Law and Disorder Radio – Lawyers You’ll Like: Nancy Hollander – Ray McGovern on Obama’s Kill List – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

Law and Disorder Radio

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Lawyers You’ll Like: Nancy Hollander

In this week’s Lawyers You’ll Like series, we’re joined by attorney Nancy Hollander. Nancy has been a member and partner with Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Ives & Duncan P.A. since the early ’80s. Her practice is devoted to mostly criminal cases including those involved with national security. Ms. Hollander has also argued and won a religious freedom case in the US Supreme Court. She’s served as a consultant to the defense in a high profile terrorism case in Ireland, and she represents two prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

Attorney Nancy Hollander:

  • I was a community organizer with JOIN, Jobs or Income Now.
  • We organized Appalachian migrants to Chicago. I wrote a book that I co-authored with Todd Gitlin called Uptown.
  • I became a photographer, I learned how to develop film in the basement of Jessie Jackson’s church. I was in Cleveland for a time and then came to New Mexico, became the Executive Director of the New Mexico Civil Liberties Union, then went to law school.
  • I worked as a riveter in a football equipment factory.
  • It looked like my whole file began when I met with Vietnamese women in Indonesia 1964. I met with women from North and South Vietnam.
  • We all met at the embassy, and I thought, that was odd meeting, and that was the beginning of my CIA file.
  • I represent 2 people in Guantanamo. One is Mohamado Ould Slahi. He’s a Mauritanian citizen, he was there from almost the beginning.
  • We won his habeas case, the judge ordered him almost immediately released.
  • After ten years, the government said they didn’t have the preponderance of evidence to keep him.
  • The government appealed, the case got remanded, and we’re essentially starting over.
  • They changed what they accused him of continuously. He’s never been tried, he was tortured.
  • The rule of law has become the law of changing rules.
  • I got a security clearance and learned about SEPA and OFAC, the Office Of Foreign Asset Controls.
  • We originally represented the Holy Land Foundation.
  • They were charged and convicted of providing charity.
  • The law is very fluid and lawyers have a lot of power. Our power is to make change and to create miracles in some cases. There have been something like 100 terrorism cases tried in New York alone since 9/11.

Guest – Attorney Nancy Hollander has been a member of the firm Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Ives & Duncan, P.A. since 1980 and a partner since 1983. Her practice is largely devoted to criminal cases, including those involving national security issues. She has also been counsel in numerous civil cases, forfeitures and administrative hearings, and has argued and won a case involving religious freedom in the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Hollander also served as a consultant to the defense in a high-profile terrorism case in Ireland, has assisted counsel in other international cases and represents two prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Nancy is co-author of WestGroup’s Everytrial Criminal Defense Resource Book, Wharton’s Criminal Evidence, 15th Edition, and Wharton’s Criminal Procedure, 14th Edition. She has appeared on national television programs such as PBS Now, Burden of Proof, The Today Show, Oprah Winfrey, CourtTV, and The MacNeill/Lehrer News Hour.

 The Moral Challenge of ‘Kill Lists’ by Ray McGovern

The Obama administration has conducted hundreds of drone strikes in several countries, killing civilians including a US citizen. Critics point out that as the Obama administration assassinates it’s suspects, it also avoids the legal complications of detention. In last week’s New York Times, authors Jo Becker and Scott Shane expose the priest-like role of counterterrorism adviser John Brennan as he provides President Obama with the moral justification for extrajudicial murder. The framing of John Brennan’s role of priestly adviser caught Ray McGovern’s attention. His recent article The Kill List of Barack Obama dissects the New York Times story.

Ray McGovern:

  • There has been a sharp increase in the number of drone strikes against Pakistan and of course Somalia and Yemen.
  • London-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism estimates that about 830 civilians including women and children may have been killed by drone attacks in Pakistan. 138 in Yemen, and 57 in Somalia. It’s incredibly naive to think that this helps in any way in the war on terrorism.
  • This wonderfully insightful and dangerous New York Times article a week ago talked about the conundrum of aligning these activities with US legal and moral principles. Conundrum? That’s an impossibility.
  • The Fifth Amendment prevents this sort of thing if you take the interpretation we’ve always had.
  • As the New York Times article mentions, out of 30 assassinations that are known about, just one escaped assassination and was brought before a court. It’s much easier to kill them.
  • If you wanted to learn about al-Qaeda, don’t you think Osama Bin Laden could’ve told us some stuff about al-Qaeda?
  • Any military-aged male in the area of a “bad guy” is fair game.
  • Maybe I can draw from my own experience in the CIA. I know about lists. I know that when there was a coup in Indonesia in 1965, that there were lists given to the Indonesian authorities of communists. How many communists on that list? A million. How many were killed, were murdered? 500,000 plus. How many were put in prison? The other 500,000.
  • The drones are really accurate but the target information is notoriously inaccurate.
  • I love Fordham and I hate to see the administration and the very wealthy trustees who have lots of money to give to Fordham, determine who comes in to give the commencement address.
  • I think that you have to have some kind of personal involvement with innocent suffering. I think that you have to have some sense of the injustice others suffer to let your heart be touched by this direct experience.
  • Obama’s fallen in with a rough crowd.
  • I was attracted to getting outside of my Catholic walls. There’s a small church down in Washington, DC called the Church of the Savior.
  • I found out they were doing wonderful things like preventing housing from being gentrified so poor people can still live there. Healthcare, jobs, addictions, a hospice for people too sick to be on the street.
  • There’s been one major change for the good in this country. That is Occupy.
  • When you look for proof that Occupy has incredible potential, look no farther than what the president and the top Senators thought necessary to inject it into the NDAA on New Year’s Eve, which allows them to use the US Army, of all things to wrap us all up without charge, without court proceedings.

Guest – Raymond L. McGovern, retired CIA officer turned political activist. McGovern was a federal employee under seven U.S. presidents in the past 27 years. Ray’s opinion pieces have appeared in many leading newspapers here and abroad. He has debated at the Oxford Forum and appeared on Charlie Rose, The News Hour, CNN, and numerous other TV and radio programs and documentaries. Ray has lectured to a wide variety of audiences here and abroad. Ray studied theology and philosophy (as well as his major, Russian) at Fordham University, from which he holds two degrees. He also holds a Certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University. A Catholic, Mr. McGovern has been worshipping for over a decade with the ecumenical Church of the Savior and teaching at its Servant Leadership School. He was co-director of the school from 1998 to 2004. Ray came from his native New York to Washington in the early ’60s as an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then served as a CIA analyst from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. Ray’s duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief, which he briefed one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985.