Law and Disorder Radio – Rachel Corrie Lawsuit in Israel – John Rick MacArthur on Democracy in America – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

Law and Disorder Radio

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Rachel Corrie Lawsuit in Israel

Rachel Corrie, an American student activist and human rights defender from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death on March 16, 2003, by a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer while nonviolently protesting Palestinian home demolitions with fellow members of the International Solidarity Movement.

The first phase of the trial began in March 2010, when the Corrie family presented its witnesses, including several of Rachel’s colleagues from ISM who witnessed her killing. During the second phase of the trial, which began last month, the government presented several witnesses, including the Israeli military police investigator who headed the investigation into Rachel’s death, and the bulldozer operators who struck and killed her.

The lawsuit charges that Rachel’s killing was intentional. It also charges that the Israeli government was negligent for allowing Israeli soldiers and military commanders to act recklessly using an armored military bulldozer without regard to the presence of unarmed, nonviolent civilians in Rafah, Gaza. Lastly the lawsuit alleges that the Israeli military failed to take appropriate and necessary measures to protect Rachel’s life, in violation of obligations under Israeli and international law.

Katherine Gallagher:

  • Rachel had been serving as a peace activist with the Palestinian International Solidarity Movement.
  • The case is unfortunately taking quite a while, it was filed back in 2005, then the evidentiary phase opened in 2010. At that point the Corrie’s were able to call their own witnesses. They also called an expert who could speak about how to conduct a proper investigation.
  • The investigator testimony revealed huge errors in the way the investigation was carried out.
  • Errors include: the bulldozer was removed from the scene of the killing. There were investigators in the case who never went to the scene of the crime.
  • On October 7, right before testimony, it was permitted that soldiers involved in the incident be allowed to testify behind a screen.
  • This is an extraordinary step, the family being unable to see those soldiers who are able to provide some answers even through their body language as they testify.
  • For the Corries, who have waited seven and a half years for some answers, that they won’t be able to assess the credibility by his body language is a significant blow.
  • When you say the name Rachel Corrie in Israel, people know who she is.
  • CCR Lawsuit: Caterpillar had aided and abetted war crimes and other serious violations of international law.
  • It struck me how Jerusalem has changed. There’s been a massive amount of construction in the old city and particularly around East Jerusalem.

Guest – Katherine Gallagher, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), where she focuses on holding individuals, including US and foreign government officials, and corporations, including private military contractors, accountable for serious human rights violations. Among the cases she is working on are Arar v. AshcroftMatar v. DichterSaleh v. Titan and Estate of Atban v. Blackwater.

cantbepres You Can’t Be President: The Outrageous Barriers to Democracy in America

John Rick MacArthur is the president and publisher of Harper’s Magazine. He’s an award winning journalist and author. We want to talk with Rick about his third book, titled You Can’t Be President: The Outrageous Barriers to Democracy in America and explore the topic of who finances the Republican and Democratic parties. A recent book review states that it “advances a familiar argument: that moneyed and privileged interests, rather than the needs and opinions of ordinary citizens, dominate contemporary American politics.” MacArthur begins by lamenting the lack of basic comprehension of the Constitution and American government on the part of the political and media elite. The book also criticizes Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Rick MacArthur:

There are two balance sheets: there’s one with regard to the people of the United States and the other, which I talk about in You Can’t Be President, is the internal party structure.

The balance sheet for the people is bad, we are now enmeshed even more in a self-destructive war than Iraq was. Afghanistan is a disaster and you don’t have to ask a peacenik.

You have a fake health care reform which really reinforced the power of the insurance companies.

You have a very feeble reform of Wall Street. You have a continuation of anti-labor, orthodox “free trade” policies. You have the continued corruption of the lobby system in Washington.

Coming from Chicago, if Obama attacked the lobby system it would be like committing political suicide.

Obama broke every record in corporate fundraising, PAC fundraising. He raised money from Jack Abramoff’s old law firm.

In sum, Obama has been an anti-reformer, anti-progressive.

On civil liberties, if you criticize Bush it’s great, if you criticize Obama, you can hear a pin drop.

I met someone who did a tour of the new prison in Bagram, Afghanistan. He said it was terrifying.

You have to understand that the Chicago machine, is the most powerful local machine in the country.

Almost every important job in the county is held by a Democrat. The mayor of Chicago is very much like the dictator of Chicago. Obama came out of the most intolerant, the most monopolistic, one sided political machine in the country.

Murdoch’s bundled campaign contributions were 50/50 between Clinton and Obama.

I don’t see why we can’t organize around an opposition candidate, raise some money.

I think what you’re seeing is disillusionment among the party leadership with Obama, because he hasn’t delivered the goods.

They wanted Obama to deliver the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.

Obama is a tremendously prudent and cautious politician, there’s no audacity at all.

Guest – John Rick MacArthur, an American journalist and author of books about US politics. He is the president of Harper’s magazine.  MacArthur has been a reporter for the Wall Street Journal (1977), the Washington Star (1978), the Bergen Record (1978–1979), the Chicago Sun-Times (1979–1982), and an assistant foreign editor at United Press International (1982).