Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for July, 2015


Law and Disorder July 27, 2015


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Cuban Embassy Reopens in Washington DC After 54 Years

The Cuban Embassy had closed down in 1961. It reopened on Monday July 20, 2015. The Cuban flag was flown in front of the three-story building in Washington D.C. Our own Michael Ratner and Michael Smith were there and report back. Let Cuba Be Cuba: An Embassy Re-Opens In Washington by Michael Steven Smith.

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 Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder, 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.

Law and Disorder Co-host Michael Steven Smith is the author, editor, and co-editor of many books, mostly recently Imagine: Living In A Socialist U.S.A. and “The Emerging Police State,” by William M. Kunstler. He has testified before committees of the United States Congress and the United Nations on human rights issues. Mr. Smith lives and practices law in New York City with his wife Debby, where on behalf of seriously injured persons he sues insurance companies and occasionally the New York City Police Department. Michael Smith has also organized and chaired the Left Forum.

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Greece Economic Crisis, More Austerity And The Plan Moving Forward

Two weeks ago we spoke with Dan Georgakas, a regular columnist for the Greek American newspaper the National Herald. Dan is the co-author of the book Detroit, I Do Mind Dying. He joins us for an update.

Guest – Dan Georgakas, regular columnist for the National Herald, the leading Greek American weekly newspaper co-author of Detroit: I Do Mind Dying and co-editor of Solidarity Forever: An Oral History of the IWW.  He was a frequent contributor to now defunct Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora and the Journal of Modern Hellenism. Dan has taught at NYU, CUNY, Van Arsdale Labor College, Columbia University and University of Oklahoma.

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Susan Rosenberg, An American Radical Discusses President Obama’s Record Of Pardons And Commutations

Using his presidential pardon power sparingly, President Barack Obama recently ordered the release of 46 nonviolent drug offenders. Despite his calls for reducing the size of the nation’s prison population, and despite making history as the first president to visit a federal prison, his record on pardons and commutations is not great. According the U.S. Department of Justice which has recorded clemency statistics since William McKinley presidency, Obama has granted the least number of pardons in history. President Obama also has the 4th lowest number of recorded commutations.

Guest – Susan Rosenberg is a human rights and prisoners rights advocate, adjunct lecturer, communications consultant, award-winning writer, public speaker and a formerly incarcerated person.  Her memoir, An American Radical, details her 16 years in federal prison as well as her conclusions about her prison experience and her past She was released from prison in 2001 through executive clemency by then President Bill Clinton. Upon her release she worked at American Jewish World Service for 12 years beginning as a writer then becoming the director of communications. Post-AJWS Susan has worked extensively in the nonprofit communications field with a focus on human rights and international development.. She is the founder of Sync It Communications, a communications-consulting group working on strategic communications with an emphasis on international human rights and criminal justice. She is also an adjunct lecturer at Hunter College and a member of the prison writing committee of PEN America. Susan has spoken widely at conferences and universities on prison issues. She is working on another book as well as other creative projects.

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Law and Disorder July 20, 2015


Updates:

  • Proposal To Add Women To Central Park Statues. Yes! But How About Black Women? Such As Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman.
  • Yes, Victory For Iran, But At Its Heart Still Imperialism, Just Softer And With Israel’s 200 Nukes?

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The Ongoing Racial Crisis In The United States

In his recent article No ‘Je Suis Charleston’?: The De-politicization of Black Oppression veteran grassroots activist Ajamu Baraka asks where is the international solidarity with African Americans and world leaders? He joins us to discuss the ongoing racial crisis in the United States and its connection with the capitalist model.

Guest – Ajamu Baraka, Longtime activist, veteran of Black Liberation Movement, Human Rights defender, Former founding director of US Human Rights Network, currently Public Intervenon for Human Rights with Green Shadow Cabinet, member of Coordinating Committee of Black Left Unity Network and Associate Fellow at IPS.  He is a human rights defender whose experience spans three decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles.

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 Legal Framework To Litigate Climate Change Gains Traction

In a recent development, courts are requiring governments to take adequate actions to limit greenhouse gas emissions. This past June in the Netherlands, the news spread as judges ordered governments under the Kyoto Protocol to step up their game to protect their citizens from the dangerous impacts of climate change. Urgenda  OurChildrenTrust.org

Guest – Eleanor Stein, a judge and an energy and environmental lawyer specializing in climate change. She teaches law of climate change: domestic & international at Albany Law School and the State University of New York. She is on the board of Eco-Viva, a US group in solidarity with rural sustainability and climate adaptation organizers in El Salvador and she is currently completing an LLM degree in international climate change law at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.

Guest – Alex Geert Castermans is Professor of Private Law at Leiden University. He is interested in the interaction between European Law and Dutch private law.  His human rights writings include exploration of the legal liability of Dutch parent companies for subsidiaries’ involvement in violations of fundamental, internationally recognized rights, including environmental rights.  He is currently writing on issues of poverty and climate change.

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Law and Disorder July 13, 2015


Updates:

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Steven Salaita Hired by American University of Beirut

In what we can view as a major victory for supporters of Palestinian human rights fired Professor Steven Salaita has been hired at the American University in Beirut in the American Studies Department. The American Association of University Professors calls Steven Salaita’s firing one of the significant violations of academic freedom in this decade. Nationwide over 5000 academics pledged to boycott the university resulting in the cancellation of dozens of scheduled talks and conferences at the University of Illinois. The University of Illinois’ action was part of a broader campus crackdown on Palestinian human rights activism that threatens both the foundational role of the university as a place of critical thinking and debate and the ability to advocate for Palestinian rights.

Guest – Professor Steven Salaita,  former associate professor of English at Virginia Tech. He is the author of six books and writes frequently about Arab Americans, Palestine, Indigenous Peoples, and decolonization. His current book project is entitled Images of Arabs and Muslims in the Age of Obama.Steven grew up in Bluefield, Virginia, to a mother from Nicaragua (by way of Palestine) and a father from Madaba, Jordan.  Books by Salaita,   his upcoming book is titled Uncivil Rights and The Limits Of Academic Freedom by Haymarket Press.

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Greece Economic Crisis 2015 Update

Earlier this year we spoke with regular columnist for the National Herald Dan Georgakas about the historic election as the people of Greece voted in the anti-austerity party of Syriza, led by Alexis Tsipiras winning a 149 seats of the 300 seat Parliament. Today, the economic and political state in Greece is in a tremendous state of flux.  Will Greece leave the EU and the Eurozone? Will its debt be written down and restructured?

Guest – Dan Georgakas, regular columnist for the National Herald, the leading Greek American weekly newspapero co-author of Detroit: I Do Mind Dying and coeditor of Solidarity Forever: An Oral History of the IWW.  He was a frequent contributor to now defunct Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora and the Journal of Modern Hellenism. Dan has taught at NYU, CUNY, Van Arsdale Labor College, Columbia University and University of Oklahoma.

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Law and Disorder July 6, 2015


Updates:

  • Michael Ratner: Julian Assange Update
  • Wikileaks Continues To Release Cables
  • 17 Secret Documents Revealed On Trade And Services Agreement
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Cables Released
  • 70 Thousand Saudi Cables Released
  • Espionnage Élysée

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Eli Smith:  Woody Guthrie – 100th Centennial Celebration

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912, in Okemah, Oklahoma.  Music festivals around the country mark his centennial.  Many know Woody Guthrie by the song, “This Land Is Your Land” but he recorded much more and the bulk of those songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Woody was very productive, he was a writer, a cartoonist, and a biographer.  “Roots of Woody Guthrie: Celebrating Woody at 100? Down Home Radio Show

Eli Smith:

  • He was born on July 14, Bastille Day. He moved to Brooklyn in 1940. He was a radical guy, a socialist. His father was a successful business man in Oklahoma during the boom times.
  • He had grown up in a stable middle class family. His mother suffered from Huntington disease which killed Woody Guthrie in 1967 at the age of 55.
  • Woody Guthrie did travel with migrant workers, of course there were hundreds of thousands of migrants riding the rails.
  • In California, Woody started his career also as a radio personality,  he was already writing and painting, he was a multi-faceted artist.
  • Woody loved Will Rogers, another Oklahoman, he was a Native American and stand up comic.
  • Not only was he (Woody) a writer and performer of songs, he also wrote poetry and prose and newspaper opinion pieces.
  • He was also a talented painter and visual artist.
  • His autobiographical novel, Bound for Glory was published in 1943.
  • Woody Guthrie had 8 children over the course of his life. He did several albums of children’s songs for the Folkways Records.
  • He composed This Land Is Your Land to a response to that song (God Bless America)
  • Since that time its been sanitized because they took out the more communistic verses, it’s kind of a second national anthem.
  • “Roots of Woody Guthrie: Celebrating Woody at 100? Down Home Radio Show

Guest – Eli Smith (host/producer) is a banjo player, writer, researcher and promoter of folk music living in New York City. Eli is a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist.  He puts together two major folk festivals annually, the Brooklyn Folk Festival in the Spring and Washington Square Park Folk Festival in the Fall.  He has appeared as a guest on terrestrial radio stations such as WBAI, WNYC, WKCR and WDST in New York and KPFA, KPFK and KUCI in California.

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National Lawyers Guild Honors Co-host Michael Smith Champions Of Justice 2015

Michael Steven Smith is a New York City attorney and author. For the last 10 years he has been a co-host with Michael Ratner and Heidi Boghosian of the radio show Law and Disorder which is heard on WBAI and 71 stations across the country. Smith is the author or editor of a number of books including most recently with Michael Ratner “Who Killed Che: How the CIA Got Away With Murder” and with Frances Goldin and Debby Smith  “Imagine:  Living in a Socialist USA”.   The Cuban publishing house Ciencias Sociales translated and published his book on Che, which was featured at the 2015 Havana International Book Fair, where it was presented at the University of Havana Lae School by Ricardo Alarcon, the former President of the Cuban National Assembly, who also contributed the introduction.  The book is dedicated to his friend Len Weinglass, the main attorney for the Cuban Five, for whose release Smith worked.  Smith also wrote “Notebook of a Sixties Lawyer:  An Unrepentant Memoir” and a book about Guild lawyers called “Lawyers You’ll Like”.

He has been a member of the National Lawyers Guild since the 60s when he started a movement law firm in Detroit. Before going into private practice in New York City representing seriously injured persons he worked at Harlem Legal Services, Queens Legal Services, and directed Seafarers Legal Services.

Smith was educated at the University of Wisconsin.  He lives in New York City with his wife Debby and talking parrot Charlie Parker.

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