Rustbelt Radio for September 25, 2006
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
- We'll hear people's outrage as they testify at a local Citizens' Police Review Board meeting
- We speak with the Bit and Brace Project about their upcoming performance on gentrification
- Subcommandante Marcos speaks about the future of the Other Campaign
- A report on how the FCC suppressed the release of documents revealing the dangers of media consolidation
- Argentinians react to the sentencing of a police officer from the 1970's dictatorship
- and more in our local and global headlines
Rustbelt Radio airs live every Monday from 6-7 PM and again Tuesday morning from 9-10 AM on WRCT 88.3FM from the Carnegie Mellon campus in Pittsburgh, PA. We're also on Pacifica affiliate WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area, at a new time: Thursdays from 6-7 PM. And we're on at a new time on WPTS, 92.1 FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, Saturday mornings from 9-10 AM.
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 at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to local headlines.
[2:45] Immigrants Raided in Robinson Twp.
Federal immigration and local law enforcement officers arrested 22 undocumented immigrants in the Pittsburgh region as part of a five-day sweep across the state and in Delaware called "Operation Return to Sender." The operation resulted in the arrests of 115 people, including fugitives and other immigration violators. In this area, people were arrested in Robinson Township, Glassport and Aliquippa.
Since Operation Return to Sender began in late May, there have been more than 12,000 arrests nationally. Although federal agents specifically target fugitives, any other immigration violators found can be arrested and detained as well.
"This isn't a random sweep," Mr. Raimondi, a spokesman with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (or I.C.E.) said. "We're targeting people who have already had their day in court." They are immigration violators who have been arrested at least once before -- often in traffic stops -- and whose deportation has been ordered by immigration courts.
Vic Walczak, legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, questions the process used in getting illegal immigrants to court in the first place. He said, "We're concerned the police may be stopping and questioning people without having probable cause. Simply being Latino is not probable cause; there has to be a legitimate basis for a stop. Otherwise, it's "ethnic profiling.”
The 115 arrested this week are from 29 different countries. In fiscal year 2006, which concludes at the end of the month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement fugitive teams have arrested more than 23,000 people. There are now 52 such teams, up from 18 last year. The detention watch network, a national coalition that addresses the detention crisis and helps detainees, has reported more than 23,000 have been arrested.
In all, 65 law enforcement officers worked on the most recent operation, including I.C.E agents and local police officers.
In this fiscal year, the U.S. attorney's office has prosecuted 60 defendants on immigration violations, up from 35 last year and 22 in 2004. The vast majority have involved Mexican immigrants.
Ben Yerger of the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center described what will happen to these immigrants after their arrests:
In response to the 12 immigrants who were raided at their apartment building, members of the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network and Civil Rights for Immigrants organized a meeting with Robinson Township police chief Dale Vietmeyer. Stay tuned to future reports on the results of this meeting.
[1:00] Smoking bans in Philly & Pittsburgh
Philadephia mayor John F. Street has announced he intends to immediately start enforcing new legislation banning smoking in indoor public places. He said he is waiting only for details from the Health Department, which he said is charged with enforcement.
The Philadelphia law will exempt sidewalk cafes, tobacco stores, private clubs and so-called local taverns -- places where drinks alone constitute at least 90 percent of gross sales.
Allegheny County Council is expected to vote this Tuesday on legislation to ban smoking in most indoor public places.
The county ordinance, which would go into effect 90 days after approval, is likely to face legal challenges. The state's Clean Indoor Air Act of 1988 contains a clause that appears to pre-empt municipalities other than Philadelphia and Pittsburgh from enacting local smoking bans.
If council approves the measure, it would go on to Chief Executive Dan Onorato for his approval or veto.
[5:45] Partisan Project
Pennsylvania senator, Rick Santorum, is widely reviled by local and national members of the progressive community, so much so, that the national advice column Savage Love named an unwanted byproduct of anal sex after him. As Santorum faces a tough re-election challenge, a local Pittsburgh group is distributing free posters to energize the progressive base. The posters intend to call attention to Rick's dirty deeds. But some progressives are finding the posters to be racist.
The planned exhibition of the Partisan Project Poster series will feature a public discussion of the interpretations on the posters. Rustbelt Radio will have the time and date of this discussion once it is scheduled.
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
[ 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 weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
[3:00] FCC supresses reports on media consolidation
Following public pressure, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin has ordered an inspector general investigation into the suppression of two reports on the impact of media ownership. During the recent confirmation hearings to appoint Martin as chairman for a second term, a former FCC employee leaked the news to Senator Barbara Boxer's office that two reports conducted by FCC economists had been suppressed by senior officials at the agency.
One report found in 2004 that local television ownership increases local news content by nearly five-and-a-half minutes, and increases total news content by six minutes; in a 30-minute broadcast. Adam Candeub, formerly a lawyer for the FCC, said senior managers at the agency ordered that (quote)every last piece (endquote) of the report be destroyed.
The second report showed that after the 1996 Telecommunications Act loosened owernship rules, the number of commercial radio stations had increased by nearly 6 percent, but the number of radio station owners had fallen 35 percent. That report was dated 2003.
The FCC is required to examine the impact of decisions it makes about media ownership rules on localism, competition and diversity. The FCC generally defines localism as the level of responsiveness of a station to the needs of its community. In 2003 the FCC enacted new rules that substantially loosened controls on media ownership, allowing greater corporate media consolidation. At that time the agency pointed to evidence that (quote)commonly owned television stations are more likely to carry local news than other stations (endquote).
Georgetown University's Institute for Public Representation says there is another study, on the impact of media ownership on localism in radio, that has also been suppressed. On August 10th the Institute made a Freedom of Information Act request for the study.
During the same time that it has suppressed reports showing that deregulation of media ownership has negative impacts, the FCC has publicized reports that show positive impacts of deregulation. In 2002, the FCC released twelve studies that suggested that media consolidation did not in fact hurt diversity or localism. All reports were publicly funded and produced by FCC economists. Senator Boxer has asked in letter to the FCC that the agency (quote) examine whether it was then or is now the practice of the FCC to suppress facts that are contrary to a desired outcome. (endquote)
FCC Chairman Martin wrote in a response to Boxer (quote) I want to assure you that I too am concerned about what happened to these two draft reports;and will cooperate fully with the inspector general (endquote).
However, the FCC is currently considering new regulations to loosen media ownership controls, and media advocates fear that the Inspector General report will come too late to impact the FCC's review of the proposed regulations' impact on localism and diversity.
[4:30] Zapatistas and "El Otro Grito"
On Saturday September 16th, Mexico celebrated its national independence day. Presidential Challenger Lopez Obrador lifted the street blockade his supporters had maintained for several weeks. On this day, he held a National Democratic Convention, where hundreds of thousands of his supporters named him quote “legitimate president”. He then said he would appoint his own cabinet and have his own inauguration in November. Meanwhile, Subcommandante Marcos of the Zapatistas, spoke in the town of San Salvador Atenco. He commented on the recent declaration of Felipe Calderon as the winner of the Presidential election, the mass gatherings of Lopez Obrador's supporters in the zocalo, or central square, of Mexico City, and the future of the Other Campaign. He also showed his continued support for the political prisoners of Atenco.
- (about 3:45 of audio of marcos)
That was just Subcommandante Marcos speaking in San Salvador Atenco, the Mexican town which was the site of a brutal police invasion on May 3rd and 4th of this year. The Other campaign was halted as a result of this attack, and just now, after 5 months, the campaign will continue its tour beginning on October 9th to the 11 northern states of Mexico which it has yet to visit.
[2:30] E-Coli, Spinach, and Factory Farms
Last week, an outbreak of a deadly strain of E-Coli bacteria was found on spinach in the United States. More than 140 people were infected, and one person is reported to have died from eating contaminated spinach. The outbreak prompted food markets around the country, and here in Pittsburgh, to pull bunches of raw spinach from their shelves. While initial reports in mainstream media sources pointed to growers of organic spinach as culprits, citing the use of animal manure-based fertilizer as a cause for bacterial infection; recent reports from such sources as Common Dreams, Infoshop News, and the Organic Consumers Association all give evidence that the real cause of the E-coli outbreak lies in the feeding and farming practices of the beef and dairy cattle industry.
While E-Coli bacteria are a common presence in the digestive tracts of many animals, including humans, this particular strain, O157:H7 is too strong to be killed by human's acidic stomach juices. It does, however, thrive in the bellies of cows fed massive amounts of grain, the bellies of dairy and meat cattle. Research by infectious disease specialists has indicated that outbreaks like the recent E-Coli tragedy do not normally occur in places like Asia or Africa. Studies show that cows fed excessive quantities of grain on factory farms are more likely to host harmful bacteria. Farms located close to factory farms are likely to be affected by contaminated sludge from factory farms, and in turn, to spread infections through contaminated produce.
A quote form the Organic Consumers Union page reads:
"Pathogens, like E. Coli, are becoming increasingly common in our food supply thanks to massive animal feedlots that generate huge quantities of manure and the routine dosing of conventional farm animals with antibiotics. Organic farming is pasture based and explicitly prohibits the use of dangerous antibiotics, hormones and chemical pesticides."
The movement for organic farms faces many challenges in the United States. USDA statistics report that in the United States, only 0.1% of all pasture and 0.4% of all cropland is certified organic. Lichtenstein,the country with the highest percentage of organic farmland, has slightly over 25% of its farmland designated organic.
[3:30] Argentinian Police Officer Sentenced & Disappearance
The victims of crimes committed under the Argentinian military dictatorship of the 1970s — murders, kidnappings, torture, rapes, the abduction and sale of infants — have not received justice for nearly 30 years. Many of the officials who carried out these crimes fled the country, have died, gone into hiding, or have been able to avoid jail time due to amnesty laws. In 2005, Argentina’s Supreme Court overturned a pair of amnesty laws, and now the trials of military and police officials accused of human rights violations are finally under way.
In late June, the first trial, involving the most senior surviving police commissioner general named Miguel Etchecolatz, (et-che-coe-lahtz) began in La Plata, Argentina. At City Hall, witness after witness described how Etchecolatz and the forces under his command ordered, supervised, and then covered up kidnappings and torture sessions.
Miguel Etchecolatz was the main assistant to Gen. RamÃ³n Camps, the chief of the Buenos Aires provincial police in the first phase of the dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. In the 1980’s Etchecolatz was sentenced to 23 years in prison for human rights violations during that period, but the conviction was nullified by the two amnesty laws passed later that decade.
Just last week, on September 18th, Etchecolatz was sentenced to solitary confinement and life in prison for the crimes of genocide. Despite his pleas with the courtroom, the Judge was unable to read the entire sentence, due to the cheers and shouts that rang out upon hearing the verdict:
That was just the sounds of the courtroom reacting to the sentencing of police commissioner Etchecolatz, after his three month trial for the crimes he committed and oversaw from 1976 to 1983.
A key witness to his trial, Julio Lopez, described the secret detention camp he was forced to endure in the seventies. When he did not arrive to court on Monday morning, the day of the sentencing, people began to worry.
The 76 year old Lopez has now been missing since that Monday, without any information on his whereabouts. Witnesses in Etchecolatz’s trial received many death threats, which is adding to the concern for Lopez’s life. On Wednesday the 20th, a body was found just 15 blocks from the home of Judge Carlos Rozanski, who was the presiding judge for Etchecolatz’s case. The location where the body was found, was a popular site to deposit the bodies of the detained and diappeared during the last military dictatorship.
After four days, the government launched an investigation into the location of Julio Lopez.
In order to call for the finding of Jorge Julio Lopez, alive, approximately 5000 activists, human rights organizations, and supporters of the disappeared gathered together for a march on Thursday the 21st. They gathered in front of the Government House to demand confirmation from the authorities regarding the identity of the found body. One march participant stated "this affects all of us." Activists will continue to march for Julio Lopez until he is found.
You can read more independent global news stories by visting indymedia: I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G.
And now for our feature stories.
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
[20:00] Citizens Police Review Board
"Who will protect us from the Police" asked Kay daButton Pusha Bay at a Citizens Police Review Board meeting held last Monday September 19th in Downtown Pittsburgh . She was one of up to 100 outraged citizens who attended this meeting after they read a Pittsburgh Courier story which told the story of Hill District Resident Pamela Lawton and her young children.
Lawton in attendance at this meeting gave her testimony in front of the Citizens Police Review board while supporters in the audience stood in solidarity.
Lawton stated that on Aug. 26, she was driving her green, 1998 Ford Windstar with her two daughters, 7-year-old Joshalyn, 8-year-old Jasmine, and two other children ages 2 and 3. She said she was pulled over by police officer Tatusko at the intersection at Kentucky Street and Negley Avenue. He ordered her to “get your hands up,” and then pulled out his gun, on the passenger side of the vehicle when a Pittsburgh Police cruiser signaled for her to pull over.
Lawton said when she asked ‘What’s the problem, officer?’ he repeated ‘Get your hands up, and "pulled out his gun and pointed into the passenger side of the window where my youngest daughter was trying to get her seatbelt off." Lawton said that she did put her hands up and then spent the next 20 or 30 minutes pleading with officer Tatusko to put down the gun. So, I put my hands up.”
According to Lawton she testified that she and her children spent the next 20 to 30 minutes trying to convince officer Tatusko to put his weapon down or at least address his concerns to her. She testified that at one point, Tatusko cocked his gun to prepare to fire, while still training the gun on the children on the passenger side, telling 8-year-old Joshalyn if she moved again, he would “blow her brains out.”
“The children were in the car screaming and crying,” she wrote in a statement. “My hands were still in the air and I was screaming ‘Help, someone help!’ over and over again.”
“I understand why in a case like this you have to find out if it’s true or not,” said Lawton, concluding her testimony. “I’m here to tell you this is real so please help me.”
Many people expressed concern that the Pittsburgh Courier was the only media outlet that had covered this story. ONe man questioned how the media coverage would have been different if the scenario was slightly different.
:40 * medialack.ogg
Minister Jasiri X had stood at the podium with Lawton as she gave her testimony. He told us what he thought should happen to the officers involved.
1:10 * jasiri.ogg
Kay dabuttonpusherbay of Just Pushing Buttons Productions later spoke with Rustbelt Radio to explain why she had attended the meeting.
2:00 * buttonpusha1.ogg
When asked if anything positive could come out of this meeting dabuttonpusha responded:
1:25 * buttonpusha2.ogg
Paradise Gray a community activist and hip hop legend was also in attendance at the meeting.
1:20 * paradisegray1.ogg
He also expressed concern that Pennsylvania was going to hire 10,000 more police officers
:40 * paradisegray2.ogg
As stated in his testimony Jasiri X and a group of men had started walking around Homewood in response to recent incidents when 6 people were shot in a 21 hour period. He spoke of the active role people can take in improving their community
:40 * jasiri2.ogg
One of the community problems many people spoke about concerned youth. Two teenage boys testified before the Board about an incident that happened in Hazelwood. .
They said they were at the park when they were stopped by the the Task Force, FBI, (and) State police. 17-year old Bryan Randolph of Arlington testified “I asked why we were stopped, they didn’t answer me. I asked again why we were stopped, no answer. One officer said ‘I arrested you last week for selling drugs.’ Last week I wasn’t even in Hazelwood. I told him ‘I’m not from here, I’m from Arlington.’ He said, ‘It don’t matter do as I say.’ He accused me in front of my friends of being a drug dealer, in front of everybody. He defamed my character in a neighborhood where I’m not even from.”
Dareen HIll of Hazelwood echoed his story and added that he was searched for drugs and accused of flashing gang signs after he gave his friend a thumbs down sign.
One woman of the Hill District, and two witnesses told a story of her 13 year old daughter being hit in the head and arrested by police when she became vocally upset as they were punching her older brother in the head while arresting him.
One young woman told a heart-wrenching story that she previously had not had the opportunity to go public with. Here she recounts her tale
2:20 * baby.ogg
Like this young woman; many who had testified had never attended a CPRB meeting before and many didn't even know of it's existence. Others were seasoned activists who had devoted much of their lives to fighting police brutality and had sought justice for Johnny Gammage, a local man who had been killed by the police in 1995.
Some had been involved with the campaign to get the Citizens Police Review Board established by public referendum in 1997.
Many of the 7 member board expressed concern that People only attend their meetings when a widely publicized incident occurs and not on a more regular basis. Richard Carrington Vice President of the CPRB spoke about this phenomena
2:00 * richardcprb.ogg
Some citizens expressed interest win being more involved and had some recommendations for improving the CPRB
2:40 * williams.ogg
Some people said that throughout the years they had filed numerous complaints with the CPRB but had seen no results. They said that the CPRB is not given enough power and that often officers do not show up for their hearings. Members of the CPRB felt that with more citizen support they would be able to have more clout. They encouraged people to come to monthly meetings which are held the Fourth Tuesday of every month at 6PM. Residents can also file complaints with the CPRB by going to their website at www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/cprb or by calling 412-765-8023 The Citizens Police Review Board said they are investigating Pamela Lawton's case and are looking for witnesses.
[15:46] Gentrification Performance Interview
[1:45] Calendar of Events
And now we present the Indymedia calendar of events:
- Tonight at 7:30pm, immediately after our broadcast, we will present a screening of the film "i". This documentary from Argentina describes the creation of an Indymedia collective amidst the economic collapse of 2001 and also the relations between media and power. The film's two directors will also be present. Thats tonight, Monday September 25th at CMU in Porter Hall room 100 at 7:30 PM.
- On Friday September 29th at 7:30 pm at Belvedere's in Lawrenceville on 4016 Butler Street, the Bit n' Brace Project, a radical artists' collective from Washington DC, will present a free puppet show on gentrification. All ages are welcome to attend. The goals of the show are to break down the process of gentrification, development, and displacement, identify our personal roles and experiences in affecting and being affected by changing neighborhoods, strategize ways to take back control of our cities and contest gentrification,and empower our selves to create healthy, self sustaining, and culturally rich communities
- On Saturday the 30th, at noon, join Pittsburgh Friends of Immigrants, for an Immigrants' Rights march outside of the Federal Building on Grant and Liberty Avenues downtown. This event is in response to the latest passages of anti-immigrant policies.
- And finally, this week you can watch the latest edition of Rustbelt TV, a television show produced in collaboration with Rustbelt Radio's news from the grassroots. The show will be broadcast on Pittsburgh community television (PCTV21) at several different times on the following days in September:
- Tuesday the 26th at 9am
- Friday the 29th at 6pm and
- Saturday the 30th at 2pm
- In addition to these broadcasts on PCTV21, Rustbelt TV is available at any time on the internet, at the website video.indypgh.org
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts this week are Carlin Christy and Jessica McPherson plus contributions from Vani Natarajan, Andalusia Knoll, Morgan Ress and Abie Flaxman. This week's show was produced by Donald Deeley, Matt Toups and Natalia PatiÃ±o. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. All of our shows are available for download or podcast 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 weekly review of news from the grassroots.
Rustbelt Radio for September 25, 2006 [ogg vorbis]
by Indymedia Rustbelt Radio collective
Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2006 at 4:55 PM
firstname.lastname@example.org 412-923-3000 WRCT 88.3FM
audio: ogg vorbis at 20.7 mebibytesaudio: ogg vorbis at 20.7 mebibytes