Democracy Now! April 2, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! April 2, 2003
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Hour 1: "Until this administration it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my president I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer:" Former U.S. diplomat John Brady Kiesling on why he resigned from the State Department; Civilian casualties mount in Iraq: We talk with Iraq Peace Team member Cliff Kindy who just left Baghdad; State of Texas to overturn 39 drug convictions in Tulia: In 1999 one white detective arrested 15 percent of the town's African-American population in drug sweep;"Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You": A discussion with media critic Norman Solomon. Hour 2: Yesterday the Supreme Court heard opening arguments in two landmark cases that may decide the future of affirmative action: We'll have our own debate today between Attorney Kirk Kolbo, who argued against affirmative action before the high court, and Miranda Massie a lead attorney for the University of Michigan students who backs the preservation of affirmative action; An embedded reporter comes home after stint in Iraq.

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:10 Headlines 8:10-8:11 One Minute Music Break 8:15-8:25: "Dear Mr. Secretary: I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign Service of the United States and from my position as political counselor in US Embassy Athens, effective March 7. I do so with a heavy heart. The baggage of my upbringing included a felt obligation to give something back to my country. Service as a US diplomat was a dream job. I was paid to understand foreign languages and cultures, to seek out diplomats, politicians, scholars, and journalists, and to persuade them that US interests and theirs fundamentally coincided. My faith in my country and its values was the most powerful weapon in my diplomatic arsenal." So begins a letter from career diplomat John Brady Kiesling to Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell. Kiesling goes on to write: Until this administration it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my president I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer. The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security' That was the resignation letter John Brady Kiesling wrote to Powell. It was republished in the Washington Post and New York Review of Books. He has been profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. He has become an in-demand speaker at peace events. And he became the first of three U.S. diplomats to resign in the past few weeks over the Bush Administration's handling of the Iraq crisis. John Brady Kiesling, 19-year Foreign Service veteran who resigned over the Bush Administration's handling of the Iraq situation. 8:25-8:35: US forces have begun a major attack against Iraqi Republican Guard divisions surrounding the Iraqi capital. The Associated Press reports B-52 bombers carpet-bombed Karbala throughout the night. 3rd Infantry units surged past the strategic city without entering it. In the nearby farming town of Hilla, the local hospital director said 33 people were killed and more than 300 wounded in a bombing raid yesterday. A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross told the Agence France Presse: "There were dozens of smashed corpses" at the hospital. The London Guardian reports unedited TV footage from the Babylon hospital showed horrifically injured bodies heaped into pick-up trucks. Relatives of the dead accompanied them for burial. Bed after bed of injured women and children were pictured along with large pools of blood on the floor of the hospital. An Edinburgh-trained doctor at the hospital Nazim al-Adali, told the Guardian: "All of these are due to the American bombing to the civilian homes." He said there were not any army vehicles or tanks in the area. One stunned man who lost his whole family said: "God take our revenge on America." An AFP reporter saw what appeared to be the component devices from cluster bombs covering a large area in the town. This comes as the Washington Post reports today U.S. military commanders have shed their early caution in striking some targets in Baghdad and have embarked on more aggressive air attacks that run the risk of larger numbers of civilian casualties. The change in tactics appear to reflect a judgment that winning the war against Iraq will require more aggressive air attacks. An AFP reporter also encountered a civilian sitting among 15 coffins at the Babylon hospital. Razek al-Kazem al-Khafaji said the coffins contained the bodies of his wife, six children, his father, his mother, his three brothers and their wives. They were killed Monday night when a US helicopter gunship fired on the family's pickup truck. The family was fleeing fierce fighting in Nasiriyah. US Central Command said it is investigating the report. A survivor of the Iraqi family who lost 11 members when U.S. soldiers opened fire on their vehicle at a checkpoint near Najaf said his family was fleeing toward U.S. lines because they thought a leaflet dropped by US helicopters suggested they do so. This according to Knight Ridder. Bakhat Hassan lost his daughters, ages 2 and 5, his son, 3, his parents, two older brothers, their wives and two nieces, ages 12 and 15. Hassan's wife Lamea recalled: "I saw the heads of my two little girls come off." She repeated herself in a flat, even voice: "My girls -- I watched their heads come off their bodies. My son is dead." The Hassan family fled from Karbala, which has come under heavy US bombing. Helicopters dropped leaflets on the town: a drawing of a family sitting at a table eating and smiling, with a message written in Arabic. Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Furbush said the message read: "To be safe, stay put." But Hassan said he and his father thought it just said, "Be safe." To them, that meant getting away from the helicopters firing rockets and missiles. The family of 17 packed into its 1974 Land Rover, so crowded that Bakhat, was hanging on to the backdoor outside on the rear bumper. Everyone else was piled on one another's laps in three sets of seats. Hassan said US soldiers at an earlier checkpoint had waved them through as they drove away from their home village. As they approached another checkpoint, they waved again at the US soldiers. Hassan said through an Army translator: "We were thinking these Americans want us to be safe." The soldiers didn't wave back. They fired. Hassan's father, in his 60s, wore his best clothes for the trip through the American lines: a pinstriped suit. Hassan said he wanted to look American. But Hassan's father died at the Army hospital later, bringing the death toll to 11. Navy Captain Frank Thorp said initial reports indicate the soldiers at the checkpoint had acted properly. Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers yesterday expressed "regrets" to the families of the dead Iraqis. But then he blamed the Iraqis, adding: "The climate established by the Iraqi regime contributed to this incident." US marines today shot dead another unarmed driver and badly wounded his passenger at a roadblock in the southern town of Shatra, south of Baghdad. Well to talk about the latest in Iraq we are joined by Cliff Kindy who was recently expelled from Iraq. Guest: Cliff Kindy, a member of the Iraq Peace Team and the Christian Peacemaker Team who was recently expelled from Iraq. 8:35-8:45: Remember the story of Tulia Texas where in 1999, more than 15 percent of the town's African-American population was rounded up in a massive drug sweep. In all, 46 people were arrested, 39 of them African-American. They were jailed on cocaine and crack charges. One undercover detective, who was white, made all of the arrests and provided all of the evidence none of which could be corroborated. Still harsh sentences were handed down. One man was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Thirteen of the Tulia residents remain in prison despite international protests over the sweep. While a handful of cases had already been dismissed, it now looks like the remaining cases will be overturned. Yesterday a Texas judge agreed with the prosecutors, and defense lawyers, that the courts should vacate 38 convictions arising from the drug sting, including those in which the defendants pleaded guilty. Jeff Blackburn, Tulia Legal Defense Project. Randy Credico, director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice. Mattie White, mother of Kareem Abdul Jabar White, who was sentenced to 60 years for selling cocaine to an undercover agent. Three of her other children were also arrested. 8:45-8:55:"Two months ago, when I wandered through a large market near the center of Baghdad, the day seemed like any other and no other. A vibrant pulse of humanity throbbed in the shops and on the streets. Meanwhile, a fuse was burning; lit in Washington, it would explode here." So begins a recent column by Normon Solomon titled "Media War: Obsessed With Tactics and Technology." "Now, with American troops near Baghdad, the media fixations are largely tactical. "A week of airstrikes, including the most concentrated precision hits in U.S. military history, has left tons of rubble and deep craters at hundreds of government buildings and military facilities around Iraq but has yielded little sign of a weakening in the regime's will to resist," the Washington Post reported on March 26. "Shrewd tactics and superlative technology were supposed to do the grisly trick. But military difficulties have set off warning bells inside the U.S. media echo chamber. In contrast, humanitarian calamities are often rendered as PR problems, whether the subject is the cutoff of water in Basra or the missiles that kill noncombatants in Baghdad: The main concern is apt to be that extensive suffering and death among civilians would make the "coalition of the willing" look bad. " Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of "Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You" with Reese Erlich. Related link: Institute for Public Accuracy 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits 9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:25: With thousands of protesters outside, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on two landmark cases that will likely decide the future of affirmative action. The stakes are high. The court could prohibit affirmative action programs at all universities, public and private, across the country. The court could allow the programs to continue. Or, the court could pronounce new standards for evaluating programs on a case by case basis. The New York Times reports it appears based on yesterday's proceedings that affirmative action will survive its most important test in 25 years. Most notably, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is widely viewed as holding the likely swing vote in the decision, raised a series of skeptical questions to the lawyers arguing against affirmative action. The Court is hearing a pair of cases involving the admissions policy of the University of Michigan. The case names are Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger. Grutter is a challenge to the university's law school admissions program, which gives African American, Latino and Native American applicants a loosely defined special consideration to ensure that there is a "critical mass" of such students in each new class. Gratz is a challenge to the university's undergraduate admissions policy, which tries to ensure a "critical mass" of African American, Latino and Native American enrollments by giving such applicants an automatic 20-point bonus on the school's 150-point "selection index." Let's begin by hearing some of yesterday's arguments. This is an excerpt of Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony M. Kennedy quizzing Kirk O. Kolbo, the attorney for the plaintiffs in Grutter v. Bollinger, which challenges the University of Michigan Law School's affirmative action program. [Tape begins with Kolbo] Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony M. Kennedy quiz Kirk O. Kolbo, the attorney for the plaintiffs in Grutter v. Bollinger, which challenges the University of Michigan Law School's affirmative action program. Kirk Kolbo, lead counsel for the Center for Individual Rights who argued against affirmative action in front of the Supreme Court yesterday. Miranda Massie, lead attorney for the student defenders in the University of Michigan Law School Case. Agnes Aleobua, University of Michigan student who attended yesterday's mass protest outside the Supreme Court. Related link: Center for Individual Rights 9:40-9:55: It's a new term that has now become a household phrase in America - "embedded journalists" - reporters who are traveling with US forces as they move through Iraq. There are currently more than 500 "embeds" in Iraq and Northern Kuwait. More than 1200 other journalists are covering the war as what the Pentagon calls unilaterals - journalists not with US forces or not officially accredited by the Defense Department. Many of the "embeds" are now deep into Iraq with divisions of the US military and it is very difficult for them to leave what the Pentagon calls the theater of operation. But our next guest is one of the few "embeds" that have left the frontlines and returned home to the US. Guest: Cholene Espinoza, former U2 pilot and military jet instructor who just returned from Iraq where she was working as an embedded reporter for Talk Radio News Service 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: 
April 2, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
April 2, 2003
Item duration: 
118 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., April 2, 2003
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