Democracy Now! March 24, 2003

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Democracy Now! March 24, 2003
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Up to 209 civilians killed in early days of U.S. invasion: Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness reports from Baghdad; 11 members of Congress vote to oppose war: We talk to Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA); U.S. reportedly fires DU shells in Basra: Despite evidence of health and environmental effects, Pentagon denies DU is dangerous; "We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush!": Michael Moore wins an Oscar and joins others calling for peace

9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20: Between 135 and 209 civilians have been killed since the start of the U.S. invasion. This according to the website, . In Basra, Iraqi officials say U.S. forces killed 77. The number of civilians killed during the shock and awe attack of Baghdad is unknown. Near the Syrian border, a U.S. missile hit a passenger bus carrying Syrian civilians fleeing the war in Iraq. Five were killed and 10 were injured. Meanwhile U.S. forces suffered yesterday what the Guardian of London described as the military s worst day since the "Black Hawk Down" debacle in Somalia a decade ago. On Sunday 15 American soldiers were killed, 14 were wounded and five were take prisoner or war. Video of the POWs appeared on the Arabic news station Al Jazeera. Guest: Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices in the Wilderness speaking from from Baghdad. Link: Voices in the Wilderness, One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:26: Last week Congress overwhelmingly backed a resolution to endorse the war in Iraq. The vote in the Senate was 99 to 0. In the House of Representatives the vote was 392-11. The 11 were John Conyers of Michigan; Ohioan Stephanie Tubbs Jones; Californians Barbara Lee, Diane Watson, Maxine Waters, Mike Honda and Pete Stark; New Yorkers Charles Rangel and Edolphus Towns; Virginian Bobby Scott; Jim McDermott from Washington and Republican Ron Paul of Texas. Another 22 members of Congress simply voted present. Congressman John Lewis, D-GA was one of them. He said from the floor "In all good conscience, I cannot and will not vote for a resolution that supports and endorses a failed policy that led us to war. Today we are joined by one of the 11, Congressman Jim McDermott from Washington. * Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) 9:26-9:50: The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned a humanitarian crisis is looming in Iraq s second largest city Basra following US-led airstrikes on the strategic city. Iraqi officials say 77 civilians died in the attack. The Red Cross said the bombings destroyed electricity cables powering the local water station. The city s water and electricity have been cut off for more than two days. And the situation may get worse. The Iranian News Agency is reporting today that U.S. and British coalition forces have fired depleted uranium shells on Iraqi tanks in the city of Basra. It is the first report that depleted uranium was used in the invasion of Iraq. 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. During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the United States used 320 tons of munitions made with depleted uranium. The Air Force fired roughly 750,000 rounds from A-10 aircraft. The Army fired over 50 of DU ammunition from Abrams tanks. Health officials have long debated the effects of depleted uranium. Many say DU is a major cause of the severe health problems such as cancer and birth defects. The director of the cancer ward at Basra's Saddam Teaching Hospital says cancer rates have increased eleven times since the first Gulf War. Last week the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations warned that the U.S. would cause grave environmental consequences if it were to be use DU again in Iraq. The Pentagon denies depleted uranium poses health or environmental risks. Guest: Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), who is introducing House resolution calling for Congressional investigation of depleted uranium Guest: Pentagon press briefing on depleted uranium, March 14, 2003 Guest: Doug Rokke, former major in the US army and a nuclear health physicist. Rokke was in charge of some of the DU clean-up after the gulf war. He believes the Pentagon is ignoring and even covering up evidence of the danger to soldiers and civilians because DU weapons have proven so effective. Guest: Dai Williams, Independent weapons researcher who has analysed suspected uranium weapons by looking at defense patents. Dai says the Pentagon's briefing on DU last Friday, March 14th contained many misleading statements about DU. Guest: Damacio Lopez, Executive Director of International Depleted Uranium Study Team IDUST. He was in Iraq just recently with a Japanese team whose members have researched the effects of Hiroshima on the environment and on humans. Lopez and the team conducted independent tests on radiation contamination and radiation sickness in different towns in Iraq. Links: 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:50 DU cont d 9:51-9:58: As fighting raged in Iraq, the 75th annual Academy Awards ceremony was held last night. Some Oscar winners chose to speak out against the war in the 45 seconds allotted to them on national television. An estimated one billion people were watching around the globe. Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore s Bowling for Columbine won the best feature-length documentary. He gave a scathing speech against the war and against President Bush. Actor Adrien Brody pulled off a major upset and won the best-actor Oscar for The Pianist. Many celebrities wore peace pins. And Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and others showed up in fuel-efficient gasoline-electric hybrid cars instead of limousines as a statement against U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Actor Matthew McConaughey wore large red, white and blue flowers. * Michael Moore, receiving the Oscar for documentary Bowling for Columbine, March 23, 2003 * Pedro Almodovar, Spanish director-writer who received the Oscar for best original screenplay for Talk To Her. * Gael Garcia Bernal, Mexican actor who starred in Y Tu Mama Tambien". He introduced leading Brazilian singer, Caetano Veloso * Adrien Brody, actor who won Oscar for his role in The Pianist 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 24, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
March 24, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., March 24, 2003
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