Democracy Now! September 19, 2001

Program Title:
Democracy Now! September 19, 2001
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LONE REPRESENTATIVE BARBARA LEE RESISTS BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S PUSH FOR WAR In the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon last week the US Congress voted almost unanimously to authorize President Bush to use military force to fight terrorism. Almost. Representative Barbara Lee of Oakland cast the only dissenting vote against the use of force. It's a position she has become accustomed to. Barbara Lee cast one of only five votes against the renewed bombing of Iraq in 1998. In 1999 she cast the lone dissenting vote against the bombing of Yugoslavia. This week Barbara Lee was placed under guard by Capitol Police after receiving threats from people opposed to her position. As the Bush Administration and Congress try and prepare the nation for war, it is Barbara Lee whose actions have given voice to people around the country who are beginning to mobilize for peace. Guest: Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat from California representing the Bay Area. THE FIRST REPORTER TO INTERVIEW THE HEAD OF THE TALIBAN, AND THE LAST TO INTERVIEW OSAMA BIN LADEN Today, the leader of Afghanistan's Taliban movement appealed to the United States for patience in its call for Osama bin Laden to be handed over as a prime suspect in attacks on New York and Washington last week, and asked to see proof in the case. The United States has warned Afghanistan to surrender the Saudi exile, whom Washington believes is behind the attacks that left nearly 6,000 people dead and missing. "Anyone who is responsible for this act, Osama or not, we will not side with him," said Afghanistan's interior minister. But in talks with the delegation from Pakistan, the Taliban said they needed "proof" before they would consider turning the millionaire exile over for trial in an Islamic country. In a speech read out to a meeting of hundreds of clerics gathered in the presidential palace in Kabul, the spiritual leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar said, "We want America to gather complete information and find the culprits." Omar said that international pressure over bin Laden had another goal, destruction of the Islamic state. He told the clerics, "The enemies of this country look on the Islamic system as a thorn in their eye and they seek different excuses to finish it off," he said. "Osama bin Laden is one of these." Pakistani officials left Afghanistan yesterday after trying to convince the Taliban that if they do not hand over the Saudi-born militant their turbaned fighters will face the full wrath of the world's most powerful military force. Evidence could be submitted to the Afghan Supreme Court or to clerics of three Islamic nations, he said. The US say the grand council of clerics, or shura, could decide on what to do about bin Laden and whether to back the call of the Taliban leader for a jihad, or holy war, against the United States if the country is attacked. A U.S. team of intelligence and military officials is expected this week to visit Pakistan, one of just three nations to recognize the Taliban government, to discuss what Bush has described as the first war of the 21st century. The U.S. ambassador to Islamabad on Wednesday held out the prospect of a broad aid plan for Pakistan in talks over basing U.S. troops on Islamabad's territory for retaliatory attacks. As tensions mounted in the region, the Taliban asked U.S. news channel CNN to remove its correspondent from Afghanistan. The British High Commission in Islamabad told diplomatic dependents and nonessential staff to leave Pakistan. Rahim-Uooah Yusufzai, a former BBC correspondent for Pakistan, is the editor of the News, a Peshawar-based English daily. He is the last reporter to interview Osama bin Laden. In 1999, bin Laden spoke to Yusufzai at a small encampment in the Afghan desert, which was published in Time magazine. Yusufzai is also the first and only reporter to interview Mullah Mohammed Omar, head of the Taliban. The reclusive, one-eyed leader, is considered a chief protector of bin Laden. Yusufzai spoke to Omar shortly after he founded the Taliban in 1994. When Yusfzai spoke to Omar in 1994, he had never agreed to be interviewed before. Guest: Rahim-Uooah Yusufzai, editor of News, an English Daily in Peshwar, Pakistan. Story: THE FIRST REPORTER TO INTERVIEW THE HEAD OF THE TALIBAN, AND THE LAST TO INTERVIEW OSAMA BIN LADEN (CONT.) SECOND HOUR NEWS HEADLINES MANUFACTURING CONSENT: HOW THE MASS MEDIA HELPS THE GOVERNMENT MOBILIZE FOR WAR In the wake of the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, most commentators and editors focused on one theme: violent revenge. Here are a few selections: Syndicated columnist Ann Coulter wrote in the New York Daily News the day after the attack: "This is no time to be precious about locating the exact individuals directly involved in this particular terrorist attack.... We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war." The same day, Steve Dunleavy wrote in the New York Post: "The response to this unimaginable 21st-century Pearl Harbor should be as simple as it is swift-- kill the bastards. A gunshot between the eyes, blow them to smithereens, poison them if you have to. As for cities or countries that host these worms, bomb them into basketball courts." Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger said on CNN the day of the attack, "There is only one way to begin to deal with people like this, and that is you have to kill some of them even if they are not immediately directly involved in this thing." And In a letter to the Washington Post on September 13, Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review wrote, "America roused to a righteous anger has always been a force for good... If we flatten part of Damascus or Tehran or whatever it takes, that is part of the solution." The media not only media also amplifies the voices of pundits who call for war, but also citizens: very few proponents of peace are given a forum on television or the newspapers. Right now we're going to take a look at the media coverage of the devastating September 11 attack and the preparations for war, as well as the role that the U.S. media has played in previous wars. Guests: Jenine Jackson, program director of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) and co-host of Counterspin. Dan Hallin, professor of communications at the University of California, San Diego, and author of The "Uncensored" War: The Media and Vietnam, and We Keep America on Top of the World: Television Journalism and the Public Sphere. Related link: FAIR Story: ORGANIZING FOR PEACE AND PROTEST IN A TIME OF TRAGEDY: A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION WITH PEACE AND ANTI-GLOBALIZATION ACTIVISTS As the country prepares for war, activists around the country are beginning to discuss plans for peace. Because of the September 11 tragedy, the IMF and World Bank have indefinitely postponed their planned late-September meetings. Demonstrations planned against the meetings were expected to draw close to 100,000 protesters. Dozens of social justice and anti-globalization groups have been organizing the protests for months, and so have DC authorities, who booked some 30,000 extra police forces for the weekend of September 30th. But even before the institutions officially announced their decision to cancel, most of the groups that had planned to protest the meetings pulled out of the demonstrations. Many activists consider the street demonstrations to be effectively cancelled. The Mobilization for Global Justice, the umbrella group hosting the demonstrations, has postponed its call for nonviolent street demonstrations at the end of September. The AFL-CIO, UNITE, and Friends of the Earth, among other groups have pulled out of demonstrations. The Ruckus Society has cancelled its action camp. But the International Action Center put out a new call to demonstrate at the end of the month. They say that the US response to last week's tragedy at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon means more violence is to come. The IAC has re-focused its call for demonstrations to send an anti-war message to the Bush administration. The IAC's call has sparked dialogue among organizers in DC and New York about antiwar efforts in the wake of national devastation. While some unions and environmental groups have withdrawn from the streets, many anti-globalization organizers are trying to draw in the efforts of that growing movement, to an anti-war effort. The Washington Peace Center will still be holding demonstrations at the end of the month, and the Anti-Capitalist Convergence says it will join with other groups in the streets of Washington to send a message against capitalism and against war. Guests: Robert Weissman, Mobilization for Global Justice. Sarah Flounders, International Action Center. Marina Sitron, Direct Action Network. Maria Ramos, coordinator, Washington Peace Center. Kevin Martin, national director of Peace Action and Peace Action Education Fund. David Rovics, folksinger and activist. Related links: Mobilization for Global Justice International Action Center Direct Action Network Washington Peace Center Peace Action David Rovics.

Date Recorded on: 
September 19, 2001
Date Broadcast on: 
September 19, 2001
Item duration: 
118 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. September 19, 2001
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