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Blocking Doctors? Let the Aid to Haiti Go Through

Blocking Doctors? Let the Aid to Haiti Go Through

The TV story seems to be that aid from America is pouring in to Haiti. But on the ground the US military is blocking doctors and American aid workers with longstanding relationships in Haiti from bringing in desperately needed aid, and the US is also being slow to expand airdrops of water, water purification tablets, and food. Where is the United States Congress? Because the US military is involved, does that mean no-one can say anything?

Yesterday, Doctors Without Borders reported that

A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) cargo plane carrying 12 tons of medical equipment, including drugs, surgical supplies and two dialysis machines, was turned away three times from Port-au-Prince airport since Sunday night despite repeated assurances of its ability to land there…Since January 14, MSF has had five planes diverted from the original destination of Port-au-Prince to the Dominican Republic. These planes carried a total of 85 tons of medical and relief supplies.

One of their staff members said,

"We have had five patients in Martissant health center die for lack of the medical supplies that this plane was carrying…. Today, there are 12 people who need lifesaving amputations at Choscal Hospital. We were forced to buy a saw in the market to continue amputations."

Groups ready to deliver aid to Jacmel - the fourth-largest city in Haiti - were told they would receive no clearance to land there from the U.S. military, even though they already had both aid supplies and the means for distributing them. This aid is only now being delivered - thanks to assistance from the Dominican Republic, not the U.S.

JFP 1/19: US Blocks Doctors from Aiding Haiti

Just Foreign Policy News
January 19, 2010

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JFP 1/15: US Grants Temporary Protected Status to Haitians

Just Foreign Policy News
January 15, 2010

Help Haiti? Let Haitians Stay and Cancel Haiti's Debt
The Obama Administration has granted Temporary Protected Status to Haitians in the U.S. Now it should move to cancel Haiti's external debt.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/450

"Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson on Bill Moyers Journal Friday
"Friday, Janaury 15, 2010 at 9PM on PBS
(check local listings: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/about/airdates.html)

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) The Obama administration says it will allow Haitians already in the U.S. illegally to remain because of this week's catastrophic earthquake, AP reports. Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano granted the temporary protected status on Friday.

2) Jubilee USA Network "reacted with dismay" to today that the IMF is planning to offer a $100 million loan to Haiti. "Loans for disaster relief are totally inappropriate," Jubilee said. Jubilee called on the administration to support grants rather than loans and cancel Haiti's remaining debt.

3) In an editorial today, the Washington Post upbraided the Obama Administration for failing to approve Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in the US (which the Obama Administration has now done.) The Post also called for the Administration to press the IMF to cancel Haiti's external debt.

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Help Haiti? Let Haitians Stay and Cancel Haiti's Debt

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have pledged that the US will do all it can to help Haiti following the devastating earthquake. But while getting assistance into Haiti right now is extremely difficult, there are two things the Obama Administration could do immediately to help Haiti that are entirely within its control. It could grant "Temporary Protected Status" to undocumented Haitians in the U.S. - so they can stay here instead of adding to Haiti's burden, work legally, and send home money to help their relatives - and it could support the cancellation of Haiti's debts to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, where the U.S. Treasury department has decisive influence. So far the Administration has refused to move on either issue. Why the delay?

Even the Washington Post editorial board - on foreign policy, not usually known for singing Kumbaya - calls the Administration to account on both issues.

On Temporary Protected Status for Haiti, the Post says:

JFP 1/14: Levin calls for air strikes on Yemen

Just Foreign Policy News
January 14, 2010

Tell Obama: Let Haitians Stay in the US
With the stroke of a pen, President Obama could ease Haiti's catastrophe: he could grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians in the U.S. The U.S. has "temporarily suspended deportations," the New York Times reports (see below) - all regular flights to Haiti are cancelled in any event - but so far the Obama Administration has refused to grant TPS to Haiti. Urge President Obama and your representatives in Congress to support TPS for Haiti, so Haitians can stay and work - and send back money to their relatives - rather than be forced to return to disaster and add to Haiti's burden.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/haiti-tps

"Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson on Bill Moyers Journal Friday
Friday, Janaury 15, 2010 at 9PM on PBS
(check local listings: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/about/airdates.html)
"America has committed billions to escalate military action in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but humanitarian and bestselling author Greg Mortenson argues that there's a better path to peace: building schools and nurturing local communities. Mortenson, who has worked for 17 years in the region, is the author of the world-wide bestseller, Three Cups of Tea and a new book, Stones into Schools. Both books tell the remarkable story of Mortensen's efforts to build dozens of schools in some of the most lawless and remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan."

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JFP 1/13: Stop Deportations to Haiti

Just Foreign Policy News
January 13, 2010

Updates on Haiti's Earthquake
The New York Times is aggregating accounts on the Lede blog.
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/gleaning-information-from-haiti-online/

FCNL: Stop Deportations to Haiti
Send a letter to President Obama and send copies to your representative urging the U.S. government to immediately act to grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitian immigrants. It's exactly for this kind of humanitarian disaster that the TPS program exists.
http://action.fcnl.org/r/105603/37575/0

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) President Obama plans to ask Congress for $33 billion in war funding for a major U.S. troop buildup in Afghanistan this year, Reuters reports. The money, mainly for the deployment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and other war costs in the current 2010 fiscal year, would come on top of Obama's expected request to increase the Pentagon's overall budget in fiscal 2011 to a record $708 billion. Fiscal 2010 Defense Department funding, including war costs in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as military construction, already comes to $660 billion. The budget for fiscal 2011 is expected to be released by the White House on February 1.

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JFP 1/12: Can Cheryle Jackson End the War in Afghanistan?

Just Foreign Policy News
January 12, 2010

Can Cheryle Jackson End the War in Afghanistan?
Add Illinois to Pennsylvania as states where there is a contested Senate primary in which the war in Afghanistan has become an issue. The Chicago Tribune reports that the two leading contenders for the Democratic nomination for Barack Obama's former seat in the Senate have staked out opposed positions: Cheryle Jackson wants to end the war, while Alexi Giannoulias supports it.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/446

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Summary:
U.S./Top News

1) At least eight Afghan civilians were killed and a dozen wounded Tuesday during a street protest after a raid on an Afghan home Sunday by US and Afghan forces, the New York Times reports. Some Afghans maintained that US forces were present and participated in firing on civilians, but the US and Afghan officials denied that US soldiers were present.

2) Gen. McChrystal says he is not discouraged by estimates that there are many more al Qaeda fighters in Yemen than there are in Afghanistan where he is overseeing a major surge in U.S. troops, ABC News reports. McChrystal was reacting to a question citing intelligence estimates that there are only 100 al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan while there are as many as 300 in Yemen. McChrystal cited as evidence of the surge's success the fact that elements of the insurgency were expressing interest in negotiating with the Afghan government [a fact that predated the surge - JFP.]

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Can Cheryle Jackson End the War in Afghanistan?

Add Illinois to Pennsylvania as states where there is a contested Senate primary in which the war in Afghanistan has become an issue. The Chicago Tribune reports that the two leading contenders for the Democratic nomination for Barack Obama's former seat in the Senate have staked out diametrically opposed positions.

A Tribune poll last month reported that Alexi Giannoulias and Cheryle Jackson were the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination.

On Afghanistan, the Tribune reports that Cheryle Jackson wants to end the war, while Giannoulias supports it:

"It is time to take care of America again and time to bring our troops home," said Democratic Senate contender Cheryle Jackson, a former president of the Chicago Urban League. "Until we stop spending hundreds of billions on wars, we will not have the focus or money to solve the challenges we face at home."

[...]

But first-term state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a Democrat, said he fully supported Obama's strategy for Afghanistan and indicated that those who oppose it are engaging in wishful thinking.

Indeed, Cheryle Jackson's first TV ad takes direct aim at the wars - "It's time to leave Afghanistan and Iraq":

JFP 1/11: Taliban Engage in "Vaccination Diplomacy"

Just Foreign Policy News
January 11, 2010

Linda Milazzo: Waxman Attacks Winograd on Israel
Seeking to help Rep. Jane Harman's re-election bid, Rep. Henry Waxman calls her challenger Marcy Winograd's support for Palestinian rights "repugnant in the extreme."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-milazzo/waxman-attacks-winograd-o_b_417941.html

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Mullah Omar's Afghan Taliban are cooperating with the Afghan government and UN agencies to eradicate polio in Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal reports. Government vaccination workers in Taliban-controlled areas carry a letter from Mullah Omar urging people to cooperate. The letter was obtained by the Red Cross following a request from the UN; Taliban endorsment has enabled vaccinators to reach previously out of reach areas and remain in areas of heavy fighting. Convervative Muslim opposition to anti-polio campaings are a key reason the disease persists in India, Pakistan, and Nigeria, the Journal notes. Eliminating polio in the remaining four endemic countries - a top U.N. priority - would eventually render it unnecessary to vaccinate hundreds of millions of children elsewhere every year.

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JFP 1/8: Paraguay abolishes public health user fees

Just Foreign Policy News
January 8, 2010

Mondoweiss: Israeli television confrontation is 'metaphor of the moral crisis' in Israel
A video clip of a contfontation between an Israeli television interviewer and a Palestinian Member of the Israeli Knesset is making the rounds of the internet.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/01/israeli-television-confrontation-is-a-metaphor-of-the-moral-crisis-in-which-zionism-is-found-today.html

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey says Americans should prepare to accept hundreds of U.S. casualties each month in Afghanistan, Army Times reports. McCaffrey predicts up to 500 casualties per month, as the winter thaw permits enemy and coalition forces to launch their respective offensives.

2) The wife of a Jordanian doctor who killed seven CIA employees in a suicide attack in Afghanistan says her husband was outraged over the treatment of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison and the U.S.-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, AP reports.

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