community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: Fire erupts at a Marcellus Shale gas site in Washington County, Greek Anarchists speak in Pittsburgh, anti-Shackling Bill in the Pennsylvania House, local organizations use hip-hop workshop to discuss issues facing Latino teens, a new Israeli military order opens the door for the expulsion of all West Bank Palestinians, and more in our local and global headlines
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Rustbelt Radio for April 12, 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:
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We turn now to local stories.
While details continue to be revealed about mine owner Massey Energy's long list of safety violations that preceded the recent deaths of 29 mine workers in West Virginia, here in Pennsylvania the natural gas industry's track record is just as startling.
Less than just two weeks ago, a fire that was described as nearly 100 feet high and 50 feet wide, broke out at a drilling site located in Hopewell Township, 1 mile from Route 844. Thick, black clouds of smoke were reported to be seen for miles away. Nobody was severely harmed, but nearby residents had to evacuate their homes due to the intensity of the inferno.
Local news channel 4, WTAE interviewed George Zimmerman, the property owner of the farm where the fire broke out.
* atlasenergy.wav: george zimmerman (0:32)
George Zimmerman has no say in the matter because the mineral rights under his 500 acre farm are not owned by him, but rather by Atlas Energy Resources. Atlas Energy is one of many companies drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale rock formation that lies thousands of feet underneath the ground and stretches from New York state through Pennsylvania and down through parts of West Virginia and Ohio.
Atlas Energy has been issued over 250 Marcellus Shale drilling permits in Pennsylvania, making them the number three firm with permits in the state.
A process called Hydraulic Fracturing is used to extract the gas, whereby up to 6 million gallons of water mixed with sand, and a highly toxic mixture of chemicals known as "fracking fluid" is pumped into the ground to split the layers of rock and release the gas. The remaining wastewater is then temporarily stored in impoundment ponds and then later disposed first to treatment plants, then back into Pennsylvania streams. However, no treatment plants in Pennsylvania are capable of removing the pollution from the wastewater, and companies often dispose of the water by dumping it illegally.
In an April 1st Observer-Reporter article, property owner George Zimmerman said that, (quote) " This was not the first problem." During a three-day period in early December, a discharge went into a pond feeding a stream. (quote) The DEP told the gas company that the pump needed to be monitored round the clock, but it was unattended for a few days. (endquote) Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman also had three drinking wells dry up - one for his home, one for his farm and another for his restaurant. Another neighbor had to cap his well because of contaminants, including a flammable substance. He said: "The gas company told us they would run a city water line in March. But that hasn't happened."
In January, the state Department of Environmental Protection fined Atlas Energy $85,000 for violations at 13 well sites in southwestern Pennsylvania from late 2008 through July 2009. The violations include: discharge of residual and industrial waste into the ground at seven well sites, and failure to maintain erosion and sedimentation control at six sites. Meanwhile, Atlas Energy's reported earnings in 2008 was nearly 800 million dollars.
This pattern of neglect and endangerment is not exclusive to Atlas Energy Resources, but has been the norm amongst a large group of gas drilling companies in Pennsylvania that are vying for mineral rights, and cheap access to the water needed to extract them. For more information about natural gas drilling in PA, go to lpactiongroup.blogspot.com or damascuscitizens.org.
On Monday, April 6th at Carnegie Mellon University, Jovenes Sin Nombres & the Arts Greenhouse hosted 'Nuestros Caminos: Our Journeys', a workshop for teens on bilingual hip-hop. Both organizations work to empower, educate & give voice to teens and youth from minority communities across Pittsburgh.
Identifying as a progressive, Latino youth organization, Jovenes Sin Nombres began with a presentation by co-founders Alfonso Barquera & Michal (Me-call) Friedman with youth participants.
Speaking for the Arts Greenhouse--an organization which focuses on providing free, hip-hop music education to Pittsburgh teens--Luqman Abdus-Salaam spoke to the students about the history & significance of hip-hop in youth culture.
Local artist and founder of the community arts organization, ArtUp, Tavia La Follette, led the teens into creative writing exercises, starting first with icebreaker activities. The workshop ended with group presentations by the teens.
After the workshop, Alfonso Barquera, co-founder of Jovenes Sin Nombres, spoke about the importance of providing support for Latino youth within the city.
The event was hosted in part as a primer for an upcoming event at the Union Project, which will showcase hip hop performances by teens from across the city. For more information on the Arts Greenhouse, visit p-g-h beatmakers dot org.
To learn more about Jovenes Sin Nombres, visit j-o-v-e-n-e-s-latinos dot wordpress dot com. Currently, the youth organization is working on the first Latino mural project in the city.
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.
In an April 11th press release, Israeli human rights organization HaMoked warned that Israel had passed a new military order requiring all residents of the West Bank to obtain an Israeli-issued permit. The press release stated:
(quote) "On Tuesday, April 13 2010, the Order regarding Prevention of Infiltration and the Order regarding Security Provisions are to enter into effect. The orders, signed by the previous GOC Central Command, Gadi Shamni but not revealed, are worded so broadly such as theoretically allowing the military to empty the West Bank of almost all its Palestinian inhabitants.
Despite the severe ramifications of the orders, the authorities did not publicize their existence among the Palestinian population as required, which raises grave concerns that they intended to pass them secretly without public debate or judicial review.
The orders substantively change the definition of “infiltrator” and in effect apply it to anyone who is present in the West Bank without an Israeli permit. The orders do not define what Israel considers a valid permit. The vast majority of people now living in the West Bank have never been required to hold any sort of permit to be present therein." (end quote)
Israeli journalist Amira Hass reported in the April 11th edition of Ha'aretz newspaper that the order would initially likely target Gazans living in the West Bank, as well as Gazan and foreign spouses of West Bank Palestinians. International activists and independent journalists living in the West Bank—to whom Israel does not issue permits—would also be threatened.
However, the most disturbing fact is that the wording of the military order—as HaMoked warns—seems unambiguously to threaten the presence of ALL Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank.
The military order allows for violators to be imprisoned for up to seven years or deported.
For more information, including translations of the new Israeli military order, visit the website of HaMoked at www.hamoked.org.il
Free Press now brings us an update on the recent court decision affecting net neutrality:
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
On Thursday April 8, over 70 anarchists and leftists in Pittsburgh gathered to hear stories and strategies of the anarchist struggle in Greece. In December of 2008, Greece caught the attention of the anarchist community when the murder of a 15 year old anarchist, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, by the Athens police led to three weeks of rioting and insurrection. Two long time anarchists, Tasos Sagris and Sissy Doutsiou, who were active in Greece's December 2008 social uprising, have edited a book entitled "We are an Image from the Future." This book documents the events that took place before, during and after the killing of Alexandros. It details the social conditions that lead to the uprising and gives a look into the Greek Anarchist movement, which is often considered among the strongest in the world.
Tasos first clarified that the December 2008 riots were based in a long history of anarchist struggle within the country and went on to explain the efforts of the anarchist movement.
Tasos and Sissy explain how the anarchists built up a strong movement across Greece while remaining true to the anarchist ideals. They also described anarchism not as a resistance movement, but rather as an attack against the state, capital, and society.
You have been listening to Tasos Sagris and Sissy Doutsiou, longtime Greek anarchists and members of Void Network, a group promoting art, theory, action, and the creation of autonomous spaces. They are also co-editors of a new book entitled "We Are an Image from the Future." For more information on their book you can go to www. ak press (dot) org.
We'll be back after this break.
That was the 1980's Greek band Film Noir, with the song "Excuse".
In 2008, the Federal Bureau of Prisons banned the shackling of people giving birth in federal institutions except for cases where the person giving birth may harm themselves, the labor or staff. Currently, only California, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Vermont and Washington have bills that prohibit the shackling of women in labor in their local and state run facilities. Pennsylvania may soon join these seven states. The Healthy Birth for Incarcerated Women Act also know as Bill 1074 or the "anti-shackling bill", recently passed the PA Senate and is headed to the House Judiciary Committee on April 20th. If it passes there, it will go to the full Pennsylvania House and then to the Governor's desk.
A major advocate for this bill has been Danyell Williams. Williams is the Program Coordinator for the Maternity Care Coalition's Mom-mobile program at Riverside Correctional Facility in Philadelphia. The Maternity Care Coalition had been providing pre and post natal support directly to the communities of the families they serve for about 20 years before moving into Riverside Correctional Facility. Williams explains how this began and what services they provide for women incarcerated in the facility.
Williams speaks about the shackling of laboring people who are incarcerated and the complications it can cause:
Williams feels that with the support they've been receiving from politicians as well as other agencies, the bill will be signed by the Governor by the end of the year. One such partner agency is New Voices Pittsburgh (NVP) - women of color for reproductive justice. We spoke with La'Tasha Mayes who is the founder and Executive Director of NVP about their involvement in the anti-shackling bill as well as their new, long term campaign called "Focus on Women"which addresses human rights and reproductive justice issues inside the Allegheny County Jail.
First, Mayes talks about NVP's role in the bill and about the actions they will be taking during this campaign:
Now Mayes expands upon the connection between reproductive justice, human rights and the prison industrial complex:
One way that NVP is gathering their information is through the documentation of such abuse and neglect by Fed-up, the Pittsburgh chapter of the Human Rights Coalition. Fedup is now working closely with issues women in prison face, specifically focusing on medical neglect. Dominique Reed, a Fed-up volunteer, shares some stories they've received from women incarcerated in Pennsylvania, and the additional problems found with the privatization of prison health services:
Some final words from Danyell Williams:
To get involved with New Voices Pittsburgh's new "Focus on Women" campaign, you can contact them at 412 389 3081 or newvoicespgh (AT) gmail. com
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
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Our hosts this week are Carlin Christy and Emily DeMarco with contributions from Carlin Christy, Seth Bearden, Lizzie Anderson, Jessica McPherson, Emily DeMarco, and Nigel Parry. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
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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.