Democracy Now! June 18, 2003

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Democracy Now! June 18, 2003
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Senate Commerce Committee Decides Tomorrow Whether to Roll Back FCC Decisions Allowing Massive Media Consolidation; Federal Court OKs Post-9/11 Secret Arrests; Bush Taps Lobbyist Enron and Viacom Lobbyist to Head Republican National Committee; As U.S. Kills Two Iraqi Demonstrators in Baghdad, Human Rights Watch Demands Full Investigation of U.S. Killings in Falluja

8:00- 8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:30: A bipartisan group of U.S. senators plan to push the legislation that would bar a company from owning a television station, a newspaper and radio outlets in a single market. The Senate Commerce Committee will consider legislation tomorrow to roll back parts of the media-ownership rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission earlier this month. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators plan to push the legislation that would bar a company from owning a television station, a newspaper and radio outlets in a single market. Senator Byron Dorgan plans to offer an amendment that would prevent a television network from owning television stations that collectively reach 35 percent of the national audience. The FCC raised that cap to 45 percent. Already two television networks -- Viacom Inc. with its CBS and UPN networks as well as News Corp.'s Fox -- are above the national television audience cap. Both networks had lobbied the FCC to eliminate the cap. Tribune Co., which owns both television stations and newspapers, and other companies had lobbied the FCC to lift the 28-year-old ban preventing a company from owning a newspaper and television station serving the same market. * Tape: Senator Dorgan addressing FCC Chairman Michael Powell on June 3rd, the day after the FCC voted to relax media ownership rules. * Mark Wigfield, Wall Street Journal reporter who has been covering the Federal Communications Commission * Robert McChesney, professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the author of eight books on media and politics, including Rich Media, Poor Democracy. Links: Wall Street Journal Robert McChesney 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:30-8:40 We talk to Public Citizen s Joan Claybrook on longtime lobbyist Ed Gillespie and the merger of the Republican Party and corporate America. Enron. Microsoft. Verizon. Viacom. Tyson Foods. DirecTV. DaimlerChrysler. These are just some of the corporations that have hired lobbyist Ed Gillespie in recent years. Enron alone paid Gillespie s firm $700,000 to lobby the White House on the electricity crisis on the West Coast. But now Gillespie has a new client, the Republican National Committee. On Monday, President Bush tapped Gillespie to serve as the RNC s new head. As party chairman Gillespie will work closely with the White House and congressional leaders on policy matters and election strategy. Gillespie told the New York Times that he would retain his stake in his lobbying firm but would do no work and collect no salary as long as he is a party official. In 2000, Gillespie co-founded the lobbying firm Quinn, Gillespie & Associates which has quickly grown into Washington s most powerful lobbying groups. Public Citizen s Joan Claybrook decried the selection of Gillespie saying "This is just one more step in the merger of the Republican Party and Corporate America. Ed Gillespie is a richly rewarded lobbyist who greased the wheels in Congress and the White House for Enron, one of the most crooked companies in U.S. history. And now he s at the head of the GOP. That should tell citizens where President Bush s interests lie." Bush has picked former RNC head Marc Racicot to be his campaign manager. * Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen which published the report Ed Gillespie: The Embedded Lobbyist, New Chairman Brings Corporate Loyalties to Top Job in the GOP Link: Ed Gillespie: The Embedded Lobbyist 8:40-8:41 One-minute Music Break 8:41-8:50 New report indicates U.S. troops shot dead 17 and injured 70 in Fallujah on April 28 without provocation. No evidence has emerged that Iraqis shot at the U.S. soldiers first. In Baghdad this morning, U.S. troops opened fire on Iraqi demonstrators during a protest outside the main gate of the presidential compound. Iraqi protesters said two demonstrators were killed. US military is saying a soldier opened fire after the demonstrators started throwing stones at a military convoy. This according to the BBC. Demonstrations outside the Republican Palace have been frequent since coalition forces captured the Iraqi capital in April. Protests have often arisen over unpaid wages to civil servants and the army. Well now we are going to take another look at another protest in Iraq where U.S. troops opened fire on Iraqi demonstrators. On April 28 in the town of Fallujah, U.S. troops killed 17 and injured 70. Witnesses said US troops from the 82nd Airborne Division fired without provocation on an unarmed crowd of protesters outside a local school. The Pentagon claimed its soldiers were fired on by gunmen among the demonstrators. But a new report by Human Rights Watch raises questions as to what actually happened that day in Fallujah. Human Rights Watch said yesterday, the United States should hold a "full, independent and impartial" inquiry into the "apparent use of excessive force" by American troops who allegedly fired on a crowd of demonstrators in the Iraqi town of Fallujah. * Fred Abrahams, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch who authored the new report Violent Response: The U.S. Army in al-Falluja." Link: Violent Response: The U.S. Army in al-Falluja." 8:51-8:58 Appeals court backs Justice Dept. decision to withhold the names of hundreds of immigrants detained after Sept. 11. We talk to attorney Kate Martin. The federal court of appeals in Washington D.C. yesterday ruled the Justice Department can secretly detain immigrants without ever publicly releasing their names, the reason for the arrests or the names of their attorneys. The decision reverses a lower court ruling last August that ordered the government to make public the names of the detainees and their lawyers. The three-judge court ruled against a coalition of more than 20 civil liberties groups and other organizations who invoked the Freedom of Information Act to challenge the secret arrests. The ruling also said the government could keep secret the dates and locations of the arrest, detention and release of all the detainees. For the first time in US history, a court has approved secret arrests, said Attorney Kate Martin. Martin, who heads the Center for National Security Studies, said her organization and others in the case may appeal the ruling. A coalition of civil liberties groups had filed suit in order to obtain the names of the more than 750 immigrants who were secretly picked up after Sept. 11. A Washington Post editorial described the Court s move as a dreadful decision. * Kate Martin, Director of the Center for National Security Studies Link: Center for National Security Studies 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Ana Nogueira, Elizabeth Press, Noah Reibel and Vilka Tzouras. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer. Thanks also to Uri Galed, Angela Alston, Emily Kunstler, Orlando Richards, Simba Rousseau, Rafael delaUz, Gabriel Weiss, Johnny Sender, Rich Kim, Karen Ranucci, Denis Moynihan and Jenny Filipazzo.

Date Recorded on: 
June 18, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
June 18, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., June 18, 2003
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