PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY JOINS ISRAELI MILITARY IN CRACKING DOWN ON PALESTINIAN DISSENT, KILLING TWO ANTI-WAR PROTESTERS : FBI QUESTIONS PACIFIST GROUP WOMEN IN BLACK: A ROUNDTABLE WITH MEMBERS FROM BERKELEY TO NEW YORK TO JERUSALEM : YOUTH PROTEST FOR PEACE IN BUSH'S BACK YARD : THE NORTHERN ALLIANCE, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH DECLARES THE GROUP IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WIDESPREAD HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS : TRADING ON TRAGEDY: CONGRESS PUSHES TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY : AS BUSH FIGHTS SO-CALLED WAR ON TERRORISM ABROAD, U.S. HARBORS CUBAN TERRORISTS IN MIAMI.
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY JOINS ISRAELI MILITARY IN CRACKING DOWN ON PALESTINIAN DISSENT, KILLING TWO ANTI-WAR PROTESTERS Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is facing a storm of criticism after Palestinian police killed two Palestinians, including a 12 year old boy, and wounded at least 200 in demonstrations yesterday in the Gaza Strip protesting the US bombing of Afghanistan. Yasser Arafat's government took two unprecedented steps - closing Gaza City's universities to silence Islamic critics and barring foreign reporters from the Gaza Strip to prevent coverage of the events. Osama Bin Laden's videotaped message on Sunday, which said the US would not be secure until the people of Palestine are secure, helped to spark the demonstrations by elements of the Islamic group Hamas. The moves came as Palestinian President Yasser Arafat spoke today at an emergency meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Qatar, calling for international action to rid the world of terrorism. Arafat also told the ministers gathered there that Israel was taking advantage of last month's attacks in the United States to launch new offensives against Palestinians. Israeli troops have killed at least 27 Palestinians since Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres reached a tentative ceasefire more than a week ago. Guests: Bassem Eid, Director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Project. Gila Svirsky, Women in Black member (Jerusalem), co-founder of the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace. She has also been executive director of Bat Shalom and B'Tselem. FBI QUESTIONS PACIFIST GROUP WOMEN IN BLACK: A ROUNDTABLE WITH MEMBERS FROM BERKELEY TO NEW YORK TO JERUSALEM Every Wednesday evening for the past few weeks, a group of women has gathered in front of the New York Public library in midtown, Manhattan. They dress all in black as a symbol of mourning for victims of war, and they stand silently because, according to one member, words cannot express the tragedy that wars and hatred bring. Their group is Women and Black, an international movement which began in Israel in January 1988, one month after the beginning of the first Palestinian intifada. Once a week at the same hour and in the same location - a major traffic intersection - a small group of Israeli women donned black clothing and raised a black sign in the shape of a hand with white lettering that read "Stop the Occupation". The idea spread quickly and spontaneously to other places in Israel, and a few months later, all over the world. Today, we're going to speak with Women in Black all over the world, including a woman who is being investigated for the FBI for her membership. After the September 11 attacks, the FBI questioned members of the Women in Black. Although the FBI says it is not investigating the Women in Black in direct connection with the terrorist attacks, it admits it is exploring connections with possible terrorist groups. Guests: Kate Raphael, Women in Black (Berkeley). The FBI has questioned her because of her connections to the Women in Black. Ronnie Gilbert, Women in Black member (California) and longtime folksinger. Indira Kajosevic, member of Women in Black in New York. Gila Svirsky, Women in Black member (Jerusalem), co-founder of the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace. She has also been executive director of Bat Shalom and B'Tselem. Related link: Women in Black YOUTH PROTEST FOR PEACE IN BUSH'S BACK YARD In recent days tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of major cities of Europe, the Middle East and Asia to protest against the US and British air strikes on Afghanistan. Largely under the radar screen of the corporate media, people in hundreds of communities around the US are also organizing demonstrations, vigils and teach-ins to protest the bombings. Yesterday, we spoke to people in Olympia Washington about the ways people there have been organizing since September 11. Today, we're going to Kennebunk, Maine, where local high school students just held their first antiwar demonstration. Guests: David Morgan, senior at Kennebunk High School who helped organize antiwar protest. Scott Rose, senior at Kennebunk High School who helped organize antiwar protest. [listen to the entire second hour]SECOND HOUR NEWS HEADLINES AS THE U.S. RUSHES TO SUPPORT TO THE NORTHERN ALLIANCE, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH DECLARES THE GROUP IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WIDESPREAD HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS While much of the US media lauds the Taliban opposition group the Northern Alliance as heroic, human rights and women's groups point out that their record is anything but clean. After the crisis of September 11 Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was killed two days before the attacks, has been presented as friend to the US. A New York Times piece marveled at the very limited permission given to women in Northern Alliance-held territory to study and work and wear a less restrictive covering than the burqa. The piece brushed aside the fact that many warlords of the Northern Alliance are themselves religious fighters who not only restricted women considerably when they held power from 1992 to '96 but plunged the country into civil war, compiling a record of ethnically motivated mass murder, rape and other atrocities and leaving the population so exhausted that the Taliban's promise of law and order came as a relief. In a series of reports condemning unqualified US support of the opposition to the Taliban in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch has warned that US involvement with in the struggle in Afghanistan may encourage further human rights abuses. A major report of October 5 found that throughout the civil war in Afghanistan, factions on all sides committed serious abuses and violations of international law, including killings, direct attacks on civilians, summary executions, rape, and using children as soldiers. When the Northern Alliance controlled most of the north from 1996-1998 they committed massive abuses. In late 1999, for example, internally displaced Afghans who fled from villages recounted summary executions, burning of houses, and widespread looting during the four months that the Northern Alliance held the area. Last week we spoke to a representative of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), which opposes both the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. RAWA urges the disarming of both the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, and says Afghanistan needs massive amounts of humanitarian aid, followed by democratic elections. The Human Rights Watch recommends that the US, Russia, and Iran and any other states should refuse to provide military, political, diplomatic, or financial assistance to the Northern Alliance. Guest: Joost Hiltermann, Head of Human Rights Watch Arms Division. Related link: Human Rights Watch TRADING ON TRAGEDY: CONGRESS PUSHES TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY In a piece called "Trading on Tragedy" Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research writes, "Every crisis and tragedy is an opportunity for some, as any ambulance-chasing lawyer can tell you. We expect the Pentagon to lard its already bloated budget, and Attorney General John Ashcroft to chip away at the Bill of Rights, all in the name of the War Against Terrorism. But "Trade Promotion Authority?" That seems like quite a stretch." Yet that's exactly what happened. Trade Promotion Authority (or "fast track") would give the Administration power to negotiate new international commercial agreements, with Congress having only a yes-or-no vote on the final product. First in line is the controversial 34-country "Free Trade Area of the Americas." US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick has framed the issue of free trade in terms of national security. Zoellick asks, "Will the Congress strongly support free trade as a cornerstone of international leadership?" The answer depends on where congress chooses to look. A recent poll by the University of Maryland showed that 72 percent believe that US officials who make trade policy give too little consideration to the concerns of working Americans. Critics say the bill offers watered down language on protecting workers' rights and the environment in an attempt to win over the support of Democrats. Last night, the Trade Promotion Authority bill passed through the House Ways and Means Committee. The chair of the committee, Bill Thomas of California, seemed especially interested in jumpstarting Fast Track trade legislation in the House. The bill, which has been presented as a "bipartisan compromise," will appear on the floor of Congress for a vote next week. Democracy Now! set up a debate with the Office of the US Trade Representative and Lori Wallach of Public Citizen, but a few moments ago the Office of the Trade Representative cancelled. Guests: Lori Wallach, Public Citizen. David Amdur, program director, CISPES (Committee In Solidarity With The People Of El Salvador). Related links: Public Citizen CISPES AS BUSH FIGHTS SO-CALLED WAR ON TERRORISM ABROAD, U.S. HARBORS CUBAN TERRORISTS IN MIAMI As the Bush Administration wages its so-called war against terrorism, US officials have said repeatedly that the US may attack any country harboring or supporting terrorists and that there is no statute of limitations when it comes to prosecuting them. This weekend was the 25th anniversary of another act of terrorism - the bombing of a Cuban jetliner carrying nearly 100 people, including Cuba's Olympic medal winning fencing team. The men responsible for that act of terrorism were Cuban exiles trained by the CIA. Their story, and their connection to US officials, tells us a lot about the priorities of the Bush Administration and the US government when it comes to fighting terrorism. Guest: Wayne Smith, Center for International Policy and a leading expert on Cuba.