WBAI's Law and Disorder? I ended up with four e-mails asking about the pirate station. I don't know. You've got a very small area downtown and it's during business hours. They play
Law and Disorder and I don't know what else in full but I did drive around with my cousin and we picked it up, like he'd told me would. I've heard a big of the show (probably 15 minutes) that way. Otherwise, they're playing music and another program that I'm not sure what it is. The music is usually Bob Marley (my cousin's heard Ziggy as well) and some songs that are mixes where they take a thing from one of the cable channels of some guy screaming and mix it so he sounds like an even bigger idiot. This is mixed with music that's Eastern and has beats added to it.
There's this thing from time to time that's a rain sound effect and we're guessing that's the "station name." I was telling my cousin and some friends about the show a few weeks back and my cousin says he heard it and I know he didn't. But he starts telling me about what he heard and he did hear it. It's some very, very low watt station. You really can only get it downtown. The other show isn't Democracy Now! but I don't know what it is. It's a news program where they were interviewing people about the war. There may be other programs too. But we've driven around downtown repeatedly to try to figure out what it's playing and we catch the music or Law and Disorder (plus the other show one time). He/She/They play Law and Disorder at lunch time and they may do it every day. They do it on Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday that we can confirm. You've got about three streets running north and south that you can hear it on and maybe three times as many running east and west. But if you turn a corner on the wrong street, you lose it.
My cousin here's it all the time because he works downtown and he can hear it the second he's driving out of the parking garage. That's probably all I'm going to say about it because I thought it was pretty cool. When I was seven years old, I got a set of walkie talkies. I always played with one and would let my friends and my brothers and sisters play with the other. My sister decided to play like it was a light saber with the antenna extended and broke it off. So I just had the one. But I'd play dee jay a lot after that. I'd hold down the button on the side forever, song after song. Every now and then, between songs, I'd say some stuff. When my finger was tired and I had to stop, I'd listen, we lived next to the highway, and see if any of the truck drivers were talking about it? Most of the time, no. Every now and then someone would make one comment and that would make my day. I had a "listener."
So when it turned out that there was some low watt broadcast station in our city, I thought that was pretty cool. But I had one e-mail saying I needed to contact the FCC and how awful it was because this pirate station was interfering with "real radio stations." I don't think so. I think it's pretty cool. But I'm not going to write about it here again. He/She/They aren't hurting anyone and I don't want to cause any problems for them.
I think it's great. Whether it's the music or the programs, someone's sharing. We don't have any radio stations worth listening to and certainly nothing that's playing anything that people really care about (except maybe commercials and the money they can bring in) so I think it's
great. Maybe it will fold in a few weeks, maybe it will go on for a few years? But whoever is doing it cares and I think that's great.
This week on WBAI's Law and Disorder, Heidi Boghosian was the "anchor." They had a series of interviews and speeches and Boghosian set them up explaining where they were recorded and that sort of thing. The speeches were my favorite part of the show. I enjoyed the other parts and Mike's "Law and Disorder interviewed Suzanne Vega and Collective Soul" covers two interviews. But Dalia Hashad said a few weeks ago that America needs to wake up and I agree with that. Ruth is trying to focus just on Iraq right now. She said I could grab both speeches, but I'm going with Michael Smith's because I think Ruth can more easily work Michael Ratner's speech into her report in some way.
By the way if you listen to the program (or want to) via the WBAI's archive, Brandon e-mailed to say it's under "Joy of Resistance." It airs on Monday morning's right after Democracy Now and Brandon said it's labled "Joy or Resistance" this week (that's another show) so just pretend it says "Law and Disorder" and click for that program.
Brandon also said he recommends listening on Winamp because when he uses Real Player or Windows Media Player he has a lot of problems with it dropping out or with it getting stuck.
"Dangerous Times" was the theme of the Left Forum which is where the speeches by Ratner and Smith were given. Michael Smith traced the real rise of empire to the 1991 privatization of national property in the former Soviet Union. He spoke about how that gave a number of people the plan for Iraq. If that idea's new to you, you should read Naomi Klein's "Baghdad Year Zero"
He spoke a book he, Michael Ratner and two of Michael Ratner's nieces worked on that was a collection of William Kunstler's writings (the nieces were Kunstler's daughters). They had a title for it and they wondered about it: The Emerging Police State.
Smith said, "That's a bit much. Perhaps we should calm down?"
But then they realized that what was happening in this country was too much, not the book title.
He made the point that, "The Final Solution wasn't announced as the Final Solution. . . . Things creep up and creep up." Now we're at a point where things could become "irreversible."
He spoke of Hitler's rise and how he didn't seize power immediately. He talked about the buring of the Reichstad and how it was, falsely, blamed on the communists. And from there you got all this demonizing. Hitler came to power on fear, preaching fear and being the one who would save you. Sound familiar?
He spoke about Lynne Stewart and I had an e-mail from a right-winger about the post last week and how I was a "Black Radical." If the e-mailer is my alternative, fine by me. But he brought up Lynne Stewart in his e-mail and noted how C.I. and Mike are Lynne Stewart supporters (at their sites they've covered this many times). He wanted "to let you know, she's a T-E-R-R-O-R-I-S-T." No she's not. And Michael Smith dealt with that. She's a lawyer who fought to uphold the Constitution and our rights. You can trash the law, and Bully Boy has, and maybe you'll catch someone who's guilty but you'll also put a lot of innocent people behind bars. Lynne Stewart was doing her job. She was an attorney. That some sixty-plus year-old grandmother who has spent years and years in a court room can be seen as a terrorist shows you how bad things are today. I'll speak for everyone doing a site in this community here and note, we all support Lynne Stewart. We all think the conviction needs to be overturned. Mike and C.I. talk about it more because they blog more (C.I. will kill me for that, because C.I. does more "entries" than any of us).
You may feel a little less scared at night because Lynne Stewart was wrongly convicted (and not of breaking a law -- find the law she broke) but in ten years when the hysteria dies down, this conviction is going to be seen as the tragedy it was.
I learned of Lynne Stewart in real time when they were railroading her. It was before the trial and I always appreciated that C.I. wrote about it. You saw a lot of people, including some lawyers, writing stuff that was really weak-ass. "Oh, of course I wouldn't do what she did but . . ." Or some saying, "They need to go for a lesser charage." Maybe they thought they were practical? I thought they were chickens. I love that about The Common Ills, there's no concern on C.I.'s part about "How will I sound?" Somethings do have a clear right and wrong and, when they do, you need to say so, you need to speak out. Which was the point Michael Smith was making. If you don't do that, the country you know is gone.
There was a big name lawyer who wrote a piece for a left magazine and it was so weak-ass. If that's the best he can do, maybe he should have said nothing. A woman was railroaded and trying to look "reasonable" doesn't (and didn't) save anyone. Lynne Stewart's attornies are suing to find out if her phone calls were tapped. I bet they were. What I wish she'd do is sue the government for refusing to allow her to do her legal duties to her client.
I don't think she'd win. But I think if that was front and center in a case, some of the weak-ass lawyers who couldn't defend her (out of fear of losing their pundit gigs or maybe what parents of their students might think) would have to deal with the real issues of the case.
I'll say Lynne Stewart's innocent. I'll say it to anyone. She is. And it's a honor to defend her. I won't be creating an excuse in ten years when people are horrorified by what was done to Stewart. I'll be able to say, "I spoke out. She was innocent and if people hadn't been so scared, they would have spoken out as well."
She's an attorney who tried to do her job. She didn't break a law. She "broke" a guideline that the government created. I'd love to see that challenged in court. If the government wants to have laws, you go through Congress. You don't create your own and call them guidelines.
Lynne Stewart's not a terrorist and she's innocent of breaking any laws. The woman should be set free, the conviction overturned. She's innocent.
Now Heidi Boghosian was on the panel that Michaels Smith and Ratner were speaking from so hopefully, we'll be able to get a speech from Boghosian. (She did a great job as anchor.)
Two statements I want to note from Michael Smith's speech are: "They're spying on attornies representing controversial clients"; "They're telling attornies you can't say what you want to with respect to your client." I want to note them because I was on the phone with Ruth and I asked her if she attended that forum because she wrote this Saturday:
A Daniel Ellsberg who does go public will, no doubt, need a attorney. If lawyers and their clients cannot speak freely, that is a problem. If everyone has to fear that their conversations are being monitored, a clampdown can set in.
She says she wished she'd gone but she didn't. She credits the similarity to "Professor Smith's lessons in the class Law and Disorder at University WBAI. She said Amy Goodman has spoken of that during fundraising, how WBAI is the people's university. I like that. You do learn a lot. I also learn a great deal at University KPFA. I'd probably learn a lot at others as well but I have problems trying to listen online with two and the third seems to always play music when I have time to listen. I'll go ahead and say what I think about that because I don't like it. Pacifica has a station in DC and they devote too much programming to music. They're in the nation's capital. There's really not an excuse for it. C.I. really does mean it when giving the speech that if you're lucky enough to have a Pacifica in your area, you should listen to it. And C.I. does listen to that one on DC trips. I don't have that kind of dedication. They need to lose about ten hours of music programming, at least, if they hoped to interest someone like me. If they don't have the money to produce their own shows, air Law and Disorder and other strong programs. But I think playing music for hours after hours when you're in DC is really wasting everyone's time. Leigh Ann Caldwell covers stuff from DC but she's not with that station. She's doing it with Free Speech Radio. She does a great job. I remember being so disappointed when we were all in DC and I was asking what the Pacifica station was because I was sure they were going to be doing strong coverage and I find it on the dial and it's jazz music.
I like music. There's a program I'll listen to on Saturdays on WBAI that's music. If I'm not doing something for the church or for my family (meaning when I'm home), I'll listen to it. It's a pretty interesting mix and the guy who hosts it always has some stuff to say. When we were all out in California, I heard some really good music programs on KPFA. World music, folk, rock, etc. I like jazz. I like it enough to take about an hour of it in a club once a month. To me, the DC station is too much a jazz station. Which I always see as "Black people classical music." I like jazz, my family likes jazz but if you're African-American, you know what I'm talking about. It's Huxtable Music.
Maybe they have a wealthy listenership but I saw a lot more people with my skin color in DC than I did White people and they didn't look like they were rolling in it. (And thanks to C.I. because when we did a real sight seeing thing on our second group trip, C.I. didn't just make it about the big landmarks but showed us the other areas and there's is so much poverty in DC.) The station plays some rap as well. Late at night, if I remember right. But to me, I felt like I was listening to a classical music station. That seemed a real loss of what could be a station reaching out to people who really needed it. In some of those areas, I bet people didn't have money for cable. I was really surprised to see DC the first time and more so on the second visit because I thought I'd be used to it this time. There is so much poverty. There's so much decay. You can see where the money goes and where it doesn't go.
The signal came in loud and clear on the radio, I just didn't hear much worth listening to.
I'm sure some will disagree and think, "Well we need jazz." We "need" jazz like we need steak -- meaning you need to take care of the basics before you start focusing on the items we can live without and I don't think they focus on what's needed. I like that thing about how the stations are like universities but I think the one in DC just offers a musical appreciation course and not much else. It was like NPR and I found that very disappointing.
I'll probably cover an interview Dalia Hashad did when I blog on Thursday.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq Snapshot:"
Chaos and violence continue.
Happy talk continues.
In the land of reality, Medea Benjamin and Raed Jarrar examine the neutered "peace plan" put foward by occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki and the United States. Benjamin and Jarrar remind that a World Public Opinion poll this year "showed 87% of the general population [of Iraq] favoring a set timeline for U.S. withdrawal." This as USA Today reports on the USA Today/Gallup Poll which found that "[a] majority of Americans say Congress should pass a resolution that outlines a plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq" and that "[h]alf of those surveyed would like all U.S. forces out withing 12 months."
In other reality news, Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, over 5% of Iraq's population is displaced with over 150,000 having fled their home (a figure that does not include those who have been taken in by extended family members). In addition, Reuters notes that the figures for children only: 40,000 displaced children since February 22nd of this year. UNICEF, in its 1996 study (the most recent) looking at the effects of war on children found, for the 1980s: "2 million killed; 4-5 million disabled; 12 million left homeless; more than 1 million orphaned or separated from their parents; [and] some 10 million psychologically traumatized." Using figures up through the 80s, UNICEF found that civilian victims of war "has been rising steadily".
Reuters notes that in Baghdad, one car bomb took the lives of three peopl at a market and wounded at least ten while a second bomb took the lives of three police officers with another three wounded.
Al Jazeera notes that a car bomb in Kirkuk which took the lives of three and wounded at least seventeen. The Irish Examiner notes that the car bomb attack "came three days after a roadside bomb killed the chief of intelligence in Kirkuk" (Associated Press). Also in Kirkuk, Reuters notes "an off duty soldier" was killed by assailants "while driving his car."Kidnappings?Updates on two items. First, we noted yesterday the 10 kidnapped males. Steven Hurst and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (Canadian Press) report that the ten were all Sunni and students who were kidnapped "from their dormitory rooms" at Iraqi Technology University. The AFP reports that the kidnappings took place in "broad daylight" and that the kidnappers used "five sports utility vehicles with tinted windows".
Emma Griffiths (Australia's ABC) reports that the four Russian diplomats -- Fyodor Zaytsev, Rinat Aglyulin, Anatoly Smirnov and Oleg Fedosseyev -- have been confirmed dead by the Foreign Ministry of Russia. The four were kidnapped on June 3rd in Baghdad when their car was attacked by unknown assailants. During the attack a fifth diplomat,Vitaly Vitalyevich Titov , was killed. On Sunday, a videotape was released which showed what appear to be some of the four being killed. While the press reports were circulating, the Russian government noted repeatedly that the murders had not been confirmed. The Mujahedeen Shura Council has asserted since last weekend that they had killed the four diplomats.
Meanwhile, as Amy Goodman noted on Democracy Now! today, "former CIA officer Tyler Drumheller said he repeatedly warned administration over the discredited Iraqi source known as 'Curveball'." Ignoring the warnings and advise, Colin Powell used the information for his now infamous UN speech that Powell has described as a "blot" on his career/record. Yesterday in Washington, DC, Democrats in the Senate held a hearing on the intelligence issue where, among others, Larry Wilkerson and Paul Pillar testified. Speaking of the administration and the intelligence community, Pillar stated, "I would describe the relationship as broken."
Joshua Belile will not be punished for "an obscenity-laced song" performed "to a laughing and cheering crowd." The US military has found no reason to charge him and one unnamed Marine Corps. official tells Reuters that "poor taste, poor judgment and poor timing, not to mention offensive lyrics, do not necessarily amount to criminal conduct." Margaret Neighbor (Scotsman) described the song thusly: "In a four-minute video called Hadji Girl, a singer who appears to be a marine tells a cheering audience about gunning down members of an Iarqi woman's family after they confront him with authomatic weapons." As Sandra Lupien reported June 14th on KPFA's The Morning Show, the song included lyrics such as: "the blood sprayed from between her eyes." As Lupien noted June 15th on KPFA's The Morning Show, the apologetic Belile stated that "People need to laugh at it and let it go." Reuters notes that he has said it was "supposed to be funny" and that he based it on Team America: World Police. (The film that underwhelmed at the box office in 2004 and was put out by the South Park twins.)
Finally, in peace news. NPR actually covered the case of Suzanne Swift. The audio clips can be heard online and lasts 3:58 minutes. The reporting? The segment's over (except for some really bad bumper music) at 3:26 minutes in a report filed by Martin Kaste. The report starts at 0:16 and Swift's case is over by 1:30 minutes. A minute and fourteen seconds may not seem like much but it's more than they've given Ehren Watada.
Today is a day of action for those wanting to stand with war resister Ehren Watada. To sign a petition in support of Watada by clicking here. More information on today's national day of action can be found at ThankYouLt.org and Courage to Resist.