The so-called war on terrorism comes to Colombia, as troops and tanks close in on the rebel safe-haven, and the Bush administration voices its support : domestic casualties of the "war on terrorism", a mosque is destroyed in Columbus, Ohio : humanitarian update from Afghanistan.
9:01-9:06 HEADLINES 9:06-9:07 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:07-9:13 THE WAR ON TERRORISM COMES TO COLOMBIA, AS THE GOVERNMENT DECLARES THE PEACE PROCESS DEAD, GOVERNMENT TROOPS AND TANKS CLOSE IN ON THE REBEL SAFE-HAVEN, AND THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION VOICES ITS SUPPORT The people of Colombia are bracing for war. On Wednesday, Colombian President Andres Pastrana shocked the nation when he announced that the peace talks with the country's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, had come to an end. Pastrana gave the rebels a 48-hour ultimatum to withdraw from the demilitarized zone that the guerrillas have occupied during three years of negotiations. Convoys of government troops and tanks are already closing in on the area. A rebel spokesman said the FARC was puzzled by Pastrana's announcement. He said that ``It is the government which should return to the negotiating table, not the FARC, because we never left it.'' Yesterday, Pastrana gave a new ultimatum, allowing international mediators another 48 hours to talk with the rebels. Human rights groups are warning that a military invasion of the area could result in mass killings of civilians that the army or right-wing paramilitaries accuse of aiding the rebels. In recent months, the paramilitaries have stepped up violence against people who live just outside the zone, killing mayors, journalists and others. 90,000 civilians live in the Switzerland-sized zone. Colombia has the worst human rights record in the hemisphere. But the Bush administration yesterday voiced support for Pastrana's ultimatum. Secretary of State General Colin Powell blamed the FARC for the collapse of peace talks and for Pastranas ultimatum. According to the New York Times, the U.S. has been exerting considerable pressure on Pastrana to take a tougher line. Last summer, a senior State Department official told Pastrana of American concerns that the FARC was using the demilitarized zone to train terrorists. Secretary Powell had been expected to convey a similar message in a visit to Colombia but was forced to return to Washington because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. The US supports Colombia with $1.3 billion in mostly military aid. Yesterday we reached by telephone Martin Eder, a reporter, human rights activist and professor of Sociology at MiraCosta College in Southern California. He is in San Vicente del Caguan, which is the largest city in FARC-controlled demilitarized zone. GUEST: Martin Eder, professor of Sociology at MiraCosta College in Southern California, speaking from San Vicente del Caguan (the largest city in FARC-controlled/demilitarized zone in Colombia) 9:20-9:21 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:21-9:40 DOMESTIC CASUALTIES OF THE SO-CALLED "WAR ON TERRORISM": AS HATE CRIMES FLOURISH, A MOSQUE IS DESTROYED IN COLUMBUS, OHIO From Colombia to Columbus, Ohio, the violence of the war on terrorism spans the globe. On the morning of December 30, members of the oldest mosque in the city of Columbus arrived for their morning prayers. They found the historic, 3-story building flooded from top to bottom and the library ransacked, with books including the Holy Koran torn to pieces. It appears that the police dont have any leads. Columbus Police Commander Paul Denton said that finding who caused the damage is, going to hinge on someone knowing something giving us a call." The FBI joined the investigation last week but will not comment. Muslim community leaders met with Justice Department representatives yesterday to discuss issues of concern, including the mosque vandalism. GUEST: AHMAD AL-AKHRAS, member of the mosque, and President of the Ohio Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations CONTACT: www.cair-net.org 9:40-9:41 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:41-9:58 AS SENATORS DESCEND ON AFGHANISTAN AND UZBEKISTAN, AN UPDATE ON HUMANITARIAN AID AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES As the US state department says it will no longer speculate about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, civilians continue to be the casualties of wa, whether by bombs, or starvation. At Maslakh camp, translated as Slaughterhouse in English, 100 displaced Afghans are dying each day of exposure and starvation. Aid workers are warning that the camp, which is west of Herat city and home to some 350,000 people, is on the brink of an Ethiopian-style humanitarian disaster. Meanwhile, Kabul seems to have become a PR hotspot for U.S. senators. Many of them have flown in, held a press conference, and then flown out within a couple of days. At the same time, a series of Congressional delegations have descended on Uzbekistan. Last week, there were nine senators in the country; this week there are five representatives; and Senate majority leader Tom Daschle is set to arrive in a couple of days. They are there to bolster relations with the Uzbek government and thank its leaders for their help in the so-called war on terrorism. They have made only token reference to the regimes gross human rights violations. GUEST: DOUG MCKINLAY, freelance reporter who writes for the London Guardian CONTACT: www.guardian.co.uk GUEST: TOM SQUITIERRI, USA Today reporter speaking from Kabul GUEST: PRATAP CHATTERJEE, Democracy Now! correspondent reporting from Uzbekistan 9:58-9:59 OUTRO AND CREDITS