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Law and Disorder September 26, 2016


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Zachary Sklar: Snowden

National Security Director James Clapper was questioned by Congress. The media was there. He looked at the camera, right in our eyes. The question was: Does the NSA spy on Americans?  He Answered “not wittingly”. This was a lie. The NSA was spying on every computer keystroke and telephone conversation made by every American. Edward Snowden blew the whistle on this totalitarian practice that turned democracy upside down. Instead of the government serving the people the government was spying on the people it should serve.  He has been indicted under the 1917 Espionage Act and is presently living in Russia, stripped of his passport, unable to come home where he faces decades in prison or worse. Oscar-winning film director Oliver Stone’s just released movie tells Edward Snowden’s story.

Guest – Zachary Sklar is a screenwriter, journalist, author, and editor. He is best known as co-writer (with Oliver Stone) of the Academy Award-nominated screenplay for the film JFK. Sklar has edited numerous non-fiction books about U.S. intelligence, including the number-one-bestselling On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison, from which the film JFK was adapted; Profits of War: Inside the Secret U.S.-Israeli Arms Network by former Israeli intelligence operative Ari Ben-Menashe; and Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA by former CIA case officer Ralph McGehee.

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Dakota Pipeline Protests: Legal Update

With winter settling in in North Dakota the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline has been temporarily halted pending governmental reconsiderederation. Representatives of over 100 Native American tribes and several thousand supporters Are camped near the Missouri River, which the pipeline, if it breaks after it is constructed under the river, would pollute ruining the drinking water up to 20 million people who depend on it. The DAPL Company and its parent Texas company have secured some 3 1/2 billion dollars in financing from Goldman Sachs, UPS, the Chase Manhattan Bank, and other banks. The financing may not be forthcoming if the project is stalled too long. In the meantime camp protesters, who call themselves “water protectors ”  are preparing to stay through the upcoming predictably severe North Dakota winter.

Guest – National Lawyers Guild Attorney Jeff Haas, has just 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.

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Encrypted Client Communications

As the general public becomes increasingly aware of the value of using open source encrypted communications, several groups of professionals may be among the first to regularly use it in their work. Members of the press already provide open source whistleblower submission systems, such as Secure Drop, to protect the anonymity of anonymous sources. But how do attorneys protect their privileged client communications? Jonathan Stribling-Uss founded Constitutional Communications to teach attorneys, activists and others to use open source encryption for all their communications. The group is aptly named given that “Our current system of Internet communication is not constitutional, especially with respect to attorney/client communications,” according to Stribling-Uss who is also a member of the National Lawyers Guild. The group has already provided intensive training sessions on digital security domestically and internationally for nearly 300 civil society leaders from dozens of countries.

Guest – Attorney Jonathan Stribling-Uss, director of Constitutional Communications, a nonprofit organization that specializes in information security for professionals and civil society organizations. He has led trainings and accredited CLEs (Continuing Legal Education) for hundreds of attorneys and law students on cybersecurity, professional ethics, international law, and attorney-client communications with the NYCLA (New York County) Bar Association, Law For Black Lives, and the Continuing Legal Resource Network at CUNY (City University Of New York). He has also trained journalists, foundations, activists, and technologists from more then 40 countries at the Center for Constitutional Rights, Thoughtworks global corporation, the International Development Exchange, the Legal Clinics of the CUNY School of Law, and The Florestan Fernandes National School in Brazil.

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Law and Disorder September 19, 2016


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Attorney Jeff Haas: Bakken Pipeline Construction Temporarily Halted

Last week the US government announced that the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River in North Dakota near Sioux Indian lands had been voluntarily suspended. In a joint statement the Department of the Interior, which interacts with Native Americans, the Department of Justice,and the Army Corps of Engineers, which had granted the permit for construction, announced that a reconsideration of the process whereby the US government receives input from  Native Americans was under examination.  So, the fight about water and human rights continues.

Guest – National Lawyers Guild Attorney Jeff Haas, has just 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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U. S. Commission on Civil Rights: Peaceful Coexistence

Recently the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report called “Peaceful Coexistence:  Reconciling Non-discrimination Principles With Civil Rights  “.
The report discusses how religion is used to deny others’ equality.  The commission’s chairman Martin Castro wrote that the phrases “religious liberty”  and “religious freedom ” are code words hypocritically employed to support discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, and Christian supremacy.

Guest – Columbia Law Professor Attorney Katherine Franke about the commission’s findings and recommendations and the objections to the reports conclusions. Katherine Franke is the chair of the board of the Center for Constitutional  Rights.  She is the Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, and also the Faculty Director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, a think tank that brings legal academic expertise to bear on the multiple contexts in which religious liberty rights are in tension with other fundamental rights to equality and liberty. Her book is titled “Wedlocked:  The Perils of Marriage Equality”.

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Ray McGovern: Surveillance, Terrorism, CIA, Manufactured War

Fifteen years have passed since the criminal attack on September 11, 2001.  Today we’ll take a look at some critical changes this country has undergone since. Believing he was doing God’s will, President George W. Bush ordered airstrikes against Afghanistan and then, with intelligence cooked up to fit the plan, brought shock and awe to the people of Iraq,  killing and and displacing more than 1 million people.  The authorization to use military force that he procured from a frightened Congress is still used as a rationale for overseas war. Obama is the only president in American history that has fought  wars for the entire eight years of his presidency. Currently the United States is at war in seven different countries.  At home, draconian legislation such as Patriot Act was quickly passed even though it wasn’t read by most members of Congress. The surveillance budget of the CIA and the NSA tripled. Every keystroke we make on our computers and every phone call we make, are spied on by our own government. We live in a culture of manufactured fear of terrorism, even though more people were killed by toddlers with pistols then terrorists.

Guest – Ray MacGovern, former senior CIA analyst, who was for 27 years an analyst with the CIA giving the first President George Bush his daily intelligence briefing.  He is the cofounder of Veteran Intelligent Professionals for Sanity.  Ray McGovern works for Tell the World, the publishing an arm of the Ecumenical Church of the Savior in the Inner City of Washington DC.

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Law and Disorder August 22, 2016


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The Movement For Black Lives

In response to the ongoing violence by police against Black communities across the United States, more than 50 organizations have come together to express a common vision and agenda for change. The Movement for Black Lives has issued a call to end the war against Black people that includes ending the criminalization, imprisonment and killing, not only of Black individuals, but all oppressed people. Broad areas for reform include economic justice, ending the war on Black people, reparations, invest-divest, community control and political power.

Guest – Donna Murch, Professor of History at Rutgers University and author of Living In The City: Migration, Eduation and the Rise of the Black Panther Party. She also contributed an article to the forthcoming verso press book “False Choice: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Clinton.

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U.S. – Saudi Arabia Arms Deal

Last month Congress narrowly approved the sale of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. They are being used in the Saudi war against Yemen and are dropped on civilians. The bombs are manufactured by the General Dynamics Corporation, part of the American military Industrial complex. Now a second arms sale, this one involving tanks and armored personnel carriers, is up for Congressional approval.  A number of peace groups including human rights watch have come out against it. Last week a New York Times editorial stated that “Congress should put the arms sales on hold and President Obama should quietly inform Riyadh that the United States will withdraw crucial assistance if the Saudis do not stop targeting civilians and agree to negotiate peace. ” The Saudi Arabian Monarchy  has been a long time ally of the United States and provides a significant amount of oil to United States as well as being a major purchaser of American corporate made weapons.  They are used in Yemen and illegal under American law.

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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Bush

George W. Bush is now 70 years old and retired on his ranch outside of Crawford Texas.  Many Americans remember him as a clueless figure on the morning of September 11, 2001 reading My Pet Goat to a classroom of children. They think of Bush as a hands-off leader who turned over the reins of power to his Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and the head of the CIA George Tenet.  But the major decisions after the attacks on September 11, 2001, including the bombing of Afghanistan, the opening of the Guantánamo offshore prison camp, torture, and the introduction of the Patriot Act, and the war on Iraq were made by George W. Bush, who denominated himself as “the decider.” He had “and unnerving level of certitude” –  as Jean Edward Smith, author of the recent expansive biography called “Bush” has written.  Smith writes that Bush “firmly believed that he was the instrument of God’s will.”

Guest – Professor Jean Edward Smith, is ean Edward Smith is the author of twelve books, including highly acclaimed biographies of Chief Justice John Marshall, General Lucius D. Clay, and Ulysses S. Grant (a 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist). A graduate of Princeton and Columbia Universities, Smith taught at the University of Toronto for thirty-five years before joining the faculty at Marshall University where he was the John Marshall Professor of Political Science.

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Law and Disorder August 15, 2016


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Denied Parole 10 Times, John Mackenzie Found Dead In Cell After 41 Years In Prison

On Thursday morning August 4th 70-year-old John Mackenzie was found dead in his prison cell at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in New York State. Nine days earlier in a two to one decision the parole board denied parole for McKenzie for the 10th time in the past 16 years since he became eligible. More information at RAPP Campaign.

In 1975, when he was 29 years old, Mackenzie was sentenced to 25 years to life for the shooting of a police officer during a burglary. He spent 41 years in prison. Each time Mackenzie appeared before the parole board it held that his crime showed “a serious disrespect for the law. ” It further stated that granting him parole would “undermine respect for the law.” In 2011 pursuant to a New York state executive law the parole board was required to consider not just the nature of the crime, but also factors such as participation in rehabilitation programs, release plans and the risk of recidivism.

His attorney Kathy Manley sued and got a favorable decision from state Supreme Court judge Maria Rosa vacating the 2014 denial of parole and ordering a new parole hearing. The new hearing ruled, again, that he should be denied based on the nature of the crime.

On May 16, 2016 Judge Rosa again ordered a new hearing. This time she said that the parole board members who had ruled against Mackenzie the two other times should not be allowed to sit on the parole board. Judge Rosa also said that a new hearing had to be held immediately and that the parole board would be fined $500 a day until it had a new hearing. “I was optimistic but he couldn’t stand it anymore” said attorney Manley when she learned of his death. Manley practices criminal defense law in Albany New York.

Guest – Attorney Kathy Manley graduated from the State University at Albany in 1988, and spent several years teaching at the Albany Free School. In 1996 she entered Albany Law School, and completed one year there. Kathy then took the unusual step of pursuing a Clerkship with Kindlon Shanks & Associates rather than staying in law school. She completed the three year Clerkship in 2000, successfully passed the bar exam and was admitted as an attorney in 2001.

Kathy’s main interests are criminal defense and constitutional rights. She concentrates on appeals and motions, and has written many winning briefs before the NYS Appellate Division, Third Department and other courts. She has also written many suppression motions successfully challenging illegal searches and seizures. Kathy was involved with a local same sex marriage case, the Aref case (which, among other issues, challenged the NSA warrantless wiretapping program), and is currently involved with cases challenging sex offender residence restrictions and other sex offender issues.

Long an advocate for peace and social justice, Kathy is involved in a number of groups, including the Muslim Solidarity Committee, Project SALAM and the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF). She is also Vice President of the Capital Region chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

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Lawsuit Strategy Over Flint Water Crisis Alleges Federal Racketeering

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, high-ranking former members of his staff and others are the target of a federal racketeering lawsuit over the city of Flint’s water crisis. The lawsuit, which also targets the city, alleges that the officials tried to balance the City’s budget through a pattern of racketeering activity. It claims they committed mail fraud by continuing to mail water bills to Flint residents, which they allege fraudulently misrepresents that the city is providing safe, clean water to its residents.

A group of 15 citizens filed the lawsuit seeking financial compensation for property damage, loss of business and financial losses and damages for future medical care attributed to the water crisis.

It alleges that officials misrepresented the suitability of the Flint River water as the city’s drinking water source for approximately two years and billed Flint residents at rates that were the highest in the nation for unusable water, yielding $3.3 million surplus and resulting in the city’s budget deficit being reversed.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants committed wire fraud by allowing residents to pay their water bills online or with credit cards despite knowing the water was toxic. RICO lawsuits require attorneys to prove that wrongdoing was part of an ongoing enterprise. If successful, it allows treble damages.

Guest – Attorney Bill Goodman. Bill is the former Legal Director at the Constitutional Rights and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild. He’s also the attorney for a number of victims of water poisoning in Flint, Michigan.

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Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror

Retired Florida U. S. Senator Bob Graham was the head of the US Senate intelligence committee and also  the chairman of the 9/11 commission of inquiry. He is the leading person trying to get President Obama to release to the public the suppressed 28 pages of the 911 report which have been hidden. Senator Graham contends that the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom who were Saudi Arabians,  could not have pulled off the operation alone and that in fact they were part of a support network involving the Saudi Arabian monarchy and government which helped plan, pay for and execute the complicated 911 plot which, says Senator Graham, would have otherwise been impossible to accomplish. Senator Graham has written the book Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror. It provides a candid insight to the workings of the US in Saudi relations and their implications on US foreign-policy making as it pertains to the middle east and bags tension, contemporary geopolitics.

Guest – Senator Bob Graham, is the former two–term governor of Florida and served for 18 years  in the United States Senate. This is combined with 12 years in the Florida  legislature for a total of 38 years of public service. As Governor and Senator,  Bob Graham was a centrist, committed to bringing his colleagues together behind  programs that served the broadest public interest. He was recognized by the  people of Florida when he received an 83% approval ranking as he concluded  eight years as Governor. Bob Graham retired from public service in January  2005, following his Presidential campaign in 2004.

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Law and Disorder July 18, 2016



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Russia, the United States and NATO Summit Trip Debrief

Noam Chomsky has recently written with alarm about the two threats facing humanity – climate change and nuclear war.   The likelihood of a nuclear war has increased he wrote because of NATO military buildup and expansion east to the Russian border thus breaking a promise the U S made to Russia when East and West Germany were unified.  Moreover under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the U S spent 5 billion dollars in successfully overthrowing the democratically elected government of the Ukraine, a country bordering Russia on its south western frontier. The Center for Citizen Initiatives

Guest – Ann Wright, has just returned from Russia.  Wright was in the US army for 25 years and then in the diplomatic corp.  Ann Wright grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas, and attended the University of Arkansas, where she received a master’s and a law degree. She also has a master’s degree in national security affairs from the U.S. Naval War College. After college, she spent thirteen years in the U.S. Army and sixteen additional years in the Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel. She is airborne-qualified.

In 1987, Col.Wright joined the Foreign Service and served as U.S. Deputy Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan, and Mongolia. She received the State Department’s Award for Heroism for her actions during the evacuation of 2,500 people from the civil war in Sierra Leone, at the time the largest evacuation since Saigon. She was on the first State Department team to go to Afghanistan and helped reopen the Embassy there in December 2001. Her other overseas assignments include Somalia, Kyrgyzstan, Grenada, Micronesia, and Nicaragua. On March 19, 2003, the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Ann Wright cabled a letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell, stating that without the authorization of the UN Security Council, the invasion and occupation of a Muslim, Arab, oil-rich country would be a violation of international law. Voices of Conscience.

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The Chilcot Report

Great Britain has just released the Chilcot report.  It exposes the role of British Prime Minister Tony Blair in taking his country into the war against Iraq, joining the US in illegally overthrowing Saddam Hussein and beginning a war that has been ongoing since 2004, destroying that country and destabilizing the Middle East leading to wars. In Libya, Syria and Yemen.  The Chilcot Report reinforces the observation of Robert Breedlove, the head of MI 5, the British CIA, after a visit to the USA, before the war began, that the USA was dishonesty manufacturing “intelligence ” and that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and was of no danger.

Guest – Professor Robin Andersen, teaches communications at Fordham University in New York and writes for Fairness and Accuracy In Media, FAIR, the media watchdog group.

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Roger Wareham: Systemic Police Violence Against Black Communities

New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman is investigating an off-duty NYPD officer’s fatal shooting of  37-year old Delrawn Small in Brooklyn, after he and his girlfriend and 3 children celebrated the Fourth of July holiday. Shortly after midnight Small and an undercover officer, driving his personal vehicle, were involved in a traffic dispute.The officer shot three times with his service weapon, killing Small. Authorities justified the attack by claiming Small had punched Isaacs in the face. But surveillance footage later released showed that the police had lied about the incident and show that Small was shot within one second after approaching Isaac’s unmarked car.

Zaquanna Albert, Small’s girlfriend, witnessed the attack from the car, along with their 4-month-old child. On Monday, the NYPD announced that it had stripped Isaacs of his gun. He has been placed on modified duty and will, for now, be restricted to desk work.

Guest – Attorney Roger Wareham who is representing Delrawn Small. A longtime human rights attorney, Roger has represented many Black political prisoners in federal lawsuits across the country, and was co-counsel in representing three of the young men wrongfully convicted in the Central Park Jogger case.

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Law and Disorder July 11, 2016


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Non-indictment of Hillary Clinton

FBI Director James Comey announced at a press conference last week that the FBI had concluded its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email account for State Department business and that he would recommend no criminal charges against her. Comey said that Clinton’s use of a private email address and server while she was  Secretary of State was “extremely careless.” The investigation found that she had sent eight top secret documents through a hackable email account and that it was possible hostile foreign governments could’ve gained access. Since the announcment the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairperson Jason Chaffetz has called for an investigation to whether Clinton lied to Congress. In order to warrant a criminal indictment there had to be evidence that Clinton intentionally transmitted or willfully mishandled classified information.

Guest – Attorney Carey Shenkman, who primarily represent journalists, publishers, and filmmakers at risk of censorship or political persecution. He focuses on First Amendment, international law (particularly freedom of expression and right to protest), journalist and source protection, extradition. Carey had worked for Michael Ratner and now represents Julian Assange.

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Chelsea Manning Alleged Suicide Attempt Update

Lawyers acting for imprisoned Chelsea Manning, the Army soldier who as a truth teller passed evidence of US war crimes on to Wikileaks have expressed fury at the military authorities handling of her medical status amid a swirl of media speculation that she had attempted suicide. Manning who is serving a 35 year sentence for leaking secret diplomatic cables and other official documents has been cut off from contact with her lawyers and all other outside connections for more than 36 hours causing alarm among those closest to her. The sudden severing of contact follows a rash of media reports based on unconfirmed rumors about her medical condition. The Army is refusing to give details about what has happened. Persistent inquiries by the Guardian has produced only a statement from the Dept of Defense that stated the soldier was taken to the hospital in the early hours of Tuesday last week and now he’s been returned to Levenworth Prison.

Guest – Alexa O’Brien researches and writes about national security and capital crimes. Her work has been published in VICE News, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian UK, Salon, The Daily Beast, and featured on the BBC, PBS Frontline, On The Media, Democracy Now!, and Public Radio International. In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the UK and listed in The Verge 50. ChelseaManning.org

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Federal Circuit Court: Criminal Defendants No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy On Personal Home Computers

Most of us assume that what we write on our own computers, in our own homes, is completely private. But a recent federal court decision held that criminal defendants have no reasonable expectation of privacy on their personal, home computers. And the government doesn’t need a warrant to hack into an individual’s computer.

In 2014, the FBI hacked–taking over and operating– a child pornography website called Playpen, for two weeks after a Virginia court issued a warrant to do so. Agents used software that bypassed Playpen users’ anonymity, enabling them to be tracked digitally. More than 135 people faced charges.

As courts are grappling to apply traditional rules of criminal procedure and constitutional law in these cases, several bad decisions are being made. At the forefront of educating the public about our digital rights is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who filed an amicus brief in this case.

Guest – Sophia Cope, Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Previously, she worked at the Newspaper Association of America on freedom of the press and digital media issues, with a focus on protecting journalists’  confidential sources.

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Law and Disorder July 4, 2016


Updates:

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Economic and Political Fallout From British Exit

A domino effect has begun as banks and investment firms lose billions in the wake of Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. The value of the British pound has dropped more than 9 percent and global financial markets are in free fall. In a recent Truthdig article, 2008 All Over Again, by Chris Hedges, economist Michael Hudson blames the Brexit vote on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He says this a response to the US war policy in the Middle East and Ukraine that destroyed Libya, and turned over weapons to al-Qaida. Those weapons ended up in their war in Syria. The mass exodus of refugees into Europe fueled nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment. Meanwhile, countries such as France, Austria and the Netherlands are positioning to do the same as the UK. Many suspect the banks will again turn to governments for bail outs as they did in 2008. The question is: how will the American public respond to the effects of ever increasing inequality, destruction of the environment and trade deals that benefit the one percent?

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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Lawyers You’ll Like – Attorney Margaret Kunstler

For our Lawyers You’ll Like series we’re joined today by civil rights attorney Margaret Kunstler. Throughout her career she has provided support and protected the rights of activists. She’s been a consultant to the Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous protesters. Her book Hell No: Your Right To Dissent in 21st Century America was co-authored with Michael Ratner and it remains a leading handbook for activists. Attorney Margaret Kunstler has advised Wikileaks, Bradley Manning supporters in connection with grand jury subpoenas.

Together with her late husband William Kunstler, the subject of the documentary Disturbing the Universe, Margaret worked on high profile cases including the Virgin Island Five, Attica and Wounded Knee. She is the founder of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice that works to combat racism in the criminal justice system. Margaret was a founding member of the National Lawyers Guild NYC Mass Defense Committee that provides legals observers at demonstrations and represents those arrrested. At the Center for Constitutional Rights, she worked as an attorney and educational director and authored the well known pamphlet “If An Agent Knocks.”
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Law and Disorder June 20, 2016


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¡Michael Ratner Presente!

We hear excerpts from Michael Ratner’s public memorial held in the Great Hall at Cooper Union in Manhattan, New York.  It would have been Michael’s 73rd birthday on June 13, 2016.

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¡Michael Ratner Presente! was co-sponsored by Cooper Union, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Democracy Now!, National Lawyers Guild, The Nation Institute, Nation Magazine, Haymarket Books, and Voices of a People’s History of the United States.

Michael Ratner’s Politics – By Michael Smith

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Law and Disorder April 25, 2016


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Speaking In Turkish: Denying the Armenian Genocide

To commemorate this, the first genocide of the 20th century, Law and Disorder co-host Heidi Boghosian presents a 60-minute documentary special titled “Speaking In Turkish: Denying the Armenian Genocide.”

Around the world, April 24 marks the observance of the Armenian Genocide. On that day in 1915 the Interior Minister of the Ottoman Empire ordered the arrest and hangings of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. It was the beginning of a systematic and well-documented plan to eliminate the Armenians, who were Christian, and who had been under Ottoman rule and treated as second class citizens since the 15th century.

The unspeakable and gruesome nature of the killings—beheadings of groups of babies, dismemberments, mass burnings, mass drownings, use of toxic gas, lethal injections of morphine or injections with the blood of typhoid fever patients—render oral histories particularly difficult for survivors of the victims.

Why did this happen? Despite being deemed inferior to Turkish Muslims, the Armenian community had attained a prestigious position in the Ottoman Empire and the central authorities there grew apprehensive of their power and longing for a homeland. The concerted plan of deportation and extermination was effected, in large part, because World War I demanded the involvement and concern of potential allied countries. As the writer Grigoris Balakian wrote, the war provided the Turkish government “their sole opportunity, one unprecedented” to exploit the chaos of war in order to carry out their extermination plan.

As Armenians escaped to several countries, including the United States, a number came to New Britain, Connecticut in 1892 to work in the factories of what was then known as the hardware capital of the world. By 1940 nearly 3,000 Armenians lived there in a tight-knit community.

Pope Frances calls it a duty not to forget “the senseless slaughter” of an estimated one and a half million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks from 1915 to 1923. “Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it,” the Pope said just two weeks before the 100th anniversary of the systematic implementation of a plan to exterminate the Armenian race.

Special thanks to Jennie Garabedian, Arthur Sheverdian, Ruth Swisher, Harry Mazadoorian, and Roxie Maljanian. Produced and written by Heidi Boghosian and Geoff Brady.

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Law and Disorder April 18, 2016


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Dallas 6 Trial: No Conviction, Ends In Mistrial

In April of 2014 we spoke with Chandre Delaney, an activist and the mother of Carrington Keys, one of the Dallas 6. The Dallas 6 are a group of inmates who in April 2010 protested the ongoing abuse from prison guards while locked in solitary confinement known as the Restrictive Housing Unit at SCI Dallas prison in Pennsylvannia. Abuse included tasering genitals, being hog tied, cutting off clothes and leaving inmates in cages for hours. The inmates protested by placing bedding over the window of their cell doors to attract attention of the prison administrators. Instead of receiving assistance, the inmates were brought up on riot charges.

The Dallas 6 are Andre Jacobs, Anthony Kelly, Anthony Locke, Dwayne Peters, Derek Stanley and Carrington Keys and were forced to stay in solitary confinement for up to 10 years.They presented testimony in December of 2013 describing the details of their abuse in solitary confinement. The trial for the remaining 3 of the Dallas 6 ended in a mistrial.

Guest – Attorney Michael Wiseman who is representing Dwayne Peters of the Dallas 6. Michael is a criminal defense litigator focusing on criminal and capital defense at trial, on appeal and in post conviction proceedings in state and federal court.

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21 States Introduce Anti-BDS Legislation

Israel advocacy groups and state law makers who support them have introduced anti-BDS legislation in New York California Florida and 19 other states across the United States of America, including the US Congress.

BDS – boycott , divestment, and sanction – is a peaceful tactic to pressure Israel to comply with international law and to influence public opinion and policy in the U.S. in favor of respecting the human rights of Palestinians.

The demands of the BDS movement are : Israels’ withdrawal from the territories of the West Bank which they have occupied since 1967 and the right of Palestinians expelled by the Israelis in 1948 and 1967 to return to their homes and equal rights for Palestinians who are citizens of Israel.

Support for BDS is now more widely rooted and impactful than ever before.  Israel and its supporters in the USA are failing to slow down their gradually intensified isolation.
As a result we are seeing well-funded campaigns to silence Israel’s critics.  Journalist Glenn Greenwald has called this “the greatest threat to free speech in the west.”

Guest – Attorney Rahul Saksena with Palestine legal, a group formed by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild to defend the civil rights and civil liberties of critics of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
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Humanitarian and Economic Crisis in Puerto Rico

There is a humanitarian and economic crisis in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States since it was invaded in 1898. Puerto Ricans are unable to vote for president or Congress, enter into trade agreements, control their own borders, issue tariffs, or, unlike any other state or city or corporation, they are unable to take advantage of a bankruptcy laws to restructure their debt. There are 3 million people living in Puerto Rico and their government owes $72 billion in bonds bought up by American citizens and corporations. For the last seven years there’s been a fire sale of Puerto Rican assets, including the sale to private interests of the largest airport on the island and the largest highway. Forty percent of the population are unemployed. Three weeks ago Puerto Rican governor Alejandro Padilla signed into law an emergency bill that would allow him to suspend the counties debt repayment. $422 million is due on May 1, 2016.

Guest – Attorney Linda Backiel – long-term National Lawyers Guild member. Linda practices law in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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