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Between The Lines
For The Week Ending Aug. 15, 2003


ANNOUNCEMENTS: Our archive server through WPKN's webhosting service underwent an upgrade while we were on vacation. Some archives are currently unavailable. Our apologies for any inconvenience. Archive restoration is in progress.

  • White House Sends Mixed Signals
    on Upcoming Regional Talks
    over North Korea's Nuclear Program,

    For story text and RealAudio, Click here!

  • Court Allows Former Guatemalan Dictator
    Accused of Genocide
    to Run for President

    For story text and RealAudio, Click here!

  • Newly Passed Congressional Legislation
    Promoting Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power
    a Gift to Big Energy Companies

    For story text and RealAudio, Click here!

  • Underreported News Summary
    from Around the World

    For full summary and RealAudio, 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 Aug. 19, 2003.

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

White House Sends Mixed Signals
on Upcoming Regional Talks
on North Korea's Nuclear Program

Interview with journalist Tim Shorrock,
conducted by Scott Harris

North Korea and Washington announced Aug. 1 that after a ten-month deadlock, the two nations have agreed to conduct regional talks on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program which will include representatives of South Korea, Russia, China and Japan. North Korea's government says it dropped its previous insistence on bilateral negotiations with the U.S. because the direct talks it sought will be an integral part of the group discussion expected to begin in Beijing in early September.

George W. Bush came into office openly hostile to a 1994 agreement between the U.S. and North Korea, which provided western energy assistance to the impoverished nation in exchange for a pledge from leader Kim Jong II to freeze his government's effort to develop nuclear weapons. North Korea admitted to maintaining a covert nuclear program last year only after U.S. officials confronted them with evidence that they were in violation of the agreement. But Pyongyang placed the blame on the U.S. -- which labeled North Korea as part of an "Axis of Evil" -- for taking steps which forced them to nullify the accord.

Critics of the Bush administration have noted the very different approaches it has taken in dealing with North Korea and Iraq. A war was launched against Baghdad on the allegation that the nation possessed weapons of mass destruction, which thus far cannot be found, whereas the path toward negotiations remain open with Pyongyang, a nation that openly states it has several nuclear weapons and the capacity to build more. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with journalist Tim Shorrock, who has reported widely on Asian affairs. He examines the prospects that the upcoming talks could succeed in defusing a crisis which threatens to ignite conflict on the Korean peninsula and a new regional nuclear arms race.

Related links

Court Allows Former Guatemalan Dictator
Accused of Genocide
to Run for President

Interview with Larry Birns,
director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs,
conducted by Denise Manzari

On July 14, former General Efrain Rios-Montt, considered to be one of the most brutal dictators in Guatemalan history, was granted the right to run for the Guatemalan presidency, in a 4-3 vote by the nation's highest court.

Rios Montt came to power through a coup d'etat in March of 1982 and was deposed by a countercoup 18 months later. Rios-Montt has been accused by human rights groups and United Nations agencies of waging genocide against tens of thousands of Mayan civilians.

Critics charge that Rios-Montt, educated in counter-insurgency tactics at the U.S. funded "School of the Americas," ordered the destruction of some 440 Mayan villages as part of a "scorched earth" campaign to combat leftist insurgents with "rifles and beans," a combination of military force and economic reforms.

According to the Center for Human Rights Law Action, an estimated 60,000 individuals reportedly "disappeared" or died during this military campaign, while untold thousands were subjected to torture. Since then, Montt has tried to run for the Guatemalan presidency twice, despite a 1985 constitutional provision barring former dictators from doing so.

Larry Birns is director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs or COHA. He spoke with Between The Lines' Denise Manzari about Rios-Montt's murderous reign and his manipulation of the judicial system in securing the court decision to run for the presidency.

For more information contact The Council on Hemispheric Affairs at (202) 216-9261 or visit their website at

Newly Passed Congressional Legislation
Promoting Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power
a Gift to Big Energy Companies

Interview with Lisa Gue,
senior energy analyst with Public Citizen,
conducted by Melinda Tuhus

One of the Bush Administration's first acts upon taking office in January 2001 was to convene an energy task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. The task force recommendations are still shrouded in secrecy and the subject of litigation to determine what role various energy companies played in its formulation. But one thing is clear: The administration's energy agenda is heavily weighted toward increasing production, especially of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Last year, bills were passed in both the House and Senate that mirrored the Bush/Cheney energy plan. They promoted an expansion of drilling for oil and gas, and the construction of a new generation of nuclear power plants with little support for renewable, non-polluting energy sources. However, the legislation failed to come out of conference committee before the 2002 elections.

But with the Senate and House now in Republican hands, energy bills similar to those stalled the previous year were recently passed again by Congress before it adjourned for its August recess. The bills will go to a conference committee in September, chaired by Republican Sen. Peter Domenici, to work out the differences and be brought back for a final vote. Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Lisa Gue, senior energy analyst with Public Citizen, who says the legislation, if enacted, will be disastrous for the environment and consumers. She discusses some of the specific items in the two bills and what it will take to stop the legislation from becoming law.

For more information, call Public Citizen at (202) 454-5130 or visit their website at To find out how legislators voted and to send a free fax opposing the bills to your representatives visit

This week's summary
of under-reported news

Compiled by Bob Nixon and Brita Brundage

  • Human Rights Watch reports that sexual violence has been allowed to continue unchecked in Iraq by police working with U.S. occupation forces. ("Climate of Fear: Sexual violence and abduction of women and girls in Baghdad," Human Rights Watch, July 16, 2003)
  • Oil giant Unocal will face trial in Los Angeles for complicity in massive human rights abuses by Myanmar military junta, including use of forced labor, rape and torture. ("Judge rules Unocal can be tried," AFP, Aug. 1, 2003;
  • Former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean has built his insurgent campaign around a powerful youth movement. ("Howard Dean's Youth Machine," Mother Jones, July 16, 2003)

DOWNLOAD this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below. Note: Make sure your browser is set for streaming or download depending on your connection speed. MP3 files available until Aug. 19, 2003

Note to our broadcast subscribers: 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
Segment producers: Melinda Tuhus and Denise Manzari
Program narration: Denise Manzari
News reader: Sasha Summer Cousineau
Distribution: Anna Manzo, Harry Minot, Jeff Yates and Bill Cosentino
Senior Web editor/producer: Anna Manzo
Web producer: Jeff Yates
Web editor: Bill Cosentino
Executive producer: Scott Harris
Theme music: Mikata

... MORE ...

Last Week's Program

Between The Lines Week Ending 8/8/03

Bush Re-Election Issues

"Iraq Arms Critic Reacts to Report on Wife," New York Times, Aug. 7 2003

"Impeaching Bush,"Counterpunch, July 25, 2003

"The Next Debate: Al Qaeda Link," The New York Times, July 20, 2003

"Tenet Says White House Official Insisted Questionable Information Be Included in Speech", The Associated Press, July 17, 2003

"U.S. May Tap Oil for Iraqi Loan," The Los Angeles Times, July 11, 2003

"White House Admits Bush Lied About Iraqi Nukes," "Capitol Hill Blue, July 8, 2003

"Iraq: Arabs Challenge U.S. Plan to Open Nation to Multinationals," by Emad Mekay, Interpress service, June 23, 2003

"Republican Enviros Blast Bush for Withholding Information," Environment News Service, July 2, 2003

"The Selling of the Iraq War: The First Casualty" The New Republic, June 30, 2003

"Distorted Intelligence?" Newsweek, June 23, 2003

"Ex-CIA Director Says Administration Stretched Facts on Iraq," USA TODAY, June 18, 2003

"Reason to Deceive:WMD Lies Could Be the New Watergate," The Village Voice, June 18, 2003

"Missing Weapons Of Mass Destruction: Is Lying About The Reason For War An Impeachable Offense?" by John W. Dean, FindLaw's Writ, June 6, 2003

American Empire/War Profiteering

"Rivals Say Halliburton Dominates Iraq Oil Work," New York Times, Aug. 8, 2003

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

"Post-War Booty Call," Toward Freedom, Spring 2003

"Imperial America and War," Monthly Review, May 28, 2003

"Another Scandalous No-Bid Contract Makes Us Look Like Fools,", May 26, 2003

"Pentagon Hands Major Iraq Deal to Scandal-Ridden WorldCom," The Star Online, May 22, 2003

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

Postwar Occupation of Iraq

"Shiites Warn the United States Against the Formation of an Illegal Iraqi Government," Le Monde, June 30, 2003

" The War That Never Ends," Time, July 7, 2003

Civil Liberties

"Lawyers Furious as US Builds Death Chambers,", Times UK Online, July 5, 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

Between The Lines Special Reports in RealAudio

"Allegations of War Profiteering Leveled Against Halliburton and Other Companies With Close Ties to White House," Charlie Cray, corporate reform campaigner at Citizen Works, Week Ending 5/23/03

"Campaign to Impeach President Bush Will Require Broad Public Support," law professor Francis Boyle, March 7, 2003

Multi-Ethnic Issues Advocacy

Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinson's Commentaries, The Hutchinson Report
and in Audio (needs RealPlayer)


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