Convention in Puerto Rico
Michael Ratner Discusses the First Wave of Vieques Protesters
Michael Ratner Takes Attorney Judith Berkan’s Case: The High Water Mark
The National Lawyers Guild‘s History with Puerto Rico
Zero Dark Thirty Motion on Military Commission Trial
Michael Ratner: NSA Spying on Petro-Brasil and Bureau of Mines in Brazil
In June of last year, the Pan African Solidarity Hague Committee delivered a petition to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands, demanding they prosecute the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, and NATO for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya, Cote d’lvoire, Haiti and the US. This campaign began in May of 2011 when thousands gathered to protest the US/NATO bombing of Libya, attacks on Zimbabwe and the racist assault against African-Americans in the United States. 16 months after delivering the petition and sending follow-up letters, the Pan African Solidarity Hague Committee hasn’t received a response. The organization is now reaching out to National Lawyers Guild members and law students to help expose the International Criminal Court.
- The International Criminal Court was established in 2001-2002, supposedly to replace the different ad-hoc international tribunals that had been set up to deal with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
- It’s supposed to be even-handed, no double standards – everyone is held to the same level of accountability.
- You have to sign on to be a part of it. The United States was closely involved in the process of setting up the ICC.
- The U.S. insisted that it would not be subject to prosecution by the ICC, although under the Security Council of the United Nations it could recommend cases for the ICC.
- Among the plethora of human rights violations and war crimes that have been committed around the world, the only people that the ICC is presently prosecuting are Africans.
- The only prosecutions have been of Africans.
- Our aim in taking the petition to the ICC was in particular to expose its nature–that it’s really not an international tribunal that would look at the question of war crimes across the board and that it’s really another instrument in the West’s arsenal of the exploitation of Africa.
- Ostensibly dealing with human rights violations worldwide, the ICC has zeroed in on Africa.
- There’s been a response and rebellion among several of the African countries around this clear bias.
- Three of the five permanent members of the Security Council are not on the ICC: Russia, United States and China.
- We want a single standard for all countries or no ICC.
Guest – Attorney Roger Wareham is a member of the December 12th Movement, an organization of African people which organizes in the Black and Latino community around human rights violations, particularly police terror. Wareham is also the International Secretary-General of the International Association Against Torture (AICT), a non-governmental organization that has consultative status before the United Nations.
Lawyers You’ll Like: Mel Wulf
We’re joined today by attorney Mel Wulf, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union for 15 years. He was a law partner with former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark during the Kennedy Administration. Wulf was part of some of the greatest contributions to the Civil Rights movement. He’s now retired, after practicing law for 54 years. As part of our Lawyers You’ll Like series, we talk with Wulf about his work with the ACLU during the early ’60s, and also about the forming of the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee.
Attorney Mel Wulf:
Phil Agee was a dissident CIA agent who spent decades working against the CIA, published a couple of books.
He lost his passport because when the dissidents took over the embassy in Tehran in 1979, the New York Post carried a story accusing Phil of helping the students who’d invaded the embassy to put together all of that written material that had been shredded.
It was a bald-faced lie.
The State Department, based upon that story, revoked his passport.
I represented Phil Agee, I was his principle lawyer for 30 years.
Agee was very widely disliked in Washington because he was well-known to be a CIA dissident who disclosed the names of many CIA agents.
If Snowden went the same route today, he would do even worse in this Supreme Court than I did. That’s why Snowden won’t get his passport, thanks to me.
I was for the workers and not for the bosses and I’ve always been for the workers and not for the bosses, which I think is the distinguishing political factor in our world. Which side are you on?
I got my Bachelors Degree in ’52 and I had a Navy Commission which I had gotten from the New York State Maritime Academy earlier on.
The draft board sent me a 1A notice. I applied to Columbia and when I finished Columbia they sent me another 1A notice because the draft was still on. I spent 2 years in the Navy as a Liuetenant Junior Grade Officer in Southern California.
I went to work at the ACLU in 1958 as the assistant legal director. In 1962 I was given the job of the legal director of the ACLU.
I had actually been going down to Mississippi from 1961 to 1962, working with one of the two black lawyers who were practicing in Mississippi.
We tried a couple of capital cases in Mississippi. I continued to argue against the systematic exclusion of blacks from the jury.
I finally got a case up to the Supreme Court on that issue.
Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee: We had several hundred lawyers who went down to Mississippi for periods of a week or two. They were representing people being arrested during the Mississippi Freedom Summer.
Most of the judges allowed these lawyers to make some sort of presentation.
Guest – Attorney Mel Wulf, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union for 15 years. He was a law partner with former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark during the Kennedy Administration. Wulf was part of some of the greatest contributions to the Civil Rights movement. He’s now retired, after practicing law for 54 years.