Archive for August 6th, 2007

Today is the 62nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.  August 9 will be the 62nd anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.

From White Light/ Black Rain

As global tensions rise, the unthinkable now seems possible. The threat of nuclear “weapons of mass destruction” has become real and frightening. White Light/Black Rain, an extraordinary new film by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki, presents a deeply moving look at the painful legacy of the first — and hopefully last — uses of nuclear weapons in war.

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The Ultimate Swiss Army Knife – 85 implements!

swiss-army-knife.jpg

From The Raw Story:

As Newsweek reports in its August 13 issue, the FBI has used a secret warrant to raid the home of former Justice Department lawyer Thomas M. Tamm, taking three computers and personal files.

The government is searching for the individual who leaked information about President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program to the press, prompting a New York Times report in 2005. Mr. Tamm worked for the Justice Department during a period in 2004 when critics of the program included then Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller. Tamm is said to have shared concern, but whether or not he was actively protesting is unknown.

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Excerpts:

The FBI raid on Tamm’s home comes when Gonzales himself is facing criticism for allegedly misleading Congress by denying there had been “serious disagreement” within Justice about the surveillance program. The A.G. last week apologized for “creating confusion,” but Senate Judiciary Committee chair Sen. Patrick Leahy said he is weighing asking Justice’s inspector general to review Gonzales’s testimony.

The raid also came while the White House and Congress were battling over expanding NSA wiretapping authority in order to plug purported “surveillance gaps.” James X. Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology said the raid was “amazing” and shows the administration’s misplaced priorities: using FBI agents to track down leakers instead of processing intel warrants to close the gaps. A Justice spokesman declined to comment.

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Read the entire Newsweek article HERE.

When I was a kid, my mother warned me against making up stories to cover my behavior – she said it was too easy to get caught down the line when my excuses didn’t add up.

I was reminded of those conversations when I read the story below and thought about the continued rhetoric about Iran’s nuclear program.

A bad deal with India

President George W. Bush is understandably desperate for some kind of foreign policy success. But that cannot justify sacrificing his principled stand against weapons proliferation to seal a nuclear cooperation deal with India. The accord could end up benefiting New Delhi’s weapons program as much as its pursuit of nuclear power.

The deal was deeply flawed from the start. And it has been made even worse by a newly negotiated companion agreement that lays out the technical details for nuclear commerce. Congress should reject the agreement and demand that the administration, or its successor, negotiate a new one that does not undermine efforts to restrain the spread of nuclear weapons.

Any agreement needs to honor the principle Bush set forth in 2004: that countries do not need to make their own nuclear fuel, or reprocess their spent fuel, to operate effective nuclear energy programs. The technology can be all too easily diverted to make fuel for a nuclear weapon.

Unfortunately, Bush’s accord with India jettisoned that essential principle. Washington capitulated to India’s nuclear establishment and endorsed continued reprocessing. And while U.S. law calls for nuclear cooperation to end if India detonates another weapon, the agreement makes no explicit mention of that requirement – while it promises that Washington will acquiesce, if not assist, in India’s efforts to find other fuel suppliers.

Bringing India – which never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty – in from the cold is not a bad idea. It is the world’s most populous democracy, with a dynamic economy. And its record on nonproliferation – aside from its own diversion of civilian technology to its once-secret weapons program – is pretty good. The problem is that the United States got very little back. No promise to stop producing bomb-making material. No promise not to expand its arsenal.

And no promise not to resume nuclear testing.

The message of all this is unmistakable: When it comes to nuclear proliferation, Washington’s only real policy is to reward its friends and punish its enemies. Suspicion of America’s motives around the world are high enough. America cannot afford another such blow to its credibility, especially when it is trying to rally international pressure against nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea.

The administration will argue that altering this agreement now would be a slap at India. But there is no good in compounding a bad deal. And there are better ways to deepen political and economic ties.

Congress accepted the administration’s arguments far too uncritically when it approved the first India-related nuclear legislation last December. It must now take a stand against the even more damaging companion agreement. At a time when far too many governments are re-examining their decision to forswear nuclear weapons, the United States should be shoring up the nuclear rules, not shredding them.