Democracy Now! March 21, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! March 21, 2003
Series Title:
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Hour 1: Tens of thousands of US troops race through southern Iraq seizing oil installations as the bombing of Baghdad continues: a report on civilian casualties from Baghdad; Former CIA officials call for intelligence officers to leak documents that challenge Bush Administration propaganda: we ll talk to 27-year CIA veteran Ray McGovern; US attack plans for Iraq are modeled on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: a discussion of Shock and Awe Hour 2: Bridge to Baghdad : on this second day of war, students in Baghdad talk with students in New York students; 1,500 arrested in San Francisco as millions more take to the streets around the globe: We hear the voices of dissent from around the country; The new Afghanistan? U.S. launches a major attack in Afghanistan and is outfitting militias: we speak with an Afghan-American woman in Kandahar who is investigating why 19 members of her family were killed in US bombing; Inside Baghdad: Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill reports on what Iraqis fear

8:00-8:01 Billboard: 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20: The ground war has started. Tens of thousands of U.S. and British ground forces are racing through southern Iraq in an attempt to seize the city of Basra and key oil installations. In the Faw peninsula, U.S. Navy and British commandos have seized oil shipping and pumping facilities along the Persian Gulf. The Marine 1st Expeditionary Force is moving toward seizing control of Iraq's southern oil fields, where several wells were reported to be ablaze. A US helicopter crashed early today just south of the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. Four U.S. crew members and eight British Royal Marines were killed. The helicopter went down after encountering haze from a burning oil field. We are just learning that a U.S. soldier died in combat a few hours ago. U.S. forces killed at least 14 Iraqi soldiers in fierce fighting at key oil installations. The US attacks from the air continue. Bombs rained down on Baghdad last night. Pentagon sources say in Baghdad 24 Tomahawk missiles targeted strongholds of Iraq s elite Special Republican Guard, as well as Iraqi President Saddam Hussein s main presidential palace and the offices of Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. The official Iraqi news agency said 37 civilians were wounded in the raid. It appears the U.S. military has yet to unleash the major air campaign they have dubbed shock and awe. The Washington Post is reporting that some U.S. officials believe the opening attacks yesterday struck a bunker where Saddam Hussein and one or two of his sons were sleeping. One administration official said evidence shows Hussein was at least injured in the attack or possibly killed. A source close to Hussein told the Washington Post that the man who appeared on TV after the first attacks was not Saddam Hussein. Iraqi sources said the president was safe. Yesterday, we were able to reach independent journalist Mei Ying Welsh in Baghdad as the bombing resumed. She described what its like to be under US bombing, and talked about her experience meeting the civilians who were injured in the first US bombing. Guest: Mei Ying Welsh, independent journalist 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:40: Last week the Los Angeles Times reported on a stunning classified document from the State Department. It was titled "Iraq, the Middle East, and Change: No Dominoes. It debunked the Bush Administration s claim that a U.S. attack and occupation of Iraq would lead to a democratic Iraq, and then help bring democracy to much of the Middle East. The report was top secret and was never supposed to be seen by the public. The Bush administration obviously had little incentive to leak the report which challenged one of the stated goals of the war. And today the world would not know about the report if officials had not secretly leaked the document to reporters. If a group called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has its way, more officials within the Intelligence community will soon begin leaking documents that shows the Bush administration is slanting intelligence to support its case for war with Iraq. The group was formed two months ago by five CIA veterans. Currently the group consists of 25 members from the entire defense community (including the DIA, CIA, Army Intelligence, and the State Department Intelligence Group). Guest: Ray McGovern, a 27-year CIA veteran who briefed top Reagan administration security officials before retiring in 1990. He is one of the founders of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) Contact: Daniel Ellsberg, calling in from a protest in Washington, D.C. Ellsberg is the former Pentagon official who leaked a 7,000-page top secret study of US decision-making in Vietnam, which later became known as the Pentagon Papers. He is author of Secrets: a Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:58: Shock and Awe. These are the words the Pentagon is using to describe its planned air campaign in Iraq. Though the invasion has started and bombs are raining down on Baghdad, it appears the shock and awe part of the campaign hasn t gotten underway. The idea of Shock and Awe is to shatter Iraq "physically, emotionally and psychologically" by raining down on its people at least 300 missiles a day. That would mean that each day, Baghdad would be bombarded by more missiles than were launched during the entire 40 days of the 1991 Gulf War. In January, when the plan was first leaked, a Pentagon official told the CBS News: "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad." The plan was born several years ago, when seven former cold war warriors gathered to rethink US war strategy. The group was co-chaired by Harlan Ullman, a retired navy destroyer commander. In 1996, the group published its findings in a book called Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance. Chapter one of the document reads: Shutting the country down would entail both the physical destruction of appropriate infrastructure and the shutdown and control of the flow of all vital information and associated commerce so rapidly as to achieve a level of national shock akin to the effect that dropping nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had on the Japanese. Yesterday s Christian Science Monitor reports author and co-chair Harlan Ullman is holding up the US nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a model. He said: "a society that was prepared to die was turned around." Independent journalist Russell Mokhiber questions Ari Fleischer in a White House press briefing on Feb. 19th, 2003. He asks how it is possible to protect civilians under the Shock and Awe battle plan. Guest: Jaime Havenar, independent researcher who wrote the first study of Shock and Awe. The report is published on the Not In Our Name website. 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 9:07-9:20: Today, part two of our discussion on Bridge to Baghdad. Yesterday we talked about how 12-time Emmy award-winning TV journalist Jon Alpert wanted to create dialogue and bring the voices of ordinary Iraqis to ordinary Americans. He traveled to Baghdad last month to set up a video conference with Iraqi students in Baghdad and American students in New York. The American Museum of Radio and Television was sponsoring the event. But as Jon Alpert drove from Amman, Jordan on the road to Baghdad, they called him, and backed out. Jon produced the video dialogue anyway. When he returned to the US, not one network would air his piece. Well today, students in Iraq will talk live telephone with students here in our firehouse studio in New York. Bridge to Baghdad, an excerpt Guest: Jon Alpert, veteran TV reporter and journalist, 12-time Emmy award winner, and founder of Downtown Community Television in New York City Contact: Guest: Walid Gafa, student in Baghdad Guest: Hibba Al-Soudani, student in Baghdad Guest: Katrina Baker, student in New York Guest: Alcy Montas, student in New York 9:20-9:21 One-minute music break 9:21-9:35: And millions of people across the globe took to the streets yesterday to protest the U.S. led war in Iraq. Police in riot gear arrested more than 1,500 anti-war demonstrators in San Francisco: the most arrests in a single day protest in that city in 22 years. Momentum built throughout the day as spontaneous protests erupted in different parts of the city. Many of the arrested were held in open-air pens erected in the streets. A man jumped to his death from the Golden Gate Bridge after handing police a note that reportedly contained a declaration opposing the war. 107 people were arrested for blocking the federal courthouse in Philadelphia. Thousands of demonstrators snarled traffic along Chicago s main arteries, breaking through lines of police on horseback. Student protestors at UC Berkley occupied the main administration building for more than two hours. 120 students were arrested. During rush hour in New York City, demonstrators pushed past police barricades in Times Square halting traffic on Broadway for two hours. Also in New York, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows marched against a war they felt was unjustified and illegal. 100 demonstrators shut down a major bridge connecting Virginia to Washington D.C. s Georgetown neighborhood. Protests were also reported in dozens of cities throughout the nation including Seattle, Portland, Houston and Pittsburgh among others. U.S. based anti-war groups like United for Peace and Justice, International ANSWER and Stop the War Coalition in Britain are planning large demonstrations in New York and London on Saturday. The U.S. has closed several of its consulates in Australia, including the one in Sydney, as a second day of anti-war protests gets underway there. 25,000 people have taken to the streets in Melbourne. Outside the Victorian state Trades Hall thousands wait in drenching rain to hear anti-war messages from union leaders, a Gulf War veteran and local celebrities. In Melbourne, activists chanted U.S. Please explain, why did you install Hussein while in Sydney there are reports of rowdy demonstrations and clashes with police. Australia has contributed more than 2,000 troops to the U.S. led coalition. Protests in Athens and Cairo attracted between 150,000 and 200,000 people. There are reports of violent crackdowns against protestors gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. More than 250,000 people in Germany marched against the war. In Berlin alone, more than 50,000 students walked out of their classrooms during a peaceful march to the U.S. embassy there. Thousands of French students also left their classrooms to march through Paris- where 60,000 protestors gathered in the Place de la Concorde for a peace rally. Tens of thousands of protestors in Rome participated in a torchlight march to the Coliseum. Similar protests were reported in Milan, Turin and Palermo. Students and schoolchildren gathered outside the House of Commons in London. The demonstrations there went into the night. In Spain, anti-war protestors handed parliament a petition signed by 1.2 million people denouncing the U.S. led attack. Thirteen U.S. Embassies and Consulates were shut down due to security concerns and others throughout the world were on heightened alert. Clashes were reported between police and demonstrators in Ankara, Turkey and Damascus, Syria, where several hundred protestors tried to storm the U.S. embassy. Belgian police used water cannon to repel hundreds of angry stone throwing protestors outside of the U.S. Embassy in Brussels. At least a thousand student protestors in Amman defied government edicts prohibiting anti-western protests in Jordan. Riot police charged a crowd of several hundred protestors in Warsaw, arresting 30 people. Demonstrations were also held in Vienna, Delhi and the Morrocan capital of Rabat. We go first to hear voices of protesters recorded yesterday. Then we talk to independent journalist Pratap Chatterjee for a report from San Francisco. Tape: Voices of protest recorded March 20, 2003 Guest: Pratap Chatterjee, independent journalist reporting from San Francisco 9:40 9:50: Even if you have been watching the news 24 hours a day you may have missed this story. Within an hour of the start of the U.S. invaded Iraq, U.S. forces also launched its largest attack on Afghanistan in over a year. The Pentagon says U.S. forces have launched a new assault on caves and potential hide-outs in the mountains of southern Afghanistan. This came after Washington received reports suggested high-ranking members of al Qaeda and the Taliban could be in the area. The attack was focused in the Maruf district of Kandahar province. Well about an hour ago I had a chance to speak with an Afghan-American woman who is visiting in the area, Masuda Sultan. Democracy Now! listeners may remember the story of Masuda. She was living in New York at the time of Sept. 11 and traveled back to Afghanistan a few months later only to learn a U.S. attack had killed 19 members of her families. She has returned to Afghanistan to learn what happened. Tape: Masuda Sultan, Afghan-American speaking from Kandahar. 9:50-9:58: We are joined by Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill who has just returned from Baghdad. He has a written a cover story titled Inside Baghdad for the new issue of The Nation. It begins: There's an old Arab saying that Iraqis like to quote when talking about another US war against their country: "The wet man is not afraid of the rain." With talk of war dominating every conversation in the days just prior to the US decision to move ahead with invasion plans despite a lack of sanction, men told stories of their time in the Iraqi Army during the first Gulf War, against Iran. "I went there almost unable to grow a beard and I came back with a head of gray hair," said Ahmed, who spent seven years on the frontlines of the bloody eight-year war between Baghdad and Teheran. (As with all the ordinary Iraqis quoted in this piece, his name has been changed.) Almost every Iraqi household lost someone in the war. They had only two years to struggle for a return to any semblance of a normal life when Iraq invaded Kuwait, sparking the second Gulf War, which took the lives of more than 200,000 Iraqis. The rest, as one Iraqi put it, was "our well-known destiny." "I know war too much. With wars I am like Sylvester Stallone, like Rocky. We had too many sequels. We don't need another," said Mohammed, whose days are now consumed by sleep and his nights by listening to shortwave radio. Guest: Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! correspondent Link: 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 21, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
March 21, 2003
Item duration: 
118 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., March 21, 2003
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