BlackBox Radio

March 26, 2006

BlackBox Radio for March 28th, 2006

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 11:08 pm

Listen to the show: lower quality | high quality

On this week’s show: On this week’s show, an update on the trial of Reverend Pinkney in Benton Harbor, and D’Lo, a gay Sri Lankan performance artist discusses her work.
Plus, the following local, national, and international headlines:

Local Headlines:
Michigan Groups Mobilize Against Anti-Immigration Bill
Student Charged with Urinating on Asian Students Pleads Guilty
Update: Residents Oppose Detroit Water Rate Increase
Rev. Pinkney Awaits Verdict in Benton Harbor Case

National and International Headlines:
Voting Disenfranchisement of Displaced New Orleans Residents
South Dakota Indian Reservation to Provide Abortions if Ban Passes
Belarus Police Brutalize Protestors after Corrupt National Election
Inhuman Detention Centers in Malaysia
China Uses Psychiatry for Political Repression of Dissidents
National Protests Against Immigration Legislation

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Local Headlines

Michigan organizations are mobilizing against a proposed new law that would expand the definition of “alien smuggling” to include those who assist a person in attempting to remain in the US if they are not legally allowed to be here. Under this new law, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, refugee agencies, churches, and social and legal service agencies would be classified as smuggling organizations. Stiff criminal penalties would be the result of providing such assistance.

Under current law, presence in the United States without valid status is a civil violation, not a criminal act. HR 4437 would create a new federal crime of “unlawful presence” and would define immigration violations so broadly as to effectively classify every violation, no matter how minor, as a federal crime. The law would charge immigrants who commit minor crimes with aggravated felonies, which are usually reserved for violence crimes including murder and rape. The law would effectively criminalize the entire undocumented population, which currently includes including 1.6 million children.

University of Michigan students have begun an educational campaign around HR 4437, and MOSES, a faith-based community organization in Detroit, held a march this week to protest HR 4437. Stay tuned to BlackBox Radio for updates on the growing grassroots opposition to HR4437.

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As the Ann Arbor News reports that Asians now make up the city’s largest minority population, a U of M student charged with urinating on two Asian students in a racially-motivated crime pled guilty to two counts of assault and battery last Tuesday. The student, Stephen Williamson, was accused of shouting ethnic slurs and urinating off his balcony on an Asian couple in September, writes The Michigan Daily.

The incident spurred a campaign by Asian/Pacific Islander students to pressure the University to consider the needs of students who still face discrimination in the campus community. The campaign included a discussion organized by the United Asian American Organizations at which students expressed outrage and criticized the University for what they viewed as an inadequate response to the incident.

Critical Moment reported in September that some Asian/Pacific Islander students feel that “it is not enough for the University to promote ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’ on campus,” and that they demand a “radical transformation of the campus climate into a place where such incidences…will no longer occur.”
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Last week, BlackBox Radio reported on the Detroit City Council’s decision to rate water rates for residents of the city and its suburbs. While the City Council had originally said they would hold off on the rate increase until a plan was put in place to help the city’s poor pay for water, they ended up going ahead and approving the rate increase without a plan.

The Call’em Out Coalition, a grassroots group that includes members of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and other Detroit residents and activists, has been publicly calling attention to the needs of Detroit’s poor residents, 45,000 of whom had their water shut off in 2005. The Coalition demands include the creation of an affordable water plan that will help the poverty-stricken city of Detroit, reports the Michigan Citizen.

Last week, Detroit residents and supporters gathered at the home of Council member Kwame Kenyatta, who voted to increase the rates without a plan for Detroit’s poor. The Coalition picketed outside, and tried to draw attention to the situation and promote the proposal put forward by Michigan Welfare Rights.

Under this proposal, prepared by attorney Roger Colton, who has devised similar plans across cities in the country, residential customers would be charged a yearly meter fee of $12, commercial users $24, and industrial users $3,300.

###


In Benton Harbor, Michigan, Rev. Edward Pinkney’s trial ended on Wednesday. Pinkney is on trial for election fraud after he led a successful recall campaign in 2005 to remove City Commisioner Glenn Yarbrough. The vote was eventually overturned by Judge Paul Maloney, who reinstated Yarbrough as Commissioner. Pinkney was later charged with paying $5 to individual citizens to cast their ballots for the recall; charges that Pinckney and other Benton Harbor residents decry as “completely fabricated.”

According to Pinkney’s organization BANCO, Black Autonomy Network Community Organization, Rev. Pinkney testified that: 1) he was not present when anyone voted their absentee ballot in last February’s election to recall corrupt city commissioner Glen Yarbrough 2) he did nothing to influence anyone while they were voting and 3) he never had possession of anyone’s ballot

On Friday, March 24, after two days of deliberation, the jury sent a note out to the judge saying they were at an impasse on all five charges, and asking what they should do now. The judge, who is openly in support of the prosecution, sent them back to continue deliberations. As of Sunday, March 26th, the jury is still deliberating on all five felony charges.

If convicted, Pinkney faces up to 20 years in prison. Pinkney said he belives he would have already been convicted if not for the outpouring of public support he has received from across the state and nation. For current updates on the trial, visit the BANCO blog at http://bhbanco.blogspot.com

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National and International Headlines:

On March 16th, the US Justice Department authorized plans for carrying out the New Orleans primaries on April 22. In votes postponed from February 4, the city will vote on mayoral, city council and other local primary races. Polling stations will be set up throughout Louisiana, but remote balloting will not be available in other states with high concentrations of hurricane survivors.
The New Standard reports that even Southern cities like Atlanta and Houston, which host high numbers of Katrina refugees, will not host polling stations for displaced New Orleans residents.
Under the voting plan, displaced New Orleanians scattered in other states would still be able to send in absentee ballots. But opponents of the plan say absentee ballots are unfairly cumbersome. Would-be voters must request a ballot ahead of time, sign it in front of a notary or witnesses, and send it back before April 21. Voting-rights advocates say they fear the complexity of the process will lead to the disqualification of many absentee ballots.
Many critics of the current plan also worry that candidates will not have an opportunity to present their platforms to constituents without reliable lists of addresses for registered voters. The Urban League is urging FEMA to make its comprehensive lists of hurricane survivors addresses available to registered candidates.
NAACP President Bruce S. Gordon wrote to the governor: “Historically, the extension of voting rights to black citizens in Louisiana has been strongly resisted, whether through literacy tests, poll taxes or other formal and informal practices combined to keep black voting rates in the state low. The impact of Hurricane Katrina now threatens Louisiana’s African-American citizens’ voting right in equally devastating ways.”

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According to Infoshop News, Oglala Sioux Tribe President Cecelia Fire Thunder says a clinic on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation could provide abortions if South Dakota’s new abortion ban goes into effect. The new South Dakota law bans all abortions except to save the life of the mother — with no exceptions for rape or incest. President Fire Thunder said the state law would not apply to the reservation because of the tribe’s sovereignty.

Some experts in Indian law have agreed that Fire Thunder’s proposal of an abortion clinic on Indian land was “potentially workable” — especially if doctors were Indians and if the clinic were on Indian trust land.

The new law banning abortion is set to go into effect July 1, but a court challenge almost certainly will delay it, and opponents of the law are already gathering signatures to put it on the ballot in November. President Fire Thunder predicts a federal court will rule it unconstitutional. But she said if the law did go into effect, she will work to open a clinic, that could serve South Dakota’s women. “We’ve got lawyers working on it right now,” she said.

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The March 19th election results where the President of Belarus,
Alyaksandr Lukashenka, was elected for another five years sparked much scrutiny, including remarks from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE, which has stated that the elections did not meet international standards. Furthermore, an estimated 400 demonstrators who were protesting the election results have been arrested and many beaten by the police forces of Belarus. Heather McGill, of Amnesty International, commented that, “The Belarusian authorities have yet again demonstrated a total disregard for freedom of expression. All those that have been detained for the legitimate and peaceful expression of their views must be released immediately.”
http://web.amnesty.org/pages/blr-230306-action-eng
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Under the Internal Security Act, or ISA, prisoners are being held at
the Kamunting Detention Centre in Malaysia without charge or trial.
With striking similarities to Gauntanamo, detainees are first held in
secret locations in solitary confinement for up to 60 days under ISA;
afterwards, the government is able to transfer the detainees to
Kamunting Detention Centre, where they might remain indefinitely.
More than 70 of the hundreds that have been arrested for suspected terrorist connections, now remain detained under the ISA, which the Malaysian government justifies as necessary to fight terrorism.
Prisoners at the Detention Centre have been subjected to assault,
forced to strip, sleep deprived, starved, and threatened with harm to their families. Malaysian human rights groups are now calling on the Prime Minister Abdullah A Badawi to either abolish or reform the ISA.
http://web.amnesty.org/pages/stoptorture-220306-features-eng
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Dutch psychiatric experts recently reported that Wang Wanxing, a Beijing dissident who was locked up in a Chinese psychiatric hospital for 13 years “was not suffering from any mental disorder that could justify his admission.” The inmates of Ankang, the police-run mental hospital where Wang was held, have no access to lawyers, court hearings, or any right to appeal. Entirely under the police psychiatrist and officials’ control, most inmates are kept at Ankang for five to twenty years. Wang’s own release was a result of German diplomatic efforts. Brad Adams, director of the Asia division of Human Rights states that, “China has been repeatedly accused of using psychiatry as a tool of political repression, but until Wang left China, it was impossible to verify the accusations.” Both the Global Initiative on Psychiatry and the Human Rights Watch are calling on China to stop their political abuse of psychiatry.
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/03/17/china13010.htm

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Last Saturday, more than 500,000 immigration rights advocates marched in downtown Los Angeles demanding that Congress stops it anti-immigration agenda. This march followed a similar one of an estimated 15,000 people in Phoenix on Friday. The protested bill that faces Congress this week would make it a felony to be in the U.S. illegally. It also calls to build fences along one-third of the U.S.-Mexican border, mandate that employers verify the immigration status of all their employees, and require that churches check the immigration status of the people they help. Javier Rodriguez, part of the group that organized the L.A. march, said, “We have got to stop the approval of anti-immigrant reforms, demand a migration reform that is humane and fair, and not racist.” Similar rallies in Denver, Milwaukee, Charlotte, and Atlanta have also drawn thousands of protestors. April 10th will be the culmination, a “National Day of Action” organized by immigration, labor, civil rights, and religious groups.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,,-5711724,00.html
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/940FC56D-B1F3-4709-8E0D-6893683DE17E.htm

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3 Comments »

  1. in case y’all hadn’t noticed– your audio streams for this episode aren’t working!

    Comment by Anonymous — March 28, 2006 @ 12:43 pm

  2. Hi.
    Good design, who make it?

    Comment by naisioxerloro — November 28, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

  3. Very good site with a lot of useful
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    Top earring links!

    Comment by Tuhsogsnutt — January 8, 2008 @ 9:36 am


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