28 August 2010

War is terrorism (mouseover)

This is from Friday the 27th of August 2010 at the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation weekly peace vigil at Percival Landing.

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War is terrorism with a bigger budget. [view larger]

All war begins with aggression, and aggression is never right. Aggression is always wrong! period.

I also attached this to a letter posted on the White House Facebook page:

Dear President Obama and Administration,

How can peace come to the world when the USA acts with aggression and belligerence in pursuit of policies of dominance?

Aggression is never correct. It's always wrong.

For the well being of all people and the world, the USA needs to change from aggressive policies, to peaceful policies.


more photos: http://olyblog.net/some-recent-photos-20100828

27 August 2010

Great Sky

The Great West
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Tuesday 29 June 2010, Wyoming—There is little, if any, of the American landscape that has been left untouched by industrialization. Utility poles, mining operations, electrical generating facilities, roadways, settlements, smoke from industry: these aspects can be witnessed almost everywhere across the entire landscape.

p.s. Please come to the Cascadia Freedom Caravan Olympia report-back on the US Social Forum this Sunday the 29th, 7pm at Fertile Ground Guesthouse. more information: http://olyblog.net/cascadia-freedom-caravan-report-back-us-social-forum

23 August 2010

Big Sky

Open Spaces
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June 2010—Somewhere on I-80 near the continental divide in Wyoming, while heading West in a 1975 converted Crown Coach school bus (with 25 other people on the return leg of a round-trip from Eugene and Portland, OR, and Olympia and Seattle, WA to Detroit, MI.)

Members of the Cascadia Freedom Caravan are planning to do two reportbacks on the weekend of August 28/29. Saturday the 28th of August we'll be in Portland at Sisters of the Road cafe from 7-10 pm.

And Sunday the 29th, we'll be in Olympia (at Fertile Ground Guesthouse, 7pm, it's a potluck, and there will be some pizza from the cob oven too.)

more information! http://olyblog.net/cascadia-freedom-caravan-report-back-us-social-forum

22 August 2010

Lots o' Thoughts

Helsing Junction August 2010Lots of thoughts as I return to Olympia after the weekend at Helsing Junction Farm. The sixth annual Helsing Junction Sleepover was this weekend. It's a festival to celebrate K Records, the farm, and many of the great talents in the local music scene.

I enjoyed the music and the people and the food and the farm. The sweet smell of hay and earth. A lot of the food we ate came straight from the farm. The weather co-operated for the most part, though there were some sprinkles as I was leaving this afternoon.

I left early because I wanted to attend a meeting at Temple Beth Hatfiloh that was sponsored by a group of people who are organizing against the Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors' decision to boycott products from Israel. It was an interesting meeting. Not easy. I am glad I went. I have a lot of thoughts about the meeting.

There were a few ground rules, like confidentiality, and being respectful. I thought that part was okay. I am okay with not identifying people by name, given the emotional nature of the issue, I think it is important for people to feel safe to openly express themselves without fear of being called out, or intimidated in other ways. I also think this type of confidentiality makes it easier for people to talk and share openly, and to change their minds when presented with new information and/or alternative viewpoints. I hope that the part about being respectful can more and more go without saying.

The group, which was pretty large, I would say there were 60 or so people there, did some brainstorming about what people wanted to work on. These topics were ranging from taking action to directly oppose the Board decision, to working to develop Jewish identity that is separate from the actions of the government of Israel. There were a lot of other different ideas in between.

The group I chose was community dialogue, which was merged into another group that decided to work on figuring out how people can best be allies to both Jews and Arabs. It was an interesting discussion, and I think I learned quite a bit. One important aspect of this that I am beginning to grasp in deeper understanding is how deeply some people feel about Israel. And while I disagree that the boycott is against "Israel," I do think that people feel threatened in a way that challenges their very identity, and their sense of safety, and their desire for survival. So that makes sense. A lot of conflict in the world is probably about survival.

Anyway, it's late, and I am tired after a good long day. I hope to flesh out my thoughts about this more in the near future.

Take care,
from Berd

17 August 2010

August Moon

crow rests on electrical line with beak agape on a hot summer evening with utility pole, and moon in background, august 2010, olympia washington
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August 2010
Olympia—A crow sits on a electrical line near a utility pole with the Moon in the background. It was hot, and the crow had its beak agape.

I was leaving Media Island after a meeting for the radio station KOWA 106.5 LP FM. KOWA meeetings happen on Mondays, at 6pm, at Media Island, 816 Adams St SE (right across from the downtown Olympia Timberland Regional Library.)

13 August 2010

Olympia Food Co-op Boycott of Products from Israel

There has been a lot of discussion on OlyBlog about the boycott.

I created a book page where related posts can be accumulated:

From Tacoma

This photo is from Tacoma Washington, near the County City Building. I was there to attend a trial for a friend of mine who was charged with disorderly conduct after blocking a military vehicle.
Friday, August 12, 2010
Parking lot near County City Building
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Daniel Ellsberg
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In this photo, Mr. Ellsberg is seen in the witness stand, in the court of Pierce County Judge Maggie Ross, where he gave testimony in a trial where the state was prosecuting a war protestor in a case of nonviolent direct action civil resistance.

Ellsberg delivered a brilliant testimonial about his life and experience, ranging from education at Harvard, to service in the Marine Corps, to consulting with the White House and State Department, to releasing the Pentagon Papers, which detailed incriminating documents, that related to the invasion and occupation of Vietnam, by the US government.

The jury delivered a disappointing verdict, finding the defendant guilty, a strike against the claim of necessity.

But it seems to me that the defendant, Patty Imani, who is a care-giver by trade, is a winner anyway, because of her principled and courageous act of conscience in resistance to aggression.

09 August 2010

An Act of Nonviolent Civil Resistance

Update, it's about 1pm on Monday, and I feel super bad, because I slept through my alarm and failed to make it to the protest at Ground Zero. I guess this is proof that I need to take care of myself. I am sorry that I let down my friends, and I hope the protest went well. I will look forward to being able to participate in the future.

The following is something I intended to publish earlier, though I stopped it from being published after my friend called and woke me up, and I realized that I had slept through my alarm and wouldn't be able to make it to the protest in time to participate. -Berd

This post is set to self-publish at 6 am on the morning of Monday the 9th of August, which is the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city Nagasaki. I will be on the Kitsap peninsula at that time.

I am planning to participate in nonviolent civil resistance/disobedience against the immoral and illegal maintenance of nuclear weapons by my government, the United States of America, by entering the roadway in an effort to blockade passage into the base. As these Trident nuclear missile weapons system exist in a first strike capacity they are illegal under recognized legal agreements. As such, this is a big part of why I see the USA as a rogue nation.

These maintenance of these weapons furthers the American Empire, an empire which is also immoral and illegal. I call for an end to imperialism.

When I enter the roadway and risk arrest, I will do so in an effort to raise awareness about, and prevent the conduct of, an immoral and illegal military infrastructure. Either way, I enter the roadway to block traffic in a sincere effort to prevent harm, to save lives, and to give voice to the vision of a world that is based on mutual respect and reciprocity, rather than conquest and domination.

I will carry a statement similar to the following, when I enter the roadway.

By peacefully entering the roadway in front of the Gate to the Naval Submarine Base Kitsap-Bangor, on Monday the 9th of August 2010, I take meaningful action in nonviolent civil resistance to the immoral and illegal actions of my government. I resist the maintenance of weapons of mass destruction.
I act against bullying.
I act against imperialism.
I act against aggression.

And I call for change.

I call for peace. I call for respect for the rights of all people, all around the world, the rights of whom are denied by the policies of my government, of the USA. People deserve to live in peace, and to be free from the fear of the threat of nuclear war.

By taking action to resist, and risking arrest for doing so, I stand for a world that is much different than the one we have now. I stand for a benign world that is altruistic, a world that seeks to serve life and to meet the needs of all people.

I stand and voice my desire for a day when people don't feel the need to wield power over others, whether they do so in order to feel safe themselves or for other reasons.

I have a message for the soldiers, sailors, and other military personnel of the US military: I want to be your friend. I mean that sincerely. From where I stand, I see the government as a guilty partner, an abuser, and an enabler of tremendous abuses.

I believe that we have that in common, that we are essentially victims here, the victims of an abusive society, one that is enabled and perpetuated by the government of the United States of America.

What I want is for you, and for all people, to have meaningful work that is enjoyable, and constructive. I want you and all people to have economic security, without weapons, and violence, bullying and belligerence.

I want to be happy, and I want you to be happy. I want happiness and joy for all people.

So here I stand: a witness to the annihilation, 65 years ago today, of the residents of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. May it be that such atrocities never happen again—to anyone.

For the immediate abolition of all nuclear weapons!


Robert Friend Weber (Berd) Whitlock

06 August 2010

Active Stills—Photography from Israel/Palestine

Active Stills is a collective of great photographers who are working on the Israel/Palestine conflict. One of their members visited Olympia a couple years ago, or so, and I went to a presentation, which was great. It was great to hear first hand about the devastation occurring in that part of the world, and about the tremendously unjust situation that Palestinians face as they are subjected to violence and oppression and are unable to live their lives with a fair degree of freedom.

Here's the Active Stills photostream on flickr:

Active Stills

05 August 2010

Recent photos

Watershed Park

Capitol and Heritage Fountain on Wednesday
Capitol and Heritage Fountain Park

No Trespassing on City Hall Construction Site
No Trespassing on City Hall Construction Site
Olympia—Construction site for the new city hall.

Olympia BDS: Why Boycott, Why Divest...
Olympia BDS: Why Boycott, Why Divest
Olympia BDS presentation about their work to get the Olympia Food Co-op to boycott products from Israel.

04 August 2010

A Couple of Recent Photos

The Forest: For the Trees
The Forest: For the Trees

Gull in Flight
Gull in Flight

I was standing in the port plaza tower when I saw this Gull fly by, my camera wasn't set right to get a great shot, but I did get this one.

I was reminded of this photo by a letter to the editor from George Kurzman in the Tuesday the 3rd of August 2010 edition of the Olympian. George wrote about developers getting special treatment v. the public. I agree with George.

The port should not grant developers special preference over the public.

Ambrose Bierce defined politics thusly: "A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage."

I see the truth of this definition reflected time and time again.

The roots of this problem are deep, and are enabled by many prevailing (harmful) social myths—coupled with the profit system itself.


May all beings be happy. Real Peace, Real Happiness, Berd

03 August 2010

Israel's PR War

Who benefits from Israeli occupation?

What is the source of Israel's delegitimization?

Could it be that Israel delegitimizes itself by committing crimes against humanity?

02 August 2010

Boycott Protest and Rally at the Co-op

Protest/Rally on Pacific
Friday 30 July 2010

This is somewhat of the overall scene on Pacific Avenue, near the entrance to the Olympia Food Co-op, during a protest/rally regard a decision by the co-op Board of Directors to boycott products from Israel due to ongoing human rights violations, illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, and the siege of the Gaza Strip.

more information: