Lawyers You’ll Like : Attorney Jim Lafferty
Periodically we feature a segment on Law and Disorder called Lawyers You’ll Like. Our guest today is attorney Jim Lafferty. Jim has been a lawyer and movement activist in Detroit, New York City, and Los Angeles since the 1960s when he served as executive director of the National Lawyers Guild and carried out civil rights work in the deep South. He was one of the national leaders of the anti-war movement during the Vietnam War. He also headed up the very successful National Lawyers Guild chapter in Los Angeles for 25 years.
Guest – 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.
American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes
World War II started on September 1, 1939 when fascist Germany attacked its neighbor Czechoslovakia. By the end of the war six years later some 80 million people had died and the continent lay devastated. The first trials of 22 Nazi leaders, general’s and bankers wer organized by the victorious allies, America, Britain, Russia, France and took place in Nuremberg Germany. 19 were found guilty and executed. Robert H Jackson, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court and Chief Prosecutor for United States and Nuremberg wrote then that “we must not forget that the record on which we judge the defendants today is a record in which we will be judged tomorrow.” A recent article – Crimes of the War on Terror Should George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Others Be Jailed?
Intentional war is the greatest of all crimes because it contains with it all the rest of horrible crimes. The United States of America’s intentional war against Iraq, which was motivated to the public with lies about weapons of mass destruction, and which has since spread to six other countries in the Middle East, has resulted in over 1 million deaths, driven millions more from their homes, and destroyed ancient peoples and their cultures.
The United States helped establish the international principles that guided the prosecution of war crimes when Nazi officials were held accountable for their crimes against humanity. But the American government and its legal system have consistently refused to apply the same principles to our own officials. In her book American Nuremberg, Rebecca Gordon indicts the officials who, in a just society, whould be put on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. She acknowledges that the U.S. government is unlikely to do this and proposes an alternative based on the Russell Tribunals held in 1967 exposing American criminality in the war against Vietnam.
Guest – Rebecca Gordon received her B.A. from Reed College and her M.Div. and Ph.D. in Ethics and Social Theory from Graduate Theological Union. She teaches in the Philosophy department at the University of San Francisco and for the university’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good. Previous publications include Letters From Nicaragua and Cruel and Usual: How Welfare “Reform” Punishes Poor People . Prior to her academic career, Gordon spent a few decades working in a variety of national and international movements for peace and justice. These include the movements for women’s liberation and LGBT rights; movements in solidarity with the struggles of poor people in Central America; the anti-apartheid movement in the United States and South Africa; and movements opposing U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.