News Release

* Cost of Iraq War * Negroponte’s Record in Honduras * Bush’s AIDS Claims * Survivors of Torture Speak Out * Regime Change in Guatemala: 50 Years Later

PHYLLIS BENNIS, [via Emily Schwartz Greco]
A fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Bennis is the primary author of the just-released report “Paying the Price: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War,” which is available at the above web page.
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LARRY BIRNS
Birns is director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, which released the report “Negroponte: Nominee for Baghdad Embassy a Rogue for All Seasons.” He said today: “Though the Bush administration is strenuously attempting to portray Negroponte as a distinguished career Foreign Service professional, it should be recalled that his 1981-85 stint as ambassador to Honduras was filled with every form of chicanery, deception — and later lying to Congress over his role during the Iran-contra era. Rather than heading for Iraq, Ambassador Negroponte should be facing proceedings concerning his sanctioning of Honduran death squads, pay-offs to venal Honduran military officials, violations of environmental procedures relating to a supply road construction project he was supervising, and a cover-up of the full scale of human rights violations that occurred in Honduras during his watch.”
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SHARONANN LYNCH
Lynch is with the group Health GAP. She said today: “President Bush claimed dramatic victories and programmatic enhancements in the battle against HIV/AIDS in a speech at a Philadelphia church yesterday. These claims are dangerously misleading — rather than responding proportionately to the worldwide AIDS pandemic, the Bush administration continues to under-fund global needs, to impose failed prevention policies, and to place roadblocks on access to the cheapest AIDS medicines.”
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Sister DIANA ORTIZ, HAROLD NELSON
Ortiz and Nelson are with the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, which is organizing a 24-hour vigil on the United Nations International Day in Support of Torture Victims and Survivors (June 26). Survivors of torture from a number of countries will speak including from Mexico, Colombia, Ethiopia, Uganda, El Salvador, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Vietnam, Algeria, Nigeria, Honduras and Cameroon. The event will start at 7 a.m. on Saturday at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.
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SARAH ARID, MATTHEW KENNIS
Arid is executive director of the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala; Kennis is the group’s national organizer. June 27 is the 50-year anniversary of the coup in Guatemala. Arid said today: “Regime change is not new. Fifty years ago, a U.S.-backed coup overthrew Guatemala’s democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. This action was justified as part of the global struggle against communism. What followed were more than three decades of violence and repression that led to the deaths and disappearances of more than 200,000 Guatemalans. Today Guatemala has the most unequal land distribution of any country in the Western Hemisphere and is second only to Haiti in poverty.” They are in touch with the following people speaking at a congressional hearing Thursday afternoon:
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ALFONSO BAUER PAIZ, last surviving member of the Arbenz Cabinet, former Guatemalan congress person, and attorney;

IDUVINA HERNANDEZ, director of the Association for the Study and Promotion of Security in a Democracy, a Guatemalan NGO promoting reform of the Guatemalan state intelligence services;

GREG GRANDIN, associate professor of history at New York University and author of the book The Blood of Guatemala: A History of Race and Nation.

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