Posts Tagged ‘ecuador’
by stuartbramhall in Attacks on Civil Liberties, Inspiring Moments in Resistance
According to the New Zealand Herald, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino proposed on Friday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be Ecuador’s embassy in Stockholm. In this scenario, Assange would remain under Ecuadorian protection while undergoing questioning about sexual assault allegations. Patino also hinted to “new” developments in the Swedish case, stating “several elements of proof have been dismissed.”
At the moment, the governments of Britain and Ecuador are at an impasse. Despite granting him diplomatic immunity, Ecuadorian authorities can’t transport him out of the country, owing to a threat by British authorities to arrest him if he steps foot outside the embassy. According to the Business Recorder, British and Swedish officials have refused to comment on the proposal .
Assange took shelter in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June after exhausting all appeals against extradition from Britain to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations. His biggest fear is that Sweden will hand him over to the US, where he could face prosecution over the release of a vast cache of leaked Iraq and Afghanistan war reports and diplomatic cables.
According to Andrew Kreig, Director of the Justice Integrity Report, Wikileaks reported back in February on hacked emails they obtained from Stratfor, a Texas political intelligence company with ties to Karl Rove. The cables discussed a secret federal indictment against Assange.
Kreig’s article also provides interesting background on various Swedish civil servants with CIA credentials, as well as Rove’s links to Swedish officials pursuing Assange’s extradition.
by stuartbramhall in Inspiring Moments in Resistance
In June Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to prevent his extradition to Sweden for questioning on sexual assault allegations. His big fear is that the US will attempt to extradite him from Sweden and either detain him indefinitely under the NDAA as an enemy combatant or assassinate him for “harming” US interests by providing an outlet for whistleblowers who seek to expose government wrongdoing.
Assange is requesting political asylum in Ecuador, a request their government is still processing. Last week he hired Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish judge who indicted former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet – as well as former secretary of state Henry Kissinger – for crimes against humanity (see Judge Garzon and the Bush 6)
Spain’s Right Wing Government Removes Garzon from the Bench
In February 2012 Garzon’s right wing adversaries on the Spanish Supreme Court provoked international outrage by convicting him of illegally wiretapping conversations between right wing fraud suspects and lawyers Garzon suspected of laundering money for them. The conviction occurred despite efforts by Spanish prosecutors to withdraw the charges, which they believed were politically motivated and baseless. Following the conviction, which Garzon has appealed to the Constitutional Court of Spain, Garzon was suspended from the Spanish judiciary for eleven years.
Wikileaks Cables Suggest US Pressured Spain
Wikileaks cables released in December 2010 suggest the Obama administration may have pressured the Spanish government to remove Garzon from the judiciary (see Judge Garzon and the Bush 6). The cables reveal Obama officials were unhappy about Garzon’s efforts to indict six former Bush administration officials for crimes against humanity, as well as his investigation into the use of Spanish bases for CIA “rendition” flights (in which the CIA kidnaps foreign nationals and transports them to prisons in countries that openly practice torture).
Garzon made the following statement to the Cadena SER (Spanish) radio network (reported in the Guardian)
“It is only right that Assange should be protected by the same rights as those of any other citizen. Assange has not rebelled against any jurisdiction, given that he respects the action of the law, but he – and we – are seriously worried about what will happen to him because his situation is becoming political as a result of the great work done by his organisation when it comes to denouncing corruption.
That cannot be the reason for a judicial process that appears, and which I believe we can show, is arbitrary and totally baseless.
It does not seem right that a single person should be under such pressure from governments [Sweden and Britain]. I believe that Assange … is in a situation that is an attack on his human rights.”
by stuartbramhall in Attacks on the Working Class, The Global Economic Crisis
(This is the last of three posts about the new female head of the IMF, which the business press is promoting as a “rock star of the economic world,” and how we are being deceived about the real cause of the debt crisis in Europe.)
The free Greek documentary Debtocracy effectively dispels the media myths about lazy Greek workers and and scofflaw Greek taxpayers being responsible for the Greek debt crisis. It begins with an overview of what its filmmakers feel has been a basic goal of both globalization and the creation of a single European currency – namely “labor discipline” and the suppression of wages in heavily unionized countries. They show how sweeping deregulation in the industrialized world in the 1980s allowed manufacturers to eliminate unions by shutting plants down and reopening them as sweatshops in the third world. The subsequent creation of the Euro as a single currency allowed the central European countries (Germany and France) to use the mechanism of debt to weaken strong unions in peripheral Eurozone countries, especially Greece. Germany, with relatively weak unions following reunification, imposed a virtual ten year wage freeze. While German workers suffered, German companies and banks racked up immense profits and stacks of cash, which they loaned to “peripheral” countries to finance big corporate tax cuts.
The bulk of the film focuses on the concept of “odious” debt and whether the Greek people should be forced to suffer for fraudulent loans from which they received no direct benefit. As Debtocracy poignantly depicts, Athens and other Greek cities are experiencing a third world humanitarian crisis, with massive homelessness, hunger and untreated illness. The film quotes a recent IMF report predicting a 5-10% decrease in Greek life expectancy due to the debt crisis and austerity cuts
Odious Debt: An American Invention
Odious debt was a concept invented by the US in the early 20th century to avoid repaying Spain’s war debt after the US took possession of Cuba following the Spanish-American War. It was used again by George Bush following the US occupation of Iraq, to avoid repayment of Sadam Hussein’s debts to China, France, Germany and Russia. Since then approximately a dozen countries – most notably Argentina, Ecuador and Iceland – have repudiated so-called “illegitimate” debt incurred by deposed leaders.
The film focuses mainly Argentina’s and Ecuador’s default on their foreign debt. In 2001 the structural adjustments the IMF forced on Argentina bankrupted the country. A popular uprising forced the Argentine president to flee (in a helicopter), and the new government declared the IMF debt illegal and unconstitutional. When Ecuador experienced a similar economic crisis and uprising in 2007, they, too, sent their president packing (again in a helicopter). In 2008, their new president Rafael Correa appointed a Debt Audit Commission to study the strong arm tactics (some of which John Perkins describes in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man) that led former Ecuadorian leaders to borrow billions of dollars to purchase US-built infrastructure that only benefited Ecuador’s wealthy elite. Correa’s Debt Audit Commission ascertained that only 30% of their external debt was legitimately incurred.
CADTM’s Call for a Greek Debt Audit Commission
Iric Toussaint, a French economist who participated in the Ecuadorian Debt Audit Commission, believes a major proportion of Greek debt may have been fraudulently incurred. The following evidence supports this view:
- Nearly one billion euros of debt resulted from a risky swap (of yen and dollars for euros) Goldman Sachs persuaded Greece to make in 2001. The transaction netted Goldman Sachs $600 million in profit (see Secret Greek loan).
- Major German and French loans were issued on condition that the Greek government incur further indebtedness to purchase hundreds of millions of euros of German and French armaments.
- Billions of dollars of Green debt resulted from major cost overruns on the 2004 Greek Olympics (which cost twice as much as the Sydney Olympics in 2000). These have never been explained nor investigated.
- In 2010 a former Goldman Sachs official was hired to manage the Greek public debt authority, with the result that the entire 2010 rescue package (103 million euros) was used to bail out Greek banks.
The film also discusses the March 2011 call by the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM) to create an audit commission to examine Greek public debt. It ends with the ominous sound of a helicopter, eerily foreshadowing the forced resignation of Greek prime minister George Papandreou last November, when CNN advised him to get a helicopter to save himself from angry protestors (see Fall of Papandreou).
Exchange rate: 1 Euro equals $US1.33.