TWO ACTIVISTS BEATEN BY POLICE IN GENOA, ITALY RETURN TO THE U.S.; LOS ANGELES SHERIFFS TRAINED ITALIAN POLICE BEFORE THE G8 SUMMIT ; MANY STILL IN PRISON IN GENOA, INCLUDING SUSANNA THOMAS, A QUAKER PACIFIST AND HONORS STUDENT: SHE FACES 15 YEARS IN JAIL ; RADICAL HIP HOP DUO DEAD PREZ TALKS ABOUT BLACK MUSIC AND POLITICS.
TWO ACTIVISTS BEATEN BY POLICE IN GENOA, ITALY RETURN TO THE U.S.; LOS ANGELES SHERIFFS TRAINED ITALIAN POLICE BEFORE THE G8 SUMMIT Italy's right-wing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi yesterday defended police actions during last month's Group of Eight meeting, declaring the meeting "a political and diplomatic success." He said: "I express my full solidarity with the security forces," he said. "Criticism should not be leveled at the police but at the violent (anti-globalization) groups who have already vowed to intervene at upcoming international summits." Berlusconi's comments came the same day the deputy chief of Genoa's anti-terrorism police was charged with assault and battery. Court sources said Genoese examining magistrates had seen a video showing him kicking the head of a young protestor lying on the ground who had already been beaten by other police. The day before, the Italian police chief admitted for the first time that his officers had used excessive force. Some 100,000 people converged in Genoa to protest the Group of Eight summit last month. During the protests, police shot an unarmed protester twice in the head and then ran him over with an armored vehicle. The night the summit ended, police raided a school where protesters and independent journalists were staying. Protesters say they were brutally beaten by police during the raid; journalists who entered the building afterwards reported seeing pools of blood and teeth scattered across the floor. Protesters also say they were beaten in detention, strip-searched and denied access to food, phone calls, or contact with their lawyers and consulates. Some women say they were sexually assaulted. In case you thought the police tactics in Genoa is an Italian phenomenon, think again. According to Lt. Karl Deeley of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department, two Los Angeles sheriffs and a deputy traveled to Italy to train a small group of Italian police officers in the use of aluminum batons; those officers then trained the rest of the Italian police force. The Los Angeles police forces are not known for their peaceful tactics. Four activist groups sued the city of Los Angeles and its police department in federal court yesterday, claiming that officers who clubbed and shot protesters with pepper spray and rubber bullets at the Democratic National Convention last year, violated their U.S. constitutional rights. In 1999, dozens of LAPD officers were fired as evidence emerged that officers had shot handcuffed men, planted evidence, given false testimony, and were engaged in drug-dealing. The city was rocked by mass protests and riots in 1992, following the police beating of Rodney King. Today we will hear the stories of two protesters who have just returned home from Genoa, Italy to the United States. They were beaten by Italian police in the raid on a school located next to the Independent Media Center just as the G8 summit was coming to a close. More than 60 people were hospitalized in the police attack. Guest: Morgan Hager, undergraduate at the University of Oregon. Therman Sparks, just graduated from the University of Oregon. MANY STILL IN PRISON IN GENOA, INCLUDING SUSANNA THOMAS, A QUAKER PACIFIST AND HONORS STUDENT; SHE FACES 15 YEARS IN JAIL Many people who protested at the summit in Genoa are still in jail, including several U.S. citizens. One of them, Susanna Thomas, who is fluent in French and Spanish, was arrested with two dozen members of Publix Theatre, a political theater troupe based in Vienna, Austria, and travels throughout Europe to protest immigration laws and to promote the "no borders" movement. She could face a 15-year sentence on charges of conspiring to destroy property. Susanna Thomas, who is a Quaker, a pacifist, and an honors student majoring in urban planning, had taken the year to study theology and politics at Jesuit University in Paris. After finishing her studies in May, she worked at a Quaker youth conference in Paris and then started following the theater troupe as part of research for her senior thesis on nonviolence and social activism. We're joined right now by Susanna's mother, Kathy Thomas. Guest: Kathy Thomas, mother of Susanna Thomas. Story: M1 OF THE RADICAL HIP HOP DUO DEAD PREZ TALKS ABOUT BLACK MUSIC AND POLITICS The radical hip hop duo Dead Prez has rapidly emerged as one of the most potent political forces in music. Dead Prez's first album, "Let's be Free" debuted last year to critical acclaim. With its militant lyrics -in such songs as "Propaganda" and "Police State" - and radical criticism of the U.S. government, racism, police brutality, and American capitalism, "Let's be Free" is perhaps the most politically challenging hip hop album since Public Enemy's landmark "It Takes A Nation of Millions." One music critic referred to Dead Prez as "a fire bomb for the new hip hop uprising" with its straight up advocacy of black power and black nationalism. These same militant lyrics and unrepentant radical politics have led Dead Prez to be banned from mainstream music venues around the country and virtually banished from commercial radio. But unlike most politically engaged hip hop artists, M1 and Stic.man of Dead Prez were activists first before they became musicians. Their music is firmly grounded in the grass roots, community based political work of the National People's Democratic Uhuru Movement from which they emerged. On August 12, Dead Prez will be playing at a benefit Concert for the Black August collective, which works to support black political prisoners and to support the international development of hip hop both as an art form and as a form of political struggle. Guests: Mutulu Olubala (M1), of the radical hip hop duo Dead Prez. M1 is also active with the NY branch of the National People's Democratic Uhuru Movement. Rosa Clemente, from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, which began the Black August Collective benefit concert. Related link: Black August.