Boxer vs. Feinstein: The Path to Middle East Peace

The Huffington Post
Posted: May 17, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

In the growing national debate on US-Israel relations, California’s two US senators have very different things to say. On one side, Senator Barbara Boxer has firmly aligned herself with the pro-Israel lobby. On the other side, Senator Dianne Feinstein has adopted a more independent position in support of Middle East peace.

2010-05-12-FeinsteinBoxer-Photo_Feinstein_Boxer.jpg

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An email from Senator Dianne Feinstein

The following email was sent by US Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office to constituents who emailed her on the topic of Israel and Palestine.  Her comments reflect a clear break from the positions of AIPAC and the pro-Israel lobby.

Key excerpt:

However, like you, I have grave concerns about the expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and I believe that this issue is a major stumbling block to a peace agreement.  In my view, settlement activity should be halted until an agreement is reached.  Neither side should take any actions which would prejudice the outcome of negotiations on the final status issues.

Full email:

From:    senator@feinstein.senate.gov
To:  Sanjeev Bery
Date:  Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 4:16 PM
Subject:  U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein responding to your message
Mailed-by:  feinstein.senate.gov

Dear Mr. Bery:

Thank you for writing to express your support for the Obama Administration’s position on the expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.  I appreciate hearing from you on this topic, and welcome the opportunity to respond.

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Dollar vs. Dollar: U.S. Consumers Battle U.S. Taxpayers in Global Drug War

The Huffington Post
Posted: February 3, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

2010-02-03-DEA.jpg Although the reporting has improved in recent years, U.S. media coverage of the “war on drugs” continues to ignore the economic realities of just who is fighting who in the conflict. The drug war is best understood as a battle of dollar versus dollar — a bloody war between the dollars of U.S. taxpayers and the dollars of U.S. consumers.

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“Pretend Secrecy” Shields the White House from a Drone Missile Debate

The Huffington Post
Posted: November 5, 2009
By Sanjeev Bery

It is time to set aside the notion that U.S. drone missile attacks in Pakistan are some kind of secret. The pretense of secrecy has saved Obama Administration officials from having to publicly defend the military tactic.

But when Pakistani college students, think tank scholars, and New York Times reporters are all talking about this issue, U.S. officials should stop pretending that there is anything classified about it. Continue reading

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An interview worth reading: “The Real Problem in Afghanistan”

From Tufts Journal, September 23, 2009:

It’s a situation Andrew Wilder, F89, F96, knows all too well. A research director for the Feinstein International Center since early 2007, he managed humanitarian aid and development programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan for 10 years … Born and raised in Pakistan, Wilder came to the United States to attend college.

According to Wilder:

The more money we try to spend in this environment, which has very limited human resources and institutional capacity, inevitably money overflows into the pockets of corrupt officials. Our aid programs are actually fueling the corruption, which is de-legitimizing the government, which is fueling instability.

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The State Department is keeping track…

pakistan-map_0The U.S. State Department is now tracking the number of emails received opposing U.S. drone missile attacks in Pakistan.  What will the final number be?

50?  500?  5000?

After emailing the State Department to oppose drone missile attacks, I received the message below.  You may have as well.  This means that senior State Department officials will eventually get a report on the total emails received.

What will the report say?

If you haven’t already done so, please click here so that senior U.S. officials know that a significant number of people want the U.S. government to stop killing Pakistani civilians:  http://freedomforward.org
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US AID guards its turf in Pakistan

Over at Informed Consent, Juan Cole writes:

usaid_logo_sealThe [Kerry-Lugar Pakistan] aid bill is also controversial in Washington, where a US AID official has complained about the plan to funnel it through Pakistani contractors rather than through American ones. The Agency for International Development official maintained that Pakistani organizations cannot be monitored effectively by the US, raising the possibility that the money will be embezzled…

I understand the difficulty of auditing NGOs in dangerous places like the FATA tribal areas. But it seems to me that it must be possible to audit the Pakistani pass-through organizations elsewhere regularly, and that the shell game of Congress giving foreign aid to a country in a way that actually just benefits US corporations and contractors is counter-productive.

The original complaint came in the form of a “sensitive but unclassified” internal memo from US AID Development Economist C. Stuart Callison, Ph.D., criticizing the U.S. State Department’s shifts in the routing of Pakistan aid:

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