News Release Archive - 2009

Black Unemployment

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KEVIN GRAY
Gray wrote “The Novocaine Effect: Obama and Black America” in the recent print edition of CounterPunch. He said today: “Obama said that there’s limited funds at the ‘Jobs Summit’ yesterday, but that doesn’t seem to apply to billions for war. …

“By any economic measure the black community is in a severe depression. Unemployment among blacks was high before Obama took office. For blacks in the 16-24 age group it’s been double-digit unemployment for decades. Nevertheless, in the time between Obama’s inauguration and the present, the unemployment rates for the parents of many of those unemployed youth nearly doubled. As of September, the ‘official’ Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the overall black unemployment rate at 15.4 per cent: 16.5 percent for adult men, 12.5 for adult women and 40.8 per cent for teenagers. Some economists estimate that the actual overall rate is in the 30 to 35 percent range, with the ‘unofficial’ teenage rate far surpassing the 50 per cent mark. These rates remain unchanged even as the overall rate, as of the end of November, has dropped from 10.1 to 10 percent.

“The $787 billion stimulus plan didn’t do much for the unemployed. No targeted youth or adult jobs program was part of the package. The most that the jobless got out of the stimulus deal was extension of unemployment benefits, if they hadn’t already dropped off the rolls. At best, stimulus dollars forestalled some teachers being laid off and kept road crews working. If hiring more cops is a good thing, ostensibly to ramp up their drug war and gang suppression activities, the bill did that as well. It must be noted that the share of public funds to the police-penal state has nearly doubled as a percentage of civilian government spending over the past 50 years and now stands at 15 percent.”

Gray is author of the forthcoming book The Decline of Black Politics: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama and is a weekly guest on “Live from the Land of Hopes and Dreams” on Sirius Radio.

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

Scrutinizing U.S. Goals in Afghanistan

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GARETH PORTER
Porter recently wrote the piece “Obama Had Rejected His Own Speech’s Surge Rationale,” which states that Obama in his West Point speech “said the escalation was for a ‘vital national interest’ and invoked the threat of attacks from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, asserting that such attacks ‘are now being planned as I speak.’

“Despite Obama’s embrace of these new national security arguments, however, he has rejected within the past few weeks the critical link in the national security argument for deploying tens of thousands of additional troops — the allegedly indissoluble link between the Taliban insurgency and al Qaeda.”

ZOLTAN GROSSMAN
Grossman, a geographer and faculty member at The Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA), just wrote the article “Afghanistan: The Roach Motel of Empires,” which states: “In just a few months, Afghanistan will surpass Vietnam as the longest single war fought by the United States in its history. In his West Point speech, President Obama denied that ‘“Afghanistan is another Vietnam’ — and in some senses he is correct. Vietnam in 1975 was a far more unified state — ethnically and politically — than Afghanistan ever has been. Afghanistan is far more mountainous and difficult to occupy. …

“Like the Soviets, the Americans are perfectly capable of denouncing human rights violations by their Islamist enemies, but completely ignoring abuses by the violent warlords they are supporting. … The Islamization of Afghanistan did not begin when the Taliban took power in 1996, but when the U.S.-backed mujahedin ousted the pro-Soviet government four years earlier. …

“Instead of unifying the different ethnic regions of Afghanistan, the NATO occupation seems headed more toward a de facto partition of these regions. The foreign policy team that President Obama has assembled includes some of the same figures who advocated the ethnic-sectarian partition of Yugoslavia and Iraq. … Some trends in Afghanistan show traces of a similar partition strategy. …

“In both former Yugoslavia and Iraq, the U.S. interventions have left behind large permanent military bases, just as they have in Afghanistan. … Many of the largest air bases, at Kabul, Bagram, Kandahar, Shinand and Jalalabad, were the same bases from which the Soviets launched air attacks on the mujahedin in the 1980s. These military bases are the epitome of the ‘roach motel’ — they become a self-fulfilling argument for continuing an occupation: to defend the bases.”

Grossman also wrote the piece “New U.S. Military Bases: Side Effects or Causes of War?

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

Are Obama and Clinton Being Honest About How Afghan War Began?

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“Only after the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden [did we send] our troops into Afghanistan.”
Barack Obama at West Point, Dec. 1

“[The Taliban] were given a chance to turn over al Qaeda and bin Laden before we attacked them and they refused.”
Hillary Clinton in response to questioning by Rep. Ron Paul, Dec. 2

Sept. 22, 2001: Washington Post reports: “The Taliban’s ambassador to Pakistan said his government wants proof that bin Laden was involved in last week’s attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon before considering whether to extradite him. ‘We are not ready to hand over Osama bin Laden without evidence,’ said the envoy, Abdul Salam Zaeef [who would later be imprisoned and then released from Guantanamo]. In Washington, U.S. officials said they would not provide evidence to the Taliban about bin Laden’s involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said there would be ‘no discussions and no negotiations’ with the Taliban. Releasing evidence about the attacks, Fleischer said, could provide ‘meaningful assistance’ to suspects still being sought by law enforcement authorities.”

Oct. 3, 2001: Washington Post writes: “In Afghanistan, leaders of the ruling Taliban militia, which has been harboring bin Laden, urged the United States to share its evidence with them, saying they hoped for a negotiated settlement instead of a military conflict. The Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, said his government would be willing to talk to the United States about bin Laden, but ‘we don’t want to surrender without any proof, any evidence.’ … But President Bush ruled out any discussions with the Taliban and reiterated his demand that bin Laden and members of al Qaeda be surrendered unconditionally. ‘I have said that the Taliban must turn over the al Qaeda organization living in Afghanistan and must destroy the terrorist camps,’ Bush said in Washington. ‘They must do so, otherwise there will be a consequence. There are no negotiations. There is no calendar.'”

Oct. 4, 2001: Reuters runs the headline: “Taliban won’t give up bin Laden even if proof — paper” based on an interview with an Arabic newspaper: “Taliban’s ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, told the United Arab Emirates’ Al-Khaleej newspaper the movement would ‘thoroughly check’ U.S. documents linking bin Laden to the devastating attacks on New York and Washington before putting him on trial in an Islamic sharia court.”

Oct. 5, 2001: Guardian (UK) reports: “Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeff, the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, said: ‘We are prepared to try him, if America provides solid evidence of Osama bin Laden’s involvement in attacks in New York and Washington.’ Asked whether the Taliban would allow a trial of Bin Laden in another country, he said: ‘We are willing to talk about that, but the first is that we must be given the evidence.’ The Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) quoted Mullah Zaeff as saying: ‘If America is not satisfied with our trial of Osama, we are also ready to find another Islamic way of trying him.’ But asked whether the Taliban were ready to hand over Bin Laden, he said: ‘This is a later thing, we cannot take any step that hurts our Islamic or Afghan dignity.'”

Oct. 6, 2001: AP reports: “‘Tony Blair has come to encourage war,’ Ambassador Abdul Salam Zaeef said. ‘We have no message for him. Had he come for negotiations and talks, then we would have liked to have said something.’ … Bin Laden is the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington. ‘The issue is not Osama,’ Zaeef said. ‘The issue is Islam. Osama is a Muslim; he is a citizen of a Muslim country. We cannot hand him over to the United States. We are ready to try him before an Islamic court or under Islamic law. If we send him to the United States, there will be no justice.'”

Oct. 7, 2001: Bombing of Afghanistan begins. Bin Laden tape released in which he lauds the attacks but does not actually claim responsibility (something he would not do until just before the 2004 U.S. election): “neither America nor the people who live in it will dream of security before we live it” and “its greatest buildings were destroyed, thank God for that.”

Oct. 12, 2001: Slate publishes a legal analysis “Taliban vs. Osama Bin Laden: Would an Islamic court convict or acquit Bin Laden of murder?” by Dahlia Lithwick

Oct. 14, 2001: Guardian (UK) reports: “Bush rejects Taliban offer to hand Bin Laden over,” which states: “President George Bush rejected as ‘non-negotiable’ an offer by the Taliban to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden if the United States ended the bombing in Afghanistan.”

Oct. 15, 2001: Washington Post reports: “President Bush rejected an offer from Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban to turn over suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden to a neutral third country yesterday as an eighth day of bombing made clear that military coercion, not diplomacy, remains the crux of U.S. policy toward the regime. ‘They must have not heard: There’s no negotiations,’ Bush told reporters on the White House South Lawn after returning from Camp David. That brusque dismissal came on a day when Attorney General John D. Ashcroft warned in television appearances that nearly 200 people with potential links to the Sept. 11 attacks — some of whom he believes are probably terrorists themselves — remain at large in the United States.”

Oct. 17, 2001: The Guardian (UK) publishes “New offer on Bin Laden: Minister makes secret trip to offer trial in third country,” which states: “A senior Taliban minister has offered a last-minute deal to hand over Osama bin Laden during a secret visit to Islamabad, senior sources in Pakistan told the Guardian last night… For the first time, the Taliban offered to hand over Bin Laden for trial in a country other than the U.S. without asking to see evidence first in return for a halt to the bombing, a source close to Pakistan’s military leadership said.”

Oct. 29, 2001: Washington Post publishes “Diplomats Met With Taliban on Bin Laden: Some Contend U.S. Missed Its Chance,” which states: “Over three years and on as many continents, U.S. officials met in public and secret at least 20 times with Taliban representatives to discuss ways the regime could bring suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden to justice. Talks continued until just days before the Sept. 11 attacks, and Taliban representatives repeatedly suggested they would hand over bin Laden if their conditions were met, sources close to the discussions said.”

Nov. 1, 2001: AP reports: “‘We do not want to fight,’ Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban’s chief spokesman, said in an interview. ‘We will negotiate. But talk to us like a sovereign country. We are not a province of the United States, to be issued orders to. We have asked for proof of Osama’s involvement, but they have refused. Why?'”

SAM HUSSEINI
Communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Husseini said today: “It’s quite deceptive of Obama and Clinton to claim simply that the Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden. The reality is that the Bush administration refused to discuss how that might be done. The Taliban continually asked for evidence that bin Laden was responsible. We don’t know whether the Taliban would have responded to such evidence, but it should have been made public in any case. Now, if Obama and Clinton want an exit strategy, they should be forthright about such issues.” Husseini wrote the article “The Exit Strategy.”

RAHUL MAHAJAN
Mahajan is author of Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond, and publisher of Empire Notes.

He said today: “President Obama’s statement during his speech at West Point that the United States went to war ‘only after the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden’ is a half-truth, as is his implication that the UN Security Council authorized the war on Afghanistan. The truth is that CIA and Special Forces were operating in Afghanistan almost immediately after 9/11. And well before the advent of aerial bombing on Oct. 7, the Taliban made numerous statements indicating willingness to negotiate. They wanted the United States to provide evidence regarding bin Laden’s involvement before considering extradition — a normal demand in any criminal case — and Colin Powell said that evidence would be provided to the world, but the Bush administration almost immediately reneged on that commitment. They also wanted bin Laden tried in an Islamic court in a Muslim country. Their offered negotiating positions softened as the bombing continued. Whether negotiations would have led anywhere or not, the Bush administration resolutely refused to accept any possibility of avoiding war.

“It’s not clear how well President Obama and his advisers know this history, although it was all documented in Western newspapers at the time; what is clear is that his suggestion that the Taliban refused to negotiate is not primarily about justifying the war post-9/11 — that still remains unquestioned in mainstream U.S. politics — but rather about justifying his current position that strenuous anti-Taliban efforts in Afghanistan, including the recently announced surge, are a necessary part of ensuring U.S. national security.”

Mahajan noted the Taliban’s position in an IPA news release on Oct. 7, 2001.

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

Afghanistan War a “Folly”

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THOMAS E. MAHANY
Mahany, a Vietnam War veteran (101st Airborne Division), now a stonemason and artist from Michigan, has been on a water-only fast in front of the White House since Veterans Day. He sent Obama a second letter yesterday, stating: “The policy of procuring soldiers through the Presidential Authority of Stop-Loss, USC 12305, Title 10, has wrought unbearable hardship to a limited sector of our communities. It is unjust and undemocratic and must be stopped.”

TALAT HAMDANI
Hamdani is a member of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. She is a Pakistani-American living in Queens, New York. Her son, Salman, was a New York City police cadet who disappeared on 9/11 and was wrongfully accused of participating in the attacks. When his body was identified at the World Trade Center months later, it was believed that he had gone to the scene to provide help. She said today: “Escalation is exactly the wrong course. We should be helping to rebuild Afghanistan, not escalating war.”

CHRIS WELLS
TOMAS HIRSCH, via Nicole Myers
Wells is North America spokesperson for the World March. Hirsch is Latin America spokesperson for the March. The group is having events in D.C. today. Ed Asner and Martin Sheen are participating in an event in Los Angeles today as well.

Wells said today: “We keep going down the same road. It’s important to denounce war, but we must build peace — we must change our entire mindset. During the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King Jr. said that the U.S. was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world and that if we didn’t end that military mindset we’d be protesting war in country after country. We’ll be participating in a tribute to King at the Lincoln memorial this afternoon.”

The March has been endorsed by the presidents of eleven countries; Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, Dennis Kucinich, Daniel Ellsberg, Cate Blanchett, Yoko Ono, Art Garfunkel, Philip Glass and hundreds more.

For more information, including a complete list of events, visit worldmarchusa.net (national) and theworldmarch.org (global).

MICHAEL McPHEARSON
McPhearson is national executive director of Veterans For Peace, one of several groups that recently sent a letter to Obama: “With millions of U.S. people feeling the fear and desperation of no longer having a home; with millions feeling the terror and loss of dignity that comes with unemployment; with millions of our children slipping further into poverty and hunger, your decision to deploy thousands more troops and throw hundreds of billions more dollars into prolonging the profoundly tragic war in Afghanistan strikes us as utter folly. We believe this decision represents a war against ordinary people, both here in the United States and in Afghanistan. The war in Afghanistan, if continued, will result in the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of U.S. troops, and untold thousands of Afghans.”

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

Afghanistan Escalation

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PRATAP CHATTERJEE
Chatterjee just wrote the piece “Paying Off the Warlords, Anatomy of an Afghan Culture of Corruption.”

He is an investigative journalist, senior editor at CorpWatch and author of Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War and “Iraq, Inc.

REESE ERLICH
Freelance foreign correspondent Erlich has covered the Middle East for 23 years and is the author of three books. His fourth, “Conversations with Terrorists,” will be published in September 2010. He was in Afghanistan in late summer. Erlich’s recent articles on Afghanistan include “U.S. Aid Often Misses Targets in Afghanistan.”

He also wrote “On the Poppy Trail.”

NORMAN SOLOMON
Solomon, who was in Afghanistan recently, just wrote the piece “The Hollow Politics of Escalation,” which states: “An underlying conceit of the new spin about benchmarks and timetables for Afghanistan is the notion that pivotal events there can be choreographed from Washington. So, a day ahead of the president’s Tuesday night speech, the New York Times quoted an unnamed top administration official saying: ‘He wants to give a clear sense of both the time frame for action and how the war will eventually wind down.’ But ‘eventually’ is a long way off. In the meantime, the result of Washington’s hollow politics is more carnage. …

“It’s one thing to voice opposition to sending more troops into Afghanistan — it’s another to really try to prevent the escalation. Few in Congress have gotten serious enough about halting the war’s deadly spiral to sign onto Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s bill H.R. 3699, which would prohibit any increase in funding for additional troop deployment to Afghanistan. Among Democrats in powerful positions, some misgivings about the war are evident — but willingness to withhold spending for the war is not.”

Solomon is the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

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

Repression in Honduras

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SERGIO MONCADA
A co-founder of Hondurans for Democracy, Moncada is a D.C.-based environmental policy analyst. He said today: “We’re gravely disappointed that the State Department has said it will recognize the results of Sunday’s fraudulent election. We’re getting reports of widespread fear and intimidation by the military, especially in rural areas. The U.S. has taken the lead in legitimizing the coup government while practically all other countries in the hemisphere, as well as the UN and OAS, have said that they will not recognize the results.”

TOM LOUDON
Loudon is co-director of the Maryland-based Quixote Center, which organized a delegation of 19 people from the U.S. and Canada now in various cities in Honduras. Loudon said today: “We’re seeing brutal police and military repression … [and] a dismal turnout.” The group’s website offers reports, photos and videos from various parts of Honduras.

JESSE FREESTON
A reporter for The Real News, Freeston said today: “I was in San Pedro Sula on Sunday. It’s the commercial capital and it’s a bellwether. There was a march of about 500 people and the Cobras — militarized police squads — attacked it. Peaceful protesters who were sitting and singing the national anthem were attacked with tear gas and beaten.

“The pro-coup media is reporting that the turnout is 60 percent. I interviewed several poll workers and I’d estimate that turnout was actually about 30 percent of registered voters — that doesn’t take into account that a lot of poor people are not registered.”

See Freeston’s reports from Honduras here.

ADRIENNE PINE
Author of the book Working Hard, Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras, Pine is assistant professor of anthropology at American University, has done extensive research on Honduras and has been blogging about recent events at quotha.net.

Pine said today: “The U.S. State Department has refused to acknowledge the human rights abuses by the coup government even though human rights groups are reporting thousands of arbitrary detentions, hundreds of people tortured and dozens assassinations since the June 28 coup.”

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

Economists Opposing Fed Audit “on Payroll”

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The Los Angeles Times reports: “Ron Paul wins a key battle in war to open Fed’s books.”

Huffington Post senior congressional correspondent Ryan Grim writes: “As the debate over an audit of the Federal Reserve intensifies in the House, one camp is trotting out eight academics that it calls a ‘political cross section of prominent economists.’ … But far from a broad cross-section, the ‘prominent economists’ … are in fact deeply involved with the Federal Reserve. Seven of the eight are either currently on the Fed’s payroll or have been in the past.”

ROBERT AUERBACH
Author of the new book Deception and Abuse at the Fed, Auerbach said today: “The Federal Reserve sends money to academia and creates a terrible conflict of interest. If you talk about the Federal Reserve, you should not be on its payroll.”

An excerpt of Auerbach’s book is available online.

Auerbach is a professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He was an economist with the House Committee on Financial Services.

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

Veteran Fasting Outside White House

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THOMAS E. MAHANY
Mahany, a Vietnam War veteran (101st Airborne Division), now a stonemason and artist from Michigan, has been fasting in front of the White House since Veterans Day. He sent Obama the following letter the day after Veterans Day:

Dear Mr. President,

In May of 1970 I spent 29 days in Lafayette Square fasting for Peace in Viet Nam. I now feel that [it] is time to act once again. Accordingly, as of 0600 Hours, Nov 11, Veterans Day 2009, I have taken my last material sustenance other than water until specific action is taken by your Administration and our Military to stem the tragic and ever-increasing rise in the incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which is rapidly approaching epidemic proportions among our Fighting Men and Women.

I served in Viet Nam and I also lost a brother-in law to suicide caused by PTSD. He had two young sons. I have seen firsthand what this can do to a family.

In taking my action, I hope to elicit for you, from the peace loving people of this nation, moral support sufficient to spiritually bolster you as you make your decision concerning our military presence in Afghanistan.

Mr. President, please end this needless, incessant war making. We have long ago surpassed humanely reasonable demand exacted upon the fruit of our middle class as well as wrought excessive death and destruction on unwitting civilians in foreign lands. Let us now tone down the hatred and stop the violence that has engulfed our society.

I beg you in the words of Abraham Lincoln; please do not yield to the “peculiar and powerful interests…. With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right,…let us strive on to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle … to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations…. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart … will yet swell the chorus … when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Sir, I pray you find the strength to make the honorable choice and the courage to implement it.

Withdraw our military men and women from the Middle East now. Take them away from the ordeal of continually dealing with the relentless and senseless mortality which surrounds them. Deal with the cause, not just the effect.

Again, I am resolved to partake of no food until some concrete positive action on your part has come to pass. During this time I shall, if allowed, keep myself available to the public in Lafayette Square across from the White House.

Respectfully,

Thomas E. Mahany

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

China, U.S. and Global Warming

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SIMONE LOVERA
Based in Paraguay, Lovera is co-founder of the Global Forest Coalition. She said today: “The U.S. per capita carbon dioxide emissions are so much higher than China’s emissions. In 2005, the U.S. was nearly 23.5 while China is 5.5 [tons of CO2 per person per year]. It’s inappropriate for the U.S. to be demanding that China reduce emissions unless you somehow argue that the U.S. has a right to pollute the rest of the planet and China doesn’t. China actually showed real leadership in the voluntary commitments it made at the UN General Assembly meeting in September. I understand Obama has to deal with the U.S. Senate, but U.S. officials are actually obstructing progress at the international climate negotiations. The Europeans have agreed to a 20 percent reduction — the Scottish [government] agreed to 40 percent. The U.S. government is stopping these from being binding commitments. Meanwhile, studies are finding that 300,000 people are dying because of climate disruption; countries in the Pacific are on course to be under water.”

Lovera will be at the Copenhagen summit on climate change from December 5 to 19.

See: “Global Warming Causes 300,000 Deaths a Year, Says Kofi Annan think tank: Climate change is greatest humanitarian challenge facing the world as heatwaves, floods and forest fires become more severe

Lovera is also reachable via Hallie Boas.

Boas is coordinator of New Voices on Climate Change for the Global Justice Ecology Project and can connect media to individuals and groups working on global warming around the world.

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

Hunger: * Record in U.S. * Global Meeting

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The Washington Post reports today: “The nation’s economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track, according to a new federal report, which shows that nearly 50 million people — including almost one child in four — struggled last year to get enough to eat.”

Voice of America is reporting: “Representatives of many humanitarian organizations are attending the Rome Food Security Summit, looking for concrete action plans to deal with hunger.”

SETH WESSLER
Author of the study “Race and Recession: How Inequity Rigged the Economy and How to Change the Rules,” Wessler is researcher at the Applied Research Center in New York City. He said today: “Record levels of hunger are striking women-led families and families of color the hardest. The compounding effects of racially disparate unemployment, a job market that pushes women and people of color into low-wage work, and a degraded system of social support, have left millions unable to feed their families. The federal government should increase food assistance to ensure states can handle the extent of need. All eligibility restrictions for food assistance and time limits and work requirements for Temporary Aid to Needy Families should be suspended. Meanwhile, jobs creation programs should focus on the most vulnerable.”

ERIC HOLT-GIMENEZ
Eric Holt-Gimenez, executive director of Food First/The Institute for Food and Development Policy, is co-author of the new book Food Rebellions: Crisis and the Hunger for Justice. He said today: “People in the U.S. are now suffering from hunger almost as much as people in much of the rest of the world. The USDA report refers to ‘food shortages,’ but that doesn’t mean an actual shortage of food, it means that poor households come up short in accessing the abundant food available. The problem is not a lack of food — it is the food system, dominated by Monsanto, Walmart and Cargill, which are posting record profits.

“We’ve had three summits since the latest food crisis broke and none of them have dealt with the real issues. …

“The summits end up calling in the arsonists to put out the fire they started — like calling for more food aid. It’s looked on as an actual solution rather than a stopgap measure, which actually aggravates the underlining problem — poverty — because it puts local farmers at a disadvantage. It puts them out of business, so they end up as impoverished recipients of food aid instead of independent farmers.”

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