Test 2

May 10, 2014

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“The Website That Wants the Next Snowden to Leak”

June 13, 2014
Check out and share this Newsweek article on Norman Solomon and Daniel Ellsberg’s new organization launched this week.
Daniel Ellsberg
 1960s whistle-blower
A new, ’60s-style whistle-blower organization arises. http://www.newsweek.com/2014/06/20/whistle-stock-254148.html

U.S. Culpability in the Failure of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

June 6, 2014

By Stephen Zunes, June 5, 2014.

In a sign of how absurd U.S. Middle East policy has become, the White House has characterized Palestine’s membership in international human rights conventions–which would entail new human rights obligations for the Palestinian Authority–as a “threat to Israel.” john-kerry-israel-palestinian-peace-talks-722x478

The Obama administration deserves much of the blame for the failure of the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

It had originally been hoped that the United States would present a binding framework along the lines of what moderate Israeli and Palestinian political leaders had agreed to in unofficial talks in Geneva in 2003: Israel would recognize a Palestinian state based roughly on the pre-1967 borders with mutual territorial swaps, which would leave the Palestinians with 22 percent of historic Palestine and allow Israel to keep the remaining 78 percent; the Palestinian state would be demilitarized and all irregular militias disarmed; illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory near the Israeli border—encompassing close to 80 percent of the settlers—would be incorporated into Israel while settlers in the more remote settlements would be required to return to Israel; there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees to Israel, but there would be international assistance in helping them resettle in the new Palestinian state; and some Israeli troops would remain along border crossings between the Palestinian state and its Arab neighbors, eventually to be replaced by international forces.

The Palestinian government agreed to these terms. Israel rejected them. Rather than make public this framework, and thereby hope the Israeli public would pressure its right-wing government to compromise, the Obama administration instead insisted that “both sides” had shown a lack of will to compromise.

An interview with an anonymous U.S. official close to the peace talks in an Israeli publication confirmed numerous other reports that, despite the Obama administration’s claims to the contrary, the Palestinian side made major concessions while the Israeli side essentially refused to make any, generally refusing to talk about any substantive issues.

A host of Democratic and Republican former officials—including a former national security adviser, secretary of defense, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, trade representative, and undersecretary of state for political affairs—went on record arguing that the Obama administration would have to challenge the Israeli government’s hard line towards the Palestinians in order for the peace process to be successful. Unfortunately, the White House apparently had no interest in doing so.

Instead, Washington has focused on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal to give in to U.S. and Israeli demands that he recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” While the Palestinian government, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the ruling Fatah party have all recognized the state of Israel for more than 20 years, the Obama administration has effectively moved the goalposts by declaring that recognizing the Israeli government, acknowledging its right to exist, and providing security guarantees is not enough, insisting that the Palestinians explicitly recognize the state of Israel’s ethno-religious identity as well. No previous administration has put forward such a requirement. President Carter never made such demands on Egypt, nor did President Clinton require this of Jordan as a condition for their peace treaties with Israel. Abbas has said that Israel can identify itself however it wants, but—given that 20 percent of the Israeli population is ethnically Palestinian Arab—it would be politically impossible to agree to something that would acknowledge second-class status for other Palestinians.

Never in history has any country been required to recognize the ethnic or religious identity of another state as a condition for peace. It appears, then, that the Obama administration’s demand may have been an effort to destroy any chance of a peace agreement and leave an opening to blame the Palestinians—despite their agreement to virtually every other issue—for the failure of the peace process.

The failure may also come from President Obama’s trusting Secretary of State John Kerry, a longtime supporter of the Israeli right, to play such a key role in the peace talks. In 2004, Kerry unconditionally endorsed an Israeli plan to unilaterally and illegally annex large areas of the West Bank, leaving the Palestinians with only a series of small non-contiguous cantons surrounded by Israel as their “state,” a proposal denounced worldwide as a violation of the UN Charter, a series of UN Security Council resolutions, and basic principles of international law. Indeed, Kerry has long insisted that it was “unrealistic” to demand an Israeli withdrawal from its occupied territories. (By contrast, Kerry has demanded that Russia withdraw completely from Crimea, citing the illegality of any country acquiring “part or all of another state’s territory through coercion or force.”)

Palestinian Reaction

Recognizing the failure of the United States to be an honest broker, the Palestinian government has been seeking to enhance its diplomatic leverage by redoubling its efforts to be recognized as a full state and acceding to a series of international conventions. The Obama administration and Congress have strongly condemned these moves, insisting that while Israel is free to join various international conventions addressing human rights and international law (despite the current right-wing government’s failure to uphold many of its required obligations), Palestine has no right to join these same conventions. In early April, Kerry cancelled scheduled peace talks with Abbas in protest of the Palestinian government’s efforts to join the Geneva and Vienna Conventions and UN agencies dealing with women’s and children’s rights.

As an indication of just how extreme U.S. Middle East policy has become, the administration has described Palestine’s efforts to join these 15 international conventions addressing human rights and international law as “a threat to Israel.” In reality, none of conventions impact Israel in any way. The Obama administration insists that allowing for any application of international humanitarian law—even Palestinian ratification of human rights treaties that would help end torture or attacks on civilians by Palestinians—would somehow interfere with the peace negotiations. As Bill van Esveld of Human Rights Watch observed, “By blocking accountability in the name of advancing the peace process, the U.S. has facilitated the settlements and other war crimes that are undermining the prospects for peace.”

The contempt the administration has for human rights could not be better illustrated than in a recent speech by Martin Indyk, Obama’s special envoy for Israeli–Palestinian negotiations, in which he criticized the Palestinian government’s “supposed pursuit of ‘justice’ and their ‘rights,’” in an apparent effort to ridicule the very notion. The words “justice” and “rights” are in quotation marks in the official transcript, and a video shows him making quote marks with his fingers.

In another move decried by U.S. officials, Fatah and Hamas announced the formation of a unity government in order to prepare for elections next year. Though no Hamas officials will serve in any cabinet posts and President Abbas has reiterated Palestine’s commitment to a two-state solution and to all previous agreements, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki defended Israel’s decision to suspend the talks by saying, “It’s hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist.”

Ironically, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party still rejects a two-state solution, and his cabinet includes parties even further to the right—including HaBayit HaYehudi, or “Jewish Home,” which essentially mirrors Hamas in rejecting previous disengagement agreements, refusing to accept Palestine’s right to exist, and supporting attacks against Palestinian civilians. However, the Obama administration apparently believes that while anti-Israel extremism in unacceptable, anti-Palestinian extremism can be tolerated.

Meanwhile, a broad bipartisan effort is growing in the Congress to blame the failure of the peace talks exclusively on the Palestinians and to force the administration to cut all ties with the Palestine Authority.

Unless and until the Obama administration decides to end its support for the Israeli right and support Israeli and Palestinian moderates, there will be no hope for peace.
Foreign Policy In Focus columnist Stephen Zunes is a professor of Politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco.

Issues: Human Rights, War & Peace
Regions: Israel, Middle East & North Africa, Palestinian Territories, United States

Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel-Palestinian peace talks, Israeli settlements, jewish state, John Kerry, likud, mahmoud abbas, Middle East peace, Obama administration, palestinian statehood

Protest of FCC Net Neutrality Rules Gains ‘Momentum’

May 8, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The New York Times reports: “A Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission called Wednesday on the agency’s chairman to delay a proposal for new net neutrality rules, throwing into doubt whether the chairman will be able to muster enough votes at an F.C.C. meeting next week to issue proposed rules.

“Jessica Rosenworcel, one of three Democrats on the five-member commission, said in a speech Wednesday that a delay was warranted because of a ‘torrent of public response’ to the idea that the commission’s rules might create a fast lane on the Internet for companies willing to pay for it.”

MARGARET FLOWERS, M.D.
KEVIN ZEESE
Flowers and Zeese are organizers of PopularResistance.org and are occupying the FCC until the 15th when the FCC votes on proposed Net Neutrality rules. Today Zeese said, “The divisions on the FCC Commission show that the people are having an impact. Now that these fissures are developing we need to increase the pressure. This is a critical moment and an opportunity for the people to set the agenda. We want the Internet reclassified as a common carrier so it can be regulated in the public interest. And, we want Net Neutrality to be required by law. There should be no fee-based discrimination of the First Amendment.

“The other division is — we’re seeing this today — that 100 Internet providers from small startups to Google and Facebook are coming out against tiered system so that’s division on the big business side. …

“We’re feeling momentum online — a coalition of groups has had more than a million people sending emails and petitions and thousands are making phone calls in this last week. … We got a call from the Chairman’s office asking what’s going on, what are you doing, how long are you going to be here, what’s your issues and maybe we should have a meeting. We didn’t bring [the meeting] up, they brought it up. We get the sense the FCC isn’t used to protest. …

“We want this next phase shaped by the public and put forward the public’s proposal rather than a corporate proposal that really undermines the Internet.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Avram Reisman, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Supreme Court Establishing “Plutocrat Rights”

April 27, 2014

Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org
________________________________________________________

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Supreme Court Establishing “Plutocrat Rights”

USA Today reports: “The Supreme Court took another step Wednesday toward giving wealthy donors more freedom to influence federal elections. The justices ruled 5-4, in a decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, that limits on the total amount of money donors can give to all candidates, committees and political parties are unconstitutional. The decision leaves in place the base limits on what can be given to each individual campaign.”

JOHN BONIFAX
Bonifaz is president of Free Speech For People, a group that has sought to overturn the Citizens United decision.

JEFF MILCHEN
Milchen is co-founder of the Montana-based American Independent Business Alliance, which was party to briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. He said today: “This decision, expanding the Supreme Court’s ‘money equals free speech’ doctrine has made the democratic republic, promised to us by our Constitution, impossible. Citizens’ votes are stripped of power when the wealthiest few have pre-determined which candidates and parties are acceptable for the rest of us to choose among.

“The Court majority also does immense harm to America’s independent businesses. Their ruling allows corporate executives and lobbyists to easily convert their economic power into countless political favors. These favors consistently harm our small business constituents by extracting subsidies for the largest corporations, stifling enforcement of anti-trust laws, and systematically giving anti-competitive advantages to the largest donors.”

RAHNA EPTING
Deputy executive director at Public Campaign Action Fund, Epting said today: “The Supreme Court once again sided with the wealthiest among us at the expense of ordinary Americans. … This makes it more important than ever that Congress moves forward on legislation like the Government By the People Act to ensure people unable to write big checks have a voice in the political process.”

ROBERT WEISSMAN
Weissman is president of Public Citizen, which notes in a statement: “Today, in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits on the aggregate amounts people can donate to candidates, political parties and political committees. Demonstrations that Public Citizen helped organize are scheduled to take place throughout the country in response.” For more information, visit: citizen.org/mccutcheon and moneyout-votersin.org.

Weissman said today: “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission strikes a devastating blow at the very foundation of our democracy.

“This is truly a decision establishing plutocrat rights. The Supreme Court today holds that the purported right of a few hundred superrich individuals to spend outrageously large sums on campaign contributions outweighs the national interest in political equality and a government free of corruption.

“In practical terms, the decision means that one individual can write a single check for $5.9 million to be spent by candidates, political parties and political committees.

“Even after Citizens United, this case is absolutely stunning. It is sure to go down as one of the worst decisions in the history of American jurisprudence.

“Until today, nobody could contribute more than $123,000 total in each two-year election cycle to political candidates and parties.

Citizens United allowed Big Business to spend literally as much as it wants – predominantly in undisclosed contributions filtered through the likes of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – distorting our elections. But Citizens United money can go only to outside groups.

“Now McCutcheon removes meaningful limits on the total amount an individual can directly contribute to candidates, political parties and political committees. …

“There are literally only a few hundred people who can and will take advantage of this horrendous ruling. But those are exactly the people our elected officials will now be answering to.

“That is not democracy.

“It is plutocracy.

“Today’s reckless Supreme Court ruling threatens so many of the things we love about our country.

“No matter what five Supreme Court justices say, the First Amendment was never intended to provide a giant megaphone for the wealthiest to use to shout down the rest of us.

“Our only hope of overturning this McCutcheon travesty — along with Citizens United — is if millions of Americans band together in saying ‘Enough!’ to plutocracy.

“We couldn’t face a starker choice: Accept rule by the few, based on wealth. Or join together to protect and reclaim our democracy – the notion that We, the People decide.

“Today, people across the nation will be responding with protests to this outrageous decision. We, the People insist that our government and our country remain of, by and for the people – all the people, not just those few who have amassed billions in wealth.

“A vibrant movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and reclaim our democracy has emerged since the 2010 issuance of that fateful decision. The demonstrations today – unprecedented as a same-day response to a Supreme Court decision – are just the latest manifestation of how that movement is now exploding across the country.

“We refuse to cede control of our country and our government to amoral multinationals and morally comprised plutocrats.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Action to Preserve Open Internet

April 27, 2014

Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org
________________________________________________________

Friday, April 25, 2014

Action to Preserve Open Internet

The New York Times is reporting: “In the nine weeks since the Federal Communications Commission said it would try, for a third time, to write new rules to secure an open Internet, at least 69 companies, interest groups and trade associations — over one a day — have met with or otherwise lobbied commission officials on what the rules should specify.

 
“That effort does not count the more than 10,000 comments that individuals have submitted to the F.C.C.”
 

petition sponsored by Demand Progress and RootsAction.org demanding commitment to “the principle of equal access to the Internet” has resulted in nearly 40,000 people sending protest emails to each of the FCC commissioners in the 24 hours that began Thursday morning.

 

DAVID SEGAL
A former Rhode Island state representative, Segal is now executive director of Demand Progress. He said today, “In order to get the FCC to save net neutrality, we need to bring a lot of public and political pressure to bear right away. That means making our voices heard by the FCC and urging lawmakers to pressure the FCC to reclassify Internet as a ‘telecommunications service.’ Demand Progress and RootsAction and many other organizations are working towards those ends — to win, we’ll need to enlist the help of hundreds of thousands of Americans over the next couple of weeks.”
JEFF COHEN
Cohen is co-founder of RootsAction.org and the director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College. He is available for a limited number of interviews. He said today, “People are right to be outraged that Obama’s FCC is moving to extinguish an open Internet, especially since then-candidate Obama promised in 2008: ‘I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality.’  We must not allow net neutrality to be just another broken promise. Let’s organize like mad to save the Internet, as if democracy and press freedom both depend on it…because they do. If we lose net neutrality, that will subvert today’s booming independent media — now much stronger than in many decades, thanks largely to an open Internet.”

 
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Avram Reisman, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Threat of Nuclear Disaster in Japan 3/11

March 11, 2011

Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org
___________________________________________________

AP is reporting: “Japan ordered thousands of residents near a northeastern nuclear power plant to evacuate today following a massive earthquake that caused a problem in the plant’s cooling system.”

KEVIN KAMPS,  http://www.beyondnuclear.org
Kamps is a specialist in nuclear waste at Beyond Nuclear. Last year he was in Japan assessing the state of nuclear facilities there. He said today: “The electrical grid is down. The emergency diesel generators have been damaged. The multi-reactor Fukushima atomic power plant is now relying on battery power, which will only last around eight hours. The danger is, the very thermally hot reactor cores at the plant must be continuously cooled for 24 to 48 hours. Without any electricity, the pumps won’t be able to pump water through the hot reactor cores to cool them. Once electricity is lost, the irradiated nuclear fuel could begin to melt down. If the containment systems fail, a catastrophic radioactivity release to the environment could occur.

“In addition to the reactor cores, the storage pool for highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel is also at risk. The pool cooling water must be continuously circulated. Without circulation, the still thermally hot irradiated nuclear fuel in the storage pools will begin to boil off the cooling water. Within a day or two, the pool’s water could completely boil away. Without cooling water, the irradiated nuclear fuel could spontaneously combust in an exothermic reaction. Since the storage pools are not located within containment, a catastrophic radioactivity release to the environment could occur. Up to 100 percent of the volatile radioactive Cesium-137 content of the pools could go up in flames and smoke, to blow downwind over large distances. Given the large quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel in the pool, the radioactivity release could be worse than the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 25 years ago.”

ROBERT ALVAREZ,  http://www.ips-dc.org/staff/robert, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-alvarez
Alvarez is a former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies.

HARVEY WASSERMAN, http://www.solartopia.org
Wasserman is author of “Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, AD 2030″ (which includes an introduction by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.).

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

U.S., UN , Libya and Israel‏

February 26, 2011

 

Outside The Law: Stories From Guantánamo – 75min Documentary
See Full Film Here: http://www.tuppashare.com/store?p=4320 A documentary telling the story of Guantánamo: torture, extraordinary rendition and secret prisons. Examining how the Bush administration…
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On the web: http://www.accuracy.org/release/u-s-international-law-libya-and-israel

Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org
___________________________________________________

The United Nations Security Council is meeting today regarding Libya. On Friday, the U.S. used its veto on the Security Council to block a resolution condemning Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

PHYLLIS BENNIS,  http://www.ips-dc.org/staff/phyllis
A fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Bennis is author of “Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s UN.” She said today: “There is no doubt that the military assault on unarmed civilian protesters in cities across Libya constitutes serious violations of international humanitarian law — war crimes — and very possibly crimes against humanity. The UN Security Council should demand an immediate halt to the attacks, call for immediate access for international humanitarian and human rights workers and refer the issue to the International Court of Justice to initiate on an emergency basis a full investigation and prosecution of those responsible. Governments with ties to the Libyan regime — especially those in Europe and the U.S. — should immediately sever all military ties, withholding any military equipment that may be in the pipeline. The U.S. should immediately cancel the $165 million contract reportedly signed by General Dynamics two years ago to arm the Libyan military’s elite Second Brigade.”

HOWARD FRIEL
Friel recently wrote the piece “The UN Voting Record of Susan Rice on Palestinian Rights, 2009–2010,” which states: “On Friday, February 18, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, vetoed a UN Security Council resolution which, upon condemning Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory, had the unanimous support of the 14 other Security Council members and over one hundred state sponsors. Although Rice’s veto in this instance was certainly outrageous, she is no stranger to voting contrary to U.S. obligations under international law, in support of Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, and against the clear consensus of UN member states, since, as U.S. ambassador, she (or her office) has consistently voted against huge majorities in the UN General Assembly seeking to reaffirm Palestinian rights.” http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/02/21-9

Friel is coauthor with Richard Falk of “Israel-Palestine on Record: How The New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East” and “The Record of the Paper: How The New York Times Misreports U.S. Foreign Policy.”

ANDY WORTHINGTON, http://www.andyworthington.co.uk
Worthington just wrote the piece “Revolution in Libya: Protesters Respond to Gaddafi’s Murderous Backlash with Remarkable Courage; U.S. and UK Look Like the Hypocrites They Are,” which states: “An adept survivor, Gaddafi came onside in the ‘War on Terror’ after the 9/11 attacks, prompting the most miserably transparent examples of hypocrisy on the part of Western nations, as their leaders queued up to welcome the former pariah as an ally and barely managed to disguise their excitement at having access to Libya’s rich oil reserves.

“In ingratiating themselves with the dictator, both the U.S. and the UK willingly abandoned former opponents of the regime, who had, until then, been regarded as victims of oppression. The U.S. willingly rounded up exiled Libyans in Afghanistan and Pakistan, sending them to Guantanamo and labeling them as ‘enemy combatants.’ Two of these men eventually accepted voluntary repatriation from Guantanamo, but both were imprisoned on their return, and only one of the two, Abu Sufian Hamouda (transferred in October 2007), has been released, while the other, Muhammad al-Rimi (transferred in December 2006), is still held in Abu Salim.

“Both of these men are, however, more fortunate than Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the emir of a training camp in Afghanistan, who was rendered by the CIA to Egypt after his capture in Afghanistan in December 2001, where, under torture, he falsely confessed that two al-Qaeda operatives had been meeting with Saddam Hussein to discuss the use of chemical and biological weapons. Although al-Libi recanted his tortured lie, it was used to justify the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and after al-Libi had been moved around various other secret prisons, he was returned to Libya, where he conveniently died, [allegedly] by committing suicide, in May 2009, just three days before the U.S. reopened its embassy in Tripoli.” http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2011/02/21/revolution-in-libya-protestors-respond-to-gaddafis-murderous-backlash-with-remarkable-courage-us-and-uk-look-like-the-hypocrites-they-are

Worthington is author of “The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison.” He is co-director of the film “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bTpA59np30

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Wisconsin and Egypt: Waves of Protests and Solidarity 2/22

February 26, 2011

Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org
___________________________________________________

KAMAL ABBAS, TAMER FATHY, http://www.ctuws.com
Abbas is general coordinator for the Center for Trade Union and Workers Services in Egypt. Fathy is international relations coordinator for the group, which is an umbrella advocacy organization for independent unions in Egypt. It has been awarded the French Republic’s Human Rights Prize, suffered repeated harassment and attacks by the Mubarak regime and critically joined the protests against Mubarak in early February. Labor mobilization has been a driving force against the Mubarak regime for several years; the April 6 movement gets its name from labor support actions among Egyptian youth. Abbas has recorded a video statement in solidarity with the protesters in Wisconsin: http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/must-read/statement-kamal-abbas

ROBERT KRAIG, http://www.citizenactionwifund.org
Kraig is executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. He is at the Capitol in Madison and is closely following developments. He recently wrote the piece “Walker’s National Guard comments a thinly veiled threat against workers.” http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/article_80e238ad-c9e9-5a3b-ae65-9623cd005beb.html

BEN MANSKI,  http://wisconsinwave.org
Manski is executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation and a spokesperson for the new umbrella group Wisconsin Wave. He is a lifelong Wisconsinite and a public interest attorney. Manski said today: “This is what Wisconsinites face: the loss of our unions, the selling off of our universities, the elimination of our health services, the end of our middle class. No wonder Wisconsinites are rising in a wave of protest.”

KABZUAG VAJ,  http://aboutfreedominc.com
Vaj is a co-founder and current co-executive director of the group Freedom Inc. She is a long-time advocate for women of color and a Hmong refugee. Vaj and her family have been active community members in Madison for more than 25 years. She said today: “This anti-union bill includes serious threats to Medicaid — it would give broad authority to the Department of Health Services and supersede statutory provisions, which is expected to limit eligibility. On its heels, we expect further cuts to life-saving services, discriminatory voter ID legislation and Arizona-type anti-immigrant proposals.That’s why we are part of a wave of resistance with union workers, low-income families and communities of color across this state.”

STANLEY KUTLER
Kutler just wrote the piece “What Gov. Walker Won’t Tell You,” which states: “There is a kernel of truth in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s claim of a ‘budget shortfall’ of $137 million. But Walker, a Republican, failed to tell the state that less than two weeks into his term as governor, he, with his swollen Republican majorities in the Wisconsin Legislature, pushed through $117 million in tax breaks for business allies of the GOP. There is your crisis.” http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/what_gov_walker_won’t_tell_you_20110220
Kutler is the author of “The Wars of Watergate” and other writings. He taught constitutional and legal history for 35 years at the University of Wisconsin.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
_________________________________________________________________

Nuke U How the University of California is helping to blow up the world By Norman Solomon

August 6, 2010

On my way to the Los Alamos National Laboratory a few years ago, I found it listed in a New Mexico phone book—under “University of California.”

Since the early 1940s, UC has managed the nation’s top laboratories for designing nuclear bombs. Today, California’s public university system is still immersed in the nuclear weapons business.

Sixty-five years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, the University of California imprimatur is an air freshener for the stench of preparations for global annihilation. Nuclear war planners have been pleased to exploit UC’s vast technical expertise and its image of high-minded academic purpose.

During most of WWII, scientists labored in strict secrecy at the isolated Los Alamos lab in the New Mexico desert, making possible the first nuclear weaponry. After the atomic bombings of Japan, UC continued to manage Los Alamos. And in 1952, when the government opened a second nuclear bomb generator, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory east of San Francisco, UC won the prize to manage operations there, too.

A few years into the 21st century, security scandals caused a shakeup. UC lost its exclusive management slots at Los Alamos and Livermore, but retained major roles at both laboratories.

In mid-2006, the Los Alamos lab went under a new management structure, widened to also include Bechtel and a couple of other private firms. A year later, a similar team, likewise including UC and Bechtel, won a deal to jointly manage Livermore.

At Los Alamos, I learned that the new management team was, legally speaking, an LLC, a limited liability corporation. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of “limited liability” for managers of a laboratory that designs nuclear weapons.

Weird, huh? But not any stranger than having the state of California’s top system of higher education devoted to R&D for designing better ways to blow up the planet.

Yes, those laboratories do some nifty ecological research and other laudable things. But nuclear weapons remain central to the labs’ mission. And, lofty rhetoric aside, the federal government is pouring billions more dollars into the continuous high-tech pursuit of nuclear weapons “modernization.”

Last spring, the White House announced plans for this decade that include investing $80 billion “to sustain and modernize the nuclear weapons complex”—in addition to “well over $100 billion in nuclear delivery systems to sustain existing capabilities and modernize some strategic systems.”

In fact, the U.S. government is now on a jag to boost spending for its nuclear arsenal. As the Livermore-based organization Tri-Valley CAREs noted weeks ago, “the 2011 budget request for nuclear weapons is the largest in our nation’s history; bigger than under George W. Bush and a whopping 40 percent higher than the amount spent for nuclear weapons activities on average during the Cold War.”

Credit where due: the UC-managed laboratories for nuclear bombs have been on the cutting edge of digital advancement. Their record recalls a comment from Martin Luther King Jr., who noted the proliferation of “guided missiles and misguided men.”

When I interviewed Los Alamos press officer Kevin Roark, he explained that “this laboratory has been at the forefront of computing research and development” from the Manhattan Project days of slide rules and punch cards to the lab’s present-day computers, with one able to do upwards of 100 trillion calculations per second.

An official website of the University of California boasts that “UC has been involved in the management of these laboratories since their inception—a relationship spanning seven decades—as a public service to the nation.” With a lab on the UC Berkeley campus included in the mix, “the three laboratories have a combined workforce of more than 21,000 and operate on federally financed budgets totaling more than $4 billion.”

For sure, there’s plenty of money sloshing around to reward the masters—and academic servants—of the nuclear weapons industry. But should the University of California be managing laboratories that design the latest technologies for nuclear holocaust?

Norman Solomon is national co-chair of the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign and the author of many books, including ‘War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.’ He lives in Marin County.

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 700 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.


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