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Archives for February, 2009


Law and Disorder February 23, 2009


The First 100 Days – Part 3

Private Military Contractors – Susan Burke

We go now to look at the abuse of force by Private Military Contractors and their role in illegal torture tactics and interrogation. In one case currently in litigation, four former Abu Ghraib detainees are suing two U.S. military contractor corporations and three individual contractors. The four were wrongly imprisoned, tortured and later released without charge.

According to the complaints, the defendants abused detainees physically and mentally and then destroyed documents, videos and photographs; prevented the reporting of the torture and abuse to the International Committee of the Red Cross. They actually hid detainees and other prisoners from the Red Cross; and misled non_conspiring military and government officials about the state of affairs at the Iraq prisons.

The defendants are CACI International Inc. and CACI Premier Technology, Inc., of Arlington, Va.; L-3 Services Inc., an Alexandria, Va.-based division of L-3 Communications Corp. and three individual contractors, Adel Nakhla, of Maryland, Timothy Dugan, of Ohio, and Daniel Johnson, of Seattle.

Susan Burke:

  • Blackwater case pending before judge reggie walter in district of columbia federal court.
    Nassir massacre case
  • representing the families and people injured in that massacre. in the meantime the justice dept is looking into indicting blackwater soldiers
  • Titan and CACI International Inc
  • The CACI International Inc case on interrogation, the court says that this interrogation company could be liable because they exercised corporate control over the interrogators.
  • The same court said the translator company L3 could not be held liable because they turned over the translators to the military.
  • There are appeals on both issues, they’ve been briefed and are waiting for oral arguement.
  • during the appeals, Susan’s lawfirm has been contacted by many additional victims.
  • “As I litigate these cases, it struck me that we really need to stop these corporations from acting as if they are the United States.
  • All these companies are trying to wrap themselves in sovereign immunity, wrap the flag around themselves. and say that we simply can’t even look at what they did.
  • One of the companies CACI International Inc sued for defamation, because somebody dared to criticize them. Rhandi Rhodes the talk show host.
  • I would like to see immediately a real push to make the government’s position real clear.
  • Corporations are not the United States and should not automatically be entitled any type of immunity.
  • The Bremer order which has been in effect has insulated them from being sued in Iraq.
  • As a result the Iraqis who want to obtain justice have to come to the United States.
  • By allowing there to be a derogation to evade, the laws in black and white that are on the decks right now that say,
    you can not hire soldiers.
  • By the fact that those laws are being ignored and we’re increasing our firepower with mercenaries, the current administration has essentially bought its way from having to draft people.
  • Its a troubling thing because we’ve created a class of mercenaries.
  • They define themselves as mercs
  • They are soldiers for hire, they’ll fight for anyone who pays them.
  • That’s why we have to clamp down and enforce the law against the existence of mercenaries,
  • We’ve got to take away the veneer of legitimacy, what the defense industry has thrown over the illegal mercenary industry.


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Wide View – Research Professor of Law, Michael Tigar

Michael Tigar is an expert in Constitutional Law and the Supreme Court. He has represented Terry Nichols of the Oklahoma City Bombing, Angela Davis, and Lynne Stewart. Tigar outlines several steps the Obama Administration must do to turn back the major breaches in U.S. civil liberties.

Michael Tigar:

  • There is now a systematic breaking down of all barriers against government intrusion into the private lives of people.
  • Alien Enemy Combatants: A creation of a new class of people who are thought to be utterly right-less, both as to whether they can be detained, the conditions of their detention, and the manner in which they can be held and interrogated.
  • Meanwhile, we have legal fictions such as the Vice President saying he’s neither a member of the executive or legislative branch, and therefore being subject to the rules of both is subject to the rules of neither.
  • We have justice system staffed with people whose only qualification is their asserted ideological purity.
  • We have two aggressive wars, all done to the tune of the most massive federal debts in history.
  • This, accompanied by the largest transfer of wealth from the poor, and working class to the already wealthy, coupled with the dismantling of regulatory barriers of how greed and avarice operate.
  • It is the lack of any significant organized resistance from legislators, and with some few bright exceptions, judges and lawyers that define for us the task that lies ahead.
  • Eric Holder, a good lawyer, was among the group of people in the Clinton administration that even though they had all the evidence, that they would not prosecute Pinochet.
  • National State Secrets: the case of journalist Quentin Reynolds who took a ride on an Air Force jet and it crashed, his widow sued under the federal tort claims act saying that she thought there was negligence. The United States convinced the Supreme Court that to disclose the reasons why that plane crashed might involve state secrets, and that she should not be able to sue.
  • Sixty years later the maintenance file on that plane was on unsealed. It turned out that it was a routine maintenance error that caused the crash. Behind the curtain of states secrets is illegality and mendacity.
  • How many years did it take to get Pinochet for any kind of proposed criminal accountability, almost 20, because of states secrets.
  • The tort system, that is the way we enforce rules about safe products, it’s the way that we enforce the rules about the toxic substances that poison people, it’s the way that we deal with the kleptocracy that rules wall street.
  • It’s so well tested – Marbury v Madison 1803 – Chief Justice Marshall said that he could decide a case was unconstitutional.

Guest – Michael Tigar, a criminal defense attorney who has represented some of the country’s most controversial clients. He is also a member of the Duke University Law School faculty.

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Jonathan Hafetz: Enemy Combatant:

In June of last year, an en banc Federal Appeals Court in Virginia ruled 5-4 that the Bush Administration could subject Ali Al-Marri to indefinite detention even though he was a resident of the United States. The court in the fourth circuit ruled that US residents could be locked up indefinitely as enemy combatants even though they were never charged with a crime. Al-Marri is the only enemy combatant currently in detention and without charges in the United States.

Jonathan Hafetz:

  • Can the president declare legal residents including American citizens, enemy combatants, deprive them a right to a trial and hold them indefinitely.
  • This, based on the idea that there is a global and never ending war on terror.
  • Though on sovereign soil, no right to habeas corpus. He was declared an enemy combatant, the case was lost in an embank in the fourth circuit
  • Why is this case so critical to liberty in the United States . . . ?
  • The five judges who ruled against the case, said essentially that there must be this power to effectively detain people in the United States to prevent terrorist attacks.
  • Ruling: the president can label legal residents including American citizens an enemy combatant in the United States, without a trial, no habeas, hold them indefinitely.
  • It’s the idea of the president to use the military to seize people including citizens from their home or places of work.
  • A very dangerous power to allow any president to have, it corrupts the justice system, it can be used as a weapon,
  • Seven years of these cases of assertion of executive power, and the courts have not answered this fundamental basic question, who can be detained by the military, who is a soldier and who is a civilian?
  • All that is stated is that if someone picks up a weapon on the battlefield, that person can be a soldier, but in the most extreme cases in the war on terror – - such as being picked up in the United States as a soldier in the extended geographic concept of the war on terror – - the courts have not grappled with whether there is habeas in those cases.
  • Even the judges who ruled against us did say that it included American citizens.

Guest – Jonathan Hafetz, Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, National Security Project.

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War Powers – Jules Lobel

Co-host Michael Ratner and Jules Lobel  have litigated 14 cases concerning the power to go to war.  “The least effective area of law is holding back the use of war powers.”  In the Bush Administration, there was an excessive use in the power to go to war, in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world.  Jules Lobel has testified in front of Congress recently to get a more restrictive law passed by Congress that would actually hold back presidential war making.  Unfortunately, Congress passed the Authorization To Use Military Force to go to war on executive order in the name of national security.

Attorney Jules Lobel:

  • The president shall not start a war without congressional approval.
  • That would not only reverse what the position was in the last 8 years, but the last 50 years.
  • For example Iran, there’s all this speculation that the US will attack Iran.
  • I think if Obama says I will not attack Iran without Congressional approval, a signal then to Iran that the US will have to fiddle with Congress and no immediate threat.
  • The point is the president should not be making this decision on his own!!!
  • Presidents for the last 50 years have asserted the president has a right to use US force abroad,
    not in self defense but when some vague notion of our national security is at stake.
  • I think Obama should say that we will clearly reverse this.
  • What the Bush and Clinton administration which is we can go to war in violation of the UN charter
  • The US has signed to agree and abide by UN Charter that only allows the US to go to war in two circumstances.
  • One is self defense of an attack against us. Second is we think there’s a grave threat of national security or world peace.
  • We have a right to go the security council and get them to authorize, and we did so when Iraq attacked Kuwait.
  • Ok for Obama administration to continue to use force in Afghanistan under constitution and UN charter?
  • Congress authorized a very narrow use of force against Al-Qaida
  • Still we have to decide, whether or not its legal, the best policy of approach,
  • The model is focused on war and not criminal justice.
  • Unfortunately they have a narrow authorization, which the Bush administration has argued for a much broader
  • I don’t think they have authorization to use force against people in the United States
  • Jules: when I testified before Congress I said we should put in a war powers act that doesn’t violate our treaties.
  • The restraints on the dogs of war shouldn’t be just from the US Congress, because they often go along with unreasonable executive persuasion,  such as the Gulf of Tonkin and the AUMF
  • There has to be enforcement at least of the International treaties, even though the political elite have ignored it.
  • Jules: i think the legislation that I testified on of possibly getting through with some amendment or beefing up the war powers act and making it effective.
  • This was mostly done in secret, secret memos, I think Obama should publish the secret memos.
  • We need to publish and expose what was done in secret, including memos written by the DOJ, which should never be secret.
  • Legal memos:  Obama can de-classify this huge slew of material that would indicate just how far off the rails the Bush administration was.
  • Yes on prosecution to bring accountability, there is a very basic step preliminary to building evidence and cases, you have an institutional precedence to follow executive authority.

Through the U.S. Center for Constitutional Rights, Jules Lobel has litigated important issues regarding the application of international law in the U.S. courts. In the late 1980′s, he advised the Nicaraguan government on the development of its first democratic constitution, and has also advised the Burundi government on constitutional law issues.

Professor Lobel is editor of a text on civil rights litigation and of a collection of essays on the U.S. Constitution, A Less Than Perfect Union (Monthly Review Press, 1988). He is author of numerous articles on international law, foreign affairs, and the U.S. Constitution in publications including Yale Law Journal, Harvard International Law Journal, Cornell Law Review, and Virginia Law Review. He is a member of the American Society of International Law.

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Law and Disorder February 16, 2009


The First 100 Days: Dismantling the Police State in a New Presidency – Part 2

This is the second of a three part special. Law and Disorder hosts bring a series of interviews with key attorneys, authors and activists from the front lines such as the Center For Constitutional Rights, Universities of Law and the National Lawyers Guild. Some of the police state policies are beginning to be reversed such as closing down secret CIA sites, a timeline to shut down Guantanamo, and mandating everyone CIA included follow US Army Field Manual Interrogation tactics.

Recently the Obama Administration defended the telecom wiretapping legislation. Attorney General Eric Holder told Senator Orin Hatch -  “The duty of the Justice Department is to defend statutes that have been passed by Congress.”

CCR staff attorney Shane Kadidal explains in detail the 3 main groups of Guantanamo detainees, the laws that allow for secret sites, FISA wiretapping, National Security letters, data mining and the Patriot Act.

Shane Kadidal:

  • The Three Groups in Guantanamo: First Group – Two dozen genuinely involved with “Al Qaeda” – planning terrorist activities  – the people who would be tried in federal courts if GTMO never existed.
  • Second Group - Shouldn’t have been there in the first place. The US says they may charge as many as 80 people, there are 255 people left, that means there are close to 200 people that the US gov’t will send home. Like the 500 people who have already been sent home from GTMO.
  • Subgroups – there are about 110 Yemenis waiting to return back to Yemen
  • Third group: Guantanamos refugees who come to GTMO from places with horrible human rights records, Syria, Uzbekistan, Tunisia, about 13 countries where we ordinarily give them asylum. We can’t return them in good faith back to the countries they are citizens of. Find traditional asylum accepting countries to send them to largely in Europe.
  • Secret Sites: The next president could decide to end the secret sites – Who is accountable for sending people to black sites to be tortured? - Military Commissions Act gives those involved  immunity from actions that would have been violations of the War Crimes Act or Anti Torture Act
  • Repeal MCA – Once you do that, then any officials participating in the black sites have to worry the rest of their lives of being criminally prosecuted for what they did.
  • Repealing the MCA would restore Habeas Corpus to full flower that Supreme Court did in the case of Razul and proper judicial oversight regarding detentions.
  • Repudiate the whole practice of using black sites and rendition
  • Torture: There is one measure out there to propose that the military revert to the model of the Army Field Manual, that actually has acceptable interrogation tactics. – Done
  • The Army Field Manual was designed by Interrogation experts with long history of experience and know from practical experience that torture doesn’t work in producing reliable information.
  • All of this can be done by executive order, a stroke of the pen as Clinton used to say.
  • FISA – wiretappingthe secret court that approves wiretaps - The historic model was that law enforcement would have to present a little bit of evidence of suspicion and that the court would authorize the person to be wiretapped. You go to the judge you get the order directed to one person.
  • Right now, it’s broader, instead of going to a judge with specific evidence and getting specific authority for a very limited wiretap. Now based on the FISA Amendments Act passed this summer of June 2008, – they seem to want to get authority to do a wholesale authority on wiretapping and they’ll give the judge criteria in very rough terms. The discretion of law enforcement no longer limited.
  • The colonists wrote the fourth amendment with the warrant requirement in it because they were concerned the king had issued these general warrants to allow his agents to run around where there might be violations of the stamp tax act.
  • The Supreme Court may argue that the fourth amendment is outdated and allow the broader wiretap powers.
  • Also, a new president coming in may decide not to use this power, but there is going to be a great deal of inertia from the intelligence agencies who had five or six years of this power under the NSA
  • Its hard to get rid of this entrenched thing, they’ll come to the president with all sorts of arguments.
  • This is an area where Congress would have to step in to restore post Watergate era restrictions that were put in place in the FISA act in 1978
  • Patriot Act – A lot of it hasn’t been used as predicted.
  • Preventive detention – they can hold citizens for 7 days without charge/ but the president asserted executive power to hold citizens and non-citizens without charges for years.
  • Now the Patriot Act looks like a model of checks and balances.
  • National Security letters and Data Mining – The government pulls in huge amounts of data both from private sources and things that can accumulate. We know that they were seeking calling records, the story broke in the middle of 2006 from nearly all the phone companies and they complied.
  • We know they’ve been seeking search terms in various contexts from internet providers, we know they have worked with Swift which processes interbank tranactions to get huge amount of financial transfer data, financial transactions that happen anywhere in the world.
  • They’re putting this into a database to see if they can catch terrorists by applying pattern analysis. The first problem with that is that we don’t know if it works, its likely to have a very false positive rate.
  • Very close to profiling and pull in people who should not be made the targets of suspicion.
  • There is so little human intelligence on the ground, and its tempting for intelligence agencies to look to for technological panacea.

Guest – Shayana Kadidal has been at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) since 2001. Shane is senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at CCR. In addition to supervising the Guantánamo litigation, he also works on the Center’s case against the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program, CCR v. Bush, and its challenge to the “material support” statute, HLP v. Gonzales. Shane has testified before Congress on the material witness statute and is a contributor to the Center’s book Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush, 2006. He graduated from Yale Law School and clerked for a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

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Mara Verheyden-Hilliard: Criminalizing Dissent

Criminalizing Dissent has chilled most free speech movement in the United States, especially when demonstrators take to the streets. We talk with attorney Mara Verheyden Hilliard co_founder of The Partnership for Civil Justice Legal Defense & Education Fund about criminalizing dissent, surveillance, data mining, fusion centers and the ability to exercise first amendment rights. A recent example were the violations of free speech during the mass arrests of protesters at the 2008 Republican National Convention. The demonizing of protesters and their message in the media will usually allow for the use of military force by police. That combined with intelligence gathering and targeting of lead organizers squelched the voice of dissent in all age groups.

Mara Verheyden Hilliard:

  • A lot of our work is at the intersection of first and fourth amendment rights.
  • PCJ has a class action suit pending from the world bank IMF protest – 8 year drag out tactic.
  • “What they want to do is stage-manage democracy.”
  • Victory: After years of litigation the government has to lift regulations on number of people at the Great Lawn
  • Is it important to say that we don’t want to go back to Jan 19, 2001 just the day before Bush took office- or is there more that we have to do?
  • We think there has to be an audit of every agency’s databases to determine exactly what the databases are.
  • Identify what has been collected, where it has been put, who has access to that information,
  • Then to tell people in the United States individually, what has been collected on them and then to expunge it.
  • For people in their United States, their government collecting information, maintaining information, in these massive database files, that can be used by law enforcement, pulled up in a moment’s notice is really a very dangerous practice.
  • What they’ve done is misuse existing databases and data tools.

Guest – Attorney Mara Verheyden Hilliard co-founder of The Partnership for Civil Justice Legal Defense & Education Fund.

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Law and Disorder February 9, 2009


The First 100 Days: Dismantling the Police State in a New Presidency – Part 1

This is the first of a three part special. Law and Disorder hosts bring a series of interviews with key attorneys, authors and activists from the front lines such as the Center For Constitutional Rights, Universities of Law and the National Lawyers Guild. Some of the police state policies are beginning to be reversed such as closing down secret CIA sites, a timeline to shut down Guantanamo, and mandating everyone CIA included follow US Army Field Manual Interrogation tactics.

We define the current laws in place that now constitute a police state. Then we look at the steps the Obama Administration must take to turn back the major breaches in civil liberties such as the Patriot Act One and Two, the Military Commissions Act, FBI Guidelines and legal provisions that allow for torture. As you’ll hear, some attorneys believe much of the dismantling can be done by executive order.

We begin with a description of what we have seen since September 11, 2001 and precursors such as the Effective Death Penalty Act, the earlier renditions under Clinton’s administration. Then, right after 9/11 came the overreaching of executive power in the form of signing statements that misuse the war powers resolution to detain, torture and try so_called enemy combatants. This includes racial profiling against Muslims here and abroad, massive surveillance capacities and warrant_less wiretapping.

The dismantling of police state blocks in the new presidency will take attention to detail to ensure a full restoration of democracy that will ultimately allow for social progress. In the next hour we look at some remedies and solutions to reverse laws that have created domestic enemy combatants, Guantanamo Bay prison, Renditions, Secret CIA sites, Torture, Kangaroo Courts: Special Trials, FISA, domestic surveillance, private military contractors.

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Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Vince Warren discusses the abuse of preventive detention, torture, rendition and states secrets. Hosts cite recent examples of deep surveillance on peaceful protesters and the unprecedented collusion between federal, state and local law enforcement. Warren points out the importance of rolling back the police state measures put in place by the Bush administration, in that No president has ever given back the power a previous president has given him.

Vincent Warren:

  • Torture/rendition/states secrets / right to dissent / the abuse of preventive detention.
  • Torture top of list, the export of torture and CIA black sites.
  • torture crimes at this time are unprosecutable adn its up to the president to
  • Close Guantanamo prison – send prisoners back to countries they came from, repatriate.
  • CCR and civil proceedings – hold accountable, the Bush administration to declare what they’ve done unconstitutional, damages to clients CCR represents and injunctive relief, future deterrents
  • Universal jurisdiction stems from the Nuremberg principles that say a crime that is committed against a person anywhere is prosecutable anywhere.
  • Countries such as Germany Spain and France have statutes for human rights abuse survivors to bring cases for prosecution.
  • States secrets privilege, the privilige that the government has routinely invoked in a range of CCR cases, whenever the government says states secrets, the courts, including the supreme courts usually kick the case. The remedy?
  • Congress can create a statute that limits the use of a states secrets power in order to make it consistent for truth telling and accountability.
  • No president has ever given back the power a previous president has given him.
  • The abuse of preventive detention, fusion centers – intelligence gathering and data mining – the concern is that no one can monitor and again its done in secrecy. no oversight, more preemptive law enforcement
  • The irony here is that government usually acts as if one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing, unless they’re coming down on our constitutional rights, then they’re all on the same page.

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give-me-liberty111 naomi-today-show1 end-of-america21

Naomi Wolf : 10 Steps

We’re joined by author and activist Naomi Wolf. She is the author of seven books, and the groundbreaking book The End of America: A Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot. In the book, Naomi addresses ten steps that societies, dictators, and sometimes democracies use to close an open society to move it toward facsism. We want to re-visit those ten steps.

Naomi Wolf:

  • A small group of people used the law to subvert the law. Reichstag Fire, then disembowel their own Constitution.
  • Initial thinking inspired from my friend who is the daughter of holocaust survivors, she said the Bush strategies echo early 1930s Germany.
  • Enabling Acts in Germany gave the power to the state to read a person’s mail, listen to their phone calls and read their telegrams. This, in the alleged interest of national security and the fight against terrorism.
  • Nazis used to unload the coffins of the war dead at night.
  • A would-be dictator sought to close an open society or crush a democracy movement. Mussolini in 1920, the great evil pioneer. Hitler studied Mussolini, Stalin studied Hitler.
  • I looked at Russia, studied Czechoslovakia in the 60’s, Pinochet’s coup in 1973, the Chinese crackdown on democracy in the 80s.
  • What I saw was there was a blueprint. The blueprint has 10 steps. The 10 steps have been codified, they teach them at the School of the Americas.
  • To help would be Latin-American dictators to overthrow their own governments. What terrified me is that those ten steps are being put in place by the Bush Administration.
  • The Ten Steps
  1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
  2. Create a gulag
  3. Develop a thug caste
  4. Set up an internal surveillance system
  5. Harass citizens’ groups
  6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
  7. Target key individuals
  8. Control the press
  9. Dissent equals treason
  10. Suspend the rule of law

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Law and Disorder February 2, 2009


Updates:

Analysis of Current Economy and Economic Aid Package: 2009

Economists say the United States is facing it’s biggest economic crisis since World War II. In the wake of historic massive bailouts to banks, the democratic party has proposed an economic stimulus plan designed to create 3 million jobs, provide tax cuts and stimulate areas of the economy such as energy and health care.

  • Law Enforcement: $3 billion for state and local law enforcement assistance. / $1 billion for community policing services.
  • General Services Administration: $6 billion for construction and repair of federal buildings.
    $1 billion for immigration facilities at ports of entry.
  • Homeland Security: $250 million for salaries and construction at ports of entry. $500 million for purchase and installation of explosive detection systems. $150 million for alteration or removal of obstructive bridges.

Max Wolff:

  • When you look at the stimulus, it’s a kinder gentler and much larger version of what we started 12 months ago when the Bush administration realized the gig was up.
  • It’s nice to see some money for the electrical grid, which now isn’t even the envy of the developing world.
  • We need the stimulus, but we need structural change. It’s a missed opportunity, if we’re going to go this much deeper in debt.
  • We did two things wrong. We kind of nationalized the banks, without nationalizing them, and we kind of bailed out the private banks without giving them enough money.
  • We gave them enough money to not go bankrupt immediately but not enough to get back into the business of banking.
  • Then, we turned the Federal Reserve, without public discussion or Congressional debate, into a giant national central bank.
  • Now the Federal Reserve is getting into the business of buying US treasuries, loaning money to corporations and bailing out private banks.
  • To me, the lesson we should have learned is that you can’t use credit and debt to substitute for people who don’t have enough money to live and can’t make purchases above more than 2 weeks pay.
  • As long as that is in place we are slipping into a debt trap.
  • We needed to do something to bail out the banks. The bottom line is that we’re asking the banks to give more money when we have an international crisis because they’ve loaned to people who can’t pay them back.
  • Remember the Great Depression also involved weapons of mass destruction and the loss of more than 200 thousand lives
  • We need to have higher wages, which means lower profits. We need national health care immediately.
  • We need to import a little less. We need to export a little more.
  • That means ten years of economic pain, best case scenario, while you re-center the economy and teach people a different way to view their citizenship and livelihood.
  • You would need massive unrest, creative and constructive for fundamental change in structure

Guest – Max Fraad Wolff , freelance researcher, strategist, and writer in the areas of international finance and macroeconomics. Max’s work can be seen at the Huffington Post, The AsiaTimes, Prudent Bear, SeekingAlpha and many other outlets.

Professor Rick Wolff:

  • Giving a lot of money to the people who screwed up the economy is not the best recipe for fixing it.
  • A great deal of money will be given back to the people in the form of tax rebates. As we have seen people are not using tax rebates in ways that boost the economy.
  • All 50 states who refused to see the writing on the wall, will get money that will drive the same old pork barrel spending scenarios.
  • A very small amount of money will go to significant change that would begin to make a difference. We will be sitting here 6 months from now saying . . this didn’t work either.
  • The fundamental thing that created 30 years of crazy misdevelopment has been the end of rising real wages, it came to end because corporations found ways to stop paying higher wages.
  • From outsourcing to computer technology, between desparate women looking for jobs, desperate immigrants looking for jobs. Put all that together, they didn’t have to pay any more wages to a population who measured their success in life as a rising standard of living.
  • If people believe that and it’s reinforced by every politician and advertisment, then they will borrow, with banks eager to lend, you produce an explosion of credit that, in the end could not be sustained.
  • Our problem now is you fund the banks again and you tell them to go lend, they can’t.
  • One thing no one is talking about is that this stimulus and the next one later this year, is based on the continuing to borrow money. As a hobbling world economy invests back into the United States, it will create a bizarre disorganization.
  • The clue is to look at the Great Depression. There was no social security, no unemployment insurance.
  • If the goverment is going to be the bank of last resort, the lender of last resort, then the logic will arise, why isn’t it the employer of last resort. We have an unemployment rate at nearly 9 percent.
  1. Reorganize the way business works so that the people become there own board of directors.
  2. Corporations reorganized so that workers collectively become there own boss.
  3. Mon-Thurs – You come to work and do your job as you always did, less hours, wage increase.
  4. Friday – Attend meetings all day to assess the impact of the product on the community, what products to make, what to do with profits. Cultivating the community.

Guest – Rick Wolff, Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts at Amherst Rick teaches at the Brecht Forum and the New School in New York City. (Read Rick’s article, Economic Blues in the Monthly Review)

Class Action Victory: More Than 500 Women Prisoners Sexually Abused In Michigan Prisons

More than 500 women prisoners in Michigan say they were sexually assaulted by prison guards in the 1990s. Now after 8 years of getting the courts to recognize women prisoners as people, among other obstacles, this class action lawsuit has brought their stories to the public domain and yielded verdicts of nearly $50 million. Attorney Deborah LaBelle has led a team of lawyers to get justice for the abused women in Michigan prisons. These cases represent only 18 women, many have yet to testify. Read – Human Rights Watch Report

Attorney Deborah LaBelle:

  • The case began with re-framing what the rights are of women in detention and their bodily integrity.
  • Their right to be free of any sexual harassment, or sexual conduct similar to people on the outside.
  • We started out using the State’s Civil Rights Act – A law that had not been used in these types of cases.
  • The SCRA, protected people’s civil rights in employment but expanded to state facilities.
  • It took 8 years to establish that state prisoners are people too, before Deborah LaBelle and her team began trials.
  • Many prisoner cases are tried for injunctive release, the central issue is the awarding of money to validate the humanity of these women.
  • Other than Attica cases, no one has awarded this kind of money to prisoners.
  • Some women were abused within the period of 8 years, rapes/force oral sex/groping.
  • One of the testimonies is that women would put a pop can in front of their cell doors to wake them up when the door opened.
  • When raped outside of prison, you can get away from the location, or not see that person again.
  • They’re being sexually abused by employees of the State – in charge of judging your character – which creates a deep hopelessness for justice.
  • There are 500 women, as a class. The courts decided we would try them in groups of ten.
  • One of the stunning things in the first verdict is that jury came forward in the end and issued an apology.
  • The state has continually said, these are liars, prostitutes, criminals, the same argument that they are not a person was played out in the trials.
  • There are 482 more women to bring to court. Many of the women are out and stumbling, returning to prison.
  • Michigan stopped the cross gender pat downs, and removed men from the housing units.
  • We’re hoping the state says, people were really hurt and you have to acknowledge this, they need treatment.

Guest – Deborah LaBelle, an Ann Arbor civil rights lawyer who headed a team of lawyers to sue on behalf of the women. LaBelle was recently quoted saying . “No one, no one in this country, no one in a civilized society is sentenced to be raped and assaulted in prison.”

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