Voices UK | 26.04.2004 10:49
Protest outside the gala dinner for the Shell-sponsored business conference ‘Iraq Procurement 2004: Meet the Buyers.’ Reconstruction not rip-off - Justice for Iraq’s workers.
When: 6-9pm, Tuesday 27th April
Where: Outside the New Connaught Rooms, 61-65 Great Queen Street (nearest
tube Covent Garden - see http://www.newconnaughtrooms.co.uk/ for map)
[PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A CHANGE OF VENUE]
Between 26-28 April representatives from 300 companies - including Shell, ExxonMobil,
ChevronTexaco and US arms manufacturer Raytheon – will be attending a business conference in London entitled 'Iraq Procurement 2004: Meet the Buyers', meeting members of the US occupation authority, the US-installed Iraqi “government” and wealthy Iraqi business-people to discuss ‘the wide range of … opportunities available’ to make a profit out of the increasingly blood-soaked occupation of Iraq.
The conference takes place in the context of:
* A series of new laws, passed by the US last September, that ‘effectively put [Iraq] up for sale’ to foreign investors (Guardian, 22 Sept. 2003)
* A growing body of evidence that the way in which the Bush administration has been ‘treating [reconstruction] contracts as prizes to be handed to their friends’ has been ‘delaying Iraq's recovery, with potentially catastrophic consequences’ (economist Paul Krugman, New York Times, 30th Sept. 2003)
* The ongoing repression of workers rights in Iraq (keeping Saddam’s harsh 1987 labour law on the books, trying to impose big wage cuts, raiding union offices, arresting union leaders and refusing to grant unemployed Iraqis demands for jobs or benefits)
* US attempts to ‘restructure’ – rather than cancel - Iraq’s odious debts, attempts likely to ‘rob Iraq of [its] economic freedom, by requiring that it adhere to an IMF structural adjustment program’ (www.jubileeiraq.org)
* The killing of over 600 people in the US siege of Fallujah, ‘the vast majority of [whom] were women, children and the elderly’ according to the director of the town’s general hospital (Guardian, 12 April)
Please join us on the 27th, outside the Conference's four-course gala dinner with wine, to demand:
* that Iraqis be allowed to determine their own economic future
* a reconstruction process directed by the Iraqi people for the Iraqi people NOT by big business for profit.
* justice for Iraqi workers
* the cancellation of Iraq’s odious debts
Speakers to include: Ewa Jasiewicz (activist recently returned from 8 months in Iraq) and representatives from the Union of the Unemployed of Iraq, the Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, the Campaign Against Arms Trade, Jubilee Iraq, and the Green Party.
There will also be some street theatre and (hopefully!) music and food. Please make and bring appropriate banners!
This event is supported by Voices in the Wilderness UK, the Green Party, No Sweat, Stop Esso, CAAT and Rhythms of Resistance amongst others. For more information go to www.voicesuk.org or contact voices at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0845 458 2564 (local rate call).
WHO'S GOING TO BE AT IP 2004?
* Former US Rear Admiral David Nash - the man in charge of handing out $18bn worth of US tax-payers money for the “reconstruction” of Iraq
* Brian Wilson (Tony Blair’s special envoy on reconstruction)
* Members of the US-installed Iraqi “government”
* Wealthy Iraqi business-people
* Representatives from 300 international companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, (US arms manufacturer) Raytheon and Volvo.
WHO'S NOT GOING TO BE AT IP 2004?
* democratically elected representatives of the Iraqi people
* poor Iraqis
* representatives from Iraqi civil society: the labour movement, women’s
‘[A] people, starved and sickened by sanctions, then pulverised by war, is going to emerge from this trauma to find that their country had been sold out from under them. They will also discover that their new-found "freedom" - for which so many of their loved ones perished - comes pre-shackled by irreversible economic decisions that were made in boardrooms while the bombs were still falling. They will then be told to vote for their new leaders, and welcomed to the wonderful world of democracy’ (Naomi Klein, Guardian, April 14th)’