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Submitted by Robert Naiman on 2 December 2013 - 3:17pm
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.
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 15 November 2013 - 2:38pm
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.)
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 7 November 2013 - 12:38pm
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 3 November 2013 - 3:17pm
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]:
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 18 October 2013 - 6:38pm
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
Margaret Sullivan has responded. You can read her response here:
The Times Is Working on Ways to Make Numbers-Based Stories Clearer for Readers
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 30 September 2013 - 7:10pm
We have just a week left to help Burlington, Vermont kill the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the biggest taxpayer ripoff in human history. On Monday, October 7, the Burlington City Council will vote on a binding resolution that would block F-35 warplanes from being based at Burlington International Airport, which is owned by the city.
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 20 September 2013 - 8:36pm
I've forgotten most of the Arabic I once knew. All I can remember now are a few colorful phrases, like "aktar maliki min il malik" - more royalist than the King.
Suppose that you decided that you wanted to scaremonger Iran's nuclear program. An obvious question presents itself: exactly how much should you scaremonger it? Suppose that you decided you wanted to run even with the world's top-drawer Iran nuclear program scaremongers. You might reasonably think to yourself, well, surely the world's preeminent Iran nuclear program scaremongers are Israeli government officials. If I scaremonger Iran's nuclear program like Israeli government officials, no-one's going to accuse me of being an Iran nuclear program scaremonger patzer.
So, you check the press reports to catch up on the latest in Israeli government Iran nuclear program scaremongering:
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 19 September 2013 - 6:47pm
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 16 September 2013 - 2:36am
The Washington Post is at it again. A Sunday article entitled "Kerry tells Israel that Syria accord is no prelude to Iran deal" contained the following gem:
Israel’s security establishment fears that a failure to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons could encourage Tehran, Syria’s ally, to continue to enrich uranium for a bomb.
Saying that something could encourage Iran "to continue to enrich uranium for a bomb" implies that Iran is currently enriching uranium with the purpose of using it for a nuclear bomb. There is, of course, no evidence that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon or that it is diverting uranium from its civil program, which is under IAEA inspection. In fact, both Israeli and US intelligence agree that Iran has not made a decision to pursue nuclear weapons. Since there is no evidence that the aim of any Iranian enrichment is "for a bomb," this passage in the Post is misleading.
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 10 September 2013 - 10:06am
When the news broke that President Obama wanted to launch military strikes in Syria, I was sitting in a hotel in Jerusalem nearing the end of a fact-finding mission examining the situation on the ground in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What I had recently witnessed was the failure of the US to uphold not only international law but its own stated policy as Israel effectively colonized East Jerusalem and vast swathes of the West Bank, encircling Palestinian cantons in a sea of Israeli-only settlements, roads, state lands, and military zones.
Even the initiation of the US-brokered peace process seems to have had little impact on the Israeli calculus. I arrived in the country the same week as Martin Indyk, the US envoy for the talks. In the days immediately preceding my arrival, and in the three weeks I spent in the country, the Israeli government announced the construction of over 4,400 new settlement units. In the same period of time, 11 Palestinian families were made homeless through house demolitions. Under present circumstances, a contiguous Palestinian state seems like an impossible dream.