Democracy Now! April 18, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! April 18, 2002
Series Title:
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Israeli troops refuse to help survivors in Jenin ; UNdescribes even worse destruction ; Was Washington behind military coup in Venezuela?; HELEN CALDICOTT today on The New Nuclear Danger.

9:01-9:20 AS ISRAELI TROOPS REFUSE TO HELP RESCUE SURVIVORS BURIED ALIVE IN JENIN REFUGEE CAMP, THE COMMISSIONER GENERAL OF THE UNS MAIN BODY IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES DESCRIBES WORSE DESTRUCTION THAN HE HAD FEARED Thousands of Palestinians poured into the demolished Jenin refugee camp as Israeli troops briefly withdrew. Palestinians dug five survivors from the rubble today. A resident told Reuters that he had heard many people asking for help, but he couldnt do anything for them because of lack of equipment. Residents are clawing through rubble with shovels, pickaxes, and their bare hands in search of people buried alive beneath buildings flattened by Israeli bulldozers. The International Committee of the Red Cross confirms it is hampered by a lack of bomb-disposal and search-and-rescue teams. An Amnesty International spokesman said it was contacted by a local human rights group, which had received a call from a family of 10 trapped underground and asking for help. But there is still no concerted effort to search for and rescue survivors. Israeli officials say military search-and-rescue units are at work there, but the New York Times reports none were seen. On Wednesday, a group of Palestinian Red Cross workers formed a line where people passed chunks of concrete from a collapsed house hand to hand. In one spot, a woman pawed through the pile of rubble that was once her home, wailing as she pulled bits of clothing from the dirt. GUEST: PETER HANSEN, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East. UNRWA provides education, health, and relief and social services to 3.9 million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.CONTACT:, GUEST: PHIL REEVES, reporter with the London Independent, speaking from the Occupied Territories.CONTACT: 9:21-9:40 WAS THE WHITE HOUSE BEHIND THE FAILED MILITARY COUP IN VENEZUELA? THE WHITE HOUSE SAYS NO, BUT RECENT REVELATIONS SUGGEST THAT THE ADMINISTRATION KNEW A LOT MORE THAN IT FIRST LET ON. Washington and The New York Times keep changing their stories about the role the US played in last weeks coup in Venezuela. On Monday, the Times reported that senior administration officials acknowledged meeting several times with coup leaders and were briefed of the situation in advance. A defense department official said: "We were not discouraging people. We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don't like [Chavez]. On Tuesday, the Times reported that Otto Reich, a senior State Department official, phoned Venezuelan coup leader Pedro Carmona the very day he took over as interim president. The Times wrote that the State Department had admitted that Reich placed the call to plead with Carmona not to dissolve the National Assembly. He said it would be "a stupid thing to do," and would provoke an outcry. But now the Times is saying that the administration has changes its story. As reported today, the State Department has announced that it was not Reich that placed the call to Carmona but the US ambassador to Venezuela, Charles Shapiro. Reich, apparently, merely asked the ambassador to speak with the incoming president. Otto Reich is the assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs and was a key player in the Iran-Contra scandal. He is a hard-line anti-Castro Cuban immigrant with a long history of covert activity. The theory is spreading that he along with other veteran cold warriors helped stage-manage the Venezuelan coup. GUEST: GREG PALAST, reporter for BBC Televisions News Night, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and writer for the London Guardian.Contact: GUEST: BOB PARRY, former correspondent for the Associated Press and Newsweek. He reported on the Iran-Contra scandal. His latest book is Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press and Project Truth. LINK: Familiar U.S. Fingers In Venezuela Mess [Note: the link is:] 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58 DR. HELEN CALDICOTT ON THE NEW NUCLEAR DANGER: GEORGE W. BUSHS MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX The New York Times is reporting a nuclear missile defense site could be a reality within two years. Pentagon officials claim they have had four successful tests in a row, and say they are on track to open a working a star wars site in Alaska by October 2004. Meanwhile, a Pentagon report leaked a few weeks ago revealed the Pentagon is calling for nuclear weapons labs to design new and smaller nuclear bombs that could destroy underground bunkers. The Pentagon says these mini-nukes would reduce civilian casualties. But scientists say they would kill tens of thousands of civilians, and that developing the new weapons would also cause a new nuclear arms race. The report also revealed the Pentagon has been ordered to draft contingency plans for using nuclear weapons against at least seven countries, including Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya and Syria. Well, a new book is revealing some shocking facts about Washingtons willingness to press the nuclear button in the moments after the September 11 attacks. As Helen Caldicott writes in The New Nuclear Danger, the Defense Department was dangerously close to a nuclear launch on 9/11. With the majority of the American public in the dark, the Defense Department went on Defcon 2, its second-highest alert. That means the US was ready to launch thousands of weapons with only three minutes decision time. Guest: Dr. HELEN CALDICOTT, writer, physician and leading anti-nuclear activist. She is the founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a nominee for the Nobel Prize. In addition to her most recent book, the New Nuclear Danger, Caldicott is the author of such works as Nuclear Madness and Missile Envy. MUSIC: 6: NO BREAK 20: APRIL 20TH PERSPECTIVES ON PEACE PROMO 40: EARLY WARNINGS Holly Near Early Warnings (Appleseed Recordings CD) End: GET A MOVE ON Mr. Scruff 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits

Date Recorded on: 
April 18, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
April 18, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. April 18, 2002
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