Blog

Tell Congress TODAY: Don’t Help AIPAC Blow Up Iran Diplomacy

For seven years, we’ve been urging that the U.S. government resolve its differences with Iran through diplomacy. Now that the Obama Administration is finally making progress some in Congress are trying to blow up the peace train.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is planning to ignore the Administration's request, and–with the assistance of AIPAC, which is going to be on the Hill this week—to introduce a bill that would mandate new sanctions and try to tie the hands of U.S. negotiators by demanding that a final deal stipulate that Iran not be able to enrich any uranium at all–Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand, which everyone knows cannot be achieved through diplomacy.

Call your Representative NOW at 1-855-686-6927 and say:

I urge you to oppose Rep. Cantor’s legislation that would undermine diplomacy by imposing new sanctions and tying the hands of U.S. negotiators from reaching a realistic deal with Iran.

You can report your call below.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

2013: The Year of the Citizen Activist

If we had to sum up 2013, it would be the year that proved that we ordinary citizens can impact US foreign policy. In fact, we've had so many successes this year that we decided we couldn't possibly do them justice in one email, so we're spreading the stories throughout the month, making this end-of-year campaign one of true reflection and rejoicing.

We start today with our most recent success, but our oldest campaign.

Just Foreign Policy was founded in 2006 amidst US threats to go to war with Iran. We called for diplomacy, not war, and pushed for the US to take positive steps toward talks that would bring about a comprehensive agreement.

President Obama's election in 2008 brought with it a promise to pursue diplomacy. During his first term, that pursuit was stilted and insufficient, so we continued to push. Finally, this year, President Obama did what no other US president has done in over 30 years: he talked to Iran. And now, we have an interim agreement that lays the groundwork for a comprehensive deal.

President Obama once said to activists, “my job is to govern; yours is to push me.” Over the years, Just Foreign Policy supporters have sent tens of thousands of emails to Congress and the White House supporting diplomacy. You've written thousands more emails to major news outlets telling them to report the truth about Iran. Our collective push for diplomacy is what enabled reason to triumph over the strife promoted by AIPAC and its ilk.

Next year will be a critical year. Peace is within reach—and we have the power to bring it about. Help us raise $25,000 by the end of the month by making a $10 tax-deductible #GivingTuesday contribution.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

If you would like to send a check instead, here's our address:

Just Foreign Policy
4410 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, #290
Washington, DC 20016

And if you haven't already, tell Hillary to publicly support the interim deal with Iran.

Does Hillary's Silence on Iran Deal Show Neocon Pull on Her Presidential Run?

People have noticed the silence of former Secretary of State and widely presumed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. Where does she stand? How long can she dodge? And how long can former President Bill Clinton dodge?

It's not like the Clintons have gone into seclusion on public affairs in general or U.S. foreign policy in particular.

WikiLeaks and the Drone Strike Transparency Bill

by Robert Naiman

The Senate Intelligence Committee recently took an important step by passing an intelligence authorization which would require for the first time - if it became law - that the Administration publicly report on civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes.

Sarah Knuckey, Director of the Project on Extrajudicial Executions at New York University School of Law and a Special Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, calls this provision "an important step toward improving transparency," and notes that "Various U.N. officials, foreign governments, a broad range of civil society, and many others, including former U.S. Department of State Legal Advisor Harold Koh ... have called for the publication of such basic information."

This provision could be offered as an amendment in the Senate to the National Defense Authorization Act. It could be offered in the House as an amendment on the intelligence authorization, or as a freestanding bill. But it's not likely to become law unless there's some public agitation for it (you can participate in the public agitation here.)

Press Release: JFP Hails WikiLeaks TPP Leak, Urges Donors to Fulfill Reward Pledges

For Immediate Release
November 13, 2013

Media Contacts:
Robert Naiman, 217-979-2957, naiman@justforeignpolicy.org
Megan Iorio, 908-400-9480, iorio@justforeignpolicy.org

JFP Hails WikiLeaks TPP Leak, Urges Donors to Fulfill Reward Pledges

WikiLeaks Sparking Debate Not Possible While Agreement Secret;
Events Show Anti-Democratic Government Policy Secrecy Not Limited to “National Security”

WASHINGTON, DC, Nov 13—Today, WikiLeaks published the text of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement intellectual property chapter. This is generating headlines around the world as the controversial provisions of this proposed agreement are revealed to public opinion, helping groups that have been campaigning against the TPP make their case to the media and the public. ...

Full release at http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/pressreleases/tpp-leak

Drone Strike Transparency Provision of the Senate Intelligence Authorization

Below is the text of the drone strike transparency provision of the Senate intelligence authorization. [You can urge Congress and the President to support this provision here. The full bill is here.]

SEC. 312. UNCLASSIFIED ANNUAL REPORT ON THE USE OF TARGETED LETHAL FORCE OUTSIDE THEUNITED STATES.

(a) REQUIREMENT FOR ANNUAL REPORT.—For each year, the President shall prepare and make public an annual report that sets forth the following:

(1) The total number of combatants killed or injured during the preceding year by the use of targeted lethal force outside the United States by remotely piloted aircraft.

Keep America at Peace: Keep the Pentagon Sequester

Folks who think that (at the very least) we should be allowed to experience a few years of peace before launching the next military adventure are on the cusp of a major victory in Washington. All we have to do to win this historic victory is maintain the "sequester" cuts to the Pentagon budget that are already planned in existing law. And if we win the next round -- if we avoid any kind of "grand bargain" one more time -- we will likely win forever, because the Pentagon cuts will be an accomplished fact, and when everyone sees that the Earth is still spinning on its axis, we'll all realize that cutting the Pentagon budget is no big deal. The Pentagon will be smaller, the sun will come up in the morning, and life will go on.

Keep U.S. Troops in Afghanistan? Let Congress Vote!

In mid-November, the Christian Science Monitor reports, a loya jirga in Afghanistan - a national meeting of tribal leaders and other notable Afghans - will vote on whether to meet the Obama administration's terms for keeping U.S. troops in the country beyond the end of 2014.

If you care about democracy in Afghanistan, you should be happy for the Afghans. Whether or not - and if so, under what conditions - they want to have thousands of U.S. troops in their country after 2014 is obviously a very big deal for them. Why shouldn't they have full deliberation and debate?

But if you also care about democracy in the United States, you should be a bit troubled. Because Congress has never approved keeping thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the end of 2014.

The closest Congress has come to considering this question is in language passed by the House in June, 2013. Offered by Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, this language - which passed the House 305-121, with a majority of both Democrats and Republicans voting yes- said [my emphasis]:

Prepare yourself for a fright!

Forget the scary costumes and gory Hollywood movies. If you're looking for a true fright this Halloween, just take a look at the video of a panel discussion that took place at New York's Yeshiva University last week in which Sheldon Adelson, a major donor for numerous organizations and political candidates who promote strife, called for the US to nuke Iran—and the audience applauded!

For years, Adelson and his ideological kin have been using examples of Iranian rhetoric—often exaggerated and sometimes even fabricated—as an excuse for opposing any US-Iran rapprochement. Yet, in a disturbing attempt to evade responsibility, Adelson's spokesman insisted that his boss's comments shouldn't be viewed in the same light as those coming from Iran because he was obviously “using hyperbole to make a point that … actions speak louder than words.”

Yes, Mr. Adelson, actions do speak louder than words. Just as the US and Iran embark on the most promising talks in years, Adelson's cheering section on the Hill is brewing up some major sabotage, with the Senate threatening to pass further sanctions, and the House considering an authorization for the use of military force.

Isn't it scary that US and Iranian negotiators could be on their way to an agreement and Congress could just flip a switch and potentially blow the whole deal? We think so. That's why we've been working to give Obama the political space to pursue diplomacy.

NYT Public Editor responds to our petition on budget reporting

Earlier this week, we initiated a petition at MoveOn to Margaret Sullivan, Public Editor of the New York Times, urging that the Times put budget numbers in context.

.@nytimes, @Sulliview: Put Budget Numbers in Context
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/nytimes-sulliview-put?source=c.url&r_by...

Margaret Sullivan has responded. You can read her response here:

The Times Is Working on Ways to Make Numbers-Based Stories Clearer for Readers
http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/the-times-is-working-on...