Democracy Now! May 2, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! May 2, 2002
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John Ashcroft Indicts The Revolutionary Armed Forces Of Colombia For The Killing Of Three Americans Relatives ; Washington and the Coup In Venezuela ; Congress Stalls The Bankruptcy Bill Over An Amendment ; Tenth Anniversary Of The Rodney King Uprising In Los Angeles: A Roundtable Discussion.

9:01-9:06 Headlines: type 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20 ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT INDICTS THE REVOLUTIONARY ARMED FORCES OF COLOMBIA FOR THE KILLING OF THREE AMERICANS RELATIVES SAY HES USING THE MURDERS TO DRUM UP SUPPORT FOR INCREASED US MILITARY INTERVENTION Attorney General John Ashcroft on Tuesday announced indictments against Colombia's leading leftist guerrilla group and six of its members in the st murders of three Americans in 1999. The three murdered US activists were Laheenae Gay of Hawaii, and Terence Freitas and Ingrid Washinawatok of Brooklyn. Ashcroft says the indictments against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, demonstrates the Bush administration's determination to prosecute terrorists outside the Muslim world. People close to those who were killed are outraged. They say the Bush administration is using the 3-year-old murders as a PR effort in the so-called war on terror, and to drum up support for increased US military aid to Colombia. Terence Freitas is one of those who was murdered. He worked with the indigenous Uwa people against the U.S.-based oil company Occidental Petroleum, which the Uwa have long alleged works hand-in-hand with the human rights-abusing Colombian military and paramilitaries. But US military aid is destined in part to help guard Occidental Petroleums pipeline in the area. The same day that Ashcroft announced the indictments, Secretary of State General Colin Powell certified the Colombian military is complying with human rights requirements. That allowed the State Department to release more than 60 million dollars in military aid. Meanwhile, the White House is currently seeking congressional support to allow U.S. military aid to Colombia to be used directly against leftwing rebels. Military aid is currently restricted to counter-narcotics operations. GUEST: Abby Reyes, girlfriend of Terence Freitas, former co-director of the Uwa Defense Project and currently a law student at UC Berkeley GUEST: Julie Freitas, mother of Terence Freitas TAPE: Terence Freitas, US activist subsequently murdered in Colombia, and Steve Kretzman, activist with Project Underground, speaking on Democracy Now! October 6, 1997 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:30 WASHINGTON CHANGES ITS STORY ABOUT ITS ROLE IN THE COUP IN VENEZUELA: THE LONDON GUARDIAN SAYS THE US NAVY WAS INVOLVED Washington keeps on changing its story about its role in the coup in Venezuela. First, senior administration officials acknowledged they met several times with coup leaders, were briefed of the situation in advance, didnt discourage people, and sent signals that Washington doesnt like Chavez. The next day, it emerged that Otto Reich, a senior State Department official, phoned Venezuelan coup leader Pedro Carmona the very day he took over as interim president. Then, the New York Times reported that the US channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to American and Venezuelan groups opposed to President Hugo Chavez in the last year. Most recently, The London Guardian is reporting the US navy aided the failed coup in Venezuela with intelligence from its vessels in the Caribbean.GUEST: Duncan Campbell, reporter, London Guardian. He has just written a piece on how the American Navy helped the Venezuelan coup. Contact: 9:30-9:40 CONGRESS STALLS THE BANKRUPTCY BILL OVER AN AMENDMENT THAT WOULD PREVENT ANTI-ABORTION PROTESTERS FROM ESCAPING THEIR DEBT A five-year struggle to rewrite the US bankruptcy laws is stalled in Congress this week, over an amendment that would prevent anti-abortion protesters from wiping out their debts by filing bankruptcy. The financial industry has never been so close to tightening the rules on debtors. Yet Republican leaders in the solidly anti-choice House of Representatives hint that they may block the bill unless the language is changed. Despite intense pressure from the banking and credit card industries to save the legislation, the stridently anti-choice Representative Henry Hyde has threatened to stymie the bill.Countless anti-abortion protesters have used the bankruptcy laws to escape paying court-imposed fines or damages to abortion clinics and cities where violent protests took place. Pro-choice advocates say it is just one more legal loophole that has allowed anti-choice protesters to continue to wage war on clinics. Among those using the bankruptcy law are Randall Terry, founder and long-time leader of Operation Rescue, and Joe Scheidler, the so-called grandfather of the anti-choice direct action movement, and author of the book Closed: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion. In 1998, after Randall Terry had violated court orders preventing him from blockading clinics in New York, he was fined for numerous counts of property damage. But Terry declared bankruptcy, saying he wanted to avoid paying the more than $1 million he owed "to those who would use my money to promote the killing of the unborn." The NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund has had a long battle with Terry and brought several suits against him. Guest: Martha Davis, vice president and legal director of the National Organization of Women Legal Defense and Education Fund IN STUDIO Contact: 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58 THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE RODNEY KING UPRISING IN LOS ANGELES: A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION This week is the tenth anniversary of one of the largest uprisings in modern US history, the uprising in Los Angeles sparked by the acquittal of four white police officers who were videotaped beating an African American man, Rodney King. On April 29, 1992, an all-white jury acquitted four white police officers in the beating. This despite an explicit videotape of the officers violently hitting, batoning, and kicking King as he lay on the ground. After the videotape was broadcast, a grand jury indicted all four officers on a number of charges. But after the judge moved the trial to a largely white enclave in conservative suburbia, the jury acquitted the officers of all charges. One hour and fifteen minutes later, people took to the streets in rage and the LA rebellion began. The furious reaction spread to cities across the country. Ten years ago in LA, 55 people were killed and more than 2,300 were injured. more than 1,100 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Over 13,000 National Guard and federal officers were called in by President George Bush senior. Bush Sr. blamed the LA riots on the social welfare programs of the 60s and 70s. But community leaders in LA say that it was not the acquittal of the white officers alone that sparked the violence. It was a spontaneous combustion fueled by the institutionalized racism of the city and the Los Angeles Police Department, escalating unemployment, and deep poverty. Most of the 10,000 people arrested during the riots were Latino and black young men. Today on Democracy Now! we are going to look at how Los Angeles has changed in the decade since the uprising. Guest: Michael Zinzun, former member of the Black Panther party and chair of the Coalition Against Police Abuse Guest: Charles Kim, head of the Korean American Coalition, a Los Angeles community advocacy organization founded in 1983. He is also co-founder of the Black-Korean Alliance, founded in 1985 and now largely disbanded. Guest: Samuel Paz, national vice president for the ACLU in Los Angeles . He has been a civil rights lawyer in LA for thirty years, and worked on the Rodney King verdict and and the Ramparts scandal. Contact: 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits

Date Recorded on: 
May 2, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
May 2, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. May 2, 2002
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