Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for September, 2008

Law and Disorder September 29, 2008


michael smith michael ratner Rhonda Copeland

Lawyer’s You’ll Like: Rhonda Copelon

Attorney Rhonda Copelon is a professor at the Law School of the City University of New York and director of the school’s International Human Rights Law Clinic. Rhonda is also the Legal Advisor to the Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice.

From Article on New International Criminal Court: “The breadth and specificity of gender crimes in the court’s enabling statutes are directly attributable to a global caucus of women that formed in 1997 in the face of apathy and active resistance to prosecuting gender-based crimes. “Women made a huge difference,” said Rhonda Copeland, a professor at the Law School of the City University of New York and director of the school’s International Human Rights Law Clinic.

“They made it impossible to ignore that women have been left out of justice and that we have to be in it,” Copelon said. “If there were nobody there saying ‘this is violence,’ I don’t know how it would have happened.”Rhonda shares with listeners, her history of fighting for the constitutionality of the abortion cases in New York City and its effect on poor women in a pre-Roe v Wade climate. She also discuss the Harlem 6 case. This is the first part of the interview with Rhonda Copelon.

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Bill Would Let Insurers Track Where, When, How You Drive

A bill proposed by the California legislature would allow insurance companies to install black boxes on vehicles that track milage but also measure more sensitive information such as how aggressive you drive. The bill is structured so that insurance companies can encourage people to drive less with lower insurance. Consumer watchdogs say drivers shouldn’t have to choose between fair insurance rates and protecting their privacy when there are less intrusive ways to collect data.

Under the proposed bill titled AB 2800, the “black box” would allow insurance companies to track how fast drivers accelerate, where motorists go and which neighborhoods they drive through. The device would also monitor whether they come to a full stop at a stop sign; and when they apply their brakes. Privacy protection groups are also watching as similar proposals are being introduced in other states.

Guest – Carmen Balber, Consumer Advocate with

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Bush Proposes To Bypass Endangered Species Act Experts

Currently under the Endangered Species Act, federal agencies are required to consult with federal wildlife experts to make sure activities such as mining, logging and road construction do not threaten endangered species. Now, the Bush administration has proposed a new plan that will give federal agencies the decision of whether they want expert consultation to determine if activities will affect endangered species.

Thousands of these consultations happen each year and federal wildlife experts have finely tuned their knowledge of protecting endangered species in the last twenty years. Critics say the proposal is a disturbing reversal.

Guest – Joel Kupferman, executive director and head attorney of the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project


Law and Disorder September 22, 2008


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David Swanson: Vermont AG Candidate Backs Prosecution of President Bush for Murder

Hosts Michael Ratner and Michael Smith check back with journalist David Swanson about the War Crimes Conference. David was at the conference, there was a great turnout at the event and thousands viewed online. One strategy in The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder is to establish jurisdiction in the cases for Attorney Generals in each state and also the approximately 900 district attorneys in the counties of those states.

Bugliosi says it’s not unreasonable to believe that at least one prosecutor will be courageous enough to step up. She did, her name is Charlotte Dennett, Progressive Party candidate for Vermont attorney general. Dennett says if elected she would prosecute Bush for murder, appoint Bugliosi as a special prosecutor to hold Bush accountable for deaths stemming for the Iraq war.

How to make a citizen’s arrest of a war criminal.

Guest – David Swanson, creator of many media-based websites including he has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign.

Max Wolff , Michael Smith Michael Ratner, John Ehrenberg

Economic and Political Analysis: Historic Financial Crisis and Bailout

Michael Smith and Michael Ratner host a lively discussion with economist Max Wolff and political science professor and author John Ehrenberg. Max Wolff begins with an anatomy of the financial collapses – “Low wage growth for majority of Americans, meanwhile global capacity for productive enterprise has skyrocketed and the way to make money is to find something to produce for very low wages. This creates a classic problem of insufficient aggregate demand. We can make it cheap, we can find this 11 year old in the rain forest to work in the factory for 39 cents an hour. Not successful if you can’t find a buyer. So, your success breeds a nightmare, the nightmare is resolved by international financial markets and growing debt.”

In the last half hour John Ehrenberg joins in. He says the US needs a new New Deal, and though this is a dangerous time, it could be an opportunity for strong social movements. The Republican vetting of Palin is a major concern – “The sneering contemptuous disdain for serious thought or consideration for deliberation.” Faux populism that rewards capital and punishes labor and yet coming forward as a party for the common man.

Guest – Max Fraad Wolff , freelance researcher, strategist, and writer in the areas of international finance and macroeconomics. Max’s work can be seen at the Huffington Post, The AsiaTimes, Prudent Bear, SeekingAlpha and many other outlets.

Guest – John Ehrenberg, author of the book “Servants of Wealth: The Right’s Assault on Economic Justice.” A professor of political science at Long Island University, in this, his third book, critically analyzes the rise of an ideologically coherent Right. He dissects their themes of military weakness, moral decay, racial anxiety, and hostility to social welfare to reveal their central organizing objective of protecting wealth and assaulting equality.


Law and Disorder September 15, 2008


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Police Tactics Used During The RNC: Legal Analysis

Law and Disorder hosts debrief activist Laurie Arbieter who was among the demonstrators protesting during the Republican National Convention. Laurie was among a group of activists pulled over in St. Paul, held at gunpoint and let go. We later talk with Bruce Nestor, president of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. Bruce gives us the background on the terrorism charges brought against 8 members of a prominent activist group. Most of the 8 defendants were arrested during the pre-emptive house raids and face up to seven years in prison. Ramsey County authorities have described the charges as “ in furtherance of terrorism,” based on the 2002 Minnesota version of the Patriot Act.

Guest – Laurie Arbieter, artist/activist and creator of the “We Will Not Be Silent” T-shirt series.

Guest – Bruce Nestor, president of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild

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David Swanson: Why We’re Planning to Prosecute Cheney and Bush

In an article published on the website – AfterDowningStreet, author David Swanson lays out another powerful case as to why it is critical to hold leadership accountable for war crimes. He explains that if much needed change is made in the United States such as a transparent electoral process, eliminating secret government and constitutional amendments, it would still not be enough to “chain the dogs of war.”  Hosts discuss with David Swanson about why it’s critical to hold a conference to plan the prosecution of Bush and Cheney.

War Crimes Conference Archive

Guest – David Swanson, creator of many media-based websites including and, he has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now)

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The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by BookMichael Ratner

We are very pleased to talk with our own Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights about his recent book The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book. Michael’s book exposes how hundreds of individuals were victims of gruesome crimes inside the secret prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba while under International and American law. Michael Ratner not only levels the charge against former US secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld but lists others to be guilty of the US War Crimes Act of 1996 such as David Addington, George Tenet, Alberto Gonzales, and John Yoo.

The case is presented in shocking detail, it’s a blueprint for prosecuting war criminals and a powerful reference tool for holding the Bush administration’s rogue leadership accountable. One review states that it quote “presents a case that a prosecutor could bring against Donald Rumsfeld were he not shielded by dubious immunity doctrines crafted by the Bush administration and the judges it has appointed.”

Guest – Michael Ratner – president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and author of many books including, Guantanamo: What the World Should Know. Michael has worked for decades, as a crusader for human rights both at home and abroad litigating many cases against international human rights violators resulting in millions of dollars in judgments for abuse victims and expanding the possibilities of international law. He acted as a principal counsel in the successful suit to close the camp for HIV-positive Haitian refugees on Guantanamo Base, Cuba. Over the years, he has litigated a dozen cases challenging a President’s authority to go to war, without congressional approval. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Center has focused its efforts on the constitutionality of indefinite detention and the restrictions on civil liberties as defined by the unfolding terms of a permanent war. Among his many honors are: Trial Lawyer of the Year from the Trial lawyers for Public Justice, The Columbia Law School Public Interest Law Foundation Award, and the North Star Community Frederick Douglass Award.


Law and Disorder September 8, 2008


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Law and Disorder RNC Street Coverage: Audio Document

Heidi Boghosian, Law and Disorder co-host and Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild took to the streets of St. Paul Minnesota with producer Geoff Brady during the Republican National Convention. We bring you the voices and sounds of protesters, demonstrations, and interviews with legal observers, lead activists and lawyers. We begin this audio document with attorney Bruce Nestor, president of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. Amid this heavily militarized area of St. Paul, Bruce Nestor describes how riot police use minivans as quick, efficient transport and the trapping of protesters on a bridge.

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Just blocks from the Xcel Center, Heidi catches up with local activists and independent journalists who describe first hand accounts of police confrontations. A local journalist named Nick tells of the launching of paint and flash-bang grenades, the arrests and detainment of journalists and unwarranted use of pepper spray and tasers. On 4pm on Tuesday, marchers rally at Mears Park for the scheduled Poor Peoples March. There we spoke with a New York videographer named Dan, he described the pre-convention raids on I-Witness Video and more accounts of excessive police force. Below is a photo of the pre-convention raids from their website.

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National Lawyers Guild attorney Bruce Nestor provides a chronology of events beginning with legal details involving the pre-convention raids on convergence centers. He also analyzes the overall impact of free speech when various factors come together. 1) Demonizing protesters and their message. 2) This allows use of military force by police. 3) Intelligence gathering and targeting lead organizers of alternative press. Combined, these tactics squelch the voice of dissent in all age groups and keep people from exercising their first amendment rights.

Below: Scenes gathered from the streets of St. Paul during the Republican National Convention 2008

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