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18 June 2015 @ 01:05 am
Former US Attorney General Joins Lawsuit Against Bush for Illegal War in Iraq  
By Claire Bernish
June 17, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Anti Media" - A lawsuit against members of the Bush administration for their role in the invasion of Iraq recently received noteworthy support from an internationally prominent group of lawyers—including a former U.S. attorney general. The group is asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the class action suit on grounds that the U.S.-led war was an illegal act of aggression in violation of international guidelines as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II.
Iraqi mother Sundus Saleh filed the lawsuit on May 27 against former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, stating they “broke the law in conspiring and committing the crime of aggression against the people of Iraq.” Her complaint filed to the court reads:
“Defendants planned the war against Iraq as early as 1998; manipulated the United States public to support the war by scaring them with images of ‘mushroom clouds’ and conflating the Hussein regime with al-Qaeda; and broke international law by commencing the invasion without proper legal authorization. More than sixty years ago, American prosecutors in Nuremberg, Germany convicted Nazi leaders of the crimes of conspiring and waging wars of aggression. They found the Nazis guilty of planning and waging wars that had no basis in law and which killed millions of innocents.” [emphasis added]
It should be noted as well that the Nuremberg Tribunal’s findings were specifically quoted in the suit, which has been undertaken as a pro bono case by Comar Law, based in San Francisco:
“[These] are charges of the utmost gravity. War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences […] affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” [emphasis added in the lawsuit]
Saleh’s previous attempt to sue the Bush administration in the California court system was met with resistance from the government—including Obama administration lawyers—and was ultimately dismissed using the terms of the Westfall Act, which grants immunity to federal employees who act “within the scope of their employment.”
But the amicus brief submitted on Saleh’s behalf by the group of attorneys—including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the president of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the former president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the former president of the National Lawyers Guild, a founding board member of the International Commission for Labor Rights, and the co-chair of the International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, among others—states that the previous court was “forbidden” to use Westfall protections to dismiss the charges because the Nuremberg Tribunal established “norms” that prohibit “the use of domestic laws as shields to allegations of aggression […] National leaders, even American leaders, do not have the authority to commit aggression and cannot be immune from allegations they have done so.” [emphasis added]
A second amicus brief was also filed by the nonprofit Planethood Foundation—a compelling action in itself, considering the organization was established in 1996 by the sole surviving Nuremberg chief prosecutor, Benjamin Ferencz. This brief cautions that “those in positions of power” should not be allowed to subvert their influence to escape responsibility for their crimes. This brief cites the U.N. statement given after Nuremberg proceedings that, “planning, initiating, or waging a war of aggression is a crime against humanity for which individuals as well as states shall be tried before the bar of international justice.” [emphasis added]
The significance of these briefs cannot be overstated amidst increasing international attention on the case. Calls to charge the Bush administration for war crimes have grown intense as recent reports estimate well over one million people have died as a result of the Iraq war.
Hopefully, there will be an appropriate answer from the federal appeals court for Saleh’s lawsuit; because, as Comar told Truthout, “This is a horror that continues to play itself out, daily, in Iraq; the architects of such chaos have yet to be meaningfully questioned as to their role in this unmitigated tragedy.”
ICH http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42173.htm
 
 
 
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 12:23 am (UTC)
War criminals
Are limey lawyers as corrupt as their yankee cousins?
If not, where is the class action suit against Blair and his regime?
Perhaps one could be initiated against Cameron and his regime for the Libyan destruction meantime.

Yeah. As if. The many paedos, assorted other perverts and crooks that we call government can't even get the findings of the Chilcot inquiry published.

Cameron waves his hands while Chilcot waits for the guilty to die?
Cameron 'losing patience' with Chilcot Iraq Inquiry delay
6 hours ago
Media caption Angus Robertson asks the chancellor if reports are true that the Chilcot report has been delayed until 2016
David Cameron says he is "fast losing patience" with delays in the publication of the Iraq Inquiry report.
Sir John Chilcot, who chairs the inquiry, has written to the PM saying he cannot set a timetable for the release of the report.
Sir John says the inquiry is waiting for a number of witnesses to provide responses to a draft of criticism they may face in the final document.
The inquiry was set up in 2009 and was meant to report in 2011.
Replying to Sir John's letter, Mr Cameron says he is "disappointed" there is no timetable for the report to be completed.
"Since the establishment of the inquiry nearly six years ago, the British public, in particular those who served in Iraq or lost loved ones in the conflict have been awaiting the results of your work," he wrote.
"They, and I, had hoped for the publication of your report by now and we are fast losing patience."
More http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33163916
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 11:12 am (UTC)
Re: War criminals
Chilcot accused of 'betraying' Iraq victims as anger grows over report delay
By Ian Dunt
Thursday, 18 June 2015
John Chilcot was accused of "betraying" victims of the Iraq war and putting the military covenant at risk today, as anger grew in Westminster at the delay to the publication of his report.
Speaking during business questions, Tory MP Andrew Murrison demanded an urgent debate on government time about the failure to bring forward the report.
"John Chilcot's failure to publish his report in a timely fashion is a betrayal of the military covenant, a betrayal of those who served in Iraq and in particular a betrayal of those who have suffered as a result of the Iraq war," he added.
Far from lowering the rhetoric, leader of the Commons Chris Grayling poured fuel on the fire by suggesting the inquiry was not living up to the responsibility it had been given.
http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2015/06/18/chilcot-accused-of-betraying-iraq-victims-as-anger-grows-ove
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 12:35 am (UTC)
The American Far-right’s Trojan Horse in Westminster
Elites are using the Henry Jackson Society to sell surveillance, war, white supremacism, banks, and misogyny
By Nafeez Ahmed
June 17, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Medium" - There is a violent extremist fifth column operating at the heart of power in Britain, and they stand against everything we hold dear in Western democracies: civil liberties, equality, peace, diplomacy and the rule of law.
You wouldn’t think so at first glance. In fact, you might be taken in by their innocuous-looking spokespeople, railing against the threat of Muslim extremists, defending the rights of beleaguered Muslim women, championing the principle of free speech — regularly courted by national TV and the press as informed experts on global policy issues.
But peer beneath the surface, and an entirely different picture emerges: a web of self-serving trans-Atlantic elites who are attempting to warp public discourse on key issues that pose a threat not to the public interest, but to their own vested interests.
One key organisation at the centre of this web is the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), an influential British think-tank founded a decade ago, ostensibly to promote noble ideals like freedom, human rights and democracy. But its staff spend most of their energies advancing the very opposite.
More recently, HJS has turned to demonising Edward Snowden supporters and privacy advocates as accomplices with al-Qaeda and the ‘Islamic State’ (IS) — as is also being done by Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times, with its hole-ridden story claiming Snowden’s revelations’ had allowed Russia and China to identify active MI6 agents.
Journalists who have reviewed the Snowden files say that there was nothing in them that would permit MI6 operatives to be identified.
Former senior CIA official Robert Steele, whose books have received endorsements from the past and then serving Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, said:
“I can state categorically that there could not have been names of either intelligence officers or agents in the Snowden materials. The system simply does not work that way.”
More http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42167.htm
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 01:39 am (UTC)
‘We Just Publish The Position Of The British Government’
Edward Snowden, The Sunday Times And The Death Of Journalism
By Media Lens
June 16, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Media Lens" - In the wake of the greatest crime of the twenty-first century, the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, you might have thought that the days of passing off unattributed government and intelligence pronouncements as 'journalism' would be over. Apparently not. On June 14, the Sunday Times, owned by Rupert Murdoch, published what has already become a classic of the genre (behind a paywall; full text here).
The prominent front-page story was titled: 'British spies betrayed to Russians and Chinese; Missions aborted to prevent spies being killed'. It sounded like an exciting plot for a James Bond film. And the first line was suitably dramatic:
'Russia and China have cracked the top-secret cache of files stolen by the fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden, forcing MI6 to pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries, according to senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services.' (our emphasis)
What followed was a series of assertions from faceless sources, backed by zero evidence and outright falsehoods.
Western intelligence agencies – famously trustworthy and free of any hidden agenda - said they had 'been forced into the rescue operations after Moscow gained access to more than 1m classified files held by the former American security contractor, who fled to seek protection from Vladimir Putin'. Anyone seeking 'protection' from one of the world's 'Bad Guys' is, of course, immediately deemed suspect.
'Senior government sources' claimed that 'China had also cracked the encrypted documents', endangering British and American spies. One senior Home Office official accused Snowden of having 'blood on his hands', although Downing Street said there was 'no evidence of anyone being harmed'. The journalists appeared unperturbed by the discrepancy and ploughed on.
More anonymous sources popped up: 'David Cameron's aides confirmed', 'A senior Downing Street source said', 'said a senior Home Office source', 'a British intelligence source said', 'A US intelligence source said'. The only named source in the whole piece was Sir David Omand, the former director of GCHQ, the secretive agency that conducts mass surveillance for the British intelligence services.
Taking as undisputed fact that Russia and China had access to Snowden's material, Omand said that this:
'was a "huge strategic setback" that was "harming" to Britain, America and their Nato allies.'
No other views were reported by the Sunday Times. This was stenography, not journalism.
More http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42165.htm
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 01:46 am (UTC)
One hopes Putin has written down all the steps of this dance so if the worst happens, his successor can carry on with confidence.
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 01:54 am (UTC)
Why Hardly Anyone Dies From a Drug Overdose in Portugal
By Christopher Ingraham
June 17, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Washington Post" - Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001. Weed, cocaine, heroin, you name it -- Portugal decided to treat possession and use of small quantities of these drugs as a public health issue, not a criminal one. The drugs were still illegal, of course. But now getting caught with them meant a small fine and maybe a referral to a treatment program -- not jail time and a criminal record.
Whenever we debate similar measures in the U.S. -- marijuana decriminalization, for instance -- many drug-policy makers predict dire consequences. “If you make any attractive commodity available at lower cost, you will have more users," former Office of National Drug Control Policy deputy director Thomas McLellan once said of Portugal's policies. Joseph Califano, founder of the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, once warned that decriminalization would "increase illegal drug availability and use among our children."
But in Portugal, the numbers paint a different story. The prevalence of past-year and past-month drug use among young adults has fallen since 2001, according to statistics compiled by the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, which advocates on behalf of ending the war on drugs. Overall adult use is down slightly too. And new HIV cases among drug users are way down.
Now, numbers just released from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction paint an even more vivid picture of life under decriminalization: drug overdose deaths in Portugal are the second-lowest in the European Union.
More http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42166.htm
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 02:21 am (UTC)
44 killed in air strikes, clashes in Iraq
Xinhua, June 17, 2015
A total of 44 people were killed Tuesday in the U.S.-led coalition air strikes and clashes between Iraqi forces and Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, security sources said.
In Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, the coalition aircraft carried out an air strike at dawn on three vehicles carrying IS militants in Bara area near the IS-seized town of Sinjar, Luqman al-Khansouri, a leader in a Kurdish force tasked with freeing Sinjar from IS, told Xinhua.
"The air strike resulted in destroying the three vehicles and the killing of 13 militants aboard," Khansouri said.
In Salahudin province, fierce clashes erupted between the Iraqi forces and IS militants on the main road leading to the IS-held town of Seiniyah, just west of the oil refinery town of Baiji, leaving at least 11 militants and six security members killed, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
On the road to Seiniyah, the security forces have been in heavy clashes with the IS militants for two successive days as the troops and allied militias known as Hashd Shaabi, or popular mobilization, are trying push forwards to free the town, the source said.
Meanwhile, the security forces and IS militants continued tit-for-tat clashes in the town of Baiji and the nearby oil refinery, the source added.
Also in the province, at least 150 displaced families returned to their homes in the provincial capital city of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, about two months after the security forces and Hashd Shaabi militias freed the city from the IS militants, the source said.
Since March 2, the security forces backed by dozens of thousands of allied Shiite and Sunni militias have been involved in Iraq's biggest offensive to recapture the northern part of Salahudin province, including Tikrit and other key towns and villages, from IS militants.
In Anbar province, heavy clashes erupted between IS militants and a federal police force backed by Hashd Shaabi militiamen near the militant-seized town of Garma, leaving nine policemen and militiamen killed and 15 others wounded, a provincial security source said.
In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, a roadside bomb detonated in the morning near a female intermediate school in the town of Mkheisa in northeast of the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, leaving a teacher and four students killed and six other students wounded, a provincial security source told Xinhua.
The security situation in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since June 10 last year, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and the IS.
http://www.china.org.cn/world/2015-06/17/content_35841464.htm
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 02:38 am (UTC)
Tasty lily pads
Back to Iraq: No really, these troops are just here to advise
June 16, 2015 By Peter Van Buren
An officer from the coalition forces gives advice to Kurdish Peshmerga forces during a training session by coalition forces on how to fight street battles and defend the front lines on the outskirts of Dohuk province
An officer from the coalition forces gives advice to Kurdish Peshmerga forces during a training session on how to fight street battles and defend the front lines on the outskirts of Dohuk province, Iraq, June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari
Words seem to mean different things in the Middle East. “Training” is a new term for escalation, and “Iraq” seems more and more like the Arabic word for Vietnam.
But the terms “slippery slope” and “quagmire” still mean what they have always meant.
In 2011, making good on a campaign promise that helped land him in the White House, President Barack Obama closed out America’s eight-year war in Iraq. Disengaged, redeployed, packed up, departed.
Then America went back. In August 2014, Obama turned an emotional appeal to save the Yazidi people from Islamic State into a bombing campaign. A massive tap was turned and arms flowed into the region. The number of American soldiers in Iraq zoomed up to 3,100, quietly joined by some 6,300 civilian contractors. The reputed mission was training – or whipping the Iraqi Army into shape.
After another inglorious retreat of the Iraqi Army, this time in Ramadi, the Obama administration last week announced a change: America will send 450 more troops to establish a new base at al Taqaddum, Anbar Province.
It is clear the United States no longer believes the Iraqi Army exists. What is left of it is largely a politically correct distribution tool for American weapons, and a fiction for the media. America will instead work directly with three sectarian militias in their separate de facto states (current bases in America’s Iraqi archipelago include one in Sunni Anbar, another in Kurdish territory and three in Shi’ite-controlled areas). The hope is that the militias will divert their attention from one another long enough to focus on Islamic State. It is, of course, impossible; everyone in Iraq — except the Americans — knows Islamic State is a symptom of a broader civil war, not a stand-alone threat to anyone’s homeland.
It is also significant that the United States will circumvent Baghdad’s objections to arming and training Sunni tribes. Baghdad has not sent any new recruits to the U.S. training facility at Ain al-Asad, in Sunni territory, for about six weeks; the United States will instead engage directly with Sunni recruits at Taqaddum. Obama’s new plan will also bring U.S. arms for the Sunnis straight into the new base, bypassing Baghdad’s control.
This is likely only the beginning of Obama’s surge. General Martin Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, outlined the establishment of what he called “lily pads” — American base-lets scattered around the country. Of course, like Taqaddum, these lily pads will require hundreds more American military advisers to serve as flies, at risk of being snapped up by an Islamic State frog. Any attack on U.S. troops would require a response, a cycle that could draw the U.S. deeper into open conflict.
The new strategy also revises the role of American troops in Iraq. “Advise and assist” is the new “training.” While careful to say Americans would not engage in combat per se, signals suggest advice and assistance will be dispensed quite close to the front.
In sum: More troops, more bases, more forward-leaning roles, all operating at times against the will of a host government the United States appears to have lost patience with. The bright light of victory is years down a long tunnel.
We’ve seen this before. It was Vietnam.
More http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/06/16/back-to-iraq-no-really-these-troops-are-just-here-to-advise/
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 02:43 am (UTC)
At least 33 killed in army and rebel attacks in Damascus
June 17, 2015
Cairo – No fewer than 33 people have died in retaliatory attacks by the Syrian army and rebels in areas near and inside Damascus, state media and activists reported on Wednesday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said no fewer than 24 civilians, including five children and 13 women, were killed by rockets fired on Tuesday by Syrian troops at the rebel-held district of Douma in suburban Damascus.
According to the human rights, in retaliation, rebels shelled the central Damascus quarter of Arnus, killing nine people.
More http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/06/at-least-33-killed-in-army-and-rebel-attacks-in-damascus/
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 02:50 am (UTC)
Four car bombs rock Yemeni capital, at least 31 killed:
Four car bombs rock Yemeni capital, at least 31 killed: Four car bombs hit three mosques and the political headquarters of the Houthi movement in the Yemeni capital Sanaa Wednesday, a security official said, killing at least 31 people.
Jun. 17, 2015
ISIS claims responsibility for deadly Yemen blasts
Agence France Presse
SANAA, Yemen: Militant group ISIS claimed responsibility for car bomb attacks in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa that killed at least 31 people Wednesday, according to a statement posted online.
"The soldiers of the Islamic State in Yemen, in a wave of military operations as revenge for the Muslims against the Houthi apostates [detonated] four car bombs near the centers of Houthi apostasy," the statement from the group said.
The blasts came as Saudi-led forces conducted more air strikes against Houthi military sites across Yemen and as delegates attending peace talks in Switzerland reported no progress on the second day of a U.N.-sponsored push for a Ramadan truce.
"Four car bombs targeted the political bureau of Ansarullah, the Hashush mosque in the Jiraf district, the Kibsi mosque in the Zira district and the Qubat al-Khadra mosque, causing the martyrdom and injury of dozens," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Earlier on Wednesday Houthi fighters in central Yemen blew up the home of a senior politician, Abdel-Aziz Jubari, while he was attending the Geneva talks as a member of the exiled government's delegation.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2015/Jun-17/302577-triple-car-bombs-hit-rebel-held-yemeni-capital-security-source.ashx
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 02:58 am (UTC)
Libya: Widespread Torture in Detention
Government Should End Arbitrary Detentions, Ill-Treatment in Eastern Libya
June 17, 2015
(Benghazi) – Libya’s internationally recognized government and its allied forces are responsible for widespread arbitrary detentions and for torture and other ill-treatment in detention facilities that they control in Eastern Libya.
In January and April 2015, Human Rights Watch received rare access to visit detention facilities in al-Bayda and Benghazi controlled by the Libyan Army and the Justice and Interior Ministries, and interviewed 73 detainees individually without guards present. Many detainees said that interrogators had forced them under torture to “confess” to serious crimes. They described other abuses, including lack of due process, absence of medical care, denial of family visits, lack of notification of families about their detention, and poor conditions. The detainees included children under 18.
“Government ministers, military commanders, and prison directors should immediately declare a no-tolerance policy against torture and hold anyone who abuses detainees to account,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa Director. “They should understand that they face a risk of international investigation and prosecution if they don’t call a halt to torture by the forces under their command.”
http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/06/16/libya-widespread-torture-detention
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 09:04 am (UTC)
Poroshenko Calls Russia's $3 Billion Loan A 'Bribe'
In interview with Bloomberg Ukrainian President Poroshenko appears to question Ukraine’s liability to pay $3 billion loan owed to Russia, calling it a “bribe”
Jun 16 2015 Alexander Mercouris
Ukraine’s President Poroshenko has introduced an incendiary element into Ukraine’s debt negotiations by calling the $3 billion loan Russia made to Ukraine in December 2013 “a bribe” to keep Ukraine in its geopolitical sphere.
Poroshenko did this in an interview with Bloomberg, in which however he stopped short of saying whether or not Ukraine would default on the loan.
Poroshenko is being disingenuous. The $3 billion loan was part of a much bigger Russian aid package that was intended to help put Ukraine on its feet. It was a more generous package than the one the IMF is offering.
Needless to say all loans governments make to each other have political strings attached and the one Russia made to Ukraine in December 2013 was no different. The same is equally true of the loans Ukraine is now getting from the West.
It is possible Poroshenko was testing the water – floating the possibility of Ukraine defaulting on the loan to see how the IMF would react.
The IMF has previously said its rules prohibit assistance to Ukraine if Ukraine defaults on its public debt, including the loan it owes Russia. As I have previously said, there is little doubt that the loan from Russia is public debt despite attempts by some to argue otherwise (see “Ukraine Has 1 Month to Avoid Default”, Russia Insider, 21st April 2015).
However the decision by IMF chief Christine Lagarde to go on lending to Ukraine even if Ukraine defaults on its private debt, i.e., the debt it owes its private creditors (see “IMF Confirms It Will Support Ukraine Whether It Defaults or Not”, Russia Insider, 13th June 2015), might have emboldened Poroshenko and the Ukrainians to think the IMF will support them if they default on their debt to Russia as well. That could explain Poroshenko’s comment.
If so, then it shows what a big risk Lagarde is taking by backing Ukraine in its battle with its private Western creditors.
While it might be possible legally speaking to justify continuing to give Ukraine support even if Ukraine defaults on its debts to its private creditors, it would be a totally different matter if the IMF were to go against its own rules and back Ukraine after it defaulted on its debt to Russia.
http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/poroshenko-calls-russian-loan-bribe-ukraine-preparing-default-loan/ri8018
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 09:08 am (UTC)
Executive Summary of the report from the Debt Truth Committee
17.06.2015
In June 2015 Greece stands at a crossroad of choosing between furthering the failed macroeconomic adjustment programmes imposed by the creditors or making a real change to break the chains of debt.
In June 2015 Greece stands at a crossroad of choosing between furthering the failed macroeconomic adjustment programmes imposed by the creditors or making a real change to break the chains of debt. Five years since the economic adjustment programmes began, the country remains deeply cemented in an economic, social, democratic and ecological crisis. The black box of debt has remained closed, and until now no authority, Greek or international, has sought to bring to light the truth about how and why Greece was subjected to the Troika regime. The debt, in whose name nothing has been spared, remains the rule through which neoliberal adjustment is imposed, and the deepest and longest recession experienced in Europe during peacetime.
There is an immediate need and social responsibility to address a range of legal, social and economic issues that demand proper consideration. In response, the Hellenic Parliament established the Truth Committee on Public Debt in April 2015, mandating the investigation into the creation and growth of public debt, the way and reasons for which debt was contracted, and the impact that the conditionalities attached to the loans have had on the economy and the population. The Truth Committee has a mandate to raise awareness of issues pertaining to the Greek debt, both domestically and internationally, and to formulate arguments and options concerning the cancellation of the debt.
The research of the Committee presented in this preliminary report sheds light on the fact that the entire adjustment programme, to which Greece has been subjugated, was and remains a politically orientated programme. The technical exercise surrounding macroeconomic variables and debt projections, figures directly relating to people’s lives and livelihoods, has enabled discussions around the debt to remain at a technical level mainly revolving around the argument that the policies imposed on Greece will improve its capacity to pay the debt back. The facts presented in this report challenge this argument.
All the evidence we present in this report shows that Greece not only does not have the ability to pay this debt, but also should not pay this debt first and foremost because the debt emerging from the Troika’s arrangements is a direct infringement on the fundamental human rights of the residents of Greece. Hence, we came to the conclusion that Greece should not pay this debt because it is illegal, illegitimate, and odious.
More https://left.gr/news/executive-summary-report-debt-truth-committee
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 09:36 am (UTC)
Cameron has betrayed every principle he mentions in his Magna Carta speech
By Ian Dunt
Monday, 15 June 2015
There are some political speeches which are so brazenly hypocritical you have to presume they're doing it on purpose. David Cameron's Magna Carta speech today is firmly in that category. In a short statement, the prime minister will reel off accomplishments which he himself has done his best to destroy during his time in government. It is a quite staggering moment of insincerity.
"Eight hundred years ago, on this day, King John put his seal to a document that would change the world," the prime minister starts. "We talk about the 'law of the land' and this is the very land where that law – and the rights that flow from it – took root."
He then lists what the law of the land entails:
"The limits of executive power, guaranteed access to justice, the belief that there should be something called the rule of law, that there shouldn't be imprisonment without trial. Magna Carta introduced the idea that we should write these things down and live by them. That might sound like a small thing to us today. But back then, it was revolutionary, altering forever the balance of power between the governed and the government. All over the world, people are still struggling to live by the rule of law and to see their governments subject to that law."
The fascinating thing about Cameron's list is that he has acted against the principle of every single example on it.
"The limits of executive power"
One of the key features of Cameron's time in power has been to expand executive power and limit the number of defences citizens have against it. Chief among these is the attempt to repeal the Human Rights Act and possibly pull Britain out of the European Convention of Human Rights altogether.
More http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2015/06/15/cameron-has-betrayed-every-principle-he-mentions-in-his-magn
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 10:53 am (UTC)
Things you own which the legal highs bill is going to make illegal
1 June 2015 By Ian Dunt
A few days after the draft psychoactive substances bill was published, its full ramifications are still becoming clear. It is one of the weirdest pieces of law ever proposed by a British government. And at a stroke, it seems to criminalise the majority of households in the UK.
I've written the following using accepted common definitions of the phrases involved, a close reading of the key passages of the draft bill and a little bit of logic. Anyone who can see how these items aren't criminalised using a strict reading of the bill is very welcome to let me know. We're all in uncharted legislative water here.
The psychoactive substances bill bans the production or supply of any psychoactive substance unless it is granted a specific exception, such as tobacco, alcohol, medicine, food or drink.
According to the bill, a psychoactive substance is something which "is capable of producing a psychoactive effect in a person who consumes it". It defines 'psychoactive' as something which, "by stimulating or depressing the person's central nervous system, affects the person's mental functioning or emotional state".
[...]
The really depressing thing is that, with expected Tory, Labour and SNP support, this insane bill is likely to pass with barely any opposition at all. But it will at least serve as a symbol of how deranged our debate on drugs has become.
Full http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2015/06/01/things-you-own-which-the-legal-highs-bill-is-going-to-make-i
clothcapclothcap on June 18th, 2015 10:55 am (UTC)
Financial Times Spins a Bankrupt Russian Oligarch Into Anti-Putin Martyr
Financial Times is no stranger to acting as a stooge for various Russian oligarchs over the years, but this is a new low.
Claims Zyuzin’s bad luck began when he missed an appointment in Putin in 2008
In fact Zyuzin enjoyed excellent relations with Putin until at least 2010 and earned as much as $3 billion that year
FT argues the brilliant Igor Zyuzin must remain in possession of his 67% share of the steel and coal giant Mechel…
conveniently forgetting the Zuzul’s Mechel is now $7 billion in debt to Russian state banks that must somehow be repaid
John Helmer
Dances With Bears
[...] This week the PAW committee was recalled to consider an FT report by Courtney Weaver (below, left) and Jack Farchy (right). They make it appear that the collapse into insolvency of Mechel, the steel and coalmine group owned by Igor Zyuzin (lead image, right), is the outcome of Zyuzin’s brave resistance to President Vladimir Putin and the Russian state banks; and that the only option for Mechel’s rescue is to keep the managerially irreplaceable Zyuzin in executive control — with all 67% of his stake in the company intact.
Weaver, an American, is deputy chief of the FT’s Moscow Bureau. She tweeted an advertisement for her story as “our in-depth look with @jfarchy into Russian tycoon Igor Zyuzin & his indebted mining empire”. She followed that with a promo from Oliver Bullough calling it “a fantastic piece”. Bullough reported for Reuters from Moscow between 2002 and 2006; he is currently employed by this collection of NATO governments, plus the Legatum Institute.
Tagged for what the FT calls its “Big Read”, here is the story by Weaver and Farchy.
The reporters claim Zyuzin himself refused to be interviewed, but gave permission for others to speak for him. The only sources named in the story are employees of Zyuzin. “Moscow bankers may have few kind words for Igor Zyuzin,” Weaver and Farchy report, “but in this drab industrial town in the Urals [Chelyabinsk] the Russian billionaire has the status of a minor deity.”
Full http://russia-insider.com/en/new-cats-paw-award-financial-times-makes-igor-zyuzin-hero-standing-vladimir-putin/ri8105