Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stepping Out With Secrets...

From Secrecy News:


The Obama Administration continued its pursuit of individuals who leak classified information to the press with another indictment of a suspected leaker. The Department of Justice announced last week that Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department contractor, had been indicted (pdf) under the Espionage Act for the unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and for lying to the FBI. Mr. Kim pleaded not guilty to both charges.

The classified information, which was not specified in the indictment, reportedly consisted of a 2009 intelligence assessment conveyed to Fox News stating that North Korea was likely to respond to United Nations sanctions by conducting another nuclear explosive test.

"The willful disclosure of classified information to those not entitled to it is a serious crime," said Assistant Attorney General David S. Kris in an August 27 news release. "Today's indictment should serve as a warning to anyone who is entrusted with sensitive national security information and would consider compromising it."

Mr. Kim's attorneys blasted the decision to indict him.

"In its obsession to clamp down on perfectly appropriate conversations between government employees and the press, the Obama Administration has forgotten that wise foreign policy must be founded on a two-way conversation between government and the public," said Abbe D. Lowell and Ruth Wedgwood in an August 27 statement (pdf) on the case.

"It is so disappointing that the Justice Department has chosen to stretch the espionage laws to cover ordinary and normal conversations between government officials and the press and, in doing so, destroy the career of a loyal civil servant and brilliant foreign policy analyst," they said. "There is no allegation that a document was given, that any money changed hands, that any foreign government was involved, or that there was any improper motive in the type of government/media exchanges that happen hundreds of times a day in Washington."

Mr. Kim was released pending trial on a $100,000 property bond. A status conference in the case has been set for October 13, 2010.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, former Defense Secretary William J. Perry said that more criminal prosecutions were needed to deter leaks of classified information.

"When I was secretary, we had an example of an egregious leak which I thought compromised national security," Secretary Perry told Senator McCain on August 3. "We prosecuted a case and sent the leaker to prison. And I think more examples of that would be useful in injecting better discipline in the system."

However, he may have misspoken. There does not seem to have been a leak prosecution during the years that he served as Secretary (1993-1997), and Dr. Perry's office was not able to provide clarification of his remarks.


Friday, August 27, 2010

On the Nukes...

From Secrecy News...


In "The Twilight of the Bombs," the fourth and final volume of his epic history of the nuclear era, author Richard Rhodes examines "how the dangerous post-Cold War transition was managed, who its heroes were, what we learned from it, and where it carried us."

Covering the years 1990-2010, from the collapse of the Soviet Union onward, much of the latest history is familiar. But by focusing on nuclear weapons development, proliferation and testing, Rhodes fashions his own narrative arc, enriched by new interviews and insights.

In the end, he sees a hopeful trajectory of "nuclear limitation and foreclosure: from Mikhail Gorbachev's and Ronald Reagan's initiatives to end the Cold War, to the voluntary disarming of the former Soviet republics and the security of nuclear materials, to the U.S. and Russia's deepening mutual arms reduction, to the up-and-down negotiations with North Korea that have nevertheless prevented another Korean war, to international diplomatic pressure brought to bear effectively on India and Pakistan, to the persistent march forward of negotiations toward treaties to limit nuclear testing and proliferation." (However, Rhodes does not specifically address the case of Iran's nuclear program, as noted by Tim Rutten in an August 18 review in the Los Angeles Times.)

In the concluding pages of the book, Rhodes posits an analogy between previous campaigns to eradicate or limit disease and current efforts to abolish nuclear weapons, which he deems both necessary and feasible. "In 1999, for the first time in human history, infectious diseases no longer ranked first among causes of death worldwide" thanks to the discipline of public health. In a similarly efficacious way, he says, the ingredients of the analogous discipline of public safety against nuclear weapons "have already begun to assemble themselves: materials control and accounting, cooperative threat reduction, security guarantees, agreements and treaties, surveillance and inspection, sanctions, forceful disarming if all else fails."

"The Twilight of the Bombs" cannot match Rhodes' first volume on "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" for sheer mythological power, but it is fluidly and eloquently written. The author's prose ranges widely, sometimes vertiginously: In the book's Index, Scott Ritter comes right after Rainer Maria Rilke, the Ayatollah Khomeini is just above Nicole Kidman, and Sig Hecker of Los Alamos is separated from Jesse Helms by G.W.F. Hegel.

Mr. Rhodes (who I should say has been a consistent supporter of Secrecy News) ends the book with Acknowledgments, including a valentine to his wife: "She, not thermonuclear fusion, makes the sun shine."


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Assholes Abound....

As a writer friend of mine says, "I fear for my country." Precisely. The Republicans have become an evil force, far as I'm concerned.

Worse is the massive number of flat out stupid people who will swallow any damned thing the Repubs say.

Right off the top, those people need to know that Obama is NOT a Muslim. I don't care what his father was. That man has nothing to do with Obama. He disappeared from sight almost as soon as he impregnanted Obama's mother. Obama was raised a Christian and still is one.

Our Bill of Rights in this Republic of the United States of America says very plainly that we have freedom of religion...which means that Muslims have the right, as US citizens, to build their social center any damned place they please so long as they own the land legally. Which they do. And that's that.

The Republicans have instilled fear in those who buy their bullshit. I cannot imagine why anybody does, but far too many of them do. Pitiful, that they cannot think for themselves.

Of course part of the reason for their stupidity is the fact that our Republican owned news media are yellow journalists of the first order.

And why anybody with brains pays the least attention to assholes like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck is beyond me. I guess they're hearing what they want to hear, not realizing they're swallowing idiocy whole...evil idiocy. It's all about the money, people!!! Rush and Beck are being paid plenty to continue to cram that crap down people's throats every chance they get.

Media, by the way, includes TV and radio. Yellow journalism. I hope those corporate owners strangle.

And then there's the Supreme Court. Majority are Repugs. So of course they made the decision that corporations are people. Like hell they are. $$$$$$$$$$ rules. And may they rot while still living.

More, they own too many politicians, lock, stock, barrel. It's a hell of a thing that it costs so much to run for office, the way it's set up. Be much cleaner if campaigns were publically financed. And if the reputations of the people running were checked out first for crimes of one kind or another committed.

I do wish that Obama would not try so hard to work deals with both Repugs and Dems to get their joint agreement. It ain't gonna happen.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Replacing Obama...

Okay then, Dems ...you don't like Obama, you're not gonna have a Repug...so who the hell do you want to replace Obama? Gotta have somebody. Maybe Kucinich? But would he want that lousy job?

Ah...I can hear some people yelling, "HILARY".

Best give some thought to that. Nov 2012 is on its way.


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Good Books On The Way....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly...


InStyle magazine deputy and books editor Nancy Bilyeau's historical thriller THE LAST NUN, about a novice who is imprisoned in the Tower for breaking the sacred rule of enclosure and, in exchange for her freedom and her father's life, is charged to find a hidden legendary relic that could save the way of life that she loves from Cromwell's advancing army of destruction, to Trish Todd at Touchstone Fireside, in a very nice deal, at auction, by Josh Getzler at Russell & Volkening (NA).

Former analyst at Goldman, Sachs and corporate attorney Cristina Alger's debut THE DARLINGS, a family drama about a New York high society finance family and the race to uncover -- or cover up -- the truth behind a tragic event that sets off a scandal with enormous financial and personal implications, with great insights into a NY world rarely glimpsed by outsiders, and pitched as having echoes of THE FIRM, BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES and Clare Messud's THE EMPEROR'S CHILDREN, to Pamela Dorman at Pamela Dorman Books, in a pre-empt, for publication in winter 2012, by Pilar Queen at McCormick & Williams Literary Agency (world).


Two-time Edgar nominee Charlie Huston's SKINNER, the first in an epic series about a man raised in a box who becomes the world's most skilled assassin, to John Schoenfelder at Mulholland Books and Bill Massey at Orion, in a three-book deal, for publication beginning Spring 2012, by Simon Lipskar at Writers House (World English).

Four-time Edgar and Shamus Award-winner and Edgar Grand Master Award recipient Lawrence Block's A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF, a new Matthew Scudder novel, to John Schoenfelder at Mulholland Books, for Spring 2011 publication, by Danny Baror at Baror International (NA).


Duane Swierczynski's FUN AND GAMES, HELL AND GONE and POINT AND SHOOT, a thriller in three parts, starring an ex-cop who lives in exile to protect his family and is driven to uphold justice no matter the personal cost, to be published over a period of six months, to John Schoenfelder at Mulholland Books, in a three-book deal, for publication in Spring through Fall 2011, by David Hale Smith at DHS Literary (World English).
Translation: DHS Literary/Baror International


Tony D'Souza's MULE, in which a young professional couple with a new baby fall into a life as drug mules after they lose their jobs in the economic downturn, to Jenna Johnson at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for publication in Spring 2012, by Liz Darhansoff at Darhansoff, Verrill, Feldman (NA).


IMMORTALS author Alyson Noel's SOUL SEEKER series, a supernatural story that will "explore themes of Shamanism and the ability to walk through the Upperworld and the Underworld and to walk amongst the dead," again to Rose Hilliard at St. Martin's, for publication beginning in 2012, by Bill Contardi at Brandt & Hochman.


Washington Irving biographer Brian Jay Jones's Jim Henson biography, with the cooperation of the Henson family, beginning with Henson's days as an early TV pioneer, innovative artist and businessman who created a whole new way to present puppetry, covering Henson's creations, such as The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock and his important contribution to the development and success of Sesame Street, and describing his groundbreaking artistic and technological work that continues to this day, to Jill Schwartzman at Ballantine, by Jonathan Lyons of Lyons Literary (world).


THE LONGEST WINTER and THE BEDFORD BOYS author Alex Kershaw's 500 DAYS: An Epic of Liberation, a closely focused but expansively painted war saga about an American infantry commander's descent into the deepest maelstrom of World War II Europe, from the landings at Sicily in July 1943 to Anzio, where he was the lone survivor of his company, to the drama of the liberation of Dachau, developing a transcendently human story of fortitude, faith and sacrifice, to Charlie Conrad at Broadway, for publication in 2012, by Jim Hornfischer at Hornfischer Literary Management (world).
Film: jerry@ipglm.com

NYT bestselling author of Renegade: The Making of a President and political analyst for MSNBC Richard Wolffe's untitled book based on exclusive and extensive interviews with President Obama and White House Staff; an in depth study of the Obama Administration at work, to Crown, for publication in November 2010.

Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown's book on the global financial crisis, with insight into the events that led to the fiscal downward spiral and the reactions of world leaders as they took steps to avoid further disaster, and suggestions for measures Brown believes the world should adopt to regain fiscal stability, to Free Press and Simon & Schuster UK, for publication in November 2010, by Philippa Brophy at Sterling Lord Literistic (world).


New York Magazine online editor Carolyn Murnick's THE HOT ONE, a memoir about women, friendship and the murder of her childhood best friend at the age of 22, which takes us from the suburbs of New Jersey to the seedy underworld of Los Angeles, to Amber Qureshi at Free Press, at auction, by Larry Weissman at Larry Weissman Literary (world English).


Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and senior associate in neurology at Children's Hospital Boston Frances Jensen, M.D., with Amy Ellis Nutt's THE TEENAGE BRAIN, the latest scientific research to unlock the secrets of adolescent behavior and explain what is happening at the interface of a teenager's brain and the world, to Claire Wachtel at Harper, in a major deal, at auction, by Wendy Strothman at The Strothman Agency (World).