Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for January, 2016


Law and Disorder February 1, 2016


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CCR Human Rights Group Returns From Israel

Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights Attorney Vince Warren returned from Palestine Israel last month where he was accompanied by CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy and CCR Deputy Legal Director Maria LaHood.  We talk with Vince Warren about what they saw, with whom they met, and the current activities of the CCR in support of the Palestinian people and human rights in Israel Palestine.

Guest – Vince Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He oversees CCR’s groundbreaking litigation and advocacy work, which includes using international and domestic law to hold corporations and government officials accountable for human rights abuses; challenging racial, gender and LGBT injustice; and combating the illegal expansion of U.S. presidential power and policies such as illegal detention at Guantanamo, rendition, and torture. Prior to his tenure at CCR, Vince was a national senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, where he litigated civil rights cases, focusing on affirmative action, racial profiling, and criminal justice reform. Vince was also involved in monitoring South Africa’s historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, and worked as a criminal defense attorney for the Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn. Vince is a graduate of Haverford College and Rutgers School of Law.

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American Exceptionalism And The Proto-Fascist State

American exceptionalism is a term referencing the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty.  Our guest Todd Pierce has written about this and American militarism on sites such as MondoWeiss.com, Consortiumnews and Truthout. We’ll also talk with him about the Obama Administration’s expression of “American exceptionalism.” How has military rule degenerated the principles within U.S. Constitution? Todd Pierce points out that there is a continuity between the Obama Administration – today’s neoconservatives and the law under fascist Germany in the 30s and 40s.

Guest – Todd Pierce, retired Major in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions. In the course of that assignment, he researched and reviewed the complete records of military commissions held during the Civil War and stored at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

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Law and Disorder January 25, 2016


Updates:

  • Co-host Michael Smith Makes Presidential Election Prediction

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Mumia Abu-Jamal Health Lawsuit Update

For three days in late December, the 3rd Circuit Federal District Court heard Mumia Abu-Jamal’s lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for refusal to provide him treatment for Hepatitis C.  Testimony from Dr. Paul Noel, Chief Medical Officer of the Pennsylvania DOC revealed that under the DOC’s new protocols only 5 out of an estimated 5,000 prisoners with chronic Hepatitis C were being treated with the new anti-viral drug beginning this fall – less than 1/10th of one percent.

The trial ended with a stunning revelation that the lawyer representing the DOC had knowingly introduced false evidence. Dr. Noel was the final witness; he stated that an affidavit introduced by defense attorney Laura Neal bearing his signature was NOT his actual testimony. It quickly became evident that the DOC attorney had ignored Dr. Noel’s repeated requests not to insert an erroneous paragraph into the document–in other words, she tampered with the evidence.  This same altered affidavit had been a key piece of evidence used by a PA magistrate judge in September to deny Mumia’s injunction against the DOC.

Guest – Bob Boyle, one of Mumia’s attorneys and a long time National Lawyers Guild member.

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Guantanamo Bay Prison: 14 years

As of January 2016 more than 100 men remain at the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. While our own Michael Ratner was president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a network of hundreds of lawyers were at the forefront of the legal battle against indefinite detention and torture at Guantanamo. After the Center won landmark Supreme Court cases that established U.S. court jurisdiction over the prison and affirming detainee rights to habeas corpus review, hundreds of Muslim men and boys were gradually released from the offshore prison. Keep in mind the majority of the men at that prison weren’t charged with a crime. Many have been cleared for release yet remain trapped by political inaction or other bureaucracy. The pressure from concerned activist groups, organizations and citizens calling on the president of the United States to close Guantanamo has gained momentum.

Guest – Aliya Hussain, the Advocacy Program Manager for the Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

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Drinking Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan

A severe water crisis in the city of Flint, Michigan is attracting mounting concern from around the country. Politicians, celebrities and even presidential candidates are focusing on the toxic tap water in one of Michigan’s biggest and most troubled cities. When the state took charge of the City’s budget during a financial emergency, it decided to temporarily switch Flint’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money until a new supply line to Lake Huron was finished. After the April 2014 changeover, residents complained about water looking, smelling, and tasting odd. Virginia Tech researchers revealed that the water was highly corrosive. A class-action lawsuit alleges the state Department of Environmental Quality failed to treat the water for corrosion, as federal law requires, and because so many service lines to Flint are made of lead, the toxic element leached into the water of the city’s homes. Although the city switched back to the Lake Huron water supply in October, the damage was already done to the lead pipes. The state is now handing out filters and bottled water with the National Guard.

Guest – Sheila Foster, the Albert A. Wash Professor of Law at Fordham Law School and Faculty Co-Director of the Urban Law center at Fordham University.

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Law and Disorder January 18, 2016


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NYC Teacher Fired For Lessons About The Central Park Five

An English teacher at a New York City high school claims that she was fired because of a lesson on the so-called Central Park Five which school administrators warned her would “rile up” black students. Jeena Lee-Walker recently filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Dept. of Education and several administrators from the High School for Arts, Imagination and Inquiry after being fired for insubordination and poor evaluations. She claims they were the result of her pushing back on topics like the Central Park Five. Lee-Walker,  who graduated from Barnard and has post-graduate degrees from Harvard and Fordham, began working at the school in 2013 and says she was told to be more “balanced” in covering the Central Park Five case in November of that year.

The  lawsuit claims retaliation against her “violated her First Amendment right to discuss the Central Park Five case, and that the firing violated the city’s contract with the teacher’s union because she was not given a required 60 days notice.” As listeners may recall, the Central Park Five, who were wrongfully jailed for the 1989 rape of a Central Park jogger, received a $42 million settlement from NY City. In 2014, they sued the state seeking $52 million in damages for the emotional trauma of being incarcerated for years for a crime they were coerced into confessing to.

Guest – Attorney Ambrose Wotorson, a Brooklyn based attorney who is representing Jeena Lee-Walker in this case. He’s a trial lawyer focusing employment law and business litigation. Twitter account.

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Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror

Retired Florida U. S. Senator Bob Graham was the head of the US Senate intelligence committee and also  the chairman of the 9/11 commission of inquiry. He is the leading person trying to get President Obama to release to the public the suppressed 28 pages of the 911 report which have been hidden. Senator Graham contends that the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom who were Saudi Arabians,  could not have pulled off the operation alone and that in fact they were part of a support network involving the Saudi Arabian monarchy and government which helped plan, pay for and execute the complicated 911 plot which, says Senator Graham, would have otherwise been impossible to accomplish. Senator Graham has written the book Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror. It provides a candid insight to the workings of the US in Saudi relations and their implications on US foreign-policy making as it pertains to the middle east and bags tension, contemporary geopolitics.

Guest – Senator Bob Graham, is the former two–term governor of Florida and served for 18 years  in the United States Senate. This is combined with 12 years in the Florida  legislature for a total of 38 years of public service. As Governor and Senator,  Bob Graham was a centrist, committed to bringing his colleagues together behind  programs that served the broadest public interest. He was recognized by the  people of Florida when he received an 83% approval ranking as he concluded  eight years as Governor. Bob Graham retired from public service in January  2005, following his Presidential campaign in 2004.

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Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism and Middle East Geopolitics

We take a deeper look at Saudi Arabia and its relationship first United States and then to the other countries in the Middle East region.

Guest – Professor Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian American who grew up in New York City. He teaches at Columbia University where he is the Edward Said Professor of Arab studies and the head of the Middle East Institute.  He is the author of a number of books, most recently “The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle For Statehood. He has written more than 80 scholarly articles on Middle Eastern history and politics as well as op-ed pieces in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles times, the Chicago Tribune, and The Nation magazine.

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Law and Disorder January 11, 2016


Updates:

  • Volkswagen Could Face Up to $80 Billion in Penalties From U.S. Emissions Lawsuit
  • Co-host Heidi Boghosian Reads A Poem By Bill Ayers

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Lawyers You’ll Like: Attorney Abdeen Jabara

Abdeen Jabara is a New York based civil rights attorney and co-founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He was involved in a groundbreaking court case in the 1970s that forced the NSA to acknowledge it had been spying on him since 1967. At the time of the spying, Abdeen was a lawyer in Detroit representing Arab-American clients and people being targeted by the FBI. The disclosure was the first time the NSA admitted it had spied on an American.

He also took on the cases of people harassed by the FBI which had stepped up efforts to surveil Arab activists in the aftermath of the 1967 war, when the U.S. alliance with Israel was solidified. Abdeen was caught up in what was called “Operation Boulder,” a Nixon administration-era program that placed Arabs under surveillance.

Guest – Abdeen Jabara is a member of the legal advisory board for the American Muslim Council, a past president of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, a former board member of the Center for Constitutional Rights and former co-counsel with Lynne Stewart for Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman. He is an active member of the National Lawyers Guild.

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Law and Disorder January 4, 2016


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U.S. Pressed on Israeli Settlement Tax Breaks

The U.S. Treasury has long turned a blind eye to as many as 150 nonprofits that funnel up to $1 billion a year to Israeli settlements, according to a federal complaint filed in December. It now finds itself as a defendant in a just filed a lawsuit by Washington DC attorney Mark McMahon. Rather than engaging in “charitable activities,” these nonprofits—supported by US donations—are allegedly fueling land theft, forcible expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land, demolition of homes and paramilitary activities carried out by armed Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians. Some of the tax-exempt entities include the Hebron Fund, the Gush Etzion Foundation, American Friends of Ariel and Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Pro bono attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, Martin McMahon, claims that huge tax deductions are being taken that support ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Proving the allegations could lead the U.S. to designate these entities as “special designated global terrorists,” stripping them of their tax-exempt status and freezing their assets, he says. In addition to entrenching Israel’s occupation of Palestine, the complaint alleges that these organizations have undermined U.S. foreign policy in support of a Palestinian state and helped breed the conditions from which Palestinian violent resistance emerges. It alleges that the Treasury’s “double standard” in enforcing its own regulations has led to the proliferation of the Israeli settlement enterprise, resulting in up to $1 trillion in lost U.S. tax revenue.

Guest – Attorney Martin McMahon, the founding member and managing partner of Martin F. McMahon & Associates. He has extensive experience in the securities industry, civil rights litigation, and has argued in over 10 appellate cases before the D.C. Court of Appeals and Maryland Court of Appeals.

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Islamophobia 2016

After 9/11, and now in response to recent events around the globe, thousands of innocent Muslims continue to be monitored, entrapped, and arrested in the name of subverting radicalized terrorism. Hateful rhetoric from presidential candidate Donald Trump and others have inflamed anti-Muslim stereotypes and led to numerous instances of hate crimes.

Joining us to discuss law enforcement ideologies and strategies, as well as the general public’s perceptions of Muslims, is Arun Kundnani, author of the 2014 book The Muslims Are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror.

Guest – Arun Kundani – Born and bred in London, Arun moved to New York in 2010 on a fellowship with the Open Society Foundations. He lives in Harlem. He is also the author of The End of Tolerance: Racism in 21st Century Britain, selected as a New Statesman book of the year in 2007. A former editor of the journal Race & Class, he attended Cambridge University, holds a PhD from London Metropolitan University, and teaches at New York University.

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