Hosts Michael Ratner and Heidi Boghosian list some positive developments in detentions and the US government’s racial profiling of Muslims. Guantanamo Bay detainees are nearing a fifth year of being kept in cages despite the Center for Constitutional Rights winning two Supreme Court cases. By January 11th, 2007, most of the 460 men in Guantanamo Bay detainment camp, Cuba will have been detained five years as the Bush administration insists in holding them without trial. Among the detainees held for five years – David Hicks – an Australian citizen.
“It is often said that ‘justice delayed is justice denied.’ Nothing could be closer to the truth with reference to the Guantanamo Bay cases,” U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler of Washington D.C. wrote in a ruling Friday, spurning the Pentagon’s attempt to deny Bisher Al Rawi, another Afghan man held at Guantanamo, from representing his friend Al Razak.
Gladys Kessler – “The Petitioner . . . identifies the legal, cultural, and psychological isolation in which the detainee exists which demonstrate his inability to challenge the legality of his detention. They are as follows: He is a resident of Afghanistan. He has had virtually no contact with the news media or any word from outside the closed Guantanamo prison system for over 3 years. He has had no contact with his friends or family members outside Guantanamo. He is unfamiliar with the United States Court System. He does not speak English.He likely does not know what the term Habeas Corpus means. He has no criminal charges against him.”
Brandon Mayfield update – wrongly arrested by FBI agents after the 2004 Madrid terrorist bombings, has settled his lawsuit against the U.S. government for $2 million.
Eric Schlosser on the United States Prison System
We’ve covered in depth on Law and Disorder the US run prison industry abroad, from Guantanamo Bay prison, Cuba, Bagram prison in Afghanistan and Abu Ghraib in Iraq. These are the exports of one of the most highly profitable businesses in the United States. The prison industrial complex in this country has reached record breaking occupancy. Nearly 2.1 million Americans are behind bars, the majority of them nonviolent offenders, they’re usually poor, many have substance abuse problems and many have are mentally ill. This according to exhaustive research by Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser who spoke at Bluestockings Bookstore in New York about his compendium on the American Prison system.
Law and Disorder caught up with Eric during this talk and we listen to an excerpt of his one hour speech. In his talk he warns our society of the perils of a profit driven penal system and backs his research with well-documented facts and staggering statistics.
Radio Frequency Identification – Spychips
Here on Law and Disorder we’ve brought you stories about Radio Frequency Identification, a technology that uses tiny computer chips smaller than a grain of sand to track items at a distance. RFID “spy chips” have been hidden in the packaging of Gillette razor products and in other products you might buy at a local Wal-Mart, or Target – and they are already being used to spy on people. Some of the world’s largest product manufacturers have been working behind closed doors since 1999 to develop this technology. They plan to use these remote-readable chips to replace the bar code.
Each tiny chip is hooked up to an antenna that picks up electromagnetic energy beamed at it from a reader device. When it picks up the energy, the chip sends back its unique identification number to the reader device, (which can be located anywhere!) allowing the item to be remotely identified. Spy chips can beam back information anywhere from a couple of inches to up to 20 or 30 feet away.
Guest – Liz McIntyre, co-author of Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID
Photo from double RFID implantee Amal Graastra.
Recent Legislation – SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE MEMBER DENOUNCES “NO-SWIPE” CREDIT CARDS
A member of the Senate Banking Committee denounced RFID “no-swipe” credit cards at a press conference Sunday. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said contracts for the cards should have warning boxes disclosing “the known weaknesses of the technology.” He cautioned cardholders about their vulnerability to identity thieves, commenting you “may as well put your credit card information on a big sign on your back.”
“No-swipe” or “contactless” credit cards contain RFID microchips that communicate account information silently and invisibly by radio waves. These microchips have earned the nickname “spychips” because the information they contain can be read without an individual’s knowledge or consent.
While Congress is just waking up to the dangers of RFID technology, privacy and civil liberties organizations have been sounding the alarm for years.