tagged w/ PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER
A former U.S. president is accusing the current president of sanctioning the "widespread abuse of human rights" by authorizing drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists.
Jimmy Carter, America's 39 th president, denounced the Obama administration for "clearly violating" 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, writing in a New York Times op-ed on Monday that the "United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights."
"Instead of making the world safer, America's violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends," Carter wrote.
While the total number of attacks from unmanned aircraft, or drones, and the resulting casualties are murky, the New America Foundation estimates that in Pakistan alone 265 drone strikes have been executed since January 2009 . Those strikes have killed at least 1,488 people, at least 1,343 of them considered militants, the foundation estimates based on news reports and other sources.
In addition to the drone strikes, Carter criticized the current president for keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention center open, where prisoners "have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers."
The former president blasted the government for allowing "unprecedented violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and government mining of our electronic communications."
He also condemned recent legislation that gives the president the power to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely, although a federal judge blocked the law from taking effect for any suspects not affiliated with the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"This law violates the right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration," Carter said.
While Carter never mentioned Obama by name, he called out "our government" and "the highest authorities in Washington," and urged "concerned citizens" to "persuade Washington to reverse course and regain moral leadership."A former U.S. president is accusing the current president of sanctioning the... more
A nuclear clash could starve the world
By Jayantha Dhanapala and Ira Helfand, Special to CNN
updated 7:57 AM EDT, Fri May 11, 2012
Sunao Tsuboi, who suffered horrific burns in Hiroshima, holds a photo of himself and friends taken hours after the explosion.
Writers: India, Pakistan and North Korea missile tests bring up dangers of nuclear war
Study shows war using half of 1% of global nuke arsenals would set off world famine
U.S. and Russia have huge nuclear arsenals, they say, a lethal holdover from Cold War
It's urgent for talks about reducing arsenals, they write, with a ban on weapons the goal
Editor's note: Jayantha Dhanapala is a former ambassador to the United States from Sri Lanka, U.N. under-secretary general for disarmament and chairman of the 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference. Ira Helfand is the past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and current North American vice president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.
(CNN) -- Recent ballistic missile tests by India, Pakistan and North Korea -- which has ominously threatened to "reduce to ashes" the South Korean military "in minutes" -- are once again focusing the world's attention on the dangers of nuclear war.
This concern was dramatically underscored in a new report released at the Nobel Peace Laureates Summit in Chicago. Titled "Nuclear Famine: A Billion People at Risk" (PDF), the study shows that even a limited nuclear war, involving less than half of 1% of the world's nuclear arsenals, would cause climate disruption that could set off a global famine.
The study, prepared by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and its U.S. affiliate, Physicians for Social Responsibility, used a scenario of 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs exploded in a war between India and Pakistan. If there were such a war, the study estimated that 1 billion people, one-sixth of the human race, could starve over the following decade.
Along with recent events, these findings require a fundamental change in our thinking about nuclear weapons.
The study, in positing a war between India and Pakistan, shows the importance of understanding that smaller nuclear powers, not just the United States and Russia, pose a threat to the whole world.
But the greater lesson concerns the forces of the larger nuclear powers. Each U.S. Trident submarine can destroy 100 cities and produce the global famine described in the study. The United States has 14 of them, a fleet of land-based nuclear missiles, and an arsenal of nuclear weapons that can be delivered by bombers. The Russians possess the same grotesque overkill capacity.
Even the most ambitious arms reductions under discussion would leave the United States and Russia with 300 warheads each, most of them 10 to 30 times larger than a Hiroshima sized bomb. This would be a massive arsenal capable of producing the global famine scenario many, many times over.
These arsenals are an archaic, but lethal, holdover from the Cold War. Their continued existence poses an ongoing threat to all humanity.
Steps can and should be taken immediately to lessen this danger. Substantial numbers of these weapons remain on what The New York Times has described as "hair-trigger alert." They can be fired in 15 minutes or less and destroy cities a continent away 30 minutes later. This alert posture creates the needless danger of an accidental or unintended launch, and the United States and Russia have had many close calls, preparing to launch a nuclear strike at the other under the mistaken belief they were under attack.
The most recent of these near-misses that we know about took place in January 1995, well after the end of the Cold War. The United States and Russia should stand down their nuclear arsenals so that it takes longer to launch their missiles, lessening the danger of an accidental war. U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladamir Putin can take this step on their own without negotiating a formal treaty.
Beyond this, it is time to begin urgent talks aimed at reducing the U.S. and Russian arsenals as the next essential step toward multilateral negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, a binding, verifiable, enforceable treaty that eliminates nuclear weapons altogether.
As former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev observed on reviewing the new "Nuclear Famine" study: "I am convinced that nuclear weapons must be abolished. Their use in a military conflict is unthinkable; using them to achieve political objectives is immoral.
"Over 25 years ago, President Ronald Reagan and I ended our summit meeting in Geneva with a joint statement that 'Nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,' and this new study underscores in stunning and disturbing detail why this is the case."
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writers.
A nuclear clash could starve the world
By Jayantha Dhanapala and Ira... more
Theodore Sorensen, JFK's speechwriter, has died
By the CNN Wire Staff
October 31, 2010 4:54 p.m. EDT
Theodore C. Sorensen (right) was a close adviser to President John F. Kennedy. He's seen here in April 1968 with Robert Kennedy just a couple of months before RFK's death.
* Sorensen was a top aide in John F. Kennedy's White House
* He helped pen some of the most recognizable speeches in U.S. political history
(CNN) -- Theodore C. Sorensen, a close adviser and speechwriter to President John F. Kennedy, has died, the White House said Sunday.
Though he wore a number of hats in his relationship with Kennedy and later in life, he is best known as the wordsmith who helped put Kennedy's ideas to paper in what remain some of the most recognizable speeches in American political history.
Sorensen served as special counsel and speechwriter to Kennedy from 1961 to 1963, and participated in secret White House meetings during the Cuban Missile Crisis, according to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
Sorensen was a key aide on Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign and had earlier served as a speechwriter and assistant to Kennedy during his Senate years.
"I got to know Ted after he endorsed my campaign early on," President Barack Obama said in a statement Sunday.
"He was just as I hoped he'd be -- just as quick-witted, just as serious of purpose, just as determined to keep America true to our highest ideals."Theodore Sorensen, JFK's speechwriter, has died
By the CNN Wire Staff
Posted: October 20, 2010 07:31 PM
How Jerry Brown has Been Fighting for Gay Rights Long Before Prop 8
This post was written with the help of Mike McQuinn, one of the leaders of Jerry Brown's LGBT movement.
There's been a lot of talk this election season about Jerry Brown's refusal to defend Prop 8 in court. As Attorney General, his utmost responsibility is to uphold the law, and he found the measure to be in direct violation of the constitution--plain and simple.
But you might not know that Jerry has been standing up for gay rights for decades. So in honor of GLBT History Month, here's a little California history lesson for you.
Back in the day, we had a discriminatory law in place that made consensual sex between two gay men a felony. In 1975, shortly after becoming governor, Jerry successfully repealed it.
Abolishing the measure proved to be a difficult undertaking. In fact, Jerry's Lieutenant Governor broke the tied vote in the State Senate. Controversy notwithstanding, when the repeal bill got to his desk, Jerry unflinchingly signed it.
Fast-forward three years to Jerry's re-election campaign. Alongside his name on the November ballot was an incredibly divisive proposition dubbed the Briggs Initiative. This initiative aimed to give school boards the power to fire gay and lesbian teachers solely based on their sexual orientation.
A typical politician running for re-election at the time (and maybe even now) would have ducked the issue and focused his energies on his own campaign. But Jerry was, and is, no typical politician, so he decided to take a bold public stance against discrimination.
With the likes of Supervisor Harvey Milk and President Jimmy Carter, Jerry campaigned to defeat the Briggs Initiative. Like the anti-sodomy law before it, Jerry knew such government intrusion into personal life represented the antithesis of the society he'd been striving to govern since his first day in public office.
The Briggs Initiative was annihilated at the polls. Jerry coasted to victory.
But he wasn't satisfied with the progress already made on his watch just yet.
After his re-election, Jerry supported legislation barring employment discrimination based on sexual orientation because, as he explained, the "diversity of our people can be a cause of hatred and anxiety or the source of strength and continued achievement. The choice is ours."
He also appointed five openly LGBT judges to the bench, including two firsts: the first openly gay and openly lesbian judges in United States history.
Although nearly 20 years passed before either another LGBT judge was appointed or the employment protections envisioned by Jerry became state law, none of these sweeping reforms would have been possible without his pioneering spirit and commitment to promoting equality.
Class dismissed.Carly Schwartz
Posted: October 20, 2010 07:31 PM
How Jerry... more
Former President Carter says he is leaving N. Korea with freed U.S. citizen
CNN's Headline: Former President Carter has secured the release of U.S. citizen Aijilon Gomes, imprisoned by North Korea in January.
THIS JUST IN FROM AP:
N. Korea releases Boston man held since Jan.
(AP) – 19 minutes ago
ATLANTA — A spokeswoman says North Korea has granted amnesty for a Boston man jailed in the communist country since January after former President Jimmy Carter worked to negotiate his freedom.
Carter Center spokeswoman Deanna Congileo said late Thursday that the former president will return to the U.S. with Aijalon Gomes. She says Gomes should be in Boston by Friday afternoon. North Korea news agency KCNA says Carter has left Pyongyang.
U.S. officials have billed Carter's trip as a private humanitarian visit to try to negotiate Gomes' release. Gomes was sentenced to eight years of hard labor in a North Korean prison for entering the country illegally from China.
Congileo says North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il granted the amnesty at Carter's request.
BOSTON (AP) — An American imprisoned in North Korea for illegally crossing the border has a gentle spirit but is also a person of conviction willing to be bold about what he believes, friends and acquaintances said.
Aijalon Gomes had been teaching English in South Korea when he was imprisoned in January for entering North Korea from China, U.S. officials said. This week, former president Jimmy Carter traveled to the isolated nation to try to win Gomes' release, and end the Boston's man harrowing and unlikely trip from the inner city to a North Korean jail.
"'He ran deep,' I think, would be the phrase that other people might use," said Erik Woodbury, who attended college with Gomes. "I was surprised that he ended up in North Korea, but I wasn't surprised that there was something he was passionate about."
It's unclear what prompted Gomes to enter the repressive nation. He may have been emulating fellow Christian Robert Park, who was detained after he crossed into North Korea a month earlier to highlight its human rights record, said Jo Sung-rae, a South Korean human rights advocate who met with Gomes. Park was expelled a few weeks later.
Shortly before he left for North Korea, Gomes was photographed in Seoul, South Korea, protesting Park's plight.
Gomes was sentenced in April to eight years of hard labor and fined $700,000 for illegally entering the country. Gomes' relatives have declined to say much about him or his situation, though they pleaded for his release on humanitarian grounds after North Korea's state-run media reported last month that he'd attempted suicide.
The family stayed quiet when asked for personal reflections about Gomes this week.
"They would prefer not to comment," said family spokeswoman Thaleia Schlesinger.
Gomes grew up in an apartment in Boston's Mattapan neighborhood, long a haven for immigrants and now heavily populated by African-Americans and people from Caribbean nations. In high school, he worked after school at Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. as part of a jobs programs that aimed to steer students toward college.
Karen Hinds, who coordinated the program, kept in touch with Gomes, and called him as "a very personable, very likable, very intelligent young man, and very dedicated. ... And as he got older, he was extremely dedicated to his faith."
Gomes graduated high school in 1997 and, with some encouragement from Hinds, headed to Bowdoin College, a small school in Maine that she attended.
Nate Vinton, a sportswriter in New York City, took classes with Gomes, including creative writing, and remembered him as polite, earnest and with a touch of shyness that quickly vanished during conversation. Vinton also saw hints of Gomes' religious conviction.
"He talked admiringly of the Bible as a piece of literature in a class that we took together, which was unusual at that school in that place and time," Vinton said. "That stood out, for sure."
Gomes was an enthusiastic and good-humored member of Bowdoin's student-run theater group and worked with Woodbury, now a college professor in California, on major roles in "Pippin" and bit parts in "Cabaret."
Bowdoin graduate Zach Tabacco said he would occasionally hang out with Gomes, whom he met through friends.
"He was a really sweet and positive guy," Tabacco said. "He wasn't wild by any means, but he definitely had a stronger personality. ... I can believe that if he thought something was right, he's going to do what he can to defend that and to support that."
Gomes moved to South Korea to teach English in the past year or so, Hinds said. Friend and colleague Marshalette Wise said Gomes was unfailingly professional, even outside work, where she saw him wear only slacks, dress shirts and bow ties. She said he was always friendly, helping new teachers become acclimated and assisting her in a move to a new job 90 minutes away.
This week, the first sign of a breakthrough since Gomes' imprisonment came with word that North Korea had agreed to release Gomes to Carter if the former president visited the capital city of Pyongyang. Carter arrived Wednesday, but by Thursday there was no sign that Gomes had been freed and leader Kim Jong Il had left for China.
As word of his possible release spread this week, members of a Facebook group called "Save Aijalon Gomes!" expressed relief and optimism that his ordeal would soon end.
"He is an excellent human being and a joy to know," Hinds, a member of the group, said in a post Tuesday. "God has kept him."
Former President Carter says he is leaving N. Korea with freed U.S.... more
Of course it's about race. And of course it's not. What could be more obvious?
Tune in to black talk radio. The conversation begins with the assumption that President Obama is getting pushback unlike any president in history. Point Two: It's because he's black. People who would otherwise respect and follow the White House -- and never think of being rude to a president -- are behaving differently because this one is black. So it's all about race.
But tune in to conservative talk radio, and nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, commentators and callers insist, the new president's race is a buffer and a shield. People who would lambaste any other president hesitate to breathe a discouraging word about this one, fearing a charge of racism. Therefore: The criticism of the president has nothing whatsoever to do with race.
Everything's obvious from that perspective, too.
The points of view are clearly contradictory, but in a sense they are also similar. They each contain elements of reality, but both turn false when pushed to their illogical extreme.
And that's just what people seem determined to do.
House Republican Leader John Boehner neatly encapsulated the all-or-nothing nature of the debate in his weekly news conference. "The outrage that we see in America has nothing to do with race," Boehner told the reporters. "It has everything to do with the policies that [the president] is promoting."
Nothing and everything. Neat and tidy.
A day earlier, President Jimmy Carter was close to the same oversimplification in the opposite direction, stressing the "racist attitude" in recent protests.
In the end, denying the possibility of truth on the other side of the debate is what makes both sides wrong. But it is not the only thing the two sides have in common. Both are nearing a boiling point, and in both cases their anger feeds on fear.Of course it's about race. And of course it's not. What could be more... more
Astronaut Gordon Cooper's Sighting - In 1955, while stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, Mercury 7 Astronaut Gordon Cooper witnessed an event that has yet to be explained nearly 50 years later. He was supervising the filming of a precision landing facility for F-86 fighter jets. Suddenly, a saucer-like craft flew directly over the cameraman. Three landing gear apparatus opened, and the object landed on the dry lake bed.
MERCURY 7 ASTRONAUT GORDON COOPER recalls a UFO landing at Edwards Air Force Base. APOLLO ASTRONAUT EDGAR MITCHELL discloses his knowledge of the covert effort to keep the subject matter top secret. Military personnel testify to having witnessed UFOs disable nuclear missiles both in their silos and during test flights. PRESIDENTS GERALD FORD and JIMMY CARTER give accounts about their involvement with the UFO phenomenon.
General Nathan Twining's Memo: Is the U.S. Air Force hiding the truth about UFOs?
UFOs and J. Edgar Hoover: Was the head of the FBI refused access to the disc recovered at Roswell?
Wilbert Smith + Dr. Robert Sarbacher: Does the U.S. government classify UFO's "Above Top Secret"?
The Condon Report: Did the official investigation into UFOs prove or disprove their existence?
UFOs and Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars": Have DSP satellites detected UFOs?
Source: 'Out of the Blue - The Movie' - Link: http://www.outofthebluethemovie.com/
Astronomers Find A Hole In The Universe:
Governor Fife Symington, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
http://www.fifesymington.com/Astronaut Gordon Cooper's Sighting - In 1955, while stationed at Edwards Air... more