Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for November, 2012


Law and Disorder November 26, 2012



Michael Ratner and Michael Smith discuss Jeremy Hammond Court Case

  • Jeremy Hammond is charged with hacking into the computer system of intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting Inc.
  • Hammond is one of five charged with conspiracy to commit computer hacking and other charges
  • Michael Smith and Michael Ratner visited him in prison.
  • November 20, 2012  – Michael Ratner and Michael Smith go to federal court – Jeremy Hammond’s case. 
  • Defense Council, Liz Fink, Margie Ratner Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler and a couple of other people were at the table.
  • Emily Kunstler was there as a paralegal.
  • Jeremy came into the room, he looked very good – in a blue jumpsuit.
  • Then the hearing happened, an hour and a half on getting bail. It’s up to the government to prove why shouldn’t this person be out on bail. You haven’t been convicted of anything so you should be out on the street.
  • The government has to prove you will abscond, not come back to trial. The other thing they have is the burden of proof on is that you’re a danger to the community. Michael Smith offered a spare room for Jeremy Hammond to stay.
  • It was a hostile hearing and the judge reads her decision denying bail. It was obvious it was prepared way in advance.
  • Jeremy’s lawyer Liz Fink: He’s got to be free (on bail) in order for us to work together to prepare his defense.
  • Factor 1: Is he going to flee if he gets out on bail? Factor 2: He flaunts legal authority.
  • Liz Fink said to the judge, he doesn’t have a passport and his parents are putting up their home for bail.
  • He could get 39.5 years. Freehammond.com

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  • Israel and Gaza Bombing Update
  • Israel The Third Largest Arms Seller Globally
  • Weapons Experimenting In Gaza

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Iyad Burnat, Head of the Popular Committee in Bil’in, Palestine

We hear excerpts of the presentation by Iyad Burnat, head of the Bil’in Popular Committee and a leader in the village’s non-violent popular resistance movement.  Since 2005 citizens of Bil’in have held weekly demonstrations against the building of the Israeli separation wall through the community’s agricultural lands, and the steady encroachment of illegal settlements.  The demonstrators are joined by Israeli and international peace activists, and have maintained a commitment to non-violent methods of resistance in spite of armed, military opposition that has resulted in many injuries and some deaths.

These demonstrations are the subject of the recent award-winning documentary film 5 Broken Cameras, which was made by Iyad’s brother, Emad Burnat. Iyad was born in Bil’in in September of 1973.  He is married and has four children.  He became involved in popular resistance as a teenager, and was arrested by the Israeli military for the first time at age 17.  He was accused of throwing stones, and imprisoned for two years.  Since then he has been arrested and imprisoned by the Israeli military several more times. The event was recorded at Unitarian Church of All Souls in Manhattan.
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JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by Jim Douglass

JFK, The Unspeakable, is the first book of 3 on the assassinations of the 1960s. Orbis Books has commissioned author James W. Douglass to write about the murders of JFK, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, and his  the third will be on the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. The heart of JFK the Unthinkable, is not how Kennedy was killed or how Kennedy became a threat to the systemic war machine, but why DID Kennedy die? Author James Douglass says Kennedy knew that he would die and had the guts to stand up to the system and take the hit. This narrative was lost for decades, obscured by disinformation about Kennedy’s character and the conspiracy of his assassination. One review summarizes Douglass’s book in this way : JFK’s belated effort to turn America from an armed culture of victory to a member of an international peaceful world was shot down in Texas for a reason.

Jim Douglass:

  • John F. Kennedy’s experience in WWII:  He was in the South Pacific, he volunteered. He was on that PT boat.
  • What happened on that PT boat, is that it got split into two by a Japanese destroyer. He lost brothers and friends at that time.  An extraordinary experience being adrift on the ocean warning other PT boats. The experience create a distrust in military authority.
  • He said that he wanted to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter to the winds.
  • As Kennedy said to his friends, “they figured me all wrong.”
  • The Unspeakable: the kind of evil and deceit that seems to go beyond the capacity of words to describe. The midst of war and nuclear arms race, the assassinations of Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcom X that the term was used.
  • JFK’s vision is articulated in the address June 10, 1963, arising from the turnaround of the missile crisis and Bay of Pigs.
  • He wanted to move step by step into a disarmed world. Nikita Khrushchev put that speech all over the Soviet Union.  The Cuban Missile Crisis is a deeply misunderstood part of our history, because it’s usually portrayed as Kennedy going to war with Nikita Khrushchev and beating him.
  • The truth was that Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev were in over their heads, the US generals wanted nuclear war, because they had more warheads than the Soviets.
  • Nikita Khrushchev: We now have a common enemy from those pushing us toward war.
  • At that point the Cold War turned upside down because Kennedy and Khruschev became closer to each other than either was toward their own military power system.
  • Vietnam: Kennedy’s military people would not give him an exit policy. He signed the withdrawal order from Vietnam before he was assassinated.
  • His friends said that he had an obsession with death. It was not an obsession but a real assessment that he was going to die. If you try to turn around a national security state that is dominating the world,
  • and you do so as president of the United States, of course you’re going to die. Kennedy knew that.
  • The book is a story on the deliberate destruction of hope, the vision of change, a turning of this country all of which was happening and had to be stopped.  US Agencies killed Dr. Martin Luther King – 1999 Verdict
  • We’re in the same scene right now with Petraeus and McChrystal setting up Obama. They were dictating terms to Obama, unlike Kennedy, he did not face them down.
  • We need to get out ahead of Obama so that he can do something.

Guest -author, James W. Douglass. He’s a longtime peace activist and writer. James and his wife Shelley are co-founders of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington, and Mary’s House, a Catholic Worker house of hospitality in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Law and Disorder November 19, 2012


Updates:

  • Jeremy Hammond Case Update: Currently In MCA
  • Julian Assange Update: Ecuador Embassy, London
  • Bradley Manning Hearing at Fort Meade – November 27-December 22
  • National Security State Eats Its Own? General Petraeus Scandal Analysis
  • Israel Bombing Gaza: Operation Pillar of Cloud.  Timeline
  • CCR Files Complaint Against the UN Committee Against Torture: Canada Directly Violates Convention Against Torture
  • UN Vote On Cuba Embargo: Israel Is Among Major Investors In Cuba

National Lawyers Guild 75 Years

Hundreds of National Lawyers Guild members and allies gathered to celebrate the organization’s 75th anniversary at the Law for the People convention in Pasadena, California.  We hear excerpts from speeches from the National Lawyers Guild Convention by Attorney Jim Lafferty  The 2012 Law for the People Award was given to Jim Lafferty.

Scholar and activist Angela Davis delivered the keynote address and among the convention honorees will be Margaret Burnham, a professor of civil rights law who, as a young lawyer, helped secure Davis’s 1972 acquittal on high-profile charges.

Founded in 1937, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar association in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has members in every state.

Jim Lafferty, Executive director of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles and host of The Lawyers Guild Show on Pacifica’s KPFK 90. 7 FM.

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Law and Disorder November 12, 2012


Updates:

  • Hosts Update On Hurricane Sandy
  • Obama Re-election: What Does It Mean For Basic Civil Rights? Drones, Guantanamo, Military Commissions, Warrantless Wiretapping.
  • PLO and CCR Victory – Muhammad Salah
  • Holy Land Case Update – Supreme Court Refuses To Review Sixth Amendment Right

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Russell Tribunal on Palestine: Attorney Diana Butto

The final session of the Tribunal focused on the responsibility of the United States of America and the United Nations regarding the Israeli breaches of international law towards Palestine and Palestinians. There is now a situation in which Israel has achieved a status of immunity and impunity, facilitated by the US, despite its complete disregard for the norms and standards of international law. We hear an excerpt of a speech by Human Rights Attorney Diana Butto at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Diana Buttu is a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and former spokesperson with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
She is best known for her work as a legal adviser and negotiator on peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian organizations. Buttu was born in Canada to Palestinian parents. She began her work as a negotiator in 2000, shortly after the outbreak of the Second Palestinian Intifada, as a spokesperson for the Negotiations Support Unit of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

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The Moral Challenge of ‘Kill Lists’ by Ray McGovern

The Obama Administration has conducted hundreds of drone strikes in several countries, killing civilians and a US citizen. Critics point out that as the Obama Administration assassinates its’ suspects, it also avoids the legal complications of detention.  In last week’s New York Times, authors Jo Becker and Scott Shane expose the priest-like role  of counter terrorist adviser John Brennan as he provides Mr. Obama with the moral justification for extrajudicial murder. The framing of John Brennan’s role of priestly adviser caught Ray McGovern’s attention. His recent article The Moral Challenge of Kill Lists, dissects the New York Times story.

Ray McGovern:

  • There has been a geometric increase in the number of drone strikes against Pakistan and of course Somalia and Yemen.
  • London based bureau for investigative journalism estimates that about 830 civilians including women and children may have been killed by drone attacks in Pakistan. 138 in Yemen, and 57 in Somalia. It’s incredibly naive to think that this helps in any way in the war on terrorism.
  • This wonderfully insightful and dangerous New York Times article a week ago talked about the conundrum of aligning these activities  with US legal and moral principles. Conundrum? That’s an impossibility.
  • The Fifth Amendment prevents this sort of thing if you take the interpretation we’ve always had.
  • As the New York Times article mentions 1 out of 30 assassinations that are known about just one escaped assassination and was brought before a court. It’s much easier to kill them.
  • If you wanted to learn about al-Qaeda, don’t you think Osama Bin Laden could’ve told us some stuff about al-Qaeda?
  • Any military aged male in the area of a “bad guy” is fair game.
  • Maybe I can draw from my own experience in the CIA, I know about lists.  I know that when there was a coup attempt in Indonesia in 1965, that there were lists given to the Indonesian authorities of communists. How many communists on that list? A million. How many were killed, were murdered? 500 thousand plus. How many were put in prison? The other 500 thousand.
  • The drones are really accurate but the target information is notoriously inaccurate.
  • I love Fordham and I hate to see the administration and the very wealthy trustees who have lots of money to give to Fordham, determine who comes in to give the commencement address.
  • I think that you have to have some kind of personal involvement with innocent suffering. I think that you have to have some sense of the injustice others suffer to let your heart be touched by this direct experience.
  • Obama’s fallen in with a rough crowd.
  • I was attracted to getting outside of my Catholic walls. There’s a small church down in Washington DC called the Church of the Savior.
  • I found out they were doing wonderful things like preventing housing from being gentrified so poor people can still live there. Healthcare, jobs, addictions, a hospice for people to sick to be on the street.
  • There’s been one major change for the good in this country. That is Occupy.
  • When you look for proof that Occupy has incredible potential, look no farther than what the president and the top senators thought necessary to inject into the NDAA on New Year’s Eve, which allows them to use the US Army of all things to wrap us all up without charge, without court proceedings.

Guest – Raymond L. McGovern retired CIA officer turned political activist. McGovern was a Federal employee under seven U.S. presidents in the past 27 years.  Ray’s opinion pieces have appeared in many leading newspapers here and abroad.  His website writings are posted first on consortiumnews.com, and are usually carried on other websites as well.  He has debated at the Oxford Forum and appeared on Charlie Rose, The Newshour, CNN, and numerous other TV & radio programs and documentaries. Ray has lectured to a wide variety of audiences here and abroad.   Ray studied theology and philosophy (as well as his major, Russian) at Fordham University, from which he holds two degrees.  He also holds a Certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University.  A Catholic, Mr. McGovern has been worshipping for over a decade with the ecumenical Church of the Saviour and teaching at its Servant Leadership School.  He was co-director of the school from 1998 to 2004.  Ray came from his native New York to Washington in the early Sixties as an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then served as a CIA analyst from the administration of  John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. Ray’s duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief, which he briefed one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985.

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Law and Disorder November 5, 2012


 

Crisis In Syria Update: Black Agenda Report

Thousands of Syrians have died in the escalating conflict between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those that oppose his leadership. The vicious internal power struggles have forced tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into other countries including Turkey. This conflict could represent a threat to world peace according to UN based human rights groups.

Glen Ford:

  • We have to see a global system that’s in crisis that has clearly decided that International Law, a body of international law that the United States had so much do with erecting after World War II.
  • That body of International Law is no longer useful or tolerable to US empire.
  • There is no international legitimacy as to what’s happening in Syria, which has now become a US model.
  • It can gather in an ad hoc way any volunteer group of nations and pretend there is international legitimacy to the aggression that they mount.
  • This time its against Syria, they’ve enlisted. They’re making a war, the NATO countries and gulf kingdoms against Syria.
  • There is no concept here of inalienable rights of nations to run their own internal affairs.
  • I believe the US saw the Arab Spring as a existential crisis.
  • If they cannot achieve cleanly, the kind of regime change that they hope to achieve they do not hesitate to resort to the imposition of chaos.
  • We’ve seen that in Africa for the last 50 years. That which we can’t directly control, we will through into chaos.
  • They will be satisfied with years and years of chaos, and social disintegration and great loss of life.
  • Muslim fundamentalism behaves very much like a nationalism.
  • These jihadis have done the US a great service and they do know it.
  • Despite the global financial crisis, and we’re still suffering from it unless we are banks, we do not have a political crisis.
  • You only have a political crisis when there is effective resistance.
  • When you have effective resistance then you have a conversation that is hostile to the order.
  • Romney and Obama, there are no fundamental differences between these two people.
  • We have these little dust ups off to the side made to look like arguments. The Republicans didn’t want modest taxes on the rich. That is all that separates them.
  • Black America has historically been the point constituency for change in the United States.
  • It is only with the passing on of this black president we’re going to see such a movement.
  • The advent of a black in the White House has totally neutralized the black politic. It has short circuited our instinctive reactions to travesties wrought by power.

Guest – Glen Ford, founder of the Black Agenda Report and many other media forums. Ford was a founding member of the Washington chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ); executive board member of the National Alliance of Third World Journalists (NATWJ); media specialist for the National Minority Purchasing Council; and has spoken at scores of colleges and universities.

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Russell Tribunal on Palestine: Phyllis Bennis

The final session of the Tribunal focused on the responsibility of the United States of America and the United Nations regarding the Israeli breaches of international law towards Palestine and Palestinians. There is now a situation in which Israel has achieved a status of immunity and impunity, facilitated by the US, despite its complete disregard for the norms and standards of international law. We hear an excerpt of a speech by Phyllis Bennis at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Speaker – Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute For Policy Studies.  She is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. She has been a writer, analyst, and activist on Middle East and UN issues for many years. In 2001 she helped found and remains on the steering committee of the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation. She works closely with the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition, co-chairs the UN-based International Coordinating Network on Palestine, and since 2002 has played an active role in the growing global peace movement. She continues to serve as an adviser to several top UN officials on Middle East and UN democratization issues.

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Locking Away Children For Life Without Parole

The United States is the only country in the world that sentences children to life, without the possibility of parole. Last month, the US Supreme Court revisited the question of whether juveniles convicted of murder should be given mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole. The Supreme Court had once ruled against imposing death sentences on juveniles and imposing life sentences on youth who aren’t convicted of murder. Currently, 2500 kids in jail are serving life sentences without parole in the US.  371 of those individuals are in Michigan prisons. Our next guest has been working on a lawsuit on behalf of 9 Michigan individuals who were sentenced to life in prison for crimes committed when they were minors and who are being denied the possibility of parole.

Attorney Deborah LaBelle:

  • The concept that we’ve been talking about that these are children both under international law and US law for civil matters, children are different from adults.
  • The Supreme Court seemed to readily grasp that, they weren’t speaking about juveniles or teenagers or young adults, they spoke continuously on what to do about children who are involved in homicide crime.
  • The court had two cases in front of them, both involving 14 year olds, one in which the 14 did not commit a homicide, but convicted of either felony murder or aiding and abetting.
  • That juvenile got mandatory life without possibility of parole, because the child was sentenced as an adult, the other case, the 14 year old actually committed the homicide.
  • There is a handful of states, Michigan and I think 8 others who treat 17 year olds always as adults for all purposes in the criminal justice system.
  • Under the 38 states, there’s a whole range, some you can only get life without parole, if you’re 16 and up, some allow it for 15, some states allow it for a child of any age, Michigan is one of them.
  • One of the justices talked about that. Is there an age in which we would all share a collective cringe. What about a 5 year old, what about a 10 year old.
  • The frontal lobe area of the brain that really addresses impulse control and long term consequences, and control issues of risk management, is developing through adolescence.
  • People draw the age at different points, some say not til 19, some not til 23 as you say.
  • There’s a bright line in civil law that’s been drawn in civil law that youth have a maturity that they can vote, when they can decide to leave school, when they can drink in some places, when they can drive.
  • There are these bright lines.
  • Every other country who has signed on to the conventions of the rights of the child which prohibits putting children in prison for life without possibility of parole explicitly has recognized that this practice is banned.
  • The only other country that hasn’t signed on is Somalia and they don’t quite have a government right now to do that.
  • We stand alone in not adhering to that convention on the rights of the child as well as we stand alone on approving this sentence.
  • We have over 2500 youth who are serving of life without any possibility of parole. About 70 percent are children of color. A third of them, did not commit homicides.
  • No one is arguing that there might not be circumstances, that a state couldn’t decide upon review that child couldn’t be released.  What the argument is, you can’t keep them in there without any hope. You have to give them an opportunity to demonstrate upon maturation that they have been rehabilitated and they aren’t a threat to public safety.
  • We should think of putting children in places where we can nurture, council and believe in their rehabilitation and give them a second chance.
  • I read transcript after transcript of judges saying, – listen I don’t want to do this to this 14 or 16 year old, but I don’t have any choice.  What is the value of putting a child away with no hope. It’s certainly not a public safety issue, because that can be addressed by the state by having parole or review hearings.

 Guest – Attorney Deborah LaBelle, an attorney with the ACLU of Michigan’s Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative.

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