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Law and Disorder July 28, 2014


Updates:

  • Palestine Center For Human Rights: Current War Statistics On Palestinian Death Toll
  • Two Laws Under Geneva Conventions: First All Attacks Have To Distinguish Between Military Objectives and Civilian Objectives. Second: You Can’t Just Kill Civilians Who Aren’t Participating in A War
  • Michael Smith: Cultural Ethnicide – Keep Expanding Until Israel Takes Over
  • Cultural Genocide Case: Illan Pappe – Ethnic Cleansing Of Palestine
  • Naomi Wolf Walks Out of Synagogue When Nothing Is Said About Gaza
  • Demonstrations Against The Murder and Violence Against Palestinians
  • Michael Ratner Admonishes JFRED Jews For Racial and Economic Justice and Other GroupsTo Step Forward
  • Michael Ratner Pulls Apart NY Times Article: Crises Cascade and Converge, Testing Obama

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Michael Ratner Discusses 3 International Crimes That Can Be Attributed To Israel’s Actions Against Palestinians: Genocide, Apartheid and Crimes Against Humanity.

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • First International Crime: Genocide - There are two elements,  one is the mental element, what you’re thinking, and the mental element is intent to destroy in whole or in part. Then it defines who you want to destroy. A national group which would be the Palestinians. An ethnical group, which has a common cultural heritage, racial or religious group. Second is physical, it includes killing members of the group, serious body or mental harm to members of the group. Inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
  • A key term when I say in whole or in part is important.
  • It says the perpetrators, the Israelis in this case need not intend  to destroy the entire group.
    Destruction of only part of a group, members living in one region is also genocide. They tried to get rid of all the educated people. They tried to get rid of the leaders. It pretty clearly fits the legal definition. So we have the crime of genocide and genocide of course can be prosecuted in the International Court of Justice.
    That can be prosecuted by states who have their own universal jurisdiction.
    If an Israeli general or politician travels to a country that will actually enforce its genocide laws that person can be prosecuted under the Genocide Convention and the laws that flow from it.
  • Second International Crime: Apartheid – It’s defined as inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.
  • Third International Crime: Crimes Against Humanity – It includes any of the following acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population. They include, murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment, enforced disappearance of persons, the crime of apartheid other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.

Law and Disorder Co-host Attorney Michael Ratner,  President 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 Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder, 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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Western Media Coverage of Israel Gaza Violence

Last week we interviewed Phil Weiss of Mondoweiss and talked about the media’s role in reporting facts and detailing the history around the escalating violence against Palestinians by the Israeli military. Specifically in the discussion, Phil believed that what he considered better media analysis of the Middle East situation and some other factors, might prevent a ground assault against Gaza. Michael Ratner and Michael Smith both disagreed with Phil believing that it wasn’t just about media coverage or a little better media coverage but the question of a ground assault went to a much deeper issue. 3 hours later unfortunately Michael Smith and Michael Ratner were proven correct.

Jim Naureckas:

  • I think the first thing you have to say of this issue is that the loss of human life has been overwhelmingly on one side.
  • I think that needs to be clear in the coverage.
  • What you’re getting is a coverage on the whole attempts to that treats both sides evenly as if the trauma is equally split between the two sides.
  • The latest figure is 161 children killed in Gaza.
  • And to treat the worries of Israelis as important or more important than the death of 161 kids I think is revolting.
  • There was a poll a while back showing that when people heard the word “occupied territories” a lot of people think that the Palestinians are occupying Israeli territory because the media so rarely explain what’s going on.
  • They’re not explaining what the situation is between Gaza and Israel and so you get coverage of the rockets as if they are the main problem.
  • It’s really a cockeyed way of viewing the situation I think.
  • We were talking about the headline that was changed in the New York Times after the beach massacre when Israel bombed kids playing soccer on the beach and killed 4 boys.
  • The original headline was “Four Young Boys Killed Playing On Gaza Beach” which I might note leaves out the active subject of that sentence it doesn’t say who killed them.
  • By the time it made it to print, the headline had been changed to “Boys Drawn To Gaza Beach And Into Center of Mideast Strife.”
  • You see the underlying bias in these examples.
  • Another is 13 Israeli soldiers, 70 others killed. A lot of readers are going to read that and when you say 13 soldiers and 70 others, you’re going to read that as 70 other Israelis who weren’t soldiers were killed.
  • On MSNBC there was a contributor, a Palestinian American, Rula Jebreal, who was discussing this case and the coverage in general of MSNBC, and was critical of the amount of air time given to Israeli officials versus the amount of time given to Palestinians to discuss the conflict.
  • After making these criticisms, within hours, she had her contract canceled by MSNBC.
  • She was actually brought back on not as an MSNBC contributor but as a Palestinian journalist to talk to Chris Hayes, and Chris Hayes defended her firing.
  • In this particular conflict 100 U.S. Senators voted to declare their support for Israel with no mention of the Palestinians who are dying.
  • Michael Smith: 100 to zero. What does that say about democracy?
  • I think its safe to say there’s more dissent in U.S. media than in U.S. government about the attack on Gaza.
  • I think that the rise of social media has effected the coverage.
  • When you’re doing a story about people treating war as a spectator sport and don’t mention that people are dying in the war, you are really treating war as a spectator sport.
  • We’re writing about this daily on our blog FAIR.org. You can also hear us talking about these issues on Counterspin.

Guest – Jim Naurekas Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR’s monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren’t: Rush Limbaugh’s Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the ’90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR’s website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR’s program director.

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Law and Disorder July 21, 2014


Updates:

  • Swedish Judge Denies Assange Lawyers Request To Set Aside 2010 Arrest Warrant On Sexual Misconduct Allegations
  • Torture Memo Author John Yoo Awarded Endowed Faculty Chair At University of California Berkeley School Of Law
  • Michael Ratner: The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld

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Israel’s Continued Disproportionate Use Of Force Against Palestinian Civilians

In a slow escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Army responded earlier this month by launching “Operation Protective Edge” as Israeli jets dropped hundreds of bombs on the impoverished coastal enclave of nearly 2 million Palestinians. At this time, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1400 injured. According to the United Nations, 77 percent of those killed are civilians and yet the massacre sadly continues. The vicious attacks are framed as a mutual conflict or exchange of fire. The reality is that the low quality rockets hitting Israel are not comparable to Israel’s powerful military strikes.

Phil Weiss:

  • In a nutshell I think Israel is trying to destroy the unification agreement between Hamas and Fatah. They don’t want diplomacy they want to end that unification deal.
  • It’s a great danger to Israel that the Palestinians are united, they want them divided.
  • They’ve used any pretext they can in the last month including the horrifying abduction and killing of these Israeli teens on the West Bank. They’ve used any pretext they can to break up, to try to break up that understanding.
  • The goals of a unified Palestinian government are to achieve some type of Palestinian freedom.
  • They would go on to International Criminal Court, International bodies and say hey, this occupation has been going on nearly 50 years . .. are you finally going to give us a state, sovereignty? If we can’t get sovereignty we’ll move to an equal rights struggle. .
  • I think the good thing that they show is there’s no green line. Israel operates with impunity, with complete autonomy all over historic Palestine. Netanyahu has said we’re never giving up the West Bank. It’s sort of an announcement to the world, this is one state.
  • The legal response and the one you demonstrated (Michael Ratner) against Cast Lead was this is Internationa Humanitarian Law and Human Rights law apply here and Israel should be brought up before International bodies for violating those laws.
  • The one form of progress is there’s no ground invasion this time. (this is what he thought at the time)
  • Michael Ratner, you and I have a somewhat different relationship to the mainstream press in that I used to be part of it and now and then I have fantasies of getting back in.
  • With that proviso, I think there has been a little bit of progress in the mainstream so you have on NBC news, you have words opening that report saying these people are trapped, they have no where to go and its a lopsided conflict.  I didn’t hear that around Cast Lead.
  • I’m not trying to defend the mainstream so much to say that I feel that there is some real shift going on.
  • Michael Ratner: Here’s a question about half-full. Do you want me to call the family that lost 17 kids in the same household in Gaza? That’s not half-full. That’s empty.
  • You’re putting me in the position of saying what I’m about to say which is the slaughter of 200 people is different from the slaughter of 500 people.
  • Michael Ratner: We’re still counting Phil.
  • The Jewish American community is highly responsible for this behavior, for this conduct that’s going on there.
  • How useful was that aircraft carrier (Israel) when we were occupying Iraq and we were invading Afghanistan? It wasn’t at all useful to us.
  • I think its a burden (Israel) I think it’s a millstone around our necks because it says the United States stance is slaughtering brown people.
  • You look at J Street, this great liberal Zionist organization. They’re justifying everything Israel is doing now.
  • There’s only a couple of Jewish organizations that stood up and said this is wrong. Jewish Voices For Peace and Jews Say No.
  • I think there’s an implicit understanding around the world now about why these people are firing rockets.
  • One of things you hear in Israel is the existential threat, in that people are delegitimizing us and I think that’s great news.
  • I see more voices talking about this conduct as just beyond the pale. I feel that the world is regarding this as a central human rights issue.

Guest – Philip Weiss,  founder of Mondoweiss, longtime journalist and regular contributor to the Nation and a fellow at the Nation Institute.  Philip is the author of two books a political novel, Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, and American Taboo, an investigative account of a 1976 murder in the Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Tonga.  Weiss is one of the editors of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.

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Andrew Kadi:

  • I don’t necessarily know that Israel has any real goals that will benefit Israeli society other than possibly the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza, forcing them to move out.
  • They’re leaving Gazans in deplorable conditions. They have unilaterally absolved themselves of their legal obligation under International law to the population in Gaza and have instead declared something that I think nobody else recognizes that Gaza is somehow a hostile territory or an enemy territory.
  • It’s counter-productive if your belief that the goal or the end goal for the Israeli government is peace.
  • The majority of these rocket attacks are pretty small projectiles as anyone who has seen them knows has no chance of actually injuring anyone or causing damage. Some of them are as small as a Coke can.
  • Hamas has deployed larger rockets in last 4 years that can fire through a building. ‘
  • By and large these attacks are being carried out by other groups round the clock. The ones that Israel is referring to are usually other groups that have nothing to do with Hamas.
  • I would say the rocket attacks are a cry for help from Gaza.
  • In the end, Gazans are isolated, there’s a siege, a blockade that Israel’s carrying out. I think that Gazans don’t want to be subject to it anymore.
  • They want to be able to live like any other population.
  • The American Foreign Services committee published a list of American companies directly involved and complicit in the attacks on Gaza.
  • Those companies include Boeing, Hewlitt Packard, Elbit Systems, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, General Electric, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon.
  • In 2005, Palestinian civil society called for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with the 3 tenets of International law.
  • The end of the occupation, equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel and the right of refugees to return to their homes.
  • Other companies that folks can boycott, Sodastream, Ahava cosmetics, Strauss Group, Osem – Tribe Hummus, Sibeon Company.

Guest - Andrew Kadi, a human rights activist and digital media specialist currently serving on the Steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. He’s contributed to the Guardian’s Comment is Free, The Electronic Intifada, Mondoweiss, Left Turn and other publications.

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Law and Disorder July 14, 2014


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

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

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

Attorney Karima Al-Almin:

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

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

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US Attorney General Ramsey Clark:

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

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

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

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

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

Attorney Michael Deutsch:

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

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

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Law and Disorder June 30, 2014


Updates

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Michael Ratner Marks CCR Case Rasul v Bush: Courage To Stand Up At The Right Time

In early 2002, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed two habeas petitions, Rasul v. Bush and Habib v. Bush. This  challenged the U.S. government’s practice of holding foreign nationals captured in connection with its war on Afghanistan and al-Qaeda in indefinite detention. This is without counsel and without the right to a trial or to know the charges against them.  Michael Ratner then explains the timeline of how the Supreme Court, over the administration’s objections, agreed in November 2003 to hear the cases of the Guantanamo detainees, and also the case of al Odah v. Bush.  This week’s anniversary marks the historic ruling on June 28th, 2004 that detainees have access to U.S. Courts to challenge their detention.

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • We won that in June 28, 2004. We won it in a 6-3 decision. The Center for Constitutional Rights was the only human rights organization on the case. The only one willing to take that case.
  • Many of my colleagues, not me, thought that would be the end of Guantanamo (Bay Prison)
  • There are still 149 people left in Guantanamo, over half of them have been cleared for release. The reason I want to mark this is because it talks about a struggle that in some ways was successful and in some ways not successful.
  • It also talks about the courage of these lawyers that started these cases in the thick of the most anger in the country and . . . fears that we would lose our fund raising.
  • We thought at that time, as I said some of our friends, said that we would close Guantanamo. But since that time there’s been incredible stubborn resistance by all 3 branches of government.
  • Bush first, then Obama, despite promises has failed to live up to them, promises to close Guantanamo. The courts are therefore useless now in this.
  • Congress is going retrograde at a speed unimaginable, trying to ban every transfer for the rest of our days from Guantanamo.
  • Within 2 months of the 911 attacks, President Bush issued Military Order Number 1. It’s November 13, 2001 Military Order, I thought a coup de tat happened in the country. It said the president had the authority to pick anyone, anywhere in the world. Hold them indefinitely, incommunicado and abolish habeas corpus.
  • We tried to get other human rights organizations to do it. No one else to their shame would come aboard with the Center for Constitutional Rights.
  • The Center for Constitutional Rights could’ve gone under for this. Let me be clear. It was a much smaller institution. It didn’t have that much funding. There was a high risk that we were going to get cut off completely.
  • January 11, 2002, they take the people, the first plane load to Guantanamo.
  • We never expected the Supreme Court to take the case in 2003. When it finally did, it accepted the case. It was argued in April 2004. It was decided in our favor on June 28.
  • We then put out a call for other lawyers to join us. Over a hundred lawyers joined us immediately. 600 within a year or two. We then created what I call a mass movement of lawyers to fight this.
  • As a result of the 2004 ruling, our first attorney went down (to Guantanamo) Gita Gutierrez. The big thing that Gita’s visit represented is that we found out about torture at Guantanamo.
  • You begin to understand when a government does incommunicado detention in an offshore facility that doesn’t have any court review, there’s a reason, and the reason is almost entirely torture.
  • There’s been no prosecution. Obama has given them all a huge pass unfortunately. It’s really damaging because what it has done for torture is its saying, torture isn’t necessarily illegal, Obama claims it’s illegal but he didn’t prosecute anybody.
  • So, next time we have another “scare” like this people will say it’s a political issue, we can torture, it works, etc.

Guest - Law and Disorder Co-host Attorney Michael Ratner,  President 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 Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder, 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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Israel Increases Rate of Palestinian Home and Structure Demolition

In the past few months, the Israeli government has stepped up its campaign of Palestinian home demolitions, specifically in the E1 area between Jerusalem and the Maale Adumim settlement. United Nations reports show 231 Palestinians had been displaced from their homes in early 2014. This is at a much quicker pace than 2013. Remember the demolishing of homes include livestock pens, fences, water reservoirs, schools, all vital to the livelihood and communal life of Palestinians. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions estimates since 1967, nearly 29 thousand Palestinian homes and livelihood structures were demolished in the Occupied Territories. However, at the same time the Israeli government has announced the construction of thousands of homes and buildings in the settlements of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Dr. Jeff Halper:

  • This is an area called E1, that’s the planner’s jargon.
  • The significance of E1 is that it closes the last north south corridor the Palestinians have from the north of west bank to the south since they can’t come through Jerusalem.
  • Even the United States say if Israel build in E1 and closes that corridor that’s the end of the two state solution.
  • This guy Irwin Moskowitz who is a big casino out in California gives millions to the settlements. He bought for the Israeli government a 10 million dollar state of the art police station. It’s the main police headquarters for all the West Bank that is in the E1.
  • There’s a whole infrastructure of roads leading to Jerusalem, but Israel has still refrained from actually building. The plan is to build 3,500 housing units that absolutely, thickly closes that corridor to Palestinians.
  • The 2 state solution is gone but this (building of E1 area) would be an absolute measure of the ending of the 2 state solution.
  • We’re trying to mobilize international civil society against the occupation. The occupation is not going to end because the Israeli public rise up and end it.
  • They’re living the good life, they’re profiting from the occupation especially from the point of view of testing and developing and selling weapons systems tested on Palestinians.
  • And the governments of the world aren’t doing their job. Governments manage conflicts, they don’t resolve conflicts.
  • So I’m here in the United States to try to speak to activist groups, church groups because the churches here have a very strong moral voice.
  • We’re dependent on the Palestinians for leadership on where to go next. Not  being Palestinians, we can’t tell them what the solution is.
  • I think its urgent we formulate a one state solution. A one democratic bi-national state.
  • I think there has to be a bi-national component in which both peoples have a sense of self expression and limited self determination within the common country.
  • You have to create structures of sharing power.
  • I think the Palestinians would have the ability to achieve a fair amount of parity with Israel within a short amount of time if we create this consociational type of state.
  • Israel is beginning to be more and more of an albatross around the American’s neck.
  • Operation My Brother’s Keeper had nothing to do with these kids who disappeared. It was a stand alone operation that used the disappearance as a trigger for being launched. The whole idea was to crack down on Hamas, to weaken the PA to keep it dependent on Israel.
  • I think what’s happening is we’re in the midst of collapse.
  • Jeff@ICAHD.org

Guest – Dr. Jeff Halper, co-founder and Director of ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He was born in 1946 in Minnesota and emigrated to Israel in 1973. Since then he has been a tireless advocate for justice and civil rights for all Israelis and Palestinians. He spent ten years as a community worker in Jerusalem aiding low-income Mizrahi families. He co-founded ICAHD in 1997 to help resist Israel’s strategy of house demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He is the author of three books, ‘Between Redemption and Revival: The Jewish Yishuv in Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century’, ‘An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Possession, Redeeming Israel’, and ‘Obstacles to Peace: A reframing of the Palestinian – Israeli Conflict’. In 2006 Dr. Halper was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, citing ICAHD’s work “to liberate both the Palestinian and the Israeli people from the yoke of structural violence” and “to build equality between their people by recognizing and celebrating their common humanity.”
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Law and Disorder February 10, 2014


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Goliath: Life and Loathing In Greater Israel: Max Blumenthal

Operation Cast Lead in 2008, is a starting point in the book Goliath: Life and Loathing In Greater Israel where award winning journalist and author Max Blumenthal shows the reader how a right wing government in Israel rose to power.  His book takes hard look at Israeli authoritarian politics through a cross section of interviews from the homes of Palestinian activists to the political leaders behind the organized assault against civil liberties.  Max gives readers a rare look into Israeli society that many will not write about.

Max Blumenthal:

  • The first title was Master Race Democracy.
  • Of course Israel is always portrayed in our media as this plucky little David surrounded by the Arab Goliath. Of course our reality is 180 degrees different.
  • Matzpen warned that this would happen, they took a full page ad in Harretz saying we will become a police state and a nation of murderers.
  • That’s where I come in to show that all of their darkest prophecies have been fulfilled and realized.
  • I take you through Israeli society and through the key institutions of Israeli life to show how its playing out.
  • From my time in Jerusalem where an anti miscegenation movement is burgeoning in the streets of Israel, leading mob attacks on young Palestinian men who are accused of making passes at Jewish women to the convention at the Jerusalem Ramada where key state Rabbis sit on a panel before right-wing settlers, including settler vigilantes leaders of the anti miscegenation movement defend a book, a guide on how and when its permissible to kill non-jews. A guide to genocide which is being distributed in Israeli Army units.
  • Avigdor Lieberman is the man that basically promised to transfer 100s of thousands of Palestinians. He’s a rising force in Israeli society. It’s the youth whose hearts and minds they command.
  • I take you into the Knesset to meet the younger legislators and the rising stars in Lieberman’s party and Netanhayu’s party who are far to the right of Netanyahu. Netanyahu really just commands the hollow center of Israeli politics.
  • Rotem was great because he and other hard core right wingers have this whole philosophy of being dugri or straight. There was nothing I could say to shake him. He looks at me coming in at just another pathetic Jewish liberal who doesn’t really get what it takes to prevent a second holocaust and that’s what he said his goal was.
  • It’s completely different from talking to a Republican in the United States who has to pander to some kind of civil rights sensibility.
  • That’s another thing reviewers missed about my book is that I analyzed these key votes on major anti-democratic laws going back to 2009. Laws like the Nakba Law which basically criminalized observance of Palestine dispossession in 2008. Laws like the Acceptance to Community Law which legitimizes racial and religious discrimination for communities of under 500.
  • These are laws that strip off the veneer of democracy and expose apartheid for what it is.
  • It’s the right-wing that has captured the heart of Israeli society because they have the dynamism, they’re driving the agenda forward. (using a simple mantra – “finish 48″)
  • In 1948 and actually starting in 1947, 750 thousand Palestinian Arabs were expelled to allow the creation of a Jewish state with a Jewish demographic majority, but many stayed behind. 20 percent of the state of Israel is non-Jewish Palestinian.
  • They view Palestinian citizens of Israel increasingly as a fifth column, as a trojan horse for the Arab world, for Arab nationalism and Islamism.
  • In order to become a citizen of Israel you have swear loyalty to the Jewish state and that applies to Palestinians in east Jerusalem.
  • You will meet the people who are trying to push back inside Jewish-Israeli society on the pages of my book because they were my roommates, my friends. They took me to the flashpoints of ethnic cleansing and conflict.
  • I would number 700 or less active left wingers who are actively leveling their bodies against the occupation and apartheid.
  • The writings on the wall for these activists that there is very little room for them left in Israeli society.
  • What they’ve (leftists in Israel) done is call to the outside. They’re calling to us. They organized around the boycott from within committee and they’re signing letters asking performers not to come to Israel. They’re signing letters calling on Americans to boycott their country.
  • That is really where the activism of the radical left wing Israelis is going.
  • The Jewish National Fund is supposed to operate within the Green Line only and is probably the leading Jewish non-profit in the world. It receives the most donations from diaspora Jews in the world.
  • Steven Harper the Prime Minister of Canada recently spoke at one of their banquets. They’ve paid Bill Clinton hundreds of thousands to speak at their banquets.
  • They are also the premier organization linked to the Israeli government involved in ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
  • It’s something we talk about a lot. How Zionism is trying to capture Judaism and change what it means to be a Jew and declare us to be who are not only not Zionists but object to this redefinition of Judaism and cast us out and declare us to be anathema.
  • You can see it in my video Feeling the Hate where I go to the heart of Jerusalem and meet American Jews from around the country and they line up around my camera the night before Barack Obama’s historic address in Cairo.
  • Zionism is attracting those who are magnetized by the kind of bellicose identity that it requires and is repelling anyone who has any liberal sensibility or at least throwing them into a moral crisis.
  • I showed up as # 9 on Simon Weisenthal Center’s list of anti-Israel, anti-semites and they called me an anti-semitic Jew, not even a self-hating Jew but a Jew who hates Jews.
  • I was tied with Alice Walker by the way.
  • They literally count the calorie of each Gaza resident with complex mathematical formulas.
  • Barack Obama has never challenged the idea of holding 1.8 million under siege because they possess the wrong ethnicity.
  • When a situation like this is taking place and expanding as Jeff Halper from the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions says into a “global Gaza” where the techniques that have been used to control people in the Gaza Strip are literally being exported because Israel is the only country that has the ability to basically lab test such a regime of domination.
  • That’s very appealing to people in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, to private prison companies like CCA.
  • Twitter – @maxblumenthal

Guest – Max Blumenthal,  an award-winning journalist and bestselling author whose articles and video documentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Guardian, The Independent Film Channel, The Huffington Post, Salon, Al Jazeera English and many other publications. He is a former Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow for The Nation Institute. His book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party, is a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller.

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Law and Disorder November 4, 2013


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Pan African Solidarity Hague Campaign to Delegitimize the ICC

In the month June last 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 2011 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. 16 months after delivering the petition and sending follow up letters, the Pan African Solidarity Hague Committee haven’t received a response.  The organization is now reaching out to National Lawyers Guild members and law students to help expose the International Criminal Court.

Attorney Roger Wareham:

  • The International Criminal Court was established in 2001-2002, supposedly to replace the different ad-hoc international tribunals that had been set up to deal with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • It’s supposed to be even handed, no double standard – everyone is held to the same level of accountability.
  • The membership, you have to sign on to be a part of it. The United States was closely involved in the process of setting up the ICC.
  • The U.S. insisted that it would not be subject to prosecution by the ICC, although under the Security Council of the United Nations could recommend cases for the ICC.
  • Given the plethora of human rights violations and war crimes that have been committed around the world, the only people that the ICC is presently prosecuting are Africans.
  • The only prosecutions have been of Africans.
  • Our involvement in taking it to the ICC was in particular to expose its nature that its really not an international tribunal that would look at the question of war crimes across the board and that its really another instrument in the West’s arsenal of the exploitation of Africa.
  • Ostensibly, dealing with human rights violations, the ICC has zeroed in on Africa.
  • There’s been a response and rebellion among several of the African countries around this clear bias.
  • Three of the five permanent members are not on the ICC, Russia, United States and China.
  • I think what we want to do is we want a single standard or no ICC.
  • Email: D12M@aol.com
  • www.PASHC2012.blogspot.com

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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Lawyers You’ll Like – Attorney Mel Wulf

We’re joined today by Attorney Mel Wulf, former legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union for 15 years. He was a law partner with former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark during the Kennedy Administration and much more. Wulf was part of some of the greatest contributions to the civil rights movement. He’s now retired after practicing law for 54 years. As part of our Lawyers You’ll Like series, we talk with Wulf about his work with the ACLU during the early 60s, and also about the forming of the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee.

Attorney Mel Wulf:

  • Phil Agee was a dissident CIA agent who spent decades working against the CIA, published a couple of books.
  • He lost his passport because when the dissidents took over the embassy in Tehran in 1979, the New York Post carried a story accusing Phil of helping the students who’d invaded the embassy to put together all of that written material that had been shredded.
  • It was another New York Post bald faced lie.
  • The State Department, based upon that story revoked his passport.
  • I had represented Phil Agee, I was his principle lawyer for 30 years.
  • Agee was very widely disliked in Washington because he was well known to be a CIA dissident who disclosed the names of many CIA agents.
  • If Snowden went the same route today, he would do even worse in this Supreme Court than I did. That’s why Snowden won’t get his passport, thanks to me.
  • I was for the workers and not for the bosses and I’ve always been for the workers and not for the bosses, which I think is the distinguishing political factor in our world. Which side are you on?
  • I got my Bachelors Degree in ’52 and I had a Navy Commission which I had gotten from the New York State Maritime Academy earlier on.
  • The draft board sent me a 1A notice, I applied to Columbia and when I finished Columbia they sent me another 1A notice because the draft was still on. I spent 2 years in the Navy as a Liuetenant Junior Grade Officer in Southern California.
  • I went to work at the ACLU in 1958 as the assistant legal director, in 1962 I was given the job of the legal director of the ACLU.
  • I had actually been going down to Mississippi from 1961 to 1962, working with then one of the two black lawyers who were practicing in Mississippi.
  • We tried a couple of capitol cases in Mississippi. I continued to argue the systematic exclusion of blacks from the jury.
  • I finally got a case up to the Supreme Court on that issue.
  • Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee: We had several hundred lawyers who went down to Mississippi for periods of a week or two. They were representing people being arrested during the Mississippi summer.
  • Most of the judges allowed these lawyers to make some sort of presentation.

Guest – Attorney Mel Wulf, former legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union for 15 years. He was a law partner with former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark during the Kennedy Administration and much more. Wulf was part of some of the greatest contributions to the civil rights movement. He’s now retired after practicing law for 54 years.

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Law and Disorder September 2, 2013


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There Is Power In A Union: Labor Songs

Songs of the American labor movement called for fair wages, dignity and voiced grievances. Classic labor songs such as “Which Side Are You On” or “There Is Power In A Union” affirmed the value of the worker to society and expressed hope in their lyrics. Woody Gutherie, Pete Seeger and Joe Hill  were leaders of the movement, and sang songs with a passion and love for their fellow workers.

Peter Siegel:

  • I’ve been singing these songs all my life. My parents sang these songs. I got a guitar when I was about 13 years old. One of the first songs I learned was Talking Union, along with Bird Dog and Don’t Take Your Guns to Town.
  • In recent years, when the state started cracking down on unions. The reporting that was coming through the media about these things, didn’t really explain what a union was and why there unions in the first place, and what the issues were.
  • I think these songs do a very clear and direct job of explaining that.
  • Many of the issues are still the same as they were when these songs were written. Eli and I talked about and got together and decided to make this album.
  • Martin Luther King Jr., talk about the hottest places in hell being reserved for those in times of crisis do nothing.
  • The Death of Mother Jones: I don’t think Gene Autry had a particular connection to that song, he apparently got the song from OK Records, which was his label.
  • Eli plays the steel guitar on our record and sings it beautifully.

Eli Smith:

  • One over-arching aspect of the songs is they give you a feeling of what its like to have a labor movement.
  • And also now to give people a feeling of what it was like in the past because I think America is an amnesiac society.
  • Most of the songs on our album are from 80 to 100 years ago.
  • Which Side Are You On? It’s a song written by Florence Reece, in a traditional style from the heart of Appalachia, in the coal mining region and we rendered in a way that’s as authentic as we can be to that style.

Guest – Peter Siegel is a musician, a record producer and performance artist who has worked with Doc Watson, Hazel Dickens and Roy Buchanan. He’s produced a number of great albums for Nonesuch, Folkways and Rounder Records in the last 50 years.

Guest – Eli Smith is a banjo player, writer and promoter of folk music,  living in New York City. Eli is a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist and produces two folk festivals every year.

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Brandworkers – Focus On The Food Chain

Nearly 35 thousand workers are employed to run New York City’s massive food processing and distribution. The vast majority are immigrant workers from all over the world,  Latin America, the Caribbean, China and Nepal. They depend on this work for their livelihood yet they’re often exploited through wage theft, reckless disregard of health and safety, plus egregious discrimination. We welcome back attorney Daniel Gross, executive director of Brandworkers, a non-profit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees. They’ve had numerous victories including recovering unpaid wages and forcing companies such as Flaum Appetizing into full compliance of workplace protections. The efforts to achieve these victories are based on the labor movement of the late 19th century using direct action and everyday solidarity.

Attorney Daniel Gross:

  • That approach worked for several decades. Labor identified itself with having a seat at the table with government and business and frankly lost its sense of being a fighting movement.
  • As many predicted, that arrangement among labor, capital and government wouldn’t hold.
  • Capital and government understood that it was a temporary sessation of hostility to worker’s right to organize.
  • What we see now is the NLRB system come undone.
  • It’s very easy for an employer with the right union-busting attorney to quite effectively undermine the worker’s right to go through the traditional processes we’ve understood for a while to form a union.
  • This multi-billion dollar global union busting industry which is led by law firms.  
  • These folks wake up every day in the morning and seek to undermine working people coming together to do better at work for their families.
  • 93 out of 100 workers today are not in a labor union traditionally and have very little prospect getting in.
  • Starbucks when I realized the traditional model was ineffective.
  • Our members work as bakers, they process seafood, they drive trucks that deliver all kinds of food and beverages to the grocery stores and restaurants, where we all get our food.
  • Our motto is empowering workers to build and lead their own campaigns for justice at work and in the food system.
  • Most recently, we announced a campaign at the Tom Cat bakery.
  • Workers marched and made declaration of dignity, demanding respect from management and an end to an under-payment scheme and hands off the benefits they’ve accrued.

Jose Romero:

  • Flaum Appetizing was a kosher factory, we were working very long hours without being paid overtime, there were no benefits including no vacations.
  • We decided to unite and came together one day during our break, we all met on the patio and decided we were going to confront the boss altogether.
  • This manager would attack us, and yell, call us cockroaches, would hurry us and call us stupid.

Guest – Attorney Daniel Gross, Executive Director of Brandworkers, a non-profit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees.

Guest – Juan Romero from Flaum Appetizing who works as a cook on the West side of Manhattan.

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Farm Workers: Coalition of Immokalee Workers

This year’s Labor Day, farmworkers with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers travel across Florida calling on Publix Supermarkets to join the Fair Food Program. Who are the Coalition of Immokalee workers? They’re a Florida based community organization of mainly immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean including Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants who have been working low wage jobs throughout Florida. The farm workers routinely face a number of different kinds of exploitation, poverty, wage theft, physical and verbal abuse as well as sexual harassment of many women working in the fields. Their campaigns focus on the big corporate buyers of the produce that they pick in an effort to improve wages and working conditions in the fields. They started with Taco Bell and from there launched campaigns with McDonald’s, Burger King, since then 11 other companies are cooperating to improving wages and working conditions in their supply chains.  Last year Trader Joe’s and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers signed an agreement that formalized the ways in which the supermarket chain will support the CIW’s Fair Food Program. Their efforts continue to urge Publix and Wendy’s fast food to join up.

Silvia Perez:

  • My experience as a woman working in the fields, its been very difficult for me, we often do the same work that men do in the industry.
  • We face heat exposure and having to work long hours, under the Florida Sun, and also to over fill our buckets to keep extra tomatoes on top for which we were not paid.
  • For many years before the CIW began its Fair Food Program, farm workers were paid an average of 45 cents per 32 lb bucket.
  • That’s been the same wage that farm workers received in Florida for more than 30 years.
  • There was no guaranteed wage that we would receive in the field, we were paid the bucket rate.
  • While there should be a minimum wage and we should get that guarantee to get paid that minimum wage, often times we didn’t receive it.
  • With our campaign for Fair Food, which brought on board 11 major corporations we developed the Fair Food Program, an initiative which is a partnership between farmers, farmworkers and the major retailers and because of that program things are changing.
  • Our organization is not a union, we are a worker and community based organization that was formed by farm workers themselves.
  • In addition to Wendy’s we’ve asked Publix the largest Florida based corporation to come on board as 11 other companies have. Specifically we ask for 2 things, to pay 1 penny more a pound for the tomatoes that they’re buying to go directly to farm workers, and to respect our rights.

Guest – Silvia Perez with the Coalition Immokalee Workers and also CIW campaign organizer Jake Ratner who will translate.

Guest – Jake Ratner, translater and son of co-host Michael Ratner. Jake traveled and studied in Cuba and Bolivia, South America. He now works with the Coalition of the Immokalee Workers.

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Law and Disorder August 26, 2013


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Army PFC Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years

Our own Michael Ratner reports back from Fort Meade, Maryland on the day Army PFC Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified information to Wikileaks.  As reported by Michael Ratner, Manning faced a maximum of 90 years in prison after his conviction last month on charges of espionage, theft and fraud.  Now, his sentence goes the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, where he may seek a reduction of his prison term.

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • 35 years is a completely off the wall sentence. First of all he shouldn’t have been prosecuted at all.
  • That’s been the Center for Constitutional Rights position. That’s my position.
  • He’s a whistle-blower, he exposed torture, criminality, killing of civilians.
  • Then, they over prosecute him, charge him with espionage, make whistle-blowers into spies.
  • They charge him with all these years, then people are relieved when gets 35 years.
  • It’s a very long sentence for someone who actually gave us the truth about Iraq, about Iran, about the helicopter video that killed a Reuters journalist, about the diplomatic cables that gave us the secret war in Yemen, the revelations about the corrupt Ben Ali government in Tunisia that helped bring on the Arab Spring.
  • He’s a hero. The people who committed the crime are sadly still in our government enjoying their lives, they’re the ones that ought to be prosecuted.
  • We’re in a time where there is a sledgehammer taken to whistle-blowers.
  • The demand now is that Obama pardon him or give him clemency. That’s from the Bradley Manning Support Committee.
  • Because of Bradley Manning, people like Ed Snowden came forward. They understood that when they see criminality, they’re young people of conscience and they act on it, and we should be very proud of each of these people.

Law and Disorder Co-host Attorney Michael Ratner,  President 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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Journalist Barrett Brown Faces 105 Years In Prison

Journalist Barrett Brown has spent more than 330 days in pre trial detention and faces charges that add up to a 105 year sentence. What Barrett Brown did was merely take a link from a chat room and copied that link then pasted it to a chat room for a wiki-based crowd source group called Project PM.  The link was to the Stratfor hack information of 5 million emails. He needed help to sift through the data and posted the link that was already publicly out there to the attention of the editorial board of Project PM.  There were unencrypted credit card numbers and validation codes within those emails and the government is claiming that Barrett Brown was engaged in credit card fraud. Why go after Barrett Brown? The backstory begins with the Bank of America being concerned that Wikileaks had specific information. They go to the Department of Justice who lead them to a big law firm in Washington DC, then to a private intelligence firm. Meanwhile, a defense fund for Barrett Brown continues to raise money for his case.

Kevin Gallagher:

  • Barrett Brown is an investigative journalist and freelance writer who has had a career writing for the Huffington Post, the Guardian and many other places.
  • Through his observing the media landscape over the last ten years in America, I think he grew very dissatisfied with things so when this phenomenon called anonymous popped up in 2010, making major news headlines, he attached himself to it.
  • All he was doing was looking at this information leaked by Jeremy Hammond out of Stratfor as part of his journalistic inquiry into the world of private intelligence firms.
  • The fact that they can indict someone on identity theft and credit card fraud just for sharing a link of information. . there’s no allegation that he sought to profit from it.
  • Project PM over its lifespan was a number of different things but that’s what it eventually evolved into.
  • A crowd sourced project with a wiki that was devoted to investigating soley, the state corporate alliance on surveillance. This was known as Team Themis, a consortium of these firms.
  • This all started when Wikileaks said it had information from the Bank of America.
  • Barrett was investigating. There are other journalists who do very good work on this. He was one of the most vocal who was involved in investigating all these relationships between the private intel firms and the DOJ. He was using leaked emails to do so.
  • I think they were very upset to see these things revealed.
  • Barrett recognized that this was a threat and he was looking into it.
  • Before the court right now is a motion for a media gag order which was presented by the prosecution which would silence Barrett and his attorneys from making statements to the media.

Guest – Kevin Gallagher, writer, musician and systems administrator based in western Massachusetts. He graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He’s currently pursuing activism on issues related to digital rights: freedom of information, privacy, and copyright; while also taking an interest in information security. He is the director and founder of Free Barrett Brown, a support network, nonprofit advocacy organization and legal defense fund formed for the purpose of assisting the prominent internet activist and journalist, Barrett Brown, who is the founder of Project PM.

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Native Hawaiian Prisoner Transfer to Arizona Private Prison

Hawaii is know for sending more prisoners across state lines than any other state. According to the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, a disproportionate number of those prisoners are Native Hawaiian inmates.  Because of over crowding, Native Hawaiian inmates are transferred from a Hawaii state prison to a for-profit Corrections Corporation of America prison in Arizona. This particular CCA private prison however was built specifically for Native Hawaiian inmates, yet they’re denied cultural and religious rites. Additional transfer impacts include difficult reentry back into Hawaii, away from family and homeland, and no opportunity for proper atonement.

Attorney Sharla Manley:

  • We’ve been involved in a lawsuit for 2 years concerning the impact of Hawaii’s policy of transferring inmates to the mainland. Native Hawaiians.
  • Native Hawaiians are the indigenous people of the state of Hawaii. They have a similar experience to American Indians on the continent.
  • Our firm focuses on Native Hawaiian rights and the focus on what self determination remains despite the history.
  • Native Hawaiians are disproportionately incarcerated. They are transferred more often than any other racial group.
  • The state of Hawaii creates a menu of prisoners, for private prisons to select.
  • Our focus on the transfer is very narrow, the Native Hawaiian prisoners who still want to adhere to native traditions and practices.
  • In Arizona you don’t have access to cultural teachers and spiritual advisers who could provide the kind of guidance or counseling, really the kind of instruction of passing on a tradition.
  • The Native Hawaiian women were being transferred for a period of time, but there were so many sexual assaults, the state finally brought them back.
  • You’re taking away the men, breaking the cultural transmission because many of these men are fathers, grandfathers. Yes they would be in prison here, but there is a difference when your family can see you on the weekends.
  • In effect, it’s a form of cultural genocide.
  • I’m beside myself as to why this hasn’t been rectified at this point. There’s not even a plan really.
  • This is an issue that is personal for me. I am Native Hawaiian, and know what its like to have someone in your community, in your family to be effected by the criminal justice system.

Guest – Attorney Sharla Manley, with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation.  Sharla Manley joined NHLC as a staff attorney in 2010. Before joining NHLC, Sharla was an associate at an international law firm in Los Angeles in its global litigation department for over three years. In addition to handling commercial litigation matters, she also took pro bono cases, involving voting rights, asylum, and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act. Also, Sharla was an associate at a plaintiff-side class action firm where she primarily handled appeals of wage and hour cases before state appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit.  Before law school, Sharla was a policy analyst on Native Hawaiian rights at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. She focused on water rights and the impact of military activities on cultural resources in Makua Valley.

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Solidarity Sing A Long: Wisconsin Labor Protests Continue

The noontime sing-along has protested Gov. Scott Walker’s policies daily at Wisconsin’s Capitol since March 11, 2011.  However, a new round of arrests began two weeks ago and more than 100 citations have been issued to protesters by Capitol Police.  But this is in addition to nearly 200 citations already since July 2012 when the Department of Administration began enforcing new permitting requirements for gatherings in state facilities. What is the noontime solidarity sing-along protest?

Attorney Jonathan Rosenblum:

  • When you have a new governor who within weeks in office describes his legislation as a bomb,  which was to end collective bargaining for public sector workers.
  • This led to more than a hundred thousand people, multiple times on the square where I’m sitting right now here on Wisconsin Avenue.
  • Beyond the anti-union agenda, this governor has come in with a pedigree from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. He as a legislator in the same building was a member of ALEC, was a proponent of its agenda.
  • His agenda as it moved along, was to remove vast numbers of children from medicaid, of claiming a jobs agenda would bring Wisconsin to the top in the United States, instead it plunged to the bottom.
  • He eliminated funding for high speed trains, instead the trains for Wisconsin are now sitting in Oregon.
  • The main point about this governor is about closing the doors of this government to the public.
  • Even the union legislation that led to the crowds was passed in violation of a Public Meetings Act.
  • Let me take you to March 11, 2011 when it all started. I was standing there with my friend Steve Burns, folks had slept in the capitol for weeks, the anti-union legislation was passed and signed that day and Steve had printed up a few copies of a songbook that had the dome of the capitol opening up with musical notes on the cover of it and 10 tunes, the classics of the civil rights movement.
  • Several of them modified in the great Wobbly tradition.
  • This sing-along has preceded from that day March 11, 2011 without skipping a beat, every single week day since that date. More than 650 consecutive sing-alongs.
  • The sing-along is a joyful conglomeration. It’s reached about 300-400 daily as the crack down has actually caused a surge of concerned citizens to join us.
  • We Don’t Want Your Millions, Mister.
  • A Long Range Acoustic Device is being used. The police have started to use the recordings of Chief Irwin’s declaration of unlawful assembly to blast into the rotunda so nobody misses it.
  • They use the siren that ramps up to 150 db to disable people. They haven’t put it to that level yet.
  • The State Capitol Police are in a bind. They have their orders, most are executing them with a little more zeal than they should. Some of them seem to be maintaining friendships that they had before with the singers.

Guest – Jonathan Rosenblum, PRWatch.org contributor, an author, award-winning journalist, and practicing lawyer. His book, Copper Crucible: How the Arizona Miners’ Strike of 1983 Recast Labor-Management Relations in America (Cornell University Press, 1995; Second Edition, 1998) was named as one of Princeton University Library’s “Ten Noteworthy Books in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics” in 1996.

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Law and Disorder July 29, 2013


Updates:

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Dick-Gregory-at-BOP1-938x1024 Lynne-Stewart-June-2013-

Lynne Stewart: Continued Support For Compassionate Release From Prison

As many listeners know, political prisoner, attorney, activist and friend attorney Lynne Stewart was denied compassionate release on the grounds that her health is improving. Not only is that untrue, it’s cynical. Cancer has spread to her lungs as Lynne is held in isolation. Her white blood cell count is so low that she is at risk of generalized infection. 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.

Please call to push for Lynne’s release from prison.

  • U.S. Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels – 202-307-3198  Ext. 3
  • U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder – 202-514-2001
  • President Barack Obama – 202-456-1111

Guest – Ralph Poynter, Lynne’s husband and an activist.

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mikesbookcover Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder with Kevy

Michael Hamlin: Black Workers In Detroit

Last month, our guest,  retired auto worker and activist Dianne Feeley discussed the plans of emergency manager of Detroit, Kevyn Orr that would wipe out the pensions and health benefits of all current and retired city workers. Nine billion in worker benefits are in the cross hairs of this plan that would impoverish 20 thousand retirees on fixed incomes. There are only 10 thousand city employees left in Detroit who’ve had their pay cut by 10 percent, and now their medical care. This has since made international news. Today we look at the history of workers in Detroit from the perspective of black workers and how what’s happening now can fit into the broader pattern of oppression.

Mike Hamlin:

  • Well, I came here from sharecropping country in Mississippi. We landed in a suburb of Detroit that was segregated.
  • My father was run out of Mississippi, just ahead of the sheriff. His sister lived out here. We lived in a project, 2 bedroom apartment. There were 8 of us in this 2 bedroom apartment. The people looked out and cared for each other. My mother was only 15 years older than me, so we grew up together.
  • It was a peaceful community, sometimes interrupted by weekend drinking, arguing and spouse abuse.
  • At that time we were so completely repressed and segregated. Those of us in the south were prepared for that because in the south you had to learn to keep your place.
  • We’d submit and we played the game. Go to school or go to the factory.
  • Most of my friends quit school and went into the factory. My father advised me to do the same but I wouldn’t.
  • The factories at that time were hiring and he eventually got into Ford.
  • Most of the workers there either worked at Ford or Great Lakes Steel.
  • The typical pattern was they moved to the north got a job in the plant, bought a new car, I’m sure that created a lot -of angst.
  • He used to be quite a cotton picker. The Ford job was like play to him. He worked a lot of overtime-kinda typical.
  • The situation with the bankruptcy is kind of a culmination.
  • If you know black history. . . there’s a history of destroying black communities that are prosperous.
  • You look at Tulsa, Rosewood.
  • There has always been bitter hatred in Michigan throughout on part of blacks toward whites.
  • The racial aspect of this bankruptcy should not underplayed or underestimated.
  • People outside of Detroit have been tearing it down since the 50s.
  • There’s joy in Mudville now that Detroit is bankrupt.
  • Quicken Loans gives his employees incentives to move into downtown lofts and apartment complexes.
  • Detroit is going to prosper again.
  • The population is changing. It was 85 percent black. It hasn’t been counted recently.

Guest – Mike Hamlin, co-founder of the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. For 35 years, Hamlin worked as a social worker and addiction therapist. He is currently a professor of Africana Studies at Wayne State University.
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henrialleg the-question

Remembering Journalist and Author, Henri Alleg

In November of 2007, we were fortunate to interview French-Algerian journalist Henri Alleg. Henri passed away last week. He was 91.  We talked with him about his book, The Question, a moving account of his arrest and torture at the hands of French paratroopers during the Algerian War of Independence. The book became a bestseller and created major public debate in France. Jean-Paul Sartre wrote the preface that remains a relevant commentary on the moral and political effects of torture on the both the victim and perpetrator. The book was eventually banned by the authorities.

Professor Marnia Lazreg:

  • I had worked on the issue of torture during the Algerian War 1954-62.
  • I read Henri Alleg’s The Question. It really struck a chord with me.
  • There were times in my research and writing where I lost complete faith in humanity or the notion of humanism.
  • I lived in the Arab area in the city where I was going to high school and in the mornings I would see hundreds of men in line at the unemployment office.
  • I read The Question and I realized he was speaking to me.
  • He was tortured mercilessly, and he didn’t talk, he didn’t crack.
  • He was the also the first French intellectual who blew the whistle on the hypocrisy of the colonial military establishment which was spreading this news that they were in Algeria to save this country.
  • What Alleg wanted to do was show in a very powerful manner that France had not changed from the Middle Ages.
  • In fact, France was engaging in the same practices 9 years after it fought fascism, Nazism in Europe.
  • He was writing about what happened to him while it was still fresh in his mind.  Memories become jumbled, the suffering is so intense.
  • He was writing on cigarette paper and he had it smuggled out of the prison. It showed something about Alleg’s personality. He was not going to be muzzled, or silenced. He was going to continue to resist.
  • What he said couldn’t be denied because he bore the signs of torture in his own flesh.
  • Sarte asked how could such young men exhibit the same kind of hatred toward the Algerians and those that supported the Algerians.
  • Alleg asked me to have dinner at his home. We had a marvelous dinner. With him I did not have to explain the premises of my views or my opinion.
  • We never met before but I could talk to him and he could understand what I was talking about.
  • We live in an age where humanism is a bad word. Anti-humanism is very well established in academic institutions.
  • To me, Alleg represented perhaps one of the last figures of the humanist era. It was an era also when you had people who fought for what is human. What is worth dying for . . preserving that basic fundamental human dignity which characterizes all human beings regardless of their race, nationality.

Guest -  Marnia Lazreg is professor of sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her books include Torture and the Twilight of Empire; From Algiers to Baghdad and The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question.

Past Law and Disorder Interview with Henri Alleg

Past Law and Disorder Interview with Marnia Lazreg
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Law and Disorder July 22, 2013


Updates:

  • Michael Ratner: Bradley Manning’s  Defense Makes Case To Dismiss Aiding The Enemy Charge
  • Freedom of the Press Foundation For Transcripts
  • Update: Judge Upholds Aiding The Enemy Charge in Bradley Manning Trial

oscar-grant oaklandprotest

NLG Obtains $1.17M, OPD Reforms for Occupy Oakland Protesters and Journalists

In recent weeks, attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild achieved two significant victories for the rights of protesters faced with police brutality and unlawful repression. The first came when the city of Oakland settled a class action lawsuit for more than 1 million dollars. The second victory occurred in early July when Oakland City Council approved a settlement for 1.17 million in another lawsuit arising from police actions at protests. As part of these settlements, the Oakland Police Department is now legally obligated to follow a crowd control policy. This policy which already existed but lacked enforcement outlines limits on police department officer’s use of force and the ability to make mass arrests in protest situations.

Attorney Rachel Lederman:

  • The first case has to do with the demonstration that had occurred on the day Johannes Mesterly was sentenced for the death of Oscar Grant. That’s the BART officer who shot Oscar Grant in the back as he was restrained facedown on the subway platform.
  • There’s a movie out about the last day in the life of Oscar Grant called Fruitvale Station that I would highly recommend seeing it’s playing all over the country now.
  • The death of Oscar Grant sparked a large number of demonstrations. November 5, 2010 was the date that Mesterly was sentenced and he was given a very minimal sentence of involuntary man slaughter of 2 years, 11 months with time served.
  • There was a demonstration planned for that evening it was actually a very small demonstration. OPD had planned to not allow a march after dark.
  • There was a rally that was permitted in downtown Oakland and then about 200 people started marching in the direction of Fruitvale Bart where the shooting had occurred. As soon as the march started the police began to set up for mass arrest.
  • When a police line would be erected in front of the march people would naturally turn another direction. This went on for a while, where the march was re-routed.
  • Eventually the OPD herded people to a residential area where they didn’t intend to go. The police announced it was a crime scene and began arresting everyone.
  • The Oakland City Police have been under consent decree since January 2003 mandating reform process.
  • We’ve had this crowd control policy in place but basically every single provision of the crowd control policy was violated in the Occupy Oakland incident and the Oscar Grant incident.
  • We brought those cases to try to enforce the crowd control policy. A lot has changed in the last six months.
  • There’s also been a new shake up of command (OCP) there’s a new acting chief.

Guest – Rachel Lederman, a California based National Lawyers Guild attorney who worked on both cases.  Rachel first got involved in police misconduct civil rights cases as a result of her criminal defense work with political demonstrators. In 1989, Dennis Cunningham and Rachel Lederman successfully sued the San Francisco Police to obtain justice for AIDS activists who had been brutalized and unlawfully detained in what became known as the “Castro Sweep”.
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irisscans Telegraph Keya

Surveillance Blowback: The Making of the U.S. Surveillance State, 1898-2020

What is the history and context of surveillance in the United States? Last week Scott Horton explained how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court devolved into a panel of judges making decisions in secret that influence federal law. Returning guest Alfred McCoy traces the US surveillance apparatus back to the late 1800s and brings us up to understanding the context of leaked NSA documents by whistle-blower Ed Snowden. In his latest article titled Surveillance Blowback: the Making of the U.S. Surveillance State 1898-2020, Al McCoy,  Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison details the surveillance timeline beginning with the US occupation of the Philipines and makes the connection to US imperialism abroad and apathy at home.

Professor Alfred McCoy:

  • Four years ago I published a book called Policing America’s Empire which started in the Philipines and started the history of US domestic surveillance through what I call surveillance blowback.
  • It’s the trajectory of history that allows you to see this.
  • In the late 19th century America had what I call our first information regime which was really a brilliant synergy of discoveries.
  • Thomas Edison’s quadruplex telegraph, Remington’s typewriter allowed the transmission around the world, across the nation, absolutely accurately at 40 words a minute.
  • The Gamewell Corporation for a half century during the 19th century was the world leader in the development of police telegraph and telephone communication – those police boxes that used to be on the streets of every American city.
  • The Gamewell Corporation had 900 of these boxes in operation and collectively they sent 41 million messages in the year 1900.
  • When we intervened in the Philippines we were suddenly faced with this massive insurgency, this guerrilla underground. We smashed the regular military formations but we couldn’t break the insurgency.
  • The US military in order to pacify that country created the first field intelligence unit in its 100 year history.
  • They appointed an obscure medical doctor Captain Ralph Van Deman to be the head of the division of military information.
  • He decided he would map the entire Filipino political elite.
  • William Howard Taft passed very draconian sedition and libel legislation and created a powerful colonial secret police called the Philipines constabulary. It took about 10 years to accomplish. 1898-1907
  • We had to track down the politicians (Philipines) we had to manipulate them.
  • 10 years after that process, the US joined WWI. April 1917.
  • The United States was the only army on either side of the battlefield that didn’t have an intelligence service with any description.
  • We turn now to Colonel Van Deman who applied his Philippines experience to developing a very elaborate counter-intelligence apparatus inside the United States.
  • Mr and Mrs Van Deman ran a private intelligence service that had Army file clerks and regular FBI liason officers dropping by.
  • And from their home they compiled files on 250 thousand suspected subversives.
  • They divided the world. Basically, North America, Latin America became the purview of the FBI for counter-intelligence the rest of the world became purview of US military intelligence and of course the CIA and then NSA.
  • That division of the word remain in effect until December 2011.
  • 3 million Afghani iris scans and fingerprints are housed in a main frame computer in West Virginia.
  • So, we developed then, this very efficient system of surveillance and digital monitoring overseas.
  • During the war on terror we now know the Bush Administration beginning October 2001 authorized the NSA to start massive capping of all digital communications.
  • In March of this year, it was 97 billion emails that were tapped by the NSA.
  • This began migrating home very very quickly.
  • When Obama came even though he criticized this illegal wiretapping, when he came in, instead of cutting it back like the Republicans did in the 1920s, he decided to build upon it.
  • What he’s building upon it for is to build an architecture for the exercise of global power through a significant edge or advantage for information control and information warfare.
  • Obama wants to cut back on the appropriations for the big behemoths, the heavy tanks, the big ships and he wants to shift us into an agile form of information warfare and global information control.
  • The NSA is spending 1. 6 Billion dollars for the world’s biggest data farm in Bluffdale, Utah.
  • The National Geo-spatial Intelligence Agency has a nearly 2 billion dollar headquarters with 16 thousand employees in DC.
  • The Obama Administration has launched a new generation of light low cost, very agile satellites that can be remotely controlled from the ground, serving ground force commanders.
  • The Obama Administration is also building an armada of 99 Global Hawk drones with 24 hour flight capacity. These are surveillance drones with a 100 mile ambit for sucking audio communications.
  • With the combination of drones sucking up the local two way radio – cell phone communication with the tapping of the fiber optic cables within the US by the NSA, and internationally by the Five Eyes Coalition, Canad Australia, New Zealand and Britain, means that the NSA will have a total global surveillance system for the first time in human history.

Guest – Alfred McCoy, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His recent book, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (2009), draws together these two strands in his research–covert operations and Philippine political history–to explore the role of police, information, and scandal in the shaping both the modern Philippine state and the U.S. internal security apparatus. In 2011, the Association for Asian Studies awarded Policing America’s Empire the George McT. Kahin Prize, describing the work as “a passionate, elegantly written book.” He’s also the author of  “Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation.” Al is also the author of “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror” and “The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade.  The first edition of his book, published in 1972 as The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, sparked controversy, but is now regarded as the “classic work” about Asian drug trafficking.

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