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The Year AIPAC Lost—A Lot

For the last few weeks, we've been presenting some of the success stories of 2013. Today, we want to do something a bit different. Let's talk about some of this year's losses—AIPAC's losses, that is.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee—known popularly by its acronym, AIPAC—has acquired a reputation as an organization that pretty much always gets what it wants. When it somehow doesn't—like in 2008 when our coalition got its Iran blockade bill shelved—it's a really big deal. So one of the most surprising—and exciting—things about 2013 was the sheer amount of times AIPAC failed to achieve its goal.

Let's go back to the beginning of the year. President Obama wanted Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary. AIPAC didn't, and launched a major campaign against him. JFP, along with our coalition partners, pushed back. We won; AIPAC lost.

AIPAC sent 300 lobbyists to the Hill to push for US military strikes on Syria. We succeeded in delaying a decision long enough for a diplomatic deal to be reached. We won; AIPAC lost.

AIPAC did not want a rapprochement between the US and Iran in the wake of Hassan Rouhani's election. We encouraged diplomacy. 131 Members of Congress backed a reinvigorated effort to engage Iran. The Obama administration ended 30 years of silence by engaging in high-level talks that brought about an interim deal. We won; AIPAC lost.

AIPAC and its friends in Congress have been trying to nuke the Iran deal by pressuring Congress to pass new sanctions and other incendiary legislation. But Congress just ended its last session of the year—and no legislation passed. On top of that, we got Sen. Elizabeth Warren to back the interim deal during a Senate Banking Committee hearing. We won (twice!); AIPAC lost.

Victory! Sen. Warren Backs Interim Iran Deal (Video)

At a Senate Banking Committee hearing on December 12, Sen. Warren backed the interim Iran deal between the P5+1 and Iran.

Thank you, Sen. Warren, and thank you to the over 14,000 JFP supporters who signed the petition!

Watch the clip here.

Here's a transcript:

Senator Warren: (To Chairman Johnson) Thank you Mr. Chairman; (to Ms. Sherman and Mr. Cohen) thank you for being here.

WikiLeaks and FreeTPP

Last year, Just Foreign Policy started a campaign, called FreeTPP (http://freetpp.org), to crowdsource a reward for WikiLeaks should it find a way to leak the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. Over $30,000 in pledges came in in the first month alone. Over the following year, the campaign won numerous mentions from the media, including Moyers & Company and the Guardian, and made the front page of Reddit not once but twice.

By the time WikiLeaks released its first set of TPP documents—the full text of the most controversial chapter of the agreement, the intellectual property chapter, along with the negotiating positions of all parties—the award had shot up to nearly $75,000. With universal access to the draft text, those who opposed the TPP were better able to make their case to the public. We urged pledgers to follow through on their promise and donate to WikiLeaks.

But WikiLeaks was not done. Earlier this week, the whistleblower organization released a second set of documents detailing the positions of the twelve TPP countries on all thirteen of the draft agreement's chapters. The documents describe the pressure the US is exerting on other nations—and how close the negotiations are to failing.

There are many more transparency fights ahead of us. We plan to take some of them on in the new year. So if you like what we're doing, help support us.

We need to raise $25,000 by the end of December. Will you help us expand our work to make US foreign policy more transparent by making a tax-deductible contribution of $10 (or more!) to Just Foreign Policy?

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

Thank you for all you do to make US foreign policy more transparent,

Megan Iorio, Chelsea Mozen and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

We stopped one war. We can stop another

This month, we're recounting the success stories of 2013. Last week, it was getting the US to talk to Iran. Today's win: preventing war with Syria.

Back in August when President Obama announced his intention to bomb Syria, Just Foreign Policy was the first progressive organization to say that the President should go to Congress to seek authorization. We mobilized the grassroots to urge their reps in Congress to demand that Obama come to them for approval. We then urged Congressional Democrats to sign Virginia Republican Scott Rigell's letter demanding the President come to Congress. We also worked with Rep. Barbara Lee's office to get a similar letter going for Democrats.

As a result of these efforts, 192 Members of the House went on record demanding that Obama come to Congress. The next day, President Obama announced that he would go to Congress for authorization.

The fight that resulted in Congress—and the resistance to another war that erupted on the streets across the US—delayed military action long enough for a diplomatic solution to present itself.

Just Foreign Policy was a first responder in the Syria fight. Because we're small, we can move quickly. And as we've proven, that comes in handy.

We need to raise $25,000 by the end of December. Help keep us in the game by making a tax-deductible contribution of $10 (or more!) to Just Foreign Policy today.

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

Thank you for all you do to help prevent another US war,

Megan Iorio, Chelsea Mozen and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

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.

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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.