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JFP 8/1: Former U.S. officials call for Bachmann's removal from intelligence committee
Submitted by Robert Naiman on 1 August 2012 - 6:28pm
Just Foreign Policy News, August 1, 2012
Former U.S. officials call for Bachmann's removal from intelligence committee
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Former U.S. officials call for Bachmann to be replaced on Intelligence Committee
By promoting anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, Rep. Michele Bachmann is undermining U.S. policy in the Middle East. That's why former U.S. officials are calling for her removal from the House Intelligence Committee.
Daily Kos poll: "I'd like my Representative to advocate for Michele Bachmann's removal from the House Intelligence Committee."
99% 441 votes
0% 3 votes
RootsAction: Campaign Targets New NBC War "Reality" Show
"'Stars Earn Stripes' is a reality show cohosted by retired U.S. General Wesley Clark, co-starring Todd Palin, and with no apparent role for reality," said RootsAction campaigner David Swanson. "The ads brag about the use of real bullets, but depict war as a harmless sport. Celebrities paired up with soldiers competing at 'long-range weapons fire' is not a continuation of the Olympics. It's a normalization of war that erases the death and suffering." A petition to NBC urges them to air an in-depth segment showing the reality of civilian victims of recent U.S. wars.
Phyllis Bennis: Military Intervention in Syria: No
Of course the normal human reaction is "we've got to do something!" But however dire the situation facing Syrian civilians, the likelihood that any outside military attacks would actually help the situation is very remote. Direct outside military involvement, especially by the United States, NATO, or other longstanding opponents of Syria would inevitably mean even greater carnage.
7,499 dead from cholera in Haiti
655 days, 7,499 dead, 587,793 ill since the UN brought cholera to Haiti. Still there is no apology, no compensation, no implementation of an effective plan to eradicate the disease.
1) President Obama has just released a new TV ad attacking Mitt Romney for wanting to increase military spending, writes William Saletan for Slate. This goes against conventional wisdom that Democrats will be punished for publicly advocating less military spending, Saletan writes. But poll data shows that the public is increasingly ready for cuts to the military budget.
2) New sanctions legislation being considered by the House will hurt Iranian civilians, FCNL says. Ordinary Iranians already face tremendous difficulties in accessing basic medicine under sanctions. This week, the board of directors of the Iranian Hemophilia Society said the lives of tens of thousands of children are being endangered by the lack of proper drugs, as a consequence of international sanctions. The Iranian Hemophilia Society notes that U.S. and international sanctions technically do not ban medical goods. Yet, despite the 'humanitarian exemption' in U.S. sanctions laws, medicine is not getting in to Iran because the "sanctions imposed on the Central Bank of Iran and the country's other financial institutions have severely disrupted the purchase and transfer of medical goods."
3) Rep. Richard Hanna [R-NY] said the Republican Party is too willing to accommodate its most extreme members, The Syracuse Post-Standard reports. Hanna pointed specifically to Michele Bachmann of Minnesota - particularly her suggestion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin be investigated to see if she has ties to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood that would compromise her loyalty.
4) A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction says significant work on five of the seven projects of the $400 million Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund has not yet begun and is unlikely to be completed until well after the NATO mission ends in 2014, the New York Times reports. Officials did not properly prepare for contingencies like the challenge and expense of running power lines through remote areas of southern Afghanistan where the Taliban is strong, the report said.
5) US meat, dairy and poultry producers called on the EPA to suspend this year's quotas for corn ethanol production because of the drought, the Guardian reports. US government forecasts of a 4% rise in food prices for US consumers because of the drought have sharpened criticism of supports for producing fuel from corn-based ethanol. Research published by the New England Complex Systems Institute warned of an "imminent food crisis" because of the diversion of corn stocks to ethanol. Food security experts and international aid organizations have warned that ethanol could be tightening up supplies and pushing up prices in the global food market during the drought. Demand for corn ethanol was seen as a key driver of the 2007 and 2008 global food crisis.
6) Physicians for Human Rights says Bahrain is engaged in systematic and disproportionate use of tear gas on its Shiite majority, permitting police officers to routinely fire volleys at point-blank range at crowds and into homes and vehicles in Shiite neighborhoods, the New York Times reports. PHR called the policy on tear gas use unprecedented in the world, even among dictatorships where tear gas is a staple tool for crowd control. PHR said the Shiite populace's abnormally prolonged exposure to the tear gas's toxic components had already led to an alarming increase in miscarriages, respiratory ailments and other maladies.
7) The Air Force general responsible for U.S. military operations in most of Latin America said he does not believe Venezuela poses a national security threat to the U.S., AP reports. "I don't see them as a national security threat," Gen. Douglas Fraser, chief of the U.S. Southern Command, told AP. Fraser's comments echo a July 11 statement by Obama that drew criticism from Romney. Obama said his "overall sense is that what Mr. Chavez has done over the past several years has not had a serious national security impact on us."
8) Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos has ratified a law deeming drug addiction a public health issue rather than a crime, according to Colombia Reports. With the new law in place, health insurance companies are obliged to cover the voluntary treatment of drug addicts. The legislation is part of several measures taken by the Santos administration to decriminalize drug use; in late June Congress passed a bill that decriminalized the possession of small doses of illegal substances like marijuana and cocaine.
1) Hunt the Hawk
Obama's new ad attacks Romney for increasing military spending. Is the attack crazy or brilliant?
William Saletan, Slate, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, at 8:00 AM ET
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP58AcoRIFs - JFP]
President Obama has just released a new TV ad. He's picking a fight with Mitt Romney over - can you believe this? - the defense budget. The ad says Romney, unlike Obama, would "increase military spending." Is Obama crazy? Isn't it political suicide to argue for a cheaper military? Apparently not.
Democrats have long suffered for looking soft on defense. Remember Mondale and the nuclear freeze? Dukakis in the tank? Clinton and the gay ban? Kerry and the $87 billion? Democrats always preferred less money for national security, but they never admitted it. Just a week ago, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Obama pledged, "We will maintain our military superiority. It will be second to none as long as I am president."
The new ad abandons this pose. Using Iraq War footage and a fat aerial photo of the Pentagon, it comes out proudly for a leaner defense budget:
"Two wars. Tax cuts for millionaires. Debt piled up. And now we face a choice. Mitt Romney's plan? A new $250,000 tax cut for millionaires. Increase military spending. Adding trillions to the deficit. Or President Obama's plan: a balanced approach. Four trillion in deficit reduction. Millionaires pay a little more."
I couldn't believe what I was seeing. So I looked up the latest poll data and compared it to previous years. And you know what? That ad isn't crazy. The polls have been moving. Obama has caught Romney on what's now, by some measures, the losing side of the issue.
For six years, the percentage of Gallup respondents who think we spend too much on defense has outpaced the percentage who think we spend too little. Since 2008, the percentage who are very satisfied with the nation's military strength has increased from 30 to 35, the percentage who are dissatisfied has shrunk from 30 to 23, and the percentage who say our national defense isn't strong enough has plunged from 47 to 32 - a two-decade low.
Every year since 2001, the Pew Research Center has asked Americans whether strengthening the U.S. military should be a top priority, a lower priority, or not a priority. This year, the percentage who called it a top priority fell to an all-time low (39), while the percentage who said it shouldn't be a priority rose to an all-time high (23). In Harris polls since 2008, the percentage favoring defense cuts has increased from 35 to 42. A table published by Harris this year tracks public opinion on 19 budget areas since 1980. Of these, defense is the only item on which support for cuts has increased.
Other polls taken in the last eight months confirm the pattern. In December, Reuters asked Americans which of six budget items we could "afford to cut back on." Defense was the most commonly selected option, outpolling education, Medicare, and Social Security. In February, CBS/New York Times interviewers asked a national sample "which of the following programs would you be willing to change in order to cut spending?" Thirteen percent picked Social Security, 15 percent picked Medicare, and 52 percent picked the military. A simultaneous National Journal survey offered respondents five areas - Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, Medicaid, and defense - and asked whether, in each case, "spending should be cut back a lot, some, or not at all to help reduce the deficit." Defense was the only target on which an affirmative majority agreed, with 60 percent endorsing cuts and only 35 percent opposing them. In April, an academic consortium headed by the Program for Public Consultation asked U.S. adults whether, in view of the federal deficit, Congress should raise some taxes, "reduce national defense spending," or "reduce non-defense spending." Respondents were invited to choose any combination of these options. Twenty-seven percent endorsed tax hikes. Fifty percent endorsed cuts in non-defense spending. Sixty-two percent endorsed defense cuts.
Among independents, the issue looks particularly dangerous for Romney. In Gallup's February sample, twice as many independents said we spend too much on defense (48 percent) as said we spend too little (22 percent). In the CBS/Times sample, when independents were asked "which of the following programs would you be willing to change in order to cut spending," only 13 percent chose Social Security, and only 14 percent chose Medicare, while 53 percent chose the military. In the PPC sample, when independents were shown the 2012 defense budget and were instructed to propose a new level for 2013, they cut it, on average, by more than a quarter.
Romney and other Republicans, blaming Obama for the prospect of across-the-board defense cuts, seem to think they have a good issue against the president. Maybe they're right. Or maybe they're too busy fighting the last war to notice that the battleground has changed.
2) New Iran Sanctions Push U.S and Iran Closer Toward War
Kate Gould, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Aug 1, 2012
Washington, DC – FCNL's Lobbyist on Middle East issues Kate Gould issued the following statement opposing the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (H.R. 1905) that is expected to reach the House floor today:
The Friends Committee on National Legislation strongly opposes the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (H.R. 1905). We believe this legislation would undermine human rights in Iran and cripple the accountability of the diplomatic process now underway to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, pushing the U.S. and Iran closer toward a devastating war.
War is the ultimate human rights violation, and this bill lays the groundwork for war by escalating the scale of economic warfare that Congress would impose on ordinary Iranian citizens. As in the case of the decades of U.S. and U.N. sanctions against Iraq that culminated in a U.S. invasion of that country, economic warfare punishes civilians, emboldens hardliners in Iran's regime, and forecloses diplomatic options to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and war.
Punishing Iranian Civilians
FCNL and ten other national advocacy and religious organizations from the human rights and peace and security community wrote to Senator Tim Johnson, Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, last week to oppose this bill and to highlight the importance of keeping channels open for Iranians to have access to food, medicine, and other humanitarian goods and services.
Ordinary Iranians already face tremendous difficulties in accessing basic medicine under sanctions. For example, this week, the board of directors of the Iranian Hemophilia Society informed the World Federation of Hemophilia that the lives of tens of thousands of children are being endangered by the lack of proper drugs, as a consequence of international sanctions.
The Iranian Hemophilia Society notes that U.S. and international sanctions technically do not ban medical goods. Yet, despite the 'humanitarian exemption' in U.S. sanctions laws, medicine is not getting in to Iran because the "sanctions imposed on the Central Bank of Iran and the country's other financial institutions have severely disrupted the purchase and transfer of medical goods."
The humanitarian exemption is of profound importance, as the U.S. business community and humanitarian organizations have pointed out. We are relieved that this legislation does not directly prohibit Iranians from accessing food, medicine, and humanitarian trade. However, if the Iranian civilian economy is destroyed by sanctions, then millions of Iranians will be deprived of their livelihoods, and unable to purchase the food, medicine, and other goods that the humanitarian exemption is supposed to protect. Further destabilization of the Iranian currency and decimation of the Iranian economy will push Iran closer to the state of Iraq when it was under sanctions. During that time, UNICEF estimated that U.N. sanctions contributed to the deaths of half a million children.
Emboldening Hardliners in Iran
This bill would embolden hardliners in the Iranian regime, at the expense of the civilians who will overwhelmingly bear the brunt of these sanctions. Just as Saddam Hussein never missed a meal under the decades of sanctions against Iraq, top Iranian officials will not have difficulty accessing food and medicine. National security expert Fareed Zakaria has noted that the U.S./U.N. sanctions' "basic effect has been to weaken civil society and strengthen the state", and that "the other effects of the sanctions has been that larger and larger parts of the economy are now controlled by Iran's Revolutionary Guard - the elite corps of the armed forces."
We are particularly concerned about section 217, which effectively endorses regime change. The provision would prohibit the president from lifting sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran unless Iran agrees to a host of conditions that the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot reasonably be expected to agree to.
As veteran intelligence officer Paul Pillar has pointed out, requiring Iran to end efforts to "acquire or develop ballistic missiles", [section 217 (d)(1)(A)(iii)] "goes beyond any United Nations resolutions on Iran, which talk about nuclear capability of missiles, and even beyond anything ever demanded of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, for which range limits were imposed. It would be understandable if Tehran reads such language as further evidence that the United States is not interested in any negotiated agreement but instead only in regime change."
The bill even requires the president to certify that Iran does not "construct, equip, operate, or maintain nuclear facilities that could aid Iran's effort to acquire a nuclear capability" [section 217 (d)(1)(A)(ii.)]: in order to lift sanctions against Iran's Central Bank. It appears that Congress is requiring that these broad, indiscriminate sanctions remain in place unless Iran surrenders its nuclear program entirely, even if it is a verifiably peaceful program.
3) Rep. Hanna: Fellow Republicans indulge the party's extreme members too much
Paul Riede, The Post-Standard, Monday, July 30, 2012, 6:04 PM
Syracuse -- U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna took his own party to task today, saying the Republican Party is too willing to accommodate its most extreme members.
"I have to say that I'm frustrated by how much we - I mean the Republican Party - are willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes in this moment in history," he told The Post-Standard editorial board.
Hanna, R-Barneveld, pointed specifically to Michele Bachmann of Minnesota - particularly her suggestion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin be investigated to see if she has ties to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood that would compromise her loyalty.
4) U.S. Fund to Rebuild Afghanistan Is Criticized
Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times, July 30, 2012
Kabul, Afghanistan - Two years ago, as the final pieces of the Obama administration's troop surge were moving into place in southern Afghanistan, American officials identified a handful of infrastructure projects that they hoped would build popular support for the Afghan government in the Taliban's heartland.
The Pentagon and State Department secured $400 million from Congress for what was christened the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund and drew up plans for seven projects, five of them aimed at increasing the electricity supply in southern Afghanistan to light shops and power factories. The projects were to be completed by mid-2013, just as the NATO combat mission was to wind down.
Yet as the remaining surge forces prepare to leave Afghanistan, significant work on five of the seven projects has not yet begun and is unlikely to be completed until well after the NATO mission ends in 2014, according to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the government agency charged with documenting how billions of dollars in American reconstruction funds are being spent.
As a result, a program that was intended to bring soldiers and civilians together to buttress the Obama administration's counterinsurgency strategy could end up undercutting it, according to the report, which is to be released Monday.
The difficulties the report describes provide insight into why the results of the surge have appeared ambiguous and the broader American-led reconstruction effort in Afghanistan has often foundered, despite the nearly $90 billion that Congress has appropriated for it over the past decade.
Some of the difficulties with the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund were to be expected in a war zone, but officials did not properly prepare for contingencies like the challenge and expense of running power lines through remote areas of southern Afghanistan where the Taliban is strong, the report said.
Other problems were the result of bureaucratic holdups in Washington. A separate power line project in eastern Afghanistan, for instance, had not been put up for bids as of February because the Pentagon was working out how to transfer the money to the State Department, which is to carry out the project through the United States Agency for International Development, the report said.
The Afghan government had little role in designing the projects or seeing the work through, the report said, though American officials in Kabul disputed this assertion.
Four of the five delayed projects involve building power lines; the fifth aims to construct provincial justice centers across the country.
As for the two projects that are roughly on schedule, both were begun under a different program, months before the infrastructure fund was created. They were then incorporated into the fund, which won Congressional financing in 2011.
One of them, the installation of diesel generators in Kandahar, was meant only to improve the city's energy supply until the power line projects were finished.
The generator project was initially budgeted at $40 million. But because the power lines are so far behind schedule, it "is expected to cost $80 million in fiscal year 2012 and increase to $100 million in fiscal year 2013," the report said.
Even then, the power lines might not be completed until September 2015, although some American officials say they could be ready by the summer of 2014, a year after the original completion date.
Once completed, it is unclear who will maintain the projects or pay for them - a problem that highlights how each part of the reconstruction mission affects the other.
"If you build a road, you also need to build a government that can keep the road passable," another American official said, adding: "We're not building good roads, and we're not building a good government."
5) US Farmers Urge Obama Administration to Suspend Ethanol Quota Amid Drought
EPA's requirements for corn ethanol will drive food prices even higher after an already distressed harvest, growers warn
Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian, Monday 30 July 2012 14.13 EDT
The Obama administration was urged on Monday to stop diverting grain to gas amid warnings of an "imminent food crisis" caused by America's drought.
US government forecasts of a 4% rise in food prices for US consumers because of the drought have sharpened criticism of supports for producing fuel from corn-based ethanol.
Meanwhile, research published last week by the New England Complex Systems Institute warned of an "imminent food crisis" because of the diversion of corn stocks to ethanol.
"Necsi has warned for months that misguided food-to-ethanol conversion programs and rampant commodity speculation have created a food price bubble, leading to an inevitable spike in prices by 2013. Now it appears the "crop shock" will arrive even sooner due to drought, unless measures to curb ethanol production and rein in speculators are adopted immediately," the researchers warned.
In the latest move, the country's meat, dairy and poultry producers called on the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend this year's quotas for corn ethanol production.
"The extraordinary and disastrous circumstances created for livestock and poultry producers by the ongoing drought in the heart of our grain growing regions requires that all relevant measures of relief be explored," said the petition to the EPA's administrator Lisa Jackson.
It went on to warn that the requirement for corn ethanol production was further beating up corn prices, which were already at record levels because of the drought in the mid-west.
"We are worried about having enough corn, soybean and other crops at any price to feed our animals," Randy Spronk, the president of the National Pork Producers Association told a conference call with reporters.
Producers were already scaling back production, and some could be forced out of business entirely, said John Burkel, president of the Minnesota Turkey Growers' Association. "Even the most prudent and cautious producer could be put out of business," he said.
Under the EPA's renewable fuel standard programme, oil companies are required to dilute their gasoline with increasing amounts of biofuel every year. This year's mandate calls for the production of 13.2bn gallons of biofuels – almost all of it produced from corn.
Food security experts and international aid organisations have also warned that ethanol could be tightening up supplies and pushing up prices in the global food market during the drought.
Demand for corn ethanol was seen as a key driver of the 2007 and 2008 global food crisis.
About 40% of America's corn crop went for ethanol last year – although the refineries then sell on "distillers' grain" as animal feed.
But with expectations for a smaller harvest this year, there are fears ethanol will consume an even bigger share of the crop.
That will price corn out of reach of livestock producers as well as countries which rely heavily on imported grains, food security experts say.
6) Bahrain Is Criticized for Its 'Torrent' of Tear Gas Use
Rick Gladstone, New York Times, August 1, 2012
Despite a pledge to stop abuses by its security forces, the ruling Sunni minority in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain is engaged in systematic and disproportionate use of tear gas on its restive Shiite majority, permitting police officers to routinely fire volleys at point-blank range at crowds and into homes and vehicles in Shiite neighborhoods, a leading rights group said in a report released on Wednesday.
The group, the Physicians for Human Rights, which has been highly critical of the Bahraini monarchy's behavior since the Shiite protests inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings began there 18 months ago, called the policy on tear gas use unprecedented in the world, even among dictatorships where tear gas is a staple tool for crowd control.
Its report, based on dozens of interviews of victims in Bahrain and forensic evidence gathered there by the group's investigators in April, said the Shiite populace's abnormally prolonged exposure to the tear gas's toxic components had already led to an alarming increase in miscarriages, respiratory ailments and other maladies.
It documented examples of grievous wounds suffered by civilians whose skulls and limbs had been struck by metal tear gas canisters blasted from a few feet away. The report also described instances in which people not engaged in protests were attacked with tear gas fired into their cars and through the windows or doors of their homes, including at least two cases in which residents died from complications from exposure to the gas because they were trapped in enclosed spaces.
"Since February 2011, the Bahraini government has unleashed a torrent of these toxic chemical agents against men, women and children, including the elderly and infirm," asserted the report, titled "Weaponizing Tear Gas."
Richard Sollom, the deputy director of the Physicians for Human Rights and an author of the report, who was scheduled to testify on Wednesday at a House hearing in Washington on whether Bahrain has adhered to its promises, said that he had become cynical about official Bahraini pledges. "What they're very good at is rhetoric, not results," he said in a telephone interview. "Literally, not much has changed."
In the 100-year history of tear gas, Mr. Sollom said, "there is no other example where a country has continually assaulted its people with this toxic chemical."
The report appeared likely to cause some awkwardness in the Obama administration, which has tempered its criticism of the Bahraini government's repression even while acknowledging the legitimacy of the protesters' grievances. Bahrain, home to the United States Navy's Fifth Fleet, which patrols the Persian Gulf, is seen as a strategic bulwark against the influence of Iran.
Mr. Sollom, who has visited Bahrain three times, said that tear gas attacks occurred weekly in some Shiite neighborhoods, and that the lingering smell was so pervasive that some residents gave guests gas masks.
He also said the Bahrain government had not responded to the group's request for a breakdown on the exact types of tear gas used by the police. Nor has it explained precisely how and where it is obtaining its tear gas, although canisters recovered on the street by activists suggest that they come from the United States, France and Brazil. Mr. Sollom noted that the United States had withheld licenses for tear gas exports to Bahrain, which suggests that any American tear gas products used there might have been stockpiled before the American restriction, or re-exported from other countries.
According to Bahrain Watch, an activist group that has chronicled the government's weapons use, the police have recently begun using unmarked tear gas canisters, presumably to obscure the country of origin.
Tear gas is the generic term for a group of at least 15 riot-control chemicals that disable people by exposing their lungs, skin and eyes to irritants.
7) Top US general: Venezuela not a national security threat
Frank Bajak, Associated Press, July 31
Lima, Peru - The Air Force general responsible for U.S. military operations in most of Latin America said Tuesday that he does not believe Venezuela, despite ongoing arms purchases and close ties to Iran, poses a national security threat to the United States.
Gen. Douglas Fraser also said he would like to see more counterdrug cooperation from Venezuela, from which most northbound cocaine smuggling flights continue to originate, according to U.S. and Colombian officials.
Fraser was asked if he thought Venezuela's newly announced development of unmanned aerial vehicles and continued purchase of billions of dollars' worth of weaponry, including anti-aircraft missiles from Russia and other nations, did not present a danger to his country.
"From my standpoint, no, I don't see it that way," he told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "I don't see them as a national security threat."
Fraser, chief of the U.S. Southern Command, said from his headquarters in Miami that he views the anti-aircraft missile purchases in particular as primarily defensive in nature.
He also said he did not consider Iran's ties with Chavez's socialist government to amount to a military alliance.
"As I look at Iran and their connection with Venezuela, I see that still primarily as a diplomatic and economic relationship," he said, with Iran using it to counter international sanctions over its alleged development of nuclear weapons.
Fraser's comments echo a July 11 statement by U.S. President Barack Obama that drew criticism from his presumed Republican challenger in November elections, Mitt Romney.
Obama said his "overall sense is that what Mr. Chavez has done over the past several years has not had a serious national security impact on us."
Romney responded by saying it was "simply naive" to think Chavez does not pose a threat to the United States.
8) Colombia enacts law recognizing drug addiction as public health issue
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, Wednesday, 01 August 2012 07:46
Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos has ratified a law deeming drug addiction a public health issue rather than a crime, local media reported Tuesday.
The newly-enacted bill recognizes "the consumption and abuse of, or addiction to, psychoactive substances, legal or illegal, as a matter of public health and the well-being of family, community and individuals."
According to Liberal Party Senator Juan Manuel Galan, Law 1566 recognizes drug addiction as an "illness" and "guarantees (...) treatment."
With the new law in place, health insurance companies are obliged to cover the voluntary treatment of drug addicts. Until Tuesday, addicts could only obtain financial resources for treatment through legal action.
The legislation is part of several measures taken by the Santos administration to decriminalize drug use; In late June Congress passed a bill that decriminalized the possession of small doses of illegal substances like marijuana and cocaine.
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