Michael Ratner: Update on Julian Assange
Earlier this summer we talked with renowned First Amendment and civil rights attorney Martin Garbus about joining the Cuban Five’s legal defense team. He recently filed an affidavit in the Miami Federal District Court based on US government misconduct of paying Miami journalists during the Cuban Five’s prosecution 14 years ago. As many listeners may know, these paid reporters covered the Cuban Five case in an almost hysterical fashion. The affidavit supports Cuban Five defendant Gerardo Hernández’s habeas corpus appeal and seeks the overturning of his wrongful conviction.
- We’re saying that every person involved in the payments, the government, Radio Marti, the persons who received the payments, the journalists, also violated the law.
- I think it is jury tampering. We’re saying that every dollar that was paid is a violation of the integrity of a jury trial. There were many millions of dollars.
- We’re saying that the jury trial was destroyed by a propaganda machine.
- The government then says, well, you have to prove that. There are several different allegations.
- There is Radio Marti. In 1996, Radio Marti moves from Washington to Miami.
- It’s the only Voice of America station, if you will, that doesn’t operate out of Washington.
- It shows that the government was willing to give the Cuban exiles control over Radio Marti.
- In 1996, it’s recognized that Radio Marti is totally integral to affect the Cuban exile population in Miami.
- They then go to the newspapers, the Miami Herald, the Nuevo Herald, and Radio Marti starts to give those journalists money.
- We filed an 80 page affidavit with hundreds of pages of exhibits.
- We’ve gone through relentlessly the payments made by Radio Marti, by the government, to journalists. We’ve come up with 11 journalists who have received close to a million dollars.
- The articles that they wrote should be read fairly carefully.
- They make the argument that the people who are being tried in the case were the early landing force for a Cuban invasion.
- American money is being given to writers who are then attacking America, which has prosecuted people who have killed Americans. We’re trying to vacate the conviction.
Guest – Attorney Martin Garbus, one of the country’s leading trial lawyers. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court and the highest state and federal courts in the nation. Time Magazine has named him “legendary…one of the best trial lawyers in the country.” He’s also known as a prominent First Amendment lawyer.
In April 2007, the US Supreme Court handed down its first decision related to climate change issues. The case was Massachusetts v. EPA and the high Court held that the Clean Air Act authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions if the agency determined that these emissions posed a danger to human health and welfare. The EPA did in fact make such an “endangerment” finding, and then proceeded to begin the process of adopting regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
The initial lawsuit was brought by the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, which includes a range of petroleum-based industries, and was supported by several states, including Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Virginia. The EPA, on the other hand, was joined by California, New York, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington and New York City. These rulings were challenged on various grounds; in the end the court upheld the EPA’s action and resoundingly affirmed the agency’s authority and obligation to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Law Professor Eleanor Stein:
- Rolling Stone: The New Math of Green House Gas and Warming
- Greenhouse gases are chemical substances, usually referred to as a group of six substances, that contribute to the warming of the Earth because, as they accumulate in the atmosphere, they prevent the refraction of the Sun’s energy away from the Earth and back into space.
- Of these six substances the one most often discussed is carbon dioxide, which is the most plentiful; methane is among the most potent. Recent court case – The Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA – it was decided in the D.C. circuit a month ago.
- The Massachusetts case at the Supreme Court was about specifically regulation of emissions from new motor vehicles.
- Once the court ordered the EPA to do its endangerment investigation, it did so and made an endangerment finding in 2009. It found that greenhouse gas emissions were a danger to human health and welfare.
- The EPA was then required to regulate emissions of new motor vehicles. They did that, adopting a set of rules known as the Tailpipe Rules.
- The EPA went on to adopt a set of rules for stationary sources ie, coal power plants; those rules are known as the Timing and Tailoring Rules.
- The current ruling, of the D.C. court upholding the three rules, is a tremendous affirmation of current climate science; it’s a rejection of a lot of climate denial and other industry propaganda.
- The most extensive discussion is their analysis of the Endangerment Finding, which is the EPA’s analysis of the climate science.
- The Tailpipe Rule went into effect January 1, 2011. This will make a contribution to reducing emissions.
Guest – Law professor Eleanor Stein teaches a course called “The Law of Climate Change: Domestic and Transnational” at Albany Law School and SUNY Albany, in conjunction with the Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences Department at SUNY.
In June of this year, the Pan-African Solidarity Hague Committee delivered a petition to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands, demanding they prosecute the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, and NATO for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya, Cote d’lvoire, Haiti and the US. This campaign began in May of last year when thousands gathered to protest the US/NATO bombing of Libya, attacks on Zimbabwe and the racist assault against African-Americans in the United States. The evidence presented made a prima facie case of crimes committed and was the basis of the petition served this year.
- The United States was very involved in the process of setting up the ICC.
- There are approximately 116 countries that have signed on at this point. Which means there are about one third of the countries in world who have not signed on.
- After 10 years, the court came forward with its first conviction. It was a citizen of the Democratic Republic of Congo convicted of crimes against humanity.
- Its record has been really a court to prosecute Africans.
- Of the cases that are in front of it now, all of them are Africans.
- It’s as if people who’ve violated human rights don’t exist outside the African continent.
- As one observer had said, this is really an African criminal court and not an international criminal court.
- With the International Criminal Court, non-governmental organizations can bring charges, bring communications saying we think there’s enough evidence to begin an investigation and prosecute.
- The ICC had taken out a warrant against Qaddafi saying he was a human rights violator, committed crimes against humanity, war crimes.
- In May 2011 when it was clear they were trying to effect regime change and assassinate Colonel Qaddafi, we began a campaign to expose that. We saw the same pattern in terms of what happened to President Aristide in 2004.
- After the August 2011 rally we had the people’s tribunal in January 2012.
- In June 2012 we hand-delivered the petition to the ICC. We asked to speak to the chief prosecutor. She declined to meet with us for some reason.
- They don’t want to deal with prosecuting anybody from the West.
- A communication was brought to the ICC for the war crimes from Operation Cast Lead. Two years later the ICC declined the petition. I think their technicality was Gaza wasn’t a state.
- There is a campaign by the West to re-colonize the African continent for its resources, to remove those heads of state that are obstacles Western re-penetration.
Guest – Attorney Roger Wareham, a member of the December 12th Movement, an organization of African people which organizes in the Black and Latino community around human rights violations, particularly police terror. Wareham is also the International Secretary-General of the International Association Against Torture (AICT), a non-governmental organization that has consultative status before the United Nations.