Democracy Now! Ju;y 09, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! Ju;y 09, 2002
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The son of James Byrd Jr., the black man brutally murdered by white supremacists in Jasper Texas, fights to save his father's killer from execution Then, after international activists are held illegally by the Israeli military for 48 hours, the US Consulate in Israel says it will file a complaint against the Israeli military on their behalf for the first time in its history. And, the Einstein Files: J. Edgar Hoover's Secret War Against The World's Most Famous Scientist. We'll bring the second part of the interview. All that and more coming up. 9:01-9:06 Headlines: 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20 AFTER INTERNATIONAL ACTIVISTS ARE HELD ILLEGALLY IN INHUMANE CONDITIONS FOR 48 HOURS, THE US CONSULATE IN ISRAEL SAYS IT WILL FILE A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE ISRAELI MILITARY ON THEIR BEHALF The Israeli army briefly disappeared a US citizen last week, detaining him illegally and holding him captive in inhuman conditions for 48 hours. International Solidarity Movement activist Eric Levine was taken into custody on July 1 as he tried to enter Nablus to bring essential medical services and serve as human rights observers. He was traveling with an American paramedic, a British medical worker, and two Palestinians; the Israelis detained all five. Their families and friends had no idea where they were. Throughout their detention, the Israeli army denied the five activists access to a telephone, refused to explain why they were being detained, and kept them in an outdoor cage under armed guard. Soldiers threatened to shoot them on several occasions if they attempted to leave the area. The US and British consulates in Israel has said that it will lodge a formal complaint to the Israeli government for its mistreatment of Eric Levine. It will be the first time in its history that the US consulate has issued a complaint against the Israeli military. Democracy Now! asked the US consulate to join us on the program this morning, but they said they could not. The US Consulate in Jerusalem has filed a diplomatic note of protest with the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, and they say they have been in touch with the Israeli government about the case. This morning, an American Citizens Affairs officer at the US Consulate told Eric Levine that his situation was "tantamount to kidnapping." He joins us in our studio. Guest: Eric Levine, International Solidarity Movement activist who just returned from Israel. The US consulate is filing a complaint about his detention, and the detention of another US activist and a British activist, by Israeli soldiers IN STUDIO Contact: Guest: Rae Levine, International Solidarity Movement activist who just returned from Israel. She is a consultant for nonprofit organizations and foundations in Seattle 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40 THE EINSTEIN FILES: J. EDGAR HOOVER'S SECRET WAR AGAINST THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS SCIENTIST We have been talking about the FBI's investigation into US scientists who could have been behind last fall's anthrax attacks. Today we are going to look at another scientist the FBI investigated for more than 20 years. The world's most famous scientist, in fact. This scientist who revolutionized the study of the physical world, rewriting the laws of space, time and gravity. But he was also a pacifist, a Jewish immigrant who supported civil rights, disarmament, internationalism, and socialism. He was a friend of celebrated African-Americans Paul Robeson and W. E. B. Du Bois. And he dared to use his immense prestige to denounce Joseph McCarthy at the height of McCarthy era, and publicly urged witnesses to refuse to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). I am talking about Albert Einstein, the great physicist who gave the world the theory of relativity in 1919. J. Edgar Hoover launched a ruthless, "derogatory information" campaign against Einstein in 1933, the year he migrated from Germany to the United States. The campaign included illegally opening Einstein's mail, monitoring his phone, going through his garbage, trying to link him to Soviet spies, and trying to take away his US citizenship. The investigation turned up nothing, but that did not stop Hoover from amassing an 1800-page file on the physicist. He closed the file a few days after Einstein died in 1955. A broad history of this story has been known since 1983, when an English professor obtained a censored version of Einstein's FBI file and wrote about it in The Nation magazine. But a new book provides further shocking details of the FBI campaign against Einstein. The book is called "The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist." It was written by Fred Jerome, who sued the government with the help of the Public Citizen Litigation Group to obtain a less censored version of the file. The book was published in May by St. Martin's Press. Guest: Fred Jerome, author of "The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist" IN STUDIO 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58 THE SON OF JAMES BYRD JR., THE BLACK MAN BRUTALLY MURDERED BY WHITE SUPREMACISTS, FIGHTS TO SAVE HIS FATHER'S KILLER FROM EXECUTION It was one of the most horrifying and unforgettable events in this country's recent history. In the pre-dawn hours of June 7, 1998, a black man named James Byrd Jr. was walking home from a party in Jasper Texas, when he was stopped by three white men. John William King, Lawrence Russell Brewer and Shawn Berry were cruising and drinking beer, and they offered Byrd a ride home. He got in the bed of their pickup truck, but they didn't take him home. They drove him to a desolate, wooded road east of town, chained him to the back of the truck by his ankles, and dragged him for more than three miles along the road. By the time the men untied his body from the back of the truck, Byrd's head and right arm had been severed. They ditched his torso at the gate of one of Jasper County's oldest black cemeteries. That morning, the county sheriff found a lighter with three interlocking Ks on the bloody trail on the road. It was the first of many signs that the brutal murder was an act of white supremacy. John William King was the first of the three to go to trial. He was a member of the Confederate Knights of America, a small North Carolina faction of the Ku Klux Klan. He is decorated with tattoos of a black man lynched from a cross,a Confederate flag, a Nazi swastika, and the words "Aryan Pride." King was convicted in 1999 and sentenced to death. He was 24. He was the first white person in Texas to be sent to death row for the murder of an African-American since the state resumed capital punishment in the mid-1970s. Lawrence Brewer was also sentenced to die and Shawn Berry was given life in prison. But now the son of James Byrd Jr. is fighting to prevent the execution of John William King, who has nearly exhausted his state appeals on the death penalty. Last Wednesday, Ross Byrd led a fast and prayer vigil outside the Walls Unit in Huntsville Texas, to fight for the life of his father's killer. He was joined by longtime social activist Dick Gregory and Martin Luther King III, the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Guest: Ross Byrd, the only son of James Byrd Jr., the black man who was dragged to death in Jasper, Texas by a white supremacist in 1998. Ross was 19 years old and serving in the army when his father was killed. He was eventually given a medical discharge and now he is a hip hop artist. He dedicated his first album to his father. Guest: Gloria Rubac, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, speaking from Houston Contact: Links: 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits

Date Recorded on: 
July 09, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
Ju;y 09, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. July 09 , 2002
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