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Archive for the 'political prisoner' Category


Law and Disorder April 21, 2014


Updates:

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

U.S. Agency Infiltrates Cuba With Fake Twitter Account

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

Jane Franklin:

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

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

50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

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

Professor of Law John Brittain:

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

Guest – Professor John Brittain, tenured professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law. In the past he served as dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston, was a veteran law professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law for twenty-two years and was the Chief Counsel and Senior Deputy Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, DC, a public interest legal organization started by President John F. Kennedy to enlist private lawyers to take pro bono cases in civil rights.
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Law and Disorder April 14, 2014


Updates:

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scidallas2 carrington2

The Dallas 6: Abuse In Solitary Confinement

In April of 2010, a group of inmates locked in solitary confinement at SCI Dallas prison in Pennsylvania were suffering so much abuse and brutal treatment by prison guards they had placed their bedding over the window of their cell doors to attract attention of the prison administrators. Instead of receiving assistance, the inmates were brought up on riot charges. Last December the inmates known as the Dallas 6 defended themselves and presented testimony describing the details of their abuse in solitary confinement.

Shandre Delaney:

  • This case, the Dallas 6, began in April 2010. These men were all in the RHU at SCI Dallas, in Dallas PA.
  • The RHU is the restrictive housing unit, its an acronym for solitary confinement.
  • All of these men had been victims of abuse and torture during their stay in solitary confinement.
  • The Dallas 6 are Andre Jacobs, Anthony Kelly, Anthony Locke, Dwayne Peters, Derek Stanley and my son Carrington Keys.
  • Most of these guys went into solitary for minor infractions, maybe to stay 60-90 days. My son stayed in there for 10 years, and I think all of the other guys about the same.
  • These guys were jailhouse lawyers. These guys were people who spoke up and sent word to the outside about what was going on in solitary confinement.
  • Once you do that – they call it misconduct, which are write ups, they’ll give you false write ups, and all types of things just to keep you in there longer.
  • The cells are 6X9. In solitary, they might have a window to the outside. There is a bunk that they sleep on. There is only a slot for food to come in and out.
  • You’re supposed to come out of your cell for one hour a day. They may get a shower 2 or 3 times a week.
  • They lied to me for years and told me he wasn’t allowed visits. I later found out that they’re allowed one visit per month.
  • The group that I work for Human Rights Coalition, some of the information that was sent from SCI Dallas, a 93 page report was written called Resistance and Retaliation.
  • They sent a copy back in (to SCI Dallas) they didn’t mark out the guys’ names, so once the guards got a hold of this, and saw the guy’s names, they started one by one beating guys.
  • They took one guy and put him in a restraint chair. You’re only supposed to be in the restraint chair for 2 hours, they kept there over night.
  • They (the guards) told the guys (Dallas 6) we’re comin for you. In order to bring attention from a lieutenant or a superior officer, you have to cover your cell window.
  • They covered their cell windows. The guards put on riot gear and one by one they beat these guys very bad.
  • It’s all on video tape. They tasered a lot of the guys on their genitals.
  • They have you like a hog or something, I saw it on the video.
  • They cut their clothes off and left them for hours in cages.
  • May 5, 2014 is supposed to be the official trial date. The official trial date has been going on for 2 years.
  • I was praying every night hoping the phone didn’t ring and they tell me they killed him.
  • They took out to shower and threw him down the steps and broke his nose, they busted his teeth out with a stick before.
  • They put glass in his food.
  • HRCoalition.org
  • Dallas 6 Blog 
  • Petition to Indict Luzerne County Officials 
  • Summary in Support of Petition to Indict 

Guest – Shandre Delaney, a powerful activist with HRCoalition and the mother of Carrington Keys, one of the Dallas 6.

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condoleezza_rice_bc_commencement rutgers_university

Rutgers University Plans to Give Condoleezza Rice Honorary Degree

Students and faculty at Rutgers University have rejected the idea to invite former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at this year’s commencement ceremony and receive an honorary degree. The Board of Governors in February of this year unanimously voted to award Rice the invite for a fee of 35 thousand dollars. They also voted to give the national security adviser under former President George W. Bush an honorary degree. Resolutions signed by the university faculty and staff calls for Rice to be disinvited.

Professor Deepa Kumar:

  • Historically our process at Rutgers University has involved having 20 some faculties, students, involved in the process of selecting the commencement speaker, typically by canvasing students and canvasing faculty and then making a recommendation to the president as to who to invite.
  • When president Barchi came to your university in 2012 he completely violated this open and democratic process, formed a committee of 6 people including himself. Then they decided to go ahead an invite Condoleezza Rice.
  • We believe that this was actually politically motivated. What suspect is that Chris Cristi who was riding high at that time in 2012, before bridge-gate, very likely wanted to have Condoleezza Rice as Vice Presidential candidate when he runs.
  • So far we have taken out a petition drive, the students have their own petition drive, hundreds of people have signed up. We’ve also talked about holding a protest outside should our efforts fail.
  • The last time Dr. Rice was invited to be a commencement speaker was at 2006 at Boston College, when everybody turned their back to her when she started to speak.
  • Condoleezza Rice was very much a part of the systematic lying to the American public and quite frankly we at Rutgers teach our students to ethical to be responsible citizens.
  • At Rutgers we have a 44 percent minority student enrollment. It’s a very diverse school and I welcome African American women as commencement speakers but I think there are better people like Anita Hill or Angela Davis.
  • In 2002 we know from a Senate Committee Intelligence Report of 2009 that when Rice was chair of the National Security Council she gave a verbal approval to then CIA director George Tenet to go ahead and use enhanced interrogation techniques.
  • She’s been quite steadfast in defending the use of torture. She gave a speech at Stanford University where she argued that if torture is authorized by the president then it doesn’t violate the Geneva Convention against torture.
  • Commencement at Rutgers – May 18, 2014.
  • Senator Feinstein called the use of torture a dark chapter in the history of this country.
  • Clearly torture is a violation of international law and the Geneva Convention and I think to confer a Doctor of Law degree to someone who has been intimately connected with this “dark chapter” in our history I think is a serious embarrassment for Rutgers University.
  • I’m really proud to be among the hundreds of faculty members and students who are actually standing up against this to disinvite her.
  • Dick Cheney comes out and defends the torture program even now.
  • If I Was Allowed To Speak

Guest – Deepa Kumar, an Associate Professor of Media and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. 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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Law and Disorder March 31, 2014


Updates:

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

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Anti-government protests in Venezuela ukraine2

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

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

Professor James Petras:

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

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

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

Boycott Divestment Sanction Awareness Gains Traction On University Campuses

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

Attorney Dima Khalidi:

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

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

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Law and Disorder March 17, 2014


Updates:

  • Hosts Discuss The CIA Spies On Senate Committee Staff Computers
  • Heidi Boghosian: Goes Back To 2009 When The CIA Destroyed Videotapes of Interrogation.
  • Michael Ratner: When It Was Disclosed That The NSA Is Surveilling All Of Us, She (Feinstein) Stood In Front Of Everybody And Said Oh, This Is Great.

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senate_faulkner debo1

Senate Democrats Help Block Key DOJ Civil Rights Division Nominee

We take a looking at how a group of Senate Democrats broke ranks with President Obama to block key nominee Debo Adegbile as head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Seven democrats joined with Republicans to defeat Adegbile’s bid. That defeat was driven by the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police who launched a campaign against Adegbile and his work defending imprisoned Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal.  Specifically, Adegbile was part of a team of lawyers at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who successfully argued the trial judge’s jury instructions violated Abu-Jamal’s rights.

Professor Mark Taylor:

  • The recent campaign has been foregrounded especially on FOX television news where you heard leading anchors and reporters connecting Dego Adegbile to Mumia Abu-Jamal.
  • The Fraternal Order of Police wrote letters to media outlets. They wrote a letter to President Obama objecting to Dego Adegbile. This is fully congruent to what we in Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal have experienced from the Fraternal Order of Police throughout the years.
  • The Fraternal Order of Police will even stoop to maintaining a black list online of any of us Educators around the country not only for working for Mumia but for just for signing ads in the New York Times on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s new trial or release with restitution, whatever the case, they’ll maintain those charges.
  • The Fraternal Order of Police will put pressure on venues that host the events for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
  • It is a national organization and in their letter to President Obama they claim to represent some 350 thousand police officers across the country and claim to be speaking for those 350 thousand.
  • There are elements of the Fraternal Order of Police all over the country who will step forward to ratchet up this venom against Mumia Abu-Jamal.
  • They have always used Maureen Falkner the widow to be in the position of the grieving widow of the slain police officer in spite of the fact that there is exculpatory evidence. They don’t want to discuss that, they want to play the drama of the grieving relative instead.
  • Of course that has powerful media appeal it often in our infotainment industry overrides argument, we know.
  • There is a stigmatization that is pervasive throughout much of our culture that causes lawyers, public relations officers and others to back away from the issue.
  • It’s an outrageous departure and betrayal of a tradition of civil rights advocacy that at least Democratic Party affiliates like to say they have supported through the years.
  • We will hope that voters will make them pay a price for this kind of vote.
  • We have voting rights issues because Dego Adegbile would have the job of which states to sue for Voter ID laws that are oppressive to African Americans.
  • Educators for Mumia Abu Jamal
  • Temple News At Temple University Ad Story.

Guest - Professor Mark Taylor, founder of Educators for Mumia Abu Jamal, a group of teachers from all levels of education, organizing since 1995 for a new a trial. Mark Taylor is a professor of Theology and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary.

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ukraine_protest h0ZVP.AuSt.91

Ukraine and the Pathology of America’s Liberal Worldview. An African American Perspective

In his recent article, Ukraine and the Pathology of America’s Liberal Worldview. An African American Perspective returning guest Ajamu Baracka calls it a massive cognitive deficiency that President Obama asks Congress to agree on a billion dollar package aid for the Ukraine. Meanwhile, the elite opinion in the United States has embraced the position that cuts in public expenditures and services at every level of government are a reasonable and unavoidable necessity. Baracka says the crisis is here in the United States, with extended unemployment benefits for the 1.3 million people who lost thier jobs in Detroit.

Ajamu Baracka:

  • It’s clear that there was legitimate social opposition in the Ukraine to some of the policies of the government there and there was an attempt to express some of those concerns that were quickly taken advantage of by some elements of the Ukrainian society that are, have been associated with some of the more fascist elements that have been aligned with the far right for decades.
  • Some of those right wing forces ended up being the primary shock troops engaged in all kinds of violent activities.
  • A decision was made in which the protesters had won much of their demands in terms of political reforms, but that agreement was jettisoned by those right wing forces.
  • The result was that basically they stormed the institutions of the government and proclaimed themselves the new government.
  • There’s real danger in characterizing this as a popular revolution. It’s clear that more than half of the population of Ukraine was still not convinced that a revolutionary movement was called for and one in which violated the tenants of the Ukrainian constitution.
  • It became clear that the character of this revolution was one that was not really committed to social change.
  • Here we have a situation in Detroit a city that is basically bankrupt as a consequence of these predatory banks and the disintegration of the U.S. economy and its urban cores.
  • When the city officials went to the administration looking for assistance of course the line was, there’s no assistance for you.
  • It’s not just Detroit it’s across the country. We saw in December Congress, when striking their budget deals they eliminated extensions for the long term unemployed.
  • When it comes to the American people, the working class, the poor, there’s no money, there’s only growing austerity, but when it comes to advancing what many of us call the “empire” they can always find resources.
  • The one billion dollar package to the Ukraine is a stark contrast to the line – There’s no resources to bail out the people of Detroit.
  • Ultimately the winners in the Ukraine chess game will be U.S. capital and there would be some European capital that would benefit also.
  • Ukrainian economy will be forced to open up. The financial sector will be exposed. Banks will be taken over. Whatever state industries that are viable will be seized, privatized. There will be massive unemployment.
  • The Ukrainian workers will find that their wages not only increase but probably will be further eroded because they’re in competition with other poor workers throughout western Europe.
  • That’s why the U.S. is salivating at the prospects of penetrating the Ukrainian economy.
  • For reasons that are not really clear to me, many folks in the west in the U.S. don’t seem to be able to recognize this growing threat. This tendency to align themselves with the most reactionary elements on the planet.
  • The way I see it is a global strategy on the part of U.S. and western imperialism and the alignment they’ve made with what everybody knows to be fascist elements within the Ukraine.
  • It’s similar to alignments being made in slightly different ways to the radical right in Venezuela, with the continued support to the right wing government in Israel. .
  • What we see is a counter-revolutionary strategy based on closer alignments with right wing forces throughout the world.
  • There’s been mass confusion, people not being able to differentiate from the left and right, all they see is opposition and the opposition is enough for them to align with it.

Guest – Ajamu Baraka, Longtime activist, veteran of Black Liberation Movement, Human Rights defender, Former founding director of US Human Rights Network, currently Public Intervenon for Human Rights with Green Shadow Cabinet, member of Coordinating Committee of Black Left Unity Network and Associate Fellow at IPS.

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Law and Disorder March 3, 2014


Updates:

 

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Russell “Maroon” Shoatz Released Into General Population After 22 Years of Solitary

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve been keeping you updated on the campaign to release Russell “Maroon” Shoatz from solitary confinement. We’re heartened to broadcast the news that he has been released from solitary confinement and is now in the general prison population. Maroon has spent 40 years in the U.S. prison system and 22 of those years were spent under intense lock down. He was allowed only one hour a day outside of that cell. In May of 2013 Maroon brought a lawsuit on the grounds that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment of to the U.S. Constitution and that he was denied his legal rights to proceed with a case.

Attorney Bret Grote:

  • We had a legal phone scheduled to take place Thursday February 20, when we received notice from the prison that the housing unit that he was in. The restricted housing unit was not going to be able to facilitate that phone call because he was not longer on the unit.
  • I received a call from him at 1PM confirming that he had been released from solitary confinement just hours before that very morning. We notified his family. That same night he had his first contact visit in more than 20 years when his son Russell III, and his daughter Sharon were able to go see him. There’s a real wonderful picture of the 3 of them circulating on the internet.
  • A constellation of forces and various tactics and strategies that had been deployed over a course of 3 years of renewed, reinvigorated effort to get Maroon out of solitary confinement.
  • It started back in August of 2010 when State Representative Ron Waters held a hearing on solitary confinement in front of the House Judiciary Committee and Maroon’s daughter Theresa Shoatz was there and seeing former survivors of solitary confinement and advocates testify in the presence of DOC officials and state legislators inspired her.
  • She said on that very day. I remember it crystal clear. “I’m going to get my Dad out of solitary.”
  • That began a series of advocacy efforts including phone calls, including action alerts that saw the construction of a coalition of more than 30 organizations including the National Lawyers Guild, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Human Rights coalition in Pennsylvania.
  • There was no change in condition or indication that anything was going to change until late March of 2013. What had been happening at that time was Maroon was getting increasing visits from lawyers. There were more correspondence coming from the legal team.
  • Right when we were about to send the Department of Corrections our demand letter that he be released in 30 days or else they’d be hit with a civil rights lawsuit, they abruptly without any notice that this was going to happen, transferred him from the state correctional institution at Greene where he’d been for 18 years to SCI Mahanoy.
  • In my experience of 6 years of being a human rights advocate for prisoners in Pennsylvania, I’ve never heard of prison officials going to somebody in the solitary units and telling them we’re going to do what you want.
  • In the process of constructing this massive imperial prison state they have resorted to similar ideology, punitive ideologies and tactics to manage that prison population once they’re behind the walls, and that includes widespread use solitary confinement in a way that is qualitatively different than it had been used throughout most of the 20th century.
  • It had been used as a long term affirmative strategy for managing the prison population for warehousing for people that were problematic for prison officials because maybe they filed a lot of grievances, or they were jailhouse lawyers, maybe they were political prisoners or dissidents . . .
  • In the 30 years that this has been ongoing, there have been waves of activism that really at the outset were led by people like Bonnie Kerness, director of AFSC’s Prison Watch Project.

Guest – Attorney  Bret Grote, a member of the Russell Maroon Shoatz legal team and the Abolitionist Law Center. Bret has worked with the Human Rights Coalition since 2007 as an investigator, organizer, and researcher. He was the Isabel and Alger Hiss Racial Justice Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights in 2012. He graduated from the University of Pitt Law School in May 2013 and was recognized as the school’s Distinguished Public Interest Scholar.

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U.N. Expresses “Deepest Concern” over Widespread Sexual Abuse by Clergy

Here on Law and Disorder we continue to report on the work of the Center for Constitutional Rights and SNAP, the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused By Priests in bringing accountability within the Catholic Church for widespread sexual violence against perhaps hundreds of thousands of victims, mainly children. Recently, the Vatican was summoned before the United Nations Committee On the Rights of the Child to respond to allegations of systemic sexual violence and practices that have allowed abuse to continue.

Attorney Pam Spees:

  • We were in Geneva with members of the Survivors network, those abused by priests because the Vatican was having to report to the UN Committee of the Rights of the Child for the first time ever on the issue of sexual violence.
  • This is in the wake of more than a decade of scandals that have broken out in different parts of the world and investigations in different countries which really revealed that the Vatican has a system in place that actually facilitates this widespread sexual violence.
  • The treaty set up a committee of independent experts. Their job is to see compliance with the treaty and review different countries that have ratified this convention, basically in a dialogue with them in how they’re complying with the treaty, protecting children’s rights.
  • The committee had asked for data on the scope of sexual violence. The information the Vatican has about it. What was done in these cases, with individual priests but also evidence of higher officials who helped cover up these crimes around the world.
  • Vatican officials are claiming that this is a thing of the past and that they’ve made changes. They point to 2011 when Pope Benedict issued a new set of guidelines, essentially an instruction to Catholic authorities around the world that they should comply with civil laws.
  • We’ve seen similar types of policy and language in the U.S. We’ve seen similar language in Ireland. But what has happened in Ireland and the U.S. is in that realm, officials at the Vatican have overridden the national level bishops plan to require mandatory reporting of sexual violence.
  • The same practices are happening behind the policies, and the policies have no teeth.
  • You have a former archbishop in Wisconsin who has talked about shredding documents on a routine basis under sworn testimony, he had admitted to this, but the priest-shifting is just common. One former cannon lawyer said its part of the DNA of the church.
  • We know sexual violence can occur in every institution but when you have a closed system like the Vatican that is saying it can police itself and its really not. It’s actually continuing to enable – they (the committee) got the way it was operating and that was really important for the survivors to be there and they called them out on that.
  • It’s not just putting the blame on individual perpetrators, its about changing the system fundamentally and the way it operates.
  • We’ve seen Vatican officials come out in two ways and criticize the report. One is the focus on the committees questions about non-discrimination issues.
  • The treaty is a wide ranging treaty that sets out a number of rights that are to be protected, respected and fulfilled by the state’s parties.
  • The Vatican has operated as a state when its convenient and then falls back to its religious entity status when its not convenient to be a state.
  • What’s coming up next is UN Committee Against Torture has decided to call the Holy See for review. That will be happening in April, again in Geneva.

Guest – Pam Spees, senior staff attorney in the international human rights program at the Center for Constitutional Rights. She has a background in international criminal and human rights law with a gender focus, as well as criminal trial practice. She serves as lead counsel on several of CCR’s cases and initiatives including, Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively, a case brought against a U.S. based anti-gay extremist for his role in the persecution of LGBTI people in Uganda; Murillo v. Micheletti, a case brought by the parents of a youth killed by the coup regime in Honduras;  and in the legal effort to hold Vatican officials criminally responsible for the crimes against humanity of rape and sexual violence within the church.

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Law and Disorder February 24, 2014


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The Drug War: Policing and U.S. Militarism at Home and Abroad

Last week the Center for Constitutional Rights hosted an event titled The Drug War: Policing and U.S. Militarism at Home and Abroad. We’re joined by one of the panelists David Vivar, he’s an author and scholar at National Autonomous University of Honduras at the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations of the University of Calabria. His work focuses on the U.S. cooperation in the Honduran military coup of 2009 and the centrality of drug trafficking to state power in Honduras. What you will hear in this interview is that the U.S. Drug War has not only fueled mass incarceration and discriminatory policing practices here in the U.S. but also supports violence and militarization throughout Latin America. We get the details of that and David’s strategies to resist the racist, and devastating war.

David Vivar:

  • It’s been constant that Congress asks to stop human rights violations.
  • This goes all the way back to the simulation of the rule of law, to a democratic state.
  • We have the highest murder rate in the whole world, and we have no war, not a consistent war declared except the war on drugs.
  • We’re fighting a war that has turned the current conditions into a civil war.
  • When you start having conflicts between drug lords, Mexican cartels and Colombian cartels – what do they do? They go to the space right in the middle, which is Central America and the northern triangle.
  • Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have seen the consequences. We are the collateral damage.
  • 79 percent of the cocaine that travels to the United States goes via Honduras. Basically what the Department of State is doing is investing money on kingpins and drug lords in the Honduran institutions.
  • After the coup the military took back power and the U.S constantly supported this new democratic military civil alliance, which in the hand is what happened in Mexico.
  • The (Honduran) military has drug lords of its own.
  • Miguel Facusse is the most powerful man in Honduras. He’s got the Dinan Corporation which has African Palm plantations throughout the whole drug path.
  • Basically the conflict around land is a failed agrarian reform.
  • You have indigenous populations that lost their land. Their land was given to this man. The most powerful person, he gets the African Palm plantations which is the best place, as we know from wikileaks to establish small airports for aircraft to land there and deal with the drugs.
  • The resistance is still in the streets against a lot of laws – the opening for business of the country – model cities and charter cities are something we’re fighting back in keeping our resources ours.

Laura Raymond:

  • The U.S. did cut off military aid for a short amount of time directly after the coup but instead of backing the movement from the Honduran civil society for reinstatement of President Zelaya – throughout that summer and fall there was a huge movement, the streets were filled with people calling for the reinstatement of their president – the United States instead pushed for new elections that fall which was what ended up happening.
  • The elections were heavily boycotted by civil society yet the U.S. was the primary force in the region for supporting those elections.
  • After those elections took place and Pepe Lobo is elected as president, the U.S. reinstated their support for the Honduran military and police, despite massive human rights violations that were taking place on an almost daily basis.
  • You really have a very close relationship between the Honduran military and police and the U.S. government and military.
  • There have known to be drug planes that have landed on his property (Miguel Facusse) We know that the U.S.State Department knows about that because of wikileaks and the U.S. goes on to have this cozy relationship with him and the political arm of Honduras that he runs in.
  • The World Bank continues to fund him and give him subsidies for the African Palm plantations. Where is the interest in stopping the drugs if you’re working with this person who there are drug planes landing on his property.
  • He has a private army basically. He has all these private security contractors that implicated in murders. The Center for Constitutional Rights has laid those out in a report to the International Criminal Court, naming Miguel Facusse as a criminal that needs to be prosecuted.
  • The U.S. depends on the Honduran government to have a very friendly government in the region. We have a lot of military presence there, we have a lot of bases. It’s a relationship that depends on the repression of civil society throughout Honduras.
  • There’s a massive resistance movement that has taken a lot of repression in the last four years. What’s going on with the drug wars, its very dark and scary but the other side is this movement that David is part of.

Guest – David Vivar, is a sociologist, currently a scholarship holder from the National Autonomous University of Honduras at the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations of the University of Calabria, where he studies dependence, international asymmetry and the division between center and periphery nations.  His articles and essays analyze media discourse and public opinion; the representative intermediations of Honduran democracy, the influence of U.S. cooperation in the military coup of 2009 and the centrality of drug trafficking to state power in Honduras and its inextricable relation with the neoliberal impoverishment and the ongoing usurpation of democracy.

Guest – Laura Raymond, has over fourteen years of experience organizing, writing, and advocating on social justice and human rights issues in the U.S. and internationally.  Much of Laura’s work focuses on the impact of U.S. actors, corporations and government policies and practices abroad.

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Imagine: Living In A Socialist U.S.A – Kazembe Balagune

In the past weeks we’ve featured contributors to the book Imagine: Living In A Socialist U.S.A. This book as many know was conceived and edited by Frances Goldin and our own Michael Smith with his wife Debby. We continue to discuss the essays in this ground breaking anthology. Today we speak with Kazembe Balagun, who wrote We Be Reading Marx Where We From: Socialism and the Black Freedom Struggle.

Kazembe Balagun:

  • The chapter starts out with a short story on Paul Robeson at the Carnegie Hall in 1957. He sang a song called I Dreamed of Joe Hill last night.
  • When we talk about Wall Street, the first commodity were Black slaves. The reason they called it Wall Street is to keep the Native Americans out.
  • There’s always been an interweaving of Black freedom struggles in the socialist experience.
  • One of the first socialist experiments happens in the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia where General Butler issuing Article 15 calling for all land held in common for negros.
  • Then you have John Brown issuing an alternative constitution of the United States which calls for all land to be held in common between blacks and whites.
  • Martin Luther King Jr (in a speech said) there has to be some form of socialism in the United States in order to achieve economic democracy.
  • The Poor People’s march going forward in 1968 in his fight for Memphis, these are all parallels for economic democracy.
  • What we find today is that these socialist ideas are prevalent in the African-American community.
  • I think there’s a way we can excavate this history for our own social movement.
  • This capitalist society really has little to offer people, particularly young people of color.
  • I always take into account is that there’s always been a tradition of African-American prophetic tradition which always looks beyond what’s been given to us and looks at the condition of possibility.

Guest – Kazembe Balagun, an activist and cultural organizer from the Bronx and former program director at the Brecht Forum. He is currently the project manager at the Rosa Luxemburg New York Foundation.

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Law and Disorder February 17, 2014


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Jury Trial Begins for Occupy Wall Street’s Cecily McMillan

Cecily McMillan faces 7 years in prison after being beaten by the New York Police that left her unconscious at an event marking the 6 month anniversary of the occupation in Zuccotti Park. The Occupy Wall Street activist is charged with felony assault on a police officer a Class D felony in New York. In the course of her arrest McMillan sustained bruised ribs, a seizure and numerous cuts across her body. McMillan was a political organizer and activists speculate that’s why the prosecutor is seeking the full penalty.

Attorney Marty Stolar:

  • Cecily is indicted which is somewhat unusual in the Occupy Wall Street cases. There are only 2 serious felonies that made it through the indictment process, Cecily’s is one of them.
  • She’s accused of assault in the second degree. She’s accused of assaulting a police officer with intent to disrupt his ability to perform his official duties. She wacked him in the face with her elbow and left a good sized mouse under his left eye, causing him substantial pain and also to miss some work.
  • The circumstances however under which she delivered the blow to his cheekbone are what the trial is about.
  • Cecily is not the kind of person who would assault a police officer just for the hell of it.
  • The police at midnight decided to clear the park of all the people who were there to celebrate the anniversary. Cecily was there not necessarily to celebrate the anniversary but to meet somebody to continue her pub crawling on St Patrick’s day being a McMillan when Cecily is grabbed from behind on her right breast and jerked upwards and she reacts, her arms go up in the air, her elbows go up, and that’s when her elbow and that’s when the elbow makes contact with the officer’s cheekbone.
  • At that point Cecily is knocked down to the ground hits her head on the sidewalk and really has no memory of what has occurred until she wakes up somewhat later in a hospital.
  • All of sudden she realizes she’s got bruises all over her body. She’s got a bruised rib, cuts all over her back, bumps on her head, she really has no idea how they occurred.
  • Cecily for whatever reason was singled out to be prosecuted for a felony and they didn’t offer her a decent plea in the case.
  • The officer lost a couple days of work, he was back on the job, his vision was not impaired.

Guest – Attorney Marty Stolar is a criminal defense lawyer and former president of the New York chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

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Fair Sentencing Of Youth Campaign

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve been covering the issue of children being sentenced to prison for life without parole for an offense committed during adolescence. The United States was the only country in the world to mete out life without parole to juveniles. But, in the last few years, the United States Supreme Court acted to curb the use of mandatory life sentences for juveniles. It accepted the argument that children, even those who are convicted of murder deserve a chance at redemption. However most state courts are not following the spirit of the recent Supreme Court decision. In Florida, which is the number one state that puts children in prison for life without the possibility of parole, several lawsuits have been brought accusing the state of handing out massive sentences in non-homicide cases that they basically amount to life without parole.

Jody Kent Lavy:

  • The youths were involved in homicide cases, Human Rights Watch estimates that 25 percent of those individuals were convicted of felony murder meaning they were the primary perpetrator or they were there at the time the crime was committed but weren’t the trigger men.
  • The majority of them 60 percent had no prior record.
  • This most extreme sentence has been imposed on people we could not define as our most serious offenders.
  • June of 2012 the Miller v Alabama decision was issued which struck down mandatory life without parole sentences for children.
  • Each of these cases the court has relied on a growing body of research that really articulate the fundamental differences between children and adults.
  • We know that the vast majority of them tend to grow out of any criminal behavior.
  • The court has said we can’t impose these most extreme sentences on our children.
  • The court has said that children are constitutionally different when it comes to sentencing.
  • Two thirds of the people serving these sentences are concentrated in just five states.
  • In Pennsylvania the state that leads the nation in this practice there are 500 serving this sentence.
  • Back in the 1990s there was this theory known as the super-predator theory that there was going to be this juvenile crime wave.
  • The super-predator theory has since been dis-proven by the criminologists who were even the authors.
  • We now have an opportunity to be really mindful and careful about how we implement policies at the state level that hold young people accountable for serious crimes.
  • Some legislatures have abolished life without parole altogether, Wyoming, Texas, Delaware among them. Some states have reacted in imposing the next available harshest sentence.
  • The Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center in Wisconsin.

Guest – Jody Kent Lavy, director of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, the organization calls on states to reconsider mandatory terms dispensed before the Miller ruling.

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CSPAN Book Club Video – Imagine: Living In A Socialist U.S.A.

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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 February 3, 2014


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Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA

We continue to discuss the essays within the anthology Imagine: Living In A Socialist U.S.A. assembled and edited by our own co-host Michael Steven Smith, his wife Debby and Frances Goldin. Some of the most prominent activists, artists and experts have given their perspective about how the United States could exist as a socialist society. We’re joined today by Harriet Fraad, a hypnotherapist & psychotherapist in Manhattan. She is a contributor to the book with her essay Emotional and Sexual Life in a Socialist America written with Tess Fraad Wolff. Professor Rick Wolff joins us as well, we talk with him about his essay in the book titled The Shape of A Post-Capitalist Future.

Professor Rick Wolff:

  • The willingness to ask the question. Can we do better than capitalism is what was the unifying theme across all these audiences. (regarding recent speaking tour)  I think it should give encouragement and heart to everybody listening to this program, to understand how profoundly the wind has changed culturally, and ideologically and philosophically in the United States.
  • Capitalism is generating its own critics, its own opponents at a breath taking rate.
  • The way to get those people to rethink what socialism means is to revive parts of socialism that have gotten lost over the last century but I think now need to be put in the foreground.
  • That’s how its going to change your daily life.
  • What I concentrated on in the article is what would it mean if the place where people spend most of their adult life – at work – five out of seven days, best hours of each of those five days, you’re in your work place.
  • Let’s talk about what socialism would mean differently from the way capitalism organizes it.
  • In a capitalist workplace what most Americans have to face is that its a stunningly undemocratic arrangement.
  • How about we democratize the work place? How about we bring democracy to the place it should have been introduced first in our society’s history, if we’re democratic, rather than last.
  • That the workers should decide in assemblies, what to produce, how to produce, where to produce and what to do with the profits that after all, all the workers helped to produce.
  • The major source of inequality of wealth is how businesses their net income. Their profits. Who gets them?
  • They give their top official 200 hundred million dollar bonus packages, 50 million dollar bonus packages and what they don’t give to their top executives they pay out in dividends to their shareholders.
  • 5 percent of the shareholders own 80 percent of the shares. If you distribute to shareholders, to distributing to unequal distributions of wealth.
  • Socialists want those decisions to made democratically, by all the workers.
  • If the workers together made the decision on how to distribute the profits they all helped to produce, you think they would give millions of dollars to a few top executives, while everybody else has to borrow money to send their kid to college.
  • I want people to imagine how much better life would be if you handled the organization and the decision making in the enterprises of this society.
  • This isolation that Harriet spoke of so movingly is catastrophic politically as long as we all act individually. We have to face and recognize that there are millions of people that want to go beyond capitalism.
  • The first order of business is to bring them together in union and solidarity. They can have an impact on this society far beyond what they can achieve individually.
  • I also work at being honest in not knowing how best to get people to be together and function together.
  • If we could begin to mobilize. . .its important to understand that many of the ideas in this book are already majority points of view.
  • When you go to work for another person in a capitalist system, an employer, and you sit down and you work out what you will do and you also work out what that employer will pay you.
  • You know that the following is true. The only reason that employer will ever give you 20 dollars an hour is that during that hour, your brains and your muscles produce more than 20 dollars worth of stuff for that employer to sell. The employer will only give you 20 if he gets from you more than 20.
  • That is a fundamentally unequal relationship.

Guest – Rick Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City and directs the website Democracy At Work. Rick hosts the syndicated radio show Economic Update broadcast out of WBAI 99.5 FM.

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Dr. Harriet Fraad:

  • For most people, what they’re aware of is, unemployment is crushing their future or their present but they’re unaware that its crushing their personal lives as well.
  • The first thing about capitalism is that what matters is profit.
  • In order to profit, companies have outsourced American’s livings. From everything to manufacturing to accounting where you could fax the materials over to India where they speak English or law in terms of writing a brief, can be outsourced.
  • People have been utterly looted in their personal lives because of only being a cipher on a profit ledger, not a person.
  • 80 percent of the jobs that were lost during the recession were “male” jobs, in manufacturing, or construction which is often prefab or farmed out or jobs that require physical strength, that’s not really required anymore.
  • There are two basis for male identity in the United States. One of them is having bread earner role and the other is having a loyal sexual partner and wife, and they’re both out the window.
  • 70 percent of divorces are now initiated by women. Women are refusing to get married in the first place.
  • Men are being rejected by women and by jobs.
  • A lot of manhood has to do with pride, which in the United States has been replaced by shame. Shame is something the Republicans try to cultivate in anyone who doesn’t have money.
  • The shame of not being a real person cause you can’t go out and buy stuff.
  • The shame in not being able to support a wife and children. Shame easily leads to violence.
  • Men have been rejected and are furious and don’t understand that its capitalism that has disempowered them.
  • Americans don’t have the benefits of after school care, quality, free health care.
  • People are disempowered and confused. Women don’t want to take care of men who won’t be able to support them and still demand full emotional and sexual services as well as child care.
  • The biggest increase in married couples are couples that don’t have children. The biggest increase in households are single person households. People are alone.
  • If you’re poor and alone, you can hang out at the mall and get arrested.
  • People haven’t made the connection. Hey, honey its capitalism, nothing personal.
  • They feel its their personal loss, which is why Americans which are 6 percent of the population of the world take 60 percent of the psych drugs.
  • Porn which is often impersonal and degrading to women – hetero porn, is the way kids get sex education here. Porn is so profitable.
  • The whole idea that the most important thing is connection is a socialist value. It’s all of us together. What we have is our majority and our connection that keeps this world going, rather than capitalists and their money to which we should all pay and obey.
  • Americans at the point where they know this is an unjust system but they’re not quite at the point where they can say, and I will do something about it.
  • You need to be willing to join with other people. That’s the primary thing.

Guest – Dr. Harriet Fraad, a hypnotherapist & psychotherapist in Manhattan. She is a contributor to the book with her essay Emotional and Sexual Life in a Socialist America written with Tess Fraad Wolff.

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Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA

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Law and Disorder January 27, 2014


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Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA 

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bill covert1a

Lawyers You’ll Like: Attorney Bill Schapp

Attorney William Schaap graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1964 and has been a practicing lawyer since. Bill specialized in military law and practiced in Asia and Europe. He later became the editor in chief of the Military Law Reporter in Washington for a number of years. In the 70′s and 80′s he was a staff counsel of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. In the late 80s, he was an adjunct professor at John J. College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York where he taught courses on propaganda and disinformation.

Attorney William Schapp:

  • One of first cases at this big Wall Street firm, they had some outside counsel working on it, one of whom was David Lubel, and Dave Lubel who had I think been a recruiter for the Communist Party in his youth, was always good at spotting somebody who was always worth recruiting and he started to tell me there was this convention of this lawyers group.
  • It was this 1967 Lawyers Guild Convention in New York. He dragged me to one event, I met Bill Kunstler, I met Arthur Kinoy, I met Victor Rabbinowitz. I’d been on Wall Street for a year or two, I said I didn’t know there were lawyers like this.
  • I joined the same day and met Bernadine Dorhn and a few weeks she called me and said we need your help.
  • She said you gotta defend a bunch of Columbia students. The next thing I knew the riot started at Columbia and she said you have to go down there and defend them.
  • I signed up to be staff counsel on the National Lawyers Guild Military Law Project in Okinawa, Japan.
  • When you work overseas in that kind of a climate with the military you learn a lot fast about American imperialism.
  • Once you learn that, you learn about the CIA.
  • That led us to originally working on Counter Spy magazine and then on Covert Action Magazine.
  • The original purpose was to expose the CIA. We worked with Lou Wolf who is an expert in uncovering CIA agents in US embassies, not through any classified documents but because if you knew how to read the paperwork and State Department things, you could tell who are the “ringers.”
  • We were so successful that Congress passed a law against us.
  • Our goal was to make these people ineffective because the only way most CIA could work, particularly the ones that were assigned to an embassy was to have to pretend to be something else.
  • They were all third assistant political secretaries and those were all phony things. Their job was to finagle their way into various community organizations in whatever foreign capital they were posted to recruit people to turn against their own countries and become traitors to their own countries, to become spies for the U.S.
  • We thought if we identified these people, it might make their job a little bit harder, which it did.
  • Of course, the problem with that is the government said we were trying to get them killed which we weren’t trying to do and nobody we did expose ever did get killed.
  • He (Philip Agee) had been an adviser to Counter Spy. Counter Spy folded when Welch got killed, cause the pressure was too much and started Covert Action Quarterly.
  • He was not the person discovering who the under cover people were, Lou Wolf was doing that.
  • Phil wrote articles for us in every issue and we worked very closely with him.
  • Once you start exposing these things, they really don’t have any defense.
  • They tried to catch us in something phony. We would get tips that would turn out to be CIA trying to get us to print some story that wasn’t true so they could then discredit us.
  • We had more interference from the government when we were doing military law work, before Covert Action Quarterly.
  • They would plant bugs in our attic in Okinawa, things like that.
  • The Intelligence Identity Protection Act has 2 parts. One makes it a crime for someone in the government who has classified information to reveal someone’s identity. The second part makes it a crime to reveal the identity of someone you did not learn from classified information or you position. (But if you were in the business of exposing these people . . .)
  • Regarding his newsletter The Lies of Our Times – It was in the 90s, from 1990 to 1995 I think. To a certain extent, the abuses we were crying about got a little bit less over time because that’s sometimes the helpful result of that kind of exposure.
  • We were just tired of people thinking that if it was in the New York Times it must be true.
  • The fact is that those people lie all the time.
  • I think we’ve gotten to a point where people recognize that the government lies to them and that there’s an awful lot that goes on that they don’t know.

Guest – Attorney William Schapp graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1964 and has been a practicing lawyer since. Bill specialized in military law and practiced in Asia and Europe. He later became the editor in chief of the Military Law Reporter in Washington for a number of years. In the 70′s and 80′s he was a staff counsel of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. In the late 80s, he was an adjunct professor at John J. College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York where he taught courses on propaganda and disinformation.

In addition to being a practicing lawyer, Bill was a journalist, publisher and a writer specializing in intelligence as it relates to media. He was the co-publisher of a magazine called the Covert Action Quarterly for more than 20 years. He also published a magazine on propaganda and disinformation titled Lies Of Our Times. Attorney Bill Schapp has written numerous articles and edited many books on the topic of media and intelligence.

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panel22 Bloomberg_Cornell_2

A Panel Discussion: Militarizing, Domestic Spying, and the Boycott of Israel

We hear a presentation by David Swanson with the (New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership – NYACT) presentation. David Swanson is working to organize a movement to end war at WorldBeyondWar.org. His books include “War Is A Lie.” He blogs at davidswanson.org and warisacrime.org.

Recorded by Deep Dish TV

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