Democracy Now! June 12 , 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! June 12 , 2002
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9:00-9:01 Billboard: Renowned environmental leaders Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney win a multi-million dollar verdict in civil rights suit against the FBI then, the latest US "terrorist" suspect, Abdullah Al Muhajir, is designated an "enemy combatant" and held without charges in a legal twilight zone. His attorney files a motion challenging his indefinite military detention at a high-security naval brig in South Carolina. And, as the Bush administration once again turns national debate to the question of homeland security, we'll look at how the man that ran his election campaign as the "education president" is abandoning one of the most basic ways of ensuring a safe and secure country: an educated population. We'll talk about standardized testing, school budgets, and have a debate over privatizing education. All that and more coming up. 9:01-9:06 Headlines: 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20 JUSTICE DELAYED BUT NOT DENIED: RENOWNED ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS JUDI BARI AND DARRYL CHERNEY WIN A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR VERDICT IN CIVIL RIGHTS SUIT AGAINST THE FBI A federal jury yesterday handed Earthfirst! activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney a stunning victory in their civil rights lawsuit against the FBI and Oakland Police. The jurors found six of the seven defendants guilty of violating Bari and Cherney's civil rights - first by arresting them and then by conducting searches of their homes and a smear campaign in the press. The jury awarded the pair a total of $4.4 million in damages. Yesterday's victory comes more than 12 years after a motion-triggered pipe bomb exploded in Bari's car while the two were driving in Oakland. They were organizing a major Redwood Summer action that would have brought thousands of activists to California to protest destructive logging practices. The bomb nearly killed Bari. It fractured her pelvis and crushed her tailbone, leaving her crippled and in constant pain. Bari and Cherney had both received death threats from timber industry supporters in the months before the bombing and had reported them to local police. But the FBI and Oakland Police did not pursue any of these leads. Instead they quickly arrested Bari and Cherney, saying the pair were victims of their own misfired bomb. [[[They claimed they had physical evidence linking Bari to the making of the bomb.]]] But when the time came to press charges, the District Attorney declined, citing a lack of evidence. The Oakland Police promptly closed their investigation." But the FBI continued theirs, telling the media that Judi and Darryl were their only suspects. Bari and Cherney filed a federal civil rights suit against the FBI and the Oakland Police Department in 1991, a year after the bombing. They accused the two bodies of violating their civil rights in an attempt to discredit Earth First! and its political message. The case finally went to court in April of this year. Bari died of breast cancer in March 1997. Well, today we are joined on the phone by Darryl Cherney. We tried to reach the FBI for a comment, but the agency is not speaking with the press. They are referring all questions to the Department of Justice, which litigated the case on the FBI's behalf. The Justice Department refused to come on the air, but said: "[they] are reviewing the opinion and considering [their] next step." Tape: Martha Bari, younger sister of Judi Bari Guest: Darryl Cherney, Earth First! Activist, plaintiff in civil suit against FBI, and bombing victim. Contact: Guest: Bob Bloom, one of the attorneys representing Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney in their civil suit against the FBI. He worked on the Panther 21 case as well s the cases of Geronimo Pratt and Daruba Bin Wahad, among many, many others. Contact: 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:30 THE LATEST US "TERRORIST" SUSPECT, ABDULLAH AL MUHAJIR, IS DESIGNATED AN "ENEMY COMBATANT" AND HELD WITHOUT CHARGES IN A LEGAL TWILIGHT ZONE The attorney for a U.S. citizen accused of plotting to explode a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the United States filed a motion in federal court Tuesday challenging his indefinite military detention. Attorney Donna Newman says the Defense Department has not yet told her whether she will be allowed to see her client, Abdullah al Muhajir. She says he has been held "on information from sources who are unknown, whose reliability is uncertain, whose credibility is uncertain." Al Muhajir was born in Brooklyn as Jose Padilla. He joined the Latin Kings, a Latino gang, in Chicago. The Puerto Rican Catholic apparently converted to Islam in or after prison. Al Muhajir was arrested last month but was transferred Sunday from a federal prison in Lower Manhattan to a high-security naval brig in South Carolina. According to the Washington Post, that transfer came less than two days before a he was scheduled to appear before a civilian judge. No charges have been filed against him. Senior intelligence officials allege al Muhajir met in late March with senior al Qaeda officials, who sent him to scout possible U.S. sites for attacks. Officials say they were tipped off after interrogating Al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida, who was captured in Pakistan. But the London Independent is reporting British and European security officials are highly skeptical of the Bush administration's case. British sources point out no evidence has been produced to show that al Muhajir had access to the radioactive material needed to build a bomb, or indeed that he had even worked out a time or place to launch the attack. British security sources also say the Americans investigated Muhajir's activities and tried to find a terrorist network he may have been involved with inside the US. The highly publicised announcement of the arrest only came after the failure to find anything more incriminating. In Washington there is a growing suspicion that the arrest was seized on by the Bush administration in dramatic fashion for political ends. Guest: Michael Ratner, International Human Rights Lawyer and President of the Center for Constitutional Rights N STUDIO Contact: and One Minute Music Break 9:31-9:58 AS BUSH RE-FOCUSES NATIONAL ATTENTION ON HOMELAND SECURITY, SCHOOLS ACROSS THE COUNTRY FACE BUDGET CUTS, HIGH-STAKES TESTING, AND PRIVATIZATION A front-page article in today's Christian Science Monitor begins: "Just when Washington's political life seemed to be returning to normal, the war on terrorism has returned with a vengeance, reclaiming its position as the overwhelming concern of the nation's capital. "For a time Democrats had begun to focus again on issues they felt might turn to their advantage in the fall elections, such as Social Security and the cost of prescription drugs. President Bush resumed doing what presidents do as off-year votes loom - make quick trips to the hinterland to raise cash, support candidates, and promote his education policies and other items on the domestic agenda. "Then President Bush proposed the establishment of a new Department of Homeland Security - a mammoth undertaking which could preoccupy Congress for months. The administration announced the arrest of a man accused of plotting to explode a radioactive "dirty bomb" in America - reemphasizing the stakes in the continuing struggle against Al Qaeda. "Whatever the reasons for the timing of the White House moves, one of their effects is a change in Washington's - indeed, the nation's - political conversation, back to issues on which the administration is on solid ground with the public."But as the Bush administration turns the national discussion again to homeland security and seeks ever higher amounts of money to fund the so-called war on terrorism and new multi-billion dollar weapons systems, the man that ran his election campaign as the "education president" seems to be abandoning one of the most basic ways of ensuring a safe and secure country: a well-educated population. The current issue of Education Week is reporting school districts all over the country are struggling just to fill the gaps left by leaner state budgets. Last week, some 20,000 young people rallied outside New York's City Hall to denounce Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed cuts in the city's school funding. Meanwhile, a standardized testing wave is sweeping the nation. Critics say politicians may be able to make test scores look good on paper, but standardized testing actually increases drop-out rates and forces teachers to "teach to the test" rather than encouraging critical thinking. Last week, an ad-hoc group of educational and free speech organizations revealed the New York State education department was using censored passages in exams, taking all out references to race, ethnicity, and gender. School privatization is also an issue: Edison Schools announced last week it will borrow $40 million to finance its takeover of 20 struggling public schools in Philadelphia. Edison's privatization of Philadelphia's public schools is the largest and most ambitious experiment in the history of school privatization. Today, we'll have a roundtable discussion on issues affecting schools across the country. We start with Guest: Ann Cook, co-chair, New York Performance Standards Consortium, a coalition of 32 high schools across the state which use performance assessment in lieu of high stakes testing. She is also the co-director of a New York City public high school (and parent of three children who graduated from New York City public schools).IN STUDIO Contact: also: Guest: Adam Tucker, spokesperson for Edison Schools. Contact: Guest: Ashley Smith, high school student with the Philadelphia Student Union. She is seventeen years old. She attends Chester High, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, which is run by Edison. She transferred in March from a city school. 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits

Date Recorded on: 
June 12, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
June 12 , 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. June12 , 2002
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