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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.

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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 –  robin.martinez@martinezlaw.net

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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.

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Law and Disorder September 5, 2016


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Federal Judges Often Let Bad Cops Slide

In examining the root causes of police violence across the nation, few people consider the role that federal judges play in contributing to this epidemic. According to one of the authors of Police Misconduct: Law and Litigation, a principal cause of police brutality is a widespread unwillingness of federal judges to hold officers accountable for instances of misconduct.

The problem even extends to the US Supreme Court, where Justice Kagan has shown deference to two reckless officers who shot and nearly killed a mentally ill woman in her own apartment rather than waiting for backup.

Guest – Professor Michael Avery, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and co-author of the police misconduct treatise for attorneys on civil rights cases, Michael has reviewed thousands of such cases over several decades. His op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, “Federal Judges Often Let Bad Cops Slide,” asserts that judges’ failure to hold officers accountable for abuse of authority is a central cause of police brutality in this country.

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Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter

The policing strategy called “broken windows” was first established in New York City under Police Commissioner William Bratton. It is a doctrine that has vastly broadened police power the world over and to deadly effect. The underlying concept of broken windows policing is deceptively simple: to stop major crimes from occurring, police must first prevent small signs of “disorder” from proliferating, such as graffiti, litter, panhandling, the sale of untaxed cigarettes and so forth. Disorder in the form of minor violations is presumed to breed larger disorder. Broken windows policing has functioned as an urban strategy enabling the gentrification of cities – a class project that has displaced the urban multi-racial working class worldwide.  It has led to widespread invasive police practices, racial profiling, police brutality, and many deaths.  We now have in America a crisis of authority and legitimacy for US policing.

Guest – Professor Christina Heatherton, coeditor with Jordan T. Camp of the recently published book Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter. Heatherton is an American studies scholar and an historian of antiracist social movements. She teaches at Trinity College in Connecticut.

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Brazil Government Coup Illegitmate Says International Tribunal

An international tribunal has declared the impeachment of Brazil’s President and head of the workers party Dilma Rousseff an illegitimate coup.  The Tribunal for Democracy in Brazil convened in Rio de Janeiro  two months ago.  It was organized by social movements in Brazil to analyze and render a judgment on what they described as a break in the democratic process and a new type of coup.

Guest – Attorney Azadeh Shahshahani former member of the tribunal. She recently wrote an article on its findings for the nation magazine. Attorney Shahshahani is the Legal and Advocacy Director with Project South and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild.

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Law and Disorder August 29, 2016


Updates:

  • Swedish Police To Question Julian Assange At Ecuadorian Embassy

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Comedian Lenny Bruce Life And First Amendment Trial Remembered

The great 1950s comedian and rebellious social satirist Lenny Bruce died 50 years ago this month accidently from a morphine overdose. He was certainly driven to death by the various trials prosecutors put him through said Martin Garbis, the young attorney who in 1964 unsuccessfully represented him in a crucial obscenity trial in New York City. Bruce was a groundbreaker, transcending the conventional subjects for humor at every opportunity. He was concerned with vanguard ideas in the mid 50s black power, prison reform, the rights of convicts, the plight of Native Americans, religious and political frauds like Billy Graham and his friend President Richard Nixon, and the right to abortion. He was not taken in by US Cold War ideology. He thought Cuba, that the United States Navy,at the better claim to Guantánamo Bay. He refused to support radio free Europe, thinking it hypocritical given the racism and corruption in America. And he said – the ultimate heresy – that of communism cooked for you “solid”.  Richard Kuh, who as an assistant District Attorney in Manhattan prosecuted Bruce for obscenity in 1964 thought that  Bruce crystallized rebellion. He provided not only bone searing talk, but fanfare and a rallying point.

Lenny Bruce was indeed the spiritual father of the cultural radicalization of the 60s. New York Governor George Pataki pardoned Lenny Bruce in 2003 stating that his decision, nearly 4 decades after the conviction, was “a declaration of New York’s commitment to upholding the First Amendment.

Guest – Attorney Martin Garbus represented Lenny Bruce. Martin is one of the country’s top trial lawyers, as well as an author and sought-after speaker. Time magazine called him “legendary” and “one of the greatest trial lawyers in the country”. The Guardian, declared him “one of the worlds finest trial lawyers”. An expert at every level of civil and criminal trial, and litigation, he has appeared before the United States Supreme Court in leading First Amendment cases, and his cases have established precedents there and in other courts throughout the country. A case he filed, Goldberg v. Kelly, that resulted in a favorable 5-4 Supreme Court opinion was described by Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan as “arguably the most important due process case of the 20th Century”. Martin Garbus has written seven books, hundreds of articles, and has taught that the law schools at Columbia and Yale Universities.
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Immigrant Children Forced To Act As Their Own Lawyers

Each year, thousands of children are forced to act as their own lawyers in United States immigration courts with no one to explain the chargest against them.. They are thrust against trained federal prosecutors in seeking asylum or other types of relief in proceedings that most adults find often impossible to understand much less navigate effectively.

In contrast to individuals charged with criminal offenses, such as homicide or kidnapping, the government has no obligation to provide court-appointed legal defense for those who cannot afford an attorney in civil cases. Many children in immigration court hail from Central America where they escaped poverty and especially perilous conditions.

Having an attorney can mean the difference between being deported—often putting their lives at risk—and remaining in this country. One survey found that more than half the children representing themselves were deported, contrasted with only one in 10 who were provided legal representation.

A class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU and other civil rights groups is challenging this gross systemic failure.

Guest – Attorney Lauren Dasse, Executive Director of The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. Lauren has been representing young people facing deportation for years, and last year gave 7,500 know-your-rights presentations to children in Arizona shelters. Lauren Dasse grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and earned her B.A. in Latin American Studies and Sociology from the University of Arizona. She received her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the CUNY Law Review. She has interned with the Center for Constitutional Rights and Make the Road New York,  and participated in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at CUNY Law.

 

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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.

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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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Bush

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.

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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.

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Law and Disorder August 1, 2016


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Voices of Dissent At the Democratic National Convention 2016

Last week Eli Smith attended the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. We go now to hear several on the street interviews with activists attending demonstrations, activities in and outside the convention hall and evening discussions centered on the collective next steps. Link to video footage by photographer Ernesto Gomez

Eli Smith (host/producer) is a banjo player, writer, researcher and promoter of folk music living in New York City. Eli is a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist.  Eli organizes two folk festivals annually, the Brooklyn Folk Festival in the Spring and Washington Square Park Folk Festival in the Fall. Above photos by Eli Smith and Ernesto Gomez.

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Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Report

A recent report by a police accountability task force in Chicago makes the stunning claim that “police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”

Three-quarters of persons shot by Chicago police in a seven-year period, from 2008 to 2015, were black, although they comprise just a third of the city’s population.

The nearly 200-page report, however, does not lay blame entirely on the Chicago Police Department.  It cites generations of poverty as contributing factors including an  “alarming lack of jobs” in certain neighborhoods, and a lack of basic community services and support networks such as good schools, day care, churches, community centers, parks and even grocery stores.

Guest – Professor Nirej Sekhon is from Georgia State University Law School. He has analyzed all shootings by Chicago police over several years, finding a complex relationship between race, policing, and violence.

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Law and Disorder July 25, 2016


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The End of the Republic and the Delusion of Empire

Are we approaching “peak America”, where the Republic has failed, and the Empire which put paid to it cannot be achieved? For the first time, the goal of socialism has been raised in the presidential primaries, backed by tens of millions of voters. Not since the New Deal, nearly a century ago, have class relations come into sharper confrontation. The U.S. presidential elections are everything abnormal with both major parties arousing popular revulsion. Not since World War II have the US and Russia drawn closer to the possibility of mutual annihilation through nuclear war due to US empire building. Who rules America and who sets the military agenda in the most contentious regions of the Middle East is in open dispute.

Guest – James Petras, author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet.

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Black Lives Matter, the Left Movements and Law Enforcement

In the last two weeks the police have killed 41 people.  Five police were killed in Dallas and three in Baton Rouge by two military veterans.  BLM, a non-violent nationwide group seeking to abolish police abuse has been attacked by the police and politicians
as facilitating terrorism.

Guest – Ajamu Baraka is a longtime activist, veteran of Black Liberation Movement, Human Rights defender, Former founding director of US Human Rights Network, currently Public Intervenon for Human Rights with Green Shadow Cabinet, member of Coordinating Committee of Black Left Unity Network and Associate Fellow at IPS.  He is a human rights defender whose experience spans three decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. Black Agenda Report

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Journalist Arun Gupta At the Republican National Convention

The goings on in Cleveland, Ohio at the RNC with the delegates, media and the protesters is something truly to behold. We catch up with Arun Gupta to get his impressions on what its like to be in Cleveland during the notorious Republican National Convention.

Guest – Arun Gupta, founding editor of the Indypendent magazine and was a founding editor of the Occupy Wall Street Journal. He is working on a book about the decline of the American empire.

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Legal Defense Action At the Republican National Convention 2016

As we record today, the Republican National Convention is winding down. There’s been an overwhelming police presence there. (Police on horses, police on bicycles, police on foot, police in trucks. 1900 police are living on the campus of Case Western Reserve. The militarized police were supplied with Army surplus weapons, even artillery.

Guest – Kris Hermes is a Bay Area–based activist who has worked for nearly thirty years on social justice issues. Organizing with ACT UP Philadelphia in the late 1990s spurred his interest in legal support work and led to his co-founding and years-long involvement with R2K Legal. Since 2000, Hermes has been an active, award-winning legal worker-member of the National Lawyers Guild and has been a part of numerous law collectives and legal support efforts over the years. In this capacity, he has organized dozens of press conference and spoken at numerous community meetings, political conferences, book fairs, and other similar events across the U.S. Hermes has written extensively in his professional career as a media worker and as a legal activist.

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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. ChelseaManning.org

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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.

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Law and Disorder July 4, 2016


Updates:

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Economic and Political Fallout From British Exit

A domino effect has begun as banks and investment firms lose billions in the wake of Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. The value of the British pound has dropped more than 9 percent and global financial markets are in free fall. In a recent Truthdig article, 2008 All Over Again, by Chris Hedges, economist Michael Hudson blames the Brexit vote on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He says this a response to the US war policy in the Middle East and Ukraine that destroyed Libya, and turned over weapons to al-Qaida. Those weapons ended up in their war in Syria. The mass exodus of refugees into Europe fueled nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment. Meanwhile, countries such as France, Austria and the Netherlands are positioning to do the same as the UK. Many suspect the banks will again turn to governments for bail outs as they did in 2008. The question is: how will the American public respond to the effects of ever increasing inequality, destruction of the environment and trade deals that benefit the one percent?

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

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Lawyers You’ll Like – Attorney Margaret Kunstler

For our Lawyers You’ll Like series we’re joined today by civil rights attorney Margaret Kunstler. Throughout her career she has provided support and protected the rights of activists. She’s been a consultant to the Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous protesters. Her book Hell No: Your Right To Dissent in 21st Century America was co-authored with Michael Ratner and it remains a leading handbook for activists. Attorney Margaret Kunstler has advised Wikileaks, Bradley Manning supporters in connection with grand jury subpoenas.

Together with her late husband William Kunstler, the subject of the documentary Disturbing the Universe, Margaret worked on high profile cases including the Virgin Island Five, Attica and Wounded Knee. She is the founder of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice that works to combat racism in the criminal justice system. Margaret was a founding member of the National Lawyers Guild NYC Mass Defense Committee that provides legals observers at demonstrations and represents those arrrested. At the Center for Constitutional Rights, she worked as an attorney and educational director and authored the well known pamphlet “If An Agent Knocks.”
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