This Week on Between The Lines

Posted June 19, 2013 for week ending June 28, 2013

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"We have to start from the vantage point that there is no military solution. So the first thing is, stop sending more weapons. Engage seriously in diplomatic talks."

– Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, on the likelihood that President Obama's decision to send arms to Syrian rebels will escalate their country's already brutal civil war.


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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President Obama's Decision to Arm Rebel Groups will Escalate, Not End Syria's Brutal Civil War

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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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Just days after President Obama made public his decision to begin arming Syrian rebel groups fighting to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the G-8 summit meeting in Northern Ireland issued a declaration calling for a negotiated and peaceful end to the two-year civil war which has claimed more than 93,000 lives. In deference to Russia’s refusal to back any declaration that makes Assad’s removal from power an explicit goal, the G-8 urged peace talks being planned in Geneva to reach a settlement that will produce a coalition government with a “top leadership that inspires public confidence.”  Story continues

Beltway Pundits Vilify Edward Snowden, While Dismissing the Threat of the NSA's Surveillance Programs to Democracy He Exposed

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Interview with Norman Solomon, author and activist, conducted by Scott Harris

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American whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about the U.S. government’s previously unknown massive collection of domestic and overseas phone and internet communications continues to be a topic of sometimes heated debate. Former Vice President Dick Cheney and other media pundits have accused Snowden of being a traitor, while many civil liberties advocates laud him as a hero.  Story continues

Miners Get the Shaft in Patriot Coal Bankruptcy, Suffer Major Cuts to Health and Pension Benefits

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Interview with Phil Smith, communications director with the United Mine Workers of America, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

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A federal bankruptcy court judge in St. Louis, Kathy Surratt-States, ruled on May 29 that Patriot Coal Company, which declared bankruptcy last year, can drastically cut back on the health care and pension benefits it provides to its current and retired employees, members of the United Mine Workers Union. The union is appealing the decision. The CEO of Patriot Coal said it would have cost the company approximately $1.6 billion to cover health care costs for all retirees, putting the company at risk of liquidation. The union and its supporters believe that Patriot was set up to fail, and point out that when Peabody Energy spun off Patriot, it had 11 percent of the company's assets, but was saddled with 43 percent of retiree health care liabilities. Around the same time in the mid-2000s, Arch Coal spun off a company named Magnum Coal and similarly dumped a disproportionate amount of its liabilities into it. When Patriot Coal bought Magnum, that created an even more untenable financial situation.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon

 

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