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Between The Lines
For The Week Ending Dec. 27, 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 Dec. 31, 2002.

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

Venezuelan Elite Attack President Chavez to Block
Reforms that Benefit the Poor

Interview with Gregory Wilpert,
sociologist and journalist,
conducted by Scott Harris

In organizing a two-week national strike, opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have succeeded in crippling their nation's economy, but have thus far failed in their bid to force the populist leader to resign.

Venezuela has been thrust into crisis since last April's botched coup attempt where business leaders and their allies in the military briefly detained President Chavez before his supporters re-installed the democratically elected leader. While the Bush administration openly welcomed the April coup, the White House has since been more careful in its recent public statements, owing to the fact that Venezuela supplies the U.S. with 14 percent of its crude oil.

The Organization of American States' Secretary General Cesar Gaviria has attempted to mediate the crisis by trying to bridge the gap between the opposition's demands for a national referendum this February with President Chavez's position that the constitution does not allow for a referendum until August of next year.

Meanwhile, the OAS has voted overwhelmingly to reject any future coup attempt in Venezuela or an alteration of that nation's constitution. Sixteen members of the U.S. Congress, joined by religious and labor organizations, recently sent President Bush a letter asking him to support democracy and the rule of law by opposing any move to oust Chavez by force.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Gregory Wilpert, a sociologist and freelance journalist currently living in Caracas, who assesses the effects of the two-week national strike, popular support for President Chavez and the fate of key reforms proposed by his government.

Gregory Wilpert is a former Fulbright scholar currently conducting research in Caracas, Venezuela. Read his dispatches from Venezuela at

U.S. Media's Timid Role in 1991 Gulf War
Likely to Repeat in Any New Conflict with Iraq

Interview with John MacArthur,
publisher of Harper's Magazine,
conducted by Scott Harris

Since the White House campaign to make Iraq "public enemy number one" was launched this summer, the nation has been riveted on the Bush administration's charge that Saddam Hussein's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction justify a new U.S. war against his nation. The corporate broadcast media welcomed the talk of war, creating news programs, elaborate logos and theme music dedicated to the topic of a future conflict with Iraq.

In reviewing the U.S. media's conduct during the 1991 Persian Gulf War under the first President Bush, John MacArthur, author of the book, "Second Front, Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War," examined the ways in which the White House at that time easily manipulated public opinion through the use of blatant propaganda with the eager collaboration of a compliant press corps. As President Bush's son George W. now plans a new war against Iraq, MacArthur finds that the same brand of lies and half-truths are being employed to assemble national support for a pre-emptive strike against Baghdad that most of the world opposes.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with John MacArthur, publisher of Harper's Magazine, who discusses his fear that Pentagon censorship combined with a timid brand of corporate journalism will deprive the American people of the truth in any future war with Iraq.

"Second Front, Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War" is published by University of California Press. Visit Harper's Magazine Web site at

Related links

Trent Lott's Future As Senate Majority Leader In Doubt,
But Undercurrent of Racism Persists in GOP

Interview with Earl Ofari Hutchinson,
author and commentator,
conducted by Scott Harris

Since Senate Majority Leader designate Trent Lott stated his support for Strom Thurmond's 1948 run for the presidency on a segregationist platform at the senator's 100th birthday celebration, a political firestorm has erupted. After some delay, the media focused considerable attention on Mr. Lott's comments, for which the Mississippi Republican has spent the past two weeks apologizing.

While President Bush used strong language to condemn Lott's words, he stopped short of asking him to step down as majority leader. But other powerful Republicans, some who are candid about their ambition to replace Lott, have openly questioned their colleague's ability to effectively preside over the Senate after the uproar. A vote of Senate Republicans to decide Mr. Lott's future is scheduled for Jan. 6. In a bizarre attempt to survive the scandal, Lott appeared on Black Entertainment Television on Dec. 16 and spoke of his newly found support for affirmative action and the Martin Luther King holiday - both of which he has a long history of opposing.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with author and commentator Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who looks at the controversy surrounding the comments of Trent Lott and the legacy of racism within the Republican party.

Contact Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinson's group, the National Alliance for Positive Action at (310) 672-2542 or visit his web site at

This week's summary
of under-reported news

Compiled by Bob Nixon and Brita Brundage

  • Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was instrumental in seeking the release of several anti-Castro Cuban exiles convicted of terrorism. ("Book Exposes Bush ... with Cuban Criminals," The Guardian, Dec. 5, 2002)
  • Mexican farmers block traffic in Mexico City to protest the expansion of NAFTA, which will eliminate tariffs on major agricultural exports and deepen their already dire poverty. ("Mexican Peasants Protest Free Trade In Agricultural Products," WTO Watch, Dec. 3, 2002)
  • Atlanta crosses into troubled waters by privatizing its drinking water system. ("Water for Profit," Mother Jones, November-December, 2002.

Senior news editor: Bob Nixon
Newswriter: Brita Brundage
Program narration: Sasha Summer Cousineau
News reader: Denise Manzari
Distribution: Anna Manzo, Harry Minot, Jeff Yates
Web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
Executive producer: Scott Harris

... MORE ...

Last Week's Program

Between The Lines Week Ending 12/20/02

War With Iraq

U.S. Facing Bigger Bill For Iraq War Total Cost Could Run As High as $200 Billion, by Michael Dobbs, Washington Post, Dec. 1, 2002, Page A01

IMF/World Bank and Anti-Iraq War Protest Interviews, Teach-Ins Sept. 27-29,2002 Interviews with Mary Bull, Medea Benjamin, Ralph Nader in D.C. (in MP3 format)

"Stopping Water Privatizers at Home and Abroad," Part 1 Featuring Clemente Martinez and Rudolf Amenga-Etego on campaigns in Nicaragua and Ghana. In RealAudio.

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

Multi-Ethnic Public Issues Advocacy

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

Between The Lines' 10th Anniversary CD


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