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Democracy Now! March 20, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! March 20, 2003
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Hour 1: U.S. begins invasion of Iraq, attempts to assassinate Iraqi President Saddam Hussein: We go live to Baghdad to speak with Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness and hear President Bush and Hussein; Hundreds of thousands take to the streets to protest war just hours after the U.S. attack: We go to Sydney, London and Washington; Talk-back to war: Listeners tell us what they re doing in this time of war; June Jordan, an anti-war voice of the past from the Pacifica Archives Hour 2: Iraqi people speak out against the U.S. invasion: we go live to Baghdad; Booker Prize-winning author Arundhati Roy slams US invasion as protests intensify; U.N. Security Council members voice their opposition; Burning the Bridge to Baghdad : as war begins, the media censors the voices of ordinary Iraqi people

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20: At around 9:30 Eastern Standard Time last night, the U.S. military began an unprovoked attack on Iraq. Air raid sirens sounded throughout Baghdad just before the sun rose. Anti-aircraft fire filled the sky and explosions shook the city. Pentagon officials said over 30 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched from warships. Two Stealth bombers each dropped two one-ton bombs. It s not clear what has been hit or the extent of the casualties. The Iraqi News Agency has just reported there are fourteen injured and one dead. The US military says Iraq responded by firing three missiles into northern Kuwait. The attack was not the beginning of the expected massive Shock and Awe campaign. Instead, it was a targeted strike on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons. The Pentagon and the White House evidently had not intended to start the war this way. Around 4 pm yesterday, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, CIA director George Tenet, War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card Jr. and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers and national security advisor Condoleeza Rice met for nearly four hours. The Washington Post is reporting CIA director George Tenet offered President Bush the prospect -- improbable to the point of fantasy, yet somehow at hand -- that the war against Iraq might be transformed with its opening shots. Tenet said the CIA believed Saddam Hussein and the most senior levels of the Iraqi leadership had fallen under U.S. surveillance. The unforeseen glimpse of the enemy was not expected to last, and so presented what one administration official called a rare target of opportunity." The Washington Post reports Bush and his senior advisers tore up the carefully orchestrated schedule of violence that the U.S. Central Command had honed for months. They decided to attempt to assassinate Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and much of the Iraqi leadership in a single blow. We begin this broadcast of the War and Peace Report with special guest co-host Jeremy Scahill by listening to President Bush s addressed to the nation broadcast live at 10:15 EST last night. Tape: President Bush, announcing the US invasion of Iraq has begun, 10:15 EST, March 19, 2003 It s not clear whether the assassination attempt was successful Three hours after the attack began, Iraqi state television broadcast what it said was a live address by President Hussein. Tape: Iraqi state television s broadcast of what it says is Saddam Hussein, March 20, 2003 U.S. analysts are not yet sure whether that was in fact Saddam Hussein, or whether he was speaking live after the attack. Saddam Hussein has several body doubles. The glasses he wore looked nothing like the ones he normally wears. The address did not specifically address the missile attacks. The Arab TV network Al-Jazeera reported that as the attack began, US propaganda messages were broadcast on Iraqi airwaves, saying QUOTE: "This is the day you have been waiting for." Guest: Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices in the Wilderness speaking live from Baghdad 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:30 cont d 8:30- 8:40: More than 500 communities throughout the US are organizing protests for today. Activists are calling for nationwide walkouts, strikes and protests. Yesterday, dozens of people were arrested in Washington while staging anti war protests in the nation s capitol. Over 200 demonstrators marched from a park near the white house to war secretary Donad Rumsfelld s house in northwest Washington. In Boston, police arrested 36 people in two anti-war protests at a federal building and outside the Boston Stock Exchange During a midday march to the United Nations in New York, 45 anti-war demonstrators were taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct. And Reuters reports that a wave of anti-war protests rolled across Europe and the Middle East after the opening salvos of the war against Iraq. Barely three hours after the first U.S. missiles struck Baghdad, a crowd that organizers put at 40,000 and which police said numbered "tens of thousands" brought Australia's second largest city, Melbourne, to a standstill. In Germany, 50,000 school students marched in Berlin. In Britain, activists are calling on workers to stage a mass walkout from offices and colleges around the country. Tape: Bruce Childs, protest organizer in Sydney Australia Tape: Matt Bradley, WPFW reporter speaking from Washington where protesters blocked a main bridge 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:50 PROTESTS CONTD Tape: Andrew Burgin, organizer with the British group Stop the War speaking from a London demonstration Guest: Jenn Carr, organizer with United for Peace and Justice 8:50-8:56: We turn now to you, the listeners. This is what some of you had to say about what you're doing in this time of war. Tape: Talk-back to war, recorded the week of 3/17/03. 8:56-8:58: On this first day of war we go back to the Pacifica Archives to hear June Jordan, poet, activist, essayist, teacher. June Jordan is the most published African-American writer in history. She burst onto the literary and political scene in the late 1960s, on the wings of the civil rights and anti-war movements. Poetry for her was a political act, and she used it to shine a fierce light on racism, sexism, homophobia, apartheid, poverty, and US foreign policy. Author Toni Morrison once summed up her career as: "Forty years of tireless activism coupled with and fueled by flawless art." Tape: June Jordan, recording from the Pacifica Radio Archives 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits 9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20: Sometime after 9:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, the U.S. military began an unprovoked attack on Iraq. Air raid sirens sounded throughout Baghdad just before the sun rose. Anti-aircraft fire filled the sky and explosions shook the city. Pentagon officials said over 30 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched from warships. Two Stealth bombers each dropped two one-ton bombs. It s not clear what has been hit or the extent of the casualties. The Iraqi News Agency is reporting there are fourteen injured and one dead. We go now live to Baghdad, to Gazwan Al Mukhtar, a retired engineer who was educated in the U.S. In a few minutes, we ll also hear from a retired Iraqi official, who spoke to us just before the broadcast from his home in Baghdad and was extremely distraught. Guest: Gazwan Al Mukhtar, retired engineer who was educated in the U.S. Tape: President Bush, announcing the US invasion of Iraq has begun, 10:15 EST, March 19, 2003 Tape: Iraqi state television s broadcast of what it says is President Saddam Hussein, March 20, 2003 9:20-9:21 One-Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40: Around the world, international leaders are condemning the U.S. war. Top officials from France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Greece, Malyasia, Indonesia and New Zealand are among the countries opposing the attack. China called for an immediate halt to the attack. Indonesia requested an emergency meeting of the Security Council to stop the war. And New Zealand said it "won't assist in a baseless war." Hours before the bombs fell, chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said it was regrettable that war would soon begin. He reported to the Security Council that Iraqi disarmament of weapons could have been verified in a matter of months. Then individual countries had the chance to respond. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer opened the debate, saying his country "emphatically rejects the impending war." He said, "Why should we now - especially now - abandon our plan to disarm Iraq with peaceful means? Guest: Arundhati Roy, acclaimed Indian author speaking to us from New Delhi. She is author of several books, including The God of Small Things, Power Politics, and most recently, War Talk. Tape: Retired Iraqi official, speaking from his home in Baghdad Tape: United Nations Security Council members on US plans to attack Iraq, March 19, 2003: Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin of France, Farouk Al-Shara, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Syria, Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser of Mexico, Ambassador Gabriel Vald s of Chile, Permanent Representative Wang Yingfan of China, Foreign Minister Fran ois Lonseny Fall of Guinea, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov of Russia. Guest: John Gilbert, Union member in Italy who went on strike today 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58: The corporate media networks have embedded hundreds of journalists with the US military. But they have not one with an Iraqi family. 12-time Emmy award-winning TV journalist Jon Alpert wanted to create dialogue and bring the voices of ordinary Iraqis to ordinary Americans. He traveled to Baghdad last month to set up a video conference with Iraqi students in Baghdad and American students in New York. The American Museum of Radio and Television was sponsoring the event. But as Jon Alpert drove from Amman, Jordan on the road to Baghdad, they called him, and backed out. Jon produced the video dialogue anyway. When he returned to the US, not one network would air his piece. Tape: Bridge to Baghdad, an excerpt Guest: Jon Alpert, veteran TV reporter and journalist, 12-time Emmy award winner, and founder of Downtown Community Television in New York City, 9:58-9:59 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: 
March 20, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
March 20, 2003
Item duration: 
118 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., March 20, 2003
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