SPECIAL REPORT: "Tortured Logic: McGovern talks about Gina Haspel, the new CIA director"

The Resistance Round Table panel interviews former CIA analyst Ray McGovern about Gina Haspel, the new CIA director who oversaw torture after 9/11. The conversation includes discussion of the U.S. as an 'out law state,' American exceptionalism and the fight to defend net neutrality. Panel: Scott Harris, Ruthanne Baumgartner and Richard Hill (49:08) May 23, 2018

SPECIAL REPORT: "MIT Students' 'Day of Action': Understanding and Resisting Attacks on Immigrants"

Three-part excerpts from Avi Chomsky's presentations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Day of Action on April 17. Includes a historical perspective as well as a question and answer session with immigrants. Recorded and produced by Chuck Rosina, long-time public affairs and news producer at WMBR FM, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's radio station in Cambridge, Massachusetts. April 17, 2018

SPECIAL REPORT: "MIT Students' 'Day of Action' Takes On Today's Political, Economic Challenges"

Chuck Rosina's report on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Day of Action on April 17, where members of the MIT and broader local community were given an opportunity to devote the day to engaging with the political, economic, environmental and social challenges facing us today, through learning, discussion, reflection and planning for action. Includes comments from Avi Chomsky, daughter of the renowned professor Noam Chomsky (12:58) April 17, 2018

SPECIAL REPORT: "Response to chemical attack in Syria – The priority must be the people"

The Resistance Roundtable panel discusses the U.S. missile strikes on Damascus and interviews Stan Heller from Promoting Enduring Peace ( the situation in Syria and the broader Middle East. Panel: Ruthanne Baumgartner, Scott Harris and Richard Hill. April 14, 2018

SPECIAL REPORT: "What's next for the youth movement against gun violence?"

Tyler Suarez, lead organizer of the March for Our Lives demo in Hartford, CT on March 24, assesses the event attended by 10,000 and discusses the agenda for the youth movement going forward. Interviewed by Richard Hill.

SPECIAL REPORT: "March for Our Lives - Hartford, Connecticut" March 24, 2018

Selected speeches from the March for Our Lives in Hartford, Connecticut, recorded and produced by Scott Harris

Panel Discussion: Privatization v. Public Good and the Upcoming March for Our Lives on March 24

SPECIAL REPORT: Organized Labor: Resurgent or On the Ropes?

SPECIAL REPORT: Neoliberalism Comes Home: Connecticut's Water Under Privatization Threat

SPECIAL REPORT: Can There Be Food Justice Under Capitalism?

SPECIAL REPORT: Resistance Round Table – Feb. 10, 2018

Award-winning Investigative Journalist Robert Parry (1949-2018)

Award-winning investigative journalist and founder/editor of, Robert Parry has passed away. His ground-breaking work uncovering Reagan-era dirty wars in Central America and many other illegal and immoral policies conducted by successive administrations and U.S. intelligence agencies, stands as an inspiration to all in journalists working in the public interest.

Robert had been a regular guest on our Between The Lines and Counterpoint radio shows -- and many other progressive outlets across the U.S. over four decades.

His penetrating analysis of U.S. foreign policy and international conflicts will be sorely missed, and not easily replaced. His son Nat Parry writes a tribute to his father: Robert Parry’s Legacy and the Future of Consortiumnews.

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The Resistance Starts Now!

Between The Lines' coverage and resource compilation of the Resistance Movement

SPECIAL REPORT: "The Resistance - Women's March 2018 - Hartford, Connecticut" Jan. 20, 2018

Selected speeches from the Women's March in Hartford, Connecticut 2018, recorded and produced by Scott Harris

SPECIAL REPORT: "No Fracking Waste in CT!" Jan. 14, 2018

SPECIAL REPORT: "Resistance Round Table: The Unraveling Continues..." Jan. 13, 2018

SPECIAL REPORT: "Capitalism to the ash heap?" Richard Wolff, Jan. 2, 2018

SPECIAL REPORT: Maryn McKenna, author of "Big Chicken", Dec. 7, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: Nina Turner's address, Working Families Party Awards Banquet, Dec. 14, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: Mic Check, Dec. 12, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: Resistance Roundtable, Dec. 9, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: On Tyranny - one year later, Nov. 28, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: Mic Check, Nov. 12, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: Resistance Roundtable, Nov. 11, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: Rainy Day Radio, Nov. 7, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: Rainy Day Radio, Nov. 7, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: Resisting U.S. JeJu Island military base in South Korea, Oct. 24, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: John Allen, Out in New Haven

2017 Gandhi Peace Awards

Promoting Enduring Peace presented its Gandhi Peace Award jointly to renowned consumer advocate Ralph Nader and BDS founder Omar Barghouti on April 23, 2017.

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who helped make our 25th anniversary with Jeremy Scahill a success!

For those who missed the event, or were there and really wanted to fully absorb its import, here it is in video

Jeremy Scahill keynote speech, part 1 from PROUDEYEMEDIA on Vimeo.

Jeremy Scahill keynote speech, part 2 from PROUDEYEMEDIA on Vimeo.

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Between The Lines Presentation at the Left Forum 2016

"How Do We Build A Mass Movement to Reverse Runaway Inequality?" with Les Leopold, author of "Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice,"May 22, 2016, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York, 860 11th Ave. (Between 58th and 59th), New York City. Between The Lines' Scott Harris and Richard Hill moderated this workshop. Listen to the audio/slideshows and more from this workshop.

Listen to audio of the plenary sessions from the weekend.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker "Dirty Wars"

Listen to the full interview (30:33) with Jeremy Scahill, an award-winning investigative journalist with the Nation Magazine, correspondent for Democracy Now! and author of the bestselling book, "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army," about America's outsourcing of its military. In an exclusive interview with Counterpoint's Scott Harris on Sept. 16, 2013, Scahill talks about his latest book, "Dirty Wars, The World is a Battlefield," also made into a documentary film under the same title, and was nominated Dec. 5, 2013 for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Feature category.

Listen to Scott Harris Live on WPKN Radio

Between The Lines' Executive Producer Scott Harris hosts a live, weekly talk show, Counterpoint, from which some of Between The Lines' interviews are excerpted. Listen every Monday evening from 8 to 10 p.m. EDT at (Follows the 5-7 minute White Rose Calendar.)

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Between The Lines Blog  BTL Blog

"The Rogue World Order: Connecting the Dots Between Trump, Flynn, Bannon, Spencer, Dugin Putin," by Anna Manzo (GlobalHealing), Daily Kos, Feb. 13, 2017

"Widespread Resistance Begins to Trump's Muslim Travel Ban at U.S. Airports," by Anna Manzo (GlobalHealing), Daily Kos, Jan. 28, 2017

"MSNBC Editor: Women's March is a Revival of the Progressive Movement," by Anna Manzo (GlobalHealing), Daily Kos, Jan. 24, 2017

"Cornering Trump," by Reginald Johnson, Jan. 19, 2017

"Free Leonard Peltier," by Reginald Johnson, Jan. 6, 2016

"For Natives, a "Day of Mourning"by Reginald Johnson, November 23, 2016

"A Bitter Harvest" by Reginald Johnson, Nov. 15, 2016

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House Removes Key Provisions of Bill Drafted to End NSA Bulk Collection of Americans' Communication Data

Posted May 28, 2014

MP3 Interview with Harley Geiger, senior counsel with the Center for Democracy and Technology, conducted by Scott Harris


Following former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations about the government’s warrantless, dragnet surveillance of Americans communications, many Americans were increasingly apprehensive about abuses in the nation’s post-911 intelligence programs. In response to growing concern about privacy rights a bipartisan group in Congress turned their attention to drafting legislation that would limit the government’s ability to gather American’s communications data. To that end, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, an original sponsor of the USA Patriot Act, introduced a bill known as the USA Freedom Act.

The Freedom Act was originally designed to rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency and other government agencies by amending Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The proposed bill would ensure that any phone records obtained by the government were essential in an investigation that involved terrorism or espionage, thereby ending bulk collection, while preserving "the intelligence community's ability to gather information in a more focused way."

However, the Obama administration and some congressional leaders opposed many of these proposed changes, and when the Freedom Act was sent to the House Rules Committee, the bill was quickly stripped of key provisions that limited government action. These changes led many legislators who originally supported the measure to oppose it, believing that it would actually codify NSA dragnet surveillance. The bill passed the house on May 22 and now moves to the Senate. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Harley Geiger, senior counsel with the Center for Democracy & Technology, who discusses the revisions weakening the USA Freedom Act, and how the public can influence the outcome when the bill is next considered in the Senate.

HARLEY GEIGER: This is a bill that we had supported for well over a year, same thing with some of the larger technology companies. I believe that Google and Twitter and probably others had publicly endorsed the USA Freedom Act, which is not entirely common to have technology companies and technology civil liberties advocates on the same page on something as sensitive as national security. But the consensus was that the government had gone just way too far in its interpretation and its actions. So, the bill took a long time before it finally reached the next stage in the legislative process, at least in the House of Representatives, which is a markup, and it went to the House Judiciary – that was the committee of its primary jurisdiction – and there the committee amended it in several ways.

And they amended that ban, that prohibition on bulk collection, and they changed the structure of it pretty radically. Much of the weight, much of the teeth, in the prohibition on a dragnet came to rest on a particular phrase and that phrase is "specific selection term," which I know sounds very wonky, but basically it means that, at the time, it was defined to be a term that uniquely described a person or an entity or an account. And what that means then is that when the government goes to the surveillance court – to the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court – and says, you know, the government wants to get information, they have to describe as the basis for production, as the way that they’re getting information, they have to describe a person, an entity, or an account. And so, we thought that this, although different and not entirely clear, it was still a little ambiguous because "entity" is somewhat ambiguous, we still thought that although this was different than the original USA Freedom, this was still a relatively effective ban on bulk collection. And then after the House Judiciary markup, it made its way ultimately to the Rules Committee.

A lot of people had never even heard of the Rules Committee, but it’s an extraordinary powerful committee and it basically determines in what form and how many amendments and how much debate different bills will reach the floor, and it’s the last stop before a bill goes to the House floor for a vote. It’s heavily partisan; it’s weighted very much in favor of the party that’s in the majority and it is usually handpicked by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. So, when this bill went to the Rules Committee, that key term, that key phrase that so much of the bulk collection ban rested on was altered again dramatically, and this is where it really was really, really weakened. So, whereas previously it said that a unique selection term must uniquely describe a person, entity, or account full stop, now it said a specific selection term is a discrete term that the government uses to place a limit on scope of information sought, and it gave a couple of examples such as, a person, entity, account, device, and/or address, and no one really knows what that means entirely. No one is entirely sure what that authorizes or prohibits, and that’s the point. The definition was changed from a relatively clear and exclusive list, a definition, to something that is deliberately ambiguous, open-ended, and exploitable.

What it boils down to now is it says that there just needs to be some limit, just some limit, on the scope of the information that the government seeks. So, what we interpret this to mean, again, it’s not entirely clear, this is a whole new law, but based on our interpretation of it – and this is shared by many of the other people in this space – if the government wants to get nationwide information, it probably cannot. It’s probably banned by this bill because there’s not really any limit. But, if the government wanted to get, for example, citywide or statewide information, so it said, the government said, "I would like to get the email records of everybody in Salt Lake City, Utah." You know, that is a limit; it is a limit on the scope of information as compared to nationwide surveillance. So, at that point, once the bill incorporated these provisions, the civil liberties groups, tech companies, all withdrew their support of the bill because it continued to authorize, in our opinion, unacceptably high levels, unacceptably sweeping levels of surveillance.

BETWEEN THE LINES: What is plan B among the legislators that were disappointed by the changes in the USA Freedom Act, and is there a possibility another bill can be raised? There’s still the Senate to go through, and I know that could take a while to describe what’s going to happen there, but what is plan B?

HARLEY GEIGER: Well, plan B is the Senate. The next stage of this is the Senate. And all eyes are towards the Senate right now to see whether it would be possible to improve that language, to improve that very crucial term that I described earlier. That is the best chance that we’ve got now for reform. That being said, there are many calls for additional legislation, additional bills, that address other parts of the surveillance. This really just addresses a couple of programs that we know of, egregious programs, but it certainly, USA Freedom was never intended to be a bill that fixed everything that was wrong with NSA mass surveillance.

BETWEEN THE LINES: And, one important element in all this is the input of citizens. What, in your view, is the most effective thing people can do who are concerned about NSA surveillance of American’s phone and internet and other communications? What can they do at this juncture to have an effective voice of what happens with this legislation?

HARLEY GEIGER: The best thing that people can do is to call their senators, especially if your senator is on the Judiciary Committee, particularly senators in Texas and Minnesota, but several others. Right now, the best thing is to call your senators and to say that you want a USA Freedom that actually protects your privacy and not something that is watered down, that you would like something stronger than what the House passed because what the House passed, we believe, will still enable mass surveillance.

Find more information about the Center for Democracy and Technology, by visiting Transcript compiled by Evan Bieder.

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