Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for August, 2008


Law and Disorder September 1, 2008


Updates

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The Prosecution of President Bush and Other Administration Officials for War Crimes

This month, Larry Velvel, dean and co-founder of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover will hold a conference to plan the prosecution of President Bush and other administration officials for war crimes. The conference will take on the issues of both domestic and international crimes committed by high level Bush officials, including Federal judges and members of Congress. A coordinating committee of legal groups will also be created, among the legal groups are the Center for Constitutional Rights, ACLU, National Lawyers Guild. Official Site

“This is not intended to be a mere discussion of violations of law that have occurred,” says convener Lawrence Velvel, dean and cofounder of the school. “It is, rather, intended to be a planning conference at which plans will be laid and necessary organizational structures set up, to pursue the guilty as long as necessary and, if need be, to the ends of the Earth.” related article

Velvel Interview Notes:

  • Conference will be held in undisclosed location for the time being.
  • Until people have the fear they will be brought to book if they violate the law in a very serious ways that cause tens of thousands of deaths, what will stop them from doing it in the future?
  • Unless there is something to look back on, like the Germans and the Japanese apparently know, don’t do it again because people swung.
  • Who’s to say it won’t happen 20 or 30 years in the future again.

Guest – Lawrence R. Velvel, Dean of Massachusetts School of Law and a professor of law. Mr. Velvel is a 1960 graduate of the University of Michigan and a 1963 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where he served on the law review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He was a law professor from 1966-1978, first at the University of Kansas and then at Catholic University. He has been a partner in major law firms in Washington, D.C., and was the first chief counsel of an organization established to write United States Supreme Court briefs in support of state and local governments. read more.

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New Guidelines Would Give F.B.I. Broader Powers

A Justice Department proposal which could be made public in a month, has given the government even broader license to open terrorism investigations, without any evidence of wrongdoing, relying instead on racial or ethnic profiling. Currently, FBI agents need specific reasons, such as evidence or allegations that a law probably has been violated, to investigate US citizens and legal residents. Last month, The Council on American Islamic Relations decried the forthcoming plan as “unconstitutional and un-American.”

This proposal is among other aggressive plans the Bush administration has put in place such as new wiretapping regulations and authorizing greater sharing of intelligence information with the local police. The Director of National Intelligence has set up - Information Sharing Environment – where certain police authorities will have access to information produced by the FBI, by the intelligence community and also by police departments around the country.
It is “one stop shopping” for all these different police agencies and even private companies to have access to this highly speculative, accusatory, fragmented and often erroneous information.

Intelligence Fusion Centers – which I think is a real problem, particularly since there’s very little oversight of these centers
there’s no way to correct these watch files, – a main problem with the closed system, where no one has an opportunity to go in and say you got this piece wrong.

Related Article : Colorado ‘fusion center’ to step up intelligence gathering during DNC

Mike German Quotes:

  • Giving the FBI more authority to collect more information isn’t helping the FBI be more effective.
  • Gathering information about innocent people won’t help find guilty people.
  • There is no terrorism profile, people are drawn to terrorism for all sorts of reasons.
  • Terrorism watch list : 1 million individual records – clearly nobody believes there’s a million terrorists out there.
  • The FBI don’t know to this day, how many national security letters they’ve issued.

Guest – Mike German, attorney with the ACLU and former FBI agent. Mike German is a recognized expert in terrorist group behavior, counter-terrorist operations, and right-wing extremism. He has appeared on Dateline NBC, Paula Zahn Now, CNN, and MSNBC and his commentary has been published in the National Law Journal and the Washington Post. Mike served for sixteen years as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is one of the few agents credited with actually having prevented acts of terrorism before it became the FBI’s number one priority.

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Law and Disorder August 25, 2008



Updates:

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Arbitrary Justice: Trials of Bagram and Guantanamo in Afghanistan

Human Rights First and Sahr MuhammedAlly have come out with a powerful report detailing the transfer of Guantanamo and Bagram prisoners to be prosecuted at the Afghan National Detention Facility in Kabul known as Block D. The report is titled Arbitrary Justice: Trials of Bagram and Guantanamo in Afghanistan. Among the details, the report describes that more than 250 former Guantánamo and Bagram detainees have been transferred to Block D, a facility built by the US government to hold and prosecute former Guantanamo and Bagram prisoners.

More than 160 have been referred for prosecution. The detainees are being charged under Afghan law for crimes ranging from treason and destruction of government property to threatening the security of Afghanistan. Defendants have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from 3 to 20 years, their trials last from 30 minutes to an hour.

pdf-logo1.jpg Arbitrary Justice: Trials of Bagram and Guantanamo in Afghanistan

Guest – Sahr MuhammedAlly, senior associate in Human Rights First’s Law & Security Program. Through research and advocacy Sahr works on U.S. counterterrorism and national security policies to ensure respect for human rights. Sahr has conducted human rights fact-finding research in Afghanistan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Pakistan.

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Teenage Detainees: Mohammed Jawad

We want to bring listeners up to date with the case of Mohammed Jawad. He was captured by Afghan police on December 17, 2002, and handed over to US forces the same day. According to his military defense lawyer, Jawad was briefly held at Bagram Air Base and transported to Guantanamo in January 2003. The same time period as portrayed in Taxi To The Dark Side.

Emi MacLean Interview Notes:

  • Mohammed Jawad is facing trial by military commissions, created by executive order.
  • Military commissions by executive order: illegal by the Supreme Court decision in Hamdan v Rumsfeld.
  • In response to Hamdan v Rumsfeld, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act in 2006
  • MCA 2006: Allows for secret trials / secret parts of trials /denying the accused the right to be tried by an impartial court /allows coerced testimony to be used; usually information gathered from being tortured.

Emi Maclean – “If you think the system is deeply, deeply flawed, look again, when the Dept of Defense couldn’t get what they wanted, they fired a judge. In the case of Omar Katr, the judge had ordered the government to produce information about the conditions of his detention and the conditions of which Omar’s statements were made. Even in a situation where the system is in favor of the government, the judge was replaced when that judge ruled against the government.”

Michael Ratner – “Even if Jawad is acquitted by this show trial, the (Bush) administration still says they can hold people indefinitely.”

Guest – Emi MacLean, staff attorney at the Center For Constitutional Rights and with the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative (GGJI) since June 2006. She works on issues related to Guantánamo and other forms of executive detention, including secret prisons and transfers-to-torture. She helps coordinate the pro bono attorneys representing the hundreds of men still detained at Guantánamo and supports CCR’s direct representation of a number of current detainees.

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Law and Disorder August 18, 2008


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CCR Campaign: The First 100 Days

Vincent Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights talks with hosts about the CCR campaign titled the First 100 Days. Warren says there is a clear opportunity for the next president to steer things in a new direction, to repudiate the executive orders that have been put in place by George W. Bush, and by the sidestepping of the Justice Department. A lot of the reversal can be done without Congress because they are executive orders. The First 100 Days campaign will put this information(PDF) in the hands of the people to make the next administration accountable. Law and Disorder will have more programming on the First 100 Days.

Guest – Vincent Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights

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20 Years Later: Dozens of Black Men Remain Behind Bars In Chicago After Being Tortured

According to the People’s Law Office in Chicago, at least 24 African American men are still serving sentences for crimes they say they confessed to after being tortured by Chicago Police officers. The happened when the Chicago police precinct was under Commander Jon Burge in the early 70’s to the 1992. Jon Burge is a Vietnam Vet who is said to have brought back torture to Chicago. People’s Law Office Attorney Flint Taylor says Burge shot through the ranks all the way to commander, primarily by leading a band of torturers. They used methods such as electric shock, dry submarino, (suffocating with bags)

Flint Taylor on the Daryl Cannon Torture Case:

  • Flint Taylor represents torture victim Daryl Cannon who the city has admitted they tortured and settled for 3 thousand dollars twenty years ago before any evidence of the systemic torture came out.
  • Under Seventh Circuit law if there’s a conspiracy to cover up the evidence in a civil case to show fraud then you can bring the case again. The PLO brought the case in 2005 and the city of Chicago still refuses to settle the case and they’re pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars in that case.
  • They’re over the 10 million dollar mark and pumping more in to the defense of Commander Jon Burge. We’ve calculated the pensions that have been paid to Burge and the 25 other implicated torturers; its over 25 million because statute of limitations have no remedy.

The Peoples Law Office attorneys are also battling to get the remaining men off of death row and to get them hearings. They’re also battling to get the states attorney and DA to Richard Daily former Chicago mayor and Richard Devine to the carpet because they had evidence to prosecute Burge criminally, thus allowing torture ring to continue.

The Committee of Torture in the United Nations has connected the torture brought back to the U.S. in Chicago with torture in Guantanamo and other black sites around the world.

Guest – G. Flint Taylor, attorney at the Peoples Law Office.Taylor, a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern University School of Law and a founding partner of the People’s Law Office.

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Beyond Guantanamo Speech: Pardiss Kebriaei

We hear from Pardiss Kebriaei, Staff Attorney, Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative, at the Center For Constitutional Rights who spoke at the event titled, Beyond Guantanamo.

Now that key rulings issued by the Supreme Court affirm the constitutional rights of Guantánamo detainees to challenge their detention in the federal courts, what does the future hold for Guantanamo detainees and the rule of law? In the cases of Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States, the June 2008 Supreme Court ruling has undone the attempts of the Bush administration and Congress to suspend the fundamental right of habeas corpus. Closing Guantanamo is on top of the list of actions in the First 100 Days for the next U.S. President’s Administration.

Among the speakers:

  • Vincent Warren, Executive Director, CCR,
  • Stephen Abraham, Guantánamo whistleblower, attorney, and U.S. Army reserve officer who served on a military “combatant status review tribunal”
  • Baher Azmy, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University and habeas counsel to Guantánamo detainees

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Law and Disorder August 11, 2008


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Jet Propulsion Engineers Win Injunction Over “Unconstitutional” Background Checks

Last year, twenty-eight senior scientists and engineers at Jet Propulsion Laboratory challenged the United States government and the California Institute of Technology in a lawsuit claiming that NASA’s new background investigations were unconstitutional. The scientists include members of the Mars Rover program are fighting Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 or (HSPD-12). This directive requires all federal employees and contractors to “voluntarily” sign a form allowing the government the right to investigate them “without limit” for two years- even if they leave government work during that time. NASA and Caltech employees were told, non-compliance will result in immediate termination.

In the interview Bob Nelson describes the drama in a Ninth Circuit Court decision: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary injunction at 4:40pm. The same day around 5pm, JPL managers were approaching the several hundred JPL employees who were non-compliant and reading them an order saying if you don’t comply by Monday, we will advertise your job. You have until 5pm today to decide.

A few minutes before 5pm Bob Nelson brought in a faxed copy of the order by the Ninth Circuit Court judge and told JPL managers that what they’ve done may be illegal, if you have a problem, consult your lawyer. The Ninth Circuit ruled that NASA and the DOJ were out of order and that Caltech was in the wrong for serving as an enforcer.

The lawsuit caused a lot of interest within Caltech alumni who then wrote to the board of trustees and later began to fund the lawsuit. Nelson says, “You can fight the system of a completely entrenched bureacracy that constantly rewrites the rule in their favor.”

Guest - Robert Nelson, Senior Research Scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratories and lead plaintiff in the JPL case.

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H.Bruce Franklin – War Stars: The Super Weapon and The American Imagination

Today we welcome cultural historian H Bruce Franklin, author of many books including The Most Important Fish In The Sea and one we will talk with him today titled War Stars: The Superweapon and The American Imagination. One review writes “this book reveals how and why the American quest for the ultimate defensive weapon, guaranteed to end all war and bring universal triumph to American ideals has led to the creation of forces increasingly capable of automated global annihilation.”

H.B. Franklin Interview Notes:

Franklin explores the influences of the collective imagination in movies, novels and stories from obscure pre-World War I fiction to modern classics such as Slaughterhouse Five and Dr. Strangelove. War Stars interweaves culture, science, technology and history to demonstrate how the American consciousness shapes ingenious new superweapons while creating its antithesis in art.

Guest – Bruce Franklin,  American cultural historian who has authored or edited nineteen books on a range of subjects. As of 2008, he is the John Cotton Dana Professor of English and American Studies at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. He first attained prominence as a Melville scholar and has served as president of the Melville Society. His award-winning books and teaching on science fiction played a major role in establishing academic study of the genre. His books on American prison literature have been said to open an entirely new field of study. His most recent work has focused on relations between the marine environment and American cultural history.

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Law and Disorder August 4, 2008


Updates:

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A National Model? LAPD Leads The Way In Local Counter-Terrorism.

Local police may be finding themselves on the frontlines of domestic counter-terrorism if a program launched recently by the Los Angeles Police Department is adopted in other large cities. Since 9/11 the government has tried to engage local police to do their counter-terrorism work for them, collecting so-called street level intelligence about suspicious activities that might predict another attack.

So far it hasn’t worked out that way. But an LAPD official has devised a possible solution that the LA Times calls “so cheap, so easy to implement and so innovative” that officials in DC are thinking of making it a national model for all police departments. What are the implications of the implications of having local police become intelligence officers. Jim Lafferty, Executive Director of the Los Angeles National Lawyers Guild says to start, many people may find themselves on more lists.

Guest – Jim Lafferty, Executive Director of the Los Angeles National Lawyers Guild, host of the Lawyer’s Guild Radio Program on Pacifica’s KPFK.

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The Radical Jack London: Writings on War and Revolution by Jack London, edited by Jonah Raskin

The Iron Heel, written by Jack London was one of the first dystopian novels chronicling a growing police state in the US. Part of the Iron Heel is also newly published in a reader titled The Radical Jack London, edited by Jonah Raskin. Reviews say that Jonah shows London to be America’s leading revolutionary writer at the turn of the twentieth century. Today we are joined in studio by Jonah Raskin and will examine comparisons of what London sets forth in his novel to what has happened to the United States since 9/11.

London set out to travel as a hobo by train, eventually arrested in Erie County, New York and spent time in a penitentiary. He wrote “The Road” which inspired Jack Kerouac. He spoke to bankers and businessmen about socialism and revolution. While wanting to meet the charismatic writer, the businessmen had listened but eventually responded, “we’re going to crush you.” London was a socialist, artist and propagandist.

Guest – Jonah Raskin, Professor and Chair of Communication Studies at Sonoma State University. He is also the author of American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation.

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