“Struggling Under the Sanctions”: Petition to Help Iranian Students in US Universities

Please consider signing this petition by the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) to ask the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to allow Iranian students with F-1 visas – who are increasingly finding it difficult to pay their tuition given the depreciation of the Iranian rial due to sanctions – the opportunity to work off-campus, an ability that they do not currently have with those visas.

Also see what good work Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) is doing to help struggling Iranian students.

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Being an American citizen just doesn’t have the same perks anymore.

NBC News reported yesterday that that they had in their possession a declassified document that permits the targeted killing of individuals who are part of terrorist groups…even if they’re American citizens.

This Department of Justice (DOJ) “white paper” (click here for the actual document) is a shortened version of a much longer 2010 legal memo that solidifies governmental approval for extrajudicial killings if the individual if “‘an informed, high-level official’ deems him to present a ‘continuing’ threat to the country…even if the target has never been charged with a crime or informed of the allegations against him, and even if the target is not located anywhere near an actual battlefield.”

The ACLU does a great job walking through the paper’s contradictions. They’re also in the throes of a FOIA request regarding the targeted killings of three US citizens in Yemen; legal memos surrounding the al-Awlaki and Khan killings are still secret.

Here is another comprehensive walk-through of the white paper and its implications by David Cole. 

Lawfare thinks you should “calm down about it” and does a great walk-through of what the paper “is and isn’t”.

Obama granted congressional intelligence committees with classified DOJ legal memos regarding the targeted killing of Americans abroad. An ex-Obama aide (and military bigshot) is quoted in the New York Times as thinking that the direction the administration is headed in the context of targeted killings via drones is counter-productive in decreasing the incidence of religious extremism in the Middle East. Here’s the money quote: ““We’re seeing that blowback,” General Cartwright, who is retired from the military, said at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “If you’re trying to kill your way to a solution, no matter how precise you are, you’re going to upset people even if they’re not targeted.””

Consult these five myths about drones, according to Mark Jacobsen of the German Marshall Fund, to see if you agree.

The House Judiciary held a hearing on “Drones Targeting American Terrorist Suspects Overseas”, which you can view in its entirety here.

Here’s a senatorial blowback (11 to be exact) to the white paper, calling on President Obama to “ensure that Congress is provided with secret legal opinions outlining [his] authority to authorize the killing of Americas in the course of counterterrorism operations”.

What’s “Incitement to Genocide?”

I just learned that this morning there was a conference at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum here in Washington, DC titled “Hate Speech and the Incitement to Genocide”. My boss, who attended it, explained that “incitement to genocide” is the intersection of when hate speech activates action that ends in genocide. The central point of the conference is a truly fascinating notion that explores power dynamics and group psychology and over-arching themes in international war crimes and civil rights. Speakers at the conference included greats such as the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Opinion and Expression Rafael Frank La Rue Lewy, the Ambassador of Norway to the United States Wegger Chr. Strommen, and the UN Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng, among several others.

Interested in learning more about the “incitement to genocide”? Check out the Special Rapporteur on the Right to the Freedom of Opinion and Expression’s most recent report here; take particular note about the “criminalization of expression” on pages 14-16, paragraphs 78-91. Also check out the Holocaust Museum’s Holocaust Encyclopedia entry about the subject here. Finally, see what Physicians for Human Rights is doing to mass atrocities here.