Left Voices is the product of Andrea Sears, a journalist with deep and highly regarded experience. Support her at http://gofundme.com/SupportLeftVoices. Follow on Twitter at @LeftVoices and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LeftVoices.






June 2016
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Former Guantanamo Detainees Once Again Denied Their Day In Court

A federal appeals court has dismissed a civil lawsuit brought by six men formerly held at Guantánamo who were wrongly detained and abused after they had been found not to be “enemy combatants”.  The suit, one of the last remaining Guantánamo damages suits, was brought against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other military officials for the torture, religious abuse and other mistreatment of plaintiffs.

In dismissing their claims, the court said that the torture and religious humiliation these men endured—even after being cleared for release by the military—were a consequence of the military’s need to maintain an orderly detention environment and appeared to be standard for all military detainees in Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  We speak with Shayana Kadidal, managing attorney of the Guantanamo Project at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Direct download: 2014-06-12_Foreseeable_Torture.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 7:08pm EDT

The Government Must Turn Over Videos of Force-Feedings at Guantanamo

A federal judge has ordered the US government to produce thirty-four videotapes showing Guantanamo prisoner Abu Wa’el Diab being violently dragged from his cell and force-fed.  It’s an ordeal Mr. Diab, who was cleared for release in 2009, has been forced to endure an average of three times a week for the past year.  Last week lawyers representing Diab learned of the existence of a substantial number of videotapes showing the "forcible cell extractions" and force feedings.  On May 13th they filed an emergency motion demanding that the tapes be preserved and turned over to them. 


We speak with Jon Eisenberg, a lawyer from Oakland, California working with the London based human rights organization Reprieve, who is representing Diab.

Direct download: 2014-05-21_Diab_Force_Feeding.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 7:17pm EDT

A Gay Mexican Couple Sues for the Right to Marry

An anonymous same sex couple this week filed a lawsuit in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to win the right to be married in Mexico. They had attempted to register their marriage in their home state but their application was reject.  For one of the two, marriage could literally be the difference between life and death.

Same sex marriage is legal in Mexico City, where it was passed by the city council.  That law  was upheld by the Mexican Supreme Court, which later ruled that all Mexican states must recognize same sex marriages legally performed in Mexico City.  But it did not rule that the states had to allow marriages to be performed in their jurisdictions.

We speak with Hunter Carter, a commercial litigator and prominent human rights lawyer in the New York office of Arent Fox, who is representing the couple pro bono.

Direct download: 2014-05-14_Mexico_Marriage.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 9:12pm EDT

In the weeks following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks hundreds of Muslim immigrants were rounded up and detained in New York and New Jersey for minor immigration infractions.  But they were held by the FBI as “suspected terrorists” in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City.  There they were denied communication, routinely strip searched and subject to sleep depravation and other abuses until they were cleared of any links to terrorism and deported.  But other than their race and religion the government had no reason to suspect them of being linked to terrorism. 


In 2002 lawyers filed a federal lawsuit seeking to hold accountable those who had ordered the sweeps, approved the conditions of confinement, and abused the men while in detention.  The defendants include high Bush Administration officials as well as guards and officials at the detention center.


On Thursday the lawyers were back in court for yet another hearing on the latest round of appeals in a case that is still far from over.  We speak with Rachel Meeropol, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

image credit: Benamar Benatta, one of the plaintiffs in Turkmen v. Ashcroft

Direct download: 2014-05-01_Turkmen_v_Ashcroft.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 6:24pm EDT

The Supreme Court Rules that the EPA Can Regulate Pollution that Crosses State Lines

On Tuesday the US Supreme Court overturned a district court ruling that had blocked enforcement of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.  The ruling is a major victory in the Obama administration's efforts to rein in emissions from coal-fired power plants.  The rule will require the polluting states to cut emissions not only in proportion to the amount of pollutants they put in the air, but also in relation to the efficiency of their efforts.  The more cost effective their pollution controls are, the more pollution they’ll be required to cut.  We speak with Howard Fox, an attorney with Earthjustice and one of those who argue the case in the court.

image credit:  WikiMedia (National Parks Service)

Direct download: 2014-04-30_SCOTUS_EPA_Ruling.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 6:49pm EDT

As military posturing and tensions increase in Eastern Europe, Ukraine’s nuclear reactors could become deadly targets in the growing hostilities. Saturday, April 26th, is the twenty-eighth anniversary of the explosion and fire at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant in Ukraine.  The site of the reactor is still surrounded by a one thousand square mile “exclusion zone” where radioactive contamination from fallout is highest and public access is restricted.  But while accidents and natural disasters have caused nuclear catastrophes, in times of war reactors become potential weapons.  We speak with Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste watchdog at Beyond Nuclear.

image credit: Wikipedia

Direct download: 2014-04-24_Ukraine_Nukes.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 6:00pm EDT

The FBI Tried Blackmailing Innocent Muslims to Become Informants

Late Tuesday a complaint was filed in the federal district court in New York, claiming the FBI has used the no-fly-list to coerce law-abiding Muslim Americans into spying on their  community.  CLEAR Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility –the Center for Constitutional Rights and the lawfirm Debevoise & Plimpton filed the suit on behalf of four plaintiffs, all Muslim men with no criminal records, who were approached by FBI agents and aggressively recruited to become informants.  We speak with Susan Hu, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Direct download: 2014-04-23_No_Fly_Lie.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 7:27pm EDT

Louisiana Justice: Thirteen Years Hard Labor for Possessing Two Joints

Civil rights and drug policy reform organizations have filed an amicus brief asking the Louisiana State Supreme Court to review the extraordinarily harsh prison sentence imposed on Bernard Noble.  Noble was arrested for having three grams of marijuana, about enough to roll two cigarettes.  The trial judge had sentenced him to five years in prison.  But because Noble had two other, minor, nonviolent drug possession charges on his record his sentence was ultimately increased to thirteen and a third years at hard labor with no chance of parole.  We speak with Daniel Abrahamson, director of the Office of Legal Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Direct download: 2014-04-17_Bernard_Noble.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 6:51pm EDT

An FBI Probe of Attorneys Halts Guantanamo Military Commission Hearings

On Monday lawyers representing the five Guantanamo detainees charged with planning the September 11th terror attacks said the FBI had asked a member of the defense team to be an informant in a leak investigation.   They have asked the judge presiding over the military commission, to investigate the incident.  It’s the latest delay in a process that has been fraught with unresolved legal and human rights issues since the beginning. We speak with Shayana Kadidal, senior managing attorney for the Guantanamo Project at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Direct download: 2014-04-16_FBI_GTMO_Probe.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 2:17pm EDT

A Move Toward Justice for Torture, Assassinations and Massacres in El Salvador

An immigration Judge in Miami has ordered that former Salvadoran Defense Minister José Guillermo García be deported from the United States for his assistance and participation in many of the worst atrocities committed during the civil war in El Salvador.  Garcia served as Defense Minister from 1979 to 1983 and presided over that country’s military and police during the El Mozote Massacre, the assassination of Arch Bishop Oscar Romero and the murder of four American nuns.  We speak with Pamela Merchant, executive director of the Center for Justice and Accountability.

Direct download: 2014-04-14_Jose_Guillermo_Garcia2.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 6:42pm EDT