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Law and Disorder March 20, 2017


Update:

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

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

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

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

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

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Why The Rise Of Fascism Is Again The Issue

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

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

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Law and Disorder March 13, 2017


Hosts Mourn The Passing Of Friend And Colleague Lynne Stewart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Law and Disorder February 13, 2017


  • Updates: Oppressive Regimes Mask Misdeeds Under The Color Of Law

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Protection From Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry

Public backlash to Donald Trump’s executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry” has been fast and furious. The order’s stated policy is to protect the country from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States. It directs the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence to determine what information is needed from any country to decide if one of its nationals seeking admission is who he claims to be and does not pose a security or public-safety threat. It gives them 30 days to report the results of that determination with a list of countries that do not hand over adequate information.

The Executive Order imposes a 90-day suspension of immigrant and non-immigrant admission of aliens from countries designated in section 217 (1) (12) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which excludes aliens who have been present in a specified country from participating in the Visa Waiver program.

Guest – Trina Realmuto, Litigation Director at the National Immigration Project. Trina’s work focuses on litigation before the federal courts on issues related to removal defense and government accountability. Previously, she wrote amicus briefs and practice advisories for the American Immigration Council. She also has worked abroad representing non-citizens applying for visas at U.S. embassies and consulates.

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By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52390444

Study : Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election

The 2016 presidential race was riddled with controversies, perhaps none more relentless than that of so-called “fake news.” A recent study reveals that fabricated news stories were viewed by only a small percentage of Americans and were likely not as influential in the election outcome as has been suggested.

This comes as Facebook and other social media sites have been criticized for permitting made-up stories to be shared on their platforms. Economists Hunt Allcott of New York University and Matthew Gentzkow of Stanford have released their findings in the report,”Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election.”

Guest – Hunt Allcott, Associate Professor of Economics at NYU and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is a Scientific Director of ideas42, a think tank that applies insights from psychology and economics to business and policy design problems, an Affiliate of Poverty Action Lab, a network of researchers who use randomized evaluations to answer critical policy questions in the fight against poverty, and a Faculty Affiliate of E2e, a group of economists, engineers, and behavioral scientists focused on evaluating and improving energy efficiency policy.

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Law and Disorder February 6, 2017


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National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense In Action

As confusion quickly spread last week over President Trump’s executive order to temporarily block refugees and deny entry to citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries, protesters converged on airports across the nation. Leaders from tech industries in Silicon Valley came out in opposition to the ban as did recipients at the Screen Actors Guild awards ceremony. Politicians and others called it a dark path for our country, unjust and Anti-American. Defense attorneys set up shop in airport waiting areas, as Customs and Border Protection officials detailed legal permanent residents and visa holders, while denying them access to counsel. Attorneys general from 16 states condemned the order. And National Lawyers Guild Legal Observers and defense attorneys were on full alert, rushing to monitor police activity at airports in cities across the United States.

Guest – King Downing, National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Attorney. Previously, King directed the Healing Justice Program of the American Friends Service Committee, where he worked on mass incarceration, including solitary confinement, prisoner advocacy and conflict resolution. He is also the former national coordinator of the ACLU’s Campaign Against Racial Profiling, which worked to identify and end “stop and frisk,” including the school-to-prison pipeline and other police abuse.

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Nobody Wanted to Take Us In: The Story of Jared Kushner’s Family, and Mine

Last week President Trump barred entrance to citizens from the predominantly Muslim countries of Iraq, Iran,Syria,Somalia, Yemen, and Libya,  inspiring outrage and acts of solidarity. The conservative Cato Institute showed in a recent study that there were exactly 0 terrorist acts committed by people from these countries from the years 1975 to 2015. Last year alone, some 700 people died falling out of bed. Open immigration to United States was cut off in 1920 by de facto religious quotas excluding people from eastern and southern Europe, that is, Jews and Catholics. At that time Half of the world’s Jews, some 3 million persons, lived in Poland and millions more in the surrounding areas.  Those who did not escape were soon to perish n facist death camps. Rae Kushner, Jared Kushner’s grandmother, lost half her family when most of the 30,000 Jews in her town in Belarus were killed.  She escaped, hiding for a year in the woods, then she was kept in a displaced persons camp, finally in 1948 being allowed into the USA.

Guest – Lizzy Ratner, senior editor at the Nation Magazine. Her family escaped from Bialystok, Poland and came to Cleveland in 1920 before the quotas could exclude them. She recently wrote an article for the Nation Magazine titled Nobody Wanted to Take Us In: The Story of Jared Kushner’s Family, and Mine examingin  the fate of her family and that of the Kushner’s.  Jared Kushner is Donald Trump’s son-in-law and an advisor.  Lizzy Ratner is Michael Ratner’s niece.

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Law and Disorder January 30, 2017


Attorney Jim Lafferty, Los Angeles Protests

Last week president trump the reception of the Dakota Area Pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline, which will bring dirty tar sand oil from Canada through the USA to the Gulf of Mexico for export. According to James Hansen, the former climate expert for NASA, if this happens it will be “game over for the planet. ” We just learned that Trump is about to sign a package of executive orders threatening Muslims, Arabs, refugees, and immigrants. The women’s march last week after Trump had been in office for two days brought out some for million people across the country voted one half million in Washington DC and 750,000 in Los Angeles. We speak with Los Angeles National Lawyers Guild leader Jim Lafferty, who helped organize the demonstration.

Guest – Jim Lafferty is the former Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild and a leader of the chapter.  His radio show on KPFK inspired Law and Disorder.   Attorney Jim Lafferty has been active since the civil rights movement in the south in the 60s and was a leader of the  movement against the war in Vietnam. In 2015, Jim Lafferty concluded 25-years as the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles, and is now that organization’s Executive Director Emeritus. For the past 26-years he has hosted a weekly public affairs radio show on Pacifica Radio, The Lawyers Guild Show. He is the Chair of the Board of the Office of the Americas; an elected fellow in the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Southern California; was the co-founder and director of the National Peace Action Coalition during the U.S. war in Vietnam, the group that organized the largest antiwar protests during that war; was the founder and Chair of the Oakland County Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union in Oakland County, Michigan; has been featured in several documentary films, including The Corporation; was the national director of the National Lawyers Guild from 1963-1967; is the author of the afterword in Lawyers You’ll Like; and is the recipient of numerous awards, such as the National Lawyers Guild’s “Law for the People Award”, the Southern California ACLU’s “Defender of Civil Liberties Award”, and the first award from the Los Angeles Coalition to Stop LAPD Spying. As a founding partner of Lafferty, Reosti, Jabara, Papakian, James, Stickgold, Soble and Smith, Mr. Lafferty practiced civil rights, civil liberties, criminal defense, workers’ rights, and military law in Detroit, Michigan.

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Israel And The Palestinian State 2017

The colonial settler state of Israel was formed in 1948 pursuant to a declaration of the United Nations. The declaration  also envisioned a Palestinian state which has so far been prevented by Israel with the support of the United States.  In 1967 the Israeli Army captured the West Bank territory meant to be part of the Palestinian state and has in the last 50 years illegally ruled over a half million settlers who have been placed on the territory. Is it still possible to have a two state solution in the Middle East?  Is it too late?  Have the number of settlers reached a critical mass so that the two state solution is dead? Can the settlers be evacuated? If not, how can there be a Palestinian state?

Guest – Phil Weiss, founder of Mondoweiss, the well read and influential blog. In the past Weiss worked as a mainstream journalist for the Minneapolis Star and the New York Observer, the newspaper owned by Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law who when told that Phil Weiss was not a Zionist, fired him.

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U.S. Drug Policy 2017

With the election of Donald Trump and his selection of  the deeply reactionary former prosecutor and Senator from Alabama Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions as the new Attorney General and chief law-enforcement officer in America the progress in drug policy reform we have had over the last several decades is likely to be reversed. 28 states have legalized some form of medical marijuana and  a number states including Washington, Colorado, and most recently California and Massachusetts have legalized it’s recreational use. But an aggressive attorney general could reverse this.  “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” said Sessions last year.  He also said that he thought that the KKK was “OK until I found out that they smoke pot.”  Federal law puts marijuana in the same schedule one category as heroin. At his Senate confirmation hearing Sessions would not promise to defer to the states the decision to prosecute people using medical marijuana sanctioned by state law.  He also supports mandatory minimum sentences which fuels mass incarceration and disproportionately targets people of color.

Guest – Ethan Nadelmann the founder and Executive Director of the drug policy alliance joins us today. It is a national advocacy organization for drug law reform that is grounded in science, compassion, and health and human rights.

Ethan was described by Rolling Stone as “the point man” for drug policy reform efforts and “the real drug czar,” Ethan Nadelmann is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform both in the United States and abroad.Ethan is the 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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Law and Disorder January 23, 2017


Update:

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Pardons, Reduction of Mass Incarceration And Judy Clark’s Clemency

The United States of America has more prisoners behind bars given it its population than any other country in the world. This policy of mass incarceration is now under challenge. On December 30 of last year New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a broad and bold commitment to grant conditional pardons, clemency, and full pardons to New York state prisoners. Judy Clark, age 67, was one of the recipients and is now being allowed to go before the parole board. Clark has been in prison for 35 years, sentenced to 75 years to life for her role as the getaway driver in the infamous Brinks robbery in RocklandCounty, New York, where two policeman and one guard were shot and killed.

Changing Minds The Impact of College In A Maximum Security Prison Film: What I Want My Words To Do To You.

Guest – University of New York Distinguished Professor Michelle Fine. For 20 years she taught and conducted research with women and men in prison, most significantly at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility where Judy Clark is behind bars. Professor Fine participated in writing the influential report “changing minds: The impact of college in a maximum security prison for women.  She worked closely with Judy Clark. Judy Clark Facebook.
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Reflections from A Southern People’s Lawyer You’ll Like: David Gespass

This year Martin Luther King Day had a special resonance for many given its lead-up to the Trump inauguration. That the president-elect engaged in social media attacks on civil rights icon John Lewis prompted a flurry of reactions of Twitter, especially emotional given that the timing coincided with MLK day. As we prepare for a changing of the guard, we talk to longtime civil liberties attorney David Gespass, from Birmingham Alabama. Read articles by David Gespass

Guest – Attorney David Gespass began his law practice in Washington, DC in 1971. A past president of the National Lawyers Guild, he also served as editor-in-chief of the Guild’s scholarly journal, the NLG Review, and was a founder and steering committee member of the Military Law Task Force. His practice includes police misconduct and prisoner rights’ litigation, Social Security disability and personal injury.  He has been a member of the National Police Accountability Project since its founding in 1999. David has been practicing law in Birmingham, Alabama since 1978.

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Law and Disorder December 12, 2016


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DAPL Pipeline Dispatch # 9

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

Water Protectors Legal Collective – NLG

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

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

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Professor WatchList

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

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

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Poet Raymond Nat Turner Black Listed

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

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

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Law and Disorder November 26, 2016


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The Trump Administration And The Current Police State Apparatus

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

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

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DAPL Protests Attacks: Oceti Sakowin Encampment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Law and Disorder November 14, 2016


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Uprooting Entrenched Systems of Power: Chris Hedges

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

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

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Syrian Proxy Wars 2016

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

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

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Attorney Jeff Haas: Dakota Access Pipeline Dispatch #5

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

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

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

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

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

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Law and Disorder October 31, 2016


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Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate Ajamu Baraka

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

Guest – Ajamu Baraka is a longtime activist, veteran of Black Liberation Movement, Human Rights defender, Former founding director of US Human Rights Network, currently Public Intervenon for Human Rights with Green Shadow Cabinet, member of Coordinating Committee of Black Left Unity Network and Associate Fellow at IPS.  He’s on a long time board member of the Center for Constitutional  Rights and a human rights defender whose experience spans three decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. Black Agenda Report

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The Connecticut Four

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

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

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

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The Bronx 120

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

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

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

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

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

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