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Law and Disorder March 20, 2017


Update:

  • Michael Smith Attends Lynne Stewart’s Wake In New York City

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Law and Disorder co-hosts look at the seeds of fascism within the Trump Administration and Attorney Michael Smith references excerpts of the recent article A Short History of the Trump Family by Simon Blumenthal, including the below paragraph.

“Reckoning with Trump means descending into the place that made him. What he represents, above all, is the triumph of an underworld of predators, hustlers, mobsters, clubhouse politicians and tabloid sleaze that festered in a corner of New York City, a vindication of his mentor, the Mafia lawyer Roy Cohn, a figure unknown to the vast majority of enthusiasts who jammed Trump’s rallies and hailed him as the authentic voice of the people.”

October 2006: If It’s Not Facism, What Is It? Who Benefits & Why Now?

There appears to be a major transformation in progress. Bourgeois democracy, however limited and constricted it has been, is being revamped. The separation of powers, first enunciated by the founders, hardly exists any more. The Executive branch has overpowered Congress and the Judiciary. Neither the corporate media, the two party system, nor the unions provide much of a countervailing force. With the defeat of the Soviet Union and the “Socialist Block” imperialism has launched wars to consolidate capitalism and oil control in Yugoslavia, Afganistan, Iraq and Lebanon. Panelists: Mark Crispin Miller, Heidi Boghosian, Bertell Ollman, Moderated by Michael Steven Smith.
The standard of living for the American working class and middle class is being rolled back quickly; only profit margins of the large corporations and the top one per cent are expanding. Democracy is not an abstraction, but a tool and an aspect of the class struggle. Thus we are experiencing a consolidational of wealth and power that is historically qualitatively transformative. Understanding what is going on is the first step in fighting it. We hear an excerpt from Bertel Ollman , professor of politics at NYU, and has written and edited over a dozen books, including Alienation: Marx’s Conception of Man in Capitalist Society, Social and Sexual Revolution: Essays on Marx and Reich, Dialectical Investigations, How to Take an Exam and Remake the World, and most recently Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in Marx’s Method.

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Why The Rise Of Fascism Is Again The Issue

Fascism has taken on many forms through the rise and fall of empires. One aspect of modern day fascism can seen as propaganda, lies and deceit used as political leverage to eventually absorb sovereign states. Our guest John Pilger lays out the swath carved by fascism in the last 70 years in his recent article Why The Rise Of Fascism Is Again The Issue. Using the word carefully, Pilger describes a new kind of fascism, centered in America but based on the big lie of war and aggression. Pilger documents key events from the Holocaust to Libya to Serbia, to Yugoslavia, to Afghanistan in the 1970s, to Vietnam and up to the current revival of fascism in the heart of Europe. We get a historic perspective from John Pilger, going all the way back to the second world war. If you think the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Libya and now the Ukraine occur by happenstance, you are mistaken says Pilger, an Australian-British journalist based in London. These are part of the American effort to become the global power.

Guest – John Pilger, an Australian-British journalist based in London. John has worked in many facets of journalism, including a correspondent in the Vietnam War, the Middle East Desk for Reuters in London, a documentary film maker, and a producer for the Independent Television Network in London. Pilger is known for his conscience, bravery and acute historical insight.   His articles appear worldwide in newspapers such as the Guardian, the Independent, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times.

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Law and Disorder March 13, 2017


Hosts Mourn The Passing Of Friend And Colleague Lynne Stewart

Attorneys Heidi Boghosian and Michael Smith remember the courageous people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart.

We listen back to a past interview with Lynne Stewart February 4, 2008.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Hears Lynne Stewart’s Arguments

Law and Disorder hosts welcome back civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart. Lynne Stewart has been free on bail pending appeal since federal judge John Koeltl gave her a 28 month sentence in October 2006. As you may recall Lynne Stewart was initially facing up to 30 years after being found guilty of conspiring to aid terrorists. She was convicted of distributing press releases on behalf of her jailed client Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman who is serving a life sentence on terror-related charges.

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve followed Lynne Stewart’s case as it contains key breaches of civil liberties such as government eavesdropping into attorney/ client conversations.

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Recognizing 50 Years of The Center For Constitutional Rights And Michael Ratner

Michael Ratner co-founded Law and Disorder Radio radio 13 years ago.  He died last May in New York City of complications after cancer surgery at age 73.  At the time, he was the President of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Some years ago he helped form it’s European counterpart, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. Last year was the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The held a commemorative conference in Berlin last December on the 50th anniversary of the CCR and honored it’s president, Michael Ratner.  Michael Smith, the co-host along with Heidi Boghosian of Law and Disorder Radiospoke at the conference about Michael Ratner and the four founders of the CCR. He was joined in his presentation by attorney Margaret Ratner Kunstler, a key figure in the early days of the CCR. Today we bring you excerpts from this presentation.

Law and Disorder February 20, 2017


 

The Deep State: The Fall Of The Constitution And The Rise Of The Shadow Government

A century ago, Ferdinand Lundberg wrote the classic book “America’s 60 Families” describing them, their interconnections and the powerful role they played in American governance.  This was in 1965 when the great sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote “The Power Elite” and then William Domhoff wrote “Who Rules America?” Now, Mike Lofgren has made a significant contribution in describing the workings of the American ruling elite with his book The Deep State: The Fall Of The Constitution And The Rise Of The Shadow Government.

Guest – Mike Lofgren worked in Congress for 28 years, 16 of them as a senior analyst at the House and Senate Budget Committees.  He held a top security clearance. He now represents no political party, no business interest, and no ideology. His previous book The Party Is Over was a New York Times bestseller.

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41s1YjDN5-L Sen. John F. Kennedy, (left), and Allen W. Dulles, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, walks towards newsmen on the lawn of the Democratic presidential candidates in Hyannis Port, MA., home on July 23, 1960. The two men held a news conference after Senator Kennedy was briefed by Dulles on international affairs. (AP Photo/WCC)

The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government

As director of the CIA, from 1952 until Kennedy fired him, Allen Dulles has been said to exemplify unbridled authority at the height of the Cold War. Under his leadership the CIA became a lawless force domestically and internationally that engaged, with impunity, in covert acts such as the assassination of foreign leaders including Patrice Lumubo in the Congo and overthrowing the government led by Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala.

As an attorney for the law firm Sullivan and Cromwell in the 1930s, Dulles protected and promoted Nazi-controlled cartels. He wielded his influence in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II and then in the CIA to shield former Nazis from prosecution for war crimes in the ’40s and ’50s. David Talbot writes in book The Devil’s Chessboard, ” over the final months of the JFK presidency, a clear consensus took shape within the American “deep state” Kennedy was a national security threat. For the good of the country he must be removed and Dulles was the only man with the stature, connections and decisive will to make something of this enormity happen. so he could enlist them to fight communists. In addition to assisting with the assassination of Congo leader Patrice Lumumba, he organized the Bay of Pigs invasion and tried repeatedly to murder Fidel Castro.

Guest – David Talbot, the author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years and the acclaimed national bestseller Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love. He is the founder and former editor in chief of Salon, and was a senior editor at Mother Jones and the features editor at the San Francisco Examiner. He has written for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time, The Guardian, and other major publications. Talbot lives in San Francisco, California.

Law and Disorder December 19, 2016


US Intelligence Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims

The major media has been filled daily with stories about how Russia and its Chief of State Vladimir Putin sought to and did influence the American election in favor of Donald Trump.  It is alleged by the CIA and other American intelligence agencies, the Russians hacked into the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee and of Hillary Rodham Clinton.  This conclusion, it is reported, is based on “overwhelming circumstantial evidence.”  American public opinion is been shaped to support aggression against Russia. Despite a promise made to Russia that they would not do it, the promise was broken and NATO now has troops and weapons on the Russian border where military exercises have been carried out. Tensions have been a ratcheted up to an extreme level not known since the heights of the Cold War.

Guest – Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst who briefed President George Bush daily. He broke with the government under George W. Bush over the cooked intelligence used to rationalize America’s illegal war of aggression against Iraq and  helped form the organization Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.  Last week his group issued a memorandum to President Obama which demonstrated that the Russians did not hack into the computers of the Democratic Party or Hillary Clinton and did not therefore influence the American election. They asserted that information that came out about the corruption of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party was leaked by an insider, not hacked.

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Civil Justice And The Trump Administration

Donald Trump has been critical of the U.S. intelligence community, both as a presidential candidate and as president-elect. He recently said he does not need to receive the presidential intelligence briefing every day, suggesting that such briefings are repetitive and that he is content to rely on those around him on matters of intelligence and national security. Trump’s infrequent briefings to-date are a departure from every modern president except Richard Nixon, who was so skeptical of intelligence agencies that he refused to accept briefings offered by President Johnson, even returning unopened envelopes containing classified material to the CIA.

In Washington DC, the public interest organization the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund has a new message on its website. It reads, in part: “At the PCJF, we stand with all those who are taking those steps forward – steps together – to face down what is coming, to protect those who are most vulnerable, and to make it clear that the people themselves are the force to be reckoned with.”

The PCJF has litigated First Amendment and other cases of constitutional import that have helped preserve and even expand the protections afforded individuals in different jurisdictions.

Guest – Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, co-chair of the Guild’s National Mass Defense Committee. co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund in Washington, DC, she secured $13.7 million for about 700 of the 2000 IMF/World Bank protesters in Becker, et al. v. District of Columbia, et al., while also winning pledges from the District to improve police training about First Amendment issues. She won $8.25 million for approximately 400 class members in Barham, et al. v. Ramsey, et al. (alleging false arrest at the 2002 IMF/World Bank protests). She served as lead counsel in Mills, et al v. District of Columbia (obtaining a ruling that D.C.’s seizure and interrogation police checkpoint program was unconstitutional); in Bolger, et al. v. District of Columbia (involving targeting of political activists and false arrest by law enforcement based on political affiliation); and in National Council of Arab Americans, et al. v. City of New York, et al. (successfully challenging the city’s efforts to discriminatorily restrict mass assembly in Central Park’s Great Lawn stemming from the 2004 RNC protests.)

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2016 Political Prisoner Pardons 

President of United States under the constitution has the authority to pardon or grant clemency to people after their conviction or even before. This does not include people convicted in state courts, only federal court.  Although the United States denies it, it holds many people as political prisoners.

1. Leonard Peltier – We urge President Obama to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier on humanitarian grounds and in the interest of justice. Peltier was a leader of the American Indian movement in the 1970s. At a confrontation at wounded knee South Dakota between AIM and the FBI two FBI agents were killed.  The FBI had worked with a corrupt tribal leadership to suppress the American Indian movement. At his trial, the prosecution withheld evidence including potential key ballistic evidence. Leonard has served 40 years in prison and is not eligible for hid parole hearing until 2024. His son recently died and he was not allowed to go to the funeral. He is in very poor shape and his health is deteriorating.  Please sign a petition to President Obama at this site.

2. Ethel Rosenberg was electrocuted at Sing Sing prison in 1953 after being convicted of being an atomic bomb spy and part of a ring that gave the secret of the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union.  At that time the government knew she was not a spy. She left two boys ages six and 10.  There was no secret to the atomic bomb, it was a matter of industrial capacity. The famous Rosenberg case was used to stir up the stereo against Russia. A huge body of evidence demonstrates that Ethel Rosenberg was innocent.   Donald Trumps mentor, friend, and attorney Roy Cohn was one of the prosecutors who ruthlessly attacked Ethel and colluded with the judge to have her executed. Listeners can call the Whitehouse at 202-456-1111 or visit this website – Exonerate Ethel, Our Mother

3. Army Sergeant Chelsea Manning has been in Fort Leavenworth prison for six years now, a record for whistleblowers. He was convicted of leaking what has become known as the Iraqi war logs to WikiLeaks, which published them showing the truth about US war crimes in Iraq. Chelsea is a transgendered person whose confinement in an all male prison at Fort Leavenworth has been unusually harsh. This included 11 months of solitary confinement. She has twice attempted suicide. Her sentence is 35 years, the longest ever given to a whistleblower. She has already served more time in prison that any individual in US history who has disclosed information in the public interest. Write or call the Whitehouse.

4. Oscar Lopez, a Puerto Rican political prisoner has served 30 years in prison, convicted of seditious conspiracy – a thought crime involving no actual act – because of his commitment to the independence of Puerto Rico. He was not accused or convicted of causing harm or taking a life. He was sentenced to 70 years and is one of the longest held political prisoners in the world.  Oscar served in Vietnam, Was a wooded a bronze star, and came home to Chicago where he became a talented community organizer. He served 12 years in isolation in a Supermax prison. He comes up for parole when he will be 83 years old. A petition asking President Obama to commute Oscar’s sentence can be found at: Oscar’s Story Here  boricuahumanrights.org

5. Edward Snowden blew the whistle about the USA’s illegal global master valence system. This scandalized the American government and caused it to partially rein in its surveillance for the first time in four decades. This would not have happened but for Snowdens courageous act,  a public service as former Attorney General Eric Holder has admitted. Snowden is facing charges under the espionage act, a world war one law that put another great American hero Eugene Debs in prison for making a speech in opposition to the war.  Snowden should be honored for his action, not forced into exile in Russia. The entire establishment favors prosecuting him. President Obama has wrongly stated that he can’t do anything to help Snowden until he has returned to this country and gone on trial.  A petition urging the president to pardon Snowden can be found here:  pardonsnowden.org

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Law and Disorder December 12, 2016


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DAPL Pipeline Dispatch # 9

The Standing Rock Sioux Indian tribe of North Dakota and their many allies won a tremendous victory on December 4 2016.  They got the oil pipeline stopped, at least for now. It was being built by the Energy Transfer Partners through their sacred lands, without their consultation, in violation of the Treaty of Fort Laramie, and it was planned to be constructed beneath the Missouri River. A Department of the Army announcement stated that it would seek an alternative route for the 1100 mile $3.7 billion project. A break in the pipeline would’ve polluted the drinking water for up to 15 million people. What accounted for this historic victory? What social forces were involved? What is the legal and financial status of the project?

Water Protectors Legal Collective – NLG

Guest – National Lawyers Guild Attorney Jeff Haas, recently returned from living at the North Dakota encampment with thousands of Native Americans and climate change activists who gathered in solidarity with the Standing Rock Indian tribe in North Dakota to protest the pipeline construction. Jeff Haas was a founding partner of the Peoples Law Office in Chicago. He victoriously represented the family of Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago Black Panther Party and proved that Hampton was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago Police Department. He’s also author of the book The Assassination of Fred Hampton.

Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense – Lawyers wanting to support the Sacred Stone Camp, contact Attorney Robin Martinez –  robin.martinez@martinezlaw.net

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Professor WatchList

In the weeks following the presidential election we’ve heard rumblings in the news about a variety of watch lists. Recently a student organization called Turning Point launched a website called Professor Watchlist. It publishes the names, locations and alleged offenses of liberal academics, with the mission to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” Offenses may include: using swear words or asserting that racism exists. Members of the public are invited to submit tips.

Guest – Rebecca Schuman, a columnist for Slate and author of Schadenfreude, A Love Story and Kafka and Wittgenstein. Her recent article in Slate, Oh Good, A Professor Watch List, outlines a number of concerns about this development.

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Poet Raymond Nat Turner Black Listed

We welcome back to Law and Disorder political poet . Turner is the poet in residence of the internet site and radio show Black Agenda Report. He and others have come under attack by an outfit called PropOrNot, a shabby group that created a blacklist that include more than “200 outlets, from the right-wing Drudge Report and Russian government-funded Russia Today, to Wikileaks and an array of marginal conspiracy and far-right sites. The blacklist also includes some of the flagship publications of the progressive left, including Truthdig, Counterpunch, Truthout, Naked Capitalism, and the Black Agenda Report, a leftist African-American opinion hub that is critical of the liberal black political establishment.”

Guest – Raymond Nat Turner, currently Poet-in-Residence at Black Agenda Report, Turner has been the opening act for such people as James Baldwin, Cynthia McKinney, radical sportswriter Dave Zirin and Congresswoman Barbara Lee after her lone vote against attacking Afghanistan.

Law and Disorder December 5, 2016


Update:

  • Hosts Remember Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro

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Remembering Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz

When the American supported military dictator of Cuba Fulgencio Batista fled Cuba in January 1959 and the revolutionary government led by Fidel Castro marched into Havana they passed three laws.  The first lowered the age so that Fidel could be prime minister. He was 33 years old.  The second made Che Guevara a citizen of Cuba, he was Argentinian.  And the third was the great agrarian reform law. It took land from the large plantations, owned mostly by American corporations, and distributed it to the people who worked it. The Cuban government had a right to do this under international law. They offered compensation.

The Cuban government said they would reimburse the mostly American corporate land owners the amount that they listed as the value of the land for tax purposes. The corporations would not agree. Instead the American owned oil refinery refused to refine oil.  This would have shut down the Cuban economy. The Cubans responded by nationalizing the oil refinery. Then they nationalized the telephone company, the nickel mines, the automobile assembly plant and so on. The Cuban state took control of their own economy. This became what is known as the historic Cuban socialist revolution. United States policy from that day till now has been to overthrow this revolution and reinstall capitalism.  For 47 years Fidel Castro led the Cuban government in its resistance to American counterrevolutionary activity.

Guest – James Cockcroft, a retired professor and lifelong supporter of the Cuban revolution. A bilingual award-winning author of more than 50 books on Latin America, US hidden history, culture, migration, and human rights,  including most recently “Cuba In My Blood. ”  He has traveled to Cuba many times, has been active in Cuba solidarity work, and has called Fidel Castro a personal friend.  A bilingual poet, three-time Fulbright Scholar, and Honorary Editor of Latin American Perspectives, he serves on the Coordinadora Internacional de Redes en Defensa de la Humanidad, the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five, and civil society’s Benito Juárez Tribunal (vice-president, 2005) that judged U.S. terrorism against Cuba and International Tribunal of Trade Union Freedom (2009-10) that judged Mexico for its violations of labor and human rights. A Canadian immigrant, he is a member of the UNESCO-sponsored World Council of the José Martí World Solidarity Project, la Table de Concertation de Solidarité Québec-Cuba, la Société Bolivarienne du Québec, la Base de Paix Montréal, le Comité Fabio Di Celmo pour les 5, and the Canada-Cuba Literary Alliance.

Guest – Ike Nahem – A longtime anti-war, socialist, and labor activist Ike Nahem is the coordinator of Cuba Solidarity New York and a founder of the July 26 Coalition. Nahem is an Amtrak Locomotive Engineer and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a division of the Teamsters Union. He participated in a panel on Latin American politics at the 2011 Left Forum.

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Dakota Access Pipeline: Dispatch #8: UPDATE-Army Will Not Grant Easement For DAPL Crossing

At the time of our weekly dispatch from Standing Rock North Dakota, at least two major developments were unfolding: (1) Governor Jack Dalrymple had recently enacted an emergency evacuation order, citing public safety due to the frigid weather and (2) as many as 2,000 veterans are planning to gather there next week to serve as “human shields” for protesters who have for months clashed with the police over the pipeline construction.

The evacuation order was issued to the hundreds of Dakota Access Pipeline protesters camping on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ land near the Missouri River. It was given as a winter storm left least a half foot of snow throughout the central part of the state. It followed an order by the corps that the land will be closed to the public earlier this week. Law enforcement officials have said they would begin blocking supplies, including food, from entering the main protest camp.

The order means that emergency services will not be made available to people at the camp except on a case-by-case basis. The order will remain until he rescinds it.

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II called the order “a menacing action meant to cause fear and is a blatant attempt by the state and local officials to usurp and circumvent federal authority.” The Veterans effort is planned as a nonviolent intervention to defend demonstrators from what the group calls “assault and intimidation at the hands of the militarized police force.”

Water Protectors Legal Collective – NLG

Guest – National Lawyers Guild Attorney Jeff Haas, recently returned from living at the North Dakota encampment with thousands of Native Americans and climate change activists who gathered in solidarity with the Standing Rock Indian tribe in North Dakota to protest the pipeline construction. Jeff Haas was a founding partner of the Peoples Law Office in Chicago. He victoriously represented the family of Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago Black Panther Party and proved that Hampton was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago Police Department. He’s also author of the book The Assassination of Fred Hampton.

Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense – Lawyers wanting to support the Sacred Stone Camp, contact Attorney Robin Martinez –  robin.martinez@martinezlaw.net

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Law and Disorder November 26, 2016


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The Trump Administration And The Current Police State Apparatus

The movement for social change in the United States has been growing and accelerating in the last five years with the Occupy Movement, Black Lives Matter and now the large encampment and protest of Native Americans and their allies protecting our water in North Dakota. Half of American young people under the age of 29 say they would prefer Socialism. Bernie Sanders, running as a democratic socialist, had received more than 13 million votes. It is a time of great possibilities and simultaneously a time of great danger with the election of Donald Trump. What is the state of democratic rights as we go into the Trump era? Because of the policies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama  Americans are the most spied upon people in the history of the world with government surveilling every keystroke on their computers, social media,  and every email they send.  The ancient right of habeas corpus has been compromised allowing for indefinite detention of American citizens, military commission trials, and imprisonment offshore in Guantánamo Cuba. Extra- judicial assassinations are a regular practice, with American citizens being targeted and killed by drone strikes. Torture carried out by the CIA and private contractors has gone unpunished. The Posse Comitatus Act has been abolished and now the US military will be allowed to perform police functions inside United States.  The police force itself has been militarized and given military grade weapons.  What can the movement for social change expect from the Trump administration?

Guest – Attorney Baher Azmy, Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He directs all litigation and advocacy around issues related to the promotion of civil and human rights. At CCR, he has litigated cases related to discriminatory policing practices (stop and frisk), government surveillance, the rights of Guantanamo detainees, and accountability for victims of torture. Baher is currently on leave from his faculty position at Seton Hall University School of Law, where he taught Constitutional Law and directed the Civil Rights and Constitutional Litigation Clinic.

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DAPL Protests Attacks: Oceti Sakowin Encampment

A week ago Sunday the water protectors numbering in the thousands including members of more than 100 Native American tribes at Standing Rock, North Dakota were brutally attacked for over six hours by police and  private security.   They have been camped in the freezing North Dakota weather attempting to halt the construction of a 1200 mile oil pipeline that is scheduled to go through sacred Indian lands and beneath the Missouri River and then through South Dakota, Iowa, and into Illinois. Pipelines frequently break and if and when this one does it will contaminate the water supply of some 15 million people.  Water from the river was sprayed on the protesters in 26° weather causing many of them to get life threatening hypothermia.  Rubber bullets were also shot at the protesters. A long-range sound cannon was employed to disorient them and mace was sprayed in their faces. Several hundred people were injured and more than 100 were arrested.  Although President Obama could stop the pipeline he has so far put off ruling on it’s legality or safety.  The 3.8 billion-dollar pipeline is owned by the energy transfer partners company, an outfit in which  Donald Trump has a large investment. The Norwegian government bank  has recently  pulled out of the project and if the pipeline is not completed soon other investors may bail jeopardizing the entire project. Oectisakowincamp.org

Guest – Angela Bibens, an attorney from Denver, Colorado, Angela practices criminal, juvenile and family law with a specialty in the Indian Child Welfare Act.  She earned her law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2006.  She is a wife and mother of three.  Angela has been the ground coordinator for the Water Protector Legal Collective at Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for the past three months.

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Campaign to Bring Home Mumia Abu-Jamal & Inside the Activist Studio 

The New York-Based activist group, the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, is filming the second episode of an innovative project, Inside the Activist Studio on December 6 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Inspired by the popular television series, Inside the Actors Studio, its inaugural show featured a profile of Sekou Odinga.

The second episode features an interview with longtime activist Ramona Africa, of the MOVE Organization. Ramona was the only adult survivor of the police bombing of the MOVE home in West Philadelphia on May 13, 1985. The bombing caused a fire that the fire department initially allowed to burn and that killed 11 MOVE members, including five children. It devastated the 6200 block of Osage Avenue, destroying 61 homes and damaging many others.

Guest –  Professor Johanna Fernandez, is a native New Yorker. She received a PhD in History from Columbia University and a BA in Literature and American Civilization from Brown University. Professor Fernández teaches 20th Century U.S. History, the history of social movements, the political economy of American cities, and African-American history. She has previously taught at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, PA and Trinity College in Hartford, CT and is, most recently, the recipient of a Fulbright Scholars grant to the Middle East and North Africa that will take her to Jordan in spring 2011, where she will teach graduate courses in American History.

Guest – Ramona Africa, Minister of Communication for the MOVE organization.

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Law and Disorder November 14, 2016


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Uprooting Entrenched Systems of Power: Chris Hedges

On the morning after the US presidential election, we spoke with Chris Hedges. Chris has written several best-sellers including Wages of Rebellion, The Moral Imperative of Revolt, Empire of Illusion, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt and War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning.  In this interview, Chris provides an analysis of entrenched systems of power and shares his thoughts on how we all move forward to challenge a new series of repressive measures.

Guest – Chris Hedges,  author and journalist, who publishes weekly on Truthdig. He’s written 11 books, including New York Times best seller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. Other books include “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010), “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). He’s a former war correspondent, specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and societies.

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Syrian Proxy Wars 2016

The horrific situation in Syria is something that the American people don’t know much about. Anti-war movement activists suffer from a lack of decent reporting. Some of the issues we’ll examine are – Is it a proxy war between Middle Eastern governments? Can Isis be reigned in? Should Assad go? Is that any of “our” business? Finally, should the American peace movement be promoting the goal of a weapons of mass destruction free Middle East?

Guest – Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at IPS, working as a writer, activist and analyst on Middle East and UN issues. She is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. In 2001 she helped found and remains active with the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. She works with many anti-war organizations, and writes and speaks widely across the U.S. and around the world as part of the global peace movement. She has served as an informal adviser to several top UN officials on Middle East and UN democratization issues.

Protesters demonstrate against the Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota standing-rock-r-lederman

Attorney Jeff Haas: Dakota Access Pipeline Dispatch #5

Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline continues. Two weeks have passed since we last spoke with Attorney Jeff Haas who has been representing the Native Americans and the protesters at Standing Rock. A lot has happened. The company is hellbent in getting that pipeline done and they’ve built it all the way up to the river, even though they don’t have a permit for going under the river yet.

The pipeline goes from North Dakota to South Dakota to Iowa. Winter is setting in. There are 5000 people encamped there. On October 27, 2016 with a huge military force. The governor and the armored police tried without success to roll things back.

Guest – National Lawyers Guild Attorney Jeff Haas, recently returned from living at the North Dakota encampment with thousands of Native Americans and climate change activists who gathered in solidarity with the Standing Rock Indian tribe in North Dakota to protest the pipeline construction. Jeff Haas was a founding partner of the Peoples Law Office in Chicago. He victoriously represented the family of Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago Black Panther Party and proved that Hampton was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago Police Department. He’s also author of the book The Assassination of Fred Hampton.

Guest – Lyla June Johnston, a writer, a Dine, Chayenne and Scandinavian poet

Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense – Lawyers wanting to support the Sacred Stone Camp, contact Attorney Robin Martinez –  robin.martinez@martinezlaw.net

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Law and Disorder November 7, 2016


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More FDNY Lawsuits

Two years ago the New York Fire Department settled a racial discrimination suit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the United States Department of Justice on behalf of the Vulcans, black fire fighters organization. The court awarded $100 million in back pay and benefits to fire fighters who had been discriminated against and to applicants who’s efforts to join the department had been stymied by what the court ruled was institutional bias. Two weeks ago a second lawsuit was filed by Brooklyn attorney Greg Smith on behalf of 10 African American civilians who work in the non-uniform part of the New York Fire Department. The suit alleges pay discrimination, retaliation for complaints, and harassment of black people working at the fire department.

Guest – Ginger Adams Otis  has been writing about New York City and local politics for more than a decade. She is a staff writer at the NY Daily News. Otis started covering City Hall and the Fire Department when she worked for The Chief-Leader, from there she moved to staff position at the NY Post. She’s also been a radio and print freelancer for WNYC, the Associated Press, BBC, National Public Radio, The Village Voice and national magazines such as The Nation and Ms. She lives in Harlem, NY.Ginger Otis. She’s the author of the book Firefight The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York’s Bravest. Ms. Otis works as a staff writer for the NY Daily News.

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Anti-SLAPP Legislation

If you have ever left a less than favorable comment on a website such as Yelp or TripAdvisor you should know that some businesses or doctors are suing consumers for their negative reviews. Patients writing about botched surgical procedures or doctors’ billing practices have been sued in small claims court saying the bad reviews cost their practices thousands of dollars.

Two pending federal laws are designed to protect consumers from legal retaliation when they express opinions online.

The Consumer Review Fairness Act, dubbed the “Right to Yelp Act,” would bar companies from including gag clauses in agreements they ask consumers to sign. And the Speak Free Act would create a legal weapon for defendants in lawsuits over their publicly expressed thoughts. Such cases are called SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation). Someone brought into court over their words can invoke the bill’s anti-SLAPP motion to get the case dismissed quickly and force the plaintiff to pay attorney’s fees.

Yelp is among some 40 companies and nonprofits backing the bills, which also have bipartisan support in Congress, where they are expected to move forward this fall. Some, however, find the bills unconstitutional as they might impose barriers to civil rights and public interest litigation.

Guest – Evan Mascagni, policy director at the Public Participation Project. The Project assists individuals and organizations working to pass anti-SLAPP legislation in the states while educating the public regarding SLAPPs and their consequences.

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9781510711013-frontcover Photo by Michael Ratner

How the CIA Killed Che: The Murder of A Revolutionary

The Cuban revolution of 1959 was a historical turning point. It ended American corporate and political control of the island’s economy and government and it demonstrated to other Latin American and Caribbean peoples that they could do the same. The American response was quick and deadly.  They overthrew any governments that did not oppose the Cuban revolution. This included Brazil, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia and most spectacularly, in 1971, in an effort involving US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the democratically elected socialist government of Chile. Che Guevara failed in his attempt to defend the revolution in Cuba by extending it. He started in Bolivia with a band of international revolutionary guerrilla fighters and was quickly discovered, surrounded, and assassinated by Bolivian soldiers trained and organized by the CIA in an operation that was directed right out of the White House. The economic blockade of Cuba by the United States is still in effect.  Left leaning governments in Argentina, Brazil, and Honduras have been replaced by neoliberal capitalists under the favored hand of the American government.

Guest –  Professor Greg Grandin  wrote the introduction to the recently published book by our own Michael Ratner and Michael Steven Smith called “How the CIA Killed Che. Grandin is the author of a number of prize-winning books, including most recently “The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World,” which won the Bancroft Prize in American History and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in the UK. NPR’s Maureen Corrigan on Fresh Air named The Empire of Necessity as the best book of 2014, both non-fiction and fiction. “Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History, as well as for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and was picked by the New York Times, New Yorker, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and NPR for their “best of” lists, and Amazon.com named it the best history book of 2009.

Law and Disorder October 31, 2016


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Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate Ajamu Baraka

Here on Law and Disorder we continue our interviews with candidates other than the two major parties. This week we talk with Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate Ajamu Baraka.

Guest – Ajamu Baraka is a 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.  He’s on a long time board member of the Center for Constitutional  Rights and a human rights defender whose experience spans three decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. Black Agenda Report

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The Connecticut Four

More than ten years ago four librarians in Connecticut fought back after FBI agents handed them National Security Letters seeking library records under the PATRIOT Act, and warned them it was a criminal offense to discuss it with anyone. The letter demanded that the librarians identify patrons who had used library computers online at a specific time a year earlier. Four librarians challenged the legality of the request in a lawsuit, represented by the ACLU. A year later the government withdrew the demand for information and the gag order. The media dubbed them “the Connecticut Four.”

Recently they have reunited to draw attention to attempts by the U.S. Senate to expand the amount and kinds of information that the government may compel libraries and others to divulge. It could force librarians to give the FBI transaction records, such as email metadata, links clicked on to access other websites and the length and time of Internet search sessions.

Guest – George Christian, executive director of the Library Connection and one of the four Connecticut librarians gagged by the FBI. The four librarians, members of the Library Connection, sought help from the ACLU after the FBI demanded patron records through a National Security Letter.

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The Bronx 120

Just before 5 in the morning on April 27, 700 law enforcement officers conducted the largest gang raid in NY history in the Williamsbridge section of the North Bronx. Prosecutors used the 1970 RICO Act, and 78 young men averaging 24 years in age were arrested and indicted 120 on conspiracy charges. All are being detained collectively for 8 murders and firearms and drug charges dating back two decades. In one apartment, more than a dozen police threw flash-bang grenades and broke down the front door with assault weapons aimed at Paula Clarke and her two daughters, then forced them to crawl down their hall on all fours toward the officers.

At a press conference, police characterized the young men as “the epitome of organized crime today.” Cooperating federal agencies included the DEA, the ATF, the US attorney general, and ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations. Community members question this portrayal, saying the young men were not highly organized gangsters terrorizing a community; they lacked money and weapons and were living at home with their parents.

Critics claim that applying RICO to to street gangs has racist implications. Under RICO, individuals can be found guilty by association. Despite gang-related crime accounting for less than 2 percent of city crime, two weeks after the raid, James O’Neill, now NYPD Commissioner, promised 20 more raids before July 4.

The department quadrupled its gang division by launching Operation Crew Cut in 2012. A 2014 initiative has spent over $64.6 million on surveillance cameras and singled out 15 projects as high-crime zones; at least ten of those projects have experienced police raids.

Guest – Cindy Gorn is a former teacher of Urban Studies at Hunter College and a member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.

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