Panama Trade Deal Given Go-Ahead by White House

Panama flag by Rita Willaert on Flickr
Panama flag (photo: Rita Willaert)

The White House has given the go-ahead to a third trade agreement since December, this one with Panama. US Trade Representative Ron Kirk hinted that the Panama deal was coming soon in a conference call earlier this month announcing the Colombia trade deal. The NAFTA-style trade deal with Korea was announced in December. From the Hill about the Panama deal:

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk has given the Panama trade agreement a green light, paving the way for a congressional vote on the long-stalled deal within months.

Kirk notified Congress on Monday that Panama has cleared all the hurdles needed for passage of the U.S.-Panama trade agreement. He said technical discussions on implementing the legislation can now begin with Congress.

House Republicans are continuing to push an arbitrary deadline of July 1, 2011 for passage of all three outstanding trade deals.

“I look forward to working with the administration to ensure that all three of our pending trade agreements are considered by Congress by July 1. We are on the home stretch, and I welcome the opportunity to show the world that we once again have a market-opening trade agenda that creates U.S. jobs,” [Texas GOP Rep. and Trade subcommittee Chairman Kevin] Brady stated.

And Ron Kirk, in a conference call with reporters, seems to be making every effort to meet that deadline, as I wrote two weeks ago.

The Assassination Stress Tests call for Colombia to hit its main points by mid-June – just in time for the deadline imposed by House Republicans to push through all three pending trade deals, including Korea and Panama. While the Administration initially balked at moving all three trade deals together, it appears as though they’re doing just that. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk was frustrated by the lack of movement on the Korea deal in a White House call this afternoon, during which he also revealed that the Panama trade agreement would move “in the coming days.”

Each of these trade deals will kill American jobs, sacrifice American sovereignty, and, in the case of Colombia, do nothing to stop the deaths of dozens of union members every year. None of these deals should pass. The next question is, how do you stop the “free trade” freight train?

Panama Trade Deal Given Go-Ahead by White House

Panama flag by Rita Willaert on Flickr
Panama flag by Rita Willaert on Flickr

The White House has given the go-ahead to a third trade agreement since December, this one with Panama. US Trade Representative Ron Kirk hinted that the Panama deal was coming soon in a conference call earlier this month announcing the Colombia trade deal. The NAFTA-style trade deal with Korea was announced in December. From the Hill about the Panama deal:

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk has given the Panama trade agreement a green light, paving the way for a congressional vote on the long-stalled deal within months.

Kirk notified Congress on Monday that Panama has cleared all the hurdles needed for passage of the U.S.-Panama trade agreement. He said technical discussions on implementing the legislation can now begin with Congress.

House Republicans are continuing to push an arbitrary deadline of July 1, 2011 for passage of all three outstanding trade deals.

“I look forward to working with the administration to ensure that all three of our pending trade agreements are considered by Congress by July 1. We are on the home stretch, and I welcome the opportunity to show the world that we once again have a market-opening trade agenda that creates U.S. jobs,” [Texas GOP Rep. and Trade subcommittee Chairman Kevin] Brady stated.

And Ron Kirk, in a conference call with reporters, seems to be making every effort to meet that deadline, as I wrote two weeks ago.

The Assassination Stress Tests call for Colombia to hit its main points by mid-June – just in time for the deadline imposed by House Republicans to push through all three pending trade deals, including Korea and Panama. While the Administration initially balked at moving all three trade deals together, it appears as though they’re doing just that. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk was frustrated by the lack of movement on the Korea deal in a White House call this afternoon, during which he also revealed that the Panama trade agreement would move “in the coming days.”

Each of these trade deals will kill American jobs, sacrifice American sovereignty, and, in the case of Colombia, do nothing to stop the deaths of dozens of union members every year. None of these deals should pass. The next question is, how do you stop the “free trade” freight train?

Kucinich: “Pfc. Manning’s Treatment More Consistent with Kafka than the U.S. Constitution”

Kafka by Tom Hilton on Flickr
(photo: Tom Hilton)

Dennis Kucinich again spoke out against the US Government’s refusal to allow him to have an “official visit” with Wikileaks whistleblower Pfc. Bradley Manning, saying that Manning’s treatment “is more consistent with Kafka than the US Constitution.”

Kucinich criticized the run-around he was given by the Pentagon, saying “the Department of Defense (DOD) has consistently sought to frustrate any attempts to communicate with Pfc. Manning regarding his well-being.” He continued that the Pentagon’s blocking was “a clear subversion of the constitutionally protected oversight process and it severely undermines the rights of any Member of Congress seeking to gather information on the conditions of a detainee in U.S. custody.”

Marine rules clearly stated that Members of Congress such as Rep. Kucinich are allowed “official visits” with prisoners without monitoring by the government or military. However, the Pentagon, State Department, and Quantico base have refused to allow official visits by Kucinich or UN Special Rappoteur on Torture Juan Mendez. Earlier today former State Department spokesman PJ Crowley criticized the Pentagon, seeking to blame DOD for denying the UN’s Mendez access to Manning.

Below is Kucinich’s statement in full:

Sign our letter to Quantico and Pentagon leaders: follow your own rules and allow official visits to PFC. Bradley Manning. Click here to add your name.

(more…)

Kucinich: “Pfc. Manning’s Treatment More Consistent with Kafka than the U.S. Constitution”

Kafka by Tom Hilton on Flickr
Kafka by Tom Hilton on Flickr

Dennis Kucinich again spoke out against the US Government’s refusal to allow him to have an “official visit” with Wikileaks whistleblower Pfc. Bradley Manning, saying that Manning’s treatment “is more consistent with Kafka than the US Constitution.”

Kucinich criticized the run-around he was given by the Pentagon, saying “the Department of Defense (DOD) has consistently sought to frustrate any attempts to communicate with Pfc. Manning regarding his well-being.” He continued that the Pentagon’s blocking was “a clear subversion of the constitutionally protected oversight process and it severely undermines the rights of any Member of Congress seeking to gather information on the conditions of a detainee in U.S. custody.”

Marine rules clearly stated that Members of Congress such as Rep. Kucinich are allowed “official visits” with prisoners without monitoring by the government or military. However, the Pentagon, State Department, and Quantico base have refused to allow official visits by Kucinich or UN Special Rappoteur on Torture Juan Mendez. Earlier today former State Department spokesman PJ Crowley criticized the Pentagon, seeking to blame DOD for denying the UN’s Mendez access to Manning.

Below is Kucinich’s statement in full.

Sign our letter to Quantico and Pentagon leaders: follow your own rules and allow official visits to PFC. Bradley Manning. Click here to add your name.

(more…)

PJ Crowley Criticizes Pentagon for Denying UN Visit to Bradley Manning

Code Pink Manning Protest Crowley Quote by K_Young_NYC on Flickr
CC Photo: K_Young_NYC on Flickr

Former State Department spokesman PJ Crowley isn’t stepping back his criticism of the Pentagon’s treatment of Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. Crowley was fired last month after calling Manning’s treatment – which includes being stripped nude nightly and existing in almost complete isolation – “ridiculous, counterproductive, and stupid.”

On Twitter last night, Crowley renewed his campaign against the Pentagon’s torture of Manning. In two tweets, Crowley contrasted the State Department’s push for human rights for an American held by North Korea with the Pentagon’s decision to “play by its own rules” in denying the UN Special Rappoteur on Torture an official visit with Bradley Manning.

While Crowley seeks to contrast State vs. DOD, both are to blame. It’s clear from the State Department briefing with Crowley’s acting replacement that the United States is having a hard time differentiating itself from China with regards to human rights and detention policies. State claims to be completely forthcoming about UN visits to Manning, yet it still hides behind the Bush-era defense of “ongoing legal proceedings” to not discuss why it’s complicit in denying the UN an official visit to Manning.

It’s hard to imagine Crowley continuing to go rogue in contrasting State with the Pentagon; clearly, the State Department wants to Pentagon to take the blame for Manning’s torture, and it’s open warfare in the media right now.

That said, Marine rules clearly state that “official visits” are allowed to prisoners at Quantico brig. The Pentagon and Quantico should follow its own rules and allow official visits to Manning.

Sign our letter to Quantico and Pentagon leaders: follow your own rules and allow official visits to PFC. Bradley Manning. Click here to add your name.

PJ Crowley Criticizes Pentagon for Denying UN Visit to Bradley Manning

Code Pink Manning Protest Crowley Quote by K_Young_NYC on Flickr
CC Photo: K_Young_NYC on Flickr
Former State Department spokesman PJ Crowley isn’t stepping back his criticism of the Pentagon’s treatment of Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. Crowley was fired last month after calling Manning’s treatment – which includes being stripped nude nightly and existing in almost complete isolation – “ridiculous, counterproductive, and stupid.”

On Twitter last night, Crowley renewed his campaign against the Pentagon’s torture of Manning. In two tweets, Crowley contrasted the State Department’s push for human rights for an American held by North Korea with the Pentagon’s decision to “play by its own rules” in denying the UN Special Rappoteur on Torture an official visit with Bradley Manning.

While Crowley seeks to contrast State vs. DOD, both are to blame. It’s clear from the State Department briefing with Crowley’s acting replacement that the United States is having a hard time differentiating itself from China with regards to human rights and detention policies. State claims to be completely forthcoming about UN visits to Manning, yet it still hides behind the Bush-era defense of “ongoing legal proceedings” to not discuss why it’s complicit in denying the UN an official visit to Manning.

It’s hard to imagine Crowley continuing to go rogue in contrasting State with the Pentagon; clearly, the State Department wants to Pentagon to take the blame for Manning’s torture, and it’s open warfare in the media right now.

That said, Marine rules clearly state that “official visits” are allowed to prisoners at Quantico brig. The Pentagon and Quantico should follow its own rules and allow official visits to Manning.

Sign our letter to Quantico and Pentagon leaders: follow your own rules and allow official visits to PFC. Bradley Manning. Click here to add your name.

Stop the Secrecy: Join Our Call for Official Visits to Bradley Manning

Stop the Secrecy: Allow Official Visits to Bradley Manning

“We call on the Pentagon and Quantico to stop obstructing official visits to PFC. Bradley Manning at Quantico Marine Base. Rep. Kucinich, the United Nations, and Amnesty International should be able to officially visit Bradley.”

The US Government appears to be sweating from the heat brought on by the United Nations after the international organization’s lead torture investigator publicly criticized the United States’ decision to deny official visits to Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. As Marcy Wheeler wrote this morning, “the State Department is might confused about what to do when the international community calls you on your human rights abuses.”

US Military regulations clearly state that Members of Congress, such as Rep. Dennis Kucinich, are allowed to have “official visits” with PFC. Manning at the Quantico brig. That means no one can eavesdrop on their conversation, and nothing from the visit can be used against Manning at his trial. Additionally, as Marcy noted yesterday,

Apparently, our “national interest” in the credibility of the UN extends only so far as it allows us to bomb other countries, but not so far as it might expose our own treatment of detainees to independent evaluation.

What do Quantico and the Pentagon have to hide? Are they afraid of what Bradley Manning might say about his treatment when the brig cameras are turned off?

For 9 months and counting, Bradley Manning has faced almost complete solitary confinement. He is still forced to strip nude nightly. He is still in maximum custody with an unnecessary “Prevention of Injury” order – far beyond that of any other detainee. He is still cut off from appropriate exercise and other rights afforded prisoners at the brig.

When confronted about Manning’s harsh treatment, President Obama said the Pentagon had reassured him that Manning’s confinement met “basic standards. If Manning’s conditions meets our “basic standards,” then why is the government going to such great lengths to keep him from meeting with official visitors?

Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, have tried to visit Manning for months to investigate Manning’s conditions in their official capacity. The Pentagon and Quantico Marine Base must allow official visits to Bradley Manning immediately.

Sign our letter to Quantico and Pentagon leaders: follow your own rules and allow official visits to PFC. Bradley Manning. Click here to add your name.

Stop the Secrecy: Join Our Call for Official Visits to Bradley Manning

Stop the Secrecy: Allow Official Visits to Bradley Manning

“We call on the Pentagon and Quantico to stop obstructing official visits to PFC. Bradley Manning at Quantico Marine Base. Rep. Kucinich, the United Nations, and Amnesty International should be able to officially visit Bradley.”

The US Government appears to be sweating from the heat brought on by the United Nations after the international organization’s lead torture investigator publicly criticized the United States’ decision to deny official visits to Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. As Marcy Wheeler wrote this morning, “the State Department is might confused about what to do when the international community calls you on your human rights abuses.”

US Military regulations clearly state that Members of Congress, such as Rep. Dennis Kucinich, are allowed to have “official visits” with PFC. Manning at the Quantico brig. That means no one can eavesdrop on their conversation, and nothing from the visit can be used against Manning at his trial. Additionally, as Marcy noted yesterday,

Apparently, our “national interest” in the credibility of the UN extends only so far as it allows us to bomb other countries, but not so far as it might expose our own treatment of detainees to independent evaluation.

What do Quantico and the Pentagon have to hide? Are they afraid of what Bradley Manning might say about his treatment when the brig cameras are turned off?

For 9 months and counting, Bradley Manning has faced almost complete solitary confinement. He is still forced to strip nude nightly. He is still in maximum custody with an unnecessary “Prevention of Injury” order – far beyond that of any other detainee. He is still cut off from appropriate exercise and other rights afforded prisoners at the brig.

When confronted about Manning’s harsh treatment, President Obama said the Pentagon had reassured him that Manning’s confinement met “basic standards. If Manning’s conditions meets our “basic standards,” then why is the government going to such great lengths to keep him from meeting with official visitors?

Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, have tried to visit Manning for months to investigate Manning’s conditions in their official capacity. The Pentagon and Quantico Marine Base must allow official visits to Bradley Manning immediately.

Sign our letter to Quantico and Pentagon leaders: follow your own rules and allow official visits to PFC. Bradley Manning. Click here to add your name.

Simpson: AARP is “Cruel Organization,” But “Article on Sex over 80… Amazing”

Ladies and Gentleman, Alan “310 Million Tits” Simpson, whose plan to gut our country’s safety net is being embraced by President Obama, thinks the AARP is a “cruel organization” full of “marketers,” not “patriots.” That said, Simpson, aged 79, really likes the AARP’s magazine, especially “their article on sex over 80. Hell, I thought that was amazing.”

In a late January interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, Simpson rambled about the AARP while trying to defend his Catfood Commission.

(Note: Firedoglake is not responsible for any long term damage associated with any mental anguish from imagining Alan Simpson perusing through the AARP’s magazine on articles about sex.)

Alan Simpson: AARP “Is a Cruel Organization,” but “their Article on Sex over 80, I Thought Was Amazing”

Ladies and Gentleman, Alan “310 Million Tits” Simpson, whose plan to gut our country’s safety net is being embraced by President Obama, thinks the AARP is a “cruel organization” full of “marketers,” not “patriots.” That said, Simpson, aged 79, really likes the AARP’s magazine, especially “their article on sex over 80. Hell, I thought that was amazing.”

In a late January interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, Simpson rambled about the AARP while trying to defend his Catfood Commission. Watch it:

Note: Firedoglake is not responsible for any long term damage associated with any mental anguish from imagining Alan Simpson perusing through the AARP’s magazine on articles about sex over 80.