Transcript: Bessie Wash Statement - Interruption on 3/26/2000
Democracy Now! Broadcast

This is Bessie Wash, executive director of the Pacifica Foundation.
It is necessary that I interrupt your regularly scheduled program to speak
to those that are being misled by a small group of individuals.

This past weekend, a female employee of the Pacifica station
KPFT in Houston, was physically attacked by a man participating
in a anti-Pacifica demonstration. This female employee, and the
KPFT General Manager were greeting guests as they arrived at the
station property for an evening concert, when she was assaulted by
a male demonstrator. The man jumped on her back, taunted her,
attempted to throw her to the ground, and while this was
happening, three other demonstrators just stood by and watched.
They did not even attempt to help her, or to do anything to stop this man.

It was a KPFT volunteer who came to her rescue and I want to
personally, personally thank this volunteer for his heroic deed.

Friday's attack comes just two weeks after, two weeks, after the
general manager, also a female, at our New York station WBAI,
who was physically attacked in her own studio. In her own studio.
As she sat in front of a mike and attempted to interview a
congressman. These last incidents occurred after a series of
unreported acts of violence and threats. Racial and sex-baiting
intimidation tactics employed by the anti-Pacifica facets (?)
throughout this network in all five signal areas: KPFA in Berkeley,
WBAI in New York, WPFW in Washington, KPFK in LA and KPFT
in Houston.

The (unintelligible) of the anti-Pacifica group have harassed, and
are being encourage to continue this campaign of physical and
emotional violence on employees, national board members,
volunteers as well as their family members. Relatives including
young children. Wives, grandparents. Elderly and sickly parents
have been subjected to ugly e-mail messages, death threats, late
night phone calls, uninvited visits not only at their places of
employment but at their homes.

As the originator of listener-supported radio and alternative
programming, the Pacifica Foundation remains the only true voice
of the voiceless. Pacifica supports free speech and the right to
actively assemble. However, we do not, I repeat, do not,  condone,
nor will we tolerate violence.

If you are a participant in the anti-Pacifica group you have the right to
be vigilant in your beliefs but it is not your right, in fact it is
illegal, to subject violence on others. It is also immoral and
irresponsible to use violence as a method of protest in your attempt to
steal the five radio stations funded by individuals that are true
believers and supporters of the Pacifica Foundation's mission.

As the executive director of the Pacifica Foundation I am
committed to insuring that Pacifica remains an organization that
embraces all views, races, sexes and creeds and that the
individuals, Pacifica employees, Board members and volunteers
dedicated to this belief are free to support Pacifica in the manner in
which they choose, without threats to themselves, or their loved ones.

We have thus far tolerated the slander, lies, false accusations,
attempts to disrupt daily operations and the strategic effort to
create an atmosphere of crisis at Pacifica. But we will not accept
violence. All those that are opposed to Pacifica have the right to
protest, in a moral and non-violent manner. However, any and all
participants that are engaged in violence and threats will be
prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

I thank you for your time. We will now resume our regularly
scheduled program.

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