(Copyright © 2000 Al Aronowitz)


Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2001 14:15:19 -0500
From: Fernando Rendon <>
Subject: Open letter to world leaders from world poets and writers  

Medellin, Colombia, July 15, 2000.

Dear Al,

Receive fraternal regards and a copy of the letter that is circulating from different cities of the world in search of support in order to strengthen the process of dialogues towards a permanent and irreversible peace in Colombia that stops a conflict that for almost four decades has left thousands of people dead, pain and misery in the homes of our country.
We beg you that if it's possible you could make this letter circulate
seeking for the biggest support in your country, sending as soon as possible and in any case before July 28 your response of support and maybe other additional statements of support to the following e-mails: and

Waiting four your kind news,

Fernando Rendón
International Poetry Festival in Medellin

Open letter to world leaders from world poets and writers about Colombian reality

                                             “Who rejoices in slaughter
                                 shall never see his will accomplished”
                                                               (Lao Tzu)  

The international press has recently published that the U. S government will donate a set  of  helicopters to the Colombian government in a gesture that could make longer a civil war of several decades, a war that has left hundreds of thousands of people dead. We interpret this donation as an irresponsible act: a lack of respect, a waste of time and opportunities for dialogue, and above all, of human life. It’s human life again that loses because of politics that do not take into account a nation’s need that cannot be postponed.

How many beautiful cultures have disappeared because of the endless warlike confrontations and how many civilizations and nations, whose names we’ve nothing of but deaf echoes, don’t exist any more, as a consequence of  the madness of war?

Colombia suffers the oldest and most merciless war of this continent. We know that secular reasons of  poverty and social injustice have been feeding this ominous suffering. Also we try to comprehend why the blind forces that make this war continue impose themselves over dialogue, reason and the need for beauty. This is not easy to understand, nor do we think that it’s easy for the Colombians, because one of the most abominable aberrations of war is the loss of truth.

Poetry, in its more global sense is the foundation and history of being. War overshadows that foundation and truncates its history. And the globalization, without any respect for the traditional cultures, separates us from the principles and the origins of life. Poetry diminishes the forces of evil and strengthens the spirit.

We, poets of almost fifty countries from five continents, engaged with the dignity of human life, perceive a country that loves beauty in a moving way. We interpret such love as a rejection to war and slaughter.

Therefore, we extend our call to poets, writers, men and women of thought of our time, to strengthen dialogue and the peace processes in Colombia, with the goal of solving war by intelligent and peaceful ways, so that the vital and necessary peace could arrive at last for the Colombian people.

Signature of the poets and writers,

Juan Gelman, poet; Jorge Boccanera, poet and essayist; Manuel Ruano, poet and director of the poetry magazine Quevedo; Víctor Redondo, poet and publisher of the Ultimo Reino; Laura Cerrato, poeta, traductora y profesora universitaria; Graciela Aráoz, poet and essayist; María Rosa Lojo, poet, narrator and essayist; Daniel Samoilovich, poet and director of the poetry magazin Diario de Poesía; María del Carmen Colombo, poet (Argentina); Miguel Grinberg, poet; Jorge Ariel Madrazo, poet and journalist; Ketty Alejandrina Lis, poet and publisher; Javier Cófreces, poet and director of the poetry magazin La Danza del Ratón; Daniel Freidemberg, poet y ensayista; Laura Yasan, poet; Rolando Revagliatti, poet and publisher; Susana Scella, escritora; Arturo Carrera, poet; Ricardo Ibarlucía, poet and journalist; Manuela Fingueret, writer; Reynaldo Jiménez, poet; Horacio Salas, poeta y ensayista; Reynaldo Sietecase, poet; Ana María Shua, writer; Rubén Chihade, poet; Lilia Lardonne, poet; Graciela Perosio, poeta; Alberto Szsunberg, poet; Diego Gándara, poet and journalist; Paulina Vinderman, poet; Daniel Calabrese, poet and publisher; Mempo Giardinelli, writer; Eleonora Finkelstein, poet and publisher; Héctor Piccoli, poet; Jorge Aulicino, poet; Vicente Battista, poet;  Saúl Sosnowskiy, ensayista, profesor de la Universidad de Maryland, director de programas internacionales del Latin American Studies Center  (Argentina); Dorothy Porter, poet (Australia); Werner Hörtner, writer, journalist and director of the Südwind Magazine (Austria); Sajjad Sharif, poet (Bangladesh); Dana Gilkes, poet (Barbados); Guido Vermeulen (Bélgica); Pedro Shimose, poet and essayist, National Prize of Culture (Bolivia); Thiago de Mello, poet and translator; Affonso Romano de Sant´Anna, poet and editor; Floriano Martins, poeta, essayist and translator; Régis Bonvicino, poet; Tania Diniz, poet, narrator and editor of the mural newspaper Mulheres Emergentes; Mano Melo, poet; Ademir Assunção, poet and journalist; Anibal Beça, poet and journalist; Ademir Demarchi, writer and publisher of Babel; Floriano Martins, poet and essayist (Brazil); Germano Almeida, poet (Cape Verde); Gaston Bellemare, writer, president of the International Poetry Festival of Trois-Rivières; Jean-Marc Desgent, poet; Nicole Brossard, poet and narrator (Canada): Leonel Lienlaf, indigenous poet –Mapuche Nation-; Juan Armando Epple, poet and essayist; Yanco González, poet (Chile); Cai Tianxin, poet (Popular China); Germano Almeida, poet (Cabo Verde); Ung Sreng Kong (Cambodia); Enrique Buenaventura, playwright and poet; Eduardo Escobar, poet and journalist; Gabriel Jaime Franco, poet; Jairo Guzmán, poet; Luis Eduardo Rendón, poet; John Sossa, poet and director of the poetry magazin Punto Seguido; Armando Orozco, poet and journalist; Eduardo Peláez, poet and essayist; Julián Malatesta, poet and essayist; Andrea Cote, poet; Antonieta Villamil, poet; Antonio Zibara, poet; Jorge Bustamante García, poet and translator; Miguel Falquez-Certain, poet, narrator and playwright; Robinson Quintero, poet; Jorge Torres, poet, translator and director of poetry magazine Vericuetos; Lauren Mendinueta, poet; Gabriel Jaime Caro, poet and director of the poetry magazin Realidad Aparte (Colombia); Celedonio Orjuela, poet; Rodolfo Giagrecudo, Carlos Martínez, Cantalicio Emcuekeme, indigenous poets –Witoto Nation- (Colombia); Kama Kamanda, poet (Congo); Camila Schumacher, poet; Habib Succar, poeta y editor; Alfonso Chase, poet, novelist, essayist,  National Prize of Culture; Guillermo Fernández, poet and journalist; Alejandra Castro, poet and wqman lawyer (Costa Rica); Drazen Katunaric, poet and publisher (Croatia); César López, poet; Nancy Morejón, poet and translator; Reynaldo García Blanco, poet; Virgilio López Lemus, poet and essayist; Alberto Acosta-Pérez, poeta y narrador; Jose Kozer, poet and publisher (Cuba); Annemette Kure Andersen, poet (Denmark); León Felipe Batista, poet (Dominican Republic); Abdourahman Waberi, poet and novelist (Djibouti); Fernando Cazón Vera, poet; Iván Oñate, poet; Sara Vanegas Covena, poet and universitary teacher (Ecuador); Nassar Abdalla Nassar, poet and publisher (Egipto); Mario Noel Rodríguez, poet; Aida Párraga, poet (El Salvador); John Hegley, poet (England); Jean-Paul Rogues (Francia); Eira Stenberg, poet (Finland); Ulrich Schreiber, writer, president of the Literary Association Peter Weiss and director of the International Poetry and Literary Festival of Berlin (Germany); Kofi Awoonor, poet and Minister (Ghana); Ersi Sotiropoulos, poet and publisher (Greece); Augusto Monterroso, writer, Prize Príncipe de Asturias 2000; Ana María Rodas, poet; Francisco Morales Santos, poet; Reginaldo Rodríguez, essayist and journalist, president of Proyecto Cultural Sur (Guatemala); FrankÉtienne, poet and playwright (Haiti); Kailash Vajpeyi, poet (India); John Dean, poet and essayist (Ireland); Irene Stoliar, poetry translator (Israel); Giussepe Conte, poet; Franca Bacchiega, poet; Enzo Minarelli, poet and director of the Archivio 3ViTre di Polipoesia (Italia); Jean Portante, poet, translator and director of the Journées Littéraires of Mondorf (Luxembourg); Homero Aridjis, poet, novelist and essayist, president of the Grupo Los Cien; José Emilio Pacheco, poet, narrator and critic; Barbara Jacobs, writer; Elena Poniatowska, writer; Carlos Monsiváis, writer; Juan Bañuelos, poet and universitary teacher;  Cristina Pacheco, writer; Oscar Oliva, poet; Carmen Boullosa, poet and writer; Hugo Gutiérrez Vega, poet and director of La Jornada Semanal; Emanuel Torres Martínez, poet and narrator; Alejandro Aura, poet, narrator and playwright, director of the Cultural Departament of the Government in México D.F.; Sealtiel Alatriste, writer and director of de Alfaguara-México (Mexico); Hassan El Ouazzani, poet (Morocco); Mia Couto, poet (Mozambique); Hans C. ten Berge, poet and essayist (Netherlands); Alvaro Rivas, poet (Nicaragua); Wole Soyinka, poet, Nobel Prize of Literature; Odia Ofeimun, poet and journalist (Nigeria); Alan Brunton, poet, performer and playwright (New Zealand); Manuel Orestes Nieto, poet and essayist; Consuelo Tomas, poet and narrator; Héctor Collado, poet and journalist; José Carr, poet and journalist (Panamá); Susy Delgado, poet and journalist (Paraguay); Washington Delgado, poet; Winston Orrillo, poet and journalist, National Prize of Culture; Pedro Granados, poet; Doris Moromisato, writer; Migel Ángel Zapata, poet and universitary  teacher; Isaac Goldemberg, writer and president of the Institut of Latin American Writers in New York (Peru); José Saramago, poet, novelist, and Nobel Prize of Literature; Nuno Júdice, poeta  Egito Gonçalves, poet and organizator of the International Poetry Festival in Aveiro; Rosa Alice Branco, poet, essayist and organizator of the International Poetry Festival in Aveiro (Portugal); Dmitry Bulatov, visual poet (Russia); Carolina Ilica, poet and artistic director of the International Poetry Festival Nights of Curtea of Arges (Romania); Syl Cheney Coker, poet (Sierre Leone); Brano Hochel, poet (Slovaquia); Ana Rossetti, poet; Jorge Riechman, poet and translator; Joaquín Aguirre, writer and director of the poetry magazine Espéculo; Felipe Juaristi, poet; Marisa Ferrari, poet; Carlos Duarte, poet Francisco José Cantero, poet and universitary teacher (Spain); Peter Horn, poet and publisher; Keith Gottschalk, poet and political scientist (South Africa); Christian Uetz, poet; Rita Imboden, writer and journalist (Switzerland); Chiranan Prasertkul (Thailand); Euphrase Kezilahabi, poet and novelist (Tanzania); Tugrul Tanyol, poet and publisher (Turkey); Anne Waldman, poet and director of Jack Kerouac School; Julie Patton, poet and performer; Eliot Weinberger, writer; Tisa Bryant, writer; John M. Bennet, poet and publisher  (USA); Saúl Ibargoyen, poet and journalist; Mario Benedetti, poet, narrator and essayist; Héctor Rosales, poet; Eduardo Milán, poet and critic; Luis Bravo, visual poet; Rafael Courtoisie, poet; Clemente Padín, visual poet; Luis Pereira, poet and director of the Civiles Iletrados; Aldo Mazzucchelli, poet and translator; Hermes Millán Redin, poeta y cineasta; Sergio Altesor, escritor; Eduardo Milán, poet; L. Nicolás Guigou, visual poet, anthropologist (Uruguay); Francisco Pérez Perdomo, poet and essayist; Juan Sánchez Peláez, poet; Alicia Torres, poet, essayist and translator; Pablo Mora, poet; María Antonieta Flores, poet and essayist; José Ángel Fernández, indigenous poet –Wayuu Nation- (Venezuela); Nguyen Chi-Trung, poet (Vietnam); Musaemura Zimunya, poet (Zimbabwe).

Coordinators: Fernando Rendon, poet, director of the International Poetry Festival in Medellin (Colombia) and Tobias Burghardt, poet, essayist and poetry translator (Germany).

Medellin, Colombia, July 15, 2000.

* * *

Al Aronowitz

Dear Al,

Receive fraternal regards and a copy of the letter that is circulating from different cities of the world in search of support in order to strengthen the process of dialogues towards a permanent and irreversible peace in Colombia that stops a conflict that for almost four decades has left thousands of people dead, pain and misery in the homes of our country.

We beg you that if its possible you could make this letter circulate seeking for the biggest support in your country, sending as soon as possible and in any case before July 28 your response of support and maybe other additional statements of support to the following e-mails: ""></a> and <a href=""></a>

Waiting four your kind news,
Fernando Rendón
International Poetry Festival in Medellin

* * *


From: "David Weaver" <>
Subject: My Man's Gone Now
Date: Sat, 05 Aug 2000 04:33:48 GMT  

Dear Blacklisted Journalist:  

Just found your columns on the internet, and enjoyed reading them.  I especially enjoyed the story about Billie Holiday and Gershwin's song, "My Man's Gone Now."  I'm particularly interested in it because I am writing a biography of the woman who introduced it, Ruby Elzy, the original "Serena."  

I've never seen any reference before to Gershwin and Holiday, and his consideration of her to be Serena.  I was wondering if I may have your permission to footnote this in my story, and, if so, how shall I properly acknowledge you?  

Thank you very much -- looking forward to more columns!

David Weaver

P.S.  On May 5, a new Gershwin CD was released, and it has the recording of the "Porgy and Bess" cast in rehearsal on July 19, 1935, two months before the opera first opened.  Among the songs, introduced and conducted  personally by Gershwin, is Ruby Elzy (then age 27) singing "My Man's Gone Now."  ##

* * *

From: "David Weaver" <>
Subject: Re: My Man's Gone Now
Date: Sat, 05 Aug 2000 14:32:35 GMT  

Dear Al:  

Happy to meet you via e-mail!  Thanks for your quick response and allowing me to footnote the Holiday anecdote in my Elzy work.

Ruby Elzy died June 26, 1943, in Detroit's Parkside Hospital, one day after having what had been described as a non-life threatening operation.  I got  ahold of her death certificate -- the operation was to remove a benign tumor of the uterus.  She suffered cardiac and respiratory failure in the recovery room.  The official cause of death states "cardiac dilitation" (enlarging of  the heart) and "shock following operation."  Ruby was 35 years old (not 33 as widely reported in the press of the day).

She had sung her last performance in Serena one week before -- June 19, 1943 -- in Denver, Colorado, at the close of the "Porgy and Bess" tour.  She was on her way to New York, where she and fellow P&B stars Todd Duncan, Etta Moten (who had replaced Anne Brown as Bess) and Harriet Jackson were to perform in the all-Gershwin concert with the New York Philharmonic at Lewisohn Stadium on July 6.  Alma Hubbard, Ruby's understudy, sang "My Man's Gone Now" at the concert and assumed the role of Serena when the P&B tour resumed in the fall of 1943.  

Ruby Elzy is buried in her home town of Pontotoc, Mississippi.  The inscription on her tombstone reads:

February 20, 1908
June 26, 1943
"Now singing in the celestial choir"  

On April 1, 2000, Ruby Elzy was named one the first 27 inductees into the new Mississippi Music Hall of Fame, along with Leontyne Price, Elvis Presley and Tammy Wynette, among others.

If I can contribute anything of interest to your website, I'd be happy to do so, and look forward to reading more!  Thanks again.

David Weaver  ##

* * * 


From: Justan Highland <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000 06:18:26 -0800  

You're writing is very interesting  ##

* * *



Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2000 18:23:59 EDT

hey. thanks for the mail.  im glad your back in the game.  there are
a lot of kooks out there, and we have to go far beyond them with
our determination.  im a young writer/ actor on the west coast, and
im really into the beats, jazz, and 60s and 70s rock music.  im working
on a script right now about berkeley in the 1960s.  Stay strong, stay
weird, and i hope to hear from you again, soon. 


* * *


To: al aronowitz <>
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000 14:27:37 +0200  

OK, Al, you've convinced me. Now you are bookmarked in my system. Looks
like a cool site.  

2 questions:

1.   Are you Al, of Al's Bar fame? If so, I like the 2 t shirts I bought from you and am wearing them here in Gemany all the time.

2.   Are you Al, of Reverend Al and the Cacaphony Society? If so, I wish I was still in LA so I could participate in some of the great outings.

Even if you are not either of the Als above, I look forward to reading your stuff now.


Mark  Cox
George P. Johnson Company
Chrysler - Jeep Automotive Europe
Phone: +49 (0) 711 44 01 250 or
               +32 (0) 265 80 20 0  ##

* * *


From: "Milroy, Tom (CY - Business Administration)"
To: "''" <>
Subject: Keep the faith, Al
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000 14:29:07 -0600  

What goes around, surely does come around.  (As you have so clearly articulated in your last email).  This is a law of nature, (cycles), and an absolute truth.

Don't despair either, man.  There was some kind of Kharmic thing that you and that dickheaded virus passer had to go through.  A past life thing that needed some working out?  Only God (?) knows but I do know that YOU have found the BALANCE in all of that hurt that he/she caused you and the good news is...

...YOU won't have to go through it again in another lifetime because YOU were able to balance the Kharma in this lifetime, and got the GIFT out of all that hurting.  Good for you Al, and it serves as a reality (?) check for all of your "dedicated" readers and friends.  There is JOY in all that hurtin' man, and it was great to see you express that fact in such a creative way, so that we can ALL benefit from the experience.  We're ALL connected, Al.  You know that to be true.

Like I said, Al...
Keep the faith

(And thanks again).

Tom Milroy
Saskatoon, CANADA  ##

* * *



Date: Tue, 04 Jul 2000 00:29:07 -0400
Subject: Re: don't remove me!  I love this stuff!
From: "d." <>
To: al aronowitz <>  

On 7/3/00 1:31 PM, al aronowitz at wrote:

> I’m not some hustler trying to tell you how to make a million dollars
> and I’m not a spammer who gives you a phony return email address.  If
> you want to be removed from my address book, kindly print REMOVE in
> the subject line above, click on REPLY and then click on SEND.  It
> is essential that I have a complete copy of this email I’ve sent you,
> including the lone addressee at the top.  As I said that will enable me
> to find you in my address book.  Afterwards, you will receive an email
> confirming that you have been removed from my mailing list.  But have
> patience, please.  So far, THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST is just a one-man
> operation and, although I hope not, there might be a rush of naysayers
> among you.  

Hopefully, the virus was just a random thing and not someone going specifically after you.  There's lots of those nasties going round in email and they don't discriminate who they attack.

Here's someone to put *on* your mailing list: Ben Young at  He'd be interested in your writings.

Love your stuff, man.

Is ait an mac an saol.  ##

* * *



From: "PK" <>
To: <>
Subject: Letters
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2000 15:07:50 -0700  

I just read your letter regarding the problems you've had to deal with the destruct of your hard drive. I was touched by your letter and did a brief revue of the many columns you wrote about many persons I knew over the years. I had some experience of the Blacklist in the early fifties and I know how damaging it could be to ones psyche and it's something you never really get out of your system. I'm a survivor and somehow managed to get my life together and managed a number of Jazz artists, Rock stars, my own music publishing companies, Record Companies, Produced Concert Tours, Involved with some major films, touring Broadway productions through Israel and Europe, and despite getting wealthy beyond ones dream, I can never forget the Blacklist. I learned to avoid interviews and keep a low profile. Welcome back to cyber world. I'm in my 80th year and I've gone a little crazy with 5 computers in my home and one next to my bed, when I awake for any reason I have my toy to stay in touch with the world. See you on the internet.  ##

* * *


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 2000 16:18:07 EDT
Subject: Turn Your Radio ON  

Dear Friends,

Remember when just Six (count 'em) Transistors were MORE than Enough "?

 <A HREF="">Do You Remember "?</A>  ##

* * *

Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 11:30:31 EDT
Subject: Watts Really Happening??

The July 9, 2000 London Observer "Life" Magazine contained an interview with Rolling Stone Drummer Charlie Watts.  Here is a relevant excerpt from the article.........

For those unfamiliar with the case, it was reported that Michael Abram broke into the house and stabbed Harrison, who fought him off with the help of his wife Olivia.

"But what George really went through was not in the papers," says Charlie.  "I spoke to Ringo about a month after it happened and he told me exactly what went on, and it was horrific. 

"George was stabbed about 40 times.  It happened outside his bedroom on the landing.  He would have been dead if he'd been lying in bed, he wouldn't have been able to fight.

"The papers did say that one wound punctured his lung, but a lot of others were just as horrific.  The man was slashing him everywhere.  George's wife hit him again and again on the head with this brass lamp, but he just wouldn't stop.  There was blood everywhere."   

Charlie shakes his head ruefully.  "I think George is still going through trauma," he says.  "He's bound to - he's lived in that house over 30 years.  It's just so shocking that it should happen to a guy who's so...." he gropes for the right word - "inoffensive. George has never been nasty to anyone, he's only ever preached love and peace.

He's not like John Lennon: he's never made statements or anything."  Charlie sighs, bemused.  "He's just a very nice guitar player."  ##

* * * 


Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 19:14:32 EDT
Subject: Thanks

Dear Al,

I came across your website and love your writing.  Those essays would make a wonderful book.  I am a Trappist monk and live in Conyers, Georgia, though I  grew up in New Jersey, in Montclair.  I have been a Dylan admirer for years. Isn't a new biography coming out on him by the same guy who wrote a bio of Charles Bukowski?  I thought I read about that somewhere.  Many thanks for your words and memories and talent.  James Behrens. ##

* * *


Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 23:42:04 EDT
Subject: Great Writing

Hello Al,

      I've read your stuff since the 60's.  I'm 52 and like you and so many others have been blown away by Dylan since I heard him in 1964.   Just read your piece about Dylan and Woodstock on the Expecting Rain web site. 

     That bio on A&E was pretty lame, maybe one day a real documentary on him will be undertaken.  (Don't be so hard on yourself.  Most humans would have fawned over Bob during those heady days of the mid 60's!)

    I'm a psychologist (PhD), and there is no doubt in my mind that somehow that guy has tapped into the emotions of human experience in a way that  millions can relate to (but he has done it on a very subtle abstract level).

    He still has been a real schmuck at times.   Keep writing, Tom ##

* * *


From: (David Elek)
To: <>
Subject: Thanks
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 22:56:52 +020 

To Mr. Al Aronowitz,

Just a word of thanks for your interesting and enjoyable articles, particularly about Dylan, that you have posted on the web. Have you ever thought about writing a book on Dylan? There have not been so many up-close eyewitness accounts of the sixties as interesting as yours.

Regards from Dusseldorf, Germany.

David Elek  ##

* * *


Subject: Where have you gone?
Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2000 22:18:09 (CEST)  

Hey, where have you gone at once? You columns only go up to october 1999. Don't tell me you ran out of stuff to write about? I just wondered why it suddenly stopped.

Oh, read your piece about Dylan and the beatles: Silky is indeed some british folkgroup that had one single (i have it here) with "you've got to hide your love away". Needless to say I prefer the beatles version but apart from's just really an awful (and I mean AWFUL) cover, seeing as there's one woman singing part of the verse, no matter how hard you try you won't get used to that.  believe they also did "she's leaving home" if the version I heard is indeed by them, and that's even worse. just wanted to let you know that . Hope you're still around tho.


Yvonne.  ##

* * *


Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000 10:16:59 -0500
From: jo grant <>
Subject: Three Cheers

This is just what I needed this morning

. . .articles regarding Ralph Nader's appearence in Tampa, FL on behalf of Steve Wilson and Jane Akre. I say, "on behalf of Steve Wilson and Jane Akre," but his appearence down there is as impoartant for you and me as it is for Steve and Jane. If Steve and Jane had caved in to Fox and Monsanto incredibly important information about rBGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) would not be available to the public today.

This post is also going out to the Wisconsin Greens (of which I am one) and I know that the scene in Tampa is going to be reflected in future polls on the percent of people supporting Ralph Nader [Jo is one of those on the left who, we think, has allowed himself to be misguided into thinking he ISN’T throwing his vote to the far right by throwing his vote away---but we love you anyway, Jo!]

Read on, and thanks to all.

j grant

* * *

July 20, 2000
Tampa, Florida  


TAMPA (July 20,2000)-Ralph Nader's appearance on the witness stand highlighted the fourth day of testimony in the trial of the two former Fox journalists who say they were fired for refusing directives to air false and misleading information about bovine growth hormone.

After three more courtroom attempts by Fox lawyers to block his testimony as unwarranted and prejudicial, Nader sat in the witness box and told the jurors how television broadcasters have a legal as well as ethical duty not to distort news broadcast.

Although the FCC has not been aggressive in enforcing the law against it, he said, the commission has previously stated "there is no act for heinous" than deliberate distortion of the news by companies who hold broadcast licenses and supposedly serve the public trust. Under questioning by co-plaintiff Steve Wilson, Nader said any reporter who would go along with such directives would himself be guilty of violating the law that forbids it.

Although Fox lawyers had filed and lost a motion en limine to keep Nader from even coming to Tampa to testify, they put forth another strong argument again after he arrived at the courthouse. Judge Ralph Steinberg again overruled the objections after co-plaintiff Jane Akre's attorney made a case that Nader is indeed qualified to offer expert testimony about the public interest requirements of the Communications Act which governs broadcasters.

Even after Nader took the stand and began to testify, Fox lawyer William McDaniels stood up repeatedly to bvoice objections to many of the Nader's responses. Most of those objections were overruled by the court. Nader's testimony which lasted about 30 minutes and that of Florida dairyman Charles Knight interrupted three days of testimony from Akre who finally stepped down from the witness box at the end of the day Thursday. Knight drove 200 miles to tell the jury about his experiences with rBGH and with Akre who had contacted him as part of her investigation.

Knight said the reporter was properly skeptical of the information he provide and that she acted professionally at all times. The defense has suggested the journalist may have had her mind made up to do a critical story about Monsanto even before she gathered the facts.

The trial continues Friday with testimony from Forrest Carr, the plaintiffs expert on ethical journalism. Dr. Michael Hansen, a scientist for Consumers Union, will also testify offer expert testimony on rBGH. Akre was never shaken on the witness stand in hours of cross examination by Fox attorney McDaniels.

She acknowledged a contentious atmosphere with Fox editors and lawyers in wake of repeated pressure from them to distort the BGH story but she said she never acted improperly. She said she wrote and handed in stories as requested but in the end, Fox never broadcast any of the drafts she and Wilson wrote.

* * *

Jul 20, 2000 - 10:21 PM=20
Fired TV reporters supported by Nader
BY JANET LEISER of The Tampa Tribune  

Two journalists who claim they were fired by a local television station for refusing to slant a story on milk received a little help from consumer advocate and lawyer Ralph Nader on Thursday.

Testifying at the journalists' civil trial in Tampa, Nader said television stations are legally obligated to tell the news fairly and accurately.

To slant a story at the request of an advertiser, Nader said, violates FCC rules.

Television stations are more than a business, Nader said. “They are public trustees.”

Former WTVT, Channel 13 reporters Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, who are married, sued the Fox network under Florida's Whistleblower Act. They say they were fired for refusing to broadcast false statements about bovine growth hormone, which is manufactured by Monsanto, a major Fox advertiser.

Fox and Monsanto contend the reporting wasn't fair. The station gave the couple months and many chances to redo the story right.

The growth hormone, sold under the brand name of Posilac, is injected into cows, to increase milk production, said Akre and Wilson.

The FDA approved its use in 1993, saying it was safe for human consumption. But it is banned in Canada and several European countries where some scientists claim its use is linked to higher levels of a growth factor suspected of promoting cancerous tumors.

Nader told the seven jurors in Courtroom One at the Hillsborough County Courthouse that reporters shouldn't allow themselves to be used as an  “instrument of deception.”

It would be an FCC violation, Nader said, “if they [network officials] held back the story and told the reporters they had to say something that was false.”

Nader, a Harvard Law School graduate, didn't testify about the accuracy of the couple's reporting.

After he concluded his testimony, he talked to news reporters outside the courtroom.

He said Monsanto is a “corporate bully” known for sending threatening letters to news outlets prior to broadcasts. Even if the reports are accurate and fair, it still costs stations hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend themselves.

“The chilling factor is deliberate,” he said. “They know what they're doing. ... Every day these intimidations lead to self censorship.”

Before they worked at Channel 13, Akre was a CNN anchorwoman, and Wilson, a four-time Emmy-Award winner, reported for Inside Edition.

Nader said they are both “first-class reporters.”

According to the couple, Channel 13 promoted the story during the days preceding the scheduled 1997 broadcast. But the story was pulled at the last minute after a Monsanto lawyer sent a letter to Fox.

The couple and the station went back and forth on the story for months. There were more than 80 versions of the script before the couple were fired.

Another Channel 13 reporter did a story about Posilac after the two had been dismissed.

The trial, which began Monday and is expected to last three to four weeks, resumes at 9 a.m. today before Circuit Judge Ralph Steinberg.

Janet Leiser can be reached at (813) 259-7920.

* * *

Finally, this note from Steve,


Fox fought fiercely but couldn't stop Ralph Nader from telling jurors that distorting the news is not just a bad idea, it is against the law.

Jane's testimony is finished after three days on the stand.

Details of Fox/BGH suit developments at:

I apologize that I cannot crank out these stories as quickly as I had planned.  Being a lawyer in the the courtoom is much harder than it looks and the on-going preparation takes most hours of the day.

Jane and I would still appreciate help from anybody who may be in the Tampa Bay area or willing to come help us cover the trial for the website to keep others informed.  If you can help, please call--don't just e-mail--(727) 560-0749.

Steve  ##

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Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2000 12:34:37 -0500
To: <>
From: jo grant <>
Subject: Here's a surprise re:News Blackouts  


Shortly after sending the post about the trial in Tampa/St.Pete I received a press release from the National Lawyers Guild. If you don't know this organization they've been on the cutting edge of defending such rights as Freedom of Speech, etc. for over 60 years.  On a number of occasions I have turned to them for legal advice and defense.

In their press release they point out that many of the protestors in Philadelphia, non-violvent protestors I should add, are being held with bail set at from $500,000.00 to $1,000,000,000.00. Such high bail is unprecedented for a simple misdemeanor charge.

Why are these facts not being reported?  Possibly because rank and file Americans, even those who are opposed to the rights of individuals to demonstrate as a form of protest, would be alarmed to think that the police are clearing the streets of protestors, many of whom, had not even protested, and holding them without access to attorneys or to a reasonable bail. These are tactics used by police states and military dictatorships. Such tactics are unacceptable to the average American.  

Since the average American would be shocked to learn that the police are engaging in such activities, the media ignores the story and keeps most Americans in the dark.

Ignoring the story, is as alarming as the activity of the police in Philadelphia.

I believe it will be no different in L.A. when the Democratic convention takes place.


joe grant

   Politicians and diapers have one thing in common.          
    They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.  ##  

* * *


From: "Claudia  K White" <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000 20:30:03 -0700
Subject: [soa] [MainLineNews] A death row visit with Mumia Abu-Jamal - by Jeff Mackler  

Greetings Mumia Supporters!

The following is an article recently written by one of the Mobe's co-coordinators, Jeff Mackler.

A death row visit with Mumia Abu-Jamal
By Jeff Mackler 

The misnamed Progress Drive, a quarter mile long road an hour's drive east from Pittsburgh, PA. dead ends at State Correctional Institute (SCI)Greene, the super-modern prison where innocent death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal resides. Caged 23 hours daily in a tiny cell for the past 19 years at Greene and elsewhere, Mumia appeared to me in the best of humor. A unique and shining example of an individual whose gentle revolutionary spirit has enabled him to face down two execution orders and pursue an inspiring uphill battle for his life and the lives of all the oppressed and exploited, Mumia greeted my upraised hands on the impenetrable Plexiglas barrier between us, by placing, "high five" style his handcuffed palms on mine with a smile as broad and warm as one could imagine.

"Mumia, you look fantastic," I said in earnest as his eyes greeted mine with enthusiasm and instant friendship. "You need to lose some weight Jeff," he answered with a hearty laugh in response to my unflattering paunch, an all too obvious component of my persona.

I was the guest of the Bruderhof Community the day before my June 12 two hour and ten minute visit with Mumia in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. The Bruderhofs, associated with the Hutterite faith until some five years ago, live in a gentle, loving, and highly political religious-based utopian village of 400 members at New Meadow Run in Farmington, PA. The faith of this 4,000 person religious and cooperative endeavor (with associated villages nearby as well as in New York state and other nations) stems from a vision of the meaning of Jesus Christ that some would compare to the early utopian socialist experiments in Europe and the U.S.

Bruderhof's respected minister, Steve Wiser, like me, serves as one of the National Coordinators of Mumia's defense. Steve is also a spiritual adviser to Mumia and in that capacity takes on a myriad of responsibilities from arranging for drafts of Mumia's books and articles to reach appropriate destinations, to weekly consultations on innumerable aspects of Mumia's struggle for freedom.

Nestled in Western Pennsylvania's lush mountainous pine forests, deep in the state's former coal country, many of Bruderhof's social activists are active opponents of the death penalty, racial and social injustice, U.S. intervention, and the murderous sanctions imposed on Iraq. Far from a reclusive sect, they send delegations to learn about politics in nations from Cuba to Nigeria. When Mumia was transferred to SCI Greene some five years ago, Wiser and the Bruderhofs made his freedom a focal point of their work.

SCI Greene, midway between the rural Bruderhof community and urban Pittsburgh, strikes one immediately as a bizarre place. Surrounded by high chain link fences topped with rows of fearsome razor wire, it is from a visitor's vantage point, an immaculate institution whose every inch is planned for maximum security, human repression, and in many instances, death.

Before entering the visitor waiting area, I was given precise instructions as to my conduct, including prohibited possessions, (pen, pencil, paper, camera, video and taping material, etc.) and then subjected to a guard monitoring an unfamiliar machine that detects minute amounts of illegal drugs. Failure to pass this test results in exclusion from the prison I was informed. While a written flyer explains that Greene's policy is aimed at a "drug free" prison, the obvious impossibility of any visitor passing a package of illegal material through the massive sheet of plexiglas that separated my visitor's cubicle from Mumia's was striking.

Waiting room visitors were treated to a display case featuring trophies won by SCI Greene guards in inter-prison guard baseball, bowling, golf and other sports competition. The guards, however, entered and left the waiting room's multi-locked steel doors unimpeded, including drug tests.

In short order, I was called to begin a near quarter-mile sojourn through what seemed an endless series of massive sliding doors that opened as I approached only to clang shut and lock behind me whereupon I had to await the opening of the next door some ten feet farther. This echoing steel and plexiglas tunnel finally opened into yet another visitor holding room where I was scrutinized by yet another security guard who, a the third time, checked my papers and directed me to a numbered cubicle where I awaited Mumia's entry.

With access to CNN cable television, Mumia was intensely aware of the current raging controversy over the death penalty brought to national attention in June by the 1973-95 Columbia University Liebman study that demonstrated that some 68 percent of appealed death row sentences were reversed based on police wrongdoing, "prosecutorial suppression of evidence that the defendant was innocent," and "egregiously incompetent counsel." While Liebman's work, unintentionally, of course, served to highlight key elements of Mumia's trial, the national headlines it provoked became inseparable from the fight for Shaka Sankofa's life.

Mumia expressed his deep appreciation of the fact that the case of Sankofa had been given the full attention of his supporters. Indeed, in the month before Texas Governor George Bush Jr. murdered the innocent Sankofa on June 22, Mumia solidarity groups across the nation took this lesser known case to the attention of millions, thereby extracting a political price from the state power that stole Sankofa's life. Shaka died with dignity, purpose, and pride knowing that a renewed movement against the racist and classist death penalty was on the rise.

The broad support Mumia had won for his own case was readily transferred to the effort to save Sankofa's life as organizations ranging from the European Parliament and the Japanese Diet demanded that Sankofa's execution be stopped. Mumia, whose tribute to Sankofa had been widely disseminated, was delighted that the compelling evidence of Sankofa's innocence, banned from jury and court examination by technical time limits approved by the Supreme Court, had compelled The New York Times and other major media to take up the case and question the legitimacy of the impending execution.

I learned that Mumia had recently earned a Masters degree and that his thesis dissertation was on the Black Panther Party. Mumia, a former Panther himself, was acutely aware of the intense and illegal government pressures on the Panthers as well as the critical internal disputes and disagreements over political orientation that contributed to its eventual decline and demise. Similarly, he expressed a passionate concern in regard to the current state of the movement for Black liberation today. We spent considerable time exchanging ideas and information about this subject.

Books on history, Mumia noted, constituted the core of his reading list. No doubt, Mumia was widely read and saw the lessons of history as an indispensable guide to today's social struggles.

He was inspired by works such as C.L.R. James' "Black Jacobins," the account of the successful Haitian slave revolt in the mid-1790s against the French government of Napoleon Bonaparte. Led by the fifty year old slave, Touisaint L'Overture, the liberation army of Haiti's oppressed defeated successive attempts by the world's most powerful military force to suppress the Haitian rebellion.

Mumia expressed a particular interest in the political background of C.L.R. James, the American revolutionary socialist and brilliant orator who, unknown to Mumia, spent many years as a leader of the Socialist Workers Party.

The works on Malcolm X by another former SWP leader, George Breitman, had also found their way onto Mumia's reading list. He was particularly impressed with Breitman's work, "The Last Year of Malcolm X: The Evolution of a Revolutionary," an important work that traced Malcolm's views on the key issues facing the Black liberation movement of the 1960s.

We spent time exchanging ideas about the political orientation, affiliation and evolution of a number of today's historians and political writers, including those above. Mumia's essential modesty was ever present. When he was unfamiliar with any aspect of a subject I inquired about, he immediately asked for additional information.

I should not have been surprised to learn that Mumia was unfamiliar with many of the accomplishments of the broad solidarity movement that had arisen in his defense. While often aware of the general outlines of this work, he delighted in the details, as with the recent successful student efforts at Antioch College and the University of California at Santa Cruz to mobilize campus support to include Mumia as a graduation speaker. In these instances, as with others of a similar nature, Mumia's role was to graciously accept the invitation to prepare an audio tape to the graduating class, labor conference, or other event where his voice was requested. But he was largely unaware of the magnificent efforts of so many people to bring these events to fruition. "Jeff," he said, perhaps to emphasize his desire to hear more from his supporters, "I probably know some ten percent of what's happening out there."

Mumia often focused on the central importance of today's youth in the coming struggles that he saw developing in the U.S., from the new battles for civil and democratic rights to the inevitable struggles of working people to reinvigorate the labor movement. He marveled at the role of youth in the WTO and IMF protests in Seattle and Washington, D.C. and was especially impressed with the prospect of labor's rank and file taking action in their own interests. He made a special point to emphasize his interest in and delight at learning from many sources about the emergence of high school age youth in many of today's developing social struggles.

I asked Mumia for his impressions of the many prominent people who had visited him in prison to express their solidarity. He was especially impressed with the visits of Alice Walker and Ossie Davis, two individuals who have made great efforts to bring Mumia's case to the attention of the broader audiences they influence.

In both instances, however, Mumia was more interested in the character of these individuals, in their political insights and lifelong commitment to social justice, and in their work as artists and writers, than he was with their advocacy of his personal struggle. He judged them as equals, as real human beings who were part of the same struggle he was. In this regard, Mumia appeared to me more as an unusually modest and dedicated participant in the struggle for human liberation as opposed to a man preoccupied with his own grave situation.

And like the best of the activists I have known, he had the capacity to see humor in the darkest situation. As we meandered through one subject after another Mumia periodically burst into an infectious laughter that lit up his entire face and animated his body. He was able to step out of the daily misery state power had subjected him to and appreciate and marvel at the beauty of those special moments when the ruling rich exposed their baseness in all its crudity, shallowness, and hypocrisy.

Mumia was pleased to learn that the Cuban government had decided to devote a special television presentation to his case and to the related issues of police brutality and the prison industrial complex in the U.S. His chief legal counsel Leonard Weinglass, and the central organizer of his national defense, and closest associate, Pam Africa, had been invited to Havana for a June 18 broadcast on the popular Cuban television program, "Roundtable." Also joining the show were other national coordinators of Mumia's defense including Monica Moorehead of the International Action Center.

I explained to Mumia that I was also invited to participate in the program but was unable to attend for personal reasons. The Cubans insisted, however, that I participate via a phone hook-up. I accepted their invitation.

When I explained that I felt compelled to turn down the Cuban invitation to travel to Cuba to speak on Mumia's case because I had promised to attend my son's university graduation, Mumia immediately signaled his understanding.

He is a parent himself who understood all too well the pressures on political people to too often subordinate personal and family considerations for urgent political purposes. As most proud parents do, we exchanged stories about our kids and shared the joys of seeing them grow up with loving hearts and a dedication to social justice.

Mumia was a partisan of the struggle of the Cuban people for the return of Elian Gonzales. Cuba was a special place for Mumia, not just because it was the only nation whose government was actively concerned with his fate, but because of Cuba's unique position in the world revolutionary movement as a nation that had not abandoned its revolutionary optimism and commitment to its original principles.

When I told Mumia about the success of the April 29 Berkeley (California) Community Theater "Children of Resistance" event that featured his soft-spoken son Mazi Jamal and the daughter of the deceased environmental activist Judi Bari, a bright smile came over his face. But it was not just because 3000 people had participated in this unusual theater-like remembrance of the Rosenberg's fight for life and justice, and its linkage through three generations of fighters, to today's battles. Mumia explained that years before his imprisonment he had met and interviewed the Berkeley event's central organizer, Robbie Meeropol, the son of the falsely convicted and executed McCarthy-era witchhunt victims, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. He remembered asking Robbie at that time if a similar frame-up could be engineered today. With a sardonic smile Mumia recalled that both men agreed that it could and would happen again.

Mumia was pleased to learn of the details of the massive nationally coordinated marches and rallies of last April and May including of the 6,000 people who mobilized in New York City's Madison Square Garden Theater, the 6,000 who marched in San Francisco a week or so later on May 13 and the myriad of protests that took place in some 70 countries on the same day on his behalf. Again, however, he was pleased to be sure, but more so as a participant in the success of a growing social movement that is capable of challenging injustice on all fronts than as an individual recipient of respect across the globe.

Mumia is a man with an incredible warmth and modesty. He has a laughter that touched me deeply, an intense interest in ideas, old and new, and an unflagging revolutionary confidence in today's fighters to win his freedom and to change the world for the benefit of all.

As our two hour visit drew to a close when a loudspeaker signaled the end of my visit, we joked about and planned what we would do upon his release. We agreed on the long walks in freedom we would take, the special dinners we would share with friends old and new and the far away places Mumia would like to visit.

It was a visit with a stranger that was like having a best friend in one's home. Mumia Abu-Jamal is the stuff that revolutionary fighters are made of. When we win his freedom, we will have liberated a precious addition to our struggle and we will have recaptured our own freedom as well.

[Jeff Mackler is a National Coordinator of Mumia's defense and the Co-Coordinator of the Northern California-based Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.]  ##

* * *

To: <Undisclosed-Recipient:;;>
From: "Marpessa Kupendua" <>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 01:23:23 -0400
Subject: [soa] !*Mumia Speaks! Two New Articles 

Mumia's statement September 6, 2000 reg. Cuban Delegation


On behalf of the committee to welcome the Cuban delegation to the Millennium summit and their supporters to various communities, we say Bien venidos mis amigos de Cuba. Bien venidos. We welcome his Excellency el Presidente Fidel Castro, members of the honored Cuban delegation, and the members of the welcoming committee that organized this event and made it possible. Bien venidos. We welcome you the historic Riverside church of Harlem. This is an important moment of history. For as the late revered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come."

It is time for us all to recognize the futility of the blockade that continues to stifle Cuban economic life. In a time when the watchword on every major politician's lips is 'free trade'. How can such a thing as the blockade, a naked restraint of trade if ever there was one, be maintained?

It is an anachronism, a rusty tool of the Cold War era, due for storage in a dusty museum of another century. It should be joined by the Cuban Adjustment Act, another cold War relic of another age, another time. If lawmakers were honest, it would be called the Cuban Destruction Act, for it lures poor and desperate people into the shark-infested, treacherous water of the Florida Keys. Every empire in the world has acted like an economic magnet for poor people on the periphery. But it is inhumane to set up a system that treats their survival like a deadly obstacle course. Like the blockade, the so-called Cuban Adjustment Act punishes free trade and also forbids free travel by Americans to that island just ninety miles offshore. It too is an idea whose time has past.

We gather today to join our voices to the swelling chorus of millions calling for an end to the blockade, repeal of Helms-Burton, an end to travel ban. The recent American media fever over Elian has provided an invaluable opening for those like the late Philadelphia activist Bob Simpson who want to bring some sanity to an American-born policy that is muddled in madness. Take heart, for madness cannot last forever. even the most raging fever will break. You are all the breath of fresh air that is signaling the return of sanity to Cuban-US relations. So again, Ben venidos, we welcome you.

We also want to thank you for your continuing resistance to the empire, for four decades of remaining true to the revolution, for building a system where education is a fundamental human right;  for aiding in the long and arduous fight to free South Africa from the obscenity called apartheid; for providing a home for fugitives from the prison house of nations, like Assata Shakur, like Mahanda, like the late Dr. Huey P. Newton and briefly Eldridge Cleaver.

We thank you and we welcome you to Riverside.

Ona Move!
Viva Fidel!
Viva la revolucion!
Viva John Africa!

From Death Row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal

September 6, 2000


From: Mark Clement <>

Column Written 8/20/2000
Mumia Abu-Jamal, M.A.
All Rights Reserve 

"It is past time for all poor people to release themselves from the deceptive strangulation of society, realize that society has failed you, for to attempt to ignore this system of deception now is to deny you the need to protest this failure later; the system has failed you yesterday, failed you today and has created the conditions for failure tomorrow...."

-- John Africa, The Judges Letter

The May 13th, 1985 police-state bombing of the home and headquarters of the MOVE Organization, which marked the government's massacre of 11 MOVE men, women and children, sent shock waves around the world.  It also marked the second major assault by the state against the naturalist revolutionaries of MOVE. The first state assault came on August 8th, 1978, when hundreds of heavily-armed cops stormed the old MOVE house in Powelton Village, West Philadelphia. What united the two assaults was the state's attempt to evict MOVE people from their homes.  In the case of Osage Avenue, politicians and their media minions focused on the claimed discontent of neighbors to justify their murderous massacre of MOVE people.  To the average reader, it no doubt appeared that politicians truly cared about neighboring residents, whom the corporate media portrayed sympathetically.

What a difference a decade or so makes.  For 15 years later, after the city's first Black mayor okayed the police bombing of their homes, the 2nd Black mayor has ordered them to leave.  Now, the same Osage residents who saw their homes rebuilt on the ashes of mass murder, are now threatened with mass evictions.  The same Osage residents, who called for the state to evict MOVE people, are not themselves evicted.  Indeed, the state now justifies this eviction on the basis of public safety, as the homes that were rebuilt have been deemed unsafe.

Recently, the city got a court order to shut off heat to the Osage residents, in an effort to force them out.  In 1978, it was the city which cut off heat, light and power to the old MOVE house. What seems to actually motivate city hall is not so much public safety, as it is public monies, for the city, which is acquiring the land under the law of eminent domain, surely is interested in opening up the land to a wealthier clientele.

What is motivating politicians in Philly, San Francisco, Chicago and in cities all across the nation is gentrification:  the selling of ghetto areas off to speculators and yuppies.  This also splits up and scatters Black urban populations, forcing them to the outer peripheries of big cities. Once again, politicians-yes, even Black politicians-serve the interests of those who are able to hire them; not those who vote for them.

©MAJ 2000  ##

* * *

Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2000 22:00:13 EDT
Subject: Dick Cheney's Oil Connections

Drillbits and Tailings
Project Underground

Having ensured the continued flow of cheap oil from the Gulf by waging a war with Iraq, and after his boss, George Bush's ouster from office by Clinton in 1992, Dick Cheney turned his attention to the corporate world. In 1993 he joined the American Enterprise Institute in Washington as a senior fellow.

In October of 1995 he became president and chief executive officer of the Halliburton Company in Dallas, Texas. He also serves on the boards of Procter & Gamble, Union Pacific and Electronic Data Systems Corp.

Halliburton Co. is the leader amongst the world's diversified energy services companies. Oil & Gas Journal's list of top energy companies in the world, ranks Halliburton 24th by market value at $18.2 billion (<#footnote11). In 1999, its consolidated revenues were $14.9 billion and it had a workforce of about 100 000 in more than 120 countries. It provides equipment and other services to oil and natural gas companies for exploration and production.


Under Cheney's leadership, Halliburton has been accused of involvement in human rights violations most notably an incident reported by the group, Environmental Rights Action (ERA) which occurred in September of 1997 when eighteen Nigeria's Mobile Police (MOPOL) officers on the orders of Halliburton (contracting for Chevron Oil Co.) shot and killed Gidikumo Sule at the Opuama flow station at Egbema in the city of Warri (<#footnote22).

Cheney's record on environmental issues is dismal too: as a house rep from Wyoming from 1978 to 1989, he cosponsored a measure to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling and voted against the Clean Water Act which required industries to release publicly their records on toxic emissions. The Sierra Club quoting from a 1997 EPA data point out that, Halliburton's facility in Duncan, Okla., was in the top 20 percent of the dirtiest in the United States.

Brown & Root Murphy LLC, a joint venture equally owned by Halliburton's Brown & Root Energy Services business unit are involved in a controversial pipeline construction, the so-called Bolivia Brazil Gas Pipeline Project. Brazilian environmental groups, Defense of Pantanal Association and Brazilian Institute of Cultural Heritage have expressed concern over the project. Trade unions in both countries have expressed anger over the private sector role in the project. Several environmental groups from the United States, have asked why the project is proceeding without allowing communities to respond to the company proposals (<#footnote33).

Cheney is a member of a group called COMPASS (Committee to Preserve American Security and Sovereignty) that is affiliated with the conservative George C. Marshall Institute. COMPASS members including Cheney wrote to President Clinton in 1998 to protest the Kyoto climate change treaty, concluding with the Zinger that Kyoto appeared to be "nothing more than a 'feel good' public relations ploy." (<#footnote44)


Cheney once drew parallels between his role as CEO of Halliburton to his role as defense secretary. Addressing the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies convention in Corpus Christie in 1998, he stated; "In the oil and gas business, I deal with many of the same people." (<#footnote55) With a $45.5 million stake, he is the company's biggest individual stockholder. Last month he sold 100 000 shares of stock for an estimated $5.1 million, cashing in on the high price of oil. The company has also been active on the political front giving almost $200 000 in the 2000 Republican campaign.

According to an examination of regulatory filings showed on Monday (July 24, as CEO he raked in $1.28 million in salary and $640, 914 in other compensation last year plus stock options worth $7.4 to $18.8 million depending on the company's future stock performance (<#footnote66). Comparing this to the $181,400 salary of a vice president raises interesting questions.

His motivations are clearly guided by his stated philosophy. In October 1999 speaking at the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition he said that members of the oil business could help the industry to become more effective by becoming active in the political arena and helping elect the right people to office. He also noted that the oil industry needed to do a better job of telling its story to the public, such as the importance of the oil and gas industry, and the task of finding, producing, refining and distributing energy at a bargain price (<#footnote77).

He therefore brings to the Bush campaign and possible presidency an agenda of   helping increase the oil industry's public profile and bridging the divide between politics and oil money. Cheney is clearly forward-looking and maximization of oil profits is a stated goal of his. He was quoted in "Corpus Christi online" stating; "By the year 2010 the oil and gas industry will have to provide 43 million barrels per day to meet demand. There will indeed be plenty of work in the years ahead as long as we are good as we are and reducing costs." His cost reduction strategy is demonstrated by the fact that, under his leadership he organized a merger between Dresser Industries Inc. and Halliburton that resulted in a 7,000 employee cutback worldwide (<#footnote88).

1. Drillbits & Tailings: vol 5, number 11, June 30, 2000 2. ERA field report #16, October 16, 1998 3. Pratap Chatterjee, Independent journalist 4. Ben White, Grist Magazine "Yanking His Cheney" 07/25/00 5. Corpus Christie online    10/23/1998 6. Reuters, 07/24/00 7. The Baton Rouge Advocate, 10/28/00 8. Corpus Christie online

FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Corporate Watch is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go   beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.  ##

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