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Archives for March, 2008

Law and Disorder March 31, 2008


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Sara Jane Olson Released Then Rearrested

Former Symbionese Liberation Army member Sara Jane Olson was paroled March 17 after serving six years in prison related to the attempted bombings of LA police cars in the 1970s and the shooting of a customer during a bank robbery. The 61 year old Olsen was rearrested at LA International Airport shortly after her release after discovering that they had miscalculated her sentence by a year.

Olsen’s attorneys say she should be freed from prison immediately because California corrections officials had no authority to re-arrest her after she was paroled last week, her attorneys argued in a court motion filed today.The motion filed in Sacramento County Superior Court claims that Olson’s due process rights were violated when she was returned to prison Saturday to serve at least another year behind bars. According to the lawyers filing: Once an inmate is released on parole, the board can only suspend or revoke her parole. It has no legal authority to arrest her and re-incarcerate her.

“After being released from prison for five days, Olson was literally snatched by the board in the dark of night and imprisoned without notice, without a hearing and without an explanation,” her lawyers say in their motion. “Such an experience is certainly horrific and may have caused lasting psychological damage.”

San Francisco attorney David Nickerson, who filed the motion, said a judge will have three options: deny the motion; order the parole board to show why Olson should not be released; or ask the parole board for an informal response to explain what happened.

Prosecutors and family members of the woman who was gunned down in the Carmichael bank robbery objected to Olson’s release from prison, prompting the corrections department to review her sentence and ultimately determine that she had been released too soon. The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation began an internal affairs investigation Monday into what officials said was a clerical error that led to Olson’s release.

Officials said Olson was supposed to serve two years for the Sacramento County murder in addition to the 12 years she was to serve for the Los Angeles County crimes. Instead, her records showed that she was to serve the sentences at the same time. The SLA, an urban guerrilla group started in 1973, was best known for kidnapping Patty Hearst, heir to the media chain. The group also carried out bombings and bank robberies, and six of its members died during a shootout with Los Angeles police in 1974.

Guest: Susan B. Jordan, criminal defense lawyer and civil litigator. Susan is well known for her work in defending women charged with violent crimes and is credited with the creation of the battered spouse defense. Susan represented Sara Jane Olson (Kathleen Soliah), Los Angeles Superior Court, 1999-2002. This case involved the defense of Sara Jane Olson, captured after 23 years, alleged to be a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), charged with conspiracy to bomb police officers. Defendant entered pleas of guilty. Check out Susan’s noted cases here.

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The Arrival of the American Police State – Left Forum 2008

“However narrow and restricitive American bourgeois democracy was before 9/11, it’s jridical and institutional underpinnings have been transformed by the Bush Administration (with the complicity of the Democratic Party) intor what can now most accurately be described as a police state.”

We hear from our own Michael Steven Smith he was one of the speakers on the panel. We will hear from the other speakers in later programs, they include C. Clark Kissenger and Lynne Stewart.

Watch and listen to entire panel here

Law and Disorder March 24, 2008


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The Case of Fahad Hashmi

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve examined numerous cases involving overzealous prosecutions of Muslims suspected of terrorism. We take a look at another case, the case of Fahad Hashmi. He was born in Karachi, immigrated with his family to New York City more than 20 years ago. Fahad a devout Muslim, established himself as an Islamic activist in his community and by 2003 had enrolled in the London Metropolitan University in London to pursue a master’s degree in international relations. In the summer of 2006, Fahad was jumped by UK police in Londons Heathrow airport, then arrested. He was arrested for providing material support to al Qaeda.

The US charges were based on allowing an acquaintance “Janaid Babar” to store rain gear in the closet of his London flat. Janaid Babar was a paid government cooperator who has been used to testify against Muslims around the world. Nicknamed ‘Supergrass’ by the British media, Babar was used by the UK government to testify against Omar Khyam and several other Muslim men in the so-called Fertilizer Case. Meanwhile Fahad is being held in a Manhattan, NY prison, after spending a year in one of Britain’s most notorious, the Belmarsh Prison. His trial will be public, the prosecution will use Junaid’s evidence and may exaggerate to demonize Fahad in the public.

Guest – Syed Anwar Hashmi (Fahad’s father) and attorney Sean Mayer.

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Left Forum 2008: Torture And The Decline Of Empire

We hear a speech delivered by our own co-host Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. His book International Human Rights Litigation in US Courts was recently re-published. Torture yields intelligence of dubious value, but its development and use is increasing by the US government as its grip on empire is challenged. We will be hearing from the rest of the speakers on this panel in later programs. Speakers: Alfred McCoy – Author of A Question of Torture and professor at the University of Wisconsin / Marnia Lazreg – Author of Torture and the Decline of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad. Marnia also teaches at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. Moderated by our own Michael Steven Smith.

Michael Ratner exposes the New York Times complicity on the Iraq War, he outlines how the US government has allowed torture to be used and describes why it’s important to push to stop the use of torture. Below – watch the entire Left Forum panel – Torture And The Decline Of Empire

Law and Disorder March 17, 2008


Iraq : 5 Years Too Many – Anti-War campaigns

New York City artist and activist Laurie Arbeiter joins hosts to update on upcoming anti-war events in Washington DC.  Laurie and her colleague Ann have previously been on the program discussing their counter-civilian psy-ops campaign of thought provoking anti-fear placards and posters. These posters are memorable, such as the one using similar layout and font as the IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING subway poster.

Guest – Artist, activist – Laurie Arbeiter


Torture and Democracy

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve taken an in depth look at torture with various authors and guests including authors Al McCoy, Marnia Lazreg and Henri Alleg. Today we speak with Reed College professor Darius Rejali, author of the book Torture and Democracy. In this book, Rejali tracks behaviors, trends and traditions that have brought torture to where we see it has emerged today. Rejali, a leading expert on government interrogation techniques, argues that torture is an ancient craft and technique passed on from teacher to apprentice. He says knowledge of the torture craft often flows both ways between colonial powers and occupied peoples. This is a powerful book filled with information on techniques. One review writes, this book lays the groundwork, torturers and their keepers may find it useful, not as an academic study but as a field manual.
Guest – Professor Darius Rejali



The First National Teach-In on Freedom at Risk in America was hosted by the College of Arts and Science (CAS) Student Council of New York University

We listen to our own Michael Smith, New York City Attorney and author. Michael is on the Executive Board of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He recently edited William Kunstler’s publication “The Emerging Police State.” We’ll also hear from civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart, and Mark Crispin Miller, professor of Media Studies at NYU and author of Fooled Again, How the Right Stole the 2004 Elections, in later programs.

Law and Disorder March 10, 2008


Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route

In Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route, author Saidiya Hartman returns to Ghana and takes the reader with her to gain another perspective on one of the oldest and deepest divides in America: Slavery.

Saidiya Hartman is an expert on the African slave trade. She chose Ghana because it was the center for the slave trade with several key ports. Every man, woman, and child is measured against quantities of tobacco, sugar, coffee, copper pots, or brass bracelets. Reviews have described Lose Your Mother as a travel memoir on the surface but deeper in the thought-provoking chapters are angry meditations on slavery and its legacy.


Guest-Saidiya Hartman.


Combatants for Peace: Israeli and Palestinian Fighters-Turned-Peace-Activists Speak Out

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve discussed the deepening crisis between Israel and Palestine. We spoke with Joel Kovel, author of Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine.

Today we’re joined by Israeli and Palestinian peace activists Yonathan Shapira and Bassam Aramin, both members of a group called Combatants for Peace. It’s made up of former fighters from both Israel and the Occupied Territories. Shapira is a former elite commando with the Israeli military. Aramin was an armed member of Fatah and spent seven years in an Israeli prison. His ten-year-old daughter Abir was shot dead by an Israeli soldier last year. We’re also joined by Donna Baranski-Walker – executive director of Rebuilding Alliance, that is partnering with Combatants For Peace. Below are images of Abir and funeral procession.
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Law and Disorder hosts also discuss with Bassam Aramin updates on the Israeli court case to re-open the investigation of the death of Abir Aramin, Bassam’s daughter. The investigation was previously closed for lack of evidence.

Law and Disorder March 3, 2008


Civil Rights Attorney Lynne Stewart Describes Larry Davis Case

Today we welcome back civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart to discuss the recent stabbing death of Larry Davis in an upstate New York prison. Davis became known in the 80s when he was suspected of murdering drug dealers in the city. When police raided his apartment, Davis fired a pistol and shotgun from a darkened room and fled.


After more than a two week NYPD manhunt, Davis was captured. Davis’ legal defense included Lynne Stewart and prominent civil rights attorney Bill Kunstler who provided evidence of a frame up. In a recent New York Times article chronicling Davis’ story, it was written that Davis’ defense was quote made up of assertions without evidence.

Guest – Lynne Stewart


Film Documentary: Taxi To The Dark Side

Alex Gibney’s Taxi To The Dark Side examines the use of torture by the United States. The horrors of Abu Ghraib , Guantanamo and Bagram prisons are revealed in this movie with disturbing and ugly clarity. Law and Disorder hosts talk about the film with Al McCoy, author of A Question of Torture “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror” Professor McCoy tells listeners about how medieval water torture exploits the Mammalian diving reflex a “death” experience hard wired into human biology. U.S. Army and CIA interrogation manuals

Guest – Al McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Author of “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror” and also “The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade.”

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