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Archive for the 'Prison Industry' Category


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 24, 2014


Updates:

  • Immokalee Workers Demonstrations In Florida
  • Michael Ratner: Ukraine Crisis Analysis Update
  • Hosts Discuss CCR NYC Firefighter Racial Discrimination Case
  • Law and Disorder Contest – The NSA Collected All Outgoing and Incoming Phone Calls Of What Country? (Use Site Contact Form)
  • Brooklyn Folk Festival April 18 2014
  • Hosts Remember Melba Hernandez, Heroine of Cuban Revolution

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obama_keystone wk0j5x2

FBI Meeting With TransCanada Industry Partners On the Keystone XL Pipeline

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve reported in depth on the targeting of environmental activists by federal agents that categorizing their exercise of free speech as terrorism. In a recent FOIA request obtained by the Earth Island Journal, the FBI held a daylong strategy meeting with TransCanada Corporation, the company building the 2100 mile Keystone XL pipeline in April of 2012. In March of 2012 President Obama made a speech in Cushing Oklahoma confirming the approval of the southern portion of the pipeline toward the Gulf of Mexico. The FBI meeting suggests that the highest levels of law enforcement are involved to monitor opposition to the pipeline.

Adam Federman:

  • I spoke with a former FBI agent Mike German who is now at the Brennan Center and he was very surprised to see the juxtaposition of the FBI and TransCanada at the top of that letterhead which makes them look like partners.
  • I also uncovered correspondence between TransCanada corporate security adviser and an FBI agent in South Dakota who he had invited to this meeting in Nebraska. They seem to be on very good terms.
  • Clearly the company is using all levers of power to get this thing, not only approved but push opposition out of the way and potentially criminalize dissent.
  • Tar sands oil which is primarily being mined up in Alberta is considered the dirtiest form of oil on the planet.
  • The timing is quite interesting. Obama was in Cushing, at the TransCanada pipeyard at speech he gave that was not open to the public. That was on March 22, 2012 and he essentially approved the southern portion of the pipeline.
  • About a week before that the FBI had met with TransCanada to start planning this strategy meeting.
  • I’m in the middle of requesting additional documents looking more closely at both the Homeland Security and the FBI’s collaboration with the oil and gas industry beyond TransCanada.

Guest – Adam Federman,  a contributing editor to Earth Island Journal. His writing has appeared in the Nation magazine, Salon, Columbia Journalism Review, Utne Reader, Gastronomica, CounterPunch, Adirondack Life, Adirondack Explorer and other publications. He is the recipient of a Polk Grant for Investigative Reporting, a Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism, and a Russia Fulbright Fellowship.

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Virginie MontetAFPGetty Images2a Virginie MontetAFPGetty Imagesa

CIA Caught Spying On The Congressional Committee That Oversees It

We continue to discuss the bitter dispute between the CIA and the U.S. Senate committee that oversees it. Last week, the contention erupted when the committee chairwoman accused the CIA of spying on Congress. Senator Dianne Feinstein announced publicly the CIA had searched computers used by committee staffers examining CIA documents when they research the agency’s counter-terrorism operations and harsh interrogation methods or torture. She charged that the search violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and an executive order that prohibits the CIA from conduction domestic searches. CIA Director John Brennan denied any charge of computer hacking.

Attorney Scott Horton:

  • I say we go back to December 2012 when the Senate Select Committee finished work on a massive 6000 page review of torture practices including the operation of black sites by the CIA.
  • This is something was researched over a period of several years. This was sent for CIA review and comment, and a war broke out almost immediately between the CIA and the Senate Select Committee.
  • The CIA was making it clear that there were factual inaccuracies.
  • The Senate Select Committee said – Now wait a minute, the CIA’s own notes about this show that their claims are not correct. That exchange is what triggered the latest war.
  • In this case we come down to a set of particulars about how information was transmitted from the CIA to the Senate Select Committee.
  • The CIA would not simply turn over documents to the Senate to be used in Senate offices and reviewed.
  • What’s now become clear is that certain materials were turned over the Senate Select Committee and the CIA realized after the fact it wasn’t such a good idea, because it showed that the CIA was lying about aspects of its program.
  • So they went in and deleted the files that they already turned over to the committee. I’d say that’s right at the crux.
  • The CIA’s General Counsel, a fellow named Robert Eatinger then filed a criminal reference with the U.S. Department of Justice saying there had been a violation of security protocols by the Senate and the Senate staffers and demanding that the FBI and the Department of Justice investigate the Senate and the conduct of the Senate’s investigation.
  • Then I think Dianne Feinstein went to the well of the Senate and delivered a remarkable speech – in which she talked about this in crisis of the Republic terms.
  • It was really a dramatic speech, a very rare speech.
  • This is the sort of thing that will get printed up and reproduced in text books.
  • They really had to do something awfully bad to get her riled up this way and they did.
  • There is no such thing is security classifications that block a Senate inquiry or block access of Senate staff who have security clearance.
  • We know there that the lawyer at the Counter-terrorism center who was providing information to the Department of Justice to solicit those memos consistently made false or incorrect statements to the DOJ to get the memos, and that would be Robert Eatinger.
  • Congress should have its own oversight of its own operations. It’s not up to the Executive to provide oversight.
  • You cannot have the executive providing oversight of Congress’ oversight of the executive. It’s theoretically impossible.
  • The National Security Division was established to be a law firm for the CIA.
  • So they work for the CIA and the National Security Division has in the past been aggressively involved in cover ups for the benefit of the CIA.

Guest – Scott Horton, human rights lawyer and contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine. Scott’s column – No Comment. He graduated Texas Law School in Austin with a JD and was a partner in a large New York law firm, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler.

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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 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:

 

russellshoatz maroon_the_implacable

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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vatican_header Vatican1

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


Updates:

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honduras_resistance_marches

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


 Updates:

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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 January 22, 2014


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

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

Frances Goldin:

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

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

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

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

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

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Law and Disorder December 30, 2013


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Lawyers You’ll Like: Professor Holly Maguigan

In our Lawyers You’ll Like series we’re joined by Professor Holly Maguigan, Professor of Clinical Law at the New York University School of Law, where she teaches Comparative Criminal Justice Clinic: Focus on Domestic Violence and Evidence. Professor Maguigan is an expert on the criminal trials of battered women. Her research and teaching is interdisciplinary. Professor Maguigan is a member of the Family Violence Prevention Fund’s National Advisory Committee on Cultural Considerations in Domestic Violence cases. She serves on the boards of directors of the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women and the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice. She is a past co-president of the Society of American Law Teachers, the largest membership organization of law professors in the U.S.

Professor Holly Maguigan:

  • I was doing medieval history and I was at Berkeley. It was 1967 and Oakland stopped the draft.
  • I got very interested in the anti-war politics.
  • I hated lawyers. I really hated lawyers. They were boring. They talked about themselves all the time. They only had stories about their cases and how great they were and they would never post bail when people got arrested.
  • The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia is where I stayed for 17 years.
  • First I started out as a public defender. I loved being a public defender, it was the beginning and end of everything I hoped it would be.
  • That’s where I met David Rudovsky and David Kairys. They were then defenders while I was a student.
  • After they went out on their own, they kept inviting me to join them. I kept putting it off because I loved being a defender so much.
  • In Philadelphia there was much more actual litigation, not just motion litigation there’s a lot of that here in New York City but actual trials.
  • You had a sense, there was an analysis that people were doing life on the installment plan and you needed to do what you could to kick them loose any particular time.
  • It was a community in its own odd way and I found it difficult to leave it.
  • I was doing major felonies within a couple of years.
  • David Kairys was very focused on constitutional litigation and government misconduct. He did the Camden 28 which was a big draft resistance case.
  • My interest was more into criminal defense.
  • Grand juries (all over the country) convened to investigate the alleged transportation of Patty Hearst by the SLA from California where she had been captured.
  • He was a killer. (Frank Rizzo) There was no question. More people died in police actions before or since.
  • I don’t mean to suggest that all the police started out as homocidal. This was a situation which from the top down came the message if you’re a good cop then you’re going to take people out however you think you need to.
  • I knew about race and class bias in the court room as much as a white woman who was middle class could know.
  • I was just blown away by what happens when you add hatred of women to hatred of black people and hatred of poor people.
  • Judges would go by me in the hall and say Maguigan, ahem, you didn’t give me anything this Christmas, not even one lousy bottle, you’re not getting any assignments.
  • Judges would do things, like open the drawer in their chambers, and there would be wads of bills, and they’d let you know.
  • I developed a specialty on women who kill men.
  • In the early eighties a group in Philadelphia called Women Against Abuse began working and they did advocacy for battered women accused of crime and meant a huge difference.
  • The battered women cases I was working on were quite consuming because people then didn’t know very much in how to try these cases.
  • The judges expected you to plead insanity or guilty. Reasonable doubt was a consideration at sentencing not at trial.
  • There were cases that did require teams. There was no question.
  • I wanted to be in court. I wanted to be in the presence of that conflict between the authorities and regular people.
  • I went to NYU where I taught in the criminal defense clinic for many years.
  • To see students react to the great stories their clients have is just amazing.
  • SALT (Society of American Law Teachers) is about who gets into law school, what they learn and who teaches them. It’s about access to justice. It’s about relating to law school as a place where you train people to do social justice.  SALT’s focus is on students and teaching.
  • Holly Maguigan to be honored by Society of American Law Teachers.

Guest – Professor Holly Maguigan teaches a criminal defense clinic and one in comparative criminal justice as well as a seminar in global public service lawyering and a course in evidence. She is an expert on the criminal trials of battered women. Her research and teaching are interdisciplinary. Of particular importance in her litigation and scholarship are the obstacles to fair trials experienced by people accused of crimes who are not part of the dominant culture. Professor Maguigan is a member of the Family Violence Prevention Fund’s National Advisory Committee on Cultural Considerations in Domestic Violence cases. She serves on the boards of directors of the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women and the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice. She is a past co-president of the Society of American Law Teachers, the largest membership organization of law professors in the U.S.

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Law and Disorder December 23, 2013


Updates:

  • Judge Leon Rules That NSA Meta Data Collection Is Likely Unconstitutional.
  • Michael Ratner: It Could Be The Deathknell For This Kind Of MetaData Collection
  • Ed Snowden’s Response To Judge Leon’s Decision
  • Ed Snowden’s Open Letter To The People Of Brasil
  • A Christmas Card From Chelsea Manning
  • Guantánamo Five: Military Commissions – Their Torture Memories Are . . Classified.
  • First Commander Lenhardt: Guantánamo Should Never Have Opened
  • American Studies Association Supports Boycott Of Israeli Academic Institutions

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Over Policing of America: The Criminalization of Everyday Life

In his recent article titled Over Policing of America, attorney Chase Madar outlines a familiar narrative such as the militarization of police, stop and frisk, and how students get swept into the school to prison pipeline.  The pattern is clear and who benefits is obvious in the list of over policing examples compiled by our returning guest, such as criminalizing immigration and how simple economic transactions are closely scrutinized by under-cover police.

Attorney Chase Madar:

  • I’m hoping this new term will enter the national lingo; over-policing.
  • What I wrote about is how the police paradigm has entered the DNA of social policy across the board in the United States in matters that a generation ago would not require police or prosecutors or criminal law, now suddenly do.
  • That’s in education, in immigration, in family law, even how we regulate the economy.
  • All of these spheres, domains of everyday life are increasingly regulated by police and prosecutors.
  • A creeping police state. We need to take a very sobering look at how we’re governing ourselves and how criminal law is displacing and devouring all other kinds of social regulation.
  • You see this more and more disciplinary matters in schools get outsourced to police departments.
  • Police people are trained to respond to crimes, and to respond to everything as a crime. That’s the nature of police.
  • When you send police into a school, the crime is going to sky rocket.
  • Even the way we regulate our economy is suffering from an overdose of criminal law and police powers.
  • What we have frequently is white collar work getting criminalized by a mare’s nest of criminal laws that are very complex, very difficult to understand.
  • It’s not like we have a great financial system that was abused by a few bad apples. We have a really crappy system that’s legal because these people write the laws.
  • Immigration law was mostly under the domain of administrative law with milder penalties, civil penalties.
  • We’re kidding ourselves if we pretend that’s somehow aberrational.
  • Although our political class seems incapable of doing anything constructive about it, they are very adept at channeling all fears about security in any sense into criminal law crack downs and ratcheting up the police state.
  • Our incarceration rate is three times higher than the old East Germany.
  • I think we need to switch very swiftly to alternative ways of social policy in holding our society together other than throwing cops and prosecutors at it.

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

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