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Law and Disorder July 14, 2014


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Campaign Demanding Proper Health Care For Incarcerated COINTELPRO Target Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)

A campaign was recently launched demanding immediate health care for political prisoner Imam Jamil Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown. Once the chairperson of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and minister of justice for the Black Panther Party, Al-Amin was one of the original four targets of the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO. Now 70 years old, he has been held in a federal prison at Florence, Colorado since 2006 where he is serving a life sentence for what many claim was the wrongful conviction in 2002 for shooting two deputy sheriffs. At the time, four leading Muslim organizations – CAIR, the AMC, ISNA and the Muslim American Society – issued a joint statement: “The charges against Imam Jamil are especially troubling because they are inconsistent with what is known of his moral character and past behavior as a Muslim.”

Al-Amin has multiple health issues have rapidly accelerated, including dental problems, a swollen jaw, broken teeth and swollen legs, ankles and feet, and has lost 30 pounds in just a few weeks, likely the result of recently-diagnosed cancer. Recently, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark visited Al-Amin.

Attorney Karima Al-Almin:

  • I met Jamil on July 1st 1967. I had graduated from college and started a job on that day. He walked into the job where I was to see someone who he was staying with.
  • At that time he was under house arrest and he could only stay in the borough of Manhattan, the Bronx and then William Kunstler’s house up there in Westchester county.
  • He invited me to go to lunch. The lunch was with Louis Farrakhan. So I met him on the same day, we joke about that but I married Jamil.
  • In May of 1967 he was elected chairperson of SNCC Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
  • Based on the fact that he didn’t appear for trial in Maryland for inciting to riot charge which was later dismissed, he was put on the 10 most wanted list in May 1970.
  • For 19 months he was being sought and not found but then he was found and capture in October 1971. He was attempting to clean up New York City’s drug problem.
  • There was an H. Rap Brown Anti-Dope Campaign. As a result he was captured in what was labeled as an “armed robbery.” He did go to trial and William Kunstler and Howard Moore defended him.
  • He was given a sentence of 5-15 years. He served 5 years in the New York State prison system and then he got out in 1976.
  • After getting out in October 1976 he can come to Atlanta where I had moved.
  • He spent years, establishing a Muslim community again cleaning up the neighborhood making it safe for families and children.
  • In May of 1999 he was stopped which ended up being an illegal stop outside of Atlanta city limits. He was charged with driving a stolen car which he did not know about.
  • In January of 2000 he was given a date to appear in court on those charges there was a storm and it was postponed. He didn’t know he was supposed to return and a warrant was issued in March 2000. That’s when the incident happened.
  • A Fulton County deputy was killed and one was shot and then we had the trial in 2002. There were so many problems with the trial. There were so many constitutional violations during the trial. As a result he was found guilty in March 2002 and given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
  • Georgia in 2003 tried to get him transferred and held in a federal facility, but it didn’t come to happen until July 2007. They were moving him based on his popularity.
  • Georgia (the state of) is paying a per diem to the Federal Bureau of Prisons for him to be housed.
  • It goes back to what he thought was a dental problem about a year and a half ago. He developed abscesses. He was unable to get out of bed.
  • A petition has already been sent to President Obama, Eric Holder and Charles Samuels.
  • Call ADMAX – 719-784-9464.
  • Create an email and fax flood. Email FLM/execassistant@bop.gov or use the form at http://www.bop.gov/inmates/concerns.jsp (location Florence ADMAX USP). Fax 719-784-5290. Jamil Al-Amin, #99974555
  • He dared to step out when he was 23 years old to speak out about injustices and make a difference.

Guest – Attorney Karima Al-Amin is an attorney at law and the wife of political prisoner Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. In addition to her private practice, Mrs. Al-Amin continues to work with attorneys in appealing her husband’s conviction and in working on his civil lawsuits challenging First Amendment and religious violations. Mrs. Al-Amin is a member of several legal and community organizations, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Clarkston Business Association, and the Georgia Association of Muslim Lawyers (GAML).

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US Attorney General Ramsey Clark:

  • I met first through FBI memos, a stack that reached floor to ceiling. He had a wonderful talent to irritate the FBI.
  • The country needs that sort of skill. So I got a lot of memos before I even met him.
  • He committed the supreme offense in the hierarchy of offenses of the FBI that is he embarrassed the bureau by making them look foolish cause they couldn’t catch him.
  • The legal staff were cheering him on. He made our day with narrow escapes. After this Congress enacted this absurd statute in his honor that shows he was a productive citizen concerned for our welfare.
  • He’s big strong tall guy and he has to duck under that door on the other side of that glass that you meet him through, he looked smaller.
  • Usually his energy level is very high. His energy level is way down, he looked frail in spite of his large frame.
  • Went back Sunday and his condition was the same, confirmed. He’s got a real health problem that needs to be addressed.
  • I think ideally he’d go to the Mayo Clinic first, get the thorough work up and diagnosis and everything. If its going to be long range treatment get him over to North Carolina.
  • The main thing is he needs the help of caring people from all over the country. We have to organize that to pressure the United States to do the only moral thing.

Guest – Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the United States, under President Lyndon B. Johnson. The first Attorney General at the Justice Department to call for the elimination of the death penalty and all electronic surveillance. After he left the Johnson administration, he became a vociferous critic of the Vietnam War and continued on a radical path, defending the underdog, defending the rights of people worldwide, from Palestinians to Iraqis, to anyone who found themselves at the repressive end of government action.

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U.S. Government To Prosecute 67-year-old Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh

In the fall of 2013, the Department of Homeland Security arrested Rasmea Odeh, a 67 year old Palestinian American community activitist and teacher in her Chicago home for failing to disclose a 1969 conviction in an Israeli military court. She was charged with unlawful procurement of naturalization. Odeh had allegedly failed to disclose her time in an Israeli prison 45 years ago. In 1969 Rasmea Odeh, her father and fiancee were brutally tortured in an Israel relating to a bombing at a Jerusalem supermarket. Israel extracted a confession from Odeh, and she spent 10 years in an Israeli prison where she was tortured and sexually assaulted.

Odeh is Associate Director of the Arab American Action Network and leader of that group’s Arab Women’s Committee. The events bring together disenfranchised women, mostly recent immigrants, from Arabic-speaking countries. Odeh is scheduled for trial at a Detroit Federal court in September. If convicted she could be imprisoned, have her citizenship revoked and be deported.  Human rights campaigners in the United States are calling on the Obama administration to drop charges against Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian-American community organizer in Chicago who is accused of lying on a citizenship application two decades ago.

Attorney Michael Deutsch:

  • She was arrested Israel military and secret police in February of 1969. Her family, her father and two sisters were also arrested, taken out of the house in the middle of the night.
  • She was then transported by herself to a prison in Ramallah. On the way she was brutally beaten, when she arrived at the prison she was beaten again to the point where her whole body turned black.
  • She was then transferred to another prison which is called the Russian compound which is in the West Jerusalem.
  • There she was horrifically beaten subject to electronic torture, alligator clips to her breasts and genitals.
  • Prisoners and soldiers came into her room, she was raped repeatedly. She was raped with sticks. She was denied food, denied sleep, this went on for 45 days until she gave in and confessed.
  • Her father was brought in a room with her and they said her father was going to rape her. Her father of course refused and they beat her father to the point of unconsciousness and they dragged him out.
  • She was accused of being involved in two bombings one at a British counsel and one at an Israeli grocery store.
  • When she was brought into an alleged court, which was a military court run by soldiers, she renounced her confession and said that she was innocent. That was ignored and she was convicted of these bombings and being a member of an illegal organization and given a life sentence.
  • Ultimately in 1979, she was traded with 70 other Palestinian prisoners for the return of an Israeli soldier where she was taken to Syria, then Lebanon then to Jordan where she lived til 1994. She obtained a VISA to come to the United States.
  • Basically for almost the following ten years she’s been working as a community activist in Chicago particularly with the Arab-American Action Network.
  • In 2010 there were all these raids by the FBI toward anti-war activists and the executive director of the AAAN. He was subpoenaed to a grand jury after the FBI raided his home and took all his papers.
  • They claim that he was providing material support for the PFLP and as a result the whole AAAN was put under investigation and the grand jury subpoenaed all the documents of the organization.
  • As a result of this investigation into the AAAN, the US attorney in Chicago sent word to Washington that they wanted to get Rasmea’s files from Israel.
  • In a year or two years they got the records or alleged to be her records of arrest, conviction and sentence by the Israeli military court.
  • I don’t believe a conviction or arrest by the IDF and a conviction by an Israeli military tribunal is consistent with International Law, fundamental fairness or due process.
  • One of the things were going to say is that the conviction and arrest can’t be given any kind of credit in a U.S. courtroom because its fundamentally unfair and shouldn’t be considered.
  • The question is whether she answered those questions with an intent to falsely procure her naturalization.
  • I would add the judge in this case has been a fervent supporter of Israel since the 50s.
  • The Israeli tribunals are not only based on torture but illegal occupation. They invade a people’s land and set up these military courts.
  • The question in my mind in Rasmea’s trial is how are they going to keep out the issue of torture? Which is want they’re going to want to do.
  • To support Rasmea Odeh, contact the Arab-American Action Network
  • CCR Statement

Guest – Attorney Michael Deutsch, after clerking for United States Court of Appeals Judge Otto Kerner, Mr. Deutsch went into private practice, joining People’s Law Office in 1970 where he has represented political activists and victims of police and government civil rights violations. His advocacy has taken him all around the world, including to hearings in the United Nations. He has tried many civil and criminal cases in federal and state courts, and has written and argued numerous appeals, including several in the United States Supreme Court.

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Law and Disorder June 9, 2014


Updates:

  • Michael Ratner: Guantanamo Bay Prisoner Exchange
  • Five Taliban In Exchange For A U.S. Prisoner Held In Afghanistan
  • 149 Detainees Left In Guantanamo Prison – 88 Cleared For Release
  • Michael Smith Reports Back On Highlights At the 2014 Left Forum

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9/11 Memorial Museum Protests

There were many protests during the official opening of the 911 Memorial Museum. Muslim communities and other groups have voiced concern about the film in the musuem titled  “The Rise of Al-Qaeda” and how it fails to adequately discern between Al-Qaeda and those of the Islamic faith. Meanwhile, the museum’s official response is that the film is objectively telling the story of what happened.

Donna Nevel:

  • We came together because of a concern about a video they were showing called The Rise of al-Qaeda. It’s a 7 minute documentary and the concern is about the problematic language that its using. It makes it seem as if the acts of 9-11 are equated with Islam.
  • Our feeling is that the film needs to be edited and could exacerbate an already anti-Muslim climate.
  • Quoting criticism – The film in its current state presented risks that visitors would assign collective responsibility for September 11th to Islam and all Muslims.
  • There’s a historian Todd Fine who says its an inconsistent array of terminology that gets carelessly thrown around with little concern for the harmful impact it can have on people.
  • The video didn’t do enough to separate al-Qaeda from Islam and from mainstream Islam. It’s reckless.
  • Despite the fact that the own museum’s own advisory board was instantly concerned when they saw the film and said it should be reviewed and edited – despite the fact that 400 scholars wrote letters saying it contains problematic and contested terminology that conflates terrorism with Islam – and despite the fact that leaders from so many different inter-faith communities have spoken out about this – that the museum continues to stand by its decision not to edit the video – is astonishing.
  • I was doing a little research on her (Debra Burlingame-on 911 Memorial Museum Board of Directors) and there’s a high number of racist quotes she’s said. “Islam’s a transnational threat.”
  • Millions and millions of people will be going to this museum and museums can have a big impact.
  • We have to remember that this is in the context not of a society that welcomes and embraces the Muslim community but one that’s surveilling the Muslim community.
  • It’s feeding into this notion that all Muslims are responsible for the acts of a few individuals.
  • This video also feeds into police surveillance because what do they say? After 911 we have to be more vigilant and that means surveilling an entire community.
  • Communities are coming together and speaking out, including about this video.
  • We have to change the structures that enable this to happen. The Islamophobes are really problematic and have connections to some of the institutions.
  • We have to make sure our institutions are fomenting Islamophobia.
  • Book – Islamophobia and Israel by Elly Bulkin and Donna Nevel
  • We wanted to analyze the intersection of Islamophobia and Israeli politics and to look at the way the “war on terror” impacts both. Also to raise an issue that’s basically taboo in the Jewish community as well as outside the Jewish community.
  • We have 4 different areas that we look at. Our lengthiest area is “follow the money” where you basically see how connected the Islamophobes are with right-wing Israel crowd, the settlement movement and others as well.
  • Jews Against Islamophobia / Jews Say No / Jewish Voices For Peace / Jews For Racial and Economic Justice
  • Contact Donna Nevel – denevel(at)gmail(dot).com

Guest – Donna Nevel, a community psychologist, educator, and writer whose work is rooted in Participatory Action Research (PAR) and popular education. Co-author with Elly Bulkin of Islamophobia and Israel.  She has been involved with a wide range of organizing efforts to challenge segregation and inequality and further equity and racial justice in public education. She has also been a long-time organizer for Palestinian-Israeli peace and justice and works with groups to challenge Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism.

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Free Flow of Information Act (Journalist Shield Law)

Current shield laws for journalists in the United States have broad exceptions for national security. This means that a prosecutor can override the law by showing how the information sought would “materially assist” the government in “preventing” or “mitigating” an act of terrorism. Initially, the shield law is set up to provide a confidentiality privilege for journalists so a police officer or FBI agent can’t get that information even with a court order unless there is an unusually strong justification for it. The latest version of the shield law as of September 2013 has a clause telling judges that it only covers legitimate news gathering. This of course makes very easy to declare any kind of news gathering you don’t like as illegitimate, and therefore the sources are not protected. Last month, the House of Representatives voted to approve an amendment to an appropriations bill barring the Justice Department from compelling reporters to testify about confidential sources.

Carey Shenkman:

  • We are going to get a shield law but its going to be one that doesn’t protect any journalists or sources.
  • It’s a lot easier for the FBI and the DOJ to just skip the investigation and go straight to the reporters. Why do they have to any work when they have the journalist getting all the sources for them.
  • They subpoenaed records from the Associated Press last summer, they subpoenaed the source for James Risen who wrote a book and that actually appeared before the 4th Circuit of Appeals and was turned down by the Supreme Court for review.
  • There’s been a push to try and pass a shield law before but Obama back in 2009 said he wouldn’t let any shield law pass that didn’t have a big national security exemption.
  • What happened back in September is that there was a massive compromise with 2 Senators, Diane Feinstein from California and Dick Durbin from Illinois. They wouldn’t let this law go through unless it contained a big national security exception. Meaning any reporter covering national security would have to disclose their sources, and second it had a big exclusion for wikileaks and other organizations that published leaks.
  • There’s actually a balancing test as part of this law that tells judges to consider if a journalist is engaged in legitimate news gathering. This is problematic because anyone can be a journalist, this has been the case since the founding of this country.
  • They’re trying to put into law the fact that some journalists are legitimate and some are illegitimate.
  • The internet has brought this country back to the time of its founding in terms of journalism because when the “press clause” in the First Amendment were passed, anyone could be a journalist.
  • The “press clause” was defined as the right to publish.
  • I believe we do need shield laws, but not this shield law.
  • I think there is a big push by the institutional media to keep journalism as a profession, but that’s not what journalism is. Now with the internet, anyone can publish. As long as anyone as the intention to disseminate information, they should be protected as a journalist.
  • When it helps the government the definition of the media is very broad.
  • It’s going to be political suicide if Holder or anyone from the Obama administration pushes to send James Risen to jail.
  • The DOJ argued in an affidavit that James Rosen was aiding and abetting his source.
  • More and more, we’re seeing this administration trying to frame the news gatherer and the source, not as a journalist and a source but as criminals in a conspiracy.
  • I was a radio journalist for 3 years. I used to work at the Center for Constitutional Rights where I met Michael Ratner and was involved with Chelsea Manning’s trial.

Guest – Carey Shenkman, has worked with several legal teams including Chelsea Manning’s defense, and legal research defining  the protection of new media under the Bill of Rights and The U.S. Constitution.  

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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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Law and Disorder May 17, 2014


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Chicago Torture Update And Another Chicago Cover Up

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We follow up on the Chicago torture cases and the aftermath. Listeners may recall the sentencing of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge in 2011 which helped  created a model within Chicago criminal courts in seeking justice for crimes of torture.  The Civil Rights Act was used to litigate the Chicago torture cases, specifically the Anti Klu Klux Klan Act and now, the People’s Law Office is working to get a statute passed making torture a federal crime. In our last interview with attorney Flint Taylor he questioned how the Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel will handle the hundreds of ongoing torture cases of African American men. The type of torture that was involved include electric shock, bagging, beating and burning to get confession. The city continues to fund Burge’s defense paying private lawyers millions to date. Meanwhile, a recent unraveling of a murder cover up involving former Mayor Daley’s nephew makes headlines.

Attorney G. Flint Taylor:

  • This is a scandal that’s gone on for 20 years now. Burge came back from Vietnam and he was quickly made a detective on the South side of Chicago in the early 70s. He started to use electric shock, bagging people to suffocate them, mock executions – all the torture techniques you hear about in third world and that kind of thing.
  • He tortured over the next 20 years, we now document more than 120 African American men.
  • Those men, many were sent to the penitentiary, some to death row. Many of them gave false confessions, all of them confessed under the torture techniques and during this 20 year period, Burge was promoted from detective, to sergeant, to lieutenant, to commander.
  • During this period of the time the prosecutor was Richard M Daley who went on to be mayor of course. This evidence was presented to him early on by the superintendent of police and they decided to cover it all up rather than pursue Burge.
  • Because of that, the torture went on for another 10-15 years.
  • Burge was fired in the 90s but was never prosecuted until the critical mass of evidence reached a peak in the mid-2000s. Burge was convicted and sent to a penitentiary where he’s now serving a four and half year sentence with Bernie Madoff down in Butner.
  • The city of Chicago has paid over 20 million dollars to defend Burge and his co-horts.
  • Another 20 million has gone out to pensions. Burge now still gets his pension down in the penitentiary. There’s another 65 million that paid out to the men who were fortunate enough to have lawsuits who were wrongfully convicted by Burge and his associates.
  • You add it all up and you get 125 million dollars in taxpayer money that’s been spent in this scandal.
  • There are still men behind bars after all these years, based on tortured confessions.
  • We were appointed recently a special master to find men in the penitentiary who haven’t had the ability to have a hearing to have their case re-litigated based on the torture evidence.
  • There’s an ongoing battle to try and take Burge’s pension away.
  • David Koschman was a 21 year old college student from the suburbs who had the misfortune of being on Rush street in Chicago late at night, and getting into a verbal altercation with a group of thugs that included the mayor’s nephew.
  • A man by the name of Venecko. Venecko was 6″3′, 230lbs and he punched David square in the face. Koschman went down, hit his head against the curb, went into a coma and died 12 days later.
  • The mayor’s nephew ran from the scene so they didn’t know who it was. Somehow through back channels they let the highest officials in the police department know that it was the mayor’s nephew was involved and so a massive cover up went on in the police department and at the state’s attorneys office – to make Koschman 5″5′ 120lbs into the aggressor.

Guest – G. Flint Taylor, a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern Law School, is a  founding partner of the People’s Law Office in Chicago, an office which has been dedicated to litigating civil rights, police violence, government misconduct, and death penalty cases for more than 40 years.

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Goliath: Life and Loathing In Greater Israel: Max Blumenthal Speech In Brooklyn

We hear part of speech by award winning journalist and author Max Blumenthal delivered at a Brooklyn For Peace meeting. 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.

Speaker – 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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The Kiev Putsch: Rebel Workers Take Power in the East

In his recent article The Kiev Putsch: Rebel Workers Take Power In the East, returning guest Professor Jim Petras describes the immense complexity and shifting outcomes within the NATO, US and European violent seizure of the Ukraine. He asserts that the US-EU power grab in the Ukraine is part of a strategic goal to place neo-liberal political proxies in power in Moscow. In order to do this, one objective is to undermine Russia’s military capability. However, things have not gone according to plan. There’s growing opposition to the Ukraine power grab in the EU, and Russia. Professor Jim Petras asserts that the real struggle is not between the US and Russia, it’s between the NATO-imposed junta composed of neo-liberal oligarchs and fascists – that’s on one side, and on the other side is the industrial workers, their local militias plus democratic councils.

Professor James Petras:

  • Ukraine had kind of an oligarchical electoral system where competing oligarchs competed in the electoral arena. One set of oligarchs was closer to the NATO powers and one set was closer to Russia, more or less pursuing a non-alignment policy.
  • This came to a head recently. I believe in February.
  • The opposition backed by NATO overthrew the government and a coup seized power  and the U.S. under the Secretary of Foreign Affairs Victoria Newland appointed the president and the prime minister who then formed a coalition government with neo-fascists openly embracing the heritage of the Nazi collaborators.
  • These people then tried to impose a different kind of policy, and different kind of orientation to the country essentially aligning it to NATO and trying to undercut any pluralism or diversity that existed up til then.
  • They moved ahead and outlawed the pro-Russian speaking minority and that provoked people in the east who were long time critics of centralism and the imposition of policies from the west (Kiev).
  • The Kiev junta sent military groups out there to repress them, culminating with the neo-fascists going to Odessa and incinerating 40 people who were taking refuge in a trade union center.
  • You have to realize the dynamic of the sectors in the east. There’s the steel, coal. The most productive sector of the country. They pay a disproportionate amount of taxes and get very little in return.
  • So there is a regional hostility here, and the issue has nothing to do with being pro-Russia. It’s a question of people in the east opposing a military take over, a junta. They oppose a government appointed by foreign powers.
  • They oppose the outlawing of bilingualism.
  • The authoritarians in the east want to break with Russia. It has nothing to do with the so called transition government. The west’s account is absolutely bizarre.
  • The cover up (in western press) of the massive incineration is comparable to Nazi press when Hitler was incinerating Jews, telling people they were just taking showers.
  • The western press has lined up in the most . . I would compare it to the worst part of McCarthyism in Cold War. I would say 1950-51.
  • The Kiev dictatorship can’t even count on its own troops. They send troops over there and they fraternize with their own people. So they have to send special forces and they recently got a big inflow of mercenaries from what used to be called Blackwater. They call themselves the Academi now.
  • There were over 400 of them that were shipped in to the eastern part of the country to do the dirty work.
  • I think this is an indication of how isolated this government is and how much the demands for democracy, maintaining industry and resisting the IMF, how much fear they have of the contagion, the democratic self determination agenda of the east resonates with the west.
  • There’s no great wall of China separating the east and west when it comes to economic improvement and democratic representation.
  • Essentially their idea is to turn Russia into a vassal state.
  • The same thing with China, they’re encircling China with bases all over the Pacific, provoking conflict.
  • They don’t want a powerful competitive economy that’s displacing them in Latin America and Asia.
  • What happened to the peace movement that went into the Democratic Party to support Obama?

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

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Law and Disorder May 12, 2014


the_muslims_are_coming Anti-NYPD-protesters-gather-at-Foley-Square

The Muslims Are Coming

Since the so called war on terror, thousands of innocent Muslims have been entrapped, surveilled, and their communities infiltrated while spending untold resources in search for the radicalized terrorist. In Arun Kundnani’s recent book titled the Muslims Are Coming, he carefully looks at the ideologies and strategies of law enforcement used to create the domestic war on terror. He unveils the disturbing processes of radicalization theories and racial profiling followed by law enforcement.

Arun Kundnani:

  • There wasn’t any reflection of what the political causes might be of 9/11 or the political context that might give rise to Al-Qaeda.
  • That discussion was basically censored at least in the United States.
  • The war on terror has basically failed.
  • Radicalization is the chief lens that security officials in Western government lock up Muslim populations.
  • The idea of radicalization is that there’s this kind of ideology out there that turns ordinary Muslims into terrorists.
  • The FBI and the police department both have the same model of radicalization which they claim tells you the process that someone goes through from being an ordinary member of the public to becoming a terrorist.
  • Within that there are various indicators such as behavior or things that people might say or believe that are supposed to be signs that someone is traveling on this path to becoming a terrorist.
  • This provides the basis for the very aggressive practice of surveillance that we’ve seen from both of those law enforcement agencies.
  • It enables them to have a frame of reference to intervene within Muslim populations within the United States, to tackle the ideology that they see is the root driver for this.
  • There are 4 stages in this model. Growing a beard, wearing Islamic clothing, changing the mosque that you attend, being active in a pro-Muslim in a social or political group.
  • They often correspond to expression of political opinion.
  • The FBI as of 2008 had 15,000 paid informants on its books. That’s a huge number given that half of the FBI’s budget is given to counter-terrorism. The sting operations using informants are the key method of dealing with this.
  • The Stasi in Germany had one spy for every 66 East German citizens. It’s that kind of ratio that you can talk about a totalitarian system of surveillance.
  • Muslims in America are probably experiencing the same level of surveillance that East Germans faced under the Stasi.
  • The liberal take on the war on terror is not the same as the neoconservative take.
  • As a Muslim you’re potentially bad and you need to prove that you’re not by the kind of ideology you express. That’s characterized the Obama period in the war on terror.
  • The way that the word terrorism or the word extremism or radicalization works is that is serves to criminalize and demonize people who have radical political opinion, irrespective if they’re involved in any kind of violence.
  • The structures of surveillance that have been set up in the war on terror, get recycled for all kinds of other purposes.

Guest – Arun Kundnani writes about race, Islamophobia, political violence, and surveillance. His latest book The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror was published by Verso Books in March 2014. Born and bred in London, he moved to New York in 2010 on a fellowship with the Open Society Foundations and now lives in Harlem. He is the author of The End of Tolerance: racism in 21st century Britain, which was selected as a New Statesman book of the year in 2007. A former editor of the journal Race & Class, he was miseducated at Cambridge University, holds a PhD from London Metropolitan University, and teaches at New York University

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stepan-bandera12 article-2415972-134691D9000005DC-208_634x424

Ukraine’s Neo Nazis

We look at Ukraine’s neo-Nazis and Stepan Bandera and the legacy of World War II. Every important ministry in the Ukraine is now held by ultra-nationalists. The Ministry of Education, social policy, policing, prosecution and national defense are all headed up by people whose party is a direct descendant of the Stepan Bandera movement in the Ukraine during World War II. Bandera and his movement were responsible for the genocide of more than 500 thousand including Poles, Ukrainians and Jews. This fact is played down by the U.S. government, the mainstream media in the United States, the state of Israel and its defenders amongst the Jewish establishment including Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League.

Joel Kovel:

  • I think its important to recognize this utterly illegitimate US puppet government I think in large part because it doesn’t have any standing for the Ukrainian people as a whole – has to be defended by neo-Nazi elements which aren’t enormously plentiful, but plentiful enough and they will do the bidding of their masters.
  • It started (Odessa, Ukraine) as a quarrel in a soccer stadium, and moved to Odessa. Odessa is an extremely important town it was one of the centers of world Jewish culture for a long time, still has 30 thousand Jews in it.
  • The Ukrainian loyalists overwhelmed the other people and drove them into this building, they set fires within the building which led to a hideous massacre.
  • One on one violence but also people jumping out of the windows, smoke inhalation.
  • Watching it on youtube you saw the total savagery and unspeakable brutality of these thugs, they were laughing, having the time of their lives.
  • There were police around, military around, they did nothing to stop this.
  • Utterly mystified and denied by the mainstream media, including the main springs thereof, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times.
  • My parents were both born in the Ukraine. In the early years of the last century, one third of the Jews in the world lived in the Ukraine.
  • You have a blood strewn, contentious history marked by an enormous amount of hatred and vindictiveness. I think all nationalisms are pathological frankly.
  • Ukrainian nationalism was particularly virulent. We’re dealing with another brand of ultra-nationalism with the state of Israel, and they’re not unconnected with all this.
  • Fascism being a right wing alliance between large bourgeois and nationalist forces using some kind of mythic or racist ideology to legitimate itself.
  • Ukraine: there’s never been a solid national identity there’s a tremendous complex mixture of things.
  • There’s a book called Organized Antisemitism in Contemporary Ukraine: Structure, Influence and Ideology.
  • Of course the US thinks they’re manipulating the puppets so they can control them. You go down that road, there’s going to be a lot of tragedies as the puppet turns on the master.
  • The number of Rabbis quoted as saying we’re getting ready to evacuate, we have plans. We’re ready to go in a half an hour. We’re afraid its going to happen again. Meanwhile, this Foxman is saying, don’t worry.
  • New York Times had a headline about 3 or 4 weeks ago how this was all overblown Ukraine’s Jews say that Putin not antisemitism is the problem.
  • That’s the headline in the New York Times. How could they do that?
  • We need a massive onslaught against the program of lies and deception that is being waged by our national media in total lockstep with the imperial interest of the United States. I’ve never in my life seen journalism sink to such an abyss as it has and in the very least this is a front that we can occupy.
  • It means a lot because the American don’t want this to be happening. This is something that our power system. One front is the ruthless critique of the media and the lies that our government is putting out.

Guest- Joel Kovel, scholar and an activist. In the former capacity he has published nine books and over a hundred articles and reviews. His books include White Racism, which was nominated for a National Book Award in 1972; A Complete Guide to Therapy; The Age of Desire (in which his work in the psychiatric-psychoanalytic system is detailed); Against the State of Nuclear Terror; In Nicaragua; The Radical Spirit; History and Spirit(1991) – Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism

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Law and Disorder May 5, 2014


Updates:

  • John Kerry Middle East Peace Talks And NY Times Propaganda
  • There is no ‘Palestine Exception’ to free speech rights’: Northeastern overturns Students for Justice in Palestine suspension
  • CCR: Palestine Solidarity Legal Support Project
  • Host Attorney Micheal Smith Retraction On Abe Foxman Update

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bradley Corizon-

Torturous For-Profit Medical Care in Prisons

The medical care in private prisons is often provided by a sub contracted for profit entity. Today we look at a specific case involving Corizon, a prison health management corporation serving 530 prisons in 28 states. Corizon has been sued for malpractice 660 times in the past five years.  We talk today about “Bradley’s” case. He’s 67, and was out on parole after serving 34 years in California’s state prisons. Bradley was on 100mg of morphine 3 times a day for surgical complications from knee injury. While on parole, THC was detected in his system, and officers brought him back to prison. However, under the care of Corizon, he was not given his medication and forced to painfully withdraw from the morphine.

Dr. Robin Andersen:

  • My brother who we call Brad is at Santa Rita jail who Corizon is under contract with.
  • He went in on April 17, and after a week of being in there, my lawyer and my sister said he was on death’s door.
  • The reason was he was being forced to withdraw from medications. His medications are morphine and high blood pressure medication.
  • He was given no medications for pain, and he basically did cold turkey inside that jail and is still being mistreated there.
  • This is a parole violation where its alleged he might have smoked some pot.
  • He was in San Quentin and some other California prisons. He served 34 years. When he was finally paroled one of the parole board members said – well we assess that the crime that you did to be about 11 years.
  • Just the thought of him in that jail without medication for that time, it was agony.
  • What the jail has told me is they don’t give out controlled substances.
  • What my lawyer said is their policy to save money, they don’t have proper medication.
  • They’re putting him through a forced cold turkey withdrawal and laughing at him.
  • They keep using the word protocol, and it rings in my ear.  Oh, he’s on a withdrawal protocol. One wonders what that protocol might be.
  • I’ve been asking people to call the jail. It’s very interesting, they thrive in secrecy and brutality within these places.
  • Call the Santa Rita County Jail – 925-551-6500. Lawrence (Bradley)  Benetto – Prisoner # BKB172

Guest – Dr. Robin Andersen, is the brother of “Bradley” and Professor of Communication and Media Studies and Director of the M.A. Program in Public Communication. She is also Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Fordham University.

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unnamed2 images442

Lawsuits Against Prison Health Management Corporations

Class action lawsuits against prison health management corporations are becoming very common. There are many cases and stories of mistreatment and negligence which critics say stem from profit making and cost cutting protocols. We take a deeper look at the recent litigation involving lawsuits against private, for profit prison health care companies.

Attorney Sarah Grady:

  • Corizon, they’re a multi-billion dollar company. They’ve operated under many names throughout the years.
  • They’re whole model is to provide as little health care as possible in order to continue to drive a profit.  They take into account in their profit, how often they’re going to be sued.
  • They gamble in effect on how much money they’re going to lose in lawsuits and whether that can keep them profitable by continuing to deny care to prisoners.
  • When Corizon contracted with Arizona to provide care (in prisons) in the first 8 months there were 50 deaths in Arizona Department of Corrections in their custody, that’s in a single state.
  • There are multiple stories of substandard care being provided by nurses and doctors who have not been trained, who have been trained at a suboptimal level.
  • The states, county  or municipality cannot contract away the 8th Amendment.
  • The individual doctors get bonuses based on their ability to stay under budget.

Guest – Attorney Sarah Grady leads Loevy & Loevy’s Prisoners’ Rights Project. Ms. Grady graduated cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in 2012. At Northwestern, she worked on civil rights cases with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic.

Sarah Grady joined Loevy & Loevy in 2013. She leads Loevy & Loevy’s Prisoners’ Rights Project.

Ms. Grady graduated cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in 2012. At Northwestern, she worked on civil rights cases with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic, served on the board of the Public Interest Law Group and the American Constitution Society, and received Northwestern’s annual Public Service Award for her commitment to serving the public interest in her legal work.

- See more at: http://www.loevy.com/attorneys/sarah-grady/#sthash.M7ruq9uH.dpuf

Sarah Grady joined Loevy & Loevy in 2013. She leads Loevy & Loevy’s Prisoners’ Rights Project.

Ms. Grady graduated cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in 2012. At Northwestern, she worked on civil rights cases with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic, served on the board of the Public Interest Law Group and the American Constitution Society, and received Northwestern’s annual Public Service Award for her commitment to serving the public interest in her legal work.

- See more at: http://www.loevy.com/attorneys/sarah-grady/#sthash.M7ruq9uH.dpuf

Sarah Grady joined Loevy & Loevy in 2013. She leads Loevy & Loevy’s Prisoners’ Rights Project.

Ms. Grady graduated cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in 2012. At Northwestern, she worked on civil rights cases with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic, served on the board of the Public Interest Law Group and the American Constitution Society, and received Northwestern’s annual Public Service Award for her commitment to serving the public interest in her legal work.

- See more at: http://www.loevy.com/attorneys/sarah-grady/#sthash.M7ruq9uH.dpuf

Sarah Grady joined Loevy & Loevy in 2013. She leads Loevy & Loevy’s Prisoners’ Rights Project.

Ms. Grady graduated cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in 2012. At Northwestern, she worked on civil rights cases with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic, served on the board of the Public Interest Law Group and the American Constitution Society, and received Northwestern’s annual Public Service Award for her commitment to serving the public interest in her legal work.

- See more at: http://www.loevy.com/attorneys/sarah-grady/#sthash.M7ruq9uH.dpuf

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Attorney Anand Swaminathan:

  • We a broad spectrum of issues both in terms of types of facilities where these things are occurring and the actual kinds of medical problems that are not being dealt with or ignored.
  • There are states, counties and municipalities all engaged in this form of privatization which are outsourcing medical care to these private companies.
  • It includes, large prisons people who are convicted of crimes, it includes people who are being held in custody, that includes county jails which are a hybrid facility that holding people long term and people in short term custody.
  • It’s everything down to the local police station.
  • We’re seeing a lack of adequate medical care across that entire spectrum.
  • There’s a complete failure to treat chronic conditions, some of the chronic conditions that are so prevalent in our society now.
  • These people (prisoners) are not consumers and cannot choose and say I find your product subpar, I’m not interested, I’m going to choose the other guys’ product.
  • We’re starting to see a push back. Courts are starting to attack specific protections that companies are invoking.
  • Here you have courts identifying market forces as a reason to deny the protections that some of these companies are trying to invoke.

Guest – Attorney Anand Swaminathan, has worked on a broad range of constitutional and civil rights cases, and has worked extensively on False Claims Act litigation, where he has represented whistleblowers alleging defense military and other government contractor fraud, bid-rigging, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, construction/contractor (MBE/DBE) fraud, and tax fraud.

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Ex-boxer-Rubin-Hurricane-Carter-terminally-ill-with-prostate-cancer Hurricane-Book-Cover

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter 1937-2014

In April of this year, celebrated boxer and prisoner-rights activist Rubin “Hurricane” Carter died at the age of 76. He had become an international symbol of racial injustice after his wrongful murder conviction forced him to spend 19 years in prison. Carter was arrested for a triple murder in his hometown of Paterson, New Jersey. He said he was innocent, was convicted by an all white jury, and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences. In 1976, the New Jersey State Supreme Court overturned his conviction on grounds the authorities withheld material evidence from the defense. But Carter was convicted again in a second trial in 1976. In 1985, that conviction was overturned by a U.S. district court judge, who concluded the state made an unconstitutional appeal to racial prejudice. In 1988, the Passaic, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office dropped all charges against Carter.

Attorney Myron Beldock:

  • He was a defendant in a criminal case in New Jersey involved the triple shooting and three murders of 3 people in the Lafayette bar in Patterson, New Jersey.
  • He and his co-defendant John Artis were represented at the first trial and they lost, (convicted) and Rubin started his campaign to get out of jail and wrote his book the 16th Round.
  • He was charismatic and powerful, a great thinker, very very intellectually strong person as well as being spiritually strong.
  • Almost a typical case, high profile case, where you get people who are vulnerable and easily manipulated because of their need for their own benefits to falsely testify.
  • We set aside the convictions when we learned about the benefits that were given to the witnesses.
  • We went again to trial in 1975. At that time the atmosphere had changed. There was a new prosecutor, they came up with a theory that it was actually a racial revenge killing.
  • Earlier that night, a white former bar owner had shot and killed the black purchaser of the bar from him.
  • That was always known and there was no motives attributed to the killings in the first trial but the second trial really based on speculation and bias, they argued persuasively to the jury that this was a racial revenge killing.
  • Mr. Bellow who was the supposed eye witness who testified, there were two of them in the first trial, was being questioned by me on the stand as to why he recanted his recantation. The prosecutor persuaded him to again tell the story he told at the first trial, identifying Rubin and John and I was trying to establish that they had falsely manipulated him when I was pulled into the chambers along with my co-counsel Louis Steele who represented John Artis and told that if I question him further, the jury would learn that he passed the lie detector test, supporting what he said at the first trial. Supporting his identification (of Rubin Carter)
  • We did have that test. It seemed like that was the result because that’s the way it was written. In fact that was a fraud.
  • The polygraph results were completely opposite of what they were purported to be.
  • The prosecutors in that case, two of them became judges, rewarded for what they did.
  • Rubin was not a popular person, he had been an outspoken civil rights person.  It was a cesspool of rumors without any evidentiary basis.
  • The entire community there almost in Passaic New Jersey treated us like we were the devil.
  • It was the coldest community reception I ever encountered in any place.
  • Rubin would call every year (from Canada) on the anniversary of his release.  He got a group of Canadian do-gooders and free thinkers to join him in fighting to set aside convictions for people who were wrongly convicted in Canada.
  • He would vet the briefs that we sent. He was a very unusual client.
  • Rubin refused to act as a prisoner because he wasn’t anyone who was guilty he said.
  • So, he didn’t eat prison food, he didn’t take prisoner assignments, he didn’t wear prison clothes and somehow or other he was able to pull that off.
  • People think of it as being another time, I’ve been practicing law long enough and I don’t think anything changes.
  • The same kind of bias runs deep throughout the community its just masked somewhat differently.
  • You make your luck in these cases, you have to forge ahead.
  • His insistence on being an innocent person and will not compromise with the system is the kind of inspiration that pushes us on as lawyers.

Guest – Attorney Myron Beldock, graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1946, Hamilton College in 1950 and Harvard Law School in 1958. He served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1954 and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York from 1958 to 1960. After several years as an associate with a small New York City firm and as a single practitioner, he brought together two friends and former Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Elliot Hoffman and Larry Levine, to form Beldock Levine & Hoffman in 1964. He is best described, by his own definition, as an old-time general practitioner. He concentrates on trial and appellate litigation, in state and federal courts, in defense of criminal charges and in pursuing plaintiffs’ civil rights actions based on police and prosecutorial misconduct and employer and governmental discrimination. He regularly consults and defends charges of professional discipline. He represents plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of personal and business related matters, working with others in the firm’s various practice areas.

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Law and Disorder April 28, 2014


 Protesters Demonstrate Against The Visit Of Armenian President Armenians_marched_by_Turkish_soldiers,_1915

Armenian Genocide Survivor Stories: 99 Years Later

Around the world, April 24 marks observance of the Armenian Genocide. On that day in 1915 the Interior Minister of the Ottoman Empire, Talaat Pasha, ordered the arrest and hangings of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. The date is widely considered to be the starting date of a systematic and well-documented plan to eliminate the Armenians, who had been under Ottoman rule and treated as second class citizens since the 15th century.

As Armenians escaped to several countries, including the United States, a number came to New Britain, Connecticut in 1892 to work in the factories of what was then known as the hardware capital of the world. By 1940, nearly 3,000 Armenians lived there in a tight-knit community. Meeting together to share memories in conversation are Jennie Garabedian, Harry Mazadorian, Roxy Garabedian, Lucy Simonian, Roxie Maljanian, Mary Abrahamian, John Maljanian, Agnes Karanian, Ruth Swisher, and Artie Shahverdian.

The unspeakable and gruesome nature of the killings—beheadings of groups of babies, dismemberments, mass burnings, mass drownings, use of toxic gas, lethal injections of morphine or injections with the blood of typhoid fever patients—render oral histories particularly difficult.  As you will hear from the stories of these first generation Armenian survivors who continue to live in New Britain, a shared history –a shared identity—emerges.

Why did this happen? Despite being deemed inferior to Turkish Muslims, the Armenian community had attained a prestigious position in the Ottoman Empire and the central authorities there grew apprehensive of their power and longing for a homeland. A concerted plan of deportation and extermination was allowed to be carried out, in large part because World War I demanded the involvement and concern of potential allied countries. As the writer Grigoris Balakian wrote, the war provided the Turkish government “their sole opportunity, one unprecedented” to exploit the chaos of war in order to carry out their extermination plan.

Some learned about the massacres directly from their parents or family members, while others were not told at all. Often, surviving women were ashamed to talk about what they had experienced because so many of them had been raped or forced into harems. For others, conjuring visual images of the atrocities was too painful to bear. When parents did speak about the crimes they experienced or witnessed, they frequently spoke in Turkish or Syrian, instead of English or Armenian, so that their children couldn’t understand. Most children of survivors say that the subject was a secret, even forbidden.

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Law and Disorder April 21, 2014


Updates:

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cuban-twitter Cuba-cell-phone-2010-05-14

U.S. Agency Infiltrates Cuba With Fake Twitter Account

Consistent with the NSA’s deceptive strategies in creating fake social networks, the U.S. Agency for International Development masterminded the creation of a “Cuban Twitter: The communications network was designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba. It was financed through foreign banks and constructed through shell companies. The Associated Press learned that the project lasted more than 2 years and had tens of thousands of followers. The content initially was non political such as soccer, music and weather, but it was learned that once a critical mass was reached, political content would be introduced to organize “smart mobs” that could trigger a Cuban Spring.

Jane Franklin:

  • When Obama speaks about Cuba you have to read between the lines always and be very careful about what you think he’s saying.
  • He said the notion that “the policies we put into place in 1961 would somehow be as effective as they are today in the age of the internet and google and world travel doesn’t make sense.
  • We recognize that the aims are always going to be the same and what we have to do is continually find new mechanisms and new tools to speak out on behalf of the issues that we care so deeply about.”
  • That’s what he was considering back in November and of course before that this plan to use creative and thoughtful methods to infiltrate Cuba and try to create what the Associated Press calls “smart mobs” which could lead to the downfall of the Cuban government.
  • It was called ZunZuneo and was budding in 2009, then it was launched full scale in 2010 with a campaign to use a half a million cell phone numbers that U.S. aids have gotten and sent what they call blasts to those half a million receivers.
  • Those people would be told that they could sign up for this program and get news and so on. News that at first would be trivial, and then gradually according to the documents that the AP has – this would increase until they could develop smart mobs – that is street protest that would help lead to the overthrow of the Cuban government.
  • They used foreign countries to disguise where the messages came from. They set up a bank account in the Cayman Islands which is a tax haven to use that for money.
  • When there was a concert in Havana in 2009 which is described in the report by the AP and the US Aid people blasted the cell phones with questions.
  • One of the questions was do you think the two bands that were not in favor of the Cuban government should be on the stage with the band that’s there today?
  • If you answered yes, you were what’s called “receptive” to their ideas.
  • A few months later they launched this full scale campaign and eventually they had 60 thousand receivers using their program. That’s not many in the population of Cuba. It was a failure and they closed it down.
  • They were paying tens of thousands to Cuba Cell, which regulates the cell phones.
  • They get millions of dollars from Congress every year to create such programs and try to overthrow the government of Cuba which they’re supposed to do according to U.S. law The Helms-Burton Act requires that.
  • It (the report) says that a researcher from Mobile Accord which was the main private contractor was building a mass database about the Cuban subscribers including gender, age, receptiveness and political tendency.

Guest – Jane Franklin is a historian, she has written two books about Cuba: Cuban Foreign Relations 1959-1982 (Center for Cuban Studies, New York, 1984) and Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History (Ocean Press, Melbourne, Australia, 1997). She is co-author of Vietnam and America: A Documented History (Grove Press: New York, 1985, enlarged edition 1995). Her chronology of the history of Panama is in The U.S. Invasion of Panama (South End Press: Boston, 1991). She has published numerous articles, poems and film reviews and has lectured extensively about Cuba, Vietnam, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Panama. She is a frequent radio commentator about Cuba.
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nelson1939_jimcrow MLK-and-Johnson

50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. The Civil Rights Act prohibits prohibits discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion, or national origin. The law also provides the federal government with the powers to enforce desegregation.  In a speech on June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy unveiled plans to pursue a comprehensive civil rights bill in Congress, stating, ‘‘this nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.”

Professor of Law John Brittain:

  • Yes, I do believe Lyndon Johnson deserves credit, although he had such allies like Martin Luther King. They released some of the unacknowledged tapes by President Johnson in his office in talking with Dr. King both about the 1964 Civil Rights Act as well as he went on to usher in the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
  • These acts were a response to a condition on the ground, and the condition was apartheid in the United States, in particularly in the South, but as Malcolm X said anything below the Canadian – US border was the South.
  • We’re also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer in Mississippi.
  • The demonstrations in the streets no doubt had an effect upon the Congress in passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act to shall we say, let some of the steam out of the kettle.
  • He (LBJ) came out of the Lone Star state, the only state that came into the union as a slave state and the state that promoted the white primary, that unless you were white you couldn’t vote in the primary.
  • The Missouri Compromise we’d have slave states and free states. After the civil war we’d have a great period of radical Republican reconstruction in the South to give the black former slave equal rights but that died by the 1890s and ushered in a period what we call Jim Crow.
  • Coming up to that point in the 1960s and with the riots, to his credit LBJ, notwithstanding that dark cloud over his head, that war in Vietnam which Dr. King called immoral, unjust and illegal and took a lot of criticism for daring to talk about international affairs and indeed talk about a war.
  • The minute lawyers went to work in representing the poor, they were cut off by restrictions. The war on poverty and neighborhood legal services was started in 1965-66 but a decade later it was cut off at the knees.
  • Johnson said when he was first presented with the idea of legal services – hell I’m not going to pay lawyers to sue the government and win but he was convinced otherwise.
  • By the time 65 came around and they created this compromise and started this new federal agency funding called Legal Services corporation to take the political veto out of governors but they had to agree to restriction.
  • Legal Services lawyers couldn’t take criminal cases, abortion cases, agitation for labor rights cases, immigration cases, school desegregation cases.
  • Just last year 2013, on the eve of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Chief Justice John Roberts and the right wing on the Supreme Court – Shelby County v Eric Holder
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the same Civil Rights Act of the 1860s. The only difference is they based on a different constitutional provision, not the 14th Amendment which gives Congress the right to enforce the Constitution to provide equality for the former slave, now African American, but instead in 1964, they based it on commerce clause by saying that any segregation interfered with interstate commerce. The act in essence provided for equal accommodation.
  • It broke the back of Jim Crow segregation where an African American could go shop, go eat, go live and go play and go to any access in parts of America.
  • It would later take the 1968 Fair Housing Act in order to provide equal housing.
  • The 1964 Civil Rights Act gave Congress, gave the Justice Department, the Department of Education too, and others the tools to go in and to stop Jim Crow or “colored only” segregation in our mainly southern states.
  • That was the same Justice Department that went on to enforce 1964 Civil Rights Act by bringing legal claims against hotels and restaurants, government facilities that continued to bar blacks from equal access.
  • Kennedy said where are the lawyers? By current tort terms, he falsely imprisoned them in the White House and told them they couldn’t leave until they created an organization and out of that grew the Lawyers Committee and immediately they went down to Jackson, Mississippi and created the Jackson Litigation Office.
  • I happen to come along in 1969 fresh out of law school to become one of the lawyers in the Jackson litigation and throughout the history of the lawyers committee. The only national legal organization dedicated to equality for African Americans and other people of color have gone on to litigate in education, in voting, in housing and employment discrimination as well as criminal justice.

Guest – Professor John Brittain, tenured professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law. In the past he served as dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston, was a veteran law professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law for twenty-two years and was the Chief Counsel and Senior Deputy Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, DC, a public interest legal organization started by President John F. Kennedy to enlist private lawyers to take pro bono cases in civil rights.
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Law and Disorder March 31, 2014


Updates:

  • President Barack Obama Lies About NSA Bulk Collection and Retention of Personal Metadata.
  • Der Spiegel Reports on U.S. Spies On Huawei Telecommunications in China
  • New York Times Reports That U.S. Spying on China Is In Retaliation From China Spying
  • Michael Ratner: New York Times Spin Is Ridiculous In Justifying Spying

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Anti-government protests in Venezuela ukraine2

Obama’s Ukrainian Power Grab, Sanctions and the Boomerang Effect

The unfolding of the US-EU-Russian conflict over the Ukraine will have far reaching consequences and will ultimately define the global configuration of power. While the Western power grab was largely ignored, the US-EU propaganda machine kicked into gear, focusing on Russia’s defensive action in the autonomous region of Crimea. The citizens of Crimea organized a self-defense militia and pressured the Putin administration to help protect them from armed incursions by the NATO backed coup regime in Kiev. We’re joined today by returning guest Professor James Petras who has written several articles on the crisis in the Ukraine. He identifies it as the most recent cycle of US empire-building in a 3 phase system including Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Professor James Petras:

  • The U.S. according to UN Sub-secretary of Foreign Affairs stated it very clearly. We’ve poured 5 billion dollars into the Ukraine building up organizations and politicians who are favorable to NATO and the European Union and hostile to Russia and eager to oust it from the bases in the Black Sea.
  • I think it was a long term project in building client organizations there, mainly in terms of electoral politics in the beginning.
  • So you have a target of a vassal state building and encircling Russia in line with what happened through the Baltics through central Europe and into the soft underbelly of Russia.
  • At the same time this is going on Russia is cooperating with the U.S. in many spheres including the over-flight caper in Libya, supporting the sanctions in Iran,
  • You have on one hand Washington aggressively encircling Russia, Russia essentially cooperating with the U.S. to gain good merit points, hopefully to get accepted in the G8.
  • Two thirds of the so called Ukraine Army decide to stay in Crimea as an annex state of Russia. This is a fact that tells you something about the hostility they feel to the people that grabbed power in Kiev.
  • The Russian threat that’s been manufactured has to do with the fact that in southern Ukraine there have been massive demonstrations against the coup makers.
  • What they’re doing is reenforcing repressive authority against the internal opposition which is hostile to the coup.
  • The internal opposition now doesn’t want to join Crimea but do want a federal structure in which they elect their own governors and legislators and not be forced to accept oligarchs in line with the EU policies.
  • I think its clear its to encircle Russia and return Russia to the status of the 1990s.
  • With the rise of Putin you have a semblance of a state once more. You have a political economic order which is functioning which has raised living standards which allows Russia to play a modicum of political role in world politics in particular the border area.
  • Venezuela: Democratic protesters don’t burn down 500 businesses and installations administering social welfare programs.
  • Democratic protesters don’t assassinate 7 national guard and policemen trying to maintain order.
  • Democratic protesters don’t blow up electrical grids and light up the national forests in a 360 degree circumference.
  • Kerry is lying, the U.S. is supporting violent terrorists. Those people that are engaged in this activity are engaged in trying to overthrow the government by force and violence. They resorted to this because they lost the last 10 elections in Venezuela including a resounding defeat this last December.
  • They’re going for a civilian based terrorist operation which they (U.S.) will hope will precipitate a military coup.
  • The New York Times is a propaganda organ for the U.S. government whenever there is a serious conflict particularly from a left wing or progressive government.
  • The New York Times has not shown any of the charred buildings that the so called democratic protesters have burned down.
  • They haven’t shown the experimental school that was blown up in Tachira, Venezuela.
  • Let’s be clear Michael, the targets of the terrorists, not a single U.S. business has been effected. Not a single major bank has been effected.
  • This is profoundly a class war directed against anti-imperialist communities.
  • China holds 3 trillion dollars in U.S. treasury notes. All the major 500 U.S. corporations are involved with China. It’s very much linked into the production chain of goods that go from Asia to China to the U.S. Walmarts, etc.
  • On the other hand Washington is very concerned with not being able to compete with China in world markets.
  • The Chinese have displaced the U.S. in Latin America, in the Asian field.

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

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Mock.Checkpoint.WSU michigan-mock-eviction-notice

Boycott Divestment Sanction Awareness Gains Traction On University Campuses

Members of the group Students for Justice in Palestine at Northeastern University in Boston were disciplined and banned from serving on the inaugural board of the new organization plus their members must attend a university-sanctioned “training.” This is one of 50 cases of repression the SJP has documented across the country in universities since 2013. As the SJP gains momentum, it faces aggressive campaigns to shield Israel from public scrutiny. The repression campaigns are driven by organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America, StandWithUs, the Amcha Initiative, American for Peace and Tolerance and the Bradneis Center.  Recently the Northeastern University School of Law chapter of the National Lawyers Guild had publicly declared support for the Northeastern chapter of the SJP and formally opposes the administration’s decision to suspend the group and sanction its members.

Attorney Dima Khalidi:

  • We started Palestine Legal Support a little over a year ago.
  • The major backlash has been on campuses because that’s where the activism is most vigorous and spirited.
  • What we’re seeing is a lot of effort by students, even academics to raise awareness about the Israel – Palestine issue.
  • There’s also a lot of movement around Boycott, Divestment Sanction. The BDS movement is really growing and I think that’s been the case since 2008-2009 with Operation Cast Lead.
  • We’re seeing students doing a lot of awareness raising, unique and creative things.
  • We’re seeing things like mock walls to illustrate what the apartheid wall is doing.
  • We’re seeing things like mock eviction notices being distributed in dorms to illustrate the way Israel demolishes Palestinian civilian homes.
  • We’ve working with Northeastern students since last year. This year when students, some affiliated with SJP distributed mock eviction notices under dorm room doors, the university, right away, suspended the entire group.
  • The reaction is typical but its unique in the type of pressure that’s been put on this university.
  • The reaction was disproportionate and inappropriate.
  • They sent university police to student’s homes, they interrogated a couple of students. They filed disciplinary charges against 2 students for allegedly allowing students to enter the dorms.
  • Title IV of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, national origin and color by educational institutions.
  • This has been used by Jewish groups to allege that universities are discriminating Jewish students by tolerating a hostile anti semitic environment.
  • Accusations of anti semitism underlie this backlash. We saw this with mock eviction notices in several places, at Florida Atlantic University last year. The ADL accused the SJP of targeting Jewish students with these notices saying they only put them under Jewish student’s doors.
  • The same accusations at Rutgers, that Jewish students were targeted.
  • The burden has fallen on those advocating for Palestinian rights.
  • What sustains us is really the activists themselves who are really inspirational in their dedication to this issue.
  • There are number of student groups that are trying to pass divestment actions at their schools and there’s a sustained attack and we know that Netanyahu himself has said this is a prime threat to the state of Israel.

Guest – Attorney Dima Khalidi, founder and Director of Palestine Solidarity Legal Support (PSLS), and Cooperating Counsel with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).  Her work includes providing legal advice to activists, engaging in advocacy to protect their rights to speak out for Palestinian rights, and educating activists and the public about their rights.

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Law and Disorder March 10, 2014


Updates:

 

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NJ Federal Court Dismisses NYPD Spying On Muslims Case

We take a look into the failed lawsuit challenging the New York City Police Department’s broad surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey. As listeners may know the case Hassan v City of New York brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Muslim Advocates was dismissed last month. Since 2002, the NYPD spied outside its jurisdiction on at least 20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools and two Muslim Student Associations in New Jersey. The monitoring included using racial and ethnic profiling systems, video surveillance, photographing, community mapping and infiltration.

Professor Deepa Kumar:

  • It was very troubling for me too Michael. At Rutgers where I teach, we found out that the NYPD had a safe house just off of our New Brunswick campus.
  • It’s really troubling that student groups on my campus not to mention grade schools and Muslim book stores and community centers have been invaded.
  • It’s created a chilling sentiment among the Muslim community. People self-censor, they’re afraid that what they say will be used against them in entrapment cases.
  • This decision by this judge is completely stunning. The logic that he puts forward and I’m reading from his ten page report. He says “the police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself. The motive for the program was not solely apparently to discriminate against Muslims but to find Muslim terrorists hiding among ordinary law abiding Muslims.”
  • If you examine what he says, the notion that there are terrorists in the Muslim community, therefore its alright to go out and spy on them.
  • It’s based on the notion that somehow Islam serves to radicalize Muslim Americans into performing political violence.
  • This program has been active since 2002, but there hasn’t been one terrorism related lead, let alone any kind of conviction.
  • Since the events of 9/11 there have been all sorts of pseudo-scientific attempts to show that somehow the religion Islam creates political violence.
  • If you look at Hamas, the group in Palestine, they’ve gone to the Quran to justify violence as well as to justify cease fire.
  • It’s politics really as the key reason why people turn to violence and so to somehow blame Islam, this is a form of cultural racism.
  • What this means is that the NYPD can go around with impunity and spy on religion minorities, not just in New York City, but in New Jersey, in Connecticut.
  • It sends a green light to other police departments across the country as well as the FBI which has similar programs.
  • He (Judge Martini) justified his ruling referring to a case in the Supreme Court. I think we have a lot of work to do ahead of us in pushing back against this racist logic.
  • Some people claim that there isn’t racism against Muslims because Muslims aren’t a race.
  • There’s tremendous variation between human to human in terms of our genetic make up and 85 percent of this variation occurs within a so called race.
  • Why are we calling it racism? Because its a form of cultural racism, because its based on the premise that Islam somehow creates an ideology, it creates a culture that programs people to act in violent ways.
  • The reason why people turn to violence often is because peaceful movements failed.
  • I’m currently working on a book on the cultural logic of the national security state.
  • If you look the campaigns If You See Something, Say Something. What’s being asked of you is to become an agent of state surveillance.

Guest – Deepa Kumar, an Associate Professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. Her work is driven by an active engagement with the key issues that characterize our era–neoliberalism and imperialism. 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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mergerSTAMP_dark broadband-lg

Net Neutrality – Time Warner/Comcast Merger

A merger of media cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable threatens net neutrality. Comcast intends to take over Time Warner for more than 44 billion dollars in stock. This proposed merger would unite the nation’s largest cable TV and internet service provider with the second largest cable company. If combined, these companies would offer service to two thirds of U.S. households. The deal must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department and the FCC.

Attorney Matt Wood:

  • What we would have here is a 45 billion dollar deal combining the nation’s largest and second largest cable company.
  • They face some competition especially from video from satellite providers.
  • The place where they don’t face competition at all is on the broadband platform.
  • This deal would strengthen them both in their cable TV programming dominance and on the broadband side too.
  • You’d have one company that reaches two thirds of the country and its the only option some people have for advanced communications services, putting video and broadband together.
  • That would give tremendous power of everything we see on both TV and online. Comcast is already a must have for any independent programmer.
  • For even web providers such as Netflix.
  • Even without that horizontal competition today between Comcast and Time Warner cable this is not good news for the American people, for free expression, for lower prices, for anything we care about.
  • Net-neutrality means preventing unreasonable discrimination against content.
  • Verizon went to court and had these net neutrality rules struck down that the FCC put forward.
  • They (Verizon) said they internet is really like a newspaper than it is like a phone system and what that means is that we at Verizon should have editorial discretion over the internet content we transmit.
  • An internet service provider used to be somebody you went to who rode over the top of an open phone system. Right? Back in the dial up days there were a number of internet service providers and you could switch from one to the other.
  • Internet content should not be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission full stop yet the communications network that we all use to get online is something where have to have a public oversight role and a certain degree of universality, affordable and openness.
  • Susan Crawford talks about these issues as well. She said “What the companies want to do is confuse the conversation for the sidewalk.”
  • We need these rules to keep open the sidewalks, to keep open the public spaces and this concept of public communications network that serves everybody.
  • The twin review by the FCC and the Department of Justice might seem cumbersome but they have different mandates.
  • DOJ and the FTC are looking to prevent a decrease in existing competition.
  • The FCC has a broader mandate to make the sure the deal is actually in the public interest.
  • Comcast bought up NBC only 3 years ago. Since then, AT&T tried to acquire T-mobile.
  • Verizon has almost 50 percent of the entire (wireless) industry’s profits.

Guest – Attorney Matt Wood helps shape the policy team’s efforts to protect the open Internet, prevent media concentration, promote affordable broadband deployment and prioritize a revitalized public media. Before joining Free Press, he worked at the public interest law firm Media Access Project and in the communications practice groups of two private law firms in Washington, D.C. Before that, he served as editor-in-chief for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, worked for PBS, and spent time at several professional and college radio and television stations. Matt earned his B.A. in film studies from Columbia University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

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