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Between The Lines
For The Week Ending Nov. 21, 2003


  • Military Families With Loved Ones
    in Iraq Oppose the War
    While Supporting U.S. Troops

    For story text and audio, Click here!

  • Guatemala Rejects Former Dictator
    and War Criminal Who Sought Presidency

    For story text and audio, Click here!

  • Activists Strategize at National Conference
    to Democratize U.S. Media System

    For story text and audio, Click here!

  • Underreported News Summary
    from Around the World

    For full summary and audio, Click here!
LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below. MP3 files available until Nov. 25, 2003.

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

Military Families With Loved Ones
in Iraq Oppose the War
While Supporting U.S. Troops

Interview with Larry Syverson,
member of Military Families Speak Out,
conducted by Scott Harris

As America observed Veterans Day 2003, many families of military personnel stationed in Iraq were becoming increasingly apprehensive while they watched the U.S. death toll continue to rise. Since the Pentagon concluded major combat operations on May 1, more than 250 U.S. soldiers have been killed, with a total of nearly 400 dead since the launch of the war in March. According to the Department of Defense, some 2,200 troops have been wounded in American military operations in Iraq thus far. An independent report released by the Project on Defense Alternatives in late October estimated that 13,000 Iraqis were killed during the initial combat phase of the war, with between 3,200 and 4,300 of the dead, unarmed civilians.

Larry Syverson of Richmond, Va. has four sons who have served in the U.S. military. Two of them, Bryce and Branden, are now on combat duty in some of the most dangerous areas of Iraq. Syverson, a senior environmental engineer with Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality, has strongly opposed President Bush's war from the start and participates in vigils at Richmond's federal building several times a week to make his views known to all who will listen.

Syverson is a member of the group, Military Families Speak Out, which was formed last year to support those who oppose the war and who have relatives or loved ones in the military. The group, now numbering over 1,000 families, believes it has a unique role to play in speaking out against the war. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Larry Syverson, who discusses his concern for his sons serving in Iraq and the reasons he opposes the Bush administration's war.

Contact Military Families Speak Out through their website at or email them at

Related links:

Guatemala Rejects Former Dictator
and War Criminal Who Sought Presidency

Interview with Sarah Aird,
director of the Network in Solidarity
with the People of Guatemala,
conducted by Melinda Tuhus

Guatemala held national and municipal elections on Nov. 9. One of the main candidates for president was Efrain Rios Montt, the dictator responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of indigenous peasants from 1982-83 during Guatemala's bloody civil war. Thanks to his allies on the court, Rios Montt was able to run for office, despite a clause in the nation's constitution barring those accused of war crimes from doing so. He ran as the candidate of the ruling Guatemalan Republican Front, or FRG.

Over the 36-year civil war, an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people were killed, almost all by the military in this nation of 11 million. This is the second election since peace accords were signed in 1996. Pre-election violence was widespread, mostly blamed on the FRG. But despite that, the election was judged free and fair by both international and Guatemalan observers. Two candidates polled well ahead of Rios Montt, Oscar Berger and Alvaro Colom. They will likely face each other in the Dec. 28 run-off election. When Rios Montt's legislative term ends in January, his immunity from prosecution ends and he may be charged with war crimes.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Sarah Aird, director of NISGUA, the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, based in Washington, D.C. Aird, who fears that through violence and fraud, Rios Montt could still make it into the runoff, expressed NISGUA's view on whether the election was a victory for democracy and profiles the two candidates who will compete in the December ballot.

Contact NISGUA by calling (202) 518-7638, or visit the group's website at

Related links:

Activists Strategize at National Conference
to Democratize U.S. Media System

Speech delivered by Robert McChesney,
co-founder and president
of Free Press,
at the National Conference on Media Reform, Nov. 8, 2003
produced by Scott Harris

When the Federal Communications Commission, chaired by Bush administration appointee Michael Powell (and son of Secretary of State Colin Powell), was gearing up to further deregulate rules governing the concentration of ownership of the nation's media last spring, their actions were met with a surprising tidal wave of grassroots resistance. Almost two million letters, faxes and emails poured into the FCC opposing the rules changes which would have abandoned a 1975 regulation that prohibits one company from owning a newspaper and television station -- or multiple TV stations -- serving the same market. Critics charge that the FCC's action will result in an ever-shrinking number of media monopolies offering less diversity of opinion and local perspectives on the airwaves.

Despite the prairie fire-like opposition, the FCC voted to implement these and other rules changes in a partisan 3-to-2 vote on June 2. But the public outcry was so forceful that Congress, feeling the heat, is now attempting to legislate a reversal of the FCC rules. Meanwhile a federal appeals court in Philadelphia granted a stay of the rules pending judicial review.

As grassroots groups across the U.S. worked to overturn the FCC rules, the National Conference on Media Reform was organized to bring together the diverse forces demanding an overhaul of the U.S. media system. Robert McChesney, research professor at the University of Illinois and author of the book "Rich Media, Poor Democracy," is the co-founder and president of the group Free Press which organized the conference in Madison, Wis. Nov. 7 through 9. Here he addresses a crowd of some 2,000 conference attendees in Madison's ornate Orpheum theater.

Contact Free Press, the group which organized the media reform conference, by calling (413) 585-1533 or visit their website at

Visit Robert McChesney's website at His new book, coauthored with John Nichols, "Our Media, Not Theirs" is published by Seven Stories Press.

Related links

    Selected speeches from the National Conference on Media Reform in Madison, Wis. Nov. 7-9 can be found at
  • Al Franken, author of "Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look of the Right"
  • Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., on media reform movement in the Senate
  • Robert McChesney, conference organizer and professor, on the history of the media
  • Michael Copps, FCC commissioner who is fighting against further deregulation of media ownership
  • Naomi Klein, columnist and author on the "larger truth" about the corporate media's suppression of progressive victories around the world

  • Lori Wallach of Global Trade Watch on corporate-led globalization's effects upon the U.S. media system, trade treaties and our "global democracy."

    Other links

  • Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting,
  • "Plan to Loosen Network Rules Goes to F.C.C," by Stephen Labaton, New York Times, May 13, 2003.
  • "Media Monopolies Have Muzzled Dissent," by Ian Masters, Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2003
  • "Holding the Line at the FCC," by Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols, The Progressive, April 2003
  • "FCC: Public Be Damned," by John Nichols and Robert McChesney, The Nation, May 15, 2003

This week's summary
of under-reported news

Compiled by Bob Nixon and Brita Brundage

  • Vice President Dick Cheney hires neo-conservative David Wurmser to his national security staff. Wurmser, like other neo-cons in the White House, advocates a grand imperial strategy in the Middle East. ("Cheney Taps Syria Hawk As Adviser On Mideast," by Marc Perelman Forward, Oct. 31, 2003)
  • Dow Chemical, Shell, and Dole Foods refuse to pay Nicaraguan court-ordered $489 million settlement to 468 cancer victims who say they were poisoned by pesticides sprayed at banana plantations where they worked. ("Their Day in Court," In These Times, Sept. 1, 2003)
  • Fire retardant used to fight forest fires is poisoning large numbers of fish. ("Red Rain," Forest Magazine, Fall 2003.)

DOWNLOAD this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below. Needs Quicktime Player or your favorite MP3 player. Note: Make sure your browser is set for streaming or download depending on your connection speed. MP3 files available until Nov. 25, 2003

Note to our broadcast affiliates: We are now offering FTP access for faster, more reliable download of our broadcast quality files. Please call Anna Manzo at (203) 268-8446 ext. 2, to register for FTP logon access or send feedback to us at

Senior news editor: Bob Nixon
News writer: Brita Brundage
Program narration: Denise Manzari
News reader: Elaine Osowski
Segment producer: Melinda Tuhus
Distribution: Anna Manzo, Harry Minot, Jeff Yates
Senior Web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
Web producer: Jeff Yates
Web editors: Hank Hoffman and Bill Cosentino
Executive producer: Scott Harris
Theme music: Mikata

... MORE ...

Last Week's Program

Between The Lines Week Ending 11/14/03

Bush Re-Election Issues

"No President has Lied so Baldly and so Often and so Demonstrably," the Independent/UK, Nov. 9, 2003

"Corps Voters: Military Bond With GOP May Be Fraying" Washington Monthly, Nov., 2003

"File Sharing Pits Copyright Against Free Speech: Voting Machine Giant Diebold Seeks To Silence Critics," The New York Times, Nov. 3, 2003

"Bush's Other War: US Intelligence is Being Scapegoated for Getting It Right on Iraq," Guardian/UK, Nov. 1, 2003

"9/11 Commission Chairman: White House Withholding 9/11 Documents" Reuters, Oct. 26, 2003

"State Dept. Study Foresaw Trouble Now Plaguing Iraq," New York Times, Oct. 19, 2003

"Nixon-Era Informer Zooms In On Present,Salt Lake Tribune), Oct. 19, 2003

American Empire/War Profiteering

"Breaking Iraq, Then Charging to Fix It Up?" Minneapolis Star Tribune, Nov. 1, 2003

"Halliburton Announces Record Profits...," The Daily Mislead, Oct. 31, 2003

"The Axis of Oil: How a Plan for the World's Biggest Pipeline Threatens to Wreak Havoc," The Independent UK, Oct. 28, 2003

"The Iraq War & The Bush Administration's Pursuit of Global Domination," Counterpoint, Sept. 15, 2003

"Pipeline Politics: Oil, The Taliban, and the Political Balance of Central Asia," World Press Review Special Report, Nov.-Dec. 2001

"War Profiteering," by The Nation editors, April 24, 2003

"Postwar" Occupation of Iraq

"U.S. War Dead In Iraq Exceeds Early Vietnam Years" Reuters, Nov. 14, 2003

"Iraqi Resistance Has Intelligence Upper Hand" USA Today, Nov. 13, 2003

"CIA: The U.S Could Lose In Iraq" The Guardian/UK, Nov. 13, 2003

"Dreamers And Idiots: Bush And Blair Refused Chances To Avoid War" The Guardian/UK, Nov. 12, 2003

"Iraq & Vietnam: Whose Analogy Is This Anyway?", Nov. 10, 2003

"Resistance is the First Step Towards Iraqi Independence," Guardian/UK, Nov. 3, 2003

"Every Time The Wind Blows: Arrogant U.S. Tactics Create Enemies," Asia Times, Oct. 29, 2003

"Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog From Iraq"

Civil Liberties

"Gore Blasts Bush on Civil Liberties," Los Angeles Times, Nov. 10, 2003

"Fascism Anyone?" 14 Signs of Fascism, Free Inquiry Magazine, Volume 23, No. 2

"Germany In 1933: The Easy Slide Into Fascism," The Crisis Papers, June 9, 2003

Media And Activism

"War, Social Justice, Media And Democracy," ZNet, Nov. 10, 2003

National Conference on Media Reform, selected speeches, Nov. 7-9, 2003

"Mainstreaming Media Reform,", Nov. 5, 2003

"The Politics Of Media Filtration," ZNet, Nov. 1, 2003

Other Articles of Interest

"Tiger Force Atrocities The 'Tip Of The Iceberg,'" ZNet, Nov. 10, 2003

"Starhawk: Protest the FTAA in Miami," ZNet, Oct. 29, 2003

"Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths: Unearthed Documents Reveal Vietnam War Atrocity," Toledo Blade, Oct. 22, 2003


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