A List of Environmental and Telecommunications Events and Issues

August 22 to August 29, 1997

Published, Edited and Written by George Mokray for
Information Ecologies
218 Franklin St #3
Cambridge, MA 02139

"A List..." is also a listserv. You can subscribe or unsubscribe by emailing a-list-request@world.std.com, leaving the Subject line blank, and typing "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" as the message.

Previous issues of "A List.." are available for your perusal at

If you are interested in keeping Internet an open and free forum, contact


Saturday, August 23

12 pm
Demonstrate Against Evictions
Corner of Barrows and Cambridge St., Brighton
(one block from the corner of Brighton Ave. & Cambridge St.) Editorial Comment: This is a Progressive Labor Party action posted to the act-ma list but since I've become involved in Central Square and the effects of development I thought I'd include it. Caveat demonstrator.

12 pm to 4 pm ( Rain Date August 24)
Somerville Community Growing Center (SERV) Annual Solar Picnic - come see and taste food cooked by the sun. Solar cookers of various types will be in use. Bring yours or come see how they work. Also see Somerville's Photovoltaic Installation
contact Russ McIntosh 776-8854
Somerville Community Growing Center, 22 Vinal Ave (the intersection of Summer St and Vinal Ave)

Sunday, August 24

10 am - 4 pm
First Annual Larz Anderson Bicycle Show: Swap Meet, Demonstration of Period Bicycles, Trials Riding Demonstration, Fun Ride, Repair Clinic, Manufacturer Displays, Cycling Organization Expo, Museum of Transportation Bicycle Collection Display
contact 522-6547, http://www.mot.org/pages/dirs.htm or http://www.bicycleclassics.com
Larz Anderson Transportation Museum, 15 Newton St, Brookline
Admission: $5.00 for Adults. $3.00 Children (6-16), students and seniors (62+). Children under 5 free. Admission to the event includes entry to exhibits inside the Museum. Patrons are encouraged to bring a picnic, chairs and blanket, and stay for the whole day.

Monday, August 25

10:30 am
Joint Regional Transportation Committee Certification Committee - discuss the adequacy of responses to comments on the Transportation Improvement Program
State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, conference rooms 5/6

Tuesday, August 26

2 pm - 4 pm
The Facts of Energy Deregulation - a forum presented by the Waltham West Suburban Chamber of Commerce, 128 Business Council, MA Lodging Assoc, Alliance of Competitive Energy
contact 894-4700
DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel, Waltham
$30 for members, $40 for non-members

Wednesday, August 27 - Monday, September 1

The National Gathering for the Greens/Green Party USA
contact (508) 688-3569 or massgreens@igc.apc.org
Lawrence, MA

Wednesday, August 27

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Association for Public Transport - Issues Committee
contact 482-0282
Association for Public Transport, 294 Washington St, Room 452

Friday, August 29

Benefit for Recent Somerville Fire Victims
contact Tracy Beale of Ryles at 876-9330
Inman Square, Cambridge
Tracy is taking donations of clothing, household items, and cash

Sunday, September 7 (raindate Sunday, September 14)

Tour of the Orchards - The pledge fundraising Tour includes a 3 mile walking route, 10, 30, and 45 mile bicycle routes, and starts in Somerville, Dorchester, Cambridge and Jamaica Plain, with cider pressing and lunch at the end. It visits several of the nearly 60 Urban Orchards sites which EarthWorks has planted with communities since 1990. Pledge forms are available NOW. Grand prize is a Montague High-Performance Bicycle which folds. Over 2 dozen other prizes include dinners for 2, composters, gift certificates at bike shops, and more. Funds will help EarthWorks create Orchard Friends groups, purchase tools and plant material, and run the Schoolyard Orchards project.
contact 983-WIND, 776-6524, or 617-MA-EARTH (623-2784) x4 or erthwrks@thecia.net

Tuesday, September 9

6:30 pm - 9:30pm
Northeast Business Environmental Network Annual Meeting - Getting the Green Back
Doug Gutro, EPA New England
please RSVP Gail Schwartz at 204-2727 or http://www.nben.org
Holiday Inn, Tewksbury, MA
NBEN Members: $25.00/Non-NBEN members: $35.00

Sources for Listings:
MIT _Tech Talk_ :
Harvard _Gazette_ :
Harvard Environmental Resources On-Line:
MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs calendar:
Earth Day Network international/national listings:
Earth Day Greater Boston calendar:

Computer Organizations of NE (CONE) User Group List:
Signet Calendar of events:
Webmasters Guild

act-ma the Massachusetts activists mailing list:
subscribe by emailing majordomo@igc.apc.org, leaving the subject line blank and typing "subscribe act-ma" as the message

Peace and Justice Events Hotline at (617)787-6809

Table of Contents

CONE Meeting Reminder List

Editorial Comment: Allan Sherman (als@ma.ultranet.com) has been working and reworking a computer meeting reminder list for the last few months for Computer Organizations of NE (CONE). He is performing the single most essential task for the local user group community in the wake of the demise of the Boston Computer Society. With this iteration, I believe that he has found the right format. Allan is looking for people to help him keep this project going. He deserves all the help that he can get.

CONE Meeting Reminder List (Experimental)
Updated 8/17/97

This is an experimental posting which will be maintained for a limited period of time.

This list is updated at http://bcs1.ziplink.net/cone/cal and is sent out to the CONE mailing list (and others) from time to time. To subscribe to the CONE mailing list, send e-mail to
majordomo@bcs1.ziplink.net, with the following command in the =body= of the message: subscribe cone

Each event description is limited to one line of up to 71 characters to preserve formatting when mailing.

Nearly all of this information was obtained from web pages listed in the CONE User Group/SIG List. More details of these groups can be found in this SIG list. Most listings below now have hyperlinks to the original source of the information.

CONE User Group / SIG List: http://bcs1.ziplink.net/cone/sig

Signet Calendar of events:
(Unfortunately, this CGI script has stopped working. This was a wonderful resource when it was introduced but it no longer allows updates.)
User Group events:
August 25, 1997
Windows 95 User Group "full-session teach-in" at Microsoft Waltham

August 27, 1997
Visual Basic Self-Paced Learning Group "VB5 & ActiveX" @ MS Waltham

August 28, 1997
Richard Seltzer on-line chat:"Business on the Web...."http://www.web-net.org

September 2, 1997
Digital Commerce Society "Elliptic Curve Cryptography" Harvard Club

September 3, 1997
MacTechGrp Meeting "TBA" MIT E51-395.

September 4, 1997
Richard Seltzer on-line chat:"Business on the Web...."http://www.web-net.org
Visual Basic Professional User Group @ Microsoft, Waltham

September 5, 1997
Boston Area SAS Users Group "Using SQL in SAS Programming," Woburn

September 8, 1997
Association for Women in Computing "Tooting Your Own Horn" Newton

September 9, 1997
Network Users Group (BNUG) "Network Performance" @ Novell, Wellesley
Omnis UG "Something cool..... "
New Hampshire Seacoast Mac Users Group - Adobe Products - Rye

September 10,1997
NE Domino/Notes group: "Learning Space" @ IBM, 404 Wyman St., Waltham
Internet Developers UG: "Java and J++ Application Foundation Classes "

September 11, 1997
Richard Seltzer on-line chat:"Business on the Web...."http://www.web-net.org
Microsoft's Developer Technology presentation 7 pm @ NE Life Hall
Rhode Island Macintosh User Group
Association for Women in Computing "Tooting Your Own Horn" Newton

September 17. 1997
Boston Linux & Unix: " Building Intranets with Linux", MIT 6-120 ?
MacTechGrp Meeting "TBA" MIT E51-395.

September 18, 1997
Richard Seltzer on-line chat:"Business on the Web...."http://www.web-net.org
Greater Boston ACM SIGCHI "Learning from Users"

September 22, 1997
Boston Windows 95 User Group "PartitionMagic on Windows 95" Microsoft

September 23, 1997
MS Windows Developer Users Group "Visual Interdev" @ MSFT, Waltham

Computer Education:
The Virtually Wired Class list is now on the net at:
The Cambridge Center for Adult Education Class Schedule was extracted from http://www.ccae.org and posted on our web site. All other non-profit computer class announcements are welcome for posting. Send me the info.
Of course, we cannot assume any responsibility for errors, etc...
Please send me information on any other activities for posting here
Al Sherman (als@ma.ultranet.com)

These are the sources used to find this Calendar information.
Now you are all set to do your own searches.....

ACM http://www.acm.org/chapters/gbc/meetings.html
ACM SIGCHI http://www.xensei.com/gbsigchi/
ACM SIGGRAPH/Boston http://www.v-site.net/siggraph-ne/
Apple Manchester User Group http://members.aol.com/applemugnh/MUG.MEETINGS.html
CONE email list or http://bcs1.ziplink.net/cone/
Computer Measurement Group http://www.cmg.org/regions/gbcmg/index.html
Data Management Association http://www.nentug.org/boston-dama/
Digital Commerce Society - email list
Domino.Doc and LN:DI - at IBM, 404 Wyman, Waltham (from signet)
Domino/Notes group: Domino.Action @ IBM, 404 Wyman St., Waltham
FoxPro U G http://www.wji.com/fox/w1001588.html
FrontPage User Group http://www.webss.com/frontpageboston/
ISIG (Internet Special Interest Group) http://www.signet.org/isig/nextmtg.htm
Internet Developers Users Group http://www.envisiondev.com/internetdev/
Linux & Unix http://www.blu.org/
MacTechGrp announcements on ne.org.bcs newsgroup
Microsoft Office User Group email list
Microsoft Technology http://www.microsoft.com/mindshare/ie40tour
Microsoft Windows Developer Users Group http://www.ucicorp.com/windev/WinDevUG.htm
NH Internet SIG http://www.nh-isig.org/
NT Users Group (NENTUG) http://www.nentug.org/nentug/events.htm
Nashua Software Entrepreneurs Group http://www.gnseg.org/
Network Users Group (BNUG) http://www.bnug.org/
New Hampshire Seacoast Mac Users Group http://bcs1.ziplink.net/Groups/seacoast/
North Shore Computer Society (NSCS) http://www.northshore.org/
Omnis http://www.crocker.com/~pistrang/bcsOmnis.html
RI Mac http://www.rimac.org/
Rhode Island Macintosh User Group http://www.saturn.net/rimug/
Richard Seltzer on-line chat http://www.web-net.org
SAS Users Group http://world.std.com/~mmurphy/basugn.htm
Vibug (Visually Impaired And Blind User Group) http://world.std.com/~tfilteau/meeting.html
Visual Basic Professional User Group http://www.foursquare.com/vbpro.htm
Visual Basic Self-Paced Learning Group email list
Warp UG http://bcs1.ziplink.net/Groups/os2/
Web-Net Group http://www.web-net.org/
Web-Tech (ACM) http://www.acm.org/chapters/webtech/
Webgrrls http://www.gen.com/bos-webgrrls/events/events.html
Webmasters' Guild http://boston.webmaster.org/
Windows 95 User Group http://www.bwug.org/events/index.htm
Women in Computing http://web0.tiac.net/users/awcgbc/index.html
Copyright (C) 1997 by the Computer Organizations of New England, Inc.

Editorial Comment: It is obvious that the death of the BCS did not mean the end of user groups. It only meant the end of a central organization and a collective identity. I believe that what the Board of BCS did nearly a year ago in voting for its dissolution was almost criminally stupid and irresponsible. It will take us years to rebuild a coherent and public voice for computer users. However, you can see from the work that Al Sherman has done and from the existence of all those individual user and special interest groups as well as SigNet and CONE, which are attempting to provide a combined presence for all computer users, that the functions BCS once performed are continuing even if in a diminished capacity.

Table of Contents

21st Century Classrooms Act

Editorial Comment: I was watching CSPAN on Monday, August 18 around 10:40 pm and saw a Republican National Town Meeting. The MC introduced the Rev Adlai Mack who gave a truly bizarre invocation. He inveighed against a whole checklist of things wrong with these later days. When he intoned "...the socialism, the evolutionism" of these times as prime evils, I think I began to understand where he was coming from. After the Rev warmed up the crowd, somebody else came on and introduced Newt Gingrich, called "the squeaker of the House" by William Burroughs in his last journals, excerpts from which were published in a recent _New Yorker_. Gingrich talked about the 21st Century Classrooms Act sponsored by Rep Duke Cunningham which I heard him say included a program to have prison inmates rebuild computers to go to elementary schools. I thought I'd look this piece of legislation up and see what it had to say. Here it is.

from http://www.house.gov/cunningham/new.htm

August 5, 1997
The 21st Century Classrooms Act Helping to Give Our Children Access to the World

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 signed into law by President Clinton today, contains an important education provision that will open up a vast, new world of learning to our young people and prepare them for the high tech marketplace. The 21st Century Classrooms Act, developed by Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) will have the greatest impact on our K- 12 classrooms of all the provisions in the tax relief measure.

Key Points
The 21st Century Classrooms Act provides businesses an expanded tax incentive to donate computer equipment and technology to our elementary and secondary schools. Generally, companies donating computers to qualified schools within two years of purchase, can deduct the full purchase price of the computers.

And we will accomplish this without adding another layer of Washington, D.C. bureaucracy, or increasing government spending.

How the 21st Century Classrooms Act Works
The 21st Century Classrooms Act (Cunningham - HR 1153), included in our Balanced Budget / Tax Relief bill, is designed to spur private investment for technological upgrades in 21st Century Classrooms.

Company buys computer as an asset Pays $1,000 (basis)
If company sells the computer a year later Receives $400 in cash
If company donated the computer to a nonprofit or school under previous law Could take a charitable tax deduction of the lower of Fair Market Value ($400), or the amount that has not been depreciated
If company donates the computer to an eligible K-12 educational recipient under the new 21st Century Classrooms Act May take a charitable tax deduction of $1,000, which is the basis of $1,000, plus one-half of the asset's appreciation, which is zero

Company buys computer as inventory Costs $500 to build (basis)
Company sells computer on the open market Receives $1,000 in cash
Instead of selling the computer, company donates this new computer to a nonprofit or school (not a scientific research institution) under previous law
Instead of selling the computer, company donates it to a qualifying K-12 education recipient under the new 21st Century Classrooms Act Could take a charitable tax deduction of $500 or less, which is the lower of Fair Market Value ($1,000), or the amount that has not depreciated (an amount equal to or less than the basis of $500)
May take a charitable tax deduction of $750 which is the $500 basis, plus one-half of the $500 appreciation, totalling no more than twice the basis

Questions and Answers on the 21st Century Classrooms Act

How does the 21st Century Classrooms Act work for schools?

It provides a source of updated computers and technology (2 years old or less), that is useful to the recipient's education plan. In doing so, it encourages partnerships between local corporations and K-12 education, and discourages the "dumping" of useless or outdated computers on schools.

Who is an eligible recipient of computer technology for which the donor recieves the expanded tax incentive?

An eligible recipient can be: a public or private school, a private foundation or nonprofit who will use it for K-12 education purposes, or a private foundation who will pass through the donated equipment within 30 days to an otherwise eligible recipient.

How does the 21st Century Classrooms Act discourage computer "dumping" on schools?

No one supports computer "dumping." The expanded tax incentive is available for donations of relatively up-to-date computers only, and for donations that are useful to the recipient's education plan.

What donors are eligible for the expanded tax incentives provided in the 21st Century Classrooms Act?

C corporations donating computers to eligible K-12 education recipients -- not just high-tech companies -- are eligible for this expanded charitable tax deduction.

When does the 21st Century Classrooms Act take effect?
As included in our Balanced Budget / Tax Cut package, it takes effect Jan. 1, 1998, and expires Dec. 31, 2001, unless Congress extends it. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates its revenue impact at -$270 million over that time.

How can I promote the 21st Century Classrooms Act in my area?
Make schools, employers and citizens aware of it through the media or other communications.
Hold town meetings inviting schools and employers together, so employers can be made aware of schools' technology needs.
Encourage private, local investment in our schools, through technology upgrades in the classroom.

Editorial Comment: I wonder how many companies change computers every two years. The cycle I've heard is more like three. I also wonder whether this program will result in lower tax revenue collected due to the tax break given. The biggest problem is continuing training, support, and software for the schools rather than access to the hardware from my experience with public access at Virtually Wired (http://www.vw.org) and from what I've read about teachers, schools, and computers. Many teachers have to pay for their own training and few can afford to have their own machines at home. Sorry, Mr Speaker, I didn't see anything here about prison inmates repairing machines for elementary school use although I do know that Marlene Archer used to run a program for the Boston Computer Society that had "at risk" Waltham HS kids rebuild computers for that school system, a possibly less convoluted solution to the "problem." Marlene is still working on computer recycling at New Visions - SMOC (South Middlesex Opportunity Council), 300 Howard St, Framingham, MA 01702 (508)620-2677, msa@meol.mass.edu

Other computer recycling organizations can be found at
http://world.std.com/~gmoke/AList.June697.html/#How Many Computer Recycling Groups Are There?

Table of Contents

Crabgrass Express

Editorial Comment: Crabgrass Express is an occasional publication of Clean Water Action. The next issue should be coming out in October I am told. There is a lot here to follow up on.

We've been hearing reports for a few months that incinerator companies are lobbying the State House, describing the "trash-to-energy" plants as renewable sources of electricity. It seems that the idea, although incomprehensible to those familiar with incinerators' environmental health impacts, is gathering steam.

Governor Weld's proposed legislation on electric utility deregulation (H. 4311) actually includes incinerators in a list of renewable energy technologies that would be considered appropriate for funding support. Also, Senator O'Brien (Senate Chair of the special legislative committee set up to draft restructuring legislation) was recently quoted in the June 12, 1997 _Andover Townsman_ as being hopeful he could "convince others that trash-to-energy plants should be considered renewable energy sources" so that the North East Solid Waste Committee (NESWC) incinerator in North Andover could be "eligible for state funds and other benefits." [Thanks to People for the Environment President Ed Meagher for faxing in the article!]

Two obvious flaws in the "renewable incinerator" approach:
1. The argument for earmarking special funds for renewables is based on the need to wean Massachusetts off the highly polluting but often cheaper fossil fuel plants in the region...not to subsidize the electricity inefficiently produced at highly polluting incinerators.
2. To actually increase renewable energy generation, most renewables advocates agree that the funding needs to be directed toward the development of _new_ renewable energy projects, not previously existing facilities.

Please call Cindy at the Boston office for bill summaries/more info...

TUR in Portuguese-Speaking Neighborhoods of Cambridge and Somerville The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS), in partnership with Clean Water Fund, is working to raise public awareness about the benefits of toxics use reduction among the Portuguese-speaking neighborhoods of Cambridge and Somerville. MAPS staff have translated flyers and fact sheets which tell how to reduce toxics in the home, workplace and community-wide. One of the most popular pieces has been a Portuguese version of Clean Water's _Home SAFE Home Refrigerator Poster_ which lists non-toxic alternatives to commonly used household toxics.

The Problem: In an attempt to replace freon, the ozone-depleting chemical, a new generation of aerosol propellants has come into use. Many personal care products now contain isobutane and propane as their propellants. These propellants are combustible and can cause health hazards. Many personal care aerosols also contain solvents including ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and propylene glycol that are "volatile organic compounds." VOC's interact with sunlight and other compounds to form "greenhouse" gases that contribute to global warming. Solvents can contaminate groundwater and rivers, lakes, and streams, threatening aquatic life.

The Solution: Play it safe for yourself, your family, and the earth and never buy products that come in aerosol cans. If a spray must be used, use only pump dispensers.

The Problem: Ammonia and chlorine are found in many all-purpose cleaners. Ammonia may irritate your lungs causing coughing or shortness of breath. Chlorine forms cancer-causing compounds when released into the environment. Mixed together they form a deadly chloramine gas.

The Solution: For general cleaning, use 1/2 cup of washing soda or Borax per bucket of hot water. For scouring, use a paste of baking soda and water, or use a feldspar-based cleaner. Scrub with a damp cloth or scrubbing pad.

The Problem: Deodorizers and air fresheners use cresol, phenol and formaldehyde to desensitize your nose. These chemicals are associated with numerous health problems.

The Solution: To absorb odors, place baking soda or white vinegar in small dishes. Sprinkle baking soda in trash cans and kitty litter boxes. Certain house plants can also absorb pollutants and purify the air.

Call the Boston office to order your own refrigerator poster (in English or Portuguese).

Heads Up! Draft Garbage Plan Coming out!
The DEP is about to issue a draft of the 1997 Update of the Solid Waste Master Plan. All advocates of recycling and waste reduction and all opponents of garbage dumps and incinerators should prepare to testify at upcoming public hearings on this draft plan. The companies that profit from landfilling and incineration will be out in force at the hearings and will also be pressuring behind the scenes.

The Solid Waste Master Plan ("Plan") determines whether more landfill space or incineration will be permitted in the state and sets the state recycling goal, detailing the means of reaching the goal. We have an outline of what the new draft plan will say from statements by officials at DEP. The key points are: 1) The draft Plan will reinforce the state's commitment to reaching the 46% recycling goal by the year 2000. Activists will need to scrutinize whether the plan describes steps that will achieve that goal. 2) The draft Plan will call for the permitting of new landfill capacity for Construction & Demolition debris. Any sites that may qualify for expanded landfill space should pay attention to this now. 3) The draft Plan will maintain that the state does not need new disposal capacity for "municipal solid waste", regular garbage, until the year 2001. This is the part that the solid waste industry will dispute most aggressively. They want to expand capacity and do not even agree with the state's right to restrict how many landfills or incinerators we have. 4) They will pull back from the Capacity Allocation Process and attempt to substitute stricter siting regulations. Leadership of local citizen groups who are opposing expanded disposal capacity, such as the Merrimac Valley Environmental Coalition, Citizens for Environmental Protection of the Plainville area, and Citizens for a Clean Environment of the Webster area, along with CWA and MASSPIRG, met with Environmental Secretary Trudy Coxe and other top officials on June 1 to discuss this Master Plan.

We made a forceful presentation of the health dangers of disposal and our goal to decrease disposal capacity. But we also learned that industry pressure is strong.

We need to really respond in force to support what we like in this draft Plan, and dispute what we don't. Because of the intense self-interest of the waste industry, we will be outnumbered at the hearings, but we need to represent loudly the silent majority that wants maximum waste reduction and recycling! Call Lee at 617-423-4661 if you can help and want follow-up information.

The Office of Technical Assistance: Success stories from Trudy Coxe, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs

An example of OTA's helping hand can be recognized at Crest Foam of Newburyport. This manufacturer of foam for furniture and other household products needed to control its emissions of methylene chloride, a volatile organic compound. By working with OTA, the company discovered an innovative foam-making process that eliminates the use of methylene chloride altogether. Crest Foam no longer uses or emits 95 tons per year of this toxic chemical. The company now is saving $500,000 annually in raw materials costs as a result of the new process. More importantly, it did not have to install expensive air pollution equipment, the cost of which would have threatened the plant's long term survival.

Your name
Phone (day and/or evening)
Group name (if group)
Membership Donation Enclosed $25
Other Amount
Mail to: Cindy Luppi, Clean Water Action, 76 Summer St. Boston 02110

NOTE FROM THE GARDENERS: Mark your calendars now!
CWA Alliance Annual Meeting
Clean Water Action 25th Anniversary Party
Saturday, September 27, 1997
$ 7
Held at Point Breeze on Beautiful Webster Lake! Starring two authors of recently released groundbreaking books: Ross Gelbspan author of _The Heat Is On_ and Sandra Steingrabber author of _We All Live Downstream_. Combined with an "Activists Clinic" where we learn strategies, tactics and skills from each other, and important issue discussions. Plus opportunities to Network, Boat and Eat! Watch for details!

COMPUTERS AVAILABLE We have acquired some 386-class machines. We are eager to donate our older (working) computers - a 286 machine, and an older Leading Edge computer. We also seek donations of better machines and software. We could use help adding memory to our Okidata OL400 printer (so we can print this newsletter!); networking our computers; an inkjet printer; an HP LaserJet III (or better!). Contact CWA office, or email bostoncwa@igc.org.
Clean Water Action Alliance 76 Summer St., 3rd Floor Boston, MA 02110 (617) 423-4661

Editorial Comment: Keith Davison (kdav@vw.org) has been helping Clean Water Action get online. Keith is an amazing information resource on his own. For the past few weeks, he has been publishing an extensive email "focusing on the MBTA and the Central Artery project matters of interest to transportation activists with an environmental concern" and which includes the schedule of many public policy meetings as well as a run-down of all the transportation articles he has found in the media. If you are interested, please contact him to get on his mailing list and for further information, of which he has quite a lot.

Table of Contents

Emergency Action: Ogoni 20, Nigeria

Editorial Comment: The ecological bottom-line is life and death. Global Response (globresponse@igc.apc.org) reminds us that some of us are already paying in that currency.

Dear Quick Response Network Members:
As a follow-up to GR Actions on behalf of the Ogoni people of Nigeria, who oppose the environmental devastation by Shell Oil Company in Ogoniland, we urge you to send emails and faxes to Shell and to the head of the Nigerian government ON BEHALF OF 20 OGONI MEN WHO ARE IN JAIL, AWAITING TRIAL.

The following alert was issued by project underground. It asks for faxes and emails to Shell.

"Abacha knows that executing them or even trying them will draw unwanted attention. Instead, he seems prepared to let them die in jail untried." - The New York Times

In 1995, internationally acclaimed writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed along with eight of his colleagues. The Ogoni Nine's only crime was their success is exposing Shell oil's role in destroying their homeland, dismantling their communities, and killing their brothers and sisters. Since the Ogoni began a nonviolent campaign against oil destruction, over 2,000 people have died at the hands of a military that is armed by and paid for by Shell.

Today, another 20 Ogoni men are in prison in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, awaiting "trial" - framed for murder on the same charges that the Nine were killed for last year. Some have been in jail for over three years, and still the Nigerian government refuses to grant them bail, much less bring them to trial. Testimony by the 20 implicates Shell in their arrest and subsequent torture. As the most powerful entity in Nigeria, there is no doubt that Shell could choose to spare these men's lives, but instead, they are choosing to sit idly by as they waste away in prison.

Current Situation
"Nyieda Nasikpo had just been released from the dark room the other day. The dark room is a prison within prison, serving as punishment within punishment. In this room, communications within the prisons and other inmates is totally severed and the detainee is locked perpetually with 24 hours total darkness in a 3x3 feet cell at the pleasure of the authorized person." Robert Azibaola, ND-HERO, and lawyer for the 20, June 1997

The Nigerian military regime has gone to extreme lengths to keep the Ogoni 20 out of court. They know that another trial on the same charges for which Saro-Wiwa was executed will attract unwanted attention. They have repeatedly changed venues and used legal technicalities to keep the 20 in jail. On July 23 1997, Justice Daniel Kalio of the Rivers State High Court held that he did have jurisdiction to rule on the question of bail for the 20. Within a week, the government had filed an appeal, and now the hearing on that appeal will be held in late September.

The 20 Ogoni men remain in jail under appalling conditions. On August 11, the 20 began a hunger strike, which will initially continue for 10 days. They are calling for international solidarity and support.

Who are the Ogoni 20?
The Ogoni 20 currently are: Elijan L Baadom, John Banatu, Ngbaa Baovi, Kagbara Bassee, Kale Beete, Friday Cburuma, Paul Deekor, Godwin Gbodor, Blessing Israel, Adam Kaa, Benjamin Kabari, Baribuma Kumanwe, Baritule Lebe, Taagalo Kmonsi, Nyieda Nasikpo, Sampson Ntiginee, Nwinbari A Papah, Zorzar Popgbara, Samuel A Sigha, and Babina Visor.

The Ogoni 20 are supposedly being held in connection with the murders of 4 Ogoni chiefs in Giokoo on June 21, 1994. One of the 20 was arrested in May 1994, prior to this crime even being committed. At various times there have been 23 Ogoni (excluding the 9 who were executed in November 1995) arrested and charged in relation to those same murders. The last arrest was in November of 1996. 20 of the 23 are still in custody. Of the other three, one, Clement Tusima, died in custody in August 1995. The other two have been released, reportedly after their employers exerted pressure on the Nigerian authorities.

The men are kept in severely overcrowded cells, each with dozens of prisoners. All must sleep on the floor. Torture, denial of medical care, starvation, and poor sanitary conditions are all listed as complaints. All of them are currently in poor health.

Shell's Role
"Shell Police replied that nothing can make us free from their hand, and that even if they forgave others, they cannot forgive the indigenes of Bomu and Dere communities because they are the causes of the hindrances to their operations in Ogoniland" - written by two of the Ogoni 20, September 21, 1996.

The Ogoni 20 are in prison because they, like Ken Saro-Wiwa, opposed Shell's dirty operations in Nigeria and the devastation of Ogoni land through 30 years of oil drilling activities. Like Ken Saro-Wiwa, these men stood up for their rights when death squads began to sweep through their homeland in response to their nonviolent protests.

As the above quote attests to though, Shell had a direct role in the arrest, detention, and subsequent torture of at least some of the Ogoni 20. Shell's security force, known locally as the "Shell Police" are accused of numerous incidents of repression of peaceful protest and harassment of activists.

On January 30, 1996, in response to public outrage over Saro-Wiwa's execution, Shell stated "It is our established position that we recognise and support The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The issue of the right to fair trial is clearly of public concern and we felt it important that we reiterate the Group's position on this". Despite repeated requests, this is as far as the corporation has gone towards intervening in the Ogoni 20 case.

Is Shell going to stand by while 20 more people are hanged for murders they did not commit, before a kangaroo court? More probably, will they continue to congratulate themselves for being the world's most profitable corporation while 20 more people waste away in jail? Shell must take responsibility for the Ogoni 20.

"We have been dumped into detention without any hope of a fair trial, thus causing our families to suffer untold hardships. ...the Ogoni civil disturbance tribunal said the case against us 'is not an ordinary murder case'. So we know there is more to this than meets the eye. The Government is settling an old score." -The Ogoni 20

Contact Shell immediately. Demand that they use every bit of their influence in Nigeria to ensure a swift, speedy and just trial. In the US, call 1 800 845-5264 or fax 713-241-4044 and address Mr. Phillip J. Carroll, CEO, Shell Oil Corporation, Houston, TX 77252. Email Shell at awesome_shell@shelloil.com and cc: project_underground@moles.org or visit their website at http://www.shell.com

For more information, contact:
Shanna Langdon
Information Coordinator
project underground
1847 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94703
510 705 8981

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL has issued the following Urgent Action Appeal, asking for faxes to key members of the Nigerian government to safeguard the health, safety and human rights of the Ogoni detainees:

UA 278/97 Health concern / Legal concern 19 August 1997
At least 19 Ogoni detainees
Samuel B. Asigha, Michael Doghala, Adam Kaa, Sampson Ntignee, John Banatu, Godwin B.Gbodor, Benjamin Kabari, Nwinbari Abere Papah, Kagbara Bassee, Friday Gburuma, Baritule Lebe, Babina Vizor, Paul Deekor, Blessing Israel, Nyieda Nasikpo, Popgbara Zorzor, Ngbaa Baovi, Baribuma Kumanwee, Taaghalobari Kovabel Monsi and possibly two others

On 12 August 1997 a group of at least 19 Ogoni prisoners held in Port Harcourt prison, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, announced that they had begun a hunger-strike to 'protest against the government's decision to stall court proceedings' against them. Most of the detainees have been held without trial since 1994. Amnesty International is seriously concerned for their well-being, given that many are already in poor health due to the very poor conditions in which they continue to be held.

Most of the detainees were arrested in 1994 after the murder of four Ogoni traditional rulers. They are awaiting trial by the same special tribunal and on identical murder charges to those which were used to execute Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight Ogoni colleagues in November 1995 after unfair political trials (UA 200/94, 24 May 1994 and updates).

As yet there is no sign of their being brought to trial, and the authorities have a long record of repeatedly adjourned court hearings and the government ignoring unfavourable court rulings. The authorities have blocked all the prisoners' attempts to be brought to trial or released, by arguing that the case is a federal one, although they decided in the first instance to bring the case before a State Magistrate's Court. The government has appealed against a Federal High Court decision of July 1997 that it did have jurisdiction to decide on the prisoners' application for release on bail.

The detainees continue to be held incommunicado in harsh prison conditions. They are reported to have suffered torture and ill-treatment, such as beatings and detention in solitary confinement in harsh and insanitary conditions that amount to cruel and degrading treatment.

In August 1995 Clement Tusima, arrested with this group of detainees, died in detention as a result of malnutrition, poor prison conditions and medical neglect. Babina Vizor has reportedly suffered serious damage to his sight.

Since their arrest, the detainees have been allowed no access to their families, and irregular and restricted access to their lawyers.

In August 1996, during a rare appearance in court, a photographer for a Nigerian independent newspaper was assaulted by security officers and had his camera seized when he attempted to photograph the prisoners, who looked haggard and ill.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the continued detention without trial of the Ogoni detainees and reiterating calls for them to be released if they are not to be promptly and fairly tried by a competent court which meets international standards of fair trial;
- expressing concern at reports of their ill-health due to harsh and insanitary prison conditions and medical neglect;
- asking that, while in detention, they be held in conditions consistent with international standards for the detention of prisoners, and granted access to their families, lawyers, doctors and adequate medical care;
- in view to the additional risk to their health posed by their hunger-strike, urging that immediate steps be taken to address the above concerns;
if possible, also:
- calling for a thorough, independent inquiry into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment amounting to cruel and degrading treatment and into the death of Clement Tusima in August 1995.

General Sani Abacha
Chairman, Provisional Ruling Council
State House
Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria

Dear General:

[Fax: 011 234 9 523 2138]
[Telegrams: General Abacha, Abuja, Nigeria]

Please send appeals immediately. Check with the Colorado office (303/258-7886) between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, Mountain Time, weekdays only, if sending appeals after October 2, 1997.

GLOBAL RESPONSE is an international letter-writing network of environmental activists. In partnership with indigenous, environmentalist and peace and justice organizations around the world, GLOBAL RESPONSE develops Actions that describe specific, urgent threats to the environment; each Action asks members to write personal letters to individuals in the corporations, governments or international organizations that have the power and responsibility to take corrective action. GR also issues Young Environmentalists' Actions and Eco-Club Actions designed to educate and motivate elementary and high school students to practice earth stewardship.

P.O. Box 7490
Boulder CO, USA 80306-7490
Phone: 303/444-0306
Fax: 303/449-9794
To receive Global Response materials by e-mail, send an e-mail message to: majordomo@igc.apc.org
Type this text: subscribe globresmembers
There is no charge for this service.

Visit our website at: http://www.globalresponse.org

Table of Contents

The Begging Bowl

The following letter appeared in _Spare Change_, the local newspaper of the homeless community, in their August 16-31 edition:

Dear Spare Change,
The last time my father visited Boston, we went to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Gardner Museum and walked around the city. It was a magic day and everything went just right as we enjoyed our time with each other. While we were on the Common, we came across a man in a wheelchair flying a kite attached to a fishing pole. When I asked him how it felt, he handed me the rig and told me to feel it for myself. For a little while, I flew his kite and then handed it on to my father. It was the perfect end to such a good day.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a picture of the kiteflyer in your paper the other day. It was Richard, one of the subjects of Cynthia Baron's article on "Living and Loving with Disabilities." Now I know a little bit about who that person is I remember with gratitude for the simple gift he gave my father and myself in allowing us to share his joy in feeling the wind pull his kite higher into a beautiful sky.

Richard should know that his smile and simple generosity have probably affected many, many people. His hobby has caught the eye of thousands every year I'm sure and made them smile and relax just a little in a hurrying city. Thanks, Richard, for your smile and your generosity that day and thanks, Spare Change, for letting us know more about one of the unremarked but remarkable people who make the world a little better every day by exercising their individuality.
George Mokray

After the letter was printed, I got a phone call from Julian Hines, an old friend who built a large parabolic trough solar collector on a van we used for a traveling solar show some 20 years ago. Turns out that Julian and Cynthia Barron are a couple and picked up a copy of the paper as they were meeting Richard and his wife for dinner. Julian handed me over to Cynthia and then to Richard. He even said, "I still get your email newsletter, although I don't read it all the time. I guess I should send you another check." I told him he didn't have to, especially if he didn't read and use the information I send out but I was flattered by his consideration nonetheless.

A few days later I got a check from Julian (thank you very much), a note, and a color picture of Richard flying his kite and smiling his smile. I'm going to tack the picture where I can see it and hope that sometime I can smile that same kind of pure, joyous smile.

How "A List..." works:
If you want to have a listing included in "A List..." please send it to me before noon on the Friday before the event and if said even is deemed suitable for coverage, it will be included in the appropriate edition of "A List..." Articles and reviews, ideas, rants and opinions are also solicited. Publication is up to the erratic discretion of the editor.

"A List..." is also a listserv. You can subscribe or unsubscribe to the listserv by emailing a-list-request@world.std.com, leaving the Subject line blank, and typing "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" as the message.

"A List..." is a freeware/shareware publication. If the information is of any value to you, please contribute - money, information, encouragement, prayers and good wishes are all valid currencies for feedback and will be gratefully appreciated by
George Mokray
Information Ecologies
218 Franklin St #3
Cambridge, MA 02139

This publication is copyrighted to George Mokray and the individual writers of the articles. Permission to reproduce is granted for non-profit purposes as long as the source is cited.