From The Trenches Radio for March: Iraq War Ninth Anniversary, Short History of G8/NATO
From The Trenches is the monthly radio program of the Chicago Independent Media Center.
ON THE SHOW IN MARCH 2011:
* RALLY/MARCH FOR PEACE ON IRAQ INVASION'S 9TH ANNIVERSARY
Activists gathered in Chicago's south asian neighborhood for a rally and march on the ninth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. We'll hear excerpts from the event's opening rally.
* A SHORT AND IRREVERENT HISTORY OF THE G8 AND NATO
Plus, in anticipation of the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, we'll hear a presentation from Chicago writer and activist Eric Ruder on the history of the G8 and NATO.
* Plus, headlines from the worldwide Indymedia network.
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RECENT HEADLINES FROM THE GLOBAL INDYMEDIA NETWORK
Kenya Indymedia organizer and radio journalist Stephen Nyash killed in Nairobi
Kenya Indymedia reported the death of a longtime Kenyan radio journalist, media activist, organizer, and Indymedia contributor. On February 21, 2012, Stephen Nyash was shot dead in the Korogocho ghetto of Nairobi [Kenya], where he had lived and worked for most of his life. At the time of the feature, the motive and details of his killing was not clear. Nyash was one of the founders of KOCH-FM, a community radio station and partner of Kenya Indymedia which worked to empower residents of the Korogocho ghetto. He was also a noted organizer, working on conferences and campaigns in media activism and environmental issues. Nyash is survived by his wife, mother, and two children; Kenya Indymedia is working with Nyash's family to establish a fund to pay for burial expenses and family needs. Nyash is the third Indymedia contributor known to be killed while in Indymedia service, after Lenin Call Najera of Indymedia Guayaquil in Ecuador who was killed by government agents in 2004, and Chicago-born Brad Will of New York Indymedia who was killed by Mexican paramilitaries in 2006 while documenting community struggles in Oaxaca, Mexico.
National Lawyers Groups Call for Humane Treatment of Pennsylvania Prisoner
Philadelphia Indymedia reported on efforts to end the solitary confinement torture of a man jailed for nearly 40 years. Quoting from the feature, dated February 19: "Russell Marroon Shoatz, a 68-year-old prisoner held at the State Correctional Institution Green in southwestern Pennsylvania, has been kept in solitary confinement for more than 21 years. The Human Rights Coalition [along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild,] is calling on supporters...to join in a petition to have him released from these torturous conditions...[Shoatz] has been unable to hold his children or grandchildren or interact with others in a human[e] setting during this time, despite not having violated prison rules in two decades. He has suffered severe psychological anguish and his physical health has been worsened by the stress of prolonged isolation. [Shoatz] has spent nearly 40 years within the Pennsylvania prison system, 30 of those in solitary confinement. Prison officials claim that Shoatz is a security threat due to past escapes and attempts, though new evidence has surfaced that his continued solitary confinement is based on secret and fraudulent evidence of a non-existent plan to takeover a prison in the 1980s. Prison officials also identified [his] political associations as a basis for continuing to torture him via solitary confinement."
Occupy Our Homes helps DC woman fend off unjust foreclosure
DC Indymedia reports on successful efforts to help a Washington DC homeowner fend off an unjust foreclosure attempt. On February 27, Bertina Jones, supported by Occupy Our Homes and by other activists, staged a protest outside the DC offices of Freddie Mac and forced a building lockdown which activists were able to break. Jones was then able to enter the building and force a meeting with both Freddie Mac and with Bank of America who agreed not to evict her pending a review of her case. Jones objected to a planned and probably illegal foreclosure of her home, despite her ability and willingness to, as the feature reported, do "what they told her to do". Jones sought help from Occupy activists after the lawyers she planned to recruit demanded $20,000 in fees just to take up the case, and got no cooperation from Freddie Mac or Bank of America regarding the terms of her loan.
Independent journalists face felony charges for covering protest
Indybay posted a feature on March 20, 2012, headlined "Indybay journalists charged with felony: Conspiracy to make media". Quoting from the feature: "Santa Cruz County District Attorney Bob Lee has embarked on a full frontal assault against independent media in Santa Cruz by including four regular contributors to the independent news website Indybay.org amongst the eleven people charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors after the occupation of a vacant bank building on November 30th, 2011. The National Press Photographers Association and The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press wrote a Letter Brief addressed to the court seeking dismissal of charges. In a related joint press release, the two groups wrote: "This is just the most recent case where journalists have been interfered with and arrested while covering [Occupy Wall Street] protests throughout the country. In almost every case, those charges -- ranging from disorderly conduct and obstruction of governmental administration to trespass -- have been dismissed or the defendant journalists have been acquitted."
G8 Retreat from Chicago Marks Month of Grassroots Activist Wins and Struggles
Chicago Indymedia highlighted a number of Chicago-area wins and struggles with a feature headlined "G8 Move from Chicago Marks Month Full of Activist Achievements, Victories". On March 5, the G8 gathering of major world governments announced an abrupt shift of the locale of their 2012 summit from Chicago to Camp David, Maryland. Some activists took credit for forcing the move, and announced no slowdown in efforts against the 2012 summit of NATO, slated for Chicago in May. On February 29, Midwest Generation announced that it will shut down its Fisk and Crawford coal-powered power plants by 2014 -- a win for local environmental activists who worked for years highlighting the health and environmental problems attributed to the plants. Also, workers at Serious Materials, the same Goose Island factory which saw a six-day workers' sit-in in 2008 when it was known as Republic Windows and Doors, staged another sit-in on February 23, citing insufficient worker input over the direction of the plant. After only 12 hours, management at Serious Materials gave in and agreed to a 90-day reprieve. And students at both DePaul University and at Piccolo Elementary School staged their own occupations over concerns of tuition raises (in the case of DePaul) and concerns over planned privatization efforts (in the case of Piccolo).
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