N.J. Lawmakers Urge No Funding for Cuban Relations Until Chesimard is Returned to U.S. 2

Assata Shakur, the former Joanne Chesimard, escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. (Photo: Associated Press)

Assata Shakur, the former Joanne Chesimard, escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. (Photo: Associated Press)

By Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, The Star-Ledger

WASHINGTON — Congress should not approve any money for restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba until convicted cop-killer Joanne Chesimard is returned to the U.S., three New Jersey Republican federal lawmakers said today.

U.S. Reps. Scott Garrett (R-5th Dist.), Leonard Lance (R-7th Dist.) and Tom MacArthur (R-3rd Dist.) made the request in a letter today to fellow Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee that approves spending on foreign operations, and the panel’s ranking member, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).

“Any attempt by the Obama administration to normalize relations with Cuba must include the extradition of Joanne Chesimard back to New Jersey so that she can face justice and serve out her sentence,” the lawmakers wrote. “Until Cuba accepts this condition, we request all funds directed toward normalization be withheld.

Today’s letter is the latest attempt by the New Jersey congressional delegation to make Chesimard’s return a condition of resuming diplomatic relations with Cuba. U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).told Secretary of State John Kerry in a letter last month that Chesimard and other fugitives must be extradited before Cuba is removed from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

In January, members of the state’s congressional delegation called on President Obama to make Chesimard’s extradition “an immediate priority,”

Chesimard escaped prison and fled to Cuba after being sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1973 murder of Trooper Werner Foerster during a gunfight. Chesimard and other members of the Black Liberation Army had been stopped by State Police on the New Jersey Turnpike. In 2013, she became the first woman on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists.

The calls for Chesimard’s extradition have grown louder since Obama in December announced a “new approach” to Cuba, which has been under a U.S. embargo for a half-century, and said he would easing economic restrictions and move toward re-establishing diplomatic relations with the communist regime.

Article continues here:  NJ Lawmakers

 

2 comments

  1. Excellent point.I bet anything,that the alcoholic dictator Raul Castro is not going to accept because he does not care to have legitimate relations with the US. Raul Castro put pressure to get his spies returned to the Island. Now he wants to continue putting pressure the same way the Soviets used to do,negotiating from a position of strength. Why? Because he is trying to see how much can he gets until he reaches the point of no return. Raul’s next move.Gitmo naval base.Why? because he knows that Venezuela is not strong enough to be there for a decade and the Cuban economy needs to be subsidized in order to survive.
    Raul is already thinking of renting the Naval base,if the base end up in his hands of course, to the Russians.The hell. I call them Soviets. If Castro rents the base to the Russians,there is going to be more cooperation between the two countries in a more profound way and there is going to be more room for the Cubans to gather better intelligence from the US to sell to terrorist countries because the fruit of this Russo-Cuban relationship that Raul is foreseeing will involved technology.A better technology to enhance espionage capability.

  2. It makes me vomit, to actually hear that POLITICIANS IN THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, A STATE WHICH BY A RECORD OF CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORICAL FACTS IS CATALOGED AND EVIDENCED TO BE ONE OF THE MOST CORRUPT STATES IN THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF OUR NATION AND HAVING HAD seven “ACTING” Governors in its past recent history, serving in the Governor´s Mansion of New Jersey due to corruption charges filed against seven Governors during a period of time expanding the past twenty years, even a U.S. Congressman named Torricelli–who coincidently–crafted and put his own name on the Cuban Trade embargo legislation and who was later forced to resign under a widespread enormous political scandal of corruption charges. He no longer is a Congressman This same State is where Assata Shakur was unfairly tried and judged by an ALL WHITE JURY and now wants her back in New Jersey to make Governor Christie´s polls rise on such an occurrence. I sincerely believe no one who has been in political office from the State of New Jersey, is apt, or should be elected to the Oval Office as President of the United States. IT WOULD BE A DISASTER. Governor Christie is from the State of New Jersey and in my opinion it would be a disaster to elect him as President of the United States. With this Assata Shakur nonsense he has just cancelled himself of that possibility. Please someone let him know he is wasting his time if he thinks this will help his flawed idea to become a President of the United States from the political position of Governor of one of the most corrupt states in political history of the United States of America. God spare us of such a disaster.

    BEFORE ANYBODY ELSE, ASIDE FROM GOVERNOR CHRISTIE WHO RECENTLY WROTE A LETTER TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA ON ASSATA SHAKUR´S CASE, YET WITHOUT PROPER DUE DILIGENCE CONDUCTED BY HIM INTO THIS WOMAN´S ACTUAL CASE AS WAS TRIED BY AN ALL WHITE JURY, IN A NATION, SUCH AS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, REPLETE WITH RACISM THROUGHOUT ITS HISTORY, TO THE POINT OF EVEN HAVING GONE INTO CIVIL WAR ABOUT IT AND STILL SUCH PROBLEM OF RACISM BEING MORE RELEVANT TODAY IN 2014 AS IT WAS IN 1979. PLEASE READ, FIRST, THE FOLLOWING LETTER FROM THIS WOMAN´S ATTORNEY AND ALSO A RESOLUTION FILED IN A MAYOR CITY HALL OF THE UNITED STATES, BEFORE TAKING AN OPINION ON THIS MATTER:

    Here´s what Assata Shakur´s attorney had to say about the unfair trial this black woman underwent during the days of the reign of J.Edgar Hoover “Director of the FBI for Life”, in a U.S. court of law that made a similar unfair determination and equally unjust as the recent grand jury investigations conducted of the killings that have very recently been conducted in 2014 by policemen in the United States of America, which has serve to create widespread chaos, agony, disgust and widespread civil unrest in this nation.

    “As a member of Assata’s New Jersey trial legal defense team, and her appeal lawyer, I think a correct statement of the circumstances of New Jersey Trooper Werner Foerster’s death as established by exhibits, trial testimony and forensic evidence and that conclusively repudiate the revisionist lies now being advanced by the State of New Jersey as “fact”, need to be repeated.

    It is to be remembered that the only surviving eyewitnesses to the NJ Turnpike shoot-out were (1) Sundiata Acoli, (2) Trooper Harper, (3) Assata and (4) the driver of a car traveling along the NJ Turnpike at the time of the incident. Zayd Malik Shakur, a passenger, was killed during the shootout.

    1. Sundiata did not testify at trial, nor did he make any pre-trial statements.

    2. Harper’s testimony and actions are contained in the following documents (admitted into evidence)

    a. The three official investigative reports prepared by Harper, in which he wrote that after he stopped the Pontiac, he ordered Sundiata to the back of the car to show his driver’s license to Trooper Foerster who had arrived at the scene. That Sundiata complied without incident. That as he looked into the inside door of the Pontiac to check the registration, Foerster yelled at him and held up an ammunition clip. He stated that at the same time Assata reached into a red pocketbook, removed a gun from it and fired at him. That he immediately ran to the rear of his car and fired at Assata, who had emerged from the car, and was firing at him from a prostrate position alongside of the Pontiac. And it was at this point that he shot her. (admitted into evidence)

    b. His Grand Jury testimony where he swore under oath to the truth of the statements he had made in his 3 official reports. (admitted into evidence)

    c. Trial transcripts of his testimony at both Sundiata’s and Assata’s trials where he admitted, under cross-examination, that he had lied in all three of his official reports and in his Grand Jury testimony. That the truth was that Foerster had never shown him an ammunition clip; that Foerster had not yelled to him; that he had not seen a gun in Assata’s hand while she was seated in the car; that Assata did not shoot him from the car; and that he had not seen a red pocketbook.

    d. Audio tapes of the official recorded NJ Turnpike radio communications between all NJ State Trooper cars traveling the Turnpike near the scene of the shoot-out, dated May 2, 1973, which revealed that two additional turnpike patrol cars, those driven by Trooper Robert Palenchar and Trooper Woerner Foerster, had been ordered to aid Harper at the stop prior to the shoot-out. (admitted into evidence)

    e. The verbatim, hand-written record of what transpired inside the NJ Turnpike Administration Building when Harper entered it at or about 1AM on May 2, 1973, to report the shoot-out to Sergeant Chester Baginski who was in charge of maintaining the official record of turnpike occurrences on that (refereed to as the Station Bible). Harper reported that he had just been involved in a shoot-out after he had stopped a Pontiac containing three Black people, two men and a woman, that he had been wounded, and that the Pontiac was proceeding South on the turnpike. He gave the license plate number, but did not mention that Trooper Foerster had arrived at the scene. (admitted into evidence)

    f. Audio tapes of the investigation conducted by Detective Sgt. First Class Richard H. Kelly in the Administration Building at 7:37AM that morning to determine why over an hour elapsed from the time Harper entered the Administration Building that night and the discovery of Foerster’s body. Statements by each of the troopers present when Harper came into the Administration Building revealed that Harper had not reported Foerster’s presence at the scene and that no one was aware of the fact that Foerster lay on the road beside his car in front of the Administration building for over an hour, when his body was accidentally discovered by Trooper O’Rourke who had left the Administration building to investigate the scene of the shoot-out, less than 200 yards away. (admitted into evidence)

    3. Assata testified that Harper stopped the car without any known reason, shot her with her arms raised at his demand, and then shot her in the back as she was turning to avoid his bullets. Almost mortally wounded, and semi-conscious, she climbed into the backseat of the Pontiac to avoid further bullets. Sundiata drove the car five miles down the road and parked it, where she remained until State Troopers dragged her onto the road.

    4. A driver traveling north along the turnpike at the time of the incident testified at trial that he had seen a State Trooper struggling with a Black man between a parked white vehicle and a State Trooper car whose overhead revolving lights lit up the area. He was unable to identify the Black man, and further stated that he saw no one else on the road or at the scene. He immediately reported what he had seen to New Jersey Police Headquarters.

    It therefore remained only forensic evidence to help determine the facts of that night as much as they could be determined. The forensic evidence examined by both the New Jersey crime laboratory in Trenton, New Jersey and FBI crime laboratories in Washington, D.C. established the following:

    1. The finger print analyses of every gun and every piece of ammunition found at the scene showed there were no fingerprints of Assata found on any of them. (The official analyses admitted into evidence)

    2. Neutron Activation Analysis taken immediately after Assata was taken to the hospital that night showed there was no gun power residue on her hands. Effectively refuting the possibility that she had fired a gun. (The official analyses were admitted into evidence)

    3. As a result of the bullet Harper shot under her armpit, while her arms were raised in, her median nerve was severed, immediately paralyzing her entire right arm, shattering her clavicle, and lodging in her chest so close to her heart that an operation to remove it was not feasible. A neurologist testified to that fact at the trial.

    4. A pathologist testified that “There is no conceivable way that the bullet could have traveled over to the clavicle if her arm was down. That trajectory is impossible.”

    5. A surgeon testified that “it was anatomically necessary that both arms be in the air for Ms. Chesimard to have received the wounds she did.”

    The state offered no expert witnesses to refute this medical testimony.

    6. Photographs depicting the gunshot entry wound under her armpit and the entry would of the bullet Harper shot into her back were admitted into evidence during the trial.

    Therefore, since no evidence existed that proved Assata fired the bullet that killed Trooper Foerster, why was she found guilty of his murder? There are several explanations:

    The first is that the climate of hatred, prejudice and racism that had so contaminated the Middlesex County jury pool in 1973 that a change of venue was ordered, continued to exist in 1977. The unanimous opinion of the 1973 jury pool was “If she’s Black, she’s guilty.” After three defense motions for change of venue, Judge Leon Gerofsky granted the motion, stating, “It was almost impossible to obtain a jury here comprised of people willing to accept the responsibility of impartiality so that defendants will be protected from transitory passion and prejudice.” The trial was then moved to Morris County where Assata’s trial was severed from Sundiata’s because of her pregnancy.

    In 1977 Assata began trial for the second time in this same Middlesex County, and this time jury nullification was insured: The jurors chosen to determine Assata’s guilt or innocence consisted of five jurors who were either relatives or close personal friends of state troopers or of state law enforcement officers.

    However, Assata was not convicted of firing the shot that killed Trooper Foerster. She was convicted as an accomplice to his murder under New Jersey’s “aiding and abetting” statute. Under New Jersey law, if a person’s presence at the scene of a crime can be construed as “aiding and abetting” the crime, that person can be convicted of the substantive crime itself. Judge Theodore Appleby charged the jury that they were permitted to speculate that Assata’s “mere presence” at a scene of violence, with weapons in the vehicle, was sufficient to sustain a conviction of the murder of Trooper Foerster. She was also convicted of possession of weapons – none of which could be identified as having been handled by her and of the attempted murder of Trooper Harper, who had sustained a flesh wound at the time of the shootout.

    Now, 32 years after her conviction, a new, fabricated version of Foerster’s death has emerged:

    There is absolutely no evidence to support statements made by Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, who said that “It was later determined that Werner Foerster’s service weapon was ripped from his holster as he lay wounded on the pavement, and he was executed with two shots to the head from his own service weapon.”

    But his motivation for making those statements is clear:

    1. To justify Assata being placed on the domestic terror watch list along with Osama bin Ladin. He said, “Anyone with a mindset that would execute a police officer once they were on the ground is dangerous enough to be considered a domestic terrorism threat.” But Assata is the only person convicted of a single domestic crime who has been classified a terrorist and put on the terrorism watch list, thereby nullifying the very definition of “terrorism”

    2. To justify the $1 million dollar bounty to be paid from tax payers money. He said, “The reward money should make Chesimard a much more attractive quarry for professional bounty hunters.”

    New Jersey State Assembly Speaker, Albio Sires, a longtime member of CANF (Cuban American National Foundation, representing Cuban exiles), said: “If Cuba’s citizenry could be informed of the $1 million bounty and the real story of Chesimard’s crimes, there is an increased likelihood of her being brought to Justice…. We want the Cuban people to know the real story about Joanne Chesimard and not the deceptive representation advanced by the Castro regime. We want people to realize that she is not a hero and she is really a violent criminal who is wanted for killing a State Trooper and escaping justice.”

    By falsely asserting that Assata shot Foerster in the head while he lay helplessly on the ground, killing him “execution style”, the US Justice Department hopes to strip Assata of any of the sympathy and political support she now receives in the United States and from the citizens of Cuba. By labeling her a cold-blooded cop killer, the hope is that the real circumstances of the NJ Turnpike as well as all the years prior to that event during which time Assata was relentlessly hunted with the stated purpose of killing her on sight for having committed crimes of which the government knew she was innocent, will be forgotten.

    But even as official lies are now being manufactured to convert Assata into a terrorist, so that Cuba can be accused of “harboring a terrorist” and to justify kidnapping her, there are, in fact, two well-known and admitted, convicted terrorists who are now being given safe harbor in the United States.

    The US government has refused to extradite admitted terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, (charged with the shoot down of a Cuban airliner in 1976, killing 73 civilians and convicted of other terrorist acts including the Bay of Pigs). The US government has also refused to extradite Posada’s convicted fellow terrorist, Orlando Bosch, who escaped from Venezuela and came to Miami in 1987 with the assistance of the CANF, Jeb Bush and his father, the then US Attorney, Gonzalez, who personally approved the bounty, also approved prisoner torture at Abu Ghreb. Or that the approval came after New Jersey resident, Michael Chertoff, was named Secretary of the Department of Homeland Defense.

    There are the facts. Let us not forget them.”

    Evelyn A. Williams
    Attorney For Assata Shakur

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

    ALSO, the City of Detroit Council members drew-up a resolution in support of this woman and you also must read this to get the facts and know morebefore you opine. Far to many cases of injustice are being committed in U.S. Courts and later reversed and this is the case here as well tried during a time when black and white divisionism and racism in this nation was rampant as it is today in 2014.

    Detroit Watson
    RESOLUTION BY COUNCIL MEMBER
    Jo Ann Watson

    RESOLUTION FOR U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO WITHDRAW THE $1 MILLION DOLLAR BOUNTY FOR THE CAPTURE OF ASSATA SHAKUR

    WHEREAS
    Pervasive and unrelenting police terrorism directed at communities of color during the 19605 made necessary the formation of The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and

    WHEREAS
    Numerous dedicated and courageous young people of African ancestry enlisted in the ranks of the Black Panther Party to monitor and deter police violence, and to staff community service programs aimed at providing food, health care, legal assistance, transportation and other services to Black and other poor people living in poverty, and

    WHEREAS
    One of the committed individuals who joined the Black Panther Party was Assata Shakur, and

    WHEREAS
    J. Edgar Hoover, then-Director of the FBI, proclaimed that the Black Panther party was “the greatest threat to the internal security” of the United States, and

    WHEREAS
    The FBI commenced an illegal campaign of terror against the Black Panther Party that came to be known as “COINTELPRO” (Counter-lntelligence Program), and

    WHEREAS
    In the face of increasing government violence directed at the Black Panther Party, and other activists, Assata Shakur became one of many targets of government surveillance, harassment and Intimidation, and

    WHEREAS
    On May 2, 1973, Shakur and others in a vehicle in which she was traveling became the victims of racial profiling when they were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike, allegedly because of a broken tail-light, and

    WHEREAS
    Shakur reported that, during the stop, she was shot twice after she had complied with the New Jersey State Trooper demand that she raise her hands, and

    WHEREAS
    During the stop, fatal gunshot wounds were sustained by a State Trooper and one of Shakur’s companions, and

    WHEREAS
    Shakur was later charged with both deaths and then tried before an all-white jury, and

    WHEREAS
    Notwithstanding the fact that defense lawyers presented objective medical and other evidence that substantiated Shakur’s contention that her hands were raised when she was shot, she was nevertheless convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment plus 33 years, and

    WHEREAS
    Shakur reported that she endured torture and continuing threats of violence while in the custody of police and prison officials, and

    WHEREAS
    Shakur escaped from Clinton Correctional Institution in 1979 after she concluded that her life was in danger and that she had no hope of receiving justice, and

    WHEREAS
    Even though Shakur was ultimately granted political asylum in Cuba, New Jersey and Federal officials have pursued her relentlessly since her escape, and

    WHEREAS
    No extradition treaty exists between the United States and Cuba, and consequently there are no legal grounds for demanding Shakur’s return to U.S. shores, and

    WHEREAS
    On May 2,2005, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it is offering an extraordinary one million dollar bounty for Shakur’s capture, notwithstanding the fact that supporters contend that she has been repeatedly denied the following and other human rights recognized under international law: freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention and exile; freedom from torture, and cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment; a presumption of innocence at trial; and the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution; and

    WHEREAS
    The bounty is likely to encourage illegal and unjustifiable kidnapping attempts that will place Shakur’s life in jeopardy, and

    WHEREAS
    Shakur’s supporters have proclaimed Sunday, July 17, 2005 as “International Hands Off Assata Day”; NOW THEREFORE BE IT

    RESOLVED
    That the City Council for the City of Detroit calls upon the U.S. Justice Department to demonstrate respect for U.S. and intemutional law by immediately withdrawing the offer to pay a one million dollar bounty for the capture of Assata Shakur; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED

    That the City Council for the City of Detroit proclaims its support for “International Hands Off Assata Day” on Sunday, July 17,2005.

    July 20, 2005

    Contact Information
    JoAnn Watson
    1340 Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
    2 Woodward Ave
    Detroit, MI 48226
    (313) 224-4535 (office)
    (313) 224-1524 (fax)

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    Let us not asume that because a U.S. Court of justice tried this woman was tried fairly and judged by what was an ALL WHITE JURY.

    I want people in this forum who think to know what this woman has expressed.

    Her case is more relevant today than ever because of the fact that people of black color in 2014 are being killed in the streets of the United States by policemen under very extenuating suspect circumstances this has moved this nation to civil unrest throughout many parts of this nation:

    Now, let us examine what this nation did with the murderous officers of the SS who were gultiy of having killed 6,000,000 jews duriung world war II. We have them save harbor and are now questioning Cuba for giving one woman of black color who was persecuted by issue of racism and wherein the facts prove she did not kill a police officer except a police officer shot her companion killed him and injured her.

    Officers from the Hitler´s SS where part of “Operation Paperclip” which was from the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) program in which over 1,500 German scientists, technicians, and engineers from Nazi Germany and other foreign countries were brought to the United States for employment in the aftermath of World War II. It was conducted by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), and in the context of the burgeoning Cold War. One purpose of Operation Paperclip was to deny German scientific expertise and knowledge to the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, as well as inhibiting post-war Germany from redeveloping its military research capabilities.

    Although the JIOA’s recruitment of German scientists began after the Allied victory in Europe on May 8, 1945, U.S. President Harry Truman did not formally order the execution of Operation Paperclip until August 1945. Truman’s order expressly excluded anyone found “to have been a member of the Nazi Party, and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Nazi militarism”. However, those restrictions would have rendered ineligible most of the leading scientists the JIOA had identified for recruitment, among them rocket scientists Wernher von Braun, Kurt H. Debus and Arthur Rudolph, and the physician Hubertus Strughold, each earlier classified as a “menace to the security of the Allied Forces”.

    To circumvent President Truman’s anti-Nazi order and the Allied Potsdam and Yalta agreements, the JIOA worked independently to create false employment and political biographies for the scientists. The JIOA also expunged from the public record the scientists’ Nazi Party memberships and regime affiliations. Once “bleached” of their Nazism, the scientists were granted security clearances by the U.S. government to work in the United States. Paperclip, the project’s operational name, derived from the paperclips used to attach the scientists’ new political personae to their “US Government Scientist” JIOA personnel files.

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