28 December 2010

Chris Hedges: 2011: A Brave New Dystopia

This really is a must read.

Chris Hedges: 2011: A Brave New Dystopia

The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.

We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled. 

Orwell warned of a world where books were banned. Huxley warned of a world where no one wanted to read books. Orwell warned of a state of permanent war and fear. Huxley warned of a culture diverted by mindless pleasure. Orwell warned of a state where every conversation and thought was monitored and dissent was brutally punished. Huxley warned of a state where a population, preoccupied by trivia and gossip, no longer cared about truth or information. Orwell saw us frightened into submission. Huxley saw us seduced into submission. But Huxley, we are discovering, was merely the prelude to Orwell. Huxley understood the process by which we would be complicit in our own enslavement. Orwell understood the enslavement. Now that the corporate coup is over, we stand naked and defenseless. We are beginning to understand, as Karl Marx knew, that unfettered and unregulated capitalism is a brutal and revolutionary force that exploits human beings and the natural world until exhaustion or collapse. 

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake,” Orwell wrote in “1984.” “We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” in his book “Democracy Incorporated” to describe our political system. It is a term that would make sense to Huxley. In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. The corporation state, hiding behind the smokescreen of the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and the tawdry materialism of a consumer society, devours us from the inside out. It owes no allegiance to us or the nation. It feasts upon our carcass. 

The corporate state does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader. It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. Corporations, who hire attractive spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education and mass communication. They control the messages in movies and television. And, as in “Brave New World,” they use these tools of communication to bolster tyranny. Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, “block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression.”

The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.” 

Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks. 

Attitudes and temperament have been cleverly engineered by the corporate state, as with Huxley’s pliant characters in “Brave New World.” The book’s protagonist, Bernard Marx, turns in frustration to his girlfriend Lenina:
“Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?” he asks.
“I don’t know that you mean. I am free, free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.”
He laughed, “Yes, ‘Everybody’s happy nowadays.’ We have been giving the children that at five. But wouldn’t you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else’s way.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” she repeated.
The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

We increasingly live in Orwell’s Oceania, not Huxley’s The World State. Osama bin Laden plays the role assumed by Emmanuel Goldstein in “1984.” Goldstein, in the novel, is the public face of terror. His evil machinations and clandestine acts of violence dominate the nightly news. Goldstein’s image appears each day on Oceania’s television screens as part of the nation’s “Two Minutes of Hate” daily ritual. And without the intervention of the state, Goldstein, like bin Laden, will kill you. All excesses are justified in the titanic fight against evil personified. 

The psychological torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning—who has now been imprisoned for seven months without being convicted of any crime—mirrors the breaking of the dissident Winston Smith at the end of “1984.” Manning is being held as a “maximum custody detainee” in the brig at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia. He spends 23 of every 24 hours alone. He is denied exercise. He cannot have a pillow or sheets for his bed. Army doctors have been plying him with antidepressants. The cruder forms of torture of the Gestapo have been replaced with refined Orwellian techniques, largely developed by government psychologists, to turn dissidents like Manning into vegetables. We break souls as well as bodies. It is more effective. Now we can all be taken to Orwell’s dreaded Room 101 to become compliant and harmless. These “special administrative measures” are regularly imposed on our dissidents, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was imprisoned under similar conditions for three years before going to trial. The techniques have psychologically maimed thousands of detainees in our black sites around the globe. They are the staple form of control in our maximum security prisons where the corporate state makes war on our most politically astute underclass—African-Americans. It all presages the shift from Huxley to Orwell. 

“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling,” Winston Smith’s torturer tells him in “1984.” “Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”

The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere. 

Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message—DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI’s targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state’s official Newspeak. The agents—our Thought Police—seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.

“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”

27 December 2010

Wikileaks Cables Spain: U.S. used the arrest of a Marine from the Sixth Fleet to brand Spanish police as racist

Translated from the Spanish daily El País (with links to the cables):

An incident between agents of the Guardia Urbana of Barcelona and several crew members of the Mount Whitney, the flagship of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, in early 2009, caused a serious diplomatic incident between the governments of Madrid and Washington.. In addition, last summer, the State Department used this incident to warn Afro-American tourists traveling to Spain that they were at risk of arrest. Barcelona City Council now says that its officials were carrying out actions against petty drug dealing and scoffed at the accusations of racism.

After the altercation with the staff of the U.S. Navy, the government of Barack Obama sent a diplomatic note in February 2009 that a Marine and several colleagues were targeted at gunpoint. The U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona warned then that the Sixth Fleet had said that after that incident, it was "reluctant" to re-anchor in the Catalan port.

The case erupted on January 22, 2009, when a crew member of the Mount Whitney was "accosted" by plainclothes municipal police who "did not identify themselves properly" and that, moreover, "who pointed a gun at his shipmates " During his detention, the sailor claimed he was knocked to the ground, and that he needed several stitches in his head. He was arrested and later released without charge. "There were suggestions the incident might have been racially motivated (the crewmember was African-American)," points out a confidential note from the embassy.

The Barcelona Town Hall (responsible for the local police under Spanish law) version said: "The plainclothes officers were conducting undercover drug dealing surveillance work in the Drassanes Plaza. They detected a conversation between George Thomas Kee and two youths of North African origin, and suspected a possible drug transaction, the officers proceeded to identify the suspects."

"An agent identified himself by showing his badge, but Mr. Kee began to gesture angrily, trying to leave the scene. The agent tried to take his arm, and when a corporal approached him, Mr. Kee hit him in the neck and punched the policeman. Then a group of 15 or 20 people (marines) started approaching the police in a hostile manner, shouting in English. (...). Seeing that this group continued to move forward, the agent drew his gun pointing it toward the ground, making the group stop and begin to move back, " according to the municipal report.

Kee was taken to Pere Camps Hospital  and a corporal and an officer of the Guardia Urbana were taken to the Mutua Universal clinic suffering from "injuries of varying degrees." Kee made a statement at the Ciutat Vella (Old City) police station saying he had no intention of attacking the agents, but thought they were going to rob him, as in the US "police identify themselves to suspects by showing their badge in one hand and in the other hand they point their gun at the suspect." After he was arrested "for assault on law enforcement officers" in Les Corts police station, he was visited by a consular representative, two Liaison Officers from the Spanish Navy and two from the U.S. Navy.

Barcelona Court number 20 closed the case shortly afterwards. The internal investigation of the local police concluded without finding any irregularities in the police officers' conduct, despite finding some mistakes in their actions.

The embassy emphasized the "gravity" of the matter and "the potential negative effects that could result if the Spanish Government did not take appropriate action." The embassy sent the foreign minister a "verbal complaint" demanding an explanation of the altercation (190 015 cable).

Two weeks later, the Consul General Todd Robinson met with the Barcelona Councillor for Security and Mobility, Assumpta Escarp, along with the Quartermaster of the Guardia Urbana. The consul "told Barcelona authorities that quick communication either directly with the Commanding Officer of the ship or the Consul General might have kept the situation from spiraling out of control and causing subsequent reactions in Barcelona, Madrid, Naples, and Washington, DC" (Cable 190 628). The authoritiesvundertook to contact Sixth Fleet officials in Naples (Italy) as well as liaison officers at the base in Rota (Spain) to clarify the situation.

After a few days, the Consul wrote to the then President of the Generalitat, José Montilla, the Mayor of Barcelona, Jordi Hereu, and the director of the Guardia Urbana, Xavier Vilaro. At the same time, he contacted the Office of Human and Civil Rights. The Embassy in Madrid and the chairman of the Standing Committee on Bilateral Co-operation in Defense Affairs raised their unease with the Spanish authorities. And the Chargé d'Affaires sent a complaint to the Secretary General for Defence Policy.

After all these complaints, the only response received was a letter from Vilaró, who lamented the "inconveniences" arising from the incident and stated that the case was the subject of an internal investigation, according to the cable. The US Consul in Barcelona again met with several representatives of the City and told them the Sixth Fleet was reluctant to re-anchor in Barcelona and that the case had attracted the attention at the highest level of the Department of State. The diplomat stressed that the U.S. Government demanded "assurances that U.S. ships would be welcome to the city."

Conclusion: US Marines are quite happy dishing it out when they're holding the weapons, but can't take the heat themselves...just as well the Barcelona police didn't do as the US Marines and police do: shoot first and ask questions later...

26 December 2010

Washington Post: Soft on Nicaragua

Who writes this crap? Yet another piece of revisionism by the WaPo, showing how much US media is in  bed with its criminal govt. instead of holding its criminal actions to account.

The first sentence is as far as anyone need go: "AQUARTER-CENTURY ago the United States went to extraordinary lengths to prevent consolidation of a leftist dictatorship in Nicaragua, funding an opposition army and even mining the country's harbors."

A 'dictatorship' in WaPo language is a govt than doesn't let US corporations run riot as though they owned the country.

'Funding an opposition army', is creating, financing, training and arming a terrorist force to instill fear throughout a country, and is illegal under international law. The International Court of Justice found the US  "in breach of customary international law not to intervene in the affairs of another state".

And,'mining the country's harbors', was an action so completely illegal under international law that the same judgement condemned it as ""in breach of its obligations under customary international law not to use force against another State, not to intervene in its affairs, not to violate its sovereignty and not to interrupt peaceful maritime commerce" technical terms for international terrorism.

What a bunch of sick hypocrites.

23 December 2010

Open Letter to John Whittingdale, chairman of the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee

Mr Whittingdale,

The Guardian writes today: "John Whittingdale, chairman of the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee, attacked Boyle's comments as "deeply offensive" and hard for Channel 4 to justify. He also called for an immediate Ofcom investigation."

Your comments are outrageously hypocritical and blatant, cheap demagoguery that one would expect from a ruling member in a totalitarian state, which is what this country's government is increasingly beginning to look like.

Anyone with half a brain could see that Boyle's use of the terms, as Channel 4 state, was "clearly intended" as satirical. It is apparent that John Stuart Mill's comments on Conservative's are right on the ball where you are concerned. Either you are incredibly stupid or, as I suspect, you are a deeply cynical, amoral phsycopath.

What is 'deeply offensive', however, is that you sir, voted for an illegal, criminal war of aggression on Iraq. You voted for rejecting a second UN resolution, you voted to reject the motion that the case for was unproven, and you voted to reject the motion that the case for war was not established. Your voting record on this issue puts you firmly on the same moral level as the 1939 Nazi party led by one Adolf Hitler, and clearly shows your hatred of true democracy, as you ignored the democratic wishes of the British people, the majority of whom were firmly against the war, and could see through the lies used to sell it.

What is 'deeply offensive' sir,  is your complete lack of concern, for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, or as  Frankie Boyle stated,  "we are murdering a load of shepherds. What gets me is our callousness as a society when we read out our dead on the news first, because our lives are more important. Other people's aren't worth as much."

I suggest you read Mark Curtis's book 'Unpeople' to read the history of the British government's "Ministry of War, department of nigger bombing,", and his article "The colonial precedent", which ends with this passage, remarkably similar to Mr Boyle's remarks: "Iraqis are in practice regarded as "unpeople" whose deaths matter little in the pursuit of western power; the major block on committing atrocities is the fear of being exposed and ministers will do all they can to cover them up. The public is the major threat to their strategy, which explains why they resort to public deception campaigns." It is this public deception which Wikileaks is highlighting, and to which Boyle was referring.

I also suggest you take a good read of Pullitzer prize-winning journalist Chris Hedge's piece at truthdig.com: "Bitter Memories of War on the Way to Jail" in which he writes:

"War perverts and destroys you. It pushes you closer and closer to your own annihilation—spiritual, emotional and, finally, physical. It destroys the continuity of life, tearing apart all systems, economic, social, environmental and political, that sustain us as human beings. War is necrophilia. The essence of war is death. War is a state of almost pure sin with its goals of hatred and destruction. It is organized sadism. War fosters alienation and leads inevitably to nihilism. It is a turning away from the sanctity of life.

And yet the mythic narratives about war perpetuate the allure of power and violence. They perpetuate the seductiveness of the godlike force that comes with the license to kill with impunity. All images and narratives about war disseminated by the state, the press, religious institutions, schools and the entertainment industry are gross and distorted lies. The clash between the fabricated myth about war and the truth about war leaves those of us who return from war alienated, angry and often unable to communicate. We can’t find the words to describe war’s reality. It is as if the wider culture sucked the words out from us and left us to sputter incoherencies. How can you speak meaningfully about organized murder? Anything you say is gibberish.

The sophisticated forms of industrial killing, coupled with the amoral decisions of politicians and military leaders who direct and fund war, hide war’s reality from public view. But those who have been in combat see death up close. Only their story tells the moral truth about war. The power of the Washington march was that we all knew this story. We had no need to use stale and hackneyed clichés about war. We grieved together.

War, once it begins, fuels new and bizarre perversities, innovative forms of death to ward off the boredom of routine death. This is why we would drive into towns in Bosnia and find bodies crucified on the sides of barns or decapitated, burned and mutilated. That is why those slain in combat are treated as trophies by their killers, turned into grotesque pieces of performance art. I met soldiers who carried in their wallets the identity cards of men they killed. They showed them to me with the imploring look of a lost child.

We swiftly deform ourselves, our essence, in war. We give up individual conscience—maybe even consciousness—for the contagion of the crowd and the intoxication of violence. You survive war because you repress emotions. You do what you have to do. And this means killing. To make a moral choice, to defy war’s enticement, is often self-destructive. But once the survivors return home, once the danger, adrenaline highs and the pressure of the crowd are removed, the repressed emotions surface with a vengeance. Fear, rage, grief and guilt leap up like snake heads to consume lives and turn nights into long, sleepless bouts with terror. You drink to forget.
The masters of war are slaves to the idols of empire, power and greed, to the idols of careers, to the dead language of interests, national security, politics and propaganda. They kill and do not know what killing is. In the rise to power, they became smaller. Power consumes them. Once power is obtained they become its pawn. Like Shakespeare’s Richard III, politicians such as Barack Obama (and indeed one John Whittingdale. DS) fall prey to the forces they thought they had harnessed. The capacity to love, to cherish and protect life, may not always triumph, but it saves us. It keeps us human. It offers the only chance to escape from the contagion of war. Perhaps it is the only antidote. There are times when remaining human is the only victory possible.

The necrophilia of war is hidden under platitudes about honor, duty or comradeship.

I personally will not be happy until you and all your cronies who voted for this illegal war are standing in the dock of the ICC. You are a disgrace to this country and to any peace-loving person.

Yours most sincerely,

David Sketchley

The War You Don't See - John Pilger

John Pilger: The War You Don't See

In this new documentary John Pilger, the winner of journalism's top awards for both press and broadcasting, including academy awards in the UK and US, questions the role of the media in war. In The War You Don't See, Pilger, himself a renowned correspondent, asks whether mainstream news has become an integral part of war-making.

Focusing on the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Pilger reflects on the history of the relationship between the media and government in times of conflict stretching back to World War I and explores the impact on the information fed to the public of the modern day practice of public relations in the guise of 'embedding' journalists with the military.

Featuring interviews with senior figures at major UK broadcasters, the BBC and ITV, and high profile journalists on both sides of the Atlantic, including Rageh Omaar and Dan Rather, the film investigates the reporting of government claims that Iraq harboured weapons of mass destruction.

Pilger also speaks to independent film makers, and whistleblowers, including the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange and to former senior British Foreign Office official Carne Ross to investigate why what he believes were key voices and key details did not figure prominently on the mainstream media's agenda. The film also includes hard-hitting footage from independent media sources showing scenes in Afghanistan and Iraq, including footage leaked to Wikileaks.

Dan Rather, the famous CBS news anchor, and BBC World Affairs Correspondent Rageh Omaar both reflect on their own roles during the lead up to hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq and the lessons they have learned. Rather speaks about pressure felt by journalists who face the danger of becoming what he calls mere 'stenographers'. Rageh Omaar speaks about the proliferation of 24 hour news and the effects this has on war reporting, including his own experience reporting on the liberation of Basra.

Fran Unsworth, the BBC Head of Newsgathering and David Mannion, Editor in Chief of ITV News, both face questioning on their news departments' reporting of the Iraq war and the scrutiny of George Bush and Tony Blair's claims about weapons of mass destruction.

The documentary also focuses on the abuse of Iraqi civilians by British soldiers and speaks to Phil Shiner, a lawyer who is representing a number of Iraqi victims. It examines the notion that our media distinguishes between 'worthy' and 'unworthy' victims of conflicts and how

The War You Don't See also looks at the balance of the media's reporting on the hostilities between Palestinians and Israelis, with particular focus on mainstream broadcasters' coverage of the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla in Gaza earlier this year. Both the BBC and ITV are asked about the influence of Israeli government efforts to shape the reporting of such incidents on their coverage.

22 December 2010

Amnistía Internacional se niega a declarar a Bradley Manning como prisionero de conciencia

Primer correo mandado el 20 de diciembre de 2010 a las 09:20 -


Hasta que la crisis me obligó a dejarlo hace un año, fui socio de AI durrante años.

¿Por qué al Sr. Bradley Manning Amnistía no le ha declarado como prisionero de consiencia? Está sufriendo un castigo brutal - lo han incomunicado - supuestamente por revelar graves abusos contra los derechos humanos, pero las autoridades ni siquiera han presentado ningún cargo contra él.

Dado la importancia del caso para el futuro de filtraciones sobre abusos de derechos hiumanos ¿no debería AI considerar el caso de Bradley Manning como alta prioridad?


La respuesta de Amnistía Internacional, 22 de diciembre de 2010 a las 18:51:

Estimado Sr. Sketchley,

Me gustaría informarle que Amnistía Internacional está haciendo un seguimiento de la situación del Sr. Manning.

Para Amnistía Internacional es fundamental que todas aquellas personas que están presas lo estén acorde a las normas internacionales de derechos humanos. Ahora mismo, por lo que se refiere a la situación del Sr.Manning la información aparecida en los medios ah llegado a ser contradictoria e incompleta en algunos casos por lo que lo que desde Amnistía Internacional no se tiene claridad si su detención está teniendo lugar según estas normas internacionales.

Hasta que Amnistía Internacional no lleve a cabo una investigación independiente sobre toda la información aparecida sobre este caso y tenga la oportunidad de hablar con personas que disponen de información de primera mano sobre la situación del Sr. Manning no se pronunciará de forma explícita sobre este caso y sobre su situación.


Amnistía Internacional Sección Española

Mi respuesta, 22 de diciembre de 2010 a las 22:32:

Estoy realmente decepcionado con Amnistía.

Esto no es una respuesta.

Nada impide AI pedir públicamente al gobierno de EEUU confirmar que no le están manteniendo incomunicado (confinamiento solitario) o pedir que dejan a Amnistía seguir muy de cerca las condiciones de su confinamiento. Expresar la preocupación de AI no requiere una investigación decisiva y obviamente hay motivos de preocupación. Además, AI debería haber investigado ya.

Es bastante fácil ponerse en contacto con el abogado de PFC Manning, quien ya ha publicado un informe sobre las condiciones bajo cuales PFC Manning está siendo objeto o a su amigo David House. Esas condiciones ya han sido analazidas por el abogado constitucional estado-unidense Glenn Greenwald aquí: "The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention" y han sido publicados en la página web de The New York Times y comentado en MSNBC.

Algunos extractos del análisis de Greenwald:

"From the beginning of his detention, Manning has been held in intensive solitary confinement. For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell. Even inside his cell, his activities are heavily restricted; he's barred even from exercising and is under constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions. For reasons that appear completely punitive, he's being denied many of the most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a pillow or sheets for his bed (he is not and never has been on suicide watch). For the one hour per day when he is freed from this isolation, he is barred from accessing any news or current events programs. Lt. Villiard protested that the conditions are not "like jail movies where someone gets thrown into the hole," but confirmed that he is in solitary confinement, entirely alone in his cell except for the one hour per day he is taken out.
Just by itself, the type of prolonged solitary confinement to which Manning has been subjected for many months is widely viewed around the world as highly injurious, inhumane, punitive, and arguably even a form of torture. In his widely praised March, 2009 New Yorker article -- entitled "Is Long-Term Solitary Confinement Torture?" -- the surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande assembled expert opinion and personal anecdotes to demonstrate that, as he put it, "all human beings experience isolation as torture." By itself, prolonged solitary confinement routinely destroys a person’s mind and drives them into insanity. A March, 2010 article in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law explains that "solitary confinement is recognized as difficult to withstand; indeed, psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture."
In 2006, a bipartisan National Commission on America's Prisons was created and it called for the elimination of prolonged solitary confinement. Its Report documented that conditions whereby "prisoners end up locked in their cells 23 hours a day, every day. . . is so severe that people end up completely isolated, living in what can only be described as torturous conditions." The Report documented numerous psychiatric studies of individuals held in prolonged isolation which demonstrate "a constellation of symptoms that includes overwhelming anxiety, confusion and hallucination, and sudden violent and self-destructive outbursts." The above-referenced article from the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law states: "Psychological effects can include anxiety, depression, anger, cognitive disturbances, perceptual distortions, obsessive thoughts, paranoia, and psychosis."
The Supreme Court's 1890 decision in In re Medley noted that as a result of solitary confinement as practiced in the early days of the United States, many "prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition . . . and others became violently insane; others still, committed suicide; while those who stood the ordeal better . . . [often] did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of any subsequent service to the community." And in its 1940 decision in Chambers v. Florida, the Court characterized prolonged solitary confinement as "torture" and compared it to "[t]he rack, the thumbscrew, [and] the wheel."
International treaty bodies and human rights experts, including the Human Rights Committee, the Committee against Torture, and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, have concluded that solitary confinement may amount to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. They have specifically criticized supermax confinement in the United States because of the mental suffering it inflicts."

Esto se está convirtiendo en algo habitual en su organización cuando se trata de gobiernos u organizaciones 'amistosos'. Lo mismo ocurrió con la matanza perpetrado por soldados de la ONU en Haiti el 06 de julio 2005. AI tampoco investigó esa matanza.

Su respuesta no es aceptable, e insisto en pedir una declaración de PFC Manning como prisionero de conciencia ya.

Este asunto no va a desaparecer y voy a hacer todo en mi poder a dar publicidad a este asunto que afectará a la buena reputación de AI y mostrará a todo el mundo las dos barras de medir de AI. y su subordinación a los intereses del gobierno de EEUU.

Por cierto escribí "las autoridades ni siquiera han presentado ningún cargo contra él". Lo que quería decir era que no le han juzgado ni encontrado culpable de ningún delito hasta ahora.


Frost over the World - Julian Assange

20 December 2010

Rap News 6 - Wikileaks' Cablegate: the truth is out there

19 December 2010

Wikileaks Cuba: "very little evidence that the mainline dissident organizations have much resonance among ordinary Cubans."

According to the US Chief of Mission in Cuba, Jonathan Farrar: there is "very little evidence that the mainline dissident organizations have much resonance among ordinary Cubans."

09HAVANA221     2009-04-15 13:01     2010-12-17 22:10     CONFIDENTIAL     US Interests Section Havana

Other interesting bits:

"it is worth asking what the Cuban political opposition is doing and the role it may play in the future. Two recent op-ed pieces in the international press that have infuriated dissident leaders argue that the answers are: not much and none...Though dissidents have reacted very negatively to the articles in the international press, the fact is that they contain more than a grain of truth." Consequently, "we will need to look elsewhere, including within the government itself, to spot the most likely successors to the Castro regime."
"the dissident movement in Cuba has become as old and as out of touch with the lives of ordinary Cubans as the regime itself. The articles represented comprehensive and fairly balanced critiques of the dissident movement,"
"we see very little evidence that the mainline dissident organizations have much resonance among ordinary Cubans. Informal polls we have carried out among visa and refugee applicants have shown virtually no awareness of dissident personalities or agendas. Judging from the reactions we have heard from our dissident contacts, the most painful accusation made by the commentators was that the dissidents are old and out of touch."
"Despite claims that they represent "thousands of Cubans," we see little evidence of such support...we do not see platforms designed to appeal to a broad cross section of Cuban society. Rather, the greatest effort is directed at obtaining enough resources to keep the principal organizers and their key supporters living from day to day. One political party organization told the COM quite openly and frankly that it needed resources to pay salaries and presented him with a budget in the hope that USINT would be able to cover it. With seeking resources as a primary concern, the next most important pursuit seems to be to limit or marginalize the activities of erstwhile allies, thus preserving power and access to scarce resources."

Translated into ordinary English, this means they are more interested in lining their own pockets
"opposition members of all stripes complain that the intention of the exiles is to undercut local opposition groups so that they can move into power when the Castros leave. The islanders accuse Miami and Madrid-based exiles of trying to orchestrate their activities from afar, and of misrepresenting their views to policy makers in Washington."
"From our standpoint, however, there are few if any dissidents who have a political vision that could be applied to future governance. Though the dissidents will not acknowledge it, they are not widely known in Cuba outside the foreign diplomatic and press corps...it is unlikely that they will play any significant role in whatever government succeeds the Castro brothers. "

Wikileaks Colombia. "extrajudicial execution problem widespread"

The cables from the US Embassy in Bogota make for interesting reading:

09BOGOTA542 2009-02-20 13:01 2010-12-08 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota

"the Soacha phenomenon originated in the 4th Brigade in Medellin (commanded at one time by both former Army Commander Mario Montoya and current Army Commander Oscar Gonzalez). The practice later spread to other brigades and commands in the region, including the Joint Caribbean Command."
"Army Commander General Oscar Gonzalez has impeded investigations of abuses"
"Gonzalez tried to intimidate witnesses not to testify about murders committed by the 11th Brigade in Sucre, and said Gonzalez tries to limit his office's resources. XXXXXXXXXXXX echoed Suarez's comments, noting that Gonzalez has transferred personnel from Suarez's office, reduced his bodyguard contingent, and tried to restrict the IG's mandate. Suarez added that his family has received indirect threats due to his work. His staff is searching for an email allegedly circulating within the military which shows photos of the members of the MOD Commission that investigated the Soacha murders with X's drawn through them."
"President Uribe continues to view military success in terms of kills, leaving him susceptible to the arguments of some military officers and politicians that the MOD's emphasis on human rights is overstated and is harming the war effort against the FARC."

Obama's Israel Policy: Speak softly and carry a very big carrot

17 December 2010

Gates Comes Clean: We Don't Give a Shite About Democracy

The headline says it all: "Gates: Public opinion can't sway Afghan commitment"

"Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. can't let public opinion sway its commitment to Afghanistan.

Gates says it's the responsibility of leaders to focus on the public interest and the long-term implications of U.S. involvement in the region.

So public opinion has nothing to do with the public interest?

These people hate democracy. It's about time the American people had another revolution. This time though they should perhaps take a few lessons from the French Revolution or the overthrow of Ceaucescu in Romania.

15 December 2010

Halliburton bribes Nigeria to get Cheney off bribery charges...!

Talk about bare-faced cheek, but you just couldn't make up these news stories if you tried.

The headline reads: "Nigeria mulls $250 mln deal to drop Cheney charges". Of course the Nigerians were hoping for $500 million, but it looks as though they' may have to settle for just half that sum.

"Nigeria has negotiated a 250 million dollar settlement deal that would see it drop charges against US ex-vice president Dick Cheney and others over a bribery scandal, an official said Tuesday.
The deal reached by officials from Nigeria and energy firm Halliburton, Cheney's former company, must still be approved by the West African country's government, said Femi Babafemi, a spokesman for the anti-graft agency."

Right, it still has to be approved by one of the most corrupt governments in the world..

Let's not forget that the bribes paid by Cheney's companies are "estimated at $180 million" and are "linked to construction of a liquefied natural gas plant."

Halliburton has serious form:

"US authorities said last year that Halliburton and KBR had agreed to pay 177 million dollars to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States over the scandal.
KBR agreed to pay a further 402 million dollars to settle criminal charges brought by the US Justice Department."

The world would not be sorry if Cheney were to do a Holbrooke - preferably sooner than later...

07 December 2010

03 December 2010

The moral standards of WikiLeaks critics - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com

Another great, hard-hitting article from Glenn Greenwald

The moral standards of WikiLeaks critics - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com

Wikileaks and the El-Masri case: Innocent CIA torture victim more than just a leaked cable

Khaled El-Masri is a German citizen, a father of six who the CIA kidnapped by mistake, then sent off to receive months of torture in Afghanistan.

When they realized he was innocent, he was flown to Albania and dumped on a back road without so much as an apology.

El-Masri's futile efforts at receiving justice in the U.S. are well-known, but cables recently leaked by Wikileaks reveal that the U.S. also warned German authorities not to allow a local investigation into his kidnapping.

The nearest he's gotten to justice is an arrest warrant for 13 CIA agents issued by prosecutors in Spain, which they entered on forged passports.

In this video, originally part of the Witness.org documentary OUTLAWED, El-Masri relates his experiences.

OUTLAWED website:

Boing Boing post:

Wikileaks: US Hypocrisy Exposed

Wikileaks : Israeli organised crime uses same MO in hits as used on Iranian scientists

Wikileaks cable "09TELAVIV1098, Israel, A Promised Land For Organised Crime?"

This is the title of the Cable from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to the Secretary of State, Dept. of Homeland Security, the US Customs and Border Protection agency, and for some reason the US Embassy in Rome...

Among the fascinating snippets of information about the crime families in Israel, the real news is that the Israeli organised crime families use exactly the same MO as that on the recent assassination/murder of one Iranian nuclear scientist (and his wife), and the attempted assassination/murder of another at the same time.

The cable reveals this information:

"According to several media accounts, a motor scooter pulled up alongside Alperon's car and the rider attached a sophisticated explosive device with a remote detonator to the car door."

Now check this with the BBC report on the recent assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist:

"The scientists were targeted by men on motorbikes who attached bombs to the windows of their cars as they drove to work"

The cable details that previously, and despite their notoriety, Organised Crime (OC) figures were: "generally been viewed as a nuisance to be handled by local police. Law enforcement resources were directed to more existential security threats from terrorists and enemy states."

It continues: "In recent years, however, the rules of the game have changed. According to xxxxx, the old school of Israel OC is giving way to a new, more violent, breed of crime. xxxxx told conoffs that the new style of crime features knowledge of hi-tech explosives acquired from service in the Israeli Defense Forces, and a willingness to use indiscriminate violence, at least against rival gang leaders. New OC business also includes technology-related crimes, such as stock market and credit card fraud, and operates on a global scale."

I'd say that this was a pretty good pointer as to who masterminded the hit in Iran...

01 December 2010

Documentary: Psychopath -- Axis of Evil -- Sott.net

Documentary: Psychopath -- Axis of Evil -- Sott.net