tv Boom Bust RT November 29, 2013 7:30pm-8:01pm EST
stuff that i've got to. but the night's conversations with great minds i'm joined by constitutional trial attorney daniel daniel is one of the most influential public interest lawyers in the country worked on a number of cases including the pentagon papers case in the current karen silkwood case that have changed the course of american history in one nine hundred eighty of the christic institute where he served as general counsel and chief trial attorney general has also served as chief trial attorney for the american institute and the
chief trial counsel for the a.c.l.u. rocky mountain states chapter in his new book the people's advocate the life and legal history of america's most fearless public interest lawyer is a must read for anyone who wants to know the inside story of some of the most important trials of the past half century and welcome to the show thank you thanks so much for being with us i'm curious what what got you interested in the law in the first place how did it start with you did what drew you into this and then what got you into this kind of law. actually originally back in one hundred sixty three when i graduated from high school i was going to go to the air force academy and it turns out the i was number one in the competition for new york state for the senatorial appointment but jacob javits of the united states senator actually gave the appointment to the son of one of his major financial contributors. and so i
would back to the congressional district to get their congressional district appointment. and congressman gave the appointment to the son of the republican mayor of guns falls and so i was completely freaked out the rules didn't seem to be working it struck me that the system was out of tune so i decided i would become a lawyer and spend some time helping to tune the system to get it back into tune but the more time i spent being a lawyer the more i realized that the system wasn't really out of tune it's just that it was playing a completely different saw from that which we had been told when we were in high school and studying civics and i decided i was going to be a lawyer and i became a civil rights lawyer found the civil rights law review at harvard and harvard law school and went on to practice in this particular area at that time from one thousand nine hundred sixty eight that sort of halcyon year when i was the the editor of the harvard law review all the way through in while i was there i
actually initiated the case that went to the united states supreme court to establish the right of journalists to protect their confidential news sources and because of that i was hired by the number one law firm on wall street that represents n.b.c. and there i was i was there when we received the pentagon papers so i became intimately involved in the initial decisions to decide whether to publish the papers and if so what was going to happen with the nixon administration and so i went into doing that and was in all of the closed door hearings with the judges in all we do know is the supreme court i was one of the few lawyers that was deeply involved in that all the way to the end. from there i went to bally's office and i was there when he was retained to represent james mccord in the watergate burglary so i ended up finding out about what was exactly going on what caused the watergate burglary what was behind the watergate burglary and because of that i laughed and
went back to harvard to go to divinity school. after having finished harvard college in sixty seven harvard law school and seventy in one hundred seventy three i went back to harvard divinity school. studied the the origins of natural law and the relationship of natural law to the constitution of united states and so that's how i ended up in this particular specialized area of the law that's remarkable i mean you've been at the pivot point of so many major american historical it's the thing that makes your book so so amazing the people's advocate it's almost it's almost four is gone like except that you were intentional about all this stuff you know you were being driven right you know it's you you were you said you were involved in the hallway to the supreme court the first essentially shield laws would go yes what are your thoughts on the on the current state of that i mean right now we have dianne feinstein saying that we have to define what a journalist is and it seems to me and please correct me if you're the guy who
knows this stuff and i don't but it seems to me that instead of protecting journalists we need to be protecting acts of journalism because we live in an era where pretty much anybody can commit an act of journalism which should be protectable in other words revealing something and blowing the whistle is probably people can make publishers tomorrow you know put up a blog. and but to say that oh we're only protecting journalists and somebody is only a journalist if they drop a check from a company that we approve of is the first step down the road to state certification of of and state control ultimately of a process your thought is this is this this is all this is all part and parcel as you know time of the descending upon the united states of this national security state mentality that's happened since nine eleven and in that in that period of time since nine eleven we have kind of an increasing drumbeat of a kind of reactionary fear driven. policies in the united states
now in this is one of them. to try to cut back against the major shield laws that we got passed back in one nine hundred seventy one seventy two and seventy three we got all of these shield laws stablished on the grounds that it was a belief of the state legislatures that there was a clear constitutional right of journalists to protect their confidential news sources in order to continue to to have the flow of information coming especially with regard to government corruption and national security matters almost all of those issues arose around national security matters so that the relationship between the right of journalists protect their confidential news sources and the right of the new york times to publish the classified forty seven biomes of the pentagon papers it was an intimate relationship that was there and i was there for both of those cases and they helped establish what the principals and rules were but what happened is that there was a reaction to set in against this that as we know the high watermark the high
watermark of this entire confrontation between our generation the idealist generation of the twenty first century and the world war two generation that major confrontation came to a head over the vietnam war and in the pentagon papers case in what happened is the reactionaries in that generation struck back and they brought into power ronald reagan they brought him into power and as you as you all know of course the chairman of his a campaign was bill casey and they actually came to power by actually striking a deal with the hezbollah to continue to keep our fifty two american hostages that had been taken at the embassy in iran to keep them in custody until after the election at which point ronald reagan agreed not only to to give them told missiles but to also provide other kind of assistance to the has been in the right wing muslim brotherhood and we've seen the repercussions of that now. fifteen eighteen
years later we're now confronted by these people who are armed in a large part by the reagan and bush administrations so that this the practice of constitutional law has placed me right at the center of a lot of the major issues that arose not only around the vietnam war on the right of journalist to protect our competence to lose privileges but also the fact of all the issues that are going on now with the national security state the attempt to chase down edward snowden his his need to retreat into one of the very two countries in the whole world and the china and then russia. treating him to these places where the few places where the united states military doesn't deem themselves authorized to just go in and unilaterally assert its power its full spectrum dominance which was the theme of those reactionaries inside the reagan bush administrations and in the w. bush administration this this policy is basically attempting to replicate the
nineteenth century imperialist worldview that was that was dominant in the western civilization prior to the rise of the soviet union in one thousand nine hundred seventeen and as soon as the soviet union dissolved itself terribly in december and december thirty first of one thousand nine hundred one the paul wolfowitz and the others that were in there the bush sr administration at that time came together and designed this entire foreign policy concept of full spectrum dominance and that's what we're looking at right now we're living in the domestic side of a national security state and it is engaged in a global policy of the establishment of full spectrum dominance on the part of united states military that's what's happening right now and as a constitutional lawyer my obligation is to protect our american people and to protect the world from unconstitutional conduct on the part of our executive branch and also on the part of our united states congress and we've been attempting to do
this through the judicial branch. allegedly independent judicial branch but since since the election of ronald reagan seventy three percent of all of the federal judges that appointed have been appointed by ronald reagan or george bush or george bush jr you know in that we have these reactionaries from the federalist society now in the judicial branch which are making it virtually impossible to seek protection from the judicial branch against the unconstitutional conduct of the executive so that a constitutional litigation attorney such as myself find myself right at the center of these types of confrontations between the raw assertion of executive power whether it's rendition or torturing people or asserting the right under the national defense authorization act to unilaterally arrest american citizens and hold them in detention with no right of habeas corpus and the right to counsel and no one would believe that this could possibly have happened in our country but here
it is what i do in the book in the people's advocate as i explained from a front row seat that i had throughout these entire last three decades what it looked like seeing this national security state coming descend upon our country that's why the book is so important not because it's all about me because it's not it's about an era when this happened how it is that the executive branch step by step by step moved into a position of asserting its power not only over the united states citizenry to threaten to arrest us without right to counsel a right to a trial by a civilian jury we can now be tried in front of a military tribunal and be convicted and sentenced to life in prison without a single civilian review by any court at all now this is quite outrageous in the book the people's advocate explains step by step how this came to pass so that people can see how this came to pass so that we can mobilize to do something about it and that's why i think it's important for people to read the book in understand
how we came to this pass so that we can know what to. do about it and one of the more important pivot points were to daniel she in the book that he's referring to is the people's advocate the life and legal history of america's most fearless public interest lawyer one of those probably pivot points was the was the iran contra affair and president bonny sauder of iran was elected in one thousand nine hundred eighty during that campaign ronald reagan versus jimmy carter on a platform in iran freeing the hostages he won overwhelmingly and he published an op ed piece in march of this year of this year two thousand and thirteen in response to the movie argo publish an op ed piece saying the vast majority of iranians did not want to hold the hostages after he was elected he went to the to the mullahs and said ok and this was while the campaign was still going on here in the united states said let's free the hostages and they said to him no you can't we cut a deal with the reagan campaign that was published in the christian science monitor
in march of this year and there wasn't a peep about it you know the president of iran saying the president reagan committed treason how i'd love to get your thoughts on that we have to take a quick break and we'll come right back with that daniel she had more of tonight's conversations of great minds with dan right after the break. did you know the price is the only industry specifically mention in the constitution which says that's because
a free and open press is critical to our democracy correct. in fact the single biggest threat facing our nation today is the corporate takeover of our government and across several we've been a hydrogen handful of transnational corporations that will profit by destroying what our founding fathers. are and on this show we were to feel the big picture of what's actually going on in the world we go beyond identify the problem try rational debate and real discussion critical issues facing america if i ever feel ready to join the movement then welcome to the party.
and welcome back to conversations with great minds i'm speaking with daniel sheehan constitutional trial attorney founder of the christic institute and author of the new book the people's advocate the life and legal history of america's most fearless public interest lawyer to get back to where we left off we were talking about how actually let me let me put this in a slightly larger frame because in your book you talk about these things richard first of all jack kennedy was killed and whoever did that apparently got away with it though you know then then we have this other turning point where richard nixon committed a number of crimes he got away with many but he didn't get away with all of news
forced out of office so there and there was a lot of stuff that came out of that. church committee and you know the laws about transparency it was a major turning point and then and then bragg and bush reagan committed this crime to come into office committed what i would argue as treason to to get office and was never prosecuted although you were involved in trying to prosecute him these are each kind of like cyclical flips historical cyclical flips what are your thoughts on that and you can start out by responding to my comments about what president biden solder said i'm curious your thoughts on why the american media did not touch its public proclamation that reagan had. cut a deal in the background with the iranians to hold the hostages well that this is been addressed very directly to the gary sick who was the national security council advisor to president jimmy carter working with him on the negotiations has written a book called the october surprise and in that he has a whole conclusion where he says those of us who have lived in washington d.c.
for twenty years or more have become accustomed to the petty scandals in washington an individual senator will be found to have been a womanizer a chronic womanizer or a congressman will be caught dipping his hand into the till of his campaign funds for his private uses it cetera and when that kind of a scandal is exposed all the media rush in and all of their colleagues. those people for having done wrongdoing of that nature and everyone celebrates how the system really works and how the media really come to the to the rescue of the american people in cases like that but gary sick pointed out in his conclusion he said however that those of us who have spent twenty years or more in washington know that there's another entirely different category of crime that has been committed in washington upon occasions and in that case the it is a kind of a crime that is so threatening that if it's revealed by the american media or by the american political structures it will undermine the blind confidence on the
part of the governed in their governors now if i can. that's what if i could if i could interrupt you of just very quickly and speak to that we've played on this program just two years ago i believe it was the johnson library the l.b.j. library finally released the tapes of his conversations when he was in the white house and we played this tape of lyndon johnson talking to everett dirksen during the campaign when when vice president humphrey was running against nixon sixty eight saying we know that nixon is cutting a deal with the south the enemy's not to go to the bargaining table in paris because he had already cut a deal with the south it means he's going to end the vietnam war before the election we know that he says he says i'm reading their hand every this is treason and everett dirksen says yes it is and he says you got to tell him our ad and but it and then and then l.b.j. goes on to say we can't let the american people know about this average it will destroy their confidence in america back to use well what it what it does is the droid's the confidence in the republican and democratic party is that what the
that's what they're most fearful about in we know that richard nixon cut the deal with the with the with the vietnamese we know the reagan bush administration in one thousand eighty cut the deal with the muslim brotherhood we know who was in the meeting we know the meetings that were in paris we know that we were in madrid and we know all about that in when in fact anybody tried to raise that in any of the major news media etc for example in new york times it's not news that is fit to print it is not fit to print it so they will not reveal that because there is a there is a clique a kind of a governing elite in the united states i know because i ended up i ended up being i was i got the biggest scholarship ever warded to an american to go to harvard college and i came out of a blue cross blue collar setting my father was the first man in our family ever to graduate from high school and so i ended up getting to go to harvard to go to harvard law school where i was there with all these people from all of the major
private schools in the private academies that came in there. i see how they train an entire class of people to govern in this country that's why you see so often the people that are presidents and senators know this they're from harvard and yale in from the other ivy league schools they all belong to the same clubs they all they all in fact marry each other's daughters and sons it's an elite a kind of a royalist set and they're very much connected to the major financial houses you get people like brown brothers harriman where you have j.p. morgan as part of that rockefeller's are all part of that major financial barons are all part of that in the chairman of the c.e.o. of brown brothers harriman was george herbert walker and george that prescott bush that's right he was there. when the nazis prescott bush in fact married the daughter of george herbert walker and that's how he got to be the chairman of the board of brown brothers harriman when when george herbert walker went and set up
a bank the union bank of new york that helped set up a branch in the netherlands to help fund hitler to rise to power as the ball work against communism in europe now these are historical facts that those of us who work in this area the special area have come to know very well what we've been trying to do is when we had some can access to the judicial branch we could get to the judicial branch in place this type of information before a jury and ask a jury to decide what they think about something like this the problem is now that with such a huge majority of the federal judges all appointed by ronald reagan george bush are left over from richard nixon in ford you know that the problem is they don't care about the constitution they basically think the constitution is a ship that sits in the harbor in boston that this is a political war that they view themselves as being involved in and what we have to try to decide is whether or not we as american citizens are going to join together
to rise up to do something about this this is what we talk about in the book. that's what the people's advocate is all about that when i represent individuals that is not representing just the individual who's representing our entire american people attempting to stand up and take power back away from this ruling elite and take it back into the hands of the people that's what the book is all about that's why people should read the book and then they should really figure out what to do in the present situation for example with the national defense authorization act that was signed into law at eleven fifty five pm on new year's eve of two thousand and eleven by obama which authorizes the rest of us and put in front of military tribunals we need to move and organize ourselves to establish constitutional protections omes we need to go to the city councils in our city we need to go to our county boards of supervisors and have them declare that they will instruct our law enforcement officers to not allow any federal officials to come into their jurisdiction and attempt to a foreign force that unconstitutional statute just like we did when we established
the the nuclear free zones to stop the american federal government from transporting the waste elect the nuclear waste from the hundred three nuclear facilities in the country after we won the karen silkwood case and the three mile island litigation i was chief counsel in both of those cases and what we did is we enforced those that opinion from the court we enforced it by getting city councils and county boards of supervisors to declare their jurisdictions to be nuclear free zones so that the government could not transport those waste materials from those hundred three facilities and put them under yucca mountain in nevada which is what they were trying to do which way later discovered was over the largest aqua aquifer in the entire southwest the american people we need to understand that we cannot rely upon this class of people this elite class of people to rule in our favor because they won't they will rule in favor of the bankers they will rule in favor of the major corporations they will rule in favor of the other people in
their club elite. and that they have got it we need to rise up and to assert ourselves and to go into our local city councils our local boards of supervisors and declare they will instruct their law enforcement officials to defy any federal official that tries to come into their jurisdiction to enforce that statute which is clearly and plainly not only unconstitutional but in absolute defiance of the most fundamental principles of our constitution depriving us of free speech freedom of association the right to counsel the right to habeas corpus the most fundamental pillars of our entire constitutional system have been set aside by that particular statute all in the name of alleged anti-terrorism after the bush administration george bush sr sent two hundred fifty thousand united states military forces into the heartland of the oil fields of the middle east to attempt to establish full full spectrum dominance over the natural resources of the planet as soon as the
soviet union voluntarily dissolved that's what we're faced at the present time with in the american people need to wake up and mobilize that's what lawyers are for and that's why the people's advocate is advocating these type of things for all of the people one by one in all collectively that's what i do as a profession in the in the minute a half or two minutes that we have left i'm curious your thoughts on the generational dimension of this you talk about this is some length and the interaction you're oh yeah well what it what it is is there's there's a book that was written by william strauss and neil heil it's called generations the history of america's future and what it points out is that in every hundred year period there are four generations that are born from approximately twenty one to twenty five years each and what the one nine hundred sixty s. the period that's referred to as the sixty's really represented a fundamental confrontation between our generation and the idealist generation of the twenty first century eighty two million people strong in rising up to attempt
to get the world war two generation to come to grips. with the fundamental flaws that we have discovered in the system and now those flaws are coming to full fruition with the massive global climate change that we're confronted with the grossly unstable economy that we have now these are crises that are going to fall upon the new generation the civic generation of the millennium the second largest in the second best educated generation in the history of the world seventy two seventy two million strong we need to form a coalition to organize ourselves to to remedy these fundamental problems because the idealists are aware of what the fundamental ideals of our country are in the civic generation the millennial us are the ones we're going to have to confront and resolve these fundamental crises of the twenty first century that's what william strauss and neil talk about in their book called generations a history of america's future and this is what i discuss at some length in the book to explain why it is that our generation got into such
a major confrontation with the world war two generation of george herbert walker bush and ronald reagan in the others and that is what we need to train our people the next generation the millennial generation to partner with us to address these fundamental crises that's what the book is all about i think that is what the people's advocate is about and i think i think you've actually nailed it in fact it's astounding to me and when i travel around the country speaking on these issues the audiences are made up of people in their twenty's and people in their fifty's and sixty's and seventy's daniel she and you were at a brilliant book you've lived an extraordinary life and you continue to do extraordinary work the people's advocate the life and legal history of america's most fearless public interest lawyer it's been an honor to have you on the program and i thank you for joining us thank you pleasure to be here. to see this and other conversations with a great minds go to our website at conversations in the great minds.
that was a new alert innovation scripts scare me a little bit. there is breaking news tonight and we are continuing to follow the breaking news. alexander's family cry tears of the war and it is great things rather that there has been regarded in a court of war zone. is a story. playing out in real life. coming
up on our t.v. a recent c.n.n. interview may not show the full picture of the russian ambassador to the u.n. claims that his interview was censored including his thoughts on syria a look at what was missing up ahead across the u.s. wal-mart faces more than just a surge of shop earth wal-mart workers gathered in protest demanding better wages and conditions we'll bring you the sights and sounds of this black friday protest coming up and while there is hope for an economic boost from black friday shoppers the future may still be dire the new book the crash of twenty six team it warns of a future economic catastrophe brought about by the dealings of wall street bankers and the government the books writer tom hartman tells us more later in the show.