Action Alerts

WaPo, NYT: Review Russia reporting after CNN resignations

Three prominent CNN journalists resigned on June 26 after CNN was forced to retract and apologize for a story linking a Trump ally to a Russian investment fund under congressional investigation. The CNN story had been based on a single anonymous source. An internal investigation by CNN management found that some standard editorial processes were not followed when the article was published. [1] Buzzfeed reported that CNN has now imposed strict new publishing restrictions for online articles involving Russia.

But as Glenn Greenwald noted at The Intercept, the problem is not limited to CNN:

"CNN is hardly alone when it comes to embarrassing retractions regarding Russia. Over and over, major U.S. media outlets have published claims about the Russia Threat that turned out to be completely false - always in the direction of exaggerating the threat and/or inventing incriminating links between Moscow and the Trump circle. In virtually all cases, those stories involved evidence-free assertions from anonymous sources that these media outlets uncritically treated as fact, only for it to be revealed that they were entirely false.

Stand with Cicilline: Demand Trump stop escalating in Syria

The Trump Administration has escalated U.S. military attacks against forces associated with the Syrian government - without Congressional authorization. Under the Constitution, such military actions should not happen if they have not been authorized by Congress.

The U.S. military engaged in strikes against pro-government forces on May 18, June 6, and June 8, and shot down armed Iranian-made drones in Southern Syria on June 8 and June 20. On June 18 a U.S. fighter aircraft shot down a Syrian SU-22 bomber, marking the first time the U.S. has downed a manned Syrian aircraft in the course of the Syrian conflict. On June 26, the White House released a statement threatening further military action against the Syrian government.

The key to preventing U.S. military escalation in Syria is getting Members of Congress to speak up in writing against it. In 2013, U.S. military escalation in Syria was prevented because Members of Congress signed letters insisting that President Obama come to Congress for authorization before taking military action.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Vice Chair Rep. David Cicilline [D-RI] is circulating a letter to President Trump demanding that Trump stop escalating in Syria without Congressional authorization.

Urge your Representative to join the Cicilline letter by signing our petition.

Assert War Powers to Challenge Trump's Escalations in Syria & Yemen

Late on Monday, June 26, the White House threatened military escalation against the Syrian government. US defense officials reached by BuzzFeed News said they were unaware the White House was planning to release its statement. Military officials were caught off guard by the White House statement, the New York Times reported.

Urge your representatives to assert Congress' war powers to challenge Trump's military escalations by signing our petition at MoveOn.

As Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote at the Washington Post, "While Washington is fixated on President Trump’s tweets, antics, lies and Russiagate, the administration is ramping up a stealth escalation of our military involvement across the Middle East."

Congress has never authorized the use of military force against the Syrian government, just as it has never authorized U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. Under the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, Congress, not the President, decides if the U.S. should use military force against the Syrian government, so long as the Syrian government has not attacked the United States. Attacking Syria without Congressional authorization is an impeachable offense.

Trump has unleashed the Saudi monarchy. The House must act

Saudi Arabia's extremist monarchy is out of control, and the Trump Administration has proved unwilling or unable to rein it in.

This week, Saudi Arabia's monarchy elevated as its heir Mohammed bin Salman - the man most responsible for the Saudi war and blockade in Yemen that has deliberately pushed Yemen to the brink of famine and ignited a deadly cholera outbreak across the country. [1]

Then, when U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Saudi Arabia to articulate "reasonable and actionable" demands for ending its blockade of U.S. ally Qatar - which hosts the largest U.S. base in the Middle East - Saudi Arabia responded by demanding that Qatar shut down broadcaster Al Jazeera, expel non-Qataris from Qatar, stop funding other news outlets including Middle East Eye, and shut down Qatari diplomatic posts in Iran.

Left to its own devices, the Trump Administration is not going to save millions of Yemenis from Saudi-imposed famine. Saudi Arabia has defied the UN Security Council's call for ceasefire. Congress must act.

Urge your Representative to force a House vote on withdrawing U.S. backing from Saudi Arabia's war by signing our petition at MoveOn.

South Korea's new president wants diplomacy. Let's give him an "Amen!"

South Koreans have elected a new president, Moon Jae-in, who campaigned on a pledge to engage in talks with North Korea to freeze and reverse its nuclear program and pursue diplomacy to finally put an end to the Korean conflict. That's a positive development, right? But many in Washington and their allies in big media don't think so. More international tension means more profits for politically influential arms contractors, more fear, more distraction from meeting human needs, at home and abroad.

Later this month, President Moon is traveling to Washington to meet President Trump. Dominant voices in Washington will pressure the South Korean president to toe the pro-escalation line. We're teaming up with a big coalition of groups on a joint petition to generate counter-pressure to keep space open for diplomacy.

Add your name to let President Moon know we support his efforts for a peaceful resolution to the nuclear crisis with North Korea.

House: Back UN Call for Saudi-Yemen Cease-fire to Stop Cholera & Famine

On June 15, the United Nations Security Council unanimously called for a cease-fire in the conflict between the Saudi-UAE coalition and the Houthi-Saleh forces in Yemen. "The U.N. Security Council urged the warring parties in Yemen on Thursday to immediately agree on a cease-fire and keep all ports open for humanitarian aid to confront the threat of famine and the rapid spread of cholera," AP reported.

Urge your Rep. to force a House vote to back the UN call for ceasefire.

On June 13, using the Arms Export Control Act to force a floor vote, the U.S. Senate narrowly failed to block an arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Senators opposed to the deal stressed the need to end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen rather than escalate it.

"The Saudi-led war in Yemen has created a humanitarian disaster," Senator Bernie Sanders said. "Millions are at the risk of starvation...the chaos in Yemen has also been strategically disastrous for the United States, providing fertile ground for the extremist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS...it is long past time that we begin to take a very hard look at our relationship with Saudi Arabia...it is important that we begin to discuss...the decades long effort by Saudi Arabia to export an ultra-reactionary form of Islam throughout the world."

Saudi-Yemen War-Famine Senate Vote: Praise & Protest

On June 13, 2017, the Senate narrowly failed to vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal, reflecting "mounting concern over the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s war," according to the New York Times. "Nearly half of the U.S. Senate sent an overwhelmingly clear message to Riyadh that ... it needs to stop killing civilians in Yemen," Human Rights Watch said.

The vote was 47-53, with 43 Democrats and 4 Republicans voting against Saudi Arabia and 48 Republicans and five Democrats voting in favor of Saudi Arabia. The Republicans voting against Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen were Heller (R-NV), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), and Young (R-IN). The Democrats voting in favor of Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen were Donnelly (D-IN), Manchin (D-WV), McCaskill (D-MO), Nelson (D-FL), and Warner (D-VA). Special scorn goes to Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who, while Republican, pretends to care about human rights. Yet Rubio voted to support Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen. Special praise goes to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who excoriated Saudi Arabia's export of extremist ideology in a fiery speech on the Senate floor.

Praise and protest your Senators by signing and sharing our petition.

Then call your Senators at 1-855-68-NO-WAR [1-855-686-6927]. If they voted against Saudi Arabia, say: "Thank you for voting against Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen." If they voted in favor of Saudi Arabia, say: "Shame on you for voting to support Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen." When you've made your calls, report them below.

Saudi-Yemen War-Famine Senate Vote: Praise & Punish

On June 13, 2017, the Senate narrowly failed to vote against Trump's Saudi arms deal, reflecting "mounting concern over the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s war," according to the New York Times. "Nearly half of the U.S. Senate sent an overwhelmingly clear message to Riyadh that ... it needs to stop killing civilians in Yemen," Human Rights Watch said. [1] The vote was 47-53, with 43 Democrats and 4 Republicans voting against Saudi Arabia and 48 Republicans and five Democrats voting in favor of Saudi Arabia. The Republicans voting against Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen were Heller (R-NV), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), and Young (R-IN). The Democrats voting in favor of Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen were Donnelly (D-IN), Manchin (D-WV), McCaskill (D-MO), Nelson (D-FL), and Warner (D-VA). Special scorn goes to Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who, while Republican, pretends to care about human rights. Yet Rubio voted to support Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen. [2] Special praise goes to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who excoriated Saudi Arabia's export of extremist ideology in a fiery speech on the Senate floor. [3]

Call your Senators at 1-855-68-NO-WAR [1-855-686-6927]. If they voted against Saudi Arabia, say: "Thank you for voting against Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen." If they voted in favor of Saudi Arabia, say: "Shame on you for voting to support Saudi Arabia's imposition of famine in Yemen."

When you've made your calls, please report them below.

Then "Praise and punish" your Senators by signing and sharing our petition at MoveOn.

Join Mark Pocan & Peter Beinart: "Don't Jail This 'Palestinian Gandhi'"

As Peter Beinart reports in the Forward, Hebron's Issa Amro has been preaching nonviolent resistance in the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr for almost two decades. Amro's organization, Youth Against Settlements, frequently hosts Israeli activists. Amro has won awards from the UN and the EU. Amro doesn’t just oppose violence, he's gone to extraordinary lengths to stop it.

In retaliation for his advocacy of nonviolence, Beinart reports, Amro faces 18 criminal charges. If convicted, he’ll likely serve a long prison sentence. Amnesty International notes, "Some of the charges ... are not recognizable criminal offences under international standards." The changes include incitement, protesting without a permit and "insulting a soldier." Amro also faces two charges of assault. Amnesty calls these allegations "baseless," noting, "One of the charges of assault refers to an incident ... that took place after he had already been arrested and was therefore not present." Amro faces trial in a military court where the conviction rate exceeds 99%. As the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem reported in 2015, "A Palestinian charged in a military court is as good as convicted."

Congress: Vote NO on Trump's Saudi Arms Deal

There's a big Congressional fight coming on Trump's Saudi arms deal. This deal is controversial because Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are using U.S. weapons to kill civilians and destroy civilian infrastructure in Yemen, deliberately trying to create famine in Yemen; and because Trump's Saudi arms deal is widely seen as a U.S. seal of approval for escalation of the catastrophic Saudi-UAE war and blockade.

Under the Arms Export Control Act, Congress has thirty days to pass a resolution of disapproval to block the deal. Senators Chris Murphy [D-CT] and Rand Paul [R-KY] and Representatives Mark Pocan [D-WI] and Justin Amash [R-MI] are expected to introduce resolutions of disapproval within days.

On June 16, 2016, the House narrowly failed to block the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. 90% of Democrats and 20% of Republicans voted against giving Saudi Arabia these intrinsically anti-civilian weapons. To block Trump's Saudi arms deal, we have to make this be like the House Saudi cluster bomb vote, and then do just a little better than that - a few more Democrats and/or a few more Republicans.