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Law and Disorder September 25, 2017

35th Anniversary of Palestinian Mass Slaughter in Lebanon Refugee Camps

This month marks the 35th anniversary of the mass slaughter of civilian Palestinians by Lebanese fascists in their Lebanon refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. The Palestinians who lived in the camps had been driven out of their villages in the Galilee by Israel. They had lived there for hundreds of years until the Zionist colonialists expelled them in 1948. The Israeli Army aided in the 1982 slaughter. The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which preceded the massacre, was given the greenlight by the United States. Up to 1982, the Palestine Liberation Organization, known as the PLO, had its headquarters in Beruit, Lebanon. This Israeli Army invaded Lebanon and succeeded in driving the PLO out. The United States gave written commitments to the PLO about protecting the civilian population in order to secure the PLO’s evacuation from Beruit the month before the slaughter at Sabra and Shatila camps.

Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon falsely asserted that there were 2000 terrorists in the camps. US Envoy to Lebanon Morris Draper did not dispute this falsehood. Sharon told Draper that ” We will kill them. They will not be left there. You are not going to save them.” Sharon sent Lebonese fascists into the refugee camps. They silently killed hundreds of Palestinians and Lebanese, mostly women and children and old men, using knives and bayonets. The Israeli Army lit up the killing fields with flares. There was such a worldwide outcry that Israel was forced to set up a commission of inquiry. That commission found that Sharon bore “personal responsibility” for the massacre and recommended that he be dismissed from his post as Defense Minister.

The blowback from these events in Lebanon 35 years ago still echo today in the wars America is conducting in Syria and Iraq.

Guest – Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of “Under Siege: PLO Decision Making During the 1982 War”. and most recently “Brokers of Deceit: How the US Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East.” Professor Khalidi recently had an article on the Sabra and Shatila massacre in The Nation magazine.


Community Votes

The Queensbridge House public housing project in Long Island City Queens is the largest such complex in the country. With more than 7,000 residents, it’s a community with little faith in civic engagement. Like other public housing communities, and low-income neighborhoods in general, poor people vote at considerably lower rates than wealthier ones. Many feel apathetic, that the system is rigged, and that their votes don’t matter.

One nonprofit in NYC is using innovative partnerships with community-based social service organizations to conduct nonpartisan voter mobilization so more underrepresented citizens participate in our democracy.

Community Votes is trying to change the culture and mindset of large nonprofit social service agencies so they integrate into their day-to-day operations civic engagement activities. These activities include promoting awareness of elections and issues and encouraging voting and other participation in federal, state, and city policy making. A few years ago Community Votes partnered with the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement, a longtime provider of social services in the Queensbridge Houses, to engage in personalized messaging to mobilize voters. The results were a considerably higher rate of voter turnout in the 2014 midterm elections.

Guest – Louisa Hackett is the director of Community Votes. Louisa founded Community Votes in 2013. Through her work at Community Resource Exchange providing consulting services to New York City nonprofit organizations, she recognized the assets direct service organizations have to turn more citizens into voters.



Law and Disorder June 20, 2016

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¡Michael Ratner Presente!

We hear excerpts from Michael Ratner’s public memorial held in the Great Hall at Cooper Union in Manhattan, New York.  It would have been Michael’s 73rd birthday on June 13, 2016.

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¡Michael Ratner Presente! was co-sponsored by Cooper Union, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Democracy Now!, National Lawyers Guild, The Nation Institute, Nation Magazine, Haymarket Books, and Voices of a People’s History of the United States.

Michael Ratner’s Politics – By Michael Smith


Law and Disorder November 9, 2015

41s1YjDN5-L Sen. John F. Kennedy, (left), and Allen W. Dulles, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, walks towards newsmen on the lawn of the Democratic presidential candidates in Hyannis Port, MA., home on July 23, 1960. The two men held a news conference after Senator Kennedy was briefed by Dulles on international affairs. (AP Photo/WCC)

The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government

As director of the CIA, from 1952 until Kennedy fired him, Allen Dulles has been said to exemplify unbridled authority at the height of the Cold War. Under his leadership the CIA became a lawless force domestically and internationally that engaged, with impunity, in covert acts such as the assassination of foreign leaders including Patrice Lumubo in the Congo and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and the over throw of a number of foreign governments.

As an attorney for the law firm Sullivan and Cromwell in the 1930s, Dulles protected and promoted Nazi-controlled cartels. He wielded his influence in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II and then in the CIA to shield former Nazis from prosecution for war crimes in the ’40s and ’50s. David Talbot writes in book The Devil’s Chessboard, ” over the final months of the JFK presidency, a clear consensus took shape within the American “deep state” Kennedy was a national security threat. For the good of the country he must be removed and Dulles was the only man with the stature, connections and decisive will to make something of this enormity happen. so he could enlist them to fight communists. In addition to assisting with the assassination of Congo leader Patrice Lumumba, he organized the Bay of Pigs invasion and tried repeatedly to murder Fidel Castro.

Guest – David Talbot, the author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years and the acclaimed national bestseller Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love. He is the founder and former editor in chief of Salon, and was a senior editor at Mother Jones and the features editor at the San Francisco Examiner. He has written for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time, The Guardian, and other major publications. Talbot lives in San Francisco, California.


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Palestinian Uprising And The Growing BDS Movement

This past October more than 49 Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli occupation forces while 500 others were injured by live ammunition and thousands more injured. As a mass popular rebellion, often attracting tens of thousands of Palestinians, asserts its right to self-determination and freedom, Israel has escalated a brutal response, especially in occupied East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee, a diverse coalition of Palestinian unions and organizations which leads the global BDS movement, recently called for a wave of BDS solidarity with Palestinian popular resistance and to pressure governments, institutions and businesses to end support for Israel’s violations of international law. Tens of thousands of people across 100 cities took to the streets to show Israel that it will be held to account for its crimes against the Palestinians. Despite this, mainstream media coverage remains for the most part biased, echoing Israel’s propaganda.

Guest – Rebecca Vilkomerson, the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. JVP is a national grassroots organization rooted in Jewish tradition, human rights, and international law that works for a just peace, self-determination and full equality for all people of Palestine and Israel.



Law and Disorder April 6, 2015



  • Attorney Heidi Boghosian Tells Of How She And Johanna Fernandez Found Out Mumia Abu-Jamal Was Rushed To Local Health Facility
  • Campaign To Bring Mumia Home
  • Attorney Michael Ratner: Hobby Lobby State Religious Freedom Acts
  • Attorney Michael Ratner: Palestine Joins The ICC
  • Attorney Michael Ratner: Obama Issues Executive Order On Hackers


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Why The Rise Of Fascism Is Again The Issue

Fascism has taken on many forms through the rise and fall of empires. One aspect of modern day fascism can seen as propaganda, lies and deceit used as political leverage to eventually absorb sovereign states. Our guest John Pilger lays out the swath carved by fascism in the last 70 years in his recent article Why The Rise Of Fascism Is Again The Issue. Using the word carefully, Pilger describes a new kind of fascism, centered in America but based on the big lie of war and aggression. Pilger documents key events from the Holocaust to Libya to Serbia, to Yugoslavia, to Afghanistan in the 1970s, to Vietnam and up to the current revival of fascism in the heart of Europe. We get a historic perspective from John Pilger, going all the way back to the second world war. If you think the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Libya and now the Ukraine occur by happenstance, you are mistaken says Pilger, an Australian-British journalist based in London. These are part of the American effort to become the global power.

Guest – John Pilger, an Australian-British journalist based in London. John has worked in many facets of journalism, including a correspondent in the Vietnam War, the Middle East Desk for Reuters in London, a documentary film maker, and a producer for the Independent Television Network in London. Pilger is known for his conscience, bravery and acute historical insight.   His articles appear worldwide in newspapers such as the Guardian, the Independent, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times.


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Law and Disorder September 2, 2013



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There Is Power In A Union: Labor Songs

Songs of the American labor movement called for fair wages, dignity and voiced grievances. Classic labor songs such as “Which Side Are You On” or “There Is Power In A Union” affirmed the value of the worker to society and expressed hope in their lyrics. Woody Gutherie, Pete Seeger and Joe Hill  were leaders of the movement, and sang songs with a passion and love for their fellow workers.

Peter Siegel:

  • I’ve been singing these songs all my life. My parents sang these songs. I got a guitar when I was about 13 years old. One of the first songs I learned was Talking Union, along with Bird Dog and Don’t Take Your Guns to Town.
  • In recent years, when the state started cracking down on unions. The reporting that was coming through the media about these things, didn’t really explain what a union was and why there unions in the first place, and what the issues were.
  • I think these songs do a very clear and direct job of explaining that.
  • Many of the issues are still the same as they were when these songs were written. Eli and I talked about and got together and decided to make this album.
  • Martin Luther King Jr., talk about the hottest places in hell being reserved for those in times of crisis do nothing.
  • The Death of Mother Jones: I don’t think Gene Autry had a particular connection to that song, he apparently got the song from OK Records, which was his label.
  • Eli plays the steel guitar on our record and sings it beautifully.

Eli Smith:

  • One over-arching aspect of the songs is they give you a feeling of what its like to have a labor movement.
  • And also now to give people a feeling of what it was like in the past because I think America is an amnesiac society.
  • Most of the songs on our album are from 80 to 100 years ago.
  • Which Side Are You On? It’s a song written by Florence Reece, in a traditional style from the heart of Appalachia, in the coal mining region and we rendered in a way that’s as authentic as we can be to that style.

Guest – Peter Siegel is a musician, a record producer and performance artist who has worked with Doc Watson, Hazel Dickens and Roy Buchanan. He’s produced a number of great albums for Nonesuch, Folkways and Rounder Records in the last 50 years.

Guest – Eli Smith is a banjo player, writer and promoter of folk music,  living in New York City. Eli is a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist and produces two folk festivals every year.


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Brandworkers – Focus On The Food Chain

Nearly 35 thousand workers are employed to run New York City’s massive food processing and distribution. The vast majority are immigrant workers from all over the world,  Latin America, the Caribbean, China and Nepal. They depend on this work for their livelihood yet they’re often exploited through wage theft, reckless disregard of health and safety, plus egregious discrimination. We welcome back attorney Daniel Gross, executive director of Brandworkers, a non-profit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees. They’ve had numerous victories including recovering unpaid wages and forcing companies such as Flaum Appetizing into full compliance of workplace protections. The efforts to achieve these victories are based on the labor movement of the late 19th century using direct action and everyday solidarity.

Attorney Daniel Gross:

  • That approach worked for several decades. Labor identified itself with having a seat at the table with government and business and frankly lost its sense of being a fighting movement.
  • As many predicted, that arrangement among labor, capital and government wouldn’t hold.
  • Capital and government understood that it was a temporary sessation of hostility to worker’s right to organize.
  • What we see now is the NLRB system come undone.
  • It’s very easy for an employer with the right union-busting attorney to quite effectively undermine the worker’s right to go through the traditional processes we’ve understood for a while to form a union.
  • This multi-billion dollar global union busting industry which is led by law firms.  
  • These folks wake up every day in the morning and seek to undermine working people coming together to do better at work for their families.
  • 93 out of 100 workers today are not in a labor union traditionally and have very little prospect getting in.
  • Starbucks when I realized the traditional model was ineffective.
  • Our members work as bakers, they process seafood, they drive trucks that deliver all kinds of food and beverages to the grocery stores and restaurants, where we all get our food.
  • Our motto is empowering workers to build and lead their own campaigns for justice at work and in the food system.
  • Most recently, we announced a campaign at the Tom Cat bakery.
  • Workers marched and made declaration of dignity, demanding respect from management and an end to an under-payment scheme and hands off the benefits they’ve accrued.

Jose Romero:

  • Flaum Appetizing was a kosher factory, we were working very long hours without being paid overtime, there were no benefits including no vacations.
  • We decided to unite and came together one day during our break, we all met on the patio and decided we were going to confront the boss altogether.
  • This manager would attack us, and yell, call us cockroaches, would hurry us and call us stupid.

Guest – Attorney Daniel Gross, Executive Director of Brandworkers, a non-profit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees.

Guest – Juan Romero from Flaum Appetizing who works as a cook on the West side of Manhattan.


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Farm Workers: Coalition of Immokalee Workers

This year’s Labor Day, farmworkers with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers travel across Florida calling on Publix Supermarkets to join the Fair Food Program. Who are the Coalition of Immokalee workers? They’re a Florida based community organization of mainly immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean including Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants who have been working low wage jobs throughout Florida. The farm workers routinely face a number of different kinds of exploitation, poverty, wage theft, physical and verbal abuse as well as sexual harassment of many women working in the fields. Their campaigns focus on the big corporate buyers of the produce that they pick in an effort to improve wages and working conditions in the fields. They started with Taco Bell and from there launched campaigns with McDonald’s, Burger King, since then 11 other companies are cooperating to improving wages and working conditions in their supply chains.  Last year Trader Joe’s and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers signed an agreement that formalized the ways in which the supermarket chain will support the CIW’s Fair Food Program. Their efforts continue to urge Publix and Wendy’s fast food to join up.

Silvia Perez:

  • My experience as a woman working in the fields, its been very difficult for me, we often do the same work that men do in the industry.
  • We face heat exposure and having to work long hours, under the Florida Sun, and also to over fill our buckets to keep extra tomatoes on top for which we were not paid.
  • For many years before the CIW began its Fair Food Program, farm workers were paid an average of 45 cents per 32 lb bucket.
  • That’s been the same wage that farm workers received in Florida for more than 30 years.
  • There was no guaranteed wage that we would receive in the field, we were paid the bucket rate.
  • While there should be a minimum wage and we should get that guarantee to get paid that minimum wage, often times we didn’t receive it.
  • With our campaign for Fair Food, which brought on board 11 major corporations we developed the Fair Food Program, an initiative which is a partnership between farmers, farmworkers and the major retailers and because of that program things are changing.
  • Our organization is not a union, we are a worker and community based organization that was formed by farm workers themselves.
  • In addition to Wendy’s we’ve asked Publix the largest Florida based corporation to come on board as 11 other companies have. Specifically we ask for 2 things, to pay 1 penny more a pound for the tomatoes that they’re buying to go directly to farm workers, and to respect our rights.

Guest – Silvia Perez with the Coalition Immokalee Workers and also CIW campaign organizer Jake Ratner who will translate.

Guest – Jake Ratner, translater and son of co-host Michael Ratner. Jake traveled and studied in Cuba and Bolivia, South America. He now works with the Coalition of the Immokalee Workers.


Law and Disorder August 5, 2013

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Michael Ratner: Bradley Manning Verdict Update

  • I’ve been doing a lot of media on this lately, doing a lot of debates. I take a firm position. He should never have been tried in the first place.
  • He’s a hero, he’s a whistle-blower. He publicly exposed the truths about the nature of this country particularly its human rights violations, its criminality and its corruption.
  • That constitutes whistle-blowing and whistle-blowing is a legal defense to whatever kinds of crimes the United States wanted to try him. He shouldn’t have prosecuted at all.
  • First we’ve all seen the collateral murder video. The killing of 2 Reuters journalists and I believe 10 civilians shot with a gung-ho blood lust.
  • Those crimes were never really investigated, no one was prosecuted for them and yet it was cold-blooded murder taking place from an Apache helicopter on the streets of Baghdad.
  • Think about what the Iraq war logs revealed. 20 thousand more civilians killed in Iraq then the U.S. said were killed.
  • That fact alone caused the government of Iraq to not sign another Status of Forces agreement with the United States, because it would have given immunity to U.S. troops. Because there was no immunity for U.S. troops, the U.S. said we’re not staying in Iraq. Think about how important that is.
  • Then there was a story last year taken from Wikileaks and Iraq war logs of torture centers run in Iraq in 2003-2004.
  • The only reason we knew about that was because of Bradley Manning.
  • That is a little example of what Bradley Manning has revealed to all of us of the criminality of our own country and information we ought to know and debate.
  • The only reason we consider anything to be positive in this verdict is because Bradley Manning was so overcharged to begin with a ridiculous charge of aiding the enemy that was sustained by a judge with a motion to dismiss and let go til the end until she finally acquitted him of it – that we’re relieved that he wasn’t convicted of it.
  • He was convicted of 20 charges. Six of them were espionage charges each of them carrying 10 years.
  • Six of them were theft of government documents, each of them carrying 10 years.
  • This is the first ever conviction of anyone in the United States who is a whistle-blower, who is a quote leaker for espionage. There is great fear being sown by Obama, Holder and others both in regard to whistle-blowers and to journalists.

Law and Disorder Co-host Attorney Michael RatnerPresident Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a non-profit human rights litigation organization based in New York City and president of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) based in Berlin. Ratner and CCR are currently the attorneys in the United States for publishers Julian Assange and Wikileaks. He was co-counsel in representing the Guantanamo Bay detainees in the United States Supreme Court, where, in June 2004, the court decided his clients have the right to test the legality of their detentions in court. Ratner is also a past president of the National Lawyers Guild and the author of numerous books and articles, including the books The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book, Against War with Iraq and Guantanamo: What the World Should Know, as well as a textbook on international human rights.


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Pelican Bay Prison Hunger Strike

Last month, prisoners at Pelican Bay Prison went on another hunger strike to protest solitary confinement and security unit conditions. What does solitary confinement mean at Pelican Bay Prison? Well, prisoners spend 22 to 24 hours a day in a cramped, concrete windowless cell. The food is often rotten. Temperatures are extremely hot or cold. Within 15 days, these conditions can cause psychological damage.

Jules Lobel, who represents the prisoners at Pelican Bay in a lawsuit challenging long-term solitary confinement in California prisons says prisoners land in solitary confinement not for crimes they were convicted of, not for any rule violation or violent act while in prison, but based on the slimmest pretext of “affiliation” with a gang.

Attorney Jules Lobel:

  • At any one time around the country there are about 80 thousand people that are in some form of solitary confinement.
  • In California alone there are 4000. What makes California somewhat unusual is there are a large number of prisoners who’ve been in solitary confinement for over a decade and many over 20 years.
  • In Pelican Bay Prison there are over 400 hundred who have been in solitary confinement for over ten years and about 80 for two decades.
  • The conditions they’re place under are draconian.
  • The cells my clients are in, there are no windows. People spend 20 years without seeing trees, birds, the grass.
  • That’s unusual to have a whole prison without any windows.
  • They put in thousands of people in solitary simply for gang affiliation. You don’t have to have committed any crime (disclipinary infraction) in prison.
  • You get a birthday card from a member of a gang.
  • There are things society will look back on, and say how could this have been done in a civilized society. We look back at slavery and segregation now and say that.
  • They say that they will force feed only when the prisoner loses consciousness.
  • These folks are on a no solid food hunger strike and they’ve been willing to take salt tablets, vitamins.
  • We looked at the situation in California as I described and we also knew that 2 years ago hundreds of thousands of prisoners went on hunger strikes in California protesting this and were promised reforms that were never delivered.
  • We decided that the time was right for a class action lawsuit.
  • We brought the lawsuit in May 2012.
  • We claim 2 things. To keep people in these conditions for over a decade is cruel and unusual punishment. It’s a violation of the Eighth Amendment.
  • To keep someone in these conditions because they think they’re gang affiliated is disproportionate.
  • The case only deals with one, and that’s the most notorious, and that’s Pelican Bay Prison.
  • There are a thousand prisoners in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay.
  • They deliberately place this prison where its 7 hours from any nearest major metropolitan area by car.
  • It’s like a gulag there in that they don’t want any media exposure or attention being placed on them.
  • It’s way more costly to put someone in solitary confinement. It’s a waste of tax payer resources.

Guest – Attorney Jules Lobel, has litigated important issues regarding the application of international law in the U.S. courts. In the late 1980’s, he advised the Nicaraguan government on the development of its first democratic constitution, and has also advised the Burundi government on constitutional law issues.  Professor Lobel is editor of a text on civil rights litigation and of a collection of essays on the U.S. Constitution, A Less Than Perfect Union (Monthly Review Press, 1988). He is author of numerous articles on international law, foreign affairs, and the U.S. Constitution in publications including Yale Law Journal, Harvard International Law Journal, Cornell Law Review, and Virginia Law Review. He is a member of the American Society of International Law

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Who Will Bell The Cat? . . . Working People : Michael Zweig

2013 Left Forum Presentation by Michael Zweig is Professor of Economics at Stony Brook University and director of the Center for Study of Working Class Life. His most recent books are What’s Class Got to Do with It: American Society in the Twenty-first Century (Cornell University Press, 2004), and The Working Class Majority: America’s Best Kept Secret (Cornell University Press, 2000 – 2nd edition due December, 2011). In 2005-2006, he served as executive producer of Meeting Face to Face: the Iraq – U.S. Labor Solidarity Tour. He wrote, produced, and directed the DVD Why Are We in Afghanistan? in 2009.


Law and Disorder August 20, 2012



A Challenge to a Brutal Anti-Latino Law

Sheriff Joe Arpaio recently went on trial in Arizona for discriminating against Latinos and for usurping federal authority with roundups of undocumented immigrants. In a related action, a coalition of groups is asking a federal court to block enforcement of Section 2(B) of SB 1070, the Arizona law that compels all law enforcement agencies in that state to enforce the Arpaio model.

In June the Supreme Court rejected the premise of SB 1070 on grounds that making foreign policy – of which immigration law is a part – is a federal government’s domain. However, the Court upheld the law’s “show me your papers” section that requires officers to check the immigration status of anyone they stop, arrest or detain on another basis if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” the person is in the country illegally.

The motion to block Section 2(B) “involves additional claims, evidence, and irreparable injuries beyond what the Supreme Court had before it.” The challenge explains harms so obvious and unconstitutional that the judge does not need extensive proof of the section’s impact to enjoin it. The Legislature “explicitly intended Section 2(B) to codify the practices” of Arpaio, the motion says, even after his powers had been restricted by earlier investigations into and challenges to his racial profiling. The practices include prolonged stops and detentions of Latinos to check their status or for other immigration-related purposes.

The plaintiffs are also asking the court to enjoin another Arizona law, which turns alleged violations of a federal anti-harboring law into a state crime. Courts have enjoined similar laws in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina since, like Arizona’s, they were clearly pre-empted by federal law.

Lena Graber:

  • The law enforcement in Joe Arpaio’s district have been really outspoken about their intention to stop Latinos and fight immigration.
  • The issues around racial profiling are really huge. I think it’s worth separating out the different lawsuits that are going on.
  • Sheriff Joe Arpaio runs this incredibly punitive jail where they barely feed people enough it’s a 120 degrees, and he’s been sued literally thousands of times for the conditions of his jail.
  • Thats been going on since he was elected in the early nineties.
  • In the last several years he’s really gotten on this tough on immigration, let’s do sweeps through the Latino neighborhood.
  • The ACLU and other civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against him for racial discrimination, violation of equal protection, and violation of civil rights.
  • They filed that 2007, about six months later the Department of Justice initiated a civil rights investigation into Joe Arpaio and his operations in Arizona.
  • In the meantime the state of Arizona passed SB 1070.
  • There are both civil rights groups and non profits filing one lawsuit and the federal government filing a parallel.
  • The Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled on the Arizona law, not on Joe Arpaio, where they struck down most of the law and upheld “show me your papers.”
  • The federal government did not argue that the law was unconstitutional because of racial discrimination.
  • Litigation tends to effect the way law enforcement operate pretty dramatically.
  • Joe Arpaio has been elected five times.
  • The federal government has been very slow on the game to chastise Joe Arpaio.
  • The Department of Homeland Security formed their largest 287G agreement with Sheriff Joe for his deputies to be trained to enforce federal immigration law. At that point the violations really started to go through the roof.

Guest – Lena Graber, a Soros Criminal Justice Fellow who focuses on detention and deportation and state and local enforcement.  Lena Graber’s work seeks to reduce the government’s abuse of immigration detainers–a tool used to maintain custody of potentially deportable individuals in local jails or prisons nationwide.  Lena previously worked at the National Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C.

Mondoweiss: Israel Trip and the Future of Palestine

We welcome back returning guest Philip Weiss, the founder and co-editor of, a news website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East. Philip has recently returned from a trip to Israel and was struck by the ongoing apartheid against Palestinians. During his trip, he traveled an Israeli’s only road. He saw the massive barrier in the West Bank. He toured many Israeli settlements, such as Ma’ale Adumim, the first settlement to be declared a city. Interestingly Philip also saw some of the fund raiser entourage of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney while in Jerusalem.  We talk with him about his trip and the future of the Palestinian state.

Philip Weiss:

  • The last few times I’ve come back I felt a real sense of bleakness.
  • When you’re there and you see just how much force is arrayed on one side and the status quo is of complete inequality.
  • The sense of martial law is overwhelming. Spiritually, it’s awful.
  • When you’re over there you see there is very little left in terms of contiguous territory in the West Bank to create a viable state.
  • You see the settlements all around you, giant swimming pools next to villages with walls around them, to separate themselves from Palestine villages in occupied land.
  • Jeff Halper says the 2 state solution is dead.
  • Area C is ours they say.
  • I saw one ad on my commute here today that read – It’s Not Islamaphobia to Blame Islam for Terrorism.
  • This is extremism, it’s intolerance, it’s racism.
  • It’s statements that we would not accept, that have become off limits in American discourse in almost any other context.
  • One thing I saw there was the separation, the complete separation of two societies.
  • You really get a sense of ethnic purity at work.
  • The denial of that humanity is so profound and offensive.
  • I’ve been struck by the famous Arab hospitality in that region.
  • The sense of sovereignty and domination is profound.
  • It’s hard sometimes to meet people’s eyes, because you know that you’re an author of their humiliation and this human being with a lot of dignity has suddenly become humiliated before your eyes and it’s upsetting.
  • John Brown said the idea that all people are created equal is the exact same idea as do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  • It’s kinda scary to think that a bunch of Americans to send a signal to Obama would have to go raise a million dollars at the King David hotel in Jerusalem and have Romney talk about Iran and he’s with Netanyahu on Iran. These were powerful political signals being sent while I was there.
  • I think Romney is behaving in an irresponsible manner. It seems like he’s being used in this situation.  Within the Israeli security establishment there is some sense it does not want this attack.
  • They don’t care about Iran, they care about cleansing the West Bank of Palestinians.
  • If there is a war with Iran it’s a perfect opportunity and a crisis to push more Palestinians out of area C into the cities.
  • I’m for BDS. Every time I go there I’m upset by what I see. The question is that whether the South African connection is kicking in. (BDS Collective)
  • I get a lot of criticism from Jews for exposing my people to danger.
  • Jeff Halper studies the occupation and knows it in a granular way.

Guest – Philip Weiss founder of Mondoweiss, longtime journalist and regular contributor to the Nation and a fellow at the Nation Institute.  Philip is the author of two books a political novel, Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, and American Taboo, an investigative account of a 1976 murder in the Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Tonga.  Weiss is one of the editors of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.


Law and Disorder September 1, 2008



The Prosecution of President Bush and Other Administration Officials for War Crimes

This month, Larry Velvel, dean and co-founder of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover will hold a conference to plan the prosecution of President Bush and other administration officials for war crimes. The conference will take on the issues of both domestic and international crimes committed by high level Bush officials, including Federal judges and members of Congress. A coordinating committee of legal groups will also be created, among the legal groups are the Center for Constitutional Rights, ACLU, National Lawyers Guild. Official Site

“This is not intended to be a mere discussion of violations of law that have occurred,” says convener Lawrence Velvel, dean and cofounder of the school. “It is, rather, intended to be a planning conference at which plans will be laid and necessary organizational structures set up, to pursue the guilty as long as necessary and, if need be, to the ends of the Earth.” related article

Velvel Interview Notes:

  • Conference will be held in undisclosed location for the time being.
  • Until people have the fear they will be brought to book if they violate the law in a very serious ways that cause tens of thousands of deaths, what will stop them from doing it in the future?
  • Unless there is something to look back on, like the Germans and the Japanese apparently know, don’t do it again because people swung.
  • Who’s to say it won’t happen 20 or 30 years in the future again.

Guest – Lawrence R. Velvel, Dean of Massachusetts School of Law and a professor of law. Mr. Velvel is a 1960 graduate of the University of Michigan and a 1963 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where he served on the law review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He was a law professor from 1966-1978, first at the University of Kansas and then at Catholic University. He has been a partner in major law firms in Washington, D.C., and was the first chief counsel of an organization established to write United States Supreme Court briefs in support of state and local governments. read more.


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New Guidelines Would Give F.B.I. Broader Powers

A Justice Department proposal which could be made public in a month, has given the government even broader license to open terrorism investigations, without any evidence of wrongdoing, relying instead on racial or ethnic profiling. Currently, FBI agents need specific reasons, such as evidence or allegations that a law probably has been violated, to investigate US citizens and legal residents. Last month, The Council on American Islamic Relations decried the forthcoming plan as “unconstitutional and un-American.”

This proposal is among other aggressive plans the Bush administration has put in place such as new wiretapping regulations and authorizing greater sharing of intelligence information with the local police. The Director of National Intelligence has set up – Information Sharing Environment – where certain police authorities will have access to information produced by the FBI, by the intelligence community and also by police departments around the country.
It is “one stop shopping” for all these different police agencies and even private companies to have access to this highly speculative, accusatory, fragmented and often erroneous information.

Intelligence Fusion Centers – which I think is a real problem, particularly since there’s very little oversight of these centers
there’s no way to correct these watch files, – a main problem with the closed system, where no one has an opportunity to go in and say you got this piece wrong.

Related Article : Colorado ‘fusion center’ to step up intelligence gathering during DNC

Mike German Quotes:

  • Giving the FBI more authority to collect more information isn’t helping the FBI be more effective.
  • Gathering information about innocent people won’t help find guilty people.
  • There is no terrorism profile, people are drawn to terrorism for all sorts of reasons.
  • Terrorism watch list : 1 million individual records – clearly nobody believes there’s a million terrorists out there.
  • The FBI don’t know to this day, how many national security letters they’ve issued.

Guest – Mike German, attorney with the ACLU and former FBI agent. Mike German is a recognized expert in terrorist group behavior, counter-terrorist operations, and right-wing extremism. He has appeared on Dateline NBC, Paula Zahn Now, CNN, and MSNBC and his commentary has been published in the National Law Journal and the Washington Post. Mike served for sixteen years as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is one of the few agents credited with actually having prevented acts of terrorism before it became the FBI’s number one priority.


Law and Disorder July 28, 2008


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House Judiciary Committee Hears Impeachment Resolution.

For nearly eight years, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have manipulated and lied to the U.S., and not without the help of Congress and the mainstream media. Here on Law and Disorder we’ve been with listeners during 4 of those 8 years, chronicling the injustices of the “global war on terror.” Now, in this late stage of the Bush/Cheney administration, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich is pushing for impeachment. Last week the house voted 238 to 180 to send a single article of impeachment to the Judiciary Committee. The same committee that stopped Kucinich’s impeachment effort is allowing a hearing on Bush’s reasoning for taking the country to war in Iraq. In Kucinich’s words it is quote “deceiving Congress with fabricated threats of Iraq WMDs to fraudulently obtain support for an authorization of the use of military force against Iraq.” Kucinich: citizen petition.

If this article of impeachment is tabled, Kucinich says he would then begin to propose other articles. There are 35 articles of impeachment, among them are:

  • Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government
  • Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes,
  • Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives, 4. Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act,
  • Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to “Black Sites” Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr. told Congressional Quarterly, “We’re not doing impeachment, but he can talk about it.” Kucinich says holding George W. Bush and Dick Cheney accountable now, could prevent an attack on Iran.

  1. Conyers Tries To Kill Impeachment Hearings Before They Start.
  2. Impeachment Hearing? – Do Not Accuse, Do Not Name Names, Do Not Say Impeach.
  3. CSPAN Coverage: Watch Impeachment Hearings.

Guest – Ohio Congressman, Dennis J. Kucinich

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The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.

Members of the Bush administration may soon be questioning if they will be prosecuted for war crimes. George W. Bush and other senior officials have enjoyed years of immunity from criminal lawsuits but, once out of office, they can be held accountable.

Bugliosi: Will U.S. State Attorney Generals and District Attorneys do the right thing?

In his latest book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Vincent Bugliosi lays out the legal framework of a meticulously researched case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq.

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. Bugliois says, one of the key pieces of evidence to prosecute George W. Bush is the Manning Memo from January 31, 2003.

Manning Memo: In March 2003, Bush said that if Saddam Hussein did not give up his weapons of mass destruction, Iraq would face war. But earlier, in a January 31 closed-door meeting, Bush told his British buddy Tony Blair that the attack would take place even if no WMDs were found. Indeed, George and Tony candidly conceded that the discovery of such weapons was unlikely. This deliberate deception is revealed in a confidential five-page memo written by David Manning, Blair’s top foreign-policy advisor, who was at the meeting. Manning records that both Bush and Blair were uptight that the WMDs were not going to be found, so George W offered another fabrication to give them an excuse to attack. He suggested that the U.S. would paint one of our own surveillance planes in the colors of the United Nations and fly it over Iraq, hoping that Saddam would be provoked into shooting it down. Then the U.S. and Brits could invade, claiming that they were retaliating for Saddam’s attack on the UN.

Bugliosi: Points To Consider

  • While young soldiers age 18, 19, who never had a chance to live out their dreams, were getting blown to pieces in Iraq. Bush was having a lot of fun and enjoying life to the very fullest.
  • George Bush took 908 days off / about 36 percent of his presidency.
  • Juxtaposing Hussein with 9/11 – then saying later Hussein was involved in a terrorist relationship with Al-Qaeda. Al Qaeda was trained in Iraq in making bombs and poison.
  • You have troops over there in Iraq fighting thinking that its payback time … so you have this grotesque spectacle.
  • The white paper that congress saw never had the intelligences of the 16 US agencies, that Hussein was not an imminent threat. Opinons were changed into facts while dissenting opinions deleted.

Guest – Vincent Bugliosi, former prosecutor and bestselling author of many books including The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.


Law and Disorder February 25, 2008


  • Hosts Update: Fidel Castro and Cuba in the news.


Encore Segment: Naomi Wolf – The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

Law and Disorder hosts were live in the studio with Naomi Wolf. Naomi Wolf is a feminist, social critic and political activist. The New York Times called her book, The Beauty Myth, one of the most important books of the 20th century. Wolf is the co-founder of The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, teaching young women to become leaders and agents of change. Naomi Wolf blog in the Huffington Post

Her latest book The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot is a call to return to the beliefs of our founding fathers. Wolf’s new book illustrates ten steps historically taken by leaders who are attempting to dismantle a democracy. Wolf jokingly called it the The Greatest Hits of Facism.

In The End of America, Wolf gives voice to the cause of every American patriot: the preservation of the Constitution and the liberties it embodies and protects.

“Recent history has profound lessons for us in the U.S. today about how fascist, totalitarian, and other repressive leaders seize and maintain power, especially in what were once democracies. The secret is that these leaders all tend to take very similar, parallel steps. The Founders of this nation were so deeply familiar with tyranny and the habits and practices of tyrants that they set up our checks and balances precisely out of fear of what is unfolding today. We are seeing these same kinds of tactics now closing down freedoms in America, turning our nation into something that in the near future could be quite other than the open society in which we grew up and learned to love liberty,” stated Wolf.


Servants of Wealth: The Right’s Assault on Economic Justice

“Freedom and democracy” are two words we’ve been hearing from the right wing in this country for 25 years. In their quest to shore up support for the politics of wealth and privilege, the Right has organized patiently and consistently by focusing on a core ideology to amass a formidable base. The Right’s commentary on world affairs, morality, the state, and the economy, though, has had an overarching focus, namely to eliminate social equality as a legitimate public policy goal. Its success has resulted in one of the most dramatic, undemocratic, and insidious transfers of wealth and power in recent American history.

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.


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