Law and Disorder Radio

Law and Disorder December 1, 2008

Host Updates:

Michael Ratner and Michael Steven Smith update on the media discussions of whether to prosecute the “torture conspirators”, the details of Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s collapse, and a preventive detention scheme that could replace Guantanamo prison.

  • No truth commission. Insist on criminal investigations and prosecutions of torture conspirators.
  • Power concedes nothing without demand, it never did and it never will.
  • Mukasey gives speech about not prosecuting people during Federalist Society speech, then collapses on the stage.
  • A Seattle state court judge in the federalist society audience started yelling, Tyrant! Tyrant! Tyrant!
  • This was about law itself, unless you have prosecutions going forward it will happen again.
  • How will Guantanamo be closed? CCR general position: Repatriate 95 percent, try the rest in federal court.

Related Articles:

ali al-marri riot-police.JPG Jonathan Hafetz

Ali Al-Marri Case Update: Key Police State Building Block At Stake

In June of this year, an en banc Federal Appeals Court in Virginia ruled 5-4 that the Bush Administration could subject Ali Al-Marri to indefinite detention even though he was a resident of the United States. The court in the fourth circuit ruled that US residents could be locked up indefinitely as enemy combatants even though they were never charged with a crime. Al-Marri is the only enemy combatant currently in detention and without charges in the United States.

Jonathan Hafetz:

  • Can the president declare legal residents including American citizens, enemy combatants, deprive them a right to a trial and hold them indefinitely.
  • This, based on the idea that there is a global and never ending war on terror.
  • Though on sovereign soil, no right to habeas corpus. He was declared an enemy combatant, the case was lost in an embank in the fourth circuit
  • Why is this case so critical to liberty in the United States . . . ?
  • The five judges who ruled against the case, said essentially that there must be this power to effectively detain people in the United States to prevent terrorist attacks.
  • Ruling: the president can label legal residents including American citizens an enemy combatant in the United States, without a trial, no habeas, hold them indefinitely.
  • It’s the idea of the president to use the military to seize people including citizens from their home or places of work.
  • A very dangerous power to allow any president to have, it corrupts the justice system, it can be used as a weapon,
  • Seven years of these cases of assertion of executive power, and the courts have not answered this fundamental basic question, who can be detained by the military, who is a soldier and who is a civilian?
  • All that is stated is that if someone picks up a weapon on the battlefield, that person can be a soldier, but in the most extreme cases in the war on terror – – such as being picked up in the United States as a soldier in the extended geographic concept of the war on terror – – the courts have not grappled with whether there is habeas in those cases.
  • Even the judges who ruled against us did say that it included American citizens.

Guest – Jonathan Hafetz, Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, National Security Project.


Jeremy Scahill untitled2.JPG Sandy Berger

Jeremy Scahill: This Is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama’s White House

As President-elect Barack Obama starts building his administration, many are watching who he selects and how these choices will be consistent with the rhetoric of change. Hosts talk with investigative journalist and author Jeremy Scahill about his recent article calling to question the list of recent appointees to the Obama team. Some have a history of supporting torture, despite Obama calling for the shutting down of Guantanamo, and others have associations with the neo-conservative Project For The New American Century.

Jeremy Scahill:

  • Clinton’s policies laid the groundwork for some of the most repressive and violent policies of the Bush era, on Iraq, civil liberties, on economic policy.
  • He (Clinton) rained missles down on Iraq, bombed Yugoslavia in 1999 without UN authorization. He pushed through NAFTA and GAT, he launched airstrikes against Sudan and Afghanistan, he militarized the war on drugs, particularly the counterinsurgency war in Latin America. CIA renditions began.
  • Obama is taking these same individuals who were part of that bi-partisan war machine and putting them back in prominent positions.
  • Obama’s defense secretary – Robert Gates, George HW Bush’s former director of the CIA.
  • What message does that send not only to the anti-war people who were a large part of Obama’s base but to those which heard Obama say we’re going to change the way Washington’s foreign policy is run?
  • Henry Kissenger says it’s (Obama administration) outstanding.
  • The fact that these people are praising Obama, gives us a sense of what to expect from the economic team.
  • The message is clear that corporate interests are going to reign supreme, over the interests of ordinary working folks in this country.
  • A total contradiction in Obama’s campaign pledge to speak up for the middle class. The reality is is that he is putting together a team with the people who are part of the problem.
  • Naomi Klein: Obama represents the status quo, which is not good for people who roll up their sleeves everyday and go to work, or suffering poor
  • Eric Holder, attorney general, though better than any AG the Bush Administration has appointed, Holder has worked the Chiquita Banana Co., the most vicious violators of human rights in Latin America.
  • I think its incredibly important that we put tremendous pressure on the Justice Department, on the Obama Administration to actually seek out justice.
  • Obama Adminstration may not prosecute “torture conspirators.” because they open themselves up to Democratic complicity. Complicity such as voting for the Patriot Act, supporting the illegal, unlawful prison in Guantanamo.
  • Former Chief Assistant of the CIA, Brennen steps down from CIA director nomination, a passionate supporter of torture techniques.
  • The idea that Obama even keeps him on board as one of the people who is going to decide who runs the intelligence apparatus in this country is shameful.
  • It’s Orwellian, you vote for change, and you get torture and skewed intelligence.
  • The reality is that Obama is not going to end the occupation in Iraq, he is going to escalate the war in Afghanistan.
  • He’s not going to be great at all in holding the Bush officials accountable.
  • We need to start building a movement in this country that is independent of electoral politics.
  • Ultimately the premier issue of our time – Radical Privatization.
  • Yes, its good that John McCain and Sarah Palin are not in power in this country but Obama is not a saint, he is a center democrat, closely tied to the democratic policy elite.

Guest – Jeremy Scahill, investigative journalist and author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He is also a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and a frequent contributor to The Nation. Scahill and colleague Amy Goodman were co-recipients of the 1998 Polk Award for their radio documentary “Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria’s Oil Dictatorship”, which investigated the Chevron Corporation‘s role in the killing of two Nigerian environmental activists.


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