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Between The Lines
For The Week Ending Oct. 26, 2001


LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below. MP3 files available until Oct. 31, 2001.

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

America's UN Ambassador and White House Nominee
for State Department Post Could Undermine
U.S. Credibility in Battle Against Terrorism

Interview by Denise Manzari.

As the Bush administration continues to bomb targets inside Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism, some embarrassing questions are being asked about John Negroponte, the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Negroponte, who was confirmed by the Senate shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, had been the U.S. ambassador in Honduras during the time of the dirty wars in Central America in the 1980s. Critics accuse Negroponte of complicity with the terrorist activities of Contra guerillas fighting to overthrow the Nicaraguan government and death squads operating within the Honduran military. With this history, some observers charge that Negroponte lacks the moral authority to represent America as our country rallies the world to fight terrorism.

The White House also hopes to win confirmation for Otto Reich as assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Reich, a Cuban American, is a controversial figure for his role in the Reagan administration's Iran-Contra scandal.

Reich is also accused of helping anti-Castro Cuban Orlando Bosch to come to the U.S. Bosch had been imprisoned in Venezuela for 11 years for his part in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner that killed 73. After arriving in the U.S., Bosch received a presidential pardon from former President George Bush.

Larry Burns is executive director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs based in Washington, D.C. He spoke with Between The Lines' Denise Manzari about the Bush administration's choice of Negroponte and Reich for high government posts and how this may adversely affect U.S. credibility in the fight against terrorism.

Contact The Council on Hemispheric Affairs by calling (202) 216-9261 or visit their Web site at

Since Sept. 11th, U.S. media coverage has focused almost exclusively on the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, and on the subsequent U.S. airstrikes against Afghanistan and the search for Osama bin Laden.

One of the important stories to fall by the wayside was the attempt by the Bush administration and many in Congress to authorize oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWAR). That is, until Bush himself raised the issue last week in calling for the passage of his energy bill as a national security measure. The administration's proposal calls for increased oil and gas drilling and coal mining to make the U.S. less dependent on foreign energy sources. Meanwhile, the average fuel economy for 2002 model cars was lower than for last year's models. Paradoxically the White House has opposed raising these standards.

In August, the House voted in favor of opening up the Arctic refuge to drilling which is estimated to hold just six months' national supply of economically recoverable oil. Some opponents of the legislation in the Senate have vowed a filibuster, if necessary, to prevent drilling there.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Melanie Griffin, director of Land Protection Programs with the Sierra Club, about where the legislation now stands and alternative policies that could help wean America from oil and other non-renewable energy sources.

For more information, call the Sierra Club at (202) 547-1144 or visit their Web site at

Before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the Bush administration's drive to pass a "Trade Promotion Authority" bill was in trouble. The legislation, formerly known as "Fast Track," would grant the president authority to negotiate future international trade deals with minimal debate in Congress and no chance for legislators to propose corrective amendments. But in the days following the assaults on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Bush administration trade representative Robert Zoellick renewed the fight on fast track by tying support for free trade with the fight against terrorism. Labor leaders, including AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumpka, condemned the attempt to link passage of fast track to patriotism.

Fast Track was defeated by a progressive coalition led by the AFL-CIO when president Clinton tried to win Congressional approval in 1997. Then, as now, a broad coalition of groups including family farmers, environmentalists and human rights activists have joined with labor to oppose Fast Track. If approved, the Fast Track process would enable the White House to expedite approval of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas treaty or FTAA. FTAA, like the North American Free Trade Agreement, has been criticized for the lack of labor or environmental standards and the power it surrenders to corporations.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Thea Lee, chief international economist with the AFL-CIO, who discusses the campaign to defeat Fast Track trade legislation now being considered in the House of Representatives.

Contact the AFL-CIO by calling (202) 637-5000 or visit their Web site at

Related links:

  • As U.S.-led assault on Afghanistan intensifies, the conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir worsens. (In These Times, Oct. 1, 2001)
  • American activists have mixed feelings about results of UN World Conference Against Racism. (In These Times, Oct. 29, 2001)
  • Philadelphia prosecutors have struck out in their attempt to press criminal charges against activists who protested at the 2000 Republican National Convention. (The Nation, Sept. 3-10, 2001)

Senior news editor/writer: Bob Nixon
Program narration: Denise Manzari
News reader: Nigel Rees
Distribution: Anna Manzo, Harry Minot, Jeff Yates
Web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
Executive producer: Scott Harris

... MORE ...

Commentary on America's Crisis, from the Producer

"Respond to Terror With a Revolution of the Heart"

"Respond to Terror With a Revolution of the Heart," audio file in MP3.

Between The Lines' Special Reports on Fallout from Sept. 11 Terrorist Attacks

Special Report, Week Ending Sept. 21, 2001

Special Report, Week Ending Sept. 28, 2001

Special Report, Week Ending Oct. 5, 2001

Special Report, Week Ending Oct. 12, 2001

Special Report, Week Ending Oct. 19, 2001

Ali Abunimah, vice president of Chicago's Arab American Action Network, interview in RealAudio, Sept. 12, 2001

In-Depth News Analysis

Third World Traveler, Foreign Policy section, collection of resources on

"They can't see why they are hated: Americans cannot ignore what their government does abroad" by Seumas Milne, Guardian Unlimited, UK's Special Report on Terrorism in the U.S., Sept. 13, 2001

In-depth Reporting and Analysis of Sept. 11 Terror Attacks

The Nation magazine

Economic Globalization Resources

ZNet's Global Economic Crisis resource site Excellent source for understanding global economics and trade issues and particularly in preparation for ongoing demonstrations about economic justice

"The Fight for Everything" A series of interviews with activists and leaders of grassroots, progressive groups analyzing the goals, strategy and tactics of the global social justice movement

Multi-Ethnic Public Issues Advocacy

Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinson's Commentaries, The Hutchinson Report

Between The Lines' 10th Anniversary CD


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