News Release Archive - 2005

· Responses to Pinter’s Nobel Speech · Murtha: Insurgents not Terrorists · Iraq Elections and Oil

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In his Nobel Prize lecture on Wednesday the playwright Harold Pinter stated: “The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading -­ as a last resort — all other justifications having failed to justify themselves — as liberation. … Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice.”
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RICHARD FALK
Falk is an emeritus professor of international law at Princeton University, currently visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of the book The Great Terror War. He said today: “The conclusions are fully consistent with those reached by the World Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul earlier this year, which held a serious inquiry into the legal status of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the tactics used during the ongoing occupation. It is legally persuasive to suggest that if there was effective criminal jurisdiction exercised globally by the International Criminal Court, Bush and Blair would be properly and persuasively indictable.”
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LARRY BEINHART
Beinhart, author of Wag the Dog, The Librarian and Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin, said today: “The silence. The silence has been the most remarkable thing about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. About the 100,000 dead civilians. About aggressive war being, what it was called in Nuremberg, the ‘supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.’

“I live in an arts colony, Woodstock, New York. We have a fun art show every year, called the 5×7 show, in which all the pieces are postcard size. It’s fun and charming. There were 152 entries this year. As I looked, what I became aware of was that not one of them was about war crimes or torture or, indeed, anything political at all. Not one.

“I realized that the silence is symptomatic of the Fine Arts. While the black arts, the advertising arts, the PR business, the government spin machine, all make full use of all the techniques that supposedly belong to the artists. They are not silent at all.

“So we must be grateful to Harold Pinter for using his moment to break the silence.”
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BEAU GROSSCUP
Grosscup is author of The Newest Explosions of Terrorism and the forthcoming Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment. He is professor of international relations at California State University in Chico. Grosscup said today: “In his press conference responding to President Bush’s speech on Iraq Wednesday, Rep. John Murtha correctly pointed out Bush’s constant use of the word terrorism (‘Every other word was “terrorism”‘) for political gain. To his credit, Murtha noted the difference between terrorist acts such as 9-11, Madrid and London and the home-grown Iraqi insurgency which has a small foreign terrorist component. “More importantly he admitted … the way the U.S. military fights: ‘They send in massive force. They use artillery, they use air and mortars. And they kill a lot of people…’ Whether intended or not, Murtha supported the position of many anti-war critics that in fighting its so-called ‘war on terror,’ the Bush administration is conducting a ‘war of terror,’ a policy that is morally, strategically and politically bankrupt and doomed to fail.”

IMAD KHADDURI
Khadduri edits the “Free Iraq” blog and is author of the book Iraq’s Nuclear Mirage: Memoirs and Delusions. He worked on the Iraq nuclear weapons program beginning in 1981 and left Iraq in the late 1990s. Khadduri said today: “Iyad Allawi has been talking about the heinous actions of the U.S. military; but he backed the assault on Fallujah and the attack on Sadr. It’s clearly an election ploy on his part and the Iraqis are too politically aware to fall for it. The fact that an opportunist like him is doing this is just one indicator about what Iraqis think of the U.S. occupation. “But now U.S. plans are focusing on the oil and getting a ‘sovereign’ Iraqi government to sign contracts right after the elections with terms very favorable to big U.S. oil companies. To achieve this goal, the Bush administration is happy to make common cause with thugs and zealots in order to prevent the establishment of a strong national government which could stand up on behalf of the Iraqis to the big oil companies.”
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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

· Sami Al-Arian Case · Wolfowitz’s Record and Plans

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JOHN SUGG
Sugg has covered the controversies around Sami Al-Arian, who was acquitted on terrorism charges Tuesday, for more than a decade. Sugg said today: “This case was entirely an attack on Constitutional rights, especially the First Amendment. The government of Israel wanted Al-Arian silenced, and our government obliged. Meanwhile, while the FBI and federal prosecutors were spending tens of millions of dollars and thousands of people-hours pursuing Al-Arian — a man who never was a threat in any way to America — the same federal agents failed to notice that also living in Florida was Mohammed Atta, busily plotting his attack on the World Trade Center. Had the government spent more time looking for real terrorists in Florida, 9/11 might not have happened.” Sugg is senior editor of the Weekly Planet/Creative Loafing group of newspapers. He began covering Al-Arian while he was an editor of the group’s Tampa paper.
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Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, spoke today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

WILLIAM D. HARTUNG
Wolfowitz said today that he had no responsibility for “intelligence failures” of the Bush administration regarding Iraqi WMDs. A senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, Hartung said today: “Even in his new position, Wolfowitz continues to evade responsibility for misusing intelligence to promote the war in Iraq. … It’s outrageous that someone like Paul Wolfowitz, with his tainted credibility and demonstrated lack of judgment, is now charged with running the World Bank. As an architect of the Iraq war … he was among the chorus of Bush administration policymakers who claimed that U.S. troops would be welcomed as liberators, not seen as an occupying force.”
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SAMEER DOSSANI
Wolfowitz claimed today that he is pursuing a policy of poverty alleviation in Africa and around the world. The director of the 50 Years Is Enough Network, which monitors the World Bank, Dossani said today: “While much has been made of small concessions by the U.S. and the EU, the IMF and the World Bank have been forcing unilateral trade liberalization on countries in the global South for more than 20 years. Such policies have resulted in increasing vulnerability of small farmers and local business, increasing trade deficits, and a decline in real wages and formal employment.”
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BRAD SIMPSON
Simpson is assistant professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a research assistant at the National Security Archive, which has released more than 1,000 formerly secret documents to help East Timor’s Truth Commission determine the role of the U.S. in supporting Indonesia’s invasion and occupation of East Timor. The Truth Commission used the documents to call for reparations from the United States and an international tribunal for Indonesian military officials involved in atrocities in the country.

Simpson said: “Today is the 30th anniversary of the U.S.-backed Indonesian invasion of East Timor. Wolfowitz has been a champion of closer ties with the Indonesian military; he was ambassador to Indonesia for a time. While the trial of Saddam Hussein goes on, no one in either the U.S. or Indonesia has been held accountable for the invasion of East Timor and the massacres that followed.”
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MALACHY KILBRIDE
Kilbride is with the D.C. Anti-War Network, a group that protested against Wolfowitz in front of the National Press Building; among their signs was: “Wolfowitz + World Bank = War + Poverty.”
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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

Detention and Torture: Analysis and Activism

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BRENDAN SMITH
JEREMY BRECHER
Smith and Brecher wrote the recent article “Ban Torture or Protect Torturers?” which includes an analysis of the McCain amendment on torture, noting that “McCain’s amendment is accompanied by one from Senator Lindsey Graham that bans the appeals that prisoners at Guantánamo have used to take their cases to civilian courts.” Smith and Brecher are authors of the new book In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond. They are available to scrutinize claims made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as she travels through Europe, and other administration officials.

Rice claimed Monday: “The United States does not transport, and has not transported, detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture.” The ACLU today filed suit on behalf of Khaled El-Masri and issued a statement alleging that “El-Masri, a 42-year-old German citizen and father of five young children, was forcibly abducted while on holiday in Macedonia. He was detained incommunicado, beaten, drugged, and transported to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan, where he was subjected to inhumane conditions and coercive interrogation.”
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SIMON HARAK
MIKE McGUIRE
Calling their action “Witness to Torture: A March to Visit the Prisoners in Guantánamo,” 25 U.S. activists are marching from Santiago de Cuba and are walking the 80 miles to the gates of the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay to arrive on December 10th, International Human Rights Day. They include War Resisters League activists and members of Catholic Worker communities throughout the U.S.

One of the marchers, Frida Berrigan, said today: “What the U.S. government is doing in our name and with our money is a crime against humanity; it makes us fundamentally less secure…”

A news conference about the action is being held in New York City on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. in St. Marks Church-on-the-Bowery. Harak is WRL’s anti-militarism coordinator, a Jesuit priest and author of the book Nonviolence for the Third Millennium. Harak and McGuire can comment on and provide information about the march and the news conference.
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SHAWKAT SAMHA
Mayor of Jayyous, a Palestinian town currently under Israeli occupation, Samha participated in a news conference calling for the release of the Christian Peacemaker Team members being held in Iraq. He said today: “Two of the CPT members, Tom Fox and Harmeet Sooden, have been active against the Israeli occupation in Jayyous. They should be freed, they should be treated kindly, no harm should befall them, they are helping the people in Iraq and Palestine.”

HUWAIDA ARRAF
Arraf is spokesperson for the International Solidarity Movement. She said today: “Over the last week, Palestinians from across the political spectrum have issued impassioned appeals [see ISM’s webpage] and demonstrated for the release of the four Christian Peacemaker Team volunteers who were taken hostage in Iraq, three of whom had previously served in Palestine with CPT and ISM. Tomorrow [Wednesday] two further demonstrations will take place.”
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MAHMOUD JABALLAH
MOHAMMAD MAHJOUB
HASSAN ALMREI
Jaballah, Mahjoub and Almrei have been detained without charge in Canada for over four years. They have issued a statement calling for the release of James Loney of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, who is being detained in Iraq; he has been active in petitioning the Canadian government in their case.
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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

9/11 Commission

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SIBEL EDMONDS
Edmonds is director of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, which has released a document titled “National Security Experts Censored by the 9/11 Commission.”

Edmonds worked as a language specialist for the FBI’s Washington Field Office. During her work there, she reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence. After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was fired in March 2002. Since that time, court proceedings on her issues have been blocked by the assertion of “State Secret Privilege” by Attorney General John Ashcroft; the Congress of the United States has been gagged and prevented from discussion of her case through retroactive re-classification by the Department of Justice.
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MELVIN A. GOODMAN
Now a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, Goodman was with the CIA for 41 years, serving as a senior analyst and a division chief. He is currently working on a book titled The Decline and Fall of the CIA.

Goodman said today: “The conventional wisdom that the 9/11 Commission did a successful job of exploring and explaining the intelligence community and that the Commission’s suggested reforms would lead to clear fixes for the broken community is wrong. Although the Commission had a straightforward vision — the creation of a powerful national intelligence director to enforce bureaucratic cooperation and to attract skilled personnel to the community — it had a limited understanding of the hows and whys of the community and placed too much faith in the organization of the community as opposed to the personnel.”

Goodman added: “The bureaucratic battle that led to the squelching of dissent within the administration exposed the problems within the intelligence community that have not been fixed by the 9/11 Commission or the Intelligence Reform Act of December 2004. These problems include the militarization of the intelligence community, which must be reversed; the absence of congressional oversight over a flawed intelligence product, which must be ended; and the seeming inability of the Central Intelligence Agency to tell truth to power.”
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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

Venezuelan Election

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EDGARDO LANDER
Lander is professor of social sciences at the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas.

LARRY BIRNS
Birns is director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs based in Washington. He said today: “Venezuela’s faltering middle-class opposition parties have announced that they would boycott the Dec. 4 legislative elections. Far from a principled and high-minded move, this tawdry tactic represents a cynical decision on the part of the opposition to spare itself the inconvenience of once again having to face the humiliating defeat that they surely would have experienced at the polls. … While trumpeting claims about Venezuela’s ebbing democracy, the opposition has proven itself to be far more guilty of eroding the country’s democratic structures than any grab for power by the chavistas. … Every election that has been held in Venezuela since Chavez came to power has been extensively monitored, and even the U.S. State Department has been forced to grudgingly validate the authenticity of past results, as their legitimacy was unimpeachable.”
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MARK WEISBROT
Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Weisbrot has written extensively on Venezuela, including its economic programs. His most recent piece, co-written with Birns, is an “Open Letter to the Journalists Covering the Venezuelan Elections.”
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GREGORY WILPERT
Wilpert is a freelance journalist and sociologist living in Caracas and is author of the soon to be released book, Changing Venezuela by Taking Power: The History and Policies of the Chavez Presidency.

Wilpert said today: “Once again, Venezuela’s opposition parties are undergoing a bizarre process of self-immolation….

“Presumably and hopefully, this will be the last and final time they engage in such a (self-)destructive course of action, thereby making room for a new opposition in Venezuela, one that takes responsibility for its actions and respects the democratic political process.

“Unfortunately, though, the opposition pullout is exactly what the Bush administration wants, so that it can claim that the Chavez government is less legitimate than it really is. However, this ignores that OAS and other observers are so far approving of the elections process.”
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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

World AIDS Day

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Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day.

DAVID HOLTGRAVE
ANGELA AIDALA
REGINA QUATTROCHI
NANCY BERNSTINE
Bernstine is the executive director of the National AIDS Housing Coalition. The NAHC has recently released a report titled “Housing is the Foundation of HIV Prevention and Treatment.” The report states that “homelessness or unstable housing is directly related to greater HIV risk among vulnerable persons” and that “17 to 60 percent of all persons living with HIV/AIDS report a lifetime experience of homelessness or housing instability, depending on the jurisdiction studied.” Bernstine said today: “These powerful findings provide the basis for a public health response to the housing needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS, and of persons whose homelessness places them at heightened risk of HIV infection.”

Other experts available to comment on the report include Holtgrave, the department head at Johns Hopkins University; Aidala, professor at Columbia University’s School of Public Health; and Quattrochi, CEO of Bailey House, New York’s oldest AIDS housing provider.
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BROOK BAKER
Baker is a professor at the Northeastern University School of Law and policy advisor to the Health Global Access Project. He said today: “Meeting the [target set by the World Health Organization to provide 3 million people living with HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries with antiretroviral treatment by the end of 2005] and aspiring for universal treatment in 2010 are severely compromised by U.S. efforts to enact ever higher intellectual property protections for the world’s richest pharmaceutical companies. Newer second-line AIDS medicines cost four to ten times as much as first-line therapies and more and more patients require newer treatments because of drug resistance. India has had its hands tied with a new Patent Act; Brazil has been pressured not to issue compulsory licenses; and the U.S. Trade Representative has won patent and data exclusivity concessions in Central America and the Middle East. On the international stage, the U.S. seeks additional concessions from Africa Group countries at the WTO and has just forced a transition agreement that undermines least developed countries’ rights to amend their existing patent legislation. Once again, the U.S. prioritizes profits over lives.”

ANN-LOUISE COLGAN
Colgan, director of policy analysis and communications at Africa Action, said today: “In Africa, where more than 25 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, access to antiretroviral treatment is a matter of life and death. But the prices charged by pharmaceutical companies, and the policies pursued by rich countries at their behest, continue to keep life-saving treatment out of reach for those most affected by HIV/AIDS. The latest UNAIDS report emphasizes that only one in ten Africans in need of antiretroviral treatment are now receiving it. Unless there is a change in the drug companies’ behavior, and in the policies of the U.S. and other countries that support their interests, the promise of universal access to HIV treatment by 2010 has little hope of being realized.”
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SAMEER DOSSANI
Dossani is the director of the 50 Years Is Enough Network. He said today: “The IMF and World Bank enforce limits on the amount of money governments can spend on health programs and HIV/AIDS. These ‘IMF budget ceilings’ are among the most horrendous forms of control over countries’ economies, especially in countries suffering from the AIDS pandemic.”
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DEBAYANI KAR
Kar is the communications and advocacy coordinator for the Jubilee USA Network. She said today: “Impoverished countries in Africa and Latin America are facing deadly delays in receiving desperately needed debt cancellation. On World AIDS Day, we are reminded of the urgency of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which will take the lives of more than 2 million people on the African continent this year. … Debt cancellation is part of the solution to HIV/AIDS in Africa and elsewhere.”
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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

Death Penalty

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On Tuesday, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner commuted the sentence of Robin Lovitt to life in prison; Warner stated that evidence had been destroyed in violation of state law. The state of North Carolina is currently scheduled to execute Kenneth Lee Boyd this Friday, which would make him the 1,000th person executed since the U.S. reinstated the death penalty. Stanley Tookie Williams, the founder of the Crips gang, is scheduled to be executed in California on Dec. 13; he has become an anti-gang activist and author.

BRYAN STEVENSON
Executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama, Stevenson said today: “What best defines capital punishment in America is error. Criminal justice in this country is shockingly tolerant of mistakes that reveal how our system treats you much better if you are rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent. As we experience the 1,000th execution, we should recognize that thousands more people have been sentenced to death in America during the same time period only to have their death sentences declared invalid because the condemned was innocent, wrongly convicted or illegally sentenced.

“The death penalty in this country is a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the privileged and abandon and devalue the poor. It’s the symbol elected officials hold up to strengthen their tough-on-crime reputations while distracting us from the causes of violent crime. It is also the symbol that most dramatically exposes how race, poverty and disability conspire to condemn many people accused in the criminal justice system.

“Presumptions of guilt nourished by fear, anger and indifference to fairness are what yields a death sentence in most cases. The tragic number of innocent people wrongly condemned, the scores of illegal convictions and sentences, the unequal treatment of the poor and racial minorities have made capital punishment a question that is not about whether some people deserve to die for the crimes they’ve committed. Rather, the death penalty in America is about whether local governments with flawed, inaccurate, biased and error-plagued systems of justice deserve to kill.”
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THOMAS RUFFIN
Former board member of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, Ruffin is a D.C.-based attorney. He said today: “The number of questions raised about the death penalty makes it untenable.”

RICHARD DIETER
Executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, Dieter said today: “The 1,000th execution is a significant event in the nation’s 30-year experiment with capital punishment, but it is not indicative of an expanding or strongly-endorsed use of capital punishment. To the contrary, there is a wealth of evidence that the country is pulling back from the death penalty. The national trend away from the death penalty is evidenced by a 50 percent decline in the annual number of death sentences since the late 1990s. In addition, executions are down by 40 percent since 1999, and the size of death row has also decreased every year since 2001. According to the latest Gallup Poll, 64 percent of Americans support the death penalty, a sharp decline from the 80 percent support registered in 1994.”
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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 Bush’s “National Strategy” on Iraq

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CLOVIS MAKSOUD
Maksoud is just back from Cairo, where he met with Iraqis participating in the recent Arab League meeting. He is former ambassador of the Arab League to the United Nations and is currently director of the Center for the Global South at American University. Maksoud said today: “President Bush is clearly trying to defuse the growing opposition to the war; among other things, he is not facing the fact that war made Iraq a breeding ground for terrorism….

“The Cairo meeting got the Arab League out of marginality. It injected itself into Iraq late, but better late than never. All the Iraqis there called for a timeline to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq; a clear distinction was made between legitimate resistance to occupation and illegitimate terrorism; agreement was achieved that the term Arab was identified with citizenship of an Arab state rather than membership to an ethnic or religious group.” Maksoud, who is co-author of the UN’s Arab Human Development Report, can also comment on the recent Egyptian election.

SAM HUSSEINI
Communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Husseini said: “Bush today once again used the rhetoric of ‘freedom’ to justify the continued occupation of Iraq. Four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams have been abducted in Iraq. That group helped show that the mark of the U.S. occupation is not freedom, but oppression; before the pictures from Abu Gharib were leaked, the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq was documenting — by actually listening to Iraqi survivors — the brutality in the prisons.”
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ALI ABUNIMAH
Abunimah is founder of ElectronicIntifada.net and ElectronicIraq.net. He said today: “Across the political spectrum in Palestine the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams is widely known and respected. Their members have stood in the way of the occupation and have risked their lives in the face of the Israeli military.”
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JOSEPH GERSON
Director of the American Friends Service Committee’s Peace and Economic Security Program, Gerson said today: “Lowering the number of U.S. troops in conjunction with a more violent air war and creation of an Iraqi client military, as some are suggesting, will likely increase the number of Iraqis killed. This would in effect be ‘changing the color of the corpses’ in order to make the continuing war more palatable to the U.S. public.” Gerson is author of the book With Hiroshima Eyes: Atomic War, Nuclear Extortion and Moral Imagination.
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JEREMY SCAHILL
The British government is currently threatening to prosecute media outlets that publish a memo which allegedly documents Bush suggesting to Tony Blair that Al Jazeera’s headquarters be bombed. In his recent piece “Beyond That Memo: Bush Wanted Al Jazeera Gone,” Scahill wrote: “At the time of Bush’s White House meeting with Blair, the Bush administration was in the throes of a very public, high-level temper tantrum directed against Al Jazeera. The Bush-Blair summit took place on April 16 [2004], at the peak of the first U.S. siege of Falluja, and Al Jazeera was there to witness the assault and the fierce resistance.” [Also see: “Don’t Bomb Us — A blog by Al Jazeera Staffers“] More Information
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WILLIAM D. HARTUNG
FRIDA BERRIGAN
Director of the Arms Trade Resource Center and a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, Hartung said: “Today’s speech by President Bush is woefully out of touch with the realities on the ground in Iraq. A prolonged U.S. presence will … serve as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda and related global terrorist networks. A majority of Iraqis want U.S. forces out within a year, and key political leaders from all Iraqi factions now favor a negotiated settlement to that nation’s internal conflict. If ‘victory’ is the goal, it should be based on respecting the wishes of the Iraqi people, not a plan made in Washington that is long on rhetoric…”

Senior research associate for the Arms Trade Resource Center, Berrigan said today: “At his Naval Academy speech this morning, President Bush announced the release of a 35-page National Strategy for Victory in Iraq that he claimed would give Americans ‘a clear understanding of this strategy.’ … The much-hyped strategy reads more like a pep talk than an actual strategy document — there are no benchmarks for success, no goals or objectives, no timetable for withdrawal and there is no definition of victory or success in Iraq, despite the title.”
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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

Global Warming Summit

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Reporting on the 10-day U.N. Climate Control Conference, which has begun in Montreal, the Associated Press noted that it is “considered the most important gathering on global warming since Kyoto, bringing together thousands of experts from 180 nations to brainstorm on ways to slow the alarming effects of greenhouses gases.”

KEVIN KNOBLOCH
President of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Knobloch is at the conference in Montreal. Young can arrange interviews with Knobloch and other members of the Union of Concerned Scientists at the conference.
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KERT DAVIES
Research director for Greenpeace USA, Davies is in Montreal. He is able to comment on various aspects of global warming and is also able to arrange interviews with environmental activists from around the world who are at the conference.
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DAPHNE WYSHAM
Also in Montreal, Wysham is director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network and a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. She is co-author of the report “Wrong Turn from Rio: The World Bank’s Road to Climate Catastrophe.”
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TED GLICK
Glick is with the group Climate Crisis. He said today: “We are demanding that the U.S. government join the world by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. … We will be acting in concert with hundreds of thousands of people in at least 28 countries around the world who are making Dec. 3 an International Day of Action to Stop Global Warming.”
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MICAH WALKER PARKIN
Micah Walker Parkin is with the Alliance for Affordable Energy, which is organizing events in New Orleans on Dec. 3. She said today: “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found that New Orleans is the city in North America most vulnerable to the effects of global warming, as we saw all too well a few months ago — we’re low-lying and very vulnerable to sea rises and hurricanes.”
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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

Hurricane Evacuees: No Home For the Holidays

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Last week, Katrina evacuees received notice that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will stop paying their hotel bills on Dec. 1. Currently, implementation plans are unclear.

SUSHMA SHETH
Sheth is communication director for the Miami Workers Center, which has been organizing relief efforts for families displaced by Hurricane Wilma. She said today: “Low-income residents face two disasters when hurricanes come: one natural and one economic. FEMA is putting families in double jeopardy by discontinuing housing assistance for hurricane victims. … The Gulf Coast’s and South Florida’s affordable housing stock was largely destroyed under the storm because the homes most vulnerable to storm damage, the older, more dilapidated homes, were often the most affordable. And now, these same regions are facing evictions and mass homelessness.”
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LATOSHA BROWN
Brown is a founding member of Save Our Selves, a coalition of more than 115 groups with ties to low- and moderate-income rural communities in the South. She said today: “Historically as well as during this latest crisis, we learned that we cannot count on FEMA, the Red Cross or other government agencies for equitable relief and recovery efforts truly aimed at creating lasting benefits for our communities — especially concerning housing. As survivors helping other survivors, we have learned time and time again that we have to save ourselves.”

XOCHITL BERVERA
Bervera is co-director of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children. She said today: “This holiday season, many families will be separated from their loved ones who remain locked behind bars in prisons and jails all over Louisiana despite the fact that they have served all their time. … Many of these prisoners were arrested the weekend before Katrina for offenses like public drunkenness, trespassing or disturbing the peace and have never been in front of a judge. None of these offenses carry a sentence of over two months — the length of time folks have now spent illegally behind bars.”
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BILL QUIGLEY
Quigley is a professor of law at Loyola University New Orleans, temporarily located at the University of Houston Law Center. He said today: “Over half of the east bank of the city of New Orleans still does not have electricity. Even more don’t have natural gas. There are still places that don’t have running water. … FEMA is not disclosing information about health hazards to neighborhoods in a public way. FEMA has not provided the equipment needed to go back into their neighborhoods. … And now survivors in hotels have to be out by Dec. 1. Survivors I’ve spoken with want to move on but there is not enough sanitary and safe affordable housing for them to find.”

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