Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The ongoing saga: Shred of evidence?

As WBAI finally ended its two-month serial of infomercials and Gary Null puffed himself up for another remarkable vent, the Pacifica drama continued to unfold in Berkeley and the farce that was became even farcier (I don't know how else to say it).

All this stuff—the rattling of the chains of command—takes place at KPFA and in the adjoining building, which houses the Pacifica National Office. There, holed up amid copiers, computers, air mattresses, and—one hopes—a sandwich or two, is the Summer Reese contingent. You may recall from an earlier episode that the took over (recaptured) the space from the Margy Wilkenson Gang—she's the white-haired KPFA-LSB Chair who did a selfie and morphed into Pacifica's Interim Executive Director.  Dark clouds covered the moon at that very moment, so we have to take the words of her small group of faithfuls for it. You probably saw the trailer, the one with her physical departure, and the somewhat moving scene where Pacifica office workers slip into the daylight, one by one, making it past an off-camera human barricade.

Next, there was an announced shout-out to California's Attorney General. Not an action scene, but one that portends an absorbing turn of events. 

This being a low-budget production, we will have to imagine what was going on next door, at the radio station. One rumor had it that Ms. Margy took over some choice real estate and turned it into a roomy executive office. Well, with all those microphones around the place, perhaps we'll get a soundbite before long. 

In the meantime, word spread that the Wilkinson settlers had summoned the Berkeley Police. Maybe, but probably not, and there was also talk of Summer being armed with a gun...really? WBAI's Mitchel Cohen, anti-factionalist, banned blueboarder and staunch advocate of keeping BAI alive, had his fill of wildly flying pixels, so he wrote to Ms. Margy in search of the truth. Had she called the precinct to report an armed "former" IED?  Had, as someone maintained, Summer ordered a huge shredder? Here's the answer Mitchel received from the pretender to the throne:

"I didn't do that. I told them that she had told one of the union 
stewards here at KPFA that she owned a gun and would bring it to work if necessary.

"Which it true.

"Here's what I said about the incident today to folks who have asked me.

"Greetings: This morning a huge shredding truck pulled up in front 

of Pacifica. I went to see what was going on. I waited outside the 
PNO for the employee of the shredding company to emerge. He did with 
a trash can about 3/4 full of paper. I asked him not to proceed. A 
member of the staff came out to talk to me. I asked her when the 
arrangements had been made for shredding -- she said last Friday. I 
asked her what was being shredded. She said old paper, documents 
from 2010, things that were "garbage." I told her that under 
Pacifica's document retention policy that there needed to be list of 
shredded documents. She said she didn't have time to make a list and 
I offered to do it for her. At some point she became very upset and 
started yelling. A motorcycle police officer going by in the street 
heard the commotion and stopped to check it out. He asked us to step 
away from the door and told the folks standing in the door way to go 
back into the PNO. The documents were returned to the PNO. I met 
with the police and will talk to them soon about how to move forward.
Shredding documents in the current situation seems to me to be an 
extremely provocative move.

I am happy to share this."

That, basically, is the story so far. It has become difficult to figure out who is on whose side in this developing drama. The plot raises more questions than it answers and, from where I sit, the villainy thrives on both sides of the fence. Somewhere in there lies the fate of WBAI, but this farce does give it a slight breather....or does it? Listen to what Gary Null told his listeners today... he is still not a happy camper, but, with all its faults, there is obviously something about Pacifica that tickles his fancy. Sorry about the audio quality, it has the Haskins earmark: 

1 comment:

  1. Gary Null spoke some sense, finally. He may have fudged a little, when it came to him not needing BAI and Pacifica, because he has his own network, and he was woefully short on specifics, such as naming names and detailing factions. The question that begs itself - if Gary found evidence of embezzlement and other criminal activity - shy give it to Summer Reese and the PNB, why not give it to the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission (non-shipment of premiums)? Instead, he gives the compromising materials to Summer Reese and she uses it to her personal advantage.

    The truth is, Gary Null needs BAI Pacifica audience to market his products. Part of the problem is the poor quality of premiums. Why not sell cultural products that are truly worth something - intellectual property - books by the likes of Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky as premiums? Why are we selling DVD's? It's not about the item, it is fundraising. NPR raises tons more money with their tote bags and subscriptions to New Yorker. Is BAI selling DVD's because it doesn't think that its listeners can sit though a 900 page book?

    Gary has his own bias, he wants the professional radio network that raises money by selling his premiums, of which he takes a cut. Unfortunately he too holds the listeners in low regard since he does not share what he knows about the goings on inside Pacifica and BAI with us, his audience! He must think us really stupid! He is not for or against Summer Reese after she was fired and has no interest if she gets fired or not, and yet it was her, and not the cops, that he gives the damaging information about the evil and powerful (can we say less insane, more mainstream, and more likely to succeed) Berkley Faction, that Reese can use as ammunition. Null longs for the day, when the Pacifica will expose itself and police itself, in the mean time he keeps mum. He COULD be broadcasting the Truth from his self-proclaimed impressive Progressive Internet Broadcasting Network, but he doesn't.

    One truly interesting thing that Gary let slip, and that was the mention of the diversion of the donation money. The way he mentioned it separate from the 80,000 unaccounted for US Dollars leads me to believe that these other funds were raised to keep the radio stations going, but were used for another purpose, most likely given as a charity to another organization. I have seen this happen on my college campus so long ago - we had a left wing student president, who took the student life funds and sent it off as a covert donation to some left-wing charity in solidarity with people of Central America. The big question for me is (and this is only a clue to look into) - which faction of the Pacifica and to which organization are they donating the listeners' funds?

    Still, it is so sad - of the Board members on the other non-profits mainly occupy themselves with raising revenue to support the non-profit - the boards of Pacifica and its affiliates exist to extract the money from the listeners, and with some of the members of such boards heading their own non-profits - Tracy Rosenberg some media-activism-advocacy, BAI local board member Brinkley heading his own community organization, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the money raised from listeners are diverted to other political or activist organizations.