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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 January 22, 2018


 

CCR Attorneys Discuss 16 Years Of Guantánamo Prison

Guantánamo is America’s offshore prison island located on the eastern end of Cuba. It has been used for 16 years to detain Muslim men and boys. The prison was used by the Bush-Cheney regime to torture them after 911.

Despite President Obama‘s campaign pledge to close the prison it remains open. 41 prisoners are there now. President Trump has announced that he will not close the prison and, in his words, will “load it up.“ Trump has said that he believes that “torture works.“

Of the 41 remaining prisoners, 5 have been cleared for release. Others are being held under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force law until the end of the war on terror. This war, which has gone on for 16 years, has been called “the forever war“ because it is a war, not against a country, but against a tactic.

Two weeks ago the Center for Constitution Rights and other attorneys filed a motion in federal court in DC challenging the imprisonment without trial of a group of remaining Muslim prisoners.

Guest – Pardiss Kebriaei is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she works on challenging U.S. government abuses in the national security context. She was lead counsel for CCR in Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta, which challenged the killings of three American citizens in U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, and Al-Aulaqi v. Obama, which challenged the authorization for the targeting of an American citizen added to secret government “kill lists.” She represents current and former Guantanamo detainees, including Ghaleb Al-Bihani, a Yemeni man cleared for release through the government’s Periodic Review Board process after having been designated as a “forever” detainee, but who remains detained without charge, and another Yememi client who, in 2009, was in the last group of detainees to be repatriated to Yemen.

Guest – Aliya Hana Hussain is an Advocacy Program Manager at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she manages CCR’s advocacy and campaigns on indefinite detention at Guantanamo, the profiling and targeting of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities, and accountability for torture and other war crimes. Aliya travels to Guantanamo regularly to meet with CCR’s clients.

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Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment

Former Law and Disorder guest Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz was in New York City and January 9, 2018 and spoke at the CUNY Graduate Center about her new book Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment. She did this in a dialogue on white supremacy with Ramona Africa. In a Law Disorder radio exclusive we bring you excerpts from her presentation. Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz is the author of An Indigenous People’s History of the United States and other works on the history of indigenous peoples.

 

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Law and Disorder January 15, 2018


 

Judge Thomas Griesa : Socialist Workers Party v Attorney General

Retired federal Judge Thomas Griesa died two weeks ago in New York City at age 87. He presided over the historic case Socialist Workers party vs Attorney General. Leonard Boudin, the great leftist constitutional lawyer of his time, was chief counsel for the SWP in the 15 year litigation which ended in an historic victory in 1986 and which is extremely relevant for today.

Leonard wrote that “This lawsuit represented the first wholesale attack upon the entire hierarchy of so-called intelligence agencies that had attempted to infiltrate and destroy a lawful political party.” Further, “for the first time, a court has thoroughly examined the FBI’s intrusions into the political system of our nation and, in unmistakable language, has condemned the FBI activity as patently unconstitutional and without statutory or regulatory authority. The decision stands as a vindication of the first and fourth amendment rights that only of the Socialist Workers Party but of all political organizations in activists in this country to be free of government spying and and harassment.”

The Nation magazine appreciated the significance of the litigation and wrote that “ for the first time the FBI’s disruptions, surreptitious entries and use of informers have been found unconstitutional. All in all, it amounted to a domestic contra operation against a lawful and peaceful political organization, for no reason other than it’s ideological orientation.“

Guest – Jeff Mackler, a longtime socialist activist in California and the West Coast head of The Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Jeff Mackler was a plaintiff in the successful 15-year-old battle. Jeff is also the director of The Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal in Northern California and also the National Secretary of Socialist Action and its candidate for the U.S., presidency in 2016.

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Awad, et al. v. Fordham University

Israel’s enablers in the United States ramped up their efforts to shut down the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement known as BDS. Many states including New York have passed laws against businesses who would boycott Israel as a way of protesting Israel’s colonization of the Palestinian people. An anti-boycott bill is currently before the United States Congress.

In New York City, Fordham University is attempting to prevent Students for Justice in Palestine, a group that supports the boycott, from forming a campus group. The students brought a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the university to enable them to establish a SJP chapter there. Keith Eldridge, the Dean at Fordham University took the position that a SJP group would create polarization on campus and run contrary to the mission and values embraced at the university located in the Bronx.

The students got help from the Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal. A suit was brought on their behalf in April of last year. Two weeks ago a hearing was held in Civil Court in New York where the students demanded an injunction against Fordham University to permit them to form a chapter.

Guest – Maria LaHood, one of the student’s attorneys and Deputy Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights with expertise in constitutional rights and international human rights. She works to defend the constitutional rights of Palestinian human rights advocates in the United States in cases such as Davis v. Cox, defending Olympia Food Co-op board members for boycotting Israeli goods; Salaita v. Kennedy,representing Steven Salaita, who was terminated from a tenured position for tweets critical of Israel; and CCR v. DOD, seeking U.S. government records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regarding Israel’s 2010 attack on the flotilla to Gaza. She works closely with Palestine Legal to support students and others whose speech is being suppressed for their Palestine advocacy around the country. She also works on the Right to Heal initiative with Iraqi civil society and Iraq Veterans seeking accountability for the lasting health effects of the Iraq war.

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Law and Disorder December 12, 2016


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DAPL Pipeline Dispatch # 9

The Standing Rock Sioux Indian tribe of North Dakota and their many allies won a tremendous victory on December 4 2016.  They got the oil pipeline stopped, at least for now. It was being built by the Energy Transfer Partners through their sacred lands, without their consultation, in violation of the Treaty of Fort Laramie, and it was planned to be constructed beneath the Missouri River. A Department of the Army announcement stated that it would seek an alternative route for the 1100 mile $3.7 billion project. A break in the pipeline would’ve polluted the drinking water for up to 15 million people. What accounted for this historic victory? What social forces were involved? What is the legal and financial status of the project?

Water Protectors Legal Collective – NLG

Guest – National Lawyers Guild Attorney Jeff Haas, recently returned from living at the North Dakota encampment with thousands of Native Americans and climate change activists who gathered in solidarity with the Standing Rock Indian tribe in North Dakota to protest the pipeline construction. Jeff Haas was a founding partner of the Peoples Law Office in Chicago. He victoriously represented the family of Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago Black Panther Party and proved that Hampton was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago Police Department. He’s also author of the book The Assassination of Fred Hampton.

Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense – Lawyers wanting to support the Sacred Stone Camp, contact Attorney Robin Martinez –  robin.martinez@martinezlaw.net

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Professor WatchList

In the weeks following the presidential election we’ve heard rumblings in the news about a variety of watch lists. Recently a student organization called Turning Point launched a website called Professor Watchlist. It publishes the names, locations and alleged offenses of liberal academics, with the mission to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” Offenses may include: using swear words or asserting that racism exists. Members of the public are invited to submit tips.

Guest – Rebecca Schuman, a columnist for Slate and author of Schadenfreude, A Love Story and Kafka and Wittgenstein. Her recent article in Slate, Oh Good, A Professor Watch List, outlines a number of concerns about this development.

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Poet Raymond Nat Turner Black Listed

We welcome back to Law and Disorder political poet . Turner is the poet in residence of the internet site and radio show Black Agenda Report. He and others have come under attack by an outfit called PropOrNot, a shabby group that created a blacklist that include more than “200 outlets, from the right-wing Drudge Report and Russian government-funded Russia Today, to Wikileaks and an array of marginal conspiracy and far-right sites. The blacklist also includes some of the flagship publications of the progressive left, including Truthdig, Counterpunch, Truthout, Naked Capitalism, and the Black Agenda Report, a leftist African-American opinion hub that is critical of the liberal black political establishment.”

Guest – Raymond Nat Turner, currently Poet-in-Residence at Black Agenda Report, Turner has been the opening act for such people as James Baldwin, Cynthia McKinney, radical sportswriter Dave Zirin and Congresswoman Barbara Lee after her lone vote against attacking Afghanistan.

Law and Disorder June 1, 2015


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Firefight The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York’s Bravest

It has taken nearly a century of well-orchestrated grassroots organizing to squarely address rampant racial discrimination in the New York City Fire Department. In 1919 Wesley Williams became the first African American firefighter. Yet by the beginning f the 21st Century, and with a population 2 million African Americans, the department still had only about 300 black firefighters, lagging far behind other uniformed departments like the police. And overt racism still plagued the FDNY.  Although women and African Americans had sued the FDNY’s hiring practices—and prevailed in court—the fire department never enacted steps to eradicate hiring inequities. A court battle ultimately ensued between Mayor Bloomberg and the well organized Vulcans, the Society of Black Firefighters.

Finally in 2014, the City settled a $98 million discrimination lawsuit mandating changes to the qualifying test for firefighters and to hiring practices in the Fire Department.

The new book “Fire-fight: The Century-long Battle to Integrate New York’s Bravest” lays out the compelling story of this hard fought quest to break through a tightly knit culture in which whites and predominantly Irish exerted a hold on who entered the fire department.

Guest – Ginger Adams Otis has been writing about New York City and local politics for more than a decade. She is a staff writer at the NY Daily News. Otis started covering City Hall and the Fire Department when she worked for The Chief-Leader, from there she moved to staff position at the NY Post. She’s also been a radio and print freelancer for WNYC, the Associated Press, BBC, National Public Radio, The Village Voice and national magazines such as The Nation and Ms. She lives in Harlem, NY.
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Supporters Fight to Reinstate Teacher Who Allowed Students To Send Mumia Get Well Cards

Third grade elementary school teacher Marilyn Zuniga was recently fired from her job for allowing her students to write get well cards to the gravely sick Mumia Abu-Jamal who is in prison in Pennsylvania. We speak today with Larry Hamm, the founder and chairman of the New Jersey civil rights organization Peoples Organization for Progress.

Send a letter care of :

Orange New Jersey Public Schools
c/o Orange Public School Board Secretary Adekunle O. James
Patricia Arthur
451 Lincoln Avenue
Orange, NJ 07050

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Supporters are asked to contact the Orange School system at:

Orange Superintendent of Schools, Ron Lee
Email: leeronal@orange.k12.nj.us
Phone #: 973 677-4040

Forest Street School Principal, Yancisca Cooke
Email: cookeyan@orange.k12.nj.us Phone # 973.677.4120

Board Secretary, Adekunle James
Email: jamesade@mail.orange.k12.nj.us

Orange Brd of Ed phone #: 973 677-4000

Guest – Lawrence Hamm, civil rights activist and advocate for African-American people and the cause of human rights for more than 30 years. Raised in Newark New Jersey, he attended public schools and emerged at age 17 as a forceful and articulate spokesperson for the educational needs and aspirations of Newark students and the community. He was appointed to the Newark Board of Education, making him the youngest school board member in the United States. While at Princeton University (Larry received his Bachelor’s degree there in 1978) Larry distinguished himself during the anti-apartheid movement by organizing student protests and calling attention to Princeton’s financial investment in apartheid South Africa. These protests, and the rising tide of public indignation, resulted in Princeton University’s divestment in the apartheid South African economy. Larry Hamm’s impact as a student activist at Princeton is chronicled in the documentary film, “Blacks at Princeton.” After graduation, Hamm returned to Newark and became active in local politics. He served as district leader and president of the 24th District Assembly. Larry was the founder and director of the People’s Energy Cooperative, a community fuel oil cooperative. He served as the Director of the Community Organization Program for the United Church of Christ Commission For Racial Justice.

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Law and Disorder May 25, 2015


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50 Year Anniversary of the Vietnam War: Professor Susan Schnall

From 1967 to 1969, during the Vietnam War Lieutenant J.G. Susan Schnall was a Navy nurse stationed at a hospital in Oakland California treating wounded marines. She and other soldiers threw anti-war leaflets out of airplane on to an Army base in California. For this she received a general court martial and was discharged from the Navy in 1969. She’s an expert on the effects of Agent Orange. The chemical used by the United States to commit chemical warfare against the Vietnamese people and their land.

Guest- Susan Schnall, co-coordinator of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign, chairing the legislative outreach and science group. She is currently a professor in Health Policy and Planning at NYU and a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and American Public Health Association. In 1969 she was tried and convicted by a general court martial for her anti-war activities while a member of the US Navy.

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50 Year Anniversary of the Vietnam War: Attorney Jim Lafferty

When the United States government escalated its war in Vietnam in 1965, Detroit Attorney Jim Lafferty who is a leader of the National Lawyers Guild and an attorney representing draft resisters became active in what was unfolded as the mass movement opposing the American war. Jim was one of the five national coordinators of the National Peace Action Coalition and played a central role in the huge anti-war demonstrations in 1967, 1969 and 1971.

Guest – Jim Lafferty, has been a movement lawyer, political organizer, and legal worker for the past 50 years. He served as NLG executive director from 1963 to 1967, during the peak of Guild work in the South. In Detroit, he was a founding partner of Lafferty, Reosti, Jabara, James, Stickgold, Soble and Smith, a law firm which, according to his Red Squad file, represented “every left-wing, civil rights, anti-war, and black nationalist group in Detroit.” Jim is also a strident antiwar activist. He established numerous draft counseling centers in the Midwest, helped organized some of the largest Vietnam War protests, and, when Iraq invasions loomed in both the 90s and the aughts, he coordinated some of the largest anti-war coalitions. Jim has served as the Los Angeles chapter’s Executive Director for over two decades. Most recently, he headed his chapter’s well-publicized support for Occupy LA.

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50 Year Anniversary of the Vietnam War: Doug Rawlings

As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the American war in Vietnam, many believe that the US government is attempting to reshape the historical record, omitting the perspectives of antiwar protesters and of disaffected and nonconforming soldiers and their families. Also missing are the narratives of Southeast Asians who suffered from misguided and disastrous foreign policies.  Veterans for Peace has launched a Full Disclosure campaign calling on Americans to write letters to the soldiers whose names appear on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC. They urge everyone with a role in the Vietnam war–be it war resister, combatant, family member, conscientious objector or citizen, to share their memories and perspectives.

Guest – Doug Rawlings, founding member of Veterans For Peace and was an active member in early years of the organization, became Maine chapter president for 5 years, and served as chapter secretary.  He was on the planning committee for the  annual PTSD symposia and, planning committee for the 25th anniversary national convention. Rawlings was drafted in the fall, 1968 and served in Vietnam from July 1969 to August, 1970, 7/15th Artillery.  He was a secondary school teacher for six years and has been teaching at the University of Maine at Farmington for close to thirty years.

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Law and Disorder May 11, 2015


 

Updates:

  • Heidi Boghosian: Attorneys Make United Nations Urgent Appeal Request For Mumia Abu-Jamal

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FiSaraha International Film Festival

Co-host, attorney Michael Ratner recently attended the 11th FiSaraha International Film Festival in Africa’s Western Sahara Desert. He bring us up to date on the festival and the larger issue of Sahrawi refugee camps in Southwestern Algeria. He also reminds about the anniversary of the United States’ contra torture and murder of Ben Linder in Nicaragua.

Law and Disorder Co-host Attorney Michael Ratner,  President 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 Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder, 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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ACLU Lawsuit To Make Catholic Groups Provide Abortions To “Illegal” Immigrants

After hearing reports that Catholic bishops are prohibiting Catholic charities from allowing undocumented immigrant teenagers in their care to access contraception and abortion services—even in cases of rape—the ACLU recently filed a lawsuit to obtain federal government records. The group seeks documents related to reproductive healthcare policy for unaccompanied immigrant children in the care of federally funded Catholic agencies, which do not believe in abortion.  Nearly 60,000 unaccompanied minors illegally crossed over from Mexico border in 2014. Approximately one third were young girls, an astonishing 80% of whom were victims of sexual assault.

The government contracts with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to care for those children until they can either reunite with a relative or face an immigration hearing. In total the Conference has received $73 million overall from the government—with $10 million allocated for the care of unaccompanied minors in 2013 alone.

The Conference has objected to a regulation proposed by the Obama administration mandating that contractors provide abortions to immigrants who have been raped. In response to the ACLU’s request, the Conference asserts that they are within their rights to exercise religious freedom while taking care of the minors.

Guest – Brigitte Amiri, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.  Brigitte is currently litigating multiple cases, including a challenge to South Dakota’s law that requires women seeking abortion to first visit a crisis pregnancy center before obtaining an abortion, a restriction on Medicaid funding for abortion in Alaska, and a law in Texas that has forced one-third of the abortion providers to close their doors.  Brigitte is also heavily involved in the challenges to the federal contraception benefit, and was one of the coordinators for the amicus briefs in the Supreme Court.  Brigitte is an adjunct assistant professor at New York Law School, and has been an adjunct assistant professor at Hunter College.

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 Proposal To Award Chicago Police Torture Victims Reparations

Victims of police torture under former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge will share $5.5 million, receive an apology and have their story taught in school under a reparations package proposed recently. The proposal is expected to pass when the council votes on it this month.

More than 100 people who accused Burge and officers under his command of torture—from cattle-prod shockings, phone book beatings prods, and suffocation with bags until false confessions were given—over nearly two decades ending in 1991. While some have already settled for thousands or millions of dollars, the remaining dozens can each receive up to $100,000 under the proposed ordinance. More than $100 million has already been paid over the years in court-ordered judgments, settlements and legal fees. Amnesty International USA lauded the proposal, which it said was unlike anything a U.S. municipality has ever introduced.

Besides a provision that calls for teaching the Burge torture cases to 8th and 10th graders in public school history classes, the ordinance includes a formal apology from the City Council, and psychological counseling and other benefits such as free tuition at community colleges. In recognition that the torture, and in many cases wrongful convictions and lengthy prison sentences, has impacted victims and their families, the ordinance extends some benefits to victims’ children or grandchildren.

Burge, 67, was fired from the Chicago Police Department in 1993. He was never criminally charged with torture, but was convicted in 2010 of lying about torture in a civil case and served 4.5 years in federal custody. Still drawing his pension, he was released from a Florida halfway house in February.

Guest – Attorney  G. Flint Taylor, a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern Law School, is a  founding partner of the People’s Law Office in Chicago, an office which has been dedicated to litigating civil rights, police violence, government misconduct, and death penalty cases for more than 40 years

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Law and Disorder April 27, 2015


Updates:

  • U.S. Continues To Not Officially Recognize Armenian Genocide On 100th Anniversary
  • Michael Ratner: Constitution and Freedom of Speech Threatened In Wake Of Anti-Boycott (BDS) Legislation In US and Israel
  • University of Southampton Cancels Conference After Government, Israel Lobby Pressure
  • Michael Ratner Exposes NY Times Article – Student Coalition at Stanford Confronts Allegations of Antisemitism
  • Michael Ratner – “Antisemitism has nothing to do with whether I’m against the practices of the Israeli state.”

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Emmett, Down in My Heart

The prize-winning play Emmett, Down in My Heart is the true story of two female characters, Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley and a white teacher, Roanne Taylor, who frame the 1955 kidnap, torture, murder of 14-year old Emmett Till in the Mississippi Delta. Roanne is haunted by her silence and confronts her need to take responsibility and speak. Mamie Till-Mobley, through outrage and grief, is transformed from a private citizen to a social-justice activist. Many consider her insistence on an open casket to be the start of the modern Civil Rights Movement. And tree months later in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks said Emmett Till was the catalyst that motivated her when she refused to move to the back of the bus.

Guest – Clare Coss, activist, writer and psychotherapist. Her publications include Lillian D.Wald: Progressive Activist which features the play and a selection of Wald’s correspondence and speeches. Her anthology of lesbian love poems, The Arc of Love (Scribner), was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Coss was for many years the Poetry Editor for Affilia, a journal of women and social work. She has taught at Hunter College, SUNY at Stony Brook, and is collaborating on her libretto Emmett Till, the Opera with composer Mary Watkins.

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The United States, Saudi Arabia And The War In Yemen 2015

Today we’re going to untangle the war in Yemen. You read a lot about it. There’s Iran helping the Houthis. Why is Saudi Arabia stopping the bombing? What’s the role of the United States? How did this war come about? What happened to civil society? There are no easy answers, at least if you read American newspapers. But there actually are answers.

Guest – Dr. Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he serves as coordinator of the program in Middle Eastern Studies. Recognized as one the country’s leading scholars of U.S. Middle East policy and of strategic nonviolent action, Professor Zunes serves as a senior policy analyst for the Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies, an associate editor of Peace Review, a contributing editor of Tikkun, and co-chair of the academic advisory committee for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

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Law and Disorder December 22, 2014


Updates:

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New Cuba-U.S.A. Pact And Remaining Cuban Five Prisoners Released

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • We’ve been covering this case for years on here. They were wrongfully convicted. They had been sent into Miami to stop Miami-Cuban terrorism against Cuba.
  • The U.S. in a vindictive prosecution had sentenced them for many years, in fact one of them was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to commit espionage I think.
  • It’s all part of a larger picture of what’s going on.
  • Cuba in what’s not considered an exchange, of course obviously, released Alan Gross.
  • Obama within limits sounds like he’s going to open relations within a certain way with Cuba and open an embassy in Cuba and Cuba, one in the United States.
  • It’s amazing moment, the revolution took place in 1959, so that’s only 55 years ago approx, the embargo has been in effect since 1961. It’s still in effect of course but this is a really major moment.
  • Attorney Len Weinglass would take 1 or 2 cases at a time, work on them like a dog, whether it was Mumia or in this case the Cuban Five and put every piece, every part of his life into it.

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Attorney Heidi Boghosian:

  • In the U.S. we continue to see the news portraying the five as spies when like you said they were really here to uncover unlawful activities on the part of the U.S government.
  • They handed over files to the FBI, they were very forthright with the information they gathered.
  • We also know from our interviews with attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Gloria LaRiva that the U.S. has been paying journalists in Miami to report negatively on the case of the Cuban Five and were doing so at the time of their trial.
  • One of the lawyers we used to interview on this show and a close friend of ours Lenny Weinglass who passed away a couple of years ago was the main lawyer for the Cuban Five. It then became Martin Garbus who carried on the case in an extraordinary way, and I think that all of their work and all of the work of the Committee to Free the Cuban Five has led to result that I think would have been unforeseeable 20 years ago.

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Civil Forfeiture Cases Follow Up

Michael Ratner Commends Dean of Columbia Law School Canceling Exams Allowing Option To Protest

International Criminal Court: Possible Prosecutions From U.S. Torture In Afghanistan

Happy Birthday Chelsea Manning

ECCHR Calls For 13 CIA Agents To Be Extradited To Germany

ECCHR Complaint Against Bush Era Architects Of Torture

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • It’s taking the Senate Report they did on detention and going further and saying now we actually have evidence from one of the branches of government admitting that the CIA engaged in this incredibly awful program of torture.
  • Wolfgang Kaleck says there are about 500 CIA agents that should be quaking in their boots about traveling to Europe.

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Senate Intelligence Committee Torture Report: Attorney Scott Horton

Guantanamo suicides, CIA interrogation techniques, CIA ordered physicians who violate the Hippocratic oath, are topics of some recent articles by returning guest attorney Scott Horton. Last month, he was on Democracy Now to debate former CIA General Counsel John Rizzo on the question of declassifying a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report about the agency’s secret detention and interrogation programs. His book Lords of Secrecy The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy will be published January 2015.

Attorney Scott Horton:

  • I think the results flow directly from the media coverage (ABC poll on Torture report)
  • Now major publications and broadcasters that hedged using the word torture have stopped doing that. There are only a handful of media sources that won’t do it. NPR being one of them.
  • The media also presents roughly twice as much time devoted to people justifying the use of torture techniques to those criticizing it.
  • Barack Obama who should lead the push back has gone completely silent. It’s beyond silent he talked about “tortured some folks” making it very casual, and then he said the torturers were patriots.
  • I thought it was electrifying reading. 90 percent of it I’ve heard about before and still when you read them in this clinical, plain, highly factual style and things were developed with a continuous flow with lots of background in decision making in Washington at the top and how all this effected what happened on the ground.
  • As a consumer of Congressional reports this probably the single most impressive Congressional oversight report I’ve ever seen.
  • It’s an excellent example of what the oversight committee should be doing all the time.
  • They’re doing this with respect to a program which was essentially or very largely wrapped up by October 2006.
  • We’re talking about 8 1/2 years ago.
  • They’re only able to do this kind of review in any depth when its historical, not when its real time oversight, that’s disappointing.
  • One thing that emerges from looking at these reports and the military reports is that there is a huge black hole which has never been fully developed and explored and that’s JSOC, its the military intelligence side.
  • That escaped review within the DOD process and it escaped review in CIA process and its clear that there’s a huge amount there.
  • I certainly don’t expect prosecutions to emerge for the next couple of years in the United States, but I see a process setting in that may eventually lead to prosecutions.
  • On the one hand we’re seeing a dangerous deterioration in relations with Russia, is an aggressor, which has seized territory in the heart of Europe, is waging a thinly veiled war on one of its neighbors. That is very unnerving to the major NATO powers.
  • On the other hand there’s never been a period in the history of the alliance when there is so much upset at the United States.
  • That’s come largely from the rise of the surveillance state and the role of the NSA.
  • I was looking at this report, and we know that in 2006, there was an internal review that led the CIA to conclude that these interrogation techniques were ineffective and the CIA internally decided to seek a large part of the authority for EIT’s and operation of black sites rescinded.
  • Another thing that’s very important here from this report, it tells us that Michael Hayden, George Tenant, Porter Goss and other very senior people at the CIA repeatedly intervened to block any form of punishment of people who are involved with torture and running the black sites.
  • That’s important because of the legal document Command Responsibility. The law says when command authority makes a decision not to prosecute and immunize people involved with torture and abuse, that results in the culpability of these crimes migrating up the chain of command.
  • I interviewed CIA agents who were involved in this program, and they told me they’ve all been brought out by legal counsels office and told – they may not leave the country.
  • That means you’ve got roughly 150 CIA agents, including many people near the top of the agency who can’t travel right now.
  • Lords of Secrecy The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy

Guest – Scott Horton, human rights lawyer and contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine. Scott’s column – No Comment. He graduated Texas Law School in Austin with a JD and was a partner in a large New York law firm, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. His new book Lords of Secrecy The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy.

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Law and Disorder August 26, 2013


bradlyem

Army PFC Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years

Our own Michael Ratner reports back from Fort Meade, Maryland on the day Army PFC Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified information to Wikileaks.  As reported by Michael Ratner, Manning faced a maximum of 90 years in prison after his conviction last month on charges of espionage, theft and fraud.  Now, his sentence goes the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, where he may seek a reduction of his prison term.

Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • 35 years is a completely off the wall sentence. First of all he shouldn’t have been prosecuted at all.
  • That’s been the Center for Constitutional Rights position. That’s my position.
  • He’s a whistle-blower, he exposed torture, criminality, killing of civilians.
  • Then, they over prosecute him, charge him with espionage, make whistle-blowers into spies.
  • They charge him with all these years, then people are relieved when gets 35 years.
  • It’s a very long sentence for someone who actually gave us the truth about Iraq, about Iran, about the helicopter video that killed a Reuters journalist, about the diplomatic cables that gave us the secret war in Yemen, the revelations about the corrupt Ben Ali government in Tunisia that helped bring on the Arab Spring.
  • He’s a hero. The people who committed the crime are sadly still in our government enjoying their lives, they’re the ones that ought to be prosecuted.
  • We’re in a time where there is a sledgehammer taken to whistle-blowers.
  • The demand now is that Obama pardon him or give him clemency. That’s from the Bradley Manning Support Committee.
  • Because of Bradley Manning, people like Ed Snowden came forward. They understood that when they see criminality, they’re young people of conscience and they act on it, and we should be very proud of each of these people.

Law and Disorder Co-host Attorney Michael Ratner,  President 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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freebarrettbrown2

Journalist Barrett Brown Faces 105 Years In Prison

Journalist Barrett Brown has spent more than 330 days in pre trial detention and faces charges that add up to a 105 year sentence. What Barrett Brown did was merely take a link from a chat room and copied that link then pasted it to a chat room for a wiki-based crowd source group called Project PM.  The link was to the Stratfor hack information of 5 million emails. He needed help to sift through the data and posted the link that was already publicly out there to the attention of the editorial board of Project PM.  There were unencrypted credit card numbers and validation codes within those emails and the government is claiming that Barrett Brown was engaged in credit card fraud. Why go after Barrett Brown? The backstory begins with the Bank of America being concerned that Wikileaks had specific information. They go to the Department of Justice who lead them to a big law firm in Washington DC, then to a private intelligence firm. Meanwhile, a defense fund for Barrett Brown continues to raise money for his case.

Kevin Gallagher:

  • Barrett Brown is an investigative journalist and freelance writer who has had a career writing for the Huffington Post, the Guardian and many other places.
  • Through his observing the media landscape over the last ten years in America, I think he grew very dissatisfied with things so when this phenomenon called anonymous popped up in 2010, making major news headlines, he attached himself to it.
  • All he was doing was looking at this information leaked by Jeremy Hammond out of Stratfor as part of his journalistic inquiry into the world of private intelligence firms.
  • The fact that they can indict someone on identity theft and credit card fraud just for sharing a link of information. . there’s no allegation that he sought to profit from it.
  • Project PM over its lifespan was a number of different things but that’s what it eventually evolved into.
  • A crowd sourced project with a wiki that was devoted to investigating soley, the state corporate alliance on surveillance. This was known as Team Themis, a consortium of these firms.
  • This all started when Wikileaks said it had information from the Bank of America.
  • Barrett was investigating. There are other journalists who do very good work on this. He was one of the most vocal who was involved in investigating all these relationships between the private intel firms and the DOJ. He was using leaked emails to do so.
  • I think they were very upset to see these things revealed.
  • Barrett recognized that this was a threat and he was looking into it.
  • Before the court right now is a motion for a media gag order which was presented by the prosecution which would silence Barrett and his attorneys from making statements to the media.

Guest – Kevin Gallagher, writer, musician and systems administrator based in western Massachusetts. He graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He’s currently pursuing activism on issues related to digital rights: freedom of information, privacy, and copyright; while also taking an interest in information security. He is the director and founder of Free Barrett Brown, a support network, nonprofit advocacy organization and legal defense fund formed for the purpose of assisting the prominent internet activist and journalist, Barrett Brown, who is the founder of Project PM.

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HawaiiHero kulani-prison

Native Hawaiian Prisoner Transfer to Arizona Private Prison

Hawaii is know for sending more prisoners across state lines than any other state. According to the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, a disproportionate number of those prisoners are Native Hawaiian inmates.  Because of over crowding, Native Hawaiian inmates are transferred from a Hawaii state prison to a for-profit Corrections Corporation of America prison in Arizona. This particular CCA private prison however was built specifically for Native Hawaiian inmates, yet they’re denied cultural and religious rites. Additional transfer impacts include difficult reentry back into Hawaii, away from family and homeland, and no opportunity for proper atonement.

Attorney Sharla Manley:

  • We’ve been involved in a lawsuit for 2 years concerning the impact of Hawaii’s policy of transferring inmates to the mainland. Native Hawaiians.
  • Native Hawaiians are the indigenous people of the state of Hawaii. They have a similar experience to American Indians on the continent.
  • Our firm focuses on Native Hawaiian rights and the focus on what self determination remains despite the history.
  • Native Hawaiians are disproportionately incarcerated. They are transferred more often than any other racial group.
  • The state of Hawaii creates a menu of prisoners, for private prisons to select.
  • Our focus on the transfer is very narrow, the Native Hawaiian prisoners who still want to adhere to native traditions and practices.
  • In Arizona you don’t have access to cultural teachers and spiritual advisers who could provide the kind of guidance or counseling, really the kind of instruction of passing on a tradition.
  • The Native Hawaiian women were being transferred for a period of time, but there were so many sexual assaults, the state finally brought them back.
  • You’re taking away the men, breaking the cultural transmission because many of these men are fathers, grandfathers. Yes they would be in prison here, but there is a difference when your family can see you on the weekends.
  • In effect, it’s a form of cultural genocide.
  • I’m beside myself as to why this hasn’t been rectified at this point. There’s not even a plan really.
  • This is an issue that is personal for me. I am Native Hawaiian, and know what its like to have someone in your community, in your family to be effected by the criminal justice system.

Guest – Attorney Sharla Manley, with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation.  Sharla Manley joined NHLC as a staff attorney in 2010. Before joining NHLC, Sharla was an associate at an international law firm in Los Angeles in its global litigation department for over three years. In addition to handling commercial litigation matters, she also took pro bono cases, involving voting rights, asylum, and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act. Also, Sharla was an associate at a plaintiff-side class action firm where she primarily handled appeals of wage and hour cases before state appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit.  Before law school, Sharla was a policy analyst on Native Hawaiian rights at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. She focused on water rights and the impact of military activities on cultural resources in Makua Valley.

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solidaritysingalong1 Sing_Along_

Solidarity Sing A Long: Wisconsin Labor Protests Continue

The noontime sing-along has protested Gov. Scott Walker’s policies daily at Wisconsin’s Capitol since March 11, 2011.  However, a new round of arrests began two weeks ago and more than 100 citations have been issued to protesters by Capitol Police.  But this is in addition to nearly 200 citations already since July 2012 when the Department of Administration began enforcing new permitting requirements for gatherings in state facilities. What is the noontime solidarity sing-along protest?

Attorney Jonathan Rosenblum:

  • When you have a new governor who within weeks in office describes his legislation as a bomb,  which was to end collective bargaining for public sector workers.
  • This led to more than a hundred thousand people, multiple times on the square where I’m sitting right now here on Wisconsin Avenue.
  • Beyond the anti-union agenda, this governor has come in with a pedigree from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. He as a legislator in the same building was a member of ALEC, was a proponent of its agenda.
  • His agenda as it moved along, was to remove vast numbers of children from medicaid, of claiming a jobs agenda would bring Wisconsin to the top in the United States, instead it plunged to the bottom.
  • He eliminated funding for high speed trains, instead the trains for Wisconsin are now sitting in Oregon.
  • The main point about this governor is about closing the doors of this government to the public.
  • Even the union legislation that led to the crowds was passed in violation of a Public Meetings Act.
  • Let me take you to March 11, 2011 when it all started. I was standing there with my friend Steve Burns, folks had slept in the capitol for weeks, the anti-union legislation was passed and signed that day and Steve had printed up a few copies of a songbook that had the dome of the capitol opening up with musical notes on the cover of it and 10 tunes, the classics of the civil rights movement.
  • Several of them modified in the great Wobbly tradition.
  • This sing-along has preceded from that day March 11, 2011 without skipping a beat, every single week day since that date. More than 650 consecutive sing-alongs.
  • The sing-along is a joyful conglomeration. It’s reached about 300-400 daily as the crack down has actually caused a surge of concerned citizens to join us.
  • We Don’t Want Your Millions, Mister.
  • A Long Range Acoustic Device is being used. The police have started to use the recordings of Chief Irwin’s declaration of unlawful assembly to blast into the rotunda so nobody misses it.
  • They use the siren that ramps up to 150 db to disable people. They haven’t put it to that level yet.
  • The State Capitol Police are in a bind. They have their orders, most are executing them with a little more zeal than they should. Some of them seem to be maintaining friendships that they had before with the singers.

Guest – Jonathan Rosenblum, PRWatch.org contributor, an author, award-winning journalist, and practicing lawyer. His book, Copper Crucible: How the Arizona Miners’ Strike of 1983 Recast Labor-Management Relations in America (Cornell University Press, 1995; Second Edition, 1998) was named as one of Princeton University Library’s “Ten Noteworthy Books in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics” in 1996.

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