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Between The Lines
For The Week Ending Aug. 30, 2002


LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below. MP3 files available until Sept. 4, 2002.

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

Activists Conduct Fast at United Nations
to Protest U.S. Plan to Attack Iraq

Interview with Kathy Kelly,
co-coordinator with Voices in the Wilderness,
conducted by Scott Harris

The Bush administration's plan to wage war against Iraq has run into opposition from some unexpected quarters in recent weeks. While Democrats have largely muted their criticism of the Bush march to war, several prominent officials of past Republican administrations and GOP legislators have publicly cautioned that a unilateral attack on Iraq by the U.S. could create greater instability in the Middle East and harm long-term American interests.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft the national security advisor to the former President Bush, U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and House Majority leader Dick Armey have warned that the White House has not yet made a convincing case to the American people that an attack on Iraq now is justified and has not prepared adequately for the consequences of such a war.

Adding to renewed debate on U.S. policy toward Iraq are news reports that officials of the Reagan administration provided critical battle planning assistance to Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran during the 1980s, even as Baghdad's use of chemical weapons during that conflict was universally condemned. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator Voices in the Wilderness, a group which has long opposed United Nations/U.S. sanctions against Iraq. Kelly, who has visited Iraq 15 times, explains why she and seven other activists undertook a symbolic 40-day fast beginning Aug. 3rd in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator with Voices in the Wilderness, can be contacted by calling (773) 784-8065; or visit their Web site at

Colombia's New Right-Wing President Imposes Harsh Measures
in an Attempt to Win 38-Year Civil War

Interview with Jason Hagen,
with the Washington Office on Latin America,
conducted by Scott Harris

As Colombia's new hard-line president Alvaro Uribe was sworn into office on Aug. 7, the nation's largest guerilla group -- the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC -- launched a mortar attack against the presidential palace near the parliament building where the inauguration was under way. Nineteen people were killed, mostly residents of Bogata's poorest neighborhood. Less than a week later, Uribe declared a state of emergency, restricting civil liberties and imposing a new tax to finance the recruitment and training of 100,000 new soldiers and police.

Over the past two years, the U.S. has provided the Colombian government with more than $1.7 billion to fight the nation's four decade-long civil war. Earlier this year, Congress acceded to a Bush administration request to lift restrictions limiting U.S. aid to counter-narcotics operations. Now, American weapons and Pentagon-trained troops can by deployed directly against guerilla groups. In the coming year, Washington plans to allocate $98 million to create a special battalion, under U.S. command, to protect a Colombian pipeline owned by the U.S. based Occidental Oil Company.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris reached Jason Hagen of the Washington Office on Latin America in Bogata, where he was winding up a fact-finding mission. Hagen discusses the dangers he sees in the pursuit of a military solution to the conflict sought by both President Uribe and his supporters in Washington.

Contact Washington Office on Latin America by calling (202) 797-2171 or visit their Web site at

Related links:

Lori Berenson, Serving 20-year Prison Sentence in Peru,
Continues Her Fight to Overturn Terrorism Charge

Interview with Mark Berenson,
father of Lori Berenson, imprisoned in Peru,
conducted by Denise Manzari.
In 1995, Lori Berenson, a U.S. citizen living in Peru, was arrested, convicted of treason and sentenced to life in prison for her alleged collaboration with the leftist Tupac Amaru Guerilla group.

After Peru's highest military court overturned Berenson's original conviction and nullified her sentence, she was accorded a civilian trial in 2001 that found her guilty of "collaborating with terrorists." This charge carried a sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $28 million U.S. dollars in civil damages.

But the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights recently ruled that neither Berenson's military or civilan trial provided due process and that the terrorism laws under which she was tried twice and imprisoned for nearly seven years were illegal.

On July 16, at a Washington press conference, former Peruvian Minister of Justice Fernando Olivera declared that for Lori Berenson, there will be "no pardon, no commutation." Peru has since challenged the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights ruling in favor of suing the commission in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

After the Peruvian Supreme Court denied Berenson's appeal in February of this year, her only hope for release is a presidential pardon, which would be unpopular among Peru's military and government officials. Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo thus far has refused to grant a pardon.

Lori Berenson's father Mark Berenson spoke with Between The Lines' Denise Manzari about his hope that a verdict from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights decision will assist in securing his daughter's freedom.

Lori Berenson remains in the Huacariz Prison in the northern Andes. Contact Lori's supporters by calling (202) 548-8480 or visit their Web site at

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

  • Critics charge that big oil companies prospecting for Sudan's oil have collaborated with the army in committing human rights abuses. ("Sudan: Mixing Oil and Blood," Amnesty Now, Summer 2002)
  • Citizens for Tax Justice blame Bush's tax cut largely benefiting the rich for $165 billion deficit. ("Back to Deficit Spending," CTJ Update, August 2002)
  • While half a million adults serve prison time for breaking drug laws, little attention is given to their children left behind. ("Seeking Data on the Drug War's Child Casualties," July 24, 2002)

Senior news editor/writer: Bob Nixon
Program narration: Sasha Summer Cousineau
News reader: Denise Manzari
Segment producer: 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 8/23/02

G8 Aid Pledge to Africa Branded Neocolonialism

Neoliberal Economic Strings Attached in G8 Aid Pledge to Africa Interview with Kevin Danaher, cofounder of Global Exchange

Stop the War March on Washington, D.C. April 20th, 2002

Between The Lines Special Report: Interviews with Rev. Billy and John Cavanagh, Institute for Policy Studies on Independent Progressive Politics Network

"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

Between The Lines' 10th Anniversary CD


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