More on Serial/Burns Rafay comparison

I’ve been listening to “Serial” on podcast and it certainly reminds me of Burns and Rafay or, really, any wrongful conviction case. What I am seeing is that nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Adnan and Jay and their friends were serious stoners; I’m not surprised that memories are fuzzy. Drugs do add another element to the case that Ms Koenig never deals with. Also, outsiders to Adnan’s case who took a look at it, e.g. the University of Virginia team, felt, like Sarah Koenig, that there was not enough in the case to convict. The same problem exists with Sebastian and Atif. People jump to closure without considering all the elements. The prosecution provides a motive: Adnan was jealous and Atif and Sebastian were greedy; all else must follow. But look at the details. It isĀ  more likely (yet by no means certain either) that Adnan would have used strangulation to kill Hae. It’s the easiest way to kill someone with physical force. Think then of two eighteen year old boys from West Vancouver. Would bludgeoning be the method of choice? Could Sebastian have done such a thing or did he give details of the killing to satisfy the RCMP gangsters?

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. If Sebastian had killed the Rafay family in that way then he had to be a psychopath. I would ask any neutral psychologist/psychiatrist if Sebastian Burns had the ‘ability’ to annihilate three people in that way. I don’t think a Canadian soldier in Iraq could do such a thing, even though they are trained to kill. Kill three innocent people, a man, a woman, a child with blunt force and blood spatter? But then the fanatics can kill in this way because their leaders make them believe they are meting out justice according to God’s will. Look at the instruments of torture used by the Spanish Inquisition. Consider the drownings of the supposed witches of Salem. Look at the beheadings, stonings, burnings that still occur around the world. Look at all the facts in any murder and see if the supposed killer fits the crime.

The ‘confession’ tapes manufactured by the RCMP are a highly edited attempt to cast Burns and Rafay in the most negative light. The final product ignores five months of denials.

Another important point of comparison is that neither Adnan nor Atif testified on his own behalf. While juries are told to ignore this, it never goes down well. They think that the person has something to hide. But, almost always, it’s not the decision of the defendant but his or her attorney. They might feel that the case is so hollow, that the greatest risk is for their client to make some error that might give the jury cause to believe their guilt. The jurors were negatively influenced by the defendant exercising a right. They might also feel that the defendant is his own worst enemy.

When Rafay was questioned by the police in the early stages of the investigation, he admitted to feeling revulsion for his own sister. (See Veronica Freitas’ opening remarks in the trial, attached below.) Would someone who just participated in the murder of his own family and supposedly did everything in his power to cover up this participation admit to having such negative feelings toward his sister? Or was Rafay trying to be scrupulously honest because he knew he had nothing to do with the crime? People talk to the police without a lawyer because they think the truth will protect them. The right to have a lawyer during questioning is there for the very reason that the truth does NOT protect the individual. The police are simply trying to construct a narrative and when they stumble upon such honesty, they take advantage of it.

Veronica’s Opening[1](1)

Leonard Peltier tribute from the late Pete Seeger

It was a year ago today that I ( and the world) got the news that Pete Seeger made his spirit journey. I had the privilege of sitting beside Pete as he hand wrote letters to some of his old friends asking them to join us in a concert to help Native American Political Prisoner, Leonard Peltier. All of the letters were signed with Pete’s unique moniker, “Keep On.” So how do I interpret this? If Pete signed this to you he mean’t keep on doing what you’re doing. “Keep on,” I agree with you and support you. Pete was always someone that was praised for his optimism and this is the ultimate affirmation. Needless to say, I was over joyed when he gave me the gift of his great book, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” and he signed it for me and ended with, “But YOU Keep On.” I took this as both a great honor and as a responsibility. As his quote goes “we’re all links in a chain,” so ultimately it will be my job to inspire and encourage someone the same way he did for me.
Shortly after he passed on that phrase entered my thoughts followed by a melody and then a song. And then thanks to my friend, the great percussionist/singer, Audree Dillard, a recording! I kind of turned it around on him. Now it was his turn to “Keep On,” as he entered the Great Mystery of Eternal Life. After all the great things that he did and sacrifices that he made it was now his turn to surrender to the Great Love. So “Keep On,” Old Friend. I love and remember you. I turned back to way more then one page and I continue to do so( See Attached). As I write this, the early stages of the second annual, “Pete Seeger Birthday Commemoration,” to be held in Boulder Colorado, has been initiated( More info to come but hold Sun. May 3rd( Pete’s actual birthday) as the date). This year we will add a special Children’s show. Those of you that knew Pete knew that the Children were of the utmost concern and importance to him. If he could get the children singing then the message and the songs would survive and more links in the “great chain,” would be created.

Keep On ( For Old Pete):
Let’s not forget, Leonard Peltier!

Silent Bear/ Pete Seeger- Freedom For Leonard Peltier ( Bring Him Home) W/ David Amram
“Where Have All The Flowers Gone.” A Singing memoir:
The Green Lion:

New York employs new template for wrongful conviction settlements

The above NY Times article lays out the financial settlement for three brothers, one dead, who had been convicted under Louis Scarcella’s and Charles Hynes’s reign of terror. The significant fact here is that the city is seeking to short circuit the enormous lawsuits that have been and will continue to be draining the public coffers. For defendants released after two plus decades, I think this represents a major step forward. All the time spent in court proceedings for people who are nearing fifty years old further detracts from whatever quality life they have remaining. So while 7 million dollars may not seem to be enough money for a man forced to spend 27 years in prison, my view is that most wrongly convicted people would jump at the opportunity to put the whole thing behind them as much and as rapidly as possible.