community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: Conversations with organizers of the 3 Rivers American Indian Powwow; Steelers fans demonstrate against Ben Roethlisberger's return; The RNC 8 case finally concludes in Saint Paul, Minnesota; The film "Operation Small Axe" sparks a discussion about national and local police brutality and more in our local and global headlines.
audio link: MP3 at 54.2 mebibytesFlash player: Embed this audio player:
Rustbelt Radio for October 25, 2010
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-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 local stories.
This year marked the Council of the 3 Rivers American Indian Center's 32nd annual powwow, a 2-day gathering featuring music, dance, stories and food.
In September, Rustbelt Radio caught up with the organizers to speak about the history of the Council, and the significance of the celebration.
* Powwow_Interviews.flac: (9:00)
You are listening to Steelers fans protesting Quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger's return to the field after yet another accusation of rape.
Hours before the October 18th Steelers game against the Browns, a few dozen Steelers supporters gathered outside of Heinz stadium in opposition to Roethlisberger's return to the team. Holding hand painted signs saying “Don’t Let Big Ben Rape Again” and passing out leaflets, the protesters organized a quote “ Unwelcome Back Roethlisberger Tailgate Party,” complete with food and drinks.
The mood outside the game was heated between demonstrators and Ben's supporters. The group was subject to angry shouting from fans as well as threats from security.
One Ben supporter was overheard recommending the protesters move to another country, while other Ben supporters chanted nearby.
The majority of passerbys stopped and watched, while others countered with the widely held argument that he wasn’t officially charged with anything.
Rustbelt Radio spoke with one of the organizers of the protest, Danielle Steiner, about Roethlisbergers’ lack of a criminal conviction.
Ms. Steiner continues explaining the hurdles that the women in Georgia, Roethlisbergers’ most recent accuser, has had to deal with in challenging him in court.
Despite the fact that Roethlisberger has not been convicted for any of the past incidents he is accused of--whether due to lack of evidence or out of court settlements--Ben’s record of rape accusations and arrogant behavior make a compelling argument.
Ben's most recent accusation stems from a weekend trip to the home of Georgia College and State University, where he and his two bodyguards, both former Pennsylvania police officers, went barhopping together.
By the end of the night a 20-year-old female college student came to the police crying, accusing Ben of raping her in the bathroom of a club.
According to the Post-Gazette, Ben's bodyguards dragged the women into a bathroom, Ben followed her in and immediately revealed himself. Meanwhile, his bodyguards locked the door behind him and prevented both of the woman’s friends from entering the bathroom to help her escape.
Aside from this incident, Roethlisberger was accused by another women in the same town of Georgia for making Quote “unwanted sexual advances.” Endquote.
According to Georgia Bureau of Investigation documents, Roethlisberger was hosting a party at his house when he is said to have pulled down his pants. At this point, he allegedly told a woman that she could "do whatever" she wants. One week later, Roethlisberger is claimed to have forced his hand up the young woman's skirt.
This comes on top of another accusation of rape at Lake Tahoe when Roethlisberger attended a Golf Championship game in 2003. During his stay in Nevada, Roethlisberger insisted that a female hotel employee, Andrea McNulty, come to his room to fix a television that he lied and said was broken. According to the complaint filed by McNulty, Roethlisberger proceeded to block her from leaving and raped her.
An extensive Sports Illustrated article in March reports that McNulty reported the rape to her supervisor but he told her that Roethlisberger was a close friend of the hotel's President, John Koster, and that Koster Quote “will personally fire you for starting rumors about Roethlisberger’s personal life, he continues to say “that Roethlisberger can have anything he wants.”End Quote
This same article also mentions countless incidents of arrogant behavior while in public. Reports have surfaced of Roethlisberger walking out on tabs on at least two occasions, as well as making lewd comments to a waitress at T.G.I. Fridays.
A man who agreed to be identified only by his first name, Craig, says that a few weeks before the Georgia incident, he overheard Roethlisberger talking to a pregnant waitress at a Pittsburgh T.G.I. Friday's. The waitress, when asked last week, recalled Roethlisberger's saying such things as, (quote) "Did your boyfriend forget to pull out?" (unquote)
Despite the overwhelming support fans still have for Roethlisberger, Danielle Steiner did mention that not everybody at the game approved of Roethlisberger’s behavior.
We now leave you with music from the Radical Marching Band who performed at the protest on October 18th.
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media.
* Jean_Knight_-_Mr._Big_Stuff.wav: (2:30)
That was Jean Knight's, "Mr. Big Stuff." We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
[ HMB BREAK RUSTBELT - 0:20 (fades down 0:10 in to start global intro) ]
The case against the so-called "RNC 8" has finally concluded in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Initially facing terrorism charges that would have collectively sentenced the eight organizers to over 100 years of prison time, the case concluded with a whimper and community service.
On August 27th, RNC 8 Defendant Erik Oseland accepted a Gross Misdemeanor plea deal and 90 days in jail. On September 16th, charges were dropped against three of the remaining seven RNC 8 defendants. And on October 19th, the four remaining RNC 8 defendants appeared in Ramsey County District Court to accept plea agreements that resulted in probation and community service.
Jaime Hokensen of the RNC Defence Committee, spoke after the case was concluded to remind us of how it all began:
* rnc8-1-jaime.ogg: RNC8 story, pt 1, 45 secs
Mordechai Specktor, editor of the American Jewish Weekly and father of RNC 8 member Max Spector, commented:
* rnc8-2-mordechai.ogg: RNC8 story, pt 2, 2 mins, 14 secs
Betsy Raasch-Gilman, Quaker and member of the original 60-member RNC Welcoming Committee, from which the RNC 8 were singled out for criminal charges, spoke unapologetically about the viewpoint of those targeted:
* rnc8-3-betsy.ogg: RNC8 story, pt 3, 2 mins, 52 secs
Garrett Fitzgerald, a member of the RNC 8, read the statement he read before the judge:
* rnc8-4-garrett.ogg: RNC8 story, pt 4, 5 mins, 1 sec
That was a segment of Sage Francis' 2008 RNC rap song, "Conspiracy to Riot", which concludes with audio from the 2008 RNC arrests of Democracy Now's Amy Goodman and Nicole Salazar. This broadcast was compiled from video captured by Twin Cities Indymedia and Chicago Indymedia. Visit tc.indymedia.org and rnc08report.org for complete coverage of the 2008 RNC legal battles.
On December 22nd, 1997, in a rural area of Chiapas, Mexico, 45 men, women and children were shot and killed while praying in their local church. The group of people belonged to the civil society organization “Las Abejas” (SAY: ah-BAY-hass). This group of indigenous campesinos formed in 1992 in order to provide a nonviolent response to volatile land conflicts that were present in the area. Christian and pacifist beliefs are at the core of Las Abejas’ ideology. With the Zapatista uprising in 1994, many members of Las Abejas supported the EZLN’s critique of neo-liberalism and their call for indigenous and campesino rights. However, Las Abejas rejected the Zaptista’s use of arms, maintaining a commitment to non-violent resistance.
From 1994 onwards, their alignment with the Zapatistas drew attention from local members of the ruling party—the PRI (SAY: PREE). It is widely believed that the PRI were instrumental in supporting local paramilitaries who ambushed and attacked the praying community members, killing 15 children, 21 women, and 9 men. An additional 25 people were wounded in the attack which has become known as the Acteal (SAY: AHK-tay-all) Massacre.
Many of those involved in carrying out the massacre were members of neighboring communities. As a result of their involvement, over 80 paramilitaries were convicted and have been serving jail time since the attack. Last year, 29 of the paramilitaries were released from jail, amidst outcry from Las Abejas and local human rights organizations. Once again, the news has reported that during the month of October, an additional 15 of those convicted have been released from prison. It is reported that those released have agreed with the government to not return to their communities which are in close proximity to Acteal.
On October 19th, Las Abejas held a press conference to denounce the release of these paramilitaries and to continue demanding justice for their deceased family members.
Representing Las Abejas was José Jiménez Pérez. During the statement he said (QUOTE):
"Our hearts and thoughts are indignant because of the liberation of an additional 15 paramilitaries, those who killed our brothers, sisters, and little sisters on December 22nd 1997 in the community of Acteal. Who of you, of them, of us would allow to go free the person who killed your dad, mom, brother and sister, son and daughter, and your best friend?
The recently freed 15, and the 29 freed in the last year, and the rest who remain in jail are paramilitaries formed and trained by the bad government of Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León. We say to the world that THEY ARE NOT INNOCENT.
We say to the perpetrators and intellectual authors of the massacre that even though they are freed because of the corrupt justice of those in power, they will never live free and with peace of mind because their have stained their hands with the blood of innocents and pacifists. If they don’t confess the truth, they will die with a dirty conscience and heart.
Brothers and sisters, we invite you to struggle with us against impunity and to remain hopeful that by uniting our efforts we can discover the truth of the Acteal massacre. Once again, we repeat that noone can erase the true cause of the Acteal massacre. We can’t be silent, we can’t be indifferent towards this impunity. With our voices united we say that Acteal is a crime of the state, Acteal is a crime against humanity." (ENDQUOTE)
For more information on this story you can go to chiapas.indymedia.org
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.
On October 3rd, the movie “Operation Small Axe” premiered in Pittsburgh. Directed by Adimu Madyun, the film documented police brutality through the stories of Oscar Grant--whose shooting by Bay Area Rapid Transit Police in 2009 sparked demonstrations throughout the Bay Area--and Lovelle Mixon. Mixon was also killed in 2009 by an Oakland police officer after allegedly shooting five officers, killing four of them. The film also tells the story of JR Valrey, a Bay Area based journalist for Block Report Radio and executive producer of "Operation Small Axe." Valrey was charged with felony arson while covering the Oakland riots after Grant’s death.
After the film, there was a follow up discussion led by JR Valrey and Malcom Shabazz (Sha-bahz) – the grandson of Malcolm X. The event, which was held at the Shadow Lounge, was sponsored by One HOOD, the Committee to Free Mumia, HRC-FedUp!, The Alliance for Police Accountability and MACOTI in association with The Prisoners Of Conscience Committee.
JR began the discussion by giving an update on the case of Johannes Mehserle, the officer who killed Grant, as well as an update on his own case.
JR then addressed the question of which groups were involved in the demonstrations and the unity they maintained.
About seven years ago, JR wrote a letter to Malcolm Shabazz, who was incarcerated at the time. The two began corresponding, which led to a collaboration on the "Operation Small Axe" film tour. Shabazz first begins by telling his story of involvement in this issue.
Shabazz responds to a comment from an audience member about how the prison system makes it difficult for people to remove themselves from its restrictions and begin a new life.
The event ended with some comments on local prison brutality and innocence cases. For more information on this, please visit HRC Fedup! At thomasmertoncenter (dot) org (slash) fedup
For more on JR Valrey, visit Blockreportradio (dot) com
You've been listening to "Men in Blue" by Prince Paul, featuring Everlast.
* The_Men_In_Blue.wav: (3:32)
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
* The Battle of Homestead Foundation presents two 30-minute films documenting the lives of working women, the first in the 1970s, and the second during the New York shirtwaist strike in 1909. "Women of Steel" (1983) and "Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl" (1993) are screening on Thursday, October 28th, at 7:30pm, in the Pump House at The Waterfront, 88 East Waterfront Drive, Munhill. For more information, visit riversofsteel.com
* The Economic Justice Committee (EJC) of the Thomas Merton Center presents a lecture and discussion with Evergreen State College political economy professor Peter Bohmer. The topic is "The Nature and Causes of the Present Economic Crisis and Possible Solutions" and takes place on Saturday, October 30 at 2.00 p.m. at the Thomas Merton Center, 5129 Penn Ave.
* Following Election Day on November 2nd, come to Chatham University on Wednesday, November 3rd, at 9:30am to hear local experts and journalists break down the election results. Continental breakfast begins at 8:20am. This event is located in the Mellon Living Room, which is located in Mellon Center on Chatham University's Campus.
* On Wednesday, November 3rd and 4th, the gas industry will host a national conference on shale gas drilling at the David Lawrence Convention Center in in Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania citizens concerned about the health of their communities and the environment, are attending this summit in the streets and are calling on all Pennsylvanians to join. The day will begin on November 3rd with a gathering at Allegheny Landing on the North Shore at 10:30am. At 12:00pm, the March steps off: crossing the Rachel Carson bridge into downtown Pittsburgh and then stopping in front of the Convention Center. At 1:00pm, there will be a rally with music, speakers, tabling and other festivities. The program ends around 3pm. For more information see marcellusprotest.org.
* "Israel's Apartheid Wall & the Fight to Stop it" a presentation by Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall will take place at the University of Pittsburgh in Room 120 of the David Lawrence Hall, on Friday, November 5th, at 5 p.m.
* The 29th Annual Three Rivers Film Festival begins on November 5th and continues through the month. Documentary films worth checking out include Tony Buba's "Four Decades in Braddock"; Brian Iglesias and Anton Sattler's "Chosin" about Korean War veteran's memories of the horrific battlefield; Tom Hansell's "The Electricity Fairy" about the energy crisis; Yael Hersonski's (PRONOUNCED: YA-ELL HER-SON-SKI'S) "A Film Unfinished" which presents an unfinished Nazi propaganda film about the Warsaw Ghetto together with five survivor's reactions; and Jim Seguin's "What Does Trouble Mean? Nate Smith’s Revolution" about Nate Smith’s journey from boxer and crane operator in 1960s Pittsburgh to becoming the charismatic leader of the Black Construction Coalition. For more information see www.3rff.com.
* The Party for Socialism and Liberation is holding a community forum titled, "Fight Back Against Police Brutality and Racial Profiling". Saturday, November 6, from 2:30pm to 4:00pm at the Carnegie Library of East Liberty (130 S Whitfield St).
* The Center for the Study of Catholic Social Thought, Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, and the Center for Environmental Research and Education present: "Oil Spill: Ecological, Economic, and Ethical Disaster: Toward a long term systemic solution". The keynote speaker is John W. Hart, Ph.D., from the Boston University School of Theology. Additional panelists include Duquesne University professors representing the Center for Environmental Research and Education, the Department of Theology, and Department of Political Science. This event is taking place on Wednesday, November 10th from 3pm – 6pm. Visit www.duq.edu for more information.
* Marcellus Shale public hearings, trainings, and informational meetings continue to take place at a fast rate in Pittsburgh and statewide. To keep up to date with events, see the calendar on marcellusprotest.org.
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WIUP Indiana, WNJR Washington, and FRSC Santa Cruz.
Our hosts this week are Laura Miller and Jessica McPherson (Mac FUR son) with contributions from Lizzie Anderson, Seth Bearden, Carlin Christy, Emily DeMarco, Amos Levy, and Nigel Parry. 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, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. Become our fan on Facebook to receive updates on our latest episode. All of our shows are available 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 bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.