December 2011

JFP 12/19: Israel moots "terror" label for settlers; Obama moots "speculation tax"

Just Foreign Policy News, December 19, 2011
Israel moots "terror" label for settlers; Obama moots "speculation tax"

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Russia Today Video: 'Blue bra' girl brutally beaten by Egypt military
Your tax dollars at work: Egyptian soldiers competing with each other to beat people who are already lying motionless on the ground. Why are we paying $1.3 billion a year for this?
http://youtu.be/mnFVYewkWEY

'I feel wretched': Woman protester who was stripped and dragged through streets by Egyptian soldiers breaks her silence
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2076115/Egypt-protests-Woman-stripped-dragged-streets-soldiers-breaks-silence.html

Will the Media Let Ron Paul Question U.S. Foreign Policy?
Will the media let Ron Paul raise serious questions about U.S. foreign policy? Economist and media critic (and Just Foreign Policy board member) Dean Baker recently posed this question in a forum at Politico. It's a crucial test case not only of the prospects that the media will serve the interests of the 99% rather than the 1%, but of the prospects for a foreign military and economic policy that reflects the values and interests of the 99%, rather than those of the 1%.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/ron-paul-foreign-policy_b_1151442.html

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JFP 12/15: Falluja's anger endures; will media let Paul question foreign policy?

Just Foreign Policy News, December 15, 2011
Falluja's anger endures; will media let Paul question foreign policy? 

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Will the Media Let Ron Paul Question U.S. Foreign Policy?
Will the media let Ron Paul raise serious questions about U.S. foreign policy? Economist and media critic (and Just Foreign Policy board member) Dean Baker recently posed this question in a forum at Politico. It's a crucial test case not only of the prospects that the media will serve the interests of the 99% rather than the 1%, but of the prospects for a foreign military and economic policy that reflects the values and interests of the 99%, rather than those of the 1%.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/ron-paul-foreign-policy_b_1151442.html

Barney Frank: The Emperor has Too Many Clothes: Adjusting America's Military Spending to Reality
Compelling talk by Rep. Barney Frank on why projected military spending needs to be cut, including nuclear weapons, foreign bases, and the war in Afghanistan.
http://www.cfr.org/us-strategy-and-politics/emperor-has-too-many-clothes-adjusting-americas-military-spending-reality/p26505

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Will the Media Let Ron Paul Question U.S. Foreign Policy?

Will the news media let Ron Paul raise serious questions about U.S. foreign policy? It's a crucial test case not only of the prospects that the media will serve the interests of the 99% rather than the 1%, but of the prospects for a foreign military and economic policy that reflects the values and interests of the 99%, rather than those of the 1%.

Economist and media critic Dean Baker recently posed this question in a forum at Politico. Politico's David Mark convened the forum under the headline, "Can Ron Paul Take a Punch?"

 

Now that Rep. Ron Paul is a top-tier candidate in Iowa rivals are likely to gang up. They may target the Texan's associations with unsavory characters, or a sometimes less-than-pure libertarian stance on congressional earmarks. Middle East politics could also complicate Paul's presidential bid - he once likened Israel's defensive blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza to "a concentration camp."

Can Ron Paul take a punch?

Dean Baker responded:

 

The better question is whether the media will allow Paul to raise serious questions about the nature of this country's foreign policy. I recall watching one of the Republican presidential debates in 2008 where the moderator asked whether the president could unilaterally take military action against Iran.

 

Mayor Giuliani answered first and gave a characteristic Giuliani answer to the effect of the president can do whatever he wants. Gov. Romney then gave a conditional this and that answer, and then said that if the question was one of constitutional authority, you would have to call in the lawyers.

JFP 12/14: House Passes Iran Contact Ban; Gingrich Backs War for Regime Change

Just Foreign Policy News, December 14, 2011
House Passes Iran Contact Ban; Gingrich Backs War for Regime Change

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House Passes "Iran Cooties Reduction Act"
On Wednesday evening, the House passed HR 1905, the so-called "Iran Threat Reduction Act," which, among other things, would prohibit contact between U.S. and some Iranian officials. Eleven Members voted no: Amash, Blumenauer, Duncan (TN), Ellison, Kucinich, Barbara Lee, McDermott, Moran, Olver, Stark, Woolsey. The measure now goes to the Senate, where the bill may be stopped or some of its most extreme provisions may still be removed.
The debate on the bill happened Tuesday night. You can watch the debate here:
http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/HouseSession5288
The debate begins at the 8:05 mark.
At the 8:15 mark, Rep. Kucinich introduced into the Congressional Record Washington Post Ombudsman Patrick Pexton's column noting that the IAEA did not say that Iran is building a nuclear bomb (during the debate, some Members claimed that it did.)
At the 8:37 mark, Rep. Blumenauer noted press reports that new sanctions on Europeans who buy oil from Iran could raise the price of gas in the U.S. by a dollar a gallon.
At 8:50:26, Rep. Berman claimed that "there is nothing in this bill that would prevent Americans from having contact with Iranians," an astonishing claim, given the plain English meaning of Section 601c, cited in the peace groups' letter to the House:

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JFP 12/13: Human rights groups slam Quartet on rising demolitions of Palestinian homes

Just Foreign Policy News, December 13, 2011
Human rights groups slam Quartet on rising demolitions of Palestinian homes

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*Action - Tell Congress: Don't Outlaw US Meetings with Iranian Officials
Section 601(c) of HR 1905 - the so-called "Iran Threat Reduction Act" - would prohibit meetings between U.S. officials and Iranian officials deemed a "threat." Ask your Representative to oppose Section 601(c) and HR 1905. The bill may be voted on Tuesday under "suspension," meaning it would need a supermajority to pass.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/hr1905
or call your Representative toll-free: 1-877-429-0678
[UPDATE: FCNL says, debate tonight, vote later this week, so please call or write!]

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House Vote Today to Approve Iran Sanctions Bill Would Restore Bush "Cooties Doctrine"

Today the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote -under "suspension," requiring a supermajority to pass - on a provision which would restore as policy the Cooties Doctrine of the early Bush Administration - U.S. officials can't meet with officials of the adversary du jour, because our officials might get contaminated.

What's remarkable isn't that some people in Washington would want to prohibit U.S. officials from having contact with Iranian officials. After all, some people in Washington want to have a war with Iran as soon as it can be arranged. What's remarkable is the possibility that the majority of Congressional Democrats might vote to approve the "Iran Cooties Provision." Aren't Democrats supposed to be the diplomacy party, not the war party?

The Cooties Provision is Section 601c of H.R. 1905, the so-called "Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011." Here's what the Cooties Provision says:

 

(c) RESTRICTION ON CONTACT.--No person employed with the United States Government may contact in an official or unofficial capacity any person that-- (1) is an agent, instrumentality, or official of, is affiliated with, or is serving as a representative of the Government of Iran; and (2) presents a threat to the United States or is affiliated with terrorist organizations. (d) WAIVER.--The President may waive the requirements of subsection (c) if the President determines and so reports to the appropriate congressional committees 15 days prior to the exercise of waiver authority that failure to exercise such waiver authority would pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the vital national security interests of the United States.

Would it not be totally preposterous to add this provision to the United States Code?

Leaving everything on the table with Iran--except diplomacy

On the House suspension calendar for tomorrow is this year's “Give Iran Hell Via Broad, Indiscriminate Sanctions!” legislation, known formally as HR 1905, the “Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011.” When a bill is placed on suspension, it means that it is being considered “non-controversial,” which this bill sure does seem to be, at least in Congress: 358 Members are currently cosponsors. However, hidden in the depths of this legislation is a provision that ought to be anything but non-controversial: a measure which aims to prohibit any contact between certain US and Iranian officials. I say “ought to be” because many cosponsors don't even know that this provision exists.

Let me give you the backstory. Back in May, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced HR 1905 as the obligatory annual Iran sanctions ramp-up bill. AIPAC then proceeded to make the bill a cornerstone of its 2011 lobbying—and when AIPAC comes knocking, we know that most Members of Congress have a hard time saying “no.” The legislation quickly earned the cosponsorship of over 80% of the House. Then, at the end of October, the bill went into committee markup. As often happens, some things got removed, some got added. One of the things that got added was section 601(c):

JFP 12/9: Gingrich: Palestinians an "invented people"; Israel threatens Gaza water cutoff

Just Foreign Policy News, December 9, 2011
Gingrich: Palestinians an "invented people"; Israel threatens Gaza water cutoff
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I) Actions and Featured Articles

*Action - Tell Congress: Don't Outlaw US Meetings with Iranian Officials
Section 601(c) of HR 1905 - the so-called "Iran Threat Reduction Act" - would prohibit meetings between U.S. officials and Iranian officials deemed a "threat." Ask your Representative to oppose Section 601(c) and HR 1905.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/hr1905

Could GOP Sanctions on Europe Tank the Economy and Elect Romney?
Why are Congressional Democrats - over the objections of the Obama Administration - helping Republicans press sanctions on Europeans who buy oil from Iran - sanctions that would increase unemployment in the U.S. during the 2012 campaign?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/gop-sanctions-europe-economy_b_1137095.html

WSJ Video: Human Rights Group Suing Over CIA Drone Program
Lawsuit could force the US to defend targeting low-level people.
http://online.wsj.com/video/human-rights-group-suing-over-cia-drone-program/897383FC-E9AF-4EB3-8E9D-E40CB01AD2C9.html

Howard Berman: grave concern over role of Honduran security forces in human rights abuses

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JFP Joins FCNL and 24 Other Organizations to Tell Congress: Don't Sabotage Diplomacy with Iran!

Just Foreign Policy joined the Friends Committee on National Legislation and 24 other organizations to call upon members of Congress to oppose a provision in HR 1905, the "Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011," which would make certain contacts between US and Iranian officials illegal. The letter text can be found below. You can find the full text of the bill here. The section in question, 601(c), can be found on page 101 and in full in the letter below.

Friends Committee on National Legislation * Americans for Peace Now * Arms Control Association * Center for Interfaith Engagement, Eastern Mennonite University * Church of the Brethren Council for a Livable World * Fellowship of Reconciliation * Just Foreign Policy * Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness * Mainstream Media Project * Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns * Mennonite Central Committee * Minnesota Peace Project * Middle East Peace Now * National Iranian American Council * New Internationalism Project, Institute for Policy Studies * Peace Action * Peace Action West * Peace Catalyst International * Progressive Democrats of America * Project On Middle East Democracy * Student Peace Alliance * United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society * Women's Action for New Directions 3P Human Security: Partners for Peacebuilding Policy

Prevent War with Iran, Don’t Sabotage Diplomacy: Oppose Sec. 601c of H.R. 1905

December 8, 2011

Dear Representative,

HR 1905 Call-In--Get Instructions and Report Back Here!

This week, the House is expected to vote on a new round of broad, indiscriminate sanctions against Iran. This time, however, there is a special surprise concealed in the bill's depths: a provision which would restrict contact, both official and unofficial, between US government employees and Iranian officials who “present a threat to the United States” or are affiliated with terrorist organizations.

This provision, if enacted, would undermine present and future US efforts to diplomatically resolve outstanding issues not only over Iran's nuclear program but also the conflict in Afghanistan. Worst of all, the bill has 358 cosponsors—and many of them don't even know that they're supporting such a measure.

Your Representative may unwittingly sabotage the possibility of a diplomatic solution with Iran unless they hear from you! Since a vote is expected within the next few days on this matter, if you can call your Representative, please do. Just follow these simple instructions: