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JFP 10/18: US Drops Pretense on Iran Sanctions

Just Foreign Policy News
October 18, 2010

Photo: UN soldier points his gun at independent journalist Ansel Herz
Your tax dollars at work in Haiti.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52027548@N04/5086378830/

Beverly Bell: Citizen Protests, Government Repression Mount in Haiti
Haitians have been taking to the streets with increasing frequency since August in calls for redress of the economic and social crisis which has followed the earthquake.
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/10/18-3

AFSCME Council 5 Condemns FBI Raids on Peace Activists
The AFSCME resolution notes that four anti-war activists targeted by the FBI "have not been arrested or charged with any crime," "These four members in good standing are well-known and respected activists in our union," and "FBI spokespersons have stated that the raids were prompted by the activities of these four members, and other individuals subject to the same raids, in seeking peace and justice for workers and other oppressed peoples throughout the world."
http://stopfbi.net/2010/10/03/afscme-council-5-resolution-on-judicial-police-intimidation-of-union-members/

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U.S./Top News

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JFP 10/15: "Palestinian Gandhi" Sentenced to Year in Prison

Just Foreign Policy News
October 15, 2010

For a DREAMy, Wartime, National Service Draft
How could we share the burden of war more fairly, end current wars more quickly, and deter future wars, while not compelling Americans to directly participate in unjust wars against their will? We could institute a wartime national service draft. A universal time tax would disproportionately inconvenience the super-rich, who would then be likely to use their disproportionate political influence to end current wars and stop new ones. A national service draft could also give undocumented Americans of service age a path to citizenship, and give the government a means to soak up unemployed labor and put it to good use.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/for-a-dreamy-wartime-nati_b_762757.html

Brazil Should Lead on Access to Essential Medicines
By the greater use of compulsory licenses, Brazil could lower drug costs not only in Brazil, but in developing countries overall. At a time when the New York Times is reporting that "the global battle against AIDS is falling apart for lack of money," it is absolutely essential that the price of lifesaving medicines in developing countries be driven down to the absolute minimum possible.
http://www.truth-out.org/brazil-should-lead-access-essential-medicines64129

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JFP 10/14: For a DREAMy, Wartime, National Service Draft

Just Foreign Policy News
October 14, 2010

For a DREAMy, Wartime, National Service Draft
How could we share the burden of war more fairly, end current wars more quickly, and deter future wars, while not compelling Americans to directly participate in unjust wars against their will? We could institute a wartime national service draft. A universal time tax would disproportionately inconvenience the super-rich, who would then be likely to use their disproportionate political influence to end current wars and stop new ones. A national service draft could also give undocumented Americans of service age a path to citizenship, and give the government a means to soak up unemployed labor and put it to good use.
http://www.truth-out.org/for-a-dreamy-wartime-national-service-draft64206

Brazil Should Lead on Access to Essential Medicines
By the greater use of compulsory licenses, Brazil could lower drug costs not only in Brazil, but in developing countries overall. At a time when the New York Times is reporting that "the global battle against AIDS is falling apart for lack of money," it is absolutely essential that the price of lifesaving medicines in developing countries be driven down to the absolute minimum possible.
http://www.truth-out.org/brazil-should-lead-access-essential-medicines64129

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For a DREAMy, Wartime, National Service Draft

Recently, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been sounding the alarm about the fact that the burden of "our" wars is being disproportionately borne by a very small slice of the population: soldiers and their families.

Like, I am sure, many Americans, I have sharply conflicted feelings about this.

One the one hand: I strongly agree with Secretary Gates that the burden is disproportionately falling on a few, and that this is unjust, and I am glad that he is trying to use his position to call attention to this injustice and urge that it be remedied.

On the other hand: they are not my wars. I did not vote for them, I did not and I do not support them. I have worked with others to end them; obviously, my companions and I have not yet succeeded in this endeavor, but going forward, I am more seized with the urgency of ending the wars than with the urgency of spreading the pain more fairly while they continue.

Moreover, I am not a little irritated that my opinions, and those of my companions, are systematically marginalized when major decisions about the wars are made, but we are then urged to more fully share the sacrifices resulting from the decisions into which we were told that our input was not welcome.

Secretary Gates is surely aware of the paradox of his position: he bemoans the fact that the burden of the wars falls disproportionately on a few, but he is well aware that the fact that the burden falls disproportionately on a few is a policy choice that has been made by his colleagues with the goal of facilitating war politically.

If we allow ourselves to consider all possible remedies to the problem posed by Secretary Gates, including those that are politically absurd, an obvious solution presents itself: reinstate the military draft.

But this is a dead letter politically. The Pentagon doesn't want it; Congress will never approve it.

JFP 10/13: Brazil Should Lead on Access to Essential Medicines

Just Foreign Policy News
October 13, 2010

Brazil Should Lead on Access to Essential Medicines
By the greater use of compulsory licenses, Brazil could lower drug costs not only in Brazil, but in developing countries overall. At a time when the New York Times is reporting that "the global battle against AIDS is falling apart for lack of money," it is absolutely essential that the price of lifesaving medicines in developing countries be driven down to the absolute minimum possible. (Text of a talk JFP delivered in Sao Paulo on Monday.)
http://www.truth-out.org/brazil-should-lead-access-essential-medicines64129

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1) The number of Afghan civilians hospitalized for serious war wounds has doubled in 12 months in Kandahar, the Guardian reports. In August and September, Mirwais regional hospital admitted almost 1,000 new patients with weapons injuries, according to the Red Cross. The total for the same period of 2009 was 500. The Red Cross reported a "drastic increase" in the number of amputations from war injuries. The Red Cross says a consequence of the increasing violence has been the inability of local people to reach healthcare centers. "The result is that children die from tetanus, measles and tuberculosis - easily prevented with vaccines - while women die in childbirth and otherwise strong men succumb to simple infections," said a Red Cross official.

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Brazil Should Lead on Access to Essential Medicines

By the greater use of compulsory licenses, Brazil could lower drug costs not only in Brazil, but in developing countries overall. At a time when the New York Times is reporting that "the global battle against AIDS is falling apart for lack of money," it is absolutely essential that the price of lifesaving medicines in developing countries be driven down to the absolute minimum possible.


With this in mind, I gave the following presentation on October 11 at a conference of doctors and health care workers in Sao Paulo.

***

I want to begin by establishing some context that I think is important for understanding what it is that I am trying to communicate today and what it is that I am urging you to do.

If you ask yourself, how did it come to pass that important social reforms were won, an important part of the story is that groups of people banded together to pursue what they perceived to be a collective self-interest. You can't explain social change if the only possible actor in your head is an individual who is either individually self-interested or individually altruistic. Around the world, human slavery used to be commonplace, now it is not, how did that come to pass? You can't tell a story that makes sense without collective action based on perceived collective self-interest.

If you look at the anti-slavery movement in the United States, important leaders were themselves former slaves. You might say: that's no surprise, they knew what they were talking about. But if they were only acting on the basis of their individual self-interest, why bother? They were already free. Why not simply enrich themselves and tend their gardens?

JFP 10/6: WaPo reports on Taliban talks

Just Foreign Policy News
October 6, 2010

Why Can't Haitians Get a Fair Election?
On November 28, Haitians are expected to participate in an election from which Haiti's largest political party has been arbitrarily excluded, an election paid for by U.S. tax dollars. Shouldn't it be a no-brainer that the U.S. shouldn't pay for an election in Haiti that is profoundly anti-democratic? Representative Maxine Waters is circulating a letter to Secretary of State Clinton urging that the U.S. not pay for an election in Haiti from which Haiti's largest political party has been excluded. If you agree, ask your Representative to sign the Waters letter for fair elections in Haiti. [At last report, the letter had 40 signers.]
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/05-7

Robert Greenwald: The Afghanistan War's Tenth Year Must Be Its Last
Filmmaker Robert Greenwald marks the beginning of year 10.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-greenwald/the-afghanistan-wars-tent_b_752782.html

Correction
Yesterday's JFP News had an editing error. An item about a poll of Palestinian public opinion should have read: "A poll conducted Thursday through Saturday by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed two-thirds of the Palestinian public favored ending talks with Israel because of the resumption of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, the New York Times reports." Thanks to the readers who called this to our attention.

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JFP 10/5: Hoh: in our national interest to set a deadline for withdrawal

Just Foreign Policy News
October 5, 2010

Virtual Brown Bag with Andrew Bacevich
The video recording of our Virtual Brown Bag with Andrew Bacevich is now online. We've also made available an audio-only version and a full transcript.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/bacevichtalk

Why Can't Haitians Get a Fair Election?
On November 28, Haitians are expected to participate in an election from which Haiti's largest political party has been arbitrarily excluded, an election paid for by U.S. tax dollars. Shouldn't it be a no-brainer that the U.S. shouldn't pay for an election in Haiti that is profoundly anti-democratic? Representative Maxine Waters appears to think so. She is circulating a letter to Secretary of State Clinton urging that the U.S. not pay for an election in Haiti from which Haiti's largest political party has been excluded. If you agree, ask your Representative to sign the Waters letter for fair elections in Haiti.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/05-7

Al Jazeera Video: Settlers blamed for mosque blaze
Prayer rugs and Quran copies burnt in a West Bank mosque, in the village of Beit Fajjar near the Gush Etzion settlement, in fire said to have been started by Israeli settlers.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocrCzco0Z5g&

60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll
"Only 2 in 10 Americans would go to war with Iran if they either tested a bomb or attacked Israel."
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/09/30/60minutes/main6915819.shtml

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Why Can't Haitians Get a Fair Election?

On November 2, Americans will have the opportunity to vote for their representatives in Congress, an election likely to affect whether the "normal" retirement age is raised for Social Security and how decisively President Obama moves to end the war in Afghanistan. There are many legitimate criticisms to be made of the electoral system in the United States as we know it. But it could be much worse. We could be confronted with the electoral system that Haitians are currently facing in elections scheduled for November 28.

In Haiti, as things are currently run, political parties are completely excluded from participation if the people currently in power don't like them, including Haiti's largest political party, the Fanmi Lavalas party of deposed and exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

It is a telling fact of our political-media culture that while American newspapers regularly carry articles, op-eds and editorials raising the alarm about democracy and human rights in countries where the U.S. has little influence, the major U.S. media are virtually silent about extreme violations of democratic rights in Haiti, a country where the U.S. has tremendous influence. (Two rare, praiseworthy exceptions have been the Miami Herald, which last month published this op-ed by Ira Kurzban, and the reporting of the AP's Jonathan Katz.)

In particular, the unfair elections that Haitians are expected to endure are expected to be paid for by foreign donors, including the U.S. There is no serious question whether the U.S. has influence it can use. Indeed, in Afghanistan, the U.S. and other Western donors, who pay for Afghan elections, told the Afghan government, unless you implement certain reforms, we're not paying for the election.

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JFP 10/4: Rep. Waters presses Admin for fair elections in Haiti

Just Foreign Policy News
October 4, 2010

IJDH: Help Rep. Waters stop US tax dollars from supporting unfair elections in Haiti
The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti is supporting a Congressional letter initiated by Rep. Waters to Secretary of State Clinton urging her to use U.S. influence to demand that all Haitian political parties be allowed to compete in the upcoming elections. Urge your Rep. to sign the Waters letter for fair elections in Haiti by calling the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121, and asking to be transferred to your Rep's office.
More info:
http://ijdh.org/archives/14798
Rep. Waters letter:
http://ijdh.org/archives/14792

Harry Belafonte: Iraq & Afghanistan Wars Are "Immoral, Unconscionable and Unwinnable"
Democracy Now leads its coverage of the "One Nation" rally with Harry Belafonte's denunciation of the war in Afghanistan.
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/10/4/harry_belafonte_iraq_afghanistan_wars_are

Jon Stewart/Democracy Now: Sen. Tom Coburn [R-OK] holds up Haiti reconstruction aid
http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2010/10/1/watch_jon_stewart_gets_haiti_news_from_democracy_now

Venezuelan Ambassador responds to the Washington Post on Venezuela's election
Bernardo Álvarez corrects the lies and distortions of the Washington Post's editorial.
http://bit.ly/cLq3RP

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