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Law and Disorder March 10, 2014


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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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Law and Disorder August 13, 2012


Updates:

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The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story of the Suspect Behind the Largest Security Breach in U.S. History.

We continue to look into the the Bradley Manning story, the biggest whistle-blower case in US history. Attorney Chase Madar joins us in the studio, he’s the author of The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story of the Suspect Behind the Largest Security Breach in U.S. History. The book moves through Manning’s childhood and up to what led him to allegedly upload volumes of classified secret information to Wikileaks. Madar highlights the value of publicly exposing the endless criminal and immoral actions while government secrecy spins out of control, classifying 77 million documents a year. He also asks what can be done to protect Bradley Manning as a whistle-blower. Since his arrest 2 years ago, Manning’s formal court martial proceedings are not scheduled to begin until February 2013, and as many listeners know the most lethal charge is aiding the enemy.

Attorney Chase Madar:

  • I worked as a staff attorney for many years at a great non-profit in Bushwick section of Brooklyn doing all kinds of low tech services for Spanish speaking immigrants.
  • I quit that and have been writing about foreign affairs. I got put on the sight of Bradley Manning by Tom Englehart, who edits the great TomDispatch web project.
  • So many important issues collide in this case, whether its the comparative risk to our security of secrecy versus leaks. How we judge threats, how we misassess threats. How we use solitary confinement as punishment, is it an acceptable punishment?
  • What power does information have anyway? A lot of intellectuals think that information has an incredible catalytic effect.
  • Bradley Manning enlisted in the Army in October 2007. He’s deployed to Iraq after all kinds of training in Army intelligence in 2009.
  • He allegedly begins leaking things in early 2010 and he’s arrested in late May 2010 over 2 years ago now. He was held in solitary confinement, very strict punitive isolation in Quantico Marine Corp base in Virginia, from July 2010 to April 2011.
  • We’re looking at 2.5 years of pretrial confinement.
  • You can divide up the Wikileaks leaks allegedly supplied by Bradley Manning in 3 categories. Iraq material, thousands of war logs: raw reports file by soldiers, Afghan war logs, it’s a composite of a war that’s weirdly aimless.
  • Obama did campaign as the whistle-blower’s best friend, and he has prosecuted twice as many as all previous administrations.
  • Here’s one theory I find persuasive. It’s important for Obama to have the intelligence services on his side. This was a way for him to show the CIA that he would go along them.
  • I would like to see a serious change in foreign policy which has gone off the rails.
  • We haven’t the kind of course correction with Obama that many had hoped for.
  • I hope Wikileaks do disrupt foreign policy more. There’s been all kinds of smack talked about Bradley Manning, he’s a weirdo, a malcontent, he did what he did because he’s screwed up, he did because he’s gay.
  • His motives are very plain to see in the chat logs between him and the informant.
  • The Manning chat logs – they read like a tragic novella.
  • So much of our secrecy law is designed to keep the American public in the dark.
  • I think we have badly confused being clueless with being safe.
  • He comes across as an immensely thoughtful, courageous and very principled young man. In some ways he’s an extreme version of the millennial generation who have a lot of education and potential but find themselves not doing too well.
  • His father was in Naval Intelligence and he’d grown up with a sense of patriotic responsibilities.
  • What makes him turn on the inside and leak these things?
  • He’s asked to look into the arrest and capture by the Iraqi authorities a group of non-violent Iraqi protesters who were handing out pamphlets that were all about corruption in Iraqi government.
  • We are light years away from total transparency.
  • The main thing is to make records of the court proceedings publicly available.
  • I think a guilty conviction and a heavy sentence of at least 50 years is a foregone conclusion.
  • The wages of government secrecy, not security but disaster.
  • It looks like the court martial won’t begin until January or February.
  • Go to the Bradley Manning support network website. Send him a postcard.
  • It’s your patriotic duty to browse the leaks.
  • Legal Atrocities – by Chase Madar

Guest – Attorney Chase Madar , a TomDispatch regular and author of a new book, The Passion of Bradley Manning (OR Books).  Madar tweets @ChMadar. He’s  a contributor to the London Review of Books and Le Monde diplomatique and the author of a new book, The Passion of Bradley Manning (OR Books).

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Law and Disorder April 30, 2012


Updates:

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39 Ways To Limit Free Speech

39 Ways To Limit Free Speech is the title Law Professor David Cole’s recent article.  Earlier this month, a 29-year old citizen from Sudbury, Massachusetts named Tarek Mehanna was sentenced to seventeen and a half years in prison for translating a document. The text he translated from Arabic is “39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad” and its all over the internet, you can read it says David Cole, but don’t try to translate it. One issue in the government’s prosecution of this case is the use of the decision from the Brandenburg v. Ohio case in which the Supreme Court established that standard in ruling that the First Amendment protected a Ku Klux Klansman who made a speech to a Klan gathering advocating “revengeance” against blacks and “Jews.”

Professor David Cole:

  • He was accused of providing material support to al-Qaeda by translating various documents and videos from Arabic into English. There’s no allegations that Mehanna ever met with or even talked to a member of al-Qaeda. There are no allegations that the translations were delivered to or provided to al-Qaeda which was the designated group.
  • The government argued that because he translated these documents and put them up on the web and hoped to encourage people to support jihad and support al-Qaeda, that’s enough to constitute material support.
  • Here’s an instant in which the government is prosecuting pure speech but no showing that the speech was connected to illegal conduct, no showing that it was intended to produce eminent lawless action, which the Supreme Court said is required to produce under Brandenburg.
  • It’s enough that he put it up on the web and wanted to support al-Qaeda.
  • If that’s a crime what about the New York Times when it does a report on one of the many messages Osama Bin Laden put after 9-11?
  • I represented the Humanitarian Law Project in the case that went to the Supreme Court in 2010, in which the HLP was in engaging in advocacy of human rights and peace, clearly non-violent, non-criminal conduct.
  • But because they wanted to do it to and with the Kurds in Turkey and particularly the political representatives of the Kurds in Turkey which is the Kurdistan Workers Party (designated as a terrorist organization) the government argued that it was a crime to teach the KWP to bring human rights claims in Geneva and work with them in peace overtures to the Turkish Government.
  • The Supreme Court upheld that, but doesn’t apply to independent advocacy. (until now)
  • Now if you wanted your speech to support terrorist organizations, even if you did it independently of that organization, even if you never met or talked to anyone in that organization, we can make it a crime.
  • Very much about declaring a “new front” in the war on terror and the front is going after internet propaganda.
  • To me it recalls the kind of aiding the enemy prosecutions we saw in World War 1.
  • We as citizens need to be active in monitoring and pushing back against this material support statute.

Guest – Professor David Cole teaches constitutional law, national security, and criminal justice at Georgetown University Law Center.  He is also a volunteer attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, the legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, and a commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. He has been published widely in law journals and the popular press, including the Yale Law Journal, California Law Review, Stanford Law Review, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times.

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FAA Releases Lists of Drone Certificates—Many Questions Left Unanswered
Earlier this year we discussed the partnership with Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The two institutions are working together to build a campus in New York City.  Technion is involved with developing robotic weapons systems, which include aerial drones, and unmanned combat vehicle technology.  There are many more universities involved with drone technology. Through a series of Freedom of Information requests by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the FAA has been forced to reveal approximately 63 active drone sites. These sites are located in 20 states and their owners include military and universities. Universities include Cornell, (which we just mentioned)  the University of Colorado, Georgia Tech, Eastern Gateway Community College and many more.

Attorney Jennifer Lynch:

  • We filed a FOIA request with the FAA last April asking for copies of all the certificates of authorization and the special air-worthiness certificates that the FAA issues to anybody to wants to fly a drone in the US.
  • We asked for these lists which are called COAs, or Certificates of Authorization. The COAs apply to public entities like state and local law enforcement, universities, the federal government.
  • We got two lists from the FAA and the FAA says these cover all of the entities that applied for an authorization to fly a drone in United States.
  • They’re very interesting, the COA list includes some unsurprising entities like DARPA, DHS, Customs and Border Protection, the FBI, various branches of the military. We already knew those entities were flying drones.
  • What was more surprising was the number of universities and colleges on the list.
  • Universities that have an aerospace engineering program they may be seeking authorization so the students can learn about and design drones.
  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a civil liberties non-profit, we focus on civil liberties and new technology, and we’re concerned about surveillance equipment used by the government.
  • Drones are a duel use technology, they can be used for good or for bad.
  • They can see inside buildings, survey an area at night with heat sensors, they also have the ability to carry communications intercept tools. You could swap out various payloads on a drone.
  • Then of course these drones can carry weapons.
  • You can build your own drone, DIYDrones.
  • We don’t know too much about what’s going on now. The reason the EFF file the FOIA request in the first place is that we just don’t know how agencies are using these drones.
  • What we found is that a lot of the police forces that have drones are required to fly them under 600 feet. If its something that flying under 600 feet you’re going to be able to see that.
  • Congress was getting a lot of pressure, and the FAA was getting a lot of pressure from state and local law enforcement, the military and the federal government to authorize more drones to be used in the United States.
  • We’ve heard from the Congressional Research Service that 1 in 3 warplanes right now is a drone.
  • The wars are going to end and the military is going to want to something with these drones.

Guest – Jennifer Lynch, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and works on open government, transparency and privacy issues as part of EFF’s FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) Project. In addition to government transparency, Jennifer has written and spoken frequently on government surveillance programs, intelligence community misconduct, and biometrics collection. Prior to joining EFF, Jennifer was the Clinical Teaching Fellow with the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley School of Law. At the Samuelson Clinic, Jennifer specialized in privacy and intellectual property issues, including investigations on social media, privacy and the smart electrical grid, digital books, and open source regimes for biotech. Before the Clinic, Jennifer practiced with Bingham McCutchen in San Francisco and clerked for Judge A. Howard Matz in the Central District of California. She earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from UC Berkeley.

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