Democracy Now! March 27, 2003

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Democracy Now! March 27, 2003
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In New York City scores are being arrested this morning in direct action protests against the war.; U.S. bombs Iraqi Television again: International Federation of Journalists condemns attack as a violation of the Geneva conventions; Is the world watching two different versions of the invasion of Iraq? A comparison of the Arab-language and western media; U.S. government pressures UN nations (again) not to oppose Iraq attack; Could the war cost $800 billion? A discussion on the cost of the Iraq invasion and what it means to the American public; Under surveillance from the military and under pressure from MTV: Hip hop star Michael Franti talks about the pressure caused by speaking out against war

9:00-9:01 Billboard: 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20: US forces bombed Iraqi television broadcast facilities in central Baghdad again last night. Iraqi TV s signal was restored around midnight. Several hours later, a second wave of bombing was launched, and a witness said the Iraqi TV building was in flames and destroyed. But broadcasts resumed in Baghdad this morning, with a shaky picture and no sound. A U.S. intelligence official told the Los Angeles Times the strikes reflect a new decision by military commanders to disable Iraqi television for the duration of the war. Meanwhile, in the southern city of Basra, British forces bombed Iraqi state radio and television transmitters, taking both broadcasting outlets off the air. US and British forces have taken over a number of radio frequencies and are broadcasting their own messages to the people. The action comes just after the head of the world's largest journalists' organization said the attacks on Iraqi television may violate the Geneva Conventions and called for an international investigation. The International Federation of Journalists said the U.S. bomb and missile attack on Iraqi television on Wednesday was an attempt at censorship and may have breached the Geneva Conventions. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International also condemned the attack on Iraqi television, saying it might constitute a war crime. A U.S. official in Washington defended the attacks, saying the goal is to damage the government's command and control capability. * Aidan White, General Secretary for the International Federation of Journalists, which represents more than 500,000 journalists in 100 countries. Link: One-minute music break 9:21-9:30: It has been a busy few days for Al Jazeera, the Arabic satellite television station based in Qatar. On Sunday, the station aired controversial images of American POWs held by Iraq. On Monday, the New York Stock Exchange banned Al Jazeera reporters from the floor of the stock exchange. On Tuesday, Al Jazeera launched a much anticipated English language website. The site was inaccessible for much of the day due to attacks from hackers and heavy traffic. In addition on Tuesday the Nasdaq stock market also decided to ban Al Jazeera reporters from its floor. A Nasdaq spokesperson explained the decision: "In light of Al Jazeera's recent conduct during the war, in which they have broadcast footage of U.S. POWs in alleged violation of the Geneva Convention, they are not welcome to broadcast from our facility at this time." And yesterday, Al Jazeera is ran reports that may anger some backers of the war. The network's correspondent in Basra is claiming there are no signs of a civilian uprising in Basra against the regime of Saddam Hussein. Al Jazeera's programming has been seen as controversial by some in Washington ever since it began broadcasting six years ago. The network has since grown into a CNN of the Arabic world reaching up to 55 million viewers. It is one of eight Arabic-language stations reporting on the war. * Lamis Andoni, an independent journalist and analyst who has covered the Middle East fro over 20 years. She covered the first Gulf War for the Christian Science Monitor and Financial Times. She also covered the Iran-Iraq war in the south of Iraq. She has been monitoring the Arab-language and US media coverage of this war. 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40: With military action in Iraq moving into its second week, the Security Council yesterday held its first debate on the situation since the start of invasion. At the request of the Arab League and the Non-Aligned Movement, the Security Council began an open meeting where some 70 countries are expected to take part. There was great opposition to the U.S. led attack. The war against Iraq has been carried out without the authorization of the Security Council in violation of the principles of international law and the UN Charter, said Datuk Rastam Mohamed Isa of Malaysia, the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement. He said it was regrettable that the parties concerned chose to cast aside multilateral diplomacy to take the path of war while efforts to avert conflict were continuing And we have learned that the U.S. have been pressuring nations within the General Assembly not to speak out against the war. * Phyllis Bennis, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC, specializing in Middle East and United Nations issues. She is the author of the book Before and After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11th Crisis. Link: Institute for Policy Studies: analysts are saying Bush administration's $75 billion budget request to fund the war with Iraq and cover related costs is just a down payment for what will likely be a much costlier conflict President Bush's proposal includes $63 billion to fight the war, $8 billion in bilateral foreign aid to countries helping with the war effort and for reconstruction and humanitarian relief, and $4 billion for homeland security. The $8 billion goes towards U.S. allies in the so-called war on terror including Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, the Philippines and Columbia. But will the war cost only $75 billion? Jason Nisse of The Independent (UK) suggests the total cost could rise to $800 billion. We are going to talk about what the war will really cost and what is not include. * Jason Nisse, business correspondent for The Independent newspaper, London. He wrote an article earlier this month called The $800 Billion Conflict and A World Left Licking Its Wounds which looks at how expensive the war will really be. * Greg Speeter, Executive Director, National Priorities Project, a non-profit which analyzes how federal policies affect ordinary Americans in cities and towns around the country. They recently published a report examining the cost to states and cities of the invasion of Iraq. Link: 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:50-9:58: For nearly a decade hip hop artist and activist Michael Franti has been a leading progressive voice in music. Franti grew out of the Bay Area music and political scene in the early 1990's. In 1986 he founded the duo the Beatnigs, paving the way for his next musical endeavor, the Disposable Heroes of HipHoprisy. His most recent musical project is the musical collective Spearhead, begun in 1994. Franti's distinctive style is infused with hip hop, soul and jazz influences and driven by his eloquent political lyrics. He has always used music to push social boundaries. He speaks out against sexual violence, encourages his community to prevent the spread of HIV, and sings about the hypocrisy of the US government. He has also been a leading critic of the invasion of Iraq. And recently he has learned members of his group Spearhead are under surveillance of the U.S. government. One day after performing at an anti-war rally, relatives of one of Franti s bandmates got an unexpected visitor. Franti told Democracy Now!: His mother received a visit from two plain clothes men from the military and this band member of mine has a sibling who is in the gulf. And they came in and talked to her and said you have a child who s in the Gulf and you have a child who s in this band Spearhead who s part of the resistance in their words. They had pictures of us performing the day before at the rally, they had pictures of us performing at some of our annual concerts that we put on that are in support of peace and human rights. They had his flight records for the past several months, they had the names of everybody who works in my office, our management office Guerilla Management, they had his checking account records. They asked his mother a lot of questions about where he was, what he was doing in this place, why he was going here. They confiscated his sibling s CD collection that they had brought over to listen to while they were in the Gulf, and basically were intimidating, told her which members of the press she could talk to and which members of the press she should not speak to For musicians in particular it s a really hard time. Last week our label received a letter, a mass e-mail from MTV instructing the fact that no videos could be shown that mentioned the word bombing or war. No videos could be shown that had protesters in it. Any footage from military they gave a list of prior videos that could not be shown, yet MTV has aired videos that show troops saying goodbye to their loved ones and going off to war in a very heroic fashion and troops which are gonna be coming home traumatized, wounded and dead and then be treated and thrown onto the scrap heap of veterans, as we ve seen veterans treated in this country. And at the Academy Awards, there were also letters and talk that went around saying not to speak out. Guest: Michael Franti, musician and political activist Link: Full transcript of the Democracy Now! interview: 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 27, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
March 27, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., March 27, 2003
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