Monday, April 20, 2009

UN rapporteur on torture says amnesty for CIA abuses illegal

18 Apr, 2009 - Cafe Sentido

J.E. Robertson

The UN rapporteur on torture responded to the announcement by US pres. Barack Obama that CIA agents who engaged in practices the Justice Dept. had authorized as legal would not be prosecuted by saying that such an amnesty would violate US treaty obligations under international law. Manfred Nowak told the Austrian newspaper Der Standard that any acts of torture must be investigated and those involved prosecuted.

Amid the furore over revelations about torture authorized by the Bush administration, some human rights advocates have argued that there should be no attempt to “turn the page” and that if administration officials who sanctioned torture or agents who committed the acts have a defense, the courts exist precisely so that legal defense can be tested.

Nowak noted specifically that “The United States, like all other states that are part of the U.N. convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court”. The memos released this week are considered by many to be evidence of a criminal conspiracy and there is some pressure in the US to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate further.

The US roundly rejected the “just following orders” argument at the Nuremburg trials, which helped establish, in part, the precedent in international justice that certain war crimes are unlawful no matter what any sovereign state may claim. It has also been noted that one of the techniques used, simulated drowning known as “waterboarding”, was prosecuted by the US against Japanese agents after WWII.

Among the revelations that have emerged from the four Justice Dept. memos released this week is the implication that waterboarding was used far more widely than initially claimed by Pres. Bush, when he first admitted to authorizing it, and that for several years there were no guidelines whatsoever to how it should be applied or to limit the potential traumatic effect (a claim that had been a key part of the Bush administration's arguments that its actions were not technically torture).

Obama has spoken passionately against the use of torture and moved swiftly to ban any future incidence of its use, signing an executive order banning abusive interrogations on his second day in office. But he has been unwilling to commit to prosecuting officials who “acted on good faith”, having been instructed that specific acts were in fact legal.

As the legal arguments involved in the memos are widely considered by law scholars to be hollow, or to rely on the claim (already rejected by the Supreme Court) that the president has indivisible authority to reject or override any law in times of war, it has been observed that the memos appear to argue that the techniques described are legal because the government will not apply any relevant laws to those situations where they are practiced.

This, of course, is not a legal argument per se, but a circular argument based on and in support of efforts to circumvent the law. Human rights groups have repeatedly argued, as has the ACLU, and various US judges who have heard related cases, that such circular reasoning is evidence of a deliberate effort to circumvent existing laws.

It is on these grounds that the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón was asked by prosecutors to consider an indictment against six former US officials who served under the presidency of George W. Bush and were involved in the shaping of “enhanced interrogation” techniques. Garzón will be removed, because he is also hearing a case against one of the alleged victims of those techniques, but the prosecution is expected to continue.

Nowak, the UN's special rapporteur on torture, also noted that if the US does not pass laws precluding the prosecution of individuals involved in torture, US prosecutors would be within their authority to bring cases and judges would be able to rule on the merits of the cases. Nowak's comments may win Obama favor among some supporters of Bush's policies, but their meaning may also give Obama cover, should US prosecutors find their way to a case linked to alleged torture.

Wiretap recorded Rep. Harman promising to intervene for AIPAC

Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

Harman was recorded saying she would "waddle into" the AIPAC case "if you think it'll make a difference," according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.

In exchange for Harman's help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.

Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, "This conversation doesn't exist."

Harman declined to discuss the wiretap allegations, instead issuing an angry denial through a spokesman.

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US suicidal veterans surpassing KIAs

From Iran's Press TV :

At least 13 American soldiers have committed suicide in March as post traumatic syndrome is increasing suicide tendency among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.

The latest figure has brought to 56 the number of US soldiers' suicide cases in 2009, according to figures released by the US Army, a press TV correspond reported on Monday.

According to US medics, with 23 soldiers committing suicide in January, the number of those killed themselves was higher than the number of soldiers killed in combat-related incidents.

Eighteen other suicide cases were also reported in the US military in February.

Based on the report, an increasing rate of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are among leading causes of suicide in the US troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is while the US Army has reportedly pressured its medical staff against diagnosing Iraq war vets with PTSD, in a bit to cut medical costs.

"High agitation and constant state of high alert" are some of the most common stress symptoms among wounded soldiers treated in Washington DC's Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

At least 10 to 15 percent of troops who receive treatment at the center suffer from PTSD.

According to Iraqi officials' estimates, some 600 US troops, including senior officers, have committed suicide in Iraq since the invasion of the country in 2003. Half of the suicide attempts have been successful.

Official figures reported 72 suicides in 2003, 67 in 2004, 83 in 2005 and 97 others in 2006.

Israelis warn of Eritrea flashpoint

Security sources say Israel and Iran are conducting rival intelligence operations in Eritrea, the poor African state on the Red Sea.

The Israelis fear Eritrea could be a flashpoint if Iranian Revolutionary Guards continue to ship arms to militants in Gaza via the Eritrean port of Assab. Israel is said to have two Eritrean bases, one a “listening post” for signals intelligence, the other a supply base for its German-built submarines.

In Sudan in February, Israeli drones thought to be based in Eritrea attacked an arms convoy bound for Hamas militants in Gaza, and several Revolutionary Guards escorting the convoy were reportedly killed.

Since 1993, when he received medical treatment in Israel, the Eritrean dictator, President Isaias Afewerki, has had a low-key relationship with the country. Butlast year a state visit he made to Tehran thawed relations with Iran, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sang Afewerki's praises. To Israel's dismay, he announced closer economic and trade ties with Iran, and military ties followed suit. The Iranians have now established a naval base overlooking the Bab el Mandeb strait, through which 3.3m barrels of oil flow every day.

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Secret police intelligence was given to E.ON before planned demo

Government officials handed confidential police intelligence about environmental activists to the energy giant E.ON before a planned peaceful demonstration, according to private emails seen by the Guardian.

Correspondence between civil servants and security officials at the company reveals how intelligence was shared about the peaceful direct action group Climate Camp in the run-up to the demonstration at Kingsnorth, the proposed site of a new coal-fired power station in north Kent.

Intelligence passed to the energy firm by officials from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) included detailed information about the movements of protesters and their meetings. E.ON was also given a secret strategy document written by environmental campaigners and information from the Police National Information and Coordination Centre (PNICC), which gathers national and international intelligence for emergency planning.

At first officials at BERR refused to release the emails, despite a request under the Freedom of Information Act from the Liberal Democrats. The decision was reversed on appeal and although large sections have been blacked out, they show:

• BERR officials passed a strategy document belonging to the "environmental protest community" to E.ON, saying: "If you haven't seen this then you will be interested in its contents."

• Government officials forwarded a Metropolitan police intelligence document to E.ON, detailing the movements and whereabouts of climate protesters in the run-up to demonstration.

• E.ON passed its planning strategy for the protest to the department's civil servants, adding: "Contact numbers will follow."

• BERR and E.ON tried to share information about their media strategies before the protest, and civil servants asked the energy company for press contacts for EDF, BP and Kent police.

Last night the disclosures were criticised by environmentalists, MPs and civil liberty groups, adding to the growing controversy over the policing of protests.

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ELF Press Office to Obama: Release U.S. political prisoners

April 19, 2009

Earth Liberation Front Press Office to President Obama: Release United States' Political Prisoners Before Expecting the Same From Cuba

Washington, D.C.: In response to President Obama's comments today calling on Cuba to release political prisoners as a step toward strengthening relations between the United States and Cuba, the North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO) encouraged President Obama to first release political prisoners in the United States before expecting other countries to follow suit. The President's comments came during the closing of the Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad & Tobago.

"It is genuinely hypocritical for the United States to condemn other nations for their treatment and holding of political prisoners, when the United States itself maintains significant numbers of political prisoners locked away in the U.S. criminal justice system," stated NAELFPO press officer Lisa Nesbitt. "The current administration cannot expect to promote justice abroad, while ignoring the many individuals on U.S. soil who are imprisoned because of their political beliefs and activities or the color of their skin."

Nesbitt listed the following examples of political prisoners currently serving sentences in the United States:

• The Cuban Five: Five Cuban men in U.S. prisons, serving four life sentences + 75 years collectively for allegedly "committing espionage conspiracy against the United States." The five had instead been monitoring Miami-based terrorist groups to prevent anti-Castro terrorist attacks on Cuba.

• Patrice Lumumba Ford: A U.S. citizen and son of a former Black Panther Party leader, who after traveling to China in an attempt to reach Afghanistan to volunteer with an aid group, was found guilty of "seditious conspiracy" and "levying war against American and Allied forces." He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

• Marie Mason: An environmental activist sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in prison for nonviolent property crimes.

• Eric McDavid: An environmental activist sentenced to 19 years in prison for "conspiring" to engage in nonviolent property crimes.

• Mumia Abu Jamal: A former Black Panther Party member, framed for the murder of a police officer in 1981, sentenced to death.

• Leonard Peltier: An American Indian Movement (AIM) activist and citizen of the Anishinabe and Lakota Nations, serving a life sentence after being framed for the murder of two FBI agents in 1975.

• Louis Harper: An African American man sentenced, because of his race, to 50 years in prison in 1990 for selling $20 worth of cocaine.

"These are just a few of the many political prisoners in the United States," Nesbitt continued. "While the United States continues to promote itself as a beacon of freedom and democracy, the illegality of political dissent in the United States continues to be a reality."

The North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office is a legal news agency representing the earth liberation movement. The NAELFPO reports on the covert direct actions taken by the Earth Liberation Front in defense of the planet. Targeting deforestation, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), urban sprawl, automobile and industry pollution, and other threats to the natural environment, the Earth Liberation Front uses nonviolent economic sabotage to compel industries and governments to reshape their environmentally destructive policies.

The NAELFPO can be found on the web at


North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office
Tel: (202) 521-1482

~ IMC ~

Obama reprieve for CIA illegal: U.N. rapporteur

VIENNA (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA interrogators who used waterboarding on terrorism suspects amounts to a breach of international law, the U.N. rapporteur on torture said.

"The United States, like all other states that are part of the U.N. convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court," U.N. special rapporteur Manfred Nowak told the Austrian daily Der Standard.

Nowak did not think Obama would go as far as to seek an amnesty law for affected CIA personnel and therefore U.S. courts could still try torture suspects, he said on Saturday.

Obama has affirmed his unwillingness to prosecute under anti-torture laws CIA personnel who relied in good faith on Bush administration legal opinions issued after the September 11 attacks.

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Do the Torts Shuffle

"Dear Professor Hanlon,
You are a fine instructor of torts. I appreciate your understated sense of humor and unwillingness to engage in the kind of demagoguery so attractive to some of your egomaniacal colleagues. As a protest against the lunacy of the Socratic method and the staggering lack of imagination on the part of the Boalt Hall administration in clinging to a cobwebbed curriculum, I will not be taking any final examinations this semester. In lieu of a written final exam, please accept this Torts Shuffle video as an alternate form of assessment and consider giving me a sub-standard pass in your class.
Thank you.

Old Fat Naked Women for Peace

Humorous music video by the Righteous Mothers (

[ via The Community ]

Pirate Bay 'could soon be obsolete'

Pat Pilcher reports in The Independent :

20 Apr, 2009

Peter Sunde, one of the founders and spokesperson for bitorrent tracker site, The Pirate Bay, is said to have found out that they had lost their court case in Sweden several hours before the official verdict was delivered thanks to information supposedly leaked by what is claimed to be a "trustworthy source".

The Swedish Courts are unimpressed and brought in the police to investigate. Regardless of the final outcome after the dust has cleared from any remaining legal wrangles, The Pirate Bay verdict appears to be achieving the opposite to the outcome intended by the copyright advocates with support for the site and its political offshoot, the Pirate Party reportedly going from strength to strength.

Since the verdict, support for the Swedish Pirate Party has surpassed that of the Swedish Green Party and it now appears that almost half of all Swedish males under the age of 30 are considering voting for the Pirate Party in the 2009 European Parliament elections. In the first 24 hours since the verdict, over 3000 people joined the Pirate Party, raising its membership from under 15,000 to over 18,000, making it the 5th largest, and the most popular political party within the youth demographic. The Pirate Party will however require at least 100,000 votes to gain a seat in the European Parliament.

Politics aside, future victories for copyright holders are looking increasingly shaky as Bitorrent tracking sites such as The Pirate Bay are about to be replaced by applications such as the Tribler. Where the current crop of bittorrent filesharing applications need to be pointed at torrent tracking sites such as The Pirate Bay to find files, Tribler's searches are done over the networks of fellow bittorrent users, sidestepping centralised torrent tracking sites altogether.

With iPredator about to launch, downloaders will be easily able to anonymously continue their activities whilst Tribler will leave no centralised point of vulnerability for the prosecution and policing of copyright infringers. Both Tribler and the iPredator service are merely the opening salvos fired in a technological arms race. The ball is now firmly in the court of slow moving regulators who will need to step up the development of countermeasures if they intend to make in-roads into enforcing copyright infringement.

Disclosure: Although Pat Pilcher Works for Telecom, his opinions do not represent those of his employer.

This article is from the New Zealand Herald

John the Revelator

Depeche Mode

'Misinformation Sam and Joe are feeding to the nation'

Gov't Mule - 'Don't Step On The Grass Sam'

...and, just because it's such a favorite, here's the original version...

Steppenwolf - 'Don't step on the grass Sam'

Struggle for land to spread from Pakistan to U.S.?

Jan Lundberg write for Culture Change :

The peasants in Taliban-influenced Pakistan's Swat region have taken over landlords' estates and mines, according to a scolding New York Times report on Friday. "Diabolical" or "Islamist" though it may be, it's an interesting development with global implications.

The Times' coverage of the revolt tries to paint the situation purely as outsider manipulation, with the implied threat to U.S. goals for "stability" in the region. In the interests of peace, why couldn't the U.S. score some points among the downtrodden by praising aspects of the land take-over? After all, Obama as president-elect supported the take-over of the Republic Windows and Doors factory by workers in Chicago.

The New York Times headline was "Taliban Exploit Class Rifts in Pakistan" -- but why not instead use the phrase "...Addresses Class Inequality..."? I'm sure some ugly events are going on, with sorrow coming from all sides, including ongoing U.S. bombing of civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It seems the landlord class is being strongly encouraged to leave. One reads of other dastardly tactics like families having to give up a son for the insurgents' forces. The tone of the Times article is as if any revolution anywhere is automatically uncalled for. The history of uprisings and revolutions, or demands for land reforms, has usually had the U.S. on the side of the elites and against "Communists" or whomever.

The New York Times has a credibility problem, as it represents the U.S. landlord class and has generally supported U.S. bombing campaigns against foreign civilians. Worst of all is the U.S.'s lack of respect in Pakistan and everywhere else, for its torture policies -- which Obama has decided not to prosecute. One can imagine that part of his being allowed to become president is that he pardons the old guard who handed over the keys to the castle. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." - the Who.

[ ... ]

People in the U.S. are generally landless and do not realize it. Even if someone has paid off the mortgage, the average home does not have enough yard space to grow much food or keep livestock. In the last several decades the U.S. population lost its small farms, and many of us willingly bought into the lie that all one needs is cash and cheap petroleum. The U.S. census no longer has a "farmer" designation, for lack of enough farmers!

Now we are starting to see the unjust jive of urbanization and modernization. The hippies' back-to-the-land movement was one counter trend, just as the present phenomenon of more household gardening and farmers markets are an attempt to benefit more directly from life-giving land. It's more than a "let's be more green" fad or a temporary response to a recession.

For some of us know that the days of cheap, limitless petroleum are over, spelling the end of false plenty from agribusiness food. What will become of the degraded farms where monocropped and genetically modified organisms' tolerance to massively increased herbicide held sway, thanks to subsidies now fading? People will want to farm these lands for subsistence, or perhaps run bison on some of the lands as a sustainable resource par excellence.

For urban landscapes, where everything has been fenced and paved, the need for community food gardens will call for depaving and transforming lawns to rows of vegetables. Ultimately, because there are too many people to be fed without constant supplies of cheap petroleum for agriculture and food distribution, it may take an urban die-off to reach equilibrium. Then today's oil-infrastructure cities may become food forests.

Meanwhile, we begin the transformational tasks now. It is not yet clear to landless Americans who have been evicted by irresponsible and greedy banks that a reconnection to the land is the right prescription. Still, the idea of cash for buying whatever one needs pervades, perpetuated by corporate media reminding folks that economic growth will return. However, people will not be put off for long. They may have more in common with the peasants of Pakistan and the Zapatistas of Chiapas, Mexico than with bankers or the Military Industrial Complex occupiers of vast areas of land in the U.S and abroad.

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'Students, like children and "barbarians," can teach us how to create participation'

From Wading in the Deep: Supporting Emergent Anarchies by Naeem Inayatullah

"...The great Sufi sage Jalaudin Rumi wrote: “New organs of perception come into being as a result of necessity. Therefore, O man, increase your necessity, so that you may increase your perception” (Shah 1969, 197).
Students, like children and “barbarians,” can teach us how to create participation. The price of this instruction, though, is that they respond only if we ask them with a needy look. Generating this disposition requires that we first acknowledge a lack within. If this seems a high price to pay, we can remind ourselves that the presence of emptiness motivates our seeking after the other in the first place. All voyages of discovery, including the most celebrated, seek the other in order to expose and fill an emptiness within. I suspect that even the teaching drive can be shown to betray this motive.

“The essential reasoning is simple. Between the modern master and non-modern slave, one must choose the slave not because one should choose voluntary poverty or admit the superiority of suffering, not only because the slave is oppressed, not even because he works (which, Marx said, made him less alienated than the master). One must choose the slave also because he represents a higher-order cognition which perforce includes the master as a human, whereas the master's cognition has to exclude the slave except as a 'thing'” (Nandy 1984, xv-xvi).
If all students participate, they also all resist. They resist the subordinating assimilationism of the teaching drive sometimes with impetuous defiance but often with a compellingly suggestive inventiveness. Within the confines of their relative powerlessness they respond to hypocrisy and alienation with small but vivid ruptures of illuminating creativity. This resistance, these ruptures, whether in the classroom or the world stage maybe the most potent resource in the hands of the educator who wants to learn about learning. Conceptualized adequately, that is, with generosity and humility, this resistance can lead the anxious, the righteous, and the powerful to comprehend the opportunities learners need in order to learn. If the teaching drive pushes water uphill, then resistance to teaching flows to richer waters.


Even the precise logic of Hegelian deduction cannot make a reader learn what the author intends. Writers present their lessons in alternative forms but the reader reads and takes according to need. Still, because the narrative influences and constitutes the reading, not just any interpretation follows. In this spirit perhaps the reader deserves not much closure but a distillation of the author's hopes.
I do not suppose that many will entirely welcome my claim that teaching obstructs and violates learning when it does not understand that: fear and desire of knowledge are both intrinsic to human beings; students implicitly know how to learn; the primary role of the instructor is to help make this implicit knowing explicit by self-consciously constructing anarchic forms of conversation within which such knowledge emerges “spontaneously” through the labor of the participants. Violent teaching homogenizes space, fixes time, and treats the other's difference as degenerate (Inayatullah 1994). It projects a vision of education and citizenship constructed prior to, and independently of, the participation of students and citizens. Arrogantly indifferent to their potential contribution and transformation of political and educational processes, it erases their difference and thereby guarantees their alienation.
I do not strive to move the reader towards these claims. Rather, the essay hopes to affirm those exploring open-ended processes, to encourage those predisposed towards these moves but who find themselves hesitating (“the water is fine… really ”), and to nudge those who overlook the breach between our beliefs and practices. The goal is not to replace the old orthodoxy with a new one, but rather to retain faith in our capacity to go on wading in the deep. ..."

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Charter for a world without violence

This document is the result of several years work of Nobel Peace Laureates and Organizations. It was approved at the 7th World Summit as the "First Draft of the Charter for a World without violence". The final version of the Charter was approved by Nobel Peace Laureates and Organizations at the 8th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.


Violence is a preventable disease.

No state or individual can be secure in an insecure world. The values of nonviolence in intention, thought, and practice have grown from an option to a necessity. These values are expressed in their application between states, groups and individuals.

We are convinced that adherence to the values of nonviolence will usher in a more peaceful, civilized world order in which more effective and fair governance, respectful of human dignity and the sanctity of life itself, may become a reality.

Our cultures, our histories, and our individual lives are interconnected and our actions are interdependent. Especially today as never before, we believe, a truth lies before us: our destiny is a common destiny. That destiny will be defined by our intentions, decisions and actions today.

We are further convinced that creating a culture of peace and nonviolence, while a difficult and long process, is both necessary and noble. Affirmation of the values contained in this Charter is a vital step to ensuring the survival and development of humanity and the achievement of a world without violence.

We, Nobel Peace Laureates and Laureate Organizations,

Reaffirming our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

Moved by concern for the need to end the spread of violence at all levels of society and especially the threats posed on a global scale that jeopardize the very existence of humankind;

Reaffirming that freedom of thought and expression is at the root of democracy and creativity;

Recognizing that violence manifests in many ways, such as armed conflict, military occupation, poverty, economic exploitation, environmental destruction, corruption and prejudice based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation;

Realizing that the glorification of violence as expressed through commercial entertainment can contribute to the acceptance of violence as a normal and acceptable condition;

In the knowledge that those most harmed by violence are the weakest and vulnerable;

Remembering that peace is not only the absence of violence but that it is the presence of justice and the well-being of people;

Realizing that the failure of States to sufficiently accommodate ethnic, cultural and religious diversity is at the root of much of the violence in the world;

Recognizing the urgent need to develop an alternative approach to collective security based on a system in which no country, or group of countries, relies on nuclear weapons for its security;

Being aware that the world is in need of effective global mechanisms and approaches for nonviolent conflict prevention and resolution, and that they are most successful when applied at the earliest possible moment;

Affirming that persons invested with power carry the greatest responsibility to end violence where it is occurring and to prevent violence whenever possible;

Asserting that the values of nonviolence must triumph at all levels of society as well as in relations between States and peoples;

Beseech the global community to advance the following principles:

First: In an interdependent world, the prevention and cessation of armed conflict between and within States can require the collective action of the international community. The security of individual states can best be achieved by advancing global human security. This requires strengthening the implementation capacity of the UN system as well as regional cooperative organizations.

Second: To achieve a world without violence, States must abide by the rule of law and honor their legal commitments at all times.

Third: It is essential to move without further delay towards the universal and verifiable elimination of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. States possessing such weapons must take concrete steps towards disarmament, and a security system that does not rely on nuclear deterrence. At the same time, States must sustain their efforts to consolidate the nuclear non-proliferation regime, by taking such measures as strengthening multilateral verification, protecting nuclear material and advancing disarmament.

Fourth: To help eliminate violence in society, the production and sale of small arms and light weapons must be reduced and strictly controlled at international, regional, state and local levels. In addition there should be full and universal enforcement of international disarmament agreements, such as the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and support for new efforts aimed at the eradication of the impact of victim-activated and indiscriminate weapons, such as cluster munitions. A comprehensive and effective Arms Trade Treaty needs to be enacted.

Fifth: Terrorism can never be justified because violence begets violence and because no acts of terror against the civilian population of any country can be carried out in the name of any cause. The struggle against terrorism cannot, however, justify violation of human rights, international humanitarian law, civilized norms, and democracy.

Sixth: Ending domestic and family violence requires unconditional respect for the equality, freedom, dignity, and rights of women, men and children by all individuals, institutions of the state, religion and civil society. Such protections must be embodied in laws and conventions at local and international levels.

Seventh: Every individual and state shares responsibility to prevent violence against children and youth, our common future and most precious gift. All have a right to quality education, effective primary health care, personal safety, social protection, full participation in society and an enabling environment that reinforces non-violence as a way of life. Peace education, promoting non-violence and emphasizing the innate human quality of compassion, must be an essential part of the curriculum of educational institutions at all levels.

Eighth: Preventing conflicts arising from the depletion of natural resources, in particular sources of energy and water, requires States to affirmatively and, through creation of legal mechanisms and standards, provide for the protection of the environment and to encourage people to adjust their consumption on the basis of resource availability and real human needs.

Ninth: We beseech the UN and its member states to promote appreciation of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. The golden rule of a non-violent world: Treat others as you wish to be treated.

Tenth: The principal political tools for bringing into being a non-violent world are functioning democratic institutions and dialogue based on dignity, knowledge, and compromise, conducted on the basis of balance between the interests of the parties involved, and, when appropriate, including concerns relating to the entirety of humanity and the natural environment.

Eleventh: All states, institutions and individuals must support efforts to address the inequalities in the distribution of economic resources, and resolve gross inequities which create a fertile ground for violence. The imbalance in living conditions inevitably leads to lack of opportunity and, in many cases, loss of hope.

Twelfth: Civil society, including human rights defenders, peace and environmental activists must be recognized and protected as essential to building a nonviolent world as all governments must serve the needs of their people, not the reverse. Conditions should be created to enable and encourage civil society participation, especially that of women, in political processes at the global, regional, national and local levels.

Thirteenth: In implementing the principles of this Charter we call upon all to work together towards a just, killing-free world in which everyone has the right not to be killed and responsibility not to kill others.

To address all forms of violence we encourage scientific research in the fields of human interaction and dialogue, and we invite participation from the academic, scientific and religious communities to aid us in thetransition to non-violent, and non-killing societies.

Nobel Signers:

• Mairead Corrigan Maguire
• His Holiness the Dalai Lama
• Mikhail Gorbachev
• Lech Walesa
• Frederik Willem De Klerk
• Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu
• Jody Williams
• Shirin Ebadi
• Mohamed ElBaradei
• John Hume
• Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo
• Betty Williams
• Muhammad Yunus
• Adolfo Perez Esquivel
• Wangari Maathai
• International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
• Red Cross
• International Atomic Energy Agency
• American Friends Service Committee
• International Peace Bureau

Supporters of the Charter:

• Mr. Walter Veltroni, Mayor of Rome
• Mr. Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima, President of the World's Mayors for Peace
• Mr. Agazio Loiero, Governor of Calabria Region, Italy
• Prof. M. S. Swaminathan, Former President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Nobel Peace Laureate Organization
• David T. Ives, Albert Schweitzer Institute
• Peace People, Organization founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Maired Corrigan Maguire and Betty William, Belfast (Northern Ireland)
• Bob Geldof, singer
• George Clooney, actor
• Don Cheadle, actor
• Associazione "MEMORIA CONDIVISA"
• Basque Government

~ The Permanent Secretariat of Nobel Peace Laureates Summits ~

The G-20 and the end of ideology: From Washington to London to New York

Daniel Kaufmann, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development
The Brookings Institution

9 Apr, 2009

Who “won” in the London G-20 Summit?

The Summit of the G-20 heads of states had just come to a conclusion in London last Thursday, April 2, having reached agreement on a joint communiqué. The U.K. Prime Minister, Gordon Brown started his major media briefing announcing that the Washington Consensus has been declared dead, and suggesting the dawn of a new consensus era—akin to a London Consensus.

Without belittling some concrete achievements at this London Summit, beyond expectations in fact, there is always a significant dose of political rhetoric, such as in this case declaring the Washington Consensus dead, and the advent of a new paradigm.

In actuality, the most tangible result of the London Summit is the empowerment of the IMF as a global financial supervisor, stabilizer, and aid provider, through a revamped mandate and a vastly larger resource base. There is a tinge of irony in this, since historically the IMF and the U.S. Treasury Department were inextricably linked to the Washington Consensus.

A counter-argument to this apparent paradox would point to the expected shift in internal governance and in the menu of prescriptions (if there are any left…) at the IMF. This line of thinking would argue that such changes would be expected to distance the future “revamped” IMF from the main “Washington Consensus” mantra of combining prudent fiscal and monetary policies with liberalized markets.

Yet there is little doubt that in the coming years one can expect a move toward broadened voice and representation by governments of powerful emerging economies within the IMF, so to redress the current over-representation of (mostly) Europe. The head of the IMF will be selected according to merit and not nationality. Its ability to assess and warn prior to a large scale financial crisis would need to dramatically improve. Such efficiency and governance reforms are likely to result in some changes in how the IMF operates. An inkling of this is already in the offing through the recommendations of the Trevor Manuel Commission.

But other than abandoning orthodox dogma and embracing more pragmatism, it would be a mistake to expect a dramatic substantive shift in terms of what works for an economy, and what does not—particularly once the global economy steadies. After all, the IMF will still reflect the collective (economy-) weighted will of its shareholders. Rather than a mirror of a G-1, G-2 or G-7, its mantra may move closer to some weighted average of the G-20.

~ more... ~


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