community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show: Computer hackers target military contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton; The Third Circuit Court of Appeals holds up limits on Media Consolidation. A report back from the Allied Media Conference on Gang Injunctions in California; A look into woman's role in the Egyptian uprising and beyond; Pittsburgh-based unions offer support to Mexican workers amid so-called labor reform south of the border and more in our local and global headlines.
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Rustbelt Radio for July 18, 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.
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We turn now to local stories.
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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 other independent news from around the world.
In a session entitled “Using Media to Fight Against Policing and to Build Community Self-Determination,” Molly and Whitney, organizers from Critical Resistance spoke about their recent campaign against gang injunctions in Oakland, California. Critical Resistance, an organization based in Oakland, California, works to build an international movement to end societies’ reliance on prisons and abolish the prison industrial complex. The session spoke about using media tools as a part of a multi-faceted campaign strategy to question police actions, and have been used by Oakland’s Stop the Injunctions Coalition to shift the debate and make a solid case against them.
Residents in Oakland have been fighting against gang injunctions since they were announced in 2009. According to the report Critical Resistance released in February of 2011 called “Betraying the Model City: How Gang Injunctions Fail Oakland,” Gang injunctions are a civil suit filed against a group of people considered a “public nuisance,” prohibiting them from participating in certain activities, usually including: appearing in public with a labeled gang member, being outside between 10 pm and 5 am, possessing graffiti paraphernalia, possessing firearms, drugs or drug paraphernalia, or wearing colors that police associate with gangs. The first gang injunction started in 1987 in Los Angeles and now there are over 60 communities across California where such injunctions have been filed.
Molly explained how someone is classified as a gang member if they are found in a group of three or more people, wearing similar colors with similar names. Whitney speaks to how many people are on these injunctions and who they are:
The organizers outline the consequences for someone who is on the injunction getting caught by the police doing the things they are forbidden from doing:
From this small number of people who are on this gang injunction, many city resources have been spent. The city’s Attorney’s Office has spent nearly 2,000 staff hours on two Oakland injunctions, legal fees for the North Oakland injunction have topped $430,000, and over $7,000 have been spent on outside legal fees, with more expenses detailed in the report.
The coalition does not say that all the people who are on the gang injunctions are innocent, but want to link them to a larger struggle against repression. The report found that gang injunctions don’t reduce violence, drain community resources, increase police harassment and profiling, are used as tools of gentrification, and divide communities.
Some of the tactics that this coalition uses against injunctions and violence in their communities are: to educate people on injunctions and gangs in general, to partner with community organizations that teach kids about bikes and art, ones that do interventions for people involved in gangs and also build a communities’ power to deal with gang activity on their own, coordinate a story telling project on different communities’ own responses to harm, and make their own media rather than relying on the corporate media to speak for them.
The following statement, said by a longtime North Oakland community member, Margaret White, is found in the report: "The need to bring more funding into the community is long overdue, and desperately needed. Our children are failing at life, because we as a society and government are failing them . . . Money spent to file and enforce this injunction could be spent much more effectively on prevention and other community interventions . . . we need to address the disparities in our social, economic and educational arenas." In keeping with that spirit, the Stop the Injunction Coalition is demanding that instead of money and energy being spent on the injunctions, for these resources to go to "safe, relevant and accessible after-school programs and youth centers, job training and placement programs, affordable mental and medical health care and substance treatment programs, alternative ways of dealing with harm, conflict and trauma, affordable housing and re-entry support and services for people coming home from prison."
You can find more information about prison abolition and gang injunctions at criticalresistance.org.
On Thursday July seventh, the third circuit court of appeals ruled against the FCC, rejecting FCC rules that would have weakened media ownership regulations. The case, Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, focused on rules established by the government agency in 2007 , that would have allowed one corporation to own multiple newspapers, radio stations, and cable stations within the same market demographic. Prometheus argued in court that the rules would weaken competition in the media landscape, and would reduce the number of diverse opinions in the media. The third circuit agreed, further charging the FCC to better consider how to support ownership by "women and people of color."
Corey Wright who helped argue that case on behalf of Prometheus and other public interest groups, sums up the premise and impact of the case.
The case stems originally from a 2007 decision by then-Chairman Kevin Martin to allow companies to own both a broadcast station and a newspaper within the same city. If it had not been struck down by the third circuit court, many public interest groups believe that the new rules would have brought on a wave of consolidations and buyouts, and thus further reducing the number of sources from which most Americans receive their news. This is an especially timely decision, as both here and abroad concerns have been mounting about the ethics of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
Public Interest groups have been strongly in favor of the verdict. Tim Karr, Campaign director for Free Press and SavetheInternet.com called the decision a "sweeping victory," and that the decision sent a strong message for the FCC to put public interest before corporate profit. Mr. Karr also supported the court's acknowledgment of the failure of the FCC to foster ownership among women and minorities. He cited research conducted by Free Press in 2007, that found "racial or ethnic minorities own just 7.7 percent of all full-power commercial broadcast stations and just 3.26 percent of all TV stations, though they account for 33 percent of the U. S. population." Ms. Wright, also spoke as to why media consolidation poses a problem for women and minority ownership of stations.
This decision is the most recent in a long history of debate over the limits of consolidation in the media, and the role of government regulation. Many corporations believe that any regulations create an unnecessary burden, and that the government should allow the market to regulate itself . Opposed to this many public interest groups believe that conglomerations are ultimately more concerned with the fiscal bottom line, than with serving the public at large. Additionally, many in the public interest sphere worry that with only a few corporations controlling the flow of news and information, the public losses out on a diversity of unbiased and critical journalism. And finally, that these mega conglomerates will be able to set the agenda of news to serve their self-interest. Again Corey Wright speaks about this history of media ownership regulation.
For more information about media consolidation, or to learn what you can do to stop it, visit www.freepress.net, or stateofthemedia.org.
On July 13th, hackers broke into a server belonging to military contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton and published a database containing some ninety thousand military e-mail addresses and passwords.
The hacktivist group, AntiSec, posted a press release naming the hack, Military Meltdown Monday: Mangling Booz Allen Hamilton.
Booz Allen is a major defense contractor. It’s the sixtenth largest recipient of federal contractor spending, generating more than $3.7 billion in 2010 alone.
In the press release, they note that the Washington Post reported that Booz Allen received two no-bid government contracts that escalated from $2 million to ultimately $70 million dollars.
Also included in the press release is a video showing a man wearing the iconic mask of the blockbuster hit, V for Vendetta, reading the following statement.
The video continues with a mock invoice for an audit of Booz Allen’s security systems.
Military contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton's revolving door policy was first detailed by journalist,Tim Shorrock, in a 2007 interview with Democracy Now.
Within this interview, it was noted that Booz Allen was a sub-contractor on two National Security Agency projects, both related to warrantless wire tapping as developed under the George Bush administration.
This is not the first time the hactivist group, AntiSec, has struck federal contractors.
Just one week earlier on July 9th, AntiSec infiltrated the servers of FBI contractor, IRC Federal, posting information it found in internal emails on the website, Pirate Bay. Like Booz Allen, IRC Federal also works with the Department of Defense, among other federal agencies.
The hunger strike launched by prisoners to change policies and conditions in the Security Housing Unit or SHU [pronounced: shoe] a solitary unit in California’s Pelican Bay State Prison has entered its third week. Rustbelt Radio spoke with Molly Perzig of Critical Resistance, one of the organizations that makes up the prisoner hunger strike solidarity network, a coalition that has formed to support the hunger strikers. Here she talks about what mediation the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or CDCR has engaged in:
As the strike goes on the situation for many prisoners has become more serious:
Though there have been demonstrations in more than two dozen cities, organizers of the strike know how difficult it is to spread information of their struggle:
More information, prisoners’ interviews and statements and updates on the strike are located at www.prisons.org where a link to the solidarity network’s blog can be found.
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.
Women served as a cornerstone of the spring protests in Egypt against dictator Hosni Mubarak. Estimates taken by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights have suggested that women made up between 30 and 50 percent of the mass of people swarming the Cairo Streets. It was in this communal spirit of change that many women believed they would be able to take a more active role in Egypt’s government. Sadly in the months since Mubarak has left Egypt many women have faced strong resistance to this idea of equal status, from the very men that they stood with in the streets. It is in this context that we bring you the following piece, "Tahrir Square: Back to Square One," which was written by Robert Saleem Holbrook, an activist who is incarcerated in SCI Greene in Waynesburg Pennsylvania, and was featured on the website "Steal this Hijab."
That was also music from Ramey Essaam, Fairouz [PRONOUNCE: fay - ROOZ], and Natacha Atlas [PRONOUNCE: Na TASH ah AT-las]
In the July 4th edition of Rustbelt Radio, we heard about the struggles of Mexico’s mineworkers union, and the solidarity offered to it by Pittsburgh-based unions.
Today we hear from a leader with another independent union in Mexico, the electrical workers. Bonnie Pfister has this report.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
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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,Peter Claus and Lizzie Anderson with contributions from Lizzie Anderson, Peter Claus, Seth Bearden, Robert Saleem Holbrook, Bonnie Pfister, Jessica McPherson, and Hannah Taleb . 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 bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.