On this week's show...
* Author Ben Dangl examines the Price of Fire, resource wars and social movements in Bolivia
* St. Vincent College students protest their school's decision to let George Bush speak at graduation
* The Pittsburgh Organizing Group is confronted by police harassment once again
* An excerpt from the documentary Watts Riots 1965: The Fire This Time
* plus we'll have Word on the Street, and more, in 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, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
Author Ben Dangl examines the Price of Fire, resource wars and social movements in Bolivia
St. Vincent College students protest their school's decision to let George Bush speak at graduation
The Pittsburgh Organizing Group is confronted by police harassment once again
An excerpt from the documentary Watts Riots 1965: The Fire This Time
plus we'll have Word on the Street, and more, in our local and global headlines
Rustbelt Radio airs live every Monday from 6-7 PM on WRCT 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, PA, and again on Tuesday mornings 9-10 AM. We're also on Pacifica affiliate WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area, on Thursdays from 6-7 PM. And we're on at a new time on WPTS - 10-11AM on Wednesday mornings on 92.1 FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
We're also available on the internet, both on WRCT's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and for download, stream or podcast at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to local headlines.
[4:00] POG Harassed by Police
April 2007 marks the two year anniversary of the Pittsburgh Organizing Group's counter-recruitment campaign. During the course of nearly 60 actions, the group has continually demonstrated outside of military-recruitment stations in Pittsburgh. When a new Marine-recruitment center opened in Shadyside, POG did not want to allow the site to operate without public outcry. On Tuesday April 3rd, members of the group gathered on the sidewalk in front of the recruitment station on Ellsworth Avenue. Local activist Noah Willumsen who attended the demonstration, describes what happened:
Noah 1 (1:25)
Members of POG weren't the only people who were shocked at the aggressive response of the police:
Noah 2 (0:12)
Noah describes the actions POG is taking in response to the violence of Sargeant Vollberg and other police officers:
Noah 3 (0:22)
Members of POG have stated that this incident is not the first time the group has been harrassed by law enforcement during their actions. In a statement released after the confrontation with the police, they write, " Over the course of POG's two year campaign, police have photographed and surveilled protesters while interfering with our right to photograph them; dehumanized protesters with antigay and sexist epithets; detained or wrongfully arrested protesters; used Tasers and pepper-spray and other excessive force on non-violent protesters; and conspired with Federal agencies to track counter-recruitment activity."
In the context of this continued harassment, Noah comments on the police brutality he experienced during this most recent incident.
Noah 4 (0:20)
For more information on this story, and upcoming POG events, you can visit www. organize pittsburgh. org.
[3:30] St. Vincent
With the onset of spring, students are gearing up for school graduation. But this doesn’t just mean caps and gowns and summer vacation plans. At St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, students are raising their voices against this year’s commencement speaker: President George W. Bush.
Yesterday morning, members of the community of St. Vincent, a liberal arts college founded by the Benedictine order, held a protest and vigil in front of St. Vincent's Archabbey at the start and end of both the 9:30am and 11:30am masses, to voice disapproval of the abbot’s decision to invite President Bush to speak.
Rustbelt Radio heard from Joan Byrne, an organizer of the vigil:
For more information on the St. Vincent College protest vigils, contact Joan Byrne at 724-838-8339.
[1:00] Racial Discrimination at Nakama
Nakama Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar is facing charges of racial discrimination by a former employee. The suit was filed by the Equal Opportunity Commission on behalf of Tanesha L. Thomas, who served as a waitress at the South Side restaurant since 2003.
The suit claims that Thomas was harassed over several months by assistant manager, Andrew Merola. Thomas alleges that Merola began to make racially derogatory comments towards her in August of 2005. When the incidents were reported to owner Robert Gomes, no action was taken and the attacks persisted. Further claims by Thomas state that Merola drew sketches of a Ku Klux Klansman’s hood on her employment papers. A statement released by Nakama denies that Grove was ever aware of the harassment and notes that Merola is no longer an employee at the restaurant.
The suit also claims that the restaurant failed to promote Thomas to a server trainer position in retaliation for complaining about the discrimination and the positions were given to non-Black applicants. The Equal Opportunity Commission’s lawsuit seeks to prevent any further racial discrimination or hiring criteria at Nakama and requests that the restaurant change current procedures to prevent future racial conflicts.
[3:00] Word on the Street
Now, for this week's edition of 'Word on the Street'
That was 'Word on the Street'
[3:30] Exoneration Lawsuit
After 18 years behind bars, Eric Whitley was freed from prison when a DNA analysis revealed that he was not responsible for the murder of Noreen Malloy. Whitley is now filing a federal lawsuit to seek financial compensation for his time served, as well as shed light on the gross injustices of the criminal justice system.
He was convicted based on a witness' testimony who stated Whitley fired the gun that killed Noreen Malloy at a McDonald’s restaurant by Kennywood in 1989. Faulty evidence contributed to Whitley's conviction including blood drops that were only tested by blood type and a hair sample that was similar to Whitley's hair. Additionally a death row inmate, who may or may not have known Whitley while incarcerated, testified that Whitley had confessed the crime to him. Whitley maintained his innocence during his many years in prison and filed for DNA testing on the police evidence.
In November 1995, the court approved Whitley’s motion for DNA testing, yet the prosecution reported that the 39 unrooted hairs found on a mask at the scene, as well as Whitley's tennis shoes, had been lost in a flood of the Allegheny County Police Evidence Room. In 2005 Whitley's lawyer Scott Coffey, was informed that the 39 unrooted hairs did still exist and Mitochondrial DNA testing was then ordered by the court. The DNA testing showed that these hairs were not Whitley's and on May 1, 2006, the prosecution dropped all charges against Drew Whitley and he was released from prison.
Whitley is one of hundreds of people who have been exonerated nationwide. Many have been freed due to the work of organizations like The Innocence Institute which launches investigations into cases in the Pittsburgh Area. Director Bill Moushey explains that wrongful incarceration is a common problem.
Pennsylvania is one of 29 states that does not provide any monetary reward for exonerated people. Martha Connelly a community activist had been working to pass legislation that would provide for fair compensation for the exonerated.
For a more in depth Rustbelt Radio Report on wrongful incarceration listen to our broadcast from Memorial Day 2006 at radio.indypgh.org
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
[ HMB BREAK RUSTBELT - 0:20 (fades down 0:10 in to start global intro) ]
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 news from other independent media sources around the world.
[2:00] Dudley Appointment
President Bush announced last week that he will be using a recess appointment to make Susan Dudley Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Some watch dogs groups have called Dudley a (quote) "anti-regulatory extremist." This position will allow Dudley an opportunity to change or block all regulations proposed by government agencies, as an overseer of bodies such as the FDA,the EPA, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A report put out by Public Citizen and OMB Watch, entitled "The Cost is too High: How Susan Dudley Threatens Public Protections" , describes Dudley's history of regulatory attitudes and beliefs.
Some of the highlights of the report include the following:
- Dudley preferred informed consumer choice as the alternative to a regulation intended to reduce smog-related health standards by reducing ground-level ozone. Meaning that instead of curbing smog, the public should be made aware of days when the ozone related health risks are highest and then they may choose their activities appropriately.
- Dudley also opposed regulations to increase reporting requirements under the Toxic Release Inventory (or TRI), which has decreased the disposal and releases of TRI chemicals by 57 percent since beginning in 1988. Dudley said (quote) …we cannot assume that more frequently reported information, or information on a broader range of chemicals, would be more valuable (end quote).
Nominated last year as well, the Senate did not allow Dudley’s controversial nomination to leave the committee stage.
Through a recess appointment, the president can bypass Senate confirmation of a nominee by filling the vacancy while the Senate is not in session.
Robert Shull, Public Citizen’s deputy director for auto safety and regulatory policy, had this to say in a press statement: (quote) Instead of facing up to her record on the issues, the president has decided to evade public accountability and just hand her this incredibly powerful office (end quote).
[3:30] This Week in Palestine
And now, an update from the International Middle East Media Center on popular resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the apartheid wall.
Thanks to the International Middle East Media Center for that update. For more updates on Palestine, visit www (dot) imemc (dot) org.
[2:00] Reporter Josh Wolf Freed
On Tuesday, April 3rd, independent journalist and video blogger Josh Wolf was released from custody after spending over two-hundred and twenty-five days in a federal holding facility. The twenty-four-year-old was jailed last August for refusing to supply a federal grand jury with video that he had shot of an anti-G8 demonstration in San Francisco. With just about seven-and-a-half months behind bars, Wolf spent more time in jail than any other journalist in US history.
Part of the controversy surrounding his detainment is due to the fact that the prosecutors were able to circumvent a California journalist shield law by claiming that federally funded property had been damaged during the demonstrations. While the California shield law permits journalists to protect their sources under the first amendment, there's no equivalent shield law at the federal level.
During a recent interview for Democracy Now! Josh had this to say about the case:
For more information on the Josh Wolf case and for a link to his blog and video, visit www (dot) indybay (dot) org
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
[16:30] Price of Fire
New social movements have emerged in Bolivia over the "price of fire"—access to basic elements of survival like water, gas, land, coca, employment, and other resources. Though these movements helped pave the way to the presidency for indigenous coca-grower Evo Morales in 2005, they have made it clear that their fight for self-determination doesn't end at the ballot box. In his new book "The Price of Fire" author Ben Dangl recounts passionate tales of people's resistance to corporate empire and globalization. Dangl spoke with Rustbelt Radio about this surging grassroots democracy in Bolivia.
priceoffiredone.flac- on archive.indypgh.org
That was author Ben Dangl speaking about his book Price of Fire: which just came out on AK-Press. He will be speaking tonight, Monday the 9th, at the Latin American Reading Room at the Hillman Library at 8PM. For more information on his work go to www.bolivia book.com
[15:00 ] Watts Riots
And now we bring you an excerpt from the documentary Watts Riots 1965: The Fire This Time, produced by Shawn Dellis, courtesy of Pacifica Radio Archives. the documentary was originally broadcast on the Pacifica affiliate KPFK on October 28, 1965.
That was an excerpt from the documentary Watts Riots 1965: The Fire This Time. Thanks to Pacifica Radio Archives for that excerpt. For more information on Pacifica Radio Archives, call 800-735-0230 or visit pacificaradioarchives.org.
[1:00] Calendar of Events
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
Join the Pittsburgh Committee to Free Mumia for a Teach-In on the case of death-row inmate Mumia Abu Jamal. This will be Tuesday, April 10th @ 7:00 PM at the Shadow Lounge located at 5972 Baum Blvd.
The Pittsburgh Amnesty International Community group will be hosting its 21st annual human rights write-a-thon this Wednesday, the 11th, at the Calvary Episcopal Church at 315 Shady Avenue in Shadyside from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. The focuses are stopping abuses aganist children, women and prisoners of war, torture, the death penalty and Darfur.
On Thursday the 12th, at 6:00, there will be a public screening of the documentary East of Liberty: A story of good intentions. The movie will be shown in room 2017 of the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. For more info log on to www.crsp.pitt.edu.
The Pittsburgh Organizing Group will hold 2 events this week. First, a candlelight vigil on Thursday, April 12th at 7:30pm outside the home of Sargeant Vollberg, the officer who brutalized people at last week's counter-recruitment protest. Vollberg's residence is located at 1705 Cosmos St in the West Mifflin area of Pittsburgh. On Saturday the 14th at 6pm, the group will return to the Marine Officer Recruiting Station, located at 3587 Ellsworth Ave. in Shadyside. For more information on both events, go to www. organize pittsburgh. org.
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East presents “The Story of Rachel Corrie: A Death in Rafah.” The dramatic reading will be presented on Sunday, April 15th at 12:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church, 605 Morewood Avenue, in Shadyside. For more information call: 412-621-8008.
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts this week are Carlin Chrsity, Thiago Hersan and Matt Toups with contributions from Andalusia Knoll, Lizzie Anderson, Carlin Christy, Vani Natarajan, Veronica Milliner, Diane Amdor, and Thiago Hersan. This week's show was produced by Donald Deeley and Veronica Milliner. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, 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 or podcast on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG and this show can be heard again Tuesday morning on WRCT at 9 AM after Democracy Now!
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.