Law and Disorder Radio – Julian Assange Marks 2 Years at the Ecuadorian Embassy – California Court Rules Teacher Tenure Violates Students’ Rights – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

Law and Disorder Radio

Hosts Discuss “Liberal” Media Coverage of Reigniting War in Iraq

Imagine: Living in a Socialist U.S.A. Book Event – NYC Public Library, June 23, 6:30PM










The 2-Year Anniversary of Wikileaks’s Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy

We mark the two-year anniversary of Julian Assange being in custody at the Ecuadorian embassy. Our own Michael Ratner, co-host of this show, is Julian Assange’s attorney. Michael describes the conditions Julian Assange is living in at the embassy, he explains the legal reasons why Julian is still there, and lists the recent significant accomplishments of Wikileaks.

Co-host Attorney Michael Ratner:

  • He’s sitting in the embassy with political asylum. It’s an apartment on the ground floor with about 6 or 8 rooms. He has one of those rooms. It’s small. There’s no outside space.
  • He has a sun lamp.
  • There are police outside; there are police out front when you walk in. They’re at every window. There’s a couple big police vans outside picking up every one of your conversations. That’s where Julian has been for two years.
  • Julian has been in pretty good shape in there. He’s been functioning. Wikileaks has been functioning. A key thing that people have to understand is that Wikileaks, Sarah Harrison, Julian and others saved Edward Snowden from going to prison in the United States.
  • Remember that Snowden was in Hong Kong. The U.S. issued a criminal complaint against him. Two counts of espionage, one count of theft of documents. There was an extradition request by the U.S., Hong Kong being part of China. The likelihood is extremely high that Edward Snowden would have wound up in a U.S. jail.

Instead of that, Wikileaks helped him gain asylum where he eventually did in Russia. Sarah Harrison accompanied him on the plane to Moscow.

  • Another story we’ve covered is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that’s the trade agreement they’re trying to impose on countries particularly in the far East.
  • The U.S. just filed a brief, in April 2014 in federal court. It was a brief in which they refused to give up documents on a FOIA case. The claim was that they couldn’t give them up because there’s a continuing investigation going on. It was documents EPIC sought around Wikileaks.
  • The Department of Justice said in that brief that there’s an ongoing criminal national security investigation into Wikileaks and Julian Assange; it’s multi-subject and it’s ongoing.
  • It’s been 4 years since the allegations of sexual misconduct have been made against Julian Assange by two women, but by particular, the prosecutor who seems to have vengeance to carry this out.
  • Remember, they’re allegations, not charges. They’ve asked to extradite Julian Assange based on those allegations.
  • Allegations from a prosecutor from another country are not sufficient to get someone extradited. We have the UK having changed the law so he can no longer be extradited.
  • Ecuador has been extremely supportive of Julian.
  • There’s a letter that will be sent in the next two days to our Attorney General Eric Holder by at least 30 human rights groups around the world.
  • That letter wants to hold Holder to his words that journalists and editors will not be subject to prosecution.
  • It starts off with a demand to close all criminal investigations of Wikileaks and its Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange. It says they have to stop harassing and persecuting Julian and Wikileaks for publishing.

Guest – Law and Disorder Co-host Michael Ratner, President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) 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 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 (NLG) and the author of numerous books and articles, including the books The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by BookAgainst War with Iraq and Guantanamo: What the World Should Know, as well as a textbook on international human rights.

 Shocking: California Court Rules Teacher Tenure Violates Students’ Right to Quality Education

David Welch, a Silicon Valley tech millionaire, has been funding the movement and legal challenge that led to the Vergara decision two weeks ago, when a California court struck down a series of laws that grant tenure and other protections to public school teachers. Students Matter, an education reform group, had sued on behalf of nine students arguing protections for substandard teachers have a disproportionate impact on children of color and low-income families. The decision, which has targeted teacher tenure as the cause of underachievement within inner city schools, could have a larger influence in other states. Many see this decision as part of a strategy to transform the public education system into a major profit center. Examples include No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, the Common Core Curriculum, and the rise of charter schools.

Brian Jones:

The court ruled in California that teacher tenure is a violation of students’ right to a quality education.

The ramifications are that if we find students who are not doing well in school, that the remedy is to remove that teacher and get a new teacher and anything that stands in the way of removing that teacher is therefore a violation of that student’s rights.

Its actually going to have very negative consequences.

We already have a problem holding on to great teachers. We have a problem holding on to teachers, period.

Half of the teachers in this country leave the profession within five years. We’re literally bleeding teachers.

A lot of wealthy people have taken an interest in transforming public schools in this country.

Their idea is that schooling should be run more like a business with more authority, power and decision-making concentrated at the top with the workers, parents and students having little or no say on what goes on. Their job is to accomplish the task laid out before them by the millionaires and billionaires.

  • One of the worst examples of course is Bill Gates, who has been effectively setting education policy for the nation for several years now.
  • You have this Silicon Valley millionaire who created a “parent group” and is bringing this lawsuit; you have a bunch of parents whose children are in charter schools and private schools arguing that their rights are being violated.
  • They use their wealth to effect the changes that they want.
  • They bypass any democratic process or debate or discussion about what our schools should be like.
  • This is a famous ploy by the corporatizers is to wrap themselves in the robes of the Civil Rights movement and claim they’re getting justice on behalf of children.
  • We have to remember that the Civil Rights movement was pro-union was very involved with unions.
  • The corporate reformers want us to believe that we can get justice for kids by beating up on adults.
  • If we can attack the union, we can then get justice for the young people.
  • The tenure attack is eliminating a protection for anyone who wants to speak back, to talk back.
  • Without tenure, without unions, without those kinds of protections, the people working in a school can never speak back, can never express themselves, can never protest or try to assert some other idea.
  • Let’s talk about what it’s going to take to improve the teaching profession. Let’s talk about what it’s going to take to improve the conditions of teaching and learning.
  • Teachers feel under attack. The things we’re putting on teacher’s shoulders right now are insane.
  • Teachers were already suffering under Bush’s No Child Left Behind, then Obama doubled down on it and made it even worse. He raised the stakes of those high stakes tests even higher.

Guest – Brian Jones taught elementary grades for nine years in New York City’s public schools, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Urban Education at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is the Green Party’s 2014 candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York. Brian co-narrated the film The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman, and contributed to the book Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation. He is a member of the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE), the social justice caucus of the United Federation of Teachers. Brian has also lent his voice to several audiobooks, including The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World and Howard Zinn’s one-man play, Marx in Soho. Brian is the recipient of the 2012 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship.