Democracy Now! April 2, 2003

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Democracy Now! April 2, 2003
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"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.

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. " Guest: 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 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: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., April 2, 2003
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