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Archives for November, 2016


Law and Disorder November 26, 2016


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The Trump Administration And The Current Police State Apparatus

The movement for social change in the United States has been growing and accelerating in the last five years with the Occupy Movement, Black Lives Matter and now the large encampment and protest of Native Americans and their allies protecting our water in North Dakota. Half of American young people under the age of 29 say they would prefer Socialism. Bernie Sanders, running as a democratic socialist, had received more than 13 million votes. It is a time of great possibilities and simultaneously a time of great danger with the election of Donald Trump. What is the state of democratic rights as we go into the Trump era? Because of the policies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama  Americans are the most spied upon people in the history of the world with government surveilling every keystroke on their computers, social media,  and every email they send.  The ancient right of habeas corpus has been compromised allowing for indefinite detention of American citizens, military commission trials, and imprisonment offshore in Guantánamo Cuba. Extra- judicial assassinations are a regular practice, with American citizens being targeted and killed by drone strikes. Torture carried out by the CIA and private contractors has gone unpunished. The Posse Comitatus Act has been abolished and now the US military will be allowed to perform police functions inside United States.  The police force itself has been militarized and given military grade weapons.  What can the movement for social change expect from the Trump administration?

Guest – Attorney Baher Azmy, Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He directs all litigation and advocacy around issues related to the promotion of civil and human rights. At CCR, he has litigated cases related to discriminatory policing practices (stop and frisk), government surveillance, the rights of Guantanamo detainees, and accountability for victims of torture. Baher is currently on leave from his faculty position at Seton Hall University School of Law, where he taught Constitutional Law and directed the Civil Rights and Constitutional Litigation Clinic.

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DAPL Protests Attacks: Oceti Sakowin Encampment

A week ago Sunday the water protectors numbering in the thousands including members of more than 100 Native American tribes at Standing Rock, North Dakota were brutally attacked for over six hours by police and  private security.   They have been camped in the freezing North Dakota weather attempting to halt the construction of a 1200 mile oil pipeline that is scheduled to go through sacred Indian lands and beneath the Missouri River and then through South Dakota, Iowa, and into Illinois. Pipelines frequently break and if and when this one does it will contaminate the water supply of some 15 million people.  Water from the river was sprayed on the protesters in 26° weather causing many of them to get life threatening hypothermia.  Rubber bullets were also shot at the protesters. A long-range sound cannon was employed to disorient them and mace was sprayed in their faces. Several hundred people were injured and more than 100 were arrested.  Although President Obama could stop the pipeline he has so far put off ruling on it’s legality or safety.  The 3.8 billion-dollar pipeline is owned by the energy transfer partners company, an outfit in which  Donald Trump has a large investment. The Norwegian government bank  has recently  pulled out of the project and if the pipeline is not completed soon other investors may bail jeopardizing the entire project. Oectisakowincamp.org

Guest – Angela Bibens, an attorney from Denver, Colorado, Angela practices criminal, juvenile and family law with a specialty in the Indian Child Welfare Act.  She earned her law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2006.  She is a wife and mother of three.  Angela has been the ground coordinator for the Water Protector Legal Collective at Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for the past three months.

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Campaign to Bring Home Mumia Abu-Jamal & Inside the Activist Studio 

The New York-Based activist group, the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, is filming the second episode of an innovative project, Inside the Activist Studio on December 6 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Inspired by the popular television series, Inside the Actors Studio, its inaugural show featured a profile of Sekou Odinga.

The second episode features an interview with longtime activist Ramona Africa, of the MOVE Organization. Ramona was the only adult survivor of the police bombing of the MOVE home in West Philadelphia on May 13, 1985. The bombing caused a fire that the fire department initially allowed to burn and that killed 11 MOVE members, including five children. It devastated the 6200 block of Osage Avenue, destroying 61 homes and damaging many others.

Guest –  Professor Johanna Fernandez, is a native New Yorker. She received a PhD in History from Columbia University and a BA in Literature and American Civilization from Brown University. Professor Fernández teaches 20th Century U.S. History, the history of social movements, the political economy of American cities, and African-American history. She has previously taught at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, PA and Trinity College in Hartford, CT and is, most recently, the recipient of a Fulbright Scholars grant to the Middle East and North Africa that will take her to Jordan in spring 2011, where she will teach graduate courses in American History.

Guest – Ramona Africa, Minister of Communication for the MOVE organization.

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Law and Disorder November 21, 2016


UPDATE: Police Attack Unarmed Standing Rock Water Protectors in Freezing Temperatures

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San Francisco Lawsuit Against Cash Bail System

The purpose of a criminal defendant being forced by the state to post bail in order to be released prior to his or her trial is to ensure that the defendant show up for the trial.  This is the only purpose of bail. The importance of securing pretrial release is that it allows for the  criminal defendant to help prepare his or her defense; something that is difficult to do if a person is behind bars.  This is an inherently discriminatory situation with respect to poor people who do not have the money to post cash bail or even the ten percent fee necessary to borrow it from a bail bonds agent.

Guest – Attorney Chesa Boudin, Chesa completed his J.D. at Yale Law School. A Rhodes Scholar, he earned two master’s degrees from Oxford University in 2006 and 2004. In 2003 he graduated summa cum laude from Yale College. Chesa has translated, edited, and authored several books. His scholarly law articles cover a range of topics such as direct democracy, immigration, institution building, the rights of children with incarcerated parents, and prison visitation policies. Chesa Boudin is currently a trial attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender.

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Inauguration Lawsuit: Legal Challenge To Parade Route

How close will protesters be allowed to get to the inaugural parade in DC this January 20? Two months before Donald Trump is sworn in as president, First Amendment advocates appeared in federal court to urge that demonstrators have access to the sidewalk in front of Trump’s luxury hotel and nearby Freedom Plaza. The case was filed long before Trump was elected and continues ongoing litigation over National Park Service regulations that determine the location of Inauguration Day demonstrations.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund recently argued the case for the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism). As protesters converge across the country, thousands of individuals –deemed by Trump to be “professional protesters”–have taken to the streets. It is likely that an unprecedented number will converge on the nation’s capitol for the inauguration.

Government lawyers told the court that the Park Service has long set aside space on the parade route for the incoming president’s organization to plan a day of “national celebration” and that protesters will have “ample prime alternatives” to engage in First Amendment activities along Pennsylvania Avenue. The government estimates that 84 percent of the sidewalks along the parade route are not off-limits for protest. The Presidential Inaugural Committee is a private entity controlled by the president-elect and responsible for planning most of the inaugural celebration activities, including selling tickets to the parade.

Guest – Brian Becker is the National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition and a leader of the Part for Socialism and Liberation. Becker has been a central organizer of the mass anti-war demonstrations that have taken place in Washington, D.C. in the past decade.

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Dakota Access Pipeline: Dispatch #6 – Food and Water Watch

UPDATE: Police Attack Unarmed Standing Rock Water Protectors in Freezing Temperatures

Concerned members of the public are strongly encouraged to call local and federal agencies to demand (1) immediate end to the construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, (2) a full investigation into abuses by law enforcement, and (3) dropping the felony charges against Water Protectors arising from the October 27 police raid on the camp.

PLEASE DON’T LET THIS LIST DISAPPEAR! ADD: JUSTICE DEPT. Community Relations Service – Tribal Relations: 202-305-2935…..please say: “Lives are endangered at Standing Rock – at this point, people could die from the police actions being taken….”

SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND :  202-224-4451.  She is taking a talley of opposition to DAPL & atrocities against Protectors in order to oppose propaganda now being put out by police and media.

UPDATED LIST OF NUMBERS TO CALL:

424-353-2016  NBC wants you to text them your opinion. Tele. #s won’t be recorded.

701-333-2006 National Guard Public Affairs

701-328-2200 North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple

701-667-3330 Sheriff’s office in charge of the police on site

202-456-1111 White House

202-456-9431 White House Situation Room

701-328-4726 North Dakota Attorney General:  object to the illegal
sale of farmland to a corporation….

202-353-1555 Dept. of Justice comment line

202-514-2000 Dept of Justice switchboard:  Tell them you are watching and to have the police stand down

The Dakota Access Pine Line DAPL , which would cross unceded Indigenous  territory

is a direct violation of the sovereign rights and culture of the Standing Rock Sioux.

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The Dakota Access Pipeline construction is near completion. It is designed to bring shale oil from North Dakota and South Dakota through Iowa into Illinois.  The energy transfer partnership is the company building the pipeline at a cost of $3.8 billion which it borrowed from some of the major banks in the world. The pipeline is stalled at the banks of the Missouri River under which it intends to tunnel. Opponents of the pipeline oppose it contending that pipelines break and that if it does so it threatens the water supply of over 15 million people. Moreover it has been dug through sacred Souix Indian lands in violation of two treaties.  And last, the burning of the oil  will further increase global warming and irreversibly change our climate.

In the last several months thousands of people including over 100 Native American tribes have camped out at sacred stone in North Dakota attempting to prevent the completion of the pipeline.   The Obama administration has ordered a review of the process by which consultations with Native American tribes are held concerning the pipeline. This has put a temporary hold on construction.  The company and the government of North Dakota have sought to  viciously suppress the protest using dogs , rubber bullets, sound cannons, beatings, and mass arrests. Food and Water Watch Petition

Guest – Eleanor Bravo just returned from the encampment.  She’s a Senior Organizer for Food & Water Watch based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She works with local communities and groups throughout New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. Eleanor also works with lawmakers in New Mexico on fracking and food safety issues. With more than 30 years of experience as a social activist and political organizer, she managed the top performing field office in the nation during the 2008 presidential campaign to elect Barack Obama.

 

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Law and Disorder November 14, 2016


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Uprooting Entrenched Systems of Power: Chris Hedges

On the morning after the US presidential election, we spoke with Chris Hedges. Chris has written several best-sellers including Wages of Rebellion, The Moral Imperative of Revolt, Empire of Illusion, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt and War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning.  In this interview, Chris provides an analysis of entrenched systems of power and shares his thoughts on how we all move forward to challenge a new series of repressive measures.

Guest – Chris Hedges,  author and journalist, who publishes weekly on Truthdig. He’s written 11 books, including New York Times best seller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. Other books include “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010), “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). He’s a former war correspondent, specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and societies.

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Syrian Proxy Wars 2016

The horrific situation in Syria is something that the American people don’t know much about. Anti-war movement activists suffer from a lack of decent reporting. Some of the issues we’ll examine are – Is it a proxy war between Middle Eastern governments? Can Isis be reigned in? Should Assad go? Is that any of “our” business? Finally, should the American peace movement be promoting the goal of a weapons of mass destruction free Middle East?

Guest – Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at IPS, working as a writer, activist and analyst on Middle East and UN issues. She is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. In 2001 she helped found and remains active with the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. She works with many anti-war organizations, and writes and speaks widely across the U.S. and around the world as part of the global peace movement. She has served as an informal adviser to several top UN officials on Middle East and UN democratization issues.

Protesters demonstrate against the Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota standing-rock-r-lederman

Attorney Jeff Haas: Dakota Access Pipeline Dispatch #5

Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline continues. Two weeks have passed since we last spoke with Attorney Jeff Haas who has been representing the Native Americans and the protesters at Standing Rock. A lot has happened. The company is hellbent in getting that pipeline done and they’ve built it all the way up to the river, even though they don’t have a permit for going under the river yet.

The pipeline goes from North Dakota to South Dakota to Iowa. Winter is setting in. There are 5000 people encamped there. On October 27, 2016 with a huge military force. The governor and the armored police tried without success to roll things back.

Guest – National Lawyers Guild Attorney Jeff Haas, recently 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.

Guest – Lyla June Johnston, a writer, a Dine, Chayenne and Scandinavian poet

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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Law and Disorder November 7, 2016


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More FDNY Lawsuits

Two years ago the New York Fire Department settled a racial discrimination suit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the United States Department of Justice on behalf of the Vulcans, black fire fighters organization. The court awarded $100 million in back pay and benefits to fire fighters who had been discriminated against and to applicants who’s efforts to join the department had been stymied by what the court ruled was institutional bias. Two weeks ago a second lawsuit was filed by Brooklyn attorney Greg Smith on behalf of 10 African American civilians who work in the non-uniform part of the New York Fire Department. The suit alleges pay discrimination, retaliation for complaints, and harassment of black people working at the fire department.

Guest – Ginger Adams Otis  has been writing about New York City and local politics for more than a decade. She is a staff writer at the NY Daily News. Otis started covering City Hall and the Fire Department when she worked for The Chief-Leader, from there she moved to staff position at the NY Post. She’s also been a radio and print freelancer for WNYC, the Associated Press, BBC, National Public Radio, The Village Voice and national magazines such as The Nation and Ms. She lives in Harlem, NY.Ginger Otis. She’s the author of the book Firefight The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York’s Bravest. Ms. Otis works as a staff writer for the NY Daily News.

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Anti-SLAPP Legislation

If you have ever left a less than favorable comment on a website such as Yelp or TripAdvisor you should know that some businesses or doctors are suing consumers for their negative reviews. Patients writing about botched surgical procedures or doctors’ billing practices have been sued in small claims court saying the bad reviews cost their practices thousands of dollars.

Two pending federal laws are designed to protect consumers from legal retaliation when they express opinions online.

The Consumer Review Fairness Act, dubbed the “Right to Yelp Act,” would bar companies from including gag clauses in agreements they ask consumers to sign. And the Speak Free Act would create a legal weapon for defendants in lawsuits over their publicly expressed thoughts. Such cases are called SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation). Someone brought into court over their words can invoke the bill’s anti-SLAPP motion to get the case dismissed quickly and force the plaintiff to pay attorney’s fees.

Yelp is among some 40 companies and nonprofits backing the bills, which also have bipartisan support in Congress, where they are expected to move forward this fall. Some, however, find the bills unconstitutional as they might impose barriers to civil rights and public interest litigation.

Guest – Evan Mascagni, policy director at the Public Participation Project. The Project assists individuals and organizations working to pass anti-SLAPP legislation in the states while educating the public regarding SLAPPs and their consequences.

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How the CIA Killed Che: The Murder of A Revolutionary

The Cuban revolution of 1959 was a historical turning point. It ended American corporate and political control of the island’s economy and government and it demonstrated to other Latin American and Caribbean peoples that they could do the same. The American response was quick and deadly.  They overthrew any governments that did not oppose the Cuban revolution. This included Brazil, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia and most spectacularly, in 1971, in an effort involving US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the democratically elected socialist government of Chile. Che Guevara failed in his attempt to defend the revolution in Cuba by extending it. He started in Bolivia with a band of international revolutionary guerrilla fighters and was quickly discovered, surrounded, and assassinated by Bolivian soldiers trained and organized by the CIA in an operation that was directed right out of the White House. The economic blockade of Cuba by the United States is still in effect.  Left leaning governments in Argentina, Brazil, and Honduras have been replaced by neoliberal capitalists under the favored hand of the American government.

Guest –  Professor Greg Grandin  wrote the introduction to the recently published book by our own Michael Ratner and Michael Steven Smith called “How the CIA Killed Che. Grandin is the author of a number of prize-winning books, including most recently “The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World,” which won the Bancroft Prize in American History and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in the UK. NPR’s Maureen Corrigan on Fresh Air named The Empire of Necessity as the best book of 2014, both non-fiction and fiction. “Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History, as well as for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was picked by the New York Times, New Yorker, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and NPR for their “best of” lists, and Amazon.com named it the best history book of 2009.

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