Law and Disorder Radio

Law and Disorder January 13, 2014

Updates:

  • Lynne Stewart Released From Prison, Returns Home
  • Media, Pennsylvania Activists Come Forward
  • White House Report: “Liberty and Security in a Changing World”

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Mumia Abu-Jamal, Heidi Boghosian and Professor Johanna Fernandez

We at Law and Disorder have kept you updated on his case for the 10 years we’ve been broadcasting. It’s our pleasure to welcome Mumia Abu-Jamal as our special guest. Professor Johanna Fernandez joins us as Mumia calls from SCI Mahanoy in Frackville, Pennsylvania. Johanna is a Professor of History at Baruch College and co-coordinator of the newly launched campaign to bring Mumia home.

Mumia Abu-Jamal:

  • I remember with quite a degree of distinction receiving in the mail, a packet full of xeroxed FBI files.
  • I believe by 1971, I had left the party. I read through files that named names and detailed internal affairs of the Black Panther Party of Philadelphia, the national office, other organizations, activists all through out the city and the region.
  • We lived in communal apartments and houses. We lived together we worked out of the same offices, we spent all day together with each other.
  • To read about lies that were in those files, and the people that you knew for years that were FBI informants, stuff like that, it was absolutely mind blowing.
  • Media, Pennsylvania story: I think they are the linear ancestors of Edward Snowden.
  • These were anti-war people for the most part, living their own lives but willing to make a contribution to the movement, because they were part of the movement.
  • It’s interesting that these file come out now, because for someone who has been reading and writing recently, about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., people know now that the FBI taped hotel rooms where Martin and Ralph David Abernathy and other civil rights activist were staying.
  • They tried to use those tapes to blackmail Martin King and actually force him into suicide.
  • This was all part of Hoover’s plan to destroy the Black Freedom Movement and any movement that was against what the government was doing.
  • It’s interesting that Law and Disorder is talking about 9/11 when right there in New York you have an estimated 100 cops who used 9/11 to justify scamming the public. Cops, prison guards and a few firefighters.
  • When you think about the ordinary heroes. These are people whose names are not known. Those nameless black mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters, they made that movement possible. (Black Freedom Movement)
  • Even if you think of Edward Snowden. He’s an average guy, no college education, he’s like a computer whiz. Now he got a great job and he resolved in his mind, in his heart, in his soul, that he would not be silent about the things he saw and heard.
  • BringMumiaHome.com
  • Law and Disorder Interview – The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal by J.Patrick O’Connor

Guest – Mumia Abu-Jamal is a renowned journalist from Philadelphia who has been in prison since 1981 and was on death row since 1983 for allegedly shooting Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. After decades of appeals, he left death row in 2012 but is still facing a life sentence. He is known as the “Voice of the Voiceless” for his award-winning reporting on police/state violence brutality and other social and racial epidemics that plague communities of color in Philadelphia and throughout the world.

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redacted-doc blog-ff-cellphone-privacy- crop of an image by Arlen via Flickr

Federal Court Allows For DHS Laptop Searches At Border

Each year, thousands of American citizens returning from abroad are subjected to searches of their laptops, cell phones and other personal devices. The Department of Homeland Security claims it has the right to such searches regardless of whether the traveler is suspected of wrongdoing.

A federal court recently dismissed a 2010 lawsuit against the DHS. The ACLU, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, filed the suit on behalf of Pascal Abidor, a dual French-American citizen whose laptop was searched and confiscated at the Canadian border, as well as the National Press Photographers Association and the NACDL. Abidor was traveling from Montreal to NY on Amtrak when his laptop was searched and taken by customs officers. He was questioned, taken off the rain in handcuffs and held in a cell for several hours. When his laptop was returned, many of his files, chats and photos had been searched.

Attorney Brian Hauss:

  • The agent opened Mr Abidor’s laptop and started looking through the files on his desktop.
  • She found a couple pictures that she showed to agents around her. She turned the laptop around to see what he thought about the pictures she identified.
  • One was a picture of a Hamas rally in Israel, and the other picture was of a Hezbollah rally in Lebanon.
  • Mr Abidor explained that these were related to his graduate work in Islamic studies.
  • The agents thought these pictures were suspicious, and they took Mr. Abidor off the train, the train left without him. They put him in handcuffs and placed him in a holding cell where he was forced to wait for several hours.
  • While he was there, the agents interrogated him about his studies, his associations, his interests in Islam, etc.
  • Eventually they decided there was no evidence of wrong doing. They decided to let him go but not before seizing all his electronic devices and specifically detaining his laptop for an indefinite period of time.
  • When they returned his laptop 11 days later he was able to determine from the last open date on his files, that the government had actually inspected his personal photographs a transcript of a chat he had with his girlfriend, copies of his email correspondence, class notes, journal articles, tax returns, his graduate school transcript and even his resume.
  • He decided to come to us and we brought a lawsuit on his behalf challenging this policy.
  • David House is a very talented computer programmer who lives in Cambridge, Massachussetts and he was at one time deeply involved in the Bradley Manning support network.
  • The government figured out that David House was related to Chelsea Manning and they wanted to question him in connection with the Wikileaks investigation.
  • They set up an alert in the data base, known as the Text Database. It let the government know whenever Mr. House was leaving the country.
  • When Mr House returned (from leaving the country) government agents were waiting for him at Chicago O’Hare.
  • They interrogated Mr. House about wikileaks and his political activities and confiscated his laptop and electronic devices.
  • When we brought a lawsuit on Mr. House’s behalf and actually settled with the government, the DHS notes after reviewing all of his materials after going through every file on his laptop . . concluded there was absolutely no evidence to seize these devices. There was strong reason to believe they knew this from the beginning and they knew they couldn’t get a probable cause warrant by a judge.
  • As we understand it, the DHS can put anyone it likes into the Text Database.
  • Our understanding is that from October 1, 2008 to June 2, 2010 more than 6,500 people.
  • What we asked for in our FOIA request was the DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Impact Report on border searches. We ultimately got the report with some redactions pertaining to the government’s legal analysis of why its allowed to engage in suspicionless searches.

Guest – Brian Hauss,  the William J. Brennan Fellow with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. At the ACLU, he has been involved in litigation challenging the federal government’s suspicionless search and seizure of laptops and other electronic devices at the international border. Brian is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. After graduation from law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Marsha Berzon of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

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