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Archive for the 'Extraordinary Rendition' Category


Law and Disorder April 14, 2014


Updates:

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The Dallas 6: Abuse In Solitary Confinement

In April of 2010, a group of inmates locked in solitary confinement at SCI Dallas prison in Pennsylvania were suffering so much abuse and brutal treatment by prison guards they had placed their bedding over the window of their cell doors to attract attention of the prison administrators. Instead of receiving assistance, the inmates were brought up on riot charges. Last December the inmates known as the Dallas 6 defended themselves and presented testimony describing the details of their abuse in solitary confinement.

Shandre Delaney:

  • This case, the Dallas 6, began in April 2010. These men were all in the RHU at SCI Dallas, in Dallas PA.
  • The RHU is the restrictive housing unit, its an acronym for solitary confinement.
  • All of these men had been victims of abuse and torture during their stay in solitary confinement.
  • The Dallas 6 are Andre Jacobs, Anthony Kelly, Anthony Locke, Dwayne Peters, Derek Stanley and my son Carrington Keys.
  • Most of these guys went into solitary for minor infractions, maybe to stay 60-90 days. My son stayed in there for 10 years, and I think all of the other guys about the same.
  • These guys were jailhouse lawyers. These guys were people who spoke up and sent word to the outside about what was going on in solitary confinement.
  • Once you do that – they call it misconduct, which are write ups, they’ll give you false write ups, and all types of things just to keep you in there longer.
  • The cells are 6X9. In solitary, they might have a window to the outside. There is a bunk that they sleep on. There is only a slot for food to come in and out.
  • You’re supposed to come out of your cell for one hour a day. They may get a shower 2 or 3 times a week.
  • They lied to me for years and told me he wasn’t allowed visits. I later found out that they’re allowed one visit per month.
  • The group that I work for Human Rights Coalition, some of the information that was sent from SCI Dallas, a 93 page report was written called Resistance and Retaliation.
  • They sent a copy back in (to SCI Dallas) they didn’t mark out the guys’ names, so once the guards got a hold of this, and saw the guy’s names, they started one by one beating guys.
  • They took one guy and put him in a restraint chair. You’re only supposed to be in the restraint chair for 2 hours, they kept there over night.
  • They (the guards) told the guys (Dallas 6) we’re comin for you. In order to bring attention from a lieutenant or a superior officer, you have to cover your cell window.
  • They covered their cell windows. The guards put on riot gear and one by one they beat these guys very bad.
  • It’s all on video tape. They tasered a lot of the guys on their genitals.
  • They have you like a hog or something, I saw it on the video.
  • They cut their clothes off and left them for hours in cages.
  • May 5, 2014 is supposed to be the official trial date. The official trial date has been going on for 2 years.
  • I was praying every night hoping the phone didn’t ring and they tell me they killed him.
  • They took out to shower and threw him down the steps and broke his nose, they busted his teeth out with a stick before.
  • They put glass in his food.
  • HRCoalition.org
  • Dallas 6 Blog 
  • Petition to Indict Luzerne County Officials 
  • Summary in Support of Petition to Indict 

Guest – Shandre Delaney, a powerful activist with HRCoalition and the mother of Carrington Keys, one of the Dallas 6.

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Rutgers University Plans to Give Condoleezza Rice Honorary Degree

Students and faculty at Rutgers University have rejected the idea to invite former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at this year’s commencement ceremony and receive an honorary degree. The Board of Governors in February of this year unanimously voted to award Rice the invite for a fee of 35 thousand dollars. They also voted to give the national security adviser under former President George W. Bush an honorary degree. Resolutions signed by the university faculty and staff calls for Rice to be disinvited.

Professor Deepa Kumar:

  • Historically our process at Rutgers University has involved having 20 some faculties, students, involved in the process of selecting the commencement speaker, typically by canvasing students and canvasing faculty and then making a recommendation to the president as to who to invite.
  • When president Barchi came to your university in 2012 he completely violated this open and democratic process, formed a committee of 6 people including himself. Then they decided to go ahead an invite Condoleezza Rice.
  • We believe that this was actually politically motivated. What suspect is that Chris Cristi who was riding high at that time in 2012, before bridge-gate, very likely wanted to have Condoleezza Rice as Vice Presidential candidate when he runs.
  • So far we have taken out a petition drive, the students have their own petition drive, hundreds of people have signed up. We’ve also talked about holding a protest outside should our efforts fail.
  • The last time Dr. Rice was invited to be a commencement speaker was at 2006 at Boston College, when everybody turned their back to her when she started to speak.
  • Condoleezza Rice was very much a part of the systematic lying to the American public and quite frankly we at Rutgers teach our students to ethical to be responsible citizens.
  • At Rutgers we have a 44 percent minority student enrollment. It’s a very diverse school and I welcome African American women as commencement speakers but I think there are better people like Anita Hill or Angela Davis.
  • In 2002 we know from a Senate Committee Intelligence Report of 2009 that when Rice was chair of the National Security Council she gave a verbal approval to then CIA director George Tenet to go ahead and use enhanced interrogation techniques.
  • She’s been quite steadfast in defending the use of torture. She gave a speech at Stanford University where she argued that if torture is authorized by the president then it doesn’t violate the Geneva Convention against torture.
  • Commencement at Rutgers – May 18, 2014.
  • Senator Feinstein called the use of torture a dark chapter in the history of this country.
  • Clearly torture is a violation of international law and the Geneva Convention and I think to confer a Doctor of Law degree to someone who has been intimately connected with this “dark chapter” in our history I think is a serious embarrassment for Rutgers University.
  • I’m really proud to be among the hundreds of faculty members and students who are actually standing up against this to disinvite her.
  • Dick Cheney comes out and defends the torture program even now.
  • If I Was Allowed To Speak

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

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Law and Disorder December 23, 2013


Updates:

  • Judge Leon Rules That NSA Meta Data Collection Is Likely Unconstitutional.
  • Michael Ratner: It Could Be The Deathknell For This Kind Of MetaData Collection
  • Ed Snowden’s Response To Judge Leon’s Decision
  • Ed Snowden’s Open Letter To The People Of Brasil
  • A Christmas Card From Chelsea Manning
  • Guantánamo Five: Military Commissions – Their Torture Memories Are . . Classified.
  • First Commander Lenhardt: Guantánamo Should Never Have Opened
  • American Studies Association Supports Boycott Of Israeli Academic Institutions

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Over Policing of America: The Criminalization of Everyday Life

In his recent article titled Over Policing of America, attorney Chase Madar outlines a familiar narrative such as the militarization of police, stop and frisk, and how students get swept into the school to prison pipeline.  The pattern is clear and who benefits is obvious in the list of over policing examples compiled by our returning guest, such as criminalizing immigration and how simple economic transactions are closely scrutinized by under-cover police.

Attorney Chase Madar:

  • I’m hoping this new term will enter the national lingo; over-policing.
  • What I wrote about is how the police paradigm has entered the DNA of social policy across the board in the United States in matters that a generation ago would not require police or prosecutors or criminal law, now suddenly do.
  • That’s in education, in immigration, in family law, even how we regulate the economy.
  • All of these spheres, domains of everyday life are increasingly regulated by police and prosecutors.
  • A creeping police state. We need to take a very sobering look at how we’re governing ourselves and how criminal law is displacing and devouring all other kinds of social regulation.
  • You see this more and more disciplinary matters in schools get outsourced to police departments.
  • Police people are trained to respond to crimes, and to respond to everything as a crime. That’s the nature of police.
  • When you send police into a school, the crime is going to sky rocket.
  • Even the way we regulate our economy is suffering from an overdose of criminal law and police powers.
  • What we have frequently is white collar work getting criminalized by a mare’s nest of criminal laws that are very complex, very difficult to understand.
  • It’s not like we have a great financial system that was abused by a few bad apples. We have a really crappy system that’s legal because these people write the laws.
  • Immigration law was mostly under the domain of administrative law with milder penalties, civil penalties.
  • We’re kidding ourselves if we pretend that’s somehow aberrational.
  • Although our political class seems incapable of doing anything constructive about it, they are very adept at channeling all fears about security in any sense into criminal law crack downs and ratcheting up the police state.
  • Our incarceration rate is three times higher than the old East Germany.
  • I think we need to switch very swiftly to alternative ways of social policy in holding our society together other than throwing cops and prosecutors at it.

Guest – Attorney Chase Madar , a TomDispatch regular and author of a new book, The Passion of Bradley Manning (OR Books).  Madar tweets @ChMadar. He’s  a contributor to the London Review of Books and Le Monde diplomatique and the author of a new book, The Passion of Bradley Manning (OR Books).

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Law and Disorder July 22, 2013


Updates:

  • Michael Ratner: Bradley Manning’s  Defense Makes Case To Dismiss Aiding The Enemy Charge
  • Freedom of the Press Foundation For Transcripts
  • Update: Judge Upholds Aiding The Enemy Charge in Bradley Manning Trial

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NLG Obtains $1.17M, OPD Reforms for Occupy Oakland Protesters and Journalists

In recent weeks, attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild achieved two significant victories for the rights of protesters faced with police brutality and unlawful repression. The first came when the city of Oakland settled a class action lawsuit for more than 1 million dollars. The second victory occurred in early July when Oakland City Council approved a settlement for 1.17 million in another lawsuit arising from police actions at protests. As part of these settlements, the Oakland Police Department is now legally obligated to follow a crowd control policy. This policy which already existed but lacked enforcement outlines limits on police department officer’s use of force and the ability to make mass arrests in protest situations.

Attorney Rachel Lederman:

  • The first case has to do with the demonstration that had occurred on the day Johannes Mesterly was sentenced for the death of Oscar Grant. That’s the BART officer who shot Oscar Grant in the back as he was restrained facedown on the subway platform.
  • There’s a movie out about the last day in the life of Oscar Grant called Fruitvale Station that I would highly recommend seeing it’s playing all over the country now.
  • The death of Oscar Grant sparked a large number of demonstrations. November 5, 2010 was the date that Mesterly was sentenced and he was given a very minimal sentence of involuntary man slaughter of 2 years, 11 months with time served.
  • There was a demonstration planned for that evening it was actually a very small demonstration. OPD had planned to not allow a march after dark.
  • There was a rally that was permitted in downtown Oakland and then about 200 people started marching in the direction of Fruitvale Bart where the shooting had occurred. As soon as the march started the police began to set up for mass arrest.
  • When a police line would be erected in front of the march people would naturally turn another direction. This went on for a while, where the march was re-routed.
  • Eventually the OPD herded people to a residential area where they didn’t intend to go. The police announced it was a crime scene and began arresting everyone.
  • The Oakland City Police have been under consent decree since January 2003 mandating reform process.
  • We’ve had this crowd control policy in place but basically every single provision of the crowd control policy was violated in the Occupy Oakland incident and the Oscar Grant incident.
  • We brought those cases to try to enforce the crowd control policy. A lot has changed in the last six months.
  • There’s also been a new shake up of command (OCP) there’s a new acting chief.

Guest – Rachel Lederman, a California based National Lawyers Guild attorney who worked on both cases.  Rachel first got involved in police misconduct civil rights cases as a result of her criminal defense work with political demonstrators. In 1989, Dennis Cunningham and Rachel Lederman successfully sued the San Francisco Police to obtain justice for AIDS activists who had been brutalized and unlawfully detained in what became known as the “Castro Sweep”.
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Surveillance Blowback: The Making of the U.S. Surveillance State, 1898-2020

What is the history and context of surveillance in the United States? Last week Scott Horton explained how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court devolved into a panel of judges making decisions in secret that influence federal law. Returning guest Alfred McCoy traces the US surveillance apparatus back to the late 1800s and brings us up to understanding the context of leaked NSA documents by whistle-blower Ed Snowden. In his latest article titled Surveillance Blowback: the Making of the U.S. Surveillance State 1898-2020, Al McCoy,  Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison details the surveillance timeline beginning with the US occupation of the Philipines and makes the connection to US imperialism abroad and apathy at home.

Professor Alfred McCoy:

  • Four years ago I published a book called Policing America’s Empire which started in the Philipines and started the history of US domestic surveillance through what I call surveillance blowback.
  • It’s the trajectory of history that allows you to see this.
  • In the late 19th century America had what I call our first information regime which was really a brilliant synergy of discoveries.
  • Thomas Edison’s quadruplex telegraph, Remington’s typewriter allowed the transmission around the world, across the nation, absolutely accurately at 40 words a minute.
  • The Gamewell Corporation for a half century during the 19th century was the world leader in the development of police telegraph and telephone communication – those police boxes that used to be on the streets of every American city.
  • The Gamewell Corporation had 900 of these boxes in operation and collectively they sent 41 million messages in the year 1900.
  • When we intervened in the Philippines we were suddenly faced with this massive insurgency, this guerrilla underground. We smashed the regular military formations but we couldn’t break the insurgency.
  • The US military in order to pacify that country created the first field intelligence unit in its 100 year history.
  • They appointed an obscure medical doctor Captain Ralph Van Deman to be the head of the division of military information.
  • He decided he would map the entire Filipino political elite.
  • William Howard Taft passed very draconian sedition and libel legislation and created a powerful colonial secret police called the Philipines constabulary. It took about 10 years to accomplish. 1898-1907
  • We had to track down the politicians (Philipines) we had to manipulate them.
  • 10 years after that process, the US joined WWI. April 1917.
  • The United States was the only army on either side of the battlefield that didn’t have an intelligence service with any description.
  • We turn now to Colonel Van Deman who applied his Philippines experience to developing a very elaborate counter-intelligence apparatus inside the United States.
  • Mr and Mrs Van Deman ran a private intelligence service that had Army file clerks and regular FBI liason officers dropping by.
  • And from their home they compiled files on 250 thousand suspected subversives.
  • They divided the world. Basically, North America, Latin America became the purview of the FBI for counter-intelligence the rest of the world became purview of US military intelligence and of course the CIA and then NSA.
  • That division of the word remain in effect until December 2011.
  • 3 million Afghani iris scans and fingerprints are housed in a main frame computer in West Virginia.
  • So, we developed then, this very efficient system of surveillance and digital monitoring overseas.
  • During the war on terror we now know the Bush Administration beginning October 2001 authorized the NSA to start massive capping of all digital communications.
  • In March of this year, it was 97 billion emails that were tapped by the NSA.
  • This began migrating home very very quickly.
  • When Obama came even though he criticized this illegal wiretapping, when he came in, instead of cutting it back like the Republicans did in the 1920s, he decided to build upon it.
  • What he’s building upon it for is to build an architecture for the exercise of global power through a significant edge or advantage for information control and information warfare.
  • Obama wants to cut back on the appropriations for the big behemoths, the heavy tanks, the big ships and he wants to shift us into an agile form of information warfare and global information control.
  • The NSA is spending 1. 6 Billion dollars for the world’s biggest data farm in Bluffdale, Utah.
  • The National Geo-spatial Intelligence Agency has a nearly 2 billion dollar headquarters with 16 thousand employees in DC.
  • The Obama Administration has launched a new generation of light low cost, very agile satellites that can be remotely controlled from the ground, serving ground force commanders.
  • The Obama Administration is also building an armada of 99 Global Hawk drones with 24 hour flight capacity. These are surveillance drones with a 100 mile ambit for sucking audio communications.
  • With the combination of drones sucking up the local two way radio – cell phone communication with the tapping of the fiber optic cables within the US by the NSA, and internationally by the Five Eyes Coalition, Canad Australia, New Zealand and Britain, means that the NSA will have a total global surveillance system for the first time in human history.

Guest – Alfred McCoy, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His recent book, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (2009), draws together these two strands in his research–covert operations and Philippine political history–to explore the role of police, information, and scandal in the shaping both the modern Philippine state and the U.S. internal security apparatus. In 2011, the Association for Asian Studies awarded Policing America’s Empire the George McT. Kahin Prize, describing the work as “a passionate, elegantly written book.” He’s also the author of  “Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation.” Al is also the author of “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror” and “The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade.  The first edition of his book, published in 1972 as The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, sparked controversy, but is now regarded as the “classic work” about Asian drug trafficking.

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Law and Disorder June 3, 2013


Updates:

  • A Phone Call To Save Lynne Stewart’s Life:
  • Attorney General Eric Holder – 1 202 514 2001
  • White House President Obama – 1 202 456 1414
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons – Director Charles Samuels – 1 202 307 3198 ext 3

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Jeremy Hammond, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange: Michael Ratner

Michael Ratner discusses attending Jeremy Hammond guilty plea in open court last month, Bradley Manning’s trial that starts June 3, 2013 at Fort Meade and how a Fox News reporter feels the same chilling effect of free speech by having his investigative work under suspicion as co-conspirator or aiding and abetting.

Jeremy Hammond: “Now that I have pleaded guilty it is a relief to be able to say that I did work with Anonymous to hack Stratfor, among other websites,” according to a statement released by Hammond on Tuesday. “Those others included military and police equipment suppliers, private intelligence and information security firms, and law enforcement agencies. I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right.”

  • Jeremy Hammond pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to access a protected computer.
  • It’s under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
  • Jeremy Hammond was facing 32 years to life. He could be sentenced to up to 10 years.
  • Interestingly, Wikileaks doesn’t appear in what he pleaded to. He or the group uploaded some 5 million emails.
  • One of the emails is about a sealed indictment on my client and CCRs client Julian Assange.
  • Julian Assange: Jeremy is a political activist and whistle-blowing is one of the means he uses for political activism.
  • Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to 20 years in prison already. The key crime they’re trying to get Bradley for is aiding the enemy.
  • The government is sledge hammering any criticism from a military person.
  • Petition for Jeremy Hammond

Law and Disorder Co-host Attorney Michael Ratner,  President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a non-profit human rights litigation organization based in New York City and president of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) based in Berlin. Ratner and CCR are currently the attorneys in the United States for publishers Julian Assange and Wikileaks. He was co-counsel in representing the Guantanamo Bay detainees in the United States Supreme Court, where, in June 2004, the court decided his clients have the right to test the legality of their detentions in court. Ratner is also a past president of the National Lawyers Guild and the author of numerous books and articles, including the books The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book, Against War with Iraq and Guantanamo: What the World Should Know, as well as a textbook on international human rights.

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 Stop and Frisk Lawsuit Closing Arguments

Closing arguments were heard on both sides last week on the Stop and Frisk case known as Floyd v. City of New York. This is a class-action lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policy. The case charges the NYPD with a policy and practice of unreasonable, suspicion-less and racially discriminatory stops in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause barring racial discrimination.

Stop and Frisk has increased over 600 percent in New York City. In 2009 New York City, a record 576,394 people were stopped, 84 percent of whom were Black and Latino residents — although they comprise only about 26 percent and 27 percent of New York City’s total population respectively. Ten years of raw data obtained by court order from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) showed that stop-and-frisks result in a minimal yield of weapons and contraband.

CCR Senior Staff Attorney Darius Charney:

  • The closing was really interesting because the judge asked a lot of questions of both sides.
  • It was more like an oral argument as you would do in an Appeals Court.
  • This was a bench trial, there was a judge but no jury.
  • Because of that the judge herself took the role of asking a lot of questions of witnesses.
  • I think the police departments’ at least public position on this is really a problem created by a bunch of left wing lawyers and the media.
  • In our class action (8 years) there have been over 4.5 million recorded stops by the police department but the actual number of stops are probably higher. About 90 percent of that 4.5 million there is no discovery of criminal activity – 90 percent are released and not given a ticket.
  • The police department claims the focus of this program is to get illegal guns off the street about .13 percent results in the recovery of a gun.
  • You actually find a gun one or two times out of a thousand.
  • Reasonable, articulatable suspicion which the Supreme Court set out about 45 years ago – Terry v Ohio.
  • (NYPD) they were very frank about it and sincere when they said – Look most reported crime is black or latino suspect
  • If you’re talking about individualized suspicion just because someone happens to be the same race as crime suspect doesn’t make them suspicious.
  • The two most common reasons these police officers are checking off on the forms for why they stop people is furtive movements and high crime area.
  • They’ll try to muddy the waters by trying to mischaracterize what it is we’re actually complaining about. How can you criticize us for sending more police officers to high crime neighborhoods.
  • What we’re complaining about is how officers behave there and how they treat the people who live there.
  •  Opening statements: It’s difficult to try to synthesize that much evidence into an hour and a half.
  • This fight really goes back 14-15 years to the late 90s and what happened after the murder of Amadu Diallo.
  • The first lawsuit that they did, the Daniels Case came about because of the work of grassroots organizations.
  • Communities United For Police Reform
  • We anticipate by July we will know what she (the judge) will decide.
  • We learn the lesson if you leave it up to the police department and this mayoral administration to change things on their own, they’re not going to do it because they think what they’re doing is right.

Guest – Attorney Darius Charney,  senior staff attorney in the Racial Justice/Government Misconduct Docket.  He is currently the lead counsel on Floyd v. City of New York, a federal civil rights class action lawsuit challenging the New York Police Department’s unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices, and Vulcan Society Inc. v. the City of New York, a Title VII class action lawsuit on behalf of African-American applicants to the New York City Fire Department which challenges the racially discriminatory hiring practices of the FDNY.

photo by Brendan Smialowski USAFpilot-drone

Doubting Obama’s Resolve To Do Right: Ray McGovern

We continue our discussion on killing people using drone warfare with returning guest Ray McGovern. When President Obama delivered a major speech on counter-terrorism, he announced a shift in his administration’s use of drones. The Obama Administration has conducted hundreds of drone strikes in several countries, killing civilians and so far reported, four US citizens. Critics point out that as the Obama Administration assassinates its’ suspects, it also avoids the legal complications of detention. London based bureau for investigative journalism estimates that about 830 civilians including women and children may have been killed by drone attacks in Pakistan. 138 in Yemen, and 57 in Somalia.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern:

  • It was a masterpiece of oratory and rhetoric, but it was deceptive through and through.
  • Those of us who had been watching this know he lied through his teeth on many occasions.
  • He has the power as we all know to release 86 prisoners (Guantanamo) in the next hour.
  • Why would he do all that? Why would he be afraid to take the drones away from the CIA?
  • Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s afraid. He’s afraid of what happened Martin Luther King Jr.
  • At a small dinner with progressive supporters – after these progressive supporters were banging on Obama before the election . . . Why don’t you do the things we thought you stood for? Obama turned sharply and said Don’t you remember what happened to Martin Luther King Jr.?
  • I’m convinced the President of the United States is afraid of the CIA.
  • Does he have any reason to fear the CIA? Well he sure as heck does. For those of your listeners who have not read James Douglas’ JFK and the Unspeakable, you need to read that, because it’s coming up on 50 years.
  • John Kennedy signed 2 executive orders just a month or so before he was killed. One of them said we’re pulling out a 1000 troops from South Vietnam. The other said we’re pulling out the bulk of the troops by 1965, we’re finished in Vietnam.
  • I think he’s just afraid and he shouldn’t have run for president if he was going to be this much of a wuss.
  • My father was professor of law at Fordham University for about 35 years. My daughter, my brother, their all lawyers. I have this notion that when someone comes in after building a record against torture and kidnapping, and black sites, and they come in and say we think this is bad but nobody should be prosecuted for it. .
  • It’s not a dichotomy here, it’s deliberate duplicity with a rhetorical flourish.

Guest – Raymond L. McGovern retired CIA officer turned political activist. McGovern was a Federal employee under seven U.S. presidents in the past 27 years.  Ray’s opinion pieces have appeared in many leading newspapers here and abroad.  His website writings are posted first on consortiumnews.com, and are usually carried on other websites as well.  He has debated at the Oxford Forum and appeared on Charlie Rose, The Newshour, CNN, and numerous other TV & radio programs and documentaries. Ray has lectured to a wide variety of audiences here and abroad.   Ray studied theology and philosophy (as well as his major, Russian) at Fordham University, from which he holds two degrees.  He also holds a Certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University.

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Law and Disorder March 3, 2010

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by Jim Douglass

Jim Douglass:

  • John F. Kennedy’s experience in WWII:  He was in the South Pacific, he volunteered. He was on that PT boat.
  • What happened on that PT boat, is that it got split into two by a Japanese destroyer. He lost brothers and friends at that time.  An extraordinary experience being adrift on the ocean warning other PT boats. The experience create a distrust in military authority.
  • He said that he wanted to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter to the winds.
  • As Kennedy said to his friends, “they figured me all wrong.”
  • The Unspeakable: the kind of evil and deceit that seems to go beyond the capacity of words to describe. The midst of war and nuclear arms race, the assassinations of Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcom X that the term was used.
  • JFK’s vision is articulated in the address June 10, 1963, arising from the turnaround of the missile crisis and Bay of Pigs.
  • He wanted to move step by step into a disarmed world. Nikita Khrushchev put that speech all over the Soviet Union.  The Cuban Missile Crisis is a deeply misunderstood part of our history, because it’s usually portrayed as Kennedy going to war with Nikita Khrushchev and beating him.
  • The truth was that Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev were in over their heads, the US generals wanted nuclear war, because they had more warheads than the Soviets.
  • Nikita Khrushchev: We now have a common enemy from those pushing us toward war.
  • At that point the Cold War turned upside down because Kennedy and Khruschev became closer to each other than either was toward their own military power system.
  • Vietnam: Kennedy’s military people would not give him an exit policy. He signed the withdrawal order from Vietnam before he was assassinated.
  • His friends said that he had an obsession with death. It was not an obsession but a real assessment that he was going to die. If you try to turn around a national security state that is dominating the world,
  • and you do so as president of the United States, of course you’re going to die. Kennedy knew that.
  • The book is a story on the deliberate destruction of hope, the vision of change, a turning of this country all of which was happening and had to be stopped.  US Agencies killed Dr. Martin Luther King – 1999 Verdict
  • We’re in the same scene right now with Petraeus and McChrystal setting up Obama. They were dictating terms to Obama, unlike Kennedy, he did not face them down.
  • We need to get out ahead of Obama so that he can do something.

Guest – James W. Douglass, author and longtime peace activist.

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Law and Disorder May 27, 2013


Updates:

  • FDNY Lawsuit Update
  • Guatemalan Genocide Verdict Overturned

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We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks -  Michael Ratner

Our own Michael Ratner delivers a critical review of the film documentary “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks” by director Alex Gibney. The annotated transcript, reveals errors, rank speculation and a focus on personality that detracts from the important revelations by Manning and published by WikiLeaks. Bradley Manning’s 12-week trial commences on Monday (3 June) and the film may have been released to take advantage of that date.  Manning may face life in prison and could potentially face the death penalty. Julian Assange remains in the Ecuadorian embassy legitimately fearful that extradition to Sweden is a one way ticket to the US and potential for life in prison.

Attorney Michael Ratner, attorney in the US for Julian Assange and Wikileaks:

  • (The film) does a great disservice to Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.
  • I think it trivializes the incredible courage that both of them had as well as what was revealed by the documents.
  • Julian Assange declined an interview by Alex Gibney and no one currently associated with Wikileaks participated in the film. This may explain in part Gibney’s poor treatment of Julian Assange.
  • What grabs you immediately is the title, “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks.” Wikileaks is a publisher. Yet the title implies that the story of Wikileaks is the story of it stealing secrets.
  • That implication plays into the government’s theory that somehow Wikileaks and Julian Assange are co-conspirators with Bradley Manning in taking secrets. The film does so in other places as well.
  • A second criticism is that part of the film focuses on Bradley Manning’s psychological problems and implies that those are the basis for Manning’s revelation of documents.
  • Gibney has said as much in interviews given after the film: “I think it raises big issues about who whistleblowers are, because they are alienated people who don’t get along with people around them, which motivates them to do what they do.”
  • In fact, Manning gave an incredibly moving political explanation for each leak of documents; an explanation not covered in any detail in the film.
  • Third, Gibney claims Wikileaks is dead. Nothing could be more of fable.
  • Since December 2011 Wikileaks has released the SpyFiles, the Stratfor emails dubbed the GIFiles, the Syria Files and in April 2013 both Cablegate and 1.7 million Kissinger Cables in an easily searchable Plus Public Library of US Diplomacy.
  • Fourth, somehow, Gibney claims there are no charges filed against Julian Assange. How does he know that? It’s a secret Grand Jury, and if there’s an indictment, it’s going to be a sealed indictment because an indictment is not made public when a person is not in custody. In fact, there is significant, irrefutable evidence of an on going investigation and its likely there is a sealed indictment.
  • Gibney diminishes the risk to Julian Assange if he were sent to the United States because he wants to claim that Assange is in the embassy to avoid going to Sweden to answer questions about sexual misconduct allegations. But it does not work. Were Sweden to guarantee Assange would not be sent to US he would go there to answer questions.
  • Assange has also offered to answer those questions in the embassy–Sweden has refused. In the end, the problem is the United States–Gibney, in his effort to demean Assange, needs to play down the huge risk he faces in the US.

Law and Disorder Co-host Attorney Michael Ratner,  President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a non-profit human rights litigation organization based in New York City and president of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) based in Berlin. Ratner and CCR are currently the attorneys in the United States for publishers Julian Assange and Wikileaks. He was co-counsel in representing the Guantanamo Bay detainees in the United States Supreme Court, where, in June 2004, the court decided his clients have the right to test the legality of their detentions in court. Ratner is also a past president of the National Lawyers Guild and the author of numerous books and articles, including the books The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book, Against War with Iraq and Guantanamo: What the World Should Know, as well as a textbook on international human rights.

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Palestinian Prisoners Legal Support: Addameer

On the 17th of April, hundreds of Palestinians filled the streets in the West Bank in protest to mark Palestinian Prisoners Day. Right now there nearly 5000 Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails, 14 of them are women. More than half have been convicted, 33 percent have not been sentenced and 3 percent are being held in administrative detention.  235 of Palestinian prisoners are minors ranging in age from 14 to 18.  As many listeners may know, Palestinian activists are often targeted and detained. In prison, tactics are used such as solitary confinement and forbidding family contact.

Attorney Sahar Francis:

  • Currently there are still 4900 Palestinians inside Israeli prisons. Most of them are adults. There are 236 minors under age 18. 14 women and 14 Parliamentarians.
  • The majority of them I would say were arrested because of political activism and being involved in the peaceful struggle, and resistance especially in the last couple of years against the wall, the checkpoints, the settlements, land confiscation, house demolition all these practices of the occupation.
  • Including Jerusalem residents, they would be arrested inside Israel but they could be subjected to 2 different legal systems. The Israeli legal system or the military system that applies just to the Occupied Territories.
  • Settlers are not subjected to the military court system that is imposed on the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
  • It’s violation of International Law to move them to prisons inside Israel.  This is what Israel was doing since 1995.
  • They moved the prisoners from prisons inside the Occupied Territories to prisons inside Israel and this is a violation for the 4th Geneva Convention Act actually.
  • The number of Palestinian prisoners decreased compared to previous years, 2005, 2006.
  • Since 1967 til today more than 750 thousand Palestinians were arrested. It’s almost hitting every Palestinian house. It’s estimated to be about 40 percent of the Palestinian men population that were at least once incarcerated in their life.
  • In the 7 years of Oslo, Israel kept 1500 political prisoners.
  • Now I can say that the majority of the prisoners would be sentenced for periods less than 10 years.
  • There’s around 430 of them sentenced for life.
  • We still have cases of families where they have 4 sons or 5 sons in the same time in prison.
  • In some cases they (the sons) would be distributed in all prisons, in north, south of Israel and the mother would be traveling all the way trying to visit them.
  • The women prisoners number was much higher we used to have 120 female prisoners.
  • Most of them involved in political activism, mainly supporting their brothers or husbands in their political activism or in stop cases involved in trying to stop soldiers.
  • Addamer was established in 1991 by ex Palestinian political prisoners and lawyers who were aiming to give legal support for free to Palestinian prisoners in military court system.
  • Our focus is on political arrests. We have 8 members in Addamer. We are members of the Israeli Bar Association and members of the Palestinian Bar Association.
  • Most of the cases in military court would end in plea bargain without exhausting the system because neither the system or the lawyers don’t have much trust in the system.
  • You could end up being interrogated in the detention centers inside Israel and they will decide whether to transfer the case for the civil prosecution or the military prosecution.
  • You can have a person 90 days before charging them (military system) Civil system it’s 35 days.
  • Law In These Parts – Film Documentary.
  • Regarding torture and terms such as enhanced interrogation techniques : In our place its called moderate physical pressure.
  • We can’t sue them because the prosecutors claim out of necessity we used the torture.
  • Seeing the photos of Abu-Ghraib with this sack on the detainee’s heads, this was used in the Palestinians case since the early years of the occupation.
  • This is the method that was used to prevent them from breathing, from sleeping, and they were tied to these kindergarten small chairs with the sack on their head, with playing music 24 hours a day. Then after in this position for 2 weeks, the interrogator shake you.
  • We’re promoting Boycott Divest and Sanction.

Guest – Sahar Francis, human rights lawyer and director of the Palestinian NGO Addamer.  (Arabic for conscience) Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution which focuses on human rights issues. Established in 1992 by a group of activists interested in human rights, the center offers support to Palestinian prisoners, advocates the rights of political prisoners, and works to end torture through monitoring, legal procedures and solidarity campaigns.It’s an organization offering legal services to political prisoners under Israeli occupation and represents prisoners in Israeli military and civil courts.

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Law and Disorder April 8, 2013


Updates:

  • Please Sign the Lynne Stewart Compassionate Release Petition
  • Please Also Write to: Charles E Samuels Jr. / Federal Bureau of Prisons /
  • 320 1st Street Northwest / Washington DC 20534
  • Anniversary of Collateral Damage Video Release
  • University Stadium Victory – GeoCorp Prisons

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Guantanamo Hunger Strike Update

Attorney Omar Farah speaks with Michael Ratner about a hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay Prison with more than half of prisoners from Camp 5 and 6f participating. Farah says the hunger strike was triggered by an arbitrary crackdown by the prison administration including cell searches and a search of the prisoner’s Qurans. This is viewed as out right desecration. More than half of the entire prison population has been cleared for release by every prominent national security and law enforcement agency in the US government, that includes the DOD, DHS.

Guest – Omar Farah joined the Center for Constitutional Rights in 2012 as a staff attorney in the Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative. Omar was previously in private practice, working mostly in the area of international commercial arbitration. Since 2008, he has represented several prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay in habeas corpus litigation in federal court.
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Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East

While adviser to the Madrid and Washington Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, author and historian Rashid Khalidi collected documents, memos and meeting minutes as a research foundation for his recently published book Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East. The book focuses on 3 periods of opportunity for the United States to broker peace, one in the late seventies, the early nineties and 2010. This critical analysis addresses the basic distortions in language that has corrupted the peace processes. Rashid Khalidi is an American historian of the Middle East, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, and director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, he joins us today to talk about his book and also the ongoing destabilizing hostility in Syria.

Professor Rashid Khalidi:

  • Let me read to you what Orwell says, “the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. Bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even by people who should and do know better.”
  • The argument I’m making in this book is much of the language used by pundits and politicians about the Middle East and the so called peace process, between the Palestinians and the Israelis is really corrupt language.
  • One of the chapters in the book is devoted to the period when I was an adviser to the Palestinian delegation and negotiations from 1991-1993 starting in Madrid and continuing to Washington.
  • If you go back to Madrid in October 1991, there were under 200 thousand Israelis living in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. Today, there are nearly 600 thousand of them.
  • United States has been responsible for exacerbating the problem in effect by saying the only way to deal with this issue of occupation and settlement is through negotiations mediated by us.
  • The United States in the meantime has put its big thumb on the scale in favor of the Israelis preventing a resolution of the problems.
  • The first episode I talk about in the book has to do with the follow on to Camp David in the wake of the Lebanon War in 1982 when Israel invaded and 50 thousand Palestinians and Lebanese were killed and wounded.
  • I site at great length a now declassified document by a CIA analyst which one of my students actually found.
  • The idea of Palestinian self determination doesn’t exist anywhere in the Oslo Accords signed by the PLO and Israel in 1993 and afterward.
  • Autonomy and self determination are used by people in American political parlance and Israeli political parlance in ways that do violence to the real meanings of these words.
  • Obama fits the pattern of every president since President Carter, with the sole exception of George W. Bush.
  • Obama has adopted wholesale and entire Israeli narrative as to the idea that Israel is the victim.
  • There is a people in existential danger that’s the Palestinians, the people faced with elimination, extermination, not physically but as a collective.
  • Oslo was a terrible deal for the Palestinians. As a result of Palestinian failures since the 90s, a situation has emerged where we have one state and one sovereign body between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

Guest – Professor Rashid Khalidi, is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University. He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1970, and his D.Phil. from Oxford in 1974.  He is editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, and was President of the Middle East Studies Association, and an advisor to the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid and Washington Arab-Israeli peace negotiations from October 1991 until June 1993.
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 Judge Oks Civilians Right to Sue Military For Spying On Peace Activists

In a recent ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lawyer’s challenge to military spying on peace activists can proceed. This ruling is the first time a court allowed civilians to sue the military for violating their First and Fourth Amendment rights. National Lawyers Guild attorney Larry Hildes brought the lawsuit Panagacos v Towery in 2009 on behalf of a group of Washington state antiwar activists who discovered they were infiltrated for 2 years by John Towery, an employee at a fusion center inside a local Army base. The antiwar activists group Port Militarization Resistance sought to oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through civil disobedience. The lawsuit also names, the Army, Navy, Air Force, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies.

Attorney Larry Hildes:

  • Brendan Dunn was activist in Olympia, he was arrested in Seattle basically for sitting while anarchist.
  • The Olympia Police Department cracked down on the Wobblies and the IWW for having newspaper boxes for which they paid for and took all the papers.
  • We got them back, but Brendan got curious about what was going on, did a state public records act request for all emails and all intelligence to the city of Olympia concerning anarchists or the IWW.
  • What he got back instead was hundreds and hundreds of pages of what are called “force protection memos” and “threat assessments” from Ft. Lewis about Port Militarization Resistance, a group that he was involved with that did protest against the use of public ports for shipment of Striker Brigade equipment to the occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • He started looking at them and every police department and every military agency from north of Seattle to Portland was on this list. The FBI was on this list, Homeland Security, every branch of the military.
  • It was detailed discussions of what PMR was planning, what they were going to do, how to fight it. The author of a lot of this was John Towery.
  • PMR looked Towery up on Facebook and there’s a picture on Towery’s FB page of John Jacob who had been coming to PMR meetings for several years. Very closely involved with PMR in fact he ran their list serve on Rise Up.
  • So they did some more checking. They looked up his voter registration, they got an address and the address matched John Jacobs.
  • He was 20 years older than everyone else. I don’t know how but he blended in. He went to events, he brought his kids. He was very very good at what he did.
  • Brendan considered him a close friend. Brendan and another member confronted him at a cafe in Tacoma and he said “yes, I’ve been spying on you. I’m doing it for your own good, there are other spies watching you that mean you much more harm than I do.”
  • We do know that the Army at least one more spy. We caught the Coast Guard spy. There were 2 officers from the Tacoma Police Department’s Homeland Security Committee.
  • The police would show up at unannounced demonstrations. The MP’s, local police and state patrols would already be there and everyone would be arrested as they were getting out of their cars.
  • The Portland Militarization Resistance was a few dozen people. They were very creative, they had figured out a choke point for the military.
  • The equipment would go out 3 weeks before the troops. If they couldn’t get the equipment there. They couldn’t send the troops.
  • If they couldn’t send the equipment and the troops then no war.
  • The succeeded in scaring the heck out of the military by these very peaceful acts of civil disobediance.
  • They can’t arrest them before they get to the demonstration or before they even do anything.
  • They think dissent against their wars is the enemy which scares me a great deal.
  • Where else are they doing this, how much are they doing this?

Guest – Attorney Larry Hildes, an NLG member and one of the attorneys involved in bringing the case Panagacos v Towery.

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Law and Disorder March 18, 2013


Updates:

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The Search for Colonel James Steele: US Special Forces Veterans Links General Petraeus With Torture In Iraq

A 15-month investigation and documentary film by the Guardian and BBC Arabic James Steele: America’s Mystery Man In Iraq has revealed how  US colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played a key role in training and overseeing US-funded special police commandos who ran a network of torture centers in Iraq. Steele and another special forces veteran retired Colonel James Coffman reported directly to General David Petraeus. Petraeus as listeners may know was tasked with organizing Iraqi security services.

Patrick Farrelly:

  • The projections that they made about being welcome in Iraq were just not true.
  • It looked like the insurgency at that point in 2004 was just getting off the ground.
  • This is where they turned to General Petraeus, I know he’s seen in the think tanks in Washington as the scholar warrior.
  • Rumsfeld called upon him to go back into Iraq and to organize a pretty massive police force in Iraq.
  • He hooked up with 2 people there, Colonel James Coffman and Colonel James Steele.
  • Mill Group is essentially a bunch of military advisers who are training the Salvadorian security forces to fight the guerrillas.
  • Colonel James Steele was the guy in charge of the American advisers who were training these people and also directing these forces.
  • Counter-insurgency force went from 400 to 17 thousand.
  • What the United States needs really badly is intelligence, they need to know who the insurgence are and where they can get them.
  • That’s Steele’s expertise, having these guys on the ground, they draw in thousands of people and basically torture them for information.
  • It’s Steele’s job to collate that information so that they can then hand it over to the US military. The US can then go after the insurgence informed for the first time.
  • Part of the Wikileaks discovery, in terms of the war-logs which was released by Bradley Manning to wikileaks, shows this entire pattern of US soldiers coming across these detention centers,
  • - they’re giving consistent reports of seeing torture of seeing abuse.
  • Frontline: The Gangs Of Iraq.
  • It’s a production line. These young men come in, these people were hung up on ceilings, nails pulled out with pliers, it was water boarding.
  • They turned the city library (in Iraq) into a torture center.
  • It became this interrogation and torture mill, that no doubt produced a lot of information.
  • For empire, people like James Steele are very very important.
  • Empires tend to roam into other people’s countries, and you know.
  • Where did the sectarian civil war come from? Who played a part in bringing this about?
  • James Steele, lives in Texas, at one point he was Vice President of Enron.
  • The public is not really aware of what’s being done in the name of US taxpayers in foreign lands.
  • I think its clear that the Sunni community is completely disenfranchised. I think its still in a state of terror.

Guest – Patrick Farelly, a TV, radio and print journalist who has worked in the US and Ireland. Farrelly was producer of Michael Moore’s Emmy award-winning NBC/BBC2 series TV Nation and later Bravo/Channel 4 co-production Awful Truth. He was the founding editor of the New York based weekly newspaper Irish Voice and has also been features editor of the New York Post. He has also worked for HBO, Discovery, PBS and Irish broadcasters RTE and TG4.

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Law and Disorder January 14, 2013


Updates:

  • Guantanamo Bay Prison 11th Anniversary
  • Abu Ghraib Settlement: Defense Contractor Engility Holdings Pays $5M To Iraqi Torture Detainees
  • Stop and Frisk Lawyers Praise Decision Finding NYPD Stops Unconstitutional
  • Bradley Manning Case: Judge Gives 112 Days of Sentence If Convicted
  • Law and Disorder Tip of the Hat: New Yorkers Respond to Hateful Subway Ads & Declare Them War Propaganda
  • In Memory of Adnan Latif, A Cleared Guantanamo Detainee Who Was Found Dead In His Cell

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Obama to Nominate John Brennan, ‘Kill List’ Architect, as New CIA Chief

As many listeners know, President Barack Obama has nominated John Brennan as director of the CIA. Brennan is currently Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. In this capacity Brennan meets with the president daily and is governed the administration’s program of extrajudicial assassinations known as the “kill list.”

In 2011 and 2012, Brennan used his position to “re-organize” the process by which people outside of war zones were put on the list of drone targets.  Basically, this “reorganization” gave the White House the power to secretly determine who would die in the US assassination program overseas.

We welcome back retired CIA officer, Ray McGovern, now a political activist. McGovern was a federal employee under seven U.S. presidents in the past 27 years.  Ray McGovern’s article on Consortium News: The Grilling That Brennan Deserves.

Ray McGovern:

  • After 9-11, the acceptance of things like torture has become even more widespread.
  • I spent a little time in Germany and I know about Gestapo tactics, and it seem to me that enhanced interrogation techniques sounded very familiar, and indeed its right out of the Gestapo lexicon.
  • The immediate post World War II experience was very vivid.
  • Obama is very fastidious in looking over this “kill list.” He’s got his own priest.
  • It did me great good to know there were a handful at least of Fordham students that stood with their back to Brennan and protested vigorously against not being the commencement speaker but awarded the Doctorate of Humane Letters.
  • He openly advocated kidnapping, the euphemism there is extraordinary rendition.
  • There are black prisons all over Europe and Asia where these people were kept and tortured.
  • He was an open advocate of at least the kidnapping and he was there. He was at the right hand of George Tenet so to speak.
  • I have good information that Brennan was among those in the White House basement supervising the demonstration of “enhanced interrogation techniques” that Condeleeza Rice arranged for all the personages there.
  • It’s all a master weaving, webbing of deceit and John Brennan is at the bottom of it.
  • He was a classis example of a failed analyst. Why did he get where he is?
  • He made an important friend George Tenet.
  • Is Brennan suggesting that Muslims are hard wired to want to knock down planes over Detroit.
  • I have very good information in that report that Brennan is the prime mover in all these abuses.
  • It’s not about success, it’s about principle here.
  • I like Dr. King’s motto, there is such a thing is too late. Sometimes you really have to put your body into it.
  • Unless we act, nothing will be achieved.
  • There are 2 CIAs. The one that Truman set up to give him honest answers to what’s going on in the world.
  • To speak without fear or favor, to tell ‘em the truth. That’s the one I worked in. That’s the one I could with career protection knock noses out of joint in the Pentagon and the State Department. I could do that.

Guest – Raymond L. McGovern retired CIA officer turned political activist. McGovern was a Federal employee under seven U.S. presidents in the past 27 years.  Ray’s opinion pieces have appeared in many leading newspapers here and abroad.  His website writings are posted first on consortiumnews.com, and are usually carried on other websites as well.  He has debated at the Oxford Forum and appeared on Charlie Rose, The Newshour, CNN, and numerous other TV & radio programs and documentaries. Ray has lectured to a wide variety of audiences here and abroad.   Ray studied theology and philosophy (as well as his major, Russian) at Fordham University, from which he holds two degrees.  He also holds a Certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University.

A Catholic, Mr. McGovern has been worshipping for over a decade with the ecumenical Church of the Saviour and teaching at its Servant Leadership School.  He was co-director of the school from 1998 to 2004.  Ray came from his native New York to Washington in the early Sixties as an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then served as a CIA analyst from the administration of  John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. Ray’s duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief, which he briefed one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985.

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Law and Disorder December 24, 2012


Updates:

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Political Prisoner Lynne Stewart - December 2012 Update

Criminal defense attorney, political prisoner and good friend, Lynne Stewart continues to inspire  people around her while serving a 10 year sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth Texas.  As many listeners know, Lynne was convicted on charges related to materially aiding terrorism, related to her representation of Omar Abdel Rahman.  Her original 2 year sentence was increased to 10  years after the government pressured the trial judge to reconsider his sentencing decision.

Co-host Michael Smith reads a few paragraphs from a recent letter by Lynne.  Lynne Stewart turned 73 this past October, she’s a breast cancer survivor and has recently come out of surgery.  She says she’s feeling better and ready to take on the next step in her case.

“I am now beginning my fourth (4th) year of imprisonment.  It does not get better and I have to gut check myself regularly to be certain that I am resisting the pervasive institutionalization that takes place.  A certain degree of reclusiveness  with the help of good books, interesting people to correspond with, writing on topics of public interest, seems to work for me.  Of course I still am working with any woman who needs help but I know that my sometimes truth-telling self is not what folks here want to hear.  I do try to give folks whatever comfort I can.  An old timer here, 18 years in, has begun an initiative to mobilize for prison reform by getting people on the outside to sign off on her well written petition to the White House.  She is straight out of the courage and style of the old southern civil rights struggle but has now dedicated herself to this.  The demands are modest. I have placed her petition on this, my website.  Please sign on.”

Guest – Ralph Poynter, activist and Lynne’s partner. Please write to Lynne Stewart: #53504-054 / Federal Medical Center, Carswell / PO Box 27137 / Ft. Worth, TX 76127

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Michael Ratner Speech On Bradley Manning in Washington DC.

We hear a speech by our own Michael Ratner delivered at the Bradley Manning support event.  Michael Ratner, President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who represents WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.  Attorney David Coombs also speaks about the case of his client, Bradley Manning. He is preceded by Emma Cape of the Bradley Manning Support Network.  The event was held at All Souls Church Unitarian in Washington DC, December 2012.

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Law and Disorder October 22, 2012


Updates:

Russell Tribunal on Palestine Findings

We follow up on the findings of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. As many listeners may know, the tribunal was created in response to the international community’s inaction regarding Israel’s recognized violations of international law.  Jury and speakers included Angela Davis, Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappe, Peter Hansen, Diana Buttu, Phyllis Bennis, Katie Gallagher and Russell Means.

Attorney Noura Erakat:

  • Each of the sessions focuses on a different component of the problems that has led to a failure to achieve a solution to what some may describe as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
  • More specifically to achieve Palestinian self-determination and equality with their Jewish-Israeli counterparts.
  • The first tribunal explored the EU complicity. A condition for Israel’s acceptance into the United Nations was its acceptance of returning refugees to their homes per UN Resolution 194.
  • Since the 1967 war they’ve been supported by unequivocal US financial, military and diplomatic support.
  • Corporate complicity:  The corporations that are involved in funding the Israeli military arsenal and its construction arsenal to expand its colonial settlements in the Occupied Territory as well as building a wall deemed illegal by the National Court of Justice.
  • This fourth and final session brought everything back to the U.S.
  • To New York specifically because the U.S. has proven to be the primary obstacle in resolving this conflict.
  • Consider first that Israel has received 115 billion dollars in aid since World War 2. Making it the highest recipient of US foreign aid.
  • In addition to that Israel receives approximately 3 billion dollars a year. It receives money without any review in US law, specifically the Arms Export Control Act which conditions that all US aid to foreign countries must be used to further human rights or in self defense.
  • The US is shielding Israeli responsibility in the UN Security Council
  • The resolution process is stonewalled internationally.
  • One of the things that we’d love to do is remove the veto power from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
  • BDS Movement: 2011 – Dock Workers refused unload Israeli products from a boat.
  • EndtheOccupation.org

Guest – Attorney Noura Erakat, human rights attorney and activist. She is currently a Abraham L. Freedman Teaching Fellow at Temple University, Beasley School of Law and the U.S. based Legal Advocacy Consultant for the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Refugee and Residency Rights. She has taught international human rights law in the Middle East at Georgetown University since Spring 2009. Noura also has helped seed BDS campaigns as a national grassroots organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

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Russell Tribunal on Palestine: Ilan Pappé Speech

The final session of the Tribunal focused on the responsibility of the United States of America and the United Nations regarding the Israeli breaches of international law towards Palestine and Palestinians. There is now a situation in which Israel has achieved a status of immunity and impunity, facilitated by the US, despite its complete disregard for the norms and standards of international law.

Speaker – Ilan Pappé, an Israeli historian and activist. He is currently a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter in the UK, director of the university’s European Centre for Palestine Studies, and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. He is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006), The Modern Middle East (2005), A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples (2003), and Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1988)

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