Torture Lawyers On Trial In Spain
Today we talk with former Vermont Attorney General Candidate Charlotte Dennett. Listeners may remember Charlotte ran for office of Attorney General on the platform that if elected she would immediately undertake the prosecution of George W. Bush for the unnecessary deaths of Vermont soldiers in Iraq. The strategy was to establish jurisdiction in the cases for Attorneys General in each state as outlined in The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, written by former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi. Charlotte Dennett didn’t get the votes to become Vermont’s new attorney general. Now, a year later, Charlotte describes from an inside perspective the “accountability movement” in her new book titled The People v. Bush. Is impeachment or prosecution still on the table?
If we don’t act on them now, then the impunity will get worse. We have to clamor for Cheney’s prosecution. We’ve got to keep the pressure on the Department of Justice. We know that the Spanish prosecutors have done that.
I’ve come to realize that Obama’s mantra that we have to move forward and not look backward is really translated into: Don’t Prosecute.
Brennan who was involved with crafting torture policy is playing a role, advising Obama not to prosecute.
It’s up to the accountability movement to step forward. There are going to be major events on March 20th, the anniversary of the war on Iraq.
In my book The People v. Bush, I’ve got 10 pages in the appendix of all the different resources that people can turn to, to pressure Congress, sign petitions.
The first half of the book is about my campaign for attorney general in Vermont, where I pledged to prosecute Bush for murder. I also lay out the evidence of how we can still do this–we can still do this by the way.
I became hooked on accountability–this is a struggle for democracy and the soul of our nation.
The book also looks at how the Obama administration deals with the crimes of its predecessors.
I have to tell you, Michael Ratner, you were one of the first people to start raising the alarms (Obama administration). My book shows the gradual shock and disillusionment of his supporters.
People are upset that John Yoo is doing talk shows; he showed up on John Stewart recently (OUCH)
Regarding Sen. Leahy of Vermont: I tracked his effort to put together a truth commission and not prosecution. There were 37 towns in Vermont, that in their town meetings, voted for impeachment.
Guest – Charlotte Dennett, an author and attorney who resides in Cambridge, Vermont. She and her husband, Gerard Colby, have lived in Vermont since 1984. Charlotte has been practicing law since 1997, representing injured Vermonters in negligence, medical malpractice and wrongful death cases, as well as civil rights litigation and family law, and has argued before the Vermont Supreme Court.
Lawyers You’ll Like: Center For Constitutional Rights (CCR) Legal Director Bill Quiqley
This week CCR Legal Director Bill Quigley joined Law and Disorder hosts during a marathon 3-hour fundraiser for Pacifica’s WBAI. Bill talked about his trip to Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, his recent trip to Haiti and his death penalty work in Louisiana.
I went to Gaza with activist Audrey Stewart and Kathy Kelly, an international peace activist.
We went over there, a year ago in January, while the bombing was still going on. We were on the Egyptian side of the border where we could see the bombing of Gaza.
There were constant drones going over head, they had aerial balloons that were doing surveillance. It was sort of like a sociopath beating a baby. There was no defense, there was no anti-aircraft, people were literally sitting ducks.
In my life, it compared to a time when one of my clients was being executed, on death row in Louisiana. To see the apparatus of the state, move into action, very calm, step by step.
Then with full force and the respect of state behind it, pull on a switch and my client was no more. (at that time) It was a surprise that anyone in the U.S. would support the Palestinians.
Death Penalty: there really is a community of deathy penalty advocates who train themselves how to communicate with juries. It is trending in the right direction by it still continues as a terrible tool, that the state has an opportunity to use when they choose to.
Stop and frisk case update: New York is fighting this every step of the way. The term they use to justify this is “furtive activity.”
Culture of intimidation: If young men don’t look at them the way they want to be looked at, if people don’t recognize their presence with the kind of respect that the police department thinks that they’re entitled to by the mere fact that they’re wearing a uniform and carrying a weapon.
It is something that clearly could stop if the message was sent from the top.
But clearly something has a green light from the top to engage in this. Authoritarian order that inconsistent with law and order, with the constitution.
Endemic: If you have a society that values violence, the violence we institute around the world, the way we support Israel, the way they deal with Palestine. If we value deep racism, then what else what would we expect from a police or a military. The police and military are tools of a violent and racist regime.
Part of our job is to re-educate police officers. We are going to be engaged in this activity over again, in every city in the country in varying degrees. The root problem is that we have a racist and violent criminal justice system, education system, a racist and marginalizing housing system, employment system.
Most people don’t have the educational opportunities to know what’s going on with Haiti, Gaza, Iraq and even within our own country. Haiti: You could travel for miles and see no indication that international community even cared about what happened in Haiti. Most people were under a sheet or a blanket, to break some of the sun.
Guest – Bill Quigley. Bill is the Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a national legal and educational organization dedicated to advancing and defending the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Bill joined CCR on sabbatical from his position as law professor and Director of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University New Orleans. He has been an active public interest lawyer since 1977.