[Pnews] Obama silent on Omaha Two case as UN human rights treaty review progresses

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue May 5 13:50:58 EDT 2015


  Obama silent on Omaha Two case as UN human rights treaty review progresses

May 5, 2015
*http://www.examiner.com/article/obama-silent-on-omaha-two-case-as-un-human-rights-treaty-review-progresses*

President Barack Obama <http://www.examiner.com/topic/barack-obama>, a 
former law school professor, is no doubt familiar with the Supreme Court 
decision /Stone v. Powell/, which restricted access to the federal 
courts by state prisoners. Obama may not have realized that Mondo we 
Langa 
<http://www.examiner.com/article/prison-interview-with-mondo-we-langa-on-cointelpro-and-omaha-two-case>, 
then David Rice, was part of that controversial Supreme Court decision 
in his own consolidated case, /Nebraska v. Rice/.

Mondo we Langa <http://www.examiner.com/topic/mondo-we-langa>, a target 
of local police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and agents of the 
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division, was convicted for a 1970 bombing 
murder of an Omaha policeman. Mondo’s trial was marred by withheld FBI 
Laboratory evidence, apparently tampered ATF evidence, conflicting 
police testimony, defense attorney incompetence, and allegations of a 
sleeping juror. Although prosecutors pushed through a life sentence, the 
jury spared Mondo the electric chair which was a penalty Mondo faced.

Mondo’s case has ultimately proved to be a prima facia example of why 
/Stone v. Powell/ was a bad decision. The idea was, even though Mondo 
won in U. S. District Court and before the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of 
Appeals, that Mondo would get a fair enough examination of his 
constitutional claims of illegal search in Nebraska courts. However, 
when Mondo returned to the Nebraska Supreme Court he was told he ran out 
of time while in the federal courts. The Nebraska Supreme Court refused 
to consider the merits of Mondo’s case. Mondo ended up with a lifetime 
in prison despite four federal judges ordering his release or retrial. 
Mondo’s most recent appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court was dismissed 
without even a decision despite issues of COINTELPRO 
<http://crimemagazine.com/j-edgar-hoover-and-framing-omaha-two> 
manipulation of trial evidence, the sufficiency of an innocence plea, 
and a constitutional challenge to the Nebraska Board of Pardons.

Mondo we Langa was convicted with Edward Poindexter 
<http://www.examiner.com/article/prison-interview-with-ed-poindexter-on-cointelpro-and-the-omaha-police>, 
leader of Omaha’s National Committee to Combat Fascism chapter, for the 
August 17, 1971 bomb murder of Omaha policeman Larry Minard, Sr. The two 
men, serving life sentences at the maximum-security Nebraska State 
Penitentiary, have come to be known as the Omaha Two 
<http://www.examiner.com/topic/omaha-two-1>. In Ed Poindexter’s last 
appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court several issues were raised, 
conflicting police testimony about dynamite and expert testimony about 
the identity of the anonymous 911 caller that lured police into a deadly 
trap. The Nebraska high court held that it didn’t matter which police 
officer found the dynamite that Mondo supposedly had stored in his 
basement when faced with competing testimony from detectives Jack 
Swanson and Robert Pfeffer. The Nebraska Supreme Court also held that 
the identity of the 911 caller who led Minard to his grave did not 
matter. Although Poindexter was not a /Stone v. Powell/ litigant, his 
case further amplifies the unjust nature of rulings against Mondo, 
undermining the entire /Stone v. Powell/ theory of the ability of state 
courts to address federal constitutional issues.

/Stone v. Powell/ severely restricted state prisoners from access to the 
federal courts all across America but also did something further, the 
Supreme Court applied the new restriction retroactively, ex post facto, 
to Mondo. The decision to apply the new restriction and not the law at 
the time of Mondo’s appeal is almost unique to federal jurisprudence. 
Justice William Brennan was outraged at the decision he issued a sharply 
worded dissent calling what happened to Mondo “profoundly disturbing.” 
U. S. District Judge Warren Urbom, who ordered Mondo freed or retried 
says the Supreme Court got it wrong. Urbom wrote in his memoir /Called 
to Justice,/ “I think it unfair to apply the new rule to David Rice’s 
case…and I stoutly think that the law in effect when Rice was convicted 
should have been applied to his case, which would allow him a new trial 
without the use against him of the dynamite and other evidence found by 
an illegal search,”

Most of the counterintelligence crimes committed against Black Panther 
Party members by the FBI that ended in prosecution against Panthers were 
state court actions. J. Edgar Hoover sought to change trial outcomes at 
local levels while keeping the FBI tampering undetected. The Justice 
Department under Obama has failed to re-examine the COINTELPRO 
<http://www.examiner.com/topic/cointelpro> cases of imprisoned 
counterintelligence targets under the theory that the jurisdiction 
belongs to the states with no federal role, ignoring the clandestine 
operations that secretly subverted justice.

President Obama has not indicated any willingness to reopen COINTELPRO 
convictions to modern scrutiny and seems comfortable with the claim it 
is a state problem not a federal one. Human rights investigators need to 
look past the “not my problem” excuse and recognize past abuses of state 
courts were conducted by federal agents in an orchestrated nationwide 
scheme against the Black Panthers and others. Justice was subverted 
under COINTELPRO and the federal government 
<http://www.examiner.com/government> was responsible. COINTELPRO crimes 
did not happen under Obama but that does not excuse the Justice 
Department from addressing and correcting the injustices committed in 
state courts under COINTELPRO directives.

The United Nations will be examining United States compliance with human 
rights treaties under the Universal Periodic Review during May in 
Geneva, Switzerland. Political prisoner activist Efia Nwangaza 
<http://www.examiner.com/article/united-nations-to-hold-cointelpro-review-may-under-human-rights-treaty> 
has worked to place the plight of America’s political prisoners, 
including the Omaha Two, before United Nations investigators. Although 
Nwangaza says the UN panel is on track to consider the cases, 
COINTELPRO-era prisoners must compete for UN attention with current 
events and the rash of controversial police shootings of unarmed black 
males. The White House has not issued any statement on COINTELPRO abuses 
and imprisoned Black Panthers victimized by tampered trials.

-- 
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