This Week on Between The Lines

Posted Dec. 24, 2014 for week ending Jan. 2, 2015


"There is a degree of validation for the Cuban revolution in arriving at an agreement where they are recognized and accepted by a U.S. president, by the U.S. government, by the 'Colossus of the North,' by the imperial empire that has tried for all these years to roll back the revolution, assassinate Fidel Castro and undermine the (Cuban) economy."

– Interview with Peter Kornbluh, senior analyst with the National Security Archive and co-author, "Back Channel to Cuba," on President Obama's move to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba

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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After 55 Years, Obama Acknowledges U.S. Cuba Policy Was a Failure

MP3 Interview with Peter Kornbluh, senior analyst with the National Security Archive and co-author, “Back Channel to Cuba”, conducted by Scott Harris


In a dramatic announcement made from the White House on Dec. 17, President Obama announced his administration’s decision to restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba’s communist government. The shift in U.S. policy will include the exchange of ambassadors and the opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana for the first time more than 50 years. In his announcement, President Obama said, "Today, America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past, so as to reach for a better future, for the Cuban people, for the American people, for our entire hemisphere, and for the world."  Story continues

New York Becomes the First State in Nation to Ban Fracking

MP3 Interview with Sandra Steingraber, biologist, writer and anti-fracking organizer, conducted by Melinda Tuhus


On Dec. 17, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration banned hydraulic horizontal fracturing for natural gas, or fracking, making it the first state in the country with major shale gas deposits to take this step. The anti-fracking decision was announced by New York state’s acting health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, who said a years-long study had found "significant public health risks" associated with fracking. Holding up copies of scientific studies to bolster the decision, Dr. Zucker listed concerns about water contamination and air pollution, and said there was insufficient scientific evidence to suggest that fracking is safe.  Story continues

New Movement Confronting Police Violence Could Expand to Address Economic Inequality

MP3 Interview with Paul Engler, founding director of the Center for the Working Poor in Los Angeles, conducted by Scott Harris


In a sustained eruption of activism not seen in America since the Occupy Wall Street movement blossomed in September 2011, anti-police violence activists continued to organize protests in hundreds of cities across the U.S. Participants in these street protests are a diverse group comprised of old and young, urban and suburban and black and white. Outrage at a recent grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager in Ferguson, Missouri and a similar decision in the case of the police chokehold death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old unarmed black man in New York City, were the catalyst that launched coast-to-coast protests.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon


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