Harold Koh’s Lesser Known Resume
Work–in–Progress [Please feel free to contact and help us expand this alternative resume]
In response to the few faculty who have responded to the concerns raised in our petition with eulogies to Mr. Koh’s human rights record, we have included below information about Mr. Koh’s lesser-known actions in service of the U.S. government.
Harold Hongju Koh
Yale Law School
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520
by Christopher Brennan
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is facing accusations that it is ‘whitewashing’ possible Saudi Arabian involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
A commission designed to review evidence about the world-changing bombings has not delved into an FBI agent’s claims that a Saudi Florida family had ties to the hijackers after the agency said that the report was ‘unsubstantiated’.
London-based oil executive linked to 9/11 hijackers
by Anthony Summers
Abdulaziz al-Hijji and his wife Anoud left three cars at their luxurious home in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida — one of them new — and flew to Saudi Arabia in August 2001. The refrigerator was full of food; furniture and clothing were left behind; and the swimming pool water was still circulating.
Security records of cars passing through a checkpoint at the Prestancia gated community indicated that Mr al-Hijji’s home, 4224 Escondito Circle, had been visited a number of times by Mohamed Atta, the leader of the 19-strong hijack team, who piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre in 2001.
by Gary Trudeau
My career—I guess I can officially call it that now—was not my idea. When my editor, Jim Andrews, recruited me out during my junior year in college and gave me the job I still hold, it wasn’t clear to me what he was up to. Inexplicably, he didn’t seem concerned that I was short on the technical skills normally associated with creating a comic strip—it was my perspective he was interested in, my generational identity. He saw the sloppy draftsmanship as a kind of cartoon vérité, dispatches from the front, raw and subversive.
Why were they so subversive? Well, mostly because I didn’t know any better. My years in college had given me the completely false impression that there were no constraints, that it was safe for an artist to comment on volatile cultural and political issues in public. In college, there’s no down side. In the real world, there is, but in the euphoria of being recognized for anything, you don’t notice it at first. Indeed, one of the nicer things about youthful cluelessness is that it’s so frequently confused with courage.
To Our Classmates and Members of the NYU Community:
Below, please find our response to recent events at NYU Law concerning student organizing around and support for the Statement of No Confidence in Harold Koh.
“We do not kill our cattle the way the US is killing humans in Waziristan with drones.” –Rafiq ur Rehman
In the fall of 2013, Rafiq ur Rehman traveled with his 13-year-old son, Zubair, and 9-year-old daughter, Nabila, from their small village in North Waziristan to Capitol Hill. Their purpose in making this long and painful trek was simple: to appeal to the hearts of U.S. lawmakers by sharing stories of the carnage wrought upon their community and upon their family by U.S. drone strikes. In 2012, a U.S. drone strike had killed Rafiq’s elderly mother and severely wounded two of his young children.
Only five members of Congress showed up.
The suffering of thousands of individuals like Rafiq, Zubair, and Nabila, moved a few of us to author a Statement of No Confidence in Harold H. Koh. The Statement is fairly simple. It argues that due to Mr. Koh’s role as a key legal architect of the Obama administration’s targeted killing program, a program that violates International Human Rights Law, the Law School should not have hired him to teach that particular body of law. The petition extensively documents the factual basis for our position—and echoes the concerns of other students, academics, and human rights activists.
The gravity of targeted killings via drones and the factual basis upon which we built our petition warranted this expression of disaffection. Academic institutions, after all, are supposed to be places for honest and critical debates. At times, we have known NYU Law to be such a place—that is, a setting where compassionate and thoughtful people confront, rather than dismiss, uncomfortable facts.
While we welcomed disagreement with the petition, we never fathomed that some faculty and administrators would, intentionally or not, work hard to quash our expression of dissent and intimidate numerous students. Professor Ryan Goodman, for instance, emailed every individual signatory of the petition, including some of his own students and advisees, and urged them to withdraw their support for the Statement. Withdrawal, he stated, “will reflect well on us as a community.” Due to the power imbalances between students and faculty, we find his request inappropriate.
Stephen Bright, meanwhile, a Yale Law professor and known anti-death penalty lawyer, sent a disparaging email to his former intern, an organizer of the petition and an aspiring anti-death penalty lawyer, following repeated phone calls. He asked her whether she didn’t have better things to do with her time, and later claimed that the petition arose out of ignorance and inexperience. Concerning our corporate colleagues who signed the petition, Mr. Bright asked, “Does someone who is going to a firm to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year representing corporations [have] any position to express a lack of confidence in Harold Koh?” Finally, another student was told that s/he was not welcome at Human Rights First for an internship since the organization held Harold Koh in high regard and was aware of the student’s signature on the petition.
Rather than a trial of the Obama administration’s targeted killing program, and the distortion of Human Rights Law that it represents, what we have seen unfolding over the past few weeks is the trial of students, mostly women and students of color, who have been dismissed as “naïve” and maligned as “smearers.” There has been no acknowledgement of the concern for human life that prompted the petition, or any acknowledgement that the more than 260 supporters of the students’ Statement include lawyers, students, scholars and pacifists from all over the globe.
Figuring prominently in this trial is Dean Trevor Morrison, who preemptively announced his verdict prior to meeting with the authors of the recent CoLR Statement: “[allegations of intimidation] are unfounded.” Ironically, the Dean himself, in his first-year constitutional law class, had described the petition as “smear,” “wholly inaccurate” and, once again, urged students to withhold support. Two of his students did, in fact, withdraw their signatures from the petition despite privately expressing agreement with its merits.
Soon after, the Dean initiated a meeting with the organizers of the petition, ostensibly for the purpose of making our upcoming event“productive.” In the process, he called our public letters “vitriol unseen in the law school” and accused us of “inflicting wounds that will not heal.” His words, uttered to three students of color, two of whom are of South Asian descent, revealed a painful truth: the wounds inflicted upon the egos of the powerful are recognized and defended, while the wounds of Rafiq, Zubair, Nabila and thousands of unnamed others fail to register—not in our university discourse or in the government’s civilian casualty count. This, more than anything else, illustrates what this petition aims to counter and why it is so important.
For all that has been said by some members of the faculty and administration, we have been saddened by the silences prevailing in their responses. None of the thousands of people assassinated by U.S. drones are mentioned—not once. There has been no questioning of the “Drone War’s” legitimacy or meaningful engagement with our concern that Mr. Koh did in fact provide the legal rationale and cover for this program. There has been no reflection upon the relationship between state-sponsored violence abroad and state-sponsored violence here at home, in places like Ferguson, North Charleston, and New York. And there has been little concern with human rights becoming a field that legitimizes U.S. global hegemony by masking its questionable interference in the social and political structures of other nations.
Indeed, the silences do not stop there. Neither the facts nor the sources that we extensively cite and upon which we base our critique, were genuinely examined. Rather, they were largely dismissed. Meanwhile, we have been accused of leveling attacks that are not “evidence-based”and of launching nothing more than a “smear” campaign. We wonder: if we have gotten the facts wrong about Mr. Koh’s well-documented role in shaping and defending the U.S. government’s targeted killing program, why haven’t the true facts surfaced? Why are we asked to blindly take the word of his friends, who speak of past actions that have no bearing on his role in this particular violation?
We have sought to understand the troubling responses that we have received from some faculty and administrators. It occurs to us that those in government who defend drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and now the Philippines, or who justify wars whether in Iraq or Libya, expect to waltz comfortably through the revolving door from government back into the academy, while demanding silence concerning these crimes.
We desire to break these silences in order to demand accountability and to express our outrage with the devaluation of human life that the U.S. extrajudicial killing program reflects.
 For these reasons, the names of NYU Law student signatories have been made temporarily unavailable for public viewing.
by Steve Horn
On April 7, Wisconsin’s Board of Commissioners of Public Lands voted 2-1 to ban those employed by the agency from doing any work pertaining to climate change or global warming while doing public lands related work.
Although the story was covered by multiple media outlets, lost in the public discussion so far is how the vote fits into the broader multi-front industry attack in America’s Dairyland-turned-Petro State and which industry interests may have played a role in the vote.
CODE RED: Jonathan Simon’s Hail-Mary for Democracy
Sunday, April 12, 2015
CODE RED: Jonathan Simon’s Hail-Mary for DemocracyJoin CODE RED Kickstarter Campaign before April 20th!For all the illusion of business as usual, our democracy itself is in the ICU on life support. Yet “the basic counting of votes, in an observable way that ensures the legitimacy of our elections, . . . is an easy assignment. We need only to break a spell that has been cast on us–a spell of convenience, passivity, helplessness. We need only remember that democracy is not something that we watch, it is something that we do.”
Stop Killing My Husband!!!Free Mumia Now!!!
Visit with Mumia& Medical UpdateWadiya JamalWith Great PrideApril 11, 2015On Thursday April 9, 2015 I visited my husband Mumia Abu-Jamal at SCI Mahanoy, with Rachel Wolkenstein my lawyer and sister.I had seen Mumia in the ICU at the hospital, where he was sitting upright, hand cuffed to a chair. I saw the photos taken of Mumia during the visit on Monday, April 6 with my sister Pam Africa, Abdul Jon and Johanna Fernandez. I cried when I saw those photos. But I still wasn’t prepared for how Mumia looked seeing him in the prison visiting room, he was worse. I felt my husband is about to die. …
Later on, after the three-hour visit with Mumia, we were guests on NMEMINDZ Radiowith Prof. Griff and co-host ZaZa Ali. To you all who love and support Mumia, here are some edited excerpts and an update on Mumia’s medical condition.Co-host ZaZa Ali welcomed me to the program, saying, “We stand on Mumia’s shoulders for all he has lived through and persevered through….” She asked me to explain how the medical crisis with Mumia started and how he is doing.Wadiya: I want to say something about what you just said… that you all stand on his shoulders. That meant that he is carrying you and all of US. It’s time for US to carry HIM. You understand? Because my husband, he is dying. Don’t feel no way if I get emotional, I’m feeling the way I’m supposed to feel. I’m not coming at you all. But I want to tell you that I just left that man in a wheelchair, trembling.Mumia had to bring himself down to the visiting room from the prison infirmary in an old wheelchair, not motorized, had to use his arms that were weak and in pain; his breathing was labored.I was in shock at how he looked. We embraced and kissed. When I saw him reading legal papers his hands were shaking hard. I put my hands on his hands and tried to steady him so he could read the information. He was shivering so hard, my hands were shaking as well. I put my arms around him and my head to his chest to hear his heart and to bring some warmth to his body because he said he was freezing. And then the guard comes and tells us “no hugging.” I was just trying to keep him warm. (Other couples were sitting close and snuggling.)My husband is innocent. He killed no one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, his only crime is he survived a severe gun shot to the chest and a serious ass-whipping by “Philly’s finest” and then they attempted to kill him in his hospital bed by stepping on his urine bag by flushing the poison back on him. And now they are trying to do it again.The way my husband looks today, it looks like they are going to succeed, unless we get some real doctors up there to take care of him, I mean for real… Mumia’s life is at risk. It is execution by medical neglect and mistreatment… The only way I see that Mumia is going to survive this is if he is free, because I can’t trust any of them.
ZaZa Ali: Do you think his health condition was provoked or was the diabetes something he was struggling with …Wadiya: Absolutely not. Mumia didn’t have a history of diabetes. Did you see the picture of Mumia, before his illness, how strong he is, how big he is? You see the difference in him now?!! I’ve never seen him so weak like this in my life. You have to understand that I am angry. I’m hurting. I was rubbing his arms and shoulders, he said baby, keep on rubbing them. I could feel his shoulder blades—that’s how thin he is. I was rubbing his thighs and I could feel the scabs underneath the jump suit. Whatever this stuff is, it is killing Mumia….and it’s on purpose…I’ve never seen eczema look like that before – this beautiful brown skin, and I know his whole body from his head to his toes, for his body to be like we saw it today and how thin and weak he is…. [See the pictures we took of him showing the bumps and scabs on his arms.] Mumia’s skin was itching and he started scratching and I said to him let me do it and I started patting and that eased it. I was doing it for him and talking to him at the same time. But he’s in pain and I’ve had enough children that I can feel where infection is in your body. I can touch a certain wound or bruise and I can feel heat – that means infection is there.[See Below for an Updated Summary of Mumia’s Medical Condition]
Prof. Griff: Is it a farfetched request to push for a medical specialist to check on him?Rachel: No. The prison is going to fight this, as they do everything, especially when it comes to Mumia. But I don’t believe this a farfetched request and we will get this. It is so necessitated by circumstances here, there has been an international hew and cry and the world is watching. We will get a specialist to look at Mumia and make treatment recommendations But given the way the prison system works, what they consider to be a decent diet and the standard of medical treatment, goes way beyond Mumia to the 2.3 million people who are imprisoned in this country, we need to make this a fight to get Mumia out.Wadiya: They are killing my husband.Rachel: Mumia opened up with Wadiya. He described and shared with her what he had not been able to say previously. It was extremely painful and difficult for this strong man, this private man to do. Mumia said that he thinks of himself as strong and while going through all these physical problems he couldn’t acknowledge, and be fully conscious of what was going on with his body.Mumia said another prisoner, Major Tillery, kept after Mumia, telling him he was really sick, being damaged physically and emotionally; that Mumia needed real medical help. Major told Mumia that he was “fucked up” and “out of it.” Major Tillery filed grievances about the prison conditions leading to skin rashes. Major Tillery had gone directly to SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes and point blank said he needed to get Mumia to the hospital. Major Tillery told the Superintendent, “Mumia is dying.” Kerestes told Major Tillery to “take care of himself.”Major answered back, “taking care of Mumia is taking care of myself.” We just learned that yesterday morning Major Tillery was transferred out of Mahanoy to SCI Frackville, where he had previously been kept in the hole. This is retaliation for fighting for Mumia.Wadiya: So they sent him to another prison without even letting him pack up his property. They are trying to shut him up and sent him to another prison for saying Mumia needs help, he’s dying.
Prof Griff: What is the best way for us here and those who follow our show to do now and give our support?Wadiya: Demand his freedom.Rachel: Yes, demand his freedom and also demand the medical treatment needed. That means not only the essential but short term prospective of getting him this medical care, because he is threatened every day. This, as Mumia says is a fight not only for him, but also for all other prisoners. Mumia writes from imprisoned nation, being a lifer is slow death row.Wadiya: Now that slow death row is speeding up, as we speak.Rachel: Mumia’s ability to live out his life is tied to the struggle to get him out. That’s something to take seriously. The state wants to silence Mumia. The fight for his freedom should be understood as the best way to save his life.Wadiya: There is such a conspiracy against Mumia. People should do more investigating. People should know the evidence that Mumia is innocent.Rachel: Mumia’s mental condition is good, alert and interested in what is going on. We just heard he is taping a new commentary tonight with Prison Radio, on the police shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina. That is what Mumia is like …. And why they want to silence Mumia and continue in their attempts execute him.
Prof Griff: How do we intercede — how is this overridden?Wadiya: We need to fight the same people who put him in prison… In a nutshell – they want to see black men imprisoned for the rest of their lives or in their graves. They want Mumia dead – sooner than later.Rachel: Legal action is being started on Mumia’s behalf. Attorney Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center will be filing an action in the PA state courts demanding specialist medical treatment and Mumia’s own doctors and has already filed a demand with the PA Department of Corrections. We need to continue the public demands and protests.
From Prof. Griff to Wadiya: You have to stay strong sister.Wadiya: I’m so weak from staying strong. Not only are we dealing with Mumia’s medical situation, but also we just lost our baby girl. Our baby girl is dead. In the past year, I’ve lost my mother, lost our baby girl. Now I’m supposed to see my husband die??? I have a big problem with that…Rachel: I think it will also help to write to Wadiya, as well as Mumia especially in this very difficult period. Read Wadiya’s Open Letter of April 5 issued after speaking at the hospital press conference and getting medical reports from the hospital doctors and prison medical staff.Most people don’t know that Wadiya was the spokesperson for Mumia at the very beginning of the international campaign for Mumia in the later 1980s and early 90s. She helped set the international stage for understanding Mumia’s case, his innocence and the need for us to fight for Mumia’s freedom. Being able to work through her pain and speak for Mumia is hugely important. She is Mumia’s wife and the first advocate for him.Write to:Wadiya Jamal, P.O. Box 19404, Kingsessing Station, Philadelphia, PA, 19143-9998.Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI Mahanoy, 301 Morea Rd., Frackville, PA 17932Wadiya: Please, please, please, I beg of everybody to help my husband get free, because he is dying in there.My eyes don’t lie, my touch don’t lie. I know what I see, I know what I feel. Things that he told us that are personal, I wouldn’t even tell you all the personal things that he said that’s going on with his body. He just needs to be home. He should never have been in prison to start off. Not a day. Thank you all for opening this up for us.We love you. Ona Move.
Prof. Griff: We appreciate your coming on and we want you back whenever you can.Wadiya: Love you back.Wadiya Jamal, with Big PrideSend your message back to me via Facebook at:Write to me at: Wadiya Jamal, PO Box 19404, Kingsessing Station, Philadelphia, Pa. 19143-9998
Medical SummaryThere was medical neglect and mistreatment of Mumia. In January Mumia asked for treatment for an increasingly serious skin problem that spread over his entire body. He was treated with antibiotics and steroids, both crèmes and pills.Mumia had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic they gave him. His body broke out violently in blisters. From the steroids Mumia described swelling up from his feet to his head, like a balloon, his skin ready to bust. He had trouble breathing.Mumia told us a prison doctor said he looked like he was “in a suit of armor,” his skin was so tight and crusted, his chest raised up to his chin, to create space to breathe.”
It was Mumia who told the doctors he was having an allergic reaction to the medicine he was given. Mumia had at least three blood tests and also ultrasounds. Ultrasounds showed he had a patch of pneumonia and gallstones. Mumia was admitted into the prison infirmary for a week in February. On February 17 Mumia weighed 268 pounds. When he was discharged from the infirmary a week later he had lost over twenty pounds. On March 30, when he was taken to the hospital in a diabetic shock, his weight had dropped to 184 pounds. That’s a loss of 80 pounds in five weeks. His blood sugar levels registered high since at least February. Mumia’s blood pressure was high and the prison was monitoring it periodically.Blood tests taken on March 6, showed his blood sugar level of over 400. This is a dangerously high level indicating a medical emergency. Almost three weeks later on March 30, Mumia went into diabetic shock—his sugar glucose when he got to the hospital ICU was near 800, which can be fatal. When Mumia collapsed he had gone to the infirmary for a blood pressure check. His sodium level was also dangerously high and he was dehydrated. If Mumia had gone into the diabetic shock at night in his cell, he would likely have died.Mumia was not previously a diabetic. This condition grew within a period of about three months during treatment for his skin—which is still covered with scabs. He was told he had eczema because there is a family history. But we heard from other prisoners that they had a similar developing skin condition and grievances were filed at the prison, but no responses.Wadiya was given medical updates a few times from the Chief Medical Care Adminstrator at SCI Mahanoy. But since Wednesday, April 8, he was not available or his phone line not answered.Mumia’s physical condition is far from stable. His blood sugar levels are in great flux now, from quite low (below 70) and back up to highs in the 200s.Mumia told us the special diet he is now given is a 2500 daily calorie diet, with some meats, cereal, white bread and fruit, mostly oranges. But a diabetic diet is not a question of calories, but what foods are made available for him as part of a particularized diet, exercise and regulation of his blood sugars as best for him.We are all fighting to get a specialist to examine Mumia and set up a treatment plan for him. The question will be what it will take to get that enforced over a continued period of time.Check Mumia’s Facebook and the websites of organizations fighting for Mumia: International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and the Moveorganization, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.com, Campaign to Bring Mumia Home.com for more information.
WE NEED TO KEEP UP THE PRESSURE.Let SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes and Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel know we insist that Mumia have medical specialists of his own choosing examine and treat him.
Superintendent John Kerestes
(570) 773-2158SCI Mahanoy
Chief Health Care Administrator Steinhardt
(570) 773-2158Christopher OppmanDirector, PA Department of Corrections Health Care Services
(717) 728-5309John Wetzel
Secretary, PA Department of Corrections
(717) 728-4109Support and Contribute to the Indiegogo online campaign to raise money to help pay from the legal and medical campaign for Mumia, including costs for Mumia’s family, friends and core organizers to travel to see Mumia.
by Allison Wisk
Days after footage of a South Carolina police shooting refueled a national conversation, a Texas bill that would limit filming of police activity met its demise.
State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, confirmed Friday that he will not seek a public hearing for his bill, which would have made it illegal for a resident to film within 25 feet of police activity. Those carrying handguns would have been kept from photographing or recording police within 100 feet. The bill contains an exception for the news media.
by Colin Campbell
Vice President Joe Biden seems to have taken a liking to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s grandson.
Bloomberg’s daughter, Georgina Bloomberg, posted a Facebook photo on Wednesday of Biden and a young child. In the photo, Biden appears to have a pacifier in his mouth.
“What’s a boy to do when the Vice President steals your pacifier?” Georgina Bloomberg wrote next to the photo.
Her son, Jasper Michael Brown Quintana, was born at the end of last year.
The elder Bloomberg was in Washington on Wednesday, where he was recognized as an honorary knight by the United Kingdom. Biden also attended the ceremony, according to a press release from the British ambassador’s office.
Biden’s office did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
Last updated 6:31 p.m.
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