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Boycott & Sanction John "Vladimir" Brennan for Violations of International Law

The Obama Administration has established a new precedent by implementing sanctions against Russian officials for violations of international law in the wake of Russia’s occupation and annexation of Crimea. So we thought: let's get civil society organizations in the United States and around the world to invoke this precedent in calling U.S. officials to account for the U.S.'s own violations of international law!

John Brennan, head of the Central Intelligence Agency, is playing a central role in shielding the agency from accountability to international law on three key issues: the CIA's use of torture during the Bush Administration; the CIA’s use of drone strikes; and the CIA’s arming of Syria rebels, which the Obama Administration has acknowledged is a violation of Syria’s sovereignty under international law, [1] just as Russia’s actions in Crimea violate Ukraine’s sovereignty under international law.

Join us in calling for boycott and sanctions on John Brennan until the CIA takes concrete steps to comply with international law by signing our petition at MoveOn:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/boycott-brennan

Here is the petition text:

John Brennan, head of the Central Intelligence Agency, should be subject to boycott and sanctions for the CIA's failure to comply with U.S. and international law. John Brennan should not receive any award, honor, or recognition until the CIA takes concrete, minimal steps to transparently comply with U.S. and international law, including:

- supporting declassification of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the CIA's use of torture and the CIA's internal “Panetta review” on the CIA's use of torture;

QR codes for Illinois, New York, Maryland petitions against anti-boycott free speech legislation

Note: this memo is primarily aimed at tech-savvy kids, not at old fogie technophobe Luddites. If you are a technophobe, move along, nothing to see here.

Background: the world has changed, right? We do online petitions now. It's more efficient on both sides of the interaction - easier to pass, easier to sign; you don't have to mess around with re-copying or trying to read people's illegible handwriting (speaking as a top offender of illegible handwriting); if you sign on your own device, you probably have your own information already saved in your browser, which makes signing go tschik-tschok, as they say in Hebrew.

OK, but we still want to pass petitions at events. Does that mean we have to go back to pen and paper?

You know how when you ride the Amtrak, and sometimes on planes, they use QR codes, so you don't need a paper ticket. You just hold up your smart phone showing your electronic ticket with the QR code on it and the conductor/airline employee uses a QR reader to capture the information from your electronic ticket's QR code.

We can use this technology for online petitions too. You generate a QR code for the website that has the petition on it, you point a smart phone (or laptop's) camera at it, and after the image is captured, the smartphone jumps to the URL of the petition site, where you can sign the petition on your smartphone.

The smartphone or laptop has to have a QR reader installed. But you can easily download QR readers for free. Just go to the app store on your device, search for "QR reader", and choose one of many free options. On my iPhone, I have installed the free QRReader app.

So, with that background concluded, here is the ask. I'm going to try to get signers on the Illinois anti-anti-boycott petition at Rabbi Brant Rosen's talk tonight at UIUC, using a QR code that Just Foreign Policy has generated for the petition's website.

Two ways you can help me test:

Don't Let AIPAC Dictate Iran Terms—Call your Senators Today!

Sen. Menendez has lent his pen to AIPAC yet again by drafting a new letter that reintroduces the old zero enrichment demand by calling on President Obama to insist that Iran has no right to enrichment and that any final deal must dismantle Iran's inaccurately-referred-to “nuclear weapons program.” And if that's not bad enough: Sen. Lindsey Graham co-wrote the letter.

During their annual conference, thousands of AIPAC activists were on the Hill telling your Senators to sign the Menendez-Graham letter. Now they need to hear from you.

Call your Senators at 1-855-686-6927 and say

I urge Sen. ____ not to sign the Menendez-Graham letter that could scuttle President Obama's Iran diplomacy by imposing unreasonable terms on a final deal.

After you make your call, tell us how it went below.

Keep Your Promise: A Left-Right Coalition to Help Veterans and Cut the Debt

 There is wide political agreement that we need to do more to support our veterans and their families. A recent spectacular demonstration was the 326-90 vote in the House and 95-3 vote in the Senate to repeal the military pension cuts to veterans and active service members that were in the Ryan-Murray budget deal. A key question in the current federal budget environment is how we are going to pay for increased veterans' benefits, given broad Republican resistance to raising revenue or increasing the deficit.

An obvious answer is this: Cut unnecessary Pentagon spending and split the savings between helping veterans and reducing government debt. This should appeal to Democrats and Republicans who want to help veterans and to Democrats and Republicans who are willing to cut unnecessary Pentagon spending to reduce government debt. It should also appeal to organizations representing veterans.

Some people are under the impression that cutting unnecessary Pentagon spending is a non-starter with all Republicans, or almost all of them. But in the recent past, there has been a substantial group of Republicans in the House who were willing to vote to cut the Pentagon budget.

letter to Sonya Michel on her ASA BDS vote misrepresentation claim in the NYT

Sonya Michel

Professor of history, women’s studies and American studies
University of Maryland
College Park, Md.
 
 

Dear Ms. Michel,

Extend Unemployment Assistance by Cutting the War Budget

 Just over a week ago, the Senate fell one vote short of overcoming a Republican filibuster to pass a three-month extension of assistance for the long-term unemployed.

The New York Times reported:

Could We Make @BilldeBlasio Meet with J Street?

 It was, without doubt, a world-historical moment last Thursday when AIPAC concededthat its push to sabotage U.S. diplomacy with Iran had been decisively rebuked. As theNew York Times noted, it had been decades since AIPAC lost such a high-profile showdown so decisively.

With AIPAC Reeling, Let's Push the House to Support Diplomacy

Who knew we’d live to see this glorious day? The New York Times is reporting that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)’s efforts to pass a bill in the Senate to cripple diplomacy with Iran have stalled, and concludes that AIPAC has lost influence in Washington. [1] Hallelujah!

Now we have a great opportunity to take the fight to the House, where more than 70 Representatives are circulating a letter supporting U.S.-Iran diplomacy and opposing new sanctions and other measures that would kill the talks. [2]

Getting Members of Congress to stay off a nefarious bill is important, but it’s even more significant when we can get them to publicly endorse realistic diplomacy to end the U.S.-Iran conflict.

Urge your Representative to sign the diplomacy letter now.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/give-diplomacy-a-chance-letter

Thanks for all you do to help bring about a just foreign policy,

Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen, and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy

Help support our work — make a $10 tax-deductible donation today!
Your financial support helps us create opportunities for Americans to agitate for a more just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

References:

1. “Potent Pro-Israel Group Finds Its Momentum Blunted,” Mark Landler, New York Times, Feb. 3, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/04/world/middleeast/potent-pro-israel-gro...
2. "Another big blow to the Iran sanctions bill,” Greg Sargent, Washington Post, February 3, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/02/03/another-big-...

Thank Oxfam for cutting ties with Scarlett Johansson over SodaStream

Oxfam has cut ties with celebrity Scarlett Johansson over her refusal to give up her role as a "brand ambassador" for the Israeli company SodaStream, which operates a factory in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank. As Oxfam stated: [1]

Johansson's role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam global ambassador. Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.

The campaign against Johansson's partnership with SodaStream has helped raise the profile of the company's association with the occupation. But we have yet another opportunity coming up: SodaStream is airing an ad featuring Johansson during the Super Bowl. People will be talking about the ad on Twitter. So let's show them what SodaStream's really about by publicly thanking Oxfam for parting ways with Johansson during the Super Bowl!

Here are two ways you can participate:

  1. Sign our petition thanking Oxfam: http://justforeignpolicy.org/act/oxfam-sodastream
  2. Join our Thunderclap, which will automatically send a message through your Twitter account during the Super Bowl. You can also sign up using your Facebook account: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/8554-thank-oxfam-for-scarjo-split

Thanks for all you do to promote a just peace in Israel-Palestine,

Megan Iorio, Chelsea Mozen, and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

Help support our work — make a $10 tax-deductible donation today!
Your financial support helps us create opportunities for Americans to agitate for a more just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

References:

John Kerry: Talk to Iran About Syria

Over the holiday weekend, two major developments occurred on the Iran diplomacy front: the interim nuclear deal with UN Security Council members and Germany took effect, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon invited Iran to the second Syria peace conference, called Geneva II, which starts January 22. [1] [2]

If you've seen the news the last two days, you probably already know that Secretary of State John Kerry pressured Secretary General Ban to withdraw Iran's invitation to Geneva II purportedly because Iran never agreed to the terms of the Geneva communiqué, the outcome of the previous peace conference that Iran was also not invited to. [3]

But just last week, Kerry admitted that Iran was a “major actor” in the Syria conflict and that “no other nation has its people on the ground fighting in the way that they are.” [4] Given this, how can the US expect to secure a ceasefire without Iranian cooperation?

With real progress being made in the nuclear talks, now is the time to also talk to Iran about Syria.

Tell John Kerry to stop blocking Iran's involvement in the Syria talks and to work with Iran to secure a ceasefire to stop the killing.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/kerry-syria-talks

Thanks for all you do to help bring about a just foreign policy,

Megan Iorio, Chelsea Mozen, and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

Help support our work — make a $10 tax-deductible donation today!
Your financial support helps us create opportunities for Americans to agitate for a more just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

References:

1. “Iran begins enrichment cap as nuclear deal with world powers takes effect,” Barbara Slavin, Al Jazeera, January 19, 2014, http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/1/19/iran-world-powersstartin...