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Dictator who sterilized 300,000 women: ‘I Dream of a Peru Without Resentment’

teleSUR | January 6, 2018

Recently pardoned Peruvian dictator Alberto Fujimori, freshly discharged from hospital and living in a luxury mansion, has shared his aspirations for a “Peru without resentment.”

The controversial figure is linked to commanding death squads that carried out disappearances and extrajudicial killings in the war against insurgent groups Shining Path and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, which claimed at least 70,000 lives.

Fujimori, now 79, also directed the forced sterilization of approximately 300,000 mostly Indigenous women between 1996 and 2000.

He was detained in Chile in 2005 and sentenced in 2009 to 25 years in prison for several crimes, including premeditated murder and kidnapping.

Last week he was discharged from the Centenario clinic, where he had been hospitalized since December 23, just 12 days after being pardoned by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in a controversial move that prompted several cabinet ministers to resign in protest.

Safely ensconced in a US$5,000-a-month mansion in one of Lima’s most exclusive residential districts, Fujimori – now a free man – took to his Twitter account on Saturday to describe the “new phase” of his life.

“In the first hours of this new phase of my life, I would like to share the dreams that constantly invade me,” he posted. “I dream of a Peru without resentment, with everybody working for a superior objective.”

Responding, Fujimori’s supporters said his critics are “blinded by hate” and should learn to forgive and move forward to build a better country.

But others were less forgiving. “Accept responsibility for your cimes, ask the victims for forgiveness, ask the whole nation for forgiveness for running away like a criminal, return the stolen money and then we could talk about it,” posted one Twitter user.

Fujimori’s pardon is believed to be part of a political agreement between his party Popular Force and current President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Protests erupted following Fujimori’s pardon, with widespread calls for it to be rescinded.

Last month a group of 239 renowned Peruvian writers, led by Nobel Prize-winner Mario Vargas Llosa, signed an open letter saying: “Fujimori was convicted of human rights violations and corruption.

“He was responsible for a coup d’état as well as the dismantling of our institutions. His pardon demonstrates the lack of appreciation for the dignity and equality before the law, and the right to memory.”

January 7, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Activist: Peru’s Ex-Leader Pardoning Won’t Lead to National Reconciliation

Sputnik – December 28, 2017

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, sentenced to 25 years in prison for corruption and crimes against humanity, including ordering massacres by death squads, was pardoned by incumbent President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on December 24, prompting a heated debate and a wave of dissatisfaction among Peruvians.

“This measure does not solve the [country’s] main problems and does not lead to the national reconciliation the [Peruvian] government is talking about,” Miguel Angel Canales, president of the Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners, of the Missing People and Victims of Genocide of Peru, told Sputnik Mundo. “The amnesty should cover civilians, military and police, not Fujimori supporters alone. Both groups [Fujimori and Kuczynski] are responsible for the implementation of neo-liberal policies in Peru. They have never sought to solve the problems of [common] people.”

Fujimori was granted amnesty after his supporters put forward and then declined the proposal for an impeachment of the incumbent president.

On September 23 Sputnik suggested, citing Alvaro Campana, the general secretary of the Nuevo Peru (“New Peru”) movement, that the impeachment initiative could result in Fujimori’s pardoning.

The bid for impeachment of Kuczynski was put forward over the allegations of corruption and receiving money from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht when the present Peruvian leader was the minister of former president Alejandro Toledo between 2001 and 2006.

On December 21 the president survived the impeachment vote with 78 representatives supporting the measure and 19 against. The numbers fell short of the necessary 87 votes to impeach Kuczynski.

That became possible after 10 members of the hard-right Popular Force party, led by Fujimori’s daughter Keiko, abstained at the last minute instead of voting in favor of the measure, Simeon Tegel of The Washington Post reported last Friday.

It appeared symbolic that Alberto Fujimori’s son, Kenji, who also abstained from voting, was moved to tears when it became known that Kuchinsky would not be removed from power.

“Finally, Fujimori supporters and the government shake hands,” Campana said, commenting on the matter.

On December 24 Kuczynski announced that he granted amnesty to Fujimori. According to the presidential administration, the former Peruvian leader was released for health reasons. A day earlier, Fujimori was admitted to the intensive care unit at the Centenario Clinic in Lima. After the news, on December 26, the former leader of the Latin American country was transferred to an ordinary chamber.

In a video posted on his Facebook page the former Peruvian leader asked for forgiveness.

“I am aware that the results during my government on one side were well received, but I recognize that I have also disappointed others, and I ask them to forgive me with all my heart,” he said, as quoted by CNN.

Fujimori served as a president of Peru from 1990 to 2000. Between 1980 and 2000 more than 15,000 people had gone missing during an internal armed conflict in Peru. More than 4,000 common graves still remain undiscovered. Apparently therefore, the pardoning of the former leader of the country caused an ambiguous reaction within the Peruvian society and provoked mass protests in Lima and other cities.

On Monday, police fired tear gas to disperse crowds protesting Kuczynski’s decision in downtown Lima, while several members of the president’s party resigned.

In response, Kuczynski addressed the protestors, urging them to “turn the page” and accept Fujimori’s amnesty.

December 28, 2017 Posted by | Corruption | , , | Leave a comment

Peru Forced Sterilizations Victims Oppose Fujimori Pardon

Protests against the Fujimoris.

Protests against the Fujimoris. | Photo: EFE
By Neil Giardino | teleSUR | August 10, 2017

Human rights activists and victims of forced sterilizations in Peru under former president Alberto Fujimori are expressing outrage over the possibility of his pardon by current Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

“They’d be mocking the people and mocking Peru, because (Fujimori) has committed crimes,” said Obdulia Guevara, Director of the Association of Women of Huancabamba, a group representing victims of forced sterilizations.

More than 200,000 mostly poor, Indigenous Quechua-speaking women in Peru are said to have been forcefully sterilized between 1996 and 2000 under Fujimori, who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for unrelated human rights violations.

During his 2016 campaign Kuczynski said he would oppose pardoning Fujimori, but in a recent radio interview, he indicated he’s now considering a medical pardon of the 78-year-old ex-president, who led from 1990–2000 and has been in prison since 2009.

Kuczynski’s reversal is widely seen as an attempt to appease the strong opposition party led by Fujimori’s daughter, Keiko Fujimori. Her party, Fuerza Popular, holds a solid majority in congress and lost the 2016 election by a narrow margin.

The political about-face by Kuczynski isn’t sitting well with Guevara and members of her organization representing women claiming to have been sterilized without consent in the late 90s.

“He isn’t representing Fujimori. He’s representing the Peruvian people, including these sterilized women,” said Guevara.

Kuczynski wouldn’t be the first recent Peruvian leader to open a national dialogue on pardoning Fujimori; his two predecessors also weighed the option.

“Every time they raise the issue of a pardon, it re-victimizes, because once again they publically debate the possibility of liberating someone responsible for such serious crimes,” said human rights activist Francisco Soberon, whose NGO Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) has advocated for victims of state violence in Peru since the 90s.

While Fujimori’s critics label him a dictator, supporters say his policies stabilized a reeling economy and helped put down a violent terror campaign that nearly brought the country to its knees in the 90s.

The sterilizations were part of a national reproductive health and family planning program meant to reduce rural poverty. But testimonies by victims said the sterilizations were performed under verbal and sometimes physical threat. At least 18 are said to have died as a result of the tubular litigation surgeries, many of which were performed in rustic clinics lacking proper medical equipment.

Fujimori has maintained the surgeries were voluntary.

But government documents unearthed in 2015 suggest the sterilizations were ordered to be carried out, that doctors were made to keep sterilization quotas, and that Fujimori himself was briefed monthly on the progress of the program.

Investigations into the sterilizations have been opened several times since 2003, but were each rejected by the courts, which decided the sterilizations were not performed under official state policy or carried out in a systematic fashion.

The government has not issued an official apology or offered reparations to victims.

For now, Guevara said her organization of victims of forced sterilizations are waiting for the current president to keep a promise he made during his campaign.

“He’s not shouldering his role as president. He’s looking for consensus, and consensus for what?” she said.

A July 2017 poll suggested that 60 percent of Peruvians support a pardon of Fujimori.

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Historic: Peru Jails 10 Military Men for Brutal State Massacre

Claudia Pomacongo holds a card detailing the case of her husband, who was murdered in the Accomarca massacre.

Claudia Pomacongo holds a card detailing the case of her husband, who was murdered in the Accomarca massacre. | Photo: AFP
teleSUR – September 1, 2016

Among the military officials sentenced for the 1985 rape massacre of civilians was the Peruvian general nicknamed the “Butcher of the Andes.”

A Peruvian court Thursday sentenced 10 former military officials and soldiers to between 10 and 25 years in prison for the 1985 massacre of 69 civilians, mostly women and children, in the town of Accomarca, in one of the most iconic cases from the South American country’s so-called “war on terror.”

Three high-ranking military men, then-Lieutenants Telmo Hurtado and Juan Rivera Rondon and then-general Wilfredo Mori, were sentenced to 23, 24, and 25 years in jail as the masterminds behind the massacre. Judges singled out Hurtado — infamously known as the “Butcher of the Andes” — and Rivera Rondon as those principally responsible for carrying out the violence as the leaders of the patrols, while Mori was held responsible by giving the orders as the highest in the chain of the command.

Two other accused received 25 years in jail each, and another five were sentenced to 10 years each, all for carrying out the violent tragedy. Six were acquitted, including then-general Jose Williams Zapata. Sentences were not handed down for 11 others accused in the case, because one died before the trial was completed and 10 others are fugitives.

People gathered outside the National Criminal Court in Lima to await the results of the sentencing trial, which was delayed more than eight hours. Families of the victims and other Accomarca community members prepared food to share with those waiting to hear the announcement outside the court.

The outcome of the six-year-old case establishes a precedent for prosecuting similar crimes against humanity at the hands of the state in the guise of cracking down on left-wing insurgency in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Accomarca massacre trial is also groundbreaking because it is the only such case in Peru—aside from prosecutions of members of the military death squad known as Grupo Colina—that brings charges against the military’s entire chain of high command, according to local media.

On Aug. 14, 1985, at the height of the government’s conflict with the notorious Shining Path rebel army, the Peruvian military massacred at least 69 unarmed victims—30 children, 27 women, and 12 men—in Accomarca, located in Peru’s southern department of Ayacucho. Troops raped the women, then herded all the men, women, and children into houses before launching hand grenades at them. They finally burned the houses to kill every last victim.

The National Human Rights Coordinator and the Washington Office on Latin American had stressed in a joint statement leading up the the hearing the importance of the trial and the “need for a sentence that imparts real justice for one of the most heinous crimes and reminders of the internal armed conflict” in Peru from 1980 to 2000.

“Peruvian justice has an enormous debt with the victims in the Accomarca case,” said Jorge Bracamonte, executive secretary of Peru’s National Human Rights Coordinator, in a statement, stressing that the massacre has gone unpunished for too long. “We not only hope for an exemplary sentence, but we also hope that the court will order the collective return of the bodies of the Accomarca victims so that the families can bury their dead and close their grief.”

Human rights organizations have called for comprehensive reparations for victims as part of the process of seeking justice for acts of state terror.

“Justice not only seeks the punishment of those responsible, it also seeks to dignify the victims who, for so many years, have been sidelined and forgotten,” said WOLA’s Jo-Marie Burt in a statement.

In the sentencing hearing, judges also ordered reparations of US$44,000 be paid to the family of each of the victims of Accomarca.

The massacre took place under the state guise of Peru’s counterinsurgency strategy aimed at wiping out left-wing armed groups that challenged the state. But the Peruvian army killed scores of unarmed rural civilians accused of collaborating with guerrilla groups as part of the bloody conflict that claimed a total of 70,000 lives from 1980 to 2000.

Human rights groups have pointed to the Accomarca case as representative of the reign of state terror inflicted on poor and Indigenous communities.

“It has been shown that the Accomarca massacre was not an excess of the counterinsurgency fight nor an overreaction of soldiers overwhelmed by war,” said Burt, “but the result of a state policy of combating subversion using indiscriminate violence against the civilian population.”

September 1, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Peru’s Police Force Harbored a Death Squad, Report Reveals

teleSUR | August 23, 2016

Until as recently as last year, Peru’s national police force harbored a “death squad” that is responsible for the extrajudicial killings of at least 20 people over a four-year period – even at times offering sworn officers bounties to kill criminal suspects, according to an official government investigation of systemic police misconduct.

In an executive summary that reads like the script of a Dirty Harry movie, the Interior Ministry’s report found “serious indications” that both high-ranking and low-level officers of the national police force “falsified intelligence information” to misrepresent at least six cases involving some 20 slayings as the justified result of confrontations with armed suspects, when in fact they were summary executions carried out by police, according to a summary of the report Monday by Vice Minister of Internal Order Ruben Vargas.

The report did not disclose the identities of the officers suspected of participating in the death squad, but Vargas did reveal that the operation was headed by a police colonel who was subsequently promoted to general.

Local media revealed the scandal over three weeks ago after department whistleblowers brought the allegations to light, prompting an investigation. The new report will now be handed over to prosecutors specialized in organized crime to open a case.

Minister of Interior Carlos Basombrio, newly-appointed under President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and inaugurated at the end of July, claimed that the evidence suggests that a group of high-ranking police officials who moved between divisions are responsible for running the death squad, and that no single police force unit itself is compromised.

Authorities also revealed that several of the officers involved in the scandal were decorated for their so-called “distinguished” achievements within the force last year. A months-long internal police investigation already found that at least two officers were promoted during the period in which they are suspected of participating in the death squad. The Investigator General intervened in the internal probe and took over the investigation over three weeks ago.

Local media report that the death squad, allegedly made up of nearly 100 officers across four units of the national police force, is suspected of carrying out the murders of 27 Peruvian civilians between 2011 and 2015 in the cities of LIma, Ica, and Chiclayo.

Media previously suggested that the 27 victims were common criminals, but the new report found that 11 victims “didn’t even have a criminal record or a warrant to justify them being identified as targets of police interventions,” according to the Interior Ministry.

The confirmation of the extrajudicial killings by the police recalls a dark history of death squads run by state security forces in the South American country that were aimed at wiping out armed left-wing guerrilla movements particularly under the reign of jailed former dictator Alberto Fujimori.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 3 Comments

States of hope and states of concern

By Bjorn Hilt | International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War | January 11, 2016

At the UN General assembly last fall there was an essential vote on the future of mankind. Resolution number A/RES/70/33 calling for the international society to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations had been submitted by Austria, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Ireland, Kenya, Lichtenstein, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. For that, these countries deserve our deep respect and gratitude. The resolution reminds us that all the peoples of  the world have a vital interest in the success of nuclear disarmament negotiations, that all states have the right to participate in disarmament negotiations, and, at the same time, declares support for the UN Secretary – General’s five-point proposal on nuclear disarmament.

The resolution reiterates the universal objective that remains the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons, and emphasizes the importance of addressing issues related to nuclear weapons in a comprehensive, inclusive, interactive and constructive manner, for the advancement of multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations. The resolution calls on the UN to establish an Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) of willing and responsible states to bring the negotiations on nuclear disarmament forward in this spirit.

When voted upon at the UNGA a month ago, on December 7, 2015, there was a huge majority of states (75 %) that supported the resolution, namely 138 of the 184 member states that were present. Most of them are from the global south, with majorities in Latin-America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific. After having shown such courage and wisdom, they all deserve to be named among the states of hope, states that want to sustain mankind on earth.

Only 12 states voted against the resolution. Guess who they are: China, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and the United States. What is wrong with them? Well, they are either nuclear-armed states or among the new NATO member states. They are the states of concern in today’s world. It is hypocritical that states that claim to be the protectors of freedom, democracy, and humanity constitute a small minority that refuse to enter into multilateral, inclusive, interactive and constructive negotiations to free the world from nuclear weapons. Among the three other nuclear-armed states, India and Pakistan had the civility to abstain, while the DPRK was the only one to vote “yes.”

Despite the reactionary, dangerous, and irresponsible position of the 12 states of concern and the tepid attitude of the abstainers, the OEWG was established by an overwhelming majority of the UNGA. The OEWG will convene in Geneva for 15 working days during the first half of 2016. The OEWG has no mandate to negotiate treaties to free the world of the inhuman nuclear weapons, but has clearly been asked to discuss and show how it can be achieved. Surely, the nations of hope that voted in favor of the OEWG will take part in the work. We can hope that at least some of the states of concern and some of the abstainers come to their senses and take part in this essential work for the future of mankind.

Participation in the OEWG is open for everyone and blockable by none. No matter what the states of concern do or don’t do, there is good reason to trust that the vast majority of nations of hope together with civil society from all over in the fall will present an outcome to the UNGA that will turn our common dream of a world free of nuclear weapons into a reality—perhaps sooner that we dare to believe.

January 11, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Hedge Fund Threatens Peru over Military Regime’s Debt

teleSUR | October 10, 2015

A U.S. hedge fund is threatening to sue Peru for payment of US$5.1 billion in unpaid bonds issued by the country’s former military government.

The fund, Gramercy, purchased the defaulted debt in 2008 for pennies on the dollar and is now demanding full repayment.

The tactic is similar to one employed by another U.S. hedge fund, Elliot Management, which has tried to use the U.S. legal system to compel the government of Argentina to repay the full amount of its own defaulted bonds.

“It’s ironic that this threat is coming amidst global meetings in Peru that continue to try and stop this kind of predatory behavior,” said Jubilee USA executive director Eric LeCompte, referring to the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund currently taking place in Lima.

Firms that try to collect defaulted debt in this manner are disparagingly referred to as “vulture funds.”

Gramercy is specifically threatening to sue Peru through a tribunal system known as the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism, or ISDS.

Peru’s finance minister, Alonso Segura, said on Friday that the government would oppose any legal action outside its borders. “That’s not going to happen,” he said. “This issue will be dealt with by Peruvian laws.”

The ISDS is comprised of special legal tribunals, often established through “free trade” agreements, that allow corporations in one country to collect on debts in another. Critics argue the system prevents country’s from overcoming crippling debts—in Peru’s case, debts incurred by an unelected military regime.

An ISDS-style trade tribunal is reportedly part of the recently signed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes Peru and 11 other Pacific Rim nations.

​As an alternative to the ISDS, the Union of South American Nations is currently reviewing a proposal to establish a regional Arbitration Center, which would analyze and propose mechanisms to reform arbitration proceedings that could take into account the broader needs of the society and continent as a whole.

October 12, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , , , | 2 Comments

Peruvians Protest US Military Presence

A march protesting U.S. troops in Peru earlier this year.

A march protesting U.S. troops in Peru earlier this year. | Photo: teleSUR / Rael Mora
teleSUR | August 20, 2015

Ahead of the arrival of more than 3,000 U.S. military personnel in Peru, Peruvians marched in the capital city Lima to protest U.S. military intervention in the South American country, Prensa Latina reported Thursday.

Protesters condemned frequent U.S. military presence as an assault on Peruvian national sovereignty and security.

“We reject this presence and those who authorized it, like this traitor government and the congress that currently does not represent anybody,” said Guillermo Bermejo of the group Agora Popular, according to Prensa Latina. “Let it be known that this struggle for respect for our sovereignty is just beginning.”

The march began from the Plaza San Martin in central Lima and moved to the U.S. embassy. Demonstrators protested the government’s decision to allow the U.S. to send 3,200 soldiers armed with weapons, ships, and planes to Peru, whose arrival is expected September 1.

Activists said that the march would prove to be the first of many to raise this issue and put pressure on the government to change its ways with respect to allowing U.S. military involvement in the country.

Marches also took place earlier this year to protest President Ollanta Humala’s policies, such as welcoming U.S. troops, that contradict his electoral promises of increased independence from the U.S. in favor of Latin American regional integration.

The 3,200 military personnel will be in Peru only temporarily, while three more U.S. military groups of at least seven contingents that have arrived in Peru this year will stay for 12 months.

Protesters also drew attention to the history of U.S. military presence and its deadly consequences, including its involvement in massacres, torture, disappearances, and other human rights abuses.

Many of Peru’s more than 70,000 disappearances during the country’s so-called “war on terror” counter-insurgency strategy between 1980 and 200 have been seen as part of the U.S.-backed Operation Condor, which saw dictatorships quash rebellious voices and leftist movements throughout the continent.

August 20, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

The Trans-Pacific Sellout

Guaranteed profits—at any price

By Jason Hirthler | Dissident Voice | April 26, 2015

Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama told beltway bullhorn Chris Matthews that Senator Elizabeth Warren was “wrong” about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest trade deal in American history, linking United States and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam in a pervasive and binding treaty. The president was referring to Warren’s claim that the trade treaty will license corporations to sue governments, and her contention that this was, to put it mildly, a bad idea.

Warren isn’t wrong, Obama is. And he knows it. The entire TPP, as understood, is based on a single overarching idea: that regulation must not hinder profiteering. This is a fundamentally anti-democratic concept that—if implemented—would effectively eliminate the power of a demos to make its own law. The final authority on any law’s validity would rest elsewhere, beyond the reach of popular sovereignty. From the TPP point-of-view, democracy is just another barrier to trade, and the corporate forces behind the draft treaty are intent on removing that barrier. Simple as that.

That’s why the entire deal has been negotiated in conclave, deliberately beyond the public purview, since the president and his trade representatives know that exposing the deal to the unforgiving light of popular scrutiny would doom it to failure. That’s why the president, like his mentor President Clinton, has lobbied hard for Trade Promotion Authority, or Fast Track, which reduces the Congressional role in the passage of the bill to a ‘yea’ or ‘nay.’

Cracks have begun to show in the formidable cloak behind which the deal has been structured. A coalition of advocacy groups advanced on the U.S. Trade Representatives office this week. Wikileaks has obtained and released chapters from the draft document. Senator Harry Reid declared his position on Fast Track as “… not only no, but hell no.” Warren has proved to be a persistent thorn in the side of White House efforts to smooth over troubling issues with the deal. But the monied interests that rule the beltway have all pressed for passage. And as a Fast Track draft makes its way through Congress, stakes are high. The TPP is, in the apt estimation of political activist Jim Hightower, a “corporate coup d’état.”

Not for the first time, the president and his Republican enemies are yoked by the bipartisan appeal of privilege against this faltering fence of protest. The marriage of convenience was described in last Friday’s sub-head to a New York Times article on TPP: “G.O.P. Is Allied With President Against His Own Party.”

All The Usual Suspects

Who else supports the TPP? Aside from this odd confection of neoliberals, the corporations that rule the beltway feverishly back the TPP. From the leak of Sony digital data we learn that it and its media peers have enthusiastically pressed for the passage of the deal. Sony is joined by major agricultural beneficiaries (Monsanto), mining companies like Infinito Gold, currently suing Costa Rica to keep an ecology-harming mine pit active, as well as pharmaceutical coalitions negotiating stiff intellectual property rights unpopular even in Congress, and various other technology and consumer goods groups. And don’t forget nicotine kingpins like Philip Morris.

Obama reinforces the corporate line: “We have the opportunity to open even more new markets to goods and services backed by three proud words: Made in America.” Perhaps he isn’t aware that our leading export is the workforce that once took pride in that moniker. We’ve exported five million manufacturing jobs since 1994, largely thanks to NAFTA, the model on which the TPP is built. The TPP will only continue that sad trend. The only jobs not being offshored are the ones that can’t be: bartenders and waitresses and health care assistants. That’s the Obama economy: a surfeit of low-wage service jobs filled by debt-saddled degree holders. As Paul Craig Roberts argued in The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism, between 2007 and 2014, some eight million students would graduate from American universities and likely seek jobs in the United States. A mere one million degree-requiring jobs would await them. The irony of Obama’s statement is that the TPP would actually move to strip the use of labels like, “Buy American,” since they unduly advocate for local goods.

In truth, the authors of the treaty already know all this. The bill concedes as much, with Democrats building in some throwaway provisions of unspecified aid to workers whose jobs have been offshored, and a tax credit to ostensibly help those ex-workers purchase health insurance. Cold comfort for the jobless, as they are exhorted by the gutless paladins of globalization to ‘toughen up’ and deal with the harsh realities of a globalized economy. As neoliberal stooge Thomas Friedman has said, companies in the glorious global marketplace never hire before they ask, “Can this person add value every hour, every day — more than a worker in India, a robot or a computer?” Of course, the answer is invariably no, so the job goes to Bangladesh or a robot. No moral equation ever enters the picture. Just market discipline for the vulnerable and ingenious efforts by a captive state to shelter capital from the market dynamics it would force on others.

The Investment Chapter

Despite Obama’s disingenuous clichés about “… fully enforceable protections for workers’ rights, the environment and a free and open Internet,” the trade deal makes it clear that labor law and environmental law are both barriers to profitability. We know this thanks to Wikileaks, which once again proved its inestimable value by acquiring and releasing another chapter from the cloak-and-dagger negotiations. This time it was the investment chapter, in which so much of the treaty’s raison d’etre is expressed.

As Public Citizen points out in its lengthy analysis of the chapter, any domestic policy that infringes on an investor’s “right” to a regulatory framework that conforms to their “expectations,” is grounds for a suit. Namely, the suit may be pressed to “the extent to which the government action interferes with distinct, reasonable investment-backed expectations.”

Here’s what the TPP says about such legislation as it relates to investor expectations:

For greater certainty, whether an investor’s investment-backed expectations are reasonable depends, to the extent relevant, on factors such as whether the government provided the investor with binding written assurances and the nature and extent of governmental regulation or the potential for government regulation in the relevant sector.

Try putting that tax on financial transactions. Forget it. Barrier to a reasonable return. Don’t believe it? Just read the TPP investment protocols that would ban capital controls, which is what a financial tax is considered to be by TPP proponents. Try passing that environmental legislation. Not a chance. Hindrance to maximum shareholder value. Just ask Germany how it felt when a Swiss company sued it for shutting down its nuclear industry after Fukushima. Try enacting that youth safety law banning tobacco advertising. Sorry. Needless barrier to profits. Just ask Australia, which is being sued by Philip Morris for trying to protect kids from tar and nicotine.

Public Citizen has tabulated that, “The TPP would newly empower about 9,000 foreign-owned firms in the United States to launch ISDS cases against the U.S. government, while empowering more than 18,000 additional U.S.-owned firms to launch ISDS cases against other signatory governments.” It found that “foreign investors launched at least 50 ISDS claims each year from 2011 through 2013, and another 42 claims in 2014.” If these numbers seem small, recall that for a crucial piece of labor legislation to be struck down, only one firm need win in arbitration in order to financially hamstring a government and set a precedent that would likely ice the reformist urge of future legislatures.

As noted earlier, the text also appears to suggest to ban the practice of promoting domestic goods over foreign—another hurdle to shareholder value. This would effectively prohibit a country from implementing an import-substitution economy without threat of being sued. Governments would be relieved of tools, like tariffs, historically used to protect fledgling native industries. This is exactly what IMF prescriptions often produce—agricultural reforms, for instance, that wipe out native crop production and substitute for it the production of, say, cheap Arabica coffee beans, for export to the global north. Meanwhile, that producer nation must then accept costly IMF lending regimes to pay to import food it might have grown itself.

Of course, it is rarely mentioned that protectionism is how the United States and Britain both built their industrial economies. Or that removing competitor market protections is how they’ve exploited developing economies ever since. The TPP would effectively lock in globalization. It’s a wedge that forces markets open to foreign trade—the textual equivalent of Commodore Perry sailing his gunships into Tokyo Harbor.

ISDS Tribunals

The bill’s backers point to language in which natural resources, human and animal life, and public welfare are all dutifully addressed in the document. The leaked chapter explicitly says that it is not intended to prevent laws relating to these core concerns from being implemented. So then, what’s the problem? The problem is that these tepid inclusions lack the teeth of sanctions or punitive fines. They are mere rhetorical asides designed to help corporate Democrats rationalize their support of the TPP. If lawmakers really cared about the public welfare, they’d move to strip the treaty of its various qualifiers that privilege trade over domestic law. By all means, implement your labor protection, but just ensure “… that such measures are not applied in an arbitrary or unjustifiable manner, or do not constitute a disguised restriction on international trade or investment.”

If lawmakers cared about national sovereignty, they wouldn’t outsource dispute settlement to unelected arbitration panels, more fittingly referred to as, “tribunals.” (Think of scrofulous democracy hunched in the dock, peppered with unanswerable legalese by a corporate lawyer, a surreal twist on the Nuremberg Trials.) Just have a glance at Section B of the investment chapter. Suits will be handled using the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) model, itself predicated on the tribunal precedent. And in the event a government lost a suit or settled one, legal costs would be picked up by taxpayers, having been fleeced by an unelected committee whose laws it has no recourse to challenge.

Perhaps investor protections like ISDS were once intended to encourage cross-border investment by affording companies a modicum of reassurance that their investments would be safeguarded by international trade law. But the ISDS has been used for far more than that. The ISDS tribunals have a lovely track record of success (first implemented in a treaty between Germany and Pakistan in 1959). Here’s Public Citizen:

Under U.S. “free trade” agreements (FTAs) alone, foreign firms have already pocketed more than $440 million in taxpayer money via investor-state cases. This includes cases against natural resource policies, environmental protections, health and safety measures and more. ISDS tribunals have ordered more than $3.6 billion in compensation to investors under all U.S. FTAs and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs). More than $38 billion remains in pending ISDS claims under these pacts, nearly all of which relate to environmental, energy, financial regulation, public health, land use and transportation policies.

New Era, New Priorities

Now the ISDS is a chisel being used to destroy the regulatory function of governments. All of this is being negotiated by corporate trade representatives and their government lackeys, which appear to have no qualms about the deleterious effects the TPP will have on the general population. But then the corporations these suits represent have long since discarded any sense of patriotic duty to their native nation-states, and with it any obligation to regulate their activities to protect vulnerable citizenries. That loyalty has been replaced by a pitiless commitment to profits. In America, there may have been a time when “what was good for Ford was good for America,” as memorably put by Henry Ford. But not anymore. Now what’s good for shareholders is good for Ford. This was best articulated a couple of years ago by former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond, who bluntly reminded an interviewer, “I’m not a U.S. company, and I don’t make decisions based on what’s good for the U.S.” Those decisions usually include offshoring, liberalizing the labor market, practicing labor arbitrage, relocating production to “business friendly climates” with lax regulatory structures, the most vulpine forms of tax evasion, and so on—all practices that ultimately harm the American worker.

Apple says it feels no obligation to solve America’s problems nor, one would assume, any gratitude to the U.S. taxpayer for funding essential research that Apple brilliantly combined in the iPod and iPhone. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich finally admits corporations don’t want Americans to make higher wages. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce encourages shipping American jobs abroad. World Bank chiefs point to the economic logic of sending toxic waste to developing nations. Wherever you look, there seems to be little if any concern for citizenry.

The Financial Times refers to ISDS as, “investor protection.” But what it really is, is a profitability guarantee, a legal bulwark against democracy expressed as regulation. Forgive me for thinking that navigating a fluid legislative environment was a standard investment risk. Evidently the champions of free trade can’t be bothered to practice it. Still the White House croons that it has our best interests at heart. If that were true, it would release the full text, launch public charettes to debate its finer points, or perhaps just stage a referendum asking the American people to forfeit their hard-won sovereignty. No such thing will ever happen, of course. As it turns out, democracy is the price of corporate plunder. After all, the greatest risk of all is that the mob might vote the wrong way. And, as the language of the TPP makes explicitly obvious, there are some risks that should be avoided at all costs.

Jason Hirthler can be reached at: jasonhirthler@gmail.com.

April 26, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

I have no idea why The USA is so keen on signing Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with other countries

Inca Kola News | November 3, 2014

Not a clue.

Data from here.

November 4, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , | 3 Comments

Reseacher: Peruvian Government Has Political Debt with Forced Sterilization Victims

teleSUR | October 29, 2014

Eighteen years have passed and those who were forcefully sterilized in Peru have obtained no justice even though the issue was key for the electoral victory of current president Ollanta Humala.

On Wednesday, author and researcher Alejandra Ballon accused the current administration of president Ollanta Humala of using the case of forced sterilizations for political gain and failing to follow through with seeking justice for the victims.

Ballon is the author of the first book on the issue, released earlier this month with the support of the National Library of Peru. It is titled Memoirs of the Peruvian Case of Forced Sterilizations.

Crimes Against Humanity

Over 300,000 people, mostly indigenous women, were forcefully sterilized by the Fujimori regime during the 1990s. The program sought to reduce the number of children in poor rural indigenous families by deceiving and threatening them and even operating on them without them knowing. For those reasons the crimes are being described as genocide.

Sometimes, the signature of the victim’s relatives was used to go ahead with the process without consent. Sometimes the victims were operated on secretly after giving birth. The program was implemented nationally but the methods were not systematic. However, the government gave official quotas to each post for specific periods of time and medical personal were required to comply.

The results were brutal. There are several reports on the effects of such crimes including psychological and physical impairments of the victims and the effects on their relatives. “Women lost their physical strength and could no longer work as farmers, but also many were abandoned by their male partners, and forced to emigrate to the cities,” explained Ballon.

“It is not only the irreversibility of the operation and that women were made sterile against their will, but on top of that there are physical, mental, family, community, agricultural and cultural consequences,” asserts Ballon.

She described a case in Huancabamba where many women were dedicated to sewing using an ancestral, pre-Incan method called Cahihua, which uses the stomach. “It is one of the cultural legacies that we have in the country and we should take care of it,” argues Ballon. However, she explained that this sewing method uses a tool that places pressure on a person’s belly, and after being operated, the pain from the scar would not allow them to sew in that traditional manner. Ballon discovered this problem in 2012 but no systematic method has been implemented to be able to find all the other ways in which this criminal program has affected people’s lives.

The Case of Victoria Vigo

Victoria Vigo is one of the women who was forcefully sterilized. Right after a miscarriage in 1996, doctors secretly mutilated her reproductive organs to comply with the sterilization quota ordered by the regime.

She explains how she found out about her operation. “The doctor who was next to me and taking care of me told another doctor that what is happening is that my baby has passed away,” she explained, and the new doctor “turned around and told me ‘don’t worry you are young and you can have another baby.’” But the first doctor responded, ‘No, she has already been sterilized,’ and that is how I found out what they did to me,” says Victoria.

Victoria explains her feelings at the time. “When one loses a child, a longing to have another child stays… When you lose something you immediately want it. I wanted to have a child … but friends who are doctors talked with me and told me, no Victoria, it is irreversible,” she said.

Political Debt of President Humala

Ollanta Humala picked up the struggle for justice for these cases during his presidential bid. Many believe that such a move gave him the edge to win the election in the second round. He was running against Keiko Fujimori, daughter of Alberto Fujimori, the dictator in charge of the country when the sterilizations took place. During a presidential debate, Humala raised the issue and used it to attack Keiko. However, little has been done after his victory to investigate and obtain justice.

For those reasons, the victims are saying Humala only used them for political gain and he has no interest in their struggle or pain. Ballon has come out in their support. She argues that current president Ollanta Humala has a political debt with these women because he was partly able to win the election by promising in depth investigations into the matter.

Failures of Society

Ballon goes further than pointing out the failures of Humala. She calls these cases the “gravest violations committed against indigenous woman since the colonial times.”

“We are not understanding as a society what we can learn about ourselves through these women. They can tell us about how it was done so that we can learn who we are, what are we doing and to what point can we prevent a future possibility of repeating it.”

Ballon explains that the implementation of the program also shows chauvinism in society. Out of the 300,000 sterilized people, 22,000 were males. “There was gender discrimination in the program even though a man can procreate hundreds of kids and a woman has a limited number of children she can have,” points out Ballon. She concludes that “this is not a result of only the program but the social constructs of the country.”

In a similar way, racism must have been operating in society to permit such crimes. Ballon uses postcolonial theory to explain why indigenous populations, Quechua speaking, were the main target. She explains how hierarchies and racism imposed during colonial times have made committing and justifying such crimes against indigenous populations possible.

The National Library of Peru is investing in a collection of books, including Ballon’s, called La Palabra del Mudo (The Mute Person’s Word) that are using postcolonial theory to record and give voice to those who have not been included in the official histories. The ultimate goals are to strengthen democracy, recover memories, and construct new and inclusive narratives about Peru.

October 30, 2014 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Desaparecidos (Ruben Blades)

Video Music that shows the political violence in Peru, using the song composed by Ruben Blades, with the same title. Rodolfo Pereira was the director and editor.

October 27, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment