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The Debts of Corruption by Patricia Adams

A global movement is asking Western nations to forgive 'odious' debt extended to despotic regimes. The cause has merit, but opposition is building. Tomorrow, a coalition of Canadian churches will present the government with one of the largest petitions in Canadian history – 600,000 signatures calling to cancel the foreign debt of heavily indebted Third World countries. Using biblical language, the Jubilee 2000 coalition asks the prime minister to free the oppressed of their debts by the start of the new millennium. So do the Pope, the Dalai Lama, other top religious leaders, and Jubilee 2000 coalitions formed in 155 countries to oversee this groundswell movement, which has collected seven million signatures to date, and still counting. The petitions will be submitted to the G7 leaders at their meeting in Cologne, Germany, this June. Sensing a political nightmare – as well as an opportunity to cleanse their books of embarrassing loans – the G7 governments, the World Bank, and even the International Monetary Fund are scrambling to produce debt relief proposals to appease the activists. The U.K. believes $50-billion in debt forgiveness is feasible (all figures in U.S. dollars); the U.S. proposal, led by Bill Clinton, aims for $100-billion

Advancing the Odious Debt Doctrine

by Ashfaq Khalfan, Jeff King and Bryan Thomas. McGill University legal scholars have completed an investigation into the Doctrine of Odious Debts, and concluded that it is both "morally compelling" and "relatively well supported under international law". Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), Montreal, March 11/2003

Odious Debt (IMF)

"Similarly, Anastasio Somoza was reported to have looted $100-500 million from Nicaragua by the time he was overthrown in 1979. Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega told the United Nations General Assembly that his government would repudiate Somoza's debt, but reconsidered when his country's allies in Cuba advised him that doing so would unwisely alienate Nicaragua from Western capitalist countries. Some countries have attempted to confiscate and restitute funds that an ex-ruler salted away abroad, but with mixed results. For example, Nigeria recently recouped money from Sani Abacha's family, but the Philippines has little to show for its protracted campaign to repatriate Ferdinand Marcos's fortune. Moreover, any money that has been squandered is gone forever."

Can’t Pay Back, Won’t Pay Back: Iceland’s Loud No

Silla Sigurgeirsdóttir and Robert H Wade – Le Monde Diplomatique The people of Iceland have now twice voted not to repay international debts incurred by banks, and bankers, for which the whole island is being held responsible. With the present turmoil in European capitals, could this be the way forward for other economies? The small island of Iceland has lessons for the world. It held a referendum in April to decide, more or less, whether ordinary people should pay for the folly of the bankers (and by extension, could governments control the corporate sector if they depended on it for finance). Sixty per cent of the population rejected an agreement negotiated between Iceland, the Netherlands and the UK to pay back the British and Dutch governments for the money they spent to recompense savers with the failed bank Icesave. That was less resistance than the first referendum last spring, when 93% voted no.

Plan B: Declaration For a Democratic Rebellion in Europe

Democratic Europeans are fighting back against state capture: "A movement to place human rights, civil, political, social, economic, cultural and democratic rights, at the heart of the european project, as an intrinsic part of democracy."