Co-host Michael Ratner, and President of the Center for Constitutional Rights updates Law and Disorder listeners on the Military Commissions Act. Michael Ratner with other attorneys from CCR spent the last week in Washington DC garnering support from Senators to oppose the Bush administration’s rush to pass the Military Commissions Act through Congress. Ratner adds that the passing of this Act allows over-arching executive power and is by definition a police state – “no meaningful distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.” Below are points highlighted from this CCR article.
- Shortly after September 11, 2001, hundreds of non-citizens were swept up in the United States and detained in connection to the terrorism investigation without any evidence to connect them to terrorism or crime.
- These men were arrested and detained based on their Muslim faith, their Arab or South Asian descent, and their immigration status, rather than any evidence to connect them to terrorism.
- The “9-11 detainees” were imprisoned in the United States until they were cleared of any connection to terrorism by the FBI. This clearance usually took months, and some detainees were held for over a year.
- During the detention period, many men were held in the most restrictive confinement that exists in the federal system. They were locked down 23 to 24 hours a day, hand-cuffed and shackled, deprived of sleep, beaten and verbally harassed, and denied the opportunity to practice their religion.
- Since the men were released, at least two federal court judges have ruled that the treatment of the detainees would constitute violations of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.
- This provision allows any one of them to be imprisoned indefinitely without their day in court. Now, they could be investigated, detained, interrogated, and tortured without judicial remedy. While U.S. law prohibits torture, this bill would deny access to the courts to bring a torture claim.
Progressive human rights attorney Lynne Stewart, accused of aiding terrorists, faces 30 years in prison. On Tuesday, April 9, 2002, she was arrested and agents searched her Manhattan office for documents. The government calls her a terrorist because of her legal work with Omar Abdel Rahman, a convicted Egyptian Islamic scholar and has demanded that Judge John Koeltl sentence her to Federal Prison for 30 Years.
We are really glad to have Lynne back with us in the studio again, the cold truth of this reality is that Lynne Stewart will be sentenced on Monday October 16th, fourteen days from today. Again as many listeners know this is a landmark case, an obvious attempt by the U.S. government to silence dissent, curtail vigorous defense lawyers, and instill fear in those who would stand up against the U.S. government’s racism, and seek to help Arabs and Muslims being prosecuted for free speech. Please visit for events leading up to sentencing.
Sunday October 15 – Riverside Church, between 120 & 122nd Street and Riverside Drive, Manhattan 4:00 pm
RALLY AND TRIBUTE: On the eve of the sentencing, a show of support and love for Lynne Stewart. A tribute to her legal career and to her political life.
Monday October 16 – Tom Paine Park (Foley Square) Centre St and Worth St, Manhattan 8a.m., 9 am
Rally to accompany Lynne Stewart to Court. Demonstrate your support. You cannot be too “busy” for this historic moment. One to tell your grandchildren about. Crucial to the atmosphere of outraged citizenry we need.
The War At Home
Here on Law and Disorder we’ve talked at length about the legislation and policy the US government is installing to create what amounts to be a police state in this country.
Guest – Jack Rasmus, journalist and author of THE WAR AT HOME: The Corporate Offensive From Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. The War At Home examines the relationship between the emerging police state and the great shift in wealth, salaries, earnings, diminution of health care, pensions, destruction of the unions, and all the rest that started under Reagan.
We’ll also talk with author about class struggle and the relationship between democratic rights and the ability to make social change. Jack Rasmus is also an economics and labor journalist for Z magazine and the Dispatcher.
Cuban Five Update – Co-Host Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild recently spoke at events supporting the release of the Cuban Five. In the past few weeks, events have been held around the country over the plight of the Cuban Five. Five courageous men who uncovered information about plans by anti-Cuban terrorists to commit acts of violence against that island nation. After the Cuban government turned over voluminous documentation of such plans, the five were indicted and tried in Miami on unfounded charges of conspiracy to commit espionage all without one page of evidence to corroborate such charges. The Cuban Five have been imprisoned for 8 years in maximum security facilities spread out across the United States. They’re in such remote locations that even visits from their attorneys are difficult. There’s also a media blackout on this story. Law and Disorder hopes this will change especially in light of recent revelations that the Bush Administration has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into paying Miami journalists to plant misleading and erroneous stories on Cuba issues. In Washington DC a large rally to the White House attracted 600 marchers and was followed by a panel of speakers including Len Weinglass.
We hear an excerpt from a speech delivered by Heidi Boghosian at the Church of the Intercession. The event featured Esteban Lazo Hernandez, Vice President of the Cuban Council of State, director of its International Relations Committee and long time revolutionary leader. He was joined by Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque. We will hear more of their speeches in the weeks to come.