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Submitted by Megan Iorio on 19 February 2013 - 8:46pm
During his second inaugural address, President Obama promised to move the US forward on addressing climate change. So you'd think that rejecting the TransCanada Corporation's proposal to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have a significant carbon impact if implemented, would be a no-brainer, right?
Not according to a recent New York Times report. After tens of thousands of activists descended on Washington this past Sunday to press the president to fulfill his promise on climate and reject the Keystone XL application,  the New York Times report claimed that the President faced a difficult decision: if Obama rejects the pipeline project as those concerned about climate change demand, he would provoke the Canadian conservative government to retaliate.  How? By not supporting bad US foreign policies!
Policies that are in the best interest of the American public ought not to be traded for policies that most Americans have no stake in. Tell President Obama to reject the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
So why does the New York Times think Obama should be afraid of the Conservative Canadian government? One claim was that a rejection of the Keystone XL project would end up
causing a deep and perhaps lasting rift with Canada… a close ally on Iran and Afghanistan… Its leaders have made it clear that an American rejection … could bring retaliation.
But Canada has already withdrawn the bulk of its troops from Afghanistan—a war most Americans want to end anyway.  There are only about 950 Canadian soldiers left in Afghanistan, almost all of whom are there solely to train the Afghan army and all of whom will be withdrawn at the end of 2014.  And retaliation concerning Iran would take the form of—what, exactly? Less support for further sanctions on Iran, which are already keeping Iranian civilians from getting lifesaving medicines? 
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 15 February 2013 - 7:57pm
If you live in California, Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Maine, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Indiana, or Idaho, you have a Senator on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Please call one of your Senator's local offices on Monday—or anytime during the Senate recess this week when you can—and urge them to support a public hearing on CIA drone strikes in the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Local offices and phone numbers are listed below.
Our goal in this campaign is to get the Senate Intelligence Committee to publicly commit to holding a public hearing on CIA drone strikes before the Senate confirms John Brennan to head the CIA. (Not necessarily to hold a public hearing before then, but to get the Committee to publicly commit to holding a public hearing in the future.)
After you're done, report your call here.
If you don't live in one of the above listed states, please forward a link to this page to folks you know who do who might be willing to call.
Also, you can sign our petition to Senator Feinstein: Hold a Public Hearing on CIA Drone Strikes
Dianne Feinstein, California, Chair
San Francisco Office: (415) 393-0707
Fresno Office: (559) 485-7430
Los Angeles Office: (310) 914-7300
San Diego Office: (619) 231-9712
Ron Wyden, Oregon
Portland Office: (503) 326-7525
Eugene Office: (541) 431-0229
Bend Office: (541) 330-9142
LaGrande Office: (541) 962-7691
Medford Office: (541) 858-5122
Salem Office: (503) 589-4555
Martin Heinrich, New Mexico
Santa Fe Office: (505) 988-6647
Alburquerque Office: (505) 346-6601
Farmington Office: (505) 325-5030
Las Cruces Office: (575) 523-6561
Roswell Office: (575) 622-7113
Mark Udall, Colorado
Denver Office: (303) 650-7820
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 14 February 2013 - 5:14pm
Just Foreign Policy News, February 14, 2013
Brennan delayed over drone strikes; Feinstein urged to hold public hearing
Go Straight to the News Summary
I) Actions and Featured Articles
Could the Senate Intelligence Committee Do Oversight of CIA Drone Strikes?
Here's a straightforward reform of the drone strike policy: the Senate Intelligence Committee should do its job of CIA oversight. It can start with a public hearing. Such a hearing should attempt to establish whether it is true that the CIA counts all "military-age males" as "militants" when they are killed by a drone strike, and the implications of that for claims that civilian casualties are low.
Senator Feinstein: Hold a Public Hearing on CIA Drone Strikes
The Senate Intelligence Committee has never held a public hearing on CIA drone strikes. Maybe that's why Senator Feinstein wasn't aware of reports that the CIA was counting every "military-age male" killed in a drone strike as a militant. The committee should hold a public hearing. Amnesty International backs this demand. Sign our petition at SignOn.
5 Broken Cameras is on Netflix
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 13 February 2013 - 11:57pm
Different Senate committees are supposed to do oversight of different federal agencies. The Senate Judiciary Committee is supposed to oversee the Department of Justice. The Senate Armed Services committee is supposed to do oversight of the Pentagon. And the Senate Intelligence Committee is supposed to do oversight of the Central Intelligence Agency. Since the CIA is conducting drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and since this is, to say the least, a controversial policy, the Senate Intelligence Committee is supposed to be doing oversight of that.
But contemplating the Senate Intelligence Committee's past oversight of the drone strike policy evokes the quote attributed to Gandhi when asked what he thought about Western civilization: "I think it would be a good idea."
Now that criticisms of the drone strike policy are getting some play in the press, people are floating ideas for various reforms. That's great! Let a hundred flowers bloom. But please call on me. I have an idea for a reform.
Why don't we ask the Senate Intelligence Committee to do its job of overseeing the CIA?
Now, you might think, that's a pretty arrogant claim, saying that the Senate Intelligence Committee has been asleep at the switch. Here, therefore, are three pieces of evidence for the claim.
Exhibit A: No public hearings.
Reporting on the Senate Intelligence Committee's confirmation hearing of John Brennan to head the CIA, Ken Dilanian of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the Senate Intelligence Committee
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 13 February 2013 - 5:21pm
California Senator Dianne Feinstein said something recently that's making our heads spin.
Following John Brennan's confirmation hearing last Thursday in which the Senate Intelligence Committee questioned him on US drone policy, Politico reported Sen. Feinstein as saying that
she was unaware of reports that in some instances U.S. officials assumed any male of fighting age killed in a strike was a combatant - a method that could undercount the number of civilian deaths. 
Apparently, Sen. Feinstein doesn't have a subscription to the New York Times. Last May, the Times ran a major expose on US drone policy that featured the revelation that the CIA was counting all “military-aged males in a strike zone” as “combatants” in their drone strike kill counts. 
What makes this situation even more outrageous is that Sen. Feinstein is the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is responsible for overseeing the CIA and US drone policy. How is it possible that she was unaware of a widely-noted New York Times article on a policy she is responsible for overseeing?
We think "oversight" of drone strike policy includes the responsibility to know what's being reported about it in the press and to ask government officials about these concerns. That means someone needs to get a subscription to the New York Times ASAP. Don't you agree?
Join us in telling Sen. Feinstein and her staff to get subscriptions to the New York Times and to read the articles related to drone strikes.
Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,
Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen, Sarah Burns and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy
Help support Just Foreign Policy! With our small staff and minimal overhead, you know your contribution will go a long way.
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 11 February 2013 - 8:27pm
Just Foreign Policy News, February 11, 2013
Brennan/drone hearing; LAT interview with 5 Broken Cameras director
Go Straight to the News Summary
I) Actions and Featured Articles
Pressure Works: Urge the Senate to Press Brennan on Drone Strike Policy
A bipartisan group of eleven Senators demanded a memo from the Administration that the New York Times and the ACLU have been seeking in court for more than two years. A few days later, the Administration released the memo. This proves Senators can pry information loose if they want to. Urge your Senators to demand information on civilian casualties.
Just Foreign Policy Drone Strike Policy Reform Tour
So far: Los Angeles, Chicago, Durham, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Flagstaff. Upcoming: Milwaukee, Madison, Carbondale, West Lafayette. To add your city to the tour, send a note to email@example.com.
Council for a Livable World: White House Petition: Bring all troops home from Afghanistan by December 31, 2013
"Dear Mr. President: You face critical decisions on Afghanistan:
1. How rapidly the remaining American troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan
2. How many U.S. troops remain in that country after 2014
We believe the answer is clear: The troops should be removed as quickly as safely possible and no troops should remain after December 31, 2013….We urge you to bring all American troops home from Afghanistan as expeditiously as possible."
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 9 February 2013 - 1:58pm
Early this morning, a group of Palestinian and international nonviolent activists made two attempts to establish a new village in the South Hebron Hills to protest the Netanyahu government's plans to confiscate Palestinian land in the area. "We are establishing Canaan on our land after our homes and water wells were demolished, and our people displaced," Yatta popular committee spokesman Ibrahim Rabee told Ma'an News Agency.
According to AFP, the activists gathered at the first site, near a road that serves the settlement of Carmel, were evicted before they could erect any structures. The activists then moved to a second site, near the Palestinian village of al-Tuwani, where they were able to erect at least one tent before Israeli forces arrived. "We began building the tents and were surprised when a large force of the Israeli army began attacking us and destroying tents and hitting us,” Younis Arar, coordinator of the popular committee in the southern West Bank, told Ma'an news. AFP reported the use of water cannon to disperse the activists. According to Haaretz, the water sprayed at the protesters was “foul water”, also known as “skunk water”, which has a putrid smell that can linger on clothing for years.
No one is reported to have been arrested at the first site, but Al Jazeera says six people were arrested at the second site, including two journalists, one of whom is with the AP. A Hebron human rights activist told Al Jazeera, "The Israeli army does not distinguish the journalists from activists, or from the people living there - they just attacked everyone. They were very aggressive today."
Canaan was the fifth attempt to establish a protest village in the West Bank in as many weeks, and the Israeli army's response has become more aggressive with each attempt. The world needs to know about these nonviolent acts of resistance, and now is the time to spread the word. Here's what you can do:
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 5 February 2013 - 7:05pm
At long last, the Administration has released a "white paper" explaining its legal rationale for conducting drone strikes on Americans. Why did this happen? Because of pressure.
What might more pressure accomplish?
John Brennan is appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday for his confirmation hearing as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Urge your Senators to press John Brennan on US drone strike policy.
The New York Times reports that the Justice Department "white paper" closely tracks a classified memorandum in which the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel signed off on the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who died in U.S. drone strike in September 2011.  Members of Congress, the press, and human rights groups have been pressing the Administration for disclosure of this memo (which still has not been disclosed).
In January, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden sent a letter demanding to see the memo.  On February 4, a bipartisan group of Senators made the same demand. 
This shows that the Administration's policy can move under the pressure of Senators' questions. More questions will generate more movement.
There are many other questions Senators should ask Brennan:
- How many civilians do you believe have been killed by drone strikes?
- Is it true that the CIA counts all "military-aged males" as "militants" when they are killed by a drone strike?
- Do you agree with those who say that drone strikes should not be conducted by the CIA?
- Is it true that the CIA has conducted "secondary strikes" where they hit the same target twice, after rescuers have come to the scene of a strike?
- Is it true that the CIA has targeted funerals and weddings with drone strikes?
- Is it true that the CIA has targeted unknown persons with "signature strikes," simply on the basis that they were carrying weapons?
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 5 February 2013 - 5:19pm
Just Foreign Policy News, February 5, 2013
Drone Strike White Paper; Sens. Push for Memo; Groups Push on Iran Medicines
Go Straight to the News Summary
Submitted by Megan Iorio on 2 February 2013 - 12:56pm
Earlier today, Palestinian nonviolent activists established a new tent village called al-Manatir in the West Bank village of Burin, near Nablus, to protest Israeli plans to confiscate village land for settlement development. Soon after, Israeli soldiers and settlers from two nearby settlements, Yitzhar and Bracha, entered the village. As the Associated Press reports, Burin has frequently been the target of settler violence from the nearby settlements. After the soldiers and settlers arrived at the scene, clashes subsequently broke out. The AFP reports that the Israeli soldiers “used tear gas and violence” to remove the protesters and settlers from the encampment. Haaretz reports that live ammunition was fired into the air, though the IDF denies this. In the end, five Palestinians and one settler were arrested.
The IDF has closed off the area and is preventing anyone from re-entering al-Manatir, but news is still coming in via Twitter. Now is the time to spread the word. Here's what you can do:
1. If you're on Twitter, retweet news coming in from #AlManatir
2. Share these articles:
- “Clashes in West Bank village after Palestinians erect protest camp,” Jack Khoury, Gili Cohen and the Associated Press, February 2, 2013, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/clashes-in-west-bank-villa...
- “Palestinians evicted from West Bank protest camp,” AFP, February 2, 2013, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hBA5zNgSOF1HeGVXbjgQW...
- “Israeli forces dismantle Palestinian encampment, clash with activists,” Associated Press, February 2, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israeli-forces-dismantle...