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sábado, 23 de abril de 2011

Prosecution of Manning will embarrass US/El juicio a Manning

Continued Prosecution of Manning Will Embarrass U.S. Foreign Policy Establishment by Kevin Zeese

Después de 9 meses de confinamiento solitario el soldado estadounidense Bradley Manning ha sido transferido a una prisión militar regular en espera del juicio. Según el analista Kevin Zeese, que forma parte de una red de apoyo a Manning, si el juicio es público, y todo indica que así debería ser, saldrán a la luz todos aquellos documentos presuntamente "filtrados" por el joven militar. Zeese no se ahorra calificativos para el gobierno de Obama, y no son precisamente elogiosos. El maltrato al soldado Manning,  viene a decir,sobre el que se cierne el cargo de haber destapado documentos militares, puede volverse en contra suya.

The Obama administration finally did the right thing and is moving Manning from the abusive Quantico Marine Corps. Brig, but that is just the beginning of their problems with the prosecution of Bradley Manning. This is a trial that could rock U.S. foreign policy and undermine U.S. credibility around the world.
After months of pressure, the Obama administration is finally transferring PFC Bradley Manning to a military prison appropriately designed for pre-trial detention in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. While the transfer of Manning away from the abusive Quantico Marine Corps Brig may be a positive step, the U.S. government remains trapped in a Manning Quagmire. If they proceed their embarrassment will continue to grow as the truth about U.S. foreign policy is reviewed under a microscope.
The nine month-long abusive mistreatment of Manning in the brig at the Quantico Marine Corp. Base has put international attention on his case. The prosecution of Manning will result in the videos and documents he is accused of releasing being more closely examined. The war crimes and other misdeeds of military and foreign policy personnel will be highlighted to the world. People are already wondering why this young private has been so mistreated. What did he do to aggravate the Obama administration, U.S. military and foreign policy establishment?

At every stage of the prosecution: pretrial hearing, motion hearings and trial, there will be more focus on what he is accused of doing and that will inevitably lead to the documents and videos he allegedly leaked being more closely examined. This attention will not be kind to the U.S. military and State Department as the documents show consistent illegal and unethical behavior by the U.S. government; support for dictators, oligarchs and royalists who work against their people’s interests; as well as U.S. foreign policy and war being a vehicle for big business interests.

In addition to the content of the materials he is accused of leaking, the trial of Bradley Manning will be closely watched. People are already wondering whether a fair trial in the U.S. military is possible. If the Obama administration allowed nine months of abusive solitary confinement before trial how can they be expected to give Manning a fair trial? The media and people concerned about this case will be watching closely to see if he gets a fair, fully open, public trial.

Rule for Courts-Martial 806(b) states that military courts are presumptively open to the public. In a series of cases military courts have found the media has a right to attend preliminary hearings and trials in military courts. This is consistent with a long-line of U.S. Supreme Court decisions beginning with Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 448 U.S. 555 (1980) where the court recognized that public access to criminal proceedings is a critical component of a fair justice system that inspires public confidence and integrity. In 1987 the Court of Military Appeals wrote: [W]e believe that public confidence in matters of military justice would quickly erode if courts-martial were arbitrarily closed to the public.”

There is keen public interest in the case of Bradley Manning as he is accused of leaking documents that provide evidence that U.S. foreign policy is not what Americans have been told. The military has no basis for keeping the public from seeing all of Manning’s trial, but there was no basis for pre-trial mistreatment either. No doubt groups spearheaded by the Bradley Manning Support Network will be working to make sure the media and public has complete access to all hearings and documents related to Manning’s prosecution.

But, the focus will not be primarily on process but on content – what is Bradley Manning accused of leaking? And, that is a question the U.S. military and foreign policy establishment does not want Americans or people around the world to look at. It is not a pretty picture. Here are a few examples among many:

- That U.S. troops kill civilians without cause or concern and then cover it up (more examples of hiding civilian killings here, here and here) including killing reporters;

- The diplomatic cables also show that beyond the war fronts that Hillary Clinton has turned State Department Foreign Service officers into a nest of spies who violate laws to spy on diplomats all with marching orders drawn up by the CIA;
- The U.S. looks the other way when governments it puts in power torture;

- That Israel, with U.S. knowledge is preparing for a widespread war in the Middle East, keeping the Gaza economy at the brink of collapse and show widespread corruption at border checkpoints.

- The CIA is fighting an undeclared and unauthorized war in Pakistan with Blackwater mercenaries;

- The Collateral Murder video shows American soldiers in an Apache helicopter gunning down a group of innocent men, including two Reuters employees, a photojournalist and his driver, killing 16 and sending two children to the hospital. This one video describes multiple war crimes.

- Another document showed the 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan, in which as many as 140 civilians, including women and children, were killed in a U.S. attack, a fact disputed by the U.S. military.
It will not only be the American people who become more aware that the United States is not the “good cop” of the world but people and governments around the world will also more clearly see it.
The U.S. is in a Bradley Manning quagmire that is going to undermine its reputation in the world unless they find a way out of this case quickly. President Obama still has an opportunity to do the right thing – acknowledge the reality of the history and current make-up of U.S. foreign policy and begin a discussion within government and among the people about radically altering the direction, strategies and tactics of the U.S. around the world. If he shows this kind of leadership a quagmire could turn into positive change for the United States and the world.

Kevin Zeese directs Come Home America and is on the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s).

martes, 19 de abril de 2011

La guerra de Afganistan ha provocado 2537 civiles muertos en los 2 últimos años

Daños colaterales en Afganistan:2537 muertos

En enero la Fuerza de Asistencia a la Seguridad Internacional proporcionó a la revista científica "Science" datos militares internos sobre cifras de civiles muertos y heridos civiles en la guerra de Afganistan.

El balance es de 2537 muertos y 5594 heridos en los dos últimos años transcurridos.

La mayoría de las bajas se atribuyen, por expertos consultados por Science, a "ataques indiscriminados de los insurgentes, más que a las fuerzas regulares de ISAF".


In January, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) provided Science with the military's internal record of the death and injury of Afghan civilians, broken down by month, region, weaponry, and perpetrator.

By its reckoning, 2537 civilians were killed and 5594 were wounded over the past 2 years, with 12% of those casualties attributed to ISAF forces and the rest to insurgents.

 In February, after learning that the military was releasing these data, both the United Nations and an Afghan human rights organization agreed to release versions of their own civilian casualty data to Science.

Science assembled a team of experts to analyze the released data sets.

They conclude that while the war has grown deadlier for Afghan civilians over the past 2 years, ISAF has become a safer fighting force.

The majority of deaths, and nearly all of the recent increase, are attributed to indiscriminate attacks by insurgents rather than ISAF soldiers.

All of these data, as well as other information never before released, are now freely available online. Taken together, they provide the clearest picture yet of the human cost of the war.

Nitrógeno líquido para Fukushima

Fukushima Plan: Achieving Cold Shutdown Could Take 6 Months
by Eli Kintisch  

Science publica en su último número un artículo de Eli Kintisch donde se da cuenta  de un plan a desarrollar en medio año para enfriar los reactores en la planta de Fukushima. La solución pasa por el uso de nitrógeno líquido. Así se reduciría el empleo de agua. Basta leer con atención la breve nota técnica para aquilatar que lo ocurrido en Japón es mucho más grave y dificil de controlar que cualquier otra catastrofe relacionada con el uso pacífico de la energía nuclear.

Officials with Tokyo Electric Power Co. have outlined their plans for ending the saga of the stricken reactors at the Fukushima Daichi power plant.

In the first 3 to 6 months, according to the plan, crews will try to cool the reactors to a stable point, aiming for “cold shutdown” with temperatures within the reactors below 100°C. Then engineers will inject nitrogen into the pressure vessel surrounding each reactor.

Using this inert gas should make it possible to minimize the use of water in the reactor vessel and reduce the risk of hydrogen explosions, which have already rocked three of the reactors.

But crews will aim to use water to cool the outer containment vessel. The second step will focus on stopping the leakage of radionuclides into the air, essentially by fixing the outer walls of the damaged reactors or replacing them with freestanding, cubic containment barriers.

There is no timetable for the government to ease restrictions on residents who live within the 20-kilometer-radius evacuation zone.

The Japanese effort “seems to be on track, but [there’s] a long way to go,” says Lake Barrett, who helped lead the cleanup effort for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission 3 decades ago at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.

He says a big challenge for the Japanese is to start recirculating water they’ve used to cool the reactors; they have already created 10 million gallons of radioactive water in a once-through process called “feed and bleed."

"They need to get those cores on recirculation and off of feed and bleed. It is drowning them with radioactive water,” Barrett says.

By the end of the shutdown effort at Three Mile Island, Lake says, U.S. engineers were left with far less radioactive water, about 600,000 gallons.

© 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Cuba hora cero

El VI Congreso del PCC cubano terminó y a los cubanos de Cuba les queda ahora una compleja ruta, muy cuesta arriba, pero para la que por lo menos parecen tener una dirección clara y consensuada. Fidel, viejo pero sabio, les ha dejado barra libre: "que se cambie lo que sea".

La cobertura que ha recibido el evento partidista por parte de los medios europeos fue especialmente amplia. Con el esperado recochineo de algunas lumbreras del reportaje internacional. Era de esperar. Y lo han hecho, como de costumbre rematadamente mal.

Nadie publicó ni una entrevista a fondo con un delegado al Congreso. Ni detalles efímeros como por qué milagro divino han sobrevivido al bloqueo esos equinos preciosos que plagaron de mierda la senda por donde desfilaría más tarde la tropa. Nada. Cero patatero. Repatingados ante la tele con un buen aire acondicionado  a toda máquina y atentos a CubaDebate.

Curiosamente, los más activos detractores del sistema cubano, (variopintos y mal llevados entre ellos ya que compiten por ganar representatividad ante las embajadas  en la isla), ignoran lo improbable que es que un jefe de estado, en cualquier parte, haga una crítica tan descarnada a la gestión y resultados del gobierno como la que se marcó el presidente Raúl Castro.

Con muchas palabras vino a admitir que, "en 52 años no hemos sido capaces de consolidar un modelo económico viable que satisfaga las necesidades mínimas de la población". Y se quedó tan ancho. Lo que también significa una casi irracional esperanza de cambio. ¿O no?.

Quien visite la página de Granma Internacional podrá consultar un pequeño suelto en el que se leen los precios a los que la Isla caribeña deberá pagar artículos de alimentación básicos, leche en polvo, harina de soja, harina de trigo, debido a las adversas condiciones económicas vigentes.

La información no es casual. De lo que se ocupó el Congreso, exento de soflamas y encajes de consignas de otros momentos, fue de asuntos tan perentorios como de los medios  energéticos para cocinar. Trató de la realidad cotidiana que enerva a los cubanos.

Fidel Castro, que deploró en sus "Reflexiones" no haber estado en la plaza, comentó su admiración por el lenguaje y la preparación de los participantes en el VI Congreso.
Pero, ¿tienen los jóvenes cubanos una disposición a la altura de los retos que se les plantean?. ¿o son meros espectadores de un desarrollo que, por muchos motivos les resulta ajeno?.

De las numerosas veces que he estado en Cuba, y por cierto no he ido a complacerme en las dificultades y penurias de los cubanos, he sacado en claro que hasta que no se cambie la estrucctura económica no cabe esperar mejoras. La nostalgia por el mito de la Revolución con mayúscula aún se conserva en muchos cubanos.

El panorama mundial es el peor posible para emprender una difícil remontada económica cualquiera que sea el modelo que siga Cuba.

Cuba se enfrenta a su hora cero en una economía globalizada en crisis. Con un oscuro panorama de guerras por el petróleo.Con las absurdas posiciones de Estados Unidos, que de cierto modo favorecen su causa. Poco tiene de que presumir el antes floreciente estado del bienestar capitalista.

Cuba, la Cuba de la victoria de Playa Girón, ya ha aguantado mucho. Remontó catástrofes naturales, huracanes que dejaron  a otros países de la zona en la ruina. Y por encima de todo la desaparición de la URSS y sus subsidios millonarios de los que dependía una cierta bonanza. No es  improbable que también salga a flote del actual reto.

El problema es cómo.