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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Trump to Reinstate Drug War-Era Harsh Sentences in Federal Drug Cases

Posted June 7, 2017

MP3 Interview with Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, conducted by Melinda Tuhus


News of Donald Trump's recent trip abroad, his decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement and the ongoing investigation into charges that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, has dominated the news for the past two weeks. But during that time, Trump has launched another major shift away from Obama-era policies that has mostly slipped below the radar. That is the announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions of a return to a "tough on crime" policy in federal sentencing guidelines and also on the use of private prisons for federal inmates.

Criminal justice reform has been one of the rare areas of bipartisan cooperation in recent years, especially at the state level. There, conservatives and liberals have often been united in an effort to stem the explosive growth in the U.S. prison population that began in the 1980s and is now just beginning to level off and even drop in some cases.

The vast majority of the more than two million people incarcerated in the U.S. are in state prisons and county jails, and won't be affected directly by these changes at the federal level. But the Trump administration is setting a tone that will make it more difficult for politicians to escape the label of "soft on crime" if they oppose Trump’s harsh new measures. Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, who assesses these policy changes and their likely future repercussions.

MARC MAUER: Unfortunately, what we’re seeing is exactly what the Trump administration and Attorney General Sessions had promised us. Within a week of taking office, the attorney general reversed an Obama-era decision on the use of private prisons in the federal system. Last summer, the Department of Justice had announced it was phasing out the use of private prisons at the federal level, basically for two reasons: One, a report by the Office of the Inspector General had found substantial problems of safety and security in the private prisons they were contracting for; and secondly, for a number of reasons, the federal prison populations has declined fairly substantially in recent years, so there was less need for them to rely on the extra beds from private prisons. With very little evidence or rationale, Attorney General Sessions just overturned that order, said they were very committed to using private prisons and that would continue under this administration.

The other main initiative that we see coming out of the Department of Justice so far is that Attorney General Sessions has reversed a policy put in place by Attorney General Eric Holder that recommended that federal prosecutors use their discretion to avoid imposing a mandatory minimum sentence in cases of low-level drug crimes. The mandatory minimums in the federal system impose what are often very harsh 5-, 10-, 20-year minimum sentences and can be imposed even on relatively low-level players in the drug trade, and Holder said, based on much evidence, that this was ineffective. It was overly punitive and wasteful in many ways. Attorney General Sessions has now overturned that and basically has charged his federal prosecutors to seek the highest possible sentence they can prove in every federal case unless there are extreme circumstances that would warrant doing otherwise. So this can only result in increasing numbers of people both going to prison and especially spending more time in prison as a result of this policy initiative. And the attorney general was not able to point in great detail to any problems of the Holder initiative, but rather it was a return to the tough on crime days of the 1980s and 1990s that are now widely discredited across the political spectrum.

BETWEEN THE LINES: We know the crime rate has fallen pretty precipitously in the last two-and-a-half decades or so. But now, over the last year or two, it’s actually gone up. So, Marc Mauer, how do you respond to that critique that blames the Obama administration for that?

MARC MAUER: Well, there are some supporters of Attorney General Sessions who make the argument that the crime rates, particularly homicide, is going up in recent years and this is because of Obama administration policies or similar ones at the state level, and therefore we need to implement these tough penalties. And if you look at these issues in context, there’s not much there to make that argument. First, the crime rates and violent crime as well declined by nearly half since the early 1990s. There are a number of reasons this has happened, but most American communities are considerably safer today than they were 25 years ago. It is true that in a handful of cities – Chicago at the top, certainly – rates of murder have escalated substantially in the last couple of years, and that should be cause for concern. But there are two issues that really get at the federal system: one, the number of people going through the federal system is only about 13 percent of the total in terms of the number of prisoners in the country, so even with some reduction in recent years, there’s no way such a modest proportion of the total could have a substantial impact on any given city; secondly, what we know about crime rates and violent crime is that much of this is driven by local conditions. If there were truly a problem of people coming out of prison committing crime, we should be seeing dramatically rising rates of murder all over the country, and that’s certainly not what we’re seeing. So we do know that local conditions – which may include the presence of gangs; it may involve the type of policing that’s going on; it may involve the availability of illegal weapons, particularly for teenagers. All of these factors can drive short-term spikes in crime in different places. So we need to address those local conditions, but doing a one-size-fits-all federal approach, emphasizing harsh sentences, is not getting at all at those underlying conditions.

BETWEEN THE LINES: There has been bipartisan support at both the state and federal levels for sentencing reform. So what impact do you think these changes will have?

MARC MAUER: The attorney general is really working against the tide of public opinion, the growing consensus that mass incarceration has been very harmful to the country. Nevertheless, I think his policies will do a good deal of damage, at least in the short term, until we can develop more support to go in a different direction.

For more information, visit The Sentencing Project at

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