Law and Disorder Radio – Occupy Wall Street Parody Papers Spark Legal Action – CIA Black Site Uncovered in Bucharest – 70th Anniversary of the First Smith Act Prosecution – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

Law and Disorder Radio

Michael Smith: Newt Gingrich Attacks Capitalism











Occupy Wall Street Parody Papers Spark Legal Action from Big Newspapers

Occupy Wall Street newspapers such as the Occupied Wall Street Journal or the Occupied Chicago Tribune have prompted lawyers to take Occupy protesters to court. In Chicago, a law firm is attempting to prevent the OWS movement from using the Occupied Chicago Tribune. We’re joined today by attorney Michael Deutsch with the People’s Law Office, who has been involved with this issue in Chicago.

Attorney Michael Deutsch:

  • The Chicago Tribune contacted some of the OWS people and threatened to shut down their website and Facebook page and to go into federal court and sue them for trademark infringement.
  • They said the word “Chicago Tribune” is a trademark that belongs solely to the Chicago Tribune and no one else can use it for any purpose or any way.
  • Even if they do sue them I think the publicity will not be good for the Tribune and good for the Occupy people.
  • There is the Lanham Trademark Act that protects them from people appropriating them.
  • There’s also this Dilution Act which prevents people from using or diluting their trademark by using it some unnecessary or dismissive way.
  • When the people of Occupy were first contacted they were fearful of being sued by the Chicago Tribune.
  • They offered to change it to the Occupy Chicago Times but they turned it down and said you can’t use any name that references a newspaper.
  • With Peter Weiss’s help we realized this is a classic parody case, that’s basic First Amendment rights.
  • The law isn’t that clear but the courts usually balance whether there will confusion of the name against First Amendment rights.
  • In their masthead they’re now saying they’re not affiliated with the Chicago Tribune Corporation.
  • Their website is still up, Facebook is still up, they haven’t gone to court, so maybe they realize for us it’s a win-win situation.
  • If we go to court we’re going to win on the legal grounds, plus we’re going to get a lot of publicity.

Guest – Attorney Michael Deutsch, partner with the People’s Law Office.

 Inside the CIA Black Site in Bucharest

Reporters for German network ARD’s Panorama news magazine and the Associated Press have pieced together key details surrounding the CIA’s operation of a black site in Bucharest, Romania. AP’s Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo write:

“In northern Bucharest, in a busy residential neighborhood minutes from the center of Romania’s capital city, is a secret that the Romanian government has tried for years to protect. For years, the CIA used a government building — codenamed Bright Light — as a makeshift prison for its most valuable detainees. There, it held Al-Qaida operatives Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the mastermind of 9/11, and others in a basement prison until 2006, the year some were sent to Guantánamo Bay, according to former U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the location and inner workings of the prison.”




John Goetz:

  • We’ve had a description of the CIA site, which is where one of the secret prisons was located.
  • We had a description from some that worked there.
  • The prison we’re talking about was used by the CIA in 2004/2005.
  • The CIA secret prison was held in a building owned by a Romanian government organization which gets called either ORNSS or NSA.
  • It’s an organization that is used to get Romania up to speed on NATO classification rules.
  • It’s a building that has a big NATO flag on top of it.
  • In the back section of the building is where the secret prison was located.
  • What I understand is that in Poland, Bush came over, right after the beginning of the Iraq War.
  • When they didn’t find weapons of mass destruction, he was there in May and early June 2003.
  • We know that Al-Nashiri in his various times in CIA prisons, that his family members, I believe his mother was threatened with rape. He was waterboarded, a drill was used on him.
  • There was a mock execution, things like that. We’re not exactly sure what happened in Poland and Bucharest.
  • There’s a little known site in Bosnia, that was used in the days and weeks right after 9/11.
  • In Bagram, there’s a military prison there and there’s a CIA prison.
  • I do know that in Africa there are prisons that run under a new model, where the state runs the prison and is “quarterbacked,” that’s the expression that’s used by the CIA who asks questions through others.
  • It makes it easier to deny. Many people think, oh, the secret prison story is over.
  • The facts are that outside of flight logs and some locations of prisons, no one really knows what happens inside these places.
  • No one knows how they were run, no one knows perimeter security, how food was brought in; it remains a real black box in American history.

Guest – John Goetz, reporter with the German network ARD’s Panorama news magazine.

Photo of Albert Goldman and James P. Cannon

70th Anniversary of the First Smith Act Prosecution: Proto-Thought-Crime Legislation

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the first Smith Act trial of revolutionaries accused of wanting to overthrow the government. The law was intended to destroy the 100,000-strong American Communist Party; however, the Smith Act was first used against the much smaller, revolutionary rival to the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party. Our returning guest, author and activist Joe Allen, writes about this 70th anniversary. The Alien Registration Act of 1940 is also known as the Smith Act after its sponsor Rep. Howard Smith of Virginia, a Democrat and leader of the anti-labor bloc in the House of Representatives. The Smith Act became the legal weapon against critics of the government and stipulates that:

“Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof–

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.”

Joe Allen:

  • For many people in the United States, the defense of civil liberties has always been an important and constant feature of our history and most of that time the defense of civil liberties has not been primarily against vigilantism, or rogue elements of the government or corrupt public officials. While that’s an important part of that, it has always been dealing with the actual laws that have been attempting to undermine civil liberties; most of the time they’ve been federal laws.
  • You can go back to the Alien and Sedition Acts of the Adams administration, the Espionage Act of WWI. They were always used against opponents of the government and not spies as they were sold to people.
  • James P. Cannon was one of the most important figures in American socialist history; his life traverses the history of the American far left.
  • He began in the IWW. The radical militant trade union that organized the most oppressed sector of American workers.
  • He was a founding member and later a national chair of the American Communist Party. Like many Wobblies and members of the Communist Party he was very concerned with the civil liberties of radicals and trade union organizers and was the head organizer of International Labor Defense in the 1920s.
  • Cannon began developing criticism of the American Communist Party as the ILD moved away from its original mission. Cannon was one of a number of significant figures of the American Communist Party and other people who sided with Trotsky in the dispute with Stalin over not only the Soviet Union but also the direction of the international Communist movement. He was the founder of early American Trotskyism in the 1920s and 1930s.
  • It was this broad layer of people who were ultimately indicted under the Smith Act in 1941, primarily for advocating the overthrow of the United States government.
  • Smith Act – Proto-Thought-Crime Legislation
  • It’s also in a sense a response to a dispute inside the labor movement.
  • The first thing that a prosecutor tries to do is get a jury that is predisposed to the prosecution and not the defense.
  • That’s one of the great travesties of the Smith Act, not only can you be indicted by the things you do but by the things you say.
  • In that sense it really is a thought-control crime.
  • The most important part of the Smith Act in this country is it effectively destroyed the left in this country during the late 1940s and the early 1950s.

Guest – Joe Allen, a frequent contributor to the International Socialist Review and a long-standing activist, based in Chicago.