From the Trenches for March: 10 Years Since Iraq, Susan Crawford on the Internet's Future
From The Trenches is the monthly radio program of the Chicago Independent Media Center.
ON THE SHOW IN MARCH 2013:
* EXCERPTS FROM "10 YEARS SINCE IRAQ -- THE CHANGING FACE OF WAR"
Chicagoans commemorated the 10th anniversary of the war on Iraq with a panel presentation on the war and its aftermath. We'll hear excerpts from the presentation.
* MEDIA POLICY ACTIVIST SUSAN CRAWFORD ON THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET
Susan Crawford, media policy analyst and author of the book "Captive Audience", spoke in Chicago on the history and future of the internet.
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RECENT HEADLINES FROM THE GLOBAL INDYMEDIA NETWORK:
Turks protest killing of an Armenian serviceman
Istanbul Indymedia featured protests over the killing of an Armenian serviceman in the Turkish army. On April 24, 2011, twenty-four-year old Armenian serviceman Sevak Sevak Sahin was shot by a Turkish soldier aboard a ship. On February 28, 2013, the trial over the killing began, with conflicting and changing assessments over Sevak's death, particularly as to if the killing was accidental. Data cited by Istanbul Indymedia from 2002 through 2012 said that 818 people were killed in the Turkish army in what were deemed accidents or suicides, particularly those of Kurdish and Armenian heritage, communities who have historically faced repression in Turkey.
Nottingham Activists Target "Workfare" Profiteers
Nottingham Indymedia featured a report of a protest against two so-called "workfare" companies in Nottingham, England. Quoting from the feature: "On Monday 4th March, precarious workers, students, the unemployed, squatters, and others turned up outside the Nottingham offices of Ingeus and A4e for a demonstration called by Nottingham Against Workfare and Stop G8 Notts. A “Workfare ain’t fair” banner was unfurled and hundreds of leaflets entitled “Workfare is class warfare” were handed out to shoppers, as well as those employed and harassed by A4e and Ingeus…A4e [is] one of the UK’s biggest workfare companies they are being paid billions of pounds to bully people into unpaid [labor] for supermarkets, charities and high street shops. A4e’s workfare contract means they get paid £45m. In the first 10 months of their contract, almost 115,000 people were referred to A4e under the Work [Program]. Of those just 4,000 have managed to obtain jobs that lasted 13 weeks or more – the length of time the government determines as a successful outcome. So far in Nottingham different groups and individuals have leafleted job [centers], held pickets outside shops that use workfare, and private companies who administrate the welfare industry such as Atos, Ingeus and A4e have had their buildings sabotaged by unknown individuals with hammers, stickers, and glue."
LA-Based Occupy Offshoot Protests Bank of America over unjust foreclosures
LA Indymedia featured a recent protest organized by an offshoot group of Occupy Wall Street against a major national bank over unjust foreclosures. Quoting from the feature: "Occupy Fights Foreclosures activists and homeowners gathered in front of Bank of America branch on North Vermont Street [in Los Angeles] at 12:00pm on Wendesday, February 20. The activists and homeowners held their signs and marched in a circle chanting "B.O.A how many homes did you steal today…. Bank of America, Bad for America". The demonstration lasted for about two hours. Josephina Perez, a recent victim of fraudulent foreclosure, came to participate with her 3-year-old grandson, Jesus and her husband, Jose Perez. Mrs. Perez said that she was trying to modify her loan with Bank of America, but Bank of America repeatedly claimed that they never received her paperwork. Eventually, BOA foreclosed on her house, and Mrs. Perez and her family, including two small children, Jesus, 3 and Nalanie, 5 were forced to live on the streets. Sherry Hernandez, another victim of a bank's fraudulent practices (in her case the bank is Countriwide), also came to participate. She is still fighting to keep her home."
Georgia Prison Hunger Strikers Speak Out
Atlanta Indymedia posted a feature headlined: "Georgia Prison Hunger Strikers Speak Out", dated March 16, 2013. In June 2012, ten prisoners at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia went on hunger strike protesting mistreatment and poor conditions. Five of the participants wrote statements of their experiences related to the strike, which were then posted on Atlanta Indymedia. Yahya Jihad Ali, also known as Johnnie Grant, one of the five participants wrote, "My decision to partake in the Hunger Strike movement was based solely on the purpose of having a voice. Being locked down 24 hours a day with little-to-no human contact is akin to being invisible. It is almost synonomous with non-existence." The hunger strike marked a continuation of a December 2010 strike at the same venue where prisoners refused to work to leave their cells. Bruce Dixon of the Black Agenda Report said that "Georgia prison officials retaliated, first by cutting off heat and hot water to some of the buildings, locking them down, and eventually with a wave of savage retaliatory beatings across multiple prisons."
Chicago Marks 10th Anniversary of legendary Lake Shore Drive protest for peace
Chicago Indymedia posted a feature on the 10th anniversary of a legendary Chicago protest. Quoting from the feature: "On March 20th, 2003, more than 18,000 antiwar protesters marched against the escalation of the war in Iraq, in so doing overtaking control of the six-lane highway of Lake Shore Drive. The protest garnered international attention at the time. Some believe that the coverage embarrassed the local administration, who then ordered police to block the march, doing so at the intersection of Michigan and Oak and arresting its participants. The result was the largest mass-arrest in Chicago history (about 860 arrested), with more arrests in one evening than in a week of the vaunted 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. In subsequent years, activists commemorated the 2003 protest by trying to resume the march down Michigan Avenue, but again facing local government resistance. In 2006, activists finally won the right to do so after three years of struggle, but they continued to face resistance by the city. Activists also saw foot-dragging in the courts when activists sued the city over the suppression of the rights of free speech and freedom of assembly; a $6.2 million settlement was reached nearly nine years after the Lake Shore Drive takeover. For the 10th anniversary, Chicagoans marched in downtown Chicago and held a forum on the war and the aftermath, excerpts of which are included in this episode.