Talk Nation Radio: Deirdre Enright on Freeing Innocent People from Prison

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-deirdre-enright-on-freeing-innocent-people-from-prison

Deirdre Enright is director of investigation for the University of Virginia Law School’s Innocence Project Clinic. Enright previously worked at the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center, where she represented clients and consulted on cases in all stages of capital litigation, with primary focus on federal and state post-conviction proceedings and Supreme Court certiorari review. After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1992, Enright worked as a staff attorney at the Mississippi Capital Defense Resource Center. We discuss the work of freeing innocent people from prison.
 
Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Love Beyond Flags: Nothing More Beautiful

When Iran’s democracy was overthrown by the CIA in 1953, many Iranians had what they still have: affection for the people of the United States, as distinct from the U.S. government.

If — even with Michael Flynn out — the U.S. government/military manages to stir up a war on Iran, and the Iranian government responds with less than perfect nonviolent wisdom, it will be the job of U.S. citizens to distinguish the wonderful Iranian people from their government.

This ought to help matters. Iranians, in response to Trump’s travel ban, are abandoning the tradition of burning U.S. flags, choosing instead to thank all the U.S. people who have been protesting the Muslim Ban. This gratitude for protests is a good illustration of the importance of protesting injustice by the U.S. government, even when the protests don’t immediately reverse the policies. It’s important for the other 96% of humanity to know we disapprove.

The thank yous have become expressions of love in both directions, with the hashtag #LoveBeyondFlags.

Is this beautiful or what?

Chasing a Northern Confederate Out of the South

The Washington Post proclaims: “Protesters mob provocative Va. governor candidate as he defends Confederate statue.” Six seconds of video of the incident involved is likely to show up eventually here or here.

I was there on Saturday shouting down the “provocative” celebrator of racism and war, together with my kids and some friends. The only hostility I saw came from supporters of keeping the giant statue of Robert E. Lee in the park here in Charlottesville.

This was an email I had sent around the night before:

“Republican Candidate for Governor Corey Stewart is coming to Charlottesville Saturday to do a Facebook Live event at 10:00 AM in Lee Park to denounce the Charlottesville City Council for voting to remove a symbol of racism and war. Here’s a report on his efforts to deport immigrants. Here’s an announcement of Saturday’s event. Please show up at 9:45 and bring posters. Here are some ideas:
Black Lives Matter
Celebrate Racism and War Somewhere Else
Love Beyond Flags
Love Trumps Hate
Welcome Refugees, Not Bigots
make up your own!”

These were the chants that were chanted and which I joined in on:

“Hey Hey Ho Ho White Supremacy Has Got to Go!”
“You take Lee. We’ll take freedom!”

“Well what are you?” demanded a bewildered elderly white man of me when I opposed white supremacy and failed to be impressed by his showing me an American flag and shouting “This is an American flag!”

Presumably he didn’t suppose you could look at someone and tell that they were a white supremacist. Presumably he just didn’t make a distinction between being white and being a white supremacist. What am I? I’m a human being. You can put whatever antiquated labels you like on my appearance, but I’m not on your team if everyone isn’t.

“But he wasn’t a racist!” a woman explained to me about General Lee. Is that the point? To arrive at the mental state of the dead guy depicted in the sculpture? This monumental soldier on a horse was put in a whites-only park by a wealthy racist in the 1920s. And if that urban “benefactor,” too, was “not a racist,” that hardly impacts the fact that thousands of people are offended by the statue and its glorification of war — and of war for the maintenance and expansion of slavery.

“You don’t want war? Well, this statue makes people think before they go to war?” I was told.

“Yeah, a glorified giant on a horse does that?”

“Yes, look at how he’s contemplating.”

“A realistic depiction of war would show missing limbs and screams of agony.”

“Why in the world would you want to do that?”

“To make people think before they go to war.”

“But that’s what this does.”

Are these useful conversations? Perhaps.

Should we let racist, bigoted, glorifiers of war and demonizers of immigrants parade through our town denouncing democratic decisions like the one made after lengthy public debate to remove an old and obnoxious statue? Do we have to let Candidate Confederacy — actually a racist Northerner who claims to out-Trump Trump — have his video-op on the corporate news, and then wait our turn until we’re six feet under to offer an appropriate rebuttal?

I don’t think so. I don’t think this is that moment.

First they came for the Muslims and the pacifists. And we said: “Not this time!”

I spoke with a friendlier individual away from the Confederate flags and shouts of “Anti-American!” This person agreed with my point that wars make the United States less safe, but within the next breath came: “But my only concern is if some of the people serving in the military defending us might not like the idea of removing the statue.”

The wars are endangering us. The people fighting in them are “defending us,” even if they aren’t. This is what we’re up against. Un-indoctrinating people with troop propaganda requires conversations that don’t fit on television. Those are very worthwhile, but they take lots of time.

A political commercial for racism and war glorification is a different matter entirely. Let the would-be governor send his comments in via Skype. Our message is: Charlottesville is no place for that.

Good Riddance to Robert E. Lee

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the city of Charlottesville, Va., city council has voted to remove an imposing statue of Robert E. Lee (and the horse he never rode in on) from Lee Park, and to rename and redesign the park.

The statue of this non-Charlottesvillian had been put up in a whites-only park during the 1920s at the whim of an extremely wealthy and racist individual. So, for a representative government to vote, following a very public deliberative process with voluminous and diverse input from city residents is — if nothing else — a step toward democracy.

I think it’s much more as well. There are two issues at stake here, neither of them dead issues from the past. One is race. The other is war.

Following the vote of City Council, two Republican candidates for governor Corey Stewart and Denver Riggleman declared their outrage. “You cannot revise history. Only tyrants attempt to erase history. This is tantamount to denouncing your own heritage. I will do whatever I need to, both now and as governor, to stop this historical vandalism. We must fight to protect Virginia’s heritage,” said Stewart. “This continued assault from Democrats on Virginia’s history and heritage is unacceptable. As governor, I will protect the monuments of our heritage, but not just of the Civil War, mind you. . . . Not only are they standing in conflict with a number of Virginia’s laws, but they are spitting in the face of veterans of every conflict — no reminder of any sacrifice by any veteran of any conflict should be torn down by the liberal thought police,” said Riggleman.

Now, Charlottesville has been here for centuries. It has very few public monuments, virtually all of them to war makers. There’s George Rogers Clark on horseback setting off to participate in genocide. There are Lewis and Clark exploring, with Sacagawea kneeling beside them like a dog. There are the giant equestrian statues of Robert E. Lee and also Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, plus the traditional generic Confederate soldier. There’s the monument to murdering 6 million Southeast Asians in the Vietnam War. There are a couple of statues at UVA, one of Thomas Jefferson, one of a pilot who died in a war. And that’s about it. So, virtually all of Charlottesville’s history, good and bad and indifferent, is missing.

Where are all the great academics and artists and civil rights activists and environmentalists and performers and poets and suffragettes and abolitionists and athletes? Where, for that matter, is Queen Charlotte herself (long rumored, accurately or not, to have had African ancestry)? Where is the history of the native Americans who lived here without wrecking the earth’s climate? Where is the history of education, of industry, of slavery, of segregation, of advocacy for peace, of sister-city relationships, of welcoming refugees? Where are women, children, doctors, nurses, business people, celebrities, the homeless? Where are either the police or the protesters? Where are fire fighters? Where are street musicians? Where’s the Dave Matthews Band? Where’s Julian Bond? Where’s Edgar Allan Poe? Where’s William Faulkner? Where’s Georgia O’Keefe? One could go on forever.

Claims of “erasing history” are ludicrous. Choosing to glorify and memorialize some little bits of history is all that is ever done when monuments are added, removed, or swapped out for others — or when they’re left standing. Most of history will always remain unmemorialized in our public spaces. Adding new memorials while leaving Lee and Jackson in place would still amount to supporting what Lee and Jackson monuments communicate. And the decision to leave Jackson there does just that. It communicates primarily two things: racism and war. Apart from the artistry of the sculptures, apart from the personalities of the dead soldiers, these are statements of racism and war. And it matters.

A country that can make someone like Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III its attorney general has an ongoing struggle with racism. Symbols that have stood for racism for decades, symbols of a war fought for the right to expand slavery, must be set aside if we are to move forward.

A country that empowers people like Steve Bannon has a problem with the limitation of history to wars. Bannon claims that history goes through cycles, each one opened by a worse war than the one before, with a new one just around the corner. (And if history won’t oblige, Bannon hopes to do his bit to facilitate the supposedly inevitable.)

Obligatory tangent for partisan readers: the leading expander of militarism during the past eight years, needless to say, has been a gentleman named Barack Obama.

Most of Charlottesville’s history has not been war. There is nothing inevitable or natural or glorious about war. The vast majority of U.S. wars have no Charlottesville memorials. The entirety of local and U.S. efforts for peace have no public recognition in Charlottesville. Some are proposing that redesigned parks include some indication of aspirations and struggle for peace. That, I think, would be progress.

Talk Nation Radio: U.S. Mass Incarceration, Police Militarization, and Crimes Against Palestinians

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-us-mass-incarceration-police-militarization-and-crimes-against-palestinians

Two guests this week: Jeff Fogel and Ntebo Mokuena.

 

Jeff Fogel is a candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney here in Charlottesville, Virginia. After graduating from Rutgers School of Law in 1969, Jeff received a fellowship to work providing legal services to indigent residents in Newark, New Jersey.  After several years, he left that position to become a highly touted criminal defense lawyer.  Recognizing that he was limited in impact by representing one criminal defendant at a time, Jeff moved into a civil rights practice with the hope of having an impact on the criminal justice system while preserving the constitutional rights of everyone.  Jeff has practiced in NJ, NY, PR and, for the last 10 years, Virginia. He has been the executive and legal director of the ACLU of New Jersey and the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights while teaching civil rights, civil liberties and trial practice at Rutgers and NYU School of Law. See http://fogelforcca.us

 

 

Ntebo Mokuena is a senior at American University and is majoring in Political Science with a gender, race,  and politics concentration along with a minor in Art History and a certificate in Women, Policy, and Political Leadership. She was born and raised in the DC area and on campus is involved with Students for Justice in Palestine, which is a decentralized student group that supports the BDS movement and self determination of Palestinians. The group is part of the Community Action and Social Justice coalition. See https://m.facebook.com/AmericanSJP/

 

Useful links with regards to Israel-U.S. police exchange programs:

http://mondoweiss.net/2016/01/enforcement-training-terrorism

https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/report-israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/

http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/with-whom-are-many-u-s-police-departments-training-with-a-chronic-human-rights-violator-israel/

https://electronicintifada.net/content/police-training-programs-twin-us-israeli-racism/9834

https://www.kravmaga.com/programs/law-enforcement-military/force-training-division-law-enforcement

 

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Talk Nation Radio: Chip Gibbons on Anti-Russia Committee and Censoring Criticism of Israel

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-chip-gibbons-on-anti-russia-committee-and-censoring-criticism-of-israel

Chip Gibbons is the Policy and Legislative Counsel for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. He is also a writer whose work has been featured in Jacobin, Truthout, and Counterpunch. We discuss U.S. Congressional efforts to censor criticism of the Israeli government, and to create a new McCarthyite Anti-Russia Committee.

The petition we mention is here.

The account of a sleeping Congress Member we mention is here.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in "Intelligence" Act

I don’t know why we didn’t pick playing with live electrical wires and call that “intelligence” instead of the stuff we do. I think I’ll stick with calling what the U.S. government does “counter-intelligence.” So, here’s the latest from the counter-intelligence community.

Section 501 of the Counter Intelligence Act creates a “Committee to Counter Active Measures by the Russian Federation to Exert Covert Influence Over Peoples and Governments.”

This is followed by Section 502 which limits Russian and only Russian diplomats in the United States to traveling no more than 25 miles from their offices.

I suspect there may have been a Section 503 in an earlier draft that required CNN to show a photo of Vladimir Putin without his shirt and make fun of him at least once every 4 hours. If so, that section would have been stripped out as unnecessary.

The establishment wants more and more hostility with Russia. Trump wants to ever so slightly tweak the establishment and focus more hostility on China. That shift is obviously not one toward enlightenment. But when there is a chance for better relations between the U.S. and Russian governments, Congress should not be allowed to inject its counter-intelligence.

Of course countering active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence over peoples and governments sounds like a good thing. But it’s not a good thing if those active measures do not exist. This is like putting weapons in space to “counter” others doing it, when nobody else is. It’s offense under the banner of defense. And offense will be taken.

It’s also not a good thing if the active measures (real or imagined) are not countered in the wisest manner. One way to counter assassinations, for example, would be to expose them, prosecute them as crimes, and seek reconciliation. Another would be to empower a special committee to engage in “counter-assassinations.”

Contrary to good liberal faith, there is zero public evidence that Russia has been engaging in these activities listed in the Counter Intelligence Act:

(A) Establishment or funding of a front group.
(B) Covert broadcasting.
(C) Media manipulation.
(D) Disinformation and forgeries.
(E) Funding agents of influence.
(F) Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
(G) Assassinations.
(H) Terrorist acts.

Are there Russian front groups in the United States? Name one. Prove it. Is there covert broadcasting underway? Is that where you broadcast to nobody? Presumably it is where you create television and radio content purporting not to be Russian but actually serving the Russian government. Where is that? May we see a 30 second clip of it, please? Has the media been manipulated? [Apart from this failed effort?] By disinformation and forgeries? Expose one, for godsake, this is an emergency! Don’t let those forgeries go on deceiving us a moment longer! “Funding agents of influence” sounds more like overt broadcasting. Russia does do that using Russian television and radio networks (something the United States would never ever engage in!) — but how will this committee counter those? “Incitement” to what? “Offensive counterintelligence”? Offensive to whom? “Assassinations”? Of whom? Has someone been assassinated? “Terrorist acts”? Wouldn’t we, almost by definition, have heard of these?

Now I realize that most people don’t give a rat’s ass about stirring up hostility with the other major nuclear nation. So, here’s another problem with this bill that people may want to object to, as they should. This committee is empowered to do anything the president tells it to, and it sends occasional reports to Congress, not the public. Most, if not all, of the people it counter-intelligently counters will not have anything to do with the Russian government.

The Washington Post has already published a ludicrous but dangerous list of supposed Russian front group media outlets. If this committee does the same, and especially if it does so in secret, what recourse will the falsely accused have? This committee, selected by presidential appointees, will not be publicly accountable.

If the New-McCarthyite Anti-Russia Committee secretly labels you a Russian agent and accuses you of media manipulation, will it then manipulate the media to destroy your reputation? If it accuses you of “disinformation and forgeries” will it “counter” that with disinformation about you and forgeries incriminating you? Will it confiscate your funding as being that of an “agent of influence”? What will it do if it accuses you of assassinations? And will all the Russian agents of influence turn out to be Democrats during Republican presidencies, and vice versa?

Presumably the CIA hasn’t challenged Congress to a duel over this new committee horning in on its territory because it’s not technically supposed to spread its counter-intelligence domestically. Same with USAID and the rest. And the FBI is not supposed to be at war with foreign nations. But the lines between the military policing of the globe and the police militarization at home are ever blurring. And that’s part of what’s wrong with this bill. All’s fair in war, meaning there is no requirement of fairness. Don’t expect any. Resist instead.

Millennials Organize Gun Violence Prevention Intersectionality Summit

Millennials Organize Gun Violence Prevention Intersectionality Summit to Bring People Together Post-Election to Combat Divisiveness and Hate for a Day of Education, Organizing, Solidarity, and Art

Strength in Synergy Summit to be help December 10th at American University, DC

WASHINGTON, DC – On Saturday, December 10 from 9:30am – 7:30pm, a gun violence prevention summit organized by millennials will hold workshops, panel discussions, breakout grassroots organizing sessions, and conclude with a concert featuring local DC artists such as: Shepard Kings, Terry Gibson, and WERK for Peace. Workshops will be led by April Goggans (Black Lives Matter), Rachel Graber (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence), Miriam Pembleton (Institute for Policy Studies), and other significant members of gun violence prevention actions. To find more information about workshops and presenters click here.

Leading a workshops on intersections between domestic and foreign violence and racism will be David Swanson (World Beyond War and RootsAction.org), Jamani Montague (RootsAction.org), and Leah Muskin-Pierret.

Sign up: http://strengthinsynergy.com

“My host sister was murdered in Portland in 2008 by a man who bought a gun from a gun show with no background check; she was one of the many victims that would be alive today if we had a comprehensive, inclusive response to gun violence. Preventing the type of horror that affected my family is one of the most important issues to me. I recognize that gun violence is a deeply intersectional issue with the many oppressions that people face. With Trump’s violent and hateful rhetoric being quickly normalized, now is the time to bring our communities together.”
– Martha Durkee-Neuman, 20, CODEPINK.

Co-sponsoring/co-organizing organizations include: the Brady Campaign, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Black Lives Matter DC, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, CODEPINK, WERK For Peace, Gays Against Guns, the Coalition of Concerned Mothers, the Timothy Dawkins El Project, Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, the DC Anti-Violence Project, and MomsRising.

Visit http://strengthinsynergy.com for more information,

or on Facebook: https://facebook.com/events/157950498008430

Disobey or Die

Back in the winter of 1982, Air Florida flight 90 took off from National Airport. The first officer noticed dangerous readings on some instruments and pointed them out to the captain. The captain told him he was wrong, and he accepted the captain’s authority. He did nothing. Thirty seconds later the plane crashed into the 14th Street Bridge. Everyone on board died except for four passengers rescued out of the icy river.

During the latter decades of the 20th and first part of the 21st century, millions and millions of first officers on spaceship earth noticed that climate and nuclear dangers loomed. But every authoritative captain in sight, from elected officials to CEOs to media pundits, said “Don’t be a fool. I’ve got this.” And millions upon millions sat back and mumbled “Oh, all right, if you’re sure.”

The people pushing through the vote this week at the United Nations to create a treaty next year banning nuclear weapons are engaged in necessary disobedience to mainstream authority and acceptance. The people putting their bodies in the way of a pipeline in North Dakota are disobeying immoral orders.

Ira Chaleff’s book, Intelligent Disobedience, re-examines the lessons of the Milgram and Stanford prison experiments, and other more recent demonstrations of the severe dangers of uncritical obedience. Chaleff highlights some techniques that can facilitate intelligent refusals to obey.

When Milgram put the actor pretending to be given electric shocks in the same room, visible to the person ordered to shock him, obedience dropped by 40 percent. This suggests we need fewer trips to Disney World and more to Hiroshima, fewer student exchanges to England and more to Russia and Iran, fewer summer jobs at the local swimming pool and more at the nearest climate-impacted site in need of assistance.

Milgram also got obedience to drop by 20 percent by removing the authority figure from sight and having him deliver his orders by telephone. This does not suggest demonizing or antagonizing authority figures, but rather distancing and diminishing them. We need to metaphorically bring them down to size, and we need to physically and otherwise get away from them. Throw out your television to get their faces out of your living room. Read the news online as needed. Practice kneeling during the national anthem; it’ll give you a whole new outlook in which hearing a civilian refer to “our commander in chief” sounds frighteningly out of place.

Milgram reduced obedience by 100% by having a second authority figure contradict the first one. As long as people are going to practice subservient obedience, we need to identify and recruit and broadcast all apparent authority figures who contradict the destructive orders of the mainstream authorities. Who counts as an authority figure may vary from person to person, but we don’t have to choose. The more the murkier!

We also need to lead by example. Even when Milgram’s lone authority figure ordered shocks, if the subject of the experiment saw someone else refuse to obey, then 90% of the time he or she would also refuse. This is a huge opening for us. But it does not mean that we can create a little Eco village and thereby save the world. It does mean that doing that will help. But we need examples of people challenging the entire system that deals weapons and subsidizes fossil fuels. And we need lots of examples so that everyone watching can see someone who looks like them engaged in constructive disobedience.

In warfare, militaries condition people to obey immoral orders through, among other things, a number of distancing techniques. It’s easy to murder someone far away or unseen. It’s easier to order someone else to do it. It’s easier to be part of a group doing it together. It’s easier to think of it as defending someone else rather than simply committing murder. We have to reverse all of this distancing. We have to put the victims and potential victims of war and of climate chaos right up close to the vision of as many people as possible. We have to create unavoidable responsibility. The bill in the British parliament that would allow people to choose whether to pay war taxes is one possible approach. We have to make those engaged in ordinary, typical muddling through understand that as long as they fail to take radical action they are engaged in the slow but massive taking of human life.

We should replace the pledge of allegiance with the Nuremberg principles and the Hippocratic oath. The problem we have to solve is, as Howard Zinn told us, not too much civil disobedience, but too much civil obedience.