Panel Discussion: “Expose and Close – Outrage in Artesia”

The Obama Administration is holding about 700 Central American women & children in a small desert town in New Mexico under poor conditions and without due process. Volunteers who traveled to Artesia to provide legal services will update us on progress in getting the families released and the facility closed.

Baher Azmy on Torture, Mel Goodman on Ashton Carter

This week on CounterSpin: It’s hard to think of a time when a free press is more necessary than when the public needs to know about crimes committed in our name. So the release of a Senate report on CIA torture is a test for US media. We’ll talk about the report and the media response with Baher Azmy, legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

100628-D-9880W-113.JPGAlso this week: Ashton Carter will likely be the next secretary of Defense. Press coverage tells us he’s a Rhodes Scholar, a physicist and an “uber wonk.” But else should we know about him, and what does his selection mean for US military policy? Author and military analyst Mel Goodman will join us to discuss that.

LINKS:
Center for Constitutional Rights
–”The Military-Industrial Complex Gets Its Man,” by Mel Goodman (CounterPunch, 12/9/14)

The Top Religion News of 2014, Pope Francis: Humble Radical, and More

This week on Interfaith Voices:

The Stories That Mattered in 2014

The Islamic State declared a caliphate. A young woman exercised her right to die in Oregon. Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian school girls. The conflict in the holy land reached a new low. 2014 was a particularly somber year for the religion world, but there’s at least some uplifting news, too. In our annual tradition, two of our favorite religion news analysts reflect on the stories that mattered in the past year.

Pope Francis: The Great Reformer

What is it, really, that sets Pope Francis apart from the pontiffs that came before him? A new biography argues that it’s his completely new way of presenting the Catholic Church to the world–as a source for healing, not for doctrinal clarity. It’s church as “field hospital,” not dispenser of rules.

Soundscapes: Buddhism

In part five of the Soundscapes of Faith, we listen to the trance-like mantra which defines Soka Gakkai Buddhism, nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Its repeated invocation is often hypnotic, but as our guest says, “there’s nothing magical about it.” As the founder, Nichiren, has said, the very soul of their tradition is “nothing other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.”

Senate Report On CIA Torture and Eric Garner – Cops and Prosecutors Are a Team in Every Case

The Senate Intelligence Committee s Report On CIA s Detention & Interrogation

Michael Ratner:

The Senate Committee on Intelligence started the investigation in 2007 after 92 tapes of water-boarding were destroyed by the CIA.
That’s where the investigation began. In 2009, the Senate Committee still controlled by the Democrats spent 4 years going through millions of documents at a high cost to try and come out with a report on the CIA’s role on what they called detention and interrogation program.
After 4 years they came out with a 6,700 in 2012 and they decided only to release the executive summary.
Obama himself actually supported having more and more redactions.
The redactions are stupid. Everybody knows in my field knows that Cobalt refers to what’s called the salt pit in Afghanistan which is a CIA run detention facility north of Kabal, or torture facility.
Even if lives were saved its flatly illegal. You can’t kill a millions civilians because you want to save some of your soldiers.
In the report they said that the CIA said before 911 that torture doesn’t work, its not effective.
What Marnia Lazreg said in her book about torture in Algeria – she said it wasn’t really about information and it was about a macho empire that was in decline.
What are you saying here – except this is about torturing Muslims, its about empire, and its about telling the world – you fall into our hands, we’re going to torture you.
What they did was on the highest levels of the CIA, they went to places like the New York Times and the Washington Post and they wanted to be identified as a high level official and they leaked the stories of what they were doing in a way that would give them credit for it.
I’m not hopeless about prosecutions, maybe not here, but somewhere in the world these people will be held accountable.
This is only talking about what the CIA did at 9 dark sites around the world. The point I want to make is that there was torture going on at other places.
700 people went through Guantanamo, that’s the Rumsfeld techniques. Torture at Abu Gharib, torture at other U.S. prisons.
We’re talking about a very small subset of U.S. torture.
CIA sited Israeli Supreme Court ruling to justify torture. The Israeli ruling is that you can’t use torture except where there’s no other available means to prevent harm to other people.
There’s no such thing as a ticking time bomb scenario that allows you to use it (torture)
Go to CCRJustice.org, sign the petition

Attorney Michael Smith:

The lying was more than I thought. The brutality was more than I thought. The corruption was more than I thought.
On the lying, the report says no lives were saved as consequence to this program. We knew about water boarding but we didn’t know about rectal feeding or rectal hydration, where they left one man with a prolapsed rectum which means its hanging out.
We didn’t know about killing people by chaining them to the floor in a cold room and dousing them with water.
This program was run by 2 amateur psychologists, who didn’t know anything about Arab culture, who didn’t know anything about interrogation.
They set up a corporation and the government gave them 81 million of our dollars to run this thing from 2001 to 2007, if you do the numbers these guys probably made 5 million dollars a year, less expenses.
This is the most violent country in the world. The CIA is the epitome of this. Torture is illegal under American law, under international law. People who do it should be prosecuted.
People who authorize it should be prosecuted, and there’s no talk about that.

Attorney Heidi Boghosian:

My number one take away is something we’ve been covering for years is that no actionable intelligence came out as a result of these heinous practices.
What also offends me greatly is hearing George W. Bush’s response that anyone who buys into this report or gives in credence, is somehow unpatriotic which fits into the whole propaganda that we’ve been fed, that questioning anything the government does, is an offense or an affront.
These companies are profiting from torture.

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Eric Garner s Public Defender Says Cops and Prosecutors Are a Team in Every Case

A recent Vanity Fair article titled Eric Garner s Public Defender Says Cops and Prosecutors Are a Team in Every Case exposes the secrecy and conflicts of interest within investigations of police violence and how seven of the ten most-sued police officers of the 35,000-member New York Police Department happen to be in Staten Island. The article was written by attorneys Bina Ahmad, Joseph Doyle, and Michael Rooney public defenders in Staten Island with The Legal Aid Society. We also get a look inside grand jury proceedings and the often bias investigation from district attorney’s offices when looking into police wrongdoing. What steps are needed to structure fair court proceedings in these cases?

Attorney Bina Ahmad:

Seven of the ten most-sued police officers of the 35,000-member New York Police Department happen to be in Staten Island.
They still work there, they still testify in court, swear under oath, they’re telling the truth, they’re still violating our clients rights with impunity left and right, commit violent acts against them.
The disparate treatment, of not only of the way our clients of color are treated, in a much more brutal way, but also in the way they’re charged and the plea offers that they’re given is very stark and very discriminatory in my mind.
Many of us here at Legal Aid and other criminal defense attorneys around the city . . . we try to get the personnel records of officers who have been accused of brutality or violating people’s Constitutional rights, and (see) what they’ve been disciplined for within the NYPD.
Abuses include – strip searching people on the street, full cavity search for people on routine stops, brutalizing people for not complying with a simple order.
A few colleagues of mine had represented him (Eric Garner) in the past. Attorney Joseph Doyle was working to take a case to trial for him. A lot of people knew Eric Garner, and they called him the “gentle giant.” A large man, but known to be gentle and sweet, father of six.
When the news came out that he was killed, it was incredibly difficult for us. Not only for us but for our clients.
To task a local D.A’s office to prosecute one of their own, a local member of the local police department, particularly in such a small borough, you’re expecting them to prosecute a member of their own member of their team.
Every judge knows they have to recuse themselves from a case if they have a relationship with any of the parties involved.
With the D.A. they don’t have that obligation. They work on cases together. They prep them for testifying at trial to be a prosecution witness.
Choke holds were banned as a practice a while ago as part of police protocol. The fact that a police used one was a violation of police protocol.
We are not allowed in the grand jury room for any moment except for if your client chooses to testify. If our client chooses to testify, we can’t protect them at all.
They take the stand, they’re cross examined by the D.A. Everything they say can and will be used against them later.
The D.A. control everything, the narrative, what evidence is shown, what witness testifies, what questions the witness is asked.
It would be up to the grand jury to feel empowered to ask more questions.
Any eye witness that would come in as a prosecution witness, where they’re supposed to be getting an indictment on a cop. They’ll be testifying for the prosecution but what we’ve seen in these minutes is the way the district attorney these prosecution witnesses – they’re acting like they’re cross examining them.
They’re actually trying to break down their testimony or poke holes in their testimony.
They suddenly become a defense attorney when the cop is on the line.

Guest ” Attorney Bina Ahmad, staff attorney in the criminal defense practice department of the Legal Aid Society and National Vice President of the National Lawyers Guild.

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Foley Square Demonstration: Voices From The Protest

We hear some of the voices of demonstrators assembling at Foley Square during the first protest against the grand jury decision failing to indict those officers responsible for choking Eric Garner to death.

Julios Holiday: Dreidels And Donuts

On This edition of From The Vault it is time for what we here at the Pacifica Radio Archives affectionately call Julio’s Holiday…A series of original holiday radio stories produced by Arts and Review host Julio Martinez.

You will be hearing 3 Holiday stories this year – O’Henry’s classic tale, The Gift of the Magi written in 1905; Julio’s original story of the Christmas Truce of 1914, in the heat of battle during World War I; and this year, a brand new family tale of Hanukkah called Donuts & Dreidels.

“Benghal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo” & “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers”

On this edition of Arts Magazine, Michael Hogge welcomes Ian R. Crawford (Director) and Ted Swetz (Actor, UMKC Theatre Professor) to the studio to talk with us about the joint UMKC & Unicorn Theatre production of Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo.

Then, Donna Thomason (Actress & Creative Director) will fill us in on her current one-woman show I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers, also being performed at the Unicorn Theatre.

Fallen Heroes of 2014

Hundreds of social justice advocates and organizers passed away in 2014, leaving their work behind as their legacy, but often also leaving an irreplaceable hole in their movements. On today’s edition of Making Contact, we honor and revisit the lives of just a few of those fallen heroes who passed away this year.

Featuring: Chokwe Lumumba, former mayor of Jackson MS; Morgan Powell, Bronx River Sankofa founder; Charity Hicks, Detroit People’s Water Board co-founder; Darby Tillis, death penalty opponent, Yuri Kochayama, civil rights activist; Ted Gullickson, San Francisco Tenants Union director; George Carter; Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools participant; Leslie Feinberg, author of Stone Butch Blues, Eddie Ellis, prison reform advocate; Mark Naison, Fordham University African-American history professor; Lila Cabbil, Rosa Parks Institute president emeritus; Diane Fujino, author of Heartbeat of Struggle, the revolutionary life of Yuri Kochiyama; Taiyo Na, author; Randy Shaw, Tenderloin Housing Clinic executive director; Qasim Davis, Kids rethink New Orleans Schools project manager; Perry Cobb, Darby Tillis co-defendant; Dr. Divine Pryor, executive Director of the center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions.