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Law and Disorder April 21, 2014


Updates:

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U.S. Agency Infiltrates Cuba With Fake Twitter Account

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

Jane Franklin:

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

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

50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

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

Professor of Law John Brittain:

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

Guest – Professor John Brittain, tenured professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law. In the past he served as dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston, was a veteran law professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law for twenty-two years and was the Chief Counsel and Senior Deputy Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, DC, a public interest legal organization started by President John F. Kennedy to enlist private lawyers to take pro bono cases in civil rights.
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Law and Disorder March 31, 2014


Updates:

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

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

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

Professor James Petras:

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

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

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Boycott Divestment Sanction Awareness Gains Traction On University Campuses

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

Attorney Dima Khalidi:

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

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

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Law and Disorder February 3, 2014


Updates:

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Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA

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

Professor Rick Wolff:

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

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

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Dr. Harriet Fraad:

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

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

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Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA

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Law and Disorder January 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 December 30, 2013


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Lawyers You’ll Like: Professor Holly Maguigan

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

Professor Holly Maguigan:

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

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

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Law and Disorder December 23, 2013


Updates:

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

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mimosa raid2 images1

Over Policing of America: The Criminalization of Everyday Life

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

Attorney Chase Madar:

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

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

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Law and Disorder December 16, 2013


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NYPD Chief Bill Bratton – Broken Windows – Stop and Frisk

New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced Mr. Bratton’s appointment as the new commissioner of the New York Police Department this month. He lauded Mr. Bratton’s work in Los Angeles, saying he could police fairly while still bringing down crime. After a 7 years leading the Los Angeles Police Department there’s been an increase in police presence among the homeless in and around Skid Row, plus excessive stops of pedestrians especially in poorer communities.

Attorney Carol Sobel:

  • Broken Windows is a program that Bratton began in New York with a sociologist that he worked with.
  • It’s basically the theory that if you stop the petty issues, you prevent greater crime.
  • I use that example because in Los Angeles that’s exactly what they started doing – arresting people on Skid Row for littering, and littering could be the ashes that fell off their cigarette.
  • It didn’t reduce crime, it created a statistical reduction.
  • Bratton used to do a radio show Ask The Chief on one of the radio stations (In Los Angeles)
  • I sued him early and often on Skid Row in particular.
  • They would stop every black man on the street, or someone they thought was homeless, cuff them, twist them. If they didn’t have a good ID they’d take em to the station.
  • I do think that Bratton was good for the department at that time, and that he changed, from the time that he came til he left.
  • We had one of the biggest police assaults on a peaceful crowd on May 1, 2006.
  • The one thing I think is fair to say about Bratton is that he will take direction which is one thing he didn’t do before.

Guest – Attorney Carol Sobel, is a solo practitioner in Santa Monica, California. Prior to going into private practice, she spent 20 years working in various positions for the ACLU, including as Senior Staff Attorney for the last seven years she was at the ACLU. She has been involved in numerous significant cases in federal and state courts. Carol serves as local counsel for the Center for Constitutional Rights in Humanitarian Law Project v. Ashcroft and served on the Rampart Blue Ribbon Panel. Since 2002, she was named as one of Los Angeles’ Super Lawyers for Civil Rights. Attorney Carol Sobel is a graduate of the Peoples College of Law.

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Wikileaks Reveals Quiet Plans and Secret Meetings Behind Trans-Pacific Partnership

Have you heard about the Trans Pacific Partnership? We mentioned it in an update a couple weeks ago.  It’s described as an agreement to enhance trade and investments, promote innovation and economic growth among 12 trans-Pacific countries. Those countries include the US, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.  As negotiations and talks continue among the countries, much of it is done in secret including an international trade treaty that could have far reaching effects on internet services, copyright law and civil-liberties.

George Kohl:

  • It masquerades as a trade deal but its really an economic integration agreement which represents 40 percent of the world’s economy and its a series of countries that circle the Pacific Ocean.
  • Its secret negotiations. Unlike most negotiations where you would know what the objectives are of this trade deal. What are the objectives our country is seeking? None of that’s available.
  • Congress can’t see what the text is and yet there are 600 corporate lobbyists who get to weigh in and make suggestions.
  • It’s a major economic agreement that governs investment. It governs the rights of companies to sue corporations. It governs environmental regulations in our country.
  • It governs health and safety regulations here. It will impact food labeling for example.
  • We (CWA) were pushing a bill that said if you talk to a call center, you should know where that person works. You should be able to talk to somebody in the United States and that your information should be protected.
  • A bill like that could be viewed as interfering with trade and the TPP and the trades that get negotiated would supplant the ability to implement language like that.
  • They (TPP) sets up situations that already exist in which companies can sue a country for having environmental protections. Right now there are 14 billion dollars worth of suits where companies are saying my right to gain profit was obstructed by these environmental or other kind of regulations.
  • Why is it and who set it up where we open up a trade agreement to Vietnam which pays 20 cents an hour as a minimum wage, which only drive down our wages.
  • The objectives that we have in a trade agreement is how do we promote collective bargaining? How do we create growth that benefits working people and that’s not in this picture.
  • We’ve got a government that is supposed to be acting of and by the people and instead our government is acting of and by international corporate interests.
  • All of this is about creating a structure that lets companies maximize profit but really doesn’t deal with people in their daily lives.
  • Where we are at right at this moment is telling Congress that NAFTA didn’t work. There was a promise of 200 thousand jobs, we lost 700 thousand jobs.
  • Recently we had a Korea trade deal and promised 70 thousand jobs but we lost 40 thousand jobs.
  • People need to reach out to their Congress person now and say be against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • You have to ask why is our government acting on behalf of this company (corporations) why isn’t it acting on our behalf?

Guest – George Kohl, Senior Director at the Communications Workers of America.

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Reform Measures For MetaData Collection, the NSA and EPIC

We take a wide look on recent stories about data mining and privacy, data aggregate corporations, the legal fights to protect personal information and the NSA.  Recently a Congressional inquiry revealed how local law enforcement made nearly 10 thousand requests last year for what are called “tower dumps.”

Attorney Alan Butler:

  • I think that the core issues that were identified in the letter from the six companies are important issues. Especially the issue of ending bulk surveillance, of increasing transparency of the intelligence process and of improving oversight.
  • There are reforms in a number of different areas. We’ve been pushing for transparency of NSA intelligence gathering in the context of criminal investigations for example.
  • We’ve been pushing on the intelligence and judiciary committees of Congress and the government to provide public accountability for these programs so people can understand how they function.
  • The bulk collection of meta data. . . that program needs to end.
  • There’s a bill in Congress right now proposed by Senator Leahy and Rep Sensenbrenner that would end the bulk collection of telephone records if passed today.
  • There’s a competing bill introduced by Senator Feinstein and other intelligence committee heads that would enshrine the current bulk collection of telephone records in law.
  • Its great to have these companies on board for these reforms but at the same time we’ve been pushing for a number of years for these companies to do more themselves to protect their users.
  • Housing this data alone, creates the opportunity for government surveillance in the first place.
  • The answer has to be transparency and public oversight of the programs.
  • The transparency reports that Google and Apple have published have been impressive documents. They’re putting forward the type of data that they collect on users and the type of data that’s turned over to law enforcement.
  • Location data is uniquely sensitive in terms of telephone records because it reveals where a person is, where they go, their associations, their behaviors and can also reveal whether they’re in a private place like a home.
  • EPIC is a public advocacy organization and we really seek to inform the public about current and important privacy issues.
  • One area of our work is the open government field. We file FOIA requests seeking records on government programs, typically federal agencies. We’re looking at what DHS is doing, what the FBI is doing.
  • I worked on a case where we were able to get thousands of records from the FBI on cell phone surveillance technology they use called the Stingray.
  • It’s a technology that can be used to intercept cell phones or content.
  • I believe that we can build a system where we have oversight mechanisms in place that we can all trust.
  • Our organization was founded on strong encryption technology in 1990s where the NSA at the time was trying to establish the “Clipper Chip.”

Guest – Attorney Alan Butler, is the EPIC Appellate Advocacy Counsel. He manages the Appellate Docket at EPIC, including the Amicus Program, and authors briefs in significant privacy, civil liberties, and national security law cases. Recent cases include In re EPIC, United States v. Jones, Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, and Maryland v. King. Mr. Butler focuses on a range of privacy law subjects including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), location privacy, and other digital Fourth Amendment issues.

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Law and Disorder December 9, 2013


Updates:

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Judge Ruling Allows Detroit Bankruptcy To Move Forward

This summer we spoke with retired auto worker and activist Dianne Feeley about the plans to wipe out the pensions and health benefits of all current and retired city workers by emergency manager of Detroit, Kevyn Orr. We also looked at the history of workers in Detroit from the perspective of black workers and the broader pattern of oppression. Last week, a ruling by Judge Stevens W. Rhodes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court allows the city of Detroit to move forward in the bankruptcy process. The cradle of the American auto industry will now be allowed to pay off debts and restore essential services.

Professor Laura Bartell:

  • It is the first time that a bankruptcy judge that pension obligations constitute contractual obligations that are subject to diminution in bankruptcy.
  • Although its rattled pensioners nationwide, its really not that extraordinary.
  • The healthcare was never protected by the Michigan Constitution. Everyone has always known that healthcare was subject to modification by the city.
  • The cuts in health care are going into effect I believe in February for city employees.
  • When we’re talking about the pensions we’re talking about the retirees both the firefighters and policemen unions retirees.
  • The city maintains that the plans are underfunded by 3.5 billion dollars.
  • The union believes that number is vastly inflated based on projected returns that are too low. Whatever the number is its somewhere between 800 million and 3.5 billion.
  • The policemen and firefighters don’t have the benefit of social security.
  • You’re not talking about a lot of money going to any individual so if you cut the pension to any particular individual its obviously going to be a major cut for that individual.
  • The major problem that Detroit has suffered was a vast decline in population.
  • It used to be a much larger city. It’s footprint is still a very large city but the number of people living in that footprint is much smaller than it used to be.
  • Among that small population there’s an even smaller number of people actually working and paying taxes.
  • So the money coming in to meet the obligations of Detroit has been constantly shrinking.
  • Detroit’s obligation to retirees in terms of pensions and healthcare is up at 38 percent and rising constantly. – and in addition we had severe mismanagement of city government including criminality. I’m sure everyone knows our former mayor is now in prison.
  • My guess is the pensioners will be hit far less severely than the bond holders. Bond holders are making an investment and taking a risk.
  • That’s what bankruptcy is about is all people who have done something to become creditors to the city and they’re not going to get what they deserve.
  • That’s the problem, everybody is deserving, everybody should get paid.
  • The problem is not that the governor has suddenly taken away the democratic rights of Detroit. We’ve had an emergency manager law for many years in the state of Michigan.
  • Detroit is the latest and the biggest to have that happen.
  • The next stage is a presentation of a plan of adjustment which he will present to creditors at the end of this month and file with the court at the beginning of January.

Guest – Professor Laura Bartell, after graduating from Harvard Law School, where she was an officer on the Harvard Law Review, she clerked for Judge Alvin B. Rubin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans. She then entered practice in New York where she became a partner in Shearman & Sterling, specializing in bank financing and bankruptcy work. She is a member of the American Law Institute and American Bankruptcy Institute and has published articles on bankruptcy topics, federal court-awarded attorneys’ fees and costs, and the attorney/client privilege and work-product doctrine. She teaches Property, Secured Transactions, Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights and Effective Oral Communication for Lawyers.

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Terrorist Watch Lists and No Fly Lists Cases

How do governments compile lists called no-fly lists of individuals often placed on terrorist watch lists? As we’ve seen, the predictions about individual behavior of Muslims, Communists or Japanese-Americans have often been wildly inaccurate and cause a great deal of harm to these communities. Today to discuss the no-fly list and a recent case proceeding through the courts is returning guest Shane Kadidal senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City.

Attorney Shane Kadidal:

  • There are broad watch lists and there are lists that people are more familiar with in concept and that’s what being litigated out in California, somebody placed on the no-fly list.
  • There are two kinds of no-fly lists, there’s the selectee list where some where on the order of tens of thousands of people are designated for additional security checks when they go through the TSA.
  • Then there’s the smaller list which contains several thousand names that sometimes you hear referred to as the no transport list. That’s people who can’t board a flight under any circumstances.
  • The US shares its list at times with other countries. We don’t know how much sharing exists.
  • The case in California is super interesting because the person who got stopped doesn’t seem like the kind of person that would get stopped except for the fact that she wears a hijab.
  • The Terrorism Screening Center is responsible for putting people on the list.
  • The interesting thing about this case is that daughter that was put on the list was 14, eight or nine years ago and is now a lawyer in Malaysia and was supposed to testify and was told by Malaysian airlines you are on the no-fly list.
  • She’s seeking damages because she couldn’t fly back. This is really the first case to get to trial basically.
  • The ACLU has a challenge to which kind of a pure due process challenge case in a case called Lateef v Holder.
  • You got put on a list and there’s no real process for challenging those facts.
  • If its an accidental match, somebody has the same name as you, or close to you. You can go through this challenge procedure called TRIPP.
  • If you win your challenge, they’ll give you a number that you can enter in when you buy your plane ticket.
  • CCR along with the Clear Clinic at CUNY Law School filed a case at the beginning of October. The gist of it is that people will end up on the no-fly list and if you complaint about it the FBI will say, if you talk to us you can be taken off the list if you agree to work as an informant on the Muslim community.
  • What’s interesting about the couple thousand names (no-fly list) which is much smaller than the number which are on these lists intended to intercept terrorism finance like the list the treasury department maintains like a 500 plus page phone book.
  • You can imagine that there might be some logical rationale behind having a short list of people who get a little scrutiny and hope it has more due process than the selectee list has now.
  • But the fact that there are some people who are not allowed to fly under any circumstances with any level of search scrutiny that doesn’t seem to make any sense and seems to fit very neatly into our complaint.
  • I question if this list can make rational sense.
  • Typically if you’re on the no-fly list you get turned away. Typically you don’t get arrested.
  • OFAC list, is sort of a list of parties you’re not allowed to do business with. It combines not only sanctions directed at whole countries but also the variety of sanctions directed at terrorism finance.
  • This is just like other cases where secrecy is at the core of the defense of the program.

Guest - Shane Kadidal, senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. He is a graduate of the Yale Law School and a former law clerk to Judge Kermit Lipez of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. In his eight years at the Center, he has worked on a number of significant cases in the wake of 9/11, including the Center’s challenges to the detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay (among them torture victim Mohammed al Qahtani and former CIA ghost detainee Majid Khan), which have twice reached the Supreme Court, and several cases arising out of the post-9/11 domestic immigration sweeps. He is also counsel in CCR’s legal challenges to the “material support” statute (decided by the Supreme Court last term), to the low rates of black firefighter hiring in New York City, and to the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program.

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Law and Disorder December 2, 2013


Updates:

  • Jeremy Hammond Sentenced to 10 Years With 3 Additional Years of Supervised Probation
  • Jeremy Hammond and Barrett Brown Were Outspoken In Exposing Corporate Collusion With The Government In Conducting Intelligence
  • Sarah Kunstler Argument On Behalf Of Jeremy Hammond

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The Cuban Five Case Update: Attorney Martin Garbus

We’re joined today by prominent First Amendment attorney Martin Garbus to get an update on the Cuban Five case. Martin joined the case of the Cuban Five last year and had concentrated his efforts to expose how U.S. government paid journalists in Miami received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the office of Cuba broadcasting to slant the story against the Cuban Five. There’s a lot going on with the case lately such as a habeas corpus appeal, and a NSA / FISA related motion.

Attorney Martin Garbus:

  • In 1996, 4 planes from Cuba shot down Brothers to the Rescue planes that’s a right wing group that operates in Miami and has over the years made intrusions to Cuban air space.
  • After years of negotiations with the Cuban government and the American government where the American government said they would everything they could to stop these flights.
  • Washington intended to do that but by the time it got down to Miami, the orders were ignored.
  • So these planes went up in Feb 1996 and were shot down over Cuban air space.
  • At the trial the jury concluded that the planes were shot down over international waters. They also concluded that the defendants in this case played some kind of role in the shoot down.
  • Both administrations at the time (Bush / Clinton) wanted to be very hard on left wing Cubans or Cuba itself by pressing this prosecution.
  • Although the shoot down was 1996, and the government had all the information it needed, it didn’t arrest these defendants until 2 and half years later.
  • There was a conviction, at first the appellate court set aside the conviction. Lenny Weinglass argued that brilliantly in that a motion for change of venue should’ve been granted.
  • Ultimately, that’s rejected, the Supreme Court denies cert, I get involved in the habaes corpus petition and that’s what we’re talking about now.
  • We’re about to file other papers about NSA surveillance which has been revealed recently arising out of Snowden’s revelations.
  • What I’m now telling you has not yet appeared anywhere else.
  • The defense lawyers in the case, as they prepared the case itself, from the time they were appointed in 1998, to the time of the conviction, and now, Lenny Weinglass leading the defense, – these lawyers traveled back and forth to Cuba.
  • We now understand and this applies to you, this applies to anyone who goes to Cuba.
  • Anytime you go to Cuba, you’re picked up by NSA surveillance.
  • The NSA listening post, the prime one was in Puerto Rico and it was made up largely of US Navy personnel, assigned to the Naval Security Group which is an NSA component.
  • When I got back to the United States (from Cuba) they would continue to monitor me. If I were a defense lawyer, my communications with my client would gathered and sent to the FBI and Department of Justice.
  • That’s the motion we’re about to file in the next 2 weeks.
  • The Solicitor General, on October about 6 weeks ago, admitted there had been surveillance of cases where there had been convictions.
  • Our case presents unique problems, Cuba at that time was designated a terrorist state.
  • I’ve got the details in the way information was intercepted.
  • A large part of the NSA budget last year I think was 52 billion dollars. 25 percent of it is for the CIA.
  • What the CIA was doing under the umbrella of the NSA was exactly what the Church Committee said they couldn’t do.
  • Journalists that worked for the Miami Herald or CBS, or local Spanish stations . . on the government payroll.
  • The stations or newspapers that hired these journalists, didn’t know that they were also getting monies from the government. In 2006, the Miami Herald found out about it.
  • One journalist got 286 thousand dollars.
  • If you look at the Radio Marti stories, and you look at the Miami Herald stories, you have the same sentences, same paragraphs and its clear its coming out of a central cookie cutter.
  • The Radio Marti budget was 15 million dollars a year.

Guest – Attorney Martin Garbus, one of the country’s leading trial lawyers. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court and the highest state and federal courts in the nation. Time Magazine has named him “legendary . . . one of the best trial lawyers in the country.” He’s also known as the most prominent First Amendment lawyer.

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horace1a globalnato

Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa in the Forging of African Unity

The course of events that led to NATO’s intervention in Libya is outlined in our guests Horace Campbell’s recently published book Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa in the Forging of African Unity. He traces the origin of the Libya conflict in the context of the Arab Spring uprisings and argues how NATO is used by the North American and European capitalist class to impose its political will on the rest of the world. It’s a new model, he explains, of bombing campaigns, militias, terrorist campaigns and private contractors. This NATO campaign caused many civilian deaths and destroyed Libya’s infrastructure. We talk about the broader attacks on the African continent and the investigations into the US embassy killings.

Professor Horace Campbell:

  • The revolutionary upheavals that took place in Tunisia and Egypt have had great implication for all societies in this region.
  • Libya which has been underdeveloped politically was a place where the western powers manipulated which was supposed to be an insipient uprising in Benghazi, militarized it and turned it into a base for the destabilization for all of North Africa.
  • Today as we speak they continue to manipulate what is going on in the Libyan society.
  • The book is called Global NATO because the governments of the North Atlantic region, namely the United States and its western European allies to internationalize the basis for military intervention by this NATO.
  • NATO was created by this cold war instrument with a mandate to defend western Europe.
  • NATO is in alliance with the most conservative countries in the Middle East called the Gulf Cooperation Council.
  • We’ve had an attempt by the Wall Street elements to use NATO as an instrument for the United States military management of the international system.
  • Why was NATO intervening? To control the resources of Libya, to destabilize North Africa, to stop the African Union project and to create confusion by supporting the same al-Qaeda elements that they’re supposed to be fighting in the “war on terror.”
  • These are the reasons why the Left and the peace movement should have opposed the NATO intervention.
  • Just like in Syria and Iran, there’s confusion among the Left and progressive forces about what’s going on.
  • We need a resolution with responsibility to protect inside of Libya. To protect from the forces of NATO and to protect the Libyan people from the militias that have been unleashed by al-Qaeda, supported by the CIA and NATO.
  • President Obama exercised intense pressure on the South African presidents and other presidents. I think he telephoned directly for them to vote for this resolution.
  • The matter of Libya is not over.
  • The same NATO that created the problem in Libya, the same United States, France and Britain is now seeking the support of Congress to go into Libya, into the same place that they created the problem.
  • The U.S. designs on the continent of Africa is quite confused at the moment. It’s confused because of the assertiveness of the African Union and the African people.
  • It turns out as we’ve seen in Libya, that it is the United States and the western forces that are supporting jihadists who are called terrorists. We’ve seen in a place like Somalia where the African people themselves through the African Union have been able to bring some stability to Somalia.
  • There’s no military body that monitors the work of private military contractors.
  • Now the peace movement should be calling for a reduction in the military budget.
  • In the case of Libya, General Petraeus was using Benghazi as a base to recruit conservative Islamic fundamentalists from Libya to go to Syria to fight.
  • Here’s a web of conspiracy of military, of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the CIA fomenting instability all across North Africa and the Middle East.
  • There was no consulate in Benghazi, this was a CIA facility that was being used to support al-Qaeda elements.
  • We have a situation in Libya where the country is in complete disarray. There’s no law, there’s no order. The people of Tripoli demonstrated two weeks ago against these militias and 40 people were killed.

Guest – Professor Horace Campbell  is Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University. His recent book is Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya. He is author of: Rasta and Resistance From Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney; Reclaiming Zimbabwe: The Exhaustion of the Patriarchal Model of Liberation; Pan Africanism, Pan Africanists and African Liberation in the 21st Century; and Barack Obama and 21st Century Politics.

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Law and Disorder November 11, 2013


Updates:

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Lawyers You’ll Like: Attorney Brigitt Keller

On our Lawyers You’ll Like series we’re joined today by Attorney Brigitt Keller. She’s the Executive Director of the National Police Accountability Project (NPAP).  Brigitt holds a law degree from Fribourg University Law School in her native Switzerland and an LLM in American Law from Boston University.  She is admitted to practice law in New York.  Prior to attending law school, Brigitt counseled victims of domestic violence and was instrumental in founding the Swiss National Council of Women’s Shelters.  In addition to her engagement for NPAP, Brigitt is a fellow at the International Center for Conciliation and occasionally teaches conflict resolution workshops.

Attorney Brigitt Keller:

  • NPAP’s mission is to hold law enforcement officers including prison personnel accountable for civil rights violations and police misconduct and brutality.
  • As an organization we provide training and support for civil rights attorneys, legal workers and community activists.
  • We also work with other organizations with similar efforts to change policy and practices and provide relevant information to the public.
  • We see increasing disproportionate measures taken by police.
  • The police (NYPD) no longer stop people when there is suspicious activity. They preventively sweep up hundreds of thousands of young men of color.
  • When tasers were initially brought on the market, they were really sold to the public with the argument that they would be used instead of firearms.
  • What we observe today and this counts for all over the country is that tasers are used in cases where there would never ever be a justification for the use of a firearm.
  • When you think about why should we have police, its really to protect the people of this country,
  • Young people of color have a very good sense of when policing is legitimate and when its not legitimate.
  • These strategies make the community very unsafe. People will not call the police if the police behaves like an occupying army.
  • I find the involvement of community activists and families of victims incredibly important.
  • There is a different awareness today about police misconduct.
  • I want to make clear that damage has been done already – that the fact that the judge was recused from the case with in my opinion, no valid reason. Secondly, the police are allowed to violate the rights of New Yorkers until the stay will be lifted.
  • My interest in the law started initially by working for 7 years in a shelter for domestic violence victims.
  • Police violence is something truly international. Even in a country like Switzerland where crime numbers are pretty low, there is police violence.
  • I find it important that there is no abuse of power and police violence is abuse of power.
  • www.nlg-npap.org

Guest – Attorney Brigett Keller – Executive Director of the National Police Accountability Project (NPAP).  Brigitt holds a law degree from Fribourg University Law School in her native Switzerland and an LLM in American Law from Boston University.  She is admitted to practice law in New York.  Prior to attending law school, Brigitt counseled victims of domestic violence and was instrumental in founding the Swiss National Council of Women’s Shelters.  In addition to her engagement for NPAP, Brigitt is a fellow at the International Center for Conciliation and occasionally teaches conflict resolution workshops.

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

We hear a presentation by Anna Calcutt (New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership – NYACT), NYC-based BDS activist, will supply background on the conception and planning of the Cornell-Technion campus in NYC, along with reasons to oppose The Technion–including its deep-rooted ties with the Israeli weapons industry and military, the growth of the anti-Technion campaign, and what needs to be done next.

Recorded by Deep Dish TV

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