Human Rights, Civil Rights and Voting Rights – Chip Pitts and Rady Ananda
Mark Bebawi welcomes Chip Pitts back to the show. They will continue last week’s discussion (with Marjorie Cohn), about the recent legislation by Congress. Known as the Military Commission law, the effect is that the President can suspend habeas corpus and other Constitutional protections against arbitrary imprisonment. Last week, Michael Ratner told Amy Goodman: ““This was really, as the senator said, probably the worst piece of legislation I’ve seen in my 40-year career as a lawyer.”
They will also discuss the status of other legislation, and the current legal landscape on human rights.
Chip Pitts is past chair of the Amnesty International USA Board. He has been a national leader with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee movement and the corporate social responsibility movement. He is an international attorney, investor and entrepreneur, and law educator who advises businesses on international, strategic, intellectual property, marketing, legal, and ethics matters. Formerly Chief Legal Officer of Nokia, Inc. and partner at a major global law firm, he is a Lecturer in Law at Stanford University Law School and is a frequent speaker, writer, and commentator on ethical globalization, human rights, and foreign affairs.
Pitts has worked in South Africa against apartheid, represented both the U.S. government and Amnesty International as well as other leading human rights and economic development organizations at the United Nations and international conferences, and provided pro bono representation to hundreds of victims of human rights abuses from all over the world. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and the Pacific Council on Foreign Policy in San Francisco. He has written articles for the Washington Post, The Nation, The American Prospect, the Wall Street Journal, and has provided commentaries for NPR, among others.
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Pokey Anderson welcomes Rady Ananda to the show. Rady is based in Ohio, and will give us an update on the recent election reform conference in Cleveland. Rady is a citzen activist who is NOT in favor of voter-verified paper trails or optical scans; rather, she endorses hand counted paper ballots as the way to cast and count votes.
After working as a paralegal or legal investigator for eight years, then intending to work on environmental issues, Rady switched gears in 2004 when she learned of the dangers of voting on electronic machines. Today she applies her skills in exposing fraud and weaknesses in the US election system, and in crafting solutions that support free, transparent and accurate elections.
When Duke Cunningham was forced from Congress to jail for accepting bribes, a special election to replace him this summer became embroiled in controversy. Rady became involved in July 2006, assisting attorneys and activists in objecting to the illegal conduct of the June 6, 2006 election for Congress in San Diego.
Rady matrilineally descends from Mayflower passenger (and Massachusetts’ first governor), William Bradford. Her great-great grandmother, Sophia Churchill, headed the California Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and set national precedent for WCTU by publicly endorsing women’s suffrage in 1883 at the WCTU’s Annual Convention.
RADY’S QUOTE: “It’s sadly ironic that my ancestors arrived here with a dream that, nearly 400 years later, hasn’t been realized. We’re still fighting for the commoner’s right to vote, for citizens’ right to determine who represents our interests, who protects our fragilities.”
“Grandma Churchill didn’t live long enough to realize her dream of ‘Votes for Women’ but she inspires me today as we resist the privatization of our elections. Democracy is something you do: we citizens need to hand-count paper ballots at the precinct, before all who wish to observe. Corporations should be nowhere near the people’s vote. That’s democracy.”
RELATED WEBSITE, THE CLEVELAND CONFERENCE ON ELECTIONS: