Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for December, 2006

Law and Disorder January 1, 2007


Happy New Year from Law and Disorder – Co-host Michael Ratner delivers update on the state of the new US Congress, the Iraq War and Guantanamo.

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Venezuelan Election Observers

Ming Alterman, Ellen Meyers and Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach have returned from Venezuela after observing December 3rd elections where voting machines actually print out a paper receipt. The last report from CNE, National Electoral Council from Venezuela at gave Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias the victory with 61.35% of the total counted so far, 75.3%. His counterpart, Manuel Rosales have received 38.39%.Shortly after the partial results were given, Hugo Ch?vez showed up in the Balc?n del Pueblo (The People’s Balcony) in the presidential palace to celebrate his victory and address his followers.


Ming Alterman – Latin American Scholar

Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach – Evaluated whether elections were free and fair; that is whether the election produced an outcome expressing the will of the Venezuelan people.


Ellen Meyers is a founder and senior vice president of Teachers Network, a non-profit organization–by teachers, for teachers–with a 25-year track record of success, dedicated to improving student learning in public schools nationally and internationally. Ellen has written numerous articles that have appeared in major media outlets and has presented at conferences across the country. She has been a newspaper columnist, film producer, political campaign manager, election monitor, community board member, and foundation and federal grants advisor. She has a weekly radio show on WHCR, Harlem Community Radio.

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Spoken Word Performance – Katrina

Professor Louie and Fast Eddie deliver a powerful spoken word performance on the devastation of Katrina. These Brooklyn natives poets/musicians weave stream of consciousness style prose with conga. They performed live in the studio at WBAI. To order CDs by Professor Louie and Fast Eddie – call Free Brooklyn Now at 718-768-8728

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Uneven Distribution of Wealth?

Michael Smith talks with Professor Rick Wolff, formerly the head of the Economics Department at the University of Massachusetts and currently the NASDAQ professor of Economics at the New School University and Catherine Albisa Executive Director of the National Economics and Social Rights Initiative – NESRI. Albisa is also an attorney specializing in the implementation of human rights standards in the United States. She is the former director of the Human Rights in the US program at the Center for Economic and Social Right and was the Associate Director of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School.

Both guests discuss their reactions to and the implications of the recent 16.2 billion dollar bonus that the investment banking house of Goldman Sachs announced just before Christmas.

More than $50 million went to the Goldman Sachs Chairman alone. Pfizer, the drug company, paid a “severance package” of $200 million to its just-resigned chief executive. Many other large corporations acted similarly. All this is legal, given the laws and rules that corporations win from their political “allies.” Indeed, the latest ruling by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allows corporations to obscure what they pay top executives (the New York Times, December 27, 2006, page C1, called it “a victory for corporations”).

Read Story Here by Professor Rick Wolff. More stories – here and here.


Law and Disorder December 25, 2006

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Eric Schlosser on the United States Prison System
We’ve covered in depth on Law and Disorder the US run prison industry abroad, from Guantanamo Bay prison, Cuba, Bagram prison in Afghanistan and Abu Ghraib in Iraq. These are the exports of one of the most highly profitable businesses in the United States. The prison industrial complex in this country has reached record breaking occupancy. Nearly 2.1 million Americans are behind bars, the majority of them nonviolent offenders, they’re usually poor, many have substance abuse problems and many have are mentally ill. This according to exhaustive research by Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser who spoke at Bluestockings Bookstore in New York about his compendium on the American Prison system.

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Law and Disorder caught up with Eric during this talk and we listen to the second part of his one hour speech. In his talk he warns our society of the perils of a profit driven penal system and backs his research with well-documented facts and staggering statistics.

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Muhammad Salah Case – Update

Hosts talk with Salah’s attorney Michael Deutsch on the latest in the case involving a Palestinian businessman accused of funding Hamas in 1993. His defense argues he was tortured and his confessions coerced.

The government also called to the witness stand former New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Law and Disorder hosts fill in the background of this reporter who was fired from the NY Times for writing numerous stories backing the Bush administration’s war campaign chant, “weapons of mass destruction.” Miller was allowed to witness Israeli agents interviewing Salah in 1993. She testified a month ago that Salah seemed comfortable and that he boasted about Hamas operations.

Guest – Michael Deutsch, Muhammad Salah’s attorney with the People’s Law Office in Chicago.


The Mishandled Lethal Injection of Florida death row inmate Angel Nieves Diaz

Angel Diaz was executed by lethal injection for killing a Miami topless bar manager 27 years ago. He was given a rare second does of deadly chemicals as he took more than twice the usual time to succumb. Needles that were supposed to inject drugs in the 55 year old man’s veins were instead pushed through the blood vessels and into the surrounding soft tissue.

The error in Diaz’s execution led Florida Governor Jeb Bush to suspend all executions. Bush still defends the death penalty itself and rejects calls for its abolition. In a separate case, a federal judge extended a moratorium on executions in California, declaring that its method of legal injection violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Those are just the latest challenges to lethal injection, which is the preferred method in 37 states. Missouri’s injection method, similar to California’s was declared unconstitutional last month by a federal judge.

Guest – Kristin Houle with the Amnesty International Program to Abolish the Death Penalty


Lynch Mobs and the Killing State

Lynchings. That word alone is at the root of racism in the United States. Those who may regard lynching as a shameful part of the past need only read the book “From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State” edited by Austin Sarat and Charles Ogletree to realize that state-sanctioned executions are sanitized forms of lynching justified by society.

Professors Charles Ogletree and Austin Sarat have assembled a lucid and intelligent work in which essays from sociologists, historians, criminologists and lawyers weave toegether a social history that starkly reveals how this country’s death penalty is rooted in lynchings.

Racism informs both kinds of killings. The 985 lives lost to official lynchings in the United States since the practice resumed in 1976 symbolize according to one of the book’s contributors, a much broader and enduring culture of American apartheid.

Guest –
Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College. His books include Mercy on Trial: What it Means to Stop an Execution.


Law and Disorder December 18, 2006

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Co-hosts Dalia Hashad and Michael Ratner discuss the Hamden Case, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and Habeas Corpus.


Download/Listen to this segment [15 MB]

Lt. Ehren Watada, the First Commissioned Officer Refuses Iraq Deployment Orders

Lieutenant Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to what many believe a historic illegal war in Iraq. He is a First Lieutenant in the United States Army, a member of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Stryker Brigade Combat Team, who in June 2006 publicly refused to deploy to Iraq, saying that he believed the war to be illegal and that it would make him party to war crimes.
Watada is charged with one count of missing troop movement and two counts of speaking contemptuously of the president. The contempt charges were dropped in November.
Recently, a US military prosecutor is seeking testimony from Truthout reporters to prove that Watada engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer, directly related to disparaging statements the Army claims Watada made about the legality of the Iraq War during interviews with Truthout. Ehren Watada faces six years in prison.
Today we speak with Carolyn Ho, the mother of Lt. Ehren Watada, the first officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq. Ho is on a tour throughout the country bringing awareness and garnering support for her son’s case.


We also play Lieutenant Watada’s entire speech delivered in August 2006 at the Veterans for Peace National Convention. Just as Watada took the stage and began to speak, more than 50 members of Iraq Veterans Against the War filed in behind him. Watada, surprised by the support, draws a deep breath and begins his speech.

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Communities Reeling From Police Shooting “Massacre”

Tens of thousands of protesters silently marched down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Saturday as seasonal shoppers looked on. Many held banners and called for the resignation of New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. All of this protesting the fatal police shooting of 23-year-old Sean Bell last month on his wedding day. Bell’s friend and fellow shooting victim Trent Benefield led the march in a wheelchair pushed by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
The death of unarmed Sean Bell, killed by undercover police in a hail of 50 bullets in Queens, New York outraged communities and sent shockwaves through the country. As the investigations into the case proceed, the fallout from the shooting raise new questions about racial profiling and stirred distrust among police and minority communities.

Guest – Roger Wareham attorney and political activist for nearly three decades. He’s a member of the December 12th Movement, organizing in the Black and Latino community around human rights violations, particularly police brutality.

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)This Convention against Racial Discrimination commits States parties to change national laws and policies that create or perpetuate racial discrimination and aims, among other things, to promote racial equality, which allows the various ethnic groups to enjoy the same social development. The Convention against Racial Discrimination defines racial discrimination as: “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”


Lennon/Ono Grant For Peace Awarded to CCR in Iceland

CCR president Michael Ratner With Yoko Ono


Law and Disorder December 11, 2006

Hosts Michael Ratner and Heidi Boghosian list some positive developments in detentions and the US government’s racial profiling of Muslims. Guantanamo Bay detainees are nearing a fifth year of being kept in cages despite the Center for Constitutional Rights winning two Supreme Court cases. By January 11th, 2007, most of the 460 men in Guantanamo Bay detainment camp, Cuba will have been detained five years as the Bush administration insists in holding them without trial. Among the detainees held for five years – David Hicks – an Australian citizen.

From the Washington Post – “It is often said that ‘justice delayed is justice denied.’ Nothing could be closer to the truth with reference to the Guantanamo Bay cases,” U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler of Washington D.C. wrote in a ruling Friday, spurning the Pentagon’s attempt to deny Bisher Al Rawi, another Afghan man held at Guantanamo, from representing his friend Al Razak. Read story here.

Gladys Kessler – “The Petitioner . . . identifies the legal, cultural, and psychological isolation in which the detainee exists which demonstrate his inability to challenge the legality of his detention. They are as follows: He is a resident of Afghanistan. He has had virtually no contact with the news media or any word from outside the closed Guantanamo prison system for over 3 years. He has had no contact with his friends or family members outside Guantanamo. He is unfamiliar with the United States Court System. He does not speak English.He likely does not know what the term Habeas Corpus means. He has no criminal charges against him.”

Brandon Mayfield update – wrongly arrested by FBI agents after the 2004 Madrid terrorist bombings, has settled his lawsuit against the U.S. government for $2 million. Read story here.

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Eric Schlosser on the United States Prison System
We’ve covered in depth on Law and Disorder the US run prison industry abroad, from Guantanamo Bay prison, Cuba, Bagram prison in Afghanistan and Abu Ghraib in Iraq. These are the exports of one of the most highly profitable businesses in the United States. The prison industrial complex in this country has reached record breaking occupancy. Nearly 2.1 million Americans are behind bars, the majority of them nonviolent offenders, they’re usually poor, many have substance abuse problems and many have are mentally ill. This according to exhaustive research by Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser who spoke at Bluestockings Bookstore in New York about his compendium on the American Prison system.
Law and Disorder caught up with Eric during this talk and we listen to an excerpt of his one hour speech. In his talk he warns our society of the perils of a profit driven penal system and backs his research with well-documented facts and staggering statistics.

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Radio Frequency Identification – Spychips

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve brought you stories about Radio Frequency Identification, a technology that uses tiny computer chips smaller than a grain of sand to track items at a distance. RFID “spy chips” have been hidden in the packaging of Gillette razor products and in other products you might buy at a local Wal-Mart, or Target – and they are already being used to spy on people. Some of the world’s largest product manufacturers have been working behind closed doors since 1999 to develop this technology. They plan to use these remote-readable chips to replace the bar code.

Each tiny chip is hooked up to an antenna that picks up electromagnetic energy beamed at it from a reader device. When it picks up the energy, the chip sends back its unique identification number to the reader device, (which can be located anywhere!) allowing the item to be remotely identified. Spy chips can beam back information anywhere from a couple of inches to up to 20 or 30 feet away.

Guest – Liz McIntyre, co-author of Spychips:How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID

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Photo from double RFID implantee Amal Graastra.


A member of the Senate Banking Committee denounced RFID “no-swipe”credit cards at a press conference Sunday. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said contracts for the cards should have warning boxes disclosing “the known weaknesses of the technology.” He cautioned cardholders about their vulnerability to identity thieves, commenting you “may as well put your credit card information on a big sign on your back.”

“No-swipe” or “contactless” credit cards contain RFID microchips that communicate account information silently and invisibly by radio waves. These microchips have earned the nickname “spychips” because the information they contain can be read without an individual’s knowledge or consent.

While Congress is just waking up to the dangers of RFID technology, privacy and civil liberties organizations have been sounding the alarm for years.


Law and Disorder December 4, 2006

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Henri Alleg, Author of the The Question

Hosts Michael Ratner and Michael Steven Smith interview Henri Alleg for the first half hour. Alleg, a French journalist living in Paris, supported Algerian independence during the French Algerian War (1954-1962). He was arrested by French paratroppers during the Battle of Algiers in June 1957 and interrogated.

Henri Alleg describes to Law and Disorder hosts in this exclusive interview how he was questioned hung from his feet and tortured with a similar brutality and sadism often described by prisoners in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Alleg talks about his republished book The Question. It’s a moving account of that month of interrogation and his triump over his torturers. Jean-Paul Sartre has written the preface that remains a relevant commentary on the moral and poltical effects of torture on the both the victim and perpetrator. A very moving story.

Incoming National Lawyers Guild President Marjorie Cohn

Law and Disorder welcomes back professor of law and NLG president Marjorie Cohn. Hosts discuss with Marjorie Cohn the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the subsequent loss of Habeas Corpus for non-citizens and permanent aliens in the the United States. Marjorie also comments on the construction of detention centers in the United States contracted by Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) a subsidiary of Hallibuton. – (Corpwatch – Halliburton)

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A quote from KBR press release referenced by NLG president Marjorie Cohn – “The contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing Immigration and Custom Enforcement Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs. The contingency support contract provides for planning and, if required, initiation of specific engineering, construction and logistics support tasks to establish, operate and maintain one or more expansion facilities. The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other U.S. Government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster. In the event of a natural disaster, the contractor could be tasked with providing housing for ICE personnel performing law enforcement functions in support of relief efforts.”


Where are the demonstrators?

Law and Disorder hosts talk with Jim Lafferty, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Lawyer’s Guild and host of the Guild Radio Show on Pacifica’s sister affiliate KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles. Hosts talk with Jim Lafferty about fighting the legal battle of protesting in the streets on the west coast and the victories. A serious yet, uplifting interview on the state of the peace movement in the United States.

Law and Disorder – Laying the Foundation Of A Police State – Four Part Series – Click Here to Listen/Download

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