Law and Disorder Update
Co-hosts Michael Ratner and Heidi Boghosian discuss recent key votes in Congress on the Iraq war, warrant-less electronic surveillance and lethal injection.
Enemy Combatant Doctrine
In a recent essay A System of Wholesale Denial of Rights published in Monthly Review, Research Professor of Law Michael Tigar describes how the term “enemy combatant” was created through the rulings in the anti-terrorist case Padilla v. Rumsfeld and the implications for civil liberties and human rights in the United States. Implications that support a system whereby the president can lock up anyone he chooses and never have to explain why to a court.
The Bush Administration has taken the language from those in favor of slavery and oppression of Native Americans. Instead of prisoner, instead defendant, instead of person they create a category of “enemy combatant.” (Non-People – Invoking the characterization of someone not entitled to claim justice.) Tigar says this is a tactic of repressive governments. Tigar says, the term enemy combatant doesn’t exist in the Constitution or within International Law, therefore enemy combatants have no rights, are denied access to courts and fall under military regime.
Michael Tigar in his article points out the historic parallels such as the Dred Scott case, Japanese internment and the Cherokee Nation. Frederick Douglas and several anti-slavery people thought that it would be possible to make an argument that slavery so violated the norms of the constitution that it had to be illegal everywhere. The Cherokee Nation, says Tigar was classified as “subject people.” Subject People is not found in Article 3 in the Constitution. Therefore, “subject people” are not entitled to sue in federal courts.
Michael Tigar is a Research Professor of Law at Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C., where he teaches Federal Courts, International Human Rights, and Criminal Law. Tigar argued seven cases in front of the US Supreme court; he’s represented many controversial clients since then such as Angela Davis, Terry Nichols, Lynne Stewart and members of the Chicago Seven. He is the author of the recent book, Thinking About Terrorism: The Threat To Civil Liberties in a Time Of National Emergency.
40th Anniversary of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna Murder
We mark the 40th anniversary of Che Guevara’s murder. He was captured in Bolivia during a military operation supported by the CIA and the U.S. Army Special Forces. Guevara was summarily executed by the Bolivian Army in the town of La Higuera, near Vallegrande, on October 9, 1967.
Guest – author and professor John Tito Gerassi, about Che Guevara’s influence. Gerassi describes how he was poisoned by the CIA while dining with Fidel Castro and about his guerrilla training with Che.
Gerassi currently teaches at Queens College of the City University of New York. Gerassi, born in France in 1931, is the author many books including The Great Fear in Latin America and The Premature Antifascists, the only authorized biography of Jean Paul Sartre.