Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Truthout... News Briefs 12/22/10

 News briefs from

Historic START Treaty Wins Overwhelming Senate Vote, 71-26
David Lightman, McClatchy Newspapers: "The Senate Wednesday voted 71-26 to approve a historic U.S.-Russia nuclear arms treaty that mandates new reductions in both nations' deployed strategic nuclear weapons. Thirteen Republicans joined 56 Democrats and two independents in giving an overwhelming bipartisan endorsement of the pact signed in Prague in April by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. 'We have lived up to our moment,' said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass."

Family Escalates Fight Against Air Force Academy for Allowing On-Campus ProselytizingNadia Prupis, Truthout: "New evidence has surfaced that the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) may have endorsed on-campus proselytizing by fundamentalist and evangelical organizations, particularly the Cadets for Christ ministry. The Baas family, whose daughter Lauren was converted after entering the school to become a pilot, has been fighting with watchdog group Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) for the USAFA to address the accusations against the academy and Cadets for Christ. The Baas family has alleged that the ministry, which was given free rein by the USAFA to operate on campus, convinced Lauren to abandon her career aspirations and focus solely on an arranged, subservient marriage."

White House Drafts Executive Order for Indefinite Detention
Dafna Linzer, ProPublica: "The White House is preparing an Executive Order on indefinite detention that will provide periodic reviews of evidence against dozens of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, according to several administration officials. The draft order, a version of which was first considered nearly 18 months ago, is expected to be signed by President Obama early in the New Year. The order allows for the possibility that detainees from countries like Yemen might be released if circumstances there change."

Senate Passes Reduced-Cost, 9/11 Health Care Bill
Nadia Prupis, Truthout: "The Senate passed a bill today covering the cost of medical care of 9/11 first responders, who are now suffering from long-term or crippling illnesses after inhaling toxic fumes and smoke during their rescue work at ground zero. Led by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) and Charles Schumer (D-New York), the Senate reached a compromise with Republicans, who were concerned over the initial cost of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which would have provided $7.4 billion over ten years. Today's approved legislation will provide $4.3 billion over five years."

News in Brief: President Obama Signs Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Into Law, and More ...
Wednesday morning, President Obama signed into law the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell"; WikiLeaks cables: Iraq security firms run "mafia"; Obama administration pens new rules to deter extensive rate hikes; South Korea prepares for military exercises; federal judge rules Bush illegally spied on Islamic charity.

On the Historical Necessity of WikiLeaks
Lawrence Davidson, Truthout: "Given the ahistorical nature of the public mind, few people will recall that as the United States prepared to enter World War I, American citizens were quite exercised over the issue of 'open diplomacy.' Indeed, at the time, President Woodrow Wilson made it the No. 1 issue of his 14 points - the points that constituted US war aims and, so, the ones for which some 320,518 American soldiers were killed or wounded in the subsequent year. Here is how the president put it while addressing Congress on 8 January 1918. 'The program of the world's peace ... is our program' and among the 14 prerequisites to peace is, '1. Open covenants of peace must be arrived at, after which there will surely be no private international action or rulings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.'"

Sarkozy's India Visit: The Nuclear Fallout
J. Sri Raman, Truthout: "India is readying to get the first lot of nuclear reactors, for which the famous US-India nuclear deal paved the way. But it is not getting them from any suppliers of the United States. On December 6, 2010, France took many by surprise by becoming the first country to sign agreements to build nuclear reactors in India. The event came 12 years after India's nuclear weapon tests (of May 11, 1998) and two years after the deal preceded by the death of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group's anti-India sanctions (October 8 and September 6, 2008, respectively)."

Rebecca Solnit | Iceberg Economies and Shadow Selves
Rebecca Solnit, TomDispatch: "After the Macondo well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, it was easy enough (on your choice of screen) to see a flaming oil platform, the very sea itself set afire with huge plumes of black smoke rising, and the dark smear of what would become five million barrels of oil beginning to soak birds and beaches. Infinitely harder to see and less dramatic was the vast counterforce soon at work: the mobilizing of tens of thousands of volunteers, including passionate locals from fishermen in the Louisiana Oystermen's Association to an outraged tattoo-artist-turned-organizer, from visiting scientists, activist groups, and Catholic Charities reaching out to Vietnamese fishing families to the journalist and oil-policy expert Antonia Juhasz, and Rosina Philippe of the Atakapa-Ishak tribe in Grand Bayou."

Mexico Activists Vow to Press Ahead After Mother Seeking Justice Is Murdered
Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor: "All she wanted was justice for her slain daughter. But what Marisela Escobedo Ortiz received was a bullet in the head, after leading a series of marches, including most recently a sit-in outside the governor's palace in Chihuahua City in northern Mexico, demanding that the killer of her teen daughter face sentencing. It was there, last Thursday night, that masked men drove up to the government hall and shot Ms. Escobedo dead."

Chip Pitts | Cherish - and Work to Protect - Our Rights
Chip Pitts, Truthout: "The executive branch remains primarily responsible for many of our vanishing rights. While laws such as the USA Patriot Act may have emerged under the Bush administration, President Obama has flip-flopped on most major issues affecting fundamental human rights. Despite his campaign rhetoric criticizing a 'false choice between liberty and security,' he decided, in summer 2008, to support the Bush approach to massive warrantless surveillance, along with immunity for the telecommunications companies that had illegally cooperated with the secret program."

Michael Whitney: Bradley Manning's Detention (Video)
Laura Flanders, GRITtv: "PFC Bradley Manning remains in solitary confinement despite not having been tried or convicted of any crime. The accused leaker of much of the military information that WikiLeaks has so far published turned 23 on Friday and celebrated his birthday without family or friends, in a six foot by twelve foot cell without a pillow and in which he is not allowed to exercise. Michael Whitney of FireDogLake has been following Manning's case closely, and joins us via Skype to fill us in on the latest reports on Manning's condition - and why the government feels the need to hold Manning in conditions like those of an enemy combatant."

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