Law and Disorder Radio

Archives for February, 2018


Law and Disorder February 19, 2018


Update:

  • Attorney Heidi Boghosian and Professor Johanna Fernandez Discuss Potential New Trial For Mumia Abu-Jamal

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Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment

In her engaging new book Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz chronicles the history of American gun culture and its casualties. From Andrew Jackson, the slave trade, the extermination of indigenous populations, domestic terrorist organizations such as the KKK to serial killings, U.S. history is rife with violence. What is the underpinning for such violence?

Dunbar-Ortiz argues that it is the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and the resulting gun culture that it spawned. She lays out an array of historical facts and figures that will be new information for many readers. In doing so she provokes questions about the American ethos to help inform pressing issues confronting the nation, from mass shootings in schools to police killings with impunity.

In her meticulously researched book, Dunbar-Ortiz investigates the dynamics of armed struggle within the U.S., their motivations and their contemporary relevance.

Publishers Weekly writes: “In her trenchant analysis of the Second Amendment, Dunbar-Ortiz avoids a legalistic approach and eschews the traditional view that links the amendment to citizens” need to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. Instead, she argues that the Second Amendment was passed to facilitate the genocide of Native Americans in order to steal their land and to provide a means for slaveholders to control their human property.”

Guest – Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, historian, author, memoirist, and speaker who researches Western Hemisphere history and international human rights. Her 1977 book The Great Sioux Nation was the fundamental document at the First United Nations Conference on Indians in the Americas, held at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva. Her other books include Outlaw Woman, and the acclaimed An Indigenous People’s History of the United States. Her newest book Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment, is published by City Lights.

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Bearing Faith: The Limits of Catholic Health Care for Women of Color

Catholic affiliated hospitals set strict guidelines that prohibit doctors from providing contraceptives, sterilization, abortion, and fertility services regardless of their patients wishes or their doctors’ medical judgment or the standard of care in the medical profession.

A just released report titled Bearing Faith: The Limits of Catholic Health Care for Women of Color by the Columbia Law School’s Public Rights/Private Conscience Project in partnership with Public Health Solutions shows that in many states women of color are far more likely than white women to give birth at Catholic hospitals. These women are at greater risk of having their health needs undermined because these health needs have been determined by the religious beliefs of male bishops rather than the medical judgment of their doctors.

This religious overreach undermines fundamental rights to equality and liberty and violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment which seeks to separate church from state.

Guest – Attorney Elizabeth Reiner Platt.  Director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School. Before joining Columbia, she was a Staff Attorney at MFY Legal Services Mental Health Law Project.

Guest – Kira Shepherd, Director of the Racial Justice Program at the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School. Before joining Columbia Law School she was the Executive Director and Director of Campaigns at The Black Institute (TBI), an action think tank that leads advocacy work in the areas of immigration, education, the environment, and economic justice.

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Law and Disorder February 12, 2018


 

Nuclear Posture Review

Not since 1953 when the United States and the Soviet Union exploded thermonuclear bombs has the world been such a powder keg. Last week the Pentagon released its Nuclear Posture Review. It seeks to make use of nuclear weapons more acceptable and plausible. It recommends the spending of $1 trillion to upgrade America’s nuclear arsenal and it appears to end the United State’s commitment to pursue nuclear disarmament.

Last November Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, convened a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the limits of presidential authority to use nuclear weapons. President Trump had been making incendiary comments about North Korea, threatening to totally destroy the country and to unleash fire and fury like the world has never seen.

There are no reliable limits on the president‘s power to order use of nuclear weapons. The International Court of Justice declared in 1996 ruled that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is illegal under international law. The United States is not legally bound by the ICJ opinion. Moreover, the United Nations last summer adopted a Treaty On the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It states that the use of nuclear weapons would be against the principles of humanity in the dictates of public conscience. The United States is not legally bound by the new UN treaty either. The United States under President Obama and now Trump has vowed to increase the size of America’s nuclear arsenal. The United States will not agree to simply declare that it is against the first use nuclear weapons.

Guest – Attorney John Burroughs, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee for Nuclear Policy. John Burroughs represents LCNP and IALANA in Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review proceedings, the United Nations, and other international forums. Dr. Burroughs is contributor, Unspeakable suffering – the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons (2013) (available here); contributor, Assuring Destruction Forever: Nuclear Weapon Modernization Around the World (2012) (available here); co-editor and contributor, Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security? U.S. Weapons of Terror, the Global Proliferation Crisis, and Paths to Peace (2007) (available here); co-editor and contributor, Rule of Power or Rule of Law? An Assessment of U.S. Policies and Actions Regarding Security-Related Treaties (2003); and author of The Legality of Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons: A Guide to the Historic Opinion of the International Court of Justice (1998). He has additionally published articles and op-eds in journals and newspapers including the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the World Policy Journal, and Newsday. Dr. Burroughs has taught international law as an adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School, Newark. He has a J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. from Harvard University.

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Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Five Foundation

In July 2004 federal agents raided the homes of five Palestinian-American families, arresting the five dads. The first trial of the Holy Land Foundation Five ended in a hung jury. The second, marked by highly questionable procedures, resulted in very lengthy sentences for supporting terrorism by donating to charities with whom the US government itself and several respected international agencies work.

Capitalizing on post 911 Islamaphobic hysteria, the US government used secret evidence and conflated charity with terrorism to convict the five men of providing material support for terrorism.

The destruction of the Holy Land Foundation, the largest Muslim charity in the United States, constitutes one of the great judicial injustices in the so called war on terror
of which there have been many. The US government, relying on the testimony of anonymous Israeli security experts, convicted the five men of the crime of providing humanitarian aid to Palestinians suffering under an illegal and punishing occupation.

This case is one of several repressive post 911 US prosecutions that have been brought with the assistance of Israeli security police, targeting US-based Palestinian Muslim activists.

Guest – Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. His father was the late Israeli General Matti Peled. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative. He has written a book about his journey from the sphere of the privileged Israeli to that of the oppressed Palestinians. Peled speaks nationally and internationally on the issue of Palestine. He supports the creation of a single democratic state in all of Palestine, and a firm supporter of BDS. Author of Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Five Foundation and The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.

Law and Disorder February 5, 2018


 

Attorney Prevails Against CFAA Charges In Click Fraud Trial 

In a trial that was closely watched by cybersecurity experts, Italian citizen Fabio Gasperini was charged for allegedly violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA. Computer experts claimed it was the first so-called “click fraud” trial and would test the U.S. government’s ability to link individuals to complex cybercrimes.

As covered before on Law and Disorder, the CFAA is an antiquated law passed in 1986 before personal computers and smart devices were omnipresent in all aspects of our lives. It affords law enforcement extremely wide latitude to prosecute virtually any computer-related activity, including violations of Terms of Service agreements. Each offense can bring up to 20 years in prison, and when multiple counts are charged individuals can face decades behind bars.

In 2017 Simone Bertollini became the first known attorney to prevail against CFAA charges. His 34-year-old client, Mr. Gasperini, was found not guilty on several felony counts of wire fraud, computer intrusion and money laundering for which he faced 70 years in prison; he was convicted on only one count of computer intrusion, a misdemeanor, which is current being appealed. Mr. Bertollini disputed prosecutors’ version of events and noted that none of the expert witnesses had ever seen the botnet that Gasperini allegedly used. He also questioned how he could be charged with conspiracy when no conspirators were named or charged. Cross Examination Transcript

Guest – Attorney Simone Bertollini – After graduating from law school in Rome, Italy, Simone moved to the United States where he graduated with a Juris Doctor degree, becoming one of the very few Italian lawyers in New York with full academic qualifications in both Italy and the United States. Simone first came to the United States with an F-1 student Visa to attend law school. After, he started his own legal practice, and obtained E-2 Treaty Investor Visa status. Later, Simone became a Lawful Permanent Resident, and now he is a proud American citizen. In the course of his career, Simone handled hundreds of immigration cases, including removal proceedings and federal appellate matters. Simone has also substantial criminal jury trial experience.

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Electronic Frontier Foundation on NSA Spying Extension

A few weeks ago the U.S. Congress voted to pass a bill extending, for another six years, the NSA’s practice of Internet surveillance. Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called this “a significant blow against the basic human right to read, write, learn, and associate free of government’s prying eyes.” The vote happened without public debate on a matter of great public concern.

The legislation in question allowing warrantless surveillance is Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. The Act is intended to target foreigners abroad. In practice it puts a great deal of our internet activities to government scrutiny, as they pass through key internet checkpoints, and as they are stored by providers like Google and Facebook. The NSA is thus able to gather and store private communications of countless non-suspect Americans.

Guest – Cindy Cohn, Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. From 2000-2015 she served as EFF’s Legal Director as well as its General Counsel.  Ms. Cohn first became involved with EFF in 1993, when EFF asked her to serve as the outside lead attorney in Bernstein v. Dept. of Justice, the successful First Amendment challenge to the U.S. export restrictions on cryptography.

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