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Democracy Now! March 27, 2003

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Program Title:
Democracy Now! March 27, 2003
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 
PZ0517.128a
Description: 

Live from Baghdad: 14 killed in a Baghdad market, as Iraqi clerics call for jihad against US invasion forces; The Pentagon knows large percentages of smart bombs malfunction and civilian deaths are a certainty: a discussion on how smart the bombs really are; Live from the streets of NYC: hundreds die in and shut down 5th Ave.; Iraqi families sue Powell, Cheney, and Bush, Sr. over bombing of civilian shelter in 1991 that killed over 400 people; but the Belgian parliament passes a law that could prevent the lawsuit from moving forward; Shi ites warn US troops will face armed resistance if they occupy Iraq after the invasion; this, as coalition hopes of uprising in Basra evaporate; NYC protesters die in under bulldozer at an Israeli bank, shutting down 5th Ave; Palestinian Cleaver family again faces deportation: we hear from the eldest daughter, Noor Kesbeh

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20: Pentagon officials have been changing their story on the missile attack on a Baghdad market from the moment it occurred. Yesterday morning, a missile struck the busy, poor residential area, killing 14 civilians. The US central command issued a statement to say US aircraft had used precision-guided weapons to target Iraqi anti-aircraft missiles "positioned less than 300 feet from homes". But a few hours later senior Pentagon official Major-General Stanley McChrystal said no coalition aircraft had targeted any air defences in the Shaab district, where the blast occurred. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers said: "It's just as likely that it's some piece of equipment of theirs as one of ours." Meanwhile, the Iraqi health minister said today there have 4,000 civilian casualties including 350 deaths since the invasion began. He also said that 36 people were killed in the last 24 hours in the continuing raids on Baghdad. We go now live to Baghdad with May Ying Welsh, who visited the Shaab market yeterday after the attack. She also reports the Iraqi government has begun distributing leaflets in neighborhoods throughout Iraq calling on citizens to resist the US invasion. The leaflets have pictures of two of the most significant religious figures in Iraq, one Sunni the other Shiite. The leaflets reference two fatwas, religious decrees, issued by Iraqi clerics calling for jihad, holy war, against any foreign occupiers. This, as Saddam Hussein met today with the heads of Iraq s powerful tribes in which he told them that they should fight the invaders with all their means. Guest: May Ying Welsh, independent journalist in Baghdad who visited the Shaab market yesterday after the attack 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:30: An article in yesterday s Washington Post begins: Breakfast was simple, but late. Days of bombing had left the Khalil family sleepless. When a respite arrived at noon today, a moment of ease in an uneasy time, they sat down, picking anxiously at boiled eggs, tomatoes and bread. Nine-year-old Shahid told stories, and her 12-year-old brother, Ahmed, laughed. The older family members, with harrowing memories of bombings in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, sat uneasily, their silence an eloquent testament to worry. Then a whisper sounded, ever so slight. In seconds, the house was shattered by a cruise missile, the family said. Um Aqeel, the mother of five children, and her daughter-in-law Sahar, were killed. Two sons and a daughter were wounded. Hours later, weary and angry, Aqeel, the oldest son, looked out at his bandaged siblings laying dazed in their hospital beds. He shouted, " There are no soldiers in my home, there's no gun in my home! How can God accept this?" As civilian casualties mount, we re joined right now by Hadi Ghaemi, an independent researcher and former physics professor. Guest: Hadi Ghaemi, researcher with CESR and former professor of physics at the City University of New York. (He is currently working on a book about the cultural revolution in Iran.) www.cesr.org 8:30-8:33 Tape: protester outside Rockefeller Center in NYC 8:33-8:40: Iraqi civilians are still trying obtain justice over the first Gulf War. Last week, a group of Iraqis sued Vice-President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State General Colin Powell, former US president George Bush Sr., and retired US general Norman Schwartzkopf. The lawsuit was filed by seven Iraqi families over the bombing of a civilian bomb shelter in Baghdad that killed 403 people on the night of February 12-13, 1991. Powell served as the head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and Cheney as defense secretary during the 1991 Gulf war. Under Belgian law, courts can try suspects for war crimes regardless of where the alleged acts took place or the nationality of the accused. But the Belgian parliament has just passed a law that could prevent the suit from going forward. Under the amendment, a federal prosecutor can decide in certain cases whether to accept a lawsuit. The amendment now goes to the Belgian Senate for approval. Guest: Reed Brody, Special Counsel for Prosecutions, Human Rights Watch, www.hrw.org 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:50: The leader of Iraq's main Shi'ite opposition group warned Washington yesterday that U.S. troops would face armed resistance if they occupy Iraq after the invasion. The Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution (SCIRI) in Iraq is based in Tehran, Iran. Its leader, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir Hakim, said: "Iraqis are against foreign dominance, and if they (the Americans) don't want to leave Iraq, the nation will resist. He said, "One of the legitimate ways of resistance against occupiers is force and weapons." The SCIRI has some support from Iraq's Muslim Shi'ite majority, particularly in the south of the country. Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir Hakim says he has tens of thousands of troops stationed outside Iraq as well as in the Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. Meanwhile, in the South, coalition hopes of an uprising in Basra are evaporating, according to the Financial Times. British intelligence reported an uprising had begun earlier this week. But the evidence has failed to materialize. The majority of people in Basra are Shia Muslims. The main exiled Iraqi Shia organization yesterday said the Shia community had been instructed to remain neutral in the US-led invasion. The SCIRI said there did appear to have been trouble in the city, but played down the scale of the unrest. Guest: Hadi Ghaemi, independent researcher and former professor of physics at the City University of New York. He is currently working on a book about the cultural revolution in Iran. Guest: Andrew Cockburn, author of Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein. 8:50-8:54: 18 protesters yesterday locked together and formed a human barricade across Fifth Avenue in front of a New York branch of Israel s Bank Leumi. Covered in fake blood, the protesters lay piled in the street at the foot of a mock Caterpillar bulldozer. The activists were protesting the murder of US peace activist Rachel Corrie by an Israel army Caterpillar bulldozer in Gaza earlier this month. Guest: Shmulick Rodich, member of Jews Against Occupation who participated in yesterday s lockdown on 5th Avenue. Phone: 917-748-9356 Video info: MiniDV * http://ww3report.com/protest.html 8:54-8:58: They have been described as the "Palestinian Cleavers." They were a generous and patriotic family that gave away hundreds of free American flags in Houston after Sept. 11. They have been publicly supported by their U.S. Congresswoman. They came to the U.S. after fleeing Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. They have lived an unremarkable life in Houston for 11 years. But that all changed a year ago when armed INS agents dressed in riot gear raided their house while much of the family was sleeping. The father and eldest son were picked up on immigration violations and were detained for months. And now they face deportation to Jordan, a country most of the family barely knows. We last heard from the Kesbeh family in September when they were first facing deportation. Overwhelming public support in Houston and the country led officials in Washington to give them a six-month stay in order for the INS to review their case. Well now the family appears to be set to be deported again. We are joined by the family s eldest daughter, Noor Kesbeh, in Houston for an update. Guest: Noor Kesbeh, whose family faces deportation this week 8:58-8:59 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 27, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
March 27, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
Keywords: 
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Distributor: 
WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., March 27, 2003
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