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Archives for August, 2006

Law and Disorder August 28, 2006

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Hurricane Katrina Aftermath – One Year Later

This week marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the category five monster hurricane that pounded the gulf coast killing more than 1300 people and leaving hundreds of thousands displaced. In New Orleans more than 200 thousand people have not been able to return home.

Environmental Human Rights also pose a serious risk as New Orleans residents have been urged by government agencies to move back into their homes. This, despite contaminants that have leached deep into the soil and mold in the air. According to Reuters, Asian tsunami relief workers who visited New Orleans this summer were shocked at the lack of recovery.

Guest – Attorney Jaribu Hill, Executive Director with the Mississippi Worker’s Center for Human Rights / Read Jaribu Hill’s Congressional Testimony here


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GuestCholene Espinoza, author of Through The Eye of The Storm – A Book Dedicated To Rebuilding What Katrina Washed Away. Cholene Espinoza was the second woman to fly the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft in the U.S. Air Force She is also a Captain for United Airlines on the Airbus 320 and 319.

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A Rare Report From Inside Lebanon During the Israeli Bombardment

It’s been more than two weeks since the UN cease-fire has been in effect on Israel’s month-long war that has the lives of 1300 Lebanese civilians. More residents in southern Lebanon have buried their dead. The largest funeral took place in Qana where an Israeli airstrike on the town in late July killed 29 people – the majority of them women and children. Border skirmishes continue as the truce is in its 15th day.

Guest – International Solidarity Movement founder Huwaida Arraf. She has spent the last few weeks in Lebanon establishing an international civilian presence and supporting Lebanese civilians in confronting the Israeli aerial bombardment in southern Lebanon.


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Federal Judge Says NSA Spying Unconstitutional

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled last week that the government’s warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate end to it. Taylor is the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency’s program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy, as well as the constitutional separation of powers.

So far, the Bush administration and the federal judge agreed to allow the program to hold off on enforcing the ruling for the time being, meanwhile the warrantless eavesdropping will probably continue.

Guest – Attorney Melissa Goodman with the National ACLU

Guest – Shane Kadidal, staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.



Law and Disorder August 21, 2006


Rewriting Geneva Conventions

Law and Disorder’s Michael Ratner Updates Related article – NY Times


Cuban Five – Eleventh Circuit Court Decision

Recently this month, the Eleventh Circuit decided the case of “US v. Campa” the case of the so-called “Cuban Five. This decision affirmed the trial court’s finding that the venue shouldn’t have been changed from its location in Miami and that new trial should not be ordered. This gives enormous power over to the government to bring politically motivated prosecutions and to select a favorable venue where community prejudice will favor the government, and as in this case, allow the government to obtain a conviction where evidence did not support a conviction. This decision is not the end of the case, however. If the lawyers in the case decide to, they can take it to the US Supreme Court by petitioning the court, by write of certiorari, to hear the case.

To remind listeners, this is the case where five Cuban men have been serving harsh prison sentences after they infiltrated anti-Cuban right wing (terrorist) groups in South Florida, were arrested by US authorities in 1998, and received a highly-politicized trial in Miami that was barely reported on in any US media. We’ve covered developments in this case on Law and Disorder on March 6th of this year and on our August 15th show in 2005.

Guest – Attorney Bruce Nestor, former president of the National Lawyers Guild.

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Union organizing at Starbucks

Union member Daniel Gross was fired from his job at Starbucks last week after nearly three years of union organizing. Daniel was terminated when he backed a co-worker and fellow union member at a union picket line and asserted he shouldn’t be fired. Daniel is the fourth Industrial Workers of the World member to be fired by Starbucks in less than a year. Starbucks and other large corporations such as Walmart and Borders have been known to be hostile to the social movements of their workers. This is also a turning point for some card carrying IWW baristas at Starbucks who promise to keep the union organizing alive.

Guest – IWW member Daniel Gross

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New York Cyclists’ Civil Liberties At Risk

The NYPD has proposed a rule that would dictate how many people could legally ride their bikes or walk down the sidewalk together without a permit. Since the taping of this interview, the NYPD has retracted their proposal dure to overwhelming response during the public comment period. The proposed rule would have actively discourage cycling and make it more difficult for cyclists to ride together for safety.

Guest – Gideon Oliver, an attorney for Critical Mass

Guest – activist/Law Student Mark Taylor




Law and Disorder August 14th, 2006

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Court Papers Reveal Political Reasons To Ban Protests in Central Park’s Great Lawn.

Internal emails and memoranda reveal that New York City officials including Mayor Michael Bloomberg were active participants in a pre-arranged plan to deny large political protests on the Great Lawn in Central Park. (Read NY Times article here) In one such email, the Parks Department wrote “it’s very important that we do not permit any big or political events for the between August 23 and September 6, 2004. It’s really important for us to keep track of any large events (over 1,000 people) and any rallies or events that seem sensitive or political in nature.”

Guest – Mara Verheyden Hilliard, one of the attorneys litigating the case, she’s also with the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense.

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Chicago Torture Cases Update – Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Involved.

The case includes a four-year investigation focused on allegations that 148 black men were tortured in Chicago police interrogation rooms in the 1970s and ’80s. The men say detectives under the command of Lt. Jon Burge beat them, used electric shocks, played mock Russian roulette and started to smother at least one to force confessions. Prosecutors described this “type” of criminal justice system where top officials in a position to put a stop to police torture appeared blind to the abuse. Among them Mayor Richard Daley, when he served as Cook County state’s attorney.

Guest – Flint Taylor – attorney with the People’s Law Office

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Humanitarian Aid A Crime? – Humanitarian Aid Activists Charged With Felony

Two border activists face 500 thousand dollar fines, felony charges and prison terms up to 15 years for providing humanitarian aid to 3 migrants reported to have been suffering from extreme thirst and hunger. Last summer, Daniel Strauss and Shanti Sellz volunteered in Arizona with the group “No More Deaths”, a network set up primarily to prevent deaths of migrants. Daniel and Shanti were driving the three men to get treatment by volunteer medical professionals in Tucson when they were stopped by the United States Border Patrol and arrested

The two activists Daniel say they will defend their actions in trial and take on the United States. This trial is the first of its kind and will set ground rules for what can and cannot be done to assist people coming into the country.

Law and Disorder August 7, 2006

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Miami Cubans React to Fidel Castro’s Illness

With international headlines monitoring the health of Fidel Castro, the leader of Cuban’s revolutionary history for the past 50 years, Law and Disorder hosts Michael Ratner and Michael Smith take in a long view to discuss the imperial ambitions aimed at a post-Fidel Cuba.


US Supplies Israel With Weapons and Fuel

The United States supplies Israel with some of the most sophisticated and exotic weaponry to slaughter Lebanese and Palestinian civilians. This is in violation of the US Arms Export Control Act. A law that requires military items such as bombs that are transferred to foreign governments by the United States be used for internal security and legitimate self-defense. We’ll talk more about this with our next guest.

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Marjorie Cohn joins Law and Disorder today. Marjorie is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild, and the US representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists. She has also written extensively on the Middle East conflict – read her latest articles at Commondreams and Counterpunch – here on July 4th, July 19, July 25 and July 31st.

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Innocent Civilians Still Targets

It was exactly a week ago today that Israeli warplanes bombed the village of Qana killing at least 57 people, most of them children. According to reporters at the scene, an Israeli missile hit a three-story building where relatives from two extended families were seeking refuge. There were only eight survivors. The youngest of the dead was 10 months old. The oldest was 95. This and other attacks have brought the number of Lebanese deaths to more than 750, most of them civilians, since Israel began its strikes in mid-July in response to the kidnapping of two soldiers. A total of 51 Israelis, 18 of them civilians, have been killed.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Security Cabinet agreed to expand and deepen its ground attack in Southern Lebanon as innocent civilians and communities absorb horrific destruction. Recently, Hizbollah has demanded that changes be made to the UN resolution on the conflict between Israel and Lebanon to include that Israel pull out of Southern Lebanon.

Law and Disorder hosts talk with Manhattan human rights attorney Jamil Dakwar, he’s a Palestinian citizen of Israel, he was raised in the northern Israeli city of Haifa and still has family there. Jamil is a member of the editorial board of the journal of Palestine studies.

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