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Between The Lines
For The Week Ending March 15, 2002


LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below. Broadcast-quality MP3 files available until March 20, 2002.

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

U.S.-Israel Lobby Groups Out of Step
with American Jews on Middle East Policy

Interview by Scott Harris.

With violence between Israelis and Palestinians pushing the death toll on each side escalating, talk about peace, or even a cease-fire, seems more distant than ever. The past 17 months of the "Intifada," or rebellion, in the West Bank and Gaza has claimed more than 1,000 Palestinian and 300 Israeli lives. Signs of hope in the deadly cycle of suicide bombings, assassinations, air strikes and demolition of homes are few, but a peace plan recently proposed by the Saudi government has given officials on both sides of the conflict something to respond to apart from the cries for revenge coming from an increasingly polarized populace.

As the conflict continues, the Bush administration has made it clear that it holds Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat responsible for the violence while remaining largely uncritical of Israeli attacks on Arab militants and the expansion of Jewish settlements in the territories. Advocates for peace have long critized the role of pro-Israel lobby groups in the U.S. who they say use their powerful influence to urge Washington's support for hardline positions of Israel's right-wing Likud government, diminishing prospects for a negotiated settlement.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with investigative journalist Michael Massing, who discusses his recent article titled "Deal Breakers" published in the American Prospect, which examines the disconnect between many American Jews and two powerful conservative U.S.-Israel lobby groups, the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Related links

  • "Deal Breakers," by Michael Massing, The American Prospect, March 11, 2002,

Ecuadorian Military Attacks Workers and Residents
Protesting Amazon Oil Pipeline

Interview by Denise Manzari.

On Feb. 27, thousands of striking construction workers and local residents took to the streets in the northern Amazon to protest continued oil drilling. But the protesters were attacked by Ecuador's armed forces with tear gas and rifles. Local newspapers reported that three children have died by asphyxiation from the tear gas and many others were wounded.

The two Amazonian provinces, Sucumbios and Orellana, once pristine rainforests, have been paralyzed since Feb. 18, when a general strike was called for by workers, residents, and local government leaders. They demanded fair and just compensation for the serious impacts of the oil pipeline and desperately needed funds for roads, hospitals and clean, running water.

Demonstrators erected roadblocks and have been occupying over 60 oil wells and five refineries, halting all construction on the pipeline and bringing oil production in the region to a near standstill.

The oil project had been delayed for 10 years, mostly due to Ecuador's economic and political instability. But President Gustavo Noboa's administration gave the green light to begin construction in June 2001 to the OCP Consortium, Ltd.

Kevin Koenig is with the Oil Campaign project of Amazon Watch, based in California. He spoke with Between The Lines' Denise Manzari about how the Ecuadorian government's recent violent reaction may set a dangerous precedent for those who continue to put their lives on the line by blocking the pipeline's passage.

Amazon Watch may be contacted at (310) 455-0617 or visit their Web site at

Federal Court Decision Will Open Floodgates
for New Wave of Multi-Billion Dollar Media Mergers

Interview by Scott Harris.

On Feb. 19, a federal appeals court struck down FCC regulations that had prevented cable television companies from owning broadcast TV stations. The court also ordered the government to redraft current rules limiting the number of stations a network can own. FCC Chairman Michael Powell has publicly questioned the need for media ownership rules and is expected to eliminate them soon.

Business analysts predict that this court decision will open the floodgates to a new wave of multi-billion dollar media mergers, further accelerating the concentration of ownership of an already shrinking number of giant conglomerates. The court's green light for the creation of ever more powerful media companies comes as reports circulated that Disney-owned ABC was considering replacing their long running news program "Nightline" with the "David Letterman Show," a development that critics said underscored their concern that a quest for higher profits had supplanted the network's responsibility to bring audiences quality journalism in the name of the public interest.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Robert McChesney, research professor at the University of Illinois and author of the book "Rich Media, Poor Democracy," who considers the impact this court decision may have on the diversity of programming and political views available to consumers and citizens.

Robert McChesney is research professor at the University of Illinois' Institute of Communication and author of the book "Rich Media, Poor Democracy," published by the New Press. Related Links:

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

  • U.S. House kills provision in campaign finance reform bill that would have forced local TV broadcasters to offer reduced ad rates to federal political candidates. ("Broadcasters trim campaign reform," Fairfield County Weekly, Feb. 28, 2002)
  • Publishing giant McGraw Hill uses Bush administration ties to profit from educational reform. ("Reading Between The Lines," by Stephen Metcalf, The Nation, Jan. 28, 2002)
  • Animal rights activists campaigning to convert environmentalists into vegetarians. ("Across the Great Divide," E: Magazine, January/February 2002)

Senior news editor/writer: Bob Nixon
Program narration: Archibald Currie
Segment producer: Denise Manzari
News reader: Denise Manzari
Distribution: Anna Manzo, Harry Minot, Jeff Yates
Web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
Executive producer: Scott Harris

... MORE ...

World Economic Forum Protests, Jan. 31-Feb. 4, 2002

Between The Lines Report, Week Ending 2/15/02. With more related audio files.

Billionaires for Bush, at Columbus Circle, NYC preparing for Feb. 2 march against the elite World Economic Forum. Links to page with MP3 file.

John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO addresses a "Working Families Economic Forum" in NYC as activists prepare for protests against the elite World Economic Forum. 9MB in MP3.

Scott Harris reports on AFL-CIO Workers Forum in NYC for Free Speech Radio News 2/1/02

Global Justice's New Face, AlterNet's series on the World Social Forum, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, World Economic Forum Conference and National Student Mobilization, Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, Columbia University, New York City. See conference schedule.

Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

Another World is Possible Coalition

Anti-Capitalist Convergence

New York Independent Media Center

Globalize This!

"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 and particularly in preparation for ongoing demonstrations about economic justice

"The Fight for Everything" A series of interviews with activists and leaders of grassroots, progressive groups analyzing the goals, strategy and tactics of the global social justice movement

Multi-Ethnic Public Issues Advocacy

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

Between The Lines' 10th Anniversary CD


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