News Release Archive - 2001

* Just Back from Afghanistan * Legal Status of Walker * Otto Reich: Backer of Terrorist? * Argentina Meltdown

JIM JENNINGS
President of Conscience International, a humanitarian aid organization, Jennings has just returned from his third trip to Afghanistan. He said today: “The public is being shielded from the extent of civilian casualties; if people saw the war close up, they would not be so enthusiastic about it. I witnessed this ‘collateral damage’ in the form of children with legs blown off, eyes blinded, and internal organs damaged — they were reportedly playing with a U.S.-dropped cluster bomb when it exploded. One boy of about 10, Zarwali, lost his left foot. They were driven over bombed-out roads for two and a half hours to the only pediatric hospital in the country. I also saw a great many babies suffering from acute malnutrition and starvation (marasmus) in the hospital and a few on the street in Kabul in the arms of burka-clad beggars. It’s hard to put numbers to this, but UN agencies estimate that malnutrition for the population generally is 70 percent. America must now undertake a major reconstruction job in Afghanistan.”
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WILLIAM GOODFELLOW
Executive director of the Center for International Policy, Goodfellow said today: “The administration may attempt a recess appointment of Otto Reich as head of Latin American affairs at the State Department. That is the only way they could get him in, given the opposition in the Senate. This appointment has nothing to do with foreign policy; rather, it is a payoff to the right-wing Cuban Americans in Miami who take credit for swinging the election to Bush and are a key constituency for Jeb Bush’s 2002 campaign. Reich ran the Office of Public Diplomacy in the mid-’80s — a propaganda operation shut down by Congress. As ambassador to Venezuela, he wrote a cable on behalf of Orlando Bosch, a convicted terrorist, to get him into the United States.”

MARJORIE COHN
An associate professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Cohn said today: “The Geneva Convention provides that a POW shall be subject to the laws of the detaining power. Therefore, John Walker is entitled to counsel during interrogation, and he cannot be coerced by the interrogators under the U.S. Constitution, the Geneva Convention and the Convention Against Torture.”
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MARK WEISBROT
Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Weisbrot said today: “Argentina’s meltdown is unfortunately the latest example in a pattern of strategic errors made, funded, and in some cases enforced by the International Monetary Fund. As in Russia and Brazil in 1998, the IMF has supported an overvalued currency, saddling the country with enormous — in Argentina’s case absolutely unpayable — debt. The biggest problem in these situations is that once investors believe that the fixed exchange rate will not hold, interest rates go through the roof. The IMF has poured even more fuel on the fire by insisting on a ‘zero-deficit’ budget, which does not make economic sense during a prolonged recession.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378

Dissenting Voices At a Time of War and Faith

SISTER EVELYN MATTERN
Program associate at the North Carolina Council of Churches, Mattern said today: “Christians have a ‘just war’ teaching that in theory can be used to judge any war. In practice, the teaching serves to bless rather than judge wars. For example, the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops recently invoked the ‘just war’ teaching with regard to Afghanistan. In their hurry to support the president, they failed even to mention one of the main criteria for a just war: that it can be declared only after every other effort has failed. It has yet to be revealed, I think, what the U.S. tried and failed before it began bombing.”

DAVID POTORTI
Potorti, who lost his brother in the World Trade Center attack and recently completed a peace walk from the Pentagon to New York, said today: “The phrase ‘Just War,’ used in reference to the battle being waged in Afghanistan, is resonating, but not as a deep philosophical concept…. War, to the increasing exclusion of everything else, is almost the only thing that America collectively cares about anymore…. We direct our attention and our resources into what we do best: war.”
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Dr. LAILA AL-MARAYATI
Al-Marayati is founder of the Muslim Women’s League. She said today: “America pays lip service to things like human rights, that makes it a source of hope, but when we don’t walk the walk, that leads to resentment…. We should not sacrifice our freedoms in the name of this war. The crackdown on various religious charities feels like an attempt to limit the American Muslim community’s activism on behalf of legitimate causes like the suffering of Palestinians, especially during Ramadan.”
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RABBI MORDECHAI LIEBLING
Director of the Shefa Fund’s Torah of Money project, which deals with Jewish ethics on finances and socially responsible investing, Liebling said today: “We have to find a way of getting beyond the levels of despair and misunderstanding that grip much of the world. Despair makes a populace rife for an opportunistic leadership that easily divides the world into good and evil, leading to bloodshed. The focus on defeating evil rather than on improving living conditions leads to more people raised in despair. We need to rekindle hope. That comes from working for real change.”
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REV. G. SIMON HARAK
A priest with the West Side Jesuit Community in New York City and adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham University, Harak has been in the Mideast many times. He said today: “After Sept. 11, we began to ask questions about our place in the world, including asking the question, Why? But this was short-circuited. We were provided with the meaning, rather than taking time for serious reflection. We were given a name and a target and that was supposed to provide the answer.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378

* ABM * Bin Laden * Israel * Tribunals

ALICE SLATER
Director of the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment, Slater said today: “The Rumsfeld report on space [www.defenselink.mil/pubs/space20010111.html] and the Pentagon’s ‘Visions for 2020’ report [PDF: www.peterson.af.mil/usspacecom/visbook.pdf] show that the government plans to militarize space and to dominate and control that military high ground for economic interests. The ABM Treaty stands in their way. China and Russia are aware of that. Bush’s move is also a terrible assault on written promises the U.S. government made in May regarding the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We should instead be working to secure nuclear material to prevent a terrorist attack.”
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AS’AD ABUKHALIL
Author of the forthcoming book Bin Laden and Taliban: The New American War Against Terrorism, AbuKhalil is associate professor of political science at California State University at Stanislaus.
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PHYLLIS BENNIS
A fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Bennis said today: “The U.S. has clearly failed to help achieve peace in the Mideast. We need a new diplomatic process led by Europe or South Africa.” [Bennis, co-editor of Beyond the Storm: A Gulf Crisis Reader, is also available to speak about current threats to expand the war to Iraq.] More Information

NASEER ARURI
Professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Aruri is author of the book The Obstruction of Peace: The U.S., Israel and The Palestinians. He said today: “Sharon’s declarations — from Arafat-is-Israel’s-Bin-Laden to Arafat-is-not-qualified-to-be-Israel’s-interlocutor — are part of a broad strategy to browbeat the Palestinians into submission. Easing Arafat out would open the way to imposing a form of a weak central government with local leaders ruling over disconnected cantons that would denationalize and delegitimize the Palestinian cause and its international jurisprudence. It looks like a repackaging of Sharon’s 1981/82 scheme, which was intended to pre-empt a Palestinian state-in-formation and to establish the village leagues as the quislings.”
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MICHAEL RATNER
Ratner wrote the recent paper “Moving Toward a Police State or Have We Arrived?” and is vice president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He said today: “Military tribunals are not legitimate. What we should be building is an International Criminal Court, but the U.S. government has blocked creating the legal structures necessary to ensuring a safer and more just world…. It is horrifying that the U.S. worked to prevent the surrender of Taliban forces; indeed, that could be criminal.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Interviews Available: Stimulus or War Profiteering?

MICAH SIFRY
A senior analyst with Public Campaign, Sifry said today: “It’s obscene that some of corporate America thinks this is the moment to cash in on all their access and influence in Congress with unwarranted tax rebates and unnecessary bailouts. By a margin of 56 to 32 percent, the public chooses increased government spending over new tax cuts, according to a Gallup Poll. But Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill says not to worry. The $100 billion House bill will provide 300,000 new jobs, he told the Sunday TV talk shows. That works out to $333,333 in corporate welfare for every new job. Rather than using the word ‘stimulus,’ the bill should be called the Campaign Contributors War Profiteering Act of 2001.”
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WILLIAM HARTUNG
Senior research fellow at the World Policy Institute and author of “The New Business of War,” Hartung said today: “U.S. military spending will increase by more than $50 billion over last year’s total, creating a windfall for U.S. weapons manufacturers. Despite the evidence of Sept. 11 that the U.S. is more vulnerable to low-tech terrorist attacks than to ballistic missiles, President Bush’s Star Wars scheme was authorized for more than $8 billion, an increase of nearly 57 percent. The vast majority of the funds authorized have little or nothing to do with protecting the country from future terrorist attacks. The money the Democrats tried to add is a real mixed bag. There is a danger that homeland security could become another pork barrel project — or worse, an excuse to cut back on civil liberties and the right of dissent…. I don’t think you can organize a country simply under the rhetoric of war on terrorism. There are other priorities that need to be respected.”
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HOLLY SKLAR
Co-author of the new book Raise The Floor: Wages and Policies That Work For All Of Us, Sklar said today: “We have crucial choices to make as we work to revive the economy in the wake of Sept. 11 and recession: We can rebuild the economy in a way that brings us closer together — or drives us apart. During the boom, we grew further apart. Average workers have still not caught up to the wages of their counterparts in 1973, adjusting for inflation. The top 1 percent has as much after-tax income as the 100 million Americans with the lowest incomes. Tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations would be as irresponsible as taking your paychecks, health insurance, retirement savings and children’s college funds and blowing them on a gambling spree. We need economic stimulus, not greed stimulus.”
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JOAN CLAYBROOK, [via Shannon Little]
President of Public Citizen, Claybrook said today: “While virtually everyone in the country saw Sept. 11 as an immense tragedy, many special interests saw it as a rich opportunity. They promptly sent hoards of lobbyists to swarm Capitol Hill to line up for all kinds of goodies. The airline industry was the first in line and got a $15 billion bailout package with no strings attached. It didn’t even have to share the money with its workers. Other industries have followed suit. The insurance industry is pressing for the government to bail it out in future attacks…”
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STEVEN WEISS
Weiss is communications director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which recently published the article “The Economic Stimulus Package: A Guide to What Special Interests Want and May Get.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Fast Track Showdown: Interviews Available

CONNIE GARCIA
Garcia is a policy advocate for the San Diego-based Environmental Health Coalition, one of the oldest grassroots environmental and social justice organizations in the United States. She said today: “While the evidence is clear that NAFTA has failed to protect the environment, the president is promoting it as a model for the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Fast track would allow Bush to negotiate the FTAA without being hampered by public input. It was fast-track authority that allowed the closed-door negotiation of NAFTA with Canadian, U.S. and Mexican trade officials and multinational corporations — with no input from environmental or labor interests. The results have been very negative for the environment, especially here at ground zero of NAFTA. For example, the Alamar River in Mexico is rank with raw sewage and industrial wastewater — a byproduct of U.S. and foreign-owned maquiladoras operating in Mexico under NAFTA.”
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MARIA LUISA MENDONCA
Mendonca (who can be interviewed in English) is the director of the Social Network for Justice and Human Rights in Brazil. She said today: “If Congress approves fast-track authority, it will be giving a blank check to big business to carry out policies that will be very detrimental to the people of the Americas. The FTAA will mean that large corporations will benefit while the public’s right to health, education, food, job security, living wages and environmental safety will be further threatened. It will also increase Latin America’s vulnerability to whims of speculative capital.”

KAREN HANSEN-KUHN
Hansen-Kuhn is the international coordinator of the Alliance for Responsible Trade. She said today: “The current debate on fast-track authority has been marred by accusations that are either inflammatory, irrelevant or both. A recent example is U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick’s assertion that those opposing the administration’s request for that authority are ‘xenophobes and isolationists.’ In fact, opposition to this model of corporate-led globalization is both global in scale and internationalist in perspective. Tens of thousands of people from Buenos Aires to Quebec have taken this message to the streets, to city councils and national legislatures to demand a very different kind of economic integration. The real issue is who wins and who loses under the resulting accords. People throughout the Americas understand that it is not countries that benefit or suffer from these policies but rather specific sectors within each nation. Workers, environmentalists, family farmers, women and many others in the U.S. have joined forces with their counterparts in other countries to advance a common agenda…”
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ANTONIA JUHASZ
Juhasz is a project director for the International Forum on Globalization, which represents over 60 organizations in 25 countries. She said today: “The administration wants fast-track authority in order to speed through agreements such as the proposed FTAA that would extend NAFTA to the entire Southern Hemisphere and to further the agenda of the November meeting of the WTO — the first ministerial-level meeting since the collapse of talks in Seattle. Fast track is a mechanism by which many of the key democratic processes used to create legislation are eliminated — these include the full committee process, full debate and the ability to amend legislation. The full democratic process is critical when addressing issues about which there is so much controversy and disagreement.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Interviews Available: Sharon vs. Hamas?

ALI ABUNIMAH
Abunimah wrote an op-ed article that appears in today’s New York Times. He is vice president of the Arab-American Action Network. [AAAN’s offices were burned by an arsonist yesterday, according to investigators. No motive is yet known.] More Information
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RABBI ARTHUR WASKOW
Director of The Shalom Center, Waskow said today: “Shortly before the latest suicide bombings, the mass-circulation right-of-center Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot ran a prominent front-page analysis pointing out that Hamas had suspended suicide bombings, but was sure to return to them, since Sharon had once again turned to assassinating Hamas’ leaders. Surely Sharon knew this as well. What is really going on here is a conspiracy of right-wingers — Palestinian and Israeli, Hamas and Sharon — to shatter any chance of peace. Sharon thinks if he does that, the result will be permanent Israeli control over the West Bank, and probably the piece-by-piece expulsion of the Palestinians. Hamas thinks that over a longer time, the result will be the shattering of Israel. Of course, this analysis does not lessen the horror and inhumanity of the suicide bombings. They are inexcusable — as is Sharon’s callous attitude toward Israeli and Palestinian lives.”
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SIMONA SHARONI
Sharoni, professor of peace and conflict studies and Middle East politics at Evergreen State College, is executive director of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development. On an August 3 news release from IPA, she said: “The targeted assassinations campaign against Palestinian leaders is likely to provoke a violent response. In fact, one wonders if Israel is using these illegal attacks to provoke such a response and then use that as a pretext to reoccupy the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip.” She said today: “Sharon is trying to use the suicide bombings to re-occupy the West Bank and Gaza.”
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FRANCIS BOYLE
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, Boyle said today: “Israel is acting in total violation of international law, including UN resolutions that allowed it into the UN in the first place. If something is not done quite soon to stop Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Palestinians, it could very well degenerate into genocide, literally fit that legal definition — if Israel is not there already. In this regard, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is what international lawyers call a genocidaire — one who has already committed genocide in the past. There is currently a criminal case against Sharon in Belgium, using the Pinochet principle, for his role in the Sabra and Shatila massacres against Palestinian refugees. Sharon is ready, willing, and able to inflict genocide yet again upon the Palestinians.”

LAMIS ANDONI
An independent journalist and analyst who has written extensively about the Mideast, Andoni said today: “Israel is sending a message: Either the Palestinian leadership does the dirty work for Israel of repressing the Palestinian people, or it will be eliminated.”
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STEPHEN ZUNES
Zunes, associate professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, is Middle East editor of the Foreign Policy in Focus Project.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378

The FBI and Domestic Spying

Attorney General John Ashcroft is apparently planning to loosen safeguards that have restricted FBI surveillance of religious and political groups. The following critics of the move are available for interviews:

NKECHI TAIFA
Nkechi Taifa is director of the Equal Justice Program at the Howard University School of Law. She said today: “Ashcroft would like us to trust the FBI with sweeping new powers. This is the FBI that tried to disrupt and destroy numerous nonviolent organizations ranging from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to the Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador to Students for a Democratic Society. This is the FBI that targeted Martin Luther King and framed Geronimo Pratt with murder. Although the claimed purpose of the Bureau’s COINTELPRO [Counterintelligence Program] action — which Ashcroft seems to want to revive and expand — was to ‘prevent violence,’ many of the FBI’s tactics were clearly intended to foster violence, and many others could reasonably have been expected to cause violence.”
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BRIAN GLICK
Glick is an associate professor of law at Fordham University and the author of War at Home: Covert Action Against U.S. Activists. Glick said today: “Ashcroft is not just proposing to drop the limits for spying on violent organizations — he wants to drop the limits, period. The FBI has a history of violating the legal limits; there is no telling what they might do without such limits. The document that launched the COINTELPRO operations against the black social movements directed FBI agents to ‘disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize’ dissident movements. It’s not just the surveillance part of Ashcroft’s proposal that is worrisome; it’s the psychological operations, the false rumors, the planted media stories, forged documents and the infiltration of dissident groups that the people running the country dislike or fear.”

CHIP BERLET
Senior analyst at Political Research Associates, Berlet is an author and paralegal investigator who studies illicit government surveillance. He said today: “Surveillance of dissidents across the political spectrum is now conducted through a loose network of government agencies, corporate security and private right-wing researchers…. By re-establishing a dynamic where any dissident group can be secretly accused of being linked to terrorism, and subject to disruption, the government opens the door to domestic covert operations that in the past led to orchestrated confrontations and killings.”
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JIM REDDEN
Jim Redden is author of Snitch Culture: How Citizens Are Turned into the Eyes and Ears of the State. He said today: “Even before September 11, the government was running COINTELPRO-style operations against a coalition of radical labor, environmental, and human rights organizations opposed to corporate control of the global economy. The truth is, there’s a long and sordid history of government operatives committing the very crimes they are supposed to prevent and setting up dissidents with phony charges.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Behind the Enron Collapse

DOUG HELLER
Consumer advocate with the Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, Heller said today: “Enron created itself through a growing corporate vision: If you want market share, create a market, even if there is no need for it. The ‘make a market’ mantra, in conjunction with Enron chairman Kenneth Lay’s longstanding ties to political leaders — Lay was one of President Bush’s biggest donors and was an energy advisor to Vice President Cheney — shifted the nation’s energy system from regulated monopolies to a deregulated, wholesale market-based system with few rules. Lay took in $141.6 million in salary, bonuses and stock in 2000 and another $20 million earlier this year. Meanwhile, California ratepayers will pay billions too much for power over the next decades to foot the bill for price gouging by Enron and its protegees. The moral for society should not only be that markets need rules and limits, but also that some things don’t need markets at all. Enron took over a system that reliably moved a public good — electricity — from power plant to home. It used deregulation to make money out of nothing, simply by adding cost to the product en route. Federal regulators should ensure that if Lay or other Enron executives deceived the public, they pay a price.”
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ARJUN MAKHIJANI
Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, said today: “The collapse of Enron shows the weakness of having an energy market without regulatory oversight…. Enron’s collapse could mean the resolution of the dispute with the Indian government over a power plant in India that involved Enron charging unconscionably high prices. That’s been a major source of conflict between the U.S. and Indian governments.”
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TYSON SLOCUM
Research director of Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program, Slocum said today: “Although Dynegy’s acquisition of Enron was called off, Dynegy still is trying to acquire Enron’s most lucrative asset, the Northern Natural Gas line which runs from fields in Texas’ Permian Basin to 14 states throughout the Midwest, Southwest and West. According to news reports, Dynegy used $1.5 billion from its part owner, ChevronTexaco, to provide liquidity to Enron after the merger was announced. Now, Dynegy says it plans to claim 100 percent of the equity in Northern Natural Gas, which was used as collateral for the transaction. Business Week recently estimated the pipeline is worth $2.25 billion. Now ChevronTexaco can connect the dots between its nearly 3 billion cubic feet of daily domestic natural gas production and Dynegy’s 23,500 megawatts of electricity generation, since two-thirds of its electricity is generated by natural gas. This synergy of collusion will create America’s largest vertically integrated energy company, enabling Dynegy to charge its customers higher prices for natural gas and electricity, and force its power generation competitors to pay monopolistic prices for natural gas.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

* Afghanistan * Relatives of 9-11 Victims * Iraq

ALEXANDER THIER
Thier was an officer-in-charge for the UN humanitarian office in Afghanistan. He is co-author of the new report “Planning Considerations for International Involvement in Post-Taliban Afghanistan.” He said today: “Political space must be created in Afghanistan to allow representative, non-military leadership to emerge. At the Bonn meeting, there is a very notable absence of more direct representation of the Afghan people, with mostly the military and the king’s camp having a voice. If these same warlords are not persuaded to behave differently than they did during their rule between 1992 and 1996, there is a real danger that, like before, several quasi-states will emerge…”

MICHAEL ALBERT
Editor of Z Magazine, Albert said today: “Hunger persists and even grows in the land we are ostensibly saving…. In response to terror we (a) delegitimated any legal recourse… (b) unleashed far more massive terror to maintain credibility, and (c) moved to curtail civil liberties at home and redistribute income upwards.”
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AMBER AMUNDSON, RYAN AMUNDSON
DAVID PATORTI
These three people lost family members in the September 11 attacks. They are participating in a peace walk from Washington, D.C. to New York City. Family stories and statements are available at www.nonviolence.org/vitw/Walk%20H&P.html

DENIS HALLIDAY
The UN Security Council on Thursday afternoon voted to revise sanctions against Iraq within six months and extend the existing UN oil-for-food program until then. Halliday headed that program and is a former UN Assistant Secretary General. He co-wrote an article in today’s Guardian of London with Hans von Sponeck, another former head of the oil-for-food program. Halliday said today: “There’s no basis to continue bombing — or start a new bombing campaign on the people of Iraq. It has legislation outlawing Al Qaeda and Wahabbism. There’s no evidence of terrorist links.”
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THOMAS NAGY
Associate professor at George Washington University, Nagy is the author of the cover story in the September issue of The Progressive magazine, “The Secret Behind the Sanctions: How the U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq’s Water Supply.” He said today: “The U.S. government intentionally used bombing and sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country’s water supply, leading to a humanitarian catastrophe the Pentagon predicted. This is outlined in documents which have been partly declassified, such as a January 22, 1991 Defense Intelligence Agency document entitled ‘Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities.’ Due mainly to the sanctions, contaminated water continues to be the leading cause of deaths of children in Iraq today.”
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ALI ABUNIMAH
Vice president of the Arab-American Action Network, Abunimah said today: “On Monday, Ari Fleischer repeated the well-worn fabrication that ‘Iraq unilaterally threw them [the UN weapons inspectors] out.’ In fact, the inspectors were withdrawn suddenly on December 16, 1998 by Richard Butler, then the head of the now-defunct inspection agency UNSCOM, in anticipation of a U.S. attack…”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Recession: Now What?

In the wake of the announcement by a panel of academic experts that the U.S. economy has been in a recession since March, the following analysts are available for interviews:

JULIANNE MALVEAUX
An economist based in Washington, D.C., Malveaux said today: “It’s not news to anyone that we’re in a recession — most people are already experiencing it, so they don’t need an economist to tell them that. But certain communities are feeling it more than others. In October, the general unemployment rate increased by a half point, but by a full point for African Americans. Most states and cities are prohibited from deficit spending, so it’s people in cities — who tend to be more black, brown, older and poorer — who suffer more since they rely on states and cities to provide services. After 9-11, it’s often been said that we’re all in the same boat. If that’s true, some are riding and some are rowing.”
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RANDY ALBELDA
Professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Albelda said today: “States are cutting a lot of their budgets — education, healthcare, mental health services. For example, the Massachusetts legislature last week passed a budget which cut half of state funds to adult literacy programs for this year. If the federal government really wanted a stimulus package, it would help the states to provide these needed services since 49 states are prohibited from running a deficit. The states have been giving tax cuts during the boom and now they’re cutting to the bone.”
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MARY SCHWEITZER
Professor of economic history at Villanova University, Schweitzer is author of the book Custom and Contract. She said today: “What does the administration mean by ‘stimulus’ — where do they get the concept that tax breaks for a few large corporations will make things better? Tax cuts are talked about as if there’s only one kind. There are different ways to ‘stimulate’ the economy. It used to be thought that economic growth came from building factories. However, for at least a generation it has been understood by economic historians that the best way to stimulate economic growth is education. The best way to achieve long-term growth is to educate the public. Education leads to innovation and innovation leads to growth. We’re seeing an increase in the already alarming gap between the richest and poorest in this country, we’re losing our middle class. To the public, a good economy is a middle class economy — jobs that provide a reasonable wage and give people time to spend with their children. Instead, the public is being offered jobs at six dollars an hour with no benefits. For example, if we hire more teachers and nurses the public will be better off and we would create a larger middle class. Consumers then decide what they’re going to spend their money on, and that will determine the corporate winners and losers. The administration wants to pick the winners and losers by giving select companies tax breaks.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167