Democracy Now! May 21, 2003

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Democracy Now! May 21, 2003
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St. Louis Police Stage a Pre-emptive Strike and Arrest 27 Activists Prior to Demonstration; New York Times reporter, Chris Hedges was booed off the stage and had his mic cut twice as he delivered a graduation speech on war and empire at Rockford College in Illinois

9:00-9:01 Billboard: 9:01-9:06: The activist community in St. Louis is still reeling from a string of arrests and building raids that were carried out on Friday, prior to the opening of the Biodevastation7 conference and the World Agricultural Forum. All told 27 people were arrested including a group of bikers who were arrested for riding without a bike license. Two buildings closely linked to the activist community were also raided. Police claimed they had reports that weapons were inside though no weapons charges have been filed. Police did confiscate items ranging from CD-Rom drives to building supplies to diaries to puppets. At one of the buildings, named Bolozone 15 people were arrested for allegedly occupying a condemned building. The residents of the house said the building, which the city sold to the occupants last year, was only condemned on the morning of the raids. Matt LeMieux, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, said the St Louis police used housing inspections as a trick to get in without a warrant. The ACLU also accused the police of pre-emptively arresting activists prior to the protest. * Molly Bupre, member of the St. Louis Community Arts and Media Project. One of 27 activists arrested last week prior to the World Agricultural Forum in St. Louis. 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20: Speaker disrupts RC graduation this is the headline in the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. The article describes how a commencement speaker was booed of the stage for making an antiwar speech at the Rockford College graduation on Saturday. The paper reports that two days later, graduates and family members are still reeling. They had envisioned a go out and make your mark send-off. The speaker wasn t an antiwar student. It wasn t an antiwar faculty member. It was New York Times reporter and veteran war correspondent Chris Hedges. Hedges reported from war-torn countries for fifteen years. Hedges spent the last year covering Al Qaida cells in Europe and North Africa. He was a member of The New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for the paper s coverage of global terrorism. In his new book War is a Force that Gives us Meaning, Hedges writes: War and conflict have marked most of my adult life. I began covering insurgencies in El Salvador, where I spent five years, then went on to Guatemala and Nicaragua and Colombia, through the first intifada in the West Bank and Gaza, the civil war in the Sudan and Yemen, the uprisings in Algeria and the Punjab, the fall of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, the Gulf War, the Kurdish rebellion in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, the war in Bosnia, and finally to Kosovo. I have been in ambushes on desolate stretches of road in Central America, shot at in the marshes of southern Iraq, imprisoned in the Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and Iran, captured and held for a week by Iraqi Republican Guard, strafed by Russian Migs-2IS in Bosnia, fired upon by Serb snipers, and shelled for days in Sarajevo. But this didn t stop Rockford College officials from pulling the plug on his microphone three minutes after he began to speak. The college president told Hedges to wrap it up. He resumed his speech as to the sound of boos and foghorns. Some graduates and audience members turned their backs to Hedges. Others rushed up the aisle to protest the remarks; one student tossed his cap and gown to the stage before leaving. Rockford College s most prominent alum is Jane Addams, a pacifist who was booed off the Carnegie Hall stage for opposing US intervention in World War I. Addams was the founder of Hull House, a non-profit social service agency, the first president the Women s International League for Peace and Freedom and a Nobel Peace Prize Winner. * Chris Hedges, reporter with The New York Times and author of War is a Force that Gives us Meaning. * Chris Hedges, presenting graduation speech at Rockford College in Illinois. 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40 Chris Hedges' Speech at Rockford College * Tape 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58 Chris Hedges CONT D 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.

Date Recorded on: 
May 21, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
May 21, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., May 21, 2003
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