As college student, Eric Holder participated in ‘armed’ takeover of former Columbia University ROTC office

December 17, 2012

(This recording can also be purchased as a downloadable MP3 from the Ayn Rand Institute eStore. © Ayn Rand Institute. All rights reserved. via aynrand.org) As a freshman at Columbia University in 1970, future Attorney General Eric Holder participated in a five-day occupation of an abandoned Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) headquarters with a group of black students later described by the university’s Black Students’ Organization as “armed,” The Daily Caller has learned.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler has not responded to questions from The Daily Caller about whether Holder himself was armed — and if so, with what sort of weapon.
Holder was then among the leaders of the Student Afro-American Society (SAAS), which demanded that the former ROTC office be renamed the “Malcolm X Lounge.” The change, the group insisted, was to be made “in honor of a man who recognized the importance of territory as a basis for nationhood.”

Black radicals from the same group also occupied the office of Dean of Freshman Henry Coleman until their demands were met. Holder has publicly acknowledged being a part of that action.
The details of the student-led occupation, including the claim that the raiders were “armed,” come from a deleted Web page of the Black Students’ Organization (BSO) at Columbia, a successor group to the SAAS. Contemporary newspaper accounts in The Columbia Daily Spectator, a student newspaper, did not mention weapons.
Holder, now the United States’ highest-ranking law enforcement official, has given conflicting accounts of this episode during college commencement addresses at Columbia, but both the BSO’s website and the Daily Spectator have published facts that conflict with his version of events.
Holder has bragged about his involvement in the “rise of black consciousness” protests at Columbia.
“I was among a large group of students who felt strongly about the way we thought the world should be, and we weren’t afraid to make our opinions heard,” he said during Columbia’s 2009 commencement exercises. “I did not take a final exam until my junior year at Columbia — we were on strike every time finals seemed to roll around — but we ran out of issues by that third year.”

Though then-Dean Carl Hovde declared the occupation of the Naval ROTC office illegal and said it violated university policy, the college declined to prosecute any of the students involved. This decision may have been made to avoid a repeat of violent Columbia campus confrontations between police and members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1968.
The ROTC headquarters was ultimately renamed the Malcolm X lounge as the SAAS organization demanded. It later became a hang-out spot for another future U.S. leader, Barack Obama, according to David Maraniss’ best-selling ”Barack Obama: The Story.”
Holder told Columbia University’s graduating law students during a 2010 commencement speech that the 1970 incident happened “during my senior year,” but Holder was a freshman at the time. “[S]everal of us took one of our concerns — that black students needed a designated space to gather on campus — to the Dean [of Freshmen]’office. This being Columbia, we proceeded to occupy that office.”
Holder also claimed in his 2009 speech that he and his fellow students decided to “peacefully occupy one of the campus offices.” In contrast, the BSO’s website recounted its predecessor organization’s activities by noting that that “in 1970, a group of armed black students [the SAAS] seized the abandoned ROTC office.”
While that website is no longer online, a snapshot of its content from September 2010 is part of the archive.org database.
In a December 2010 GQ magazine profile of Holder, one of his Columbia friends confirmed that he and Holder were both part of the ROTC office takeover.
Holder particularly “connected with four other African-American students” at Columbia, correspondent Wil S. Hylton wrote. “We took over the ROTC lounge in Hartley Hall and created the Malcolm X Lounge,” said a laughing Steve Sims, one of those students.
Hylton described Sims as “the attorney general’s closest friend” and “a man Holder describes as his ‘consigliere.’”

The SAAS was part of a radicalized portion of the Columbia student body whose protest roots were hardened in the late 1960s. Its members collaborated with the SDS to stage a series of protests on the New York City campus in 1968, the year before Eric Holder arrived on campus.
Those earlier protests culminated in a separate armed takeover of Dean Henry Coleman’s office in which students held him hostage and stopped the construction of a gymnasium in the Morningside Heights neighborhood, near the campus.
The BSO reported on its website as recently as 2010 that those students were “armed with guns.”

Emboldened by their successes, SAAS leaders continued to press their demands, eventually working with local black radicals who were not college students. A young Eric Holder joined the fray in 1969 as a college freshman.
The SAAS also actively supported the Black Panthers and the Black Power movement, according to Stefan Bradley, professor of African-American studies at Saint Louis University and author of the 2009 book “Harlem vs. Columbia University.” He has described the Columbia organization as being separatist in nature.
“In 1969, SAAS has taken up a new campaign to establish a Black Institute on campus that would house a black studies program, an all-black admissions board, all-black faculty members, administrators and staff and they wanted the university to pay for it,” Bradley told an audience in 2009.
Though Columbia never met all of the black militants’ demands, it brought more black students to campus through its affirmative action program, introduced Black Studies courses and hired black radical Charles V. Hamilton — co-author of “Black Power” with Black Panther Party ”Honorary Prime Minister” Stokely Carmichael (by then renamed Kwame Ture).
“The university hadn’t thought of all of this by itself,” said Bradley. “It took black students [in the SAAS] to do this.”

In March 1970 the SAAS released a statement supporting twenty-one Black Panthers charged with plotting to blow up department stores, railroad tracks, a police station and the New York Botanical Gardens.

(Afeni Shakur)

The SAAS, along with the SDS and other radical campus groups, staged a campus rally on March 12, 1970 featuring Afeni Shakur — one of the Panthers out on bail and the future mother of rapper Tupac Shakur.
The rally’s purpose, The Columbia Daily Spectator reported, was to raise bail money for the twenty other Panthers and to call on District Attorney Frank Hogan to drop the charges. All 21 defendants would later be acquitted after a lengthy trial.
The April 21, 1970 SAAS raid on the Naval ROTC office and Dean Coleman’s office came one month after the Black Panther arrests. The Columbia Daily Spectator released a series of demands from the student leaders on April 23 in which they claimed to be occupying the ROTC office for the purpose of “self-determination and dignity.” They needed the space, they said, because of “the general racist nature of American society.”

In their statement, the SAAS leaders also decried “this racist university campus” — in particular its alleged “involvement in the continued political harassment of the Black Panther Party” — along with what they called a “lack of concern for Black people whether they be students or workers” and a “general contempt towards the beliefs of Black students in particular and Black people in general.”
“Black students recognize the necessity of not letting the university set a dangerous precedent in its dealings with Black people,” the statement read in part, “that is letting white people direct the action and forces that affect Black people toward goals they (white people) feel are correct.”
Among the black professors who publicly supported Holder and the SAAS during this period was Black history teacher Hollis Lynch, who is one of four professors Holder later said “shaped my worldview.”

Entering Columbia Law School in September 1973, Holder joined the Black American Law Students Association. Less than a month later, that organization joined other minority activist groups in a coalition that demanded the retraction of a letter to President Gerald Ford, signed by six Columbia professors, that argued against affirmative action and racial quotas.
“Merit should be rewarded, without regard to race, sex, creed, or any other external factor,” the professors wrote to President Ford. Following a campaign marked by what two of those professors called “rhetoric and names hurled” at them, they changed their position and denied they actually opposed affirmative action.
The Columbia Spectator’s editorial page later argued against affirmative action as a factor in university admissions, touching off another controversy with the coalition that included the Black American Law Students Association. “Affirmative action is just a nice name for a quota, and quotas are just a nice name for racism,” the editorial board wrote.
In response, the minority students’ coalition responded that “traditional academic criteria have a built-in bias” that leaves many minority students “automatically excluded.”
“[A]ffirmative action is neither racist nor sexist,” they wrote. “Rather it is opposition to it, which fails to provide alternative means for eradicating bias, that supports the racist and sexist status quo.”

As attorney general, Holder has defended the affirmative action policies that are now the status quo. In February 2012, Holder said during a World Leaders Forum at Columbia University that he “can’t actually imagine a time in which the need for more diversity would ever cease.”
“Affirmative action has been an issue since segregation practices,” Holder said. “The question is not when does it end, but when does it begin. … When do people of color truly get the benefits to which they are entitled?”
Holder has also come under fire for presiding over a Justice Department that declined to prosecute members of the New Black Panther Party who allegedly intimidated white voters outside a Philadelphia polling precinct in 2008.
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Rumsfeld: There Was No Waterboarding of Courier Source

May 3, 2011

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells Newsmax the information that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden was obtained through “normal interrogation approaches” and says the notion that terrorist suspects were waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay is a “myth.”Rumsfeld also claims that elements of Pakistani intelligence could have been complicit in hiding the terrorist mastermind, asserts that his killing exonerates George W. Bush’s approach to fighting terrorism, and warns that terrorists will likely try to avenge bin Laden’s death with new attacks against America or its allies.

Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977, then under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006, and as a member of the Bush administration was one of the chief architects of America’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
His new book, “Known and Unknown: A Memoir,” was released in February.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Rumsfeld was asked how important was the killing of bin Laden after all these years.
“It is important,” he responds.
“He had become the face of terrorism, radical Islamists in the world, and I think the fact that the coalition of countries shared intelligence and worked the problem seriously for a number of years and were successful, ought to be a signal to other terrorists that while manhunts are difficult, they’re not impossible. The world’s a better place with him gone.
“It’s a good signal that the United States, thanks to George W. Bush’s administration, put in place some structures that put pressure on terrorists and led to this event. And thanks to the Obama administration for continuing those approaches and procedures, we’ve now been successful.”
Asked if harsh interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay played a role in obtaining intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts, Rumsfeld declares: “First of all, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay. That’s a myth that’s been perpetrated around the country by critics.
“The United States Department of Defense did not do waterboarding for interrogation purposes to anyone. It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.”
Rumsfeld reiterated that the killing of bin Laden exonerates the Bush administration’s response to 9/11.
“It certainly points up the fact that the structures that President Bush put into place – military commissions, Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act, indefinite detention, and humane treatment, but intensive interrogation to be sure – all contributed to the success we’ve had in the global war on terror.
“The fact that we’ve not had another attack on America for close to a decade, I don’t think anyone would have been bold enough to predict that 10 years ago.
“And certainly the killing of bin Laden is a testimony to our intelligence community. We’ve always had the ability to capture or kill Osama. What we didn’t have was the intelligence that was needed.”
Asked if Pakistan played a role in hiding bin Laden, Rumsfeld tells Newsmax: “I think it’s a fair question to ask the extent to which, probably not the Pakistani government but possibly some people connected to the Pakistani intelligence services, may or may not have had information about his location.”
In light of the fact that Pakistan has received billions of dollars in U.S. aid, what does the possible hiding of bin Laden say about the trustworthiness of Pakistan, Rumsfeld was asked.
“We don’t know yet. What we do know is it’s a Muslim country, they have nuclear weapons, they have been enormously helpful to us, particularly under the Musharraf regime, in allowing us access into Afghanistan and being with us from a military standpoint.
“We always knew there were people in Pakistan who have supported the Taliban and al-Qaida. That’s true in a number of countries. But the assistance we’ve provided to Pakistan has in my view been well spent.”
Rumsfeld says he doesn’t think the killing of bin Laden “will have any bearing at all” on destabilizing the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.
He adds: “We do know that al-Qaida has sought out chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and we do know they’ve alleged that in the event that Osama bin Laden is killed or captured, they would undertake some additional terrorist attacks on America and on our friends and allies around the world.”
Referring to new CIA Director Leon Panetta’s warning that terrorists’ attempts to avenge bin Laden’s death are inevitable, Rumsfeld says: “I think it’s likely they will try.” via {Newsmax/Matzav.com and image via wired.com