The Pacifica Crisis

Pacifica Foundation Hires ex-FBI Agents for $500,000
Is WBAI-FM 99.5 Going to be Sold?

Following a series of disputes with staffers earlier this year, the Pacifica Foundation locked producers and staff out of the Pacifica Network's flagship station, KPFA in Berkeley, for 23 days, using a private security company -IPSA- that employs former agents from the FBI, the U.S. military, and other government agencies. Armed IPSA personnel had unimpeded access to journalist's files and rolodexes for all 23 days that KPFA staff was denied re-entry to the station. If you have ever written or spoken with KPFA staff, your personal data may now be in the hands of IPSA agents. The Pacifica Foundation also owns WBAI-FM in New York City. The Pacifica National Board, with Corporation for Public Broadcasting complicity, has created a self-appointing board impervious to outside input. Recently subpoenaed Pacifica Foundation records reveal that donor dollars -- more than $500,00-- have been used to pay security forces, anti-labor attorneys, and public relations consultants in violation of Pacifica's mission statement. Pacifica's use of armed guards, union-busting attorneys and anti-labor consultants, its insistence on arrest and prosecution of more than one hundred non-violent staff and protesters, its imposition of a "gag order" on those who reported on the crisis and even on those who simply spoke from their conscience -- any and all of these actions are perverse violations of the network's mission. The impending sale of either KPFA or WBAI by Pacifica to help pay the expenses created by the crises, expenses created by their own actions, has become a real possibility. National Board Chair Dr. Mary Berry (Clinton appointee to the Civil Rights Commission - a real conflict of interest) has insisted no sale has been discussed although e-mails prove otherwise.

WBAI-FM has been a crucial source of information about U.S. complicity in the brutal murders of East Timor civilians and continuing weapons sales to Indonesia as well as many local important issues. Amy Goodman's recent broadcasts on the national news show Democracy Now!, ensured the release of Allan Nairn, Pacifica reporter and fellow survivor of the Dili Massacre, who was reporting while being held captive by the Indonesian Army in East Timor. The ability for this to occur is what we must preserve! We need your help if we are to have any chance to stop the sale of WBAI -- a 50,000 watt radio station in the heart of the commercial FM radio dial that has been a beacon for those who speak truth to power.

Keep Independent Reporting Alive!

MFB does an hour of damage control on WBAI

In a controlled setting, on the telephone from Washington D.C., Pacifica's Executive Director Mary Frances Berry answered questions from WBAI news director Jose Santiago and news editor David Sears. Nobody else was allowed access (Dr. Berry was originally supposedly going to speak at the Community Church in Manhattan on Tuesday, August 2, which would have been open to the public, but she cancelled at the very last minute due to what is now believed to have been an "influence-ia" attack.)

During the limited press exposure, Dr. Berry admitted that she "knows very little about broadcasting", and also explained that the reason armed security guards were hired was because "the police told us to do it" [for security] - an odd acquiescance perhaps, coming from such a seasoned civil rights activist as Berry, who says she has been in many police confrontations and spent more than one time in jail.

Dr. Berry discussed the probationary program put into effect at KPFA, during which time KPFA will be monitored by Pacifica in regard to increasing both diversity and market share (a potentially conflicting assignment). To this end, KPFA will be compared to the other stations in the network that are doing better, said Berry, in the area of "diversity" - stations such as KPFW in Washington D.C. and KPFT in Houston. (Even WBAI does better than KPFA in this respect, Berry charged).

But talk of "diversity" is a red herring - is "diversity" a code word for "black"? - KPFW has a large black audience, but they are listening to mostly music, because KPFW has become a jazz station. And the Counterpunch article entitled Race and Power at Pacifica Radio explains how KPFT in Houston has been raped of all its diversity - in the form of its community programming.

Dr. Berry also said that WBAI would only be sold "OVER MY DEAD BODY". However, the press conference held by Board member Pete Bramson, in which he details what was being planned and discussed behind closed doors concerning the sale of KPFA, illustrates once again that Mary Frances Berry cannot be believed.

Terrible Things Happened at KPFA

Many Photos and Links Here

Click Here for audio archives of the ongoing KPFA PROTEST

In what may be the first live protest streamed in the MP3 format,
activists and ex-staffers at KPFA netcast their objections to being ousted. The stream can be heard by opening the location with the Winamp MP3 player.
Download WinAmp here.

Democracy Now Censored

The webactive web page now has the archive for Democracy Now July 15
(They removed the segment on the crisis at Pacifica)

For an analysis see CounterPunch