Transcript: KPFA Flashpoints - 6/25/99
Interview with Helen Caldicott

Dennis Berstein:  I'm not going into much about our ongoing struggle with Pacifica today.  We have a very strong show
lined up for you with Helen Caldicott and Alex Cockburn.But I will say this.

I'm starting to get the feeling that I may not be able to or permitted to work here at KPFA much longer.  I may have to join the listeners in a full-time fight to preserve this precious independent voice for the Bay Area.  I'll have my ear to the ground this weekend, listening intensely for the outcome of the national Pacifica Board meeting in D.C. to see if there is even a glimmer of hope for us to get back on track.  I am anxious for better times, but I am not optimistic.

Sunday night at the event with our highly respected first guest, Helen Caldicott, we'll have some information on the Board meeting and where we go from here.  There will be another rally in front of KPFA on Monday at 5 o'clock. That's on Monday at 5 o'clock p.m.  And community leaders who attended the Board meetings will report back on what they have done.

We'll be right back.


KPFA Flashpoints - 6/25/99

[Dr. Helen Caldicott addresses the Y2K problem and what its effect might be on nuclear power plants when the clock turns to midnight on 12/31/99 -- followed by a discussion of Pacifica]:

Dennis Bernstein:  ...sort of a two-part question.  Are..Have there been whistle-blowers who have tried to tell the truth and have been shut down?

Helen Caldicott:  Well, I think what's happened more is that computer programmers being brought in to try and fix the problem a couple years ago, there've been articles about these people in Wired magazine and others.  And they came in all happy -- they were getting paid a good salary..[unclear].  And after a year or two they just struck out..[unclear]..and said "Christ, you know we're not gonna fix this", and some of them ended up in Arizona, you know, growing their own vegetables, waiting to..[unclear]..stockpile food and the like.  One person who was working on the group -- there are five regional groups in America...[unclear] from the northeast, where many reactors reside.  And he said that the software in the northeasterly grid in America is a "nightmare" -- quote unquote.  So, really, the only thing we know about is we don't know what's going to happen.

But, you know what -- I want to say something new.  The speech I'm going to make on Sunday night is going to be a benefit for KPFA -- not for Pacifica, but for the staff that works here, which brings me to the next thing I want to say, that I am  breaking..[unclear]....I have my own radio show that can be downloaded by Pacifica to 412, I think, NPR stations once a week, so we can speak the truth.

But last and not least, I have to say that I don't know what the hell is going on with Pacifica.  I don't know what the Corporation for Public Broadcasting thinks they're doing.  But the show is run by a man who runs..ran Voice of America, which was sort of a CIA deal.  Why are they trying to steal our radio waves from KPFA, KPFK, you know, WBAI.  I mean, I work for WBAI...I knew Samori Marksman.

I think one of the reasons Samori died was that he was trying to protect the integrity of the Pacifica radio stations and devastated them.  He did.  He had some guts and courage.  How dare the Coporation for Public Broadcasting try and steal these radio waves from the people?  These were set out for the people, for the truth to be spoken.

Now, who's behind it?  A- that they want these radio waves because of the money, because they're worth a hell of a lot of money.  Or B - they want to stop the truth coming out.  Or it's a combination of both.  If so, either way, this is fascism.

To come into your radio station and see a guard at the door, to know you do not have a key any more, you have to have your courage to get in.  This is fascism!

And who's behind it?  Janet Reno!....

DB:  We don't even have any...

HC:  ...Janet Reno!  Yeah, you don't even have your...

DB:  ..[unclear]...

HC:  OK, Dennis.  This is big time.  You've got to save this station.  And everyone that's listening has to be prepared to go to jail.  This is big time.  Janet Reno's coming on this now.  And she rang..She rang the Berkeley Police station to say that they should be tougher on protesters.  Someone is behind it.

You know who it reminds me of?  J. Edgar Hoover.

DB:  I just know...

HC:  I had to say that, Dennis.

DB:  I appreciate it, and I thank you very much for your concern.  I want to say that -- just to be very clear -- the way we understand it, according to the KPFA evening news last night, Mary Frances Berry contacted, we understand, the number three person at the Justice Department, the Associate Attorney General.  His name was Ray Fisher.  And he had his assistant contact the local chief of police here to ask them, I guess, why they didn't crack down more heavily...

HC:  ..[talking over - unclear]...what it's about. I mean, if you've got a patient with a rare and exotic disease, if you don't find the cause of it you can't cure them.  This is a rare and exotic disease that's happening right now to you people.  If you can't find the
reason behind it and who's behind, you'll go down.  Where are the investigative journalists who'll blow this wide apart?  You've got to get the New York Times, you know, you've got to make this big time.

And everyone in Berkeley and San Francisco who's listening -- When is your next demonstration?  Monday?

DB:  Well, I'm not planning it, but I understand there's a report back at 5 o'clock in front of the station...

HC:  On Monday night?

DB:  ...on Monday night at 5 o'clock.  And we're all very hopeful, Helen, that there'll be a sea change, that people will understand.  There are national meetings we have -- important community members who have gone there to reason with the board -- and we're hoping that maybe out of all that we can really finally have some reconciliation and....

HC:  I don't think you want reconciliation.  You've got to take it over.  We go get rid of that bloody Pacifica board and Mary Frances Berry, or whoever she is, and find out the people, that there are nefarious people behind this.  You know, it's hard living under siege. It's better being on the front foot than the back foot.You have to go on the offensive, not the defensive.And you know who I learned that from?  Roy Cohn, who wrote a book, who worked with Joe McCarthy.  He said you always go on the offensive, never be on the defensive.

DB:  All right.  Well, we...That's Dr. Helen Caldicott, and she will be speaking about Y2K and other things...

HC:  And KPFA....

DB:  ...a of letters...There're a lot of letters in that speech from Dr. Caldicott.  I like this one, from the Lady's Home Journal, as one of the hundred most important of the 20th century.  She's certainly one of the top, most important women in my life and a real
teacher.  And that's..I always think of these radio stations as universities without walls, as sort of like giant colliseums that we all sit and listen to this information, and then we act together.  And it is a marvelous...

HC:  It's the last..[unclear]..soul of America, this place.  It really is one of the few places you can hear the truth now.

DB:  And to hear this marvelous woman here Sunday night at the Berkeley Community Theater.  We do have a few more minutes, and I'm wondering..[unclear]..if you have one or two more questions you want to pose to our guest.

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