This Week on Between The Lines

Posted March 30, 2011 for week ending April 8, 2011

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“I think we already are involved in a third war in the Middle East.”

“And unfortunately, President Obama's speech didn't do much to assuage that fear.” -- Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute of Policy Studies, on U.S. airstrikes in Libya


Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

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Obama Fails to Answer Key Questions on U.S.-Libya Intervention End Game

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Interview with Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, conducted by Scott Harris

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Nine days after ordering the Pentagon to launch attacks on Moammar Gadhafi's air defenses and ground troops, along with an international coalition, President Obama delivered a nationally televised speech designed to defend that decision. In his March 28th address at the National Defense University, Obama justified the U.S. intervention in Libya by maintaining that the rebel-held city of Benghazi was on the brink of a humanitarian disaster, with Gadhafi's forces closing in, and the likelihood of a bloodbath. He also told Americans that the multinational effort he had organized was needed in Libya to avoid a repetition of the nation's costly war in Iraq. The president pledged that NATO, of which the U.S. is the most important member, will take over leading enforcement of the U.N. mandated no-fly zone over Libya.  Story continues

As Violence Erupts in Israel and Gaza, Palestinian Youth Call for Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation

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Excerpt of Q&A with Mazin Qumsiyeh, professor at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in West Bank, recorded and produced by Melinda Tuhus

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The March 11 murder of five members of an Israeli settler family in their West Bank home, followed by the March 23 bombing of a bus in Jerusalem that killed one person and injured more than 30 others, has greatly increased tension between Israelis and Palestinians. Mortars and rockets fired into Israel by Palestinian militants from Gaza and Israeli air strikes on Gaza have resulted in further civilian deaths and dozens of injuries. Against the backdrop of increased violence, Palestinian academic and activist Mazin Qumsiyeh is touring the U.S. with his new book titled, "Popular Resistance in Palestine." It traces the history of non-violent struggles for self-determination throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, including opposition to Israeli occupation. It focuses on the Palestinian people’s demand that international law and human rights be upheld in the struggle for a just solution to the Middle East conflict.  Story continues

Plutonium Found in Soil Near Stricken Japanese Nuclear Complex; Groups Demand Radiation Data from U.S. Government

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Interview with Tom Clements, Southeastern nuclear campaign coordinator with the environmental group Friends of the Earth, conducted by Scott Harris

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As the crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex entered its third week, there were growing concerns about soil samples collected near the plant that revealed the presence of small amounts of plutonium. All nuclear power plants produce some small amounts of plutonium within protected uranium fuel rods, but Fukushima’s Unit number 3 reactor uses a mix of uranium and plutonium or “Mox,” fuel. The soil tests could indicate that there may be a dangerous breach of the Number Three reactor’s containment vessel. Plutonium, with a half-life of more than 24,000 years, is one of the most dangerous substances known on earth. When it enters the body through the air, in drinking water or in food, Plutonium can damage DNA and cause cancers.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon

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