Democracy Now! May 26, 2003

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Democracy Now! May 26, 2003
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Memorial Day Special: We speak with a group of Ploughshares activists. For years these Catholics have tried to raise awareness about the brutality of war and how specific warships, weapons, and bases are complicit in the killing of innocent civilians; Three Dominican nuns await sentencing for damaging nuclear site in Colorado; Five members of the pacifist Catholic Worker Movement face 10 years in prison for peace protests at Shannon Airport in Ireland; Memorial Day Special: Remembering veteran and peace warrior Phil Berrigan (1923-2002)

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:25: Today is Memorial Day, the traditional holiday day to honor all US veterans. President Bush is marking the day today by laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, paying special tribute to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. military death toll so far in the invasion and occupation of Iraq is 161. That includes accidental deaths, and includes the forty deaths that have occurred since April 9, the day U.S. commanders declared Baghdad liberated. President Bush will also honor fallen soldiers at Arlington's Tomb of the Unknowns, where President Bush will speak about the sacrifices US troops make. President Bush himself has never served in a war. During the war in Vietnam, Bush avoided being drafted by volunteering for the Texas Air National Guard. Almost no member of Congress has a son or daughter in the military. President Bush has also designated 11 a.m. today, in each time zone, as a time for Americans to unite in prayer. He said in a Memorial Day proclamation: "Each Memorial Day, we pray for peace throughout the world, remembering what was gained and what was lost during times of war." Today on Democracy Now!, we spend the hour with people who are so devout in their belief in peace that they not only pray, they act. They are the Ploughshares activists. For years these Catholics have tried to raise awareness about the brutality of war and how specific warships, weapons, and bases are complicit in the killing of innocent civilians. They derive their name from a line in the Book of Isaiah that calls for people to beat their swords into plowshares. We begin with an incident that occurred only yesterday. Around 4 in the afternoon, four Catholic Workers went aboard the USS Philippine Sea during the 16th Annual Fleet Week in New York City. During a tour of the USS Philippine Sea, the first warship to attack Afghanistan after Sept 11, they poured their blood and hammered on the missile hatches that hold Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. They held up pictures of Iraqi children who had been injured and maimed by US weapons. All four were arrested. But they have been released and join us in our studio for this Memorial Day Special. * Mark Colville, New Haven Catholic Worker * Sister Susan Clarkson, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker (D.C.) * Joan Gregory, 70 yrs old, Catholic Worker Farm (NY) * Brian Buckley, Little Flower Catholic Worker (VA) Link: One Minute Music Break 8:25-8:30: We turn now to a story of three Dominican nuns who are awaiting sentencing for another plowshares action. On the morning of Oct. 6, 2002 the Roman Catholic nuns cut the chain securing a nuclear missile site in northeastern Colorado, and entered. They hammered on a 110-ton concrete lid covering the Minuteman III missile silo. They poured their own blood in the shape of crosses from plastic baby bottles. They sang, and they prayed for world peace. A Denver jury convicted them last month of injuring and obstructing national defense, and of inflicting more than $1,000 of damage to government property. Prosecutors said they will ask U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn to sentence the nuns to five to eight years in federal prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. * Carol Gilbert, Dominican nun * Ardeth Platte, Dominican nun 8:35-8:45 Five members of the pacifist Catholic Worker Movement face 10 years in prison for peace protests at Shannon Airport in Ireland. In the early hours of February 3, five members of the pacifist Catholic Worker Movement cut their way into Shannon Airport, Ireland. The peace activists poured human blood on the runway that has been servicing U.S. military flights, troop and munitions deployments to U.S. military bases in Kuwait and Qatar. They constructed a shrine on the runway dedicated to Iraqi children. The activists then approached the hanger housing a US Navy plane under repair. They painted "Pit stop of death" on the hanger's roller door, and began the dismantling of the hanger. Then they entered the hanger to disarm a US warplane. Before they were arrested they prayed together. They now face 10 years in prison. The Irish government is charging them with $2 million worth in damages to government property. While their action was mostly symbolic it led to three U.S. airlines to halt stopovers in Ireland. The airlines had been transporting U.S. troops and munitions to Iraq. Fifty thousand troops also passed through the civilian airport on their way to the recent war on Iraq. While the activists face 10 years in prison, they received a presidential pardon last week at least a pardon from a man who plays on president on tv, that is Martin Sheen start of the show West Wing. * Ciaron O Reilly, is an Irish Australian and one of the Catholic Worker activists arrested in the Pitstop Plowhares action in Ireland. He was also a member of the "ANZUS Ploughshares" which disarmed a B-52 Bomber in upstate New York during the 1991 Gulf War, and a member of the "Jabiluka Ploughshares" that disabled uranium mining equipment in the Northern Territory of Australia in 1998. 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:58: Today is Memorial Day and on Democracy Now! we are going to celebrate it by commemorating the life of Phil Berrigan, a WWII veteran and lifelong anti-war activist. Philip Berrigan was the first Roman Catholic priest to be imprisoned for political reasons in the United States. Berrigan was first jailed in 1967 for destroying draft files in Baltimore. In 1968 he was arrested for burning draft files in Catonsville, Maryland, in a case that became known as the "Catonsville 9." Phil Berrigan died last December at Jonah House, a community he co-founded in 1973, surrounded by family and friends. He died two months after being diagnosed with liver and kidney cancer, and one month after deciding to discontinue chemotherapy. During his nearly 40 years of resistance to war and violence, Berrigan focused on living and working in community as a way to model the nonviolent, sustainable world he was working to create. Jonah House members live simply, pray together, share duties, and attempt to expose the violence of militarism and consumerism. The community was born out of resistance to the Vietnam War, including high-profile draft card burning actions; later the focus became ongoing resistance to U.S. nuclear policy, including Plowshares actions that aim to enact Isaiah's biblical prophecy of a disarmed world. Because of these efforts, Berrigan spent about 11 years in prison. He wrote, lectured, and taught extensively, publishing six books, including an autobiography, Fighting the Lamb's War. Today we are going to hear an audio collage of Phil Berrigan interviews produced by Pacifica Peacewatch's Scott Gurian and Laurel Paget-Seekins. It features one of the last recorded interviews with Berrigan from October, 2002. * Phil Berrigan commemoration 8:58-8:59 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.

Date Recorded on: 
May 26, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
May 26, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., May 26, 2003
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