Democracy Now! March 13, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! March 13, 2003
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Hour 1: Prime Minister Tony Blair says Britain will deploy troops with or without UN backing: we talk to a Conservative Party MP who opposes war and former Labour Party Chair Tony Benn; Uniting For Peace : can the UN General Assembly trump the Security Council by invoking a little-known resolution, and stop the war?; Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic is assassinated: we ll go to Belgrade Hour 2: Delma Banks lives: U.S. Supreme Court grants emergency stay 15 minutes before Texan man was scheduled to be executed; Elizabeth Smart is found while Alexis Patterson is largely forgotten: We look at the cases of two girls who were abducted last year and why one made headlines and the other didn't; New York says no to war: the City Council joins 140 other cities and towns opposing a U.S. invasion of Iraq.; And then we will talk to the man Pentagon advisor Richard Perle says is the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist, investigative reporter Sy Hersh.

8:00-8:01 Billboard: 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20: Serbia is under a state of emergency today following the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. Djindjic was gunned down yesterday morning by unknown assailants in a sniper attack in broad daylight outside a Serbian government building in Belgrade. Deputy Prime Minister Zarko Korac told Belgrade s B90 radio today that despite a number of arrests overnight the main suspects behind the assassination of the premier are still on the run. His comments came after the government accused a Belgrade-based criminal gang for the murder and named around 20 of its alleged leaders. Korac said one of the prime suspects is an associate of the state security service. Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic was the chief organizer of the October 2000 democratic revolution that toppled Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. He became Prime Minister when the coalition swept to victory in parliamentary elections in January, 2001. Djindjic eventually handed over Milosevic to the war crimes tribunal at the Hague in return for $1.2 billion in economic aid. He had many enemies because of his pro-Western, market-oriented reforms. He pursued a reform program the World Bank called the most rigorous pursued anywhere in post-communist Europe. Djindjic was often criticized for seeking too much power and for mercilessly fighting his rivals. His rivals called him Little Slobo. Guest: Stojan Cerovic, columnist for the Serbian magazine Vreme, which means Time in English. Guest: Vesna Peric Zimonjic, journalist and reporter for the Independent in London. 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:40: British Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday told Parliament that British forces will join a US invasion of Iraq even if a majority of the UN security council does not endorse an attack. The Guardian of London calls it the biggest political gamble of his life. Blair is facing massive public opposition to an invasion on Iraq within his own Labour Party, opposition parties, and the public. On Tuesday, US War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sparked a furor when he suggested for the first time that Blair might not be able to support a US invasion due to British public opinion. Rumsfeld said he would not count out going to war without Britain. He said Britain s role in an invasion is QUOTE unclear. On Sunday, one of Britain s most powerful cabinet ministers dealt a powerful blow to Blair. International Development Secretary Clare Short called Blair's behavior reckless and said she will resign if Blair commits British troops without U.N backing, in violation of international law. We'll talk to Tony Benn, a former Labour MP who served in Parliament for over half a century, in a minute. But first, we hear from Conservative Party MP Douglas Hogg. He was also a foreign minister during the 1991 Gulf War with responsibility for Middle East policy. He supported the Gulf War but is speaking out against this one. Earlier today, our senior producer Kris Abrams asked Hogg his response to Tony Blair's announcement that he will commit British troops with or without UN backing. Tape: Douglas Hogg, Member of Parliament with the Conservative Party. He is a former Cabinet Minister under John Major, and a leading lawyer - a Queen's Counsel, or 'QC'. He was also a foreign minister during the 1991 Gulf War with responsibility for Middle East policy. He supported that war but is speaking out against this one. Guest: Tony Benn, longest serving Member of Parliament (51 years), former secretary of state and former chairman of the Labour Party, Tape: Tony Benn interviews Saddam Hussein, February 2003 8:40-8:41 One-Minute Music Break 8:41-8:58: A coalition of lawyers and activists are spearheading an effort to stop the war by invoking a little-known United Nations resolution called United for Peace. Under the procedure, the UN General Assembly can demand an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal. The Security Council adopted Resolution 377 so the UN can act even if the Security Council is stalemated. Resolution 377 states that if there is a QUOTE "threat to peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression" and the permanent members of the Security Council can't agree on action, the General Assembly can convene and recommend measures to "maintain or restore international peace and security." The "Uniting for Peace" mechanism has been used ten times. It was most recently invoked by the US. When Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956, Britain, France, and Israel invaded Egypt and began advancing on the Suez Canal. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower demanded that the invasion stop. Resolutions in the UN Security Council called for a cease-fire but Britain and France vetoed them. Then the US appealed to the General Assembly and proposed a resolution calling for a ease-fire and a withdrawal of forces. The General Assembly held an emergency session and passed the resolution. Britain and France withdrew from Egypt within a week. We're joined right now by two people who have been meeting with United Nations delegations about this little-known resolution. Guest:Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights Contact: Guest: Stephen Sawyer, Political Adviser for Greenpeace International. Sawyer has spent the last 25 years working on issues from climate change to peace and disarmament issues. Yesterday, he spent the day meeting with governments at the UN to talk about the Uniting for Peace resolution. Contact: 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits 9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-20 Delma Banks lives: U.S. Supreme Court grants emergency stay 15 minutes before Texan man was scheduled to be executed The U.S. Supreme Court last night granted stay of execution to death-row inmate Delma Banks 15 minutes before Texan officials were set to kill him by lethal injection. The justices said that he should be kept alive in order for them to consider his request for a full hearing. Banks has long claimed that his 1980 trial was marred by prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective defense counsel and racially discriminatory jury selection. Banks, an African American, was convicted of killing a white teenager by an all-white jury. Former FBI director William Sessions among others have rallied behind Banks case. * Ellean Banks, mother of Delma Banks * Delma Bank, death row inmate in Texas whose execution was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday. * George Kendall, attorney for Delma Banks 9:20-9:21 One-minute music break 9:21-9:35 Elizabeth Smart is found while Alexis Patterson is largely forgotten: We look at the cases of two girls who were abducted last year and why one made headlines and the other didn t Yesterday in Salt Lake City, 15-year-old Elizabeth Smart was reunited with her family, nine months after she was abducted from her bedroom in the middle of the night. Police officials said Elizabeth was discovered after they were led by several tips to a man they identified as Brian David Mitchell. The man had been a suspect for months. He once worked in the Smart home as a handyman. Mitchell and his wife were taken into custody on suspicion of aggravated kidnapping. Elizabeth was taken on June 5 of last year. A month earlier another girl disappeared. Her name was Alexis Patterson. She was seven years old and lived in Milwaukee. She was black and she was last seen in the playground of her elementary school. Alexis Patterson s case has never been solved. Her name is seldom discussed anymore. She has been missing for almost 10 months. Last year journalist Annysa Johnson wrote a story comparing the two cases. It began: Two girls are missing. Missing Children The national media flocked to Salt Lake City to tell the nation about Elizabeth Smart. Why haven't the reporters descended on Milwaukee to tell the nation about Alexis Patterson? Two cases, two cities, two different stories. In Milwaukee, a 7-year-old girl disappears on May 3 after setting off for Hi-Mount Community School on W. Garfield Ave. in the central city. In Salt Lake City, a 14-year-old is apparently kidnapped at gunpoint from her family's million-dollar home on June 5. Patterson is featured in short snippets on the TV show "America's Most Wanted," CNN and Fox News. Otherwise the story receives scant national attention. No stories in The New York Times or Washington Post. The Times and Post both send reporters to Salt Lake City to write about Elizabeth Smart. There are stories about her in The Boston Globe, Miami Herald and newspapers as far away as Sydney, Australia. MSNBC provides hourly updates, and the case is featured on CNN's "Larry King Live" and the CNBC/MSNBC show, "Hardball with Chris Matthews." A Nexis search of major newspapers and magazines shows 67 stories about Patterson, almost all of them by The Associated Press and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In the last week, there have been more than 400 stories about Smart. There is another difference between the two cases that cannot be ignored. Smart is white; Patterson black. Tape: Ed Smart, father of Elizabeth Smart, recorded yesterday. * Beverly Williams, member of the Milwaukee NAACP who attempted to get the national media to take up the case of Alexis Patterson * Annysa Johnson, staff reporter with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Last June she wrote a piece titled, 2 Missing Girls Cases Show Media Disparity: Alexis Gets Little Notice; Utah Gets Widely Covered. * John Robins Wells, private investigator and president of Operation L.A.P., which formed after the disappearance of Alexis Patterson Link: New York says no to war: the City Council joins 141 other cities and towns opposing a U.S. invasion of Iraq. New York City yesterday became the 141st city and town in the country to pass a resolution condemning a war in Iraq. The nation s three largest cities, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, have now all passed anti-war resolutions. The 31-17 vote came after months of debate over whether New York should stake out a position. "We of all cities must uphold the preciousness and sanctity of human life," said Councilman Alan Gerson, a Democrat who voted for the resolution and whose district includes the World Trade Center site, where over 3,000 people were killed in the attacks. Last month, 100,000 to 350,000 people took part in an anti-war protest near the United Nations. And recent polls show that 75 percent of New Yorkers oppose a war without the support of the United Nations. Since last September, anti-war resolutions have been approved in many other big cities such as Cleveland, Ohio; Portland, Maine; Denver, Colorado; Oakland, California; Santa Fe, New Mexico; St. Paul, Minnesota; Philadelphia and Pittsburg in Pennsylvania. * Bill Perkins, member of New York City Council Link: 9:40-9:41 One-minute music break 9:41-9:58: A conversation with the man Pentagon advisor Richard Pearle calls, The closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist : Reporter Seymour Hersh on how Perle would profit from war On Sunday Pentagon advisor Richard Perle called him the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist. Earlier this week Perle threatened to sue him in Britain for libel. And on Tuesday he was awarded with Harvard University s prestigious Goldsmith's Career Award for Excellence in Journalism. The man is Sy Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and investigative reporter in the New Yorker which published his latest piece, Lunch with the Chairman: Why was Richard Perle meeting with Adnan Khashoggi. Perle is the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a Pentagon advisory board. He has been one of the leading advocates for war in Iraq. Perle is also the managing partner in a venture-capital company called Trireme Partners. The firm invests in companies dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defense. And now Perle is threatening to sue because Hersh implied that he may be using his position as a Pentagon adviser to benefit financially from a war in Iraq. We contacted Richard Perle last night at his home in Maryland. He declined to join us this morning. But he did confirm that he was in discussions with his attorneys about filing a libel suit in Britain against Seymour Hersh. Perle claimed that Hersh s article contained many lies but he refused to comment on what was libelous in the article. Hersh said he believes Perle was particularly upset with a quote that appeared from Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who has served as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States for twenty years. There is a split personality to Perle, Bandar said. Here he is, on the one hand, trying to make a hundred-million-dollar deal, and, on the other hand, there were elements of the appearance of blackmail If we get in business, he'll back off on Saudi Arabia as I have been informed by participants in the meeting. And on Tuesday, Hersh told an audience at Harvard, I have never seen my peers as frightened as they are now There is no real standard of integrity because the White House doesn t have any. * Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter for the New Yorker. His latest piece is Lunch with the Chairman: Why was Richard Perle meeting with Adnan Khashoggi. 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.

Date Recorded on: 
March 13, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
March 13, 2003
Item duration: 
118 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., March 13, 2003
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