Confidential #3 – 1/30/05

Bulletin #3
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Please feel free to distribute.
www.struggle-and-win.net

ALERT FOR SAN FRANCISCO MUNI RIDERS:
A broad coalition is forming to oppose the latest proposed fare increase for MUNI, and to stop proposed service cuts. “We’re going to ask riders not to pay,” says Richard Marquez of Mission Agenda. The Coalition for Transit Justice has called a press conference and rally for MONDAY, January 31, at 12:30pm, on the steps of City Hall. MUNI director Michael Burns has asked for a “declaration of fiscal emergency” to impose a fare hike and service cuts. The coalition includes Senior Action Network, Mission Agenda, Chinese Progressive Association, Living Wage Coalition, SF Youth Commission, and Religious Witness for Homeless People, among many others. It’s time to stop balancing the budget on the backs of poor and working people, and to make downtown pay its fare share. See you Monday, and stay tuned…

THE WAR ON FREEDOM
1. Seattle students chase Army recruiters off campus.
2. Army recruiters turn high school into lunchtime shooting range.
3. Rumsfeld to Germany:  Quash the torture complaint or I’m not coming.
4. Washington DC pays for illegal mass arrests at World Bank and IMF protests.
5. Stop the sale of Caterpillar bulldozers to Israel.
6. ChevronTexaco posts record profits.

THE STRUGGLE FOR FREE SPEECH RADIO
 7. Issues around attack on Robert Knight still simmering.
8. Guns and Butter, safe for now?
9. Campaign to bring Bill Mandel back to the air.
10. Democracy Now! to be broadcast at 7am and 7pm?

1. Seattle students chase Army recruiters off campus.

Students at Seattle Central Community College chased Army recruiters off their campus on the day of Bush’s inauguration, January 20. Students surrounded the recruiters’ table and tore up their literature. After a ten-minute standoff, campus security officers decided to escort the recruiters off campus. At the same time, hundreds of Seattle college and university students were walking out of classes to protest Bush’s inauguration.


2. Army recruiters turn high school into lunchtime shooting range.

When Army recruiters made a recent visit to College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, California, they arrived in a glossy big rig, bearing realistic-looking handguns, with compressors to provide a recoil kick, that shot a beam of light at targets. Prizes were given to the best shots. “In this post-Columbine era, target practice with high school students leaves me speechless,” said teacher Jen Kennedy. If students brought to school anything like the recruiters brought, they’d be expelled, said Junior Isaac Miller. To add insult to injury, the recruiters set up their rig next to the school’s tsunami relief fund-raising effort. Before they were allowed to handle the pistols, students had to supply their names, phone numbers, addresses and Social Security numbers. When student Dustin Lovejoy told the recruiter he was too young to join the military, he was told to sign up anyway. “I’m only 15,” said Lovejoy.


3. Rumsfeld to Germany: Quash the torture complaint or I’m not coming.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a complaint last November with the German Prosecutor’s Office against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, alleging war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. CCR said it turned to German prosecutors “as a court of last resort” because the US “is unwilling to open an independent investigation… and refused to join the International Criminal Court.” German law allows for such legal proceedings independent of the place of crime or origin of the accused. The complaint over abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq also names former CIA director George Tenet and eight other senior military and civilian officials.

It has now been learned that immediately after the complaint was filed, Rumsfeld canceled a planned February trip to Germany for a Munich Security Conference, telling German officials he would not attend the conference unless Germany quashed the complaint. So far, German officials have not given in to Rumsfeld’s blackmail. Go to CCR’s website at www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/ccr/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=325 to send a message to German prosecutors to actively pursue the war crimes complaint.


4. Washington DC pays for illegal mass arrests at World Bank & IMF protests.

Washington DC officials agreed to pay $425,000 to seven people illegally arrested at the September 2002 demonstrations against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). This bodes well for a separate class action suit filed on behalf of all 400 people arrested that day. DC Council member Kathy Patterson said that Police Chief Charles “Ramsey and other police officials had conspired to cover up evidence of wrongdoing during the mass arrest.” Demonstrators and others were corralled, even though the police never gave an order for the crowd to disperse. Under the terms of the agreement, police must issue a warning to disperse before they can arrest protesters, and cannot arrest people simply for protesting without a permit. All officers must also have clearly displayed badge numbers. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a National Lawyers Guild attorney who helped file the class action lawsuit, said her clients are seeking more substantive changes in police procedures and will not be satisfied until the department eliminates “contemptuous” policies that block and silence demonstrators.


5. Stop the sale of Caterpillar bulldozers to Israel.

A campaign to oppose the sale of Caterpillar bulldozers to Israel is picking up steam. Caterpillar bulldozers are used by Israel to destroy Palestinian homes and ancient olive and fruit orchards. Over 50,000 Palestinians have been made homeless by Caterpillar bulldozers, which Israel buys in large part with US military aid funds. Boot Cat (www.bootcat.org), is circulating a petition that will be delivered to Cat shareholders at their annual meeting in Chicago on April 13, and is calling for local demonstrations at Cat dealerships on that day. It’s time to stop corporate profiteering from Israel’s occupation of Palestine.


6. ChevronTexaco posts record profits.

ChevronTexaco reports that 2004 was the most profitable year in its 125-year history. Investors made a 26% return on their capital for the year. The company made $3.4 billion in profits. No blood for oil!

7. Issues around attack on Robert Knight still simmering.

As reported in “Confidential” #1, Robert Knight, a WBAI programmer who airs a segment during every Flashpoints program, reportedly had his desk, notes and computer rifled by Ayo Harrington, a WBAI producer, and then was allegedly threatened by local engineer Tony Ryan for protesting Harrington’s actions. Knight reported on a live feed to the Peoples Radio event last Friday night, January 28,
that WBAI management has still taken no disciplinary action against either Harrington or Ryan. Knight is asking that Harrington be denied access to his office, and that management issue an “unambiguous statement… reaffirming the confidentiality of journalistic and investigative sources, and the protection thereof. Whatever my personal fate may be, the loss of sanctity for news sources and notes goes beyond the individuals involved, and impinges on the hard-earned reputation of Pacifica (and WBAI) and secure outlets for investigative journalism.”

WBAI Program Director Bernard White reportedly wrote in a recent memo, “we don’t know whether this is about safety or ego or whatever… It’s bad enough that individuals have chosen to make this a national issue in an attempt to usurp a local solution.” If the listeners of the network were more confident that management would act appropriately to guarantee workplace safety, we would leave it to the local stations to handle. I certainly don’t have that confidence.


8. Guns and Butter, safe for now?

“Confidential” reported earlier on fears that there was a “purge in preparation” at KPFA that might threaten the popular Guns and Butter program. Last Wednesday, the show did not play due to technical difficulties. General Manager Roy
Campanella II was reportedly inundated with calls from the show’s listeners. Subsequently, Campanella called Bonnie Faulkner, the show’s producer, and told her that Guns and Butter is safe. Faulkner spoke at the Friday night Peoples Radio event and thanked listeners for their support.


9. Campaign to bring Bill Mandel back to the air.

A delegation of Bill Mandel supporters is planning to deliver a petition to General Manager Campanella calling for bringing back the renowned Mandel to the KPFA airwaves for a regular show. Mandel was the first programmer fired for violating the KPFA gag order, way back in 1995. Others who were later fired for the same transgression, Robbie Osman and Larry Bensky, have rightfully been returned to the air. Mandel, one of KPFA and Pacifica’s most outstanding and popular programmers, hasn’t yet. It’s about time. You can sign onto the petition at www.billmandel.net .


10. Democracy Now! to be broadcast at 7am and 7pm?

The Program Council is empowered to make programming decisions, but their proceedings are supposed to be kept “confidential” — a serious breach of Pacifica’s commitment to transparency. However, word has gotten out that General Manager Campanella wants to abide by a previous decision of the council, ignored by former Interim General Manager Jim Bennett, to replace the current 6am and 9am morning broadcast of Democracy Now! with a 7am time slot. Campanella also reportedly wants to rebroadcast Democracy Now! at 7pm, as many listeners have asked that Democracy Now! be rebroadcast in the evening. If this occurs, it will be a significant victory for listeners who have been fighting for this for two years.