Democracy Now! April 15, 2003

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Democracy Now! April 15, 2003
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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

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 British war correspondent Robert Fisk reports the library was a priceless treasure of Ottoman historical documents, including the old royal archives of Iraq.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: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., April 15, 2003
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