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       Vol. 41, No.4                                                 September 09, 2008





Here they go again.

Susan Rosenberg. Convicted far-left terrorist. Championed by the New Caucus.

Lori Berenson. Convicted far-left terrorist. Championed by the New Caucus.

Sami Al-Arian. Convicted of aiding Islamic Jihad. Championed by the New Caucus.

Mohamed Yousry. Convicted far-left terrorist. Championed by the New Caucus.

Michael Letwin. Extremist anti-Israel "activist." Given PSC award by our Dear Leader, Barbara Bowen.


According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New Caucasians running the PSC into the ground have again identified themselves with a suspected terrorist. Fahad Syed Hashmi is a Brooklyn graduate charged with providing material assistance to Al Qaeda. In 2006, he was arrested in Britain, carrying an expired student visa, attempting to travel to Pakistan with a large amount of cash. Hashmi's time as a CUNY student had ended several years before his arrest.

Like any accused criminal, Hashmi is innocent unless proven guilty. But for the New Caucuasians, Hashmi's case---like Yousry's and Berenson's and Rosenberg's and Al-Arian's and Letwin's before it---seems to be another opportunity to demonstrate their extremist credentials, even at the expense of costing CUNY faculty much-needed public support.

According to the public statement they signed, New Caucasians Renate Bridenthal (head of the PSC's "International Committee"), Jim Perlstein (member of the New Caucus executive committee and retiree officer), and PSC grievance counselor Tim Shortell (who once opined that all religious people are "moral retards") contend that Hashmi's civil liberties have been violated because "under a plea agreement reported in the media, [alleged Hashmi confederate Junaid] Babar will receive a reduced sentence in return for his cooperation."

Are the New Caucasians implying that it's a violation of civil liberties for the government to use a plea bargain to obtain testimony? If so, maybe the Dear Leader and her allies next can rally on behalf of Wall Street financiers or Mafia dons who have been brought down by testimony obtained through plea bargains.

In their public statement, Brooklyn New Caucasians Scott Dexter, Carolina Bank Muñoz, Priya Parmar, Stuart Schaar, and Jocelyn Wills revealed that the government is alleging that Hashmi tried to provide "raincoats, ponchos, and waterproof socks" to Al Qaeda operatives in western Pakistan. They chose not to mention two other items---a large amount of cash and night vision goggles---which the government says Hashmi sought to transport to Al Qaeda. Are these New Caucasians really implying that raincoats, ponchos, and waterproof socks are more important to a terrorist organization than a large amount of cash and night vision goggles?

[A full sixty percent of the Brooklyn PSC's executive committee signed the Hashmi statement.]

New Caucasian "Radical Ros" Petchesky of Hunter (alternate to the Delegate Assembly) signed on to a claim that Hashmi "was a member of Al Muhajiroun. This group takes and advocates positions well outside the mainstream of American public opinion." They don't want to say exactly what positions the group advocated. According to the BBC, Al Muhajiroun praised the attacks on the World Trade Center (in which, of course, some CUNY students and members of their families were killed), demands the imposition of Shari'a law in the West, and was banned by the British government due to its support for terrorism.

The statement signed by two key members of PSC management---university-wide officers Nancy Romer and Alex Vitale---denounced as "draconian" the special administrative measures under which Hashmi is confined. Why? Hashmi "was held with other prisoners in a British jail for eleven months without incident." Romer and Vitale didn't mention that after Hashmi was removed from a British jail, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Baroni told the court that Hashmi, before multiple witnesses at Heathrow Airport, "was extremely violent. He repeatedly shouted at his arresting officers that he hoped they would be killed." Is it a violation of civil liberties to change the terms of a prisoner's incarceration based on his conduct?

New Caucasians Charles Post and Penelope Lewis of BMCC described Hashmi, whose family comes from Pakistan, as a "Muslim American." Should we now term Ted Kennedy a "Catholic American," or George Bush a "Protestant American," or Gloria Steinem an "Atheist American"?

New Caucasians Patrick Lloyd, Eleanor Bader, and Susan O'Malley of Kingsborough: "The prosecution's case against Hashmi, an activist within the Muslim community, threatens the First Amendment rights of others. While Hashmi's political and religious beliefs, speech, and associations [such as his admiration for American Taliban, John Walker Lindh] are constitutionally protected, the government may attempt to use them as evidence of his criminal intent."

To see the Queen of Released Time, of all people, claiming to support the First Amendment is amazing.

Beyond that, are the New Caucasians implying that it's a violation of civil liberties for the government to use prior statements or actions by a defendant to help establish intent? If so, maybe the Dear Leader and her allies next can rally on behalf of gay-bashers or killers of abortion doctors whose statements were used at their trials to help establish intent.


Will the New Caucus-dominated Delegate Assembly be passing a resolution of support for Hashmi? Will PSC monies will be sent to Hashmi's defense fund (as was done with Al-Arian and Berenson)?

The Patriot Returns fully supports the First Amendment rights of all New Caucasians to make any public utterances, no matter how absurd. But when the holders of these absurd positions are also the public faces of our union, we all suffer.

Like it or not, we rely on politicians for much of our budget. What politician would want to be associated with a union whose activist core is filled with such wild ideas?

Is it any wonder that the New Caucus-led PSC can never manage to negotiate a contract that even keeps pace with inflation?


Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus



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