Democracy Now! April 23, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! April 23, 2003
Series Title:
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Hour 1: Precarious situation in Baghdad: As protests against a U.S. occupation in Iraq continue, we speak to Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness who just left Baghdad; Mines and unexploded munitions in Iraq continue to maim and kill: Sean Sutton of the Mines Advisory Group reports from Northern Iraq; Animals in the military: A look at how the U.S. military has enlisted dolphins, chickens, dogs, sea lions and pigeons in Iraq Hour 2: Lawyers in Louisiana are claiming DNA evidence proves another man on death row is innocent: We look at the case of 23-year-old Ryan Matthews and hear from his family and attorney; More than two million people gather in Karbala for the spring of Shiites in the world : A report from Al-Jazeera correspondent Yusef Allshouly in Karbala and Professor As ad AbuKhalil of California State University; Columbia University Professor Edward Said on history, colonialism and how the US is changing the map of the Middle East.

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20: In Baghdad, hundreds of Shiites yesterday staged demonstrations outside the Palestine Hotel for the second straight day. They demanded the release of Baghdad s leading Shiite cleric Sheikh Muhammad al-Fartusi, who they said had been arrested by US forces. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal is reporting hundreds of flourishing gun fairs have sprung up around Iraq since the fall of Saddam. Under Saddam, Iraqi s needed to go through strict background checks by the secret police before they could obtain a gun license; now anyone who has money can buy a gun. At one market in a Shiite area of Baghdad, an oil-company worker told the Journal people are buying weapons to kill US soldiers if they don t leave the country. We go now to Amman to speak with Kathy Kelly of Voice In the Wilderness. She recently left Iraq where she was during the U.S. invasion. * Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices in the Wilderness. She just traveled to Jordan from Baghdad and speaks to us from Amman. 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:40: Mines and unexploded munitions have killed 52 people and injured 63 in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk over just the past week. The Daily Mirror of London is reporting that most of the victims were children. Iraq is being reminded once again that long after the combat fighting ends, the killing continues. Over the past week the mine-clearing charity The Mines Advisory Group has removed 30 truckloads of explosives that is: 11,000 mines plus 200,000 bombs and missiles. But it is estimated that 10 million mines remain lying in Iraq over the past war-torn decade. * Sean Sutton of the Mines Advisory Group joins us from Northern Iraq. 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:58: "War is not healthy for children and other living things." These words were first written by mothers in the United States during the Vietnam War. They were concerned that their children were being sent halfway around the world to kill the children of Vietnamese mothers. They put the statement on a postcard and sent it to Congress. Since then, the words have become a powerful description of wartime destruction of not only people but also animals and the environment. In the invasion of Iraq the Pentagon reportedly has enlisted dolphins, chickens, dogs, sea lions and pigeons. Plus there are reports that Moracco gave the U.S. 2,000 monkeys to assist with de-mining projects. Dolphins are scouting seaports in search of mines. The dolphins are equipped with cameras that transmit video images back to their handlers. When they find a mine they are trained to report back by playing with a so-called I ve found something rubber ball. When the dolphins find a mine, their minder sends a group of human divers to the area to detonate it. The Washington Post reports that Atlantic bottlenose dolphin is the seafaring equivalent of bomb-sniffing dogs. The Marines have been using chickens and pigeons in Kuwait to detect poison gas. But the Marines have admitted that dozens of the birds never made it to the Middle East after dying in transit. The deceased chickens and pigeons will hardly be the first U.S. animals not to return to the states after a war. According to PETA, 5,000 dogs served alongside U.S. troops in Vietnam. Only 140 came home. Some died in Vietnam but most were abandoned by the military. * William R. Rivas-Rivas, PETA Campaign Coordinator * David Helvarg, Author of Blue Frontier - Saving America's Living Seas and founder of the Blue Frontier Campaign in Washington D.C. 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 9:07-9:30: This is a classic case of wrongful conviction. He was a juvenile, mentally retarded and put on death row for a crime he did not commit. These are the words of Clive Stafford Smith, one of the attorneys for Ryan Mathews a 23 year-old inmate on death row. Mathews was 17 when he was arrested for the 1997 murder of Bridge City grocer Tommy Vanhoose. Attorneys for Mathews say DNA tests have proved that he is innocent and that another inmate was the killer. During the trial experts testified that the DNA evidence did not match Mathews or the getaway driver, Travis Hayes, who is serving a life sentence for the crime. Mathews was largely convicted on the testimony of two eye witnesses whose testimony has been questioned. Smith said that Mathews fits the legal definition of mentally retarded and cannot be executed because of a decision handed down by the US Supreme Court last year. * Video: Clive Stafford Smith (from Press Conference 4/21/03) - Director, Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center * Exclusive Video: James Harrison, speaking from the Washington Correctional Institute in Louisiana, as he discusses how he overheard Rondell Love's jailhouse confession. Courtesy of Off Center Productions: * Billy Sothern, Lawyer for Ryan Mathews, Staff attorney with the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center (LCAC) * Pauline Matthews, Mother of Ryan Matthews * Peter Neufeld, a lawyer and one of the founders of the Innocence Project, a non-profit legal clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City 9:30-9:31 One Minute Music Break 9:31-9:51: More than two million Shi'ite Muslims are converging on the Iraqi holy city of Karbala, an Al-Jazeera correspondent told Democracy Now! today. Many of them are demanding that U.S. troops get out of the country. The numbers could surpass one million this week as the pilgrimage climaxes. According to a front-page report in today s Washington Post, Bush administration officials say they underestimated the organizational strength of the Shiites. They are concerned the Shi ites could establish a fundamentalist, Islamic, anti-American government in Iraq and are unprepared to prevent it. A meeting of generals and admirals at the Pentagon on Monday turned into a spontaneous teach-in on Iraq's Shi'ites and the U.S. strategy for containing Islamic fundamentalism in Iraq. One of the main strategic goals of the US since the Iranian revolution in 1979 has been to contain radical Shiite fundamentalism. In the 1980s, the US backed Saddam Hussein as a bulwark against Iran. But now the US has toppled Saddam s government. US officials told the Washington Post that as the administration plotted to overthrow the Iraqi government, too little attention was paid to the dynamics of religion and politics in the region. This comes as US officials told the New York Times that Iranian-trained agents have crossed into southern Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein and are working in the cities of Najaf, Karbala and Basra to promote friendly Shiite clerics and advance Iranian interests. Meanwhile, U.S. troops detained and later released a senior Shi'ite Muslim cleric, Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mudaressi, leader of an Iraqi exile group, after he crossed the border from Iran to attend the pilgrimage in Karbala. And in Baghdad, hundreds of Shiites yesterday staged demonstrations outside the Palestine Hotel for the second straight day. They demanded the release of Baghdad s leading Shiite cleric Sheikh Muhammad al-Fartusi, who they said had been arrested by US forces. One of al-Fartusi s students, who organized the protests, told the Wall Street Journal: Saddam was talking about freedom while killing us. The Aermcians are also talking about freedom, but they are beginning to behave like Saddam. Within hours, it was reported that the cleric had been released from custody, although US officials never confirmed he was initially detained. * Yousef Allshouly, Al-Jazeera correspondent reporting from Karbala * As ad AbuKhalil, Professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. Author of Bin Laden, Islam and America s New War on Terrorism 9:51-9:52 One Minute Music Break 9:52-9:58: Last week Columbia University professor Edward Said spoke at a 25th anniversary commemoration of his 1978 classic work Orientalism. Today we listen to a short excerpt of Said on colonialism and how the U.S. is changing the map of the Middle East. * Edward Said, addresses Columbia University on April 16,2003 Said is a University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of many works, including Culture and Imperialism and Orientalism. 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Ana Nogueira, Elizabeth Press with help from Noah Reibel and Vilka Tzouras. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer. Thanks also to Uri Galed, Angela Alston, Emily Kunstler, Orlando Richards, Simba Rousseau, Rafael delaUz, Gabriel Weiss, Johnny Sender, Rich Kim, Karen Ranucci, Fatima Mojadiddy, Denis Moynihan and Jenny Filipazzo.

Date Recorded on: 
April 23, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
April 23, 2003
Item duration: 
118 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., April 23, 2003
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