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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] PRESS RELEASE Voices in the Wilderness UK [A] 22nd April 2004 Contact 0845 458 2564 or 07947 839 992 BBC'S JOHN SIMPSON REFUSES TO SPEAK AT IRAQ BUSINESS CONFERENCE Activists to protest at oil and arms trade-backed Iraq Procurement Conference The BBC's World Affairs Editor, John Simpson, has refused to speak at a business conference next week at which representatives from 300 companies - including Shell, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and US arms manufacturer Raytheon - will meet members of the US-installed Iraqi "government" to discuss 'the wide range of … opportunities available' to make a profit out of the increasingly blood-soaked occupation of Iraq [B]. Mr Simpson's agency had apparently forgotten to inform their client, who only found out that he was listed on the conference web-site [C] as the 'guest speaker' at the conference's 'four course [gala] dinner with wine' yesterday afternoon, after Voices UK circulated a press release urging him to pull out of the event. In an email to Voices UK, Mr Simpson explained that the moment he heard his name was on the conference web-site he 'immediately rang the organizers to make it clear there was no possibility of [his] taking part.' 'I'd never accept an invitation to anything that was as contentious as this,' he added. Voices spokesperson Gareth Evans said 'We are very pleased to learn that John Simpson will not be speaking at this conference and that he was unaware his name was being used by the event's organizers. John Simpson was one of the few journalists to speak out against the devastating UN sanctions on Iraq, so we are not surprised to learn that this "booking" had nothing to do with him. We would urge any other public figures that are approached to speak at this event over the coming week to similarly decline.' Voices is one of a number of groups and individuals helping to organise a protest to coincide with next Tuesday's conference dinner. Two suited 'pigs' bearing corporate logos will gorge themselves on a trough of blood-stained banknotes at 6.30pm next Tuesday outside the London Hilton on Park Lane to protest against the 'corporate feeding frenzy' taking place at the business conference and dinner. The Hilton is the 'official hotel of choice' for the conference. The protest, in support of the rights of Iraqi workers and demanding 'reconstruction, not rip-off', will also feature speakers from the Union of Unemployed Iraqis, the Organisation for Women's Freedom in Iraq, and the Campaign Against Arms Trade amongst others. For more info. contact 0845 458 2564 or 07947 839 992 NOTES [A] Voices in the Wilderness UK has been campaigning on Iraq for the last six years. For more info. see www.voicesuk.org. [B] See www.iraqprocurement.com [C] See www.iraqprocurement.com/docs/agenda.htm -- Emma Sangster _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk