Conservatives Target Greenlining
Pedophiles & Popes
Hungry By The Numbers
Living in District 9
keith harmon snow
2006 BP Probe
NAFTA & Immigration
The Past & Democracy
Herbert P. Bix
Media, Culture, Reviews
UGC & Media
Klare's Rising Powers
Zaps - 07-08/10
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Criminal Investigation of Massey Energy
Since the April 5 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster that killed 29 West Virginia miners, more evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Massey Energy has been revealed and federal prosecutors and the FBI are investigating the corporation and its executives. In addition, citizen pressure urging prosecution is growing and financial problems for the corporation are showing.
Miners and activists protest at Massey shareholders meeting—photo by Chris Eichler, Rising Tide
I went to Richmond to attend the Massey Energy shareholder meeting on May 18. We could not get inside, but joined more than 1,000 people outside protesting Massey Energy and its CEO, Don Blankenship. One chant repeated regularly was "Send Don to Jail." Protesters included coal miners, their families, environmental activists, economic justice advocates, and concerned citizens.
Some of the protesters were able to get inside as shareholders entered their meeting in the main ballroom of the Jefferson Hotel. Activists from Rising Tide occupied the adjacent rotunda, chanting loudly while draping a banner over the railing.
The day before the meeting, two mountaintop-removal mining activists were arrested and charged with trespassing, conspiracy, obstruction, and littering when they blocked a road to a Massey Energy office with trash. Emma Kate Martin and Ben Bryant of Climate Ground Zero were charged in Julian, West Virginia and held in the Southwestern Regional Jail on $100,000 bail. The bond was later reduced to $2,500 and Bryant is accepting a plea agreement of time served, community service, and house arrest.
The key vote at the shareholder meeting was the election of three board nominees who ran unopposed. The company refused to reveal the outcome of the votes, saying only they received a majority vote. United Mine Workers (UMW) President Cecil Roberts said the vote must have been close for the company to conceal the totals, saying, "They ran unopposed and almost lost." North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell, whose office is one of nine state pension funds or treasurer's offices opposed to the company's directors, described the close results as "a near majority of shareholders have no confidence in these directors."
The FBI is currently investigating Massey Energy for criminal negligence for its role in the death of the 29 miners. NPR has reported that the FBI is investigating possible tampering with safety monitors as part of its criminal probe. Another aspect of the investigation involves a May 13 disclosure by MSHA investigators that a page was removed from the fire-boss book where Performance Coal officials were required to record daily ventilation fan measurements. The missing page in the ventilation plan was first publicly disclosed in a lawsuit against the mine administration by two of the dead miners' families. The missing page would have noted when mine personnel checked ventilation fans and could help provide evidence of criminal negligence.
The U.S. attorney's office in Charleston, West Virginia said on May 14 that it is investigating the company for "willful criminal activity." The U.S. attorney's office said in a letter to the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration that investigators are looking into possible criminal conduct by the mine's operator, Performance Coal, and its directors, officers, and agents (Performance Coal is a subsidiary of Massey Energy). The criminal probe includes examining violations at Upper Big Branch that date back to at least 2007.
The probe is being coordinated with an investigation by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which began interviewing witnesses on May 10 at the agency's mine academy in Beaver, West Virginia. Criminal investigators asked that MSHA stay appeals of civil fines involving 500 citations so they do not conflict with the criminal investigation. The interviews are taking place behind closed doors and names of witnesses are not being released. The agency claims this is being done to protect the witnesses and to prevent co-ordination of testimony.
NPR interviewed ten supervisors and miners at Upper Big Branch off the record and reported statements like: "They wouldn't fix the ventilation problems," a former supervisor and a member of mine management said. "I told them I needed more air. They threatened to fire me if I didn't run enough coal." And, another miner said, "There was constant confusion" in the management of the airflow system. The airflow system is critical to preventing explosions like what occurred at Big Branch.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.