Category: US Peace Council
The US Plans Endless Occupation and the Partition of Syria
| February 19, 2018 | 8:17 am | Syria, US Peace Council | No comments
The US Plans Endless Occupation and the Partition of Syria

U.S. Peace Council February 15, 2018

Since the liberation of Aleppo in December 2016, report after report of military victories by the Syrian government and its allies over the foreign jihadist mercenaries led some in the Western media to suppose that the war was all but over.
For a time, the Syrian war, which had claimed more than 400,000 lives and made refugees of millions of Syrians, moved out of the headlines. Some in the U.S. antiwar movement may have also allowed themselves to hope the war in Syria was winding down.
Unfortunately, the war in Syria is back in the headlines. Events are now moving fast.

  • The US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Syria conducted air and artillery strikes against the Syrian Army recently, killing an estimated 100 “pro-regime fighters,” according to a coalition statement. Some were Russians according to reports. Thus, two nuclear-armed great powers are in direct conflict now in Syria.
  • Syrian jihadist “rebels” shot down a Russian warplane for the first time on February 3rd, and Russia’s defense ministry said the pilot was killed as he resisted capture by jihadists.
  • A third nuclear-armed state, Israel, is now fully in the war, primarily, it would seem, for anti-Iran reasons. On February 10, an Israeli F-16 warplane returning from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria was shot down over central Syria by anti-aircraft fire. Israel is boasting its raids took out half the Syrian government’s air defenses.
  • The ideological offensive against Syria has resumed. Fresh “reports” from dubious sources such as “The White Helmets” and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights — observing from England! — on the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government appear in the U.S. corporate media and some “alternative” media. Such slanders can spread across the world in a heartbeat, while it takes months to disprove them — as they all have been disproved.[1]

During his campaign and in the early days of his Administration, Trump seemingly narrowed the US goal to the defeat of one terrorist group, ISIS (or ISIL), which since 2014 had won substantial territory in Syria and Iraq. He downplayed the goal of “regime change.” But the failure of the U.S., its NATO allies, and their proxies for seven years to overthrow the Syrian government forced Trump to switch from Obama’s direct attempts to oust the current Syrian government to Plan B, i.e., Trump administration’s attempt to adopt an indirect way to force a regime change in Syria.   The Obama Administration policy was clear enough: “regime-change,” i.e. ousting Syrian President Assad by means of proxies, the so-called “moderate rebels” — actually well-paid terrorist mercenaries recruited by means of social media from all over the Muslim world and bankrolled by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Their terrorism against the Syrian people was aided by Israel, Jordan and Turkey, with overall military coordination of the war by the U.S.   However, at his Stanford University speech on January 17, 2018, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the main points of Trump Administration’s new version of U.S. policy toward Syria:

  1. Long-term presence of U.S. military forces engaged in combat operations;
  2. Expansion of the military mission from defeat of ISIS to also preventing Iranian influence in the post-ISIS Syria;
  3. “Stabilization” (that is, provision of humanitarian, economic, and political assistance) to areas under rebels’ control;
  4. National elections under United Nations supervision; and
  5. “[Rallying] the Syrian people and individuals within the regime to compel Assad to step down.”

In less convoluted terms, the Trump Administration’s Plan B seeks to achieve the U.S. goal of forced regime change through the following three consecutive steps:

  1. Step One: Partitioning of Syria and establishing permanent U.S. military bases in northern Syria, where the oil is;
  2. Step Two: Arming and training the rebel forces in the secured Kurdish areas; and,
  3. Step Three: Using the captured territories and the trained rebel forces under the command of Syria-based U.S. forces to impose a regime change in Damascus.

These are important facts about the new U.S. plan for Syria and the Middle East:

  • The U.S. is now directly engaged in illegally occupying Syrian territory, claiming rights to Syrian oil and attacking the Syrian army in the name of “self-defense.”
  • Officially, U.S. forces inside Syria number at least 2,000. The real count may be far higher. There are also many thousands of U.S. forces on ships in the Mediterranean or in nearby countries.
  • The 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria are arming and organizing the 30,000-strong the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces,” a mix of Kurdish and Arab fighters who have been the primarily fighting on the U.S. side in Syria.
  • Turkey has recently invaded northern Syria to attack the Syrian Kurds who live in northern border areas contiguous to Turkey. The Turkish government fears its own large, Kurdish minority’s rightful aspirations for national self-determination. Turkey fears that Syria’s north can become a staging area for a liberation struggle inside Turkey.
  • Normally, subservient Turkey was the conduit for most of the foreign mercenaries entering Syria. Now, the Turkish invasion, wholly illegal and unjustified, complicates U.S. occupation plans, which are also wholly illegal and unjustified.
  • The invasion has created an intra-NATO problem. Turkey is in NATO but has been drifting away from the U.S.-dominated war alliance with its recent major arms purchases from Russia.
  • Trump has done everything possible to strengthen the U.S.-Israel-Saudi axis, which since 2011 has been the core support of the terrorist mercenaries in Syria.
  • In nearby Afghanistan, it is clear the U.S. has not won the 17-year war against the Taliban insurgency, so Trump is sending more U.S. troops to shore up the government in Kabul and forestall a humiliating U.S. defeat.

Trump’s overall military budget in 2018 will come to $716 billion. Under Trump, there is no turning away from interventionist wars that begun or continued by his predecessors, despite his campaign rhetoric to the contrary.     Tom Paine once wrote “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.…” Neither is US imperialism easily conquered, even though its power is waning.   Urgent action by U.S. peace movement is needed. We must urgently re-energize the work of the whole U.S. peace movement on Syria. At the upcoming, long overdue national antiwar actions for April 2018, the demand “Hands off Syria!” must be front and center.   _______________ [1] See, “Now Mattis Admits There Was No Evidence Assad Used Poison Gas on His People,” Newsweek: http://www.newsweek.com/now-mattis-admits-there-was-no-evidence-assad-using-poison-gas-his-people-801542

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Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases
| July 31, 2017 | 9:02 pm | US Peace Council | No comments
Dear Members and Friends of U.S. Peace Council,
We are pleased to announce that the USPC and a number of prominent peace, justice and environmental organizations in the U.S. have jointly formed the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases. We have agreed on a Unity Statement for the Coalition and would like to invite you and your organization to join us.
You can read and sign on to our Unity Statement on the Coalition’s website at:
http://NoForeignBases.org.
Please distribute this announcement widely and ask all your colleagues and friends to join the Coalition.
Thank you and looking forward to working closely with you on this very important matter.Executive Board of the U.S. Peace Council July 29, 2017
U.S. Conference of Mayors Opposes Military-Heavy Trump Budget
| June 27, 2017 | 8:56 pm | Announcements, US Peace Council | No comments

For Immediate Release: June 26, 2017

Contact: Henry Lowendorf, US Peace Council, u.s.peacecouncil@gmail.com, 203-389-9547

 

The U.S. Conference of Mayors on Monday unanimously passed three resolutions opposing the military-heavy Trump budget proposal. These resolutions urge Congress to reverse the Trump budget and move funding out of the military, wars and nuclear weapons and into human and environmental needs.

 

The three resolutions are: Opposition to Military Spending Resolution and Resolution Calling for Hearings on Real City Budgets Needed and the Taxes our Cities Send to the Federal Military Budget, found  on this page http://legacy.usmayors.org/resolutions/85th_Conference/proposedcommittee.asp?committee=Metro%20Economies

and Calling on President Trump to Lower Nuclear Tensions, Prioritize Diplomacy, and Redirect Nuclear Weapons Spending to meet Human Needs and Address Environmental Challenges, found on this page

http://legacy.usmayors.org/resolutions/85th_Conference/proposedcommittee.asp?committee=International%20Affairs

 

“The Peace Council applauds the resolve of major city mayors to dramatically cut the U.S. military budget and to take the funds saved to provide money for jobs, education, housing, transportation, seniors, youth, rebuild our roads, bridges, public transportation much more,” said Henry Lowendorf of the US Peace Council. “We thank New Haven Mayor Toni Harp for submitting this resolution to the US Conference of Mayors.”  Lowendorf continued, “The mayors understand how pouring the wealth of our great country into building war machines and waging wars around the globe does not make us more secure. To the contrary, this gigantic military budget is strangling our country and the many unnecessary wars only generate death, destruction and enemies. We fully support the mayors’ call both for inviting the public and city leaders to hearings expressing on how funds saved by cutting the Pentagon budget can be used in our cities and for passing resolutions to our members of Congress demanding that they respond to cities to begin prioritizing the needs of our residents over war profiteering.”

 

“We are very excited that the entire US Conference of Mayors, from major metropoles such as New York City and Los Angeles to small rural townships, understand that the resources being sucked up by the Pentagon to wage endless wars overseas should be used to address our crumbling infrastructure, the climate crisis and poverty at home and abroad. Congress and the Trump administration should listen to these mayors, as they reflect the needs and hopes of their constituents, not the greed of corporate donors,” said Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK.

 

“U.S. mayors are sounding a warning about the growing dangers of nuclear war and the unacceptable costs of nuclear weapons modernization and militarism,” said Jackie Cabasso, U.S. Coordinator of Mayors for Peace. “They know that there could be no adequate response to any detonation of a nuclear weapon in a city, and they know that ensuring basic human services for all, including education, environmental protection, food assistance, housing and health care constitutes  real security. Let’s hope their call is heard before it’s too late.”

 

These three resolutions should be read carefully by every member of Congress,” said David Swanson, director of World Beyond War. “These are the considered statements of the mayors of this country, as prompted by the citizens of numerous cities that moved their city councils to pass similar resolutions and their mayors to support these.”

 

Information on a campaign to pass resolutions through city councils, and those that have been passed thus far, can be found here:

http://worldbeyondwar.org/resolution

 

Over 20,000 people signed a petition similar to Resolution 59 here:

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/un-trump-the-budget

 

Resolution 59 was introduced by the mayor of Ithaca, NY, and had been passed by that city. It concluded with this:

 

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the United States Congress to move our tax dollars in exactly the opposite direction proposed by the President, from militarism to human and environmental needs.”

 

It also includes these Whereas clauses:

 

“WHEREAS, President Trump has proposed to move $54 billion from human and environmental spending at home and abroad to military spending, bringing military spending to well over 60% of federal discretionary spending; and

“WHEREAS, polling has found the U.S. public to favor a $41 billion reduction in military spending, a $94 billion gap away from President Trump’s proposal; and

“WHEREAS, part of helping alleviate the refugee crisis should be ending, not escalating, wars that create refugees; and

“WHEREAS, President Trump himself admits that the enormous military spending of the past 16 years has been disastrous and made us less safe, not safer; and

“WHEREAS, fractions of the proposed military budget could provide free, top-quality education from pre-school through college, end hunger and starvation on earth, convert the U.S. to clean energy, provide clean drinking water everywhere it’s needed on the planet, build fast trains between all major U.S. cities, and double non-military U.S. foreign aid rather than cutting it; and

“WHEREAS, as even 121 retired U.S. generals have written a letter opposing cutting foreign aid; and

“WHEREAS, a December 2014 Gallup poll of 65 nations found that the United States was far and away the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world; and

“WHEREAS, a United States responsible for providing clean drinking water, schools, medicine, and solar panels to others would be more secure and face far less hostility around the world; and

“WHEREAS, our environmental and human needs are desperate and urgent; and

“WHEREAS, the military is itself the greatest consumer of petroleum we have; and

“WHEREAS, economists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have documented that military spending is an economic drain rather than a jobs program,”

 

Resolution 60 was introduced by the Mayor of New Haven, CT, and a similar resolution had been passed by that city.

 

It concluded:

 

“NOW,THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on the Mayors of each of our cities to promptly hold public hearings that examine what each of city’s Departments needs to carry out the goals of the Department and the work it is assigned and what they could accomplish if funds were available that now go to the military; and

 

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that each city is urged to include in its public hearings a report on how much of its resident’s federal taxes go toward paying the military budget; and

 

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that each city government is urged to pass a resolution calling on our federal legislators and the US government to move significant funds away from the military budget to human needs; and

 

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that each city is urged to send a copy of the resolution passed to its federal legislators with a request that they respond with their plans to reduce the military budget in favor of the human needs budget.”

 

 

Sponsors of Resolution 79 were:

 

The Honorable T.M. ‘Frank’ Franklin Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines The Honorable Alex B. Morse III, Mayor of Holyoke The Honorable Ardell F. Brede, Mayor of Rochester The Honorable Chris Koos, Mayor of Normal The Honorable Denny Doyle, Mayor of Beaverton The Honorable Frank C. Ortis, Mayor of Pembroke Pines The Honorable Geraldine ‘Jeri’ Muoio Ph.D., Mayor of West Palm Beach The Honorable Helene Schneider, Mayor of Santa Barbara The Honorable John Dickert, Mayor of Racine The Honorable John Heilman, Mayor of West Hollywood The Honorable Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland The Honorable Lucy Vinis, Mayor of Eugene The Honorable Mark Stodola, Mayor of Little Rock The Honorable Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton The Honorable Patrick L. Wojahn, Mayor of College Park The Honorable Paul R. Soglin, Mayor of Madison The Honorable Pauline Russo Cutter, Mayor of San Leandro The Honorable Roy D. Buol, Mayor of Dubuque The Honorable Salvatore J. Panto Jr., Mayor of Easton

 

The resolution recognized some of the cities that have passed resolutions:

 

“The United States Conference of Mayors welcomes resolutions adopted by cities including New Haven, CT, Charlottesville, VA, Evanston, IL, New London, NH, and West Hollywood, CA urging Congress to cut military spending and redirect funding to meet human and environmental needs.”

 

It further resolved:

 

“NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) calls on the United States Government, as an urgent priority, to do everything in his power to lower nuclear tensions though intense diplomatic efforts with Russia, China, North Korea and other nuclear-armed states and their allies, and to work with Russia to dramatically reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles; and

 

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors welcomes the historic negotiations currently underway in the United Nations, involving most of the world’s countries, on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading to their total elimination; and

 

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors deeply regrets that the United States and the other nuclear-armed states are boycotting these negotiations; and

 

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on the United States to support the ban treaty negotiations as a major step towards negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on the achievement and permanent maintenance of a world free of nuclear arms, and to initiate, in good faith, multilateral negotiations to verifiably eliminate nuclear weapons within a timebound framework; and

 

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors welcomes the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, introduced in both houses of Congress, that would prohibit the President from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress; and

 

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors calls for the Administration’s new Nuclear Posture Review to reaffirm the stated U.S. goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons, to lessen U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons, and to recommend measures to reduce nuclear risks, such as de-alerting, improving lines of communication with other nuclear-armed states, and ending nuclear sharing, in which Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Turkey host U.S. nuclear bombs; and

 

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on the President and Congress to reduce nuclear weapons spending to the minimum necessary to assure the safety and security of the existing weapons as they await disablement and dismantlement; and . . .

 

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on the President and Congress to reverse federal spending priorities and to redirect funds currently allocated to nuclear weapons and unwarranted military spending to restore full funding for Community Block Development Grants and the Environmental Protection Agency, to create jobs by rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and to ensure basic human services for all, including education, environmental protection, food  assistance, housing and health care,

 

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges all U.S. mayors to join Mayors for Peace in order to help reach the goal of 10,000 member cities by 2020, and encourages U.S. member cities to get actively involved by establishing sister city relationships with cities in other nuclear-armed nations, and by taking action at the municipal level to raise public awareness of the humanitarian and financial costs of nuclear weapons, the growing dangers of wars among nuclear-armed states, and the urgent need for good faith U.S. participation in negotiating the global elimination of nuclear weapons.”

 

Mayors for Peace, founded in 1982 and headed by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has grown to include 7,335 cities in 162 countries, with 211 U.S. members, in total representing over one billion people. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has adopted strong Mayors for Peace resolutions annually since 2006.

 

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the national non-partisan association of cities with populations over 30,000. Resolutions adopted at its annual meetings become the official policy of the organization.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Legislation to Stop Arming Terrorists

 

For Immediate Release

December 8, 2016

 

Media Contact:

Emily Latimer, (202) 604-2330

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Legislation to Stop Arming Terrorists

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act today. The legislation would prohibit the U.S. government from using American taxpayer dollars to provide funding, weapons, training, and intelligence support to groups like the Levant Front, Fursan al Ha and other allies of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda and ISIS, or to countries who are providing direct or indirect support to those same groups.

 

The legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT-AL), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA-48), and Thomas Massie (R-KT-04), and supported by the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) and the U.S. Peace Council.

 

Video of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s speech on the House floor is available here

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Under U.S. law it is illegal for any American to provide money or assistance to al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Yet the U.S. government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of al-Qaeda, ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other terrorist groups with money, weapons, and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.[i]

“The CIA has also been funneling weapons and money through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and others who provide direct and indirect support to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. This support has allowed al-Qaeda and their fellow terrorist organizations to establish strongholds throughout Syria, including in Aleppo.

“A recent New York Times article confirmed that ‘rebel groups’ supported by the U.S. ‘have entered into battlefield alliances with the affiliate of al-Qaeda in Syria, formerly known as al Nusra.’ This alliance has rendered the phrase ‘moderate rebels’ meaningless. Reports confirm that ‘every armed anti-Assad organization unit in those provinces [of Idlib and Aleppo] is engaged in a military structure controlled by [al-Qaeda’s] Nusra militants.’

“A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that many rebel groups are ‘doubling down on their alliance’ with al Nusra. Some rebel groups are renewing their alliance, while others, like Nour al-Din al-Zinki, a former CIA-backed group and one of the largest factions in Aleppo are joining for the first time. “The Syria Conquest Front—formerly known as the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front—is deeply intermingled with armed opposition groups of all stripes across Syria’s battlefields.”

“The CIA has long been supporting a group called Fursan al Haqq, providing them with salaries, weapons and support, including surface to air missiles.  This group is cooperating with and fighting alongside an al-Qaeda affiliated group trying to overthrow the Syrian government. The Levant Front is another so-called moderate umbrella group of Syrian opposition fighters. Over the past year, the United States has been working with Turkey to give this group intelligence support and other forms of military assistance. This group has joined forces with al-Qaeda’s offshoot group in Syria.

“This madness must end. We must stop arming terrorists. The Government must end this hypocrisy and abide by the same laws that apply to its’ citizens.

“That is why I’ve introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists bill—legislation based on congressional action during the Iran-Contra affair to stop the CIA’s illegal arming of rebels in Nicaragua. It will prohibit any Federal agency from using taxpayer dollars to provide weapons, cash, intelligence, or any support to al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and it will prohibit the government from funneling money and weapons through other countries who are directly or indirectly supporting terrorists,” concluded Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Stephen Kinzer, a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, and award-winning author and journalist said, “The proposal to stop sending weapons to insurgents in Syria is based on the principle that pouring arms into a war zone only intensifies suffering and makes peace more difficult to achieve. Congress made a decision like this about the Nicaraguan contras during the 1980s. Aid to the contras was cut off by the Boland Amendment. The result was a peace process that finally brought an end to wars not only in Nicaragua, but also in El Salvador and Guatemala. This is the example we should be following. Cutting off arms shipments forces belligerents to negotiate. That is what we achieved in Nicaragua. It should be our goal in Syria as well.”

Donna Smith, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America said, “Progressive Democrats of America believes that it is fundamentally wrong for the United States to fund those groups or individuals aligned with al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, ISIS, or other terrorist/extremist organizations.  The ‘Stop Arming Terrorists’ bill authored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, of Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, would help bring an end to the human tragedy unfolding in Syria where the haunting eyes of the innocent children of Aleppo call on us all to stop supporting those who threaten and kill them with ferocious intention. War is war, and terrorism is terrorism whether waged by the state or from external forces. PDA supports this measure.”

 

Alfred Marder, President of the U.S. Peace Council said, “The U.S. Peace Council is honored to endorse and support the ‘Stop Arming Terrorists Bill’ as a major contribution to peace. This legislation will serve to galvanize the anti-war movement and the opposition to regime change policies that characterize our present foreign policy.”

Background: The Stop Arming Terrorists bill prohibits U.S. government funds from being used to support al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. In the same way that Congress passed the Boland Amendment to prohibit the funding and support to CIA backed-Nicaraguan Contras during the 1980’s, this bill would stop CIA or other Federal government activities in places like Syria by ensuring U.S. funds are not used to support al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, ISIS, or other terrorist groups working with them. It would also prohibit the Federal government from funding assistance to countries that are directly or indirectly supporting those terrorist groups. The bill achieves this by:

  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Making it illegal for any U.S. Federal government funds to be used to provide assistance covered in this bill to terrorists. The assistance covered includes weapons, munitions, weapons platforms, intelligence, logistics, training, and cash.
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Making it illegal for the U.S. government to provide assistance covered in the bill to any nation that has given or continues to give such assistance to terrorists.
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Requiring the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to determine the individual and groups that should be considered terrorists, for the purposes of this bill, by determining: (a) the individuals and groups that are associated with, affiliated with, adherents to or cooperating with al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, or ISIS; (b) the countries that are providing assistance covered in this bill to those individuals or groups.
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Requiring the DNI to review and update the list of countries and groups to which assistance is prohibited every six months, in consultation with the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees, as well as the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  • <!–[if !supportLists]–> <!–[endif]–>Requiring the DNI to brief Congress on the determinations.