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Rustbelt Radio for Jan. 1, 2012
by Pittsburgh Indymedia: Rustbelt Radio Collecti Tuesday, Jan. 03, 2012 at 12:36 AM

On today's show we bring you a special year-in-review episode, highlighting our best stories from 2011.

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Rustbelt Radio for (month) (day), 2012

[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 we bring you a special year-in-review episode, highlighting our best stories from 2011.

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.


Local News

[4:00] Prison Justice 2011

On February 28th Rustbelt correspondent Mana Aliabodi reported on the issue of childhood incarceration. Filmmaker Daniel Birman released a documentary about one such teen offender called “Me Facing Life: Centoia’s Story.” Screenings of the documentary across the country have been accompanied by events to raise awareness of this issue.

In 2011, Rustbelt Radio also expanded our long-standing coverage of prison justice issues by building a solid collaboration with the folks at the Human Rights Coalition who publish the weekly Pennsylvania Prison Report. HRC is a group of current and former prisoners, family members, and supporters, whose ultimate goal is to abolish prisons. The prison report is built from HRC members research and from their system of logging abuse complaints from inside prisons through direct communications with prisoners and families. Archives of all the reports can be found at the HRC website, The following excerpt is from a December 5th special edition of the prison report:

[4:00] Immigration

On February 28th, Rustbelt correspondent Bonnie Phister brought us this report on the ripple effects of Arizona-style immigration law in Pennsylvania.

This has been an excerpt from a story original aired February 28th, produced by Bonnie Phister.

[9:00] Justice for Jordan Miles in 2011

* Paradise-NoJustice-17.wav: Paradise-NoJustice-17

2011 was a busy year in the Jordan Miles case, opening with the first anniversary of Miles' beating at the hands of officers David Sisak, Richard Ewing and Michael Saldutte. Days before the January 12th one year marker, a spoof Fraternal Order of Police press release saga began to unfold.

An angry police reaction in the media was the first sign of trouble. Then, many in Pittsburgh and beyond were shocked when senior officers raided a coffee shop and DVD rental store, to confiscate its Internet router and computer in search of the spoofer. The cops' over-reaction--to a Yes Men-type prank--uncomfortably highlighted a climate of police impunity in the city.

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In May, the Justice Department announced it would not be pursuing any charges against the three officers that beat Jordan Miles, sparking a series of protest demonstrations by the Alliance for Police Accountability and other local organizations.

Alliance chair Brandi Fisher asked the obvious question:

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Chief Nate Harper indeed used the end of the Justice Department investigation to clear the officers of any wrong-doing. At the press conference announcing their reinstatement, the mayor talked of the need for moving on and [quote] "healing".

Chief Harper then went as far as to suggest Jordan had knowingly run from police, instead of from unidentified men moving quickly towards him in the dark, yelling, “Where’s your money? Where’s the drugs? Where’s the gun?”:

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The series of protests that followed the Justice Department announcements saw the first public appearance and speech by Jordan Miles himself, a CAPA High School honors student at the time of the assault, who had played viola for Michelle Obama and other First Ladies during the G-20:

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The life-altering results of the police violence against Jordan and the deep emotional cost for the entire Miles family has often felt utterly negated by the actions of the City and Federal authorities.

During these last two years, the City gave awards and bonus pay to the three suspended police officers, ultimately excusing them from all wrong doing, yet had not a single word of comfort for the Miles Family. The Justice Department investigators made a big show of their long witness list, but only interviewed one of the three cops, a massive error.

Jordan's childhood friend, Bria Adams, spoke on the steps of City Hall.

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Towards the end of the year--in October--legislation originally titled the "Jordan Miles Public Safety Agenda", was finally passed by City Council--and passed unanimously--after many months of negotiations and some entertaining City Council histrionics from the police union.

The new legislation paves the way for police reporting on their stop and search proceedures, shining an important new spotlight on how different neighborhoods are policed, and how race in particular plays a part.

As the second anniversary of Jordan Miles' beating approaches, there are no signs that the activists who have strived for two long years are giving up. Rather, they seem encouraged by their successes in long-term mobilization and, in particular, the concrete legislative victory in City Council.

Community activist Paradise Gray called on the public to not give up:

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For more information about the ongoing campaign for Justice for Jordan Miles, visit

This year review was complied by Nigel Parry.

[ 7:00 ] Gay Bashing

The following are highlights of a story which aired on August 29th about anti-gay violence in Bloomfield and police interaction with demonstrators:

That was highlights from a piece that first aired August 29th on gay bashing and police and demonstrator clashing.

The original interviews and story producing was done by Emily Laychak and Lizzie Anderson.

[11:30] Shale Gas Year in Review

Shale gas drilling was also a tremendous issue in our region in 2011. As drilling increased, its impacts were felt by more and more people; and in response, more communities organized to resist.

On February 14th we reported on health problems from drilling in Southwestern Pennsylvania, where there is a tremendous concentration of wells.

The drilling company did not admit fault, but did eventually agree to provide the family with trucked in water supplies.

When she spoke with Rustbelt, this woman wanted to remain anonymous, but she eventually decided to take her story fully public, and it was published in as part of a New York Times Magazine feature "Fracturing Pennsylvania" on November 20th.

On February 29th and March 14th, Rustbelt brought you reports on the struggles that farmers are facing as drilling competes for the same land used to grow our food.

Steven Cleghorn of Paradise Farms, a goat dairy in Jefferson County:

Greg Boulos of Blackberry Meadows farm in Natrona Heights

Jenny and Tom Lisak own a berry farm in Jefferson County:

Drilling is also having a tremendous impact on Pennsylvania’s public lands; on March 28th we brought you this story:

Many of those fighting against fracking are making connections with other struggles against fossil fuel extraction. On June 20th we brought you a report from a rally to save Blair Mountain, site of an historic labor struggle, from mountaintop removal mining:

In the second half of 2011 our coverage focused on community organizing around drilling. On September 12th and 26th, we brought you reports from a protest and conference in Philadelphia, and on October 10th, we covered a protest in Butler County against the damage fracking is causing there. Original interviews and story production of these pieces were done by Shadbush Collective Members.

On November 29th, we brought you this report from downtown Pittsburgh:

The DUG east piece story was produced by Gretchen Neidert.


[ 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 highlights from our international coverage in 2011.

Global News

[ 8:15] Women's Role in Egypt Revolution and Beyond

On July 18th, we aired this piece written by a correspondent on women's role in the Egyptian revolution and beyond.

That was a piece on women's role in the revolution in Egypt and after, written by Robert Saleem Holbrook, which aired originally on July 18th. Also featured was music from Ramey Essaam, Fairouz [PRONOUNCE: fay - ROOZ], and Natacha Atlas [PRONOUNCE: Na TASH ah AT-las]. The piece was recorded by Lizzie Anderson.

As an update, DemocracyNow reported on the recent mid-December clashes between the military in Egypt and protestors, where 14 people were killed and hundreds injured. They also describe a YouTube video, which shows a [quote] young woman being dragged and beaten by military police. The top half of her body is bare, her blue bra exposed. Her abaya [PRONOUNCE: ah-by-ah], or robe, has been ripped off and surrounds her upper body, showing that she was wearing a hijab [end quote]. These violent attacks have come during the first parliamentary elections since Mubarak was ousted in February of 2011.

[ 4:00 ] Haiti Update

A year ago, Rustbelt Radio commemorated the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti by reading a piece from Jordan Flaherty on the still deplorable health and sanitation conditions in the country and the corporate greed that was continuing to stall improvement. Rustbelt volunteer Emily DeMarco also interviewed local rapper Jasiri X on his involvement in the disaster relief by holding a benefit concert in 2010 and marking the anniversary with the release of the song “4Haiti.” Jasiri X chose to donate the proceeds from his song to a disaster relief fund that purchases solar generators for camps in Haiti.

Another local connection highlighted was found in the intentions of a Pittsburgh-based company, International Electric Power, to mine for coal and build incinerators in Haiti under the guise of alternative energy development.

The following are clips from a piece made by Seth Bearden on the companies intentions:

Now, two years after the disaster, International Electric Power’s website still tells of the plan highlighted above as being a future project.

The last two years have seen many deaths and much destruction associated with the earthquake. The most recent component being a cholera outbreak that has infected a half a million people and killed a suspected 7,000. Lawyers representing the victims are threatening to sue the UN for its accused role in the outbreak, which is said to stem from reckless UN peacekeeper behavior allowing raw sewage to leak into Haiti’s largest river.



You've been listening to Rustbelt Radio's Best of 2011 episode, bringing you highlights from the last year of news from the grassroots.

[4:00] Musical Break

And, finally, no year in review would be complete without mentioning the Occupy movement, which we'll continue to bring you coverage of in 2012.

When Occupy Wall Street activists took over Zuccotti Park in New York City on September 17th, the independent livestream channel Global Revolution broadcast raw footage to worldwide audiences of up to 23,000 viewers. Mixed in with the reportage from the movement was a compelling mix of music videos and relevant humorous clips from movies, such as the "I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Going To Take It Any More" scene from Network.

Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X's music video, "America's Most Liveable City"—about the two different Pittsburghs experienced by black and white residents, was given a lot of airplay on Global Revolution. Inspired by his music becoming a key part of the initial impetus of this unique activist movement, Jasiri penned one of the first tracks for Occupy Wall Street and filmed the video in Zuccotti Park. Playing on Rustbelt Radio now, "Occupy (We the 99)".

That was "Occupy (We the 99)" by Jasiri X. Download "The Whole World Is Watching" mixtape for free at


[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 were [ Gretchen Neidert ] and [ Lizzie Anderson ]. This week's show was produced by Shawn Watson. Rustbelt Radio wishes to thank all of the amazing show contributors, whether as hosts, directors, editors or story makers, from 2011: Seth Bearden, Jessica McPherson (FIR, there is no FEAR in McPherson), Emily DeMarco, Nigel Parry, Hannah Taleb, Gretchen Neidert, Lizzie Anderson, Bonnie Pfister, Emily Laychak, Peter Claus, Mana Aliabadi and Juliana Stricklen with outside contributions from Ben Fiorillo, Ben Grubb, Annie Defazio, Jeremy Fleishman, Robert Saleem Holbrook, Amos Levy, Jordan Flaherty, Vania Gulston and the Human Right’s Coalition Fed Up Chapter with their weekly Prison Report. We want to acknowledge some outside radio sources we have gratefully used this year, including Mumia Abu-Jamal's Prison Radio broadcast and the Black Agenda Report. Thank you to our trusty producers, Shawn Watson and Phill Cresswell – without you, this show would literally not go on the air. Rustbelt also has endless appreciation for those who agreed to be interviewed or have their music played on our show for sharing their wisdom and insight.

We wish you the very best for 2012, and we hope that this might be the year for prison justice, a healthy environment, economic justice, and freedom from police brutality. If it happens, we promise we'll still find good stuff to cover. In the meantime, though, we want to end by thanking all the people in our fair city of Pittsburgh and beyond who contribute to making this world a place in which we all may thrive.

You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio in the new year! 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, and follow us on Twitter @pghimc. 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.

© 2001-2009 Pittsburgh Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not endorsed by the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center.
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