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Law and Disorder October 17, 2016

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Women’s Boat To Gaza: 2016

When the Zionist settlers colonized Palestine they removed 750,000 natives in 1948 and more in the 1967.  Many Palestinians fled to Gaza where 1,900,000 people live in a 5 x 25 mile strip of land in the Mediterranean Sea south of Israel. Gaza is completely blockaded by the Israeli army, Air Force and Navy. The 25 mile stretch of land has been called the largest open air prison.  In 2012 the Israeli Army and Air Force attacked Gaza killing several thousand people, including more than 500 children and destroyed many buildings and the infrastructure of the area like hospitals, schools and the water purification plant. Because of the Israeli blockade, Gaza has yet to be rebuilt.

Ann Wright was on the boat Zaytouna-Oliva as part of the women’s boats to Gaza project. It sailed 1,715 miles from Barcelona Spain to Corsica to Sicily and on towards Gaza. However, the boat was seized by the Israeli Navy on October 5, 2016. They were in international waters 34 miles from Gaza when they were illegally apprehended by the Israeli Navy, taken to Israel, and deported. On board were 13 women from various countries whose mission was to bring hope to the people of Gaza and show they are not forgotten. Ann joins us today to talk about this courageous endeavor of hope and peace. She’s a retired Army Colonel and diplomat who resigned after the beginning of the war on Iraq.  She has since devoted herself to the peace movement.

Guest – Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran, a retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand people during the civil war in Sierra Leone. She is most noted for having been one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Wright was also a passenger on the Challenger 1, which along with the Mavi Marmara, was part of the Gaza flotilla. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is the co-author of the book “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.” She has written frequently on rape in the military.


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Jeff Mackler : U.S. Presidential Campaign Gains Support

Law and Disorder will be broadcasting interviews with candidates other than the two major parties. We check in with Jeff Mackler who is the National Secretary of Socialist Action and their 2016 presidential candidate. Jeff Mackler is the author of 25 books and pamphlets on a range of key social, economic and political issues. He’s a lifelong anti-war and anti-racist activist and a leader of the United Anti-War Coalition.

Guest – Jeff Mackler, is the National Secretary of Socialist Action and Socialist Action’s candidate for president in 2016. Mackler is the author of some 25 books and pamphlets on a range of key social, political and economic  issues, a lifelong antiwar and anti-racist activist, a leader of the United National Antiwar Coalition and founder of the Northern California Climate Mobilization.


Law and Disorder October 10, 2016

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Seeking Justice: The Leo Frank Case Revisited

In 1913,  a 29 year old New York Jew who managed a pencil factory outside of Atlanta was hauled out of his jail cell in Marietta, Georgia by a group of prominent citizens including the judge who found him guilty. He was placed standing table. A rope was tied to a tall tree and put around his neck. The judge kicked the table out from under him. Leo Frank was lynched. The case had became a national scandal with Frank being accused and found guilty of raping and murdering a 13-year-old girl, Mary Phagan, who worked at the pencil factory. Frank was sentence to death, although he was innocent, but lost his appeals all the way up to the Supreme Court. The governor of Georgia, feeling uneasy about the impending execution, commuted his sentenced to life in prison. The commutation incited the local citizens to carry out the execution themselves by breaking into Frank’s cell and taking him out for the lynching. The Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City at the southern tip of Manhattan is featuring a show on the Frank case.

Guest – Steve Oney, was educated at the University of Georgia and at Harvard, where he was a Nieman Fellow. He worked for many years as a staff writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Magazine. He has also contributed articles to many national publications, including Esquire, Playboy, Premiere, GQ and the New York Times Magazine. Oney lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Madeline Stuart. Steve is the author of The Dead Shall Rise : an acclaimed account that re-creates the entire story for the first time, from the police investigations to the gripping trial to the brutal lynching and its aftermath. Oney vividly renders Atlanta, a city enjoying newfound prosperity a half-century after the Civil War, but still rife with barely hidden prejudices and resentments. He introduces a Dickensian pageant of characters, including zealous policemen, intrepid reporters, Frank’s martyred wife, and a fiery populist who manipulated local anger at Northern newspapers that pushed for Frank’s exoneration. Combining investigative journalism and sweeping social history, this is the definitive account of one of American history’s most repellent and most fascinating moments.


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Dakota Access Pipeline: Dispatch #4

The Dakota Access Pipeline which is planned to bring dirty shale oil through North Dakota and underneath the Missouri River into the Midwest has been stalled by a powerful occupation of representatives of some 180 native American tribes and several thousand supporters who are camped out in North Dakota. The pipeline is being constructed by a Texas company. It is a $3.8 billion project financed by loans from Goldman Sachs, the Chase Manhattan Bank, UBS bank and other banks. The amount of air pollution emitted by not keeping this oil in the hole is substantial and will contribute substantially to global warming. Moreover, if the pipe breaks under the river, as these pipelines frequently do, such an incident could pollute the drinking water of up to 20 million people who depend on it.

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

Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense – Lawyers wanting to support the Sacred Stone Camp, contact Attorney Robin Martinez –


Law and Disorder October 3, 2016

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Demand the Impossible! A Radical Manifesto

The  presidential debate held last week between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton allowed us to take a sober measure of the calamitous situation we find ourselves in 15 years after September 11, 2001. Our guest Bill Ayers just published Manifesto! Demand the Impossible. It presents a different vision from those sketched out by the candidates and the economic, political and cultural system which produced them. As Robin D. G. Kelly has written, “Bill Ayers vision for a humane future is incendiary – it incinerates old logics and illuminates new paths. If we do not end the violence of militarism, materialism, caging, dispossession, debts, want, ignorance, and global warming our very survival is impossible.”

Guest – Bill Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior Bill AyersUniversity Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), member of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, oral history, creative non-fiction, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament.  A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College, Columbia University, Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is a past  vice-president of the curriculum studies division of the American Educational Research Association.


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Free Puerto Rican Nationalist Oscar López Rivera 2016

A growing movement is calling for the release of 72-year-old Puerto Rican Nationalist Oscar López Rivera, who has served 34 years in prison, 12 of which have been in solitary confinement. In 1980, 11 members of FALN were arrested for a series of bomb attacks on banks, government facilities and military sites across the U.S, in protest against the US colonization of Puerto Rico. Although named a co-defendant in the case, López Rivera was not arrested until a year later, picked up during a traffic stop, and charged with seditious conspiracy, weapons possession and transporting stolen vehicles across state lines. No evidence was ever found tying López Rivera to any of the bombings, and although he was not convicted of any violent crimes, he was sentenced to 55 years in federal prison. Fifteen more years were later added to his sentence for an alleged escape attempt.

Most Puerto Ricans and human rights advocates view López Rivera with enormous respect for his work as a civil rights activist and community organizer. He is a decorated war veteran, having been awarded the Bronze Star medal during his service in the US Army. In 1999, Bill Clinton offered all FALN members, including López Rivera, conditional clemency. López Rivera declined the offer because the deal included a condition that he serve an additional 10 years in prison, and because two of his co-defendants would be left behind.  Supporters are now collecting signatures on a petition that asks Barack Obama to issue a presidential pardon that grants his immediate release.

Guests – Attorney Jan Susler from the People’s Law Office in Chicago. A longtime member of the National Lawyers Guild she has has represented Puerto Rican political prisoners for over three decades. Jan Susler joined People’s Law Office in 1982 after working for six years as a Clinical Law Professor at the legal clinic at Southern Illinois University’s School of Law, Prison Legal Aid. At the People’s Law Office she continued her litigation and advocacy work on prisoners’ rights issues and also took on representing people wrongfully imprisoned, falsely arrested, strip searched, or subjected to excessive force by police officers.

We are also joined by Alejandro Molina from the campaign to free Oscar López.


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Debtors Prison In The South

It has been nearly 200 years since this country abolished the practice of imprisoning those who fail to pay their debts. Recently, however, many impoverished persons face the modern equivalent of debtors’ prisons in the form of unfair legal practices. More and more courts are charging fees to those convicted of crimes, including fees for public defenders, prosecutors, court administration, jail operation, and probation supervision. Aggressive, and often illegal, tactics are employed to collect unpaid fines and fees, including for traffic offenses and other low-level offenses. These courts have ordered the arrest and jailing of people who lag behind in payments, without offering hearings to determine an individual’s ability to pay or to provide alternatives to payment such as community service.

The human toll of these practices is enormous. Coercive debt collection means that poor individuals may forgo the basic necessities of life in order to avoid arrest. Debtors’ prisons increase government costs and waste taxpayer money by jailing people who may never be able to pay their debts. Finally, debtors’ prisons result in racial injustice and a two-tiered system of justice in which the poor receive harsher, longer punishments for committing the same crimes as the wealthy.

Guest – Attorney Sarah Geraghty, managing attorney of the Impact Litigation Unit at the Southern Center for Human Rights.  Sarah practices in the areas of civil rights, habeas corpus, and class action litigation aimed at improving fairness and conditions in the criminal justice system.  She has litigated cases challenging inhumane prison conditions, unfair police treatment, open records law violations, denial of the right to counsel, and the incarceration of indigent persons for debt.  In 2011, Sarah received the Indigent Defense Award from the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She was listed by the Fulton County Daily Report as an “On the Rise Georgia lawyer under 40”. She received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, her M.S.W. from the University of Michigan School of Social Work, and her B.A. from Northwestern University. She is a member of the Alabama, Georgia, Illinois and New York bars.



Law and Disorder September 26, 2016

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Zachary Sklar: Snowden

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

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


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Dakota Pipeline Protests: Legal Update

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

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


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Encrypted Client Communications

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

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


Law and Disorder September 19, 2016

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Attorney Jeff Haas: Bakken Pipeline Construction Temporarily Halted

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

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

Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense – Lawyers wanting to support the Sacred Stone Camp, contact Attorney Robin Martinez –


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U. S. Commission on Civil Rights: Peaceful Coexistence

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

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


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Ray McGovern: Surveillance, Terrorism, CIA, Manufactured War

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

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



Law and Disorder September 12, 2016

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Legal Support For The Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance

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

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

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

Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense – Lawyers wanting to support the Sacred Stone Camp, contact Attorney Robin Martinez –


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DeeDee Halleck: New York State Otisville Training School

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

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

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


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Bernardine Dohrn: Juveniles In The Criminal Justice System

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

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




Law and Disorder August 22, 2016

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The Movement For Black Lives

In response to the ongoing violence by police against Black communities across the United States, more than 50 organizations have come together to express a common vision and agenda for change. The Movement for Black Lives has issued a call to end the war against Black people that includes ending the criminalization, imprisonment and killing, not only of Black individuals, but all oppressed people. Broad areas for reform include economic justice, ending the war on Black people, reparations, invest-divest, community control and political power.

Guest – Donna Murch, Professor of History at Rutgers University and author of Living In The City: Migration, Eduation and the Rise of the Black Panther Party. She also contributed an article to the forthcoming verso press book “False Choice: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Clinton.



U.S. – Saudi Arabia Arms Deal

Last month Congress narrowly approved the sale of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. They are being used in the Saudi war against Yemen and are dropped on civilians. The bombs are manufactured by the General Dynamics Corporation, part of the American military Industrial complex. Now a second arms sale, this one involving tanks and armored personnel carriers, is up for Congressional approval.  A number of peace groups including human rights watch have come out against it. Last week a New York Times editorial stated that “Congress should put the arms sales on hold and President Obama should quietly inform Riyadh that the United States will withdraw crucial assistance if the Saudis do not stop targeting civilians and agree to negotiate peace. ” The Saudi Arabian Monarchy  has been a long time ally of the United States and provides a significant amount of oil to United States as well as being a major purchaser of American corporate made weapons.  They are used in Yemen and illegal under American law.

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


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George W. Bush is now 70 years old and retired on his ranch outside of Crawford Texas.  Many Americans remember him as a clueless figure on the morning of September 11, 2001 reading My Pet Goat to a classroom of children. They think of Bush as a hands-off leader who turned over the reins of power to his Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and the head of the CIA George Tenet.  But the major decisions after the attacks on September 11, 2001, including the bombing of Afghanistan, the opening of the Guantánamo offshore prison camp, torture, and the introduction of the Patriot Act, and the war on Iraq were made by George W. Bush, who denominated himself as “the decider.” He had “and unnerving level of certitude” –  as Jean Edward Smith, author of the recent expansive biography called “Bush” has written.  Smith writes that Bush “firmly believed that he was the instrument of God’s will.”

Guest – Professor Jean Edward Smith, is ean Edward Smith is the author of twelve books, including highly acclaimed biographies of Chief Justice John Marshall, General Lucius D. Clay, and Ulysses S. Grant (a 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist). A graduate of Princeton and Columbia Universities, Smith taught at the University of Toronto for thirty-five years before joining the faculty at Marshall University where he was the John Marshall Professor of Political Science.


Law and Disorder August 8, 2016

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Civil Disobedience Ordinance and Home Rule In Grant Township, PA

In what is perhaps the nation’s first law that legalizes direct action, Grant Township in Indiana County PA, passed an ordinance permitting nonviolent direct aimed at stopping local frack wastewater injection wells.  Pennsylvania General Energy Company has sued the Township to overturn a local democratically-enacted law that prohibits injection wells. In 2013, residents in Grant Township learned that PGE was applying for permits that would legalize the injection well. Despite hearings, public comments, and permit appeals demonstrating widespread residents opposition to the project, the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued a permit to PGE. In response, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Grant Township Supervisors passed an ordinance the next year establishing rights to clean air and water, and the right to local community self-government.

If a court fails to uphold citizens’ right to stop corporate activities threatening the community’s well-being, the ordinance provides that, “any natural person may then enforce the rights and prohibitions of the charter through direct action.” It also says that any nonviolent direct action to enforce their Charter is protected from any legal actions brought by private or public entities.

Guest – Chad Nicholson, the statewide Pennsylvania Organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). The work keeps him on the road constantly, working with communities facing industrial threats in all corners of the Keystone State. Recent work has, included CELDF’s role in defending two communities in federal court (including Grant Township) facing toxic injection wells; multiple communities pursuing Home Rule campaigns to increase community control over harmful corporate projects; and work with dozens of other communities fighting harms that range from corporate herbicide spraying to factory farms to sewage sludge spreading to fracking to massive energy corridors.  With colleague Ben Price, Chad has co-authored the Pennsylvania Community Rights Cookbook, a 700-page volume on the history of people’s movements, and the tragic rise of corporate power, in Pennsylvania. The Cookbook serves as the curriculum for 2-day Community Rights Workshops, which have graduated hundreds of PA residents who are asserting their community’s rights over corporate control.

Chad began rights-based organizing in Spokane, WA, in 2009, coordinating Envision Spokane’s first campaign attempting to amend the city’s Home Rule charter to recognize expanded rights for residents on issues that ranged from healthcare, affordable housing, worker protections on the job, and environmental rights.

Guest – Stacy Long,  lives in East Run, Pennsylvania with her husband, Mark.  Two male kittens will be joining them in mere days.  A graphic designer by trade, she’s also president of the East Run Hellbenders Society and is a board member of the PA Community Rights Network.  She currently serves as  vice-chair on the board of supervisors in Grant Township. She likes to make and eat soup and she likes flying around on broomsticks.”


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Voting Restrictions Overturned In North Carolina By Federal Court

The great Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s gave rise to the 1967 Voting Rights Act. It protected black citizens. Many of them were poor, when they sought to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Last month the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit invalidated voting restrictions in North Carolina that were described as targeting African Americans with almost surgical precision. In June of 2013, the Supreme Court removed a part of the Voting Rights Act ruling that states with the longest histories of voting discrimination no longer needed to approve their voting changes with the federal government. Within a month of that decision North Carolina passed the country’s most restrictive voting laws. Those restrictions were recently overturned in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the 14 amendment.

Guest – Julie Ebenstein, staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project. Julie is actively involved in litigating voting rights matters around the country, with cases in Kansas (challenging the state dual registration system), Iowa (challenging the state’s felon disenfranchisement laws), North Carolina (challenging cutbacks to early voting and the elimination of same-day registration) and Ferguson, Missouri (challenging at-large school board elections).


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Successful Defense Against Entrapment Case In Canada

A Canadian couple who faced life in prison for hiding what they believed were pressure cooker bombs outside British Columbia legislative building in 2013 were freed last month after a judge ruled they were entrapped by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. John Stuart Nuttall and Amanda Marie Korody were the victims of an elaborate police sting. Justice Catherine Bruce of the Supreme Court of British Columbia found that the police had initiated the terrorist plot and coerced the couple.

Guest – Attorney Marilyn Sandford about the case and the involvement of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Marilyn Sandford works in private practice in Victoria, BC. She represents clients facing criminal charges and advancing civil constitutional claims.



Law and Disorder July 11, 2016

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Non-indictment of Hillary Clinton

FBI Director James Comey announced at a press conference last week that the FBI had concluded its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email account for State Department business and that he would recommend no criminal charges against her. Comey said that Clinton’s use of a private email address and server while she was  Secretary of State was “extremely careless.” The investigation found that she had sent eight top secret documents through a hackable email account and that it was possible hostile foreign governments could’ve gained access. Since the announcment the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairperson Jason Chaffetz has called for an investigation to whether Clinton lied to Congress. In order to warrant a criminal indictment there had to be evidence that Clinton intentionally transmitted or willfully mishandled classified information.

Guest – Attorney Carey Shenkman, who primarily represent journalists, publishers, and filmmakers at risk of censorship or political persecution. He focuses on First Amendment, international law (particularly freedom of expression and right to protest), journalist and source protection, extradition. Carey had worked for Michael Ratner and now represents Julian Assange.


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Chelsea Manning Alleged Suicide Attempt Update

Lawyers acting for imprisoned Chelsea Manning, the Army soldier who as a truth teller passed evidence of US war crimes on to Wikileaks have expressed fury at the military authorities handling of her medical status amid a swirl of media speculation that she had attempted suicide. Manning who is serving a 35 year sentence for leaking secret diplomatic cables and other official documents has been cut off from contact with her lawyers and all other outside connections for more than 36 hours causing alarm among those closest to her. The sudden severing of contact follows a rash of media reports based on unconfirmed rumors about her medical condition. The Army is refusing to give details about what has happened. Persistent inquiries by the Guardian has produced only a statement from the Dept of Defense that stated the soldier was taken to the hospital in the early hours of Tuesday last week and now he’s been returned to Levenworth Prison.

Guest – Alexa O’Brien researches and writes about national security and capital crimes. Her work has been published in VICE News, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian UK, Salon, The Daily Beast, and featured on the BBC, PBS Frontline, On The Media, Democracy Now!, and Public Radio International. In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the UK and listed in The Verge 50.


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Federal Circuit Court: Criminal Defendants No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy On Personal Home Computers

Most of us assume that what we write on our own computers, in our own homes, is completely private. But a recent federal court decision held that criminal defendants have no reasonable expectation of privacy on their personal, home computers. And the government doesn’t need a warrant to hack into an individual’s computer.

In 2014, the FBI hacked–taking over and operating– a child pornography website called Playpen, for two weeks after a Virginia court issued a warrant to do so. Agents used software that bypassed Playpen users’ anonymity, enabling them to be tracked digitally. More than 135 people faced charges.

As courts are grappling to apply traditional rules of criminal procedure and constitutional law in these cases, several bad decisions are being made. At the forefront of educating the public about our digital rights is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who filed an amicus brief in this case.

Guest – Sophia Cope, Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Previously, she worked at the Newspaper Association of America on freedom of the press and digital media issues, with a focus on protecting journalists’  confidential sources.


Law and Disorder June 27, 2016

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NYPD Seizes Millions In Civil Forfeiture

Antiquated civil forfeiture procedures in NYC are causing many, including the city’s poorest, to have assets seized by the NYPD to fill the City’s coffers.

Elected officials are finally calling for the city to reexamine the mechanism that fills the city’s coffers with millions of dollars annually. In what many call a gross violation of civil liberties,the  Office of Management and Budget report revealed that the NYPD seized over $5 million dollars through an opaque but common process of civil forfeiture in 2013. That doesn’t even count more than $8 million in cash and property that’s considered “unclaimed.”

Since the administrative code governing forfeiture was written in 1881, several court rulings have modified the procedure. In 1972, the civil rights case of McClendon v. Rosetti established that the city had not been providing due process to predominantly poor and minority New Yorkers when pursuing civil forfeiture. The ruling called the 1881 admin code “unconstitutional” and asked for a lower court to lay out new procedures for the NYPD property clerk. In 1974, the lower court laid out those procedures, making clear that the property clerk must prove that the property was somehow connected to the alleged criminal activity.

Yet forty years later, property clerks still enforce the law arbitrarily. The federal monitor designated by the court’s decision in 1974 has expired, leaving no independent body with oversight over how the NYPD pursues civil forfeiture.

Guest – Attorney Molly Kovel, Legal Director of the Civil Action Practice at The Bronx Defenders. Her practice includes a wide variety of direct legal services and affirmative impact litigation—including representing plaintiffs in Ligon v. City of New York, one of three federal class actions against the NYPD challenging unconstitutional stop and frisk practices. She has represented clients in a wide variety of civil venues in matters related to the collateral consequences of arrests and prosecutions. She has also advised hundreds of clients about the employment and licensing consequences of their criminal records, as well as assisting them in applying for Certificates of Rehabilitation and correcting criminal record errors. She trains criminal defense attorneys, social service providers and community members in these matters.

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Anti-BDS Legislation In New York State

We recently discussed how Israel advocacy groups and state law makers who support them have introduced anti-BDS legislation in up to 21 across the United States of America, including the US Congress. Today we look closely at New York State.

The New York legislature has tried in the past year, without success, to pass laws protecting Israel against the boycotts, divestment and sanctions movement–or BDS–for its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.

In an unconstitutional move, given that the government may not penalize individuals or entities on the basis of free expression, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently issued an executive order directing all agencies under his jurisdiction to cease in dealing with companies and organizations that support BDS. The order calls for Cuomo’s commissioner to compile a list of institutions and companies that support a boycott of Israel. The list will be publicly posted.

Several organizations, including the National Lawyers Guild, Palestine Legal and CCR wrote in a legal memorandum critical of the anti-BDS bills pending in the New York legislature. More than 100 churches, human rights groups and legal organizations signed a letter to the New York legislature opposing the legislation, saying “it would chill and deter constitutionally protected speech by intimidating people from engaging in political actions for fear of being blacklisted.”

Guest – Dima Khalidi, founder and Director of Palestine Legal and Cooperating Counsel with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). Her work includes providing legal advice to activists, engaging in advocacy to protect their rights to speak out for Palestinian rights, and educating activists and the public about the repression of Palestine advocates.


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Rasmea Odeh Case Update

Over 100 people gathered in Detroit to support Rasmea Odeh as she, her attorneys, and the prosecution appeared before Judge Gershwin Drain for a status conference last week.
Lead attorney Michael Deutsch announced that a tentative date for a new trial has been set for January 10, 2017.

Rasmea was convicted in 2014 of a politically-motivated immigration charge, and sentenced to 18 months in prison and deportation last year. In February of this year, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to Judge Drain, saying he had wrongfully barred the testimony of a torture expert that was critical to Rasmea’s defense. At the trial, Rasmea was not allowed to tell the entire story of Israel forcing her to falsely confess to alleged bombings in 1969, when she endured over three weeks of sexual, physical and psychological torture by the Israeli military.

Last week, the government called for a “Daubert Hearing,” to challenge the validity and admissibility of expert testimony (in this case, Fabri’s), and also requested to examine Rasmea with its own expert. If the hearing is granted by Judge Drain, it will happen on November 29 of this year, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Two other positive developments occurred. Deutsch asked to have Rasmea’s “burdensome reporting requirements” to probation authorities reduced from once a week to once a month. Judge Drain did not object, commenting that his earlier concerns about her being a flight risk “have been alleviated.” He also suggested he would be willing to ease travel restrictions and allow Rasmea to occasionally travel within the U.S. The government wants to speak to the probationary authorities before agreeing to the end of the travel ban.

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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Why Does The IRS Need Guns?

There is a growing arsenal at paper pushing federal agencies with firearm and arrest authority that have expanded their arsenal since 2006, including the Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, NOAA, the Education Department, the Department of Energy, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Smithsonian Institute.

Special agents at the IRS, for example, have AR-15 military style rifles and nearly 4,000 Dept. of Veterans Affairs personnel are armed.

Recently, the group American Transparency released an oversight report on the federal government’s purchase of guns, ammunition, and military-type equipment. More than $335 million was spent by agencies we traditionally think of as administrative or regulatory, such as the U.S. Mint or the Smithsonian Institution.

Guest – Adam Andrzejewski, in 2007, he founded For The Good of Illinois to educate, engage and empower citizens to demand transparency and accountability. He also founded the transparency website,, and launched it by posting the salaries and pensions of all 1 million Illinois public employees (2011). Today, is the world’s largest private repository of public spending with 2.6 billion individually captured transactions from the federal government, 48/50 states and 36,000 local units of government across America. Read – Why Does The IRS Need Guns?


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