Archive for December 2008

On today’s “Hard Knock Radio” program on KPFA in Berkeley, a speech by Hunter College Professor Marimba Ani was broadcast in which she claims Obama is controlled by the Jews.

Click on this link to hear the audio clip (mp3):

Two-minute excerpt of Marimba Ani on KPFA’s “Hard Knock Radio, December 23, 2008.

Below is the transcript of the audio clip, which pretty much speaks for itself. The first minute or so is simply context: introducing the show, including a comical promotional announcement for the program by, of all people, Dan Rather.

In the transcript below, ellipses indicate portions of the original hour-long show that were left out — only the crucial section is included. See the end of this post for a link to the full show on the KPFA site, if you’re interested.

Radio announcer: “Welcome to Hard Knock Radio. My name is Mike Biggs here at the controls. Today on the program we bring you highlights of the great Harlem Obama Debate that took place December 14th at the St. Mary’s Church in Harlem, New York, posing the question, ‘Is the Obama Election Good for the Black Community?’”

Dan Rather: “Hello, I’m Dan Rather. When I’m in the Bay, I keep it locked to Hard Knock Radio: news, views and hip-hop. Peace.”
Fenny: “What’s up folks, this is your girl Fenny representing the whole Bay Area. I’m here on Hard Knock Radio: news, views and hip-hop. Stay tuned.”

Radio announcer: “Today on the show we bring you highlights of a debate that went down a couple weeks ago in Harlem, New York, asking the question, ‘Is the Obama Election Good for the Black Community?’ … Up first we bring you Dr. Leonard Jeffries, who feels Obama is good for the black community, followed by Dr. Marimba Ani who feels Obama is not. This is Hard Knock Radio — stay tuned.”

Event MC: “Culture scientist, former head of the black sequence at Hunter College, Dr. Marimba Ani….”

Marimba Ani [speaking about Obama's campaign]: “…Who did the financing? … They had a long history, in Chicago. Which brings me to the next warning, the next what I see as implication of this, and that is the Jewish connection, which must be understood. Because we fought that in the Civil Rights movement. And I was a part of the Southern student movement in Mississippi and all the time we had to fight for control of our own movement. Now what has happened is that he has allowed that control to come into play. Because he was picked and chosen, and I could give you the list of names. I don’t have time to now, but you’re gonna have to find these things out. You’re gonna have to now get on the Net, read things. Think, don’t just listen to rhetoric about how wonderful it is to have these beautiful people there. See where they came from. See what they represent.

If it isn’t already obvious just from hearing it, Ani’s thesis is that the Jews control Obama, just as they wrested control of the Civil Rights movement and so much else — one of the classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Here is a link to a streaming broadcast of the full hour-long show, on KPFA’s own site:

Hard Knock Radio broadcast, December 23, 2008.

You can also download the mp3 podcast of the full show (10mb) by right-clicking (or control-clicking) here.

If you’re curious about who Marimba Ani is, more info about her can be found here.

And, finally, if you’re not familiar with KPFA: It’s the leading far-left “progressive” radio station in the San Francisco Bay Area, part of the Pacifica network.

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R.I.P. Dan Kliman

Latest Updates:

[All new updates regarding Dan Kliman's death will now be added at the top of this post, to keep track of the latest developments. The original post begins below.]

Dec. 10, 1:00pm: The “Thoughts by Steve” blog has posted an important open letter from Allan Lavigne that says:

For those who may be reading this who are not familiar with me or my work in the community I am the Bay Area Director of Security for the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Community Federation and Liaison to the FBI Terrorist Task Force and San Francisco Police Departments Special Investigations. Personally I have 35 years of investigative experience, having been involved in many both high profile homicide cases as well as those deaths resulting from accidental causes.

I both knew and worked with Dan who was very helpful to our office. I was the first to contact and speak with investigators from both the SFPD and FBI concerning Dan’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, as well as his work in the community.

Although the official SFPD written report has not been concluded at the writing of this open letter, I have met with the investigators, spoken with friends of Dan as well as security at the building where the incident occurred and I personally examined the scene. And to that end I can say that the evidence that I have reviewed suggests that Dan’s passing was purely accidental in nature and not the result of foul play. This is supported by both video and physical evidence recovered at the scene that will be laid out in the final San Francisco report.

Dec. 10, 9:00am: Perpetua of Carthage has a new post with an email from a colleague of Dan’s who claims he always took the stairs when possible.

Dec. 9, 8:00pm: Joe Eskenazi of the S.F. Weekly has two new pieces about Dan and the investigation into his death, but both say essentially the same thing: that the trickle of information from the police has now stopped entirely, and that as a result everyone has resorted to speculation and guesswork about what might have happened. There are no longer any firm deadlines about when the investigation might be concluded, so everyone following the case — from reporters to activists — has no choice but to wait, and wonder.

Dec. 7, 1:00pm: An article in the San Francisco Examiner has another photo of the elevator, and conflicting statements from elevator experts, with some saying that it’s “impossible” to pry open the inner doors and fall down a shaft, and others saying that it does occasionally happen. Most importantly, the article states,

Cal-OSHA inspectors annually test elevators on their compliance with the law, and on Nov. 4 [just three weeks before Dan fell], workers inspected the elevators at the Sharon Building, Fryer said. During that test, inspectors stopped the elevators between every floor in the building, and at no time where they able to pry open the doors from the inside, beyond the mandated 4-inch gap.
“These doors should never open if they are between floors,” Fryer said.

Dec. 7, 11:30am: The JTA article about Dan’s death has now been reprinted in the Jerusalem Post, bringing more international attention to the case.

Dec. 7, 10:00am: The Zennie62 blog has posted videos of Dan being interviewed in Oakland a year ago; and also lists a memorial service being held for Dan on Sunday , Dec 14, 7:30pm at the Beth Jacob Congregation, 3778 Park Blvd., Oakland.

Dec. 5, 4:42pm: There is now a Facebook group called “Remembering Dan Kliman” where friends of Dan can share memories and photos of him. One of the commenters gives a description of Dan’s funeral in Schenectady, NY, on Sunday, Dec. 7.

Dec. 5, 3:40pm: The Times Union of Albany, New York published an article with details Dan’s youth on the East Coast, with a quote from his mother and information about his education and early activism.

Dec. 5, 2:00pm: j. the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California has published an article with quotes from some of Dan’s colleagues expressing doubt that his death was an accident.

Dec. 5, 11.24am: Cinnamon Stillwell has written a memorial post for Dan, accurately noting that “Dan would often hold aloft an Israeli flag and a rainbow flag side-by-side.” Which makes me wonder: Why have we heard so little from the gay community about the death of such a prominent gay activist?

Dec. 5, 9:00am: San Francisco Voice for Israel now has a memorial for Dan on their Web site.

Dec. 5, 1:10am: The Oy Bay! blog has now posted “The Unfolding Story of the Death of Dan Kliman,” with an extensive list of links related to Dan’s case, and noting some details that have gotten little attention thus far, such as that Dan “dated one of the instructors” at PARS, the Arabic language school in the building where his body was found.

Dec. 4, 1:00pm: CFS Warrior has now posted a description of a disturbing incident that happened to Dan shortly before his death:

Dr. Kliman shared with me that he had been to the Israeli consulate the week prior to 11/20. I don’t know what day it was. He said that as he pulled up on his bike a man suddenly came up to him put his face next to Dr. Kliman’s and said “Dan?” Dr. Kliman didnt’ know who the guy was, said he looked American, and when he said yes I’m Dan, the guy broke out in fluent Hebrew or Arabic (I can’t remember). Dr. Kliman said he’s been to the consulate many, many times and this had never occurred before. He was a little rattled that the man knew who he was but Dan didn’t recognize him. This occurred outside the consulate. When Dr. Kliman entered the consulate he was searched and his computer, ipod, cell phone were all put in a secured area. He was very surprised this and said this had never happened before. I was a little surprised at his response. He wasn’t so concerned about what occurred at the consolute-very puzzled by it since it was something that had never occurred before but he was rattled by the man who approached him outside the consulate. Dr. Kliman was not easily rattled by anything. A little red flag went up about his safety.

Dec. 4, 11:01am: Joe Eskenazi at the SFWeekly‘s blog “The Snitch” notes that “a task force of hate crime and homicide inspectors was formed only hours” after the police had definitively told Eskenazi that Dan’s death was an accident. Why? Eskenazi thinks either new evidence was found, or the police are trying to protect their reputation by appearing to be thorough.

Dec. 2, 5:00pm: The San Francisco Examiner published this article on December 2 which has the only known photograph of the ground-floor lobby and elevator doors of the Sharon Building, as well as a few extra details about the building’s security.


Here’s a video showing part of an interview with Dan conducted in November, 2007 at a counter-protest in Oakland against the anti-Israel group Women in Black. It shows how erudite and informed Dan was when it came to Israel.


 
[Original post:]

We’ve just learned that Dan Kliman, a dedicated pro-Israel activist in San Francisco, and occasional zombietime contributor, was found dead yesterday at the bottom of an elevator shaft:

The gruesome discovery Monday of a man’s body in the elevator shaft of a historic San Francisco high-rise has investigators and the property manager scratching their heads trying to figure out how the man got there.

The victim was identified early this morning by the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office as Daniel J. Kliman, 38, of Oakland. Kliman is believed to have fallen down the shaft at the historic Sharon Building, at 55 New Montgomery St., last Tuesday evening, according to Brad Bernheim, the building manager.

Bernheim said the elevator was not working last week and had been secured so that no one could enter it. Workers showed up Monday to repair the elevator and discovered the body.

Last Tuesday, a surveillance camera recorded Kliman waiting for the elevator in the lobby. It wasn’t clear, however, how he ended up in the elevator shaft or whether he fell from that floor or higher, Bernheim said.

He said the victim was a student at the Pacific Arabic Resources School on the seventh floor of the building. He said there were no classes last week.

“I don’t know why he was there. That’s what we’re investigating,

UPDATE: A commenter on this post claims (in comments #36, 47 and 48 below) that the Arabic language school was not actually closed on Tuesday night, and that Dan interacted normally with people there on the 7th floor just minutes or even seconds before he entered the elevator or shaft; and also that the police are in fact interviewing these witnesses:

#36 Anonymous
There are THREE elevators next to each other in the building.
The man fell down the shaft from six flights. He fell on the way down from Pars [the school], not on his way up. the elevator was “supposedly” locked. and it may have been blocked off in the lobby. However it was not barricaded on the upper floors. And obviously, it accidentally opened on the seventh floor for Dan to have entered it. It subsequently got stuck and he pried the doors open and tried to climb out of it and jump down to the lower landing below him but slipped into the shaft.

It is not possible that someone or ones had a scuffle with Dan on the seventh floor, since there were a few students still on the seventh floor, despite the fact that there were no official classes. An instructor had spoken to him before he was leaving. There is less than twenty yards between where the elevator is and where the door to PARS is, and the door to Pars is wide open when people are there. Dan had contact with other people at Pars before he left. This happened to him on his way out, not on his way in. Although, perhaps he was stuck in that elevator a long time before deciding to attempt an escape from it. …

#47 Anonymous
…I am a student at Pars and I heard those details from other people who were at the school on the night that he was last seen. I don’t know ALL the details, but I know that he was not the only one who was at the school that evening. And he was not the last person to leave, although, how many people were around, I cannot say. Also, the building in general is very empty at night. …

#48 Anonymous
…Do you think this information was not conveyed to the police? They are interviewing everyone who was there on the night of this tragedy. And, of course, they are not publicizing every detail that they have not confirmed yet, i am sure. …

As of this writing, neither the police nor the media have verified any of these details.

UPDATE: The San Francisco Chronicle has a new article published on December 4 stating that “a task force including officers from the [police] department’s hate crimes and homicide units has been formed to look into Kliman’s death,” and that the police are promising a full and thorough investigation.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency also has published an article about Dan:

Police probing death of Israel activist

A prominent Israel activist was found dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft.

Daniel J. Kliman, 38, was the co-founder of San Francisco Voice for Israel, an affiliate of the national Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, and a well-known pro-Israel activist in the San Francisco Bay area.

His body was found Monday in a San Francisco building where he was taking Arabic classes. It had been at the bottom of the elevator shaft since Nov. 25, building manager Brad Bernheim told the San Francisco Chronicle. There were no classes held last week, and the elevator supposedly was closed for repairs.

Police are investigating his death.

Kliman was scheduled to fly to Israel on Thanksgiving Day as part of the Honest Reporting mission, a pro-Israel media initiative.

“He was the public face of grass-roots Israel advocacy in the San Francisco Bay area,” said Mike Harris, his colleague at Voice for Israel. “He was passionate about standing up for Israel, literally — standing up in public with flags and signs.”

Kliman, also known as a fervent environmentalist, often was seen bicycling around the Bay Area instead of taking rides to reduce his carbon footprint, friends said.

More info here and here.

The “At the back of the hill” blog has some personal details:

Daniel J. Kliman was found dead yesterday at the bottom of an elevator shaft in the building where he was taking Arabic classes. He is believed to have fallen down the elevator shaft on Tuesday evening 11/25/08.
There were no classes last week. There were very few people in the building at the time. The defective elevator was “secure”.

It is still unclear how this happened.

Dan was supposed to fly to Israel last Thursday.

DANIEL J. KLIMAN, 38 YEARS OLD.

Dan was a founding member of San Francisco Voice for Israel, who tirelessly worked to promote a fair and balanced image for Israel in the Bay Area, regularly facing the threats and insults of anti-Semites and anti-Israel activists for several years.

Dan was a friend, a leader, and an inspiration. And Dan was a colleague, companion, and comrade in so many protests on behalf of Israel.

We, his friends and community, are going to miss him. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.

While many of Dan’s friends and acquaintances think there may be something suspicious about Dan’s death, the SFWeekly blog claims to have heard second-hand that the police have evidence that his death was entirely accidental — they say he fell while trying to climb out of a stuck elevator. If so, it’s not explained why this purported evidence was never mentioned publicly or to the press. On the other hand, the SFWeekly‘s version of events is contradicted by a new story in the S.F. Chronicle, which claims Dan stepped directly into an open shaft — and was not trying to escape from a stuck elevator car. Both stories insist it was an accident, and yet they give two completely different causes of the fall. Still other sites, such as Really Clear Politics, are already calling his death a “murder.” We may have to wait for further investigations to get the full story.

Perpetua of Carthage has a post featuring one of two pictures taken by “David” of the 7th story exterior elevator doors in the Sharon Building, where Dan was found; “David” originally posted the images here and provided this caption:

…Why is it that there are signs of scuffle on the 7th floor external elevator door? I took these photos this morning:

There are clear signs of struggle. I went to two other floors and saw no such signs. Remember that these are on the EXTERNAL doors that are ONLY on the 7th floor, not on other floors. In other words, the only way that those marks could have gotten there is that if there was some kind of struggle on the 7th floor (the floor of the PAR Arabic School where Dan was going for class), NOT any where else where the elevator car may have been stuck. The police are claiming that Dan tried to get out of a stuck elevator car, but the doors that you see on these pictures are the external doors on the 7th floor, which are stationary and do not move up and down with the car.

I have no way of verifying if the marks and stains on the door are the result of a “scuffle” or of something else that happened during the investigation itself (e.g. police investigators pulling at the doors to test if they could be opened manually; or perhaps the visible marks are left over graphite powder from the police “fingerprint dusting” the doors; etc.). Look at David’s images and come to your own conclusions.

UPDATE: The SFWeekly blog has a statement from a San Francisco Police Inspector who absolutely insists Dan’s death was accidental:

“He gets into the elevator car. For some inexplicable reason, the elevator gets stuck between floors — we think between the sixth and seventh. He is somehow able to open the doors from inside and sees that he’s between floors,” said [San Francisco Police Department Inspector Matt] Krimsky, who is investigating the death. “We know he got into the elevator … and ended up in the elevator well. How he did that is under investigation.”

Krimsky claimed the SFPD had “evidence” placing Kliman within the elevator car, but would not go into further detail. “All I can tell you is we have physical evidence he forced his way out of the elevator. Beyond that I cannot compromise the integrity of this investigation.”

“We’ve got forensic evidence pointing toward a tragic accident. There is no evidence of foul play whatsoever. Underscore that, bold it and print it with an exclamation point.”

A new article in the S.F. Chronicle confirms this narrative, quoting a friend of Dan’s who says the police are sure he climbed out from inside a stalled elevator car.

Meanwhile, the Israel Jewish News blog thinks his death was not accidental and may have been politically motivated. Debbie Schlussel agrees, stating that there seem to be too many convenient coincidences surrounding what happened for it to be a random accident. At the back of the hill now has a new post discussing how intensely hated Dan was by his political enemies, providing ample motive for an attack. The Associated Press reports that Cal/OSHA investigators are inspecting the elevator to ensure public safety, to see if it opened somehow by itself or if it was forced open. Perhaps this investigation will shed light on what actually happened.

Dan was also politically active in other areas, including cycling, vegetarianism and gay rights. The Bicycle Blog has a memorial post about Dan from the cycling community’s point of view, and includes a photo of Dan’s bike still parked outside the building where he was found, overlooked by the police. The “heeb’n’vegan” blog has a very informative post about Dan’s deeply moral insights about the ethics of being an observant Jew who is also cares about animal rights. The “With the Misnagdim” blog has a memorial post discussing Dan’s activities in Orthodox Judaism. Dan’s Facebook page also lists some of his other political interests. Smooth Stone blog has a memorial page for Dan, as does the ADL.

Dan was a doctor as well, and many of his patients and colleagues have expressed their condolences and feelings of loss in the comments sections here and on other blogs. CFS Warrior was one of Dan’s patients, and in a long post praising Dan’s medical abilities, made this unsettling statement:

It was also during our last visit that he shared some information with me that leads me to the conclusion that his death was not an accident. Something had occurred a week prior that he was puzzled and a bit rattled about. He shared it with me. I commented how it sounded like a spy novel and was puzzled as well. 

What happened to Dan the week before that made him “rattled” and “sounded like a spy novel”? The blogger does not say. [Note: See update above near top of page.]

Although I did not know Dan personally, we communicated often via email, always in relation to protests in which he was participating as a representative of San Francisco Voice for Israel.

One thing I know for sure is that Dan was a great photographer, and I featured many of his photos in my reports over the years. You can see some of his outstanding work here and here.

Dan, you will be greatly missed.

UPDATE:

Here is a short tribute to the Dan I knew — Dan the Photographer:


Photo by Dan Kliman of pro-Israel protesters.


Photo by Dan Kliman of anti-Israel protesters.


Dan the Photographer.


Photo by “Dusty” of Dan at this year’s Pride Parade in San Francisco.