On this week's show
* Ali Abunimah and Dahr Jamail comment on the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon
* A Peace Vigil for Palestine and Lebanon takes place in Pittsburgh
* We speak to Earth First activists who targeted a coal plant in Virginia
* Fred Hampton Jr. is arrested in Chicago
* plus our local and global headlines
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots and news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show
Ali Abunimah and Dahr Jamail comment on the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon
A Peace Vigil for Palestine and Lebanon takes place in Pittsburgh
We speak to Earth First activists who targeted a coal plant in Virginia
Fred Hampton Jr is arrested in Chicago
plus our local and global headlines
Rustbelt Radio airs live every Monday from 6-7pm and again Tuesday mornings at 9AM on WRCT 88.3FM in Pittsburgh, every Thursday from 11am to noon on WARC Meadville 90.3 FM from the campus of Allegheny College, every Saturday from 5-6pm on WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area, and also every Saturday at 5pm on WPTS 92.1 FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
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 for download or podcast at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We now turn to local headlines from Pittsburgh Indymedia.
[0:45] Latrobe Union members accept concessions in new contract
Union members at a Latrobe, Pennsylvania brewery voted 113-9 to accept a contract from a Wisconson brewery that is planning to buy the Latrobe facility and produce its own beverages there. George Sharkey, business agent for the I-U-E, the industrial division of the Communications Workers of America, said [quote] "There were concessions, but in the light of things it didn't leave the employees much of a choice." [unquote]. Workers accepted some wage concessions in the hope that their vote would aid in the completion of the sale to the Wisconson brewery. 170 local jobs are at stake. News that Rolling Rock will be leaving Latrobe upset the town's 9,000 residents, who have sent generations to work at the brewery since it opened in 1939.
Spelled out vertically, in letters ten feet tall on Braddock Avenue last Friday was the message: no M-F-X, no to the Mon-Fayette Expressway. Standing on the opposite side of the street was the Mayor of Braddock, as well as representatives of the many community groups opposed to the highway project, and about 50 community members who had gathered earlier at the Mayor's Residence for the Goodbye Mon-Fayette party. The event was both a celebration and a protest: a celebration of a recent report by the Urban Land Institute to the Turnpike Commission which states that there simply isn't the funding to complete the project; a protest because, despite the lack of funding to complete the project, the Turnpike Commission is going ahead with its plans to acquire and prepare the right-of-way.
To get more information on what the Mon-Fayette Expressway is and its implications for the Braddock community, Rustbelt Radio spoke with their Mayor, John Fetterman:
The mayor also describes the effects that the highway would have on Braddock:
That was just Mayor John Fetterman of Braddock speaking to Rustbelt Radio.
[10:30] Vigil held for Lebanon and Counter-Protesters Face Off with Zionists
On July 12th, militants from the Lebanese group Hezbollah crossed the border from Lebanon into northern Israel capturing two Israeli soldiers and killing eight others. In response, the Israeli Army began air strikes on the civilian population centers in Southern Lebanon and in the city of Beirut. The Israeli offensive has knocked out all of the key bridges in the country, all 3 runways of Beirut's commercial airport, power plants, cell phone towers, and food production facilities. Air raids and missiles have killed almost 400 people to date including 170 children. Thousands have been injured and 900,000 people have been displaced. This has been conducted in the name of “fighting terrorism”. This offensive has immediately followed Israel’s latest offensive into the Gaza strip known as military operation "Summer Rains". Since June 28, 2006 the Israeli army has killed over 150 people and denied the people of Gaza acess to food water, fuel and electricity.
Hezbollah has also claimed the lives of approximately 35 Israelis, including 19 soldiers. However, many people are calling Israel's attacks on Lebanon and the Gaza Strip "collective punishment" where the entire populations are being attacked for the actions of a few.
Support for Israel's actions against Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Palestine is touted by the US government and mainstream press. On July 13th, the US vetoed a UN security council resolution that would have demanded Israel halt its military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
On Sunday July 23rd, close to 150 people gathered at a vigil in Regent Square to protest Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. The vigil was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Committee and co-sponsored by many other organizations.
Ray Nakely of the Arab Community Center of Youngstown Ohio speaks about the ongoing violence:
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Sam Bahour urged people at the vigil to continue the struggle against Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine and invasion of Lebanon by describing a successful Palestinian Solidarity Action that was held a few years ago.
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Lina Yassin, a Palestinian activist who recently moved ot Pittsburgh speaks about her peace work in Israel and Palestine
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A Pro-Israel rally also took place in Squirrel Hill last Thursday, where hundreds of people gathered to support and defend Israel's invasion of Lebanon. Approximately 10 protesters from the Pittsburgh Organizing Group, Pittsburgh Anti-Racist Action, and the Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee demonstrated next to the rally with signs such as "Jews Against Israeli Terror." The protesters were met with insults, racial slurs, screaming, and physical harrasment from Pro-Israel supporters, one who stated " A hundred thousand of us is worth more than one of you." Some activists merely attended the rally to observe. Lina Yassin described her experience at the event.
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Stay tuned to Rustbelt Radio later in the show, where will will take a more in depth look at the Israeli-Lebanese conflict.
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.
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to headlines from Independent Media Sources around the world.
[1:00] Ex-Guatemalan dictator threatetened with arrest while current leader continues abuses
A July 7th decision by a Spanish court ordered arrest warrents to be issued to dictators responsible for genocide after more than two decades of impunity. One of eight leaders sought for crimes like genocide, torture, terrorism, and illegal detention is Guatemala's Efrain Rios Montt, [ F-Rye-een Ree-os] who acted as president of the National Congress as recently as 2004.
Rios Montt's presidency during 1982 and 1983 was one of the bloodiest administrations to oversee the nation throughout its devastating 36 year civil conflict. A Truth Commission sponsored by the UN estimates that 200,000 people may have been killed or disappeared. Most of the victims were indigenous Maya people.
Human rights activists in Guatemala seek justice for the murders carried out by previous administrations. Meanwhile, current Guatemalan president, Oscar Berger, has been responsible for the evictions of thousands of rural families since 2004. Security forces involved in these evictions have been known to use excessive force resulting in beatings, destruction of property, and sometimes death.
[3:45] Earth First & MJS blockade Virginia Coal Plant
Building on the momentum created by last year’s Mountain Justice Summer campaign, environmental activists from Earth First! and Rising Tide North America blockaded the entrance to a coal plant in Carbo, Virginia for nearly 6 hours on July 10th.
American Electric Power's nearly 50 year old Clinch River coal fired electric facility was the site of the action. Activists chose to target this facility due to its particularly bad practices of emitting 4.25 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the air annually and threatening the health and lives of thousands of downwind residents and the surrounding environment. The EPA says that this plant in particular is responsible for 'the premature death' or killing of 59 people every year.
Coal utilized at the facility comes from a variety of extraction methods, including mountaintop removal coal mining. This method alone in Appalachia has destroyed over 800 square miles of the most biologically diverse temperate forest in the world. Over 1200 miles of streams have been buried by valley fills and mining waste.
Erin McKelvy an organizer with Mountain Justice described what the impacts of coal mining have been on the Southwest Virginia region where the Clinch River plant is located:
erin coal 1:42
At the Clinch River Plant, the protesters used a variety of methods to block the three story high bridge which is the only access to the plant. One group stretched a rope across the bridge and dangled a platform over the edge, to which Patrick Garnett of Lexington, KY was secured. As the first blockade was set into place, another group waved an unsuspecting coal truck onto the bridge. Once the coal truck was in place the activists swarmed around it, letting the air out of the rear tires while two others secured their bodies to the truck with heavy duty locks and deployed a large banner reading "Earth First!."
Within minutes, several semi-trucks laden with coal were piled up on the roads approaching the plant, as dozens of other protesters wearing dust masks flooded the site, bringing the crowd to about 75 people.
As they blockaded the coal plant, Earth First and Rising Tide demanded Clinch River be shut down and that they halt mountaintop removal practices. They also called for a nationwide response to the reality of global climate change.
We asked Patrick of Lexington Kentucky, who suspended himself over the Clinch River, why he decided to take action against American Electric Power:
Much to the protesters' surprise, the police made no arrests after the blockaders negotiated a deal in which everyone walked free in exchange for ending the blockade. Organizers with Earth First! and Rising Tide North America have vowed to keep up the pressure on the coal industry.
[6:00] Fred Hampton Jr. Arrest
Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. was arrested on July 7, 2006 during a protest in a park in Chicago’s South Side. He is the son of Fred Hampton Sr., former state chairman of the Black Panther Party. In 1969 Fred Hampton Sr. and another Panther leader Mark Clark were gunned down in their sleep during a raid by the Chicago Police Department in collaboration with the FBI and their Counter Intelligence Program.
The protest where Hampton Jr was arrested was part of a larger campaign to rename a Chicago street, "Chairman Fred Hampton Way." The street would be renamed just for the single city block where Fred Hampton was assassinated. The City Council’s Transportation Committee had accepted a proposal by 2nd ward Alderperson Madeline Haithcock to rename the block. However massive protests by the Fraternal Order of Police have stalwarted the renaming process.
Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. has been organizing street parties and activities in the park as part of the street renaming campaign. Some of these activities have been met with opposition. He said that Marvin "Toby" Tolbert attempted to deny the Chairman Fred Street Dancers, which consists of a coalition of youth girl dance groups which range from ages 4-16, the right to practice in the park.
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Fred Hampton Jr. spoke more about his arrest.
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He also described the connections between the activities in the park and the street renaming campaign.
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That was just Fred Hampton Jr talking about his recent arrest and the campaign to rename a Chicago city block Chairman Fred Hampton Way.
Doha Development Agenda negotiations of the WTO falling apart
It was announced today that the Doha Development Agenda negotiations of the World Trade Organization will be suspended. After a 14 hour meeting on Sunday, leaders from the Group of Six – the top six economic powers within the G8 – were unable to come to an agreement for a global free-trade pact, prompting the Director General of the WTO Pascal Lamy to halt further negotiations . The G6 leaders had been negotiating for over five years for such an agreement. One of the negotiators for the European Union, Mariann Fischer Boel, told the New York Times [quote] “It is a big failure” [unquote], and the US negotiator Susan Schwab, added [quote] “This is a serious failure we find ourselves in...”
The major point of failure for the negotiations was the United States' refusal to eliminate its farm subsidies. Those subsidies have long been a major contention between the US and developing nations, as US government subsidized industrial farms flood the markets in poorer countries, driving smaller domestic farmers out of business.
While some characterized the US's unwillingness to reduce or eliminate its subsidies as a blow to developing nations, John Hilary, of the Organization War on Want summed up the feelings of many, telling the BBC [quote] “Any chance of a genuinely pro-poor outcome was lost long ago, and the deal on the table would have caused great damage to developing countries”
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.
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[12:00] Ali Abunimah and Dahr Jamail on Israel & Lebanon
musical intro (0:15)
It has been two weeks since the kidnapping of 2 Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants sparked an attack on southern Lebanon and Beirut. Thousands of Lebanese citizens, including Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, are fleeing the country into Syria and Cyprus as Israel bombs major roads and bridges which would allow their passage out of the country.
Recently, the Associated Press reported that Israel's drive to recover their 2 captured soldiers has actually been slowed by its efforts not to hurt civilians or to inflict unnecessary damage on Lebanon's civilian infrastructure.
Speaking on the atrocities that are currently being committed, is Ali Abunimah. He is one of the founders of Electronic Intifada.net, a website which publishes news and analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict from a Palestinian perspective. Ali is also a researcher at the University of Chicago. On Wednesday July 19th, he spoke on "Beneath the Surface with Jerry Quickley" on KPFK in Los Angeles.
Ali clarifies the mainstream media reports that the Israeli offensive is merely an attack on Hezbollah militants. He first reminds the public that Israel’s attacks are targeted towards civilians and explains the impact it is having on the Lebanese people.
Also speaking on the current conflict in the Middle East is journalist Dahr Jamail. Jamail has covered the Iraq war for the Nation magazine, among other media outlets. Speaking from Damascus, Syria, Jamail spoke with Talk Nation Radio on July 19th, which airs on WHUS from Storrs, Connecticut.
Jamail addresses the mainstream media spin that states Israel is providing a service to Lebanon, by freeing them of the Hezbollah terrorists. He states this is not the case, and that the attacks have only served to unite the people against Israel, not only in Lebanon, but also in Syria. Jamail also explains how Israel’s request of the Lebanese government to stop Hezbollah is impossible, and this provides Israel with the go-ahead to continue Lebanon’s bombardment.
For more information on the developments in Gaza and Lebanon, log on to electronic intifada. net and electronic Lebanon.net
[12:30] Palestine Media Watch
In addition to protesting Israel’s actions in the middle east many are also protesting the mainstream media’s coverage of the conflict. Rustbelt Radio spoke with Tom Wallace of Palestine Media Watch about the coverage.
That was just Tom Wallace speaking about the corporate media’s coverage of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. You can learn more about Palestine Media Watch by going to their website pmwatch.org and for other independent media sources you can go to electroniclebanon.net, imemc.org and democracynow.org
And now we present the Indymedia calendar of events:
Tuesday July 25th, come discuss the local response to the bombings of Gaza and Lebanon at a "Solidarity with Palestine and Lebanon" Meeting. The meeting will last from 6 to 9 pm, and will take place at the Islamic Center, which is located at 4100 Bigelow Blvd, in Oakland. For more information contact kate daher (dare) at k-a-t-e-d-a-h-e-r@ yahoo.com
Wednesday July 26th, join the Pittsburgh Organizing Group, Anti-Racist Action, and Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee as they protest the U.S.-backed Israeli aggressions in Lebanon and Palestine. The gathering will begin at 6:30 at the painted fence at Carnegie Mellon University located in the middle of campus. A march will take place at 7:00pm. Bring signs, bucket drums, other noise makers, or anything else to express your outrage at Israel’s ongoing and escalating campaign of murder and occupation. More information is available at http:// pgh-psc. org
Also on Wednesday July 26th at 6 pm, Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, will speak in Pittsburgh. Dr. Gandhi is the founder and president of The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and will be sharing his views on “Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty in America.” Log onto www. ncmin. org for ticket prices and more information
On Friday July 28th, join the Pittsburgh Organizing Group for an evening of writing to political prisoners. POG will provide all the materials you'll need including postage, addresses, bios of prisoners, along with writing tips. Food and drink will also be provided. This will take place at the Thomas Merton Center, located at 5125 Penn Avenue in Garfield. For more information contact pog @mutualaid.org.
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WARC Meadville, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts this week are Morgan Ress, Carlin Christy, and Andalusia Knoll with additional contributions from Ellen Pierson. This week's show was produced by Donald Deeley. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
Your story 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 or call 412-923-3000. All of our shows are available for download on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG, and this program can be heard again on Tuesday morning at 9AM after Democracy Now on WRCT 88.3FM Pittsburgh.
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots.