Democracy Now! February 5, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! February 5, 2003
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Secretary of State Powell today tries to persuade the U.N. Security Council to authorize an American first-strike attack on Iraq; we hear excerpts of an exclusive interview with Saddam Hussein by former British MP Tony Benn; Democracy now! obtains top secret U.N. documents revealing the U.N. s plans for a post-war Iraq: Jeremy Scahill reports from Baghdad NGO-Pentagon collaboration? The International Rescue Committee, World Vision, Save the Children, the International Medical Corps, and Mercy Corps have already received $2 million from the US; Can President Bush be impeached? Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark makes his case; Live from the United Nations: a report from U.N. correspondent Andreas Zumach

9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:15: Secretary of State General Colin Powell addresses the United Nations Security Council today. He will try to make the case for a first strike attack on Iraq. Each of the other 14 Council members will have up to eight minutes to respond. Those responses will likely determine whether the U.N. Security Council will vote for a new resolution authorizing military force. Powell s speech will be televised live around the world and is regarded as the most important speech by an American diplomat in recent history. Administration officials have worked late into the night over the past week, sifting through photographs and other classified material that could bolster Powell s presentation. White house officials say Powell s multi-media presentation will include recently intercepted communications within Iraq showing that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction from U.N. inspectors. The New York Times is reporting Powell may also present satellite images showing Iraqi soldiers moving equipment and burying objects just before UN inspectors arrived. The Washington Post reports Powell will include declassified satellite images of suspected mobile bioweapons labs. An administration official said Powell may choose to reveal those photographs only in private meetings with Security Council members claiming that this is due to concerns about revealing too much about surveillance technology. But Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix yesterday dismissed all of this. He said inspectors expected to be bugged "by several nations" and took great care not to say anything Iraqis could overhear. He said there is no evidence of mobile biological weapons laboratories or of Iraq trying to foil inspectors by moving equipment before his teams arrived. And he said he had received tips from the US that led him to inspect two alleged mobile labs. He found nothing. In addition, Powell will try to make the case that Iraq has links to al Qaeda. Debates have raged in the administration as recently as yesterday, over how much to emphasize this argument. But an official British intelligence report leaked to the BBC today says there are no current links between the Iraqi regime and the al-Qaeda network. The top secret document was written by intelligence staff three weeks ago. It says there has been contact between the two in the past, but the fledgling alliance foundered due to ideological differences between the militant Islamic group and the secular nationalist regime. Meanwhile, Iraq's deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz told Le Figaro newspaper today that Iraq does not want war with America and is ready to explain everything to U.N. inspectors. The interview hit newsstands just hours before Powell s speech. Aziz added: ``The American secretary of state will not be able to show that Iraq has arms of mass destruction. The interview comes on the heels of an exclusive interview former British MP Tony Benn conducted with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein himself. It is the first interview Hussein has given to a Westerner in recent history. Tape: former British Member of Parliament Tony Benn interviews Saddam Hussein 9:15-9:20: In other developments: *French President Jacques Chirac refused to bow to British and US pressure, declaring in a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair that war is the "worst possible solution," and calling for UN weapons inspectors to be allowed to continue their work. Blair has been feverishly trying to persuade Security Council members to back a US attack. The Financial Times reports if the UN Security Council does not issue a resolution authorizing force, Blair s own Labour Party could be torn apart by dissent. *An undisclosed number of F117 Stealth fighters have left their base in New Mexico for expected deployment in the Gulf. The Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its battle group finished training in the Caribbean and is heading overseas. *The United Nations refugee agency says 600,000 people could try to flee Iraq if the US attacks. The agency is drawing up contingency plans *Kuwait announced that areas bordering Iraq would be closed off as a special military zone from 15 February. Meanwhile, Democracy Now! has obtained top secret UN documents which reveal how the U.N. is planning to operate in a post-Saddam Iraq. A document labeled "Strictly Confidential" and put out by the Emergency Contingency Preparedness Strategy describes the role the UN could play in a post-war Iraq in such surprising detail it appears the UN may already be collaborating with the U.S. The document also appears to show the UN believes the post-Saddam transitional government will basically be just another authoritarian regime but this time, it will be operated or backed by the US. The report is based on contributions from the U.N. Department of Political Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Office of the Iraq Program, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the UN Development Program. Here are some excerpts: "In the case of a change of regime because of a war, the UN may have to play an important role. In the short term, the external force waging the war will be in command and may administer the country or impose a certain authority. The role of the UN may be confined, in the short term, to basic humanitarian assignments, such as the provision of food and shelter. The Oil for Food programme might continue to operate providing the requested humanitarian aid." The document continues in surprising detail: "Gradually, after four to eight months, the UN may be given more room for limited responsibility in terms of governance and the establishment of security and justice. The UN could be asked to provide assessment of war damages in the areas of infrastructure rehabilitation, elections and the set up of a transitional administration, without however, exercising and executing function as this was the case in Eastern Slavonia or East Timor, for instance. In the mid term, UN agencies might be asked to assist in nation and institution building as well as economic reconstruction. However, these programmes would mainly be carried out in cooperation with the transitional government bodies." This next excerpt appears to show the UN believes the post-Saddam transitional government will basically be an authoritarian government, operated or backed by the US: "Even under a new type of government, it is likely that the country may slip back into its old ways. The new leadership that emerges in Iraq... will not inherit exactly the same structural basis of power, which has maintained the current regime. However, the current regime has established a pattern of rule that will be very hard for any future Iraqi regime to shake off. The remnants of existing state machinery, and the state model of governance are all likely to work against a truly new state emerging from a conflict (either with internal or external forces). The exercise of military and police power and the maintenance of border authority are likely to continue depending on the same current actors. Any future authority will most probably utilise the remaining infrastructure of the state, including th regular armed forces. We go now to Jeremy Scahill in Baghdad. Guest: Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! correspondent in Baghdad 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40: A high level humanitarian delegation has just returned from Iraq. The delegation from the Center for Economic and Social rights discovered that a consortium of US non-governmental organizations based in Amman, Jordan have already received two million dollars from the US. The NGOs have also been participating in simulation exercises and coordination and training activities with the Department of Defense. Among the NGOs who received US funds: the International Rescue Committee, World Vision, Save the Children, the International Medical Corps, and Mercy Corps. An excerpt from their draft report reads: "...Several UN representatives and one NGO interviewed by the Research Team expressed the fear that the US military and/or either the Department of State or the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance will control the flow of funds to NGOs. This would result in NGOs deemed 'friendly' to the US being able to operate in Iraq, while those more critical of US policy would be disadvantaged. The research team also compares Iraq to a refugee camp. The team found Iraq avoided nutritional catastrophe under US economic sanctions by implementing a near-universal food ration system. It is by far the largest government food distribution in the world. 16 million people are fully dependent on the food ration. War could disrupt or destroy the food distribution system. Guest: Elisabeth Benjamin, founder and supervising attorney of the New York Legal Aid Society's Health Law Unit. She has conducted health and human rights assessments to Iraq for the Harvard Study Team and International Study Team missions. Guest: Dr. Ronald Waldman, professor of Clinical Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University. He has worked in emergencies in Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Albania, Congo, and Afghanistan. Dr. Waldman is the immediate past Chairman of the International Health Section of the American Public Health Association. Guest: Roger Normand, co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, overseeing policy and directing projects in the Middle East and Central Asia. In recent years he has led humanitarian assessment missions to Iraq, Palestine, and Afghanistan, and engaged in public advocacy and lobbying with policy-makers in the United States and with the United Nations. He is an adjunct professor at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:50: The U.S. Constitution provides the means for preventing George W. Bush from engaging in a war of aggression against Iraq. It s called impeachment. Former Attorney General of the United States Ramsey Clark makes his case. Guest: Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General Link: We now go live to the United Nations with U.N. correspondent Andreas Zumach, where Security Council members are gathering for Powell s address. Germany has just taken over as chair of the U.N. Security Council. Zumach points out that the US without the consultation of Germany called for Powell to address the Council today, February 5th. But on this day in Germany, U.N. Inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei were scheduled to meet with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. Blix and ElBaradei had to cancel the meeting. Guest: Andreas Zumach, Geneva-based UN correspondent with the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung. In December Zumach obtained an unedited copy of Iraq's 12,000-page report to the United Nations, including portions on how Iraq acquired its weapon capability from Germany, the U.S. and others. 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: 
February 5, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
February 5, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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