vendredi 15 décembre 2017

Vulture-Lawyers Michael Chetkof and Allyson Burger: My Soul is a Witness (Norman Finkelstein)



I owe readers a humble apology.

After an outpouring of support from so many people around the world, it seemed as if I disappeared.

I received many inquiries as to my fate but stayed silent.

But it wasn’t indifference let alone ingratitude.

The legal machinery had temporarily ground to a halt.

I compartmentalized my grief at Dr Baldeo’s crucifixion, and at my own absurd predicament, as I tried to rivet my mind on something productive.

But this week horror struck.

Stacy D. Bennett, the judge in Dr Baldeo’s case, rendered an obnoxiously biased verdict.

He was devastated; I was shattered.

Then the court ordered Dr Baldeo to hand over his life savings or he would “immediately” go to jail.

However, when he went to the bank (I accompanied him), the officers told him that Allyson Burger had all his bank accounts frozen!

After jailing me, this summa cum laude jackal was out to jail him.

Am I shocked?

Of course not.

This is Nassau County.

Its population is a little over one million but google “Nassau County Corruption” and you get 150,000 results.

The only time Nassau County makes it into the news is when yet another official is indicted on criminal corruption charges.

Nassau County is run like a backwoods Alabama town where every officeholder belongs to the Ku Klux Klan.

It’s the sort of place where Roy Moore would win by a landslide.

On 13 December 2017 I had to appear in court.

It was frigidly cold.

There are three entry points to the courthouse.

Each of the lines at 9:00 a.m. stretched as if for a rock concert.

Except, everyone but me was African-American.

Once you enter the courthouse every official from the judges, to the lawyers, to the uniformed guards is white. 

You can’t help but think: If the folks lining up outside the courthouse had access to jobs inside the courthouse, maybe they wouldn’t be shivering in the cold.

In my courtroom everyone awaiting trial was a person of color.  The lawyers sit in the jury box waiting to be called by the judge; the jury box is all white.

I am white, I am Jewish, I am 64 years old, I have a PhD from Princeton, and I live in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

But Nassau County officials didn’t recoil from crossing county lines, barging into my apartment without a warrant in the dead of night, kidnapping me and then brutalizing me.

Not just once, but twice.

When I went before the judge on the second occasion, he was so outraged at my appearance (I didn’t show sufficient deference to His Honor) that he ordered me to undergo an intensive psychiatric evaluation.

Who could second-guess his outrage?

I wasn’t properly attired for his august chambers.

That’s not normal!

But the fact that everyone inside the jail is black, and everyone outside the jail is white—

That’s normal!

I am being represented by very competent counsel.

The District Attorney dropped some charges against me, added others.

The case was adjourned until January 24, 2018.

The bottom line remains the same:

I face the real possibility of time behind bars.

Am I nervous?

Somewhat.

Will the fear deter me?

No.

I want only one thing:

To get on the witness stand and testify in excruciating detail what was done to Dr Baldeo.

How a penniless immigrant from Guyana lived the American Dream.

How he was devoured alive by two vulture-lawyers.

How they framed him and blackmailed him.

How they left him homeless and near penniless.

How they drove him to abject despair verging on suicide.

My lawyer is confident that I will get my day in court.

Once I testify, a huge boulder will be lifted from my chest.

An imperishable public record will endure of this farce-cum-tragedy.

Then I will be psychologically prepared for jail, or whatever else comes my way.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who was there for me.

I just published a new book, GAZA: An inquest into its martyrdom.

The concluding paragraph reads:

In A Century of Dishonor, written at the end of the 19thcentury, Helen Hunt Jackson chronicled the destruction of the Native American population by conscious, willful government policy. The book was largely ignored, then forgotten, and finally rediscovered by later generations ready to hear and bear the truth. Speaking to the fate of the Cherokee nation, which was expelled from one tribal homeland after another and finally stripped of its tribal hold­ings by the US government, Jackson wrote, “there is no record so black as the record of its perfidy to this nation.”The present volume was modeled after her searing requiem. The author holds out faint hope that it will find an audi­ence among his contemporaries. Still, the truth should be preserved; it is the least that’s owed the victims. Perhaps one day in the remote future, when the tenor of the times is more receptive, someone will stumble across this book collecting dust on a library shelf, blow off the cobwebs, and be stung by out­rage at the lot of a people, if not forsaken by God then betrayed by the cupid­ity and corruption, careerism and cynicism, cravenness and cowardice of mortal man. “There will come a time,” Jackson anticipated, “when, to the student of American history, it will seem well-nigh incredible” what was done to the Cherokee. Is it not certain that one day the black record of Gaza’s martyrdom will in retrospect also seem well-nigh incredible?

Strange, but in my mind’s eye the fates of the people of Gaza and Dr Baldeo intersect.  An innocent people, an innocent person, crucified.  A corrupt system drunk on power that wrecks and destroys lives with impunity.  All that remains is a record, to be excavated long after the perpetrators, victims and bystanders are dead and gone. 

My life has been a story of lost causes.

But I have no regrets.

None.

“There’s only one fate worse than being a Jew today,” Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion supposedly said during World War 2.  “That’s being a Nazi.”

Even in the bleakness and despondency of defeat, I still prefer my fate to that of Michael Chetkof, Allyson Burger and Stacy D. Bennett.

***

Dr Baldeo emptied his bank account today as Chetkof and Burger stood by licking their hideous chops. 

Just as Dr Baldeo stood up to leave, Chetkof demanded $7,500 more in attorneys fees, on top of the $100,000 he already collected. 

May God watch over Dr Baldeo in his hour of trial.

May he find solace in the knowledge that his magical powers bless the children in his pediatric emergency ward each night with health, hope and happiness.

Not all the money in the world can purchase or replace this gift.

Norman Finkelstein, 15 December 2017

Norman Finkelstein and Dr. Baldeo vs. Michael Chetkof and Allyson Burger

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