February 18, 2003

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Iraqis Prepare for War
President Bush confirmed today that the US is drafting a new UN Resolution on Iraq, though the President also insisted that UN backing was not necessary for a US led war. Bush also said he was not deterred by the millions worldwide who took to the streets to protest his Administration’s push to war calling the protests all but irrelevant. Meanwhile as Jeremy Scahill reports from Baghdad as Iraqis are readying themselves for the almost inevitable military incursion.

Human Shields in Iraq
As hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to take to the streets, sign petitions and lobby their representatives to try to avert a war, a relatively small but increasing number are going to Iraq. These peace activists hope to call attention to the plight of the Iraqi people and put a human face on those who are likely to suffer most, should a war erupt. Nadja Middleton takes a look at this growing movement of peace activists ready to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Affirmative Action Court Deadline
As we reported in the headlines, today more than 300 organizations representing academia, major corporations, labor unions and nearly 30 of the nation’s top former military and civilian defense officials, filed briefs supporting the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policies that the Bush Administration is opposing before the Supreme Court. Also filing an amicus brief today are 200 Veterans of the Southern Civil Rights Movement. Former Chairman of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, Lawrence Guyot spoke with Deepa Fernandes.

The New Generation Civil Rights
For generations, Washington, DC has been a nexus of civil rights organizing. in the early 1930s, a successful boycott of a popular hot dog stand that refused to hire African Americans, lead to the creation of 300 new jobs in two years. fearful of a massive boycott of its stores, the sanitary grocery company, now known as Safeway, took the group of Howard university law professors, civil rights activists like Mary McLeod Bethune, and common citizens, all the way to the supreme court. in 1938, the court ruled in favor of the activists, and set the legal precedent for the use of picketing and boycotts that we all enjoy today. Ingrid Drake reports on a new chapter of the civil rights movement taking place in Washington, DC.

Part 2: Colombian Oil
Colombia’s oil-rich state of Arauca is called they “eye of the hurricane” for all the violence. Since the beginning of this year, it has endured attacks that have toppled two electric towers, exploded four car bombs, implemented four successful pipeline strikes and killed at least 64 people. The reason the guerrillas, the paramilitaries and the army have waged war in this region is in large part because of oil. Colombia’s second-largest pipeline begins in Arauca’s Caño Limon oil complex. And the pipeline — co-owned by Occidental Petroleum Corp. of Los Angeles and the state oil company, Ecopetrol — has triggered a wider U.S. involvement in Colombia’s 39-year civil war and marks an important shift from previous U.S. policy of providing military aid almost exclusively for anti- narcotics operations. Occidental has lobbied for U.S. military assistance. But it was only until last year that the Bush administration agreed to train, arm and provide air support to protect the pipeline as part of a campaign to secure oil resources and help win the war against the leftist insurgency. In the second segment of a two-part report, Nicole Karsin takes us to the oil-rich war torn state.

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