Democracy Now! March 19, 2003

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Democracy Now! March 19, 2003
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Is war against Iraq legal or not? A debate between Roger Normand and Ruth Wedgewood; Activists blockade Australian Prime Minister John Howard s house, a Turkish port where US military is unloading equipment, a US naval base in Spain and damage US bombers in Scotland: direct actions around the world to stop the war; Are the networks megaphones for official views on Iraq?: FAIR finds few voices of dissent in recent war coverage

9:00-9:01 Billboards: 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20 IS: War against Iraq is unequivocally illegal under the UN Charter and international law. That is the conclusion of a new report by the Center For Economic and Social Rights. It is the height of hypocrisy for the U.S. and U.K. to base war on Resolution 1441 when they are fully aware that France, Russia and China approved that resolution on explicit written condition that it could not be used by individual states to justify military action, said CESR Executive Director Roger Normand, who recently returned from a fact-finding mission to Iraq. This war violates every legal principle governing the resort to force. It clearly has little to do with disarmament, democracy, human rights, or even Saddam Hussein, and everything to do with oil and power. The report warns that an illegal war in Iraq would threaten the pillars of collective security established after World War II to protect civilians from a recurrence of that unprecedented carnage. Meanwhile other international law experts say the United States is well within its legal right to attack Iraq. Often cited is Iraq s failure to abide by the ceasefire agreement that ended the first Persian Gulf War. Today we are going to have a debate on the legality of a U.S. attack against Iraq. * Roger Normand, executive director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights Link: * Ruth Wedgewood, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor of international law at both Johns Hopkins 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40: This morning in Australia, Greenpeace activists dressed as United Nations peacekeepers blockaded Prime Minister John Howard s official residence in Canberra. The protesters wore blue berets and chained themselves under four-wheel drive vehicles blocking the gates of Howard s home. Howard was forced to leave home by a back door. The action follows the Australian government's decision yesterday to commit Australian troops to an invasion of Iraq. In Britain, antiwar protesters gave Foreign Secretary Jack Straw a rude wake up call by blaring air sirens outside his London home at 6:30 this morning. Protesters said they briefly blockaded the roads around his home, forcing him to be late to work. Earlier this week, dozens of elderly women blocked the entrance to the RAF Fairford air base in Gloucestershire, England, where US bombers are preparing to be deployed to the Gulf. Some of the women were in wheelchairs; many were in their 70s and 80s. They held flowers, knitted, sang, danced and linked arms, bringing military vehicles to a halt. One woman told the British Press Association: "We aim to interfere with the smooth running of the base by blocking the main entrance." She said, "The decisions to make war are overwhelmingly carried out by men. We women think about the victims of war. When you talk about the enemy we just see other mothers' sons." She talked about "little boys with big egos who cannot back down for fear of losing face". Protesters are also targeting the bombs themselves, before they are loaded on the planes at the RAF Fairford base. On Sunday, over a dozen people set up a camp just off a major road used to transport bombs from the massive underground storage facility at Welford. There is more. In Turkey today, massive protests are planned at leading party headquarters as the Turkish government heads to a vote tomorrow on whether the United States can use its airspace to wage a war on Iraq. On Friday, some two dozen Greenpeace activists chained themselves to the wheels of a truck blocking an entrance to an eastern Turkish port, where U.S. forces are unloading equipment. With dozens of Turkish soldiers with assault rifles manning the entrance, police dragged away the demonstrators from Turkey, Britain, Australia, Belgium and Lebanon. The Spanish Civil Guard temporarily seized the famous Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior. The ship s captain and two others were arrested. The ship was blocking the joint Spanish-US naval base at Rota in southern Spain, where the U.S. Navy vessel Cape Horn was expected to deliver arms to troops in the Gulf. And there is more. Activists in Scotland are facing serious charges after dismantling military planes and support equipment intended for use in Iraq. In Germany on Saturday, police carried away hundreds of protesters who were blocking the main gate to the U.S. military's Rhein-Main Air Base And in Italy, in addition to massive street protests, there have been direct actions at gas station, airports and US military bases. * Shane Ratenbury, Campaign organizer with Greenpeace, Australia. He helped to blockade Prime Minister John Howard s house * Banu Dokmecibasi, (pronounced: Dokmechibeshe) anti-war organizer in Turkey and Mediterranean campaign organizer for Greenpeace. * Francesca Bria, reporter with Indymedia, Italy Contact: * Timo Marshall, crew member of the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior * David Mackenzie, organizer with Trident Ploughshares in Scotland, One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:45 DIRECT ACTIONS, CONT D 9:45-9:58 Are the networks megaphones for official views on Iraq?: FAIR finds few voices of dissent in recent war coverage The media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting has found in a new study, In Iraq Crisis, Networks Are Megaphones for Official Views, that network newscasts are dominated by current and former U.S. officials and largely exclude Americans who are skeptical of or opposed to an invasion of Iraq. Meanwhile, the conservative Media Research Center has released a study of its own. The study accuses ABC Nightly News of championing France and the United Nations over the US, treating Iraqi propaganda with less skepticism than Bush administration pronouncements, and: sanitizing radical protesters. FAIR studied nearly 400 on-camera sources who appeared in nightly news stories about Iraq on ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. The study took place in the first two weeks of February, during which Secretary of State Colin Powell made his presentation to the United Nations Security Council on February 5th. More than two-thirds of the guests featured were from the United States. Of the U.S. guests, a striking 75 percent were either current or former government or military officials. Only one of the official U.S. sources Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Edward Kennedy-- expressed opposition or even skepticism about the war. And even Kennedy s concerns were vague. He said on NBC Nightly News on February 5th: "Once we get in there how are we going to get out, what s the loss for American troops are going to be, how long we're going to be stationed there, what s the cost is going to be." * Steve Rendall, senior analyst at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting 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 19, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
March 19, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., March 19, 2003
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