News Release Archive - 2013

Calls to Reinstate Edward Snowden’s Passport

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/snowdenpassport.jpg

RAY McGOVERN, rrmcgovern at gmail.com
McGovern is a veteran CIA analyst whose responsibilities included chairing National Intelligence Estimates. He recently presented Edward Snowden with the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, in Moscow, along with past Sam Adams award recipients and whistleblowers Thomas Drake, Jesselyn Radack and Coleen Rowley. They have signed a RootsAction.org petition for Snowden to have his passport reinstated, which now has over 44,000 signatories. See: SupportEdwardSnowden.org.

Also see McGovern’s piece: “Snowden Accepts Whistleblower Award.”

ELIZABETH MURRAY, emurray404 at aol.com
Murray is also a member of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence and served as deputy national intelligence officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government. Murray wrote the piece “Why Snowden’s Fate Matters.”

McGovern and the other three signers write: “Vindictive U.S. officials revoked the passport of Snowden, whose disclosures have informed and educated the people of the United States and the world about secret surveillance and massive data-gathering that the NSA and other government agencies are engaged in within the U.S. and around the world. …

“Proposals for serious reforms that will enhance security as well as preserve constitutional rights are now being studied and debated in Congress as a result of the disclosures. Snowden made it clear in our conversation with him that achieving debate and reform of the unethical, illegal and counter-productive massive data collection was his sole motivation and remains his focus. He hopes to play a continuing role in that debate, even if it’s at long-distance from Russia where he was granted temporary asylum.

“The least we can do in recognition of Snowden’s personal sacrifices on behalf of all of our civil liberties and human rights is to sign and share this petition urging Secretary of State John Kerry to restore the NSA whistleblower’s passport.”

Feinstein Trying to Codify Mass NSA Surveillance of Americans

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Sen_Dianne_Feinstein-_1355755621616_341215_ver1.0_320_240.jpgSHAHID BUTTAR, media at bordc.org, @bordc
Executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Buttar is said today: “As Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) bears responsibility for the NSA’s spying programs. In fact, the committee she leads was originally created specifically to stop these abuses: the last time Congress investigated our nation’s intelligence agencies, in the 1970s, it discovered widespread constitutional violations and what the U.S. Senate called a ‘sophisticated vigilante operation’ aimed at suppressing certain points of view.

“This week, only two days after the authors of the PATRIOT Act introduced a measure to curtail abuses under the law they enabled, Sen. Feinstein has introduced her own bill. Whereas the USA Freedom Act proposed by Senator Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Sensennbrenner (R-Wis.) would dramatically curtail mass surveillance and executive secrecy, however, Senator Feinstein’s bill — which we could safely call the NSA Entrenchment Act — would merely paper over NSA abuses, codify dragnet spying, and entrench the programs started illegally in secret under the Bush administration despite mounting global controversy.”

See Trevor Timm’s piece “Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s New NSA Bill Will Codify and Extend Mass Surveillance of Americans.” Also see: MSNBC: “Feinstein gives the NSA what it wants” and “Dianne Feinstein Is Still a Friend of the NSA After All.”

Snowden-Germany Deal in the Works? Testimony for Asylum

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/German-politician-Hans-Ch-010.jpgKEVIN GOSZTOLA, kevin.gosztola at firedoglake.com, @kgosztola
Gosztola writes “The Dissenter” blog for Firedoglake. He said today: “Presumably, if Snowden were to testify about spying on the Chancellor, Germany wouldn’t turn him over to the country that had done the spying.”

Gosztola just wrote the piece “Exclusive: Human Rights Attorneys Have Been Working with German Politicians on Asylum for Snowden,” which states: “Human rights attorneys have been discussing the possibility of asylum for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden with left-wing politicians in Germany. The plan being developed involves giving testimony in an official government setting on recent revelations, such as the fact that the United States spied on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone. In return, he would be given asylum.

“Jesselyn Radack, an attorney and national security and human rights director of the Government Accountability Project, confirmed the above details as part of an exclusive for Firedoglake. She noted that this news, although premature, had leaked on Twitter by an ‘unidentified’ source.

“The tweet included a hat-tip to WikiLeaks, which may suggest that Sarah Harrison, who helped Snowden fly out of Hong Kong and later obtain asylum from Russia, has been part of efforts to secure a German asylum offer. Harrison has stayed in Russia fearing if she traveled back to the United Kingdom she might be detained.

“Radack traveled with NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley and former CIA officer Ray McGovern to Moscow to meet Snowden earlier this month. She has represented a number of NSA whistleblowers and spoken on a number of occasions on behalf of Snowden.”

Gosztola added: “The Local in Germany reported a number of details about this on October 28. The two main political parties in Germany have agreed to debate the ‘spying accusations’ on November 18, as part of a ‘special sitting of parliament.’ Calls for the parliamentary investigative committee to ‘look into the spying accusations’ are growing amongst politicians.

“‘Some are even demanding Edward Snowden be coaxed out of hiding in Russia, where he has been granted asylum, to travel to Germany to act as the committee’s star witness,’ the Local reported.

“Thomas Opperman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany said Snowden is ‘highly credible’ and ‘obviously a valuable witness’ for Germany. Opperman heads the ‘parliamentary control committee,’ which is responsible for oversight of the country’s intelligence services.”

The Local reported: “…if Snowden were to abandon his hideout in Russia, added Oppermann, he could not see Germany handing him over to the USA to face trial.

“Germany was unlikely, he said, to deliver ‘someone who had uncovered a serious act of spying against the Chancellor’ over to the very country ‘which did this spying.'”

Other recent pieces by Gosztola on related issues include: “More Evidence of NSA’s Hoarding Complex: Agency Collecting Data from Links to Google, Yahoo Data Centers,” “At Congressional Briefing, Drone Victims Share Dreams of a Life in Pakistan Without Fear” and “Senator Feinstein’s Fraudulent Response to Revelations of NSA Spying on U.S. Allies.” Gosztola covers secrecy, whistleblowing, NSA, drones, WikiLeaks and related civil liberties issues for Firedoglake. He is co-author of the book Truth & Consequences: The U.S. vs. Private Manning.

Obamacare “Taking a Failed Market System to a Whole New Level”

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/acf.jpgKEVIN ZEESE, kzeese at earthlink.net, @KBZeese
MARGARET FLOWERS, M.D., mdpnhp at gmail.com, @MFlowers8
Zeese and Flowers wrote “Obamacare: The Biggest Insurance Scam in History,” just published by truth-out.org.

The piece states: “The ACA [Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare] takes our failed market-based system to a whole new level by forcing the uninsured to purchase private health plans and using the government to sell and subsidize them.

“Sadly, most Americans are being manipulated into supporting the ACA and do not even know they are being bamboozled. … But it is the insurance companies that are realizing windfall profits from the Obamacare con even as it falters.

“The mass media is focused on the technical problems with getting the insurance exchanges up and running. These problems result from the complexity of the law and outsourcing of services to corporations that are often more costly and less effective than government. In comparison, in 1965 when Medicare started, everyone 65 and over was enrolled within six months – using index cards.

“If all U.S. residents were in one plan, Medicare for all, rather than the ACA’s tiered system that institutionalizes the class divides in the United States, not only would the health system be fairer and improve health outcomes, but it would be less bureaucratic, less costly and easier to implement. The Medicare-for-all approach considers health care to be a public good, something that all people need, like schools, roads and fire departments.”

The piece also notes that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen “Sebelius is seeking funds from groups like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and H&R Block. And the Hill noted, ‘Obama himself made a vague but personal appeal for a close partnership with insurers, which some in the industry saw as a precursor to direct fundraising pitches.’ In April 2013, ‘Obama reportedly sat in for an hour-long meeting he was initially not scheduled to attend and told insurance executives that the White House and the industry were now “joined at the hip” trying to make the healthcare law work.'”

Zeese and Flowers host ClearingtheFOGRadio.org and co-direct It’s Our Economy. Flowers is former congressional fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program and is on the board of Healthcare-Now.

NSA Scandals

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/912012.10327170.jpgCOLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan at earthlink.net, @ColeenRowley
Rowley is a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo described some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures and was named one of Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. She recently wrote a piece for CNN: “Massive Spying on Americans is Outrageous.” She said today: “Although he may not have been fully briefed, it’s extremely unlikely Obama was ‘kept in the dark.'”

Regarding the scheduled departure of National Intelligence Director James Clapper and NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, Rowley said: “As long as the status quo remains unchanged, this type of moving chairs on the deck of the Titanic would probably suit everyone who was and is a part of the massive and highly profitable Top Secret America spy machine.

“Having participated in numerous conversations between investigators and prosecutors, in attempts to assess individuals’ varying degrees of possible criminal intent when acting in larger groups and conspiracies, group ‘greenlighting’ always defuses personal responsibility and impedes all participants’ ability to think.

“Without a John Dean, such long-standing corrupt practices and cabals are hard to fully unravel. A Deep Throat’s whistleblowing can start the unraveling, but it’s not enough. It took the flipping of higher-level complicity, insider John Dean, to bring down Nixon and all the president’s men.

“Yes, Obama is a puppet, but a very willing one. You actually think that someone, and a ‘constitutional lawyer’ at that, who willingly participates in, supports and continues to justify operation of a kill list would have a problem with merely listening in to foreign leaders (of which foreign ‘intelligence’ gathering has a long history)?!”

MARCY WHEELER, emptywheel at gmail.com, @emptywheel
A noted blogger on legal issues, Wheeler writes at EmptyWheel.net where she has written as series of pieces on recent developments on the NSA story. She said Tuesday: “Today marks the launch of competing efforts to legislatively amend the NSA’s massive spying programs. On the one hand, Dianne Feinstein marks up a bill designed mostly to codify the existing restrictions the FISA Court has imposed on the NSA. Bizarrely, she’s doing this one day after admitting she doesn’t know everything the NSA has been doing. On the other hand, proposals, like that of Rush Holt, propose repealing the PATRIOT Act itself. That leaves the middle ground — a proposal backed by Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy — which would limit the existing laws to what the publicly stated intent of them was when originally passed, which would dramatically curtail the exposure of completely innocent Americans to such spying.”

ANGELA BRADBERY, abradbery at citizen.org, @citizenangela
Bradbery is director of communications for Public Citizen, which released a statement today: “Public Citizen Defends Merchant From Unconstitutional Interference by NSA, Department of Homeland Security,” which states: “A Minnesota activist who uses images and names of government agencies on satirical merchandise is entitled to do so under the First Amendment, Public Citizen argued in a lawsuit filed today against the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of the merchant.

“The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, targets cease-and-desist letters sent to the merchant’s producer by the NSA and DHS.

“On his website LibertyManiacs.com, Sauk Rapids, Minn., resident Dan McCall sells T-shirts, hats, bumper stickers and other items with his designs, printed by Zazzle.com – for example, a mug with the NSA seal above the words ‘Spying On You Since 1952’ and a parodied NSA seal that says ‘Peeping While You’re Sleeping’ above the words ‘The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens.'”

NSA “Stop Watching Us” Protest

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At noon on Saturday, the “Stop Watching Us” rally against mass NSA surveillance begins at Union Station in Washington, D.C. The following analysts will be at the protest and are available for interviews:

LOGAN PRICE, logan at riseup.net, @kstrel
Price is a filmmaker who produced the “Stop Watching Us” video featuring Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, Rep. John Conyers, director Oliver Stone, actors John Cusack and Maggie Gyllenhaal and others.

SHAHID BUTTAR, media at bordc.org,@bordc
Buttar is executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. He said today: “Hidden in the shadows, the NSA has for years waged a war on the rights of innocent Americans caught up in its domestic dragnet. Confused by evasion and outright lies from executive officials under both the Bush and Obama administrations, Congress has repeatedly expanded the NSA’s authorities while courts have blindly rubber stamped its mass constitutional violations. Now that We the People have learned a piece of the truth, we are mobilizing across the country, and the partisan spectrum, to reclaim America — and our rights ensured by our Constitution.”

NORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive at gmail.com, @normansolomon
Solomon just wrote the piece “Why Snowden’s Passport Matters.” He also recently wrote a piece outlining connections between the NSA spying, the government clamping down on whistleblowers and launching wars: “Every president who wants to launch another war can’t abide whistleblowers. They might interfere with the careful omissions, distortions and outright lies of war propaganda, which requires that truth be held in a kind of preventative detention.”

Solomon is founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. His is the co-founder of RootsAction.org which has launched a petition to reinstate Snowden’s passport.

KEVIN GOSZTOLA, kevin.gosztola at firedoglake.com, @kgosztola
Gosztola covers secrecy, whistleblowing, NSA, drones, WikiLeaks and related civil liberties issues for Firedoglake. He is co-author of the book Truth & Consequences: The U.S. vs. Private Manning. Recently, he interviewed NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake upon his return to the U.S. from visiting Edward Snowden in Russia (a group of whistleblowers presented Snowden with an award). The interview is significant since Drake attempted to blow the whistle on wrongdoing by going through normal channels at the NSA — which lead to him being targeted. Says Gosztola of Snowden: “He couldn’t have gone through proper channels. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program inspired him to act.” Gosztola notes that Snowden recently told James Risen of the New York Times that he doesn’t have any of the documents he leaked and none were compromised during his time in Hong Kong or Russia.

THOMAS FERGUSON, thomas.ferguson at umb.edu
Ferguson (who will not be at the protest this weekend) was just featured on the IPA news release “Study on Campaign Cash Behind the National Surveillance State.” He is professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, senior fellow of the Roosevelt Institute and contributing editor at AlterNet.

New Study on Campaign Cash Behind the National Surveillance State

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THOMAS FERGUSON, thomas.ferguson at umb.edu
PAUL JORGENSEN, jorgensenpd at utpa.edu
Ferguson is professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, senior fellow of the Roosevelt Institute, and contributing editor at AlterNet. Paul Jorgensen is assistant professor of political science at the University of Texas Pan American and a lab fellow of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University. With Jie Chen, they have just completed a major study of campaign finance in the 2012 election. They summarize their results on AlterNet: “Who Buys the Spies? The Hidden Corporate Cash Behind America’s Out-of-Control National Surveillance State.”http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/table2x.jpg

They comment today: “As the storm over surveillance broke, we were completing a statistical analysis of campaign contributions in 2012, using an entirely new dataset that we constructed from the raw material provided by the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service. … In our big sample, which pretty well approximates ‘business as a whole,’ Obama trailed far behind Romney.”

But they continue: “In sharp contrast to … claims that big business was deeply suspicious of the president, our statistical results show that a large and powerful bloc of ‘industries of the future’ — telecommunications, high tech, computers, and software — showed essentially equal or higher percentages of support for the president in 2012 than they did for Romney.

“We think this finding is the most significant of all: Firms in many of the industries directly involved in the surveillance programs were relative bastions of support for the president.

“Bush and Cheney may have invented it, but national Democratic leaders are full-fledged players in this 21st century National Surveillance State and the interest group pressures that now help to sustain its defenders in Washington work just as powerfully on Democrats as on Republicans.”

They add that “we do not believe that it would be impossible to strike a reasonable balance between the demands of security and freedom that accords with traditional Fourth Amendment principles. … But a system dominated by firms that want to sell all your data working with a government that seems to want to collect nearly all of it through them is unlikely to produce that.”

A preliminary version of their longer study, with several tables, is available as a Roosevelt Institute Working Paper: “Party Competition and Industrial Structure in the 2012 Elections: Who’s Really Driving the Taxi to the Dark Side?

JPMorgan “Laughing All the Way to the Bank”

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/jamiedimonumbrella.jpgWILLIAM K. BLACK, blackw at umkc.edu
Black is an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A former bank regulator who led investigations of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, he is the author of the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One. He just wrote the piece “Will the JPMorgan Chase Settlement be Fair to the Public?” for CNN.com. The piece states: “If the reports of a proposed $13 billion settlement between the Justice Department and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are correct, the public and the company’s shareholders will not see justice done.

“While the tentative deal is being portrayed as a larger settlement, it really represents the company coming forward with an additional $9 billion. The other $4 billion represents loan workouts that JPMorgan would do anyway to reduce its losses on mortgages that would otherwise cause it greater losses through foreclosure. …

“A settlement of this kind would release JPMorgan and its officers from civil and criminal liability for a wide range of alleged frauds. Many of these alleged frauds added to the profits of JPMorgan and the companies it acquired. The shareholders should not be enriched by fraud.

“Where officers’ frauds created profits that enriched the shareholders, JPMorgan should fire such officers, and the Justice Department should prosecute and recover any fraud proceeds. JPMorgan should pay the damages it caused to others through fraud. In cases where a firm’s senior officers engage in a wide range of frauds, the courts should award punitive damages against the officers and the firm.

“The problem in terms of justice is when the frauds created fictional profits that enriched corporate officers through unjust bonuses but also created real losses that were booked by the company years later. The shareholders suffer twice from such frauds — they paid the unjust bonuses and then have to bear the losses.”

ROBERT SCHEER, bobscheer at gmail.com
Editor of TruthDig.com, Scheer just wrote the piece “What Fine? Why JPMorgan Is Laughing All the Way to the Bank,” which states: “The point of accountability for the bank’s failing is crucial because [JPMorgan head Jamie] Dimon has been a leading opponent of tougher banking regulations since before even the 2008 crisis. In the 1990s, Dimon had worked with Sanford I. Weill of Citigroup in gutting the sensible restraints of the Glass-Steagall law, and once those restrictions on too-big-to-fail banks were removed, Dimon built JPMorgan Chase into what is now the biggest U.S. financial institution by assets. Dimon has been an outspoken opponent of even minor attempts to stiffen such regulations during the hearings on the Dodd-Frank legislation.

“Dimon denounced the tepid efforts of his old Chicago buddy-turned-president to bring a modicum of oversight to the financial industry and pointedly soured on the Democrats in the last election. This despite the fact that Obama had appointed former JPMorgan executive William Daley to be his chief of staff and that then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had more frequent contact with Dimon than with any other financial industry executive.”

Scheer’s books include The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.

Complexity “Baked into Obamacare”

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President Obama addressed Obamacare today, claiming that he is open to “working with anyone” to make the law better. The following analysts are available for interviews:

RUSSELL MOKHIBER, russellmokhiber at gmail.com
Founder of Single Payer Action, Mokhiber said today: “Complexity is baked into Obamacare and is thus doomed to fail. When Medicare was rolled out in 1966, there were no computers. More than 20 million people were enrolled over six months. On index cards. Repeal Obamacare. Replace with single payer. Simple. Secure. Stable. No co-pays. No deductibles. Controls costs. No more deaths due to lack of health insurance. No more medical bankruptcies. Everybody in. Nobody out. Free choice of hospital and doctor.”

PHILIP CAPER, M.D., pcpcaper21 at gmail.com
Caper is a doctor in Portland, Maine and regular columnist at the Bangor Daily News. He recently wrote the piece “The High Costs of Complexity in Health Care Reform.” Caper said today: “The problem with the ACA is not that the federal government is involved, but that literally thousands of private insurers have their fingers in the cookie jar, resulting in a law that is much too complicated for what it needs to accomplish, and too complex for anybody to administer efficiently and effectively. … Together, Medicare and Social Security — both run by the federal government — have been successfully providing access to private health care and income security for millions of seniors and the disabled for almost 50 years. They have been a major factor in keeping seniors in our country out of poverty. … We need expanded and improved Medicare-for-All. And we need to vote any politician who won’t advance us toward that goal out of office.”

MARGARET FLOWERS, M.D., mdpnhp at gmail.com, @MFlowers8
Flowers recently wrote the piece “Beyond the Spin, Some Facts about the Affordable Care Act.” She said today: “In what is perhaps the greatest corporate scam ever, not only did the health insurance corporations write the federal health law, called the Affordable Care Act, to enhance their profits, but now they also have the government and non-profit groups doing the work of marketing their shoddy products. The foundation of the ACA, the mandate that uninsured individuals purchase private insurance if they do not qualify for public insurance, begins in 2014 and the state health insurance exchanges where people can purchase that insurance opened on October 1. A new non-profit organization called Enroll America was created to organize and train grassroots activists to seek out the uninsured (they even provide maps) and assist them in using the exchanges.

“Billions of public dollars and tremendous efforts are being spent to create new health insurance markets, advertise them, subsidize their products and actively solicit buyers for them. But the United States, as the only industrialized nation to use a market-based health care system, has already proved over the past 40 years, that this system doesn’t work. It is the most expensive, leaves the most out and leads to poor health outcomes. It means that people only receive the health care they can afford, not what they need.”

Flowers served as congressional fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program and is on the board of Healthcare-Now. She is co-director of It’s Our Economy and co-host of Clearing the FOG Radio Show.

Malala and the Courage of Speaking Against Drone Killing

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/malala-580x386.jpegSixteen-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai has been widely covered recently for fighting against the repression of the Taliban. However, the media watch group FAIR notes that a critical part of her recent visit with President Obama “didn’t register in a corporate media that followed Malala’s visit, and her story, very closely.”

FAIR cites an exceptional piece by McClatchy, “Malala Yousafzai Tells Obama Drones Are ‘Fueling Terrorism.’

[In related news, the Washington Post reports: “Documents Reveal NSA’s Extensive Involvement in Targeted Killing Program.” The New York Times notes that Jeh Johnson, expected to be nominated today to head the Department of Homeland Security, “during his tenure at the Defense Department … shaped the Obama administration’s policies on the detention of terrorism suspects and on targeted drone strikes…” The Voice of America reports: “Drones, Afghanistan to Top Agenda During Pakistani Leader Trip to Washington.”]

MALALAI JOYA, via Sonali Kolhatkar, sonali at afghanwomensmission.org
Available for a limited number of interviews, Joya is author of the book A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Woman Who Dared to Speak Out. She is on a speaking tour in the U.S. until the middle of next week.

Owais Tohid in the Christian Science Monitor, reported last year that Malala Yousafzai said of Joya: “I want to be a social activist and an honest politician like her.”

Joya was the youngest woman ever elected to the Afghan parliament in 2005. She has survived numerous assassination attempts and in 2007 was suspended from the Afghan Parliament because of her criticisms of warlords, fundamentalists and the NATO occupation of Afghanistan. See her statement following the attack on Yousafzai: “The Courage to Say No to Misogyny.”

Joya said today: “I admire the courage of Malala Yousafzai. She fortunately has a consciousness to stand up for her rights and the rights of women to say no to the misogyny of the Taliban. I am happy that she strongly believes in the power of education. It is part of my message to the world to empower our people educationally as a key against occupation, against extremist fundamentalists for justice, peace and democracy.

“My advice to Malala as her ‘older sister’ in this struggle is that fighting against misogynist terrorists is incomplete or meaningless if she does not extend that to their foreign masters like the U.S. government. She should more strongly raise her voice against the drone attacks. Malala should know all the realities of the so-called War on Terror or the empty banner of ‘hope and change’ of Obama. She should know that the Taliban were brainwashed in Pakistani madrassas with the support of the U.S. CIA. She should fight not only against extremist fundamentalists but also against the Western governments and warmongers. Otherwise the struggle will not be complete.”

Sonali Kolhatkar is co-director of the Afghan Women’s Mission, which, along with the United National Antiwar Committee, is sponsoring Joya’s U.S. tour.

HUMNA BHOJANI, humna.bhojani at gmail.com, @bhojanio
Bhojani recently wrote in the piece “Dear President Obama, What Have You Fixed by Meeting Malala?“: “Thank you for your meeting with an impressive young lady from my country, and for showing concern over the citizens of Pakistan. … The Pakistani public very much appreciates your sympathy and support for Malala, who was shot by your enemy, the Taliban. It’s heart-wrenching when Pakistani children get hurt, no? Or is it only heart-wrenching when Pakistani children get hurt by the Taliban? What of Pakistani children who get hurt as a result of the actions of your military or your CIA? What of the Pakistani children who get hurt because of your country’s involvement here?

“Since your country started the drone program in 2004, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that as of August 1, 2012 between 482 and 849 civilians have been killed by drones in Pakistan. Many of these are children. That estimate represents the full range of civilian casualties credibly reported in reliable sources, some of which the TBIJ has corroborated with it’s in own field investigations in Pakistan. In fact, between 2006 and 2009 alone, a leaked document by the Pakistani government estimates 147 civilian deaths, 94 of which were children.

“As you probably noticed, these numbers do not include those children who were injured.

“A year ago on October 24th, two children — 13-year-old Zubair and 9-year-old Nabila — were injured by a CIA drone strike. On Oct. 26 of this year, these brave survivors are coming to D.C. to testify before Congress. Won’t you also invite them to the White House, Mr President? Won’t you smile for a photo with them? Won’t you tell them about the billions of American dollars spent on wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan?”