29 November 2007

What if the Occupier Were to Come to this Land

What if it were you. What if, for example, a foreign country X decided that it was in its best interests to invade YOUR country. Let's use water as an example here. What if Country X was worried about running out of water. It's people were in danger, in the not so distant future, of not having sufficient water to live normally.

So Country X started to think about how important it is economically that mostly everyone have enough water to function normally. So they start to buy water from foreign countries. At first a little, then some more, then a lot. This goes on for some time, and most people are mostly happy. Country X starts to build a big military so that it can protect its water interests in the future, because it looks like there might not be enough for everyone in the world to have enough. And they want to make sure that they have access to enough for themselves.

At some point, Country X runs into some major water problems. There is fast approaching a point where there is just not enough supply to meet growing demands... And yuck, they even managed to contaminate large amounts of their own native supplies. Whoops. But damn, wasn't building that military a good idea. Because you know what, Country X is now able to go into other countries and take water without asking. In fact, this idea of using military conquest for resource control even has the potential to be lucrative for those who know how to work it.

What if this were to happen? What if it were to happen to you? What if you found soldiers from Country X in your city, hooking up hoses to your artesian well and shipping it back, perhaps even across an ocean to another continent. Hooking up to the water that you have always depended on for your quality of life in order to supply its own people with enough water so that they can function normally? Don't worry they say - they will start to pay you for the water once they hold elections and establish a new government.

This is what is happening in Iraq. The US is piping oil from Iraq to ships that then bring it to the USA.

I like the old adage that you get what you give.

I want the USA to be aware of how it wages wars for control over resources. Because it might come back to haunt "us" someday. Maybe there is a Country X somewhere out there, polluting its own water resources, watching its supplies struggle to keep up with demands in the face of a growing, and thirsty, population - and anticipating a time when it may be necessary to occupy other countries in order to ensure its own access to sufficient water supplies. Water, oil, air, land. Isn't it time that we figure out ways to use and share the resources of this planet responsibly so that aggressive wars of control over resources are not necessary in the first place?

There are other options besides fueling an addiction to easy petroleum. We need to explore those alternatives if we care about human rights and human dignity. There will be other options, in the future, besides waging wars over who gets access to the world's great water supplies. We can enable those options by speaking out against the great crime of our day - the aggressive crusade for control over oil in Iraq.

Water, unlike petroleum, is absolutely necessary to life on Earth. We need to learn how (if we care about the well-being of future generations) to share and use the Earth's resources responsibly before major wars over water erupt. Because it might just be us who wake up to occupiers in our own backyard.

Ken Silverstein Interview with Douglas MacGregor

This is an excerpt of an interview of Retired Army Officer Douglas MacGregor, by Ken Silverstein, from Harper's Magazine.
go to original

1. How big of a change has there been in recent months in the military situation in Iraq?
The situation on the ground has definitely changed, but not for the reasons the Bush Administration and its generals claim. The main reasons include cash-based deals with Sunni leaders and Shiite leader Muqtada al Sadr’s independent decision earlier this year to temporarily restrain his Mahdi army from attacking U.S. forces...

2. Has the “surge” in troop levels played an important role here as well?
Not really. Where once there was one country called Iraq, there are now three emerging states: one Kurdish, one Sunni, and one Shiite. More than two years of sectarian violence have left districts in and around Baghdad completely Sunni or completely Shiite, and that has significantly reduced violence in those districts and resulted in fewer bodies in the streets. This new strategic reality, combined with huge cash payments to the Sunni insurgent enemy, is what has given U.S. forces a respite from the chaos of the last four years. The introduction of a few thousand additional troops into Baghdad’s neighborhoods was never going to result in any kind of strategic sea change...
read more

28 November 2007

Haunting Lesson from Vietnam

The Vietnam 'war' was horrible. There are horror stories about life in the jungle and the killing of innocent civilians in acts so brutal that it causes, for me, emotional shock. Some stories have already surfaced about horrible stories from Iraq like Haditha, and the siege of Falluja. I wonder what, and how many, horror stories will continue surface, in time, about the current 'war' (of occupation) in Iraq. Here's an excerpt from a Robert Parry article about one horrible incident from the Vietnam War. The article is entitled The Truth About Colin Powell:
My Lai

On March 16, 1968, a bloodied unit of the Americal Division stormed into a hamlet known as My Lai 4.

With military helicopters circling overhead, revenge-seeking American soldiers rousted Vietnamese civilians – mostly old men, women and children – from their thatched huts and herded them into the village’s irrigation ditches.

As the round-up continued, some Americans raped the girls. Then, under orders from junior officers on the ground, soldiers began emptying their M-16s into the terrified peasants.

Some parents used their bodies futilely to shield their children from the bullets. Soldiers stepped among the corpses to finish off the wounded.

The slaughter raged for four hours. A total of 347 Vietnamese, including babies, died in the carnage.

27 November 2007

TJ Johnson and Laura Ware, Olympia City Councilors

Video of TJ Johnson, Mayor Foutch, and Laura Ware, Olympia City Council Members as they spoke during a Council Meeting on November 20th about recent protests at the Port of Olympia:

22 November 2007

Civil Resistance - Nonviolent Direct Action

Scott McClellan is due to release a book in which he allegedly names names regarding the outing of Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie "Plame," as a covert CIA operative. Wilson had published an OP-ED in the NYT [linked], in which he called into question the veracity of Bush Administration claims of a specific threat from Iraqi WMD. According to McClellan, high officials (Bush, Cheney, Rove, among them) were involved in the outing. Read more about McClellan's new book here [salon] or here.

News has also breached the wire of another failure in the Democratic Congress to pass a bill that would require the substantial withdrawal of the US military from Iraq. (If that link doesn't work, try this one ["Dems bill on Iraq wouldn't end war"].)

We are WorthyThe current system is not working. I want to stop the war. I want to protect our soldiers from being coerced into fighting an improper and unnecessary, aggressive war of occupation. I want to protect the Iraqi people from the harms that the occupation has wrought.

I want to see a civil resistance to this delinquent federal government. I believe that one of the most effective tactics that we can use is nonviolent direct action.

Remember that the democrats, elected under a mandate to end the (illegal, immoral, etc.) aggressive war of occupation - are not living up to their mandate. Congress, and the Democratic wing in particular, are derelict in their duty to exercise oversight.

The burden falls upon us, "the People," to enforce the rules that govern society. These rules (e.g. against aggressive war making) exist for the benefit of all people.

Wars of occupation that are designed to control natural resources - like the war over oil in Iraq - are inherently unjust and do immeasurable harm - to human beings, and to humanity in general.

Entering Peace Port OlympiaThere exists within all of us a human capacity to care, and to respond out of heartfelt emotions.

These deaths and this suffering never needed to happen.
Please, ask of yourself, what can I do to make it so my government doesn't wage unnecessary and illegal aggressive wars?

We, as regular people, can have an impact. We can have a beneficial impact. We can work to stop needless suffering.

21 November 2007

I Want this War of Aggression to Stop!

I support our troops by calling for the immediate commencement of a safe and responsible withdrawal from Iraq. The US doesn't belong in Iraq.

The justifications for invasion have been shown to have been lies and falsifications.
The justification for the ongoing occupation is mired in obfuscation and the unacceptable Bush Administration aspiration to militarily and economically dominate the globe. (I know it sounds insidious and ridiculous, but there is ample evidence in the public realm to support and confirm this conclusion.)

As such, the invasion was illegal. The ongoing war of occupation is also illegal.

The war is also immoral. But more importantly, the war is hurting people. It is hurting people unnecessarily.

pmr november 200728I want the war to stop. I want to protect people from unnecessary harm being done to them. I want to protect not only our troops, but the Iraqi people as well, from this unjustified, improper, unnecessary military action.

TJ JohnsonThank you to TJ Johnson [City Council Member, edit 11/28/07] for standing up for the true benefit of people in Olympia and elsewhere.

PMR's attempt to prohibit the military use of the Port of Olympia was an attempt to protect and support our soldiers, and to protect the Iraqi people from further death and destruction associated with this ill-advised war of aggression.

The Olympia Police Department and the Port of Olympia have enabled an illegal and immoral military war of aggression.

On the LineBut PMR will be successful in the long run. The strength of truth and positive intention will prevail. Really, it already has.

But what PMR could benefit from most is your support - so that the next time that the municipal Port of Olympia is used to enable an immoral and illegal war of aggression and occupation, we can, as a people, effectively prohibit the military cargoes.

Support our troops, bring them home!

Protect the Iraqi people, commence the safe and responsible, complete, withdrawal of the US Military from Iraq - immediately!

18 November 2007

PMR Saturday Rally

[edited 11/20/07:]

Here's a video that shows some of the action from Saturday's PMR Support Rally and March. Word has it that some 400+ supporters attended Saturday's event.

I support and work with PMR because I care about the lives of our military personnel and the lives of the Iraqi people. People are suffering - and it's without justification. The occupation contravenes legal statutes.

I was heartened to see the community response and support of PMR. I have had enough of my government participating in illegal and immoral military actions. When it comes to the use of my public port to enable an illegal military action the choice is clear to me - it is not even a choice - it is my duty and responsibility to, nonviolently, constructively and creatively, oppose the enabling of an illegal/immoral military action.

Check out a video from Saturday:

14 November 2007

Women's Blockade

On Tuesday November 13th, 2007, 43 people were arrested while attempting to blockade the transfer of military cargoes from the Port of Olympia. Of these 43 arrestees, one was yours truly. Yes I submitted to arrest. But the big story is that of the 43 arrested, 39 were women.

Women's BlockadeThe PMR Women's Caucus organized the nonviolent blockade, and forced the Olympia Police Department to change its tactics from assault and dispersal to peaceable arrest. All 43 arrests were conducted in a peaceable manner.

Which begs the question: why hasn't the OPD used arrests to enforce against blockades previously? Why has the OPD chosen to deliberately harm and injure people - with chemical weapons assaults; pushing, shoving, and tackling with batons; the use of projectile weapons; and even concussion grenades - instead of making arrests in a peaceable manner?

The OPD has used violence against peaceful protesters, escalating tensions and creating an unsafe environment.

Please stop these assaults on protesters.

PMR remains committed to blocking the transfer of military cargoes via the Port of Olympia.

I will support and participate in the PMR movement as long as the military is engaged in improper and unjustified (illegal and immoral) military actions.

I work with PMR in an effort to protect our soldiers as well as the populations of occupied countries (e.g. Iraq) from the harm and abuses that wrongful military actions cause.

Please support PMR in its effort to create a more humane, sustainable, peaceful and just world.

12 November 2007

Testimony about Port Militarization Resistance Actions

Here's a link to about 4 minutes or so of testimony from a forum in response to Police Violence that has occurred recently in Olympia, Washington.

More audio is available here.

I'm Okay

I feel traumatized by the violence used against nonviolent / peaceful protesters here in Olympia Washington. But I am okay. I got some sleep last night. I have been documenting some of the events. You can find the photos via my flickr account.

This photo was taken during roughly 4 hours of testimony provided by victims and witnesses of police brutality during PMR's nonviolent campaign to prevent the use of the Port of Olympia to aid, abet and/or enable an illegal military action in Iraq.

President Bush has been lying and making falsifications in order to justify the occupation of Iraq. But I know better. I know that the occupation is imperial in nature. If we need access to the oil resource of Iraq, we need to find ways other than violent military occupation and overthrow of a sovereign government (based on lies and fraudulent falsifications,) in order to ensure that access.

Here's me:
Pepper Spray in my Eye

07 November 2007

Port Militarization Resistance

Ship at DockA military transport ship, the USNS Brittin has pulled alongside the quay of the Port of Olympia, Washington and is unloading its cargo of used military vehicles and containers (cargo mysterious.)

Some of the vehicles being unloaded are "Stryker" vehicles, which were used in Iraq by the 3rd Stryker Brigade from Fort Lewis.

The anti-occupation group, Olympia Port Militarization Resistance (Oly PMR) seeks to contain the return materials on the quay. The materials have been used in an illegal occupation and there is potential for a repeated deployment, which would cause further harm. Oly PMR seeks to contain this shipment for the benefit of the soldiers in the US Military, as well as the people of Iraq.

Please join in Oly PMR's efforts to stop this illegal and unjust military occupation. Oly PMR is committed to nonviolent resistance.

This is a great opportunity to build a movement around the cessation of the imperial occupation of Iraq.

Protect the USA and Iraq from this assault by the Bush Administration!

04 November 2007

Maple Leaf

A sure sign of the progression of the seasons is the changing colors expressed in tree leaves. Here's a maple leaf from Lions Park in Olympia Washington. Have a good week.

Maple Leaf

03 November 2007

"The War on Whistleblowers"

Another example of extreme authoritarianism cropping up in US federal government: http://salon.com/news/feature/2007/11/01/whistleblowers/
The war on whistle-blowers

U.S. officials have long retaliated against employees who speak out, burying the dangers they expose. Now, Congress wants to give whistle-blowers greater protection -- but President Bush vows to stop it.

Editor's note: This story continues a multiyear series from Salon and the Center for Investigative Reporting scrutinizing the U.S. court system. For more background and resources related to this story, click here.

By James Sandler

Nov. 1, 2007

If there is any doubt about how the Bush administration treats government whistle-blowers, consider the case of Teresa Chambers. She was hired in early 2002, with impeccable law enforcement credentials, to become chief of the United States Park Police. But after Chambers raised concerns publicly that crime was up in the nation's parks, she was rebuked by superiors and fired. When Chambers fought to regain her job through the legal system meant to protect whistle-blowers, government lawyers fought back, and associated her with terrorists. Despite a multiyear legal struggle, she is still fighting for her job.

Whistle-blowers have faced hostility not only under Republican administrations. During President Clinton's tenure, Bogdan Dzakovic, an undercover security agent with the Federal Aviation Administration, suffered retribution for speaking out about weak airport security -- three years before Sept. 11, 2001. Dzakovic was passed up for promotion time and again, and today, he says, he remains consigned to data entry duties for the Transportation Security Administration.

Every year, hundreds of federal workers sound the alarm about corruption, fraud or dangers to public safety that are caused or overlooked -- or even covered up -- by U.S. government agencies. These whistle-blowers are supposed to be guaranteed protection by law from retaliation for speaking out in the public's interest.

But a six-month investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting, in collaboration with Salon, has found that federal whistle-blowers almost never receive legal protection after they take action. Instead, they often face agency managers and White House appointees intent upon silencing them rather than addressing the problems they raise. They are left fighting for their jobs in a special administrative court system, little known to the American public, that is mired in bureaucracy and vulnerable to partisan politics. The CIR/Salon investigation reveals that the whistle-blower system -- first created by Congress decades ago and proclaimed as a cornerstone of government transparency and accountability -- has in reality enabled the punishment of employees who speak out. It has had a chilling effect, dissuading others from coming forward. The investigation examined nearly 3,600 whistle-blower cases since 1994, and included dozens of interviews and a review of confidential court documents. Whistle-blowers lose their cases, the investigation shows, nearly 97 percent of the time. Most limp away from the experience with their careers, reputations and finances in tatters.

01 November 2007

Fascism in America

After last week's confrontation between Desiree Fairooz and Condaleeza Rice, several activists with the organization Code Pink have been banned from Washington D.C.'s Capitol Hill. Congress is in dereliction of its duty to exercise oversight over a White House that is under reasonable suspicion of committing illegal acts.

Does this mean that it is up to the people of the USA to exercise oversight authority? You decide. Here's a link to a page with video of last week's confrontation and the authoritarian reaction by Capitol Security.