News Release

Powell in Africa: Interviews Available

BILL FLETCHER
Executive director of TransAfrica, Fletcher said today: “Bush not being at the Earth Summit in South Africa is extremely symbolic. It is a reflection of the arrogance of this administration and its unilateralism. The Summit is perhaps most noteworthy for the events of the popular organizations and NGOs which are trying to address the growing disparity of wealth and the failure of the global North to deal with environmental degradation. I hope that Powell is hearing this, though it would have been better for Bush to hear it himself. Powell is also scheduled to go to Angola. I wish he were going to offer meaningful reconstruction assistance for the recently-ended civil war, which was ignited by U.S. intervention in 1975. Unfortunately, the reason Powell is going there probably has to do with oil; as the administration gears up for this illegitimate war with Iraq, it wants to secure other sources of oil…. Reports that the current African drought and the last African drought may be directly related to industrial air pollution on the part of the global North demonstrate how interconnected this planet is and the fact that we, in the global North, cannot go about acting as if our actions have no global consequences. This drought has directly affected the gravity of the famine, as has the misdirection that some Southern African countries have received from economic advisors in the global North.”
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NJOKI NJOROGE NJEHU
Director of the 50 Years Is Enough Network, Njehu has just returned from the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), or Earth Summit, in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is among the participants today in a news conference organized by the Mobilization For Global Justice in Washington, D.C., looking ahead to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings at the end of September in Washington and planned protests at that time. She said today: “Institutions like the IMF, World Bank and WTO have taken over the WSSD process…. What is clear from Johannesburg is that civil society is not waiting on governments or international agencies to help them survive corporate globalization….”
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SALIH BOOKER
Executive director of Africa Action, Booker said today: “In the decade that has passed since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, pledges made then have largely been abandoned, and environmental degradation and poverty have deepened in Africa and around the world. Development assistance from the wealthy to the developing world has also declined during this period…. In an attempt to stem criticism of President Bush’s failure to attend the WSSD, Secretary Powell will be announcing a supposedly new $4 billion proposal on aid to Africa, to support disease control programs, clean water and sanitation projects, and environmental conservation. However, far from illustrating a U.S. commitment to Africa, this announcement is largely a hoax. Up to half of this money has already been approved or announced earlier, while the balance is based upon projections of future hypothetical appropriations, spread over several years. This is the administration’s form of Enron / Arthur Andersen-style accounting.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167