Democracy Now! March 11, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! March 11, 2003
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Hour 1 :: Anti-war protesters plan for massive civil disobedience in Washington next week; Immigrant rights groups prepare for a fourth round of mass deportations of Pakistani detainees; Police in Montpelier, Vt. photograph student protesters & ask for surveillance help from the local media: Meanwhile in Minnesota, law enforcement identifies student anti-war group as possible threat; A bigger leak than the Pentagon Papers? Daniel Ellsberg discusses the leaked email that shows the U.S. is spying on UN documents Hour 2 :: U.S. chains & shackles naked detainees to the ceiling in Afghanistan: Is the U.S. using torture? ; Bush delays plans for Israeli-Palestinian peace plan: Israeli forces kill over 60 Palestinians since Feb. 15; Former FBI chief calls for the Supreme Court to halt the execution of Delma Banks in Texas: We talk to Banks mother and attorney

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines: 8:06-8:07 One-Minute Music Break 8:07-8:10 8:10-8:20: Another mass deportation of Pakistani detainees is imminent. This according to the Brooklyn-based immigrant rights group Coney Island Avenue Project. There have been three other mass deportations so far. In November, 87 Pakistanis were deported from Buffalo, New York. 95 were deported in August and 131 were deported in June. The secret, mass deportations have taken place in the middle of the night when family members and immigrant rights activists are unable to be at the detention centers to help the detainees. Families have been ripped apart by the deportations. Witnesses who insisted on anonymity told United Press International in August that many of the deportees were married to U.S. citizens. They were forced to leave their spouses and children behind. Very few newspapers have picked up the story. We re joined right now by Bobby Khan, director of the Coney Island Avenue Project * Bobby Khan, director of the Coney Island Avenue project and long-time Pakistani immigrant rights advocate 8:21 8:50: Last week over 60 students walked out of classes in Montpelier, the state capitol of Vermont. As part of an international student strike, they marched through downtown to the steps of the statehouse. After a couple of failed attempts they were allowed in for a personal meeting with the governor. Then they continued the protest downtown. The event made local headlines. On Democracy Now! we talked to one of the students. But we have since learned it was not just the press that was a keeping a close eye on the student protesters. So were the Montpelier police. According to the Rutland Herald, the police took photographs of the students that are to be kept in the department s files. One local police officer even asked a local news photographer for copies of the photographs he was taken. The office reportedly told the news photographer, Make sure you get close ups of their faces in case they need to be suspended. The American Civil Liberties Union says the police should not be collecting information of citizens who are exercising their First Amendment Rights. Ironically, on the day before the protest, voters ratified a City Council resolution condemning the USA Patriot Act. The resolution directs the local police to QUOTE uphold its policy of respecting and protecting the freedoms of speech, religions and assembly and privacy. * Aria Allen, 10th grade student who organized student strike at Montpelier High School * Douglas Hoyt, Montpelier police chief * Joseph Gainza, program coordinator for the Vermont office of the American Friends Service Committee * Peter Evans, Montpelier High School principal We are also joined by Nathan Mittelstaedt an organizer with Students Against War at the University of Minnesota. Last week an expert on counterrorism identified his group Students Against War alongside other groups such as the Aryan Nation as a potential threat to the state of Minnesota. The Star Tribune reported, A Hennepin County sheriff's official with expertise on counterterrorism efforts urged Minnesota law enforcers Tuesday to become aware of several right-and left-wing organizations operating in the state. We are not calling any of them terrorists. We call them domestic identified groups that may affect our communities, Capt. Bill Chandler said after giving a presentation to emergency management personnel on Understanding Terrorism in Minnesota. Among the groups named were Students Against War, a Minneapolis book store called Arise, Ruckus Society and the group Anti-Racism Action. * Nathan Mittelstaedt, member of Students Against War at the University of Minnesota. He is a senior majoring in political science. 8:25-8:26 One-Minute Music Break 8:50-8:58: Yesterday on Democracy Now! we reported that a 28-year-old woman working at the top-secret British Government Communications Headquarters has been arrested on charges of contravening the Official Secrets Act. The GCHQ is the electronic surveillance arm of the British intelligence service. The arrest comes just a few days after the London Observer published a top-secret National Security Agency document. The memo revealed US agents had been ordered to bug the telephone and email communications of U.N. Security Council delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea. The surveillance operation was designed to help the US win votes for the war resolution on Iraq. The Observer reports the NSA document was leaked to the paper by British security sources who objected to aiding the US surveillance operation. Well, we re joined right now by the most famous whistleblower in US history, who Henry Kissinger described as "the world's most dangerous man." He is Daniel Ellsberg. During the Cold War, Daniel Ellsberg was a U.S. Marine company commander, a Pentagon official, an analyst at the Rand Corporation, and a staunch believer in fighting Communist expansion. But in October of 1969 Ellsberg began smuggling out of his office and photocopying a 7,000 page top-secret study of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam, which later became known as the Pentagon Papers. By leaking the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg set in motion actions that would eventually topple the Nixon presidency and end the Vietnam War. * Daniel Ellsberg, exposed Pentagon Papers; author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits 9:00-9:01 Billboard: 9:01-9:06 Headlines: 9:06-9:07 One-Minute Music Break with live musical guests Jolie Rickman and Colleen Kattau 9:07-9:25: A US military investigation into the deaths of two prisoners who were being held for interrogation at the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan is continuing. Last week, a US military pathologist s report concluded the prisoners had been beaten. It is not yet publicly known what else the prisoners endured. Former prisoners say detainees are chained to the ceiling, shackled so tightly that the blood flow stops, kept naked and hooded and kicked to keep them awake for days on end. This according to the London Guardian. This Sunday, The New York Times reported on the interrogation of another prisoner at Bagram air base. The US alleges Omar al-Faruq was a senior al Qaeda operative in Southeast Asia confidant of Osama bin Laden. A Western intelligence official told the Times Faruq s interrogation was not quite torture, but about as close as you can get. Over a three month period, he was fed very little, while being subjected to sleep and light deprivation, prolonged isolation and room temperatures that varied from 10 to 100 degrees. Experts say it is also highly likely his interrogation followed a pattern of other interrogations: Faruq was likely kept naked most of the time with hands and feet bound. International law requires prisoners be allowed eight hours sleep a day, but interrogators don t let them sleep for 8 consecutive hours. Faruq was questioned in this way for weeks. In the end, US officials claim, he began to cooperate. But it appears Faruq is one of the lucky ones. Intelligence officials admit some suspects have been turned over to security services in countries known to employ torture, such as Syria and the staunch US ally, Egypt. US intelligence officials say such interrogation methods are vital to learning information that could help to prevent future attacks on the U.S. We turn first to Dana Priest who is a staff writer for the Washington Post. She co-authored a lengthy article published last December called U.S. Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations; 'Stress and Duress' Tactics Used on Terrorism Suspects Held in Secret Overseas Facilities. The article looks at army interrogation methods and techniques used at detention centers overseas. * Dana Priest, Washington Post staff writer. She co-authored a lengthy article published last December called U.S. Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations; 'Stress and Duress' Tactics Used on Terrorism Suspects Held in Secret Overseas Facilities The article looks at army interrogation methods and techniques used at detention centers overseas. * Michael Ratner, Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights * William Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. He said in a press release issued on Sunday that the tactics US officials openly admit to constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or torture. These statements by US officialsd are an admission of complicity in torture. Links: Center for Constitutional Rights: Amnesty International: One-Minute Music Break 9:25-9:45: The Bush administration has announced it is not going to put forth a plan for a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians until after the crisis with Iraq is resolved. The New York Times reported yesterday that President Bush does not want to do anything to anger Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in part because the White House does not want Sharon to intervene in the war even if Israel is attacked by Iraqi missiles. The freeze on the peace process has infuriated allies including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who say progress on a peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian crises is needed to quell mounting anti-western sentiment. And on Friday foreign minister Dominique de Villepin, said the absence of peace efforts in the Palestinian-Israeli crises is a far greater threat to stability than the possibility of weapons in Iraq. This comes at a time when the Palestinian Authority has taken steps to answer international critics. Yesterday the Palestinian parliament voted overwhelmingly to create a new prime minister post. Mahmoud Abbas has been nominated to be the Authority s first prime minister. He will be second in command to Yasser Arafat. Meanwhile as the world s attention focuses on Iraq, Israel has cracked down on Gaza. Since Feb. 15 dozens of Palestinians have been killed. Yesterday Israeli forces demolished an apartment building in the West Bank town of Hebron, killing a Palestinian man. And in Gaza two Palestinians were killed near a Jewish settlement. Earlier in the day an Israeli soldier was killed during an incursion in Hebron. Over the weekend Israeli forces assassinated a senior leader of Hamas, Ibrahim Makadmeh, and three of his guards Saturday morning. Four Israeli helicopters fired missiles at a car carrying the men who were driving in a densely populated party of Gaza City. One occupant of the car was critically injured and two bystanders were also injured. * Michel Warschawski, Israeli policy analyst who is the former director of the Alternative Information Center * Justin Huggler, reporter for the Independent newspaper of London based in Gaza City. 9:40-9:41 One-Minute Music Break 9:44-9:58 : Yesterday New York Times columnist Bob Hebert wrote a column titled Countdown to Execution No. 300. It chronicled the case of Delma Banks, a Texan man who is expected to be executed tomorrow night. The article begins: The war trumps all other issues, so insufficient attention will be paid to the planned demise of Delma Banks Jr., a 43-year-old man who is scheduled in about 48 hours to become the 300th person executed in Texas since the resumption of capital punishment in 1982. Mr. Banks, a man with no prior criminal record, is most likely innocent of the charge that put him on death row. Fearing a tragic miscarriage of justice, three former federal judges (including William Sessions, a former director of the F.B.I.) have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to block Wednesday's execution. So far, no one seems to be listening . Tape: Delma Banks, Texas man to be executed tomorrow, recorded last week Guest: Ellean Banks, mother of Delma Banks Guest: Miriam Gohara, NAACP Legal Defense Fund 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, and Ana Nogiera. Mike Di Filippo is our engineer and webmaster.

Date Recorded on: 
March 11, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
March 11, 2003
Item duration: 
118 min.
WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., March 11, 2003
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