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Tortured Iraqi prisoners' weekly protest in Belgium
22 mai 2004
Tortured Iraqi prisoners start weekly protest in Belgium --- U.S. brands suffer from U.S. foreign policy
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May 21st, 2004 - A large sign reminds us of a quote from George W. Bush,
made on April 30, 2004: âThere are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms
or mass-graves in Iraqâ?. The text on a black coffin informs us that 1,200
Iraqi people died during the month of April in the war in Iraq. President
George W. Bush greets travellers with a machinegun outside a Belgian
railway station. Hooded Iraqi prisoners stand still and confront the
travellers with the gruesome reality in Iraqi prisons.

With this street-theatre, the Belgian NGO For Mother Earth renews its call
to boycott Exxon-Mobil, Chevron-Texaco, Pepsico, Coca Cola Company, Altria
(Kraft/Philip Morris) and McDonalds, all corporate sponsors of the George
W. Bush election campaign. Flyers of the international Boycott Bush network
also remind the public that no weapons of mass destruction were found in
Iraq, while the U.S. possesses an estimated 10.600 nuclear warheads.

The peace campaigners denounce the western media, which rarely gives
attention to the thousands of Iraqi civilian victims. According to a report
from Medact, UK affiliate of IPPNW (International Physicians for the
Prevention of Nuclear War), between 7,800-9,600 Iraqi civilians have
already been killed since the start of the war in March 2003. The
organisation also gives a number for the total of deaths (both citizens and
Iraqi soldiers) of between 21,700 and 55,000 for the first six months of
the war (1). According to Iraq Body Count there are already between
9,137-10,994 civilian victims (2). According to the Associated Press news
agency, in the month of April 2004 alone 1,200 Iraqi people were killed
(3). On May 16 2004, the U.S. counted 777 of its troops amongst the victims
of the war, according to the Center for Public Opinion and Democracy. These
U.S. military victims get a lot more attention in the media.

The peace campaigners do not want to stand on the sidelines and watch the
death toll rise. With their action, they want to encourage people to take
part in a daily protest against the American occupation of Iraq, through a
targeted boycott of six important financial supporters of President Bushâs
election campaign. According to the campaign group, the boycott enables
people to do something in their daily life against the brutal unilateral
politics of Washington. They are part of an international network of NGOs
in over 40 countries, which calls for a targeted boycott of six U.S.
companies who support the election campaign with large sums of money.

A recent opinion poll conducted by NOP World shows that U.S. brands are
currently suffering around the world due to Bush foreign policy. With the
boycott, For Mother Earth wants to support, and increase, this shift away
from U.S. products.

The following figures illustrate this trend (Source: De Financiële Morgen -
De Morgen p15, May 11, 2004)

1. Going to McDonalds in 2003 and 2004:

Country 2003 2004

Germany 43% 34% -9%
India 17% 9% -8%
Egypt 55% 38% -17%
Canada 62% 52% -10%

2. Buying Nike products in 2003 and 2004

Country 2003 2004

Germany 49% 28% -21%
France 45% 38% -7%
Russia 20% 12% -8%
China 19% 13% -6%

These numbers are encouraging for the international boycott campaigners who
met for the first time during the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India, last
January. http://www.boycottbush.org

The following companies, targeted for the boycott, are large financial
contributors to Republican Party election funds:

Altria (Philip Morris, Marlboro, Kraft) donated $6.530.000
Exxon-Mobil (Esso) donated $2.470.000
Texaco-Chevron donated $2.200.000
Pepsico donated $1.940.000
Coca Cola Company donated $860.000
Mc Donalds donated $640.000

Figures from 2000 to April 2004
Source: Center for Responsive Politics http://www.opensecrets.org

And finally: For Mother Earth is urgently seeking financial support to
continue the campaign. Money that consumers save on U.S. products are
welcome at account number 001-2055174-14 of For Mother Earth with message
'Boycott Bush Campaign'

For Mother Earth started this weekly protest last 14th April 2004. They
plan to meet every week between 5 and 6 pm.

(1) Report on civilian victims in Iraq, MedAct
http://www.medact.org/tbx/pages/sub.cfm?id=775
(2) Iraq Body Count
http://www.iraqbodycount.net
(3) AP report states at least 1,200 Iraq dead in April 2004
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4031177,00.html

Press contact: Pol D'Huyvetter +32 495-28 02 59

For more information: http://www.boycottbush.org
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