The Torture of Private Manning

Bruce Ackerman & Yochai Benkler
New York Reviev of Books

Bradley Manning is the soldier charged with leaking US government documents to Wikileaks. He is currently detained under degrading and inhumane conditions that are illegal and immoral.

For nine months, Manning has been confined to his cell for twenty-three hours a day. During his one remaining hour, he can walk in circles in another room, with no other prisoners present. He is not allowed to doze off or relax during the day, but must answer the question “Are you OK?” verbally and in the affirmative every five minutes. At night, he is awakened to be asked again “Are you OK?” every time he turns his back to the cell door or covers his head with a blanket so that the guards cannot see his face. During the past week he was forced to sleep naked and stand naked for inspection in front of his cell, and for the indefinite future must remove his clothes and wear a “smock” under claims of risk to himself that he disputes.

The sum of the treatment that has been widely reported is a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against punishment without trial. If continued, it may well amount to a violation of the criminal statute against torture, defined as, among other things, “the administration or application…of… procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality.”

On the Result of the Icesave Referendum

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
Monthly Review

Statement to the international media by the President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson [.pdf]

The Icelandic nation has now delivered its verdict and shouldered unequivocally the responsibility it is granted by the Constitution. The turnout was high by Western standards, and this, together with the extensive and thorough debate in the run-up to the referendum, shows clearly how important the issue was to the nation.

The people have now spoken clearly on this matter on two occasions in accordance with the democratic tradition which is Europe's most important contribution to world history. The leaders of other states and international institutions will have to respect this expression of the national will.

Solutions to disputes arising from financial crises and failures of banks must take account of the democratic principles which are the foundation of the constitutional structure of the West.

Iceland has demonstrated its willingness to negotiate agreements; we have shown fairness, but at the same time stuck firmly to our democratic and legal rights.

Fukushima Elevated to Level 7

Stephen Lendman

Fukushima's disaster will scar much, perhaps all of Japan for generations, including fetuses and newborns to be genetically harmed by radiation poisoning.

Kyodo News announced the latest news headlining, "Japan ups Fukushima nuke crisis severity to 7, same as Chernobyl," saying:

"The government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) upgraded its provisional evaluation based on an estimate that radioactive materials far exceeding the criteria for level 7 have so far been released into the external environment...."

NISA and Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) estimate that 370,000 - 630,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials have been released from Units 1, 2 and 3. One terabecquerel equals one trillion becquerels.

In other words, with no crisis resolution in sight, enormous radiation amounts have already been released since March 11. Northern Japan has been contaminated. The rest of the country has been affected, and so have the Pacific rim and Northern Hemisphere.

In fact, rating Fukushima Level 7 understates it, especially since radiation emitted will continue for an indeterminate period - at least months, maybe years.

Earthquake of Consumer Prices, Tsunami of Dollar Dilution

Charles E. Carlson

When the earthquake and 26 foot tidal wave hit Japan, a financial tsunami was also on the way to Washington DC, headed straight for the vulnerable dollar; not one in a thousand Americans knows a financial tsunami is on its way or why. The impact will sock some 80 or 90% of us consumers into much higher prices.

The undertow of dollar dilution had already arrived in every basic commodity from rolled oats to copper. But the tsunami wave is yet to arrive. World bankers are busy squandering for war as we write, trying to deny and delay the inevitable loss of buying power by artificially putting the blame on the Japanese people, who had nothing to do with creating the dilution problem.

Tsunami, a trigger for dollar dilution

It is forecast that Japan's government will have to come up with $200 billion (probably twice that much) to get Japan's industry running again. Where is Japan to get all this money? The answer is, Japan's treasury has enough US Treasury bonds and bills in hand to pay for two Tsunamis. But if they spend those dollars, it will drive down the value of every dollar Americans hold, driving up our prices. This is why the price of things, from petroleum to corn, cooking oil, meat, and especially valuable metals, are exploding.

If Japan sells even half of its $850 billion in US Treasuries, it will devastate the dollar. Worse, China holds many more dollar bonds than Japan, and has been resisting the temptation to sell for a long time. If Japan sells dollars, China will see the handwriting on the wall and also sell US spendthrift bonds... bringing the end of the dollar as a world reserve currency, and diluting our savings accounts and the buying power of government and state bonds.

Bretton Woods 2.0: Soros New World Order Conference

Stephen Lendman

In July 1944, 730 delegates from 44 nations met at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, NH for a UN Monetary and Financial Conference. Its purpose was to establish a post-war international monetary system of convertible currencies, fixed exchange rates, free trade, the US dollar as the world's reserve currency linked to gold, and those of other nations fixed to the dollar.

It also designed an institutional framework for market-based capital accumulation to assure newly liberated colonies would pursue capitalist economic development beneficial to victorious allies, mainly America.

In addition, the IMF and World Bank were established to integrate developing nations into the Global North-dominated world economy, using debt entrapment as the way to transfer their wealth to powerful Western bankers.

The scheme to this day obligates indebted nations to take new loans to service old ones, assuring rising indebtedness and structural adjustment harshness, including:

privatization of state enterprises;
mass layoffs;
deep social spending cuts;
wage freezes or cuts;
unrestricted free market access for western corporations;
corporate-friendly tax cuts;
crackdowns on or elimination of trade unionism; and
harsh repression against those opposing a system incompatible with social democracy.

As a result, since WW II, public wealth shifted to powerful private hands, widening the gap between super-rich elitists and working households, a process more intense than ever now, including the amounts.

The Gold and the Stone

Uri Avnery
Uri Avnery's Column

There is something tragicomic about the persona of Richard Goldstone.

First there was a veritable storm of fury when the original Goldstone report was issued.

What a fiend! A Jew who claims to be a Zionist and an Israel-lover, who publishes the most abominable slanders about against our valiant soldiers, aiding and abetting the worst anti-Semites around the world! The very prototype of a self-hating Jew! Still worse, a “mosser” – a Jew who turns another Jew over to the evil Goyim, the most detested figure in Jewish folklore.

And now the turnabout. Goldstone, the Jew who has recanted. Goldstone who has publicly confessed that he was wrong all along. That the Israeli army committed no crimes in the 2008-2009 “Cast Lead” Gaza operation, On the contrary, while the Israeli army has conducted honest and meticulous investigations into all the allegations, Hamas has not investigated any of the horrendous crimes it has committed.

Goldstone, the Man of Stone, has become Goldstone, the Man of Gold. A man of conscience! A man to be admired!

It was, of course, Binyamin Netanyahu who had the final word. Goldstone’s recantation, he summarized, has confirmed once again that the IDF is the Most Moral Army in the World.

My heart bleeds for Judge Goldstone. From the beginning he was placed in an impossible situation.

Why Iceland Voted 'No' to the Diktats of the Creditor Banks

Michael Hudson

About 75% of Iceland’s voters turned out on Saturday to reject the Social Democratic-Green government’s proposal to pay $5.2 billion to the British and Dutch bank insurance agencies for the Landsbanki-Icesave collapse. Every one of Iceland’s six electoral districts voted in the “No” column – by a national margin of 60% (down from 93% in January 2010).

The vote reflected widespread belief that government negotiators had not been vigorous in pleading Iceland’s legal case. The situation is reminiscent of World War I’s Inter-Ally war debt tangle. Lloyd George described the negotiations between U.S. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon and Stanley Baldwin regarding Britain’s arms debt as “a negotiation between a weasel and its quarry. The result was a bargain which has brought international debt collection into disrepute … the Treasury officials were not exactly bluffing, but they put forward their full demand as a start in the conversations, and to their surprise Dr. Baldwin said he thought the terms were fair, and accepted them. … this crude job, jocularly called a ‘settlement,’ was to have a disastrous effect upon the whole further course of negotiations …”

And so it was with Iceland’s negotiation with Britain. True, they got a longer payment period for the Icesave payout. But how is Iceland to obtain the pounds sterling and Euros in the face of its shrinking economy. This is the major payment risk that is still unaddressed. It threatens to plunge the krona’s exchange rate.

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