Sunday 23rd of January 2022

we're only human...

human rights

Chinese President Hu Jintao has acknowledged that "a lot still needs to be done" in China over human rights.

Mr Hu was speaking at a rare joint news conference with US President Barack Obama on the first full day of his state visit to the US.

Asked to justify China's human rights record, Mr Hu said China had "made enormous progress recognized in the world".

Mr Obama said he saw China's "peaceful rise" as good for the United States.

"The US has an interest in seeing hundreds of millions of people lifted out of poverty," Mr Obama said.

Mr Hu has been feted at the White House at a star-studded state dinner, to which he was welcomed by Mr Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The opulent affair came following a long day of meetings and a press conference, at which the US president hailed relations with China and said the two countries had a huge stake in each other's success.

currency kaput...

Chinese President Hu Jintao has said the international currency system dominated by the US dollar is a "product of the past".

Mr Hu also said China was taking steps to replace it with the yuan, its own currency, but acknowledged that would be a "fairly long process".

The remarks to two US newspapers come ahead of a state visit by the Chinese leader to Washington this week.

They reflect continuing tensions over currency issues between the two powers.

The remarks to the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, which came in the form of written responses to questions, Mr Hu also reiterated criticism of a decision by the US Federal Reserve to inject $600bn into the economy, which some argue will weaken the dollar at the expense of other countries' exports.

"The monetary policy of the United States has a major impact on global liquidity and capital flows and therefore, the liquidity of the US dollar should be kept at a reasonable and stable level," President Hu said.


Actually, Gus is in favour of making the ELASTIC BAND the monetary unit for the world, unless we start trading in empty oyster shells or in Zimbabwe dollars... Another unit could be the dreambuck or the "honest day's work" but this would not cut mustard in the rich quarter...

meanwhile, at the chinese grindstone...

China's growth raced ahead in the fourth quarter to 9.8 per cent, beating economists' forecasts of around 9.4 per cent.

The figures from the country's National Bureau of Statistics have defied any expectations of a slowdown; and analysts say this could put pressure on policy makers to implement more tightening measures to counter inflation.

"Growth won't be a problem this year," Asian Development Bank economist, Zhuang Jaian said ahead of the release.

"Inflation remains the top immediate risk for the economy."

In December, consumer price inflation rose 4.6 per cent, in line with most forecasts, but slowing from a 28 month high of 5.1 per cent in November.

Beijing has been taking steps to put a lid rising prices.

On Friday the country's central bank raised reserve requirements for banks for the fourth time in just over two months, and the seventh since early 2010.

China also raised interest rates twice last year, once in October and once in December.

Analysts' say despite the month on month slowdown inflation is the key focus for the market in the year ahead.

"It will be a challenging year for China to battle inflation. December inflation is higher than our expectations. Food prices continued to go up in the first half of this month due to seasonal demand," China Economist at OCBC Bank in Singapore, Dongming Xie said.

abandoning human rights...

The Obama administration is abandoning attempts to close the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba and will shortly begin new trials there after Congress blocked the president from bringing accused terrorists before courts in the US.

The defence secretary, Robert Gates, is shortly expected to lift an order imposed on the day of Obama's inauguration two years ago halting the start of new military tribunals, according to the New York Times. New charges against some of the more than 30 detainees identified for prosecution are expected within weeks.

Likely targets include Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi accused of planning the suicide bombing of the American warship USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, which killed 17 sailors. He is a "high-value detainee" who prosecutors have indicated could become the first to face the death penalty.

defrosting guano...

United States president Barack Obama says he will lift the two-year freeze on new military trials for Guantanamo Bay terrorism suspects and issue new guidelines on the treatment of indefinite detainees.

Mr Obama, who has been thwarted in his desire to close the camp in Cuba which he said is a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda, issued the long-awaited decision after a deep review of administration policy.

"I am announcing several steps that broaden our ability to bring terrorists to justice, provide oversight for our actions and ensure the humane treatment of detainees," he said in a statement.

The White House says secretary of defence Robert Gates will soon issue an order "rescinding his prior suspension on the swearing and referring of new charges in the military commissions".


The US should sell Guantanamo with its load of prisoners back to Cuba... thus washing its hands from the pox...

For this, with no money to speak of, the Cuban government would get a grant from the Venezuelan government who would rehabilitate the inmates in freezing camps in the mountains... Then the Venezualan government would sell the information it got from the contrite inmates to the US, reimbursing the value of the grant to the Cubans...

Everyone would be happy... well, most...

Just joking...

see toon at top.

same old, same old .....

Barack Obama has approved the resumption of military trials for detainees at Guantánamo Bay, ending a two-year ban.

The US president instructed the defence department to lift an order that had suspended the filing of new charges in the military tribunals at the camp.

It was the latest acknowledgement that the detention facility which Obama had vowed to shut down within a year of taking office will remain open for some time to come.

Obama said: "I strongly believe that the American system of justice is a key part of our arsenal in the war against al-Qaida and its affiliates, and we will continue to draw on all aspects of our justice system - including Article III courts - to ensure that our security and our values are strengthened." Article III courts are civilian federal courts.

Under Obama's order, defence secretary Robert Gates will rescind his January 2009 ban against bringing new cases against the terror suspects at the detention facility.

Closure of the facility has become difficult because of questions about where terror suspects would be held.

Obama had suspended charges when he announced a review of the detainee policy in early 2009, shortly after he took office. The White House said that review was now complete.

Obama also issued an executive order on establishing a process to continue to hold some Guantánamo detainees who have been neither charged, convicted nor designated for transfer but who are deemed to pose a threat to US security.

However, the White House said Obama remained committed to eventually closing the prison at Guantánamo, at some point.

There are still 172 detainees at the Guantánamo prison and about three dozen were set for prosecution in either US criminal courts or military commissions. Republicans had demanded the trials be held at Guantánamo.

Barack Obama restarts Guantánamo Trials

elsewhere .....

Blackwater looks set to survive an Afghan government clampdown on mercenaries after Hamid Karzai was forced by his western partners to abandon a complete disbandment of private security companies.

Under plans to be announced by the Afghan government this month many security contractors, whom Karzai regards as being little better than militias, will be allowed to continue operating for another year.

As part of a complex new transition strategy the government is giving them until 21 March 2012 before most security for development projects is taken over by the Afghan Public Protection Force. The APPF is a government security service intended to assume control over the country's hugely lucrative commercial security industry, which employs around 30,000 guards.

0Western and Afghan officials say the draft plans drawn up by former Karzai opponent Ashraf Ghani will actually allow companies to keep supplying private guards and security services to development projects indefinitely. According to a list seen by The Guardian 11 companies operating in Afghanistan that have a good reputation with government officials will enjoy favoured status in taking over contracts.

Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater, is included in that group despite being banned in Iraq and notorious for its activities in Afghanistan.

Seven companies deemed too closely linked to senior Afghan officials have been sent orders to disband within 90 days. They include NCL, which is owned by the son of the defence minister and has interests in a $2.2bn US government transport contract.

Another company, Watan, is frantically trying to win a stay of execution by arguing that its owners, the Popal brothers, are not as closely related to the Karzai family as widely believed.

Karzai had previously described the companies as "thieves by day, terrorists by night". Last August he wanted them all disbanded by the end of 2010. That decree sparked months of chaos and acrimonious wrangling between Karzai and his overseas allies. The foreign ministry refused to issue new visas to foreign guards.

Karzai is doing what the Americans are telling him to do because he has no choice," said a senior western diplomat. "But if he thought in terms longer than just the next 24 hours he would not have got himself into this mess."

Karzai is said to be unhappy with parts of the new plan. He must give it his assent before it is due to come into effect on 21 March, the Afghan new year.

David Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan, has helped to put pressure on Karzai. Afghan officials are acutely aware that without a bridging agreement billions of US aid dollars could be threatened by the general's forthcoming testimony to the US Congress on the security situation in Afghanistan.

Karzai had already conceded that embassies and Nato, which rely on private guards to protect supply convoys, could continue to use security companies. But questions remained over development projects, such as road construction, that the US regard as essential for winning over ordinary Afghans.

Afghanistan lets Blackwater stay despite shakeup of security contractors

the pot and the kettle...

China has told the US to stop preaching on human rights, after the state department's annual report on the issue criticised China.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the US should concentrate on its own rights issues and stop interfering.

Chinese authorities have launched a major crackdown on dissent recently.

Unveiling the report, US officials expressed particular concern over the recent arrest of the artist Ai Weiwei, an outspoken critic of the government.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also highlighted reports of other intellectuals and activists being "arbitrarily detained" in recent weeks.

Mr Hong said China was happy to talk about rights "on the basis of equality and mutual respect", but added that Beijing "resolutely opposes" meddling in other country's affairs.

"We advise the US side to reflect on its own human rights issues and not to position itself as a preacher of human rights," he said.

"[The US should] stop using the issue of human rights reports to interfere in other countries' internal affairs."

see toon at top...

This countries are trying to

This countries are trying to make good relations with each other. But for the fourth time this year China's central bank announced Sunday the biggest Chinese banks must hold greater cash reserves. I read this here: China struggles to curb inflation that threatens global growth. This could leave a lot more people scrambling to get an immediate relief.

the chinese diaspora....

The alacrity with which Wendi Deng leapt to her husband Rupert Murdoch's defence on Tuesday, when a plate of shaving foam threatened his dignity, reminded some within the UK's intelligence community that it was once accepted - quite seriously - that Wendi was a Chinese secret agent.

The apparent ease with which she seems to have left her native China to study in the USA under the auspices of an American couple who sponsored her were behind the rumours, along with China's assumed desire to get close to the centre of American corporate power.

Then there was the mystery of her early days in the United States, before she met Murdoch.

Australian web magazine Crikey, investigating Rupert's third wife shortly after they married in 1999, quoted Deng's economics professor at California State University, Ken Chapman, as saying: "She was a strange person. You never really know what to believe about her.

"Here she was, straight off the plane from the People's Republic of China with more state-of-the-art computer equipment than anyone had ever seen before.

"She went on exotic vacations, travelling extensively during the university holidays, and she clearly had a lot of money."

Read more:,people,news,was-wendi-deng-a-secret-agent-spy#ixzz1SoxG0H00

Question: which is the richest country on earth?
Answer: China (though the USA claims the title)
Question: Which is the second richest country on earth?
Answer: The Chinese outside China. In what is very little understood, Chinese outside China — whether part of or outside the government of China — have an extraordinary mostly "undeclared" (misunderstood) wealth.

obama's shame...


The US government's radical theory is that, although Manning had no intent to do so, the leaked information could have helped al-Qaeda, a theory that essentially equates any disclosure of classified information - by any whistleblower or a newspaper - with treason.
Whatever one thinks of Manning's alleged acts, he appears the classic whistleblower. This information could have been sold for substantial sums to a foreign government or a terrorist group. Instead he apparently knowingly risked his liberty to show them to the world because - he said when he believed he was speaking in private - he wanted to start ''worldwide discussion, debates and reforms''.
Compare the aggressive prosecution of Manning to the US administration's vigorous efforts to shield Bush-era war crimes and massive Wall Street fraud from legal accountability. Not a single perpetrator of those crimes has faced court under Obama, a comparison that reflects the priorities and values of US justice.
Then there's the behaviour of Obama's loyalists.
Ever since I first reported the conditions of Manning's detention in December 2010, many of them not only cheered that abuse but grotesquely ridiculed concerns about it. Joy-Ann Reid, a former Obama press aide and now a contributor on the progressive network MSNBC, sadistically mocked the report: ''Bradley Manning has no pillow?????''. With that, she echoed one of the most extreme right-wing websites, RedState, which identically mocked the report: ''Give Bradley Manning his pillow and blankie back.'' They hold themselves out as adversarial watchdogs, but nothing provokes the animosity of establishment journalists more than someone who challenges government actions.

Read more:

See toon at top...


It would actually cost far less — in fear of terror, in moral hypocrisy and in money — to America, should they release Manning.