* BRADLEY MANNING NOBEL PEACE PRIZE NOMINATION 2012
Source: Birgitta Jonsdottir
February 1st 2012 the entire parliamentary group of The Movement of the Icelandic Parliament nominated Private Bradley Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize. Following is the reasoning we sent to the committee explaining why we felt compelled to nominate Private Bradley Manning for this important recognition of an individual effort to have an impact for peace in our world.
Our letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee:
We have the great honor of nominating Private First Class Bradley Manning for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. Manning is a soldier in the United States army who stands accused of releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, war crimes, and imperialism by the United States government in international dealings. These revelations have fueled democratic uprising around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on our foreign policies, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S.troops from the occupation in Iraq.
Bradley Manning has been incarcerated for well over a year by the U.S. government without a trial. He spent over ten months of that time period in solitary confinement, conditions which experts worldwide have criticized as torturous. Juan Mendez, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, has repeatedly requested and been denied a private meeting with Manning to assess his conditions.
The documents made public by WikiLeaks should never have been kept from public scrutiny. The revelations – including video documentation of an incident in which American soldiers gunned down Reuters journalists in Iraq – have helped to fuel a worldwide discussion about America’s overseas engagements, civilian casualties of war, imperialistic manipulations, and rules of engagement. Citizens worldwide owe a great debt to the WikiLeaks whistleblower for shedding light on these issues, and so I urge the Committee to award this prestigious prize to accused whistleblower Bradley Manning.
Members of the Icelandic Parliament for The Movement
* TER-ROR-IST (NOUN): ANYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH THE GOVERNMENT
Any American Who Criticizes the Government May Be Labeled a Terrorist
I noted in 2009:
The Department of Homeland Security and police forces label anyone who they disagree with – or who disagrees with government policies – as “terrorists”.
Don’t believe me?
Well, according to a law school professor, pursuant to the Military Commissions Act, “Anyone who … speaks out against the government’s policies could be declared an ‘unlawful enemy combatant’ and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens.”
And according to an FBI memo, peace protesters are being labeled as “terrorists”.
Anyone who disagrees with the “acceptable” way of looking at things is a terrorist.
How is this different from Stalin or Mao’s use of labels such as “enemy of the state”?
This may have seemed over-the-top to some, but events have proven it true. […]
* NDAA MILITARY DETENTION OF US CITIZENS BREAKS THROUGH TO MAJOR MEDIA. NOT AMERICAN ONE, THE BBC – VIDEO
Professor of Law Jonathan Turley speaks to BBC on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA), which allows for the indefinite military detention of US citizens without charge or trial in violation of the right to a jury trial guaranteed by the Constitution.
* TRUTH, LIES, AND AFGHANISTAN
By Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, Armed Forces Journal
I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.
What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.
Entering this deployment, I was sincerely hoping to learn that the claims were true: that conditions in Afghanistan were improving, that the local government and military were progressing toward self-sufficiency. I did not need to witness dramatic improvements to be reassured, but merely hoped to see evidence of positive trends, to see companies or battalions produce even minimal but sustainable progress.
Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.[…]
* ‘BESIEGED’ HOMS ENDURES TANK ASSAULT – VIDEO
* SYRIA THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY
By Pepe, Escobar, Asia Times
|The current Syrian drama is far from the usual, clear-cut “good guys vs bad guys” Hollywood shtick. The suspension of the Arab League observers mission; the double veto by Russia and China at the UN Security Council; the increasing violence especially in Homs and some Damascus suburbs: It is all leading to widespread fears in the developing world of a Western-backed armed insurrection trying to replicate the chaos in Libya – a “liberated” country now run by heavily weaponized militias. Syria slipping into civil war would open the door to an even more horrific regional conflagration.Here’s an attempt to see through the fog.
1. Why has the Bashar al-Assad regime not fallen?
Because the majority of the Syrian population still supports it (55%, according to a mid-December poll funded by the Qatar Foundation. See “Arabs want Syria’s President Assad to go – opinion poll” , and note how the headline distorts the result.
Assad can count on the army (no defections from the top ranks); the business elite and the middle class in the top cities, Damascus and Aleppo; secular, well-educated Sunnis; and all the minorities – from Christians to Kurds and Druze. Even Syrians in favor of regime change – yet not hardcore Islamists – refuse Western sanctions and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-style humanitarian bombing. […]
* SYRIA: CIA-M16 INTEL OPS AND SABOTAGE
By Felicity Arbuthnot, Global Research
“In order to facilitate the action of liberative (sic) forces, …a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals. …[to] be accomplished early in the course of the uprising and intervention, …
Once a political decision has been reached to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria, CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main (sic) incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals. …Incidents should not be concentrated in Damascus …
Further : a “necessary degree of fear .. frontier incidents and (staged) border clashes”, would “provide a pretext for intervention… the CIA and SIS [MI6 should use … capabilitites in both psychological and action fields to augment tension.” (Joint US-UK leaked Intelligence Document, London and Washington, 1957)
“’The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” (George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair, 1903-1950.)
For anyone in two minds about what is really going on in Syria, and whether President Assad, hailed a decade ago as “A Modern Day Attaturk”, has become the latest megalomaniacal despot, to whose people a US-led posse of nations, must deliver “freedom”, with weapons of mass, home, people, nation and livelihood destruction, here is a salutary tale from modern history.
Have the more recent sabre rattlings against Syria* been based on US-UK government papers, only discovered in 2003 – and since air brushed (or erroneously omitted) from even BBC timelines, on that country?
* TARGETING SYRIA AND IRAN
By Stephen Lendman
Slowed but not derailed by Russia and China vetoing its Security Council resolution, America’s regime change/war plans remain on track.
In 1999, Washington circumvented the Security Council, UN Charter, and US Constitution to wage aggressive war against nonbelligerent Serbia/Kosovo.
According to former Nuremberg prosecutor Walter Rockler, it “constitute(d) the most brazen international aggression since the Nazis attacked Poland to prevent (nonexistent) ‘Polish atrocities’ against Germans.”
“The United States has discarded pretensions to international legality and decency, and embarked on a course of raw imperialism run amok.” […]
* BOOKS: A GLOBAL EMPIRE, YET A ‘UNITED STATES OF FEAR’
By Charles Davis, Global Issues
By the end of 2011, the United States had elite special operations forces in around 120 of the 192 countries recognised by the United Nations, with U.S. military bases in more than half of the world’s nation-states.
Yet despite this global empire — some would say because of it — the U.S. is a country today that is characterised not so much by peace and prosperity as by poverty and anxiety.
While the rhetoric of the political class in Washington boasts of fearlessness in the face of terror, the United States, writes author Tom Engelhardt in a new collection of essays, has become a nation ruled by fear, characterised by a cynical, institutional overreaction to the relatively minor threat that is international terrorism.
It’s no coincidence, Engelhardt observes, that at a time when politicians in Washington are spending on the military almost as much as what the rest of the world pays combined — accounting for half of the average citizen’s income tax — state governments are slashing services and federal social programmes are being put on the chopping block, Wall Street all the while making a record-breaking killing fueled by its investments in the U.S. war-making machine.
‘This is not just a domestic crisis,’ Engelhardt writes, ‘but part of imperial decline.’ And yet, ‘in our deluded state, Americans don’t tend to connect what we’re doing to others abroad and what we’re doing to ourselves at home,’ even as their experience at the airport more and more comes to resemble a checkpoint outside Kabul. […]
* CRUDE AWAKENING
By Ben Van Heuvelen, Foreign Policy
On Dec. 17, two days after the U.S. military cased its colors and formally ended its mission in Iraq, the brain trust of the Iraqi oil sector gathered for a symposium at Baghdad’s Alwiyah Club, a fortified concrete complex of meeting rooms and outdoor gardens. They were officially meeting to discuss “Challenges Facing the Development of the Extractive Industry.” The issues they grappled with held the prospect to transform the global energy marketplace and determine the course of Iraqi democracy.
A few top government officials sat on a dais while members of the audience — about 150 parliamentarians, technocrats, and academics — took turns at a podium, giving short speeches and asking questions of the panelists. Speakers often had to yell to be heard over the objections of audience members. A bit of shouting was to be expected: This was the first time in years that Iraqis were gathering without a foreign military occupation to outline their economic future. And in a country where 95 percent of government revenue comes from oil, any debate about oil is also a struggle for power. They addressed the most fundamental questions: How much oil should Iraq produce? What should happen to the revenue? Who should control the country’s oil strategy? You wouldn’t have known it by the volume of the rhetoric, but a lot of the talk was moot.
Much has already been decided. In 2009, the government started awarding contracts for the country’s largest fields, and the biggest names in oil have signed up. Companies like ExxonMobil and BP have invested billions of dollars, bringing the latest in technology and engineering expertise. Production has rebounded from just over 1 million barrels per day after the invasion to nearly 3 million today. Baghdad’s 11 international oil contracts promise to deliver a total of more than 13 million barrels per day within seven years — a figure that would make Iraq the largest oil producer, ever. […]
* PUTIN SAYS NATO MISSILE SYSTEM POINTED AT RUSSIA
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appeared on the program “Cold Politics” (Kholodnaya Politika) on Russian First Channel on Thursday and said the anti-missile system the U.S. and NATO allies are deploying in Europe “is undoubtedly aimed at neutralizing the nuclear rocket capability of Russia.”
Putin said the anti-missile system can cover “territory to the Ural (Mountains), the places where our ground nuclear forces are based.”
Putin said “today there is no threat from Iran or North Korea” and NATO is not offering any guarantees, even written, that the (anti-missile) system is not targeted against Russia. […]
* MEETING THE ‘NEW HOMELESS’ ON GREECE’S FREEZING STREETS
By Mark Lowen, BBC
In the heart of central Athens, a stone’s throw from the city’s glorious ancient sites, another face of today’s Greece is on show.
[…] Homelessness has soared by an estimated 25% since 2009 as Greece spirals further into its worst post-war economic crisis.
The country is now in its fifth straight year of recession and the official unemployment rate is nudging 20%, exacerbated by the austerity measures being pushed through in return for more bail-out money.
Greeks now speak of another section of society: the “new homeless”.
“They don’t have the ‘traditional profile’ of homeless people,” says Ms Nousi.
“They are well dressed and well educated. Until last year they had a good flat or a nice car – and now they have nothing.
“So it’s another kind of misery – another kind of poverty. We were not prepared for this poverty, but it exists.”
One of the new regulars at the kitchen is Vicky Kolozi.
A former journalist with the state broadcaster ERT, she lost her job a year ago and now cannot afford to feed herself and her daughter.
“It is hard to feel that I have to depend on this now,” she tells me.
“I have dreams and when you come here, the dreams go out of yourself. You must accept reality – and the reality is very difficult.” […]
READ and VIDEO @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16878756
* PUNK ECONOMICS: LESSON 1 – VIDEO
David McWilliams, Irish economist, gives us our first lesson in punk economics.