19 February 2007

Port of Olympia Public Testimony

[edit: Let me preface this statement by saying that in no way do I think the employees and commissioners of the Port are intending to do the wrong thing (in regard to military shipments.) I think that the Port's goal of creating prosperity for the county is an honorable one. But there is a point when we, as human beings - and as citizens - have to make decisions about what is right and what is wrong. The unnecessary violence that has occurred, and continues unabated in Iraq, has been promulgated [edit: caused] by US actions. The ongoing presence of US forces is exacerbating, and it prolongs, the problem. (The violence won't stop immediately if the US pulls out rapidly - but it's not stopping now, while the US remains, either.)

It is time to stop this "war." By encouraging (and forcing via nonviolent civil disobedience if necessary) local institutions to comply with moral, humanitarian and legal imperatives, PMR (see below) will take an important step in creating a scenario that will promote the acceleration of an end to the US military presence in - and domination of - Iraq.]

Here is the text of a written comment I submitted a recent Port Commission meeting. I also summarized the comment in verbal testimony during the public comment period of the meeting.

Port Militarization Resistance (PMR) has recently adopted a campaign strategy to oppose the further use of the municipal Port of Olympia to enable the continuance of the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq. More on that later.

Here's the comment:
Monday, January 22, 2007
Robert Whitlock
Resident of Thurston County

Port of Olympia Commission Meeting Testimony:
The Legality of US Actions in Iraq
vîs a vîs
The Shipment of Military Cargoes Through the Port

In light of the illegality of the ongoing occupation of Iraq by US military forces, I request and urge the Commissioners of the Port of Olympia to adopt an official policy relating to the shipment of military goods through the Port of Olympia. By allowing further military cargoes, the Port is aiding, abetting and enabling the Occupation – thereby subjecting itself to legal vulnerabilities. The Port, in good conscience, must stop allowing cargoes destined to further the occupation of Iraq.

Therefore, I hereby renounce my own support for the allowance of military cargoes destined to support the illegal occupation of Iraq through the Municipal Port of Olympia. Further, as a resident of Thurston County, I request legal and moral asylum from any ongoing participation, by the Port, in the Occupation. I hereby formally revoke assent so as to absolve myself from complicity in the County’s support for the illegal military actions.

But it is not enough to politically revoke my complicity or formally request legal asylum. It is my duty as a citizen to actively oppose the illegal actions of my government. In so doing, I will present evidence to convince the Commission of the basis for my legal understanding of the US presence in Iraq.

Here’s a brief outline of some legal issues relating to the actions of the US in Iraq:
  1. Article VI of the Constitution (USA) says:
    “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

  2. The Principles of Nuremberg were adopted by the United Nations International Law Commission, in 1950. We have seen the Bush Administration’s prewar intelligence for what it is – a fraud. It is clear that there was no legitimate military motive for launching the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq; therefore the war can only be viewed as a war of choice – a war of aggression. The Principles of Nuremberg are enlightening in regard to the invasion and occupation (and conduct thereof) of Iraq:
    Principle Vl
    The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

    a. Crimes against peace:

    i. Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
    ii. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i). [emphasis added]

    b. War crimes:

    Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or illtreatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

    c. Crimes against humanity:

    Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.

    Principle VII
    Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principles VI is a crime under international law. [emphasis added]

  3. Former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, said the unilateral invasion of Iraq violated internationally recognized legal agreements. Annan said that the USA’s actions in Iraq violated the UN Charter, which requires Security Council approval before the invasion of a sovereign nation.
All of this information is public. I hope this list makes it clear that there is a firm legal basis for my assertion that the war is, indeed, illegal. I request that the Port develop a clear policy relating to any possible future military cargoes destined to Iraq. I ask that the Port deny any further cargoes that are designed to further the occupation of Iraq. Please, do not hesitate to ask me if you have any further questions or to request more information.

Thank you.

Robert Whitlock

1 comment:

  1. For more information regarding PMR's campaign to prevent military shipments through the Port of Olympia, follow this link.

    By preventing military shipments that are destined to further and enable an illegal and immoral occupation, citizens will act to oppose the occupation itself and maybe provide the impetus for a chain of events that can bring a quick resolution to the US presence in Iraq.