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Between The Lines
For The Week Ending Oct. 20, 2000


Nader at Yale
Photo: Scott Harris (For public domain use)
During a speech at Yale University the day after the presidential debates, Ralph Nader holds a BusinessWeek magazine with a cover story on corporate power.
NADER VOWS NEVER AGAIN: Ralph Nader vows to dismantle major party-controlled Commission on Presidential Debates after state troopers denied him access to attend the Boston debates. Hear an excerpt from his speech at Yale University's Battell Chapel Oct. 4, 2000, where over 1,000 came out to cheer his candidacy.

RealAudio file (Needs RealPlayer G2, 7 or 8)
MP3 file (Needs QuikTime or your favorite MP3 player)

Related interview:
Major Party Commission Locks 3rd Parties Out of Presidential Debates (Sept. 22. 2000)


Between The Lines co-sponsored event: INDEPENDENT MEDIA CONFERENCE. "Building Independent Media: Strategies for Change," Oct. 13-14, Trinity College, Burlington, VT. Writers, media producers, and activists will gather to share experiences, examine challenges, and develop a common agenda. Friday, 8 p.m. keynote with Michael Parenti and Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now!"; Saturday workshops, lunch/dinner, and entertainment. For registration and lodging information, write IMCVT c/o Toward Freedom, POB 468, Burlington, VT 05402; e-mail,; Website,; or call (802) 654-8024. Registration: by Sept. 30 - Friday ($10), Saturday ($20); after Sept. 30 - Friday ($15), Saturday ($30).


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:

Current Israeli-Palestinian Clashes Result of Frustration With Stalled Peace Process
Interview by Scott Harris.

In the worst wave of violence in many years thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel itself after Likud party leader Ariel Sharon visited Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem on Sept. 28. Running street battles between stone-throwing Palestinian youth and heavily armed Israeli troops have claimed more than 90 lives and injured thousands.

Sharon's trip to Jerusalem, under the protection of the Israeli army, was viewed by many Palestinians as a conscious provocation, by his declaration that Israel holds absolute sovereignty over the ancient city, sacred to three major religions. But many say that Sharon's visit was only a flashpoint for long simmering frustration at years of stalled peace talks and lack of progress toward a final agreement creating a Palestinian state. After issuing an ultimatum to Yasir Arafat to order a halt to street demonstrations, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled back from the brink of an all-out conflict and opened the door to U.S. brokered peace talks.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Khalil Jahshan, vice president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, who examines the causes of renewed violence between Israel and the Palestinians and the prospects for reaching a peaceful settlement.

Contact the Committee by calling (202) 244-2990 or visit their Web site at

Denied Debate Access, Nader Demands Apology, Compensation
Interview by Scott Harris.

The October 3rd Gore-Bush debate in Boston may not be remembered for any candidate's brilliant analysis of issues facing the U.S. or a memorable line. Rather, the first presidential debate of the 2000 election season may be remembered best for the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debate's decision to prevent Green party candidate Ralph Nader from attending the debate, either as a participant or a member of the audience.

While Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush sparred at the University of Massachusetts thousands of Nader supporters rallied outside to demand their candidate be included in one of the three nationally televised debates watched by tens of millions of citizens. But the debate commission, established and run by the two major parties, set a minimum requirement of 15 percent support in selected public opinion polls for third party participation in the debates.

Nader, who had traveled to Boston for the occasion, held a ticket to enter an auditorium on the university campus to watch the debate with others on a closed circuit TV. But the Democrat-GOP controlled debate commission had other plans. They ordered state police to bar Nader from entering the building, setting off a confrontation that Nader promises to bring to court if the commission doesn't offer an apology and compensation.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Ralph Nader shortly before he delivered a speech at Yale University on Oct. 4, the day after the Boston debate.

Contact the Green Party by calling (202) 265-4000 or visit their Web site at

Alderman Says Failed Drug War Leads to Overcrowded Prisons and Wars Abroad
Interview by Melinda Tuhus.

Connecticut prisons, like many throughout the country are bursting at the seams with inmates who are there for drug-related offenses, including simple possession. As a result, 500 Connecticut prisoners were transferred to a maximum security prison in Virginia last year, where two inmates have died under suspicious circumstances.

A rally sponsored by People Against Injustice was held in late September in front of the state court house in New Haven, Conn. The group condemns racism and discrimination against the poor that they say exists throughout all phases of the criminal justice system.

Jelani Lawson, a member of the New Haven Board of Aldermen is chair of the Black and Hispanic Caucus and director of the Better Way Foundation which promotes substance abuse prevention and treatment. He spoke with Between The Line's Melinda Tuhus about what he believes is the failed War on Drugs and the lack of debate on drug policy in this year's presidential election.

For more information, call A Better Way Foundation at (203) 787-0327 or email Jelani Lawson at

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

  • Momentum for gay rights could be threatened in the Nov. 7 election as conservative activists have sponsored ballot questions designed to reverse gay civil rights in several Midwestern and Southern states . (In These Times: Oct. 16, 2000)
  • New Haven, Conn., having spent millions of dollars to remake its downtown, now stands as an example of failed urban renewal policy in the U.S. (Mother Jones: September-October, 2000)
  • Media critics say Gannett and Knight Ridder, owners of the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, provoked a strike to impose "modern newspaper management techniques" to cut costs and undermine union living standards. (Extra: September/October, 2000)

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