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Archives for November, 2013


Law and Disorder November 25, 2013


Updates:

  • Socialist Wins Seat on Seattle City Council

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Alex Odeh Case – Abdeen Jabara

On October 11, 1985, prominent Palestinian-American leader Alex Odeh was killed by a pipe bomb at the offices of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, where he worked as the group’s western regional director in Santa Ana, California. Now, the FBI and Justice Department are being urged to renew its investigation into this shocking political murder. history.

Very quickly, the FBI named the militant Jewish Defense League, or JDL, as a focus of its investigations. Yet, more than two decades later, no one has been questioned or indicted for Odeh’s murder. Today we welcome back civil rights attorney Abdeen Jabara who helped found the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He joins us to talk more about the reopening of this political murder investigation 28 years later.

Attorney Abdeen Jabara:

  • The FBI says the case has not been closed and its an ongoing investigation.
  • We’re talking about 28 years after the fact.
  • Congresswoman Sanchez from Orange County, California from the 46th district wrote a letter to Eric Holder and to the FBI requesting some closure on this case and she got back a very unsatisfactory reply.
  • She has joined with several other Congress people, John Conyers of Michigan and others to ask for hearings in the Judiciary Committee of the House on this case.
  • There have been many ups and downs in the case since Alex was killed.
  • Several people have been arrested in the case but not for the assassination of Alex Odeh.
  • The JDL was created in 1968 by Meir Kahane.
  • Chairman of our organization, Jim Abarez was contacted by the FBI and was told that he, myself and two other individuals were placed on a hit list by the Jewish Defense Organization.
  • Prior to the killing of Alex Odeh, there were a number of incidences. We had our regional office in Boston burned. We had attacks here at our office in New York City. A number of telegrams, threatening calls, all types of harassment was occurring on a daily basis and then Alex Odeh was killed.
  • He left 3 beautiful daughters and a widow in Orange County and they are active to this day and his brother is active in trying to maintain the pressure to keep this case alive and bring justice about.
  • The Israeli government has not been cooperative with this FBI investigation.
  • The fact of the matter is that Arab-Americans have little or no political power in this country.
  • I think there is a possibility of movement and we need to have people contact Eric Holder’s office. The FBI is part of the Justice Department, the FBI is responsible for investigating these cases.

Guest – Attorney Abdeen Jabara, co-founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

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Public Enemy: Confessions Of An American Dissident

A sequel to Fugitive Days, Public Enemy: Confessions of An American Dissident chronicles Bill Ayers life after the Weather Underground. Since his memoir Fugtive Days was published September 10, 2001 about his life in Students for a Democratic Society and later the Weather Underground, Ayers was under attack by right wing media which tied him to the catastrophes of 9/11 based on a New York Times interview quote. Bill Ayers became famous in the early 1970s as a leader of the Weather Underground; he is known to have participated in the bombings of New York City Police Department headquarters in 1970, the US Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. He surfaced in the mid-1970s, when the government charges against him were dismissed for prosecutorial misconduct.

His new book Public Enemy starts during the 2008 presidential debate in which his neighbor Barack Obama in the Hyde Park community of Chicago was confronted about their association. The book also describes how Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn rebuilt their lives as public figures. Ayers became a professor of education at the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois.

Bill Ayers:

  • The American dissident part came pretty naturally. I grew up in the heat of the civil rights movement.
  • I came of age when the world was on fire.
  • In our own country it was the black freedom movement finding the moral agenda for the whole nation and I found myself drawn inexorably into it.
  • The public enemy part comes from continuing to live a long life as a radical, and as a public radical and not being willing to trim my sails or my revolutionary hope stream spirit.
  • Come the 2008 election, the national election. I was thrown unwittingly, unwillingly into that national campaign.
  • The narrative that Barack Obama palled around with terrorists, that Barack Obama had a shady Palestinian friend or the narrative that he hung around with a black nationalist preacher, that narrative was spun by Hilliary Clinton long before Palin and McCain picked it up.
  • The ole American favorite past time, guilt by association, that’s how I became a public enemy.
  • I was a kid coming out of a privileged background. I went to the University of Michigan and I couldn’t sleep for about 2 years because the world was on fire.
  • I was arrested opposing the war in Vietnam. I spent ten days in county jail and there I met a man whose wife just founded a freedom school.
  • I marched out of jail into my first teaching job. For me teaching was always linked deeply with the quest for social justice. I returned to teaching in 1978, after our first child was born.
  • The ideal is that every human being is of incalculable value in a country that found on the idea that we are all equal.
  • What we ought to be demanding is an educational system that creates free people, people with minds of their own, people who are able to interrogate the world before them.
  • In Nazi, Germany, they had wonderful schools that taught amazing literature and music, arts and so on, and they also had a system based on obedience and conformity and doing what you’re told and following the rules. That’s a recipe for catastrophe in any free society.
  • What I’ve spent most of my adult life doing is fighting for an educational system where the fullest development of each becomes the condition for the full development of all and the fullest development of all becomes the condition for the full development of each.
  • Who are you? How did you get here? Why are you in the freedom movement? What are you trying to accomplish and where do you want to go? The message of those questions are revolutionary.
  • The Highlander Folk School
  • We don’t have a king that can save us. We are sovereign.
  • Those of us who still think of ourselves as revolutionaries living in difficult times, dark times, have to find ways to become movement builders. Movement building is on the agenda. Bringing those together who are working in various fields to change the frame of the discussion.

Guest – William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior Bill Ayers University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), member of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, oral history, creative non-fiction, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament.  A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College, Columbia University, Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise.

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Law and Disorder November 18, 2013


Updates:

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Local Police Departments and Mass Surveillance Technology

As technology becomes more available to local police departments, mass surveillance, data collection and retention are now rapidly expanding. There are third parties involved profiting from collecting data and selling it back to various agencies and governments down the line. There are many concerns including the reasonable expectation of privacy in public and the build up of individual digital dossiers. We’re joined today by Assistant Professor Law Stephen Rushin at the University of Illinois College of Law. In his recently published paper The Legislative Response to Mass Police Surveillance, Rushin discusses the rise of expanding advanced police surveillance and public privacy.

Attorney Stephen Rushin:

  • Traditionally law enforcement have utilized a bunch of different technological replacements for traditional behavior.
  • Law enforcement in the past might have tried to say, isolate individuals that were speeding. Before the advent of radar, the ability to measure this in a technological way, they had ways of simply following people.
  • So, once law enforcement had the ability to monitor speed electronically, that was a means of dramatically improving the efficiency on an otherwise lawful police activity.
  • Initially these technological innovations seem to be a relative good thing but in recent years there’s been a movement in local law enforcement to utilize extreme data retention with things like Automatic License Plate Readers, security cameras with facial recognition.
  • These tools allow law enforcement to monitor an entire community in a relatively invasive way without invading any legally protected areas of privacy.
  • Local law enforcement is trying to share this data across jurisdictional lines.
  • We have 18 thousand different local police departments.
  • Once that data gets shared, its essentially out in the open.
  • These private automatic license plate readers are put up all across the country to monitor the whereabouts of cars.
  • Whenever someone is driving in public, you don’t expectation of privacy in your movements.
  • What’s interesting is these private third parties are working with law enforcement and sharing that data.
  • We are actually just starting to learn the dangers of big data collection by the state.
  • If I collect years of data from automatic license plate readers, I’d have a pretty good digital dossier of where one individual person has been over the last two years.
  • I know stuff about where that person goes during the day. I know about potentially their political affiliation.
  • If you allow local law enforcement to collect copious amounts of data on an individuals’ whereabouts, then you potentially allow them to know a lot about their citizens.
  • We need to distinguish between observational comparison and what I call indiscriminate data collection.
  • The proposal I make is that we need to be concerned about the length of time local law enforcement retain data.
  • The ACLU is doing terrific work, surveying police departments to see what kind of data they’re collecting via surveillance.
  • There’s a lot of questions about how ALPR work has effected minority groups especially Muslims in the UK.
  • Evidence has emerged that authorities used ALPR to surveil Muslims in the UK.
  • Social Science Research Center

Guest – Attorney Stephen Rushin, research focuses on criminal law, criminal procedure, and policing. His ongoing research uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the Justice Department’s implementation of structural reform litigation in American police departments. He has previously published articles on advanced surveillance technologies, police interrogation procedures, juvenile justice policy, and federal sentencing laws. Rushin holds a J.D. from Berkeley Law, where he served on the law review. He received a B.A. in government from the University of Texas, where he graduated with high honors. Rushin is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program at Berkeley.

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

JFK and 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 Khrushchev 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. Douglassauthor and 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 11, 2013


Updates:

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Lawyers You’ll Like: Attorney Brigitt Keller

On our Lawyers You’ll Like series we’re joined today by Attorney Brigitt Keller. She’s the Executive Director of the National Police Accountability Project (NPAP).  Brigitt holds a law degree from Fribourg University Law School in her native Switzerland and an LLM in American Law from Boston University.  She is admitted to practice law in New York.  Prior to attending law school, Brigitt counseled victims of domestic violence and was instrumental in founding the Swiss National Council of Women’s Shelters.  In addition to her engagement for NPAP, Brigitt is a fellow at the International Center for Conciliation and occasionally teaches conflict resolution workshops.

Attorney Brigitt Keller:

  • NPAP’s mission is to hold law enforcement officers including prison personnel accountable for civil rights violations and police misconduct and brutality.
  • As an organization we provide training and support for civil rights attorneys, legal workers and community activists.
  • We also work with other organizations with similar efforts to change policy and practices and provide relevant information to the public.
  • We see increasing disproportionate measures taken by police.
  • The police (NYPD) no longer stop people when there is suspicious activity. They preventively sweep up hundreds of thousands of young men of color.
  • When tasers were initially brought on the market, they were really sold to the public with the argument that they would be used instead of firearms.
  • What we observe today and this counts for all over the country is that tasers are used in cases where there would never ever be a justification for the use of a firearm.
  • When you think about why should we have police, its really to protect the people of this country,
  • Young people of color have a very good sense of when policing is legitimate and when its not legitimate.
  • These strategies make the community very unsafe. People will not call the police if the police behaves like an occupying army.
  • I find the involvement of community activists and families of victims incredibly important.
  • There is a different awareness today about police misconduct.
  • I want to make clear that damage has been done already – that the fact that the judge was recused from the case with in my opinion, no valid reason. Secondly, the police are allowed to violate the rights of New Yorkers until the stay will be lifted.
  • My interest in the law started initially by working for 7 years in a shelter for domestic violence victims.
  • Police violence is something truly international. Even in a country like Switzerland where crime numbers are pretty low, there is police violence.
  • I find it important that there is no abuse of power and police violence is abuse of power.
  • www.nlg-npap.org

Guest – Attorney Brigett Keller – Executive Director of the National Police Accountability Project (NPAP).  Brigitt holds a law degree from Fribourg University Law School in her native Switzerland and an LLM in American Law from Boston University.  She is admitted to practice law in New York.  Prior to attending law school, Brigitt counseled victims of domestic violence and was instrumental in founding the Swiss National Council of Women’s Shelters.  In addition to her engagement for NPAP, Brigitt is a fellow at the International Center for Conciliation and occasionally teaches conflict resolution workshops.

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A Panel Discussion: Militarizing, Domestic Spying, and the Boycott of Israel

We hear a presentation by Anna Calcutt (New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership – NYACT), NYC-based BDS activist, will supply background on the conception and planning of the Cornell-Technion campus in NYC, along with reasons to oppose The Technion–including its deep-rooted ties with the Israeli weapons industry and military, the growth of the anti-Technion campaign, and what needs to be done next.

Recorded by Deep Dish TV

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Law and Disorder November 4, 2013


Updates:

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Pan African Solidarity Hague Campaign to Delegitimize the ICC

In the month June last year, the Pan-African Solidarity Hague Committee delivered a petition to the International Criminal Court at the Hague, Netherlands demanding they prosecute the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, and NATO for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya, Cote d’lvoire, Haiti and the US. This campaign began in May of 2011 when thousands gathered to protest the US/NATO bombing of Libya, attacks on Zimbabwe and the racist assault against African-Americans in the United States. 16 months after delivering the petition and sending follow up letters, the Pan African Solidarity Hague Committee haven’t received a response.  The organization is now reaching out to National Lawyers Guild members and law students to help expose the International Criminal Court.

Attorney Roger Wareham:

  • The International Criminal Court was established in 2001-2002, supposedly to replace the different ad-hoc international tribunals that had been set up to deal with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • It’s supposed to be even handed, no double standard – everyone is held to the same level of accountability.
  • The membership, you have to sign on to be a part of it. The United States was closely involved in the process of setting up the ICC.
  • The U.S. insisted that it would not be subject to prosecution by the ICC, although under the Security Council of the United Nations could recommend cases for the ICC.
  • Given the plethora of human rights violations and war crimes that have been committed around the world, the only people that the ICC is presently prosecuting are Africans.
  • The only prosecutions have been of Africans.
  • Our involvement in taking it to the ICC was in particular to expose its nature that its really not an international tribunal that would look at the question of war crimes across the board and that its really another instrument in the West’s arsenal of the exploitation of Africa.
  • Ostensibly, dealing with human rights violations, the ICC has zeroed in on Africa.
  • There’s been a response and rebellion among several of the African countries around this clear bias.
  • Three of the five permanent members are not on the ICC, Russia, United States and China.
  • I think what we want to do is we want a single standard or no ICC.
  • Email: D12M@aol.com
  • www.PASHC2012.blogspot.com

Guest – Attorney Roger Wareham, a member of the December 12th Movement, an organization of African people which organizes in the Black and Latino community around human rights violations, particularly police terror. Wareham is also the International Secretary-General of the International Association Against Torture (AICT), a non-governmental organization that has consultative status before the United Nations.

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Lawyers You’ll Like – Attorney Mel Wulf

We’re joined today by Attorney Mel Wulf, former legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union for 15 years. He was a law partner with former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark during the Kennedy Administration and much more. Wulf was part of some of the greatest contributions to the civil rights movement. He’s now retired after practicing law for 54 years. As part of our Lawyers You’ll Like series, we talk with Wulf about his work with the ACLU during the early 60s, and also about the forming of the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee.

Attorney Mel Wulf:

  • Phil Agee was a dissident CIA agent who spent decades working against the CIA, published a couple of books.
  • He lost his passport because when the dissidents took over the embassy in Tehran in 1979, the New York Post carried a story accusing Phil of helping the students who’d invaded the embassy to put together all of that written material that had been shredded.
  • It was another New York Post bald faced lie.
  • The State Department, based upon that story revoked his passport.
  • I had represented Phil Agee, I was his principle lawyer for 30 years.
  • Agee was very widely disliked in Washington because he was well known to be a CIA dissident who disclosed the names of many CIA agents.
  • If Snowden went the same route today, he would do even worse in this Supreme Court than I did. That’s why Snowden won’t get his passport, thanks to me.
  • I was for the workers and not for the bosses and I’ve always been for the workers and not for the bosses, which I think is the distinguishing political factor in our world. Which side are you on?
  • I got my Bachelors Degree in ’52 and I had a Navy Commission which I had gotten from the New York State Maritime Academy earlier on.
  • The draft board sent me a 1A notice, I applied to Columbia and when I finished Columbia they sent me another 1A notice because the draft was still on. I spent 2 years in the Navy as a Liuetenant Junior Grade Officer in Southern California.
  • I went to work at the ACLU in 1958 as the assistant legal director, in 1962 I was given the job of the legal director of the ACLU.
  • I had actually been going down to Mississippi from 1961 to 1962, working with then one of the two black lawyers who were practicing in Mississippi.
  • We tried a couple of capitol cases in Mississippi. I continued to argue the systematic exclusion of blacks from the jury.
  • I finally got a case up to the Supreme Court on that issue.
  • Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee: We had several hundred lawyers who went down to Mississippi for periods of a week or two. They were representing people being arrested during the Mississippi summer.
  • Most of the judges allowed these lawyers to make some sort of presentation.

Guest – Attorney Mel Wulf, former legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union for 15 years. He was a law partner with former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark during the Kennedy Administration and much more. Wulf was part of some of the greatest contributions to the civil rights movement. He’s now retired after practicing law for 54 years.

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