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Archive for the 'Gaza' Category


Law and Disorder July 28, 2014


Updates:

  • Palestine Center For Human Rights: Current War Statistics On Palestinian Death Toll
  • Two Laws Under Geneva Conventions: First All Attacks Have To Distinguish Between Military Objectives and Civilian Objectives. Second: You Can’t Just Kill Civilians Who Aren’t Participating in A War
  • Michael Smith: Cultural Ethnicide – Keep Expanding Until Israel Takes Over
  • Cultural Genocide Case: Illan Pappe – Ethnic Cleansing Of Palestine
  • Naomi Wolf Walks Out of Synagogue When Nothing Is Said About Gaza
  • Demonstrations Against The Murder and Violence Against Palestinians
  • Michael Ratner Admonishes JFRED Jews For Racial and Economic Justice and Other GroupsTo Step Forward
  • Michael Ratner Pulls Apart NY Times Article: Crises Cascade and Converge, Testing Obama

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Michael Ratner Discusses 3 International Crimes That Can Be Attributed To Israel’s Actions Against Palestinians: Genocide, Apartheid and Crimes Against Humanity.

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • First International Crime: Genocide - There are two elements,  one is the mental element, what you’re thinking, and the mental element is intent to destroy in whole or in part. Then it defines who you want to destroy. A national group which would be the Palestinians. An ethnical group, which has a common cultural heritage, racial or religious group. Second is physical, it includes killing members of the group, serious body or mental harm to members of the group. Inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
  • A key term when I say in whole or in part is important.
  • It says the perpetrators, the Israelis in this case need not intend  to destroy the entire group.
    Destruction of only part of a group, members living in one region is also genocide. They tried to get rid of all the educated people. They tried to get rid of the leaders. It pretty clearly fits the legal definition. So we have the crime of genocide and genocide of course can be prosecuted in the International Court of Justice.
    That can be prosecuted by states who have their own universal jurisdiction.
    If an Israeli general or politician travels to a country that will actually enforce its genocide laws that person can be prosecuted under the Genocide Convention and the laws that flow from it.
  • Second International Crime: Apartheid – It’s defined as inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.
  • Third International Crime: Crimes Against Humanity – It includes any of the following acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population. They include, murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment, enforced disappearance of persons, the crime of apartheid other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.

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 Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder, 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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Western Media Coverage of Israel Gaza Violence

Last week we interviewed Phil Weiss of Mondoweiss and talked about the media’s role in reporting facts and detailing the history around the escalating violence against Palestinians by the Israeli military. Specifically in the discussion, Phil believed that what he considered better media analysis of the Middle East situation and some other factors, might prevent a ground assault against Gaza. Michael Ratner and Michael Smith both disagreed with Phil believing that it wasn’t just about media coverage or a little better media coverage but the question of a ground assault went to a much deeper issue. 3 hours later unfortunately Michael Smith and Michael Ratner were proven correct.

Jim Naureckas:

  • I think the first thing you have to say of this issue is that the loss of human life has been overwhelmingly on one side.
  • I think that needs to be clear in the coverage.
  • What you’re getting is a coverage on the whole attempts to that treats both sides evenly as if the trauma is equally split between the two sides.
  • The latest figure is 161 children killed in Gaza.
  • And to treat the worries of Israelis as important or more important than the death of 161 kids I think is revolting.
  • There was a poll a while back showing that when people heard the word “occupied territories” a lot of people think that the Palestinians are occupying Israeli territory because the media so rarely explain what’s going on.
  • They’re not explaining what the situation is between Gaza and Israel and so you get coverage of the rockets as if they are the main problem.
  • It’s really a cockeyed way of viewing the situation I think.
  • We were talking about the headline that was changed in the New York Times after the beach massacre when Israel bombed kids playing soccer on the beach and killed 4 boys.
  • The original headline was “Four Young Boys Killed Playing On Gaza Beach” which I might note leaves out the active subject of that sentence it doesn’t say who killed them.
  • By the time it made it to print, the headline had been changed to “Boys Drawn To Gaza Beach And Into Center of Mideast Strife.”
  • You see the underlying bias in these examples.
  • Another is 13 Israeli soldiers, 70 others killed. A lot of readers are going to read that and when you say 13 soldiers and 70 others, you’re going to read that as 70 other Israelis who weren’t soldiers were killed.
  • On MSNBC there was a contributor, a Palestinian American, Rula Jebreal, who was discussing this case and the coverage in general of MSNBC, and was critical of the amount of air time given to Israeli officials versus the amount of time given to Palestinians to discuss the conflict.
  • After making these criticisms, within hours, she had her contract canceled by MSNBC.
  • She was actually brought back on not as an MSNBC contributor but as a Palestinian journalist to talk to Chris Hayes, and Chris Hayes defended her firing.
  • In this particular conflict 100 U.S. Senators voted to declare their support for Israel with no mention of the Palestinians who are dying.
  • Michael Smith: 100 to zero. What does that say about democracy?
  • I think its safe to say there’s more dissent in U.S. media than in U.S. government about the attack on Gaza.
  • I think that the rise of social media has effected the coverage.
  • When you’re doing a story about people treating war as a spectator sport and don’t mention that people are dying in the war, you are really treating war as a spectator sport.
  • We’re writing about this daily on our blog FAIR.org. You can also hear us talking about these issues on Counterspin.

Guest – Jim Naurekas Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR’s monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren’t: Rush Limbaugh’s Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the ’90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR’s website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR’s program director.

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Law and Disorder July 21, 2014


Updates:

  • Swedish Judge Denies Assange Lawyers Request To Set Aside 2010 Arrest Warrant On Sexual Misconduct Allegations
  • Torture Memo Author John Yoo Awarded Endowed Faculty Chair At University of California Berkeley School Of Law
  • Michael Ratner: The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld

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Israel’s Continued Disproportionate Use Of Force Against Palestinian Civilians

In a slow escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Army responded earlier this month by launching “Operation Protective Edge” as Israeli jets dropped hundreds of bombs on the impoverished coastal enclave of nearly 2 million Palestinians. At this time, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1400 injured. According to the United Nations, 77 percent of those killed are civilians and yet the massacre sadly continues. The vicious attacks are framed as a mutual conflict or exchange of fire. The reality is that the low quality rockets hitting Israel are not comparable to Israel’s powerful military strikes.

Phil Weiss:

  • In a nutshell I think Israel is trying to destroy the unification agreement between Hamas and Fatah. They don’t want diplomacy they want to end that unification deal.
  • It’s a great danger to Israel that the Palestinians are united, they want them divided.
  • They’ve used any pretext they can in the last month including the horrifying abduction and killing of these Israeli teens on the West Bank. They’ve used any pretext they can to break up, to try to break up that understanding.
  • The goals of a unified Palestinian government are to achieve some type of Palestinian freedom.
  • They would go on to International Criminal Court, International bodies and say hey, this occupation has been going on nearly 50 years . .. are you finally going to give us a state, sovereignty? If we can’t get sovereignty we’ll move to an equal rights struggle. .
  • I think the good thing that they show is there’s no green line. Israel operates with impunity, with complete autonomy all over historic Palestine. Netanyahu has said we’re never giving up the West Bank. It’s sort of an announcement to the world, this is one state.
  • The legal response and the one you demonstrated (Michael Ratner) against Cast Lead was this is Internationa Humanitarian Law and Human Rights law apply here and Israel should be brought up before International bodies for violating those laws.
  • The one form of progress is there’s no ground invasion this time. (this is what he thought at the time)
  • Michael Ratner, you and I have a somewhat different relationship to the mainstream press in that I used to be part of it and now and then I have fantasies of getting back in.
  • With that proviso, I think there has been a little bit of progress in the mainstream so you have on NBC news, you have words opening that report saying these people are trapped, they have no where to go and its a lopsided conflict.  I didn’t hear that around Cast Lead.
  • I’m not trying to defend the mainstream so much to say that I feel that there is some real shift going on.
  • Michael Ratner: Here’s a question about half-full. Do you want me to call the family that lost 17 kids in the same household in Gaza? That’s not half-full. That’s empty.
  • You’re putting me in the position of saying what I’m about to say which is the slaughter of 200 people is different from the slaughter of 500 people.
  • Michael Ratner: We’re still counting Phil.
  • The Jewish American community is highly responsible for this behavior, for this conduct that’s going on there.
  • How useful was that aircraft carrier (Israel) when we were occupying Iraq and we were invading Afghanistan? It wasn’t at all useful to us.
  • I think its a burden (Israel) I think it’s a millstone around our necks because it says the United States stance is slaughtering brown people.
  • You look at J Street, this great liberal Zionist organization. They’re justifying everything Israel is doing now.
  • There’s only a couple of Jewish organizations that stood up and said this is wrong. Jewish Voices For Peace and Jews Say No.
  • I think there’s an implicit understanding around the world now about why these people are firing rockets.
  • One of things you hear in Israel is the existential threat, in that people are delegitimizing us and I think that’s great news.
  • I see more voices talking about this conduct as just beyond the pale. I feel that the world is regarding this as a central human rights issue.

Guest – Philip Weiss,  founder of Mondoweiss, longtime journalist and regular contributor to the Nation and a fellow at the Nation Institute.  Philip is the author of two books a political novel, Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, and American Taboo, an investigative account of a 1976 murder in the Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Tonga.  Weiss is one of the editors of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.

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Andrew Kadi:

  • I don’t necessarily know that Israel has any real goals that will benefit Israeli society other than possibly the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza, forcing them to move out.
  • They’re leaving Gazans in deplorable conditions. They have unilaterally absolved themselves of their legal obligation under International law to the population in Gaza and have instead declared something that I think nobody else recognizes that Gaza is somehow a hostile territory or an enemy territory.
  • It’s counter-productive if your belief that the goal or the end goal for the Israeli government is peace.
  • The majority of these rocket attacks are pretty small projectiles as anyone who has seen them knows has no chance of actually injuring anyone or causing damage. Some of them are as small as a Coke can.
  • Hamas has deployed larger rockets in last 4 years that can fire through a building. ‘
  • By and large these attacks are being carried out by other groups round the clock. The ones that Israel is referring to are usually other groups that have nothing to do with Hamas.
  • I would say the rocket attacks are a cry for help from Gaza.
  • In the end, Gazans are isolated, there’s a siege, a blockade that Israel’s carrying out. I think that Gazans don’t want to be subject to it anymore.
  • They want to be able to live like any other population.
  • The American Foreign Services committee published a list of American companies directly involved and complicit in the attacks on Gaza.
  • Those companies include Boeing, Hewlitt Packard, Elbit Systems, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, General Electric, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon.
  • In 2005, Palestinian civil society called for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with the 3 tenets of International law.
  • The end of the occupation, equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel and the right of refugees to return to their homes.
  • Other companies that folks can boycott, Sodastream, Ahava cosmetics, Strauss Group, Osem – Tribe Hummus, Sibeon Company.

Guest - Andrew Kadi, a human rights activist and digital media specialist currently serving on the Steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. He’s contributed to the Guardian’s Comment is Free, The Electronic Intifada, Mondoweiss, Left Turn and other publications.

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Law and Disorder June 30, 2014


Updates

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Michael Ratner Marks CCR Case Rasul v Bush: Courage To Stand Up At The Right Time

In early 2002, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed two habeas petitions, Rasul v. Bush and Habib v. Bush. This  challenged the U.S. government’s practice of holding foreign nationals captured in connection with its war on Afghanistan and al-Qaeda in indefinite detention. This is without counsel and without the right to a trial or to know the charges against them.  Michael Ratner then explains the timeline of how the Supreme Court, over the administration’s objections, agreed in November 2003 to hear the cases of the Guantanamo detainees, and also the case of al Odah v. Bush.  This week’s anniversary marks the historic ruling on June 28th, 2004 that detainees have access to U.S. Courts to challenge their detention.

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • We won that in June 28, 2004. We won it in a 6-3 decision. The Center for Constitutional Rights was the only human rights organization on the case. The only one willing to take that case.
  • Many of my colleagues, not me, thought that would be the end of Guantanamo (Bay Prison)
  • There are still 149 people left in Guantanamo, over half of them have been cleared for release. The reason I want to mark this is because it talks about a struggle that in some ways was successful and in some ways not successful.
  • It also talks about the courage of these lawyers that started these cases in the thick of the most anger in the country and . . . fears that we would lose our fund raising.
  • We thought at that time, as I said some of our friends, said that we would close Guantanamo. But since that time there’s been incredible stubborn resistance by all 3 branches of government.
  • Bush first, then Obama, despite promises has failed to live up to them, promises to close Guantanamo. The courts are therefore useless now in this.
  • Congress is going retrograde at a speed unimaginable, trying to ban every transfer for the rest of our days from Guantanamo.
  • Within 2 months of the 911 attacks, President Bush issued Military Order Number 1. It’s November 13, 2001 Military Order, I thought a coup de tat happened in the country. It said the president had the authority to pick anyone, anywhere in the world. Hold them indefinitely, incommunicado and abolish habeas corpus.
  • We tried to get other human rights organizations to do it. No one else to their shame would come aboard with the Center for Constitutional Rights.
  • The Center for Constitutional Rights could’ve gone under for this. Let me be clear. It was a much smaller institution. It didn’t have that much funding. There was a high risk that we were going to get cut off completely.
  • January 11, 2002, they take the people, the first plane load to Guantanamo.
  • We never expected the Supreme Court to take the case in 2003. When it finally did, it accepted the case. It was argued in April 2004. It was decided in our favor on June 28.
  • We then put out a call for other lawyers to join us. Over a hundred lawyers joined us immediately. 600 within a year or two. We then created what I call a mass movement of lawyers to fight this.
  • As a result of the 2004 ruling, our first attorney went down (to Guantanamo) Gita Gutierrez. The big thing that Gita’s visit represented is that we found out about torture at Guantanamo.
  • You begin to understand when a government does incommunicado detention in an offshore facility that doesn’t have any court review, there’s a reason, and the reason is almost entirely torture.
  • There’s been no prosecution. Obama has given them all a huge pass unfortunately. It’s really damaging because what it has done for torture is its saying, torture isn’t necessarily illegal, Obama claims it’s illegal but he didn’t prosecute anybody.
  • So, next time we have another “scare” like this people will say it’s a political issue, we can torture, it works, etc.

Guest - 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 Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder, 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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Israel Increases Rate of Palestinian Home and Structure Demolition

In the past few months, the Israeli government has stepped up its campaign of Palestinian home demolitions, specifically in the E1 area between Jerusalem and the Maale Adumim settlement. United Nations reports show 231 Palestinians had been displaced from their homes in early 2014. This is at a much quicker pace than 2013. Remember the demolishing of homes include livestock pens, fences, water reservoirs, schools, all vital to the livelihood and communal life of Palestinians. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions estimates since 1967, nearly 29 thousand Palestinian homes and livelihood structures were demolished in the Occupied Territories. However, at the same time the Israeli government has announced the construction of thousands of homes and buildings in the settlements of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Dr. Jeff Halper:

  • This is an area called E1, that’s the planner’s jargon.
  • The significance of E1 is that it closes the last north south corridor the Palestinians have from the north of west bank to the south since they can’t come through Jerusalem.
  • Even the United States say if Israel build in E1 and closes that corridor that’s the end of the two state solution.
  • This guy Irwin Moskowitz who is a big casino out in California gives millions to the settlements. He bought for the Israeli government a 10 million dollar state of the art police station. It’s the main police headquarters for all the West Bank that is in the E1.
  • There’s a whole infrastructure of roads leading to Jerusalem, but Israel has still refrained from actually building. The plan is to build 3,500 housing units that absolutely, thickly closes that corridor to Palestinians.
  • The 2 state solution is gone but this (building of E1 area) would be an absolute measure of the ending of the 2 state solution.
  • We’re trying to mobilize international civil society against the occupation. The occupation is not going to end because the Israeli public rise up and end it.
  • They’re living the good life, they’re profiting from the occupation especially from the point of view of testing and developing and selling weapons systems tested on Palestinians.
  • And the governments of the world aren’t doing their job. Governments manage conflicts, they don’t resolve conflicts.
  • So I’m here in the United States to try to speak to activist groups, church groups because the churches here have a very strong moral voice.
  • We’re dependent on the Palestinians for leadership on where to go next. Not  being Palestinians, we can’t tell them what the solution is.
  • I think its urgent we formulate a one state solution. A one democratic bi-national state.
  • I think there has to be a bi-national component in which both peoples have a sense of self expression and limited self determination within the common country.
  • You have to create structures of sharing power.
  • I think the Palestinians would have the ability to achieve a fair amount of parity with Israel within a short amount of time if we create this consociational type of state.
  • Israel is beginning to be more and more of an albatross around the American’s neck.
  • Operation My Brother’s Keeper had nothing to do with these kids who disappeared. It was a stand alone operation that used the disappearance as a trigger for being launched. The whole idea was to crack down on Hamas, to weaken the PA to keep it dependent on Israel.
  • I think what’s happening is we’re in the midst of collapse.
  • Jeff@ICAHD.org

Guest – Dr. Jeff Halper, co-founder and Director of ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He was born in 1946 in Minnesota and emigrated to Israel in 1973. Since then he has been a tireless advocate for justice and civil rights for all Israelis and Palestinians. He spent ten years as a community worker in Jerusalem aiding low-income Mizrahi families. He co-founded ICAHD in 1997 to help resist Israel’s strategy of house demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He is the author of three books, ‘Between Redemption and Revival: The Jewish Yishuv in Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century’, ‘An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Possession, Redeeming Israel’, and ‘Obstacles to Peace: A reframing of the Palestinian – Israeli Conflict’. In 2006 Dr. Halper was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, citing ICAHD’s work “to liberate both the Palestinian and the Israeli people from the yoke of structural violence” and “to build equality between their people by recognizing and celebrating their common humanity.”
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Law and Disorder June 2, 2014


Updates:

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Remembering Dr. Vincent Harding

Last month pioneering historian, theologian and civil rights activist Dr. Vincent Harding had died at the age of 82.  Harding was a close adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and wrote King’s famous antiwar speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence.” King delivered the address at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967.

After King was assassinated, Harding became the first director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center and of the Institute of the Black World.  He later became  Professor of Religion and Social Transformation at Iliff School of Theology in Denver.  After serving in the Army for several years Harding became a pacifist and later served as co-chairperson of the social unity group the Veterans of Hope Project.  He’s the author numerous books including There Is A River and Wade in the Water: The Wisdom of the Spirituals.

Dr. George Tinker:

  • Vincent was sometimes called by black activists across the continent, the gentle giant.
  • Giant, not because of his physical size but because of intellectual stature.
  • Last summer we did a conference together speaking to a national conference of Quakers.
  • He was an incredibly soft-spoken and gentle person, yet could be so absolutely incisive in his quiet comments.
  • He was so persuasive that everyone had to pay attention to him.
  • On campus he was either in the midst of a student group trying to quietly cajole them into activism themselves or once the students became activists, he was one of the few faculty that was right there with students walking them through that activism.
  • Every thing in that speech (Beyond Vietnam) is a part of what Vincent lived every day.
  • He was in the Army during the Korean War and became a convert to Gandhi and non-violence theory.
  • His participation to bringing me to Iliff was a clear signal that he was one of those civil rights warriors who was not satisfied with interpreting the civil rights struggle as a black and white issue.
  • When we engaged in protest on the streets of Denver, beginning around 1989, getting ready for the 1992  Columbian Quinscentenary, we had Iliff students who would come out with the American Indian Movement of Colorado to help us protest what we always framed as state supported hate speech.
  • We were never against Italians celebrating their heritage but its the fact that Columbus Day is a federal holiday. It’s a federal celebration then, of the genocide of Indian people.
  • About a year and a half ago he joined Jewish activists and African American activists on a trip to Palestine, the West Bank. He came back deeply affected.
  • He immediately began to see the deep deep connection between the Palestinian struggle for freedom and American Indians on this continent.
  • We’re seeing it still today, US foreign policy is characterized by violence and the threat of violence and if not military violence, economic violence.
  • Vincent and Dr. King were men of conscience who once they understood the truth in Vietnam could not help but speak to it.
  • 18 year old kids don’t have the clear reading of history to fall back on their decision making. (military)
  • His passing is a passing of an era marked by the passing of Maya Angelou. It deeply deeply saddened me because I was hoping this next month to have lunch with him.

Guest – Dr. George Tinker, a colleague of Dr. Vincent Harding at the IIliff School of Theology.  Dr. Tinker. He teaches courses in American Indian cultures, history, and religious traditions; cross-cultural and Third-World theologies; and justice and peace studies and is a frequent speaker on these topics both in the U.S. and internationally. teaches courses in American Indian cultures, history, and religious traditions; cross-cultural and Third-World theologies; and justice and peace studies and is a frequent speaker on these topics both in the U.S. and internationally. His publications include American Indian Liberation: A Theology of Sovereignty (2008); Spirit and Resistance: Political Theology and American Indian Liberation (2004); and Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Genocide (1993). He co-authored A Native American Theology (2001); and he is co-editor of Native Voices: American Indian Identity and Resistance (2003), and Fortress Press’ Peoples’ Bible (2008).

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Please help support Law and Disorder, the show is now a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Law and Disorder must be made payable to Fractured Atlas only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

 

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Law and Disorder February 10, 2014


 Updates:

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Goliath: Life and Loathing In Greater Israel: Max Blumenthal

Operation Cast Lead in 2008, is a starting point in the book Goliath: Life and Loathing In Greater Israel where award winning journalist and author Max Blumenthal shows the reader how a right wing government in Israel rose to power.  His book takes hard look at Israeli authoritarian politics through a cross section of interviews from the homes of Palestinian activists to the political leaders behind the organized assault against civil liberties.  Max gives readers a rare look into Israeli society that many will not write about.

Max Blumenthal:

  • The first title was Master Race Democracy.
  • Of course Israel is always portrayed in our media as this plucky little David surrounded by the Arab Goliath. Of course our reality is 180 degrees different.
  • Matzpen warned that this would happen, they took a full page ad in Harretz saying we will become a police state and a nation of murderers.
  • That’s where I come in to show that all of their darkest prophecies have been fulfilled and realized.
  • I take you through Israeli society and through the key institutions of Israeli life to show how its playing out.
  • From my time in Jerusalem where an anti miscegenation movement is burgeoning in the streets of Israel, leading mob attacks on young Palestinian men who are accused of making passes at Jewish women to the convention at the Jerusalem Ramada where key state Rabbis sit on a panel before right-wing settlers, including settler vigilantes leaders of the anti miscegenation movement defend a book, a guide on how and when its permissible to kill non-jews. A guide to genocide which is being distributed in Israeli Army units.
  • Avigdor Lieberman is the man that basically promised to transfer 100s of thousands of Palestinians. He’s a rising force in Israeli society. It’s the youth whose hearts and minds they command.
  • I take you into the Knesset to meet the younger legislators and the rising stars in Lieberman’s party and Netanhayu’s party who are far to the right of Netanyahu. Netanyahu really just commands the hollow center of Israeli politics.
  • Rotem was great because he and other hard core right wingers have this whole philosophy of being dugri or straight. There was nothing I could say to shake him. He looks at me coming in at just another pathetic Jewish liberal who doesn’t really get what it takes to prevent a second holocaust and that’s what he said his goal was.
  • It’s completely different from talking to a Republican in the United States who has to pander to some kind of civil rights sensibility.
  • That’s another thing reviewers missed about my book is that I analyzed these key votes on major anti-democratic laws going back to 2009. Laws like the Nakba Law which basically criminalized observance of Palestine dispossession in 2008. Laws like the Acceptance to Community Law which legitimizes racial and religious discrimination for communities of under 500.
  • These are laws that strip off the veneer of democracy and expose apartheid for what it is.
  • It’s the right-wing that has captured the heart of Israeli society because they have the dynamism, they’re driving the agenda forward. (using a simple mantra – “finish 48″)
  • In 1948 and actually starting in 1947, 750 thousand Palestinian Arabs were expelled to allow the creation of a Jewish state with a Jewish demographic majority, but many stayed behind. 20 percent of the state of Israel is non-Jewish Palestinian.
  • They view Palestinian citizens of Israel increasingly as a fifth column, as a trojan horse for the Arab world, for Arab nationalism and Islamism.
  • In order to become a citizen of Israel you have swear loyalty to the Jewish state and that applies to Palestinians in east Jerusalem.
  • You will meet the people who are trying to push back inside Jewish-Israeli society on the pages of my book because they were my roommates, my friends. They took me to the flashpoints of ethnic cleansing and conflict.
  • I would number 700 or less active left wingers who are actively leveling their bodies against the occupation and apartheid.
  • The writings on the wall for these activists that there is very little room for them left in Israeli society.
  • What they’ve (leftists in Israel) done is call to the outside. They’re calling to us. They organized around the boycott from within committee and they’re signing letters asking performers not to come to Israel. They’re signing letters calling on Americans to boycott their country.
  • That is really where the activism of the radical left wing Israelis is going.
  • The Jewish National Fund is supposed to operate within the Green Line only and is probably the leading Jewish non-profit in the world. It receives the most donations from diaspora Jews in the world.
  • Steven Harper the Prime Minister of Canada recently spoke at one of their banquets. They’ve paid Bill Clinton hundreds of thousands to speak at their banquets.
  • They are also the premier organization linked to the Israeli government involved in ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
  • It’s something we talk about a lot. How Zionism is trying to capture Judaism and change what it means to be a Jew and declare us to be who are not only not Zionists but object to this redefinition of Judaism and cast us out and declare us to be anathema.
  • You can see it in my video Feeling the Hate where I go to the heart of Jerusalem and meet American Jews from around the country and they line up around my camera the night before Barack Obama’s historic address in Cairo.
  • Zionism is attracting those who are magnetized by the kind of bellicose identity that it requires and is repelling anyone who has any liberal sensibility or at least throwing them into a moral crisis.
  • I showed up as # 9 on Simon Weisenthal Center’s list of anti-Israel, anti-semites and they called me an anti-semitic Jew, not even a self-hating Jew but a Jew who hates Jews.
  • I was tied with Alice Walker by the way.
  • They literally count the calorie of each Gaza resident with complex mathematical formulas.
  • Barack Obama has never challenged the idea of holding 1.8 million under siege because they possess the wrong ethnicity.
  • When a situation like this is taking place and expanding as Jeff Halper from the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions says into a “global Gaza” where the techniques that have been used to control people in the Gaza Strip are literally being exported because Israel is the only country that has the ability to basically lab test such a regime of domination.
  • That’s very appealing to people in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, to private prison companies like CCA.
  • Twitter – @maxblumenthal

Guest – Max Blumenthal,  an award-winning journalist and bestselling author whose articles and video documentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Guardian, The Independent Film Channel, The Huffington Post, Salon, Al Jazeera English and many other publications. He is a former Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow for The Nation Institute. His book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party, is a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller.

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Law and Disorder February 11, 2013


Updates:

wiretap_033 nsautah2

Senate Votes To Extend Warrantless Wiretaps For Five More Years: No Oversight, No Transparency

Days before 2012 drew to a close, the U.S. Senate voted 73-23 to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 for five more years. This is the unconstitutional spying bill that violates the Fourth Amendment and gives vast unmonitored authority to the National Security Agency to conduct dragnet surveillance of American’s’ international emails and phone calls.

Michelle Richardson:

  • The Senate took up the FISA Reauthorization Bill right at the end of the year and they did consider a handful of very moderate amendments that wouldn’t have actually interfered with the collection of information but would make it more transparent to Congress.
  • In an open and free democracy there should be no secret law.
  • The original FISA was much more targeted. It required a more traditional probable cause, finding an individualized warrant before you could go up and tap a phone.
  • After 911 Congress started systematically lowering the standard for obtaining this information.
  • They made it easier so you could go around the court, and do it administratively.
  • They lowered the standard so there’s no longer a probable cause. The FISA Amendment Act is probably the biggest change in the last decade.
  • You no longer have to name who you’re going to tap, the phone number or stated facility.
  • Instead we’re going to do these programmatic orders so the court is no longer involved in deciding who will be tapped.
  • I’m not going to tap a specific American, but I want information about Yemen.
  • Theoretically this isn’t turned into the United States at any specific person. We think its being used for bulk collection.
  • The way the internet works now, sometimes your communication will travel around the world before landing next door.
  • A lot of times the equipment is intentionally built so the government can tap directly into the system.
  • FISA – Foreign intelligence which includes the undefined national defense of the United States.
  • I think there is reason to believe this is a self correcting situation and that people will start looking at this technology and understand more about what’s out there.

Guest – Michelle Richardson is a Legislative Counsel with the ACLU Washington Legislative Office where she focuses on national security and government transparency issues such as the Patriot Act, FISA, cybersecurity, state secrets and the Freedom of Information Act. Before coming to the ACLU in 2006, Richardson served as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee where she specialized in national security, civil rights and constitutional issues for Democratic Ranking Member John Conyers.

BDS- bds2

Boycott Divestment Sanction Controversy At Brooklyn College

Last month, a backlash of controversy erupted after the announcement of a student group at CUNY’s Brooklyn College, Students for Justice in Palestine will host two speakers who will discuss their views on the BDS movement. The BDS movement as many listeners may know calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel in protest of the government’s oppressive policies toward the Palestinian people. The speakers are Palestinian BDS advocate Omar Barghouti and University of California Berkeley philosopher and BDS supporter Judith Butler. The event was  co-sponsored by numerous student and community groups, as well as Brooklyn College’s political science department.

The backlash included a threat by New York City Council members and Congressman Jerry Nadler to defund Brooklyn College and opinion pieces by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz who called the event a “propaganda hate orgy,” another daily newspaper labeled it “Israel-bashing.

Omar Barghouti:

  • Specifically the BDS call said that Israel and institutions and corporations that are complicit in Israel’s violations of International Law should be boycotted, divested from and eventually sanctioned in order to achieve the 3 basic rights of the Palestinian people under International Law.
  • Ending the occupation of 1967, which include the illegal colonies, the wall, ending the system of discrimination within Israel itself which meets the UN definition of apartheid, the third is the right of return for refugees which is their basic inalienable right under international law.
  • In order to achieve these 3 basic rights, we absolutely need international solidarity as was done in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, we can’t do it alone.
  • Your tax money is funding Israel occupation and apartheid. You have an obligation to question where your money is going to and how its being used to oppress us.
  • I think that the New York Times editorial supported having a debate at Brooklyn College says it all. We could have never imagined such a thing, a year ago.
  • The government of South Africa’s ruling party the ANC endorsed BDS this last December.
  • Many Jewish groups have joined BDS campaigns and are leading BDS campaigns.
  • Bullying is one thing and response from critics is another. We’re very open to debate but no one would debate us.
  • They’re running scared of debate.
  • Not every event, every talk has to be balanced.
  • The balance is overall. Those accusing this panel of being imbalanced themselves like Dershowitz, always speak solo, unopposed, espousing the most extreme ideas like torture, a war crime.
  • They’re twisting the very definition of academic freedom.
  • Human rights are difficult. If you have a master slave relationship and the slave insists on freedom and nothing less than freedom that upsets the order.
  • Did equality in Alabama delegitamize whites? It delegitamized apartheid in the South.
  • We’re delegitamizing the Israel’s occupation, apartheid and denial of Palestinian rights. We’re insisting on our rights. We’re not delegitamizing any people.
  • We’re delegitamizing an order that’s illegal by definition. Apartheid is illegal. Occupation is illegal. Building colonies on occupied territories is illegal. Ethnic cleansing is illegal.
  • It’s not a blanket boycott against every company that’s complicit because that wouldn’t work.
  • BDS is about context sensitivity, graduality and sustainability.
  • You’ve got to address the most sinister companies as it were. The most seriously involved in human rights violations and move toward others, to teach others a lesson.
  • There’s a big campaign against soda stream led by an Interfaith coalition because Soda Stream is manufactured in an illegal settlement in the occupied territories.
  • We need coresistance, not coexistance until we end oppression.
  • www.BDSMovement.net  / www.PACBI.org 
  • www.WhoProfits.org
  • Dissent and any argument against Israeli policies is almost becoming illegitimate in this country. It’s a new McCarthyism that the Israeli lobby is leading.

Guest – Omar Barghouti, the founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Listen to Law and Disorder May 2011 Show with Guest Omar Barghouti

 

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Law and Disorder December 10, 2012


Updates:

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Facing The U.S. Prison Problem 2.3 Million Strong

As many listeners may know the United States has incarcerated more people than any other country in the world, and also within the history of humanity. The newly published book titled Facing The U.S. Prison Problem 2.3 Million Strong by Shawn Griffith gives the reader a rare perspective from an ex convict who served a 20 year sentence in some of the harshest conditions. These include being confined to a small cement cell in the late Florida summer without sheets, laying in pools of sweat on a plastic covered mattress. Vindictive prison guards and case workers in the criminal justice system had made life nearly unbearable for Shawn Griffith.  His book hopes to inspire movement building among the families of prisoners to develop a non-profit corporation called the Prisoner Family Union.

Shawn Griffith:

  • As a youngster, it was a very difficult childhood.
  • My parents were very religious, there was a lot of alcohol abuse.
  • Early on I went on a truth seeking thing. I also became very rebellious at a young age.
  • At 16, I met these people who were crack cocaine addicts. They were the only place I could find to stay off the street. They introduced me to the drug, which I had no knowledge of, how addictive it was.
  • Then they told me I had to help them support their habit. They started training me, taking me to homes showing me how to burglarize them, steal cars, a number of things to support our habits.
  • When I committed an armed robbery for 100.00 ended up with a 24 year sentenced in which I did 20 years.
  • I knew that I had some emotional problems, I started studying psychology for about 4 years. By the age of 23, I attempted to escape initially.
  • In Chapter 1, where I explain in detail, some of the sentencing laws that were passed in Florida, those same laws that were passed show decreases in crime rate before the laws were instituted.
  • Inmates and their families are by majority below the poverty line. They don’t have a lot of resources to fight back.
  • These large groups that influence the correctional system, they are unionized.
  • Speakoutpublishing.com

Guest – Shawn Griffith, founder of Speak Out Publishing and  has been an institutional teacher of adult basic education for the past sixteen years. He has received many teaching and writing awards from professors and others with whom he has worked, as recently as 2011.  He is author of the recently published book Facing The U.S. Prison Problem 2.3 Million Strong

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Professor Francis Boyle: Palestine Observer Status

Now that Palestine has been voted in as a new non member state status within the United Nations,  Palestinian leaders can join the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court and challenge Israel’s violations of international law. We talk with Professor Francis Boyle, the leading expert in international about his role as a Palestine observer. In his book Palestine, Palestinians and International Law, Professor Boyle outlines 6 critical points, among them are:

1. “Palestine can join the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court and file a Complaint with the ICC against the illegal settlements and settlers, who are committing war crimes;

2. “Palestine can join the Statute for the International Court of Justice, sue Israel at the World Court, and break the illegal siege of Gaza;

3. “Palestine can join the Law of the Sea Convention and get its fair share of the enormous gas fields lying off the coast of Gaza, thus becoming economically self-sufficient;

4. “Palestine can become a High Contracting Party to the Four Geneva Conventions [this deals with the laws of war];

5. “Palestine can join the International Civil Aviation Organization and gain sovereign, legal control over its own airspace;

6. “Palestine can join the International Telecommunications Union and gain sovereign legal control over its own airwaves, phone lines, bandwidths.”

Professor Boyle is the author of many books including Palestine, Palestinians and International Law, The Palestinian Right of Return Under International Law, and United Ireland, Human Rights and International Law.

Professor Francis Boyle:

  • The negotiations between Israelis and the Palestinians broke off because Israel continued to build settlements. The Palestinians took the position that well, we’re negotiating over a pizza while you eat it.
  • I went back with them with a proposal longstanding with President Arafat, that we apply for membership in the United Nations organization.
  • That was approved by the PLO executive committee. The Obama Administration bottled the application up in the UN Security Council.
  • The mainstream news media has it wrong, Obama can exercise over their admission if they want to, but under the Uniting For Peace Procedure, they can turn it over to the General Assembly where Palestine can be admitted as a full fledged state by a 2/3 vote.
  • They took an intermediate step last Spring, the PLO executive committee that serves as the provisional government for the state of Palestine created by the 1988 Declaration of Independence, voted to apply for UN observer status.
  • Look at what Switzerland did from the founding of the United Nations to about 10 years ago as a UN observer state. Palestine can now if it wishes join pretty much every international organization in the world and treaties.
  • They can simply use the Swiss model, join the International Criminal Court, join the International Court of Justice, join the Law of the Sea convention, join the International Civic Aviation Convention.
  • We already filed a complaint with the ICC after Operation Cast Lead.
  • If you follow the Israeli press they’re deathly afraid of prosecution by the ICC.
  • The step we saw last week, took two years in the making. The Palestinians had to go all over the world to line up that support.
  • It’s been my advice, we go after the settlements now – what they do is up to them (PLO)
  • The second legal step is to sue Israel at the International Court of Justice at the Hague. The so called World Court of the United Nations system.
  • I’ve offered to do that work for them and try to break that genocidal siege of Gaza.
  • You or I aren’t going to decide this.
  • We have to stand back and support the Palestinians and let them decide what they’re going to do.

Guest – Professor Francis Boyle, leading American expert in international law. He was responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the American implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. He served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International (1988-1992), and represented Bosnia-Herzegovina at the World Court. He served as legal adviser to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East peace negotiations from 1991 to 1993.

In 2007, he delivered the Bertrand Russell Peace Lectures. Professor Boyle teaches international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign and is author of, inter alia, The Future of International Law and American Foreign Policy, Foundations of World Order, The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, Palestine, Palestinians and International Law, Destroying World Order, Biowarfare and Terrorism, Tackling America’s Toughest Problems, and The Tamil Genocide by Sri Lanka.  He holds a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from Harvard University.

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Law and Disorder November 26, 2012



Michael Ratner and Michael Smith discuss Jeremy Hammond Court Case

  • Jeremy Hammond is charged with hacking into the computer system of intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting Inc.
  • Hammond is one of five charged with conspiracy to commit computer hacking and other charges
  • Michael Smith and Michael Ratner visited him in prison.
  • November 20, 2012  – Michael Ratner and Michael Smith go to federal court – Jeremy Hammond’s case. 
  • Defense Council, Liz Fink, Margie Ratner Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler and a couple of other people were at the table.
  • Emily Kunstler was there as a paralegal.
  • Jeremy came into the room, he looked very good – in a blue jumpsuit.
  • Then the hearing happened, an hour and a half on getting bail. It’s up to the government to prove why shouldn’t this person be out on bail. You haven’t been convicted of anything so you should be out on the street.
  • The government has to prove you will abscond, not come back to trial. The other thing they have is the burden of proof on is that you’re a danger to the community. Michael Smith offered a spare room for Jeremy Hammond to stay.
  • It was a hostile hearing and the judge reads her decision denying bail. It was obvious it was prepared way in advance.
  • Jeremy’s lawyer Liz Fink: He’s got to be free (on bail) in order for us to work together to prepare his defense.
  • Factor 1: Is he going to flee if he gets out on bail? Factor 2: He flaunts legal authority.
  • Liz Fink said to the judge, he doesn’t have a passport and his parents are putting up their home for bail.
  • He could get 39.5 years. Freehammond.com

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  • Israel and Gaza Bombing Update
  • Israel The Third Largest Arms Seller Globally
  • Weapons Experimenting In Gaza

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Iyad Burnat, Head of the Popular Committee in Bil’in, Palestine

We hear excerpts of the presentation by Iyad Burnat, head of the Bil’in Popular Committee and a leader in the village’s non-violent popular resistance movement.  Since 2005 citizens of Bil’in have held weekly demonstrations against the building of the Israeli separation wall through the community’s agricultural lands, and the steady encroachment of illegal settlements.  The demonstrators are joined by Israeli and international peace activists, and have maintained a commitment to non-violent methods of resistance in spite of armed, military opposition that has resulted in many injuries and some deaths.

These demonstrations are the subject of the recent award-winning documentary film 5 Broken Cameras, which was made by Iyad’s brother, Emad Burnat. Iyad was born in Bil’in in September of 1973.  He is married and has four children.  He became involved in popular resistance as a teenager, and was arrested by the Israeli military for the first time at age 17.  He was accused of throwing stones, and imprisoned for two years.  Since then he has been arrested and imprisoned by the Israeli military several more times. The event was recorded at Unitarian Church of All Souls in Manhattan.
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JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by Jim Douglass

JFK, The Unspeakable, is the first book of 3 on the assassinations of the 1960s. Orbis Books has commissioned author James W. Douglass to write about the murders of JFK, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, and his  the third will be on the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. The heart of JFK the Unthinkable, is not how Kennedy was killed or how Kennedy became a threat to the systemic war machine, but why DID Kennedy die? Author James Douglass says Kennedy knew that he would die and had the guts to stand up to the system and take the hit. This narrative was lost for decades, obscured by disinformation about Kennedy’s character and the conspiracy of his assassination. One review summarizes Douglass’s book in this way : JFK’s belated effort to turn America from an armed culture of victory to a member of an international peaceful world was shot down in Texas for a reason.

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 -author, James W. Douglass. He’s a longtime peace activist and writer. James and his wife Shelley are co-founders of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington, and Mary’s House, a Catholic Worker house of hospitality in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Law and Disorder November 19, 2012


Updates:

  • Jeremy Hammond Case Update: Currently In MCA
  • Julian Assange Update: Ecuador Embassy, London
  • Bradley Manning Hearing at Fort Meade – November 27-December 22
  • National Security State Eats Its Own? General Petraeus Scandal Analysis
  • Israel Bombing Gaza: Operation Pillar of Cloud.  Timeline
  • CCR Files Complaint Against the UN Committee Against Torture: Canada Directly Violates Convention Against Torture
  • UN Vote On Cuba Embargo: Israel Is Among Major Investors In Cuba

National Lawyers Guild 75 Years

Hundreds of National Lawyers Guild members and allies gathered to celebrate the organization’s 75th anniversary at the Law for the People convention in Pasadena, California.  We hear excerpts from speeches from the National Lawyers Guild Convention by Attorney Jim Lafferty  The 2012 Law for the People Award was given to Jim Lafferty.

Scholar and activist Angela Davis delivered the keynote address and among the convention honorees will be Margaret Burnham, a professor of civil rights law who, as a young lawyer, helped secure Davis’s 1972 acquittal on high-profile charges.

Founded in 1937, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar association in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has members in every state.

Jim Lafferty, Executive director of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles and host of The Lawyers Guild Show on Pacifica’s KPFK 90. 7 FM.

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Law and Disorder November 12, 2012


Updates:

  • Hosts Update On Hurricane Sandy
  • Obama Re-election: What Does It Mean For Basic Civil Rights? Drones, Guantanamo, Military Commissions, Warrantless Wiretapping.
  • PLO and CCR Victory – Muhammad Salah
  • Holy Land Case Update – Supreme Court Refuses To Review Sixth Amendment Right

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Russell Tribunal on Palestine: Attorney Diana Butto

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. We hear an excerpt of a speech by Human Rights Attorney Diana Butto at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

Diana Buttu is a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and former spokesperson with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
She is best known for her work as a legal adviser and negotiator on peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian organizations. Buttu was born in Canada to Palestinian parents. She began her work as a negotiator in 2000, shortly after the outbreak of the Second Palestinian Intifada, as a spokesperson for the Negotiations Support Unit of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

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The Moral Challenge of ‘Kill Lists’ by Ray McGovern

The Obama Administration has conducted hundreds of drone strikes in several countries, killing civilians and a US citizen. Critics point out that as the Obama Administration assassinates its’ suspects, it also avoids the legal complications of detention.  In last week’s New York Times, authors Jo Becker and Scott Shane expose the priest-like role  of counter terrorist adviser John Brennan as he provides Mr. Obama with the moral justification for extrajudicial murder. The framing of John Brennan’s role of priestly adviser caught Ray McGovern’s attention. His recent article The Moral Challenge of Kill Lists, dissects the New York Times story.

Ray McGovern:

  • There has been a geometric increase in the number of drone strikes against Pakistan and of course Somalia and Yemen.
  • 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. It’s incredibly naive to think that this helps in any way in the war on terrorism.
  • This wonderfully insightful and dangerous New York Times article a week ago talked about the conundrum of aligning these activities  with US legal and moral principles. Conundrum? That’s an impossibility.
  • The Fifth Amendment prevents this sort of thing if you take the interpretation we’ve always had.
  • As the New York Times article mentions 1 out of 30 assassinations that are known about just one escaped assassination and was brought before a court. It’s much easier to kill them.
  • If you wanted to learn about al-Qaeda, don’t you think Osama Bin Laden could’ve told us some stuff about al-Qaeda?
  • Any military aged male in the area of a “bad guy” is fair game.
  • Maybe I can draw from my own experience in the CIA, I know about lists.  I know that when there was a coup attempt in Indonesia in 1965, that there were lists given to the Indonesian authorities of communists. How many communists on that list? A million. How many were killed, were murdered? 500 thousand plus. How many were put in prison? The other 500 thousand.
  • The drones are really accurate but the target information is notoriously inaccurate.
  • I love Fordham and I hate to see the administration and the very wealthy trustees who have lots of money to give to Fordham, determine who comes in to give the commencement address.
  • I think that you have to have some kind of personal involvement with innocent suffering. I think that you have to have some sense of the injustice others suffer to let your heart be touched by this direct experience.
  • Obama’s fallen in with a rough crowd.
  • I was attracted to getting outside of my Catholic walls. There’s a small church down in Washington DC called the Church of the Savior.
  • I found out they were doing wonderful things like preventing housing from being gentrified so poor people can still live there. Healthcare, jobs, addictions, a hospice for people to sick to be on the street.
  • There’s been one major change for the good in this country. That is Occupy.
  • When you look for proof that Occupy has incredible potential, look no farther than what the president and the top senators thought necessary to inject into the NDAA on New Year’s Eve, which allows them to use the US Army of all things to wrap us all up without charge, without court proceedings.

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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