Boumediene v. Bush Update – The Habeas Cases Are Essentially Done
Jose Padilla’s Case – Prisoner Abuse Sustained Under Category of “Enemy Combatant”
Court Rules in Favor of Executive Power Authorizing Torture
Quebec Student Protests: Largest Act of Civil Disobedience in Canadian History
Social unrest in Montreal continues unabated with nightly protests as thousands fill the streets in what is now the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. Protests against tuition hikes and austerity are evolving into community assemblies, and also into increasingly popular pots-and-pans protests. In response, police are randomly searching and detaining people wearing the red square in solidarity with the movement and trying to break up each emerging protest.
- The strikes started in the beginning of February, and the debate about tuition hikes became a larger debate about privatization. It started as a student strike and is now a popular movement.
- The context in Quebec is the reason we were able to build a movement. There has been so much dissatisfaction toward the government in the last 10 years.
- Many other workers saw an opportunity to go into the street because a lot of people were very angry.
- Bill 78 is a special law. This bill has 3 major sections.
- The first section suspends the Winter semester with the objective to stop the student strikes.
- Now we’re in sort of a lockout these days. The Winter semester will start in August.
- The main objective of the bill is to break the mobilization.
- We have seen thousands of illegal protests of civil disobedience.
- Last week there were hundreds of police in the subway station, who were systematically and illegally searching the students and the citizens who were wearing the red square.
- The bad thing about too many protests is the citizens get used to seeing police brutality.
- We currently contesting the law in front of the court. We are trying to suspend the law and declare it unconstitutional.
- We are planning 2 major protests this summer, one on June 22 and one on July 22.
- What we’re asking for is still very simple: stop the increase of tuition fees in order to keep the universities accessible to everyone.
Guest – Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the co-spokesperson of the Coalition off the Broad Coalition of the Association for Student Union Solidarity (CLASSE in French), which is opposed, since the beginning of this year, to the rising tuition fees in Quebec decreed by the Jean Charest government.
Austerity and Second Round of Elections in Greece
The elections in Greece have just occurred. We talk with Greek-American National Lawyers Guild attorney Eric Poulos about the left, right and center parties in Greece. Eric explains party platforms and makes a few predictions on election outcomes.
Attorney Eric Poulos:
- Greece has got money from the European Union–not to bail out Greece, it’s a misnomer in the press, it’s to bail out the banks. It’s going to debt servicing.
- There’s no stimulus to create jobs in Greece, jobs are being lost.
- Unemployment is up to 20-25 percent, among youth it’s 50 percent.
- If they can, Greeks are leaving the country, taking their money out of the banks.
- Pharmacies are not filling prescriptions, doctors are not getting reimbursed from the state.
- Political party Syriza emerged from the last election. This is a run-off election from one that occurred in May where there was no clear victor.
- Syriza’s a left-wing party that emerged from almost obscurity. Syriza is made up of many forces. It’s a coalition.
- Looks like the right-wing party might be gaining votes. Syriza wants to cancel the memorandum which triggered the loan from the EU.
- It wants a moratorium on the payment of the debt, and it has various measures to deal with corruption; it wants remove immunity.
- The memorandum imposed austerity measures which Greece has tried to fulfill, and which have resulted in devastation.
- Even the mainstream parties that agreed with the memorandum say they want to renegotiate that agreement.
- Greece has huge military contracts with German and French defense contractors, which they will not let Greece out of. The far left says to cancel those contracts.
- There is an out-and-out fascist party that got almost 7 percent of the vote, Golden Dawn.
- There’s a huge anti-immigrant sentiment that these far right parties have tapped into.
- I think conservatives will gain votes. I think Syriza will gain votes too.
Guest – Attorney Eric Poulos, writer and National Lawyers Guild member.
Cuban Five Case Update: Government-Paid Media Helped Shape Public Perception
The Cuban Five were convicted 14 years ago this month on conspiracy to commit espionage at some time in the future. Recently, prominent First Amendment attorney Martin Garbus joined the case of the Five. He’s concentrating his legal efforts on US government paid journalists in Miami who received hundreds and thousands of dollars of payments from the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, a fact unknown to the defense at the time of the trial. The reporters covered the case in an almost hysterical and prejudicial fashion.
Attorney Martin Garbus:
- We’re trying to get all the facts nailed down on the paid journalists issue.
- The motion is to get discovery of those facts and then to proceed to the hearings to reverse the convictions.
- What we’ve been trying to do for the last 15 years is trying to get these facts and we’ve failed to do it.
- What you have is a cauldron, when this is in the public debate. It’s not the just the question of the media being influenced, not just the question of the jury pool being saturated, it’s not just the question of the jurors themselves being saturated.
- We understand that the government was paying people who were on major newspapers, major media, substantial sums of money to write stories to get indictments, as well as convictions, and to influence the whole question of how you charge people.
- In a normal world, these defendants would not have been charged.
- It’s not just the question of the media affecting the jury pool, it goes on long before that.
- Given the circumstances, one would expect the prosecutors to try and get the highest charges that they could.
- It’s government influence at every single part of the legal process.
- You had both governments trying to de-fang very bad situations.
- Instead of stopping the planes, they chose to arrest these five people 17-18 months later, whose names they knew because it was part of the cooperation pact.
- There were many people in Miami who didn’t like the idea of the Cuban government and the American government, through government representatives, trying to cut back the Miami terrorists.
- A lot of them became rogue agents and tried to ruin whatever cooperation there was.
- It seems apparent that it was purely a political prosecution.
- There’s a reason why the government has been withholding documents.
- I don’t know of any other case where you’re going to get an accumulation of facts in a situation that’s as explosive as this, given the politics of what was going on at that time.
- You had two judges saying this was a firestorm.
Guest – Attorney Martin Garbus, one of the country’s leading trial lawyers. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court and the highest state and federal courts in the nation. Time magazine has named him “legendary…one of the best trial lawyers in the country.” He’s also known as one of the US’s most prominent First Amendment lawyers.