She has already spoken of them as if they are attacks from “terrorist groups”.

    The last time she spoke, together with Ray Tanter, at a campus rally against the U-M divestment conference, here is what Joan Lowenstein said:

    “We should not have to be here today. It should be a given that the state of Israel is secure and that Jews all over the world are safe,” Lowenstein said.

    “But that is not a given. Israel is under attack from terrorist groups that seek her destruction, and Jews are under attack even here.”


    Isn’t it a fair guess that, if the police are called to arrest campus protestors who want divestment from Israel, she will be glad to have the police treat the protestors as “terrorist groups” who represent some kind of danger to Jews?

    Will a “Judge” Lowenstein rule in support of Israeli brutality, or in support of the First Amendment?

       —"Judge"?    Dec. 21 '07 - 12:12AM    #
  46. Judge Elizabeth Pollard-Hines won respect from courtroom observers for her even-handed rulings and calm, courteous courtroom demeanor in the trial of Dr. Catherine Wilkerson and Ann Mattson’s professionalism as a jurist will be remembered after she retires next year as she was one of Governor Engler’s best judicial appointments. I, however, am apprehensive about the quality of potential candidates that may be filing to fill Judge Mattson’s seat. Firstly, I am pleased to see that Margaret Connors has told the Ann Arbor News of her current lack of interest in the seat held by Mattson; I suspect that this lack of interest will continue as her failed prosecution of Dr.Wilkerson won few points in the conservative local establishment and also served as a rallying point for those protesting human rights violations in Israel who consider the Wilkerson prosecution political and point to the jury verdict of acquittal as a major victory for their cause.The Wilkerson not guilty verdict was an obvious blow to any ambitions she may have had to Judge Mattson’s seat. The prior posts relative to Joan Lowenstein are likewise well-taken. She has been criticized as intemperate and hostile toward those who are concerned about the human rights of Palestinians; certainly other council members have treated citizens addressing city council in a responsible and respectful manner. Further, in responding to the calls of many local citizens for the council to adopt a resolution relative to divestment, she expresses great hesitation in having the council address foreign policy issues, yet she voted on several council resolutions in prior years relative to involvement in Iraq and elsewhere. I also failed to notice any position she has enunciated recently regarding the prosecution of Dr. Wilkerson. Larry Kestenbaum, who is Jewish, called the Wilkerson prosecution “disturbing” on this page and lauded the acquittal; I agree. These are some of the reasons why the prospect of a Lowenstein judgeship concerns me about as much as a Margaret Connors judgeship. Thus far the only possible candidate I have heard that has had local residents express optimism is Doug Shapiro, who is a respected member of the legal community and whose ethics are above reproach; let’s hope we have at least one candidate on the ballot like Mr. Shapiro who can fill the big shoes of Judge Mattson.

       —Mark Koroi    Dec. 21 '07 - 06:38AM    #
  47. Unbelievable that City Councilmember Lowenstein is running to be Judge! What will she do with Palestine human rights protestors?

    * You’ll remember that Lowenstein gave a panicked speech on campus, together with Raymond Tanter, denouncing an academic conference on divesting from Israel. (See Michigan Daily, 10/11/2002)

    * It’s the same Joan Lowenstein who publicly made fun of a woman for wearing the Muslim hijab. (See Arbor Update, Sept. 8, 2007: “PFC boycott vote begins on Saturday”)

    * It’s the same Joan Lowenstein who supported cutting off all Public Comment at the beginning of City Council meetings, unless approved in advance by the Council— when Public Comments started supporting Palestinian human rights (See Michigan Daily, January 8, 2004)

    * And, as stated above, it’s the same Lowenstein who urged the police to take action against peaceful Palestine human rights advocates.

    It would make more sense for Lowenstein to be Judge of an Israeli military tribunal.

    She reflects their way of thinking.
    She was also trained in Israeli schools.
    She can give and receive orders in Hebrew.


       —Lowenstein? For Judge?    Dec. 21 '07 - 09:35PM    #
  48. The website recently added the entire video of the excellent closing argument of Dr. Wilkerson’s defense counsel Hugh “Buck” Davis in downloadable form; its a must see! Ironically, the organization People Against Corruption has documented the “convenient” lack of availability of courtroom videotapes relative to court proceedings presided over by the husband of Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Margaret Connors; see for the fascinating details.

       —Mark Koroi    Dec. 22 '07 - 02:32AM    #
  49. As previously stated, potentially misleading pseudonyms are not permitted on ArborUpdate. We have changed the offending entry and closed the comments on this thread. For those of you who were participating in the discussion without resorting to such tactics, thank you for your understanding.

       —Juliew    Dec. 22 '07 - 02:58AM    #