community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: Israel issued its response to the UN Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza this week. Tree sitters halt mountaintop removal mining operations in West Virginia, New details emerge in the october FBI killing of Detroit Imam Luqman Abdullah, A feature length 2.3 Million and Rising interview with Linn Washington about the new developments in Mumia Abu-Jamal's case and more in our local and global headlines.
audio link: MP3 at 55.6 mebibytesFlash player: Embed this audio player:
Rustbelt Radio for Monday February 1, 2010
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...
Rustbelt Radio is broadcast live from WRCT studios every other Monday at 6 PM on 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, and the program airs again on WRCT every Tuesday morning at 9AM.
We can also be heard weekly on the following stations:
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 from our website at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
In October 2009, President Obama promised to lift the 22 year ban on travelers and immigrants with HIV and AIDS into the United States. This policy change was set in motion by the previous Bush administration. In early January 2010, the new policy became official. Travelers to the US are no longer required to provide proof of their HIV status.
The travel ban was instituted by the US Department of Health and Human Services in 1987, when less was known about how HIV/AIDS is transmitted. As new science and information about the virus became available, the ban remained intact, with Congress reinforcing the requirements in the 1990s.
The United States was one of only a few countries banning travelers and immigrants based on HIV status. Others include Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Kathi Boyle is the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. She says that while the ban was less known inside the US, it still made an impact:
With the discriminatory policy gone, couples and families traveling to the US can remain together. People traveling with life-saving medications in their luggage no longer have to lie to enter the US, and others can travel here for treatment. The policy change will remove the red tape holding up adoptions of HIV positive children and the distribution of green cards necessary to work in the United States. Also there may be other positive effects, including some effects felt regionally. Kathi Boyle explains:
Over one million people in the United States are HIV positive. The Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force serves more than 550 people with HIV/AIDS each year, and also provides testing and HIV/AIDS education. For more information about their work and annual fundraiser in March, visit www.patf.org.
On October 28th, an FBI dog was airlifted to a veterinary hospital in Dearborn Michigan, a neighborhood on the west side of Detroit. A local Islamic leader, the Imam Luqman (luke-mahn) Ameem Abdullah, was shot and killed by the FBI. His body was not taken to a hospital. Reporters were immediately on the scene, and locals tuning in to the coverage would hear the phrases terrorism, radical Muslim group, and hatred of the government dozens of times. The following is an excerpt of a report by local television station, W-D-I-V.
Immediately after the raid, the FBI released the following statement:
In light of the information that the charged individuals were believed to be armed and dangerous, special safeguards were employed by law enforcement to secure the arrests without confrontation. During the arrests today, the suspects were ordered to surrender. At one location, four suspects surrendered and were arrested without incident. Luqman Ameen Abdullah did not surrender and fired his weapon. An exchange of gun fire followed and Abdullah was killed. An FBI canine was also killed during the exchange.
Today, 90 days later, the Dearborn Police Department released the autopsy results for Luqman A. Abdullah. Despite the previous reports that Abdullah fired on the FBI first and resisted arrest, the autopsy reveals that the body had been shot 21 times--at least one time in the back, and the majority of gunshot wounds below the waist--and was handcuffed.
While this controversial evidence comes amidst a resurgence of local and national media coverage, supporters of the case continue to demand for an independent investigation. Since the October 28th killing, Islamic, African-American and human rights organizations have refused to accept the law-enforcement version of events. In November, supporters rallied for justice; amidst signs that called for an end to FBI Terrorism, Abdullah's son, Omar Regan, addressed a crowd of supporters:
Since the days following the killing, the media has promulgated fear-inciting phrases. The Associate Press reported that Abdullah was "advocating and encouraging his followers to commit violent acts against the United States." Media further defined the Imam's character by describing the allegations of undercover FBI agents that Abdullah regularly beat children in the mosque with sticks, including a boy who was "unable to walk for several days." The FBI complaint accused Abdullah and the members of his mosque of attempting to "establish a separate Sharia-law governed state within the United States." However, according to the FBI document, none of the 11 accused were charged with terrorism, but rather criminal charges amounting to stolen property and possession of weapons. The disconnect between criminal charges and terrorist activities, reveals a links to similar accusations of terrorist finger-pointing and demonization of Muslim communities across the county.
During an interview in November with Al Jazeera-English, Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the Center for American Islamic Relations, Dawud Walid (wal-leed) responded to the FBI allegations:
[1:00] Al Jazeera_Interview
Human rights and civil liberties organizations identify the scare-tactics used by the media as part of an ongoing effort to generate fear and mistrust toward their religious practices. In a statement issued by the Muslim Alliance in North America, "the murder of this Muslim leader [is] a continuation of the federal government's counterintelligence program aimed at neutralizing and liquidating African-American leadership. This assassination took place alongside the escalating repression against Muslims in the United States and the expansion of U.S. wars abroad in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen."
This morning, as the press conference takes place, supporters rally outside the Dearborn Police Department. The TV network that broke the story last Friday, has this headline on their website: Police Discuss Autopsy in Michigan Man's Death. They show the same photograph of Abdullah--a studio portrait of him used for many of the stories in the media reports--and the language in the article is nearly identical to the reports after his death in October. A single line has changed: Abdullah's family has denied the allegations. Whether or not the mainstream media outlets will change their rhetoric, the demand for investigation continues. Ron Scott of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, made a statement to the Detroit Free Press during the rally, declaring "We want to let people know we won't tolerate this type of vicious assault on citizens. An assault on Muslims is an assault on everyone."
On October 29th, the FBI issued a press release announcing a memorial for the FBI dog killed in the raid. Today, supporters continue to demand a transparent investigation, an end to criminalizing their religion, and demonizing their community leadership, while Luqman Ameem Abdullah's family has yet to receive an official statement from the government or FBI.
[ HMB BREAK RUSTBELT - 0:20 (fades down 0:10 in to start global intro) ]
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
On January 19th, the Supreme Court reversed a 2008 federal appeals court ruling which called for a new sentencing hearing for Mumia Abu-Jamal. This action returned the case back to the Third US Circuit of Appeals in Philadelphia – where the case originally took place - and puts Abu-Jamal closer to an execution date.
Fed up spoke with Linn Washington, a Philadelphia-based journalist who has been closely involved with the Abu-Jamal case since the 1982 trial.
The Pittsburgh Committee to Free Mumia's next meeting is on Sunday, February 7th, at 5pm at the Thomas Merton Center located at 5125 Penn Avenue in Garfield. For more information, write to Pghcommitteetofreemumia AT gmail DOT org
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WNJR Washington, WIUP Indiana, and WOBC Oberlin.
Our hosts this week are Jessica McPherson and Nigel Parry with contributions from Kara Holsopple, Lizzie Anderson, Jessica McPherson, Nigel Parry, and Emily DeMarco. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson. 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.