News Release

* Why War? * WMD * Oil * IMF — World Bank

BILL FLETCHER
President of TransAfrica Forum and co-chair of United for Peace and Justice, Fletcher said today: “The military action against Iraq is not just about controlling oil and not even just about empire. It’s about economic competition with other powers; about the Bush administration framing global capitalism in an image that it wants with its ‘new international economic architecture’ via the IMF and World Bank…. This will exacerbate the increasing economic polarization of the last 20 years, further impoverish much of the globe and send a message to all: displays of resistance will be met with force.”
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SUSAN WRIGHT
Author of the recent article “Bush Team Pulls Off Great Illusion: Weapons Of Mass Destruction Explanation Doesn’t Hold Up,” Wright is editor of the book Biological Warfare and Disarmament: New Problems/New Perspectives.
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JAMES PAUL,
Executive director of the Global Policy Forum, which monitors policy-making at the United Nations, Paul is author of the report “Oil in Iraq: The Heart of the Crisis.” Available for comment on the Moscow summit this weekend and other issues, he said today: “The U.S. has seized the oil of Iraq and will turn it over to the big Anglo-American companies in short order. Iraq oil production alone, worth trillions in coming decades, makes the contracts of Halliburton and others look like small potatoes. Exxon and Chevron must be cracking open the champagne now that the U.S. will have a seat in OPEC.”
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NJOKI NJOROGE NJEHU, SOREN AMBROSE
Njehu is director and Ambrose is a policy analyst for the 50 Years Is Enough Network, which scrutinizes the policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. They are able to organize interviews with activists from around the world in Washington for the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank which are taking place this weekend. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said: “Certainly the people of Iraq shouldn’t be saddled with the debts incurred through the regime of a dictator who is now gone.” Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz made similar statements. Ambrose said today: “It is tremendous news that Messrs. Wolfowitz and Snow recognize that the debts left from a corrupt and repressive government would be an insurmountable obstacle to re-developing a country like Iraq. But the U.S. government, along with its friends at the IMF and World Bank, has steadfastly opposed cancellation of such debts in the rest of the world — even in cases as egregious as the apartheid government’s debts in South Africa and Mobutu’s debts in Zaire/Congo. In fact most of Africa and great chunks of the rest of the world are held hostage by irrational debt policies — spending far more on debt payments than on healthcare and education. If the U.S. government is to advocate writing down such debts in Iraq, it should not oppose doing so in even more devastating circumstances elsewhere. As the head of the World Food Program pointed out this week, more Africans (40 million) today are at greater risk of starvation than Iraqis; should the choice be made to save only the Iraqis, the decision will be purely political.”

Among the international activists available for interviews:

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VIRGINIA SETSHEDI
South Africa, Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee/Anti-Privatisation Forum,
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JONAH GOKOVA
imbabwe, Director of Ecumenical Support Services; on debt, food security, AIDS and gender,
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SOLEDAD QUINTANILLA
El Salvador, with Friends of the Earth El Salvador,
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DEMBA DEMBELE
Senegal, Director of the Forum for African Alternatives; on debt and the U.N.,

NICOLA BULLARD
Australian national based in Thailand, deputy director of Focus on the Global South based in Bangkok,
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PATRICK BOND
South Africa, author of the book Elite Transition: From Apartheid to Neoliberalism in South Africa,
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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