Censored in Berkeley By Oakland City Attorney John Russo
On or about August 15, 2009 show Co-Host, Producer, and Lawyer Gabrielle Wilson informed KPFA listeners of an intriguing case she discovered in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, the matter of Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim v CSAA, et. al.
In preparation for the show that was scheduled to air on The Gospel Experience Program- Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 8:30 A.M. on Radio Station KPFA 94.1 FM, in Berkeley CA. Miss Wilson invited three guests to participate in a legal roundtable broadcast to discuss corruption in the Alameda County Superior Court in the above referenced case. Her invited guests were the Attorney General of California Jerry Brown, Oakland City Attorney John Russo and Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, the plaintiff in the case.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown, responsible for carrying out the investigation of Alameda County Superior Court and State Appeals Court judges, District Attorney Tom Orloff, Oakland City Attorney John Russo and various corporate defendants in this case is himself defending some of the criminals and covering up the very same corruption he is supposed to be investigating and prosecuting! Full Story with Videos and Documents on page exposing Brown defending some of the criminals and covering up the very same corruption he is supposed to be investigating and prosecuting!
Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, the uber-successful sports and entertainment manager/agent with Superstar Management, filed a federal complaint with the United States Attorney General, Department of Justice, of a hate crime of Islamophobia and Xenophobia committed against him during a trial in Superior Court of Alameda County, California. More on al-Hakim on his profile page.
This case is the subject of an ongoing investigation into the actions of various Judges, court administration, State Attorney General, Alameda County District Attorney, Oakland City Attorney, various attorneys, defendants and their employees, agents, contractors, experts, and witnesses. This case is returning back to the United States Attorney General, Department of Justice, the local and Federal Courts.
The Program was to air live over the internet on http://www.kpfa.org/ and KPFB 89.3 FM; KFCF- Fresno, CA- 88.1 FM; KCSB – Santa Barbara, CA – 91.9 FM; KDRT-LP – Davis, CA – 101.5 FM; KDVS – Davis, CA – 90.3 FM; KHSU in Arcata, CA- 90.5 FM; KIDE – Hoopa, CA – 91.3 FM; KMUD – Redway, CA – 88.3 & 91.1 FM; KMEC-LP – Ukiah, CA – 105.1 FM; KNFS-LP – Tulare, CA – 98.1 FM; KUSP – Santa Cruz, CA – 88.9 FM; KVMR – Nevada City, CA – 89.5 &105.1 FM; KZFR – Chico, CA – 90.1 FM
During the week of August 23, 2009 Miss Wilson received a phone call from Evan Westrep from Brown’s office. He left a voice mail message for her at radio station KPFA stating he would pass her interview request along to Brown’s schedulers.
During that same week, Miss Wilson received emails and phone calls from Oakland City Attorney Russo’s press director Alex Katz. One email Katz sent to her and Sasha Lilley, interim Program Director at KPFA, with a cc: to Mark Moromodi, Supervising Deputy for the Oakland City Attorney, proclaiming that City Attorney John Russo was not involved in the case, yet he wanted her to answer questions as to why she wanted to provide a forum for the plaintiff, al-Hakim whom he alleged had posted threatening videos about John Russo. Heres an copy of that email that was a twitpic sent to our followers:
Katz followed up that email with a voicemail message he left for Miss Wilson after the close of business just hours before the scheduled broadcast was to occur threatening her and warned Miss Wilson not to broadcast the interview and demanded she speak with him before she aired the scheduled program. He did this though he wanted Miss Wilson and KPFA to believe that John Russo and the City Attorney’s office was not involved in the case and had nothing to hide! You can listen to that voicemail message here.
Luis Medina, a manager in the music director’s office at KPFA then calls Miss Wilson just hours prior to the scheduled broadcast and leaves a voicemail message warning her that it was very important for the broadcast not to occur. He also stated that there might be very serious repercussions taken if she were to proceed as planned. She even received a phone call from the long-time regular show host, Emmitt Powell whom was contacted by the station in response to Russo’s effort to censor the show.
Miss Wilson proceeded to host the program all alone to comply with the City Attorney and KPFA’s censorship directive…without any of her invited guests. You can listen to that voicemail message here.
Miss Wilson was forced to make at least three announcements to inform the public whom had tuned in to hear this intriguing panel examine this critical civil rights and corruption case in an important election year, that this incredible show had been canceled due to KPFA’s censorship by Oakland City Attorney John Russo! You can listen to those announcements here.
Russo proceeded to engage in censorship by forcing the cancellation of the show and trying to conceal it from the public. Russo and Brown claim that they are not involved in the case yet irrefutable evidence prove otherwise! If they are not involved and have nothing to hide, why censor the show? Those actions are public now as Wilson released a statement on their crimes of which this is merely another instance of.
Miss Wilson, whom has been a programmer on Ear Thyme, Jazz Passages and The Gospel Experience, among other programs, for ten years at KPFA, was all alone in the studio that holiday weekend from 6:00 am was terrified and frightened by all the threatening emails and voicemails from KPFA’s management and the Oakland City Attorney she had received. She did not know what to expect during every second and turn of the show.
On Saturday, October 10, 2009 al-Hakim attended the “Safer Oakland” forum where he met Sally Sommers whom made an announcement that she was from KPFA and interested in gathering the opinions of the community in an effort to bring about change int KPFA’s community programming and he suggested to Wilson that she ascertain the course of KPFA from Sommers.
Miss Wilson responded in an email as follows:
I was censored and this needs to be addressed.
Issue – Censorship
With a provocative program [Corruption in California Courts] set for broadcast on The Gospel Experience, I was censored by KPFA’s interim program director and music director. They warned me that there could be serious repercussions should I move forward with my show. One day prior to broadcast, I was threatened by KPFA management at the direction of Oakland City Attorney Russo. For those who have won a seat on the LSB (Local Station Board at KPFA) I would ask that you put the Program Council on the agenda as we must restore the PC immediately to prevent this from happening to others. It is a shame that we have to pull teeth and split hairs to air Natives live at Alcatraz, the Black Panther Party or Filipino Heritage Specials each year. Is this the needs of the community Sommers speaks of?
I was told that Public Affairs are not allowed on music programs. Does that mean that public affairs programs cannot play music? This is simply not a part of our station’s by-laws. Has a new precedent been established without LSB approval?
Call to Action:
If anyone has a public affairs program [womens magazine, Full Circle, VOME, flashpoints, et al] that would extend to me the opportunity to broadcast my special I would appreciate your consideration. I promise not to play any music. Now we have a story within a story;” Corruption in California Courts” and the underpinning “Censored at KPFA”. Contact me for copies of threatening voice messages and emails from KPFA mgmt and Russo’s office. Surely we are more than hypocrites at KPFA when it comes to free speech.
Censored at KPFA
Wilson received a significant showing of support and offers to air her program on other shows.
On Monday, October 19, 2009, Lemlem Rijio, the General Manager at KPFA announced that there are some exciting changes and new directions taking place at KPFA as, Amelia Gonzalez accepted the position of KPFA’s Interim Assistant General Manager & Development Director and that Sasha Lilley will no longer be KPFA interim Program Director. Lilley was part of the group including Luis Medina and the Oakland City Attorney that censored her show on Court Corruption.
Excited by this sudden change in management, Wilson wondered if that meant she could do as other KPFA programs APEX Express, Inside/Eastside, Hard Knock Radio, and Full Circle that combine music with public affairs at KPFA? Without Lilley at the helm selectively censoring programs maybe they could focus on doing good radio.
She has questioned if Doug Edwards, the host of Ear Thyme and her are the only programmers required to submit show information prior to broadcasts? Many times they have complied with this seemingly isolated directive yet the information does not make it to their website. Edwards, who is legally blind and does not use email, must send send a certain miguel@kpfa an email so that management knows his show topics in advance or they will be subject to repercussions. Wilson lamented that programmers who are also managers such as Gonzalez and Medina, have a serious conflict of interest with programmers and no one knows who this alleged Miguel is?
However, her lingering fears to go on other shows to air the al-Hakim vs CSAA broadcast due to retaliation, including employment termination with the further certainty of censorship around this and other subjects for her and other programmers at KPFA was prophetic as KPFA’s Management renewed warnings not to air the broadcast after receiving an email from KPFA’s new Interim Assistant General Manager Amelia Gonzalez issuing the following notice on October 14, 2009:
Subject: KPFA Staff: air time
This is a reminder to programmers that the air is not yours to broker or give away to other programmers. If another programmer is interested in doing a special (for example, during the time slot when the program you work on airs), they must fill out the paper work and submit it to station management. There is a one time special under Broadcast proposals in our staff page that is available on-line to download.
Why the reminder?
* Because it’s important for all to know what is going over our air.
* To work on technical and content details before air-time to make sure the best show gets on the air
* To provide the adequate support when needed
* To promote properly
If any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Interim Assistant General Manager & Development Director
1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 848-6767 ext. 212
Colleagues of Wilson reminded her that this email may have been sent out in response to other programers continued efforts to air her Corruption in the California Courts program. It was suspected that even if she did work it out with another programmer/host to air her program on their show, this directive could be used to sanction both Wilson and the show’s regular programmers/hosts.
After much deliberation and discussion Wilson declined invitations to come on other shows to air the al-Hakim vs CSAA broadcast because she is certain of the consequence of losing her job in this dire economic times, the possibility of that also happening to another programmer/host and further censorship with KPFA’s renewed warnings after this latest threatening email from Gonzalez. Wilson stated she did not think Gonzales’ recent directive compelling programmers not to broker their station’s airwaves was aimed at keeping producers from collaborating with each other but, they should get clarification if they were curious and felt like their freedom of speech was being restrained.
Wilson thanked everyone for their concern and support saying “you have warmed my heart!” Since that time, due to overwhelming queries from other media outlets, various civil rights and first amendment groups, Wilson has options now that she could not have imagined!
Miss Wilson responded to a legal representation inquiry in an email on Monday, October 26, 2009 as follows:
Not sure if you are interested in fighting censorship at a” free speech” radio station but here goes:
I was set to broadcast a program on Sep. 5, 2009 on The Gospel Experience program which I Produce and Co-Host covering a current Superior Court of California, County of Alameda case. One day prior to broadcast, my department manager at KPFA left a threatening voice mail message on my cell phone warning me not to air the broadcast. I also received an email from Oakland City Attorney John Russo’s Communications Director warning me not to go forward with the broadcast.
I would like to but am hesitant to invite my guest back on the air for a story I find compelling and newsworthy. I feel violated and much worse, I fear that this could happen again not only to me but to other journalists who want to report stories that government might not want revealed to the public. I am very concerned because after ten years at KPFA this is the first time a government employee has managed to censor my show.
Ms. Gabrielle Wilson
As for the censored show on Court Corruption, KPFA has done that before in the case of Lakireddy Bali Reddy, who was convicted of transporting girls to Berkeley “for the purpose of prostitution and for other immoral purposes”. KPFA withheld that story, censored ALL coverage of it, threatened the reporter and complied with the wishes of the convict’s influential political cronnies in management there.
But this story is much more egregious with clear evidence of crime on ALL their parts and this censorship is simply more evidence of their attempt at cover-up for which KPFA is complying! This story will not “go-away” and is gaining more momentum nationally as we speak and there is a hugh announcement to be released very soon! Major change is coming to Oakland, the County of Alameda, and the State of California as this case is headed back to Congress for further investigation!