Democracy Now! December 3, 2002

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Democracy Now! December 3, 2002
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Israeli military attacks United Nations workers and buildings: soldiers shoot dead a British UN worker, detain Israeli and Palestinian workers, and bomb a World Food Program warehouse; Supreme Court to decide whether affirmative action and gay sex are legal; Manhattan DA set to determine the fate of the Central Park Jogger rape case this week: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sydney Schanberg discusses the new evidence and the power politics that have always swirled around this controversial case

9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:04 Headlines 9:04-9:05 One Minute Music Break 9:05-9:30: As the Bush administration continues to press for an invasion of Iraq, violence is increasing in the Occupied Territories. Israeli troops shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy and injured 22 other stone-throwers during a raid on Jenin yesterday. They also shot dead three others in separate incidents Monday. Meanwhile, UN agencies and workers are increasingly targeted. Several days ago, an Israeli soldier shot and killed British UN worker Iain Hook. He was inside a clearly marked United Nations compound. Israeli officials originally reported that Hook was caught in gun crossfire. Then they claimed that Palestinian gunmen fired on Israeli soldiers from within the UN compound, and soldiers shot directly at Hook. But the UN agency for Palestinian refugees is reporting that Iian Hook was shot in the back at a time of no military activity in the area. The same day that the solider killed Hook, another UNRWA official was targeted. 20-30 heavily armed troops surrounded the home of an Israeli legal adviser to UNRWA. Troops held Allegra Pacheco at gunpoint for two hours while her house was searched. They arrested her Palestinian husband. The UN says some 22 Palestinian staffers from the UNRWA have been detained by Israel, most of them without charges. In addition, last weekend the Israeli army bombed a World Food Program warehouse in the Gaza Strip that contained hundreds of tons of food aid for Palestinians. Phone guest: Paul McCann, Spokesman for United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Phone guest: Diana Buttu, PLO legal advisor Phone guest: Khaled Mansour, spokesperson for United Nations World Food Program which has accused Israel of destroying a warehouse containing hundreds of tons of food aid for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Links: United Nations World Food Program: 9:20-9:21 One-minute music break 9:21-9:30 ISRAELI MILITARY TARGETS UN, CONT D 9:30-9:35: US Supreme Court justices announced yesterday they have decided to rule on whether affirmative action programs in universities and professional schools are constitutional. Justices will review two cases challenging the University of Michigan s consideration of race to ensure a diverse student body for its law school and undergraduate program. The stakes are high. The court could prohibit affirmative action programs at all universities, public and private, across the country. The court could allow the programs to continue. Or, the court could pronounce new standards for evaluating programs on a case by case basis. The court s announcement is a victory for the conservative legal advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., the Center for Individual Rights. The Center opposes affirmative action and helped recruit the white plaintiffs in the two Michigan cases. Barbara Gunter, applied to the University of Michigan Law School and was rejected. Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher applied to the undergraduate program and failed. The plaintiffs are arguing the admission of black and Hispanic students with similar or lesser academic records violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the law school s admissions program earlier this year by a vote of five to four. The Federal District Court in Detroit upheld the current undergraduate admissions program two years ago, but found an earlier admissions program unconstitutional. Guest: Shanta Driver, national coordinator for the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary Contact: The U.S. Supreme Court also announced Monday it will hear a case challenging the constitutionality of Texas's "Homosexual Conduct law. The law makes it illegal for consenting gay couples to have sex even though it is legal for a man and a woman to have oral and anal sex in Texas. In this case as well, the stakes are high. The Supreme Court could not only strike down the Texas law, but it could also overturn its own notorious 16-year-old Bowers v. Hardwick ruling. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled states have the right to criminalize sodomy in the privacy of one s own home -- on the grounds of public morality. The Texas case was brought forward by Lambda Legal on behalf of John Lawrence and Tyron Garner. The two men were arrested in 1998 in Houston in Lawrence's home. Responding to a false report, police found the men engaged in private, consensual sex. They were jailed overnight and later convicted. They were forced to pay fines. Now they are considered sex offenders in several states. In addition to Texas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, and Puerto Rico all criminalize consensual sex between gay people. Nine states have consensual sodomy laws that apply both to straight and gay adults. (The states are Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Utah.) Guest: Susan Sommer, supervising attorney at Lambda Legal; she will be litigating the Supreme Court case. In July, she helped to strike down Arkansas' law banning sex between people of the same sex. Lambda Legal is the nation s oldest and largest legal organization dedicated to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered people, and people with HIV or AIDS. Link: Lambda Legal: 9:40-9:41 One-minute music break 9:41-9:58: This Thursday, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has to inform the court whether he will vindicate or vacate the convictions in the famous Central Park Jogger case. The New York Daily News the NYPD met with the Morgenthau yesterday and urged him not to clear the five youths. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sydney Schanberg recently wrote a story in the New York weekly The Village Voice on the famous case. It begins like this: Every now and again, we get a look, usually no more than a glimpse, at how the justice system really works. What we see before the sanitizing curtain is drawn abruptly down is a process full of human fallibility and error, sometimes noble, more often unfair, rarely evil but frequently unequal, and through it all inevitably influenced by issues of race and class and economic status. In short, it's a lot like other big, unwieldy institutions. Such a moment of clear sight emerges from the mess we know as the case of the Central Park jogger. She was horribly beaten and raped and left near death on an April night 13 years ago. Five Harlem teenagers who were part of a "wilding" spree by more than 30 youths in Central Park that night were accused of the rape. Other charges included sexual abuse, assault, riot, and robbery. Under intense questioning, they at first confessed, in written statements and on videotape, but shortly thereafter retracted everything contending that they had been intimidated, lied to, and coerced into making the statements. There was no physical evidence linking them to the crime no blood match, no semen match, nothing. The victim could not provide an identification of any assailant because the battering left her with no memory whatever of the episode or even of starting out on her jog. But in two court trials a year later, the juries were persuaded by the vivid confessions that each of the five had at least some role in the attack on the young woman. Four because they were under 16 were sentenced under juvenile guidelines and served jail terms of five to 10 years. The fifth, Kharey Wise, who was 16 and thus classed as an adult, got a sentence of five to 15 years. He came out of prison just last August. Sometime last winter a serial rapist and murderer named Matias Reyes, who is serving a 33 1/3-to-life sentence in state prison, sought out the authorities, told them religion had entered his life, and confessed that he and he alone had brutalized and raped the jogger. His DNA, it was soon learned, matched that of the semen found in the jogger's cervix and on one of her running socks. The public wasn't told any of this for several months as the shocked "justice system" wrestled with the gargantuan problem. Guest: Sydney Schanber, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. The Academy Award-winning movie The Killing Fields was based on Schanberg s book, The Death and Life of Dith Pran. The book is a memoir of his experiences covering the war in Cambodia for The New York Times and of his relationship with his Cambodian colleague, Dith Pran. Schanberg has been a journalist for forty years. He was the Metropolitan Editor at the New York Times and later a columnist there. In 1986 he left The Times to write his column for the New York daily, Newsday. Links: A Journey Through the Tangled Case of the Central Park Jogger: 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits

Date Recorded on: 
December 3, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
December 3, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., December 3, 2002
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