Documents

Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Tom Hayden Urge President Correa to Grant Snowden Asylum

To add your support for this letter, click here.

A Spanish translation of this letter is here. Another Spanish version is posted at SOAWatch, here; and there is also one at Aporrea here. A French version is at Mémoire des luttes, here.

Dear President Correa,

We write to urge you to grant political asylum to whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Snowden’s disclosures have already done much to unveil the alarming scale of U.S. government spying on its own citizens and on people around the world. They have revealed severe overreach by the U.S.’ National Security Agency (NSA), which seeks to gather an overwhelming and invasive amount of information on people within the United States. Snowden has also revealed that the constant NSA surveillance also applies to millions of people outside the U.S., whose phone calls, emails and other communications are also indiscriminately targeted.

AIPAC's "Backdoor to War" bill endorses Israeli attack on Iran

Senator Lindsey Graham is introducing a bill that would endorse an Israeli military attack on Iran.

JTA reports that winning Congressional support for this bill will be a focus of AIPAC's upcoming policy conference.

The JTA article is here.

The Lindsey Graham bill is here.

Transcript: Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense

(Morning Session)

SENATOR CARL LEVIN (D-MI): All right. Alrighty. Here we go. Y'all -- are y'all set?

Sen. LEVIN: (Sounds gavel.) Good morning, everybody.

The committee meets today to consider the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense.

But before we begin, I want to first welcome Senator Inhofe as the new ranking Republican on our committee, succeeding Senator McCain. Senator McCain has been a great partner over the last six years, and I thank him for all that he has done to get our bills enacted, for all of his leadership on a host of issues, for his support of the work of this committee and for always keeping our hearings lively. Senator Inhofe has shown his strong commitment to the national defense over his 20 years on this committee over his 20 years on this committee, and I know that we're going to work well together to continue the bipartisan tradition of the committee.

We're also pleased to welcome the eight senators who are joining the committee this year, both those who are new to the Senate and those who are new to our committee: Senators Donnelly, Hirono, Kaine and King on the Democratic side and Senators Blunt, Cruz, Fischer and Lee on the Republican side. You will all find that this is a wonderful committee where we work across party lines to support our troops and their families and their national defense mission.

I'd also like to pause for a moment to offer my thanks and the thanks of our committee to Secretary Panetta, who delayed his retirement and his return to California to serve our country first as director of central intelligence and then as secretary of defense. Secretary Panetta has provided a steady hand at the Department of Defense through two very difficult years and has earned our great respect and our appreciation.

Israel Still Holding Gaza-Bound Passengers, Including Parliamentarians; Some Tasered

Israel Still Holding Gaza-Bound Passengers, Including Parliamentarians; Some Tasered
Video Disproves Israeli Government Claims on Estelle Cargo;
3 Israelis, 18 Internationals Held

Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry Backs Ship to Gaza's Opposition to Gaza Blockade

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:

http://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/estelle-har-anlant-till-israelisk-hamn

Israel attacks Gaza-bound boat in International Waters, Defying International Law (updated)

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; naiman@justforeignpolicy.org
Jane Hirschmann, 845 246 6494; kaneri46@gmail.com

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

For immediate release

Contact:
US Boat to Gaza:
Robert Naiman: 217-979-2857; naiman@justforeignpolicy.org
Jane Hirschmann: 845-246-6494; kaneri46@gmail.com

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

Photos: Passengers on board the Estelle, boat to Gaza under Israeli threat

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.

Prominent Americans Call for End to U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan

The following letter was delivered to the US embassy in Pakistan on October 3, 2012. Read the press release here.

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. [1] 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. [2] Families are afraid to attend weddings or funerals, because US drone operators might strike them. [3]

Rights groups demand Leahy Law be applied to Bahrain security forces that abuse human rights

The following letter was sent on Sept. 10 to Secretary of State Clinton, urging application of the Leahy Law to immediately suspend further U.S. military assistance and arms transfers to units of the security forces of Bahrain which have engaged in human rights violations against non-violent, pro-democracy protesters, as required by U.S. law. The letter was signed by: Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, International Federation for Human Rights, Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights First, Freedom House, Physicians for Human Rights, Project on Middle East Democracy, Just Foreign Policy, Open Society Foundations, Human Rights Watch, and the United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society.