News Release

G8 Meeting

GEORGE MONBIOT
Author of the books Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning and The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order, Monbiot said today: “The one issue the G8 leaders will not discuss is power: their ability to tell the rest of the world what to do. They present themselves as a group of philanthropists, and suggest that their efforts may falter but they aim only to do good. They fail to recognize that the harm their undemocratic power does counteracts all the good they might do. If they really want to help the poorest nations, they should release their grip on the World Bank, the IMF and the United Nations, and negotiate a world trade round which puts distribution and justice first.”
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JOCHEN HIPPLER
Senior research fellow at the Institute for Development and Peace at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, Hippler is author of a number of books, including Pax Americana? He said today: “The Russian and many Western European governments are concerned about this U.S. anti-missile system — such systems have always been regarded as destabilizing. As the situation in Russia becomes more oppressive, Putin is interested in asserting himself. At another level, Bush and Western Europe use Putin as a way of showing their publics how they allegedly stand up for democracy.”
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NEIL WATKINS
SITALI MUYATWA
LIDY NACPIL
Watkins is national coordinator of Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of religious, human rights, environmental, labor, and community groups working for the cancellation of debts from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He said today: “‘Vulture funds’ are companies that seek to profit by buying distressed debt belonging to companies or countries on the secondary market at a steep discount, then seek to make a profit by claiming the original and more. … The U.S. is stonewalling on this issue, just like it is on climate change. We are very concerned by reports that the Bush administration is resisting specific proposals to deal with vulture funds put forward by the UK and German governments in the G8 process.”

Muyatwa is acting coordinator of Jubilee Zambia. He said today: “These vulture funds are eroding the limited gains of debt relief approved at the 2005 G8 summit. … The G8 leaders should explicitly reprimand these vulture funds in the same way they reprimand debtors who slide off the austere conditionalities required for debt relief.”

Nacpil, who is from the Philippines, is with the group Jubilee South. She said today: “The G8 governments claim to support calls for responsible behavior by lenders like vulture funds. But the G8 must recognize that the issue of irresponsible lending and illegitimate debt begins first and foremost with themselves. We call on the G8 to acknowledge their co-responsibility in the accumulation of illegitimate debts and to cancel these claims immediately. Illegitimate debts include loans extended to non-democratic regimes and not used in the peoples’ interests and loans which involved corruption, fraud or unfair terms and conditions.”
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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