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Between The Lines

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Between The Lines
For The Week Ending March 2, 2001


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

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

Increasing human rights abuses by paramilitary groups linked with U.S.-funded Colombian army
Increasing human rights abuses by paramilitary groups linked with U.S.-funded Colombian army
Interview by Scott Harris.

When Congress approved a $1.3 billion dollar military and economic aid package for the nation of Colombia last year, lawmakers attached specific human rights conditions to curb the well-documented abuses by the military. But despite a united front from human rights groups opposed to certifying Colombian compliance with these conditions, former President Clinton signed a waiver in August allowing the aid to go forward.

According to supporters, the assistance -- much of it directed to the Colombian military -- will help Bogata more effectively fight the drug war. But critics warn that the U.S. position ignores the danger of becoming entangled in Colombia's decadeslong 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 Andrew Miller, acting advocacy director for the Americas with Amnesty International USA, who reports on growing human rights violations by paramilitary groups linked with the Colombian armed forces in the northeastern city of Barrancabermeja.

Contact Amnesty calling (202) 544-0200 or visit their Web site at

Related Between The Lines interviews:

New European Union Rules on Genetically Engineered Products Fail to Dispel Public Apprehension over "Frankenfoods"
Food First director calls decision to end unofficial moratorium on bioengineered seeds and foods "simply shocking"
Interview by Scott Harris.

The European Union Parliament recently voted 338 to 52 to adopt strict rules governing the testing, cultivation and sale of genetically modified organisms for use in food and pharmaceuticals. The new standards, which must be incorporated into the laws of each of the E.U.'s 15 member nations, will likely pave the way for ending Europe's three-year moratorium prohibiting the distribution of genetically engineered products. But members of European Green parties, as well as the governments of France and Denmark, say they will resist the adoption of the new rules.

While the E.U. provisions will set up a system for tracking the location of genetically engineered crops, require companies wishing to sell genetically altered goods to apply for licenses, and eventually mandate consumer labeling of foods, the public remains skeptical of what some derisively refer to as "Frankenfoods."

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Anuradha Mittal, co-director of Food First, The Institute for Food & Development Policy, who assesses the new E.U. rules and their likely effect on agriculture and public health.

Contact Food First by calling (510) 654-4400 or visit their Web site at

Related interview

Labor, Environmental and Human Rights Groups Organizing to Oppose April Americas Free Trade Treaty Summit in Quebec City
Interview by Scott Harris.

In April, heads of state from nations throughout the Americas will gather in Quebec City, Canada for negotiations on the Free Trade Area of the Americas treaty. Once ratified, the FTAA will put in place a western hemisphere-wide trade agreement based on the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement under the framework of the World Trade Organization. Although much of the negotiations have been held in secret, the agreement is widely expected to give unprecedented new rights to multinational corporations, with little or no provisions protecting labor rights and the environment.

Many unions, human rights and environmental groups oppose adoption of the FTAA, seeing it as another component in corporate-led economic globalization that pits worker against worker and nation against nation in a race to the bottom. Thousands of activists will be converging in Quebec in April to attend an alternative "People's Summit" and to hold protest demonstrations.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Karen Hansen Kuhn, international coordinator with the Alliance for Responsible Trade, who examines the FTAA, and why so many groups across the western hemisphere are organizing to oppose it.

Contact the Alliance at (202) 898-1566 or visit their Web site at

Related article and Web sites

This week's summary of under-reported news
Compiled by Bob Nixon and Rich Fraser

  • Growing number of obstetricians using Cytotic to induce labor for convenience of doctors, despite evidence the drug can be dangerous to pregnant women and their babies. ("Forced Labor: Why are obstetricians speeding deliveries with an ulcer drug that endangers mothers and their babies?" Mother Jones magazine, January/February 2001)
  • Richard Armitage, a major figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, named as Colin Powell's chief deputy at the U.S. State Department. (In These Times, March 5, 2001)
  • Investigative journalists Steve Wilson and Jane Akre -- who were fired from WTVT, Fox News in Tampa, Fla., for producing a series on genetically engineered bovine growth hormone -- win lawsuit under the state's whistleblower law. (Extra, January/February, 2001)

Senior news editor: Bob Nixon
Program narration: Arch Currie
News reader: Elaine Osowski
Distribution: Anna Manzo, Harry Minot, Jeff Yates
Web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
Executive producer: Scott Harris

... MORE ...

WPKN Special Update on GOP National Convention Defendants
Columbia Law School Graduate and ACT-Up Activist Speak Out About Their Upcoming Trials

Post Inauguration and Electoral Reform Resources

"Making Every Vote Count", The Nation Magazine, Special Section

"Hailing the Thief," The Nation Special Web Exclusive Report, by Ben Ehrenreich

Between The Lines/WPKN 'Profiles Bush Cabinet Nominees' Archive:

"John Ashcroft Sought White Supremacist Political Support"

Interior Department Nominee Gale Norton at Odds with Public Support for Protecting the Environment

"Attorney General Nominee's Career Marked by Opposition to Reproductive Rights and Civil Rights Law"

"From Vietnam to Florida's Disenfranchisement of Black Voters: Unheroic Moments in Secretary of State Nominee Colin Powell's Career"


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