Tim Blair


New Criterion



Sunday, November 24, 2002

YAHOO'S EMAIL SERVER has just disgorged some interesting comments I would have liked to post closer to when they were written. This one responds to this post about a persecuted Pom poet of hatred.

Stephen Dawson ( can not only listen to the Gastropod long beyond Uncle's tolerance, he has taken the trouble to show in several instances just how unprofessional Bruce Shapiro, the Stateside stroke-mate for the Gastropod, can be. Read on.

I notice that you make comment on Bruce Shapiro's appearance on LNL, being gravely concerned about the loss of free speech in US campuses.

Two things struck me about his remarks:

1. He was careful to mention that Lawrence Summers (allegedly anti-free speech president of Harvard) was formerly with the World Bank. He failed to mention that the World Bank stint was in 1991-1993, and that between then and 2001, Summers was working for Bill Clinton's Treasury, from 1999 as
Secretary to the Treasury. Why would a decade-old period with the World Bank be the only antecedent worthy of mention?

2. He claimed 'a lawyer' had been denied freedom of speech at Stanford, and then used the lawyer's work as defence for the 1993 World Trade Centre bombers (I think that's what he said) as a status booster. On how many counts can he be wrong?

. the lawyer, Lynne Stewart, 'did not have her speech limited nor were students denied access to her' according to Kathleen Sullivan, the Stanford Law Dean who made the decision. Indeed, 'Stewart completed all of her speaking engagements at the Law School and met with students as scheduled
without incident'. (

. Stewart did have withdrawn an offer of the position of Mills Public Interest Mentor, which is described as an honor accorded to several lawyers each year who are to be regarded as role models. (ibid)

. The withdrawal was due to Stewart's statement (post 11 September 2001): "I
don’t believe in anarchist violence but in directed violence. That would be violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism and sexism, and at the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions, and accompanied by popular support."(

. What was surprising was that Stanford had ever offered Stewart the mentorship in the first place. Stewart is under indictment for passing messages from her client Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted of conspiring in 1995 to assassinate Hosni Mubarak and blow up such things
as the UN Headquarters in New York, to the Islamic Group. According to US AG Ashcroft: "The indictment charges that these defendants [Stewart, Ahmed Abdul Sattar, Mohammed Yousry, and Yassir al-Sirri] worked in concert with Sheik Abdel-Rahman in violation of special administrative measures restricting Rahman's communications with the outside world, to provide material support and resources to the Islamic Group."

. The 'Islamic Group' to which those charges relate is an Egyptian terrorist group

My problem in commenting on the commentariat and their collaborators is that I am just too damned generous.

My heartfelt apologies.