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Law and Disorder July 21, 2014


Updates:

  • Swedish Judge Denies Assange Lawyers Request To Set Aside 2010 Arrest Warrant On Sexual Misconduct Allegations
  • Torture Memo Author John Yoo Awarded Endowed Faculty Chair At University of California Berkeley School Of Law
  • Michael Ratner: The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld

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Israel’s Continued Disproportionate Use Of Force Against Palestinian Civilians

In a slow escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Army responded earlier this month by launching “Operation Protective Edge” as Israeli jets dropped hundreds of bombs on the impoverished coastal enclave of nearly 2 million Palestinians. At this time, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1400 injured. According to the United Nations, 77 percent of those killed are civilians and yet the massacre sadly continues. The vicious attacks are framed as a mutual conflict or exchange of fire. The reality is that the low quality rockets hitting Israel are not comparable to Israel’s powerful military strikes.

Phil Weiss:

  • In a nutshell I think Israel is trying to destroy the unification agreement between Hamas and Fatah. They don’t want diplomacy they want to end that unification deal.
  • It’s a great danger to Israel that the Palestinians are united, they want them divided.
  • They’ve used any pretext they can in the last month including the horrifying abduction and killing of these Israeli teens on the West Bank. They’ve used any pretext they can to break up, to try to break up that understanding.
  • The goals of a unified Palestinian government are to achieve some type of Palestinian freedom.
  • They would go on to International Criminal Court, International bodies and say hey, this occupation has been going on nearly 50 years . .. are you finally going to give us a state, sovereignty? If we can’t get sovereignty we’ll move to an equal rights struggle. .
  • I think the good thing that they show is there’s no green line. Israel operates with impunity, with complete autonomy all over historic Palestine. Netanyahu has said we’re never giving up the West Bank. It’s sort of an announcement to the world, this is one state.
  • The legal response and the one you demonstrated (Michael Ratner) against Cast Lead was this is Internationa Humanitarian Law and Human Rights law apply here and Israel should be brought up before International bodies for violating those laws.
  • The one form of progress is there’s no ground invasion this time. (this is what he thought at the time)
  • Michael Ratner, you and I have a somewhat different relationship to the mainstream press in that I used to be part of it and now and then I have fantasies of getting back in.
  • With that proviso, I think there has been a little bit of progress in the mainstream so you have on NBC news, you have words opening that report saying these people are trapped, they have no where to go and its a lopsided conflict.  I didn’t hear that around Cast Lead.
  • I’m not trying to defend the mainstream so much to say that I feel that there is some real shift going on.
  • Michael Ratner: Here’s a question about half-full. Do you want me to call the family that lost 17 kids in the same household in Gaza? That’s not half-full. That’s empty.
  • You’re putting me in the position of saying what I’m about to say which is the slaughter of 200 people is different from the slaughter of 500 people.
  • Michael Ratner: We’re still counting Phil.
  • The Jewish American community is highly responsible for this behavior, for this conduct that’s going on there.
  • How useful was that aircraft carrier (Israel) when we were occupying Iraq and we were invading Afghanistan? It wasn’t at all useful to us.
  • I think its a burden (Israel) I think it’s a millstone around our necks because it says the United States stance is slaughtering brown people.
  • You look at J Street, this great liberal Zionist organization. They’re justifying everything Israel is doing now.
  • There’s only a couple of Jewish organizations that stood up and said this is wrong. Jewish Voices For Peace and Jews Say No.
  • I think there’s an implicit understanding around the world now about why these people are firing rockets.
  • One of things you hear in Israel is the existential threat, in that people are delegitimizing us and I think that’s great news.
  • I see more voices talking about this conduct as just beyond the pale. I feel that the world is regarding this as a central human rights issue.

Guest – Philip Weiss,  founder of Mondoweiss, longtime journalist and regular contributor to the Nation and a fellow at the Nation Institute.  Philip is the author of two books a political novel, Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, and American Taboo, an investigative account of a 1976 murder in the Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Tonga.  Weiss is one of the editors of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.

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Andrew Kadi:

  • I don’t necessarily know that Israel has any real goals that will benefit Israeli society other than possibly the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza, forcing them to move out.
  • They’re leaving Gazans in deplorable conditions. They have unilaterally absolved themselves of their legal obligation under International law to the population in Gaza and have instead declared something that I think nobody else recognizes that Gaza is somehow a hostile territory or an enemy territory.
  • It’s counter-productive if your belief that the goal or the end goal for the Israeli government is peace.
  • The majority of these rocket attacks are pretty small projectiles as anyone who has seen them knows has no chance of actually injuring anyone or causing damage. Some of them are as small as a Coke can.
  • Hamas has deployed larger rockets in last 4 years that can fire through a building. ‘
  • By and large these attacks are being carried out by other groups round the clock. The ones that Israel is referring to are usually other groups that have nothing to do with Hamas.
  • I would say the rocket attacks are a cry for help from Gaza.
  • In the end, Gazans are isolated, there’s a siege, a blockade that Israel’s carrying out. I think that Gazans don’t want to be subject to it anymore.
  • They want to be able to live like any other population.
  • The American Foreign Services committee published a list of American companies directly involved and complicit in the attacks on Gaza.
  • Those companies include Boeing, Hewlitt Packard, Elbit Systems, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, General Electric, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon.
  • In 2005, Palestinian civil society called for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with the 3 tenets of International law.
  • The end of the occupation, equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel and the right of refugees to return to their homes.
  • Other companies that folks can boycott, Sodastream, Ahava cosmetics, Strauss Group, Osem – Tribe Hummus, Sibeon Company.

Guest - Andrew Kadi, a human rights activist and digital media specialist currently serving on the Steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. He’s contributed to the Guardian’s Comment is Free, The Electronic Intifada, Mondoweiss, Left Turn and other publications.

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Law and Disorder July 14, 2014


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Campaign Demanding Proper Health Care For Incarcerated COINTELPRO Target Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)

A campaign was recently launched demanding immediate health care for political prisoner Imam Jamil Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown. Once the chairperson of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and minister of justice for the Black Panther Party, Al-Amin was one of the original four targets of the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO. Now 70 years old, he has been held in a federal prison at Florence, Colorado since 2006 where he is serving a life sentence for what many claim was the wrongful conviction in 2002 for shooting two deputy sheriffs. At the time, four leading Muslim organizations – CAIR, the AMC, ISNA and the Muslim American Society – issued a joint statement: “The charges against Imam Jamil are especially troubling because they are inconsistent with what is known of his moral character and past behavior as a Muslim.”

Al-Amin has multiple health issues have rapidly accelerated, including dental problems, a swollen jaw, broken teeth and swollen legs, ankles and feet, and has lost 30 pounds in just a few weeks, likely the result of recently-diagnosed cancer. Recently, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark visited Al-Amin.

Attorney Karima Al-Almin:

  • I met Jamil on July 1st 1967. I had graduated from college and started a job on that day. He walked into the job where I was to see someone who he was staying with.
  • At that time he was under house arrest and he could only stay in the borough of Manhattan, the Bronx and then William Kunstler’s house up there in Westchester county.
  • He invited me to go to lunch. The lunch was with Louis Farrakhan. So I met him on the same day, we joke about that but I married Jamil.
  • In May of 1967 he was elected chairperson of SNCC Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
  • Based on the fact that he didn’t appear for trial in Maryland for inciting to riot charge which was later dismissed, he was put on the 10 most wanted list in May 1970.
  • For 19 months he was being sought and not found but then he was found and capture in October 1971. He was attempting to clean up New York City’s drug problem.
  • There was an H. Rap Brown Anti-Dope Campaign. As a result he was captured in what was labeled as an “armed robbery.” He did go to trial and William Kunstler and Howard Moore defended him.
  • He was given a sentence of 5-15 years. He served 5 years in the New York State prison system and then he got out in 1976.
  • After getting out in October 1976 he can come to Atlanta where I had moved.
  • He spent years, establishing a Muslim community again cleaning up the neighborhood making it safe for families and children.
  • In May of 1999 he was stopped which ended up being an illegal stop outside of Atlanta city limits. He was charged with driving a stolen car which he did not know about.
  • In January of 2000 he was given a date to appear in court on those charges there was a storm and it was postponed. He didn’t know he was supposed to return and a warrant was issued in March 2000. That’s when the incident happened.
  • A Fulton County deputy was killed and one was shot and then we had the trial in 2002. There were so many problems with the trial. There were so many constitutional violations during the trial. As a result he was found guilty in March 2002 and given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
  • Georgia in 2003 tried to get him transferred and held in a federal facility, but it didn’t come to happen until July 2007. They were moving him based on his popularity.
  • Georgia (the state of) is paying a per diem to the Federal Bureau of Prisons for him to be housed.
  • It goes back to what he thought was a dental problem about a year and a half ago. He developed abscesses. He was unable to get out of bed.
  • A petition has already been sent to President Obama, Eric Holder and Charles Samuels.
  • Call ADMAX – 719-784-9464.
  • Create an email and fax flood. Email FLM/execassistant@bop.gov or use the form at http://www.bop.gov/inmates/concerns.jsp (location Florence ADMAX USP). Fax 719-784-5290. Jamil Al-Amin, #99974555
  • He dared to step out when he was 23 years old to speak out about injustices and make a difference.

Guest – Attorney Karima Al-Amin is an attorney at law and the wife of political prisoner Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. In addition to her private practice, Mrs. Al-Amin continues to work with attorneys in appealing her husband’s conviction and in working on his civil lawsuits challenging First Amendment and religious violations. Mrs. Al-Amin is a member of several legal and community organizations, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Clarkston Business Association, and the Georgia Association of Muslim Lawyers (GAML).

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US Attorney General Ramsey Clark:

  • I met first through FBI memos, a stack that reached floor to ceiling. He had a wonderful talent to irritate the FBI.
  • The country needs that sort of skill. So I got a lot of memos before I even met him.
  • He committed the supreme offense in the hierarchy of offenses of the FBI that is he embarrassed the bureau by making them look foolish cause they couldn’t catch him.
  • The legal staff were cheering him on. He made our day with narrow escapes. After this Congress enacted this absurd statute in his honor that shows he was a productive citizen concerned for our welfare.
  • He’s big strong tall guy and he has to duck under that door on the other side of that glass that you meet him through, he looked smaller.
  • Usually his energy level is very high. His energy level is way down, he looked frail in spite of his large frame.
  • Went back Sunday and his condition was the same, confirmed. He’s got a real health problem that needs to be addressed.
  • I think ideally he’d go to the Mayo Clinic first, get the thorough work up and diagnosis and everything. If its going to be long range treatment get him over to North Carolina.
  • The main thing is he needs the help of caring people from all over the country. We have to organize that to pressure the United States to do the only moral thing.

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

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U.S. Government To Prosecute 67-year-old Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh

In the fall of 2013, the Department of Homeland Security arrested Rasmea Odeh, a 67 year old Palestinian American community activitist and teacher in her Chicago home for failing to disclose a 1969 conviction in an Israeli military court. She was charged with unlawful procurement of naturalization. Odeh had allegedly failed to disclose her time in an Israeli prison 45 years ago. In 1969 Rasmea Odeh, her father and fiancee were brutally tortured in an Israel relating to a bombing at a Jerusalem supermarket. Israel extracted a confession from Odeh, and she spent 10 years in an Israeli prison where she was tortured and sexually assaulted.

Odeh is Associate Director of the Arab American Action Network and leader of that group’s Arab Women’s Committee. The events bring together disenfranchised women, mostly recent immigrants, from Arabic-speaking countries. Odeh is scheduled for trial at a Detroit Federal court in September. If convicted she could be imprisoned, have her citizenship revoked and be deported.  Human rights campaigners in the United States are calling on the Obama administration to drop charges against Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian-American community organizer in Chicago who is accused of lying on a citizenship application two decades ago.

Attorney Michael Deutsch:

  • She was arrested Israel military and secret police in February of 1969. Her family, her father and two sisters were also arrested, taken out of the house in the middle of the night.
  • She was then transported by herself to a prison in Ramallah. On the way she was brutally beaten, when she arrived at the prison she was beaten again to the point where her whole body turned black.
  • She was then transferred to another prison which is called the Russian compound which is in the West Jerusalem.
  • There she was horrifically beaten subject to electronic torture, alligator clips to her breasts and genitals.
  • Prisoners and soldiers came into her room, she was raped repeatedly. She was raped with sticks. She was denied food, denied sleep, this went on for 45 days until she gave in and confessed.
  • Her father was brought in a room with her and they said her father was going to rape her. Her father of course refused and they beat her father to the point of unconsciousness and they dragged him out.
  • She was accused of being involved in two bombings one at a British counsel and one at an Israeli grocery store.
  • When she was brought into an alleged court, which was a military court run by soldiers, she renounced her confession and said that she was innocent. That was ignored and she was convicted of these bombings and being a member of an illegal organization and given a life sentence.
  • Ultimately in 1979, she was traded with 70 other Palestinian prisoners for the return of an Israeli soldier where she was taken to Syria, then Lebanon then to Jordan where she lived til 1994. She obtained a VISA to come to the United States.
  • Basically for almost the following ten years she’s been working as a community activist in Chicago particularly with the Arab-American Action Network.
  • In 2010 there were all these raids by the FBI toward anti-war activists and the executive director of the AAAN. He was subpoenaed to a grand jury after the FBI raided his home and took all his papers.
  • They claim that he was providing material support for the PFLP and as a result the whole AAAN was put under investigation and the grand jury subpoenaed all the documents of the organization.
  • As a result of this investigation into the AAAN, the US attorney in Chicago sent word to Washington that they wanted to get Rasmea’s files from Israel.
  • In a year or two years they got the records or alleged to be her records of arrest, conviction and sentence by the Israeli military court.
  • I don’t believe a conviction or arrest by the IDF and a conviction by an Israeli military tribunal is consistent with International Law, fundamental fairness or due process.
  • One of the things were going to say is that the conviction and arrest can’t be given any kind of credit in a U.S. courtroom because its fundamentally unfair and shouldn’t be considered.
  • The question is whether she answered those questions with an intent to falsely procure her naturalization.
  • I would add the judge in this case has been a fervent supporter of Israel since the 50s.
  • The Israeli tribunals are not only based on torture but illegal occupation. They invade a people’s land and set up these military courts.
  • The question in my mind in Rasmea’s trial is how are they going to keep out the issue of torture? Which is want they’re going to want to do.
  • To support Rasmea Odeh, contact the Arab-American Action Network
  • CCR Statement

Guest – Attorney Michael Deutsch, after clerking for United States Court of Appeals Judge Otto Kerner, Mr. Deutsch went into private practice, joining People’s Law Office in 1970 where he has represented political activists and victims of police and government civil rights violations. His advocacy has taken him all around the world, including to hearings in the United Nations. He has tried many civil and criminal cases in federal and state courts, and has written and argued numerous appeals, including several in the United States Supreme Court.

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Law and Disorder June 23, 2014


Updates:

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The 2 Year Anniversary of Wikileaks Julian Assange At The Ecuadorian Embassy

We mark the two year anniversary of Julian Assange being in custody at the Ecuadorian embassy. Our own Michael Ratner, cohost of this show is Julian Assange’s attorney. Michael describes the conditions Julian Assange is living in at the embassy, he explains the legal reasons why Julian is still there and lists the recent significant  accomplishments of Wikileaks.

Co-host Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • He’s sitting in the embassy with political asylum. It’s an apartment on the ground floor with about 6 or 8 rooms. He has one of those rooms. It’s small. There’s no outside space.
  • He has a sun lamp.
  • There are police outside, there are police out front when you walk in. They’re at every window. There’s a couple big police vans outside picking up every one of your conversations. That’s where Julian has been for two years.
  • Julian has been in pretty good shape in there. He’s been functioning. Wikileaks has been functioning. A key thing that people have to understand is Wikileaks, Sarah Harrison, Julian and others saved Edward Snowden from going to prison in the United States.
  • Remember he was in Hong Kong (Snowden). The U.S. issued a criminal complaint against him. Two counts of espionage, one count of theft of documents. There was an extradition request by the U.S. Hong Kong being part of China. The likelihood is at 90, 95 or 100 percent that Edward Snowden would have wound up in a U.S. jail.
  • Instead of that, Wikileaks helped him gain asylum where he eventually did in Russia. Sarah Harrison accompanying him on the plane to Moscow.
  • Another story we’ve covered, the Trans Pacific Partnership, that’s the trade agreement they’re trying to impose on countries particularly in the far East.
  • What the U.S. just admitted,  filed a brief in April 2014 in federal court. It was a brief in which they refuse to give up documents on a FOIA case. The claim was they couldn’t give them up because there’s a continuing investigation going. It was documents EPIC sought around Wikileaks.
  • The Department of Justice said (in that brief) there’s an ongoing criminal national security investigation into Wikileaks and Julian Assange, its multi-subject and its ongoing.
  • It’s been 4 years since the allegations of sexual misconduct have been made against Julian Assange by two women, but by particular, the prosecutor who seems to have vengeance to carry this out.
  • Remember, they’re allegations, not charges. They’ve asked to extradite Julian Assange based on those allegations.
  • Allegations from a prosecutor from another country are not sufficient to get someone extradited. We have the UK having changed the law so he can no longer be extradited.
  • Ecuador has been extremely supportive of Julian.
  • There’s a letter that will be sent in the next two days to our Attorney General Eric Holder by at least 30 human rights groups around the world.
  • That letter wants to hold him to his words (Holder) that journalists and editors will not be subject to prosecution.
  • It starts off with a demand to close all criminal investigations of Wikileaks and its Editor in Chief Julian Assange. It says they have to stop harassing and persecuting Julian and Wikileaks for publishing. FreeAssangeNow.org

Guest - Law and Disorder Co-host Attorney Michael Ratner,  President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a non-profit human rights litigation organization based in New York City and president of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) based in Berlin. Ratner and CCR are currently the attorneys in the United States for publishers Julian Assange and Wikileaks. He was co-counsel in representing the Guantanamo Bay detainees in the United States Supreme Court, where, in June 2004, the court decided his clients have the right to test the legality of their detentions in court. Ratner is also a past president of the National Lawyers Guild and the author of numerous books and articles, including the books The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book, Against War with Iraq and Guantanamo: What the World Should Know, as well as a textbook on international human rights.

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Shocking: California Court Rules Teacher Tenure Violates Student’s Right To Quality Education

David Welch, a Silicon Valley tech millionaire has been funding the movement and legal suit that led to the Vergara decision two weeks ago when a California court struck down a series of laws that grant tenure and other protections to public school teachers. Students Matter, an education reform group had sued on behalf of nine students arguing protections for substandard teachers have a disproportionate impact on children of color and low-income families. The decision that has identified teacher tenure as the cause of underachievement within inner city schools could have a larger influence in other states. Many see this decision as part of a strategy to transform the public education system into a major profit center. Examples include No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core Curriculum, Charter Schools.

Brian Jones:

  • The court ruled in California that teacher tenure is a violation of students’ right to a quality education.
  • The ramifications are . . if we find students who are not doing well in school that the remedy is to remove that teacher and get a new teacher and anything that stands in the way of removing that teacher is therefore a violation of that student’s rights.
  • Its actually going to have very negative consequences.
  • We already have a problem holding on to great teachers. We have a problem holding on to teachers.
  • Half of the teachers in this country leave the profession within five years. We’re literally bleeding teachers.
  • A lot of wealthy people have taken an interest in transforming public schools in this country.
  • Their idea that schooling should be run more like a business with more authority, power and decision making concentrated at the top with the workers, parents and students having little or no say on what goes on. Their job is to accomplish the task laid out before them by the millionaires and billionaires.
  • One of the worst examples of course is Bill Gates who has been effectively setting education policy for the nation for several years now.
  • You have this Silicon Valley millionaire who created a “parent group” and bringing this lawsuit you have a bunch of parents whose children are in charter schools and private schools arguing that their rights are being violated.
  • They use their wealth to effect the changes that they want.
  • They bypass any democratic process or debate or discussion about what our schools should be like.
  • This is a famous ploy by the corporatizers is to wrap themselves in the robes of the civil rights movement and claim they’re getting justice on behalf of children.
  • We have to remember that the civil rights movement was pro-union was very involved in unions.
  • The corporate reformers want us to believe that we can get justice for kids by beating up on adults.
  • If we can attack the union we can then get justice for the young people.
  • That’s the tenure attack is eliminating an obstacle for anyone to speak back, to talk back.
  • Without tenure, without unions, without those kinds of protections the people working in a school can never speak back, can never express themselves, can never protest or try to assert some other idea.
  • Let’s talk about what its going to take to improve the teaching profession. Let’s talk about what its going to take to improve the conditions of teaching and learning.
  • Teachers feel under attack. The things we’re putting on teacher’s shoulders right now are insane.
  • We (teachers) were already suffering under Bush’s No Child Left Behind, then Obama doubled down on it and made it even worse. He raised the stakes of those high stakes tests even higher. Our whole platform is available at HowieHawkins.org

Guest - Brian Jones, taught elementary grades for nine years in New York City’s public schools, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Urban Education at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is Green Party’s 2014 candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York. Brian co-narrated the film, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman, and has contributed to the book Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation. He is a member of the Movement of Rank and File Educators: the social justice caucus of the United Federation of Teachers. Brian has also lent his voice to several audiobooks, including The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World and Howard Zinn’s one-man play, Marx in Soho. Brian is the recipient of a 2012 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship.

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Law and Disorder May 5, 2014


Updates:

  • John Kerry Middle East Peace Talks And NY Times Propaganda
  • There is no ‘Palestine Exception’ to free speech rights’: Northeastern overturns Students for Justice in Palestine suspension
  • CCR: Palestine Solidarity Legal Support Project
  • Host Attorney Micheal Smith Retraction On Abe Foxman Update

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Torturous For-Profit Medical Care in Prisons

The medical care in private prisons is often provided by a sub contracted for profit entity. Today we look at a specific case involving Corizon, a prison health management corporation serving 530 prisons in 28 states. Corizon has been sued for malpractice 660 times in the past five years.  We talk today about “Bradley’s” case. He’s 67, and was out on parole after serving 34 years in California’s state prisons. Bradley was on 100mg of morphine 3 times a day for surgical complications from knee injury. While on parole, THC was detected in his system, and officers brought him back to prison. However, under the care of Corizon, he was not given his medication and forced to painfully withdraw from the morphine.

Dr. Robin Andersen:

  • My brother who we call Brad is at Santa Rita jail who Corizon is under contract with.
  • He went in on April 17, and after a week of being in there, my lawyer and my sister said he was on death’s door.
  • The reason was he was being forced to withdraw from medications. His medications are morphine and high blood pressure medication.
  • He was given no medications for pain, and he basically did cold turkey inside that jail and is still being mistreated there.
  • This is a parole violation where its alleged he might have smoked some pot.
  • He was in San Quentin and some other California prisons. He served 34 years. When he was finally paroled one of the parole board members said – well we assess that the crime that you did to be about 11 years.
  • Just the thought of him in that jail without medication for that time, it was agony.
  • What the jail has told me is they don’t give out controlled substances.
  • What my lawyer said is their policy to save money, they don’t have proper medication.
  • They’re putting him through a forced cold turkey withdrawal and laughing at him.
  • They keep using the word protocol, and it rings in my ear.  Oh, he’s on a withdrawal protocol. One wonders what that protocol might be.
  • I’ve been asking people to call the jail. It’s very interesting, they thrive in secrecy and brutality within these places.
  • Call the Santa Rita County Jail – 925-551-6500. Lawrence (Bradley)  Benetto – Prisoner # BKB172

Guest – Dr. Robin Andersen, is the brother of “Bradley” and Professor of Communication and Media Studies and Director of the M.A. Program in Public Communication. She is also Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Fordham University.

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Lawsuits Against Prison Health Management Corporations

Class action lawsuits against prison health management corporations are becoming very common. There are many cases and stories of mistreatment and negligence which critics say stem from profit making and cost cutting protocols. We take a deeper look at the recent litigation involving lawsuits against private, for profit prison health care companies.

Attorney Sarah Grady:

  • Corizon, they’re a multi-billion dollar company. They’ve operated under many names throughout the years.
  • They’re whole model is to provide as little health care as possible in order to continue to drive a profit.  They take into account in their profit, how often they’re going to be sued.
  • They gamble in effect on how much money they’re going to lose in lawsuits and whether that can keep them profitable by continuing to deny care to prisoners.
  • When Corizon contracted with Arizona to provide care (in prisons) in the first 8 months there were 50 deaths in Arizona Department of Corrections in their custody, that’s in a single state.
  • There are multiple stories of substandard care being provided by nurses and doctors who have not been trained, who have been trained at a suboptimal level.
  • The states, county  or municipality cannot contract away the 8th Amendment.
  • The individual doctors get bonuses based on their ability to stay under budget.

Guest – Attorney Sarah Grady leads Loevy & Loevy’s Prisoners’ Rights Project. Ms. Grady graduated cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in 2012. At Northwestern, she worked on civil rights cases with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic.

Sarah Grady joined Loevy & Loevy in 2013. She leads Loevy & Loevy’s Prisoners’ Rights Project.

Ms. Grady graduated cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in 2012. At Northwestern, she worked on civil rights cases with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic, served on the board of the Public Interest Law Group and the American Constitution Society, and received Northwestern’s annual Public Service Award for her commitment to serving the public interest in her legal work.

- See more at: http://www.loevy.com/attorneys/sarah-grady/#sthash.M7ruq9uH.dpuf

Sarah Grady joined Loevy & Loevy in 2013. She leads Loevy & Loevy’s Prisoners’ Rights Project.

Ms. Grady graduated cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in 2012. At Northwestern, she worked on civil rights cases with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic, served on the board of the Public Interest Law Group and the American Constitution Society, and received Northwestern’s annual Public Service Award for her commitment to serving the public interest in her legal work.

- See more at: http://www.loevy.com/attorneys/sarah-grady/#sthash.M7ruq9uH.dpuf

Sarah Grady joined Loevy & Loevy in 2013. She leads Loevy & Loevy’s Prisoners’ Rights Project.

Ms. Grady graduated cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in 2012. At Northwestern, she worked on civil rights cases with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic, served on the board of the Public Interest Law Group and the American Constitution Society, and received Northwestern’s annual Public Service Award for her commitment to serving the public interest in her legal work.

- See more at: http://www.loevy.com/attorneys/sarah-grady/#sthash.M7ruq9uH.dpuf

Sarah Grady joined Loevy & Loevy in 2013. She leads Loevy & Loevy’s Prisoners’ Rights Project.

Ms. Grady graduated cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law in 2012. At Northwestern, she worked on civil rights cases with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic, served on the board of the Public Interest Law Group and the American Constitution Society, and received Northwestern’s annual Public Service Award for her commitment to serving the public interest in her legal work.

- See more at: http://www.loevy.com/attorneys/sarah-grady/#sthash.M7ruq9uH.dpuf

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Attorney Anand Swaminathan:

  • We a broad spectrum of issues both in terms of types of facilities where these things are occurring and the actual kinds of medical problems that are not being dealt with or ignored.
  • There are states, counties and municipalities all engaged in this form of privatization which are outsourcing medical care to these private companies.
  • It includes, large prisons people who are convicted of crimes, it includes people who are being held in custody, that includes county jails which are a hybrid facility that holding people long term and people in short term custody.
  • It’s everything down to the local police station.
  • We’re seeing a lack of adequate medical care across that entire spectrum.
  • There’s a complete failure to treat chronic conditions, some of the chronic conditions that are so prevalent in our society now.
  • These people (prisoners) are not consumers and cannot choose and say I find your product subpar, I’m not interested, I’m going to choose the other guys’ product.
  • We’re starting to see a push back. Courts are starting to attack specific protections that companies are invoking.
  • Here you have courts identifying market forces as a reason to deny the protections that some of these companies are trying to invoke.

Guest – Attorney Anand Swaminathan, has worked on a broad range of constitutional and civil rights cases, and has worked extensively on False Claims Act litigation, where he has represented whistleblowers alleging defense military and other government contractor fraud, bid-rigging, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, construction/contractor (MBE/DBE) fraud, and tax fraud.

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Ex-boxer-Rubin-Hurricane-Carter-terminally-ill-with-prostate-cancer Hurricane-Book-Cover

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter 1937-2014

In April of this year, celebrated boxer and prisoner-rights activist Rubin “Hurricane” Carter died at the age of 76. He had become an international symbol of racial injustice after his wrongful murder conviction forced him to spend 19 years in prison. Carter was arrested for a triple murder in his hometown of Paterson, New Jersey. He said he was innocent, was convicted by an all white jury, and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences. In 1976, the New Jersey State Supreme Court overturned his conviction on grounds the authorities withheld material evidence from the defense. But Carter was convicted again in a second trial in 1976. In 1985, that conviction was overturned by a U.S. district court judge, who concluded the state made an unconstitutional appeal to racial prejudice. In 1988, the Passaic, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office dropped all charges against Carter.

Attorney Myron Beldock:

  • He was a defendant in a criminal case in New Jersey involved the triple shooting and three murders of 3 people in the Lafayette bar in Patterson, New Jersey.
  • He and his co-defendant John Artis were represented at the first trial and they lost, (convicted) and Rubin started his campaign to get out of jail and wrote his book the 16th Round.
  • He was charismatic and powerful, a great thinker, very very intellectually strong person as well as being spiritually strong.
  • Almost a typical case, high profile case, where you get people who are vulnerable and easily manipulated because of their need for their own benefits to falsely testify.
  • We set aside the convictions when we learned about the benefits that were given to the witnesses.
  • We went again to trial in 1975. At that time the atmosphere had changed. There was a new prosecutor, they came up with a theory that it was actually a racial revenge killing.
  • Earlier that night, a white former bar owner had shot and killed the black purchaser of the bar from him.
  • That was always known and there was no motives attributed to the killings in the first trial but the second trial really based on speculation and bias, they argued persuasively to the jury that this was a racial revenge killing.
  • Mr. Bellow who was the supposed eye witness who testified, there were two of them in the first trial, was being questioned by me on the stand as to why he recanted his recantation. The prosecutor persuaded him to again tell the story he told at the first trial, identifying Rubin and John and I was trying to establish that they had falsely manipulated him when I was pulled into the chambers along with my co-counsel Louis Steele who represented John Artis and told that if I question him further, the jury would learn that he passed the lie detector test, supporting what he said at the first trial. Supporting his identification (of Rubin Carter)
  • We did have that test. It seemed like that was the result because that’s the way it was written. In fact that was a fraud.
  • The polygraph results were completely opposite of what they were purported to be.
  • The prosecutors in that case, two of them became judges, rewarded for what they did.
  • Rubin was not a popular person, he had been an outspoken civil rights person.  It was a cesspool of rumors without any evidentiary basis.
  • The entire community there almost in Passaic New Jersey treated us like we were the devil.
  • It was the coldest community reception I ever encountered in any place.
  • Rubin would call every year (from Canada) on the anniversary of his release.  He got a group of Canadian do-gooders and free thinkers to join him in fighting to set aside convictions for people who were wrongly convicted in Canada.
  • He would vet the briefs that we sent. He was a very unusual client.
  • Rubin refused to act as a prisoner because he wasn’t anyone who was guilty he said.
  • So, he didn’t eat prison food, he didn’t take prisoner assignments, he didn’t wear prison clothes and somehow or other he was able to pull that off.
  • People think of it as being another time, I’ve been practicing law long enough and I don’t think anything changes.
  • The same kind of bias runs deep throughout the community its just masked somewhat differently.
  • You make your luck in these cases, you have to forge ahead.
  • His insistence on being an innocent person and will not compromise with the system is the kind of inspiration that pushes us on as lawyers.

Guest – Attorney Myron Beldock, graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1946, Hamilton College in 1950 and Harvard Law School in 1958. He served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1954 and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York from 1958 to 1960. After several years as an associate with a small New York City firm and as a single practitioner, he brought together two friends and former Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Elliot Hoffman and Larry Levine, to form Beldock Levine & Hoffman in 1964. He is best described, by his own definition, as an old-time general practitioner. He concentrates on trial and appellate litigation, in state and federal courts, in defense of criminal charges and in pursuing plaintiffs’ civil rights actions based on police and prosecutorial misconduct and employer and governmental discrimination. He regularly consults and defends charges of professional discipline. He represents plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of personal and business related matters, working with others in the firm’s various practice areas.

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Law and Disorder April 28, 2014


 Protesters Demonstrate Against The Visit Of Armenian President Armenians_marched_by_Turkish_soldiers,_1915

Armenian Genocide Survivor Stories: 99 Years Later

Around the world, April 24 marks observance of the Armenian Genocide. On that day in 1915 the Interior Minister of the Ottoman Empire, Talaat Pasha, ordered the arrest and hangings of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. The date is widely considered to be the starting date of a systematic and well-documented plan to eliminate the Armenians, who had been under Ottoman rule and treated as second class citizens since the 15th century.

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. Meeting together to share memories in conversation are Jennie Garabedian, Harry Mazadorian, Roxy Garabedian, Lucy Simonian, Roxie Maljanian, Mary Abrahamian, John Maljanian, Agnes Karanian, Ruth Swisher, and Artie Shahverdian.

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.  As you will hear from the stories of these first generation Armenian survivors who continue to live in New Britain, a shared history –a shared identity—emerges.

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. A concerted plan of deportation and extermination was allowed to be carried out, 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.

Some learned about the massacres directly from their parents or family members, while others were not told at all. Often, surviving women were ashamed to talk about what they had experienced because so many of them had been raped or forced into harems. For others, conjuring visual images of the atrocities was too painful to bear. When parents did speak about the crimes they experienced or witnessed, they frequently spoke in Turkish or Syrian, instead of English or Armenian, so that their children couldn’t understand. Most children of survivors say that the subject was a secret, even forbidden.

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Law and Disorder April 21, 2014


Updates:

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cuban-twitter Cuba-cell-phone-2010-05-14

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 April 14, 2014


Updates:

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scidallas2 carrington2

The Dallas 6: Abuse In Solitary Confinement

In April of 2010, a group of inmates locked in solitary confinement at SCI Dallas prison in Pennsylvania were suffering so much abuse and brutal treatment by prison guards they had placed their 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. Last December the inmates known as the Dallas 6 defended themselves and presented testimony describing the details of their abuse in solitary confinement.

Shandre Delaney:

  • This case, the Dallas 6, began in April 2010. These men were all in the RHU at SCI Dallas, in Dallas PA.
  • The RHU is the restrictive housing unit, its an acronym for solitary confinement.
  • All of these men had been victims of abuse and torture during their stay in solitary confinement.
  • The Dallas 6 are Andre Jacobs, Anthony Kelly, Anthony Locke, Dwayne Peters, Derek Stanley and my son Carrington Keys.
  • Most of these guys went into solitary for minor infractions, maybe to stay 60-90 days. My son stayed in there for 10 years, and I think all of the other guys about the same.
  • These guys were jailhouse lawyers. These guys were people who spoke up and sent word to the outside about what was going on in solitary confinement.
  • Once you do that – they call it misconduct, which are write ups, they’ll give you false write ups, and all types of things just to keep you in there longer.
  • The cells are 6X9. In solitary, they might have a window to the outside. There is a bunk that they sleep on. There is only a slot for food to come in and out.
  • You’re supposed to come out of your cell for one hour a day. They may get a shower 2 or 3 times a week.
  • They lied to me for years and told me he wasn’t allowed visits. I later found out that they’re allowed one visit per month.
  • The group that I work for Human Rights Coalition, some of the information that was sent from SCI Dallas, a 93 page report was written called Resistance and Retaliation.
  • They sent a copy back in (to SCI Dallas) they didn’t mark out the guys’ names, so once the guards got a hold of this, and saw the guy’s names, they started one by one beating guys.
  • They took one guy and put him in a restraint chair. You’re only supposed to be in the restraint chair for 2 hours, they kept there over night.
  • They (the guards) told the guys (Dallas 6) we’re comin for you. In order to bring attention from a lieutenant or a superior officer, you have to cover your cell window.
  • They covered their cell windows. The guards put on riot gear and one by one they beat these guys very bad.
  • It’s all on video tape. They tasered a lot of the guys on their genitals.
  • They have you like a hog or something, I saw it on the video.
  • They cut their clothes off and left them for hours in cages.
  • May 5, 2014 is supposed to be the official trial date. The official trial date has been going on for 2 years.
  • I was praying every night hoping the phone didn’t ring and they tell me they killed him.
  • They took out to shower and threw him down the steps and broke his nose, they busted his teeth out with a stick before.
  • They put glass in his food.
  • HRCoalition.org
  • Dallas 6 Blog 
  • Petition to Indict Luzerne County Officials 
  • Summary in Support of Petition to Indict 

Guest – Shandre Delaney, a powerful activist with HRCoalition and the mother of Carrington Keys, one of the Dallas 6.

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condoleezza_rice_bc_commencement rutgers_university

Rutgers University Plans to Give Condoleezza Rice Honorary Degree

Students and faculty at Rutgers University have rejected the idea to invite former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at this year’s commencement ceremony and receive an honorary degree. The Board of Governors in February of this year unanimously voted to award Rice the invite for a fee of 35 thousand dollars. They also voted to give the national security adviser under former President George W. Bush an honorary degree. Resolutions signed by the university faculty and staff calls for Rice to be disinvited.

Professor Deepa Kumar:

  • Historically our process at Rutgers University has involved having 20 some faculties, students, involved in the process of selecting the commencement speaker, typically by canvasing students and canvasing faculty and then making a recommendation to the president as to who to invite.
  • When president Barchi came to your university in 2012 he completely violated this open and democratic process, formed a committee of 6 people including himself. Then they decided to go ahead an invite Condoleezza Rice.
  • We believe that this was actually politically motivated. What suspect is that Chris Cristi who was riding high at that time in 2012, before bridge-gate, very likely wanted to have Condoleezza Rice as Vice Presidential candidate when he runs.
  • So far we have taken out a petition drive, the students have their own petition drive, hundreds of people have signed up. We’ve also talked about holding a protest outside should our efforts fail.
  • The last time Dr. Rice was invited to be a commencement speaker was at 2006 at Boston College, when everybody turned their back to her when she started to speak.
  • Condoleezza Rice was very much a part of the systematic lying to the American public and quite frankly we at Rutgers teach our students to ethical to be responsible citizens.
  • At Rutgers we have a 44 percent minority student enrollment. It’s a very diverse school and I welcome African American women as commencement speakers but I think there are better people like Anita Hill or Angela Davis.
  • In 2002 we know from a Senate Committee Intelligence Report of 2009 that when Rice was chair of the National Security Council she gave a verbal approval to then CIA director George Tenet to go ahead and use enhanced interrogation techniques.
  • She’s been quite steadfast in defending the use of torture. She gave a speech at Stanford University where she argued that if torture is authorized by the president then it doesn’t violate the Geneva Convention against torture.
  • Commencement at Rutgers – May 18, 2014.
  • Senator Feinstein called the use of torture a dark chapter in the history of this country.
  • Clearly torture is a violation of international law and the Geneva Convention and I think to confer a Doctor of Law degree to someone who has been intimately connected with this “dark chapter” in our history I think is a serious embarrassment for Rutgers University.
  • I’m really proud to be among the hundreds of faculty members and students who are actually standing up against this to disinvite her.
  • Dick Cheney comes out and defends the torture program even now.
  • If I Was Allowed To Speak

Guest – Deepa Kumar, an Associate Professor of Media and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. Her latest book is Islamophobia and The Politics of Empire by Haymarket Books and is in response to the events of 9/11, the Bush administration launched a “war on terror,” ushering in an era of anti-Muslim racism, or Islamophobia.  Her first book, Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike (University of Illinois Press, 2007), is about the power of collective struggle in effectively challenging the priorities of neoliberalism.

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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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Anti-government protests in Venezuela ukraine2

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 March 17, 2014


Updates:

  • Hosts Discuss The CIA Spies On Senate Committee Staff Computers
  • Heidi Boghosian: Goes Back To 2009 When The CIA Destroyed Videotapes of Interrogation.
  • Michael Ratner: When It Was Disclosed That The NSA Is Surveilling All Of Us, She (Feinstein) Stood In Front Of Everybody And Said Oh, This Is Great.

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Senate Democrats Help Block Key DOJ Civil Rights Division Nominee

We take a looking at how a group of Senate Democrats broke ranks with President Obama to block key nominee Debo Adegbile as head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Seven democrats joined with Republicans to defeat Adegbile’s bid. That defeat was driven by the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police who launched a campaign against Adegbile and his work defending imprisoned Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal.  Specifically, Adegbile was part of a team of lawyers at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who successfully argued the trial judge’s jury instructions violated Abu-Jamal’s rights.

Professor Mark Taylor:

  • The recent campaign has been foregrounded especially on FOX television news where you heard leading anchors and reporters connecting Dego Adegbile to Mumia Abu-Jamal.
  • The Fraternal Order of Police wrote letters to media outlets. They wrote a letter to President Obama objecting to Dego Adegbile. This is fully congruent to what we in Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal have experienced from the Fraternal Order of Police throughout the years.
  • The Fraternal Order of Police will even stoop to maintaining a black list online of any of us Educators around the country not only for working for Mumia but for just for signing ads in the New York Times on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s new trial or release with restitution, whatever the case, they’ll maintain those charges.
  • The Fraternal Order of Police will put pressure on venues that host the events for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
  • It is a national organization and in their letter to President Obama they claim to represent some 350 thousand police officers across the country and claim to be speaking for those 350 thousand.
  • There are elements of the Fraternal Order of Police all over the country who will step forward to ratchet up this venom against Mumia Abu-Jamal.
  • They have always used Maureen Falkner the widow to be in the position of the grieving widow of the slain police officer in spite of the fact that there is exculpatory evidence. They don’t want to discuss that, they want to play the drama of the grieving relative instead.
  • Of course that has powerful media appeal it often in our infotainment industry overrides argument, we know.
  • There is a stigmatization that is pervasive throughout much of our culture that causes lawyers, public relations officers and others to back away from the issue.
  • It’s an outrageous departure and betrayal of a tradition of civil rights advocacy that at least Democratic Party affiliates like to say they have supported through the years.
  • We will hope that voters will make them pay a price for this kind of vote.
  • We have voting rights issues because Dego Adegbile would have the job of which states to sue for Voter ID laws that are oppressive to African Americans.
  • Educators for Mumia Abu Jamal
  • Temple News At Temple University Ad Story.

Guest - Professor Mark Taylor, founder of Educators for Mumia Abu Jamal, a group of teachers from all levels of education, organizing since 1995 for a new a trial. Mark Taylor is a professor of Theology and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary.

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Ukraine and the Pathology of America’s Liberal Worldview. An African American Perspective

In his recent article, Ukraine and the Pathology of America’s Liberal Worldview. An African American Perspective returning guest Ajamu Baracka calls it a massive cognitive deficiency that President Obama asks Congress to agree on a billion dollar package aid for the Ukraine. Meanwhile, the elite opinion in the United States has embraced the position that cuts in public expenditures and services at every level of government are a reasonable and unavoidable necessity. Baracka says the crisis is here in the United States, with extended unemployment benefits for the 1.3 million people who lost thier jobs in Detroit.

Ajamu Baracka:

  • It’s clear that there was legitimate social opposition in the Ukraine to some of the policies of the government there and there was an attempt to express some of those concerns that were quickly taken advantage of by some elements of the Ukrainian society that are, have been associated with some of the more fascist elements that have been aligned with the far right for decades.
  • Some of those right wing forces ended up being the primary shock troops engaged in all kinds of violent activities.
  • A decision was made in which the protesters had won much of their demands in terms of political reforms, but that agreement was jettisoned by those right wing forces.
  • The result was that basically they stormed the institutions of the government and proclaimed themselves the new government.
  • There’s real danger in characterizing this as a popular revolution. It’s clear that more than half of the population of Ukraine was still not convinced that a revolutionary movement was called for and one in which violated the tenants of the Ukrainian constitution.
  • It became clear that the character of this revolution was one that was not really committed to social change.
  • Here we have a situation in Detroit a city that is basically bankrupt as a consequence of these predatory banks and the disintegration of the U.S. economy and its urban cores.
  • When the city officials went to the administration looking for assistance of course the line was, there’s no assistance for you.
  • It’s not just Detroit it’s across the country. We saw in December Congress, when striking their budget deals they eliminated extensions for the long term unemployed.
  • When it comes to the American people, the working class, the poor, there’s no money, there’s only growing austerity, but when it comes to advancing what many of us call the “empire” they can always find resources.
  • The one billion dollar package to the Ukraine is a stark contrast to the line – There’s no resources to bail out the people of Detroit.
  • Ultimately the winners in the Ukraine chess game will be U.S. capital and there would be some European capital that would benefit also.
  • Ukrainian economy will be forced to open up. The financial sector will be exposed. Banks will be taken over. Whatever state industries that are viable will be seized, privatized. There will be massive unemployment.
  • The Ukrainian workers will find that their wages not only increase but probably will be further eroded because they’re in competition with other poor workers throughout western Europe.
  • That’s why the U.S. is salivating at the prospects of penetrating the Ukrainian economy.
  • For reasons that are not really clear to me, many folks in the west in the U.S. don’t seem to be able to recognize this growing threat. This tendency to align themselves with the most reactionary elements on the planet.
  • The way I see it is a global strategy on the part of U.S. and western imperialism and the alignment they’ve made with what everybody knows to be fascist elements within the Ukraine.
  • It’s similar to alignments being made in slightly different ways to the radical right in Venezuela, with the continued support to the right wing government in Israel. .
  • What we see is a counter-revolutionary strategy based on closer alignments with right wing forces throughout the world.
  • There’s been mass confusion, people not being able to differentiate from the left and right, all they see is opposition and the opposition is enough for them to align with it.

Guest – Ajamu Baraka, Longtime activist, veteran of Black Liberation Movement, Human Rights defender, Former founding director of US Human Rights Network, currently Public Intervenon for Human Rights with Green Shadow Cabinet, member of Coordinating Committee of Black Left Unity Network and Associate Fellow at IPS.

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Law and Disorder March 10, 2014


Updates:

 

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NJ Federal Court Dismisses NYPD Spying On Muslims Case

We take a look into the failed lawsuit challenging the New York City Police Department’s broad surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey. As listeners may know the case Hassan v City of New York brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Muslim Advocates was dismissed last month. Since 2002, the NYPD spied outside its jurisdiction on at least 20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools and two Muslim Student Associations in New Jersey. The monitoring included using racial and ethnic profiling systems, video surveillance, photographing, community mapping and infiltration.

Professor Deepa Kumar:

  • It was very troubling for me too Michael. At Rutgers where I teach, we found out that the NYPD had a safe house just off of our New Brunswick campus.
  • It’s really troubling that student groups on my campus not to mention grade schools and Muslim book stores and community centers have been invaded.
  • It’s created a chilling sentiment among the Muslim community. People self-censor, they’re afraid that what they say will be used against them in entrapment cases.
  • This decision by this judge is completely stunning. The logic that he puts forward and I’m reading from his ten page report. He says “the police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself. The motive for the program was not solely apparently to discriminate against Muslims but to find Muslim terrorists hiding among ordinary law abiding Muslims.”
  • If you examine what he says, the notion that there are terrorists in the Muslim community, therefore its alright to go out and spy on them.
  • It’s based on the notion that somehow Islam serves to radicalize Muslim Americans into performing political violence.
  • This program has been active since 2002, but there hasn’t been one terrorism related lead, let alone any kind of conviction.
  • Since the events of 9/11 there have been all sorts of pseudo-scientific attempts to show that somehow the religion Islam creates political violence.
  • If you look at Hamas, the group in Palestine, they’ve gone to the Quran to justify violence as well as to justify cease fire.
  • It’s politics really as the key reason why people turn to violence and so to somehow blame Islam, this is a form of cultural racism.
  • What this means is that the NYPD can go around with impunity and spy on religion minorities, not just in New York City, but in New Jersey, in Connecticut.
  • It sends a green light to other police departments across the country as well as the FBI which has similar programs.
  • He (Judge Martini) justified his ruling referring to a case in the Supreme Court. I think we have a lot of work to do ahead of us in pushing back against this racist logic.
  • Some people claim that there isn’t racism against Muslims because Muslims aren’t a race.
  • There’s tremendous variation between human to human in terms of our genetic make up and 85 percent of this variation occurs within a so called race.
  • Why are we calling it racism? Because its a form of cultural racism, because its based on the premise that Islam somehow creates an ideology, it creates a culture that programs people to act in violent ways.
  • The reason why people turn to violence often is because peaceful movements failed.
  • I’m currently working on a book on the cultural logic of the national security state.
  • If you look the campaigns If You See Something, Say Something. What’s being asked of you is to become an agent of state surveillance.

Guest – Deepa Kumar, an Associate Professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. Her work is driven by an active engagement with the key issues that characterize our era–neoliberalism and imperialism. Her latest book is Islamophobia and The Politics of Empire by Haymarket Books and is in response to the events of 9/11, the Bush administration launched a “war on terror,” ushering in an era of anti-Muslim racism, or Islamophobia.  Her first book, Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike (University of Illinois Press, 2007), is about the power of collective struggle in effectively challenging the priorities of neoliberalism.

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Net Neutrality – Time Warner/Comcast Merger

A merger of media cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable threatens net neutrality. Comcast intends to take over Time Warner for more than 44 billion dollars in stock. This proposed merger would unite the nation’s largest cable TV and internet service provider with the second largest cable company. If combined, these companies would offer service to two thirds of U.S. households. The deal must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department and the FCC.

Attorney Matt Wood:

  • What we would have here is a 45 billion dollar deal combining the nation’s largest and second largest cable company.
  • They face some competition especially from video from satellite providers.
  • The place where they don’t face competition at all is on the broadband platform.
  • This deal would strengthen them both in their cable TV programming dominance and on the broadband side too.
  • You’d have one company that reaches two thirds of the country and its the only option some people have for advanced communications services, putting video and broadband together.
  • That would give tremendous power of everything we see on both TV and online. Comcast is already a must have for any independent programmer.
  • For even web providers such as Netflix.
  • Even without that horizontal competition today between Comcast and Time Warner cable this is not good news for the American people, for free expression, for lower prices, for anything we care about.
  • Net-neutrality means preventing unreasonable discrimination against content.
  • Verizon went to court and had these net neutrality rules struck down that the FCC put forward.
  • They (Verizon) said they internet is really like a newspaper than it is like a phone system and what that means is that we at Verizon should have editorial discretion over the internet content we transmit.
  • An internet service provider used to be somebody you went to who rode over the top of an open phone system. Right? Back in the dial up days there were a number of internet service providers and you could switch from one to the other.
  • Internet content should not be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission full stop yet the communications network that we all use to get online is something where have to have a public oversight role and a certain degree of universality, affordable and openness.
  • Susan Crawford talks about these issues as well. She said “What the companies want to do is confuse the conversation for the sidewalk.”
  • We need these rules to keep open the sidewalks, to keep open the public spaces and this concept of public communications network that serves everybody.
  • The twin review by the FCC and the Department of Justice might seem cumbersome but they have different mandates.
  • DOJ and the FTC are looking to prevent a decrease in existing competition.
  • The FCC has a broader mandate to make the sure the deal is actually in the public interest.
  • Comcast bought up NBC only 3 years ago. Since then, AT&T tried to acquire T-mobile.
  • Verizon has almost 50 percent of the entire (wireless) industry’s profits.

Guest – Attorney Matt Wood helps shape the policy team’s efforts to protect the open Internet, prevent media concentration, promote affordable broadband deployment and prioritize a revitalized public media. Before joining Free Press, he worked at the public interest law firm Media Access Project and in the communications practice groups of two private law firms in Washington, D.C. Before that, he served as editor-in-chief for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, worked for PBS, and spent time at several professional and college radio and television stations. Matt earned his B.A. in film studies from Columbia University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

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