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Archives for August, 2009

Law and Disorder August 31, 2009

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Attorney General Eric Holder appoints special Justice Department prosecutor John Durham to conduct a preliminary investigation into whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of certain detainees in U.S. custody.  In this lively first half hour discussion, hosts Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian and Michael Smith discuss and detail why the investigation does not go after higher-ups within the US torture program, how tortured confessions are used to support war and that interrogators did not act alone.

  • CIA OIG Report (PDF): Released because of requests by the ACLU / CCR / Amnesty International / Physicans For Human Rights
  • Office of Legal Counsel Torture Memo Authors Should Be Prosecuted.
  • Sham and Diversions: Special Prosecutor not “independent”
  • 500 Year Setback: Doctors evaluating limits of torture
  • Doctors, lawyers, officials, CIA, government agents involved.
  • Torture report also reveal Cheney lies that intel was extracted from torture.
  • CIA OIG Report Press Release
  • Like a rat through a maze  trying to find their way around the language


Photo by Jake Ratner Photo by Jake Ratner

Jacob Ratner:  Bolivia Debrief (photos courtesy of Jake Ratner)

We are very pleased to have with us Jake Ratner, our own Michael Ratner’s son, that is fresh off the plane from Bolivia.  Jake is entering his final year at the University of Pennsylvania and shares with us some of his experiences from his three month stay with a Bolivian family.  Experiences include, the Aymara indigenous culture, economics and socialism among the  classes of people in Bolivia and comparisons to Cuban culture.

Jake Ratner:

  • Working at a Bolivian Womens Prison
  • Working with NGO helping women’s prison, teaching workshops, replacing faulty lighting etc
  • San Pedro’s Mens Prison in La Paz: The prison is self functioning, the prisoners run small businesses and pay rent for their cells.
  • That kind of autonomy was also in the women’s prison.
  • When you go into the prison it’s like a small Bolivian village, there’s a fountain, kids running around.
  • The spirit of rebellion is completely related to their culture, a culture of collective reasoning and resistance to the imposing power.
  • Many women in prisons acted as drug mules. Drug laws in Bolivia, similar to Rockefeller drug laws in New York.
  • El Alto, one of the poorest cities in Bolivia, extreme poverty. No plumbing. The eat a lot of freeze dried potatoes.
  • Former Bolivian president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada Sánchez Bustamante made back room deals with Bolivia’s natural gas resources.  Bolivians took to the streets, many were killed. A lawsuit is pending.
  • El Alto, Bolivia is a “city” of roughly 800 thousand people that sits on a plateau above La Paz. It has been growing at an exponential rate and will soon supersede the population of La Paz
  • Bolivia Social Security system:  Bonos – payments to lower income families.

Guest – Jake Ratner, son of co-host Michael Ratner.  He is in his last year at the University of Pennsylvania. Jake has traveled to and studied in Cuba.  Check out Jake’s Flickr page here.


Lawyer in Bolivia working on case - photo by Jake bolivia photo by Jake Ratner


Law and Disorder August 24, 2009


Remembering Marilyn ClementHealth Care Now

As many listeners may know, Marilyn Clement, a great social activist and founder of Healthcare-NOW died on August 3. Early in her social activism career Marilyn Clement joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and worked with Martin Luther King in Atlanta. She moved to New York City after King’s assassination, she was the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and was active with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in Philadelphia. Video Of Marilyn’s Speech June 2009

Mrs. Clement became one of the strongest voices for passing a single payer health care bill. She founded the New York based advocacy organization Health Care Now in 2004. We’re joined by long time friend of Marilyn Clement, Reverend Lucius Walker, founder of Pastors for Peace and executive director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization.

Reverend Lucius Walker:

  • It’s pleasure to talk about someone so rare and wonderful as Marilyn, I first met her in late 1967.
  • She joined the IFCO staff in those early years. I met her in the interview process and felt that she was a remarkable person.
  • She came directly to IFCO from being on a staff with Martin Luther King in Atlanta.
  • She was drafting an program to do outreach to black ministers, black pastors.
  • She sought out the influences that made her radical philosophy possible.
  • She quickly became associate director of IFCO and in the thick of some of the most dynamic movements among people of color and poor whites in the country.
  • She was very key staff in IFCO in helping to stop COINTEL PRO from trying to break IFCO’s back.
  • The IRS ask to audit IFCO’s records. It took them 3 years to examine 18 months of our financial records.
  • It was pure harassment, and she was key in helping us move through that whole process.
  • Founded Health Care Now, that phase of her life began in 1970. She was the first person I heard articulate the concept of single payer healthcare.
  • It (Health Care Now) started in her apartment, that was her office.

Guest – Reverend Lucius Walker – Executive Director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO). He was the founding director from 1967 to 1973. He served as Associate General Secretary of the National Council of Churches from 1973 through 1978. In January of 1979 he returned to IFCO, which has the distinction of being the only national ecumenical foundation committed exclusively to support community organizing.



Victory for Vulcans in NYC Firefighters Case

Last month US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled in favor of the fraternal order of black firefighters, in that New York City has been discriminating against minorities in firefighter hirings. The case, similar to other firefighter cases, brought to light the disparities in the results of hiring 5300 firefighters from 1999 to 2007. Out of the 3,100 black applicants and 4,200 Hispanic applicants who took the exam, only 184 black firefighters and 461 Hispanic firefighters were ultimately appointed. These practices help make New York City the least diverse fire department of any major city in America. 09.07.22_Garaufis Vulcans Opinion.pdf

Center for Constitutional Rights Attorney Darius Charney says, “This is a tremendous victory that we’ve been fighting towards for over seven years and we applaud the court for recognizing that the FDNY written examination has no bearing on whether or not a firefighter is qualified.”

Darius Charney:

  • No other major city worse than NYC. Most civil service jobs were using written tests since the seventies.
  • New York has continued to use a paper and pencil multiple choice test.
  • A reading comprehension test, more akin to SAT. The city says its not feasible to structure other types of tests.
  • Charney: That’s a bogus answer because other cities such as L.A. incorporate other testing methods.
  • the case started in 2002 because we filed a complaint with the EEOC.
  • EEOC found probable cause that New York City had discriminated, made under the Bush Administration.
  • Vulcan society also brought a lawsuit against the fire department in the seventies

Guest – Darius Charney, Staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights in the Racial Justice/Government Misconduct Docket. He is currently lead counsel on Floyd v. City of New York, a federal civil rights class action lawsuit challenging the New York Police Department’s unconstitutional and racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices, and Vulcan Society Inc. v. the City of New York, a Title VII class action lawsuit on behalf of African-American applicants to the New York City Fire Department which challenges the racially discriminatory hiring practices of the FDNY.


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Story on Town Hall Riots: Right-Wing Shock Troops Do Corporate America’s Dirty Work

Were the fights and disruptions during the town hall meetings this month carefully organized and meticulously planned? A breaking news story at Alternet titled Story on Town Hall Riots: Right-Wing Shock Troops Do Corporate America’s Dirty Work unearths the massive right wing strategy. Anti government fringe groups have aligned with the health care industry, the GOP and Rupert Murdoch to create the town hall riot spectacles.

Adele Stan:

  • I do think its important to look at the conflagration of interest in this whole thing.
  • You have the corporate health care interest, you have Wall St., you have big media in the form of Rupert Murdoch, you have a Capitol Hill PR firm, that serves all these interests, and then you have these folks on the ground espousing anti-corporate personal belief.
  • Dick Armey, former House Majority Leader, former Congressman from Texas, who works for a lobbying shop called DLA Piper and runs the non-profit called Freedom Works.
  • Freedom Works is one of the major organizers of these town hall protests. DLA Piper, Dick Armey’s day job, represents a number of medical and oil interests.
  • Resist Net – really caught my attention. It’s part of a network called, and really organizes the far right. Milita types, anti-taxers, etc.
  • has solid connections to the institutional Republican Party. William Crystal, Peggy Noonan (You Are Terrifying Us)
  • You’ll go to these sites and it will say, Stop Obama care now, and you’ll see a listing of the town hall meetings.
  • at bottom of protest signs, connects to ResistNet. It’s clever and hard to find the tentacles.

Guest-Adele Stan, AlterNet’s Washington Bureau Chief


Law and Disorder August 17, 2009


Naomi Wolf – Guantanamo Bay: The Inside Story
Has President Obama begun to honor his promise to close Guantanamo detention camp and undo secretive detention and interrogation policies within the year? Author and political consultant Naomi had to find out for herself. She is back from Cuba and wrote a highly descriptive narrative-style article of the trip titled Guantanamo Bay: An Inside Story. Naomi takes the reader into a surreal world where detainee handlers and lawyers flatly contradict each other and prisoners are viewed from a safari-tour distance.

Naomi Wolf:

  • In order to close down an open society, you need secret prisons where torture takes place to create a police state.
  • I’ve admired the work at CCR, and I thought since we have a new president I should go down to Guantanamo and see for myself if anything has changed.
  • Getting off the plane in Cuba: It was like the Soviet Union in 1948, I was immediately separated from Pardiss Kebriaei. (CCR Attorney)
  • Journalists are shadowed, literally every they’re there. Not only do they keep lawyers from doing their jobs, they keep journalists from doing their jobs.
  • They literally treat detainees like animals in a cage. Any action that would humanize the detainees is categorically forbidden. They showed us camp x-ray first – the dog kennel-like cages.
  • Running around these cages are rats the size of bulldogs.
  • I went into another room and there was a huge pile of chairs. I looked closely at the legs and arms of chairs, there were duct tape marks as if someone were taped to the chair for interrogation.
  • It was clear that the Obama Team wanted to communicate there was a kinder, gentler Guantanamo.
  • Mohammad Al Anashi – alleged suicide. Banality of Evil
  • Their bodies are crimes scenes but they can’t talk about what happened to them because it’s classified.

Guest – Naomi Wolf, author of seven books, and the groundbreaking book The End of America: A Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot, which was also turned into a feature documentary. In the book, Naomi addresses ten steps that societies, dictators, and sometimes democracies use to close an open society to move it toward facsism. Her new book is titled Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries which is a call to action for every person, activist or not. When you ask that question “What Can I Do?” The answers are outlined in Give Me Liberty.

Listen to past Law and Disorder shows with Naomi Wolf.


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Mohammed Jawad

The Obama Administration proposed a new strategy last week for continuing the detention of Mohammed Jawad, he’s an Afghani being held for allegedly wounding two US soldiers with a grenade in 2002. Jawad may have been as young as 12 when he was picked up in 2002. Last month, the Obama administration conceded defeat when US District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle told Justice Department lawyers that the case for holding Jawad was quote riddled with holes. Now, the Obama administration under pressure to release Jawad to Afghanistan, is asking to hold Jawad and try the case in a US District Court. A military judge has already ruled that his confession to Afghanistan authorities had been coerced by torture because they threatened to arrest and kill his family.

Jonathan Hafetz:

  • Mohammed Jawad, arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 for allegedly throwing a grenade in a crowded market place that injured 2 US service members and their Afghan interpreter.
  • Following his arrest, he was beaten and tortured by corrupt Afghan police who also threatened to kill him and his family if didn’t confess to throwing grenade.
  • He was then turned over to Americans who continued to torture and terrify him. They then obtained a different false confession.
  • He was taken to Bagram Prison at the peak of torture and abuse in December 2002.
  • He was then rendered from his home country and taken to Guantanamo in February 2003.
  • Mohammad Jawad suffered psychological stress, was observed to be in a trance state, then psychologists saw this as an opportunity to completely break him.
  • He was sleep deprived, moved 110 times during a 2 week period.
  • Fall of 2008, a military judge threw out false confessions that Jawad made to Afghan and US officials.
  • By the end of 2008, the military commissions case was literally on life support, meanwhile Jawad enter’s his seventh year of detention.
  • Even after a judge dismissed the coerced torture evidence, Obama administration still tried to use this evidence against Jawad.
  • The case now under US District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle; had granted Habeas petition, ordered Jawad to be released.
  • New law: Before transferring a detainee from GTMO to another country, the president must provide notice to Congress. The power to decide release of Guantanamo prisoners still in Executive Branch of US Government.

Guest – Jonathan Hafetz, attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project and one of Jawad’s lawyers. Jonathan Hafetz blasted the Obama administration for its “pathetic attempt to prolong an outrageous case and to manipulate the court system.”


Law and Disorder August 10, 2009


Blood and Oil in Central Asia

Is the Afghanistan War less over terrorism than it is over energy? It’s a high stakes chess board writes Conn Hallidan, a foreign policy analyst,  and if the US controls the sources of energy of its rivals, Europe, Japan and China, and other nations, they win.  Hallinan, says strategic energy alliances are forming between Russia and China. China is planning a 4 thousand mile pipeline from the Caspian Basin to the Guangdong Province while Russia is locking up natural resources such as natural gas in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Conn Hallinan:

  • It’s about the United States attempting to control energy sources at a time when world oil reserves are beginning to drop.
  • In fact there’s going to be a sharp drop in world oil reserves while Brazil India and China are growing fast. There’s a growing sharp competition for controlling those energy resources.
  • The United States pretty much has its thumb on the Middle East oil reserves and has been maneuvering to control natural gas and oil coming out of Caspian Basin.
  • Follow the roadways for Pipelanistan, looking at energy resources as looking at a map.
  • This is a battle for control of energy resources. Whoever holds the high ground in the next half century will have their hand on jugular vein of their competitors.
  • Tremendous expansion of NATO into former Soviet areas and into Central Asia creates the counter-response. Shanghai Cooperation Organizations
  • The SCO is on a roll. China loaned Turkmenistan 3 billion dollars.
  • Long term goals for current administration not very different from past administration.
  • I want to go the White House and sit down with Obama and say, “ok, look just read Kipling, read Kim, the poem, Arithmetic on the Frontier.”
  • The situation is a complete disaster, we’re destabilizing India and Pakistan, the most single dangerous flash-point in the world right now.

Guest – Conn Hallinan , a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus and a lecturer in journalism at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


Co-host of Law and Disorder Former attorney for the Black Panthers matthew strugar will potter

Animal Rights Annual Conference 2009 Speeches

We hear four speeches from the Animal Rights Annual Conference this year.  The speakers are our own co-host Heidi Boghosian, Attorney Matthew Strugar, Social Justice Attorney Bob Bloom, and Will PotterFull list of speakers.

Heidi Boghosian:

Bob Bloom:

  • One of the defense attorneys for the Animal Terrorism Enterprise Act 4.
  • What I learned defending the Black Panther Party, in the criminal justice system, is that there is a  particular mechanism to control people who want to make things better, who want to change things. Courts are not for justice, they’re for repression.
  • Under the animal enterprise act, you can have a business enterprise that uses and tortures animals. It just doesn’t seem right.
  • Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals and the answer is quote – because the animals are like us.
  • Ask the experimenters why its morally ok to experiment on animals and the answer is quote because the animals are not like us.

Will Potter:

  • GreenIsTheNewRed
  • Communication enhancement facilities are political prisons for those who have been widely connected with others. When you have secretive facilities and special legislation or so-called second tier terrorism inmates, you’ll soon have secretive facilities and special legislation or so-called third tier terrorism inmates and secretive facilities and fourth tier terrorism inmates, until brick by brick, the barriers of what is being labeled a protester and an activist and a dissident and a terrorist have completely crumbled.

Matt Streuger:


The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) is a United States federal law It was signed by the President of the United States November 27, 2006. Earlier versions of the bill were known as S. 1926 and H.R. 4239. The bill is described by the author as being intended to “provide the Department of Justice the necessary authority to apprehend, prosecute, and convict individuals committing animal enterprise terror.”

Analysis of The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act


Law and Disorder August 3, 2009

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David Kairys: Lawyers You’ll Like

David Kairy began his career at the Philadelphia public defender’s office in the late 1960s. Since then, he’s been a leader in effort to fight discrimination and protect individual rights, now he’s regarded as one of the nation’s preeminent civil rights attorneys. David is a professor at the University of Temple Law School, where he teaches civil rights and constitutional law. He has written several books, including Philadelphia Freedom: Memoir of a Civil Rights Lawyer, which was published last year.

David Kairys:

  • We were of a number of young firms dedicated to civil rights and representation of progressive groups.
  • The Camden 28, caught in the act of breaking into a Camden, New Jersey draft board and destroying all of the files. This was a Catholic Left action.
  • FBI had informant in the group, who the FBI was paying on an hourly rate. The informant supplied the means to make the action happen.
  • One hundred FBI agents sat around and waited til they destroyed all the files in the office.  Many of the 28 were priests. There were more than 300 draft board raids during Vietnam.
  • Father Michael Doyle said when your government is napalming children, the place you should be is in jail.
  • Father Doyle and I strategized a way to start talking to the FBI informant Bob Hardy and eventually got an affadavit saying that the FBI manufactured this crime.
  • I filed the affidavit and it was on the front page of the New York Times.

Guest – David Kairys, Professor of Law, the first James E. Beasley Chair (2001-07), and one of the nation’s leading civil rights lawyers. He authored Philadelphia Freedom, Memoir of a Civil Rights Lawyer and With Liberty and Justice for Some and co-authored the bestselling progressive critique of the law, The Politics of Law, and authored With Liberty and Justice for Some and over 35 articles and book chapters. His columns have appeared in major periodicals, and he has been profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Wall Street Journal, and Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine. Kairys’s Public Nuisance Theory.


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Detroit’s Economic Corrosion

The bankrupt General Motors will use the billions of taxpayer bailout funds to move their productions to Mexico and China.  In one report Mexican workers will be making 3 dollars an hour without benefits.  Meanwhile, the jobless in Detroit rose to 13 percent unemployment. Retired Auto Worker member of local 235,  Dianne Feeley says Detroit is 40 percent unoccupied, homes are looted for furnaces and copper and soon burned to the ground.   Dianne joins us today to give us a sense of the economic corrosion in Detroit.   Dianne Feeley Speaking – Youtube.

Dianne Feeley:

  • In Detroit we were a city of 2.2 million now were about 900,000.
  • Saving Corporations, Sacrificing Workers by Dianne Feeley
  • We need manufacturing to be re-tooled like in WWII. It took 8 months to re-tool those plants.
  • We’re suggesting since the United States, doesn’t have mass transit, that’s something our plants can build.
  • General Motors used to manufacture buses. In addition to green vehicles, there’s the whole range of mass transit.
  • Detroit no longer has any department stores in the city, although we’re 140 square miles.
  • There’s no major grocery store in the city, no wonder fast food is the only thing available for large swaths of the city. Detroit is 85 percent African American.
  • GM has insisted that more auto workers are laid off, and more benefits are cut back.
  • Right before GM went bankrupt, the US Treasury Department demanded the UAW give up the retiree vision benefits and dental benefits.
  • Now, why in an economic downturn are you going after small benefits that retirees have?
  • Out of the price of the car manufactured, auto worker wages represent 8-10 percent of the total cost.
  • At least in other countries when the government gives money to corporations, they don’t lay off workers. In our case, the government has helped GM and Chrysler to lay off workers, that’s what they’re demanding.
  • (Instead of laying off workers) How do we move out of an auto-centric society into a mass transit society?
  • In the last 30 years the unions have taken the position of “how do we make the company profitable” so there’s no concession we can’t make.
  • The media and politicians (esp) have demonized the auto-worker. We’re supposed to be the high paid 73 dollars an hour worker.
  • No one talks about how much CEOs make an hour. We don’t make 73 dollars/hour, that’s a miscalculation.
  • The jobs not only left the US, but they left where there were better labor laws.

Guest – Dianne Feeley,  a retired auto worker who currently serves as an editor of Against the Current, a socialist magazine.  She is an advocate for auto workers and has written recently about the U.S. auto industry, arguing that the government should buy Chrysler and General Motors and turn them into a public trust.


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