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Archives for January, 2017


Law and Disorder January 30, 2017


Attorney Jim Lafferty, Los Angeles Protests

Last week president trump the reception of the Dakota Area Pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline, which will bring dirty tar sand oil from Canada through the USA to the Gulf of Mexico for export. According to James Hansen, the former climate expert for NASA, if this happens it will be “game over for the planet. ” We just learned that Trump is about to sign a package of executive orders threatening Muslims, Arabs, refugees, and immigrants. The women’s march last week after Trump had been in office for two days brought out some for million people across the country voted one half million in Washington DC and 750,000 in Los Angeles. We speak with Los Angeles National Lawyers Guild leader Jim Lafferty, who helped organize the demonstration.

Guest – Jim Lafferty is the former Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild and a leader of the chapter.  His radio show on KPFK inspired Law and Disorder.   Attorney Jim Lafferty has been active since the civil rights movement in the south in the 60s and was a leader of the  movement against the war in Vietnam. In 2015, Jim Lafferty concluded 25-years as the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles, and is now that organization’s Executive Director Emeritus. For the past 26-years he has hosted a weekly public affairs radio show on Pacifica Radio, The Lawyers Guild Show. He is the Chair of the Board of the Office of the Americas; an elected fellow in the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Southern California; was the co-founder and director of the National Peace Action Coalition during the U.S. war in Vietnam, the group that organized the largest antiwar protests during that war; was the founder and Chair of the Oakland County Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union in Oakland County, Michigan; has been featured in several documentary films, including The Corporation; was the national director of the National Lawyers Guild from 1963-1967; is the author of the afterword in Lawyers You’ll Like; and is the recipient of numerous awards, such as the National Lawyers Guild’s “Law for the People Award”, the Southern California ACLU’s “Defender of Civil Liberties Award”, and the first award from the Los Angeles Coalition to Stop LAPD Spying. As a founding partner of Lafferty, Reosti, Jabara, Papakian, James, Stickgold, Soble and Smith, Mr. Lafferty practiced civil rights, civil liberties, criminal defense, workers’ rights, and military law in Detroit, Michigan.

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Israel And The Palestinian State 2017

The colonial settler state of Israel was formed in 1948 pursuant to a declaration of the United Nations. The declaration  also envisioned a Palestinian state which has so far been prevented by Israel with the support of the United States.  In 1967 the Israeli Army captured the West Bank territory meant to be part of the Palestinian state and has in the last 50 years illegally ruled over a half million settlers who have been placed on the territory. Is it still possible to have a two state solution in the Middle East?  Is it too late?  Have the number of settlers reached a critical mass so that the two state solution is dead? Can the settlers be evacuated? If not, how can there be a Palestinian state?

Guest – Phil Weiss, founder of Mondoweiss, the well read and influential blog. In the past Weiss worked as a mainstream journalist for the Minneapolis Star and the New York Observer, the newspaper owned by Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law who when told that Phil Weiss was not a Zionist, fired him.

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U.S. Drug Policy 2017

With the election of Donald Trump and his selection of  the deeply reactionary former prosecutor and Senator from Alabama Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions as the new Attorney General and chief law-enforcement officer in America the progress in drug policy reform we have had over the last several decades is likely to be reversed. 28 states have legalized some form of medical marijuana and  a number states including Washington, Colorado, and most recently California and Massachusetts have legalized it’s recreational use. But an aggressive attorney general could reverse this.  “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” said Sessions last year.  He also said that he thought that the KKK was “OK until I found out that they smoke pot.”  Federal law puts marijuana in the same schedule one category as heroin. At his Senate confirmation hearing Sessions would not promise to defer to the states the decision to prosecute people using medical marijuana sanctioned by state law.  He also supports mandatory minimum sentences which fuels mass incarceration and disproportionately targets people of color.

Guest – Ethan Nadelmann the founder and Executive Director of the drug policy alliance joins us today. It is a national advocacy organization for drug law reform that is grounded in science, compassion, and health and human rights.

Ethan was described by Rolling Stone as “the point man” for drug policy reform efforts and “the real drug czar,” Ethan Nadelmann is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform both in the United States and abroad.Ethan is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs.

Law and Disorder January 23, 2017


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Pardons, Reduction of Mass Incarceration And Judy Clark’s Clemency

The United States of America has more prisoners behind bars given it its population than any other country in the world. This policy of mass incarceration is now under challenge. On December 30 of last year New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a broad and bold commitment to grant conditional pardons, clemency, and full pardons to New York state prisoners. Judy Clark, age 67, was one of the recipients and is now being allowed to go before the parole board. Clark has been in prison for 35 years, sentenced to 75 years to life for her role as the getaway driver in the infamous Brinks robbery in RocklandCounty, New York, where two policeman and one guard were shot and killed.

Changing Minds The Impact of College In A Maximum Security Prison Film: What I Want My Words To Do To You.

Guest – University of New York Distinguished Professor Michelle Fine. For 20 years she taught and conducted research with women and men in prison, most significantly at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility where Judy Clark is behind bars. Professor Fine participated in writing the influential report “changing minds: The impact of college in a maximum security prison for women.  She worked closely with Judy Clark. Judy Clark Facebook.
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Reflections from A Southern People’s Lawyer You’ll Like: David Gespass

This year Martin Luther King Day had a special resonance for many given its lead-up to the Trump inauguration. That the president-elect engaged in social media attacks on civil rights icon John Lewis prompted a flurry of reactions of Twitter, especially emotional given that the timing coincided with MLK day. As we prepare for a changing of the guard, we talk to longtime civil liberties attorney David Gespass, from Birmingham Alabama. Read articles by David Gespass

Guest – Attorney David Gespass began his law practice in Washington, DC in 1971. A past president of the National Lawyers Guild, he also served as editor-in-chief of the Guild’s scholarly journal, the NLG Review, and was a founder and steering committee member of the Military Law Task Force. His practice includes police misconduct and prisoner rights’ litigation, Social Security disability and personal injury.  He has been a member of the National Police Accountability Project since its founding in 1999. David has been practicing law in Birmingham, Alabama since 1978.

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Law and Disorder January 16, 2017


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Hacktivist Advocate

Long before news reports of Russians hacking, the Democratic National Convention dominated the news, a handful of lawyers across the nation were defending socially-minded hackers, or hacktivists, against harsh computer-related prosecutions. The term hactivism refers to persons who use computers to advance political agendas, often related to freedom of information, free speech and human rights.

Guest – Attorney Jay Leiderman, the Atlantic Magazine has called attorney Jay Leiderman the “Hacktivist’s Advocate” for his work defending individuals accused of computer-related crimes, especially those associated with Anonymous. An experienced defense attorney, Leiderman lectures nationally on a range of criminal defense issues. He is a founding member of the Whistleblower’s Defense League, formed to combat FBI and Justice Department tactics of harassment and over-prosecution to chill and silence those who engage in journalism, Internet activism or dissent.

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Attacks On Journalists, Hackers And Information Activists

In the past decade we have seen an unprecedented attack on hackers, journalists, whistleblowers, and other “information activists” who dare to let the public know what goes on within the corridors of corporate and governmental power structures.

Both sectors have launched an all-ought war on the ability of the public to access newsworthy information. Yet as this takes place, the public is being told that we no longer have a right to privacy, especially online privacy. Here to discuss trends in the laws and the often lawless acts that are used to suppress the public’s right to information and ultimately the possibility of democracy is attorney Abi Hassen.

Guest – Attorney Abi Hassen, is a consultant and cofounder of the Black Movement-Law Project. He was formerly the mass defense coordinator at the National Lawyers Guild. He has a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and an undergraduate degree in computer science from The Evergreen State College. With his extensive background in labor, political and community organizing, Abi has been active at the intersection of law, technology and organizing for social justice for more than a decade.

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Law and Disorder January 9, 2017


 

Wildlife Preservation And The Trump Administration

The protection of endangered species and wildlife trafficking have not traditionally been big ticket campaign issues for presidential candidates.  However, national security, the economy, trade and the environment are all impacted by wildlife preservation. Illegal wildlife trade–animal smuggling–is a multibillion-dollar business that is fueled on corruption and terrorism and that destabilizes developing countries.

Trafficking of rhinoceros horn, elephant ivory and other products is increasingly becoming organized crime. Despite recent headlines of animals being added to the endangers list, the Trump administration may change how the United States seeks to protect wildlife domestically and internationally. Animals protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act, which could be weakened by the new president and a Republican-controlled Congress, may be increasingly imperiled.

Guest – Erika Mansourian, Executive Director of Elephant Family-USA, the American arm of the UK-based Elephant Family. Elephant Family’s mission is to save the Asian elephant—massive habitat loss has caused their numbers to plummet, and 90% of wild Asian elephants have been wiped out in the last century. Erika is also on the board of Veterinarians International and Tanzania’s PAMs Foundation, as well as the advisory board of the Humane Society of New York. She’s worked with Animal Defenders International and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

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Lawyers Committee for Nuclear Policy and the Trump Administration

What are the prospects for nuclear arms control with the Trump administration?  The United States is the only country to have used nuclear bombs. It dropped them on two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and several days later on Nagasaki in 1945, in order to intimidate the Russians at the end of World War II. Presently, the United States has 4500 nuclear warheads, 400 of them situated in intercontinental ballistic missiles  and placed on a hair trigger alert. The U.S. also has weapons placed on submarines and on aircraft. Obama has started a process by which one trillion dollars will be spent in the next decade on modernizing Americas nuclear capacity.

Guest – Attorney John Burroughs, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee for Nuclear Policy. John Burroughs represents LCNP and IALANA in Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review proceedings, the United Nations, and other international forums. Dr. Burroughs is contributor, Unspeakable suffering – the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons (2013) (available here); contributor, Assuring Destruction Forever: Nuclear Weapon Modernization Around the World (2012) (available here); co-editor and contributor, Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security? U.S. Weapons of Terror, the Global Proliferation Crisis, and Paths to Peace (2007) (available here); co-editor and contributor, Rule of Power or Rule of Law? An Assessment of U.S. Policies and Actions Regarding Security-Related Treaties (2003); and author of The Legality of Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons: A Guide to the Historic Opinion of the International Court of Justice (1998). He has additionally published articles and op-eds in journals and newspapers including the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the World Policy Journal, and Newsday. Dr. Burroughs has taught international law as an adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School, Newark. He has a J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. from Harvard University.

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Law and Disorder January 2, 2017


Trumpocalypse

Donald Trump will be sworn into office on January 20 as the 45th President of United States. He will begin his term with a Republican Congress. What can he do? What powers does he possess that would victimize immigrants, women, minorities, the infirmed, political activists, and journalists?  We speak today with journalist Max Rivlin- Nadler.  He’s the author of the recent article which appeared in The Gothamist called Trumpocalypse Now: What’s The Worst That Could Happen In NYC?

Guest – Max Rivlin-Nadler is an independent journalist based in New York City focused on urban affairs and criminal justice issues. He’s reported on the abuse of civil forfeiture laws by the NYPD, financial mismanagement and environmental neglect by the Port Authority, and the 2016 presidential election. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Gothamist, and the Village Voice.

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DAPL Aerial Chemical Attack Report: Oceti Sakowin Encampment

Water Protectors numbering in the thousands including members of more than 100 Native American tribes at Standing Rock, North Dakota have been brutally and continually attacked since they began their encampment months ago.  They’re stationed in the freezing North Dakota weather and have succeeded in halting 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.  Recently there have been reports of low flying aircraft releasing poison on the tents where the people are encamped. There have also been reports of snipers training their rifles on the people in the camp. President Obama has temporarily stopped the construction of the pipeline. Its a 3.8 billion-dollar project owned by the Energy Transfer Partners, an outfit in which  Donald Trump has a large investment.

DONATE TO WATER PROTECTORS

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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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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