One of the main witnesses in Julian Assange’s extradition case has admitted he made false claims against Assange in exchange for immunity from prosecution, a bombshell revelation that could have a major impact on the WikiLeaks founder’s fate. Assange faces up to 175 years in prison if brought to the U.S., where he was indicted for violations of the Espionage Act related to the publication of classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes.
War has indeed become perpetual and peace no longer even a fleeting wish nor a distant memory. We have become habituated to the rumblings of war and the steady drum beat of propaganda about war’s necessity and the noble motives that inspire it.
The New Bank Disaster Olafur Arnarson, Michael Hudson and Gunnar Tomasson*
Image by poptech via Flickr
The problem of bank loans gone bad, especially those with government-guarantees such as U.S. student loans and Fannie Mae mortgages, has thrown into question just what should be a “fair value” for these debt obligations. Should “fair value” reflect what debtors can pay – that is, pay without going bankrupt? Or is it fair for banks and even vulture funds to get whatever they can squeeze out of debtors?
Meltdown is a four-part investigation into a world of greed and recklessness that brought down the financial world. The show begins with the 2008 crash that pushed 30 million people into unemployment, brought countries to the edge of insolvency and turned the clock back to 1929.
Is Iceland’s rejection of financial bullying a model for Greece and Ireland?
Last month Iceland voted against submitting to British and Dutch demands that it compensate their national bank insurance agencies for bailing out their own domestic Icesave depositors. This was the second vote against settlement (by a ratio of 3:2), and Icelandic support for membership in the Eurozone has fallen to just 30 percent. The feeling is that European politics are being run for the benefit of bankers, not the social democracy that Iceland imagined was the guiding philosophy – as indeed it was when the European Economic Community (Common Market) was formed in 1957.
From Academy Award® nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson (“No End In Sight”), comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia. Narrated by Academy Award® winner Matt Damon, INSIDE JOB was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.
About 75% of Iceland’s voters turned out on Saturday to reject the Social Democratic-Green government’s proposal to pay $5.2 billion to the British and Dutch bank insurance agencies for the Landsbanki-Icesave collapse. Every one of Iceland’s six electoral districts voted in the “No” column – by a national margin of 60% (down from 93% in January 2010).
The vote reflected widespread belief that government negotiators had not been vigorous in pleading Iceland’s legal case. The situation is reminiscent of World War I’s Inter-Ally war debt tangle. Lloyd George described the negotiations between U.S. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon and Stanley Baldwin regarding Britain’s arms debt as “a negotiation between a weasel and its quarry. Continue reading →
Will Iceland Vote “No” on April 9, or commit financial suicide?
A year ago, in March 2010, Iceland’s economy was so small that it did not warrant much attention when 93% of its voters rejected the Social Democratic-Green government’s surrender to Gordon Brown and the Dutch, the European Union (EU) bureaucracy and IMF demands that it impose austerity as penance for believing the neoliberal fairy tales about how bank deregulation and “free markets” would make it the richest, happiest country in the world. Indeed it seemed to be, according to United Nations data. But the dream was dashed after the Icesave electronic Internet bank branches abroad were emptied out by their proprietors.
Financial and fiscal austerity policies; the appeal of economic austerity to bankers; economic depression and war; post-WWII vs. post-cold war economic policy; government to government grants vs. commercial lending; the euro and dollar; privatization in New Zealand and elsewhere; social unrest; speculation and prices; criminalization of the economy; impoverishment of the US.
Michael Hudson: Author, Super Imperialism and Global Fracture; editor, Debt and Economic Renewal in the Ancient Near East; economic commentator for National Public Radio; distinguished Professor of Economics, University of Missouri, Kansas City, and Chief Economic Advisor to the 2008 Kucinich for President campaign. Dr. Hudson was the first to publicly identify the mechanism of “Dollar Imperialism” through the U.S. balance of payments deficits. His talk will focus on the coming momentous monetary developments in the Icelandic and Latvian crises, and their implication for future crises resolutions.
http://www.ted.com The controversial website WikiLeaks collects and posts highly classified documents and video. Founder Julian Assange, who’s reportedly being sought for questioning by US authorities, talks to TED’s Chris Anderson about how the site operates, what it has accomplished — and what drives him. The interview includes graphic footage of a recent US airstrike in Baghdad.
It’s an old trick to couch a painful reality inside of a flowery platitude. We hear it all the time in our daily lives, and for the most part we know how to read between the lines when someone tries to do it to us.
When your doctor tells you that “This will only hurt a bit,” you know enough to brace yourself for a painful procedure. When your boss tells you he has an exciting new project for you to work on, you know you’re about to get saddled with the job that no one else wants to do. When a salesman tells you a used car is a fixer-upper, you know you’re looking at a lemon.