Earlier this month, the Obama administration brokered a multi-billion-dollar settlement between 49 state attorneys general and five major US banks over widespread fraud in the rush to foreclose on millions of American homeowners after the housing bubble burst. The five banks – Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial – will be granted immunity from future prosecution in exchange for some $6 billion in cash and approximately $25 billion more to be paid over three years to the states and federal government for mortgage modifications. In the mania of the housing boom, the banks issued a flood of mortgages under misleading terms, which were bundled with complex financial instruments and quickly sold off to other investors.
One year after the outbreak of the Egyptian Revolution, millions of workers and students took to the streets throughout Egypt to protest the dictatorship of the U.S.-backed military junta, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), and demand the ouster of its head, General Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.
The Obama administration has inaugurated 2012 with renewed belligerence toward Iran, which threatens to destabilize the region and spark a wider conflagration between the world’s major powers.
Earlier this month the Democratic-controlled Senate voted 93 to 7 in favor of approving the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which authorizes the military to unilaterally detain indefinitely without trial any individual anywhere in the world – including U.S.
Three years after the Wall Street collapse initiated deep recession, the world once again stands on the precipice of an economic abyss, demonstrating that the current crisis represents not merely a conjunctural downturn in the markets, but a systemic breakdown of the capitalist system. This time the immediate issue is the economic and political crisis engulfing the euro zone, calling into question the viability of the euro currency and the European Union itself.
The High Court in London has dismissed the appeal of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, paving the way for his extradition to Sweden and eventually the United States. Assange has yet to be charged with any crime but is to be forcibly sent to Sweden to answer allegations of sexual assault and rape, despite his full cooperation with Swedish authorities and his offer to make himself available remotely for questioning in their investigation.
Three weeks ago, President Obama abruptly announced all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year after the breakdown of negotiations over extending the Status of Forces Agreement.
This year is the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War – one of the most significant world-historic events of the nineteenth century.
The Occupy Wall Street protests have entered their fourth week, testifying to the deep-rooted hatred in the American working class for the country’s financial aristocracy.
On September 23, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas requested recognition from the United Nations General Assembly for a Palestinian state.