RN: voices of sanity


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,   Nov. 21

This posting includes three messages, two on the Iraq crisis and one
powerful appeal for the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Voices in the Wilderness continues to be a voice of sanity in the face of
generalized immorality. Their press release is followed by excerpts from an
article by Norman Solomon, who points out that the media, in general, seem
to be trying to goad Clinton & company into following through on their
strike threat. These media calls for "blood" remind me of the hideousness of
people gathering at the sites of executions, "armed" with popcorn and numbed

I feel it is unlikely that the military forces sent to Iraq (at a cost of
millions of dollars) will be sent back without firing. Saddam Hussien seems
to be playing along nicely, providing the US with the kind of behavious they
seek to justify their actions. The effects of the sanctions are so drastic,
that the threat of the military strike seems almost diminished. One Iraqi
friend told me that parents are now committing suicide in Iraq; they are so
devastated by having to watch their children die. 

The declaration of support for Mumia Abu-Jamal by former death row inmates
who were released when they were found to be innocent is another antidote to
psychic numbing. Spread the word, friends! 

all the best, Jan
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 11:00:45 -0800 (PST)
From: Kathy Kelly <•••@••.•••>


14 November, 1998               Baghdad Contact: Voices in the Wilderness 
                                                 Al Fanar Tower Hotel, Baghdad, Iraq
011-964-1-7188007 / 7172833

During this time of crisis, as world attention focuses on military weapons,
we need to focus on the unheeded crisis: 6,000 Iraqi infants are dying every
month, as the UN reports, and hundreds of thousands have already died
because of economic sanctions.  A generation is presently growing up
irreparably damaged physically and psychologically.  

Last month, Assistant Secretary General of the UN Dennis Halliday resigned
from his post saying, "Sanctions are starving to death 6,000 Iraqi infants
each month, ignoring human rights of ordinary Iraqis, and turning a whole
generation against the West...I no longer want to be a part of that" (NYT,
18October, 1998,  p.4).

During and since the Gulf War, we've been at the battle fields of economic
warfare: pediatrics wards in hospitals across Iraq.  There, children die
from easily curable diseases.  Many are sickened by water borne disease,
previously treatable cancer, malnutrition, and simple infections that become

In the weeks to come, we'll return to the battlefields, the hospital wards,
to call attention to this untold story of relentless violence against
innocent children who threaten no one.  Along with hospital visits, we will
vigil, fast, and pray in public places in Iraq to encourage the desperately
needed search for a non-violent alternative.

We want to be voices for the love, courage, and wisdom which the Iraqi
children and parents show us.

We echo a recent appeal to all UN members from Nobel Prize Laureates:
Together we can build a new culture for non-violence for humankind which
will give hope to all humanity, and in particular, to the children of our world.

A timetable for public witness will be available.

Voices in the Wilderness
        A Campaign to End the US/UN Economic Sanctions Against the People of Iraq
1460 West Carmen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
ph:773-784-8065; fax: 773-784-8837
email: •••@••.•••
website: http://www.nonviolence.org/vitw

Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 10:39:07 -0500
From: "Mike Nickerson, Inviting Debate" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Media Eagerness for Missile Attacks

Dear Networkers:
        I found this article to be particularily pointed & worthy of
                Yours,  Mike N.
>From: Norman Solomon <•••@••.•••>
>Subject: Media Eagerness for Missile Attacks

>By Norman Solomon  /  Creators Syndicate
>     In the days since Saddam Hussein's pledge of full
>cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors led President Clinton to
>cancel air attacks at the last minute, a strong wave of
>frustration has swept through American news media.
>     The pattern is all too familiar, the refrain goes. Yet
>again, after a tense confrontation, the U.S. government ended up
>taking yes for an answer from Iraq's cunning despot.
>     Many commentators have griped about the cost of mobilizing
>and then not attacking. Each time the United States sends a fleet
>to the Persian Gulf, the buildup costs another $1 billion or so.
>What good is repeated deployment of enormous firepower if it
>isn't used?
>     Quite a few pundits sounded very disappointed -- as if a
>long-desired ice cream cone was near their lips and then went
>splat on the sidewalk.
>     Two days after President Clinton proclaimed that "Iraq has
>backed down," the most influential newspaper in the nation's
>capital -- The Washington Post -- filled its opinion page with
>caustic reactions from three prominent syndicated columnists.
>     Clinton has again proved that he's a wimp, George Will
>observed from the front lines of his word processor. The
>commentator warned against restraint: "U.S. forces should quickly
>destroy any site, such as a presidential compound, that
>inspectors are prevented from examining."
>     Meanwhile, Charles Krauthammer wrote that "Clinton was given
>an extraordinary opportunity to strike a massive blow against
>Saddam. He flinched." Krauthammer briefly noted that "the
>military's estimate of casualties from an initial strike" was
>"10,000 Iraqi dead" -- but who cares? Uncle Sam should strive to
>"disarm, disrupt and destroy Saddam's regime. A relentless air
>campaign had a good chance of doing that."
>     Liberal Richard Cohen was not to be outdone in the blood-
>thirst department. "Both countries backed down -- one the world's
>only superpower, the other a Third World country, short of
>everything but gall," he declared. "Something is out of balance
>here. The Clinton administration waited too long to act. It
>needed to punch out Iraq's lights, and it did not do so."
>     Hypocrisy abounds, but never mind that. With U.S. support,
>Israel has violated numerous U.N. resolutions while maintaining
>its occupations of the West Bank and Gaza as well as Southern
>Lebanon. Running weapons facilities that have produced about 200
>nuclear warheads, Israel still refuses to allow any international
>     The United States invokes the sanctity of the United Nations
>when useful but ignores that world body whenever convenient --
>and reserves the right to unilaterally attack Iraq whether the
>U.N. likes it or not.
>     Often, the paramount U.S. media concerns have been framed in
>macho terms. Recent news coverage focused on a question that led
>off a front-page New York Times article: "Who blinked?" Many
>American journalists lamented that Clinton did not entirely stare
>down Saddam Hussein.
>     The New York Post scornfully editorialized that Clinton had
>not been able to "act like a man." The newspaper, owned by Rupert
>Murdoch, added that "whenever circumstances have demanded that
>this president rise to the occasion and really be president, he
>has failed the United States and the world."
>     Frustrated as they were by the lack of military
>consummation, cable TV networks and other media outlets were soon
>able to replace the faded specter of a bloody high-tech assault
>with audio recordings of Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinsky.

>     And so it goes. "Emotion" is supposed to matter greatly in
>some contexts. In others, such as past and future U.S. missile
>attacks on Iraq, the emotions -- in fact, the lives -- of people
>at the other end of U.S. missiles are unimportant.
>     As consumers of media images, we're offered one insulated
>kick after another. We easily slip into spectator mode, vicarious
>and detached.
>     The euphemisms are wrapped in smug bravado and playground
>posturing. "A relentless air campaign" is needed. The president
>should order the Pentagon to "punch out Iraq's lights."

        *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
        'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful
        committed citizens can change the world,
        indeed it's the only thing that ever has.'
                                            Margaret Mead

        *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *


Sustainability Project - Inviting Debate
P.O. Box 374, Merrickville, Ontario
K0G 1N0
(613) 269-3500
e-mail:  •••@••.•••

Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 22:47:27 EST
From: Refuse & Resist <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Former Death Row Inmates Sign Appeal for Mumia's Release
X-Comment: Refuse & Resist! Announcement List.  See
http://www.calyx.net/~refuse for more about R&R!

[forwarded from HAMMERHARDmediaworks]

URGENT NEWS UPDATE: please repost!

from: Chris Geovanis & Dick Reilly/HAMMERHARDmediaworks
subject: 15 innocent former death row inmates issue appeal in support of Mumia

Appeal from former death row inmates calls on 
Pennsylvania to free Mumia Abu-Jamal

Text of appeal and names of signatories follow this media alert.

Chicago: Fifteen former death row inmates—released from the Row after their
wrongful convictions were overturned—have signed an appeal calling on the
State of Pennsylvania to free Mumia Abu-Jamal. The letter was circulated
during the the National Conference on Wrongful Convictions & the Death Penalty
in Chicago during the weekend of Nov. 13. 

Each of the signers was convicted and sentenced to death for a crime he did
not commit, and subsequently released from death row after being deemed
factually innocent by a court official or after charges were dropped due to
overwhelming evidence of innocence. 

Efforts are under way to circulate the former death row inmates' appeal to
members of the European Parliament.

The initiative to draft and circulate the appeal to inmates was undertaken by
organizations which belong to Chicago's ad hoc committee in support of Mumia
Abu-Jamal. Participating organizations and individuals included Neighbors
Against Police Brutality, the Aaron Patterson Defense Committee, the October
22nd Coalition/Chicago, the Prison Action Committee, and former Illinois death
row inmate Darby Tillis.

Illinois was in the house for the Mumia during the Wrongful Convictions
Conference. Seven out of the nine death row inmates who've been released from
Illinois prisons after their wrongful convictions were overturned signed the
appeal in support of Abu-Jamal.

For more information, or for copies of the appeal and signatures, contact: 

Chris Geovanis/Dick Reilly
phone: 312.733.2181
fax: 312.733.2182
email: •••@••.•••
Text of Appeal on Behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal:

A message from innocent people who
have been freed from Death Row:

There are innocent men and women on death row in this country. We know, for we
were numbered among them. Many of us endured for years in the narrow and
isolated confines of a barren cell designed to murder our spirits, as the
State struggled to win final legal sanction to steal our lives.

Such is the case with Mumia Abu-Jamal, an award-winning journalist, an
outspoken opponent of racism and police brutality, a militant champion of
justice for Black people, a man who for decades has been the voice of the
dispossessed and the disenfranchised—and an innocent man on death row in

We know Mumia's struggle, because no-one knows better than we of the lengths
to which the criminal "justice" system will go in its relentless quest to take
a life. Many of us are intimately familiar with the daily degradation of
Mumia's seventeen years on death row: locked in his cell for 23 hours each
day, forbidden to embrace or even see his family members, prohibited from
being filmed or audio taped by reporters, slapped into punitive detention for
writing and publishing his views, refused the right to confidentially
communicate with his attorneys. We were sustained in our struggle for justice,
as Mumia is, by the tireless support of our families, friends, and people of
principle who organized to liberate us from the machine that tried to slay us.
And above all else we were sustained, as Mumia is, by the only real certainty
we were allowed on death row—the knowledge that we were innocent.

The State sought to poison us, electrocute us or hang us with the machine-like
indifference it reserves for people it has determined to be worthless and
therefore disposable—in this country, overwhelmingly poor people and people of
color. If our murders could be used to enhance a political career or a
partisan policy debate, then so much the better. But the State seeks to murder
Mumia with a ruthless and relentless fervor that has publicly defied any
pretext of fairness or decency. Let us be clear: the State's campaign to
murder Mumia is designed above all else to silence a Black man who dares to
speak truth to power. As Mumia himself has said, the State does not seek just
his death, it seeks his silence.

It is for these reasons that we call on all people of conscience to speak out,
to organize against this travesty of justice, and to demand Mumia's freedom.
To allow Pennsylvania to murder Mumia is to allow the State to succeed in
slaughtering another innocent and in silencing a voice for the voiceless. We
know that the State will not concede its wrongdoing without a struggle. We
know that the authorities who have sought to murder this man will not submit
to justice unless we, the people, organize to fight the State's abuse of
power. Join us. Stand with Mumia Abu-Jamal, our brother and our friend, and
demand that the State of Pennsylvania set him free.

List Of Signatories:

Kirk Bloodsworth: Maryland, Convicted 1984, Released 1993
Joseph Burrows: Illinois, Convicted 1989, Released 1994
Perry Cobb: Illinois, Convicted 1979, Released 1987
Muneer Deeb: Texas, Convicted 1985, Released 1993
Gary Gauger: Illinois, Convicted 1993, Released 1996
Verneal Jimerson: Illinois, Convicted 1985, Released 1996
Troy Lee Jones: California, Convicted 1982, Released 1996
David Keaton: Florida, Convicted 1971, Released 1973
Ronald Keine: New Mexico, Convicted 1974, Released 1976
Carl Lawson: Illinois, Convicted 1990, Released 1996
Wilbert Lee: Florida, Convicted 1963, Released 1975
Bradley P. Scott: Florida, Convicted 1988, Released 1991
Delbert Tibbs: Florida, Convicted 1974, Released 1977
Darby (Williams) Tillis: Illinois, Convicted 1979, Released 1987
Dennis Williams: Illinois, Convicted 1979, Released 1996


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