News Release

* Iran Talks * Yemen Drone Kills * Afghanistan “Apology”

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/s1.reutersmedia.netx_.jpgWILLIAM O. BEEMAN, Skype: wbeeman, wbeeman at umn.edu
Talks regarding Iran’s nuclear program resumed today in Geneva. Author of The ‘Great Satan’ vs. the ‘Mad Mullahs’: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other, Beeman just wrote the piece “Understanding the Iranian Perspective in Nuclear Negotiations.”

REBECCA VILKOMERSON, rebecca at jewishvoiceforpeace.org
Vilkomerson is executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace. She said today: “We strongly support continuing diplomatic efforts with Iran at this critical moment. We see calls to pass new sanctions or restrictive policy language that would undercut U.S. diplomatic efforts as counter-productive and dangerous. Jewish American institutions that are promoting these measures are not representative of the Jewish American community.”

BARAA SHIBAN, baraashiban at gmail.com, @BShtwtr
AP reports: “An airstrike Tuesday killed three alleged al-Qaeda militants in the country’s southeast, Yemeni tribal leaders said Tuesday.” Shiban is a member of the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference and the British-based group Reprieve’s project coordinator in Yemen. He is in D.C. until Friday and in New York City until the end of the month when he returns to Yemen. He said today: “Many claim the U.S. government targets Al-Qaeda militants with its drone strikes, but it hasn’t released their names. Indeed, the U.S. government might not have their names — they might not know who they are targeting. Too often, when these killings are later investigated, it’s often an anti-Al-Qaeda imam or a school teacher.” Shiban recently wrote the piece “Drone Strikes in Yemen are an Obstacle to Democracy.” Also see: “In Congressional Briefing, Yemeni Delegation Describe Terror Drones Bring to Their Communities.”

MARJORIE COHN, marjorielegal at gmail.com
Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Cohn just wrote the piece “Voices From the Drone Summit.”

KATHY KELLY, kathy at vcnv.org
Kelly is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and just wrote the piece “War and Enlightenment in Afghanistan.”

CNN today quotes National Security Adviser Susan Rice: “There is not a need for the United States to apologize to Afghanistan.”

Kelly said today: “Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai seeks an apology from President Obama for U.S. military attacks that have killed and maimed Afghan civilians. Since April of 2009, we at Voices have kept track of U.S. military acknowledgment of and apology for killing Afghan civilians. We list 94 circumstances in which Afghan officials alleged that U.S./NATO forces killed civilians. In seven instances we note that U.S. authorities apologized or reversed themselves after initially denying that the atrocity had occurred. During the period included in the timetable, Gen. John Allen of the U.S. Army admitted to ISAF [International Security Assistance Force, i.e., NATO] to having conducted as many as 2,200 night raids within one year. Given the frequency of night raids and the lack of transparency involved in such operations, the number of civilian casualties may be much higher than the official figures.

“We also did not include statistics from human rights organizations about the number of prisoners who may have died while in ISAF custody at prisons such as the facility at Bagram Air Force Base. We believe that the U.S. should apologize for the suffering caused, and assure that it will no longer cause so-called collateral damage by canceling any future authorization for night raids, aerial bombings, drone strikes, renditions, and detentions.”