A cooling tower is demolished at a North Korean nuclear plant June 27, 2008.
Iraqi soldiers store more than 150 confiscated weapons near Sadr City, Baghdad, June 18, 2008.
The weapons were found during several cordon and search missions.
Which Eco Footprint?
As commentary continues about the dying newspaper industry, there is little discussion about another industry which has emerged almost full blown before our eyes: the Election Industry. Once thought of as a seasonal endeavor, it is broken out and claimed our attention and pocketbook full time, wall to wall.
It’s a brand new paradigm. The customer buys with money but gains nothing in return, unless you count “more phone calls” as a gain. Or mail from (ostensibly) famous names who probably don’t really know you. All this is supposed to make us feel good because we are “donating to a good cause” as a demonstration of our support for the democratic process.
How many people are employed in this industry? How much money is it costing us to keep it going? Whose idea was it to take those folks wall to wall, January to December, year after year? We’re all happy that they have all found steady work, and that their kids will get through all their orthodontic work and into the right colleges.
Sitting here, waiting in line at the four dollar pump, thinking about Senator Everett Dirksen, who once was reported to have said, “A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”
It makes one wonder which Eco Footprint is more important, the Ecological (Carbon) Footprint that is getting pretty soggy from all that so-called election traveling around over the last couple years, or the Economic (Dollar) Footprint that is getting rather thin and frayed.
One last thing: Over in Europe, they once had a Hundred Years War. We’re not going to do that with this latest tweak of the Election process, are we?
A U.S. Air Force airman guides cargo onto a loader from a C-17 Globemaster III at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, June 24, 2008.
A quick downloading of all cargo and passengers allows the aircraft to spend the least amount of time on the ground.
The airman is assigned to the 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron.
The U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Essex is guided by a tugboat onto White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa to offload the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit after a successful spring patrol, Okinawa, Japan, June 20, 2008.
The Essex is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed U.S. Expeditionary Strike Group and serves as the flagship for CTF 76, the Navy’s only forward deployed amphibious force commander.
Washington D.C., June 26, 2008 – Responding to a petition filed in January by the National Security Archive and several leading U.S. historical associations for the release of grand jury records from the 1951 indictment of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, federal prosecutors in New York conceded that a substantial portion of the grand jury materials could be made public after more than 55 years.
In a court filing this week, the government said it would not oppose the release of transcripts and other materials for 35 of the 45 witnesses who testified before the grand jury that in 1951 indicted the Rosenbergs, who were accused of running an espionage ring that passed American atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, convicted of spying, and executed in 1953.
The 35 witnesses are either deceased or consented to the disclosure. In its filing, the government agreed that the Rosenberg case is of “significant historical importance” and therefore the materials are covered by a special exception to the longstanding rule that grand jury records must remain secret indefinitely.
“The government’s decision to open the bulk of the Rosenberg transcripts marks an important historic turning point,” said Archive director Tom Blanton. “In every prior case, the government has steadfastly resisted release of any grand jury records, regardless of their importance.”
The government challenges the release of materials related to the other 10 witnesses, who could not be located or said they opposed disclosure.
Among those who did not consent is David Greenglass, Ethel Rosenberg’s brother, who allegedly passed nuclear secrets from the Los Alamos research facility to the Rosenbergs.
The government also opposes the requested release of grand jury materials from the related Cold War spy case of Abraham Brothman and Miriam Moskowitz, asserting that the historical interest in that case is not significant enough to justify disclosure.
According to David C. Vladeck, lawyer for the petitioners, “While petitioners appreciate the government’s decision not to object to releasing many of the grand jury transcripts, we do not believe that the government has gone far enough.
Most, if not all, of the transcripts the government claims should remain secret also should be made public.”
For example, David Greenglass has already told his story to Sam Roberts, who published Greenglass’ account in his book, The Brother.
Similarly, there is no reason why the Brothman/Moskowitz grand jury testimony should not be made public; historians have long called it a ‘rehearsal’ for the Rosenberg trial, involving the same charges, the same witnesses, the same judge, and the same prosecutors.
The petitioners include the National Security Archive at George Washington University, the American Historical Association, the American Society for Legal History, the Organization of American Historians, the Society of American Archivists, and New York Times reporter Sam Roberts.
Mike Nolan (right center), head coach of the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers, takes time for a group photo at Forward Operating Base Lightning, Afghanistan, during a morale visit June 24, 2008.
Nolan and former 49ers defensive back Eric Davis (left center) came as guests on the Ron Barr talk show to visit deployed troops. Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation department sponsored the event.
Read the story here.
As seen through night vision gear, U.S. soldiers parachute at night from a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft during a joint forcible entry exercise on Fort Bragg, N.C., June 17, 2008.
The soldiers are assigned to 305th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.
Members of an Iraqi army bomb disposal company lower hundreds of unexploded ordnance in a ditch for a controlled detonation during a training exercise, Tikrit, Iraq, June 10, 2008.
h/t: Voice of America
The U.S. State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons report June 4. The report covered a record number of countries—one-hundred-seventy—and focused specifically on a number of vulnerable groups, including North Koreans in China, Burmese in Thailand, stateless people, migrant workers and domestic servants particularly in the Gulf.
According to the State Department, an estimated eight-hundred-thousand people are trafficked across international borders annually, with eighty percent of the victims being female and up to fifty percent being children. These figures do not include millions who are trafficked for purposes of labor and sexual exploitation within national borders, as well.
Since the release of the first report seven years ago, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the fight against human trafficking has gained global awareness. This year’s report focused heavily on measuring government efforts to punish offenders and protect victims. Unfortunately, said Dr. Rice, the report’s findings revealed a “disturbing discovery” related to labor trafficking:
“Although more countries are addressing sex trafficking through prosecutions and convictions, the petty tyrants who exploit their laborers rarely receive serious punishment.”
In addition to the weak prosecution of labor trafficking offenses, the report also found weak trafficking victim protection. The report took a fresh look at demand, both for women in commercial sexual exploitation and for forced labor and the cheap goods it produces.
The U.S. has spent over five-hundred-twenty-eight million dollars to implement anti-trafficking programs in one-hundred-twenty countries since 2001. Secretary of State Rice said international cooperation is needed to confront this injustice.
“We hope this report encourages responsible nations across the globe to stand together, to speak with one voice, and to say that freedom and security are non-negotiable demands of human dignity.”
Download the (PDF) report.
U.S. sailors gather in a hangar bay aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan as the ship approaches Hong Kong for a port visit, June 19, 2008.
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is on a routine deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility in the western Pacific and Indian oceans.
An Iraqi boy pops a “wheelie” along Route Texas while riding past a U.S. Army vehicle patrol of military policemen assigned to the4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Battalion Combat Team, June 17, 2008.
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young
The Marines are assigned to Delta Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Multinational Force-West Ground Combat Element.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, center, and U.S. Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden, right, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, render honors to the Stars and Stripes during Hayden’s retirement ceremony on Bolling Air Force Base in Washington D.C., June 20, 2008.
Hayden will continue serving as the agency’s director as a civilian.