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Archives for September, 2016


Law and Disorder September 26, 2016


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Zachary Sklar: Snowden

National Security Director James Clapper was questioned by Congress. The media was there. He looked at the camera, right in our eyes. The question was: Does the NSA spy on Americans?  He Answered “not wittingly”. This was a lie. The NSA was spying on every computer keystroke and telephone conversation made by every American. Edward Snowden blew the whistle on this totalitarian practice that turned democracy upside down. Instead of the government serving the people the government was spying on the people it should serve.  He has been indicted under the 1917 Espionage Act and is presently living in Russia, stripped of his passport, unable to come home where he faces decades in prison or worse. Oscar-winning film director Oliver Stone’s just released movie tells Edward Snowden’s story.

Guest – Zachary Sklar is a screenwriter, journalist, author, and editor. He is best known as co-writer (with Oliver Stone) of the Academy Award-nominated screenplay for the film JFK. Sklar has edited numerous non-fiction books about U.S. intelligence, including the number-one-bestselling On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison, from which the film JFK was adapted; Profits of War: Inside the Secret U.S.-Israeli Arms Network by former Israeli intelligence operative Ari Ben-Menashe; and Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA by former CIA case officer Ralph McGehee.

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Dakota Pipeline Protests: Legal Update

With winter settling in in North Dakota the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline has been temporarily halted pending governmental reconsiderederation. Representatives of over 100 Native American tribes and several thousand supporters Are camped near the Missouri River, which the pipeline, if it breaks after it is constructed under the river, would pollute ruining the drinking water up to 20 million people who depend on it. The DAPL Company and its parent Texas company have secured some 3 1/2 billion dollars in financing from Goldman Sachs, UPS, the Chase Manhattan Bank, and other banks. The financing may not be forthcoming if the project is stalled too long. In the meantime camp protesters, who call themselves “water protectors ”  are preparing to stay through the upcoming predictably severe North Dakota winter.

Guest – National Lawyers Guild Attorney Jeff Haas, has just returned from living at the North Dakota encampment with thousands of Native Americans and climate change activists who gathered in solidarity with the Standing Rock Indian tribe in North Dakota to protest the pipeline construction. Jeff Haas was a founding partner of the Peoples Law Office in Chicago. He victoriously represented the family of Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago Black Panther Party and proved that Hampton was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago Police Department. He’s also author of the book The Assassination of Fred Hampton.

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Encrypted Client Communications

As the general public becomes increasingly aware of the value of using open source encrypted communications, several groups of professionals may be among the first to regularly use it in their work. Members of the press already provide open source whistleblower submission systems, such as Secure Drop, to protect the anonymity of anonymous sources. But how do attorneys protect their privileged client communications? Jonathan Stribling-Uss founded Constitutional Communications to teach attorneys, activists and others to use open source encryption for all their communications. The group is aptly named given that “Our current system of Internet communication is not constitutional, especially with respect to attorney/client communications,” according to Stribling-Uss who is also a member of the National Lawyers Guild. The group has already provided intensive training sessions on digital security domestically and internationally for nearly 300 civil society leaders from dozens of countries.

Guest – Attorney Jonathan Stribling-Uss, director of Constitutional Communications, a nonprofit organization that specializes in information security for professionals and civil society organizations. He has led trainings and accredited CLEs (Continuing Legal Education) for hundreds of attorneys and law students on cybersecurity, professional ethics, international law, and attorney-client communications with the NYCLA (New York County) Bar Association, Law For Black Lives, and the Continuing Legal Resource Network at CUNY (City University Of New York). He has also trained journalists, foundations, activists, and technologists from more then 40 countries at the Center for Constitutional Rights, Thoughtworks global corporation, the International Development Exchange, the Legal Clinics of the CUNY School of Law, and The Florestan Fernandes National School in Brazil.

Law and Disorder September 19, 2016


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Attorney Jeff Haas: Bakken Pipeline Construction Temporarily Halted

Last week the US government announced that the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River in North Dakota near Sioux Indian lands had been voluntarily suspended. In a joint statement the Department of the Interior, which interacts with Native Americans, the Department of Justice,and the Army Corps of Engineers, which had granted the permit for construction, announced that a reconsideration of the process whereby the US government receives input from  Native Americans was under examination.  So, the fight about water and human rights continues.

Guest – National Lawyers Guild Attorney Jeff Haas, has just returned from living at the North Dakota encampment with thousands of Native Americans and climate change activists who gathered in solidarity with the Standing Rock Indian tribe in North Dakota to protest the pipeline construction. Jeff Haas was a founding partner of the Peoples Law Office in Chicago. He victoriously represented the family of Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago Black Panther Party and proved that Hampton was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago Police Department. He’s also author of the book The Assassination of Fred Hampton.

Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense – Lawyers wanting to support the Sacred Stone Camp, contact Attorney Robin Martinez –  robin.martinez@martinezlaw.net

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U. S. Commission on Civil Rights: Peaceful Coexistence

Recently the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report called “Peaceful Coexistence:  Reconciling Non-discrimination Principles With Civil Rights  “.
The report discusses how religion is used to deny others’ equality.  The commission’s chairman Martin Castro wrote that the phrases “religious liberty”  and “religious freedom ” are code words hypocritically employed to support discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, and Christian supremacy.

Guest – Columbia Law Professor Attorney Katherine Franke about the commission’s findings and recommendations and the objections to the reports conclusions. Katherine Franke is the chair of the board of the Center for Constitutional  Rights.  She is the Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, and also the Faculty Director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, a think tank that brings legal academic expertise to bear on the multiple contexts in which religious liberty rights are in tension with other fundamental rights to equality and liberty. Her book is titled “Wedlocked:  The Perils of Marriage Equality”.

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Ray McGovern: Surveillance, Terrorism, CIA, Manufactured War

Fifteen years have passed since the criminal attack on September 11, 2001.  Today we’ll take a look at some critical changes this country has undergone since. Believing he was doing God’s will, President George W. Bush ordered airstrikes against Afghanistan and then, with intelligence cooked up to fit the plan, brought shock and awe to the people of Iraq,  killing and and displacing more than 1 million people.  The authorization to use military force that he procured from a frightened Congress is still used as a rationale for overseas war. Obama is the only president in American history that has fought  wars for the entire eight years of his presidency. Currently the United States is at war in seven different countries.  At home, draconian legislation such as Patriot Act was quickly passed even though it wasn’t read by most members of Congress. The surveillance budget of the CIA and the NSA tripled. Every keystroke we make on our computers and every phone call we make, are spied on by our own government. We live in a culture of manufactured fear of terrorism, even though more people were killed by toddlers with pistols then terrorists.

Guest – Ray MacGovern, former senior CIA analyst, who was for 27 years an analyst with the CIA giving the first President George Bush his daily intelligence briefing.  He is the cofounder of Veteran Intelligent Professionals for Sanity.  Ray McGovern works for Tell the World, the publishing an arm of the Ecumenical Church of the Savior in the Inner City of Washington DC.

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Law and Disorder September 12, 2016


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Legal Support For The Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance

The Dakota Access Pipeline, LLC seeks to build it’s pipeline across the Missouri River in North Dakota. If allowed, the 30 inch 1172 mile pipeline would carry more than 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Bakken Shale in western North Dakota to the Midwest.  A breach in the integrity of that pipeline would likely contaminate the Missouri River, a source of water for at least 20 million people. The pipeline itself threatens the water in traditional lands of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The pipeline was redirected towards the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe so that it would not go through white non-native lands and community.

In April of this year, researchers at the University of Michigan found that the Bakken oil field is emitting about 2% of the worlds methane, about 250,000 tons per year into the air, directly affecting air-quality across North America. These emissions, combined with combustion of Bakken oil, are major contributors to the global climate crisis that threatens the well-being of our environment, future generations, and planet Earth. The resistance started with 35 people, there are now more than 2000 people and Native American representatives from over 100 native nations gathering in North Dakota to block the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Guest – Attorney Jeff Haas is one of the National Lawyers Guild members representing the Camp of the Sacred Stones in North Dakota.  They are seeking to block construction of the oil pipeline. Jeff Haas was a founding partner of the Peoples Law Office in Chicago. He victoriously represented the family of Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago Black Panther Party and proved that Hampton was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago Police Department. He’s also author of the book The Assassination of Fred Hampton.

Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense – Lawyers wanting to support the Sacred Stone Camp, contact Attorney Robin Martinez –  robin.martinez@martinezlaw.net

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DeeDee Halleck: New York State Otisville Training School

Long before the state correctional facility Otisville was established in Mount Hope, NY, it was a tuberculosis sanitarium, a training school for boys, and a drug abuse treatment center. After the TB Hospital closed in 1955 the State Division for Youth purchased the sprawling property and renamed it the New York State Otisville Training School. It housed boys aged 14-17 from across the state for periods up to 18 months and functioned as a boys’ training school. Many were Persons in Need of Supervision who’d had fights with their parents or been truants from school. Others were there for drugs, robbery and even homicide.

Before the training school closed its doors in 1972, a special 16 mm film program launched in the late 60s tapped the creativity of the boys there.

Guest – DeeDee Halleck is hoping to re-connect with any listeners who may have attended this. film project. DeeDee is among the top media activists, and co-founder of Paper Tiger Television and also the Deep Dish Satellite Network, the first grass roots community television network. She is Professor Emerita in the Department of Communication at the University of California at San Diego.

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Bernardine Dohrn: Juveniles In The Criminal Justice System

Juveniles in the U.S. criminal justice system are not afforded the same protections as adults. They are often not allowed to have a lawyer when they are arrested or interrogated  and often see a lawyer only for the first time at their trial.  When under interrogation, the police use deceptive methods to secure confessions, sometimes false ones.  Comparitively, the protections afforded juveniles in Europe are more fair. They include the provision of an attorney when the child is first taken into custody as well as later, through trial, and revocation of parole or probation.  We know from medical science and adolescent behavioral development that children’s brains are not the same as adults. The reasoning and decision-making abilities of a child are different. Moreover, children of color are not treated the same as white children in the United States of America.

Guest – Attorney Bernardine Dohrn is a retired professor and founder/former director of the Children and Family Justice Center and the Bluhm Legal Clinic. She is also former leader of SDS and longtime member of the National Lawyers Guild where she served a student organizer in the late 60s.  Until recently Bernadine Dorhn taught law at Northwestern University Law School supporting justice for juveniles.

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Law and Disorder September 5, 2016


Updates:

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Federal Judges Often Let Bad Cops Slide

In examining the root causes of police violence across the nation, few people consider the role that federal judges play in contributing to this epidemic. According to one of the authors of Police Misconduct: Law and Litigation, a principal cause of police brutality is a widespread unwillingness of federal judges to hold officers accountable for instances of misconduct.

The problem even extends to the US Supreme Court, where Justice Kagan has shown deference to two reckless officers who shot and nearly killed a mentally ill woman in her own apartment rather than waiting for backup.

Guest – Professor Michael Avery, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and co-author of the police misconduct treatise for attorneys on civil rights cases, Michael has reviewed thousands of such cases over several decades. His op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, “Federal Judges Often Let Bad Cops Slide,” asserts that judges’ failure to hold officers accountable for abuse of authority is a central cause of police brutality in this country.

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Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter

The policing strategy called “broken windows” was first established in New York City under Police Commissioner William Bratton. It is a doctrine that has vastly broadened police power the world over and to deadly effect. The underlying concept of broken windows policing is deceptively simple: to stop major crimes from occurring, police must first prevent small signs of “disorder” from proliferating, such as graffiti, litter, panhandling, the sale of untaxed cigarettes and so forth. Disorder in the form of minor violations is presumed to breed larger disorder. Broken windows policing has functioned as an urban strategy enabling the gentrification of cities – a class project that has displaced the urban multi-racial working class worldwide.  It has led to widespread invasive police practices, racial profiling, police brutality, and many deaths.  We now have in America a crisis of authority and legitimacy for US policing.

Guest – Professor Christina Heatherton, coeditor with Jordan T. Camp of the recently published book Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter. Heatherton is an American studies scholar and an historian of antiracist social movements. She teaches at Trinity College in Connecticut.

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Brazil Government Coup Illegitmate Says International Tribunal

An international tribunal has declared the impeachment of Brazil’s President and head of the workers party Dilma Rousseff an illegitimate coup.  The Tribunal for Democracy in Brazil convened in Rio de Janeiro  two months ago.  It was organized by social movements in Brazil to analyze and render a judgment on what they described as a break in the democratic process and a new type of coup.

Guest – Attorney Azadeh Shahshahani former member of the tribunal. She recently wrote an article on its findings for the nation magazine. Attorney Shahshahani is the Legal and Advocacy Director with Project South and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild.

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