Constitutional History of Secession of the former USSR


 

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Before anything else read my two prior blogs (especially if you don’t have at least a B.A. in Political Science and even then, if you didn’t have a specialization in international relations):

 

http://janbtucker.com/blog/2014/03/16/to-ukraine-sevastopol-is-fort-sumter/

 

http://janbtucker.com/blog/2012/11/16/mythology-of-secession/

Now that you’ve boned up on some of the elements of international relations, foreign policy and constitutional history, think about the effect of the constitutional history of the former Soviet Union and how it affects the perceptions of common people, politicians, and academicians in the former Soviet states as they now all squabble over the Crimea, parts of Ukraine, Trans Dneister, and other areas that have majority populations of Russian language speakers.  Pay special attention to my explanation of “Romantic Nationalism” in my blog on the “Mythology of Secession” and how that is playing out in the present day.

Rus'Kaya Pravda

Rus’Kaya Pravda

Russian and later Soviet constitutional history dates back at least to the Rus’Kaya Pravda of Kiev of 1280, the Pskov Judicial Charter adopted in 1397, and the Novgorod Judicial Charter of 1440 all of which led to Ivan III (“Ivan the Great” as opposed to Ivan IV, i.e. “Ivan the Terrible”) promulgating the Sudebnik of 1497.  This in turn was revised by Ivan IV’s Sudebnik of 1550, followed by the 1649 Sobornoye Ulozheniye of Czar Alexy Mikhailovich.  These documents were brought up to date in the 1833 promulgation of “The Code of Laws of the Russian Empire” by Czar Nicholai I.

Russian 1906 constitutionFollowing the unsuccessful 1905 Russian Revolution, Czar Nicholai II was forced to cede some power to the legislative Duma with the “Russian Fundamental Laws of 1906,” seen as the beginning of modern constitutionalism in Russia.  The 1906 document is very clear about the inseparable and autocratic nature of the Russian nation-state:

1. The Russian State is one and indivisible.

2. The Grand Duchy of Finland, while comprising as inseparable part of the Russian State, is governed in its internal affairs by special decrees based on special legislation.

3. The Russian language is the common language of the state, and its use is compulsory in the army, in the navy and in all state and public institutions. The use of local (regional) languages and dialects in state and public institutions are determined by special legislation.

 

 

BolshevikFollowing the success of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution and Civil War, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed by Treaty in 1922 followed by a formal “Constitution” in 1924, that established a system which was a voluntary union amongst theoretically equal nation-states, i.e., Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Trans-Caucusus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia).  This constitutional arrangement was on paper at least, akin to the “Articles of Confederation” which governed the United States of America prior to adoption of the U.S. Constitution.  As Wikipedia explains [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_on_the_Creation_of_the_USSR]:

Finally the declaration then specifies that the resultant Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is one that is created on free will of the peoples, that its purpose follows the ideals of the October Revolution, that each and every socialist republic has the right to join and leave the Union at its own will, and hinting at the Soviet foreign policy of socialist irredentism (see World Revolution), finishes stating that the treaty …will serve a decisive step on the path of unification of all workers into a “World Socialist Soviet Republic”.

Following the declaration, is the treaty itself consisting of a preface and 26 articles.

In the preface it is fixed that the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, the Byelorussian Socialist Soviet Republic and the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic(containing Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia) acting in free will, agree to form a single Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, that is governed on articles listed in the treaty.

Note importantly:  it was clear on paper that the participating Republics had the right of secession.  In essence, to join or pull out of the USSR the individual sovereign polity (be sure to look up the terms “sovereign” and “polity” if you’re not familiar with those terms as used by political scientists) was ratifying or abrogating its responsibilities under this treaty.  It is important from that standpoint to understand the timeline that Wikipedia puts together for the history of this treaty:

  • December 21, 1922 – Treaty signed.
  • December 30, 1922 – Treaty ratified.
  • October 27, 1924 – Uzbek and Turkmen populated regions of the Turkestan ASSR (previously of RSFSR) elevated into union republics.
  • October 16, 1929 – Tajik SSR created from the Tajik ASSR (previously part of the RSFSR).
  • December 5, 1936 – Simultaneous split of the Transcaucasian SFSR into Armenian, Georgian and Azerbaijani SSRs. Simultaneous breakup of the RSFSR-administered Turkestan (then consisting of Kazakh and Kirgiz ASSRs) into Kazakh and Kirgiz SSRs.
  • March 31, 1940 – RSFSR-administered Karelian ASSR raised into the Karelo-Finnish SSR.
  • August 3, 1940 – Lithuanian SSR joins USSR.
  • August 5, 1940 – Latvian SSR joins USSR.
  • August 6, 1940 – Estonian SSR joins USSR.
  • August 24, 1940 – Moldavian SSR created from the Ukrainian administered Moldavian ASSR and annexed Romanian territory of Bessarabia.
  • July 16, 1956 – Karelo-Finnish SSR downgraded into an autonomous republic and re-annexed by RSFSR.
  • December 8, 1991 – Treaty termination agreed by three of the four founding republics.
  • December 25, 1991 – Treaty terminated.

 

Crimea was originally, within the context of the USSR, a part of the RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic) until the regime of Ukrainian Nikita Krushchev at which time, as pointed out in my last blog on this subject, it was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954.

 

The principles of the treaty were incorporated into Chapter II of the Soviet Constitution of 1924 and pay close attention to these provisions:

 

CHAPTER II Sovereign Rights of the Member Republics

ARTICLE 3.

The sovereignty of the member Republics is limited only in the matters indicated in the present Constitution, as coming within the competence of the Union. Outside of those limits, each member Republic exerts its public powers independently; the USSR protects the rights of the member Republics.

ARTICLE 4.

Each one of the member Republics retains the right to freely withdraw from the Union.

ARTICLE 5.

The member Republics will make changes in their Constitutions to conform with the present Constitution.

ARTICLE 6.

The territory of the member Republics cannot be modified without their consent; also, any limitation or modification or suppression of Article 4 must have the approval of all the member Republics of the Union.

ARTICLE 7.

Just one federal nationality is established for the citizens of the member Republics
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/1924-constitution-of-the-ussr#ixzz2wSjb3EVp

In 1936 under the rule of Joseph Stalin (my genetic cousin who was Y Chromosome Haplogroup G, subclade G2a, while I’m G2b), a new constitution was adopted with the following relevant Articles:

ARTICLE 13. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a federal state, formed on the basis of the voluntary association of Soviet Socialist Republics having equal rights, namely:

The Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic
The Azerbaidjan Soviet Socialist Republic
The Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic
The Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic
The Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic
The Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic
The Tadjik Soviet Socialist Republic
The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
The Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic
The Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic
The Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
The Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic
The Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
The Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic.

ARTICLE 15. The sovereignty of the Union Republics is limited only within the provisions set forth in Article 14 of the Constitution of the U.S.S.R. Outside of these provisions, each Union Republic exercises state authority independently. The U.S.S.R. protects the sovereign rights of the Union Republics.

ARTICLE 16. Each Union Republic has its own Constitution, which takes account of the specific features of the Republic and is drawn up in full conformity with the Constitution of the U.S.S.R.

ARTICLE 17. To every Union Republic is reserved the right freely to secede from the U.S.S.R.

ARTICLE 18. The territory of a Union Republic may not be altered without its consent.

ARTICLE 19. The laws of the U.S.S.R. have the same force within the territory of every Union Republic.

ARTICLE 20. In the event of a discrepancy between a law of a Union Republic  and an all-Union law, the all-Union law prevails.

ARTICLE 21. A single Union citizenship is established for all citizens of the U.S.S.R.

Every citizen of a Union Republic is a citizen of the U.S.S.R.

 

ARTICLE 22. The Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic consists of the Altai, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Ordjonikidze, Maritime and Khabarovsk Territories; the Archangel, Vologda, Voronezh, Gorky, Ivanovo, Irkutsk, Kalinin, Kirov, Kuibyshev, Kursk, Leningrad, Molotov, Moscow, Murmansk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Orel, Penza, Rostov, Ryazan, Saratov, Sverdlovsk, Smolensk, Stalingrad, Tambov, Tula, Chelyabinsk, Chita, Chkalov and Yaroslavl Regions; The Tatar, Bashkir, Daghestan, Buryat-Mongolian, Kabardino-Balkarian, Kalmyk, Komi, Crimean, Mari, Mordovian, Volga German, North Ossetian, Udmurt, Checheno-Ingush, Chuvash and Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics; and the Adygei, Jewish, Karachai, Oirot, Khakass and Cherkess Autonomous Regions.

ARTICLE 23. The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic consists of the Vinnitsa, Volynsk, Voroshilovgrad, Dnepropetrovsk, Drogobych, Zhitomir, Zaporozhe, Izmail, Kamenets-Podolsk, Kiev, Kirovograd, Lvov, Nikolaev, Odessa, Poltava, Rovno, Stalino, Stanislav, Sumy, Tarnopol, Kharkov, Chemigov and Chernovitsy Regions.

ARTICLE 24. The Azerbaidian Soviet Socialist Republic includes the, Nakhichevan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region.

ARTICLE 25. The Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic includes the Abkhazian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, the Adjar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and the South Ossetian Autonomous Region.

ARTICLE 26. The Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic consists of the Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent, Ferghana, and Khorezm Regions, and the Kara-Kalpak Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.

ARTICLE 27. The Tadjik Soviet Socialist Republic consists of the Garm, Kuliab, Leninabad and Stalinabad Regions, and the Gomo-Badakhshan Autonomous Region.

ARTICLE 28. The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic consists of the Akmolinsk, Aktyubinsk, Alma-Ata, East Kazakhstan, Guryev, Djambul, West Kazakhstan, Karaganda, Kzyl-Orda, Kustanai, Pavlodar, North Kazakhstan. Semipalatinsk, and South Kazakhstan Regions.

ARTICLE 29. The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic consists of the Baranovichi, Byelostok, Brest, Vileika, Vitebsk, Gomel, Minsk, Moghilev, Pinsk and Polessye Regions.

ARTICLE 29a. The Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic consists of the Ashkhabad, Krasnovodsk, Mari, Tashauz and Chardzhou Regions.

ARTICLE 29b. The Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic consists of the Dzhalal-Abad, Issyk-Kul, Osh, Tian-Shan and Frunze Regions.

The question arises with all this of whether society ever actually “consented” to any of these constitutional arrangements that were imposed over Czarist and later Soviet society.  Note for example that Nagorno Karabakh was granted to Azerbaijan, in spite of 90% of its inhabitants being Armenians and despite the fact that the Soviet Union’s commission on nationalities itself had decided to put Nagorno Karabakh in Armenia–until it was overruled by Stalin when he was Commissioner of Nationalities.  Note also that areas like North Ossetia (now part of the disputes with the Republic of Georgia) and the Crimea were expressly then parts of Russia; Abkhazia and South Ossetia were expressly part of Georgia.

As with the 1922 Treaty and the 1924 Constitution, the right of secession of Republics was preserved as was the provision of Article 18 that “The territory of a Union Republic may not be altered without its consent.”  From the Russian perspective, the 1954 transfer of Crimea with its majority of Russian speakers to Ukraine by Ukrainian Soviet Premier and Communist Party Chief Nikita Krushchev was not really with Russian consent and was frankly shoved down Russia’s throat.

Chapter 8 of the 1977 Soviet Constitution which superseded Stalin’s 1936 Constitution is likewise relevant to this discussion:

Article 70. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is an integral, federal, multinational state formed on the principle of socialist federalism as a result of the free self-determination of nations and the voluntary association of equal Soviet Socialist Republics.

The USSR embodies the state unity of the Soviet people and draws all its nations and nationalities together for the purpose of jointly building communism.

Article 71. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics unites:

the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republicthe Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic,the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic,the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic,the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic,the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic,the Azerbeijan Soviet Socialist Republic,the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic,the Moldovian Soviet Socialist Republic,the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic,the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic,the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic,the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic,the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic,the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic.

 

Article 72. Each Union Republic shall retain the right freely to secede from the USSR.

Article 73. The jurisdiction of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as represented by its highest bodies of state authority and administration, shall cover:

  1. the admission of new republics to the USSR; endorsement of the formation of new autonomous republics and autonomous regions within Union Republics;
  2. determination of the state boundaries of the USSR and approval of changes in the boundaries between Union Republics;
  3. establishment of the general principles for the organisation and functioning of republican and local bodies of state authority and administration;
  4. the ensurance of uniformity of legislative norms throughout the USSR and establishment of the fundamentals of the legislation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Union Republics;
  5. pursuance of a uniform social and economic policy; direction of the country’s economy; determination of the main lines of scientific and technological progress and the general measures for rational exploitation and conservation of natural resources; the drafting and approval of state plans for the economic and social development of the USSR, and endorsement of reports on their fulfilment;
  6. the drafting and approval of the consolidated Budget of the USSR, and endorsement of the report on its execution; management of a single monetary and credit system; determination of the taxes and revenues forming the Budget of the USSR; and the formulation of prices and wages policy;
  7. direction of the sectors of the economy, and of enterprises and amalgamations under Union jurisdiction, and general direction of industries under Union-Republican jurisdiction;
  8. issues of war and peace, defence of the sovereignty of the USSR and safeguarding of its frontiers and territory, and organisation of defence; direction of the Armed Forces of the USSR;
  9. state security;
  10. representation of the USSR in international relations; the USSR’s relations with other states and with international organisations; establishment of the general procedure for, and co-ordination of, the relations of Union Republics with other states and with international organisations; foreign trade and other forms of external economic activity on the basis of state monopoly;
  11. control over observance of the Constitution of the USSR, and ensurance of conformity of the Constitutions of Union Republics to the Constitution of the USSR;
  12. and settlement of other matters of All-Union importance.

Article 74. The laws of the USSR shall have the same force in all Union Republics. In the event of a discrepancy between a Union Republic law and an All-Union law, the law of the USSR shall prevail.

Article 75. The territory of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a single entity and comprises the territories of the Union Republics.

The sovereignty of the USSR extends throughout its territory.

With all that constitutional water under the bridge it’s not shocking that Russians, Ukrainians, and all sorts of other players see things differently than each other and from the United States and other nations throughout the world.  How many people in the United States government, whether the executive branch or the legislative branch, do you think actually understands this history?  If they don’t, do you trust them to make decisions about United States Foreign Policy in connection with these disputes?

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Letter to Kamala Harris on Andy Lopez


 

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Letter to Kamala 3,14.2014_001 Letter to Kamala 3,14.2014_002Letter to Kamala 3,14.2014_002Letter to Kamala 3,14.2014_003

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The cast of “Secrets” soon to open at the Santa Monica Playhouse–a MUST SEE!

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Cast of SECRETS.

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At Santa Monica Playhouse

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To Ukraine, Sevastopol is Fort Sumter


 

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A family in Gorodishche, Ukraine, circa 1900

A family in Gorodishche, Ukraine, circa 1900

I have been studiously watching the goings on between Russia and Ukraine with interest.  My maternal grandmother was from Gorodishche, Ukraine (the same region as was the grandmother of my great friend and colleague, Igor Timofayev of Kiev, former KGB and first private investigator in the former Soviet Union).  My maternal grandfather was from Nizhni Novgorod in Russia proper (near Moscow).  On my father’s side, my grandmother was from St. Petersburg (later Leningrad and now back to being St. Petersburg) and my grandfather was from Tereshki, Belarus.

Although on its face what’s going on between Ukraine and Russia looks like “foreign” interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs, it’s not that simple.  On an emotional level, Sevastopol to the Ukraine is like America’s Fort Sumter, but there is a long history of Soviet era machinations that have left emotions in the old Soviet Union like the views of some descendants of former Confederates about the American Civil War.

Baron Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel in Sevastopol, 1920

Baron Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel in Sevastopol, 1920

During the Russian Civil War, the Crimea was the last holdout of the Czarist forces (who had been hell bent on killing every Jew they got their hands on and which had routinely executed Bolshevik prisoners of war–until Leon Trotsky put out the word that until the forces of General Wrangel stopped executing Bolshevik prisoners, all Czarist officers captured would have their epaulets nailed into their shoulders).  Pay back for General Wrangel’s troops was the massacre of 50,000 of those who finally surrendered by the Bolsheviks in the Crimea.

Crimean Tatars

Crimean Tatars

During World War II Sevastopol heroically held out from the Nazis from October 1941 until July 1942, critically delaying the Nazis behind their front lines.  To Russia to this day, historic battles like that are a source of enormous national pride.  Ethnic Tatars, some of whom had formed pro-Nazi “Tatar Legions,” were deported in 1944 after the Soviets reconquered the Crimea to Central Asia, along with sizable Greek, Armenian and Bulgarian populations.  Following this ethnic cleansing (which caused the death of nearly one in two of the deportees), Crimea was colonized primarily by Russian speakers, many of whom had in turn been displaced by World War II.

In spite of having a Russian speaking majority, in 1954 when Ukrainian Nikita Krushchev was Soviet leader the Soviet parliament voted to transfer Crimea to the Ukraine.

We will bury youIt’s important to note at this point that as languages, Ukrainian and Russian are both Slavic tongues.  During the period of Czarist and later Soviet rule over the Ukraine the official line from Moscow was that Ukrainian was a “dialect” of Russian, but the fact is, Ukrainian is to Russian as Polish is to Russian.  It’s such a separate language that it resulted in a critical mistranslation of a Krushchev speech in the United Nations which in turn accidentally exacerbated the Cold War:  http://janbtucker.com/blog/2008/10/30/november-25-2005-great-mis-translations/

With this background, consider the following decision of the Ukraine’s supreme court on the constitutionality of proposed Crimean secession–and whether to Russians or Russian Crimeans it will matter based upon that history:

 

Judgement of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on all-Crimean referendum

Yesterday, 22:15

On March 14, 2014 the Constitutional Court of Ukraine declared unconstitutional The Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea No. 1702-6/14 “On holding of the all-Crimean referendum” dated March 6, 2014.

Unofficial translation

IN THE NAME OF UKRAINE

J U D G M E N T OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF UKRAINE

In the case on the constitutional petition of the Acting President of Ukraine, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights concerning the compliance with the Constitution of Ukraine (constitutionality) of the Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic Crimea “On holding of the all-Crimean referendum”

(the case on the all-Crimean referendum in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea)

Kyiv Case No. 1-13/2014  March 14, 2014  No. 2-rp/2014

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine consisting of Judges:

Baulin Yurii Vasyliovych – the Chairman,

Bryntsev Vasyl Dmytrovych,

Vdovichenko Sergey Leonidovych,

Hultai Mykhailo Myroslavovych,

Zaporozhets Mykhailo Petrovych,

Lytvynov Oleksandr Mykolaiovych,

Melnyk mykola Ivanovych,

Sas Sergii Volodymyrovych,

Serheichuk Oleh Anatoliovych,

Slidenko Igor Dmytrovych,

Stetsiuk Petro Bogdanovych – Rapporteur,

Tupytskii Oleksandr Mykolaiovych – Rapporteur,

Shaptala Natalia Koctiantynivna,

Shevchuk Stanislav Volodymyrovych,

Shyshkin Victor Ivanovych,

considered in the plenary session the case on the constitutional petition of the Acting President of Ukraine, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights concerning the compliance with the Constitution of Ukraine (constitutionality) of the Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic Crimea No. 1702-6/14 “On holding of the all-Crimean referendum” dated March 6, 2014 (the newspaper “Krymskiye izvestiya”, March 7, 2014).

The consideration of the case in accordance with Articles 39, 40 and 41 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine” was caused by the constitutional petition of the Acting President of Ukraine, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights.

The ground for considering the case in accordance with Article 71 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine” is the assertion of the subjects of the right in the constitutional petition of unconstitutionality of the Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic Crimea No. 1702-6/14 “On holding of the all-Crimean referendum” dated March 6, 2014.

Having heard the Judge-Rapporteurs Stetsiuk P.B., Tupytskii O.M. and having investigated the materials of the case the Constitutional Court of Ukraine

e s t a b l i s h e d:

1. Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by the Resolution No. 1702-6/14 “On holding of the all-Crimean referendum” dated March 6, 2014 (hereinafter referred to as “the Resolution”) decided:

- To accede to the Russian Federation as a subject of Russian Federation;

- To hold on March 16, 2014, of the all-Crimean Referendum (including the City of Sevastopol), to which to submit the following alternative questions:

“1) Do you support the reunification of the Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation?

2) Do you support the restoration of the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea of 1992 and the status of the Crimea as a part of Ukraine?”

- To approve the text of the ballot for the all-Crimean referendum on March 16, 2014, and to establish that the ballots to vote in the referendum printed in Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar;

- To adopt the Temporary regulation on a republican (local) referendum in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea;

- To establish the Commission of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on holding of an all-Crimean referendum;

- To address the President and the Federal Council of the State Duma of the Russian Federation to initiate the procedure of accession to the Russian Federation as a subject of Russian Federation.

In the Regulation it is also provided that the option supported by the majority of votes shall be deemed a direct expression of will by the Crimean population, and instructed the Commission of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on holding of an all-Crimean referendum to organize conducting of the referendum in accordance with the Temporary regulation on a republican (local) referendum in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to organize financial, technical and other support of holding of the all-Crimean referendum.

2. The subject of the right to constitutional petition – the Acting President of Ukraine, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine – under Article 112, paragraph 2 of Article 137 of the Constitution of Ukraine by the Decree of the President of Ukraine No. 261 “On suspending the Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea No. 1702-6/14 ‘On holding of the all-Crimean referendum’ dated March 6, 2014,” dated March 7, 2014, has suspended the Resolution and at the same time submitted to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine the request to consider its conformity with the Constitution of Ukraine (its constitutionality). According to the author of the petition, the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by adopting the Resolution violated the constitutional principles of state sovereignty of Ukraine, basics of the constitutional order, territorial organization and exercise of state power in Ukraine. As the subject of the right to constitutional petition alleges the Resolution does not match Articles 2, 5, 8, 13, 73, 75, paragraphs 2, 3 of Article 85, Article 91, Articles 13, part 20 of Article 92, Articles 132 – 138 of the Constitution Ukraine, parts 1, 3 of Article 1, paragraph 7 of Article 18, Article 26 of the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Articles 1, 9, 10 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.”

The subject of the right to constitutional petition – the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights – requested the Constitutional Court of Ukraine to recognize the Resolution as non-conforming with Article 73, paragraph 2 Article 85, Article 137, 138 of the Constitution of Ukraine and noted that the issue of altering the territory of Ukraine must be resolved exclusively by an all-Ukrainian referendum.

3. Under the Decision of the Second panel of Judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine of March 11, 2014, constitutional proceedings in the cases on the constitutional petitions of the Acting President of Ukraine, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights concerning the compliance with the Constitution of Ukraine (constitutionality) of the Resolution were consolidated in one constitutional proceeding.

4. Resolving of the issues initiated in the constitutional petition the Constitutional Court of Ukraine proceeds from the following:

4.1. The Constitution of Ukraine proclaimed that sovereignty of Ukraine extends throughout its entire territory; integral part of sovereignty is integrity and inviolability of the territory of Ukraine within its present borders; protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine is the most important function of the state and a matter of concern for all the Ukrainian people (Article 2, part 1 of Article 17 of the Constitution of Ukraine).

The Constitution of Ukraine shall be regarded as superior law; laws and other regulatory legal acts shall be adopted on the basis of the Constitution of Ukraine and shall conform to it; norms of the Constitution of Ukraine shall be the norms of direct effect; public authorities and bodies of local self-government and their officials shall be obliged to act only on the grounds, within the powers, and in the way determined by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine (Article 8, Part 2 of Article 19 of the Constitution of Ukraine).

The territorial structure of Ukraine, the legal regime of the state border shall be determined exclusively by law of Ukraine (paragraphs 13, 18 of part 1 of Article 92 of the Constitution of Ukraine).

4.2. The people shall be the bearer of sovereignty and the sole source of power in Ukraine; the people shall exercise power directly or through the state authorities and local self-government bodies; the right to determine and change the constitutional order in Ukraine shall belong exclusively to the people and shall not be usurped by the state, its bodies, or officials; no one shall usurp the state power (Article 5 of the Fundamental Law of Ukraine).

The expression of the will by the people shall be exercised through elections, referendum and other forms of direct democracy; citizens shall have the right to participate in the administration of state affairs, in all-Ukrainian and local referendums, to freely elect and to be elected to the bodies of state power and local self-government (part 1 of Article 38, Article 69 of the Constitution of Ukraine).

The right of citizens to participate in a referendum is their inalienable constitutional right. Questions submitted on the all-Ukrainian referendum must be national-level issues, i.e. the resolution of which affects the fate of all Ukrainian people – citizens of Ukraine of all nationalities. Questions submitted on the local referendum may be only issues within the jurisdiction of the local authorities of relevant administrative and territorial unit.

4.3. Under Article 132 of the Constitution of Ukraine the territorial structure of Ukraine shall be based on the principles of unity and integrity of the state territory, the combination of centralization and decentralization in the exercise of the state power, and the balanced socio-economic development of regions taking into consideration their historical, economic, ecological, geographic, and demographic characteristics as well as ethnic and cultural traditions. Such constitutional principles of territorial structure are determined by the form of state structure of Ukraine as a unitary state.

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine in its Judgment No. 11-rp/2001 of July 13, 2001, (the case of administrative and territorial structure) established that administrative and territorial unit is a compact part of the united territory of Ukraine, which is the spatial basis for organization and activity of public authorities and local governments.

The system of the administrative and territorial structure of Ukraine shall include: the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, oblasts, rayons, cities, city districts, settlements and villages (Article 133 of the Constitution of Ukraine). According to Article 133 of the Fundamental Law of Ukraine the Autonomous Republic of Ukraine Crimea and the City of Sevastopol are parts of Ukraine as separate subjects of administrative and territorial structure of Ukraine. The City of Sevastopol is not a part of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, has a special status determined by the law of Ukraine.

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine stressed that the principles of integrity and territorial inviolability of Ukraine within its present borders, extending of sovereignty of Ukraine throughout its entire territory are established by the Constitution of Ukraine. Reduction of the existing borders of Ukraine, withdrawal of any subject of the administrative and territorial structure of Ukraine from its body, changing of the constitutional status of administrative units, in particular of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol as an integral part of Ukraine, within holding of a local referendum contradicts the above-mentioned constitutional principles.

4.4. Any changes to the territory of Ukraine shall be resolved exclusively by the all-Ukrainian referendum (Article 73 of the Constitution of Ukraine). Authority to call the all-Ukrainian referendum on issues indicated in said Article of the Constitution of Ukraine belongs to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (paragraph 2 of part 1 of Article 85 of the Fundamental Law of Ukraine). Organization and procedure for conducting elections and referendums shall be determined exclusively by the laws of Ukraine (paragraph 20 of part 1 of Article 92 of the Constitution of Ukraine).

The Autonomous Republic of Crimea shall be an integral constituent part of Ukraine and shall resolve issues relegated to its authority within the frame determined by the Constitution of Ukraine (Article 134 of the Constitution of Ukraine). The list of matters that are under the authority of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and areas in which it effects normative regulation is determined in Articles 137, 138 of the Constitution of Ukraine.

The constitutional status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea complies with European Charter of Local Self-Government ratified by the law of Ukraine No. 452/97-VR dated July 15, 1997, according to which the basic powers and responsibilities of local authorities shall be prescribed by the constitution or by statute; local authorities shall, within the limits of the law, have full discretion to exercise their initiative with regard to any matter which is not excluded from their competence nor assigned to any other authority (paragraphs 1, 2 of Article 4).

4.5. According to the Constitution of Ukraine it is under the authority of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to organize and hold of local referendums (paragraph 2 of Article 138) in the manner determined by the law of Ukraine (paragraph 20 of par one of Article 92). Regulatory legal acts of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and decisions of the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea shall not contradict the Constitution and laws of Ukraine and shall be adopted in accordance with and in pursuance of the Constitution of Ukraine, laws of Ukraine, acts of the President of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (part 2 of Article 135 of the Fundamental Law of Ukraine).

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine considers that the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by adopting the Resolution, which provides pore accession to the Russian Federation as its subject, addressing to the President and Federal Council of the State Duma of the Russian Federation to initiate the procedure of accession to the Russian Federation as a subject of Russian Federation, putting to the referendum mentioned questions, violated constitutional principle of territorial integrity of Ukraine and exceeded its authorities, and thus the Resolution does not comply with Articles 1, 2, 5, 8, paragraph 2 of Article 19, Article 73, paragraph 3 of Article 85, paragraphs 13, 18, paragraph 20 of Article 92, Articles 132, 133, 134, 135, 137, 138 of the Constitution of Ukraine.

The Resolution contradicts also the fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of a state, constituted in international law instruments, in particular the principle of mutual respect for the sovereign equality of each state including political independence, the ability to change the borders under international law by peaceful means and by agreement. As a result of these principles States Parties shall refrain from violation of territorial integrity or political independence of any state by use of force or threat of force or other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations, as well as actions directed against the territorial integrity or unity of any State Party (The United Nations Charter, the Final Act of Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe of 1975, the Framework Convention the Protection of National Minorities of 1995).

5. By the Resolution, the Commission of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on holding of an all-Crimean referendum is established. Under the Temporary regulation on a republican (local) referendum in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea it is provided for establishing of territorial and district commission on preparing and holding of the referendum.

According to the Resolution, the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea shall organize financial, technical and other support of holding of the all-Crimean referendum. Due to the fact that the Resolution contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine and according to Article 81 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine” activity of all organs created to hold of this referendum as well as financing activities to hold of the referendum should be terminated, and ballots and campaign materials should be destroyed.

Thus, based on the materials of the case the Constitutional Court Ukraine came to the conclusion that the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by adopting the Resolution No. 1702-6/14 “On holding of the all-Crimean referendum” dated March 6, 2014, violated the Constitution of Ukraine.

Given the above and pursuant to Articles 147, 150, 153 of the Constitution of Ukraine, Articles 51, 61, 63, 65, 67, 69, 70, 73, 78, 79, 81 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine” the Constitutional Court of Ukraine

d e c i d e d:

1. To recognize as non-conforming with the Constitution (unconstitutional) the Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea No. 1702-6/14 “On holding of the all-Crimean referendum” dated March 6, 2014.

2. The Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea No. 1702-6/14 “On holding of the all-Crimean referendum” dated March 6, 2014, declared unconstitutional shall be voided on the day of rendering by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine of this Decision.

3. To terminate the work of the Commission of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on holding of an all-Crimean referendum, and territorial and district commissions established to hold the referendum.

4. The Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea must terminate funding of activities connected with holding the referendum; ensure the destruction of ballots and campaign materials.

5. The Decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine shall be compulsory in the territory of Ukraine, final and may not be appealed.

The Decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine shall be subject to promulgation in “Visnyk of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine” and other official publications of Ukraine.

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF UKRAINE

Based solely on the technical constitutional and legal argument, the Ukrainian Constitutional Court’s decision is wise; but perhaps the greatest wisdom to come out of that part of the world is the Pete Seeger song “Where have all the flowers gone,” which was inspired by the Cossack folk song, “Tovchu, tovchu mak” and adapted to the Russian folk tune “Koloda Duda.”  As sung by Peter, Paul & Mary:

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?
Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young girls gone?
Gone for husbands everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the husbands gone, long time passing?
Where have all the husbands gone, long time ago?
Where have all the husbands gone?
Gone for soldiers everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
Where have all the graveyards gone, long time ago?
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Gone to flowers, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Now, for some more very important wisdom on the subject from my friend Lionel Menuhin Rolfe:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lionel-rolfe/raining-on-the-ukrainian-_b_4942242.html?utm_hp_ref=christianity

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Joe Paolella’s Incredible Life


 

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My buddy Joe Paolella recently committed to writing a lot of his personal history in response to a questionnaire from a historical project.  This is a passage from the book The Kennedy Detail followed by Joe’s narrative:

 

Joe Paolella and I had a lot in common, in that we both graduated from the University of Colorado, prior to the Secret Service. Joe was a traveling poster boy for Chicago and had the Chicago personality, along with agents Ron Pontius, Joe Noonan and Ed Tucker.

The Kennedy Detail 3-14-07_007Joe, as did all of the Kennedy detail agents, had his share of standing watch at Glen Ora, located in the Virginia horse country. Mrs. Kennedy did quite a bit of riding and used the English style saddle. One day Mrs. Kennedy motioned Joe over to where she was standing next to her horse. Joe played football at Colorado and he also worked out and was very muscular build. Being from Chicago, he had not had a lot of experience with horses. Joe walked over to Mrs. Kennedy and she said, “Agent Paolella, could you give me a hand?” She turned towards the horse and put her foot in the air for Joe to cup his hands and give her a lift to the saddle. Instead, Joe grabbed Mrs. Kennedy by the waist and lifted her up. She giggled and said, “ No, my foot.” Agent Landis and Agent Hill were standing on the other side of the horse thinking in their minds of the old “Laurel and Hardy films where the guy lifts the lady up and over the horse and falls down.” Agent Hill and Agent Landis were on the other side of the horse and being good agents, were prepared to catch her if she fell. Thank God she didn’t fall and everything turned out okay.

 

Secret Service Special Agent Joseph "Joe" Paolella

Secret Service Special Agent Joseph “Joe” Paolella

I was born in Chicago in 1928, a year before the “Great Depression of 1929” and shortly after my birth we moved to Los Angeles, California. My brother Don was born in 1930. My earliest childhood memories of Los Angeles were the wide-open spaces, not too many people or cars, clean air, the smell of orange blossoms and no smog. You could see Catalina Island from the west Los Angeles area. Sadly, when the depression hit, there was no work available in California and my dad could not find any gainful work. We moved back to Chicago in 1934, where my dad was able to find work as a clothing salesman in Chicago. The main downtown area was called “The Loop,” because the elevated train circled downtown Chicago, therefore, the nick name “The Loop.” After all of these years, the name still stands as a public icon.

As rough as it was, my mother didn’t work and spent her time as a mother with her boys. We lived in an apartment building on the west side of Chicago. Although, by today’s standards, we would be considered poor. We didn’t think so, nor did our friends. We never went hungry, but I don’t remember ever going to a restaurant. My dad at that time, made $50 per week and our two-bedroom apartment was $35 per month. I remember that milk was 10-cents a quart as was a loaf of bread. You could buy a hamburger for a nickel, going to the movies cost a dime and there were no fast food restaurants. Of course, we did not own a car and we had no T.V. We’d help our mother cut the string beans, take the peas out of the pea pods and peel the potatoes for dinner. We’d then wait patiently for dinner, which was always wonderful and delicious.

 

In those days, it seemed like everyone was middle-class. We lived in the same neighborhood as our doctor, baseball and football players, small business owners, policemen, carpenters, butchers, salesmen, factory workers and a host of other occupations. There wasn’t that great disparity between the blue-collar worker and professionals, we all lived in the same neighborhood. Doctors would come to your house and charge $2 for an examination. Gabby Hartnett, the manager of the Cub’s baseball team at the time, also lived in our neighborhood. Chicago at the time was also multi-ethic. It was like a smaller version of Europe. There were Italian, German, Irish, Jewish, Greek, Swedish, Lithuania, Polish and Bohemian neighborhoods. If you liked German food, you would go to a German neighborhood restaurant, Swedish food to a Swedish neighborhood. If you wanted Jewish or deli food, you would go to a Jewish neighborhood and so on and so forth. Every neighborhood had its own cultures, but we all really considered ourselves AMERICAN. In fact, my dad would not let his mother and father teach us Italian, because he wanted us to speak English. He said we were, “Modigan,” which is Italian slang for American.

I had many goals when I was growing up. For a while, I wanted to be a great explorer or an archaeologist who would find a lost civilization in the Amazon. I wanted to travel and see the world. I wanted an exciting and interesting life where I could also do some good. I grew up reading “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.” I often wished that I had lived in those times where I could have helped those in need and protect them from the bad guys. Becoming a Secret Service Agent seemed to fulfill those goals. I felt we were all, “Knights of the Realm” protecting the President of the United States.

After leaving the U.S. Marine Corps, I went to DePaul University in Chicago for one year and then transferred to the University of Colorado graduating with a B.A. degree in Economics and Psychology. During my time in the Marine Corp, I was on the wrestling team. At the University of Colorado, I played football and was on the boxing team while at DePaul University. I stopped boxing after I became a little “dingy” from being hit so much. Upon graduating from college, I worked as an insurance underwriter and then as a loan officer at a bank in Chicago before becoming a U.S. Secret Service Agent in 1959.

Reaching my adulthood during World War II, I believed I wanted to do something for my country and thought there wasn’t a better occupation a person could choose, than protecting the “President of the United States”, the leader of the free-world. The U.S. Secret Service hired me in 1959, and stationed me at the Chicago field office. While I was in the Marines I had gotten a tattoo and didn’t realize when I joined the Secret Service that having a tattoo was “taboo”, as far as being a federal agent was concerned. During a hot Chicago day, about six months after joining the Secret Service, I was working out of the Chicago field office at that time, we didn’t have any air conditioning, so I had worn a short-sleeved shirt. Paterni, the SAIC, had noticed my tattoo. He was astonished that I had been hired, because at that time, it was unheard of for an agent to have a tattoo. However, he needed an undercover agent and decided that having a tattoo would be great cover for me, because the bad guys would not believe a guy with a tattoo could or would be an agent. I had gotten lucky and made several good cases resulting in the arrest of many counterfeiters. Since most of the big-time counterfeiters were Italian from the Chicago area, I fitted right in. I was also fortunate to be “backed-up” by great and brave Secret Service agents from the Chicago field office, which was directed by SAIC Paterni. They were SA’s, Mike Weinstein, Dick Jordan, Bob Burke, Joe Noonan, Tom Strong, Tony Sherman, Sam Sulliman, Dale Keaner, Bob Motto and many others.

While undercover at the “Texas Ranch Club” in Chicago, a wild place even by Chicago standards, I never worried because I was “backed-up” by Bob Burke, Dick Jordan and Tom Strong who were interspersed with the other customers. We were at the club to buy counterfeit (queer money) with “marked money.” The counterfeit money was selling for $20 of good money, for $100 worth of “funny money.” Selling the counterfeit money for only $20 meant that we were getting close to the printer. After buying about $10,000 worth of “queer money,” I signaled Bob Burke, who then signaled the rest of the team on the outside of the club, which was led by Mike Weinstein. The seller of the counterfeit money and I were arrested. Naturally, the counterfeiters tried to blame Joe Parisi (my undercover name). Imagine how surprised they were when they found out that Parisi also was a U.S. Secret Service Agent. A note to that case, we never did find the printing press. Obviously, the person I bought the counterfeit money from was probably a minor Mafia figure and wouldn’t talk. In those days, these guys would rather go to jail and prison than break the “Mafia Code of Silence,” because that meant a death sentence.

Another interesting case occurred in a small town, called Peoria, Illinois. We had arrested a person passing “phony-money” and offered him a deal. He was to arrange a meeting with the person he had bought the counterfeit money from. If he did that, he might not have to go to prison. In those days, a person passing counterfeit money could get up to 15-years in prison. He eventually decided to introduce me to his seller. He was the person who sold the counterfeit money to the person we had caught and was the owner of a nightclub. From the front, the club looked like a quaint Italian restaurant. After introducing me to “Tony” (not the buyer’s real name), we went through the process of getting acquainted. “Tony” began sizing me up by asking a lot questions about who I was. Even though it was a cold February evening, I wore my T-shirt (called a “wife beater”) that had no sleeves, in order for my tattoo to be seen more easily. Since I used to live in an Italian neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, I knew the names and reputations of the “bad guys” and could talk like I was part of their group. I guess he believed me, because he asked me to follow him. At that time, there were two other agents in the restaurant and the others were outside ready to make the “bust.” The plan looked perfect, except that “Tony” took me into a walk-in freezer where I saw rows and rows of sides-of-beef hanging on hooks. I thought, “Oh, oh, I’m in deep trouble now,” imaging that I might be hooked-up along side those other carcasses if my cover got blown.”C

 

 

The other agents couldn’t follow me into the freezer and when he closed the freezer door, it was just him and me. We walked past a row of hanging beef carcasses until we reached the end of the row. At the end, was a small door, which “Tony” opened, revealing a large ballroom with a well lit bar and people dancing. I gave a sigh of relief knowing that I had, at least for the time being, escaped out of that freezer. I’m not much of a dancer, but after being in that freezer with “Tony,” I felt like dancing across that ballroom floor and having myself a stiff drink. When I glanced around the room, everybody seemed to be having fun. After a few drinks with “Tony,” I was getting to know the suspect better. We discussed the business of me buying the “phony-money” with some good money. We dickered about the price for a bit and I offered him $15 of good money for every $100 of the “phony-money notes.” After more dickering, we agreed upon $20 per each $100 note, with me buying $10,000 worth of the counterfeit money. The price came out to, $2000 of good U.S. money, for $10,000 of the counterfeit notes.

 

 

I told him that I would be interested in twice that amount if I could get it for $15 per $100 note at a later date and “Tony” agreed. Previously, I had asked “Tony” about the abundance of what appeared to be “single women.” He said, “Aside from owning the restaurant, I also run a brothel.” We cemented the deal when I gave him the $2000 in “marked money” for his $10,000 of counterfeit $100 bills. The “phony-money” was packed and strapped with a band, which looked like it just came off the press. I was able to put that $10,000 in my jacket pocket.

 

 

Just before I was ready to leave the club and before I could signal the other agents (in those days, there were no cell phones or wireless communications to signal your backup) to arrest the counterfeiter, my new found friend offered me his “head-madam,” who also happened to be his girlfriend. I was now in a real dilemma. If I went with her, I’d be committing a crime, “being intimate with a known prostitute,” which would make it impossible to testify in court after his arrest. On the other hand, if I refused, he’d get suspicious knowing that undercover agents can’t mess around with known prostitutes and I would effectively “blow” my cover.

The only thing I could think of was letting him know how much I appreciated his offer, but I had to refuse, because I was just getting over a case of the “clap” (gonorrhea). He looked at me for a moment and then grabbed me around the shoulders, saying, “Thanks Paisan, for telling me. I’ve got a wife and three kids. I don’t want my wife or me to get it from Linda (the prostitute’s name). Thanks again for telling me”. I tried to pretend to persuade him into letting me be with her, saying that, “I’m practically over it, so don’t worry, I really want to be with her.” “Tony” said, “That’s okay, you can be with her the next time we make a deal” I left after another drink and signaled the outside agents by taking my hat off. That was the prearranged signal to let them know that I had made the buy. “Tony” was arrested shortly after I’d left. We never did find the printing press. Obviously, “Tony” got the counterfeit from someone very close to the source, or, was the source of the counterfeit himself. Since “Tony” was a minor Mafia hood and about 40-years old, a possible 15-years in prison, was better than having no future if he had “copped-out” and gave up his source.

R-Joe Paolella, L-JFK

R-Joe Paolella, L-JFK

After working undercover in other similar cases, I was happy to hear that I had been transferred to the “White House Detail.”  My military background included 2-years in the U.S. Marine Corps where I served in overseas tours in Argentina, Newfoundland, Halifax, Nova Scotia and the Virgin Islands.

The Kennedy Detail 3-14-07_004On November 22, 1963, I was assigned to guard the Kennedy residence at Rattlesnake Mountain in Virginia. The events of the day included driving from Washington D.C. to the Kennedy residence at Rattlesnake Mountain to secure the residence from people who may try to get in, even though the Kennedy’s were not there. Every week, three men from the White House Detail were assigned different shifts at Rattlesnake Mountain to ensure twenty-four hour security. After the assassination, I was re-assigned to guard the presidential vehicle after it had been flown back to the White House garage. Several hospital staff members from Bethesda Naval Hospital entered the vehicle to remove scalp, brain tissue and bone matter from the back seat. While waiting for the Bethesda Naval Hospital attendants to arrive, I did notice what appeared to be a bullet-hole in the front windshield of the driver’s side. I do not remember if the glass remnants were on the inside of the vehicle or the outside of the windshield. If the glass remnants were on the inside of the car, it would offer some acceptance to the theory that at least one of the shots came from the front of the President’s vehicle.

I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary regarding my duties prior to the assassination other than several trips to the Kennedy residence in Palm Beach, Florida. I also recall an incident in Chicago involving a suspect who was planning to assassinate the President. However, I was not involved in that investigation and the threat was taken care of by the Chicago office of the Secret Service.

I believe Oswald was the shooter and though I am not a conspiracy buff, I believe if others were involved, I think the Mafia would be the only ones who could have pulled it off without someone later confessing involvement in the President’s assassination. In those days, Mafia members had a strict code that did not allow them to confess. It had been said that a New Orleans Mafia Don, Carlos Marcello, was heard to say, “If you cut off the head of the snake (JFK), the tail (RFK), would die.” At that time, Robert Kennedy was the Attorney General and was working against the Mafia. Shortly after the assassination, Robert Kennedy was fired and it took another 20-years before the F.B.I. made any headway against the Mafia.

I was assigned to escort the entourage to the cemetery the day of the funeral walking by the “Rider less Horse.” The look-of-shock and sadness on the faces of the people along the route showed how devastated they were, especially the Afro-Americans who believed they had just lost the person who would lead them to equality.

 

 

The Kennedy Detail 3-14-07_006There was a popular song in the 70’s with a line that beautifully describes the way I felt then and perhaps, still do…”The Day the Music Died”. Whoever penned the Kennedy years as, “Camelot,” in my estimation, was completely right. The Eisenhower years were a time of stability, but somewhat stagnant. President Kennedy brought a feeling of youth, vitality and much needed change. He was at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement, which included equality for women and helped move our country in the direction of fulfilling the “Great American Dream” of liberty and justice for all. His assassination made me realize my own mortality. I think we lived in a kind of age on innocence that was shattered when he was shot. No longer did I feel that the good guys would always win. After all, he was the ultimate “good guy;” yet, his life was cut short before he could fulfill his promises. I believe we are still feeling the after affects of his death to this day.

I always admired President Kennedy’s sense of humor, graciousness and his love for people. Wherever he went, if he saw a group of children or nuns, he would have the motorcade stop, which perplexed us, because when stopped, he would make an easier target. After he’d stop, he would shake hands and talk to them. I remember one morning at the Palm Beach residence; President Kennedy wanted to take a walk on the beach. However, there was couple on the beach wrapped up in a blanket, oblivious to everything and everybody around them. The President asked us to make some noise hoping that the couple would move. We tried, but whatever we did, it didn’t seem to faze them and they remained there. The President just shrugged and said, “Let them be” and went back into the house.

 

 

Joe Paolella guarding JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis

Joe Paolella guarding JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis

Shortly after his election, while walking into the Oval Office with an old-time family friend, Mugsey O’Leary, he mentioned to him that we should be called the “Silent Service”, instead of the Secret Service, because during the Eisenhower years, we stood-at-attention without saying anything and it remained that way with President Kennedy. After Mugsey informed us of the President’s comments, we started to acknowledge him and say, “Good morning Mr. President” or “Good afternoon” or “Good evening” when we saw him passing through.

When I compare the country of today versus the country of my youth, I’m struck by the variety of my old neighborhood in Chicago. I thought I was middle-class because my dad was a salesman, there was a doctor across the street, my best friend’s dad was a carpenter, my uncle was a bricklayer and the next-door neighbor owned a business. Yet, we all lived together on the same level. There was no feeling that the doctor or the business owner was any better than the “blue-collar” worker. I remember the manager of the Cubs, Gabby Hartnett, also lived in our neighborhood. We all worked hard. As a kid, I was a caddy and I set pins in a bowling alley. When I was 16-years old, I worked as a maintenance man at Bell & Howell making the outstanding amount (or so I thought) of 60-cents per hour. I remember thinking, “Just imagine, I am making a penny a minute!”  During the summer months while going to the University of Colorado, I worked as a rod carrier and cement mixer and thought that I was the luckiest guy in the world making a buck-an-hour.

After leaving the Secret Service in 1965, I returned to Chicago and worked as a loan officer for a federal savings & loan bank. However, in 1968, I became bored and wanted to return to work in investigations and personal protection. I started a company called American Security Agents. I also went to John Reid Polygraph School and became a polygraph examiner in 1969. In 1980, I sold the company American Security Agents and started a similar company called Joseph Paolella & Associates in California doing the same kind of work. In 2003, I started the American College of Forensic Studies, which is a school to train and instruct Private Investigators, Polygraph Examiners and Security Officers.

 

 

While in the Marine Corp, I became a sharpshooter and received a medal for the First Arctic Expedition in Agentia, Newfoundland. In 1987, I founded the California Organization for Private Police (COPP) and helped co-found the Illinois Polygraph Society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Boy Scouts and California Judges


 

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CALLAC Judical Council Letter_001 CALLAC Judical Council Letter_002CALLAC Judical Council Letter_002

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Shame on Labor & Miguel J. Santiago


 

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I like Miguel Santiago personally.  I’ve spent much of my life as a union man all the way from lowly inside organizer all the way to First Vice President of a union local.  But I have to mete out criticism where it is due.

Miguel J. Santiago

Miguel J. Santiago

The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Committee On Political Education (COPE) voted to endorse Miguel recently to succeed John A. Perez in the 53rd Assembly District where Miguel was recently hired to be District Director.  COPE did so apparently knowing full well that for years, Miguel has owned a significant amount of stock (somewhere between $10,000-$100,000 worth) in the most rabid anti-union company in America — no, not WalMart:  HOME DEPOT.

 

Words may show a man’s wit, actions his meaning.”

 

Benjamin Franklin

 

Would you invest your union’s pension fund in Apartheid South Africa? Or buy shares in Stolichnaya Vodka while our LGBT brothers and sisters are being persecuted in Russia? Closer to home would you sink money into WalMart stock? If these sound like rhetorical questions to you then you have to wonder why Assembly Candidate and L.A. Community College Board Trustee Miguel Santiago openly discloses on his Form 700 Statement of Economic Interests that he owns Home Depot stock!

 

 

 

If you’re even remotely left of center and claim to be pro-union, how can you ratify corporate bad behavior by being a long term stockholder in a firm like Home Depot and to profit from that bad behavior. Home Depot has 340,000 employees who could sure benefit from being unionized.

 

 

Bernie MarcusHome Depot is at the forefront of the anti-union movement in America. Just before founding Home Depot, Bernie Marcus and his partner Arthur Blank were both fired by their boss, Sanford Sigoloff, for setting up an improper fund to fight the unionization of Handy Dandy stores in San Jose, California.

 

On October 17, 2009, Marcus and Rick Berman (who runs the anti-labor “Center for Union Facts”) co-chaired a national conference call for corporate CEOs to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), during which Marcus made the following statements [Huffington Post, 2/27/09]:

 

 

“This is the demise of a civilization,” said Marcus. “This is how a civilization disappears. I am sitting here as an elder statesman and I’m watching this happen and I don’t believe it.”

Donations of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars were needed, it was argued, to prevent America from turning “into France.”

“If a retailer has not gotten involved in this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to [former Sen.] Norm Coleman and all these other guys, they should be shot. They should be thrown out their goddamn jobs,” Marcus declared.

Earlier he argued: “As a shareholder, if I knew the CEO of the company wasn’t doing anything on [EFCA]… I would sue the son of a bitch… I’m so angry at some of these CEOs, I can’t even believe the stupidity that is involved here.”Scan_20140204_161802_001 Scan_20140204_161802_002Scan_20140204_161802_003Scan_20140204_161802_004Scan_20140204_161802_005Scan_20140204_161802_007Scan_20140204_161802_008Scan_20140204_161802_009Scan_20140204_161802_010Scan_20140204_161802_011

 

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Margaret Wright-Womens HERstory


 

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On March 22, 2014 6 pm to 10 pm, I’ll be giving a speech about one of my late mentors, African American activist Margaret Wright, at 1422 Engracia Ave Torrance.  For details on the event and RSVP info, go to:

https://www.facebook.com/events/687494287980792/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Margaret Wright, 1976 Peace & Freedom Party Presidential candidate; Education Minister of the Black Panther Party

Margaret Wright, 1976 Peace & Freedom Party Presidential candidate; Education Minister of the Black Panther Party

“Grandma Margaret” as she was affectionately called was founder of Women Against Racism (WAR) and the United Parents Council of Watts (Los Angeles).  She was featured in The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter, [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Life_and_Times_of_Rosie_the_Riveter], a film I really relate to because my mother was at the same time a “Wanda the Welder” at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in World War II [http://janbtucker.com/blog/2012/05/27/wanda-the-welder/].  She also served for years as the Black Panther Party Minister of Education.  She was beaten by the LAPD for leading the picketing of 99% black Manual Arts High School to get rid of the Mormon principal (at a time when the Mormons preached that black people could not go to heaven…..).   In 1969, she was the leader of the “Valley State 19,” at then San Fernando Valley State College (Now CSU Northridge, my alma mater) who were arrested for supposedly kidnapping Delmar Oviatt, racist college president, who refused to take action against a track coach who’d kicked a black athlete in the ass and called him a “dumb nigger.”  The Valley State 19 was part of a larger case demanding the establishment of Pan African Studies and Chicano Studies at CSUN; as the Pan African Studies Department puts it on its website:

The Pan African Studies (PAS) Department was founded by the Black Student Union (BSU) due to racism and unequal educational opportunities at CSUN (formerly San Fernando Valley State College). Students fought, protested and demanded that the President establish the Department. On November 4, 1968, the BSU took over the Administration Building (currently Student Services Building) in the CSUN’s President’s office, in order to address these inequities and underrepresentation of Black students and faculty. On 1-8-69 and 1-9-69 the BSU, other CSUN student groups, and Black community members held massive demonstrations in the “free speech” area (formerly in front of the Matador Bookstore) demanding that the CSUN administration honor the November 4th agreement. The administration responded with a massive show of force by the Los Angeles Police Department, who were brought on campus to squelch and prevent these mass demonstrations. There were many occasions of excessive police violence and brutality, and 275 students were arrested. Several student activists were charged with felony crimes, and were tried, convicted, and served time in prison. This is the only university in the U.S. that charged Black student activists with felony crimes during the struggle to establish a Black Studies Department.

During her trial, 300 black children picketed the courthouse with “Free Grandma” buttons and picket signs.

Carl Braden, Kentucky civil rights activist and trade unionist

Carl Braden, Kentucky civil rights activist and trade unionist

In 1972, when I was not quite 17 years old, I was the youngest delegate to the People’s Party national convention (July 26-30 in St. Louis).  I wrote the party’s platform plank–the first in history for any political party in the world–on “Ageism,” and wrote the official minority economics plank–an explicitly socialist proposal (which was endorsed by such party luminaries as Carl Braden [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Braden] of the Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF) and Fred Stover of the U.S. Farmers Association [http://uipress.lib.uiowa.edu/bdi/DetailsPage.aspx?id=367]).   Virtually the entire California delegation supported my plank–with the exception of some of those who would later form the so-called “Unity Caucus” in 1974 which opposed declaring PFP to be a “feminist socialist” organization.

Julius HobsonJulius Hobson, leader of the District of Columbia Statehood Party and a member of the DC School Board was running for the Vice Presidential nomination (Dr. Benjamin Spock was nominated for President).  Julius was a great guy, but was disabled from cancer (I met with him and his wife to discuss the possibility of laetrile treatment, a whole other story) and realistically would be unable to campaign.  Hobson was well known due to his Hobson vs. Hansen U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down so-called “tracking system” educational programs as discriminatory against minority students [http://prezi.com/5clp1zz2lz7l/hobson-vs-hansen-1967/].

Marge Buckley

Marge Buckley

Concerned about the inability of Julius to make it out to the West Coast to campaign, Kay McGlachlin and Marge Buckley got the California delegation to fly Margaret Wright to fly to St. Louis and seek the Vice Presidential nomination.  Sherman Gehrke (heir to the American Can Company fortune), who’d popped for the California delegation’s three room suite at the St. Louis Gateway hotel, bought Margaret’s airline ticket.

Margaret unfortunately lost this last-minute impromptu bid for the nomination, but she left an indelible impression on the People’s Party nationally.  Margaret, Barbara Honig, Gary Silbiger, and I flew back from St. Louis so that we could give a report about the People’s Party convention, its platform, and the Spock-Hobson ticket on her KPFK-FM radio show–the first time I’d appeared on live radio but certainly as I would find, not the last.

In 1976, Margaret came back to win the People’s Party/Peace & Freedom Party nomination for President, again at a St. Louis convention, this time with Dr. Benjamin Spock as her Vice Presidential running mate.  Upon accepting the California PFP nomination, with fist raised in a “Black Power” salute, Margaret said:

I’ve been discriminated against because I’m a woman, because I’m Black, because I’m poor, because I’m fat, because I’m left handed.

John Kerry @ NAACP National Convention, 2004

John Kerry @ NAACP National Convention, 2004

When Margaret raised her fist in a “power salute,” it was considered radical.  When John Kerry did so during his 2004 Presidential campaign, such a statement had finally become more or less mainstream, underscoring Ambrose Bierce’s assertion in The Devil’s Dictionary that “Radicalism is the conservativism of tomorrow injected into the affairs of today.

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Hate Crimes in California


 

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Hate CrimesSenate Bill 1234 (Kuehl) of 2004 (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=200320040SB1234&search_keywords=), sponsored by Equality California, enacted a comprehensive hate crime law for California, including a new, standardized, more inclusive definition of the term “hate crime.” The law as passed requires state and local agencies to do various things:

1. It requires the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to develop a two-hour tele-course that law enforcement agencies can use to train their officers. Several of us served as subject-matter experts to POST in developing the course, which to my way of thinking turned out very well. No one has any figures on how many agencies have used it to train how many officers.

2. The law requires POST to develop a model general order on hate crimes and recommend that all law enforcement agencies adopt it. General orders are formal policies that law enforcement agencies adopt and hold their officers to: (https://post.ca.gov/hate-crimes.aspx) Few if any agencies adopted it verbatim, but a company called Lexipol, which most California law enforcement agencies pay to develop general orders for them, made some minor changes and sent it to its clients, and most agencies adopted it.

3. It requires all state and local agencies to use the new definition of “hate crimes” exclusively. This includes in the hate-crime brochures that state law for a long time has required all law enforcement agencies to develop and give to victims and the public. Few agencies actually have such a brochure, and few of any of them use the new definition. Some agencies that have old hate-crime general orders also use older definitions, often omitting such protected characteristics as gender, sexual orientation, and disability.

Shortly after Governor Schwarzenegger signed the Kuehl bill into law, a California-wide coalition of civil rights organizations started asking Attorney General Jerry Brown to survey law enforcement agencies on their compliance with the law. He rebuffed us (although, we found out two years later, actually did do the survey). On Attorney General Kamala Harris’s first day in office, the coalition delivered a letter to her making the same request, but she has been even less responsive than Brown had been.

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