Brian Dominick on Wed, 11 Nov 1998 04:06:17 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> FAIR letter re ECD re Mumia

Open Letter From Steve Rendall of FAIR

Dear Stefan Wray:

Mumia Abu Jamal is appealing to the federal courts for a new trial. If he
is granted the appeal, Mumia will be on trial for his life.

I am asking you to rescind your ill-considered call (pasted below) for
activists to hack or otherwise disrupt the web sites of government agencies
and officials in Pennsylvania. Your call for the disruption of the
Philadelphia Inquirer's web site is even more disturbing and should be
rescinded as well.

Since the state of Pennsylvania has denied Mumia's appeal, attempting to
annoy state officials there is like kicking a dead horse--no more than an
expression of inarticulate rage. It is also a waste of activists' limited
time. In addition, Philadelphia's death row has many other inmates awaiting
motions; their cases will not be helped by anti- death penalty activists'
efforts to aggravate the officials in whose hands their fates rest.

Your call to hack the Philadelphia Inquirer's website is downright foolish.
While the paper's performance on the Mumia case has been miserable, one
never knows when, or from where, a courageous reporter might come forward
to expose official hypocrisy. In his likely upcoming federal trial, Mumia
will need all the help he can get.

FAIR has been documenting media bias in the Mumia case for years, and we
haven't written off the Inquirer (On other issues the Inquirer has been one
of best papers in the country.) On the contrary, we are approaching the
paper, and several other media outlets, with the documentary film "MUMIA: A
Case for Reasonable Doubt." We are sending out dozens of copies hoping to
reach a few journalists who might have a look back at the story. A reporter
whose work has been disrupted in the name of Mumia Abu Jamal "supporters,"
will not be more receptive to our calls or the calls of other folks working
on this case.

Finally, this is serious business. Careful consideration is required.
Consultation with those who have been on the case for years is important
too. When I asked Mumia's lead attorney, Leonard Weinglass about your call
for hacking, he expressed puzzlement that anyone would want to target the
Inquirer when Mumia's federal appeal is coming up, and he said "when a mass
movement was growing around Mumia's case in 1995, Mumia was very concerned
that people--out of emotion--might commit random acts of violence or
vandalism, I think this falls into that category."

I hope you will reconsider, rescind this action and contact all your
correspondents as soon as possible.

Steven Rendall Senior Analyst FAIR



Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Govenor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge

Fraternal Order of the Police, Philadelphia

Philadelphia Inquirer


Reporting from at large in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Earth.
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