World In Review 2012
By Dinouk Colombage
Pentagon May Sue Author Of Bin Laden Book ‘No Easy Day’
The Pentagon says it may sue a former US special forces member who has written a first-hand account of the May 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. The Department of Defence’s top lawyer has informed the former Navy Seal that he has violated agreements not to divulge military secrets.
He signed two non-disclosur forms with the Navy in 2007, the Pentagon said. The book, No Easy Day, which was written under the pseudonym Mark Owen, is due to be released next week. It was not reviewed ahead of publication by the Pentagon, CIA or the White House – and officials had warned that criminal charges could result from the improper disclosure of secret information.
The Pentagon’s general counsel, Jeh Johnson, wrote to the author on Thursday that his non-disclosure forms had obliged him to ‘never divulge’ classified information.
The letter said: “In the judgment of the Department of Defense, you are in material breach and violation of the non-disclosure agreements you signed.” The Pentagon is considering “all remedies legally available to us”, the letter added. It was reported this week that No Easy Day contradicts the official story of the raid. The book says Bin Laden was shot dead as soon as he looked out of his bedroom as Seals rushed up the stairs, according to the Associated Press news agency, which has seen an advance copy.
But US officials have stated he was shot only after he had ducked back into the bedroom, prompting fears he might be grabbing a weapon. The book also reveals that the commandos were not big fans of US President Barack Obama, even though they applauded his decision to launch the operation.
Courtesy BBC News
Romney Officially Accepts GOP Nomination
White House hopeful Mitt Romney spoke of the struggles of the working class, the importance of family life and American exceptionalism in a key speech aimed that winning the confidence of American voters.
As he accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday, the former Massachusetts governor said that Barack Obama had failed to deliver the ‘hope and change’ he promised and that many Americans had given up on him.
“It’s not just what we wanted, it’s not just what we expected, it’s what Americans deserved,” said Romney, 65. He said that he would start his presidency with a ‘jobs tour’ whereas Obama had started his with an ‘apology tour’. “You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had, was the day you voted for him,” said Romney. “What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn’t take a special government commission to tell us what America needs,” he said.
He enumerated his business successes, including Bain Capital, saying that “In America, we celebrate success, we don’t apologise for success”.
Policies and promises
While he criticised what he said were Obama’s broken promises, Romney made plenty of his own.
He vowed to create 12 million jobs with a five-step plan, which includes making the US “energy independentby taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables”, providing jobs training, “forging new trade agreements”, securing the investments of entrepreneurs and becoming the “champion of small businesses”.
Romney also said he would not raise taxes for the middle class, and that he would “protect the sanctity of life… honour the institution of marriage. And…guarantee America’s first liberty: the freedom of religion”.
Although Romney praised Obama for giving the order to take out Osama bin Laden, he also said the country is less secure because the president has not slowed Iran’s nuclear threat. Sounding a hawkish tone, Romney told the GOP (Grand Old Party) convention that Obama has said we should talk to Iran. And he said the talking continues, but Iran’s nuclear program is moving ahead. Romney also is accusing Obama of throwing allies like Israel “under the bus” even as he relaxed sanctions on Cuba.
Romney, a multimillionaire who has has been criticised as being out of touch with the struggles of the working class voters, spoke at length about the hardships facing Americans – working two jobs, “doing with less,” worrying about gas prices and not being able to save money for the future.
Prior to Romney’s speech, political analyst Bill Schneider told Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher that Romney’s biggest challenge rests in getting “people to trust him – to believe him when he says, ‘I can turn this economy around”. “He’s got to convey that impression – ‘I’m a success. I can build it. Trust me,’” said Schneider. Earlier, actor and director Clint Eastwood and Florida Senator Marco Rubio gave rousing introductory speeches to a packed house. Both speakers took shots at President Obama’s handling of the economy. Eastwood criticised Obama for failing to turn the economy around and for failing to deliver on his promises and is time
for Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, to take over. Hollywood star Eastwood raised eyebrows with an off-the-cuff monologue to an imaginary Obama in an empty chair.
Referring to the president, Clint Eastwood told a rapturous audience: “When somebody does not do the job, you’ve got to let ‘em go.” Rubio, meanwhile, told the GOP convention that Romney understands prosperity does not happen because the government spends more money, but through people using their own money to open businesses.
A question of faith
Romney, the first Mormon presidential candidate on a major party ticket, also briefly touched on his faith after years of avoiding direct mention of his religion.
He spoke of his family finding “kinship” at church, placing importance on the community it provided, although he did not dwell on his Mormon faith.
The former Massachusetts governor is the first Mormon presidential candidate on a major party ticket.
In a nation where eight in 10 people identify themselves as religious, Romney must convince the public that his Mormonism will not have a negative impact on his leadership.
With a July poll stating that nearly one in four Christian Evangelical Protestants saying they are uncomfortable with a Mormon president, Romney will also have to convince the US electorate that his faith will not alienate him from more mainstream voters. Romney’s elevation to official challenger to Obama in the November 6 election comes more than five long years after he launched his first White House bid and with the race neck-and neck and dependent on a handful of key states.
Courtesy Al Jazeera
Harvard University Probes Mass Exam ‘Cheating’
Dozens of students at Harvard University are being investigated for allegedly helping each other cheat in an exam, officials say.
Up to 125 students in one undergraduate course are suspected of sharing answers or plagiarising.
Possible cheating was found in about half of exam papers handed in by the class, which has at least 250 students.
If confirmed, the scandal would be the biggest to hit the “Ivy League” of top US universities in recent memory.
Suspicions were first aroused when a teaching assistant noticed several problems with the exam papers, including long passages of identical text in different students’ answers, the Associated Press reports.
The university has not named the course or class in question.
Possible punishments for students found to have cheated range from a first-offence warning to being excluded from the university for a year, according to the agency.
“These allegations, if proven, represent totally unacceptable behaviour that betrays the trust upon which intellectual inquiry at Harvard depends,” the university’s president, Drew Faust, said.
Jay Harris, the dean of undergraduate education, stressed there was no evidence of widespread cheating at Harvard.
“The facts that are before us are that we have a problem in this one course,” Mr Harris told AP.
“Looking at the students we have and the work that they do, I would be loath to say this is something that represents Harvard students generally.”
Courtesy BBC News