Podcast Show #105: Who is the New John Yoo?

The Boiling Frogs Show Presents Jesselyn Radack

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Jesselyn Radack joins us to talk about the case of CIA officer John Kiriakou and his decision to plead to a lesser charge, and the abuse of the Espionage Act and persecution-prosecution of government whistleblowers by President Obama. Ms. Radack shares her own experience as a whistleblower, and answers the question, “who is the new John Yoo”.

Listen to the Preview Clip Here


Jesselyn Radack is the former DOJ legal ethics advisor who blew the whistle on government misconduct in the case of the so-called "American Taliban," John Walker Lindh--America's first terrorism prosecution after 9/11. She is currently the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project. Her writing has appeared in the L.A. Times, Washington Post, Salon, Legal Times, National Law Journal, and The Nation. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, Ms. Radack lives in Washington, D.C.

Here is our guest Jesselyn Radack unplugged!


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  1. Another great interview, and I enjoy the level of info conveyed, but for God’s sake Peter B. Collin’s stop using language like you’re seeing a “troubling pattern” in these sorts of retaliatory actions or unprecedented uses of the Espionage Act. Think again (for the thousandth time) about the destruction the gov’t is wreaking all over the world, fraudulent behavior being covered for on Wall Street, the absolute precariousness of our lives at the mercy of these out of control people… these are CRIMINALS, and we are in SERIOUS TROUBLE. This is not going to end well if we can’t confront it head on. I mean the 2012 NDAA? Are you kidding me? IMPEACH NOW!

  2. jschoneboom says:

    Loved it, thanks (and I wouldn’t change Peter B Collins at all!)

    @Luke, I agree with you — IMPEACH NOW — but let’s face it that’s not going to happen, and even if it did we’d just get another one just like him. I think Peter’s measured and non-hysterical approach serves the cause tremendously well.

  3. I think you can be justifiably angry and articulate a strong case for impeachment without being hysterical. I think it’s a mistake to downplay the gravity of the situation, even with subtle word choice. Plenty of leftists called for the impeachment of Bush, and that was not a hysterical vocalization. No, it didn’t happen, and if a handful of people say impeach Obama, it’s not going to happen this time either. But that’s not the point. It’s a long term strategy of not being afraid to basically verbalize the truth and create the necessary intellectual and emotional space for people to feel it’s acceptable to call for seemingly “drastic” action against criminals and murderers. Only in this Orwellian world would it be considered radical or hysterical to call for the impeachment of a president who has shredded the rule of law and is destroying the sovereignty of other nations while allowing corporate criminals to run free. I too enjoy the cool articulateness of Peter B, but I would argue in this case, the cause is not being served well. If we are too afraid to unequivocally call out the president for his impeachable offenses, regardless of our projected ability for achieving impeachment, then we have already lost. If we can’t at least intellectually mobilize around something this obvious, (if not spend the countless hours needed to organize a real effort) when things fall completely apart, there will be no rule of law (as we understand it), there will be no alliances of empowered citizens to push back. And yes, even if an impeachment is successful, we would likely get another like the last. Which means we should not ONLY call for impeachment, but also start looking for other creative solutions as well.

  4. jschoneboom says:

    I completely agree with all of that, and as a matter of fact I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time the last two or three days ranting to a mixed group of right and left wing friends that Obama is a liar, a hypocrite, and a murderer, and it’s insane that people aren’t piling into buses by the hundreds of thousands to surround the White House and rock it back and forth until the President falls out so we can put him in jail for life. So I hear you my brother.

    It’s just that I’ve found, when I say these kinds of things to people who are not as, let me self-indulgently say, awake as I am, I can see that my bold talk is in itself in some sense preventing the information from being processed. Instead of absorbing and evaluating the information, my friends — friends! — are spending a good percentage of their brain activity thinking “ooh that just sounds a bit strident for my tastes.” They’re not equipped for the full…THEY CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! To coin a phrase.

    It’s good that I say it anyway. It shakes them up a bit and they dearly need that. It creates space, as you so aptly say. But by itself, I don’t believe it will do the job. I think they need, IN ADDITION, a more gently nudging voice, preferably a classic deep authoritative radio voice, emanating calm and rationality and good humor and just that touch of indignation and concern, and nudging them along in digestible increments. That also creates space. I help that voice get heard, and that voice helps me.

    So what I really mean to say is: Diversity is good. A multiplicity of approaches and styles, all mutually reinforcing and, with any luck, relentlessly carving and carving until there’s room for outrageously obvious truth in the national conversation.

  5. Bill Bergman says:

    “… we were just doing our job …”

  6. @jschoneboom

    I hope you’re right, because we certainly have that diversity of presentation and opinion and not a lot of time IMO. I do fear that the kind of change we need will get watered down to the point of inefficacy if there are not enough strong voices, or perhaps even worse, strong voices will emerge as things descend, but they will not be coming from the people we would want. (ie, when time runs out, we will be choosing between one armed faction over another) I also think it’s great that you’re talking to people across the spectrum. As far as mutually reinforcing goes, that’s a toughy. For example: One person would say, things are bad, but it’s better than the other party. One would say, things are bad, we should have voted third party. One would say, things are bad, there’s no point in voting at all. They might all see similar problems, but is the end result really mutually reinforcing, given the results are drastically different? I understand reaching out is critical, but diluting the message can also be like putting a band-aid on an amputation…it’s analogous to the correct approach, but because it doesn’t go far enough, you might as well kick the amputee in the head and make off with his wallet, (which is another approach within a range of options.) In other words, sometimes diversity is good, and sometimes it is a hindrance to what really needs to be done, and sometimes we just need to tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may. It’s a difficult situation, and I don’t claim to know how to handle it, but those people who can’t handle the truth now certainly won’t be handling martial law very well. BTW good luck in your conversations.

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