Democracy Now! September 24, 2001

Program Title:
Democracy Now! September 24, 2001
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FIRST HOUR NEWS HEADLINES THOUSANDS TAKE TO THE STREETS OF NEW YORK CHANTING "BUSH WANTS WAR, NEW YORK WANTS PEACE!"; DENVER ACTIVISTS FACE FELONY CHARGES FOR AN ANTI-WAR ACTION Thousands of people marched across New York on Friday night to call for peace and demand an end to attacks on Muslim and Arab communities. Chanting "War is not the answer" and "Islam is not the enemy," the marchers worked their way uptown from Union Square, where mourners have been holding nightly vigils for the missing and the dead since the twin towers fell on September 11th. The march was called on short notice, and attracted a far higher turnout than expected. As the numbers swelled, hecklers called out to them in midtown's busy streets and many bystanders cheered the marchers or even joined them. As the march approached Times Square, police sectioned off groups of demonstrators from each other, and let demonstrators out of barricaded areas only three or four at a time. Four marchers were arrested-three charged with disorderly conduct and one with "criminal impersonation." Before the march began, activists from the religious, Arab and South Asian communities held a Muslim peace rally in a nearby park. Because police had revoked their rally permit, and the organizers did not feel safe without police protection, speakers addressed a small audience. Among them were Karen Robinson of the Human Rights education project at Amnesty International, and New York City councilwoman Christine Quinn. Tape: Sounds Of Protest In New York In Denver, Colorado on Saturday five activists unfurled a banner that read "Wage Peace Now" from a crane under images of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., The Dalai Lama and Jesus Christ yesterday. The activists were arrested and charged with a class three felony (criminal mischief). In what they are calling the first high-profile direct action of the budding pro-peace movement in the United States and against budding military activity in Afghanistan. The banner drop was organized by the members of an activist collective calling itself La Mitzvah. La Mitzvah, which is Spanish and Hebrew for "The Good Deed", is dedicated to confronting social, environmental and economic injustice with non-violent direct action, art, and humor. Guest: Amy Johnson, one of the activists involved in the protest. She also works at Pacifica Affiliate KGNU in Boulder CIA PUSHES TO SCRAP BAN ON ASSASSINATIONS AND WORK WITH HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSERS The World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks have led to harsh Congressional criticism of alleged intelligence failures by the FBI and CIA and calls for a rapid expansion of their budgets and powers. US intelligence officials have responded by saying Congress should scrap legislation that prohibits the CIA from engaging in assassinations or using human rights abusers as intelligence agents. These restrictions, they say, may have hindered their ability to investigate and undermine alleged terrorist organizations. Human rights groups have responded with horror. They say its not hard to find examples of what the CIA means when it calls for a relaxation of these laws on assassination and working with human rights abusers. Friday was the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffit by Chilean security forces backed by the US. On September 21, 1976, Letelier, the former ambassador to the U.S under Salvador Allende, was killed by a car bomb in Washington, D.C., along with his assistant, U.S. citizen Ronni Moffitt. The assassinations took place less than two weeks after the Gen. Augusto Pinochet military regime revoked Letelier's Chilean citizenship, in the midst of a US backed campaign against Chilean activists. We turn now to Jennifer Harbury, who has experienced first hand the consequences of the CIA working with murderers and torturers. Her husband, Efrain Bamaca Valasquez, was captured, tortured and killed by Guatemalan military officials on the payroll of the CIA. Guests: Jennifer Harbury, activist and lawyer for Leonard Peltier whose husband was killed. William Blum, Author, Killing Hope: US military and CIA interventions since WWII. RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES MOBILIZE FOR PEACE In the days since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, people of all faiths and even little faith have flocked to churches, mosques and synagogues seeking comfort, prayer and a sense of meaning in the midst of suffering. Mainstream religious leaders around the country have organized interfaith prayer services proclaiming unity and preaching tolerance, such as the one held yesterday at Yankee Stadium that was attended by 50,000 people. It was presided over by the Commander of the Pacific Fleet, who prayed for God to be on the side of the United States as it prepares to go to war. But there has been another religious response as well, one that mirrors the peace movement now springing up in communities around the country. Many prominent Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders are moving beyond mourning and prayer to mobilization and protest, seeking a religious response to terrorism consistent with progressive values and the likelihood of war. Guests: Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners Magazine. Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun Magazine. Related links: Sojourners Tikkun SECOND HOUR NEWS HEADLINES THOUSANDS OF PEACE PROTESTORS MARCH IN CITIES ACROSS EUROPE In addition to the protests in New York and across the country, thousands took to the streets across Europe as well. In London, some 4,000 demonstrators gathered peacefully outside the Defense Ministry dressed in black and carrying pieces of paper saying: "Stand shoulder to shoulder for peace and justice. No more violence." Several thousand marched in Berlin, shouting "No Third World War" and urging the U.S. not to answer attacks on its cities with more violence. Smaller protests were also held in Cologne, Bremen and Kassel. Another thousand marched in the Belgian city of Liege, and several hundred marched through the center of Budapest. And Police in Istanbul yesterday detained 16 people when demonstrators from the Labour Party gathered to make a press statement denouncing Washington's threat of military action against Afghanistan. Guest: Carol Naughton, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Related link: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament ENVIRONMENTALISTS RAISE CONCERNS ABOUT POLLUTION FROM FIBERGLASS AND ASBESTOS IN THE RUBBLE OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER Twenty thousand people prayed in Yankee Stadium on Sunday as thousands of workers continued to dig through the rubble where the World Trade Centers once stood. Construction workers using heavy equipment are beginning to replace the firemen, police, emergency workers and national guardsmen who have been working at ground zero for nearly two weeks. In the midst of the rescue and cleanup efforts, there has been little discussion of the environmental impact of the World Trade Center collapse, but environmentalists have raised concerns about the pulverized asbestos, fiberglass, PCB's and other potentially harmful materials being inhaled by both workers and local residents. Guest: Joel Kupferman, Executive Director, New York Environmental Law and Justice Project. Related link: New York Environmental Law and Justice Project UZBEKISTAN, KAZAKHSTAN, TAJIKSTAN AND RUSSIA: A TEACH-IN ON THE MILITARY, CIVIL UNREST, REFUGEES, AND OIL Kazakhstan today became the first ex-Soviet state to promise practical support for the U.S. military attack on Afghanistan. The president offered its strategically vital aerodromes, military bases and airspace. The region could be a vital staging area for the attacks, which the U.S. says is harboring its prime suspect in the strikes on New York and Washington, Osama bin Ladin. Meanwhile, conflicting reports swirled around much of Central Asia today as to whether U.S. troops had already landed in the region. The Russian Interfax news agency, quoting unidentified sources, said three U.S. Air Force transport planes had arrived in Uzbekistan this weekend carrying about 200 U.S. troops and reconnaissance equipment. Russia's RTR television also reported the arrival of U.S. forces in Uzbekistan. But a spokesman for Uzbek President refused to confirm reports about the U.S. planes' arrival. In neighboring Tajikistan, President Emomali Rakhmonov said his country was also willing to cooperate. There are unconfirmed media reports that U.S. forces have landed there as well. President Bush consulted with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend. Putin voiced readiness to cooperate with U.S. military plans. In particular, a US official said Washington has been assured that Moscow would not oppose any cooperation between the United States and Central Asian nations which have collective security agreements with Russia. But Russia is concerned that NATO forces will permanently root themselves in the lucrative Central Asian region, and that the operation could destabilize the region. Guests: Fred Weir, correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor. Geoffrey Sea, New York-based writer who has lived in Central Asia and is currently writing a book about nuclear issues in the region.

Date Recorded on: 
September 24, 2001
Date Broadcast on: 
September 24, 2001
Item duration: 
118 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. September 24, 2001
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