July 9, 2002

Miscellaneous Subjects #148: More of the Same U.S. Deceit Being Exposed


Hello everyone

Here is some of what caught my attention and deserves yours as well.

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000


"The High Office of President has been used to foment a plot to destroy the American's freedom, and before I leave office I must inform the citizen of his plight."

- John F. Kennedy, at Columbia University, 12th Nov. 1963 - 10 days before his murder on November 22, 1963.

"MY GOVERNMENT IS THE WORLD'S LEADING PURVEYOR OF VIOLENCE."

- Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967.


CONTENTS

1. Let Bush hear the people's voice
2. GUSH SHALOM/URI & RACHEL AVNERY
3. Bush Dictates 'Democracy' To The Palestinians
4. Fried Foods May Cause Cancer, More Tests Needed-UN
5. WORLDCON
6. Exporting Enron Public Funding For Global Plunder


See also:

U.S. Plan for Iraq Is Said to Include Attack on 3 Sides (July 5)
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/05/international/middleeast/05IRAQ.html
An American military planning document envisions tens of thousands of troops attacking Iraq from the north, south and west in a campaign to topple Saddam Hussein.

Kurds, Secure in North Iraq, Are Cool to a U.S. Offensive (July 8)
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/08/international/middleeast/08IRAQ.html
Washington's goal of a "regime change" in Baghdad is running into strong reservations from Kurdish leaders who would be crucial allies in any military campaign.

Expecting Taliban, but Finding Only Horror
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/08/international/asia/08VILL.html
What began as a major operation against suspected Qaeda and Taliban positions in southern Afghanistan apparently turned into a slaughter of innocents.

DOCUMENTING THE MASSACRE IN MAZAR
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=13540
A documentary film offers disturbing evidence that almost 5,000 Taliban prisoners were killed by Northern Alliance commanders -- perhaps with the help of U.S. soldiers.

NIGERIAN BANK SCAMS: MEET THE BOYS FROM LAGOS
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=13437
Those poorly written emails pleading for your bank account number have a long and sordid history and thousands of people have been fleeced.




1.

Date: Mon, 01 Jul 2002
From: Mona LaVine <monajl@earthlink.net>
Subject: Let Bush hear the people's voice

I am reading one of the best books that I have ever read and I wish every American could read it. "The Middle of Everywhere" by Mary Pipher is about refugee's from all over the world coming to America. What they have escaped from in their countries of origin is horrific. They have lost their homes, their country and their relatives. One man said, "In a battle in that lasted forty days, I saw 30,000 young Iraqis Killed."

The immigrants' stories are from everywhere: Vietnam, South America, Iran, Iraq, Bosnia, Guatemala, Croatia, etc.

My deep concern at the present time is our government's policy towards Iraq. Saddam Hussein has killed many of his own people. Many soldiers who surrendered to the Americans in the Gulf War, because they were forced to fight and hated Hussein, are still being held in POW camps in Saudi Arabia and suffering under the worst conditions.

I called the White House today and did indeed get a live person who took my message for President Bush. There is also a direct line to speak with the comments department: 202-456-1111. The person who took my call thanked me twice!

Please pick up the phone and call now. It only takes a minute of your time.

202-456-1111

Here is some background information:

"...United States top military leaders have expressed serious reservations about a war against Iraq. According to an article last May in the Washington Post, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are concerned that invading Iraq may require at least 200,000 troops, defense against chemical and biological weapons, and urban warfare that could kill thousands of U.S. troops and far more Iraqi civilians. Although their hesitation has taken much of the wind out of the sails of civilian hawks at the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs alone cannot stop the war. We must all keep up the effort and amplify the concerns expressed by the Joint Chiefs and so many others..."

"...The EPIC Iraq Forum on June 15-18, 2002 unfolded a full schedule of meetings with Congressional offices focused on improving humanitarian conditions in Iraq through changes in U.S. policy. With over a hundred in attendance for the Iraq Forum, participants were able to interact with journalists, economists, historians, public health experts, human rights monitors, arms control specialists, Middle East analysts, ex-patriot activists, former diplomats and government officials. If you have Real Audio Player, go to website below and watch the keynote speakers address the Iraq Forum participants. Among the stellar cast were former Ambassador Colvis Maksoud, former Ambassador Edward Peck, former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter, author Peter Ackerman (A Force More Powerful) and lifelong activist Kathy Kelly from Voices in the Wilderness. C-SPAN later aired a portion of the public event featuring Scott Ritter, Kathy Kelly and Iraqi psychologist Ilham Al-Sarraf. The resulting program proved to be a fruitful environment both for dedicated activists and curious observers. One such newcomer termed the gathering "inspiring" declaring afterward when asked about their preparedness for Congressional meetings, "I don't fear anyone."
From: http://leb.net/epic/index.html

"Despite international challenges, a U.S. veto in the UN Security Council stands in the way of a lifting of economic sanctions and an end to Iraq's decade-long humanitarian crisis. The burden is upon us, as Americans. Help us shift U.S. policy and public opinion in support of the people of Iraq..."

While we need a plan to capture Hussein, we don't need to kill innocent civilians like we did in Afghanistan.

Please pass this on to others. Thank you.

Mona




2.

I’VE OFTEN RUN INFO ABOUT AND FROM THE ISRAELI PEACE GROUP GUSH SHALOM - See for instance in “Miscellaneous Subjects #145: Mixed News” archived at http://www.rightlivelihood.se/2001/press1_1.html- BUT IN VIEW OF THE RECENT NEW WHITE HOUSE PROPOSAL FOR THE RECOGNITION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE AND THE STORM 0F CRITICISM IT HAS TRIGGERED (BECAUSE THEY WANT ARAFAT TO GO AND A NEW, MORE PLIANT PALESTINIAN LEADER TO BE ELECTED - SEE Bush Dictates 'Democracy' To The Palestinians BELOW) IT MAY BE MOST INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT THESE VERY COURAGEOUS AND DEDICATED PEACE ACTIVISTS HAVE TO PROPOSE. I RECOMMEND WHAT URI AVNERY (WHOSE GROUP INCIDENTALLY HAS BEEN ON THIS ERN LIST FOR A GOOD WHILE) WROTE TO YOUR ATTENTION...

"I was born an optimist and will die as an optimist. The present is but a stage – albeit a sad one – in the inevitable march towards peace and conciliation. After 55 years of a struggle for Israeli-Palestinian peace, I can see the immense progress we have made. The present throws us a long way back, but we shall move ahead again"

- Uri Avnery (from the GUSH SHALOM info below)

GUSH SHALOM/URI & RACHEL AVNERY (Israel)

Gush Shalom was founded in 1993 by a group of Israeli peace activists including Uri and Rachel Avnery, about whom further information is given below. Gush Shalom was founded as a new peace movement, which came into existence because the other Israeli peace movements had decided not to criticise the new Labour government. Gush Shalom was the major protestor against the mass-deportations in late 1992, against the closure of the occupied territories, and the Hebron massacre.

Gush Shalom is founded on three principles:

- Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied territories.

- Recognition of the PLO as the Palestinians’ representative.

- Recognition of the right of Palestinians to establish their own independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, alongside Israel.

Gush Shalom is a wholly voluntary organisation with about 450 core activists and a wider circle of 1400. It has no hierarchy and all its members simply refer to themselves as ‘activists’. Since its foundation in 1993, Gush Shalom has organised hundreds of demonstrations, protests and actions in line with its three objectives. The actions include rebuilding the demolished houses of Palestinians, demonstrating against the expropriation of Palestinian land for the establishment or enlargement of settlements, and generally giving support to the Oslo peace process and moves towards the establishment of a Palestinian state. Other initiatives have included:

Boycott of the products of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land;

Symbolic marking with green paint of all the points where roads cross the ‘Green Line’ between Israel and the occupied territories to signify to travellers that ‘At this point you are leaving your country and entering the country of your neighbours’;

Publication of a statement in the newspaper Ha’aretz, signed by 500 prominent Israelis, supporting the establishment of the State of Palestine in "All the territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip", with Jerusalem as the joint capital of the two states, Israel and Palestine.

Most importantly, Gush Shalom has been campaigning, along with other Israeli peace organisations, against the further extension of Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories and, in particular, against the continuing demolition of Arab houses that is intended to make that extension possible.

Since the end of the ‘peace process’ and the upsurge in violence in Israel and the occupied territories, Gush Shalom has persevered in its pursuit of what it perceives as the only road to peace. Its main activities, as in previous years, have been the placement of advertisements giving its views in the newspaper, Ha’aretz, demonstrations against excesses of the Israeli security forces, and non-violent practical support for Palestinian villages that are cut off, demolished or threatened by settlements. Gush Shalom activists are regularly arrested and abused, although as Israelis their treatment is far better than that meted out to Palestinians, and their presence in situations of conflict undoubtedly does much to prevent the mistreatment of Palestinians.

Uri Avnery writes extensively about the conflict, and has in particular worked hard to explain why the Camp David proposals failed, and were bound to fail. In his ‘80 Theses for a New Peace Camp’ Avnery sets out what he sees as the minimum ingredients for a workable peace plan. These are inter alia:

An independent Palestinian State with Green Line (pre-1967) borders Evacuation of all Israeli settlements within this Palestinian State Free movement of population between the Israeli and Palestinian states, a joint security agreement and joint agreement on water distribution Jerusalem the capital of both Israel and Palestine (West of Israel, East of Palestine)

Despite the recent intensification of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, Avnery has said in a recent interview: "I was born an optimist and will die as an optimist. The present is but a stage – albeit a sad one – in the inevitable march towards peace and conciliation. After 55 years of a struggle for Israeli-Palestinian peace, I can see the immense progress we have made. The present throws us a long way back, but we shall move ahead again".

Biographical Details of Uri and Rachel Avnery Rachel Avnery was born in 1932 and was first a schoolteacher and then a photographer. Since 1993 she has worked as the full-time unpaid administrator and organiser of Gush Shalom.

Uri Avnery was born in 1923 in Germany, but moved in 1933 with his family to Palestine. He was a member of the Irgun Underground against the British occupation of Palestine from 1938-42, and fought in the Israeli-Palestinian War in 1948, sustaining severe wounds.

Even before this war, Avnery had been writing about how to achieve peace in what he called ‘the Semitic region’. His account of the war in 1948 became a best-seller, but a follow-up book which described Israeli excesses was boycotted. In 1949 Avnery joined the staff of Ha’aretz newspaper, but left in 1950 to found his own magazine, Haolam Hazeh.

For forty years, always edited by Avnery, this magazine was a thorn in the side of the Israeli establishment, resolutely advocating the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and protesting against the ill-treatment of Arabs, as well as exposing official corruption. The magazine was subject to numerous attacks: its offices and archives were completely destroyed by arson in 1972, and the government tried to enact a special press law in 1965 to silence it. Avnery survived an assassination attempt, and, on another occasion, had his hands broken when he criticised the Kibieh massacre in 1953.

It was in response to the attempted press gag that Avnery formed the Haolam Hazeh party, and was elected to the Knesset. He served three terms from 1965-69, 1969-73 and 1979-81. In his first eight years in the Knesset he made more than a thousand speeches, remaining an abrasive critic of the establishment, but also an initiator of hundreds if proposals, some of which are still the subject of debate.

He also continued to promote his proposal for an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel and began to discuss this secretly with the PLO during the 1970s as it began to shift its position. This culminated in 1982 with Avnery crossing the lines in the battle of Beirut to become the first Israeli to meet Yassir Arafat.

Re-elected to the Knesset in 1979 for the Sheli Peace Party, he resigned his seat in 1981 in favour of an Arab colleague. He never ran for the Knesset again and in 1988 left party politics. In 1990 he gave up the editorship of Haolam Hazeh, which soon folded. Since 1993 he has worked for peace in the region through his activism with Gush Shalom.

Avnery received the Erich-Maria Remarque Peace Prize (Germany) in 1995, the Aachen Peace Prize in 1997, and the Kreisky Prize, and the Lower Saxony Prize for Human Rights, in 1998.

Contact: Email: avnery@gush-shalom.org




3.

From: http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/5884

Bush Dictates 'Democracy' To The Palestinians

An Overdetermined Version Of Self-Determination

Publicus is the pen name of a longtime observer of and participant in American politics.

President Bush's high-minded call for a Palestinian state built upon popular democracy, honest government, and the rejection of leaders associated with terrorism is doomed to failure. Here's one central reason why: you can't call for new elections and use the word "democracy" six times in an 1,860-word speech and in the same breath tell the Palestinians who their leaders can and cannot be.

The very premise of democracy is that the people choose their own leaders. Up until now, the United States, the Israelis, the Europeans, and the "moderate" Arab dictatorships of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, have cared little for Palestinian democracy. In fact, they preferred to prop up Arafat and his bloated security forces and looked the other way at their violations of the rule of law, thinking -- as imperial overlords are wont to do -- that things would go more smoothly that way.

Now, the United States has the gall to insist on meaningful democracy, something we and our partner, Israel, have long helped deny to the Palestinians. A recent article in Salon by Asla Aydintasbas makes this clear. She writes:

Since the beginning of the Oslo peace process, Washington and Israel's desire to deal with a Palestinian strongman -- who could control his population, keep a tight lid on popular dissatisfaction in the West Bank and Gaza and deliver on promises to the West -- has consistently salvaged Arafat's standing with his people, despite his increasingly repressive ways. The start of the early 1990s peace process, for instance, was marked by Israel and the U.S. abandoning talks with leading West Bank independents and moderates, to embark on secret talks with the exiled PLO chairman instead. Former Israeli Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin used to defend shaking the hand of a man most Israelis considered a terrorist by arguing that only Arafat could handle Hamas and other troublemakers without worrying about "the Supreme Court and [the human rights organization] B'Tselem."

America helped finance Arafat’s police network, and looked the other way when he used it to intimidate his political critics. Going a little further back into a history that’s been swept aside by a complaisant media, let us not forget that it was Israel who deported several elected mayors of Palestinian towns back in 1980 when they started getting uppity; Israel who attempted to create an alternative leadership of Palestinians (handpicking quislings to run "Village Leagues"); and Israel that quietly aided groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in the mistaken belief that an Islamic fundamentalist organization would function as a conservative counter to the more radical secular PLO.

Bush’s attempt to pick the Palestinians' leaders for them may seem in tune with someone who entered office under his own dubious mandate. But let's face it -- American leaders from both parties have long issued this kind of dictate to their lessers in the Third World.

It can't and won't work.

Today, if Palestinians were able to hold free elections, they would undoubtedly elect Yasir Arafat, whose tattered stature has been restored in recent months by his defiance of Ariel Sharon. As various Palestinian spokesmen have been pointing out, Arafat was already elected in a popular plebiscite that was deemed free and fair by the international community. While there is indeed a strong undercurrent of criticism among Palestinians of Arafat’s disastrous rule, Bush’s speech will likely have the perverse effect of weakening the hands of those reformers who have been pushing Arafat, with some success in recent weeks, to alter his autocratic governing style.

The greatest danger flowing from Bush’s speech is in how it further aligns the United States with Ariel Sharon’s policies in the occupied territories. As the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs pointed out in their daily e-mail alert, the speech is notable for what’s not in it:

The president did not call on Israel to cease its defensive operations against terrorists. He did not call for a withdrawal to 1967 boundaries as demanded in the Saudi plan presented by Crown Prince Abdullah. Rather the president referred to UN Resolution 242's call for secure and recognized borders. He did not call for a redivision of Jerusalem or a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem. He did not present plans for Palestinian refugees, stating that the issues of refugees and Jerusalem will be resolved in the future. He did not call for immediate negotiations on a final status agreement. First, new Palestinian institutions and leaders must emerge and demonstrate "real performance on security and reform."

The president did not mention previous negotiating positions such as the Clinton proposals or a return to Camp David discussions.

Gone as well was Bush’s very recent proposal for an international conference this summer on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All of this was music to Sharon’s ears.

As one Israeli official put it to The New York Times today, "I thought all the way through the speech, this is the carrot [i.e. the demands on the Palestinians], now comes the stick." But, as he noted, "There was no stick."

We’ll soon see whether Arafat and his associates figure out a way to say 'yes' to Bush’s call for reform and an eventual Palestinian state, while ignoring his intervention in internal Palestinian affairs -- or if Bush’s tough language triggers an ugly counter-response.

Despite all their suffering under occupation and the self-defeating horror of suicide bombing, the Palestinians still have not lost their instinctive desire for self-determination. Ultimately, they will win it, but that victory must be on their terms -- not just as a double-edged gift/command from on high.

Published: Jun 25 2002


See also:

City Curfews and Politics Strain Calm in West Bank (July 8)
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/08/international/middleeast/08MIDE.html




4.

From: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=585&ncid=753&e=1&u=/nm/20020627/sc_nm/health_food_cancer_dc_2

Fried Foods May Cause Cancer, More Tests Needed - UN (Jun 27)

GENEVA (Reuters) - International food safety experts, meeting in emergency session Thursday at the World Health Organization, said fatty, fried foods may cause cancer but a final verdict needed more research.

The 25 specialists, mainly from Europe, the United States and Japan, were summoned to Geneva after researchers in Sweden found high levels of acrylamide, a cancer-causing substance in animals, in carbohydrate-rich foods such as potato chips.

The findings, subsequently backed up by similar tests in Norway, Britain and two other countries, triggered a worldwide food scare.

"Acrylamide is of high concern because it can cause cancer in animals and probably causes it in human beings," Jorgen Schlundt, the U.N. body's food safety program coordinator, told a news conference.

But he said it was early to draw firm conclusions and make recommendations to the public about their eating habits.

Scientists are unclear exactly how acrylamide is formed. It seems to be produced when starchy foods like potatoes, rice and cereals are fried or baked.

The Environmental Protection Agency classifies the substance, used in some coloring and glues, and for water purification, as a "medium-hazard probable human carcinogen."

After three days of closed-door talks, experts said they needed to know more about how acrylamide was formed, and at what temperatures, as well as the types of foods involved -- research which could take from weeks to a couple of years.

"On the information we have at the moment, we cannot give consumers very specific advice such as to avoid eating chips of this or that brand," said Dieter Arnold of Germany's Federal Institute for Health Protection of Consumers, who chaired the experts' meeting.

HIGH CONCENTRATION

Stockholm University researchers found that an ordinary bag of potato chips may contain up to 500 times more acrylamide than the maximum concentration the WHO allows in drinking water.

But the experts said tests on food were more complex than those for water and there were still many gaps in scientists' knowledge, including what the real danger level was.

"You should not have a picture that if you eat something once that has acrylamide then you will get cancer tomorrow. It is clear that the longer you eat it, the greater the risk," Schlundt said.

He said that experts were calling for an international network ( news - external web site) of laboratories to be set up to pool information, including data from national authorities and industry.

Industry should also carry out its own investigations into food processing methods, the experts said, adding that it was already known that lots of foods could cause cancers.

"We need to do research quite urgently in order to be able to reduce the levels (of acrylamide) in food," Arnold said.

"We know we get a lot of cancers from food, some of it might come, or it is very likely that it does come, from acrylamide. If we can modify the ways we produce food, so that we get less acrylamide, we will have less cases of cancer," Schlundt added.

But the toxicology studies could take months or even years to complete, the two officials warned.

In the meantime, consumers should not be kept in the dark and agencies such as the WHO and the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization, which jointly organized the experts' meeting, should release information as it became available.

"We'd rather that people eat a balanced and varied diet and moderate their consumption of fried and fatty foods," Arnold said, adding that this was long-standing WHO advice.

---

Study of Suspected Carcinogen Rattles Snack Firms - LA Times (Jun 26, 2002) http://www.latimes.com/business/la-000044542jun26.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dbusiness

In-depth coverage about Cancer
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/Health/Cancer_Research/




5.

From: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=106&ncid=742&e=4&u=/nypost/20020627/cm_nypost/worldcon

WORLDCON (Jun 27)

It would be overstatement to say that the last shreds of public faith in corporate America evaporated with the news that WorldCom overstated its profits by $3.8 billion. But the assertion is not far off.

Even before Tuesday's announcement by the mammoth phone company, U.S. firms had already lost a good deal of the world's trust - the result of multibillion-dollar financial scandals at Enron, Global Crossings and elsewhere.

What are folks supposed to think now that America's second-largest long-distance carrier has admitted yet another little faux pas by the green-eyeshade crowd - to the tune of nearly $4 billion?

It's a bit early to string up any of the white-collar culprits from the nearest lamppost. But it's impossible to conclude anything other than that a huge fraud was perpetrated here - on investors, lenders, employees, customers. Someone must pay a price.

And, at the very least, a full-scale review of government oversight and anti-fraud mechanisms are in order. How bad was the damage?

Analysts are already filing obituaries. "This pretty much closes the chapter on this company," said Blake Bath of Lehman Brothers. WorldCom plans to let go 17,000 employees, for starters.

Banks and other holders of WorldCom debt, like insurance companies, are on the line for billions.

Underwriters are at risk for their role in misrepresenting the firm's finances.

And, as at Enron, shareholders have watched their stock plummet: Valued at $115 billion in June 1999, the company is now worth less than $1 billion.

The fallout goes farther.

The Securities and Exchange Commission ( news - web sites) said the announcement confirmed "accounting improprieties of unprecedented magnitude." Bob Swanton of Standard & Poor's said: "The taint means the markets aren't likely to recover soon." Yesterday, the Dow closed at an anemic 9,120.11.

President Bush himself called the WorldCom debacle "outrageous" and promised a crackdown.

And you can bet your WorldCom stock that big-business bashers are already hovering like vultures over the news.

For the city, all this has special significance: Indeed, the loss of confidence in markets can do almost as much economic damage to the financial district as there was physical damage done on Sept. 11.

Wall Street is one of Gotham's economic pillars: As go the markets, so goes the city. Jobs, property values, tax revenues - all are heavily linked to the fate of downtown.

Much, then, is riding on reform. Capitalism works - but only when there's a free flow of information. Honest information, that is.

Officials - in government, in the auditing community and in the executive suites of corporate America - can't start the clean-up efforts soon enough.

---

See also:

INSIDER DEALS CATCH UP WITH BUSH
http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=13532
Thanks to business scandals involving WorldCom, Tyco International, Xerox, Enron, and Martha Stewart, the President's own shady corporate past has been revived.

WorldCom Executives to Take Fifth
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/07.09A.worldcom.5th.htm

Business Scandals Force GOP to Consider Broader Reforms
http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/07.09B.force.gop.htm




6.

From: http://www.tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/5815

Exporting Enron Public Funding For Global Plunder

By Mark Engler and Nadia Martinez

We know the damage Enron has done to the American economy. So why is it still eligible to receive U.S. taxpayer money? Instead of wallowing in bankruptcy, Enron continues to do business internationally. And believe it or not, the scandal-ridden and discredited corporation continues to pursue public funding for its global operations.

The ongoing reports about Enron's collapse have led many people to believe that the corporation is for all practical purposes defunct. Not so. Enron's decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection caused it to forfeit its energy-trading operations in America and forced the corporation to sell some of its assets. But a large number of its overseas ventures remain intact. Even as it faces shareholder lawsuits and Congressional inquiries in the United States, Enron plans to emerge from bankruptcy carrying forth its global energy services.

Enron, through numerous consortia and subsidiaries, continues to manipulate energy markets in countries throughout the world. Its present assets in Latin America alone include stakes in gas and electricity companies in Brazil and Venezuela, pipelines in Colombia and Bolivia, and power plants in Panama, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico. In many of these countries, officials have been assuring that the problems that the Enron Corporation has in the United States will not affect their local operations.

Generous American taxpayer money has helped build the corporation's global empire. A new report by the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., shows that since 1992, Enron-related projects have received more than $4 billion in U.S. government financing. Other public sources -- like the World Bank and the European Investment Bank -- contributed an additional $3 billion.

By any standard, $7 billion is a lot of money. But now Enron wants more. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), an agency operating with government money, is considering a $125 million loan for a Bolivian gas pipeline expansion that Enron is pursing through a group called Transredes. Along with Shell Bolivia, the other key stakeholder in this consortium, Enron stands to profit in Bolivia by using public funds to further its objectionable practices.

Like at home, Enron abroad has a long history of pushing industry deregulation and avoiding oversight. The Bolivian government has recently begun investigating irregularities in the process by which Enron initially gained entry into the country's energy markets. Environmental and human rights organizations such as the Organization of Ethnic Communities of Santa Cruz, in Bolivia, decry the fact that the proposed enlargement of the Transredes pipeline would cut through ever larger sections of ecologically sensitive areas, as well as the protected lands of Bolivia's indigenous peoples. They point to a previous disaster in which the company's Sica Sica-Arica oil pipeline ruptured in January 2000, spewing thousands of barrels of refined crude into the Desaguadero River before officials got around to making repairs.

Why would the U.S. continue to help bankroll such sordid deals? In the name of "free trade," government-funded organizations like the IDB and the World Bank have spent over two decades promoting privatization of energy and power sectors. Since the Reagan Administration, they have forced countries that want development assistance to implement harsh "structural adjustment" measures and deregulate industries. At the same time, multinational corporations play poor governments against one other for much-needed foreign investment.

As a result, public utilities have increasingly fallen into private hands and corporations like Enron conduct their business with little or no public accountability. Ordinary people suffer as companies limit supplies and raise prices, spreading misery among those who can't afford to pay more for once-public services like electricity, water, and health care. This also produces social unrest. Enron's imposition of price hikes has resulted in blackouts that eventually led to riots in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, among other countries.

CLIP

***

Related Links:

Institute for Policy Studies
http://www.seen.org/pages/press_releases/enronrelease0302.shtml

Inter-American Development Bank
http://www.iadb.org/

Published: Jun 18 2002

---

See also:

Full Report: Enron's Pawns: How Public Institutions Bankrolled Enron's Globalization Game
http://www.seen.org/PDFs/pawns.PDFl

Clear and Present Danger (APRIL 27, 2001)
http://www.seen.org/pages/press_releases/pr_leak.shtml
The $2 billion dollars per year the World Bank Group has invested in oil, gas, and mining projects in poor and developing countries presents a “clear and present danger” to the global environment, according to an internal Bank memo obtained by SEEN.







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