News Releases

50 Years After Catonsville: “Resistance Needed to End Empire”

The Catonsville Nine were nine activists affiliated with the Catholic Worker movement who burned draft files to protest the Vietnam War. On May 17, 1968, they went to the draft board in Catonsville, Maryland, took hundreds of draft files, brought them to the parking lot, pour homemade napalm on them (an incendiary used extensively by the U.S. military in Vietnam), and set them on fire. Hundreds of similar actions followed across the country the following years. The draft ended in 1973. See website with ongoing commemorative events — Catonsville9.org — and recent pieces in the Los Angeles Times and the Baltimore Sun. See trailer of film about the Catonsville Nine: “Hit and Stay.”

The Catonsville Nine included Daniel Berrigan and Philip Berrigan, both deceased. The widow of Philip, Elizabeth McAlister, has been in prison since last month, one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 — see KingsBayPlowshares7.org: “Seven Catholic plowshares activists entered Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia on April 4, 2018. They went to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command to ‘beat swords into plowshares.’

“The seven chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who devoted his life to addressing what he called the ‘triple evils of militarism, racism and materialism.’ Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to convert weapons of mass destruction. They hoped to call attention to the ways in which nuclear weapons kill every day, by their mere existence and maintenance.

“Kings Bay Naval base opened in 1979 as the Navy’s Atlantic Ocean Trident port.  It is the largest nuclear submarine base in the world.”

ELLEN GRADY, demottgrady6 at gmail.com
Also via Jessica Stewart, Paul Magno: kingsbayplowshares at gmail.com
MARY ANNE GRADY FLORES, gradyflores08 at gmail.com
    Ellen and Mary Anne Grady are part of the Ithaca, New York Catholic Worker movement. Ellen spoke at the opening event commemorating the Catonsville Nine earlier this month in Maryland. Their sister, Clare Grady, is one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7, currently imprisoned.

She said today: “Clare is a mother of two daughters. Her husband Paul works for the local community kitchen. She and the other activists are facing four charges, including most dangerously, conspiracy. They’ve been in jail for six weeks with no bail. And they’ve all been separated now. They have a hearing Thursday.” See recent piece on the action in the National Catholic Reporter.

“The best we can do is to encourage each other to muster the resistance needed to end empire. Nuclear weapons threaten us with omnicide, but that’s only part of it. Nuclear weapons kill every day by their mere existence — we see the billions of dollars it takes to build and maintain the Trident system as stolen resources.”

“And the U.S. government’s ongoing airwars, like lethal and illegal use of MQ9 Reaper drones over Afghanistan and elsewhere is another continual killing many are blind to.” They have all been arrested at protests against killer drones at the Hancock Air National Guard Base in New York, see: UpstateDroneAction.org. Also see the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s page on drone warfare.

In Baltimore:

See website for Jonah House.

WILLA BICKHAM, BRENDAN WALSH, VivaCatholicWorker at gmail.com
Bickham and Walsh run the Viva House in Baltimore, which they founded shortly before the Catonsville Nine action and provided support for that action 50 years ago. See piece in America magazine.

MAX OBUSZEWSKI, mobuszewski2001 at comcast.net
Obuszewski is with the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, which has been involved in the Catonsville Nine commemorations and organizing recent protests at the headquarters of the National Security Agency nearby.

Israel, Religious Bigotry and Liberation

Newsweek reports: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Blessed by Rabbi Who Compared Black People with Monkeys” and “Who Is Robert Jeffress? ‘Bigot’ Pastor From Texas Due to Speak at U.S. Jerusalem Embassy Move.”

Rev. NAIM ATEEK, TAREK ABUATA, tarek at fosna.org, also via Ashleigh Zimmerman, ashleigh at fosna.org, @fosnalive
Currently touring North America, Ateek and Abuata will be in Washington, D.C. beginning Tuesday afternoon. Ateek is a Palestinian priest in the Anglican Communion and founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. He is author of A Theology of Palestinian Liberation. Abuata is executive director of Friends of Sabeel North America, a “Christian ecumenical organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land.”

They said today: “As we travel the country on our tour, we are taking a moment to honor the leadership of Palestinian youth, who are holding marches in cities around the globe, demanding to return home. On this day 70 years ago, Israel began its ethnic cleansing campaign against more than 400 Palestinian villages, displacing over 700,000 people. As the names of those murdered in Gaza yesterday by Israeli snipers continue to grow we, as Palestinian Christians, remember: ‘Thou shalt not kill’ (Exodus 20:13). Zionist forces engaged in at least two dozen massacres of Palestinian civilians during the Nakba. ‘Thou shalt not steal’ (Exodus 20:15). More than 400 Palestinian villages and towns were systematically destroyed, displacing more than 700,000 people.”

Among their projects is “HP-Free Church“: “Hewlett Packard Enterprise provides servers to the state of Israel for its population registry. IDs that are issued based on this registry determine what level of rights Israeli citizens have.” One of their events in D.C. will be at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ with Rev. Graylan Hagler on liberation theology on Thursday at 6:00 p.m.

ABBA SOLOMON, abbasolomon at gmail.com, @Abba_A_Solomon
Solomon is author of The Speech, and Its Context: Jacob Blaustein’s Speech “The Meaning of Palestine Partition to American Jews.” His articles include “The Occupation of the American Mind, Documented.”

Noting Robert Jeffress appearing on Fox News Channel, Solomon said today: “Trump and Fox News are aligning the U.S. government with Evangelical Christian Zionism and Israeli state ethno-nationalist claims in a way unprecedented in our foreign policy, which may lead to unpredictable results both for Palestinians and for American Jews. In previous administrations, the State Department made at least token acknowledgement of the rights of non-Jewish residents of Palestine, to be determined in a future agreement.”

As U.S. Moves Embassy, Israel Massacres Palestinians

U.S. and Israeli officials today celebrated of the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem exactly 70 years after Israel declared its independence. Jared Kushner, senior advisor to his father-in-law, Donald Trump, is reportedly working on a “peace plan.” He said at the embassy opening: “those provoking violence are part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

Sharif Abdel Kouddous (@sharifkouddous) reports on “Democracy Now!” from Gaza that Israeli attacks on nonviolent protests there have resulted in at least 37 Palestinians killed today. He adds that medical personnel are now reporting that Israel is using fragmentation ammunition, which breaks up on impact, resulting in gun wounds as large as fists. Israeli soldiers are “picking people off with sniper fire.” Kouddous also reports on the Palestinian resistance using kites and balloons and how it is setting fire to tires in an attempt to block the view of the Israeli snipers who are targeting people.

See updates from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza. See coverage at ElectronicIntifada.net and the piece there “The future of the Nakba,” by Joseph Massad, a professor at Columbia University.

Protests may well accelerate tomorrow as Palestinians commemorate the Nakba or catastrophe of hundreds of thousands of them being driven from their homes by pro-Israeli forces.

NBC News reports: “At least 90 demonstrators have been killed and 11,500 wounded by Israel forces during protests since March 30, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health. … No Israelis have been killed or injured.”

See @accuracy Twitter list on Israel-Palestine. The writer Naomi Dann tweets: “Israel is carrying out a massacre against Palestinian protesters barricaded in Gaza while U.S. officials celebrate occupation in Jerusalem. Everyone should be outraged.”

NOOR HARAZEEN, [in Gaza] updatefromgaza at gmail.com
Harazeen is a Palestinian journalist and a TV correspondent for CGTN and teleSUR.

MAZIN QUMSIYEH, mazin at qumsiyeh.org, Skype: mbqumsiyeh
Qumsiyeh has been on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke, and Yale Universities. He is now a professor at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities. His books include Popular Resistance in Palestine and Sharing the Land of Canaan. He is founding director of the Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability.

JOE CATRON, [in NYC] joecatron at gmail.com, @jncatron
Catron lived in Gaza for several years as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement. He is now U.S. coordinator of Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

Additional background:

See: “Trump Bows to Neocons, Netanyahu,” from Gareth Porter, and from “Flashpoints”: “The Israel-gate Side of Russia-gate.”

Billionaires Fueling Trump on Iran Deal, Jerusalem Move

Politico reports Thursday: “Sheldon Adelson kicks in $30M to stop Democratic House takeover.”

ELI CLIFTON, eliclifton at gmail.com, @EliClifton
Clifton is a Nation Institute fellow and contributing editor to the foreign policy analysis website LobeLog. He just wrote the piece “Follow The Money: Three Billionaires Paved Way For Trump’s Iran Deal Withdrawal.”

Clifton writes: “President Donald Trump has just fulfilled a campaign pledge to tear up the Obama administration’s signature foreign policy achievement, a multilateral agreement constraining Iran’s nuclear enrichment (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA). In doing so, the president went against the advice of, among many others, his secretary of defense, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Washington’s three most important European allies, and almost-two thirds of Americans who believe that the U.S. should not withdraw from the deal, according to a CNN poll released on Tuesday morning.”

The move “may have been exactly what two of Trump’s biggest donors, Sheldon Adelson and Bernard Marcus, and what one of his biggest inaugural supporters, Paul Singer, paid for when they threw their financial weight behind Trump. Marcus and Adelson, who are also board members of the Likudist Republican Jewish Coalition, have already received substantial returns on their investment: total alignment by the U.S. behind Israel, next week’s move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and the official dropping of ‘occupied territories’ to describe the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“Adelson, for his part, was Trump and the GOP’s biggest campaign supporter. He and his wife Miriam contributed $35 million in outside spending to elect Trump, $20 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund (a super PAC exclusively dedicated to securing a GOP majority in the House of Representatives), and $35 million to the Senate Leadership Fund (the Senate counterpart) in the 2016 election cycle.

“Trump, who had previously complained that Adelson was seeking to ‘mold [Marco Rubio] into the perfect little puppet,’ quickly snapped around and echoed Adelson’s hawkish positions on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem after Trump won the Republican nomination and secured Adelson’s backing.”

Fueling More Syria War: * Nixing Iran Deal and More Israeli Attacks * Pollack and Pundit Class

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced the “United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.” Shortly after, Reuters reported: “Syrian state media says Israel attacked just after U.S. quit Iran deal” and AP reported: “Israel Attacked Syria an Hour After the Iran Deal Was Ended, Says Report.” Attacks have continued between Israeli and Syrian forces since.

JANA NAKHAL, [in Beirut] jana.nakhal at gmail.com
A researcher and feminist, Nakhal said today: “In Syria, the Syrian government has been winning. In Lebanon, Hezbollah has just won big in the election. The Israeli and U.S. governments have been trying to attack Iran and their Syrian and Hezbollah allies. Like any colonial powers, it’s very hard for them to accept losing. So, their logic may well be, if we’re not in control, let’s burn it. Such a course of action may well spread more war well beyond Syria and Lebanon.” She has written for al-Akhbar Arabic and English as well as al-Adab and al-Nidaa magazine. Nakhal was recently in Afrin in northern Syria. See from ShadowProof: “Interview With Jana Nakhal, Lebanese Communist Party Member, On Occupation Of Afrin By Turkish Forces And Takfiri Fighters.”

CHARLES GLASS, [currently in England], charlesglassbooks at gmail.com, @charlesmglass
Glass was ABC News Chief Middle East correspondent and has written extensively on Syria, including covering the civil war on the ground. In 2016, his book Syria Burning was released.

In March, Glass wrote the piece: “Think the War in Syria Is Winding Down? Think Again” for The Nation, which stated: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is raising the stakes, declaring, ‘We will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself’; and some voices in the West demand not reform and reconstruction, but renewed war.

“Rather than encourage U.S.-Russian agreement to end the war, the deep thinkers in Washington and Mar-a-Lago are urging the United States to wade deeper into the swamp. Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst and Bill Clinton’s director for Persian Gulf affairs at the National Security Council, is one of the few commentators to admit that Syria is a means to an end. In a strongly argued series on the American Enterprise Institute’s website, Pollack advocates using Syria as the most effective arena to hurt Iran. …

“Pollack suggests ‘ramping up American covert assistance to the Syrian opposition to try to bleed the Assad regime and its Iranian backers over time, exactly the way that the United States backed the Afghan Mujahideen as they bled the Soviets in Afghanistan — or as the Russians and Chinese did to the United States in Vietnam.’ …

“The urge to hit Iran in Syria calls to mind an argument made, and heeded, 16 years ago, that ‘the option that makes the most sense is for the United States to launch a full-scale invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam, eradicate his weapons of mass destruction, and rebuild Iraq as a prosperous and stable society for the good of the United States, Iraq’s own people and the entire region.’ Americans know where that advice led the country. The author? Kenneth Pollack.”

Trump Nixing Iran Deal Based on Fabrications

Trump claimed in his remarks Tuesday announcing the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal that: “Last week Israel published intelligence documents, long concealed by Iran, conclusively showing the Iranians’ regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons.”

GARETH PORTER, porter.gareth50 at gmail.com, @GarethPorter
Available for a limited number of interviews, Porter is a noted independent investigative journalist and author of the book Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare. He recently wrote the piece “The Latest Act in Israel’s Iran Nuclear Disinformation Campaign” and just signed the statement “Trump Urged Not to Pull Out of Iran Nuclear Deal” which states: “The evidence presented by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on April 30 alleging a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program shows blatant signs of fabrication. … We believe that the renewed attention being given to claims that Iran is secretly working to develop nuclear weapons betokens a transparent attempt to stoke hostility toward Iran, with an eye toward helping ‘justify’ pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. …

“On April 30, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu displayed some of those documents in his slide show on what he called the Iranian ‘atomic archive.’ But those are precisely the same fraudulent documents that were acquired by the CIA in 2004.”The official accounts offered by the senior officials of the CIA about the provenance of these documents turned out be complete fabrication. Journalists were told variously that the documents (1) were taken from the laptop computer of an Iranian working in a secret research program; (2) were provided by a German spy; or (3) simply came from a ‘longtime contact in Iran.’

“However, Karsten Voigt, the former German Foreign Office official in charge of German-North American cooperation, revealed in an on-the-record interview [with Gareth Porter] in 2013 that senior officials of the German foreign intelligence service, the BND, told Voigt in November 2004 that the documents had been passed to the CIA by a BND source. That source, the senior BND official said, was not considered trustworthy, because he belonged to the Mujahideen-E-Khalq (MEK), the armed Iranian opposition group that was known to have served as a conduit for information that Israeli intelligence (Mossad) wanted to provide to the IAEA without having it attributed to Israel. (In 2012 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton removed MEK from the list of terrorist organizations.)

“Voigt recalled that the senior BND officials told him of their worry that the Bush administration was going to repeat the error of using fraudulent intelligence, as was the case with the notorious ‘Curveball,’ the Iraqi living in Germany, whom the BND had identified as unreliable.”

Also see from the American Conservative: “Giuliani’s MEK Pandering and Trump’s Iran Obsession.” From the New York Times: “MEK: The Group John Bolton Wants to Rule Iran.”

Gina Haspel and Torture: * Wrong * Ineffective * A Tool for War

JEREMY VARON, jvaron at aol.com, @witnesstorture
MAHA HILAL, innocentuntilprovenmuslim at gmail.com, @dr_maha_hilal
Human rights groups will rally outside the Hart Senate Office Building from 8:30-9:30 AM on Wednesday, May 9 in opposition to Gina Haspel’s nomination to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Some will be in the iconic detainee “uniform” of orange jumpsuits and black hoods. “The choice of Haspel to head the CIA is dead wrong,” says Jeremy Varon of Witness Against Torture. “It says that even in the United States you can literally get away with torture, which must warm the dark hearts of torturers everywhere in the world. Haspel must be stopped.” “Haspel was present at the start of the post-9/11 War on Terror that has targeted Muslims almost exclusively and which continues to this day,” says Dr. Maha Hilal of the Justice for Muslims Collective.

RAY McGOVERN, rrmcgovern at gmail.com, @raymcgovern
McGovern served as an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then as a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years. He helped prepare daily briefings for presidents from John F. Kennedy to George H.W. Bush. He just wrote the piece “Will a Torturer Become CIA Director?” at Consortium News and signed two statements by former intelligence officers: “VIPS Call on Senate Intel Panel to Vote Against Haspel” and “Trump Should Withdraw Haspel Nomination, Intel Vets Say,” which states: “In 2002 Haspel supervised the first CIA ‘black site’ for interrogation, where cruel and bizarre forms of torture were applied to suspected terrorists. And when the existence of 92 videotapes of those torture sessions was revealed, Haspel signed a cable ordering their destruction, against the advice of legal counsel at CIA and the White House. …

“In addition to revealing clear violations of the UN Convention Against Torture, the Senate investigation shows that claims by senior CIA officials that torture is effective are far from true. The U.S. Army — in which many of us have served — has been aware of the ineffectiveness of torture for decades.

“General John Kimmons, head of Army Intelligence, drove home that point on September 6, 2006 — approximately an hour before President George W. Bush publicly extolled the virtues of torture methods that became known as ‘enhanced interrogation techniques.’ Gen. Kimmons stated: ‘No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years — hard years — tell us that.’ We believe that Defense Secretary James Mattis’ lack of enthusiasm for torture reflects lessons drawn from the historical experience of the Marine Corps, as well.”

SAM HUSSEINI, samhusseini at gmail.com, @samhusseini
Senior analyst at the Institute for Public Accuracy, Husseini just wrote the piece “Gina Haspel and Torture: Not Just Immoral, but a Tool for More War,” which states: “Especially given how little we know about Haspel’s record — it’s possible that there’s an even more insidious motive in the U.S. government practicing torture: To produce the rigged case for more war. Examining this possibility is made all the more urgent as Trump has put in place what clearly appears to be a war cabinet. My recent questioning at the State Department failed to produce a condemnation of waterboarding by spokesperson Heather Nauert.

“Gina Haspel’s hearing on Wednesday gives increased urgency to highlighting her record on torture and how torture has been ‘exploited.’ That is, how torture was used to create ‘intelligence’ for select policies, including the initiation of war.

“Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, has stated that neither he nor Powell were aware that the claims that Powell made before the UN just before the invasion of Iraq where partly based on torture. According to Wilkerson, Dick Cheney and the CIA prevailed on Powell to make false statements about a connection between Al-al-Qa’ida and Iraq without telling him the ‘evidence’ they were feeding him was based on tortured evidence. See my piece and questioning of Powell: ‘Colin Powell Showed that Torture DOES Work.’

“The 2014 Senate torture report noted (in an obscure footnote) the case Wilkerson speaks of: ‘Ibn Shaykh al-Libi’ stated while in Egyptian custody and clearly being tortured that ‘Iraq was supporting al-Qa’ida and providing assistance with chemical and biological weapons. Some of this information was cited by Secretary Powell in his speech at the United Nations, and was used as a justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Ibn Shaykh al-Libi recanted the claim after he was rendered to CIA custody on February [censored], 2003, claiming that he had been tortured by the [censored, likely “Egyptians”], and only told them what he assessed they wanted to hear.'”

Trump Team Hired Israeli Spy Firm Used by Harvey Weinstein to Attack Obama Officials on Iran Deal

Ronan Farrow reports in The New Yorker: “Israeli Operatives Who Aided Harvey Weinstein Collected Information on Former Obama Administration Officials.”

Mark Townsend and Julian Borger broke the story in the Observer this weekend: “Revealed: Trump team hired spy firm for ‘dirty ops’ on Iran arms deal,” which states: “Aides to Donald Trump, the U.S. president, hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a ‘dirty ops’ campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, the Observer can reveal.

“People in the Trump camp contacted private investigators in May last year to ‘get dirt’ on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal.

“The extraordinary revelations come days before Trump’s 12 May deadline to either scrap or continue to abide by the international deal limiting Iran’s nuclear [program].”

RICHARD SILVERSTEIN, richards1052 at comcast.net, @richards1052, Skype: richards1052
Silverstein writes on security and other issues for a number of outlets. He was among the very first to highlight the role of Israel in connection to scandals around the Trump administration and will continue updating at his blog Tikun Olam.

His past pieces include “Flynn Pleads Guilty to Lying About Trump Sabotage of Security Council Resolution Against Israel Settlements,” which notes that: “Michael Flynn plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his efforts with Jared Kushner to torpedo a United Nations Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlements. These included lobbying the Russian ambassador to help in this campaign by delaying or cancelling a vote on the matter.” See also, “Trump, Kushner and Mueller: the Smoking Gun and the Bullet.”

See related Institute for Public Accuracy news releases including “Why is Israelgate Being Downplayed?

Trump to Send Back Hondurans Fleeing U.S.-Backed Repression There

USA Today reports: “Trump keeps focus on caravan of Honduran asylum seekers headed to U.S.” The New York Times is reporting Friday afternoon: “The Trump administration is ending temporary protected status for tens of thousands of Hondurans who have been allowed to live and work in the United States since 1999, following a hurricane that ravaged their country.”

SUYAPA PORTILLO, [in Honduras] Suyapa_Portillo at pitzer.edu, @SuyapaPV
Portillo is an assistant professor at Pitzer College and observed last year’s election in Honduras. She said today: “This year’s Viacrusis (immigrant caravan) amplifies the dire conditions facing Hondurans in the election fraud debacle.” She states that the Honduran government “is resorting to persecution, human rights violations and downright murder to control the population to create the illusion of popular support. The UN High Commissioner’s report notes that there were 23 executions during demonstrations and 22 political prisoners whose only crime was to go out and protest electoral fraud. This government is not able to provide decent jobs, education and access to justice, and cannot protect women, children nor LGBTQI communities. The government cannot provide for Hondurans in the country, let alone those deported. They are not ready for reintegration of potential deported TPS [temporary protected status] holders from the U.S. and offer little to no assistance to returned migrants from Mexico. When deported back, Hondurans will be coming back to a country with a government that cannot control ‘violence’ because it itself is violent and murderous.”

Portillo was recently quoted extensively in the AZ Central piece “Migrant caravan: Parents seeking asylum in U.S. fear forcible separation from children.”

MARTIN PINEDA, [in Los Angeles], MPineda at carecen-la.org, @carecen_la
Pineda is digital organizer with CARECEN, the largest Central American immigrant rights organization in the country. He said today: “When individuals often feel they don’t have a choice but to flee their beautiful countries, it’s because they have lost all hope. It is no coincidence that 80 percent of the Central American Refugee Caravan consists of Hondurans, particularly mothers, children, and members of the LGBTQI communities who are seeking their legal right of asylum. Hondurans in this caravan are fleeing the U.S.-backed repressive Juan Orlando Hernadez regime, which constantly oppresses its population and has numerous counts of human rights violations.”See IPA news release from December: “Evidence of Honduran Election Being Stolen.” Also see under-reported Associated Press investigation from earlier this year: “Secret report: Honduras’ new top cop helped cartel move coke.” When Sam Husseini questioned the State Department spokesperson about this issue, the State Department referred the matter to the Honduran government.

Trump, Confidentiality Agreements and “Endemic Lawlessness”

Donald Trump tweeted this morning about his nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels: “These agreements are … very common among celebrities and people of wealth.”

ALAN GARFIELD, aegarfield at widener.edu
Garfield is a professor at Widener University Delaware Law School and the author of “Promises of Silence: Contract Law and Freedom of Speech” in the Cornell Law Review. His recent articles include “End the confidentiality agreements that help perpetuate abuse” for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

PETE DAVIS, pedavis at jd18.law.harvard.edu, @PeteDDavis
Davis is a civic reformer from Falls Church, Virginia and a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2018. He recently wrote the report “Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law School’s Public Interest Mission,” summarized at The Harvard Law Record.

He said today: “Billionaires like Donald Trump have access to armies of lawyers while average Americans frequently don’t even have access to one. People like Rudy Giuliani say they care about law and order, but if citizens don’t have access to legal power, you have endemic lawlessness.”

The first part of the report “documents how the vast public is excluded from legal power in the United States:

“…in the broken criminal justice system: how public defenders are grossly underfunded and understaffed — a contributing factor to prosecutorial abuses and our ballooning prison system.

“…in the inaccessible civil justice system: how 86 percent of the civil legal needs of the poor go unmet; how America ranks 50th of 66 wealthy countries in terms of ‘the ability of people to obtain legal counsel.’

‘…in the indentured political system: how public interest lobbyists are outnumbered 34-to-1 by corporate interest lobbyists in D.C.; how tort law and antitrust law are crippled by corporate interest lawyers; and how the John M. Olin Foundation paid Harvard Law School $18 million to teach what they have admitted is ‘conservative constitutional law.'”

See YouTube summary of the report and Davis’ piece “Jeff Flake’s shameful record on civil legal aid for the poor.”

The report also notes: “Researchers estimate that $20-50 billion in wages are stolen from American workers by their employers annually. Yet only a small fraction, a little less than $1 billion, of that stolen property is recovered each year in civil suits or by state and federal enforcement. If American workers had anywhere close to the legal power that their employers do, we would not be witnessing such a corporate crime wave.”

Background: See by Russell Mokhiber of Corporate Crime Reporter: “Matt Taibbi on Corporate Crime and American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap,” a discussion of Taibbi’s book The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.

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