First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers


Canadian Attorney Rocco Galati has announced that he'll no longer be representing terror suspects. Galati had most recently secured the release of Canadian citizen Abdurahman Khadr from Guantanamo Bay. A death threat (which Galati believes may have come from a U.S. or Canadian intelligence agency) has deterred him—and perhaps others?—from defending those charged with links to terror.

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  1. Khadr told reporters neither he nor his family have any links to terrorism, but admitted he spent three months in 1998 learning to use Russian assault rifles at an al-Qaida-linked camp in Afghanistan.

    “I don’t have links to terrorists. I just have links to al-Qaida!”

    Out of curiousity, why do you believe this lawyer’s story?

  2. I believe this is the first time I’ve ever seen someone use that Shakespearean quote in its proper context – how do we set up a dictatorship? First, let’s kill all the lawyers.

  3. Now he can go back to defending his other clients, like mafia hit men and child molesters.

  4. perhaps not quite, joe. it is, in fact, a utopian fantasy of one of shakespeare’s characters, and hardly an affirmation of the need for lawyers. this is a popular (among the legal community, at least) revisionist interpretation, unlikely to have arisen in shakespeare’s england where lawyers served functions other than protecting individual freedoms.

  5. I may have been CIA trained, but I’m in no way affiliated with the US government. At least that’s what they told me to say.

  6. Galati represented a client who, by his own admission, palled around with the people who murdered three thousand people in New York and Washington two years ago.

    Maybe one of the victims’ relatives or friends was the one who made the death threat.

  7. joe,

    It’s a long time since I’ve read the quote in the original context. But I believe it referred to a peasant revolt on the pattern of John Ball/Wat Tyler.

    That’s something I’d tend to sympathize with (and would have expected you to, for that matter).

  8. It is hard to believe anyone taking this lawyer seriously. Now there’s courage under fire: an anonymous guy calls a lawyer from a payphone and makes a death threat, and said lawyer buckles under and drops all seven of his terrorism-related cases. And then he calls it an ‘institutional threat’. His evidence to support this claim? None. Welcome to the theater of the absurd, you just bought his cheap publicity stunt.

  9. Waaaaaaaaah! I get death threats all the time for rooting for the Cubs against the White Sox.

    The calls may or may have come from US Intelligence agents. 😉

  10. “Canadian intelligence?”

    But, seriously, a search of indymedia with “galati” returned 0 hits. Does that mean he’s telling the truth?

  11. Oops, mixed up the characters’ names. So instead of the villian saying it, it’s one of his sniveling underlings. Still not somebody whose idead I’d want to be quoting.

  12. If you don’t have lawyers defending, you can’t have a trial. You can’t convict in spite of the best defense unless somebody supplies the best defense. In short the problem is not the defense, which is supposed to be there and has to be there, but what the juries accept as good arguments. The best defense is whatever it has to be, is all.

  13. Khadr told reporters neither he nor his family have any links to terrorism, but admitted he spent three months in 1998 learning to use Russian assault rifles at an al-Qaida-linked camp in Afghanistan.

    Just felt this sentence was worth repeating.

  14. Mark, I can’t take literary analysis very seriously from someone who renders the quote as “First, let’s kill all the lawyer,” and asks us “Now, compares this to the description given by the web page Lawyers are Our Friends!” The Utopia is a web of politician’s promises, in order to gain support for his cause. Whoopie.

    Kevin, a murderer and pretender to the throne uses the line to demogogue for his cause, along with the abolition of money and promises of universal prosperity, in order to whip up support for his coup. And I’m supposed to sympathize because the people he’s using are poor?

  15. lol — joe, i don’t think you even need the extraneous analysis. just read the original — something few do. it analyzes itself.

  16. The link provides the original dialogue. The play’s villian is talking about what he’d do if he became king.

  17. no, the line is delivered by a sarcastic underling (dick the butcher) following on the ambitious villian’s (jack cade) promises of a utopian state.

    Be brave, then; for your captain is brave, and vows reformation. There shall be in England seven half-penny loaves sold for a penny: the three-hoop’d pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it felony to drink small beer: all the realm shall be in common; and in Cheapside shall my palfrey go to grass: and when I am king,- as king I will be,-

    God save your majesty!

    I thank you, good people:- there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

    The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.

    Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled o’er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings: but I say, ’tis the bee’s wax; for I did but seal once to a thing, and I was never mine own man since.- How now! who’s there?

    that’s funny stuff!

  18. Killing all the lawyers is a capital idea. That mean demand goes up when I graduate in two years.

    – Josh, capitalist

  19. My wife, a born South Sider, became an ardent Cub fan when she started going out with me.

    Even though I suspect her of secret sympathy for that other team I have decided based on my merciful nature to not harm her in any way. As long as she holds her sympathies in check. And I don’t get any threatening phone calls about her perfidy.

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