Democracy Now! June 10, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! June 10, 2003
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Hour 1: Attn. Gen. John Ashcroft Bans Gay Pride from the Justice Department; President Bush Refuses to Declare June Gay Pride month, Proclaiming June Home-Owner s Month; The Battle for the Courts: Three Supreme Court Justices May Resign, and Hearings for Federal Judge Nominee William Pryor Begin Tomorrow Hour 2: On both sides of the Atlantic criticism mounts over Bush & Blair s claims of weapons of mass destruction: As weapons inspectors scale back their search in Iraq we talk to reporters from the Washington Post and the London Independent and hear White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer defend the administration s claims; Worse than Watergate? Nixon s chief counsel on why Bush could be impeached over Iraq

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20: June is Gay Pride month. Every year, hundreds of thousands of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people participate in marches, parades, and other events around the world. Gay Pride harkens back over thirty years to June, 1969. It was the height of the civil rights era. For more than a decade, blacks and other oppressed groups had been openly standing up to, and fighting against, their oppressors. But gay people around the country were still quietly putting up with police raids on gay venues, harassment, and discrimination. All of this changed one night in June, 1969, when New York City police officers raided a gay bar called Stonewall. Historian Lillian Faderman describes the scene: two hundred working-class patrons of the bar, including drag queens, third world gay men, and a handful of butch lesbians, started to riot. Their numbers doubled and soon, according to some sources, increased tenfold. The riots continued the following night. Fires were started all over the neighborhood. The first gay riots in U.S. history became known as the Stonewall Rebellion. It was the birth of a movement. (It is interesting to note that The New York Times relegated the story to five inches on page 33. It was headlined: Four Policemen Hurt in Village Raid ) Today, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people are still regularly ridiculed, discriminated against, harassed, and murdered. The instigators range from passers by in the street to the highest levels of government. Last week, the man in charge of enforcing the nation s civil rights, Attorney General John Aschroft, banned a gay pride event organized by some two hundred Justice Department employees. Agency workers have held pride events for years including last year, when John Ashcroft s number two official, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, spoke to about 150 employees. But then conservative groups lobbied Ashcroft to ban the event this year. Now, Justice Department officials have told the DOJ Pride group it can t hold the event at the department's Pennsylvania Avenue building later this month because of a new policy prohibiting events not recognized by White House proclamation. President Bush has issued hundreds of presidential proclamations, recognizing events African American History Month in Februrary and National Prayer Day. Bush declared June National Homeownership Month. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said QUOTE: "The president believes everybody ought to be treated with dignity and respect, but he does not believe we should be politicizing people's sexual orientation. <sum> Leonard Hirsch, president of the Federal Globe (which stands for the Links:,<sum> Sean Cahill, director of the policy institute of the National Gay and Link: <sum> Clarence Patton, acting executive director of the Anti-Violence Project Contact: People who have been harassed or attacked should call (212) 714-1141. 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:40 Ashcroft bans Gay Pride, cont d 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:58 The Battle for the Courts: Three Supreme Court Justices May Resign, and Hearings for Federal Judge Nominee William Pryor Begin Tomorrow The battle for the Supreme Court has begun. Intense lobbying -- including fund-raising, advertising and major research is well underway. One vacancy and possibly two is expected in the next several weeks. None of the nine justices have said they plan to retire now, but analysts say the time is right. Their expectations are based on the age of several justices and the general recognition that this is President Bush s last chance to name a justice before the presidential campaign begins. The three oldest judges on the Supreme Court are 78-year-old Chief Justice William Rehnquist, 73-year-old Justice Sandra Day O Connor and 83-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens. All three are Republican. Abortion rights activists assert that Roe v. Wade could be overturned by a substantially refashioned court. Roe v. Wade is the 1973 decision recognizing that women have a constitutional right to choose to have an abortion. The idea is that if justices are going to retire, they should do it in the next month or plan to hold on until after the 2004 elections, essentially committing themselves to two more court terms. White House officials told The New York Times that Rehnquist and O Connor are the likeliest to retire given the knowledge that a Republican President would choose their successor. In December 2000, Newsweek reported that at an election-night party, when O'Connor heard the media reported Florida had gone to Al Gore, she exclaimed, ``This is terrible,'' and walked away. Her husband John then explained that she was upset because they had wanted to retire to Arizona, but had been waiting so that a Republican president could name a successor. <sum> Nan Aron, President, Alliance for Justice Contact: <sum> James Swanson, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute & Editor of the Cato Supreme Court Review Contact: 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 9:07-9:40: U.S. military units assigned to hunt for Iraq s alleged weapons of mass destruction are receiving time off and are being assigned to other duties. Why? According to the Associated Press, they have run out of places to look. Over the past week, several U.S. teams searching for weapons have been taken off assignment completely. They are writing letters home and brushing up on target practice. Col. Keith Harrington s team has been cut by more than 30 percent. He told the AP: "It doesn't appear there are any more targets at this time. He said, "We're hanging around with no missions in the foreseeable future." The weapons inspectors say they are now waiting for a large team of Pentagon intelligence experts to take over the effort. This comes as the controversy over why no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq has reached the boiling point on both sides of the Atlantic. Time and time again, President Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Prime Minister Tony Blair drummed the same message home: Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. They told the American people this. They told the British people this. They told Arab states this. They told the U.S. Congress, the British Parliament, and the U.N. Security council this. It was all to try to justify an unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation. But now, two months after U.S. tanks rolled into Baghdad, no weapons have been found. No evidence of weapons has even been found. Meanwhile, a series of intelligence leaks and anonymous interviews with intelligence officers indicate that the White House may have overstated its own evidence. The Washington Post reported Saturday that an internal report by the Defense Intelligence Agency found there was no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing or stockpiling chemical weapons or whether Iraq has or will establish its chemical agent production facilities. We are going to be joined by reporters Walter Pincus of the Washington Post and Kim Sengupta of the London Independent in a minute. But first we want to play an excerpt from yesterday s White House press briefing with Ari Fleischer * Ari Fleischer, White House Press Secretary responding to questions from reporters on weapons on mass destruction on June 9, 2003 * Walter Pincus, National security reporter for the Washington Post who has written several reports on the administration s weapons of mass destruction claims over the past week. * Tony Blair, British Prime Minister responding to critics * Kim Sengupta, reporter with the Independent of London 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:40-9:58: 30 years after the Watergate break-in shook Washington, John Dean says President Bush could be impeached if he mislead the American public and Congress on Iraq s weapons of mass destruction threat. On June 17, 1972, five men employed by the Committee to Re-elect the President (later known as CREEP) were arrested while breaking into the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. They went in to plant listening devices in the phone and steal campaign strategy documents. The White House attempted to cover-up the burglary. Among those found guilty was Richard Nixon s chief counsel John W. Dean. He was charged with obstruction of justice and would eventually serve 127 days in jail for taking part in the cover-up. Before being jailed he was the first White House insider to testify about the existence of the White House taping system which eventually led to Nixon s demise. Today, Dean says, Washington may be facing a scandal on the scale of Watergate if the Bush Administration mislead the American public and Congress on the threat of Iraq s alleged weapons of mass destruction. He just published a column for the website titled Is Lying About The Reason For a War an Impeachable Offense? * John Dean, former counsel to President Richard Nixon. He also served as the chief minority counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, the associate director of a law reform commission, and associate deputy attorney general of the United States. Link: Is Lying About The Reason For a War an Impeachable Offense? : 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 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.

Date Recorded on: 
June 10, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
June 10, 2003
Item duration: 
118 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., June 10, 2003
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