Between The Lines

News and Analysis
For The Week Ending Sept. 8, 2000

Listen to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking here or any of the individual interview segments below (All in RealAudio, needs RealPlayer G2, 7 or 8).

This week we present Between The Lines' summary of under-reported news stories and:

Lori Berenson Granted New Trial in Peruvian Civilian Court
Interview by Denise Manzari.
On Aug. 28, Peru's top military court announced it would void the life sentence imposed on Lori Berenson almost five years ago, and grant her a new trial in civilian courts. A native of New York, Berenson was charged with treason before a hooded military tribunal in January 1996.

The Supreme Military Justice Commission offered no reason for the decision, as it contradicted President Alberto Fujimori's past statements that Berenson would remain in prison for life for her "terrorist activities." She was accused of helping the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement plan an attack on Peru's Congress.

Lori's parents, Mark and Rhoda Berenson, have fought diligently for their daughter's release and have maintained her innocence. They travel frequently to visit Lori, but are allowed only an hour's visit with no physical contact.

Berenson was jailed for three years in Yanamayo, a maximum security prison with no heat or hot water, located at an altitude of 12,700 feet in the Andes. After developing several health problems, including intermittent blindness in one eye, Berenson was moved to the Socabaya prison at a lower altitude of 7,000 feet.

Although hopeful, the Berensons are skeptical about the fairness of any new trial, given Peru's history of violating defendants' rights in terrorism cases tried in civilian courts.

Between The Lines' Denise Manzari spoke with Lori Berenson's mother, Rhoda. For more information on Lori Berenson's case, visit her supporters' Web site at

Clinton Waives Human Rights Requirements Attached to U.S.-Colombia Military Aid
Interview by Scott Harris.

When Congress approved a $1.3 billion military economic aid package for the nation of Colombia in July, lawmakers attached specific human rights conditions to curb the well-documented abuses by the military. But during a required consultation with the State Department in August, human rights groups unanimously refused to certify that Colombia had complied with these conditions.

President Clinton, who was preparing to travel to Colombia on Aug. 30, signed a national security waiver a week before his departure, freeing up U.S. funds despite Bogata's failure to meet minimal human rights conditions. The aid package includes helicopters, funds for drug crop eradication, and training by U.S. military advisors. The assistance, as framed by the White House, will help Colombia more effectively fight the drug war, interdicting supplies of cocaine and heroin destined for America. But critics warn that the U.S. policy ignores the danger of becoming entangled in Colombia's decades-long civil war that pits two well-armed rebel groups against an army and paramilitary units accused of corruption and gross human rights abuses.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Robin Kirk, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, who criticizes the Clinton administration's decision to waive human rights requirements attached to the U.S.-Colombia military aid package.

Contact Human Rights Watch by calling (202) 612-4321 or visit their Web site at

Green Party Candidate Dismisses "Spoiler Effect" and Calls for Participation in Debates
Interview by Scott Harris.

Ralph Nader, America's best known consumer advocate and citizen activist, is running for president on the Green Party ticket again this year. As in 1996, Nader selected Winona LaDuke as his vice presidential running mate.

LaDuke, a Harvard University educated economist, author and activist, lives on the White Earth reservation in Minnesota. She serves as the co-chair of the Indigenous Women's Network and is program director at the Honor The Earth Fund. After their 1996 effort -- which garnered only one percent of the vote -- this year, Nader and LaDuke are both energetically campaigning around the country and working hard to appear on the ballot in at least 45 states. Recent public opinion polls give the Green Party ticket 5-10 percent support, with even higher percentages in some key states like California and Oregon.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke Winona LaDuke about the goals of her campaign and the concern expressed by some Democrats that the Green Party ticket could play the role of the spoiler, giving Republican George W. Bush a victory in November.

To contact the Green Party call (202) 265-4000 or visit their Web site at

This week's summary of under-reported news
Compiled from alternative media sources by Bob Nixon and Denise Manzari

  • Cuban American National Foundation preparing to spend thousands of dollars to campaign against legislators who support partial lifting of 40-year-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. (Reuters)
  • Hard-line U.S. anti-abortion activists traveling to Ireland to challenge recent advances in reproductive rights there.(In These Times, Sept. 4, 2000)
  • Partnerships between consumers and producers can foster sustainable fishing. (New Internationalist: July, 2000)

Home | Archives | About Between The Lines | Contact us