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Law and Disorder June 1, 2015

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Firefight The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York’s Bravest

It has taken nearly a century of well-orchestrated grassroots organizing to squarely address rampant racial discrimination in the New York City Fire Department. In 1919 Wesley Williams became the first African American firefighter. Yet by the beginning f the 21st Century, and with a population 2 million African Americans, the department still had only about 300 black firefighters, lagging far behind other uniformed departments like the police. And overt racism still plagued the FDNY.  Although women and African Americans had sued the FDNY’s hiring practices—and prevailed in court—the fire department never enacted steps to eradicate hiring inequities. A court battle ultimately ensued between Mayor Bloomberg and the well organized Vulcans, the Society of Black Firefighters.

Finally in 2014, the City settled a $98 million discrimination lawsuit mandating changes to the qualifying test for firefighters and to hiring practices in the Fire Department.

The new book “Fire-fight: The Century-long Battle to Integrate New York’s Bravest” lays out the compelling story of this hard fought quest to break through a tightly knit culture in which whites and predominantly Irish exerted a hold on who entered the fire department.

Guest – Ginger Adams Otis has been writing about New York City and local politics for more than a decade. She is a staff writer at the NY Daily News. Otis started covering City Hall and the Fire Department when she worked for The Chief-Leader, from there she moved to staff position at the NY Post. She’s also been a radio and print freelancer for WNYC, the Associated Press, BBC, National Public Radio, The Village Voice and national magazines such as The Nation and Ms. She lives in Harlem, NY.

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Supporters Fight to Reinstate Teacher Who Allowed Students To Send Mumia Get Well Cards

Third grade elementary school teacher Marilyn Zuniga was recently fired from her job for allowing her students to write get well cards to the gravely sick Mumia Abu-Jamal who is in prison in Pennsylvania. We speak today with Larry Hamm, the founder and chairman of the New Jersey civil rights organization Peoples Organization for Progress.

Send a letter care of :

Orange New Jersey Public Schools
c/o Orange Public School Board Secretary Adekunle O. James
Patricia Arthur
451 Lincoln Avenue
Orange, NJ 07050


Supporters are asked to contact the Orange School system at:

Orange Superintendent of Schools, Ron Lee
Phone #: 973 677-4040

Forest Street School Principal, Yancisca Cooke
Email: Phone # 973.677.4120

Board Secretary, Adekunle James

Orange Brd of Ed phone #: 973 677-4000

Guest – Lawrence Hamm, civil rights activist and advocate for African-American people and the cause of human rights for more than 30 years. Raised in Newark New Jersey, he attended public schools and emerged at age 17 as a forceful and articulate spokesperson for the educational needs and aspirations of Newark students and the community. He was appointed to the Newark Board of Education, making him the youngest school board member in the United States. While at Princeton University (Larry received his Bachelor’s degree there in 1978) Larry distinguished himself during the anti-apartheid movement by organizing student protests and calling attention to Princeton’s financial investment in apartheid South Africa. These protests, and the rising tide of public indignation, resulted in Princeton University’s divestment in the apartheid South African economy. Larry Hamm’s impact as a student activist at Princeton is chronicled in the documentary film, “Blacks at Princeton.” After graduation, Hamm returned to Newark and became active in local politics. He served as district leader and president of the 24th District Assembly. Larry was the founder and director of the People’s Energy Cooperative, a community fuel oil cooperative. He served as the Director of the Community Organization Program for the United Church of Christ Commission For Racial Justice.



Law and Disorder May 25, 2015

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50 Year Anniversary of the Vietnam War: Professor Susan Schnall

From 1967 to 1969, during the Vietnam War Lieutenant J.G. Susan Schnall was a Navy nurse stationed at a hospital in Oakland California treating wounded marines. She and other soldiers threw anti-war leaflets out of airplane on to an Army base in California. For this she received a general court martial and was discharged from the Navy in 1969. She’s an expert on the effects of Agent Orange. The chemical used by the United States to commit chemical warfare against the Vietnamese people and their land.

Guest- Susan Schnall, co-coordinator of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign, chairing the legislative outreach and science group. She is currently a professor in Health Policy and Planning at NYU and a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and American Public Health Association. In 1969 she was tried and convicted by a general court martial for her anti-war activities while a member of the US Navy.


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50 Year Anniversary of the Vietnam War: Attorney Jim Lafferty

When the United States government escalated its war in Vietnam in 1965, Detroit Attorney Jim Lafferty who is a leader of the National Lawyers Guild and an attorney representing draft resisters became active in what was unfolded as the mass movement opposing the American war. Jim was one of the five national coordinators of the National Peace Action Coalition and played a central role in the huge anti-war demonstrations in 1967, 1969 and 1971.

Guest – Jim Lafferty, has been a movement lawyer, political organizer, and legal worker for the past 50 years. He served as NLG executive director from 1963 to 1967, during the peak of Guild work in the South. In Detroit, he was a founding partner of Lafferty, Reosti, Jabara, James, Stickgold, Soble and Smith, a law firm which, according to his Red Squad file, represented “every left-wing, civil rights, anti-war, and black nationalist group in Detroit.” Jim is also a strident antiwar activist. He established numerous draft counseling centers in the Midwest, helped organized some of the largest Vietnam War protests, and, when Iraq invasions loomed in both the 90s and the aughts, he coordinated some of the largest anti-war coalitions. Jim has served as the Los Angeles chapter’s Executive Director for over two decades. Most recently, he headed his chapter’s well-publicized support for Occupy LA.


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50 Year Anniversary of the Vietnam War: Doug Rawlings

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the American war in Vietnam, many believe that the US government is attempting to reshape the historical record, omitting the perspectives of antiwar protesters and of disaffected and nonconforming soldiers and their families. Also missing are the narratives of Southeast Asians who suffered from misguided and disastrous foreign policies.  Veterans for Peace has launched a Full Disclosure campaign calling on Americans to write letters to the soldiers whose names appear on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC. They urge everyone with a role in the Vietnam war–be it war resister, combatant, family member, conscientious objector or citizen, to share their memories and perspectives.

Guest – Doug Rawlings, founding member of Veterans For Peace and was an active member in early years of the organization, became Maine chapter president for 5 years, and served as chapter secretary.  He was on the planning committee for the  annual PTSD symposia and, planning committee for the 25th anniversary national convention. Rawlings was drafted in the fall, 1968 and served in Vietnam from July 1969 to August, 1970, 7/15th Artillery.  He was a secondary school teacher for six years and has been teaching at the University of Maine at Farmington for close to thirty years.



Law and Disorder May 11, 2015



  • Heidi Boghosian: Attorneys Make United Nations Urgent Appeal Request For Mumia Abu-Jamal


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FiSaraha International Film Festival

Co-host, attorney Michael Ratner recently attended the 11th FiSaraha International Film Festival in Africa’s Western Sahara Desert. He bring us up to date on the festival and the larger issue of Sahrawi refugee camps in Southwestern Algeria. He also reminds about the anniversary of the United States’ contra torture and murder of Ben Linder in Nicaragua.

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 Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder, 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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ACLU Lawsuit To Make Catholic Groups Provide Abortions To “Illegal” Immigrants

After hearing reports that Catholic bishops are prohibiting Catholic charities from allowing undocumented immigrant teenagers in their care to access contraception and abortion services—even in cases of rape—the ACLU recently filed a lawsuit to obtain federal government records. The group seeks documents related to reproductive healthcare policy for unaccompanied immigrant children in the care of federally funded Catholic agencies, which do not believe in abortion.  Nearly 60,000 unaccompanied minors illegally crossed over from Mexico border in 2014. Approximately one third were young girls, an astonishing 80% of whom were victims of sexual assault.

The government contracts with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to care for those children until they can either reunite with a relative or face an immigration hearing. In total the Conference has received $73 million overall from the government—with $10 million allocated for the care of unaccompanied minors in 2013 alone.

The Conference has objected to a regulation proposed by the Obama administration mandating that contractors provide abortions to immigrants who have been raped. In response to the ACLU’s request, the Conference asserts that they are within their rights to exercise religious freedom while taking care of the minors.

Guest – Brigitte Amiri, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.  Brigitte is currently litigating multiple cases, including a challenge to South Dakota’s law that requires women seeking abortion to first visit a crisis pregnancy center before obtaining an abortion, a restriction on Medicaid funding for abortion in Alaska, and a law in Texas that has forced one-third of the abortion providers to close their doors.  Brigitte is also heavily involved in the challenges to the federal contraception benefit, and was one of the coordinators for the amicus briefs in the Supreme Court.  Brigitte is an adjunct assistant professor at New York Law School, and has been an adjunct assistant professor at Hunter College.


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 Proposal To Award Chicago Police Torture Victims Reparations

Victims of police torture under former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge will share $5.5 million, receive an apology and have their story taught in school under a reparations package proposed recently. The proposal is expected to pass when the council votes on it this month.

More than 100 people who accused Burge and officers under his command of torture—from cattle-prod shockings, phone book beatings prods, and suffocation with bags until false confessions were given—over nearly two decades ending in 1991. While some have already settled for thousands or millions of dollars, the remaining dozens can each receive up to $100,000 under the proposed ordinance. More than $100 million has already been paid over the years in court-ordered judgments, settlements and legal fees. Amnesty International USA lauded the proposal, which it said was unlike anything a U.S. municipality has ever introduced.

Besides a provision that calls for teaching the Burge torture cases to 8th and 10th graders in public school history classes, the ordinance includes a formal apology from the City Council, and psychological counseling and other benefits such as free tuition at community colleges. In recognition that the torture, and in many cases wrongful convictions and lengthy prison sentences, has impacted victims and their families, the ordinance extends some benefits to victims’ children or grandchildren.

Burge, 67, was fired from the Chicago Police Department in 1993. He was never criminally charged with torture, but was convicted in 2010 of lying about torture in a civil case and served 4.5 years in federal custody. Still drawing his pension, he was released from a Florida halfway house in February.

Guest – Attorney  G. Flint Taylor, a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern Law School, is a  founding partner of the People’s Law Office in Chicago, an office which has been dedicated to litigating civil rights, police violence, government misconduct, and death penalty cases for more than 40 years




Law and Disorder April 27, 2015


  • U.S. Continues To Not Officially Recognize Armenian Genocide On 100th Anniversary
  • Michael Ratner: Constitution and Freedom of Speech Threatened In Wake Of Anti-Boycott (BDS) Legislation In US and Israel
  • University of Southampton Cancels Conference After Government, Israel Lobby Pressure
  • Michael Ratner Exposes NY Times Article – Student Coalition at Stanford Confronts Allegations of Antisemitism
  • Michael Ratner – “Antisemitism has nothing to do with whether I’m against the practices of the Israeli state.”


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Emmett, Down in My Heart

The prize-winning play Emmett, Down in My Heart is the true story of two female characters, Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley and a white teacher, Roanne Taylor, who frame the 1955 kidnap, torture, murder of 14-year old Emmett Till in the Mississippi Delta. Roanne is haunted by her silence and confronts her need to take responsibility and speak. Mamie Till-Mobley, through outrage and grief, is transformed from a private citizen to a social-justice activist. Many consider her insistence on an open casket to be the start of the modern Civil Rights Movement. And tree months later in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks said Emmett Till was the catalyst that motivated her when she refused to move to the back of the bus.

Guest – Clare Coss, activist, writer and psychotherapist. Her publications include Lillian D.Wald: Progressive Activist which features the play and a selection of Wald’s correspondence and speeches. Her anthology of lesbian love poems, The Arc of Love (Scribner), was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Coss was for many years the Poetry Editor for Affilia, a journal of women and social work. She has taught at Hunter College, SUNY at Stony Brook, and is collaborating on her libretto Emmett Till, the Opera with composer Mary Watkins.


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The United States, Saudi Arabia And The War In Yemen 2015

Today we’re going to untangle the war in Yemen. You read a lot about it. There’s Iran helping the Houthis. Why is Saudi Arabia stopping the bombing? What’s the role of the United States? How did this war come about? What happened to civil society? There are no easy answers, at least if you read American newspapers. But there actually are answers.

Guest – Dr. Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he serves as coordinator of the program in Middle Eastern Studies. Recognized as one the country’s leading scholars of U.S. Middle East policy and of strategic nonviolent action, Professor Zunes serves as a senior policy analyst for the Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies, an associate editor of Peace Review, a contributing editor of Tikkun, and co-chair of the academic advisory committee for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.



Law and Disorder December 22, 2014


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New Cuba-U.S.A. Pact And Remaining Cuban Five Prisoners Released

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • We’ve been covering this case for years on here. They were wrongfully convicted. They had been sent into Miami to stop Miami-Cuban terrorism against Cuba.
  • The U.S. in a vindictive prosecution had sentenced them for many years, in fact one of them was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to commit espionage I think.
  • It’s all part of a larger picture of what’s going on.
  • Cuba in what’s not considered an exchange, of course obviously, released Alan Gross.
  • Obama within limits sounds like he’s going to open relations within a certain way with Cuba and open an embassy in Cuba and Cuba, one in the United States.
  • It’s amazing moment, the revolution took place in 1959, so that’s only 55 years ago approx, the embargo has been in effect since 1961. It’s still in effect of course but this is a really major moment.
  • Attorney Len Weinglass would take 1 or 2 cases at a time, work on them like a dog, whether it was Mumia or in this case the Cuban Five and put every piece, every part of his life into it.


Attorney Heidi Boghosian:

  • In the U.S. we continue to see the news portraying the five as spies when like you said they were really here to uncover unlawful activities on the part of the U.S government.
  • They handed over files to the FBI, they were very forthright with the information they gathered.
  • We also know from our interviews with attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Gloria LaRiva that the U.S. has been paying journalists in Miami to report negatively on the case of the Cuban Five and were doing so at the time of their trial.
  • One of the lawyers we used to interview on this show and a close friend of ours Lenny Weinglass who passed away a couple of years ago was the main lawyer for the Cuban Five. It then became Martin Garbus who carried on the case in an extraordinary way, and I think that all of their work and all of the work of the Committee to Free the Cuban Five has led to result that I think would have been unforeseeable 20 years ago.


Civil Forfeiture Cases Follow Up

Michael Ratner Commends Dean of Columbia Law School Canceling Exams Allowing Option To Protest

International Criminal Court: Possible Prosecutions From U.S. Torture In Afghanistan

Happy Birthday Chelsea Manning

ECCHR Calls For 13 CIA Agents To Be Extradited To Germany

ECCHR Complaint Against Bush Era Architects Of Torture

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • It’s taking the Senate Report they did on detention and going further and saying now we actually have evidence from one of the branches of government admitting that the CIA engaged in this incredibly awful program of torture.
  • Wolfgang Kaleck says there are about 500 CIA agents that should be quaking in their boots about traveling to Europe.


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Senate Intelligence Committee Torture Report: Attorney Scott Horton

Guantanamo suicides, CIA interrogation techniques, CIA ordered physicians who violate the Hippocratic oath, are topics of some recent articles by returning guest attorney Scott Horton. Last month, he was on Democracy Now to debate former CIA General Counsel John Rizzo on the question of declassifying a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report about the agency’s secret detention and interrogation programs. His book Lords of Secrecy The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy will be published January 2015.

Attorney Scott Horton:

  • I think the results flow directly from the media coverage (ABC poll on Torture report)
  • Now major publications and broadcasters that hedged using the word torture have stopped doing that. There are only a handful of media sources that won’t do it. NPR being one of them.
  • The media also presents roughly twice as much time devoted to people justifying the use of torture techniques to those criticizing it.
  • Barack Obama who should lead the push back has gone completely silent. It’s beyond silent he talked about “tortured some folks” making it very casual, and then he said the torturers were patriots.
  • I thought it was electrifying reading. 90 percent of it I’ve heard about before and still when you read them in this clinical, plain, highly factual style and things were developed with a continuous flow with lots of background in decision making in Washington at the top and how all this effected what happened on the ground.
  • As a consumer of Congressional reports this probably the single most impressive Congressional oversight report I’ve ever seen.
  • It’s an excellent example of what the oversight committee should be doing all the time.
  • They’re doing this with respect to a program which was essentially or very largely wrapped up by October 2006.
  • We’re talking about 8 1/2 years ago.
  • They’re only able to do this kind of review in any depth when its historical, not when its real time oversight, that’s disappointing.
  • One thing that emerges from looking at these reports and the military reports is that there is a huge black hole which has never been fully developed and explored and that’s JSOC, its the military intelligence side.
  • That escaped review within the DOD process and it escaped review in CIA process and its clear that there’s a huge amount there.
  • I certainly don’t expect prosecutions to emerge for the next couple of years in the United States, but I see a process setting in that may eventually lead to prosecutions.
  • On the one hand we’re seeing a dangerous deterioration in relations with Russia, is an aggressor, which has seized territory in the heart of Europe, is waging a thinly veiled war on one of its neighbors. That is very unnerving to the major NATO powers.
  • On the other hand there’s never been a period in the history of the alliance when there is so much upset at the United States.
  • That’s come largely from the rise of the surveillance state and the role of the NSA.
  • I was looking at this report, and we know that in 2006, there was an internal review that led the CIA to conclude that these interrogation techniques were ineffective and the CIA internally decided to seek a large part of the authority for EIT’s and operation of black sites rescinded.
  • Another thing that’s very important here from this report, it tells us that Michael Hayden, George Tenant, Porter Goss and other very senior people at the CIA repeatedly intervened to block any form of punishment of people who are involved with torture and running the black sites.
  • That’s important because of the legal document Command Responsibility. The law says when command authority makes a decision not to prosecute and immunize people involved with torture and abuse, that results in the culpability of these crimes migrating up the chain of command.
  • I interviewed CIA agents who were involved in this program, and they told me they’ve all been brought out by legal counsels office and told – they may not leave the country.
  • That means you’ve got roughly 150 CIA agents, including many people near the top of the agency who can’t travel right now.
  • Lords of Secrecy The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy

Guest – Scott Horton, human rights lawyer and contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine. Scott’s column – No Comment. He graduated Texas Law School in Austin with a JD and was a partner in a large New York law firm, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. His new book Lords of Secrecy The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy.




Law and Disorder August 26, 2013


Army PFC Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years

Our own Michael Ratner reports back from Fort Meade, Maryland on the day Army PFC Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified information to Wikileaks.  As reported by Michael Ratner, Manning faced a maximum of 90 years in prison after his conviction last month on charges of espionage, theft and fraud.  Now, his sentence goes the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, where he may seek a reduction of his prison term.

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • 35 years is a completely off the wall sentence. First of all he shouldn’t have been prosecuted at all.
  • That’s been the Center for Constitutional Rights position. That’s my position.
  • He’s a whistle-blower, he exposed torture, criminality, killing of civilians.
  • Then, they over prosecute him, charge him with espionage, make whistle-blowers into spies.
  • They charge him with all these years, then people are relieved when gets 35 years.
  • It’s a very long sentence for someone who actually gave us the truth about Iraq, about Iran, about the helicopter video that killed a Reuters journalist, about the diplomatic cables that gave us the secret war in Yemen, the revelations about the corrupt Ben Ali government in Tunisia that helped bring on the Arab Spring.
  • He’s a hero. The people who committed the crime are sadly still in our government enjoying their lives, they’re the ones that ought to be prosecuted.
  • We’re in a time where there is a sledgehammer taken to whistle-blowers.
  • The demand now is that Obama pardon him or give him clemency. That’s from the Bradley Manning Support Committee.
  • Because of Bradley Manning, people like Ed Snowden came forward. They understood that when they see criminality, they’re young people of conscience and they act on it, and we should be very proud of each of these people.

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.


Journalist Barrett Brown Faces 105 Years In Prison

Journalist Barrett Brown has spent more than 330 days in pre trial detention and faces charges that add up to a 105 year sentence. What Barrett Brown did was merely take a link from a chat room and copied that link then pasted it to a chat room for a wiki-based crowd source group called Project PM.  The link was to the Stratfor hack information of 5 million emails. He needed help to sift through the data and posted the link that was already publicly out there to the attention of the editorial board of Project PM.  There were unencrypted credit card numbers and validation codes within those emails and the government is claiming that Barrett Brown was engaged in credit card fraud. Why go after Barrett Brown? The backstory begins with the Bank of America being concerned that Wikileaks had specific information. They go to the Department of Justice who lead them to a big law firm in Washington DC, then to a private intelligence firm. Meanwhile, a defense fund for Barrett Brown continues to raise money for his case.

Kevin Gallagher:

  • Barrett Brown is an investigative journalist and freelance writer who has had a career writing for the Huffington Post, the Guardian and many other places.
  • Through his observing the media landscape over the last ten years in America, I think he grew very dissatisfied with things so when this phenomenon called anonymous popped up in 2010, making major news headlines, he attached himself to it.
  • All he was doing was looking at this information leaked by Jeremy Hammond out of Stratfor as part of his journalistic inquiry into the world of private intelligence firms.
  • The fact that they can indict someone on identity theft and credit card fraud just for sharing a link of information. . there’s no allegation that he sought to profit from it.
  • Project PM over its lifespan was a number of different things but that’s what it eventually evolved into.
  • A crowd sourced project with a wiki that was devoted to investigating soley, the state corporate alliance on surveillance. This was known as Team Themis, a consortium of these firms.
  • This all started when Wikileaks said it had information from the Bank of America.
  • Barrett was investigating. There are other journalists who do very good work on this. He was one of the most vocal who was involved in investigating all these relationships between the private intel firms and the DOJ. He was using leaked emails to do so.
  • I think they were very upset to see these things revealed.
  • Barrett recognized that this was a threat and he was looking into it.
  • Before the court right now is a motion for a media gag order which was presented by the prosecution which would silence Barrett and his attorneys from making statements to the media.

Guest – Kevin Gallagher, writer, musician and systems administrator based in western Massachusetts. He graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He’s currently pursuing activism on issues related to digital rights: freedom of information, privacy, and copyright; while also taking an interest in information security. He is the director and founder of Free Barrett Brown, a support network, nonprofit advocacy organization and legal defense fund formed for the purpose of assisting the prominent internet activist and journalist, Barrett Brown, who is the founder of Project PM.


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Native Hawaiian Prisoner Transfer to Arizona Private Prison

Hawaii is know for sending more prisoners across state lines than any other state. According to the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, a disproportionate number of those prisoners are Native Hawaiian inmates.  Because of over crowding, Native Hawaiian inmates are transferred from a Hawaii state prison to a for-profit Corrections Corporation of America prison in Arizona. This particular CCA private prison however was built specifically for Native Hawaiian inmates, yet they’re denied cultural and religious rites. Additional transfer impacts include difficult reentry back into Hawaii, away from family and homeland, and no opportunity for proper atonement.

Attorney Sharla Manley:

  • We’ve been involved in a lawsuit for 2 years concerning the impact of Hawaii’s policy of transferring inmates to the mainland. Native Hawaiians.
  • Native Hawaiians are the indigenous people of the state of Hawaii. They have a similar experience to American Indians on the continent.
  • Our firm focuses on Native Hawaiian rights and the focus on what self determination remains despite the history.
  • Native Hawaiians are disproportionately incarcerated. They are transferred more often than any other racial group.
  • The state of Hawaii creates a menu of prisoners, for private prisons to select.
  • Our focus on the transfer is very narrow, the Native Hawaiian prisoners who still want to adhere to native traditions and practices.
  • In Arizona you don’t have access to cultural teachers and spiritual advisers who could provide the kind of guidance or counseling, really the kind of instruction of passing on a tradition.
  • The Native Hawaiian women were being transferred for a period of time, but there were so many sexual assaults, the state finally brought them back.
  • You’re taking away the men, breaking the cultural transmission because many of these men are fathers, grandfathers. Yes they would be in prison here, but there is a difference when your family can see you on the weekends.
  • In effect, it’s a form of cultural genocide.
  • I’m beside myself as to why this hasn’t been rectified at this point. There’s not even a plan really.
  • This is an issue that is personal for me. I am Native Hawaiian, and know what its like to have someone in your community, in your family to be effected by the criminal justice system.

Guest – Attorney Sharla Manley, with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation.  Sharla Manley joined NHLC as a staff attorney in 2010. Before joining NHLC, Sharla was an associate at an international law firm in Los Angeles in its global litigation department for over three years. In addition to handling commercial litigation matters, she also took pro bono cases, involving voting rights, asylum, and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act. Also, Sharla was an associate at a plaintiff-side class action firm where she primarily handled appeals of wage and hour cases before state appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit.  Before law school, Sharla was a policy analyst on Native Hawaiian rights at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. She focused on water rights and the impact of military activities on cultural resources in Makua Valley.


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Solidarity Sing A Long: Wisconsin Labor Protests Continue

The noontime sing-along has protested Gov. Scott Walker’s policies daily at Wisconsin’s Capitol since March 11, 2011.  However, a new round of arrests began two weeks ago and more than 100 citations have been issued to protesters by Capitol Police.  But this is in addition to nearly 200 citations already since July 2012 when the Department of Administration began enforcing new permitting requirements for gatherings in state facilities. What is the noontime solidarity sing-along protest?

Attorney Jonathan Rosenblum:

  • When you have a new governor who within weeks in office describes his legislation as a bomb,  which was to end collective bargaining for public sector workers.
  • This led to more than a hundred thousand people, multiple times on the square where I’m sitting right now here on Wisconsin Avenue.
  • Beyond the anti-union agenda, this governor has come in with a pedigree from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. He as a legislator in the same building was a member of ALEC, was a proponent of its agenda.
  • His agenda as it moved along, was to remove vast numbers of children from medicaid, of claiming a jobs agenda would bring Wisconsin to the top in the United States, instead it plunged to the bottom.
  • He eliminated funding for high speed trains, instead the trains for Wisconsin are now sitting in Oregon.
  • The main point about this governor is about closing the doors of this government to the public.
  • Even the union legislation that led to the crowds was passed in violation of a Public Meetings Act.
  • Let me take you to March 11, 2011 when it all started. I was standing there with my friend Steve Burns, folks had slept in the capitol for weeks, the anti-union legislation was passed and signed that day and Steve had printed up a few copies of a songbook that had the dome of the capitol opening up with musical notes on the cover of it and 10 tunes, the classics of the civil rights movement.
  • Several of them modified in the great Wobbly tradition.
  • This sing-along has preceded from that day March 11, 2011 without skipping a beat, every single week day since that date. More than 650 consecutive sing-alongs.
  • The sing-along is a joyful conglomeration. It’s reached about 300-400 daily as the crack down has actually caused a surge of concerned citizens to join us.
  • We Don’t Want Your Millions, Mister.
  • A Long Range Acoustic Device is being used. The police have started to use the recordings of Chief Irwin’s declaration of unlawful assembly to blast into the rotunda so nobody misses it.
  • They use the siren that ramps up to 150 db to disable people. They haven’t put it to that level yet.
  • The State Capitol Police are in a bind. They have their orders, most are executing them with a little more zeal than they should. Some of them seem to be maintaining friendships that they had before with the singers.

Guest – Jonathan Rosenblum, contributor, an author, award-winning journalist, and practicing lawyer. His book, Copper Crucible: How the Arizona Miners’ Strike of 1983 Recast Labor-Management Relations in America (Cornell University Press, 1995; Second Edition, 1998) was named as one of Princeton University Library’s “Ten Noteworthy Books in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics” in 1996.



Law and Disorder February 11, 2013


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Senate Votes To Extend Warrantless Wiretaps For Five More Years: No Oversight, No Transparency

Days before 2012 drew to a close, the U.S. Senate voted 73-23 to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 for five more years. This is the unconstitutional spying bill that violates the Fourth Amendment and gives vast unmonitored authority to the National Security Agency to conduct dragnet surveillance of American’s’ international emails and phone calls.

Michelle Richardson:

  • The Senate took up the FISA Reauthorization Bill right at the end of the year and they did consider a handful of very moderate amendments that wouldn’t have actually interfered with the collection of information but would make it more transparent to Congress.
  • In an open and free democracy there should be no secret law.
  • The original FISA was much more targeted. It required a more traditional probable cause, finding an individualized warrant before you could go up and tap a phone.
  • After 911 Congress started systematically lowering the standard for obtaining this information.
  • They made it easier so you could go around the court, and do it administratively.
  • They lowered the standard so there’s no longer a probable cause. The FISA Amendment Act is probably the biggest change in the last decade.
  • You no longer have to name who you’re going to tap, the phone number or stated facility.
  • Instead we’re going to do these programmatic orders so the court is no longer involved in deciding who will be tapped.
  • I’m not going to tap a specific American, but I want information about Yemen.
  • Theoretically this isn’t turned into the United States at any specific person. We think its being used for bulk collection.
  • The way the internet works now, sometimes your communication will travel around the world before landing next door.
  • A lot of times the equipment is intentionally built so the government can tap directly into the system.
  • FISA – Foreign intelligence which includes the undefined national defense of the United States.
  • I think there is reason to believe this is a self correcting situation and that people will start looking at this technology and understand more about what’s out there.

Guest – Michelle Richardson is a Legislative Counsel with the ACLU Washington Legislative Office where she focuses on national security and government transparency issues such as the Patriot Act, FISA, cybersecurity, state secrets and the Freedom of Information Act. Before coming to the ACLU in 2006, Richardson served as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee where she specialized in national security, civil rights and constitutional issues for Democratic Ranking Member John Conyers.

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Boycott Divestment Sanction Controversy At Brooklyn College

Last month, a backlash of controversy erupted after the announcement of a student group at CUNY’s Brooklyn College, Students for Justice in Palestine will host two speakers who will discuss their views on the BDS movement. The BDS movement as many listeners may know calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel in protest of the government’s oppressive policies toward the Palestinian people. The speakers are Palestinian BDS advocate Omar Barghouti and University of California Berkeley philosopher and BDS supporter Judith Butler. The event was  co-sponsored by numerous student and community groups, as well as Brooklyn College’s political science department.

The backlash included a threat by New York City Council members and Congressman Jerry Nadler to defund Brooklyn College and opinion pieces by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz who called the event a “propaganda hate orgy,” another daily newspaper labeled it “Israel-bashing.

Omar Barghouti:

  • Specifically the BDS call said that Israel and institutions and corporations that are complicit in Israel’s violations of International Law should be boycotted, divested from and eventually sanctioned in order to achieve the 3 basic rights of the Palestinian people under International Law.
  • Ending the occupation of 1967, which include the illegal colonies, the wall, ending the system of discrimination within Israel itself which meets the UN definition of apartheid, the third is the right of return for refugees which is their basic inalienable right under international law.
  • In order to achieve these 3 basic rights, we absolutely need international solidarity as was done in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, we can’t do it alone.
  • Your tax money is funding Israel occupation and apartheid. You have an obligation to question where your money is going to and how its being used to oppress us.
  • I think that the New York Times editorial supported having a debate at Brooklyn College says it all. We could have never imagined such a thing, a year ago.
  • The government of South Africa’s ruling party the ANC endorsed BDS this last December.
  • Many Jewish groups have joined BDS campaigns and are leading BDS campaigns.
  • Bullying is one thing and response from critics is another. We’re very open to debate but no one would debate us.
  • They’re running scared of debate.
  • Not every event, every talk has to be balanced.
  • The balance is overall. Those accusing this panel of being imbalanced themselves like Dershowitz, always speak solo, unopposed, espousing the most extreme ideas like torture, a war crime.
  • They’re twisting the very definition of academic freedom.
  • Human rights are difficult. If you have a master slave relationship and the slave insists on freedom and nothing less than freedom that upsets the order.
  • Did equality in Alabama delegitamize whites? It delegitamized apartheid in the South.
  • We’re delegitamizing the Israel’s occupation, apartheid and denial of Palestinian rights. We’re insisting on our rights. We’re not delegitamizing any people.
  • We’re delegitamizing an order that’s illegal by definition. Apartheid is illegal. Occupation is illegal. Building colonies on occupied territories is illegal. Ethnic cleansing is illegal.
  • It’s not a blanket boycott against every company that’s complicit because that wouldn’t work.
  • BDS is about context sensitivity, graduality and sustainability.
  • You’ve got to address the most sinister companies as it were. The most seriously involved in human rights violations and move toward others, to teach others a lesson.
  • There’s a big campaign against soda stream led by an Interfaith coalition because Soda Stream is manufactured in an illegal settlement in the occupied territories.
  • We need coresistance, not coexistance until we end oppression.
  •  / 
  • Dissent and any argument against Israeli policies is almost becoming illegitimate in this country. It’s a new McCarthyism that the Israeli lobby is leading.

Guest – Omar Barghouti, the founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Listen to Law and Disorder May 2011 Show with Guest Omar Barghouti




Law and Disorder June 25, 2012


  • Occupy Chicago Tribune Getting Sued Under World Property Intellectual Organization
  • Julian Assange Applies For Political Asylum – Twitter @justleft / @wlcentral



Austerity and Coalition Government in Greece

Last week we discussed the popularity of the Syriza Party, Greece’s skyrocketed unemployment and the huge military contracts Greece is locked into with France and Germany.  In part two of our interview with Greek-American National Lawyers Guild attorney Eric Poulos we discuss the assembling of the coalition government in Greece and the economic implication.

Attorney Eric Poulos:

  • New Democracy and Syriza’s the left wing coalition opposed to the bailout got the most votes. New Democracy got about 2 percent more which is the conservative center right party.
  • Syriza got 27 percent. The Social Democrats did terribly and got only 14 percent.
  • The fascist party the Golden Dawn unfortunately kept the same percentage. The one part that lost a lot of votes was the Communist Party.
  • Almost 40 percent of the voters did not vote. I think people are just worn out.
  • Everybody across the board has taken a 15 percent reduction in pay.
  • New Democracy Party will be appointed Prime Minister.
  • Fifty percent of the cops voted for the fascist party – Golden Dawn
  • Greece is a country that was occupied by Hitler and caused untold loss and devastation.
  • This coalition that ran Syriza is a coalition which is 12 or 13 different groups.
  • The election is incredible in that it changed nothing, it changed everything, because the same parties will be ruling.
  • The people of Greece continue to suffer, it doesn’t create one job. It doesn’t help to pay for one prescription.
  • It’s not just Greece, it’s Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland too.
  • I think the only hope is that they can hook up with other countries with united action to fight against the European Union policies.
  • There has to be an upsurge in the fight against the fascists in Greece.

Guest – Attorney Eric Poulos, writer and National Lawyers Guild member.


Reverend Billy and the Spectra Pipeline Protest Event

The plans to bring a 30 inch gas pipeline through the West Village of Manhattan is on the fast track with the support of Mayor Bloomberg.  Spectra Pipeline is the company that will deliver the high pressure natural gas hydrofracked from the Marcellus Shale deposits. A heavily protested and contentious process itself. According to an expert radioactive waste this natural gas can contain radon 70 times above normal. Radon is a tasteless odorless gas created naturally during radioactive decay of uranium, thorium and radium. The EPA reports radon causes 21 thousand deaths from lung cancer each year. NO PIPELINE AT THE HIGHLINE – JULY 1, 2012 worship service and political rally

Reverend Billy:

  • Our basic mission statement . . .stop shopping children. Our basic mission statement has remain the same over 10 years now.  The project of Guiliani and Bloomberg to turn our great city into a suburb.
  • It was WBAI project, Cornell West, Chris Hedges, we sang and were the house choir. The jury of those great peers found Goldman Sachs guilty of robbing from us and charged them with 87 billion dollars I believe.
  • We sat down and lock arms in the old civil rights position. A nice circle of locked arms.
  • Out of the 15 that got arrested, I was about the 8th to leave the fold. I think that eight of them will be the Blankfein 8.  It’s a lifestyle change, if you’re really gonna go all the way with these . . . we weren’t blocking anybody. . it was symbolic.
  • Those ziplock handcuffs they have, they yank on them. In the precinct house an hour later your hand is purple and I had a numb thumb for six months.
  • Sometimes shopping is a chain store that buys sweat shop goods, and sometimes its our consumption of power. How do we heat? How do we use electricity?
  • That of course is decisive in terms of climate change, which has increasingly become everybody’s politics.
  • We’ve kept fracking out of upstate New York to some degree, but Cuomo is going to let it in to some degree.
  •  They want to come from the Far Rockaways with a pipe called the Constitution and they’re coming under the Hudson River and appearing into the Meat Packing district.
  • It’s mysterious Cheney was able to keep the report of what those chemicals are from the American people.
  • We have a 700 seat house there and we’re going to take the audience over two blocks to where the pipeline is to surface.
  • I don’t think the consumer society makes prosperity.
  • A lot of the communities in our country where people are watching television all day, eating sugar and fat and unable to operate, where the kids go into the pipeline of jail. . .needs the energetic compassion of change.
  • We’re becoming our own third world here, we need to pay attention to our communities. Get those Wall Street companies out of our communities and ask ourselves what do we have that makes value here?  Right under foot, right in my neighborhood.
  • It begins with living on less money, but begins with finding value in what we do with our lives.
  • You go up the counties where Cuomo is exploding their aquifers, this just makes it worse.
  • Some people are going to get a 100 thousand dollar check. It reminds me of the wrong person winning the lottery.
  • NO PIPELINE AT THE HIGHLINE – JULY 1, 2012 worship service and political rally

Guest – Reverend Billy, (Bill Talen) A student of the writers Charles Gaines and Kurt Vonnegut, Talen has staged experimental plays, published essays and poems in Philadelphia, New York and California. At Life On the Water, a theater in San Francisco’s Fort Mason Theater, Talen presented artists such as Spalding Gray, Mabou Mines, David Cale, B. D. Wong, Holly Hughes, William Yellow Robe, the Red Eye Collective, Reno, John Trudeau, and Danny Glover reciting the works of Langston Hughes.  This experience in producing led him to the confessional monologue.  After studying with the cleric Reverend Sidney Lanier, Talen invented “a new kind of American preacher.”  Lanier, the cousin of Tennessee Williams and subject of the work Night of the Iguana, was familiar with the re-staging of biblical narratives



Law and Disorder October 11, 2010

Attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard mara22

Lawyers You’ll Like Series: Mara Verheyden Hilliard Part II

Today we’re joined by attorney Mara Verheyden Hilliard co-founder of The Partnership for Civil Justice Legal Defense & Education Fund in the second part of our Lawyers You’ll Like series. Mara and her partner Carl Messineo have worked to defend and advance fundamental civil, constitutional and human rights secured by the U.S. Constitution and under law. We talk about her work, and criminalizing dissent, surveillance, data mining, and FBI harassment. A lot of Mara’s work is at the intersection of first and fourth amendment rights, such as the assault on free speech, assembly and misuse of datamining tools. The Partnership for Civil Justice has many victories, and recently a settlement was reached in a class action lawsuit about the illegality of the arrests of approximately 700 protesters and other persons on Saturday, April 15, 2000 in Washington, D.C.

Attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard:

  • I co-founded the Partnership for Civil Justice in 1994 with Carl Messenio. We decided we wanted to do this work specifically, Constitutional rights, civic justice, public interest litigation.
  • We began this work right after we left law school. We undertook some of the longest running protest cases that we had, in particular, the recently settled class action from the April 2000 mass arrests.
  • I grew up in Washington DC and I spent my childhood going to civil rights demonstrations, anti-war demonstrations, having our house filled demonstrators.  Both of my parents are deeply political people who care very much about civil rights, liberation struggles and womens’ rights.
  • The core of the work we do we recognize as the underlying social justice movement.
  • The municipalities, the governments, they want these cases to go on as long as possible, they want to fight a war of attrition, because they want plaintiffs to feel they have to take toothless settlements.
  • The fact is the law has changed in DC, we’ve changed the way police operate. They can’t use these tactics, these tactics we took apart piece by piece have been removed from the arsenal of the police department in DC.
  • The DC police can’t use the trap and detain tactic, they can’t hold people, they have to release them within 4 hours now. They can’t use the wrist to ankle handcuff mechanism against people anymore.
  • Police need to have their badges plainly available and visible, they can’t come out in riot gear to first amendment assemblies.  Now we’re seeing this effort (FBI) against solidarity activists with the raids and subpoenas. I think it is outrageous, and baseless for the government to be coming in and targeting people for solidarity work.
  • It’s also reflective of the huge security apparatus that was put in place under Bush and is being accelerated under Obama.  Those beliefs, that hope, that thought, that you can  change the direction of the country that you live in, is absolutely true.
  • All you gotta do is look at the past history of the United States, all 150 years.
  • Recognize that it’s no fault to hope and to think that an elected official is going to do it, but historically the elected official has never been the one to do it.

Guest – Constitutional Rights Attorney Mara Verheyden Hilliard co-founder of The Partnership for Civil Justice Legal Defense & Education Fund. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard is an activist, Constitutional Rights attorney, and the cofounder of the Partnership for Civil Justice. She is also co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee.


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United States Plays Down UN Report on the Gaza Flotilla Attack

A United Nations fact finding mission into the May 31, 2010 Israeli lethal attacks of ships traveling to Gaza, has reported that Israeli forces violated international law, “including international humanitarian and human rights law.” Eight Turkish activists and one Turkish-American were killed in the raid on board the ships attempting to break the Gaza blockade.  The UN Human Rights Council’s investigation judged Israel’s naval blockade of the Palestinian territory to be “unlawful” because there was a humanitarian crisis in Gaza at the time. However, the United States criticized what it termed as the report’s “unbalanced language, tone and conclusions.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights, the Free Gaza Movement and the National Lawyers Guild responded to the report and the comments made by the United States at the Council

“Unfortunately, the United States used the opportunity of the Human Right Council’s discussion on the flotilla fact-finding mission’s report to promote its political agenda instead of engaging on the issue of legal accountability for Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza and the unlawful attack on the Gaza flotilla,” said CCR attorney Katherine Gallagher. “The U.S. must recognize that there can be no peace without justice, and that until it supports accountability for violations of international law–even when violations committed by Israel – instead of a culture of impunity, it lacks the legitimacy necessary to serve as a broker of peace.”

Attorney Katherine Gallagher:

  • There were 6 civilian ships and their goal was to both bring humanitarian aid to Gaza which has been under a Naval blockade by Israel for the last 4 years as well as to challenge the legality.
  • The United Nations back in June 2010 set up a fact finding mission. The 3 commissioners traveled to London, to Geneva, Istanbul and Jordan to interview passengers. They met with legal experts and others to analyze the evidence they heard.
  • The UN fact finding report was submitted last week, 56 detailed pages of what precisely happened that night on those ships on the night of May 31.  It was concluded that the blockade is illegal under international law. It found that the 6 ships traveling to Gaza to break the blockade presented no imminent threat to the Israelis.
  • The 3 commissioners have experience in international law matters. One had been a judge on the international criminal court. Their conclusions are grounded in law and not political conclusions. They were peaceful protesters preparing for an attack on the ship.
  • It’s hard to see what they find as unbalanced. I think the report is carefully written, it’s cautiously written beginning with an analysis of its own mandate. Turkey very much welcomed the report.
  • The bulk of the passengers were detained in Israel, at detention sites that had already been established.
  • Confiscated property consists of cameras, computer chips, video equipment. It contains electronic equipment that provides first hand evidence of the flotilla passengers activities and then the attack on the ship.
  • In the past 4 months Israel has been in possession of that material.

Guest – Katherine Gallagher,  Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she focuses on holding individuals, including US and foreign government officials, and corporations, including private military contractors, accountable for serious human rights violations. Among the cases she is working on are Arar v. Ashcroft, Matar v. Dichter, Saleh v. Titan and Estate of Atban v. Blackwater.


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Post Coup Honduran Human Rights Crisis

A human rights crisis continues to get worse in Honduras, more than a year after the June 28, 2009 military coup. People on the front lines that oppose the regime installed after the coup are beaten and illegally detained by the state. Nectali Rodezno, Co-Coordinator of National Front of Lawyers in Resistance Against the Coup in Honduras is among the lawyers dircectly involved in defending those are being abused and whose lives are on the line everyday. To inform people about the ongoing crisis in Honduras, there will be a speaking tour this fall called JUSTICE IN HONDURAS: Witness for Peace Mid-Atlantic Fall Speakers Tour will be November 1 – 22.

Attorney Pam Spees:

  • From that moment on you began to see alot of repressive tactics immediately after the coup.
  • Immediately, leaders of that resistance were being targeted. There were several key people who were killed in aftermath of the coup. Walter Trochez was a key LGBT activist who was targeted and killed in a very brutal way.  You also saw the targeting of labor leaders. The killing continue even in this new de facto administration.
  • In March you saw the targeting of journalists. In that month alone, 8 journalists were killed.
  • The Honduran judiciary were taking certain steps before the coup to help undermine Zelaya and what he was doing. We’re still learning about how much of this was driven by official US policy.
  • Before the coup we had the financial crisis in the US that was effecting food security which was making it difficult everywhere. Zelaya was trying to buffer the Hondurans against this. One of the things he did was raise the minimum wage. He raised it and tied it to the food index.
  • The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America
  • On June 28, the Honduran resistance has set up its own truth commission, The Alternative Truth Commission. The International Criminal Court is an actor and could investigate and potentially prosecute some of these acts.
  • In the US we have the Alien Tort Statute. It’s a very old law that allows non-citizens to bring suit in US courts for violations of international law.
  • The courage show by all sectors of this resistance is just incredible.

Guest – Pam Spees,  senior staff attorney in the international human rights program at the Center for Constitutional Rights. She has a background in international criminal and human rights law with a gender focus, as well as criminal trial practice.



Law and Disorder April 19, 2010




Israeli Policy and Palestinian Children – Nora Barrows-Friedman

We talk today with the Nora Barrows-Friedman, she is the host of radio show Flashpoints at KPFA in Berkeley California.  Nora spent the last month in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. She’s been investigating stories about the ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights and has been frequently traveling to Palestine since 2004. Today we look specifically at the Israeli policy against children from arresting, detaining, interrogating, torturing, imprisoning and beating children, some as young as 10. Nora says  International laws designed to protect children — including the UN convention on the rights of the child are being circumvented and violated on a daily.

Nora Barrows Friedman:

  • Kids randomly picked off the street, allegedly for throwing stones. The Israeli punishment is 10 years in prison for a child.
  • Israeli military can arrest (Palestinian only) children as young as 12.  Right now there are 300 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons.
  • Hebron is a city where settlers have been given half of the old city, a settlement colony is inside the Palestinian community
  • These two young children were followed and taken into a military center inside the settlement colony.
  • This whole family had been destoryed by these illegal actions against these 2 brothers. The only recourse this family has is to take it to the Israeli military court.  Motive: trying to get Palestinian families to leave.
  • This family lives in an area where settlers have their eye on, seems to be very deliberate.
  • There are hundreds of women in Israeli prisons, there’s a story where a woman gave birth in the prison, and the baby is now a prisoner.

Guest – Nora Barrows Friedman: Senior producer and co-host of KPFA’s Flashpoints.


nuclear_weapons-atomic yucca Yucca-mountain

Obama’s Plan for Elimination of Nation-Controlled Nuclear Power

Nine nations now have a combined total of more than 22 thousand nuclear weapons. The United States has about 5 thousand nuclear weapons,  500 of them are land based warheads which can fly in three to four minutes after the order is given. President Obama recently hosted a nuclear security summit in DC with more than 45 foreign leaders, he traveled to Prague and signed a treaty that would cut the combined US and Russian stockpile by a third. Meanwhile, the US nuclear stockpiles have been shrinking for the last 40 years. We talk more about the current nuclear disarmament effort with attorney Peter Weiss is Vice-President, former President, of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms.

Peter Weiss:

  • Leave the doomsday clock where it is. Reaffirming of the status quo.  The agreement with Russia in reducing the nuclear weapons allowed to each country from 2200 to 1500.  They count all the warheads on a bomber plane as one, instead of 10 or 12 weapons.
  • Jimmy Carter: A single nuclear armed submarine had enough weaponry to destroy every Russian city of 100 thousand or more.
  • Nuclear Posture Review – Zero document / “It’s difficult to operationalize a vision.”
  • Obviously there is a great danger of loose nukes.  No one seems ready to adopt an anti-nuclear convention except the countries that don’t have nuclear weapons.
  • Conference in Riverside Church on May 1, 2010, United For Peace and Justice
  • The anti-nuke movment will be re-energized.
  • The US wants to be the sole repository of weapons grade nuclear material, committment from Chile, and Canada, to ship WGNM to the US.   That’s kind of weird isn’t it?

Guest – Peter Weiss, former Vice President, Center for Constitutional Rights and Vice President, of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms.


why human rights2 dees

Why Human Rights are Indispensable to Financial Regulation

Today we speak with Radhika Balakrishnan, Professor of Economics and International Studies at Marymount Manhattan College, about her recent article in the Huffington Post titled Why Human Rights are Indispensable to Financial Regulation. Balakrishnan enumerates the global human fallout from the world financial crisis. The World Bank estimates an additional 400 thousand children will die before their fifth birthday, while those responsible for the turmoil are benefiting from bailouts and promotions. She references the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its inclusion of economic and social rights, that is the right to work, to education, to rest, to an adequate standard of living. Dr. Balakrishnan has also outlined steps for meaningful reform that we will also examine today.  She is currently working on a project trying to use human rights norms to evaluate and construct macroeconomic policy.

Radhika Barakrishnan:

  • We pretend there is no criteria regulating (economic policies)  We argue in our piece, that human rights have a way to set up an ethical basis and framework. Most people don’t know that human rights include economic and social rights.
  • In the United States the assumption is you can vote the people in to give you social and economic rights.
  • The idea that the market is this Greek Oracle that we can’t question. . . is a problem.
  • We’re saying there is a form of biased market regulation, where the state has the interest of the financiers and the banks.
  • and not those of the working people and the working class.  One example is the minimum wage.
  • The Federal Reserve has a dual mandate, one is to have price stability, the other is the right to work.
  • In the United States, we have not signed the Convenant on Economic and Human Rights.
  • The Federal Reserve is a government agency and the fact that they act in a cloak of secrecy is a real problem.
  • I think there is a great case to be brought, as far as freedom of information.
  • What kind of financial models are they using to make their decisions? This cloak of secrecy because you independence to make monetary policy?  But independence doesn’t mean secret.
  • Their Board of Governors are from the commercial banks, whose interest will they work for?
  • Bailout Bill – TARP / This went to financial agencies to give them the money. 720 Billion dollars overnighted to the Federal Reserve has not gone out?   The Stimulus Money, for employment creation, though it was used for tax cuts.
  • Congress did not extend unemployment benefits for Spring recess.
  • The United States is coming up for the Universal Periodic Review in the Human Rights Council of Geneva
  • The Center for Women’s Global Leadership

Guest – Radhika Balakrishnan, Executive Director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership and Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies. She has a Ph.D. in Economics from Rutgers University. Previously, she was Professor of Economics and International Studies at Marymount Manhattan College. She has worked at the Ford Foundation as a program officer in the Asia Regional Program. She is currently the Chair of the Board of the US Human Rights Network and on the Board of the Center for Constitutional Rights. She has published in the field of gender and development.


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