Democracy Now! March 6, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! March 6, 2002
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Welfare Reform : Big Military Offensive in Afghanistan : U.S. shadow government of a hundred, living and working secretly outside Washington : a debate on the explosive presidential elections in Zimbabwe.

9:01-9:06 HEADLINES STORY: HUNDREDS OF POOR PEOPLE STORM THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION Hundreds of people from across the country stormed the headquarters of the ultra-conservative heritage foundation Tuesday. In a surprise action, the group rushed past security, down hallways, and toward the main elevator bank, where they waylaid welfare policy analyst, Robert Rector. Rector is known for his controversial views on welfare recipients particularly his belief that it is an immoral culture of poverty that keeps people poor. But Tuesday, he came face to face with the people he has written about for so many years. Surrounded by single moms and low-income dads, a visibly shaken Rector agreed to the group's demands to spend two days walking in poverty's shoes. As people shouted, "answer the question, answer the question," he also promised to invite his colleague Jason Turner to join him on his visit to two low-income neighborhoods - one in rural America, the other in the inner-city. Jason Turner is the father of the New York and Wisconsin welfare reform programs. The action at the Heritage Foundation capped off a Day of marches, rallies, and protests organized by the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support. The National Campaign is a movement of more than 1500 grassroots groups that have come together around the upcoming reauthorization of the 1996 welfare reform act. Other actions yesterday included a take-over of the Democratic Leadership Council and a rally in front of the Health & Human Services Corp. GUEST: LIZZY RATNER, producer, Democracy Now! 9:06-9:07 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:07-9:20 WARPLANES BOMBARD THE MOUNTAINS OF EASTERN AFGHANISTAN IN WHAT IS BEING DESCRIBED BY WASHINGTON AS THE BIGGEST OFFENSIVE YET IN THE WAR AGAINST AFGHANISTAN US Warplanes continue to strafe bomb the mountains of eastern Afghanistan in what is being described by Washington as the biggest offensive yet in the war against Afghanistan. Warplanes have dropped more than 450 bombs on the area since the assault began late Friday night and about 2,000 US-led troops are inching up snow-covered mountains using mine detectors to clear their paths. The Pentagon claimed today that U.S. forces had entered at least one al Qaeda cave complex and found a cache of mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. Despite 8 confirmed American deaths and more than 40 injuries over the past few days, senior military commanders are trying to put a positive spin on the operation. Air Force Brigadier General John Rosa characterized the operation by saying: "I think the biggest single change is -- not to be flip -- that we killed a lot of people." And despite claims by Washington to be hunting down left-over elements of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, entire families live inside of the current battleground in eastern Afghanistan, the latest ground zero. Some of them had sought refuge there during the more than 5 months of attacks by Washington. Yesterday, War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appeared to be preparing the public here in the US for the deaths of these civilians trapped in eastern Afghanistan. He said they are there of their own free will, knowing who theyre with and who theyre supporting and who theyre encouraging and who theyre assisting. A couple of months ago, Democracy Now! interviewed MARC HEROLD, a professor at the University of New Hampshire. As the corporate media maintained almost total silence on the issue of civilian deaths in Afghanistan, Marc Herold scoured news wires and major newspapers from all over the world and concluded that US bombs have killed more than 3500 civilians there. GUEST: MARC HEROLD, Professor of Economics, International Relations, and Women's Studies at the University of New Hampshire. He authored a report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan by U.S. bombs. 9:20-9:21 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:21-9:40 THE US FORMS A SHADOW GOVERNMENT OF A HUNDRED, LIVING AND WORKING SECRETLY OUTSIDE WASHINGTON IN SEVERAL UNDISCLOSED LOCATIONS, Tension over Bush administration's sharing of information with Congress flared anew yesterday as the White House excluded the House Democratic leader from a confidential briefing and Bush aides swapped charges with lawmakers about who was told of White House contingency plans dealing with a hypothetical nuclear attack on Washington. House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) first learned from a reporter about yesterday's classified briefing for congressional leaders on the contingency plans, his aides said. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer blamed a "scheduling matter" and said Gephardt had "already been talked to," which Gephardt's aides said was untrue. The White House also disputed lawmakers' claims that they had not been advised of the administration's contingency plans, reported last week in The Washington Post, involving scores of career government officials taking rotations in underground bunkers outside of Washington. Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) who as Senate president pro tempore is third in line to the presidency and Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) had said they were not informed of the plans. The White House released records showing that the secretary of the Senate and the Senate sergeant at arms had been briefed Sept. 22. Administration officials said the briefing included a tour of one of the facilities. They said Byrd was offered a similar briefing Sept. 24 but declined. In a statement, the two Senate officials said the briefing was not about executive branch contingency plans. We now continue with part 2 of our in-depth look at Washingtons secret shadow government. As we reported on Democracy Now! yesterday, President Bush has dispatched about 100 senior civilian managers to live and work secretly outside Washington. Bush has activated for the first time long-standing plans to ensure survival of federal rule after catastrophic attack on the nation's capital. We turn now to Chris Simpson, Associate Professor of Communications at American University in Washington DC. He is author of Blowback and War Crimes of the Deutche Bank and the Dresner Bank, among other books. And he is an expert on US intelligence agencies and operations. I spoke with him yesterday and asked him what this shadow government is and where its operating. GUEST: CHRISTOPHER SIMPSON, professor of communications at American University in Washington DC. He is author of Blowback and War Crimes of the Deutche Bank and the Dresner Bank, among other books.9:40-9:41 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:41-9:58 VOTERS HEAD TO THE POLLS IN ZIMBABWE THIS WEEKEND: A DEBATE ON THE EXPLOSIVE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN ZIMBABWE This weekend, voters in Zimbabwe will head to the polls to vote in what has become an explosive presidential campaign. The incumbent President Robert Mugabe has been systematically sanctioned and condemned by both Washington and the European Union. They accuse him of leading a violent campaign against his opponent and attempting to fix the elections. Opposition officials say police have used new security laws to ban opposition rallies as "threats to the public safety," and on Monday, police broke up a meeting between foreign diplomats and opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, saying it was an illegal political gathering. Mugabe in turn has accused the US and the EU of orchestrating what he calls a campaign of economic terrorism. He has also said these western forces are violating the countrys sovereignty with their wide support for Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change. Last week, authorities charged Tsvangirai with treason for allegedly plotting to have Mugabe assassinated. He denied the charge. Today we will have a debate on the elections in Zimbabwe between Patrick Bond, of the Alternative Information and Development Centre in Johannesburg, and Elombe Brath, chair of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition in New York. We begin with Patrick Bond speaking about the current situation in Zimbabwe. GUEST: PATRICK BOND, Alternative Information and Development Centre in Johannesburg. He is also an associate professor at the University of the Witwatersrand Graduate School of Public and Development Management. GUEST: ELOMBE BRATH, the chair of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition and a producer at WBAI in New York. 9:58-9:59 OUTRO AND CREDITS

Date Recorded on: 
March 6, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
March 6, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. March 6, 2002
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