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Archives for August, 2011

Law and Disorder August 29, 2011

The Truth About the Situation in Libya Cutting Through the Government Propaganda and Media Lies

Libya, a country of 6 million people possesses the largest of Africa’s oil reserves. It’s oil is of a particular high quality. Since March 19 2011 the Air Force of Britain, France and the United States have conducted nearly 7500 bombing attacks. Meanwhile,  ground forces made up of special operations and commando units are NATO led and direct the military operations of the so called rebel forces.  In his recent article titled The Truth About the Situation in Libya Cutting Through the Government Propaganda and Media Lies, Answer Coalition National Coordinator  Brian Becker lays out the history and facts about the ongoing Libya invasion.  See Partial Interview Transcript

Brian Becker:

  • Unfortunately there’s a large number of people who have accommodated themselves to a full scale demonization to the targeted government, the government in this case Qaddafi and Libya.
  • Targeted comprehensively by the corporate sponsored media in the United States, in Britain and France.  The United States, Britain and France the former colonizers and slave traders of Africa, always assigned their bombing missions, invasions a noble cause.
  • They characterized the targeted government as having threatened a full scale massacre in Benghazi. There was no proof offered of that.  The propaganda campaign is always part of the overall war effort.
  • Qaddafi came to power in 1969, he immediately evicted the (US)Air Force base and the two British bases that were the dominant powers inside of Libya.
  • The National Transition Council, the group that is fighting Qaddafi, and is sponsored by NATO,  their first act when they formed a government coming into being was to invite those same powers to begin bombing the country.
  • In 2004 after the invasion of Iraq, George W Bush and the European powers there ended the sanctions on Libya.
  • Libya attempted to accommodate itself to the western powers.
  • He was a player, they don’t want players, they want puppets.
  • He let the companies come in but he kept irritating and annoying them.
  • In the recent months we’ve seen demonstrations of hundreds and thousands of Libyans, maybe as many as a million gathering in Green Square against the bombing of Tripoli.
  • Not all of them were with Qaddafi, some of them were but they nonetheless were against the bombing of their city by a foreign power.
  • In the last days, there’s been a psychological war to over throw the government in Tripoli.
  • What we don’t see is NATO carried out 7,500 bombing missions many of them against military formations of the Qaddafi government, many against civilian and communication centers.
  • Why don’t they start bombing Saudi Arabia? There’s no elections in Saudi Arabia, women can’t drive cars in Saudi Arabia, the punishment for women committing adultery is stoning to death.  There’s no protest in Saudi Arabia because they’re met with torture, imprisonment and execution.
  • Why because the Saudi government functions a proxy, puppet client regime of the United States.
  • If you watch TV or read US media you’d think there was 40 years of dark grim dictatorship with nothing good, the nightmare is finally ending.
  • There was mass illiteracy in 1969, today 92 percent of the people are literate.  Life expectancy of Libyans today is 77 years old.  The entire operation is a NATO operation.
  • The slogan of self determination has no credibility except in that struggle against imperialism.
  • In World War I when that war was about to end, there was a secret treaty called the The Sykes–Picot Treaty.  What that treaty showed was despite the utterances of self determination at that time by Woodrow Wilson and the other western leaders, that these powers were secretly dividing the spoils of war.
  • If this operation in Libya succeeds, the use of foreign military forces and intelligence forces, and drone aircraft and military operations, the same tactics will be applied to countries deemed to independent of the dictates in Washington.
  • Because its Obama and not the Republicans, too many progressive anti-war normally active people are sitting on the sidelines, watching, wondering rather than building the kind of militant anti-war movement in the United States that says to the people of the world

Guest – Brian Becker, National Coordinator for the Answer Coalition, he’s also been a central organizer of the mass anti-war demonstrations that have taken place in Washington, D.C. over the past decade.


Better This World: Katie Galloway

In recent shows we’ve talked about the cases involving the FBI’s targeting of protesters, over-zealous prosecutors, and their collective impact on domestic dissent. These topics are just part of a riveting story in the documentary titled Better This World, directed and produced by Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane dela Vega, produced also by Mike Nicholson.

It’s a story of two boyhood friends from Texas who travel to the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota and find themselves embroiled in an FBI case involving multiple domestic terrorism counts. Better This World gets right to the heart of the so called War on Terror, its impact on civil liberties and protest activities.  One review described the film as “Riveting. Structured like a taut thriller, it delivers a chilling depiction of loyalty, naivete, political zealotry and the post-9/11 security state — and it features one doozy of a kicker in the “where are they are now” category.”-

Katie Galloway:

  • It was early 2009 and we saw a headline in the New York Times about the arrest of two young activists at the Republican National Convention.  I didn’t hear about the story until David McKay was going to trial.
  • His co-defendant had taken a plea, that’s what most people do in the federal system for sure.
  • David had decided to roll the dice and he was going to federal trial. He was alleging that he had been entrapped.
  • David and Brad went to an informational meeting in Austin, Texas about protesting at the Republican National Convention. Anarchist collective.
  • While there they were approached by a well known activist Brandon Darby, who had gained some measure of fame after Hurricane Katrina and co-founded an organization called Common Ground.
  • Two years leading up to the convention, multiple law enforcement and federal agencies had been involved in pro-active investigations into activist groups who might be coming to the RNC.
  • David and Brad by coming to this meeting raised the suspicion of the government.
  • There’s a lot of love in both families for these two guys.
  • It’s a story about friendship and loyalty against the back drop of the post-9/11 domestic security apparatus with the full weight of the state on these guys trying to turn them against each other.
  • What I learned is that the “war on terror” is really an extension, a continuation of the “war on drugs.”  The rampant yet increased use of informants in the “war on terror.”
  • David who built Molotov cocktails but didn’t use them was facing 30 years. Our sentences are 5 to 12 times longer than other countries.  We get a strong sense of collateral damage of federal prosecutions, what it puts the families through. The tendency is to absolutely demonize the defense.
  • We’re trying to make sure this film becomes part of the national dialogue about life after 9/11, about the legal system, the tension between civil liberty and security.
  • When we got to Minneapolis we thought we would follow the legal cases as they unfolded. Our normal style is verite, letting things play out before the camera. We quickly realized that the heart of the story is what led to the six months leading up to the convention.

Guest – Katie Galloway,  director producer of the Better This WorldKatie has directed and produced numerous award winning films and series for PBS Frontline and POV, among others. Her feature documentary Prison Town, USA (POV 2007) called “documentary making at its best” by The San Francisco Chronicle and “intriguing” by The New York Times, was developed as a fiction series by IFC, for which she co-wrote the first 3 episodes. Her critically acclaimed film Better This World (POV 2011) has won 3 top doc awards on this year’s festival circuit.  Galloway taught documentary production at the Columbia Journalism School and now teaches Media Studies at U.C. Berkeley.


Law and Disorder August 22, 2011


Cruel Solitary Confinement In Pennsylvania Prisons

Earlier this year the National Lawyers Guild called on Superintendent Louis Folino to support the Program Review Board’s recommendation to release Russell Maroon Shoatz into the general prison population at SCI Greene in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.

Jerome Coffey, a political prisoner currently being held in Pennsylvania’s SCI Forrest.  Jerome’s social work while in prison include sending clothes to villages in Uganda and to women prisoners in the Philippines. That work has labeled him an instigator and he’s been placed in solitary confinement for more than 5 and a half years.

Bret Grote:

  • The Human Rights Coalition was founded by state prisoners at the State Correctional Institution in Greene, Pennsylvania in 2000. The Pittsburgh chapter where I work was founded in 2006-2007.
  • The main mission of the Human Rights Coalition was to bring the voices of the most excluded from criminal, legal, criminal justice discussions, namely those of prisoners, their family members and effected communities.
  • We base our work in building relationships with prisoners and to bring support and advocacy to those most impacted by the prison system and that has led us straight into solitary confinements where people’s lives are being micro-managed down to the most minute details.
  • The justifications for solitary confinement shift from to another, it used to be based on escapes.  Now that Russell Maroon Shoatz is approaching his 70th birthday, they’re claiming its because of his past efforts of organizing hunger strikes, and they cite an incident where he was forced to defend himself against another prisoner.
  • In Maroon’s case he met with a prisoner mental health staff person because there was some movement towards releasing him from solitary confinement that ended up being blocked.
  • This staff person told him there was an allegation that he tried to organize an armed prison uprising in the 80’s. This has been following him around for over 25 years in his file, but he has not been able to challenge this because he was not informed of this at all.
  • He is not represented by legal counsel. He is ripe for representation under the 8th amendment clause of cruel and unusual punishment.
  • The prison authorities typical treatment for somebody who is the restrictive housing unit is a cursory interview at the cell, maybe once every 30 days with a staff worker, which is to say they’re not really giving them effective mental health treatment.
  • You spend 23 hours in the cell, maybe 24 if the guards don’t take you to yard or shower.
  • The things that one may witness on the whole are constant screaming, banging, and yelling and crying and cursing and talking to one’s self by prisoners who are psychologically disturbed.  According to the figures up to 2500 or 3000 prisoners can be in solitary confinement on any given day in Pennsylvania. The total prisoner population in Pennsylvania is 52 thousand.
  • We are constantly looking for serious and committed civil and human rights lawyers to work with us. We have a massive body of evidence.  The solitary confinement system is an invisible system inside of a larger invisible system of the prisons.

Guest – Bret Grote, law student and volunteer with the Human Rights Coalition, an organization bringing the voices of the most excluded from criminal, legal, criminal justice discussions, namely those of prisoners, their family members and effected communities.  The HRC works to build relationships with prisoners and  bring support and advocacy to those most impacted by the prison system.

Andre Jacobs

Andre Jacobs is another Pennsylvania state prisoner in solitary confinement. Andre, a 27 year-old jailhouse lawyer, has been held in retaliatory solitary confinement for more than 8 years. In 2009, Andre was awarded 185 thousand dollars in a case against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, an action that has resulted in his being singled him out for abuse within the prison system. In January of this year, he was physically abused, issued death threats and denied medical treatment.

Liz Springer:

  • It’s been rough, there had been days where I thought he wasn’t going to make it. I thought I was going to get a call saying he was dead. I send him inspiration cards, and support him, send him some Bible verses to keep him strong.
  • There have been times he said to me, I can’t do it no longer, I can’t do it.
  • They were beatin’ him in the court room. They said he had an attitude and when he was leaving the court room, I witnessed them beating him, and I said, “I love you Andre.” He turned around and said “I love you too.”
  • They started beating him because they said he wasn’t supposed to speak to me.
  • He lost that case because the guards got on the stand and said he hurt one of the guard’s wrist.
  • He ended up with 18 years because of that. Lately he has a little hope.
  • He was strapped to a chair for 12 hours not being able to move anything but his head. Didn’t eat, had to go the bathroom and he just went.

Guest – Liz Springer, activist and the grandmother of Andre Jacobs.


Russell Maroon Shoatz

As many listeners may know, former Black Panther Russell Shoatz has been in prison since 1972, and the past 21 of those years has been spent in solitary confinement.  He’s 67, his spirit unbroken and in addition to his record of good conduct, members of the Pennsylvania Prison Society who visit Mr. Shoatz regularly attest to his peaceful disposition.  Earlier this year the National Lawyers Guild called on Superintendent Louis Folino to support the Program Review Board’s recommendation to release Russell Maroon Shoatz into the general prison population at SCI Greene in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. His daughter Theresa Shoatz joins us talk more about his advocacy work and life as a political prisoner.

Theresa Shoatz:

  • The solitary confinement has had the worst effect on us. Within the 39 years we was able to have contact visits.
  • The unit he’s in now, there’s no contact, you’re behind a glass when you visit.
  • He’s had grandchildren since that time, and he hasn’t touched the grandchildren either. Our family is dedicated to visiting him, every 3 months.
  • Russell Shoatz being known throughout the country.  I notice now, his conversations are laid back, he’s not as upbeat as he used to be.
  • He keeps stressing almost on our weekly calls, you gotta get me outta here.
  • They told me Daddy’s a leader, I said no, he’s a grandfather.  The Panthers didn’t say we want to battle the police. They said, we want to educate our youth, we want to feed them, we want to take control of our community. When it became war, and the Panthers were under attack, they said we got to protect ourselves.
  • That’s what happened, and of course, Daddy’s a political prisoner. He took a stand and stood on the front line for his people and his community.
  • I had a little attitude with him, I said why would you leave us, this was some years ago. He said,  (I did it for my people. How could I allow you to be raised in that type of system?) It hit me like a ton of bricks.
  • The guards, they called themselves the “wolfpack” when you’d see them comin, they would roll one pants leg all the up to the knee.
  • I went to Governor’s office, the Governor of Pennsylvania. I was on trains, back and forth.
  • It’s the same thing, when our people get in the streets and march, you really can’t do one march.
  • At SCI Greene, over 20 young men in their 20’s hung themselves there (lynching) within a short time of solitary confinement.
  • Daddy was constantly yelling to the guys, what to do. They come in strollin. Strollin down the solitary unit.
  • This prison bubble is going to burst. There are people fighting on all levels, this prison bubble is going to burst.
  • It’s going to end, we’re going to make sure of that.

Guest – Theresa Shoatz, daughter of political prisoner Russell Shoatz and activist with the Human Rights Coalition.


Law and Disorder August 15, 2011


A Setback For Obama’s War On Whistleblowers

The Department of Justice’s campaign to stigmatize whistle blowers and force reporters to open up their notebooks under the Espionage Act is failing. Recently, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in an opinion released a couple weeks ago, said prosecutors could not force author and New York Times reporter to testify about how he learned certain classified information for a book on the Central Intelligence Agency.  In another example, a former senior NSA official was charged under the Espionage Act and accused of leaking classified information to a newspaper. He recently walked out of court a free man, sentenced to a year’s probation and community service, after hearing the judge excoriate the government for its handling of the case.

Attorney Scott Horton:

  • Obama criticized the oppression of whistle blowers on the campaign trail.
  • He talked about how early in his career he had represented whistle blowers, and they play a part in our society and they need our protection.  When confronted now, he shoots back I was talking about whistle blowers in areas other than national security.
  • There have dozens of whistle blowers in the national security area, but I would say the pattern that unfolds, is there’s an internal investigation, the person is stripped of their security classification, they usually lose their job.
  • These prosecutions don’t lead to long prison terms.
  • I think what we see is a turn to the Espionage Act in order to justify far more serious terms and have a 10 or 20 year sentence.
  • The Espionage Act can be used to justify going after reporters. Access to their internet accounts, phone records, and compelling reporters to give evidence against their sources.
  • The Drake case and the Sterling case are two most important ones right now. The NSA took the position that Drake was disclosing secrets by revealing all of this.
  • At least half a dozen senior figures in the Obama Whitehouse provided extremely sensitive and classified information to Bob Woodward for that book. No investigation, no prosecution.
  • You can open the New York Times and the Washington Post everyday and find some national secret that’s been leaked by a member of the administration to help score a point for the administration. There’s never any investigation.
  • Nothing is more clear that only political motivations drive these cases. The cases that are most embarrassing are the cases that are most rigorously prosecuted.
  • The person prosecuted Thomas Drake was a selfless civil servant, spent his entire life serving the government, served in the Air Force, the Navy, the NSA and had sacrificed through his life to advance the interest of government.
  • He was being prosecuted because of his concern for taxpayers. He saw fraud and waste in contractor management he tried to stop. He went through every proper channel and then when he went to the press, he’s prosecuted for doing that.
  • The prosecutor William H Welch is the man known for having bungled the prosecution of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.  The Washingtonian did a whole career profile on William Welch.
  • The Obama Administration came in, it made certain promises. You see inside the DOJ, they’ve assigned people to change the policy guidelines. And they have, if you go back and look at the policy guidelines for state secrets invocations and the policy guidelines, they’re there for these whistle blower cases and the guidelines have been changed.
  • What I hear from lawyers there (DOJ) is that the attitude they have now toward the CIA and the NSA are that these two agencies are their clients. They do the bidding of these agencies, they never question their characterizations or assessments.
  • I think that’s what we see in the prosecution decisions here. We see senior officials at the CIA and NSA who have been embarrassed by these disclosures and they want to get even with the people who have embarrassed them and the Justice Department is perfectly happy to go out there and do their bidding.

Guest – New York attorney Scott Horton, known for his work in human rights law and the law of armed conflict. Scott is also the contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine.


BDS Movement Ignites Amid U.S. Food Co-ops

An emerging BDS movement is making waves at a Food Coop in Brooklyn, similar to the successful Boycott Divestment Sanction effort last summer in Olympia, Washington. The Olympia movement was pioneered by Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the home city of the Corrie family.  The Brooklyn BDS protest is causing backlash amid the Jewish community. Some Jewish leaders opposed to the movement say it reveals antisemitism and that the assumption of Israel’s right to exist isn’t shared.

The boycott, in this case urges people around the world to stop buying products that support Israeli infrastructure such as Loreal, Motorola, Caterpillar, and many more.  Sanctions, would target those companies exporting to Israel and applying tariffs or trade barriers. Divest or disinvestment, is the call to divest from companies, institutions and universities that support Israel’s occupation and lobby power.

Attorney Dennis James:

  • I’m a co-op member and the co-op has been around since the seventies. It’s the oldest and largest food co-op in the United States, it’s got 16 thousand members and a waiting list.
  • In the past 2 or 3 years, there has been a running dispute reflected in the editors of the Linewaiters Gazette of counter charges and charges regarding the issue of handling Israeli produced goods.
  • There has developed a movement to try to resolve this. To do it in a democratic way that’s provided for by the procedures of the co-op which was founded in a political sense. It’s had about 11 boycotts.
  • The proposal made by the proponents of the boycott is that it should be by referendum of all 16 thousand members rather than at a general membership meeting in which 3 or 4 hundred people attend.
  • Where we are now, slogging our way through the procedures of the co-op is that there has been a meeting specified in the process is a pure discussion of whether or not there should be a referendum.
  • There’s the Hava products and people are doing research on what particular products there are.
  • There are certain fresh foods that come in off season. Two principle objectives come up, why Israel? – meaning while there’s this misery around the planet of the Chinese imposing on the Tibetans, Turks imposing on the Kurds and the other one is – it will destroy the co-op.
  • The elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about and that is US support for everything Israel does, which is not characteristic of almost any other conflict as bad as it might be of majorities vs minorities throughout the world.
  • We support this, we finance this. We back it up with a guaranteed veto in the U.N. whenever Israel wants it.
  • There is 81 Congressmen in Israel right now on vacation. Paid for by AIPAC. They give Netanyahu 29 standing ovations, no president gets that.  They’re shaking in their boots, whether AIPAC is going to come to their district.
  • The anti-boycott people (co-op) are saying we’re going to walk out, we’re going to destroy. (the very people who want to prevent the vote – referendum)
  • They don’t want to debate you, they want to destroy you. They want to shut you down to shut you up.
  • In Israel: People can lose their tax exempt status if they are of an organization like an NGO that has advocated boycotts of say settlement produced goods as do a number of Israeli NGOs.
  • They can be fined. There is a number of particular civil sanctions that are available to those who advocate a boycott.


Attorney Barbara Harvey:

  • The BDS movement really took off after calls went out for a global BDS in 2005 from Palestinian Civil Society.
    176 of the major civil society Palestinian organizations issued a joint call for a global BDS. They asked for non-violent economic resistance to occupation.
  • The U.S. Zion organizations, AIPAC, the Jewish Federation, the JCRC and other Jewish organizations in this country would not have jointly created a six million dollar fund dedicated to defeating the BDS movement in the United States.
  • Something we should not allow ourselves to be distracted by in my opinion. It is an effort to revive, reenact anti-boycott provisions of an old export administration act. These anti-boycott provisions expired a decade ago, but they were continued by presidential emergency orders including one signed by President Obama.
  • They intend to prohibit collaboration by U.S. people that includes corporations, with the Arab League Boycott Against Israel. If intended to prevent exporters from cooperating with and supporting the Arab League Boycott. It is not directed against human rights campaigns such as BDSs.
  • The Olympia Food Co-op is actually an important story. Olympia, Washington is the hometown of Rachel Corrie who was the young Evergreen College student who was bulldozed to her death by the Caterpillar D9 weaponized bulldozer.
  • (The Olympia Food Co-op) adopted a boycott on the purchase for re-sale all goods from Israel, in accordance with the goals of the BDS movement a year ago.  It has been successful, it has been under the gun ever since. The fact is, it hasn’t hurt business and it hasn’t backed off.
  • This highlights the hysteria fomented by the opponents of the BDS that they’d like us to lose sight of. The majority of American Jews in this country, genuinely want a fair and peaceful resolution of the conflict.
  • The whole Netanyahu Administration has been a real trauma for American Jews.
  • TIAA-CREF is a retirement behemoth. It has more than 400 billion dollars assets. The goal is to persuade TIAA-CREF to divest its portfolios from the occupation.
  • / / /

Guest –  National Lawyers Guild attorney Dennis James.  Dennis has been active in anti-war, civil rights, and social justice issues. He recently traveled to Gaza with a UN delegation in 2009.

Guest –  Attorney Barbara Harvey in Detroit who has worked with BDS activists and a former JVP Board Member


Law and Disorder August 8, 2011

A People’s History of the Egyptian Revolution

Egypt’s revolution didn’t suddenly happen overnight, there was long important history. Beginning with Egypt and Israel signing the Camp David Accords in 1979 Egypt was rewarded with billions in US military aid that paved the way for neo-liberal style policies under Hosni Mubarak.  By 2000, the first signs of widespread opposition started in solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada. The protests centered around poverty, corruption and need for democracy.  A second wave of mass opposition ignited in 2003 in response to the US invasion of Iraq and Egypt’s support for the war.  Then the April 6 movement rose in 2008, protesting against rising food costs and low wages. By 2010 social media and blogs were outlets for organizing and dissent.

Guest – Co-writer of the article and founder of Left Turn Magazine Rami El-Amine.
Guest – Activist Mostafa Henaway who also contributed to the article A People’s History of the Egyptian Revolution.


Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark on War of Aggression in Libya

As many listeners know, the military operation in Libya is not a humanitarian intervention, it is part of the global war and effort to militarize North Africa.  The Chinese have sizable interests in Libya in the battle for oil. Meanwhile, the Gaddafi leadership has continued to function despite the NATO bombing campaign in the last four months and the loss of significant parts of the the country. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney had recently returned from a fact finding mission in Tripoli during a time of intense bombing.  She has organized speakers to discuss how billions are spent in this military operation while we’re being told there are no funds available for jobs, health care and education. Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark was among the speakers, he’s been following the US and NATO involvement in brutal attempts to overthrow the Gaddafi government.

Attorney Ramsey Clark:

  • The reality is that its a war of aggression, which the Nuremberg charter and judgement defined as a supreme international crime.
  • What we’ve done is used the appearance of a civil war, people rising up against their own government, to wage a massive assault. – really unrelated to their activities, the first place we hit was Tripoli, they were no where near Tripoli and we bombed the daylights out of it.
  • The bombing is spreading away from the compound, its hitting areas outside of the city.  Interesting to note, people are still fleeing from Iraq to Syria. It’s safer in Syria, we read in our newspapers it’s violent in Syria.
  • If you go back to Rwanda, and remember how everybody was outraged afterward but nobody intervened.
  • A clearer illustration is what’s happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where hundreds of thousands of people have died and are dying by armed troops. Nobody bothers to intervene.
  • What you do is, you want to go in anyway, you use humanitarian intervention as justification.
  • The poor Congress is defaulting on its responsibility. The military budget exceeds all of the civilian budget. They can gloss over it but until we address the issue of US military expenditures, our country will be a threat to peace in the world.
  • We spend more on the military then the rest of the world combined.  It’s almost impossible to think that the United States will curtail its foreign aggressions, while the military expenditures are at what they are.
  • We’ve got in the Pacific Ocean today, 8 Trident nuclear submarines, the cost is enormous each one carries 140-145 nuclear warheads, anyone of which can destroy the biggest city in the country and go beyond it, their largest warhead will leave a crater with a 25 mile diameter.
  • Hard to sleep in Tripoli and other places that are under direct attack by us.
  • We tolerated him for 40 years while he created the highest standard of living in all of Africa. Highest per capita income, highest levels of education.  Health care and more public housing then they can use for their own citizens. – almost enough for their foreign labor. He doesn’t submit to the will of the United States.
  • Sub-Sahara Africa primarily, all the places on Earth are dying.  It’s not just the conditions of weather in East Africa, but everyplace you go, structure’s crumbling. The chaos seems to be spreading and we seem to prefer it.
  • Rebel Forces: It’s a group that doesn’t always know each other and doesn’t always like each other.
  • We took out all of Gaddafi’s planes which was easy to do. It’s easy to hit his armor.
  • They’ve held their own against the might of West Europe and the United States for months and months.
  • We (U.S.Government) agreed to pay without admitting liability 300 million dollars for the people killed in 1986 by our bombing.
  • People have to organize and rise up. I don’t think we’re going to get anything accomplished as far as peace and reduction of US militarization except by an enormous demand by the people.
  • We can cut 90 percent of the military spending in my opinion and be safer, and not be engages in all these interventions – which we can’t handle anymore.

Guest – Attorney Ramsey Clark was the former Attorney General of the United States, under President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was the first Attorney General at the Justice Department to call for the elimination of the death penalty and all electronic surveillance. After he left the Johnson administration, he became a important critic of the Vietnam War and continued defending the rights of people worldwide, from Palestinians to Iraqis, to anyone who found themselves at the repressive end of government action.

National Lawyers Guild Lawyers Victorious in Internet Free Speech Case

At a 2008, Sunday Service at the Mount Hope Baptist Church in Lansing, Michigan, members of the queer rights group Bash Back! disrupted the service to protest anti-gay policies. Months later, the church and the Alliance Defense Fund, a reactionary Christian nonprofit organization, sued Bash Back! and 15 named activists under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. The church and Defense Fund subpoenaed identifying information in an attempt to find out the protesters’ identities;, a provider of online communication tools for individuals and groups working for social change, was the only email provider to challenge the subpoenas. Federal judge Richard A. Jones ruled that did not have to turn over the records, finding that “the Users’ First Amendment right to speak anonymously online outweighs Mount Hope’s right to discovery.” National Lawyers Guild members Larry Hildes of Bellingham, Washington, Devin Theriot-Orr of Seattle, and Mark Sniderman of Indiana successfully defended several activists who received subpoenas from Mt. Hope Baptist Church demanding they turn over their internet account records.  Once again, this shows how readily corporations share private personal data on activists with the government or other private entities.

Attorney Larry Hildes:

  • This church is particularly virulent with their ministry aimed at turning gay people straight.
  • The group picketed outside and tried to pass out leaflets inside.  Two women ran to the front of the sanctuary and kissed each other at the alter.
  • Mount Hope Baptist Church called the police. The police showed up and said there’s no criminal activity here.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund, a huge fundamentalist law firm and fund raising empire in Scottsdale, Arizona contacted the church and said we’ll take on your case.
  • They sued the Bash Back folks under the “Faith Act”  – Freedom To Access To Clinics Act. They sued them and settled for 2500.00 and a consent decree that they would never disrupt a religious service in the United States again.
  • In the meantime they went to look for anyone connected with Bash Back in any way. They went to Yahoo and subpoenaed records from list-serves and Yahoo without telling anybody gave them what they wanted.
  • Then they went after RiseUp and RiseUp prides themselves on two things, the internet voice of the left and privacy for their subscribers.
  • Riseup attorney Devin Theriot-Orr outlined the internet case law, there is some good law.
  • In order to engage in free speech you need to have some degree of security and safety that your privacy is going to be protected otherwise, it chills the climate so that very few people are going to be able to take that risk.
  • The victory is that there is a first amendment right to be on a list-serve of a group, even a group whose actions can be seen as civil disobedience or illegal. Your information is still protected and private and the Freedom of Association Privilege goes to that.
  • We were awarded by the court 28 thousand dollars in fees.

Attorney Devin Theriot-Orr:

  • I’m the pro-bono lawyer for The identity information of subscribers is protected by a longstanding precedent going back to 2001.
  • Obviously the first amendment has its limits, you can’t speak anonymously about threatening to kill people.
  • One of the caveats of the first amendment is that if you have a bona fide law suit and you’re  trying to uncover the identity of the defendants there’s a whole balancing test to go through before you should be able to identify the defendants.
  • They also provided identical subpoenas to Yahoo and Google, and even though these companies are located in silicon valley with very good federal benches, and they’re in the ninth circuit, its kind of amazing to me that other companies don’t take a stronger stance to protect their users privacy.
  • We’re hoping this is a warning to overly zealous attorneys who are abusing discovery process.

Guest – Attorney Larry Hildes, National Lawyers Guild attorney in the case, Bellingham Washington.

Guest – Attorney Devin Theriot-Orr,  National Lawyers Guild attorney in Seattle and pro-bono attorney for


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