Archive for December, 2006

Bush OKs Grants To Preserve Japanese Consentration Camps In U.S… Are They For Us?

Posted in Government Watch on December 23, 2006 by blindnation

The Japan Times | December 2006

News photo    U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law a $ 38 million grant program to preserve notorious internment camps where Japanese-Americans were kept behind barbed wire during World War II.

The money will be administered by the National Park Service to restore and pay for research at 10 camps. The objective of the law is to help preserve the camps as reminders of how the United States turned on some of its citizens in a time of fear.

The camps housed more than 120,000 Japanese-American U.S. citizens and residents under an executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, when the country still was in shock over the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

At the time, there were fears that Japanese-Americans were loyal to Japan, and Roosevelt’s order prohibited such people from living on the West Coast in a position possibly to help an invasion force.

Thousands of families in California and parts of Washington state, Oregon and Arizona were pushed from their homes and into camps surrounded by armed guards. The sites named in the legislation are in California, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho.

The last of the camps closed in 1946, and President Ronald Reagan signed a presidential apology to Japanese-Americans in 1988.

Cosponsors of the bill included the two current members of Congress who spent time in the camps as children: Democratic Reps. Mike Honda and Doris Matsui of California. Matsui was born in the Poston camp in Arizona.

The National Park Service already operates facilities at two of the 10 camps: the Manzanar National Historic Site in California and the Minidoka Internment National Monument in Idaho.

U.N. Unanimously Approves Iran Sanctions

Posted in In The News on December 23, 2006 by blindnation

AP | December 2006

UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Saturday imposing sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, culminating two months of negotiations aimed at pressuring Tehran to clarify its nuclear ambitions.

The resolution orders all countries to ban the supply of specified materials and technology that could contribute to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. It also imposes an asset freeze on key companies and people in the country’s nuclear and missile programs named on a U.N. list.

If Iran refuses to comply, the resolution warns Iran that the council will adopt further nonmilitary sanctions.

Russia and China, which both have strong commercial ties to Tehran, have pressed for a step-by-step approach to sanctions. By contrast, the United States has pushed for very tough sanctions, with Britain and France taking a slightly softer view.

Iran insists its nuclear program is aimed solely at the peaceful production of nuclear energy, but the Americans and Europeans suspect Tehran’s ultimate goal is the production of nuclear weapons.

President defiant
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated Tuesday that possible Security Council sanctions would not stop Iran from pursuing uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel for civilian purposes or fuel for a nuclear bomb.

The resolution authorizes action under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter. It allows the Security Council to impose nonmilitary sanctions such as completely or partially severing diplomatic and economic relations, transportation and communications links.

If Iran fails to comply with the resolution, the draft says the council will adopt “further appropriate measures” under Article 41.

During negotiations, a mandatory travel ban was dropped at Russia’s insistence.

Instead, the draft resolution calls on all states “to exercise vigilance” regarding the entry or transit through their territory of those on a U.N. list that names 12 top Iranians involved in the country’s nuclear and missile programs. It asks the 191 other U.N. member states to notify a Security Council committee that will be created to monitor sanctions when those Iranians show up in their country.

The resolution also says the council will review Iran’s actions in light of a report from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, requested within 60 days, on whether Iran has suspended uranium enrichment and complied with other IAEA demands.

If the IAEA verifies that Iran has suspended enrichment and reprocessing, the resolution says the sanctions will be suspended to allow for negotiations. It says sanctions will be terminated as soon as the IAEA board confirms that Iran has complied with all its obligations.

Moscow seeks to protect its work in Iran
Before the final text was circulated, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin pressed for amendments to ensure that Moscow can conduct legitimate nuclear activities in Iran.

Russia is building Iran’s first atomic power plant at Bushehr, which is expected to go on line in late 2007. A reference to Bushehr in the original draft was removed earlier — as Russia demanded.

Churkin complained that some organizations suspected of conducting proliferation-sensitive activities had been included on the list subject to financial sanctions “without even proving that is the case, and therefore you cannot do any business with that institution — and that can raise all sorts of issues.”

Jones Parry said the list of 11 organizations and 12 individuals that would be subject to having their assets frozen was not changed.

The six key parties trying to curb Iran’s nuclear program — Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the United States — offered Tehran a package of economic incentives and political rewards in June if it agreed to consider a long-term moratorium on enrichment and committed itself to a freeze on uranium enrichment before talks on its nuclear program.

With Iran refusing to comply with an Aug. 31 council deadline to stop enrichment, Britain and France circulated a draft sanctions resolution in late October, which has been revised several times since then.

To meet concerns of Russia and China that the original resolution was too broad, it was changed to specify in greater detail exactly what materials and technology would be prohibited from being supplied to Iran and to name those individuals and companies that would be affected.

Drudge Report plays up AP photo of Bush with ‘devil horns’

Posted in In The News on December 22, 2006 by blindnation

The Raw Story | Mike Sheehan | Dec 21 2006

Photo  “BUSH ‘DEVIL HORNS’ PIC HITS WIRES…” blared the headline at the right-wing Drudge Report.

The site suggests that an Associated Press photograph of President Bush, credited to Lawrence Jackson, had intentionally been taken at an angle, or otherwise changed or cropped by the news organization, to portray the president in an evil light. Bloggers were quick to put their own spin on the charge by the Drudge Report, which follows several recent press photos that have come under fire for various forms of alteration.

A commenter at Hot Air had this to say of the “horns” shot:

It’s not the photographer. Lawrence Jackson is a good photographer with no history of this type of thing, but the cropping is obvious. Why would you crop a photo almost to his chin, and then so high above his head unless you were purposely attempting to frame in the “horns?”

It is unknown at the present time if the AP has issued a public comment about what, if anything, was done to the picture of the president.

This latest alleged “photo manipulation” compares with a slew of press photos taken earlier in Bush’s tenure that made him appear remarkably “holier”–such as this 2003 AP photo by Charles Dharapak, in which the president’s head seems to be surrounded by a spectral halo. The “halo” is in fact a presidential seal mounted on the wall behind him, faded out in the distance–not unlike the somewhat clearer seal in the Drudge-hyped picture.

The Drudge Report has since taken the “devil horns” headline off the page, but it remains in their archives.