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CAN YOU SPARE A BYTE? The Observer is seeking donations of usable computer equipment to augment its you have outgrown your recentmodel Macintosh or related computer equipment, please call the Observer Donations are tax-deductible and will guarantee you a place in heaven next to Joe Hill. oil companies. And compared to the damage these companies have done in these communities, what they claim to have done is absolutely nothing…. [Shell still looks] at Africa from the perspective of the colonial days. They got there in the eighteen hundredswhen the King’s word was law, the chief’s word was law. It’s much like going to the U.K. today and telling a criminal to “stop in the name of the queen.” They look at you and laugh as if you were stupid. Centuries ago, that was enough to make .anybody stop. “Stop! Stop in the name of the Queen!” Today, nobody gives a hoot about the Queen. They say, “I have to pay my bills.” That is what Shell is still doing. They think that once they have an agreement with a traditional ruler, or they reach some accord with some chief or some self-proclaimed chief, everything will be fine. So Shell refuses to dialogue with MOSOP, which obviously at that time, had about three quarters of the Ogoni people as membersit could call a rally and find Three hundred thousand people. That’s astounding. Yes! As members. When they called the Ogoni Day. The “Shell-Shocked Day,” there was no place to park. There are only five hundred thousand Ogoni people. And three-fifths showed up for a public manifestation? Yes! Everywhere. And [Shell still does not] acknowledge the fact that this organization is important. What of the comment that was cited by Shell [from an ad that ran in the New York Times], claiming that Saro-Wiwa had read the names of ten people he called `Vul tures’ who stood in the way of Ogoni progress and deserved to die? In Ogonilandnot only in Ogoniland, the entire Nigeriathe vulture represents evil, wickedness, a predator, somebody who sees you in pain, does not help, but waits for you to pass out so he can consume you. When the crisis set in Ogoniland, it was not an irony that all those who opted out of MOSOP because they said it had become “too militant,” were persons with property, were persons who one way or the other had accumulated tremendous wealth from extensive and complex business contacts with many governments, many we know that had been very corrupt. So, that is why it was said, “there are vultures in the community”…to let the Ogoni people know that there are two camps, and people who had a choice in the matter. But Nigerians do not kill vultures. Be- cause if you kill a vulture it is a bad omen… Nigerians don’t kill vultures. Because the vulture is sup posed to be a very powerful, dangerous evil bird. You don’t kill it. That is one thing nobody’s talking about. As a child, rummaging the bushes and the forests of southern Nigeria, I never pointed my catapult at the vulture. No. I killed everything else. Squirrels, canaries, you name it. But a vulture. Even for a joke you don’t try it. So if you are encouraging someone toward violence, the vulture is not the symbol to use? No. No. And Ken was too literate for that kind of imagery. Somalia will seem like child’s play…. A single ethnic group in Nigeria has the financial capacity to mobilize ten times the firepower of all the warlords in Somalia. “Egan,” from page 5 ety of waste management programs to limit any environmental risks associated with tailings. Our extensive monitoring shows that the river carrying tailings from the mining operation meets U.S. E.P.A. Drinking Water Quality Standards for metals and that biological activity in the river is comparable to that in other nearby rivers that do not carry tailings. Moreover, our Indonesian operations are currently undergoing thorough environmental and social audits by two internationally respected consulting firms. The results of these audits, expected in the spring of 1996, will be made available to the public. We know of no other company in Indonesia that has undertaken voluntary environmental and social audits in such a cooperative and open fashion. All of these facts were available to Mr. Bryce, who unfortunately chose to ignore them. We appreciate this opportunity to set the record straight. Thomas J. Egan Senior Vice President and Senior Administrative Deputy to the Office of the Chairman Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. New Orleans “Response” from page 6 Suharto government, by all objective accounts one of the most corrupt and brutal dictatorships on earth. Suharto and his army came to power on a river of Indonesian blood \(“one of the worst massacres in recent history; in less than a year up to one million and they continue to rule by terror, intimidation, torture and brute force, sustained in no small measure by the income they receive from their stolen “national treasure” Freeport’ s Irian Jaya mine. Far from raising even mild protests against Suharto, Jim Bob Moffett embraces him as “a great humanitarian,” and his corporate propaganda describes Suharto’s tyrannical regime as “moderate and pragmatic”because it encourages foreign “investment,” like Freeport’s in the Grasberg mine. Freeport, Moffett, Egan and their Austin colleagues have long enjoyed the staggering financial benefits of their deal with the devil; now that the overwhelming human costs are finally becoming known to the rest of the world, they are desperate to keep that story from getting out. We invite our readers to consider the evidence, and make their own judgments, as to where the truth lies. –L.DJM.K. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11