My short bio:

Daniel Sheehan’s involvement in some of the most important legal cases of our time has given him an inside look at the threatening rise of the national security state. Daniel Sheehan believes that cities and states need to declare themselves “Constitutional Protection Zones” to stop the National Defense Authorization Act from being enforced.

Daniel P. Sheehan is “The People’s Advocate”; through his various historically significant cases Sheehan has proven himself as America’s pre-eminent cause lawyer. A Harvard-Law graduate, Sheehan has worked on well-known cases such as The Pentagon Papers Case and The Watergate Burglary Case. Additionally, he was the Chief Attorney for The Karen Silkwood Case, as well as the Chief Trial Counsel on The American Sanctuary Movement Case. Other well-known cases include The Greensboro Massacre, Three-Mile Island Accident, and his famous Iran/Contra Federal Civil Racketeering Case against the off-the-shelf covert operators who were working with Oliver North in the illegal Contra war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

Sheehan is currently the Lead Attorney and General Counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project (LPLP), a project of The Romero Institute (the successor of the Christic Insitute, a nonprofit law and public policy center that combined investigation with high-impact litigation, public education, and grassroots organizing). LPLP is currently working to end the epidemic of human and federal rights violations of Lakota families. These include illegal seizures of Lakota children and illegal placements of 90% of these children in non-Native homes, in violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

The recent publishing of his autobiography, “The People’s Advocate”, has prompted Sheehan to give talks explaining how he witnessed the rise of the national security state from an inside perspective. More information and updates about Daniel Sheehan and his projects can be found at:

My recently published autobiography:

My proof

Comments: 245 • Responses: 10  • Date: 

wohohow76 karma

What do you think is and should be the role of whistleblowers in US politics? What degree of tolerance and/or protection should they be given?

LakotaLawProjectSC168 karma

I believe that any person who comes into possession of direct evidence of criminal conduct has a moral obligation to make that information public, unless the criminal activity, or the activity that has deemed to be criminal, is in fact activity that has been undertaken to try to stop a greater evil. There is a doctrine in law called "the Necessity Defense," that for example, allows a person to run out into a public highway and to violate the criminal law against jaywalking in order to rescue an infant who has crawled onto the highway and might be run over by traffic-- that the person if they were prosecuted for jaywalking, that the defense should come to the aid of that person demonstrating that they committed that act only to prevent a greater wrong.

So, with regard to whistle-blowers, if a whistle-blower were to violate a stature which bound them to secrecy, concerning particular information, if they were to determine, in good faith, that they were required to violate that criminal prohibition to keep secret information they learned in their capacity as am employee of a government agency, because they had learned that our United States government was engaged in criminal conduct of a substantially more serious nature than of their oath, that they should be defended by responsible attorneys and also they should be allowed to provide that information to journalists. And journalists should be protected against being compelled to provide the identity of that source to government prosecutors who are intending to punish the source of that information as a means of both shutting off any continued flow of that information to the American public and to chill any future whistle-blowers.

Narcosist64 karma

What are your thoughts on many companies now including "no lawsuits" clauses in their Terms of Service, forcing users to give up their right to participate in class-action lawsuits, or even go to court?

LakotaLawProjectSC113 karma

I think that they are unconscionable, there is a specific category of law designated as unconscionable provisions in contracts, and prior to the assent of the federalist society plurality of judges within the course system of our country, such provisions were constantly stuck down by courts as being the function of the un-torrid assertion of comparative power on the part of these companies. But in light of the assent to power in our country's court system in the past 30 years of an ever increasing number of pro-corporate, anti-individual favoritism, the history of which i would refer you to a recent book entitled the "federalist society- how the conservatives took the law back from liberals" by Michael Avery. Since they've taken over the judicial system, there is an ever decreasing likelihood that one could solicit their support for an effort to expunge such provisions from contracts. I view these provisions to be unconscionable, however the only way to expunge these provisions from contracts is for liberals and progressives to re-assert ourselves politically so as to be in a position to nominate liberal and progressive judges to replace these reactionary judges that have filled our court system over the past 30 years, that if we succeed in this mission we will once again be able to have fair and impartial judges on the bench and be abel to challenge such provisions in contracts and have them set aside by the courts. But we have our work cut-out for us in this regard.

LakotaLawProjectSC31 karma

Hey guys, thanks for all your great questions! I have to run off to meet with Emmylou Harris' manager at 8:30 tonight, but I hope we can do this again at a later date. -Danny

DeadHead-27 karma

In your opinion is the Constitution a "living" document that changes as we evolve as a nation?

LakotaLawProjectSC52 karma

Yes, it's been thoroughly discussed that the founders intended to leave the phrases such as, "the rights privileges and immunities of citizens of the US" and the right to the pursuit of happiness as general phrases that were to be filled in pursuant to the doctrine of natural law as it was set forth in the Scottish enlightenment. For details of the content one can refer to the course in Moral Philosophy that was taught by Professor John Witherspoon at the College of New Jersey to James Madison and four of the original Supreme Court Justices, 37 of the original federal judges, 10 of the original cabinet officers, 12 members of the continental congress, 21 US senators, and 39 of the original US congressmen. That he taught at the college of New Jersey from 1768-1794 and was an original member of the US continental congress. So that the evolving rights privileges and immunities of the citizens of the US was intended to follow the ever increasing evolution of consciousness of the citizenry. One can also read Teilhard Chardan for an understand of this teleologically progressive evolution of consciousness theory of human rights.

martindelete17 karma

Is it possible to the compare the Watergate Scandal to the current NSA surveillance scandal in your opinion?

What if Obama had access to Romney's campaign leader's phone during the elections for example Thanks

LakotaLawProjectSC58 karma

In one respect, the Watergate burglary can be viewed as a simple, dirty trick on the part of Richard Nixon to attempt to "spy on" Lawrence O'Brien, who was the newly elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, in order to learn the tactics of the Democratic Party in the 1972 general election. In that narrow respect, the use of illegal surveillance-- bugging equipment placed-- is directly analogous to the type of spying, and to some of the spying activities, that are being undertaken by the NSA and the Obama administration to, for example, eavesdrop on the private cell phone communications of the political leaders of other countries. We have also seen repeatedly that the NSA and the CIA and other "spy organizations" have consistently, or at least repeatedly, directed their attention to domestic activities, such as Operation Shamrock, Operation Chaos, the Co-Intel Pro operation of the FBI, and the repeated use by the Department of Justice of electronic surveillance information gained under the rubric of 'National Security' monitoring for mundane criminal law enforcement purposes. So the warning put into the US Constitution prohibiting the State, whether it be national or local state officials, entering into expected zones of privacy and extracting private information and communications, has always been restricted to those vary narrow cases, in which executive branch officials were required to go to a truly independent judicial officer and secure a ruling from that independent judicial officer that the state law enforcement officials were already in possession of evidence of the fact that a specific individual had committed a specific crime, and that it was more probable than not that direct evidence of that crime could be obtained in that narrow area to be searched; but that narrow area had to be defined very narrowly and the evidence had to be provided by the executive to the judicial branch ahead of time, and THAT is the constitutional standard. And THAT is what has been flagrantly disregarded by the executive under Richard Nixon's administration, President Reagan, President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush Jr, and similarly disregarded by the Obama administration. This is fundamentally contrary to the constitutional principles in which our country was founded. In short, Barack Obama, with regard to foreign surveillance, is just as guilty of violating constitutional principles as Richard Nixon was in the Watergate Hotel.

specter37611 karma

Was there ever a time that you thought you might lose a case but came back with a last-minute victory?

LakotaLawProjectSC43 karma

I've never thought that I would ever lose a case.

LakotaLawProjectSC52 karma

The only case that I ever did lose was the Iran-Contra case and that was because the federal judge fragrantly violated the rules of federal civil procedure and later turned out to have been a member of the board of directors of Meyer Lansky's Miami National Bank, which was later proven to be directly involved in funneling money from the mafia into covert operations against the island of Cuba which was a specific set of charges that were made in the lawsuit that was filed in the Iran-Contra case. This meant that this particular judge should have been recused from sitting on that case due to his direct conflict of interest. Our failure to have him recused is what caused us to lose that case.

C3ntralS3rvic3s9 karma

You make an excellent point about the differences in worldviews between East and West in your example about Chess and Go. In what ways does the United States need to broaden its worldview in order to successfully create a working relationship with China?

Between the two, which game do you prefer, Chess or Go?

LakotaLawProjectSC38 karma

It is essential to understand that the present Chinese government has adopted many capitalist principles, and has basically, since 1972, progressively retreated from its' prior socialist principles and values. It has, however, retained many of the authoritarian qualities of a former Marxist state, such as those portrayed in the Soviet Union and in China prior to 1972. So the worldview of China under the present Chinese Communist Party dictatorship does not reflect the same worldview as the Chinese culture that generated the game of Go, or the great Chinese philosophies of Zen Buddhism and others. If in fact the people of China either gradually or as precipitously necessary can return to the values of the great Chinese culture and shed the authoritarian qualities of the former Marxist state, and begin to mollify some of the unfortunate principles that have poisoned the economic system in both the East and the West, then it could present a significant alternative to the elitist, capitalist cultures that characterize both China and the United States at the present time. If in fact that situation were to transpire, and the checkers and chess playing Western civilization were to be seeking a constructive and positive relationship with the traditional Chinese Go playing culture, then an interesting conversation could take place between the two. However, if in fact we need to address the present Chinese culture, which has seized upon a number of the dialectical values of the Western Hegelian system, making it like the Western capitalist system, a culture that has embraced the fundamental philosophies of "right-Hegelianism" which underlay the Western capitalist system, while still retaining a number of these authoritarian qualities of a left-Hegelian culture such as pre-1972 China and Soviet Union, I am afraid that the worldview that is shared by both cultures, this being a second-paradigm materialist worldview, bodes great hardship for our human family in the comparatively near future. This is because both cultures as dialectical materialistic cultures, will be projecting negative qualities upon the other, because each requires a "ultimate other" as the engine-- the source of energy for its civilization and culture, and so long as both nations are in possession of thermonuclear weapons, I am concerned the future that has been projected by Samuel P Huntington in his historic work titled "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order" (in which he predicts an ultimate nuclear confrontation between China and the Western world led by the United States), is more likely than not. So I would strongly support ALL necessary peaceful actions to be undertaken by the citizens of China to re-establish the traditional Chinese culture and the profound values of their Buddhist culture, and I would suggest citizens of the United States to take actions to bring our country back to the natural law constitutional principles on which we were founded, and if both of our citizens are successful in these campaigns, I believe we can forestall what has been predicted by Samuel Huntington as to what will be the inevitable future facing our two nations.

In response to the chess/go question: let me tell you a story. One of the most famous Tai-Chi Masters was asked to identify his favorite pupil. His response was, "Let me describe my three favorite pupils. I designed a test, in which I created a doorway that had a bag of rice placed on a tiny platform inside the doorway, and I instructed my third-favorite pupil to pass through that doorway. So my third-favorite pupil opened the door, and as soon as the bag of rice began to fall, he realized that it was there, and he leaped up and pinned it to the wall." Gasps of surprise filled the room, and then the Tai-Chi master was asked, "Well what of your second-favorite student?" And the Tai-Chi Master responded, "I said 'Go pass through that door.' And my second-favorite pupil opened the door. And before the bag of rice even began to fall he noticed its presence, and leaped up and pinned it to the wall." Louder manifestations of surprise filled the room. And the master was asked, "Well what of your best student?" And he replied, "I turned to my best student and said 'Go Pass through that door,' and she replied 'No, Master.'"

lindarae7 karma

Can you tell us a bit more about becoming “Constitutional Protection Zones,” including whether an unincorporated area can become such?

LakotaLawProjectSC14 karma

The concept of the Constitutional Protection Zone has its origins in the earlier creation on the part of a number of us in the public interest community of "nuclear free zones". This movement occurred back in the 1970s and early 1980s when we had successfully stopped the construction of any new private nuclear power plants through our victories in the Karen Silkwood in Oklahoma and the Three Mile Island case in Pennsylvania. The response of the federal executive branch (whose leaders favored the further development of private nuclear power) was to advocate that the almost full storage tanks and facilities on the grounds of the 103 private nuclear reactors throughout the United States should be pumped into vessels and transported on trains and trucks through the various states across the country and all brought to a single waste facility under Yucca mountain in the state of Nevada. The purpose of emptying these storage facilities would be to allow those 103 private nuclear power plants to continue operating beyond the expiration of their previously designated "safe operating lifespan." We were convinced if we could top the transport of these waste materials from those facilities they would soon reach their full capacity and would require the shutting down of those private nuclear facilities and since we had stopped the construction of any new private nuclear facilities through our victories in the Karen Silkwood case and the Three Mile Island case this would require the shutting down of the still-operative 103 private nuclear facilities. In order to stop the success of that federal program we informed hundreds of city councils and county boards of supervisors throughout the country of the danger that was posed to their communities by the program being proposed by the federal government to transport through their communities these vessels filled with deadly radioactive nuclear waste. We pointed out the vessels were not adequately designed to contain the nuclear material in the event of an accident involving any of the trucks or trains such as we witnessed repeatedly, for example, up in Canada within the past 3 months. The materials that were provided by the government to transport these materials were proven to rupture if they fell from the truck or the train. We provided information to these city councils and boards of supervisors that the tanks would generate deadly radioactive contamination that would totally destroy their entire communities and counties and would result in hundreds of thousands of deaths. But - the federal government was perfectly willing to transfer that risk to those communities in favor of the owners of the 103 private nuclear facilities. So based on this information we asked the city councils and the county boards of supervisors to enact legislation declaring their geographic ares of jurisdiction to be "nuclear free zones" prohibiting all nuclear materials from being transported into their legal jurisdiction. As a result of the passage of these resolutions the federal government was stopped from transporting these materials through these jurisdictions and it has required the closing of a number of nuclear power plants in the country who were unable to store any more material at their facilities. In the face of the enactment in December of 2011 of the National Defense Authorization act - which authorizes us military forces to seize any private american citizen and place them in military detention without any probable cause to believe that they have committed any crime and to hold them indefinitely without any right to appear before a magistrate to determine that they have committed any violation of law and to continue to hold the citizen in military detention without the right to any attorney or to notify any family of where they are and to subject that citizen to a military tribunal, which can prosecute them without the right to any attorney to represent them, and to confront them with charges with the nature of which can never be revealed to them and evidence that they do not even know, we felt it presented a danger to every American citizen in every American town and county that would have been equal to the danger to which they would have been exposed had dangerous radioactive waste materials been transported through their communities in the 1980s. So, we have proposed that these cities and counties across the country establish now, rather than nuclear free zones, instead constitutional protection zones, instructing their law enforcement officers (city police and county sheriffs) to prohibit any federal officer from coming into their jurisdiction and attempting to arrest a citizen of that Constitutional Protection Zone under the authority of the National Defense Authorization act. Moreover, we have asked that each city and county through the resolution that it enacts, declaring its jurisdiction to be a Constitutional Protection Zone, direct their law enforcement authorities to utilize all necessary force required to prevent the enforcement of this National Defense Authorization act within their jurisdiction. Yes, this means the resort to armed force against federal officials who would attempt to enforce such a blatantly and transparently unconstitutional - indeed anti-constitutional statute within their jurisdiction. I believe that a nationwide campaign to enact such resolutions in every major city and county in the country is called for in light of the outrage that is the National Defense Authorization act. As to whether or not such a resolution could be obtained governing an unincorporated area, one would merely need to ascertain what the local jurisdictional authority is of the nearest juridical authority, whether it be a township, a county, or a city or village. Just ascertain who the state authority is who is in charge of law enforcement is in your particular area, and you would solicit the resolution from that legislative body. I should point out for those of you who might be reluctant to undertake such a campaign, that the California state legislature has already enacted a resolution directing all California state law enforcement officials to refrain from taking any steps to enforce the National Defense Authorization act. However, this is insufficient, because it is not state officers or local police officers who would enforce the National Defense Authorization act, it would be federal law enforcement officials and US military officials so while the spirit of the resolution of the legislation passed by the California state legislature is praiseworthy and politically important as a symbol, it lacks teeth. What the California state legislature should have done is to instruct its law enforcement officers to stop any federal law enforcement officer or US military officer or agent from taking steps to enforce that statute within their jurisdiction. California should lead the way in having its cities and counties take this additional step so as to persuade that California state legislature to strengthen its resolution accordingly and all other jurisdictions should follow suit. But do not wait for California to do this - undertake that same campaign in your town in your city, in your county and then in your state so that you can help lead the way in protecting our citizens' constitutional rights against such a tyrannical statute.

DeadHead-4 karma

Do you see a similarity in our involvement with the Contra war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua in the 80's ...... and our current issues revolving around Benghazi today?

LakotaLawProjectSC15 karma

Both the American involvement in supporting the fascist dictatorship of Samosa in Nicaragua and the later support of his La Guardia military forces in the form of their incarnation as the Contras, and the activities that the HW Bush administration, W Bush administration and Obama admin., re engaging in the middle east to attempt to superimpose upon the indigenous tribal cultures an imperialistic regime dedicated to extracting the financial resources from those regions, in the latter case the oil form the middle east, are both manifestations of a foreign policy that was most starkly identified in the 1992 US defense department policy planning guidance document that was authored by Richard Cheyenne's staff in the defense department immediately following the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 31, 1991. This is the doctrine of full spectrum dominance that was stated in and only slightly more watered down version in the second iteration of the 1992 US defense department policy planning guidance doc entitled the projection of US military power in the 21 century and beyond. Authored by G H W Bush and the director of covert operations for the CIA, Theodore Shackley. The stated objective of both programs were to "maintain the continued privileged access to the strategic raw materials necessary for the members of the northern industrial alliance". This northern industrial alliance was to be made up of the US, Canada, the Castilian Spanish minority governing Mexico thorough the Pri, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Italy and the new re-unified Germany, in the post Cold War era, along with Russia- now that Russia has spun off all of its "ethnic provinces". One will note that all of these nation states are caucasian, so in short, you see that the doctrine of full spec dominance is a foreign policy that is advocated at the highest levels of the American executive branch expressly designed to extract the resources of indigenous people around the world for the benefit of the 6% of the population of the world, who are caucasian. So you can see in fact that both the involvement of the executive branch in support of Samosa's troops in Nicaragua is virtually identical of the foreign military invasion and occupation that is currently underway on the part of the US in the middle east which is being apposed by the Muslim Brotherhood, whom one can assume were behind the attack on the US embassy on Benghazi, attempting to drive the Western powers out of the middle east.