Friday, December 24, 2010

Truthout... News Briefs 12/24/10

New Briefs
Friday 24 December 2010

SEC Describes Possible Criminal Activity in Unprosecuted Hedge Fund Case
Adam Zagorin and Michael Smallberg, Project on Government Oversight: "The Obama administration has stated it will aggressively go after Wall Street criminals, but is the government letting two defendants off easy? 
But what [the Obama administration has not] highlighted is a major case involving Pequot Capital Management, once the world’s largest hedge fund, and alleged insider trading in shares of Microsoft."
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EPA Sets Timetable For Refineries, Power Plants to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor: "Setting the stage for a New Year battle royale between Congress and the White House over greenhouse gas emissions, the US Environmental Protection Agency Thursday laid out a timetable for the nation's largest carbon emitters – power plants and refineries – to begin curbing those pollutants." 
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WikiLeaks: Army Opens Probe Into How Bradley Manning Allegedly Stole Files
Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers: "The U.S. Army has launched a wide-ranging investigation into how a private suspected of downloading thousands of secret reports and diplomatic cables and handing them over to WikiLeaks was able to do so and whether other soldiers should face criminal charges in the case, McClatchy has learned."    
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As UN Probes Whether His Confinement is Torture, Bradley Manning Speaks
Sarah Seltzer, Alternet: "He allegedly leaked a video of U.S. soldiers killing civilians overseas.Now he's kept in a miserable solitary confinement due to an alleged 'suicide watch'--despite passing psychological examinations. As the U.N. 'special rapporteur on torture' begins to probe whether the brutal solitary confinement of Bradley Manning constitutes torture, the imprisoned "leaker" spoke to David House, one of the few people allowed to visit him."  
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Winter Soldiers Confront the White House
Linda Pershing, Truthout: "On Thursday, December 16, the term 'winter soldier' took on special meaning. Blanketed by snow flurries and enduring freezing temperatures, several hundred military veterans and peace activists gathered in the nation's capital to stage a dramatic political protest. As they have done many times since George W. Bush announced the military attack of Afghanistan in 2001, concerned citizens from across the country traveled to Washington, calling for an end to US military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as drone attacks on Pakistan and Yemen." 
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Returning Democratic Senators Unanimously Push For Filibuster Reform
Scott Keyes, ThinkProgress: "As the beginning of the 112th Congress draws near, there are hopeful signs that Senate obstructionism may be relegated to the past. This week, the National Journal reports that returning Democratic senators unanimously signed a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), urging him to change the Senate’s filibuster rules when Congress reconvenes in January." 
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Austerity Fails in Euroland: Time for Some "Deficit Easing"
Ellen Brown, Truthout: "The Greek bailout was supposed to be an isolated case, a test of the European Union's (EU) ability to quarantine an infected member, preventing it from spreading 'debt contagion.' But that was before Ireland failed. Ireland was the poster child for how to conduct a successful austerity program. Unlike the Greeks, who were considered profligate spendthrifts, the Irish did everything their creditors asked." 
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Moody's Bungled Ratings on Community Bank Bonds, Too
Kevin G. Hall and Greg Gordon, McClatchy Newspapers: "Billions of dollars in top-rated bonds backed by community banks have gone bust, debunking the defense offered by credit-rating agencies that wildly inaccurate ratings were limited to risky mortgage bonds that imploded and then triggered the U.S. financial crisis." 
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Keeping State Secrets
Shay Toten, Seven Days: "You’ve probably heard of Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Maybe even Bradley Manning, the Army private and former intelligence officer who allegedly turned over thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks. But chances are you don’t know the name Thomas Drake, a former Vermonter charged under the Espionage Act for mishandling classified information. His alleged crime? Drake blew the whistle on a wasteful surveillance program within the National Security Agency." 
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New York, Alaska Election Contests Demonstrate, Again, Why Paper Ballots Need to Actually Be Counted
Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog: "Having paper ballots is one thing. Seeing them actually be counted, unfortunately, continues to be quite another matter. For those of you who may not understand why it's not enough to merely have hand-marked paper ballots that are tallied only by oft-failed, easily-manipulated computers - even if those paper ballots could be counted by human beings 'in the event there are questions about the results', as supporters of such systems like to say - need look no further than what happened on Monday in New York. And what is likely to happen in Alaska very soon, for that matter, where Republican Joe Miller continues to fight for a hand-count of all paper ballots in his still-uncertified U.S. Senate race against Republican write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams." 
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Why Peace Activists Should Take an Active Interest in the Green Movement in Iran
Daniel Postel and Nader Hashemi, The Fellowship of Reconciliation: "We are peace activists and supporters of the Green movement in Iran. We adamantly oppose any military attack on Iran, and we stand in solidarity with the democratic struggle in Iran. We see these positions as inextricably linked, as forming a consistent position based on the principles of peace, social justice, and human rights. But there’s a lot of confusion about this in the peace movement. We offer the following food for thought in hopes of clarifying some of the issues at hand and encouraging peace activists to learn more about the Green movement." 
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