Law and Disorder Radio

Archive for the 'Human Rights' Category


Law and Disorder August 29, 2016


Updates:

  • Swedish Police To Question Julian Assange At Ecuadorian Embassy

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Comedian Lenny Bruce Life And First Amendment Trial Remembered

The great 1950s comedian and rebellious social satirist Lenny Bruce died 50 years ago this month accidently from a morphine overdose. He was certainly driven to death by the various trials prosecutors put him through said Martin Garbis, the young attorney who in 1964 unsuccessfully represented him in a crucial obscenity trial in New York City. Bruce was a groundbreaker, transcending the conventional subjects for humor at every opportunity. He was concerned with vanguard ideas in the mid 50s black power, prison reform, the rights of convicts, the plight of Native Americans, religious and political frauds like Billy Graham and his friend President Richard Nixon, and the right to abortion. He was not taken in by US Cold War ideology. He thought Cuba, that the United States Navy,at the better claim to Guantánamo Bay. He refused to support radio free Europe, thinking it hypocritical given the racism and corruption in America. And he said – the ultimate heresy – that of communism cooked for you “solid”.  Richard Kuh, who as an assistant District Attorney in Manhattan prosecuted Bruce for obscenity in 1964 thought that  Bruce crystallized rebellion. He provided not only bone searing talk, but fanfare and a rallying point.

Lenny Bruce was indeed the spiritual father of the cultural radicalization of the 60s. New York Governor George Pataki pardoned Lenny Bruce in 2003 stating that his decision, nearly 4 decades after the conviction, was “a declaration of New York’s commitment to upholding the First Amendment.

Guest – Attorney Martin Garbus represented Lenny Bruce. Martin is one of the country’s top trial lawyers, as well as an author and sought-after speaker. Time magazine called him “legendary” and “one of the greatest trial lawyers in the country”. The Guardian, declared him “one of the worlds finest trial lawyers”. An expert at every level of civil and criminal trial, and litigation, he has appeared before the United States Supreme Court in leading First Amendment cases, and his cases have established precedents there and in other courts throughout the country. A case he filed, Goldberg v. Kelly, that resulted in a favorable 5-4 Supreme Court opinion was described by Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan as “arguably the most important due process case of the 20th Century”. Martin Garbus has written seven books, hundreds of articles, and has taught that the law schools at Columbia and Yale Universities.
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Immigrant Children Forced To Act As Their Own Lawyers

Each year, thousands of children are forced to act as their own lawyers in United States immigration courts with no one to explain the chargest against them.. They are thrust against trained federal prosecutors in seeking asylum or other types of relief in proceedings that most adults find often impossible to understand much less navigate effectively.

In contrast to individuals charged with criminal offenses, such as homicide or kidnapping, the government has no obligation to provide court-appointed legal defense for those who cannot afford an attorney in civil cases. Many children in immigration court hail from Central America where they escaped poverty and especially perilous conditions.

Having an attorney can mean the difference between being deported—often putting their lives at risk—and remaining in this country. One survey found that more than half the children representing themselves were deported, contrasted with only one in 10 who were provided legal representation.

A class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU and other civil rights groups is challenging this gross systemic failure.

Guest – Attorney Lauren Dasse, Executive Director of The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. Lauren has been representing young people facing deportation for years, and last year gave 7,500 know-your-rights presentations to children in Arizona shelters. Lauren Dasse grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and earned her B.A. in Latin American Studies and Sociology from the University of Arizona. She received her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the CUNY Law Review. She has interned with the Center for Constitutional Rights and Make the Road New York,  and participated in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at CUNY Law.

 

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Law and Disorder August 22, 2016


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The Movement For Black Lives

In response to the ongoing violence by police against Black communities across the United States, more than 50 organizations have come together to express a common vision and agenda for change. The Movement for Black Lives has issued a call to end the war against Black people that includes ending the criminalization, imprisonment and killing, not only of Black individuals, but all oppressed people. Broad areas for reform include economic justice, ending the war on Black people, reparations, invest-divest, community control and political power.

Guest – Donna Murch, Professor of History at Rutgers University and author of Living In The City: Migration, Eduation and the Rise of the Black Panther Party. She also contributed an article to the forthcoming verso press book “False Choice: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Clinton.

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U.S. – Saudi Arabia Arms Deal

Last month Congress narrowly approved the sale of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. They are being used in the Saudi war against Yemen and are dropped on civilians. The bombs are manufactured by the General Dynamics Corporation, part of the American military Industrial complex. Now a second arms sale, this one involving tanks and armored personnel carriers, is up for Congressional approval.  A number of peace groups including human rights watch have come out against it. Last week a New York Times editorial stated that “Congress should put the arms sales on hold and President Obama should quietly inform Riyadh that the United States will withdraw crucial assistance if the Saudis do not stop targeting civilians and agree to negotiate peace. ” The Saudi Arabian Monarchy  has been a long time ally of the United States and provides a significant amount of oil to United States as well as being a major purchaser of American corporate made weapons.  They are used in Yemen and illegal under American law.

Guest – Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at IPS, working as a writer, activist and analyst on Middle East and UN issues. She is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. In 2001 she helped found and remains active with the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. She works with many anti-war organizations, and writes and speaks widely across the U.S. and around the world as part of the global peace movement. She has served as an informal adviser to several top UN officials on Middle East and UN democratization issues.

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Bush

George W. Bush is now 70 years old and retired on his ranch outside of Crawford Texas.  Many Americans remember him as a clueless figure on the morning of September 11, 2001 reading My Pet Goat to a classroom of children. They think of Bush as a hands-off leader who turned over the reins of power to his Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and the head of the CIA George Tenet.  But the major decisions after the attacks on September 11, 2001, including the bombing of Afghanistan, the opening of the Guantánamo offshore prison camp, torture, and the introduction of the Patriot Act, and the war on Iraq were made by George W. Bush, who denominated himself as “the decider.” He had “and unnerving level of certitude” –  as Jean Edward Smith, author of the recent expansive biography called “Bush” has written.  Smith writes that Bush “firmly believed that he was the instrument of God’s will.”

Guest – Professor Jean Edward Smith, is ean Edward Smith is the author of twelve books, including highly acclaimed biographies of Chief Justice John Marshall, General Lucius D. Clay, and Ulysses S. Grant (a 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist). A graduate of Princeton and Columbia Universities, Smith taught at the University of Toronto for thirty-five years before joining the faculty at Marshall University where he was the John Marshall Professor of Political Science.

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Law and Disorder August 15, 2016


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Denied Parole 10 Times, John Mackenzie Found Dead In Cell After 41 Years In Prison

On Thursday morning August 4th 70-year-old John Mackenzie was found dead in his prison cell at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in New York State. Nine days earlier in a two to one decision the parole board denied parole for McKenzie for the 10th time in the past 16 years since he became eligible. More information at RAPP Campaign.

In 1975, when he was 29 years old, Mackenzie was sentenced to 25 years to life for the shooting of a police officer during a burglary. He spent 41 years in prison. Each time Mackenzie appeared before the parole board it held that his crime showed “a serious disrespect for the law. ” It further stated that granting him parole would “undermine respect for the law.” In 2011 pursuant to a New York state executive law the parole board was required to consider not just the nature of the crime, but also factors such as participation in rehabilitation programs, release plans and the risk of recidivism.

His attorney Kathy Manley sued and got a favorable decision from state Supreme Court judge Maria Rosa vacating the 2014 denial of parole and ordering a new parole hearing. The new hearing ruled, again, that he should be denied based on the nature of the crime.

On May 16, 2016 Judge Rosa again ordered a new hearing. This time she said that the parole board members who had ruled against Mackenzie the two other times should not be allowed to sit on the parole board. Judge Rosa also said that a new hearing had to be held immediately and that the parole board would be fined $500 a day until it had a new hearing. “I was optimistic but he couldn’t stand it anymore” said attorney Manley when she learned of his death. Manley practices criminal defense law in Albany New York.

Guest – Attorney Kathy Manley graduated from the State University at Albany in 1988, and spent several years teaching at the Albany Free School. In 1996 she entered Albany Law School, and completed one year there. Kathy then took the unusual step of pursuing a Clerkship with Kindlon Shanks & Associates rather than staying in law school. She completed the three year Clerkship in 2000, successfully passed the bar exam and was admitted as an attorney in 2001.

Kathy’s main interests are criminal defense and constitutional rights. She concentrates on appeals and motions, and has written many winning briefs before the NYS Appellate Division, Third Department and other courts. She has also written many suppression motions successfully challenging illegal searches and seizures. Kathy was involved with a local same sex marriage case, the Aref case (which, among other issues, challenged the NSA warrantless wiretapping program), and is currently involved with cases challenging sex offender residence restrictions and other sex offender issues.

Long an advocate for peace and social justice, Kathy is involved in a number of groups, including the Muslim Solidarity Committee, Project SALAM and the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF). She is also Vice President of the Capital Region chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

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Lawsuit Strategy Over Flint Water Crisis Alleges Federal Racketeering

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, high-ranking former members of his staff and others are the target of a federal racketeering lawsuit over the city of Flint’s water crisis. The lawsuit, which also targets the city, alleges that the officials tried to balance the City’s budget through a pattern of racketeering activity. It claims they committed mail fraud by continuing to mail water bills to Flint residents, which they allege fraudulently misrepresents that the city is providing safe, clean water to its residents.

A group of 15 citizens filed the lawsuit seeking financial compensation for property damage, loss of business and financial losses and damages for future medical care attributed to the water crisis.

It alleges that officials misrepresented the suitability of the Flint River water as the city’s drinking water source for approximately two years and billed Flint residents at rates that were the highest in the nation for unusable water, yielding $3.3 million surplus and resulting in the city’s budget deficit being reversed.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants committed wire fraud by allowing residents to pay their water bills online or with credit cards despite knowing the water was toxic. RICO lawsuits require attorneys to prove that wrongdoing was part of an ongoing enterprise. If successful, it allows treble damages.

Guest – Attorney Bill Goodman. Bill is the former Legal Director at the Constitutional Rights and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild. He’s also the attorney for a number of victims of water poisoning in Flint, Michigan.

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Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror

Retired Florida U. S. Senator Bob Graham was the head of the US Senate intelligence committee and also  the chairman of the 9/11 commission of inquiry. He is the leading person trying to get President Obama to release to the public the suppressed 28 pages of the 911 report which have been hidden. Senator Graham contends that the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom who were Saudi Arabians,  could not have pulled off the operation alone and that in fact they were part of a support network involving the Saudi Arabian monarchy and government which helped plan, pay for and execute the complicated 911 plot which, says Senator Graham, would have otherwise been impossible to accomplish. Senator Graham has written the book Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror. It provides a candid insight to the workings of the US in Saudi relations and their implications on US foreign-policy making as it pertains to the middle east and bags tension, contemporary geopolitics.

Guest – Senator Bob Graham, is the former two–term governor of Florida and served for 18 years  in the United States Senate. This is combined with 12 years in the Florida  legislature for a total of 38 years of public service. As Governor and Senator,  Bob Graham was a centrist, committed to bringing his colleagues together behind  programs that served the broadest public interest. He was recognized by the  people of Florida when he received an 83% approval ranking as he concluded  eight years as Governor. Bob Graham retired from public service in January  2005, following his Presidential campaign in 2004.

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Law and Disorder August 8, 2016


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Civil Disobedience Ordinance and Home Rule In Grant Township, PA

In what is perhaps the nation’s first law that legalizes direct action, Grant Township in Indiana County PA, passed an ordinance permitting nonviolent direct aimed at stopping local frack wastewater injection wells.  Pennsylvania General Energy Company has sued the Township to overturn a local democratically-enacted law that prohibits injection wells. In 2013, residents in Grant Township learned that PGE was applying for permits that would legalize the injection well. Despite hearings, public comments, and permit appeals demonstrating widespread residents opposition to the project, the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued a permit to PGE. In response, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Grant Township Supervisors passed an ordinance the next year establishing rights to clean air and water, and the right to local community self-government.

If a court fails to uphold citizens’ right to stop corporate activities threatening the community’s well-being, the ordinance provides that, “any natural person may then enforce the rights and prohibitions of the charter through direct action.” It also says that any nonviolent direct action to enforce their Charter is protected from any legal actions brought by private or public entities.

Guest – Chad Nicholson, the statewide Pennsylvania Organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). The work keeps him on the road constantly, working with communities facing industrial threats in all corners of the Keystone State. Recent work has, included CELDF’s role in defending two communities in federal court (including Grant Township) facing toxic injection wells; multiple communities pursuing Home Rule campaigns to increase community control over harmful corporate projects; and work with dozens of other communities fighting harms that range from corporate herbicide spraying to factory farms to sewage sludge spreading to fracking to massive energy corridors.  With colleague Ben Price, Chad has co-authored the Pennsylvania Community Rights Cookbook, a 700-page volume on the history of people’s movements, and the tragic rise of corporate power, in Pennsylvania. The Cookbook serves as the curriculum for 2-day Community Rights Workshops, which have graduated hundreds of PA residents who are asserting their community’s rights over corporate control.

Chad began rights-based organizing in Spokane, WA, in 2009, coordinating Envision Spokane’s first campaign attempting to amend the city’s Home Rule charter to recognize expanded rights for residents on issues that ranged from healthcare, affordable housing, worker protections on the job, and environmental rights.

Guest – Stacy Long,  lives in East Run, Pennsylvania with her husband, Mark.  Two male kittens will be joining them in mere days.  A graphic designer by trade, she’s also president of the East Run Hellbenders Society and is a board member of the PA Community Rights Network.  She currently serves as  vice-chair on the board of supervisors in Grant Township. She likes to make and eat soup and she likes flying around on broomsticks.”

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Voting Restrictions Overturned In North Carolina By Federal Court

The great Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s gave rise to the 1967 Voting Rights Act. It protected black citizens. Many of them were poor, when they sought to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Last month the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit invalidated voting restrictions in North Carolina that were described as targeting African Americans with almost surgical precision. In June of 2013, the Supreme Court removed a part of the Voting Rights Act ruling that states with the longest histories of voting discrimination no longer needed to approve their voting changes with the federal government. Within a month of that decision North Carolina passed the country’s most restrictive voting laws. Those restrictions were recently overturned in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the 14 amendment.

Guest – Julie Ebenstein, staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project. Julie is actively involved in litigating voting rights matters around the country, with cases in Kansas (challenging the state dual registration system), Iowa (challenging the state’s felon disenfranchisement laws), North Carolina (challenging cutbacks to early voting and the elimination of same-day registration) and Ferguson, Missouri (challenging at-large school board elections).

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Successful Defense Against Entrapment Case In Canada

A Canadian couple who faced life in prison for hiding what they believed were pressure cooker bombs outside British Columbia legislative building in 2013 were freed last month after a judge ruled they were entrapped by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. John Stuart Nuttall and Amanda Marie Korody were the victims of an elaborate police sting. Justice Catherine Bruce of the Supreme Court of British Columbia found that the police had initiated the terrorist plot and coerced the couple.

Guest – Attorney Marilyn Sandford about the case and the involvement of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Marilyn Sandford works in private practice in Victoria, BC. She represents clients facing criminal charges and advancing civil constitutional claims.

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Law and Disorder August 1, 2016


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Voices of Dissent At the Democratic National Convention 2016

Last week Eli Smith attended the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. We go now to hear several on the street interviews with activists attending demonstrations, activities in and outside the convention hall and evening discussions centered on the collective next steps. Link to video footage by photographer Ernesto Gomez

Eli Smith (host/producer) is a banjo player, writer, researcher and promoter of folk music living in New York City. Eli is a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist.  Eli organizes two folk festivals annually, the Brooklyn Folk Festival in the Spring and Washington Square Park Folk Festival in the Fall. Above photos by Eli Smith and Ernesto Gomez.

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Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Report

A recent report by a police accountability task force in Chicago makes the stunning claim that “police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”

Three-quarters of persons shot by Chicago police in a seven-year period, from 2008 to 2015, were black, although they comprise just a third of the city’s population.

The nearly 200-page report, however, does not lay blame entirely on the Chicago Police Department.  It cites generations of poverty as contributing factors including an  “alarming lack of jobs” in certain neighborhoods, and a lack of basic community services and support networks such as good schools, day care, churches, community centers, parks and even grocery stores.

Guest – Professor Nirej Sekhon is from Georgia State University Law School. He has analyzed all shootings by Chicago police over several years, finding a complex relationship between race, policing, and violence.

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Law and Disorder July 25, 2016


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The End of the Republic and the Delusion of Empire

Are we approaching “peak America”, where the Republic has failed, and the Empire which put paid to it cannot be achieved? For the first time, the goal of socialism has been raised in the presidential primaries, backed by tens of millions of voters. Not since the New Deal, nearly a century ago, have class relations come into sharper confrontation. The U.S. presidential elections are everything abnormal with both major parties arousing popular revulsion. Not since World War II have the US and Russia drawn closer to the possibility of mutual annihilation through nuclear war due to US empire building. Who rules America and who sets the military agenda in the most contentious regions of the Middle East is in open dispute.

Guest – 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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Black Lives Matter, the Left Movements and Law Enforcement

In the last two weeks the police have killed 41 people.  Five police were killed in Dallas and three in Baton Rouge by two military veterans.  BLM, a non-violent nationwide group seeking to abolish police abuse has been attacked by the police and politicians
as facilitating terrorism.

Guest – Ajamu Baraka is a longtime activist, veteran of Black Liberation Movement, Human Rights defender, Former founding director of US Human Rights Network, currently Public Intervenon for Human Rights with Green Shadow Cabinet, member of Coordinating Committee of Black Left Unity Network and Associate Fellow at IPS.  He is a human rights defender whose experience spans three decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. Black Agenda Report

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Journalist Arun Gupta At the Republican National Convention

The goings on in Cleveland, Ohio at the RNC with the delegates, media and the protesters is something truly to behold. We catch up with Arun Gupta to get his impressions on what its like to be in Cleveland during the notorious Republican National Convention.

Guest – Arun Gupta, founding editor of the Indypendent magazine and was a founding editor of the Occupy Wall Street Journal. He is working on a book about the decline of the American empire.

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Legal Defense Action At the Republican National Convention 2016

As we record today, the Republican National Convention is winding down. There’s been an overwhelming police presence there. (Police on horses, police on bicycles, police on foot, police in trucks. 1900 police are living on the campus of Case Western Reserve. The militarized police were supplied with Army surplus weapons, even artillery.

Guest – Kris Hermes is a Bay Area–based activist who has worked for nearly thirty years on social justice issues. Organizing with ACT UP Philadelphia in the late 1990s spurred his interest in legal support work and led to his co-founding and years-long involvement with R2K Legal. Since 2000, Hermes has been an active, award-winning legal worker-member of the National Lawyers Guild and has been a part of numerous law collectives and legal support efforts over the years. In this capacity, he has organized dozens of press conference and spoken at numerous community meetings, political conferences, book fairs, and other similar events across the U.S. Hermes has written extensively in his professional career as a media worker and as a legal activist.

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Law and Disorder July 18, 2016



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Russia, the United States and NATO Summit Trip Debrief

Noam Chomsky has recently written with alarm about the two threats facing humanity – climate change and nuclear war.   The likelihood of a nuclear war has increased he wrote because of NATO military buildup and expansion east to the Russian border thus breaking a promise the U S made to Russia when East and West Germany were unified.  Moreover under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the U S spent 5 billion dollars in successfully overthrowing the democratically elected government of the Ukraine, a country bordering Russia on its south western frontier. The Center for Citizen Initiatives

Guest – Ann Wright, has just returned from Russia.  Wright was in the US army for 25 years and then in the diplomatic corp.  Ann Wright grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas, and attended the University of Arkansas, where she received a master’s and a law degree. She also has a master’s degree in national security affairs from the U.S. Naval War College. After college, she spent thirteen years in the U.S. Army and sixteen additional years in the Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel. She is airborne-qualified.

In 1987, Col.Wright joined the Foreign Service and served as U.S. Deputy Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan, and Mongolia. She received the State Department’s Award for Heroism for her actions during the evacuation of 2,500 people from the civil war in Sierra Leone, at the time the largest evacuation since Saigon. She was on the first State Department team to go to Afghanistan and helped reopen the Embassy there in December 2001. Her other overseas assignments include Somalia, Kyrgyzstan, Grenada, Micronesia, and Nicaragua. On March 19, 2003, the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Ann Wright cabled a letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell, stating that without the authorization of the UN Security Council, the invasion and occupation of a Muslim, Arab, oil-rich country would be a violation of international law. Voices of Conscience.

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The Chilcot Report

Great Britain has just released the Chilcot report.  It exposes the role of British Prime Minister Tony Blair in taking his country into the war against Iraq, joining the US in illegally overthrowing Saddam Hussein and beginning a war that has been ongoing since 2004, destroying that country and destabilizing the Middle East leading to wars. In Libya, Syria and Yemen.  The Chilcot Report reinforces the observation of Robert Breedlove, the head of MI 5, the British CIA, after a visit to the USA, before the war began, that the USA was dishonesty manufacturing “intelligence ” and that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and was of no danger.

Guest – Professor Robin Andersen, teaches communications at Fordham University in New York and writes for Fairness and Accuracy In Media, FAIR, the media watchdog group.

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Roger Wareham: Systemic Police Violence Against Black Communities

New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman is investigating an off-duty NYPD officer’s fatal shooting of  37-year old Delrawn Small in Brooklyn, after he and his girlfriend and 3 children celebrated the Fourth of July holiday. Shortly after midnight Small and an undercover officer, driving his personal vehicle, were involved in a traffic dispute.The officer shot three times with his service weapon, killing Small. Authorities justified the attack by claiming Small had punched Isaacs in the face. But surveillance footage later released showed that the police had lied about the incident and show that Small was shot within one second after approaching Isaac’s unmarked car.

Zaquanna Albert, Small’s girlfriend, witnessed the attack from the car, along with their 4-month-old child. On Monday, the NYPD announced that it had stripped Isaacs of his gun. He has been placed on modified duty and will, for now, be restricted to desk work.

Guest – Attorney Roger Wareham who is representing Delrawn Small. A longtime human rights attorney, Roger has represented many Black political prisoners in federal lawsuits across the country, and was co-counsel in representing three of the young men wrongfully convicted in the Central Park Jogger case.

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Law and Disorder July 11, 2016


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Non-indictment of Hillary Clinton

FBI Director James Comey announced at a press conference last week that the FBI had concluded its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email account for State Department business and that he would recommend no criminal charges against her. Comey said that Clinton’s use of a private email address and server while she was  Secretary of State was “extremely careless.” The investigation found that she had sent eight top secret documents through a hackable email account and that it was possible hostile foreign governments could’ve gained access. Since the announcment the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairperson Jason Chaffetz has called for an investigation to whether Clinton lied to Congress. In order to warrant a criminal indictment there had to be evidence that Clinton intentionally transmitted or willfully mishandled classified information.

Guest – Attorney Carey Shenkman, who primarily represent journalists, publishers, and filmmakers at risk of censorship or political persecution. He focuses on First Amendment, international law (particularly freedom of expression and right to protest), journalist and source protection, extradition. Carey had worked for Michael Ratner and now represents Julian Assange.

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Chelsea Manning Alleged Suicide Attempt Update

Lawyers acting for imprisoned Chelsea Manning, the Army soldier who as a truth teller passed evidence of US war crimes on to Wikileaks have expressed fury at the military authorities handling of her medical status amid a swirl of media speculation that she had attempted suicide. Manning who is serving a 35 year sentence for leaking secret diplomatic cables and other official documents has been cut off from contact with her lawyers and all other outside connections for more than 36 hours causing alarm among those closest to her. The sudden severing of contact follows a rash of media reports based on unconfirmed rumors about her medical condition. The Army is refusing to give details about what has happened. Persistent inquiries by the Guardian has produced only a statement from the Dept of Defense that stated the soldier was taken to the hospital in the early hours of Tuesday last week and now he’s been returned to Levenworth Prison.

Guest – Alexa O’Brien researches and writes about national security and capital crimes. Her work has been published in VICE News, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian UK, Salon, The Daily Beast, and featured on the BBC, PBS Frontline, On The Media, Democracy Now!, and Public Radio International. In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the UK and listed in The Verge 50. ChelseaManning.org

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Federal Circuit Court: Criminal Defendants No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy On Personal Home Computers

Most of us assume that what we write on our own computers, in our own homes, is completely private. But a recent federal court decision held that criminal defendants have no reasonable expectation of privacy on their personal, home computers. And the government doesn’t need a warrant to hack into an individual’s computer.

In 2014, the FBI hacked–taking over and operating– a child pornography website called Playpen, for two weeks after a Virginia court issued a warrant to do so. Agents used software that bypassed Playpen users’ anonymity, enabling them to be tracked digitally. More than 135 people faced charges.

As courts are grappling to apply traditional rules of criminal procedure and constitutional law in these cases, several bad decisions are being made. At the forefront of educating the public about our digital rights is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who filed an amicus brief in this case.

Guest – Sophia Cope, Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Previously, she worked at the Newspaper Association of America on freedom of the press and digital media issues, with a focus on protecting journalists’  confidential sources.

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Law and Disorder July 4, 2016


Updates:

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Economic and Political Fallout From British Exit

A domino effect has begun as banks and investment firms lose billions in the wake of Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. The value of the British pound has dropped more than 9 percent and global financial markets are in free fall. In a recent Truthdig article, 2008 All Over Again, by Chris Hedges, economist Michael Hudson blames the Brexit vote on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He says this a response to the US war policy in the Middle East and Ukraine that destroyed Libya, and turned over weapons to al-Qaida. Those weapons ended up in their war in Syria. The mass exodus of refugees into Europe fueled nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment. Meanwhile, countries such as France, Austria and the Netherlands are positioning to do the same as the UK. Many suspect the banks will again turn to governments for bail outs as they did in 2008. The question is: how will the American public respond to the effects of ever increasing inequality, destruction of the environment and trade deals that benefit the one percent?

Guest – Chris Hedges, author and journalist, who publishes weekly on Truthdig. He’s written 11 books, including New York Times best seller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. Other books include “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010), “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). He’s a former war correspondent, specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and societies.

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Lawyers You’ll Like – Attorney Margaret Kunstler

For our Lawyers You’ll Like series we’re joined today by civil rights attorney Margaret Kunstler. Throughout her career she has provided support and protected the rights of activists. She’s been a consultant to the Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous protesters. Her book Hell No: Your Right To Dissent in 21st Century America was co-authored with Michael Ratner and it remains a leading handbook for activists. Attorney Margaret Kunstler has advised Wikileaks, Bradley Manning supporters in connection with grand jury subpoenas.

Together with her late husband William Kunstler, the subject of the documentary Disturbing the Universe, Margaret worked on high profile cases including the Virgin Island Five, Attica and Wounded Knee. She is the founder of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice that works to combat racism in the criminal justice system. Margaret was a founding member of the National Lawyers Guild NYC Mass Defense Committee that provides legals observers at demonstrations and represents those arrrested. At the Center for Constitutional Rights, she worked as an attorney and educational director and authored the well known pamphlet “If An Agent Knocks.”
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Law and Disorder June 27, 2016


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NYPD Seizes Millions In Civil Forfeiture

Antiquated civil forfeiture procedures in NYC are causing many, including the city’s poorest, to have assets seized by the NYPD to fill the City’s coffers.

Elected officials are finally calling for the city to reexamine the mechanism that fills the city’s coffers with millions of dollars annually. In what many call a gross violation of civil liberties,the  Office of Management and Budget report revealed that the NYPD seized over $5 million dollars through an opaque but common process of civil forfeiture in 2013. That doesn’t even count more than $8 million in cash and property that’s considered “unclaimed.”

Since the administrative code governing forfeiture was written in 1881, several court rulings have modified the procedure. In 1972, the civil rights case of McClendon v. Rosetti established that the city had not been providing due process to predominantly poor and minority New Yorkers when pursuing civil forfeiture. The ruling called the 1881 admin code “unconstitutional” and asked for a lower court to lay out new procedures for the NYPD property clerk. In 1974, the lower court laid out those procedures, making clear that the property clerk must prove that the property was somehow connected to the alleged criminal activity.

Yet forty years later, property clerks still enforce the law arbitrarily. The federal monitor designated by the court’s decision in 1974 has expired, leaving no independent body with oversight over how the NYPD pursues civil forfeiture.

Guest – Attorney Molly Kovel, Legal Director of the Civil Action Practice at The Bronx Defenders. Her practice includes a wide variety of direct legal services and affirmative impact litigation—including representing plaintiffs in Ligon v. City of New York, one of three federal class actions against the NYPD challenging unconstitutional stop and frisk practices. She has represented clients in a wide variety of civil venues in matters related to the collateral consequences of arrests and prosecutions. She has also advised hundreds of clients about the employment and licensing consequences of their criminal records, as well as assisting them in applying for Certificates of Rehabilitation and correcting criminal record errors. She trains criminal defense attorneys, social service providers and community members in these matters.
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Anti-BDS Legislation In New York State

We recently discussed how Israel advocacy groups and state law makers who support them have introduced anti-BDS legislation in up to 21 across the United States of America, including the US Congress. Today we look closely at New York State.

The New York legislature has tried in the past year, without success, to pass laws protecting Israel against the boycotts, divestment and sanctions movement–or BDS–for its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.

In an unconstitutional move, given that the government may not penalize individuals or entities on the basis of free expression, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently issued an executive order directing all agencies under his jurisdiction to cease in dealing with companies and organizations that support BDS. The order calls for Cuomo’s commissioner to compile a list of institutions and companies that support a boycott of Israel. The list will be publicly posted.

Several organizations, including the National Lawyers Guild, Palestine Legal and CCR wrote in a legal memorandum critical of the anti-BDS bills pending in the New York legislature. More than 100 churches, human rights groups and legal organizations signed a letter to the New York legislature opposing the legislation, saying “it would chill and deter constitutionally protected speech by intimidating people from engaging in political actions for fear of being blacklisted.”

Guest – Dima Khalidi, founder and Director of Palestine Legal 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 the repression of Palestine advocates.

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Rasmea Odeh Case Update

Over 100 people gathered in Detroit to support Rasmea Odeh as she, her attorneys, and the prosecution appeared before Judge Gershwin Drain for a status conference last week.
Lead attorney Michael Deutsch announced that a tentative date for a new trial has been set for January 10, 2017.

Rasmea was convicted in 2014 of a politically-motivated immigration charge, and sentenced to 18 months in prison and deportation last year. In February of this year, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to Judge Drain, saying he had wrongfully barred the testimony of a torture expert that was critical to Rasmea’s defense. At the trial, Rasmea was not allowed to tell the entire story of Israel forcing her to falsely confess to alleged bombings in 1969, when she endured over three weeks of sexual, physical and psychological torture by the Israeli military.

Last week, the government called for a “Daubert Hearing,” to challenge the validity and admissibility of expert testimony (in this case, Fabri’s), and also requested to examine Rasmea with its own expert. If the hearing is granted by Judge Drain, it will happen on November 29 of this year, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Two other positive developments occurred. Deutsch asked to have Rasmea’s “burdensome reporting requirements” to probation authorities reduced from once a week to once a month. Judge Drain did not object, commenting that his earlier concerns about her being a flight risk “have been alleviated.” He also suggested he would be willing to ease travel restrictions and allow Rasmea to occasionally travel within the U.S. The government wants to speak to the probationary authorities before agreeing to the end of the travel ban.

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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Why Does The IRS Need Guns?

There is a growing arsenal at paper pushing federal agencies with firearm and arrest authority that have expanded their arsenal since 2006, including the Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, NOAA, the Education Department, the Department of Energy, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Smithsonian Institute.

Special agents at the IRS, for example, have AR-15 military style rifles and nearly 4,000 Dept. of Veterans Affairs personnel are armed.

Recently, the group American Transparency released an oversight report on the federal government’s purchase of guns, ammunition, and military-type equipment. More than $335 million was spent by agencies we traditionally think of as administrative or regulatory, such as the U.S. Mint or the Smithsonian Institution.

Guest – Adam Andrzejewski, in 2007, he founded For The Good of Illinois to educate, engage and empower citizens to demand transparency and accountability. He also founded the transparency website, www.openthebooks.com, and launched it by posting the salaries and pensions of all 1 million Illinois public employees (2011). Today, OpenTheBooks.com is the world’s largest private repository of public spending with 2.6 billion individually captured transactions from the federal government, 48/50 states and 36,000 local units of government across America. Read – Why Does The IRS Need Guns?

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