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Law and Disorder December 16, 2013


stopnfriskcrownheights1 LAmayda

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 9, 2013


Updates:

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detroitcan'twait Detroit-I

Judge Ruling Allows Detroit Bankruptcy To Move Forward

This summer we spoke with retired auto worker and activist Dianne Feeley about the plans to wipe out the pensions and health benefits of all current and retired city workers by emergency manager of Detroit, Kevyn Orr. We also looked at the history of workers in Detroit from the perspective of black workers and the broader pattern of oppression. Last week, a ruling by Judge Stevens W. Rhodes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court allows the city of Detroit to move forward in the bankruptcy process. The cradle of the American auto industry will now be allowed to pay off debts and restore essential services.

Professor Laura Bartell:

  • It is the first time that a bankruptcy judge that pension obligations constitute contractual obligations that are subject to diminution in bankruptcy.
  • Although its rattled pensioners nationwide, its really not that extraordinary.
  • The healthcare was never protected by the Michigan Constitution. Everyone has always known that healthcare was subject to modification by the city.
  • The cuts in health care are going into effect I believe in February for city employees.
  • When we’re talking about the pensions we’re talking about the retirees both the firefighters and policemen unions retirees.
  • The city maintains that the plans are underfunded by 3.5 billion dollars.
  • The union believes that number is vastly inflated based on projected returns that are too low. Whatever the number is its somewhere between 800 million and 3.5 billion.
  • The policemen and firefighters don’t have the benefit of social security.
  • You’re not talking about a lot of money going to any individual so if you cut the pension to any particular individual its obviously going to be a major cut for that individual.
  • The major problem that Detroit has suffered was a vast decline in population.
  • It used to be a much larger city. It’s footprint is still a very large city but the number of people living in that footprint is much smaller than it used to be.
  • Among that small population there’s an even smaller number of people actually working and paying taxes.
  • So the money coming in to meet the obligations of Detroit has been constantly shrinking.
  • Detroit’s obligation to retirees in terms of pensions and healthcare is up at 38 percent and rising constantly. – and in addition we had severe mismanagement of city government including criminality. I’m sure everyone knows our former mayor is now in prison.
  • My guess is the pensioners will be hit far less severely than the bond holders. Bond holders are making an investment and taking a risk.
  • That’s what bankruptcy is about is all people who have done something to become creditors to the city and they’re not going to get what they deserve.
  • That’s the problem, everybody is deserving, everybody should get paid.
  • The problem is not that the governor has suddenly taken away the democratic rights of Detroit. We’ve had an emergency manager law for many years in the state of Michigan.
  • Detroit is the latest and the biggest to have that happen.
  • The next stage is a presentation of a plan of adjustment which he will present to creditors at the end of this month and file with the court at the beginning of January.

Guest – Professor Laura Bartell, after graduating from Harvard Law School, where she was an officer on the Harvard Law Review, she clerked for Judge Alvin B. Rubin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans. She then entered practice in New York where she became a partner in Shearman & Sterling, specializing in bank financing and bankruptcy work. She is a member of the American Law Institute and American Bankruptcy Institute and has published articles on bankruptcy topics, federal court-awarded attorneys’ fees and costs, and the attorney/client privilege and work-product doctrine. She teaches Property, Secured Transactions, Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights and Effective Oral Communication for Lawyers.

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 Rahinah_Ibrahim shaneK

Terrorist Watch Lists and No Fly Lists Cases

How do governments compile lists called no-fly lists of individuals often placed on terrorist watch lists? As we’ve seen, the predictions about individual behavior of Muslims, Communists or Japanese-Americans have often been wildly inaccurate and cause a great deal of harm to these communities. Today to discuss the no-fly list and a recent case proceeding through the courts is returning guest Shane Kadidal senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City.

Attorney Shane Kadidal:

  • There are broad watch lists and there are lists that people are more familiar with in concept and that’s what being litigated out in California, somebody placed on the no-fly list.
  • There are two kinds of no-fly lists, there’s the selectee list where some where on the order of tens of thousands of people are designated for additional security checks when they go through the TSA.
  • Then there’s the smaller list which contains several thousand names that sometimes you hear referred to as the no transport list. That’s people who can’t board a flight under any circumstances.
  • The US shares its list at times with other countries. We don’t know how much sharing exists.
  • The case in California is super interesting because the person who got stopped doesn’t seem like the kind of person that would get stopped except for the fact that she wears a hijab.
  • The Terrorism Screening Center is responsible for putting people on the list.
  • The interesting thing about this case is that daughter that was put on the list was 14, eight or nine years ago and is now a lawyer in Malaysia and was supposed to testify and was told by Malaysian airlines you are on the no-fly list.
  • She’s seeking damages because she couldn’t fly back. This is really the first case to get to trial basically.
  • The ACLU has a challenge to which kind of a pure due process challenge case in a case called Lateef v Holder.
  • You got put on a list and there’s no real process for challenging those facts.
  • If its an accidental match, somebody has the same name as you, or close to you. You can go through this challenge procedure called TRIPP.
  • If you win your challenge, they’ll give you a number that you can enter in when you buy your plane ticket.
  • CCR along with the Clear Clinic at CUNY Law School filed a case at the beginning of October. The gist of it is that people will end up on the no-fly list and if you complaint about it the FBI will say, if you talk to us you can be taken off the list if you agree to work as an informant on the Muslim community.
  • What’s interesting about the couple thousand names (no-fly list) which is much smaller than the number which are on these lists intended to intercept terrorism finance like the list the treasury department maintains like a 500 plus page phone book.
  • You can imagine that there might be some logical rationale behind having a short list of people who get a little scrutiny and hope it has more due process than the selectee list has now.
  • But the fact that there are some people who are not allowed to fly under any circumstances with any level of search scrutiny that doesn’t seem to make any sense and seems to fit very neatly into our complaint.
  • I question if this list can make rational sense.
  • Typically if you’re on the no-fly list you get turned away. Typically you don’t get arrested.
  • OFAC list, is sort of a list of parties you’re not allowed to do business with. It combines not only sanctions directed at whole countries but also the variety of sanctions directed at terrorism finance.
  • This is just like other cases where secrecy is at the core of the defense of the program.

Guest - Shane Kadidal, senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. He is a graduate of the Yale Law School and a former law clerk to Judge Kermit Lipez of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. In his eight years at the Center, he has worked on a number of significant cases in the wake of 9/11, including the Center’s challenges to the detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay (among them torture victim Mohammed al Qahtani and former CIA ghost detainee Majid Khan), which have twice reached the Supreme Court, and several cases arising out of the post-9/11 domestic immigration sweeps. He is also counsel in CCR’s legal challenges to the “material support” statute (decided by the Supreme Court last term), to the low rates of black firefighter hiring in New York City, and to the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program.

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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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Law and Disorder November 25, 2013


Updates:

  • Socialist Wins Seat on Seattle City Council

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Alex Odeh Case – Abdeen Jabara

On October 11, 1985, prominent Palestinian-American leader Alex Odeh was killed by a pipe bomb at the offices of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, where he worked as the group’s western regional director in Santa Ana, California. Now, the FBI and Justice Department are being urged to renew its investigation into this shocking political murder. history.

Very quickly, the FBI named the militant Jewish Defense League, or JDL, as a focus of its investigations. Yet, more than two decades later, no one has been questioned or indicted for Odeh’s murder. Today we welcome back civil rights attorney Abdeen Jabara who helped found the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. He joins us to talk more about the reopening of this political murder investigation 28 years later.

Attorney Abdeen Jabara:

  • The FBI says the case has not been closed and its an ongoing investigation.
  • We’re talking about 28 years after the fact.
  • Congresswoman Sanchez from Orange County, California from the 46th district wrote a letter to Eric Holder and to the FBI requesting some closure on this case and she got back a very unsatisfactory reply.
  • She has joined with several other Congress people, John Conyers of Michigan and others to ask for hearings in the Judiciary Committee of the House on this case.
  • There have been many ups and downs in the case since Alex was killed.
  • Several people have been arrested in the case but not for the assassination of Alex Odeh.
  • The JDL was created in 1968 by Meir Kahane.
  • Chairman of our organization, Jim Abarez was contacted by the FBI and was told that he, myself and two other individuals were placed on a hit list by the Jewish Defense Organization.
  • Prior to the killing of Alex Odeh, there were a number of incidences. We had our regional office in Boston burned. We had attacks here at our office in New York City. A number of telegrams, threatening calls, all types of harassment was occurring on a daily basis and then Alex Odeh was killed.
  • He left 3 beautiful daughters and a widow in Orange County and they are active to this day and his brother is active in trying to maintain the pressure to keep this case alive and bring justice about.
  • The Israeli government has not been cooperative with this FBI investigation.
  • The fact of the matter is that Arab-Americans have little or no political power in this country.
  • I think there is a possibility of movement and we need to have people contact Eric Holder’s office. The FBI is part of the Justice Department, the FBI is responsible for investigating these cases.

Guest – Attorney Abdeen Jabara, co-founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Public_Enemy_by_Bill_Ayers ayersma

Public Enemy: Confessions Of An American Dissident

A sequel to Fugitive Days, Public Enemy: Confessions of An American Dissident chronicles Bill Ayers life after the Weather Underground. Since his memoir Fugtive Days was published September 10, 2001 about his life in Students for a Democratic Society and later the Weather Underground, Ayers was under attack by right wing media which tied him to the catastrophes of 9/11 based on a New York Times interview quote. Bill Ayers became famous in the early 1970s as a leader of the Weather Underground; he is known to have participated in the bombings of New York City Police Department headquarters in 1970, the US Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. He surfaced in the mid-1970s, when the government charges against him were dismissed for prosecutorial misconduct.

His new book Public Enemy starts during the 2008 presidential debate in which his neighbor Barack Obama in the Hyde Park community of Chicago was confronted about their association. The book also describes how Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn rebuilt their lives as public figures. Ayers became a professor of education at the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois.

Bill Ayers:

  • The American dissident part came pretty naturally. I grew up in the heat of the civil rights movement.
  • I came of age when the world was on fire.
  • In our own country it was the black freedom movement finding the moral agenda for the whole nation and I found myself drawn inexorably into it.
  • The public enemy part comes from continuing to live a long life as a radical, and as a public radical and not being willing to trim my sails or my revolutionary hope stream spirit.
  • Come the 2008 election, the national election. I was thrown unwittingly, unwillingly into that national campaign.
  • The narrative that Barack Obama palled around with terrorists, that Barack Obama had a shady Palestinian friend or the narrative that he hung around with a black nationalist preacher, that narrative was spun by Hilliary Clinton long before Palin and McCain picked it up.
  • The ole American favorite past time, guilt by association, that’s how I became a public enemy.
  • I was a kid coming out of a privileged background. I went to the University of Michigan and I couldn’t sleep for about 2 years because the world was on fire.
  • I was arrested opposing the war in Vietnam. I spent ten days in county jail and there I met a man whose wife just founded a freedom school.
  • I marched out of jail into my first teaching job. For me teaching was always linked deeply with the quest for social justice. I returned to teaching in 1978, after our first child was born.
  • The ideal is that every human being is of incalculable value in a country that found on the idea that we are all equal.
  • What we ought to be demanding is an educational system that creates free people, people with minds of their own, people who are able to interrogate the world before them.
  • In Nazi, Germany, they had wonderful schools that taught amazing literature and music, arts and so on, and they also had a system based on obedience and conformity and doing what you’re told and following the rules. That’s a recipe for catastrophe in any free society.
  • What I’ve spent most of my adult life doing is fighting for an educational system where the fullest development of each becomes the condition for the full development of all and the fullest development of all becomes the condition for the full development of each.
  • Who are you? How did you get here? Why are you in the freedom movement? What are you trying to accomplish and where do you want to go? The message of those questions are revolutionary.
  • The Highlander Folk School
  • We don’t have a king that can save us. We are sovereign.
  • Those of us who still think of ourselves as revolutionaries living in difficult times, dark times, have to find ways to become movement builders. Movement building is on the agenda. Bringing those together who are working in various fields to change the frame of the discussion.

Guest – William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior Bill Ayers University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), member of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, oral history, creative non-fiction, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament.  A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College, Columbia University, Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise.

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Law and Disorder November 4, 2013


Updates:

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Pan African Solidarity Hague Campaign to Delegitimize the ICC

In the month June last year, the Pan-African Solidarity Hague Committee delivered a petition to the International Criminal Court at the Hague, Netherlands demanding they prosecute the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, and NATO for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya, Cote d’lvoire, Haiti and the US. This campaign began in May of 2011 when thousands gathered to protest the US/NATO bombing of Libya, attacks on Zimbabwe and the racist assault against African-Americans in the United States. 16 months after delivering the petition and sending follow up letters, the Pan African Solidarity Hague Committee haven’t received a response.  The organization is now reaching out to National Lawyers Guild members and law students to help expose the International Criminal Court.

Attorney Roger Wareham:

  • The International Criminal Court was established in 2001-2002, supposedly to replace the different ad-hoc international tribunals that had been set up to deal with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • It’s supposed to be even handed, no double standard – everyone is held to the same level of accountability.
  • The membership, you have to sign on to be a part of it. The United States was closely involved in the process of setting up the ICC.
  • The U.S. insisted that it would not be subject to prosecution by the ICC, although under the Security Council of the United Nations could recommend cases for the ICC.
  • Given the plethora of human rights violations and war crimes that have been committed around the world, the only people that the ICC is presently prosecuting are Africans.
  • The only prosecutions have been of Africans.
  • Our involvement in taking it to the ICC was in particular to expose its nature that its really not an international tribunal that would look at the question of war crimes across the board and that its really another instrument in the West’s arsenal of the exploitation of Africa.
  • Ostensibly, dealing with human rights violations, the ICC has zeroed in on Africa.
  • There’s been a response and rebellion among several of the African countries around this clear bias.
  • Three of the five permanent members are not on the ICC, Russia, United States and China.
  • I think what we want to do is we want a single standard or no ICC.
  • Email: D12M@aol.com
  • www.PASHC2012.blogspot.com

Guest – Attorney Roger Wareham, a member of the December 12th Movement, an organization of African people which organizes in the Black and Latino community around human rights violations, particularly police terror. Wareham is also the International Secretary-General of the International Association Against Torture (AICT), a non-governmental organization that has consultative status before the United Nations.

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Lawyers You’ll Like – Attorney Mel Wulf

We’re joined today by Attorney Mel Wulf, former legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union for 15 years. He was a law partner with former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark during the Kennedy Administration and much more. Wulf was part of some of the greatest contributions to the civil rights movement. He’s now retired after practicing law for 54 years. As part of our Lawyers You’ll Like series, we talk with Wulf about his work with the ACLU during the early 60s, and also about the forming of the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee.

Attorney Mel Wulf:

  • Phil Agee was a dissident CIA agent who spent decades working against the CIA, published a couple of books.
  • He lost his passport because when the dissidents took over the embassy in Tehran in 1979, the New York Post carried a story accusing Phil of helping the students who’d invaded the embassy to put together all of that written material that had been shredded.
  • It was another New York Post bald faced lie.
  • The State Department, based upon that story revoked his passport.
  • I had represented Phil Agee, I was his principle lawyer for 30 years.
  • Agee was very widely disliked in Washington because he was well known to be a CIA dissident who disclosed the names of many CIA agents.
  • If Snowden went the same route today, he would do even worse in this Supreme Court than I did. That’s why Snowden won’t get his passport, thanks to me.
  • I was for the workers and not for the bosses and I’ve always been for the workers and not for the bosses, which I think is the distinguishing political factor in our world. Which side are you on?
  • I got my Bachelors Degree in ’52 and I had a Navy Commission which I had gotten from the New York State Maritime Academy earlier on.
  • The draft board sent me a 1A notice, I applied to Columbia and when I finished Columbia they sent me another 1A notice because the draft was still on. I spent 2 years in the Navy as a Liuetenant Junior Grade Officer in Southern California.
  • I went to work at the ACLU in 1958 as the assistant legal director, in 1962 I was given the job of the legal director of the ACLU.
  • I had actually been going down to Mississippi from 1961 to 1962, working with then one of the two black lawyers who were practicing in Mississippi.
  • We tried a couple of capitol cases in Mississippi. I continued to argue the systematic exclusion of blacks from the jury.
  • I finally got a case up to the Supreme Court on that issue.
  • Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee: We had several hundred lawyers who went down to Mississippi for periods of a week or two. They were representing people being arrested during the Mississippi summer.
  • Most of the judges allowed these lawyers to make some sort of presentation.

Guest – Attorney Mel Wulf, former legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union for 15 years. He was a law partner with former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark during the Kennedy Administration and much more. Wulf was part of some of the greatest contributions to the civil rights movement. He’s now retired after practicing law for 54 years.

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Law and Disorder October 28, 2013


Updates:

  • Wikileaks Film titled The Fifth Estate Is A Propaganda Piece Against the Disclosures of Wikileaks
  • Wikileaks Film titled MediaStan Is Produced By Julian Assange

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50th Anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination – Zachary Sklar, Screenwriter of the Film: JFK

November 22, 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. More than 600 books have been written on this national tragedy and yet the implausible explanations the Warren Commission report put forward remain as the official story. We’re joined today by Zachary Sklar to discuss some of those challenges and his work investigating those involved in the planning and covering up of assassinations.

Zach Sklar:

  • The Warren Commission was a creature appointed by Lyndon Johnson.
  • He persuaded Earl Warren to head this commission against his wishes. He was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at the time.
  • To bolster him on the commission, the one who did most of the work and guided the findings was Alan Dulles, former CIA directory. A man who’d been fired by John Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs invasion.
  • The other one who was on it was Gerald Ford of course.
  • So, there was a dissenting group of southern Congress people who really didn’t have much power. Ultimately, the power was with Alan Dulles.
  • The CIA had overthrown Mossadegh in Iran, Arbenz in Guatemala, not only overthrowing governments but assassinating leaders.
  • The commission report – that conclusion was decided upon and then they had to come up with some reasons to support it.
  • The reasons were designed by Arlen Specter. He was a staff lawyer at the time and later a Senator from Pennsylvania. He came up with the Magic Bullet Theory.
  • Because the Zapruder film came out with the time frame of 5.62 seconds and there were 3 bullets during that time frame, all the wounds in John Kennedy and John Connelly.
  • Lee Oswald was given a paraffin test the day of his arrest. It was negative. It had proven he’d not fired a rifle that day.
  • According to the Marines, Oswald was a mediocre marksman at best.
  • The rifle that he was supposed to have used. . . if you ask any rifle dealer what the worst rifle, the least accurate rifle you could ever come up with they would tell you its the Mannlicher-Carcano. It’s called the humanitarian rifle by the Italians.
  • All this should’ve been put to rest in 1979 when the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigated and came up with acoustical evidence from a police dictabelt recording and found that there was a 4th shot.
  • If there was a 4th shot, there had to have been a second shooter. If there was a second shooter, there had to have been a conspiracy.
  • Kennedy was well aware that the anti-Communist ideology of the cold warriors was fundamentally flawed. The whole domino theory is fundamentally flawed.
  • After he was killed, very quickly, his (Kennedy’s) policies were reversed by Lyndon Johnson.
  • The fact is that 4 days after he was killed Lyndon Johnson issued National Security Action Memorandum 273 which reversed Kennedy’s order and actually ok’s US military operations in Vietnam.
  • On the very day he was assassinated Kennedy had sent a liaison to Cuba, to negotiate with Fidel Castro.
  • At the top of the list are the leaders of the CIA.
  • You have to understand that the Cold War had gone on for a long time, and people made careers, peoples’ livelihoods depended on the Cold War continuing. Big defense contracts depended on it.
  • A lot of people had the motivation to kill Kennedy.

Guest – Zachary Sklar, Oscar-nominated co-screenwriter of Oliver Stone’s film JFK, and author of the book JFK: The Book of the Film. He’s a journalist, and a professor at the Columbia School of Journalism. He was also a contributor to The Lies of Our Times, a monthly journal dedicated to exposing the truth behind the mainstream media. Zach collaborated with director Oliver Stone on the screenplay of the movie “JFK” and was editor of Jim Garrison’s book “On the Trail of the Assassins.”

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Lawyers You’ll Like: Attorney Bill Schapp

Attorney William Schaap graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1964 and has been a practicing lawyer since.  Bill specialized in military law and practiced in Asia and Europe. He later became the editor in chief of the Military Law Reporter in Washington for a number of years. In the 70′s and 80′s he was a staff counsel of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. In the late 80s, he was an adjunct professor at John J. College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York where he taught courses on propaganda and disinformation.

Attorney William Schapp:

  • One of first cases at this big Wall Street firm, they had some outside counsel working on it, one of whom was David Lubel, and Dave Lubel who had I think been a recruiter for the Communist Party in his youth, was always good at spotting somebody who was always worth recruiting and he started to tell me there was this convention of this lawyers group.
  • It was this 1967 Lawyers Guild Convention in New York. He dragged me to one event, I met Bill Kunstler, I met Arthur Kinoy, I met Victor Rabbinowitz. I’d been on Wall Street for a year or two, I said I didn’t know there were lawyers like this.
  • I joined the same day and met Bernadine Dorhn and a few weeks she called me and said we need your help.
  • She said you gotta defend a bunch of Columbia students. The next thing I knew the riot started at Columbia and she said you have to go down there and defend them.
  • I signed up to be staff counsel on the National Lawyers Guild Military Law Project in Okinawa, Japan.
  • When you work overseas in that kind of a climate with the military you learn a lot fast about American imperialism.
  • Once you learn that, you learn about the CIA.
  • That led us to originally working on Counter Spy magazine and then on Covert Action Magazine.
  • The original purpose was to expose the CIA. We worked with Lou Wolf who is an expert in uncovering CIA agents in US embassies, not through any classified documents but because if you knew how to read the paperwork and State Department things, you could tell who are the “ringers.”
  • We were so successful that Congress passed a law against us.
  • Our goal was to make these people ineffective because the only way most CIA could work, particularly the ones that were assigned to an embassy was to have to pretend to be something else.
  • They were all third assistant political secretaries and those were all phony things. Their job was to finagle their way into various community organizations in whatever foreign capital they were posted to recruit people to turn against their own countries and become traitors to their own countries, to become spies for the U.S.
  • We thought if we identified these people, it might make their job a little bit harder, which it did.
  • Of course, the problem with that is the government said we were trying to get them killed which we weren’t trying to do and nobody we did expose ever did get killed.
  • He (Philip Agee) had been an adviser to Counter Spy. Counter Spy folded when Welch got killed, cause the pressure was too much and started Covert Action Quarterly.
  • He was not the person discovering who the under cover people were, Lou Wolf was doing that.
  • Phil wrote articles for us in every issue and we worked very closely with him.
  • Once you start exposing these things, they really don’t have any defense.
  • They tried to catch us in something phony. We would get tips that would turn out to be CIA trying to get us to print some story that wasn’t true so they could then discredit us.
  • We had more interference from the government when we were doing military law work, before Covert Action Quarterly.
  • They would plant bugs in our attic in Okinawa, things like that.
  • The Intelligence Identity Protection Act has 2 parts. One makes it a crime for someone in the government who has classified information to reveal someone’s identity. The second part makes it a crime to reveal the identity of someone you did not learn from classified information or you position. (But if you were in the business of exposing these people . . .)
  • Regarding his newsletter The Lies of Our Times – It was in the 90s, from 1990 to 1995 I think. To a certain extent, the abuses we were crying about got a little bit less over time because that’s sometimes the helpful result of that kind of exposure.
  • We were just tired of people thinking that if it was in the New York Times it must be true.
  • The fact is that those people lie all the time.
  • I think we’ve gotten to a point where people recognize that the government lies to them and that there’s an awful lot that goes on that they don’t know.

Guest – Attorney William Schapp graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1964 and has been a practicing lawyer since.  Bill specialized in military law and practiced in Asia and Europe. He later became the editor in chief of the Military Law Reporter in Washington for a number of years. In the 70′s and 80′s he was a staff counsel of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. In the late 80s, he was an adjunct professor at John J. College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York where he taught courses on propaganda and disinformation.

In addition to being a practicing lawyer, Bill was a journalist, publisher and a writer specializing in intelligence as it relates to media. He was the co-publisher of a magazine called the Covert Action Quarterly for more than 20 years. He also published a magazine on propaganda and disinformation titled Lies Of Our Times. Attorney Bill Schapp has written numerous articles and edited many books on the topic of  media and intelligence.

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Law and Disorder October 21, 2013


Updates:

  •     Abu Anas al-Libi Kidapping Update
  •     Glenn Greenwald Leaves The Guardian

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The Coalition of Immokalee Workers March On Union Square For Wendy’s Fair Food Campaign

We hear the voices of marchers involved in supporting the Coalition of Immokalee workers to urge Wendy’s to join its four fast food competitors in the award-winning social responsibility program that’s putting an end to decades of abuse in the fields. Burger King, Taco Bell, McDonald’s and others have come to the table to dialogue with farm workers to improve wages and working conditions in their supply chains.  This demonstration was held on the eve of the CIW winning the Roosevelt Institute’s Freedom from Want Medal.

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Handschu Hearing on NYPD Muslim Surveillance

Earlier this month, the federal district court in Manhattan required the New York City Police Department to defend its Muslim spying program. The hearing lasted several hours and revealed what many listeners to this show may already know, and that is how the NYPD Muslim spying program has been found by the Associated Press to target innocent Muslims based on nothing more than their faith. The fallout from these spying programs are revealed in the stories related by today’s guest .

Fahd Ahmed:

  • DRUM stands for Desis Rising Up and Moving. It’s a community organization of low income South Asians, organizing for worker rights, immigrant rights, racial justice.
  • We’re a membership based organization of about 2000 low income South Asians. So they’re directly effected by these issues.
  • About 2 years ago the Associated Press started releasing a series of articles that essentially confirmed what people in our communities had been feeling for years.
  • That the NYPD has an extensive spying network on the New York City Muslim community.
  • From their houses of worship to their work sites, to their social networks. The way that they accomplish this is through the use of under cover officers.
  • Through the use of informants, many of whom are paid money for their services, and also through the use of surveillance equipment.
  •  We have members in our organization that have been directly targeted by the NYPD over the last 8-9 years.
  • Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, this program is very bad for you.
  • On the day the first AP report came out, we had launched a survey project to collect data.
  • An Arab cab driver who cooperated with the police, he was eye witness to the person who conducted the robbery.
  • He testified in court, the person was convicted. The NYPD then approached him several months later and said we’d like to talk with you about that case.
  • They tell him we want you to become an informant for us. When he declines, for the next two weeks he ends up being followed in dark unmarked cars.
  • We do believe its about a few 100 hundred in the police department in terms of intelligence.

Guest – Fahd Ahmed, Fahd came to the United States as an undocumented immigrant from Pakistan in 1991, and went on to attend Vanderbilt University, and CUNY School of Law. Fahd joined DRUM in 2000 when he had family members facing deportations. Within DRUM, Fahd led the work with Muslim, Arab, and South Asian immigrant detainees before, and immediately after 9/11, by coordinating the detainee visitation program. Fahd was a recipient of the Haywood Burns Fellowship from the National Lawyers Guild, served as an Ella Baker intern at the Center for Constitutional Rights, as a legal consultant with the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, and as a lecturer and researcher on Islamophobia, National Security, and social movements at the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative at the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University

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Two And A Half Party System Debt Ceiling Crisis

Today we’ll examine in depth how the United States reached the recent crisis with regard to debt ceiling. If you think its just the Tea Party that wants to cut current government benefits such as Social Security and Medicare you’d be wrong. It’s also the Obama Administration

Professor Jack Rasmus:

  • The Republicans strategic focus since 2011 has been to cut the deficit at the expense of discretionary spending and in particular to target social security and medicare and medicaid.
  • In the fiscal cliff deal of last year, they succeeded in pushing through most of the Bush tax cuts. 4 trillion in tax cuts.
  • The Republicans in the last 2 years have cut 2.2 trillion dollars in government spending.
  • They’re going to use the debt ceiling in order to extract more spending cuts, this time, social security and medicare, and probably more tax cuts.
  • Obama has already called for 630 billion dollars in social security and medicare cuts. That’s a starting point, a beginning of negotiating.
  • What’s happened is that the tea party have injected themselves into this thing. We’ve got 2 and a half parties in Congress now. The Tea Party is a faction of the Republican Party and its terrorizing the Republican Party even though its a minority in the House.
  • The Tea Partiers are grandstanding for elections. This is all about mid-term elections next year.
  • As far as the shutdown is concerned, that is a Tea Party problem.
  • They have Republicans terrorized that they’re going to lose primaries.
  • There’s another group within the Tea Party that are opportunists, they’re riding the crest.
  • The people behind the Tea Party, out there in the grassroots, you know, the billionaires are funding it and the Heritage Action Groups. I think there are opportunists and confused ideologues.
  • What you’re going to see is Obama blocking with corporate pressure on the leadership of the Republicans, and all 3 of them then giving the Tea Party a choice.
  • Last year, unions lost 500 thousand members, even as a million and a half new jobs were created.
  • Something real dangerous is going on with the labor movement.
  • There is a nation wide formation called the Emergency Labor Network.
  • Obama has been in favor of cutting Social Security for quite some time. He’s also been in favor of cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 to 28 percent. That doesn’t sound like the Democratic Party of years past.

Guest – Professor Jack Rasmus, Ph.D Political Economy, teaches economics and politics at St. Mary’s College in California. He is the author and producer of the various nonfiction and fictional workers, including the books ‘Obama’s Economy: Recovery for the Few‘, Pluto Press, 2012, ‘Epic Recession: Prelude to Global Depression‘, Pluto Press, 2010, and ‘The War at Home: The Corporate Offensive from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush‘, Kyklosproductions, 2006

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Law and Disorder October 14, 2013


Updates:

  • Lynne Stewart Turns 74
  • Phone Campaign For Lynne Stewart To Be Let Out Of Prison Under Compassionate Release
  • Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons – 202-307-3250
  • U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder – 202-353-1555
  • U.S. President Barack Obama – 202-456-1111
  • Che Guevara Anniversary
  • Shocking Statistics On Americans Under 30

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The United States Military Kidnapping In Libya And Failed Kill or?Capture In Somalia

The United States military had gone into 2 parts of Africa. In one case they went into Libya and brazenly seized a man who they claim to be a leader of Al-Qaeda, his name is Abu Anas al-Libi.  He was seized out of Tripoli, Libya. The U.S. also went into Somalia and attacked a house or a compound in apparently an effort to grab or kill  an alleged senior leader of the Somali group al-Shabab. Michael Ratner reports in this update.

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • It was shocking news to see that the United States think it can go into sovereign countries and kidnap, kill whoever they want. Did the US have the right to go into Libya at all?
  • Article 24 of the UN Charter says that the territorial integrity of the a country is complete, except of the case of self-defense or authorized by the UN.
  • There was no authority by the UN or international law to go into Libya.
  • Then the question came up – Did Libya consent to it?
  • He’s on some U.S. ship. It’s called the San Antonio.
  • They’re keeping him floating on this ship while they’re going to interrogate him.
  • Its true, Obama when he took office 5 years ago, he banned torture and he said all interrogations had to be done according to the Army Field Manual.
  • Annex M allows 3 kinds of techniques that I think constitute cruel and inhuman, degrading treatment and taken together would constitute torture.

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

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The United States, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Israel Part 2

October 7th of 2013 marked the 12th anniversary since the United States invaded Afghanistan as the war drags into its 13th year. The Afghanistan war and the Iraq war have been estimated to cost tax payers up to 6 trillion dollars. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War – an illegal war launched despite the global protest in the streets.

Phyllis Bennis:

  • On the one hand it was a huge victory for the U.S. and the anti-war mobilization effort, that we managed to prevent what was a very imminent US strike. The British also had their missiles ready to go. They were very close.
  • In combination with the British Parliament decision to say no, led to a huge shift in what the Obama Administration was prepared to do.
  • It turns out they were prepared to go to war without UN permission. They were ready to do without the UN, without NATO, without the Arab League, but not without the Brits.
  • This was a political decision, this wasn’t rooted in concerns about international law or any kind of strategic or military necessity.
  • When it was turned over to Congress, a lot of organizations mobilized and said you know what, we’re not going to let this happen.
  • Members of Congress were reporting that their emails were running 500 to 1, 800 to 1, 1000 to 1 against US military intervention.
  • What we found is that people were not willing to sign on to another war after so many failed wars in the region.
  • You can call it war fatigue but it’s really about learning a lesson, that war is not an answer to these problems.
  • Given that there have been 100 thousand victims in this war (Syria) about a third of them civilians, about 43 percent regime soldiers and militia, about 18 percent rebel soldiers. The rest were civilians.
  • To claim this was all about the humanitarian consequences, simply, that’s not the case.
  • The voices that have been marginalized the most are the original political opposition in Syria, who were incredibly brave and courageous, still out there fighting.
  • The regime in Syria was forced to sign on to the chemical weapons treaty. That’s huge, there are only 7 countries in the world that had not signed that treaty.
  • Israel of course being another one.
  • The number of people killed with chemical weapons in Syria is tiny compared to the number of people killed with conventional weapons.
  • The five wars in Syria, the regional power struggle, the sectarian war, the US-Russian war, the US-Israel vs. Iran war, those are still underway in Syria.
  • President Rouhani, the new president of Iran, was on a major charm offensive.
  • Rouhani has said ” I have the backing of the Supreme Leader in a new approach to our nuclear negotiations.”
  • There are enormous pressures in the U.S from the arms industry, from AIPAC, from hawks in Congress of all sorts.
  • The Palestinians are the ones that will pay the price if there is an agreement between the US and Iran because the US will be determined to give Israel something.
  • Iraq has become as violent as it was in the height of the sectarian wars of 2006 and 2007.
  • Hundreds of people are being killed on a daily basis. It’s a disaster. Much of that is the result of the exploding war in Syria. Syria and Iraq share a long border. It’s a very porous border.
  • The division of Libya into 2 or 3 regions is a very likely possibility.
  • Saul Landau was a giant in our movement, he made one of the first films about Fidel. It was called Fidel it was made in 1960 a year after the revolution.
  • He died about a month ago after a 2 year battle with a very virulent cancer.
  • Saul had been at IPS almost at the beginning. He wrote the book Assassination on Embassy Row that documented with such precision on how Operation Condor had gone forward.

Guest – Phyllis Bennis, directs the New Internationalism Project at IPS. She is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. She has been a writer, analyst, and activist on Middle East and UN issues for many years. In 2001 she helped found and remains on the steering committee of the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation. She works closely with the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition, co-chairs the UN-based International Coordinating Network on Palestine, and since 2002 has played an active role in the growing global peace movement. She continues to serve as an adviser to several top UN officials on Middle East and UN democratization issues.

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Law and Disorder October 7, 2013


Updates:

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The United States, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Israel

President Barack Obama addressed the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly last week, near the end of September. His speech reflected some of the shift in global politics in the Middle East, especially in Syria. He also spoke about Iran, and mentioned the usual, “we are determined to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.” Obama said “we are not seeking regime change we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.”  However Iran has signed on to the Non-Proliferation Treaty which recognizes the right to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.

William Blum:

  • One must accept the basic premise that the United States wants to dominate the world.
  • In that context it becomes clear that the main problem we have with other countries is one of disobedience.
  • Our closest ally in the Arab world is Saudi Arabia, if that’s not the most oppressive government in the world then damn close to it.
  • We’ve overthrown the 3 leading secular governments of the Middle East. First Iraq, and then Libya, and now we’re in the process to attempt to overthrow the Syrian government.
  • In ’79, the Shah of Iran was overthrown by various forces, but the ones that came to power were the Islamics.
  • It’s a myth that the U.S. was totally opposed to Islam coming to power in Iran then.
  • What Washington feared is the Left coming to power in Iran.
  • The Left, all over the world, are the least likely to be obedient to Washington, to become a client state.
  • So the Left is the first target of U.S foreign policy.
  • Israel fears Iran, in the same way it fears Iraq and Libya. Any country in the Middle East that had some military power and not falling in line as an obedient friend or follower of Israel, that was a target of Israel, which means target of the U.S.
  • The 3 main targets have all been attacked by Washington and that’s where we are today.
  • Cuba then and now has represented what Washington fears greatly, a good alternative to capitalist system.
  • They have inspired people and countries all over the world, especially in Latin America.
  • It’s not very well known that throughout the 70s and into the 80s, Afghanistan had a fairly progressive government. Women had full rights. I’ve seen photos of that time, of women walking around in mini-skirts.
  • What happened to that society and government? Our dear government overthrew it.
  • It’s amazing when we hear people say we have to stay in Afghanistan to help the women there.
  • Saddam Hussein, as much of a dictator as he was, he still ran a welfare state.
  • The people in their daily life were much better off than they are today and there was peace and order
  • Syria is not going to make a good client state to the United States and Israel. Syria is a bit too friendly with Russia.
  • It’s amazing how sensitive we are to those who will not embrace the American empire.
  • Almost all the leading people in Israel except for Netanyahu, they know Iran is not a threat. It’s all hype.
  • Netanyahu needs this hype and the U.S. needs it.
  • There’s a very growing trend now to be turned off by all of this war. The vote in Congress which if it were held would have been against invading Syria.
  • The American public is very tired of these wars.
  • Sign up for the monthly Anti-Empire Report.

Guest – William Blum, has been a freelance journalist in the United States, Europe and South America.  His stay in Chile in 1972-3, writing about the Allende government’s “socialist experiment” and its tragic overthrow in a CIA-designed coup, instilled in him a personal involvement and an even more heightened interest in what his government was doing in various parts of the world. In the mid-1970’s, he worked in London with former CIA officer Philip Agee and his associates on their project of exposing CIA personnel and their misdeeds. His book on U.S. foreign policy, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, first published in 1995 and updated since, has received international acclaim.

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EFF Fights Back Against NSA Spying

A few shows ago we asked Attorney Carl Messineo with the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund what legal steps are they taking to stem the pervasive breach of civil liberties from the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance program. Our own Heidi Boghosian, author of the book Spying On Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power and Public Resistance has discussed in detail the public fight back from a legal standpoint.  David Greene, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation brings us up to date about ongoing litigation, lawsuits and FOIA requests to continue the fight back against government and corporate spying.

Attorney David Greene:

  • There’s a lot we still don’t know about how much they know about us.
  • We do know that they have several programs to collect communications, data. They have a program called UPSTREAM that collects all internet communications.
  • This actually happens at the fiber level. – where the switching facilities are at the splitter, split the transmissions to where the communications company wants it to go and one that actually goes toward the government.
  • We at EFF have known about that and had a lawsuit pending for 7 years now.
  • Our lawsuit was originally against AT&T and then Congress granted telecoms immunity, so.
  • One of the other things we’ve learned about is a program that also collects internet records called PRISM. PRISM seems to be focused on collecting email correspondence between foreign targets and the United States.
  • They’re basically collecting the call data of every telephone call made in the United States. Right now they’re saying they’re not collecting the content of the calls but only the metadata.
  • They’re also collecting social media data as well and doing things such as social mapping.
  • There are several provisions of the Fourth Amendment and some of the issues here is the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.
  • Basically people’s information is being searched, being seized without a probable cause. A probable cause to believe these people actually did anything wrong.
  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation is an organization that fights for civil liberties in the digital world.
  • Whenever you go up against the government, you’re going to be out resourced.
  • There are many parts about being a free person that requires a person to operate with some degree of privacy from there government.

Guest – Attorney David Greene, Senior Staff Attorney, has significant experience litigating First Amendment issues in state and federal trial and appellate courts and is one of the country’s leading advocates for and commentators on freedom of expression in the arts. David was a founding member, with David Sobel and Shari Steele, of the Internet Free Expression Alliance, and currently serves on the Northern California Society for Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee, the steering committee of the Free Expression Network, the governing committee of the ABA Forum on Communications Law, and on advisory boards for several arts and free speech organizations across the country.

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Left Forum 2013: Dr. Harriet Fraad Part 2

We hear part 2 of a presentation from Harriet Fraad,  a hypnotherapist & psychotherapist in Manhattan. She writes regularly for Truthout, Tikkun and The Journal of Psychohistory. Her blog with Richard D. Wolff, Economy and Psychology appears at HarrietFraad.com and RDWolff.com. Her latest book is Bringing It All Back Home ed. Graham Cussano. Her article on Emotional and Sexual Life in a Socialist America written with Tess Fraad Wolff will appear in the book Imagine A Socialist America- (Harper Collins 2013). This panel explores what Socialism could look like in the United States.

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Law and Disorder September 16, 2013


Updates:

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Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance Part II

This is part 2 of our interview with our own Heidi Boghosian who wrote the newly published book is titled Spying On Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance and it reveals in detail how the government acquires your information from sources such as telecommunications companies to compile a data base on “persons of interest.” Since ex-CIA staffer Edward Snowden’s release of top secret documents to the Guardian and Washington Post many are now aware of the frequency and scope to which they are being monitored.  What this book has unveiled is how your personal consumer data is being gathered, bundled and sold. The spying, the collecting of phone records, accessing your online activity, all of it is unconstitutional says Heidi Boghosian, co-host of Law and Disorder and the National Lawyers Guild’s Executive Director.

Attorney Heidi Boghosian:

  • They create dossiers of our spending habits, of our communication habits.
  • The corporations benefit from this which makes them create more equipment for surveillance and almost makes it impossible for the government to perform traditional government functions because they’re so reliant on corporate partners.
  • There’s also a revolving door among CEOs of these big companies and high level positions within government intelligence.
  • The National Lawyers Guild was spied on by the FBI. More than 1000 agents were assigned to us for nearly 3 decades. They rummaged through our members garbage. We had an infiltrator in Washington DC serving as a staff person.
  • They tried to label us (and failed) as a subversive organization.
  • The People’s Law Office had also been monitored for years. Apparently across the street from the office an apartment was taken by the FBI who spied on them for their work representing politically active individuals.
  • With all of this spying, the chilling effect of knowing that you may be spied on, you conversations may be listened to, changes the way you do business.
  • I’ve always been interested in cooperation between municipal public police and private security organizations.
  • We’re seeing an entire industry giving birth to Stratfor and other intelligence organizations that exist just to conduct intelligence be it on activists or critics of corporate or government policies, as well as defense contractors beefing up and creating a whole sector of intelligence.
  • They are in big contracts with the US government.
  • One of the problems constitutionally is they’re not held as private businesses to the same strictures as the US Constitution as we saw recently with the Hemisphere program revelations. We have our government paying AT&T staff to sit next to drug enforcement officers and go through AT&T’s files that go back 26 years. They’re not overseen by a judge.
  • My question is how many more agencies of the government are doing this?
  • They are getting access to this information through what’s called administrative subpoenas.
  • Many mannequins have small cameras embedded in the eyeballs.
  • When you’re spying on the fourth estate as its called which is intended to be a watch dog on government you really get to the heart of what democracy is about.
  • Without a free press, we don’t have any chance of preserving those fundamental freedoms of First Amendment association and the ability to bring our grievances to the government for redress.
  • A student group working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers got suspicious because a new member on their listserve started asking questions and they did some research and found she owned her own private security company, in fact she was spying on them for Burger King.
  • Congress is calling for an investigation for these large data aggragators. Once again, there’s no oversight, there’s no accountability, they go to a variety of sources to gather personal information on us. Some in the public domain, others not.
  • They have vast troves, electronic dossiers on each of us.

Guest – Heidi Boghosian,  executive director of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the co-host of the weekly civil liberties radio show Law and Disorder on Pacifica’s WBAI in New York and over 40 national affiliates. She received her JD from Temple Law School where she was the editor-in-chief of the Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review. She also holds an MS from Boston University and a BA from Brown University.
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Syria: U.S. Humanitarian Intervention

What is the difference between an illegal war and humanitarian intervention? At the 2005 United Nations World Summit, government leaders agreed unanimously that “each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”  If a state fails to protect its own citizens from such atrocity as its known, the agreement implies a collective responsibility of humanitarian intervention upon other agencies.  President Obama has threatened to use military force against Syria and recently commented during a speech that “we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus”  The US, however has in the past,  turned a so called blind eye to other alleged chemical weapons attacks in other countries. Why would President Obama now want to go forward with a Navy missile strike in Syria and try to do so without UN Security Council approval?

Ajamu Baracka:

  • There’s no basis in international law that allows the US or any sovereign state to take that kind of unilateral action.
  • This notion of humanitarian intervention and this responsibility to protect, is a particular type of creation that’s been cooked up in the west that has provided some kind of moral justification to engage in unilateral action on behalf of the world community.
  • To circumvent the United Nations and impose their own vision and understanding of international order on any nation they see fit.
  • This is no more than a dressed up, rearticulation of the white man’s burden.
  • This notion that the US and the European, ex-colonial nations, have a right and a responsibility to impose their particular interests and world views on the rest of humanity is a notion that needs to be rejected but its something that many people in the west have embraced.
  • It was the foundation for the NATO intervention of Libya. It has been the justification for intervention in Kosovo.
  • It’s been very skillfully implanted into the minds of many people in this country as a justification for unilateral actions on the part of the US or in conjunction again with European allies.
  • What about the images we were bombarded with, the rows of piled up bodies in Egypt? Why are those lives less important than those who died in Syria?
  • Is it the mode in which they were murdered, gas as opposed to US supplied weapons?
  • I think the US objective is the dismemberment of the Syrian state. They are in almost a win-win situation. Either they affect regime change and allow this motley crew of oppositional forces much aligned with jihadist movements, come to power or they force the state to become a non-functional state.
  • The long term objective is to further isolate Iran, to diminish the power of Russia.
  • Right at the moment when it was clear that the Assad government had turned the tide militarily on the ground, the US decided it was going to intervene to effect the equalization of forces in Syria.
  • The US found itself in a very unique isolated position. Kerry has been given an opportunity to pull back from this ill-advised strike.
  • I think the Obama Administration is one of the most effective weapons ever deployed against the progressive and radical movement here in this country, perhaps in the whole post-war period.
  • He had been the answer to Ronald Reagan, but even a more effective communicator.
  • A more effective demobilzer if you will. (Obama Administration) has demobilized the anti-war movement, it has disarmed radicals, confused traditional liberals.
  • I think we use this last incident to intensify the conversations around exposing the interests of this administration.

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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