Archivo para la categoría ‘Artículos’

PEDRO CANCHÉ, PRESO DE CONCIENCIA: AMNISTÍA INTERNACIONAL

23 febrero, 2015 por Lydia Cacho Ribeiro

México: Preocupa a Amnistía Internacional la detención arbitraria de

Pedro Canché, periodista maya de Quintana Roo.

El periodista maya Pedro Canché Herrera fue detenido el 30 de agosto de 2014 acusado del delito de sabotaje, en el estado de Quintana Roo, México. Su caso será analizado por un juez federal en los próximos días que resolverá un amparo en contra del auto formal de prisión. A Amnistía Internacional le preocupa que la privación de la libertad de Pedro Canché responda únicamente a su trabajo como periodista y al ejercicio de la libertad de expresión.

Pedro Canché fue detenido días después de publicar fotos de una protesta de ciudadanos por el incremento a las tarifas del servicio de agua afuera de la oficina de la Comisión de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado (“CAPA”) en el municipio de Felipe Carrillo Puerto, y ha permanecido por seis meses en una prisión municipal en espera de su sentencia. Pedro fue señalado por autoridades locales como el líder de la protesta que incitaba a las demás personas a bloquear la entrada de las oficinas de las autoridades locales.

A Amnistía Internacional le preocupa que el sistema judicial se utilice para perseguir a  periodistas que son críticos con el gobierno. Dada la amplia interpretación del tipo penal de “sabotaje” establecido en el artículo 204 del Código Penal de Quintana Roo, es preocupante que las autoridades lo puedan utilizar de manera arbitraria. La organización tiene motivos para creer que existieron arbitrariedades por parte del agente del ministerio público, en relación con los cargos en contra de Pedro Canché Herrera, debido a su actividad periodística. Esto incluye omisiones e irregularidades en la investigación penal, y la emisión de un auto formal de prisión sin pruebas suficientes.

De acuerdo con la defensa legal de Pedro Canché, las pruebas presentadas por el agente del ministerio público carecen de declaraciones firmes para probar que es responsable de dirigir el bloqueo afuera del CAPA. La única evidencia fotográfica de la protesta muestra a Pedro tomando fotos del evento.

A la organización le preocupan las declaraciones públicas de autoridades del estado de Quintana Roo negando que Pedro sea periodista. En adición a lo anterior, el Procurador de Justicia del estado de Quintana Roo lo ha acusado públicamente de pagarle a los manifestantes para bloquear las oficinas de la CAPA.

El trabajo periodístico de más de dos décadas del periodista maya Pedro Canché es conocido en el estado de Quintana Roo, tanto como editor de revistas impresas y, actualmente, como periodista independiente a través de medios electrónicos.

Amnistía Internacional ha recibido información preocupante sobre la salud actual de Pedro Canché, incluyendo la tardía atención médica en relación a heridas derivadas aparentemente de su proceso de detención. Amnistía Internacional enfatiza la responsabilidad de las autoridades estatales para asegurar la salud y el bienestar de aquellos bajo su custodia.

Amnistía Internacional considera que Pedro Canché fue detenido de manera arbitraria a causa del ejercicio del periodismo. Por lo anterior, la organización exige que cese la criminalización en contra de Pedro Canché y que cualquier decisión respecto a este caso tome en cuenta las arbitrariedades del proceso.

EL FIN DEL PODER

03 noviembre, 2014 por Lydia Cacho Ribeiro

Plan b

El fin del poder

Lydia Cacho

“Empresas que se hunden,militares derrotados,papas que renuncian y gobiernos impotentes: cómo el poder ya no es lo que era”

Hay dos tipos de poder: el imaginario y el concreto. El imaginario es aquél que muchos creen que tienen hasta que la realidad les muestra sus límites; también está el poder imaginario asignado a líderes sociales o defensoras de Derechos Humanos, a quienes el colectivo concede una fuerza de acción increíble e imposible; sobre ellas y ellos recae una suerte de fe construida por quienes se sienten impotentes (sin poder) ante las desgracias que les aquejan. El poder concreto es el que tiene un gobernante o una legisladora, un médico o una Secretaria de Estado. Tienen recursos materiales e intelectuales, así como acceso a los mecanismos de sus instituciones para beneficiar (o dañar) a grandes cantidades de personas. Pero incluso su poder está acotado.

Durante las revueltas sociales, como la que se está gestando en México alrededor de la simbólica masacre de Ayotzinapa que exige vida en lugar de muerte, que exige justicia en territorio de impunidad, se despierta el fantasma del poder colectivo, de los liderazgos estudiantiles, el poder individual que se reconecta a través de redes sociales, que hace de una causa de pocos bandera de millones. Ese poder es real, débil, confuso, poco estratégico pero real: es el poder de las nuevas generaciones que exige se deconstruya a un Sistema político y judicial inepto y anquilosado, que yace agonizante frente a la mirada del mundo. Pero una vez se expulsa a los peores ¿qué modelo de poder los suple?

El reconocido analista venezolano, economista y experto en política Moisés Naím, escribió El fin del poder (Ed. Debate), una obra que desde hace un par de meses se ha convertido en mi libro de consulta y reflexión favorito. Naím no habla desde la teoría del académico sentado en sus laureles que piensa solo y pontifica; por el contrario, confiesa desde el inicio cómo aprendió a vivir el poder en su propio país y las grandes lecciones que le ha dejado su ascenso a diferentes ámbitos de incidencia pública. Naím ha sabido entender, conocer y analizar a los grandes empresarios convencionales y a las pequeñas pero transcendentes empresas sociales, hizo una inmersión en las redes sociales y el propio Internet para entender los mecanismos de poder de creadores y usuarios. Este libro, escrito con un lenguaje accesible y una narrativa fluida, desentraña casi todas las complejidades a las que nos enfrentamos cuando intentamos buscarle los pies y la cabeza a la locura en que vivimos: la corrupción, los monopolios, las revoluciones tuiteras, el debilitamiento de los medios, el fortalecimiento de la delincuencia organizada, la censura, los movimientos juveniles, la ira social ante la violencia, los liderazgos débiles, las violaciones a los derechos humanos y sus actores y actoras. Quién, cómo, cuándo, dónde y de que manera se obtiene y pierde el poder todos los días; Naím no deja un solo resquicio sin reflexión, no da cabida al lugar común y a la simplonería del clásico analista famoso. No se da tregua ni a sí mismo ni a quien lo lee

Hace muchos años Marcela Lagarde me explicó con gran sencillez cómo la única manera de lograr la instauración de un modelo de igualdad entre hombres y mujeres radica justamente en analizar las estructuras y los modelos de poder, tanto público como privado, porque sólo conociendo su anatomía podíamos comenzar a reinventarlo. Comúnmente quienes quieren tumbar un edificio llegan con una grúa que destruirá todo a su paso, o con expertos en explosivos que los instalarán de tal forma que causarán una serie de explosiones que tumbarán la estructura en caída vertical con tan precisión que no afectará a las construcciones vecinas. Así es como algunos quieren cambiar los sistemas de poder, a golpes o explosiones, que afecten una parte y no el todo circundante. Naím, como la filósofa feminista, propone detenerse a pensar cómo se han pulverizado los modelos de poder y quién se queda con la mayor montaña de cenizas, nos explica cómo lo manejan y lo acumulan, cómo lo reinventan, lo capitalizan o lo pierden.

Se ha dicho que la siguiente revolución social y política tiene que pasar necesariamente por la reinvención del ejercicio del poder y no solamente por la repartición de los bienes que éste genera. Naím nos invita a diseccionar poco a poco los elementos que conforman ese edificio, a desmontarlo ladrillo por ladrillo, sin ruidosas explosiones; como en el ajedrez, a pensar antes de mover cada pieza, conocerla para moverla.

Las acertadas reflexiones de Moisés Naím muestran su capacidad para analizar el poder desde una perspectiva no tradicional; se posicionó en una esquina diferente para obtener resultados distintos a los que tradicionalmente nos ponen sobre la mesa los analistas. Nunca como ahora hace falta leer este libro, en cualquier país de América Latina encontraremos pautas para comprender desde dónde actuar a fin de reinventar el poder. Sin duda trae muy buenas noticias: Naím pone su esperanza en que las nuevas generaciones reinventen el poder, pero para ello necesitan conocerlo, entenderlo y asumir su propia responsabilidad, individual y colectiva, para que perviva.

@lydiacachosi

Peña Nieto no es nada

16 mayo, 2013 por ricardo

Lydia Cacho

No me rasgo las vestiduras porque Peña Nieto lleguó al poder. Ya el PRI nos tenía bajo su control. Somos 20 de 32 entidades gobernadas por el PRI; y quien vive fuera del Distrito Federal sabe de qué hablo. Quien haya votado por el PRI creyendo que mejorará algo, tendrá una gran decepción.

Hace 26 años salí del Distrito Federal para vivir en Quintana Roo y se a ciencia cierta que más que vivir en las “provincias” sometidas al gobierno federal, vivimos en pequeñas naciones autónomas, en las que los gobernantes y sus diputados federales hace y deshacen a su antojo. En los congresos locales es prácticamente imposible encontrar congruencia entre los colores y nombres de partidos de quienes legislan y su visión del mundo. Lo mismo hallamos perredistas ultraconservadores, que panistas progres y priístas indefinidos. Se legisla con acuerdos bajo la mesa, sin visión de futuro y las diferencias con los gobernadores no las hacen los principios y valores sino los cochupos, prebendas y venganzas.

Para las y los intelectuales que viven en sus escritorios del D.F es fácil opinar sobre federalización, para quienes vivimos cada día bajo esta suerte de feudos debilitantes de la democracia ciudadana las cosas son diferentes…

 

En Chihuahua César Duarte Járquez, casi de manera idéntica que el gobernador de Veracruz, Javier Duarte de Ochoa,  firmó todos los convenios posibles con el presidente Calderón sin que se haya notado un cambio sustancial en beneficio de la sociedad. La Marina que se encarga de proteger zonas del estado, no confía ni en Duarte ni en su gabinete. El poder en manos de los dos duartes no ha servido sino para perseguir a las y los defensores de derechos humanos y a las y los periodistas que son críticos de su administración. Como el resto de los gobernadores de ese partido, ambos han cooptado a algunos medios a través de la publicidad oficial y a los otros medios libres los mantienen bajo serias presiones, amenazas y descrédito constante. El empresariado se siente inseguro y agotado de la autodefensa.

 

En Coahuila Rubén Moreira, quien como diputado local hiciera de operador de la familia, no solamente fue impuesto para encubrir todas las corruptelas de su hermano Humberto; además su incapacidad para gobernar está dejando en una gran indefensión a la sociedad, con un estado endeudado y una credibilidad prácticamente nula, los cárteles no negocian con él sino con sus jefes policíacos y con los voceros de Humberto.

 

En Michoacan Fausto Vallejo administra solamente el Palacio de Gobierno y su casa, el resto de la entidad está tomado por los cárteles. La siembra de amapola y mariguana en Michoacán crece de manera significativa. El Cártel de La Familia mantiene el control de comunidades enteras y cientos de escuelas; con su visión esquizoide de una supuesta ética criminal, mantiene comunicación directa con el gobierno estatal a través de alcaldes y empresarios que conforman las redes de la economía criminal del estado. En últimas fechas el gobernador Vallejo reconoció que es la propia sociedad quien se defiende sola con armas propias en la sierra, dijo “están en una lucha, asumiendo una responsabilidad frente a la delincuencia organizada, porque para nosotros (el gobierno) es muy difícil vigilar la sierra”.

 

En Nuevo León Rodrigo Medina fue Secretario Técnico del Comité de Inteligencia y Seguridad y, posteriormente, Secretario General de Gobierno bajo el mandato de Natividad González Parás, cuyas negociaciones con la delincuencia organizada no hicieron sino dejar en gran indefensión a la sociedad neoleonesa. Nunca había habido tanta trata de personas en ese estado como bajo su mandato. Medina no ha movido un dedo para erradicar a las mafias de tratantes en las que familiares del ex gobernador González están implicadas. Fuentes cercanas dicen que sufre de insomnio y de depresión; su familia vive en El paso y él gobierna la mitad del tiempo desde Texas. Vive indignado ante los medios que lo investigan y evidencian, su gobierno está paralizado por la corrupción heredada y su monumental ineficacia. Su cuerpo policíaco “Fuerza Civil de Nuevo León” opera discrecionalmente, como pudo demostrarse en el arresto ilegal de la periodista Sanjuana Martínez. Grupos empresariales y su propio partido planean ya su dimisión.

 

Egidio Torre Cantú en Tamaulipas aceptó al candidatura luego de que la delincuencia organizada asesinara a su hermano Rodolfo, candidato oficial. Opera y administra para el PRI un estado gobernado enteramente por el Cartel del Golfo. Los medios y la sociedad civil se protegen solos. Por su parte Jorge Herrera en Durango vive paralizado. Entre los operativos de los Zetas, el Cártel de Sinaloa y el de Juárez, la sociedad vive en el desamparo. Su gobierno ha imposibilitado la transparencia y rendición de cuentas a pesar de las fuertes presiones del empresariado, la sociedad civil y académica.

En la tierra de Beatriz Paredes, Tlaxcala, el priísta Mariano González está registrado desde 2009 como miembro adherente del PAN, sin embargo ni sus alianzas con panistas le han ayudado para gobernar. En su estado ha incrementado tres veces la trata de mujeres y niñas indígenas, de la mano de la pobreza y al corrupción. Según Transparencia Mexicana la corrupción de la burocracia tlaxcalteca está por encima de la media nacional. Es escondite de narcos que trabajan entre Puebla y Veracruz.

Roberto Borge en Quintana Roo mantiene atemorizada a toda la burocracia, entre amenazas y despidos para quien le contradiga incluyendo priístas connotados. Ha perseguido a los periodistas que no se someten; invierte sumas millonarias en el control de medios y logró que el estado se convirtiera en el menos transparente del país. Los cárteles operan libremente y su consigna para silenciar las acciones de la delincuencia organizada no ha hecho sino empoderar a los que operan en el Estado: el Golfo y los Zetas. (Fue una sorpresa que en las pasadas elecciones AMLO ganara aquí por 9 puntos a EPN). Borge ahora manipula las elecciones del 2013 con el consejo  y el tribunal estatal electoral, de la mano d elos diarios principales arrodillandos ante él.

No puedo decir que los gobernadores del PAN y el PRD lo hayan hecho mejor; por eso después del 1 de julio  millones de personas volvimos a nuestro trabajo y activismo; porque sabíamos que el país no cambiaría mucho del sexenio anterior al que viene. Las discusiones sobre las elecciones, para millones como yo, ya han pasado al ámbito filosófico y de desahogo terapéutico.

El futuro nos pisa la sombra. Nuestras batallas siguen siendo las mismas: otros seis años para cambiar las reglas del futuro, para defender, bajo amenaza, a la prensa libre, para evitar los oprobios del poder, para implementar el nuevo Sistema de Justicia Penal. Más tiempo para cuidar nuestra integridad sin negociar nuestros principios;  para construir un país que deje de creer que las elecciones cambian nuestras vidas. Para proteger a nuestras familias de la violencia y la corrupción. Para lograr que, eventualmente, nuestro trabajo cotidiano transforme los procesos electorales y más allá de ellos se fortalezca la ciudadanía.

@lydiacachosi

WE ARE BRADLEY MANNING

05 marzo, 2013 por ricardo

 

By Chris Hedges
March 3, 2013
Truthdig
Manning will surely pay with many years—perhaps his entire life—in prison. But we too will pay. The war against Bradley Manning is a war against us all.

I was in a military courtroom at Fort Meade in Maryland on Thursday as Pfc. Bradley Manning admitted giving classified government documents to WikiLeaks. The hundreds of thousands of leaked documents exposed U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as government misconduct. A statement that Manning made to the court was a powerful and moving treatise on the importance of placing conscience above personal safety, the necessity of sacrificing careers and liberty for the public good, and the moral imperative of carrying out acts of defiance. Manning will surely pay with many years–perhaps his entire life–in prison. But we too will pay. The war against Bradley Manning is a war against us all.

This trial is not simply the prosecution of a 25-year-old soldier who had the temerity to report to the outside world the indiscriminate slaughter, war crimes, torture and abuse that are carried out by our government and our occupation forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a concerted effort by the security and surveillance state to extinguish what is left of a free press, one that has the constitutional right to expose crimes by those in power. The lonely individuals who take personal risks so that the public can know the truth–the Daniel Ellsbergs, the Ron Ridenhours, the Deep Throats and the Bradley Mannings–are from now on to be charged with “aiding the enemy.” All those within the system who publicly reveal facts that challenge the official narrative will be imprisoned, as was John Kiriakou, the former CIA analyst who for exposing the U.S. government’s use of torture began serving a 30-month prison term the day Manning read his statement. There is a word for states that create these kinds of information vacuums: totalitarian.

The cowardice of The New York Times, El Pais, Der Spiegel and Le Monde, all of which used masses of the material Manning passed on to WikiLeaks and then callously turned their backs on him, is one of journalism’s greatest shames. These publications made little effort to cover Manning’s pretrial hearings, a failure that shows how bankrupt and anemic the commercial press has become. Rescuing what honor of our trade remains has been left to a handful of independent, often marginalized reporters and a small number of other individuals and groups–including Glenn Greenwald, Alexa O’Brien, Nathan Fuller, Kevin Gosztola (who writes for Firedog Lake), the Bradley Manning Support Network, political activist Kevin Zeese and the courtroom sketch artist Clark Stoeckley, along with The Guardian, which also published the WikiLeaks documents. But if our domesticated press institutions believe that by refusing to defend or report on Manning they will escape the wrath of the security and surveillance state, they are stunningly naive. This is a war that is being played for keeps. And the goal of the state is not simply to send Manning away for life. The state is also determined to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and try him in the United States on espionage or conspiracy charges. The state hopes to cement into place systems of information that will do little more than parrot official propaganda. This is why those with the computer skills to expose the power elite’s secrets, such as Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide in January, and Jeremy Hammond, who is facing up to 30 years in prison for allegedly hacking into the corporate security firm Stratfor, have been or are being ruthlessly hunted down and persecuted. It is why Vice President Joe Biden labeled Assange a “high-tech terrorist,” and it is why the Bradley Manning trial is one of the most important in American history.

The government has decided to press ahead with all 22 charges, including aiding the enemy (Article 104), stealing U.S. government property (18 USC 641), espionage (18 USC 793(e)) and computer crimes (18 USC 1030(a)(1))–the last notwithstanding the fact that Manning did not hack into government computers. The state will also prosecute him on charges of violating lawful general regulations (Article 92). The government has refused to settle for Manning’s admission of guilt on nine lesser offenses. Among these lesser offenses are unauthorized possession and willful communication of the video known as “Collateral Murder”; the Iraq War Logs; the Afghan War Diary; two CIA Red Cell Memos, including one entitled “Afghanistan: Sustaining West European Support for the NATO-Led Mission–Why Counting on Apathy Might Not Be Enough”; Guantanamo files; documents of a so-called Article 15-6 investigation into the May 2009 Garani massacre in Afghanistan’s Farah province; and a Department of Defense counterintelligence report, “WikiLeaks.org–An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?” as well as one violation of a lawful general order by wrongfully storing information.

Manning’s leaks, the government insists, are tantamount to support for al-Qaida and international terrorism. The government will attempt to prove this point by bringing into court an anonymous witness who most likely took part in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. This witness will reportedly tell the court that copies of the leaked documents were found on bin Laden’s computer and assisted al-Qaida. This is an utterly spurious form of prosecution–as if any of us have control over the information we provide to the public and how it is used. Manning, for substantial amounts of money, could have sold the documents to governments or groups that are defined as the enemy. Instead he approached The Washington Post and The New York Times. When these newspapers rejected him, he sent the material anonymously to WikiLeaks.

The short, slightly built Manning told the military court Thursday about the emotional conflict he experienced when he matched what he knew about the war with the official version of the war. He said he became deeply disturbed while watching a video taken from an Apache helicopter as it and another such craft joined in an attack on civilians in Baghdad in 2007. The banter among the crew members, who treated the murder and wounding of the terrified human beings, including children, in the street below as sport, revolted him. Among the dead was Reuters photojournalist Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver, Saeed Chmagh. Reuters had repeatedly asked to see the video, and the Army had repeatedly refused to release it. [Click here to see the “Collateral Murder” video.]

“Using Google I searched for the event by its date and general location,” Manning said in reading from a 35-page document that took nearly an hour to deliver. “I found several new accounts involving two Reuters employees who were killed during the aerial weapon team engagement. Another story explained that Reuters had requested a copy of the video under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. Reuters wanted to view the video in order to be able to understand what had happened and to improve their safety practices in combat zones. A spokesperson for Reuters was quoted saying that the video might help avoid the reoccurrence of the tragedy and believed there was compelling need for the immediate release of the video.” [Alexa O’Brien, another journalist who attended Thursday’s proceedings, has provided a full transcript of Manning’s statement: Click here.]

“Despite the submission of the FOIA request, the news account explained that CENTCOM [Central Command] replied to Reuters stating that they could not give a time frame for considering a FOIA request and that the video might no longer exist,” Manning said. “Another story I found written a year later said that even though Reuters was still pursuing their request [the news organization] still did not receive a formal response or written determination in accordance with FOIA. The fact neither CENTCOM or Multi National Forces Iraq, or MNF-I, would not voluntarily release the video troubled me further. It was clear to me that the event happened because the aerial weapons team mistakenly identified Reuters employees as a potential threat and that the people in the bongo truck [van] were merely attempting to assist the wounded. The people in the van were not a threat but merely ‘good Samaritans.’ The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they [the helicopter crew members] appeared to have.

“They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote ‘dead bastards’ unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers,” Manning said, speaking into a court microphone while seated at the defense table. “At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.

“While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew’s lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response the aerial weapons team crew–as soon as the individuals are a threat, they repeatedly request authorization to fire on the bongo truck and once granted they engage the vehicle at least six times. Shortly after the second engagement, a mechanized infantry unit arrives at the scene. Within minutes, the aerial weapons team crew learns that children were in the van, and despite the injuries the crew exhibits no remorse. Instead, they downplay the significance of their actions, saying quote ‘Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle’ unquote.

“The aerial weapons team crew members sound like they lack sympathy for the children or the parents. Later in a particularly disturbing manner, the aerial weapons team verbalizes enjoyment at the sight of one of the ground vehicles driving over a body–or one of the bodies. As I continued my research, I found an article discussing the book ‘The Good Soldiers,’ written by Washington Post writer David Finkel. In Mr. Finkel’s book, he writes about the aerial weapons team attack. As I read an online excerpt in Google Books, I followed Mr. Finkel’s account of the event belonging to the video. I quickly realize that Mr. Finkel was quoting, I feel in verbatim, the audio communications of the aerial weapons team crew. It is clear to me that Mr. Finkel obtained access and a copy of the video during his tenure as an embedded journalist. I was aghast at Mr. Finkel’s portrayal of the incident. Reading his account, one would believe the engagement was somehow justified as ‘payback’ for an earlier attack that led to the death of a soldier. Mr. Finkel ends his account of the engagement by discussing how a soldier finds an individual still alive from the attack. He writes that the soldier finds him and sees him gesture with his two forefingers together, a common method in the Middle East to communicate that they are friendly. However, instead of assisting him, the soldier makes an obscene gesture extending his middle finger. The individual apparently dies shortly thereafter. Reading this, I can only think of how this person was simply trying to help others, and then he quickly finds he needs help as well. To make matters worse, in the last moments of his life he continues to express his friendly gesture–his friendly intent–only to find himself receiving this well known gesture of unfriendliness. For me it’s all a big mess, and I am left wondering what these things mean, and how it all fits together. It burdens me emotionally. …

“I hoped that the public would be as alarmed as me about the conduct of the aerial weapons team crew members. I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan are targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare. After the release I was encouraged by the response in the media and general public who observed the aerial weapons team video. As I hoped, others were just as troubled–if not more troubled than me by what they saw.”

Manning provided to the public the most important window into the inner workings of imperial power since the release of the Pentagon Papers. The routine use of torture, the detention of Iraqis who were innocent, the inhuman conditions within our secret detention facilities, the use of State Department officials as spies in the United Nations, the collusion with corporations to keep wages low in developing countries such as Haiti, and specific war crimes such as the missile strike on a house that killed seven children in Afghanistan would have remained hidden without Manning.

“I felt that we were risking so much for people that seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and anger on both sides,” Manning said. “I began to become depressed with the situation that we found ourselves increasingly mired in year after year. The SigActs [significant-acts reports of the Army] documented this in great detail and provide a context of what we were seeing on the ground.

“In attempting to conduct counterterrorism, or CT, and counterinsurgency, COIN, operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our host nation partners, and ignoring the second- and third-order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables [a reference to military information] this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to re-evaluate the need or even the desire to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the affected environment every day.”

It is certain that with this “naked” plea Manning will serve perhaps as much as 20 years in prison. The judge, Col. Denise Lind, who will determine Manning’s sentence, warned him that the government could use his admissions to build a case for the more serious charges. Manning faces 90 years if he is convicted on the greater charge of espionage, and he faces life if convicted of aiding the enemy. Military prosecutors have made it clear they are out for blood. They said they will call 141 witnesses, including 15 who will charge that Manning caused harm to national interests; 33 witnesses, the government claims, will discuss information so sensitive or secret that it will require closed court sessions. Four witnesses–including, it appears, a Navy SEAL involved in the bin Laden raid–will give testimony anonymously. Army Maj. Ashden Fein, the lead prosecution attorney, has told the court that the government witnesses will discuss issues such as “injury and death to individuals” that resulted from the WikiLeaks disclosures, as well as how the “capability of the enemy increased in certain countries.” The government is preventing Manning’s defense team from interviewing some of the witnesses before the trial.

When he was secretary of defense, Robert Gates said a Defense Department review determined that the publication of the Iraq War Logs and the Afghan War Diary had “not revealed any sensitive intelligence sources and methods.” In the trial, however, the government must prove only that the “disclosure could be potentially damaging to the United States” and need only provide “independent proof of at least potential harm to the national security” beyond mere security classification, writes law professor Geoffrey Stone.

The government reviews determined that the release of Department of State “diplomatic cables caused only limited damage to U.S. interests abroad despite the Obama administration’s public statements to the contrary,” according to Reuters. “We were told the impact [of WikiLeaks revelations] was embarrassing but not damaging,” a congressional official, briefed by the State Department, told Reuters. The “Obama administration felt compelled to say publicly that the revelations had seriously damaged American interests in order to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers,” the official told the news outlet. Government prosecutors, strengthening their case further, have succeeded in blocking Manning’s lawyers from presenting evidence about the lack of real damage caused to U.S. interests by the leaks.

Manning has done what anyone with a conscience should have done. In the courtroom he exhibited–especially given the prolonged abuse he suffered during his thousand days inside the military prison system–poise, intelligence and dignity. He appealed to the best within us. And this is why the government fears him. America still produces heroes, some in uniform. But now we lock them up.

The court has not yet issued an official text of Bradley Manning’s statement. Thanks to Alexa O’Brien for providing a transcript.

ANTI-SLAVERY

27 noviembre, 2012 por ricardo

Slavery and What We Buy

Some of the products we buy today may have been produced through the use of slave labour.

http://www.antislavery.org/english/slavery_today/slavery_and_what_we_buy.aspx

How does slavery occur in the supply chain?

There is evidence of slavery in different stages of the supply chain from the production of raw materials, for example cocoa and cotton farming, to manufacturing goods such as hand-knotted rugs and even at the final stage, when the product reaches the market.

How does the supply chain work?

Typically the final product you purchase has passed through a long chain of producers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers who have all participated in its production, delivery and sale.

It can therefore be very difficult to track a component of an end product back to a particular producer, for example cotton in a T-shirt back to a particular cotton farm.

For this reason it is not always possible to certify that a product has or has not been produced using slavery.

However the way in which companies operate can affect the likelihood of slavery being a part of the final product. If a brand gives its supplier a large order with a short turnaround time beyond the suppliers’ capacity, this could increase the risk of slavery as the supplier may subcontract work to factories or workers that are not regulated by the same standards as the supplier.

Company buyers may negotiate such low prices that suppliers are forced to push down the price it pays for the materials it needs, which can have a knock-on effect on those involved in the production of raw materials, increasing the likelihood of the use of forced labour.

Companies should ensure that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is respected across its whole supply chain to ensure that it is not inadvertently supporting slavery. For example, extreme poverty can lead workers into situations in which they find themselves enslaved and the government may not be properly enforcing labour laws and inspecting workplaces.

Ricardo’s story

Ricardo was made to live in the back of a locked removal van and forced to work on a farm picking tomatoes in Florida. He was forced into debt as his ‘employer’ charged punitive costs for food, rent etc. After more than a year he managed to escape through the ventilation hatch of the truck.

Florida tomatoes are bought by restaurant and fast-food chains. Anti-Slavery International supported the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ campaign, which succeeded in Burger King signing an agreement with them to ensure workers’ rights are respected. The agreement includes a zero-tolerance guideline for suppliers regarding certain unlawful activities such as forced labour.

Core labour standards

Labour standards are developed, agreed and enforced by the International Labour Organization, which is a part of the United Nations. Human rights groups such as Anti-Slavery International call on governments to apply these standards. These standards are binding on governments and seek to eliminate forced labour, child labour and discrimination in employment, while ensuring respect for the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Companies’ codes of conduct and schemes should meet these standards.

Transnational corporations hold considerable power and it is vital that they are held to account for the way their workers, whether employed directly or indirectly, are treated. The United Nations Human Rights Council has called upon countries to recognise that they have a duty to protect against human rights abuses committed by companies. Companies also have a responsibility to put in place systems that ensure they are respecting human rights. Finally, victims need better and easier ways in which they can access justice. Anti-Slavery International supports this approach by providing companies with information to improve their systems so that they can identify, prevent and eradicate slavery.

What can you do?

Ask questions when you shop. Does your local retailer stock fair trade products? Use your consumer power to show you care — buy fair trade marked products and Rugmark carpets, a certification scheme for rugs and carpets made without illegal child labour. In supermarkets, look out for the Fairtrade Mark. This is the best available guarantee that a product has not been produced using slave labour because goods can only be Fairtrade certified if they have complied with Fairtrade standards, which incorporate international human rights standards. For retail chains, write a letter to the company headquarters asking what measures the company is taking to identify, prevent and end the use of forced labour and slavery from their supply chain. Ask if the company is a member of the ETI and ask the company to explain how it is involved.

Why not boycott?

In certain situations boycotting specific goods or countries can actually make the situation worse and undermine the economy of an already poor country. A boycott could hurt those in slavery-like conditions as well as those employers who are not exploiting their workers, and worsen the poverty that is one of the root causes of the problem. Support fair and ethical trade initiatives instead and use consumer power to encourage retailers and companies to move to the Fairtrade scheme.

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