Conyers Confronts Bush On Vulture Bonds

ZACH

from Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about how your meeting went with the President yesterday?

REP. JOHN CONYERS: Well, we talked essentially about Iraq, Katrina and the domestic breakdown that’s going on right now. But it was my job, I felt, to raise the whole question of this bond speculation that goes on at the expense of poor debtor countries, in which their debt is bought up and then they’re sued for the full amount. It’s bought up at pennies on the dollar, and then they’re sued. And I wanted to thank you [BBC Newsnight] for revealing this to us, because it allowed me to ask President Bush two questions: one, about Paul Singer and Michael Sheehan; and two, whether he would be willing to stop this incredible misuse of our government’s charity toward funding aid to our poorer nations.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And what was the President’s response to your questions?

REP. JOHN CONYERS: His response was, “I didn’t know anything about this.” And he assigned a staffer to get on it right away. And so, it’s our position that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Comity Doctrine brought from our Constitution allows the President to require the courts defer in individual suits against foreign nations. And so, we’re conducting a couple of things. First of all, we want to know where these practices are going on at the present time, and, two, how we can get this information to President Bush so that he can, as he indicated to us, stop it immediately.

WATCH THE ORIGINAL BBC REPORT AS AIRED ON DEMOCRACY NOW!