December 2011

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

On November 28, Representative Howard Berman, the ranking member on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, sent a letter to Secretary of State Clinton expressing "grave concern" over the role of Honduran security forces in human rights abuses.

The letter goes into detail regarding the involvement of Honduran security forces in killings, torture and other crimes and states that it is necessary "to evaluate immediately United States assistance to ensure that we are not, in fact, feeding the beast."

The letter is here.

EFE reported about the letter on December 8 here (Spanish.) 

JFP 12/8: Kirk Sanctions Threaten Economy; Gingrich Pledges to Appoint Bolton

Just Foreign Policy News, December 8, 2011
Kirk Sanctions Threaten Economy; Gingrich Pledges to Appoint Bolton

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Could GOP Sanctions on Europe Tank the Economy and Elect Romney?

Remember, "It's the Economy, Stupid?" So how come Democrats in Congress - over the objections of the Obama Administration - are helping Republicans press sanctions on Europeans who buy oil from Iran - sanctions that would increase unemployment in the U.S. during the 2012 campaign?

 

The National Defense Authorization Act now contains a Senate amendment by Republican Senator Mark Kirk - supported by many Democrats in Congress - that would sanction European banks and companies that do business with Iran's Central Bank, in order to stop Europeans from buying Iranian oil. This is a big deal, because Iran is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, and blocking Iranian oil exports to Europe would raise the price of oil, in Europe and in the United States.

 

Kirk's amendment would hurt the U.S. economy, at a time when economic contraction in Europe could push the U.S. back into recession.

 

Is fear of the economic blowback of the sanctions on Europe that Kirk wants to impose justified? Many Europeans seem to think so.

 

On Tuesday, Reuters reported:

 

 

The European Union is becoming skeptical about slapping sanctions on imports of Iranian oil, diplomats and traders say, as awareness grows that the embargo could damage its own economy without doing much to undercut to Iran's oil revenues.

[...]
"Maybe the aim of sanctions is to help Italy, Spain and Greece to collapse and make the EU a smaller club," one trader joked.

 

The remark reflects the growing unease that EU sanctions would hit hardest some of the continent's weakest economies, because Iranian oil provides the highest share of their needs, not to mention the rest of the bloc.

 

JFP 12/7: Conyers, Paul press for Merkley drawdown provision in NDAA

Just Foreign Policy News, December 7, 2011
Conyers, Paul press for Merkley drawdown provision in NDAA

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Conyers, Paul Press NDAA Conferees to Accept Accelerated Drawdown
Reps. John Conyers, Ron Paul, Jim McGovern, Walter Jones, and Barbara Lee sent a letter to the House-Senate NDAA conferees urging them to accept the Senate Merkley language pressing for an accelerated drawdown from Afghanistan.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/1094

Barbara Lee Urges Obama to Expedite Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) were joined by 40 Members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to speed up the return of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
http://lee.house.gov/press-releases/congresswoman-barbara-lee-urges-president-obama-to-expedite-troop-withdrawal-from-afghanistan/

* Update: Washington Post Fixes Headline That Claimed Iran Has a Nuclear Weapons Program
Nearly a thousand people responded to our alert asking people to contact the Washington Post Ombudsman to complain about a Washington Post headline that claimed as fact that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. You can see the original screen capture on our alert:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/wapofactcheck

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Conyers, Paul Press NDAA Conferees to Accept Accelerated Drawdown

Reps. John Conyers, Ron Paul, Jim McGovern, Walter Jones, and Barbara Lee sent a letter to the NDAA conferees pressing them to accept the Senate Merkley language pressing for an accelerated drawdown from Afghanistan.

The letter is here.

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Victory! WaPo Fixes Headline Claiming Iran Has Nuclear Weapons Program

Before and After: Washington Post Photo Gallery Headline

JFP 12/6: WaPo fixes headline claiming Iran has nuclear weapons program

Just Foreign Policy News, December 6, 2011
Washington Post Fixes Headline That Claimed Iran Has a Nuclear Weapons Program

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* Update: Washington Post Fixes Headline That Claimed Iran Has a Nuclear Weapons Program
Nearly a thousand people responded to our alert asking people to contact the Washington Post Ombudsman to complain about a Washington Post headline that claimed as fact that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. You can see the original screen capture on our alert:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/wapofactcheck
The Washington Post Ombudsman investigated our complaint, and the headline has been fixed. It now says, "Iran's quest to possess nuclear technology." Thanks to everyone who took action! You can see the new headline here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/irans-quest-to-possess-nuclear-weapons/2011/11/07/gIQAEZaZvM_gallery.html

Dominic Tierney: Prepare for War: The Insane Plan to Outlaw Diplomacy with Iran
Writing in the Atlantic, Dominic Tierney takes aim at a provision of the the Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011 that would restrict the ability of U.S. diplomats to meet with their Iranian counterparts.

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The Media's IAEA Logic Fail

JFP 12/5: Neocons concede it's not about Iran's nuclear program

Just Foreign Policy News, December 5, 2011
Neocons concede it's not about Iran's nuclear program


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* Update: WaPo Ombud Investigating Iran "Quest for Nuclear Weapons" Claim
A key way that US media helped railroad the nation into war with Iraq in 2002-3 was by treating as "fact" key allegations about Iraq's alleged WMD program which had not been proven - and which turned out to be false. Now the Washington Post is treating the unproven allegation that Iran has a nuclear weapons program as if it were a known fact.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/wapofactcheck
Update: The Washington Post Ombudsman called and said he is looking into our complaint. Thanks to everyone who took action! We'll let you know in this space of any result.

Countdown to Drawdown
There are 97,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. When will it be zero?
http://www.countdowntodrawdown.org/counter.php

War-Weary Republicans Rebuke Romney On Afghanistan
On Wednesday night, the Senate adopted by voice vote an amendment calling on President Obama to speed up U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. The vote is a green light from the Senate to the White House for a faster military withdrawal that would save many American and Afghan lives and (at least) many tens of billions of taxpayer dollars.

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JFP 12/2: Senate Rebukes Romney on Afghanistan; Marc Ellis Facing "Starr Chamber" at Baylor

Just Foreign Policy News, December 2, 2011
Senate Rebukes Romney on Afghanistan; Marc Ellis Facing "Starr Chamber" at Baylor

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I) Actions and Featured Articles

*Action: Urge WaPo Ombud to "Factcheck" Iran "Quest for Nuclear Weapons" Claim
A key way that US media helped railroad the nation into war with Iraq in 2002-3 was by treating as "fact" key allegations about Iraq's alleged WMD program which had not been proven - and which turned out to be false. Now the Washington Post is treating the unproven allegation that Iran has a nuclear weapons program as if it were a known fact. Urge the Washington Post Ombudsman to investigate.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/wapofactcheck

War-Weary Republicans Rebuke Romney On Afghanistan
On Wednesday night, the Senate adopted by voice vote an amendment introduced by Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley calling on President Obama to speed up U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. This was a watershed event towards ending the war. The previous high water mark of Senators calling for expedited withdrawal was 27; the previous high water mark on a vote was 18. The vote is a green light from the Senate to the White House for a faster military withdrawal that would save many American and Afghan lives and (at least) many tens of billions of taxpayer dollars.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/romney-afghanistan_b_1123711.html

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