News Release Archive - 2003

FTAA: Crossroads at Miami Summit

JOSEFINA HERNANDEZ PONCE and PEDRO EUSSE and SEVERINA RIVERA,
Hernandez Ponce is a sewing machine operator and president of SITEMEX, the only union in the sweatshop garment industry in Mexico. The union was founded last year after two years of efforts which began when Hernandez Ponce and four other workers refused to eat the factory food to protest substandard conditions, widespread sexual harassment and a weekly wage of $30. Students in more than 20 U.S. universities helped by pressuring their schools’ administrations to raise the issue with Hernandez Ponce’s employers. She said today: “NAFTA has created a sweatshop economy for Mexico, and now FTAA threatens to expand it to the hemisphere.” Eusse is the Secretary General of the United Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CUTV). He said today: “The FTAA would institutionalize the privatization of Venezuela’s natural resources. This is opposed by President Hugo Chavez.” Rivera is the director of the Campaign for Labor Rights and a member of the National Lawyers Guild, on call in Miami to help protect civil liberties.
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NADIA MARTINEZ
Martinez is a research associate with the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network and author of Pillars of Power: How the Free Trade Agenda Promotes Dirty Energy. She said today: “FTAA would make it cheaper and easier for corporations to exploit the resources of developing countries rather than develop clean sources of energy.”
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SARAH ANDERSON
JOHN CAVANAGH
Anderson is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies who has followed the FTAA negotiations since they began in 1994. She said today: “The current FTAA proposal is based on NAFTA. There is another large-scale experience out there: the European Union. The EU has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in grants to narrow gaps between richer and poorer member countries and regions…. To varying degrees, all have made progress…. These trends are in stark contrast to NAFTA. NAFTA’s ‘poor partner,’ Mexico, has seen its GDP per capita plummet as a percentage of the North American average from 40 percent in 1982 (before Mexico began sweeping free market reforms) to 32 percent in NAFTA’s first year [1994] to 30 percent in 2001…. [A strategy of bolstering Mexico] would help U.S. workers too: without economic and environmental improvements in the poorer countries, there is no way effectively to reduce the incentive for companies to export U.S. jobs to areas of low wages and lax environmental enforcement.” Cavanagh is the director of IPS. They are among the authors of Field Guide to the Global Economy.

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KAREN HANSEN-KUHN
Hansen-Kuhn is the international coordinator of the Alliance for Responsible Trade. She said today: “We are not against an integration that would benefit people in this hemisphere and promote justice and sustainable development. The FTAA was drawn up without the participation of civic organizations around the hemisphere. In fact, repeated attempts by many people and organizations to participate in the discussion and the planning were ignored. The FTAA is designed to facilitate corporations moving in and out of communities without responsibilities to the local people or the environment.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Behind the “Special Relationship”

GREG PALAST
Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. His investigative reports appear on BBC Television and in the Guardian Newspapers of Britain. He said today: “Blair, like Margaret Thatcher before him, faces revolt within his own party. They believe he lied to get Britain into Bush’s war in Iraq. And just as bad, Bush is seen as taking Blair for granted; ‘Dubya’s poodle’ is the common phrase. Worse, Britons are seething over what they see as raw treatment on other issues. For example, Bush’s steel tariffs and legal attack on the banana trade infuriate Britons. Add to that the reports that Halliburton and other Bush favorites are sucking up all the spoils in the Iraq reconstruction, and Blair’s in hot water unless he publicly disses his guest (unlikely); or comes up with some concessions on Iraq and trade that he can pass off as having squeezed out of the President.”
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MARK CURTIS
Curtis is the author of the recently released book Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World and a former research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. He said today: “The essence of the special relationship is British support for U.S. aggression. This role goes back to the beginning of the postwar world when British planners recognized in secret files that they should be the ‘junior power in an orbit of power predominantly under American aegis.’ London’s support for Washington’s war in Iraq is simply historical routine. Britain provided various covert support to the U.S. in the Vietnam War while publicly wanting to appear more neutral and also provided covert support for U.S. aggression against Central America in the 1980s. MI6 worked alongside the CIA in secretly bolstering the mujahidin in Afghanistan and took over from the U.S. the secret operation to train Cambodian guerillas allied to the Khmer Rouge in the 1980s. Britain was the only major state to support the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989 and allowed U.S. bombers to use British bases to strike Libya in 1986. Blair’s support for Washington has gone even beyond Thatcher’s, however — never before has a British government so frequently committed its military forces to essentially U.S. operations, in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. In a very real sense, Britain under Blair is now acting as a U.S. military proxy or satellite, having lost even the pretense of an independent foreign policy.”
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PRISCILLA ELWORTHY
Chair of the Oxford Research Group, Elworthy said today: “Public resistance to the visit is greater than for any state visit ever, mainly because the British public massively opposed the war in Iraq…. We are fully aware of the neo-conservative agenda in Washington, and regard it as highly dangerous and provocative. Current U.S. policy is making Americans at home and abroad less safe rather than more. Instead we have asked our government to follow a non-military approach to states like North Korea, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia — and this is already becoming apparent in our foreign minister’s successful negotiation with Tehran over nuclear capabilities.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Mr. Bush Goes to London

MILAN RAI
The British author of Regime Unchanged, a just-released book on the invasion of Iraq, Rai is in the U.S. until November 25. He said today: “President Bush recently said in an interview with the BBC of the war on Iraq: ‘War is my last choice, not my first choice.’ In March 2002, a year before the war on Iraq, President Bush told three senators meeting National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, ‘[Expletive deleted] Saddam. We’re taking him out.’ The President was determined to avoid a peaceful resolution of the Iraq crisis. On March 17, 2003, UN weapons inspectors presented the Security Council with a program of activities which they felt could clarify the lingering questions…. Instead of allowing the Security Council to consider, and possibly approve and initiate these ‘key remaining disarmament tasks,’ President Bush chose that night to give Iraq a 48-hour ultimatum, and to order the inspectors out of Iraq immediately. War was the first choice, ahead of inspections.”

DAVID MILLER
Miller is the editor of the soon-to-be-released Tell Me Lies: Propaganda and Media Distortion in the Attack on Iraq and a member of the Stirling Media Research Institute. He said today: “Opposition to the war, the occupation of Iraq and the Bush visit are re-galvanizing U.K. public opinion, which has been shifting back to opposition to the war. This has been partly because public opinion now believes that Blair duped them over the issue of weapons of mass destruction. It is also partly because U.K. voters feel that the relationship between Blair and Bush is too close and that the U.S. is making the world a more dangerous place. The news that the U.S. government effectively asked for the right to ‘shoot to kill’ protestors in the U.K. will not play well in the U.K.” [See: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/08/24/npoll24.xml, www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/content_objectid=13631337_method=full_siteid=50143_headline=-SECURITY-BLITZ-AS-DUBYA-FLIES-IN-name_page.html, www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/content_objectid=13622444_method=full_siteid=50143_headline=-BUSH-OFF—POLL-REVEALS-BRITS-FURIOUS-AT-COST-OF-VISIT-name_page.html, http://observer.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4798530-102285,00.html] More Information

Dr. SALIH IBRAHIM
A pathologist from Iraq who has lived in the U.K. since 1981, Ibrahim has substantial contact with his family in Basra, which he last visited in January. He said today: “My family doesn’t want me to visit now because that would make the family a target for thieves. Lack of order means that gangs of thugs can do what they want. My brother is considering moving to Baghdad. Doctors in Basra are killed and kidnapped; the hospital can’t function. Everyone is terrified…” Ibrahim will be participating in protests this week.
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GLEN RANGWALA
A lecturer in politics at Cambridge University, Rangwala was last in Iraq in September this year. He said today: “President Bush last visited the U.K. in April, during the first phase of the war on Iraq. Tony Blair stood alongside him and told him that ‘the regime is weakening, the Iraqi people are turning towards us.’ As they talk this time … U.S. jets and helicopters will still be bombing Iraq, as they grapple with the prospect of a violent resistance movement that can outlast and outwit them, having brought chaos to Iraqi society and having deepened the poverty of many…. [In April] Blair assured the President, ‘On weapons of mass destruction, we know that the regime has them, we know that as the regime collapses we will be led to them.'”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

* Iraq * Israel * WTO — Interviews Available

MEDEA BENJAMIN
Benjamin, the founding director of the international human rights group Global Exchange, is also co-founder of the Occupation Watch Center in Iraq. Paul Bremer, in Washington mid-week, repeatedly cited the Iraqi Governing Council in his remarks. Benjamin said today: “The Bush administration wants the Iraqi Governing Council to rubber-stamp policies coming from Washington and to take the blame when things go wrong. The problem for the administration is that some members of the Council have begun to question U.S. policies, such as opening Iraq to foreign investment or the U.S. plan for writing and approving the constitution. So now there are rumors that the U.S. wants to get rid of the Council in favor of a more pliable transition team. But any new team will come up against the same contradiction: it is impossible to find Iraqis who are both legitimate leaders and willing to blindly do the U.S. bidding.”
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ADAM SHAPIRO
Shapiro is an organizer with the International Solidarity Movement. He traveled to Iraq this summer and is now working on a documentary titled “About Baghdad.” He said today: “The recent CIA report confirms what many of us have been saying: the Iraqis are ‘losing faith in the U.S.-led occupation forces’ and this is ‘increasing support for the resistance.’ In Baghdad, Iraqis told us that if the situation of the people does not improve, if clean water, electricity and jobs are not available soon, more people will start sympathizing with, if not joining, the resistance. Turning things over to the handpicked Governing Council would not necessarily help; the Iraqis we spoke to could not name a single official on the Council…. The bombing of the Italian police headquarters confirms our observations in Iraq that the Italians, British, and other small numbers of foreign troops in Iraq are all seen as part of the U.S.-led occupation.”
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JEFF MENDEZ
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights released a report Wednesday warning of “an imminent humanitarian catastrophe” for the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Mendez, acting executive director of the Palestine Center in Washington, said today: “It is significant to note that on the same day as a report on the horrific conditions which the Palestinian people are subjected to by the Israeli occupation forces, atrocities such as home demolitions, closures, extrajudicial assassinations, and illegal searches and seizures have increased. While this report stresses the dire humanitarian situation in July, the conditions today are much worse. The main findings of the report include: 22 percent of Palestinian children under five are suffering from malnutrition — a three-fold increase from 2000; 9.3 percent suffer acute malnutrition — an eight-fold increase from 2000; food consumption has fallen 30 percent per capita; 60 percent of Palestinian households now live in acute poverty and 50 percent are dependent on international food aid.” [The full text of the report in PDF is at: www.unhchr.ch/pdf/chr60/10add2AV.pdf] More Information

ROBIN HAHNEL
Hahnel is professor of economics at American University and author of Panic Rules! Everything You Need to Know About the Global Economy. He said today: “The administration’s response to the WTO’s ruling — that the tariffs imposed on steel imports in March of 2002 are a violation of WTO rules — is further proof that while the U.S. government preaches free trade for others, the U.S. has no intention of practicing it ourselves when we find it inconvenient. Now, like Frankenstein’s monster, the WTO has turned on the master who created it, the U.S. government…. While some voices in the administration might threaten to leave the WTO, that will only be grandstanding for the unilateralist faction of the Republican Party. U.S. corporations benefit tremendously from the unfair and undemocratic procedures the WTO has imposed on other countries. Slaps on the wrist like this one are the relatively small cost of that terrific deal: the WTO prevents developing countries from being able to protect their economies, requires them to enforce international copyrights and patents that cost them a fortune, and bans them from treating large multinational corporations differently than they treat domestic ones. In short, the WTO gives multinational corporations free rein and makes it impossible for Third World governments to promote economic development…. On the home front, the benefits of the steel tariffs accrue disproportionately to the steel companies who are busy demanding give-back contracts from their employees. Steel workers would be better served by adequately funded retraining and job creation programs where laid-off workers draw unemployment benefits until they are placed into equally well-paying, unionized jobs in their hometowns.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

* Medicare Profiteers * Jobs * Mutual Funds * HealthSouth

ALAN SAGER
DEBORAH SOCOLAR
Sager and Socolar are co-directors of the Health Reform Program at Boston University’s School of Public Health. They have recently released a report entitled “New Medicare Rx Benefit Means Big Profits for Drug Makers.” The report finds that “an estimated 61.1 percent of the Medicare dollars that will be spent to buy more prescriptions will remain in the hands of drug makers as added profits. This windfall means an estimated $139 billion in increased profits over eight years.”
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DOUG HENWOOD
Productivity numbers are scheduled to come out Thursday, job growth and unemployment on Friday. Editor of Left Business Observer, Henwood is author of the new book After the New Economy. He said today: “We learned last week that the U.S. economy grew at a 7.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter — even though we lost 41,000 jobs. Will these divergent trends continue? While pundits are busy celebrating the productivity boom, what it means in human terms is that the growth numbers have little connection with human welfare. Unlike earlier recessions, when laid-off workers were recalled when the cycle turned, this time the job losses look permanent and the new hires slow in coming. Employers are content to work existing staff harder and outsource the rest.” [Also, see: www.jobwatch.org] More Information

TONY TINKER
Professor of accountancy at Baruch College and author of Paper Prophets: A Social Critique of Accounting, Tinker said today: “Many people escaped from the stock market and their dot-com investments into what they thought was a safe haven of mutual funds, only to find that they became victims of insider dealing in the mutual fund market. Insiders and their friends got handouts at the expense of other investors…. The SEC — once again — was asleep at the wheel and thereby acquiesced to the mutual fund violations…. We shouldn’t be too hard on the SEC, however. For years, Congress underfunded the agency and reduced it to a regulatory joke…. Now, as we witness the ‘outrage’ of congressmen during their current investigations into the mutual funds, we should remember that these are the same hypocrites who engineering this situation during their privatization binge.”
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RUSSELL MOKHIBER
Editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, Mokhiber said today: “The mistrial of banker Frank Quattrone, and the gathering storm over the Enron Task Force and its failure to bring Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling to justice, puts tremendous pressure on the federal prosecutors in the HealthSouth case. HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy didn’t mind answering Mike Wallace’s questions on ’60 Minutes,’ but refused to answer questions under oath before Congress. He’s started a web site that proclaims his innocence. At Scrushy’s trial, there will be no Tyco-like video with vodka spewing out of the penis of an ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s David, but the government does have the cooperation of 14 of Scrushy’s former colleagues — all willing and able to testify against him. Scrushy says he will take the stand in his own defense. The government should win a conviction. Either way, it’s time to simplify the laws governing corporate crime and violence and beef up the resources available to the corporate crime police.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Interviews Available: Families of Military and 9/11 Victims

JARI SHEESE
Sheese owns a small business in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her husband is stationed in Iraq. She said this afternoon: “He had just dropped me a line telling me that he’d be getting around by helicopter and that made me feel better — then a helicopter gets downed killing 16. We find some way to communicate almost daily, either email, instant messaging, whatever we can do. He doesn’t want to be there any more. There was a time he felt they were doing some good, but that has gone. He helped set up the Iraqi Media Network. He enjoyed working with the Iraqis, helping them set up six television stations and three radio stations, but since the 82nd Airborne took over, they’ve been making the Iraqis broadcast things like statements from generals over and over and over again. The Iraqis now say that it’s eerily like under Saddam’s regime, even calling one of the commanders ‘little Saddam.’ The commanders are threatening to take the Iraqis’ equipment or funding away if they don’t do what they say, but they advertise this ‘new, free Iraq.’ The military is not a democracy and this doesn’t really seem like the way to help build democratic institutions there. My husband tells me that everything is so orchestrated; like when politicians go to Iraq, they meet with soldiers who just got there, so they don’t get a real assessment of how demoralized many soldiers are. The dignitaries virtually never meet with reservists, like my husband. He’s been in and out of the military for 29 years and just wanted to get another year in as a reservist for his pension. It’s incredible how badly the reservists are treated. He just got a new flak jacket about a week ago, but it doesn’t have the ceramic plate, so I don’t know how much good it does. He says it’s better than nothing. The media used to go to bases, but many have been kicked out now, so information is getting harder and harder to come by. Bush says that we have to stay to stop the attacks, but it’s clear that our staying is causing attacks.”

FERNANDO SUAREZ DEL SOLAR
Fernando Suarez del Solar (who is fluent in Spanish) is father of Jesus Alberto Suarez del Solar Navarro, who died in Iraq on March 27. He said today: “These attacks are the tragic result of the illegal occupation of Iraq by the U.S. military. Our young people are exposed to death every day. They are wounded in faraway lands for the whims and lies of President Bush…. The military does all kinds of things to recruit Hispanics, African American and poor Anglos — how many children of congressmen or CEOs are in Iraq?”
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TERRY ROCKEFELLER
DAVID POTORTI
Rockefeller traveled to Iraq in January 2003 as part of a person-to-person delegation sponsored by September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. She lost her sister in the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Today she said: “While in Iraq, civilians told us over and over again that our planned military action would increase terrorism, and that the U.S. occupation would be unpopular with the people of Iraq. I am deeply concerned about the failure of the United States to provide security during the occupation, leading to the loss of life among American service people as well as Iraqi citizens. I believe it is time for the United States to make a genuine commitment to international security by transferring power to the UN, rather than using the UN as a cover for our occupation. Our concerns should focus on rebuilding Iraq, rather than asking our military to serve … in jobs for which they are not suited.” Potorti, who lost his brother on 9/11, is the primary author of the book September 11th Families For Peaceful Tomorrows.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Interviews Available on Iraq: * Invasion Fatalities * Visitors in the U.S. * More Attacks? * Like Vietnam?

CARL CONETTA
Co-director of the Project on Defense Alternatives, Conetta wrote the just-released report “The Wages of War: Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 2003 Conflict.” Conetta said today”Reviewing U.S. combat data, battlefield press reports, and Iraqi hospital surveys, we have found that approximately 13,000 Iraqis (plus or minus 16.5 percent or 2,150) were killed during the major combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The report covers the period from March 19 to the end of April. Among the Iraqi dead were between 3,200 and 4,300 noncombatants.”
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DAVID ENDERS
Enders is editor of Baghdad Bulletin and has spent much of this year in Iraq. He said today”Iraqis seem to agree attacks will continue as long as there is an occupation force in the country. The Red Cross is just one of the many possible ‘soft targets.’ There have been threats against companies working with the occupation administration just as there have been continued attacks on Iraqi police and other officials whose only identifiable ‘crime’ seems to be compliance with the occupation.”
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NERMIN AL-MUFTI and AMAL AL-KHEDAIRY, [via Rev. Patty Ackerman, ]
Al-Mufti and Al-Khedairy are currently on a speaking tour in the United States. Al-Mufti is an Iraqi journalist who has received fellowships in international journalism from Hungary and the UK. Her writings appear on a regular basis in Al-Ahram, a weekly paper in Cairo. Al-Mufti is also an expert on the history and governance of Iraq. Al-Khedairy is the founder and director of Al-Beit Al-Iraqi (Iraqi House), an arts, cultural and crafts center in Baghdad. Located in her family’s Ottoman-style home, Al-Khedairy opened the center in 1988. After Al-Beit Al-Iraqi was destroyed as a result of the Gulf War, it was re-built and remained the only intellectual center in Baghdad throughout the ’90s. The center hosted exhibitions of contemporary Iraqi artists, concerts, lectures and classes on a regular basis until its destruction by U.S. bombs in the spring of this year. The exhibit on display prior to the recent invasion was an exchange of drawings between Iraqi and Japanese children.

ROBERT BUZZANCO
Associate professor of history at the University of Houston, Buzzanco is author of Vietnam and the Transformation of American Life. He said today”The recent revelations of U.S. atrocities committed by an elite U.S. Army unit known as Tiger Force over several months in 1967 in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, broken by the Toledo Blade, have shocked Americans. The official coverups of atrocities such as My Lai … and those committed by the Tiger Force were never investigated. If history is any guide, the picture we are getting out of Iraq is not ‘just the bad news’ as we are sometimes told, but a very sanitized version of events that leaves out the worst that our government does.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Interviews Available: Bush vs. Facts

Analysts are available to scrutinize some of President Bush’s claims, including those from Tuesday’s news conference, focusing on Iraq and the recent attacks there:

BUSH: “I would assume that they’re [the suicide bombers] either, or, and probably both Ba’athists and foreign terrorists.”

FACT: “There are a growing number of interviews with Iraqi resistance fighters that establish that many, perhaps most, of them are not Ba’athists and not foreigners. One interviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle said that he took up arms after the Fallujah massacre, in which U.S. troops fired into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators, killing 15,” said Rahul Mahajan, author of the book Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond. [Contact information: rahul@tao.ca, www.rahulmahajan.com] [See: www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1061660,00.html, The Guardian, October 13; www.csmonitor.com/2003/0815/p01s04-woiq.html, Christian Science Monitor, August 15; http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/10/07/MN953.DTL&type=printable, San Francisco Chronicle, October 7.]

BUSH: “The best way to deal with them [terrorists] is to harden targets, harden assets as best as you can.”

FACT: “Historically, there is no technological fix for terrorism. You have to deal with the complex sources of terrorism…. If you harden targets, then there are the vulnerable points, and even hardened targets are vulnerable; if you harden an entire society, what do you get?” said Beau Grosscup, author of The Newest Explosions of Terrorism and professor of international relations at California State University in Chico. [Contact information: bgrosscup@csuchico.edu]

BUSH: “It’s the same mentality, by the way, that attacked us in — on September the 11th, 2001. ‘We’ll just destroy innocent life and watch the great United States and their friends and allies, you know, crater in the face of hardship.’ It’s the exact same mentality. And Iraq is a part of the war on terror. I said it’s a central front, a new front in the war on terror.”

FACT: “Bush is attempting to link the September 11 atrocities to the Iraq war in the public mind — without asserting the link outright. Administration officials, including Bush, have employed this rhetorical tactic, an ‘enthymematic argument,’ time and time again before and since the war. There is still no evidence whatsoever that the former Iraqi regime, or any Iraqi, had anything to do with the September 11 attacks, but as many as 69 percent of Americans still believe there is a link. [See: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32862-2003Sep5.html] Bush achieves this rhetorical trick without telling an outright lie,” said Chris Toensing, editor of Middle East Report. [Contact information: ctoensing@merip.org, www.merip.org]

BUSH: “And so this nation is very reluctant to use military force…. Military action is the very last resort for us.”

FACT: “The Library of Congress has catalogued over 200 uses of American military force abroad in the country’s short history. Since 9/11, we have fought two full-scale wars, attempted a military coup in Venezuela, extended counterinsurgency operations in Colombia and the Philippines, and created a permanent or semi-permanent military presence in a host of new countries, particularly in Central Asia,” said Mahajan.

BUSH: “And a reminder, when you mention Saddam Hussein, I just want to remind you that the Saddam Hussein military action took place after innumerable United Security Council resolutions were passed. Not one, two or three, but a lot.”

FACT: “But of course, since 1990, not one of those UN resolutions authorized the use of military force against Saddam Hussein’s regime,” said Toensing.

BUSH: “You asked about the [Israeli] fence [in the West Bank]. I have said the fence is a problem to the extent that the fence is an opportunity to make it difficult for a Palestinian state to emerge. There is a difference between security and land acquisition, and we have made our views clear on that issue.”

FACT: “Apparently not clear enough, since the Israeli cabinet is proceeding with construction of the illegal wall-and-fence complex, which bites deep into the territory that would constitute a future Palestinian state. Israel has also instituted a special permit system for Palestinians living ‘behind’ the wall — giving them the ‘right’ to live in their own homes. [See: www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1071768,00.html],” said Toensing.

BUSH: “I have also spoken to Prime Minister Sharon in the past about settlement activities. And the reason why that we have expressed concern about settlement activities is because we want the conditions for a Palestinian state on the ground to be positive…”

FACT: “Apparently not often enough, because Israel has just undertaken yet more expansion of settlements, in direct violation of the U.S.-sponsored ‘road map,'” said Toensing.

BUSH: “First step was to remove Saddam Hussein because he was a threat — a gathering threat, as I think I put it.”

FACT: “Of course, the ‘threat’ allegedly posed by Saddam Hussein was related to his alleged weapons of mass destruction. U.S. officials now believe that Iraq did not attempt to reconstitute its nuclear program after 1991 — no ‘gathering threat’ there. [See: www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A17707-2003Oct25?language=printer] Nor have any chemical or biological weapons been found. The administration is now reduced to arguing that, left to its own devices, the Iraqi regime might have restarted active programs on weapons of mass destruction because it retained the know-how. But before the war, the debate was not about whether Iraq might have such weapons, or might rebuild them, but about whether war was the only way to avert that possibility. The U.S. has been proven conclusively wrong on that score,” said Toensing.

BUSH: “I said right after September the 11th, this would be a different kind of war. Sometimes you’d see action and sometimes you wouldn’t. But it’s a different kind of war than what we’re used to. And Iraq is a front on the war on terror. And we will win this particular battle in the war on terror.”

FACT: “Again, Bush mentions September 11 and skips to Iraq being ‘a front in the war on terror.’ The middle link in the syllogism — the argument that Iraq and September 11 were related — is missing. So Bush gets the misleading message across without telling an outright lie,” said Toensing.

BUSH: “[Saddam Hussein] just destroyed their economy and destroyed their infrastructure, destroyed their education system, destroyed their medical system, all to keep himself in power.”

FACT: “While few would dispute that the former regime’s policies exacerbated Iraqi economic woes, the bulk of the damage to Iraqi infrastructure was done by U.S. bombs in the 1991 Gulf War and the sanctions of the ensuing decade. In U.S. pronouncements, it’s as if the sanctions never happened. The U.S. must share the blame for the dilapidation of Iraq’s electrical, educational and medical systems, and that’s why it should also share the expense of fixing it,” said Toensing.

BUSH: “The electricity — the capacity to deliver electricity to the Iraqi people is back up to pre-war levels.”

FACT: “Six months into the occupation, Bush is boasting about having electrical power up to prewar levels — a prewar situation where Iraq had been under the most stringent economic sanctions in modern history for over 12 years and where the United States systematically undermined Iraqi efforts to rebuild infrastructure [see: http://harpers.org/online/cool_war],” said Mahajan.

BUSH: “We want to work with Chairman Kean and Vice-Chairman Hamilton [of the 9/11 commission].

FACT: “The administration has repeatedly put roadblocks in the way of the 9/11 commission’s investigation, from severe underfunding (it balked at a request from Kean for $11 million, whereas the Challenger commission got $50 million) to denial of necessary documents — in fact, Kean has had to threaten to sue to get documents,” said Mahajan. [See: www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1071711,00.html]

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Interviews are available with:

RAHUL MAHAJAN
Mahajan is author of the book Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond.
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BEAU GROSSCUP
Grosscup is author of The Newest Explosions of Terrorism and professor of international relations at California State University in Chico

CHRIS TOENSING
Toensing is editor of Middle East Report.

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More Information
For some previous critiques of Bush’s claims, see:

* “Responses to Bush’s 2003 ‘State of the Union’ Address,” January 30, 2003:
www.accuracy.org/2003

* “Detailed Analysis of October 7, 2002 Speech by Bush on Iraq,” October 8, 2002:
www.accuracy.org/bush

* “White House Claims: A Pattern of Deceit,” March 18, 2003:
www.accuracy.org/press_releases/PR031803.htm

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Welfare Policy: Interviews Available

With welfare legislation for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families reauthorization making its way through the House and Senate, interviews with the following are available:

LIZ ACCLES
Accles is with the Welfare Made a Difference National Campaign, which is organizing with a host of other groups the “Shirts Off Our Backs Day” in Washington, D.C. — a series of events and actions on Monday, October 27. The group documents the stories of people who have received welfare and struggled out of poverty.
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HEATHER BOUSHEY
An economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Boushey coauthored the recent paper “Jobs Held by Former Welfare Recipients Hit Hard by Economic Downturn.” She said today: “The poor performance in the job market has made finding a job more difficult for virtually everyone, but particularly for poor and disadvantaged workers. The TANF reauthorization bills in the House and Senate increase the work requirement, but work is harder to come by.”
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GWENDOLYN MINK
Co-editor of the just-published book Welfare: A Documentary History of U.S. Policy and Politics, Mink is a member of The Women’s Committee of One Hundred — a group of feminist scholars and advocates who are “concerned about the connection between women’s poverty and our society’s failure to support caregiving work when it is performed by poor women for their own families.” She said today: “The TANF reauthorization bill reported out by the Senate Finance Committee will do great damage to poor families who need welfare. Inadequate child care funding is only the tip of the iceberg. Republican plans to tighten the regulation and restriction of TANF parents undermine the rights of poor mothers to care for their children and infringe their basic equality and liberty guarantees…. The Finance bill also wastes federal money on marriage and fatherhood promotion programs which infringe basic constitutional privacy guarantees, threaten mothers’ safety, and will push mothers into dependency relationships with men that they may not want. Moreover, marriage promotion deflects attention away from the real causes of poverty for mothers and children — women’s low wages, the lack of child care and the lack of economic recognition for the work of raising children.” Mink is also author of the books The Wages of Motherhood and Welfare’s End.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Bush’s Asia Trip: Interviews Available

MARGO OKAZAWA-REY
Director of the Women’s Leadership Institute and a visiting professor at Mills College in California, Okazawa-Rey has authored a number of papers about U.S. bases in East Asia. She said today: “Many activists in South Korea, the Philippines and Okinawa/Japan are opposing their governments that support U.S. policies, largely due to political and economic pressure from the U.S…. As Bush alludes to, the U.S. will ‘help’ the Philippines. In exchange for [President Gloria Macapagal] Arroyo’s support of the ‘war on terrorism,’ the Philippine government received over $4.6 billion of economic and military aid….”
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JOHN FEFFER
Author of the new book North Korea / South Korea: U.S. Policy at a Time of Crisis, Feffer said today: “Contrary to common perception, Bush has not really changed policy. The U.S. government continues to refuse to sign a bilateral security pact with North Korea…. North Korea has said that it is willing to negotiate away its nuclear program but is worried about U.S. plans to attack. Given the Bush administration’s targeting of North Korea in the Nuclear Posture Review, placement of North Korea in the ‘axis of evil,’ and threatening troop movements in the region, North Korea’s fears are not mere paranoia.”
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SEUNG HYE SUH
Suh is an organizer with the group Nodutdol for Korean Community Development and assistant professor at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif. She said today: “President Bush’s proposal for six-way talks on North Korea’s nuclear program is welcome as an alternative to war. But even that much simultaneous translation cannot drown out the facts. As Russia, China, North Korea, and even Jimmy Carter indicate, only the U.S. can resolve this crisis, because only the U.S. threatens a first-strike attack. North Korea has said it will drop its nuclear program, allowing international inspections, if the U.S. drops its threat to attack. So whether it’s a treaty, a pact, or assurances, two countries at the table or 20, the central question is: When will the U.S. commit to peace?”
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JEFFREY WINTERS
Author of Power in Motion: Capital Mobility and the Indonesian State, co-editor of Rethinking the World Bank and associate professor of political economy at Northwestern University, Winters said today: “Skipping Jakarta and instead spending only three hours in Bali reveals a deep U.S. nervousness about keeping Bush safe. As elsewhere, the U.S. embassy in Jakarta is now a fortress behind barriers, razor wire, and steel plates covering the windows. Bush is visiting the Hindu enclave of Bali even though Indonesia is the largest population of Muslims in the world. Although he will meet a hand-picked group of moderate Muslim intellectuals there, he should still be ready to get an earful about how people on the receiving end of U.S. foreign policy view the United States. Indonesians are skeptical of claims the U.S. is pro-democracy because they know the U.S. supported Indonesia’s dictator Suharto for over three decades and now is itching to re-establish close ties to Indonesia’s murderous and unreformed military…. The APEC summit is devoid of bold economic initiatives. The notable thing about the Asian economies is that the ones following the reckless liberalization policies pushed by the World Bank and IMF were the most vulnerable to the Asian financial crisis and the least likely to achieve rapid and sustained development.”

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