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The following is mirrored from its source at:

The World Bank Doth Protest

Sunday, December 17, 2000; Page B06

A World Bank staff member complains that "the Chadian government did not provide us with relevant information until after the fact," referring to the revelation that Chadian President Idriss Deby spent $4.5 million of a World Bank loan package for a new oil pipeline on weapons [news story, Dec. 5].

This is feigned ignorance. For years, citizens' groups, human rights advocates and environmental activists in Chad and around the world have been warning the bank that its loan package (worth more than $300 million) for this pipeline was likely to exacerbate the country's civil war and worsen an already-dismal human rights and corruption record. Even when presented with a Harvard Law School study that said Chad's government was unlikely to invest oil revenues in programs to help the poor, the World Bank insisted Chad could be trusted.

In the days leading up to the bank's vote on whether to approve the project, reports from Chad indicated that military and administrative officials loyal to Mr. Deby went into villages in the oil-producing region and threatened to kill anyone who opposed the oil extraction.

That the World Bank now expresses shock and dismay is hypocrisy. Oil drilling benefits big oil companies and corrupt officials but rarely the poor. It is time for the World Bank to wake up and stop wasting taxpayer money on such ill-conceived projects.


U.S. Representative (D-Ga.)


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