Democracy Now! April 15, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! April 15, 2003
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Hour 1: U.S. sets its eyes on Syria: Washington diplomatically and economically threatens Iraq s neighbor as the region s newest rogue state; Columbia University professor Edward Said and Syrian expert Patrick Seale discuss the state of the Middle East after the invasion of Iraq Hour 2: Did U.S. antiques collectors have plans to loot Iraq s historical artifacts themselves? International outrage continues at U.S. failure to protect the famous National Museum or Baghdad s National Library and Archives; Congressman Jerrold Nadler on the endless war: Is Iran & Syria next?; International attorneys announce plans to investigate war crimes in Iraq: Alleged crimes by both U.S. and Iraq would be examined; Thousands rally in Los Angeles to protest war: We hear from the Rev. James Lawson

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:10-8:30: So now Syria is in America's gunsights. First it's Iraq, Israel's most powerful enemy, possessor of weapons of mass destruction none of which has been found. Now it's Syria, Israel's second most powerful enemy, possessor of weapons of mass destruction, or so President George Bush Junior tells us. No word of that possessor of real weapons of mass destruction, Israel the number of its nuclear warheads in the Negev are now accurately listed whose Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has long been complaining that Damascus is the QUOTE "centre of world terror". That was Robert Fisk in today s Independent. The US yesterday threatened Syria with diplomatic and economic pressure, as a series of top officials accused Damascus of supporting terrorism. War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld alleged Syria had carried out chemical weapons tests over the past 12 to 15 months. Rogue State is how White House spokesman Ari Fleischer described Syria. And Secretary of State Gen. Colin hinted economic sanctions against Syria might be in order. Meanwhile at the United Nations, Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned last night that recent U.S. warnings to Syria could contribute to a wider destabilization in a region already wracked by the war in Iraq. Syria has denied Washington s accusations. They have called it an attempt to obscure the events in Iraq and yesterday accused Israel of being behind the weapons and terrorism accusations. Tape: Gen. Colin Powell, Secretary of State * Patrick Seale, British journalist who has covered the Middle East for over 30 years specializing in Syria. He is the author of Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East <sum> Scott C. Davis, publisher of CUNE Press and author of The Road From Damascus: A Journey Through Syria. He recently returned from Syria where he was during the first 10 days of the U.S. invasion. Link: 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:30 SYRIA Pt. I cont d 8:30-8:58: Secretary Of State Gen. Colin Powell accused Syria of harboring officials from Saddam Hussein s government, and threatened economic or diplomatic sanctions. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer called Syria a terrorist state and a rogue nation. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed Syria had carried out chemical weapons tests in the last year. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon jumped on the opportunity and called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "dangerous." He urged Washington to put very heavy ... political and economic pressure" on Syria. (Meanwhile, a Palestinian gunman, an Israeli officer and two Israeli civilians were killed today. The gunman hurled grenades and sprayed automatic weapons fire at a customs area between between Israel and the Gaza strip. Hamas said the attack was revenge for Israel s killing of one of its top commanders. Another Palestinian was killed by Israeli tank fire in the Southern Gaza strip city of Rafah. Arab countries, Russia and the European Union criticized the US rhetoric. Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa said he is astounded by the threats. An advisor to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned the Americans against the temptation to "target one Arab country after another". Earlier, Russia and the European Union urged the US to show restraint. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned that statements directed at Syria could destabilize the whole Middle East. British Prime Minister Tony Blair tried to reassure his parliament and pledged there are no plans to invade Syria. And the Syrian foreign ministry spokeswoman Bouthana Shaaban said: "the only country in the region which has chemical, biological and nuclear weapons is Israel". The Washington Post reports senior administration officials claim there are no plans to invade Syria. Tape: Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary * Edward Said, University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of many works, including Culture and Imperialism and Orientalism. * Patrick Seale, British journalist who has covered the Middle East for over 30 years specializing in Syria. He is the author of Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:58 SYRIA pt. 2 cont d 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits 9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:10 Headlines 9:10-9:11 One Minute Music Break 9:11-9:25: After international outrage at the failure of US troops to protect hospitals and the looting of the famous National Museum, Baghdad s National Library and Archives went up in flames yesterday. Almost all of the contents of the library are destroyed. British war correspondent Robert Fisk reports the library was a priceless treasure of Ottoman historical documents, including the old royal archives of Iraq. He saw pages blowing in the wind of handwritten letters between the court of Sharif Hussein of Mecca, who started the Arab revolt against the Turks for Lawrence of Arabia, and the Ottoman rulers of Baghdad. Fisk also saw the Koranic library burning nearby, which includes one of the oldest surviving copies of the Koran. He rushed to the offices of the Marines' Civil Affairs Bureau. He gave the map location and said it would take only five minutes to drive there. Half an hour later, there wasn't an American at the scene. Meanwhile, nine British archaeologists published a letter in the London Guardian yesterday, charging that private collectors are persuading the Pentagon to relax legislation that protects Iraq's heritage by prevention of sales abroad. The Guardian reports Pentagon officials are denying accusations that the US government is succumbing to pressure from private collectors to allow plundered Iraqi treasures to be traded on the open market. Months before the US-led invasion of Iraq, a coalition of wealthy American antiquities collectors met with defense and state department officials to discuss the fate of the country s ancient artifacts. Among other things they urged the Bush Administration to weaken Iraq s strict antiquities laws make it easier for U.S. dealers to export Iraqi artifacts out of Iraq. The main group behind this move was the recently formed, The American Council for Cultural Policy. The group s treasurer William Pealstein described Iraq s laws as retentionist. But well established archaeological groups have strongly criticized these efforts. The director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological said, Iraqi antiquities legislation protects Iraq. The last thing one needs is some group of dealer-connected Americans interfering. Any change to those laws would be absolutely monstrous. * Andrew Lawler, the archaeology correspondent for Science Magazine 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:25-9:40: Secretary Of State Gen. Colin Powell accused Syria of harboring officials from Saddam Hussein s government, and threatened economic or diplomatic sanctions. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer called Syria a terrorist state and a rogue nation. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed Syria had carried out chemical weapons tests in the last year. At a recent speech in New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) warned of endless war. Let s take a listen. Guest: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) 9:40-9:41 One-minute music break 9:41-9:50: A multinational coalition of attorney and legal groups has announced plans to investigate alleged war crimes in Iraq for potential prosecution by the young International Criminal Court or other legal bodies. This according to an article from the Inter Press Service. The move is motivated in part by Washington's recent declaration that it plans to set up its own tribunal to try alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the nation that it invaded last month, despite widespread calls for an international body that would also examine U.S. conduct in Iraq. The U.S. military has been condemned for using weapons such as cluster bombs and depleted uranium in its invasion that have a devastating impact on civilians. It is also accused by human rights groups of targeting known civilian sites and journalists' offices. The first phase of the coalition's initiative will take place May 24-25 when five international law experts meet in London to establish the criteria for determining what constitutes ''war crimes, crimes against humanity and aggression. Three months later, the tribunal will sit again in Rome to decide if significant evidence exists that war crimes were committed in Iraq. * Phil Shiner, Public Interest Lawyers (UK) Link: Contact: 9:50-9:58: On Sunday thousands gathered at an anti-war rally organized by the the Los Angles chapter of A.N.S.W.E.R. Among the speakers where the Rev. James Lawson. Rev. James Lawson, Hollman United Methodist Church Pastor Emeritus 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press with help from Noah Reibel. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.

Date Recorded on: 
April 15, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
April 15, 2003
Item duration: 
118 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., April 15, 2003
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