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Law and Disorder April 10, 2017


 

The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey

April 24 marks the 101st anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Until recently, most Americans never heard of the genocide and rarely hear the individual stories of those who survived atrocities at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Journalist Dawn Mackeen came to learn the personal account of her grandfather Stepan Miskjian after reading notebooks that he had kept a century ago chronicling his story. She then embarked on a multi-year journey, using her research skills to scour newspapers and archives around the globe to recreate, and then actually retrace, his steps taken 100 years earlier through Turkey and Syria.

She has written an eye-opening book, The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey. It recounts not only her grandfather’s experience, but those of the approximately 1.5 million Armenians who were tortured and killed in the genocide that began in 1915. As many Armenian genocide survivors did, Dawn’s grandfather escaped just before the members of his caravan with were massacred by disguising himself as an Arab.

Guest – Dawn Mackeen is an award-winning journalist who spent nearly a decade researching and writing her grandfather’s story. Previously, she covered health and social issues for Salon, SmartMoney, and Newsday, where her investigative series on assisted living facilities’ poor care helped prompt legislative reform. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Elle, the Sunday Times Magazine (London), the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She lives in Southern California.

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International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism and Responsibility

At the request of its member states, the United Nations economic and social commission for Western Asia commissioned a report on Israeli practices towards the Palestinian people and the question of apartheid. Apartheid is a crime against humanity under international law. The report found Israel in violation of three international laws. One of them, the  1998 Rome statute of the international criminal court states that “the crime of apartheid means inhumane acts committed in the context of AN institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” The commission report concluded that Israel operates in an Apartheid regime against Palestinian citizens of Israel, Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and Palestinian refugees and exiles.The commission made recommendations to dismantle the apartheid regime. In response, Israel and its ally the United States of America had to report rejected and caused the resignation of the head of the commission.

We speak with two anti- apartheid activists. Both have just returned from an important conference on Israel held at the University of Cork, in Cork Ireland.  The conference had twice been prevented by pro Israeli forces.

Guest – Richard Falk is the former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights and Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Guest – Author Joel Kovel, politician, academic, and eco-socialist. He has lectured in psychiatry, anthropology, political science and communication studies. He has published many books including the controversial Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine.

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Partisan Gerrymandering In Wisconsin

In a backlash to the 2008 Obama election victory, two years later, in 2010, the Republican Party of Wisconsin won both houses of the legislature and the governorships. The Republicans then redrew the legislative map making it impossible for the Democratic Party to capture a majority of the legislative seats at any time in the decade,  no matter how many votes they get.  This is called partisan gerrymandering, the process of drawing distorted legislative districts to undermine democracy.  Now, in Wisconsin, instead of voters choosing their legislatures, the legislatures choose the voters. As a consequence people in Wisconsin have had their great university system harmed, right to work laws have been enacted wrecking their unions, and there has been substantial environmental damage.

Guest – Professor William “Bill” Whitford who recently retired as a Law Professor at the University of Wisconsin. He is the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against partisan gerrymandering. His cases is likely to be heard in the Supreme Court. In the case Whitford v Gill 12, Wisconsin voters are challenging the constitutionality of the states Republican drawn legislative maps. Heretofore, the Supreme Court has been unwilling to get involved.  This case may change that and restore a measure of democracy to a broken system  in Wisconsin, and later elsewhere.

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Law and Disorder April 3, 2017


Trial Judge Rules Against 69 Year Old Palestinian Activist Rasmea Odeh

In 1969, when she was a 21 year old college student in Ramallah in the Israeli occupied territories on the West Bank,  Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian woman, was arrested for killing two Israeli University students with a bomb placed in a supermarket.  She confessed to the crime and served 10 years in prison, getting out in a prisoner swap. She came to United States 20 years ago, obtained citizenship, and settled in Chicago as a community organizer of immigrant Arab women.  Odeh was criminally charged two years ago by the federal government with “unlawful procurement of naturalization.” In her application, she omitted mention of the crime for which she was convicted in Israel. In her defense, she said that she could not remember, that she had post traumatic stress disorder as a result of being tortured in jail for 25 days and forced to sign a false confession. Her expert witness was not allowed to testify as to the PSTD and the torture.  The trial judge’s ruling on this was overturned by a Federal Court of Appeals. Last week she agreed to a plea arrangement where she would be stripped of her citizenship and deported rather than face a 5 to 7 year prison sentence and indefinite detention by ICE. She is 69 years old and does not know where she will be sent inasmuch as she cannot go home.

Guest – Attorney Michael Deutsch  had represented Rasmea Odeh. He is a partner at the Peoples Law Office in Chicago and a former legal director at the  Center for Constitutional Rights. 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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New York City Titanpointe National Security Agency Protest

There is a massive 550 foot tall gray granite and cement NSA spying hub hidden in plain sight in a windowless skyscraper in downtown Manhattan. At noon on April 15 an action is planned by a group called the Quiet American. It is an arts and politics journal based in Ridgewood, Queens, New York. They will perform a rite of exorcism on the building in order to, as their press release states, “to metaphysically purge the edifice of the data it hoards and to invoke a less maniacal version of citizen-government relations.”

The building is located at 33 Thomas Street where the action will take place. It is a windowless monolith that people say is “creepy as hell” and “a monument to the bottomless fear that locks us in permanent war”. The building was designed to withstand a nuclear assault and sustain its employees working there for two weeks.

Guest –  Eli Smith, a musician and activist from Brooklyn, who has helped organize the event. Eli Smith is also a folklorist and music producer who organizes the annual “Brooklyn Folk Festival”, a huge weekend music gathering now in its ninth year, and coming up at the end of April.

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Lawsuit Forces EPA Head To Release More Emails Exposing Fossil Fuel Ties

Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, was recently sued by the Center for Media and Democracy to force the release of emails exposing ties with fossil fuel backers and the Oklahoma Office of Attorney General.

The suit, filed on behalf of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), seeks an emergency injunction to prevent Pruitt from destroying any documents relevant to the group’s open records requests before his confirmation hearing. Since 2015, CMD filed seven records requests with Pruitt’s office seeking communications with Koch Industries and other coal, oil, and gas corporations as well as the corporate-funded Republican Attorney General’s Association.

Pruitt has yet to turn over a single document, despite acknowledging that his office has 3,000 emails and other documents relevant to CMD’s initial request. The Oklahoma Open Records Act provides that “the people are vested with the inherent right to know and be fully informed about their government . . . so they may efficiently and intelligently exercise their inherent political power.”

The act also mandates that a public body “must provide prompt, reasonable access to its records.” With Pruitt seeking confirmation to become EPA administrator, these public records are essential for the U.S. Senate to do its job.

“There is no valid legal justification for the emails we received last night not being released prior to Pruitt’s confirmation vote other than to evade public scrutiny,” said Arn Pearson, general counsel for CMD. “There are hundreds of emails between the AG’s office, Devon Energy, and other polluters that Senators should have been permitted to review prior to their vote to assess Pruitt’s ties to the fossil fuel industry.”

Guest – Arn Pearson, General Counsel and Policy Advisor from the Center for Media and Democracy. He previously served as the Vice President for Policy and Litigation at Common Cause. Arn has worked for more than 20 years developing federal and state policy and legal strategies around campaign finance reform, government ethics, corporate accountability, and tax reform.

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Law and Disorder March 20, 2017


Update:

  • Michael Smith Attends Lynne Stewart’s Wake In New York City

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Law and Disorder co-hosts look at the seeds of fascism within the Trump Administration and Attorney Michael Smith references excerpts of the recent article A Short History of the Trump Family by Simon Blumenthal, including the below paragraph.

“Reckoning with Trump means descending into the place that made him. What he represents, above all, is the triumph of an underworld of predators, hustlers, mobsters, clubhouse politicians and tabloid sleaze that festered in a corner of New York City, a vindication of his mentor, the Mafia lawyer Roy Cohn, a figure unknown to the vast majority of enthusiasts who jammed Trump’s rallies and hailed him as the authentic voice of the people.”

October 2006: If It’s Not Facism, What Is It? Who Benefits & Why Now?

There appears to be a major transformation in progress. Bourgeois democracy, however limited and constricted it has been, is being revamped. The separation of powers, first enunciated by the founders, hardly exists any more. The Executive branch has overpowered Congress and the Judiciary. Neither the corporate media, the two party system, nor the unions provide much of a countervailing force. With the defeat of the Soviet Union and the “Socialist Block” imperialism has launched wars to consolidate capitalism and oil control in Yugoslavia, Afganistan, Iraq and Lebanon. Panelists: Mark Crispin Miller, Heidi Boghosian, Bertell Ollman, Moderated by Michael Steven Smith.
The standard of living for the American working class and middle class is being rolled back quickly; only profit margins of the large corporations and the top one per cent are expanding. Democracy is not an abstraction, but a tool and an aspect of the class struggle. Thus we are experiencing a consolidational of wealth and power that is historically qualitatively transformative. Understanding what is going on is the first step in fighting it. We hear an excerpt from Bertel Ollman , professor of politics at NYU, and has written and edited over a dozen books, including Alienation: Marx’s Conception of Man in Capitalist Society, Social and Sexual Revolution: Essays on Marx and Reich, Dialectical Investigations, How to Take an Exam and Remake the World, and most recently Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in Marx’s Method.

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Why The Rise Of Fascism Is Again The Issue

Fascism has taken on many forms through the rise and fall of empires. One aspect of modern day fascism can seen as propaganda, lies and deceit used as political leverage to eventually absorb sovereign states. Our guest John Pilger lays out the swath carved by fascism in the last 70 years in his recent article Why The Rise Of Fascism Is Again The Issue. Using the word carefully, Pilger describes a new kind of fascism, centered in America but based on the big lie of war and aggression. Pilger documents key events from the Holocaust to Libya to Serbia, to Yugoslavia, to Afghanistan in the 1970s, to Vietnam and up to the current revival of fascism in the heart of Europe. We get a historic perspective from John Pilger, going all the way back to the second world war. If you think the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Libya and now the Ukraine occur by happenstance, you are mistaken says Pilger, an Australian-British journalist based in London. These are part of the American effort to become the global power.

Guest – John Pilger, an Australian-British journalist based in London. John has worked in many facets of journalism, including a correspondent in the Vietnam War, the Middle East Desk for Reuters in London, a documentary film maker, and a producer for the Independent Television Network in London. Pilger is known for his conscience, bravery and acute historical insight.   His articles appear worldwide in newspapers such as the Guardian, the Independent, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times.

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Law and Disorder March 13, 2017


Hosts Mourn The Passing Of Friend And Colleague Lynne Stewart

Attorneys Heidi Boghosian and Michael Smith remember the courageous people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart.

We listen back to a past interview with Lynne Stewart February 4, 2008.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Hears Lynne Stewart’s Arguments

Law and Disorder hosts welcome back civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart. Lynne Stewart has been free on bail pending appeal since federal judge John Koeltl gave her a 28 month sentence in October 2006. As you may recall Lynne Stewart was initially facing up to 30 years after being found guilty of conspiring to aid terrorists. She was convicted of distributing press releases on behalf of her jailed client Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman who is serving a life sentence on terror-related charges.

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve followed Lynne Stewart’s case as it contains key breaches of civil liberties such as government eavesdropping into attorney/ client conversations.

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Recognizing 50 Years of The Center For Constitutional Rights And Michael Ratner

Michael Ratner co-founded Law and Disorder Radio radio 13 years ago.  He died last May in New York City of complications after cancer surgery at age 73.  At the time, he was the President of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Some years ago he helped form it’s European counterpart, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. Last year was the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The held a commemorative conference in Berlin last December on the 50th anniversary of the CCR and honored it’s president, Michael Ratner.  Michael Smith, the co-host along with Heidi Boghosian of Law and Disorder Radiospoke at the conference about Michael Ratner and the four founders of the CCR. He was joined in his presentation by attorney Margaret Ratner Kunstler, a key figure in the early days of the CCR. Today we bring you excerpts from this presentation.

Law and Disorder February 27, 2017


My Friend Cayla And Other Toys That Spy

Several consumer advocates are urging retailers including Amazon.com and Walmart to stop selling a doll that can eavesdrop on children and families.

The groups are calling on the retailers to discontinue sales of the doll called My Friend Cayla after filing a complaint in late 2016 with the Federal Trade Commission. The complaint alleges that Cayla and another toy, the I-Que Robot, which isn’t sold in the U.S., can transmit recordings to Nuance Communications, a speech-to-text software company that contracts with military and law enforcement agencies, among others.

The doll, made by interactive toy maker Genesis, are wireless-enabled devices that advocates say can open the door to hackers, and other privacy violations.

In a letter to Amazon’s CEO, Josh Golin, of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, wrote “My Friend Cayla poses significant security risks that could place children in physical danger…A stranger or potential predator within a 50-foot range can easily establish a Bluetooth connection with the doll, eavesdrop on the child, and even converse with the child through the doll.”

A similar letter, also signed by the Center for Digital Democracy and the Electronic Privacy Information Center was sent to Walmart, Target, and Toys ‘R’ Us. Toys R Us said the doll is no longer for sale at its stores or through its website.

Guest – Josh Golin, Josh started at CCFC as an intern in 2003 and has been with the organization in a variety of capacities ever since. Most recently, he served as CCFC’s Associate Director organizing CCFC’s advocacy campaigns and developing its communications strategy. His writings about the commercialization of childhood have appeared in a wide range of outlets. He and his wife Jennifer are doing their best to raise their daughter, Clara, commercial-free.

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Dakota Access Pipeline Dispatch #10

In early February, under orders from President Donald Trump, the Army Corp of Engineers approved and easement allowing Energy Transfer Partners to drill under the Missouri River near North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Standing Rock and neighboring tribes are trying to halt the project in court and pipeline opponents have embarked on a so called last stand, holding protests and actions across the nation. Authorities had set a deadline of February 22, 2017 for the protesters to clean up and return home. At the main encampment, trucks are hauling away garbage and abandoned goods. Some protesters are relocating to higher ground nearby on the reservation. In preparation for the evacuation dozens of North Dakota police and National Park Service rangers had surrounded the camp.

Water Protectors Legal Collective – NLG

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 –  robin.martinez@martinezlaw.net

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Law and Disorder February 20, 2017


 

The Deep State: The Fall Of The Constitution And The Rise Of The Shadow Government

A century ago, Ferdinand Lundberg wrote the classic book “America’s 60 Families” describing them, their interconnections and the powerful role they played in American governance.  This was in 1965 when the great sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote “The Power Elite” and then William Domhoff wrote “Who Rules America?” Now, Mike Lofgren has made a significant contribution in describing the workings of the American ruling elite with his book The Deep State: The Fall Of The Constitution And The Rise Of The Shadow Government.

Guest – Mike Lofgren worked in Congress for 28 years, 16 of them as a senior analyst at the House and Senate Budget Committees.  He held a top security clearance. He now represents no political party, no business interest, and no ideology. His previous book The Party Is Over was a New York Times bestseller.

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41s1YjDN5-L Sen. John F. Kennedy, (left), and Allen W. Dulles, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, walks towards newsmen on the lawn of the Democratic presidential candidates in Hyannis Port, MA., home on July 23, 1960. The two men held a news conference after Senator Kennedy was briefed by Dulles on international affairs. (AP Photo/WCC)

The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government

As director of the CIA, from 1952 until Kennedy fired him, Allen Dulles has been said to exemplify unbridled authority at the height of the Cold War. Under his leadership the CIA became a lawless force domestically and internationally that engaged, with impunity, in covert acts such as the assassination of foreign leaders including Patrice Lumubo in the Congo and overthrowing the government led by Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala.

As an attorney for the law firm Sullivan and Cromwell in the 1930s, Dulles protected and promoted Nazi-controlled cartels. He wielded his influence in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II and then in the CIA to shield former Nazis from prosecution for war crimes in the ’40s and ’50s. David Talbot writes in book The Devil’s Chessboard, ” over the final months of the JFK presidency, a clear consensus took shape within the American “deep state” Kennedy was a national security threat. For the good of the country he must be removed and Dulles was the only man with the stature, connections and decisive will to make something of this enormity happen. so he could enlist them to fight communists. In addition to assisting with the assassination of Congo leader Patrice Lumumba, he organized the Bay of Pigs invasion and tried repeatedly to murder Fidel Castro.

Guest – David Talbot, the author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years and the acclaimed national bestseller Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love. He is the founder and former editor in chief of Salon, and was a senior editor at Mother Jones and the features editor at the San Francisco Examiner. He has written for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time, The Guardian, and other major publications. Talbot lives in San Francisco, California.

Law and Disorder February 6, 2017


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National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense In Action

As confusion quickly spread last week over President Trump’s executive order to temporarily block refugees and deny entry to citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries, protesters converged on airports across the nation. Leaders from tech industries in Silicon Valley came out in opposition to the ban as did recipients at the Screen Actors Guild awards ceremony. Politicians and others called it a dark path for our country, unjust and Anti-American. Defense attorneys set up shop in airport waiting areas, as Customs and Border Protection officials detailed legal permanent residents and visa holders, while denying them access to counsel. Attorneys general from 16 states condemned the order. And National Lawyers Guild Legal Observers and defense attorneys were on full alert, rushing to monitor police activity at airports in cities across the United States.

Guest – King Downing, National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Attorney. Previously, King directed the Healing Justice Program of the American Friends Service Committee, where he worked on mass incarceration, including solitary confinement, prisoner advocacy and conflict resolution. He is also the former national coordinator of the ACLU’s Campaign Against Racial Profiling, which worked to identify and end “stop and frisk,” including the school-to-prison pipeline and other police abuse.

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Nobody Wanted to Take Us In: The Story of Jared Kushner’s Family, and Mine

Last week President Trump barred entrance to citizens from the predominantly Muslim countries of Iraq, Iran,Syria,Somalia, Yemen, and Libya,  inspiring outrage and acts of solidarity. The conservative Cato Institute showed in a recent study that there were exactly 0 terrorist acts committed by people from these countries from the years 1975 to 2015. Last year alone, some 700 people died falling out of bed. Open immigration to United States was cut off in 1920 by de facto religious quotas excluding people from eastern and southern Europe, that is, Jews and Catholics. At that time Half of the world’s Jews, some 3 million persons, lived in Poland and millions more in the surrounding areas.  Those who did not escape were soon to perish n facist death camps. Rae Kushner, Jared Kushner’s grandmother, lost half her family when most of the 30,000 Jews in her town in Belarus were killed.  She escaped, hiding for a year in the woods, then she was kept in a displaced persons camp, finally in 1948 being allowed into the USA.

Guest – Lizzy Ratner, senior editor at the Nation Magazine. Her family escaped from Bialystok, Poland and came to Cleveland in 1920 before the quotas could exclude them. She recently wrote an article for the Nation Magazine titled Nobody Wanted to Take Us In: The Story of Jared Kushner’s Family, and Mine examingin  the fate of her family and that of the Kushner’s.  Jared Kushner is Donald Trump’s son-in-law and an advisor.  Lizzy Ratner is Michael Ratner’s niece.

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Law and Disorder January 30, 2017


Attorney Jim Lafferty, Los Angeles Protests

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

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

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Israel And The Palestinian State 2017

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

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

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U.S. Drug Policy 2017

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

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

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

Law and Disorder January 23, 2017


Update:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Law and Disorder January 16, 2017


Update:

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Hacktivist Advocate

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

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

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Attacks On Journalists, Hackers And Information Activists

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

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

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

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