Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for September, 2007


Law and Disorder October 1, 2007


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Law and Disorder Update

Co-hosts Michael Ratner and Heidi Boghosian discuss recent key votes in Congress on the Iraq war, warrant-less electronic surveillance and lethal injection.

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Enemy Combatant Doctrine

In a recent essay A System of Wholesale Denial of Rights published in the Monthly Review, Research Professor of Law, Michael Tigar describes how the term enemy combatant was created through the rulings in the anti-terrorist case Padilla v. Rumsfeld and the implications for civil liberties and human rights in the United States. Implications that support a system whereby the president can lock up anyone he chooses and never have to explain why to a court.

The Bush Administration has taken the language from those in favor of slavery and oppression of Native Americans. Instead of prisoner, instead defendant, instead of person they create a category of enemy combatant. (Non-People – Invoking the characterization of someone not entitled to claim justice.) Tigar says this is a tactic of repressive governments. Tigar says, the term enemy combatant doesn’t exist in the Constitution or within International Law, therefore enemy combatants have no rights, are denied access to courts and fall under military regime.

Michael Tigar in his article points out the historic parallels such as the Dred Scott case, Japanese internment and the Cherokee Nation. Frederick Douglas and several anti-slavery people thought that it would be possible to make an argument that slavery so violated the norms of the constitution that it had to be illegal everywhere. The Cherokee Nation, says Tigar was classified as “subject people.” Subject People is not found in Article 3 in the Constitution. Therefore, “subject people” are not entitled to sue in federal courts.


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Michael Tigar is a Research Professor of Law at Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C., where he teaches Federal Courts, International Human Rights, and Criminal Law. Tigar argued seven cases in front of the US Supreme court, he’s represented many controversial clients since then such as Angela Davis, Terry Nichols, Lynne Stewart and members of the Chicago Seven. He is the author of the recent book, Thinking About Terrorism: The Threat To Civil Liberties in a Time Of National Emergency.

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40th Anniversary of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna Murder

We mark the 40th anniversary of Che Guevara’s murder. He was captured in Bolivia during a military operation supported by the CIA and the U.S. Army Special Forces. Guevara was summarily executed by the Bolivian Army in the town of La Higuera near Vallegrande on October 9, 1967.

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Guest – author and professor John Tito Gerassi, about Che Guevara’s influence. Gerassi describes how he was poisoned by the CIA while dining with Fidel Castro and about his guerilla training with Che.

Gerassi currently teaches at Queens College of the City University of New York. Gerassi, born in France in 1931, is the author many books including the Great Fear in Latin America and The Premature Antifascists, the only authorized biography of Jean Paul Sarte.

Che photos by redredpei – flickr

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Law and Disorder September 24, 2007


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Jena 6 Update

Today on Law and Disorder co-host Heidi Boghosian debriefs Eugene Puryear, Howard University student and key national political organizer for the Jena 6. They discuss the denying of a request to release Mychal Bell whose arrest in the beating of a white classmate sparked last week’s civil rights protest in Louisiana.

Defense lawyers also have complained that Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr. set a high bail for Bell — $90,000 — prior to his conviction in the Barker beating. Mauffray had cited Bell’s criminal record, which included juvenile arrests for battery and damage to property, in setting the bail.

Nearly 60 thousand protestors demonstrated in Jena, Louisiana, a town with the population of 3000. It was called the largest civil rights rallies in the South since the 1960’s. The protest was scheduled around the sentencing of Mychal Bell who was convicted by an all white jury.

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The incidents began when three black high school students decided to sit under a shade tree in the school yard where usually white students sat. The next day three nooses were found hanging from the tree. Though the culprits who hung the nooses were discovered and recommended for expulsion by the principal, the school board chose to reduce their expulsions to a three-day, in-school suspension. After the entire black student body protested peacefully by sitting under the tree, Jena District Attorney Reed Walters informed the school in an assembly that he could take away the lives of the black students with a stroke of his pen.

In the following months several incidents occurred, including threats and acts of violence against black students to which DA Walters did not respond. However, after a white student was beaten up by black students in December, Walters charged six black students with second-degree attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The white student was treated at the hospital, released that same day, and was seen at a social function that very night. Mychal Bell, originally charged with attempted murder for allegedly beating up a white student, was later charged with and convicted of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals recently vacated Bell’s conviction, stating that Bell should never have been tried in an adult court because the alleged offense occurred when Bell was a minor. The Jena prosecutor has reportedly vowed to appeal the 3rd Circuit’s ruling.

The other five teens, Robert Bailey, Theo Shaw, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis and an unidentified juvenile, face charges ranging from aggravated second-degree battery to attempted second-degree murder. Most of the boys spent months in jail before being able to raise tens of thousands of dollars for bail. Bell was never able to raise the money to make bail, and remains in jail even after the overturning of his conviction. Related – Racism in Louisiana – BBC / FBI Probes Anti-Jena 6 Web Page

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Guest – Eugene Puryear, Howard University student and key national political organizer for the Jena 6

Call for National Action Tuesday October 2, at 5pm/Justice Dept in Washington DC.

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Cuban Five Oral Arguments Update

A three-judge panel at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta heard oral arguments earlier this month relating to the case of the Cuban Five. This is the third time in two years the Eleventh Circuit has heard appeals in the case of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, and Rene Gonzalez, who are serving a collective four life sentences and 75 years in prison.

Law and Disorder co-host Heidi Boghosian spoke at the rally and was at the hearing. “The court was filled with international observers jammed the court to observe both US government and defense attorneys deliver their arguments. Observers came from many countries including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, England, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Ukraine.”

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We an excerpt from an interview on KPFK’s The Lawyer’s Guild Radio Show hosted by Jim Lafferty. In this interview Jim Lafferty talks with Len Weinglass, civil rights lawyer and defense attorney for Antonio Guerrero.

 

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You Have No Rights; Stories of America in an Age of Repression

In his recently published book, You Have No Rights; Stories of America in an Age of Repression, author Matthew Rothschild, cites dozens of personal stories that outline the big picture of repression in the United States. Hired goon squads of young republicans shout down protesters with chants of USA – USA – USA!! Remember the lawyer who was arrested at a local mall for wearing a “Give Peace A Chance” t-shirt? As Rothschild points out in his new book, the first, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth amendments are under siege and very little is being done to protect them.

Guest – Matthew Rothschild author of You Have No Rights and editor of the Progressive Magazine since 1993. Previously the editor of Multinational Monitor, a magazine founded by Ralph Nader, he is the host of Progressive Radio.

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Michael Ratner’s Update on the nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney General.

It is shocking to see those who should know better supporting and in some cases practically fawning over the nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney General. There is simply no excuse for anyone who cares about fundamental rights and civil liberties to support Mukasey’s nomination. Read More




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Law and Disorder September 17, 2007


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Lawyer’s Committee on Nuclear Policy

After the 2001 attacks on the United States, attention has been drawn to marginalize nuclear weapons and increase global cooperation on the control and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear material. As of 2006, there are estimated to be at least 25,000 nuclear weapons held by at least eight countries, 96 percent of them in the possession of the United States and Russia

Rather than intensifying such efforts, the U.S. has adopted a policy of elevating the role of nuclear weapons in its overall military strategy. John Burroughs, Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy, claims that this will reduce U.S. and global security, not increase it.

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Guest – Dr. John Burroughs, adjunct professor of law at Rutgers Law School and serves as Executive Director for the Lawyer’s Committee on Nuclear Policy. The LCNP was instrumental in bringing the landmark case before the International Court of Justice in 1995 that resulted in the advisory opinion of 1996, which stated that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is illegal.

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He is co-editor of Rule of Power or Rule of Law? An Assessment of U.S. Policies and Actions Regarding Security-Related Treaties, Apex Press, 2003. He has published articles in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the World Policy Journal, most recently co-authoring “Arms Control Abandoned: The Case of Biological Weapons.”

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University of Michigan Press Halts Distribution of Joel Kovel’s book: Overcoming Zionism, Then Later Resumes Distribution.

Co-hosts Michael Smith and Michael Ratner talk with Joel Kovel about the efforts of the University of Michigan Press to halt and then resume distribution of his book. Read article here: Michigan Resumes Distribution of Anti-Israel Book.

Excerpt from: A Book On Hold

Late last month, the blog, Dissident Veteran for Peace — printed what it says is an e-mail from Pochoda, the press director, to Kovel, explaining why distribution was halted. Pochoda declined to comment on the e-mail, but Kovel said it was accurate. The e-mail reads: “Because it is a distributed title for Pluto Press, no one at UMP had read Overcoming Zionism prior to the Stand/With/Us diatribe. I and others read it after that assault, and had fully expected to gear up for, at least, a free speech defense. Though I had no trouble with the one-state solution your book proposes nor with a Zionist critique, per se … I (and faculty members I asked to read the book, as well) were apalled [sic] by your reckless, viscious [sic], and unmodulated attack on Zionism and all Zionists.”

Related reading – Campus Watch

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Excerpt from Michael Smith’s review of Overcoming Zionism.

How did Kovel, a Jew from Brooklyn, the oldest son of Ukrainian immigrants who did well – moving with Joel to “the purgatory of Baldwin, Long Island” – come to this radical critique and equally radical solution? Joel graduated from Yale and became a successful psychiatrist. He taught at medical school before switching careers and taking a social science professorship at Bard, where for a time he held the Alger Hiss chair. He is still there, the only Marxist on the faculty. This book is not going to further his career.
“What kind of Jew am I?” he asks, and answers “a very bad one.” More accurately, he defines himself as what Isaac Deutscher called “a non-Jewish Jew.” Not that he is not spiritual; he writes of reaching for the infinite. But he is not religious. Being part of a sect is too narrowing and confining. He identifies with the Jewish heretics who transcended Jewry, but who are nonetheless part of the Jewish tradition – he lists Spinoza, Marx, Freud, Proust, Einstein, Kafka, Wittgenstein, and Luxemburg – and for whom “the true glory” of being Jewish is to live “on the margin and across boundaries.”


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Overcoming Zionism Review by Michael Smith


Joel Kovel, Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine (London and Ann Arbor Pluto Press, 2007).

Joel Kovel has given us an impressive and important book. Its first printing sold out without a single review, major or otherwise. Nevertheless word of this extraordinary work is spreading. The taboo in the United States (not Israel) against seriously discussing and criticizing Zionist Israel has been broken with the publication of Jimmy Carter’s bold book labeling the situation in the Occupied Territories “apartheid” and with the exposure by prestigious professors Mearsheimer and Walt – in the London Review of Books after rejection by the Atlantic Monthly – of the power of the Israeli lobby. Kovel, by focusing squarely on how to “overcome” Zionism, takes the discussion exactly where it needs to go from there. He writes beautifully, even poetically, not just on Zionism’s sordid history, but on its ideology, its ethics, and even on the terrible ecological devastation in Israel itself, where every river is polluted, some to lethal levels. And he writes with courage and hope.
Kovel believes that the creation of Israel in l948, as a colony of settlers who established an exclusively Jewish and discriminatory state, has created a multi-faceted disaster – “a dreadful mistake” – that should be undone, with Israel de-Zionized and integrated into the Middle East. His solution is stated in the book’s subtitle and restated in the title of the last chapter: “Palesrael: A Secular and Universal Democracy for Israel/Palestine.” This is an elegant solution, and he lays out an action program to accomplish it.

How did Kovel, a Jew from Brooklyn, the oldest son of Ukrainian immigrants who did well – moving with Joel to “the purgatory of Baldwin, Long Island” – come to this radical critique and equally radical solution? Joel graduated from Yale and became a successful psychiatrist. He taught at medical school before switching careers and taking a social science professorship at Bard, where for a time he held the Alger Hiss chair. He is still there, the only Marxist on the faculty. This book is not going to further his career.
“What kind of Jew am I?” he asks, and answers “a very bad one.” More accurately, he defines himself as what Isaac Deutscher called “a non-Jewish Jew.” Not that he is not spiritual; he writes of reaching for the infinite. But he is not religious. Being part of a sect is too narrowing and confining. He identifies with the Jewish heretics who transcended Jewry, but who are nonetheless part of the Jewish tradition – he lists Spinoza, Marx, Freud, Proust, Einstein, Kafka, Wittgenstein, and Luxemburg – and for whom “the true glory” of being Jewish is to live “on the margin and across boundaries.”
Kovel writes that the ethical reference point for Jews is the tribal unit. Since ancient times they set themselves off as “a people apart,” chosen by Jehovah, with whom they have a covenant. In Kovel’s view, “Zionism’s dynamic was drawn from the most tribal and particularistic stratum of Judaism, and its destiny became the restoration of tribalism in the guise of a modern, highly militarized and aggressive state,” which they implanted in the center if Islam. Herein lies the tragedy.
At the turn of the 20th century, a Zionist conference in Vienna delegated several rabbis to travel to Palestine on a fact-finding mission. The rabbis cabled back, “the bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.” Kovel writes incisively of what ensued. The “tremendous struggle” to dislodge Palestine’s inhabitants would involve three great difficulties:

the resistance of those who stood in the way and would have to be displaced; the exigencies of geo-politics; and one’s own inner being, which would have to be retooled from the self-image of an ethical victim to that of a ruthless conqueror. All of these obstacles could be dealt with by signing onto Western imperialism and capitalism.

Jewish suffering and persecution became justification for aggression in asserting the “outlandish claim to a territory controlled 2500 years ago by one’s putative ancestors.”
The Israelis took 78% of the territory in l948 and the remaining 22% in l967. The logic of Zionism – to create an ethnically pure Jewish state – led to organized terrorism; “the essentials had been put in place by the mid-1930s” and the opportunity came in l948. The leaders of Zionism, Chaim Arlosoroff, Vladimir Jabotinsky, and especially David Ben Gurion, quietly articulated the need to drive the Arabs out. South African Prime Minister Henrik Verwoerd said in l96l something the liberals wouldn’t: that the Zionists “took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. In that, I agree with them, Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” When the smoke lifted in l948, 531 Arab villages had been destroyed, some 750,000 Palestinians driven out. In l948 Menachem Begin (later Prime Minister of Israel) organized the dynamiting of the British headquarters in Jerusalem, killing 88 persons, including 15 Jews. That year also saw the terrorizing of the village of Deir Yassin. With Begin in command, Yitzhak Shamir – who was also to become a PM and whose frankly fascist organization the Stern Gang had actually made overtures to the Nazis to create a Jewish state along totalitarian lines – took part in the operation. The terror at Deir Yassin was a decisive factor in the Arab exodus. The ethnic cleansing had been clearly planned by the Zionist leadership, as Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has documented. Thus the Zionists established Israel with a crime against humanity.
Ariel Sharon, the third Israeli terrorist PM, was actually found guilty by an Israeli court for permitting the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Lebanon in l982, where as many as 3000 Palestinian refugees were killed. In l953 Sharon led a cross-border raid on Qibya, Jordan, “in which the community was reduced to rubble, with 45 houses blown up and 69 people killed, the majority women and children.” He repeated his mass murder in Lebanon in 2006, using US-made cluster bombs. It is truly remarkable, as Kovel points out, that a terrorist could ascend to national leadership three times and “scarcely anybody has bothered to ponder its meaning.” Kovel notes the consequent bad conscience of the Israelis and remarks on how their resulting feelings “become projected and turned into the blaming of others” – whether these be expropriated Palestinians or critics of Israel, who are then labeled as antisemites and/or as that curious entity, the “self-hating Jew.”
Israel, as a racist state, discriminates in the critical areas of immigrants, settlements, and land development. Any Jew in the world who can show that his grandmother on his mother’s side was Jewish may obtain automatic citizenship, yet the Arabs expelled in l948 and l967, despite international law and United Nations resolution 194, are not permitted their right to return. 92% of the land in Israel is administered by The Jewish National Fund, which does not allow its use by non-Jews.
Racism is in the nature of a colonial settler state. What is remarkable is the degree to which Zionists deny this. Kovel gives examples of a top Israeli general calling Palestinians “drugged cockroaches in a bottle”; he cites a 2006 poll showing that more than two-thirds of Israelis would refuse to live in the same building as Arabs and that the idea of deporting Arab citizens is popular. Many Jewish soccer fans curse and attack Arab members of their national team.
Kovel writes, reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson, that no state has an absolute right to exist, hence all states are to some degree illegitimate; he adds that states may be relatively or absolutely illegitimate, and that a racist state is illegitimate. Israel, being an exclusively Jewish state, is a racist state. He concludes that “the problem then is with Zionism and the Jewish state as such, and not its illegal occupation of the West Bank.” The point is to change it, “to dissolve the Jewishness of the state. For this, one does not smash or trample Zionism; one overcomes it and frees people from its chains.”
He goes beyond the two-state solution, necessarily, because by steady aggression and aggrandizement the Zionists have whittled the Palestinian territory down to 8% of what it was in l948, leaving the natives with a negligible fragment, without much water, polluted, economically unviable, denuded of its agriculture, isolated by Jewish-only roads, and partly encircled by an obscene wall.
What to do? Speak the truth about Israel. Expose the Zionist lobby. Force it to register as an agent of a foreign government. Bring lawsuits for violations of human rights, as the Center for Constitutional Rights did against an Israeli general for mass killing in a village, or against the US Caterpillar company for making gargantuan bulldozers sold wittingly to the Israeli army for the express purpose of house demolition (one of which, ran over and killed Rachel Corrie, to whom Kovel partly dedicates his book). Place Israel where it belongs, in the company of apartheid South Africa. Cut the threads of Israel’s support system; boycott it academically, economically, and culturally.
Palestinians are the largest and oldest refugee population in the world. Central to the campaign against Zionist Israel is to support their right of return. Zionism can thus be brought down in an entirely peaceful manner. The Right of Return is more basic than liquidating the occupation, which would leave the Zionist state unchanged. The Right of Return would require the end of the occupation as a pre-condition and can directly undo the Jewishness of the state with the returnees having full and equal rights. Even now, counting the occupied territories, the population is roughly 50/50, Jew and Arab.
The new state – “Palesrael” – could reshape itself according to the South African anti-apartheid precepts of recognition and responsibility, which point to a society organized along essentially non-capitalist lines. Kovel knows that this will not come easily and that the outcome will depend partly on unforeseeable convulsions in the outside world. He concludes: “Such is the reality facing dreamers for a better world: a slim chance, and a long haul. As ever, it is the journey that counts, the seeking of good conscience, good will, and good comrades.”
This is a rich, multi-layered book, reflecting the author’s wide reading and travel. Kovel’s background as a psychiatrist is evident in his wise understanding. Judaeophobia in Nazi Germany “draws from a time when Jews were, if not blameless, at least powerless and were made to pay the debts demanded by the anticommunism of the fascist state and by Christendom’s bad conscience.” He calls it “intellectual barbarism” to take current criticism of Israel as “antisemitism,” but he well understands that given a situation of invasion and occupation of another people’s land, it is not surprising to find “the whole spectrum of human responses … ranging from emancipatory and nonviolent expression to crude atavisms including racist belief.”

Israel has become, in Kovel’s view, the most dangerous place on earth for Jews. It now has the largest gap between rich and poor in the whole industrialized world. Forty percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Half of Israeli families cannot meet their monthly bills. Kovel reports that the immediate cause of this has been a fierce neoliberal assault on the poor and the public sector, which has left Israel with “the worst primary and lower secondary education in the Western world.” Socialist ideals lie in ruins. As a result, a serious amount of emigration is taking place, with some 760,000 Israelis living abroad in 2004. Jews leaving Russian prefer, ironically, to go to Germany.
I think that if persons concerned about the problems of Jews and Zionism could have but one book on the subject on their shelf, it should be this one.

Michael Steven Smith

National Lawyers Guild

member, NLG fact-finding committee in Israel/Palestine, 1985

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Law and Disorder September 10, 2007


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(CCR) attorneys and co-counsel submitted a ground-breaking brief to the Supreme Court in the case that will determine whether detainees at Guantánamo possess the fundamental constitutional rights to due process and habeas corpus.

“These men have been held unlawfully in abusive conditions while the courts and Congress debate whether they should have any rights,” said CCR President Michael Ratner. ” Read more.

Co-hosts Michael Ratner and Michael Smith

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Guantanamo Bay Detainees Transfers and Abuse

The US Supreme Court said it would not prevent Ahmed Bel Bacha, an Algerian army veteran detained at Guantanamo Bay from being transferred to his home country. Bel Bacha, who has been held at Guantanamo for five years, had argued he would be tortured if turned over to Algerian officials. He is one of nearly 20 Guantanamo detainees who say they will face abuse if sent back to their country. Human Rights Watch article.

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Recently, Isa Al Murbati was returned home after six months in Guantanamo Bay’s Camp Six. He was kept under the most cruel conditions of the prison, they include communication lock downs and sleep deprivation.

Guest – Emi Maclean, staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

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Flying While Muslim

Lyra Porras Garzon is a documentary filmmaker and creator of the recent film Flying While Muslim. This film explores the personal stories and debates surrounding racial profiling post 9/11 in the United States. As Lyra researched the many personal stories, she unearthed countless reports of racial profiling from detainment in airports to illegal detention of Muslims, Arabs and even South Asians. This, along with the imprisonment of those individuals without access to lawyers or the right to habeas corpus.

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Guest – Lyra Porras Garzon

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Watch trailor for Flying While Muslim below:

 

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Law and Disorder September 3, 2007


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Dear listeners, we hear a re-broadcast from Law and Disorder’s Police State Series.

Laying the Foundation of a Police State – Part III Surveillance and Criminalizing Dissent

Since the summer of 2004, Law and Disorder has brought Pacifica listeners the voices of activists, authors and attorneys from the front lines.

Last week, and in the next three weeks, we examine in a four part series, the foundation for what many view as a police state in the United States. In this series we will talk with guests about the post 9/11 blueprint of this dictatorship/ police state and how the nefarious turn to war, the use of torture and the domestic propagation of fear unfolded.

We have examined at length topics such as torture, domestic surveillance, criminalizing dissent, racial profiling, indefinite detentions and the destruction of constitutional rights as vital information to bring an understanding to listeners as to how it happened and where we go from here.

In this third part of the series we look at several key issues in the crackdown of dissent in this country including how the government has set up a terrorist database to categorize and target domestic activists. As attorneys on the front lines we bring exclusive cases of domestic surveillance of protestors. In previous shows, Law and Disorder has covered the lawsuits involving NSA wiretapping of phone calls and emails by the Center for Constitutional Rights, EFF and the ACLU. We talk with the ACLU’s Michigan Legal Director about their NSA lawsuit and recent victory

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve covered, directly and indirectly, the resurgence of domestic surveillance since the events of September 11. We’ve seen how the government has loosened restrictions on spying on political activists, both locally and nationally. We’ve seen how this administration has exploited the term “terrorism” to justify a host of insidious and often unlawful practices, from engaging in mass arrests of peaceful protesters in order to collect information about their political affiliations, to categorizing and labeling individuals based on their ideologies, to assembling all this information into a comprehensive terrorism watch list called the Terrorist Screening database.

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Co-host Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights recently returned from Berlin after filing a 380 page complaint in German against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other Bush Administration officials with war crimes. Read the CCR complaint – documents.

List of International Stories on Google News

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NSA’s massive wiretapping program.

Hosts discuss recent Michigan ACLU lawsuit victory against NSA spying.

In the first federal challenge ever argued against the Bush administration’s NSA spying program, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor rules that the program to monitor the phone calls and e-mails of millions of Americans without warrants is unconstitutional. Calling for a halt to this abuse of presidential power, Judge Taylor states that “there are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution,” so all the president’s “inherent powers” must derive from the Constitution.

Guest – Michael J. Steinberg has served as the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan since 1997 where he has worked on numerous high-profile impact cases on a wide range of civil liberties and civil rights issues. He has served as co-counsel on several post-9/11 cases including: the successful Detroit lawsuit challenging the National Security Agency’s warrantless domestic wiretapping; the challenge to Section 215 of the Patriot Act; and the successful challenge to John Ashcroft’s order closing certain immigration proceedings to the press and the public.

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Brandon Mayfield Case

In May of 2004, the FBI arrested Mayfield as a material witness in connection with the Madrid bombing attacks and held him for over two weeks before releasing him. Mayfield was never charged, and an FBI internal review later acknowledged serious errors in their investigation.

Guest – Steven Wax, Federal Public Defender for Oregon. FBI apologizes to Oregon Lawyer

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Tracked in America – Konstanty Hordynski

UC Santa Cruz Students Against War have turned up on a Pentagon database of protest groups, while a conference of Arab-American scholars at Stanford University was targeted by an FBI Task Force. Konstanty Hordynski, a member of the UC Santa Cruz group that was deemed a “credible threat” by the Pentagon remarked, “When I learned our constitutionally protected advocacy was included on a Pentagon list of monitored events, I was taken aback. I was saddened that the Constitution could be so easily ignored.”

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Criminalizing Dissent – Law and Disorder Exclusive

National Lawyers Guild Attorney and Students Investigate Extensive Protestor Database


Today we’d like to connect some of the dots by talking about a companion database, the FBI’s Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File, or VGTOF. The VGTOF is the Watchlist’s main source of domestic terrorist information. Among other information, the VGTOF includes names of individuals with no criminal history who are being investigated as being politically active or connected with politically active organizations. In 2002 the FBI memo stated that it will include “Anarchists, Animal Rights Extremists, Environmental Extremists, and domestic extremists. Official never have to justify the decision to place someone on the list, a list that can be accessed by virtually every law enforcement official with whom the person comes into contact.

Guests – Attorney Gideon Oliver and law students Grainne O’Neill and Mark Taylor.

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