December 19, 2002

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US Declares Iraq in “Material Breach”
As the Bush Administration announced the last week in January as the likely date to begin the attack on Iraq, Chief arms experts Hans Blix briefed the United Nations Security Council behind closed doors today on their preliminary assessment of Iraq’s weapons declaration. Blix said that so far the weapons inspectors have found little that had not been declared by Baghdad before. Colin Powell stated that Blix’s findings show Iraq to be in material breach of the UN Resolution 1441 because of omissions in the 12,000-page report submitted by Iraq on December 7th. Iraq’s declaration has been seen in its entirety only by the US and the other four permanent Security Council members — Britain, China, France and Russia.  The other 10 elected members got a censored copy. Omitted from the report are the names of US and other western companies that supplied Iraq with materials used to make weapons of mass destruction in the 1980s. The Bush administration wants to avoid embarrassing disclosures as it moves to declare Iraq “in material breach” of the Security Council resolution authorizing resumed arms probes. Susan Wood has more from the UN.

Iranians Protest Detentions
Hundreds of men from 5 Muslim countries continue to be detained in Los Angeles after voluntarily registering as per new Immigration regulations. The Iranian community came out on to the streets yesterday as about 4000 people demonstrated in front of the Westwood Federal Building demanding justice and saying the detentions were unconstitutional. Christopher Sprinkle reports from KPFK.

New South Korean President
South Korea has elected a new president, Roh Moo-Hyun, a 55-year-old liberal human rights lawyer from the Millennium Democratic Party.  He touts an equal relationship between South Korea and the United States, and continued dialogue with North Korea. The presidential campaign was overshadowed by the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and by anti-Americanism fueled by U.S. policy and the U.S. military presence in South Korea. Last weekend over 100,000 Koreans took to the streets to protest the U.S. forces the country hosts. Shannon Novak reports.

Venezuela Strike Hits 18th Day
The opposition strike in Venezuela, now in its 18th day, has brought oil operations to a virtual standstill in the world’s No. 5 petroleum exporter. With the latest from Caracas is Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research who says the opposition plans to march again tomorrow.

The South Responds to Trent Lott’s Racist Past
Senator Trent Lott’s comments last week supporting fellow Republican Strom Thurmond’s 1948 segregationist presidential platform has GOP leaders working overtime on damage control. Almost a dozen senate republicans, including Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Ted Stevens of Alaska, the longest-serving Senate Republican, have criticized Lott’s comments. Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island has begun the call for new party leadership, saying “its time to make a change.”  Yesterday, prominent Republicans, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Florida Governor Jeb Bush of Florida also criticized Lott. Governor Jeb Bush said, “something’s going to have to change.” Meanwhile, the White House remains on the fence. As the Senate’s 51 Republicans are preparing for a January 6 meeting to Renee Feltz speaks with African American veterans of the 1960’s civil rights movement in Houston, Texas about the change they support.

Refugee Series: Sangatte Refugee Camp, France
Refugees and asylum seekers enter the European Union in their thousands each year looking for safety, work and a better way of life. As we continue our refugee special series, and as the immigration debate rages in Europe, reporter Keelin Shanley joins some refugees outside the controversial camp of Sangatte, as they plan their escape to England.

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