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Submitted by Megan Iorio on 23 October 2012 - 10:57am
We got a question on drones last night at the third and final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The mere asking of a direct question on the candidates' drone policies is an advance over the near complete void of talk on the subject so far this election season. The moderator, Face the Nation's Bob Schieffer, deserves some thanks for that. We learned that Romney supports Obama's escalation of the drone program and that he would continue the program. But that's it, because Schieffer only asked Romney his position on drones—and asked nothing of Obama. Here's the transcript:
SCHIEFFER: Let — let me ask you, Governor because we know President Obama’s position on this, what is — what is your position on the use of drones?
ROMNEY: Well I believe we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. And it’s widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes, and I support that and entirely, and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology, and believe that we should continue to use it, to continue to go after the people that represent a threat to this nation and to our friends.
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 21 October 2012 - 3:53pm
Israel Still Holding Gaza-Bound Passengers, Including Parliamentarians; Some Tasered
Video Disproves Israeli Government Claims on Estelle Cargo;
3 Israelis, 18 Internationals Held
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 21 October 2012 - 10:55am
This is a translation of part of a Swedish press report. I am responsible for the translation, in consultation with the Swedish media team of the Estelle.
The Swedish Government and the EU insist that there is a severe humanitarian situation in Gaza and that the border crossings must be opened; this is a position that happens to coincide with the "Ship to Gaza" position. Given that we believe that the blockade should be broken, it would have been reasonable that the boat should have been allowed to proceed, says MFA's press officer Anders Jörle to DN.se.
The Swedish original is here:
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 20 October 2012 - 6:08am
Israel attacks Gaza-bound boat in International Waters, Defying International Law
Kidnaps Parliamentarians and activists
For immediate release
contact: US Boat to Gaza, Robert Naiman, 217-979-2857; email@example.com
Jane Hirschmann, 845 246 6494; firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, October 20, 10AM EDT -
Shortly after 4:00AM EDT, when the Gaza-bound Estelle was in international waters about 30 nautical miles from Gaza, Israeli warships surrounded the Estelle and forcibly boarded and took command of the ship and took its 30 passengers into custody.
PRESS RELEASE FROM BOAT TO GAZA: Imminent Israeli Threat to Seize Gaza-Bound Boat in International Waters
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 19 October 2012 - 8:20pm
For immediate release
Canadian Boat to Gaza:
Ehab Lotayef: 514-941-9792
David Heap (in Gaza, with Noam Chomsky) +972 59 289 3106
Imminent Israeli Threat to Seize Gaza-Bound Boat in International Waters;
Estelle 120 Nautical Miles Outside of Gaza
Combat Veteran Yonatan Shapira on Board, former Crew Member on U.S. Boat to Gaza,
Reachable by Phone on Boat
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 19 October 2012 - 3:51pm
At this writing, Friday 4pm ET, the Estelle is 120 nautical miles from Gaza. Israeli authorities have threatened to seize the boat in international waters and take it and its passengers to the Israeli port of Ashdod. Here are two pictures of the passengers on the boat, including Israeli combat veteran Yonatan Shapira. Shapira is a US national.
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 19 October 2012 - 11:36am
During the last two presidential debates, the foreign policy discussion—what little there has been—has largely centered around the murder of four members of the US embassy staff in Benghazi. But while these four deaths were certainly grievous, the killing of hundreds of civilians in Pakistan from US drone strikes has so far been ignored—and that's outrageous.
But we may be able to change that. Next Monday, October 22, President Obama and Mitt Romney will face off in the final debate before election day—and the entire debate will be dedicated to foreign policy issues. Drones deserve a place in the discussion.
In the last four years, the use of unmanned drones to engage in so-called “targeted killing” has escalated dramatically. In Pakistan alone, US drone strikes have increased five fold during the Obama administration. Drone campaigns have also expanded in other countries, such as Yemen and Somalia, and recent reports suggest that the administration is considering further expanding the CIA drone fleet and using drones to hunt down the terrorists involved in last month's Benghazi attack.
Yet, the Obama administration has failed to engage substantively on the morality, efficacy, and accuracy of US drone strikes.
Video: Robert Naiman delivers your petition to US embassy, challenges charge d'affaires on drone strike policy
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 5 October 2012 - 1:01pm
The petition against US drone strikes in Pakistan has been delivered! On Wednesday, a delegation of peace activists organized by CodePink, including our Policy Director, Robert Naiman, met with the charge d'affaires of the US embassy in Pakistan, Richard Hoagland. During the meeting, Robert presented Hoagland with the 3,000 signature petition, as well as a letter signed by twenty-six prominent Americans, including Alice Walker, Naomi Wolf, and Noam Chomsky. The letter and petition delivery earned reports by The Independent, The Express Tribune, Asian News International (ANI), and others.
But that's not all. When Hoagland took questions from the delegation, Robert challenged him to respond to reports that CIA drone strikes in Pakistan have targeted civilian rescuers, an action which international law experts say constitutes a war crime under international humanitarian law. Hoagland disputed the allegations. When pressed to follow-up on recent reports indicating that civilian rescuers have been targeted, Hoagland agreed that that would be a good idea, though he did not commit the Embassy to any specific action. You can read more about the exchange in Robert's article at the Huffington Post.
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 2 October 2012 - 10:16pm
You can speak out against US drone strikes by signing our petition.
To: U.S. and Pakistani officials who have influence over the U.S. policy of conducting drone strikes in Pakistan
From: Citizens of the United States
We urge you to do everything in your power to end U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan; to bring the drone strike policy into compliance with international and U.S. law; to permanently end all "signature strikes" against unknown persons; to permanently end "secondary strikes," particularly those that target and endanger civilian rescuers, in grave violation of international law; to address questions about civilian casualties from drone strikes publicly and in detail; and to compensate civilian drone strike victims and their families.
US drone strikes in Pakistan have killed and harmed too many civilians. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has reported 474 to 884 civilian deaths caused by US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, including 176 children.  Moreover, as a recent study from researchers at NYU and Stanford law schools notes, "US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury," as civilians live in a state of constant fear, since drones could strike at any time.  Families are afraid to attend weddings or funerals, because US drone operators might strike them. 
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 1 October 2012 - 8:46pm
Just Foreign Policy News, October 1, 2012
2000 dead; JFP News ed. in Pakistan; Obama, US military 1 hand on no Iran war
JFP News hiatus
The editor of the JFP News is in Pakistan, joining the US peace delegation in opposition to the US drone strike policy. As a result, the JFP News will be mostly or entirely on hiatus until October 15. You can follow the editor on Twitter at @naiman. You can follow updates from JFP on Twitter at @justfp. You can follow other news on the delegation on Twitter at #stopdrones or at droneswatch.org.
*Action: Sign our petition against the drone strike policy in Pakistan
JFP will hand-deliver it to the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan on Wednesday.
Why I'm Going to Pakistan: Under Scrutiny, the Drone Strike Policy Will Fall
When Americans found out what the war in Afghanistan was, they turned against it. When Americans find out what the drone strike policy in Pakistan is, they will turn against that too.
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