community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: Pranksters release a fake F.O.P. press release claiming an about-face regarding the Jordan Miles investigation; The Pittsburgh chapter of the Human Rights Coalition offers a report from Pennsylvania's prisons; We hear coverage of Philadelphia's People's Tribunal Against Police Brutality and Misconduct; Special coverage in honor of the one-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake including a commemoration of the tragedy by a local rapper, information on a local company who plans to tap energy resources in the country and also a report from Independent journalist Jordan Flaherty on corporate profiteering at Haiti's expense and more in our local and global headlines.
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Rustbelt Radio for January 17, 2011
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 wrct.org and for download, stream or podcast from our website at radio.indypgh.org.
We turn now to local stories.
On January 10th, two days before the first anniversary of the beating of student Jordan Miles, media outlets in Pittsburgh received a spoof press release claiming the police union supports an indictment of the three accused officers.
In the same vein of famed pranksters The Yes Men, the press release announced a false date for a press conference and went on to state, [quote] It is undeniable, simply from looking at photographs of Jordan Miles taken on January 13th, 2010, not only that Miles' injuries cannot be considered to be a byproduct of legitimate, professional police work, but that a crime was committed against a young man innocent of anything to deserve his treatment [end quote]. The press release also had an altered insignia of the Fraternal Order of Police and changed the Latin motto from "Law is the safeguard of liberty" to "Justice in the place where pigs wallow."
The head of the police union was quick to denounce the hoax and threaten charges against the pranksters.
On the following Wednesday, the Alliance for Police Accountability organized a candlelight vigil in Homewood to support an investigation against the three officers. The officers are on paid administrative leave awaiting the results of two ongoing investigations.
We now leave you with a poem by Pittsburgh activist, Paradise Gray, called "Jordan and the Three Pigs: A Mid Winters Night Scary Story."
For more information, check out: justiceforjordanmiles.com
Fed Up!, the Pittsburgh chapter of the Human Rights Coalition, gives us this week's prison radio report.
On December 18th around 9:30 pm, 29-year old Jeffery Burton, a prisoner in the Restricted Housing Unit at Mahanoy in eastern Pennsylvania, had a seizure and fell, injuring his head. When neighboring prisoners called for help without response from guards in the unit's control room, they resorted to pressing their intercom buttons.
Corrections officers reportedly turned off the intercoms. Half an hour later, at the 10pm change of shift, an officer finally responded. Burton was taken to the prison medical center with his head still bleeding. He suffered another seizure on January 4th.
The Human Rights Coalition has received reports that Andre Jacobs, a prisoner in solitary confinement, has been physically abused, threatened with death, denied medical treatment, called racial slurs, and had his legal property withheld and confiscated by prison staff at the Huntingdon unit in central PA in the past weeks.
In 2008, Mr. Jacobs was awarded $185,000 in a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in which he represented himself. Andre has been held in solitary confinement since 2001, when he filed his first lawsuit at age 19. He is now 28 years old.
Since that victory he has been transferred to three different prisons, repeatedly assaulted, attacked with electro-shock and chemical weaponry, strapped to the “restraint chair” for 18 hours at a time, held naked in a cell for seven days on multiple occasions, deprived of food and water, and subject to other human rights violations. Andre has also been accused of dozens of incidents of misconduct, effectively keeping him buried alive in solitary confinement.
Fed Up! reports that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has been made aware of these criminal violations on multiple occasions but has taken no action to hold the accused perpetrators accountable.
Also at the Huntingdon unit, a prisoner held in solitary confinement reported to the Human Rights Coalition that guards regularly deprive people of their meals. When the prisoner filed a grievance, he was falsely accused of cursing at a staff member. This prisoner is diabetic, and was initially sentenced to 30 days of solitary confinement after cutting in line to get insulin on a day when his sugar level was high.
Letters continue to come to the Human Rights Coalition from prisoners from across the country, adding their voices to a Statement of Solidarity for Georgia prisoners who recently engaged in a general strike at least six state prisons. The multi-racial strike was the largest in U.S. history and brought public attention to the abuse and neglect of prisoners in Georgia and nationwide. As of this report, more than 3200 people have signed the statement of solidarity, including hundreds of prisoners.
This information was excerpted from the January 14th edition of the PA Prison Report from the Human Rights Coalition. Listen to more prison reports at ontheblockradio [dot] org broadcast Fridays at 9pm on WPEB in West Philly, 88.1 FM. For more information, visit www.hrcoalition.org.
A Pittsburgh-based company plans to mine for coal and build incinerators in Haiti under the guise of alternative energy development.
Starting next year, International Electric Power plans to begin mining lignite -- commonly referred to as soft coal -- to create electricity, as well as collecting massive amounts of Haiti’s waste for incineration.
Not widely known except amongst industry circles is Haiti’s vast amount of minerals and resources. According to an article by human rights attorney, Ezili Danto "Up in the North and in the Central Plateau of Haiti, with the price of gold doubling and fuel skyrocketing in the last five years, the Canadians, US, and others were digging deep into the Haitian mountains for gold, copper, granite, chalk, coal, limestone, and mining for Haitian lignite and building power plants and dams to service their greedy excavations".
On top of the pollution and devastation normally associated with most mining operations, especially in Pennsylvania and Appalachia, is the pollution that accompanies waste incinerators.
Incinerators are the largest contributors in the U.S. to hundreds of toxic, cancer-causing chemicals known as dioxins, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The struggle against incinerators in low income communities in the United States is well documented. From East Liverpool, Ohio to the south side of Chicago, communities have been fighting for clean air for decades. Alternatives to simply burning waste exist, and numerous studies point to more cost effective and eco-efficient methods to manage waste.
To put this mining endeavor into perspective, we hear again from Ms. Danto, who is a member of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, about the mining rush in Haiti prior to last year’s earthquake. Entitled Haiti: Bonanza for Foreign Mining Companies, this interview was conducted by Chris Scott of CKUT radio in Montreal.
While Ms. Danto continues to address the devastation wrought by mining on the environment and health of Haiti’s population, she recounts the underhanded measures taken by foreign companies to acquire land and mine on it.
Energy production projects are expensive to get started, and that’s where Renewable Manufacturing Gateway comes in. Described by CEO and founder, Peter Daily, as a “non-profit merchant bank,” it seeks to help growing energy and clean tech companies, according to Pittsburgh Business Times. Both companies are founded by Peter Daily and located downtown on the 18th floor of two Gateway Place.
For further developments in Haiti, check out ezilidanto.com
In other news, local hip hop artist and activist, Jasiri X, marked the one year anniversary of the deadly earthquake in Haiti with the release of his newest song, "4Haiti." Last year, Jasiri X was among the organizers of "Hip Hop for Haiti"--a benefit concert for disaster relief.
Rustbelt Radio spoke with the Pittsburgh rapper about the current situation in Haiti, and why he chose to donate the proceeds from his song to a disaster relief fund that purchases solar generators for camps in Haiti.
That was local hip hop artist, Jasiri X. To download "4Haiti," visit jasirix.bandcamp.com. Proceeds go towards purchasing a combined water purifier and generator.
We now turn to "4Haiti."
That was "4Haiti," by local artist Jasiri X.
[ 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, continuing with news from Haiti.
One year after the deadly earthquake, the death toll in Haiti is now estimated to be 316,000 people. As Haitians gathered to take part in ceremonies to commemorate their loss, more than a million people remain displaced, and clean water and adequate health care remains scarce. We bring you an article published in the webzine Monthly Review by journalist Jordan Flaherty addressing the corporate profiteering of this disaster during this time of great need and suffering.
In honor of MLK Day, we bring you the following piece by Glen Ford from Black Agenda Radio. He honors the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. and asks what this civil rights movement leader would do in these current times.
* What_Would_Dr._King_Do_.wav: (3:49)
An anti-war and international solidarity organization in Minnesota raided by the FBI last fall was infiltrated by a law-enforcement officer. Lawyers for the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee have learned than an officer named Karen Sullivan infiltrated the group in 2008. About a year later, she joined the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Freedom Road member Steff Yorek said "We are appalled that we were infiltrated by police agents, targeted for our political organizing and views. This violates our rights to freedom of association and speech." Federal prosecutors in Chicago recently confirmed Sullivan’s role to the activists’’ defense attorneys. For more information, visit StopFBI.net.
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.
Vania Gulston, from Philadelphia's On the Block Radio, presents an account of the People’s Tribunal Against Police Brutality and Misconduct in that city. This tribunal was organized by The Askia Coalition Against Police Brutality - a coalition that was formed in the wake of Askia Sabur’s brutalization by police on September 3rd, 2010 - in order to address the issue of police brutality and discriminatory policies like “Stop and Frisk.”
For more from Gulston, check out On the Block Radio - a show that takes a critical look at the criminal justice system, at ontheblockradio.blogspot.com
And now we present the Pittsburgh Indymedia Calendar of Events:
*The University of Pittsburgh will be honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through a range of programs this week. On January 20th At the William Pitt Union there will be a Race and Diversity Lecture with Tim Wise that is open to students and community. For more information go to pitt.edu
* Pittsburgh Movement for the People presents "Free Speech Open Mic Night" on Friday, January 21st at 7PM, at the Beehive, 1327 East Carson Street. For more information check out at beehivebuzz.com.
* The 13th Annual Summit Against Racism will take place Saturday January 22nd at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church on Highland Avenue from 9 am until 1 pm. For more information, visit blackandwhitereunion.org.
* Are you cheesed-off about food sustainability issues? Has police brutality got you beat? Are you ready to blow a gasket at the natural gas industry? Going loco about what hoodlum developers are doing to your local hood? The corporate media overlooks the issues you care about. Learn how to make your own media and get the word out! The Pittsburgh Independent Media Center will be hosting its first media training session of 2011 to bring in the new year and new voices! On Sunday, January 23rd come learn the fundamentals of audio production, which can be applied to radio, podcasts, the web, and multimedia. Activists, advocates, scholars, bloggers, students, organizers and any interested folks are welcome, No previous experience required! You will learn about independent media, interviewing skills and audio recording, story construction and audio editing with the free software Audacity. This event is free and open to the public; snacks and audio equipment will be provided. Bring a laptop and headphones if you have them, but they are not required to attend this class! It will be held at Carnegie Mellon University, Hamburg Hall, Room 1002 on Sunday, January 23rd from 2-5pm. Write to info.indypgh.org for more information.
* Local environmental organizations will host Anna Lappé, author, activist, and co-founder of the Small Planet Institute for a free lecture entitled “Firing-Up Food Activism, Cooling-Down the Planet,”. Lappé will discuss sustaining communities and encouraging innovative and democratic solutions to hunger, inequality, and environmental degradation. Wednesday January 26th at 5:00 PM, in Chatham University Eddy Theatre at 104 Woodland Road. For more information visit chatham.edu/events
* Carnegie Mellon University's Center for the Arts in Society presents a free lecture by Political Cartoonist Gary Huck, titled "Radical Cartooning in the Labor Movement as History" on Wednesday, January 26th, at 6 PM in the McKenna Room on the second floor of the University Center. Visit cmu.edu/events" for more information.
* Pittsburgh Filmmakers presents Nigel Cole's "Made in Dagenham" through January 27th. Set at a Ford manufacturing plant in England in the late 1960s, this inspirational drama was an audience favorite at the Three Rivers Film Festival. The film follows a group of women autoworkers as we see how one unlikely woman’s courage inspires a community in the fight for equal pay. See more information at pghfilmmakers.org.
* Are you holding local, progressive events? Get them on this calendar by telling us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[ 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 Emily Laychak and Bonnie Pfister with contributions from Vania Gulston, Emily DeMarco, Nigel Parry, Lizzie Anderson and Seth Bearden. 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 again in two weeks for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.