Newly released documents show that the Department of Justice (DOJ) allowed for the release of Marxist radical and domestic terrorist Marilyn Buck from federal prison because officials believed she learned her lesson and had “expressed a dramatic change from her previous political philosophy.”
These new documents, obtained by investigative journalist Cliff Kincaid’s America’s Survival organization, shed more light on why Holder’s officials decided to release Buck, a convicted radical left-wing domestic terrorist.
“Incredibly, Buck’s attorney, Soffiyah Elijah, cited Buck’s ‘Master of Fine Arts in Poetics,’ completed behind bars, as evidence that she deserved parole. It’s a fraud and a racket,” Kincaid said at an America’s Survival event on Tuesday, adding that the poems Buck wrote “are not just terrible poetry but evidence of the same kind of murderous communist political ideology she was incarcerated for.”
Buck’s first application for parole in 2003 was denied, and she was not supposed to even be reconsidered for parole until September 2018. As these new documents show, President Bush’s Justice Department caved during Buck’s appeal of the 2003 decision. Between 2004 and 2006, Bush administration DOJ officials agreed to grant Buck “presumptive parole” on Feb. 8, 2011.
Presumptive parole isn’t a guarantee of release. It means, for Buck to get out in 2011, she would need to meet three criteria: she could no longer be considered a danger to the community, she would have to show remorse and her release couldn’t “depreciate” the seriousness of her offenses.
Advocates for Buck’s release weren’t satisfied with the Bush administration’s recommendation. They wanted a guarantee Buck would get out and they wanted her out sooner than 2011. So, Buck’s attorney, Soffiyah Jill Elijah of Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Institute, and a cadre of left-wing activists and academics lobbied the U.S. Parole Commission, arguing Buck was worthy of being released early and that she met the three criteria for parole.
A professor from the University of California at Santa Barbara offered Buck a job as a teaching assistant and Elijah proposed that Buck could live in a room in her Brooklyn apartment. (Halperin’s MSNBC suspension latest example of White House press tampering)
Efforts to push the Bush administration further on Buck’s parole terms were unsuccessful. But, when President Barack Obama took office in 2009 with Attorney General Eric Holder running the DOJ, Buck’s advocates continued their efforts, and achieved. Citing her “superior program achievement,” Holder’s DOJ agreed to move Buck’s presumptive parole date up to Aug. 8, 2010.
Holder’s DOJ made the ultimate decision that Buck met the criteria for parole. On Sept. 4, 2009, U.S. Chief Probation officer Eileen Kelly wrote to Buck’s case manager that officials had visited Elijah’s apartment in New York and deemed it a suitable location for Buck to live post-release.
After discovering in early summer 2010 that Buck had cancer and her life expectancy was less than three months, Holder’s officials released her even earlier, on July 15, 2010. She died of cancer less than a month after her July 2010 release.
Former DOJ Civil Rights division official J. Christian Adams, a legal expert and critic of Holder’s handling of cases similar to this like the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case, told The Daily Caller nobody will ever know if Buck’s views ever changed because there’s no substantial evidence of the claims. Besides what she and her attorneys told parole officers, everything she wrote shows that she thought the same way. Adams questions the Obama administration’s willingness to believe Buck and Elijah, too, seeing as they’re both radically left-wing.
“Amazingly, the DOJ took Elijah seriously despite her being an advocate for Fidel Castro,” Adams said in an email. “Elijah is a notorious far left pro-criminal activist despite her position at Harvard. In previous administrations, Elijah’s views would have been afforded no weight. But in the Eric Holder Justice Department, crackpots like Elijah seem to have the power to release black panther terrorists.”
Another thing Adams points to with Elijah’s letters is that they’re written on Harvard letterhead. One of President Obama’s law school professors, Harvard Director Emeritus Charles Ogletree, appears on the letterhead. Adams said Ogletree has lots of pull with the president.
“The letters from Harvard with Charles Ogletree in the letterhead are telling,” Adams said. “Ogletree is a personal friend of President Obama and having his name on a letter seeking Buck’s release is like sending Buck the keys to open her jail cell.”
Holder’s DOJ officials admitted Buck was considered a “domestic terrorist that participated in violent crimes while part of several ‘radical’/anit-government [sic] organizations including the Eldridge Cleaver faction of the Black Panther Party, The Family black revolutionary movement, Revolutionary Fighting Group, Armed Resistance Movement and Red Guerilla Resistance.”
The beginning of the DOJ’s U.S. Parole Commission report recommending her early release also notes Buck helped those groups commit “armed truck robberies, bank robberies and bombings throughout the US” in the 70s and 80s and that, “on 11/7/1983 she [Buck] was involved in the bombing of the US Capitol.” When Buck helped bomb the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., she was “on escape from federal custody,” meaning she had broken out of prison before that crime.
Buck also helped convicted cop-killer Joanne Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur, break out of prison in 1979.
She was serving an 80-year sentence, and her full sentence would have kept her incarcerated until Jan. 31, 2061.
“The prisoner testified that she acknowledges that she was ‘on off track’ on her previous views of violence,” reads part of one document citing Buck’s statement to parole officers. “She understands now that the end can never justify the means. She has sorrow and remorse for her actions.”
Victim advocate Tina Trent argues that, in the public arena, there’s no substantial proof whatsoever showing Buck learned her lesson, changed her views or showed remorse other than what she told U.S. Parole Commission officials in the Bush and Obama administrations. Trent points to what Buck wrote while incarcerated as the only real evidence of whether or not she changed.
“Marilyn Buck, whose writing seethed with hatred towards white Americans, who planted bombs, staged jailbreaks, participated in the murder of policemen, and showed no remorse for any of her actions, transformed herself from a terrorist into an ‘AIDS educator,’ ‘literacy teacher’ and ‘celebrated poet,’ largely by expressing her alleged victimization at the hands of a corrections system that was, in reality, protecting the public from her,” Trent wrote in a 20-plus page report on this topic, adding that, “her publications from 2003 until her death contain no evidence of remorse and no acknowledgement of responsibility for murder.”
Trent said Buck’s writings show she continued to have the same political beliefs, regardless of what she told the U.S. Parole Commission.
On Sept. 11, 2001, for example, Buck wrote a poem on her perceptions of the al Qaeda terrorist attacks and what she expected to happen next. After asking in her Sept. 11 poem, “do chickens come home to roost?” Buck wrote that she, a “political prisoner can conceive why” the terrorists attacked the United States, qualifying that with a line, “but comprehension is not complicity.”
An excerpt from Buck’s Sept. 11 poem on what she expected to happen next:
a Muslim sister whispers
they will blame the Muslims)
many will feed the eagle
(Palestinians are always suspect)
many will die red upon the land
I can’t comprehend
men who commit suicide
taking civilians with them
(a u.s. postal worker
Columbine high school boys
a man at McDonalds
all-American suicide killers)
used as warheads
I shudder and walk away
to my cell
Trent also said Buck’s continued claims that she was a “political prisoner” show she never learned her lesson.
Buck wrote for the socialist Monthly Review in 2004 about how, “prison has always been the final gate in the repressive apparatus of a state.” Buck said the “prisoner is, with few exceptions, always a scapegoat and considered a deviant” and called prison a “class weapon” and a way to “control ‘alien’ populations.”
“In the United States, these ‘alien’ populations are formerly colonized peoples — former slaves, Native Americans, Latin Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders — and they have all too often been considered the internal enemy,” Buck wrote. “They are the people most needing control and are therefore the majority of those locked down in U.S. prisons.”
Kincaid said these kinds of writings show Buck “never had any remorse or regret for her terrorist record.” He worries what kind of impact Buck’s victory will have in the long run in the eyes of other socialist and radical left-wing movements. “Buck’s release served as a rallying point for the terrorist networks that include Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn,” Kincaid said.