BlackBox Radio

January 18, 2006

Blackbox Radio for Jan 17th, 2006

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 7:19 pm

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On this week’s show, in recognition of Martin Luther King Day, we take an in-depth look at race, class and injustice in New Orleans almost five months after Katrina.

A report about home demolitions taking place in the Lower 9th Ward, a fair housing activist describes how the city is eliminating public housing, an account from Tammy, a New Orlaens resident, who was arrested with her daughters and held in makeshift prisons for 60 days without being charged, & Dr. Beverly Wright of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice describes the implications of the hyper gentrification plan for rebuilding New Orleans. :. Plus, the following local, national, and international headlines:

Local Headlines:
State Trooper Acquitted for Murder of Homeless Man
Detroit’s Homeless May be Targetted During Super Bowl
Toxic Chemicals Accumulating in Great Lakes

National and International Headlines:
US Marines Arrested for Rape of Woman in Philippines
Global Warming Set to Accelerate
Bush Receives Mainstream Media Scrutiny
South Carolina Teens Plead Guilty to Lynching
US Government May be Weighing Invasion of Iran


Local Headlines

Jay Morningstar, the state trooper who was on trial for the murder of a Detroit homeless man named Eric Williams, was acquitted on January 5th. A mostly white jury aquitted Morningstar, despite a videotape admitted as evidence which showed Williams, who is black, being shot at point-blank range by the state trooper. The Michigan Citizen reports that the jury returned with a ‘not guilty verdict’ after less than four hours.

Morningstar’s defense team was led by attorney Richard Convertino, who repeatedly
referred to Williams in terms usually reserved for animals, saying he was “down on all fours, growling and snarling.” Convertino is himself under investigation by the federal government for his role as a federal prosecutor in a faulty case against four Detroit men accused of being terrorists.

The family of Eric Williams, says they will not give up their fight for justice. They
have filed a $15 million lawsuit against Morningstar and his partner Theresa Malone.
Lawyers in the case explained that Malone is cited as a co-defendant in the lawsuit
because she failed to protect Williams by cautioning her partner against immediately
shooting him, instead of using other means such as pepper spray.

The Michigan Citizen reports that as the Super Bowl draws near, Detroit’s homeless population may be targetted by police. In reponse to reports that homeless people are routinely rounded up during Super Bowl events, homeless advocates and some elected officials have expressed concern.

The NFL requires host cities set up ‘entertainment zones’ in the weeks leading to the
Super Bowl game to encourage a festive mood. ‘ENtertainment Zones’ are public areas such as parks where certain local laws are loosened and public alcohol consumption is allowed. Critics say these zones benefit those attending Super Bowl festivities, but they can be manipulated to discriminate against the poor.

A director for Neighborhood Service Organization, said a poll that was recently taken by his group showed a majority of the homeless served by their program want to take part in the Super Bowl events.

To curb arrests and harassment of homeless people, the city’s Bureau of Substance Abuse, Prevention & Treatment plans to offer Detroit Police Officers hotline numbers to call when they encounter homeless people near the downtown area during the event. “Should the police run into somebody who needed mental health service we want to come out and service them, instead of seeing them arrested,” a spokesperson said.
There are plans to continue this crisis prevention service even after the Super Bowl.


A year ago, Blackbox Radio covered the hazards of a little-known fire
retardant that has been accumulating in Great Lakes sediment and game
fish for decades without detection. This story has just broken into
the mainstream press in a Detroit Free Press article.

Federal regulators are suprised to learn that there may be toxic
effects from the chemical Dechlorane Plus, which has been produced since 1964.

Dechlorane Plus has been used for more than 40 years as a coating for
electrical wires and computer cables. The chemical’s only U.S.
manufacturer, Occidental Chemical Corporation, or OxyChem, says it is
safe for people and other animals and has no plans to conduct testing
on the product.

The Detroit Free Press writes that the a recent study at Indiana University found DechloranePlus in the sediment of lake Erie and lake Michigan, present in air
samples throughout the region and in the tissues of walleye, a popular
game fish, in Lake Erie.

For decades, state officials have issued advisories to anglers to
limit their consumption of some Great Lakes fish because of
contaminants such as PCBs and mercury. The greatest risk is eating game fish from polluted water. The chemicals become increasingly concentrated as they move through the food chain beginning with microscopic plants and ending in humans.

Federal regulators say that because Dechlorane Plus preceded regulations
designed to screen out dangerous chemicals, it was never rigorously

The study could lead to a renewed effort to determine whether it is a
danger to wildlife, including its potential to cause cancer. Many
substances in the same chemical family which were sold under the brand name
Dechlorane have been banned because of their cancer-causing
potential and toxicity to wildlife.

Mirex and Dechlorane were manufactured at the same facility, which was
formerly known as the Hooker Chemical Co. which was responsible for the Love
Canal chemical disaster in Niagara Falls in the late 1970s that
spawned the federal Superfund toxic cleanup program.



National and International Headlines:

This week in South Carolina, five white teenagers pleaded guilty to charges of
lynching. The youths, ages 17 and 18, entered the pleas before
their trial was set to begin. They were given sentences ranging
from two and a half to six years in state prison. The surviving victim,
17-year-old African-American Isaiah Clyburn, said through his lawyer that
he forgave them. The five teens attacked Clyburn as he walked along a
rural road in Cherokee County, South Carolina on July 7. According to
prosecutors, the teens shouted racial slurs at Clyburn and beat him
repeatedly as he tried to escape.


According to The Independence, Global warming is set to accelerate due to a sharp jump in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (

Preliminary figures from the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, taken at the summit of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, show that the level of carbon dioxide has risen abruptly in the past four years. Carbon dioxide is the main cause of global warming. Scientists fear that warming is entering a new phase, and may accelerate even further.

The measurements have been taken regularly since 1958. For the past 50 years the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have risen by an average of 1.3 parts per million per year. In the late 1990s this figure rose to 1.6 parts per million, and then to 2 parts per million in 2002 and 2003. Preliminary figures for the first 10 months of this year have already shown a rise of 2.2 parts per million.

Scientists believe this may be the first evidence that climate change is starting to occur. Rising temperatures have altered natural systems causing the Earth to release more carbon dioxide.

Some of the most polluting countries in the world refused to set targets for reducing their carbon dioxide emissions last week during a summit assembled by the Bush administration. Instead, they focused on the voluntary development of cleaner technologies. The summit was set up in opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, which the US refuses to sign, and was attended by Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea as well as the United States.


In an update of a story we’ve covered previously: In the Philippines last
week, a judge issued an arrest warrant for four US Marines accused in the
rape of a 22-year old Filipino woman near a former US Navy base in
November. The soldiers are currently detained at the US embassy, and the
US government has not indicated whether the soldiers will be returned. The
soldiers allegedly gang raped the woman in a rented van and then dropped
her onto a busy road, where she was found and hospitalized.


A host of new information this week reveals the extent to which the President and the Bush administration have rendered the judicial and congressional branches of government impotent and assumed limitless power for the executive branch.

A New York Times editorial entitled “The Imperial Presidency at Work” ( notes that President Bush in effect countermanded laws that were passed by Congress in order to place limits on the abuse of power by the executive branch.

In the first instance, the President made the McCain bill irrelevant by outlawing torture by the government by issuing a “signing statement” which effectively exempted him from the law in his position as commander in chief.

Bush also sidelined the judiciary branch by scrapping the Levin-Graham amendment that allowed suits already filed by Guantanamo detainees to continue through the courts. Last week, the solicitor general informed the Supreme Court that it no longer had jurisdiction over detainee cases and demanded that the court drop an existing case in which a Yemeni man challenged the military tribunals created by Bush after 9/11. Few of the 500 plus men at the Guantanamo facility have been charged with a crime.

In addition, the President personally authorized domestic spying shortly after he was sworn in 2001 and well before 9/11 ( This directly contradicts the President’s claim that the surveillance was a necessary response to the threat posed by terrorism after 9/11. The information was revealed by James Risen who first broke the story about the NSA domestic surveillance program.


Recent news has been dominated by Iran’s decisions regarding the
use of nuclear power, particularly its removal of UN seals on uranium
enrichment equipment. The United States seems to be pushing for Iran
to be brought before the UN Security council where it would likely
face sanctions or even armed action. Knowledge that Iran made public in June has been widely obscured in the media.

Beginning in March 2006, the Tehran government has plans to begin competing with New York’s NYMEX and London’s IPE in the field of
international oil trading by using a euro-based mechanism. According to
Information Security Analyst William Clark, the proposed Iranian oil
bourse, or securities exchange, indicates that the euro would establish a firm foothold in the international oil trade without US intervention.

The upcoming course will introduce new dynamics to the biggest market
in the world – global oil and gas trades. In essence, the U.S. will no
longer be able to effortlessly expand its debt-financing by issuing U.S.
Treasury bills. Accordingly, the dollar’s international demand and liquidity value
will fall. Given U.S. debt levels and the stated neoconservative project
of U.S. geo-political security, Tehran’s objective constitutes an obvious
challenge to dollar supremacy in the crucial international oil market.

Leaks of Pentagon planning for a potential Iranian invasion have been
covered since 2004 in mainstream publications such as Newsweek.
In August of 2005, The American Conservative published an
article by intelligence analyst Philip Giraldi, entitled “In Case of
Emergency, Nuke Iran.” According to The American Conservative, the US
military command has drawn up a contingency plan under instruction of
the vice-president. This command would follow another serious terrorist attack on
the US with a broad air assault on Iran, “employing both conventional and
tactical nuclear weapons.” This is apart from Iranian involvement in
such an attack.



1 Comment »

  1. on the situation about detroit discriminating against the poor, i think that is very wrong because the poor or less fortunate are people to they deserve to be where they want to be though the street may be there home that doesnt mean that the city has to mess with them because the super bowl is coming to the city. just last week the auto show was in town the main attraction of detroit because we are the motor city the police or the city didnt really pay attention to the homeless because there just as many homeless out on the street in front of tourists as there was any other day. so just because a few extra tourist and visitors come to detroit doesnt mean that the police should mess with them for no reason every city has homeless people its not like we are the only city, dont treat it like its such a disgrace lets try to help them instead of try to act like they are the dirt beneath our feet.

    Comment by Anonymous — January 25, 2006 @ 8:16 pm

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