Nuclear non-proliferation conference opens to discuss nuclear issues in the age of preemptive attacks: Rebecca Johnson of the journal Disarmament Diplomacy joins us from Geneva; Brutal crackdown on Iraqi protesters by US occupation forces is continuing: U.S. troops kill three more Iraqis in Fallujah bringing the total this week to 18. We go to Fallujah to speak with an AFP reporter; As the Pentagons spends tens of billions on war, the nation s cities and states face devastating budget crises: From drug treatment centers to fire departments to school systems budget deficits lead to widespread cutbacks
9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:10 Headlines 9:10-9:11 One Minute Music Break 9:11-9:24: North Korea said today it will regard any U.S. move to seek U.N. sanctions as ``the green light to a war.'' The official North Korean news agency said the country will take defenseive measures. The warning came after the White House yesterday rejected North Korea s offer to scrap its nuclear program, stop selling ballistic missiles, and re-admit UN inspectors. North Korea said it would disarm after the US provides a guarantee that it will not attack, and resumes shipments of oil and food aid. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Pyongyang will not be rewarded for: bad behaviour". Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "We will not be intimidated by their claims and threats. As the president has said, we will not be blackmailed." All of this comes as the nearly 200 nations who have signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty are meeting in Geneva to review implementation of the 1970 pact. In an address to the gathering on the opening day, U.S. assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation John Wolf criticized North Korea's withdrawal from the treaty, and accused Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons. Disarmament experts say the risks of nuclear proliferation are worse now than for 50 years. They say Washington s lack of commitment to non-proliferation is as damaging as the behaviour of the proliferators. In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush signed National Security Presidential Directive 17, which stated: "The United States will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force including potentially nuclear weapons to the use of [weapons of mass destruction] against the United States ..." One analyst told the London Independent that more and more countries are likely to buy the argument that there is only one way to be secure in world where the US is the only major superpower: "to pre-empt pre-emption", to develop nuclear weapons. The analyst said: "People look at the different ways that the 'Axis of Evil' states Iraq and North Korea have been treated and they draw their own conclusions." * Rebecca Johnson, Director, The Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy. She is in Geneva to cover the talks for the Institute s journal, Disarmament Diplomacy, which covers international arms control negotiations and development. Contact: www.acronym.org.uk 9:24-9:25 One Minute Music Break 9:25-9:35: US troops today fired into a crowd of thousands of people in the city of Fallujah, killing three people. Two more are in critical condition. The people were marching to protest an even deadlier shooting on Monday in which 15 people were killed. The Associated Press is reporting the protesters stopped in front of the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division headquarters. They held signs condemning Monday s shooting and began to throw stones and shoes at the compound. Then the US troops opened fire. Safa Rusli told the Agence France Presse: "This was a peaceful demonstration. Religious leaders told us not to be armed. There was no exchange of fire." US Intelligence Officer Maj. Michael Marti claimed US troops were returning fire. Muslim religious leaders told the AFP today they met with US forces after the killings today and asked US forces to pull back from the city. The city s top religious leader, Sheikh Waga Ali al-Mohammadi said: "Fallujah is known as a center of Islam. We care about religion, we care about our honour and our land. We told them things will get worse and worse." An imam who also attended the meeting said they have opted for diplomatic means up to now, but it will be difficult to contain the people for long. We go to Fallujah to speak with AFP reporter Sophie Claudet as she covers the funeral of two Iraqis who were killed by U.S. forces. * Sophie Claudet, AFP reporter in Fallujah 9:25-9:38: We are going to go now to hear a recent speech from Jonathan Schell, one of the leading advocates for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Among his books are: The Gift of Time: The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons Now; The Time of Illusion; The Fate of the Earth and the Abolition: And, the Abolition; and The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People. He is peace and disarmament correspondent at The Nation and the Harold Willens Peace fellow at the Nation Institute. Tape: Jonathan Schell 9:38-9:39 One Minute Music Break 9:39-9:58 As the Pentagons spends tens of billions on war, the nation s cities and states face devastating budget crises: From drug treatment centers to fire departments to school systems budget deficits lead to widespread cutbacks The worst budget crisis in half a century has forced states across the county to scrimp for savings in a style reminiscent of the Great Depression. Together, the 50 state governments are facing deficits of $30 billion this year and $82 billion next. In Massachusetts, the state cut health coverage for 36,000 of its poorest residents and slashed nearly 50 percent of the beds at detox facilities. Oregon has shortened the school year by 14 days, and is cutting prescription drugs benefit for people with schizophrenia and mental illness. In San Francisco, planned cuts include the suspension of cost-of-living adjustments in aid to the disabled and seniors, limiting dental care for Medi-Cal recipients and cutting $250 million each from money sent to counties and cities. In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg plans to close eight firehouses next month. The firefighters union has won at least a temporary reprieve from the city's plan to cut staff at 49 engine companies. This comes in light of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, in which 343 firefighters died. Bloomberg also plans to layoff more than 4,500 municipal workers. In response to the budget cuts, over 10,000 residents and union members protested in front of City Hall yesterday. * Lillian Roberts, executive director of union DC37 speaking at the rally * Greg Speeter, executive director of the National Priorities Project Contact: www.nationalpriorities.org * Stephen Cassidy, President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association Contact: http://ufalocal94.org/index.html * Meizhu Lui, executive director of United for a Fair Economy Contact: http://www.ufenet.org/9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Sharif Abdul 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.