BlackBox Radio

December 7, 2005

Blackbox Radio for Dec 6th 2005

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 1:16 am

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On this week’s show: a report on the School of the America’s Protest and proposed zoning changes in Northfield Township, MI. Plus, the following local, national, and international headlines:

Local Headlines:
harnessing the wind in east Michigan
GM cuts jobs around the world
state trooper tried for murder
neo-nazis return to Toledo

National and International Headlines:
ruling may make toxic polluting easier for corporations
controversial technologies monitoring public school students
Declasified info on 25-year occupation of East Timor by Indonesian forces
Starbucks workers in New Zealand strike
Parlimentary elections in Venezuela
stability in the Middle East will come from leaving Iraq
ACLU takes the CIA to court


Local Headlines

The Bay City Times reports that about 50 farmers have agreed to place windmills on their land in Huron County in the thumb of Michigan

One farm owner said her family expects to take in $8,000 to $10,000 a year per turbine. They’ll still be able to farm the land around the turbine pads, which will be about 16 feet in diameter.

Noble Environmental Power, the company building the windmills, already has signed a contract with Consumers Energy for renewable energy from the windmills. Each of the 32 General Electric turbines can generate up to 1.5 megawatts of energy. That’s enough to power 16,000 homes; Huron County has about 20,000.

Noble plans to hire 200 workers to build the park, including local contractors. The park also will create about 10 permanent local jobs for operations, maintenance and office duties.

Opponents to the windmill project want the towers located farther from homes and other property lines than a current county ordinance allows, due to concerns over noise and that the turbine locations will restrict future growth.


The Times of India reports that within days of announcing it would cut 30,000 jobs from its US workforce, General Motors unveiled plans in India to immediately increase its workforce there by nearly 30%, including both manufacturing and executive positions. GM also has plans to build a second manufacturing plant in India.

In late November, GM announced that it would lay off workers and close 8 of its 77 US facilities. Michigan is one of the states that will be most heavily affected, with an engine plant in Lansing, engine facilities in Flint and Lansing, and Service and Parts facilities in Ypsilanti among those slated for closure. The closings and workforce cuts occurred despite a landmark agreement wrested by GM from its UAW workers for drastic reductions in health care benefits reached last month.

The union responded angrily to GM’s latest announcement, saying the company needs to design attractive and exciting vehicles to regain its prosperity. “Workers have no control over GM’s capital investment, product development, design, marketing and advertising decisions. But, unfortunately, it is workers, their families and our communities that are being forced to suffer because of the failures of others,” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Vice President Richard Shoemaker said in a joint statement.


The trial of state trooper Jay Morningstar, who is charged with the murder of Eric Williams, a homeless man, began in Detroit last Monday.

Morningstar faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter for shooting Williams once in the chest on April 14, as Williams approached him in a state of disarray outside the Detroiter Bar near Greektown.

According to the Michigan Citizen, defense attorneys for Morningstar plan to present testimony from bar patrons who claim they repeatedly had “aggressive” run-ins with Williams.

However, Williams’ long-time friends and acquaintances from the downtown Detroit community, strongly dispute that portrayal. Nathan Owens, a worker at a local convenience store who had known Williams for 10 years, said “Everybody that knew him knows he’s a non-violent person. That was nothing but cold-blooded murder.”

Williams’ incarcerated brother, Johnnie L. Williams, is still facing threats from guards in the Alger Maximum Correctional Facility in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Williams wrote The Michigan Citizen in August, saying guards had threatened to kill him if Morningstar is convicted. Assistant prosecutor Gonzalez sent a letter to the warden expressing concern, but to date, Williams has not been moved to another facility.

Officer Morningstar is currently on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the trial.


The National Socialist Movement, America’s largest Neo-Nazi organization, plans to march in Toledo, Ohio this Saturday, December 10th.

The NSM drew international attention in mid October, when they attempted to march through a residential Toledo neighborhood. This march was aborted when about 700 counter demonstrators shut down the event. The situation escalated as police began firing tear gas into the crowd and trampeling counter-protestors with horses. The events drew international attention.

According to a post on Michigan Indymedia, The National Socialist Movement has since released a list containing the names of local activists to be targeted for violence during this Saturday’s demonstration. They have also been trying to recruit for a larger turnout, calling on members of other White Separatist movements including the Ku Klux Klan.

Anti-fascists from around the Midwest and the country, including anarchists, communist groups, anti-racism activists, and Toledo community members will also be converging to send the message that White Supremacism is not welcome in Toledo neighborhoods. Many counter-demonstrators plan to once again shut down the march entirely.



National and International Headlines:

A report by the National Environmental Trust warns that nearly 1,000 communities across the United States will lose access to data detailing the release of toxic chemicals in their areas under new regulations being proposed by the EPA. The Trust claims that the proposed cuts pose a risk to communities and to first responders such as police and firefighters.

Under existing rules, companies that release 500 or more pounds of toxic substances annually must reveal how much of each chemical is released into the air and water or disposed of at landfills. The new regulations raise the threshold to 5,000 pounds. Data collected by zip code show that in some states up to half of all zip code areas will lose data from at least 50% of currently reporting facilities.

According to Kim Nelson, an assistant administrator at the EPA, the new regulations will help, quote “tiny businesses, mom-and-pop shops operating on main street”. However, according to the LA Times, the agency’s own data show that many of these small businesses are owned by large corporations, for example Pepsi Bottling Company and Raytheon.


The New Standard reports that the US Justice Department is quietly accelerating efforts to get schools to implement controversial technologies to monitor and track students.

Although school violence is at its lowest rate in a decade, the Justice Department’s “School Safety Technologies” grants will be distributed to schools that develop proposals in four broadly defined areas: integrated physical security systems, bus-fleet monitoring systems, low-level force devices and school safety training.

Pilot programs are already in place in several school districts. 16,000 elementary students in the Spring Independent School District north of Houston, Texas, for example, wear radio frequency identification tags, embedded with chips that indicate their locations on a computerized map. The school also has 750 surveillance cameras mounted throughout its facilities, with plans to install 300 more.

Critics fear these programs will normalize electronic surveillance at an early age, conditioning young people to accept privacy violations while creating a market for companies that develop and sell surveillance systems.


Newly declassified documents show that British diplomats in Jakarta and the Foreign Office lied about their knowledge of Indonesia’s 1975 invasion of East Timor and worked with the Unites States and Australia to cover up details of the atrocities committed by Jakarta’s troops during the attack, writes the Guardian

According to a top secret 1975 telegram sent by the embassy, then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger listed East Timor high on his list of places the US would not get involved in, and the British decided to follow suit.

The documents detail how the British embassy in Jakarta and the Foreign Office lied about their knowledge of atrocities, particularly the killing of three Australian and two British newsmen in a house in the town of Balibo shortly before the main invasion. John Ford, the ambassador in Jakarta, said in a December 24th, 1975 telegram that, quote “If asked to comment on any stories of atrocities, I suggest we say that we have no information.”

Relatives of the British journalists, Malcolm Rennie and Brian Peters, were told they were killed in crossfire.

The invasion and brutal 25-year occupation of East Timor by Indonesian forces resulted in the deaths of over 200,000 Timorese. No member of the Indonesian military has ever been prosecuted.


From New Zealand Indymedia:
Workers from stores across Auckland walked off the job on November 23rd to join the world’s first Starbucks strike. What began as a small protest by workers from one store became a city-wide strike when Starbucks workers heard that managers would be brought in to cover the shifts of the striking workers. More than 30 workers spontaneously walked out from 10 different Auckland Starbucks stores to join KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonalds employees, and around 150 other supporters.

One union organizer had this to say: “Our campaign isn’t just about fair pay at work, it’s about social justice…. The majority of low paid and minimum wage workers are women, Maori, pacific islanders, disabled, youth, students and new migrants.” ?The Starbucks strike is part of a larger campaign aimed also at fast-food establishments and other low-wage service sector jobs.


Parliamentary elections were held in Venezuela this past Sunday. Analysts have uniformly predicted that left-leaning representatives supporting Cesar Chavez would increase their slight majority, perhaps to the two-thirds necessary for consitutional amendments, which would facilitate more direct social reform and economic redistribution.

In recent days, several opposition parties have pulled out of the election in an attempt to discredit it, almost guaranteeing the two-thirds majority. Mr Chavez has condemned the boycott as the latest of many attempts to destabilise his administration, which include a 2002 military coup that temporarily seized power, and last year’s failed recall. In response to the election boycott, Chavez stated that “there is no political crisis here, as they want to make it seem”.

The National Electoral Council said 556 out of 5,500 candidates have pulled out of the congressional vote. Opposition leaders accused the electoral body of favouring pro-government candidates.

The government has deployed thousands of soldiers nationwide to maintain order during the vote. Three small explosive devices were detonated at a government office and an army base in Caracas, on Friday. No-one has claimed responsibility for the incidents, but the government described it as an attempt to “disturb” the voting process. The poll with be monitored by observers from the EU and the Organisation of American States.


From United Press International:
The former head of the National Security Agency says the only way to stabilize the Middle East is to leave Iraq. Retired three star Lt. Gen. William Odom, wrote last week that while President George W. Bush wants to bring democracy and stability to the Middle East, the only way to achieve that goal is for the U.S. armed forces to pull out of Iraq now.

Odom, one of the most respected U.S. military analysts and a prominent figure at the conservative Hudson Institute in Washington, wrote, “Iraq is the worst place to fight a battle for regional stability. Whose interests were best served by the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the first place? It turns out that Iran and al-Qaida benefited the most, and that continues to be true every day U.S. forces remain there.”


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is taking the CIA to court to stop the transportation of terror suspects to foreign countries to be tortured, saying that the intelligence agency has broken both US and international law. The ACLU is representing a man allegedly flown to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan.

The ACLU also wants to name corporations which it accuses of owning and operating the aircraft used to transport detainees secretly from country to country.

The highly secretive process is known as extraordinary rendition, where intelligence agencies move and interrogate terrorism suspects outside the US, where they have no American legal protection. A number of individuals claim that the CIA flew them to countries including Syria and Egypt, where they were tortured.

The US government and its intelligence agencies maintain that all their operations are conducted within the law and they will no doubt fight this case vigorously.



1 Comment »

  1. thanks

    Comment by lester — February 22, 2007 @ 1:34 am

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