Democracy Now! January 31, 2003

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Democracy Now! January 31, 2003
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Part 2 of our discussion on depleted uranium: we talk to Scientific Secretary with the European Committee on Radiation Risk Dr. Chris Busby, and U.N. human rights lawyer Karen Parker; A new U.N. report finds Afghanistan s environment ravaged by war; A judge fines a women s center $500 a day for refusing to hand over a 16-year-old rape victim s counseling records; over 2,500 people offer to spend time in jail in lieu of the fine

9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20: Today we continue with Part 2 of our special coverage on depleted uranium. Yesterday, we spoke in a rare interview, with Dr. Asaf Durakovic, the VA doctor who first discovered DU contamination in veterans after the Persian Gulf War. Today, we will look at recent findings on the risks of radiation contamination and discuss more about the legality of Depleted Uranium weapons. Depleted uranium is the most effective anti-tank weapon ever devised. It is made from nuclear waste left over from making nuclear weapons and fuel. As an unwanted waste product of the atomic energy industry, it is extremely cheap. It is also the densest material available on the market, and can smash through all known armor. US gunners say DU rounds save lives on the front line. But when DU rounds punch through tanks, they create a firestorm of uranium dioxide dust. Those invisible particles are still hot. As the Christian Science Monitor s Scott Peterson writes, the particles make Geiger counters sing. They stick to the tanks, contaminate the soil and blow in the desert wind as they will for the 4.5 billion years it takes for the DU to lose its radioactivity. Last Friday, a group of more than 100 legal experts and NGO s led by the Center for Constitutional Rights here in New York, warned President Bush that he and other senior government officials could be prosecuted for war crimes if military tactics in the upcoming attack on Iraq violated international humanitarian law. "Our primary concern ... is the large number of civilian casualties that may result should U.S. and coalition forces fail to comply with international humanitarian law in using force against Iraq," the group said in a letter to Bush and War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. According to a Reuters news report, the letter, which had more than 100 signatories, said the rules had been broken in other recent wars. It said air strikes on populated cities, carpet bombing and the use of fuel-air explosives were examples of inappropriate military action taken during the 1991 Gulf War, the 1999 Kosovo campaign and the 2001 Afghan conflict that led to civilian casualties and might be used again in Iraq. Ironically, Bush on Wednesday advised Iraqi officers and soldiers to disobey any orders to use weapons of mass destruction in the event of a conflict. "If you choose to do so, when Iraq is liberated, you will be treated, tried and persecuted as a war criminal," he said. We will be joined today, by Karen Parker, an attorney in Humanitarian law, to talk about the legal implications of using depleted uranium weapons. We will also be joined by Pekka Haavisto, of the United Nations Environmental Program. The UNEP just completed an environmental study on the after-effects of war in Afghanistan. But first, we go to Dr Chris Busby, Scientific secretary with the European Committee on Radiation Risk, who has been researching the health risks of low-level radiation exposure to human populations. The ECRR has just published a report which you presented in Brussels a couple of days ago. Your report has determined that previous risk-models for depleted uranium exposure are incorrect. Can you explain? Guest: Dr. Chris Busby, Scientific Secretary with the European Committee on Radiation Risk, a group of scientists and risk specialists within Europe who assess the riskof low-level radiation exposure. The ECRR has just published a report which determines that previous risk-models for depleted uranium exposure are incorrect. The report determines that depleted uranium is 100 to 1000 times more carcinogenic than the present risk model suggests. Links: Dr. Chris Busby s website for Low level Radiation Campaign: European Committee on Radiation Risk: Guest: Karen Parker, attorney specializing in humanitarian law. She has been working with the UN Commission on Human Rights since 1996 to expose the illegality of DU munitions under international law. 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40 Depleted Uranium cont d Guest: Pekka Haavisto, Chairman of the UN Environmental Program s Afghanistan Task Force. They published a report on Wednesday which assessed the environmental damage to Afghanistan as a result of war. Says Afghan govt. didn't ask them to do any testing for uranium.; 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58Crime is at an all time low in the country. You wouldn t know that from media coverage. In New York, the number of crimes committed from murders to robberies to auto-theft is the lowest its been in 40 years. But there is one crime that is skyrocketing: it is rape - up more than 30% in New York alone. Today, we go north to Massachusetts where a major standoff is taking place over the privacy of a teenage rape victim. A state court has ordered the Women s Resource Center in the city of Lawrence to hand over counseling records of a 16-year-old girl to the defense team of the man she says raped her. The Center is saying no. A judge has imposed a fine of $500 fine for every day the center refuses to hand over the records. The Center appealed that ruling and is expected to hear today whether it must pay the fine or not. People from across the country have taken great interest in the case. Some 2,500 people have volunteered to go to jail for a night to help protect the girl s privacy and to fend off the Center from paying the $500 per day fine. Guest: Wendy Murphy, visiting scholar at Harvard Law School. She is representing the Women's Resource Center in Lawrence, Massachusetts in the privacy case. Guest: Irene Weiser, founder of the, a website through which she helped recruit 2500 volunteers who have offered to spend a night in jail to help the Women s Resource Center protect the privacy of it clients. 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogiera and Alex Wolfe. Mike Di Filippo is our engineer and webmaster.

Date Recorded on: 
January 31, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
January 31, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., January 31, 2003
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