News Release Archive - 2005

Bush in Latin America: A Hemisphere United?

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President Bush is attending the Summit of the Americas in Argentina. The following policy analysts are available for interviews.

ALAN CIBILS
Cibils is a research associate with Centro Interdisciplinario para el Estudio de Politicas Publicas in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He said today: “Here in Argentina, there is a pretty strong opposition to Bush’s policies, especially the war on Iraq and also the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement. … Due to a very heavy debt service schedule, Argentina needs to refinance its debt with the IMF. The president of Argentina is expected to seek Bush’s help in that regard — and according to media reports here, Bush will ask for support for the FTAA and more distant relations with Venezuela in return. According to opinion polls, a majority of the public [in Argentina] supports Hugo Chavez, especially over Bush, and they are also opposed to the FTAA.”
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MARK WEISBROT
An economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Weisbrot said today: “Latin America’s long-term economic failure is the major cause of the discontent at the Summit. The past 25 years have been the worst growth performance in modern Latin American history. For comparison: income per person grew by 82 percent from 1960-1980; from 1980-2000 it grew by only 9 percent, and for 2000-2005 it has only been 1 percent. It is nearly impossible to exaggerate the importance of an economic growth failure of this magnitude. This is the elephant sitting in the middle of the room at the Summit, and it is being ignored. … It is worth noting that the poverty we see today in Latin America is overwhelmingly a result of this growth failure…”
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NADIA MARTINEZ
Martinez is Latin America coordinator for the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies. She is in Argentina at the Summit.

STEVE COBBLE
Cobble is an associate fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies. He has traveled recently with Rev. Jesse Jackson to Venezuela and earlier to Brazil. He said today: “Bush promised when he was running to be a uniter, not a divider. Domestically, all he has done is divide us with wedge issues and appointments. But in Latin America, he has kept his promise. He has united the entire hemisphere against his policies and his presidency.”

LARRY BIRNS
MICHAEL LETTIERI
Birns is director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs based in Washington. Lettieri is a research associate with the organization. Birns said today: “The central preoccupation of the 2005 Summit will likely concern which vision for a sound and appropriate economic strategy has the widest currency in Latin America. When President Bush arrives in Mar del Plata he will find himself at odds with some of his counterparts who see the future differently. Washington has made no secret of its desire for free trade agreements with all of Latin America; however those assertions that free-trading policies have benefited the region are dubious at best, and in the run-up to the Summit, Argentina and Venezuela have been particularly vocal in disputing that claim.”
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LAURA CARLSEN
TOM BARRY
Carlsen is the director of the Americas Program of the Interhemispheric Resource Center based in Mexico City. Barry is Policy Director for the International Relations Center. Carlsen wrote the recent article “Free Trade Agreements: Lessons in Latin America.”
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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

· Fitzgerald · Alito

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BRENDAN SMITH
JEREMY BRECHER
Smith and Brecher co-wrote a recent oped in the Baltimore Sun, “Prosecutor Should Dig Deeper,” in which they commented: “As a prosecutor, Mr. Fitzgerald rightly brought charges where the law was clearest and the evidence most compelling. But the alleged crimes he is investigating are in essence the apparent cover-up operation for another possible set of crimes against national and international law. Why would I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby commit perjury and lie to FBI agents, as he is accused of doing?” Smith, a legal scholar, and Brecher, a historian, are editors of the new book In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond.
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ROBERT PARRY
Editor of ConsortiumNews.com, Parry has written the recent piece “Letting the White House Walk?” Parry broke much of the Iran-Contra scandal and wrote two books about it. He said today: “Contrary to what many are claiming now, Reagan did not come clean on Iran-Contra. Rather, people like Colin Powell were brought in who helped the White House retreat to a new line of defense in the cover-up. [Independent Counsel Lawrence] Walsh was forced to narrow his investigation. Then, his cases were undercut by conservative judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals. And, after Walsh finally broke through the cover-up in 1991-1992, President George H.W. Bush pardoned a half dozen Iran-Contra defendants, effectively ending the investigation. Some of the Iran-Contra veterans, such as Elliott Abrams, have since gotten key jobs in George W. Bush’s administration. (Abrams now is Deputy National Security Adviser for the Mideast.)”
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ELIZABETH DE LA VEGA
Elizabeth de la Vega wrote “The White House Criminal Conspiracy,” the cover story in the current issue of The Nation. She has recently retired after serving more than 20 years as a federal prosecutor in Minneapolis and San Jose.
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MARJORIE COHN
Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild. She has written a piece titled “Bush Taps ‘Scalia-lite’ to Replace O’Connor.” She said today: “Bush’s right-wing base is thrilled to have a nominee in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. Samuel Alito engages in ‘judicial restraint’ — the right-wing’s stated litmus test — only when the conservative ends justify the means. Alito showed little restraint when he voted to restrict Congressional authority to pass legislation to protect the rights of women, minorities, workers, and consumers.”
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FRANCIS BOYLE
Boyle is professor of law at the University of Illinois. The Washington Post noted today that “Alito has been a member of the Federalist Society.” Boyle commented: “The Federalist Society and its members such as Judge Alito stand for the general proposition that the United States Supreme Court should return to what they believe to be the ‘good old days’ of the Herbert Hoover administration and its Supreme Court.”
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Background: People for the American Way
“In one case that came before Alito, an African American had been convicted of felony murder and sentenced to death by an all-white jury from which black jurors had been impermissibly struck. Alito cast the deciding vote and wrote the majority opinion in a 2-1 ruling rejecting the defendant’s claims. The full Third Circuit reversed Alito’s ruling, and the majority specifically criticized him for having compared statistical evidence about the prosecution’s exclusion of blacks from juries in capital cases to an explanation of why a disproportionate number of recent U.S. presidents have been left-handed. According to the majority, ‘[t]o suggest any comparability to the striking of jurors based on their race is to minimize the history of discrimination against prospective black jurors and black defendants.'”

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

The Bird Flu Threat: Public Health Vs. Pharmaceutical Profits

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ROBERT WEISSMAN
Co-director of Essential Action, Weissman said today: “President Bush has belatedly announced a program to expand modestly the U.S. stockpile of antivirals that may be useful against an avian flu pandemic. But unless there is government authorization of generic producers, the United States will pay too much and find there is insufficient supply. Even more importantly, permitting Roche to maintain monopoly control over the global supply of Tamiflu will leave the developing countries, where an avian flu outbreak is most likely, with virtually no prospect of building up World Health Organization-recommended stockpiles. Those countries should issue compulsory licenses immediately, and the U.S. should give its blessing.”

Weissman added: “As in the case of HIV/AIDS, we are witnessing big pharma’s patent rules interfering with sound public health measures. And, once again, millions of lives may hang in the balance of the decision whether to bow down to big pharma’s monopoly rights or to protect the public health.”
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Dr. PAUL ZEITZ
Executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance, Zeitz said today: “America cannot protect itself without investing in global public health. … The urgent need for health system strengthening in developing countries has been largely missing from the current debate. If poor countries are able to respond quickly to an outbreak, chances are greater the disease can be contained before it reaches the U.S. … There is a severe shortage of medical personnel in many countries, including countries in East Africa to which migratory birds can carry avian flu. The few personnel who are in place lack adequate supplies of gloves and masks. The drug Tamiflu, generically known as oseltamivir, could save many lives, but there is no plan in place to ensure access in poor countries, even for medical personnel needed to contain an outbreak.”
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PETER STOETT
Peter Stoett is professor of international relations at the Department of Political Science at Concordia University. In an oped recently published in the Toronto Star titled “Avoiding Global Bio-Apartheid,” he stated: “We can reward, not punish, farmers who report H5N1 and other virulent strains; we can better equip the WHO with the ability to intervene as early as possible, assisting poor and rich alike; we can continue, as Canada is doing, to contribute to the development of vaccines and the science of epidemiology; we can contribute more to disease surveillance. … Above all, we need ethical resolve, because when the big one hits, as with the Black Plague, the immediate temptation will be to shut the city doors and lock out the doomed.”
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JAMES LOVE
Love is director of the Consumer Project on Technology and the author of a recent oped in the Financial Times titled “A Better Way of Stockpiling Emergency Medicines.” Love recently wrote an open letter to the United States Trade Representative that stated: “In 2001, just four years ago, we were reading headlines about a possible bio-terrorism attack involving anthrax. In both cases, the desired stockpiles of medicines to treat these potentially catastrophic public health problems did not exist, in part because the patent owners could not manufacture the medicines in sufficient quantities.

“In 2001, then Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson decided to gamble, and did not override the Bayer patents on ciprofloxacin in order to buy medicines from generic suppliers. As a consequence, the U.S. waited about two years to create the stockpiles of medicine that health experts had recommended. Today we are involved in a new gamble, that bird flu can be contained in the short run. Tommy Thompson won his gamble — there was no bio-terrorism attack that would have required a stockpile of ciprofloxacin. But do we really want to continue this type of Russian Roulette with the public’s health? … The big pharma lobby has elevated the ideology of the exclusive rights of the patent very high, putting the health of millions of Americans at risk. This is a mistake, and should be corrected.”
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BROOK BAKER
Baker is an expert on international patent law with Health GAP. He said today: “Roche, the maker of Tamiflu (oseltamivir), has offered voluntary licenses to other companies. … [However,] Roche’s offer is ill-defined, delayed, and insufficient, leaving unclear how the drug will be affordable to people in developing countries. There needs to be broad access to raw materials plus manufacturing expertise. In addition, the U.S. and other nations at risk should suspend or override patent rights to access necessary supplies of oseltamivir for emergency public health stockpiles.”

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

Analysis of the Indictment Story

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HOWARD ZINN
Zinn is author of the widely read A People’s History of the United States and can address the historical significance of today’s indictment events.
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DANIEL ELLSBERG
Ellsberg is author of the book Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. After Ellsberg revealed the Pentagon Papers (internal government documents which showed a pattern of governmental deceit about the Vietnam War), the Nixon White House attacked him. In time, the attacks, which included illegal activity, led to the conviction of several White House aides and were a crucial factor in Nixon’s impeachment proceedings.
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MIKE GRAVEL
Gravel, currently president of Direct Democracy, was a noted critic of the Vietnam War while in the Senate. He entered the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record. He said today: “The indictment of Libby says that this is a serious investigation; his continuing the investigation says that this is the tip of the iceberg. Fitzgerald needs more time to dig around, but he’s serious about putting people behind bars, so you could see people finally coming clean. Cheney has been the most aggressive leader in the administration and told the biggest lies about the war, and this puts it at his doorstep, so he could well go through a Spiro Agnew experience.” In 2002, Gravel stated that the administration was deceiving the nation into war with Iraq.
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KATHARINE GUN
Gun is available for a limited number of interviews. Shortly before the U.S./U.K. invasion of Iraq, in early 2003, Gun was a British government employee when she leaked a U.S. intelligence memo indicating that the U.S. had mounted a spying “surge” against U.N. delegations on the Security Council in an effort to win approval for an invasion of Iraq. It was during this period that President Bush was claiming (March 8,2003) that “We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq.” Gun faced two years imprisonment under the British Official Secrets Act, but charges were dropped.
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LARRY JOHNSON
Johnson worked as a CIA intelligence analyst and State Department counter-terrorism official. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He said: “It is slowly dawning on the American people that the Bush administration attack on Valerie and Joe Wilson was part of a broader conspiracy to hide the fact that our political leaders fabricated a case for war in Iraq. Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, and Karl Rove, among others, apparently preferred to destroy a valuable intelligence asset rather than expose the truth that the United States went to war in Iraq based on misinformation and deception. That is a crime deserving the most serious punishment.”
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NORMAN SOLOMON
Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He said today: “In this real-time Shakespearean drama, Rove and Libby are more than bit players — but they’re certainly not the lead characters. Serving the GOP’s top two elected officials, Rove and Libby are no rogue elephants. We should begin to explore this scandal with questions about George W. Bush and Dick Cheney that echo the Watergate era: What did they know and when did they know it? Was there a coordinated coverup — and, if so, how high did it go?

“The ‘outing’ of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent was an attempt to damage her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, after he challenged the validity of the administration’s pre-invasion claims about WMDs in Iraq. The smokescreen effort to hide the source of the leak occurred in the context of a series of deceptions related to the war.”
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DAVID SWANSON
Swanson is co-founder of the AfterDowningStreet.org coalition of veterans and peace groups. The group is urging the release of the papers of the White House Iraq Group. He said today: “Fifty percent of Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he lied about the war in Iraq, according to a recent poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org and conducted earlier this month by Ipsos Public Affairs, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company.”
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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

· Israeli-Palestinian Violence · Oil-for-Food Report

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Reuters reported Thursday: “Prime Minister Ariel Sharon vowed an open-ended offensive against Palestinian militants and Israeli aircraft struck the Gaza Strip on Thursday, a day after a suicide bomber killed five Israelis.”

STEVE NIVA
Professor of international and Middle East studies at the Evergreen State College, Niva said today: “The timing of the criminal suicide bombing by Islamic Jihad militants in Hadera, Israel, on Wednesday underscores the provocative nature of Israel’s resumption of targeting Palestinian militant leaders over the past month. Israeli security forces had been bracing for an attack since Islamic Jihad had vowed to avenge Israel’s assassination of Luay Sa’adi, its top military commander in the West Bank, on early Monday morning.

“In the past decade, Israeli assassinations of high-level Palestinian militant leaders have frequently been followed by suicide bombings, usually within a week or two of the attack. This deadly pattern first emerged following Israel’s assassination of the Islamic Jihad’s local leader Hani Abed in Gaza on November 2, 1994, and then of its founder Fathi Shikaki by Israeli operatives in Malta on October 28, 1995. Each was immediately followed by a wave of suicide bombings. … Since then, Hamas and Islamic Jihad appear to have adopted a largely consistent policy of responding to high-level assassinations with suicide bombings.

“While these groups are solely responsible for committing war crimes through these attacks, Israeli assassinations have provided them with a critical pretext to justify their actions and mobilize support for their movements. Israeli government efforts to blame Syria for the [Wednesday] bombing are a transparent attempt to deflect attention from Israel’s unwillingness to take meaningful steps towards a political settlement with Palestinians following its much publicized Gaza withdrawal.” Niva is author of the forthcoming book Deadly Provocations, Strategic Revenge: How Israeli Violence Triggers Palestinian Suicide Bombings.
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AP reported Thursday: “About 2,200 companies in the UN oil-for-food program, including corporations in the United States, France, Germany and Russia, paid a total of $1.8 billion in kickbacks and illicit surcharges to Saddam Hussein’s government, a UN-backed investigation said in a report released Thursday.” The investigation is headed by former Fed Chair Paul Volcker.

BERT SACKS
Active for years with the humanitarian group Voices in the Wilderness, Sacks was fined $10,000 by the U.S. government after going to Iraq to distribute medicine; Sacks has refused to pay any fines. He said today: “After we took humanitarian relief to Iraq, the U.S. government took action against us — whereas it said it wasn’t their business to take action against companies which actually put thousands of times more money into the coffers of the government of Iraq.”
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JOY GORDON
Gordon wrote a series of articles on the oil-for-food program and the efficacy of economic sanctions, including a piece in Harper’s magazine, “The UN is Us: Exposing Saddam Hussein’s Silent Partner.”

Available for a limited number of interviews, Gordon said today: “The Volcker process has been very distorted. It put enormous energy into things that had no consequences. They scrutinized Kojo Annan when the company with which he had been associated, Cotecna, had in fact submitted the lowest bid and without question performed the inspection contract it was given. They went to great lengths to track $1.8 billion which was allegedly misappropriated out of $65 billion, but that 3 percent is not much different than the error rate you’d find in any undertaking.

“The Volcker Commission, which claims to be a neutral inquiry into the oil-for-food program, describes in the briefest terms the success of the oil-for-food program. That program doubled nutrition for 22 million people, eliminated polio in Iraq and purified water. These are hardly trivial things; especially in contrast with the terrible deterioration of living conditions under the U.S. occupation and the interim Iraqi governments.” Gordon is author of the forthcoming book The Machinery of Annihilation: The U.S. and the Iraq Sanctions.
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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

Miers Withdrawal: Interviews Available

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JAMIN RASKIN
Raskin is a law professor at American University and author of the book Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court vs. the American People. He said today: “The Republicans are inviting us to believe that the choices are between cronyism and right-wing ideology. But there are other directions the president could move if he were so inclined.”
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MARJORIE COHN
Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and executive vice president of the National Lawyers Guild. She said today: “Although Miers said she was concerned about the impact of the request for privileged documents from the White House, this seems like more of a distraction from pending indictments in the Plamegate scandal. We can now expect Bush to nominate an extreme right-wing federal judge.”
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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

U.S. Dead and Iraqi Dead

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CINDY SHEEHAN
Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq, is currently in Washington, D.C., and will be participating in a vigil with other members of Gold Star Families for Peace in front of the White House this week. She said today: “Mahatma Gandhi stated: ‘Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the State becomes lawless and corrupt.’ Throughout this week we will be fasting for the length of the vigil in solidarity with the hardships that Americans and Iraqis are enduring on a daily basis. … Every day at 6 p.m. we will have a ‘die-in.’ We will ask everyone who is present at 6 p.m. to lie down and represent a dead soldier.”
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MELANIE HOUSE
MIMI EVANS
House, of Simi Valley, Calif., is a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. Her husband, Petty Officer 3rd Class John D. House, was killed in Iraq early this year. He never saw his baby son.

Evans, of West Barnstable, Mass., is a member of Military Families Speak Out. Her son is a U.S. Marine and was deployed to Iraq in August 2005. He is expecting his first child in April 2006. House and Evans are among the many military family members — some of whom have had their loved ones killed in Iraq, some awaiting their return — from around the country available for interviews.

[Hundreds of related events are happening around the country today; see American Friends Service Committee’s website for a complete list.] More Information
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SEAN O’NEILL
CAMILO MEJIA
O’Neill is a decorated Marine who was twice deployed to Iraq. A member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, he said today: “I hope that this milestone marks the point when the American people realize the U.S. military is not going to stop the violence in Iraq, and they instead start demanding a political solution to this problem.”

Mejia is an Iraq combat veteran who served a year in prison for refusing to return to the war in Iraq. He is also a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He said today: “The clock has stopped ticking for 2,000 Americans in Iraq, and once again there is a … reason for people to pay closer attention to the human cost of a lie, but for how long this time? Should we only count by each thousand? Perhaps it’s time for the American public to realize that each death counts, American, Iraqi, or otherwise. Perhaps it’s time for us to keep counting until the war stops. In all our idleness and complacency that’s the least we owe to the families of those fallen for this lie; God knows their suffering never ends.”
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KATHY KELLY
Co-founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Kelly said today: “From now until Oct. 28, in locations across the U.S. and the U.K., bells will toll in remembrance of the more than 100,000 Iraqis who have died as a consequence of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. In 100 locations listed at Iraq Mortality, participants in the ‘100,000 Rings’ campaign will ring a bell once a minute, for 1,000 minutes, to express grief and condolence for every life lost as a result of the U.S. bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq.” Kelly is author of the book Other Lands Have Dreams and the recent article “For Whom They Toll.”
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MILAN RAI
Rai is author of the book War Plan Iraq and the recent article “Iraq Mortality,” which examines the various major studies on the subject and concludes that “When we take account of the different categories being measured by the United Nations Development Program’s Iraqi Living Conditions Survey, the Lancet study, and the Iraq Body Count reported death toll, and the different time periods that they measure, the three estimates seem to be mutually reinforcing rather than mutually contradictory.”
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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

· Cheney · Syria

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Today the New York Times reports that according to lawyers involved in the Valerie Plame case, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis Libby first learned of Plame’s identity from Cheney; this would appear to contradict Libby’s prior testimony.

Also today, Detlev Mehlis — the prosecutor in charge of the UN investigation into the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister — presents his report formally to the Security Council.

The following analysts are available for interviews:

RAY McGOVERN
McGovern was a 27-year career analyst with the CIA and a member of the steering committee for Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He said today: “As long ago as July 14, 2003, we recommended to the president that he request Cheney’s resignation — and we didn’t know the half of it. Not only was Cheney a leading cheerleader for the war, but he may have had a hand in manufacturing as well as exaggerating the evidence needed to deceive Congress.”
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MELVIN GOODMAN
Goodman is a former CIA and State Department analyst. He is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and director of the Center’s National Security Project. He is the author of the book Bush League Diplomacy: How the Neoconservatives Are Putting the World at Risk. He said today: “It’s central to understand, this isn’t about leaks and sources. This is about how the administration deceived us into war.”
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ROBERT PARRY
Editor of ConsortiumNews.com and author of the book Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, Parry said today: “It never made much sense that Karl Rove was the center of the scandal because he would not ordinarily have known something like the identity of a CIA agent. One of the things we learned from Watergate is that it can be the higherups who are demanding all kinds of things get done and their subordinates may or may not follow up on them.” Parry recently wrote the article “The Dangerously Incomplete Hariri Report.” He states: “The investigation has many holes, including failure to follow up on a mysterious van connected to the Feb. 14 bombing.” In a piece today, “On Syria, the NYT Still Doesn’t Get It,” Parry writes: “The New York Times isn’t applying lessons learned from the bogus case for war with Iraq to the looming crisis with Syria. Rather than taking a skeptical look at allegations of Syrian complicity in the murder of Lebanon’s ex-prime minister, the newspaper’s editorial page is making assumptions about ‘meticulous’ facts that may not be supported by the evidence.”
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NASEER ARURI
Aruri is chancellor professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth; he wrote the article “Remapping the Middle East.” Aruri said today: “The report relies on numerous sources, many of whom have their own agendas. I don’t find anything in it that looks like a police investigation. Rather, it seems crafted to help the U.S. government, which was targeting Syria well before the Hariri assassination with the Syria Accountability Act and UN Security Council Resolution 1595. The larger goal is to reshape the strategic landscape; in the case of Syria, either through regime change or regime taming. Crippling Syria is particularly important since it is a remnant of Arab nationalism which the U.S. does not like to tolerate and which Israel does not like to deal with.”
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PATRICK SEALE
Available for a limited number of interviews, Seale is a British journalist now living in Paris; his books include Asad of Syria and The Struggle for Syria. Seale said today: “The report points to considerable evidence and implicates major members of the regime, although quite a lot hinges on statements by single witnesses who are not identified. … A separate issue from that of a Syrian role in the assassination of Hariri is the U.S. and Israeli pressure on Syria for their own geopolitical motives. It’s clear they want to break up the strategic partnership between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah -­ and Syria seems like the weakest link in that chain. … The Anglo-American aggression in Iraq dwarfs anything the Syrians may be guilty of in Lebanon.”

JAMES PAUL
Paul is the executive director of the Global Policy Forum, a think tank that monitors policymaking at the United Nations.
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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-Abbas Meeting Today

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SAMAR ASSAD
Assad is executive director of the Palestine Center in Washington. She said today: “Obviously, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wants to get permanent status talks going with Sharon and would like to see Bush get Sharon to negotiate. What’s crucial is that negotiations be about substantial issues: the seaport, the territorial link between Gaza and the West Bank, the settlements, as well as the other final status issues.” The Associated Press has reported that Bush stated today: “Israel should not undertake any activity that contravenes its Road Map obligations.” AP adds: “Without elaboration, the president said Israel would be ‘held to account’ for any actions that hamper peacemaking or burden the lives of Palestinians.” Commented Assad: “We have not to date seen Israel being held to account for their obligations under the ‘Road Map.'”
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STEPHEN ZUNES
Professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, Zunes said today: “Regarding virtually all the outstanding issues of the peace process — the extent of the Israeli withdrawal, the fate of the settlements, the status of Jerusalem, and security guarantees — the negotiating positions of President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are far more consistent with international law, the consensus of America’s democratic allies, and longstanding proposals of both Israeli and Palestinian moderates than is the negotiating position of Prime Minster Sharon and the Israeli government. Given this fact and the gross asymmetry in power between the Palestinians and their Israeli occupiers, the United States must be willing to back up its stated commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state with a willingness to pressure Israel to make the necessary compromises for peace and security for both peoples.” Zunes is Middle East editor for Foreign Policy In Focus and author of the book Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism.
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RANDA SINIORA
General director of the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq, Siniora said today: “Since 1967, Israeli authorities have utilized numerous types of collective punishment and measures of intimidation such as house demolitions, mass arrests, restrictions on freedom of movement, property destruction, and, more recently, the construction of the annexation Wall, throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. If Israel were really interested in security, it could build the Wall along the border of Israel and the West Bank. Instead, Israel is building it throughout the West Bank, cutting off Palestinians from their land and from each other.” Siniora is in the U.S. until the end of the month.
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SHERENE ABDULHADI
RONI HAMMERMAN
AMIRA HILLAL
Abdulhadi, Hammerman and Hillal are currently on a speaking tour of the U.S., “Jerusalem Women Speak: Three Women, Three Faiths, One Shared Vision,” organized by the group Partners for Peace. A Muslim Palestinian, Ms. Abdulhadi was born and raised in occupied Jerusalem. She has devoted her career to Palestinian economic development and the sustenance of the Palestinian private sector. A Jewish Israeli, Ms. Hammerman lives in Jerusalem, where she heads the Department of Humanities at the Bloomfield Library for Humanities and Social Sciences of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A Christian Palestinian, Ms. Hillal lives in Beit Sahour near Bethlehem, where she is the Women’s Project Coordinator and administrative assistant for the Alternative Information Center. The AIC is a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization with offices in Jerusalem and Beit Sahour. The three women said: “We want the U.S. public to know that this is an asymmetrical conflict and one side is dictating the terms and in doing so is refusing to negotiate over the important issues and the issues that will lead to peace.”
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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

The Trial of Saddam: Victor’s 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: “Saddam Hussein is certainly an appropriate target of a war crimes trial. But it’s obscure exactly what is being undertaken in this trial. There is every reason to be suspicious about it because of the way it is being arranged, with a great deal of U.S. influence behind the scenes and a narrow scope. What unfolds is not likely to give the impression of a fair trial.

“Particularly problematic is that it is taking place at a time of ongoing U.S. crimes in Iraq, and therefore highlights the U.S. hypocrisy. There is also the gap created by the U.S. blocking of the International Criminal Court and at the same time sponsoring the trial of Saddam; this contradiction makes it seem that this is simply a means of going after our political enemies; in effect, victor’s ‘justice.’ The narrow scope of the charges seems designed to ensure that U.S. complicity with Hussein’s crimes will be excluded from real scrutiny.”

Falk was involved with the World Tribunal on Iraq, which held its culminating session in Istanbul in June. Said Falk: “Ironically, that tribunal, organized by civil society, seems more objective in its approach than this governmental extravaganza.”
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JOE STORK
Stork is deputy director for the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch, which recently released a briefing paper, “The Former Iraqi Government on Trial.” Stork said today: “Problems with the tribunal and its statute include:
· “No requirement to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
· “Inadequate protections for the accused to mount a defense on conditions equal to those enjoyed by the prosecution.
· “Disputes among Iraqi political factions over control of the court, jeopardizing its appearance of impartiality.
· “A draconian requirement that prohibits commutation of death sentences by any Iraqi official, including the president, and compels execution of the defendant within 30 days of a final judgment.”
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KANI XULAM
Director of the American Kurdish Information Network, Xulam said today: “On the one hand, I very much look forward to Saddam Hussein being in court and paying for his crimes. But I am also troubled by the format. Although the intervention in Iraq was a one-sided U.S. thing, justice for the crimes of Mr. Hussein could have been a U.N. undertaking.”
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NICOLE CHOUEIRY
Choueiry is a press officer for Amnesty International, which has a three-person delegation in Baghdad to observe the opening session of the trial of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167