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Indymedia Rustbelt Radio for February 7, 2005
by IMC Pittsburgh Radio Collective Monday, Feb. 07, 2005 at 3:21 PM
radio@indypgh.org

55 minutes: Native American radical Ward Churchill is under attack. We listen to an excerpt of a speech he gave in 2002. Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the The Electronic Intifada an independent publication committed to comprehensive public education on the the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was in town. Rustbelt Radio spoke with him last week after his lecture.

audio link: MP3 at 25.5 mebibytes

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Airs at 6pm on WRCT Pittsburgh, 88.3FM, and webcast.

Intro

Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots that the corporate media overlook. The show airs every Monday from 6-7pm here at the WRCT 88.3FM in Pittsburgh, PA. Rustbelt is also being aired this year by WVJW Benwood, on 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area. And we're also available on the internet, both on W-R-C-T's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and archived at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.

On today's show...

But first, these headlines.

Headlines

Local News

Skybank Picket (3:00)

On Friday February 4th, a small group of activists picketed the Sky Bank branch at Centre City Tower. The picket was part of an ongoing campaign to bring justice for the janitors who were fired by Centre City Tower 13 months ago. The Thomas Merton Center has called for a boycott of Sky Bank because it holds the mortgage of Centre City Tower and because it helped make it possible for Centre City Tower to replace their unionized workers with non-unionized ones.

Pittsburgh Fiscal Oversight Board (3:00)

The Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, or ICA was established in 2004 and empowered to impose draconian restrictions on the City of Pittsburgh to address its ongoing fiscal crisis. The Pittsburgh Fiscal Oversight Board established by the act is composed of five unelected memebers, one executive directory, and one lawyer and they have unprecedented power over Pittsburgh's fiscal policy. While the law which established the board mandates that the board follow Pennsylvania open meeting (or Sunshine) laws, the board has consistently violated those laws. Local activist Steve Donahue has been following the issue closely.

ACORN protests Liberty Tax (1:00)

Last week, ACORN (THE ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS FOR REFORM NOW) protested the practices of the tax preparation company LIBERTY TAX. ACORN members charged the tax preparer with taking hundreds of millions of dollars from low-income communities through their "Refund Anticipation Loans".

THE ALLEGHENY COUNTY ACORN CHAPTER reports that their protest at the LIBERTY TAX office in the Bellevue suburb of Pittsburgh was a success. Protesters briefly occupied the store, chanting "Liberty Tax Charges a Fee- ACORN Will Do it for Free". The action ended with no arrests and one citation.

ACORN has been campaigning against the practices of tax preparation companies for over a year. In January, the group reached an agreement with the largest tax-preparer, H&R BLOCK to eliminate some administrative fees, improve disclosures, and offer customers the lowest cost option first. ACORN is currently in negotiations with JACKSON HEWITT, the second largest tax-preparer.

Iraqi Elections (3:30)

At the weekly Black Voices for Peace protest, Rust Belt asked Celeste Taylor, a peace activist and Pittsburgh's coordinator for the 2004 National Election Protection effort, for her reaction to last week's elections in Iraq.

Wrapup

For more on all of our local news stories, visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G. We're going to take a short break and then return with global news headlines.

[ Musical Break ]

Global News

Intro

That was .... Welcome back to Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of the news that the corporate media overlook. We turn now to headlines from Independent Media Centers around the world.

Bush Admin Announces Amtrak Cuts (1:30)

Reuters last week reported that the Presidents budget for the upcoming fiscal year will propose eliminating all subsidies for Amtrak. Bush's proposed budgets throughout his administration have consistently been less than what Amtrak said it needed in order to continue operation, with Congress later raising the amount. This is the first year that Bush's administration has proposed no subsidy whatsoever.

Financial hardships at the railroad have already affected Pittsburgh, with the elimination of the Three Rivers line last Fall cutting the positions of dozens of local Amtrak employees and reducing key service between Chicago, Pittsburgh and New York. It is not known how Bush's proposed budget would affect Amtrak, because it is likely that Congress will again raise the budget beyond Bush's proposal.

Speaking to the New York Times, an unnamed Capitol Hill aide said (quote) "Historical probabilities are that Congress will restore a fair amount of funding, regardless."

Although this would be the first time the Bush administration has proposed no operating aid, President Ronald Reagan did so in 1985, describing Amtrak as a "mobile federal money-burning machine." Crossing party lines, both Democrats and Republicans opposed his cuts.

Ossie Davis dies at 87 (2:30)

Ossie Davis, the baritone-voiced actor and civil rights activist was found dead Friday in his hotel room in Miami Beach, Fla., where he was filming a movie. Free Speech Radio News has more.

Davis emceed the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King gave his "I have a dream" speech. He spoke a numerous anti-war rallies, including the historic 2003 February 15th demonstration in New York. He will be missed in many active movements and communities working for social justice and freedom.

WSF report (5:00)

The Fifth World Social Forum came to close last Monday in Port Allegro Brasil. More than 2,000 meetings took place over the course of four days involving 155,000 people from 135 countries. Dennis Brutus, South African poet, activist and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, attended the World Social Forum in Brasil. At Saturday's Black Voices for Peace protest he shared some of his thoughts on this year's forum with Rust Belt Radio.

Next year's World Social Forum will be held in Africa.

Martial Law Declared in Nepal [rough, someone please fix up] (shoot for 2:00)

Martial law has been declared in Nepal. The king of Nepal has turned off electricity, cut phone lines, jailed the prime minister and his cabinet, and shut off all outside news sources and shut down anything critical of his actions.

In the villages the army is massacring young adults, and have detained 250 people. The BBC has reported crying, defiance, and bulleted retaliation. The UN, the US, UK, and India have all condemned the king for his actions. The king has stated that he is killing and torturing his citizens so that they do not know about the Maoist strike called for this week. As the Maoists have gained popular support (they don't have mine) the king has declared open misery on the populace of Nepal for rejecting his rule. He also has threatened the newspaper stating that by law they can not criticize him for 6 months for killing, maiming, and shutting his people into the dark ages. People are lost without power , phones, internet etc. All contact with the outside world has stopped. Airplanes are not be let out of the country and people are not allowed in. The king says that this is a warning to his people who call themselves Maoist. He warns them that they may not think differently than him, they may not act against his will, or they will be killed and tortured. In defiance of international law the king has now full ability to kill and hurt his people without retribution. As media is banned from Nepal and only state run media is allowed, word circulates of a mass resistance. Internationally Nepali people who are immigrants fear the wrath of both the Maoist and the King with his army.

The Nepali Army has a long history of corruption and immorality. The police and army act without fear of consequences urged on by an immoral and cruel king. Reports of corruption are circulating on the internet of thievery of international donations and charitable contributions to help the victims of extreme poverty of Nepal. A small kingdom in the Himalayas, bordered by Chinese occupied Tibet and India, the Nepalese government officially opened its borders as recently as the 1950's.

Wrapup

You can read more about our global news stories by visting I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G. We'll be back after a brief break.

[ Musical Break ]

Bad Cop, No Donut (2:45)

It's time for our weekly police abuse update from Bad Cop, No Donut. From CKLN Toronto, here's Ron Anicich (an IH sich).

For the rest of the last week's special hour long program on police brutality issues, you can visit radio 4 all (that's radio, followed by the number 4, followed by all) dot net and search for "Bad Cop, No Donut." Time now for our weekly features.

Features

Intro

That was .... Welcome back to Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of the news that the corporate media overlook.

Activist Professor Ward Churchill's Writing Under Attack (3:00)

Professor and Activist Ward Churchill stepped down as head of the University of Colorado Ethnic Studies Department last Monday, following a corporate media feeding frenzy. The controversy centers on statements from his essay "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens". In this essay, which was written September 12th, 2001, Churchill questions the innocence of those who lost their lives in World Trade Center. He writes

(quote) 'They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire – the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to "ignorance" – a derivative, after all, of the word "ignore" – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. ... If there was a better, more effective, or, in fact, any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it.'

It is particularly the mention of the Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi Architect of the Holocaust, that has enraged Churchill's critics, who summarize Churchill's position as "9-11 victims are Nazis". Last Tuesday, Colorado Governor Bill Owens invoked it when he called for Churchill's resignation from the university.

Churchill issued a press release last Tuesday as well, in which he says (quote) 'I have never characterized all the September 11 victims as “Nazis.” What I said was that the “technocrats of empire” working in the World Trade Center were the equivalent of “little Eichmanns.” Adolf Eichmann was not charged with direct killing but with ensuring the smooth running of the infrastructure that enabled the Nazi genocide. It should be emphasized that I applied the “little Eichmanns” characterization only to those described as “technicians.” Thus, it was obviously not directed to the children, janitors, food service workers, firemen and random passers-by killed in the 9-11 attack. According to Pentagon logic, were simply part of the collateral damage. Ugly? Yes. Hurtful? Yes. And that's my point. It's no less ugly, painful or dehumanizing a description when applied to Iraqis, Palestinians, or anyone else. If we ourselves do not want to be treated in this fashion, we must refuse to allow others to be similarly devalued and dehumanized in our name.'

We have a special recording of Ward Churchill from a lecture he gave in Toronto in 2002.

For the remainder of that interview, visit radio 4 all (radio followed by the number 4 followed by the word all) dot net.

Ali Abunimah interview, Andalusia (12)

That was ... on WRCT Pittsburgh. You're listening to Rust Belt Radio. Last week Ali Abunimah, distinguished writer, media analyst and co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, spoke at both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. We had the opportunity to interview him about the role that media plays in the conflict, the recent Palestinian elections and the possibility for peace in the middle east in regards to a one state solution.

(inteview 10:45)

For more information you can go to electronicintifada.net that is electronic i-n-t-i-f-a-d-a .net and for a copy of the full interview and his speech at University of Pittsburgh you can go to indypgh.org

[ Musical Break - Palestinian music ]

Ending

Calendar of events (2:00)

[ Cue music ]

Outro

[ Cue Outro music halfway through ]

Thanks for tuning in to Rust Belt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh.

Our hosts this week were [Abie Flaxman ] and [ Andalusia Knoll ] with contributions from [ David Meieran, Gwen Schmidt, and Quinten Steenhuis (STAIN harse) ]. This week's show was produced by [ Quinten Steenhuis ]. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, guests and contributors.

Your audio submissions are welcome! To get involved with Rust Belt Radio, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. All of our shows are available for download on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG

Tune in next week at this time, Monday 6-7pm, for another edition of Rust Belt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news that the corporate media overlook.

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