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News and Analysis
For The Week Ending Sept. 15, 2000

Listen to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking here or any of the individual interview segments below (All in RealAudio, needs RealPlayer G2, 7 or 8).

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

Despite a Congressional Ban, Pentagon Continues Support for Indonesian Military
Interview by Scott Harris.

Post-Production Update: Alan Nairn and John Miller of East Timor Action Network report that one of five mutilated bodies found in Indonesia (referred to in this interview) has been positively identified as that of Aceh human rights lawyer and activist Jafar Siddiq Hamzah.

During the late summer of 1999, the people of East Timor, a former Portuguese colony illegally occupied by the Indonesian military since 1975, went to the polls and overwhelmingly voted for independence in a U.N.-supervised plebiscite. The Indonesian army and allied militia groups then began a campaign of terror, committing atrocities against the civilian population and systematically destroying the tiny nation's infrastructure. More than 100,000 East Timorese were forcibly relocated to neighboring Indonesian controlled West Timor, where many remain to this day. The violence accompanying the independence vote was only the latest episode of carnage visited on East Timor since 1975, where the U.S.-backed Indonesian military is charged with killing 200,000 Timorese, one-third of the population.

Since the fall of Indonesian dictator Suharto and the triumph of East Timor's drive for independence, other areas of the vast Indonesian archipelago have seen movements for autonomy and religious clashes. One such area of conflict is Indonesia's Aceh, where U.S. resident Jafar Siddiq Hamzah, a human rights lawyer and president of the International Forum on Aceh, has been missing since Aug. 5.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with award winning investigative journalist Alan Nairn, who broke several important stories last year uncovering U.S. military assistance to the Indonesian military, despite a Congressional ban prohibiting such support. Reached while traveling in Asia, Alan Nairn discusses current Pentagon ties with the Indonesian military and the disappearance of Jafar Siddiq Hamzah.

To act locally on this issue, contact the East Timor Action Network at (718) 596-7668 or visit their Web site at

Campaign Seeks to End Commercial Advertising in Public Schools
Interview by Bob Johnson.

Since 1993, The Center for Commercial-Free Public Education has been campaigning for an end to corporate advertising in the nation's schools. Their main targets have been soft drink companies which offer financial inducements to school districts, and Channel One. Channel One runs a daily 12-minute broadcast with two minutes of commercials. The program was banned by New York State, and is opposed by nearly every major education group in the U.S. Despite the fact that Channel One plays to over eight million school children every day on a mandatory basis, many parents remain unaware of the program's presence.

The Center for Commercial-Free Public Education has recently pointed out that a McGraw-Hill math text is laden with commercial images. The book, first published in 1995 and updated this year, asks students to figure out how much money they need to buy a pair of Nike sneakers. According to McGraw-Hill, "Mathematics: Applications and Connections" has been approved for use in at least one school district in every state.

Between The Lines' Bob Johnson spoke with Commercial-Free Education's Andrew Hagelshaw, who discusses the organization's objection to advertisements targeting school students.

To act locally, call The Center for Commercial-Free Public Education by calling (800) UNPLUG-1 or visit their Web site at

Electrical Workers Union Endorses Green Party Candidate Ralph Nader
Interview by Scott Harris.

At their annual convention Aug. 30, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America became the third union to endorse Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Other unions endorsing Nader include the California Nurses Association and the Los Angeles American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 1108. Although labor has traditionally been joined at the hip to the Democratic Party, recent conflicts on free trade issues such as NAFTA and World Trade Organization policies have strained the relationship between unions and centrist "New Democrats" like Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

While the AFL-CIO endorsed Vice President Gore's campaign early on, large unions like the United Automobile Workers, the Teamsters and the United Steel Workers have been reluctant to endorse the Democratic ticket. Both the UAW and Teamsters interviewed Ralph Nader and publicly expressed support for his anti-free trade and pro-labor positions. The UAW has since endorsed the Gore-Lieberman campaign.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Robert Clark, secretary treasurer of the United Electrical Workers, who explains why his union chose to endorse Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

Contact the United Electrical Workers by calling (412) 471-8919 or visit their Web site at:

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

  • Syria's long-time military domination of Lebanon may soon end. (World Press Review, Aug. 2000)
  • Planned Bankruptcy Reform Act targets consumers rather than large credit corporations with political clout.(Time magazine, May 15, 2000)
  • Critics charge that meat and dairy industry has too much influence over U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Pyramid for nutritional and school lunch programs, in which dairy recommendations set in 1916 remain unchanged despite studies that show millions of people are lactose intolerant. (In These Times: Aug. 7, 2000)

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