Documents

#StandWithKeith: Barbara Lee calls for ending Gaza blockade in ceasefire agreement

From the statement she sent on August 6th to KPFA:

“I have called and will continue to call for a sustained cease fire to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis, end the blockade of Gaza, and stop the loss of civilian lives.”

http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/105382 (at 10:27 mark.)

Here's what she said, with Ellison, in 2010:

Black Caucus members want Gaza blockade lifted in light of flotilla incident

 

Bipartisan Rigell-Lee letter to Pres. Obama on Iraq: respect Constitution on using force

Virginia Republican Scott Rigell and California Democrat Barbara Lee are leading a bipartisan letter to President Obama, urging the President to respect the Constitutional requirement to seek Congressional authorization before using military force in Iraq.

To urge your Representative to sign the bipartisan Rigell-Lee letter, sign our petition at MoveOn.

Here is the letter:

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Dear Mr. President:

We join you and with those in the international community who are expressing grave concern over the rise in sectarian violence in Iraq over the last days and weeks. The consequences of this development are particularly troubling given the extraordinary loss of American lives and expenditure of funds over ten years that was claimed to be necessary to bring democracy, stability and a respect for human rights to Iraq. 

We support your restraint to date in resisting the calls for a “quick” and “easy” military intervention, and for your commitment not to send combat troops back to Iraq. We also appreciate your acknowledgement that this conflict requires a political solution, and that military action alone cannot successfully lead to a resolution.

We do not believe intervention could be either quick or easy. And, we doubt it would be effective in meeting either humanitarian or strategic goals, and that it could very well be counter-productive. This is a moment for urgent consultations and engagement with all parties in the region who could bring about a cease fire and launch a dialogue that could lead to a reconciliation of the conflict.

Any solution to this complex crisis can only be achieved through a political settlement, and nothing short of that can successfully bring stability to Iraq or the region and only  if the process and outcome is inclusive of all segments of the Iraqi population.

JFP Statement: House bars transfer of MANPADS to Syria

June 20, 2014
10:30 AM
CONTACT: Just Foreign Policy
Robert Naiman: (202) 448-2898 x1Naiman@justforeignpolicy.org

Statement of Robert Naiman, Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy, on House passage of Conyers-Yoho amendment to prohibit transfer of MANPADS to Syria

19 Reps. led by Peter Welch urge Obama to reject transferring manpads to Syrian insurgents

On June 5, 19 Representatives led by Peter Welch of Vermont sent a bipartisan letter to President Obama, urging him to resist pressure to transfer manpads - shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, that can be used to shoot down civilian aircraft - to Syrian insurgents.

This letter was supported by the Friends Committee on National Legislation, United for Peace and Justice, and Just Foreign Policy.

The signers were:

Peter Welch (D)
Walter Jones (R)
Mick Mulvaney (R)
Rick Nolan (D)
Jim McGovern (D)
John Campbell (R)
Alan Grayson (D)
Mark Pocan (D)
Paul Broun (R)
Peter DeFazio (D)
John Garamendi (D)
Hank Johnson (D)
Eni Faleomavaega (D)
Steve Cohen (D)
Ted Yoho (R)
John Conyers (D)
Michael Capuano (D)
Danny Davis (D)
John Lewis (D)

Letter on Drone Strike Transparency: Senator Paul: We Stand With You for the Rule of Law

May 20, 2014

Senator Paul: We Stand With You for the Rule of Law

Dear Senator Paul,

The undersigned groups stand with you in objecting to cloture on the nomination of David J. Barron to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. We share your concerns regarding Barron’s authorship of secret memos purporting to give legal justification for drone strikes against U.S. citizens and others outside of a legal armed conflict or imminent threat to the United States. We agree that before the Senate votes on Barron’s nomination, the Administration should share all of these memos with the Senate and the public, implementing the letter and spirit of the decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in its April 21 ruling.

As the American Civil Liberties Union noted in its statement on May 16 on the filing of the cloture petition: 

“No senator can meaningfully carry out his or her constitutional obligation of providing ‘advice and consent’ on the nomination without reading all of Mr. Barron’s opinions on the drone program. The White House has continued to play hide the ball by not providing all of the opinions written or signed by Mr. Barron on targeted killing, regardless of citizenship. The memos raise fundamental due process and rule of law issues, and no senator should agree to vote on the nomination without first getting each and every one of his memos on targeted killing.”

As you wrote in your New York Times op-ed on May 11,

Maryland: Bill Defunding Universities With Ties To Israel Boycotters Dies In Committee

Maryland:
Bill Defunding Universities With Ties To Israel Boycotters Dies In Committee
Watered Down Condemnation Appears In Maryland State Budget Bill
  

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Statement from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on US anti-BDS legislation

[This statement is now posted on the website of the Maryland coalition, "Keep Free Speech in the Free State." A direct link is here. A press release is here.]

Statement from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on 2 April 2014

US EFFORTS TO CURB FREEDOM OF SPEECH ON ISRAEL AND PALESTINE, OF GRAVE CONCERN

I am writing today to express grave concern about a wave of legislative measures in the United States aimed at punishing and intimidating those who speak their conscience and challenge the human rights violations endured by the Palestinian people. In legislatures in Maryland, New York, Illinois, Florida, and even the United States Congress, bills have been proposed that would either bar funding to academic associations or seek to malign those who have taken a stand against the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.

These legislative efforts are in response to a growing international initiative, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, of which I have long been a supporter. The BDS movement emanates from a call for justice put out by the Palestinian people themselves. It is a Palestinian-led, international non-violent movement that seeks to force the Israeli government to comply with international law in respect to its treatment of the Palestinian people.

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Illinois ACLU statement against SJR 59, Illinois anti-boycott resolution

The following statement was issued by the Illinois ACLU against SJR 59, State Sen. Silverstein's resolution condemning academic boycotts.

Update: the statement is now posted on the Illinois ACLU website here.

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To: Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Re: Senate Joint Resolution 59
Date: 3/25/14

The ACLU of Illinois opposes Senate Joint Resolution 59, a resolution that calls upon all Illinois college and university presidents to publicly condemn academic boycotts.

A boycott is an important and powerful form of protected expressive association protected by the First Amendment. Speech and nonviolent picketing in support of a boycott encompasses the practice of people sharing common views banding together to achieve a common end, a practice deeply embedded in the American political process. By this collective effort, individuals can make their views known when, individually, their voices would be faint or lost. In emphasizing the importance of the freedom of association in guaranteeing the right of people to make their voices heard on public issues, the U.S. Supreme Court has noted that effective advocacy of both public and private points of view, particularly controversial ones, is undeniably enhanced by group association, NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886 (1982).

There is no basis in law or policy to exempt academic institutions from boycotts. Would Illinois support a resolution guarding Bob Jones University from a boycott when, in the 1970’s because of its interpretation of Biblical principles regarding interracial dating, Bob Jones University completely excluded black applicants? We expect not.

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CPC CO-CHAIRS CALL FOR CONSTRUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT ON DRONES: HUMAN RIGHTS MUST BE A PRIORITY

The following is a press release from the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2014
Press Contacts:
Adam Sarvana (Grijalva) – (202) 225-2435
Mike Casca (Ellison) – (202) 225-4755

CPC CO-CHAIRS CALL FOR CONSTRUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT ON DRONES: HUMAN RIGHTS MUST BE A PRIORITY

WASHINGTON — Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) released the following statement after a vote by the United Nations Human Rights Council on the use of drones:

“Today’s vote at the United Nations reinforces the need for greater oversight of the U.S. drone program. Instead of working closely with the international community to help strengthen current international standards on the use of drones, the U.S. government decided to boycott a discussion of the draft resolution. We are troubled by the ease with which dialogue and diplomacy—values at the center of the president’s foreign policy—were cast aside in this debate.

“Our national security would be stronger with international standards regarding the use of drones. No country has a monopoly on armed drone technology. As of 2011, 76 nations had drone technology of some kind. It is clearly in our interest to help establish the norms and rules that will govern the use of drones by all nations in the future.

“Similarly, it’s important to ensure that the American people and our allies understand the legal justification and on-the-ground impact of our drone policy. The current lack of transparency harms our relationships with other countries and erodes our ability to collaborate on key global security issues.

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.