News Release

* G-8 Summit Backstory * Iraq Resolution


NEIL WATKINS, [in Georgia],
MARIE CLARKE, [in Georgia
Watkins is the outreach coordinator for Jubilee USA Network. He said today: “In this critical moment, Jubilee USA Network calls for … 100 percent cancellation of the debts of all impoverished nations without harmful conditions, not piecemeal and partial relief…. Jubilee USA Network recognizes Iraqi debt as odious and therefore it must be cancelled outright. This same principle should be applied to all nations paying a bill for their own oppression. Odious debt has been defined through international law as loans made to oppressive or dictatorial leaders who used the funds to oppress their people or for personal use.” Clarke is the national coordinator of Jubilee USA Network. She said today: “There are literally alligators in the waters and quicksand between us and the summit, and helicopters are constantly hovering around keeping an eye on the people of Brunswick, an impoverished African-American town hosting alternative summit events.”
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Njehu is a Kenyan who directs the 50 Years Is Enough Network, a U.S.-based coalition opposed to IMF and World Bank policies.
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Taylor, the associate minister of Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., said today: “African nations continue to spend more on debt service than health care for their citizens. Experts claim that it will take $10 billion a year to fight AIDS, but African nations alone spend almost $15 billion in debt service each year. The G-8 countries have dragged their feet for too long to provide full debt cancellation, at the cost of health and stability for millions of people around the world. While not a panacea, without debt cancellation countries will be unable to use their own resources to invest in vital health and human services. Decisive action on debt will move the G-8 from lip service around addressing crushing poverty to effective action that will build right relationships between nations, the true vision of Jubilee.”

Zack Lyde is co-pastor of the St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Brunswick, Georgia, the coastal gateway to the private Sea Island resort where the G-8 Summit is being held. He said today: “It’s ironic that some of the world’s most powerful people have chosen a walled-off inaccessible resort in Glynn County to hold their meeting since this very zip code is a testament to the immensely destructive nature of their policies as it hosts no less than four Superfund sites, seventeen identified hazardous waste sites, six actively polluting industries and hundreds of illegal toxic dumps. We have tremendously high levels of asthma, cancer and other environmentally influenced diseases here among the predominantly African-American residents of Brunswick.” Harry Lyde is a local organizer and brother of Zack Lyde. He said today: “Sea Island, along with other coastal islands in Georgia, is the home of the African-based Gullah / Geechee cultures which were able to maintain their traditions and autonomy due to the isolation provided by the islands and the reluctance of the slave owners to come here since they lacked the greater immunity to malaria and yellow fever that African people had. Now the rich folk gather in those very places behind barricades; we are not allowed to set foot there to tell them about the reality that results from their greedy policies.”

Kalima is the director of AFRODAD, a pan-African coalition of debt and development groups based in Zimbabwe. She said today: “The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries [HIPC] Initiative has failed. Debt has become a tool of domination in our nations, and the HIPC program only serves to ensure that we continue to pay the maximum of our vital resources in debt service. We have already paid our debts; to continue to accept debt payments at the expense of our lives is immoral.” Kanyenze is the director of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

Professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, she said today: “The new Security Council resolution provides that ‘the occupation will end’ and Iraq will ‘reassert its full sovereignty’ by June 30, 2004. Yet U.S. commanders are authorized to take ‘all necessary measures’ to prevent whatever they decide is ‘terrorism.’ Although the government of Iraq can request that they leave, foreign troops will not be accountable to the Iraqis for their actions. This resolution legitimizes U.S. military control over Iraq, yet provides U.N. cover to ask other countries to send troops which will serve under U.S. commanders in Iraq. It also provides legitimacy to the new Iraqi government while protecting strategic U.S.-U.K. political, economic and military interests.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167