Friday, August 05, 2005

Democracy Now: Hiroshima, David Goodman, Anthony Weller; Bob Somerby, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Salim Muwakkil, Matthew Rothschild . . .

London Mayor Calls for Iraq Withdrawal, Galloway Praises Iraq Resistance
As Bush exchanges words with Zawahiri, two of the most vocal critics in Britain of the Iraq occupation are speaking out once again. Rebel Member of Parliament George Galloway has been on a tour of the Middle East where he said the resistance in Iraq was made up of ordinary Iraqis defending their country against "foreign invaders." Galloway said, "It can be said, truly said, that the Iraqi resistance is not just defending Iraq. They are defending all the Arabs and they are defending all the people of the world against American hegemony." Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party over his outspoken remarks about the Iraq war. Meanwhile, London Mayor Ken Livingstone on Thursday called on the British Government to withdraw troops from Iraq to prevent further attacks against Britain. In an op-Ed in The Guardian newspaper, Livingstone wrote "The London bombings demand clear thinking, not rhetoric. People's lives depend on the decisions made. These must be for every community to aid the police; to treat Britain's Muslim community with respect... And for Britain to withdraw from Iraq."
UN Team: New Israel Barrier Violates Int'l Law
A team of experts from the United Nations Human Rights Commission said Thursday that the massive barrier Israel is building to seal off the West Bank is a violation of Israel's human rights obligations. The eight rights experts called on Israel "to stop construction of the wall" and to pay compensation to Palestinians for damage caused by work on the barrier – a series of fences, walls, watchtowers and trenches along the West Bank. Israel also plans to install remote controlled weapons systems as well. The UN team said in a statement, "The wall violates important norms of international humanitarian law prohibiting the annexation of occupied territory, the establishment of settlements, the confiscation of private land and the forcible transfer of people." The UN statement also reminded the international community that "they are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation."
The two items above are from Democracy Now!'s Headlines and they were selected by Denise and RobDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for August 5, 2005
-al Qaeda's No. 2 Warns of Future Attacks
-London Mayor Calls for Iraq Withdrawal, Galloway Praises Iraq Resistance
-Iran's New President Assumes Power
-Two AIPAC Employees Charged in Intel Scandal
-UN Team: New Israel Barrier Violates Int'l Law
-Chevron Pays Nigerian Soldiers Alleged to Have Killed Villagers
-Bob Novak Swears on CNN, Storms Off Set On Live TV
-Hiroshima Anniversary
-10th Anniversary of 'Single Greatest' Ethnic Cleansing of Yugoslav War
Hiroshima Cover-up: Stripping the War Department's Timesman of His Pulitzer

This weekend marks the sixtieth anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. William Laurence, the New York Times reporter who covered the bombings was also on the US government payroll. Journalists Amy Goodman and David Goodman call for the Pulitzer Board to strip Laurence and his paper, The New York Times, of the undeserved prize. [includes rush transcript]
The Atomic Bombers Speak

Colonel Paul Tibbets named his plane the Enola Gay after his mother. He bombed Hiroshima. Captain Kermit Beahan describes the bombing of Nagasaki. [includes rush transcript]
Long-Suppressed Nagasaki Article Discovered

Defying US occupation forces, George Weller was the first reporter into Nagasaki after the US dropped the atomic bomb. His 25,000 word report did not get past the US military censors. Now dead, we speak with Weller's son who has just discovered the carbon copy of the long-suppressed article.
Film Suppressed; The US Government Classifies Hiroshima Nagasaki Footage For Decades

Footage of the devastation after the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that was commissioned by the US occupying forces was suppressed for decades. Erik Barnouw reads the words of the Japanese filmmaker Akiro Iwasaki.
From Oak Ridge to Lawrence Livermore to Los Alamos: Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembered

Activists around the nation are commemorating the 60th anniversary of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Grass-roots organizers speak about the ongoing nuclear weapons activity and community resistance.
Hiroshima Survivor: No More Hiroshimas, No More Nagasakis, No More War

Sunao Tsuboi survived the bombing of Hiroshima. Speaking at an anti-nuclear weapons rally in New York, he said, "Even if you luckily survive you...suffer from psychological and physical disruption...until your life ends."
At The Daily Howler today, Bob Somerby's addressing a number of issues (Red Sox, Times' editorial . . .) we'll focus on this, from a discussion of Paul Krugman's latest op-ed:
We haven't studied "intelligent design," and we don't want to weigh in on the evolution debate. But note the larger process described here. When standard intellectual procedures are undermined, those who have "political muscle" can step in and rule the roost. So it will go if libs become freepers--if we too make up quotes; invent pleasing "facts;" indulge in weird logic; and demonize wildly. When any damn fool can say any damn thing, the damn fools with power will win every time. Over the course of the past several centuries, the traditions known as "fact" and "logic" have served as brakes on desires of the powerful. The king could no longer simply say it. He now had to show it was true.

In our view, standard intellectual rigor will typically serve progressive interests. Libs would be foolish to adopt the gong-show behaviors which have defined the talk-show right all these years. Given the hapless conduct of liberal elites in the dozen years, it's easy to see why progressives and libs might find themselves drawn to these gong-show behaviors. But this would be a path straight to hell. In our view, accurate facts clearly explained will normally favor progressive interests. We've been sad to see some on the liberal web starting to ape the gong-show pseudo-right--and praying for prosecution of the bad men we’re too inept to defeat on our own. (And too lazy; and too undisciplined; and too riddled with conflict of interest.)

This morning, Krugman describes an instructive process. Those who have "political muscle" will typically welcome intellectual chaos. If they can simply spread doubt and confusion--if they can undermine normal intellectual methods--then their muscle will start to take hold. So it will be in the wider discourse if we--like those whom we have long ridiculed--start to take our daily pleasure in the methods of gong-show discussion.

Funny, isn't it? When we got into this business, we thought it would be a way of expanding and, in some sense, reifying the ephemeral daily conversation that humans engage in. Now, we think we might see something else developing--something less noble, less fine.

Lori e-mails to note Katrina vanden Heuvel's latest, "Sweet Victory: MM at 25" (The Nation):
In 1980, Multinational Monitor was founded by Ralph Nader and a rag-tag band of socially conscious reporters who felt that corporate power was "undergoing a transformation, mutating into something more fundamentally global in scope and profoundly more dangerous." Published nine times a year, the Monitor is not glamorous or immediately recognizable outside of activist and political media circles. But its hard-hitting stories on corporate environmental abuse, health and safety violations, and exploitation of developing nations have long held the feet of executives to the fire.

The Monitor's most widely publicized feature in recent years has been its annual list of the "Top Ten Worst Corporations," compiled by Robert Weissman (who also serves as editor) and Russell Mokhiber of Corporate Crime Reporter. This past year, Coca-Cola, Merck, and--you guessed it--Wal-Mart all made the list, which spread through the blogosphere like wildfire and caused migraines for corporate PR firms.

We're also big fans of the Monitor's bi-monthly Lawrence Summers Memorial Award--named after the loose-lipped Harvard president and former Treasury Secretary, who once suggested that polluting developing nations was a fiscally responsible strategy (among other ridiculous things). A recent recipient was SeaCode: a company, according to the Monitor, "which plans on locating a cruise ship in international waters, just off of the California coast, and out of reach of US labor, employment and immigration law, to house a software development company."

Eric e-mails to note Salim Muwakkil's "Keep the Voting Rights Act Alive" (In These Times): 

A major march is on tap for August 6 in Atlanta to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and to mobilize support for extension of some of the Act's provisions. Although conceived and convened by the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the march has been enthusiastically endorsed and applauded by a wide array of civil rights, voting rights and civil liberties groups.

"We see schemes to undermine voting growing and the silence from the Department of Justice is deafening," Jackson said at a news conference last month announcing the march. "The Voting Rights Act is a sacred act and it should not be tampered with."

The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson after a decade of civil rights activism revealed the deep roots of opposition to black enfranchisement. The Act has been hailed as the most successful civil rights legislation ever passed by Congress. Many experts credit it directly for the emergence of a distinct black electorate and for more than 9,000 black elected officials. What's more, the legislation helped not just black voters in the South, but Latinos, Native Americans and other minorities.

Key provisions of the Act are set to expire in August 2007 and the "Keep the Vote Alive" march in Atlanta also is a demand for President George W. Bush and Congress to extend those provisions.

Lloyd e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Unhappy Anniversary of the Bomb" (The Progressive):
This week marks the 60th anniversary of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it's not an anniversary to celebrate.

From the historical record, it's becoming increasingly clear that these atomic bombs--which killed more than 200,000 people immediately--were unnecessary.

Now I know a lot of old vets will tell you that the bombs saved hundreds of thousands of lives by forestalling a bloody invasion of the island.

My uncle was a commander in the Pacific, and he always made that argument.

But the argument is no longer holding.

First of all, if the United States had detonated a demonstration bomb on an unpopulated island and proved to Japan how lethal these weapons were, it's possible that the Japanese government would have surrendered.

And secondly, the event that had the most to do with that ultimate surrender was the Soviet Union declaring war on Japan on August 8, two days after the Hiroshima blast, argues Professor Tsuyoshi Hasegawa in a new book entitled Racing the Enemy.

Matthew Rothschild also weighs in on the Romer issue in "Roberts and Romer:"
This has gotten the right all apoplectic.

It's "not welcome news to those of us who advocate for traditional values," said James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who had initially praised the Roberts pick.

Actually, just about every voice on the right except the fire-breather Ann Coulter had hailed Roberts as a gift from on high.

But now Bush finds himself having to placate the right for Roberts’s lawyerly duties in this one case.

On our side of the fence, Roberts's role in Romer is bolstering those who have been secretly sighing, "He could be worse."

That's kind of like saying you prefer Orrin Hatch to Jesse Helms, but the fingers-crossed crowd says this case shows Roberts can at least perceive the legal merits of gay rights.

AMY GOODMAN: David, I think it's instructive, the effects of this reporting. I mean, on the one hand, you had someone like Wilfred Burchett on the ground, talking about -- he didn't even have the words to describe. He talked about “bomb sickness.” He talked about “atomic plague.” And then you have Laurence's front page story, September 12, 1945, “U.S. Atom Bomb Site Belies Tokyo Tales: Tests on New Mexico Range Confirm that Blast and Not Radiation Took Toll.” This, after William Laurence, while he didn't go to Hiroshima, was taken by Leslie Groves, the general in charge of the Manhattan Project, that was responsible for the bomb, took Laurence and other reporters to New Mexico to counter what the War Department, what Groves was calling Japanese propaganda of the effects, the deadly effects of radiation.

DAVID GOODMAN: And, in fact, Laurence knew better, because having observed the Trinity test, the first explosion of the atomic bomb in the deserts of New Mexico, he knew that Geiger counters had spiked around the area of the bombing long after the actual bomb itself. In fact, an interesting footnote to this whole encounter is that when Laurence was brought by Groves in this effort, as Amy describes, after Burchett's article came out, which was a total public relations fiasco for the U.S. government, having Burchett talk about this atomic plague, the General Groves's driver stood in the center of the crater where the Trinity tests went off as a way to kind of boast that there was nothing wrong there. He later died of cancer, and the War Department gave him a pension, a military disability pension, as a recognition of the fact that he was, in fact, poisoned with atomic radiation on that trip where he brought Bill Laurence to dispute Burchett's claims.

JUAN GONZALEZ: David, also, this whole issue of whether civilians died of the blast or radiation, the military knew well ahead of time the dangers of radiation because there was a 1943 memo to Leslie Groves from scientists in the Manhattan Project that's been used often by the anti-depleted uranium activists. It was declassified 30 years later, where it specifically talked about the memo, titled “Use of Radioactive Materials as a Military Weapon,” talking about the use of even low-level radiation. Just quoting from the memo, it says, “In order to deny terrain to either side at the expense of exposing personnel to harmful radiation,” and it goes on to say, “areas so contaminated by radioactive material would be dangerous until the natural decay of the material took place, which could take weeks or even months.” Of course, we now know it could take hundreds of years. And it goes on to say that ‘no effective protective clothing for personnel seems possible, but the average -- and no decontaminating methods are known.’ So, that the army was well aware in 1943 of the enormous potential for radiation dangers to civilians and military personnel as a result of the use of radioactive weapons, not just the power of the blast itself.

DAVID GOODMAN: Well, that's right. And this debate has had ongoing significance that far outlasted World War II. Laurence was essentially putting out the official government narrative, which is that atomic radiation is not harmful, is not a major byproduct of the nuclear weapons program. You know, it's only the blast that has essentially a very short impact. The reason that this has importance is that for really a half century, this narrative became the government's response to all protests against nuclear power, the nuclear weapons programs of the 1950s and 1960s and the Cold War. So, Laurence essentially set the table that the government was to occupy for the next half century as they disputed any attempt to rein in, you know, the rapid acceleration of nuclear weapons and power programs.

As Marcia notes in her e-mail,  "Long time coming.  And there are a lot of others who should be concerned.  I don't mean the obvious - Judy Miller - but people like Dexter Filkins who gave 'eye-witness' reporting from the occupation that read like propaganda."
Amy and David Goodman have written an op-ed on the need for the Pulitzer to be stripped and you can access it at the Democracy Now! main page.  (It's on a right side bar.)
Marcia wanted a link to an earlier entry here ("Amy Goodman warned us about 'The Lies of the Times") but I'll also note you can read "Hiroshima Cover-up: How the War Department's Timesman Won a Pulitzer" (an excerpt from the Goodman's The Exception to the Rulers).
The e-mail address for this site is (Kara and I will do a thing on BuzzFlash's GOP Hypocrite of the Week later this evening, for those wondering.)

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