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Law and Disorder August 4, 2014

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Folk Music, Labor Movements and Radical Politics

Especially in times of revolution or crisis, the role of music has been a defining element in telling the stories of labor movements, against the war in Vietnam and civil rights. Folk musician Eli Smith gave a presentation at the Left Forum this year on satirical songs of the IWW including the work of Joe Hill and many others. The early works of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie are a great place to start along with the lesser known work of John L. Handcox, and the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. It was the first racially integrated union in the South that used indigenous folk music to fight for the rights of sharecroppers.

Guest – Eli Smith, a banjo player, writer, researcher and promoter of folk music living in New York City. Eli is a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist and produces two folk festivals annually, the Brooklyn Folk Festival in the Spring and Washington Square Park Folk Festival in the Fall.  He has appeared as a guest on terrestrial radio stations such as WBAI, WNYC, WKCR and WDST in New York and KPFA, KPFK and KUCI in California. Eli has presented panels and discussions on folk music at the Left Forum conference at Cooper Union and at the Podcamp podcasting conference in New York City. He has performed and recorded with his old time string band The Down Hill Strugglers, Peter Stampfel, John Cohen and Sam Shepard. The Down Hill Strugglers were recently featured on the soundtrack album to the Coen Brothers’ film “Inside Llewyn Davis,” which was produced by T Bone Burnett.


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Terrorization of Dissent: Corporate Repression, Legal Corruption, and the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

Terrorization of Dissent: Corporate Repression, Legal Corruption, and the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is a collection of essays by lawyers, scholars and activists that includes interviews with those who suffered from the AETA’s conspiracy provisions. Editors Jason Del Gandio and Anthony Nocella have compiled essential information to document how the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is a clear violation of the First Amendment. Specifically, the book documents how corporations and the U.S. Government conspire under this law to prosecute animal rights activists and acts of civil disobedience involving environmental issues under the specter of terrorism. Right now, according to Nocella and Del Gandio, corporate profit determines what can or can’t be done to animals and the environment.

Anthony Nocella:

  • The importance of this act has really shaped how the government looks at one of the larger movements in the United States.
  • The animal advocacy, animal rights, animal liberation movements have been demonized and stigmatized as terrorists, through the media and the government through this particular act.
  • What are the effects of this law? Who influenced this act to be pushed into law? It wasn’t really government.
  • There were main organizations that pushed this law into effect. The Animal Enterprise Protection Coalition, The Animal Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) The Center for Consumer Freedom.
  • Any logical CEO of a corporation will say I don’t want anything to threaten my product.
  • That product in the case of animals is any where from circuses to sea world, to clothing, from leather to fur, to also eating.
  • We can do away with circuses and fur and a lot of different clothing, but one thing we can’t live without is food.
  • We have to look at the real conflict and that’s between food.
  • Do we want people to have a plant based diet or an animal based diet?
  • There are hundreds of billions of dollars protecting that paradigm of people eating meat, fish and chicken.
  • If anyone threatens that industry, under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, you’re deemed a terrorist.
  • To wash away all the rhetoric that is what this law is specifically speaking about. That’s why it was expanded from the Animal Enterprise Protection Act to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
  • CCR Condemns Terrorism Indictment for Activists Freeing Mink from Fur Farms
  • The point is – regarding the book, law schools, political science departments, think tanks, need a text that comes from a variety of viewpoints specifically looking at the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
  • I think we have understand the difference between how corporations are influencing laws and literally writing the bills into laws and into effect, while political repression is really law enforcement and senators influencing laws.
  • We’re not criminalizing activists like we did in the 70s and 80s, now we’re labeling them as terrorists.
  • National Weekend of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act – Sept 5-6-7, 2014
  • Website – The Institute For Critical Animal Studies

Guest – Anthony Nocella II, Ph.D., an intersectional academic-activist, is Senior Fellow of the Dispute Resolution Institute at the Hamline Law School, co-founder and Director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, and editor of the Peace Studies Journal. He has published more than sixteen books including Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?: Reflections on the Liberation of Animals (2004), Call to Compassion: Religious Perspectives on Animal Advocacy (2011), and Defining Critical Animal Studies: An Intersectional Social Justice Approach for Liberation (2014).



Law and Disorder February 25, 2013


Private Prison Corporation To Have Its Name on Florida Atlantic Football Stadium

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Priests of Our Democracy, The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge

Priests of Our Democracy, The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge is the title of the recently published book by attorney Marjorie Heins. The book examines a very dark period in academic freedom within New York City’s municipal colleges. In the early 1940s, faculty, students and staff were the target of massive investigations into their political beliefs and associations. They hauled before tribunals of the New York State legislature, dozens were stripped of their careers.

Author Marjorie Heinz shows historically, that academic freedom is nothing to take for granted and is always on shaky ground despite being protected by the First Amendment. The  backlash of controversy against Students for Justice in Palestine sponsoring a Boycott Divest Sanction event at Brooklyn College is recent example. This is a book for anyone working in education to understand the court battles that tried to preserve a right protected by the Constitution.

Attorney Marjorie Heins:

  • Boards of Trustees which are dominated by corporate executives don’t like these new scholars in the field of social science who are also activists.
  • It’s really an attempt of political purge of this national figure.
  • The burgeoning forces of academic freedom rally round him, they see the danger.
  • In those early days the main attacks on the activist professors really were on activities outside the classroom in support of labor organizing.
  • A bunch of professors get together from around the country and form the AAUP, American Association of University Professors. They for the first time issue a declaration of principles on academic freedom.
  • The first is freedom in the classroom. The second is freedom is your research and scholarship to pursue learning where it may lead, which means overturning conventional wisdom.
  • The third is what they call extramural speech, outside the walls. That was the main target of repression in that period.
  • We have to get all these leftists out of the school system because they’re going to indoctrinate the tender minds of our youth with Marxist ideas.
  • Harry Keyishian starts the book, he’s one of the wonderful characters I discovered as I was working on it. The Keyishian v. Board of Regents case, 1967 Supreme Court case is famous among First Amendment lawyers because it reversed prior not so good decisions, strikes down the so called Feinberg law which had been passed in 1949 and upheld by the Supreme Court.
  • Feinberg law creates a very sweeping program of loyalty investigations for teachers in the public schools.
  • 1952 is the height of the witch-hunt at Queens College in New York City when the Senate Internal Security Sub-committee comes to town.
  • The Senate Internal Security Sub-committee starts summoning teachers at city colleges.
  • “Would you tell Pablo Picasso that he wasn’t qualified to teach art?”
  • It’s obscene to see college administrators running around scared like keystone cops he said.
  • Some of these investigations were very broad. What books they read, what magazines they subscribed to, did you have Paul Robeson records in your home?
  • It’s not until the Keyishian case in 1967 that the Supreme Court says this whole system of loyalty investigations violates the First Amendment and the due process provisions of the Constitution.
  • Marjorie Heins Book Events:  
    •  Revolution Books March 5 is sponsored by the New York Civil Liberties Union – 7PM
    • Harvard Bookstore, Cambridge, MA, Friday March 15, 3 pm.
    • Talking Leaves Bookstore, Buffalo, NY, Sat. March 23, 5 pm.
    • Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC, Sat. June 15, 1 pm.

Guest – Marjorie Heins, a civil liberties lawyer, writer, and teacher, and the founding director of the Free Expression Policy Project. Her previous book, Not in Front of the Children, won the American Library Association’s 2002 Eli Oboler Award for best published work in the field of intellectual freedom. Other books include Sex, Sin, and Blasphemy: A Guide to America’s Censorship Wars; Cutting the Mustard: Affirmative Action and the Nature of Excellence; and Strictly Ghetto Property: The Story of Los Siete de la Raza. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School.


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Encore Interview: New Vatican Rules On Handling Priest Sexual Abuse Cases

Earlier this year, the Vatican had revised its laws making it easier to discipline sex abuser priests. The new internal of the Vatican will use faster judicial procedures instead of full ecclesiastical trials. Critics of the revisions, say the Vatican merely tweaked the process and the new rules don’t hold bishops accountable for abuse by priests on their watch or require that they report the sexual abuse to the authorities. In the same report was the inclusion that attempting to ordain women as priests was comparable to heresy, apostasy and pedophilia. To many it was a comparison meant to resist any suggestion that pedophilia can be addressed by ending the requirement of celibacy.

Barbara Blaine:

  • SNAP is now a worldwide movement of survivors. We invite supporters join us, we have approximately 10 thousand survivors.  Some are spouses and family members but most are survivors; survivors of sexual abuse by priests or other clergy members.  Sometimes by religious brothers, by nuns, deacons even bishops.
  • We grew in 2002 and 2003 as the headlines were exploding of abuse by priests.
  • We have support group meetings in the United States in about 65 different cities. We were extremely naive, not to mention wounded trying to figure out how to make it from day to day. Its empowering for us if we can protect someone who is 12 or 13 from being abused.
  • Some documents was released in 2009 in Ireland. Those were the result of government investigations into the allegations of priests and other religious figures sexually abusing children.  Victims across Europe, in Germany and Belgium, Austria, Netherlands, England began speaking out and reporting their abuse. In Ireland at the end of 2009, four bishops were resigning their positions.
  • From our perspective, what comes out of the Vatican is a lot of lofty words and empty promises. If you look for concrete action, you’ll see very little if any.  We as victims are devout Catholics and its really incredible for us to comprehend that someone in the position of authority in the church would not want us to be protected.
  • It was heartbreaking and devastating to learn the policy of the church officials is to protect the predators and their assets and their reputations, not the children.
  • They’re accountable to no one and its okay for them to continue and commit these crimes.
  • The vast majority of victims still do not report. More than 5 thousand priests have been identified are sexual offenders who have abused children between 1950 and 2008.
  • 5 percent of priests abusing children. When someone rapes a child they get fired, in the church they get promoted. /

Attorney Pam Spees:

  • We joined a conversation with SNAP looking for ways to insure accountability for what’s going on.
  • Is there a legal framework that gets at the widespread nature of this. There’s one book out that discusses the 2000 year old paper trail of sexual abuse in the church.
  • You’ll hear things like a cardinal or a pope attempt to make an apology. They’re sorry for what happened to these folks. It didn’t just happen.
  • It shows the lack of attention and lack of awareness of the gravity of what’s going on and a prioritization of the church protecting itself and its power, rather than insuring the protection of the kids in the church and others who are vulnerable to abuse by priests.
  • It also looks like an attempt to decentralize the responsibility. There are key legal experts who have discussed this as crimes against humanity.
  • These are acts that are committed as a widespread or systematic assault or attack on the civilian population.
  • When you’re talking about the massive sustained harm that is being caused here and the lack of awareness and acknowledgment. . it’s really astonishing.
  • The International Criminal Court is a possible venue that has jurisdiction on crimes against humanity.
  • The Church can’t be trusted to police itself.

Guest – Pam Spees, senior staff attorney in the international human rights program at the Center for Constitutional Rights. She has a background in international criminal and human rights law with a gender focus, as well as criminal trial practice

Guest –  Barbara Blaine,  founder of  SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the nation’s oldest and largest self-help organization for victims of clergy sexual abuse.



Law and Disorder February 1, 2010




Gaza Freedom March Report Back Speeches

We hear strong speeches detailing the experience at the Gaza Freedom March by Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the  Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and our own co-host Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.  As many listeners know, hundreds of activists with the Gaza Freedom Marchers returned from Israel, Palestine and Egypt from the largest international mobilization of people in solidarity. The Egyptian authorities refused to allow the 1,365 participants from 43 countries to enter the Gaza Strip, but later 100 people were let in to Gaza.


Michael Ratner’s Article: From Hebron to Yad Vashem: Jewish Sorrow Justifying the Sorrow of Others

Gaza Freedom March Commitments Include:

  • Palestinian Self-Determination
  • Ending the Occupation
  • Equal Rights for All within historic Palestine
  • The full Right of Return for Palestinian refugees

From:  Waging Nonviolence blog. The Egyptian government didn’t let most of the over 1,300 protesters from around the world into Gaza for the planned march, but those at Judson said that they witnessed a new stage in the emergence of a global movement, facilitated by the Internet, that may well be poised to end the international support that makes Israel’s policies possible. The lynchpin of the movement, the Cairo Declaration of the Gaza Freedom March, was drafted by would-be marchers while they waited in Egypt.



Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

In the wake of Gaza Siege earlier this year, many groups such as Code Pink have brought delegations of people to Israel to visit and bring support to Palestinian refugees and families. Today we talk with Joel Bitar, he’s a student who traveled to Israel with the group Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. The group is an international network of academics and students supporting a complete end to the illegal Israeli occupation of lands seized in 1967. Last summer, Joel was among many who visited Israeli universities, the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and stayed with Palestinian families. These delegations call on the international academic community to take a stand in supporting the end to occupation in Gaza and the West Bank.

Joel Bitar:

  • Most of my life I tried to hide my Palestinian identity and this trip was all about confronting and realizing who I am.  For so long, especially after 9/11 it wasn’t respectable to be an Arab in America.
  • I was kind of ashamed of my Dad’s history and culture for a long time.  This trip was about inner healing and understanding where I came from.
  • I went to the West Bank for a month and a half.
  • It’s all about fitting in and surviving, being a confrontational force in a culture is something I didn’t have the courage to do unfortunately. My family has been apolitical. Doing activism around this (Gaza) has been unifying for my family.
  • It’s enabled us to confront all the awful aspects of American culture and society.
  • What happened in Gaza, shook me, woke me up. I’ve been doing a lot of investigating about the conflict, it seemed so mystical and mysterious.  I read a couple books, it’s really not that complicated, it’s very simple. Palestine Peace Not Apartheid - Jimmy Carter / The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.
  • I learned about Norman Finkelstein and conflict between him and Alan Dershwitz.
  • Simple in terms of the law. The law is very clear. You can’t acquire territory by force.  Something you learn when you’re growing up, don’t bully people, don’t take their stuff.
  • We visited numerous hot spots of the occupation, we went to Hebron, which is under vicious occupation by Israeli soldiers.
  • 8 Meter high concrete slabs in many places. 85 percent of the wall runs on Palestinian land.
  • Duel road systems and duel license plates.
  • My Palestinian family pay taxes but don’t get the benefits of the taxes, they’re living in an imposed ghetto.
  • They don’t have access to water 24/7 like every other Jew in the settlement. There’s garbage everywhere.
  • We’ve been doing a lot of work with the Gaza Freedom March, with the anti-war movement at Hunter.
  • A lot of the Jews who do an iota of research at Hunter know that what Israel did was awful. Breaking The Silence Report

Guest: Joel Bitar, a Hunter College student who traveled to Israel with the group Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. The group is an international network of academics and students supporting a complete end to the illegal Israeli occupation of lands seized in 1967.  Joel is active with the Hunter College Campus Anti-War Network.



Law and Disorder January 18, 2010



Historic International Support: Gaza Freedom March Debrief

Hundreds of activists with the Gaza Freedom Marchers have returned from Israel, Palestine and Egypt bringing home incredible stories from the largest international mobilization of people in solidarity.  We hear first hand accounts from our own Michael Ratner who with his family were among the 13 hundred solidarity marchers. We are also joined by Felice Gelman who has also returned from the Gaza Freedom March. As many listeners may know, the Egyptian authorities refused to allow the 1,365 participants from 43 countries to enter the Gaza Strip, but later 100 people were let in to Gaza.

Felice Gelman / Michael Ratner:

  • It was a remarkable event despite not getting into Gaza. 1400 people from 43 countries, Europe India, Australia, South Africa. Within 3 days the Egyptian government went from we need more info, we’re working with you to . . . you’re not coming.
  • We were unable to get a meeting place at any time for any group of people. The Egyptians said that any gathering of more than six people would be illegal.  One of the prerequisites in order to get into Gaza is you don’t engage with local opposition in Egypt. In a way it was a perfect demonstration of what the siege in Gaza is all about.
  • Egypt is a police state. There are 2 million police for a population of 60 million.
  • Egyptian police are very brutal with their people. They’re disappeared, they’re tortured. No room for democracy. No support for a civil society to express itself to protest.
  • The thing that was incredible was the number of Egyptians that wanted to join us.  There were a couple of instances where people were hurt. The secret police would try to single people out at a demonstration and punch or hit them.
  • They would identify women who were Muslims. I don’t know if was that they were Egyptian and they (secret police) thought they could get away with it. They beat up a 12 year old girl and a 75 year old woman, they were not discriminating.
  • Egyptians (opposition) joined in with GFM demonstrations in Cairo.
  • We had a demonstration at the US Embassy in Cairo, the police surrounded them for five hours before they could get into Embassy. The US Embassy didn’t seem to think that this was bizarre until they were reminded of their legal obligation to help their citizens.
  • the US Embassy informed the Egyptian police that they had no objection of us going to Gaza.
  • There were some people who went to Al-Arish, and the Egyptian police were onto that. They surrounded a hotel in Al-Arish
  • (Michael Ratner) I can’t imagine the logistics and the organizing nightmare it was for you guys
  • I can’t think of a time since the Spanish Civil War, that there was a contingent of such size and national breadth that traveled to assist people in their distress from a brutal attack.
  • I think this was an incredible demonstration of where the world stands on Gaza.
  • My kids 19 and 21, seeing people with the courage to go to these demonstrations from all over the world. Out of that I think there will be a global organizing structure.
  • The other thing is the drafting of the Cairo Declaration, drafted by the South African delegation.  Calling on the ending of the occupations of Gaza and the West Bank, primarily with global BDS movements.  (Palestinian unified call)
  • When Gaza was getting attacked, it was the South African trade unionists that refused to load the weapons that were being sent to Israel.
  • The potential for labor to move on this is enormous and powerful.
  • The Gaza Freedom March website will be handed over to the committee working on the Cairo Declaration.
  • New York Report Back – Judson Memorial Church January 21 / 55 Washington Square S.

Guest: Felice Gelman, member of the Wespac Middle East Committee and a member of the Steering Committee that organized The Gaza Freedom March. She has traveled to Gaza twice since the Israeli invasion last year.


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The Response: Sig Libowitz – Combatant Status Review Tribunals

January 11, 2010 marked the 8th anniversary since the Bush administration turned the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba into a “enemy combatant” detention facility. Essentially re-commissioning the base as a torture chamber and legal black hole, where prisoner suicides are considered acts of war.  As we’ve reported on in the last few months, the Obama administration has held on to the power to allow for a preventive detention system that would indefinitely jail terror suspects in the United States without trial.  Meanwhile, military tribunals are now mainstream news, the tribunals are called Combatant Status Review Tribunals, where military justices discern who is an enemy combatant.  These trials are also the subject of a 30 minute film titled The Response. The film is written and produced by actor Sig Libowitz who is transitioning from being an actor playing an attorney on the TV series Law and Order, to becoming a real lawyer. While in law school, Libowitz was tranfixed by the tribunal process of no jury and no defense lawyer. The film is based on actual court transcripts and is shortlisted for The Academy Award. The Response is screening at Columbia University’s School of Law on January 20th at 6pm.

Sig Libowitz:

  • Michael Ratner: First of all there was no real process for people in Guantanamo. Then we won the right to Habeas Corpus, to go into a federal court and challenge their detention. At that point the Bush Administration set up a special process in Guantanamo.
  • As we depict in the film, this is a process where the detainees don’t have a lawyer, they are not provided with the evidence that’s against them. The real transcripts told the story of the detainees and the judges in these CSRTs. From that I saw an incredible movie, and incredible opportunity.
  • Because, I thought I had an understanding of what Guantanamo was all about, then I read the transcripts (of a CSRT)  It gives a human dimension to the detainee and the military judges.
  • Screening at Columbia Law School, Wednesday January 20th 6PM All the cast will be there and Shane Kadidal and Matthew Waxman.  We’ve screened the movie at the Pentagon.

Guest: Sig Libowitz,
an American lawyer, actor, film executive and director.  Libowitz is notable for producing, directing and starring in a film, The Response, he wrote after reading some transcripts from Guantanamo captivesCombatant Status Review Tribunals. Libowitz is an executive for the acquisitions department of Turner Classic movies.  He had a recurring roles in The Sopranos and Law and Order.



Free Fahad Hashmi

Fahad Hashmi a Pakistani born American student, has spent nearly 2 1/2 years in solitary confinement in a Manhattan detention facility.  He has been isolated for one of the longest periods in America as a suspect before trial.  Hosts reported on this case in March 2008, we spoke with Fahad Hashmi’s father Syed Anwar, and Fahad’s attorney Sean Mayer. Fahad is accused of storing waterproof socks, ponchos and raincoats. The US charges were based on allowing an acquaintance “Janaid Babar” to store this rain gear in the closet of his London flat. Janaid Babar was a paid government cooperator who has been used to testify against Muslims around the world.  Nicknamed ‘Supergrass’ by the British media, Babar was used by the UK government to testify against Omar Khyam and several other Muslim men in the so-called Fertilizer Case. Meanwhile Fahad’s trial is expected in January 2010, the prosecution will use Junaid as a main witness.  Hashmi has been held under the SAM’s Special Administrative Measures that include a 23 hour a day lockdown, constant video surveillance of his cell and limited visitation.

(Fahad’s Brother)Faisal Hashmi:

  • I’m under SAMs as our family is. Our visits with him, we can’t talk about it, but I can say from open court, he looks frail, he looks jittery He’s been in solitary confinement for 2 and half years.
  • He’s in the Metropolitan Correctional Center a few blocks from here. Within his own cell, he’s videotaped at all times. He’s not allowed to talk out loud. He has a microphone in his cell.
  • This is about deconstructing a human being, depriving him of his humanity. He’s 29 years old.
  • Charged with four counts of material support for terrorism. He stored ponchos and rain gear.
  • In 2004, this acquaintance while working on his Master’s degree stayed with Fahad.
  • This was January 2004, he went to the US in April 2004, was arrested, and became a cooperating witness for the US government.  At this time about 8 people got arrested, some in Pakistan, London and Canada, all on Junaid Barbar’s witness cooperation.
  • In June 2006, my brother gets arrested. They tell Fahad, that Junaid gave the ponchos and gloves to Al-Qaeda and you gave material support to terrorists. You let Junaid use your cell phone, and Juanaid borrowed 300.00 from Fahad, saying that his ailing daughter needed the money. Fahad’s trial starts January 6, 2010
  • This case has nothing to do with ponchos and socks.

Jeanne Theoharis:

  • This is a case we need to be concerned about for those who value the first amendment. I had Fahad as a student in Brooklyn College in 2002
  • There’s no way to understand this case without understanding the way Fahad was being watched many years ago even as a college student. We’ve sent a letter to the attorney general addressing 3 main issues, the conditions of his confinement, the way his due process is being violated and then first amendment issues.
  • The letter was signed by more than 550 scholars and writers.  Organizing among the Muslim student community.
  • Theaters Against War calling attention to Fahad’s case.
  • Free Fahad Vigil January 18, 2010

Guests: Fahad’s brother Faisal Hashmi and Jeanne Theoharis, an associate professor of political science at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.  She was one of Fahad’s professors and she has been following this case.



Law and Disorder November 16, 2009




Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It (THE BOOK)

Today we welcome back Rick Wolff, Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts to discuss his new book titled Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It.  In his book, Rick takes the reader back to 2005 and step by step reveals how policies, economic structures and wage-to-profit systems led to a global economic collapse.

Rick Wolff will give us an update on why the media claims the recession is over, he also tells us if there be another leg down as predicted in the September 21st interview. Another leg down meaning, will the economy continue to drop? This was mentioned because of the way people were investing, investing in a way that expected the market to drop.

Rick Wolff:

  • The origin of the economic crisis goes deep into history. It’s one of the key things that people don’t understand or want to face. Roots of a System’s Crisis
  • We were a country founded by foreigners coming here, they got rid of the indigenous population. They established a mix system. Capitalism on one hand, with employers and employees, and then self employed farmers and small crafts people, and in the Southern US, slavery.
  • When the dust cleared, capitalism came through, it destroyed slavery and suboridinated the self employed to be small and on the margins.
  • For 150 years – 1820-1970 the growth of capital was outrunning the available labor supply. Laborers had options, could go West.
  • For 150 years, the goods and services a person could buy from an hour of their wages kept going up. It produced a strange and unusual notion that you were blessed, if you worked hard you would make more money.
  • That Americans could have a dream like that. . their children could have a better life and deliver on the promise.
  • It drew millions of immigrants from all over the world etc.
  • Then after the 1970s capitalism reminded us that it is not a guarantee that if you work hard you will be rewarded.
  • In the last 30 years wages have not anymore gone up. It’s a sea change in our culture’s history.
  • Wages stayed the same for these reasons:
  • The arrival of the computer that substituted people for machines on a mammoth scale
  • The movement of corporations to other parts of the world to take advantage of cheaper labor.
  • Women and immigrants moving into the paid labor force. This plunged the US economy into a disaster zone.
  • The end of rising wages. Americans today work 20 percent more hours a week, than their counterparts in France, Germany or Italy.  They are exhausted physically. The families are in disarray.
  • Then to consume more, live the American dream, they borrowed on credit, the likes of which no working class in the history of the world has ever done.
  • The average debt  of US family in the 1920s equaled about 1/3 of its annual income. In 2007, the level of debt equaled 125 percent of annual income.  At the same time, the last 30 years have been greatest boom of profitability of American corporations.
  • Where did the money come from to lend unprecedented amounts?  The money came from the boom in profits made possible by there no longer being a rise in wages.  You not only get the profitability of a flat wage situation but you get the added income from the interest that comes from lending.
  • The reforms and regulations we’ve seen, don’t work.  The only thing that got Americans working again after a 10 year depression – 1929-1939, was not economic reform and regulation, it was something called WWII.
  • Corporations used their profits to weaken reform laws, buy politicians, create army of Lobbyists.
  • The American people MUST demand different responses to this crisis than what there was in the past.
  • Handing corporations the citizen’s tax money as bail out is folly.
  • We have 15 million adults looking for work, 10 million more are discouraged and have given up.
  • The first thing this government should do is provide work for the unemployed.
  • Not bailing out the banks. The private sector has failed in the United States.
  • The government should support enterprises that workers run them, form them as their own enterprises in a collective way that is different from capitalist corporations
  • Let workers choose if they want to work for an enterprise run by workers or capitalists. Let us as consumers choose from good and services produced in a non-capitalist way alongside the capitalist.

Guest – Rick Wolff, Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In his new book Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About, Rick takes the reader back to 2005 and step by step reveals how policies, economic structures and wage to profit systems led to a global economic collapse.


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Amy Goodman: Breaking the Sound Barrier.

Today, we’re very pleased to talk with award-winning investigative journalist and syndicated columnist, author and the host/executive producer of Democracy Now! Amy Goodman. Her new book titled Breaking the Sound Barrier is a collection of wide-ranging articles reminding the reader of what true independent journalism can do. Amy’s style of journalism breaks through the corporate media noise with stories from community organizers in New Orleans to the brave soldiers resisting war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Truthout

Author and journalist Chris Hedges writes : “Amy Goodman is one of the most important voices in America. She defies the noise and clamor of celebrity gossip. She challenges the manipulation of information and dissemination of lies by the power elite. She refuses to pander to a culture where news is seen as another form of entertainment designed to bolster corporate profits. She holds steadfast to the core values of our trade. Her integrity and honesty remind us that a culture that cannot distinguish between illusion and reality dies.”

Amy Goodman:

  • Picasso’s famous anti-war painting Guernica in front of the UN Security Council.  When Colin Powell went to the UN and they had a press conference, this painting was the backdrop and so they shrouded it in a blue curtain. We have to rip that shroud every which way, we have to tear it, because that’s what journalism is all about.
  • Most of the voices in these columns are the people we interview on Democracy Now. The media is ahistoric, it whites out history.  How are young people supposed to figure out what to do when they have no sense of what came before? What are the models, what works, what doesn’t work?
  • Look at the money shifting from those who least have it to those who most have it, whether we’re talking about the economic meltdown.  Obama surrounding himself by the Goldman Sachs folks.
  • The model of community organizing has to be adopted by people all over the country.
  • It’s not going to happen because there’s one person in the white house.
  • The people with money and power walking the halls of the west wing, whispering in the commander in chief’s ear, and he says, if I do that, they will storm the Bastille.
  • If there’s no one out there that he’s pointing at, we’re all in very big trouble.
  • Breaking the Sound Barrier is the name of the column I do every week and the column appears in more than a hundred newspapers around the country. I think it is very important for people who consider themselves activists in this country hold their leaders accountable.
  • It’s the right for people to conduct their lives in this country without being spied on or infiltrated.

Guest – Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 800 TV and radio stations in North America. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its “Pick of the Podcasts,” along with NBC’s Meet the Press.

Goodman is the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ for “developing an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media.” She is also one of the the first recipients, along with blogger Glenn Greenwald, of the Park Center for Independent Media’s Izzy Award, named for the great muckraking journalist I.F. Stone.



Law and Disorder September 21, 2009



operationcastlead operationcastlead1

United Nations Goldstone Report on Gaza: Operation Cast Lead

Last week, the United Nations commission released a six hundred page report (PDF) that says Israel committed war crimes against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.  South African Judge Richard Goldstone who headed the report also says that Israel committed crimes against humanity during the Operation Cast Lead in late December and January. The report also states that the Palestinians committed war crimes by firing rockets into southern Israel. The report confirms that Israel fired the chemical agent white phosphorous in civilian areas, and intentionally fired high-explosive artillery shells upon hospitals. It also claims that Israel used Palestinian civilians as human shields and deliberately attacked Palestinian food supplies in Gaza.

Professor Richard Falk:

  • The report is a real milestone in holding the Israeli government accountable at least at the level of affirming facts for its behavior in the occupied territories. A great contribution to the Palestinian Solidarity Movement.
  • I think the report went a little too far in the objective view, while it didn’t treat them equally, the report gave a lot of detail on the rockets that were fired from Gaza, and allowed a certain impression of symmetry to be formed, which I think is very misleading.
  • The rocket fire is a war crime and should be condemned but at the same time, there was a cease fire in 2008 where the rocket fire was reduced virtually to zero. Hamas tried to extend that cease fire, Israel basically broke it and refused to extend it.
  • Reasons why Israel broke cease fire: It occurred near Israeli elections, change in leadership in the US, overcoming the impression of Israeli defeat in the Lebanon conflict of 2006
  • Israel kept pressing for an opportunity to show it is a formidable power that shouldn’t be challenged, and in that sense the message was as much to Iran as the Palestinians.
  • The report discuss in detail the various incidents in factual detail and confirmed what had been alleged earlier. Attacking civilians who are in complete vulnerability.
  • It was the indiscriminant and disproportionate character of the use of force by Israel, that is the focus of the condemnation that is at the core of the report. The report confirms what had been a journalistic consensus.
  • The report gives credibility to universal jurisdiction. Universal jurisdiction initiatives are appropriate given the findings of the report.  The international criminal court may not be available, but there are other possibilities for ending Israeli impunity and one of them is universal jurisdiction. Countries can push for universal jurisdiction in holding certain Israelis accountable.
  • The report will help legitimize the BDS movement. The blockade still in place.

Guest – Professor Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights who has been barred entry to Israel. He’s Professor of International Law at Princeton, will be the Council’s special investigator of Israeli behavior in the territories and this has incited furious objections from Yitzhak Levanon, the Israeli ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva. Falk replaced South African John Dugard, a veteran anti-apartheid activist.



Capitalism Hits The Fan:  A Jobless Economic Recovery

Nearly a year ago, the US government seized mortgage banks Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, within a week investment bank Lehman Brothers went bankrupt that triggered a global financial panic. In the months that followed financial markets tumbled worldwide.  With trillions vaporized from the world economy, the US is partnering with G20 groups to create global rules that will govern finance. The US economy is just now showing signs of  recovering from one of its deepest economic recession ever.

Rick Wolff:

  • False euphoria about recovery, gamblers come into the market, believing it won’t go lower.
  • Typically however there’s another leg down, we have people investing in a way expecting the market to drop.
  • The whole world went into the toilet (economically) and the Chinese government stock market doubled?
  • The Chinese miracle is based on exports, but in order to have exports, the rest of the world has to be able to buy. The rest of the world has been in the greatest depression at least since the second world war
  • How can the Chinese keep producing if the rest of world in which they sold, can’t buy?
  • My theory is that if the Chinese allow their system to collapse they’d have a domestic impossibility, socially and politically. The Chinese are basically continuing production and storing it. Hold it, and hope against hope, warehouses of toys and everything.  Revealed: The ghost fleet of the recession anchored just east of Singapore
  • Two bubbles, the Chinese bubble and the US treasury bubble.
  • The Federal Reserve prints money, that’s voted on by the Federal Reserve boards. This way they avoid the unpleasantness of having to tax people or borrowing from the private sector
  • One out of 15 people in the US labor force today is unemployed (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Roughly 59 percent of the US is working, every conceivable worker that can be laid off, is being laid off.
  • Is this a real recovery? New businesses? Yes, but workers taking it on the chin.
  • American businesses are discovering everywhere, that the future growth is elsewhere, it’s not in the U.S.
  • The American working class is being pushed down, with the unemployment, the foreclosures.
  • In China and other countries that are desperately poor, there’s a small growing income rich, technical industry, since that’s the only growth anywhere in the world economy, it’s what everyone is excited about, and where everybody is gearing.
  • The Obama Administration ought to question the assumption of focusing all their efforts on restoring credit markets and shoring up banks, bailing out busted insurance companies, etc.
  • Roosevelt hired millions people in the depths of the depression to work on a whole host of projects, Obama hasn’t done a thing about that, nothing.
  • Capitalism Hits the Fan, you can follow how the crisis happened, why it took the forms it did, literally, month by month how it was happening, think about it as a critical analysis, of how we had this crisis, why its not responding to the government, why it is so powerful and global in nature.

Guest – Rick Wolff, Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In his new book Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About, Rick takes the reader back to 2005 and step by step reveals how policies, economic structures and wage to profit systems led to a global economic collapse. His books is complimented by the film Capitalism Hits the Fan.



Law and Disorder June 15, 2009

Host Updates:

Segments This Week:


nyt-2009-05-21az mark-denbeaux

Disgraceful Coverage: New York Times Article Riddled With Inaccuracy

On May 21, the New York Times newspaper published a front page story, titled 1 in 7 Detainees Rejoined Jihad, Pentagon Finds. Journalist, Elisabeth Bumiller stated from the Pentagon report that 74 prisoners released from Guantanamo had “returned to terrorism.” Many have criticized Bumiller for parroting the Pentagon without investigation or at least being aware of the Seton Hall Law School’s work in challenging the Pentagon’s many recidivism reports. Using the phrase “rejoining jihad” assumes guilt to all former Guantanamo prisoners. The DOD counted Uighers and the Tipton 3, to have returned to the battlefields. The Myth of Return To The Battlefield from Guantanamo

Mark Denbeaux:

  • Pentagon playing with numbers, first they said people (in Guantanamo) returned to the fight who were never in the fight, and then they said they returned to the fight from Guantanamo who were never in Guantanamo and never in the fight.
  • None of the people that the DOD has listed in its 45 times has ever attacked American troops or its American interests or Americans anywhere in the world. With one exception, none of them have left their home country to whom they’ve returned.
  • I was quoted in that article, the reporter called me for 2 days in a row, saying she’s under enormous pressure from her NYTimes editors.
  • Talking with the Public Editor we both agreed comparing Elisabeth Bumiller with Judith Miller wasn’t fair but he said it was reminiscent of the lead up to the Iraq War
  • A disgrace in the coverage of Guantanamo, a grotesque statement that was wrong with huge political consequences and they (NY Times) couldn’t un-ring that bell.
  • There are NY Times reporters immersed in Guantanamo and National Security issues, why did they drop this in the lap of Elisabeth Bumiller? She said (Elisabeth Bumiller) that the Pentagon can’t release information because of politics. I said at least say that politics are involved. She said, I can’t say that.
  • Add to that, that the editors were pushing her to get this story out. (Memorial Day Weekend)
  • I think everyone agrees that the headline was grotesque and everyone noted the story came out on the morning of Cheney’s speech, and he had it at the ready in his speech.
  • I was able with a group of Seton Hall Law students to go through the data the AP produced from a FOIA application.
  • My students discovered that only 4 percent of those in Guantanamo were picked up by US forces, 86 percent were bounties in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • It turned out that if you had 4 or 5 Arabs in a truck that was 20 or 25 thousand US dollars. But for one bounty, it 5 thousand dollars.
  • For that 5 thousand dollar bounty you could feed your village as it said in the (CIA brochure) for a year. . .etc
  • 55 percent of those in Guantanamo were not accused of commiting a hostile act.
  • One of my conservative students asked, Where’s Mr. Big? We’re reading through the lists, he says what about this guy? He turns out to be under US allegation conscripted by the Taliban to be an assistant cook.
  • This person surrendered but considered to be among the 45 percent of GTMO prisoners accused of hostile acts. His hostile act was surrendering to the Northern Alliance.

Guest – Seton Hall Law School Professor Mark Denbeaux gives an accurate reading on the Guantanamo prisoner recidivism rates. Professor Mark Denbeaux, one of Seton Hall’s most senior faculty members, is also the Director of the Seton Hall Law School Center for Policy and Research, which is best known for its dissemination of the internationally recognized series of reports on the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp.


US-ATTACKS-CIA-TAPES uigher camp-six

US “Preventive Detention” System In Place

President Obama has held on to the power to allow for a “preventive detention” system that would indefinitely jail terror suspects in the United States without a trial. In a number of Guantanamo habeas corpus cases, the US government’s arguments set up a framework to give the president power to hold terror suspects indefinitely without charge or trial. This is the same broad executive power wielded by the Bush Administration that essentially defines a police state. It would be a total disaster if Congress were to pass a preventive detention regime into law say concerned civil rights lawyers.

David Remes:

  • One of my colleagues called CCR and asked how can we help, and CCR doled out 13 Yemenis to represent at Guantanamo.
  • We represented them since July 2004, along the way we’ve picked Albanians, more Yemenis and a Pakistani.
  • I have my own non-profit human rights litigation firm called Appeal For Justice. I’ve had this up and running since it became clear I could no longer continue at a corporate law firm.
  • I really lost interest in the corporate work that I was doing. I would come back from Guantanamo thinking on the way back, nothing else matters.
  • I am right now at the secure facility at Arlington Virginia. This is a facility that the government set up to hold our interview notes and exhibits that are deemed to be classified information. It’s not a very pleasant place to work.
  • So here are now in June, a year after the Supreme Court said that the men could bring Habeas cases, and they’re still here, five months after the Obama Administration said they would determine case by case who could be released.
  • President Obama has released two men.
  • My client Adnan Latif with severe psychological issues and a variety of neglected medical conditions. He’s tried to commit suicide a number of times that we know about.
  • He’s a very intelligent young man, he writes beautiful poetry. In the last meeting I had with him, but under the table he had chipped off a piece of the formica and started sawing into the vein in his wrist.
  • Then at a certain point he said I have a gift for you. I want something for you to remember me by, and he threw a small cup of his blood at me.
  • Guantanamo prisoner suicides are considered acts of war against the US.
  • I think the idea of preventive detention is an idea that goes too far analytically, because if you can preventively detain people why try them at all.
  • I’m afraid that the Obama Administration may pursue legislation, that would strip jurisdiction and deny the right of Habeas.
  • Forty percent of Guantanamo prisoners are Yemenis. This is diplomatic problem, not a case by case review.

Guest – Attorney David Remes , who represents 16 Guantanamo detainees from Yemen. Remes played a role in a challenge focused around the captives’ detention based on an avenue of appeal that the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (DTA) opened. The DTA closed the opportunity for captives who had not yet had writs of habeas corpus filed on their behalf. But the DTA allowed captives to challenge the determinations of their Combatant Status Review Tribunals, that they were properly classified as “enemy combatants”.



Law and Disorder May 4, 2009

Host Updates:

unreasoneable_intrusions_2009 farhana-testifying-before-judiciary-committee

Unreasonable Intrusions Report

Last month, the Muslim Advocates released a report titled Unreasonable Intrusions: Investigating the Politics, Faith & Finances of Americans Returning Home. The report documents the systematic and widespread practice of federal agents interrogating Americans returning home after overseas travel at our nation’s borders and international airports. Muslim Advocates, a sister group with the National Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML), which is a group of approximately 500 Muslim lawyers, law students and other legal professionals.

Farhana Khera:

  • These are folks who are returning home from travel and they’re being stopped at borders, land crossings.
  • After showing valid US passports, federal agents are engaging in very invasive questioning and searches of these Americans.
  • Muslim or those Americans who may look Muslim.
  • The questions (from border agents) go into first amendment protected areas. What mosque do you attend? How often do you pray?
  • We want to educate federal policy makers, members of Congress, Homeland Security and the Obama Administration about this practice.
  • Laptops, cameras and phones searched, in some cases asking about people in images, and how they particular individuals.
  • Again, all of this without any evidence or suspicion.
  • Ninth Circuit Decision US v Arnold, pretty much gives blanket authority to federal agents at the border to search laptops and electronic devices of law abiding Americans.
  • We really need some standards in place that address the need of probable cause and reasonable suspicion before seizing personal data.
  • We believe that Americans have the right to enter the country and not be compelled to answer questions, particularly about first amendment protected beliefs.
  • We are giving practical advice in saying that you think this line of questioning is inappropriate. Get badge #’s of officers who have your stuff, then file a complaint.
  • Traveler’s Privacy Protection Act – Proposed Legislation, to be re-introduced.

Guest – Farhana Khera, first Executive Director of Muslim Advocates and the National Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML). Prior to joining Muslim Advocates and NAML in 2005, Ms. Khera was Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights. In the Senate, she worked for six years directly for Senator Russell D. Feingold (D_WI), the Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee. Ms. Khera focused substantially on the USA PATRIOT Act, racial and religious profiling, and other civil liberties issues raised by the government’s anti_terrorism policies since September 11, 2001. She was the Senator’s lead staff member in developing anti_racial profiling legislation and organizing subcommittee hearings on racial profiling.


fbi-infiltrator montheilh from OC weekly

FBI Exposed: Federal Judge Orders FBI to Provide Full Muslim Surveillance Records

Last week a federal judge ordered the FBI to submit 100 documents detailing the bureau’s surveillance of Muslim leaders and organizations in Southern California and specifically, documents relating to the Council on American_Islamic Relations of Greater Los Angeles and its executive director. The court’s decision came in response to a 2007 lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Southern California that claimed the government’s incomplete and long_delayed response violated the Freedom of Information Act.

An attorney with the ACLU of Southern California says the surveillance records will show how the FBI infiltrated Southern California mosques and invasively monitored members of the Muslim community as if they were criminals.

“Truth can never be redacted. Only full disclosure will satisfy us and alleviate the pervasive fear in our communities and congregations,” said Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, who joins us today.

Shakeel Syed:

Guest – Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.



Law and Disorder March 9, 2009


Zionist Critic Joel Kovel: Terminated From Teaching Position At Bard College

Since author and professor Joel Kovel, published, Overcoming Zionism, Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel and Palestine, he has endured accusations of anti-semitism, Michigan Press temporarily suspended distribution of the book – calling it “hate speech” and recently Kovel was terminated from his teaching position as a professor of 21 years at Bard College. Joel Kovel is back with us on Law and Disorder to give us a brief chronology of these controversies and deliberate set backs.

Joel Kovel:

  • I was terminated from an endowed chair (at Bard College) 3 weeks after I published an article critical of Israel and Zionism. Then asked to resign 3 weeks after I published another article critical of Zionism.
  • This is a good example of the kinds of repression that the Zionist lobbies impose upon the people who dissent on the unholy relationship between Israel and the United States.
  • Most campuses in this country are highly Zionist in organization, but Bard is exceptionally so. The president is the conductor of the Jerusalem symphony orchestra. He says he makes 10 trips a year to Israel. He brought the symphony around and played the Israel national anthem and the audience all stood, which I thought was just outrageous.
  • I tried to give a lecture to call attention to that and was shunned.
  • My book Overcoming Zionism did not only focus in on the occupation of Palestine or Israeli abuses but the fundamental structure of the Israeli state which is animated by Zionism which leads to all of the woes and abuses of human rights.
  • Unless you deal at that level and point towards an overcoming and not just Zionism, but the special status and you treat Israel as we treated South Africa for equivalent crimes of Apartheid; namely a systematic racism against an indigenous people.
  • So I started catching hell from the Zionist lobbies. “I’m anti-semitic, full of hate.” They panicked the University of Michigan Press, and they pulled the book.
  • It’s remarkable that Bard College which is very proud of its image of being a bastion of defense of freedom of speech. Not a single peep. So I knew we were in serious straights at that point.
  • I put up an anti-Zionist course last fall, which was evaluated. The evaluation was dripping with innuendo, and references to me losing my grip as a teacher, and was basically the preliminary to my termination at Bard College after 21 years.
  • The alumni has supported me, the faculty not so. This is important because it is now a place that has instilled timidity and even terror amongst the faculty.
  • They’re intimidated and its distressing that you can take people who are sophisticated and ostensibly good values and they will not bring themselves to utter basic criticism of an event that has shocked the world and caused millions to change their view of Israel.
  • Bard is creating a new class of bourgeois who would get the jobs, auto dealerships, burger kings, whatever they’re planning.
  • It’s typical of a liberal institution to use generous impulses and they want to make something good happen, but we also know how many pitfalls there are. Just think of all the universities that were founded by the British and the French to secure their empires. I think it has a lot to do with that.

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


Office of Legal Counsel Release Secret Memos: First Batch

Last week the Justice Department released internal Bush documents that revealed more legal memos authorizing torture and interrogation outside of the United States. These “police state” memos include the military’s search, detention or trial of civilians in the U.S. without congressional input and a newly disclosed opinion by torture memo author John Yoo who argued that constitutional provisions ensuring free speech and barring warrantless searches could be disregarded by the president in wartime.

Scott Horton:

  • The Bush Administration kept them secret to the very end. The Obama transition team went in to get the memos and were told you can’t have them, you can’t see them.
  • These memos were published because they were sought in litigation. Specifically in the lawsuit – Padilla v Yoo
  • Memorandum Oct 25, 2001 - talks about the ability of the Bush Administration to drop a bomb on my house? Unreasonable search and seizure doesn’t apply if the president engages in domestic military operations. Neither does the First Amendment.
  • It says the Posse Comitatus Act is essentially a dead letter.
  • What they’ve said in this memo is that 200 years of Constitutional history is gone.
  • These memos have an instrumental role. They set the legal policy, that’s in accordance with the Judiciary Act of 1789.
  • There seems to be a vague presumption that all these memorandum are invalid. The OLC will be repudiating these memos and put a priority on publishing them because they welcome public participation in this process.
  • Michael Ratner: Can you really prosecute John Yoo for these torture memos?
  • You look at his public statements of which there are hundreds, he seems to understand that he has an acceptable legal defense, because everything is geared to “that’s my honest opinion and nothing has changed” Is that argument correct? No, it’s not.
  • He says he was asked his opinion, he gave his opinion. I think what we will see is that he was told in meetings in the White House, before he wrote opinions, that a torture program was put in place, pushback was coming from career lawyers saying this is unlawful conduct .. and he was told we need you to protect us from this and write legal memos.
  • Implying, that these memos had an instrumental role to silence critical lawyers and push the torture program, already in motion, forward.
  • If that’s the case, he’s beyond the role of advisor. Mis-stating advice and corrupting the law.. .that is the precedent to be liable for war crimes. The most likely outcome from all of this is a lot of disbarmments

Guest – New York attorney Scott Horton, known for his work in human rights law and the law of armed conflict. Scott is also the contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine

Ali Saleh Kahlah al Marri Indicted on Terrorism Charges

Last week, a federal court charged the only enemy combatant with two counts of providing material support to Al Qaeda. This will allow his release from six years of military custody and into the criminal justice system. The ACLU says this is exactly where the case should be to determine whether al-Marri is guilty. Jonathan Hafetz, working as al-Marri’s lead defense counsel says despite the news, he will not drop the habeas corpus challenge in the case.

Michael Ratner Update: Since this interview, Al-Marri’s enemy combatant status was wiped off the books. The Obama Administration in it’s brief, essentially insisted they might well have the right to hold people as enemy combatants. As it now stands, the president has the power to hold a person in the United States as an enemy combatant.

Attorney Jonathan Hafetz:

  • On Feb 27, the US government unsealed an indictment that had just been filed, in the central district of Ilinois, charging Mr. Al-Marri with 2 counts of material support for terrorism.
  • At the same time the government filed a motion in the Supreme Court asking to dismiss Mr. Al-Marri’s appeal claiming it was moot.
  • Michael Ratner: Now this was an appeal that was going to test the power of the president to detain as unlawful enemy combatants, people in the United States?
  • This sweeping power, that the president could seize and militarily detain potentially with life without trial, any individual including a US legal resident and a US citizen, based on the assertion that they were involved in terrorist activities.
  • Since 9/11, this policy is finally being called into account in the Supreme Court. The Obama Administration effectively refused to defend the policy.
  • In their motion paper in the Supreme Court, when they were seeking to have the case thrown out of the Supreme Court, the Obama Administration did not renounce the policy as they are trying to shield this policy of military detention from review but at the same time they’re not renouncing it.
  • We filed an opposition a motion saying that the case is not moot because while the government has charged Mr Al-Marri, it has not renounced its policy or properly detaining US residents or American citizens within the United States.
  • So, the Obama Administration is trying to keep all it’s options open avoiding review of this repugnent and unlawful policy that’s been in place since 9/11.
  • We hope in our opposition that even if the court dismisses the case as moot, it must take one measure which is to effectively overturn the lower court’s decision in upholding the president’s power so that decision (Executive power to detain US enemy combatants) is not on the books.

Guest – ACLU attorney Jonathan Hafetz with the National Security Project.



Law and Disorder January 19, 2009


Israel in Gaza: “A Time Comes When Silence Is Betrayal” - Michael Ratner’s Recent Post


Boycott, Divest, Sanction – Naomi Klein

Two weeks ago the 15 nation Security Council at the United Nations approved (14 in favor) an immediate cease fire in Gaza and full withdrawal of Israeli forces. The US abstained from the vote. Yet Israeli forces continue to use military force against Hamas and Palestinian women and children.

There are other ways to stop Israel says award_winning journalist and author Naomi Klein. In her recent Nation magazine article Boycott, Divest, Sanction, Naomi lays out measures that could economically slow down Israel. When weaker measures have failed such as protests, petitions and lobbying, Naomi writes that the Boycott Divest Sanction strategy is practical on a country so small and trade dependent. The strategy worked to help end apartheid in South Africa, and may have a real possibility to weaken Israel.

Naomi Klein:

  • These strategies are based on the effective methods used in anti-apartheid movement.
  • Including consumer boycotts and economic sanctions that governments would impose.
  • Israel’s lawlessness has intensified, from the attack on Lebanon to the siege on Gaza,
  • Despite this, there is the opposite of sanctions with Israel right now.
  • For example: Israel was invited as a guest of honor in the Paris book fair.
  • Israel signs free trade agreement with Mercosur.
  • Israel’s trade with Canada increased by 45 percent last year.
  • This has escalated Israel’s lawlessness and its time for a new strategy.
  • The two companies that are currently the focus of the BDS strategy – Motorola and Caterpillar
  • There’s a very well funded and organized anti-boycott movement/pro-Zionist movement that is spreading disinformation
  • They’ve re-framed the academic boycott as a Nazi style boycott of Jews.
  • This anti-boycott campaign is more aggressive than the actual boycott campaign.
  • It also targets companies to boycott who are boycotting Israel
  • End the Israeli Occupation
  • Hang Up On Motorola
  • Why boycott Caterpillar? – CCR
  • Boycotts also target Israeli wine, Israeli fruit, Israel tourism.
  • Israel is being singled out not for tougher treatment but for lenient treatment.
  • The attack on Gaza was pre-planned since last March.
  • What Israel is doing is very similar to what the US is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan; “responding to terrorism.”
  • I’m hearing from my friends and colleagues in Israel that they really want sanctions to come from the outside, because they’ve lost hope for any internal pressure.
  • There is a one sided boycott going on. It’s been going on for 18 months and its this brutal, illegal, embargo on Gaza imposed by the state of Israel and the United States, and Canada, etc.
  • This is depriving Palestinians of food of life saving medicine, of water, of cooking fuel.
  • Its just amazing to me that they would call this international legal boycott that would deprive Tel Aviv of some international symphonies as “one sided.”
  • Regarding doing interviews and writing recent article: It’s always a difficult calculation of – when do you want to leave yourself open to the onslaught of hate and propaganda. . .?
  • Writing this column wasn’t courageous, it was cowardly. I thought about writing this column about five times over the past couple of years. In many ways this is the easiest time to call for a boycott.

Guest – Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and the earlier international best seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies; and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate.


Adam Shapiro: Israel’s Continued Assault On Gaza

Now into its fourth week, the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip has been called catastrophically misguided by human rights supporters. Thousands have come out to protest the bombardment of the residents in Gaza, where the Palestinian death toll is nearly one thousand and more than 4000 injured. Add to that a media blackout around the world about the real facts on the ground in Gaza as Israeli forces use advanced weaponry such as white phosphorus ammunition in civilian areas.

Adam Shapiro: International Solidarity Movement

  • International Solidarity Movement: brings people around the world to come join the Palestinians in solidarity -using non violent resistance to concretely and strategically oppose what Israel is doing in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem.
  • ISM has evolved in Jerusalem as eyewitness and reporting.
  • Some of you may have seen a youtube video that’s making the rounds of Huwaida standing up to Israeli soldiers
  • She is physically standing in front of Israeli soldiers who are pointing to shoot at Palestinian protesters.
  • The Israeli Defense Force talking point of “merely defending themselves”, ignores the last forty years of history of direct occupation of the Gaza Strip.
  • The blockade has led to the impoverishment of the Palestinians, which has led to some of the worst living conditions anywhere on the Earth.
  • 80 percent of Gazans are refugees of Palestine from 1947. Gaza is not their home.
  • Israel’s version of history is saying, “this conflict started when Israel started to fire back.”
  • Among the rocket fire that was occuring prior to the cease fire, most of them fell into empty areas.
  • These Hamas rockets were meant as a political message and not targeting Israeli civilians.
  • Israel’s arguement that it is acting in self defense is “pure fabrication.”
  • There is no mistake that this war was pre-planned and pre-organized.
  • We know that before the Gaza attack, Israeli soldiers trained in mock Gaza urban settings.
  • We also know that Israel prepared its people months in advance for going to war.
  • If you use overwhelming force you can eventually bend the political party to your will.
  • Arab parties are banned from running in the next Israeli election.
  • NY Times printed that 80-90 percent of Israelis support the war in Gaza. Ridiculous when more than 20 percent of Israelis are Arab.

Guest – Adam Shapiro, human rights activist and documentary filmmaker. He was the co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), in Palestine, a pro-Palestinian organization, the stated mission of which is to bring civilians from around the world to resist nonviolently the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip. His latest film is the documentary series, “Chronicles of a Refugee.”


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