Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for May, 2008


Law and Disorder May 26, 2008


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Deepening Economic Crisis: What Laws Are In Place To Protect Against Economic Fleecing of the United States?

Law and Disorder Encore Interview: Two million families are on the brink of foreclosure, tent cities pop up along US city outskirts, and as UK press declare “depression” in the United States, we talk with Max Fraad Wolff , instructor at the Graduate Program in International Affairs, New School University. The media has reported that millions of US families took out loans to big for their incomes and were foreclosed, but hosts look at The Glass Steagall Act, mortgage sharking and banking predators.

Max is a freelance researcher, strategist, and writer in the areas of international finance and macroeconomics. His work can be seen at the Huffington Post, The AsiaTimes, Prudent Bear, and many other outlets.

Related: People Sleep In Cars In Rich U.S. City

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New York City Law Review Symposium: Preventing Torture

We hear a speech by Margaret Satterwaite on secret detention and extraordinary rendition at the New York City Law Review Symposium titled Preventing Torture. Margaret is the assistant professor of Clinical Law and Faculty Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law. Her current research focuses on human rights in the “war on terror.” She directs the “Black Sites” Litigation Project at NYU and her recent publications include Rendered Meaningless: Extraordinary Rendition and the Rule of Law. Margaret is also co-chair of the Human Rights Interest Group and the American Society of International Law.

Margaret’s speech was part of a panel titled Protected Contexts a look at how states acting through private entities to rendition and also what obligations exist to prevent violence and torture. She was among several speakers we will be presenting in the coming weeks.

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More about the Symposium: Preventing Torture

This Symposium brings together leading international and U.S. experts, including former military officials, academics, practitioners, human rights advocates, politicians, journalists, and students to explore recent developments in the international law of torture.

The General Comment addresses key fault lines in the absolute prohibition against torture and ill-treatment that have been opened in the name of counter-terrorism. It also underscores the applicability of the Convention to sexualized and gender violence, where perpetrated by state officials as well as where state officials acquiesce to private violence, including domestic violence.

Speakers will address the authority, adequacy, and policy implications of the General Comment. Since the U.S. is a State party to the CAT, speakers will also address the relevance of the Comment to current laws and practices of the Bush administration and to positive reforms and initiatives needed to bring U.S. law and practice into compliance with its international commitments to eliminate torture and ill-treatment in every sphere.

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Law and Disorder May 19, 2008


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Ending The War In Iraq: Tom Hayden

Long time political and social activist Tom Hayden
joins Law and Disorder hosts for a lively interview and discussion on specific ways to end the illegal war in Iraq. Tom Hayden is a former California state senator, a passionate anti-war activist and has published an anthology titled “Writings For A Democratic Society” , in it he chronicles key civil rights movements and potent sixties activism. The book is a collection of essays, pamphlets, op-ed pieces from the Port Huron Statement – a manifesto for sixties radicals, to reports on the riots at Chicago’s 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Guest – Tom Hayden, political and social activist, author of Ending The War In Iraq. Tom Hayden’s Blog

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Green Scare: The Case of Briana Waters

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve discussed how since December 2005, environmental activists in the United States have been targeted and handed unusually harsh prison sentences. It’s called Green Scare and more than a year ago the National Lawyer’s Guild sponsored an event titled Green Scare – How the Government Is Targeting Eco-Activists. Listen to it here.

Last year the NLG established a hotline 1-888-NLG-ECOL for activists who had been targeted by the FBI for environmental activism.

We bring this up in context of the case involving Briana Waters. Acting as a lookout, she was accused of conspiring to set fire to the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001. This, despite evidence presented by the defense that she was 60 miles away at the time of the arson. Others claimed responsibility for the fire, but Ms. Waters, a 32 year old mother and violin teacher may face a mandatory minimum of 35 years in prison.

Federal “conspiracy law” is used often to prosecute drug dealers and is being used by prosecutors to take down individual environmental protesters. Once the judge accepts the charge of conspiracy, here-say is admissible making conspiracy very easy to prove in court.

Guest: California civil rights attorney Ben Rosenfeld

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An Innocent Man In Guantanamo: Five Years of My Life, Part III

Today we hear excerpts from the third part of the event An Innocent Man In Guantanamo: Five Years of My Life. That’s the title of the memoirs recently released by Murat Kurnaz who was detained at Guantanamo for five years. Kurnaz is a Turkish citizen and legal resident of Germany, he traveled to Pakistan to learn more about his Muslim faith and was later arrested at a checkpoint, handed to the United States and eventually taken to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Former US Army Muslim Chaplain of Guantanamo Bay, James Yee voices his concern about other secret prisons in Afghanistan and systematic abuse to prisoners involving IRF teams.

The event presented by Friends of the Library, brought together a panel of lawyers from the U.S. and Germany who fought for Murat’s release and a Guantanamo chaplain who was accused of espionage and imprisoned. The panel was moderated by our own Michael Ratner. Speakers include:

 

  • Baher Azmy – Professor at Seton Hall Law School, where he directs a civil rights clinic and teaches constitutional law. His litigation work on national security and human rights cases emerging from the “war on terror” include lawfulness of extraordinary rendition, torture and indefinite executive detention. In July 2004, Azmy began representation of Murat Kurnaz imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay until his release in August 2006.
  • Bernhard Docke – a lawyer since 1983, specializes in criminal law, since 1989 partner of the law firm “Dr. Heinrich Hannover und Partner” in Bremen, Germany. He has been a lawyer for Mr. Kurnaz since 2002.
  • Wallace Shawn – an Obie-winning playwright and a stage and screen actor. His plays include The Designated Mourner, Marie and Bruce, The Fever, and Aunt Dan and Lemon. He co-wrote and starred in the art-house classic My Dinner with Andre and he also performed in numerous Woody Allen films including Manhattan and Radio Days. Our Late Night and a Thought in Three Parts: Two Plays will be published in Spring 2008.
  • James Yee - the former US Army Muslim Chaplain of Guantanamo Bay. His book, For God And Country, Faith and Patriotism Under Fire, tells the story about being wrongly accused of espionage and imprisoned by the U.S. military. In 2004, the government dropped all charges against him and he received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army.
  • Phillipe Sands – an international lawyer and a professor of law at University College London. He is the author of Lawless World and is frequently a commentator on news and current affairs programs including CNN, MSNBC and BBC World Service. Sands has been involved in many international cases, including the World Court trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the treatment of British detainees at Guantanamo Bay. His article in Vanity Fair “The Green Light,” looks at how high level members of the Bush administration pressured underlings to use torture tactics at Guantanamo. He is also the author of Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values.
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Law and Disorder May 12, 2008


Updates:

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Taking Back The Right To Dissent: The Case of the Bangor Six

Recently, jurors in the Case of the ‘Bangor Six’ brought back a decisive verdict of ‘not guilty.’ The six veterans for peace, anti war protesters were arrested in March of last year after refusing to leave the federal building where their senator, Republican Susan Collins has her office. The six activists were among 12 that say they were protesting Bush’s proposal to increase troops in Iraq to support a military strategy known s the surge and also urged Collins to vote against continued funding for the war. Collins did not vote against funding for the war and did not meet with activists. Six of the activists were later arrested. (Collins Watch)

Now, during this trial, the jury was allowed by the judge to decide whether the defendants believed that they were not guilty in making a conscious choice to break Maine law because they thought international law was being violated. The jurors decided unanimously that the protesters did believe they had the ‘license and privilege’ to act as they did, in rendering the ‘not guilty’ verdict.

Guest – Bar Harbor attorney Lynne Williams, also with Maine Lawyers for Democracy a group of 65 Maine lawyers, calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

List of Bangor Six – Jonathan Kreps, 57, of Appleton, Henry Braun, 77, of Wells, James Freeman, 59, of Verona, Dudley F. Hendrick, 66, of Deer Isle, Douglas Rawlings, 61, of Chesterville, and Robert Shetterly, 61, of Brooksville,
chose to go to trial. The other six pleaded guilty and paid fines.

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2008 Left Forum Opening Plenary: Adam Hochschild and Naomi Klein

We go now to hear two speeches from this year’s Left Forum Opening Plenary from author/ professor Adam Hochschild and writer/ filmmaker Naomi Klein author of The Shock Doctrine. The Left Forum was titled Cracks In The Edifice. The many panels at the 2008 Left Forum addressed and challenged the current economic and political catastrophes in the United States and discussed possibilities for social movements to build better world in its place.

We’ve interviewed Adam previously on Law and Disorder about his books, King Leopold’s Ghost and Bury The Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves. He’s the co-founder of Mother Jones magazine and teaches at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California Berkeley. In his speech Hochschild uses the ideas of early activism to abolish slavery as models for the current civil rights movement.

In her speech, Naomi Klein discusses how the lack of response in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are intentional strategies she calls “disaster capitalism.” At the 2008 Left Forum Naomi suggests that many in the United States have woken up to roughshod profiteering of disaster capitalism.

A special thank you to Lisa Rudman with Making Contact for recording the Left Forum Opening Plenary

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Law and Disorder May 5, 2008


Updates:

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Operation Torch:  Heavily Armed Subway Patrols Making New York City Safer?

A couple weeks ago our own co-host Heidi Boghosian described how under cover policemen and a K9 unit were intimidating a subway rider on the platform with the dog barking viciously near his face. We’ll follow up on that story and also talk about the teams of police armed with MP5 submachine guns, body armor and bomb sniffing dogs now patrolling the subway systems of New York City. They’re called Torch Teams. Torch, an acronym for Transit Operational Response With Canine and Heavy Weapons. The teams are funded to patrol in 12 hour shifts everyday, Penn Station, Herald Square, Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center Times Square and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

Co-host Michael Smith also commented on the use of police car convoys (photo above) that rally at ground zero and run up the FDR with lights blazing. Moore says it’s a federally funded event that acts as “window dressing” but he says, when you see police state displays such as Operation Torch and the police car convoys, know that it is only the tip of the iceberg. We’ll be investigating more on the depth of the police state in weeks to come.

Guest: Jonathan Moore, attorney with the National Police Accountability Project

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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.

Rejali 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

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