Democracy Now! April 28, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! April 28, 2003
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Hour 1: South Africa awards reparations to apartheid victims, some complain the payments of $3,900 are pitifully low : A discussion with Alex Boraine and Dumisa Ntsebeza formerly of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and apartheid victim Thando Shezi; Halliburton, Bechtel and URS profit from the privatization of the military: Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity examines who is making a killing on the killing Hour 2: US soldiers strip naked four suspected looters and parade them through the streets: The Norwegian reporter who broke the story joins us from Baghdad; Who really saved Private Jessica Lynch? The capture of the American POW might be one of the most heralded stories of the Iraqi invasion but a British reporter claims the U.S. media got the story all wrong; Argentina is set to have a runoff between two Peronists: ex President Carlos Menem and Governor Nestor Kirchner. We go to Argentina to speak with Naomi Klein.

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:10 Headlines 8:10-8:11 One Minute Music Break 8:11-8:30: South African President Thabo Mbeki has announced that his government will pay reparations totaling $85 million to more than 19,000 victims of apartheid crimes who testified about their suffering before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But Mbeki is being criticized for what campaigners called pitifully low compensation for the victims of gross human rights violations during the apartheid era. The family of each victim who appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will receive a one-time payment of 30,000 Rand, or about $3,900. Mbeki firmly rejected a recommendation from the chairman of the commission, Bishop Desmond Tutu, to impose a wealth tax on multi-national companies and individuals who thrived during white minority rule. The government also decided not to back a series of lawsuits against multinationals such as Anglo American and De Beers filed in US courts on behalf of apartheid victim groups. The reparation payments totaling $85 million fall far short of the $360 million requested by the commission. The issue of payments has become a political one because the vast majority of apartheid s perpetrators, from cabinet ministers down to police officers, have escaped unpunished. * Alex Boraine, former Deputy Chair of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and author of A Country Unmasked: Inside South Africa s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He now serves as the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice and is an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. * Dumisa Ntsebeza, former head of the investigative unit of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is now an acting judge in the labor court of South Africa. * Thandi Shezi, apartheid victim speaking from Cape Town. 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:30 SOUTH AFRICA cont d 8:30-8:50: Last week the San Francisco based engineering firm URS Corp. received its second major Army contract since February. All told the company could make $3.7 billion over the next eight years. URS is owned in part by Richard Blum the husband of California Senator Dianne Feinstein. URS joins Halliburton, Bechtel and other major U.S. corporations with close ties to Washington that has received major contracts. Halliburton is the company that Dick Cheney headed up until he ran for vice president. It recently won an exclusive no-bid contract from the Pentagon that could be worth as much as $7 billion over the next two years. In response, Rep. Henry Waxman of California has called for an investigation into every governmental contracts that Halliburton has received since Cheney took office. Bechtel meanwhile has received a government contract related to the rebuilding of Iraq that could be worth as much as $100 billion. Its ties to the Bush administration. Riley Bechtel serves as an advisor to Bush on the Export Council. And Bechtel board member and former CEO George Schultz served as Secretary of State for President Reagan. More recently Schutlz served as the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. And ties between military industrial complex and the Bush administration extend much deeper. A recent report by the Center for Public Integrity examined the makeup of the Defense Policy Board which advises the Pentagon. The board recently made headlines when its chair Richard Perle stepped down as chairman due to possible conflicts of interests. But Perle is not alone in possible conflict of interests. Nine of the 30 members of the Defense Policy Board have close ties to the arms industry. * Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity Link: 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:50:58 Listener Comments From Democracy Now! Listeners and Viewers Listeners and viewers have been flooding us with calls about what they are doing to protest. Call us at (212) 209-2999 and tell us what you are doing in your area. 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 9:11-9:20: It has emerged that US soldiers guarding another arms dump in Baghdad stripped four suspected looters, burnt their clothes and forced them at gunpoint onto the streets naked. The degraded prisoners had the words "Ali Baba, Haram'' scrawled on their chests Arabic for thief and sinful. Reports of the incident provoked outrage from human rights organizations. They say the US troops broke the Geneva Convention, which protects prisoners against "insults or public curiosity". Amnesty International called on the US to launch an investigation and promised to raise the matter urgently with the United Nations this week. The incident provoked dozens of anti-American protests in the capital. * Line Fransson, journalist with the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet Link: View photos published in Dagbladet: 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40: A recent story in the London Times titled So Who Really Did Save Private Jessica? begins: The rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, which inspired America during one of the most difficult periods of the war, was not the heroic Hollywood story told by the US military, but a staged operation that terrified patients and victimised the doctors who had struggled to save her life, according to Iraqi witnesses. Doctors at al-Nasiriyah general hospital said that the airborne assault had met no resistance and was carried out a day after all the Iraqi forces and Baath leadership had fled the city. Four doctors and two patients, one of whom was paralysed and on an intravenous drip, were bound and handcuffed as American soldiers rampaged through the wards, searching for departed members of the Saddam regime. An ambulance driver who tried to carry Private Lynch to the American forces close to the city was shot at by US troops the day before their mission. Far from winning hearts and minds, the US operation has angered and hurt doctors who risked their lives treating both Private Lynch and Iraqi victims of the war. What the Americans say is like the story of Sinbad the Sailor it s a myth, said Harith al-Houssona, who saved Private Lynch s life after she was brought to the hospital by Iraqi military intelligence. We are joined by the article s author Richard Lloyd Parry. * Richard Lloyd Parry, foreign correspondent for the London Times who left Iraq last night. Link: So Who Really Did Save Private Jessica? :,,5944-648517,00.html 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58: Nearly all the votes have been counted in Argentina s first presidential election since the economic crash in 2001. Argentina is set to have a runoff between two Peronists: ex President Carlos Menem and Governor Nestor Kirchner. Four years of economic depression have plunged more than half the population below the poverty line. Menem ruled Argentina between 1989 and 1999. Many Argentines see him as the culprit behind Argentina's economic collapse, because of his strict adherence to IMF rules. Menem was held under house arrest last year on charges in a gunrunning scandal; his administration was plagued by corruption scandals. * Naomi Klein, award-winning journalist and author of Fences and Windows: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate and No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies. She is speaking to us from Neuquen, Argentina which is the home of the worker-run ceramics factory Zanon. Contact: 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike DiFilippo is our music maestro and engineer.

Date Recorded on: 
April 28, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
April 28, 2003
Item duration: 
118 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., April 28, 2003
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