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Two media protests Wed. 11/14
KPFA protest 8:30 AM -- demand the resignation of Pacifica Treasurer Wendell Johns of Fannie Mae!
4 PM protest U.S. bombing of Al-Jazeera TV, Federal Building at 450 Golden Gate Ave.
Two Important Media Protests Tomorrow -- Try to Make it to at Least one of them!
INFORMATIONAL PICKET, Wednesday, 11/14, 8:30 AM
(Employer of Pacifica Board Treasurer Wendell Johns)
50 California Street, San Francisco
The Pacifica Radio Network is near financial ruin. While its board of directors plans for its meeting this coming weekend, hundreds of thousands of dollars of bills at KPFA in Berkeley and KPFK in Los Angeles go unpaid--because the board has squandered so much of the organization's money on high-priced lawyers, PR firms, and security companies! (details below)
Send a loud and clear message to Pacifica's board of directors before its upcoming meeting by picketing at the workplace of Pacifica Board Treasurer Wendell Johns--the man who's supposed to make sure that listener funds are spent building community radio, not destroying it. Johns works in Washington, DC for Fannie Mae, the world's largest non-bank financial services company and the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages. But for all his experience in the financial world, he hasn't lifted a finger to ensure Pacifica's financial stability.
By protesting at the workplaces of other Pacifica board members, we have convinced them to resign from Pacifica. Let's join other Pacifica listeners, who plan to visit Fannie Mae offices throughout the United States, and tell Wendell Johns it's time for him to end his tenure on Pacifica's board of directors.
A few weeks ago, KPFA listeners found out that Pacifica had left unpaid more than $100,000 in KPFA bills, including $9,400 to PG&E for electricity. Fearing that KPFA might go off the air because of an unpaid PG&E bill, listeners sent thousands of dollars to a station fund to help keep KPFA on the air. But KPFA should not have been out of money: the station has exceeded all on-air fundraising goals for the past two years, and should show a surplus of over $300,000 in its accounts. These accounts have apparently been misappropriated by Pacifica to pay its legal and other bills.
Pacifica did manage to pay the PG&E bill, but a week later, we found out that Pacifica was doing the same thing to KPFK in Los Angeles. On October 22, the staff of KPFK revealed in tragic detail what is happening to the Los Angeles Pacifica station. In a letter of protest to the Pacifica National Board, the KPFK staff wrote:
“Bills that are months overdue include utilities, engineers, contractors, strategic vendors, and news services. Virtually every station credit account has been closed or put on hold. Even line-level staff members who fronted personal money because our accounts were closed have gone un-reimbursed for months. Employees owed as much as $1200 are simply ignored. We can no longer use Fed Ex, pick up parts for repairs and installations or go to Staples for copy paper. We have no petty cash. Our phones have come within one hour of shut-off. Our new antenna cannot be installed because of unpaid transfer and storage bills. Repeated pleas have been made to the office of the Executive Director to remedy this emergency and, equally important to clarify the financial standing of the network. We have only gotten unfulfilled promises."
Meanwhile, the Pacifica National Board as spent over two million dollars for high priced lawyers this year. Last year, they spent $525,000 to Epstein Becker & Green and other union-busting law firms. A whopping $440,000 of our money was used for security guards and related expenses to lock down KPFA in 1999, and some 30 cents of every donated dollar has been paying for Pacifica’s bloated bureaucracy in Washington DC instead of to the stations.
The financial crisis at Pacifica is untenable and unforgivable. The ruling majority of the Pacifica National Board must go. Treasurer Wendell Johns, treasurer, must resign now!
Join our national day of action against Fannie Mae, employers of Wendell Johns. Fannie Mae's motto is “Our business is the American Dream.” WE SAY: OUR DREAM IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS. FANNIE MAE AND WENDELL JOHNS OUT OF PACIFICA!”
U.S. government fires missiles at and destroys Al-Jazeera TV, the CNN of the Arab world
Join Media Alliance,International Action Center, the Middle East Children's Alliance and others to denounce U.S. government attacks on free speech durings its bombing campaign against Afghanistan!
Wednesday, 11/14, 4 PM
Rally at Federal Building in San Francisco
450 Golden Gate Avenue
(later, join the ANSWER protest to stop the bombing in Afghanistan at 5 PM at Powell and Market Streets)
Just as Northern Alliance forces entered Kabul and rumors began circulating about summary executions and other atrocities being committed by the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance, the one television station that would have been able to document these actions was destroyed by U.S. missiles. Al-Jazeera television of Qatar, the only media outlet which has had journalists in Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan since the U.S. bombiing campaign began, was hit by U.S. missiles this morning.
Al-Jazeera, which was created with help from the BBC and has become known as the CNN of the Arab world, has been subjected to a campaign of villification in the U.S. media since it reported statements by Osama bin Laden and his associates. U.S. government officials have alternately criticized Al-Jazeera and demanded to be interviewed on it. Al-Jazeera has stood almost alone among other television networks, especially in recent days, in reporting extensive civilian casualties from U.S. bombing in several parts of Afghanistan. Al-Jazeera's 24-hour news coverage reaches more than 35 million Arabic speaking people, including 150,000 in the United States.
Was the bombing of Al-Jazeera an "accident" or was it intentional? Al-Jazeera's extensive coverage in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere in South Asia and the Middle East at least partially caused the U.S. government to need to hire a public relations firm to improve its image in the Arab world. Perhaps the P.R. advisers suggested that the easiest way to win the P.R. war would be to eliminate the truth-telling of the Arab satellite news channel.
Speak out against this abominable attack on journalists and free speech.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
See the Reuters story on the attack on Al-Jazeera at http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/1113-05.htm
See Ali Abunimah's website, on which he transcribes in English the daily news from Al-Jazeera, at http://www.abunimah.org and his opinion piece on Al-Jazeera at http://www.electronicintifada.net/features/articles/20011022alihussein.html
See Alternet's interview about Al-Jazeera with Palestinian journalism professor Lamis Andoni at http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=11811