Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for June, 2007


Law and Disorder July 2, 2007


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Help Stop The Execution of Troy Davis

Troy Davis was sentenced to death in Georgia, for the murder of a police officer. The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimonies that were full of inconsistencies, even at the time of trial. Since then, all but two of the states’ nine non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted their testimony. Many state in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis. There is no physical evidence linking Troy Davis to the crime and no murder weapon has ever been found. With his appeals exhausted and courts refusing to consider the recanted testimony, Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed later this month. The only thing that stands between him and execution is the Georgia Parole Board.

Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International said “The Supreme Court decision is proof-positive that justice truly is blind — blind to coerced and recanted testimony, blind to the lack of a murder weapon or physical evidence and blind to the extremely dubious circumstances that led to this man’s conviction. At times there are cases that are emblematic of the dysfunctional application of justice in this country. By refusing to review serious claims of innocence, the Supreme Court has revealed catastrophic flaws in the U.S. death penalty machine.”

The Georgia Parole Board has scheduled Troy Davis to be executed on July 17th at 7pm. The first available day of a schedule window set from July 17-24.

Where is the justice for me? The case of Troy Davis facing execution in Georgia

Guest – Martina Correia, activist and sister of Troy Anthony Davis.

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Drug Policy Reform

Nearly 2.1 million Americans are currently serving time in prison. One out of every six of these inmates is in federal prison on marijuana.-related charges. Astonishingly, according to the laws in 15 U.S. states, one can receive a life sentence for non-violent marijuana infractions.

One out of every six of these inmates is in federal prison on marijuana-related charges.In large cities such as New York law enforcement officers have markedly stepped up their efforts to target low-level drug offenders, mostly for marijuana. Watch dog organizations claim that this is also a means to build a database on inner city youth, data shared and networked globally by several multi-national security agencies. In response to these sentencing disparities and the growing prison population, a drug policy reform movement is gaining momentum says Ethan Nadelman.

Guest – Ethan Nadelman, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance

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Law and Disorder June 25, 2007


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“Can Progressives Move the Democratic Party to the Left?”

This debate was sponsored by the Left Forum. Stanley Aronowitz, author of , and Laura Flanders, author of Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians discuss and debate the possibilities and limitations of working within the Democratic party. Moderated by Gary Younge is a columnist for The Nation and correspondent for The Guardian.

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Stanley Aronowitz – Distinguished Professor of Sociology at CUNY Graduate Center. He is Director of The Center for the Study of Culture, Technology and Work. He is also the Founding Editor of Social Text and Situations, was Book Review Editor of Social Policy, and serves on the Editorial Board of Ethnography; Cultural Critique. He has authored and edited 24 books, the most recent being Left Turn: Forging a New Political Future.

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Laura Flanders is the host of “RadioNation” heard on Air America Radio . She is the author most recently of Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians and also BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species, an investigation into the women in George W. Bush’s Cabinet.

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Arguments Against the Dismissal of Lawsuits by Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin.

Last week in New York City , a federal appeals court heard oral arguments in the lawsuits about the damage that plaintiffs say the herbicide Agent Orange did to American veterans to Vietnamese citizens during the Vietnam War.

Agent Orange, named for the stripes on the barrels that contained it was used to kill the vegetation that hid Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army unites. It was found to be contaminated with the highly toxic substance, dioxin.

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Veterans who believed they and their families had suffered from exposure to Agent Orange sued. In 1984, seven of the chemical companies settled for 180 million dollars but without accepting liability.

Some veterans not covered by the settlement filed further lawsuits but US District Court Judge Jack Weinstein dismissed them. In 2005, Weinstein also dismissed a suit brought by Vietnamese citizens claiming to have suffered from exposure to dioxin. He found that use of the toxic herbicide did not violate international norms.

Whatever the technical merits of Weinstein’s rulings, a dismissal without a trial is not a suibable outcome. A full trial, with all the scrutiny it can bring to bear on this question, would be a far more preferable closing act to this sad story, both for the American veterans and the Vietnamese civilians.

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As the legal struggle continues, there have been bits of progress on cleaning up the mess. Though Washington recognizes some maladies as associated with Agent Orange and does pay some compensation, its contribution to alleviating the problem in Vietnam had been minimal until recently.

We hear the voices from those at the rally sponsored by Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign. Many activists gathered outside the Federal Court to show their support during the oral arguments against the dismissal of lawsuit against companies (Dow, Monsanto) who profited from manufacturing these chemical weapons.

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Law and Disorder June 18, 2007


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Ali al-Marri Update: Reversing the Bush Administration’s War on Terror Policy

In a reversal of the Bush Administration’s effort to detain people around the globe, last week, a federal appeals court in Virginia, which is a very conservative court ruled that the government cannot subject Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri to indefinite detention, though he was subject to indefinite detention by a 2003 presidential order.

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A legal US resident – though not a citizen – al-Marri had studied computer science at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois in 1991, and returned on 10 September 2001 to pursue post-graduate studies, bringing his family – his wife and five children – with him. Three months later he was arrested and charged with fraud and making false statements to the FBI, but in June 2003, a month before he was due to stand trial for these charges in a federal court in Peoria, the prosecution dropped the charges and informed the court that he was to be held as an “enemy combatant” instead.

As some listeners may recall, here on Law and Disorder we’ve discussed Ali al-Marri’s case and how he was held incommunicado, indefinitely in a military prison without charges. He’s been in solitary confinement for more than 2 years, no access to reading material, except the Qur’an. According to his lawyers, he was constantly harassed, abused and any medical treatment he received was very poor.

Now, because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that U.S. residents cannot be locked up indefinitely as “enemy combatants” without being charged, al-Marri can challenge his detention. Al-Marri is the only “enemy combatant” still in detention without charge in the United States itself.

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Guest – Jonathan Hafetz, Litigation Director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Project and the lead counsel for Al-Marri. He is the author of numerous articles in scholarly and popular publications, including the Yale Law Journal, California Western Law Review, and Fordham Journal of International Law, Legal Affairs, and the New York Law Journal.

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Off the Record: U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the War on Terror

Children as young as seven years old detained in secret CIA prisons are some of the startling details unearthed by a recent report drafted by six human rights groups including Amnesty International (PDF file), the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law.

The report titled Off the Record: U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the War on Terror, details aspects of the CIA detention program that the US government has actively tried to conceal, such as the locations where prisoners may have been held, the mistreatment they endured, and the countries to which they may have been transferred. The report names 39 people believed to be disappeared from countries such as Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, and Spain.

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Guest – Meg Satterthwaite, director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the (NYU) Law School. Satterthwaite has published reports and articles on human rights topics in scholarly and advocacy contexts. Her research interests include human rights in the “war on terror”; gender, sexuality and human rights; and the human rights of migrants. She is Co-Chair of the International Human Rights Interest Group of the American Society of International Law, a member of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA, and a member of the International Law Committee of the City Bar of New York.

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Law and Disorder June 11, 2007


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Maze of Injustice – The failure to protect Indigenous Women from sexual violence in the USA

A recent Amnesty International study on the sexual violence against indigenous women in the United States exposes a disturbing trend in human rights abuse. The reasons why indigenous women are at particular risk of sexual violence are complex. According to the report, more than one in three Native American and Alaska Native women are survivors of rape. Most of the abused women have not followed through in their cases to seek justice because of a general inaction within the tribal government authority and its chronic under-resourced law enforcement agencies which should protect indigenous women. As one support worker said, “Women don’t report because it doesn’t make a difference. Why report when you are just going to be re-victimized?” Too many times, as the Amnesty Report identifies, those responsible for the violence are able to get away with it.


Guest – Michael Heflin, the Amnesty International USA Campaign Director.

Guest – Juskwa Burnett, counselor for the Otoe-Missouria Tribe in Oklahoma. Juskwa Burnett has a long history of working on domestic abuse and sexual assault of Native women.


Listen to or download Maze of Injustice Segment

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Conscientious Objectors from Vietnam to Iraq

Here on Law and Disorder we continue to look at the issue of Iraq war resisters and conscientious objectors. We’ve interviewed war resistors – their families and discussed conscientious objection. We also look at how legislation has changed for soldiers applying for CO status.

Since the Vietnam War more than 170,000 men were officially recognized as conscientious objectors. But, in 1971 the Supreme Court refused to allow objection to a particular war, a decision affecting thousands of objectors to the Vietnam War. Some 50,000–100,000 men are estimated to have left the United States to avoid being drafted. Now, the US military is all-volunteer. We talk with Citizen Soldiers’ Tod Ensign about what’s changed for Conscientious Objectors since the Vietnam War and compare what it means to be a CO in today’s United States military.

Joining us in this discussion is Tod Ensign, lawyer and the director of Citizen Soldier, a support organization for Gis.

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Check out – The Different Drummer Cafe

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Maze of Injustice


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Maze of Injustice – The failure to protect Indigenous Women from sexual violence in the USA
A recent Amnesty International study on the sexual violence against indigenous women in the United States exposes a disturbing trend in human rights abuse. The reasons why indigenous women are at particular risk of sexual violence are complex. According to the report, more than one in three Native American and Alaska Native women are survivors of rape. Most of the abused women have not followed through in their cases to seek justice because of a general inaction within the tribal government authority and its chronic under-resourced law enforcement agencies which should protect indigenous women. As one support worker said, “Women don’t report because it doesn’t make a difference. Why report when you are just going to be re-victimized? Too many times, as the Amnesty Report identifies, those responsible for the violence are able to get away with it.

Guest – Michael Heflin, the Amnesty International USA Campaign Director.
Guest – Juskwa Burnett, counselor for the Otoe-Missouria Tribe in Oklahoma. Juskwa Burnett has a long history of working on domestic abuse and sexual assault of Native women.

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Law and Disorder June 4, 2007


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Guantanamo Bay Detainee Dies : Alleged Suicide

Law and Disorder hosts Dalia Hashad, Michael Ratner and Michael Smith discuss the recent alleged suicide at Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba. The Saudi Arabian detainee died last Wednesday at Guantanamo Bay prison. The U.S. military says he apparently committed suicide.

“It’s conceivable he (the detainee) was murdered.” – - Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

“This death demonstrates the urgent need to close Guantanamo Bay Prison.” – - Dalia Hashad, Amnesty International USA Program Director .

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Listen to the Pacifica National Special – The War on Immigrants – Co-hosted by our own Dalia Hashad.

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“War on Terror” Prisoners and Secret Detentions Update

Michael Ratner describes how the Bush Administration has been pushing coercive interrogations with limited resistance in Congress. He also points out the new laws that apply to prisoners in US military custody. Ratner says they are now required to obey the Army Field Manual on detainee treatment FM 34-52 that include almost 20 interrogation techniques that do not constitute torture. Those prisoners, alleged enemy combatants citizen or non-citizen in the custody of the CIA (secret prisons) are not subject to the Army Field Manual.

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Anti-Torture Movement in Chicago Police Torture Case Gains Traction

The City Council will hold hearings on a special prosecutor’s “whitewash” report into police torture by former Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge, thanks to a resolution co-signed today by 26 aldermen

The case includes a four-year investigation focused on allegations that 148 black men were tortured in Chicago police interrogation rooms in the 1970s and ’80s. The men say detectives under the command of Lt. Jon Burge beat them, used electric shocks, played mock Russian roulette and started to smother at least one to force confessions. Prosecutors described this type of criminal justice system where top officials in a position to put a stop to police torture appeared blind to the abuse. Among them, Mayor Richard Daley, when he served as Cook County state’s attorney.

Guest – Flint Taylor – Attorney with the People’s Law Office, leading the fight against covering up torture by the Chicago Police Department.

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Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine

Last month we heard author Joel Kovel discuss his book at the Brecht Forum. He recently joined Law and Disorder in the studio for a riveting interview that also looked into Kovel’s personal changes that led him to write Overcoming Zionism. Toward the end of the interview, co-host Dalia Hashad asks why Joel Kovel chose the word “overcoming” in his title.

“This book is absolutely fundamental for those who reject the unfortunate confusion between Jews, Judaism, Zionism and the State of Israel — a confusion which is the basis for systematic manipulation by the imperialist power system. It convincingly argues in favour of a single secular state for Israelis and Palestinians as the only democratic solution for the region.” Samir Amin, Director of the Third World Forum.

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Guest – Joel Kovel author of Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, has been engaged in struggles for peace and justice since the Vietnam War era. He has worked within the antiwar and antinuclear movements, the solidarity movements in Central America and the Caribbean, the movements for democratic media, and, increasingly, for ecological transformation. He lived in Nicaragua for a period in 1986, and accompanied Pastors for Peace as they broke the US blockade on Cuba in their 1994 Friendshipment. He has acted in films, worked frequently with the Bread and Puppet theatre, and lectured on four continents. Kovel joined the Green Party since 1990. In 1998, he was the Green Party candidate for US Senator from New York, and in 2000 sought their Presidential nomination.

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