Dent-Price Letter Promoting US-Iran Talks

Below is a bipartisan congressional sign-on letter being organized by Reps. Charles Dent and David Price urging President Obama to reinvigorate US efforts to engage Iran following the election of Hassan Rouhani as president. Tell your Representative to sign.

July XX, 2013

Dear President Obama:

As Members of Congress who share your unequivocal commitment to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, we urge you to pursue the potential opportunity presented by Iran's recent presidential election by reinvigorating U.S. efforts to secure a negotiated nuclear agreement.

As you know, on June 14 the Iranian people elected Hassan Rouhani president with over 50 percent of the vote in the first round, overcoming repression and intimidation by the Iranian government to cast their ballots in favor of reform. Dr. Rouhani campaigned on the promise to “pursue a policy of reconciliation and peace” and has since promised “constructive interaction with the outside world.” As Iran’s former lead nuclear negotiator, he has also publicly expressed the view that obtaining a nuclear weapon would run counter to Iran’s strategic interests and has been critical of the nuclear “extremism” of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

We are mindful of the limitations of the Iranian presidency within the country’s political system, of the fact that previous Iranian presidents elected on platforms of moderation have failed to deliver on promised reforms, and of the mixed signals that Dr. Rouhani himself has sent regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It remains to be seen whether his election will indeed bring significant change with regard to Iran's relations with the outside world. His government’s actions will certainly speak louder than his words.

Celebrities, Whistleblowers Lead Petition to Ecuador for Snowden's Political Asylum

Celebrities, Whistleblowers, Lead Petition to Ecuador for Snowden's Political Asylum

Petition Has Over 23,000 Signers

For Immediate Release: July 1, 2013
Contact: Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy, (202) 448-2898

Washington, D.C. - Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, John Cusack, Amber Heard, Shia LaBeouf, Roseanne Barr, and musician Boots Riley have joined Vietnam War whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg and Iraq War whistleblower Joe Wilson, author Noam Chomsky and many other prominent whistle-blowers, activists, former intelligence and military officers, academics and others in calling on Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa to grant whistle-blower Edward Snowden political asylum. The full letter and list of prominent signers was circulated by the organization Just Foreign Policy and is posted on the group’s website.

The letter is here:

The petition is here:

"We're proud to stand with patriotic American whistleblowers like Dan Ellsberg, Coleen Rowley, Joe Wilson and Thomas Drake in appealing to President Correa to grant political asylum to Edward Snowden," said Robert Naiman, Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy. "For democracy to work, Americans have to be able to find out what our government is doing. Unprecedented government secrecy and an unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers are threatening the ability of Americans to control their government. If President Correa grants asylum to Snowden, all Americans who love freedom will be in his debt."


Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Tom Hayden le solicitan al Presidente Correa le conceda asilo político a Edward Snowden

Another Spanish translation is posted online here. The English is here. A French version is here. To sign this statement you can click here.

Estimado Presidente Correa,

Le escribimos para urgirle a proporcionar asilo político a Edward Snowden, alertador norteamericano.

Las revelaciones hechas por Snowden han hecho mucho para revelar la escala alarmante de espionaje por parte del gobierno de los Estados Unidos hacia sus propios ciudadanos y otras personas alrededor del mundo. Las revelaciones han divulgado el sobrealcance desmesurado de la Agencia Nacional de seguridad (NSA) de Estados Unidos, la cual procura recopilar una abrumadora e invasiva cantidad de información sobre individuos dentro de los estados Unidos. Snowden también ha revelado como la constante vigilancia también aplica a millones de personas fuera de los Estados Unidos, cuyas llamadas telefónicas, correos electrónicos, y otras comunicaciones han sido indiscriminadamente asediadas.


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

The Swedish original is here:

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;
Jane Hirschmann, 845 246 6494;

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

US Boat to Gaza:
Robert Naiman: 217-979-2857;
Jane Hirschmann: 845-246-6494;

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