Democracy Now! May 23, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! May 23, 2003
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Hour 1:U.N. Security Council Lifts a Decade of Devastating Sanctions Responsible for the Deaths of up to One Million Iraqi Children; Was the Invasion of Iraq the Deadliest U.S. Military Campaign for Civilians Since Vietnam?; U.S. Threatens to Withhold AIDS Drugs from African Countries That Bar Genetically Engineered Foods; Children s Programming is at Risk from a Concentration of Ownership in the Media Hour 2: Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death broadcast for the first time ever in the US: eyewitnesses testify that US troops were complicit in the massacre of up to 3,000 Taliban prisoners during the Afghan War

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20: The United Nations Security Council voted nearly unanimously yesterday to lift the sanctions on Iraq, and to give the U.S. the legal authority to occupy Iraq and to control its oil. The Security Council vote was fourteen to zero. Syria, the only Arab nation on the council, boycotted the vote. The resolution ends over a decade of devastating economic sanctions on Iraq. The sanctions were imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait. According the United Nations own calculations, the sanctions are responsible for the deaths of between half a million and a million Iraqi children. The resolution also gives the US administration an international legal mandate to rule Iraq until a viable Iraqi government is established. And, it gives US occupation forces the authority to export Iraq's oil. According to the London Guardian, expanded oil exports could bring over $20 billion dollars a year. * Joy Gordon, Professor of Philosophy and International Human Rights Law at Fairfield University and author of Cool War: Economic Sanctions as a Weapon of Mass Destruction for Harpers Magazine in November, 2002. She is working on her first book, A Peaceful. Silent, Deadly Remedy: The Ethics of Economic Sanctions. 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:40: While the world s attention is focused on the lifting of the UN sanctions in Iraq, we turn now to another story from Iraq that has received practically no attention. The Christian Science Monitor is reporting the evidence is mounting that suggests between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians died during the US invasion. The Monitor reports that this would make the Iraq war the deadliest campaign for noncombatants that US forces have fought since Vietnam. The estimate is based on data provided by researchers involved in independent surveys of the country. It is extremely difficult to obtain casualty figures for either Iraqi civilians or soldiers. As General Tommy Franks said during the Afghanistan invasion, We don t do body counts. The Monitor s estimates are higher than any previously reported. By another measure of violence against civilians the war in Iraq was particularly brutal. In the 1989 US invasion of Panama, 13 Panamanian civilians died for every US military fatality. If 5,000 Iraqi civilians died in the latest war, that proportion would be 33 to 1. * Peter Ford, reporter for the Christian Science Monitor speaking to us from Baghdad. 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:50: With the FCC vote on media ownership less than two weeks away, a new study reveals how a rise in media consolidation has led to a dramatic decrease in children s TV programming. The new study is released by a children research and action organization called Children Now. It concludes that there is a strong link between a reduction in children s programming and concentration of ownership. The wave of further media consolidation expected after a relaxing of media ownership rules does not bode well for children s programming. The FCC solicited 12 studies to assess the impact of the rules changes on the media, but none of them examined children s programming. * Patti Miller, director of the Children and the Media Program for Children Now. 8:50-8:58: On Wednesday President Bush charged that European nations were perpetuating starvation in Africa by subsidizing agricultural exports and by objecting to the use of genetically engineered crops. Bush claimed that American efforts to reduce hunger in Africa have been thwarted by European policies. This is the latest attack from the White House on countries that oppose genetically engineered crops. The U.S. has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization against nations who had barred genetically engineered food. And now President Bush has signed an AIDS bill that suggests the U.S. will withhold giving AIDS medications to African nations if they refuse to accept genetically engineered food aid. In response to the AIDS bill, Greenpeace has launched a campaign against Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist. Earlier this week Greenpeace filed a complaint with the State of Tennessee calling for an ethics investigation of Frist, who is a doctor by profession. The group says Frist has backed a bill that attempts to coerce African nations into accepting food by suggesting that it could be tied to receipt of AIDS prevention funding. Greenpeace says such action flies in the face of the physician s duty to protect and foster free, uncoerced choices. * Charles Margulis, Greenpeace Genetic Engineering Specialist 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits 9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:20: Today, on Democracy Now!, the U.S. broadcast premiere of a documentary film called Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death. The film provides eyewitness testimony that U.S. troops were complicit in the massacre of thousands of Taliban prisoners during the Afghan War. It tells the story of thousands of prisoners who surrendered to the US military s Afghan allies after the siege of Kunduz. According to eyewitnesses, some three thousand of the prisoners were forced into sealed containers and loaded onto trucks for transport to Sheberghan prison. Eyewitnesses say when the prisoners began shouting for air, U.S.-allied Afghan soldiers fired directly into the truck, killing many of them. The rest suffered through an appalling road trip lasting up to four days, so thirsty they clawed at the skin of their fellow prisoners as they licked perspiration and even drank blood from open wounds. Witnesses say that when the trucks arrived and soldiers opened the containers, most of the people inside were dead. They also say US Special Forces re-directed the containers carrying the living and dead into the desert and stood by as survivors were shot and buried. Now, up to three thousand bodies lie buried in a mass grave. The film has sent shockwaves around the world. It has been broadcast on national television in Britain, Germany, Italy and Australia. It has been screened by the European parliament. It has outraged human rights groups and international human rights lawyers. They are calling for investigation into whether U.S. Special Forces are guilty of war crimes. But most Americans have never heard of the film. That s because not one corporate media outlet in the U.S. will touch it. It has never before been broadcast in this country. Today, Democracy Now! brings you the premiere broadcast of Afghan Massacre in the United States. Afghan Massacre is produced and directed by award-winning Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran. Doran is has worked at the highest levels of television film production for more than two decades. His films have been broadcast on virtually every major channel throughout the world. On average, each of his films are seen in around 35 countries. Before establishing his independent television company, Jamie Doran spent over seven years at BBC Television. The film was researched by award-winning journalist Najibullah Quraishi, who was beaten almost to death when he tried to obtain video evidence of US Special Forces complicity in the massacre. Two of the witnesses who testified in the film are now dead. * Afghan Massacre: the Convoy of Death - produced and directed by award-winning Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran. 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:58 Afghan Massacre, cont d 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.

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