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Law and Disorder July 21, 2014


Updates:

  • Swedish Judge Denies Assange Lawyers Request To Set Aside 2010 Arrest Warrant On Sexual Misconduct Allegations
  • Torture Memo Author John Yoo Awarded Endowed Faculty Chair At University of California Berkeley School Of Law
  • Michael Ratner: The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld

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Israel’s Continued Disproportionate Use Of Force Against Palestinian Civilians

In a slow escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Army responded earlier this month by launching “Operation Protective Edge” as Israeli jets dropped hundreds of bombs on the impoverished coastal enclave of nearly 2 million Palestinians. At this time, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1400 injured. According to the United Nations, 77 percent of those killed are civilians and yet the massacre sadly continues. The vicious attacks are framed as a mutual conflict or exchange of fire. The reality is that the low quality rockets hitting Israel are not comparable to Israel’s powerful military strikes.

Phil Weiss:

  • In a nutshell I think Israel is trying to destroy the unification agreement between Hamas and Fatah. They don’t want diplomacy they want to end that unification deal.
  • It’s a great danger to Israel that the Palestinians are united, they want them divided.
  • They’ve used any pretext they can in the last month including the horrifying abduction and killing of these Israeli teens on the West Bank. They’ve used any pretext they can to break up, to try to break up that understanding.
  • The goals of a unified Palestinian government are to achieve some type of Palestinian freedom.
  • They would go on to International Criminal Court, International bodies and say hey, this occupation has been going on nearly 50 years . .. are you finally going to give us a state, sovereignty? If we can’t get sovereignty we’ll move to an equal rights struggle. .
  • I think the good thing that they show is there’s no green line. Israel operates with impunity, with complete autonomy all over historic Palestine. Netanyahu has said we’re never giving up the West Bank. It’s sort of an announcement to the world, this is one state.
  • The legal response and the one you demonstrated (Michael Ratner) against Cast Lead was this is Internationa Humanitarian Law and Human Rights law apply here and Israel should be brought up before International bodies for violating those laws.
  • The one form of progress is there’s no ground invasion this time. (this is what he thought at the time)
  • Michael Ratner, you and I have a somewhat different relationship to the mainstream press in that I used to be part of it and now and then I have fantasies of getting back in.
  • With that proviso, I think there has been a little bit of progress in the mainstream so you have on NBC news, you have words opening that report saying these people are trapped, they have no where to go and its a lopsided conflict.  I didn’t hear that around Cast Lead.
  • I’m not trying to defend the mainstream so much to say that I feel that there is some real shift going on.
  • Michael Ratner: Here’s a question about half-full. Do you want me to call the family that lost 17 kids in the same household in Gaza? That’s not half-full. That’s empty.
  • You’re putting me in the position of saying what I’m about to say which is the slaughter of 200 people is different from the slaughter of 500 people.
  • Michael Ratner: We’re still counting Phil.
  • The Jewish American community is highly responsible for this behavior, for this conduct that’s going on there.
  • How useful was that aircraft carrier (Israel) when we were occupying Iraq and we were invading Afghanistan? It wasn’t at all useful to us.
  • I think its a burden (Israel) I think it’s a millstone around our necks because it says the United States stance is slaughtering brown people.
  • You look at J Street, this great liberal Zionist organization. They’re justifying everything Israel is doing now.
  • There’s only a couple of Jewish organizations that stood up and said this is wrong. Jewish Voices For Peace and Jews Say No.
  • I think there’s an implicit understanding around the world now about why these people are firing rockets.
  • One of things you hear in Israel is the existential threat, in that people are delegitimizing us and I think that’s great news.
  • I see more voices talking about this conduct as just beyond the pale. I feel that the world is regarding this as a central human rights issue.

Guest – Philip Weiss,  founder of Mondoweiss, longtime journalist and regular contributor to the Nation and a fellow at the Nation Institute.  Philip is the author of two books a political novel, Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, and American Taboo, an investigative account of a 1976 murder in the Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Tonga.  Weiss is one of the editors of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.

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Andrew Kadi:

  • I don’t necessarily know that Israel has any real goals that will benefit Israeli society other than possibly the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza, forcing them to move out.
  • They’re leaving Gazans in deplorable conditions. They have unilaterally absolved themselves of their legal obligation under International law to the population in Gaza and have instead declared something that I think nobody else recognizes that Gaza is somehow a hostile territory or an enemy territory.
  • It’s counter-productive if your belief that the goal or the end goal for the Israeli government is peace.
  • The majority of these rocket attacks are pretty small projectiles as anyone who has seen them knows has no chance of actually injuring anyone or causing damage. Some of them are as small as a Coke can.
  • Hamas has deployed larger rockets in last 4 years that can fire through a building. ‘
  • By and large these attacks are being carried out by other groups round the clock. The ones that Israel is referring to are usually other groups that have nothing to do with Hamas.
  • I would say the rocket attacks are a cry for help from Gaza.
  • In the end, Gazans are isolated, there’s a siege, a blockade that Israel’s carrying out. I think that Gazans don’t want to be subject to it anymore.
  • They want to be able to live like any other population.
  • The American Foreign Services committee published a list of American companies directly involved and complicit in the attacks on Gaza.
  • Those companies include Boeing, Hewlitt Packard, Elbit Systems, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, General Electric, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon.
  • In 2005, Palestinian civil society called for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with the 3 tenets of International law.
  • The end of the occupation, equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel and the right of refugees to return to their homes.
  • Other companies that folks can boycott, Sodastream, Ahava cosmetics, Strauss Group, Osem – Tribe Hummus, Sibeon Company.

Guest - Andrew Kadi, a human rights activist and digital media specialist currently serving on the Steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. He’s contributed to the Guardian’s Comment is Free, The Electronic Intifada, Mondoweiss, Left Turn and other publications.

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Law and Disorder July 14, 2014


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Campaign Demanding Proper Health Care For Incarcerated COINTELPRO Target Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)

A campaign was recently launched demanding immediate health care for political prisoner Imam Jamil Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown. Once the chairperson of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and minister of justice for the Black Panther Party, Al-Amin was one of the original four targets of the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO. Now 70 years old, he has been held in a federal prison at Florence, Colorado since 2006 where he is serving a life sentence for what many claim was the wrongful conviction in 2002 for shooting two deputy sheriffs. At the time, four leading Muslim organizations – CAIR, the AMC, ISNA and the Muslim American Society – issued a joint statement: “The charges against Imam Jamil are especially troubling because they are inconsistent with what is known of his moral character and past behavior as a Muslim.”

Al-Amin has multiple health issues have rapidly accelerated, including dental problems, a swollen jaw, broken teeth and swollen legs, ankles and feet, and has lost 30 pounds in just a few weeks, likely the result of recently-diagnosed cancer. Recently, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark visited Al-Amin.

Attorney Karima Al-Almin:

  • I met Jamil on July 1st 1967. I had graduated from college and started a job on that day. He walked into the job where I was to see someone who he was staying with.
  • At that time he was under house arrest and he could only stay in the borough of Manhattan, the Bronx and then William Kunstler’s house up there in Westchester county.
  • He invited me to go to lunch. The lunch was with Louis Farrakhan. So I met him on the same day, we joke about that but I married Jamil.
  • In May of 1967 he was elected chairperson of SNCC Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
  • Based on the fact that he didn’t appear for trial in Maryland for inciting to riot charge which was later dismissed, he was put on the 10 most wanted list in May 1970.
  • For 19 months he was being sought and not found but then he was found and capture in October 1971. He was attempting to clean up New York City’s drug problem.
  • There was an H. Rap Brown Anti-Dope Campaign. As a result he was captured in what was labeled as an “armed robbery.” He did go to trial and William Kunstler and Howard Moore defended him.
  • He was given a sentence of 5-15 years. He served 5 years in the New York State prison system and then he got out in 1976.
  • After getting out in October 1976 he can come to Atlanta where I had moved.
  • He spent years, establishing a Muslim community again cleaning up the neighborhood making it safe for families and children.
  • In May of 1999 he was stopped which ended up being an illegal stop outside of Atlanta city limits. He was charged with driving a stolen car which he did not know about.
  • In January of 2000 he was given a date to appear in court on those charges there was a storm and it was postponed. He didn’t know he was supposed to return and a warrant was issued in March 2000. That’s when the incident happened.
  • A Fulton County deputy was killed and one was shot and then we had the trial in 2002. There were so many problems with the trial. There were so many constitutional violations during the trial. As a result he was found guilty in March 2002 and given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
  • Georgia in 2003 tried to get him transferred and held in a federal facility, but it didn’t come to happen until July 2007. They were moving him based on his popularity.
  • Georgia (the state of) is paying a per diem to the Federal Bureau of Prisons for him to be housed.
  • It goes back to what he thought was a dental problem about a year and a half ago. He developed abscesses. He was unable to get out of bed.
  • A petition has already been sent to President Obama, Eric Holder and Charles Samuels.
  • Call ADMAX – 719-784-9464.
  • Create an email and fax flood. Email FLM/execassistant@bop.gov or use the form at http://www.bop.gov/inmates/concerns.jsp (location Florence ADMAX USP). Fax 719-784-5290. Jamil Al-Amin, #99974555
  • He dared to step out when he was 23 years old to speak out about injustices and make a difference.

Guest – Attorney Karima Al-Amin is an attorney at law and the wife of political prisoner Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. In addition to her private practice, Mrs. Al-Amin continues to work with attorneys in appealing her husband’s conviction and in working on his civil lawsuits challenging First Amendment and religious violations. Mrs. Al-Amin is a member of several legal and community organizations, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Clarkston Business Association, and the Georgia Association of Muslim Lawyers (GAML).

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US Attorney General Ramsey Clark:

  • I met first through FBI memos, a stack that reached floor to ceiling. He had a wonderful talent to irritate the FBI.
  • The country needs that sort of skill. So I got a lot of memos before I even met him.
  • He committed the supreme offense in the hierarchy of offenses of the FBI that is he embarrassed the bureau by making them look foolish cause they couldn’t catch him.
  • The legal staff were cheering him on. He made our day with narrow escapes. After this Congress enacted this absurd statute in his honor that shows he was a productive citizen concerned for our welfare.
  • He’s big strong tall guy and he has to duck under that door on the other side of that glass that you meet him through, he looked smaller.
  • Usually his energy level is very high. His energy level is way down, he looked frail in spite of his large frame.
  • Went back Sunday and his condition was the same, confirmed. He’s got a real health problem that needs to be addressed.
  • I think ideally he’d go to the Mayo Clinic first, get the thorough work up and diagnosis and everything. If its going to be long range treatment get him over to North Carolina.
  • The main thing is he needs the help of caring people from all over the country. We have to organize that to pressure the United States to do the only moral thing.

Guest – Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the United States, under President Lyndon B. Johnson. The first Attorney General at the Justice Department to call for the elimination of the death penalty and all electronic surveillance. After he left the Johnson administration, he became a vociferous critic of the Vietnam War and continued on a radical path, defending the underdog, defending the rights of people worldwide, from Palestinians to Iraqis, to anyone who found themselves at the repressive end of government action.

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U.S. Government To Prosecute 67-year-old Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh

In the fall of 2013, the Department of Homeland Security arrested Rasmea Odeh, a 67 year old Palestinian American community activitist and teacher in her Chicago home for failing to disclose a 1969 conviction in an Israeli military court. She was charged with unlawful procurement of naturalization. Odeh had allegedly failed to disclose her time in an Israeli prison 45 years ago. In 1969 Rasmea Odeh, her father and fiancee were brutally tortured in an Israel relating to a bombing at a Jerusalem supermarket. Israel extracted a confession from Odeh, and she spent 10 years in an Israeli prison where she was tortured and sexually assaulted.

Odeh is Associate Director of the Arab American Action Network and leader of that group’s Arab Women’s Committee. The events bring together disenfranchised women, mostly recent immigrants, from Arabic-speaking countries. Odeh is scheduled for trial at a Detroit Federal court in September. If convicted she could be imprisoned, have her citizenship revoked and be deported.  Human rights campaigners in the United States are calling on the Obama administration to drop charges against Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian-American community organizer in Chicago who is accused of lying on a citizenship application two decades ago.

Attorney Michael Deutsch:

  • She was arrested Israel military and secret police in February of 1969. Her family, her father and two sisters were also arrested, taken out of the house in the middle of the night.
  • She was then transported by herself to a prison in Ramallah. On the way she was brutally beaten, when she arrived at the prison she was beaten again to the point where her whole body turned black.
  • She was then transferred to another prison which is called the Russian compound which is in the West Jerusalem.
  • There she was horrifically beaten subject to electronic torture, alligator clips to her breasts and genitals.
  • Prisoners and soldiers came into her room, she was raped repeatedly. She was raped with sticks. She was denied food, denied sleep, this went on for 45 days until she gave in and confessed.
  • Her father was brought in a room with her and they said her father was going to rape her. Her father of course refused and they beat her father to the point of unconsciousness and they dragged him out.
  • She was accused of being involved in two bombings one at a British counsel and one at an Israeli grocery store.
  • When she was brought into an alleged court, which was a military court run by soldiers, she renounced her confession and said that she was innocent. That was ignored and she was convicted of these bombings and being a member of an illegal organization and given a life sentence.
  • Ultimately in 1979, she was traded with 70 other Palestinian prisoners for the return of an Israeli soldier where she was taken to Syria, then Lebanon then to Jordan where she lived til 1994. She obtained a VISA to come to the United States.
  • Basically for almost the following ten years she’s been working as a community activist in Chicago particularly with the Arab-American Action Network.
  • In 2010 there were all these raids by the FBI toward anti-war activists and the executive director of the AAAN. He was subpoenaed to a grand jury after the FBI raided his home and took all his papers.
  • They claim that he was providing material support for the PFLP and as a result the whole AAAN was put under investigation and the grand jury subpoenaed all the documents of the organization.
  • As a result of this investigation into the AAAN, the US attorney in Chicago sent word to Washington that they wanted to get Rasmea’s files from Israel.
  • In a year or two years they got the records or alleged to be her records of arrest, conviction and sentence by the Israeli military court.
  • I don’t believe a conviction or arrest by the IDF and a conviction by an Israeli military tribunal is consistent with International Law, fundamental fairness or due process.
  • One of the things were going to say is that the conviction and arrest can’t be given any kind of credit in a U.S. courtroom because its fundamentally unfair and shouldn’t be considered.
  • The question is whether she answered those questions with an intent to falsely procure her naturalization.
  • I would add the judge in this case has been a fervent supporter of Israel since the 50s.
  • The Israeli tribunals are not only based on torture but illegal occupation. They invade a people’s land and set up these military courts.
  • The question in my mind in Rasmea’s trial is how are they going to keep out the issue of torture? Which is want they’re going to want to do.
  • To support Rasmea Odeh, contact the Arab-American Action Network
  • CCR Statement

Guest – Attorney Michael Deutsch, after clerking for United States Court of Appeals Judge Otto Kerner, Mr. Deutsch went into private practice, joining People’s Law Office in 1970 where he has represented political activists and victims of police and government civil rights violations. His advocacy has taken him all around the world, including to hearings in the United Nations. He has tried many civil and criminal cases in federal and state courts, and has written and argued numerous appeals, including several in the United States Supreme Court.

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Law and Disorder June 23, 2014


Updates:

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The 2 Year Anniversary of Wikileaks Julian Assange At The Ecuadorian Embassy

We mark the two year anniversary of Julian Assange being in custody at the Ecuadorian embassy. Our own Michael Ratner, cohost of this show is Julian Assange’s attorney. Michael describes the conditions Julian Assange is living in at the embassy, he explains the legal reasons why Julian is still there and lists the recent significant  accomplishments of Wikileaks.

Co-host Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • He’s sitting in the embassy with political asylum. It’s an apartment on the ground floor with about 6 or 8 rooms. He has one of those rooms. It’s small. There’s no outside space.
  • He has a sun lamp.
  • There are police outside, there are police out front when you walk in. They’re at every window. There’s a couple big police vans outside picking up every one of your conversations. That’s where Julian has been for two years.
  • Julian has been in pretty good shape in there. He’s been functioning. Wikileaks has been functioning. A key thing that people have to understand is Wikileaks, Sarah Harrison, Julian and others saved Edward Snowden from going to prison in the United States.
  • Remember he was in Hong Kong (Snowden). The U.S. issued a criminal complaint against him. Two counts of espionage, one count of theft of documents. There was an extradition request by the U.S. Hong Kong being part of China. The likelihood is at 90, 95 or 100 percent that Edward Snowden would have wound up in a U.S. jail.
  • Instead of that, Wikileaks helped him gain asylum where he eventually did in Russia. Sarah Harrison accompanying him on the plane to Moscow.
  • Another story we’ve covered, the Trans Pacific Partnership, that’s the trade agreement they’re trying to impose on countries particularly in the far East.
  • What the U.S. just admitted,  filed a brief in April 2014 in federal court. It was a brief in which they refuse to give up documents on a FOIA case. The claim was they couldn’t give them up because there’s a continuing investigation going. It was documents EPIC sought around Wikileaks.
  • The Department of Justice said (in that brief) there’s an ongoing criminal national security investigation into Wikileaks and Julian Assange, its multi-subject and its ongoing.
  • It’s been 4 years since the allegations of sexual misconduct have been made against Julian Assange by two women, but by particular, the prosecutor who seems to have vengeance to carry this out.
  • Remember, they’re allegations, not charges. They’ve asked to extradite Julian Assange based on those allegations.
  • Allegations from a prosecutor from another country are not sufficient to get someone extradited. We have the UK having changed the law so he can no longer be extradited.
  • Ecuador has been extremely supportive of Julian.
  • There’s a letter that will be sent in the next two days to our Attorney General Eric Holder by at least 30 human rights groups around the world.
  • That letter wants to hold him to his words (Holder) that journalists and editors will not be subject to prosecution.
  • It starts off with a demand to close all criminal investigations of Wikileaks and its Editor in Chief Julian Assange. It says they have to stop harassing and persecuting Julian and Wikileaks for publishing. FreeAssangeNow.org

Guest - 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 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.

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Shocking: California Court Rules Teacher Tenure Violates Student’s Right To Quality Education

David Welch, a Silicon Valley tech millionaire has been funding the movement and legal suit that led to the Vergara decision two weeks ago when a California court struck down a series of laws that grant tenure and other protections to public school teachers. Students Matter, an education reform group had sued on behalf of nine students arguing protections for substandard teachers have a disproportionate impact on children of color and low-income families. The decision that has identified teacher tenure as the cause of underachievement within inner city schools could have a larger influence in other states. Many see this decision as part of a strategy to transform the public education system into a major profit center. Examples include No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core Curriculum, Charter Schools.

Brian Jones:

  • The court ruled in California that teacher tenure is a violation of students’ right to a quality education.
  • The ramifications are . . if we find students who are not doing well in school that the remedy is to remove that teacher and get a new teacher and anything that stands in the way of removing that teacher is therefore a violation of that student’s rights.
  • Its actually going to have very negative consequences.
  • We already have a problem holding on to great teachers. We have a problem holding on to teachers.
  • Half of the teachers in this country leave the profession within five years. We’re literally bleeding teachers.
  • A lot of wealthy people have taken an interest in transforming public schools in this country.
  • Their idea that schooling should be run more like a business with more authority, power and decision making concentrated at the top with the workers, parents and students having little or no say on what goes on. Their job is to accomplish the task laid out before them by the millionaires and billionaires.
  • One of the worst examples of course is Bill Gates who has been effectively setting education policy for the nation for several years now.
  • You have this Silicon Valley millionaire who created a “parent group” and bringing this lawsuit you have a bunch of parents whose children are in charter schools and private schools arguing that their rights are being violated.
  • They use their wealth to effect the changes that they want.
  • They bypass any democratic process or debate or discussion about what our schools should be like.
  • This is a famous ploy by the corporatizers is to wrap themselves in the robes of the civil rights movement and claim they’re getting justice on behalf of children.
  • We have to remember that the civil rights movement was pro-union was very involved in unions.
  • The corporate reformers want us to believe that we can get justice for kids by beating up on adults.
  • If we can attack the union we can then get justice for the young people.
  • That’s the tenure attack is eliminating an obstacle for anyone to speak back, to talk back.
  • Without tenure, without unions, without those kinds of protections the people working in a school can never speak back, can never express themselves, can never protest or try to assert some other idea.
  • Let’s talk about what its going to take to improve the teaching profession. Let’s talk about what its going to take to improve the conditions of teaching and learning.
  • Teachers feel under attack. The things we’re putting on teacher’s shoulders right now are insane.
  • We (teachers) were already suffering under Bush’s No Child Left Behind, then Obama doubled down on it and made it even worse. He raised the stakes of those high stakes tests even higher. Our whole platform is available at HowieHawkins.org

Guest - Brian Jones, taught elementary grades for nine years in New York City’s public schools, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Urban Education at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is Green Party’s 2014 candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York. Brian co-narrated the film, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman, and has contributed to the book Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation. He is a member of the Movement of Rank and File Educators: the social justice caucus of the United Federation of Teachers. Brian has also lent his voice to several audiobooks, including The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World and Howard Zinn’s one-man play, Marx in Soho. Brian is the recipient of a 2012 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship.

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Law and Disorder May 26, 2014


Updates:

  • NSA Collecting MetaData And Content On Five Countries
  • Julian Assange-Glenn Greenwald Twitter Storm
  • Host Discussion On NSA Ubiquitous Data Collecting

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The United States vs. Private Chelsea Manning

Last year our own Michael Ratner made many trips to Fort Meade to attend the very secretive Private Chelsea Manning trials. Michael had also explained in past shows about how he heard Chelsea testify as to why he released each set of documents such as the Iraq war logs, the Afghanistan war logs, State Department cables and more.  She said her decision to release the documents were done as an act of conscience. Our guest Wikileaks activist and artist Clark Stoeckley was also at this historic trial. His recent graphic novel titled The United States vs. Private Chelsea Manning is a collection of his vivid sketches from inside the court room.  He joins us to talk about his work as an activist and his experiences producing the book. Welcome to Law and Disorder.

Clark Stoeckley:

  • As I understand the transcripts are still under seal.
  • Those sketches took a little bit longer, ones that where full court room where I drew a lot of people.
  • I would work in pencil and draw as quickly as I could everything that I saw in the court room and then I would come back and fill it in with color and hard outlines.
  • What she was doing was offering up 20 years of her life, accepting full responsibility and that takes a lot of courage and bravery to do that -  being the smallest person in the court room and being noble about it.
  • Unfortunately the media wasn’t there to catch the pre-trial. They only showed up on the first day and then the sentencing and the verdict.
  • I remember how the court room fell to a complete silence when that video came on and the tears, and the blank stares on the prosecutions’ faces.
  • I’m looking through the book right now, I see you, you’re in the picture there Michael Ratner, in the background sitting behind Chelsea.
  • 35 years was the sentence and that’s going to be appealed. As I understand the appeal will start as early as December.
  • They didn’t like that we’re holding vigils every week and holding large protests there. They shut down the road and they had to re-route traffic. It was the largest protest Ft. Meade had every seen.
  • Just a heads up to anyone who wants to correspond with Chelsea, you know have to use the name Chelsea when addressing envelopes. http://www.chelseamanning.org/
  • I just started putting them in libraries today.
  • CHELSEA E. MANNING     89289 / 1300 NORTH WAREHOUSE ROAD / FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS 66027-2304

Guest – Clark Stoeckley,  is an artist and author of the book The United States v. Private Chelsea Manning. He’s also the owner of truck with the WikiLeaks logo emblazoned on it. Stoeckley’s vivid sketches from inside the court and beyond, together with carefully selected transcripts of the proceedings, trace the arguments as they move back and forth between the defense and the prosecution.

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Net Neutrality – The Time Warner/Comcast Merger and New Rules Proposed By The FCC

In our last interview with attorney Matt Wood, policy director at Free Press, we talked about the 45 billion dollar Comcast -Time Warner merger and its implications to net neutrality. This proposed merger would unite the nation’s largest cable TV and internet service provider with the second largest cable company. If combined, these companies would offer service to two thirds of U.S. households. We get an update on the merger and we also discuss the new rules proposed by the FCC about net neutrality.  Net neutrality essentially means preventing unreasonable discrimination against content on the internet. The Free Press maintains that the new FCC rules would kill rather than protect net neutrality and allow rampant discrimination online.

Attorney Matt Wood:

  • What the court said was that you can’t treat broadband providers as common carriers – not as some insurmountable conclusion but simply based on the way the FCC has decided to treat them up to this point.
  • So the FCC up to this point has tried to deregulate and yet tried to maintain some of the protections we all need from our communications.
  • Though its in the FCC’s discretion according to the majority and according to the DC circuit, what the courts have said, the FCC has made this decision in the past. They still haven’t reversed it, they still want to say that broadband is not a common carrier service and therefore the FCC can’t adopt common carrier or common carrier like obligations for broadband.
  • There’s obviously a grave concern to government secrecy and censorship especially when it comes to whistle-blowers and the kind of information that Edward Snowden brought to all of us.
  • If you used the phone to commit a crime whether that is wire fraud or you’re talking to your co-conspirators about how to conduct the crime. It is not the telephone company’s place and either say you can or can’t make that call.
  • Net neutrality is a way of insuring that the carrier of our speech (that’s typically a private company) doesn’t have a role or not in deciding whether that speech goes through.
  • If and when the government steps in and says hey we want to tap that line because we’re actually conducting an investigation or if and when there’s a punishment for the activity that you used the phone to plan that’s obviously a very important legal debate.
  • Net neutrality is not a way for the government to control our speech. It is a way to insure that our cable and phone companies do not control our speech.
  • The FCC in its current mode is basically saying well even if we’re required to allow these two tiers or multiple tiers of service, we can still step in and protect you and provide a basic level of service.
  • This isn’t just about big internet companies on one side and big telephone and cable companies on the other side, its about that we all use the internet especially in a cloud based system. We’re using it not just to watch movies which is an important cultural activity but to back up our files, to send educational videos.
  • What the cable and telephone companies want to do is charge you extra to reach their customers and they want to charge in both directions.
  • If you want to reach them at all Netflix or Google, Law and Disorder, you also have to pay us now.
  • Its no secret that FCC Chairman Wheeler headed not just one but two telecommunication lobbies.
  • The FCC has this proceeding that it will be running over the summer. What Chairman Wheeler has proposed we think is not good enough but its not a done deal either so the FCC will take comments not only from companies and groups like ours but members of the public.

Guest – Attorney Matt Wood helps shape the policy team’s efforts to protect the open Internet, prevent media concentration, promote affordable broadband deployment and prioritize a revitalized public media. Before joining Free Press, he worked at the public interest law firm Media Access Project and in the communications practice groups of two private law firms in Washington, D.C. Before that, he served as editor-in-chief for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, worked for PBS, and spent time at several professional and college radio and television stations. Matt earned his B.A. in film studies from Columbia University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
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Law and Disorder May 12, 2014


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The Muslims Are Coming

Since the so called war on terror, thousands of innocent Muslims have been entrapped, surveilled, and their communities infiltrated while spending untold resources in search for the radicalized terrorist. In Arun Kundnani’s recent book titled the Muslims Are Coming, he carefully looks at the ideologies and strategies of law enforcement used to create the domestic war on terror. He unveils the disturbing processes of radicalization theories and racial profiling followed by law enforcement.

Arun Kundnani:

  • There wasn’t any reflection of what the political causes might be of 9/11 or the political context that might give rise to Al-Qaeda.
  • That discussion was basically censored at least in the United States.
  • The war on terror has basically failed.
  • Radicalization is the chief lens that security officials in Western government lock up Muslim populations.
  • The idea of radicalization is that there’s this kind of ideology out there that turns ordinary Muslims into terrorists.
  • The FBI and the police department both have the same model of radicalization which they claim tells you the process that someone goes through from being an ordinary member of the public to becoming a terrorist.
  • Within that there are various indicators such as behavior or things that people might say or believe that are supposed to be signs that someone is traveling on this path to becoming a terrorist.
  • This provides the basis for the very aggressive practice of surveillance that we’ve seen from both of those law enforcement agencies.
  • It enables them to have a frame of reference to intervene within Muslim populations within the United States, to tackle the ideology that they see is the root driver for this.
  • There are 4 stages in this model. Growing a beard, wearing Islamic clothing, changing the mosque that you attend, being active in a pro-Muslim in a social or political group.
  • They often correspond to expression of political opinion.
  • The FBI as of 2008 had 15,000 paid informants on its books. That’s a huge number given that half of the FBI’s budget is given to counter-terrorism. The sting operations using informants are the key method of dealing with this.
  • The Stasi in Germany had one spy for every 66 East German citizens. It’s that kind of ratio that you can talk about a totalitarian system of surveillance.
  • Muslims in America are probably experiencing the same level of surveillance that East Germans faced under the Stasi.
  • The liberal take on the war on terror is not the same as the neoconservative take.
  • As a Muslim you’re potentially bad and you need to prove that you’re not by the kind of ideology you express. That’s characterized the Obama period in the war on terror.
  • The way that the word terrorism or the word extremism or radicalization works is that is serves to criminalize and demonize people who have radical political opinion, irrespective if they’re involved in any kind of violence.
  • The structures of surveillance that have been set up in the war on terror, get recycled for all kinds of other purposes.

Guest – Arun Kundnani writes about race, Islamophobia, political violence, and surveillance. His latest book The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror was published by Verso Books in March 2014. Born and bred in London, he moved to New York in 2010 on a fellowship with the Open Society Foundations and now lives in Harlem. He is the author of The End of Tolerance: racism in 21st century Britain, which was selected as a New Statesman book of the year in 2007. A former editor of the journal Race & Class, he was miseducated at Cambridge University, holds a PhD from London Metropolitan University, and teaches at New York University

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Ukraine’s Neo Nazis

We look at Ukraine’s neo-Nazis and Stepan Bandera and the legacy of World War II. Every important ministry in the Ukraine is now held by ultra-nationalists. The Ministry of Education, social policy, policing, prosecution and national defense are all headed up by people whose party is a direct descendant of the Stepan Bandera movement in the Ukraine during World War II. Bandera and his movement were responsible for the genocide of more than 500 thousand including Poles, Ukrainians and Jews. This fact is played down by the U.S. government, the mainstream media in the United States, the state of Israel and its defenders amongst the Jewish establishment including Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League.

Joel Kovel:

  • I think its important to recognize this utterly illegitimate US puppet government I think in large part because it doesn’t have any standing for the Ukrainian people as a whole – has to be defended by neo-Nazi elements which aren’t enormously plentiful, but plentiful enough and they will do the bidding of their masters.
  • It started (Odessa, Ukraine) as a quarrel in a soccer stadium, and moved to Odessa. Odessa is an extremely important town it was one of the centers of world Jewish culture for a long time, still has 30 thousand Jews in it.
  • The Ukrainian loyalists overwhelmed the other people and drove them into this building, they set fires within the building which led to a hideous massacre.
  • One on one violence but also people jumping out of the windows, smoke inhalation.
  • Watching it on youtube you saw the total savagery and unspeakable brutality of these thugs, they were laughing, having the time of their lives.
  • There were police around, military around, they did nothing to stop this.
  • Utterly mystified and denied by the mainstream media, including the main springs thereof, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times.
  • My parents were both born in the Ukraine. In the early years of the last century, one third of the Jews in the world lived in the Ukraine.
  • You have a blood strewn, contentious history marked by an enormous amount of hatred and vindictiveness. I think all nationalisms are pathological frankly.
  • Ukrainian nationalism was particularly virulent. We’re dealing with another brand of ultra-nationalism with the state of Israel, and they’re not unconnected with all this.
  • Fascism being a right wing alliance between large bourgeois and nationalist forces using some kind of mythic or racist ideology to legitimate itself.
  • Ukraine: there’s never been a solid national identity there’s a tremendous complex mixture of things.
  • There’s a book called Organized Antisemitism in Contemporary Ukraine: Structure, Influence and Ideology.
  • Of course the US thinks they’re manipulating the puppets so they can control them. You go down that road, there’s going to be a lot of tragedies as the puppet turns on the master.
  • The number of Rabbis quoted as saying we’re getting ready to evacuate, we have plans. We’re ready to go in a half an hour. We’re afraid its going to happen again. Meanwhile, this Foxman is saying, don’t worry.
  • New York Times had a headline about 3 or 4 weeks ago how this was all overblown Ukraine’s Jews say that Putin not antisemitism is the problem.
  • That’s the headline in the New York Times. How could they do that?
  • We need a massive onslaught against the program of lies and deception that is being waged by our national media in total lockstep with the imperial interest of the United States. I’ve never in my life seen journalism sink to such an abyss as it has and in the very least this is a front that we can occupy.
  • It means a lot because the American don’t want this to be happening. This is something that our power system. One front is the ruthless critique of the media and the lies that our government is putting out.

Guest- Joel Kovel, scholar and an activist. In the former capacity he has published nine books and over a hundred articles and reviews. His books include White Racism, which was nominated for a National Book Award in 1972; A Complete Guide to Therapy; The Age of Desire (in which his work in the psychiatric-psychoanalytic system is detailed); Against the State of Nuclear Terror; In Nicaragua; The Radical Spirit; History and Spirit(1991) – Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism

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Law and Disorder April 7, 2014


Updates:

  • Ruling In Teenager’s Facebook Case
  • Family of Homeless Man Repeatedly Shot By Police Reached $725, 000 Settlement
  • Supreme Court Strikes Down Campaign Contribution Limits
  • Kerry Cancels Visit to PA after Abbas Asks to Join 15 UN Agencies

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The ARNCA Urges US President and Congress To Stop Attacks on Kessab

In the early hours of march 31, 2014 civilians in the ancient Armenian settlement of Kessab and surrounding villages were attacked by forces opposed to the Syrian government crossing the border from Turkey. Kessab is an Armenian-populated town situated in northwestern Syria. The cross border attacks, which included church desecrations, forced immediate civilian evacuation of the area, alarming Armenians around the globe concerned about the safety of their relatives. Considered  safe haven for refugees fleeing nearby war torn cities in recent years, the local Armenian population in Kessab has increased. In response to the recent multi-pronged attack, the Armenian National Committee of America has called on President Obama and Congress to press Turkey to stop facilitation attacks on civilians in Kessab, to investigate Turkey’s reported assistance to foreign fighters associated with the U.S. designated terrorist groups and to direct humanitarian aid to victims in the Armenian settlement.

 Aram Hamparian:

  • Kessab holds tremendous meaning for Armenians around the world. It’s essentially the last Armenian village that remains on the territory of the former Ottoman Empire.  The territory that was emptied of Armenians during the genocide of 1915.
  • A portion of those survivors settled in this village which is right on the Turkish border and for 9 decades they lived in safety but in the shadow of Turkey, until recently when extremist militants invaded the village from Turkey and drove out about 2000 residents who are essentially homeless today.
  • I think that a decision was made in Ankara, Turkey to allow extremists to use their territory to drive the Armenians out of that village. I think there’s an element of intent on the part of the Turkish government, which has been consistently anti-Armenian for more than half a century.
  • Only one person we understand was killed by a sniper as reported by the Washington Post but the overwhelming majority have fled.
  • We’ve worked very hard to encourage the U.S. government to protest not only the attack but also Turkey’s role.
  • Congress didn’t condemn what we thought was the key element Turkey allowing the soldiers to cross this border and make this attack.
  • There are parts of Kessab that are a 100 yards away from a highly militarized, highly monitored border.
  • It’s inconceivable that soldiers would’ve crossed that border had they not been supported by or at the very least ignored by the Turkish government.
  • They simply can’t go home if there is a fear of repetition. If the precedent is set that, well if Turkey did this once and they were not challenged at all and given a free pass.
  • We’re trying to get a message from the Washington to Ankara, saying this is out of bounds.  You have the right to protect your border but you also have to make sure your border isn’t crossed by militants who are doing harm to innocent civilians.
  • President Obama came in to office with a pledge to recognize the genocide.  Soon after he came into office he turned 180 degrees, not only didn’t honor his pledge to recognize the genocide but blocked Congress from doing what he said he would do.
  • Turkey has banned Youtube, Turkey has banned Twitter because its leaders are not happy with what’s being said.
  • Armenian Relief Fund

Guest – Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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Max Blumenthal At “Against Israeli Apartheid” in New York City

We hear a speech by award winning journalist, and best selling author Max Blumenthal speaking at the event Against Israeli Apartheid along with Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah. Max’s new book Goliath: Life and Loathing In Greater Israel shows the reader how the Netanyahu right wing government is actually moderate compared to most other institutions in Israel. His book takes a hard look at Israeli authoritarian politics from a cross section of interviews, from the homes of Palestinian activists to the political leaders behind the organized assault on democratic rights.

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Law and Disorder March 10, 2014


Updates:

 

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NJ Federal Court Dismisses NYPD Spying On Muslims Case

We take a look into the failed lawsuit challenging the New York City Police Department’s broad surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey. As listeners may know the case Hassan v City of New York brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Muslim Advocates was dismissed last month. Since 2002, the NYPD spied outside its jurisdiction on at least 20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools and two Muslim Student Associations in New Jersey. The monitoring included using racial and ethnic profiling systems, video surveillance, photographing, community mapping and infiltration.

Professor Deepa Kumar:

  • It was very troubling for me too Michael. At Rutgers where I teach, we found out that the NYPD had a safe house just off of our New Brunswick campus.
  • It’s really troubling that student groups on my campus not to mention grade schools and Muslim book stores and community centers have been invaded.
  • It’s created a chilling sentiment among the Muslim community. People self-censor, they’re afraid that what they say will be used against them in entrapment cases.
  • This decision by this judge is completely stunning. The logic that he puts forward and I’m reading from his ten page report. He says “the police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself. The motive for the program was not solely apparently to discriminate against Muslims but to find Muslim terrorists hiding among ordinary law abiding Muslims.”
  • If you examine what he says, the notion that there are terrorists in the Muslim community, therefore its alright to go out and spy on them.
  • It’s based on the notion that somehow Islam serves to radicalize Muslim Americans into performing political violence.
  • This program has been active since 2002, but there hasn’t been one terrorism related lead, let alone any kind of conviction.
  • Since the events of 9/11 there have been all sorts of pseudo-scientific attempts to show that somehow the religion Islam creates political violence.
  • If you look at Hamas, the group in Palestine, they’ve gone to the Quran to justify violence as well as to justify cease fire.
  • It’s politics really as the key reason why people turn to violence and so to somehow blame Islam, this is a form of cultural racism.
  • What this means is that the NYPD can go around with impunity and spy on religion minorities, not just in New York City, but in New Jersey, in Connecticut.
  • It sends a green light to other police departments across the country as well as the FBI which has similar programs.
  • He (Judge Martini) justified his ruling referring to a case in the Supreme Court. I think we have a lot of work to do ahead of us in pushing back against this racist logic.
  • Some people claim that there isn’t racism against Muslims because Muslims aren’t a race.
  • There’s tremendous variation between human to human in terms of our genetic make up and 85 percent of this variation occurs within a so called race.
  • Why are we calling it racism? Because its a form of cultural racism, because its based on the premise that Islam somehow creates an ideology, it creates a culture that programs people to act in violent ways.
  • The reason why people turn to violence often is because peaceful movements failed.
  • I’m currently working on a book on the cultural logic of the national security state.
  • If you look the campaigns If You See Something, Say Something. What’s being asked of you is to become an agent of state surveillance.

Guest – Deepa Kumar, an Associate Professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. Her work is driven by an active engagement with the key issues that characterize our era–neoliberalism and imperialism. Her latest book is Islamophobia and The Politics of Empire by Haymarket Books and is in response to the events of 9/11, the Bush administration launched a “war on terror,” ushering in an era of anti-Muslim racism, or Islamophobia.  Her first book, Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike (University of Illinois Press, 2007), is about the power of collective struggle in effectively challenging the priorities of neoliberalism.

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Net Neutrality – Time Warner/Comcast Merger

A merger of media cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable threatens net neutrality. Comcast intends to take over Time Warner for more than 44 billion dollars in stock. This proposed merger would unite the nation’s largest cable TV and internet service provider with the second largest cable company. If combined, these companies would offer service to two thirds of U.S. households. The deal must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department and the FCC.

Attorney Matt Wood:

  • What we would have here is a 45 billion dollar deal combining the nation’s largest and second largest cable company.
  • They face some competition especially from video from satellite providers.
  • The place where they don’t face competition at all is on the broadband platform.
  • This deal would strengthen them both in their cable TV programming dominance and on the broadband side too.
  • You’d have one company that reaches two thirds of the country and its the only option some people have for advanced communications services, putting video and broadband together.
  • That would give tremendous power of everything we see on both TV and online. Comcast is already a must have for any independent programmer.
  • For even web providers such as Netflix.
  • Even without that horizontal competition today between Comcast and Time Warner cable this is not good news for the American people, for free expression, for lower prices, for anything we care about.
  • Net-neutrality means preventing unreasonable discrimination against content.
  • Verizon went to court and had these net neutrality rules struck down that the FCC put forward.
  • They (Verizon) said they internet is really like a newspaper than it is like a phone system and what that means is that we at Verizon should have editorial discretion over the internet content we transmit.
  • An internet service provider used to be somebody you went to who rode over the top of an open phone system. Right? Back in the dial up days there were a number of internet service providers and you could switch from one to the other.
  • Internet content should not be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission full stop yet the communications network that we all use to get online is something where have to have a public oversight role and a certain degree of universality, affordable and openness.
  • Susan Crawford talks about these issues as well. She said “What the companies want to do is confuse the conversation for the sidewalk.”
  • We need these rules to keep open the sidewalks, to keep open the public spaces and this concept of public communications network that serves everybody.
  • The twin review by the FCC and the Department of Justice might seem cumbersome but they have different mandates.
  • DOJ and the FTC are looking to prevent a decrease in existing competition.
  • The FCC has a broader mandate to make the sure the deal is actually in the public interest.
  • Comcast bought up NBC only 3 years ago. Since then, AT&T tried to acquire T-mobile.
  • Verizon has almost 50 percent of the entire (wireless) industry’s profits.

Guest – Attorney Matt Wood helps shape the policy team’s efforts to protect the open Internet, prevent media concentration, promote affordable broadband deployment and prioritize a revitalized public media. Before joining Free Press, he worked at the public interest law firm Media Access Project and in the communications practice groups of two private law firms in Washington, D.C. Before that, he served as editor-in-chief for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, worked for PBS, and spent time at several professional and college radio and television stations. Matt earned his B.A. in film studies from Columbia University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

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Law and Disorder January 13, 2014


Updates:

  • Lynne Stewart Released From Prison, Returns Home
  • Media, Pennsylvania Activists Come Forward
  • White House Report: “Liberty and Security in a Changing World”

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Mumia Abu-Jamal, Heidi Boghosian and Professor Johanna Fernandez

We at Law and Disorder have kept you updated on his case for the 10 years we’ve been broadcasting. It’s our pleasure to welcome Mumia Abu-Jamal as our special guest. Professor Johanna Fernandez joins us as Mumia calls from SCI Mahanoy in Frackville, Pennsylvania. Johanna is a Professor of History at Baruch College and co-coordinator of the newly launched campaign to bring Mumia home.

Mumia Abu-Jamal:

  • I remember with quite a degree of distinction receiving in the mail, a packet full of xeroxed FBI files.
  • I believe by 1971, I had left the party. I read through files that named names and detailed internal affairs of the Black Panther Party of Philadelphia, the national office, other organizations, activists all through out the city and the region.
  • We lived in communal apartments and houses. We lived together we worked out of the same offices, we spent all day together with each other.
  • To read about lies that were in those files, and the people that you knew for years that were FBI informants, stuff like that, it was absolutely mind blowing.
  • Media, Pennsylvania story: I think they are the linear ancestors of Edward Snowden.
  • These were anti-war people for the most part, living their own lives but willing to make a contribution to the movement, because they were part of the movement.
  • It’s interesting that these file come out now, because for someone who has been reading and writing recently, about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., people know now that the FBI taped hotel rooms where Martin and Ralph David Abernathy and other civil rights activist were staying.
  • They tried to use those tapes to blackmail Martin King and actually force him into suicide.
  • This was all part of Hoover’s plan to destroy the Black Freedom Movement and any movement that was against what the government was doing.
  • It’s interesting that Law and Disorder is talking about 9/11 when right there in New York you have an estimated 100 cops who used 9/11 to justify scamming the public. Cops, prison guards and a few firefighters.
  • When you think about the ordinary heroes. These are people whose names are not known. Those nameless black mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters, they made that movement possible. (Black Freedom Movement)
  • Even if you think of Edward Snowden. He’s an average guy, no college education, he’s like a computer whiz. Now he got a great job and he resolved in his mind, in his heart, in his soul, that he would not be silent about the things he saw and heard.
  • BringMumiaHome.com
  • Law and Disorder Interview – The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal by J.Patrick O’Connor

Guest – Mumia Abu-Jamal is a renowned journalist from Philadelphia who has been in prison since 1981 and was on death row since 1983 for allegedly shooting Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. After decades of appeals, he left death row in 2012 but is still facing a life sentence. He is known as the “Voice of the Voiceless” for his award-winning reporting on police/state violence brutality and other social and racial epidemics that plague communities of color in Philadelphia and throughout the world.

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Federal Court Allows For DHS Laptop Searches At Border

Each year, thousands of American citizens returning from abroad are subjected to searches of their laptops, cell phones and other personal devices. The Department of Homeland Security claims it has the right to such searches regardless of whether the traveler is suspected of wrongdoing.

A federal court recently dismissed a 2010 lawsuit against the DHS. The ACLU, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, filed the suit on behalf of Pascal Abidor, a dual French-American citizen whose laptop was searched and confiscated at the Canadian border, as well as the National Press Photographers Association and the NACDL. Abidor was traveling from Montreal to NY on Amtrak when his laptop was searched and taken by customs officers. He was questioned, taken off the rain in handcuffs and held in a cell for several hours. When his laptop was returned, many of his files, chats and photos had been searched.

Attorney Brian Hauss:

  • The agent opened Mr Abidor’s laptop and started looking through the files on his desktop.
  • She found a couple pictures that she showed to agents around her. She turned the laptop around to see what he thought about the pictures she identified.
  • One was a picture of a Hamas rally in Israel, and the other picture was of a Hezbollah rally in Lebanon.
  • Mr Abidor explained that these were related to his graduate work in Islamic studies.
  • The agents thought these pictures were suspicious, and they took Mr. Abidor off the train, the train left without him. They put him in handcuffs and placed him in a holding cell where he was forced to wait for several hours.
  • While he was there, the agents interrogated him about his studies, his associations, his interests in Islam, etc.
  • Eventually they decided there was no evidence of wrong doing. They decided to let him go but not before seizing all his electronic devices and specifically detaining his laptop for an indefinite period of time.
  • When they returned his laptop 11 days later he was able to determine from the last open date on his files, that the government had actually inspected his personal photographs a transcript of a chat he had with his girlfriend, copies of his email correspondence, class notes, journal articles, tax returns, his graduate school transcript and even his resume.
  • He decided to come to us and we brought a lawsuit on his behalf challenging this policy.
  • David House is a very talented computer programmer who lives in Cambridge, Massachussetts and he was at one time deeply involved in the Bradley Manning support network.
  • The government figured out that David House was related to Chelsea Manning and they wanted to question him in connection with the Wikileaks investigation.
  • They set up an alert in the data base, known as the Text Database. It let the government know whenever Mr. House was leaving the country.
  • When Mr House returned (from leaving the country) government agents were waiting for him at Chicago O’Hare.
  • They interrogated Mr. House about wikileaks and his political activities and confiscated his laptop and electronic devices.
  • When we brought a lawsuit on Mr. House’s behalf and actually settled with the government, the DHS notes after reviewing all of his materials after going through every file on his laptop . . concluded there was absolutely no evidence to seize these devices. There was strong reason to believe they knew this from the beginning and they knew they couldn’t get a probable cause warrant by a judge.
  • As we understand it, the DHS can put anyone it likes into the Text Database.
  • Our understanding is that from October 1, 2008 to June 2, 2010 more than 6,500 people.
  • What we asked for in our FOIA request was the DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Impact Report on border searches. We ultimately got the report with some redactions pertaining to the government’s legal analysis of why its allowed to engage in suspicionless searches.

Guest – Brian Hauss,  the William J. Brennan Fellow with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. At the ACLU, he has been involved in litigation challenging the federal government’s suspicionless search and seizure of laptops and other electronic devices at the international border. Brian is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. After graduation from law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Marsha Berzon of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

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Law and Disorder January 6, 2014


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They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars

What are the true costs of war in Afghanistan? Our guest, author Ann Jones has written an impactful book titled They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars, it chronicles a world mostly hidden from the public. Ann Jones has spent nearly a decade working with Afghan civilians and writing about the effects of war on their lives but in the last couple years, she focused on the human toll on and off the battle field as U.S. soldiers return back from war zones with permanent mental damage, missing limbs or as quadruple amputees.

Ann Jones:

  • I live in Norway where peace is taken for granted as it is in Europe.
  • The United States looks crazed, the way we send our forces out all over the world, are always looking for a fight.
  • Any unit of any size has a special unit within it that does mortuary affairs because all combat units are losing soldiers all the time and even soldiers who never leave base may be victims of this war. Suicides for example.
  • The job of the soldiers assigned to mortuary affairs is to protect the other soldiers from knowledge of those deaths.
  • Their job is to go out and retrieve the pieces of soldiers who very often in Afghanistan have literally been blown to pieces and bring those body parts and remains back to the base, to thier little secret part of the base and try to match up and put them in “transfer cases.” – to transfer them home to Dover, Delaware where they are repackaged, gussied up to be put in coffins and sent on for families for burial.
  • Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is very close to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. There are special air ambulance services that go out from there to Africa, to Asia to pick even individual casualties. The individuals are often members of the CIA or private contractors or military special ops people.
  • The suicides have been increasing year by year. Many of those suicides take place in the field. There have been a number that have been documented as a result of hazing and sexual assaults.
  • A great many more take place here at home when soldiers return and find that they can’t live with themselves.
  • I think what’s really troubling now is the number of soldiers and ex soldiers who aren’t really counted in this statistic who are taking their lives under the influence of opiad-pain killers, that have been pushed upon them by big-pharma.
  • They’re shown to be highly addictive, particularly in young people and to be heavily implicated in suicide.
  • The rate at which soldiers under treatment in the V.A. are taking their lives is what should be a national scandal.
  • It’s estimated that 1 in 3 women soldiers have been the victim of sexual assault.
  • Though in fact the number of male soldiers victimized is even greater. The percentage is less but the number is greater because men still represent 85 percent of the personnel in the military.
  • Congress is supposed to vote on military appropriations for 2014 very shortly. Kirsten Gillebrand, the senator from New York is leading the campaign to attach an amendment to that budgetary appropriation that would remove the prosecution, the reporting and the decision about the prosecution and the prosecution itself from the chain of command and place it in the hands of specially trained military and civilian legal units.
  • Who joins? It’s kids, from poor families, from dysfunctional families. Mainly from in the  South and the “rust belt” and urban centers who see very little if any, opportunity for their ambitions and their idealism in their home communities.

Guest – Ann Jones, a journalist, photographer, and the author of ten books of nonfiction. She has written extensively about violence against women. Since 2001, she has worked intermittently as a humanitarian volunteer in conflict and post-conflict countries in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and central and south Asia. From Afghanistan and the Middle East, she has reported on the impact of war upon civilians; and she has embedded with American forces in Afghanistan to report on war’s impact on soldiers. Her articles on these and other matters appear most often in The Nation and online at www.TomDispatch.com. Her work has received generous support from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where she held the Mildred Londa Weisman Fellowship in 2010-11, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2011-12), and the Fulbright Foundation (2012). She lives in Oslo, Norway, with two conversational cats.

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The Black Misleadership Class Versus the Movement and its Legacy

We go now to hear Glen Ford speaking at the Black Agenda Report 7th anniversary gathering at Harlem’s Riverside Church. The theme of the event was ““The Black Misleadership Class Versus the Movement and its Legacy.”  Ford gives strong criticism of newly elected New Jersey Senator Cory Booker as the essence of Black misleadership, showing the many ties of the current Newark mayor to corporate America.

Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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Law and Disorder December 9, 2013


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Judge Ruling Allows Detroit Bankruptcy To Move Forward

This summer we spoke with retired auto worker and activist Dianne Feeley about the plans to wipe out the pensions and health benefits of all current and retired city workers by emergency manager of Detroit, Kevyn Orr. We also looked at the history of workers in Detroit from the perspective of black workers and the broader pattern of oppression. Last week, a ruling by Judge Stevens W. Rhodes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court allows the city of Detroit to move forward in the bankruptcy process. The cradle of the American auto industry will now be allowed to pay off debts and restore essential services.

Professor Laura Bartell:

  • It is the first time that a bankruptcy judge that pension obligations constitute contractual obligations that are subject to diminution in bankruptcy.
  • Although its rattled pensioners nationwide, its really not that extraordinary.
  • The healthcare was never protected by the Michigan Constitution. Everyone has always known that healthcare was subject to modification by the city.
  • The cuts in health care are going into effect I believe in February for city employees.
  • When we’re talking about the pensions we’re talking about the retirees both the firefighters and policemen unions retirees.
  • The city maintains that the plans are underfunded by 3.5 billion dollars.
  • The union believes that number is vastly inflated based on projected returns that are too low. Whatever the number is its somewhere between 800 million and 3.5 billion.
  • The policemen and firefighters don’t have the benefit of social security.
  • You’re not talking about a lot of money going to any individual so if you cut the pension to any particular individual its obviously going to be a major cut for that individual.
  • The major problem that Detroit has suffered was a vast decline in population.
  • It used to be a much larger city. It’s footprint is still a very large city but the number of people living in that footprint is much smaller than it used to be.
  • Among that small population there’s an even smaller number of people actually working and paying taxes.
  • So the money coming in to meet the obligations of Detroit has been constantly shrinking.
  • Detroit’s obligation to retirees in terms of pensions and healthcare is up at 38 percent and rising constantly. – and in addition we had severe mismanagement of city government including criminality. I’m sure everyone knows our former mayor is now in prison.
  • My guess is the pensioners will be hit far less severely than the bond holders. Bond holders are making an investment and taking a risk.
  • That’s what bankruptcy is about is all people who have done something to become creditors to the city and they’re not going to get what they deserve.
  • That’s the problem, everybody is deserving, everybody should get paid.
  • The problem is not that the governor has suddenly taken away the democratic rights of Detroit. We’ve had an emergency manager law for many years in the state of Michigan.
  • Detroit is the latest and the biggest to have that happen.
  • The next stage is a presentation of a plan of adjustment which he will present to creditors at the end of this month and file with the court at the beginning of January.

Guest – Professor Laura Bartell, after graduating from Harvard Law School, where she was an officer on the Harvard Law Review, she clerked for Judge Alvin B. Rubin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans. She then entered practice in New York where she became a partner in Shearman & Sterling, specializing in bank financing and bankruptcy work. She is a member of the American Law Institute and American Bankruptcy Institute and has published articles on bankruptcy topics, federal court-awarded attorneys’ fees and costs, and the attorney/client privilege and work-product doctrine. She teaches Property, Secured Transactions, Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights and Effective Oral Communication for Lawyers.

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 Rahinah_Ibrahim shaneK

Terrorist Watch Lists and No Fly Lists Cases

How do governments compile lists called no-fly lists of individuals often placed on terrorist watch lists? As we’ve seen, the predictions about individual behavior of Muslims, Communists or Japanese-Americans have often been wildly inaccurate and cause a great deal of harm to these communities. Today to discuss the no-fly list and a recent case proceeding through the courts is returning guest Shane Kadidal senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City.

Attorney Shane Kadidal:

  • There are broad watch lists and there are lists that people are more familiar with in concept and that’s what being litigated out in California, somebody placed on the no-fly list.
  • There are two kinds of no-fly lists, there’s the selectee list where some where on the order of tens of thousands of people are designated for additional security checks when they go through the TSA.
  • Then there’s the smaller list which contains several thousand names that sometimes you hear referred to as the no transport list. That’s people who can’t board a flight under any circumstances.
  • The US shares its list at times with other countries. We don’t know how much sharing exists.
  • The case in California is super interesting because the person who got stopped doesn’t seem like the kind of person that would get stopped except for the fact that she wears a hijab.
  • The Terrorism Screening Center is responsible for putting people on the list.
  • The interesting thing about this case is that daughter that was put on the list was 14, eight or nine years ago and is now a lawyer in Malaysia and was supposed to testify and was told by Malaysian airlines you are on the no-fly list.
  • She’s seeking damages because she couldn’t fly back. This is really the first case to get to trial basically.
  • The ACLU has a challenge to which kind of a pure due process challenge case in a case called Lateef v Holder.
  • You got put on a list and there’s no real process for challenging those facts.
  • If its an accidental match, somebody has the same name as you, or close to you. You can go through this challenge procedure called TRIPP.
  • If you win your challenge, they’ll give you a number that you can enter in when you buy your plane ticket.
  • CCR along with the Clear Clinic at CUNY Law School filed a case at the beginning of October. The gist of it is that people will end up on the no-fly list and if you complaint about it the FBI will say, if you talk to us you can be taken off the list if you agree to work as an informant on the Muslim community.
  • What’s interesting about the couple thousand names (no-fly list) which is much smaller than the number which are on these lists intended to intercept terrorism finance like the list the treasury department maintains like a 500 plus page phone book.
  • You can imagine that there might be some logical rationale behind having a short list of people who get a little scrutiny and hope it has more due process than the selectee list has now.
  • But the fact that there are some people who are not allowed to fly under any circumstances with any level of search scrutiny that doesn’t seem to make any sense and seems to fit very neatly into our complaint.
  • I question if this list can make rational sense.
  • Typically if you’re on the no-fly list you get turned away. Typically you don’t get arrested.
  • OFAC list, is sort of a list of parties you’re not allowed to do business with. It combines not only sanctions directed at whole countries but also the variety of sanctions directed at terrorism finance.
  • This is just like other cases where secrecy is at the core of the defense of the program.

Guest - Shane Kadidal, senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. He is a graduate of the Yale Law School and a former law clerk to Judge Kermit Lipez of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. In his eight years at the Center, he has worked on a number of significant cases in the wake of 9/11, including the Center’s challenges to the detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay (among them torture victim Mohammed al Qahtani and former CIA ghost detainee Majid Khan), which have twice reached the Supreme Court, and several cases arising out of the post-9/11 domestic immigration sweeps. He is also counsel in CCR’s legal challenges to the “material support” statute (decided by the Supreme Court last term), to the low rates of black firefighter hiring in New York City, and to the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program.

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