Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BBC’s WORLD HAVE YOUR SAY & DEATH PENALTY DISCUSSION IN AUSTIN, Texas

BBC’s WORLD HAVE YOUR SAY & DEATH PENALTY DISCUSSION IN AUSTIN, Texas

By Kevin Stoda


Nov. 18, 2008--I have been listening this evening to World Have Your Say of the BBC in Austin, Texas whereby the topic of the hours is a discussion the death penalty. The BBC program was being carried out at radio station KUT in Austin.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p001dpt0

The BBC program leader and his guests were all talking about death penalty in Texas, and callers from South Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Zambia and many other places were allowed on to talk and share their views.

With rises in violence in South Africa and elsewhere, the Death Penalty is topical once again around the world, especially as the overwhelming number of the callers on this date are noting that they feel that the death penalty is either (a) being carried out well in their country or (b) needed to be carried out.

First, the caller from Iran objected to the death penalty being used for non-capital murder cases. However, in critical tone, this particular Iranian caller noted that people were being stoned for adultery, for example, and he naturally opposed it in such instances. Moreover, this Iranian caller from Tehran then added that in some drug-related cases, execution was permitted in Iran, but he opposed that, too.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/521/death_penalty_drugs_saudi_arabia_vietnam_china

Next, we BBC listeners heard that the representatives from the Texas pro-death penalty communities, i.e. government officials and pro-death penalty lawyers both agreed that only capital murder was grounds for capital punishment in Texas. (They called themselves victim rights defenders.)

One South African caller was allowed to be on the line much longer than anyone else. That woman went on-and-on about the injustice of someone being killed over a can of beer.

Meanwhile, one caller from Saudi Arabian, named Husain, implied that the Saudi Arabian system of applying capital punishment was likely better than in Texas as four or more witnesses were always required.

http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?lang=e&id=4FBA416ABC8805C2802569A600603109



This same Saudi listen also noted that victims rights and wishes were listened to all along during the trial and investigation process in Saudi Arabia. For example, the caller claimed that if the victim’s family didn’t want the death penalty, none was required by the state in Saudi Arabia.

http://ccadp.org/saudiarabia-deathpenalty.htm

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE23/021/2007
http://hrfssaudiarabia.org/



Overall, I felt the BBC program was rather biased against those who opposed the death penalty.

Only one of those in Austin at the BBC program’s discussion table during the entire 30-minute long program represented criminal defenders and the anti-death penalty persons. Moreover, the only student who joined the discussion from the Texas university campus in Austin on this date (Nov. 18, 2008) was pro-death penalty.

That is, no representatives from TCADP (Texas Coalition against the Death Penalty), which has membership and volunteers numbering in the hundreds of thousands in Texas, was on hand.

http://www.tcadp.org/

Nor were any representative from Texas Students Against the Death Penalty (TSDP),

http://www.texasabolition.org/

http://texasdeathpenalty.blogspot.com/2006/08/on-notice.html

http://www.texasmoratorium.org/

Moreover, only a few callers and e-mailers to BBCs World Have Your Say (Live from Austin, Texas) opposed the death penalty.

Finally, only a one or two persons commented on the issues of (1) miscarriage of justice in Texas courts and (2) unfairness to the poor or colored in the courts in Texas and elsewhere in the USA and around the globe.

http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/punishment/phillips_11.18.08.pdf

http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/punishment/berman_11.18.08.pdf

On the other hand, there was on the BBC program this date one women whose daughter had been murdered 22 years ago on November 18, 1986. This particular mother, after investigating the issues for years , argued against anyone claiming that closure is ever often provided for victims or their families through the death penalty.

http://texasimpact.org/deathpenalty


MY THOUGHTS:

At least, BBC could have noted: “Texas executes more people than any other state in the U.S. On average, Texas juries condemn someone to death about once a week. Increasingly, Texans are voicing concern about our state's use of the death penalty. Some Texans oppose capital punishment for religious or moral reasons. Others support capital punishment in principle but worry that it might be applied unfairly in Texas. In recent years, many Christian denominations and Jewish groups have called for abolition of the death penalty in the US. Most religious calls for abolition identify capital punishment as inconsistent with Judeo-Christian beliefs and values.”

Furthermore, I would recommend that the BBC should do a whole WORLD HAVE YOUR SAY program should ask listeners around the world:

“If George W. Bush and Richard Cheney are found guilty of war crimes or capital crimes in their lying-bloody wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, should they receive capital punishment?”

http://bushcrimes.net/

Now, that is the kind of BBC programming that one needs to hear coming out of Austin.

Don’t you agree?

http://www.texecutions.com/

Perhaps, Cheney and Bush would eventually be forced to seek out help from the Texas Innocence Network—unlike their victims ever received.

http://www.texasinnocencenetwork.com/index.cfm

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