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[casi] NEWS: Peace Activists Target War Profiteers and "Corporate Looters" of Iraq

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Rania Masri: 919-419-8311 x27;
Tara Purohit: 919-419-8311 x25;
Chris Kromm: 919-419-8311 x26;


Leading anti-war groups and prominent activists sign on to campaign
challenging "second invasion" of Iraq by corporate interests

DURHAM, N.C. - Leading anti-war activists and organizations launched a new
campaign today calling for an end to war profiteering by military
contractors, and challenging what they call the "second invasion" of Iraq by
powerful corporate interests seeking to control the country's oil, water and
other resources.

The Stop the War Profiteers Campaign, initiated by the North Carolina-based
Institute for Southern Studies [
<file:///\\> ], has been endorsed by several leading
veteran, faith, labor, peace and other organizations, as well as prominent
scholars and activists across the country.

"A handful of Bush-connected corporations are poised to make billions in
profits while U.S. troops are killed almost daily, and Iraq plunges deeper
into a colonial nightmare," said Dr. Rania Masri, a campaign coordinator and
program director at the Institute.

"Halliburton, Bechtel, MCI and other war profiteers are part of a larger
invasion by outside corporate interests hoping to control the wealth and
resources of Iraq - wealth and resources that belong to the Iraqi people,"
Masri added.

Veterans for Peace, New York Labor Against the War, Global Exchange, United
for Peace and Justice, Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment
Program, and other groups have signed on to the campaign's founding
statement, as well as well-known activist authors Noam Chomsky, Jim
Hightower, and Howard Zinn.

The campaign calls on elected leaders to take several steps to stop war
profiteering at taxpayer expense and to end the "corporate looting" of Iraq,

*       Holding congressional hearings to investigate war profiteering and
the secretive, closed-bid "reconstruction" contracts in Iraq given to a
handful of corporations close to the Bush administration. The hearings would
be modeled on those held in the 1930s by Sen. Gerald Nye to investigate the
role of the "munitions industry" in warping foreign policy.
*       Reigning in war profiteering by military contractors - such as the
$400 million in taxpayer-funded profits promised in Halliburton's biggest
contract - through an "Excess Profits Tax," similar to those during the
Civil War, both World Wars, and the Korean War
*       Halting the U.S.-led drive to hand over Iraq's industries, services
and resources to powerful multinational corporations - such as efforts by
occupying forces to privatize public services and strip down rules on
foreign investment, before Iraq's indigenous government is allowed to take
part in decision-making.

The campaign opens a new front of opposition to the Bush Administration's
war in Iraq, adding to charges at home of manipulation of intelligence to
justify the war, and fierce resistance in Iraq to the U.S.-led occupation
and delay of self-rule.

"The U.S. is rushing to open Iraq to a flood of outside corporate interests,
before the country's own government can take power," said Chris Kromm,
director of the non-profit Institute. "If the Iraq war was really about
democracy, why won't they wait and let the Iraqi people decide what to do
with their economy?"

Campaign leaders point to a strong historical precedent for Congress to take
action against corporate interests seeking to profit off the suffering of

Tara Purohit, an Institute associate working on the campaign, noted that
during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said "I don't want to
see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of
this disaster," and then-Senator Harry Truman denounced war profiteering as
"treason." Earlier in the century, Sen. Robert LaFollette called war
profiteers "enemies of democracy in the homeland."

"Our country has a proud history of leaders who have stood up to the war
profiteers," said Purohit. "Now it's time for today's leaders to stand up to
the new merchants of misery and corporate war looters."

For more information or to endorse the Stop the War Profiteers Campaign,
visit  <file:///\\> or
contact the Southern Peace Research and Education Center at 919-419-8311 x27

Founded in 1970 by civil rights veterans, the Institute for Southern Studies
is a research, education and action center based in Durham, North Carolina.
The Southern Peace Research and Education Center is a program of the
Institute designed to explore the South's unique ties to foreign policy and
the military-industrial complex. The Institute also publishes Southern
Exposure, the award-winning journal of politics and culture.

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