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Profile of a Congressional Leftist By: John Perazzo
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, August 26, 2003


Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and one of President Bush’s staunchest critics. Now serving his sixth term in the House of Representatives, Nadler represents New York’s Eighth Congressional district, which encompasses the Ground Zero attack site where the Twin Towers fell. 

On the surface, Nadler seems to have taken some responsible steps in the wake of 9/11. He convened the “Ground Zero Elected Officials Task Force” to coordinate the delivery of aid and supplies to lower Manhattan’s traumatized residents and businesses. He introduced legislation to expedite the payment of benefits to the families of public safety officers killed in the line of duty that awful day. He worked to extend unemployment benefits for those whose jobs went up in smoke with the Twin Towers. And, defying what he deemed a premature Environmental Protection Agency assurance that the air quality around Ground Zero was safe for residents to breathe, he hosted hearings to determine the actual extent of environmental hazards in the area. Surely these are all good things, demonstrating the type of civic-mindedness that Vanity Fair magazine extolled when describing Nadler as a man who epitomizes “liberalism the way it ought to be.”

But on closer inspection, Nadler seems to have concentrated his efforts on aiding victims of the attacks – which in his case are constituents – rather than on the task of defeating the terrorists themselves. Earlier this year, for instance, he introduced legislation to impose a moratorium on the implementation of the Bush administration’s Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA) program, which seeks to root out terrorists by analyzing and cross-referencing various databases for evidence of suspicious patterns of Internet activity, travel, credit card purchases, and donations to charities and political causes. In Nadler’s somewhat hysterical rhetoric, this “assault on our rights” erodes all Americans’ civil liberties and “represents perhaps the closest realization of an Orwellian ‘Big Brother’ government to date.” In asserting that the Bush administration’s aggressive response to 9/11 has ushered in an era of diminished personal freedoms for American citizens, Nadler joins a chorus of far-left voices not only in Congress, but also in the so-called “civil rights” community and academia, whose focus of concern seems to be John Ashcroft rather than Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein.

Just as Nadler opposed TIA, he has also been among the harshest critics of the PATRIOT Act, which was implemented shortly after the 9/11 attacks. An acronym for “Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism,” the PATRIOT Act established in the US Treasury a Counter-Terrorism Fund to finance the costly work of apprehending terrorists worldwide and cleaning up the monstrous messes their crimes leave behind. The results yielded by the PATRIOT Act thus far have been impressive. More than a score of suspected al-Qaeda cell members have been apprehended in New York, Michigan, Washington, and Oregon. More than 100 other individuals in the US have been found guilty of terrorist-related offenses. More than 500 people linked to the September 11 investigation have been deported. Hundreds of foreign criminals and suspected terrorists attempting to enter our country were detected and barred from doing so. And some 5,000 fugitives were arrested as a result of fingerprint cross-checks of immigration and FBI databases.

Yet Congressman Nadler – a big-government Democrat – characterizes the PATRIOT Act as an example of unnecessary “governmental intrusion” into the lives of Americans. “If [Attorney General] John Ashcroft has his way, bookstore customers could be investigated for something as arbitrary as buying Hillary Clinton’s new book,” warns Nadler. “People are outraged,” he adds, “by the loss of civil liberties. . . . The government . . . should not be in the thought-police business.” The actual wording of the clause to which Nadler refers states that the FBI “may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.” This is a far cry from Nadler’s characterization of the Act as “little more than the institution of a police state.”

In attacking the PATRIOT Act, Nadler is following a leftwing party line that has guided him through his political life. Two-and-a-half years ago he played a key role in securing President Clinton’s pardons of two homegrown terrorists – Susan Rosenberg and Linda Evans, who were members of the Weather Underground, a Marxist-Leninist cult founded in 1969. The violent Weathermen formally declared war on “Amerikkka” and dedicated themselves to fomenting social chaos and racial warfare by any means necessary. During their mini-reign of terror they accidentally blew up three of their own members, are suspected of bombing a San Francisco police station in which one officer was killed, and planting bombs in corporate offices, draft offices, ROTC buildings, the US Capitol building, National Guard headquarters, FBI headquarters, the Long Island Court House, the New York Police Department headquarters, the Pentagon, the State Department, the National War College, the Navy Yard Computer Center, and the Navy Yard Officers Club. 

Over the years, Rosenberg and Evans became suspects in a number of serious crimes. Among Rosenberg’s transgressions was her participation in the deadly 1981 Brinks robbery in Nyack, New York – a heist in which leftist radicals gunned down two security guards and two police officers, killing three of the four men. Three years later, she and Ms. Evans were apprehended with 740 pounds of explosives in their possession (which they admitted were earmarked for bombings). Rosenberg was sentenced to 58 years in prison, and Evans to 40 years.

But in early 2001, Congressman Jerrold Nadler intervened on their behalf. Rosenberg’s mother had assembled documents from her daughter’s parole hearings that purportedly showed her to be a model prisoner, and she presented these materials to Rolando Matalon, the elder Rosenberg’s rabbi at New York’s liberal Congregation B’nei Jeshurun. Rabbi Matalon then gave the documents to Nadler, who was also a member of his congregation, and Nadler in turn passed them on for President Clinton to consider as evidence that Rosenberg might merit consideration for a presidential pardon. Clinton in fact decided to pardon not only Rosenberg (42 years before her sentence was due to end), but Evans as well (24 years early, in her case) – over the strong objections of Mary Jo White, the US attorney in New York. After her release from prison, Susan Rosenberg was given a job at Congregation B’nei Jeshurun. As attorney Alan Dershowitz put it, “This was a congregational victory.”

When asked to explain why he had worked to secure Rosenberg’s release, the Congressman stated that he had merely given President Clinton the pertinent information, but that he himself took no position on the pardon. This is hardly credible. What public official would apply for a difficult-to-obtain pardon for a convicted bomber, without investigating the case? It is more plausible to suppose that Nadler, who was a leftwing “anti-Vietnam” activist in the years that the Weathermen were conducting their own form of protest, felt sympathy for Rosenberg and her radical supporters.

The Rosenberg and Evans pardons are especially odious in light of the fact that, to this day, these women are involved in the same anti-American left and its agendas. They both belong to a network of “political prisoners” (among which convicted murderer Kathy Boudin is a recently freed member). Evans still refers to her fellow Weathermen as “comrades,” and claims that all inmates in American prisons are victims of white racism, imperialism, and “political circumstance.” “The prison industrial complex,” she writes in one of her organizational screeds, “is an interweaving of private business and government interests [with] a monumental commitment to lock up a sizeable percentage of the population.” In March 2002 she helped organize a conference (held in Cuba) titled “Tear Down The Walls,” whose purpose was to make a case for the release of “political prisoners” who had been “incarcerated because of their involvement in political activities which challenged the unjust nature of the US socioeconomic system and its hegemonic policies around the world.” Chief among these “political prisoners” were Evans’ fellow Weather bomber Boudin, Symbionese Liberation Army member Kathy Soliah (aka Sara Jane Olson), and convicted cop-killers Mumia Abu Jamal and Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (aka H. Rap Brown).

Evans now works with the Center for Third World Organizing, an activist organization purportedly dedicated to achieving “racial justice” in a nation it calls intractably racist. Last November she spoke at the Oakland-based Prison Activist Resource Center (PARC), which views the American criminal-justice system as racist and corrupt, and which recently sponsored an exhibition titled “Imagining A World Without Prisons” – the theme being that prisons are unnecessary and morally unjustified.

Rosenberg, for her part, seems to have cultivated a similar unwillingness to accept responsibility for the heinous crimes of her past. In December 2000 she told a national television audience that she had never taken part in the Brinks robbery – shamelessly contradicting the rock-solid evidence against her. She further contends that she was never a violent criminal, but only a political activist who “supported the right of oppressed people to armed struggle.” Presumably this explains why she helped carry out the 1979 prison escape of Black Liberation Army leader Joanne Chesimard, who was serving a life sentence for murder, assault, robbery, and weapons convictions.

In addition to providing a helping hand to convicted terrorists, Jerrold Nadler is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), which includes 58 Democratic congressmen and is, in turn, affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist organization in the United States. This puts him in the company of the New Left colleagues of Boudin, Evans, and Rosenberg, along with Congressmen Nancy Pelosi, Cynthia McKinney, Barney Frank, Major Owens, Nydia Velazquez, David Bonior, Maxine Waters, John Conyers, Jose Serrano, Dennis Kucinich, James McDermott, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Jesse Jackson, Jr. – all members of the Progressive Caucus.

Nadler’s approach to the war on terror and other issues reflects the agendas of the Democratic Party’s socialist wing. He has opposed a bill to allow youthful offenders to be tried as adults for particularly heinous crimes; voted against a proposed ban of partial-birth abortions; opposed school vouchers; opposed welfare reform; voted to provide free public education to illegal aliens; opposed a counter-terrorism bill giving the government greater power to deport suspected foreign terrorists; opposed testing for a missile-defense system; and voted against the 2003 war in Iraq.


John Perazzo is the Managing Editor of DiscoverTheNetworks and is the author of The Myths That Divide Us: How Lies Have Poisoned American Race Relations. For more information on his book, click here. E-mail him at WorldStudiesBooks@gmail.com



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