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Between The Lines
For The Week Ending Jan. 31, 2003


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    LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below. MP3 files available until Feb. 4, 2003.

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

    As International Peace Movement Gains Momentum,
    Bush Prepares to Launch War Against Iraq

    Interview with Phyllis Bennis,
    fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies,
    conducted by Scott Harris

    While war planners at the Pentagon draw up their strategies for an invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration continues to deploy U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf region -- 120,000 since Christmas. But political advisors at the White House must be a bit concerned about recent events that point toward diminishing support for war at home and abroad.

    In the U.N. Security Council, France publicly declared it would refuse to support any U.S. resolution authorizing military action against Baghdad in the coming weeks. Security Council members China and Germany also rebuffed the Bush administration's view that an interim report from U.N. weapons inspectors on Jan. 27 was the end of the process -- but these nations contend that the report is only the beginning of a longer effort to disarm Iraq. There is widespread speculation that President Bush may use his Jan. 28 State of the Union address, the day after the U.N. report is issued, to announce his war plans.

    On the weekend commemorating the life and work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., hundreds of thousands of citizens across the U.S. gathered to protest the Bush war drive. The largest of these rallies was held in the nation's capital Jan. 18, with estimates ranging from 200,000 to half a million participants. Other demonstrations were held in San Francisco, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Portland, Denver, Chicago, Boston, Tampa and dozens of other communities. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Phyllis Bennis, a research fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, who attended the Washington rally, about the growing power of the peace movement and the mood among members of the U.N. Security Council.

    Contact the Institute for Policy Studies by calling (202) 234-9382 or visit their Web site at

    Related link

  • NYC Rally for Peace Feb. 15, 2003 by United for Peace

    Mass Commutation of Illinois Death Row Inmates
    Reframes National Debate on Capital Punishment

    Interview with Bruce Shapiro,
    co-author of the book "Legal Lynching,"
    conducted by Scott Harris

    In his last act as governor of Illinois, George Ryan commuted the death sentences of all 167 individuals on death row. These inmates, sentenced by juries to die, will now serve life sentences without the possibility of parole. Ryan, a conservative Republican, had come into office supporting capital punishment, but after 13 death row inmates were found to have been wrongly convicted, the governor became convinced that the system was deeply flawed and declared a moratorium on executions in 2000. He also formed a commission to investigate the problems in Illinois' death penalty system and make recommendations for reform.

    In announcing his historic decision on Jan. 11, Gov. Ryan said, "Because our three-year study has found only more questions about the fairness of sentencing, because of the spectacular failure to reform the system, because we have seen justice delayed for countless death row inmates with potentially meritorious claims, because the Illinois system is arbitrary and capricious -- and therefore immoral -- I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death."

    Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Bruce Shapiro, who co-authored the book, "Legal Lynching: The Death Penalty and America's Future," with the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and his son, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) Shapiro assesses Gov. Ryan's mass commutation of death row inmates and its impact on the movement to abolish capital punishment.

    "Legal Lynching: The Death Penalty and America's Future," is published by Anchor Books.

    Related link

  • Death Penalty Information Center

    Civil Rights Groups Denounce White House Attack
    on University of Michigan Affirmative Action Program

    Interview with the Rev. Joseph Lowery,
    co-founder and president emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,
    conducted by Scott Harris

    Following close on the heels of the controversy sparked by Sen. Trent Lott's racially insensitive comments, the Bush administration has chosen sides in a landmark affirmative action case that will soon be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The president will file a brief on behalf of prospective white students who allege in a suit that the University of Michigan's race-conscious admission policy unfairly discriminated against them.

    White House spokespersons say that the administration's goal is not to overturn all college affirmative action programs, but just that used by the University of Michigan. But critics contend that Mr. Bush's stance on this case has cast a shadow over his presidency. Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson attacked Mr. Bush as "the most anti-civil rights president in 50 years."

    The Michigan case reopens the debate ignited in the 1978 Supreme Court Bakke decision, which narrowly ruled that quotas were impermissible, but that the use of race in the pursuit of diversity could be allowed. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with the Rev. Joseph Lowery, cofounder and president emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who takes a critical look at the Bush administration's decision to oppose the University of Michigan affirmative action policy.

    Rev. Joseph Lowery currently works with the Black Leadership Forum. Contact the forum at (202) 780-5599 or visit their Web site at

    Related links

    This week's summary
    of under-reported news

    Compiled by Bob Nixon

    • Oxfam and fair trade advocates pushing coffee roasters to pay a fair price to farmers in the developing world. ("Spare a Cup," In These Times, Jan. 6, 2003)
    • Sierra Club and other environmental groups are suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for approving limestone mine permits in the Florida Everglades. ("Who Gets the Water?" Sierra Magazine, January/February 2003.)
    • Adult entertainment businessman's distribution of low-cost contraceptives has wide reach in providing Third World with family planning choices. ("Hard Core Philanthropist," Mother Jones, November/December, 2002)

    Senior news editor: Bob Nixon
    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 01/24/03

    War With Iraq

    200,000 to 500,000 at Anti-War March, 1/18/03 in Washington, D.C. Interviews with International A.N.S.W.E.R. organizer Brian Becker, Institute for Policy Studies' Phyllis Bennis and Vietnam War veteran, Jaime Vazquez. Organizers say 200,000 to 500,000 attended the protest

    "U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup: Trade in Chemical Arms Allowed Despite Their Use on Iranians, Kurds" By Michael Dobbs, Washington Post, Dec. 30, 2002, Page A01

    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


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