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Law and Disorder January 22, 2014


Updates:

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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 November 18, 2013


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Local Police Departments and Mass Surveillance Technology

As technology becomes more available to local police departments, mass surveillance, data collection and retention are now rapidly expanding. There are third parties involved profiting from collecting data and selling it back to various agencies and governments down the line. There are many concerns including the reasonable expectation of privacy in public and the build up of individual digital dossiers. We’re joined today by Assistant Professor Law Stephen Rushin at the University of Illinois College of Law. In his recently published paper The Legislative Response to Mass Police Surveillance, Rushin discusses the rise of expanding advanced police surveillance and public privacy.

Attorney Stephen Rushin:

  • Traditionally law enforcement have utilized a bunch of different technological replacements for traditional behavior.
  • Law enforcement in the past might have tried to say, isolate individuals that were speeding. Before the advent of radar, the ability to measure this in a technological way, they had ways of simply following people.
  • So, once law enforcement had the ability to monitor speed electronically, that was a means of dramatically improving the efficiency on an otherwise lawful police activity.
  • Initially these technological innovations seem to be a relative good thing but in recent years there’s been a movement in local law enforcement to utilize extreme data retention with things like Automatic License Plate Readers, security cameras with facial recognition.
  • These tools allow law enforcement to monitor an entire community in a relatively invasive way without invading any legally protected areas of privacy.
  • Local law enforcement is trying to share this data across jurisdictional lines.
  • We have 18 thousand different local police departments.
  • Once that data gets shared, its essentially out in the open.
  • These private automatic license plate readers are put up all across the country to monitor the whereabouts of cars.
  • Whenever someone is driving in public, you don’t expectation of privacy in your movements.
  • What’s interesting is these private third parties are working with law enforcement and sharing that data.
  • We are actually just starting to learn the dangers of big data collection by the state.
  • If I collect years of data from automatic license plate readers, I’d have a pretty good digital dossier of where one individual person has been over the last two years.
  • I know stuff about where that person goes during the day. I know about potentially their political affiliation.
  • If you allow local law enforcement to collect copious amounts of data on an individuals’ whereabouts, then you potentially allow them to know a lot about their citizens.
  • We need to distinguish between observational comparison and what I call indiscriminate data collection.
  • The proposal I make is that we need to be concerned about the length of time local law enforcement retain data.
  • The ACLU is doing terrific work, surveying police departments to see what kind of data they’re collecting via surveillance.
  • There’s a lot of questions about how ALPR work has effected minority groups especially Muslims in the UK.
  • Evidence has emerged that authorities used ALPR to surveil Muslims in the UK.
  • Social Science Research Center

Guest – Attorney Stephen Rushin, research focuses on criminal law, criminal procedure, and policing. His ongoing research uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the Justice Department’s implementation of structural reform litigation in American police departments. He has previously published articles on advanced surveillance technologies, police interrogation procedures, juvenile justice policy, and federal sentencing laws. Rushin holds a J.D. from Berkeley Law, where he served on the law review. He received a B.A. in government from the University of Texas, where he graduated with high honors. Rushin is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program at Berkeley.

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JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by Jim Douglass

JFK and the Unspeakable is the first book of 3 on the assassinations of the 1960s. Orbis Books has commissioned author James W. Douglass to write about the murders of JFK, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, and his  the third will be on the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. The heart of JFK the Unthinkable, is not how Kennedy was killed or how Kennedy became a threat to the systemic war machine, but why DID Kennedy die? Author James Douglass says Kennedy knew that he would die and had the guts to stand up to the system and take the hit. This narrative was lost for decades, obscured by disinformation about Kennedy’s character and the conspiracy of his assassination. One review summarizes Douglass’s book in this way : JFK’s belated effort to turn America from an armed culture of victory to a member of an international peaceful world was shot down in Texas for a reason.

Jim Douglass:

  • John F. Kennedy’s experience in WWII:  He was in the South Pacific, he volunteered. He was on that PT boat.
  • What happened on that PT boat, is that it got split into two by a Japanese destroyer. He lost brothers and friends at that time.  An extraordinary experience being adrift on the ocean warning other PT boats. The experience create a distrust in military authority.
  • He said that he wanted to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter to the winds.
  • As Kennedy said to his friends, “they figured me all wrong.”
  • The Unspeakable: the kind of evil and deceit that seems to go beyond the capacity of words to describe. The midst of war and nuclear arms race, the assassinations of Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcom X that the term was used.
  • JFK’s vision is articulated in the address June 10, 1963, arising from the turnaround of the missile crisis and Bay of Pigs.  He wanted to move step by step into a disarmed world.
  • Nikita Khrushchev put that speech all over the Soviet Union.  The Cuban Missile Crisis is a deeply misunderstood part of our history, because it’s usually portrayed as Kennedy going to war with Nikita Khrushchev and beating him.
  • The truth was that Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev were in over their heads, the US generals wanted nuclear war, because they had more warheads than the Soviets.
  • Nikita Khrushchev: We now have a common enemy from those pushing us toward war.
  • At that point the Cold War turned upside down because Kennedy and Khrushchev became closer to each other than either was toward their own military power system.
  • Vietnam: Kennedy’s military people would not give him an exit policy. He signed the withdrawal order from Vietnam before he was assassinated.
  • His friends said that he had an obsession with death. It was not an obsession but a real assessment that he was going to die. If you try to turn around a national security state that is dominating the world,
  • and you do so as president of the United States, of course you’re going to die. Kennedy knew that.
  • The book is a story on the deliberate destruction of hope, the vision of change, a turning of this country all of which was happening and had to be stopped.  US Agencies killed Dr. Martin Luther King – 1999 Verdict
  • We’re in the same scene right now with Petraeus and McChrystal setting up Obama. They were dictating terms to Obama, unlike Kennedy, he did not face them down.
  • We need to get out ahead of Obama so that he can do something.

Guest - James W. Douglassauthor and a longtime peace activist and writer. James and his wife Shelley are co-founders of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington, and Mary’s House, a Catholic Worker house of hospitality in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Law and Disorder September 16, 2013


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Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance Part II

This is part 2 of our interview with our own Heidi Boghosian who wrote the newly published book is titled Spying On Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance and it reveals in detail how the government acquires your information from sources such as telecommunications companies to compile a data base on “persons of interest.” Since ex-CIA staffer Edward Snowden’s release of top secret documents to the Guardian and Washington Post many are now aware of the frequency and scope to which they are being monitored.  What this book has unveiled is how your personal consumer data is being gathered, bundled and sold. The spying, the collecting of phone records, accessing your online activity, all of it is unconstitutional says Heidi Boghosian, co-host of Law and Disorder and the National Lawyers Guild’s Executive Director.

Attorney Heidi Boghosian:

  • They create dossiers of our spending habits, of our communication habits.
  • The corporations benefit from this which makes them create more equipment for surveillance and almost makes it impossible for the government to perform traditional government functions because they’re so reliant on corporate partners.
  • There’s also a revolving door among CEOs of these big companies and high level positions within government intelligence.
  • The National Lawyers Guild was spied on by the FBI. More than 1000 agents were assigned to us for nearly 3 decades. They rummaged through our members garbage. We had an infiltrator in Washington DC serving as a staff person.
  • They tried to label us (and failed) as a subversive organization.
  • The People’s Law Office had also been monitored for years. Apparently across the street from the office an apartment was taken by the FBI who spied on them for their work representing politically active individuals.
  • With all of this spying, the chilling effect of knowing that you may be spied on, you conversations may be listened to, changes the way you do business.
  • I’ve always been interested in cooperation between municipal public police and private security organizations.
  • We’re seeing an entire industry giving birth to Stratfor and other intelligence organizations that exist just to conduct intelligence be it on activists or critics of corporate or government policies, as well as defense contractors beefing up and creating a whole sector of intelligence.
  • They are in big contracts with the US government.
  • One of the problems constitutionally is they’re not held as private businesses to the same strictures as the US Constitution as we saw recently with the Hemisphere program revelations. We have our government paying AT&T staff to sit next to drug enforcement officers and go through AT&T’s files that go back 26 years. They’re not overseen by a judge.
  • My question is how many more agencies of the government are doing this?
  • They are getting access to this information through what’s called administrative subpoenas.
  • Many mannequins have small cameras embedded in the eyeballs.
  • When you’re spying on the fourth estate as its called which is intended to be a watch dog on government you really get to the heart of what democracy is about.
  • Without a free press, we don’t have any chance of preserving those fundamental freedoms of First Amendment association and the ability to bring our grievances to the government for redress.
  • A student group working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers got suspicious because a new member on their listserve started asking questions and they did some research and found she owned her own private security company, in fact she was spying on them for Burger King.
  • Congress is calling for an investigation for these large data aggragators. Once again, there’s no oversight, there’s no accountability, they go to a variety of sources to gather personal information on us. Some in the public domain, others not.
  • They have vast troves, electronic dossiers on each of us.

Guest – Heidi Boghosian,  executive director of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the co-host of the weekly civil liberties radio show Law and Disorder on Pacifica’s WBAI in New York and over 40 national affiliates. She received her JD from Temple Law School where she was the editor-in-chief of the Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review. She also holds an MS from Boston University and a BA from Brown University.
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Syria: U.S. Humanitarian Intervention

What is the difference between an illegal war and humanitarian intervention? At the 2005 United Nations World Summit, government leaders agreed unanimously that “each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”  If a state fails to protect its own citizens from such atrocity as its known, the agreement implies a collective responsibility of humanitarian intervention upon other agencies.  President Obama has threatened to use military force against Syria and recently commented during a speech that “we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus”  The US, however has in the past,  turned a so called blind eye to other alleged chemical weapons attacks in other countries. Why would President Obama now want to go forward with a Navy missile strike in Syria and try to do so without UN Security Council approval?

Ajamu Baracka:

  • There’s no basis in international law that allows the US or any sovereign state to take that kind of unilateral action.
  • This notion of humanitarian intervention and this responsibility to protect, is a particular type of creation that’s been cooked up in the west that has provided some kind of moral justification to engage in unilateral action on behalf of the world community.
  • To circumvent the United Nations and impose their own vision and understanding of international order on any nation they see fit.
  • This is no more than a dressed up, rearticulation of the white man’s burden.
  • This notion that the US and the European, ex-colonial nations, have a right and a responsibility to impose their particular interests and world views on the rest of humanity is a notion that needs to be rejected but its something that many people in the west have embraced.
  • It was the foundation for the NATO intervention of Libya. It has been the justification for intervention in Kosovo.
  • It’s been very skillfully implanted into the minds of many people in this country as a justification for unilateral actions on the part of the US or in conjunction again with European allies.
  • What about the images we were bombarded with, the rows of piled up bodies in Egypt? Why are those lives less important than those who died in Syria?
  • Is it the mode in which they were murdered, gas as opposed to US supplied weapons?
  • I think the US objective is the dismemberment of the Syrian state. They are in almost a win-win situation. Either they affect regime change and allow this motley crew of oppositional forces much aligned with jihadist movements, come to power or they force the state to become a non-functional state.
  • The long term objective is to further isolate Iran, to diminish the power of Russia.
  • Right at the moment when it was clear that the Assad government had turned the tide militarily on the ground, the US decided it was going to intervene to effect the equalization of forces in Syria.
  • The US found itself in a very unique isolated position. Kerry has been given an opportunity to pull back from this ill-advised strike.
  • I think the Obama Administration is one of the most effective weapons ever deployed against the progressive and radical movement here in this country, perhaps in the whole post-war period.
  • He had been the answer to Ronald Reagan, but even a more effective communicator.
  • A more effective demobilzer if you will. (Obama Administration) has demobilized the anti-war movement, it has disarmed radicals, confused traditional liberals.
  • I think we use this last incident to intensify the conversations around exposing the interests of this administration.

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 June 24, 2013


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Historic Vigil And Compassionate Release For Lynne Stewart

It’s been seven weeks since Warden Jody Upton of FMC Carswell approved Compassionate Release for Lynne Stewart. This decision was based on the medical findings of Stage 4 cancer that spread Lynne’s scapula, lymph nodes and lungs. A massive vigil was held last week for Lynne at Federal Bureau of Prisons Headquarters in Washington DC. We’re joined today by former Attorney General of the United States Ramsey Clark who is helping to get Lynne Stewart released from prison.

Attorney Ramsey Clark:

  • The matter is now on the desk of the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it’s been there for about five or six weeks which is intolerably long because everyday counts.
  • Lynne is in physical desperate condition, her cancer is spreading. She has appointments at Sloan Kettering when she gets out that may extend her life.
  • It’s slipping away while the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons who seems to be opposed of Compassionate Release or any broad application of it, sits on her application.
  • Charles Samuels, seemed to have isolated himself from this issue. Any letters to Director Samuels would be helpful and important.
  • He’s being bombarded but for some reason, he’s holding out because he wants an interpretation of the compassionate release statute that would enable the release of only those who are going to die in the very near future, have no hope of living longer.
  • Right now we have an urgent human matter, a very wonderful human being, mother and grandmother is dying in prison. 
  • Please Write to: Charles E Samuels Jr. / Federal Bureau of Prisons / 320 1st Street Northwest / Washington DC 20534

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

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • June 19th Anniversaries: Execution of the Rosenbergs. Julian Assange 1 year at the Ecuadorian embassy.
  • Snowden, we don’t know where he is, massive revelations.
  • The question you should be asking, is Dick Cheney a traitor? Is George Bush a traitor? Aren’t those the real traitors, the real people to be held accountable.
  • We should look at what they told us. Ed Snowden told about a massive domestic surveillance operation.
  • Their job is to tell the American people what they’re doing so we can debate it and discuss it and not put forward basically false stories of who they’ve purportedly stopped.
  • This is about knowing where everyone of us is all the time.
  • Freedom of the Press Foundation – Bradley Manning
  • This is really a war on whistle-blowers and really a war on the United States trying to keep control on all of the information it can and control the internet from the top down.

Richard Falk, U.N. Rapporteur on Palestinian Rights, Calls for Close of UN Watch

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Lakota Indians To File UN Genocide Charges Against US, South Dakota

There was a time in the mid 1800s when the territory of Lakota Indians reached 90 million acres, now they’re separated into tribal councils and relegated to reservations. Their children are seized and put into foster homes of white families. During Republican administrations, more than 700 Lakota children are taken annually by a private corporation called the South Dakota Children’s Home Services. In April, a grassroots movement led by Lakota grandmothers touring the country built support for a formal UN complaint of genocide against the United States government and constituent states.

Attorney Daniel Sheehan:

  • There’s basically a decade involved here during which the state of South Dakota engaged in a systematic program of the removal of Lakota children from their parents, from their extended families and from their entire tribe.
  • Some 740 Lakota children a year during that period were taken from their families and tribes.
  • Over half of them were never returned. 80-90 percent of those children were placed in white foster care.
  • This is clear violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act which was the piece of legislation that mandated that if an Indian child were taken from the child’s parents they were required to be placed with Native American people.
  • This is has been absolutely openly defied by the state of South Dakota.
  • There has been an official notice of intent to file the complaint with the United Nations.
  • We need to understand that there has been a longstanding policy in the Republican Party. When the Republican Party comes into power in Washington DC where they engage in this process to try and assimilate the native tribes.
  • They’re constantly trying to eliminate the ownership of land and integrate them into society, basically to eliminate their culture.
  • That was why the US Congress back in 1978 made the move to establish the American Indian Policy Review Commission and the Indian Child Welfare Act to stop the states from engaging in that type of activity of assimilation.
  • What we’ve seen by William Janklow, a former South Dakota congressman, governor, and attorney general, is the process to attempt to take as many of the children away as they could possibly do and place them in huge group homes such as South Dakota Children Homes Services Inc.
  • There is a subtext to this issue. We’ve discovered that during the Bush Administration from 2001 to 2009 there was systematic program of funneling federal funds into South Dakota to finance the seizure of these children and a substantial portion of that money from the Federal Government was transferred to the pharmaceutical corporations, who were in fact administering involuntarily to these children, pharmaceutical drugs Zoloft, and other psychoactive drugs to control their moods and attitudes.
  • They refuse to give information about who the children are, where they’ve been taken, where they’ve been placed, some of them have been taken out of the state, we traced a number of them to Utah.

Guest – Daniel Sheehan is the lead attorney and general counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project (LPLP). Currently, LPLP is working in South Dakota to stop violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and rescue Lakota children from an abusive state care system. Award-winning journalist Laura Sullivan has just completed a hard-hitting investigative series on the situation in Lakota Country airing now on NPR. To learn more about Daniel Sheehan’s work with Lakota Indians, visit the Lakota People’s Law Project website. Sheehan traced the institutionalization of state kidnapping of Native children back to the late William Janklow, a former South Dakota congressman, governor, and attorney general notorious for his role in what the the Lakota refer to as the “Reign of Terror” on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the years following the American Indian Movement-led occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. According to Sheehan, members of the George W. Bush administration tipped off Janklow on a Texas strategy to grab millions of dollars in federal subsidies by administering a psychological test devised by the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical corporation to children taken into protective custody. Replicating the strategy, South Dakota developed a mental health test failed by 98% of Native children, who then become “special needs” cases under federal law, with the state receiving up to $79,000 for each Indian child and the child being placed involuntarily on psychoactive drugs.

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Law and Disorder January 14, 2013


Updates:

  • Guantanamo Bay Prison 11th Anniversary
  • Abu Ghraib Settlement: Defense Contractor Engility Holdings Pays $5M To Iraqi Torture Detainees
  • Stop and Frisk Lawyers Praise Decision Finding NYPD Stops Unconstitutional
  • Bradley Manning Case: Judge Gives 112 Days of Sentence If Convicted
  • Law and Disorder Tip of the Hat: New Yorkers Respond to Hateful Subway Ads & Declare Them War Propaganda
  • In Memory of Adnan Latif, A Cleared Guantanamo Detainee Who Was Found Dead In His Cell

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Obama to Nominate John Brennan, ‘Kill List’ Architect, as New CIA Chief

As many listeners know, President Barack Obama has nominated John Brennan as director of the CIA. Brennan is currently Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. In this capacity Brennan meets with the president daily and is governed the administration’s program of extrajudicial assassinations known as the “kill list.”

In 2011 and 2012, Brennan used his position to “re-organize” the process by which people outside of war zones were put on the list of drone targets.  Basically, this “reorganization” gave the White House the power to secretly determine who would die in the US assassination program overseas.

We welcome back retired CIA officer, Ray McGovern, now a political activist. McGovern was a federal employee under seven U.S. presidents in the past 27 years.  Ray McGovern’s article on Consortium News: The Grilling That Brennan Deserves.

Ray McGovern:

  • After 9-11, the acceptance of things like torture has become even more widespread.
  • I spent a little time in Germany and I know about Gestapo tactics, and it seem to me that enhanced interrogation techniques sounded very familiar, and indeed its right out of the Gestapo lexicon.
  • The immediate post World War II experience was very vivid.
  • Obama is very fastidious in looking over this “kill list.” He’s got his own priest.
  • It did me great good to know there were a handful at least of Fordham students that stood with their back to Brennan and protested vigorously against not being the commencement speaker but awarded the Doctorate of Humane Letters.
  • He openly advocated kidnapping, the euphemism there is extraordinary rendition.
  • There are black prisons all over Europe and Asia where these people were kept and tortured.
  • He was an open advocate of at least the kidnapping and he was there. He was at the right hand of George Tenet so to speak.
  • I have good information that Brennan was among those in the White House basement supervising the demonstration of “enhanced interrogation techniques” that Condeleeza Rice arranged for all the personages there.
  • It’s all a master weaving, webbing of deceit and John Brennan is at the bottom of it.
  • He was a classis example of a failed analyst. Why did he get where he is?
  • He made an important friend George Tenet.
  • Is Brennan suggesting that Muslims are hard wired to want to knock down planes over Detroit.
  • I have very good information in that report that Brennan is the prime mover in all these abuses.
  • It’s not about success, it’s about principle here.
  • I like Dr. King’s motto, there is such a thing is too late. Sometimes you really have to put your body into it.
  • Unless we act, nothing will be achieved.
  • There are 2 CIAs. The one that Truman set up to give him honest answers to what’s going on in the world.
  • To speak without fear or favor, to tell ‘em the truth. That’s the one I worked in. That’s the one I could with career protection knock noses out of joint in the Pentagon and the State Department. I could do that.

Guest – Raymond L. McGovern retired CIA officer turned political activist. McGovern was a Federal employee under seven U.S. presidents in the past 27 years.  Ray’s opinion pieces have appeared in many leading newspapers here and abroad.  His website writings are posted first on consortiumnews.com, and are usually carried on other websites as well.  He has debated at the Oxford Forum and appeared on Charlie Rose, The Newshour, CNN, and numerous other TV & radio programs and documentaries. Ray has lectured to a wide variety of audiences here and abroad.   Ray studied theology and philosophy (as well as his major, Russian) at Fordham University, from which he holds two degrees.  He also holds a Certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University.

A Catholic, Mr. McGovern has been worshipping for over a decade with the ecumenical Church of the Saviour and teaching at its Servant Leadership School.  He was co-director of the school from 1998 to 2004.  Ray came from his native New York to Washington in the early Sixties as an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then served as a CIA analyst from the administration of  John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. Ray’s duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief, which he briefed one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985.

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Law and Disorder December 31, 2012


Updates:

  • Khaled El-Masri and the European Court of Human Rights Decision
  • European Court of Human Rights Labels CIA Interrogation Procedures as “Torture”

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Tariq Ali: Turning Points in the History of Imperialism

Today we’re joined by internationally renowned writer and activist Tariq Ali. Tariq is visiting from London where he is editor of the New Left Review.

A writer and filmmaker, Tariq has written more than 2 dozen books on world history and politics, including The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power, The Obama Syndrome and On History. We talk specifically about several turning points in global history, the Occupy movement and US elections. .

Tariq Ali:

  • The think the first World War was crucial but it wasn’t the war itself it was the consequences of that war. Here you had huge empires.
  • The Russian revolution challenged capitalism frontally and its leaders said we want Europe to be with us, on our own we can’t do it. We need the Germans, we need a German revolution. That frightened the capitalist class globally.
  • Woodrow Wilson, decided that the time had come to intervene. 22 countries came to intervene.
  • This intervention made it impossible for the early infant Soviet Union to achieve what it wanted to achieve.
  • The Second World War was an effort by the German ruling class to get its share of the world market in countries.
  • The US helped rebuild Japan and Germany. They helped build France and Britain by the Marshal Plan and that has never been done by a big imperial power before.
  • They managed to get the Soviet Union to implode by having an arms race. The Russians fell into their trap and decided to go for the arms race, had they not history might have been different.
  • I hope the Chinese do not fall into the same trap, threatened by Obama’s puny little bases in Australia.
  • People, early settlers in the United States got land totally free and they took it and that created the belief in the American psyche of private property.
  • The Soviet Union imploded because the people lost faith in the system.
  • The entire elite in the United States and Western Europe is wedded to the Washington consensus that emerged after the collapse of communism. The center piece of this consensus was a system which believed in market forces. I refer to it as market fundamentalism.
  • We are confronting the extremism of the center and the result of this is no alternatives exist within mainstream politics. The effect that this is having is hollowing out democracy itself.
  • Occupy: What we need is for these movements to call an assembly nationally and discuss a charter of demands for progressive America which need only be ten demands but something around which people can rally. I think its a movement that should be created bearing what the needs of ordinary people are.
  • In order to understand the laws of motion of capital, you have to read Marx. It’s true capitalism has become much much more complex. Zombie capitalism, or fictitious capitalism, where money is used to make more money.
  • It’s not money that’s creating productive goods.
  • I had written a book on South American because I got very engaged in the Venezuela-Boliverian struggle and got to know Chavez very well.
  • If Americans had access to Cuban medicine, the pharmaceutical companies would collapse, they would never let it happen.

Guest – Tariq Ali, writer, journalist and film-maker, born in Lahore and educated at Oxford University. He writes regularly for a range of publications including The Guardian and The London Review of Books.  He has written more than a dozen books including non-fiction as well as scripts for both stage and screen.

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National Lawyers Guild 75 Years

Hundreds of National Lawyers Guild members and allies gathered to celebrate the organization’s 75th anniversary at the Law for the People convention in Pasadena, California.  We hear excerpts from speeches from the National Lawyers Guild Convention by Attorney Jim Lafferty  The 2012 Law for the People Award was given to Jim Lafferty.

Scholar and activist Angela Davis delivered the keynote address and among the convention honorees will be Margaret Burnham, a professor of civil rights law who, as a young lawyer, helped secure Davis’s 1972 acquittal on high-profile charges.

Founded in 1937, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar association in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has members in every state.

Jim Lafferty, Executive director of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles and host of The Lawyers Guild Show on Pacifica’s KPFK 90. 7 FM.

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Law and Disorder December 24, 2012


Updates:

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Political Prisoner Lynne Stewart - December 2012 Update

Criminal defense attorney, political prisoner and good friend, Lynne Stewart continues to inspire  people around her while serving a 10 year sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth Texas.  As many listeners know, Lynne was convicted on charges related to materially aiding terrorism, related to her representation of Omar Abdel Rahman.  Her original 2 year sentence was increased to 10  years after the government pressured the trial judge to reconsider his sentencing decision.

Co-host Michael Smith reads a few paragraphs from a recent letter by Lynne.  Lynne Stewart turned 73 this past October, she’s a breast cancer survivor and has recently come out of surgery.  She says she’s feeling better and ready to take on the next step in her case.

“I am now beginning my fourth (4th) year of imprisonment.  It does not get better and I have to gut check myself regularly to be certain that I am resisting the pervasive institutionalization that takes place.  A certain degree of reclusiveness  with the help of good books, interesting people to correspond with, writing on topics of public interest, seems to work for me.  Of course I still am working with any woman who needs help but I know that my sometimes truth-telling self is not what folks here want to hear.  I do try to give folks whatever comfort I can.  An old timer here, 18 years in, has begun an initiative to mobilize for prison reform by getting people on the outside to sign off on her well written petition to the White House.  She is straight out of the courage and style of the old southern civil rights struggle but has now dedicated herself to this.  The demands are modest. I have placed her petition on this, my website.  Please sign on.”

Guest – Ralph Poynter, activist and Lynne’s partner. Please write to Lynne Stewart: #53504-054 / Federal Medical Center, Carswell / PO Box 27137 / Ft. Worth, TX 76127

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Michael Ratner Speech On Bradley Manning in Washington DC.

We hear a speech by our own Michael Ratner delivered at the Bradley Manning support event.  Michael Ratner, President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who represents WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.  Attorney David Coombs also speaks about the case of his client, Bradley Manning. He is preceded by Emma Cape of the Bradley Manning Support Network.  The event was held at All Souls Church Unitarian in Washington DC, December 2012.

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Law and Disorder December 17, 2012


Updates:

  • Heidi Boghosian: EyeSee Mannequins and Surveillance State: “In-Person Community” Destroyed
  • Michael Ratner: Bradley Manning Case Update
  • New York Times Fails To Cover Manning Testimony
  • Michael Ratner: Julian Assange Ecuador Embassy Update

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Marijuana Laws: State Votes v. Federal Government

Washington State and Colorado are the first political jurisdictions to legally approved marijuana to be regulated like alcohol. However, federal laws explicitly criminalize marijuana transactions and the federal government can continue to enforce those laws by blocking the progress of state initiatives.  For example, it’s likely that the federal authorities will step in when large transactions and large scale production begin in Washington or Colorado. Meanwhile, the Colorado provision allows personal possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and the growing up to six plants at home.

Ethan Nadelmann:

  • Colorado and Washington are the first 2 political jurisdictions in the world to do this.
  • The United States of America is emerging as the global leader of marijuana law reform.
  • As of now it’s legal under state law to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and in Colorado legal to have up to six plants in the privacy of your own home.
  • Parts of the initiative that authorize the state to set up a legal regulatory system like with alcohol that doesn’t kick in in Colorado until July, and in Washington state until next December.
  • Not in public, let’s be clear.
  • My colleagues at Drug Policy Alliance led a broad coalition effort and pushed back the mayor and police chief, rallied the DA’s to say this policy (stop and frisk) made no sense.
  • The opportunity here for the federal government to say, let’s get Washington and Colorado a chance to figure this out; a way to effectively regulate this stuff.
  • From the public health perspective if you have something that’s being consumed by millions of Americans you want authorities regulating quality and potency.
  • The Federal Controlled Substance Act of 1970 is in conflict with this.
  • There are now 18 states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Colorado already has a model of regulation on marijuana in respect to medicinal use.
  • The fact is you hundreds if not thousands of dispensaries in many states, some are very open ended such as California.
  • If the Feds prevent the state governments in Washington and Colorado from responsibly regulating this stuff, you’re essentially going to have a defacto alliance between the federal government on one side and an irresponsible elements of the marijuana community on the other.
  • The worst possible thing in Mexico is the legalize drugs in the US. They would lose out just like Al Capone after the alcohol prohibition.
  • Latin American leaders: They know that what Washington and Colorado did is the beginning of the ending of the global drug prohibition system which has wreaked havoc in that region for decades.
  • People are realizing that among the other ingredients in marijuana, CBD which is the anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory property of marijuana.
  • It’s all about reducing the harms of drugs and the harms of failed prohibitionist policy.

Guest – Ethan Nadelmann,  founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs.

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Egypt and Syria Update: Glen Ford

Protests and violence continue in Egypt as Islamist President Mohamed Morsi pushes toward ratifying a draft constitution. Egyptians who oppose the controversial new constitution argue it weakens human rights doesn’t guarantee women’s rights and that it was written by an Islamist dominated assembly. The opposition National Salvation Front says it will not recognize the draft constitution. We talk about that and the disturbing events unfolding within the ongoing conflict in Syria with Glen Ford, founder of the Black Agenda Report. We welcome him back to Law and Disorder. Glen Ford is also a founding member of the Washington chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Glen Ford:

  • In the Muslim world, the Left has been decimated not once, not twice, but over and over again in the last 50 years. That’s occurred in Egypt, in Syria, in Iraq.
  • It would be expected that in Egypt, the part of secular Egypt that is Left, secularized would represent 15-20 percent of the people.
  • The language of politics in that world is spoken in an Islamic dialect.It’s difficult for Left folks here to understand it.
  • Leftists here get confused by the corporate media which inflates business secularists in contests all over the world.
  • How many people realize that the opposition party, party number two, in Russia is the Communist Party?
  • Everybody is at work in Syria, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, and freelance millionaires from all over the region are sponsoring their own brigades and fighting forces.
  • Before the CIA and the Pakistanis got together to create a force to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan no such thing existed as a national Jihadi network.
  • Syrian situation really heated up after the fall of the “Libyan regime”. 600 to 900 of the Libyan Jihadis were then sent directly to Syria.
  • It’s really not in U.S. hands.

Guest – Glen Ford, founder of the Black Agenda Report and many other media forums. Ford was a founding member of the Washington chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ); executive board member of the National Alliance of Third World Journalists (NATWJ); media specialist for the National Minority Purchasing Council; and has spoken at scores of colleges and universities.

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Law and Disorder July 2, 2012


Updates:

  • Supreme Court Decision on Immigration Discussion

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Supreme Court Decision on Immigration

Last week the Supreme Court delivered a split decision on Arizona’s 2010 immigration law, upholding the most controversial section of that law, “show me your papers” provision.  The provision requires police officers to check the immigration status of all people stopped, detained, or arrested presumed there is “reasonable suspicion” to believe that the person is an undocumented immigrant. Reasonable suspicion can include objective factors but it also includes subjective factors, the person is nervous, doesn’t look the officer in the eyes. Despite people claiming the Supreme Court decision was a victory for immigration advocates, it wasn’t at all.

Attorney Cathy Albisa:

  • My reaction is that we’re not having the right conversation.
  • There was an involved technical decision regarding the federal government and the state government.
  • The one thing that was lost except for a couple of lines, was the people at the heart of this problem.
  • The people who’ve been displaced from their home countries through the global economy, and stripped of legal person hood, and now living in a constant state of fear.  It’s a reflection of what a degraded state of politics we’re in.
  • That if you pass a law that shocks the conscience, the fact that you got rid of some of it or most of it becomes a victory.
  • The claims of victory are in themselves very troubling signs.
  • Our expectations have become so low, that we consider it a step forward.
  • At the heart of the law is an intent, to treat this group of people differently from other groups of people in the state of Arizona.
  • What does that kind of racism do, what does that kind of living under constant threat do to a community, to a person and to a set of human rights, that we all should be defending?
  • Immigration has always been a divide and conquer from the xenophobic side of the isle.
  • If we assessed it that we live in a global economy, that rights cross borders. If people and capital can cross borders, protection can cross borders.
  • Why are they here?  If you look at the reason they cross borders, it’s economic.
  • They’re displaced for economic reasons. We don’t look at the grinding poverty that displaces people as a rights question.
  • The ones that want to hold are organizing and demanding their rights.
  • www.nesri.org
  • There are sheriffs across the country that object to these policies and refuse to implement these policies who say this does not keep our community safe.
  • They (ICE) can literally create a life of ongoing terror for people, because they know they can be deported at any time.

Guest - Attorney Cathy Albisa, constitutional and human rights lawyer with a background on the right to health. Ms. Albisa also has significant experience working in partnership with community organizers in the use of human rights standards to strengthen advocacy in the United States. She co-founded NESRI along with Sharda Sekaran and Liz Sullivan in order to build legitimacy for human rights in general, and economic and social rights in particular, in the United States. She is committed to a community-centered and participatory human rights approach that is locally anchored, but universal and global in its vision. Ms. Albisa clerked for the Honorable Mitchell Cohen in the District of New Jersey. She received a BA from the University of Miami and is a graduate of Columbia Law School
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RFID: Microchips and US Soldiers / Search Engine Privacy

Today we get an update on the extent to which RFID technology is intruding in our daily lives. As many listeners may know, RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. In past shows we’ve discussed how big companies are embedding, or plan to embed, the so-called “Spychip” into clothes, credit cards, shoes and even into human flesh, all in the name of convenience, safety and commerce.  The breach of civil liberties from spychip implantation is wide-reaching. Now, however, plans to develop implantable microchips for use in U.S. soldiers has taken a step forward. The U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has confirmed plans to create nano-sensors to monitor the health of soldiers on battlefields.

Dr. Katherine Albrecht:

  • What I discovered in 2003, some of the largest corporations, 500 of them had gotten together to come up with a plan to replace the barcode with tiny microchips hooked with tiny antennas.
  • Now this initially was the brainchild of Proctor and Gamble to take the universal product code or the bar code and turn it into the EBC, the Electronic Bar Code. Their concept is that we would create, or the manufacturers and retailers of the world would create an internet of things.
  • I was once going off to give a speech on RFID and I stopped and made an inventory of all the things I was wearing and carrying in their vision of the future, that would have an RFID tag. It was my shoes, the underwear, my stockings, my skirt, my purse, my briefcase, my notebook.
  • Proctor and Gamble came up with an idea we detailed in our book to equip your refrigerator to the coming smart grid with RFID readers. They describe that – we would know when the consumer drank the last Pepsi and as if by magic ads on their TV would appear for Coke. The idea is that they would monitor what you’re eating.
  • Monitor what you would run out of. There definitely are patents and plans, some of them creepier than others.
  • I actually worked closely with the Associated Press to release the information that the microchip the implantable Verichip, you can take this microchip antenna and encapsulate in glass, and inject it into people.
  • It’s the identical technology they put in to dogs and cats nowadays.
  • There is a company that keeps changing its name – Verichip / Applied Digital Solutions / Digital Angel /
  • They are trying to market this product for use in human beings. We did a 6 month investigation that revealed that these implantable microchips were causing cancer.
  • We’ve got communities all around the country that have been mandated the use of microchips in dogs. There have been a number of dogs that have died from the microchip causing a cancerous tumor.
  • ChipMeNot.com
  • Privacy is not an ends. It’s a means. Privacy is a way of you maintaining control over your own information.
  • Don’t put anything on facebook that you wouldn’t want put up on a billboard in Times Square.
  • Where I get concerned is places where your privacy is invaded, that you don’t know what’s happening and you don’t have control over it.
  • That’s not facebook, that’s getting in to Google.
  • When you log on to Google, you think you’re logging on to a search engine that’s a helpful tool that’s going answer a question that you have.
  • Google doesn’t view the google.com search box as a helpful tool for you.
  • They’re not your Mom, they’re not your Dad, Google is a company that is in business to make money.
  • The reality is if they came at us with guns and tanks, and laws and regulations forcing us to do that, we’d all say heck no,
  • When Google gives us a little window that we type in what’s in our minds, we voluntarily do it and we thank them for it.
  • Google is a multi-billion dollar corporation. When is the last time a multi-billion dollar corporation gave you all of its products for free? The answer is never, because those aren’t products they’re bait. You are the product.
  • Every Gmail that you receive is read and copied and keywords are placed into the profile from both the sender and the recipient of every email.  You’re not doing anything wrong but you certainly don’t that information out there in a giant database.
  • If you’re using a Gmail account, if your client is using a Gmail account, and you don’t. If you are transmitting sensitive information I believe you’re not only in violation of attorney-client privileges but potentially even violation of the law.
  • In exchange for that (free email service) you are allowing them to copy everything that you send.
  • We recently ran across a (DARPA) proposal, a request for contractors to develop a system to inject micro-nano- chips into the bloodstream of soldiers that would allow them to remotely monitor the physiological processes of the soldier. Websites.

Guest –  Dr. Katherine Albrecht, who along with Liz McIntyre authored “Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track your Every Move with RFID. We talk about DARPA and microchips and we’ll also get a preview about Katherine Albrecht’s research into exposing how Google email is a threat to privacy between attorney / client correspondence. www.startpage.com

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Law and Disorder September 29, 2008


Updates:

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Lawyer’s You’ll Like: Rhonda Copelon

Attorney Rhonda Copelon is a professor at the Law School of the City University of New York and director of the school’s International Human Rights Law Clinic. Rhonda is also the Legal Advisor to the Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice.

From Article on New International Criminal Court: “The breadth and specificity of gender crimes in the court’s enabling statutes are directly attributable to a global caucus of women that formed in 1997 in the face of apathy and active resistance to prosecuting gender-based crimes. “Women made a huge difference,” said Rhonda Copeland, a professor at the Law School of the City University of New York and director of the school’s International Human Rights Law Clinic.

“They made it impossible to ignore that women have been left out of justice and that we have to be in it,” Copelon said. “If there were nobody there saying ‘this is violence,’ I don’t know how it would have happened.”Rhonda shares with listeners, her history of fighting for the constitutionality of the abortion cases in New York City and its effect on poor women in a pre-Roe v Wade climate. She also discuss the Harlem 6 case. This is the first part of the interview with Rhonda Copelon.

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Bill Would Let Insurers Track Where, When, How You Drive

A bill proposed by the California legislature would allow insurance companies to install black boxes on vehicles that track milage but also measure more sensitive information such as how aggressive you drive. The bill is structured so that insurance companies can encourage people to drive less with lower insurance. Consumer watchdogs say drivers shouldn’t have to choose between fair insurance rates and protecting their privacy when there are less intrusive ways to collect data.

Under the proposed bill titled AB 2800, the “black box” would allow insurance companies to track how fast drivers accelerate, where motorists go and which neighborhoods they drive through. The device would also monitor whether they come to a full stop at a stop sign; and when they apply their brakes. Privacy protection groups are also watching as similar proposals are being introduced in other states.

Guest – Carmen Balber, Consumer Advocate with Consumerwatchdog.org

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Bush Proposes To Bypass Endangered Species Act Experts

Currently under the Endangered Species Act, federal agencies are required to consult with federal wildlife experts to make sure activities such as mining, logging and road construction do not threaten endangered species. Now, the Bush administration has proposed a new plan that will give federal agencies the decision of whether they want expert consultation to determine if activities will affect endangered species.

Thousands of these consultations happen each year and federal wildlife experts have finely tuned their knowledge of protecting endangered species in the last twenty years. Critics say the proposal is a disturbing reversal.

Guest – Joel Kupferman, executive director and head attorney of the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project

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