News Release

Interviews Available: * Le Pen * Venezuela, Colombia * East Timor

MARTIN LEE
Author of The Beast Reawakens: Fascism’s Resurgence from Hitler’s Spymasters to Today’s Neo-Nazi Groups and Right-Wing Extremists, Lee said today: “Le Pen’s electoral breakthrough is less a threat to democracy than a reflection of the lack of a healthy democracy in France. Right-wing extremists such as Le Pen have benefitted from foraging on a political terrain where the ideological distance between the mainstream parties has shrunk. This has propelled the growth of neofascist parties in Western Europe, which appeal to disillusioned voters by assuming the mantle of the opposition and stoking resentment against remote and unresponsive governing elites. Le Pen launched his neofascist party, the Front National, in 1972 at a time when he was selling recordings of Hitler’s speeches. Despite his fascist pedigree, he has gained at the ballot box by coupling anti-immigrant tirades with harsh criticisms of economic globalization. His recent electoral breakthough coincides with the rise of radical, right-wing populist parties in Austria, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, and the Netherlands.”
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GREG PALAST
Author of the bestseller The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Palast is an investigative reporter for BBC Television and the Guardian Newspapers of Britain. He predicted a coup attempt against Hugo Chavez four months ago. Palast said today: “Chavez has been punished for being the bad boy of the New World Order: He doubled the royalties that Exxon and other oil giants have to pay. There has been massive disinformation about Chavez: that he’s unpopular and that he’s ‘dictatorial.’ Weirder than weird is that this charge is made against an elected president (Chavez) from one who wasn’t (Bush). Venezuela is the story of a nation attempting to right the horrid imbalance of riches and poverty which is Latin America’s epidemic economic disease.”
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LARRY BIRNS
Director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Birns coauthored an oped that appeared yesterday in Newsday, “U.S. Is the Primary Loser in Failed Venezuelan Coup.” The Council on Hemispheric Affairs also recently produced the report “Lifting Restrictions on U.S. Aid to Colombia.”
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KAREN ORENSTEIN
JOHN MILLER
Washington coordinator for the East Timor Action Network, Orenstein said today: “Today, the UN Human Rights Commission issued a statement that abandoned justice for East Timor, essentially forfeiting the notion that those most responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in East Timor should be brought to justice.” Miller, spokesperson for ETAN, said: “Following the Aug. 30, 1999, UN-organized referendum, the Indonesian military and its militia proxies systematically destroyed East Timor, murdering at least 2,000 East Timorese, destroying over 70 percent of the infrastructure and raping hundreds of women. Hundreds of thousands were forced from their homes.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167