Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Free Market, Financial Style

How the Scam Works

By MICHAEL HUDSON

Newspaper reports seem surprised at how high banks are bidding for the junk mortgages that Treasury Secretary Geithner is now bidding for....

That turns out to be the key!....

Here’s the rip-off as I see it. For an outlay of $750,000, the bank rids its books of a mortgage worth $2 million, for which it receives $4,250,000. It gets twice as much as the junk is worth.

The more the banks holding junk mortgages pay for this toxic waste, the more the government will pay as part of its 85 per cent. So the strategy is to overpay, overpay, and overpay. Paying 15 per cent is a small price to pay for getting the government to put in 85 per cent to take the most toxic waste off your books.

The free market at work, financial style.


Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist. A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002) He can be reached at mh@michael-hudson.com

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Is the Bailout Plan Breeding a Greater Crisis?

By Paul Craig Roberts

....This perception of the problem and the “remedies” being applied, might be causing a greater problem for which there is no solution. Obama’s approach, and that of the previous administration, requires massive monetization of debt by the Federal Reserve and massive new debt issues by the Treasury....

Despite the near-term budget costs of ending the occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan, terminating these pointless military adventures would produce immediate large out-year budget savings. Closing many foreign military bases and cutting a gratuitously large military budget would produce more out-year savings.

The Obama administration’s belief that it can continue with Bush’s wars of aggression while it engages in a massive economic bailout indicates a lack of seriousness about America’s predicament.

Rome eventually understood that its imperial frontiers exceeded its resources and pulled back. This realization has yet to dawn on Washington.

More budget savings could come from a different approach to the financial crisis....

Would it be cheaper for government to buy the shares of the banks and AIG at the current low prices than to pour trillions of taxpayers’ dollars into them in an effort to drive up private share prices with public money?....

Could this massive debt issue be avoided if the government took over the banks and netted out the losses between the constituent parts?

A staid socialized financial sector run by civil servants is preferable to the gambling casino of greed-driven, innovative, unregulated capitalism operated by banksters who have caused crisis throughout the world.

Perhaps the Federal Reserve should be socialized as well. The notion of an independent, privately-owned Federal Reserve system was never more than a ruse to get a national bank into place. Once the central bank is part of the state-owned banking system, the government can create money without having to accumulate a massive public debt that saddles taxpayers’ and future budgets with hundreds of billions of dollars in annual interest payments....

If the Obama administration can think about socializing health care as a single-payer system, it should be able to think about socializing the banking system....

The Bush/Obama approach to the crisis in the financial sector is to monetize existing debt and to accumulate massive new debt that will likely also require monetization.

The monetization threatens inflation, high interest rates, and depreciation of the US dollar and loss of its reserve currency role. The accumulation of new public debt implies larger annual interest payments that could make future deficit reduction problematic.

Clearly, the Obama administration needs to broaden its perception of the predicament to which financial deregulation and offshoring have brought the US economy.

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has had numerous academic appointments.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Change... What Change?

Despite Obama’s Vow, Combat Brigades Will Stay in Iraq

By Gareth Porter

.... a number of Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), which have been the basic U.S. Army combat unit in Iraq for six years, will remain in Iraq....

Gates has hinted that the withdrawal of combat brigades will be accomplished through an administrative sleight of hand rather than by actually withdrawing all the combat brigade teams.

Appearing on Meet the Press Mar. 1, Gates said the "transition force" would have "a very different kind of mission", and that the units remaining in Iraq "will be characterised differently".

"They will be called advisory and assistance brigades," said Gates. "They won't be called combat brigades."

Obama’s decision to go along with the military proposal for a "transition force" of 35,000 to 50,000 troops thus represents a complete abandonment of his own original policy of combat troop withdrawal and an acceptance of what the military wanted all along - the continued presence of several combat brigades in Iraq well beyond mid-2010.....


*Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, "Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam", was published in 2006.

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell -

Another excellent personal website worth checking out!....
John McCarthy

http://johnmccarthy90066.tripod.com/


Very Pissed Off Combat Veterans -- And Blueprints For Change
By John McCarthy


It is dangerous to be right when your government is wrong
- Voltaire -

If the Nuremberg laws were applied,
then every post-war American president would have been hanged
- Noam Chomsky -

You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.
- Malcolm X -


Introduction

Be All That You Can Be, But Be Aware

Greetings,

This site wants you to see past and current events with the eyes of a combat veteran and to learn about experiences and grievances related to the horrors of combat and the aftermath of an ungrateful government who sent soldiers off to an illegal, unjustified and fabricated effort to attack a sovereign nation for nefarious reasons....


...A gathering of reporters was being given a briefing by this agent when one of them asked why Osama bin Laden's most wanted poster did not include the crimes of 911. The answer was short but clear: "The FBI has no direct evidence that OBL had anything to do with the events of 911"




Read much more!
Click on Homepage above.




Monday, March 23, 2009

US Peace Council slams

US Supreme Court


HA NOI (19-03-2009) The US Peace Council has slammed as "unbelievable gross injustice" the US Supreme Court’s refusal to review the compo claims of Vietnamese Agent Orange/Dioxin victims.

The council criticised the court for not recognising what has been accepted by the international community and the US Army itself that the spraying on 17 per cent of Viet Nam had exposed 4.8 million men, women and children to this deadly and deforming chemical.

"Dioxin has been prohibited in the United States," the council said in a statement just released. "It is a barbarous weapon."

"The US Army compensates our veterans who have been exposed to Agent Orange/Dioxin, yet the US Courts have maintained that Dioxin is merely a herbicide and there was no intention to harm the Vietnamese people. How cruel."

The statement went on to say: "Scientists, during the Viet Nam war, lobbied and pleaded against the use of Agent Orange/Dioxin, aware of the toxicity of this chemical. Their pleas were ignored. There are millions of deformed children in Viet Nam. The curse we bestowed upon innocent women and children still plagues Viet Nam."

It said it was not enough to apologise and called for care and assistance to the Vietnamese Agent Orange/Dioxin victims.

"We have the moral responsibility to demand that the US Government compensate these victims. It is the least we can do."

http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=02SOC190309


If We Bail Out the Banks, Why Shouldn't We Own Them?

Sliding Down in Anger

By Saul Landau

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

-- Thomas Jefferson, 1802


"It’s worse than you can imagine,” a Member of Congress confided to me, referring to the downward spiral of the economy. “We just gave all those hundreds of billions to the bankers so they would lend it and they didn’t lend it and they still want more....We all know this is the worst economic slump of our lifetime.”....

The capitalists oddly enough believe in capitalism and have done all in their power to spread the word. Their public promoters convinced lots of working people that capitalism and the American flag go together. Capitalism means freedom, so the very notion of nationalizing banks – forget socialism – looms in their minds as akin to the Holocaust.

The big bankers and their corporate brethren have connected to political power, one step below them, by simply throwing money at politicians who eagerly catch it. They also endow think tanks whose mavens will then explain to the gullible public why the United States needs perpetual war – to spread freedom (capitalism).

Count the victims of this cavalier assumption.

Since the 1950-3 Korean War, US forces have overthrown -- or attempted to -- governments by force and violence in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Brazil, Iran and Indonesia. They encouraged military coups in countless other nations in the third world.

Until the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, the battle against communism justified the interventions. The Reds have since been replaced as the demon by the Terrorists. Thus, Afghanistan and Iraq join the victim nations, with Pakistan inching its way onto the list.

The wars cost the lives of countless US servicemen and women and many more of the natives -- in the name of protecting freedom. To question the worthiness of service in any of the wars – Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf--became tantamount to questioning the flag itself.

The mantra that surrounds the start of all the new wars remains numbingly in place. The President asks young people to fight because the nation’s freedom is at risk. Having said the magic words, the President then goes on to suck money from the taxpayers to “win” the noble struggle. Official language assumes “we” are good and those opposing us are bad....

Listen to what Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, told US and European attendees at a security conference. “To win in the Afghanistan-Pakistan war, we need to identify and separate the ‘irreconcilables’ from the ‘reconcilables,’ striving to create the conditions that can make the ‘reconcilables’ part of the solution, even as we kill, capture, or drive out the irreconcilables.” (Remarks at 45th Munich Security Conference, February 8, 2009)

Imagine a top British general in 1776 making similar remarks to his fellow officers regarding the populace in the American colonies!

“Reconcilables” means those the United States can buy or intimidate to collaborate with its policy goals. Some people would call them traitors. Later, after US forces withdraw and the “friendlies” become pariahs in their own country, the US government might reconcile itself to bring a few of them to the United States -- as they did with some members of the Hmong people after the Vietnam War.

Bush sent troops to Afghanistan in October 2001 to find and kill Osama bin Laden. Somehow the mission has changed into one of making Afghans reconcile to a US-designed order. This has not worked in Korea, Vietnam or anywhere else where US troops tried to export our – now sinking – way of life to people with different cultures. But it has been expensive.

The harsh fact, unmentioned in the US media, is that the United States, with its vast technological superiority and military power did not win in Korea or Vietnam, cut and ran in Laos and left Cambodia in such a mess that the bloody Khmer Rouge could take power there and slaughter a percentage of the population.

Similarly, Washington policy “experts” do not reflect on the fact that all the CIA coups yielded little of permanence. Indeed, the blowback from CIA coups in Iran and Guatemala are still evolving....

But how many of the powerful in the nation’s capital ask the question as budget time comes around: how can we afford to continue spending on wars we never seem to win when the state of our own economy is in virtual collapse?

The current military budget maintains “268 bases in Germany, 124 in Japan, and 87 in South Korea. Others are scattered around the globe in places like Aruba and Australia, Bulgaria and Bahrain, Colombia and Greece, Djibouti, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Romania, Singapore, and of course, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba -- just to name a few. Among the installations considered critical to our national security are a ski center in the Bavarian Alps, resorts in Seoul and Tokyo, and 234 golf courses the Pentagon runs worldwide.” (David Vine, “The Costs of Empire: Can We Really Afford 1,000 Overseas Bases?” FPIF, March 10)

As the Congressman assured me, “the only thing that can put a halt to this military spree is for the public to get wind of how much were pissing away on this overseas nonsense. My God, it’s going to cost more trillions of dollars than we see in this round of bailouts. People have to start asking of the military budget just as they ask of the bank bailouts: do these expenditures really keep us stable?”

The rich and powerful think mainly about preserving and expanding their wealth and power. President Obama must realize that under the emergency powers of his office, he not only has the authority to seize our assets, but also has access to all the assets of America’s richest men for meeting those emergencies that threaten the common good.

It has become apparent to millions of people that the nation faces a severe crisis. One year ago, who could have predicted Congress would bailout banks and monster sized insurance giants, that GM would teeter on the brink of bankruptcy and our fabled way of life would become a joke for millions of recently foreclosed families?

Soon, lots of people will ask: If we bail out the banks then why shouldn’t we control them -- or even own them? The bankers screwed up. Why should they get any of our money? Maybe they’ll even question why Congress should continue funding a massive military institution that hasn’t won a real war since 1945 to the tune of some three quarters of a trillion dollars a year?


Saul Landau is an IPS Fellow, author of A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD

(Counterpunch) and director of forty films, available on dvd from roundworldproductions.com

The Forked-Tongue Eunuchs and Israel

By Rami G. Khouri

If rhetoric is the first step toward action, then one of the rhetorical trends of our time indicating a giant step backward toward inaction is the American and European tendency to describe Israel's aggressive and illegal actions in the occupied Palestinian territories in increasingly soft and imprecise terms.

For years, US administrations called Israeli settlements "illegal" and an "obstacle to peace," but in recent years those terms have been replaced by a mere "unhelpful."

On her first official trip to the region earlier this month, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton referred to the Israeli demolition of Palestinian Arab homes in East Jerusalem as "unhelpful."...

Colonialism is either legal or illegal, acceptable or criminal. Laws matter or they don't matter. There is no such thing as "unhelpful" colonialism, any more than there is merely naughty rape, awkward murder, or unfortunate incest.

Why is it that those in the West who celebrate and seek to export their commitment to the rule of law find it so hard to adopt both the rhetoric and policies that acknowledge the criminal illegality and political catastrophe that is the modern and continuing Israeli colonial rampage?

What is it that makes giants in the West become eunuchs in the face of Israeli deeds?

Continue

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Lesson in International Gamesmanship

Barack Obama, Meet Team B

By Scott Ritter

Scott Ritter is a former US intelligence and arms control official who served as an inspector in the former Soviet Union (1988-1990) and Iraq (1991-1998). He is the author of “Target Iran” (Nation Books, 2007) and the forthcoming “On Dangerous Ground: Following the Path of America’s Failed Arms Control Policy” (Nation Books).


....Russia did not create the missile defense system crisis. The United States did....

There are three basic facts that the Obama administration needs to address, but as of yet has not: First, missile defense systems are inherently destabilizing and only contribute to the acquisition of offensive counters designed to defeat those defenses. Second, the rapid expansion of NATO in the past decade has in fact threatened Russia. And third, the Iranian missile “threat” to Europe has always been illusory.

The proposed U.S. missile defense shield in Eastern Europe has been a highly flawed concept from its very inception...

The United States has not helped matters by hyping the threat posed by nonexistent Iranian missiles targeting Europe and capable of carrying nonexistent nuclear warheads.....

The entire U.S. case against Iran is built on supposition and speculation. If the president disassembled the speculative assertions, he would find them cobbled together from an ideologically motivated methodology designed more to justify a policy of containing and undermining Iran’s theocracy than understanding its nuclear ambitions.....

Obama ought to reacquaint himself with the 1972 ABM treaty and the case of the CIA versus “Team B.” This chapter of America’s failed arms control policy unfolded from 1975-1976, during the administration of Gerald Ford....

The benign picture painted by the CIA’s estimate of Soviet strategic capability clashed with ideologues in and out of government who were pushing for U.S. defense programs that could not be justified if the CIA’s estimates were allowed to stand.

Rather than confront the facts of the CIA’s estimates, these ideologues instead assaulted the methodology used to determine them. Political pressure was brought to bear on President Ford by conservative opponents of détente to prepare a “Team B” of analysts (outside ideologues) who would challenge the conclusions put forward in the CIA estimate by “Team A” (the CIA’s own staff).

“Team B” didn’t produce better facts (indeed, every one of its assertions was proved to be wrong), but it did produce better fear.

Its claims about Soviet intentions and capabilities, highly inflated and inaccurate, were political dynamite that could not be ignored, especially in the politically charged presidential election year of 1976.

“Team B” won out over “Team A,” and the foundation was set for not only the dismantling of U.S.-Soviet détente, but also for the biggest arms race in modern history, culminating in the destruction of the very agreements designed to constrain such an escalation.

Obama should acquaint himself with the story of “Team B,” because “Team B” exists today, propagating myths about an Iranian “threat” that are analogous to those employed by the team that sold the fable of the Soviet “threat.”

The new president was critical of the Iraq war, and the sad tale of misinformation and deception that has since been repackaged as an “intelligence failure.” There was no “failure” because there was no “intelligence.”

“Team B” doesn’t produce intelligence, but rather ideological assertions used as justification for policy. The same “Team B”-based methodologies which gave us the Iraq assertions about WMD programs are in play today in the Iran “intelligence” used by President Obama and his national security team.....

But one cannot begin to solve a problem unless one first accurately defines the problem, for without that definition the “solution” would in fact solve nothing.

Any solution to the problem of Iran must be derived from an accurate intelligence picture of what is transpiring inside the country today, one drawn more from fact than ideologically based fiction.

Obama is advised to challenge the totality of the current U.S. intelligence used to define Iran as a threat, and purge once and for all the corrupting ideological “Team B” holdovers who still reside within the structure of the American intelligence community.

Intelligence is never about hearing what you want to hear, but rather about learning what you need to know.....

Obama needs to learn the truth about Iran, and about the proposed missile defense system in Europe. This truth would be inconvenient, but it would also liberate him to develop meaningful solutions to serious problems in a manner that avoids a repeat of his embarrassing “Grand Bargain” gambit with Russia, trying to trade nothing for nothing in an effort to certify something for nothing.

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The American Rome Is Burning


So Let's Attack Iran!

By Eric S. Margolis

The real danger to America comes from its Wall Street fraudsters, not from Tehran.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

During the 'Vietnam War', the world became familiar with the expression - "the credibility gap".

This was the gap between the wartime lies of governments (often repeated and reinforced by much of the mainstream news media and Hollywood movies), and the actual truth of what was really going on in Viet Nam.

It was more accurately a massive chasm, rather than just a 'gap', and the negative consequences of it still continue today.


Of course, this 'credibility gap' was later proved beyond any doubt by the leaking and publishing in 1971 of the famous 'Pentagon Papers' - the US government's very own 'top secret'
official documents on the origins and real reasons for their criminal war in Indochina.

Thus, the official government statements to the public were known to be cold-blooded and deliberate lies by the very people uttering them at the time!


All this was already known to anyone interested enough to seek out the truth, often at considerable personal cost to themselves, and then oppose the American War against Indochina, one of the worst war crimes in human history, the consequences of which still continue today.


The anti-war people were often attacked or not believed at the time, but of course they were subsequently proved right.


The pro-war propagandists were proved disastrously wrong, although they have never been held to account for their guilt, and they still go on lying us into war after destructive war.


History repeated itself with the more recent Iraq war, of course, and Afghanistan, and Gaza, and....... And it will continue to do so until enough people understand, and forcefully demand:
"Enough!"


So, while the US government was deliberately lying for years to the public and Congress, it's own documents in the 'Pentagon Papers' revealed another quite opposite reality.


However, they thought they would get away with the lying and deliberate deceit because the 'Pentagon Papers' were intended to be kept top secret, never to be seen by the public.



Of course, this all came unstuck for them when American hero Daniel Ellsberg, (the very Pentagon staffer whose job it was to compile the official study), turned against the war, and decided the public should know the truth.


He famously leaked the 'Pentagon Papers'. They were then published in newspapers and books, despite a desperate and unsuccessful attempt by the US government to stop it.


Does anyone actually remember (or even know about) 'The Pentagon Papers' today?! Well we should! It is just as significant and important today, because the "credibilty gap" continues and widens.


I am reminded of this all the time in my work as a tour group leader in Viet Nam. Foreign tourists arrive from all over the world from diverse backgrounds. Some are very interested in history and politics, well-informed, and keen to engage in informed discussion. Unfortunately, however, far too many are simply not.


Those in power have been remarkably successful at popularizing untruths, apathy, and a certain worldview, which is how they maintain their power. And how they keep lying us into their wars!


"Everything faded into mist. The past was erased,
the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth."
(From "1984", by George Orwell)


Now, as before, it is essential for the public to be very well-informed, and not automatically believe the official line on all the important major issues in the world - from the bogus "War on Terror", to the world financial crisis - which are affecting and threatening us all.


Information is seldom neutral.

Always ask: Who benefits from this information? Who loses? Why are they telling us this? Whose interests are being served? Are they lying again for their own vested interests? Where can I find an alternative view to consider and make up my own mind?


To be able to make up our own mind on contentious issues, we must have access to all the information and viewpoints of all sides to the dispute - not just the official line. Of course, to do this, can be very time-consuming.


But one amazing American man deserves our thanks, respect and support because he has made the job of being well-informed so much easier for all of us!

Every single day he publishes a free, online digest of important alternative news and views on a wide range of issues, from all around the world, in a convenient format, just a few mouse clicks away. Check it out!


Information is power.

Click here, and be well-informed every day!
Click here, and discover an alternative world!

Click here, and surf over "the credibility gap"! . . . .

INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info




And if you want to know more about the 'Pentagon Papers' and what they reveal about the American War in Viet Nam, check out these excellent web sites:


Pentagon Papers: An Introduction
http://www.nnn.se/vietnam/pentpapers.pdf

Secrets: A memoir of Vietnam and The Pentagon Papers
By Daniel Ellsberg
http://www.nnn.se/vietnam/ellsberg.pdf


Nordic News Network - Al Burke
http://www.nn.se

Cheers, and happy reading!


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Hell Hath No Fury Like an Imperialist Scorned

By William Blum


Hugo Chávez's greatest sin is that he has shown disrespect for the American Empire. Or as they would say in America's inner cities — He's dissed the Man. Such behavior of course cannot go unpunished lest it give other national leaders the wrong idea.....


I've been playing around with a new book for awhile. I don't know if I'll find the time to actually complete it, but if I do it'll be called something like "Myths of U.S. foreign policy: How Americans keep getting fooled into support".

The leading myth of all, the one which entraps more Americans than any other, is the belief that the United States, in its foreign policy, means well. American leaders may make mistakes, they may blunder, they may lie, they may even on the odd occasion cause more harm than good, but they do mean well. Their intentions are honorable, if not divinely inspired. Of that most Americans are certain. And as long as a person clings to that belief, it's rather unlikely that s/he will become seriously doubtful and critical of the official stories.

It takes a lot of repetition while an American is growing up to inculcate this message into their young consciousness, and lots more repetition later on......

Bill Clinton bombed Yugoslavia for 78 days and nights in a row. His military and political policies destroyed one of the most progressive countries in Europe. And he called it "humanitarian intervention". It's still regarded by almost all Americans, including many, if not most, "progressives", as just that.

Now why is that? Are all these people just ignorant?

I think a better answer is that they have certain preconceptions; consciously or unconsciously, they have certain basic beliefs about the United States and its foreign policy, most prominent amongst which is the belief that the US means well.

And if you don't deal with this basic belief you'll be talking to a stone wall.


William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org


This Is What A Financial Collapse Looks Like

Argentina's Economic Collapse



Video

Documentary on the events that led to the economic collapse of Argentina in 2001 which wiped out the middle class and raised the level of poverty to 57.5%.

Central to the collapse was the implementation of neo-liberal policies which enabled the swindle of billions of dollars by foreign banks and corporations.

Many of Argentina's assets and resources were shamefully plundered. Its financial system was even used for money laundering by Citibank, Credit Suisse, and JP Morgan. The net result was massive wealth transfers and the impoverishment of society which culminated in many deaths due to oppression and malnutrition.


AND SOME COMMENTS ON THE VIDEO:

A nice documentary, and this is an article that explains more:
http:// democracyandsocialism.com...yRecession.html

Ronin - I think people here should pay close attention to this documentary because is exactly the same chain of events as is happening right now in the United States. The same thing. The only difference is that Argentina had an external debt of 52 billion. The US has an external annual debt of 800 billion.


Continue

Thursday, March 05, 2009

VAVA vows to continue fighting for AO victims
The Viet Nam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin (VAVA) has issued a statement affirming that it will keep persevering with the struggle for AO/dioxin victims in various forms until justice is achieved.



VAVA vows to continue fighting for AO victims

(05-03-2009)

HA NOI — The Viet Nam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin (VAVA) has issued a statement affirming that it will keep persevering with the struggle for AO/dioxin victims in various forms until justice is achieved.

The statement expressed great resentment regarding the US Supreme Court’s decision on March 2 to reject VAVA’s petition, saying that it completely denies the fact about the consequence of AO/dioxin in Viet Nam that has been confirmed by many Vietnamese and international scientists.

VAVA also called on all Vietnamese and people with conscience in the world to stand by Viet Nam in demanding the US side to take legal and moral responsibility for resolving the aftermath of AO/dioxin in Viet Nam.

Regarding the lawsuit, Tran Xuan Thu, Vice President cum General Secretary of VAVA, said the US Supreme Court’s dismissal of Vietnamese AO victims’ petition is only valid in the states under the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals No 2. According to the US law, Viet Nam can still file its suit at the remaining 11 courts of appeals in the US.

In addition to the legal battle, VAVA will also continue to step up the struggle on the front of public opinion aiming at garnering support from people all over the world for the victims.

Thu said a number of individuals and foreign organisations had declared their support for Vietnamese AO victims, including the Britain-Viet Nam Friendship Society, the France-Viet Nam Friendship Association, and the Viet Nam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign of the US.

Len Aldis, Secretary of Britain-Viet Nam Friendship Society, said that the US Supreme Court’s rejection of the appeal by both US and Vietnamese victims without giving any reasons clearly showed that their ruling was based on political reasons rather than legal ones. He affirmed that the struggle would continue until real justice is won for all the victims.

The Viet Nam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign said it would be stepping up its corporate campaign with VAVA aimed at bringing public support for the victims. The France-Viet Nam Friendship Association said it would hold a seminar on the effects of AO in Montreuil on March 9.

The same day, the Viet Nam Fatherland Front issued a statement calling on international organisations, governments, non governmental organisations, scientists and people in the world to take practical actions to support the Vietnamese AO victims and their lawsuit.

According to VAVA, between 1961-1971, the US army used about 80 million litres of toxic chemicals, mainly Agent Orange that contained nearly 336kg of dioxin. Consequently, about 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to this deadly toxic chemicals, and more than 3 million of them suffer from the effects of Agent Orange.

AO watchdog

The Viet Nam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign has called the US Supreme Court’s refusal to review the dismissal of the lawsuit filed by Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims against 37 US chemical companies an action "that denies justice".

Jonathan C Moore, attorney for the Vietnamese plaintiffs, remarked in a recent press release, "It is unfortunate that US courts have chosen, contrary to US and International law, to deny justice to millions of Vietnamese who suffer from the spraying of dioxin-laden Agent Orange, which has left several generations of victims severely sick and disabled."

The New York-based campaign emphasised its success in awakening an unstoppable worldwide effort to assure justice and compensation for Viet Nam’s Agent Orange victims.

It pledged to stand by the Viet Nam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) and "not to rest until the chemical companies that profited so handsomely from their lethal product do the right thing and compensate victims in Viet Nam," read the release.

VAVA represented more than 3 million victims in Viet Nam who filed suit against US chemical companies on January 30, 2004.

The plaintiffs accused US chemical companies of producing the defoliants/herbicides used during the American War, despite knowing they were tainted with a high level of dioxin. — VNS

Monday, March 02, 2009

Exclusive:

The Iraqi Resistance Responds to President Obama

By Rafidan - Official English Transcript

There is no such thing as friendly occupation....

Continue