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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 May 12, 2014


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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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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 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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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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Law and Disorder January 22, 2014


Updates:

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Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA-Frances Goldin, Michael and Debby Smith

Our own co-host Michael Smith, his wife Debby and Frances Goldin have assembled and edited an anthology of powerful essays titled Imagine Living In A Socialist USA. Prominent thinkers, activists and artists have given their perspective of what the United States would look like through the lens of a socialist society. This new work is an important contribution to what we hope will be a broader movement. It includes an indictment of capitalism, an alternative U.S.A. and how to get there.

Frances Goldin:

  • It was my brainchild because I wanted to accomplish 3 things before I joined by ancestors. One is everyone who lived in Cooper Square who had been fighting Robert Moses and saving their old tenements since 1959 its been a tremendous long struggle.
  • This is the only community land trust in the Northeast. The only one.
  • The next one is that I was really distressed at the direction our country was moving. Here I am 89 years old and all of a sudden North Carolina says that we’re going back to the old days where you had to bring in your right arm and read the Constitution without missing a word in order to vote. That plus spying on every American and continuing the wars.
  • It was just breaking my heart. I was very distressed that everybody thought that socialism was a dirty word, it was an undemocratic terrible way of life and they just didn’t have a clue as to what it really meant.
  • I thought it would be a great idea to pull together some of the greatest minds in the country and let them talk about health, education, welfare, homosexuality, every subject that effects American’s lives and explain how it would be different under socialism if it were democratically done, which is the only way it should be done.
  • Within one year, 31 leading brains in the United States for no charge, they did it free, wrote their essays on each one of these subjects. The book is in my hand, its finished and its beautiful and it makes me so happy. That’s my second accomplishment.
  • The third one is to see one of the leading intellectuals in the world free, forever free. Mumia Abu-Jamal.
  • I couldn’t do it alone, it was a great plan and so I leaned on to dear friends, Debby and Michael Smith.
  • I had to force Harper Collins into this, they really didn’t want to do it.
  • We were very lucky to hire an incredibly good editor, whose livelihood was editing for magazines and newspapers. If a sentence was too long, he cut it into 2 or 3 sentences.
  • Right now, the word socialism, people think of dictatorship, they think terrible things, they think undemocratic.
  • This is a simple instruction about how it would effect us with regard to health, education, housing, welfare, all of those subjects which make it so difficult for all of us to live.
  • It can’t be a dirty word, it happens to be the most democratic way of governing possible.
  • Get the workers to run the company. It’s happening in Spain, with dozens of corporations that have become worker owned.
  • It’s going to be the workers dividing the profits among themselves.
  • It will only happen when the workers are angry enough and informed enough to know that they can run the show.
  • Every penny of the royalties will go to free Mumia Abu-Jamal
  • We are not earning one dime from this book. It was a labor of love. It was a labor of activism.
  • It was a labor to change the world and make it a better place.

Guest – Frances Goldin is the President & Principal of Frances Goldin Literary Agency.  Frances has worked in publishing for 63 years, as an agent and as editor-in-chief of a children’s publishing company; she founded the Frances Goldin Literary Agency and sold her first book in 1977. Authored by Black anthropologist Betty Lou Valentine and titled Hustling and Other Hard Work, the book continued to receive royalties for 32 years. One of the agency’s strengths is that many of its books continue to earn royalties long after publication. Reflecting Goldin’s radical politics, the Agency concentrates on literary fiction and serious, controversial, progressive non-fiction.
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Attorney Michael Smith:

  • I don’t think its a dirty word, because people see what’s going on under capitalism and they don’t like it. The economic situation in this country ain’t gonna change, its only going to get worse.
  • Frances is quite an influential literary agent in this country.
  • What’s your definition of socialism? I said a democratic economy and political system, both where people from the bottom up control how we make a living, and how we live.
  • We’re having a book launch on January 27. It’s at 126 Crosby Street in SOHO at the book store called Housing Works.
  • In order to achieve the kind of socialism we’re talking about and that’s socialism from the bottom up you need a broad democratic movement of people.
  • All the left wing parties, all the movement groups, we gotta get together around a common program.
  • One of the chapters that I really like, and this isn’t to flatter you Michael Ratner, but you wrote a chapter on what I would do if I was US Attorney General.
  • Paul LeBlanc writes his chapter about the 3rd American revolution. Diane Feeley writes about that in her chapter. She’s an auto worker retired from Detroit.
  • Michael Zweig, the great sociologist, we reprint his speech from Occupy Wall Street where he talks about the 1 percent, the ruling class.
  • He says actually its 1/10 of 1 percent. Those are the people who are the top of the economy and different organizations in this country. He said, you gotta be very careful, because these people will kill ya.
  • In the second part of the book, we emphasize use your imagination. How do we organize the economy democratically?
  • How do you organize a corporation democratically? Rick Wolff wrote that chapter.
  • There are 31 chapters in the book. The last chapter suggests itself. How do we do it?
  • We’re not against leadership, we’re against undemocratic leadership but you need people who’ve had some experience and who can draw the lessons of the past.

Guest – Attorney Michael Smith is co-host of Law and Disorder, and a New York  City attorney and author.  His most recent book, written with Michael Ratner , is Who Killed Che? How The CIA Got Away With Murder. He is on the boards of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Brecht Forum. He was educated at the University of Wisconsin in the 1960s, where he learned social history from the great teacher Harvey Goldberg. He has testified on Palestinian rights before committees of the US Congress and the United Nations.

Guest – Debby Smith is a long time socialist since going to college in Boston during the radical sixties. Debby worked full-time for the anti-Vietnam War movement, the Kent State Legal Defense Fund and in the feminist, union and socialist movements. She is also the wife of Michael Smith and participates in the anti-capitalist and pro-democracy movements that are growing rapidly in the United States and worldwide.

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Law and Disorder January 6, 2014


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They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars

What are the true costs of war in Afghanistan? Our guest, author Ann Jones has written an impactful book titled They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars, it chronicles a world mostly hidden from the public. Ann Jones has spent nearly a decade working with Afghan civilians and writing about the effects of war on their lives but in the last couple years, she focused on the human toll on and off the battle field as U.S. soldiers return back from war zones with permanent mental damage, missing limbs or as quadruple amputees.

Ann Jones:

  • I live in Norway where peace is taken for granted as it is in Europe.
  • The United States looks crazed, the way we send our forces out all over the world, are always looking for a fight.
  • Any unit of any size has a special unit within it that does mortuary affairs because all combat units are losing soldiers all the time and even soldiers who never leave base may be victims of this war. Suicides for example.
  • The job of the soldiers assigned to mortuary affairs is to protect the other soldiers from knowledge of those deaths.
  • Their job is to go out and retrieve the pieces of soldiers who very often in Afghanistan have literally been blown to pieces and bring those body parts and remains back to the base, to thier little secret part of the base and try to match up and put them in “transfer cases.” – to transfer them home to Dover, Delaware where they are repackaged, gussied up to be put in coffins and sent on for families for burial.
  • Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is very close to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. There are special air ambulance services that go out from there to Africa, to Asia to pick even individual casualties. The individuals are often members of the CIA or private contractors or military special ops people.
  • The suicides have been increasing year by year. Many of those suicides take place in the field. There have been a number that have been documented as a result of hazing and sexual assaults.
  • A great many more take place here at home when soldiers return and find that they can’t live with themselves.
  • I think what’s really troubling now is the number of soldiers and ex soldiers who aren’t really counted in this statistic who are taking their lives under the influence of opiad-pain killers, that have been pushed upon them by big-pharma.
  • They’re shown to be highly addictive, particularly in young people and to be heavily implicated in suicide.
  • The rate at which soldiers under treatment in the V.A. are taking their lives is what should be a national scandal.
  • It’s estimated that 1 in 3 women soldiers have been the victim of sexual assault.
  • Though in fact the number of male soldiers victimized is even greater. The percentage is less but the number is greater because men still represent 85 percent of the personnel in the military.
  • Congress is supposed to vote on military appropriations for 2014 very shortly. Kirsten Gillebrand, the senator from New York is leading the campaign to attach an amendment to that budgetary appropriation that would remove the prosecution, the reporting and the decision about the prosecution and the prosecution itself from the chain of command and place it in the hands of specially trained military and civilian legal units.
  • Who joins? It’s kids, from poor families, from dysfunctional families. Mainly from in the  South and the “rust belt” and urban centers who see very little if any, opportunity for their ambitions and their idealism in their home communities.

Guest – Ann Jones, a journalist, photographer, and the author of ten books of nonfiction. She has written extensively about violence against women. Since 2001, she has worked intermittently as a humanitarian volunteer in conflict and post-conflict countries in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and central and south Asia. From Afghanistan and the Middle East, she has reported on the impact of war upon civilians; and she has embedded with American forces in Afghanistan to report on war’s impact on soldiers. Her articles on these and other matters appear most often in The Nation and online at www.TomDispatch.com. Her work has received generous support from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where she held the Mildred Londa Weisman Fellowship in 2010-11, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2011-12), and the Fulbright Foundation (2012). She lives in Oslo, Norway, with two conversational cats.

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The Black Misleadership Class Versus the Movement and its Legacy

We go now to hear Glen Ford speaking at the Black Agenda Report 7th anniversary gathering at Harlem’s Riverside Church. The theme of the event was ““The Black Misleadership Class Versus the Movement and its Legacy.”  Ford gives strong criticism of newly elected New Jersey Senator Cory Booker as the essence of Black misleadership, showing the many ties of the current Newark mayor to corporate America.

Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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Law and Disorder August 5, 2013


PHOTO CREDIT  Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFPFor First Time In Wikileaks Pre-Trial Hearing warcrimesvid

Michael Ratner: Bradley Manning Verdict Update

  • I’ve been doing a lot of media on this lately, doing a lot of debates. I take a firm position. He should never have been tried in the first place.
  • He’s a hero, he’s a whistle-blower. He publicly exposed the truths about the nature of this country particularly its human rights violations, its criminality and its corruption.
  • That constitutes whistle-blowing and whistle-blowing is a legal defense to whatever kinds of crimes the United States wanted to try him. He shouldn’t have prosecuted at all.
  • First we’ve all seen the collateral murder video. The killing of 2 Reuters journalists and I believe 10 civilians shot with a gung-ho blood lust.
  • Those crimes were never really investigated, no one was prosecuted for them and yet it was cold-blooded murder taking place from an Apache helicopter on the streets of Baghdad.
  • Think about what the Iraq war logs revealed. 20 thousand more civilians killed in Iraq then the U.S. said were killed.
  • That fact alone caused the government of Iraq to not sign another Status of Forces agreement with the United States, because it would have given immunity to U.S. troops. Because there was no immunity for U.S. troops, the U.S. said we’re not staying in Iraq. Think about how important that is.
  • Then there was a story last year taken from Wikileaks and Iraq war logs of torture centers run in Iraq in 2003-2004.
  • The only reason we knew about that was because of Bradley Manning.
  • That is a little example of what Bradley Manning has revealed to all of us of the criminality of our own country and information we ought to know and debate.
  • The only reason we consider anything to be positive in this verdict is because Bradley Manning was so overcharged to begin with a ridiculous charge of aiding the enemy that was sustained by a judge with a motion to dismiss and let go til the end until she finally acquitted him of it – that we’re relieved that he wasn’t convicted of it.
  • He was convicted of 20 charges. Six of them were espionage charges each of them carrying 10 years.
  • Six of them were theft of government documents, each of them carrying 10 years.
  • This is the first ever conviction of anyone in the United States who is a whistle-blower, who is a quote leaker for espionage. There is great fear being sown by Obama, Holder and others both in regard to whistle-blowers and to journalists.

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

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Pelican Bay Prison Hunger Strike

Last month, prisoners at Pelican Bay Prison went on another hunger strike to protest solitary confinement and security unit conditions. What does solitary confinement mean at Pelican Bay Prison? Well, prisoners spend 22 to 24 hours a day in a cramped, concrete windowless cell. The food is often rotten. Temperatures are extremely hot or cold. Within 15 days, these conditions can cause psychological damage.

Jules Lobel, who represents the prisoners at Pelican Bay in a lawsuit challenging long-term solitary confinement in California prisons says prisoners land in solitary confinement not for crimes they were convicted of, not for any rule violation or violent act while in prison, but based on the slimmest pretext of “affiliation” with a gang.

Attorney Jules Lobel:

  • At any one time around the country there are about 80 thousand people that are in some form of solitary confinement.
  • In California alone there are 4000. What makes California somewhat unusual is there are a large number of prisoners who’ve been in solitary confinement for over a decade and many over 20 years.
  • In Pelican Bay Prison there are over 400 hundred who have been in solitary confinement for over ten years and about 80 for two decades.
  • The conditions they’re place under are draconian.
  • The cells my clients are in, there are no windows. People spend 20 years without seeing trees, birds, the grass.
  • That’s unusual to have a whole prison without any windows.
  • They put in thousands of people in solitary simply for gang affiliation. You don’t have to have committed any crime (disclipinary infraction) in prison.
  • You get a birthday card from a member of a gang.
  • There are things society will look back on, and say how could this have been done in a civilized society. We look back at slavery and segregation now and say that.
  • They say that they will force feed only when the prisoner loses consciousness.
  • These folks are on a no solid food hunger strike and they’ve been willing to take salt tablets, vitamins.
  • We looked at the situation in California as I described and we also knew that 2 years ago hundreds of thousands of prisoners went on hunger strikes in California protesting this and were promised reforms that were never delivered.
  • We decided that the time was right for a class action lawsuit.
  • We brought the lawsuit in May 2012.
  • We claim 2 things. To keep people in these conditions for over a decade is cruel and unusual punishment. It’s a violation of the Eighth Amendment.
  • To keep someone in these conditions because they think they’re gang affiliated is disproportionate.
  • The case only deals with one, and that’s the most notorious, and that’s Pelican Bay Prison.
  • There are a thousand prisoners in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay.
  • They deliberately place this prison where its 7 hours from any nearest major metropolitan area by car.
  • It’s like a gulag there in that they don’t want any media exposure or attention being placed on them.
  • It’s way more costly to put someone in solitary confinement. It’s a waste of tax payer resources.

Guest – Attorney Jules Lobel, has litigated important issues regarding the application of international law in the U.S. courts. In the late 1980’s, he advised the Nicaraguan government on the development of its first democratic constitution, and has also advised the Burundi government on constitutional law issues.  Professor Lobel is editor of a text on civil rights litigation and of a collection of essays on the U.S. Constitution, A Less Than Perfect Union (Monthly Review Press, 1988). He is author of numerous articles on international law, foreign affairs, and the U.S. Constitution in publications including Yale Law Journal, Harvard International Law Journal, Cornell Law Review, and Virginia Law Review. He is a member of the American Society of International Law
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Who Will Bell The Cat? . . . Working People : Michael Zweig

2013 Left Forum Presentation by Michael Zweig is Professor of Economics at Stony Brook University and director of the Center for Study of Working Class Life. His most recent books are What’s Class Got to Do with It: American Society in the Twenty-first Century (Cornell University Press, 2004), and The Working Class Majority: America’s Best Kept Secret (Cornell University Press, 2000 – 2nd edition due December, 2011). In 2005-2006, he served as executive producer of Meeting Face to Face: the Iraq – U.S. Labor Solidarity Tour. He wrote, produced, and directed the DVD Why Are We in Afghanistan? in 2009.

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Law and Disorder March 18, 2013


Updates:

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

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

Patrick Farrelly:

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

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

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Law and Disorder December 24, 2012


Updates:

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Political Prisoner Lynne Stewart - December 2012 Update

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

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

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

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

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Michael Ratner Speech On Bradley Manning in Washington DC.

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

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Law and Disorder September 3, 2012


Updates

  • Michael Ratner: Update on Verdict – Corrie v State of Israel
  • Cardinal Dolan Who Approved Payoffs For Priests Accused of Sex Abuse To Leave Priesthood Gives Speech At RNC and Closing Speech for DNC

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Islamophobia: Anatomy of an American Panic

In the last few weeks, 8 places of worship connected with South Asians or Middle Easterners have been targets in the United States. As many listeners know, six people were murdered at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin but later that evening a mosque in Joplin Missouri was burned down. Other targets recently included mosques in Rhode Island, Southern California, Oklahoma City and Dearborn, Michigan. These tragic events mark another wave of existential Muslim threats inciting fear and violence against Middle Eastern people while helping to justify the ongoing war on terror.

According to the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism, since 9/11 to 2010 there have been 155 terror incidents in the U.S., and exactly two of them or 1.3 percent have been attributed to international Islamist terror groups. The majority of events involved individuals such as anti-abortionists, right-wing extremists, or extreme animal rights activists.

The Nation Magazine has highlighted the disproportional focus put on Muslim communities in a special issue titled “Islamophobia: Anatomy of an American Panic.” We talk with journalist Lizzy Ratner and authors Deepa Kumar and Moustafa Bayoumi who contributed articles to the Nation Magazine special.

Lizzy Ratner:

  • The Nation did a special issue about Islamophobia. It came out in the beginning of July. You can still find the majority of the articles online. The real credit has to go to Abdeen Jabara whose idea this really was.
  • The civil rights attorney came to me last year and said the anti-Arab, anti-Muslim has reached fever-pitch.
  • So I began to do some research about what exactly was going on and very quickly compiled a massive roster of possible articles.
  • For the most part, the Left and Progressives have been far too quiet.
  • This bigotry that is flourishing right now has a real history, it’s not a just a product of 9/11 and the post 9/11 era.
  • Some of the seeds of bigotry have to do with the role of the United States historically in the Middle East.
  • Islamophobia served an agenda and a number of purposes.

Guest – New York City journalist Lizzy Ratner has written extensively for the Nation and Alternet on issues involving Islamophobia. Lizzy is also co-editor of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.
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Moustafa Bayoumi:

  • I was happy to see that the Nation was happy to take on the question of Islamophobia for a double issue.
  • There’s been a shift in the last ten years from paranoia around security to a paranoia about the basic facts of Muslim life in the United States.
  • In a way you can say it’s a shift from security to culture.
  • At any stage, anything that has to do with a daily concerns about living a life as a Muslim American, somehow now becomes charged with sedition. Part of the funding of the anti-Muslim movement in the United States is basic conservative politics and extreme conservative politics.
  • And also due to the Israel-Palestine conflict. So people who want to come aboard Israel will make a very distorted picture of what Muslim life is like.
  • The NYPD has now a decade long history of “othering” the Muslim-American community.
  • The NYPD had been screening The New Jihad for its new recruits.
  • It’s a crazy film saying that all of the American Muslims are here as a fifth column ready to pounce. It’s a training film for new recruits. That’s true for the Pentagon and the FBI.
  • Muslim Americans are still seen as perpetual foreigners.
  • That Muslim American rights are different than everyone else’s rights.
  • You’re average American consumer of media does not relate to the victims of the Oak Creek massacre because they don’t see them as being part of the American family.
  • They asked American’s in this poll, and 62 percent of the population has never met a Muslim.
  • If you’ve never met a Muslim then it’s very easy to believe all these boogey man ideas. That’s why media plays an important role in this issue.
  • The FBI (training manual) said that it was in the nature of Muslims to try to take over this country.

Guest – Author Moustafa Bayoumi wrote Fear and Loathing of Islam joins us, his book : Being Young and Arab in America, won an American Book Award and the Arab American Book Award for non-fiction. He is also a professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

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Deepa Kumar:

  • As of late the anti-Muslim statements coming from Michelle Bachmann, Joe Walsh, all of whom are Republicans, there is a sense of which it is the Republicans who are responsible for Islamophobia, for the demonization of Muslims and so on.
  • This brand of the war on terror gets hatched and part of that was language developed in the 1990s, called the Clash of Civilizations. It was a man named Bernard Lewis who first penned this term.
  • It’s not so much we’re going to carry out revenge on Osama Bin Laden but that we’re going to rescue Afghan women. In the case of Iraq, we’re going to bring democracy when no weapons of mass destruction were found.
  • This rhetoric has a long history it goes back to the 19th century.
  • Both presidents need Islamophobia. They need to generate this fear and hatred of the “Muslim other.”
  • Operation Boulder
  • The Jonathan Institute holds this conference in Jerusalem . . Islamofacism, the roots are sown at that conference.
  • The idea of this menacing Muslim enemy is not new. It was not something created after 9/11 but in fact it goes back a millennium.
  • It’s about political goals but religious rhetoric gets used. Same thing with the re-conquest of Spain.
  • The Islamophobic rhetoric is one that’s mobilized by the elite.
  • I hold both Republicans and Democrats responsible. These rabid right wingers get their confidence from mainstream figures like Walsh, like Bachmann and others.
  • The sad reality is that the Democrats have done nothing to counter this.
  • The Democrats are not an ally in this fight.
  • I take inspiration from 2 movements in the sixties, the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. I think these 2 strategies need to come together in fighting Islamophobia.
  • We have to take on both the far right and challenge the priorities of empire and bring together a multiracial coalition that can actually change a generation.
  • It was President Clinton with Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act in 1996 which made it legal to actually deport people with secret evidence. We know this lays the basis for the Patriot Act. This has really been a bipartisan project in the interest of empire.

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 first book, Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike (University of Illinois Press, 2007), is about the power of collective struggle in effectively challenging the priorities of neoliberalism.

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Law and Disorder August 27, 2012


Updates:

  • Michael Ratner: Update on Julian Assange

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Attorney Martin Garbus and the Cuban Five

Earlier this summer we talked with renowned First Amendment and civil rights attorney Martin Garbus about joining the Cuban Five’s legal defense team. He recently filed an affidavit in the Miami Federal District Court based on US government misconduct of paying Miami journalists during the Cuban Five’s prosecution 14 years ago. As many listeners may know, these paid reporters covered the Cuban Five case in an almost hysterical fashion. The affidavit supports Cuban Five defendant Gerardo Hernández’ habeas corpus appeal and seeks the overturning of his wrongful conviction.

Attorney Martin Garbus:

  • We’re saying that every person involved in the payments, the government, Radio Marti, the persons who received the payments. The journalists also violated the law.
  • I think it is jury tampering. We’re saying that every dollar that was paid is a violation of the integrity of a jury trial. There were many millions of dollars.
  • We’re saying that the jury trial was destroyed by a propaganda machine.
  • The government then says, well you have to prove that. There are several different allegations.
  • There is Radio Marti. In 1996, just about the time of the shoot down Radio Marti moves from Washington to Miami.
  • It’s the only Voice of America station if you will that doesn’t operate out of Washington.
  • It shows that the government was willing to give the Cuban exiles control over Radio Marti.
  • In 1996, its recognized that Radio Marti is totally internal to effect the Cuban exile population in Miami.
  • They then go to the newspapers, the Miami Herald, the Nuevo Herald and they (Radio Marti) start to give those journalists money.
  • We filed an 80 page affidavit with hundreds of pages of exhibits.
  • We’ve gone through relentlessly of payments made by Radio Marti by the government to journalists. We’ve come up with 11 journalists who have received close to a million dollars.
  • The articles that they wrote should be read fairly carefully.
  • They make the argument that the people who are being tried in the case were the early landing force for a Cuban invasion.
  • American money is being given to writers who are then attacking America which has prosecuted people who have killed Americans.  We’re trying to vacate the conviction.

Guest – Attorney Martin Garbus, one of the country’s leading trial lawyers. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court and the highest state and federal courts in the nation. Time Magazine has named him “legendary . . . one of the best trial lawyers in the country.” He’s also known as the most prominent First Amendment lawyer.

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Washington DC Court Ruling on CO2

In April 2007, the US Supreme Court handed down its first decision related to climate change issues. The case was Massachusetts v. EPA and the high Court held that the Clean Air Act authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions IF the agency determined that these emissions posed a danger to human health and welfare.  The EPA did in fact make such an “endangerment” finding, and then proceeded to begin the process of adopting regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The initial lawsuit was brought by the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, which includes a range of petroleum-based industries, and supported by several states, including Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Virginia.  The EPA, on the other hand, was joined by California, New York, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington and New York City.  These three rules were challenged on various grounds – in the end the Court upheld the EPA’s action and resoundingly affirmed the agency’s authority and obligation to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Law Professor Eleanor Stein:

  • Rolling Stone: The New Math of Green House Gas and Warming.
  • Greenhouse gases are chemical substances, usually referred to a basket of six which contribute to the warming of the Earth because as they accumulate in the atmosphere they prevent the refraction of the Sun’s energy away from the Earth and back into space.
  • Of these six substances the one often discussed is carbon dioxide which is the most plentiful, methane is among the most potent.  Recent court case – The Coalition For Responsible Regulation Against the EPA - it was decided in the D.C. circuit a month ago.
  • The Massachusetts case at the Supreme Court was about specifically regulation of emissions from new motor vehicles.
  • Once the court ordered the EPA to do its endangerment investigation, it did so and made an endangerment finding in 2009. It found that greenhouse gas emissions were a danger to human health and welfare.
  • The EPA was then required to regulate emissions of new motor vehicles. They did that adopting a set of rules known as the Tailpipe Rules.
  • The EPA went on to adopt a set of rules for stationary sources ie, coal powerplants, those rules are known as the Timing and Tailoring Rules.
  • Endangerment Finding / Tailpipe Rule / Timing and Tailoring Rule
  • The current ruling of the D.C. court upholding the three rules – is a tremendous affirmation of current climate science, its a rejection of a lot of climate denial and other industry.
  • The most extensive discussion is their analysis of the Endangerment Finding, which is the EPA’s analysis of the climate science.
  • The Tailpipe Rule went into effect January 1, 2011. This will make a contribution to reducing emissions.

Guest – Law professor Eleanor Stein teaches a course called the Law of Climate Change: Domestic and Transnational at Albany Law School and SUNY Albany, in conjunction with the Environmental  and Atmospheric Sciences Department at SUNY.

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Pan African Solidarity Hague Committee Serves The ICC

In June of this year, the Pan-African Solidarity Hague Committee delivered a petition to the International Criminal Court at the Hague, Netherlands demanding they prosecute the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, and NATO for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya, Cote d’lvoire, Haiti and the US. This campaign began in May of last year when thousands gathered to protest the US/NATO bombing of Libya, attacks on Zimbabwe and the racist assault against African-Americans in the United States. The evidence presented made a prima facie case of crimes committed and was the basis of the petition served this year.

Attorney Roger Wareham:

  • The United States was very involved in the process of setting up the ICC.
  • There are approximately 116 countries that have signed on at this point. Which means there are about one third of the countries in world who have not signed on.
  • After 10 years the court came forward with its first conviction. It was a citizen of the Democratic Republic of Congo convicted of crimes against humanity.
  • It’s record has been really a court to prosecute Africans.
  • Of the cases that are in front of it now, all of them are Africans.
  • It’s as if people who’ve violated human rights don’t exist outside the African continent.
  • As one observer had said this is really an African criminal court and not an international criminal court.
  • With the international criminal court, non governmental organizations can bring charges, bring communications saying we think there’s enough evidence to begin an investigation and prosecute.
  • The ICC had taken out a warrant against Khaddafi saying he was a human rights violator, committed crimes against humanity, war crimes.
  • In May 2011 when it was clear they were trying to effect regime change and assassinate Colonel Khadaffi we began a campaign to expose that.  We saw the same pattern in terms of what happened to President Aristides in 2004.
  • After the August 2011 rally we had the people’s tribunal in January 2012.
  • In June 2012 we hand delivered the petition to the ICC. We asked to speak to the chief prosecutor. She declined to meet with us for some reason.
  • They don’t want to deal with prosecuting anybody from the West.
  • A communication was brought to the ICC for the war crimes from Operation Cast Lead. Two years later the ICC declined the petition. I think their technicality was Gaza wasn’t a state.
  • There is a campaign by the West to re-colonize the African continent for its resources, to remove those heads of state that are obstacles Western re-penetration.

Guest – Attorney Roger Wareham, a member of the December 12th Movement, an organization of African people which organizes in the Black and Latino community around human rights violations, particularly police terror. Wareham is also the International Secretary-General of the International Association Against Torture (AICT), a non-governmental organization that has consultative status before the United Nations.

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