Monday’s News Roundup

{Thanks to GL}

Remembering Hiroshima

David R. Henderson

Sometimes, something happens that is so awful that we find ourselves rationalizing it, talking as if it had to happen, to make ourselves feel better about the horrible event. For many people, I believe, President Truman’s dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, were two such events. After all, if the leader of arguably the freest country in the world decided to drop those bombs, he had to have a good reason, didn’t he? I grew up in Canada thinking that, horrible as it was, dropping the atomic bombs on those two cities was justified. Although I never believed that the people those bombs killed were mainly guilty people, I could at least tell myself that many more innocent people, including American military conscripts, would have been killed had the bombs not been dropped. But then I started to investigate. On the basis of that investigation, I have concluded that dropping the bomb was not necessary and caused, on net, tens of thousands, and possibly more than a hundred thousand, more deaths than were necessary.




Looking For a Leaker


Aug. 13, 2007 issue – The controversy over President Bush’s warrantless surveillance program took another surprise turn last week when a team of FBI agents, armed with a classified search warrant, raided the suburban Washington home of a former Justice Department lawyer. The lawyer, Thomas M. Tamm, previously worked in Justice’s Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR)—the supersecret unit that oversees surveillance of terrorist and espionage targets. The agents seized Tamm’s desktop computer, two of his children’s laptops and a cache of personal files. Tamm and his lawyer, Paul Kemp, declined any comment. So did the FBI. But two legal sources who asked not to be identified talking about an ongoing case told NEWSWEEK the raid was related to a Justice criminal probe into who leaked details of the warrantless eavesdropping program to the news media. The raid appears to be the first significant development in the probe since The New York Times reported in December 2005 that Bush had authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on the international phone calls and e-mails of U.S. residents without court warrants. (At the time, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said of the leak: “This is really hurting national security; this has really hurt our country.”)





Selective Prosecution

One part of the Justice Department mess that requires more scrutiny is the growing evidence that the department may have singled out people for criminal prosecution to help Republicans win elections. The House Judiciary Committee has begun investigating several cases that raise serious questions. The panel should determine what role politics played in all of them.

Putting political opponents in jail is the sort of thing that happens in third-world dictatorships. In the United States, prosecutions are supposed to be scrupulously nonpartisan. This principle appears to have broken down in Alberto Gonzales’s Justice Department — where lawyers were improperly hired for nonpolitical jobs based on party membership, and United States attorneys were apparently fired for political reasons.

Individual Democrats may be paying a personal price. Don Siegelman, a former Alabama governor, was the state’s most prominent Democrat and had a decent chance of retaking the governorship from the Republican incumbent. He was aggressively prosecuted by both the Birmingham and Montgomery United States attorney’s offices. Birmingham prosecutors dropped their case after a judge harshly questioned it. When the Montgomery office prosecuted, a jury acquitted Mr. Siegelman of 25 counts, but convicted him of 7, which appear to be disturbingly weak.



Outbreak of truth-telling to Congress on Iraq

By Joseph L. Galloway | McClatchy Newspapers

The Bush administration and the Pentagon were rocked back on their heels this week by an unfamiliar outburst of public truth-telling by the admiral President Bush has nominated to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The simple, stark answers on the future of the surge and the prospects of “winning” the war in Iraq that Adm. Mike Mullen gave to the Senate Armed Services Committee came hard on the heels of another embarrassing episode of truthfulness by FBI Director Robert Mueller in the matter of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who makes Richard Nixon’s attorney general, John Mitchell, look like an honest man by comparison.



Antiwar Radio: Scott Horton Interviews Bruce Fein

Former Reagan Lawyer: New Executive Order So Broad Even Senator Clinton’s Property Could Be Seized Over Iraq Policy Questions.




More Bush-Congress Court Fights Likely

Monday August 6, 2007 By CHARLES BABINGTON

WASHINGTON (AP) – A court decision concluding that federal agents went overboard in searching a congressman’s office almost certainly presages more legal showdowns over the Bush administration’s fierce battle with Congress for control of information.

The administration repeatedly has rebuffed Congress’ efforts to look into wiretaps, energy policy, prosecutors’ firings and other matters, while claiming its own right to probe alleged congressional misdeeds. The efforts have been extraordinary, even by the standards set by secretive and combative presidents such as Richard Nixon, some legal scholars say,,-6830064,00.html




A Red Play for The Golden State
By Jonathan Alter — Newsweek – 13 August 2007 Issue

Our way of electing presidents has always been fer-tile ground for mischief. But there’s sensible mischief – toying with existing laws and the Constitution to reflect popular will – and then there’s the other kind, which tries to rig admission to the Electoral College for strictly partisan purposes. Mischief-makers in California (Republicans) and North Carolina (Democrats) are at work on changes that would subvert the system for momentary advantage and – in ways the political world is only beginning to understand – dramatically increase the odds that a Republican will be elected president in 2008.




Lake Superior changes mystify scientists

By JOHN FLESHER, AP Environmental Writer Fri Aug 3, 5:59 AM ET

MARQUETTE, Mich. – Deep enough to hold the combined water in all the other Great Lakes and with a surface area as large as South Carolina, Lake Superior’s size has lent it an aura of invulnerability. But the mighty Superior is losing water and getting warmer, worrying those who live near its shores, scientists and companies that rely on the lake for business.;_ylt=Au79YGDKbxIAnuvxSzDrgKKs0NUE



Environmentalism for Billionaires

By Glenn Hurowitz, The American Prospect
Posted on August 6, 2007, Printed on August 6, 2007

This article is reprinted from The American Prospect website. The author of this article, Glenn Hurowitz, was former Deputy National Field Director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group where he fought to preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and protect America’s national forests.

Lately, I’ve been inundated with phone calls from venture capitalists, private equity guys, and hedge fundistas. They’re coming to me because I’m their environmentalist friend and they all want to know one thing: how they can make a buck off the surge in interest in combating global warming.

In a way, that’s a sign that the environmental movement has finally arrived. After decades of struggling to convince the titans of finance that protecting the planet and making money weren’t mutually exclusive, the tycoons are now coming to us.


DOD Report : Top Military Officials Endorsed Evangelizing In The Pentagon

By Bruce Wilson
Posted on August 5, 2007, Printed on August 6, 2007

Note: the notorious Christian Embassy video controversy was covered earlier on Alternet, December 12, 2006 by Evan Derkacz.

“In the course of defending himself to the Inspector General’s office, one of the generals asserted his belief that the Christian Embassy had become a “quasi-federal entity.” This seems to support assertions by Weinstein that there is real confusion in high ranks of the military regarding armed service’s secular status.” – Dave Van Biema, for Time Magazine, on the newly released Pentagon Inspector General’s report


With God as Bush’s Co-Conspirator?

Faith-Based War


Washington DC made its reputation around the world as the city where nothing succeeds like failure – take Bush and Wolfowitz as examples. Few “realists” tell the truth, especially in matters of public policy. But President Bush has discovered a new way around truth: faith. He has faith that the US military will win in Iraq despite the impressive array of facts that would cause less fervent believers to waver. His style of operating — classify everything and don’t talk to anyone but absolutely loyal reporters and God – contrasts sharply with the Nixon-Kissinger era.






Dissuading Dissent Doesn’t Do Iraq Any Good

By Matthew Yglesias
Special to the Los Angeles Times

Article Last Updated: 08/04/2007 02:25:45 PM MDT

The United States is now well into the fifth year of a war in Iraq that has, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, managed to get more Americans killed than the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks while alienating global opinion, undermining our strategic posture around the world, arguably speeding nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran and detracting from American efforts against al-Qaida. The nation’s elites, ever vigilant, have located the source of the problem: Public outrage over the sorry situation.
Washington Post foreign-affairs columnist David Ignatius, for instance, wrote recently that “a good start” in finding an exit from Iraq “would be for Washington partisans to take deep breaths and lower the volume.”
The same day, Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of Princeton’s prestigious Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, argued in the Post that, in the foreign-policy realm, “the fiercest battle is no longer between the left and the right but between partisanship and bipartisanship.” The former, with its hard-right hawks and strident anti-war types, is bad, of course.



NatWest Three ask judge to force ex-colleagues to speak out

· Video depositions sought to end alleged muzzling
· Treaty request is likely to embarrass UK government

Andrew Clark in New York-Monday August 6, 2007-The Guardian

Lawyers for the so-called NatWest Three are stepping up pressure on the alleged fraudsters’ former colleagues by seeking a court order from a Texas judge permitting them to obtain video depositions from five City bankers in London.,,2142235,00.html




Award-winning film-maker’s death divides UK and Israel

By Eric Silver in Jerusalem

Britain and Israel face a diplomatic and legal showdown this week over the death of James Miller, an award-winning British film-maker who was shot by Israel soldiers while working on a documentary in the Gaza Strip more than four years ago.

Israel has failed to respond to an ultimatum issued by Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general, to his opposite number, Meni Mazuz, on 26 June to launch a criminal investigation within six weeks against the officer suspected of firing the fatal shot. The deadline expires tomorrow.



In the name of war on terror

JUST few days after ending with an egg on its face over the bungling of an Indian doctors case accused of links to failed car bombings in Britain, the Australian government has unveiled new anti-terror laws, giving the police and security agencies unprecedented powers to search the homes and computers of suspects without their knowledge and intercept communications under legislation to go before parliament shortly.

Police and security officers would be able to assume false identities to gain entry and conduct the surreptitious searches, seize equipment and plant listening devices.

The suspects would not have to be informed of the raids for up to 18 months under delayed notification warrants.

The most worrying aspect of such anti-terror laws is that the West in pursuance of its so-called war on terror has thrown out of the window every element of fair play and natural justice.

One does not know whether it is the case of paranoia or overzealous enforcement agencies that any person with a Muslim name or even appearance is presumed guilty till proven innocent. The most famous case of this overzealous approach is of Yusuf Islam, formerly Cats Stevens, and a pop star of yesteryear, who was deported from an American airport because an al-Qaeda terrorist of the same name was on their watch list.

The Indian doctor was fortunate as he was let off after 24 days after every attempt of the Australian authorities to build a creditable case against him fell flat on its face. But there are many who are not so fortunate. In this context the cases of Maher Arar and Khaled el-Masri highlight how high-handedness of the overzealous law-enforcement authorities has changed their lives forever.




Polish ruling coalition on brink of collapse

Poland’s fragile coalition government teetered on the brink yesterday after one of its minority members, the rural and populist Samoobrona (“Self-Defence”) party threatened to pull its two remaining ministers out of the government headed by Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.



Robert Fisk: Mistrust fuels cycle of violence in Lebanon

When, oh when, will the Lebanese Christians stop destroying each other? General Michel Aoun’s Free Democratic Party (colour them bright orange) stood yesterday, along with their pro-Syrian allies, against the Phalangist candidate Amin Gemayel, former president and father of the assassinated incumbent MP, Pierre, murdered – by Syrians? By rival Christians? You name it – last year.




Juan Cole: Informed Comment

Monday, August 06, 2007

Republican Candidates for Staying the Course;
Tal Afar Bombing Kills 25;
60 Bodies found Near Baquba;
190,000 Guns Unaccounted for by Pentagon



Weapons Given to Iraq Are Missing

GAO Estimates 30% of Arms Are Unaccounted For

By Glenn Kessler

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 6, 2007; Page A01

The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.




Unions Struggle to Protect Iraqi Oil

A photo essay documenting unionized Iraqi workers and their fight to prevent the privatization of their nation’s oil industry.



Rival’s release is Musharraf’s nightmare

Bruce Loudon, South Asia correspondent | August 06, 2007

BELEAGUERED Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s already dire political problems worsened last night when his most bitter foe emerged unrepentant from prison and pledged to rid the country of military rule.

Javed Hashmi, acting president of exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League Party, was freed after the newly emboldened Supreme Court granted him bail part-way into a 23-year sentence for treason and trying to incite a mutiny against General Musharraf.

The decision to release Mr Hashmi after just four years represents another stunning defeat for General Musharraf — who is known to loathe Mr Hashmi — just weeks after the Supreme Court reversed General Musharraf’s suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Rights and opposition groups yesterday criticised the charges as politically motivated. The Supreme Court agreed to bail of 50,000 rupees (about $930) while it considers his application for the case to be reviewed.,25197,22194504-15084,00.html






AEI Caught Between Its Likudist Heart and Its Corporate Head

by Jim Lobe

Today’s quotation in the Financial Times attributed to Danielle Pletka, the Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), was a stunner. “If we …begin to sanction foreign companies through more stringent sanctions in the Iran Sanctions Act, I think there will be serious repercussions for our multilateral effort.”

Whatever would possess AEI and Pletka, who personally has been one of the most prominent and enthusiastic cheerleaders of the rapidly spreading state divestment movement against companies doing business in Iran, to offer a cautionary note about adopting unilateral sanctions, let alone stress the importance of preserving multilateral unity with limp-wristed European allies in dealing with a charter member of the “Axis of Evil”? Judging from its provenance at what must be considered Neo-Con Central, it certainly couldn’t be common sense.






Stock Market Meltdown

By Mike Whitney

08/04/07 “ICH ” — — It’s a Bloodbath. That’s the only way to describe it.

On Friday the Dow Jones took a 280 point nosedive on fears that that losses in the subprime market will spill over into the broader economy and cut into GDP. Ever since the two Bears Sterns hedge funds folded a couple weeks ago the stock market has been writhing like a drug-addict in a detox-cell. Yesterday’s sell-off added to last week’s plunge that wiped out $2.1 trillion in value from global equity markets. New York investment guru, Jim Rogers said that the real market is “one of the biggest bubbles we’ve ever had in credit” and that the subprime rout “has a long way to go.”

We are now beginning to feel the first tremors from the massive credit expansion which began 6 years ago at the Federal Reserve. The trillions of dollars which were pumped into the global economy via low interest rates and increased money supply have raised the nominal value of equities, but at great cost. Now, stocks will fall sharply and businesses will fail as volatility increases and liquidity dries up. Stagnant wages and a declining dollar have thrust the country into a deflationary cycle which has—up to this point—been concealed by Greenspan’s “cheap money” policy. Those days are over. Economic fundamentals are taking hold. The market swings will get deeper and more violent as the Fed’s massive credit bubble continues to unwind. Trillions of dollars of market value will vanish overnight. The stock market will go into a long-term swoon.


Published in: on August 7, 2007 at 2:15 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. Whether the company’s seeming indifference to the impact its emissions have on global climate change will affect its profitability remains to be seen, but a growing number of analysts suggest that it could. A recent Citigroup report, “Climactic Consequences: Investment Implications of a Changing Climate,” noted that companies that “voluntarily adopt climate friendly policies ahead of competitors” might have an advantage over those that wait for regulation before they act. “One could argue,” the report remarked parenthetically, that BP, “which has been focusing on climate issues for many years, and which regularly shows up at the top of surveys of ‘climate-friendly’ companies, is relatively well positioned, compared to ExxonMobil, which has funded pro-carbon advertisements.”

    That seems to be the concern of a growing number of shareholders. In 1997, when a Capuchin priest, the Rev. Michael Crosby, filed the first global-warming resolution at ExxonMobil, a mere 4.6 percent of the proxies were in favor of it. By 2005, a resolution asking the company to explain how it would meet greenhouse-gas-reduction targets in countries that had adopted the Kyoto Protocol garnered 28.4 percent of the vote.

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