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Rustbelt Radio for Nov. 08, 2010
by Pittsburgh Indymedia: Rustbelt Radio Collecti Monday, Nov. 08, 2010 at 7:38 PM
radio@indypgh.org

On today's show: Coverage of the November 3rd rally against Marcellus Shale drilling; The Justice Department renews enforcement of subpoenas for anti-war activists targeted in FBI raids; A brief look at the United States and the Arms Trade; A Honduran human rights lawyer speaks of killings and torture under the coup regime and more in our local and global headlines.

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Rustbelt Radio for November 8, 2010

[1:00] Intro

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.

Headlines

Local News

[ 30:39 ] Coverage of the November 3rd rally against Marcellus Shale drilling

That was a clip from the chant accompanying the rally on Wednesday, November 3rd, where an estimated 500 plus people marched from Allegheny Landing on the Northside to the David Lawrence Convention Center in down town Pittsburgh to voice opposition to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling in the city and beyond.

This date and location were significant as November 2nd through the 4th had the 2nd annual Developing Unconventional Gas East – or DUG East - conference in town meeting at the convention center. According to their website, the DUG East (quote) gives operators, investors, and the service industry the latest economics, activity, and new technology needed to successfully develop the Marcellus (end quote). The keynote speakers were John Pinkerton of Range Resources Corporation, David L. Porges of EQT Corporation, Rick Weber of Atlas Energy and Karl Rove - former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to George Bush.

Once outside the convention center, a variety of speakers took to the stage to share their concerns over the true costs of natural gas drilling. While sponsored, endorsed and attended by many local groups and individuals, there were several other localities represented, such as Philadelphia, Allentown, Boston, Buffalo and Ithaca, New York, West Virginia and Maryland.

One of the emcees for the afternoon was Bridget Shields – who introduced one of the first speakers, her husband Councilperson Doug Shields. Doug Shields began the afternoon speaking about the city wide ban on drilling he introduced to the city council that will receive a preliminary vote on Tuesday, November 9th.

Radio, a local activist, spoke of the environmental devastation of natural gas drilling as well as the connections to other resource extraction happening all over this country.

Stephanie Simmons, a Pittsburgh native who works with the Sierra Club Allegheny Group, addressed the safety risks of drilling for our region and expressed concerns that if there were to be drilling in the city we would not prepared for the possible disasters it could produce.

Councilperson Bill Peduto spoke about the changes in the economy of this city and how the drilling of the Marcellus shale would be taking steps back and not forward.

One of the events that helped galvanize the movement against fracking in Pittsburgh was the first screening of the documentary 'Gasland' in Pittsburgh on June 5th at the Byham Theater, which over 1000 people attended. Josh Fox, director of the film, returned to Pittsburgh on Nov. 3rd to bring a national perspective on the fight against fracking:

Fox introduced Ron Gullah, a resident of Hickory, Pennsylvania who signed a lease several years ago and saw his land damaged by an industry he and his neighbors were unprepared for. He was one of early voices of criticism of the industry in Pennsylvania, and he continues to speak out:

Stephan Cleghorn, A Jefferson County farmer, told the crowd of how drilling near his and his wife’s land has directly affected their livelihood and spoke about the necessity for us to maintain the quality of our natural surroundings.

As the crowd was disbanding, the rally organizers urged people to stay involved in the struggle against shale drilling. Marcellus Protest organizers will hold a public meeting to determine next steps on Friday Nov. 12th, 6:30 pm at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church. For more actions and events, please visit MarcellusProtest.org

In related news, on November 4th, the Pittsburgh City Council held a public hearing on legislation proposed by councilman Doug Shields that would ban fracking in the city. The council chambers were filled to capacity, and not a single person spoke in support of drilling.

Dana Dolney of Polish Hill:

Bridget Shields:

Mark Mancini of South Park:

The drilling ban will come before council on Tuesday November 9th for a preliminary vote and is expected to pass with at least six votes: Doug Shields, Theresa Kail-Smith, Darlene Harris, Bill Peduto, Natalia Rudiak, and Bruce Kraus. If the bill passes, it is expected to be challenged in court. Previous court rulings have judged that the state oil and gas law, which guarantees that companies can access minerals if they own the subsurface rights, trumps the ability of local governments to regulate extraction activities. Both the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, have committed to support the city if it becomes necessary to defend the ban in court.

Wrapup

[ 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 bi-weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.

Global News

[1:15] Justice Dept. Renews Enforcement of Subpoenas for Anti-War Activists Targeted in FBI Raids

On September 24th, FBI raids were carried out on the Minneapolis and Chicago homes and offices of antiwar activists critical of US foreign policy in Colombia and the Middle East. Computers and documents were seized and grand jury subpoenas were served on thirteen people.

The subpoenas were later withdrawn after activists made a collective statement asserting their right to remain silent. Late last week, the Justice Department announced that it intended to enforce the subpoenas for three of the 13 activists.

Speaking on Democracy Now on November 5th, Bruce Nestor, the former National Lawyers Guild national president and current Minneapolis chapter president, explained that the re-subpoenaed activists have the choice of testifying against their friends and the movement or potentially serving jail time for contempt of court if they refuse to testify.

Nestor stated (quote): “These are people who are deeply rooted in the progressive community in Chicago and Minneapolis. These are grandmothers, they’re mothers, they’re union activists. They were some of the organizers of the largest antiwar march at the 2008 Republican National Convention.”

The day after the announcement, the Committee To Stop FBI Repression had convened a national meeting in New York City. Rustbelt Radio will continue to bring you reports from this case. For more information, visit stopFBI.net.

[3:30] The United States and the Arms Trade

On October 27th, President Obama granted a waiver allowing four countries to continue receiving U.S. military aid even though they use child soldiers.

Penalties under the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008, were supposed to go into effect last month. However, Obama waived these penalties for violators Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told Foreign Policy Magazine’s blog The Cable, that: (quote) "In each of these countries, we are working with the governments to stop the recruitment of child soldiers or demobilize those who may already be in the ranks. These countries have put the right policies in place, but are struggling to effectively implement them. These waivers allow the United States to continue to conduct valuable training programs and by working with these militaries, help them meet international norms."

Jo Becker, Children's Rights Director at Human Rights Watch, said (quote): "This is the first year it's being enacted, so to waive everyone right out of the gate sends exactly the wrong message. By providing a blanket waiver, the U.S. is really giving up all of its leverage to force them to change their approach to using child soldiers. What the president has done is basically given everybody a pass for using child soldiers.”

"The law was enacted in 2008, so countries have had two years to know that this was coming down the pike. So the consequences of the law really shouldn't be taking anyone by surprise, so to say countries need a year to get their act together is really problematic. The U.S. has been providing training for years already with no real change on the ground. We haven't seen significant changes in practice so far from the engagement approach, so that seems to indicate to me we need to change the approach, maybe withholding programs until we see changes on the ground." (endquote)

Jesse Eaves, Policy Advisor for Children in Crisis at World Vision, commented (quote): "This took us totally by surprise and was a complete shock to people who are working in the field".

One of the items on the agenda for President Obama’s recent trip to India, was a deal to sell 10 Boeing C-17 military cargo planes. Business Insider reports that the $5 billion arms deal would be the sixth largest in U.S. history. The U.S. also supplies arms to Pakistan, India’s main adversary.

A September 10th Congressional Research Service report noted that international arms sales in 2009 totaled $57.5 billion, with developing states spending 78 percent of the global total.

As the most prolific arms dealer in the world, the United States was responsible for 23 billion dollars of sales, or around 40% of the global total. In second and third places, Russia made 10 billion and France made 7 billion dollars in sales.

The United States Defense Department budget is the largest in the world, over six times larger than the military budget of China, which takes second place. The U.S. total expenditure on defense in fiscal year 2010 was nearly 1 trillion dollars. The 2011 budget has been anticipated to increase by one-fifth. The War Resisters League notes that, once veterans’ benefits are figured in, 54% of our income taxes go towards war.

Military aid to other nations represents a considerable national expense and is not considered to be part of our defense budget. A year ago, as the single largest expense of the 2010 budget for all kinds of foreign aid, President Obama approved close to 3 billion dollars in military aid to Israel, the first payment in a decade-long commitment that will total at least $30 billion.

Antiwar.com reported that Israel’s military budget in 2008 amounted to 13 billion dollars, noting that the US funding represents a significant portion of Israel’s overall military expenditure. The US requires that Israel spend at least 75% of the money given in military aid with US military contractors, effectively using the foreign aid budget to subsidize domestic weapon-makers. War is a gigantic American industry.

[8:00] Jena 6: Successful campaign to free six black youth in Louisiana

The Redeye Collective, of Vancouver Cooperative Radio, brings you this story on the Jena 6:

In 2007, six high-school students found themselves facing charges of attempting murder in Jena, Louisiana following racist incidents in the schoolyard. Independent journalist Jordan Flaherty tells the story of how broad-based community organizing was successful in fighting the charges and making sure that the Jena 6 were freed.

* Redeye_Jena6.flac: (7:30)

That was Jordan Flaherty on the Jena 6. Content originally produced by the Redeye Collective for Vancouver Cooperative Radio. Visit the Redeye Collective at c-o-o-p-radio [dot] org [slash] redeye

Features

[9:20] Honduran Human Rights Lawyer Speaks Out Against Coup Regime

On June 28, 2009, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was arrested inside the presidential palace by soldiers and flown out of the country by a military helicopter to Costa Rica.

Immediately, Zelaya’s removal from power brought condemnation from the international community, including all of Latin America, the United Nations, the European Union, and reluctantly, the US.

The Organization of American States suspended Honduras from its ranks and still to this day will not recognize the government under the current leadership of Porfirio Pepe Lobo.

Since then, daily murders and human rights abuses have plagued this small Central-American country.

Honduran human rights lawyer, Nectali Rodezno, is on a speaker's tour across the mid-Atlantic which is sponsored by Witness for Peace. Last week, he spoke at CMU to raise awareness about recent human rights abuses, and the 30 million dollars in aid, including military, that the U.S. gave Honduras in March of this year.

Mr. Rodezno, through an interpreter, explains the types of abuses committed by government forces under the coup regime.

The elections that put the current government under the leadership of Pepe Lobo were wrought with fraud and corruption. The Organization of American States, the United Nations, the European Union, and the Carter Center all refused to send election observers to Honduras in condemnation of the coup. Despite the illegality of the coup, the U.S. does recognize the results of the election and continues to put pressure on the international community to recognize the coup lead government.

Mr. Rodezno talks about the U.S.’s recognition of the elections despite the obvious fraud that ensued.

Mr . Rodezno continues to explain that Zelaya was not popular under the business leadership of the country.

Amongst Zelaya’s many reforms while in office was a decree raising the minimum wage that according to US based NGO, Witness for Peace, climbed from $157 to $290 a month, which is quite a sum for a country with nearly a 60 percent poverty rate.

One of the most controversial moves was Zelaya's proposal to rewrite the constitution. The current constitution was written during a brutal military regime in the early 1980s. Zelaya's proposal was to hold a referendum to vote on whether an assembly should convene to rewrite the constitution. Shortly thereafter, the military broke into the presidential palace, arrested and removed Zelaya from power. The soldiers were acting on orders of General Romeo Velasquez, two time graduate of the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

Mr. Rodezno addresses a question from the crowd on what he would like to see changed in the constitution.

Asked what new laws the government had passed since the coup, Mr. Rodezno named quite a few laws that have spurred forth protests in the past year.

As Mr. Rodezno mentioned earlier, one of the strongest forces and most heavily repressed is the teachers union with more than 60,000 members. They have been calling for a constitutional assembly and organizing against the Pepe Lobo regime from the beginning.

Over the summer, the teachers union ended a 4 month strike in August due to an agreement by the government to return 200 million dollars taken out of the teachers Benefit and Pension Institute, according to Victoria Cervantes of the organization, La Voz de Los Abajos (The Voice of Those from Below). Ms. Cervantes continues to say that not everyone is suffering though.

In October, high-ranking functionaries of the Lobo regime did receive a salary increase of $540 a month. Their monthly total salary is now almost $5000 a month - about 25 times the minimum salary.

For more information, go to www.witnessforpeace.org

Intro

You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.

[ 3:30 ] Musical Break

Anti Flag's Justin Sane took part in the November 3rd anti-fracking rally, spoke to the audience, and sang a new song he wrote about the Gaslands:

Ending

Calendar of Events [3:00]

And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:

* The 29th Annual Three Rivers Film Festival began on November 5th and continues through the month. Documentary films Rustbelt listeners may find interesting include Tony Buba's "Four Decades in Braddock" on November 10th; Tom Hansell's "The Electricity Fairy" about the energy crisis on November 13th; Jim Seguin's "What Does Trouble Mean? Nate Smith’s Revolution", chronicling Nate Smith’s journey from boxer and crane operator in 1960s Pittsburgh to becoming the charismatic leader of the Black Construction Coalition, also on November 13th; and Brian Iglesias and Anton Sattler's "Chosin" about Korean War veteran's memories of the horrific battlefield screens on November 19th. For more information see www.3rff.com.

* Duquesne University presents a panel, "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.

* Former Secretary of State of the United States, Madeleine K. Albright, will speak at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland on Wednesday, November 10th at 8:00 PM. Albright’s lecture will be the closing event of the day-long Third Annual Conference of the Pittsburgh Middle East Institute. There will be a protest outside. For more information, see pittsburghmideastinstitute.org

* Fracked off about destructive natural gas drilling? Come to a public meeting to discuss next steps in the anti-fracking movement on November 12th at East Liberty Presbyterian Church at 6:30pm. Organized by the Marcellus Shale Protest alliance.

* Sembène [pronounced simBEN]– The Film & Art Festival — celebrates the life, showcases the work and honors the legacy of African Filmmaker Ousmane Sembene [pronounced OOSman simBEN], the ‘Father of African Cinema’, through film and other complementary cultural events. The two-day film festival opens Friday, November 12th, at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health Auditorium and runs through November 13th. For more information, visit sembenefilmfestival.org, S-E-M-B-E-N-E Film Festival dot ORG.

* “I HEART The Middle East” is an entirely student led and organized conference taking place at the University of Pittsburgh on November 12-14th. I HEART The Middle East is being held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in order to explore the complex human reality of life in the Middle East and its relationship to current global challenges.” Please visit www.1life1world1peace.org to find out more information and register for the conference.

* The 2010 Allegheny County "point-in-time survey" estimated that every day, approximately 875 children receive homeless services in Allegheny County. On November 17th, as part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Pittsburgh’s Homeless Children Education Fund is holding “A Purposeful Gathering for Awareness of Homeless Children” at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Lawn in Oakland. November 17th at 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit homelessfund.org

* On November 19th-21st, as part of its 50th anniversary activities, Amnesty International is holding its 2010 Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference in Pittsburgh. Join hundreds of fellow Amnesty International members and supporters for our Annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference to kick off Amnesty International's next 50 years of global human rights activism in the great city of Pittsburgh, PA. For more information, visit amnestyusa.org.

* 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.

[1:00] Outro

[ Outro Music ]

Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WIUP Indiana, WNJR Washington, WLRI LanChester, and FRSC Santa Cruz.

Our hosts this week are [ ] and [ ] with contributions from Seth Bearden, Emily DeMarco, Lizzie Anderson, Jessica McPherson (pronounced MAC-FIR-SON) 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.

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Rustbelt Radio for Nov. 08, 2010
by Pittsburgh Indymedia: Rustbelt Radio Collecti Monday, Nov. 08, 2010 at 7:38 PM
radio@indypgh.org

audio: ogg vorbis at 30.2 mebibytes

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