Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for June, 2013


Law and Disorder July 1, 2013


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US State Department’s Office of Guantanamo Closure

The US State Department’s Office of Guantanamo Closure was shut down in January and is now in the process of reopening. President Obama recently appointed Clifford Sloan, a Washington lawyer to run the special envoy. Meanwhile attorney Pardiss Kebriaei has recently returned from the military-run prison in Guantanamo Bay Cuba, and joins us to discuss the conditions there, including the hunger strike.  Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei has represented men detained at Guantanamo in habaes corpus challenges.

Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei:

  • CCR represents 8 men still detained at the base right now. We’ve represented dozens, we’ve coordinated the representation of dozens. Some men who’ve been cleared by the Obama Administration, who were cleared in 2009, and 2010, they include men who’ve never been charged, that’s the group we represent.
  • There are 166 people who remain, more than half of them 86 have been told by President Obama and his people that they don’t need to be there.
  • I met with 3 men, all Yemeni. 2 have been cleared. All of them are on hunger strike.
  • It’s shocking to think of how much things have regressed since the strike has progressed.
  • In 2008 when I started going down to the base, most people were held in solitary confinement. That is what conditions are again now in 2013. Right now in Camp 6 there are at least 76 men who are sitting in 22 hour a day isolation.
  • Recreation time is 2 hours in a cage outside.
  • There is also an access to council issue right now. Searches are humiliating, equivalent to being sexually assaulted when they’re moved out of their cells.
  • The practice of force feeding is unequivocally a violation of international medical, ethical standards.
  • The United States is alone in thinking this in its position that this is a humane and acceptable practice.
  • Out of 800 held at Guantanamo, fewer than 2 dozen charged. The rest have all been held without charge.
  • Obama pointed the finger at Congress and said Congress determined it would not allow me to close Guantanamo.
  • Congress did pass the NDAA in 2011 that would make transfers more difficult but it didn’t take power away from the president.
  • It specifically provided a national security waiver provision. Yet Obama has been saying for years because of the NDAA he has been effectively prohibited from transferring anyone and that’s is just not true.

Guest – Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei, she joined the Center Constitutional Rights in July 2007. Since then, her work has focused on representing men detained at Guantánamo Bay in their habeas corpus challenges, before international human rights tribunals, in diplomatic advocacy with foreign governments to secure resettlement for men who cannot return home, and in post-release reintegration efforts. Her clients have included men from Yemen, Syria, Algeria, and Afghanistan. Her work includes seeking accountability for torture and arbitrary detention at Guantánamo.

Past Law and Disorder Interview With Pardiss Kebriaei.

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diego-rivera-detroit-mural keyynOrr2

Why Does The City of Detroit Plan To Cut 9 Billion In Retiree Pensions and Healthcare?

The emergency manager of Detroit Kevyn Orr recently announced a plan that would wipe out the pensions and health benefits of all current and retired city workers. The plan eliminates 9 billion dollars in worker benefits, effectively condeming nearly 20 thousand retirees to poverty.  Orr is a wealthy Wall Street lawyer who played a key role in restructuring the auto industry carried out by the Obama Administration. Many see this plan as part of the worldwide assault on working class people. How are workers responding to these aggressive cuts? We also listen to Dianne’s presentation at the Left Forum 2013 in New York City.

Dianne Feeley:

  • He is attempting shock therapy. Basically he wants to take all of the resources that can be used in Detroit and outsource them and do away with them as in the case of the pensions and health care benefits.
  • He suggested to make the city owned art work from the Detroit Institute of Arts available to also be used for this debt which grows by the day. They were talking about 15 billion dollars, now they’re talking about 20 billion.
  • The neo-liberals plan is a 3 part plan. First to develop a cheaper and more flexible work force. Meaning reducing pensions, reducing the power of unions.
  • The second is transferring public resources into private hands. The third is to appropriate profitable resources. For example we have a lighting department, which has been under funded for 40 years because DTE Energy has tried to prevent development of infrastructure. Now it’s in very bad shape.
  • In many of these countries Greece, Portugal, Brazil, there’s a technocrat put in charge in our case its an Emergency Manager.
  • More than 50 percent of the African Americans in Michigan have lost their vote through the imposition of Emergency Managers in our cities.
  • It’s important to understand we only have 10 thousand city employees left. They’ve already had their pay cut 10 percent.
  • Now what they’re trying to do is get rid of the medical care for the retirees.

Guest – Dianne Feeley,  retired auto worker who currently serves as an editor of Against the Current, a socialist magazine.  She is an advocate for auto workers and has written recently about the U.S. auto industry, arguing that the government should buy Chrysler and General Motors and turn them into a public trust.

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Law and Disorder June 24, 2013


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Historic Vigil And Compassionate Release For Lynne Stewart

It’s been seven weeks since Warden Jody Upton of FMC Carswell approved Compassionate Release for Lynne Stewart. This decision was based on the medical findings of Stage 4 cancer that spread Lynne’s scapula, lymph nodes and lungs. A massive vigil was held last week for Lynne at Federal Bureau of Prisons Headquarters in Washington DC. We’re joined today by former Attorney General of the United States Ramsey Clark who is helping to get Lynne Stewart released from prison.

Attorney Ramsey Clark:

  • The matter is now on the desk of the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it’s been there for about five or six weeks which is intolerably long because everyday counts.
  • Lynne is in physical desperate condition, her cancer is spreading. She has appointments at Sloan Kettering when she gets out that may extend her life.
  • It’s slipping away while the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons who seems to be opposed of Compassionate Release or any broad application of it, sits on her application.
  • Charles Samuels, seemed to have isolated himself from this issue. Any letters to Director Samuels would be helpful and important.
  • He’s being bombarded but for some reason, he’s holding out because he wants an interpretation of the compassionate release statute that would enable the release of only those who are going to die in the very near future, have no hope of living longer.
  • Right now we have an urgent human matter, a very wonderful human being, mother and grandmother is dying in prison. 
  • Please Write to: Charles E Samuels Jr. / Federal Bureau of Prisons / 320 1st Street Northwest / Washington DC 20534

Guest – Attorney Ramsey Clark was the former Attorney General of the United States, under President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was the first Attorney General at the Justice Department to call for the elimination of the death penalty and all electronic surveillance. After he left the Johnson administration, he became a important critic of the Vietnam War and continued defending the rights of people worldwide, from Palestinians to Iraqis, to anyone who found themselves at the repressive end of government action.
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Whistleblower Cases Update

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • June 19th Anniversaries: Execution of the Rosenbergs. Julian Assange 1 year at the Ecuadorian embassy.
  • Snowden, we don’t know where he is, massive revelations.
  • The question you should be asking, is Dick Cheney a traitor? Is George Bush a traitor? Aren’t those the real traitors, the real people to be held accountable.
  • We should look at what they told us. Ed Snowden told about a massive domestic surveillance operation.
  • Their job is to tell the American people what they’re doing so we can debate it and discuss it and not put forward basically false stories of who they’ve purportedly stopped.
  • This is about knowing where everyone of us is all the time.
  • Freedom of the Press Foundation – Bradley Manning
  • This is really a war on whistle-blowers and really a war on the United States trying to keep control on all of the information it can and control the internet from the top down.

Richard Falk, U.N. Rapporteur on Palestinian Rights, Calls for Close of UN Watch

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NezPerceBoy.getimage  lakotachildrena

Lakota Indians To File UN Genocide Charges Against US, South Dakota

There was a time in the mid 1800s when the territory of Lakota Indians reached 90 million acres, now they’re separated into tribal councils and relegated to reservations. Their children are seized and put into foster homes of white families. During Republican administrations, more than 700 Lakota children are taken annually by a private corporation called the South Dakota Children’s Home Services. In April, a grassroots movement led by Lakota grandmothers touring the country built support for a formal UN complaint of genocide against the United States government and constituent states.

Attorney Daniel Sheehan:

  • There’s basically a decade involved here during which the state of South Dakota engaged in a systematic program of the removal of Lakota children from their parents, from their extended families and from their entire tribe.
  • Some 740 Lakota children a year during that period were taken from their families and tribes.
  • Over half of them were never returned. 80-90 percent of those children were placed in white foster care.
  • This is clear violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act which was the piece of legislation that mandated that if an Indian child were taken from the child’s parents they were required to be placed with Native American people.
  • This is has been absolutely openly defied by the state of South Dakota.
  • There has been an official notice of intent to file the complaint with the United Nations.
  • We need to understand that there has been a longstanding policy in the Republican Party. When the Republican Party comes into power in Washington DC where they engage in this process to try and assimilate the native tribes.
  • They’re constantly trying to eliminate the ownership of land and integrate them into society, basically to eliminate their culture.
  • That was why the US Congress back in 1978 made the move to establish the American Indian Policy Review Commission and the Indian Child Welfare Act to stop the states from engaging in that type of activity of assimilation.
  • What we’ve seen by William Janklow, a former South Dakota congressman, governor, and attorney general, is the process to attempt to take as many of the children away as they could possibly do and place them in huge group homes such as South Dakota Children Homes Services Inc.
  • There is a subtext to this issue. We’ve discovered that during the Bush Administration from 2001 to 2009 there was systematic program of funneling federal funds into South Dakota to finance the seizure of these children and a substantial portion of that money from the Federal Government was transferred to the pharmaceutical corporations, who were in fact administering involuntarily to these children, pharmaceutical drugs Zoloft, and other psychoactive drugs to control their moods and attitudes.
  • They refuse to give information about who the children are, where they’ve been taken, where they’ve been placed, some of them have been taken out of the state, we traced a number of them to Utah.

Guest – Daniel Sheehan is the lead attorney and general counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project (LPLP). Currently, LPLP is working in South Dakota to stop violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and rescue Lakota children from an abusive state care system. Award-winning journalist Laura Sullivan has just completed a hard-hitting investigative series on the situation in Lakota Country airing now on NPR. To learn more about Daniel Sheehan’s work with Lakota Indians, visit the Lakota People’s Law Project website. Sheehan traced the institutionalization of state kidnapping of Native children back to the late William Janklow, a former South Dakota congressman, governor, and attorney general notorious for his role in what the the Lakota refer to as the “Reign of Terror” on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the years following the American Indian Movement-led occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. According to Sheehan, members of the George W. Bush administration tipped off Janklow on a Texas strategy to grab millions of dollars in federal subsidies by administering a psychological test devised by the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical corporation to children taken into protective custody. Replicating the strategy, South Dakota developed a mental health test failed by 98% of Native children, who then become “special needs” cases under federal law, with the state receiving up to $79,000 for each Indian child and the child being placed involuntarily on psychoactive drugs.

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Law and Disorder June 17, 2013


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Hosts Discussion On Snowden and Manning Cases.

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • There’s a lot of support out there for what Snowden revealed.
  • This big program of massive surveillance against all of us, internet surveillance, cyber wars, there’s a tremendous amount of support for him. Editorials in the times basically saying it’s not treason.
  • NYTimes:  Snowden not nearly as reckless as Bradley Manning (same position as Faiza Patel at Brennan Center)
  • Protecting Snowden and throwing Bradley Manning and the war crimes he revealed, under the bus.
  • This whole claim that it was a data dump by Bradley Manning that he went into the documents and dumped everything not knowing what was in them is false. I know its false from sitting at the trial.
  • I heard Bradley Manning testify as why he did each set of documents. The Iraq war logs, the Afghanistan war logs, the collateral murder video, the State Department cables.
  • In each case he came with a moral and political reason for doing them.
  • The fact that people are still accusing Bradley Manning of a data dump is outrageous and actually the prosecutors position.
  • Snowden did something really important, we’ve all known or suspected we’re under massive surveillance. We now have it confirmed and its as bad or worse as we could imagine. It’s every phone call we make, everyone, every single phone call in this United States. It’s a surveillance program against us.
  • What Bradley Manning revealed was the U.S. committing war crimes against others.
  • I think its easier for American people to hear, “we’re being surveilled than to care about the fact that America is committing war crimes all over the world” because that actually goes to the heart of an imperialist country.
  • Cypherpunks predicted exactly what happened: Surveillance is now cheap. You get decent quality storage of all German telephone calls on a certain type of computer for 30 million Euros including administrative overhead for pure storage.

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Attorney Heidi Boghosian:

  • It really does away with the standards of reasonable suspicion or probable cause to open an investigation.
  • It’s saying that we’ll open an investigation and this will be on information that hasn’t even happened.
  • Stored Data: The government has access to that. There’s data out there that you can never really get rid of. Corporate intelligence firms or military contractors working with the government comprise about 70 percent what’s given to the intelligence budget.
  • The government has to hire out contractors because they’re the only ones able to use this sophisticated technology.  The data that is collected, stored and resold, contains a high rate of inaccuracy.


Attorney Michael Smith:

  • Booze Allen which is the private contractor that Snowden worked for is part of the Carlyle Group.
  • The Carlyle group is a private equity firm that’s worth a 158 billion dollars. The ruling class in this country own a chunk of the Carlyle Group.
  • Clapper who’s know the head of national intelligence used to be a big executive with Booze Allan.
  • The head of Booze Allan used to be one of the main guys at the National Security Agency.
  • Privatizing Intelligence, the private sector has a duty to its share holders.

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Pardon Ed Snowden
Pardon or Free Bradley Manning
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitions

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America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy

The United States war machine has been on auto pilot for the past 65 years says our guest William Blum he’s author of the recently published America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About U.S. Foreign Policy and Everything Else.  This provocative book exposes the true motives of America’s foreign policy and outlines steps to take action.

William Blum:

  • All this while I was looking to find reasons for it, to explain this weird record.
  • What I was left with to believe that it’s world domination that the U.S. wants for various reasons.
  • Once you understand that, many things become clearer, much less confusing.
  • We’re dealing with a lifetime of indoctrination. It starts in kindergarten. People like you and I have a long battle on our hands to overcome this.
  • We’re subjected to the indoctrination means well and its the most honorable and liberal government in the world.
  • It’s reinforced in high school and college, on television, in the print media,  it’s a major task for the likes of you and I to overcome this upbringing.
  • It’s amazing the number of Americans that have seen through this upbringing despite this upbringing.
  • I think the main to understand with this man called Barack Obama, is that there’s nothing that he strongly believes in except being President of the United States.
  • The man doesn’t have any core beliefs. He’s not anti-empire, he’s not pro-empire, he likes being President.
  • He’ll do and say whatever it takes to remain in that office. In my opinion, in Europe he’d be regarded as center-right.
  • Look at the atrocities we carry out.
  • Samantha Power is the author of a book on humanitarian intervention. Obama appointing these two women with that philosophy shows that he supports that philosophy. We have to assume they’re believers in humanitarian intervention.

Guest – William Blum, has been a freelance journalist in the United States, Europe and South America.  His stay in Chile in 1972-3, writing about the Allende government’s “socialist experiment” and its tragic overthrow in a CIA-designed coup, instilled in him a personal involvement and an even more heightened interest in what his government was doing in various parts of the world. In the mid-1970’s, he worked in London with former CIA officer Philip Agee and his associates on their project of exposing CIA personnel and their misdeeds. His book on U.S. foreign policy, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, first published in 1995 and updated since, has received international acclaim.

dirtywars1 photo credit - Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield

The new documentary “Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield” is an unique look into the covert wars brought by the United States. The film follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill into Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen and analyzes expanded US drone warfare and the foreign policy that has allowed this destruction to take place. The film’s director Rick Rowley and Scahill went into these covert war zones to speak with families about the what they’ve seen and bring those stories back.  As we’ve reported on Law and Disorder, the Obama Administration has continued to normalize the Bush Administration policies by empowering the Joint Special Operations Command and the use of drones.

Rick Rowley:

  • The film is about the global covert war on terror.
  • Jeremy and I have war reporters for over a decade. I became a war reporter because I thought the global war on terror was the most important story of our generation – killed hundreds of thousands of people cost untold billions yet most of it was unfolding in the shadows.
  • Around the world today there are dozens of wars being fought in our name but without our knowledge and meaningful oversight.
  • When we started shooting this film we thought it was a film just about Afghanistan. What we were seeing is the covert war in Afghanistan was eclipsing the covert war.
  • More Afghans are killed and captured by covert units than by the entire 100 thousand strong NATO force that’s there.
  • So we began to film to see what was up behind that.
  • This is a unit that initially amounted to a few hundred guys who’s supposed to the most high level strategic missions, hostage rescue missions. If a nuclear weapon is stolen from the Ukraine they’d go and recapture it. That’s what they’re supposed to do.
  • They’re doing 15-20 raids a night across Afghanistan, thousands of raids a year, going after mid level Taliban field commanders.
  • The entire war is being fought by this clandestine group that wasn’t really built for this operation.
  • We started to trace where JSOC was operating, that brought us to Yemen, and Somalia. Under the AQNX order, JSOC was authorized to operate in 26 countries clandestinely. Now under Obama 78 countries.
  • I was staggered by the massive scale of this, the wholesale assassination machine.
  • Current kill lists: It’s a permanent cycle of violence that’s being managed around the world.
  • We interview Ron Weiden from the Senate Intelligence Committee. He’s a guy who’s trying to push for more disclosure and transparency in the Senate, but the entire time there’s a lawyer an aide inside the office who has to keep stopping him.
  • There are secret interpretations of laws that exist on the books but would be shocking to the American people if they knew about them.
  • We knocked on so many doors of night raids in Afghanistan, families shared stories with us of the most painful time in their life.
  • They think that if the American people could only hear their story and their story were proven to be true, that somehow it would matter and make a difference.
  • When we started this film 3 years ago, WBAI was talking about drones and kill lists, but it took until 6 months ago for that to work its way to editorial page of the Times and the Post.
  • I’ve been a war reporter for more than a decade.
  • Jeremy got on camera a number of whistle-blowers who are former operators or parts of JSOC, CIA people who are saying these kinds of discussion about blow back are happening inside their institutions.
  • A lot of them talk about this as “mowing the lawn” the jihadists, insurgency will rise up and you go and chop it off but the grass will rise again.
  • That’s permanently managing a level of acceptable chaos and violence. This war remains secret for a reason, that if everyone knew about it there would be a popular outrage.

Guest — Rick Rowley, is a director and cinematographer. Over the course of fifteen years, Richard Rowley, co-founder of Big Noise Films, has made multiple award-winning documentary features including Fourth World War and This Is What Democracy Looks Like. His shorts and news reports are also regularly featured on and commissioned by leading outlets including Al Jazeera, BBC, CBC, CNN International, Democracy Now!, and PBS. Rowley is a co-founder of the Independent Media Center. Rowley has been a Pulitzer Fellow, Rockefeller Fellow, a Jerome Foundation Fellow, and a Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellow.

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Law and Disorder June 10, 2013


Updates:

  • ‘We Steal Secrets’: State Agitprop by Chris Hedges
  • Banality of Don’t Be Evil – A Response To The Book – The New Digital Age
  • Michael Ratner Discusses Bradley Manning Trial – Hundreds of Protesters
  • Get Whistleblowers First Then Journalists
  • A Phone Call To Save Lynne Stewart’s Life:
  • Attorney General Eric Holder – 1 202 514 2001
  • White House President Obama – 1 202 456 1414
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons – Director Charles Samuels – 1 202 307 3198 ext 3

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Carry it Forward: Celebrate the Children of Resistance – 60th Anniversary of Rosenberg Execution

Today we speak to Robert Rosenberg, the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. He’s an author, activist, attorney and public speaker. He sued the FBI and CIA to force the release of 300 thousand previously secret documents about his parents. Robert founded the Rosenberg Fund For Children which provided educational and emotional needs of both targeted activist youth and children whose parents have been harassed, injured, jailed or died because or during their activism. This week the event Carry it Forward: Celebrate the Children of Resistance – 60th Anniversary of Rosenberg Execution  on Sunday June 16, 2013.

Robert Meeropol:

  • The Rosenberg Fund For Children is a public foundation that provides for the educational and the emotional needs of the children of targeted activists in the United States.
  • I founded this organization in 1990. We help hundreds of children of targeted activists.
  • In some ways you can say that the Rosenberg Fund For Children was a vehicle for me to create something positive in response to the destruction that was visited upon me when my parents were arrested when I was just 3 years old.
  • Judge Kaufman’s sentencing statement justifying a death sentence after a conviction for conspiracy to commit espionage by using the word treason.
  • The parallel today is the Bradley Manning case which is going on right at this moment. He is being charged with conspiracy to commit espionage under the exact same law that my parents were charged under.
  • The question being asked is: Is he a whistle-blower or is he a traitor?
  • We now know from the government’s own files that my parents had nothing to do with the secret of the atomic bomb.
  • The government wanted to make a big show trial and demonstrate that people who wanted to take this conscious driven action posed a threat to the entire nation.
  • Sixty years on, this case is just as relevant today as the day it was born.
  • The change that has occurred is the government learned the lessons of my parents’ case and has now figured out ways in post 911 America to make all the illegal activities that they engaged in in other to obtain this big show trial conviction in the 1950s legal today.
  • We went through hell between the years of the arrest and the execution. I grew up with this sense, this unmet need to do something about this.
  • It wasn’t until I was 43 years old in 1990 that I figured out what to do and that was to start a foundation in my parents name that would help children and young people in similar circumstances today.
  • Law and Disorder Interview On The Rosenbergs

Guest – Robert Meeropol,  the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. In 1953, when he was six years old, the United States Government executed his parents for “conspiring to steal the secret of the atomic bomb.” For more than 40 years he has been a progressive activist, author and public speaker. In the 1970’s he and his brother, Michael, successfully sued the FBI and CIA to force the release of 300,000 previously secret documents about their parents. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, graduated law school in 1985, and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar

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usa_two_approaches_to_homelessness_the_government_vs_the_people gilded city1

Welcome to the Gilded City of New York: Low Wage Workers Unite

Last month in an article titled Welcome to the Gilded City by The Nation, the collaborative work of editors compiled a detailed overview of Mayor Bloomberg’s legacy. The article assesses the various personas the New York mayor used to further specific agendas, among them are the “top cop” presiding over a vast surveillance program, the union buster waging war on organized labor, the imperialist undermining the city’s term limits. New York City’s income inequality has grown rapidly in the last 3 decades, outpacing New York state and the nation. The article points out that there were choices available to New York City’s government to counter this economic trend yet they’ve been basically ignored.

Lizzy Ratner:

  • We’re at a fulcrum moment in New York City, we’re at the end of the Bloomberg era, he is finally term limited at the end of this year.
  • In thinking about what New York City is now, we came upon a central theme and that is “inequality.”
  • Peel back the cellophane a little bit and what you see is deep struggle, deep poverty.
  • Because New York is an emblem sometimes for the larger country, what does it tells us about the country?
  • In 1980 about 21 percent of New York City’s population lived at or below the federal poverty line.
  • In the last 30 years we’ve had effectively no progress in the realm of fighting poverty in this city.
  • In 2011, about 400 thousand people or about 1 out of 10 of the city’s workers, worked by didn’t earn enough money to get out of poverty.
  • That same year about 600 thousand people earned 10 dollars an hour or less.
  • The point of the metaphor was to contrast these two New York Citys, these two different worlds. The gilded world, which is flashy, which everybody sees on TV, which is the one that’s been promoted by the Bloomberg administration.
  • There is this perception of Bloomberg as a great liberal icon. There is a certain disturbing truth to that in that liberalism is being defined these days as social progressiveism.
  • We have these sacrificed populations in the city which are being targeted.
  • The mayor took control of public schools, claimed control when he took office. The justification for that was this was a way to tame an unruly system, narrow the education gap between students of color and white students.
  • One of his signature failures (Bloomberg) was not addressing the horrifying inequality and job loss (during recession)
  • Bloomberg Obstructed or Vetoed:  Paid Sick Leave Law, Living Wage Bill, Anti-Predatory Lending Bill
  • If you want to look at Bloomberg’s failure around poverty you just need to look at homelessness. Homelessness had almost doubled under his tenure.
  • A lot of organizations and grass roots groups have started building power and have come together in various ways to change conditions for workers in this city.

Guest – Lizzy Ratner, co-editor of this Nation article.  Lizzy is a journalist and co-editor of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.

Past Law and Disorder interviews with Lizzy Ratner

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Law and Disorder June 3, 2013


Updates:

  • A Phone Call To Save Lynne Stewart’s Life:
  • Attorney General Eric Holder – 1 202 514 2001
  • White House President Obama – 1 202 456 1414
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons – Director Charles Samuels – 1 202 307 3198 ext 3

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Jeremy Hammond, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange: Michael Ratner

Michael Ratner discusses attending Jeremy Hammond guilty plea in open court last month, Bradley Manning’s trial that starts June 3, 2013 at Fort Meade and how a Fox News reporter feels the same chilling effect of free speech by having his investigative work under suspicion as co-conspirator or aiding and abetting.

Jeremy Hammond: “Now that I have pleaded guilty it is a relief to be able to say that I did work with Anonymous to hack Stratfor, among other websites,” according to a statement released by Hammond on Tuesday. “Those others included military and police equipment suppliers, private intelligence and information security firms, and law enforcement agencies. I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right.”

  • Jeremy Hammond pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to access a protected computer.
  • It’s under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
  • Jeremy Hammond was facing 32 years to life. He could be sentenced to up to 10 years.
  • Interestingly, Wikileaks doesn’t appear in what he pleaded to. He or the group uploaded some 5 million emails.
  • One of the emails is about a sealed indictment on my client and CCRs client Julian Assange.
  • Julian Assange: Jeremy is a political activist and whistle-blowing is one of the means he uses for political activism.
  • Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to 20 years in prison already. The key crime they’re trying to get Bradley for is aiding the enemy.
  • The government is sledge hammering any criticism from a military person.
  • Petition for Jeremy Hammond

Law and Disorder Co-host Attorney Michael Ratner,  President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a non-profit human rights litigation organization based in New York City and president of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) based in Berlin. Ratner and CCR are currently the attorneys in the United States for publishers Julian Assange and Wikileaks. He was co-counsel in representing the Guantanamo Bay detainees in the United States Supreme Court, where, in June 2004, the court decided his clients have the right to test the legality of their detentions in court. Ratner is also a past president of the National Lawyers Guild and the author of numerous books and articles, including the books The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book, Against War with Iraq and Guantanamo: What the World Should Know, as well as a textbook on international human rights.

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 Stop and Frisk Lawsuit Closing Arguments

Closing arguments were heard on both sides last week on the Stop and Frisk case known as Floyd v. City of New York. This is a class-action lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policy. The case charges the NYPD with a policy and practice of unreasonable, suspicion-less and racially discriminatory stops in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause barring racial discrimination.

Stop and Frisk has increased over 600 percent in New York City. In 2009 New York City, a record 576,394 people were stopped, 84 percent of whom were Black and Latino residents — although they comprise only about 26 percent and 27 percent of New York City’s total population respectively. Ten years of raw data obtained by court order from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) showed that stop-and-frisks result in a minimal yield of weapons and contraband.

CCR Senior Staff Attorney Darius Charney:

  • The closing was really interesting because the judge asked a lot of questions of both sides.
  • It was more like an oral argument as you would do in an Appeals Court.
  • This was a bench trial, there was a judge but no jury.
  • Because of that the judge herself took the role of asking a lot of questions of witnesses.
  • I think the police departments’ at least public position on this is really a problem created by a bunch of left wing lawyers and the media.
  • In our class action (8 years) there have been over 4.5 million recorded stops by the police department but the actual number of stops are probably higher. About 90 percent of that 4.5 million there is no discovery of criminal activity – 90 percent are released and not given a ticket.
  • The police department claims the focus of this program is to get illegal guns off the street about .13 percent results in the recovery of a gun.
  • You actually find a gun one or two times out of a thousand.
  • Reasonable, articulatable suspicion which the Supreme Court set out about 45 years ago – Terry v Ohio.
  • (NYPD) they were very frank about it and sincere when they said – Look most reported crime is black or latino suspect
  • If you’re talking about individualized suspicion just because someone happens to be the same race as crime suspect doesn’t make them suspicious.
  • The two most common reasons these police officers are checking off on the forms for why they stop people is furtive movements and high crime area.
  • They’ll try to muddy the waters by trying to mischaracterize what it is we’re actually complaining about. How can you criticize us for sending more police officers to high crime neighborhoods.
  • What we’re complaining about is how officers behave there and how they treat the people who live there.
  •  Opening statements: It’s difficult to try to synthesize that much evidence into an hour and a half.
  • This fight really goes back 14-15 years to the late 90s and what happened after the murder of Amadu Diallo.
  • The first lawsuit that they did, the Daniels Case came about because of the work of grassroots organizations.
  • Communities United For Police Reform
  • We anticipate by July we will know what she (the judge) will decide.
  • We learn the lesson if you leave it up to the police department and this mayoral administration to change things on their own, they’re not going to do it because they think what they’re doing is right.

Guest – Attorney Darius Charney,  senior staff attorney in the Racial Justice/Government Misconduct Docket.  He is currently the lead counsel on Floyd v. City of New York, a federal civil rights class action lawsuit challenging the New York Police Department’s unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices, and Vulcan Society Inc. v. the City of New York, a Title VII class action lawsuit on behalf of African-American applicants to the New York City Fire Department which challenges the racially discriminatory hiring practices of the FDNY.

photo by Brendan Smialowski USAFpilot-drone

Doubting Obama’s Resolve To Do Right: Ray McGovern

We continue our discussion on killing people using drone warfare with returning guest Ray McGovern. When President Obama delivered a major speech on counter-terrorism, he announced a shift in his administration’s use of drones. The Obama Administration has conducted hundreds of drone strikes in several countries, killing civilians and so far reported, four US citizens. Critics point out that as the Obama Administration assassinates its’ suspects, it also avoids the legal complications of detention. 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.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern:

  • It was a masterpiece of oratory and rhetoric, but it was deceptive through and through.
  • Those of us who had been watching this know he lied through his teeth on many occasions.
  • He has the power as we all know to release 86 prisoners (Guantanamo) in the next hour.
  • Why would he do all that? Why would he be afraid to take the drones away from the CIA?
  • Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s afraid. He’s afraid of what happened Martin Luther King Jr.
  • At a small dinner with progressive supporters – after these progressive supporters were banging on Obama before the election . . . Why don’t you do the things we thought you stood for? Obama turned sharply and said Don’t you remember what happened to Martin Luther King Jr.?
  • I’m convinced the President of the United States is afraid of the CIA.
  • Does he have any reason to fear the CIA? Well he sure as heck does. For those of your listeners who have not read James Douglas’ JFK and the Unspeakable, you need to read that, because it’s coming up on 50 years.
  • John Kennedy signed 2 executive orders just a month or so before he was killed. One of them said we’re pulling out a 1000 troops from South Vietnam. The other said we’re pulling out the bulk of the troops by 1965, we’re finished in Vietnam.
  • I think he’s just afraid and he shouldn’t have run for president if he was going to be this much of a wuss.
  • My father was professor of law at Fordham University for about 35 years. My daughter, my brother, their all lawyers. I have this notion that when someone comes in after building a record against torture and kidnapping, and black sites, and they come in and say we think this is bad but nobody should be prosecuted for it. .
  • It’s not a dichotomy here, it’s deliberate duplicity with a rhetorical flourish.

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.

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Law and Disorder March 3, 2010

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by Jim Douglass

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 – James W. Douglass, author and longtime peace activist.

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