Networks ignore explosive story revealing U.S. is spying on U.N. Security Council members: Behind the scenes U.N. diplomats are furious at the dirty tricks; FBI plane spies on Bloomington, Indiana: peace groups, Muslims and international students likely targeted; Books not bombs! We need weapons of mass instruction! : Students walk out of classes around the country to protest the billions of dollars that is going to the US military and not schools; British Labour Party MP defects from Labour Party in protest of Tony Blair
9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20 : The London Observer broke an explosive story on Sunday. The paper reported it had obtained a top secret U.S. National Security Agency document which reveals the agency is conducting an, aggressive surveillance operation directed at United Nations Security Council members ahead of the upcoming vote on Iraq. The surveillance involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York. The memorandum written by top NSA official Frank Koza and is directed at senior NSA officials. It advises them the agency is mounting a surge aimed at gleaning information not only on how delegations on the Security Council will vote on any second resolution on Iraq, but also policies , negotiating positions , alliances and dependencies - the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off surprises. But the media in this country is blacking out this explosive story. Not a single broadcast network in this country has done a major story on the issue. Martin Bright, one of the reporters who broke the story, told Democracy Now! that CNN, Fox and NBC had all scheduled interviews with him. But then all three networks called and cancelled. CNN only covered it by accident when media critic Norman Solomon and I surprised them yesterday when we unexpectedly forced it onto the agenda in separate interviews (links to the transcripts are included below). As for the print media, the Washington Times was the only paper in this country that picked up the story on Monday. And the next day, on Tuesday, only a few U.S. papers ran stories on the issue. The Washington Post s story on page A17 headlined: Spying Report No Shock To U.N. It begins: Security Council diplomats today shrugged off a British newspaper report that the super-secretive National Security Agency had ordered an eavesdropping surge on their telephones to determine their voting positions on a resolution that would pave the way for a U.S.-led war against Iraq. The paper then quoted Pakistan's U.N. ambassador, Munir Akram: "The fact is, this sort of thing goes with the territory." He said, "You'd have to be very naive to be surprised." The Los Angeles Times reported a similar story, headlining: Purported Spy Memo May Add to U.S. Troubles at U.N.; 'Top secret' document discusses bugging of council members. Forgery or no, some say it's nothing to get worked up about. These papers downplayed the reaction of the Security Council members, but the reporters who broke the story tell us differently. They say behind the scenes, delegations are furious * Ed Vulliamy, US Bureau Chief for the Observer newspaper, co-author of the Revealed: dirty tricks to win Iraq vote * James Bamford, investigative journalist and author of the books The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most Secret Agency and Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency Links: The Observer: Revealed: dirty tricks to win Iraq vote : http://www.observer.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,905936,00.html Text of leaked Email: http://www.observer.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,905954,00.html Transcript of Amy Goodman on CNN discussing the spying story: http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0303/04/tl.00.html Transcript of Norman Solomon on CNN: http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0303/04/sdi.02.html 9:20 9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:26 UN SPY ING CONT D 9:27-9:30 : Yesterday we reported that the FBI has been secretly flying a high-tech spy plane to monitor residents of the city of Bloomington and neighboring communities in Indiana. The flights began over two weeks ago. The FBI is claiming this surveillance is routine. An agent told an Indiana University newspaper, "This one just happened to make the light of day because a plane flew too low. Two FBI agents also told the Associated Press they are not aware of any threat to the region, but confirmed the FBI was watching many international students who might have connections to terrorists. One local Muslim leader said the planes were targeting area mosques. Well we have since learned that the FBI plane has also been hovering over a weekly anti-war protest in Bloomington. Here s what some Bloomington residents had to say about the FBI s aerial surveillance * Jeff Melton, professor at Ivy Tech in Bloomington who saw the FBI plane at last week s peace vigil * Amr Sabry, president of the Islamic Center of Bloomington and associate professor at Indiana University 9:30-9:50: More than twenty thousand high school students in Australia have kicked off today s global day of student protest against the war. Some ten thousand walked out of classes at lunchtime and marched through Sydney s Central Business District, bringing traffic to a complete stop. In Adelaide, some 7,000 thousand rallied outside South Australia's Parliament House. Three thousand marched in Melbourne, and hundreds more in smaller cities around the country. Students from around the world are marching in solidarity with their counterparts here in the United States. Here, students from over 230 high schools and colleges across the nation are walking out of classes today to protest the Bush administration's plans to invade Iraq. High schools from Missoula, Montana, to Missouri to Maine are participating. Organizers are calling the action "Books not Bombs" and are linking the costly war with Iraq with lower school budgets. They say the latest round of tuition increases at state colleges and universities is a "war tax" on the poor. Students are also demanding that their campuses serve education instead of war by removing ROTC and JROTC and replacing them with financial aid and college preparatory programs. They are calling for non-compliance by their schools and the federal repeal of that provision of the "No Child Left Behind Act" which forces high schools to give their students names over to military recruiters or lose federal funds. A new group called the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition is coordinating the walk-out. Fifteen student groups came together to form the Coalition after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. * Tameika Byer, a senior at Hunter College and a project coordinator for SLAM, the Student Liberation Action Movement. She helped to organize the student walkouts that are happening all over the country today. She also helped organize the occupation of Hunter president s office on Feb. 10 and the Feb. 15 protest in nyc that drew half a million people. * Ben Waxman, a high school student in Springfield Pennsylvania, and a national coordinator for the student day of action. Contact: http://www.nyspc.net We go now to Broomfield Legacy High School in Colorado, to hear how the high school is reacting to the walkout. * David Dial, 11th grade student at Broomfield s Legacy High School in Colorado. He was suspended for posting fliers in the school promoting the student walkout And in other protest news, artists against war are gathering in museums around the world today for an international protest dubbed a Draw-in. The artists are specifically meeting in exhibit rooms that showcase artwork from the civilizations which have flourished in Mesopotamia, the area that is modern-day Iraq. The artists plan to draw with pencil on paper the art around them, which was created as early as 5,000 years ago in the land now known as Iraq. According to the group s website: This is a peaceful vigil, made in protest against US foreign policy under George W. Bush. If someone asks what we are doing, we will speak quietly with them and explain our position, then continue to draw. We will keep in mind the intention: to pay homage to this land, culture and people, which our government is planning to destroy. We are deeply concerned about an imminent threat to human life, and to the memory and history embedded in all of Mesopotamia, modern Iraq. We are joined in our studio by Joyce Kozloff who is helping to organize the Draw In today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. * Joyce Kozloff, New York artist and representative of Artists Against War Contact: http://www.geocities.com/aawnion 9:41-9:42 One Minute Music Break 9:50-9:58: British Prime Minister Tony Blair was dealt a huge blow last week when 122 members of his own party voted for a resolution stating an attack on Iraq is not justified. It was the biggest backbench revolt seen in Britain in more than a century. The dissent within the Labor Party over Iraq has tripled in recent weeks, at least partly because of the huge anti-war rallies in London on February 15. Despite the surging rebellion in the ranks of the Labour Party, Blair's aggressive approach to Iraq was comfortably endorsed by the House of Commons, thanks to the support of the Conservative opposition. Well, some Labour Party MPs are not only speaking out against Blair, they are defecting. Paul Marsden quit the Labor party in protest in December, 2001 and joined the Liberal Democrats. He now joins us in our studio. * Paul Marsden, British Member of Parliament 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran and Ana Nogiera. Mike Di Filippo is our engineer and webmaster.