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Between The Lines
For The Week Ending June 28, 2002


LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below. MP3 files available until July 3, 2002.

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

White House Assigns Itself the Power
to Determine Who is a Terrorist, While Denying
an American Defendant Due Process and Access to Attorney

Interview with Theresa Younger,
executive director of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union

Interview by Scott Harris

Attorney General John Ashcroft announced last week that Abdullah al-Muhajir, an American citizen, also known as Jose Padilla, was detained by federal agents in early May -- accused of participating in an Al Qaeda plot to explode a radioactive bomb in the U.S. For over a month, the former gang member from Chicago has been locked up in a military prison without being formally charged and is denied the right to consult with an attorney.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against New York City and Washington, the Bush administration has systematically denied due process to more than a thousand detained immigrants -- and now it appears -- U.S. citizens. The White House defends its actions by citing World War II era Supreme Court decisions upholding the government's right to treat those it accuses of working for foreign powers as enemy combatants.

But civil liberties advocates warn that the erosion of constitutionally mandated checks and balances on government power will have far-reaching consequences for our democracy and America's standing in the world community. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Theresa Younger, executive director of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, who examines the Bush administration's assigning onto itself unilateral powers to determine the guilt or innocence of suspected terrorists without judicial review.

For more information contact the American Civil Liberties Union by calling (212) 549-2500 or vist their Web site at

Earth First! Activists Win Civil Suit Against
FBI and Oakland Police Dept.
for False Charges That Bombing Victims Were 'Terrorists'

Interview with Alicia Littletree,
Redwood Summer Justice Project

Interview by Melinda Tuhus

The progressive community won a landmark victory in a California court last week when two Earth First! activists won a multi-million dollar civil suit against the Oakland Police Dept. and the FBI. In the spring of 1990, Earth Firsters Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney were organizing for a massive non-violent protest against clearcutting in the old-growth redwood forests of California. When a bomb exploded in their car, severely wounding Bari, Oakland police and the FBI arrested the pair and charged them with knowingly transporting the bomb. After a weeks-long smear campaign, charges were dropped for lack of evidence. Bari and Cherney then sued the Oakland police and FBI, charging them with violating their right to free speech.

On June 11th, following a six-week civil trial and three weeks of jury deliberations, the plaintiffs -- Cherney and the estate of Judi Bari, who died of breast cancer in 1997 -- were awarded a $4.4 million dollar judgment against six members of the Oakland police and FBI. In the 12 years between the bomb blast and the court victory, the activists' legal team, operating as the Redwood Summer Justice Project, aggressively pursued the case, conducting hundreds of depositions and fending off two attempts to have the charges dropped.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Alicia Littletree, who worked as a paralegal on the case for nine years. She discusses the trial in the context of current political events and the plaintiff's difficult decision to request a six-month postponement of the trial after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Contact the Redwood Summer Justice Project by calling (707) 887-0262 or visit their Web site at

Progressive Coalition Defeats Billionaires' Campaign
to Permanently Repeal Estate Tax

Interview with Scott Klinger,
codirector of Responsible Wealth

Interview by Scott Harris

Over the last several decades, a concerted effort has been made by the nation's wealthiest citizens to reduce their tax burden and do away with the nation's system of progressive taxation. Following the same trickle-down philosophy as his predecessors Ronald Reagan and his father George Bush, President George W. Bush fought for and won massive tax cuts for the rich in the 2001 Congressional budget.

Included in that 2001 tax cut bill was the temporary repeal of the federal estate tax, which taxes the inherited wealth of citizens passing more than $1 million to their heirs. This tax affects less than two percent of all American families, but over the past decade, a small group of the super-rich have contributed millions of dollars in an effort to abolish the estate tax forever.

Over the last year, a coalition of progressive organizations calling themselves Americans for a Fair Estate Tax, which includes a number of wealthy individuals, has organized to oppose repeal of the federal inheritance tax. Their campaign was successful when legislation to permanently repeal the estate tax was defeated in the U.S. Senate on June 12th. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Scott Klinger, co-director of the group Responsible Wealth, who discusses how this coalition beat back attempts to repeal the estate tax and why he believes efforts to provide tax breaks to the wealthy exacerbates growing income inequality in the U.S.

Contact Responsible Wealth, a project of United for a Fair Economy by calling (877) 564-6833 or visit their Web site at

Related links:

  • United for a Fair Economy

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

    • Bush administration using "war on terrorism" to purge officials with independent views at United Nations and other international organizations. ("Unilateral Moves," In These Times, June 10, 2002)
    • FBI botches investigation into theory that anthrax attacks were an inside job by a U.S. government scientist. ("FBI Probes Anthrax Territory," Hartfourd Courant, June 13, 2002)
    • California state judge rules that Los-Angeles based oil giant Unocal, must stand trial for condoning human rights abuses and forced labor on massive Burmese gas pipeline. ("Unocal Faces Trial," Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2002; "Court Orders Unocal to Stand Trial," Earth Rights International, June 11, 2002.)

    Senior news editor/writer: Bob Nixon
    Program narration: Nigel Rees
    Segment producer: Melinda Tuhus
    News reader: Elaine Osowski
    Distribution: Anna Manzo, Harry Minot, Jeff Yates
    Web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
    Executive producer: Scott Harris

  • ... MORE ...


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    Ralph Nader's Democracy Rising Tour Coming to the New Haven Coliseum in New Haven, CT June 30

    To volunteer and/or attend, visit or call Jason at (203) 562-5000 or email

    Last Week's Program

    Between The Lines Week Ending 6/21/02

    Stop the War March on Washington, D.C. April 20th, 2002

    Between The Lines Special Report: Interviews with Rev. Billy and John Cavanagh, Institute for Policy Studies on Independent Progressive Politics Network

    Depleted uranium weapons use in Afghan War

    U.S. Uses Unprecedented Quantities of Depleted Uranium Weapons in Afghan War Between The Lines interview with journalist Robert James Parsons, Week Ending March 22, 2002

    "America's big dirty secret,"by Robert James Parsons, Le Monde Diplomatique, March 2002 (English translation)

    World Economic Forum Protests, Jan. 31-Feb. 4, 2002

    Between The Lines Report, Week Ending 2/15/02. With more related audio files.

    "Energy Standoff in Central Asia

    "Bush Fuels Oil Conspiracy Theory," by Ted Rall,, Jan. 10, 2002

    "Pipeline Politics: Oil, The Taliban and the Political Balance of Central Asia," World Press Review Special Report

    "The New Great Game: Oil Politics in Central Asia" by Ted Rall,, October 11, 2001,

    Economic Globalization Resources

    ZNet's Global Economic Crisis resource site Excellent source for understanding global economics and trade issues 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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