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Law and Disorder April 14, 2014


Updates:

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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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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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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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Law and Disorder February 3, 2014


Updates:

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Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA

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

Professor Rick Wolff:

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

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

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Dr. Harriet Fraad:

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

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

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Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA

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Law and Disorder January 13, 2014


Updates:

  • Lynne Stewart Released From Prison, Returns Home
  • Media, Pennsylvania Activists Come Forward
  • White House Report: “Liberty and Security in a Changing World”

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Mumia Abu-Jamal, Heidi Boghosian and Professor Johanna Fernandez

We at Law and Disorder have kept you updated on his case for the 10 years we’ve been broadcasting. It’s our pleasure to welcome Mumia Abu-Jamal as our special guest. Professor Johanna Fernandez joins us as Mumia calls from SCI Mahanoy in Frackville, Pennsylvania. Johanna is a Professor of History at Baruch College and co-coordinator of the newly launched campaign to bring Mumia home.

Mumia Abu-Jamal:

  • I remember with quite a degree of distinction receiving in the mail, a packet full of xeroxed FBI files.
  • I believe by 1971, I had left the party. I read through files that named names and detailed internal affairs of the Black Panther Party of Philadelphia, the national office, other organizations, activists all through out the city and the region.
  • We lived in communal apartments and houses. We lived together we worked out of the same offices, we spent all day together with each other.
  • To read about lies that were in those files, and the people that you knew for years that were FBI informants, stuff like that, it was absolutely mind blowing.
  • Media, Pennsylvania story: I think they are the linear ancestors of Edward Snowden.
  • These were anti-war people for the most part, living their own lives but willing to make a contribution to the movement, because they were part of the movement.
  • It’s interesting that these file come out now, because for someone who has been reading and writing recently, about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., people know now that the FBI taped hotel rooms where Martin and Ralph David Abernathy and other civil rights activist were staying.
  • They tried to use those tapes to blackmail Martin King and actually force him into suicide.
  • This was all part of Hoover’s plan to destroy the Black Freedom Movement and any movement that was against what the government was doing.
  • It’s interesting that Law and Disorder is talking about 9/11 when right there in New York you have an estimated 100 cops who used 9/11 to justify scamming the public. Cops, prison guards and a few firefighters.
  • When you think about the ordinary heroes. These are people whose names are not known. Those nameless black mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters, they made that movement possible. (Black Freedom Movement)
  • Even if you think of Edward Snowden. He’s an average guy, no college education, he’s like a computer whiz. Now he got a great job and he resolved in his mind, in his heart, in his soul, that he would not be silent about the things he saw and heard.
  • BringMumiaHome.com
  • Law and Disorder Interview – The Framing of Mumia Abu Jamal by J.Patrick O’Connor

Guest – Mumia Abu-Jamal is a renowned journalist from Philadelphia who has been in prison since 1981 and was on death row since 1983 for allegedly shooting Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. After decades of appeals, he left death row in 2012 but is still facing a life sentence. He is known as the “Voice of the Voiceless” for his award-winning reporting on police/state violence brutality and other social and racial epidemics that plague communities of color in Philadelphia and throughout the world.

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Federal Court Allows For DHS Laptop Searches At Border

Each year, thousands of American citizens returning from abroad are subjected to searches of their laptops, cell phones and other personal devices. The Department of Homeland Security claims it has the right to such searches regardless of whether the traveler is suspected of wrongdoing.

A federal court recently dismissed a 2010 lawsuit against the DHS. The ACLU, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, filed the suit on behalf of Pascal Abidor, a dual French-American citizen whose laptop was searched and confiscated at the Canadian border, as well as the National Press Photographers Association and the NACDL. Abidor was traveling from Montreal to NY on Amtrak when his laptop was searched and taken by customs officers. He was questioned, taken off the rain in handcuffs and held in a cell for several hours. When his laptop was returned, many of his files, chats and photos had been searched.

Attorney Brian Hauss:

  • The agent opened Mr Abidor’s laptop and started looking through the files on his desktop.
  • She found a couple pictures that she showed to agents around her. She turned the laptop around to see what he thought about the pictures she identified.
  • One was a picture of a Hamas rally in Israel, and the other picture was of a Hezbollah rally in Lebanon.
  • Mr Abidor explained that these were related to his graduate work in Islamic studies.
  • The agents thought these pictures were suspicious, and they took Mr. Abidor off the train, the train left without him. They put him in handcuffs and placed him in a holding cell where he was forced to wait for several hours.
  • While he was there, the agents interrogated him about his studies, his associations, his interests in Islam, etc.
  • Eventually they decided there was no evidence of wrong doing. They decided to let him go but not before seizing all his electronic devices and specifically detaining his laptop for an indefinite period of time.
  • When they returned his laptop 11 days later he was able to determine from the last open date on his files, that the government had actually inspected his personal photographs a transcript of a chat he had with his girlfriend, copies of his email correspondence, class notes, journal articles, tax returns, his graduate school transcript and even his resume.
  • He decided to come to us and we brought a lawsuit on his behalf challenging this policy.
  • David House is a very talented computer programmer who lives in Cambridge, Massachussetts and he was at one time deeply involved in the Bradley Manning support network.
  • The government figured out that David House was related to Chelsea Manning and they wanted to question him in connection with the Wikileaks investigation.
  • They set up an alert in the data base, known as the Text Database. It let the government know whenever Mr. House was leaving the country.
  • When Mr House returned (from leaving the country) government agents were waiting for him at Chicago O’Hare.
  • They interrogated Mr. House about wikileaks and his political activities and confiscated his laptop and electronic devices.
  • When we brought a lawsuit on Mr. House’s behalf and actually settled with the government, the DHS notes after reviewing all of his materials after going through every file on his laptop . . concluded there was absolutely no evidence to seize these devices. There was strong reason to believe they knew this from the beginning and they knew they couldn’t get a probable cause warrant by a judge.
  • As we understand it, the DHS can put anyone it likes into the Text Database.
  • Our understanding is that from October 1, 2008 to June 2, 2010 more than 6,500 people.
  • What we asked for in our FOIA request was the DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Impact Report on border searches. We ultimately got the report with some redactions pertaining to the government’s legal analysis of why its allowed to engage in suspicionless searches.

Guest – Brian Hauss,  the William J. Brennan Fellow with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. At the ACLU, he has been involved in litigation challenging the federal government’s suspicionless search and seizure of laptops and other electronic devices at the international border. Brian is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. After graduation from law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Marsha Berzon of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

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Law and Disorder December 30, 2013


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Lawyers You’ll Like: Professor Holly Maguigan

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

Professor Holly Maguigan:

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

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

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Law and Disorder December 23, 2013


Updates:

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

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Over Policing of America: The Criminalization of Everyday Life

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

Attorney Chase Madar:

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

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

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Law and Disorder December 16, 2013


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NYPD Chief Bill Bratton – Broken Windows – Stop and Frisk

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

Attorney Carol Sobel:

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

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

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

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

George Kohl:

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

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

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Reform Measures For MetaData Collection, the NSA and EPIC

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

Attorney Alan Butler:

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

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

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Law and Disorder December 2, 2013


Updates:

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

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The Cuban Five Case Update: Attorney Martin Garbus

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

Attorney Martin Garbus:

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

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

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horace1a globalnato

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

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

Professor Horace Campbell:

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

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

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