Long-time SALT member Margaret Montoya, Emeritus Professor at University of New Mexico and Senior Advisor to Executive Vice President for UNM Health Sciences Center speaks to the professionals gathered in concurrent programming, discussing the legal market, law schools, and the need for public interest attorneys and the students who can fill those roles.
Natalia Galindez(left), Rocio De Felix (middle), Josue Cruz (right)
Current law students are have organized UPR’s pipeline program ‘ENLACE’ who will see the program’s first participant from 2009, take the LSAT shortly – who is now completing his undergraduate studies. More from him later… ENLACE has put together the majority of today’s program. Many thank to these exceptional students – they will, no doubt, go far in the law.
Reporting in directly from the University of Puerto Rico, Escuela de Derecho, we are currently joining NEPOC and hosting a panel with Judge Jenny Rivera, Roberto Colon from the Hispanic National Bar Association, Rafael Cancel from the Nat’l Association of Environmental Law, Charles Hey-Maestre from Puerto Rico Legal Services, William Ramirez – Executive Director of the ACLU of Puerto Rico, and Ana Irma Rivera-Lassen- the President of the Puerto Rico Bar Association.
Panel 1 for students of Professionals in the Puerto Rican Bar
High school student traveled hours by bus to be here and learn from these and a full day of speakers, how they can approach becoming legal professionals.
The stories of Judge Rivera and Ms. Rivera-Lassen are bringing a light-hearted, but clear message that si se puede, if you apply yourself to school now.
Judge Jenny Rivera(left), Roberto Colon(middle), Adi Martinez – Asst. Dean UPR Law
Professor Raquel Aldana, of University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law introduced the session to students this morning, herself a child of immigrants, herself having come to the United States without speaking English, and herself having graduated from Harvard Law School and working a successful legal career.
Rafael Cancel, is speaking to students about his family history of unlikely introduction to the law with his father who spent years incarcerated, now he serves as the President of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Environmental Law in Puerto Rico. He has students listening intently with his difficult triumph through law school to a career making a difference from a very different life growing up.
More updates to come… but SALT would like to sincerely thank all at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law and the ENLACE volunteer students from the law school who make this pre law program available, and Mariluz Jimenez, who was the driving force organizing on the ground. We are looking forward to an excellent continue to the day.
SALT Professor SpearIt Recognized for 2013 Report: Facts and Fictions about Islam in Prison: Muslim Radicalization in Post-9/11 America2013-11-25 11:17:21
The Institute for Social Policy & Understanding recently recognized SpearIt (second from left) for the 2013 Report referenced by the Islamic Monthly (below).
ARTICLE: The Waning Pulse of Islamic Radicalization in America
If there’s a terrorist attack, you can bet that you’ll hear about it, whether from a newsfeed, internet, television or radio program, or a newspaper. And if a Muslim is behind it, then media coverage will certainly delve deeper into the perpetrator’s religious identity and motives. But, you might have noticed that recently there has been scant headline drama about “homegrown Islamic terrorism.” Lately, Pundits on tv news shows haven’t exactly been ranting about Muslim terrorists lurking in our backyards.
Why, you might ask?
Perhaps because terrorist attacks by Muslim-Americans has been steadily declining over the past few years.
New studies reveal that domestic or “homegrown” terrorism incidents by Muslim-Americans have dropped for the third straight year. This assessment is echoed in the findings of another recent report on Muslim radicalization in American prisons, which asserts that violent extremism emanating from prison is relatively rare. Altogether, the data suggest that the pulse of radicalization in the United States is weakening.
Violent Extremism Falling
Reports from the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Congressional Research Service (CRS) indicate that homegrown terrorism is declining after a brief spike in 2009.
Although these reports confirm a decline, each uses different metrics to arrive at this conclusion. Whereas the former’s methodology uses the number of individuals “indicted for violent terrorist plots” (totaling 209 since 9/11), the latter bases its findings on the number of plots over the same time period (totaling 63). Both sets of data suggest a shift from crime organizations to individual actors behind the plots. Moreover, they indicate the relatively low number of deaths due to religious extremism. According to the Triangle Center, “Since 9/11, Muslim-American terrorism has claimed 33 lives in the United States, out of more than 180,000 murders committed in the United States during this period.”
While these findings may help to reframe the narrative about Islam in America, the idea that prisons are havens for terrorist recruitment continues to lurk. Despite the hard facts, some people remain steadfast in their belief that Muslim-Americans are not to be trusted. Since 9/11, there have been three congressional hearings on prisoner radicalization as well as countless warnings of the growing danger of Muslim prisoners. In a Fox News interview, Representative Peter King illustrated the point, embellishing the danger with a foreign twist: “The only group in prison which is tied to overseas terrorists which is part of an existential threat to the United States are radical Islamist Muslims.” Guided by the perception that prisons are “fertile soil” or “breeding grounds” for terror recruitment, the three hearings have presented little in the way of accurate data on the subject.
What about Jails & Prisons?
A section of the CRS report, titled “Jailhouse Jihadism,” notes tensions between alarmist warnings about Islam in prison and the fact that violent extremism is quite rare. It shows that in the post-9/11 era, there has been only one documented case of prison-based jihadism in the U.S. This, according to the report, is partially due to prison officials’ efforts to counter “jailhouse jihad.” …
Last weekend, I participated in a panel on the illegality of drones and targeted killing off the battlefield at the conference, “Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance,” in Washington DC. Nearly 400 people from many countries came together to gather information, protest, and develop strategies to end targeted killing by combat drones. I found the most compelling presentations to be first-hand accounts by those victimized by U.S. drone attacks, and a former military intelligence analyst who helped choose targets for drone strikes.
Members of a delegation from Yemen provided examples of the devastation drones have wrought in their communities. Faisal bin Ali Jaber is an engineer. For some time, one of his relatives had been giving public lectures criticizing drone attacks. In August 2012, family and friends were celebrating the marriage of Jaber’s son. After the wedding, a drone struck Jaber’s relative, killing him instantly. Jaber lost a brother-in-law who was a known opponent of Al Qaeda, and a 21-year-old nephew in the attack.
Baraa Shaiban, a human rights activist who works with REPRIEVE, revealed that 2012 was a year that saw “drones like never before” in Yemen. She described the death of a mother and daughter from a drone strike. “The daughter was holding the mother so tight, they could not be separated. They had to be buried together.”
Two members of Al Qaeda were in Entesar al Qadhi’s village, one of the most oil rich areas of Yemen. Villagers were negotiating with the two men. A drone killed the chief negotiator, scuttling the negotiations and leaving the village vulnerable to Al Qaeda. “The drones are for Al Qaeda, not against Al Qaeda,” al Qadhi said.
Air Force Col. Morris Davis (ret.) is a professor at Howard University Law School. He was chief prosecutor at the Guantanamo military commissions until he was reassigned due to his disagreement with the government’s policies. Davis had been assigned to a chain of command below Defense Department General Counsel William Haynes, who favored the use of evidence gained through waterboarding. “The guy who said waterboarding is A-okay I was not going to take orders from. I quit,” Davis said at the time. At the Drone Summit, Davis related the case of Nek Muhammad, who, Davis noted, “was not a threat to us. He was killed as a favor to the Pakistani government so they would look the other way when we wanted to kill our targets.”
Daniel Hale helped choose targets for drone attacks. The former intelligence analyst with the Joint Special Operations Command in Afghanistan delivered a riveting talk. Hale utilized surveillance data for drone attacks. He would tell the sensor operator – who sits next to the “pilot” of the unmanned drone thousands of miles from the target – where to point the camera. This information would guide the “pilot” in dropping the bomb.
Every day, a slideshow of the most dramatic images from 9/11 and George W. Bush “looking somber” would be projected in the room in which Hale worked. On the wall in the main facility, there were television screens, each showing “a different bird [drone] in a different part of the country.” Every branch of the U.S. military and foreign militaries monitored “all of Afghanistan.” Hale would be assigned a mission “to go after a specific individual for nefarious activities.” He fed his intelligence to a sensor operator “so they would know where to look before a kinetic strike or detention” of an individual.
On one occasion, Hale located an individual who had been involved with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The man was riding a motorcycle in the mountains early in the morning. He met up with four other people around a campfire drinking tea. Hale relayed the information that led to a drone strike, which killed all five men. Hale had no idea whether the other four men had done anything. Hale had thought he was part of an operation protecting Afghanistan. But when the other four men died – a result of “guilt by association” – Hale realized he “was no longer part of something moral or sane or rational.” He had heard someone say that “terrorists are cowards” because they used IEDs. “What was different,” Hale asked, “between that and the little red joy stick that pushes a button thousands of miles away”?
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, past president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Her book, “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues,” will be published next year by University of California Press.
Today the NYC Bar Association issued its report on the changing times for the legal profession along with recommendations for easing new lawyers into practice, especially serving the moderate income client. This is an important document, especially in light of the controversy within the ABA Council on Legal Education, so I wanted to pass it along to you. http://www2.nycbar.org/pdf/developing-legal-careers-and-delivering-justice-in-the-21st-century.pdf
Submitted by SALT former executive director:
Hazel Weiser/Assistant Dean for Graduate and Continuing Legal Programs and Associate Director of the American Business Law LLM /New York Law School