On May 29, 2019, former National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) Program Director and current member Riva Enteen wrote an article for the Black Agenda Report and republished in the local BayView newspaper, titled “National Lawyers Guild Echoes Smear Campaign Against Julian Assange.”** While NLGSF welcomes principled feedback from our members regarding the Guild’s work, it is our responsibility to set the record straight when the politics of our chapter are misrepresented and inaccurate. It is especially critical that we do so in this political moment – a time that has been characterized by untruths and falsehoods by the right wing in its attempts to undermine the leftist movement.

In her article, Ms. Enteen states that her tenure as NLGSF Program Director ended due to political differences. She alleges that our chapter disapproved of her work with Arab and Muslim groups post-9/11, which included setting up a hotline for individuals contacted by the FBI and INS, and that she was reprimanded for supporting Guild attorney Lynne Stewart. This is categorically false . NLGSF has always been steadfast in our commitment to Arab and Muslim
communities. The post-9/11 legal hotline had the full support of our chapter and many of our members who helped set-up and operate the hotline remain active in the Guild today and have continued to fight against the repression of Arab and Muslim communities and support the movement for Palestine liberation. Ms. Enteen, as Program Director, was responsible for administering and managing the legal hotline. It was in the execution of her responsibilities as Program Director that there was disagreement, not in the politics of the work. Similarly, NLGSF strongly supported Lynne Stewart and was vocal in speaking out against her prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment for advocating for her client Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. We also actively supported the campaign for her release.

The bedrock of NLGSF is our work to defend and protect communities that are most vulnerable to state repression. Throughout the 50+ years of our chapter’s work, we have never wavered from this mission. The time period around Ms. Enteen’s departure as Program Director is no exception.

Signed:

Jay Kim, NLGSF Executive Director
Judith Mirkinson, NLGSF Board President
Sara Kershnar, NLGSF Board Vice-President
Rachel Gendell, NLGSF Board Treasurer
Leila Sayed-Taha, NLGSF Board Member
Hasmik Geghamyan, NLGSF Board Member
Karen Jo Koonan, NLGSF Board Member
Debra Murov, NLGSF Board Member
Beth Hodess, NLGSF Board Member
Rachel Lederman, NLGSF Board Member

 

**The National Lawyers Guild, contrary to Ms. Enteen’s opinion, supports Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning and the principles for which they represent, including freedom of press and grand jury resistance. See, NLG Reiterates
Support for Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Free Press (National Lawyers Guild, June 7, 2019), https://www.nlg.org/nlg-reiterates-support-of-julian-assange-chelsea-manning-and-free-press/